The second running of the Florida State Championship Race is set to go at Showtime Speedway this Saturday, January 19 to honor the late Rick Sirmans, who passed away from lung cancer in 2018. The $3,000-to-win Mini Stock 50-lap race isn’t your typical memorial race, because it was actually designed by the former driver himself.
“He didn’t want it to be a memorial race. He wanted to be able to be at the race. Unfortunately, he passed away five days prior to the race last year,” Kim Sirmans told Speed51.com. “He had planned to be there. He wanted it to be the biggest payoff that Modified Minis ever had. This is the second one. The first one he didn’t make it to, and the second one he’s here in spirit.”
With 40 cars pre-entered for the event, qualifying will be stressful. The field for the main event will only include 24 of those drivers, but with no entry fee and $200 to start, local legends have committed in droves to running the event.
Drivers currently entered for the race include Late Model drivers Wayne Anderson, Steve Gill, and Cody Stickler.
“We have a lot of amazing sponsors behind us and Showtime Speedway has been really great to us,” Sirmans said. “This really meant a lot to him. He was a big part of the racing community. We both were in this area. I gave it up years ago so he kept on carrying the torch. He loved it. He loved the underdog. He enjoyed seeing the people who won, but he really wanted the people in the back to make money so that they can get faster. He was just always for the underdog.”
Those who do not qualify for the event will get future chances to race in Sirmans' memory. The family wants to honor the driver that ran number five his entire racing career by running the race through 2022.
“He just laid this out for me to go on and I’m just carrying out his wishes,” Sirmans continued. “Friday night we’re having a barbecue, and then Saturday we’re having the race.”
Underdogs and fan favorites alike will get their chance to battle it out for the $3,000 purse Saturday night. But the real beneficiaries will be those who get to remember Rick and raise awareness for the cancer that took him away from the sport he loved.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent
-Photo credit: Laurie Simcox Anderson