Magic Valley Speedway            
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Season Opener

As much as drivers and fans look forward to the start of a new season Saturday night, the most widely recognized name in auto racing will also celebrate a return to Magic Valley Speedway.

NASCAR is back at the Twin Falls track after a three-year absence. Terry Buell, associate promoter and track announcer at MVS said the return of the sanctioning body will be a dynamic addition to what already promises to be an exciting season.

"NASCAR recognized that Magic Valley Speedway was an elite weekly series track and admired our continued success even through difficult economic times," Buell said. "They really wanted the track back as a NASCAR home track and part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The addition of NASCAR brings even more credibility and fan recognition."

Whelen Engineering, manufacturer of emergency lighting systems, sponsors the All-American Weekly Racing Series at more than 50 tracks in the United States and Canada. Magic Valley Speedway is the only track in Idaho with NASCAR affiliation, meaning the feature series (Mr. Gas Late Models) champion is a good bet to be honored at the year-end banquet as state champion.

"However, they'll also be competing against others across the nation for the national championship," said Buell. "These important competitions will be played out each and every Saturday night, and drivers, family, friends and fans are all a part of it."

As a former NASCAR champion himself, MVS owner Eddy McKean knows first-hand the appeal

of an invitation to a

NASCAR banquet.

"They treat you like royalty, it's pretty cool to go," McKean said. "This year the Mr. Gas Late Models drivers are racing for a $10,000 points fund. That sounds pretty good, too."

Along with the Late Models, MVS will feature the Budweiser Super Stocks, Brennan's Carpet Pony Stocks, Quale's Electronics Hornets and Jr. Stingers. The Street Stocks will be welcoming a new sponsor, Project Filter.

MVS also introduces two new divisions this season in the Thunderdogs and the Quale's Electronics Pro Hornets. The Thunderdogs will include "themed" vehicles of any body style, challenging each other in virtually uninhibited competition. The Pro Hornets will be made up of drivers who have experience built up in either the Hornets division or another class.

Traveling series such as the Intermountain Pro Trucks, Legends, Pro 4's and Vintage Sprints will again make the rounds at MVS this season. A new addition to visiting series appearances will be the Winged Sprint Cars, scheduled for seven events at MVS this year.

The open-wheeled Modifieds, once a staple at MVS, are scheduled for a 150-lap event July 30.

Among the newest happenings for the 2011 season is a demolition derby, "flying" bus and other mayhem scheduled for May 14. On Aug. 13, MVS fans can experience a blast from the past as former track champions race Hornet cars for additional bragging rights.

Ticket prices at the gate start at $11 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12. Children under 5 are admitted free. Family ticket packages are also available. Seniors and military personnel receive  $2 off any event.

Gates open at 4 p.m. today with green flag racing slated for 6.