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National notebook

Notes: New owners take over Aug. 13 at Ponderosa

August 5, 2010, 9:14 am
From series, track and correspondent reports

One of Kentucky's oldest and most storied racetracks has new promoters as Donnie and Angie Sullivan, along with son Donnie Jr., are the new bosses at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky. The Sullivans purchased the track from the Yantz family, which operated the 3/8-mile D-shaped track nearly six years.

Donnie Sullivan, of Stanford, Ky., has competed at Ponderosa over the past two seasons in the sportsman division and plans to trade his helmet for a promoter's cap at the racing venue that traces its roots back to late 1972.

"We are extremely excited to be at the promotional helm of such a historic racing facility," Donnie Sullivan said. "We want to let the racers, race teams, and race fans to know they can expect new and exciting things for the future of Ponderosa Speedway."

With the exception of possibly adding a few more events to the schedule, Sullivan said few changes are expected for the remainder of the 2010 season. Divisions will remain the same and purse structures will stay intact, he said.

The track is closed Aug. 6 but returns under the guidance of the Sullivans on Aug. 13. Former co-promoter Chad Yantz said the former owners plan to help during the ownership transition.

"We will assist Mr. Sullivan with the race-day operation of the track for the remainder of the 2010 racing season before we step away from the track, and Donnie and his family will promote the track on their own beginning in 2011," Yantz said. "We want to help Mr. Sullivan and his family to make the transition from our promotion of the track to his family's promotion of the track as smooth as possible." — Michael Despain

LIBERTY 100 SPLIT INTO TWO RACES: Simmons Promotions has adjusted the format for this year's Liberty 100, breaking the event into a pair of 50-lap features for Late Models paying $3,500 to each winner. The T&W Insulation-sponsored weekend is scheduled for Sept. 24-25. One 50-lapper will be contested among open-competition Late Models with the other for IMCA Late Models, the half-mile track's weekly division. There's a $1,000 bonus for any driver who can sweep both races. The weekend's action also includes a Race of Champions for each Late Model division on Friday night paying $1,000 to the winner. — From track reports

AFTER SPLIT, WEAVER WEIGHS NEW OPPORTUNITIES: Southern All Star Series points leader Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn., is weighing his options after partner Junior Weisgarber recently sold the team's racing equipment. Weisgarber's decision was based on finances and couldn't refuse an offer to purchase the team's equipment, and he and Weaver split on good terms, according to a report on the team website. Weaver drove a Bob Harris-owned car July 31 at the SAS event at Talladega (Ala.) Short Track and is considering new opportunities for the rest of the season, the report said. The 40-year-old Weaver, one of Tennessee's winningest Late Model driver in recent years, is gunning for his second straight series championship. — From team reports

BABB LOSES SHELTRA'S SPONSORSHIP: Two-time Dirt Track World Champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., plans to continue his season despite the loss of sponsorship from Sheltra Motorsports. Sheltra was among sponsors backing Babb when he left North Carolina-based Clint Bowyer Motorsports to reform his own team in Illinois in '09. "I don't think anyone who owns their own team and is so dependent on the generosity and goodwill of their sponsors and crew would not be rattled by one leaving midseason," Babb said. "The Sheltras were a huge help after I left Bowyer's to start Shannon Babb Racing, so I am very grateful to Rick, Grace and Patrick for that." Babb, who has five victories in 54 outings in 2010, has continued support from Petroff Towing, Donley Trucking, Kreke's Powerhouse, Ken Schrader Racing, Rocket Chassis and Clements Automotive. "I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing fan base, family and team to lift me up during difficult times," Babb added. "I hope to pay everyone back with a strong second half of the season." — Michelle Petroff

OTHER DRIVER NOTES: Eric Turner of Springfield, Mo., recently debuted a new Larry Shaw Race Car. Turner had previously driven GRT Race Cars exclusively for his Steve Rushin-owned team. ... After a construction project at his farmhouse delayed his start to the season, Booper Bare of Rockbridge Baths, Va., recently got rolling. After driving blue cars for several seasons, he's returning to the red he started his career using, and he has also switched to American Racer tires for 2010. ... Jason Bodenhamer of Centerview, Mo., took the United Late Model Association points lead from Bob Test after his sixth weekly ULMA victory of the season on July 31 at Central Missouri Speedway. — From team and series reports

KANKAKEE PUTS $9,000 ON THE LINE AUG. 13: Hosting three tours that typically run for $2,000 winner's purses, Kankakee County Speedway in Kankakee, Ill., puts $9,000 up for grabs at Aug. 13's Triple Crown Clash. The 60-lap feature, which pays at least $400 to every starter, is tri-sanctioned by the Sunoco American Late Model Series, Monster Midwest Series and Northern Allstars Late Model Series. All the tours run UMP DIRTcar rules. — From track reports

SERIES SCHEDULE CHANGES: The O'Reilly All Star-sanctioned Mark Balzano Memorial, rained out May 16 at West Virginia Motor Speedway, has been rescheduled for Sept. 2. The Thursday event will kick off 42nd annual Hillbilly 100 weekend festitivies at the Mineral Wells, W.Va., oval. ... The Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series event rained out July 17 at Whynot (Miss.) Motorsports Park has been rescheduled for Aug. 21. ... Because of a change in promotership at Duck River Speedway, the Volunteer Racing Series has moved its Aug. 14 event to North Georgia Speedway from Duck River. The $3,000-to-win North Georgia event will be co-sanctioned by VRS and the Southern Regional Racing Series. ... The National All Star Racing Association will sanction the previously independent Oct. 1-2 weekend at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky. The $2,000-to-win Friday Night Rumble and $5,000-to-win Fall Classic are now under the NASRA banner. — From series and track reports

ODDS AND ENDS: The inaugural George Scheffler Memorial is scheduled for Aug. 13 at the Manitowoc County (Wis.) Expo Grounds, a $2,000-to-win event. Scheffler died in an April 30 ATV accident near Town of Knight, Wis. ... Donna Cameron, wife of former Potomac (Md.) Speedway promoter Pete Cameron and a former track photographer, died July 24. She was 53. ... State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Mo., returns to action Aug. 6 with a $2,000-to-win Late Model feature. The night's racing will also include the Battle of the Badges, featuring local law enforcement officers battling it out in Crown Victoria Police Car Interceptors. ... Former Cordele (Ga.) Motor Speedway owner George Thompson died Aug. 4 at his Fitzgerald, Ga., home after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 39.

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