By DICK JORDAN/KIRK SPRIDGEON
As has been the case in each of the three previous editions, this week’s “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” at Kokomo Speedway will be bolstered by a long list of prizes and cash bonuses on top of an already-stout purse, concluding with Saturday’s $10,000-to-win 40-lap event. Along with awards for nearly every event on the agenda for the weekend, laps are still filling up at $100 each to pay the top-five on each of the 100 feature laps over the weekend.
Again this year, the competition stretches off the race track as six racers compete in the “Sprint Car Snackdown” Thursday night. The speedway’s Turn 5 Bar will host defending eating champion Chase Stockon against five top competitors from last year’s “Smackdown”: Dave Darland, Robert Ballou, Brady Bacon, Jon Stanbrough, and Justin Grant. The race is on to down fifteen boneless chicken wings faster than the competition for the winner’s prize pack. All fans and fellow competitors are invited to attend and enjoy the show.
Each racing night will begin, as always, with ProSource Qualifying. The year-long “ProSource Fast Time Award Challenge” continues on, with $2,500 going to the driver who racks up the most throughout the season across all three USAC National divisions. Chase Stockon currently leads the standings with six, just ahead of Brady Bacon and Kody Swanson.
All heat races are sponsored and presented by Competition Suspension (CSI) again this year. Heat races sponsors will pay out money to all top-four finishers on Thursday and Friday, and are sponsored by Hinchman Indy, STIDA.com, Loudpedal Productions, Race Track Engineering, Racers Storage, and Claxton Engines. CSI will also present Saturday’s Qualifying Races, which transfer cars to the 40-lap Main Event and will also earn them a new Hoosier right-rear tire for the preliminary race victory.
Hard Charger Awards have been posted for each night of racing and are presented by Maxim Chassis. TeamVWAudi.com has posted the award for Thursday, with Crume-Evans Insurance handling the honors on Friday. On Saturday, the feature’s hard charger will earn $250 cash from Elliott’s Custom Trailers in addition to the $250 certificate from Maxim.
American Racing Ministries have again pledged their support of the “Smackdown,” as they will award a right-rear tire to each night’s “Perseverance Award” winner, the final transfer from each night’s Semi-Feature. DRC Chassis also returns to post the “Hard Luck Award.” Pace Performance Coatings also returns, again posting the “Hard Work Award” each night, going to the driver who makes the feature after qualifying the worst or, on Saturday, having the lowest point total entering the night.
A few lucrative awards that started last year will return, and are headlined by Lincoln Park Speedway’s “Bill Gardner True Grit Award,” given to the competitor who overcomes the most adversity throughout the weekend. Last year’s winner was legendary car owner Paul Hazen. Speedway Motors has signed on to present the “Passing Master Award,” worth $500 to the driver who improves the most positions cumulatively over the three-day event, which includes heat races, semi-features, and features.
Spire Sports + Entertainment also returns this year, as they will reward the “Smackdown Rookie of the Year” with $500. B&W Auto Mart continues their support of USAC racing, as they present a check for $400 to the winner of this year’s “King of the Hill” on Saturday night. King of the Hill is a one-on-one bracket-style event for the top-eight point earners locked into Saturday night’s feature. Previous winners include Tracy Hines, Chase Stockon, and Brady Bacon.
The Frolic Bar & Grill sponsors this year’s “Best Appearing Car” award this year and will vote for the winner prior to Saturday night’s driver introductions. Other posted prizes for various races come from Weld Racing (left-rear wheel), Impact Racing (belts), Rod End Supply (product certificates), Arizona Sport Shirts (certificate), and Simpson Race Products (product certificates) are among the contributing sponsors for this year’s event.
Hoosier Tire and AMSOIL remain strong supporters of Kokomo’s “Smackdown,” as each have donated considerable amounts of product to be given to competitors throughout the three-day extravaganza.
While the “Smackdown” itself kicks off on Thursday, tomorrow features a special event to finish off the rained-out “Indiana Sprint Week” program from July. It will conclude with the Semi-Feature and 30-lap feature and is FREE to all spectators. Fans with tickets from the rained-out event will be admitted early and are eligible for a free upgrade to a pit pass. All pit passes from that event can be used, as well.