It's Turkey Derby Time
When Wall Stadium (NJ), closed its doors earlier this season, race fans weren't just worried about the death of a racetrack but the possible death of a major tradition as well. For as long as we can remember, Thanksgiving weekend has meant it's Turkey Derby time for Modifieds at Wall. Well, a group that includes the Blewett family stepped up and decided to keep the tradition alive by promoting this year's Turkey Derby themselves. We couldn't be happier and wish them well. If you're in Jersey this weekend, you've got to check out the races.
Racing on Thanksgiving
Meanwhile, on the left coast of the United States, there will be racing on Thanksgiving night at Irwindale's Toyota Speedway (CA). The Turkey Night Grand Prix is the perfect post-dinner entertainment choice if you find yourself in Southern California on Thanksgiving Thursday. This is all a race with a rich history - which traces back to the long-shuttered Ascot Park track outside of Los Angeles.
Hell Freezes Over
New England race fans never thought that they would see Pro Stock (Super Late Model) racing back at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) - much less on Oxford 250 weekend. But that is exactly what has been announced for next year. The PASS North Series has booked two events at Oxford, including one on the night before the 250. This means that we'll see PASS North SLMs, the Modified Racing Series and PASS Modifieds along with the Late Models of the 250, all in one big weekend. Oxford's Bill Ryan and PASS bossman Tom Mayberry both deserve a pat on the back for putting aside their differences and coming together to make this a reality. Now it's up to the race fans to support the show.
When you hear the term “National Champions” in the plural, you think of the players on a team. Well, there will be two National Super Late Model champions in 2011 and they likely won't be teammates. CRA has announced that they will crown a National Super Late Model titlist next year. PASS already features a mini-series that invites their North and South teams to race for a National SLM title. So next year, there will be two champions and we'd love to see both of them face off in a match race somewhere on neutral ground in some kind of sudden death determination of who is the biggest champ of them all - maybe as a sideshow at the Snowball Derby, World Crown 300 or Florida Governor's Cup races? It would probably never happen, but then again nobody ever thought there would be another PASS race at Oxford either.
Two Races, One Day
Modified fans, mark your calendars for next July 16, 2011. On that day, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and, just about an hour away, Ricky's Race for Kids will pay out a $12,000 winner's purse at Canaan Fair Speedway under Modified Racing Series sanction. We're not sure of the daily schedule yet, so it might not even be possible, but we'd love to see someone try to pull off victories in both big shows - just like Richie Evans or one of the Eastern Bandits like Ed Flemke, Sr. would have done back in the glory days of Modified racing.
A Race Without Borders
Typically, the entry list for the Florida Governor's Cup race at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) has been limited to those drivers who can actually vote for the Florida governor - well, excepting for a few teenagers. This year, the race has a much broader appeal with Texan Ryan Lawler, Wisconsin's Becca Kasten and Indiana's Aaron Pierce all among the entries. At this rate, we might be seeing a fall version of Florida Speedweeks taking place.
More Tech Troubles
There was a bit of an uproar on the Speed51.com Facebook Feed page after the World Crown 300 when Ross Kenseth was disqualified out of second place for a carb infraction. It was because he was a Northern playing in the Deep South is what certain fans said (although Kenseth himself accepted the penalty and never claimed any bias). Now fast forward to the Governor's Cup at New Smyrna where Stephen Nasse, Brian Finney and George Gorham were all disqualified. All three drivers also have Florida addresses. Maybe there isn't such a bias against outsiders after all.
The clock is ticking towards Snowball Derby time. At this point next week, teams will already be unloading in Pensacola, Florida for the 43rd annual running of the race. To a short track racing fan, Derby week is the equivalent of Christmas. There are plenty of big events across the land, but this is just THE big one. If you can make it to Pensacola next week for all the action, we urge you not to miss it. If you can't, be sure to check out Speed51.com's blanket coverage of the entire week.
Best Wishes for Basham
We've seen a lot of young drivers with money come and go in ARCA racing over the past several years, but we've really got a soft spot in our hearts for the true racers who have stuck with the series season after season and just want to make their careers there. We all know about Frank Kimmel and his ARCA records, but we also have mad respect for Darrell Basham - who took time away from his day job as a long haul trucker to finish in the top 20 of the 2010 ARCA standings. Unfortunately, Basham recently lost two racecars and many parts to a fire in his raceshop. We really hope that he can rebound from this and be back on the track in 2011. If not, he'd be greatly missed.
Goodbye to One of the Good Guys
The Southern Modified community lost one of their true gentlemen this week when Jeff Riggs of the Riggs Racing family passed away. Jeff visited victory lane with drivers like Junior Miller and Andy Seuss. He was well liked and respected by his peers and will be greatly missed. God Speed.