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Willamette Track Manager Nofziger Super Excited For 2014
03/27/14 at 2:15am
March 26, 2014

Nofziger Super Excited For 2014; Reveals Changes In 2014 And More

by Ben Deatherage
We got a chance to chat with Willamette Speedway Track Manager Chris Nofziger.  Chris is hard at work making sure Willamette is all ready to go after two severe winter storms occurring over the offseason.  According to him everything is going along nicely and he can’t wait to see everyone out at the Car Show/Test and Tune on Saturday April 5th.  

While he was hard at work he discussed some things for folks to look forward to in 2014 from the format to some other changes at Willamette Speedway this year.  Things are looking great for the coming season.

BD: Well Chris 2014 will see the regular program going back to traditional race format.  It sounds like the drivers are happy and should be great for the fans.  Do you agree?
CN: I completely agree. The return of the fully inverted fields should be a very good thing for the fans.  Last year the drivers wanted to try something different and it didn’t quite work the way we hoped.  It might work somewhere else but not at Willamette.  

For people that are unfamiliar with the traditional format it works like this.  The fastest qualifier starts sixteenth in the main.  We will still will qualify in small groups this year it just makes timing in all these car go by a lot faster and we will still take the top four finishers from the B Main to the A.  Also the heat races are inverted too.  The incentive to starting in the back is you get bonus points for passing cars that start ahead of you so qualifying well is pretty important if you want to win a championship.

BD: Also this season the Mini Trucks division has expanded to include Cars now.  That should be a move in the right direction for the class to grow.
CN: When we started the Mini Trucks we tried to do something different.  We didn’t want to copy any of the other tracks with a class like the Hornets or Mini Stocks.  But the truck deal didn’t take off as well as we thought so we decided to open it up to cars too.  The biggest reason we changed it up was to have a full field because it’s tough to have a race with only four or five trucks.

BD: The “Cars For Stars” promotion returns this year for Fan Appreciation Night.  It seemed like a very successful promotion last year.
CN: It was very successful.  I got to give a huge shout out to Paul Moses from Highoctane Die Cast.  He put that whole thing together and he did it all on his own because I was so busy at the time.  He went around to the all drivers and organized it. The drivers liked it and the fans loved it.  I expect it to be bigger and better this year.

BD: Willamette will host Summer Sizzle under the lights in August.  That should make for some good racing versus having it in the day like last year.
CN: For that weekend it works great because we go up against some major music festivals in the local area.  It’s something different and hopefully get some new eyes on the Karts.  The track conditions will be great because we’re not dealing with over 90° weather with eighty plus Karts.  It will be a lot easier to keep moisture in the track during the race with it now being at night.

BD: Do you think there will be any surprise champions at the end of the year in any classes?
CN: It’s hard to say in any of the classes who could win the championship because everyone is so close. Ten years ago that was an easy question but now it’s not so easy.

But it’s getting to the point that a lot of the younger drivers that have stepped up to the stock cars are really getting good.  I would keep an eye on them.  They’re really starting to charge forward and keep up with the veterans.  

I think guys like Joey Tanner and Brian Cronk are going to be threats in the Late Models but Darren Coffell was really fast last year and I think he’s got a good shot.  

But there are quite a few drivers that are regulars that are upgrading their chassis too or they are getting new stuff and that should make them faster too.  With the Modifieds the competition is so tight and close it’s hard to say who can win the championship.  

BD: With the return of select dates for practices official now it seems that there has been overwhelming positive feedback from teams and fans.
CN: I think the biggest thing is that racers are looking forward to practice and not wasting their race night on getting comfortable in their cars.  A lot of people feel they’re going to be more competitive and a threat to win if they practiced.  The drivers deserve it and Willamette has always had that opportunity so we’re happy to bring it back.

BD: Anything else new that the fans might not know about that I didn’t ask?
CN: No, but me personally I’m excited for this season mainly going back to things that have worked in the past.  Bringing the points fund back for the Late Models I think is huge and they should have a good car count this season.  I’m really looking forward to this year. 

The 2014 season is quickly approaching and Willamette Speedway is the place to get your racing fix. Saturday April 5th will kick things off with the test and tune open practice while the “Cabin Fever Season Opener” will be held the following Saturday on the 12th. Be sure and log on to www.trophymotorsports.com for the latest information regarding Willamette Speedway.
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