Less may not be more, but Kern County Raceway Park is betting that a slightly reduced schedule featuring better quality events will be a recipe for success in 2019.
“We found that there is something to be said for quality over quantity,” said Larry Collins, who is heading into his third year as general manager of the facility which opened in 2013. “We decided to step back and try to put on better shows for both the racers and fans.”
The facility — which includes its pavement tracks, a third-mile clay oval and a motocross track — will hold 28 events this season (25 of them races), not including action on the motocross track (for a complete schedule go to www.kernraceway.com/printable-schedules).
The season kicks off with the Fifth Annual Winter Showdown on Feb. 1-2 and wraps up with the George Snider Classic King of the Wing Sprint Car show on Nov. 10.
Among the other 13 pavement races is a Spears Southwest Tour race on June 29 and the October Classic on Oct. 26, featuring a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race along with a Southwest Tour race. The season-opener for the “house” divisions — featuring Late Models, Super Stocks, Modifieds, Hot Stocks, Mini Dwarfs and Bandoleros — is March 16.
New this year will be the addition of Junior Late Models, which are slated for a pair of races.
The facility will be dark in July and August, the hottest months of the year.
Collins said that despite a few less dates, there will be as much, if not more racing.
“There are fewer dates, mostly due to us not running in July and August, but there will be several twin main events,” he said. “And some of those main events will be run in two segments with the driver with the lowest overall score (motocross style) being the winner.
“Also, we’ve gone to an old-school format and some of the divisions will have trophy dashes and heat races.”
In keeping with the bigger (and fewer) is better theme, the October Classic, which was two days last year, will be one big show.
“We decided to run (the West and Southwest Series) on the same night,” he said. “We want to put our best foot forward to put on the best show possible.”
As for the non-racing events, there will be a car show and concert on April 13 and the All-Star Monster Truck Tour (along with SuperMoto and Skid Plate racing) on May 18-19.
On the The Dirt Track at KCRP, there will be 12 events, most on Fridays or Sundays to avoid conflict with Bakersfield Speedway.
The NARC 410 Sprint Cars will once again hold a pair of races at The Dirt Track, and 360 non-winged Sprints will compete twice. New this year will be four flat-track races, three on Sunday, staged by Golden Empire SuperMoto.
“Flat-track racing is growing in popularity again and there’s a big demand for races so we’ve got the Golden Empire SuperMoto management coming in and putting them on,” Collins said.
But perhaps the most unique event comes on Sept. 7 with both the pavement track and The Dirt Track in operation. Nine divisions are set to compete on the pavement with three on the dirt track.
“How many tracks in America do you have a the opportunity to run both pavement and dirt-track races?” Collins asked. “One ticket price gets you into both races. We’re planning to run the majority on the pavement racing before the dirt but there will be some overlap.”
As it stands now, the track is planning to run B-Mods on both the pavement (quarter-mile) and the dirt.
“Bakersfield Speedway is dark that night and we’ve never done anything like this before,” Collins said. “You’re going to get you money’s worth of racing.”
All part of the theme for 2019.
“People have so many things they can spend their money on for family entertainment and you want to position yourself at the top of that list,” Collins said. “People don’t want mediocre. We want every night to be like opening night.”