With the 2013 racing season coming to a wrap, it’s time to take a look at the rotating driver’s seats that may give the sport a new look by the time we reach 2014.
Starting in the Buckeye State, we could see a shakeup in the core drivers that have been a lock with the All Star Circuit of Champions over the past several seasons. Rumors have arisen questioning the future of the Ti22 sponsored #2 of Dale Blaney. The multiple-time and defending champion, as well as all-time ASCoC wins leader, could be experiencing some changes within the team in the upcoming campaign. While Blaney and Co. may bring a new look to the table come next racing season, I don’t think he’ll be going away any time soon.
As announced, long-time front runner, 3-time ASCoC champion, and 2011 Knoxville Nationals champion Tim Shaffer and the CH Motorsports #83 team have agreed to part ways following the 2013 campaign. The up and coming star Christopher Bell has been named the new driver of the familiar #83 machine leaving Shaffer without any guarantees of racing in 2014. Because of prior commitments with Keith Kunz and Toyota, Bell will be running a limited schedule in the Aaron Call and Janet Holbrook owned sprinter. That being said, we can assume that the seat of the #83 will be filled during most big events, even when Bellis unavailable.
David Gravel’s 2014 plans are also up in the air as of now. Former ASCoC regular spent this previous season following the World of Outlaws from coast to coast after filling in for Bill Rose for a few months following his injury at the 2013 DIRTcar Nationals. Gravel was also the pilot of the BWW #82 machine during a few shows earlier this fall. It will be interesting to see where he runs the majority of his races next year.
Per an announcement at the World Finals in Concord, NC, Sheldon Haudenschild will be running a large number of races next year in the Marshall Motorsports 33M beginning with the sprint car portion of the 2014 DIRTcar Nationals presented by UNOH at Volusia Speedway in February. Plans are unknown after the conclusion of Florida Speedweeks, but the pair hopes to branch out and explore some different venues.
Bryan Sebetto and the Hammer Motorsports #24 have parted ways after struggling for much of the year. This will leave the hotshoe of Sebetto searching for a ride. The #24 team will also be in search of a new driver but their list is a little longer with the likes of Rob Chaney, Dean Jacobs, Brandon Wimmer, and Tim Shaffer – just to name a few – not having full-time rides in 2014. Wimmer recently piloted the Hammer Motorsports entry recently at the World of Outlaws World Finals, albeit without much success.
The short tenure of the Destiny Motorsports #9w has not deterred the attraction of a handful of drivers. With a number of different guys hopping in the seat at least one time this past year, the team has secured the Wild Child Jac Haudenschild as their 2014 driver. It is hard to guess what races this team may enter next season, but we can be sure that it will be a contender anywhere it appears. The storied history of a hardcharger such as Haudenschild may be exactly what Destiny Motorsports needs to bring its team to prominence on the racing scene.
Lastly, let us not forget about the tracks in the Ohio area that will be mixing things up. The NAPA Auto Parts Wayne County Speedway has announced on their Facebook page that they will be running on Saturday nights in 2014. While it is hard to tell exactly how this will effect the Orrville, Ohiotrack, make sure to keep an eye on how this effects the shakeup on their weekly sprintcar and late model fields.
The recently re-opened Atomic Speedway looks to do nothing but improve Ohioracing in 2014. With the addition of a few ASCoC shows, including a 2014 Ohio Speedweek event, more racers will have the opportunity to race for a larger payout at different points throughout the year. Atomic has also added the unsanctioned Freedom 40 for the 410 sprints and a monster 3-day weekend for lates in early May featuring the NDRL Super Late Models. Kudos to the owners, management, and all involved at Atomic Speedway for doing everything in their power to improve the sport that we all love.
That about wraps up the unknowns of the sprint car world in Ohio. Check back shortly for more in depth discussion regarding other regions and organizations throughout the country.