By Mike O’Leary
April 30, 2012 – The racing spotlight turns to Bloomington Speedway Friday night for the second thrilling round of the King of Indiana Sprint Series. Californian Robert Ballou won the opener at the Terre Haute Action Track, and after the weather-related cancellation at Kokomo, leads the KISS racers with a narrow 5-point advantage over another West Coast racer, Bud Kaeding. Defending KISS King Dave Darland and five time champion Jon Stanbrough are close behind, while Damion Gardner holds fifth in the points.
For the first time in a quarter-century, the well respected Bloomington facility is under new leadership. During the off-season, Mike and Judy Miles turned the reins over to a management group that includes local businessman Dan Roberts. With a long-term lease, the new promoters are upbeat after their first couple of weeks at the helm.
“We had a really good night the first night, even though we had some pretty dicey weather with the rain coming,” Roberts said. “The second night it was pretty much inevitable that we were going to get rained out. But we had to try to get it in.”
The new team inherited a full schedule that includes the May 4th KISS event. It is one that they are looking forward to. Roberts, who is co-owner of the Leer Racing sprint car driven by Jon Stanbrough, said that the KISS race has extra importance to him. “One reason is that the KISS series always produces great racing, and for two, we will get to run our own car there that we normally won’t run there on local shows. So we are looking forward to a real good turnout on KISS night and hopefully we’ll have the track just the way that the guys like it.”
Stanbrough has three KISS victories at Bloomington. Other winners include Tony Elliott and Kevin Briscoe in 2003 and 2004, and more recently, Chris Windom (2009) and last year’s winner Brady Short. One of the founding tracks of both Indiana Sprint Week and the KISS series, Bloomington’s new promotional team understands the leadership role the facility has been known for, and feels ready for the challenges ahead.
“Basically I’m doing the same thing that Mike Miles did. I’m the competition director and I take care of the track. Mike’s been working with me on how to keep it nice and keep the place nice. We intend to improve upon it every chance we get,” Roberts said. The other members of the management group include Bruce Leer, Jack Craig and Dale Dillon, and Roberts explained, “I was pretty much tired of the construction business. I’d been doing it for 31 years and this opportunity became available and we had a really good group of guys that wanted to get involved with us. I never would have done it on my own.”
General admission for the KISS program is only $20 and kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult; pit passes are $30. The racing will include UMP modifieds and street stocks. The main grandstand will open at 5:30, with hot laps at 6:30 and racing beginning at 7:30. The pit gate opens at 4:30. More information is available at www.bloomingtonspeedway.com.
All KISS main events pay $2,500 to win, and $250 to start. This year, the KISS promoters have also included tow money, where any car that does not transfer to the feature will collect at least $100. Additionally, 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.
The KISS series will continue with a race scheduled each weekend, with the I-69/Gas City Speedway the next Friday, May 11, followed by events at Lawrenceburg, Haubstadt, and the finale at Paragon Speedway on June 2.
KISS Points: 1. Robert Ballou 180, 2. Bud Kaeding 175, 3. Dave Darland 170, 4. Jon Stanbrough 165, 5. Damion Gardner 160, 6. Jerry Coons Jr. 156, 7. Brady Bacon 152, 8. Mike Spencer 148, 9. Wes McIntyre 144, 10. Kyle Cummins 140
2012 KISS SCHEDULE
April 22 – Terre Haute Action Track – Robert Ballou
April 29 – Kokomo Speedway – Rain
May 4 – Bloomington Speedway
May 11 – Gas City I-69 Speedway
May 19 – Lawrenceburg Speedway
May 27 – Tri-State Speedway
June 2 – Paragon Speedway