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posted April 24, 2002 06:43 PM
Blackbird Bend at Onawa set for late spring opening
ONAWA, Iowa (April 23) – Blackbird Bend Motorsports Speedway will become a new destination point for racers and race fans late this spring.
The new 5/16-mile dirt track is being built just north of CasinOmaha, five miles west of Onawa. Both the track and the casino are owned by the Omaha Tribe of Iowa and Nebraska.
“We looked at demographics over the last couple years. Ideally, this is supposed to be a destination point, where people come to have fun,” casino general manager Mike Cummings said. “Racing is a popular and growing sport, and the track is another venue for entertainment.”
Denny Moore and Greg Golden will promote Friday night racing at Blackbird Bend. They’ll continue promoting Sunday shows at Interstate Speedway in Jefferson, S.D., about 35 miles away.
Moore believes the track location, between Omaha and Sioux City, will attract drivers and race fans from around the area.
“There are I.M.C.A. drivers now who are traveling 100 miles or more to race,” he said. “A lot of them will be able to get points closer to home. This is a pretty good deal.”
Both the I.M.C.A.-sanctioned Modified and Hobby Stock divisions will run in weekly shows, along with the sportsman, roadrunner and 2-person cruiser classes. Modifieds will pay $500 to win, the Hobbies $275.
Blackbird Bend will be considered a border track, meaning Modified drivers from both the Dirt Works Central and North Central regions can earn points there.
A small off-road track had been located on the property. Casino and tribal officials began discussion about construction of a new track in February, and the positive response from the public following a story published in the Omaha World-Herald about the facility was encouraging.
“The more we looked into it, the more we liked it,” said Cummings. “The concept and the budget were approved by the tribal council and here we are. We had talked about opening on May 24 but we have had rain and now hope to open on June 7 at the latest.”
Grandstand seating for 2,000 will be in place come opening night. Restroom facilities will be of the portable kind during the initial season, with permanent buildings in place for 2003.
Blackbird Bend Motorsports Speedway will also be the site of a classic car show, scheduled for June 15