Wisconsin will host a major racing event this year
The national spotlight will shine brightly at Slinger Speedway this summer.
Washington County Racetrack has been selected to host one of the Superstar Racing Experience events as part of a new six-race short-track stock car series to be launched in June.
The Slinger Race, which is billed as the “world’s fastest quarter-mile oval,” will air live in prime time on CBS and the CBS All-Access streaming service on July 10.
The Superstar Racing Experience series, or SRX for short, will feature drivers from a variety of racing backgrounds with an emphasis on head-to-head competition in short sprint races. The 90-minute races will be produced in a two-hour television window.
SRX has secured driver commitments from some of the biggest names in the sport, including SRX co-founder Tony Stewart, Bill Elliott, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Webber, Ernie Francis Jr .and Helio Castroneves, as well as other drivers to be announced later.
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“There are road racing series all over the country every weekend, but when you put one of this caliber together and broadcast it live on TV, everyone can see it all over the country,” said said Todd Thelen, owner and promoter of Slinger Speedway. noted. “It’s a whole other level.”
Thelen said he was particularly excited about the mix of stock car, single-seater and Formula 1 drivers.
SRX and CBS Sports announced the full 2021 schedule this week. The series will begin at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut on June 12. The inaugural season finale and championship race will be held at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on July 17.
“With a back-to-back six-week schedule that spans America, visiting some of motor racing‘s most historic and challenging short tracks, the SRX Series will be a staple, and I’m so excited to see these legends on the track. said Ray Evernham, co-founder of SRX and crew chief and owner of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The goal in developing the calendar is to feature tracks that are challenging, unique and have a strong motorsport history, Stewart said in a statement.
“This six-race series does just that,” Stewart said. “All demand respect and each requires drivers to adapt. What works on one track won’t necessarily transfer to another.
Slinger Speedway offers “action-packed side-by-side racing,” Thelen said. “It really is a fun place to race because of the layout of the track.”
Many of NASCAR’s top drivers have competed in the Slinger Nationals, the racetrack’s signature event.
Talk of Slinger Speedway hosting an SRX race began about two years ago, Thelen explained.
“I thought we would be a good fit. I know people at Tony Stewart Racing and I’m pretty well connected in the racing world,” he said.
The effort was spearheaded by retired NASCAR champion driver Matt Kenseth from Cambridge, Wisconsin.
“He put in a good word for me and the racetrack,” Thelen said.
SRX contacted Thelen in August to inquire about possible dates for a race. Negotiations continued throughout the fall and a contract was signed just before the end of the year.
NASCAR champions like Kenseth and Alan Kulwicki have rolled out of Slinger Speedway, Thelen noted.
“The Slinger Speedway has been known to many people for a long time. It’s kind of like the Lambeau Field of short track racing and it’s going to be like having a Super Bowl at Lambeau Field,” he said.
Slinger Speedway has a capacity of 10,000, but has operated under social distancing guidelines throughout the pandemic and initially made 2,500 tickets available for the SRX race.
“We have about 25% of items for sale until we see what happens,” Thelen said.
Slinger Speedway has operated over the past racing season in strict compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures.
“I even bought a thousand gallons of hand sanitizer,” Thelen said. “We hiked it last summer and we were lucky not to have one going up the highway. We never let in more than 25 percent. I’ve worked pretty hard with state and local lawmakers to open the doors, so I’m going to do what they recommend at this point. That’s what we did and that’s what I will continue to do throughout the winter. If we can get back to some normalcy this summer, maybe we can get back to a full crowd. »
Thelen admits that organizing the SRX race presents a major challenge, given that it is only four days after the Slinger Nationals took place.
“The old-fashioned promotion says you don’t have such tight big events, but I think it can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we have to do it,” Thelen said. “It’s going to be a very big week for us.
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