DIRTRACKR Daily Podcast - Episode Transcript

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Builder makes Ford 410 sprint car engine announcement | Daily 3-26-2024

The Lucas series director talks tires and loyalty, the Ford 410 sprint car engine could be available for sale soon, and the Super DIRTcar Series reveals a big list of full timers. Let's go!

It's Tuesday, March 26th, I'm Justin Fiedler. This is DIRTRACKR Daily presented by Kubota Genuine Parts.

Before we get started, just a couple of house keeping notes. First, hit that subscribe button and like these videos if you don't do that already. It's a free and easy way to support what I'm doing, and subscribing to the YouTube channel or podcast doesn't cost you a single dollar, and it makes sure you don't miss any future episodes. We should break across 30,000 YouTube subscribers at some point today. Also, make sure to check out the DIRTRACKR email newsletter, which is called The Slider. It's also a free subscribe. In the last few days I've sent two new pieces there, one from Pat Sullivan and the other from Jacob Hord. If you missed them, you can read those pieces and sign up over at dirtrackr.com/theslider. And finally, we are getting close to being done with the sprint car build series with driver Zach Hampton. Episode nine hit the YouTube channel on Sunday, as Zach finished up bits and pieces around the engine, plus started with exterior parts like the nerf bars and front wing. There is one more build video remaining, I've also got a shop tour, and there might be another special episode coming. But you can catch up any time and see every nut and bolt that goes into building a 410 sprint car at youtube.com/dirtrackr.

One other piece of content I want to direct you towards today is from Hunt the Front. They've been doing some regular live streams on their podcast YouTube channel, and yesterday they had Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series director Rick Schwallie on, and he talked about the situation with Jimmy Owens, plus talked tire testing. Schwallie isn't a guy we hear from super often in a public space, but he's a key figure in the dirt late model world, and he had some interesting things to say. He clarified the deal with Owens and not getting the perks of being a full time Lucas member, and the guys talked about the recent situation around the tire penalties for Bobby Pierce, Devin Moran, and Kyle Bronson. There are some misconceptions out there about how tire testing is handled, by both late model tours, and Schwallie was pretty transparent on his stance on all of it. I'll throw a link to it below in the video description, or just search for Hunt the Front podcast on YouTube.

Yesterday on the Daily we talked about a return to sprint car racing for NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Briscoe. Brisky is rolling out his number five sprint car for 35 shows this season, with his dad Kevin set to crew chief it. Briscoe will split driving duties with regular midget racer Karter Sarff. As Briscoe is aligned with Ford Racing, both through his past, coming up in stock car racing, and currently with Stewart Haas Racing, his cars will be powered by the Ford sprint car engine. The Ford program started with Tony Stewart Racing, and at the time, their two cars. Donny Schatz obviously in the 15, and Tony Stewart and Kerry Madsen in the 14. Just like we've seen with the Toyota deal, it's taken some time for all the bugs to get worked out, and supply chain issues through the covid pandemic certainly slowed progress. The Ford engines though have started to appear outside of TSR, including with the McCandless team, Parker Price Miller briefly, and Zeb Wise and the Rudeen car have switched to them exclusively. For the most part though, the Ford 410s haven't really been available to the public yet, but that appears like it might be changing. Just a few days ago, Shaver Racing Engines, which builds the Ford 410s, posted to Facebook that the customer version was nearly ready. According to that post, Ford Motor Company is finalizing the supply process for parts, and a more production version of the engine would be tested at some point this week. Shaver wanted to use the post to gauge demand from parties who had serious interest in buying the engines, so as to help Ford decide the scale at which to produce parts. They also shared that the Ford piece would be similar in cost to existing Chevy based 410s. No timeline was given on exact availability, so we'll have to stay tuned on when things are actually available for the public. As a comparison, the Toyota engines that continue to be used by Roth Motorsports, with drivers James McFadden and Buddy Kofoid, are still not available for sale. Back in May of 2023, TRD's Executive Technical Director Andy Graves shared to social media that they hoped for the engines to be for sale by the end of 2023, but that never came to fruition. It's clear there are still issues for TRD to resolve, as 2023 was littered with failures, including that big loss at Huset's during the High Bank Nationals. And the Roth team popped two at Volusia during DIRTcar Nationals. I think this is an interesting illustration of just how difficult it can be to have success in projects like these. Two incredibly large entities like TRD and Ford Performance, with experienced people leading the charge, Shaver with Ford, and Rider and Speedway with Toyota, and it's taken them years to try and sort these pieces out. We saw Zeb Wise have success with the Ford engine late in 2023, but the jury remains out on whether or not Donny Schatz can return to his past form. There are certainly plenty out there who think he should go back to engines they were running before. And the reliability of the Toyota engine will be a significant factor in how much success Buddy Kofoid has or doesn't have with the World of Outlaws and James McFadden has or doesn't have with High Limit.

One other sprint car news item for you. The future for the Lane Racing machine in Ohio has very much been in doubt since Chris Windom departed for the Vermeer 55 with the NOS Energy Drink sponsorship. This is a car I've been asked about several times in recent weeks and months. Windom ran with the team in 2023 out full time with the All Stars, but transitioned to Vermeer to compete full time with High Limit this season. Just a few days ago, ohiodirt.com had a story about Lane hiring Zane DeVault to drive their cars this season. The plan at the moment is to compete for the FAST series championship and to run Speedweek. Other races and appearances will be dependent on sponsorship, with the team hoping to expand into the Maverick series, Western PA Speedweek, and the Outlaw races in Ohio. This is a nice turn of events, because the last I'd heard, Lane was taking a step back from competition for a while. DeVault opened the FAST season with a seventh place finish at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway back on March 16th. That race was won by Tim Shaffer. The FAST schedule continues on April 6th at Atomic Speedway.

Moving on to some northeast modified racing, the Super DIRTcar Series has released their complete list of full time teams in advance of the opening weekend. The 2024 championship season starts Saturday at New Egypt. The teams did run down south during DIRTcar Nationals, but those are not points-paying events. 19 drivers have signed platinum agreements with the SDS and the list is stacked. It includes Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, Jimmy Phelps, Anthony Perrego, Peter Britten, Tim Sears Jr., Mike Mahaney, Larry Wight, Jack Lehner, Darren Smith, Adam Pierson, Felix Roy, CG Morey, Marcus Dinkins, Justin Stone, Alex Payne, Matt Caprara, Mike Trautschold, and Daniel Johnson. Those last five I mentioned are the rookie contenders. It will be incredibly difficult to knock Matt Sheppard off the top of the mountain, as he's won three straight championships, and seven of the last eight. Mat Williamson is the only other driver to win a Super DIRTcar Series championship since 2014, and barring a big improvement from another driver on this list, Williamson is likely the biggest challenger to the 9S this season. Sheppard has run nine times this season, and already has six wins, including most recently in the $50,000 Speed Showcase at Port Royal. Saturday's event at New Egypt is $7500 to win.

Alright, that's it for the Daily show today. Make sure to hit up dirtrackr.com/watchtonight to see today's streaming schedule.

Hope you guys have a great Tuesday out there, we'll see you back here tomorrow!