21st Annual Kouba Memorial Race Features New Twist

By Greg Parentumss
For the fifth year in a row, the Upper Midwest Sprintcar Series (UMSS) will proudly sanction the prestigious 21st Annual Earl & Ethel Kouba Memorial race.  The event will feature a bit of new twist this year.  The Kouba Memorial will begin on Friday night August 16 at the Princeton Speedway with the Ethel Kouba Memorial Feature and will conclude on Saturday night August 17 at the St. Croix Valley Raceway with the Earl Kouba Memorial Feature.
The racing program at Princeton on August 16 will have some very significant incentives in place.  The UMSS will utilize their usual double-round of qualifying races that night to set the feature race lineup.  The winner of the Friday night feature at Princeton will earn a starting spot in the Raleigh Sandberg Memorial Dash on Saturday night.  Also, the driver who is highest in combined points on Friday night (heat, challenge and feature) will also earn a starting spot in the dash on Saturday.  If the high point driver is also the feature winner on Friday, the next highest in points will go to the dash.  The Friday night Ethel Kouba Memorial Feature at Princeton will pay $1,200 to win with a total purse of $6,750.
On Saturday at the St. Croix Valley Raceway, the UMSS will utilize their usual double-round of qualifying races except for the two drivers who earned the right to be in the Raleigh Sandberg Memorial Dash.  Those two drivers will not have to run a heat or challenge race.  Following the heat races on Saturday, four more drivers will earn dash starting spots.  To determine those four drivers their point score from the Friday night feature race will be added together with their heat race point score on Saturday.  The top four drivers in those combined points will go to the dash and not have to run a challenge race.  The Raleigh Sandberg Memorial dash sponsored by Rik & Sandy Sandberg will be six laps for those six cars with a $500 purse ($200 to win).  Dash starting spots will be by random draw amongst the six drivers.  How those six drivers finish the dash will determine the first three rows of the 30 lap Earl Kouba Memorial Feature.  The rest of the 22 car starting field will be filled out in the usual manner following the challenge races.  The Earl Kouba Memorial Feature on Saturday night will pay $2,100 to win with a total purse of $11,050.  St. Croix Valley Raceway will pay $125 to all non-qualifiers.  As for the Traditional sprints on Saturday night, Gillund Enterprises/JB Distributing is adding $500 to their purse!
With this rather unique format, the 21st Annual Kouba Memorial should be a very interesting and very entertaining event with emphasis on both races, Friday at Princeton and Saturday at St. Croix Valley.  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.  Joe Kouba expressed his thoughts 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 over the course of two nights for the first time ever.  It’s going to be a memorable two nights of open wheel racing.”  The UMSS sprints also race at KRA Raceway in Willmar on Thursday, August 15.  Weather permitting, this will give the winged warriors three straight nights of 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 20 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, Brooke Tatnell and Lou Kennedy, 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 five different tracks have hosted the event including Jackson Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Princeton Speedway, North Central Speedway and St. Croix Valley Raceway.
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/JB Distributing, GRP Motorsports, Proto Fab Engineering, Bev-Lor Utilities, Precision Tool, Dale Wilson, Mastell Brothers Trailer Service and Pat Donnohue will see a strong payout.  The full Kouba Memorial purse will be posted on the UMSS website on Monday August 12, as there may be some additional sponsorship money added.  The feature race purses are posted below.  Please contact Joe Kouba at 612-751-4646 or email him at JRKracer@aol.com for further information regarding the 21st Annual Kouba Memorial.
Friday Night Ethel Kouba Memorial Feature (Princeton Speedway): $1200, $800, $550, $500, $450, $350, $325, $300, $275, $250, $200…
Saturday Night Earl Kouba Memorial Feature (St. Croix Valley Raceway): $2100, $1150, $1000, $800, $650, $575, $500, $425, $400, $350, $290, $280, $280, $270, $260, $260, $260, $250…
Note: Photo included with this press release is of Jimmy Kouba, the only two-time winner of the event, when he drove his own JB sponsored 2k sprinter.  Jimmy or his son Jake will likely be in action with their non-winged traditional sprint car on August 17 at the St. Croix Valley Raceway.