Southern Raceway sets 30th season

Bill Gamblin | Special to the Press Gazette
"We are excited about the upcoming season ahead as we are bringing a lot of racing action to Milton and Northwest Florida early on this year," said Track Owner Tom Lowery. 

[Google Maps | Special to the Press Gazette]

MILTON — The engines have been silent at Southern Raceway, except for some heavy machinery, since the end of the 2017 season.

But the dirt track will soon come alive for its 30th season of racing action on the three-eighths-mile dirt.

"We are excited about the upcoming season ahead as we are bringing a lot of racing action to Milton and Northwest Florida early on this year," said Track Owner Tom Lowery. "We are going to have a lot of big series coming here in the first two months."

This year the big event is the two-weekend Winter Nationals at Southern Raceway.

Opening night, Feb. 10, will feature the pretty car awards being presented plus racing in six different classes.

Then the following weekend the racing will get ramped up even more as the NeSmith Late Models will take to the dirt and compete for $2,000 plus the 2nd Annual David Martin Memorial Vintage race.

Both weekends will have plenty of racing in other classes as well.

On Feb. 24 and 25 the methanol monsters of the dirt, the USCS (winged) Sprint Cars will take to the track.

After an absence of several years the USCS will return to Milton, but you can expect many of the same drivers who competed in the Southern Outlaw Sprints to be among those competing.

"After last race season the ASCS folded," said Lowery. "But with the USCS we can expect more action as the driver from the old ASCS will be joining the USCS.

"I am expecting 25 to 30 cars competing on this weekend and them putting on exciting shows both nights."

The Fifth Annual Gator DIRT Nationals will feature competitors you may recognize from the midget and late model series you see racing most recently at the Chili Bowl Nationals for the Golden Driller on MAVTV.

These drivers from the Lucas Oil Southern States Midget Series, Lucas Oil Southern States 600 Mini-Sprint Series, Slingshots and more will put on a show March 9 and 10.

"All of these drivers will be coming from out of town for this weekend, which should be a big thing for our community," said Lowery. "This in a way will be like a micro show to what was held in Oklahoma at the Chili Bowl Nationals."

Pre-season racing festivities will conclude March 16 and 17 with the 2nd Annual Spring Break Bash. This two-day racing show will be headlined by the Southern All Star Super Late Models along with racing from the Pure Stock, Street Stock, Open-Wheel Modifieds, Vintage, 602 NeSmith Sportsman, and Stinger divisions.

"We are looking to get 2018 started with a lot of quality racing action before we kick off our regular season on March 24," said Lowery. "We will have some even bigger events planned for later this season including our official 30th Anniversary on Labor Day weekend."

Southern Raceway is located at 9359 Nichols Lake Road. Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Admission is $10 for adults; for military and seniors it's $9; for students (ages 13-18) it's $7; for children (ages 6-12) it's $5; and kids 5 and under enter free. Sprint and late model nights charge extra.

Here is Southern Raceway's February to March 2018 schedule.

Winter Nationals

  • Feb. 9 Open Practice, 6-10 p.m.
  • Feb. 10 Winter Nationals with special 6 p.m. start
  • Pretty Car Awards (PS, SS, MOD, VIN, SP and ST*)
  • Feb. 16 Open Practice, 6-10 p.m.
  • Feb. 17 Late Models, $2,000 to win, David Martin Memorial Vintage Race (PS, SS, VIN, LM, MOD, SL) 

Battle at the Beach

  • Feb. 22 Open Practice, 6-9 p.m.
  • Feb. 23 USCS Sprint Cars (PS, VIN, ST*)
  • Feb. 24 USCS Sprint Cars (PS, SS, VIN*) 

5th Annual Gator DIRT Nationals featuring the Lucas Oil Southern States Midget Series, Lucas Oil Southern States 600 Series, Sharp Mini Late Models and the Gulf Coast Sling Shots

  • March 8 Open Practice, 6-9 p.m.
  • March 9 Gator Dirt Nationals Night 1, 3-11 p.m.
  • March 10 Gator Dirt Nationals Night 2, 3-11 p.m. 

2nd Annual Spring Break Bash

  • March 15 Open Practice, 6-10 p.m.
  • March 16 and 17 two-day show featuring Southern All Star Super Late Models, Pure Stock, Street Stock, Modifieds, Vintage, 602 Sportsman and Stingers. Racing starts at 6 p.m. each night 
  • March 23 Open Practice, 6-10 p.m.
  • March 24 Regular Season Opener (PS, SS, VIN, SP, ST, MOD*)

*ST – Stinger, PS – Pure Stock, SS – NeSmith Street Stock, VIN – Vintage, MOD – UMP Open Wheel Modified, SP – Sportsman 602 Late Model, LM – NeSmith 604 Crate Late Model, MC – Motorcycles, SL – Slingshots, NPCS – NeSmith Panhandle Challenge Series, BAM – Bay Area Modifieds, SAS – Southern All Stars

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