When fans look back on the 2005 racing season there should be more good memories as opposed to disappointments.

Leading the list of high points this past year was the return of racing to Winchester Speedway. There was a good mix of late model, stock car and open wheel competition at the venerable Randolph County oval.

The track will be back in operation next year and there already is an ARCA date set for May.

Greenfield’s Eric Gordon provided the second highlight of the year with his fourth consecutive victory and sixth overall in the Pay Less/Remy International 500 at Anderson Speedway.

The question hanging in the air for next year: Will Gordon return for a fifth consecutive win? Car owner Jack French has already announced that he will not be returning to Anderson Speedway.

It would be disappointing if Gordon didn’t return for the 2006 running of the sprint car classic.

Indiana resident Tony Stewart had a remarkable year in Nextel Cup racing, capturing the Brickyard 400 and winning his second NASCAR championship. It was also an outstanding year for Roush Racing as all five of its teams made the Chase for the title.

Knightstown’s Jeff Lane captured his first Championship Racing Association title in 2005 and has to be considered a challenger to repeat his performance next year.

The year’s biggest disappointment was the collapse of the American Speed Association national tour. An attempt was made to provide a venue for ASA teams through the American Stockcar League, but it failed to materialize as an alternative.

On the plus side the ASA Late Models completed its second successful season and is expanding in 2006 to include a southern division and a national tour. Although no longer based in Madison County, it is good to see the ASA name continue.

It was also disappointing to learn that Anderson’s Jason McCord, a fixture with USAC in the sprint and Silver Crown divisions, was forced to retire from competition for health reasons.

Probably the best Silver Crown race I have seen in the past few years was McCord’s win at the Indianapolis Raceway Park oval in 2004 as part of the Kroger SpeedFest. I expect that McCord will continue in some capacity in racing with Contos Racing, still looking for that elusive Little 500 win at Anderson Speedway.

Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd bowed out gracefully from NASCAR racing. Rudd may run a limited schedule in 2006. But for Wallace, who got his start with ASA, it was time to hang up his helmet.

The 2006 racing season kicks off on Sunday with the Eighth Annual New Year’s Day Bash at Anderson Speedway starting at 1 p.m. Included on the racing cars are figure-8s; open street stocks, Thunder Cars and the front-wheel drives in oval and figure-8 action.

Tickets are priced at $10 with a limited number of seats in the heated suites available for $25 each.

The CRA late models have announced a portion of their 2006 schedule. It includes opening at the Music City Motorplex with 150 laps on March 18; a 125-lap race at Anderson on April 15; Berlin Raceway in Michigan on May 27 for a 125-lap event; IRP on June 17 (100 laps); Toledo Speedway, July 2 (100 laps); Anderson Speedway, July 15 (200 laps); Angola Motor Speedway, July 22 (125 laps); 1-70 Speedway, Aug. 19 (100 laps); and Nov. 3, 4, 5 at the Music City Motorplex for the All American 400.

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