One of the most anticipated events on the Kalamazoo Speedway calendar takes place this Saturday night. The 12thAnnual Call of the Wild is a classic “run what ya brung” event that showcases some of the most unique and crazy race cars you will see all year. Teams take the tops off their machines and add plexiglass billboards to gain extra speed.
While other tracks have similar races, the Call of the Wild features an event unlike any other. The five fastest cars on the property compete in the Raceceiver Showdown, where they go out and try to break the 3/8th-mile world speed record, which currently stands at a blistering 9.465 seconds (142.631MPH). That was set by twelve-time Outlaw Super Late Model track champion, Andy Bozell in 2016.
The Call of the Wild was started in 2007 as an attempt to break Randy Sweet’s then-world record that had stood since 1983. The record was first broken one year later, first by Andy Bozell when he ran a 10.728, then Curt Spaulding went faster in his dirt late model to set the record to a 10.715. Jeff Ganus went on to lap the field and win the A-Feature.
It was a similar story in 2009, as Bozell broke the world record with a 10.240, just to get topped again by Spaulding, who ran a 10.217. Bozell went on to win the A-Feature.
In 2010, Bozell was finally able to break through and keep the track record to himself after running a 10.038. The next year, teams were only permitted to use ten inch tires; different from in past years. Bozell was able to do what most people thought was not going to be possible, breaking his own record and setting a lap time of 10.020 seconds.
The record stood for three years as teams tried and failed to crack the nine-second barrier.
In the 2015 edition of the Call of the Wild, Mike Shewchuck broke the elusive nine-second barrier for the first time when he put down a 9.924-second lap at 136.034mph.
Not wanting to be outdone, Bozell came back in 2016 with the infamous rocket car, newly-repaired after a 2014 crash while going for the world record. He set the stage early, running within five one-thousandths of a second off Shewchuck’s time set one year previous. Bozell would go on to break the world record on his first lap at speed, eventually knocking Shewchuck’s old record down by nearly half a second to a 9.465 (142.631mph), which stands today.
In last year’s Call of the Wild, Bozell was the fastest car on the property, but came up with just short with a 9.515.
This year, he and four other drivers look to take down the world record as it inches closer to the eight-second bracket.
-By Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (Michigan and Indiana) – Twitter: @KGeyer3
-Photo Credit: Kalamazoo Speedway