NASCAR is making headlines with a rare inaugural event, as the Cup Series debuts at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway outside of St. Louis.
The race could be good, as Gateway has put on a decent show in the past. For those looking to avoid what could well be a surefire parking disaster, or simply make a wrong turn on the mixing bowl on the Illinois side of the river, there’s no shortage of novel dirt racing events to fill the weekend.
World of Outlaws Late Models Bring the Dirt Next Door
A literal stone’s throw from WWTR, Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., is hosting a three-day racing program leading up to NASCAR taking the stage, culminating Friday night (June 3) with a $10,000-to-win late model program sanctioned by the World of Outlaws.
— Cole Perkins (@ColePerkins12) June 1, 2022
Tri-City is a classic Midwest bullring that is likely to be right in the wheelhouse of current series points leader Dennis Erb Jr. The race will also be a sneak preview and test session for midwestern teams seeking to get track time in advance of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature at the track later this month.
Lastly, for more NASCAR flavor, Kenny Wallace is widely expected to be wheeling his UMP modified in support class action at Tri-City on Friday night. The track is a short distance from Pevely, Mo. as well, a dirt bullring owned by the venerable Ken Schrader, who is also a regular racing modifieds.
Streaming coverage can be found on DirtVision.
Lucas Oil Late Models Renewal in West Virginia
The big-money late model show this weekend is at the rejuvenated West Virginia Motor Speedway, a large 0.625-mile oval boasting a $50,000-to-win prize to take the Historic 100 on Saturday, the track’s richest event since it was brought back to life in 2021.
Just 2 more days until the stars of #LucasDirt take to the monster 5/8th mile for a $15,000 to win program on Fri, June 3rd & a $50,000 to win main event on Sat June 4th.
Will someone sweep the weekend or will 2 different drivers take home victories? pic.twitter.com/NpxotmzH8P
— #LucasDirt 🏁 (@lucasdirt) June 1, 2022
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series boasts a closer points race than its WoO brethren at the moment, with Brandon Sheppard leading the way as hot shoe Tyler Erb and defending series champion Tim McCreadie remain within striking distance.
The real question is whether the car count will be commiserate with the payday. WVMS has struggled for car count in all classes, from super late models to sprint cars, since its return to racing. Whether that’s due to running unsanctioned races or given the extreme engine stress that the long oval puts on racecars remains to be seen.
This could well be a do-or-die weekend for a track that short of said car count has done everything right coming back to life.
Streaming coverage can be found on MAVTV Plus.
Big Money for Small Cars Comes Early to Indiana
Indiana Midget Week doesn’t kick off till next week, but there’s still a five-figure payday for small cars coming to Indiana this weekend courtesy of the Big Dance at US-24 Speedway in Logansport. The three-day program culminates Saturday with $10,000 to win for non-winged micro sprints.
It's RACEDAY at @24speedway!
Prelim Night #1 of the #BIGDANCE
— dirt2media (@dirt2media) June 2, 2022
More than 50 drivers are already confirmed entered for the weekend. For those unfamiliar, the cars running this weekend are similar to those that run the Tulsa Shootout prior to the Chili Bowl Nationals in January, as well as the headline class at Millbridge Speedway most weekends.
Streaming coverage can be found on Dirt2Media.
The Bottom Dollar
At the time of this writing, the Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway is sold out.
As a result, there will be no price comparison this weekend, but for those seeking a dirt-racing fix general admission ticket prices can be found below.
Tri-City Speedway – Short Track Classic – $45 (includes a pit pass)
US-24 Speedway – Big Dance – $10
West Virginia Motor Speedway – Historic 100 – $45
About the author
Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.