The Big 10
Speed51.com's Take On the 10 Biggest Stories From the Week That Was In Short Track Racing
1) PRO CUP GOODBYE?
We may have witnessed an era in short track racing, as the USAR Pro Cup Series, without title sponsorship from Hooters, faces an uncertain future.  Will a band of team owners join up to back the series until a new title sponsor is found?  Will Sears or Craftsman, already supporters of the series, step up?  Hopefully someone does, because losing that series would be a serious detriment to all short track racing.


2) MMM MMM GOOD
Brian Campbell doesn’t run for points.  He runs for trophies, and he’s done just fine at it lately.  ASA Late Models – check.  CRA Super Series – check.  Now, the ASA Southeast/Midwest Tour at Nashville completes a season of barnstorming and stealing the cash from tour regulars wherever he goes. 


3) HOMELESS IN THE ‘HAM
If the last few years are any indication, don’t get too emotional about the shutting down of Birmingham International Raceway in Alabama.  Every winter, the track announces the upcoming season is cancelled.  Then by Spring, track officials kiss the city council’s rear end enough to get the season kicked off.  This could be the end of BIR, but we’ll believe it once there are no cars there for an Early Bird event.


4) WELCOME BACK
Chris Gabehart finished his full-time driving duties in the Super Late Model ranks promptly after winning last year’s CRA Championship.  Gabehart focused on turning wrenches on cars in 2008, but that driving bug still won’t stop biting him.  He’s made only two starts this year, winning one at Nashville last weekend and darn near winning another in the Winchester 400.


5)  BACK AT THE BEECH
For the first time in 16 years, the ACT Late Models will return to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 2009.  BRMS has been a home track for the PASS Super Late Models in recent years, but with this news, consider the whole ACT-versus-PASS debate in New England fire fueled.


6)  VETERAN MOVES
When Drew Herring had the Pro Cup finale at Rockingham all but won, Clay Rogers was only a speck in Herring’s rear view mirror.  Then lapped cars intervened and Rogers flew by Herring on the outside for the win.  Perfect example of a rookie being too cautious and a veteran like Rogers knowing exactly what to do late in the race.


7)  SNOWBALL ENTRIES
We’ve all heard it before – the economy is keeping teams from going to the racetrack, especially in the last part of the season.  Well, stick this in your economic bailout – almost 140 entries – with more to come - between the Super and Pro Late Models already entered for the Snowball and Snowflake races December 6th and 7th.


8)  THE NEW RACE OF CHAMPIONS
Since 1995’s race at Flemington, there hasn’t been a true Modified “Race of Champions” – a race where the top talents from every corner of the Modified world goes to an independent show to see who really is the best of the best.  Now, in its sixth edition, the North-South Shootout at Concord Motorsport Park (NC) has quickly become the new version of the Race of Champions.  Whoever wins this year’s event this weekend will prove that they’re the best in the Modified world.


9)  PITCHING IN
Kudos to David Stremme for doing something that few NASCAR drivers would do these days.  Stremme has stout Super Late Models in his shop that he plays with when he’s not racing on the Nationwide or Cup scene, but instead of letting those cars collect dust or take an astronomical amount of money from drivers to wheel his car, Stremme helped out Travis Sauter at Nashville.  Sure Sauter has a famous last name and a ton of talent, but he doesn’t have the money it takes to get into a car like Stremme’s on his own.  But, Stremme did what he could to help a good kid out and it paid off for both.


10)  SUNNY RETIREMENT
So Jay Middleton is giving up his driving career at age 24 to focus on a law degree in his home state of Florida.  He’s awful young to retire and settle in Florida, isn’t he?  A 24-year-old wearing his pants up to his chest and taking advantage of the Early Bird Specials at the IHOP doesn’t fit in with the rest of the retired population down there.