Utah Grand Prix leaves winter in its dust

Apr 25 2012 - 5:35pm

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(Photo courtesy Miller Motorsports Park/Jeremy Henrie)
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be the headline attraction at Miller Motorsports Park’s Utah Grand Prix this weekend.
(Photo courtesy Miller Motorsports Park/Jeremy Henrie)
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be the headline attraction at Miller Motorsports Park’s Utah Grand Prix this weekend.

TOOELE VALLEY -- After a long winter with no racing activity, Miller Motorsports Park is getting ready for its first major event of 2012, this weekend's Utah Grand Prix.

The April 27-29 event will feature six racing series, with a wide variety of racing machinery that will contest 13 races over the course of the weekend.

Headlining the event will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, a development series populated with both veterans and up-and-coming talent trying to make their way to the upper echelons of NASCAR racing. This will be one of only four road-course races for the stock car warriors this season.

Supporting races will be provided by the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge Championship, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, the Pacific F2000 Championship and the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West.

"We're very excited to welcome back the fans and racers for the 2012 Utah Grand Prix," said John Larson, general manager of MMP. "This year's lineup offers an amazing variety of vehicles, from open-wheel formula cars to sports cars and NASCAR stock cars, with races on three different track configurations. Plus, there will be lots of off-track fun for families throughout the weekend, so we're very much looking forward to it."

Variety will be the name of the game for the weekend, with the NASCAR stock cars playing counterpoint to all manner of road racing machinery. The Pirelli World Challenge Championship features four classes of sports coupes and sedans, ranging from Corvettes, Vipers, Cadillacs and Volvos to Mustangs, Camaros, Hondas, BMWs and Kias. The new World Challenge B-Spec class, for race-prepped economy cars like Honda Fits, Fiat 500s, Kia Rios and Mazda 2s, will make its national debut. The GT and GTS classes will race together on the 3.048-mile Outer Course, while the Touring Car and B-Spec classes will race together on the 2.2-mile West Course.

The IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship features single-seat, open-cockpit, closed-wheel prototypes, while the Pacific F2000 Championship offers single-seat, open-cockpit open-wheel formula cars. The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West are both series for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, the IMSA series for professional racers while the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West is a regional semi-professional series.

There will be a large number of local racers competing over the weekend. Madison Snow, a 16-year-old from Pleasant Grove who made news last year by winning two races in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge's Gold Class, has moved up to the Platinum class while his mother, multi-time championship-winning racer Melanie Snow, will race in the Gold Class.

Dan McKeever of Grantsville, the director of Performance Schools for Miller Motorsports Park, will race a Ford Mustang Boss 302S entered by Roger Miller's Miller Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship. Michael Self of Park City, a product of the karting programs at MMP, will return in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driving in a development team for Richard Childress Racing.

Other local racers include Ben Crosland, a 20-year-old from Salt Lake City, who will also drive a Mustang in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship; Tom Felt of Springfield, Utah, who will drive a Honda S2000 in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship; Sloan Urry, a 19-year-old from Park City, who will race in the Platinum Class in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge; and Ian Lacey of Tooele, who will race in the Pacific F2000 Championship.

Also, the winner of MMP's CenturyLink National Anthem Contest will sing the National Anthem prior to the start of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on Saturday.

Off the track, there will be lots of fun activities for fans including karting at the Miller Kart Track, rides on Utah's only electro-mechanical Zip Line, autograph sessions with the racers, stunt bike demonstrations and more. In addition, the MMP Clubhouse will be open to everyone for an after-party called "Clubhouse After Dark" on Saturday evening.

General admission tickets for the Utah Grand Prix are priced at $25 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday.

Admission on Friday is free to everyone. Kids aged 12 and under are free throughout the weekend. Tickets are available from the box office at Miller Motorsports Park or online at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.

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