It seems that we’ve seen it all at the Rockford Speedway over the years…appearances by famous NASCAR racers, bus races, trailer races. You name it. But the Speedway is breaking more new ground this week literally.
We’re used to seeing racers and their cars grind away on the quarter mile asphalt track, but come Wednesday and Thursday night racers will be competing on clay. 203 tractor trailer loads worth have been brought in.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and Late Model cars will make their first appearance in Rockford. Racing on dirt is what they do.
Gary Risch is in charge of getting the dirt surface just right. He’s the facillities manager for the World Of Outlaws.
“The transition is three days. We’ve got to turn this thing over and put 200 loads of clay on this place and make it stick together,” says Risch.
Wood chips were placed down first to protect the asphalt, then the clay was placed over top. The clay is local.
“They kind of surprised me with this stuff,” says Risch. “It’s really nice. It’s going to work out well.”
Risch says the biggest challenge here is adding some slope to the flat straightaways so the racers can ease into the banked turns. The dirt tracks they normally race on have sloped straightaways.
The Sprint Cars have 950 horsepower. They’ll blaze around this track at an incredible speed of 150 miles per hour. The Late Model dirt cars will run 80 to 85 miles per hour.
Drivers have been questioning Risch for the past week about whether or not racing at Rockford is going to work out.
“It was 20 questions all week on when are you getting here? When’s this going to happen? I said, ‘We’ve got it all handled guys. We’ll have a race track. We’re going to race. It’s going to be fun’. We’re going to put on a show for the fans!”
The Outlaw Sprintcars will race Wednesday evening starting at 7:07 p.m. The Outlaw Late Models will race Thursday evening at 7:07 p.m. Competitors from 18 states and Canada will take to the track.