The 2017 racing season in the Southeast has come and gone. It was a great one, and as such has many people already looking towards 2018, which, incredibly, is already right around the corner. News has been trickling out regarding schedules, big events and more, so let’s take a look at some of the 2018 storylines in this edition of “Southeast Beat.”
Big Races at New Smyrna Speedway to Kick Off the Season
As always, the first big Super Late Model race of the season will be the Red Eye 100 at the half-mile oval of New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday, January 6. While many are still recovering from the crazy 2017 season, a bunch of Super Late Model racing’s best, including Bubba Pollard, are expected to head to the famous half mile for a 100-lap showdown.
The Red Eye 100 isn’t the only big SLM race taking place at New Smyrna in the early part of the season. The Marion Edwards Memorial 100 will be held on Saturday, January 20th, and of course The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing will follow soon after, beginning on February 9th and ending on February 17th.
Speaking of the World Series at New Smyrna, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will headline the first Sunday of the World Series on February 11. Making his debut in that series will be longtime World Series competitor, Jimmy Zacharias.
Zacharias has competed at New Smyrna Speedway in the Tour-type Modified division. Zacharias is a four-time New York State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion. He will be piloting the No. 31 Marsh Racing entry.
Cole Anderson to Pilot Late Models for Mike Skinner
After running the Snowflake 100 for Mike Skinner at Five Flags Speedway (FL) in December, Skinner’s wife, Angie, announced on Twitter that Minnesota native Cole Anderson will be racing multiple events for the team in 2018 in both their Super and Pro Late Models.
Anderson made waves in early 2016 by winning the Red Eye 100 and the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna Speedway to start off the season.
K&N East Schedule Released
Recently, NASCAR released their schedule for the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East campaign. As we just mentioned above, the series will open its season on the high banks of New Smyrna Speedway in Florida once again. After that, the series will be off for close to two months before returning to action at the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 11.
New to the calendar this year is a combination event with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois on August 24. That is in addition to the traditional combo event at the Iowa Speedway on July 27.
The twin-100 format will also return to South Boston Speedway on May 12.
The series will race three times in the month of July, twice in the months of April, June and August, and once each during the months of February, May, September and October.
CRA SpeedFest Returns to Cordele
For the seventh year in a row, CRA SpeedFest will return to the Watermelon Capital Speedway at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia. The combination event for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour will take place January 27-28 at the D-shaped oval.
Harrison Burton took the Super Late Model victory and Casey Roderick scored the Pro Late Model victory this year.
The Ice Will Break at Myrtle Beach
Late Model Stock Car fans will have the chance to break the ice at Myrtle Beach Speedway February 9-10 with the annual Icebreaker event. The event will serve as a “lock-in” event for the Myrtle Beach 400, which will take place November 16-17.
Lee Pulliam took the win in a thrilling race in 2017 to kick-start his fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship campaign.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to Open Season in the South
For the second year in a row, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will head south of the Mason-Dixon Line to open their season. The Tour will head to Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 17. In 2017, it was Timmy Solomito who scored the victory in a crazy race that featured a lot of torn-up race cars and multiple overtime attempts.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will head south two other times in 2018 for a total of three visits. The Tour will stop at Langley Speedway (VA) for the second consecutive year on June 23 as well as the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) on Wednesday, August 15.
Myers, Loftin Team with Eddie Harvey for Select NWMT Events
Eddie Harvey Racing, formerly known as Ideal Racing, announced earlier in the fall that Burt Myers and Brian Loftin will both race for the team in eight to 10 events in 2018. Both drivers are former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champions.
Myers is scheduled to run for the team both before and after the Bowman Gray Stadium season in 2018.
Short Track U.S. Nationals Returning to Bristol for Second Year
In case you missed it, one of the most talked about events of 2017 will be returning for a second year in 2018. The Short Track U.S. Nationals left us with great stories, great racing, and endless highlight videos. Now we’ll get to do it all again May 18-20 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The event will once again be tri-sanctioned by the Champion Racing Association, Southern Super Series and CARS Racing Tour. Joining the Super Late Models will be the Pro Late Models of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, the CARS Late Model Stock Tour, the Vore’s Compact Touring Series and a “Midwest-based Touring Modified organization to be named at a later date.”
CARS Tour to Hit a Bunch of New Tracks in 2018
The CARS Tour is returning for another campaign in 2018, and will be hitting five race tracks new to the series. The Late Model Stocks will pay first-time visits to Wake County Speedway (NC), Ace Speedway (NC), Carteret County Speedway (NC), and Kingsport Speedway (TN). The Super Late Models will be headed to the legendary Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) for the first time in series history on April 7 as part of a combination event with the Southern Super Series and ARCA/CRA Super Series.
Southern Super Series to Kick Off Season with Rattler 250
As has become a tradition in the Deep South, the Southern Super Series will kick off its season with the 250-lap event at South Alabama Speedway in Opp, Alabama to see who will hold the rattlesnake (or scream in fear like Christopher Bell).
The 42nd Rattler 250 will take place on March 16-18. Wisconsin hot shoe Ty Majeski has claimed the victory each of the last two years.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com