From stock cars to racing trucks, a demolition derby and a high speed road rally, it's going to be a huge racing weekend in Blythe-California. The epicenter of this motorsports action, and affordable family fun, will be the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway, the famed quarter mile paved oval located at the Colorado River Fairgrounds.
The latest round of the speedway's 2013-2014 Winter Blast Racing Series, presented by Next Era Energy Resources, will be held on Saturday, April 5th, with racing beginning at 7pm. The oval track action will be highlighted by the speedway's Street Stock and NAPA Factory Stock divisions. Also on the schedule is a visit from the Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Trucks, who will be treating their fans to a 50 lap main event, and a demolition derby that pays $1,000 to win. The oval track action is being sponsored by Valley Beverage, the local distributor of Budweiser products.
But wait, there's more. Also on the racing schedule is the Bilstein Southwest Rally Cup Series who will be presenting their annual Desert Storm Rally, beginning on Friday, on the dirt roads that neighbor the community as well as making a special on track appearance at the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway Saturday night.
With only two races remaining in the current Winter Blast Racing season, the speedway's Street Stock division will be bringing a barn burner of a championship run to the track Saturday night. Kirk Almquist, with a feature win this year, has led the division standings all through the season but has had Clint Almquist, a two time feature winner, right behind him all through the season. This championship run will likely be resolved during the final laps of the final race on April 19th.
Making the Street Stock division's final two event even more interesting will be the presence of Chris Vindhurst. At the beginning of the season it was reported that this former division champion was going to run a part time schedule this season while examining other racing opportunities. However, when Vindhurst made an appearance at the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway this season. his presence was felt and he was a force to be reckoned with. He scored his first main event win back on February 8th and then returned to victory lane for his second win a month later. Look for Vindhurst to be formidable Saturday night while racing against the Almquist family.
All throughout the current Blythe racing season, former series champion John Lowrence has been dominant in the NAPA Factory Stock division points standings based on four wins and appears poised to claim another Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway track title.
However, there will be at least one driver in the field expected to be arriving at the track with a great deal of momentum. That would be Chad Prochaska who scored his first division win at the last race back on March 22nd. Look for this young local driver to employ that momentum towards a second win this Saturday night.
The Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Trucks will be officially opening season number four this Saturday night with the first of two scheduled appearances at the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway. Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota Trucks appear to be the weapons of choice with this regional touring series. 2013 season champion Neil Conrad scorched the competition last year with seven feature wins and is expected to return to defend his title. He can expect plenty of competition from Ed Cutler, a four time winner last year including the series' last appearance at Blythe back in October. The Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Trucks will be running a 50 lap main event Saturday night that has the makings of becoming a genuine tail gate party.
Saturday night is also time for the annual smash and dash for cash at the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway. This year's edition of the demolition derby features a $1,000 pay check and a beautiful, and massive, six foot tall trophy that will actually be taller than some of the drivers competing in the event. In past years derby teams have towed their cars all the way from Las Vegas to try to win this event. The smashing of the cars is expected to be as intense as ever. This event is truly a case of survival of the fittest because the last man turning the wheels on what's left of his car is the one who collects the money and the trophy.
Making a huge impact on the Blythe racing weekend will be the annual visit to the community from the Bilstein Southwest Rally Cup Series, presented by Lucas Oil. Described as "a regional event with a national flair", this year's event is titled the Desert Storm Rally. The rally starts on Friday and will leave the Blythe Volunteer Fire Department, following an appearance at the annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser, for a special night leg of the rally.
The I-10 Speedway will play a major role in this event by providing its facilities as a service area that will be the launching pad of Saturday's racing stages. Afterwards, the rally cars will return to the speedway to participate in a pre race fan meet and greet. Later in the evening the drivers will treat the fans to the Lucas Oil/Bilstein Super Special, an exhibition event at the speedway that features racing on both the asphalt oval and a specially designed dirt road course located in the speedway's infield area.
According to the series official website: "Performance Rallying is one of the world's most challenging and popular motor sports. Unlike any other type of car racing, rally teams must face a "track" which is unknown to them, and which consists of rugged unpaved roads across terrain ranging from deserts to mountains, including sand, gravel, mud, or snow.
At the start of a Performance Rally, the co-driver (navigator) is handed route instructions with exact mileages and simple course following directions.
For a day and a night, or several days, the team's task is to drive as fast as possible on every "racing" section with only the "transit" sections in between to repair their vehicles or relax a moment. Racing full speed on unknown dirt roads requires courage, teamwork, an incredibly tough vehicle, and a sideways-through-the-corners driving style that is thrilling to watch."
On the compassionate side of this event, series officials recently announced that the entry fees, and individual donations, from their Storm Attack Challenge will be donated to help defray the medical costs recently incurred by Officer Bruno of the Anaheim Police Department. Regarded as a California hero, Bruno is a canine officer who was shot, and seriously injured, while in the line of duty late last month.
The fun in Blythe actually begins on Friday evening with the annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser hosted by the Blythe Volunteer Fire Department, located at 201 North Commercial Avenue. Ronnie Hasler, a Captain with the Blythe VFD as well as the Promoter of the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway, commented on the annual dinner and said: "each year the Blythe Volunteer Fire Department hosts the community's annual Fourth Of July Celebration. Our annual spaghetti dinner is one of our principal means of raising the funds needed to insure that our fellow citizens of Blythe gets to celebrate America in a grand and proper fashion. The dinner is from 4 to 8pm this Friday and tickets are $8. Along with the good food, we will also be presenting a race car display featuring cars from the Bilstein Southwest Rally Cup Series, vehicles from the Pick Your Part Southwest Tour Trucks and, of course, cars from our local racing divisions at the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway. We hope that everyone will join us for dinner Friday night and then turn out to enjoy the huge racing weekend here in Blythe."
On Saturday, Valley Beverage-Budweiser race day, the speedway will open its spectator gates at 5pm with racing set for 7pm. General admission adult tickets are $10 and $8 for seniors age 55 plus, military personnel and the handicapped. Teen tickets age 13 to 17 are $5, Kid's tickets age six to 12 are $3 while kids five and under are admitted free. The speedway also offers a budget friendly family package for $20 which admits two adults and two kids 17 and under. Additionally, Palo Verde High School students can receive a one dollar discount by presenting their ASB card. Present your Triple A card at the ticket gate and you can received a two dollar discount on one general admission ticket.
For out of town race teams and fans the America's Best Value Inn is the official motel of the Lucas Oil i-10 Speedway. Located at 850 West Hobsonway, they offer beautiful and spacious rooms at very affordable rates. When making a reservation mention the discount code: Lucas Oil. Call 760 922 5145 for reservations which can also be made online.