By Bill W
April 1, 2011 – Drivers continue to make their intentions known of running the new Monster Energy™ Sprint Car Series, and the latest is Indy 500 veteran Donnie Beechler! The Springfield, Illinois driver is getting back to his open wheel roots in a sprinter this season. He made four Indy 500 appearances and was fifth in the 2000 Indy Racing League season standings.
Beechler will drive a car owned by Ken Dobson. Though he has run midgets and Silver Crown cars in the past few seasons, it has been awhile since he strapped into a sprinter. “Kenny has breathed new life into me a little bit,” he says. “It’s been about eight years since I’ve been in a sprint car. If things go well, we may find some other shows to run, but our focus will be on this series.”
The series is conducted by the Midwest Open Wheel Association and will get underway on Saturday, April 23 at the 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. The 410 series came as the result of several drivers from central Illinois who want more shows to run within driving distance of Springfield, Illinois. “When I started back in 1980, we had so many cars around here,” says Beechler. “As time went on, things got higher priced, and the car counts went away and there were less opportunities to drive a sprint car. About the only way to do it was in a limited class. There was a time we could run three or four times a week in a two or two and a half hour radius of Springfield.”
Now an eleven race schedule is on the calendar, with more dates pending. Twenty-five drivers have committed to the opener in West Burlington, and several more are expected to attend. “There is a good group of people trying to put this thing together,” says Donnie. “I hope it can be a success. It’s a tough battle for fans with this economy right now. Hopefully, we can give them something to get excited about.”
Beechler will actually be a part of a two-car team, as his nephew, Ryan Beechler, has moved back from Texas to run a 360 in the region. Ryan will be running with the Sprint Invaders and in other area shows. “I really couldn’t do this without Ryan,” says Donnie. “He’s taking care of his car and my car. I have three businesses, and as you get older there are other priorities. That’s why I haven’t really pursued maintaining a car myself the last few years.”
To check out more information on Rules and Procedures, Drivers, Schedules, Updates and More for the Monster Energy Sprint Car Series, visit the series’ website at www.MidwestOpenWheel.com!
Midwest Open Wheel Report To Debut at the End of This Month
The “Midwest Open Wheel Report” will air on television in the central Illinois region this summer. The show that will focus on the Monster Energy™ Sprint Series, will also include coverage of other area open wheel events such as the Sprint Invaders Association and the POWRi midgets.
Show will air on Fox 55/27 at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays, and again at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday on Central Illinois CW (WBUI). The reach of the stations goes from Jacksonville to Champaign, and from about Lincoln to Litchfield. Show organizers hope to expand the reach of the telecast to the Peoria, Quad Cities and Quincy/Hannibal/Keokuk markets by mid-summer.
Check Out Our Promo Video!
Check out our preview video for the series provided by Ross Wece at the following link!
2011 Monster Energy™ Sprint Car Series Tentative Schedule
Saturday, April 23 – 34 Raceway – $2,500 to win (West Burlington, IA)
Friday, May 13 – Jacksonville Speedway (Jacksonville, IL)
Friday, May 27 – Fayette County Speedway (Brownsville, IL)
Friday, July 1 – Jacksonville Speedway – $2,500 to win Leon Smith Memorial (Jacksonville, IL)
Friday, July 8 – Lincoln Speedway (Lincoln, IL)
Sunday, July 31 – Shepp’s Speedway (Alexander, IL)
Friday, August 19 – Jacksonville Speedway (Jacksonville, IL)
Friday, September 2 – Lincoln Speedway (Lincoln, IL)
Saturday, September 17 – Spoon River Speedway – Tom Knowles Memorial (Canton, IL)
Saturday, September 24 – 34 Raceway – $4,000 to win (West Burlington, IA)
Friday, September 30 – Jacksonville Speedway – Season Championship (Jacksonville, IL)