Broadslidin’ Blog: Superb Racing So Far in 2014

Steven Ovens Featured, Northeast, Southeast, Staff Columns, Steven Ovens Blog 0 Comments

April 15, 2014 — Blog and photo by Race Chaser New York correspondent Steven Ovens — HOLDEN BEACH, NC — This edition of the Broadslidin’ Blog comes to you from just a couple hours outside of Race Chaser Online headquarters in Charlotte, NC.  We decided to follow suit and spend spring break here on the beach in Holden Beach, NC.  This was a much-needed break from the cold and wet conditions we have endured in the Northeast the past few weeks.

2014 has met and exceeded any expectations I could have ever had this early on in the racing season.  Even though this is the Broadslidin’ Blog, I’m going to also give a tip of the cap to NASCAR for what has been a tremendous season so far in the Sprint Cup Series with Saturday night’s Bojangles Southern 500 finally giving us our first repeat winner on the year in Kevin Harvick.

As far as dirt goes, parity has been the story so far on the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars tour this season.  With Cody Darrah and Joey Saldana pulling down their first 2014 wins, they became the 9th and 10th different winners on the WoO tour in 14 different race nights.  There really hasn’t been one dominant car on the tour although you can now definitely make a case that the KKR team has been on a roll and is the top team so far.

What shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is Donny Schatz currently sits on top of the points 14 races into the season.  Schatz was the first repeat winner on the tour and leads the series in Top-5’s (9) and Top-10’s (12).

One more driver to keep your eye on is Joey Saldana.  The “Brownsburg Bullet” finally broke through for his first win on the tour this year over the weekend at Perris Auto Speedway.  Saldana is batting .500 this season so far with 7 out of 14 Quick Time awards.  He has had a long streak of Top 5 finishes this year and now that he finally has a win, I think more wins are on the way.

You can’t have the parity conversation without looking at the 2014 season for the World of Outlaws Late Models.  Although they have lost 3 races to rain, they have 7 different winners in 7 races.  Names like Sheppard, Lanigan, Moyer Sr. and most recently Mike Marlar at Tazewell Speedway have picked up wins.  Brandon Sheppard in the Rocket Chassis house car trails the “Kentucky Colonel” Darrell Lanigan by 36 markers as the series takes a week off for Easter.

I also want to tip my cap to the brass of NASCAR.  The rule changes to the cars, the Chase qualifying format and Knockout Qualifying has given me a new energy toward the top series in stock car racing.  Always a fan and not shy about saying I’m a card carrying member of Junior Nation, I have found myself making a conscious effort to try and watch every lap of every race.

In years past, I may have had to miss a race for one reason or another, but not this year.  The ‘win and (essentially) you’re in’ mentality has changed the level of competition this year.  We are seeing moves to win races — not moves to have good points days.  I haven’t once heard a post-race interview where a driver said, “Well, today is a great points day.”

Saturday night, I even heard Dale Earnhardt Jr. call an audible in the middle of their last pit stop because he felt 2 tires was going to win him the race.  It would have surely captured him the win without that last debris caution.  I feel that in previous years, Stevie Letarte and Junior would have taken the 4 tires and battled Harvick for the win.  But not this year will it happen, and probably not in future years if this format stays with the series going forward.

Going forward, this coming weekend really excites me.  All of the dirt tracks within an hour of our Casa de Porkchop studios will see action in some form or fashion.  The newly named Yates County Speedway will host their first night of open practice Friday night.  They will also hold a similar night on Friday April 25th.  Canandaigua Motorsports Park hosts the Jan Corcoran Memorial Friday and Saturday night this weekend.  The Woodhull Raceway hosts their 50th Anniversary Opening Night Saturday night as well.

For now I think I’ll grab a glass of raspberry wine, and hit the beach here in beautiful North Carolina.  Keep it on the cushion race fans, until we meet up again.

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