Ice Cold Shriners Bowl Kicks Off 2012 Short Track Season
Favorable Forecast Set to Shake the Chill at Lanier
By Matt Kentfield, 51 Executive Director - Twitter: @mattkentfield
Snow.  Ice.  Bitter cold temperatures. 

Those conditions may be the setting for most of the country this weekend, but not in Braselton, Georgia.  While the rest of the country is still in a deep freeze, Lanier National Speedway will be heating things up with the fifth rendition of the Ice Cold Shriner’s Bowl.

In the first four Shriners Bowls at Lanier, the weather very much mirrored the race’s “Ice Cold” name.  This year, according to track promoter Donnie Clack, a favorably warm forecast and a better-than-ever car count is expected for Sunday’s 100-lap Pro Late Model season kickoff.

“It’s shaping up great,” said Clack.  “We’re getting a little cold spell right now this week, but it’s supposed to be out of here for the weekend.  Some Late Models are here all week practicing and some coming in for the open practice Friday.  We’ve got guys coming in from Texas, Tennessee, the Carolinas and our locals, too.  I think it’s shaping up to be one of the best Late Model races we’ve had here car-count wise for this event.”

One driver excited to get the season kicked off is Dwayne Buggay.  A former champion at Lanier, Buggay finished fourth in his most recent Ice Cold Shriners Bowl appearance in 2010.  This year, he hopes to add the event to his win list to get the 2012 season started properly.

“If you can pull off a win at this race, it gives you a real good lift for the entire season,” said Buggay.  “The competition is fierce every time you go to Lanier, for the most part.  You’ve had David Ragan in years past and this year Bubba Pollard and Mike Garvey, the Simpsons (Shawn and Greg), Shane Sawyer and other big name, heavy hitters will be there.  If you can run well with those guys there, you’ll have a good kickoff to the season. 

“The weather the last two years has been detrimental.  There was ice on the track one year.  It sounds like we’ll have fairly decent weather this time, temperatures in the 60’s.  Sixty will feel like almost Summertime the way the weather’s been lately.  Hopefully we’ll have some good fan participation because of the weather, too.  If all those things come together, it should be a great event.”

Defending Ice Cold Shriner’s Bowl winner David Ragan will be on hand to sign autographs on race day Sunday and will be raffling off a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  Local Shriners have been selling tickets for the motorcycle give-away Sunday and Ragan will present the organization with a check, which Clack estimates will be upwards of $20,000.

“David has been a big supporter of the Shriners ever since he started racing.  The Shriners will be doing the concessions at the race.  They will get 100-percent of the proceeds.   I want people to come to the race and come hungry to support the Shriners.  It’s really important for the kids that they help. 

“It doesn’t cost families a dime when kids go to the Shriners hospitals.  They take care of everything.  It’s just a very small way for us to give back a little something to people like the Shriners.  They do such great work and this event is just a small way to thank them for what they do.”

In addition to Sunday’s 100-lap Pro late Model event, fans will be treated to feature races from the Bandoleros, Legends Cars, Pro Challenge, Outlaw Late Models and Trucks throughout the weekend.  An optional track rental day opens the 2012 season at Lanier on Friday, January 6th.  Practice and qualifying for all divisions will take place on Saturday, January 7th, with features for the Legends and Bandoleros.  Then, on Sunday, it’s feature event action for all divisions, culminating with the 100-lap Ice Cold Shriners Bowl Pro Late Model feature.

Fans unable to make it to Lanier can check out Speed51.com's live Trackside Now coverage on both Saturday and Sunday of the Ice Cold Shriners Bowl weekend.

For more information on the Ice Cold Shriners Bowl, visit www.lanierspeedway.com

David Ragan won the 2011 Ice Cold Shriners Bowl, but because he's not competing this year, the door is open for a new winner.  (Speed51.com Photos)
Dwayne Buggay has been to victory lane at Lanier many times, but never in the Ice Cold Shriners Bowl.  Will that change in 2012?