18th Annual Kouba Memorial Race Set For June 5 at North Central Speedway


From Greg Parent

Stillwater, MN – For the second year in a row, the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) will proudly sanction the prestigious 18th Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial race on Saturday June 5 at the North Central Speedway near Brainerd, Minnesota. This will be the sixth straight year the race has been held at North Central Speedway. UMSS President Ron Bernhagen stated, “the honor and tradition surrounding this event makes this a very special night for sprint car drivers and fans. The UMSS is proud to be associated with the Kouba family and their memorial race.”

Brothers Joe Kouba and Jimmy Kouba along with their sister Judy Kouba-Dominick have been instrumental in putting together and continuing this fine tradition of honoring and celebrating their parents and their long-standing ties to the sport of sprint car and midget auto racing. Joe Kouba expressed his thanks by stating, “The Kouba Memorial is a spectacular race held at a great race track that always sees a strong turnout of drivers and fans. We are excited to take the 18th Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial Race back to North Central Speedway at Brainerd.”

The list of previous winners of the Kouba Memorial reads like a who’s who in Upper Midwest area sprint car racing. Dating back to the first event held in 1993, there has only been one repeat winner in the 17 year history of this great tradition. Past champions include Dean Brown, Curt Lund, Kent Winters, Donny Schatz, Tony Norem, Spike Lempelius, Brian Schnee, Jimmy Kouba, Roger Rager, Jake Peters, Matt Folstad, Dustin Lindquist, Chuck Swenson, Billy Balog, Lee Grosz, and Jerry Richert, Jr. The only repeat winner is none other than Jimmy Kouba, as he won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001 at the Princeton Speedway. A total of four different tracks have hosted the event including Jackson Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Princeton Speedway and North Central Speedway.

The Kouba family always does a great job at securing additional sponsorship money for the annual memorial race for their parents. With a strong base purse courtesy of North Central Speedway and contributions from the Kouba family, GRP Motorsports, Proto Fab, and Bev-lor Utilities, the 2010 version will see a feature race payout of $8,000 based on a 20 car starting field with $1,500 to win, $1,000 for second, and $700 for third while start money will be $240. All non-qualifiers will receive $125. The two Ethel Kouba UMSS Challenge Races will be sponsored by Gillund Enterprises/JB Distributing with a payout of $100, $75, $50 and $25 for a total contribuition of $500. Additional bonuses are being lined up for a Hard Luck Award, Hard Charger Award, and UMSS Ultimate Heat Race winners.

The 18th Annual Kouba Memorial will be held the following night after the UMSS races on Friday night June 4 at the Kopellah Speedway near St. Croix Falls, WI. The Kopellah race is slated to pay $1,000 to win with some help from GRP Motorsports making for a great double-header weekend of UMSS 360 sprint car racing. A strong field of cars are expected to participate in both events. The UMSS is a value-based sprint car organization bringing open wheel racing back to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota by establishing reasonable rules for the participant, an economical purse structure for the race tracks, and an affordable race ticket and fan-friendly program for the race fan. For more information on the UMSS, please visit our website at www.umsprints.com or call series President Ron Bernhagen at 612-363-5302.