Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
Starting Out Strong

Johnny Clark has won four PASS North championships so far in his career, and is defending a title this season in fact.  Traditionally, Clark has come on string around mid-season and put a hurting on the field over the second half of the schedule.  In 2010, Clark has started off the PASS North season by winning two of the first three races.  This Sunday, the tour heads to one of Clark's personal playgrounds, Unity Raceway (ME).  It's still early, but we're thinking that Clark could be right on track for championship number five.

Carlson is Unbeatable at Hawkeye Downs

Steve Carlson rules Hawkeye Downs Speedway (IA).  For the fourth time in a row, Carlson won the Keith Fleck Memorial ASA Midwest Tour race at the track last weekend.  Wow.  We're wondering if any other teams should even show up next year.  If they do, and someone beats Carlson, they will definitely have accomplished something.

Invaders Lead Touring Stars 3-0 in ACT

We are now three races into the 2010 ACT Late Model season and a tour regular has still not won a race.  Thunder Road regular Nic Sweet won the opener, barnstormer Eddie MacDonald won at Oxford and Lee USA Speedway regular Miles Chipman won on his home turf in the last event.  With a number of great Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) regulars entered into Saturday's race there, we think that trend could continue.  It's great to see the little guys take on the touring stars and have a fighting chance to win. 

Green, Green, Green

The ARCA Racing Series has earned the reputation of being a rough series will plenty of caution periods.  This isn't always accurate though.  Despite being a developmental series with young drivers, the races have been pretty clean lately.   At Pocono, the ARCA race only saw 13 caution laps.  At Michigan last weekend, there were only two caution periods for 12 laps.  Those weren't for major incidents either - just for a cut tire and a spin. 

DIRT Off the Dirt - And on the Road

Occasionally, we see DIRT Modifieds hit the asphalt and it's always a good show.  This weekend, they are really going out of their element at New Jersey Motorsports Park where they will race on a road course this Sunday.  We're not sure we could have even dreamed this one up, but we're sure it will be an entertaining show.

Pony Car Shows

We all know that the Sunoco National Tour is struggling with low car counts and anyone with a set of eyes also knows that the cars that are the mainstay of that tour are very unique looking Camaros and Mustangs.  We think it is safe to claim ourselves in the majority when we offer our opinion that they are really sharp looking.  They are also very marketable.  Series head Ron Varney told Speed51.com this past week that at the recent Springport race, a local Ford and Chevrolet dealership brought out a street version of the Mustang and Camaro to pace the field and even put on an exhibition drag races for the fans in the stands.  We have a hard time imagining that to happen with Camrys, Fusions and Impalas at a ABC-bodied race.

Hinckley's Big Year

Every tour has one - a “Mark Martin” if you will.  It's a driver who has been on the verge of becoming a champion but hasn't quite gotten that elusive title yet.  It's someone who wins a lot and would represent a series wonderfully as a champion.  It's someone who is usually well liked by his competitors.  In the Modified Racing Series, it's Les Hinckley - who is leading the points heading into the summer and just padded that point lead last night by winning at Thompson.  It's still early, but maybe this is the year that Hinckley comes up big.

Helping Out

A few Maine Super Late Model competitors are quietly giving back to the racing community.  Unity Raceway (ME) tries to give a pair of bikes away during every race to young fans.  The bikes are donated by race teams and when someone from the track asked for a bike donation from the PASS North teams for Sunday's race there, the #77 Hight Motorsports team stepped up and, without fanfare, backed both bikes.  Meanwhile, Mike Rowe and his RJF Motorsports team are selling #24 T-Shirts this year for $10 and donating all of the funds to injured teen racer Jordan Emerson.  That's all of the funds, not all of the profits.  We've heard that the shorts are costing $10.50 to be made.  So the fans are actually getting a better deal than Rowe is!  Rowe's Dick Fowler-owned team is also involved with bicycles.  They give one away to a young fan at every race that they win.

Go Fast and Turn Left….and Right Too

These are interesting times in the short track racing world.  While a few tours here and there have taken to the road courses from time to time in the past, we can't remember when so many tours have held races where turning left and right is required.  K&N Pro Series West at Sears Point, NASCAR Modifieds at Lime Rock, the Mid-American Stock Car Series at Road America, ARCA at Palm Beach and the K&N East Series at Lime Rock are just a few road races on short track schedules this year.

Rain Plans

Sometimes you just can't please anybody.  Recently at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), a Show-Me-The-Money Pro Late Model race faced rain before the halfway mark.  The track made the decision to call the race official in order to save fans and team travel money.  A bunch of fans bitched.  Last weekend, the Sunoco National Tour faced rain before the halfway mark of their race at O'Reilly Raceway Park.  The event was not called complete and everyone will return to the track to finish it out later.  A bunch of fans bitched.  It seems no matter what a promoter does to try and do the right thing in a rainy situation, nobody is going to be happy.