Ken Scharder and Kenny Wallace sign autographs for local race fans at Crossville Raceway Tuesday.

Tuesday was not a normal race night at Crossville Raceway, and two of the drivers racing were big hits with the fans and drivers.

NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Ken Schrader (Woods Bros. Little Debbie #21 Ford) and Kenny Wallace (Furniture Row #78 Chevy) were on hand to race their dirt cars and spend some time with fans. Though the weather was a big concern for track owner Al Varnadore, by 4 p.m. the skies had cleared and work began on drying the track.

Scharder and Wallace helped keep the fans occupied by signing autographs and photos.

Following the qualifying laps, four fans got a big treat and had a chance to help support the Alzheimer’s Foundation. A raffle was drawn for two fans to take a ride around the track in a specially made Super Late Model race car piloted by either Schrader or Wallace. In addition an auction was held in the stands for two more fans to ride along. The total proceeds to the Foundation were $1,395.

In the racing action, Mark Martin of Baxter won the Super Late Model feature, while Crossville’s Robert Edwards collected his first-ever Limited Late Model win. Ron Dodson won the Street Stock feature. Schrader held on for the win in a hard fought battle with Wallace in the Open Wheel Modifieds.

On the NASCAR scene, the Nextel Cup teams are off this week, while the NASCAR Busch series heads to St. Louis where Wallace will be driving the #2 Richard Childress car. Ginn Racing announced Tuesday morning they have released both Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemecheck, as they shut down the 13 team and moved Regan Smith from the 01 car to the 14 car. They also signed Aric Almirola to replace Smith in the part-time 01 ride with Mark Martin.

Marlin has said he wants to run a limited schedule in 2008 with possibly no more than 20 races. I spoke with Wallace who said he has discussed Marlin driving a second car in 2008 for Furniture Row, provided a sponsor can be secured.

Local racing results for last weekend:

Friday night at Wartburg Speedway

SLM — 1. Anthony White, 2. Curt Williams, 3. Steve Smith; Sportsman — 1. Jeff Adkisson, 2. Dale Nance, 3. Johnny Lane; Pure Street — 1. Reagan Williams, 2. Jason Capps, 3. Jonathan Sims; Pure Mini — 1. Jason Manley, 2. Donald Christmas, 3. Brian Frost; FWD — 1. Blake Hall, 2. David Hall Sr, 3. Billy Freytag.

Saturday night at Crossville Raceway:

Limited Late Model — 1. Brandon Williams, 2. Sam Williams, 3. Joe Cline; Open Wheel Modifieds — 1. Steve Mullinax, 2. Michael Asberry, 3. David Flowers; Mini Stock — 1. John Ross, 2. Dustin Stephens, 3. Joseph Howell; Front Wheel Drive — 1. Jonathan Norris, 2. Seth Smith, 3. JD Rector; Chevette — 1. Ronnie Choate Jr, 2. Stephen Fields, 3.Don Pollard.

Tonight, Wartburg Speedway runs a full card of racing including SLM, Sportsman, Pure Street, Pure Mini and Front Wheel Drive. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). Saturday, racing at Crossville Raceway with SLM, LLM, Street Stock, Mini Stock and FWD starts at 7 p.m. Next Tuesday, Crossville Raceway will host the Ray Cook’s Southern Nationals with a $3,500 SLM race. Also included in the night’s program will be LLM, OWM, SS, MS and FWD. Racing begins at 7 p.m.

Get off that couch and bring the family out to a local dirt track and support the local racers. You may just see the next Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart on his way up.

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