Is the ‘Original Winter Series’ alive or not?
Is the 'Original Winter Series' alive or not?
I know that a lot of our readers have not been to the Winter Series, as it's known, in Florida during November. I heard about it back in about 1983 I think (too old to really think I might remember for sure!).
My first trip there was a plane flight to West Palm Beach to race my Dart at one of the early Moroso 5-Day events. The $5,000 guaranteed to win each day was unheard of in those days. About 400 cars were in the pits and, yes, it was PACKED with open trailers, vans, and pickups as tow vehicles. A friend, Terry Stumpf, towed my race car down there from Iowa for me as I had to work that winter in Arizona. They diligently watched and supported me as I had my ass handed to me for five days -- but what an adventure for a drag racer. In the mornings we left the motel and went to the beach or out for breakfast where we could eat on the patio in November...something very new to us Northern boys.
I made it to the Winter Series about 10 more times and watched it evolve into a three track series: Orlando, then a day off and then West Palm Beach (old Moroso Motorsports Park) and then a day or two off and tow back northward to Bradenton for the race over Thanksgiving. If memory serves me, the race ended Friday and that allowed us to get back to Iowa to go back to work after Thanksgiving.
The entry fees were $100 a day, with $5,000 to win each day and no buybacks at all. If you beat a "famous bracket racer" you knew he wasn't coming back and believe me, that is a pretty cool feeling when you are in the staging lanes and someone like John Laboose Sr. comes up and tells you that you did a good job of putting him on the trailer!
I got to watch my friends as they raced as well. Bruce Kaul, a longtime friend, won a few races in the Winter Series with his Blue GTX. Those are lifetime memories remembering how we helped as much as we could between rounds and making sure nobody "bothered him".
That is how I remember the Winter Series and it is etched in my mind every year when November comes around.
I raced at a few of the Winter Series events the last three or four years and have noticed several things that I think has evolved and not helped the Winter Series. It is evident something is changing the wrong way as there are now about 120 to 140 cars at the events. I would guess 30% of the entries are "team entries" and one trailer hauls two or more cars. Nothing wrong with having a lot of money but these "teams" and their ability to buyback, swap cars, and throw money at the races have driven the single-car race teams away, no doubt about it.