By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Aug. 18 – Dale Korporal of Upland, Ind. is a popular figure at Gas City I-69 Speedway every Friday night during the racing season. Korporal, who is in his late eighties and has been attending the Grant County track religiously since it opened in 1986, is known as “The Candyman” because of his habit of slipping drivers, officials and fans a piece of candy when he sees them. He knows pretty much everybody, and he’s well liked throughout the pits and the grandstands.
“I just like to do it; it doesn’t cost much and who doesn’t like a piece of candy?” he said once when asked why he started this practice. “It gives me something to do.”
Korporal, who lost his wife last December, knows no one lives forever. So he recently approached track promoter Jerry Gappens and said that there was something else he’d like to do for the drivers at Gas City while he could — sponsor a race.
Korporal and Gappens put their heads and their budgets together and the result is Dale Korporal’s “Candyman Classic” this Friday night, Aug. 21, when more than $20,000 will be offered in total prize money for twin 20-lap features for non-wing sprint car drivers. Modified, street stock and hornet drivers will also have increased purse money and will share the card on Friday, which carries a rain date of Sept. 4 if necessary.
Each 20-lap sprint feature will pay $2,020 to win and $220 to start. The latter was due to Korporal’s desire to “help the little guy” who finishes in the back of the field.
Should one driver win both features he’ll earn a $500 bonus. There will be a $300 bonus to the driver who passes the most cars over the course of both features.
A.J. and Matt Brookmyer contributed a $100 bonus per feature for the “Hard Charger” who advances the most spots from his starting position. They’re also awarding a new right-rear Hoosier tire to the first driver who doesn’t make the starting lineup of each feature. Even if a driver doesn’t make either feature, he’ll still receive a minimum of $150 to take home.
Tickets will be available at the track’s ticket office on Friday. An adult general admission ticket costs $20, with kids 12 and under free. A pit pass is $35.
The pit gate will open at 3 p.m. and the grandstands at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., with racing at 7:30 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to wear face masks and to observe social distancing practices.
J.J. Hughes of Indianapolis leads the track’s current sprint car point standings followed by Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind.; defending track champ Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind.; Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind., and Max Adams of Loomis, Calif.
There have been five different winners of the six regular sprint car features at Gas City so far this year, with Meseraull being the only one to win more than once. The other four drivers in the top five in the current point standings are searching for their first feature victory of the year at the quarter-mile dirt track.
Meseraull has two feature victories. Justin Grant of Avon, Ind.; Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill.; Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio and Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill. are the other regular sprint feature winners this year to date.
Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind. leads the modified standings, while Andy Bishop of Gas City is on top of the current street stock standings and James Headley of Marion, Ind. is the driver to beat in the hornet division.
The track’s schedule for the remainder of 2020 is on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259.