Lakeland USA International Speedway preview

Lakeland, FL. The United Speed Alliance Racing Assoc. invaded the USA International Speedway on Thursday for the second annual running of Speedfest. This years lineup includes 5 divisions racing during the first weekend ...

Lakeland, FL. The United Speed Alliance Racing Assoc. invaded the USA International Speedway on Thursday for the second annual running of Speedfest. This years lineup includes 5 divisions racing during the first weekend of Speedweeks in Central Florida. Friday night Feb 7th will be first round qualifying for the Hooters Cup late model type machines in preparation for Saturday's Hooterade 200 which is scheduled to start at 4PM. Completing the line-up for Fri night is the USAR-SARA Modifieds running a 50 lap event over the 3/4 mile high bank facility and the Southern Pro Trucks will make their debut in a 25 lap event. Saturaday afternoon will see second round qualifying for the Hooters Cup cars and first round qualifying for the USAR Hooters Pro Cup and Jackaroo Sportsman cars along with the Hooterade 200. Sunday will see final round qualifying followed by the Pro-Cup 250 at 2 pm and the Jackaroo Sportsman 100 at 4 PM. The weekend events will have television coverage by ESPN2 on a tape delay basis to be broadcast the following weekend. Racefans attending USA will be able to bring FM radios and tune into the PA broadcast frequency of 83.9 for added enjoyment of the racing action.

Track Facts:

-USA International Speedway is located 25 minutes west of Walt Disney World on Interstate 4 at exit 20.

-USA International Speedway P.O. Box 3739 Lakeland, Florida 33802

Contacts: Bill Martino Jr. - President Barry Williams - Facility Manager Gene Crane - Public and Press Relations, Track Announcer

-Telephone 1-800-984-7223

- 3/4 mile high banked oval

-Newest and finest short track in the southeast dedicated to special event scheduling by USAR and NASCAR touring divisions.

-Corporate skyboxes availablity beginning Feb. 1997.

-Available for testing year round, host to Fantasy Racing Driving Experience and Finish Line Racing School.

SPEEDFEST '97 Facts:

Date-Feb 6,7,8,9th Sanctioning Body - United Speed Alliance Divisions in competition: USAR Pro-Cup (former Winston Cup, Busch Grand National cars) USAR Hooters Cup (Late Model type) USAR Jackaroo Sportsman (Late Model Stock Florida touring div.) USAR-SARA Modifieds Southern Pro Trucks Ticket Prices: Reserved Seat Grandstand: (All Seating Reserved) Friday $10 Saturday $20 Sunday $20 Full Weekend Pass $45 Pit Admission: Friday $20 Saturday $25 Sunday $25 (note: to enter pits and having seating, first purchase grandstand ticket then upgrade for pit admission at pit sign-in)

Thursday notes:

Freddie Query moves from the Terminal Trucking team to form his own team which is unsponsored at this time.

Gary Ballough will pilot the Grand Motorsports ride driven late last season by Dick Anderson. Anderson moves back into the Dodge mount for this season driving for long time NASCAR Goody's Dash car owner Dave Watson. Watson who has fielded winning cars which have been driven by Micheal Waltrip, Hut Stricklin, Dale Jarrett and many others who have gone onto noteable careers indicated that he has 3 dash cars completed and that Dick will be helping with some testing later this year. The obvious speculation would be whether the King of Florida Short Tracks may compete in the Dash series during the season.

Matt Kenseth arrived with new sponsorship from Wisconsin Aviation.

Tony Walls was all smiles thursday waiting to get on the tarck with a new Frankie Grille car and Automotive Specialties powerplant. Tony said he was looking forward to a great year and couldn't wait to get going.

The Ragin' Cajun makes a career move to the Hooters Cup Series. AMA champion Jamie James swaps 2 wheels for 4 and plans to run the entire schedule for 1997.

Brad Means, son of Winston Cup indepedent driver Jimmy Means makes his debut at USA in the Hooters Pro-Cup division driving what else... the Broadway Motors Ford.

Bobby Gill joins NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Rich Bickle in the Terminal Trucking stable. Gill, another Florida standout replaces Freddie Query. Bickle returns to Central Florida following a good run during the season opener for the trucks in Orlando where he drives for Darrell Waltrip.

CENTRAL FLORIDA DRIVERS:

Dave Craddock, the West Palm Beach driver who has competed with the Gatorade Florida Legends Series over the past several years moves to the Hooters Pro-Cup division with a Ford Thunderbird. After the first practice Dave indicated he was fairly comfortable in the car but the transition from the legend to the 3500 pound Pro-Cup is extreme.

Lee Faulk long time competitor at just about every track in Central Florida will drive a Pro-Cup machine for Gary English. Faulk who competed briefly on the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Grand National tours in the late '80s for Bobby Clark and the Slender You folks will run only a few Pro-Cup events likely just the USA events will again run the Florida Pro Series in 1997 as a regular venue.

Brad May a young and promising driver from Orlando will become "Iron Man" Brad May after this years Speedweek schedule. In addition to practicing, qualifying and racing in both the Hooters Pro-Cup and Jackaroo Sportsman division at USA; he will also attempt to race every night of the World Series of Racing at New Symrna Speedway in the Limited late Model division. Sunday's schedule will be a coast to coast tour with the 250 lap Pro-Cup race at 2 PM, the 100 lap Sportsman Race at 4 PM and then to NSS for the Late Model race there.

IMSA dirver Craig Conway will follow the Jackaroo Sportsman series for 1997 noting that the IMSA schedule and the sportsman schedule blended together for a 30 weekend pace. Only one weeken created an overlap for the Glasgow, Scotland native who was in competition last weeken in the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Pontiac Firebird. Early practice proved Craig sportsman car to be fairly close however later in the evening a miss in the engine had them changing the ignition system.

Other Central Florida drivers in action- Billy Bigley the 1996 Hooters Cup champion, Jack Cook, James Powell, Ronnie Burkett, Wayne Heckle, Wayne Morris, Jamie Burroughs, Jim Childers and John Carter Jr..

*****

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Rich Bickle , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Hut Stricklin , Billy Bigley , Craig Conway , Bill Martin , Brad Means , Gary Ballough
Teams Williams