Tim’s Notebook – Florida Diary
By Tim Terry.
It’s hard to believe that Florida Speedweeks is here once again, and for the third consecutive year I am excited to be down where the action is!
I’ll start off by saying this. For the last two years, our coverage has focused on the INEX Winter Nationals with a side dish of the World Series at New Smyrna Speedway. This year sees a bit of a flip flop, with our coverage being based around our Atlantic Canadian drivers and teams at New Smyrna Speedway. While we will be based off State Road 44 for Speedweeks, we will still have coverage from Orlando Speedworld and INEX Winter Nationals, hoping to get down there to catch our local teams at least once throughout the week.
Our Tim’s Corner Motorsports coverage of the upcoming World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway is made possible by A.E. McKay Builders and Sarah McKay Racing. I’ve had the opportunity to travel down and be with the team along with working out of their trailer for all coverage from TCM throughout the series. The opportunity will also be able to give our fans a more in depth look at what an Atlantic Canadian driver or team does to prepare for and execute a World Series event. It also gives us a chance to follow the likes of Newfoundland’s Josh Collins, Denver Foran, who has New Brunswick roots, along with others with Maritime connections like Gary Crooks, Kevin Moore, DJ Casey and Dean Clattenburg, just to name a pair. We will also catch up with some “fans” who have made their way down from the Maritimes whom will be familiar names to those following the circuits at home.
The World Series is an historic event with successes for many Maritime race drivers, including the likes of Jr Hanley, Scott Fraser, Lonnie Sommerville, Cy Harvey and Wayne Smith, just to name a few that have etched their name into the World Series history books. Cy Harvey has told me stories of this event before, including one where he had a run in with Mark Martin “back in the day when he was an up and coming driver.” Some of those stories I cannot put back through my keyboard, but I will tell you that it makes me excited to cover this event and see what chapters are written for these Atlantic Canadians set to take the green flag at New Smyrna Speedway.
At the end of the day, our goal is for you, at the end of the day, to put this week on your racing bucket list, and I believe we have done that for a few over the last two years. There is so much to do down here, so much to see and so many familiar faces you will know. While you may be thousands of kilometers away from home, it really doesn’t feel like it when you come to the track.
Speaking of familiar faces, I have had the opportunity to surround myself with a few of them to Maritime race fans over the last few days. My trip south with Sarah McKay Racing started Monday with a drive to Bangor and a flight to St. Petersburg. The last couple of days have been pretty relaxing on the western side of the state, which is expected to be a complete opposite of what the next ten days for the team will be. We’ve taken in some shopping along with some relaxing time by the pool in the Florida sun. While this team knows this event is a huge undertaking, this team, comprised of a few World Series rookies, is taking everything in stride, staying loose and having a ton of fun.
As for their driver, I fully believe she is ready to take on the World Series. Sarah McKay had a ton of eyes on her last year as she ran for the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year on the Parts for Trucks Tour, which will be no different from the upcoming week and a half. For a driver entering her first World Series, she is relaxed. If she is nervous, she hasn’t shown an iota of being it since we left Monday. We both cut an interview with Joe and Jr on Race Time Radio, which you can hear at RaceTimeRadio.com.
Sarah McKay Racing will be overseen at the track by Maritime veterans Geoff Armstrong and Dean Clattenburg. Armstrong helped steer the mechanical ship for the team last year en route to their successes on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. Clattenburg’s resume is long and impressive both on and off the track and has helped out the team prep for their first World Series, which included a test at Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia and a few massages on both race cars at Clattenburg’s North Carolina shop. Dustin Tucker, son of three time Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion Shawn Tucker, is here to turn wrenches, along with Allen Munn, Buddie Munn and Craig Duncan. As a part of our coverage this week on the website, we’ll introduce you to the team a bit more.
For those that are familiar with the track, you’ll be able to find Sarah and Josh’s haulers pretty easy. Both are in the back pit area, with the #32 hauler being behind the pit grandstands, and Collins being around the corner. The #56 hauler is in a similar spot that Wayne Smith’s was in 2012.
Today is practice day, with on track activity taking place from 4pm to 8pm. Be sure to follow along on our Twitter (@TweetTimsCorner) and Facebook (@TimsCorner) feeds throughout the day, and look for TCM reports from each day the Pro and Super Late Model divisions race on the website. If you venture to New Smyrna Speedway, be sure to stop by the TCM Mobile Office (the Sarah McKay Racing hauler) and give us a little something we can send home to our fans following at home.
Can’t get down here and want to follow the action even closer? You can watch action from both New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speedworld online, via FansChoice.Tv and SpeedShiftTV.com, respectively. The World Series action via FansChoice.tv is free to view (complete schedule on their website) while the INEX Winter Nationals coverage is available on Speed Shift TV on a pay-per-view basis.
However you enjoy the week, whether it is at the track, through internet video streams, or through our updates, here’s hoping it warms up the North a bit, melts some of the snow and gets us closer to Petty Raceway’s season opener on May 16th!
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
Editorial by Tim Terry/Photo by McCarthy Photographic