By LONNIE WHEATLEY
Special to The Hays Daily News
DODGE CITY, Kan. (April 9, 2013) - There's nothing like kicking off the race season in a big way, which is exactly what Dodge City Raceway Park is in the midst of.
After opening with a full pit area for all five of the track's championship chase divisions on Saturday, March 30, the premier facility is under the national spotlight this weekend with the debut of the TORC Off Road Trucks going "Baja" style on Friday and Saturday night with Saturday's finale aired nationally on SPEED.
And when the TORC trucks have completed their wild jumps and powerful racing action, the track will be returned to its familiar shape and form just in time for championship chase action to resume one week later on Saturday night, April 20, at 7:30 p.m.
And, if opening day is any indication, the chase for the 2013 track championships at Dodge City Raceway Park could be wide open as none of the defending champions successfully broke into victory lane.
While Cody Gearhart bested a field of 27 IMCA Modifieds to break out into the early points lead, fourth-place finisher Austin Allen was the only driver among last year's top-ten in final points to finish among the top ten on opening day.
Slipping to sixth in 2012 points after capturing the United Wireless IMCA Sport Modified crown the previous year, Clay Sellard kicked off 2013 with a victory while defending champion Bart Baker was just 12th among the 20-car field.
Shannon Maughlin bested the IMCA Stock Car ranks while reigning champion Perry Misner settled for sixth, with defending Thunder Car champion Dan Rogers just tenth in the opener as third-ranked 2012 driver Scott Messino took top honors.
After finishing off the 2012 season with a win to finish second in Hornet points, Jarett Lunow jumped out to the early lead with an opening day win.
Tickets for the TORC event on April 12-13 are just $20 each per day and can be ordered in advance at http://torc.eventbrite.com/#. Racing gets under way at 7:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
Tickets to the Saturday night, April 20, DCRP championship chase event featuring the track's regular five divisions are just $10 for adults, with children 11 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
Eighteen overall nights of action at Dodge City Raceway Park over the course of 2013 will also include several special events including the TORC Off Road Trucks on April 12-13, the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars on July 5-6, a pair of $1,200-to-win IMCA Modified tilts on May 3-4 along with USAC Southwest Sprint Cars on August 23-24 and four rounds of URSS Sprint Car competition along the way.
Dodge City Raceway Park is located on the south edge of Dodge City, KS, on US 283, then 0.9 miles west on US 56, then 0.1 miles south. For more information, contact the track at 620-225-3277 or check www.dodgecityraceway.com.