Where is the line between hard racing and dirty racing?

Tim McCreadie

Ask twenty different racers and you’ll likely get twenty different answers in regard to where the line is between hard, aggressive racing and dirty, overly aggressive racing. As is the case with politics, religion or just about any other topic, there are wide ranging opinions on the matter. And just like those topics mentioned in the previous sentence, a number of factors go into how each person will answer the question of what is acceptable and what is dirty.

Initially, this piece was meant to take on the topic of how hard non series regulars should race against series regulars in points-paying races. But based off the comments of two Dirt Late Model veteran drivers, it seems to have morphed into a piece on how different generations view aggressive racing.

Last Friday night at Brownstown Speedway there was an incident between Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regular Jimmy Owens and regional standout Devin Gilpin. When the dust settled, both cars ended up going over the banking and coming to rest off the race track outside of turn four of that historic Indiana facility. It was from this mishap that the idea for the story on series regulars vs. non regulars originally sprouted. However, the comments obtained from Tim McCreadie and Dale McDowell redirected the intent of the piece.

During the Friday night LOLMDS-sanctioned race at Brownstown, McCreadie had a front row seat for the incident between Owens and Gilpin. During his post-race interview following a second-place run in that feature, the current series points leader offered his thoughts on the style of racing that played out in front of him on that night.

“It was really wild out there,” McCreadie began in talking with MavTV Plus. “You’d think it was the beginning of the year the way they were racing. They’re all really hungry and a lot of them having trouble seeing out of their right eye. I don’t know, I just try to stay out of their way then a guy slides me and I’m like ‘Well, just take it’.”

In an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com prior to his victory in the Southern All-Star Dirt Racing Series feature on Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway, 55-year-old McDowell explained that the mindset of drivers seems to have changed from his generation to the current crop of rising stars within the sport.

“I don’t even know if we look at it anymore as a non series regular or a series regular but everyone races different,” the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame member stated. “For those of us guys who have raced a while there’s a sense of he will leave me room or he will do this or he’ll do that and I see more and more of that going away. I don’t think it’s intentional, I just think it’s the way the new generation of racers, they’re just different.”

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McDowell added that many of today’s young racers cut their racing teeth in Crate Late Model cars which demand that drivers keep up momentum and seize upon opportunities when they arise. When those same drivers rise to Super Late Model, they bring their driving style with them according to the veteran.

Patience is a virtue that typically comes with experience. McCreadie believes young drivers are more willing to take risks that may cause an incident. But those incidents may bring about payback.

Dale McDowell

“It’s one of those deals, do unto others as they do unto you,” McCreadie pointed out. “Most of these guys, it would be nice if they would give you a corner where you actually raced each other before it happens. I know they’re only trying to get what they can get but it’s crazy to never see a guy, never race with him, then the first time you have a restart he goes over the top of your hood pins. But that’s what it is. It’s a young man’s sport so I guess I better start doing more of that. I need to give out more receipts.”

McDowell says the game has changed during his time as a racer. He doesn’t necessarily believe younger racers are dirty, just different.

“There’s maybe a new set of rules or maybe their rules and guidelines are just different from the veterans,” McDowell said. “That’s what I see and even when we’re racing, when you race with the veterans, you kind of know more what they’re going to do. Not downgrading the newer racers, they just race hard. It’s nothing intentional, they just don’t care. They just take their line whatever it may be and that’s it. I see why they get flared up a little bit, us older racers. I guess we’ll just have to tighten our belts and race a little more like them.”

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