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Found 13 results

  1. Here's another one of those clippings that need to be transcribed since I can't figure out a good way to cut and paste the thing to make sense. So, read the article below the pic. The headline reads: Improvements taking shape at San Antonio Speedway The article reads: One of the first promises made to the racing community after buying the pace was that he would make "a bunch of improvements." And evidently he wasn't kidding, because San Antonio International Speedway President and General Manager Bill Cravens has more than lived up his promise. "We've invested more than a quarter-million dollars in improvements so far," Cravens said during a recent media tour of the 10 year-old stock car racing facility he purchased late last year from local used-car dealer and auctioneer Joe Horne. "And we still have some major projects planned, including paving the whole parking lot and resurfacing the track itself." As we walked through the pit area, many of the changes were clearly evident. Down both straightaways, where less than adequate metal fences existed before - particularly on the front straight - huge concrete barriers are in place, designed to prevent errant race cars from ever entering the pits. Over the years several drivers have torn down, flattened or otherwise destroyed the front pit wall, as new SAIS chief tech inspector Terry Barden can personally testify. So the thick concrete barrier will be a most welcome safety feature that everyone in the pits, especially crew members busy working on pit road, will appreciate. And racers will be glad to see a fresh, new, hard-packed gravel base thought the entire pit area. In days past, anyone unfortunate enough to spend the evening in the pits, or even in the stands downwind from the pits, could count on choking on clouds of thick dust. It was a special kind of dust which started life as a mixture of good old dried Texas mud and a few truck loads of coal dust. It would kick up whenever a race car crawled through the pits, no matter how slowly. Spectators will be delighted to learn that the unpaved area between the pit road and the front straight which, in years gone by, has (with the help of out-of-control race cars) produced dust clouds big enough to engulf the entire grandstands, has been completely paved over and will now serve as a dust-free victory circle. The PA system sounded crisp, clean and audible from anywhere on the premises. It was turned to a local AM country radio station by one of the many workers busy on a wide variety of projects under way a the time of my visit. The sharp sound was evident even though only a couple of speakers were turned on. "Our new sound equipment is all first-class," Cravens said. "We've added several more speakers and there's a room full of amplifiers, mixers and electronics to go with them, and it all sounds great. Hopefully, there'll be no complaints this year that the sound system is no good." The system was designed by, and will be maintained by, cigar-chomping Davey Schonert, who was a familiar sight at Pan American Speedway for several years. There, he took care of everything electrical for owner / promoter Ricci Ware Sr. If you couldn't see or hear at Pan Am you were either deaf or blind. Schonert knows how to make it all work as it should. Schonert also has been working on the lighting system and had added new lights in the pit area where they were badly needed. And although only about half the race fans will directly benefit, all the women's rooms have been redone, complete with upgraded floors, all new fixtures and fresh paint. This year the women will not have to 'rough it' should nature call just before the main event. One improvement that really isn't too evident, but one which will benefit everyone in the stands, is the addition of several huge support beams anchored in 16 feet of concrete under the grandstands. "The grandstands were actually falling over, leaning backwards about seven degrees. We had to completely redesign the support system," Cravens said, shaking his head. "I'd hate to think of what might have happened if there were a capacity crowd on opening night and we hadn't taken the time to check the grandstands out." And while they were pouring concrete, Cravens poured ton after ton under the grandstands where once mud ruled. Going for a cool brew or a hamburger will not longer be an exercise in tip-toeing around mud holes. But to us media types, the biggest and best news is the new two-story press box, VIP suite and scoring tower perched high above the racing surface. The tower features wraparound tinted glass, indoor plumbing, wall-to-wall carpeting and enough electrical outlets and phone jacks to handle a room full of eager reporters. The San Antonio International Speedway racing season fires up next Saturday at 8 p.m., featuring the Super Stocks, Modified Stocks (Street Stocks) and Hobby Stocks. There will also be one or two of the new open-wheel Super Modifieds on hand to give the opening night crowd a glimpse of what SAIS officials hope will become there premier racing class. For ticket information and directions to the track call the SAIS office at 666-5300. NICK'S NOTEBOOK Following a trend set by Chevy and Porsche in recent years, Italian manufacturer Alfa Romero will enter the Cart/PPG Indy Car World Series this year. Technicians at Alfa's facility in Milan are hard at work mating an updated version of and old Ferrari V-8 to a brand new March 89CE chassis. Look for the project to run into development problems similar to those experienced by Porsche. The Alamo Region of the SCCA will host a Regional Solo II event at Blossom Stadium on April 30. If you've ever wondered how you wand you trusty vehicle would fare at an autocross event, get the ball rolling by attending the SCCA meeting this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Maggie's Restaurant, 9715 San Pedro, or call John Turner at 826-5568. Victor Pell, track manager for the San Antonio 4X4 Mud Races, says the track, located three miles south of Loop 410 on 281 South (Roosevelt Avenue), is back in operation after a winter lay-off. Modified and stock classes of trucks take on the mud every other Saturday night at 8 p.m. Call the track office at 921-0237 for more information. It's no secret that Dick Conole, owner of Texas world Speedway in College Station, is selling off as many of the new aluminum seats as he can from the huge grandstands that stretch for what seems like miles down the front straightaway. In fact, Conole has been placing ads recently in major racing publications, complete with a photo of the offering. But what is a secret is what he intends to ultimately do with the 2-mile high-banked super speedway which was once billed as the world's fastest, but which in recent years has seen only limited use. Conole has indicated that one of his options might be to convert the place into a Class 2 horse track, but he is still hoping that major stock car racing can be brought back to Texas. Of course, major auto racing events take major money and good sponsorship deals to become a reality these days, and in light of the current Texas economy, the future of TWS as Texas' foremost racing facility looks dim.
  2. Here's a pic of the column for February 5, 1989. It's one of those that's just too hard to copy, paste crop, paste and crop again..etc, so I transcribed the whole article below. The headline reads: Controversy idling over open-wheel rules And the article reads: San Antonio International Speedway's new Open Wheel Super Modifieds class hasn't even hit the track yet, but already several of the area's better-known racers are building cars for the new division and the future looks bright in spite of a few faint clouds of controversy appearing on the horizon. Ricci Ware, Jr, for instance, recently sold his TIDA Pro Sedan Datsun 510 to James Baum and is having Gerald McCall's Blue Diamond Engineering, one of San Antonio's busier race car shops, build him one in time for the April 1 season opener. Ware, last year's TIDA Pro Sedan driving champion, has campaigned the open-wheel cars before, winning the open-wheel championship at Pan American Speedway in a Speedway Engineering tube-frame car that simply outclassed the competition. And Leroy Farmer, the colorful and always very quick TIDA Late Model driver, is working overtime along with his associate, Louis Upton, in their new Universal City race facility to put one together for the series. But Farmer says he's building his to make a point. "I got real upset when the new rules came out for the open-wheel class, " Farmer said. "In fact, Louis and I walked out of the rules meeting in protest." Farmer says he's upset because the SAIS track management, with guidance from former Pan American Speedway owner and promoter and current SAIS operations consultant, Ricci Ware Sr, re-wrote the existing Open Wheel Super Modified rules which already had been distributed as part of the 1989 SAIS rule book. Farmer correctly pointed out that the one promise repeatedly made by the new track management was that the rules, once published and distributed, would not change for at least a year, maybe two. But there were enough changes in the new rules to force anyone with a car already built, like former chief tech inspector Jim Phillips, or planned like Farmer - to make design or construction changes to comply with the rules or to be competitive. And, as if to add fuel to the fire, some old-timers say the new SAIS rules look an awful lot like the old open-wheel rules used at Pan American Speedway the year before Ware close the nifty high-banked quarter-mile in 1978 - the year that the junior Ware won the Pan American open-wheel championship. "I'm not saying that the rules were re-written for any one person's advantage, but now that they're out we plan on taking advantage of everything we can," Farmer said. "Ware thinks he's got the thing in the bag, but I think we'll be giving him all he wants." It should be interesting to see if a rivalry between Farmer and the younger Ware develops as the season progresses. Becky Benker, wife and partner of John Benker, will be driving one of the exciting open-wheel cars next season too. The Benkers, both of whom have seen some success in the Street Stock division at SAIS over the past few seasons, have decided to put Becky behind the wheel while John will upgrade his 1981 Malibu to compete in the Super Stock division. "We've got an old tube frame chassis that Harold Oatman built for John Rolland several years ago that will become the modified," John Benker said. "We'll have to take the tubular front snout off (because of the rules) and graft on a Camaro front frame and we'll put a Vega body on it." The Benkers didn't want their engine plans published, but look for a big surprise in Becky's engine compartment opening night. Audie Howell is another who plans to compete in the new division and he should do well. Howell' s Street Stock and Super Stock cars have always been able to get to the front in a hurry, and there's no reason why he shouldn't be successful in a Modified. But there is a little wave of controversy beginning to ripple around the Howell team. Howell Crane and Rigging, owned by Howell's father, Frank Howell, sponsors Howell's race cars. No problem, except that Bill Cravens, who recently purchased controlling interest in San Antonio International Speedway from Joe Horne, is a vice president at Howell Crane and Rigging and, therefore, potentially partial to the Howell name, according to some. Ray Becka, a threat to win no matter what he's driving, will be piloting the Harold Oatman-built Modified, but says he will hold onto his Super Stock Camaro for selected races "just in case" the class doesn't make it. The straightforward Becka is among those who are concerned about the fairness of rules enforcement next season because of the close associations he says that two of his rivals, Ware and Howell, have with the track management. "if you've ever had a friend racing and there's a wreck, it's always the other guy's fault," Becka said. "Can you imagine if it's your own son? I'm not going to be able to race close with either of them, because if something does happen, it'll always be my fault." In spite of everything, Cravens sees a big future with the Open Wheel Super Modifieds. "In addition to the six or seven being built locally, I'm aware of two Modifieds being built in Corpus Christi, two more in the Dallas area and a couple more that will be built in Midland if the class takes off as well as we hope," Cravens said. "If we have 10 or 12 cars in the show on opening I'll be really happy." NICK'S NOTEBOOK Those of you with cable will want to catch the finish of the 24 Hours of Daytona this afternoon at 2 p.m. on TBS. Odds are that one of the Nissan GTPs driven by Geoff Brabham, Chip Robinson, Arie Luyendyk and Michael Roe will end up in the winner's circle if they don't break. If they do, look for a porch 962 to fill your screen. Alabama International Motor Speedway has finally changed its name to Talladega Superspeedway, a move that had been in the works for several years.
  3. This article was way, way too difficult to cut up and scan to make any sense at all as you can see from the pic I took of it. So I am transcribing the article below the pic for your reading pleasure. Headline read, "New owner Cravens bringing changes to speedway" And the article read like this: "I know I'll be living in a glass house for quite a while," Bill Cravens said last week. But the new owner of San Antonio International Speedway, the half-mile paved race track just south of town, didn't sound at all bitter, just grateful for the chance to prove himself. Cravens, who recently purchased most, if not all, of the stock formerly owned by used-car dealer and auctioneer Joe Horne, has come onto the local stock car racing scene like a knight on a white horse to rescue what many perceived as a track slowly dying from mismanagement, no matter how well-intended. "Many drivers did not feel that they were getting a fair shake and a lot of them were staying home rather than race," Cravens said. "The rules might change from one week to the next, and worse yet, the purse could change too, depending on how many drivers showed up to race. "Everybody will be watching us closely to see if we do what we say we will, but I'm confident the stock car racing community will have a better place to race than they've had in years, both from the spectators' point of view and from the racers' point of view," he said. "I'm a man of my word and I welcome the chance to prove it." Cravens has kept a number of the promises he made, starting with changes in track personnel. "Terry Barden will be the new chief tech inspector. He has been racing for many years and knows what to look for. And he's the kind of guy people can put their confidence in," he said. Barden would rather be racing than tech-inspecting, but a major racing accident a couple of years ago left him with a race car destined for the salvage yard and a badly mangle leg or two. He still walks very slowly and although he doesn't admit it, there has to be a lot of pain with each step he takes. His courage in coming back from such major injuries is admired by all who know him. "I'd be out there racing next year if I had the money to put together a competitive car," he said recently. And don't think for a minute that Barden is a pushover just because he's got a great attitude. He loves racing with all his heart and track-side politicians and other ax-grinders will soon find that once he's convinced of something, it will take more than dynamite to get him to change his mind. And he'd rather go home and watch TV than make a decision he felt might be wrong for racing. "I'll be fair to everyone," Barden said. Another well-applauded Cravens appointment is that of Bill Lay to the flag stand. Lay is a veteran flagger who many will remember as the man in the white uniform atop the flag stand at Pan American Speedway for several years. Widely respected at tracks all over the Southwest because of his recent association with the DART racing organization, Lay has shown he knows how to work well with track owners, promoters and competitors, even under the most stressful conditions. Cravens also has promised several major improvements in the physical plant, and he is delivering on those promises. A quick trip to the track is all that is needed to verify this, as construction already has started on the promised concrete front-straight wall. Also seen are folks taking measurements and figuring materials to submit bids on a number of projects. "Bids should all be in by the end of the week for the new ladies' restrooms in both the spectator area and in the pits," Craven said. "And we should know who will be building the new two-story press and scoring tower soon. We are building a glassed-in, 12-foot-by-40-foot press area and VIP room on the first level, and an 8-by-16 foot room for scoring and the track announcer on the second. There will also be a nice camera deck on the roof." The existing press box will come down and become the new front-gate ticket office, with the old ticket office becoming the new pit-gate ticket booth. Cravens also told of plans to remove all the grass and dirt between the track surface and the pit area on the front straight and replace it with blacktop before the start of the racing season. The 40-inch concrete wall about 30 feet from the track will increase the total pit area and leave room for a legitimate pit road, complete with an elevated winner's circle. Other improvements announce by the new owner include a general sprucing up of the whole facility, and the eventual re-paving and re-lighting of the track. "One of the most encouraging signs I have seen so far is that the Super Stock racers are starting to make commitments to race next year," Cravens said. "Right now we have 23 Super Stock drivers signed up for next season with several more saying they plan to bring their cars back out." The Super Stock division, formerly called San Antonio Raceway Late Models, had dwindled down to a mere handful by the end of last season and the class was questionable at best for the next season before Cravens stepped in. "I met with the Corpus Christi drivers last Tuesday and there were about 60 people at the meeting. We signed up about 20 of them for Street Stock and Super Stock and expect another 20 or so to race with us next year." Cravens says that San Antonio International Speedway will open its 1989 racing season on April 1 with a big two-day show. "You can count on it," he said. NICK'S NOTEBOOK Make plans now to attend the San Antonio International Speedway Awards Banquet on Feb. 18 at Aggie Park, 6205 West Ave. Dinner will be at 5 p.m. with the awards being presented at 6:30, followed by dancing until who knows when. Judy Balzer, who along with a group of dedicated volunteers worked so hard all season to make the points fund a financial success, needs to have reservations by Jan. 15 and checks by Feb. 1. For more information call the speedway office at 666-5300.... There will be a meeting of all Street Stock owners and drivers (no crew members or interested parties, please) at the Martinez Social Hall Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Super Stock owners and drivers will meet the following Tuesday, at a location yet to be announced.