HOLDEN BEACH, NC — Let’s just say it’s been an … interesting week watching the headlines on the dirt.
Whether you examine the local stories or the national headlines, there’s been plenty to talk about. We are taking a stab at a five-pack of questions for this week’s Roundtable, so read on to see if you agree or disagree:
QUESTION 1: The Boone IMCA Supernationals have put a ban on Slide Jobs for the 2016 Nationals. There was backlash on Boone Speedway to the point they had to shut down their Facebook page. Do you like the ban, love the ban or hate the ban?
Steven Ovens: This is ridiculous. If you want to see a good race and a race go side by side, lap after lap, you don’t put this ban out there. From talking to some people, I hear that guys driving over other drivers’ front ends may have been a problem. But still, if that happens you either send the offender to the back or put them on the trailer. You CAN slide job a guy and make a clean pass. See the All Star Invitational from Boone in 2013 for more details.
Clint Miller: This is on my dream list of races to go to. What can you say about a week of racing that sees over 450 entrees already on the list. To slide job or not to slide job, that is the question? Well they made the decision for you … don’t do it. Honestly, I like the idea. Keep the lanes open — if you’re executing a slide job, you’re using three lanes roughly. If you’re that fast, hold your line, work the bottom, drive by. It should make for some great racing!
Brad Ovens: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What happened to the days of grassroots racing? The dirt tracks are what has made the “Slide Job” famous! How many times on a NASCAR televised broadcast do you hear the commentators get excited over a routine overtake into a corner? Now how about when someone pulls off a gutsy “slider” and manhandles their car to take away a position! The IMCA car is perfectly built to execute the slide job! If you look at the Late models and the IMCA style cars, and really any car that jacks up onto the left rear bars, a majority of the passes made are from slide jobbing the car in front of you. My honest opinion: if someone goes for a slider and door slams another competitor, it’ll get resolved either on the track or in the pits. It’s a part of dirt track racing’s core! Clearly by Boone taking their Facebook page offline there is plenty of push back from the racing community on this matter. In my own opinion, more tracks and race directors need to put a strong foot down and enforce their rules. Boone has dug themselves a mighty deep and wet hole. All that this dirt fanatic can hope is they realize this error and correct it.
Jacob Seelman: Yeeeeeesh. This is a mess. When I saw a screenshot of the Facebook post from the speedway I did a double take because I thought it was someone’s idea of a joke. Alas, that wasn’t the case. I’m with Brad. The slide job is as intrinsically tied into dirt track racing’s DNA as the clay itself that builds the historic facilities we know and love. To take that away is to kill off a part of what dirt track racing is. Period. Boone messed up on this one, and my gut tells me the driver participation numbers may reflect that come race week.
IMCA Driver (competing at Boone) Brad Smith: If everyone is sliding one another, nobody is holding their line. Chopping cars can really make for a mess.
QUESTION 2: Steve Paine put on a classic ‘Paine Lane’ performance Friday night at Outlaw Speedway. Only a 24-point lead with two shows remaining (including double points championship night), does Paine collect title number nine?
Steven Ovens: Quite frankly, either way this turns out, it is going to be a thrilling finish and we will be crunching numbers on championship night. Some people hate it, but I LOVE double points championships. It really requires you to race it out; there’s no point racing your way to an eighth place finish and a championship. That being said, I truly believe the double points championship will make the difference. Paine has had weird luck this season, and with double points on the line, I think Alan Johnson sneaks out a four point win for the championship.
Clint Miller: This may be one of these questions that is up in the air. I think what happens this Friday plays a major role. He is currently up by 24 points over ‘AJ Sideways’ Alan Johnson. Now let’s not forget the wrinkle that Outlaw has, double points on championship night. If Alan is within striking distance I say he has a great shot to take home his first Outlaw Championship. He’s been consistent all year long, and I say he gets it done.
Brad Ovens: When it comes to modified racing in a small Yates County town of Dundee N.Y., there’s one name that is synonymous to the four-tenths-mile oval — Steve Paine. He is an eight-time champion of the speedway and working his way towards his ninth championship at the newly renamed Outlaw Speedway. The last three months at Outlaw has shown me two things that have shocked me and impressed me. One, the times this season that Paine has spun out during the feature event all on his own. This is, of course, not including getting caught in someone else wreck. The impressive part is to watch him wheel, and I mean WHEEL, that 7x back to the top five come the conclusion of the 30 lap feature event. It’s no secret that Steve Paine is capable of winning on any given night, and he is still a championship caliber team. September is going to usher in a new ring to the Outlaw Speedway history books, nine-time track champion Steve Paine.
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