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Racing at VCS to return
DANVILLE — After almost two years of almost no activity, the sound of racing will be rocking the Vermilion County Speedway in July.

The show will be on July 8 and it will feature the Midwest Open Wheel Association Outlaw Winged Sprints, UMP Modifieds and UMP Street stocks.

Oakwood’s Brian Clendenen will promote the event after about a year of planning and ups and downs in getting some dates for the track.

“This started last year, when I was working with (former Vermilion County Fair Board President) Al Peeler to get races back here,” Clendenen said. “We tried to get something settled before he stepped down, but we could not get anything done.”

The waiting game continued for Clendenen but he got some help earlier this year.

“I found out that a friend of mine, Brad Kui, was named to the board and was named the new racetrack director and I wanted at first to give them advice about doing promotions, but they were not interested in that, so we took a different route.”

The different route was provided by the MOWA, who offered Clendenen a chance to fill in some dates for their season.

But Clendenen knows it will be tough to have a show come out of nowhere during the middle of the season.

“You will have tracks still having their races and special series,” Clendenen said. “So we have to get the word out now for the racers to make their schedule.”

The racers may not be the big problem for the new promoter; it will be people in the stands, a problem that promoters in later years at VCS faced in a big way.

“This is on a trial basis,” Clendenen said. “I have fans that are very enthusiastic about the track opening, but it does not matter unless we have people in the seats.

“If we have a good turnout, we are going to have more races, but it will not be a weekly business because other promoters have tried that and they have failed. So if this succeeds, we could try to have major events coming up next year like late models.”

While there have been tractor pulls and demolition derbies at the track, VCS had not had a race since October of 2010 and Clendenen is working hard to see that it will not be that long between races again.

“It has been tough, but things are starting to come together,” Clendenen said. “A lot of things will still have to be done to get ready for the eighth, but I think we will get things done

(drinks on me)

Farmer City Raceway loses UMP, Outlaws races over money issues
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May 14, 2012 9:14 pm • By Bruce Yentes | byentes@pantagraph.com
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FARMER CITY – Farmer City Raceway has been “outlawed by the World of Outlaws,” costing the track its right to host a July 6 UMP DIRTCar Summer Nationals series event, as well as a World of Outlaws Late Model national touring series race that was scheduled to be run at the facility on Sept. 14.

World Racing Group, an umbrella organization for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car and Late Model national touring series — as well as the UMP DIRTCar series — made the announcement that it was taking the action against JK Promotions and Farmer City Raceway promoter Jeff Hammer, in a statement from its corporate headquarters in Concord, N.C.

“DIRTCar has taken this action because of JK Promotions failure to pay the financial obligations of the (April 25 World of Outlaws Sprint Car series) event at Farmer City Raceway, including the purse prize money, expenses and event fees,” the statement said.

In an exclusive interview with the Pantagraph, World Racing Group President Tom Deery says the action was taken after efforts to collect $50,000 in fees from Hammer and JK Promotions were unsuccessful.

“With what he presented to us, let’s just say we were not able to collect on the document,” Deery said.

Deery says the World of Outlaws asks for very little up front money from the tracks that retain the organization for its sanctioning expertise and promotional clout and instead waits, by and large, to divvy up the resources following the events.

“Typically, when we go into an event we consider ourselves to be a partner with the promoter and we want to find a way to make the event successful,” he said.

Generally the tracks sell the tickets and concessions and use the funds garnered from those sales to pay the sanctioning organization the money for the driver’s purse, as well as a fee to stage the event.

Deery attended the sprint car race at Farmer City and was initially happy with what he saw.

“When we left the facility, we were all pretty pleased with the event,” he said. “We were happy with the crowd and the competition and racing was good. It wasn’t until seven days later that we discovered we had an issue with the financial side of the event.”

That’s when they discovered they were “not able to collect on the document” that was used by the raceway to pay the purse and fees.

Meanwhile, in the time between the end of the event on April 25 and the discovery of a problem with JK Promotions’ payment, Deery said World Racing Group continued to conduct its business as usual.

“All of the (racing) teams were paid (by World Racing Group),” he said. “That’s how our business works. We distributed some of the purse that evening and then paid some of our platinum teams (regular tour competitors) with a bank transfer later that week, as we normally do. So the teams, officials, and everything else associated with the event has been paid.

“That’s part of the aggravation,” he continued. “Not only do we not have (any revenue from the race), but we’ve also spent it.”

Deery said World Racing Group has given Hammer opportunities to resolve the issue.

“There were several conversations, but none of those conversations were followed through on,” he said.

Hammer was unavailable for comment.

“Right now Jeff’s not going to comment on that,” said Ed Graham, listed on the track’s website as the facility’s “media director.”

In addition to sanctioning World of Outlaws and Summer Nationals events, World Racing Group crowns a UMP DIRTCar weekly series national champion. With the termination of the relationship, results from Farmer City Raceway’s regular Friday night weekly series events no longer will count toward that title. Weekly points earned prior to the termination will not be affected, according to Deery.

Deery said it’s unlikely Farmer City will again be able to host a World of Outlaws or DIRTCar UMP series special event with JK Promotions as the promoter. He left the door open to the weekly series events counting toward that title again this season if the overdue financial obligations are met.

“That’s certainly a possibility,” he said. “We have some very, very dedicated participants in that part of the country. The last thing we want to do is inhibit their ability to race and earn DIRTCar points.”

Two of the last three late model weekly series national champions have come from the area and garnered points at Farmer City, including defending champ Ryan Unzicker of El Paso. Bloomington’s Jason Feger won the title in 2009.

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