I-80 To Race On Fridays With Super Late Models-Cross Your Fingers And Pray
After watching Nebraska defeat Indiana in basketball last night, I logged on to www.DirtonDirt.com to watch the Wild West Shoot-Out from USA Raceway in Tucson. It was simply great to be watching live racing in the middle of January. 60 super late models and 45 USRA modifieds-including several USMTS drivers-filled the pits and provided plenty of thrills and spills.
Don O’Neal became the third different late model feature winner in the first three nights of the WWS. Billy Moyer took night number one and Tim McCreadie captured the checkers on the second night of racing. O’Neal started the feature on the pole and held off Moyer in the waning laps of the race. Moyer moved from 6th to 2nd. Ronny Lee Hollingsworth won a B feature, started 14th and climbed to 3rd. Terry Phillips did not look good in his heat, barely qualified through a B feature, but moved from 23rd at the start of the A feature to a 5th place finish.
At $7.00 for over three hours of race watching, I figure I got a bargain. I would give the racing a B and the production of the PPV an A-. My only complaint with the production was the only time you could hear to roar of engines was at the start of each race and during winner interviews. Go to www.DirtonDirt.com to purchase the PPV-you can get the remaining three races for $28 if you are a member of the site, or $15 for one race-Friday’s racing is at night, while the weekend racing is in the afternoon.
It is official; I-80 Speedway will run on Friday nights in 2012. The feature class will be NASCAR Late Models-super late models per the announcement in dirtdrivers.com, but not to be confused with the SLMR late models. Sorry, but in my dotage I am as confused about this as a sprint car fan watching side by side racing.
First, aren’t the drivers who would race “NASCAR” late models the same drivers who would run the SLMR series? The rules can’t be different if promoters want drivers to run both. Does this mean the SLMR series won’t run at I-80 Speedway? If the SLMR does race at I-80 Speedway (the rumors I hear are twice a month), what becomes of the “NASCAR” late models? Do they race too? If not, how can the “NASCAR” late models be the NASCAR tier one representative, racing only half the time?
The track announcement on www.dirtdrivers.com says promoters worked with Adams County Speedway and Junction Motor Speedway on the NASCAR tiers. ACS has always had the real deal late models, but JMS late models have been more like GN’s. Does this mean that JMS will be running super late models? If not, driver’s opportunities to finish high in NASCAR national standings seem limited.
If I was a promoter of a rural Nebraska track, I would now be very concerned about my SLMR race. To race in this area the past few years, drivers of weekly type super late models had to follow the SLMR series. Now these drivers-many from the Omaha metro area-can race at I-80 Speedway. Are they going to travel to compete?
As always, the track announcement left many questions. There was nothing about rules for the drivers, nothing about starting time for both drivers and fans, and nothing about admission for fans. It did mention there are six different classes and there will be nights when all six classes run. I felt like taking a tranquilizer after reading the track would run on Fridays. Running six classes has me praying.
I suspect Matt will try to drag me to a weekly show, and maybe I’ll go, though my love affair for weekly shows has been destroyed forever by the doings of area promoters. My fear-and really why I wrote all of this-is that running on Fridays with super late models will be a detriment to the track’s specials. Will Friday racing put more butts in the grandstand than Sunday racing did? Don’t most of the problems remain the same-plus you exchanged the problem of people getting up early to work the next day after racing Sunday with the problem of people getting to the race track on Friday after a long day at work? If there aren’t many more fans watching a more expensive weekly show, what will that do to the races like the Alphabet Soup, Trifecta, and SDN?
What will be the car counts in support divisions? Beatrice runs on Fridays, is IMCA sanctioned, and a number of name drivers in the modified division live in that area. Will the super late models put enough butts in the grandstand to pay for adding their large purse to the weekly show? Will the hard core return in numbers?
I wish I had a crystal ball to see right through the haze. I don’t agree with the promoters’ decisions, but that has been the case for many years. However, I do hope that they can prove me wrong, that Friday night late models will be a big success, and that the SLMR will still be a viable tour. If that happens, no one will have to tell me I was wrong. I will announce it in bold letters on the blog.
Thanks for stopping by.