PERRIS — When Perris Auto Speedway kicks off its 26th season of racing this Saturday night, March 19, with the PASSCAR Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stocks along with the IMCA Modifieds and Sport Compacts, a tradition will return to the track. At intermission, all the drivers will park their cars on the front straightaway, officials will open the crossover gates and all fans will be admitted onto the track to collect autographs and for the kids to collect free candy from the drivers. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.

The candy giveaway started about six years ago, and it has gone from a one-night idea, into a tradition at all regular races. The only shows it will not happen at in 2022 are the upcoming World of Outlaws race and November’s Oval Nationals.

“The candy giveaway/autograph session has become a PAS tradition,” promoter Don Kazarian said. “Six or seven years ago we had a race a couple of days before Halloween. A few days before the race, Shelly Wooldridge (the track’s fuel, tire, and parts supplier) suggested we have the drivers pass out candy to kids in costume at intermission.  We figured we would get 35 or 40 kids. About 200 showed up. We tried it again the next couple of years and the numbers doubled.”

Verne Sweeney meets a young fan during intermission at Perris Auto Speedway. Valley News/Charles Fawcett photo.

The candy giveaway was working well and that spawned another idea. Steven Fangmeyer, who grew up at the track and ended up being one of the most popular stock car drivers in PAS history, suggested the track try doing it at all stock car races to pump up the crowd.  Of course, since it was not around Halloween, no costumes were required. The move paid immediate dividends as the crowds grew. That led to bringing it to adding it to the sprint car races as well.

“When we tried it at our stock car shows it was all positive,” Kazarian explained.  “We then decided to try it at our sprint car shows. It worked there, too. Like the stock car shows, it resulted in an increase in our crowd size. It has also introduced a lot of new, young families coming out to the races. And those families keep coming back.”

“What other sport can kids go to, walk on the event surface, meet the athlete, get an autograph, a piece of candy, and 10-minutes later cheer for that athlete as he competes,” Kazarian continued.  “It is a unique deal, and it makes the kids want to come back. It works great for the families, the racing teams, sponsors, and the track.  It is a very big deal.

Great racing and the candy giveaway are not the only keys to the show. An entertaining, well-run program is also necessary.

“It is not all about the candy giveaway,” said the longtime promoter.  “You need to have an entertaining, well-run show. Our drivers put on great races and ideally, we like to have the whole show done in three hours or less. Every so often those plans get derailed if there is a big crash or a lot of crashes on the night, but our goal is to be done by 10:00.  A couple of the worst things you can ever see at a racetrack is a kid sleeping on the bleachers at midnight because the show has dragged on for five hours or you watch people leaving early because the show dragged on, and the kids got bored. Those kids are not going to want to come back, so we do our absolute best to keep the kids entertained and get them in and out in a decent amount of time.”

Advance tickets for the first three months of racing at Perris Auto Speedway are on sale now. Fans can order the tickets online at www.tix.com/ticket-sales/pas/7 or by calling 800-595-4849. Tickets for the remainder of the season will be on sale soon. For fans who do not wish to purchase tickets in advance, there will be plenty available for everyone at the gate each race night.

Tickets for next week’s season-opening event are $20 for adults. For children 6-12 it is just $5. Children 5 and under are free. The fairgrounds charges $10 for parking.

Perris Auto Speedway 2022 Schedule

March 5 – “Opening Night” LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction I – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

March 19 – PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock, IMCA Sport Compacts and IMCA Modifieds

March 26 – NOS Energy Drink World Of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars

April 2 – PASSCAR SeriesSuper Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

April 23 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction II – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

April 30 – “Sokola Shootout” AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds

May 14 – PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

May 21 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction III – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

May 28 – “Salute To Indy” AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds

June 4 – PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

June 11 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction IV – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

June 25 – “Bubby Jones/Ray Sheetz Memorial” AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds

July 2 – Fireworks Spectacular LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction V – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

Aug. 13 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction VI – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

Aug. 20 – “California Racers Hall of Fame Night” AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds

Aug. 27 – PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

Sept. 3 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction VII – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

Sept. 10 – PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

Sept. 17 – “Glenn Howard Classic” AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and Lucas Oil POWRi SOUTHWEST LIGHTNING SPRINT CARS

Sept. 24 PASSCAR Series – Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock and IMCA Sport Compacts

Oct. 1 – AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, PAS Senior/Young Guns Sprint Cars and IMCA Modifieds

Oct. 15 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction VIII – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

Oct. 22 – PASSCAR “Champions Night” Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stock, PAS Modifieds and PAS Sport Compacts

Nov. 2 – 26th Annual Heimark/Anheuser Busch Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction – Practice Night

Nov. 3 – 26th Annual Heimark/Anheuser Busch Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction AMSOIL USAC National and AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

Nov. 4 – 26th Annual Heimark/Anheuser Busch Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction AMSOIL USAC National and AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

Nov. 5 – 26th Annual Heimark/Anheuser Busch Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction AMSOIL USAC National and AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

Nov. 12 – LKQ Pick Your Part Presents: Night of Destruction IX – Demo Cross, Figure 8s, Trailer Figure 8s, Mini Stocks and Double Deckers

This schedule is subject to change.

Fans can stay up to date on track and driver news on The PAS social media efforts at the links below.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Perris-Auto-Speedway/113876798686480?ref=hl

Twitter: www.twitter.com/perrisautospdwy

Instagram: www.instagram.com/perrisautospeedway

Website: perrisautospeedway.com

Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank the following corporate partners: Ahern Equipment Rentals, All Coast Construction, Anderson Chevrolet, Battery Systems, Bud’s Tire Pro, Chris’ Hauling, City of Perris, Communication Innovations, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Ed Moore Bullet Proof Driveshaft, Flowdynamics, HD Industries, Heimark/Anheuser Busch, Hoosier Tires, Inland Rigging, Living Waters Hospice, LKQ Pick Your Part, Luke’s Transmission, Moose Racing, Pepsi-Cola, Performance Online, Pole Position, PrintItNow.com, Rainbow Bolt & Supply, Rugged Radios, Shaver Specialties, Square H, Sunoco Race Fuels, Trench Shoring, Upland Rock, Varner Construction and Vista Paint.

Submitted by Perris Auto Speedway.