Short Track Roundup (01/28/98)

28 January 1998

Mobile, AL - It was a quiet weekend around the short tracks of the country
as it seems most series and teams are busily preparing for the onslaught
that is come as Speedweeks approaches. Despite the lack of on-track action,
or maybe because of it, there was plenty of news coming out of the teams as
they get ready for the upcoming season.

The Southern All Stars Super Dirt Late Models made their 1998 debut at
Golden Isle Speedway in Brunswick, GA where the fastest car did not win the
race. Scott Bloomquist appeared to have the field covered but his
driveshaft left with two laps to go and Freddie Smith inherited the lead
and the win. Skip Arp finished in second with Bart Hartman running third.

The other racing action was at Hialeah Speedway, FL where the final race of
the Florida Race of Champions Triple Crown was held. Jeff Underwood took
the win in dominating fashion with Tim Harrington second and Bobby
Beauchemin third. Johnny Kay took the points Championship.

There will be plenty of action on the short tracks during Daytona
Speedweeks as Volusia County Speedway will start things off with the season
opener for the NASCAR All-Pro Series and then follow on with Late Models,
Sprints, Modifieds and Supermodifieds for the rest of the week. Action on
both the dirt and asphalt tracks will be non-stop all week and there
promises to be some great racing as the teams see the two new tracks for
the first time. 

Just down the coast a short way, New Smyrna Speedway will have Late Models
running every night of the week as they feature the World Series of Asphalt
Stock Car Racing. Plenty of the bigger names have already signed up
including Freddie Query, Dick Anderson and Jimmy Cope.

East Bay Speedway in Tampa, FL will begin the week with Late Models as both
STARS and Hav-A-Tampa will be in town. Then as the week goes on the All
Star Circuit of Champions will move in from Volusia County to finish out
the festivities. 

Lake City Speedway will host the debut of the brand new Northern All Stars
Late Models on the first weekend of Speedweeks. This track has changed
hands and the new management is really working hard to bring in the type of
racing that fans love to see. Also in Lake City will be the Modifieds as
Columbia Motorsports Park puts on their annual race for the open wheels.

Another series that will make its season debut will be the National Late
Model Sportsman Southern Dirt Tour who will travel to Thunderbowl Speedway
in Valdosta, GA for the ‘Road to Daytona’.

Fans of Rick Eckert will be able to see him racing in both the STARS and
Hav-A-Tampa shows as well as at Daytona itself as he gets behind the wheel
of Raye Vest’s ARCA car.

Kim Shaver, who served as NASCAR Goodies Dash Series Director will now be
found at Orange County Speedway in Winston-Salem, NC where he has been
named Competition Director.

There is yet another Late Model series being formed in the Ohio, West
Virginia, Pennsylvania area called the National Spec Racing Series. The
brainchild of former STARS Race Director Doc Dixon the series will run
steel block motors. 

It appears that there will be yet another Conley on the eastern Late Model
scene as Ed Conley is teaming up with son Corey to run a Bullitt chassis
and an Emery Racing Engines motor for 1998. No word yet on where they
intend to run.

Hagerstown Speedway, MD celebrates its 51st Anniversary this year and will
do it in style with a STARS/Hav-A-Tampa doubleheader with a big bonus for
the driver that can win both races.

On the sprint car side of the ledger, Lance Blevins will run the Pennzoil
World of Outlaws trail with Up Front Phonecards as his major sponsor.

Danny Lasoski has a new crew chief for his Beefpackers ride as Mark Ellis
has signed on to turn the wrenches.

Look for Billy Pauch to be in Florida for Speedweeks at both Volusia and
East Bay in the Zemco 1Z ride as Dave Calaman has stepped in to help get
the car ready.

Craig Dollansky is out looking for a sponsor and equipment as Mr Wahlie has
decided to pull back from being a full time car owner, preferring the role
of associate better. The team will now be the Dollansky/Campbell
Motorsports team and Marshall Campbell will be the other half of the
equation.

Garry Brazier, who will drive the #75 MOPAR car for Stanton Racing on the
World of Outlaws trail is third in the Australia Sprint Car Poll with other
s like Fred Rahmer, Todd Shaffer, Brent Kaeding and Randy Hannigan also
showing well. Skip Jackson and Brooke Tatnell top the standings.

NAMARS has announced that it will expand its rookie program for 1998 with
the top greenhorn getting $1500 along with a Design 500 uniform. Second
through fourth will also receive cash awards.

This weekend sees the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway
with the SCRA Sprints, Midgets, Silver Crown and Southwest Tour cars all
competing on the one mile track. The 1998 season opener for the Hav-A-Tampa
series will take place this weekend as well at Cordele Speedway, GA. Racing
season is well and truly underway so now is the time to begin heading for
your local short tracks and watching some of the best racing action around.
If you miss anything we will be back next week for another roundup. Have a
ball, Ya’ll!

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel

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