March 25th, 2005
BINGHAMTON, NY…The pre-season excitement at Five Mile Point Speedway is at an all-time high as many new race teams are looking to converge on the historic quarter mile clay oval. Large car counts are expected once again in all the divisions when the 2005 season gets underway. The Southern Tier Open will get things in motion on Saturday, April 9th with the return of the lightning fast Patriot Sprint Cars, Sportsman and Pure Stocks. Race time is 5 p.m.
With the anticipated high car counts the speedway management has put together a new program in motion for when a weekly division sees eight or more teams failing to qualify on a given night. Effective May 7th, when any division has thirty-two or more entered teams, the speedway will hold a guaranteed starters race the following week.
The guaranteed starter’s race will be the first event of the evening on the following Saturday night. It will see all of the non-qualified drivers from the previous week racing for two guaranteed starting spots in that nights racing program. The top two finishers in that race will automatically be given guaranteed starting spots of 25th and 26th place that night if needed.
After the completion of that race handicapped qualifying heat races will take place as normal. All the drivers from the guaranteed starter’s race will then have an opportunity to qualify under normal procedures to better their starting positions. Consolation races will then be run as needed which would ultimately provide non-qualified teams from the previous week three chances to qualify that night.
The advantages of the guaranteed starters race are several for teams that may not have qualified the week prior. Of course they get an opportunity to become a guaranteed starter but it also provides potentially “less experienced” drivers with valuable track time. Those same drivers will still get the opportunity to compete in heat races to better their starting positions. Also, the two guaranteed starting spots are being added to the end of the field and not taking qualifying positions from other teams.
Track Operator Andrew Harpell stated, “We are putting this plan in motion to give the largest number of teams the opportunity to qualify. The last thing we want to see is a potential young talent getting discouraged by not qualifying without the real opportunity of gaining additional seat time.”
For additional information on the upcoming Five Mile Point Speedway race season please contact the speedway offices at (607) 775-5555 or log on to www.fivemilepointspeedway.net for more.