The 2017 racing season will be upon us in no time. While we at Speed51.com expect there to be hundreds of thrilling short track events throughout the country, we’ve tried to narrow down the list to 10 that we have an eye on. These 10 races aren’t necessarily “the biggest” races in the county, but for one reason or another we’ll have our eyes on them next year.
PASS 400 Weekend, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) - The Pro All Stars Series announced earlier this offseason that the PASS 400 Weekend will be moved from its traditional September date to April 29. This will give the north a big-time spring event for Super Late Models, plus it will help the event not be so close to the Oxford 250 at the end of the season. PASS and Beech Ridge have made the 300-lap race one of the biggest races in the region after the 250.
US Nationals of Short Track Racing, Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) - The event on everyone’s radar for 2017 can be summed up with one word: Bristol. Not only is it Super Late Models, but it’s Pro Late Models, Late Models Stocks and more. Not only is it one series, but it’s three series coming together for this historic event. Teams are already marking their calendars for 2017 and so are the fans.
CRA Chase & Winchester 400, Winchester Speedway - Another event for us to watch is the CRA Championship chase. For several years, CRA has put out a great place to race at tracks in several Midwest states. Each week there are different drivers fighting for race victories. The battle for the Championship has been hit or miss inside this formula. The new championship format should allow for teams to eye the title even with a bad race or two along the way. And it all comes down to four drivers battling at one of the toughest short track races in America, the Winchester 400.
50th Annual Snowball Derby, Five Flags Speedway (FL) - Tom Dawson had a dream, a big race at the end of the season. Now his little project is the biggest race of the year and it’s coming up on its golden anniversary. The 50th running of the Derby will be special because of the want from the drivers, fans and the former winners. It could be a tough ticket to get and one of the best events in short track racing history.
Dixieland 250 - This will be the third year of the return of the Dixieland 250 at Wisconsin Int’l Raceway. Year ago this was Trickle, Miller, Carlson and Shear winning this historic show which now has the modern day drivers flocking to WIR in the summer.
World Short Track Championship, The Dirt Track at Charlotte (NC) - The Dirt Track at Charlotte held a huge event one week prior to the World Finals which feature just about all the classes that were not already a part of the main event. The second round of this race will have the watchful eye on it after extremely large car counts really slowed things up in the first year. They did a great job in getting all the racing done, but improvement will make this race soar.
The Meltdown, Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC) - A standalone Super Late Model race in February that pays $10,000 to win. It seems a bit strange on paper, but Anthony Anders likes to go out on a limb. The upcoming race will be a local option for those drivers who can’t make the trip to Florida Speedweeks for warmer weather. This six-tire race will also feature a Limited Late Model race which helps the intrigue.
Glass City 200, Toledo Speedway (OH) - Outlaw Super Late Model racing has not been as healthy in recent years as it was 10 years back. Now Toledo Speedway is going back to its roots by making template Late Models part of the Glass 200 weekend again. The race will be twin 100’s with a winner in each class. We expect some drivers will be in line for a double that weekend.
Summer Showdown, Evergreen Speedway (WA) - We have to give credit to Evergreen Speedway in Washington for keeping to their word. The Summer Showdown 200 is about to be in its sixth year and the draw for the race keeps getting better. Last year the short track world watched Preston Peltier have a late-race heartbreak after leading 169 laps. Tayler Riddle ended up the winner and added another chapter to this races history. Speed51.com has covered this race since 2013.
Super DIRT Week, Oswego Speedway (NY) - A dirt race on an asphalt track? That won’t work, right? Well, they did it (despite a few hiccups along the way) and we will see if they can improve on that effort in 2017. How much smoother can they make this weekend? 60 cars were on hand for the historic venue changing year from the Fairgrounds at Syracuse to Oswego Speedway. Come October we will get to see version two.
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ElginTraylor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com