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Kankakee County Speedway

Poor track conditions halt MMT event at Kankakee

April 25, 2009, 7:06 am
By Michael Rigsby

KANKAKEE, Ill. (April 24) — The grand reopening of Kankakee County Speedway will have to wait. Friday's season opener for the track and the Monster Midwest Tour was postponed because of poor track surface conditions at the 3/8-mile northern Illinois oval.

The event drew 40 Dirt Late Models for the $5,000-to-win race, the first at the Kankakee track since it closed in 2007, but after an ill-fated attempt to hot-lap, JBD Race Promotions announced the event would be postponed.

"This is an impossible decision, and we're just sick over it, and in tears over it. The weather went from really wet to really dry this week, and we just couldn't catch up," promotor Doug Judy said. "We worked around the clock on the place, but could never get it just right. It's all about safety, and it just wasn't safe enough to race, so we finally had to pull the plug. We're going to take two weeks off, get things pristine, and hopefully come back with a bang."

Driver Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was disappointed in making the trip. "As soon as we came through the gate, it was obvious we weren't going to be able to run," he said. "The track, especially in turn one, was just way too spongy when we got here and had a big rut."

Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., who began his Dirt Late Model career at Kankakee, knew that racing was going to be impossible. "How could they have a race tonight when you couldn't even see anything out there?" he asked. "There has to be some respect for the drivers, and when they keep everyone waiting around here doing nothing, and hanging in there air, that's not being respectful."

Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., was among drivers who attempted to hot lap, but it wasn't a pleasant experience.

"It was like a tornado in a desert out there. You couldn't see anything," Feger said. "It was obvious once we got out there that it was too late to fix the track. One thing, though, if they would have raced, I still would have been out there. If they're paying five grand, I'm racing."

While Kankakee's opener will come later, the second-year Monster Midwest Tour plans to complete its weekend tripleheader. There are $2,000-to-win events scheduled for Saturday at Kamp Motor Speedway in Boswell, Ind., and Sunday at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway.

The event at Kankakee will be rescheduled.

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