QUINCY -- Ken Dobson can feel the excitement building.
"I can tell people are starting to get in the mood," he said. "I can tell by the conversations I'm having and the texts and emails that are coming in."
Dobson, the fourth-year promoter at Quincy Raceways, says the first true harbinger of the approaching dirt-track season can be found Saturday at the Quincy Mall.
The mall hosts its annual Quincy Raceways Stock Car Show, providing local race enthusiasts with their first glimpse at an assortment of this year's cars and drivers.
"Fans will have the chance to not only look over some of the cars, but also talk with drivers and track officials," Dobson said. "We'll also have season tickets and schedules available."
The show runs during regular mall hours, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Another part of Saturday's race-related activity will be the annual awards dinner in the Community Room at the mall. That event starts at 7 p.m., and should be over by 8:30 p.m., Dobson said.
Quincy Raceways opens its 43rd season April 2, highlighted by the May 7 running of the Scottie 43 late-model special. The race is an annual tribute to track founder, the late Albert Scott, and his family. The Scotts owned and operated the 0.29-mile track from 1975 through January 2007.
Another key race night will be July 3, when the UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour returns to Quincy. The $5,000-to-win event is the richest date on this year's schedule.
Several other specials are part of the 2017 schedule, including $2,000-to-win late-model events June 18 and Sept. 10.
This year will see the introduction of crate late models to the track schedule on a semi-regular basis. Crate late models have been gaining in popularity in recent years at other Midwest tracks, and Dobson says they could be a key division at Quincy Raceways in years to come.
"We're looking for the crate late models to take off like sport mods did a few years ago," he said.
Sport mods had the highest average weekly car count in 2016 at Quincy Raceways.
Defending track champs are Denny Woodworth (late models), Dave Wietholder (modifieds), Abe Huls (stock cars), Nathan Bringer (sport mods) and Kim Abbott (sport compacts).