Champion Motor Speedway's new general manager, Jeb Onweiler, is beginning to make some things happen for the upcoming season.
First, there will be a meeting at the Plaza Hotel this coming Wednesday evening at 6:30, for all racers, crew chiefs, and team owners that plan to race at CMS in 2003. The meeting will address the final updates on rules for Super LateModels, Western Modifieds, Limited LateModels, Legends, Street Stocks, Tag Team Bombers, Bandoleros, and Hornets. Competition license applications will also be available, along with information on purse and bonus payouts. Racers who have not yet reserved their car numbers will also be able to do so, as well as
reserving pit pads for the season. If you want to race at CMS and can't attend the meeting, you can contact Race Director Robert Kline at 882-0557 or Jeb Onweiler at 884-3045.
One of the more exciting developments for the new season is the sponsorship of the Street Stock Division by Les Schwab Tires. Street Stock competitors will be required to use either Jupiter 205/70R14 series or Jupiter 215/70R15 series tires. Both tires are T-rated and will cost less than $45 apiece. It's a good deal because it keeps costs down and helps to ensure equal competition among the competitors. According to Race Director Kline, "I think this is a great idea. The tire bill on a racecar is one of the biggest expenses these guys face. This way they will have an affordable tire to race on and someone with a big budget can't go out and buy an unfair tire advantage."
Kirk Buck, regional marketing director for Les Schwab, assured CMS that both tires will be readily available at any Les Schwab Tire Center location in Northern Nevada.
Another new event for 2003 will be a motorsports swap meet March 1 at Fuji Park. Sponsored by CMS and titled the "Wheels & Deals" swap meet, attendees will have opportunities to buy and sell new and used racecars, parts, racing equipment, etc. There will also be seminars on building Hustlin' Hornet, Tag Team Bomber, and GenX Enduro racecars. CMS rules and competition license applications will also be available. General admission is $3 plus canned food, which will be donated to the Carson City food bank. 10 foot by10 foot indoor vendor/display spaces are going for just $25 and 15 by 15 outdoor spaces are only $20.
The show will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Jeb Onweiler or Robert Kline for more information, or log onto www.Championspeedway.com.
Moving to the national racing scene, it appears that there may be a Toyota in NASCAR's future. Although there is no official word from either Toyota or NASCAR, the rumor mill has a Toyota Craftsman Truck effort taking to the track in 2004, with Toyota's Winston Cup debut likely in 2007. Toyota has proved that they can play with the big boys in both open wheel and sports car
racing, dominating the old IMSA GTP category in the early 90s and having a successful run in CART the last few years.
It has also entered the rarified atmosphere of Formula 1, the most technologically driven racing series on the planet. For NASCAR, its biggest challenge will be to "dumb down" its racing engineers to build a pushrod, carbureted V8! And who will
Toyota team with in Winston Cup? Well, it appears that the Penske, Ganassi, and Evernham organizations will be finishing up their contracts with Dodge around 2006. Coincidence? Well, Penske is the largest Toyota dealer in the country, Ganassi has won a couple of CART championships with Toyota and is
running its engines in IRL now, and Evernham knows how to make a new car competitive. Stay tuned.
The second week of Winston cup testing at Daytona saw four drivers better the top10 times from the first weekend. Kyle Petty's Dodge was quickest of the "even" teams on Thursday, his 183.744 mph speed good for third fastest of both test weeks. Jeremy Mayfield (Dodge), Ricky Craven (Pontiac), and Christian
Fittipaldi (Chevrolet) were the other three "even" drivers ending up with top10 speeds overall. Elliott Sadler was the only Ford driver in the top-10, finishing eighth fastest.
Remember, this was testing. When the Winston Cup teams have to qualify and face NASCAR scrutineering's "room of doom," things may change drastically.
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist.