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The Sunshine State opens USAC's 2013 racing calendar with the National Midgets and AMSOIL National Sprints competing during the week leading up to the famed Daytona 500.

New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. welcomes the debut of the 2013 National Midgets February 17 and 18, with Sunday and Monday night races on its half-mile banked paved oval. It'll mark the first appearance of USAC at the New Smyrna facility.

 

Three nights later, February 21-23, the AMSOIL National Sprints kick off three consecutive nights of racing at the 3/8-mile dirt Bubba Raceway Park oval in Ocala. This marks the third consecutive appearance at the Ocala track. Damion Gardner and Darren Hagen won last year's AMSOIL Sprint races at Ocala.

 

Race fans planning to attend these February races in Florida will continue a tradition which began with USAC's inaugural Sprint races at West Palm Beach, Jacksonville and Miami in 1956. Bob Sweikert won USAC's first Sprint feature at West Palm Beach.

 

The following year, the popular 1957 "Tangerine Tournament" featured USAC Midgets in 11 appearances at eight venues during February and March. Subsequent February races in Florida included 1985, 1987 and 1988 races at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, a Ford Focus series in 2006 and Sprint races at Gibsonton in 2010. The state has also hosted December and January events for USAC participants as the winter season halts Midwestern racing.

 

In addition to the myriad of fan-friendly vacation destinations in the state, race fans attending the USAC races that week are also expected to be offered a 2013 "kick-off" party, an event held the past two years prior to the Ocala Sprint races. Details regarding that event are expected to be released shortly.

 

The Midget races at New Smyrna will end a Florida hiatus of seven years for the USAC series. Josh Wise won the last USAC Midget race there, held at Speedworld in Orlando in 2005.

 

Stay tuned for late-breaking news regarding these Florida races and surrounding events at USAC's website: www.usacracing.com.

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