Turn 2 Blog: The End of Another Season, Silly Season, and the Dirt Million

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*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideDirtRacing.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the dirt racing topics of the day from east Tennessee and beyond.

Richard: The end of the racing season always brings mixed emotions for me. I hate to see the season go, but at the same time, there are some great events that help bring the curtain down. In our area, we have this weekend’s Steelhead Nationals at 411 Motor Speedway which always draws in great car counts and excellent competition. Further, there are races such as The Gobbler at Boyd’s Speedway and the Leftover at 411 looming in the near future.

On the national scene, the World of Outlaws sanctioned World Finals at The Dirt Track in Charlotte typically attracts a crown jewel type field for its two day running.

The end of the season may be at hand, but there will still be some great competition ahead and some trophies to be earned.

Michael: There is an end to racing season? It sure seems like there is no end when you add in The Leftover and The Hangover locally.

Some of these late season races are intriguing because of the unknown as to who will show up to race. The National 100 at East Alabama Speedway has drawn stout fields over the last few years. I was looking at some of the expected drivers at WhyNot Speedway this coming weekend and that looks to be a good show as well.

Then there is that one regional event that seems to draw a lot of cars and a lot of good drivers where everybody is trying to get in that one last race of the year. It used to be The Gobbler when it was at Cleveland Speedway. That one race moves around from year to year. That is the one to watch for.

Richard: Good point about the season never really ending. It won’t be long before cars and drivers will be heading back to Golden Isles Speedway to begin another campaign on the national level as well as the many local and regional events that typically mark the start to another season.

One reason to look forward to the off season is the news that will come from it, often referred to as the silly season. Last year many were shocked to find out that Josh Richards was leaving his father’s Rocket Chassis house car to compete on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with the Best Performance Motorsports organization. That move proved to be a good one for Rocket as the car builder not only won the Lucas title but will soon be collecting the prize for the WoO Late Models championship as well when Brandon Sheppard wraps up that title.

In our region we already know of one move as it was announced earlier that Donald McIntosh will leave Blount Motorsports at the end of the season. We know that at least one piece of news will eventually be forthcoming at some point in the future when the BMS seat is filled.

There will also be upcoming track and series news such as schedules and other plans are soon released.

There’s never a shortage of intrigue in dirt racing, is there?

Michael: Just like many other sports, Dirt Late Model racing has become a year-round sport. Whether it be races or news, there is very little down time in this sport.

The funny thing is in this day of social media, there are few secrets in this sport. Richards running Lucas this year was one that was kept under wraps until the last minute. It will be interesting to see if any big shakeups are coming and whether it remains quiet or gets out.

Richard: Of course, the off-season then leads to the next season. One piece of big news that has already come out regarding 2018 is the introduction of a new event on the LOLMDS schedule. The Dirt Million is set for August in Manfield, OH as a race that will pay at least $100,000-to-win. However, promoter Cody Sommer hopes to grow the purse for the race by taking in donations from fans and others. Potentially, the winner of the race could earn as much as $500,000 out of a total purse of $1,000,000.

Sommer has shown himself to be a person not afraid of taking risks as he did last year(and will do again this year) with the Dirt Late Model event held inside the dome that once served as the home of the NFL’s Rams franchise in St. Louis. I’m really interested to see how this deal works out.

Michael: It is an interesting idea for sure. In order to grow the purse, fans have to donate. It will be interesting to see how many fans actually donate and how much higher the purse will get by the time the race rolls around. Most fans are already financially invested by purchasing tickets, shirts, and pay-per-view telecasts. The question I have is whether fans who will not be going to the race will donate.

On the flip side, if this does work, how many other promoters will try something similar? Racing is a copycat business.

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