1. We will see some big-name drivers dropping by as travelers on any given Sunday night. That’s because Quincy is the lone UMP track in the region racing on Sundays, now that Shepp’s Speedway has closed its doors.
2. The Bullring will also pick up some new weekly regulars. Who they are will be a mystery until the arrive, but the anticipation is tremendously exciting in its own right. There are all sorts of names floating around right now.
3. The big-name regional UMP drivers chase national points, not track points. Visitors this year to 8000 Broadway will come from as far south as St. Louis and the Metro East and as far east as the Peoria-Springfield region. IMCA dominates most of the territory to the north, so not many new faces will come from that direction. To the west is a mystery in Missouri. There are UMP drivers scattered across Northeast and Central Missouri, but whether we will see any is impossible to predict. Most of the new rides will come from the south, southeast and east.
Most of the local favorites will be in the pits, making the switch from IMCA. So look for Denny Woodworth, Justin Reed, Joey Gower, Keith Pratt and the rest of the usual suspects. Also look for more of Mark Burgtorf, Jason Frankel and Ricky Frankel.
4. Each week the excitement will grow. This entire season will be a learning experience from all angles. A year from now, with Quincy having established itself as a UMP stronghold, the big question will be, “Why didn’t we do this years ago?”
5. Will we see a record weekly count for late models? Maybe not this year, but I definitely think it’s in the not-too-distant future. The highest weekly average on record (dating back to 1991) is 25 during the 2006 season. Last year the weekly average was 15.
We’re just a little over five weeks away from the first green flag. I don’t know about you, but I’m … uhh … READY! This, friends, is going to be one fun summer.