Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

Just about every racecar driver out there has thought that he or she could do a better job of promoting a track or series themselves.  But very, very few are those who actually back that up by trying their hand at it.  Count Wayne Anderson as one of those doers though.  He teamed up with his father Dick to start up a new Super Late Model Tour, FAST, in Florida.  Their first race was this weekend and Wayne Anderson beat 26 other drivers to win it.  His bigger victory came off the track though as many positive reviews for the new venture were heard.

Two Events, One Weekend

We've preached against it before and we'll preach against it again, but why we there two big Super Late Model races competing against each other in Florida this past weekend?  We had the FAST opener take place along with a SLM show at Desoto.  The car counts were decent at both venues - we're impressed that 46 Florida Super Late Models all came out to race on the same weekend, we just wish that it was for the same event.

Doing It Your Own Way

Recently, the Racin' Preview was held in Portland, Maine.  Most every track from all around the state had a display in the off-season racing event, but one of the best-known facilities in the area, Oxford Plains Speedway, was noticeably absent.  Track owner Bill Ryan had publically said before that he saw little marketing value in many shows, but the fact that this one is put on by Racin' Paper publisher Marco Thomas, a very outspoken and out-written critic of the OPS track, might have been more than a coincidence.  The track did get the final laugh though.  They hyped a “Online Car Show” featuring their racers on the OPS website at the same time of the real live show.  That probably wasn't a coincidence either.

Sunny (oco) Outlook

In this day and age of cutbacks, hard times and a recession, there aren't very many bright spots when it comes to short track racing sponsorships.  But we may be hearing about one shortly.  ASA Late Model head Ron Varney told us on Speed 51 Radio this week that a contract is just waiting to be signed that would lead to a major presenting sponsor for the series.  He won't confirm it, but the word on the street is that this sponsor might be Sunoco.  We're glad that a company heavily involved in Cup racing sees the attraction of short track racing.  We hope that might help start a trend that could be very good for our sport.

Spreading Out From The South

It used to be that The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway was one of the biggest races of the year for those in the very Deep South.  That's changed as the race is now building up a national following.  A year back ago, Ben Rowe came down from Maine to race in the event.  This year, Ohio's Gary St. Amant is going for the first time.  Jeff Fultz is also coming down from North Carolina. 

Big Fun, Good Cause

In the last edition of the Big 10, we looked ahead to the DT 100 charity kart race, which raised nearly $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2009.  This year, event organizer Dave Thomas, Jr. outdid himself by raising over $20,000 for the worthy cause - even in tough economic times.  The best news is that planning is already underway for the 2011 race, which pits a number of regional short track drivers against each other on an indoor kart track in Portland, Maine.

All Jacked Up

We love Jack Smith.  He's one of the most tell-it-like-it-is guys in all of racing.  So we enjoyed the recent announcement that he will be joining the CRA Super Series in 2010.  People complain that big-time auto racing features too many vanilla, robot-like drivers.  But with guys like Smith out there, we're not concerned about short track racing facing the same criticisms.  The 2010 CRA season just got more interesting before it has even officially begun.

Missile-Less?

We can't imagine a NASCAR Modified Tour without either the #3 Ole' Blue Boehler Racing Enterprises team or the #4 Mystic Missile team owned by Bob and Joan Garbarino.  But unfortunately, we might end up seeing that in 2010.  Donny Lia, who won the Tour title in the Mystic Missile in 2007 and 2009, recently made plans to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2010.  This left Garbarino without a driver and in no hurry to find a new one.  We're hoping that come the Icebreaker, he will have found a new pilot to carry in the tradition of guys like Lia, Chuck Hossfeld, Jerry Marquis, Satch Worley, Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary, Tim Connolly and others. 

Sharing the Spotlight

It's really cool to see Las Vegas Motor Speedway aiming some of the spotlight that is associated with their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend over to the dirt track on the track grounds.  WoO Sprints, USAC Sprints and Modifieds will all run on the dirt as part of Vegas' race week.  There's more to racing than just the Cup world and it's nice to see the promoters at LVMS remembering that fact.

One of These Co-Grand Marshalls Doesn't Belong…

Normally, we don't comment much on Cup matters here in the Big 10, but this opening line of a press release just begged for our comment: “Automobile legend Carroll Shelby and television star Kim Kardashian will serve as co-grand marshals for Sunday's Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.” We aren't going to even try to come up with a witty comment on that.  We'll just shake our heads and wonder what the world of professional racing is coming to.