Monticello Raceway will present its 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace on Tuesday, Jan. 21, in spite of the fact that the nation will celebrate Dr. King's birthday the day before.
"Since we don't race on Sundays and there's no live racing on Monday, Jan. 20, it was decided that we will honor Dr. King's memory on Tuesday, Jan. 21,” said Eric Warner, the track's director of racing.
The Dr. King Pace will be the first of eight races offered for drivers of different ethnicities throughout the season in the Mighty M's Heritage Drivers Series-2014.
The Dr. King Pace, which features the talents of African-American drivers, was first presented in 2001 and although the raceway was initially reticent to showcase this event the results have been a win-win situation, not only for the raceway, but for the African-American community as well.
"It will once again be our pleasure to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a race named in his honor. Over the years the Dr. King Pace has proved to be an event that is looked forward to by the participating drivers and by many racing fans,” Warner added. "Last year we had a very competitive race and the competition was enjoyed by everyone.”
The 2013 Dr. King Pace was won by Dennis Watson when he reined Alley's Delight to a 2:04.2 on the brutally cold and windy race card. Although Watson had previously driven in seven other Dr. King Paces, that was first victory in the event.
Watson is expected to return to defend his crown and will undoubtedly be joined by other locals including Cedric Washington, Bobby "Boonie” Williams Jr. and Paul Moore.
Warner is currently in the process of seeking drivers to compete in the upcoming event.
"We've got a good start but we'll still need eight drivers to fill the race,” Warner added. "And the winner of this race will join the winners of each of the other Heritage Drivers Series preliminary legs in the events final later in the fall.”
Any driver of African-American descent who might be interested in competing in this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace is urged to contact Warner in the race office at Monticello Raceway by calling (845)794-4100 x557 or the track's publicity office at ext. 455. (Monticello)