NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams who are brining home the bacon this winter to budget for the 2011 season will now have to dig a little bit deeper. That's because with one Tour race added at Ontario's Delaware Speedway to the schedule, passports will now be required of any crew member going to all of the race next year. That's going to cost $135 per head for those who don't already have one. Add this to the cost of making a nearly 600-mile trip to the track for Connecticut-based teams and the typical travel and preparation costs for a race and you'll see this isn't going to be a cheap show to go to. We're hoping that the purse is boosted sizably to make up for that, but we aren't holding our breath for that. It's great to have the Modifieds be exposed to new markets of race fans, but some moves just don't make much financial sense to the teams that are already struggling to survive.
Don't Complain, Things Could Be Worse
Then again, things could be worse. Life isn't always perfect in short track racing and teams will always claim that series owners and promoters should be doing more to help them. But it really could be worse. Take for example, what Formula One head honcho Bernie Ecclestone recently said to the British publication Financial Times about the new teams this year in F1: “We need to get rid of a few of those cripples. They do nothing for us. They are an embarrassment.” Ouch.
Heading into the final lap of last Saturday night's Street Stock race at East Bay Speedway (FL), the Pratt family was doing pretty well. Clarence Pratt was leading his brother Thomas until Clarence spun in turn two. Thomas was collected and a near one-two finish turned into a gifted victory for Donnie Reed in less than one circuit around the track.
Can't We All Just Get Along?
Last time around, we commented on the severe dislike, which borders on hatred, of some fanatical Modified fans towards other types of racecars. True to the script, one of those “fans” showed their true colors on the Speed51.com Facebook page after the running of the North South Shootout. A congratulatory message was posted to Colt James for winning the CRA Super Late Model portion of the North South Shootout at Concord Speedway (NC) when one person felt the need to break in with his comment that the CRA race shouldn't be referred to as the North South Shootout and implied that the only true winner at Concord was Matt Hirschman in the Tour-type Modified race. Whether it is your favorite form of racing or not, it takes a lot of talent, resources and hard work to win any big show. Even if a race doesn't feature your favorite type of car, its winner still deserves respect. If you can't show that, maybe it is best to keep your mouth shut and your finger idle.
Bad Weekend for the Blaneys
It wasn't a weekend of good luck for the Blaney boys - at least when motor vehicles were involved. Teenager Ryan Blaney got into one of the many messes during the CRA portion of the North South Shootout at Concord Speedway (NC) and ended the night on his roof. His father, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dave Blaney, raced in Texas and then hit a deer on the way home from the airport according to a report in the Roanoke Times. In more positive news, despite his wreck Ryan Blaney was able to clinch the 2010 CRA Southern Six Pack championship at the Concord race.
Respect For Your Elders
Clay Rogers tied Bobby Gill's mark of four career Pro Cup championships this season. After Rogers locked down the title in the season finale at South Boston Speedway (VA) on Saturday, he was very humble about this accomplishment and had nothing but great things to say about his rival and friend. “I consider Bobby Gill to be one of the greatest short-track drivers maybe ever,” said Rogers. “He's got four championships and to be tied with him is pretty special.”
Good Bye, Goodwrench
News reports circulated this week that the “new” General Motors is dropping the GM Goodwrench brand in the United States (but not Canada, so those NASCAR Modified teams racing at Delaware Speedway next year can still stop by to see Mr. Goodwrench on their trips) and replacing it with the brands of “Chevrolet Certified Service”, “Buick Certified Service” and so on. Race fans instantly shed a tear and remembered the legendary black #3 Goodwrench Chevrolets of the late Dale Earnhardt. But short track fans have some fond memories of the brand too. We can remember another intimidating character bumping and running with a black Goodwrench ride on the old ASA National Tour - that would be Mike Eddy, whose black #88 Pontiacs were feared or cheered depending on your viewpoint nearly 20 years ago.
Hitting the Streets
It's going to be interesting later this month when Kurt Busch hits the track at Rockingham Speedway (NC) in the Polar Bear 150. That race is a part of the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Series. We've got mad respect for his younger brother Kyle Busch's support of short track racing with his Super Late Model efforts, but Kurt running a Street Stock really takes the cake when it comes to supporting true grassroots short track racing. We hope that the Busch brothers get to exchange some pretty cool short tracking stories over this year's holiday season.
Before the day of the race, officials from the Dirt Track at Charlotte announced that the reserved grandstand seats for the World Finals, featuring World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and Late Models along with DIRT Modifieds, was sold out. It was a standing room only if you decided to buy your ticket on the day of the race. We know that short track racing is struggling in many circles, but this sell out at Charlotte proves that dirt track racing is very much alive and well if promoted properly. Maybe a few asphalt track and tour operators could take a lesson or two from that playbook.
Pros Out, Supers In? No Problem!
For the first time since 1998, this coming weekend's World Crown 300 at Gresham Motorsports Park (GA) will be a Super Late Model race instead of a Pro Late Model event. Actually, the PLMs will run their own big race as part of the support races at the World Crown weekend, but they aren't the headlining event this time around. The cool thing about this though is that teams and fans alike have been positive about the change. The Pro Late Model teams are still going to race there this weekend and the Super Late Model teams are happy about their elevated status. This is a refreshing change from what we saw when ACT-type Late Models replaced Super Late Models a few years back at the Oxford 250. There are still teams and fans who are steaming mad about that move several years later.