Turn 5 Roundtable: DIRTcar Sanctions, Pauch Speaks Out, RoC, Outlaw Speedway & The Outlaws

Steven Ovens Asphalt Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, Dirt Track Racing, Featured, Northeast, Other Sprint Cars, Southeast, Staff Columns, Super DIRTcar Series, Turn 5 Roundtable, West, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars 1 Comment

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. — Column by Race Chaser Online New York Dirt Correspondents Steven Ovens, Clint Miller & Brad Ovens — SDS Photography photo —

The dirt world has been abuzz in the Northeast with four major topics of discussion that our friends at Turn 5 Live have taken the time to bat around.

In this column, they discuss DIRTcar’s recent sanctions and Billy Pauch’s comments, where Joe Skotnicki and the Race of Champions go from here, their favorite facility improvement at Outlaw Speedway so far and speaking of Outlaws, they discuss who the next first-time winner for the Craftsman-sponsored series will be in 2016.

Topic 1: What do you make of Billy Pauch’s comments to RacersGuide.com in regards to DIRTcar singling out him and Tyler Siri with tampered tires?

BRAD OVENS: Let me start off by stating, “in my opinion” I have to completely disregard the “singling out” comment now and this is why. DIRTcar has been a Hoosier tire racing series for as long as my memory will go back to. To think that DIRTcar would single out two drivers, one owning a race track that runs primarily American Racer tires and another that only runs DIRTcar events once or twice a year, is rather amusing to say the least.

Now I won’t, and can’t, say that Pauch’s words are 100% incorrect. I do not have an affiliation or insider with DIRTcar, so I don’t know the feelings between the parties. One thing I can definitively say is that Pauch was caught cheating. Whether it be intentional or unintentional,  Pauch’s tires were determined to not be legal per DIRTcar rules.

I believe the heart of the matter is right is right and wrong is wrong. Pauch explained the circumstances that led to this point, and it’s completely plausible in my opinion. The unfortunate fact is, DIRTcar determined the actions Pauch took with his tires altered the tire in a way “Detrimental to auto sports”.

CLINT MILLER: Pauch is a longtime veteran and this penalty by DIRTcar cost him a lot of money. He’s also not a DIRTcar guy so maybe he feels singled out because of that. It doesn’t hurt him to speak out on how he feels about it.

STEVE OVENS: When I read this morning that Pauch had said that they were found to be illegal and they were just going to take the penalty, learn from it and move on — I thought good for them.  Just take it in stride and on to the next one.

But then I read his comments when interviewed over the weekend at New Egypt.  Calling out DIRTcar and saying that because he is an American Racer tire dealer and Tyler Siri an American Racer Cup track that they were singled out and found with altered tires.  Stop it.  Just stop it.  This should mean nothing to a driver like Pauch, who doesn’t follow the Super DIRTcar Series, why come out and make a questionable statement like that?  What’s the goal by making such a statement?

Topic 2: If you’re Joe Skotnicki of the Race of Champions Dirt Modifieds, what do you do now after Selinsgrove, where they had to cancel the event due to low turnout of, at best, 12 cars? What do you do before Canandaigua on April 16?

BRAD: My thoughts and feelings on the RoC with Joe Skotnicki are very short and sweet. Selinsgrove was a big black eye. At this point in time, you have drivers who have committed to running your tour and supporting you with those efforts.  Joe Skotnicki marches forward with his tour. In my opinion, business must go on as normal. Simple. As. That.

CLINT: If I’m Joe Skotnicki, I’m pretty pissed off. It’s obvious that the way Harpell finished his tenure with the RoC burned many bridges. But I also think u have to go to the next show, as is, to just assure drivers the reality of this RoC deal — they are here to stay!  That race on Saturday was going to be tough any way because it’s in Sprint Car and Late Model country, but also because of the New Egypt show.

STEVE: I’m concerned if I’m Joe Skotnicki — popping a Tums per hour kind of concerned.  I have stuck my neck out to purchase this brand and series and this is how we came out of the gates.  Not our best showing at all.

Can we do better than this?  You bet we can.  Will we do better at a Hoosier track nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes and Central New York?  We had better hope so.  If the same thing happens at Canandaigua that happened at Selinsgrove, there will be some serious doubters who will have every right to do so.

Topic 3: Name one thing you love about the improvements at Outlaw Speedway so far.

BRAD: One word: Improvements! What Tyler Siri and his team have been able to do at Outlaw Speedway in the short amount of time that they’ve had the facility is phenomenal. The Dundee, N.Y. facility has begged for improvements and updating for the last 10 years or so.

Cleaning all of the old fencing out, the trash underneath and behind the turn 4 grandstands, to pulling the dead shrubs and weeds and filling in the banking just over turn 4 to look presentable. I could go on and on.

My big improvement I love though, the racing surface and infield. The drivers have been in need of some good clay to race on for quite some time now. Well thanks to the tractor-pulling strip in the “old” infield, the racers will again be racing on some superb looking clay. And best yet, NO MORE WATERING HOLES IN THE CORNERS!

The infield has been getting worked over by Outlaw’s track crews and will now allow the water runoff from the racing surface to drain back down into the infield. I firmly believe this will open up the lower lanes for racing sooner in the night, thus providing for multiple grooves of racing action later on in the night.

CLINT: Can the one thing I like about Outlaw be everything? I love the fact that someone is there busting their ass to improve a facility he purchased two months ago. It’s a testament to what he wants to do — make Outlaw Speedway legitimately the best Friday night track like it was for decades.

Best thing at Outlaw … the surface, by far. We have waited a long time for clay to be put on the track. He found a gold mine with all the good clay in the infield. Then taking the clay from the bottom of the corners and smoothing out the infield was terrific.

STEVE: My favorite improvement so far at Outlaw Speedway is the work that Matt and Mel Thomas, along with Art Rorick, have done in the VIP rooms and the announcer’s booth.  Full High-Definition televisions will be installed in every VIP booth, including my perch, for the 2016 season — and I can’t express how cool that is as an announcer.

When something happens on the track, we have Bob Miller upstairs to help us get another look at it.  That changes things like photo finishes, as well as spotting incidents on the track when maybe Mel and I were looking the other way.  I’ve seen this system work to perfection at tracks like Canandaigua, Fulton and Utica-Rome and can’t wait to enhance the fan experience we give them through the PA system.

That’s not to mention that this is really a great feature for the fans and teams that pay to use one of the VIP rooms throughout the season. This improvement and capital investment shows just how committed Tyler Siri and his staff are to the new era and the overall fan experience at Outlaw.

Topic 4: Who wins a World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series race first and why? Paul McMahan, Logan Schuchart, Sammy Swindell, Jason Johnson or Greg Wilson?

BRAD: I believe Paul McMahan will find himself in Victory Lane first out of this group. McMahan has been to victory lane on the current day tour, and all it will take is the team to mesh perfectly on one night for him to bring home a “W”.

CLINT: I think Greg Wilson is seeing how tough the tour actually is and will find his footing eventually. Destiny Motorsports and McMahan are really struggling to gel. This is tough for me. I know Logan Schuchart is getting faster every week and with notes for the new chassis at returning tracks … it’s coming.

I think Slamming Sammy is the most ready, even though they haven’t been consistent. He has the resources with CJB, a great teammate in upstart David Gravel, and he’s an experienced veteran.

STEVE: The answer here is simple — Jason Johnson. He is going to get that breakout victory here in 2016 on the Outlaws tour and will start showing their full potential.  We haven’t seen that on a consistent basis, but I have a good feeling about the next 10 races for Jason Johnson on the West Coast Swing.  Mark it down, you heard it here first!

The opinions expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.


For More on the Crew…

Catch Turn 5 Live, a New York-based weekly dirt-track affiliate of RaceChaser Online and Speed77 Radio, every week on Tuesday nights at 7:30 PM Eastern on the Performance Motorsports Network.

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