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Memphis International Raceway celebrates first full season with banquet for local racers

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Staff of the Memphis International Raceway celebrate the racing series Summit last Saturday at the Millington Holiday Inn.

Friends in racing who are used to greeting each other at the Memphis International Raceway filled the ballroom at the Millington Holiday Inn Saturday night.

The racers and their teams, supporters and family were on hand for the MIR Summit Series Racing Awards Banquet. Plaques, trophies, prizes and cash were given out to MIR’s best in Junior Dragster, Super Pro, Pro/Footbrake, Top Eliminator and Super Eliminator series.

“Tonight is all about the racers,” MIR vice president and general manager Pam Kendrick said. “It’s all about rewarding them for their accomplishments and thanking them for supporting us.”

The facility former known as Memphis Motorsports Park became Memphis International Raceway in Feb. 2011. Six months later MIR held it’s first event on Aug. 26.

“This was our first full season of racing,” Kendrick said. “Year One went great, we have no complaints. Folks are fighting over dates in 2013. That is a great thing.”

In year one more than 300,000 people came through the gates in addition to the 13-race Summit Series. Other events that drew spectators and participants were the Mud Run, Drag Racing, Auto Cross, Testing and Rusty Wallace Racing Experience.

The Summit Series was a sportsman competition that started in March and concluded Aug. 31. At the Awards Banquet more than $10,000 in prizes and awards were handed out.

“We were very impressed and excited about IHRA on their first year,” Director of Operations Paul Cartwright said. “The racing was exciting. We had good competition going into the Summit Series. For the Bracket Racers, they’re behind them. And they do a good job for them nationally. The local track racers can compete nationally.”

MIR will host national events in the future making it easier on their hometown racers. Next year new events will come to the tracks including the IHRA Nitro Jam featuring four classes.  The top racers in Summit Series for 2012 were Tyler Poindexter (Junior Dragster), Michael Hall (Super Pro), Caffey Broadus (Pro/Footbrake), TJ Tracey (Top Eliminator) and Matt Dellinger (Stop Eliminator).

“This is the exciting part for us because these racers have supported us all year,” Cartwright concluded. “This gives us the opportunity to show how much we appreciate them and awards them with their awards from throughout the year.”

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