COLD START: Jamestown Speedway adjusts 2018 racing schedule
Jamestown Speedway, like the rest of the area's sports scene, has been waiting out the weather.
The track's promoter Tim Baldwin was finally forced to make an executive decision Sunday regarding the annual spring practice known as test & tune, which is historically held on the final Saturday of April.
"Yesterday (April 14) we got stuck in the snow on the main road going into the grandstand," said Baldwin. "As we were shoveling the truck out we were like, 'Yeah, this isn't going to happen.'"
The April 28 test & tune has been rescheduled for May 5, which has pushed back opening night by one week to May 12. Gates open for the May 5th test night at 3 p.m., with practice wrapping up at 8 p.m.
Baldwin said if further cold temperatures affect the rescheduled test & tune date the event will be scrapped altogether and opening night will commence on May 12th as planned.
Snow still covered large portions of the speedway's grounds Sunday. Baldwin said a sizable warmup will be needed to not only rid the white stuff, but to also release the winter frost from the racing surface.
"We've been holding out hope that we'd get some sun and a warm snap in the weather, but it just hasn't happened," Baldwin said. "Finally, we just had to be realistic about it. Rather than waiting until the Wednesday before to call it off we might as well just call it off now so people can make other plans, as painful as it was to make that Facebook post."
Jamestown Speedway's 2018 schedule has 17 nights of racing, including the two-day 47th annual Stock Car Stampede on Sept. 21-22. All the same weekly classes are returning: IMCA Modifieds, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds, bombers and slingshots.
Baldwin said a priority is being made this season to engage with racing fans and interact with the community. He explained a program called 'Jamestown Speedway Gives Back' will be aimed at helping to raise funds for local charities through concession sales.
"We'll be picking a concession item each month and donating a portion of those sales to a local charity, like, for example, 50 cents for every box of popcorn sold in the month of May," Baldwin said. "It's something small we can do to help be a part of the bigger Jamestown community."
He said the Kids' Bus, which appeared at the Stampede last fall, is also in the works to be incorporated throughout the summer. The bus, provided locally by Jamestown's Travis and Andrea Edinger, provided a way to connect kids with drivers and crew members in the pit area.
"The Kids' Bus was a big hit at the Stampede," Baldwin said. "The kids loved it and the drivers were excited to show the kids their cars. It probably won't be out there every night but will make appearances at special times."
Also new to the fan experience will be a weekly publication called 'Quarter Mile Times,' according to Baldwin. More than just a weekly point standings sheet, the new newsletter to be handed out can possibly include such things as rules, latest track news and a weekly driver or staff spotlight.
Baldwin also mentioned a unique prize for second-place finishers this season is something that is also in the works. Regularly-scheduled Saturday night racing at Jamestown Speedway beings at 7 p.m.
"We're going to try to get the show done by 10-10:30 p.m. every night," Baldwin said. "When specials are in town we'll have that class race earlier in the night so fans won't be waiting until the end of the night to see the special feature."
No races are scheduled for June 30, the weekend of the Stutsman County Fair. But Baldwin said a special event, such as monster trucks, is currently in the works for that date.
"We don't want to take away from the fair," Baldwin said. "So we'd like to schedule something that's a little shorter (in duration) but still draws the racing fans out."
The opening night of the six-night Dakota Classic Modified Tour is slated for July 7, while the NOSA Sprints will be in town June 9 and the NLSA Lightning (mini) Sprints will debut at the speedway on July 14. The NLRA Late Models are scheduled to appear Aug. 4.
TBD: Annual car show at Don Wilhelm, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
May 5: Test & Tune (all classes), gates open 3 p.m., practice 4-8 p.m.
May 12: Opening night. Points race.
May 19: Points race.
May 26: Armed Forces Night.
June 2: N.D. Legends Tour.
June 9: NOSA Sprint Cars.
June 16: Points race.
June 23: Kids' Night.
June 30: Special event, TBD.
July 4: Fireworks Spectacular.
July 7: Dakota Classic Modified Tour.
July 14: Lightning Sprints.
July 21: Amsoil ROC qualifier.
July 28: No races.
Aug. 4: NLRA Late Models.
Aug. 11: Points race.
Aug. 18: Points race.
Aug. 25: Season championships.
Sept. 21-22: 47th annual Stock Car Stampede.
Sept. 23: Stampede rainout date.
TBD: Awards banquet.