Off-Season Racing Excitement - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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Off-Season Racing Excitement

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Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019 7:20 pm

We’re less than a month away from the 2019 NASCAR season which kicks off with the 61st running of the Daytona 500. “The Great American Race” is not just one of the biggest spectacles in auto racing, but in all of sports as well. The Daytona 500 marks the beginning of a new NASCAR season, but you may have noticed some other racing events in the headlines lately. And while these races may not match the magnitude of the Daytona 500, they all have their place in their respective series, and both have an extremely loyal following.

Last week, the 2019 Chili Bowl Nationals took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Chili Bowl has long been one of the biggest events in motorsports and is on every driver’s wish list. It’s a week-long dirt track event that features more than 350 of the best midget car drivers in the country. Every year it seems that more and more NASCAR drivers are participating in the Chili Bowl and are helping add to the magnitude of the long standing event.

NASCAR talent such as Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson participated in the Chili Bowl this year. Bell – who captured the 2017 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship right here at Homestead-Miami Speedway – took home his third straight Chili Bowl victory and passed Tony Stewart on the all-time Chili Bowl win list. 

This weekend, the motorsports industry will take its eyes off of Tulsa and look to Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Rolex 24 is a unique race featuring sports cars that draws in a lot of spectators and notable drivers both nationally and internationally.

As hinted in the name, the Rolex 24 is a 24-hour endurance race that

utilizes parts of the oval and the road course, similar to the Roval race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last season. Teams at the Rolex 24 normally consist of four drivers and they take turns driving during the day and through the night until the 24 hours are complete. It’s really interesting to see a race last that long and watch drivers come down pit road and get out of the car to make room for another driver to take his place. It’s very different from NASCAR, but – like the Chili Bowl – is an entertaining race that dominates the conversation in the auto racing community for a few days.

The Chili Bowl and the Rolex 24 are two examples of racing outside of NASCAR. NASCAR and stock car racing are among the most popular racing series and styles in the world, but there are many other kinds of auto racing which don’t get as much publicity. Whether it’s midgets, sports cars or late models, there is a different type of racing for everyone to enjoy.

Here at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford Championship Weekend is our signature event as we crown champions in all three of NASCAR’s national series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Throughout the rest of the year, we host many different types of racing that anyone can come out to the championship track and watch.

Many of the other racing series we host at Homestead-Miami Speedway differ from NASCAR in that they utilize the 2.21-mile road course that sits inside the 1.5-mile championship oval. Formula and Automobile Racing Association (FARA) and Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) are two of our more frequent

visitors who race on the road course.

In fact, FARA will kick its season off in a few weeks with the Miami 500 on February 16-17.

I encourage you to come check out the race at the Speedway. Just like Ford Championship Weekend, the FARA races are complete with food, vendors and entertainment, and are also an affordable way for all car enthusiasts to spend their weekend around the racetrack.

Of course, through Fast Lane Friday we also provide amateur drag racing for anyone who wants to bring their street legal car to the track and see how fast they can go. Fast Lane Friday gives South Florida a safe and controlled environment to race in as we convert pit road into a 1/8-mile drag strip. Fast Lane Friday happens once a month and gives Homestead-Miami yet another kind of racing that everyone not only can watch, but also participate in.

These are only a few of the myriad of racing events that are hosted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On top of the different car races I’ve mentioned above, we also host a number of different motorcycle series such as Championship Cup Series and Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association.

Outside of the championship track, there’s also all the races that happen at AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex, our karting track that’s

adjacent to the Speedway. AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex hosts everything from go-karting races such as the SuperKarts! USA Winter Series – which I discussed in last week’s column – to autocross races, which are a unique form of racing where competitors compete one at a time.

So whatever kind of racing interests you, Homestead-Miami Speedway has something in store for your liking. To stay up to date on what’s coming to the Speedway in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our track calendar at www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Jan. 26

Miami Exotic Auto Racing

Feb. 1

Fast Lane Friday

Feb. 2-3

Chin Motorsports Car Club

Feb. 8-10

SKUSA Winter Series (AMR Homestead-Miami Speedway)

Feb. 9-10 Championship Cup Series

Feb. 13 Miami Exotic Auto Racing

Feb. 16-17

Formula & Automobile Racing Association

Feb. 18

Rusty Wallace Racing Experience

Feb. 23-24

National Auto Sport Association

2019 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 15

Ford EcoBoost 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship

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