IT’S A SUPER (DUPER) LATE MODEL WEEKEND By Jeremy Troiano
Special Events, Touring Series All Racing This Weekend
The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated holiday weekends of the year, and easily the most celebrated holiday weekend of the summer months. It’s a time when families will gather for cookouts, fireworks and a lot of pool parties.
However, a lot of “racing” families will be celebrating the July 4th weekend somewhere other than their backyards or campgrounds. They’ll be celebrating together at the racetrack as part of one of the busiest racing weekends of the entire year.
"Last year we did this for the Governor's Cup and sold all 200 laps," said Don Nerone, General Manager of FASCAR. "Just ask Mike Fritts about the lap money since he took home an extra $18,000 for his win in that race."
And Fritts will be back, looking for another big payday.
“They started running this race in 2001 when Clyde Hart, the owner of New Smyrna passed away,” said Fritts, one of Florida’s best Super Late Model drivers. “We always try to run the race because I knew him pretty good when I first started racing. It does have some special meaning since I knew Clyde, but there are some guys who have been racing longer than I have that knew him years before I did who will be out there as well. He was a great guy and good for racing in this area and that is why a lot of people had a lot of respect for him.”
While New Smyrna has struggled in getting cars for local shows this year (Fritts won a race at New Smyrna a few weeks ago with just seven cars in the field), Fritts expects a big turnout. In fact, Florida favorites Travis Kittleson and Tim Russell are both planning to run the event.
“I think it will be a really good turnout,” added Fritts. “Hopefully, we can get some guys from up north to come down if they advertised it enough and got the world out. I know there is a race in Nashville that some of the guys are heading to. This is the most money that New Smyrna has paid to win since I have been racing.”
Mike Fritts is one of the best in Florida and will be looking for the win in Sunday's Clyde Hart Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway. (51 Photos)
If some guys aren’t in Florida, they likely are headed up to Nashville for Monday’s 150-lap All American Super Late Model Series event at Nashville’s Music City Motorplex. The race, which pays $5,000-to-win, will be a good warm up for those who want to race in the All American 400 later in the year at the track.
One of those partaking in the event will be Charlie Bradberry, who has won at Nashville before and wants to get as much track time as possible to help win the All American.
“Anytime there is a race at Nashville, everyone wants to go run it because it’s just a real neat racetrack and a lot
Super Late Models at Nashville is always exciting, so check it out this weekend.
The Southeast will be a hotbed of racing during the holiday, especially for Super Late Models.
Things get started on Sunday, when the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series hosts the richest race of the weekend, the annual Clyde Hart Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway.
In the past, the race has paid $5,000 to win and is one of the most prestigious trophies in the state of Florida. This year, the purse has been upped to $10,000 to win. In addition, much like the track did last year during the Governor’s Cup race, they will be selling lap sponsorships for $100 per lap. In a 200-lap event, that’s an extra $20,000.
of fun to race,” said Bradberry. “It is special to me because they used to run all the time there when I first started racing with the Southern All Stars. It’s just a big deal to race and win there.
“I actually won this race in 2000 and I would like to go back up there because I have a pretty good record at the track. We’ve been racing pretty good lately and I want to see if I can win it again this year.”
Bradberry is going to make it a short trip for him. But, if the Alabama-native runs well, it might turn into a longer holiday road trip.
“We are leaving on Monday morning. It’s a one day show, and it’s only about three hours away; not far at all. And then, if I have a good run up in Nashville and keep the car in one piece, I am going to head down to the PASS South race at Tri-County.”
The PASS South Super Late Models return to the track for another $5,000-to-win race on Tuesday at Hudson, North Carolina’s Tri-County Motor Speedway. The race is expected to draw the normal crowd of PASS South competitors, including several others, like Bradberry, who will travel from Nashville. There could even be some guys come up from the race at New Smyrna on Sunday.
PASS South is growing in popularity and reviving Super Late Model racing down South.
Wade Day won the last PASS South event back on June 17th at Orange County Speedway. He’ll be one of those that has the PASS South and PASS South only event circled on his racing calendar.
“I am really excited and ready to get back on the track with these (PASS South) guys” said Day, who has competed in three of the first four PASS South events of 2006. “We finally got this thing figured out, so hopefully we can go to Tri-County and repeat.
“Tri-County is probably one of the closest racetracks to me (Day lives just outside of Bristol, TN), but I have only ran there two or three times in a Late Model Stock Car and it’s just across the mountain. It’s pretty close to us and to home, so we will have the whole family coming and hopefully make a day of it. Its perfect being that it is a holiday too, so we can all be together.
“I’ve really enjoyed running with the PASS South this year. All the officials and the DSG people really know what they are doing. It seems like they are doing their homework trying to get Super Late Models going again down South. I hope they do too. It seems like Late Model Stocks are really slow, so hopefully they can get something going with the Super Late Models.”
However, it isn’t just racing in the South for Super Late Models. There is racing all across the board.
The Wisconsin Challenge Series and PASS North Super Late Models will both be in action on Saturday, along with a handful of special events around the country, including the July Spectacular at I-94 Raceway in Sauk Centre, MN.
On Sunday, the CRA Super Series cars return to action at Toledo Speedway, where they will share the bill with the Outlaw Super Late Models as part of the ARCA Gold Cup at the legendary Ohio track. The SRL will continue to give West Coast NASCAR Elite Division car owners another place to race their cars when they head to Altamont Motorsports Park.
The CRA Super Series cars will be in action at Toledo Speedway this weekend.
Monday, the ASA Late Model South Series will be in action at South Georgia Motorsports Park, while the Main Event Outlaw Super Late Models run at Midvale (OH) Speedway and the Big 8 Super Late Models return to action at Rockford (IL) Speedway.
So, in addition to celebrating with a beer by the pool and lighting off M-80s with your kids, head out to your local racetrack and support your local tracks, touring series and some of the best racecar drivers in the country.