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Big-Show Tradition Returns With WoO Late Model Series 'RaceFest&#3

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Reopened West Virginia Motor Speedway's Big-Show Tradition Returns With World of Outlaws Late Model Series 'RaceFest' On May 29-30


MINERAL WELLS, WV - May 21, 2010 - West Virginia Motor Speedway is back.


The massive five-eighths-mile oval will reclaim its traditional place as a site of high-profile dirt Late Model racing over the Memorial Day weekend, hosting a pair of World of Outlaws Late Model Series programs to headline the 'RaceFest World Championships' on May 29-30.


Two complete World of Outlaws shows – offering $8,000 to win on Sat., May 29, and $10,000 to win on Sun., May 30 – comprise a blockbuster holiday weekend doubleheader that will bring the showplace facility back into the national spotlight after two years of inactivity. The twinbill will also mark the first visit of the WoO LMS to WVMS since 2004.


"We're so excited for 'RaceFest' and the return of the World of Outlaws to West Virginia Motor Speedway," said co-promoter Scott Strode, one of the principals in the Mountain State Motorsports Promotions group that was formed to reopen the famed track. "We ran 'RaceFest' in the past, but that was when we just promoted some special shows at West Virginia Motor. Now we're here running the track for the long haul and the buzz that's out there makes me feel like this will be the best attended 'RaceFest' we've ever had."


Strode and his longtime BDS Racing Promotions partners, Brian Ferrell and Daniel Patterson, are well known to West Virginia race fans through their previous promotions at WVMS (including RaceFest, the AMA Flat-Track motorcycle nationals and the NASCAR Race of Champions) and their successful six-year stint operating Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. After deciding to end their involvement at Tyler County following the 2009 season, the BDS trio partnered with Charleston, W.Va.-area Lynn Chapman and Associates to form Mountain State Motorsports Promotions and in September reached an agreement with the PMC Company on a three-year lease to run WVMS.


Assuming fulltime control of WVMS had long been a dream for Strode and his cohorts, who strive to bring stability and a solid marketing effort to bear on a fan-friendly but star-crossed track that was shuttered in September 2007.


"This is where we always wanted to be," Strode said of the facility that sits just south of Parkersburg, W.Va., on the west side of I-77. "We live only three miles from Tyler, but running West Virginia Motor has been our goal. It's a real neat place and a great venue for major events, but unfortunately it's been plagued by bad luck and a lot of different promoters running in-and-out of there.


"We're not coming in there to try and make a quick buck and get out of town. We signed a three-year lease to show everybody that we're committed to the track and we're putting our best foot forward for the racers and surrounding racing community."


The new WVMS promotional team has effectively revitalized the unique speedplant, which features terraced hillside seating on its homestretch and long straightaways that produce some of the highest speeds in dirt Late Model racing. Since September work crews have been at the track virtually every day that weather allowed to tend to a laundry list of projects – bringing the facility's infrastructure up to speed, reclaiming the expansive grounds from overgrown weeds, excavating access roads and the pit area, painting the entire concrete outside wall, keeping the grass infield finely manicured. Special care was taken with the track surface, which Strode considers one of the primary keys to WVMS's future success.


"We moved about a foot of dirt from the inside of the track," said Strode. "The track had sat there so long without any racing, the dirt had just worked to the bottom. The dirt had actually built up to be just about even with the inside guardrail, so we cut that 12 inches of dirt and moved it back to the middle of the track. We've been working it on a regular basis all spring."


The result of that track-prep was evident during the new regime's grand reopening of WVMS, an O'Reilly All-Star Late Model Series event on May 16. The surface was smooth and extremely fast – so fast, in fact, that Kenny Compton Jr. of Bland, Va., established a new track record of 19.085 seconds (over 115 mph) in time trials.


"Everybody was saying the track was the best they've ever seen it," said Strode. "Those old holes that were always a problem just weren't there. Our track crew did a helluva job.


"We want to give the racers a fast, bitey and smooth racing surface that lets them race all over it, and we were real pleased to start off the season with that kind of track. If we can keep it up, the fans are going to see some great racing this year."


Mother Nature unfortunately rained on the season-opening parade at WVMS after all qualifying was completed, forcing officials to postpone the A-Main to a date to be determined. But a top-notch field turned out for the event and heat-race competition was fierce, setting the stage for a big weekend of 'RaceFest' action on May 29-30.


Several WoO LMS regulars gained some valuable WVMS track time by entering the All-Star 'Mark Balzano Memorial,' including former champions Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and Georgia travelers Clint Smith and Shane Clanton. Richards and Francis won heat races, though they weren't driving the cars they campaign on the WoO LMS.


The 'RaceFest' field will also include the remainder of the WoO LMS followers, a star-studded roster that includes 2008 champ Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., rookie sensation Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., 2009 Rookie of the Year Russell King of Bristolville, Ohio, Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., and Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa.


The Outlaws will take on a host of talented racers from across the region, including Compton, Steve Shaver of Vienna, W.Va. (a heat winner on May 16), Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., and defending World 100 winner Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio.


Gates are scheduled to open at 3 p.m. and hot laps are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. on both May 29 and 30. Saturday night's program will also include a Steel Block Mafia/Steel Block Bandit event paying $2,500 to win, TSMA Modifieds and Hot Mods, and Sunday night's undercard includes the $3,000-to-win TSMA Modified 'Dickson Classic' plus Hot Mods and TSMA Stock Cars.


Two-day general admission tickets to 'RaceFest' are now available for purchase at a reduced rate on-line at www.wvspeedway.com or by calling the speedway office at 304-758-2934 or 304-771-5661. Advance ticket prices are $40 (adults) and $10 (kids 6-11), and weekend pit passes are available for $55.


All pre-sale tickets will be held at the speedway's will-call window for pickup.


Fan unable to attend the entire weekend can purchase single-day tickets at the gate on each race night.


Spectators interested in camping on the speedway grounds during the weekend can also reserve a spot by calling the track office at 304-771-5661 or e-mailing wvmotorspeedway@verizon.net.


The 'RaceFest' doubleheader will close out a big Memorial Day weekend in the Mid-Atlantic Region for the WoO LMS, which visits Bedford (Pa.) Speedway on Fri., May 28.


For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.

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