Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway hosts the Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster for the first time next week
By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – April 15, 2015…After opening the season with a World of Outlaws two-step the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway kicks back into action on Saturday April 25, with the Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster invading the Tulare, CA based one-third mile clay oval.
It will be the lone Winged 360 Sprint Car event held at the Thunderbowl prior to the three-night Trophy Cup in October and marks round four in the battle for the Civil War Series title. It will also be the very first appearance at the track for the series, which started back in 1991 as the North/South Series. It then morphed into the present Civil War tour in 1993 and has been the premier series for Winged 360 Sprint Cars in California ever since.
The night of racing will also be part of the first Prentice Motorsports Group “Double Down Bonus” weekend. If a driver can win the Friday April 24 event at Ocean Speedway with the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo, and then win at Thunderbowl Raceway on Saturday with Civil War, they’ll go home with a $3000 bonus. If they do so, they’ll walk away with $6500 total for the weekend. This is the first of nine Double Down Bonus weekends in 2015.
“We’re excited about bringing the Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster to the Thunderbowl Raceway next week,” said series manager John Prentice. “Tulare has been one of the top tracks out west for a long time and it’s definitely a place that the Civil War Series belongs at. It’s the only chance for many of these teams to get some track time there before the Trophy Cup as well. With it being the first PMG Double Down weekend that also adds another level of anticipation.”
After winning the World of Outlaws finale in March for the second year in a row Rutherford, CA’s Rico Abreu is set to be on hand next week. The 23-year-old last season was the lone driver to earn multiple victories with the Civil War Series and will be considered the one to beat next week. The win earlier this year was Abreu’s fifth career Thunderbowl Raceway triumph aboard his familiar Abreu Vineyards No. 24 mount. His two Civil War wins last year came at the Johnny Key Classic in Watsonville and the Tribute to Gary Patterson in Stockton.
So far this season there has been three winners in the three Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster events held thus far. Those drivers have included reigning series champion Shane Golobic of Fremont, current point leader Bradley Terrell of Sebastopol and most recently former series titlist Sean Becker from Roseville.
“This series featured a lot of parody last season and we’ve started off with much of the same in 2015,” commented Civil War media relations director PJ Petersen. “Finally having Civil War compete in Tulare is a great thing and we’re certainly looking forward to April 25. We’re expecting a great field of cars to be on hand with drivers from all over California. The Thunderbowl never seems to disappoint, so we hope everyone comes out to support the show next week.”
More drivers looking to take on the Thunderbowl April 25 will include Watsonville’s Justin Sanders, Chico’s Jonathan Allard, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi, Lemoore’s Carson Macedo, Sacramento’s Willie Croft, Easton’s Tommy Tarlton, Fresno’s Cory Eliason, Hanford’s DJ Netto, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Wilton’s Matt Peterson, Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto, Hollister’s Ryan Bernal, British Columbia’s Robbie Price, Fresno brothers' Koen & Kyler Shaw, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and many more.
The front gate at Thunderbowl Raceway will open at 4pm on Saturday April 25, with cars on track shortly after 5pmand heat races expected to get underway around 7pm. Adult reserved grandstand tickets cost $15, with general admission bleachers $13. Children 6-12 are half price, while five & under are free. To pre-order tickets contact (559) 688-0909. A seating chart & more is available at www.thunderbowlraceway.com
Also on hand during the night will be the Western RaceSaver Sprints & Vintage Cars.
Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the fairgrounds. Camping is also available at the fairgrounds for a price of $40 per night and is located off turns three and four. To learn more about the Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster log ontowww.racepmg.com
Following the Civil War Series event on April 25, Thunderbowl Raceway will then return to action on Saturday May 2 for J.D. Heiskell & Co. Race Night, featuring the USAC Western Midgets, Western RaceSaver Sprints & Vintage Cars. OnSaturday May 16 the annual Chris & Brian Faria Memorial will be presented at the one-third mile clay oval, which showcases the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series, USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Car Series & Western RaceSaver Sprints.
Upcoming events at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway
Saturday April 25: Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster, Western RaceSaver Sprints, Vintage Cars
Saturday May 2: J.D. Heiskell & Co. Race Night - USAC Western Midgets, Western RaceSaver Sprints, Vintage Cars
Saturday May 16: Chris & Brian Faria Memorial- King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series, USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Cars, Western RaceSaver Sprints
Saturday May 30: USAC West Coast 360 Sprints, USAC Western Midgets, Western RaceSaver Sprints, Vintage Cars
Steve Lafond Photo