Wytheville, VA ~ Here we are for the second segment of Pit Stops here in January 2009 … Hope everyone had a great New Year and hopefully you’re busy getting ready for the 2009 race season which will unofficially kick off in late March with some test sessions at local tracks and officially as of right with the busy March 14th weekend of racing for Late Model Stock Cars.

Here at RACE22.com World Headquarters in Wytheville, VA we’ve been very busy first assisting the UARA-STARS Series with videos for their banquet and as well chasing down some old advertisers and firming up some deals with new advertisers or returning advertisers for either the website or the Star City Racing News magazine. We would like to thank everyone for coming here and as many of you tell us several times a day … we appreciate your support and we hope we can bring you the latest so that you can keep up to date on all Late Model Stock Car racing news as well as news this year with the PASS South Series, ASA SouthEast, Pro Late Models at Concord and a little bit of Limited Late Models and Late Model Trucks in 2009!

Anyways here we go with the latest Pit Stops from around the racing region ….

Kevin Hamlin and Sommer Motorsports will team up once again to compete in the Rockingham Speedway debut of Late Models on April 17-18th with the UARA-STARS Series. Hamlin, who has already driven one race for the Sommer Motorsports team in attempting to make the Bailey’s 300 at Martinsville 

Speedway back in September. Hamlin, who is a developmental driver for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, missed the field for the Bailey’s 300 in the first race with Sommer Motorsports.

Hamlin is looking forward to returning to Rockingham Speedway after previously making a start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a few years ago. This will be Hamlin’s first start in the UARA-STARS Series, a fast growing Late Model Stock Car touring series that will tackle the high banked one-mile track for the first time in a companion race with the ARCA Series.

Richard Gluth stepped down as promoter of Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, VA on Tuesday after working a deal to end a five year lease that started in 2007. Gluth made strides at the 3/8 mile track to clean up a facility that in 2009 will celebrate it’s 40th Anniversary. Former promoter and current owner of the historic track, Donald F. “Whitey” Taylor is expected to re-assume his role as promoter for the 2009 racing season.

Gluth, who resurrected the Late Model Stock Car division this past season holding the third highest car count in the region second only to Greenville Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, was looking to make some changes and possible implement a Street Stock/Late Model division similar to Grand Stock cars at many region tracks and Taylor is expected to continue with those plans. Look for some announcements and meetings to be scheduled in the next few weeks for the latest on Franklin County Speedway.

Del Richards‘ purchase of Southern National Raceway Park seems to have hit a snag as track owner, Kirk Leone announced this past week that the track was again for sale at a price of $2.5 million and that currently there are no races scheduled at the 4/10 mile high-banked oval.

Richards, who supposedly purchased the track earlier this season hit the promotion trail running scheduling big races with PASS South, UARA and more for next season while bringing the one of the USAR Hooters Pro-Cup Series Champions Races to the track this past season as well as bringing back the Super Late Models. The honeymoon didn’t last long as drivers and team owners quickly began to complain about receiving bad checks and things continued to get worse into the season ending race with the Thanksgiving Classic.

Following the Thanksgiving Classic many drivers and team owners complained of not getting paid and even more found that the blank check that they had left for pit passes, fuel and such had been overcharged by large amounts. We spoke with several drivers who had been overcharged and even one said that he had canceled his check to avoid having to take legal action.

The story from Southern National Raceway Park was one the track didn’t need as the track has been through a lot over the last ten years with former track owners and management. SNRP is for sale and rumors have a successful car dealer from Greenville, NC looking into purchasing the facility, a move that could be big for the future of the track, a track that needs some stability.

The UARA Schedule may have to change a little due to the above mentioned issues with Southern National Raceway Park. With two races scheduled there this season the UARA-STARS has to obviously be hoping that new management there can be found soon and the races can remain there, but there are several tracks from the 2008 season that could be added to the 2009 schedule in place of the two races at Southern National including Greenville Pickens, Orange County and Franklin County Speedway.

Also an announcement is expected in the next ten days on the one To Be Announced(TBA) date and of course many speculate that the series will be going to Bristol Motor Speedway in a companion event with the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend in March. We’ll have to wait and see what happens here as the UARA-STARS staff has remained very tight lipped on the prospect of this event.

“22 Awards” were supposed to have been announced on Monday, January 5th, but have been pushed back as the staff continues to work on several of the awards. Stay tuned to the website for the announcement of the “22 Awards” award winners in all categories.

Next Week … we’re hoping to be able to break a few news stories that you can’t get anywhere else … we’ve got a handful of people out keeping their ear to the ground and digging up the best news stories in Late Model racing in our region and hopefully we’ll be able to announce some new advertisers!