Late life adventure brings Fairchild back as promoter at Salina

SALINA, Kan. (March 19, 2024) – A “late life adventure” brings Chuck Fairchild back to Salina Speedway.

Five IMCA divisions and Johnny Cash and his Ring of Fire classic are coming back, too.

Fairchild, who bought the 3/8-mile clay oval midway through his first stint promoting the central Kansas track from 1997-2008, returns to the helm at Salina this season.

Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods and Mach-1 IMCA Sport Compacts are on Friday night cards from May 3 to Sept. 27.

“Call it a late life adventure,” explained Fairchild, who answered his cell phone while doing mid-morning laps on a grader. “I’d been retired to Florida the last six years but this came up and my wife Lisa told me I could go back and run the track. We’ll lock the house up and live here eight months of the year.”

Fairchild grew up at Salina, where his dad owned cars, and raced a sprint car before promoting and then buying the track.

He promised to revive the tradition of playing Ring of Fire, the 1963 country chart topper, before the invocation and National Anthem before the first green flag each night.

“I’ve always said we don’t run races, we run events and this season, we’re going back to grassroots running five IMCA classes every week,” Fairchild said. “We want to emphasize the family atmosphere and we’re working with the city to get more people involved. We’ve already had people come up and ask if there’s anything they can do to help.”

Fairchild has juggled work on the track with selling sponsorships and upping his social media game – borrowing from Chucky of the Child’s Play film franchise with a pre-season “Chucky’s Back!” theme – while finding time to get water lines repaired and the announcer’s booth renovated.

Salina crowned its first IMCA Modified champion in 1988. The upcoming season will be the track’s 32nd of sanctioning.

“What I like most about IMCA is the rules. We’re going to have three tech inspectors this season and anybody who comes to Salina to race will know the rules will be enforced when they get here,” Fairchild said. “There won’t be any arguing but I will talk and listen to them. Sometimes, drivers just want to be heard.”

He’ll resume a couple other practices from his initial turn as promoter, walking through the pits to talk to drivers early in the evening and later standing at the gates and talking to fans after the race program is over.

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