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Auto racing: River Cities Speedway season opener pushed back again

Another cold, wet spring. Another delay in the start of the race season at River Cities Speedway.

That’s been the story at River Cities Speedway for the second straight year.

The season opener at RCS is now scheduled for Friday, nearly a month after the track had hoped to begin another year of racing at the quarter-mile track.

There are no major changes planned for RCS this season, with the highlights again centering on the annual visits from the World of Outlaws sprint cars and late models. Also, the track again will run the John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational in September, an event that’s becoming the marquee show of the fall in the Upper Midwest.

When the track does open, RCS again will run four classes on a weekly basis — streets, Midwest modifieds, late models and sprints.

The field in each class should be about the same as in previous seasons — a healthy sign for any race track.

“I think the car counts will be solid, if not increasing a bit,” said Darren Evavold, one of the managing partners at RCS.

At least one new sprint car will run regularly this season.

Amber Balcaen, the daughter of Mike Balcaen, plans to run a sprint this season. Her dad is one of the top late model drivers in the region.

Last season, approximately 20 sprints raced each week, while between 15 and 20 late models were on hand weekly. RCS is the only track in the Upper Midwest to run both sprints and late models on a weekly basis and one of only a few nationally that sponsor both classes.

There will be four special shows at RCS this season.

  •   On June 20, the World of Outlaws will make their first of two appearances. It’s a special year for the Outlaws as Steve Kinser — the unquestioned top sprint car driver of all time — is in his final season of running full time with the Outlaws.
  •   The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is scheduled for July 18, The field usually produces the top late model drivers in the country.
  •   The World of Outlaws sprint cars return Aug. 15 for a second show. On Aug. 16, there will be racing at RCS. It will be a rain date for the Outlaws. However, if the Outlaws do get their shows in, NOSA sprints and NLRA late models will run on that date.
  •   The annual John Seitz Memorial Late Model Invitational drew more than 4,000 fans last season and has shown signs of becoming on the region’s top shows. The event is scheduled for Sept. 5-7, and the winner of the 92-lap feature receives $9,200.
Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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