Motorsports Season Heats Up at Raceway Park

Another season of high-speed action is on tap at one of the region's premier short tracks

By Dillon Tabish
Drivers race past the grandstand at the Montana 200 at Montana Raceway Park. Beacon file photo

Despite rumors swirling around the site, Montana Raceway Park is back for a bustling summer of action, including monster trucks, a demolition derby and the usual high-speed motorsports lineup.

In recent years, amid challenges among personnel and other issues that popped up, rumors spread that the raceway between Kalispell and Whitefish was in jeopardy of being sold or closed.

Ted Cummins, the track’s general manager, said Raceway Park did weather a difficult storm of issues that even momentarily discouraged owner Giles Thornton.

“It was a really, really rough year and the Thorntons thought about closing it and putting it up for sale,” Cummins said.

“But Giles really wants to make this park always be around. He loves it and he loves the racing.”

Instead of letting frustrations sully his passion, Thornton invested more into the site and operations. This year Raceway Park is adding to the regular weekly slate of racing action with a two-day monster truck rally, July 1-2. The show will start at 8 p.m. both nights followed by a “huge fireworks show.”

On July 14-16, the track will host the 26th annual Montana 200, considered one of the region’s premier races with a purse of more than $50,000, including $15,000 to the winner.

On July 23, the park will host its inaugural Rumble in the Rockies Demolition Derby.

“We’re excited about this summer,” Cummins said.

USA Today named Raceway Park one of the 10 best short tracks in the country in 2000. The grandstands can hold more than 4,000 spectators, and the weekly events between May and September offer some of the largest cash purses in the region.

The track hosts weekly races for Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, CHS Legends and Bandoleros. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.mtracewaypark.com.

New Music Festival Coming to Raceway Park

Casey’s Bar is organizing the new Crown Summer Series, a music and arts festival at Montana Raceway Park. In addition to performances from world- renowned artists, the event will feature local art, craft, and food vendors. The event will include a large stage in the heart of the raceway and a camping area, complete with bathrooms and water stations.

The first date of the series is July 9 and will feature renowned hip-hop and electronic artists. Gracing the stage will be The Pharcyde, Sage Francis, Mija, UZ, Amtrac, Jarren Benton, G Jones, Raashan Ahmad, Supaman, alongside some of the most talented DJs and producers from Montana.

Festival gates open at noon on Saturday for a full day of music on the main stage and local’s stage, as well as an after party at the campground.

Pre-sale tickets are only $35 ($45 day of event), and camping passes are $20 per vehicle.

The second and final date of the 2016 series is Saturday, Aug. 27. The lineup leans more towards live bands and expands upon the electronic and hip-hop genre of the first event. Headliners include Ghostland Observatory, MSTRKRFT, Hippie Sabotage, and Futuristic, with local support from Jameson & The Sordid Seeds, Shakewell, and many more.

Tickets for the August festival are $45 ($55 day of event), and $20 per vehicle for camping.

Drawing from genres all across the board, The Crown series aims to appeal to a variety of people by offering an exciting music and arts experience.

There will be a full day and night of music as well as on-site camping. Local arts and crafts vendors will display their products inside the festival grounds, and local food trucks will offer their cuisine at the campground.

For more information, visit http://www.crownsummerseries.com.

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