Short Track Roundup (02/11/98)

11 February 1998



                SHORT TRACK ROUNDUP

        Daytona Beach, Fla. - Speedweeks 98 is in full swing here in
Florida and the surrounding area. With races every night at three or four tracks in the
Daytona area it is impossible to see all the action. The crowds for every race are large and
the fans seem not to be bothered by the unusually cool weather at night. The racers of course
are here in force from virtually every state in the union including Alaska. 

The week opened with the debut of the Northern All Stars Late Model Series
at Lake City (Fla) Speedway and Leslie Essary took the innaugural win on the series.
Finishing in second place was Ivedent Lloyd with third going to Jimmy Murphy. In the
second race the next day it was Greg Skinner who took the win with Essary second and Murphy
again in third. There were only 18 Late Models on hand for the event, a rather poor
showing for a series' initial appearance.

At Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla The All Star Circuit of
Champions opened the 1998 season with four nights of racing on the new 1/2 mile dirt oval.
Danny Lasoski dominated the first three nights as he took the wins. Lance Dewease was
second on Wednesday with Jeff Shepard third. On Thursday Joey Saldana took the second
spot with Shepard third once again. Friday night rain washed out the racing but on
Saturday Lasoski was back in Victory Lane again with Shepard second and Dean Jacobs third.
On the last night, when there was $5,000 on the line Lasoski was forced to settle for
third as Kenny Jacobs took the win and Todd Schaefer finished second. The series then
moved on to East Bay Speedway in Gibsonton, Fla. 

While the sprint cars were at Volusia, the Late Models were at East Bay and
Skip Arp wowed the crowd with a dash through the field to take the win in the
Hav-A-Tampa 100 lapper. Freddie Smith also came from the tail of the field to finish second
and Scott Bloomquist took third. The win gives Arp two wins in the first two races of
the season and an early lead in the points.


The World of Outlaws have been forced to cancel their first two races in
California at Hanford and Perris due to the torrential rain that has fallen. This means
that the series will now open on February 20-21 at Manzanita Speedway in Arizona.

The STARS Racing Series had their season opener at East Bay Speedway
postponed from Friday to Sunday due to rain, and when they finally got the 100 lap event
in it was Mike Balzano who grabbed the win with Steve Francis second and Scott Bloomquist
third.
  
In the season opening race for the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series at
Volusia Speedway Park, Wayne Anderson dominated the second half of the race as he sliced his
way through traffic to take the win. Anderson, who will drive a truck on the Craftsman
Truck Series this year was really hooked up on the newly paved 3/8 mile oval as he was the
only car able to pass high, low and in the middle. Freddie Query finished in second and Matt
Hagans was third.

The ARCA cars were at the big track in Daytona and Kenny Irwin Jr took home
the victory with Mike Wallace second and Andy Hillenberg third.

In UMP Late Model action on the dirt at Volusia Speedway Park Tony Izzo Jr.
and Ronnie Johnson took wins in the first two nights racing action.

The new Volusia Speedway Park is packed every night and the switch in the
tracks seems to be making almost everyone happy. The 1/2 mile dirt track is very racy
with three abreast racing common in every event. The 3/8 mile asphalt, while still a little
green, is still providing two lanes of racing, providing the car is set up right. Kudos are
in order for Dick Murphy and his staff who have provided a varied and interesting series of
races while maintaining the facilities and tracks in top notch condition throughout the
week.  

There is no lack of things to do during the week here, and racing on the
short tracks will continue through Saturday night with ISMA Super Modifieds, DIRT Modifieds,
Late Models on both pavement and asphalt and of course the action on the big
track gets underway again tomorrow.

During the first three days I have been here I have had the opportunity to
talk briefly with many racers from all over the country and the central theme that runs
through all the conversations is the difficulty of obtaining sponsorship. There is no easy
answer to this problem, but from what I have seen in the last few years, those sponsors
who use motorsports as a method of conveying their message to the public have been
getting a real bargain.

As the weather warms up the action all around the country action on the
short tracks will continue to pick up. Wherever you live your local track will soon be
holding its regular racing show, so head out and see some of the best racing at a bargain
price. Have a ball, Ya'll!

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel
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