Events such as the Chili Bowl Nationals, Wild West Shootout and Sunshine Nationals may already be in the books by the time the calendar hits February, but most consider Florida Speedweeks the unofficial start of the short-track racing season.
While some of the lineups at Speedweeks mainstays Volusia Speedway Park, East Bay Raceway Park and New Smyrna Speedway have been slightly altered, both winged and non-winged sprint cars, dirt late models, big-block modifieds and UMP-style modifieds headline the dirt-track action with modifieds and super late models the stars of the asphalt scene.
Here’s a look at where the action is this February:
Volusia Speedway Park, DIRTcar Nationals
Though there are some slight changes to the schedule for the 53rd annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park near Barberville, the best in sprint car and late model racing will again visit the half-mile oval during three busy weekends of competition.
The DIRTcar UMP modifieds kick things off with standalone programs on Feb. 5-6, with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series joining the fray for four nights of competition Feb. 7-10. With the All Star Circuit of Champions no longer in existence, the Outlaws sprint cars will have four races during the DIRTcar Nationals for the first time.
David Gravel, Carson Macedo and Donny Schatz will lead the World of Outlaws regulars against a strong field of challengers from coast-to-coast.
After an off night on Feb. 11, the DIRTcar late models and USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship will share the bill on Feb. 12-13. On Feb. 14, the DIRTcar late models will be joined by the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modifieds, with the modifieds then sharing the Feb. 15-17 programs with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series.
Bobby Pierce is the reigning late model champion and Matt Sheppard was last year’s modified titlist.
East Bay Raceway Park, Winternationals
Five weeks of racing headline the 48th and final Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa. The third-mile dirt track, which opened in 1977, is scheduled to close at the end of this season and be developed commercially.
A full week of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competition and two events for the High Limit Racing sprint cars are the highlights of the busy schedule that opened Jan. 17 and concludes on Feb. 17.
The Top Gun Sprints headlined the opening weekend of action Jan. 17-20, sharing the nightly cards with gladiators, warriors and thunder stocks.
Crate late models then took center stage, accompanied by street stocks, from Jan. 24-27.
The DIRTcar UMP modifieds will make a weeklong appearance at The Clay by The Bay, running nightly Jan. 28-Feb. 3, with the series finale paying $5,000 to the winner.
Traditionally the main attraction of the Winternationals at East Bay, the Lucas Oil late models will be on hand for six nights of action from Feb. 4-10 with the finale offering $15,000 to win. Hudson O’Neal is the defending Lucas late model champion.
The High Limit sprint cars will visit East Bay on Feb. 12-13, with $10,000 and $15,000 on the line for the feature winners.
The month wraps up with the annual King of the 360s event Feb. 14-17, with the finale offering $10,000 to the feature winner. Mod lites will also be on the card.
Bubba Raceway Park, Winter Nationals/Winter Games
The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Championship and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be the key attractions at Bubba Raceway Park during Florida Speedweeks.
Action kicked off in January at the three-eighths-mile dirt track in Ocala, with the Lucas late model contingent on hand for a pair of $10,000-to-win main events on Jan. 30-31.
Between the late models and the sprint cars, the track will host the Brick City Winter Nationals at the Winter Games with IMCA modifieds, mod lites and street stocks in action Feb. 1-2.
For the first time, the USAC non-winged sprint cars will spend two weekends at Bubba Raceway Park instead of one. The series will first hit the track Feb. 9-10 to open the Winter Games, before returning for three more nights of competition Feb. 15-17.
New Smyrna Speedway, World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
The 58th annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing will be run over nine nights from Feb. 9-17 at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach.
The super late models and Tour-type modifieds will again be the headlining divisions with sportsmen, pro late models, bombers, E-Mods, 602 Modifieds and other classes joining the action over the course of the event at the half-mile asphalt oval.
Special events will include the season opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Feb. 10 and the kickoff to the second season for the ASA STARS National Tour super late models on Feb. 13.
The Richie Evans 100 Tour-type modified race will run Feb. 16, with the Orange Blossom 100 for super late models on tap the following evening.
Elsewhere On Dirt
Southern Raceway, a three-eighths-mile dirt track in Milton, Fla., will host the USCS sprint cars on Feb. 9-10 and the Hunt The Front Showdown for Crate Racin’ USA dirt late models on Feb. 16-17.
Hendry County Motorsports Park in Clewiston, Fla., will see the USCS winged sprint cars visit Feb. 2-3 and will host the IMCA Mod Lite Nationals Feb. 7-10, with the Top Gun sprint cars also in action on Feb. 10.
Crate late models and UMP modifieds will be in action on Feb. 17.
Lake City’s All-Tech Raceway hosts the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Feb. 2-3 and the Short Track Super Series modifieds Feb. 7-10.
Citrus County Speedway in Inverness will host the annual Legend Car Winternationals Feb. 12-16.
Freedom Factory, a three-eighths-mile asphalt track in Bradenton (formerly Desoto Speedway), will host the Winter Warm-Up for sport compacts, rangers and stacker cars on Feb. 2-3.
Auburndale Speedway will host super late models on Feb. 3 and SRL Sportsman cars on Feb. 17.