Tuesday, July 4, 2006
ASA Late Model Series News from Spartan Speedway
by Race Author
OVID, Mich. -- While on vacation over the Fourth of July weekend, plenty of thoughts crossed my mind as my wife, Elaine and I ventured to four different short tracks in a four day span over the holiday weekend.
In order, we started at the Spartan Speedway on Friday night for Mid-Season Championships, Saturday night was at the Owosso Speedway for the Fourth Of July Weekend Extravaganza, Sunday was the first ever appearance at the Mid-Michigan Raceway Park in Palo, Michigan and finally, the special Monday show at the Crystal Motor Speedway.
Of course as this is being written, Crystal's show hasn't actually ran yet! (It is Monday Late Morning/Early Afternoon after all). As for the first three events of the weekend, plenty of observations and pondering was done as to the state of local short track racing in the area. Here are few of them;
The Outlaw bodied Super Late Models are back on the regular schedule at Spartan. It's nice to see the high powered Supers back at the 1/4 mile. While the Super Lates seem to be destined for special event status in the state in the near future, new General Manager, Gary Fedewa has listened to the calls of the dedicated fans of the "Track the stars call Home".
Even Springport brought the Supers back over the weekend. (Not full-time) and they actually out drew Spartan's car count over the weekend in this division! 15 to 13. Also on Saturday Auto City had 18 cars for their Patriot 100 while Berlin had 22 and Kalamazoo about the same!
Ironically enough, two Westside invaders were 1-2 at Auto City. John Grega and Johnny VanDoorn. So in total, that's about 75 Super Late Models that all raced on the same night (Saturday) in the state of Michigan in the expensive as can be, Super Late Models division!
They may not be dead yet as they're hanging on for dear life. Not to sound pessimistic however, but the day is STILL coming where the Outlaw bodied Super Late Models will be a specials only type of show and go the way of the Super Modifieds!
I know what you're going to say; Look at Dixie and Toledo's car counts in the Supers, 25-35 a night! Want to know why? It's because the Dixie Cup Series and the Gold Cup Series are what the world of Super Lates will be in just a couple of years in Michigan; Special Events Only shows!
Those two tracks have already seen the future of this division and have adjusted accordingly, it'll only be a matter of time before everyone else falls in line!
By no means are we downgrading the Outlaw bodied Super Late Models in any way. All we're doing is looking at reality. Can a Super Late Model driver "really" afford to spend $40-70,000 on a race ready car for $750-1500 to win in a weekly show?
Even with the special events that pay around $2000 to win and up, if the pay scale down the line isn't up to snuff, you lose those cars; sixth/seventh on back, the field fillers, and pretty soon, you've got what you're looking at now at some places. 12-18 cars or even smaller for a "high-dollar" show!
On that same note, look for the Kalamazoo Klash on Wednesday July 19th to draw about 50-60 cars. The "Klash" was way ahead of its' time when it was first created, look for MANY more facilities in the near future to host a "Klash" type of event sooner than later.
Also on Saturday, the Outlaw bodied Late Models were the head liners at Owosso, and ironically enough, are the strongest class of cars, count wise at the Big "O"! Who would've ever thunk that? 16 of them were on hand Saturday night in a very entertaining feature won by Mark Welch, who had the "Brothers Hoose" all over him in the last half of the 30-lap feature.
On the other end of the spectrum, just seven Modifieds were on hand and if it wasn't for the "Coyote Pack" and their four car posse, it would've been a nightmarish three cars on hand! Owosso Speedway was the "King of the Modifieds" in Michigan for many years. Times sure have changed haven't they?
As for pavement Modifieds in the state of Michigan, where are they? It wasn't uncommon for 30-35 car fields to show up on a regular basis, not just at Owosso, but Spartan too. Auto City and Dixie are getting about 20 a night. Even Whittemore out drew the Mods at Owosso on Saturday! Whittemore had 18!
Spartan and Springport are getting 20-ish consistently a night and are the only two tracks in the state under the Michigan Modifieds Association (MMA) banner. We all know there are a ton of Mods in the state for both Dirt and the Pavement! So again, where are the pavement Modifieds?
On the other side of the fence, dirt tracks are getting huge numbers in the Mod counts. Even Mid-Michigan Raceway Park in little Palo, Michigan drew 21 on a Sunday night!
Speaking of dirt tracks, they're getting huge counts in everything, especially at Crystal and Merritt! 40 plus a night in Super Lates and Modifieds, plus another 30 or so each in Pro Stocks, Pro Trucks, Street Stocks, pretty much everything!
Have the tides turned in the state of Michigan as to where Dirt Tracks reign supreme once again in Michigan? It certainly looks that way.
The Fourth of July holiday weekend vacation was much needed. Now the ASA Late Model Series heads into a stretch of 11 races in a nine weekend stretch that concludes after the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
As always, any and all information about the ASALMS can be found by going to one of the three websites; For the televised Challenge Division, go to; www.asalatemodels.com For the companion Northern and Southern Divisions go to; www.asalatemodelsnorth.com and www.asalatemodelssouth.com
The 2006 season is reaching the halfway marker! Support your local short tracks here in our great state of Michigan. My beautiful, lovely, wife, Elaine is back next week with another round of "Elaine's Elaborations".
Anything of interest can always go to: email@example.com and as always, ThankYaVeryMuch.