“You can see them working that wheel,” said series promoter Jason Smoot on Speed51’s The Bullring Weekend Preview. “You can see what all goes on in there.”
However, the appearance of the cars is not the only thing that makes the series unique. It is a series where any Late Model can show up and compete. With various weight rules depending on what type of car you bring to the track, the rulebook creates a level playing field for all racers.
We allow any Late Model in the United States to run our series. Different weight rules, different tire rules, and different body packages. Anything from a 602 Crate Late Model all the way to a full-blown all-aluminum Super Late Model, all running one division. All motors have won in our series, going into our seventh season.
Smoot admits putting together a rulebook that could put a Super Late Model on the same racetrack as an entry-level Crate Late Model presented challenges. However, the formula has been perfected over the years.
“When I first started, I was scratching my head, trying to figure out how I was going to make this work. The first couple of years was pretty much at one race track to make sure I’d get the weight and tires and everything right. It’s worked out pretty good. A lot of different packages took the checkered flag last year, a lot of different winners, chassis and motors.”
With all cars on a level playing field, the series is an attractive one for racers on a budget, smaller teams who are racing for the love of the sport.
I made this division for what I call the blue-collar racers, working people who have to pay for everything out of their pocket. They don’t have big companies paying for everything. That’s pretty much what it led to. When you bring the bigger purses in, it comes back to the ones who just have to show up with a helmet.
“These guys, a lot of them had pretty much given up on racing. I brought this in, and it brought them back to life. They can compete for wins, championships. Last year’s champion, Robbie Bailey, it’s him, his wife and his son that do all the work. He won a championship and won some races.”
As a result, car counts have been impressive for the series. More than 20 cars have started both of the series’ first two races in 2021, and Smoot expects that trend to continue this weekend at Lake View and beyond.
“We’ve had two races so far this year, with 22 at one and 24 at the next. With the points fund that we’ve put out this year, I don’t see any of our races having fewer than 20 cars. I don’t see it. I am predicting this weekend, 20 to 26. I think that’s a real good number, and I think we’ll have it.”
Click here to listen to Thursday’s episode of The Bullring Weekend Preview in podcast form for the full interview with Smoot.
Race fans unable to attend the JD Pridgen Memorial can watch live on Speed51.TV. Click here to become a subscriber and watch on Saturday.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo