Drivin’ for Linemen race will be June 25

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ABREA
ABREA

Two other races, climbing event are planned

Madison, IL – The third annual Drivin’ for Linemen 200 truck race will be held June 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park along with a new union-oriented event – Climbin’ for Linemen.

The race, part of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, honors all fallen electrical linemen. In particular, it benefits the Fallen Lineman Organization, which provides emotional and financial support to the families of line workers who are killed on the job.

Last year, line workers presented a stirring display of pole climbing before the race. This year, the climbing is being made into an event in itself, called Climbin’ for Linemen, sponsored by the emergency product maker Buckingham Manufacturing.

A SCHEDULE AND A HALF

It will be a most busy day at Gateway. Gates will open at 8 a.m., and the climbing event will soon get under way. Trophies will be given to the top five finishers. Registration has already been completed.

Meanwhile, the NASCAR racers will start practicing on the 1.25-mile track at 8:30 a.m., continuing until 9:25, resuming at 10:30 and ending at 11:55. Some of the drivers will sign autographs in the infield between 1:45 to 2:30.

Two other races will be held, for those who just can’t get enough, from the USAC (U.S. Auto Club) Silver Crown Series and the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) Midwest Tour Late Models.

The USAC drivers will practice in their small sprint cars from 9:30 to 10:20, qualify at 12:30 p.m. and be introduced at 3 p.m., followed at 3:30 by their race, the Vatterott College Silver Crown Showdown, at 60 laps and 75 miles.

ARCA drivers, in stock cars, will practice at 1 p.m., with qualifying at 2:15. Their race, the ARCA Midwest 50, will begin at 6 p.m., with up to 40 laps and 50 miles in a timed event sponsored by the Illinois Lottery.

Gateway MSP_6_2The NASCAR drivers will finally get to qualify starting at 4:45 p.m. and be introduced at 7 p.m. The featured race of 160 laps and 200 miles will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Gateway noted that the schedule is subject to change – no surprise there!

Events actually start on the night before the race. First, the NASCAR garages will be open to the public from 5 to 6 p.m. Then, the Party at the ‘Plex will bring kart racing, music and entertainment to the Gateway Kartplex from 6 to 10 p.m.

ROOKIE TALK

One of the NASCAR drivers will be the popular rookie, Rico Abreu, who came to the track recently to meet with reporters and try out the Kartplex.

Abreu, 24, was born with the genetic disorder achondroplasia, which limits bone growth, so he stands only about 4 feet tall.

That hasn’t held him back. He started racing on dirt in karts and open-wheel cars and twice has won the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals dirt track event. He has also won 45 races in sprint cars and the midget series. He began driving in the truck series in two races last year, debuting at Phoenix, a track he said is similar to Gateway.

“We had a lot of speed there, so we’re going to bring that here,” Abreu said. “I’m getting a lot of input from my teammate, Matt Crafton. He’s had a lot of success at Gateway and was really fast here last year. I’ll pick his brain during practice. It’s hard to say until you get out onto the track – that’s what we’re waiting for.”

He thinks his first win on the truck circuit could come at Gateway, where he will be a member of the ThorSport team, driving a custom Toyota.

“It definitely could come here. The restarts at pit stops at the end of the race get really exciting,” he said. “You just have to have one big play in your favor, and you could put yourself in a position to win the race.”

INFORMATION AND TICKETS

For more information, go online to gatewaymsp.com or call 618-215-8888, or check GMP on Facebook or Twitter. Tickets can be purchased from MetroTix or through the Gateway website at $36 for general admission, $49 for reserved seats or $59 for premium seats. Kids 15 and under are free in general admission, or $20 for reserved and $25 for premium seats. Parking and upgrades are also available.

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