(LEHIGHTON, PA. 1-23-20) When the 2020 Mahoning Valley Speedway race schedule was released, drivers of the Street Stock division were pleasantly surprised to see the return of the Mike Krempasky Street Stock Tribute race on Saturday evening, July 25.
Mike passed away unexpectedly on March 9, 2012. He was a popular Late Model racer at Dorney Park Speedway in Allentown and was always identified by his signature No. 19 cars.
After Dorney closed in 1986 Mike’s attention turned to Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway. At first it was as a fan but he later became a prominent car owner of the No.19 Street Stock which competed under the MKS Racing banner with TJ Gursky as his driver.
While most all in the Street Stock class opted to race with a Camaro, the MKS Team choose a Monte Carlo, one of the very few with the division. Each week the car rolled out looking picture perfect and Gursky would back up those good looks by being among the weekly front runners. The crowning moment for the team came in 2011 when the won that year’s Street Stock title.
After his passing then track promoter Floyd Santee put together a tribute race in his honor. The first installment was a 100-lapper won by Jason Frey.
Then from 2013 to 2015, the format was changed to triple 19-lap features and along with that came some thrilling races and wild finishes. The events where so well received that 30-plus cars would be the norm vying for the limited starting spots during each of those outings.
Now the Mike Krempasky Tribute is making a return and as a 91-lap main paying $1900-to-win which is among the highest payout’s ever being offered to a Street Stock winner.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I first heard about reviving my dad’s memorial race. Keith (Hoffman, track promoter) really wanted to get it done and I’m grateful and thankful to everyone at Mahoning Valley for putting this together,” said Kyle Krempasky.
“It means so much to our family. It’s really touching, especially for me. It’s going to be eight years in March that he’s gone and there’s still plenty of stories that still go around. When it came to racing – that was his life and he always got very emotional every time his car went to Victory Lane, that’s how much he loved this sport.”
The race will be a non-point event in order to allow drivers from other tracks to come in as well as giving the locals the opportunity to contest for the impressive payoff. There will be 50 “show-up” points to each driver who signs in.
“I thought that was really cool to go with the 91 lap distance. Don’t get me wrong I liked the Triple 19s and so did a lot of the guys, but this will be good too. We’ll get to see if some guys who start in the back can work their way up through the field,” added K. Krempasky.
“I heard back from a number of drivers who are excited about having the race back especially Jon Moser who was a really good friend of my dad. They were teammates when Jon won the Street Stock championship in 2008. Of course TJ (Gursky) will be back racing this year in Gerald Ripkey’s car and he’s very thrilled to see it come back too.”
Moser is a three time and reigning Street Stock track champion. Gursky’s last Mahoning win came in 2015 while still racing under the MKS banner.
K. Krempasky is a former winning driver in the Hobby Stock division and although he has not competed in the past few years as he was pursuing a degree in criminal justice, he has not ruled out himself as a possible entry.
“That would be special. The last year we had my dad’s memorial race I actually won that night in the Hobby Stock and for me it was really important because I felt even though it wasn’t class I still won his memorial race,” said K. Krempasky.
A rain date if needed for the Mike Krempasky Street Stock Tribute is in place for Saturday, August 15.
Mahoning Valley Speedway gets its season underway on Saturday, April 4 at 5:00 pm when round one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series gets underway.
The night will feature the Doug Hoffman Memorial 60 lap feature for the Modifieds plus Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks are in action too.
Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway for updated info and news. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.