by Brian Deitz

As we stretch into the month of March, the smell of racing fuel and the sound of motors begins to draw closer in Ohio. Fans have been scratching their racing itch by attending local cars shows while watching late models, modifieds, sprint cars and NASCAR via the internet and television. Later this week those sounds and smells return to “The Buckeye State.”

While the Redline Radio LLC. crew is broadcasting live from the Piston Powered Auto-Rama March 15,16 and 17, Atomic Speedway will swing its doors open to host the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in the Buckeye Spring 50. The March 15 trip to the 3/8 mile high-banked clay oval is the first of 9 trips into Ohio for the LOLMDS. The series will return to Ohio and Sharon Speedway on April 12 for the Steel Valley 50. Three separate tracks will host the series in July with a stop at Muskingum County Speedway scheduled for July 3, Portsmouth Raceway Park on July 4 and Mansfield Motor Speedway on July 6. Mansfield will again host the LOLMDS on August 22, 23 and 24 for the second running of the Dirt Million. A second visit to Portsmouth Raceway Park is scheduled for August 31 with the running of the Bob Miller Memorial. Raceway 7 will host the LOLMDS for the first time ever on October 4. The 2019 LOLMDS schedule will wrap up October 18 and 19 with the 39th annual Dirt Track World Championship at Portsmouth Raceway Park.

Three Ohio tracks will host the Morton Buildings World of Outlaws Late Models this season. The series will spend a weekend in Ohio in May, visiting Muskingum County Speedway on May 17, followed by a 70 mile trip north to Wayne County Speedway on May 18. Sharon Speedway will host a 2-day show on August 30 and 31.

When writing about dirt late models in Ohio, you can’t forget about the marquee events at Eldora Speedway. The 25th running of the Dirt Late Model Dream is June 6, 7 and 8. Late model fans and drivers will flock back to Eldora Speedway on September 5, 6 and 7 for the 49th annual World 100. Oakshade Speedway will once again host the finale of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour.” Featuring 28 race nights over 32 days, the schedule concludes on July 12 and 13 at Oakshade.

Ohio will again be home for a number of marquee events featuring sprint cars. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Cars will invade Eldora Speedway for the first time for #LetsRaceTwo on May 10 and 11. All eyes on the sprint car world will be focused on Attica Raceway Park on Tuesday, July 16 for the 31st running of the Brad Doty Classic. The Outlaws will then head south two days later as they return to Eldora Speedway for The Jokers Wild on July 18, Knight Before the Kings Royal on July 19 and the Kings Royal on July 20. The Outlaws will return to Eldora for the final time on September 27 to help kickoff the 4-Crown Nationals.

As they do every year, the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions will make a number of stops throughout Ohio.  Owned by former NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, the All Stars will visit 9 Ohio tracks. The 37th annual Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek will run from June 14 – June 22. Featuring 9 consecutive nights of racing, Ohio Sprint Speedweek will begin at Attica Raceway Park. The All Stars will then make their way to Eldora Speedway, Muskingum County Speedway, Wayne County Speedway, Sharon Speedway, Atomic Speedway, Mansfield Motor Speedway, Limaland Motorsports Park, and close out speedweek with a second trip during the 9-day event to Wayne County Speedway.

Other popular stops on the All Stars schedule include the Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon Speedway on July 6, the Dirt Classic Ohio at Attica Raceway Park on August 30 and 31, the Pete Jacobs Memorial at Wayne County Speedway on September 1 and the Dean Knittel Memorial at Atomic Speedway on September 14. The All Stars will conclude their season at Eldora Speedway on September 28 as part of the 4-Crown Nationals. It was announced in February that the All Stars will return to Fremont Speedway on Sunday, May 26.

NASCAR makes its annual visit to a dirt track for the Eldora Dirt Derby. The 7th annual event opens with Gander Outdoor Truck Series practice on Wednesday, July 31, with the race a day later on August 1. The Super DIRTcar Big Blocks join the trucks on July 31.

For a composite schedule of all events across Ohio, visit Get out this summer and support your local short track.

New Attica/Fremont Sprint Series

Attica Raceway Park and Fremont Speedway have partnered to form the All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads/Kistler Racing Products Attica Fremont Championship Series. Duane Hancock will be the series director.

“I’m excited about helping to keep the car counts and teams stable for these two great tracks in 2019 and beyond,” said Hancock in a press release when the series was announced in December.

FAST Under New Ownership

The FAST 410 Championship Series is under new ownership. Aaron Fry, creator of the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series acquired the series in October. When former Fremont Speedway promoter Rich Farmer announced last season that he was stepping away from promoting the track, he also decided to step away as the promoter of the FAST Series.

“I’m honored to be chosen by Rich to carry on the FAST name and we plan to do our best to make him, the marketing partners and the teams proud to be associated with BOSS/FAST,” Fry said in a press release in October.

Helms Promoting Waynesfield

Shane Helms has partnered with Waynesfield Raceway Park owners Greg and Tami Shobe to run 4 sprint car events at the track this year. Three of the four events are scheduled. Dates include Sunday, April 7, Wednesday, July 3 and Friday, August 2. A fourth show will be sometime in October, likely the 12. Three of the events will honor racing legends and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductees Rick Ferkel, Jack Hewitt and Bob Hampshire.

“All of the events will have great payouts. We are focusing on events and dates to not hurt other area tracks running 410 sprints. I also wanted these races to honor the guys who helped build our sport not only in Ohio but around the country. Racing is what it is today because of guys like Rick Ferkel, Jack Hewitt and Bob Hampshire….guys I grew up watching and admiring,” said Helms in a press release last week.

Other Events To Consider Attending

April 5 – Hilltop Speedway – Hilltop Speedway’s King of the Hill – Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour

May 30, 31 and June 1 – Mansfield Motor Speedway – COMP Cams Sprint Car World Championship

June 14 and June 15 – Sharon Speedway – Steel Valley Nationals

July 11 – Expo Speedway at the Trumbull County Fair – RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and The Modified Tour

July 26 – Hilltop Speedway – Buckeye Late Model Dirt Week

July 27 – Wayne County Speedway – Buckeye Late Model Dirt Week

September 14 – Midway Speedway – The Memorial IV

September 20 and 21 – Fremont Speedway – 12th Annual Jim & Joanne Ford Classic

*Please note all dates and events are subject to change. Check with each track to confirm all event details.