Quick Time: How would candidates fare on dirt?
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: Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., captured Sept. 29’s ninth annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway, scoring three top-three finishes on the weekend and earning $47,000 for one of the biggest victories of his career.
Regional: Ronny Lee Hollingsworth of Northport, Ala., ventured to neighboring Tennessee for a pair of Sept. 28-29, winning on the Southern Regional Racing Series at Duck River Raceway Park and the unsanctioned Rebel 40 at Winchester (Tenn.) Speedway.
Weekly: Weston Hutchison of Zanesville, Ohio, won Sept. 30 at Hilltop Speedway to earn $2,000 for his first career victory at the track in Millersburg, Ohio.
Crate: Joe Martin of Mayport, Pa., won Sept. 29’s Fastrak Northeast event at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa., for his series series victory of the season.
Turn 1: Obama’s platform (Dirt Late Model style)
A look at how the current president would lean on Dirt Late Model issues (tongue firmly in cheek):
Driver requirements: Racers must admit “I didn’t build that” when entering car for competition.
Lineup procedures: Supports inversions, redraws and passing points to eliminate the advantage of the fastest cars, part of socialist plan to redistribute wealth.
Tire rules: Supports a single, hard-tire rule for an equal playing field for all competitors.
Purses: The president demands evenly distributed purses with first-place money identical to tow money for drivers who finished last in consolation races.
Promotional idea: Race fans who pay more for health care under Obamacare are admitted free.
Turn 2: Romney’s platform (Dirt Late Model style)
A look at how the Republican challenger would lean on Dirt Late Model issues (tongue still firmly in cheek):
Driver requirements: Racers must produce birth certificate from U.S. state.
Lineup procedures: Supports time-trial qualifying and straightup feature starts to reward the fastest 1 percent.
Tire rules: Supports only two requirements for tires — round and black — to fit policies of a free market economy.
Purses: Supports top-heavy payouts that make the rich teams even richer.
Promotional idea: Drivers strap pet dogs to the roof of their Late Models during racing action.
Backstretch: Five Dirt Late Model debates
Continuing our political theme, and in honor of tonight’s first of three presidential debates, here are five pairings that would make for interesting debates in the Dirt Late Model world:
• Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series director Ritchie Lewis vs. World of Outlaws Late Model Series director Tim Christman. Hot topic: Will the tours ever unite for a co-sanctioned race?
• In a face-off of 4M.net regulars, Clayton Wetter vs. Bubba Smith. Hot topic: Dry-slick racing.
• Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist (circa 1990) vs. Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist (present day). Hot topic: Will the No. 18 ever return?
• Kentucky driver Darrell Lanigan vs. Arkansas driver Billy Moyer. Hot topic: Their scrape at Berlin Raceway and its aftermath.
• Bubba the Love Sponge Clem of Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., and Al Varnadore of East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Fla. Hot topic: Conflicting Florida Speedweeks dates.
Turn 3: Tweet of the week
From Knoxville Raceway’s Twitter account after the lovefest of Steve Francis, who called his Knoxville victory the biggest of his career:
@knoxvilleraces: "Sign up Steve Francis for the Knoxville Late Model ambassador! Thank you for the kind words!"
Turn 4: Turn back the clock
Five items from this week in Dirt Late Model history:
Oct. 7-8, 1983: Chick Boyd of Angie, La., and Earl Smith of Rockmart, Ga., won weekend events at Talladega (Ala.) Short Track on the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series. Buddy Morris of Rome, Ga., was second both nights.
Oct. 9-10, 1987: Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., wrapped up his USAC Late Model title with a pair of season-ending victories at the Memphis (Tenn.) Dirt Trax.
Oct. 4, 1997: Bob Pierce of Danville, Ill., led all the way in the Bluegrass 100 at Bluegrass Speedway in Bardstown, Ky., to earn $15,000, the then-richest victory of his career. John Gill and Steve Russell crossed the finish line behind Pierce.
Oct. 6, 2000: Eldora Speedway owner Earl Baltes announced the postponement of the Eldora Million because of inclement weather and muddy conditions at the track in Rossburg, Ohio. The $1,000,000-to-win event was rescheduled for June 8-9, 2001.
Oct. 8, 2005: Fading to fifth early in the race, pole-starting Mike Johnson of Clovis, Calif., rallied past Steve Drake on the 73rd lap at Bakersfield speedway to win the Budweiser West Coast 100 and $5,000. Kellen Chadwick and Drake finished second and third.
Checkered flag: Five fearless weekend predictions
• Two big-block modified drivers will finish among the top five in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event Thursday at New York’s Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
• One home-state driver apiece will crack the top-fives at Georgia’s Dixie and Rome Speedways during Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series action.
• A first-time Eldora feature winner will grab the UMP DIRTcar Nationals victory in Rossburg, Ohio.
• Both weekend winners at Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee, Okla., will be MARS champions.
• Pennsylvania drivers will sweep Fastrak’s World Championship and World Challenge at Beckley (W.Va.) Motorsports Park.
(Last week: Two of three predictions correct; two rained out)