As much as things change over time, Whitesville's Kentucky Motor Speedway has remained a constant in the local racing scene for more than 50 years.

With the 2019 season now underway, KMS officials and drivers are hoping this summer provides yet another chapter in the vast, tradition-rich racing history of Daviess County.

"I think we're gonna have a really good summer," said promoter Brad Payne, who took over track operations in 2012 but also previously raced there. "We have a lot of different drivers coming back, and we've got some new guys coming in. The car counts are picking up a little bit. If we can keep the crowd like the one we had Memorial Day weekend, that'd be great."

The asphalt racetrack, which opened in 1960, began its summer schedule two weeks ago, with hundreds of spectators in attendance. From now until Oct. 14, KMS will often host two racing nights per month -- all on Sundays at 5 p.m., weather permitting.

The Motorsports Festival highlights the track's schedule on Aug. 4, which will also be a night to honor military veterans.

Racing nights typically feature five or six different classes, capped off by the top tier of competition in the Sportsman class. Drivers' points are tallied up throughout the year, with a champion crowned at the end of the summer.

"Normally, on our big races, we'll get anywhere from 15 to 20 cars," Payne said. "It makes for a really good show."

Kentucky Motor Speedway's top class typically draws most of its drivers from the Louisville, southern Indiana and Nashville areas, but the track remains a proving ground for local drivers trying to get their feet off the ground.

For Evan Burch, a Whitesville native and recent graduate of Western Kentucky University, it's a family tradition.

"I started racing out here when I was 14," said Burch, 22, following a practice session Wednesday. "My family's been racing out here my whole life. My dad started in the 90s. Aunts, uncles, cousins -- about everybody in the family has raced.

"Part of it's just doing something with the family, but it's a rush once you get out there around the track."

And, Burch added, nothing compares to race nights.

"That's when it's really exciting," he said, noting that he competes nearly 10 times per year. "When you've got somebody behind you or beside you the whole time, that's when it's really fun."

Trey Duvall, a 13-year-old from Fordsville, has been racing go-karts since he was 7 but just recently began driving at the Whitesville track.

"I like going against competitors," Duvall said. "I like going fast, and it's really fun."

Duvall also pointed out a major positive for Kentucky Motor Speedway: It's the only track of its kind nearby.

Because of the track's location and the passion of the drivers involved, Payne said he thinks fans -- whether they're longtime attendees or first-time spectators -- will enjoy their time at KMS.

"My goal is for people to come here and enjoy the racing they see," he said. "I'd hate for anybody to walk out unhappy. My goal is for anyone who comes through this gate to feel like they got their dollar's worth, entertainment-wise.

"If somebody hasn't been to a stockcar race, I hope they enjoy what they see and want to come back and bring some friends. That's what it's all about. We want to provide the best entertainment possible."

General admission tickets are priced at $10, with seniors and military members receiving a discount. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $5, and kids 5 and under get in for free. Pit passes are $30 for adults and $15 for kids.

For more information, visit the KMS Facebook page or www.kentuckymotorspeedway.us.

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