When it comes to racing Tour-Type Modifieds in the state of Florida, the fast half-mile oval of New Smyrna Speedway has been the only place to see the “ground pounders” in recent years. That will all change on Saturday, February 13 when Bronson Speedway hosts the inaugural Tour-Type Modified event at the track, a 50-lap race that will help kick off Florida Speedweeks.
Officials from Bronson Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway are working together to make this inaugural race as big as it possibly can be. The 50-lap race at the 3/8-mile oval will pay the winner $2,000 and serve as a great test for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing that begins for the Tour-Type Modifieds on February 15 at New Smyrna.
The winner of the race at Bronson is guaranteed to start from the fifth starting spot in the prestigious Richie Evans Memorial 100 the following Friday night, and they will also receive four new tires from Hoosier. In addition to that, New Smyrna Speedway’s Robert Hart has said that he will waive the entry fee for the Bronson Speedway race winner.
“In the state of Florida, New Smyrna is the premier track,” said Ann Young, the owner of Bronson Speedway. “We all watch what Robert Hart does and try to learn from that. He’s been there, done that and bought the tee shirt. When I’m not sure what to do at Bronson Speedway I wonder what would Robert Hart do? So I picked up the phone and told him what I was doing and was hoping he’d be helpful and he was. They were all for it so that was a great thing.”
New Smyrna Speedway’s Operations Manger, Kim Brown, said that the reason this partnership has come about is because of the respect level between all parties involved.
“(Ann) and Robert and myself have had a pretty good relationship behind the scenes,” Brown told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “She’s pretty new at this game and asks Robert for advice from time to time. I think there is a mutual respect there.”
Young said she and her late husband, Chris, a former Modified racer at Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway, bought the 1/3-mile Bronson Speedway about five years ago. She explained that the idea for this race is something she and her husband had talked about doing for a long time until Chris passed away July of last year.
“Our goal was always to get the Tour-type Modifieds in Florida,” said Young. “There isn’t a contingent that races here. We have open-wheel Modifieds, but not Tour-Type Modifeds. We don’t have that type of class except for once a year at New Smyrna. But Chris and I always planned to try to have that. However, we needed to get Bronson cleaned and up and running before we did that. It was basically a dead race track when we opened it. So we’d been working towards it, but Chris’ untimely passing basically caused me to say that it’s now or never. Let’s just put it out there and see what we can do.”
This race is just the first step for Young in achieving the goal that her and her husband had set forth. And so far Young said she’s thrilled with the reception towards the event from competitors and sponsors.
Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece has said that he’s committed to running this race. Young said that the Zacharias brothers from New York, Jimmy and TJ, plan to be there, as well as some Long Island racers and some drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
“It seems like recently they’ve all started to figure out that this is the Saturday before New Smyrna starts so they can make it,” said Young. “It’s a smaller race track than New Smyrna, but I think they’ll enjoy it.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Bronson Speedway Facebook Page