KENTUCKY (12/5/12) - Checkers! The season has finally ended.

Sunday afternoon’s checkered flag ended a sporting season for short track stock car racing for 2012. Pensacola, Florida’s Snowball Derby brought to an end what is the longest sporting season in all of sports.

What’s the season… we’ll the next race is New Year’s Day at a couple of race tracks across the country, the closest to us in the Tri-State area most likely being at Maryville, Tennessee. That is followed up by the first weekend of January’s dirt track traditional kick off the Ice Bowl in Talladega, Alabama.

Short track stock car racing far outpaces the stick and ball sports for duration. At the top of the list even, NASCAR stretches from February to November. Basketball and Football of recent have caught on and have stretched their seasons to match the longtime leader in professional sports seasons.

But over extending the NASCAR season, the short tracks have capitalized on warmer fall and winters to almost become year round sporting seasons. Florida long the only January/February events have been joined by several southern states to host racing events. And the west coast has taken notice with Arizona adding Winter Speedweeks contest to their schedules.

It is one positive to the possible Global Warming theory.

The race at Pensacola, the Snowball Derby was a thriller for racing fans. Temper tantrums, crashes, hard racing, celebrities and a mascot dressed as a snowball, what’s not to like about that? NASCAR star Kyle Busch figured as expected in to the turn out of the race with a third place finish, but it was his midrace altercation with a driver that was leading that sent Kyle to the rear of the field as a penalty for rough driving. He charged his way back thru the field and led for a few laps before winding up third. 16-year-old Michigan driver Eric Jones won the 300 lapper and next week we’ll go in to more details from inside the pits of the biggest short track racing in the world with our observations and thoughts.

It was a weekend of young winners at Chase Elliott won the prelim event on Saturday night taking the Snowflake 100 checkers. Elliott is the rising son of NASCAR champion Bill Elliott and drives an Aaron's sponsored car for Hendrick Motorsports. Yes, that Hendrick Motorsports of NASCAR dominance.

This week’s column is a little on the short side as we rush to finish up the season and put together some last minute projects before this weekend’s trade show in Indianapolis. The International Motorsports Industry Show opens its doors for the racers and vendors at the end of the week for a weekend of new products to be showcased and hours upon hours of bench racing between drivers, manufacturers and the fans that find their way in to the show.

Richard Cunningham is a Madisonville born, Western Kentucky University graduate with some 25 years in the Stock Car Racing PR business. A noted motorsports journalist he publishes several websites including focused on Kentucky motorsports. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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