It’s no secret that Flamboro Speedway track announcer Gary Colling is all about having a good time – and even if he goes on the crazy side a bit of times, including riding the back of a hearse during King of the Hill.
For the record, his antics did continue this past season as he rode in the back of a 4×4 pick-up truck, admitting that it wasn’t a good idea at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo earlier this month.
“It was a tough season, got bounced around pretty good,” he commented. “But my track mom Brenda put me in line afterwards and said no more of that, and then called my mom, and then she showed up and that put an end to it. We’ll see what happens this year.”
His spirit is no surprise, as Colling grew up at Flamboro, dating back to running around as a three-year-old.
The positivity and fun that Colling brings to the scene is something that the speedway has really been passing over to their drivers and fans, coming off a successful 2017 campaign. A decision to bring in Doug Leonard has race director proved to work successful, while allowing track owner John Casale to focus on going around, shaking hands and kissing babies.
“Drivers were a lot happier,” Colling said. “We built on some mistakes that we had, but this year it seems to be ready to go pretty good. Last year was awesome. We had a lot of fun, got all the races in, and had lots of cars. That’s all you can ask for.”
Their 2018 schedule looks to be set to bring in continued success, from expanding on signature events to new specials added.
The “Gold Rush” has been successful the past two years with the Super Late Models – including an American Tyler Roahrig almost spoiling the party. For 2018, though, the event will return to its route with the Pro Late Models set to take center stage.
“Not that we’re not happy with the super late models, but we want to try with our pro late models and see how many we can pull,” Colling commented. “If we can get 40 to show up, we’ll see what money comes because there’s still talks with companies to put so more money and funds towards that. But the Gold Rush is definitely one event that you want to come see.”
The new for 2018, though, comes from the first annual “STOCK” Car Nationals that are scheduled twice this year – June 10 and July 8. The original announcement caused a lot of spunk with super stocks being $1500 to win, mini stocks $1000 to win, and pure stocks $1000 to win. However, the additional work by Rich Schwartzenburg and Jonathan Ayrton selling lap sponsors and awards has allowed the purses to grow for both the mini and pure stocks.
“Our mini stock class right now for the first race – the purse is $10,000,” Colling said. “If you finish dead last, you get $350 to take home. Clinton Geoffrey from Ohsweken (Speedway) said he’d throw $100 at the first guy that has a Ohsweken driver’s card. A bunch have said the first woman that crosses the line, they’ll throw a $150 at. So it’s becoming a big deal those events.
“Rich Schwartzenburg has done a lot for the mini stocks. He put out an intent to race for the first one, and he had 55 guys come back and say they’re coming for 30 spots. So hopefully we pull that many.”
If the big events don’t excite you enough, any given Saturday at Flamboro Speedway should put you on the edge of your seat with both J.R. Fitzpatrick and Mike Bentley confirming their intentions to chase the Pro Late Model championship. Combined with track regulars Shawn Chenoweth and Billy Schwartzenburg – along with David Elliott sharing a schedule with his father Gary, and opportunities are endless.
One thing is for certain – Colling isn’t the only person excited for the 2018 campaign to begin there.