Brighthouse Challenge Series Kicks Off at New Smyrna This Weekend by Mike Twist
Track Gives Fans and Competitors and Extra Boost With Television Coverage
If Super Late Model racing over the course of the nine nights of Florida Speedweeks wasn’t enough for fans at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) last month, there will be more action in store this coming weekend at the track’s Brighthouse Challenge Series kicks off its 2008 racing season.
The 10-race series, which features eight events at New Smyrna and two at Orlando Speedworld this year, will feature a stocked entry list. Tim Russell will try to retain his series championship against the likes of David Rogers, Wayne Anderson, Jeremy Colangelo, Jeff Schofield, BJ McLeod, Justin Drawdy, Patrick Conrad and Fain Skinner.
“There are some pretty strong names in there,” said NSS promoter Terry Roberts. “That is our big Super Late Model show. The fans come out and support the race very well.”
“Anytime that you have to race against Jeff Scofield, Jeff Choquette, BJ McLeod, David Rogers and any of those guys, you need to have your homework done,” said Russell. “They’ve all got a ton of wins and you’ve got to be right to race against them or you’ll be behind.
The Brighthouse Challenge Series is also notable for the role that sponsor Brighthouse Networks plays. In addition to backing the race and beyond helping to promote it, the cable provider also produces television content to bring this racing right into the homes of area fans.
“Brighthouse Networks is the cable provider for Central Florida and they do a lot to promote the series on television,” said Roberts. “That has really helped the series.
Tim Russell is hoping to repeat winning the Brighthouse Challenge Series championship in his #36.
Brighthouse does a weekly television program on the racers at New Smyrna and Orlando. They cover all of the drivers, but really focus on the Brighthouse Series ones. I think that the drivers appreciate that.
“The format of the show highlights the drivers and the crews. Fans will see that and say ‘I know that guy’ or they will come to the races and see real people and get up close with the guys they see on TV. We also do an autograph session where fans can come down and meet the drivers. They can touch and feel and see a car that that they are usually separated by a fence from. It’s been good, not just for the fans but for the drivers as well. They look forward to it and so do their sponsors. It’s a win/win for everybody.”
The competitors realize that and appreciate the extra exposure.
“That’s a neat deal that Terry Roberts and New Smyrna Speedway has put together,” said Russell. “They‘ve worked with Brighthouse Cable Company to have a weekly racing show on Wednesday nights. They’ve been filming it and just recently hired Buddy Pitman who has been a long-time NASCAR news reporter for Channel Two here in Orlando. So with him coming onto the show, it should really be a fan favorite. It will make the series even more exciting.”
The Brighthouse Challenge Series season starts this Saturday night, March 22nd, at New Smyrna Speedway.