Twin Cities revs up for April start

Twin Cities Raceway Park in Vernon has released its 2016 race schedule. The first event of the new season will be April 16, with Crate Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and Hornets on the race card.

Rick Robinson of Columbus will return for his second year promoting the track, which opened in 1963. Robinson has announced that there will be four practice nights leading up to the opener. Those dates are March 18 and 25, along with April 1 and 8.

Twin Cities has 22 events scheduled for this year, with a variety of classes competing during the season. There will also be special event nights. Classes running during the season include the 410 sprints, super late models, crate late models, modifieds, super stocks, pure stocks, hornets, TQ midgets and mini sprints.

In 2015, Steve Barnett of Franklin was the Super Late Model track champion. Mike Bechelli of Elizabethtown was the Crate Late Model point champion. Bryson Clark of North Vernon won the Modified championship, and his father, Troy, captured the Super Stock title. Mark Bruce of Commiskey took top honors in the Pure Stock class, and Todd Cain of Lexington was the Hornet division champ.

There are a total of seven 410 sprint-car shows scheduled during the season. The BOSS sprint cars will make their first appearance at Twin Cities on July 29. Drew Abel of North Vernon is the defending 410 non-wing sprint car track champion, having captured his first career title in 2015.

Special events slated during the year include the River Monster Modified (May 14), Don Russ Memorial (June 18), Bill McRoberts Memorial (Aug. 13) and the Ted Collins Memorial (Sept. 3 and 4).

For the complete 2016 racing schedule for Twin Cities Raceway Park, go to twincitiesracewaypark.net.

Late Models at Brownstown in March

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will make the first of its two appearances at the Brownstown Speedway on March 19. The preceding night the series will race at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio.The Lucas Oil Series kicked off its 2016 season with 10 events in Georgia and Florida. Defending LOLMDS champion Jonathan Davenport and Josh Richards each won four events during the speed weeks. Other winners were Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist and Mason Zeigler.The series raced at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Georgia, East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida, and Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.

Last year, Davenport won 23 feature events overall on his way to the best season in dirt late model racing history with nearly $700,000 in earnings. He swept both the Dirt Late Model Dream and the World 100 at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He also won the Show-Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri; The Prairie Dirt Classic in Fairbury, Illinois; the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin; the North/South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky; and the Jackson 100 at Brownstown Speedway in Brownstown.

Schatz pi

cks up win for Stewart racingDefending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz picked up his first WoO win of the season on Feb. 13 at Volusia Raceway Park in Barberville, Florida. Schatz, who drives for Tony Stewart Racing, scored the win one night after failing to finish a race for the first time since September of 2013.Brad Sweet won two of the three WoO events at Volusia last weekend and currently holds a lead in the championship points standings over Greg Hodnett, Dale Blaney, Daryn Pittman and Joey Saldana.

The next WoO Sprint Car race will be Friday at the Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas.

Stockon sets sight on USAC sprint-car title

Chase Stockon of Elizabethtown is prepared for an all-out assault on the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car title again in 2016. Stockon, who finished third in points last year after leading for most of the season, started the new season off on Thursday night at Bubba’s Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida. He raced there Friday night and will again tonight.The next USAC National Sprint Car Series show after this weekend will be at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Lawrenceburg on April 2.

James Essex is the motorsports columnist for The Republic, a sister paper of The Tribune. Send comments to jmorey@tribtown.com.