Southern All-Stars penalties limited in scope unless other series comply

Dirt Late Model racing is a unique in that there are many sanctioning bodies reigning over the same sport. Compared to professional football where there the NFL is supreme or professional basketball which is dominated by the NBA, there are many options for competitors to apply their skills on clay surfaces. Even within the field of racing, this is somewhat unique in that there are several places for those who want to race nationally to compete and a myriad of regional tours at their disposal.

Because of that, a rule change, a new type of format, or a penalty only applied to one of the many touring series options is very limited in its reach if not adopted by all the sanctioning bodies. If one series incorporates a rule that some racers do not like, those races can simply compete somewhere else. We have seen that happen with the so-called ‘droop rule’ which is used by some tours and not by others.

The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series uses a format that calls for the winners, and sometimes the second-place finishers, in heat races to participate in a blind draw to set the starting order for the first three or four rows in the feature. If a driver or team felt strongly enough about not wanting to do that, they could just race somewhere else.

The point of saying all that is to state that when one sanctioning body does anything, it will only go as far as that body’s events unless others join in.

If the NFL or NBA dole a suspension or a fine, there is no where else for competitors to go whereas in Dirt Late Model racing, there are other options.

Getting to the real point of this piece, in a recent Southern All-Stars-sanctioned event at Southern Raceway in Milton, Florida there were confrontations both on and off the track that led to significant penalties for drivers Ashton Winger and G.R. Smith.

Winger was suspended from the races conducted by that series for 60 days and will be placed on ‘zero tolerance’ probation after his return. Smith has been suspended indefinitely and must meet guidelines set forth by the Southern All-Stars before he will be allowed to compete again in one of their races.

Over that sixty day period, the Southern All-Stars plan to contest seven features. It is unknown how many of those events either Winger or Smith might have planned to enter had they not been suspended. That said, there will be many events conducted by both the national series and among the numerous regional tours for these or any other drivers to choose from during that period of time.

Winger and Smith could race in those events if no other sanction chooses to comply with the Southern All-stars decision.

So, just like a major rule change, being suspended from one regional series may not have much impact, especially if the suspended driver or drivers intended to race regularly on another series or to employ a pick-and-choose schedule.

Obviously, it is up to each series to conduct its own business however it sees fit. Whether it be in cases of disciplinary actions or rule changes, they can follow the lead of others or not. If a suspended driver carries on business as usual with another series then that suspension serves a very limited purpose.

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