There are many major Dirt Track Racing events across the United States, with various sanctioning bodies, tracks, and series in play. These races each season give fans and media alike a lot to look forward to and cover, as well as giving national touring drivers and teams a chance to run for high paying purses and prestige along the way. Whether it's the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, Knoxville Nationals, Dirt Late Model Dream, World 100 or Gateway Dirt Nationals, there are so many spectacles sprinkled throughout the calendar year, each with rich histories or a new-race, with a revolutionizing idea that has captivated the nation.
The races mentioned above, for example, along with a laundry list of others were built on a singular idea, series, track, and concept that has lifted them into the position they are today, and in most cases that involved one major form of racing, with no support classes to go along with them. That should not be changed or altered, as the history, prestige and character of those events should remain intact, as long as possible, without even the smallest change to procedures.
On the other hand, support classes for regular national touring races should be encouraged, not discouraged. When the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series goes to a venue in Illinois or the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series heads to a track in Indiana, there should be multiple classes on-hand, feeding off of those standing-room-only crowds and getting that opportunity to be featured on a big stage. Whether it is an opportunity for UMP DIRTcar Modified, Super Stock, Hobby Stock, Micro Sprint Car or Compact drivers to showcase their talents for a fan-base that may never see them otherwise, that is a staple of this sport that has gone on for generations.
Track promoters across the country are taking heat from fans, series directors, media members, etc., to cut-back on three or four-class shows, focus on the national series coming in for the night of racing and shorten the overall time-frame of events, leading to the demise of support classes across the nation. This is a very dangerous notion, as your local track more-than-likely either features/focuses-on one class over the others or holds a high number of national touring series races, leading to the races for the Weekend Warriors that built this sport into what it is today to be shortened, by a large amount.
With all of that being said, I am not stating that when the World of Outlaws Morton Building Late Model Series shows up at a track for their one race of the year at that particular venue, that there should be four other classes ready-to-go, as well, but throwing in a modified and stock car divisions, to give those drivers some spotlight and fans more bang-for-their-buck, is far from a negative thing.
All of this ties back to supporting local racing, if local drivers end-up losing trust and respect for your local track, because of their decisions to remove all support classes from any national touring race at your venue to give-in to nation fans and series; local drivers, teams, and fans will stop supporting those tracks and if those venues cannot survive off of those few national events each year, more tracks will close. Once more tracks close, our sport will die a slow, but steady demise and we will all wonder why that happened or where it all started. Let's make a more conscious effort to support local teams, drivers, fans and tracks, even if that means a few divisions added on to a big event and maybe an hour more of racing than normal.
Selflessness will always win-out over being selfish, even in this scenario.
(Speed Sport Photo)