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New Tucson Raceway Park opens April 25

The New Tucson Raceway Park at the Pima County Fairgrounds will open April 25 for biweekly Saturday races under new management.

The track also will be home to the Drivetech Racing School, where fans of the sport will be able to drive laps in high-powered stock cars.

“We met with the racers and crews recently and everyone looks forward to getting back to racing at this fine racetrack,” new track manager Mark Ebert said.

The track will be affiliated with the American Speed Association, a sanctioning body formed in 1968 specifically for short-track racing.

Running at the track will be Late Models, Modifieds, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, Pro-4s and Hornets, Ebert said.

The three-eighths-mile oval track and facilities were affiliated with NASCAR-sanctioned race events until this season.

“We think we fill a niche created when NASCAR stepped away,” he said.

Ebert visited the Tucson track and grounds last year and came away impressed.

“It’s a perfect short track,” he said Tuesday.

The surface of the track is in good condition, as are the surrounding facilities and grounds, he said.

The track has had some rough patches in recent years.

Pima County owns the track and facilities and leases it to Deery Sports West of Rockford, Ill.

The track and facilities were subleased to Innovative Racing LLC in 2006. Disputes between the track manager and drivers led to the track being temporarily shut down that summer.

Late last year, Innovative Racing LLC withdrew as track operator, leaving officials of the Pima County Southwest Fair Commission looking for a new manager to promote racing there this year.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors recently approved the new operator through December this year with an option through December 2013 .

Besides racing every other Saturday night, the facility also will feature entertainment and promotions, Ebert said.

On “Bike Night” those arriving on motorcycles will get 50 percent off admission, Ebert said.

Plans call for racing biweekly April 25 through Nov. 14, he said.

Those 18 or older who want to experience what it feels like to drive around the track can sign up with the Drivetech program.

It includes one hour of instruction, followed by laps around the track – solo if desired. “We use racing radios and can instruct them, Ebert said.

A class typically consists of about eight drivers to limit the amount of novice racers on the track simultaneously, he said.

General tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for kids 6 to 12. For more information call 762-8772.




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