TEXAS CITY, Texas — It's more than obvious every time they take to the track. When race fans see a pack of snarling 360 Sprint cars rolling out onto the speedway, they know they're in for a show. There's just something about a high-horsepower, lightweight rocket blasting around an oval that gets us going.
For 35-year-old lifelong race fan Chris Walters, the love for Sprint car racing runs deep. This year, he's focused a ton of effort on resurrecting the ASCS Gulf South Region, and it's coming together for him. Walters and a host of well-known drivers will take the green flag on July 22 at Texana Raceway Park.
“I can't describe how good it feels to have so much support out there,” Walters said. “There are a bunch of guys who've run 360 Sprints for years already on board. I'm excited about our opener at Texana, and I'm thrilled that Mary Ann created a working date for us on September 30 at Cotton Bowl Speedway.
“I'm hoping to line up one more race for this fall, then we'll focus on putting together a full 10 to 12 race schedule for 2024. It really helps that we have PipelineMD on board as title sponsor for next year, and we're working to add a few more potential marketing partners. I'm very pleased with our progress.”
You've seen some of the guys who plan to run this series compete all over the state this year.
“Former Sprint car standout Ray Allen Kulhanek is planning to run some with us,” Walters said. “He's always exciting to watch, and we have Channin Tankersly coming, as well. That's just a couple of the more recognizable names; I'm sure there will be others as we get closer. I think we'll have a good field.”
Walters has been around the sport nearly all of his life. He's been working inside the sport for years.
“I got involved about five or six years ago on the promotional side out of a love for this type of racing,” he explained. “My Mom was at the races while she carried me; so they say I was at the track from before I was even born. I've had a love for it as long as I can remember, so this is natural for me.
“Working with track promoters to develop a schedule; talking with drivers and team owners, and trying to bring more companies on board to support our efforts are all tasks I enjoy. Working with people in this industry can be rewarding, as long as you're honest and do what you say you'll do. I do enjoy it.”
Walters has seen this package come together in a relatively short time frame.
“I only got started putting the pieces in place in late April and early May,” he explained. “So it's really been just a few months in the planning stages. I'm floored with the progress we've made. I think we'll have that third race for this year soon, and it's looking like 2024 will be solid. I'm very fortunate.”
The American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) is the largest sprint car sanctioning body in the world. With the National series supported by numerous regional tours, fans can catch all the excitement of an ASCS Sprint Car race at racetracks throughout the United States.
The top winged sprint car drivers across the country compete in ASCS competition, with the best of the best gunning for that precious and prestigious ASCS National Championship.
RaceOnTexas covers events at Texana Raceway Park and Cotton Bowl on a regular basis, so chances are you'll see Walters and his loyal race teams doing their thing on our platform soon. It's just another added bonus for Texas Sprint car fans, thanks to the efforts of Chris Walters and the support of many.
Owen Pittman, the 2020 Texas Short Track Promoter-of-the-Year, has been promoting Texana Raceway Park now for a few years, and says he's ready to host the series opener on July 22.']
“We're excited to have the Gulf South region back in action,” Pittman said. “I couldn't be more excited to see 360 Sprint cars back on the track southern Texas. They always put on a hell of a show at Texana Raceway Park, so to have them kick off their return at Texana is pretty cool.
“ASCS Gulf South brought us drivers like Jason Johnson, Aaron Reutzel and Ray Allen Kulhanek. I look forward to seeing the drivers they'll be able to produce in the future.”
As we get even closer to the opener at Texana, Walters says the excitement is still building.
“I was lucky to be able to watch this kind of racing every week growing up as a kid, and you just don't see that any more,” he added. “I have nothing against Modifieds, SportMods, Factory Stock or any of the other classes that dirt tracks run weekly. I just get more excited when the 360 Sprints roll out.
“I think a lot of other fans in this state share that same passion I've always had for them. So I'm hoping they'll come on out to Texana or Cotton Bowl later this fall to check us out. The 360s are fast, they're loud, but they aren't as expensive or high-strung as the mighty 410s. They can really put on a show.”
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer