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Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial to Return to Salem

The 500 Sprint Car Tour will visit Salem Speedway for the first time in 2024, while the Joe James/Pat O'Connor Memorial returns to the historic track.


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Officials with the 500 Sprint Car Tour, in conjunction with Salem Speedway, have announced that the series will make its first trip to the historic Southern Indiana track in 2024. The event will also see the return of the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial to Salem Speedway after a short hiatus that saw the event being held at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. The event is set for Saturday, September 7th.

“We are really excited and honored to be able to have the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial return and have the 500 Sprint Car Tour at Salem Speedway in 2024,” remarked Salem Speedway owner Nick Bohanon. “I’m an open wheel racer, so it was one of my priorities when I purchased Salem to get Sprint cars and the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial back to the High Banks! We appreciate the 500 Sprint Car Tour giving us the opportunity to host one of their events, Sprint cars and open wheel racing are a huge part of the history here at Salem!”

The Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial is the second longest running pavement sprint car race in the world behind the Little 500. After traditionally being held at Salem Speedway, with the exception of a few years when the race was held on dirt, the race was held this past season at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park as a 500 Sprint Car Tour sanctioned event. The series will continue to sanction the historic event as it goes back to its home track for the first time since 2020.

“We are very excited to not only be going to Salem Speedway, but to be bringing the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial back to Salem, Indiana,” said Jared Owen - 500 Sprint Car Tour Series Director. “We can't say enough thanks to everyone at Lucas Oil IRP for their willingness to continue the history of this great event. With that being said, we are beyond excited to have the two most historic pavement sprint car races in the world on our schedule, and to be running them, now, at their home tracks.”

Salem Speedway has undergone major improvements since the last time the Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial was completed there. Some of the improvements include new safety lights around the track, a new scoreboard, as well as major improvements to the racing surface and the track lighting. Salem’s continued commitment to not only non-wing pavement sprint car racing, but to preserving the history of their facility, has driven the desire of fans and drivers alike to return to the high banked oval.

Continuing on a trend set in 2023, the USSA Kenyon Midget Series will once again be traveling with the 500 Sprint Car Tour as a companion series. Competing on the smaller, quarter mile configuration at Salem, the Kenyon Midget group will make their debut at the track as the series continues to further the development of open wheel talent across the Midwest. This will be one of many events in 2024 that the Kenyon Midget Series will run in conjunction with a 500 Sprint Car Event.

Once available, more information on the 500 Sprint Car Tour 2024 season can be found online at 500SprintCarTour.com and via social media on Facebook, Twitter (X), and Instagram. Furthermore, more information and updates on the 2024 season at Salem Speedway can be found online at SalemSpeedway.com and via social media posts on the Salem Speedway Facebook Page.

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