Broadslidin’ Blog: Turf Wars Are The Early Story For 2015

Steven Ovens Asphalt Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, Dirt Track Racing, Featured, Northeast, Southeast, Staff Columns, Steven Ovens Blog, Super DIRTcar Series 0 Comments

PENN YAN, NY — Story by Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Nick Stark/GRIT Racing Series photo —

I put out a blog last week that really gained traction quickly when I wrote about the subject of this whole DIRTcar/Orange County Fair Speedway mess that is going down in Middletown, New York.

It feels like the New York dirt racing landscape is encountering a bit of a turf war and as we look around at series and track not just in New York — it seems to be a running theme.  Let’s look at where the turf wars lie on the dirt track landscape heading into 2015.

We had Brett Deyo on Turn 5 Live last week and Brett’s message regarding the Short Track Super Series is simple — we are not here to take over DIRTcar or step on their toes.  I believe his direct quote was actually “I can’t ask my guys to run 28 races a year like the guys on the Super DIRTcar Series.”  Deyo released the 2015 schedule for his Short Track Super Series fueled by Hi-Tek late last week:

Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek 2015 Schedule

North Region

  • Tuesday, April 7 (Rain Dates: April 8 and 9) – Orange County Fair Speedway/Middletown, NY: Hard Clay Open
  • Tuesday, May 5 (Rain Date: May 6) – Big Diamond Speedway/Minersville, PA (Combo): Anthracite Assault
  • Tuesday, May 19 (Rain Date: May 20) – Accord Speedway/Accord, NY:Battle of the Bullring 3
  • Tuesday, June 2 (Rain Date: June 3) – Glen Ridge Motorsports Park/Fultonville, NY: Rumble on the Ridge
  • Sunday, June 28 (Rain Date: June 29) – Thunder Mountain Speedway/Center Lisle, NY: Lightning on the Mountain
  • Wednesday, July 22 (Rain Date: July 23) – I-88 Speedway/Afton, NY:Crazy 8s Special
  • Tuesday, August 11 (Rain Date: Aug. 12) – Woodhull Raceway/Woodhull, NY: Hustlin’ the High Banks 51
  • Sunday, September 13 (Rain Date: Sept. 20) – Thunder Mountain Speedway/Center Lisle, NY: Wade Decker Memorial
  • Friday-Saturday October 9-10 (Rain Date: Oct. 11) – I-88 Speedway/Afton, NY: Short Track SuperNationals 8 – Championship Points

Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek North Region Point Fund (*based on 9 events): 1. $15,000; 2. $7,000; 3. $3,500; 4. $2,500; 5. $2,000; 6. $1,650; 7. $1,550; 8. $1,450; 9. $1,350; 10. $1,250; 11. $750; 12. $650. 

Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. South Region

  • Sunday, April 19 (Rain Date: April 26) – Bridgeport Speedway/Bridgeport, NJ: South Jersey Shootout
  • Tuesday, May 5 (Rain Date: May 6) – Big Diamond Speedway/Minersville, PA (Combo): Anthracite Assault
  • Thursday, June 11 (Rain Date: June 15) – New Egypt Speedway/New Egypt, NJ: Dirty Jersey 3 – $10,000 to win!
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4 (Rain Date: Aug. 5) – Delaware International Speedway/Delmar, DE – Diamond State 50
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 (Rain Date: Sept. 2) – Georgetown Speedway/Georgetown, DE – Beach Blast 2 – Championship Points

Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. Short Track Super Series Fueled By Hi-Tek South Region Point Fund (*based on 5 events): 1. $7,500; 2. $3,000; 3. $2,250; 4. $1,500; 5. $1,250; 6. $1,000; 7. $900; 8. $850; 9. $800; 10. $750.

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With DIRTcar putting out their ultimatum to their sanctioned tracks about not scheduling for any of Deyo’s promoted events there was a bit of a shakeup on the Super DIRTcar Series schedule.  Orange County has gone independent and will drop the DIRTcar sanction, New Egypt Speedway’s ‘Dirty Jersey’ event promoted by Deyo and Modified Standout Stewart Friesen will no longer reside on the Super DIRTcar Series schedule and the Big Diamond Speedway has also parted ways with DIRTcar and will switch back to the American Racer brand tire for 2015.

But these speedways and DIRTcar are not the only turf wars happening in 2015.

A brand new series that sprung up in 2014 was a competitor to the UNOH All-Star Series for 410 sprint cars — the Renegade Series.  Offering ‘better treatment and a better deal for team owners’ the Renegade series is planning an expanded 2015 schedule, including events at tracks that currently host the All-Stars or have hosted them in the recent past.  Officials from the All-Star Series are not as concerned with scheduling at this point and is working on a new payment system that allows their teams to get paid electronically instead of paying out in a check.

Some teams that may rely on those funds may not have access to those funds if paid in check form.  The same All-Star officials have expressed concern for the track owners and promoters who now have to make decisions on who to bring in for shows at the speedway and at what frequency?  I believe it was Dave Moody who said, “If we have special events every week to every other week, are they then special any more?”

Another example of turf wars for 2015 came out this past week when it was announced that a new Sportsman Modified series would be entering the fold — the King of Dirt ‘Quest To Find A King’ Series.  This series is being spearheaded by Rob Hazer, who some may recognize as a former PR representative and official for the GRIT Racing Series.  Hazer and GRIT parted ways during the 2014 season.

The King of Dirt Series has promoted itself thus far as a series focusing on the Capital Region of New York with 6 races between Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Fonda Speedway and the Lebanon Valley Speedway in which they will crown a king.

King of Dirt

What is interesting in this newly formed series is that all of these ‘Capital Region’ tracks have jumped on board with King of Dirt and have beat feet for the exits from the GRIT Racing Series.  GRIT put out a tentative 2015 schedule with more potential dates to be added and little to no races have been scheduled in the Capital Region.

GRIT was the happening series in 2014 pulling very respectable numbers of cars at all of their events that spread throughout the course of the 2014 season.  In fact I attended one of their best races of the season at the Yates County Speedway — a 100-lapper that saw eventual Series Champion Rocky Warner come back from a Lap 2 accident to win.

It is yet to be seen what King of Dirt dates may conflict with GRIT Racing Series events.  King of Dirt promotes that they wish to run a 6 race series that will focus on keeping the costs of traveling to races down.  Drivers locally who have followed the GRIT Series the past 2 years have embraced the ability to travel on a series instead of racing at just their weekly racing facility.  We covered the travels of our local friend Nick Guererri closely throughout the season and that was something the Waterloo, NY driver touched on several times as a positive part of running the GRIT Series.

So my question is, where does King of Dirt, The Renegades and even DIRTcar/ROC Dirt Mods and the Short Track Super Series go with this?  DIRTcar and ROC seem to have successfully run their own deals, not conflict with each other and cohabitate within the dirt track landscape.

But — the success and expansion of the Short Track Super Series has certainly ruffled feathers within the DIRTcar world and what has raised eyebrows is the stance and ultimatum DIRTcar has laid out.  Will that leave a sour taste for some teams and fans alike?  Will it all come out in the wash when we come back to talk about this next year at this time?  Orange County and Big Diamond have dug their heels in and has shown everyone where they stand for 2015.

As far as King of Dirt and GRIT goes, here is my take.  I think what GRIT had in 2014 was something special.  They have a points system set up that rewards drivers who follow the whole tour, but does not exclude drivers who choose to run events that financially make sense for them as far as travel costs go and still be in contention for a top points finishing spot.  GRIT had a great mix of tracks, they had excellent racing, excellent car counts and a tech program that kept all racers in check.

But with the formation of King of Dirt, GRIT racers and supporters have now lost 3 great racetracks off their tour.  With that, the fans have also lost a contingent of drivers who may not drive to the Capital Region to race a series that just races in Eastern New York.  I won’t begin to speculate what went down when Hazer and GRIT went their separate ways but it is interesting to see what has transpired in less than 12 months.

Hopefully the presence of two series will bring more racers together, not divide them and prevent a watering down of the competition level for each series.  King of Dirt and GRIT will continue on and hopefully not at the expense of the fans and competition.

I wish all parties success in 2015 and can only hope that with some cooperation amongst everyone involved — all tracks, teams and fans — can benefit from all of the racing action that is set to take place in the coming season.

Just remember — April is only four and half months away!

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