O’LEARY: Hoosier Pit Pass
As a quarter-mile dirt track, Kokomo is blazing fast and a challenge for even the most experienced racer. Not only are the frontrunners right on the edge, but they have to constantly evaluate the way the track is evolving over the course of the event.
It is difficult to explain the amount of risk that a promoter assumes when they plan to host an event of this magnitude. I would be surprised if any of the O’Connor family has had a good night’s sleep in weeks. However, with a week remaining, it appears that they will successfully build on last year’s winning formula.
Jill Demonbreun, Kokomo Speedway’s director of pleasantness and sunshine, says that they were pleased with last year’s Smackdown weekend.
“It was a great crowd of people,” she said. “We hope that it keeps growing and that it will eventually be a sell-out crowd. It wasn’t, but it was definitely a good crowd last year.”
“We’re a little bit ahead of the game from where we were last year at this time. I think that in the next few days it’s going to pick up even more. It has this past week, it’s picked up a lot. I think that if people can’t make it all three nights, they are calling for information about the nights that they can make it. It’s definitely doing well.”
With a lot of visitors and three days to fill, Demonbreun says that USAC and the Kokomo staff have begun to address additional activities.
“It went well last year and everybody liked it, so we didn’t see a need for anything to change,” Demonbreun said. “We have activities going on throughout the weekend. A band will be playing Friday night, after the races. Saturday, we have a Kick It For Cancer kickball game that the drivers are participating in to raise money for children’s cancer research. So we expect it to be another great weekend.”
This could easily become one of those racing weekends where fans brag about how many consecutive years they’ve attended, where t-shirts list all of the winners in three columns and where the stories and legends that punctuate history begin.