RICHMOND — The main event will be shorter this year, but LST Motorsports Park hopes the DKR 50 is better than ever.
Expanding on a successful inaugural $5,041 kart race in 2022, the track formerly known as Richmond Karting Speedway expects an even larger field of Sr. Champ Karts to compete in the 2nd DKR 50 Annual Wednesday Night.
Once again, the race pays out $5,041 to the winner, making it one of the biggest purses in Maine racing circles of all kinds.
“I’m guessing we’ll have 40 to 50 entries,” track owner Steve Perry said Tuesday.
Last year the race drew 36 drivers from across New England, with Brian Sullivan of Tolland, Connecticut claiming the richest karting prize in the North East.
Perry said the DKR 50 has generated interest in more than just this particular event, which is presented in partnership with Derek Kneeland Racing. Kneeland, a Windham native who began his racing career on the track as a child, currently works for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kneeland is the spotter for one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, Kyle Busch.
“Our weekly business has doubled over last year,” Perry said. “We have new competitors arriving on the track. It’s not just the children either. They are old people. People know about our kart rental program and how easy it is to get involved, and things have really grown after this past year.
LST Motorsports Park features seven divisions per week on Friday nights during the season. Six of them will face off on Wednesday, including the Sr. Champs of the DKR 50.
“I think what’s really cool is that the supporting divisions understand,” Perry said. “You go to the Oxford 250, and people miss the idea of support divisions being able to race on a big stage. But if you follow social media, you see that the guys and gals who run in those supporting divisions understand the importance of being on the big stage like that.
As in 2022, the DKR 50 will include hot laps, time trials, qualifying races, a C Main, a B Main and the DKR 50 itself. Unlike last year, however, the race was shortened by 10 laps.
Shortening the race, Perry said, will eliminate the midway break on lap 30.
“They went green for the first 30 laps and then we gave them a chance to stop and overthink it,” Perry said.
What followed was a second half of the race marred by caution that lasted late into a weeknight.
By ridding the race of this scheduled stop, Perry hopes things will go a lot smoother.
“I’m sure it won’t go from green to checkered, but at least it shouldn’t become the (crashfest) of last year,” he said.
Attendance last summer for the first DKR 50 was estimated at 700-800 spectators, Perry said.
Why was there so much interest in a form of motorsport that typically receives little media attention and even less fan support?
“Because we did what we said we were going to do,” Perry said. “You look at any situation, and not just racing, but if people promise you something and don’t deliver, they won’t come back and it won’t grow.”
Racing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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