Grand Blac, MI (Friday, February 26, 20201) - The 2021 schedule has been officially posted by the Williams Family, and Owosso Speedway will move into its 82nd season of racing this spring at the high banked 3/8’s mile facility. The schedule is out a little later than most other tracks, due to the legally binding communication between the owners, and county & township officials. The new season’s schedule must be approved by the county, which can be a timely endeavor. This forced relationship has actually worked as a positive for the facility, especially last season with the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting everyone’s livelihood.
Ken & Gerry Williams had already established a working relationship with most of the elected county officials, so when it was time to talk about if, when, and how they could race last season, they already knew the people in the County Health Department. Weekly, sometimes daily phone calls and meetings were held and Owosso Speedway followed all safety protocols and restrictions set forth by the County Health Department. This working relationship allowed Owosso Speedway to run the 2020 season without any cancelations when a lot of other tracks could not.
Ken says the same mentality will go into this season’s weekly preparation, “We continue to work with the challenges of racing during COVID-19. As we did last season, we will follow protocols and restrictions and work with our County Health Department to ensure our events are safe for those who visit our facility.”
The Williams Family will continue on the path they started two years ago by promoting a family-friendly venue, with multiple racing divisions. Five weekly divisions will compete for track championships. The Howe Racing Enterprises Modifieds, Geyer Auction Services Sportsman, Owosso Auto Mall Pure Stock, Parisian Home Improvement Front Wheel Drive, and the Finish Line Auto Repair & Exhaust Trucks. The Outlaw Super Late Models will make four appearances at The Big “O” in 2021, with the Ron Hauser Memorial on August 7 running for 75 laps, being one of the “can’t miss” nights on the schedule.
“It’s important for us to have the Supers here a few times during the season”, states Williams. “Our fans love to see the speed and competition they bring. I’m happy that we’ve been able to fit in four different nights for them to be here in 2021.” Details on the purse, laps, and sponsors have not been finalized for all the OSLM races at this time.
While bringing in the OSLM is something that is a fan favorite, the base of what the Williams Family is trying to accomplish lies in the heart of its regular divisions. In 2021, each division will have a “Shoot Out” night. This will be a night where the selected division will be the headliner with increased laps and purse. Each division sponsor will be given an opportunity to show their support and be featured at the Speedway on these nights.
Ken explains, “It became very clear to us early on in this adventure that the backbone of this track and community is family. All of our divisions seem to feature massive family involvement. We see it throughout our pit area, and grandstands. With this in mind, we feel the road to success here is to promote our supporting cast. Some places may call them support divisions, but we think of them all equally. They are here to compete, but having fun is just as important to them, and we agree.” All five divisions will race most every race night on the 2021 schedule, with exception to the Modified class that is off on three of the four OSLM nights.
One of the dates on the schedule that hits the hearts of most Owosso Speedway fans and staff is the Marie Smith Bike Night on August 14. This event has always been one of the favorites of the Williams Family, the staff, and fans of the track. It’s a night where giving back and involving the children is the most important thing on everyone’s mind. Marie Smith was a longtime employee at the track that passed away in 2012. Kids Bike Night was her idea, and nobody did more for that event than she did, which is why her name will be forever memorialized in the event. There are two different Autograph Nights that are also popular with the crowd. Of course, the running of the 26th annual Owosso Nationals will close the 2021 racing season with all divisions racing, including OSLM. At this time, it will be a two-day event, Friday and Saturday, the last weekend of September, with more details to be released at a later date.
With the release of the 2021 schedule, Ken also wanted everyone to know that there are lots of things that the family is working on for the season that are not finalized and cannot be made public information until commitments are finalized.
“I’m in communication with many of our sponsors, race teams, and racing affiliations trying to secure commitments for the upcoming year,” Ken admitted. “Once we have that secured, we’ll update our schedule. It was important to get the basic schedule out there, now we’re just trying to enhance it.”
Ken said that the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club (MARFC) will have a night, and he’s looking for one or two destruction type of shows to be added. There is already one car show weekend scheduled, and they may have other opportunities to bring in other types of entertainment on the nights that short track racing isn’t scheduled. The Williams Family will continue to make Owosso Speedway a family-friendly environment and look forward to another great season. Please check the website, www.owossospeedway.com, for any updates to the 2021 schedule.
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Story - Ed Inloes
Photo - Thomas Stumpfig