Fri, Jan 19, 2018 11:25 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Thunder Ridge to open April 19
AUXIER — It's been almost seven months since the last race at Thunder Ridge Raceway. Since the last race, some major changes has taken place. While the drivers prepared for the 2003 season, JD Racing Inc. was in negotiations to lease the track after some lengthy meetings terms were agreed upon.

JD Racing Inc. has already begun work on preparing for opening night, which will be April 19. Race fans and drivers will immediately notice the changes when entering the racing facility — a new racing surface is currently being added to the track, an upgraded P.A. system will be in place and some new ideas will be implemented that will help the racing program run more smoothly and efficiently.

The 2003 dirt track racing schedule is packed full of special events. Ten races will pay at least $3,000 to win for the dirt late model and four different racing series will grace the 3/8th mile track during the 2003 season.

Thunder Ridge will play host to the season opener of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Dirt Racing Series. This will be the first-ever visit to Eastern Kentucky for the series and this will bring in several new drivers to the area who many race fans have not had the chance to see compete before. The MACS Series will be at Thunder Ridge May 10 for a $5,000-to-win show.

Another dirt racing series making its first appearance in the area will be the Southern All-Star Dirt Racing Series. The Southern All-Star Racing Series is one of the oldest dirt racing series in the nation and always has a great following of drivers and fans, including a local driver who is currently vying for Rookie of the Year in the series — Brandon Kinzer from Allen. The SAS Series will be at Thunder Ridge on June 21 for a $5,000-to-win show.

The Renegade Dirt Car Racing Series will make its return to Thunder Ridge after a four years' absence. The Renegade Dirt Car Series is one of the most popular dirt racing series in the nation with several nationally known drivers following the series. The Renegade Dirt Car Racing Series will be at Thunder Ridge on July 19 competing for a $7,500-to-win feature.

In 2002, the only series that competed at Thunder Ridge Raceway was the STARS Battle of the Bluegrass. In 2003, The STARS Battle of the Bluegrass Dirt Racing Series will be at Thunder Ridge for four big shows. The Battle of the Bluegrass series was one of the most competitive and talked-about series in the nation in 2002 and has close ties to Thunder Ridge. Eddie Carrier Jr. from Leburn holds the distinction of not only being the 2002 STARS Battle of the Bluegrass Series champion, but also the 2002 Thunder Ridge Late Model Track champion. Carrier will lead the STARS Battle of the Bluegrass Series back to Thunder Ridge May 30-31 as well as Aug. 29-30 for the second annual "Summer Thunder at the Ridge" presented by JD Racing.

One of the biggest events in Thunder Ridge racing history will also be back in 2003. In 2002, The Miller Brothers/Pepsi Fall Classic drew one of the biggest audiences to ever see a dirt track race at Thunder Ridge with race fans filling the parking lot and overflowing out onto the shoulder of Rt. 3, and race cars were backed out to Rt. 3 by the time the gates were able to open. Drivers traveled from as far away as Wisconsin to compete in the event, which paid the winner $10,000. The 2003 Fall Classic presented by JD Racing should be even bigger with $15,000 waiting for the winner of the feature race. The Fall Classic presented by JD Racing will be Sept. 27.

Thunder Ridge will present five divisions of racing every Saturday night throughout the summer months: late models, limited late models, street stock, bomber and four cylinders.

For more information about the Thunder Ridge Raceway, call (606)436-1124 before 6 p.m. or after 6 p.m. call (606)436-5870 or email

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