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National notebook

Notes: True double-file restarts an adjustment

March 17, 2011, 8:00 am
From staff, track, series and contributor reports

A dozen years ago, double-file restarts didn't exist in Dirt Late Model racing before the MARS DIRTcar Series popularized them. Since then, many series adopted the "Delaware" double-file restart with a single car out front, and a few tours — including the first-year Ultimate Super Late Model Series — have gone to true double-file formats with the first- and second-place cars restarting together on the front row.

It's a format change that's going to take some adjustment for some drivers who often feel like they're fighting for positions they'd already earned under green-flag conditions.

In March 13's Ultimate-sanctioned March Madness event at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C., Casey Roberts lost the lead on a double-file restart and wishes he wasn't racing under the format.

"I'm not a fan of no kind of double-file restarts, honestly," the Toccoa, Ga., driver said after finishing third. "I just think it's just more of a chance to tear your stuff up and for people to act stupid.

"I just wish they'd go back to the way it was years ago, single-file. I know it's pretty cool for the fans, and I can see it has helped me at times, but I just don't like starting every restart like it's the start of the race, and that's basically what it is.

"At least at one time, they had the leader out front ... now it's the other way. You can't really do nothing about it. You've just gotta go with the flow and sometimes it works for you, sometimes it don't."

Winner Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was the benefactor of one of the double-file restarts, but even he wasn't crazy about the cones set up on the track signifying a short segment of track where drivers were allowed to refire.

"It's hard to get the lead in these things," Davenport said. "I could see it a little better if they would move the cones out in the corner and give us a little bit more space where we could start where we wanted to, but when we're within two car lengths and we're on the straightaway, it's just a drag race.

"The leader doesn't have an advantage — actually the second-place guy does a little bit — I don't know. It could be good, but the way they did it tonight, I don't think it is." — From staff reports

SCHEDULE CHANGES ON WORLD OF OUTLAWS CIRCUIT: The World of Outlaws Late Model Series has made a few recent schedule changes, adding on New York track to the slate and removing another. New to the schedule is a $10,000-to-win event on Oct. 6 at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., that will be part of Super DIRT week. That will give some of the tour's big-block modified drivers an opportunity to land rides for the 200 at the Syracuse Mile. Removed from the WoO schedule was the June 21 event at Brewerton Speedway, which dropped its DIRTcar sanctioning this season. — From series reports

GOLDEN ISLES SPEEDWAY CLOSES GATES: Golden Isles Speedway, a track that struggled to gain its footing as a gateway to Florida Speedweeks, is apparently closing its gates. The oval just west of Brunswick, Ga., is for sale or lease by owner Frankie Lloyd, according to the series website. Attempts to call Lloyd weren't immediately successful. The 41-year-old oval, shortened to 4/10-mile from a high-speed 5/8-mile during the 2007 season, hosted the Super Bowl of Racing in recent seasons, drawing steady but never overwhelming car counts for late January and early February events. This year's Super Bowl was fogged out one night and rained out another, forcing the March 11-12 makeup weekend swept by West Virginia's Steve Shaver, who earned $20,000. Anyone interested in buying or leasing the track can call Lloyd at (904) 759-1864. "Thanks again for your support," wrote Lloyd, who repeatedly said he was determined to make the track one of Dirt Late Model racing's best. "We wish all the racing world good luck." — From staff reports

ELDORA AVAILABLE FOR PRACTICE ON APRIL 2: Eldora Speedway, a track where drivers are often desperate for extra laps, will be open for practice to all divisions on April 2 during the season opener at the oval in Rossburg, Ohio. Modifieds and stock cars will be in competition, but other drivers are welcome to run hot-lap sessions sandwiched between the night's heat heat races, consolation races and main events. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with the first hot-lap session scheduled for 6:30. Eldora's first Late Model event is April 16 for the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned American Late Model Series. — From track reports

NEW PROMOTER LEASES VOLUSIA SPEEDWAY PARK: The World Racing Group-owned Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., is under new management with New York native Ken Sands signing a five-year lease at the half-mile track. Sands, who had been general manager of Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., has a long career in and around racing, including formerly managing East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Fla., when the track was under Stan Kolan's ownership. Rules and divisions won't change radically at the DIRTcar-sanctioned oval, according to a track press release, but sprint cars will compete at Volusia at least monthly. The track's technical officials will be Travis Nichols and Doug Mellington, who also work at nearby Ocala Speedway. — B.J. Cavin

NASRA STREAMLINES RULES FOR ENGINE COMBINATIONS: The National All Star Racing Association has changed some of its rules for the variety of engine combinations, series director Jeff Evans announced. The changes remove taller spoilers and aerodynamic changes previously allowed for crate engine-powered cars. For 602 or 604 crate engines cars must weigh 2,100 pounds. Steel-block engine cars and all-aluminum CT525 crate engine cars must weigh 2,200 pounds. Open-competition engine entrants must weigh 2,300 pounds. Check the series website at www.nasra.com for the variety of tires allowed with each engine combination. The NASRA schedule hasn't been released, but races are planned at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky.; Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway; and Moler Raceway Park in Williamsburg, Ohio. — Michael Despain

JAMES PILOTING RIGGS MOTORSPORTS CAR IN 2011: Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind., has reconnected with Harrisburg, Ill.-based Riggs Motorsports for the 2011 season. "First off, I have to thank Scott and his family for all of their generosity and for giving me an opportunity to drive their cars," James said in a press release. "We put this deal together over the winter and I am extremely excited to team up with Riggs Motorsports again. I drove one of their cars a few years ago at East Bay and had some success in it. They have top notch equipment and Scott is a great car owner that truly loves the sport." The team plans to open its season Saturday at Florence (Ky.) Speedway's Spring 50, a race James won in 2007, before competing at other major events including the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals tour. — Ryan Delph

ODDS AND ENDS: The Nebraska-based Super Late Model Racing Series has added a Sept. 3 event at Shelby County Speedway in Harlan, Iowa. ... USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz., has posted its tentative schedule for next year's Wild West Shootout, changing up its schedule to run an unprecedented five consecutive nights to wrap up the miniseries. The first race is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 8, with the rest of the six-race series returning Wednesday, Jan. 11 and concluding Sunday, Jan. 15. ... Brushcreek Motorsports Complex in Peebles, Ohio, has announced the Oct. 1 Billy Bob event will feature twin 50-lappers. The first pays $8,000-to-win, the finale pays $12,000-to-win. ... Including on the schedule for Highway 3 Raceway of Allison, Iowa, is a pair of IMCA-sanctioned Late Model events on May 11 and July 19.

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