I'll admit that I haven't even watched a few laps from a Sprint Cup race at the California Speedway the past several years. But after getting psyched up from an entertaining Daytona 500 and with another winter storm bearing down on southeast Iowa, I set up the DVR to record yesterday's race so that I could watch it at my own pace. (There was no way that I was going to watch it in "real time"!) I was shocked to see how many empty seats there were as the blimp shot showed the starting field beginning to pull off pit road! Is it always like that at Fontana? I've seen better crowds at a Cup race that gets pushed back to a Monday due to weather! It has to be an embarrassing situation for NASCAR as they try to market themselves to their corporate sponsors and if this is a consistent problem in California then the answer should be quite simple. Move one of the two California dates to a facility where the fans will appreciate the opportunity to see the world's top Stock Car series and will fill the stands to capacity.
Obviously my first suggestion would be to move a date to the Iowa Speedway as I could virtually guarantee you that if they kept adding grandstands in Newton, the fans would just keep filling them up for a Cup race. However the more likely option would be to put a second date in at the Kansas Speedway where they are now in the process of breaking ground on a new casino in the neighborhood as well. The time is now for NASCAR to let the fans of California know that if they don't sell the place out in October, they will only get one chance to do it in 2011.
For those of you who check in here on a regular basis you may notice that I did some editing on the next post down the line in regard to the 2010 racing season at the Bloomfield Speedway. When I first heard the news that R&J Promotions would be back for another year at the southeast Iowa facility I assumed that it meant that weekly Friday night racing would be back in place. However, when I took a couple of looks at the press release that came out I noticed that there was no mention of the word "weekly" in it, so until we see further info out of Ron & Jerry Potts we'll just stick with the comfort that there will be some racing in Bloomfield this year. Weekly or specials only, it remains to be seen.
I did see in a World of Outlaws Late Model press release that Brian Stuart will "organize" the weekly racing events at the track in Farmer City, Illinois, in 2010 while Don Hammer will continue to promote the special events there. Stuart has had recent stints at Aledo, Quad City Raceway and LaSalle.
You can see both of the press releases that I refer to above on the front page at www.HeartlandMotorsports.com. Danny Howk does a great job with that website so make sure that you have it bookmarked in your favorites.
Believe it or not there were a few dirt track races that were run over the weekend that would have been within driving distance for us Midwesterners.......if we could have avoided the snowstorms! The USMTS kicked off the Southern Series portion of their schedule with a Thursday, Friday, Saturday tripleheader in Baytown, Texas, that attracted a stout field of 70 cars for the finale. Kelly Shryock won the opener, Jeremy Payne was the fastest on Friday and the $5,000-to-win show on Saturday was won by Jason Hughes. Iowans Mike Hansen of Alton and Zack VanderBeek of New Sharon finished third and tenth respectively on Saturday.
"The Decatur Raider" Mark Mears of Decatur, Alabama, picked up the top prize in the Super Late Models at the Winter Meltdown event at Moulton Speedway in north central Alabama on Saturday and at the 1st Annual Ice Breaker event at Tennessee National Raceway in Hohenwald it was Anthony Burroughs taking the win over a field of twenty-two Super Late Models. Eric Hickerson was second with Michael Walker, who was a Rookie-of-the-Year competitor on the 2009 Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Tour, third. Billy Moyer Jr. finished fourth in the event that had one driver, Sammy Epling, pull all the way down from Michigan. Former Cup star Kenny Schrader won the Modified portion of the show.
Okay now, let's start melting some of this snow!