Tonight at SMS!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2003

Staff report

A pair of 50-lap features for the Late Model Stock Cars top the bill this Friday, June 6, as Southampton Motor Speedway continues its 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series schedule with Dodge Night at the Races.

Pit gates open at 3 p.m. Front gates open and practice rounds begin at 4:30. Qualifying gets under way at 6:40 and the first race starts at 8. In addition to the Late Model Twin 50s, Friday’s lineup includes: Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Models (50 laps); Rick’s Rock Cafe Pure Stocks (25 laps); Ukrop’s Mid-Atlantic Champ Karts (20 laps); and, Baby Grands (25 laps).

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Tickets are $12 for adults and $4 for youths (6-12). Children under 6 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Active-duty military (with ID), senior citizens (65+) and teens (13-19) receive a $2 discount off the adult admission price.

After a brief hiatus, &uot;In Victory Lane with Neal Steele&uot; is back on the track’s Web site – By clicking on the links, which can be found on the site’s main page, fans can listen to track announcer Neal Steele’s post-race interviews with the first-, second- and third-place finishers from all five of last Friday’s feature events.

The loss of five races to foul weather or other weather-related issues (the wall collapse) made the scheduling of this Friday’s Late Model Twin 50s a necessity.

To be eligible for NASCAR regional and national recognition, SMS’s Late Model drivers must compete in at least 18 races before the Sept. 21 cutoff date.

The five cancellations had trimmed the Late Model slate from 25 to 20 races – too close of a margin with so much of the season left to go.

Speaking of foul weather, SMS hasn’t been alone in its troubles. According to a May 28 &uot;News & Notes&uot; press release from NASCAR’s PR department, 134 events at 67 tracks across the country had been canceled due to inclement weather.

Three tracks – Colorado National Speedway near Denver, Rockford (Ill.) Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway – have lost events to snowstorms. Cajon Speedway in El Cajon, Calif., suffered only its 35th rainout in 43 years of operation. And Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Pa., lost six of its first eight events to rain.

National Short Track, a nationally-distributed periodical, is holding its second annual &uot;Sounds Good&uot; contest to identify America’s favorite NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track announcer.

While he didn’t begin his campaign until relatively late in the going last season, SMS’s own Neal Steele still garnered enough support to grab the attention of NST publisher/editor Rob Hahn.

Vote early and often at The deadline is Aug. 20 and randomly selected voters will be eligible for prizes.

Congratulations to Landen, Lindsey and Morgan Bland of Gloucester, Va., who got to ride along with pace car driver Dave Watkins on May 30! They were the latest winners of the weekly contest from the &uot;SMS Family Fun Pages&uot; Web site.

For your chance to win a ride with Dave, print out the pages from the Web site, complete the WordSearch puzzle (for younger fans, you may color the picture), write the requested info on the back of the page and drop it in the specially-marked box at the Souvenir Trailer when you get to the track on Friday.

Good luck! Look for the third installment of &uot;SMS Family Fun Pages&uot; in a week or so.

In its fourth season under the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series banner, Southampton Motor Speedway is a 4/10-mile, paved tri-oval, similar in configuration to Richmond International Raceway. The track is located on U.S. Highway 58, one mile west of Capron and 17 miles east of I-95 (Emporia exit).

To learn more about SMS and its schedule of upcoming events, fans may call the Speedway office at (434) 658-RACE or visit the track’s Web site at