Wytheville, VA ~ Welcome to my world … This is Analyze This, a trip into what I’m thinking about just about any subject. Readers of the UARA Magazine for the last two years know what to expect, Analyze This has been a part of the magazine for a while now and with some changes in the way we print the magazines this year, we’re bringing a little of this flavor to RACE22.com!
I’ve spent the last ten days mostly out of town, first getting out of here due to frozen water pipes and nearly a foot of snow and then we took the trip south to Florida for SpeedWeeks for four days. Needless to say we had a blast, but don’t hang me … I only made it to souvenir row at
Daytona and we only made it to New Smyrna Speedway for one night and we were late and didn’t see much racing. However we did get to test out our new camcorder and the results were great, so look for some more improvement in our videos for the 2009 season as we continue to make changes to make what we do better.
OK, so no racing for me since the Seneca 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway back in late November has me itching to get back to some Late Model Stock Car racing and luckily we’re getting much closer to getting back out to the track. March 14th is going to be a busy weekend for racing around here as not only does the UARA-STARS Series season kick off, but the PASS South Super Late Models hit the track in Dillon, SC and South Boston & Greenville Pickens Speedway kicks off their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series seasons. It’s going to be a quick kick-off to the 2009 season and I know none of you can wait for it to get here.
With the season approaching there are a lot of questions out there about how the season will go for the UARA-STARS tour as well as all Late Model Stock Car racing on the weekly tracks. We’ve heard all the doom and gloom for NASCAR’s top three series and we get to Daytona and it hasn’t been that bad, so we’re hoping the same can be said for the local race season, but there’s a lot of uncertainty out there especially for the UARA tour.
The tour has either the best or worst schedule in it’s history depending on how you look at it. They’ve got the three toughest tracks the series races at within the first five races and these are the tracks that will be tough on cars like Bristol, Rockingham and Concord. There’s never a lack of torn up cars at Concord and Bristol and the trip to Rockingham is expected to be very hard on equipment. Mixed in with these three races are two more races at Hickory and Tri-County making for five races in the first seven weeks which is going to make it hard for any team with either one car or a team working off of a tight budget to be able to contend for the championship.
The series has taken several measures this season to try and reduce the costs of touring with cutting out Friday evening parking and opening the gates later to allow for teams to travel only one day rather than the two and sometimes three that racers had to deal with in the past. These moves are great and I think they will help tremendously, but the top heavy schedule with those three great races in the first seven weeks of the 2009 season will likely reduce the number of full-time drivers in the series quicker than it has in the past. If you take a look at the number of full-time drivers in the series in 2008 it didn’t really fall off until the last six races, where as this season I expect by the time we get to Concord on April 25th, many of the guys who might have been able to make it will be rethinking that.
Another problem for the series in 2009 is tracks like Motor Mile Speedway and Caraway Speedway paying better or equal purse money and with many of the drivers from the tour being from “racing country” around the Mooresville, Statesville and Charlotte area it would make a lot more sense for them to race local in this economic challenging time. It’s strange that the two biggest races on the schedule; Bristol and Rockingham may turn out to be the worst thing for the overall health of the season for the series due to the fact that they are so close to one another. I think those two races are needed on the schedule, but the timing and races surrounding them may kill off many of the potential championship contenders. Maybe if the UARA would have ended up with one or the other of those races being later in the season it would help, but only time will tell.
Add on top of that the considered testing ban for the UARA tour, if they put this in place it may help to eliminate another group of potential full-time racers … the Rookies. Many of the rookies who often come to the tour have very little to no experience in a Late Model Stock Car like Legends racer, Dylan Presnell, who will make his run at the Rookie title this season and has never raced at LMSC before. Many teams have taken advantage of the fact that a decision either hasn’t been made or announced on testing by going to Hickory Motor Speedway and preparing for the season opening race. I’m against testing for the guys who have experience and I don’t have a solution for the rookie drivers and there is nothing they can do to make it equal for everyone. Also there’s nothing to keep the guys who want to test from going to a track not on the schedule to test and why would you want to make the tracks that don’t support the series extra money?
I’m worried about the health of the series, they’ve come so far in the last six or seven years and especially the last two years and I hope these tough economic times coupled with some potentially bad scheduling decisions doesn’t make for a tough late season. There’s a lot of things going against local racing this season with so many people losing their jobs across the country and things being tight for everyone, however things have started to look better according to many of the business people I’ve spoke with over the last week.
Well there it is, that’s it for this weeks “Analyze This” and that’s not everything I wanted to vent about, but I guess I’ll save that for another time. After getting some great “Breaking News” stories this winter it’s been a little dead on the news front lately, but we are working on some great stories for the next few weeks leading up to the race season. Stay tuned here on RACE22.com as we continue to get you ready for the 2009 Late Model Stock Car racing season!