World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series
WoO, DIRTcar iron out amended suspension rules
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series and DIRTcar announced Thursday that the circuits will adopt the newly created Unified Late Model Suspension Rules following a months-long process that included manufacturers, constructors and Dirt Late Model sanctioning body representatives from across the country.
The collective effort of industry leaders began earlier this year and was led by motorsports authority John Darby — former NASCAR managing director of competition — and chaired by Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack. Darby, working with the coalition of more than a dozen industry members that met Feb. 17 in Daytona Beach, Fla., developed rules that have been agreed upon and identify a uniform rear suspension and shock package.
According to a press release issued Thursday by the WoO and DIRTcar, the suspension rules take effect in WoO and UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned events April 11.
“When the group convened and there was overwhelming, collective support for finding common ground, we were thrilled,” said WoO director Tim Christman. “The unified suspension rule is a demonstration that when people work together, great things can be accomplished. This collective effort and the end result is good for Late Model racing. We look forward to more good things coming out of the coalition in pursuit of the betterment of the sport.”
The press released noted that the “newly-formulated rules bring certainty and uniformity to Dirt Late Model racing across the country and promote ease of participation for competitors” and included added that “all Late Model series and sanctioning bodies are being urged to adopt the rules.”
“With a unified rules package, every Late Model driver now knows what to expect and that it will be the same for every competitor,” said UMP DIRTcar director Sam Driggers. “When you look at the broader landscape of dirt racing across the country, the number of tracks and sanctioning bodies is expansive. These common rules bring all of those entities together and benefit everyone as it creates broad accessibility.”
The new suspension mandates differ slightly from the existing WoO and DIRTcar rules, which were implemented last year. The most notable changes center on birdcages, which must now be a one-piece, fixed design that can not move; the number of radius rods that are allowed on both sides of the car; and four-link plates, which must be mounted solid (some cars had four-link plates that “floated”).
Rocket Chassis co-owner Mark Richards, who fields the Rocket house car driven by his son Josh, told DirtonDirt.com that the new suspension rules do not exactly mirror the much-debated suspension mandates instituted for 2016 by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series but are not substantially different.
“I think this falls right in line … it’s pretty close,” said Richards, who is a member of the rules committee that gathered in Daytona Beach during Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. “I think it’s close enough that they kind of interweave with each other enough where the end result is the same. There are a few things from what we were allowed to do last year (and so far in 2016 in WoO and UMP DIRTcar events) that have changed, but it falls in line parallel with the Lucas rules.
“There’s nothing wrong with the way they’ve done it. I think it’s fine. We definitely don’t need different rules for different series. We have to be somewhat in line so we don’t wind up like pavement cars did back 15, 20 years ago, when they started changing all the different rules and then your car had to be different to race a track that’s 30 miles away.
“I think the biggest thing is, they cleaned up what they had,” Richards added. “John Darby did a great job placing the wording and writing the rules to where they’re more simplified and more to the point of what we can do and what we can’t do. We need that — we don’t need no question of, ‘Can we do this or can we do that?’ He wrote the rules to where it’s pretty much black-and-white now.”
Christman would agree with Richards’s assessment.
“It just really spells everything out with mounts and such,” Christman said of the Unified Late Model Suspension Rules. “Nothing too drastic. It brings everyone on the same page.”
Editor's note: Correct John Darby's status as formerly being with NASCAR.