Column By: RACE PRO WEEKLY STAFF – Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at Race Pro Weekly.  We hope you’re enjoyed your Holiday season, stayed safe last night and are ready for a new year to begin.  With everyone, more than likely, setting New Year’s Resolutions, and setting predictions on how their 2018 will go, we decided to do the same.  So here they are…RPW staff members predictions for how the 2018 racing may go.

Bobby Chalmers: Editor-In-Chief & Columnist
My prediction for 2018?  Racing will continue…on the local, regional, national and international levels.  Guys and girls will still have the itch to strap into a car, or climb on a motorcycle, or slide down into a kart seat, and feel the adrenaline of mashing the throttle while chasing the checkered flag.

Race shops all over the world will still be extremely busy, building machines to try and be better than their fellow competitor.  Families will bond over the racecar…friends will bicker…competitors will fight…but in the end, racing will survive and, honestly in my opinion, may thrive in 2018.

Nobody has a crystal ball to see what the future holds.  If that was the case, I would have done everything in my power to stay behind the wheel as long as I could.  The only way we make this sport grow, I believe, is to keep the passion alive and I have this feeling that many out there, including a lot of our staff members, are ready to do just that.

Here’s to a great 2018…and a safe one!

Mike Petrucci: Columnist & Photographer:
Short Track Racing will grow stronger. It has to; it has no choice but to grow.

As the economy gets stronger, racers, teams and fans will feel the pinch a little less. But, it is not an excuse for promoters to take a break, for they must pounce on the opportunity to reconnect a younger generation of gadget-minded fans with an exciting, action-packed sport.

Social media will become a bigger part of the sport, just as it is becoming a bigger part of society. Promoters who embrace this trend and use it effectively will see growth at both the front and back gates, as people feel more engaged in something special — and others feel the FOMO that comes with sitting on their couch watching Facebook Live.

As the cost of racing increases, more participants are taking on leadership roles within the sport, including event sponsorship, track promotion and track ownership. We need to be cautious not to cater to the special interests of the few, for while they are carrying the sport forward, we can’t afford to lose the spirited and dedicated shoestring racers.

It will take hard work, new ideas, a growth mindset and unity amongst drivers, promoters, officials, and fans. The opportunity is coming for this sport to be even more thrilling than it is today, but everyone must answer the call.

Ed Biittig Jr.: On-Air Personality
I am predicting that we will see many first-time winners in 2018. I am also predicting that we will see a long-time driver retire by years end.

I hope that everyone stays safe on and off the track in 2018.

Mike Warren: Columnist & On-Air Personality
2018 will see “Brett the Jet” Hearn land with another title at Albany-Saratoga.  Mark my words.  He is due.  It will also see Marc Johnson win his first race and title at Utica-Rome, giving crew chief John “Apples” Albanese his second Small Block championship at the ‘Action Track of The East.

Jeremy McGaffin: Photographer & RPW Super DIRT Week Update Director
My prediction for 2018?  Stewart Friesen picks up at least two wins on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and makes it to the second round of the playoffs.  PS: I hate to make predictions. HAHA

John Meloling: Photographer
My prediction for this year?  Less interest by fans on the Big Block Series with more placed on the 358-Modified and Sportsman Series.  Also, local Sprint Car racing will see bigger fields. 

Attendance for the USAC wingless shows will bring out more fans because it is different than most see in the Northeast. 

Toby LaGrange: Columnist & On-Air Personality
I think Glen Ridge will prove that a Sunday night Sportsman-led show can and will be successful.  Mark my words.  Rocky Warner will visit victory lane for Jake Spraker…his first in a Modified. Also, with no home track bonus points being awarded to the DIRTcar Modifieds, new faces will be crowned champion at many weekly tracks.

Robert Symonds: Columnist & Photographer
2018 will be another momentous year for all of the tracks involved.

It will be interesting to see the Small Blocks at Fulton Speedway and see whom comes out on top.  As for predictions, it will be hard to foresee all the champions or whom will have a good year.

For the Super DIRTcar Series, I would think both Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker would once again be dueling back and forth for the championship. It will be interesting to see what drivers come out of the off-season running quicker than last year.

I believe we will see a lot of competitive racing and a lot more good times will be shared at the race track. See you in 2018!

Ray Rogers: Columnist & Photographer
2018 will be full of sunshine, smiling race fans and great racing at tracks all over the Northeast.  I look forward to making new friends and new adventures that lay only a few months away.

Race Pro Weekly will have all the stories and results that you want to know, and possibly, the return of our weekly online TV show, giving you, the race fans, all the highlights while covering all the stories the way they ought to be covered.

Lucas Ballard: Photographer
My prediction for the 2018 racing season will be an increase in safety. Not only on the track, but for the fans too.

I predict there will be more rules for the competitors, especially, in my opinion, seeing the King of Dirt Series becoming more and more popular.

In the grandstands I think we will see stricter security.

John Zachary: Columnist & Photographer
2018 will be much of the same, I think, as far as who is fast and up front during the season.  USAC is coming into central New York and that is very exciting.  I think Dirt Track Racing will grow a bit more in 2018.

T-Mac, Tim McCreadie, will win the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title.  David Gravel will take the W0O Sprint car title.

I am looking forward to covering the 2018 season either with my camera or my pencil.  It’s a good time to be a dirt track racing fan in NY.

John Cliver: Photographer
As the wheels of time continue to turn, it’s time to move on from 2017 and look ahead to what 2018 holds.

As of right now, the Bridgeport Speedway has already booked several big shows to their schedule…most notably the return of the Super DIRTcar Series for year #2, a World of Outlaws event, and also a USAC Eastern Storm event.

Dylan Friebel: Columnist & Photographer
I think, in 2018, it will be T-MAC’s year in Late Models.  Tire problems plagued him in the Lucas Oil Late Model Series finale this past year and he lost the point title.  However, I believe the upcoming year will be his best to date.

I also believe we will see a new winner sitting in victory lane in Tulsa, OK (at the Chili Bowl) very soon.

Renee Tidaback: Photographer
2018 Predictions: NASCAR Cup Series – Chase Elliott will get his first major Cup Series win.  INDYCAR Series – Hélio Castroneves wins his fourth INDY 500.  NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Stewart Friesen wins his first Series event.

I’m thinking Dale Earnhardt Jr. will come back to run one big race or a fundraiser event.

Brett Horlacher: Columnist
The lack of weekly hometrack points for the Super DIRTcar Series may hurt car counts, especially at local tracks where the driver may consider that track their second home. It would not be surprising if several of the Series regulars forgo racing weekly to concentrate on the tour itself.  However, this could be an opportunity for mid-level racers to get more time up-front, and maybe more wins.

Edward Kochersberger: Columnist
My 2017 takeaway was that open-wheel racing in the Northeast has shown promise.  I envision it as continuing to grow. More and more cars, with USAC coming to NY and more dates for All Star Circuit of Champions. This is a very exciting time for us on the sprint car side of things.

Laurie Fallis: Columnist
My first prediction for the 2018 racing season is that, with a strong showing from last year, the The “Apollo Rocket,” Josh Hohenforst, will win the Fonda Speedway 2018 Track Championship.  With great improvement’s each year, his team has been getting the wins and top finishes that it takes.  With a little luck and consistency, I believe this will be the year that everything falls into place for the young pilot and crew hailing out of Gloversville, NY.

My second prediction is that Peter “Batman” Britten will shine.  He will rise to the top of the list as a name that will be a force in contention to bring home the feature victory in every event that he enters.  He will have his best year to date in his racing career during the 2018 season.

My third prediction is that Brett “The Jet” Hearn will reach his 915th victory mark in 2018 as he marches towards 950 in his career.

My fourth prediction will be that Darryn “Dynamite” Fallis will win his first ever Jr. Slingshot race at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.

Last but not least, this writer predicts that she will have an excellent time writing for Race Pro Weekly.  Meeting drivers in all divisions and telling about the nights racing and activities on and off the track will be a blast.  I will enjoy doing what I love with my family and friends… which is covering the sport of racing.

I wish the best of luck and safety to all the drivers, crews and, of course, the fans in 2018.  Also, I will be looking forward to seeing everybody at the track!!!

Always keep our troops and their families in your prayers and wish for their safety each and everyday.

Column By: RACE PRO WEEKLY STAFF - Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at Race Pro Weekly.  We hope you're enjoyed your Holiday season, stayed safe last night and are ready for a new year to begin.  With everyone, more than likely, setting New Year's...