Regular readers of Speed51.com know that there are quite a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who are involved with asphalt short track stock car racing.
Kyle Busch owns his own Super Late Model team and won most of the big shows, like the Snowball Derby and the Winchester 400, of the past season, David Stremme won the Winchester 400 just over a year ago with his own car, David Ragan runs a few Late Model races from time to time, Kevin Harvick won the Oxford 250 in 2008 with a car he owned, Bill Elliott operates a driver development team for his son Chase as well as Legends graduate Casey Roderick and Dave Blaney also runs a Super Late Model team for his son Ryan.
More and more though, Cup stars are getting involved in the dirt side of short track racing. Most notably, Tony Stewart owns the legendary Eldora Speedway (OH) as well as a stable of open-wheeled racecars that guys like Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz drive. Bobby Labonte owns the Dirt Late Models that Earl Pearson, Jr. runs. Clint Boyer owns Dale McDowell's Dirt Late Model team. Dave Blaney owns part of Sharon Speedway (OH). Ken Schrader owns a dirt track in Missouri and now Greg Biffle has entered the track ownership realm with his purchase of Sunset Speedway - a third-mile clay track in Banks, Oregon.
Biffle's latest venture has earned plenty of thumbs up in the NASCAR garage.
“I am happy he is able to do that,” said Clint Bowyer, who cut his racing teeth on the dirt tracks of the heartland. “It sounds interesting. Hopefully he can have a good late model show. It is just so difficult. We race in the Lucas Oil Series and that is a pretty good schedule. They have done their homework in building their schedule around a race. When times are tough, it really hits those guys. While traveling throughout the country, if they can hit three or four races in a row on a run, it is a lot better on them and their pocketbook.”
“I know his track is out west, I don't know how many tracks there are in his area,” said Tony Stewart. “That would change my answer a lot depending on how many or how few tracks are there. It's pretty cool to see another guy that's giving back to where his roots were and supporting an area that he's very familiar with. It's always a challenge.
"If it was easy, every promoter in the country would never have any worries. The good thing is that somebody like Greg is committed to making it work. We've had conversations about it for over a year now that he was interested in doing this. It's something that he's passionate about and that's half the battle is just getting somebody that's committed and passionate about what they're doing.”
One thing is for sure, some of the most passionate fans of short track racing are the men who graduated from it to land a spot in the top level of the sport - the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I am a huge fan of short track racing, your local grass roots level racing,” said Boyer. “I think it is very important to this sport, even today. Most of our core fans enjoy weekly racing throughout the country and I am certainly no exception. I love going to any short track, whether it is asphalt or dirt, I just like the level of competition and seeing those Saturday night specials show up and put on a good show. I think it is still some of the best racing that we have throughout the country.”