With a new season of short track racing upon us, let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing events on the 2021 schedule.
CARS Tour Brings the Roar to The Rock
The CARS Tour has already commenced tire testing for the return of Late Model Stock Cars to Rockingham Speedway. While the event has been postponed to October to allow for the construction of new tires for the event, that will only create more time for promotion and anticipation to build ahead of racing’s return to the 1.017-mile facility.
Winchester 400 Turns 50
There is a lot of fire power behind the promotion of this one, as Winchester will be open for several events in 2021, including the mid-week Flyover States 150 and the return of USAC open wheel racing to the famed half-mile. It all leads up to the 50th running of the Winchester 400. The event has been moved away from the Oktoberfest weekend and the All American 400 to help beef up the car count. Winchester will be a place to be in 2021.
Twice is Nice for Some Crown Jewels
How much fun would it be to see the Kings Royal this year at Eldora? Four nights, two big prelim nights and two nights of the Kings Royal to make up for last year and for 2021. With $175,000 to win each of the main feature nights, that is some serious coin. Another event that will happen twice in 2021 is the Kalamazoo Klash, a major event for the Outlaw Super Late Model racers of the Midwest.
SpeedFest Returns to Florida for 2021
An event that started in Florida on the insanely fast USA Speedway in Lakeland is now back home, in a way. An hour west of its original birthplace, CRA SpeedFest takes place this year at Showtime Speedway in Pinellas Park, Florida. The big, fast tracks have been traded in for this little quarter-mile that is going to put on a show. The car counts could be huge because of locals who would not normally make the trek to Cordele, Georgia. SpeedFest 2021 will not disappoint. Did we mention that Stephen Nasse is from this area? The Florida Mafia will be out in full force to support him and the other Floridians.
Iconic Thompson 300 Makes its Return
The Thompson 300 was last contested in 2005, won by the late Ted Christopher. The event returns in 2021, providing quite the test for both man and machine. The Connecticut oval may not be on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule anymore, but its 2021 schedule still packs plenty of punch.
FASTRAK World Championship Back After Year Away
The COVID-19 pandemic and regulations prevented Virginia Motor Speedway from hosting racing in 2021, including the FASTRAK World Championship. The 2019 FASTRAK World Championship drew more than 100 Dirt Pro Late Model competitors to Jamaica, Virginia, and we can only imagine how many of those racers will be itching to get back.
‘The Madhouse’ Has a Score to Settle
They have some of the most loyal fans in all of racing, and the patrons that go to Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) weekly have had to wait over a year to see their local heroes. They want to finally see the 10-time Modified champions square off, Burt Myers and Tim Brown. Get there early because this madhouse might be full, more so than the first event after the original TV show that introduced the world to “The Stadium.”
The Last Great Colosseum Gets Dirty
During the spring of 2021, the famed high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway will be covered in dirt and host several major events. Whether it’s the Bristol Dirt Nationals in March, the pair of weekends in April featuring the World of Outlaws Late Models and Sprint Cars, Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, or yes, even the NASCAR weekend on March 27-28, it’ll be very interesting how those events play out.
Inaugural Northeast Classic Takes Place at ‘The Magic Mile’
The Northeast Classic was originally scheduled to debut in 2020, but that was another event lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the long-awaited event will take place in April, featuring PASS North Super Late Models, the ACT Late Model Tour, Tour-type Modifieds and more.
The Montana 200 Finds a New Home
With Montana Raceway Park joining the list of Lost Speedways in 2020, the Montana 200 was without a home after taking place in Kalispell every year since its inception in 1991. Instead, Mission Valley Super Oval in Polson, Montana is filling the void and keeping the tradition alive in Big Sky Country.
New Tracks for the Whelen Modified Tour
Fans and racers alike were stoked for the return of the Mighty Modifieds to Martinsville Speedway in 2020, but that did not come to pass. Now, Martinsville is joined by Richmond Raceway on the 2021 schedule, giving Virginia race fans two chances to check out those machines. Martinsville will also bring back the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 for Late Model Stock Cars after a one-year absence.
Returning Crown Jewels of the Dirt World
Several of the biggest dirt racing events took place in reimagined forms in 2020, such as the Dirt Late Model Stream and the Capitani Classic. While kudos must go out to the tracks and series who put on these events under the circumstances, we can’t wait to see the return of events like the World 100, the Knoxville Nationals, and the Dream.
PASS North Makes its Debut at Hudson
Since 2001 the Pro All Stars Series has been to almost every venue in New England. This year, they will add another when they take the Super Late Model touring series to Hudson, New Hampshire to run at the quarter-mile track.
Summer Showdown Returns at Evergreen
Another marquee event lost to the pandemic, there was no Summer Showdown at Evergreen Speedway in 2020. That event is currently scheduled for July 27-28, 2021 and will be one of the West Coast’s biggest races.
Spring Sizzler Includes GSPSS Debut
The Granite State Pro Stock Series heads to Connecticut early in 2021, making its debut at Stafford Motor Speedway. That event will be part of the traditional Spring Sizzler weekend. It will be the first time a touring Late Model series has visited the track since 2012.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: 51/Rick Ibsen