Southern Pro-am Trucks Tackle Citrus County This Saturday

The Southern Pro-Am Truck Series returns to action this Saturday evening at the newly-revamped and rejuvenated Citrus County Speedway in Inverness. The track re-opened two weeks ago with over 140 cars in the pits and an SRO crowd that saw many turned away at the gate because there was no seating available for them! Another huge crowd is expected and the Southern Pro-Am Truck teams will get a chance to showcase their racing prowess in front of what should be the largest crowd ever to witness a SPATS race.
The points battle is a tight one right now between a pair of young drivers making a quick name for themselves in the Series. Cole Partelo of Largo, coming off his first career Truck win a few weeks ago on the road course at Sebring, holds just a two point edge over 21-year-old Taylor Hosford. The lady driver from Madison is hoping to score her first victory this week at Citrus and take control of the point battle herself. Partelo, who just turned 15 years of age, just recently got his Florida driving “learner’s license” and can now actually drive to the race track himself as long as his dad, veteran racer Rob Partelo, is in the passenger seat!
Veteran driver Randy Leonard of Lake Placid sits third in points, 14 markers behind Partelo. Leonard just celebrated his 66th birthday earlier this month. That makes him more almost twice the combined ages of the two drivers in front of him in the points chase! Alva’s Chad Chastain, the other winner in the twin events at Sebring, currently sits fourth in the standings while fifth is held down by Dean Butrum of Venice.
The top five in points are all expected to compete along with several more including newcomer Steve Jones, Cody Martell, Brent Tyler and third generation racer Chase Lovelady. Becca Monopoli, winner of the first two Southern Pro-Am Truck races this year, has a choice to make this week as she not only is racing Trucks this year but also Late Models. Monopoli ran both her machines at Showtime Speedway last week winning the Pro Truck feature and taking a hard-fought fifth in the Super Late Model headliner. This week her team has to decide between running the Truck at Citrus or the Super Late Model at her home track, Auburndale Speedway, that is hosting a 100-lap event for the Sunoco Series Late Models.
The Southern Pro-Am Truck event Saturday night is scheduled for 30 Laps and will pay $800 to win. Citrus County Speedway is paying the entire purse and there is no entry fee. The Trucks will be joined in racing action by the Mod Mini Stocks, Mini Stocks, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and the Pro Figure-8 cars.
The Southern Pro-Am Trucks are just part of what will be going on during the “Summer Blowout” at Citrus County Speedway. For fans, grandstand admission is just $5 and, in honor of it being back-to-school time, every student aged 18 and under and all teachers will be admitted free of charge! Also, the first 100 people to enter the gate on the grandstand side will receive a free Citrus County Speedway t-shirt.
The pit gate opens at 2 pm and pit admission is $30. Practice begins at 2:30 pm followed by European-style qualifying at 5:30. The first race will go green at 7 pm.

Photo: Current SPATS point leader Cole Partelo…

How many trucks are coming???

[SIZE=“5”]Cole Partelo sure looks good. Is there a list of how many trucks are coming. Long way to see show a with low count. PLEASE, PLEASE start a list to see if you can build the Fans base. We will keep a eye on the string to see if we are coming. Great story Dave you make it sound larger that life.[/SIZE] :auto003::auto003::auto003::auto003::light:

I love today’s race fans. They have to know car count before they will plan on going. Weather on the internet most likely has been a killer of race shows. Back in the day, yes I know back in the day sounds so old and yet true race fans left the house in rain hoping it was not raining at the track. Car count, back in the day before series racing had not begun to kill the tracks, there were full fields.

To be fair, back in the day tracks did not cancel due to rain quite so easily.

That factor is at least as off-putting as the rain itself.

“[in olden times] race fans left the house in rain hoping it was not raining at the track.”

Recently did just that at Auburndale, and to their credit they worked hard and got the show in.

I sat in the rain for an hour in the parking lot reminiscing about sitting in parking lots in the rain in decades past.

In the old days there were more tracks still open and gas was less than a dollar a gallon.At one time in many places traveling 75 miles probably put you right in the parking lot of 4 or 5 different race tracks.For someone like me down here in Lee county it would barely get me to one.The racers themselves won’t very often travel two counties away so it’s hard to expect the race fans to especially if they think they will get there to see six or eight cars per division race.And all this for the privilege of paying damn near half the price of a NASCAR race where they still do manage to at least put 30 cars or more on the track at one time,not to mention some of the local tracks over inflated god awful tasting concession stand food.Not to mention when I first came to Florida a young mother carrying a child into the stands probably felt as safe as someone doing a tour of duty in Iraq the stands were so rickety at half of these tracks.That much thankfully has started to change but after you have left that impression in someone’s mind it’s tough bringing them back.

The NEW Citrus County Speedway is a track that fans and racers are going to be happy to travel to. There’s nothing more disappointing for fans than driving an hour or two, only to find very few race cars showed up. Or that the advertised purse was based on car count and not enough showed up, and the ones that did show up are angry and refusing to race, etc, etc, etc.
The NEW Citrus County Speedway is unlike any other race track currently operating in Florida. The purse is always guaranteed for all classes. The grandstand ticket prices are among the lowest in the state. And there isn’t a race track that’s more fan friendly. Take this week’s show for example. ALL STUDENTS UNDER 18 AND ALL TEACHERS GET IN FREE. AND THE FIRST 100 FANS AT THE TICKET GATE GET FREE T-SHIRTS.
The Ray family are doing something very different with Citrus County, and i have a feeling all the racers and all the fans will appreciate it.

Sounds great, and I need to get over there soon, for sure.

Did they ever come up with way for the fans to view the events from the Sun-free backstretch, short of paying for a pit pass?

Nothing against Citrus, I hope they do well. However, as of this minute they have done nothing to solve car count. Yes I know maybe they will cause drivers that have gotten out of racing and live in that area to redo a race car that is on jack stands or build new cars and race there next year. Yes they have spent a lot of money on fixing up a track, great race purses, low and free grand stand admissions. People are saying that this will be the way that all tracks need to go. Most tracks are already fighting low car count and fans so for them to put money into their tracks will not happen. I remember several years ago when Bubba brought Ocala Speedway, he was going with high purses and did some work on the track and grounds and promises. Is that track any better off today then other tracks, dirt or pavement?

“…they have spent a lot of money on fixing up a track, great race purses, low and free grand stand admissions…However, as of this minute they have done nothing to solve car count.”--Darren

Precisely what additional steps would you suggest they take?

And, I dunno, I heard their last event was packed on both sides of the speedway.

I wouldn’t bet against them.But I do think the low front gate pricing can’t last long when you have invested that amount of money just to get a place up and running again. But Inverness is a small community without the allure of professional sports teams to funnel off people’s entertainment dollars and smaller communities is where I see circle tracks still thriving.I hope Mr.Ray will concentrate some efforts on this coming January when the snowbirds are still around and things are relatively dormant at most tracks in the state. And why wouldn’t you? The holidays are over,people in town for the season are looking for something to do and the monsoon season is over.So why wouldn’t you take advantage of that before Daytona gears up in February? If he can get business and some corporate backing out of the area he very well could take the track a long way. Why is it when I go to a dirt track business billboards and banners pretty well surround the entire speedway yet most pavement tracks I go to here in Florida especially are lucky to have more than a half dozen? It’s called LACK OF EFFORT !!! I wish Mr.Ray and CCS well and hope they don’t turn lackadaisical in there efforts should they have a few successful shows right out of the chute.

I was there the first race they said the front gate will stay $5.00. they are betting on numbers at the front to stay up. 200 people at 12.00 or 1000 people at 5.00 simple math big fan count in front gate will also help car count no racer wants to race in front of empty or near empty stands. And as a racer Rain or not iam loading and headed to the track I don’t care what the weather man says. Only job you can screw up everyday and still have the job. If track cancels early I look elsewhere for a race doesn’t always work out.

You forgot politician.

Car counts = Fans count = MONEY$$$$$!!!

[SIZE=“5”]Car counts = Fans count = MONEY (for ALL of you that were around remember Tom Stymis at Desoto) $$$$$!!! If the Tracks make money they can pay more to the Racers (and Fans)!!!:ohmy: Pay out means more Cars which means more Fans. Than the track makes more money (Tom would give-a-way diamonds, cars, trips, even free hair cuts and food) for everyone!!!:dry:
The times are still thought for most Fans. Why in the world would any group or traveling Series NOT make calls to they supporter Teams and get a list of Teams coming or who’s not (a least the Fans will know if they are going to spend their money for a 5 truck race) then they can ask why. Maybe they can fix any question from the Teams???:fragend005: Then post it!!! Let the Fans know so they can plan on which Track they are spending their HARD earned MONEY!!!:auto003: Just my two cents!!![/SIZE]

back in the day

back then your car would only get 11 mpg, pay checks smaller and car worn out at 100,000 miles. air conditioning of today has ruined us. no way could we go back and like it.

I notice there’s a full program of racing scheduled, the Southern Pro Am Trucks only being one part of the night’s program. There’s Minis, Mod Minis, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, even a Figure 8 race on the program.
In the very unlikely event that only 5 trucks were to show up, it looks like you’d still have a full night of auto racing to enjoy. And at only $5 admission to the grandstands ( free admission for teachers and students ) , plus a free Citrus County t-shirt to the first 100 ticket purchasers, at one of the nicest short tracks in the nation…doesn’t seem like much of a risk.

If a class, any class, at any venue, plays politics it may result in decreased opportunities at said venue in the future. There are five (count 'em) tracks within reasonable towing distance.

(Trucks are potentially just sportsman cars waiting to be rebodied…)

Best of luck to Citrus this weekend. I will be unable to attend due to other obligations.