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 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Originally set for AM radio broadcasting, the overwhelming support of race fans and the community to have the race on the strongest station available made the decision to change to the FM dial easier, according to officials.

Courtesy: Montana Raceway Park Media Relations

KALISPELL, Mont. (July 7, 2009)-Officials with Montana Raceway Park and Bee Broadcasting have announced that the 19th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 will now be broadcast live on The BEAR 106.3 on the FM dial.


Originally set for AM radio broadcasting, the overwhelming support of race fans and the community to have the race on the strongest station available was one of many reasons cited by both companies for the change.


“We have had so much positive feedback from fans and the community who’d like to hear the race across Western Montana, Northern Idaho, Southern Canada and here in the Flathead Valley that we felt this option would be a great way to respond to those requests,” said Montana Raceway Park general manager Justin Rody.


In addition to tuning into The BEAR 106.3 FM, race fans can log onto to catch all the action on Saturday, July 18. The track’s website will provide play-by-play throughout the Montana 200 weekend including on Saturday night beginning at 9 p.m. MST.


The Montana 200 broadcast team includes Paul Bartholomew from Motor Racing Network (MRN) and the voice of NASCAR’s Sprint Vision at each Cup race weekend, along with The Spokesman-Review newspaper’s motorsports columnist, Doug Pace, as they provide play-by-play with Montana Raceway Park’s Reed Tobol working pit road.


Gary Lewis is the two-time defending Coors Light Montana 200 champion and has already earned two main event victories in 2009 on the ASA Northwest Late Model Tour where he trails another longtime Montana 200 competitor, Brent Harris, by just six points as each driver chases the series 2009 championship.


Also expected to contend for the 200 crown will be last year’s runner-up, Mike Longton, and third place driver Shelby Thompson. Both drivers have also earned main event victories in 2009 including Longton’s Memorial Day ASA NWLMT victory in Ronan, Mont. that paid him $10,000.


Drivers will be racing for a $12,000 winner’s check during the 19th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 and may have to contend with home track stars Alex Lessor and Mark Owens for this year’s title.


Lessor leads Montana Raceway Park’s late model points standings while Owens is a past 200 champion that has always been a threat for victory each year.


Tickets for the 19th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 are on sale through the track’s website and have been selling at a brisk pace. The weekend gets started on Thursday, July 16 with an open practice session followed by the Coors Light/Kalispell Toyota FanFest featuring an on track autograph session, food, entertainment and live broadcasting over the Internet. All fan activities on Thursday are free to the public.


Friday, July 17 will see competitors qualify and race in their respective heat races and includes a Westward Bound Construction Legends event.


Saturday’s schedule includes a last chance race for late model drivers that have not secured a starting position in the 24-car field and another exciting Legends car main event prior to the green flag for the 19th Annual running of the famed Montana 200.


For tickets and other information log onto or call (406) 257-RACE (7223).

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.