13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
The entry lists are forming for the first-ever "King of the Wing" Sprint Car race at Toledo Speedway Wednesday night, July 2.
The Toledo date will be known as the "Rollie Beale Classic" and will be sponsored by 1996 Indy 500 winning car owner and local businessman Ron Hemelgarn through his Toledo-area Super Fitness chain and Hemelgarn Racing. Beale, a native of Toledo, was a very, very popular driver throughout his career, winning the 1973 USAC Sprint Car championship. Rollie was a fixture at Toledo as a spectator for the past several years and passed away in February of this year.
Drivers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, California, Idaho, Mississippi and Canada are on the list to compete in the first event of six scheduled for the Winged Sprint Cars under this format. Former Indy 500 driver and current car owner Davey Hamilton is the lead man for the King of the Wing concept. 3 generations of Hamiltons will compete in the Wednesday night special at Toledo-Davey's father, Ken, of Boise, Idaho, his son, Davey Jr. of Jamestown, IN and Davey himself.
Toledo's "Fastest Short Track Show in the World" Sprint winner, Ryan Litt of London, Ontario Canada will return to the Glass City oval to take a shot at duplicating his win of June 13 at the fast ½ mile paved oval. California star JoJo Helburg of Rohnert Park, CA, who has raced in the Midwest the past several summers, is also scheduled to compete in the King of the Wing event.
The 6-race Series has 3 stops scheduled in the Midwest, beginning with the Wednesday night special at Toledo July 2. The final 3 races will be held out West during the Thanksgiving holiday week. The Midwest races after Toledo include the Winchester, IN Speedway Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5 at Grundy County, IL Speedway.
Toledo track management will host an open-wheel Racer's Reunion and a vintage race car display as part of the program for the Wednesday night special, which will kick off the Series and the July 4th holiday weekend in the Glass City.
The winged Sprint Cars are the fastest cars on the planet, as demonstrated by the unbelievable 1 lap track record of 12:389, set by Charlie Schultz in 2011!
Toledo's event will also include a visit by the Top Speed Modified Touring Series, which will also compete on the ½ mile. 2014 Top Speed current point leader Chad Poole and 2014 feature winners Jordan Pruitt, Trevor Berry, Derek Griffin and Dan Loughan lead the list of early entries. Griffin will pilot Brian Nester's #11 at Toledo.
The USAC Honda HPD Midget Series will also compete, with their racing action slated for the ¼ mile paved oval. 4th generation driver and local resident Austin Nemire has won 4 events so far in 2014 and will be at Toledo Wednesday night to compete.
Race fans can save $5 per ticket if purchased before 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 1. Both reserved and general admission seating is available. Tickets may be purchased by phone by calling the track office at 419-727-1100, by visiting the track office or by downloading the ticket order form at www.toledospeedway.com. Most major credit cards are accepted for phone orders.
The pit gates will open at 1:30, with practice to begin at 3 p.m. The front gates will also open at 3. Time trials will begin at 5:30 and racing starts at 7:30 p.m. for the Wednesday night special July 2. The current entry lists for the Sprint Cars and the Top Speed Modified Tour can be found with this story at www.toledospeedway.com