“Three Things” is a weekly feature highlighting three news stories in the world of sprint car and midget racing.
North Wilkesboro track issues threaten USAC races
USAC announced today that its scheduled USAC TRAXXAS Silver Crown and Mopar National Midget doubleheader at North Carolina’s North Wilkesboro Speedway on July 23 has been placed in a “tentative” position due to a “business restructure” underway at the historic 5/8th-mile track. However, other media reports suggest that the chances of USAC racing – or any racing – taking place at the former NASCAR site might be quite slim.
A release on the North Wilkesboro Speedway website said that “the business climate and a lack of working capital has now brought everything at the historic facility to a screeching halt.” Speedway Associates Inc. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Speedway Associates, Inc. – which is halfway through a three-year lease of the track from Speedway Motorsports – has decided to halt scheduled racing for the remainder of the season. Speedway Associates, Inc. President Alton McBride, Jr. told the newspaper that the track needs around $250,000 of capital to have the potential to re-open the track for races this summer.
In a press release on the issues with North Wilkesboro, USAC said that they have been informed by track officials that a final decision on the future of the track will be made by June 15, at which time USAC will decide whether the previously scheduled races can continue.
USAC reports positive results from new midget motor package
Before the start of the 2011 season, USAC announced the rev limits would be imposed on midget cars in an attempt to make engines last longer and help race teams with their budgets. So how are things going so far? USAC seems to be very pleased, as are some drivers quoted in a release from the organization touting the new RPM limits.
Among the drivers quoted at the Dodge City Raceway Park event in April, Gary Taylor said that “I think you can run more races this way and still have your engine intact when you send it back for a rebuild.” However, many of the other drivers quoted in the release seemed to be far more reserved in their praise, falling on the side that RPM limits haven’t been a problem but might not solve the major issues in midget racing.
Cody Brewer was quoted as saying that he felt that “I think we still need to find a way to unhook the cars some,” while Brady Bacon said that “I don’t know that the rev limit is going to save many motors but it might help a little.” Clearly, drivers are waiting to see the long-term benefits of rev limits – especially at larger tracks where RPMs are much higher – before fully endorsing the program.
Kittle Motorsports and Danny Sheridan scale back 410 program
The USAC/CRA series saw one of its most consistent contenders drop out of the title chase this week, as the Kittle Motorsports team announced that it would be selling much of its 410 sprint car equipment to focus on 360 racing with driver Danny Sheridan. In a press release, team manager Shiosaki said that it the team decided to “liquidate some of its assets” including its hauler and trailer. The team will continue to race, focusing on the USAC West Coast 360 series.
Sheridan lives in Santa Maria, home to several USAC West Coast 360 series races. He is also likely to see time at Ventura Raceway during their bigger 360 races during the season. Sheridan suffered a hard crash in qualifying for the USAC/CRA race at Victorville Auto Raceway on March 26, virtually destroying a new chassis. He returned for the next series race at Perris Auto Speedway on April 2, finishing ninth.
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