Regularly, I get asked by race fans which tracks and events are my favorites. While the Dirt Late Model world has primarily been my bread and butter over the past several years, I’m a guy who loves pretty much every form of dirt track racing. Because of this, usually, I can give some pretty good suggestions to folks, no matter which division is their favorite.
With this in mind, I decided to compose a list of 10 events for fans and racers alike to consider attending in 2020. By no means are these the only significant, signature events. Instead, this list covers a mere sampling of some entertaining races to check out.
Fairbury Speedway: Prairie Dirt Classic (July 31–August 1)
Admittedly, Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, Illinois) is one of my Top-5 favorite places in dirt track racing. I love the town, the people and the track. The track’s signature event, the Prairie Dirt Classic, has a long history. This year will be the 31st edition of the extravaganza, and it could very well be the biggest.
After paying $30,000 to the winner in 2019, the World of Outlaws (WoO) Morton Buildings Late Model Series event is boasting a record $50,000 top prize this year. Expect 60 to 70 Super Late Model entries at the quarter-mile bullring, which is known for three-wide racing. Additionally, not to be slept on is the DIRTcar UMP Modified portion of the program. Its weekend finale boasts a $5,000 top prize and will likely draw north of 50 exceptional entries.
Whynot Motorsports Park: Southern Street Stock Nationals (August 13–15)
To date, I’ve yet to make it to this massive race at Whynot Motorsports Park (Meridian, Mississippi). However, I hope to change that trend in 2020. Rodney Wing’s 3/8-mile oval plays host to the event, which includes a $5,000-to-win Street Stock finale that starts 30-plus cars three-wide.
Entering the eighth year of its existence, the event has grown to typically attract over 100 Street Stocks from across the country. Also, it’s worth noting, if you aren’t a fan of the division, you very well might get your mind changed at this race. Videos from previous years quickly show you how good of a show these guys can put on at the track known as “The House Of Hook.”
Knoxville Raceway: Knoxville Nationals (August 12–15)
The annual Knoxville Nationals don’t need much of an introduction. There’s just so much event history at arguably one of the most historic dirt tracks of all time. Names like Kinser, Schatz, Swindell, Wolfgang, Lasoski, and more have all achieved greatness on the hallowed grounds of the Marion County Fairgrounds. Throw in the fact that this is the 60th year of the event, and this race stands prominent on the must-see list.
Over 100 410ci Winged Sprints in action, tens of thousands of fans, and high-speed racing on a gumbo, ½-mile oval…. sign me up, coach.
Boone Speedway: IMCA Super Nationals (September 7–12)
It’s not about the money or the trophy. Rather, it’s all about the prestige and the bragging rights of being the absolute best in class during IMCA’s annual season-ending party at Iowa’s Boone Speedway. That’s what draws more than 800 entries in six divisions annually to the legendary oval. As a result, the IMCA Super Nationals is a must-see on any race enthusiast’s bucket list.
As equally impressive as the car count are both the track prep and flow of the show. The track is regularly prepped in a timely fashion throughout each day of racing during the week-long affair. This is done to ensure great action.
Last but not least, hearing about so many entries might spook some time-weary fans. However, fear not, as the show is clicked along at a break-neck pace.
Eldora Speedway: World 100 (September 10–12)
Throughout the season, there’s a lot of reasons to make the trek through the cornfields of West-Central Ohio to the “House that Earl Built.” However, in early-September 2020, there’s even more incentive to go. You see, it’s the 50th running of the World 100 at Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, Ohio). The race tabbed as the “Biggest Dirt Late Model Race on the Planet,” celebrates its silver anniversary.
Names like Bloomquist, Moyer, Moran, Davenport, and more have all been part of history during this event. The big question is who will make history during the milestone running of this year’s World 100.
You can definitely rest assured that Tony Stewart, Roger Slack, and the rest of the Eldora Speedway staff will have some tricks up their sleeves to make this year’s running extra special. Over 100 Super Late Models competing for over $400,000 in prize money and more than 20,000 fans are just a couple of reasons to see it all for yourself.
Deer Creek Speedway: Fall Jamboree (September 24-26)
Each September, dozens upon dozens of the top Modified racers in North America converge on Deer Creek Speedway (Spring Valley, Minnesota) for the annual Fall Jamboree. This year has an even more important feel, though.
The Queensland family who owns and operates the track, recently announced the facility is for sale. While they intend to run the 3/8-mile oval until any transaction takes place, from my perspective, it emphasizes even more importance on this year’s mega-event.
Apart from the potential future sale, Deer Creek Speedway is a perpetual spectating home run when it comes to racing action. The track prep crew is one of the absolute best in the business. Furthermore, the entire staff goes the extra mile to provide a great experience for racers and fans alike.
The 2020 dates are set for September 24-26. The extended weekend includes three complete shows for the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) and the USRA B-Mods.
Oswego Speedway: Super DIRT Week (October 7–11)
Known as “Racing’s Biggest Party,” as well as “A New York Tradition,” Super DIRT Week is a no-brainer addition to the must-see list. For 44 years, the annual mega-gathering took place at the famed “Moody Mile” at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. However, with the closing of the track in 2015, the event made the move north to Oswego Speedway in 2016. It’s been there ever since. Now, each year, the paved oval is known as “The Steel Palace,” is covered in nearly 600 truckloads of clay in preparation for Super DIRT Week.
The week of power includes racing action for DIRTcar Sportsman, DIRTcar Pro Stocks, and DIRTcar 358 Modifieds. But ultimately, it’s headlined by the “Beasts from the Northeast,” the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds. In fact, the mega-event eventually culminates with the Billy Whittaker Cars 200, which features a $50,000-to-win, 200-lap finale for the division.
The Dirt Track at Charlotte: World Finals (November 5–7)
For someone like me, who loves all kinds of racing, the annual World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, North Carolina) is a candy store of sorts. You get three totally different divisions in action on a huge stage. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series, and the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds all share the spotlight. Each of the divisions contests two complete shows.
As another unique part of the event, when the weekend’s final checkered flag drops, the respective champions from each series are honored in front of the crowd and presented with their hardware.
Adding even more enjoyment to the experience is the nature of the locale. The Concord and Charlotte areas offer no shortage of race shops and manufacturer venues to visit. From NASCAR to dirt, dozens of race teams call the area home and open their doors during the November happening.
Placerville Speedway: Hangtown 100 (November 19–21)
Out of everything on this list, the Hangtown 100 is undeniably the new kid on the block. The 2020 edition of the USAC NOS Energy Drink / USAC Western States Midget event marks just the second year for the race. In its 2019 debut, NASCAR-standout Kyle Larson picked up the $32,000 victory at California’s Placerville Speedway. The payday marked the richest in the history of the Midget sanction.
For me, Placerville Speedway is in my Top-5 dirt tracks in the country. Growing up in the Memphis area, I watched racing weekly at small bullrings. Placerville is the epitome of a bullring. With tight corners and ultra-close racing, the quarter-mile oval tugs at my heartstrings. If you like Midget racing and small bullrings, this is an event that will not disappoint.
It’s also worth noting that, for 2020, the Northwest Focus Midget Series has been added to the card, which offers even more racing excitement.
Dome at America’s Center: Gateway Dirt Nationals (December 17–19)
The final event on my must-see race list for 2020 happens in late-December in St. Louis. The annual Gateway Dirt Nationals is unique in every sense of the word. Not only is it the only indoor Super Late Model and Modified event, but Midgets are also part of the weekend card.
Held inside of the Dome at America’s Center, where the NFL’s St. Louis Rams played before moving to Los Angeles in 2016, competitors race atop a tricky 1/5-mile, dirt oval.
The challenging track presents wild racing, wild wrecks, and elevated tempers. As equally entertaining as the on-track action is the energy from the fan involvement in the stands. Kiss cams, dance cams, air guitar cams, and more make this a memorable experience for the spectators.
As a fan, I’m not sure there’s a better way to put a bow on your 2020 season than to do it a week before Christmas with 15,000 racing friends inside of a dome in downtown St. Louis.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed my perspectives on some fun events to check out this year. Again, these are just the tip of the iceberg. In dirt track racing, we are blessed with plenty of awesome options. Wherever your need for speed may take you, I hope you find exactly what you are seeking this season.