One: Spot Kyle Larson with the Chili Cash Bowl
2021 Chilean Bowl Nationals winner Kyle Larson came close to setting the dirt racing world on fire last week with his apparent decision to skip the prestigious midget race in 2023, citing a $10,000 winning purse that hasn’t changed in decades despite the increasing costs of competition. And the entry list for North 300 cars has grown star-strength annually.
Kyle Larson says he’ll likely miss the Chili Bowl in January. He says the bag does not currently match the status of the event and other competitors feel the same.
Promoter Emmett Hahn says racers don’t understand the overhead and margin for error. https://t.co/XDuqX4QaAJ
– Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverRA) July 13, 2022
By now, those in the dirt racing community have been reading back and forth. While Larson doesn’t believe the purse the event pays for its cost and prestige, longtime Chili Bowl organizers say the money isn’t there to significantly increase the purse, citing the $1 million cost of turning the Tulsa Expo Center into a dirt track for most of January.
I have no doubt that Chili Bowl costs an astronomical amount of money. Having said that, I’m totally in the Larson camp on this one. Larson, for example, is no stranger to race promotion himself, having played a key role in bringing in $20,000 to win a super late model race to Volunteer Speedway leading up to NASCAR’s Bristol Dirt Week. He recently announced that he will be part of a newly launched sprint car touring that is supposed to be the equivalent of the Flo Racing Night model series in late America for the winged sprint community.
– FloRacing (FloRacing) July 14, 2022
Larson isn’t short of money thanks to his day job in NASCAR, but he does put said money where it belongs when he promotes races of his own.
Most importantly, though, for at least a decade, Chili Bowl organizers have been cavalier about keeping the purse at $10,000 to win. They noted that the entry lists were continuing to grow regardless, as the drivers decided that the quest for the Golden Driller award was worth losing the money.
There are very few drivers in dirt racing with enough clout to sit back and catch the attention of the Chili Bowl. Kyle Larson is single. Midget racers across America will thank Larson just in time for the move.
TWO: DirtVision takes a big late-form win
One of the best stories I read on the DirtVision tape while covering Kings Royal this past weekend was a note that the World of Outlaws Late Models USA Nationals tour will actually be available to subscribers this year, rather than being a standalone pay-per-view event like in years past.
Exciting news! @employee Citizens of the United States of America @employee August 4-6 is now included in the file #DIRTVision monthly or annually #FastPass Subscription (plus PPV for one event) pic.twitter.com/9LCWei1J4T
– DIRTVision (dirtvision) June 28, 2022
As a late fan, hallelujah. The US Nationals bothered me last season, partly because I was missing a race that doesn’t have a short history of major events (it was this race that saw Tyler Earp suspended for a year from World Racing Group events due to Bowman Gray-esque antics) and partly because A subscription that costs hundreds of dollars a year doesn’t actually cover the entire WoO late form round.
I don’t have any inside information on how this deal came about, but it had to happen. Among the late models’ three national rounds (WoO, Lucas Oil, and XR Super Series), the formerly American Nationals were Just The race sanctioned by one of those tours that required a PPV to be purchased. And while it’s quite a prestigious race at $50,000 to win, let’s face it, that’s a dime-a-dozen this summer.
And just like the rest of that dozen, I’ll be watching now.
Third: Inaugural Visit to I-70 Nobody remembers LOLMDS
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made what MAVTV called an “inaugural visit” to the revamped I-70 Motorsports Park last Thursday night (July 14), and there were some growing pains, to be clear. LOLMDS, for example, became the second late National model tour to have to go race lengths due to overheating engines in the Midwest this summer (the XR Super Series did the same at Belleville High Banks).
But this Thursday night saw the goodwill program’s coordination fail. Late models ran without a support class, and with only 24 late models in the field, the initial action was over real quick. So So quick, in fact, that the track had to improvise fulfilling the drivers’ job on the front stretch, waiting for the time to pass until MAVTV’s cable time slot arrived to kick off the feature.
None of these things are bad. One-semester programs are a amazing When there’s a legitimate headline, and I’ll never complain about having an effective program on a weeknight when I’m often in the majority of the audience having to work the next morning. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the tracks making time for the fans to meet the drivers.
But when it feels like a track is just wasting time, the fan experience suffers. I personally learned this on Friday night, when I took a trip to a local mini-racing track for a Friday night program. This program started 30 minutes late, took nearly an hour to run hot laps for 30 some kart karts, then left more interval between hot laps and heat races.
It was so frustrating that I left after qualifying finished halfway through. And when I left, the last picture I saw was a cross section of kids in the amphitheater who were either asleep or asking to go home.
Hopefully there will be lessons learned on that front…and on the promotions front…for next year. I-70 looks like a nice facility, but that was visible in part because of the amount of space the front stands were.
Fourth: Bullets should never lose Brian Brown
Brian Brown is a member of Knoxville Raceway, but that didn’t stop him from making a lot of noise at Eldora Speedway over Kings Royal weekend, leading laps and scoring a 10th-place finish in Saturday’s main event.
the problem? Well, DirtVision mentioned that early on. Brown, who entered the weekend the track points leader at Knoxville, had to skip the weekly race at the track to run the Kings Royal. That allowed Aaron Rutzel to score the win and lead the points at Knoxville on Saturday.
Look, I get it, it was the weekend of the Marion County Fair in Knoxville, and Knoxville Raceway is the sprint car capital of the world. I can understand wanting to run the 410s on a fair weekend.
But Knoxville Raceway really counts its patriotic shooters among the ranks of its track regulars. For a track no stranger to prestigious motor racing, treating the Kings Royal weekend as if it were anything else for the sport is surprisingly reclusive. The Kings Royal field would have been better with Reutzel and McCarls in it.
However, to Brian Brown’s credit for going where the prestige and money were, racing points be damned.
Fifth: a duel for the wreck of the year
Last week’s mid-season awards column showed that the current leaders for Wreck of the Year were Kasey Kahne’s fierce fumble at Volusia Speedway Park in February against Knoxville Raceway’s version of the Big One.
This quickly turns into a duel. Kahne, sadly, ends up sitting out the Kings Royal feature after suffering another spectacular crash in Eldora’s introductory “Knight Before” feature. Not to be outdone, later that Saturday, Knoxville Raceway submitted another entry to contest the accident involving Kahne.
this is scarypic.twitter.com/xNAScXvQfC
The_Work_Area July 17, 2022
I appeal to all concerned to stop making this cup such an intense competition.
Sixth: What do race cars and college football have in common?
basic. Sports “rankings” don’t mean a damn thing and should be ignored. Case in point, check out this headline from Speed Sport, where Justin Beck topped Brent Marks in his poll after this weekend.
There is a new number one at the top of the national racing car rankings: Justin Pic
Check out the rest of the national rankings, along with the regional ranking ⬇️https://t.co/NjobyMOV0r
– SPEED SPORT (SPEEDSPORT) July 18, 2022
Yes, you read that correctly. Justin Beck jumped Brent Marks up the rankings this week. As you know, in the same weekend Marx became the first driver in history to sweep the Historic Big Car and King’s Royal at Eldora in the same season.
The switch is certainly a statistical aberration, as Beck has started more in 2022, thus exceeding the threshold that allows him to drop poor finishes. But still, the title says it all.
Wrong – wronged – wronged.
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