MADISON and LA CROSSE – The newly-created High School Racing Association has named Jonathan Eckelberg as its first director.
The High School Racing Association (HSRA) was started in 2020 as a combined effort between La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wis. and Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. Co-founders are Chuck Deery and Gregg McKarns, who promote those two tracks respectively. The HSRA features high school-aged drivers in competition throughout the summer race season.
The group’s goal is to provide young adults with an economical way to enter stock car racing and keep younger generations interested in the sport. In addition to La Crosse and Madison, Tomah-Sparta Speedway and Rockford Speedway also hosted HSRA events in 2021.
Eckelberg grew up around stock car racing in West Salem, and currently resides in the Madison area. He raced full time at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway for 13 years before going to part time. As a driver for Eckelberg Family Racing he started in the Hornet division and worked his way through other divisions until ultimately landing in the NASCAR late model division. Eckelberg was recently appointed Director of the HSRA to grow the association to other tracks, increase driver participation and manage race schedules and point rankings.
“We already have tracks across the U. S. interested in joining the association and developing high school divisions for their fans and community,” Eckelberg said. “I’m wasting no time in communicating with new tracks and engaging with the existing member tracks to discuss what successes and challenges they’ve seen so far so we can better the experience for these young racers.”
The HSRA features American Production six-cylinder sedans with various safety enhancements. The driver’s high school colors and mascot must be incorporated into the paint scheme of the car’s roof at a minimum. Students entering their freshman year of high school, current high school students as well as those just graduating from high school, with a minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 19 are eligible to compete. A complete set of rules and regulations can be found on the Official HSRA website at highschoolracing.org.
Drivers choosing to become members of the HSRA ($20 annual membership fee) will not be charged a pit admission fee at any HSRA-sanctioned weekly event. Any student that wishes to work with a car, and possesses a valid school ID will be admitted into the pit area at the lowest rate offered each night, usually matching what a racing member is paying ($20-$25). “We have seen the potential in this style of racing through our Street Stock and 6-Shooter classes, not only at our tracks but tracks throughout the country,” said HSRA co-founder and 2000 Auto Racing Promoter of the Year Chuck Deery. “This division gives teenagers a fun and inexpensive way to become involved in auto racing. The number of teens involved in E-sports such as iRacing is tremendous, and this is a way to get them further involved in the sport they enjoy.” HSRA events take place on both dirt and asphalt oval racing tracks, no larger than a quarter of a mile in length from June through September. Each HSRA track can host up to six regular season events per season, not counting Regional or National events. The HSRA is not affiliated with any sanctioning body or bodies.
Racing facilities interested in hosting HSRA events, or students who want to learn more, are encouraged to contact Jonathan Eckelberg, HSRA Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-769-3903.