Fast & Furious at Kalamazoo Speedway

The parking lot was full at "The Fastest 3/8-mile Track in the World"

Wicked-Fast High-Banked Asphalt Racing; nothing can better describe the action at Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Western Michigan comes alive with the rumble of race engines on Saturday nights at what is one of Michigan’s premier speedways.  

 For years Kalamazoo has set itself apart as a true super-speedway.   NASCAR sanctioned, the speedway plays host to five divisions weekly and despite the economy has managed to keep cars filing into the pits and the grandstands packed.

Andy Bozell brings his no.83 machine in after his qualifying run around the high-banked oval.

With Outlaw Super Late Model’s turning out lap times in the 12-second bracket around the 3/8-mile it is no wonder Kalamazoo is still one of the most impressive tracks in the Midwest.   Fast speeds combined with a wide racing surface allow for constant two-three wide action that never fails to bring fans to the edge of their seats.

When I visited the speedway back on August 27th I was treated to some amazing on track action including a Outlaw Late Model A-Main which featured 50-laps of non-stop green flag action as Andy Bozell (no.83) was being chased down through lapped traffic by his son Phil (no.8).  The elder Bozell prevailed, but the battle was intense and highly exciting.

Third generation starter Chance Beebe checks out the crowd as his dad Rick gives the field the one-to-go signal.

Each of the five divisions making up the Saturday night line-up mix-it-up and leave single file action for the caution laps.   With great starters on the flag stand (Rick and son Chance Beebe), amazing officials, and one of the best safety crews I have ever seen; the racing program runs smoothly and efficiently leaving time for fan oriented events such as autograph nights, while still concluding the show before 11pm.

Each year Kalamazoo hosts two autograph nights where drivers line their cars on the front stretch and do a meet-and-greet with fans of all ages.   Many of the drivers even go the extra mile handing out candy, pop, photos, stickers and more and the youngest of race fans leave with more than goodies; they walk away from the track with new heroes.  

A packed track for the August 27th autograph night.

On the August 27th autograph night many teams donated used body panels and announcer Jason Seltzer entertained all with his game of out-pick the announcer.   It is an unwritten race fan rule that when the cars take to the track you must quickly make your pick, and of course gloat and mock when “your driver” outperforms those picked by the others in your party; Jason added kids to the mix and allowed young fans to get on the microphone, make their pick and if their driver outperformed Jason’s they walked away with a body panel of their choice.   It was a very clever way to involve the kids, but it also included the rest of us in the grandstands who started cheering for a kids favorite.  

Kalamazoo is a family friendly track with exciting racing action, and although the cool temperatures are moving in, there is still a chance to catch some action at the fast-track yet in 2011.   This weekend (September 17th) the track will play host to the “Call of the Wild” event, and then September 30th – October 2nd the weekend will heat up with action from the 25th annual Super Shoe Nationals.

For more information on Kalamazoo Speedway and upcoming events, check them out on the web at www.kalamazoospeedway.com

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