EASTABOGA, Ala. — The Crate Racin’ USA organization will kick off its annual Winter Shootout Series with a unique new twist, a long-awaited return to 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn., where the prestigious annual Hangover event will be held Jan. 1.
The 604 Late Model portion of the weekend will be sanctioned by the Adam Stewart-managed organization, and pay $2,500 to win
The sanctioning body has been noticeably absent from the upper East Tennessee region in recent seasons, but has been working to make a potential return to the area, where a few tracks once hosted the series on a regular basis, and showcased the now-burgeoning organization with several of its most memorable events.
Eight races make up the newly-released schedule, with the possibility of a ninth event being added in March. The series scheduled nine races last season, and seven were completed after rainouts reduced the slate.
“We started out running the Ice Bowl at Talladega Short Track [Eastaboga, Ala.] and a few races at Bubba Raceway Park [Ocala, Fla.], but our racers are smaller-budget teams and if you’re doing national points and most of your races aren’t in Florida, we felt we were hurting the guys who choose to only run that part of the tour that’s closest to home. Not everyone can commit to running from January through November, so the guys who weren’t going to Florida would get behind the 8-ball in the points early in the season, and we’d never see them again.
The decision was made to split the season into two parts, which created the Winter Shootout Series portion of the schedule as a separate entity. Unexpected by Stewart and company, the miniseries has grown exponentially
“Essentially it took off once we started doing that, and now it draws two different groups of racers,” Stewart said. “It has sorta took hold a lot better than we’d figured. We wanted to break it up a little bit to help our regular drivers and not force them to race in Florida over the winter for points, and now the whole Winter Shootout Series is standing strong on its own. I’m not sure we expected that to happen.
Last year the events drew eye-catching car counts in the 60-80 range on a consistent basis, including the fast-growing Sunshine Nationals scheduled Jan. 20-22, 2022, at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., which is a collaboration with DIRTcar Racing’s popular Pro Late Model division. The three races will pay $1,500 to win, $2,000 to win, and include a whopping $10,000 to win event for the division on the final night.
“We look forward every year to working with the officials and teams involved with the DIRTcar organization, and that event has steadily grown with the two sanctioning bodies working together to make the event bigger and better for fans, teams and competitors,” Stewart said. “They do a great job presenting their events, and our entire organization looks forward to working with their people in the warmer temperatures that can usually be found in Florida during January.”
Other events on the slate include the traditional Ice Bowl scheduled Jan. 6-8 at Talladega Short Track, and a three-race engagement Feb. 3-5 at third-mile East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. The series-closing dates at East Bay will also feature Crate Racin’ USA’s highly-competitive 602 Late Model Sportsman division all three nights.
2022 Crate Racin’ USA Winter Shootout Series Schedule
Jan. 1 – 411 Motor Speedway – Seymour, Tenn.
Jan. 6-8 – Talladega Short Track – Eastaboga, Ala.
Jan. 20-22 – Volusia Speedway Park – Barberville, Fla.
Feb. 3-5 – East Bay Raceway Park – Gibsonton, Fla.