blank 09/04/09 01:54PM

A mega super-sprint car event could be on its way to Auto City Speedway in 2010
by Greg Tunnicliff | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan -

 It won't be just another Saturday night race at Auto City Speedway.



Auto City Speedway, Sprint Cars

Jim Hanks of Holly is the president of MustSeeRacing.com Track owner Joe DeWitte and Holly resident Jim Hanks are currently in the planning stages of developing a nationally televised super-sprint car show at the half-mile oval in 2010.

Hanks just completed his second season as president of MustSeeRacing.com, a web site dedicated to televising short-track auto racing.

It's telecasts began in cyberspace in 2008 before expanding to television and satellite broadcasts Direct TV and Dish Network this year.

"They want to make a commitment to making this one of the best shows ever to come into the Flint market," Hanks said of Auto City officials. "Race fans around Flint can stay tuned for a very big sprint-car event at Auto City."

The show, which has yet to be named, is being slated for the latter part of the 2010 season. It will be part of the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series.

"The sprints have been very successful at Auto City in the past," DeWitte said. "It's something different, something unique, thinking out of the box."

MSR featured only three events in 2008 before increasing to seven this season, all of which were sprint-car shows except the non-wing Little 500 at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Ind. on May 19.

Including the Auto City show, MSR will have 12 shows next year. The networks that carry the races, on a tape-delay basis, are Comcast Channel 900 in Michigan, Comcast SportsNet in Chicago and HomeTown Sports of Indianapolis.

The networks reach over 9 million households, with an average of 75,000 viewers having tuned in per show this summer. MSR's web site is averaging 10,000 to 12,000 hits per month.

The average live attendance at each event this year was 6,000 with a high of 12,000 at the Little 500. Auto City seats approximately 7,000 including the bleachers in the pit area.

"This worked for all the players," Hanks said. "The tracks loved it, the fans loved it. All the players in the racing business supported what we are doing."

Besides the television coverage, there are other things that separate MSR's series from its competition.

MSR's shows are co-sanctioned by the Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series and it has an agreement with the International Outlaw Figure Eight Series and open-wheel vintage cars.

MSR's shows will have a purse of $17,825 54 percent higher than any other series with $2,000 going to the winner and $600 to start the feature.

Hanks said he is expecting to have at least 27 cars per show and he already has signed contracts with 20 of the top sprint-car teams in the country to appear.

"We've contracted our race teams and they are on board," Hanks said. "It's going to be dead-serious, stand-on-the-gas competition. Our B-main's will be loaded with cars."

Hanks said he will put on three or four shows in Michigan next year, but other than Auto City, the other in-state sites have yet to be determined. The out-of-state shows will take place in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.

"The whole philosophy is putting on a great show, with a large car count of top-quality teams from across the country, on a level-playing field," Hanks said. "I'm not talking about a Saturday race. I'm talking about an event."


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