Plymouth Dirt Track ready to rumble

New weeknight events to highlight 2017 PDTR season
by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor


THE 2017 PLYMOUTH DIRT TRACK RACING season is fire up Saturday, April 29 at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth. Pictured are Chris Clayton (2C) and Andrew Westphal (81) competing in the PDTR Sprint Car division last season. – Frank Motorsports photo THE 2017 PLYMOUTH DIRT TRACK RACING season is fire up Saturday, April 29 at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds in Plymouth. Pictured are Chris Clayton (2C) and Andrew Westphal (81) competing in the PDTR Sprint Car division last season. – Frank Motorsports photo When the 13th season of Plymouth Dirt Track racing action at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds fires up on Saturday, April 29, there will be plenty of familiar sights for longtime fans, coupled with some intriguing additions designed to draw in newcomers.

The 57th overall season of racing at the third-mile Sheboygan County Fairgrounds dirt-track facility in Plymouth will feature a total of 23 events, including 21 Saturday night racing programs and two weeknight special events.

According to PDTR Marketing and Promotions Director Bill Weinaug, the 2017 is shaping up to be one of the track’s busiest in many years.

“We have more events scheduled this year than we have in the past few years,” Weinaug said. “We think we have a pretty nice, diverse schedule featuring a lot of different classes of cars. There will be a lot of good opportunities to see the best local drivers, as well as racers who compete on a wider regional and even national level.”

The new additional races Weinaug is referring to are a United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) event scheduled on Friday, July 14, a Dirt Kings Late Model race on Monday, July 31 and the season finale event of the popular Interstate Racing Association 410 sprint car series on Saturday, Sept. 30, which will also mark the end of the PDTR season.

“It will be interesting to see how the weeknight races go over with the fans,” Weinaug said. “It has been a number of years since there has been a race in Plymouth on any other night than a Saturday.

“These are some pretty highcaliber national-type events that we have coming in, so it should be exciting for everyone,” he said.

The USMTS Modified Tour will make its first-ever appearance at the Plymouth Dirt Track, along with the new Cow Bell Street Stock Series and the PDTR Grand National division on Friday, July 14.

Weinaug expects the event to attract a stellar field of A Modified competitors from throughout the United States, who will be chasing an $18,000 purse.

“Our race is the last of a string of races in Wisconsin for the USMTS series,” Weinaug said. “They are also scheduled to race at Luxemburg, Oshkosh and 141 Speedway before they come our way.

“I can guarantee that there will be some top drivers from throughout the country that will be with us on that night,” he said. “I also think some of the drivers in our area will be pretty competitive as well. Through in the new Cow Bell Street Stock series and it should be a great night.”

On Monday, July 31, the new Dirt Kings Late Model series will take to the Plymouth Dirt Track for a $4,000 win event, along with the PDTR B Mod division.

With a high-dollar purse and the presence of several other big races in the area during that week, Weinaug believes the event has the potential to attract the best field of Late Model drivers in the history of the track.

“The World of Outlaws Late Model Series will be in Illinois the weekend before and then they have a series of races at Oshkosh, Shawano and New Richmond the next week, so we are hoping to get some of those drivers to race with us on that night,” Weinaug said. “It is shaping up to be the biggest Late Model race the track as ever had, so it will be one that people will not want to miss.”

As if that weren’t enough to excite a dirt-track racing fan, Plymouth will also host the final IRA 410 Sprint Car Series race of 2017 on Saturday, Sept. 30, along with three other IRA events during the season on June 17, Aug. 4 and Sept. 2 during the Sheboygan County Fair.

“It will be nice to have the IRA season finale back at Plymouth,” Weinaug said. “We also will have the season finales for PDTR/MSA 360 Sprint Cars, Wisconsin-Illinois Mini Sprints and Wingless Sprint Cars on that night.”

The regular Saturday night program looks to be equally strong with competition in five weekly divisions on tap in 2017, including 360 Sprint Cars, Late Models, Grand Nationals, B Mods and 600cc Micro Sprints.

After only running a handful of nights last year, the Micro Sprints will be on the card ever Saturday night this year.

“The Micro Sprint division is essentially an entry level division, and the hope is that it will serve as a feeder for our Sprint Car division,” Weinaug said. “It was pretty popular last year and I’ve heard of a number of new cards being built to race this year, so that is a good sign.

“The interesting part of the Micro Sprint division is that it is for anyone age 12 and up,” he said. “It is a great division for kids to get a start in racing and it is kind of fun to see them compete against the adults.”

In addition, the ever-growing B Mod class will return for its second full season of PDTR action.

“The B Mods were a pretty big hit last year and we are hoping the class will continue to grow and evolve this season,” Weinaug said. “I’ve heard that some Grand National drivers will be moving to B Mods this year, which will be interesting.”

Weinaug says the Sprint Car, Late Model and Grand National division look to be just as strong and competitive as ever.

“We have some really good racers in those divisions and many have been racing with us for a lot of years,” Weinaug said.

In addition, to the regular Saturday night divisions, the Vintage Wingless Modifieds are set to appear on May 13 and June 6.

Weinaug says the key to keep racing vital in the years to come is to find ways to attract and involve younger fans each race night.

“We want to do things to encourage more kids to come to the track,” Weinaug said. “We had a Kids Club in past years, but this year we are making all of our kids activities open to everyone.

“We also have a number of kids activities each night, including a bike giveaway and rides on the track for the National Anthem,” he said. “We will also have a yearbook again this year, which was very popular last year.”

Activities open to all kids 11 and under will be held on several selected nights, including American flag-military night (May 27), glow stick night (June 24), balloon lady (July 16), autograph night with checkered flag giveaway (July 22) and driver backpack night (Aug. 19).

While the adult admission price has increased by one dollar to $12 this year, Children age 11 and under remain free, while students between the ages of 12 and 15 will be admitted for $5 on regular PDTR race nights.

After an extremely soggy 2016 season, which saw a record number of rainouts at Plymouth, Weinaug is hoping for a few more dry Saturdays this year.

“Last year was really rough for rain outs,” Weinaug said. “We typically average three rainouts a year, our previous record was five and last year we had seven.

“We definitely hope we don’t have a repeat of that,” he said.

After last season’s season championship fell victim to rain, PDTR has added a rain date for championship night on Saturday, Sept. 16, which will be used only if the Sept. 9 race night is rained out.

Weinaug says there are a number of opportunities remaining to serve as a sponsor at the track, including division series sponsorships and general support for regular PDTR race nights and special events.

As far as goals for the 2017 season, Weinaug says he is hoping to make some new dirt-track racing fans for life.

“Dirt track racing is something that is hard to explain to people until they actually see it in person,” Weinaug said. “The trick is to get someone new to come out and give it a try. Most times, once you get them to the track, they come back again and again.

“It is really a good value as far as entertainment goes,” he said. “It is a great night of family fun with excellent food at reasonable prices. My sincere hope is that we get to see a lot of new people in the stands this year.”

For more information about Plymouth Dirt Track Racing, call Bill Weinaug at 627-1217 or send an email to bweinaug@shebcofair.com or visit www.plymouthdtr.com


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