Kyle Larson and SLC Promotions named new promoters at Silver Dollar Speedway

Kyle Larson and SLC Promotions named new promoters at Silver Dollar Speedway

CHICO — Chico motorhead enthusiast Dennis Gage has promoted numerous events across Northern California for nearly 40 years. Gage, 72, has raced sprint cars since he was 16 years old and has been the lead promoter at Silver Dollar Speedway for the last 10 years — prior to that helping out at events for 30 years. Three years ago when Gage signed a contract to continue promoting events at Silver Dollar Speedway he knew it would probably be his last.

Gage said he had been considering retirement for several years. After an initial person interested had trouble qualifying for the promoter position with the fairgrounds, three-time World of Outlaw NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Champion Brad Sweet contacted Gage and talks progressed. Sweet talked with his brother-in-law Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, and the two along with regional racer Colby Copeland became extremely interested in taking on the promoter role.

Gage knew the group was qualified, had the resources, had the energy, was equipped to deal with a race track locally and knew they would be a big asset for the Chico Community.

On Saturday the Silver Dollar Speedway announced in a press release that Gage, who also runs the Marysville Raceway, is officially retiring from his position as Silver Dollar Speedway promoter.. Larson, Sweet and Copeland have teamed up to become the new promoters of Silver Dollar Speedway as part of the newly formed Sweet Larson Copeland Promotions.

NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers and Northern California products Brad Sweet, left, and Kyle Larson at the 2013 Gold Cup Race of Champions at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway in September 2013. (Contributed Photo)

Sweet Larson Copeland Promotions has promoted several races across Northern California but have never taken on a full lease at a race track. The group plans to revamp the area of the speedway between the entrance and the grandstands, including having live music and a community-theme to give big to a local charity each week. It also plans to add to the Gold Cup experience while keeping many existing traditions alive.

The press release from SLC Promotions stated that the group will attend the Promoters Workshop in Reno, Nevada in December to “strategize a stimulating 2022 race schedule.”

“The Gold Cup used to be a lot bigger. 410 racing in California has kind of struggled recently so that event has kind of seen a direct hit because of that. Our goal is to kind of rebuild that,” Sweet said. “Help rebuild 410 racing a little bit, provide a great spot for the racers and help to build Gold Cup back up. Provide that fun experience and atmosphere that the fans remember and enjoy. We’re young, enthusiastic and have a lot of great ideas.”

  • Brad Sweet takes a turn during the final day of the 65th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at the Silver Dollar Speedway on Saturday, September 8, 2018 in Chico, California. (Bill Husa/Enterprise-Record)

  • Colby Copeland races around the Silver Dollar Speedway on Friday, June 28, 2019 in Chico, California. (Matt Bates/Enterprise-Record)

  • Sprint cars race around Silver Dollar Speedway during the opening night for the 66th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 in Chico, California. (Matt Bates/Enterprise-Record)



Sweet, who races with the World of Outlaws, mentioned how he and Larson has seen a lot of different successful events across the country and there are things at the raceway in Chico the trio wants to implement.

“We want to keep some of the traditions that help make Gold Cup Gold Cup, so it’s a balancing act for sure,” Sweet added.

Larson and Sweet remain focused on their respective full-time racing careers, Sweet will oversee day-to-day operations at Silver Dollar Speedway, and Copeland will be the general manager of promoting events at weekly races at the speedway. Copeland will serve as the liaison between the promoters, drivers and fans. Sweet also mentioned that track announcer Troy Hennig will also play a larger role in years past.

“Troy is a very important part of Silver Dollar Speedway. He’s invested a lot of his life’s work and time into Silver Dollar Speedway so we’re excited to do a lot of work with Troy,” Sweet said. “We’re taking a lot of advice and we’re going to give him a position where he can spread his wings and fly a little more. I think he’s a guy that knows what the race fans are looking for, he’s a got a great reputation and he’s very fan-friendly.”

Sweet, 35, grew up in Grass Valley, while Larson, 29, grew up in Elk Grove. Copeland, 29, grew up in Roseville and has promoted several recent races at nearby Cycleland Speedway. Larson and Sweet have a combined 14 sprint car victories at the dirt track in Chico, less than two hours from their respective hometowns.

“Even though you think you’re doing it, you don’t have the same energy level you have when you started it. I’m excited because these kids bring that. They’re going to want to do stuff, they’re going to want to do it right, they’ll spend the money to do it right,” Gage said. “Those are the things that are going to make this place better, that are going to make it more exciting, that are going to make it more attractive. They’re going to put more money in the community. All those are things that are going to be positive for this situation.”

Sweet said he and his team know they have a lot of work to do and all of their ideas will not happen overnight.

“We’re going to start at the beginning and hopefully work our way to the top,” Sweet said. “They’ve given us the opportunity to go out and prove ourselves and as long as we’re doing our job the terms of the lease will go very long if we can hold our end of the bargain up. I think we all want the same thing.”

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