Galesburg, MI (Friday, February 5, 2021) - Since 1947 racing action echoed throughout the town of Galesburg, Michigan every Saturday night through the Summer. That changed in 2020, when after being able to start the season on June 13th and race until July 4th, the track was silenced by a cease and desist order issued by Kalamazoo County on July 10th. Not to be deterred, Eddie Santora entered an agreement to lease the M40 Speedway in Jones, MI and was able to have Friday night racing at that facility from August 7th through to their season-ending M40 Burg Bash on October 2nd through the 4th.
Galesburg Speedway Track Manager, Kevin England had this to say, “Last season we refused to allow unconstitutional executive orders stop us from opening, we knew we could open in a safe and responsible manner, and we did it. We took steps that far exceeded those of other businesses that could be open. Our hard work paid off with zero known transmission of the COVID-19 virus being tracked to either Galesburg Speedway or M-40 Speedway. Choosing that path was not easy and caused a lot of stress, anxiety and unfortunately also created animosity. The most frustrating part was the total lack of communication from state and Kalamazoo County officials. We however hold no animosity towards anyone at the county level, those officials had jobs to do and we respect them for that. The unconstitutional orders changed so much and so frequently that nobody could make sense of what they said or did not say,” England said.
“We are, however, still hurt to know that although we found a way to stay open, that was not the case for almost all other tracks and entertainment venues. We hurt for the people who did not get to go to their home tracks and did not get to spend their summers at their favorite places. We look forward to 2021 and seeing those opportunities renewed for so many race fans across Michigan regardless of what track they visit,” England finished.
2021 will see racing action back at “The Burg” on Saturday nights with a very ambitious high dollar and action-packed schedule. Featuring Template Late Models, Street Stocks, Outlaw Front Wheel Drives, and Burg Stocks (FWD); the track will also play host to the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints, Outlaw Super Late Models, and the National Compact Touring Series presented by Rev X Oil.
“Our 2020 schedule was by far one of the most aggressive schedules I have seen at The Burg in an awfully long time,” commented England. “Track promoter, Eddie Santora Jr. did a fantastic job putting another great schedule together for 2021.”
Things get kicked off with a bang on Sunday, April 25th with the running of Galesburg Speedway’s World Famous School Bus Figure Eight as well as The Pap’s Dream FWD Figure Eight that will pay $5,000 to win.
“Emotionally speaking, Pap’s Dream FWD Figure Eight is way up there as far as big events go. I know it is incredibly special to the Santora family after missing a chance to run the inaugural memorial race for Eddie’s father, Ed Santora Sr., last season,” stated England.
The bus action resumes on June 20th as part of The Night of Destruction and then again on September 4th for the Bash at The Burg Night of Destruction. The FWD Figure Eights will run on June 13th and then again on September 4th.
Oval track action gets started in a big way on opening night, May 1st with the Victory 110 Todd Foote Memorial paying $5,010 to win for the Template Late Models. The class will run for big money again on May 22nd (Simmie Hicks Sr. Spring Championship 47), The Freedom 100 on Sunday, July 4th ($2,000 to win), and a $1,500 to win show on Sunday, August 22nd.
The Street Stocks get their shot at the big bucks on May 15th when they battle for $2,500 to win in the Grandpa Ray’s Street Stock Spectacular which honors long-time fan favorite and track legend, Ray Minor with the biggest stuffed Pink Panther the track can find. $2,000 will be on the line for the Armageddon Sx4, where the class will tackle The Burg for 50 laps. A trio of $1,000 to win shows on Sunday, June 27th, July 4th, and August 22nd will round out the specials for the Street Stocks.
Not to be outdone, the Burg Stocks and the Outlaw Front Wheel Drives will have some big events as well. England commented on the importance of the entry-level classes at Galesburg.
“This season, Eddie added several big payout races for both classes of Front Wheel Drives and from a marketing standpoint, there will be a bigger focus on making sure we get the word out on just how exciting front-wheel-drive races are,” he said. “This is a class the average person can afford to race on a weekly basis and be competitive in. As a sport we lost focus on who we should be appealing to and why we should be appealing to those people. If we are going to continue having a sport in the future, we better start getting new people interested and that starts in the Front Wheel Drive classes.”
The Burg Stocks will be racing for $750 to win on May 15th and June 5th, with other increases in purses coming on June 27th ($350 to win), July 4th ($350 to win), and then on August 22nd ($500 to win). The Outlaw FWDs will go for $1,000 to win during the FWD Nationals on June 5th and then $750 to win on June 27th. The Following Sunday, July 4th they will compete for $500 to win.
The first visit of the 2021 season for the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints will be on June 5th. The 410 cubic inch powered machines will be putting the wings on as they go for a $2,200 payday. On August 21st, the wings come off when the series goes for $2,000 to win at the ¼ mile oval.
The Smitty Memorial 100 returns in 2021 on Sunday, June 27th for the Outlaw Super Late Models and will see the winner walk away with $5,000. The 2020 event saw 2007 Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, Andy Bozell, put a hurting on the field by lapping up to second place on his way to taking the checkers and the big payday.
Then, on August 21st and 22nd, the National Compact Touring Series presented by Rev X Oil rolls into town. The series will run odd and even qualifiers on Saturday night that will pay $300 to win each. Then on Sunday, they will run the Third Annual Race for Down Syndrome 42 lap feature that will give the winner $2,121.
The 2021 season at Galesburg will be dotted with regular weekly race nights for the tracks four regular classes as well as specials like a children’s bike giveaway (May 15th), a Race of Doom 200 lap FWD Enduro (June 13th), Kids Night (June 19th and August 14th), Fan Appreciation Night (July 17th), Hot Rod Night (July 24th), Jeep Night (August 7th), and a Run What Ya’ Brung for Front and Rear Wheel Drives on Sunday, September 5th to conclude the season.
For a complete schedule and more information on the 2021 season, log onto galesburgspeedway.com. Follow Galesburg Speedway on Facebook.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story by - Chuck Darling, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer