April 14th marks the start of my 14th season at CMS. The kids I met are now driving and winning championships, parents are scaling back their commitments to racing every weekend, and a new generation has begun to take over the top of the point’s chases. AJ Ward, and Zach Rummer had gotten it done in 2011 and are ready to collect more championships. Ward is looking for his third IMCA Championship in a row. No doubt, the biggest division, the IMCA modified division will the toughest Battle Royale all season with the likelihood of 30+ drivers per night.
While Rummer plans to move to Street Stocks. Drivers like Doug Helsel, the Prochaska twins (although, I believe one of them will be in a different class) and former champion Kevin Rohn is looking to find their way next to the season point’s winner trophy. They’ll have to beat 2011 Champion JR Schmid to make that happen. Former Street Stock champion Ryan Kent is looking to knock off the three-peat Pro Stock champion Chaney Newland after coming close the past two seasons.
Late Model Hall of Fame driver Roger Wing, who runs out of fingers while counting his championships, will have some great competition from the 2011 Tri-City Motor Speedway champion Kyle Borgman, Ionia’s Scott Baker, and Matt Pickard, who will be sporting a new number for this season.
Scott Nieman won’t be in a Pro Truck to defend his 2011 track championship this year as he moves to a Late Model for ’12. Nieman leaves behind some great talents that have graduated from the Flinn Stock division. Former Flinn Stock alums, Ashlee Scott, Garrett Wiles, Richard Melton, and Bubba Parks are ready to put their mark on the Tailgate class for 2011. They’ll mix it up with three champion contenders Tim Wood, Carl Thayer, Dave Dancer, and either Chris or Dave Verhaar. Expect a full field of trucks for 2012.
For me, every year since 1998, there is a story. There is something to watch. There is something to talk about. Some stories will unfold that we never thought we could or would talk about. For the next twenty something weeks, we will have racing to talk about. Anticipation is high for this season and pocket books are low. What story will have a happily-ever-after feel and which will disappoint? Sit back and enjoy another dramatic season. Page one is about to be written.