Trackside Now: 2008 Speedfest at Lakeland's USA International Speedway - Thursday
Super Lates and Crates Unload, Tech and Hit the Track for Practice to Open up 2008
Speedfest
Super Late Models
Crate Late Models
Jan 24th - Jan 26th
USA International Speedway
Lakeland, Florida
Thursday, 10:20am ET – It's a warm, cloudy and humid day here in Lakeland, Florida. Teams have entered the pit area and are unloading their rigs for the 2008 edition of Speedfest. Speedfest is a three-day event concluding with the Crate Challenge 100 and Super Late Model NOS Energy Drink 200 on Saturday.

Here is today’s schedule of events:

9:00 AM Officials Meeting - Registration - Pit Sign-in
10:00 AM Pit Gate Opens (no haulers unloaded until instructed) 
11:00 AM Mandatory Tech Inspection Begins for Super Late Models 
2:30 PM Safety Meeting
3:00 PM Drivers Meeting
3:30 PM Front Gate Opens
Practice Begins (1/2 hour rotation beginning wit SLM)
8:00 PM Practice Ends 


Teams unload for Speedfest 2008.
Thursday, 7:10pm  ET –   While Travis Cope and his team skateboard on the frontstretch here in Lakeland, Speed51.com is wrapping up for the night. Corey Williams and Stanley Smith's teams are the only two left workin on their cars at the track. As for us, we will be back online tomorrow. Thanks for following!!

Thursday, 7:10pm  ET –   Speed51.com has recieved practice speeds and we think we have the technical glitches figured out.

FINAL PRACTICE SPEEDS FOR EACH THURSDAY SESSION

Super Late Model Practice #1  click here
Super Late Model Practice #2  click here
Super Late Model Practice #3  click here

Crate Late Model Practice #1  click here
Crate Late Model Practice #2  click here

Thursday, 6:37pm  ET –   Speed51.com is experiencing some technical difficulties. We will try our best to get whatever practice speeds up we can later tonight if we can get these issues resolved. Regardless, we will be back at it tomorrow covering all of Friday's action from the 4th Annual Speedfest at USA International Speedway. 

Thursday, 6:07pm  ET –   Teams will have to now wait for tomorrow to setup their cars. As is typical in Florida climate, a sudden rain shower has broken out. The track is soaked. Officials have just announced that the remaining two-hours of practice are cancelled.

Thursday, 6:05pm  ET –   The temperature has dropped a little now that the sun has gone down. This point on in practice will be real valuable to teams in fine tuning their race-setups. Tomrorow’s North and South 100 lap qualifiers will be under the lights and the forecast looks like it will be cooler than tonight’s temperature.

Thursday, 6:00pm  ET –   A 15-minute break for all on-track activity.

Thursday, 5:51pm  ET –   The sun is down and the lights are up. At least some are up. A yellow flag waved during the session to get a track official over to turn on the rest of the lights that had yet to be switched on. Two other cautions flew during the session, both for debris.

Thursday, 5:30pm  ET –   Super Late Models hit the track again for session #3

Thursday, 5:10pm  ET –   Crate Late Model session #2 is on the track. We will get you Crate Late Model speeds as soon as officials can get that information to us. Right now 13-year old Logan Ruffin, Eddie Hoffman, and Jimmy Lang are among the drivers on track during the session.

Thursday, 5:00pm  ET –   Super Late Model session #2 is over and another Florida Young Gun leads the way on the speed-chart. Second generation driver Travis Cope is on top this time.   1) Travis Cope  2) Jay Middleton  3) Kyle Busch  4) Wayne Anderson  5) Ben Rowe
click here to see the complete practice #2 speeds

Thursday, 4:53pm  ET –   2007 Snowball Derby Champion Augie Grill is on the track for the first time. The GARC #112 team was one of the last teams to roll through tech and seem to be pretty relaxed. Maybe it's because Augie is coming off the biggest win of his career.

Thursday, 4:43pm  ET –   Practice times are in from the first Super Late Model practice session. Topping the charts is Florida ace Tim Russell slick #36 Rinnai machine.  1) Tim Russell  2) Wayne Anderson  3) Justin Larson  4) Kyle Busch  5) Jeff Choquette.
click here to see the complete practice #1 speeds

Thursday, 4:33pm  ET –   Crate Late Model practice #1 has concluded and the Super Lates are lined up to hit the track. Jeff Fultz, John Wes Townley and Hunter Robbins are the first three cars takin off from the pit-gate paddle.

Thursday, 4:25pm  ET –   Jeremy Colangelo's team are making repairs on the RE/MAX #05. The roof on his car buckled in during the first SLM session. Jeremy, with the help of coach Mike Fritts, and the team are on pit road bracing the area that buckled.

Thursday, 4:15pm  ET –   Yellow-flag is out for the first time today. It is for debris on the frontstretch. 

Thursday, 4:10pm  ET –   Eddie Hoffman is on track in his Lisa Thomas #8 for Crate Late Model practice. Eddie decided to pull the double this year. "We brought two cars down last year and they were both fast," said the mid-west Short Track ace.  "This year we thought, why not?"   Hoffman admitted that the long off-season and near-zero degree weather back home in Illinois, has him happy to be back at the track and in warm-Florida.

Thursday, 4:05pm  ET –   Jack Smith will not be competing in the 4th Annual Speedfest weekend. Smith, who was on the pre-entry list, was on his way down when the engine on his toter-home blew. The team decided to have the rig towed back home since they hadn't made it very far in their journey from Ohio to Florida.

Thursday, 4:05pm  ET –   In the Drivers Meeting, officials confirmed that the north/south split will be Florida based. Whoever is from Florida will be designated "south" and all others will be "north" in the Super Late Models.  At last count that makes 23-southern (Florida) cars and 21-northern.

Thursday, 4:00pm  ET –   A quick break in practice to clear the gate. The Crate Late Models will now hit the track. They will rotate practices between Crate to Super Late Models every half and hour.

Thursday, 3:55pm  ET –   Hunter Robbins is on track for the first time in the Tracy Goodson owned #1.  The car will be re-numbered to #18 for the weekend.

Thursday, 3:35pm  ET –   We're back on the computer and Trackside Now is back underway.  We'll be bringing you pictures and all the action from the first day of practice.

Thursday, 3:30pm  ET –   Practice is underway at USA International Speedway. Justin Drawdy's #12 Super Late Model was the first to hit the track. Practice goes until 6'oclock, when they will take a 15-minute break. After six, practice will continue until 8pm ET.

Thursday, 12:20pm  ET –   Speed51.com is going to leave the comfy confines of the press box to pound the pavement down in the pits some more and talk with the drivers and teams of Speedfest. We will also update the entries section below when we get a better gauge on how many more cars are actually here. We will be back throughout the day with updates and news. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 12:10pm  ET –   The big names are all here. Not only do you have Florida Late Model Hot-shoes, Midwest racers, Carolina boys and New Englanders... two high profile NASCAR drivers are competing at Speedfest. Kyle Busch has just pushed his NOS #51 through tech. The car now sites next to Jeff Choquette's #70 parked on pit road.  David Stremme has been getting dirty working on his Hamke #35 all morning and has rolled to the tech area. Both drivers will be competing in the Super Late Model portion of the event.
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Thursday, 12:00pm  ET –   CRA Officials have told Speed51.com that they have tentatively figured out how they are splitting the North and South Super Late Model designations for the 2008 version of Speedfest. All cars from Florida will be designated "south." All other cars will be designated "north."  Because there are North 100-lap and South 100-lap qualifying races on Saturday night, officials wanted to make sure that both sides (north and south) have as even of a field, car count-wise, as possible. 

Thursday, 11:20am  ET –   The tech-line is open. While some teams are still unloading their cars, other early birds have raced to the tech line which now stretches nearly the length of the back-road in the infield.

Thursday, 10:50am ET – There are an estimated 42 Super Late Models and 25 Crate Late Models in the infield of USA International Speedway. Here is the lastest roster of expected entries from the pre-entered list. CRA's Glenn Luckett is down in the pits helping officials get a tally on who is here as most teams have arrived and unloaded..
05s Jeremy Colangelo
07s Jeff Scofield
09s John Wes Townley
1n Aaron Pierce
1s Fain Skinner
2n Mike Rowe
2s Patrick Conrad
4n Ben Rowe
5s Joe Boyd 
6s Mac Johnson
8n Eddie Hoffman
9s Kurt Jett
10n Jack Landis
11s David Rogers
12s Justin Drawdy
14n Blake Lehr
14s Travis Towell
18n Cassius Clark
18s Hunter Robbins
20s Scott Millar
22s Perry Brown
26s Travis Cope 

28s Scotty Crockett
31s Ryan Lawler 
35n David Stremme
36s Tim Russell
38n Shane Sawyer
39s Ryan Sieg
47n Corey Williams
49s Stanley Smith 
51s Kyle Busch
60n D.J. Shaw
61n Bob Varney
67n Jeff Fultz
70s Jeff Choquette 
72n Scott Hantz
73s Sam Watts
74s Jay Middleton
80s Brian Finney
84s Wayne Anderson
88s Justin Larson
89n Shane Seig
99n Jason Shively
112s Augie Grill
170s Jeremy Gerstner
Super Late Models (updated 7PM)
07s George Crenshaw 08s Beau Slocumb
5n Kris Stump
8n Eddie Hoffman
12s Justin Drawdy
16n Austin Siebert
19s Kevin Macy
24s Michael Pilla
25s Steve Smith
26s Travis Cope
32n Sean Murphy
43s Richard Johns
44s Wes Burton
47s Chris Fontaine
56s Wayne Morris
60n D.J. Shaw
61s Austin Kirpatrick 
62s Travis Wilson
70s Jeremy Gerstner
76s Logan Ruffin 
86n Jimmy Lang
93s Rob Partelo
97s Patrick Starpoli
108s Don Brannon
127s Kyle Maynard


Crate Late Models (this list will be updated)
Thursday, 10:30am ET – In case you missed it, Mike Twist previewed Speedfest 2008 on Speed51.com  click here to read the preview

Another story previously on Speed51.com....
Kyle Busch Enters Speedfest   click here
CRA regular Scott Hantz is pitted next to Maine's father-son combo, Mike and Ben Rowe.
Ryan Lawler's 31, Corey Williams #47 and David Stremme's #35 on pit road.
Kyle Busch leads DJ Shaw and Justin Larson around turn-four. (51 Photo)
The roof dented in on Jeremy Colangelo's #05 Super Late Model during the first practice session.
Florida driver Tim Russell was quickest in the first session.
Close call!  Cassius Clark runs up on the #20 of Scott Millar and nearly runs over him. (51/Jamie Williams Photo)
Drew Brannon was one of the quickest of the Crate Late Model drivers during Thursday's practice sessions.  (51/Jamie Williams Photo)
All of the sudden, it got wet at Lakeland. (51/Jamie Williams Photo)
Jimmy Lang was fastest in one of the Crate Late Model practice sessions at Speedfest.  (51/Jamie Williams Photo)