For the second straight year Dells Raceway Park (DRP) will bookend the Wisconsin racing season, hosting the first and last race of year. The brainchild of owner Wayne Lensing and his team, the idea is just one of many that have come to fruition in order to improve the racing facility in recent years.
“Dells Raceway Park top guns got together in 2015 and put their thinking caps on to find a new way to put Dells Raceway Park on the map as a stronger racing facility than it already was,” Wayne Lensing told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The two events were the success of 2015, so we are going to make this a yearly tradition. We know the weather won’t always cooperate, but we are here to try.”
Appropriately coined the Icebreaker 100, with a mid-April date, and the Falloween 150, with a late October date, both events were the highlight of the Dells Raceway Park 2015 schedule. The high car counts, over 35 cars per race, and huge crowds were a welcome surprise. With most racecars in the area siting dormant from October through May, it’s easy to see why these events took off and now they hope verse two is just as successful.
“We had no idea the Icebreaker was going to be what it was,” said Dan Lensing, who helps his father operate Dells Raceway Park. “It was the largest crowd we have ever had on hand for a racing event. We never ran out of food, but we couldn’t keep up. It was a lot of learning the first year. Everyone has the itch to go racing and the Icebreaker is the first major Super Late Model event in Wisconsin and with the Falloween, drivers aren’t ready to park their cars just yet. They are racers, they wanna race.”
With the success they saw last year, changes are being made to this year’s Icebreaker schedule. The goal is to better accommodate the large car counts and entice more drivers to make the trip to Wisconsin Dells in April.
“With such a large field of cars there needs to be an incentive for all the drivers that don’t make the A-Main,” said Wayne Lensing. “So we are having a B-Main with 35 laps and a nice top end pay-off.”
While the addition of these two events was exciting for DRP, drivers and fans, the track has continued to see success in the past three years under the watchful eye of new owner Lensing, who also owns Lefthander Chassis. When he purchased the track three years ago, Super Late Models were not on the schedule. Lensing brought them back on a limited basis, trading weeks with Limited Late Models, and it has been paying off across the board.
“We brought them back and race fans loved them,” said Wayne Lensing. “There’s something about 10’ tires and the speed that excited fans a lot more. It gave everyone some time off from racing (to trade weeks), helped the pocket book and home life. Well, all except me, I’m there all the time. It also allows them the opportunity to travel to other tracks and series to race.”
The one downfall Dells has seen in the past few months, however, is attention from the Town Board of the Town of Lyndon. A few noise complaints turned into some new restrictions for the quarter-mile track just outside of Wisconsin Dells. The new restrictions include a 95-decibel noise limit, a ban on firework displays and a 10 p.m. curfew for racing.
“One of our goals this season for the fans is in at seven and out at ten,” said Wayne Lensing. “Crowds need entertainment in a three-hour window. One of the problems we have is the noise and the Town Board is pissed, so we are going to put in affect all exhaust out the side needs a muffler with a 95 decibel. I did sit in the bottom half of the stands and it was very uncomfortable, the noise coming out the side of the car was deafening.”
While Lensing imposes new rules at his track, he wishes promoters across the country could come together on a different set of rules.
“Asphalt needs to be like dirt,” said Wayne Lensing. “All tracks should race under the same rules and guidelines, but this doesn’t seem to have a chance in asphalt, we all want to rule the roost on our own thinking.”
The 2016 Icebreaker 100 is set for Saturday, April 17 and the 2nd Falloween 150 will take place on Sunday, October 23. The entry list for the Icebreaker 100 is already full of talent and is expected to be released next week exclusively on Speed51.com.
For more information on Dells Raceway Park and its 2016 schedule, visit dellsracewaypark.com.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twiter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Speed51.com