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Prestigious Ice Bowl Slated Jan. 7-10 at TST

Prestigious Ice Bowl Slated Jan. 7-10 at TST

EASTABOGA, Ala. — Yep! It’s close to that time again. Four different Crate Racin’ USA divisions will be featured in the 30th annual Ice Bowl slated Jan. 7-10 at high-banked Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Ala.
The Adam Stewart-managed organization’s classes that will be featured during the giant four-day weekend will be the Newsome Raceway Parts-sponsored Dirt Late Model Series ($3,000 to win), Crate 602 Late Model Sportsman ($1,500 to win), Street Stocks ($2,500 to win) and the increasingly-popular Modified Sportsman division ($1,500 to win).
The headline Super Late Model portion of the multi-division event will offer $6,000 to the winner, while regular weekly divisions from the track will also be part of the huge weekend, including TST Sportsman/Limited Late Model ($2,500 to win), Factory Stock/Pure Stock ($1,000 to win) and Hot Shots/Buzz ($505 to win). The latter division will be competing in the second annual Jonathan Merritt Memorial, named after one of the division’s popular drivers who lost his life in a Jan., 2019, highway accident.

History and Mystique
One of the sport’s standout events for weekly racers started in 1991, and it was an inauspicious beginning for an event that has since taken the sport by storm, and continues to do so as the event approaches its fourth decade. According to long-time track co-promoter Lynn Phillips, rain hampered the original weekend, the total car count in all divisions was 61, and records show that veteran driver Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn., claimed the victory. Johnson still buckles into a race car on a semi-regular basis, but the event now draws between 300 and 400 race cars in seven different divisions.
“This race weekend really seemed like a good idea all those years ago, and it just took off on us,” Phillips said. “It was the first mid-winter event in our area, and it’s developed into a special show for weekly racers to shine. It’s designed for blue collar racers, and the best part about that is we have a race where everyone who comes through the pit gate thinks they can win. We maybe didn’t know it would become when we first started it, but it gradually got bigger and bigger over the years. Because of its continued success, we became pioneers in winter time racing, and there’s no doubt about that.”
The track’s now-traditional season opener long ago morphed into one of the sport’s most anticipated traditional events among fans and drivers across the country, and this year continues the trend at the third-mile facility that sits in the shadows of Talladega Superspeedway, which is located just across the street from the third-mile facility. While the big track stays mostly dark during January, short track racing’s weekly stars will hit the bright lights for four straight days at TST’s third-mile layout, giving fans plenty of opportunity to witness a little “Dirt Trackin’, Southern Style.”
“There’s been some surprise winners over the years, and that helped the race establish its reputation as an event for the average weekly racer,” Phillips said. “It’s been a good mix. There’s been some really good drivers win the Super Late Model portion, and there’s been some guys in victory lane that nobody would ever expect to win it. We’ve had some really good races since we’ve started holding this event. It’s definitely become something everyone wants to win.”

2021 Ice Bowl Schedule of Events

Thurs., Jan. 7
Open practice for ALL divisions: Noon until dusk.
Grandstand admission…FREE
Pit admission…Adults: $20
Gates open: 9 a.m. • Hot laps: Noon

*Purchase a 4-day pit pass on Thursday and save $5. This is only available on Thursday!

Fri., Jan. 8
Gates open at 9 a.m.
Open practice for ALL divisions: Noon to 4:30 p.m.
Drivers meeting: 4:45 p.m. (Factory Stock/Pure Stock & Hot Shots/Buzz)
Heat races: 5 p.m. (Factory Stock/Pure Stock & Hot Shots/Buzz)
Pit admission…$25
Grandstand admission…$10 (Kids: 9 & under free)

Sat., Jan. 9
Gates open: 8 a.m.
Drivers’ meeting: 9:30 a.m.
Hot laps begin at 10 a.m., with qualifying and racing to follow, including qualifying and/or heat races for Super Late Models, TST Sportsman/Limited Late Models, Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Models, Crate Racin’ USA Street Stocks, Crate Racin’ USA Late Model Sportsman, and Crate Racin’ USA Modified Sportsman, B-mains and features for Factory Stock/Pure Stock and Hot Shots/Buzz
Pit admission…$35
Grandstand admission…$20 Adults (Kids: 9 and under free)

Sun., Jan. 10
Gates open: 9 a.m.
Driver’s meeting: 11 a.m.
Prayer and National Anthem at 11:30 a.m.
Consolation races and features: Noon
Pit admission…$35
Grandstand admission…$20 (Kids: 9 and under free)

(NOTE: All times are CST, and there will be a $25 weekend charge for all four wheelers, golf karts, etc.)

Winter Shootout Series
The $3,000-to-win Newsome Raceway Parts Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series portion of the program will kick off the Adairsville, Ga.-based sanctioning body’s annual Winter Shootout Series, which this year features nine total races. The early-season series annually names a champion and carries a separate point fund from the regular touring circuit, and will award $2,500 to its overall titlist.
Jimmy Elliott of Cleveland, Tenn., claimed his second victory in a row in last year’s version of the event for drivers equipped with Chevrolet Performance Circle Track Engines, earning $3,000 after leading every circuit in the 50-lapper.
Elliott is also a two-time champion on the Winter Shootout Series, claiming the championship in 2018 and 2019. Pierce McCarter was last year’s titlist on the miniseries that’s annually held during the first three months of the season, and has expanded to its largest schedule ever with nine events slated.

Winter Shootout Series 2021 Schedule

Jan. 7-10: Talladega Short Track, Eastaboga, Ala. ($3,000 to win)
Jan. 14: Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, Fla. ($1,500 to win)
Jan. 15: Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, Fla. ($2,000 to win)
Jan. 16: Volusia Speedway Park, Barberville, Fla. ($10,000 to win)
Feb. 4: East Bay Raceway Park, Gibsonton, Fla. ($2,500 to win)
Feb. 5: East Bay Raceway Park, Gibsonton, Fla. ($2,500 to win)
Feb. 6: East Bay Raceway Park, Gibsonton, Fla. ($5,000 to win)
Feb. 25-27: Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway, ($4,000 to win)
March 19-20: Modoc (S.C.) Raceway ($10,000 to win)

Article Credit: Brian McLeod