116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — Three years ago when the Dripps family took over management of the “Bullring” at Benton County Speedway, they knew they had several projects to complete just to get the track looking and feeling the way they felt it should.
“We've made so many improvements, particularly with the pits and the racing surface, and we've just about got done with what we need,” said Rick Dripps, general manager of the Benton County landmark.
In the offseason, the Dripps — Kim, Corey and Suzanne form the rest of the team — built a new pit shack as well as cleaning and painting the grandstands, along with installing aluminum flooring and seating in the concessions area.
“We want to have good racing and entertainment for the fans, but we want to make this a community social event,” Dripps said. “We're going to do that by several methods.”
After back-to-back rainouts, the BCS season will open Sunday. Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 5:30, racing at 6.
Beyond aesthetics, the Dripps are adding conveniences like several TVs so fans won't have to miss any action. They also are catering to the youth in their fan base with Kim searching for and buying Big Wheels from all over the Midwest so the track can provide them for the kids when they do their front stretch races several times throughout the summer.
The schedule is jam-packed with the Legends division joining the weekly festivities, in part because Rick finds it to be an excellent class for beginner and veteran drivers.
“People just don't have the time or help to maintain a sophisticated racecar,” Dripps said.
That lack of time is why the Dripps want to ensure fans get the most bang for their buck when attending the races.
“We'll have three Late Model specials, two Stock Car specials, a couple of demos and both the AIRS and sprint cars returning,” Dripps said. “We want to get people back to the races who haven't come to see us in a while.”
Having already battled COVID-19, government regulations and the economy over their first two seasons in charge, Rick said “this year we will be successful if we can maintain both our driver and fan counts with tire and gas prices through the roof.”
If they can do both, they are confident all involved will be pleased with their product.
“We wanted to make a difference and get more people involved while providing a top-notch racing facility for people to come to,” Dripps said. “We've been achieving that and are seeing some positive results thanks to all of the support of the people willing to do anything to help it grow.”