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By BOB BOYLE
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 2001
WHAT: Short-track racing in Open Wheel Modifieds, Figure 8s, Outlaws, Late Models, Mini Stocks, Street Stocks and Enduros.
WHEN: Racing starts at 7 p.m. Grandstands open at 5 p.m. and pit gates at 4.
WHERE: Sunshine Speedway, 4550 Ulmerton Road (State Road 688).
ADMISSION: Adults, $10; children 6-12, $4; children under 6, free; pits, $18; parking, free.
NOTES: The season started last Saturday with the 100-lap S.A.R.A. Late Model race, and promoters were pleased with a larger than anticipated crowd of more than 3,500. Promoter Bonnie Hill said that could have been due to the S.A.R.A. cars, but the track's tribute to Dale Earnhardt may have been a bigger draw. "People needed closure," Hill said. Maybe, but the attendance figure also could have been contributed to the almost perfect weather conditions, or possibly short-track racing is good for exciting, cheap fun. Regardless, it's not a bad sign. Open Wheel Modifieds have taken over as the top class at the track, replacing Super Late Models, which will run during bigger races for more money once a month. The Outlaw Late Models are a new class at the speedway, with most of the drivers moving up from the old Street Stock division. The Outlaw car count is low, but will grow. The new Street Stock class grew out of the amateur Enduros, which will continue for learners. There are no significant changes in Mini Stocks, and the Figure 8s division looks like it's growing in the number of cars and the level of excitement.