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Sunday July 28, 2013
Bridgeport, NJ (July 28, 2013) - Yes friends, it’s that time again! When the summer months of July and August roll around, it can only mean that ‘Friends of Mike’ Night is approaching. For the past 7 years a special group of people have paid homage and have honored one of racing’s most dedicated fans. Thursday, August 29 will amazingly be the 8th consecutive season that this most memorable event has taken place. Whether you’re a fan or driver you probably know just what ‘Friends of Mike’ is about and just how special of an event it has become over the years.

No matter if you knew who Mike Rogie was or not, it’s almost guaranteed that you will feel like you did after Thursday, August 29. Mike was a special person to many as he lost his battle with cancer in July of 2006. Every year his friends come together for a day of remembrance and to give a little back to the sport that Mike so dearly loved. Mike grew up attending races at Flemington and East Windsor as Bridgeport was always one of his favorite race tracks too.

There have been several formats in the past 7 years that have seen 10 races run with 9 different winners (2008 saw 4-20 lap events). Brian Godown won the inaugural 2006 race taking home the 30-lap $5,000 second career win. In 2007 it was Keith Hoffman claiming $7,286 for a 38-lap dramatic victory. 2008 saw the format switch to a 4-20 lap program, where it was Rick Laubach, Tim Tanner, and Tad Cox scoring $2,000 victories. In the final 20 lapper it was Keith Hoffman winning his second F.O.M. race for a $5,000 pay day. Then in 2009 it was soon-to-be 700-time career winner Billy Pauch taking home a whopping $10 grand in the 60-lap affair. In 2010 second-generation chauffer Willie Osmun took the 100-lap checkered flag for an astounding $15,000 for his first-ever career modified victory. Then in 2011 we saw another second-generation driver take home top honors. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY invaded NJ to record a $20,000 victory. Last year, “The Doctor” Danny Johnson made a house call to Victory Lane taking home a $10,000 check back to his NY home. What was even more impressive was the fact that the Friends of Mike were able to pay an astounding $1,000 to start the 100 lapper.

There are three finishing positions in a high dollar event that drivers tend to ask about. “What’s it pay to win?”, “How much does 10th pay?”, and “What’s it pay to start?” This year’s version will find the winner of F.O.M. VIII take home a minimum of $7,500 (with additional bonuses being offered). Tenth position will still pay a four-figure amount at $1,000 and last place will offer a lofty $500 check.

The Crate/Sportsman division will share the limelight with the modifieds on this night as they will race for $1,500 in their 25-lap affair. A very respectable $175 “green money” has been put in place for the starting field for the August 29 contest. There is also a “dual” Gambler’s Challenge for the Crate/Sportsman on this night. A $50 gamble will see the winner walk away with $2,000 while a $100 gamble will see one lucky driver leave with $2,500! Nine different drivers have been able to visit the winner’s circle at Bridgeport Speedway as of July 15th, so it’s anyone’s guess as to who could win the Crate/Sportsman portion of F.O.M. VIII.

This year, founder and promoter of the F.O.M. event Danny Serrano felt it was time to get back to basics. “This race has taken every route imaginable over the past seven years. When this whole thing began it was meant to honor a friend, a great human being, and a tremendous race fan. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what we’ve been doing the last 7 years but, something has seemed to get lost in the whole meaning of this event lately. We kind of got sucked in by how much money the race would pay, how many cars would show up, and how many laps the race would be. Those are all important aspects of putting on a great show that the fans and drivers will remember however, sometimes keeping it simple works just as well and that’s the approach we’re taking this year.”

“Mike was a race fan. No matter what track he attended, his hopes were to see a good race and have a good time with his friends. And that is the exact mindset that we want to have this year. We want ALL fans, no matter what their home track is to come on out and support this successful race, which is always sure to be marked on any race fans calendar at the start of the season. The purse is still great, it’s still an extra-distance event, and the best of the best will still find their way to yet another Friends of Mike event.” What’s pretty ironic this season, is that last year’s Bridgeport promoter Doug Hoffman had always admired what the F.O.M. race stood for and how it’s progressed every year. Now, after honoring such a great driver at his home track earlier this season, the race that he was always impressed with will finally be held where he had hoped it would find its new home.

Most recently, the ‘Rogie Rumble’ has become a fixture during F.O.M. Night. This year’s ‘Rumble’ will be a “Dash for Cash” that will see the modified heat race winners compete in a 5-lap event paying $500 to the victor. The winner of the Rogie Rumble will then have the opportunity to have a clean “sweep” by going on to win the 51-lapper. If so, there will be a bonus of $500, thus pushing their winnings to $8,500.

With the great fans not only at Bridgeport Speedway, but in our sport of Dirt Track Racing as well, is how this has all been possible. We don’t want our fans to forget about the Chinese Auction that will once again place throughout the day where fans win dozens of fabulous prizes as thousands of dollars are raised to add to the night’s purse. “The auction has been part of this race since its inception back in 2006. Because of the mid-week race date the auction will be scaled back a bit but, I can tell you that there will still be plenty of great prizes for the fans to walk away with,” assured Serrano. If there are any items that you would like to donate to the auction please contact Danny (609-433-4487) the organizer of the event.

Serrano summed up his enthusiasm and anticipation for F.O.M. Volume 8 with the following, “This race has always been more than a race and this year will be no different I promise. This race has become a happening and I’m honestly thrilled to finally have it here at Bridgeport. We encourage everyone to kick off their Labor Day Weekend here with us at Bridgeport Speedway. There will be motorhomes, tailgate parties, moon bounces for the kids, live music, free bus rides through the pits, dunk tanks, the auction, plenty, great racing, and most of all plenty of Mike’s Friends enjoying yet another Friends of Mike event.”

Two-time winner of the F.O.M. event and current Bridgeport Speedway promoter Keith Hoffman can’t wait for August 29th. “I’ve won this race two times, so I know just how much it means to win a Friends of Mike race. I think Danny does an awesome job with this race honoring his friend Mike each year and I’m just thrilled to have it here at Bridgeport and be a part of it. We have a great team here this season and between Danny, Brian (Ramey) and Dave (Adams) the future is very bright here at Bridgeport and I’m honestly looking forward to seeing many new fans along with a talented field of drivers here on the 29th”

The Friends of Mike are currently looking for sponsors of all the laps for the features of the two-division show. Through the efforts of many, Mike’s friends have been able to collect over $118,000 in the past seven years and hopefully this year is no different. *Reminder* the lap that is sponsored is not lap-leader money…the money is used to help pay the increased purse for the features and heat races. Each lap is available at $100 to sponsor. Any donation checks can be made out to Bridgeport Speedway c/o Friends of Mike.

On Thursday, August 29, competitors can begin to enter the pits at 3:00 p.m. with the grandstand gates opening at 3:00 p.m. Warm-ups start at 6:30 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for fans 16 and older will be $30. Admission for students (10-15) will be $15 and children 9 and under are free. Skyboxes are available for this event and can be reserved by contacting the speedway office at 856-467-4407. Pit admission is $40.

Bridgeport Speedway provides a safe and secure family atmosphere, free parking, giveaways, and fan participation games. As a premier racing complex, Bridgeport Speedway is a banked 5/8th mile dirt oval, featuring a dirt 1/4 mile oval embedded in the center, and is located in Southern New Jersey -- just minutes from Pennsylvania and Delaware at exit 14 off of I-295.