Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
This weekend at various tracks across the country, some true heroes are going to get their due.  Lee USA Speedway (NH) and Rockford Speedway (IL) are allowing law enforcement and public safety personnel free admission to their weekly shows this 9/11 weekend.  Ocala Speedway in Florida is allowing all active military, law enforcement, fire, and rescue personnel, to be admitted for one dollar with identification.  Kudos to these tracks for remembering those who serve us all – day in and day out.

Kudos to the group at Lanier National Speedway for not letting the James Garrison Memorial 100 race this weekend at their place just fizzle away after the touring series that was to put on the race backed out of the scheduled event there.  The race will go on as scheduled as a big Pro Late Model event, plus weekly divisions, Saturday, giving the racers at Lanier a chance to honor a “friend of the racers,” James Garrison.

We’re getting tired of hearing the economy being used as an excuse for race series going under in the Southeast.  Yes, these are tough times but with GAS, ASA SAT, PASS South, SPLMS, CRA South, the Blizzard Series, ASA LM South and other tracks and tours battling for the same cars to come and race with them in 2009, did anyone honestly expect all of the tours to survive?  It’s sad to see any tour go away, but it’s survival of the fittest out there in the jungle and whoever is left standing ought to be in great shape when this all winds down – unless another half dozen tours start up first.

Sports fans love a good rivalry – so that is why the battle between Ted Christopher and Donny Lia on the NASCAR Mod Tour is so cool.  These two guys race hard, they run their mouths and they kick some ass too.  In the last two races on the Tour, Lia has beat TC by one position.  Next time out, they head to New Hampshire where Christopher has a boatload of victories and Lia won the last time that the Mods raced there.  Oh, did we mention that Christopher ended up in the wall at the finish line of that race and blamed Lia for it? 

We heard a couple young ARCA RE/MAX Series “up and comers” complain about having to race at dirt tracks like DuQuoin and Springfield over the last few weeks.  Note to those guys – when you signed up to run the full season, those races were on the schedule.  ARCA’s been racing at those places since before most of you were born.  Deal with it.  Use those races as a chance to prove you’re a versatile racer instead of complaining and acting like spoiled rich kids (which ARCA is full of anyway.)

Maybe those ARCA kids who don’t like dirt should listen up to this…last week, Ray Cook won a World of Outlaws dirt Late Model race that paid $41,000.  This weekend, the World 100 at Eldora will pay $42,000 to the winner.  There’s even more big-money shows down the road in the WoO, Lucas Oil and other dirt tours.  Oh, did we mention that the grandstands are usually packed wherever those tours race?  Quite the stark contrast between the dirt and asphalt side, isn’t it? 

A recent press release from a touring race series spent the entire first paragraph of a post-race story talking about the tour’s new beauty queen.  The entire final paragraph talked about an elderly race fan’s experience at the track.  Somewhere in the middle, we think, it talked about who won and how.  Now we love beauty queens and grandmothers as much as the next guy, but we’ve got to wonder how burying the information about the race deep in a story helps get much needed publicity for short track racing in a fast-moving media world.

Seven-time ACT Late Model champion Jean Paul Cyr decided to stop touring this season and focus on his home track of Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) instead.  Well, you can take the racer off the road but you can’t keep him from winning.  Cyr was recently named as the 2009 Thunder Road Track champion.

Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, North Carolina is officially going up for auction in mid-November.  A nice facility that may be no more.  Here’s to hoping PASS South puts on some good shows here at the end of the season so an investor can step in and make that facility what it should be.

Seeing voting for things like Most Popular or Most Improved driver on a race track’s website is nothing new.  Ace Speedway in North Carolina went one step further recently when they opened up fan voting to declare next year’s “Miss Ace Speedway.”  Yeah, have a beauty contest where girls upload scantily-clad pictures to the track’s site and racin’ guys vote on them.  Some say it’s sexist – but just try not to go to the site and look…g’head, betcha will!