EDITOR’S NOTE: RACE22.com is proud to introduce a new “Driver’s Diary” series this season where drivers from all across the region will chronicle their weekly racing experiences in their own words.  The debut of this series comes with this post from Motor Mile Speedway competitor Kyle Barnes.

As most teams begin to put the final touches on their cars in anticipation for the upcoming racing season at their local track, I feel it is time to go back and look at the offseason this year.  From tracks closing to tracks opening, and some even moving, it has been an intriguing offseason to say the least. We have seen it all this winter and it has left some drivers with their hands still up in the air trying to decide what to do. So, let’s take a look back at all the crazy things that took place in no particular order.

Ace Speedway Closes the Doors

Ace Speedway had become a top track in the region under the direction of Brad Allen, Tyler Williams, and staff. Even as the tracks clueless owner refused to help Brad and his staff, for the most part, they were able to breathe new life into the track. They soon began boasting steady car counts and grew a large fan base. However, when an owner wants no part with his track, there is only so much the staff can do and with that Brad Allen and Tyler Williams left.

When they left I felt as if Ace’s future looked bleak, but salvageable. While they truly rebuilt the speedway, there was still a chance for someone to take over and continue what they had started, but it never happened. The owner promised a new GM and a full schedule, but as of late February there still hasn’t been an announcement. However, who really knows what will happen as many stories about the tracks future have been told and tats all just talk until something happens?

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

With Brad Allen and Tyler Williams leaving Ace it had me wondering where they were heading, but I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. It was soon announced they would be going to Southern National Motorsports Park with Allen becoming the GM and Williams continuing as an announcer. This, in my opinion, was a great move by SNMP! SNMP is coming off the success of last season and this move could put them over the top as one of the best tracks in the region. It will be interesting to see how this move ultimately plays out, but I expect nothing, but the best.

Motor Mile Trims Fat

It may have been one of the most shocking stories of this offseason. Motor Mile Speedway announced they would only have six twins for late models, six races for the support divisions, and a final $10,000 to win Late Model race in September to cap the season. That’s a total of seven race weekends for the local drivers. While some drivers, fans, and sponsors don’t like the idea, I love it. It is short leaving the teams the option of going other places on off weekends. This in turn not only helps MMS save money, but it also helps other tracks get a steady flow of cars on a weekly basis they would normally not see.

The “Dirty Dozen” Series

SNMP and Motor Mile both also impressed me with their partnership in running the “Dirty Dozen” Series. It is a series of twelve twins total for the Late Models, (six twin races at MMS and six at SNMP), with a champion crowned in the end. While not all drivers will choose to compete in this series set up by MMS and SNMP, I’m sure it will bring the best of the best to both tracks this season. In my opinionm that’s a win-win situation for everyone and a smart move by MMS to make their small schedule pack an even bigger punch.

Wake County Speedway

Wake County was truly in despair during the 2012 season with low car counts and virtually no one talking about this little .25 mile track. However, during the offseason, Charlie Hansen announced he was taking over as GM of the little bullring. This has breathed new life into a track that desperately needed it. Hansen and staff have the track looking great and are bringing back the Late Models for 2013. I believe this is the dark horse track of 2013.

Langley Gets a Facelift

The Hampton, VA track received a brand new surface during the winter months. With the new surface should come faster speeds and exciting racing. I, for one, am extremely excited about the facelift Langley Speedway received as it seems each track that gets repaved has some of the best racing around. This is partly because teams must go back and look into possibly changing their setups, making the first half of the season unpredictable.

Time to Move

As announced at the end of last year, Old Dominion Speedway is in the process of trying to move their track to a new location. No, not physically move, but they would like to build a new facility in a time where most are being closed. I, for one, an extremely happy to see a plan like this going on and hope they have success in their efforts this year.

Goodbye Goodyear

Goodyear has long been NASCAR’s tire sponsor for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, however, it was recently announced Goodyear has pulled out of short track racing. This left Hoosier to pick up the pieces and these tires will now been run at Kingsport, Lonesome Pine, and Hickory, three tracks which have long used Goodyear as the tire of choice.

No Need to Change Here

While some tracks saw change, other tracks made no changes at all proving how well their 2012 season was. Some of these tracks included South Boston and Myrtle Beach are just a couple tracks off of the top of my head. Those two tracks had amazing seasons in 2012 and none to minimal changes were made this offseason.

In conclusion, while this is just part of the stuff we seen this offseason it covers the basics. These changes will be interesting to follow during 2013 to see how they play out. In my opinion, after the UNOH Battle at the Beach’s drama, we will see a surge at tracks in the beginning of the season and it will be up to the tracks to keep those fans coming back for more. The changes, however, will surely help the tracks in that process.