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Southwest Speedway sets 2009 schedule

The summer race schedule at the Southwest Speedway will be a bit lighter, but could have more flavor.

Pending the finalization of a few plans, the Roughrider Racing Association set plans for 11 nights of racing between May 16 and Aug. 29.

The schedule includes 10 nights of regular racing -- two less than last season -- and the 20th annual Dakota Classic Modified Tour.

Key dates on the schedule include the Mid-Season Championship on the Fourth of July, the DCMT on Thursday, July 16, a Late Model Showcase alongside the regular races on Saturday, July 25 and the Season Championships on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The Harvest Shootout is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4 and 5.

RRA president Dale Burwick said the hope is for the Late Model Showcase -- which has not been finalized, -- to be a two-day event where the Southwest Speedway would partner with Basin Speedway in Williston and lure Late Model drivers from the eastern side of North Dakota, as well as those from South Dakota and Wyoming for two additional nights of racing.

"Usually they're running Friday nights at their home tracks," Burwick said. "This would give them a little touring option. We're looking at giving them a bigger payout."

The Harvest Shootout dates were switched from a Saturday-Sunday format to a Friday-Saturday format for the benefit of fans.

While no start times for races have been set, the plan is to start the Saturday show earlier in the day, which would allow the feature races to be longer.

"We're going to try and mix it up a little bit this year," Burwick said.

Burwick added that officials are finalizing two rule changes that could make races faster and more enjoyable for fans.

Officials will now limit the number of cautions allowed for each car, which should help pick up the pace of some races.

Another change that should help make races better for fans is that all cars in each class must now be fitted with transponders that allow them to listen to instructions from officials in the crows nest.

"We're not trying to punish drivers or anything," Burwick said. "We're just trying to speed the program along. We feel we have way too much time spent out there running caution laps."

Southwest Speedway 2009 season schedule

Sat., May 16 Regular races

Sat., May 30 Regular races

Sat., June 6 Regular races

Sat., June 13 Regular races

Sat., June 20 Regular races

Sat., July 4 Mid-Season Championship

Thurs., July 16 Dakota Classic Modified Tour

Sat., July 25 Late Model Showcase*

Sat., Aug. 15 Regular races

Fri., Aug. 21 Regular races

Sat., Aug. 29 Season Championship

Fri., Sept. 4 Harvest Shootout

Sat., Sept. 5 Harvest Shootout

Sun., Sept. 6 Rainout date

*Tentatively scheduled