SOPHIA, NC :: Caraway Speedway Promoter Darren Hackett is hoping for a strong field of cars and an exciting product at the Caraway Speedway short track.  His goals are to keep the racers and the fans happy and he feels a younger group of officials will do just that.

“I figure we’re going to be in the boat that we were in last year after seeing Daytona,” Hackett said about his expectations of the 2013 season.  “We’ve got six late model shows that are part of the Late Model Stock Super Series Invitational Showdown.  In five shows, they can qualify to get in a showdown race as part of the Mid-Atlantic Meltdown.  So you’ll have 15 cars in that showdown.

“Those five shows, one would be the Rusty Harpe Memorial.  We’ve got some NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified events.  Those are also great for us.  Same goes for the North/South Shootout.  I think those six shows will have a good car count.  There’s nobody else basically running them.  Those six shows will have a good car count.  The more cars you’ve got, the better the show is.”

Hackett expects most of the competitors who raced in 2012 to return in 2013.

“I think most of the guys that were here last year are coming back,” Hackett stated.  “Naturally, you can’t just make a show happen, it has to unfold.  That’s what the fans want to see, a good race.  Our regular events will be 50 laps.  That being a shorter distance race will make a better show.”

Hackett says managing a track is not an easy task, stating that the economic climate and the evolution of the sport in terms of money being spent make it harder for teams to race.  Hackett’s challenge is trying to drive costs down.

“It’s just tough right now in Late Model racing,” Hackett mentioned.  “The cars are too expensive.  I don’t know a lot of solutions to it. We’re going to the two tire deal this year.  The six ‘Showdown’ races will be four tire events.  That should help keep the costs down some.  We can’t do but so much to defer costs.  It’s part of racing as a whole.  It’s become more expensive.  You want to keep it as cheap as you can but you don’t want to cost the racers.”

Hackett reiterated what other track promoters have said in terms of scheduling races on the same night, saying it hurts all the tracks

“If all of us run on the same weekend, we’re all struggling for car counts,” Hackett explained.  “When they’re all open, it makes it tough so we’ve all spaced our schedule out a little this year.  Motor Mile’s not running against anyone.  I’ve got those six shows planned and hopefully, nobody gets rained out.  It can help our car count.  Cars have home tracks but we don’t have a lot of late models locally here.  There’s only two or three Late Models in Randolph County.

“We might pick up a car from DC or other market if there’s nowhere else to race that weekend but most guys stay within 50-75 miles of their racetrack.  They’ll either quit racing or go to a racetrack that’s closer to them.  We’ll just have to see how the season develops as we go along.”

Hackett says there have also been changes with the track officials.

“We’ve made some personnel changes this year,” Hackett commented.  “Hopefully we’re headed for the right direction in the future as we get more young people in.  We’ve got a new group of officials that’ll be around for a while.  That’s what you need to be long term.  This is my third season so I’m fortunate the help stayed with me until we got new help.  So far, the drivers are satisfied.  That’s important that the racers are satisfied.”

Caraway Speedway’s season gets started on Sunday, March 10th.