Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


February 5, 2014

Botkin hits Gas City with fresh ideas

New I-69 Speedway promoter wants to take the track "a notch higher."


Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of midgets to the schedule on a weekly basis.

“I’ve talked with some folks who said that they would love to see more of the midgets,” Botkin stated. “There are a lot of them [midgets] out there with really no place to race on a regular basis. USAC doesn’t have all that many events for those cars now so there is a void that we hope we can fill by adding them to our card along with the sprint cars, modifieds and Thunder Cars.”

Botkin noted that in the Thunder Car division his plans are simple — to make it affordable for drivers who race at other tracks to race at his track each week.

“I’ve been told that Gas City has always had a stricter policy towards that division,” he said. “From what I understand both Kokomo and Montpelier’s rules are comparable so we are basically saying that if you can run there you’re welcome to run here.”

Botkin realizes that stepping in following a legend like Thomason is tough, but he feels he’s up to the challenge.

“I had spoken with Jack [Himelick, track owner] and told him it would be fascinating to run a race track,” Botkin said. “So when Jiggs decided to step away, Jack contacted me and we decided to give it a try.

“Some folks think I have some off-the-wall ideas. But my main goal is to get folks excited about coming out to watching the races each week. I hope to see more kids because they are the future of the sport. Jiggs did a fantastic job over the years so I hope to take what he did very well and some of my ideas and incorporate them and take this track a notch higher. I’ve talked with the track prep guys and we are going to try and make the track a two-groove track where a person can win running the top or the bottom. I remember seeing Dustin Smith win a race stuck right on the bottom of the track with Brandon Petty running 20 or 30 miles per hour faster up high trying to run him down. I’d like to see the track like that each week.”

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