One of the greatest traditions in racing in the state of Ohio is neither NASCAR nor IndyCar related, but rather a collection of some of the best racers in the country descending on the Buckeye State for a weeklong marathon of racing 800-plus-hp 410 winged dirt Sprint Cars. It has taken place every summer for the last 30 years and it's called the UNOH All Stars Circuit of Champions Ohio Sprint Car Speedweek tradition. The week long bash made stops at eight different tracks in nine days. That's a lot of racing at a lot of tracks in a very short period of time.
It kicked off June 22 at Attica Raceway Park and ended at Fremont Speedway a little over a week later where the winner walked off with a hefty 10 grand. In between were stops at Waynesfield Raceway Park, Cannonball Speedway, Wayne County, Sharon, Fremont (first stop), Hilltop Speedway, and Limaland Motorsports Park, all paying $5,000 to win, including the opening night at Attica. For the racers it was late nights and long days. For the race fans it was like a vacation in their own back yard during the record-setting hot summer days of 2012.
Start ’em young we say here at Circle Track!
The Division as We Know It
The University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) All Star Circuit is one of the premier Sprint Car sanctioning bodies in the U.S. Now in its 30th year of operation, the UNOH All Stars takes pride in its reputation of providing highly competitive, fair, exciting racing for Outlaw Sprint Cars with many different winners in a season. The "outlaw racer" designation goes back to the 1930s when any driver not belonging to a particular racing club was considered an "outlaw." Today, membership is not necessary to participate in All Star events or to receive prize money. However, a membership is available for those car owners and drivers who want to earn points, be eligible for the driver's point fund, receive travel money, special cash or products, and numerous other benefits.
About 400 drivers participate in the UNOH All Star races yearly in front of an average of 5,000 spectators per event. Races are typically scheduled in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kansas. The schedule is flexible to include other states and Canada as well. The typical UNOH All Star race program consists of time trials, qualifying heat races, a Fast Dash and C, B, and A Main events, determined by the number of cars signed in for an event. Usually, a $25,700 purse is posted, paying $5,000 to win, but over the season, several $6,000-, $7,000-, and $10,000-to-win special events are held. Prize money adds up to $1.5 million in a season. More than $200,000 cash is paid out by point fund sponsors to those drivers and owners who finish highest in the point standings, with an additional $100,000 worth of contingency prizes provided by many supporting companies.
David Gravel (No. 89G) and Danny Smith (No. 4) glide through a corner at Waynesfield Ohio.
The UNOH All Star Sprint Car
Like most Sprint Cars, the All Star cars are alcohol-burning, fire-breathing, open-wheel race cars, weighing about 1,200 pounds with engines putting out 850 horsepower. They are the fastest accelerating closed-course race cars running today, due to their high power-to-weight ratio. The All Stars race on quarter- to half-mile oval dirt tracks, where 130-mph wheel-to-wheel and four-wheel-drift excitement keeps fans on the edge of their seats. The 25 square-foot aluminum "wing" above the rollcage improves aerodynamics and provides an additional safety factor, plus gives a high visibility surface for sponsor logos. A 1,375-pound minimum weight rule with the driver in the car has been implemented to help maintain the close competition.