Greg Parent UMSS Media Director
For the third year in a row, the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) will proudly sanction the prestigious 19th Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial race on Saturday July 23 at the North Central Speedway near Brainerd, Minnesota. This will be the seventh straight year the race has been held at North Central Speedway. UMSS President Ron Bernhagen stated, “With the honor and tradition surrounding this 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 fine race track. We are looking for a strong turnout of drivers and fans for the 19th Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial. Thanks to Cliff and KT at North Central Speedway in Brainerd for hosting this event once again. We’ve put together a strong purse with $2,000 to win and $300 to start.”
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 18 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, Jerry Richert, Jr. and Brad Barickman. 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 their annual memorial. With a strong base purse courtesy of North Central Speedway and contributions from the Kouba family, GRP Motorsports, Proto Fab Engineering, Bev-Lor Utilities, Precision Tool, Dale Wilson Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire and Mastell Brothers Trailer Service, the 2011 version will see the feature race pay out a whopping $10,600 based on a 20 car starting field with $2,000 to win, $1,200 for second, and $900 for third while start money will be $300. All non-qualifiers will receive $100. 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 contribition of $500. The feature race winner will also receive a Hoosier Racing Tire certificate valued at $200 for an SC25 right rear tire, making the total take for first place actually worth $2,200. Additional bonuses may be lined up for a Hard Luck Award and/or a Hard Charger Award. The feature race will be either 25 or 30 laps depending on track conditions. Please contact Joe Kouba at 612-751-4646 or via email at JRKracer@aol.com for further information.