For years, with the success of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and all the exposure this series gets, as a fan of traditional sprint cars, I’ve been curious as to why there couldn’t be a touring series of wingless sprint car drivers. who could only earn a living in racing.
Think about it.
Outlaws are coming to town, not just our town but any town, and half the excitement is seeing the big, shiny platforms with the graphics on the closed trailers and toter houses. . With a few exceptions, the non-winged world is essentially a sort of triple-A affiliate of the outlaws.
Currently, there are probably only a handful, maybe one or two more, who are full-time runners in the non-winged ranks. For the most part, the rest of the field in most USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series events are what Dan Laycock calls Saturday Night Heroes. In other words, these are the guys who go through a 40+ hour work week, spend most of their evenings working on their race cars, and then hope to have a solid run at whatever track they choose to take. ‘go the night of the race.
Guys like Brad Sweet, Brian Brown, Jason Sides, Donny Schatz and many other outlaw regulars make a good living on the road, hiking coast to coast and trail to trail. . Guys like Schatz own their own planes and fly from place to place as needed so the rigors of life on the road are alleviated.
Former outlaw Joey Saldana once told me that he had to try to find time to be with his family while still making a living by driving race to race. Granted, Saldana seemed to have made a very good living as well as being one of the best drivers of his time, but he considered himself a cut below guys like Schatz who had the added luxury of less time on the road.
Starting next season, the World Racing Group, the organization that owns the World of Outlaws Sprint and Late Model, Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series and DIRTcar Racing series, will expand even further, with both Midgets and Sprint Cars without wings.
Both series will be dubbed the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series and Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series and both will start their inaugural seasons with a 10-15 race schedule. The plan is for a combined points fund close to $ 100,000. The press release released last week went on to say that they expect the point fund as well as the series to grow and prosper even more in the future.
World Racing Group noted plans to increase brand awareness as well as fan interaction by showing all races live on DIRTVision as part of the FAST PASS option provided by the streaming web service. The group said they plan to work with the USAC and POWRi sanctioning agencies in hopes of getting more eyes on arguably the most entertaining form of open-wheel dirt racing.
As noted above, part of the outlaw’s appeal is the carnival-like atmosphere that surrounds the series when it comes to the city. Product-wise on the track, it’s fascinating to see an Outlaw rider rip an 11 second lap at Kokomo, but for my dollar I would still rather see a rider like Dave Darland rip the high side, just inches away. from the wall.
Kevin Thomas Jr., still at the forefront of USAC competition, has announced his intention to race with the Outlaws in 2022. Triple crown champion Chris Windom noted last season his aspirations to follow the former titlist of the l ‘USAC Tyler Courtney in the ranks of the Winged Sprint.
It’s hard to fault the drivers and the teams for making the jump to the winged cars. Money is much better with a few exceptions. In reality, non-squadrons don’t pay much more now than they were in the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe with the world group making wingless sprints more visible to another group of fans. and as this group realizes the running quality of the traditional sprints put on the track night after night, maybe there can be more and more guys who choose to run for a living and earn some money. pretty decent money.
Time will tell what will happen, but for years USAC has been the big guy in the neighborhood, and rightly so. When POWRi put on a national sprint series, it didn’t hurt USAC at all. In fact, it was always pretty neat to see an event when POWRi had their heavy hitters and USAC had theirs. Being a USAC guy it was fun shooting for the stars that we have followed over the years.
Hopefully this new series doesn’t go in the direction of the now defunct National Sprint Car Tour which briefly competed with the Outlaws and only managed to have two series with a handful of heavy hitters instead of one with a dozen. or more. I hope that everyone is playing well and that no sanctioning body suffers.
Let’s face it. A little competition is good for everyone involved and if everyone is on the same page everyone wins – the sanctioning bodies, the drivers, the owners, the track and the fans.