Traditionally, racing at East Bay Raceway Park (FL) starts each year with the Winternationals, a kickoff to Florida Speedweeks at the “Clay by the Bay.” This year, East Bay is getting started a couple of weeks early with the Winter Kart Nationals.
The Winter Kart Nationals, presented by CHR Promotions, is a brand-new karting event taking place January 10-11 at the historic 1/3-mile. The headline event will be the Great Southern Equipment 300, a 300-lap Pro Stock Heavy feature paying $5,000 to the winner and featuring live pit stops.
Fans will be able to watch the Great Southern Equipment 300 and the rest of Saturday’s feature racing with a Premium Membership to the Speed51 Network. Click hereto join today and watch this weekend’s action.
There are not many long-distance races like the one promotor Rick Hockman has cooked up for this weekend at East Bay. Hockman said part of the inspiration comes from an event formerly held at Charlotte Motor Speedway on its paved quarter-mile.
“I came up with this 300-lap thing,” Hockman explained to Speed51. “They used to run the Briggs & Stratton 300 back in the day at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in the day. I’m thinking, okay, we’ll do this but we’ll do it on dirt on a big car track with live pit stops for $5,000 to win and see what happens.”
The kart races this weekend will be on the same 1/3-mile oval utilized during famed events such as the Winternationals. Track prep is already underway to ensure the facility will be ready and adjusted for kart racing.
“We’re doing the race on the big track. They’re working the track right now. Mr. Rodney Byers from Dawgwood Speedway in Georgia, he will be down here tomorrow. They are going to start cutting the track in and getting it ready for Friday night practice.”
Hockman has been involved in karting for more than 20 years. Now, Hockman focuses on promoting major events, and hopes the Winter Kart Nationals can become another success.
“I usually do one race a year. I’ve been in go karts for 20-something years. I’ve done some one-offs, some memorial races, things like that. Last year was supposed to be the same way, with the Big Greg Leonard Classic, but that turned into a full-blown event. There were only 84 entries, but there were over 400 people coming through the gate. This year, we needed a new venue and something to entice everybody to come out of the woodworks.”
Most importantly, Hockman hopes the event will be an enjoyable experience for competitors across all divisions.
“I’m hoping everybody will have fun. That’s the whole deal with my events, to have fun, nobody bickering back and forth, tossing tires and yelling at each other. Have fun, like racing used to be back in the day.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: East Bay Raceway Park Facebook