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The winter off season from racing is tough for some and a relief for others. The racers get a chance to reintroduce themselves to family and friends they havenít seen much of since last years break. Then they get to assess the damage from the long racing experience and begin the rebuild of their race team. Fans can also do some family things as they wait to hear whatís new, or not, and which way the next season will go. The new schedules and driver changes are usually on top of their want list to hear about, but there is much more to figure out for Xmas and springtime ahead.

The Crossno Racing Team announced surprising plans for the 2004 season this week. Nice guy and car owner, Glenn Crossno, has hired Mike Kirby, along with his long time crew chief Bret Roa, to run the full season with him in the red # 38 in that quest of winning an SCRA championship. Glen has fielded excellent equipment the last few years for himself to drive, and then later Bobby Graham and Levi Jones after he retired from the seat. In addition, he has provided a Silver Crown ride for Levi the past year, but has closed those doors and ended that Indiana effort. Glenn is a good car owner as he makes sure the equipment is top notch and unlike some, keeps his own hands on the car. All this means is Mike will have a far better 2004 than 2003, you can bet on it.

Mike reported they have three brand new TCR cars ready to put together and a host of quality equipment waiting for him and Bret to start working on. The race shop is at Glennís home and has plenty of room for all the work to be done. Those two will be part of the getting ready process, but the day to day weekly prep will not require Mike to work on the car all week as in the past. Mike is looking forward to the new season and is ready to go. He will be focused only on the sprint car and will not be driving any stock cars next year, so he says, but I will miss him in the figure 8 action.

No word on Leviís plans or if there will be a 2nd Crossno maintained car for him when he isnít running USAC, but for now the focus will be on just the one car. Glenís father Dale is glad the Silver Crown car is gone because it meant a lot of tedious driving for him in that rig last season and now he only has to worry about the local rig. He drives the team rig and has to be happy about less driving for him.

Congratulation's to J J Yeley for becoming the driver of the year and Josh Wise for getting a Tony Stewart midget ride for next season, as both deserved it. I am pleased for my young friend Jake Argo as he has been a part of Josh sucess this season. Expect an announcemnet on who will replace J J on the Stewart Mopar team, but I can tell you he is a good choice and will do very well.

Lots of stuff about SCRA and the plans for 2004 going around on the internet, but no official word yet on the new schedule. That message board ďtalkĒ, more part of the usual rumor mill, includes stuff about the SCRA at Perris, the tour plans (or two tours some have suggested), and other possible tracks to race at. I wonít comment on the message board schedule, and will wait like the rest of you for official word when it comes.

The Perris stalemate has gone on too long for some and is excruciating to those in the know. To race Perris or not, that is the question that faces President Ron Shuman, and only he has the answer at this time. We know the track suffered low attendance this past year, except for the premier shows, and the cost of running a track sometimes is more than the income, so something has to give. The track would like to cut back expenditures and so far there is no agreement on the table. The fans and racers need the SCRA at Perris!

Should the SCRA back down their sanction fee, as the crux of the problem rears itís ugly head, and give a little in these economically tough times, or should they go on and tough it out without Perris? Hypothetically there are many scenarios, but none come to mind that look promising. Without Perris you have Ventura, oops I think not, as I doubt Jim Naylor will go against the PAS considering his relationship there with his own VRA racing deal. That leaves Tulare, Manzy and the tour tracks to run at. Can Santa Maria, Bakersfield and Hanford come into the fold? Will El Centro be on the list. How about the Tucson dirt track, and do we have places to go that can build a following that we didnít have this past year? Will Calistoga be a possibility? I donít have a clue, but from what I see, itís all uphill from here and the last guy to go that route, without an LA based track, put extra money into the purse on his own to keep it going, and look what happened to him.

There were 4 trips to Manzy, two to Tulare, Three to Ventura and 19 to local Perris last season beyond the NWWC tour dates. That is 28 regular shows and, hypathetically, if we donít have the PAS and Ventura, that would leave six. You can bulk them up to ten or so and still have nearly 20 open dates to fill. So what is to come? My crystal ball is shattered, so I am clueless in Mission Viejo, waiting like the rest of you for more developments. In the meantimeÖÖÖ

Donít forget December 14 will bring the 3rd annual racer swap meet to Ventura Raceway. All cars and parts are welcome, or anything that races. Vendor spots are $50, general admission $5 and parking will be $5. It all starts at 9 am at Seaside Park. Call 805-985-5433 or 805-649-1243 for more info or click here.

My bball winter fun started this week and I am happy to report 17 games attended so far. I went to two Saturday morning, then met my wife for dinner and saw three in the evening before returning home to get some rest. You can keep up by clicking the basketball icon on the top front of the Wags web page to see who I saw play and a little on what happened. Looks like no Chili Bowl for me this year, what with all the grandkids, B bal, work and honey doís due, so have a good time one and all when you get there. And remember, I wonít miss having my rental car frozen over with the H20 that seems to happen in January back there.

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