By John Bombatch
XENIA — For the first time in nearly four years, Kil-Kare Raceway ran a complete season.
That’s just one positive taken from the 2015 season. Car numbers continue to climb and attendance continues to grow. Now there’s hope that, with a lot of help in terms of sponsorship, the Xenia-area racing facility can revive its weekend circle track racing sometime down the road.
“Considering all the doubt and all the unknowns we had in dealing with a complete restructuring of the staff, and not fully knowing what it is that you have to work with, not sure if your customers are still going to support you, I think we had a very successful year of racing,” said Will Tharpe, Kil-Kare’s General Manager and Competition Director. “All we did was focus on delivering to them and focusing on our events. Mother Nature kinda kicked our butt in the first half of the season, but by the time we got into mid-May, we really started to hit our stride.”
Of the more than 70 weekend events, Test & Tunes and motorsports side events like Monster Truck racing and Drifting competitions, Tharpe estimates that 75 percent of them were run to their completion without any interference from night curfews or inclement weather.
Tharpe said the drag strip’s final event drew more than 500 entries. That would make Kil-Kare the site of one of the largest drag racing events in the nation. Unfortunately, weather limited the racing on that November Saturday; an evening on-track incident prevented the Sunday racing from finishing before the track’s night curfew.
Three years ago, Kil-Kare ran an abbreviated schedule due to weather delays in completing the concrete resurfacing project on the drag strip.
A particularly bad summer of weather abbreviated things at the facility two years ago.
Then in 2014, the track closed early in order to reorganize and rebuild its staff. The facility ended the season at both the 1/5-mile multi-turn race track as well as on the drag strip.
The 2015 season marked the first time since Dave Coterel Jr. purchased the track that a full season of racing was held.
Speaking of the race track, Tharpe said financial backing hasn’t quite come through enough to rekindle a regular series of circle track racing at the raceway.
“We want to find a way to get the speedway back open, but we can’t compromise the entire business just to run a season of speedway racing. We may be able to run a partial season at some point, but until someone steps up and works with us to prop up the program, us doing it right now is not going to be a viable business move.” Tharpe said.
Kil-Kare does hope to offer a Test & Tune night on the race track for area stock car racing enthusiasts, however.
“We have a number of racers who need a place where they can turn laps and shake cars down, so we’d like to set-up specific dates on Thursdays where they can come out and Test & Tune their cars,” Tharpe said.
Kil-Kare will also continue to bring in what Tharpe terms as “third party” motorsports entities next season. Events involving Monster Trucks, fire-throwing jet propelled machines, SCCA racing, Corvette Club racing, and Drifting competitions are very likely to return to Kil-Kare next season.
On the dragstrip in 2015, Brent Angles was tops in points in the Super Pro category. Other points leaders or co-leaders were: Doug Caplinger (Pro); Shawn Pitts (Sportsman); Andrew England (Pro Bike); and Junior Dragster class winners Piper Filson (8-9 year-olds); Justin Knight and Lyndsay Back (10-12); and Shelby Stacy and Garreth Sheppeard (13-17).
Tharpe expects to announce the 2016 Kil-Kare season schedule in the next few weeks.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.