I have never kept it a secret that I tend to favor more racing over less racing. With that in mind, it’s not very likely that anyone other than the racers and promoters themselves get more frustrated over rainouts than I do. And along with that, I am generally happy to see a large number of races on the schedule each year that I can either get to in person or watch via some streaming service.
And over the past couple of seasons or so we have witnessed some new and innovative series emerge to fill voids on the calendar that had previously gone unaddressed. The Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series came into being just about three years ago as a short mini-tour of sorts centered in the southeastern region of the country during the winter months thus tapping into a portion of the calendar that had previously been left empty. The series, which has a limited number of events, pays a nice points purse for those who follow from beginning to end.
While some competitors may use the Xtreme races as a way of testing new ideas for the upcoming season or as a means of supplementing income, others have used it as a means of gaining experience as a springboard into full-time Super Late Model competition.
During the 2021 racing season we witnessed another new arrival onto the Dirt Late Model calendar. The Castrol FloRacing Night in America emerged as a national mini-series with races that would be contested midweek. The payouts were typically quite good and eventual champion Jonathan Davenport earned $20,000 for his efforts in the seven features that were ultimately contested.
The new series, whose scheduled finale at Tri-County Race Track was rained out on Thursday night, cut a broad swath across the country with events ranging from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee. Races originally slated for Kentucky and North Carolina were lost due to weather.
With so many subscription-based streaming services now available, there has to be content for those providers to air which helps to explain why new tours and races have begun to crop up. FloRacing.com streamed each of the Castrol events while DirtVision.com broadcast the Drydene Xtreme shows. And, of course, there are others such as the Karl Kustoms Bristol Dirt Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway aired by raceXR.com.
Focusing in on the FloRacing Night in America Series in particular, these races were very professionally run. Importantly for midweek events, the racing program was conducted in a concise manner, typically finishing the main event plenty early enough for viewers who had to get up early for work the next day. Both track and series officials involved in each program kept things moving along with few delays.
While there were good in-person fan turnouts for most of the races, these events were largely meant as made-for-television happenings rather than being solely dependent on large numbers of ticket sales. And the broadcasts were professionally done and quite good not only from the track but with special feature pieces and a studio show to fill the gaps between qualifying, heat races, and the feature.
On another, somewhat related note, the FloRacing Night in America provided many fans at the track and streaming viewers an opportunity to see the biggest name in all of American racing in action. Kyle Larson won the feature held at Indiana’s Brownstown Speedway and ultimately finished second in the final standings. Race fans outside of NASCAR and Sprint Car racing were able to see a talent rarely seen before, if ever.
Potentially, one of the most important things in regard to Larson and this series could come in the future. With the appearance of the NextGen car in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, that series plans to return to its routine of practicing and qualifying over the course of a full weekend. With that being the case, the opportunities for the Hendrick Motorsports driver to race on dirt during weekends will be greatly limited. Midweek races may provide his only chances next season so fans who have enjoyed watching this driver on clay could benefit from the FloRacing Series.
Some argue that more series such as the FloRacing Night in America causes racing fatigue and burn out. Racers have the choice to race or not to race. Fans have the choice to watch or not watch. If enough of both choose to take part then these tours will continue.
In the opinion of this writer, there is always room for a well run series such as Castrol FloRacing Night in America, especially one that fills a void such as providing midweek racing.
Also, NASCAR and pavement racing fans can check out InsideCircleTrack.