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Q&A with Tim Bryant from the Pensacola news Journal


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Mar 12 2008 --- Bryant races to ready for 2008 season

Bill Vilona



Tim Bryant begins his second full season as president-general manager at Five Flags Speedway. The race season begins Friday night with the Allen Turner-Hyundai Challenge 100 race for Pro Late Model cars and competition in all other divisions.


Q: Does it seem like last week when the Snowball Derby was completed, and now you're preparing for 2008?


A: It really seems like a short offseason. We've been busy out here at the speedway right through the break. So time really did fly by. For the most part, talking to the drivers, they think the offseason is long, because they're anxious to get back.


There's always excitement in the air when a new season starts. A guy like Brannon Fowler (2007 Bomber champion now racing in PLM) is part of the reason for that. You always see drivers who are moving up in divisions and furthering their careers. Most of the drivers all come out with new-looking cars, fresh paint schemes and graphics and all that kind of stuff. That always makes the start of the season interesting.


Q: Any new changes at the track?


A: We've been doing general maintenance stuff, installing some aluminum bleachers and stuff like that. But nothing that is going to take anyone's breath away. I'm looking forward to the day we'll have a new racetrack surface. We're on kind of a limited time on what's left with this track.


Although we still have about half the drivers pleading with us not to repave the track, because it makes such a driver's track. I think we'll see a new surface in the next couple years.


Q: How has the struggling economy affected local racing?


A: That is certainly something we've concerned ourselves with in the offseason. And time will tell. I can say this, though, we went to The Rattler 250 in Opp, Alabama last weekend, which is a traditional race, and they had a good field of cars, and a good crowd. I guess I can answer that (economic situation) better halfway through the season, but in talking with drivers, they're planning on racing.


Q: Toughest part of your job so far?


A: More than anything, in times like we're seeing now, you're always trying to figure out a way to make the purses higher, without raising ticket prices for fans. We will not raise ticket prices. And you are trying to find ways to save the racers money, make it more economical. It's hard to do. A guy is going to have a budget to race on. But there is an old slogan that money buys speed and that is really true in racing and always will be.


Bill Vilona/bvilona@pnj.com

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