CARMARGO, IL (By Brian Liskai) 7-28-10 – The stars of the O’Reilly Auto
Parts All Star Circuit of Champions will saddle up their fire-breathing,
methanol-burning sprint cars and head west of the Mississippi River for the
traditional “Thunder Through the Plaines, July 29 through Aug. 9, which
includes nine races at six tracks.
Traditionally Thunder Through the Plains not only features the talented
drivers of the All Stars such as point leader Tim Shaffer, two-time
champion Greg Wilson, and Bill Rose plus the young guns like 18-year-old
Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion David Gravel, current rookie of the year
leader 19-year-old Cap Henry and rookie Jared Ridge, but many of the stars
from out west with some surprise drivers and World of Outlaw pilots showing
Shaffer, the defending All Star champion, is on a hot streak in All Star
competition lately, not finishing out of the top three in the last six
events. He has recorded six All Star wins in 2010. Wilson, currently Second
in the All Star point standings, has really turned his season around, not
finishing out of the top five in the last two weeks of competition,
including the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway. Both have competed very well
during the Thunder Through the Plains during their careers.
First up for the Thunder Through the Plains will be Red River Valley
Speedway on Thursday, July 29. Red River Valley is located in West Fargo,
North Dakota and is a half-mile high-banked track. It will be a huge
kick-off to Thunder Through the Plains as two-time NASCAR champion Tony
Stewart is expected to compete as will four-time and defending World of
Outlaws champion Donny Schatz, who drives Stewart’s sprint car. Stewart,
who competed at the track in June in a late model, finishing third in the
feature, has competed with the All Stars on several occasions in 2010,
recording a couple of podium finishes.
During the winter, Danny Schatz, Donny’s father, took over track operations
of Red River Valley.
Red River Valley will also host a USMTS Modified Show the night before the
All Stars come to town, with Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace in
For more information log onto www.redrivervalleyspeedway.com
The All Stars then “thunder” into Husets Speedway located between Sioux
Falls and Brandon, South Dakota, for a three consecutive nights of racing,
July 30, through Aug. 1. The three-eighths mile, high-banked oval races
sprint cars weekly.
Expect to see local stars like Lynton Jeffery, Jody Rosenboom, Gregg
Bakker, Mark Dobmeier, Scott Winters and Robby Wolfgang race wheel-to-wheel
with the talented All Star drivers.
Last year, Scott Winters opened up the Husets Thunder Through the Plains
with his first All Star win with Gary Wright, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Tony Bruce
and Tim Shaffer rounding out the top five.
On the second night at Husets, with a thunderstorm striking in the
background, former track champion Terry McCarl would take the checkers in
an exciting battle over Tim Shaffer and Hafertepe, the later stealing
second on the last corner of the last lap. Kaeding and Bakker would round
out the top five.
Thunder Through the Plains then moves to Butler County Motorplex in Rising
City, Nebraska on Aug. 4. It marks the first time the All Stars have
competed at the one-third mile, high-banked track.
The All Star event is one of three scheduled at the track for what is
dubbed the “Need for Speed Week.” On Monday, Aug. 2, the POWERi Midgets,
SLMR super late models and IMCA hobby stocks will compete. Joining the All
Star sprints on Wednesday will be the IMCA modifieds and the IMCA sport
compacts. Then on Friday, Aug. 6, the IMCA modifieds, sport mods, hobby
stocks and compacts will be in action.
For more information go to www.butlercountymotorplex.com
Then the All Stars return to the Belleville High Banks on Aug. 5. The High
Banks is one of the best facilities in the country with a rich history of
midget racing and features the National Midget Hall of Fame.
Last year the 800+ horsepower 410 sprint cars smashed track records at the
Belleville, Kansas track known as “the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Dirt
Track. Five cars would best the track’s previous qualifying record, finally
set by Terry McCarl at 14.321 seconds.
In the feature event, Australian Kerry Madsen, who nearly won the 2010
edition of the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway, would hold of McCarl for
the All Star win. Tim Kaeding, Randy Hannagan and Don Droud would round out
the top five. The second night of racing at “The High Banks” would be
For more information go to www.highbanks.org.
The All Stars will then travel to I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri, for
what is becoming a must-see event, the Ironman 55. A co-sanctioned event
with the World of Outlaw Sprint cars, it kicks off Aug. 6 with the UMP
DIRTcar Extreme Sportsman Challenge Series. Racing continues Aug. 7 with
the World of Outlaws and All Stars vying for $20,000 to win. The UMP
DIRTcar Modifieds will also be in action.
For more information go to www.i55raceway.com.
Thunder Through the Plains wraps up on Aug. 9 for another exciting
tradition- the Musco Lighting Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway
in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The excitement here? The driver on the pole has the
option to go to the tail on the start and should he or she win, will earn
The only driver to accomplish the feat over the past 14 years of the event
was Ohio’s Jac Haudenschild.
The event also features the King of the Hill, one lap matches races among
the top eight qualifiers through the heat races to determine who starts on
Last year Hall of Famer Sammy Swindell would take the win over Joey
Saldana, Craig Dollansky, Donny Schatz and Lance Dewease.
The following night, Southern Iowa Speedway will host the Casey’s General
Stores USAC Ultimate Challenge featuring the non-wing sprints.
For more information on the Front Row Challenge go to