By Greg Parent
For the fourth year in a row, the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) will proudly sanction the prestigious 20th Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial race on Friday night June 29 at the St. Croix Valley Raceway as part of the 1st Annual Jack Links Open Wheel Nationals. This will be the first time the Kouba Memorial has been held at the St. Croix Valley Raceway, and competitors and fans alike are looking forward to an entertaining evening of racing action at the 1/4 mile dirt oval located near St. Croix Falls, WI.
The 20th Annual Kouba Memorial will pay $2,000 to win while the popular area modified division will be racing for $1,500 to win. The weekly WISSOTA Midwest Modified class will be gunning for $750 to win, and the UMSS Traditional Sprint Car Series non-winged sprints will race for $500 to win at their weekly track. The 1st Annual Jack Links Open Wheel Nationals features an all open wheel racing program with a strong purse designed to provide a great evening of entertainment for race fans. This unique race night will feature two modified and two sprint car divisions racing on the same program for the first time ever at the track.
Brothers Joe Kouba and Jimmy Kouba along with their sister Judy Kouba-Dominick have been instrumental in putting together and continuing the outstanding tradition of honoring and celebrating their parents and their long-standing ties to the sport of sprint car and midget auto racing by presenting the Kouba Memorial each year for what will now be its 20th edition. Joe Kouba expressed his thanks by stating, “The Kouba Memorial is a spectacular race with a storied tradition here in our area. The Kouba family is looking forward to holding our annual event for the first time at the St. Croix Valley Raceway in 2012 as part of the Open Wheel Nationals. We’ve put together a strong purse with $2,000 to win and $270 to start. It’s going to be a memorable night of open wheel racing.”
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 19 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, Brad Barickman and Brooke Tatnell. 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. St. Croix Valley Raceway will become the fifth different track to present the event.
The Kouba family always does a great job at securing additional sponsorship money for their annual memorial. With a strong base purse courtesy of St. Croix Valley Raceway, contributions from the Kouba family, Gillund Enterprises/Justice Brothers, GRP Motorsports, Proto Fab Engineering, Bev-Lor Utilities, Precision Tool, D&D Motorsports, and Mastell Brothers Trailer Service will see a strong payout. The “A Main” purse is as follows: 1. $2,000; 2. $1,250; 3. $1,000; 4. $800; 5. $650; 6. $575; 7. $500; 8. $425; 9. $400; 10. $300; 11-20 $270. All non-qualifiers will receive $125 compliments of St. Croix Valley Raceway. The two Ethel Kouba Challenge Races will pay $100, $75, $50 and $25 each to the top four finishers. The feature race will be 25 or 30 laps to be determined on race night.
Please contact Joe Kouba at 612-751-4646 or email him at JRKracer@aol.com for further information regarding the Kouba Memorial.