*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.
The latest edition of the Turn 2 Blog is presented by the American All-Star Pro Late Models Presented by PPM Racing Products
Who are some drivers you have noticed gaining momentum as the season winds down?
Richard: Two drivers who are in the process of turning very good seasons into great seasons are Brandon Overton and Bobby Pierce. Both have done very well throughout 2022 but have found ways to add more to their total winnings as the schedule winds down.
And finishing out one season on a positive note definitely plays a role going into the next year. Jonathan Davenport ended 2021 in a strong way and his 2022 has certainly been a great one. Chris Madden ended 2021 well then picked right up where he left off in 2022. Brandon Overton began winning at a high level at the end of 2020 then had an amazing 2021.
Jimmy Owens was scoring victories at the end of 2019 and Tim McCreadie was doing the same as 2020 concluded. Those two drivers went on to win the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title the following year.
Overton picked up $30,000 this past weekend by grabbing his second consecutive National 100 trophy from the East Alabama Motor Speedway. That lucrative victory goes along with the big paydays he had already earned including the resumption of the Dirt Late Model Dream back in September.
‘Big Sexy’ also finished first in a Carolina Clash race at Cherokee Speedway to seemingly earn another $10,000 but his car failed post-race inspection following the feature and he was disqualified.
Pierce has also added to his earnings by winning seven features since September 3rd. Among those have been preliminary night victories leading in to the World 100 and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals as well as a pair of $22,022 wins with the FloRacing Night in America Series at Fairbury Speedway and Atomic Speedway.
Both of these drivers are capable of being dominate and have certainly made some waves throughout this season and seem to be laying the groundwork for a good start to 2023.
Michael: It’s hard to go against Overton since he won one race and was disqualified from another win for failing the droop rule. He had a “down” year compared to what he did in 2021. Maybe he’s finding his way back going into 2023.
Mike Marlar is another ending his season on a positive note. He’s had several wins and top-3 finishes this month. It will be interesting to see what he does at Charlotte.
What are your thoughts going into the World Finals at Charlotte?
Richard: The only thing I don’t like about the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is that it signifies the end of another racing season. Aside from that, I love everything about the World of Outlaws finale weekend. Living in east Tennessee, there are very few opportunities to see the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series so getting to watch a pair of features in person is great.
One reason I have enjoyed Bristol Motor Speedway being covered in dirt has been the aspect of getting to watch the Sprint Cars close to home. Charlotte just provides another relatively close opportunity for that.
And more, the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series settles its championship battle there as well. There have been seasons such as 2018 when Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard and Chris Madden all came to Charlotte with a chance to win the title which made for an exciting weekend.
For any race fan who has never been to a Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified race, the sound alone is worth it. And that series will be on display in Charlotte.
Michael: Even though I don’t follow it too closely, the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars have an exciting battle for a series championship that could come down to the final lap on Saturday.
I was looking forward to a championship battle in the late models. But Dennis Erb Jr. already has that wrapped up. The weekend of racing will be drivers trying to get a big payday to close out the year.
We already have some driver changes that will get a head start on things this weekend. I’ll be interested to see if any of those have immediate success from the start.
Do you have a ‘Bucket List’ track or event in mind for 2023?
Richard: I am going to make a serious effort this year to attend at least one of the big races at the Eldora Speedway in 2023. The only time I have ever been to dirt racing’s premier venue was for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race so I definitely want to take in a Late Model or Sprint Car show there soon.
With all the races I go to each year, I tend to go to a lot of the same tracks over and over again, which is fine, but I hope to expand my horizons a bit next year.
Some day, I want very much to go to Knoxville Raceway and to Fairbury Speedway. Of course, it’s all a matter of timing since we don’t do this for a living but more as a hobby.
Michael: The two top ones I hope to make are the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park and the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway. Ever since it was announced that a nearby company planned to buy East Bay, it’s become a destination point for drivers and fans. While there is a lot of talk that the speedway may not be sold and demolished, it’s still a great event.
Fairbury speaks for itself and is one of those places I want to go before I hang up the camera, whenever that is.
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