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VINTON _ When the new racing season begins at the Benton County Speedway next spring, a new management team will be at the helm.

Specialty Racing Promotions, owned by Rick and Corey Dripps, are taking over the management of the track from Mick Trier. Fortunately racers and spectators won’t have to wait until the spring to get an idea how some things will change.

There will be a special “Thunder in the Bullring” Saturday, September 28, with gates opening at 3 p.m. and grandstands at 4 p.m. and racing to begin at 6 p.m.

Being a part of the racing community for most of his life, Rick Dripps started to think about getting involved in the promotion side of racing about 10 years ago. “I approached the Benton County fair board four or five years ago,” he said. “But Mick had the lease at the time.” So when that circumstance changed, the pair decided to step in and continue the racing tradition at the Benton County Speedway.

“Mick has built a foundation for us to stand on and move forward,” Rick said.

One aspect the pair strongly believes in is making the race track and all events family friendly. “Our goal is get young people excited and make it financially able for them to get involved with racing if they have an interest,” Rick explained.

Reminiscing when his father and Keith Knaack started racing back in the 1950s, Rick stated that the pair would travel to races with a two wheel trailer pulled by the family car. “They would have a couple of spare tires, tool box and fuel,” he said. “Now people are going to races with $150,000 trailers and spending so much time during the week to get cars set up for racing.”

According to Rick and his wife Kim, the main focus will be making sure that events are family friendly at the track. “We’re planning a class for young drivers as an economical way for people to get started,” Rick said.

Kim added that the Lil’ Racers Car Club which was started a few years ago will still have a presence at the track. “Kids are our future and the future of racing,” Kim said. There is no membership fees for kids, prize giveaways during the race season and other fun stuff.