One of the main changes taking place on the quarter-mile Thunder Ring is that qualifying races will replace heat races and there will be a point system.
The new format will result in the top qualifier earning three points, the “outside” pole getting two points and all other racers picking up a point.
“This is another opportunity for our competitors to gain points,” speedway Vice President of Events Brandon Hutchison said.
“If you have a bad race maybe you pick up a point or two in qualifying. It’s not going to change a ton but it will give you an opportunity to gain more points.”
After the qualifying race, there will be a draw and run feature during which there will also be an opportunity to gain more points.
“Hopefully, this will infuse some excitement to our competitors,” Hutchison said.
“As a person who’s raced, you just don’t know how much of a thrill you can have in one of these little things,” speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark said. “It looks like a tiny race car but they have a lot of power. It takes a lot of skill and finesse to drive one consistently.”
Like last year, the “choose your lane” rule will still be in play.
“It gives our competitors an opportunity to get back up front,” Hutchison said. “If one of our competitors spins out or something happens and they have to come off the track, the choose rule realigns the entire field because it’s hard to pass on a flat track. You condense that flat track to a quarter mile and it becomes more difficult.”
Hutchison believes the Outlaws and Semi-Pro classes will be very competitive this season.
“We look forward to seeing that,” he said.