Spring has arrived, that means its time to go racing in the tri-state region. With the mild winter, I know, I for one, have been itching to get to the track and catch that first smell of the methanol vapors. Plus, get that early spring beauty treatment of good ole fashion race track dirt.
The 2006 season will bring some major changes to the region: 1) Increased purses at Attica, Fremont, and Lawrenceburg for the weekly shows. Not sure if I missed anymore, but these are the ones most recently announced. This is a much needed move to help keep local racing alive. It seems like more than not. You hear or see another track that has closed or cut its racing back, due to poor support from the local drivers and fans. Our region, drivers and fans, have always been the heart of sprint car racing. This will help keep it that way. Hopefully, all the loyal fans will continue their support and new ones can get attracted to the sport. Attracting new fans is defiantly a major goal. Don't get me wrong, us die-hards are very important too. Its just that the old regime is just that, older and older each year, slowing down, picking and choosing shows more often, not just seeing how many we can make in a year's time. 2) Butler Battlegrounds (Motor Speedway) switching to Friday nights. For as many years as anyone can remember, Butler has been a Saturday night track. From early reports, it sounds like the special shows on the schedule, the Allstars and WOO, will remain unchanged. I actually think this could be a good move for the 410 sprints. Hartford MI has dropped their weekly 410 shows, and I-96's Friday night sprint shows are for non-wing 360s. This makes them the only Friday night 410 winged track within 3 hours of the place, Attica being the closest. Granted, Michigan don't really have a weekly Saturday 410 track, but it will allow the locals to hit the sanctioned shows on Saturdays and travel more. Traveling more a good thing? Yes! It can open up some new avenues for these guys. Butler drivers have been very loyal to that track for years and have never had a chance to gain too much other exposure. Some have traveled after their season is over, but that is usually for about 2 or 3 shows. Now, they can hit the road on Saturday with a chance to gain more exposure. More exposure equals more of a fan following, and could open up more sponsor opportunities or, more sponsor dollars. Unless I am missing something here, for the guys that have the desire and capability to race more, this should be a good move for them. 3) MASS not racing in 2006. They have not folded. Presently, they are taking a year off to see if there is a need for their series or not. Its too bad this has happened. This series started when the former GLOSS series folded. In its 2 years, MASS has had some great shows and decent car counts. GLOSS had a heavy Michigan presents, where MASS hit Ohio and Indiana more regularly. With the heavy presents of the major traveling series in the region this year. MASS took 06 off. I see their reasoning but, now would of been an excellent opportunity for them to grow in Michigan. 4) The most sanctioned shows this region has ever seen. In the tri-state area (Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan) there are 68 sanctioned show between the Allstars, World Of Outlaws, NST, and USAC. That is not counting AVSS, HOSS, NRA, midgets, Silvercrown cars and anyone else I missed. This is great for us major die-hard race fans who can't get enough racing. It is not so great for the casual fan or the average Joe that is not use to paying $20 to $30 a show. Or, that don't have the budget to hit so many sanctioned events. Hopefully, it will all work out to the good. I am just afraid that people are going to pick and choose more, due to lack of funds. In return, some tracks might take a major hit on some of these shows. Hopefully not but, our great economy seems to be lack luster right now, leaving less money for travel and play time. Another down side to this, all the pre-sale tickets. Now, instead of just the few major events at Eldora and the Knoxville Nationals, people have to pony-up dollars months ahead of time for shows at Lima, Attica, Hartford MI, and others, as early as March. I know the tracks need to do this to have a shot of surviving the huge purses and use all seats available. Its just a lot of money to ask for in the first 3 to 4 months of the year when people have property taxes, insurances, and other yearly bills due at the same time. Good thing is, people do have extra money from their income taxes about that time of the year, so all might be well. I just want this awesome sport to survive and hope every show is a sell out each night. I love all the opportunity to see all the major shows this year and hope all the tracks at least break even on them. Its great for us fans and the drivers, but its also a lot of money to ask for in one region too. I just don't want to see any promoter or track take a major beating, that hurts us all.
The 3rd annual HoserVille Ohio auction is just days away. The event will be part of the NOSCS Mall Show in Tiffin Ohio. HoserVille Ohio Day is Saturday is March 25th. A drivers autograph session will take place from 2 pm to 4 pm, featuring drivers Craig Mintz, Bruce Robenalt, Andy Shammo, Phil Gressman, and others. Auction registration will open-up around 2 pm. The auction will take place from 4 pm to 6 pm. Some great items are once again on the auction block. Many are one of a kind. The entire list can be seen at www.hoservilleohio.com . Some of the major items include: an autographed Kasey Kahne stand-up, Steve Kinser stand-up, Kenny Jacobs helmet, Lee Jacobs autographed helmet from his 410 rookie season, Jim Linder driver suit, Lee Jacobs drivers suit, Sam Hornish Jr. autographed 11 x 16 picture, Sammy Swindell autographed helmet visor, Chad Kemenah autographed wind side panel, Elliott Sadler XL M&M's jacket, Rob Chaney's front nose piece autographed and dated from his Mopar Thunder win, Kevin Swindell autographed helmet visor, Mark Keegan autographed drivers suit, Sarah Fisher autographed hat, a one of a kind hand-made, by Deb Swanson, racing quilt featuring the top sprint car drivers in Ohio, 1 of 3 in the world Greg Wilson autographed Zippo Lighter, 1 of 2 in the world autographed Chad Kemenah autographed Zippo Lighter, autographed Cameron Dodson 8 x 10, and several other awesome racing items. An auction for ALL race fans. Plus, help us in lending a hand from the sprint car fan. HoserVille Ohio is a registered non-profit group that aid sprint car drivers from Ohio or sprint car drivers that get injured racing in Ohio. In just its 3rd year, HoserVille Ohio has passed out almost $5000 to aid sprint car drivers.
UPCOMING: USAC Eldora April 1st, WOO & Allstars April 7th & 8th Eldora, MSCS Terre Haute 8th, and USAC Anderson April 9th. Plus, KC opens March 25th with a regular show and Attica March 31st.
See you at HoserVille Ohio Day, and Eldora in April.