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Hello World it’s me, Colton Bettis

Hello World it’s me, Colton Bettis

Sunshine State Racing Story

23/2/2024

Saturday was the inaugural The Childrens Dream Fund 50 race at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness Florida. Promoter JJ Dutton did an amazing job of putting this race on. He was able to get it co-sanctioned with the BG Southern Sprint Car Series and Must-See Racing. He drew some of the biggest names in sprint car racing to come and compete. We had eventual winner Joe Ligori, Bobby Santos, Aaron Willison all the way from British Columbia, Davey Hamilton Jr, and Troy DeCaire just to name a few. Leading up to the weekend there was quite a buzz as we do not get that kind of field here very often.

For Colton Bettis, this would be the first time he would be able to measure himself up against the best in the business. For me, there were questions leading up to the race. How would the 14-year-old handle the pressure of driving against them? We all know the speed is there, but racing side by side with them is a whole different animal. These men have been racing sprint cars since before he was born.

Friday practice saw Colton near the top of the board on speed, and the weekend was off to a good start. As we merged into Saturdays one hour practice session, it was hot and greasy, so everyone’s times were a little off. Car chief Tra Pissot did a little experimenting with the set up. Results were not shared, but whatever they did, or didn’t do, Tra had the car in top form as usual. Colton Bettis Racing maintained pace with the front runners and looked to be in good shape headed to qualifying.

The BG series uses heat races and previous finishing positions to set the field for the feature, so qualifying was a pleasant change of pace for the Florida based teams and fans. American Racer was the tire for the weekend. They brought a great tire as usual. However, qualifying can be challenging for some on the tire as they do take a few extra laps to get to optimal temp, but then create great racing for the end of the feature due to lack of fall off. I personally liked that aspect of the session as I enjoyed watching the drivers alone on the track and seeing the different ways each driver approached the laps while attempting to put down a quick one. At the end of the session, Aaron Willison was on pole, and only 1/10 off the track record held by Keith Butler. Second was Davey Hamilton Jr, third Bobby Santos, fourth Brian Gerster and fifth Colton Bettis.

Willison rolled a dice for the invert and it landed on eight. After a beautiful 3 wide salute to the fans, we lost three cars to a warmup lap incident. With cleanup finished, we got the fellas refired and went green.  Steven Hollinger started on pole after the invert and shot to the lead like a rocket, pulling to almost a straight away lead in clean air while the others battled for position. Unfortunately, on a lap 12 restart, he lost what he believes to be a shock and surrendered positions from there.

Joe Ligori and Colton Bettis found themselves at the front of the field and none of us knew what a battle we were about to see. One that many thought to be very unlikely headed into the race weekend. Not because of either driver, but due to their engines. Troy DeCaire told me prior to the weekend that a 410 would probably be needed to win this race, but someone may surprise us, and be stout because of the weight advantage of the smaller engine. Fast forward to the half way point of the feature, and we have two 360’s in the midst of a epic battle for $10,000. Over several restarts, the pair stayed glued to each other while creating separation from Santos and Willison.

With 20 laps to go we had two restarts. In between those, Ligori and Bettis battled like heavyweights in a championship fight. Ligori is a wise veteran that used all of his experience, and some tricks on restarts in an effort to hold the youngster off. While Bettis on the other hand, used every bit of knowledge and skill has has in his young career to try and get by for the top spot. With 10 laps to  go, Bettis was able to get underneath Ligori entering three and the two made contact. Both settled back into their original positions. With a few laps to go Ligori felt the front bumper from Bettis letting him know he was still there. Joe later said that when he felt that, he had to really dig deep because he knows how good Colton is, and it was going to be tough to stay ahead of him. As the checkered flag flew, it was Joe Ligori who crossed the line first, by a scant margin of 0.155 seconds, the pair still glued together.

Speaking to Colton after the race, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with second place. I get that, he hates losing! He has that killer instinct. He wants to win every race he enters. It’s a fine quality in a driver with the skillset he possesses.

What I hope for Colton, is that over time he comes to realize what he actually did Saturday evening. Due to his age, there is a lot of negative chatter about him being in this car. People who have never seen him drive, or have never met him, say he shouldn’t be allowed to be in this car.  Well, this weekend put a nail in that coffin. A coming out party if you will. On a nationally televised race, against the best winged sprint car drivers in the country, he finished ahead of all but one, and he did it with class, as he always does. Similar to his race in the midget at Anderson speedway, a track he had never driven, and a car he had never driven. He won that race while holding off the series points leader.  I spoke to 4 drivers after the Dream race who said that without question, they would have moved the leader if they were in Colton’s position to win $10,000. But Colton didn’t do that. He threw everything he could at Ligori attempting to pass him cleanly. And Joe did not make it easy to do so! No hate on Joe, he “did what he had to do to win the race”.

I am a huge fan and supporter of Colton Bettis the race car driver. He does things in the car that makes my jaw drop, makes me look at the people around me and ask if they saw that. I am though, an even bigger fan of Colton Bettis the person. He is a great young man. He carries himself with class, grace, humility and dignity. I would rather see him lose races the way he did Saturday and finish second, than move someone and win. It made me proud of him, to have that much maturity, for some of his age. If you know him, you know he is a grown man trapped in a young mans body.

This race will from now on be my retort if I hear someone say he shouldn’t be in this car. If the stars align, the right opportunities preset themselves, he will become a generational talent. If you hear his name on the bill, go see him drive. But don’t stop there, get a pit pass, go meet him and talk to him. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it. If you didn’t know, you do now. He is here to stay. He is coming for your trophy’s and your money!!

Fozzy

By |2024-03-03T19:18:43-05:00March 3rd, 2024|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Hello World it’s me, Colton Bettis

Winter Storm Warnings Issued for Florida for the next 7 days !!!! Figure 8 Style

Winter Storm Warnings Issued for Florida for the next 7 days !!!! Figure 8 Style

 

That’s Right Start Saturday night at Auburndale Speedway Florida will be under a Winter Storm Warning, figure 8 Style.  As the Winter Storm Series of World Champion Figure 8 drivers invade Florida along with local Florida drivers for three huge races in 7 days at three different tracks.

They Will Race Auburndale Speedway, Citrus County Speedway and Freedom Factory in a 7 day period and race for World Championship figure 8 points.

Who’s ready for all the excitement and the fearless drivers as the cross the X in some breath taking action.  See you all at the Race tracks.

 

By |2024-02-22T14:46:01-05:00February 22nd, 2024|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Winter Storm Warnings Issued for Florida for the next 7 days !!!! Figure 8 Style

Colton Bettis Kicks off the BG Products Southern Sprint Car Series 2024 Season with a huge win

Colton Bettis Kicks off the BG Products Southern Sprint Car Series 2024 Season with a huge win

 

BG SSSS SEASON OPENER

 Story and Photos by Chris Fozillo:

The BG Southern Sprint Car Super Series (SSSS) held their season opener this past Saturday at Auburndale Speedway in Lakeland FL. They simultaneously ushered in a new era with the introduction of American Racer tires. The switch will lower costs for the teams and provides a tire with additional durability.

2023 series champion was absent from on opening weekend, but for a good cause. Saturday was his wedding day. Congratulations Daniel and Sarah.

 

There were 13 cars at the facility with one being a 602. The 602 class is in a growth period and regulars were not in attendance. We look forward to having all of them back for the next round, January 27th at Citrus County Speedway.

 

Heat races were won by Steven Hollinger and Joe Ligori. Ironically the pair would make contact in the feature.

 

For the feature, series director Rick Day opted for a new approach to starting line ups, and did a pill draw to set the field. Fourteen-year-old phenom Colton Bettis drew the 1 pill and started on pole. With race monitor down for the evening, we relied on old school manual timing, and depending on who you talked to, Bettis and Hollinger were the fastest cars in practice. Either way you got the sense that Bettis would run away with this one starting p1.

 

After a beautiful three wide salute to the fans, the men lined up to get after it. Lap one was clean until Ligori appeared to come down and making contact with Hollinger, resulting in Ligori’s Rudolph owned machine facing the wrong direction. From my vantage point it looked like good ole hard racing and incidental contact. Both would restart from the rear of the field. The restart would be the last flag shown until the checkers.

Bettis had a good restart with Dude Teate in tow and Dylan Reynolds behind Dude. In two laps Bettis had begun to pull away and kept on going. Colton’s driving style, very smooth, easy on the tires, and maintaining race pace at the same time, resulted in him checking out! In the end he finished only a few seconds behind second and third place. Colton Bettis Racing didn’t just win Saturday, they made a statement. Their goal going into the season was to win the season championship, and the 2023 rookie of the year started just the way they wanted to.

After the race, Colton was quick to praise his car chief, Tra Pissot. Tra always gives Colton the car to have an opportunity to fight for wins. He also thanked his family and grandpa Tony Carreno for making his career possible. I also asked him about the American Racers as I was curios how the behaved compared to how the super late model drivers speak of them. Colton’s answer was basically the same. He stated that the fall of was similar the Hoosier, however, once the tire plateaued, they stayed consistent and fast. John Lepine commented that the tire wore very well, noting the great shape they were in after a heat and feature, that they still would be a great set for practice. The only question now is how they will be after the heat cycles. My guess is they’ll be like the tires for the supers and practice well.

There will of course be ups and downs through the course of the season, but with this team, it would be smart money to bet on this team to be there, fighting for the title at the end of the year.

By |2024-01-15T16:46:22-05:00January 15th, 2024|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Colton Bettis Kicks off the BG Products Southern Sprint Car Series 2024 Season with a huge win

Bigley Memorial Registration with SRL National at the Freedom Factory now open

Bigley Memorial Registration with SRL National at the Freedom Factory now open

The registration for the Bill Bigley Sr Memorial 128 at Freedom Factory is posted on the link. Click on this link to register. https://thefoat.com/987282

 

To date there is currently 38 entries and over 45 are expected.  Make your plans for Thanksgiving weekend 2023 at the Freedom Factory.   Come have fun with SRL National, the Freedom Factory and Sunshine State Racing.

4k on the lone for fast time by Langford Lawn Service

By |2023-09-28T18:52:50-04:00September 28th, 2023|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Bigley Memorial Registration with SRL National at the Freedom Factory now open

Sunoco Racing Fuels Super Late Model twin 50’s headline 9 feature only events at Auburndale Speedway

Sunoco Racing Fuels Super Late Model twin 50’s headline 9 feature only events at Auburndale Speedway

Come out to Auburndale Speedway and See who takes the Checkered flag this weekend.

This Saturday night we will run features only. 9 of them in fact. Make your plans now to come on out and see a great show.
97.5 WPCVSouthern Racing Fuels Twin 50’s Super late models
Legend cars
SRQ Taxes Mini Stocks
Mod minis
Welcome here Street stocks
Bandoleros
By |2023-03-22T18:16:36-04:00March 22nd, 2023|Front Page News, Race Results|Comments Off on Sunoco Racing Fuels Super Late Model twin 50’s headline 9 feature only events at Auburndale Speedway

Josh Williams and DGM Racing take a bad situation and turn it into a chance to give back

After what was a cool and eventful weekend Josh Williams and DGM Racing take the chance to take a bad situation and give back.   All Proceeds of the new short go to a good cause.

You asked. We delivered. The official ‘Park It’ shirts are available now! ?
ALL proceeds will go towards the supporting organizations of the Josh Williams Hospital Tour, such as the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, OhmniLabs robotics, and more.
My statement following the announcement from NASCAR.
By |2023-03-22T17:59:14-04:00March 22nd, 2023|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Josh Williams and DGM Racing take a bad situation and turn it into a chance to give back

Swamp Cabbage 101 Set for this weekend at Hendry County Motorsports Park

 

Thursday February 23rd the pit gate will open at 9 A M for parking which has 100% been assigned. You will not be let in earlier, but can camp or park in the fan parking lot on the East side of the speedway or on the side of the road leading to the pits. You will individually Parked as you arrive.

On Friday February 24th get to the speedway as early as possible. Drivers please do not wait til the last minute. The drivers meetings will begin at 4 o clock by class and will be approximately 15 minutes each in this order. Late models at 4 o clock, factory stocks at 4 20, streetstocks at 4 40 and 4.6 ford’s at 5. Practice will start at 5 45 and qualifying at 7 o clock. All classes will qualify and the order will be late models, factory stocks, streetstocks and 4.6 ford’s. This is how the show will go on and it’s your responsibility to be on time. We will not wait for anyone nor will we change our format or order. We will open the pit gate at 10 a.m. and all will be asked to leave the pits for re entry beginning at 9 30.

On Saturday february 25th there will be no practice. The drivers meeting will be at 5 o clock and the B mains will start at 6 p.m. as needed per class. Hendry county motorsports park is beyond excited to put on this awesome event. Please get to the track early as we will start all racing on time.

 

Can all be seen on Doneright TV:

 

 

By |2023-02-20T18:47:43-05:00February 20th, 2023|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Swamp Cabbage 101 Set for this weekend at Hendry County Motorsports Park

Sportsman and Pro Late Models head the card this weekend at Auburndale Speedway

 

Sportsman and Pro Late Models head the card this weekend at Auburndale Speedway

 

This weekend after a week off for the Championship Banquet racing returns to Auburndale Speedway with Sportsman and Pro Late Models.

 

Make your plans to be There

 

Thank You To Track Owners:

Before we get into the craziness of the work/race week we wanted to take a moment to thank our ownership as well for providing us a venue to do what we love and enjoy. The banquet was all about the drivers and teams but none of that would’ve been possible without the venue. Mother nature was rough for Florida short track racing but they still managed to keep things going despite 9 rain outs. The track paid out over 430K to drivers/car owners. I normally don’t put my name on posts but I will here to show that it is not ownership themselves posting this. Thank you.
Announcer Steve
By |2023-02-20T18:28:24-05:00February 20th, 2023|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Sportsman and Pro Late Models head the card this weekend at Auburndale Speedway

Super Late Models on Tap this weekend 2/25/2023 at Citrus County Speedway

 

Who’s ready for Super Late Models this weekend at Citrus County Speedway:

 

February 25th, 2023
Super Late Models 50 Laps
Nature Coast Towing Ford Outlaws 25 Laps
Signsfast Pure Stocks 25 Laps
Winner’s Circle Legends 25 Laps
Mod Minis 25 Laps
Dwarf Cars 25 Laps
Caliber Elements Bandolero’s 20 Laps?

 

Racing Event Pricing and Times –
*PLEASE NOTE: We are a CASH ONLY facility – NO ATM on site*

Standard Event Nights:
THE GRANDSTANDS (Entrance located on Hwy 41)
General Admission: $18.00
Veterans and Active Service Members: $15.00 (must have ID)
Seniors (60+): $15.00
Kids 17 and under – $5.00
Kids 6 and under – FREE!

Carnage Nights:
THE GRANDSTANDS (Entrance located on Hwy 41)
General Admission: $20.00
Veterans and Active Service Members: $15.00 (must have ID)
Seniors (60+): $15.00
Kids 17 and under – $5.00
Kids 6 and under – FREE!

Grandstands open at 5:30
Heat Racing starts at 6:30
Feature Racing starts at 7:30
*SCHEDULE, PRICING, AND STARTS TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE*

THE PITS (Entrance located on Airport Rd)
Pit Passes – $35
*ALL MINORS (17 and under) must have a completed Minor Consent Form before entering the Pits!

Pit Gates open at 1:00
Practice starts at 3:00
*SCHEDULE, PRICING, AND STARTS TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE*

By |2023-02-20T18:13:47-05:00February 20th, 2023|Front Page News, Racing News|Comments Off on Super Late Models on Tap this weekend 2/25/2023 at Citrus County Speedway