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Fan Appreciation Night set for Cocopah Speedway
Note to racing fans at Cocopah Speedway: Bring your mud shoes.
In what is being billed as “Fan Appreciation Night,” before anybody stands on the gas pedal Saturday in Round 4 of the 2013 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, all of the cars on hand will be pushed out onto the track in front of the grandstand, the gate below the flag stand will be opened, and fans will be allowed to step down onto the wet, clay racing surface and mingle with the drivers.
“The bottom line is this: If anybody wants to meet their favorite driver, talk with their favorite driver, get an autograph or their photo taken with their favorite driver, this is the opportunity to make that happen,” said Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway's director of operations.
“And once we're done with that, we will clear the straightaway and get to our racing program.
“This was one of my favorite nights as a fan, and I have never heard a driver that did not enjoy it. I hope our fans enjoy it, too.”
The racing program will feature all five of the divisions – IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified, Pro-Stock, Street Stock and Factory Stock – in the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series.
The program is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
This will be the series' first time on the track since Feb. 23. In the meantime, the track played host to the two-night Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV American Real Cocopah Cup Challenge, which included three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart in the field.
It goes without saying that the tension in the air will not be as thick for the local series, but Burgess pointed out that he and his staff are looking forward to again seeing some familiar faces on the track, and are equally as excited about Saturday night's program.
“That was a great show on all accounts,” said Burgess, referring to the Cocopah Cup. “For me, I'm looking forward to the next one because I know I have a few things to perfect. I mean, by Sunday morning (after the Cocopah Cup), I was thinking ahead to the next big show, but I was also looking forward to Fan Appreciation Night.
“Admittedly some pressure is off, but this show is just as important as the last. I look forward to visiting with fans more than usual this weekend and watching the fans enjoy some up-close and personal time with our great drivers.”
If the local fans think back to the Feb. 23 show, it won't be hard for them to get pumped up about Saturday night's racing program. The highlight that night was Yuma's Joe Haines winning the first feature event of his racing career, beating another Yuma driver, Brett Simala, in a dramatic drag race to the checkered flag in the Pro-Stock finale.
Also that night, Yuma's Adolfo Noriega, won his second Street Stock Division feature event of the season, but is still not the point leader, which is relatively unfamiliar territory for the perennial driving champion.
In the Sport Modified Division, Yuma's Ty Rogers maintained his perfect series record, winning his third straight feature event; Cleghorn, Iowa's Jason Briese won the IMCA “A” Modified feature event; and Yuma's Jordan White won the Factory Stock feature event, ending Miles Morris' two-race winning streak.
“For lack of a better term, this is our ‘grass roots' racing program,” said Burgess. “This is where this track started, not two or three years ago, but 45 years ago. The local racing series, just like this one, is what breathes life into a race track, and keeps it going. I am aware of that, I respect that, and I will never forget that.
“Besides, when it comes right down to it, from a fan's standpoint it just doesn't get any better than coming out to the local race track and watching your friends and neighbors, people you know and identify with on a personal level, trade paint and beat and bang on each other to get a trophy. This is pure. It's real. And no matter how hard someone might try, nobody can script what happens out there on the track on Saturday night.”
SPARE PARTS: Cocopah Speedway is located at U.S. 95 and County 15th Street; the general admission gate opens at 5 p.m.; first race is at 7 p.m. Tickets are: adults – $10; junior (7-12 years old) – $5; adult military with ID – $8; senior (55 and over) – $8; children 6 years old and under – free (main grandstand); Skybox – $25; adult season pass – $325 (includes all events); senior season pass – $275 (includes all events); pit pass – $30 (per person). Fans can get live racing lineups during the races and results afterward by going to www.cocopahlive.com. Fans can also access live in-race scoring and lap times by going to mylaps.com. For more information call 344-1563 or go to www.cocopahspeedway.com.