One year after taking over the reigns at Sports Park Raceway, the staff at the Dodge City, Iowa facility are proud to announce that they have officially accomplished the three goals that they had for their first season.
“We ran the track last year with IMCA rules and goals to establish our car count and grandstand attendance,” explained Jason Vansickel, who co-promotes Sports Park Raceway with Marty Pringle and Dave Doughty. “We wanted to be IMCA sanctioned this year, so now we’ve accomplished all three of those goals.”
In 2017 the promoting trio reopened the facility, which had previously been known as Frontier Sports Park. Venturing into the unknown, the racing veterans were greeted with a successful freshman season at the 1/2 -mile oval.
“It was a gamble for us to come in after the track had been closed. We cleaned the place up, reshaped the track … you name it and it had to be fixed or cleaned up,” Vansickel said. “The community really supported us. We put up a new scoreboard and sold 66 sponsor billboards. It’s crazy to have so many billboards that you have to find new places for them.”
With the 2018 campaign now rapidly approaching, the track announced late last week that they will be IMCA sanctioned for the upcoming season. Modifieds will be part of IMCA’s Side Biter Chassis North Central Region. Stock Car points earned at Sports Park Raceway will apply in the EQ Cylinder Heads Northern Region and Hobby Stock points in the Big Daddy Race Cars Northern Region.
With the facility averaging 75 cars and over 600 spectators during the 2017 season, the staff is full steam ahead as they focus on an even bigger 2018.
“Drivers told us how much they liked having a good track surface to race on and fans told us how much they appreciated having racing back in town,” said Vansickel. “It was overwhelming for us to have so many people tell us how much they appreciated what we were doing.”
Multiple improvements were made to the facility over the off-season. By the time that the track opens for business in April, work will be complete on the concession building as well as the announcer’s stand.
Dirt is scheduled to first fly at the Iowa oval on April 15, when an Open Practice will be held.
For Vansickel, he’s quite proud what he and his staff have already accomplished, and he’s even more excited about what the future could hold for the track.
“IMCA is here to stay. They are a reputable sanctioning body with rules that are fair and consistent,” he said. “There were people who thought this track would never open again, and there were people who never thought we’d be sanctioned. I think we’re making history this season at Sports Park Raceway.”