Opening night a success for Tucson Speedway; largest crowd in yearsby Keith Ames on Apr. 11, 2013, under Auto Racing, Canyon Raceway, Family Entertainment, Late Models, Modifieds, Racing West, Sprint Cars, Super Late Models, TRP, Tucson Race Results, Tucson Raceway Park, Tucson Speedway
TUCSON — More than a year of planning and hard work paid off for the new management of Tucson Speedway Saturday as opening night welcomed the largest crowd the track has seen in years.
Drivers sped around the track with fans cheering them on from Stomper Hill to turn one. It was a welcome sight for all involved in the night’s events.
“For opening day on an essentially new track, they did very well,” said Hereford resident David Greenberg. “They’re going to hammer some things out and they’ll do well.”
Greenberg has been going to the track since it was dirt, and hopes that the new owners will once again make it a success.
“I thought it was great racing all night,” he added.
The Super Late Model division had the highest car count with 16.
Sierra Vista’s Joe Paladenic started seventh in the field. Ron Norman of Tucson had the pole.
Running fourth on lap 43 of the 70-lap main, Paladenic was hit in the right rear quarter panel by Scott Rueschenberg of Phoenix causing him to spin on the frontstretch bringing out the caution.
The remainder of the field was able to steer clear of Paladenic’s No. 63, avoiding any damage to the car.
Paladenic was sent to the rear, Rueschenberg restarted the race in fourth.
“Had they sent me to the back, I would have been OK with that,” Rueschenberg said.
According to the Phoenix driver, Paladenic was loose coming out of turn four. “When he came back into shape, I was too close and we made contact. I should have given him more racing room.”
“I would never want to race Joe that way, but where I got him was in a way that had he been squared up, it would never have happened.”
With 27 laps to go, Paladenic worked his way through the field making it to fifth before the final lap. Rueschenberg drove his way to the top spot taking the first win of the season.
David Bosley of Sierra Vista was one of three drivers in the Mini Stock division. Bosley, along with Jim Bates and Tim Blodgett, both of Tucson, hope to see the division grow this year.
WIth a limited number of cars, the Hornet division raced at the same time as the Mini Stocks.
Bates took the win, Blodgett came in second and Bosley finished third in the Mini Stock feature. Kyle Milburg of Tucson led the Hornets to the finish line.
Another up-and-coming division at the track is the Start Stocks, formerly known as the Bombers. Kevin Czoka of Tucson took opening night honors in that division.
Six cars lined up for the X-Mod main event. Bob Cramb of Tucson took the lead on the fourth lap winnning the first race of 2013.
The Sportsman class, formerly known as the Street Stocks, saw the return of many veteran racers along with some new blood.
Jason Davis of Tucson took the field to the green flag but soon lost the lead to Dylan Jones of Tucson.
Jones held off Ken Hunt of Tucson in second and headed to Victory Lane.
Racing resumes April 20 with the Late Models, X-Mods, Sportsmans, Start Stocks, Mini Stocks and Hornets.
For information, visit www.tucsonspeedway.com.