Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week(s) That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
1)  RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
Mother Nature apparently didn’t want Father Nature to go out to the racetrack last weekend.  Perhaps he’s got an off-season “honey-do” list or something.  But finding a place it didn’t rain last weekend wasn’t easy, most rainouts coming in season-openers like PASS South, UARA, Southern Mods, Southern Pro Late Models and local shows.  This coming weekend looks far better here in the Southeast.


2)  WHAT TO DO?
Last weekend’s forecast for much of the country was lousy.  It was a lousy forecast even in the weekdays leading up to the weekend, leaving promoters a tough call – to postpone or not to postpone?  Most erred on the side of caution, calling their events early, which saved a bunch of teams a bunch of money in travel expenses.


3)  WELCOME BACK PURSLEY
After taking a couple years off from running in the NASCAR Camping World West Series, Greg Pursley returned full-time to the tour in the best way possible – by taking the season-opening win at Thunderhill.  Pursley found himself on top when Mike David and Eric Holmes made contact, then Pursley made contact with David.  Pursley was the one of the three left standing at the end.


4)  MANZY NO MORE
Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, AZ, considered by many to be the mecca of sprint car racing in the Southwest and one of the most exciting dirt tracks in the country, was sold last week and the new owners will level the facility after the April 11th final event.  But, rumors have the current management looking to open another dirt track with the name Manzanita elsewhere in the Phoenix area – so there’s hope after all for the dirt fans of the Southwest.


5)  FIX 'EM UP
Kudos to track owners and promoters who, in this time where money’s tight, are spending some dough and fixing up their racetracks.  Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL just did some track grinding to improve the racing at the half-mile home of the Blizzard Series and the Snowball Derby, while New Smyrna Speedway’s infield pit road is getting a facelift.  But Gresham Motorsports Park, formerly Peach State Speedway in Georgia, tops them all – total renovations, including flipping frontstretch to backstretch, new new-frontstretch grandstands, repaving, new infield and more.


6)  REMEMBERING STUB
New England racing lost one of its pillars last week with the passing of Stanley “Stub” Fadden.  Anyone who grew up a fan of fendered-car racing in the Northeast surely enjoyed watching Fadden run, especially when he ran with his own grandson Mike Olsen in the old Busch North days.  Fadden was a friend to many and will certainly be missed.


7)  HAILING HANTZ
When there’s not much racing going on due to weather, we start thinking about the racers that would hate a rainy weekend more than most.  Take Scott Hantz, for example.  Dude races whenever and wherever – and usually can be found up front.  He’s a three-time CRA champ, but he’s not afraid to race at The Rattler, SpeedFest, and wherever or whenever there’s a good SLM show to be found.  Short track racing needs more guys like him.


8)  TV OR NOT TV, THAT IS THE QUESTION
So HDNet will not be broadcasting the Camping World East and West races live in 2009.  Instead, SPEED will show a one-hour condensed version of their races tape-delayed.  Series followers are griping about no live coverage – but any coverage should be good coverage, live or taped if you’re a true fan or supporter of those series.


9)  COACH'S FAVORITES
“Coach” Joe Gibbs must think the UARA-Stars Late Model Stock Car tour is his version of the NFL scouting combine.  Gibbs recently tapped UARA regulars Matt DiBenedetto and Darrell Wallace, Jr. for his NASCAR development stable now that guys like Joey Logano and Marc Davis have moved on.  While both are good choices, there are a bunch of other talented kids that would love a shot like these two have, so both should truly appreciate what they have right now.


10)  SIX (WHITE) FLAGS OF SURRENDER
Short track fans from New England surely didn’t shed a tear when Six Flags Amusement Parks – the group that shut down the old Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts - filed for bankruptcy last week.  On behalf of many Northeastern race fans that grew up at The Park – “Serves ya right.”