Soddy Daisy, TN –It’s the Greatest Show on Dirt! Race fans love when a national stock car touring series visits a dirt track instead of super speedways and high-banked short tracks often associated with the sport. The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards answers the call once again as it makes its annual visit to one of two dirt track races on the schedule.
Next up is a visit to the legendary one-mile Illinois State Fairground dirt track located in Springfield Illinois for the running of the Herr’s Potato Chips 100. According to Crystal Bates if Hixson Motorsports the team is ready to get dirty!
“We are ready for the dirt track at Springfield,” Bates said of the Hixson Motorsports team out of Soddy-Daisy. “We haven’t had the best luck, or runs, this season.- except for maybe a few good showings where everything came together. I think that will all change next Sunday on the mile dirt in Springfield Illinois.”
The ARCA Racing Series visits two dirt tracks every season making it the only National Stock Car Touring Series to do so. NASCAR copied a page from the ARCA playbook when they scheduled a dirt track race for the Camping World Truck Series and its mid-week race at Eldora Speedway which is owned by Tony Stewart.
According to Bates, the team always has the two dirt races circled on the calendar every year and this year was no different. The team left Springfield last season with Eric Caudell, driver of the No. 2 HMS Chevrolet inside of the top-twenty in points at 14th.
“That was with him not being on dirt for quite a few years,” Bates said. “Eric says that Springfield is one of Hixson Motorsports best tracks and we always seem to bring good cars.”
Caudell agrees as the dirt program at Hixson Motorsports has developed over the years.
“I’ve been looking forward to the dirt races all year,” Caudell said. “I think we have some added power with a new engine – it gives us a chance to compete and improve from where we finished last year.”
Joe Cooksey Back Behind the Wheel
The entire HMS team is also excited about the return of a driver that’s wheeled several of the team’s cars over the years. According to Bates the No. 3 Chevy will have a driver behind the wheel that’s very familiar with the dirt track at Springfield.
“What’s really fun about Springfield is that we will have someone who knows a thing or two about the Springfield mile dirt behind the wheel of the No. 3 Chevy- that being Joe Cooksey,” Bates said of the driver who spent many seasons with the team.“Last year, after he came to the Springfield dirt race just to lend a helping hand, I think he ended up missing seat time a bit! Joe drove in the DuQuoin dirt race a few weeks later where he finished in the top ten in eight!”
A few months later, Hixson Motorsports and Joe decided to do both dirt races on the ARCA schedule together for the 2017 season. Bates said things are all coming together for the two-car team – just in time for the two dirt track events.
“With a new Ford body, a new Ford motor and of course some new General Tire Grabbers – the team is looking forward to improving on our finishes at both Springfield and DuQuoin on the mile dirt at Springfield. Joe is excited to get back behind the Ford on the mile dirt where the last time he ran a Wayne Hixson car he started 9th and ended in third.”
You can watch the ARCA Racing Series on MAVTV for the running of the The Herr’s Potato Chips 100. Live coverage is on MAVTV at 1:30 CT/2:30 ET on August 20, 2017. Bates said the show is going to be a good one.
“If you just happen to be in the area now’s the time to buy your discounted tickets for the big show, on sale now at 10 Menard’s stores in Illinois through Saturday, August 19. Fans can save $10 off the $30 gate price at two Menard’s stores in Springfield (Menard’s North and South), as well as stores in Champaign, Effingham, Forsyth, Normal, Pekin, Peoria, Quincy and Washington. Discounted tickets are $20 at Menard’s for ages 12 on up. Kids, 11 and under, are still $10 at the gate.”
Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motor-sports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill.