Forging Ahead for the Future

Scott Bloomquist in Victory Lane with promoter Tony Izzo Jr.

Scott Bloomquist in Victory Lane with promoter Tony Izzo Jr.

Forging Ahead for the Future
Tony Izzo Jr. and his Sixteens Race Promotions team are focused on a big 2018

By Tony Brent

Tony Izzo Jr. and the team at Sixteens Race Promotions are aiming to take the 2018 race season by storm. Each event that is being planned for the upcoming season is either a bigger and better version of its previous self or a brand new gem.

Whether it be in his racing career or as a promoter Izzo Jr. is known to be unafraid of taking a risk. In the sport of promoting races each event is a definite risk.

As they’ve done the past few years, Tony and Sixteens Race Promotions kick the year off with a great event that brings the first high-paying Late Model special of the year to the Midwest. Many would say it’s risky to plan a high-paying event in March in Illinois, but the Thaw Brawl at the LaSalle Speedway has grown into one of the speedway’s highest lucrative events. Big money and big crowds have been the norm for the March mainstay.

This year’s 7th annual Thaw Brawl will take place March 30-31, 2018 and will make history as it marks the first time that the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) has ever sanctioned an event in Illinois.

Along with the introduction of the new sanction, the structure of the payout for each night has been shuffled as well.

Izzo Jr. stated, “Many people will notice that we paid $7,000 to win on Friday last year and paid $17,000 to win Saturday whereas this year we are paying $5,000 on Friday and $15,000 to win Saturday. This was done to spread more money throughout the field, paying $500 to start Friday night and $1,500 to start Saturday.”

He went on to say “When I was a racer we went to win races but start money was important. Spreading the money out helps bring the fans a better field of cars”.

In addition to the Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models, LaSalle Speedway will feature IMCA Modifieds and IMCA SportMods as part of the event, which will allow IMCA drivers a chance to get an early jump on their season.

Izzo Jr. is really excited about what bringing the Lucas Oil MLRA to Illinois means for not only the Thaw Brawl but also for racing in the Midwest. Having another Late Model sanction in the Midwest allows the opportunity for more high paying events to benefit the local racer and the local fan.

This is not only a move that benefits Illinois, the Sixteens Race Promotions team is also looking into possible Lucas Oil MLRA events in Wisconsin to aid in the series expansion into the upper Midwest.

La Salle SpeedwayBringing National Late Model tours back to Wisconsin has been a focus of Sixteen Race Promotions over the last several years, and the upcoming season is no different.

In fact, up until recently Tony had been working on finding a facility to host a Lucas Oil Late Model Series (LOLMDS) event in 2018 and was ultimately able to finalize a deal with 141 Speedway (Maribel, Wisconsin).

In previous years Izzo Jr. promoted LOLMDS events at other Wisconsin ovals, including Luxemburg Speedway and the Oshkosh Speedzone. To be able to bring these kind of events not only to Illinois race fans’ but to also the Wisconsin race fans’ is a win for racing.

All upcoming events are important to Sixteens Race Promotions, but the one they are arguably the most excited about is the inaugural Salute the Troops 75, which will be held at LaSalle Speedway.

This event is more than just a race. It’s a chance to say thank you to the men and women from our Military, who are making daily sacrifices so that we are able to do what we love.

Details are still being finalized, but benefits that are in the works include: Military discount for those that have served or are currently serving, 50/50 raffle to benefit a Military group or club, inclusion of military members and their family in pre-race activities, a salute parade lap of our LOLMDS stars carrying the American Flag, fireworks display, and much more.

In addition to all of the great tributes that will be held in conjunction with this event, there will also be a great race on tap, which will serve as a celebration of LaSalle Speedway’s 25th anniversary. The finale will pay $25,000 to the winner and will be held June 1-2, 2018 with the LOLMDS headlining the program. Support classes will be announced at a later date.

There is no secret that the 2017 season was an interesting one for the LaSalle Speedway and Sixteens Race Promotions. It was a year that found the promotional staff battling poor weather along with various other challenges.

Tony Izzo Jr. commented, “Sometimes a bad situation allows you to sit back for a minute, reevaluate some things and come back stronger. After making some changes to the track itself, LaSalle Speedway is now in the best racing shape it has ever been.”

La Salle Speedway 1
In fact, late in the season the facility gave racers and fans a taste of what to expect for 2018 and beyond. The IMCA One Night Stand weekend in August included some of the best feature racing that LaSalle Speedway has ever seen. Two days of feature racing for IMCA Late Models, IMCA Modifieds and IMCA SportMods incredibly saw the feature winner decided in the last five laps in all but one feature.

This was vintage LaSalle Speedway racing with door-to-door action from the front of the field to the back.

Izzo Jr. concluded his thoughts by saying, “The racing has always been great at LaSalle Speedway, but I have never been as excited to get a race season underway as I am right now. The 2018 season is shaping up nicely with the great events we have already announced, but there is much more being planned behind the scenes.”

With a full head of steam Sixteens Race Promotions is set to take the 2018 campaign by storm.

About the author

Ben Shelton

Ben got his start at historic Riverside International Speedway. His accomplished motorsports media career includes journalist, race announcer, and on-air personality.
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