After a tough beginning to the local racing season last year, the 2012 race season was able to start on schedule when Seymour Speedway got its Spring Thaw in the books on Sunday. The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, but because of the rain Friday night, was postponed until Sunday.
Even with the postponement, the start of the race day was delayed due to the extra time it took to get the track into racing condition. Despite that, there was a good-sized crowd on hand. That’s what makes die-hard local race fans unique.
Since it was the first local race of the season it gave drivers a chance to shake off the offseason rust. It also gave fans the opportunity to see the sleek racing machines before they start showing the battle scars of a grueling race season.
There were some awesome looking cars. It truly amazes me what today’s graphic companies can do when creating graphics for race cars. Not all the cars had new graphics. Some still had last year’s body on the car which showed the scars of the 2011 race season. Jason Czarapata and Jerry Wilinski, both Shawano Speedway regulars, had new bodies on their cars, but no graphics yet, just their car numbers duct taped onto the sides of the cars.
I spoke with Late Model driver Nick Anvelink before the races and asked him what his plans are for this year. He said he was still racing last year’s car, but he did build a new one over the winter. When he finishes that, he said he may race some WISSOTA Late Model Challenge Series races.
I also spoke with Terry Anvelink and he said that he does plan on racing this year, but he’s not sure when. He said he doesn’t have a car to race at the moment.
Eddie Muenster said he is still undecided on where he is going to race on Saturday nights this year. He was a Shawano Speedway regular for years and years until he raced weekly at 141 Speedway last year. Muenster said he may race occasionally at both tracks this year.
Ron Berna was racing on Sunday, but it wasn’t in his familiar Late Model. Instead he was racing an IMCA Modified. Berna is a three-time Shawano Speedway track champion in the IMCA Modified division, but those championships were in the 1990s. He didn’t show any rust in his heat race as he took home the win. His car broke in the feature though.
Late Model fans shouldn’t worry about not seeing Berna in a Late Model this year. I spoke with one of his pit crew members, and he said that Berna still plans on racing a Late Model this year, but that car wasn’t race ready yet.
Troy Spingborn had his “open” motor Late Model at Seymour and finished fourth in the feature. Nick Anvelink made a late race charge and finished second in the feature. Jim Schmidt of Cleveland won the Late Model feature.
Tracy Wassenberg put together a strong run in IMCA Northen SportMod feature, finishing second. He challenged for the lead a few times before fading a bit during the final laps of the race.
The next local race night will be Saturday, April 14 when 141 Speedway in Francis Creek opens. Shawano Speedway opens one week later, on Saturday, April 21.
See you at the track.
Here are some photos I took in the pits at Seymour Speedway on Sunday.