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State Your Case: Where is the best dirt racing?

March 27, 2008, 8:31 am
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com chief writer

Did your favorite college basketball team get knocked out of the NCAA tournament? DirtonDirt.com gives you something else to root for: your home state in a 24-state Dirt Late Model tournament that we’ve dubbed State Your Case.

Over the next few weeks, our assembled panel of State Your Case contributors will vote for winners of 23 matchups between states, judging them on their Dirt Late Model prowess according to drivers, tracks, fans and other intangibles that determine the overall quality of racing in each state. By April 7, a champion will be revealed.

This isn’t a half-baked vote with no criteria. Indeed, we tapped two dozen writers to craft a convincing argument for each of the 24 states — stating their case, if you will — to sell readers and voters on why their state deserves kudos in the Dirt Late Model world. The writers came through, too, bragging about Iowa (“Is this heaven?”), Mississippi (call it “the Comeback Kid”), North Carolina (the Tar Heels mash the gas pedal) and 21 other states. Click on the states in the schedule below to read the capsules.

Here’s how the tournament is set up (this is the part where you get mad at us if your state was on the bubble and didn’t make the 24-state cut). We arbitrarily selected 24 states based on their Dirt Late Model racing, making efforts to pick the best states as well as represent a variety of regions. After that, we seeded the teams 1-24. This was important because the top eight teams drew all-important byes into the first round, meaning they’ll only have to “win” four matchups to take the championship. Seeds 9-24 must “win” five matchups.

Our panel will vote on the first round throughout the weekend and we’ll post the states that advance on Monday. Next week we’ll continue the voting with the second-round games. You can check out our schedule below for working our way through the tournament.

Many thanks goes to the capsule contributors for their hard work in letting their bias shine through. And a special thanks to historian Bob Markos for helping fill the many gaps. Enjoy.

State Your Case Tournament

(Seeds in parentheses)

First-round matchups
(Winners revealed March 31)
New York (24) vs. Missouri (9)
Alabama (17) vs. Mississippi (16)
Louisiana (21) vs. Wisconsin (12)
South Dakota (20) vs. Arkansas (13)
Michigan (23) vs. West Virginia (10)
Minnesota (18) vs. South Carolina (15)
California (22) vs. North Carolina (11)
Virginia (19) vs. Maryland (14)
Second-round matchups
(Winners revealed April 2)
Kentucky (8) vs. New York-Missouri winner
Ohio (1) vs. Alabama-Mississippi winner
Indiana (5) vs. Louisiana-Wisconsin winner
Iowa (4) vs. South Dakota-Arkansas winner
Pennsylvania (7) vs. Michigan-West Virginia winner
Tennessee (2) vs. Minnesota-South Carolina winner
Georgia (6) vs. California-North Carolina winner
Illinois (3) vs. Virginia-Maryland winner
Winners revealed April 4
Winners revealed April 6
Winner revealed April 7

Capsule contributors

Alabama - Tim O’Brien
Arkansas - Todd Turner
California - K.C. Rooney
Georgia - Bob Appleget
Illinois - Terry Young
Indiana - Bob Markos
Iowa - Barry Johnson
Kentucky - Mike Sullivan
Louisiana - Greg Holmes
Maryland - Matt Felten
Michigan - Dave DeHem and Verwayne Greenhoe
Minnesota - Rich Olson
Mississippi - Tim Lee
Missouri - Jimmy Dearing
New York - Chip Stebbins
North Carolina - Thomas Pope
Ohio - Bill Holder
Pennsylvania - Keith Koval
South Carolina - Gene Murphy
South Dakota - Rob Fogle
Tennessee - Michael Moats
Virginia - Brian Tidball
West Virginia - Ernie Shelton
Wisconsin - Jerry O’Brien

A special thanks to historian Bob Markos for sharing his vast knowledge

Cover art image by Barry Lenhart

Tournament bracket

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