Finally, most of those rumors that fly every off-season can be put to rest at last. Actually the rumors about Hilltop and Midvale started well before the end of the 2009 season but now we've finally received official news from both places. And the news is great in both cases. It's certainly no secret that Hilltop has fought an uphill battle over the past few years. Blame it on the economy or lack of professional management if you'd like, but it sure looked like the future of one of our best local tracks was looking grim. I'm happy to say there's a new excitement about Hilltop that hasn't been seen since Jeff Norris brought the place back from the dead in the first place. That's because Jesse and Tracey Wardell have stepped up and purchased Hilltop, bringing with them some fresh new ideas. They also bring with them plenty of past experience of running a successful race track. That's probably the most promising news we could have ever hoped for. Talking to Jesse left me with the opinion that they truly plan to take Hilltop in the right direction, and have worked hard on plans to get it there. Nobody including myself thinks this means everything will automatically fall into place down there and all will be golden. It's going to take plenty of hard work and all the support they can get from the area racing community. It sure sounds like the new owners are more than willing to do their part so it's up to racers and fans to make this place the premier track it can and should be. One of the more risky changes for this year is a change from Friday nights to Saturdays. Some love the idea and others hate it. However it will finally allow Hilltop to work with Lakeville with similar shows without one track hurting the other. That's just what this area has needed for years so let's hope it works out for both tracks. So come on folks, let's work together to make 2010 the best season ever for our favorite local tracks. They'll need all the help they can get and they're run by folks that will reward you for your support every chance they get.
Midvale had it's share of rumors flying around since the middle of the '09 season and they've finally become officially true. Former Midvale Speedway owner Randy Smith will once again own the place. Yep, that's the very same Randy Smith that nearly owned WCS not that long ago. I guess this means there won't be any pavement at WCS anytime soon. ;-) Randy not only owned Midvale in the past but we race against both of his sons each week there so he's well aware of the changes that need to be made round there. It sounds like some of those changes are already in the works. Many folks may be leary of a track owner being involved in the racing action too, but not everybody is Ernie Coffman. It works at Deerfield and I honestly think it can work at Midvale too. If not, you just know you'll read about it here. ;-) Midvale is a place that could use some work improving the facility itself, and Smith seems to be the guy to make it all happen. Once again it will be up to the racers and fans to make it all work out so get out there this season and support another great area track. Even some of you dirt folks might want to take in a show and see how the "other side" races. I won't tell anybody if I see you hard core dirt guys and gals there. ;-)
Wayne County Speedway has also put to rest their own rumors when it was announced that Brad Malcuit will once again be leasing the place. Feedback so far has been mixed but we'll see how things go once the gates fly open. This is another track that has a tough road ahead to turn things around. Let's hope for the best!
Now that the rumors have been dealt with, let's focus on the racing season ahead. It's time to get those cars ready for another long season of action. We've recently gone to work on Miller's car so that "racin' itch" is already creeping up on me again. This part of the year may seem like work to some but somebody once called it foreplay to the racing season. Sure the actual racing season is fun but getting the car ready to do battle has it's own rewards too. ;-)