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Archive for December, 2006

Diehl Takes Over Charlotte County Speedway

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Tampa-area motorsports promoter Bobby Diehl took over ownership of the Charlotte County Speedway this week, promising an extended race schedule and many physical improvements to the track.

Diehl announced the first big change at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Charlotte County Airport Authority. Effective immediately, the track will be called Charlotte County Motorports Park.

The commissioners unanimously voted to transfer the remainder of longtime speedway owner Leroy Davidson’s ground lease to Diehl, ending March 31, 2008. Davidson owned the track through a corporation called Charlotte County Speedway Inc., according to the airport authority.

After this, Diehl will have to renegotiate a new ground lease with the airport authority. Diehl said that he now owns the other assets of the speedway — including vehicles, modular buildings, bleachers and track equipment — outright in a purchase from Davidson that closed on Wednesday.

Several of the commissioners said they have already seen improvements at the track. “That place is cleaner in just the last few days than it has been in long, long time,” said Pam Seay, who has historically been the most vocal advocate of having a motorsports stadium near the airport.

When the time comes for a contract renewal, Diehl said that he hopes all the commissioners will see that a motorsports track can be an excellent partner to a regional airport. He noted that Daytona Beach’s renowned speedway is close to the city’s airport.

“What I envision is that when we get the speedway up to where it needs to be, there will be private and business executive jets landing at the airport, carrying people to races,” Diehl said.

Diehl, who has run the Fastrucks Inc. racing series since 1996, said he also plans to greatly expand the schedule of races at the track. He’s still working on an exact schedule, but says that race fans can look forward to everything from stock cars to motorcycles to novelty events like the Lawn Mower Racing Association.

One stunt may involve a “drag race” between a jet airplane and a jet-powered car. Diehl said he’s had some talks with the Florida International Air Show about staging such a race. He’s also among a large group of racing enthusiasts helping owner Doug Rose restore the famous “Green Mamba” jet car, which was stolen earlier this year and recovered in pieces. Diehl said there’s a strong likelihood the Green Mamba may be ready to race by next spring.

He also wants to polish up the physical appearance of the track with new fences, gates and signs. Longer term, he wants to construct garages so that racing vehicles can be stored permanently at the track.

Diehl added that he wants to add more showmanship to the way the track markets itself.

His first tough decision as owner was to cancel races scheduled for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“We do not want to come out of the box with a grand opening and not be really grand,” Diehl told airport commissioners.

The first races of the year will be an “Eve of Destruction” program on Jan. 13, followed by more races the following day.

Physical changes to the track will help promote a more professional racing experience for fans and drivers alike, Diehl said. For example, he wants the stands to be thoroughly screened from the service areas of track, where vehicles are stored and maintained.

After all, a large part of racing is putting on a good show for the fans. “And the fans or the customers don’t have to be seeing everything that goes on backstage,” Diehl said.

Diehl even plans to landscape the “CCMP” logo into a berm at one end of the track, using brick pavers. This will give the track an identity that race fans will see when they drive onto the property.

Diehl, 55, is a Michigan native whose family settled in the Tampa area during the early 1950s. He has juggled parallel careers as an educator and motorsports driver and promoter since 1975.

After the Christmas holiday, he will be returning to Hillsborough County’s South County Career Center for his last semester as an automotive technology instructor. He said that rebuilding the Charlotte County Speedway will be his dream retirement job.

Exact terms of the sale were not disclosed and Davidson could not be reached for comment. But Diehl said Davidson, whom he described as a longtime friend, has never gotten the credit he deserved for founding the speedway 21 years ago and keeping it in business despite considerable personal hardships.

“He literally built this place with his own hands … it was a big part of his life,” Diehl said.

Various stakeholders in the speedway’s future learned about the ownership change Thursday.

Jean-Sebastian Sauriol, owner of International Motorsports Academy, said that he had met Diehl socially on a few occasions but had no idea until Thursday morning that he was buying the speedway.

“I think it’s long overdue and I think that Bobby has some great ideas about rebuilding … I think this community is ready for a great location that can show off all aspects of motorsports,” said Sauriol, whose school teaches go-kart racing to youngsters and adults alike.

Late Model Driver On New Year’s Eve Dirt Racers Radio Show

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Dirt Late Model driver Wes Morrison, Jr., will make his debut appearance on Dirt Racers Radio for the special New Year’s Eve show. Morrison, of North Lawrence, OH, drives the GDI Race Cars #21m sponsored by Jim Transmission, Loyal Oak Auto, Nail Club and Heavenly Hash Diner. The husband and father of three will talk about his upcoming seventh season of racing.

In addition, Pearson and Lehman will also offer listeners all the latest dirt racing news and results.

Dirt Racers Radio airs every Sunday evening on WQKT 104.5 FM from 6:00 – 7:00 PM. The show, hosted by Doc Lehman & Ryan Pearson, can also be heard over the internet at:

For more information on Dirt Racers Radio visit: or email Doc Lehman and Ryan Pearson at:

Dirt Late Model & Flat Out Magazines Sold To Three Wide Media

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

“I feel we are passing the torch on to the right person in Brian Lillie to carry on the tradition of fine quality publishing that was begun 12 years ago with Dirt Late Model magazine,” stated Nardi. “Brian is bright and energetic and clearly has the best interests of the sport at heart.”

Three Wide Media, an offshoot of sorts of the successful eCreative Group is headed by Lillie, Mike O’Connor and Rick Hartzell, all of whom have extensive backgrounds in the dirt racing industry.

“Our decision to purchase the magazines was based on a few different factors,” explained Lillie. “The first factor was our passion for the sport. Regardless of how well a person can run a business if there isn’t a passion for it, it’s just work. I’ve always been inspired by those who took a hobby and made it a career.”

“The second reason was because of my other company, eCreative Group. At eCreative Group we have a division that is dedicated to motorsports marketing. We’ve worked with numerous sanctioning bodies, tracks, promoters, and race teams over the past couple years. We felt that the addition of these two magazines made our agency stronger, and visa versa, we also feel that our agency makes the magazines stronger.”

Subscribers and advertisers will see little immediate change in production, printing, staff and content other than the goal to expand the scope and depth of the publications.

“There should be no apparent changes to either magazine,” commented Nardi. “The entire staff will remain in their current position. There is no reason to mess with something that works very well. At the same time, it will be very exciting to see how the new owners expand upon the business and use their expertise to grow the company in years to come.”

“The only change is the name of the publishing company and the location of the corporate office from Knoxville, TN to Independence, IA,” added Lillie. “All employees of Mind Over Media Publishing will continue to be employees of Three Wide Media. We’re very excited about having everyone stay on board too. They’ve all done such a wonderful job taking the magazines to the level that they are currently. We have plans to expand in a few areas to give more benefits to subscribers and advertisers alike. With the current team, and the addition of my team at eCreative Group, we believe we are poised and ready to take these magazines to the next level.”

Lillie and associates also have some specific goals in place for the publications.

“Our goals with the magazines are to continue with the road map that Dean has put in place,” said Lillie. “To add value to the magazines we plan on developing a new online presence that will serve as an extension of the great coverage that they both currently have for subscribers. For advertisers, there will be online marketing tools that will add tons of value and even return on their advertising investment.”

“In short, we just want to stay on track with the success that they’ve both had so far and continue to grow them.”

Tim Lee will remain as editor of Dirt Late Model while Justin Zoch retains the editor’s position at Flat Out. Susan Bauer Lee and Martin DeFries will also remain as art directors of Dirt Late Model and Flat Out, respectively.

Both magazines feature some of the top Motorsports writers and photographers from around the country including Al Martin III, Todd Turner, Bryan Householder, Paul Fletcher, Doc Lehman, Scott Wolfe, Doug Kennedy, Barry Johnson, Mike Sullivan, Bob Markos, Kendra Jacobs, Michael O’Leary, Tony Hammett, David Allio, Bob Appleget, Robbie Ray, Jerry Reigle, Pete Zanardi, Jim Butler, Mike Campbell, Rick Schwallie, Chuck Gonzales, Ron Meyer, Ken Coles, Mike Nelligan, Steve Koletar, Tom Hein, Mike Feltenberger, Brian Tidball and dozens of others.

Nardi, who two years ago went into partnership with Carl Short as the promoters of the famed dirt Late Model ‘crown jewel’ race, the Dirt Track World Championship, will consider additional race promotions once Three Wide Media assumes ownership of the magazines.

“For my wife Theresa and myself, there is a sadness with letting these two magazines go,” commented Nardi. “We’ve been in the racing business as publishers since 1990 and as competitors and fans for many years before that. It’s been a huge part of both our lives. But as Pete Seeger has said, ‘There is a season and a time for every purpose, under heaven.’ This is a good thing – both for the new owners of the
magazines and us – and a time of new beginnings.”

ASA Racing Division Announces IRL Driver Search Program

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Larry Pond, Managing Director of ASA-ProAutoSports states “this will be an excellent program for drivers seeking a chance to compete in the IRL Pro Infinity Series. If you think you have what it takes to drive an Indy Car, this is your chance.”

Mike Lee, Director of Colorado Indy Racing LLC states “our program is simple. Each selected participant will be scheduled for several test sessions on a chosen day between February 1st through February 20 th, 2007 at Firebird. All participants will drive one of our equally prepared IRL Indy Cars.”

He continues “entrants will be judged on several different categories by experienced drivers, team owners and other motorsports personalties. Upon conclusion of the testing, the judges will select 8 semifinalists.”

Larry Pond continues “the 8 semifinalists will race in the ASA-ProAutosports Pro-500 series for Indy Cars. There will be 6 races, three on ovals and three on roadcourses. These races will be held between March 1 and May 10 th, 2007.”

He continues “the driver with the most points will be selected as the Team Colorado Indy Racing’s driver in the Pro Infinity Series. And added to that, the entire competition will be filmed for a reality TV show to be aired on national television.”

Mike Lee says “this opportunity is open to a limited number of selected entrants. The one time entry fee to participate is $3,995. This may be your chance, don’t hesitate, contact us now!”


Mike Lee


The ASA Late Model Series Mason-Dixon/Dixieland Challenge II

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

As for this past weekend, the Mason-Dixon/Dixieland Challenge II at the DeVos (MI) Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan was a rousing success for the ASALMS as both 50-lap Features were amongst the most thrilling events throughout the entire weekend.

As for the results over the weekend, Columbus, Ohio veteran, Robbie Pyle, who won both ARP Bodies/Aluminum Racing Products Fast Qualifier Awards over the weekend, took the Saturday night 50-lap Feature while Wheaton, Illinois veteran, Eddie Hoffman avenged his second place finish on Saturday night with the Feature win on Sunday afternoon.

The ASALMS would like to thank the officials who took part over the weekend and made the ASALMS portion of the Mason-Dixon/Dixieland Challenge II such a huge success. The officials on hand over the weekend were; Mike Cook, Chuck Gonzalez, Tim Goodlet, Debbie and Jack Gritter, David Horvath, Claude Plante Sr., Elaine and Matt Prieur, Ron Varney Sr., and finally Gretchen and Bob Varney.

In addition, the ASALMS would like to thank the Mason-Dixon/Dixieland Challenge and DeVos Place officials for working with the ASALMS teams over the weekend; They include Buddy Head, George Keen, Dennis Vogel, Roger Williams, and the rest of both staffs who endured three days inside the DeVos Place.

Please note that there will be no Awards Summary for these events. Robbie Pyle was the winner of both ARP Bodies/Aluminum Racing Products Fast Qualifier Awards, while M.P.H. Promotions $40 Gift Certificate Winners were the third place finishers from the weekend; Dennis Rederstorf and Jason Dietsch.

The next event for the ASALMS will be the 2006 ASALMS Awards Banquet and 2007 ASALMS Drivers/Owners Meeting, both are set for Saturday January 20, 2007 at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Teams can plan for a full weekend of activity starting with the Meet and Greet on Friday, January 19, 2007 in the Clarion Cocktail Lounge ?Christy?s Grille & Bar. The Meet and greet will begin at 7:00pm and lasts until closing.