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NASCAR drivers headed to Thomas County Speedway

COLBY -- There's a buzz going around Colby and the northwest Kansas region.

As a track promoter, sometimes that can be scary for Jeff Carney to hear. Most of the time, the buzz can be in the form of complaints.

Not this time, though. Instead, it's all good news Carney is hearing.

Rightfully so, as Thomas County Speedway will feature two NASCAR legends in the making July 20.

Kenny Schrader -- who has raced at RPM Speedway in Hays, including previously this year -- will be on hand to help S&W Supply continue to celebrate its 80th anniversary.

Along for the ride will be Kenny Wallace, a colorful character with vast knowledge of many types of racing. Both will be piloting modifieds for the Sunday night show.

"I'm hearing a lot of good buzz," Carney said. "A lot of people are excited. They were excited when they heard Kenny Schrader was going to be there, and then they really got excited when they heard Kenny Wallace was going to be there."

Races are set to begin at 7 p.m. July 20. Hot laps start at 6 p.m. The two drivers will be available for a time prior to racing to sign autographs. They'll also be available after the night of racing is complete.

Carney said organizers also are planning a car show in conjunction with the two drivers' arrival.

"I'm a little bit nervous," Carney said. "I hope things go off well. It's not every day you get two guys like that here."

Tickets are $15 for adult grandstand admission, and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Those 5 and younger are free. Pit passes are $30 for the night.

The divisions competing that night will be the modifieds, stocks, sport mods and hobby stocks.

Carney said there will be added money in each of the payouts. Modifieds will be racing for up to $1,000 to win, and stock cars will be racing for up to $750. Hobby stocks and sport compacts could see winners taking home as much as $500.

"We've added money to the purse for all IMCA classes," Carney said. "We're going to run a graduated purse. The more cars in each division, the higher the payout."

The track underwent a few cosmetic changes prior to the 2014 season, and the competition has been fierce at times.

Carney's hoping Wallace and Schrader will make for a good turnout July 20.

"We're excited about them," he said. "How often do you get two legendary drivers to come to the middle of nowhere in Kansas? A lot of people will get to see them in their hometown, as opposed to driving 400 miles to see them."

Before the two NASCAR drivers arrive, the speedway will host an enduro race at 7 p.m. Saturday. After the July 20 event, the track will host races Aug. 10 and the Jeff Hartwell Memorial Aug. 24. Races start at 7 p.m. each night.

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net