By Mike O’Leary
March 25, 2012 – No matter which sanctioning group is involved, the Terre Haute Action Track gets every racer’s attention when it is on the schedule. The Action Track is big, wide and very, very fast. When conditions are right, it can have quick bottom and mid-track grooves, and also a very fast line around the top, which leads to great side-by-side racing action.
This year, the King of Indiana Sprint Series returns to the Action Track after a five year absence, on Sunday, April 22, in a double-header with the Midwest Sprint Car Series. The Spring Fling is the opening event for both groups. With KISS and MSCS points on the line and a healthy purse, many drivers will step up to the challenges of the historic half mile dirt oval.
The Action Track is under new management, with veteran promoters Bob Sargent and the O’Connor family signing a five year lease over the winter. Reece O’Connor has been responsible for track preparation at the O’Connor’s Kokomo Speedway, and also groomed the Action Track for the last couple of events last year. He says that they got the idea for the KISS/MSCS co-sanctioned program from Tri-State Speedway. “We were going to run a few MSCS shows and when I saw the way that Tommy (Helfrich) was doing it, I noticed he had a KISS/MSCS race.”
As they prepare for the coming season, with a seven race schedule ahead at the Action Track, O’Connor notes that their partner, Bob Sargent, brings a unique depth of experience. “He’s been in the business forever, ever since he was a kid. He’s just real knowledgeable from top to bottom in this business. From track prep to selling hot dogs, he knows the ins and outs of all of it.”
“We’re going to spruce it up, do some painting,” O’Connor advises of the facility that was built in 1949, and has been one of the country’s top dirt ovals for 60 years. “Probably you will see more, not this year, but next. We just got the contract signed less than a month ago and we got a lot of stuff thrown at us in a short amount of time.”
Recognized as one of the most competitive areas in the country for short track racing, KISS and MSCS feature the best home-grown sprint car racing. Reigning King of Indiana Dave Darland has rejoined car owner Jeff Walker for the 2012 season, and five time KISS champion Jon Stanbrough is now teamed with Dan Roberts and Daryl Tate. Brady Short, KISS’s 2009 champ, will be defending last year’s MSCS championship.
With the larger half mile oval, the April 22, Sunday night feature race will be 25 circuits, rather than the standard 30 laps for KISS events. The payoff will be $2,500 to win, and $250 to start the feature. This year, the KISS promoters have also included a minimum payoff, where any car that does not transfer to the feature will collect at least $100. The point fund has increased to $4,200, with the series champion earning $1,200. Second in points will collect $900, and third through fifth will receive $800, $700 and $600.
2012 KISS SCHEDULE
April 22 Terre Haute Action Track
April 29 Kokomo Speedway
May 4 Bloomington Speedway
May 11 Gas City I-69 Speedway
May 19 Lawrenceburg Speedway
May 27 Tri-State Speedway
June 2 Paragon Speedway