RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Getting Ready For Speedweeks, “The Show” At Stafford & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The count down to Speedweeks in Florida continues. In seven short weeks central Florida comes alive with the sound of racing engines as the 2020 auto racing season begins.

The week plus of speed in the sunshine state will culminate on Sunday, February 16 with the running of the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway.

Following the departure of chief technical inspector Ricky Brooks, New Smyrna Speedway has hired the Champion Racing Association from the mid-west to manage the rules and procedures for February’s World Series of Asphalt.

That means CRA chief technical inspector Eddie Chew and his staff will oversee all technical aspects of the World Series with exception of the Tour Type Modifieds.

CRA series director Glenn Luckett will serve as race director for the World Series and will work with existing New Smyrna Speedway staff to manage on-track competition during the nine nights of racing at the venerable Florida half-mile.

“We are pleased to announce we will be teaming up with CRA for the 54th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing,” remarked Rusty Marcus, General Manager of New Smyrna Speedway. “CRA was here in 2012 and 2013 and did a tremendous job, we are looking forward to working with them again as we look to continue to make this event one of the best in the country.”

Tri Track Open Modified Series officials announced that they have entered an alliance with Pepsi, effective for the start of the 2020 season.

This alliance with Pepsi is just one of many additions planned for the new season and will continue to provide drivers and race teams with additional incentives while competing with the Tri Track Open Modified Series. Pepsi products are well-known, not only across the country, but the globe.

As part of this alliance, the Pepsi Challenge has been announced for heat races at all six events during the 2020 season. Each of the heat race winners will receive a bonus as part of this Pepsi Challenge.

Former Tri-Track Series principals Jim Schaefer and Dick Williams have announced that they will promote a Wild Bill Slater – Steady Eddie Flemke Tribute event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on August 20, 2020. Among the sponsors of the event is the Ron Bouchard Auto Group Stores.

Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz officially crowned the 12 champions from the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and Enduro racing with a crowd of 356 on hand at the annual Riverhead Raceway Banquet of Champions held on Long Island this past weekend. The seven NASCAR and INEX champions once again received their tradition championship rings, Hoosier Racing jackets and the lion’s share of the 2019 point fund paid to the top five in each class.

For the second consecutive year 23-year old Kyle Soper of Manorville was celebrated as the NASCAR Modified track champion along with his car owners Wayne & Joette Anderson. The 2019 title is the fourth in the past three years for the soft spoken driver of the Eastport Feeds Chevy as aside from the 2018 NASCAR Modified title he also won the championship for the Late Models in 2017 and 2018. For Wayne Anderson the 2019 championship is 8th overall, five as a driver and now three as a car owner. The tougher than nails Anderson made his way to the podium with the aid of a cane as earlier that afternoon Wayne was released from the hospital and in patient physical therapy after knee replacement surgery. Aside from the 2019 championship plaque, Hoosier Racing Tire jacket and point fund check Soper & Anderson were presented the annual Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Long Island Drivers Cup, a perpetual cup awarded annually since 2001 when John Fortin Sr. first won the trophy. Highlighting Kyle’s seven wins in 2019 was his victory in the $7,000 to win Islip 300.

With 2019 officially in the books track management announced the two Safety Tech Inspection Days leading up to the 2020 season will be held Saturday April 11th and 18th. The two pre-season practice days are set for Saturday April 25th and May 2nd while the 2020 opening weekend will usher in the new race season Saturday evening May 9th and Sunday afternoon May 10th.

Tom DiMaggio and Vault Productions have announced release dates of their highly anticipated reality series, The Show at Stafford Speedway. The series, which follows 4 of Stafford’s top SK Modified® drivers throughout their 2019 season, is scheduled for 9 episodes and launches January 28, 2020 on YouTube. Episode 1, ‘Meet the Drivers’, debuted this spring and the remaining series will be released 2 episodes per week through February 18, 2020.

The Show stars some of the most entertaining SK Modified® drivers and teams in the Stafford Speedway paddock including 2019 SK Modified® track champion Ronnie Williams, 3-time track champion Keith Rocco, 2nd generation driver Michael Christopher Jr., and the fan favorite Glen Reen. DiMaggio and the Vault Productions crew have spent countless hours with each team throughout the summer to tell the story of an SK Modified® season at Stafford Speedway.