OWENDALE, Mich. – The longest continuously operating dirt race track in Michigan is the latest to sanction its Modified division with IMCA.
Silver Bullet Speedway at Owendale has scheduled 18 dates, 16 of them on Saturday nights, for the open-wheeled class.
“I have always had it in the back of my mind that I would like to go with IMCA. Even though we’d been UMP, we’ve always had a good relationship with IMCA and the IMCA tracks in Michigan,” said promoter Matt Hoonhout, who along with his brother Nick purchased the former Owendale Speedway in 2013. “I really like what IMCA has to offer us, everything from apparel to rules to regional and national point funds.”
Located in the thumb of the state some 20 minutes south of Caseville, a popular summertime tourist destination, the quarter-mile clay oval at Owendale opened in 1955 and saw the likes of A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones compete.
Hoonhout raced in both the late model and modified divisions at Owendale. He piloted an IMCA ride in 2011 at Tri-City Motor Speedway after Steve Puvalowski re-opened that track.
“We have always worked real well with Tri-City and with Crystal Motor Speedway. We came up with the same rules for our pro stock and street stock divisions,” he said. “Steve and Erika have helped us out here and we’ve gone over there on nights they’ve needed extra help.”
Since taking over at Silver Bullet – the name can be traced to a race car owned by a former promoter at Owendale – the Hoonhouts have added to clay to the racing surface, remodeled both concession stands, upgraded electrical and lighting, installed new fencing and poured 30 concrete pit slabs.
Also new is a mud bog track, another way to make the facility appeal to more fans while adding to the bottom line.
“We appreciate what Jim Stannard and everyone at IMCA has done to make this transition smooth for us and our drivers. Eighty to 85 percent of them have been supportive of making the switch,” Hoonhout said. “We’ve always tried to be consistent and fair. We’ve brought more cars back, we’ve put on good racing and I’ve enjoyed the feedback from the fans.”
“I can’t say enough about what the new sanction at Owendale means for our Modified drivers in Michigan and in our Dirt Works Eastern Region,” said Stannard, IMCA’s vice president of operations. “We look forward to a very long partnership with Silver Bullet.”
The IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National point season at Silver Bullet runs from May 5 to Sept. 1.