Quick Time: Holiday weekend road trip
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
Take a quick lap around the proverbial dirt track with managing editor Todd Turner for a roundup of Dirt Late Model racing through the latest weekend of action along with some other quirks of racing (along with occasional ax-grinding). Quick Time, one of the newest features of our website, will appear every Wednesday at DirtonDirt.com:
Frontstretch: Drivers of the week
National: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., made it look easy Aug. 25 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in stretching in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points lead with a flag-to-flag victory.
Regional: Dustin Neat of Dunnville, Ky., defended his home track Aug. 24 with a $7,500 Colston Paving 60 victory at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Ky.
Weekly: Dillan White of Crofton, Ky., had a two-victory weekend, picking up checkered flags at Moler Raceway Park in Williamsburg, Ohio, and Lake Cumberland (Ky.) Speedway. Honorable mention: Jared Hawkins, who had victories at Elkins (W.Va.) Raceway and Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa.
Crate: Winky McGee of Pilot Mountain, N.C., who halted Matthew Nance’s roll at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, N.C., collecting a $300 bounty.
Turn 1: Labor Day journeys
Ready for your final multi-race trip of the season? Labor Day weekend gives you the opportunity to hit the road for a few fun journeys of mixing and matching states, tours, drivers and highways. Here are a few ideas to hit a variety of Late Model special events, tailored by region:
Midwestern swing: Begin Thursday at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway for a $2,000-to-win event, then pick up the first night of Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway’s big weekend with a $5,000-to-win show on Friday. On Saturday, head to 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, for the $5,000-to-win Deery Brothers event, then spend Sunday at Cresco (Iowa) Speedway with the Corn Belt Clash. And wrap it all up Monday at Boone (Iowa) Speedway for another Deery Brothers show.
Mid-Atlantic: Open the trip Friday at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway for the $5,055-to-win Three State Flyers event, then buzz down at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway for the McBee/Hays Championship and season points finale. Sunday? Head for I-77 Raceway Park in Ripley, W.Va., for the $25,000-to-win Hillbilly 100 on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
WISSOTA wanderings: Kick things off tonight at Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway on the WISSOTA Challenge Series, followed by Thursday’s 40th anniversary Silver 1000 at Proctor (Minn.) Speedway. Take your pick of weekly showï¿½ on Friday before hitting Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Minn., for Saturday’s NLRA event and head to Hibbing (Minn.) Speedway for Sunday’s $3,500-to-win Labor Day Shootout (Hibbing and Viking race both days, so take your choice). You say you’re a diehard? Making the eight-hour journey to Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D., to wrap things up.
All things Ohio: Start things off Friday at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park with the unsanctioned $7,000-to-win event, then go to the opposite corner of Ohio for a pair of Sunoco ALMS features on Saturday. Wrap it up Sunday at Eldora Speedway for the $3,000-to-win Baltes Classic on the ALMS tour.
Due South: Start your weekend Friday at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., for the $8,000-to-win opener of the Black Diamond weekend, then hit Wythe Raceway in Rural Retreat, Va., on Saturday for the first night of the Fastrak Crate Late Model Nationals. Wrap things up Sunday at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C., with a $4,000-to-win BEAST event.
Turn 2: Food promotions
Whenever I see Kevin Weaver at the racetrack, I have a standing joke: “If you win tonight, does every fan get a coupon for a free Jimmy John’s sandwich?” And while I’m just messing with the Illinois driver sponsored by the Champaign, Ill.-based gourmet sandwich shops, it’d be fun to see more food-based promotions at dirt tracks.
It’s a natural for stick-and-ball sports. Basketball teams give away coupons for a Taco Bell freebie if the team scores 100 points, or baseball teams schedule 25-cent hot dog nights.
That could be adapted to racing as well. Advertised promotions for discount or free sodas, popcorn or hot dogs could help draw fans to the track. Or promotions could be built into the event itself. For instance, if the winner of any heat race starts in the third row or further back, hot dogs are free with the purchase of any concession stand item (one per person, of course).
Even better, if the track or a regular driver is sponsored from a local fast food restaurant, come up with a clever way to tie in a promotion to the night’s racing that’s fresh in the mind of fans when they leave the track.
Backstretch: Facebook post of the week
From driver Jeff Glisson of Boaz, Ky., a regular winner in the Crate Late Model division in Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri:
"If you have to get on Facebook and proclaim how happy you are because you won, then obviously you don’t win much!”
Turn 3: Racing forum post of the week
Found amid a lightly-commented thread that started with a post complimentary of an unnamed track’s program, smooth surface and 9:30 p.m. finish:
“If there was a rut in turn two, this topic would be four pages long by now.”
Turn 4: Turn back the clock
Five items from this week in Dirt Late Model history:
Sept. 1, 1984: Jack Pennington of Winston, Ga., won his lone career National Dirt Racing Association victory at Bladen County Speedway in Dublin, N.C.
Aug. 27, 1994: En route to his first Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series championship, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., won at Thunderbowl Speedway in Valdosta, Ga., one of 22 series victories.
Aug. 30, 1997: Slipping and sliding over the final laps, Randy Sellars of Mayfield, Ky., overtook Steve Russell on the 65th lap at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway to win the rain-shortened World 50, an 80-lap race halted by rain on lap 67.
Aug. 28, 2000: Al Frieden, Iowa's first NASCAR promoter and an influential force in dirt racing, died after suffering heart ailments and other health problems. He was 67. Frieden promoted tracks in Farley, Dubuque and West Liberty and Cedar Rapids.
Sept. 3, 2006: Taking the lead when Ricky Elliott’s engine gave up on the 50th lap, seventh-row starter Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, Pa., won the 63-lap Paul Long Memorial at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway. Stuhler took the checkers ahead of Tony Adams and Donnie Schick.
Checkered flag: Five fearless weekend predictions
• West Virginia drivers will be shut out out of victory lane at in four features at Tyler County Speedway’s Black Diamond 125 as well as I-77 Raceway Park’s Hillbilly 100.
• A driver outside the top 10 in Lucas Oil points will win the Aug. 31 event at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park.
• Gregg Satterlee will grab at least one Three State Flyers victory.
• One driver will sweep two Sunoco ALMS features at Ohio’s Oakshade Raceway.
• The remnants of Hurricane Isaac will plague holiday-weekend schedules at dozens of tracks.
(Last week: Two out of four predictions correct; one rained out)