JONES FASTEST IN SMALL ASPHALT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FIELD by Matt Kentfield
Only 10 Super Late Models In Town For 200-Lap Race
Located in heart of the stock car racing country, the half-mile Concord Motorsport Park should have some of the healthiest Super Late Model fields in the country, especially for season-ending special events such as this weekend’s Asphalt World Championships.
driver from Goldsboro, NC earned his first-career pole position for Saturday’s 200-lap feature, but he is still disappointed by the number of cars in attendance.
“We’re happy with the pole, but we really wish there were more cars,” said Jones. “Only 10 cars took time, it’s a shame. The beginning of the year, they were talking about this race being 400 laps and paying some big money. Then they changed the purse from $10,000 last year to $5,000-to-win this year, and they made the race only 200 laps. So that combination kept some guys away I guess.”
Jones’s stipulation on why some drivers stayed away may be true, but there were other factors that likely kept some drivers away.
Freddie Query isn't very happy about the small car count at Concord for this weekend's Asphalt World Championship. (51 Photos)
First, a total of nearly 70 Super Late Model teams competed in last weekend’s All American 400 festivities at Nashville. Several teams came out of there with torn up equipment, and with less than a week to get it all fixed, many may have just knocked this weekend off the schedule.
Those that were able to come out of Nashville clean or that were able to get their cars fixed had some choices to make. Other tracks in the Southeast are holding major Super Late Model events this weekend, many offering larger purses.
In addition, one of the biggest races in Super Late Model racing, The Snowball Derby, is scheduled for the first weekend of December and some drivers may be saving their equipment for then.
According to multiple-time Concord track champion Freddie Query however, the ratio of money spent to money won back for the Super Late Models at his home track is the main reason drivers want to stay away.
“The biggest reason the car count is the way it is is because the track cut the purse,” said Query. “Not only did they take money off for the winner, but they didn’t add any more money for the guys in the back than on a
MIke (#24) & Ben Rowe (#00) made the long trip down from Maine, but found just eight other cars there to compete with them. (51 Photos)
But, sometimes logic doesn’t always prevail.
The third edition of the AWS, despite drawing cars from as far away as Maine, will have only 10 Super Late Models take the green flag Saturday afternoon.
The usual Concord suspects were there, including multiple-time track champion Freddie Query and this season’s Rookie of the Year Clay Jones. Also in attendance were the father-son duo Mike and Ben Rowe, Pro Stock (northern Super Late Models) heroes from the Northeast-based PASS series. These drivers were joined at the track by only a handful of their colleagues.
The low number of cars taking time on Friday afternoon in qualifying did not bother Clay Jones, however. The young
regular 200-lapper here, which they don’t pay enough for as it is.”
Query’s concerns do not stop with the purse that the competitors will receive for this weekend’s event. He believes the track should be disappointed with the car counts, but they’ll be even more disappointed when catching a glimpse at the crowd.
“Tomorrow night’s going to be the real shock when there’s nobody in the grandstands because they’ve increased the (grandstand) price up there too.
“I’ll be shocked if they run Super Late Models here again next year,” continued Query. “The officials were already barking about the car counts today and they were asking me where my cars were. My cars? I only have one, I told them. I said to them they’re not paying enough money. I’m here to support them because I want the series to work, but these cars are expensive and they can’t expect guys to come and race for no money.”
Rookie Clay Jones won the pole for Saturday's 200-lap Super Late Model feature. (Track Photo)
Query is obviously frustrated with the field and the purse for the Asphalt World Championship, but he has just one thing on his mind, beating the cars that did show up. Among the cars in attendance are the cars of Mike and Ben Rowe. The Rowes made the trek from their home in Maine to North Carolina, and although equally disappointed with the car count, they hold plenty of high hopes to invade Concord and come out on top.
“It was a big deal last year, my dad (Mike) and (fellow PASS driver) Johnny Clark came down here last year and
the purse was good and it was just fun,” said Ben Rowe. “We had this race circled on our calendar all season long, then to come down here and see just so few cars it’s really disappointing.”
Disappointing as it is for Rowe, he is still a racer. He’s at Concord to win and he’s got his sights set on just one guy.
“It’s not about the money for us,” said Rowe. “As much as we just like to come down here and run with these guys and have fun, we really just came down to try to chase down Freddie. He’s the man here and hopefully we can beat him.”
The bad news for Query is that he won’t have just the youngest Rowe putting the target on him.
“I’m disappointed with the amount of cars, but I’m just here to get Freddie,” said Mike.
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