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Top Late Models Highlight Ocala's Opening Night

. Posted in Racing News

As many racers and fans are discovering, many things have changed since 2009, and opening night at Florida's oldest speedway will introduce many such changes for 2010.  And when the Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series hits the clay at Ocala Speedway this Friday night, March 5th, fans will discover that change is a very good thing, as the name of the series that traditionally opens the season at Ocala will be mostly the same, and yet the series will be different in many other ways.

The first thing that fans will notice is the addition of Sunoco to the name of the top late model series in the region.  Series director Ken Kinney says the addition of a new title sponsor opens a new beginning for the Sonoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series, and creates options for new ideas that will make the series even stronger and more exciting to follow.  Manufactured home builder Jacobsen Homes of Safety Harbor has also come on board as a major sponsor for 2010.

Another big change that should be evident on Friday night will be a higher car count in the pits, plus new names coming on board for 2010 to race with the UDLMCS.  This was done by breaking the series into two distinct regions, which give racers the option of not having to travel huge distances in order to maintain their position in the points race.  Saving time and money means racers who in past seasons did not opt to tour with the series have now come on board, and that means fresh faces and added excitement along with a higher car count.  And being centrally located, plus being the first race in the Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series season, will bring the best of the best to Ocala Speedway for opening night.

Johnny Collins will certainly be back as he attempts a record "three-peat" as champion of the Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series, but others who did not race full time with the series will be there to make it a tougher road to the top.  Mark Whitener, Shane Williams, and others have announced plans to tour full time in 2010, and even some former National Late Model Series regulars have come on board, such as Bo Allen and Chuck Chitty.  And while usual suspects grapple with some newcomers for the top honors, younger phenoms like Christian Augsperger and Ryan Mitchell will be battling for Rookie of the Year honors.
Fans should note that the most exciting late model series in the region is not the only show in town for opening night, as Ocala Speedway's most challenging and exciting regular division will also be in action.  The Amsoil V8 Thunder Stocks spent all of 2009 thrilling the fans with intense fender on fender racing, and produced more different winners than any other division at Ocala. They will battle for the first time in 2010 as will the Mini Stock Division.
In addition to the racing action, fans will get a chance to help the Sunoco United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series and the staff at Ocala Speedway help out an old friend.  Jack Smith, the founder and operator of Karnac.com and Real Racin' USA, has been hospitalized with serious health issues and his family is in need of help and support.  Racers will be passing their helmets through the crowd on Friday night to allow our fans to help repay Jack for all of the great work he has done for Florida racing, the Sunoco United Dirt Late Models, and for Ocala Speedway.

Ocala Speedway will officially open the grandstand gates for 2010 at 5PM on Friday afternoon, with qualifying to follow and heats set to begin at 8PM.  For a complete listing of prices for this special event, please visit the official website of America's Dirt Track at www.OcalaSpeedway.com, or call the track at 352-622-9400.

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