Spence to command Alabama 200
MONTGOMERY, AL (September 08, 2011) -- The Alabama 200 at Montgomery (AL) Motor Speedway just keeps getting bigger and better. The signature event for the super fast half-mile oval has grown so much hype that not only famous drivers and race teams are coming onboard to be a part of the action. Today, Alabama 200 executives are announcing that Dan Spence, of Mobile, AL, will serve as race director for this year's version of "The 200" - a point paying race for the track's Show Me the Money Series. Spence is no stranger to the position of highest authority on race day - the position responsible for everything from ensuring fans are not in high danger zones to penalizing drivers for unsportsmanlike conduct. His resume includes NASCAR, The All Pro Super Series and more. The Alabama native is most proud of his tour of duty with the now-defunct ASA (American Speed Association) AC Delco Challenge Series. Although his history in motorsports is long and respectable, he is not exactly coming out of retirement to lead The Alabama 200. Actually, his distinct voice will assign orders to drivers and officials alike this Friday night, September 09, at Five Flags (FL) Speedway. Spence serves as full-time race director there, as well as Mobile (AL) International Speedway. The most notable mark on his career is indisputably standing atop mission control for The Annual Snowball Derby. With hundreds of cars onsite for each year's Derby vying for limited starting positions, chaos is a probability for most, but not for Spence. It is that fact that led Alabama 200 Promoter Bobby Knox to lure him to the team for the September spectacle. "I know what we want The Alabama 200 to be and I know that we need someone with Dan's experience to help make that happen," Knox said on Wednesday. "You can't dispute that he's about the most experienced and talented [race director] out there. I'm just happy that he took the job for The Alabama 200. He'll make sure our loyal fans are well entertained and our drivers are well taken care of, too. He'll help make it feel as special as it is." Currently serving as race director for The Buddy's Home Furnishings Blizzard Series, The Miller Lite Series, The Allen Turner Hyundai Series and The Midwest Cooling Towers Series, Spence is on a first-name basis with most any driver likely to enter The Alabama 200. His heavy racing affiliation might sound like a lot to juggle, but it is not enough for Spence, who is an avid race fan himself. His educational resume is just as impressive as his racing resume. Spence spends most of his weekdays teaching seventh and eight grade students and coaching junior high and high school football and basketball. Although he seems to be a man who has done it all in 41 years as a race official, Spence is easily excited by the thought of being a part of the historic race - a race that was once a vital part of The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and has been won by the likes of Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. "I'm just excited that they're keeping the race going," Spence said. "There's a long history there. The first Alabama 200 that I actually helped work was sometime in the 70's, so I've been around it for a long time. They asked me to come in and work the race; I just hope to come in and help build it into something that, you know, to reestablish it and try to keep building it for the future." When asked why he does it and why he loves it, the answer Spence gives has nothing to do with fast cars or the smell of spent racing fuel. "The biggest thing that I've enjoyed is the people," he said. "Being involved in this for so long, you meet somebody from every walk of life that exists...but they're all on equal footing [at the racetrack]. I think that really makes it interesting." Dating back to his days within The ASA AC Delco Challenge Series - a national touring series - Spence has a unique connection with Montgomery Motor Speedway. During the tour's only visit to Alabama, the racing surface began to come apart in turn one, under the strain of a unique tire brand and compound not used in any other short track series. Spence had a hand in orchestrating a concrete repair mission that would grow to be a trademark of Montgomery Motor Speedway. The patch job worked and the race was held as planned later that day. "The concrete" as the visually noticeable patch of concrete in a proverbial sea of asphalt came to be known, was even featured in lifelike video game renderings of the speedway. A 2010 repaving of the track hid much of the history of that day, opening the door for new memories to be made. Spence hopes to help make those memories priceless, but he will not do it alone. Ivo Estes, who serves as race director for regular season Show Me the Money Series events, will assist Spence on race day. Together, the pair hopes to execute a flawless thriller for what they hope to be a sellout crowd. The raw horsepower of Alabama 200 will be unleashed at 2:00 PM on Sunday, September 18, 2011, but you do not have to wait that long for the excitement of witnessing the best drivers in the country. Testing and tuning gets underway Friday, September 16, with grandstand admission free of charge to all. Saturday, September 17 is Alabama 200 Pole Qualifying Day. That is when the first 28 starting positions in the field will be up for grabs, with those not making the show scheduled for last chance races on Sunday at 12:30 PM. Only the top three last chance finishers will transfer to the grand event. Prior to qualifying - at 4:00 PM on Saturday, The Chilton County Cruisers will host a classic car show on the speedway grounds. Admission is free for spectators and car entry is open to all. More information may be obtained by contacting Ricky Easterling by telephone at (205) 389-0677. Following Pole Qualifying on Saturday evening, which kicks off at 5:15 PM, the speedway's Street Stock division will offer fans the drama of a rare 100-lap race for their mostly homemade cars. The Sportsman, Buzz, Mini-Modified and Mini-Sportsman wheelmen and wheelwomen will go door-t0-door as well. Tickets to Pole Qualifying Day, including all events, are only $15 for adults, with children aged six to 12 years admitted for only $5. Children under the age of six are admitted free. Sunday adult tickets will go on sale Friday afternoon for only $25, with children ages six to 12 admitted for $5 and those under age six welcome free. For more information, please log on to www.alabama200.com or call the speedway office at (334) 262-6101. You can also stay connected through Facebook by visiting facebook.com/montgomerymotorspeedway and clicking "like" at the top of the page, or follow on Twitter by visiting twitter.com/montspeedway.
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