Tweak this and bring it over from NASCAR Euro league.
Tweak this and bring it over from NASCAR Euro league.
I still remember this day. I was a young teenager. It was the first race on the newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. I had the luck of sitting in the suites atop the Champions grandstand. I was sitting next to Terry Pendleton (of Atlanta Braves fame) for the race. It was Terry’s first stock car race and my first ARCA race. I explained drafting, banking and grip to him as the race played out. There was a big wreck late in the race. Frank Kimmel and Andy Hillinburg led the field to the green for a shootout to the finish. Harris Devane blasted out of the pack on fresh rubber, in an old Junior Johnson car (a ‘91 or ‘92 chassis, IIRC), chased down the ARCA titans and passed them, nosing out Andy at the line for the win. It was such a huge day. Seemed like something out of a movie that this South Georgia peanut farmer with an old used up race car he wrenched in his barn conquered the big guys for the win on the biggest stage in the state. One of my buddies from school later married DeVane’s daughter and farmed with him for several years. They still have the race car under a tarp in the barn.
PASS Pro All Star Series
Feb. 24 – Dillon Motor Speedway – Dillon, SC
13th Annual South Carolina Clash 200
March 11 – Caraway Speedway – Sophia, NC
RGS Products 125
March 31 – Hickory Motor Speedway – Hickory, NC
13th Annual Easter Bunny 150
May 25 – Concord Speedway – Midland, NC
The Old Glory 125
July 21 – Orange County Speedway – Rougemont, NC
The Orange Blossom Special 150
Aug. 11 – South Boston Speedway – South Boston, VA
Nov. 9-10 – Concord Speedway – Midland, NC
16th Annual North-South Shootout
Nov. 17 – Hickory Motor Speedway – Hickory, NC
13th Annual Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown 200
2018 Southern Super Series Schedule
Sun. March 18 – Rattler 250 – South Alabama Speedway – Opp, AL
Sat. April 7 – North-South SLM Challenge – Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville – Nashville, TN (combo with CRA & CARS)
Fri. April 27 – Blizzard Series Race #1 – Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Sun. May 20 – Short Track U.S. Nationals – Bristol Motor Speedway – Bristol, TN (combo with CRA & CARS)
Sat. June 9 – Border Wars – Anderson Motor Speedway – Anderson, SC (combo with CARS)
Fri. June 22 – Blizzard Series Race #2 – Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Sat. June 30 – Rumble by the River – Montgomery Motor Speedway – Montgomery, AL
Fri. July 20 – Blizzard Series Race #3 – Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Sat. August 25 – Watermelon Classic – Watermelon Capital Speedway – Cordele, GA
Sat. September 22 – Blizzard Series Race #4 – Five Flags Speedway – Pensacola, FL
Sun. October 28 – Mobile 300 – Mobile International Speedway – Mobile, AL
Like last year, I’ll probably attend more late model than Cup events. Here’s the upcoming CARS schedule for your reference:
March 10 – Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win – LMSC
March 24 – Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) – $10,ooo to Win for SLM – Both Divisions
April 7 – Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) – SLM – Tri-Sanctioned (CARS, CRA, SSS)
April 7 – Wake County Speedway (NC) – LMSC
April 21 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Both Divisions
May 5 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions
May 10 – TBA – $10,000 to Win for SLM
June 9 – Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Co-Sanctioned w/ SSS
June 9 – Ace Speedway (NC) – LMSC – Guaranteed Spot in Rodney Cook Classic
June 23 – Carteret County Speedway (NC) – LMSC
July 14 – Kingsport Speedway (TN) – LMSC
August 4 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Throwback 276 – Both Divisions
September 8 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions
September 15 – South Boston Speedway (VA) – Both Divisions
They need extras at Little Talladega this Thursday for shooting the big scenes for Travolta’s dirt track movie Trading Paint. Shania Twain and Michael Madsen also star in the flick. I’m thinking about making the trek.
I’ve been discussing this in other circles this week and now the news is being reported- in watered down fashion. If NASCAR lost its title sponsor, things could go up or down, but it would hurt either way. In an effort to shore up losses, they (Frances, ISC, etc.) could consolidate and effectively kill the sport. OR, they could ease their grip and let things settle naturally.
NASCAR faces a real identity crisis over the next two years with the retirement of Earnhardt. I predicted and predict to see more of a latching to Chase Elliott as the next generation of NASCAR’s legacy hero. Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, and Ryan Blaney will have something to say about that.
So too will the title sponsor. Monster came in hoping to cross market their other, more extreme endeavors, and while their sales are reportedly up 10%, they’re not seeing the return they hoped for. They could pump more “activation” into the sport and try to change it more to their liking (reportedly the reason for their frustration with NASCAR brass), and this would hasten NASCAR’s transition into being more relevant to the youth market (I hear y’all Baby Boomer fans out there clanging sabers), but this could really backfire. Without a money man to push NASCAR around, all progress might be dead in the water. I’m talking optional tire compounds and composite bodies. Perhaps, if there’s less money in the sport, teams will stop burning down their cars after a victory.
I am excited about younger, unproven drivers finally being an asset for teams and sponsors, since they are willing to work for much smaller contracts than the current flock of veterans. I feel like the NASCAR bubble is bursting at a slowly increasing pace. Corporate team sponsorships, attendance, TV packages, and now, driver contracts are feeling the pains of ebb and flow.
Jimmie Johnson is signed for three more years; Lowe’s for two. Harvick is around for the foreseeable future and I figure he’ll go on to become the league’s old curmudgeon who races well into his fifties. Our own A.J. Foyt. Truex, Bowyer, Keselowski, Logano, Hamlin and Kyle Busch will soon be the league’s veterans. Their winning ways are slowing, as many drivers do after proving their mettle in their first decade of Cup racing (See: Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Kasey Kahne). MacMurray, Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Johnson, and Newman are in the twilight of their careers. All these drivers came along during the boom and I doubt they’ll see newer, smaller driver contracts worth their time as they age and want to do other things with their lives.
I wonder what will come of the also-ran careers of Austin & Ty Dillon, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, David Ragan, Aric Almirola, A.J. Allmendinger, and Michael McDowell. For the Dillons, it is too soon to tell. Perhaps Stenhouse will continue to improve or maybe 2017 was a flash in the pan.
What do I think 2018-2020 could bring?
More follow the leader races. More controversial official calls. Elimination of the jackman position. Composite bodies in Cup. Lack of title sponsor, or a reversion to “Coca-Cola Cup,” to appease the base. Truex dominance. The rise of Bubba Wallace. Childress & RPM consolidating, becoming the Dodge factory team. I pray Wood Brothers survives Paul Menard. If title sponsor is an issue, a consolidation of race dates and tracks. Perhaps one race apiece at most tracks, a reduction to 400 mile events, save for Coke 600, Southern 500, Daytona 500. With a reduction in race distance, more same-day events: Quals, Grand National and Cup races on same day to eliminate drivers cross-pollinating.
Man. Still seems weird not having a race on July 4th. Today feels kind of absent without a Firecracker 400 even if they haven’t traditionally run it on July 4th since 1987.