For the 70th consecutive year, the gates will open at Kalamazoo Speedway for weekly racing and big events in 2019. To celebrate the track’s 70th anniversary season, the schedule features a couple of new events and many of the unique events that have made the track a must-see attraction in the past.
The fast 3/8-mile oval located in southwest Michigan plays host to one of the only weekly Outlaw Late Model classes left in America. Last year, Todd Harrington nipped two-time Outlaw Late Model track champion Mark Shook by just five markers for his first Kalamazoo Speedway track championship.
The season gets started on Friday, April 29 with the 21st Annual Intimidator 100. Due to mother nature, it took three attempts to get the race completed in 2018. When it was all said and done, it was former Kalamazoo Klash winner Jeff Ganus taking the Intimidator 100 win for the first time in his career.
Memorial Day weekend will play host to the next big Outlaw Late Model race as they compete in the Lane 75. Ganus made it two-for-two in big races by going to victory lane in last year’s Lane 75, only a couple hours after winning the Intimidator 100 the same night.
One of the most anticipated events on the 2019 calendar actually does not involve the wedged warriors. The Street Stocks will compete in the first annual Raber’s Rumble, which will feature twin 33-lap features, followed by a 20-lap dash with the top-eight finishers. It is shaping up to be one of the premier Street Stock races in the nation. The Raber’s Rumble is in memory of former Modified track champion and longtime area racer Ben Raber.
Non-Winged Sprint Cars will make two appearances at the Kalamazoo, Michigan track in 2019. Their first appearance will be on June 14, followed by another appearance on July 26. It will be the first time that Non-Winged Sprint Cars will be at Kalamazoo Speedway since 2016.
The traditional Fourth of July Outlaw Late Model special has been moved to July 19 and has taken on a new name, the All-Star 75. Tyler Roahrig dominated en route to the win in his Kalamazoo Klash tune-up last season.
Kalamazoo Klash XXVII, the track’s premier event, will be on Wednesday night, August 7. The premier Outlaw Late Model race in the country has seen drivers like NASCAR champions Kyle Busch and Matt Crafton, as well as Georgia short track ace Bubba Pollard compete in recent years. The Outlaw Late Models will be joined by the ARCA/CRA Super Series for their final race before their “Chase.” Tyler Roahrig went back-to-back in the Klash one year ago, while Johnny VanDoorn held off fellow Michigander Carson Hocevar to win the caution-free CRA race.
Season championship night will be held on August 23, highlighted by the Hoosier 100 for the Outlaw Late Models. Last year’s race featured the battle of outer space, as “The Rocket” Tyler Roahrig took the lead from the “Constantine Comet” Jeff Ganus on a late restart to win a thriller.
While local points racing may be done after that, there will still be plenty of racing to be done at “The Zoo.” One of the most unique events on the schedule is the 13th Annual Call of the Wild is on Saturday, August 31. It is your typical “Run What Ya Brung” event that brings out billboards and blistering speeds. Andy Bozell set the 3/8-mile world record when he ran a 9.465 (142.631MPH) second lap in the Harry Foote owned No. 70 in 2016.
Racing at Kalamazoo Speedway will conclude on September 27 – 29 with Super Shoe Nationals XXXIII. Over 300 race cars from all around Michigan and Indiana will convene together with a relaxed rulebook to end the asphalt racing season in the area. Jeff Ganus bookended the season with his second straight Super Shoe Nationals A-Feature win in 2018.
For more information and to view the full 2019 schedule at Kalamazoo Speedway, visit www.kalamazoospeedway.com.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com