Cocopah To Host Winter Sprint Series
Arizona’s Cocopah Speedway will host the inaugural Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown for winged 410 sprint cars Jan. 2-3 and Jan. 9-10 with each night’s feature paying $12,000 to win and a full purse for the four races of nearly $250,000.
“We want to build the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown into one of the biggest events in the sprint car racing world, a destination event for drivers and race fans alike,” said Cocopah Speedway Director of Operations Greg Burgess.
Burgess noted that the roots of the Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown harken back to February of 2013 when three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart raced in a two-night event at Cocopah Speedway and dubbed it the raciest track out west, a race track he wanted to visit again.
“Tony talked about Cocopah Speedway being perfect for a winter sprint car series and things progressed from there,” said Burgess, who recalled that one of his staff contacted him and said he was asked to visit Stewart in his trailer when Stewart was at Cocopah Speedway in 2013. There, Stewart asked Burgess about the possibilities of hosting a winter sprint car series at the track.
“My initial reaction was, ‘This is big,’” said Burgess, “And, ‘We can do this.’”
Since that time, the proposed series has gained traction with a wide variety of supporters, enough so, Burgess said, “To take it off the drawing board and make it a reality.”
It will not be the first winter winged sprint car series in Arizona. Slick 50-sponsored a series during the early 1990s that was held at Canyon Speedway Park.
Official rules for the four races will be announced shortly and the series will likely follow along the lines of the most popular winged 410 rules in the country.
Burgess said Tony Stewart Racing’s Jimmy Carr played a significant role in gaining the support of race teams for this event.
Tony Stewart Racing, Kasey Kahne Racing and Larson Marks Racing are among the teams committed to participate.
Former sprint car racer and Dodge City Raceway Park promoter Tommy Estes Jr. will serve as race director for the series.
“I’m delighted to have Tommy involved,” Burgess said. “He is widely respected in the sprint car world. I am excited to work with him again and for Lenna Miller (Cocopah Speedway race director) and the rest of the staff to have the chance to work with him as well.”
Cocopah Speedway has played host to a variety of sprint car events, including winged and non-wing 360s and 410s under both regional and national touring series. Before coming to Cocopah Speedway, Burgess previously worked as Region Director for the American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region. Cocopah Speedway has undergone a massive transformation under Burgess’ guidance.
“This series is going to be huge,” Burgess said. “I have just pure happiness for the Cocopah Indian Tribe and the many, many volunteers and supporters who have spent so much time and money to first, just get the track open again, then to not only have their efforts rewarded with such a beautiful facility but to have people of this caliber in the racing world encourage and want to endorse such an event. It really doesn’t get any better than that.”