With events being somewhat spread out during the early spring months and with the almost certain weather interruptions that occur during the opening of each racing season, many regional Dirt Late Model teams can hit all the races offered by as many as two or three regional tours right up through April. However, the schedules of some of those series are such that it has now come time to declare for certain in which direction those teams will go.
So, if a driver who had planned on running a particular series has instead started off very well in the two or three races contested by another tour up to this point, he may make a change of plans.
Obviously, factors such as the amount of travel involved with running one series instead of another, the payouts of each upcoming race, and the season championship payout are going to be factors considered when deciding which series to compete on. But just last year, this site posted end-of-the-year stories on Carolina Clash champion Ross Bailes and Ultimate Southeast Series champion Zack Mitchell in which both stated that it had not been their initial intentions to run the particular series that would eventually see them crowned.
This last weekend in April will see the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series in action twice as that regional tour will hit the track in Maryville, TN at Smoky Mountain Speedway for a $5,000-to-win affair then head for Alabama’s Talladega Short Track with $4,000 on the line for the eventual victor in a Saturday night feature that will run the night before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races on the much bigger speedway located nearby.
To this point, eight drivers have competed in all three of the Southern All Stars races that have been contested, including former series champions Riley Hickman and Jay Scott. Currently, Hickman leads the standings over David Breazeale, Zach Leonhardi, Jay Scott, and Andrew Littleton.
Also this Friday and Saturday, the Ultimate Southeast Series is set for a double-header weekend with a $4,014-to-win event at South Carolina’s Laurens County Speedway to be followed the next day by a $4,000-to-win race in neighboring Georgia at the Dixie Speedway.
Defending champion Zack Mitchell once again leads the Ultimate standings with Daulton Wilson, Dustin Mitchell, Brandon Overton, and Donald McIntosh trailing.
Virtually all the regional series races have seen at least some invasion by national touring stars at some time during this early season. However, there is less likelihood of that occurring as the season moves forward with both the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series set to commence racing on virtually every weekend beginning in May.
Two other southeastern based tours, Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series and Spring Nationals, are off this weekend but will find their races being contested on the same dates as other events next month which will again cause some drivers who may not have already to pick a series.
Further, those who have participated in all of the races held by one or the other of the two national tours are also approaching decision time as declarations soon have to be made for purposes of maintaining rookie status and the like if a driver intends to remain on or drop off of one of those series.
For some racers who might be in contention for a championship, rookie honors, or contingency bonuses, the time to decide which tour to run is closing in quickly. For some, it might even be this weekend.