The Big 10's Take On the 10 Biggest Stories From the Week That Was In Short Track Racing
1)  GAS N’ GO?
Race teams throughout the South have been racing just to find a gas station that actually has fuel these days.  Several tours and tracks cancelled their shows last weekend because of the gas shortage.  In a pinch, race fuel may end up powering trucks to get to the track this weekend.  The gas shortage may even keep from going to some big races in the coming weeks, such as the Winchester 400 that has been on our gameplan for months.

For years, Hooters restaurants were perhaps the most recognizable sponsor-slash-supporters of a short track series in the country.  Now, they’re pulling out of the USAR Pro Cup Series.  When Mr. Brooks, owner of Hooters, passed away, these changes were all but certain eventually.  Now, all we can do is hope there’s a suitor for the Pro Cup tour that will keep it afloat, even though that’ll be tough to do.  Hopefully the rumors of a sponsor come soon.

Recently, FASCAR, Florida short track racing’s conglomerate, switched all its series’ tires from Goodyear to Hoosier.  Tires are the biggest thing drivers will complain about when they want to, and boy was there some complaining about blistering at New Smyrna in the first Sunbelt Series SLM race since the tire switch. 

Everyone loves a good story, and winning the Short Track Championships at Rockford was certainly one for Josh Vadnais.  Winning a race as prestigious as the STC is certainly cool, but when a driver that appreciates the history and grew up a fan of some of the drivers that won the race before him, Vadnais’ victory was even more special.

There’s something to be said for focus.  Rather than touring to all four corners of the country trying to win Super Late Model races, Josh Hamner put all his eggs into the Blizzard Series basket in 2008 in hopes of winning the Blizzard Championship and the Snowball Derby this December.  One goal was accomplished, one’s still a couple months away.  Only one check-mark left for Hamner.

Asphalt racing fans in New Jersey were certainly pretty bummed earlier this year when the lone asphalt track still operating in The Garden State, Wall Township, was shut down.   Now, in recent weeks, Wall Township will re-open, albeit for only one race (the Turkey Derby in late November) and the ARCA RE/MAX Series christened New Jersey Motorsports Park. 

In today’s politically-correct world, trophy girls in victory lane are seemingly becoming a thing of the past.  But, when Thunder Road has a trophy girl for its prestigious Milk Bowl, they do it right.  Sure she’s overweight, hairy and doesn’t smell too nice, but a pit area full of guys at Thunder Road all wanted their chances with her after the race.  Only one problem – she’s Patrick Laperle’s girl.  The trophy queen, a Vermont dairy cow, met Laperle in victory lane after the driver’s third win in the fall classic at T-Road.   

Rain forced the postponement of all qualifying activities for the Bailey’s 300 LMSC race at Martinsville on Saturday to Sunday morning before the feature event.  That made for one long day at the track.  Kudos to track officials and competitors, as more than 100 racecars helped dry the track Saturday before it fell too dark to race.  The eagerness to run on Sunday was more than apparent, however, as there were a ton of tore-up racecars at the fall of the checkered flag on the race.

We know we’re an asphalt racing site, but when there’s an epidemic like the one that the Sprint Car world is experiencing these days, we can’t help but bring it up.  Sprint Car series and tracks need to get together to figure out a way to keep their drivers safer.  Just in the last few weeks, drivers such as Craig Dollansky (fractured arm at Eldora), Judi Bates (broke arm in three places at Sharon Speedway), John Westbrook (back and spinal injuries at Williams Grove), Jeff Shepard (severe injuries at Knoxville Nationals), have been hurt with countless others at short tracks around the country getting dinged up. 

Earlier this week, Baker Curb Racing, a NASCAR Nationwide Series team, announced they will add a developmental team in the NASCAR Camping World Series East in 2009.  Wait, a development program in Camping World East?  I wonder what that will do to the low-buck guys like Dave Dion, Kip Stockwell, Brian Hoar, Ryan Seaman and others.  Oh yeah, they were run out a couple years ago.