Although Speedway 95 in Hermon is snow-covered, auto racing season isn’t that far away and track co-owner Del Merritt has announced a number of changes for the upcoming season, which begins Saturday, May 7.
The Super Street division, which had low car counts last season, has been ditched in favor of a new Sportsman class on Saturday night.
“The Super Streets were dead in the water,” said Merritt. “We needed to make a change. It used to be one of our better classes.”
He speculated that a variety of rule changes contributed to its demise.
He said drivers will be allowed to use more fabricated chassis in the Sportsman class and be able to drive old Camaro-type unibody cars or cars with custom-built chassis that have stock front clips that are not competitive in the Late Model Division.
“By being able to bring back these chassis, we should get a much better field of cars,” said Merritt, who noted that this class is more affordable than the Late Model Division, the track’s top class.
Merritt and co-owner Alice Baker have added a Bomber class on Saturday nights that will be open to V-6, front-wheel drive passenger cars with very few modifications.
“We needed to add a class for beginners to the Saturday night program,” explained Merritt. “We want a class for people who are more interested in having a good time.”
He added that the Strictly Street division has had its transmission rule altered to allow three-speed manual transmissions, which had been outlawed.
“That should add three or four cars to the division,” he said.
The Saturday night lineup now will include Late Models, Sportsman, Strictly Streets, Sport Fours and the Bombers.
Merritt also has clarified the rules for the Late Models and will try to keep the rules consistent in all classes.
“We should be able to leave the rules alone for two or three years,” he said.
Wacky Wednesday’s Little Enduro Class will be divided into A and B divisions.
The A division will remain the same but the B division will have more restrictions and the races could go in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. The B division is designed for entry-level drivers.
The other Wacky Wednesday classes include Big Enduros, Ladies, Pickup Trucks and the Stars of Tomorrow for teenagers.
Speedway 95 used to race on Sunday afternoons early in the season before switching to Saturday night racing in June.
But it will race on Saturday nights right from the start this year with an earlier starting time of5 p.m. and switch to 7 p.m. on June 11.
Racing will run from May 7 to Sept. 10.
The Wacky Wednesday racing will go from June 1 through Aug. 31.
Due to other races, the Saturday race cards will switch to two Thursdays: July 14 before that Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and July 21 before the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.
“We want to put more people in the seats this year,” said Merritt, who has already made improvements to the grandstands and and restrooms.