BEATRICE - To a race fan, there is truly no sweeter sign of spring, then roaring engines and the smell of burnt rubber wafting through the air, and both are set to return to southeast Nebraska this weekend.

Beatrice Speedway is ready to host the 29th annual Spring Nationals.

“We get a lot of cars from all over the United States,” track advertiser Tommy Denton said. “This is the first race of the season in the midwest, and it has been for 29 years. They’re all looking forward to get racing.”

While the event is open all classes of IMCA racing, that’s not how it started. Initially, it was just a modified car event. Denton explains…..

“Separate shows, you qualified each day, to make the Sunday show. So if you won Friday night, you’d start on the pole Sunday, same thing on Saturday, you’d start on the outside of row one,” Denton said. “Then they branched it out to the rest of the IMCA classes and that’s where we stand today.”

Despite high gas prices, Denton doesn’t anticipate a lessening of the weekend car count.

“I don’t think gas prices are going to matter,” Denton said. “These guys want to race. They’re going to come.”

Denton and the track encourage fans to come out and enjoy the racing, not only if you’re a fan, but maybe even a newbie.

“We’re back to normal. The COVID stuff, we don’t really have to worry about that right now,” Denton said. “Get out and enjoy the weather, it’s getting nice, come out to see what this is all about. Bring a friend with you, maybe it’s not for you, but if you do come, I got a feeling you’ll be hooked.”

The weekend kicks off on Thursday with practice, racing on Friday and Saturday, and pit passes are available for fans to meet their favorite drivers.

Racing begins at 5:30 PM Friday and 4:00 PM Saturday, cars will hit the track for practice at 6:00 PM Thursday.