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UMARA News From Bill Freis - LAST STAND
Bill Freis (file) photo from Milwaukee Mile
Bill Freis (file) photo from Milwaukee Mile
August 28th 2009 - READY FOR THE LAST STAND


By: Bill Freis
Joliet, IL August 26, 2009 The movie trailer said “Build it and they will
come”. In case you haven’t been by Joliet Memorial Stadium in the past few
days, it has been built and they are coming. They are coming to The Last Stand
at the Stadium on Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12.

“They” are the former drivers like 14 time Stadium feature winner Jim Gates, 23
time feature winner, and second all-time in feature wins, Bob Richards. Don
Carter Jr, John Warren, Rich Corson, Tom Corcoran, Danny Pens, Dennis Devea and
Jim Mahoney. Going back even further in time; Warren “Newt” White”, Tom
Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Kladis, Wally Lambert and Roger West are among over
40 former drivers scheduled to attend as well.

“They” are the young crop of drivers like Aaron Andruskevitch, Mario Clouser,
Eric Potter, Tanner Whitten, Tom Schnabel, Mike Anderson and Nick Odell who race
at the Grundy County Speedway most Saturday’s during the summer, but have never
turned a lap at The Stadium.

“They” are the drivers, mechanics or kids whose dads, relatives or friends raced
there, and have only dreamed of having the chance to race there themselves.
Drivers like 2008 UMARA National midget champion Jimmy Anderson, whose parents
won two Stadium championships as car owners. Patrick Wilda Jr. and Billy
Hulbert Jr. whose dad’s both raced at The Stadium. Three-time UMARA champ David
Gough is making his return in a midget at The Last Stand. Gough, and his (late)
brother Jay, raced karts there in the late 90’s but never had a chance to race a
midget there.

With just two weeks to go until the event, the Jersey Barriers are in place, the
fencing is up, track surface preparations are nearly complete, the t-shirts have
been printed, the programs are just about ready to print and the anticipation is
growing. Several great sponsors have significantly contributed to this event.

D’Arcy Motors and City Beverage/Bud Light, The Hot Rod Barn, Will County Farm
Bureau, Packard Transport, D Construction, Tessone Motors, Suburban Bank and
Trust and Traditions Bar and Grill have all stepped up to help make this event
happen.

In addition to the three divisions of midgets, Dwarf Cars and INEX Legend Cars
racing at The Last Stand, go-karts have been added to the event thanks to the
support of Urbasek Insurance of Joliet and Constitutional Casualty Insurance.
There will be three divisions of karts racing, Animal Heavy Adult Karts,
Flat-head Heavy Adult Karts and Champ Karts.

Bernie Meyers, former team manager for Payton-Coyne Racing and former Indy 500
Mechanic of the Year says, “This event is shaping up to be one of the biggest
and best short-track racing events that this area has ever seen. Its very
gratifying to be a part of an event like this when you see the hard work and
passion of the people involved in making this happen and the excitement of the
fans, drivers and teams anticipating the event.”

The Last Stand at the Stadium race week festivities will kick-off on Thursday,
September 10 at Babes Hot Dogs on Jefferson Street in Joliet, just a couple of
blocks East of the Stadium. Fans will be able to check out some of the cars and
karts that will be racing that weekend. Plus, visit with many of the current
and former drivers taking part in the Last Stand weekend. Babes Hot Dogs is
also helping bring back another Stadium tradition by announcing this week that
they would sponsor the Big Wheel Races to be held on Friday night to kick of the
heat race competition.

“They” are the people who didn’t live in the Joliet area, or weren’t born prior
to 1986 and have only heard the stories of the races at The Stadium. “They” are
all talking about this “last chance ever to race or to witness a race at The
Stadium”. “They” are heading to www.umara.com to fill out their entry forms, or
going to Ken Woody Sports, The Hot Rod Barn, Educational Outfitters or Suburban
Bank and Trust locations in New Lenox, Lemont, Orland Park and Markham to
purchase their tickets and make sure that they will be a part of this final and
historic event.

If you can’t wait for The Last Stand or you would like to get a preview of whats
to come, head on out to the Grundy County Speedway on Saturday, September 5 for
the 29th running of the UMARA Bob Lockard Memorial and the Grundy County
Speedway/Mazon Speedbowl Hall of Fame inductions. Inductions begin at 3pm and
racing action begins at 7:30pm.