We love short track racing here at SB Nation NASCAR and the complexion of one of the more popular but lesser-known events taking place alongside Daytona Speedweeks just grew in prestige as NASCAR just announced an agreement to sanction New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speedworld under their Home Track banner starting this season.
New Smyrna Speedway is the home of the World Series of Asphalt, a nine-day event featuring Late Model and Tour Modified races that primarily run during the night NASCAR events are not scheduled for Daytona International Speedway.
The agreement, signed by New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speedworld officials on Friday, is the next step of a series of announcements meant to strengthen and highlight NASCAR’s regional and grassroots-level racing in the state of Florida.
"Sanctioning New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speedworld is important to our NASCAR Home Tracks program,” Director of NASCAR’s Developmental Racing Series Operations Bob Duvall said. “Partnering with two well-established race tracks in central Florida is energizing for the local racing community.
“These tracks are known for entertaining competition among top-notch drivers,” Duvall said. “With NASCAR, they have a new platform for recognition on local, state and national levels. Track owner Robert Hart created mainstays for weekly racing in Florida. We look forward to working with him and officials at both tracks.”
The strengthening of NASCAR’s regional presence in Florida began when NASCAR announced the Battle at the Beach short track event, to be held on a temporary half-mile circuit on the Daytona International Speedway backstretch, featuring the Whelen All-American Late Models, Tour Modifieds and a non-points combination event for the Pro Series East and West winners from last season.
New Smyrna Speedway General Manager Terry Roberts says that longtime NASCAR VP of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter first planted the idea in his head in 2003 and continued to suggest becoming a Home Track until his passing in 2010.
Hunter himself was a longtime supporter of grassroots and regional racing as well as the architect of the modern NASCAR marketing communications department.
"We felt this was the best time to make that decision, "Roberts said. “With NASCAR committing to short track racing with the Battle at the Beach, we looked at this as an opportunity to increase our car counts and continue to grow the event -- we've already seen where our modified count is up purely on the excitement of the races at Daytona.
"Certainly having our track able to fly the NASCAR banner is a positive and we're looking forward to working together to grow both the World Series and the Battle at the Beach."
The agreement will also see NASCAR become the sanctioning body for the Speedway's entire 2013 season with the deal also being reached with nearby Orlando Speedworld, a 1/3-mile paved oval near Orlando, Fla.
Prior to the announcement, NASCAR did not sanction any Home Track in the state of Florida. Now they have two, allowing 1994 NASCAR Weekly Series (now the All-American Series) champion David Rogers to once again chase a state or national championship. Rogers is the defending New Smyrna Speedway Super Late Model champion and will now be able accumulate NASCAR points in 2013.
The state of Florida is well-represented with emerging talent, including successful drivers such as Stephen Nasse, Anthony Sergi and Chad Allman. Now the talent will get the opportunity to shine under the NASCAR spotlight.
The 2013 World Series of Asphalt is scheduled for Feb. 14-23. The complete schedule of events can be found here.