Unique Television Package Will Add To ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour
Veteran Broadcaster Rick Benjamin Will Help Produce TV Program for Debut Season
Years ago, even when race fans couldn’t get to the race track, they knew that all they had to do was turn on the TV and watch their favorite ASA National Tour stars on either TNN (The Nashville Network) or SPEED. It was that television aspect that gave the National Tour an added thrill. There was nothing like watching it live and in person, but they were able to watch and cheer for their favorites when they couldn’t get to the racetrack.
Now, with the introduction of the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour, that tradition will continue.
When the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour debuts at the start of the 2008 season, television will be a part of the series package.
The series will televise at least 10 of 18 events during the inaugural season of the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour in 2008. Those broadcasts will be done by Carolinas Production Group Inc., which is owned and headed up by veteran broadcaster Rick Benjamin.
“We are going to televise what looks to be about 10 or 11 races for the Tour next season as part of the first year of a multi-year agreement,” said Benjamin, who was one of the lead broadcasters for the now-defunct ASA National Tour on TNN for several years. “We are going to be tape-delaying one-hour broadcasts of the events starting in March and going through November.
“I’m really excited about this whole deal. This is the ASA brand of racing that we all know and love, just a little different than some of us remember on TV being that these are Late Models and not the old National Tour cars. There is a lot of legacy there and we all love short track racing. I’m really excited that John Kee and the rest of the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour officials had the confidence in me to do that. I think it will be a lot of fun. We will have a pit reporter. We will do what we can to go behind the
scenes and do some creative things. We are going to try and do some different things than the way short track racing has been presented in the past. We want to personalize the drivers more and make it an entertaining show for the fans.”
While the final details of the agreement are still being ironed out, the fact that the series will be on television throughout the Southeast is something that is certain. And it is something that both Benjamin and ASA SAT officials believe will help draw some of the best racers to the series.
“We are syndicating the shows to sports channels regionally. We expect it to be in 20- to 30-million households from Washington DC to Florida over to Texas. It will be all over the Southeast. There is a big hunger for this type of thing on those regional sports stations. We think we have a winning formula there. Most of the time, the races will be seen about two weeks out from their race dates. We will let people know for sure through the website.
“There is a whole generation of TV race fans that don’t go to the races very much or don’t go to their local short tracks. What we will try and do is let them know that there is a great show on Saturday night 20 miles from their house that they can go and see.”
The new ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour will debut for Super Late Models and Pro Late Models in 2008 with a 15-race schedule and three additional non-points events. The schedule begins with Mobile International Speedway Saturday, March 22nd. From there, the series will move to two Georgia tracks, Watermelon Capital Speedway and South Georgia Motorsports Park. The series will also visit several prominent short tracks, including former ASA competitor Mike Cope’s Bronson Motor Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, Senoia Speedway, Dillon Motor Speedway, Music City Motorplex, Concord Motorsport Park and Anderson Motor Speedway. The series will
ASA Racing has a rich history on television.
also host one road course event, coming at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. Watermelon Capital, Hickory and Concord will host two events each, with Concord holding the final point-paying event of the season.
With the caliber of tracks on the schedule, Benjamin knows that the series will help get back to the ASA days of old, and that the television coverage will only help.
“We all know what the Robbins family built the history of ASA,” added Benjamin. “It was a place that built so many great drivers. And hopefully this year, we will be able to identify more drivers that are going to pick up some of that legacy and carry it on. We all know those guys will head to the top in a few years. I think we will find two or three guys that will move up and be part of the top three levels of NASCAR in the next few years. Then, we will find plenty of guys like Ronnie Sanders who has been racing Late Models for 30 years and that is what he wants to do. That is where it will be fun for me, which is trying to educate fans of this type of racing and make it fun and exciting.”
More announcements about the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour will be released in the coming weeks. The series rules are already available for downloading at the series official website, www.asasoutheastasphalttour.com. The website is currently being redesigned and will be re-launched in the near future.
The series is not a Crate Late Model tour only. In fact, one thing the series’ officials want to make sure competitors know is that the ASA Southeast Tour will be open to a number of different engine/weight combinations, including crate, spec and built engines that utilize both two-barrel and four-barrel carburetors.
For more information on the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour, contact Jeremy Troiano at (704) 788-2134 and be sure to visit www.asasoutheastasphalttour.com for all ASA Southeast Tour news. For technical and rules and information on the entire series, call Micky Cain at (678) 373-9851. For sponsorship and promotional information, please contact Stan Narrison at (678) 910-7726.
Rick Benjamin will head the program up for the ASA Southeast Tour