RPW Column: Speedweeks, ’20 At Thompson, TC Safety Program At Stafford & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The count down to Speedweeks in Florida continues. In one week 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.

The speedweek schedule at the Daytona International Speedway is as follows: Saturday, Feb. 8: ARCA 200, Sunday, Feb. 9: Daytona 500 pole qualifying and Busch Clash at Daytona, Thursday Feb. 13: Duel at Daytona qualifying races for Daytona 500, Friday Feb. 14: Truck Series Next-Era Energy Resources 250, Saturday, Feb. 15: Xfinity Series NASCAR Racing Experience 300 and Sunday Feb. 16: Daytona 500.

The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway begins with a practice day on Thursday, February 6. Racing begins on Friday, February 7 with the Modifieds making their debut on Monday, February 10. If the pre-series entry list is any indication there will be action a plenty in the Modified division.

Brian Robie from Sunapee, New Hampshire will be competing for the first time in Bronson Speedway’s 5th annual Kick Off to Speedweek powered by SUNOCO Tour Type Modified 50 lap event on Feb 8, 2020. Brian is proudly sponsored by Boucher Acoustic, RHR Construction, Maurice Enterprises and calls Monadnock Speedway his home track. Matt Hirschman will be returning to compete in Bronson Speedway’s 5th Annual Kick Off to Speedweeks powered by SUNOCO 50 Lap Tour Type Modified Event on Feb 8, 2020. “Money Matt” as he is affectionately called always plans to take it all, where ever he competes.

The winner at Bronson will receive first place trophy and purse money, 4 Hoosier Tires, 10 gallons of SUNOCO supreme race fuel, the guaranteed 5th place start at New Smryna Speedway’s Richie Evans tribute race compliments of Jane and Robert Hart and for the 4th year in a row the prestigious $1000.00 Cathy and Keith Goodale “Going the Distance” Award.

It’s interesting to note that the race purses at the Thompson Motorsports Speedway have taken a 75% cut but there is no mention of pit entry or grandstand admission being reduced!

For those who choose not to support the racing at Thompson with their paltry purses that only pay the top ten finishers there is an alternative. The Tri-Track Series point fund for the season totals $15,000 in prize money, with the top 15 spots in the final standings set to earn a bonus.

The 2020 schedule begins on Saturday, May 2, when drivers will take to the high-banks of Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., to open the year. After that, a stop at Claremont Speedway on Memorial Day weekend (May 24), is followed by the annual Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway, the only mid-week show, on Wednesday, July 1. The final three races include the annual SBM 125 at Star Speedway (July 25), Monadnock Speedway (August 15) and the annual Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway (October 24), where the champion will be crowned. All events have a more than generous purse which pays all starters.

Quinn Christopher, wife of the late Stafford Speedway legend Ted Christopher, has launched the Ted Christopher Drive for Safety Initiative for the 2020 season at Stafford. The program, aimed to increase driver safety awareness, is donating safety gear to all drivers registered for the 2020 race season at Stafford Speedway.

Funded by the Ted Christopher Memorial, the Ted Christopher Drive for Safety Initiative will provide eligible drivers with either a Nomex undershirt, Carbonx single layer head sock, or helmet skirt. Also participating drivers will be entered into a drawing to win a fully custom, Leaf Racewear, double-layer, pro series race suit, including custom design, custom fit, and embroidery. The fire suit will be awarded at the annual TC 13 SK Modified® Shootout scheduled for July 10th.

“Teddy is my inspiration for this,” explained Quinn Christopher. “He always told me that being safe while racing was important to him and he would spend whatever he needed in order to accomplish that.”

Billy Harman finally had his triple by-pass surgery plus received a new heart valve this past Thursday. Hopefully all went well for him. Also on the mend is Jerry Pearl who had ankle replacement surgery last week. On a sad note, it was learned that Big John Kershaw had passed away.