Cedar Lake Speedway
USA Nationals offers much more than just racing
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
The 23rd annual USA Nationals presented by U.S. Steel at Cedar Lake Speedway is more — much more — than just a crown jewel Dirt Late Model event.
Just take one look at the long list of pre- and post-race activities scheduled throughout the blockbuster $250,000-plus weekend — which runs from Aug. 5-7 and is part of the nationally-renowned World of Outlaws Late Model Series for the first time since 2005 — and it’s clear that fans won’t experience a dull moment. | Complete USA Nationals coverage
Even when the best drivers in the country aren’t flying around the 3/8-mile oval in pursuit of the $50,000 prize that goes to the winner of the USA Nationals, there will be action somewhere on or near the grounds of the spic-and-span facility in western Wisconsin.
“The USA Nationals have always been known for being a true event, not just a race,” said Bob Kaufman, who co-owns the high-banked speedway with his brothers Chuck and Steve as well as Brad Both. “Ever since we took over the track 10 years ago we have constantly focused on that tradition and worked to add even more fun, enjoyable fan-oriented activities to the weekend.
“There’s probably a dozen major races around the country and it’s our goal to make the USA Nationals one of the top destination events for fans and racers. We hope the slate of activities we’re offering this year makes the weekend memorable for everyone who attends.”
A list of the Fun Things To Do During The USA Nationals:
• The sixth annual USA Nationals Golf Scramble at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Held at the New Richmond Links Golf Course just a few miles from the track, the nine-hole, four-person blind draw scramble still has openings. The entry fee is $5 per person and greens fees are only $13. Anyone interested in participating in the event, which includes cash and door prizes, should e-mail email@example.com for more information.
• A Ladder Ball competition at noon Friday in the track’s wooded camping area. Similar in many ways to horseshoes, Ladder Ball is played with ‘bolas’ (two golf balls attached by a nylon rope) that players toss in an attempt to wrap them around the steps of a ladder. Part of the USA Nationals festivities for the second time, the tournament is open to everyone and offers prizes.
• Tubing on the famous Apple River, a relaxing outdoor activity that has become a popular added side-trip for many USA Nationals attendees. On Friday and Saturday, busses leave Cedar Lake Speedway between 11 a.m. and 12 noon and drop off fans and race team members at the nearby Float-Rite park, where they pick up an inner tube (included in the $10 excursion price) to enjoy a ride down the river with thousands of other revelers. The buses return everyone to the track before the start of hot laps each night.
• The FansFund Luncheon, an exclusive meet-and-greet on Saturday afternoon in the track’s restaurant for the fans who donated money to the unique program that provides travel money to a select group of USA Nationals participants. All the drivers who come to the USA Nationals thanks to the FansFund will be at the luncheon.
• A driver autograph session and Q&A at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. All drivers with merchandise trailers, WoO stars and other standout racers from the across the country will spend time in Souvenir Alley visiting with fans before the start of the final night of the USA Nationals.
• Go-kart racing on a temporary track set up in the facility’s paved backstretch parking lot. Priced at just $5 per ride, the small-car action will be hot-and-heavy all three days of the USA Nationals.
• The USA Nationals Party in the Pits, which serves as the centerpiece of the event’s famed post-race nightlife. A band set up underneath the Big White Tent in the pit area will rock the house after the final checkered flag falls on both Thursday and Friday, giving competitors and fans a chance to mingle and throw back some drinks.
• The USA Nationals pre-race pageantry, which features a stirring introduction of the 26 drivers who will start the 100-lap finale on Saturday night. Each starter will blast onto the racetrack through a cloud of smoke and fireworks will fill the air as the field prepares for the green flag.
Tickets are still available for action that kicks off on Thursday with a $5,000-to-win dirt Late Model event sanctioned by DIRTcar Racing’s UMP circuit. Friday’s program includes time trials, heat races and a dash for the USA Nationals, and B-Mains and the 100-lap, $50,000-to-win headliner top the docket on Saturday evening.
Cedar Lake’s weekly NASCAR Late Models will also contest full shows on both Friday and Saturday nights.