Dirt Track at Charlotte
Former Daytona winner tackling WoO on Charlotte dirt
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
Trevor Bayne’s education as a Dirt Late Model driver will get a dose of higher learning when the 2011 Daytona 500 winner competes Wednesday night in the Circle K World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Less than two months after making his full-fender debut on clay, the 21-year-old Bayne will test his developing dirt-track skills against the country’s best drivers in a 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series event that kicks off Bank of America 500 week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With Bayne not running a full NASCAR schedule this season, the youngest Daytona 500 winner in the event’s 54-year history has been dabbling in Dirt Late Model racing at tracks near his native Knoxville, Tenn., for the last two months. Oct. 10’s WoO program will mark his second consecutive Dirt Late Model traveling start in a race held in conjunction with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend.
Bayne is coming off the best run of his fledgling Dirt Late Model effort, a fifth-place finish in last Friday night’s Super Late Model feature at Talladega (Ala.) Short Track. He returned on Saturday night to the high-banked oval across the street from Talladega Super Speedway — where Bayne drove the Wood Brothers No. 21 to a 21st-place finish in Sunday’s Sprint Cup event after running out of fuel with three laps to go — and placed 15th in a Southern All Star-sanctioned feature.
Bayne’s first start at Charlotte’s dirt oval will come behind the wheel of a No. 21 machine sporting sponsorship from Lionel and Action Racing Collectables (ARC), the popular die-cast brand owned by Lionel that is celebrating its 20th year of producing die-cast race cars. His Dirt Late Model will actually carry a color and graphics scheme that Bayne himself helped design.
“This year I’ve had a great partnership with Lionel as a spokesman for their Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand,” Bayne said in a press release announcing his Dirt Late Model sponsorship deal with Lionel and ARC. “And when Lionel told me they wanted to sponsor me in the dirt race at Charlotte, I decided to get creative and design a really cool 20th Anniversary car for them.”
According to the release, Bayne sketched out his ideas for the car and worked with the Lionel company’s production staff to be sure the design was just right. The finished product will not only be seen on the track but on a 1:24 scale ARC die-cast car that is being produced for Bayne’s one-time-only dirt ride. Fans can find information on ordering a No. 21 Action Racing Collectables Ford dirt Late Model by visiting a Lionel-authorized die-cast dealer or logging on to www.lionelracing.com.
Bayne, who will run the Wood Brothers No. 21 in this weekend’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be one of several NASCAR drivers in Wednesday’s Circle K WoO LM Showdown, joining brothers Austin Dillon (2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and contender for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series title) and Ty Dillon (current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader) and Josh Richards (a two-time WoO LMS champion who has spent most of the 2012 season concentrating on NASCAR Nationwide Series action).
The Dillon boys — grandsons of veteran NASCAR team owner Richard Childress — have visited victory lane at Charlotte’s dirt track. Austin won Fastrak Crate Late Model Series events in 2007 and ’09 and Ty captured the 2008 Fastrak race.
Richards, meanwhile, is quite accomplished at the 4/10-mile oval. He’ll climb back into his father Mark’s familiar Rocket Chassis house car on Wednesday to chase his fourth consecutive victory in the Circle K Showdown.
The WoO LMS contingent will be led by the record-setting Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who enters Wednesday’s $10,000-to-win program with 15 victories in 2012 and a commanding points lead that has him on the verge of clinching his second career championship.
Spectator gates for Wednesday’s program, which also includes a 30-lap feature for the National Dirt Racing Association (NDRA) Crate Late Models, will open at 5 p.m. WoO drivers will participate in an autograph session underneath the grandstand at 5:30 p.m. and opening ceremonies will begin at 7:20 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 13-and-under for reserved seats. Fans can get $5 off of their $25 adult ticket by purchasing a 24-ounce premium coffee from a Circle K convenience store. Fans must bring the cup to the ticket office or gate. Buy tickets at (800) 455-3267 or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.