Cedar Lake Speedway
25 reasons to like the 25th USA Nationals
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
Fans who have attended any of the USA Nationals events since 1988 at Cedar Lake Speedway know that the highlight of the weekend is certainly the quality of racing as drivers battle for a total purse of nearly a quarter-million dollars.
But along with the best Dirt Late Model racers in the country converging on the 3/8-mile high banks of Cedar Lake Speedway to provide some of the country’s best action, the USA Nationals weekend has become a event filled with many activities. | Complete USA Nationals coverage
The 2012 edition of the USA Nationals, scheduled for Aug. 2-4, marks the 25th anniversary of the crown-jewel race, and Cedar Lake management has 25 exciting reasons for fans to attend the huge weekend. And yes, there’s a purposeful theme of 25 for each of the reasons listed below.
1: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the USA Nationals with a fun twist, the top-two qualifiers for the 100-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series feature will have the option to start last in the field. If they elect to do so and rip through the pack to win the race, they will receive a $25,000 bonus on top of the already lucrative $50,000 first-place prize.
2: Anyone who purchases tickets in advance of the race will be automatically entered into a drawing. Twenty-five tickets will be selected and those fans will each receive a commemorative 25th anniversary USA Nationals T-shirt.
3: Anyone who attends the qualifying-night program Friday can enter a drawing. Cedar Lake officials will select 25 names and pair each person up with one driver in Saturday’s 100-lap main event. If your driver wins, you win $250.
4: All fans who come through the gates Saturday will receive a gift. Yes, fans will want to use this item during the famed USA Nationals driver introduction ceremony later that evening — when the track lights are turned out, watch the grandstands flicker in a rainbow of colors and the race’s 25 starters roar onto the racetrack through a cloud of smoke with a spotlight on them.
5: All fans can sign up for the ladderball tournament on Saturday afternoon. Each participant on the winning team will receive $25.
6: Gokarts will be available for fans to race on a track set up in the backstretch parking lot on Friday and Saturday afternoons. The ride fee is just $2.50 for five laps ($5 for 10 laps).
7: Beers will be sold for just $2.50 each during the Party in the Pit’ after Thursday’s and Friday’s racing programs. Friday’s bash will be sponsored by Roush Yates Performance Products.
8: The winner of Thursday’s Corn Belt Clash feature will be guaranteed a provisional spot – the 25th starting position – in Saturday night’s USA Nationals 100. The victor will also receive a $5,000 first-place check.
9: Cedar Lake Speedway sweatshirts will be sold for $25 during the weekend.
10: Twenty-five of the country’s best drivers will qualify for the $50,000-to-win USA Nationals main event.
11: Advance tickets for the 2013 USA Nationals will be sold for $25 per day if all three days are purchased.
12: Twenty-five fans will be selected on Thursday night to sit in the VIP suite to take in the Corn Belt Clash Series action.
13: Twenty-five drivers will be available for an autograph session in the souvenir area behind the grandstands on Saturday afternoon.
14: Twenty-five fans will be selected and paired up with a driver in the main event on Saturday night. If your driver wins, you win $250. The remaining 24 participants will receive a free 25th anniversary USA Nationals commemorative T-shirt.
15: Twenty-five boxes of huge fireworks will be set off Friday night.
16: During Friday and Saturday’s programs, a full show for Cedar Lake’s weekly NASCAR Late Model division will be presented to give fans a taste of the regular action at the track. The winner’s purse for each NASCAR Late Model feature will be $2,500.
17: Go for a ride in the Cedar Lake Speedway two-seat Late Model. For $25, you will receive 25 tickets in the raffle. This is half-price from the regular price of $2 per ticket.
18: Attend the USA Nationals FANS Fund Luncheon on Saturday afternoon by donating $25 or more to the fund, which helps a select group of fans’ favorite drivers attend the USA Nationals. Participating fans will receive a free lunch and meet their favorite drivers on Saturday afternoon.
19: Watch the best drivers in the country battle for one of the richest purses in Dirt Late Model racing. A total of $250,000 will paid out over the three-day event.
20: Enjoy a packed campground with your friends.
21: Twenty-five kids will be selected on Friday night and will receive a free lightup item.
22: Watch Darrell Lanigan – the WoO points leader and new holder of the national tour’s single-season win record – bid to top the $250,000 mark in 2012 World of Outlaws earnings with his first-ever USA Nationals triumph.
23: Twenty-five vendors will be selling everything a race fan loves and needs, from die-casts to T-shirts to the fabulous cinnamon roasted nuts.
24: Experience the ride of a lifetime on a mechanical bull during the Party in the Pits each night. One ride for just $2.50, and two tries for $5.
25: An open spot for your favorite thing about the USA Nationals.