Wytheville, VA ~ This week’s “Pit Stops” is more like pit practice … we’re kinda straining for some Late Model Stock Car, Straight Rail, Limited or Late Model Truck racing news, but we’ve got a couple of items for you to check out this week.
UARA-STARS series is currently considering implementing a no-testing policy for tracks that the series competes at this season in an effort to try and save racers money or atleast maybe even up the “have” and “have-not’s” a little this season.
In 2008 many of the series top competitors week-in and week-out were testing like crazy, many of them making not one, but two trips to the next track on the schedule including the UARA-STARS Series champion, Jake Crum. This season the UARA is expected to ban testing completely at tracks that the series competes at and sanction five to six test sessions with all competitors invited to take part much like the Monday, March 2nd test at Rockingham Speedway.
The UARA-STARS series is also expected to eliminate Friday evening parking for the events and will likely not open the gates for the races until 10am in an effort to try and make most races a one-day show. Many series regulars for the 2009 season have been very receptive to the suggested changes and while the no-testing policy may save some racers money others are ready to go testing at other places to prepare for race weekends.
“It’s just going to make the guys, who have the money spend it with tracks that aren’t part of the series, much like you see with the Cup Series going to Rockingham and Texas World Speedway, New Smyrna and other places. It’s not going to save a guy, who is willing to spend the money anything, but it will help even things up … I hope,” said a notable car owner in the series, who wished to remain anonymous.
Many people are speculating that the track in Asheboro, NC as well as Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA will likely be seeing a lot of testing out of the top teams in the UARA-STARS Series since neither are on the series schedule this season unless that changes when the final three TBA races are actually announced.
Stay tuned to the UARA-STARS website at www.uara-stars.comfor the latest info on the changes in the series and an updated schedule hopefully within the next week.
Corey Latham gives us his latest from the Piedmont Racing Expo … a couple days late, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from Corey during the winter, but once the green flag drops Corey is the MAN! Here’s his latest view from the stands …
It was terribly cold outside, but the inside of the expo center at the sate fairgrounds in Raleigh N.C. was nice and toasty, as the 2009 edition of Phillip Walker’s Piedmont Racing Expo went on without a hitch for it’s 23rd edition.
As we walked into the expo center, we were greeted by some familiar faces. Kerry and Wink Bodenhamer, the brains behind the UARA-STARS Late-Model tour, were there set up with a nice display as Jake Crum’s championship winning car sat as the centerpiece. Jake and his father Billy were there to sign autographs, along with the Melling Select Rookie of the Year Darrell Wallace Jr. and his 2009 UARA Tour car.
We all got a kick out of Jake and Billy, while they are father and son, they could easily pass for brothers in the way they act, as both love to disagree with one another. It’s all in fun, and we had a fun time with all involved at the UARA booth, as the 2009 season looks to be one of the most historic on the Late-Model level.
Walking around I spotted Lonesome Pine Speedway promoter Harold Crook and ASA Southern Modified promoter Randy Myers. Anybody who knows these two, knows your in store for some good banter when you see them, and talking to both of them together was definitely a “highlight” of the day. Luckily, after being friends with these two for some years, I know what buttons to push to get them going, and boy did I do it. But while they both can tell you some of the craziest stories ever heard, Crook and Myers are some of the smartest minds in the local racing scene and are passionate about what they stand for and what they want to accomplish.
Lonesome Pine will be successful this year with Crook and Jeff Roark running the show, and I look to make a few trips up to “The Pine” this year, they have some great things going on in 09′. Randy has gave the Modifieds a new place to race, and he wants nothing more than to make the interest in the mods grow, with his series or somewhere else, he just wants the interest in the cars to grow. The ASA mod tour is going into 2009 with a head of steam, and I look forward to being a part of it and hopefully we’ll have some announcements here on RACE22.com about some Modified racing joining the party.
Many other vendors were on hand, talked with Ron Rater with Racing Electronics and he had all the new gadgets for 2009 on display. Right beside him was Steve Knight from Performance Tee’s who had some of his great work on display. Me, Langley Austin, Ron and Steve all together talking for over an hour, good times. Ran across my buddy John Bowen next from Performancecenter Racing Warehouse, he was there showing the 2009 LTO Late-Model chassis. John has become a friend of Race22.com in the past year, and after talking at the expo, look for John to be involved with Race22 in the near future, we have some exciting things coming up. Stacy Puryear had his car for 2009 on display as the 2008 Orange County Speedway champion and was trying to drum up some business for his race car and parts business as well.
Got around to see the booths from Wake County Speedway and Orange County, and look for great things from them both in the coming year. Then I ran into one of the most passionate promoters I’ve ever met. I first met Larry Walls at Southern National Speedway, and after talking with him I knew he was very serious about what he was doing. Talking with him at the expo furthered that feeling as he was nearly at a loss for words at the response from other tracks about his entry-level stock UCAR touring series. The representative from ACE speedway had just gave him the go-ahead on a race, and another track is working with him on something unbelievable. I won’t let the cat out of the bag for Mr. Walls, but lets just say that for a $1000 race car, you just might race at a track graced by legends, if the deal can be completed. I am behind the effort Mr. Walls has showed and hope he has a successful season.
We made our rounds in the building, checked out the auction, made fun of Jake Crum again, and headed for the door. It was a full day, but lots of fun, saw a lot of friends and made many new ones. Once again the Piedmont Racers Expo was a success, and we all can’t wait to do it again in 2010 and Langley Austin’s trying to cook up a deal to add a Late Model Stock Car, UARA and PASS Series preview show somewhere around the hub of racing in Mooresville, Charlotte or Statesville, but we’ll have to wait for the details.
For now that’s all I’ve got, but check back in a few days as we’ve got a ton of stuff we’re working on before the racing season actually gets kicked off … the unofficial start to the Late Model racing scene in this region is a big one on March 14th with the UARA-STARS opening up at Hickory, South Boston & Greenville Pickens Speedway’s NASCAR Weekly season openers for Late Model Stock Cars and PASS South getting started at Dillon Motor Speedway and we’re going to make sure you know everything we can find out before the season starts for these two tracks and two series.
Motor Mile Speedway has had a couple of nice preview articles on their website recently with the first profiling Late Model Stock Car driver and one-time winner in 2008, Mike Looney. Looney is set to go for another season and with a new shop and a back-up car he’s set to make a run at the track’s Late Model Stock Car division title. For the full preview you can go to … http://www.motormilespeedway.com/_mms_2008/news.php?extend.118
The other preview article recently added to the Motor Mile Speedway website by JW Martin is on Derrick and Scott Lancaster who will both be going after titles this season. Derrick, a regular winner in the Limited Late Model division has stepped up to Late Model Stock Cars full time this season and Scott will be going full-time in the Limited Late Model division hoping to become the first brother tandem to win championships in two Late Model divisions at the Radford, VA track. To view that article you can go to …http://www.motormilespeedway.com/_mms_2008/news.php?extend.121