The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 2, 2012

UBB Miners Memorial Race Friday

Miners lost two years ago in the Upper Big Branch disaster will be fondly remembered Friday night at Beckley Motorsports Park.

The 29 names will be read in a special ceremony, and many family members and friends will be in attendance for the second annual UBB Miners Memorial Race.

Last year’s inaugural event was held at the now-closed Princeton Speedway.

“When Princeton shut down, we were asked by the two gentlemen who put the race on (Robbie Cyrus and Keith Bowling) if we would take it, and we agreed,” BMP track manager Joe Jackson said.

“Beckley’s a fitting place for the race. The tragedy occurred here in Raleigh County.”

Three dollars from every ticket sold will go to the UBB Miners Memorial Fund in Whitesville.

The night has picked up several sponsorships, and the track has printed T-shirts and will sell them. Those proceeds will also go to the Miners Memorial Fund.

Following the opening hot laps and qualifying heat races, action will stop and the names of the 29 UBB miners will be announced. Some songs will be played and family members will be recognized.

“It will not be a long ceremony,” Jackson said. “We don’t want it to be a sad night, but we do want to remember the tragedy and the miners we lost.”

Racing will then continue. The big feature is the UBB Memorial Fastrak Crate Late Models race, which will pay $2,900 to win.

“This is a ‘topless’ race. The drivers will take the roofs off their cars,” Jackson said. “You’ll be able to see them steering and changing gears. It opens up a little more for the fans, and gets them more involved.”

Losing the tops is not a safety issue, Jackson emphasized.

“The roll cage is still there, and the drivers are still seat-belted in,” he said. “The roof is just a thin piece of fiberglass.”

Fireworks will also be part of the show. Gates open at 4 p.m., followed by the drivers meeting at 6:45 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.

General admission is $15. Kids 5 and under are admitted free. Pits passes are $30 per person.

Current points leaders at BMP include Greg Pierce (Street Stocks), Rick Williams (Late Models), Joe Cox (Modifieds), Mike Faykus (Crates), Will Brogan (Outlaw Streets) and Wade Skaggs (Hornets).

— E-mail: dstillwell@register-herald.com

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