Coming up we are talking last night's racing at Placerville, I've got a format rant, and we talk news from Eldora, the All Stars and Josh Richards. Let's go!
Today is Friday, November 19th, two thousand and twenty one. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.
The Hangtown 100 weekend at Placerville Speedway is off and running with night one of three in the books. 47 cars too part last night, but there was one driver missing and that was Chase Elliott. His car was on the property, but he didn't make it to California in time from the Charlotte Next Gen test. The word is he will compete tonight and tomorrow. He is in a second entry for Kyle Larson. And speaking of Larson, he broke out a new FloRacing paint scheme on his 1K last night. Another very solid Blackbeard design, and he had a matching firesuit and gloves. It wasn't Larson's night though in the feature. He went 12th to 6th but was never a factor for the win. Out front, it was all young Ryan Timms in a Chad Boat machine. He started second and led every lap. At one point, his lead was nearly four seconds, but through lap traffic in the closing circuits Cannon McIntosh ran him down. McIntosh could never get close enough though to make a move and Timms held on at the line to become the youngest driver to ever win a USAC National Midget feature at just 15 years, 3 months and 12 days old. A bit surprisingly, the feature went caution free. With 26 cars in the big show on a bullring like Placerville, I expected there to be at least a few cautions, but the drivers kept it clean, which is commendable. Behind Timms and Cannon Mac, Justin Grant finished third, Shane Golobic was fourth, and Emerson Axsom completed the top five. On top of the race results for the next few nights, there is also a points payout on the line, and according to Walkapedia, Timms is the points leader by two after night one. In the race for the national championship, we've had yet another change atop the standings, with Chris Windom back on top of Buddy Kofoid by 13 points. Windom went 10th to 7th last night, while Kofoid was buried in the field after having to transfer from a B main. He ended up 14th after starting 22nd. Tonight at Placerville they will do it all over again with another $5000 to win program on the schedule. And then the Saturday 100 lapper will pay $20,000 to the winner, with another $12 grand going to the points champion. I still think Larson is the one to watch for the next two nights, but last night showed that there are plenty of cars that could win this thing come Saturday. Both nights will be live on FloRacing.
If you follow my personal Twitter account you may have seen me go on a little bit of a rant this morning about dirt racing formats, and it's something I've talked about before. This was triggered by last night's Hangtown show, but I don't want this to come off as me just blaming the event or USAC. This is a systemic problem for all of dirt racing. The formats for some of these series and events are just too complicated. I've worked for a sanctioning body, so more often than not, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, because I understand how difficult that job really is. So between the folks at Placerville, Matt Wood the promoter, and guys like Spridge and Levi Jones at USAC, this is not me coming at you. But we have to do better as a whole. I get that we want to put on exciting shows and have a ton of action and make things fun for the fans. But it's a problem when even die hards aren't sure what's going on through the course of a race night. On a regular basis, tracks and series and sanctioning bodies are trying to find ways to bring more people through the gates and to get more people to watch online, but having complicated formats is a serious barrier to entry for the casual fan. On a weekend when you're going to have Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott in the field, the odds are pretty good that some folks are going to be tuning in who don't normally do so. Let's not drive them off with a format they can't follow. From hot laps all the way through the checkered in the feature, it needs to be as simple as possible. And there also needs to be consistency through the season. At no point in any sprint car, midget, modified, late model or any other show should we need to do complicated algebra or have diagrams available to figure out who is transferring from what position in a heat race to a feature. Simple is the way to go, and the cream will always rise to the top anyway. We must do better.
After teasing it for a while, Eldora Speedway finally made the announcement yesterday that the Eldora Million is returning to the track for 2022. In advance of the Dirt Late Model Dream, which takes place June 10th and 11th next year, the Eldora Million will be on track Wednesday and Thursday, June 8th and 9th. The winner of the race will take down $1,002,022, with the track paying out a total of nearly $1.9 million over the four days of racing. The original Eldora Million was won by Donnie Moran in 2001. Obviously social media was abuzz yesterday after the drop, and you even saw open wheel teams and drivers talking about trying to find ways to get involved. It's certainly a big commitment from Tony Stewart and Roger Slack to put a deal like this together, and I hope the fans and teams will pack the place in support. I think my favorite tweet in response was someone asking Jonathan Davenport if he was going to run for the million and him responding that he wasn't going to because he has a quote "40 and under volleyball league practice that weekend" unquote. Super funny. I do think though that his announcement brings me back to Wednesday's show when we talked about how big dirt racing should or could get. Tony and the track are not making a donation or a charitable contribution here with this event. They will need to make up for the purse payout through things like streaming revenue, sponsorships, and ticket sales. So in this discussion, as purses rise, that money has to come from somewhere. Keep that in mind when drivers and fans start asking how come there isn't a million dollar paying sprint car race, or how come there aren't more races like this. I also think it's the big question mark right now for the XR races and series for next year that are supposed to pay a lot. Some of those events didn't have huge crowds this season, and you can't continue to lose money on events and stay in business going forward. Check out Wednesday's episode for more on that discussion, and you can visit eldoraspeedway.com for more details on the Eldora Million.
And speaking of dates and schedules, the All Stars released their full 2022 slate of races yesterday. 56 races await the All Star competitors for next season, with action getting underway at Senoia on February 4th and ending at Fremont on October 7th and 8th. As is customary, the opening nights at Senoia, Volusia and East Bay will be non-points events, with the championship chase officially beginning at Attica in April. In between, you'll get all the favorites like the Bob Weikert and Tusky 50 at Port Royal, the Dirt Classic at Lincoln, Ohio Sprint Speedweek, and the Rayce Rudeen Foundation Race, which will still pay $26,000 to the winner, but is moving to I-70 Motorsports Park. Along with the schedule release, the series is upping the points payout nearly 35% to $345,000 total, with the champion now earning a record $80,000. That's a $15,000 bump from 2021. So between the big events and the points payout, plenty of cheddar is on the line next season. I did see some complaints about no Indiana racing, but as is often the case, if those races were making money, they wouldn't come off the schedule. Also, it sounds like adding a date at Lernerville is still a work in progress. Lernerville and the Silver Cup are off the Outlaw schedule for reasons we've previously discussed, and the All Stars were the most likely series to fill the gap. We'll just have to see what plays out there. You can see the full rundown of 2022 All Star races right now at allstarsprint.com.
In some other news from the past 24 hours, Kevin Kovac posted to dirtondirt.com that Josh Richards has officially departed the Clint Bowyer Racing number 14 dirt late model team. There have been rumblings for a while about the CBR team, and this cements some of those rumors. Clint's brother Casey told Kovac that the team is not shutting down, and that they are exploring options for the future. As for Richards, he is now looking for a new home for the future. With the 14 team for the past three seasons, Richards finished 3rd in the Lucas standings in 2019, fourth in 2020, and a disappointing 8th this year. He ended the season with two wins, but only had 22 top ten finishes in 45 starts, and just eight top fives. That led to an average finish of about 11.3, which was nearly two positions worse than 2020. Last weekend at Las Vegas, Richards drove a second Boom Briggs entry to a second place finish in Saturday's big show. For more on the story, visit dirtondirt.com.
If you need a late model fix this weekend, don't forget the Xtreme DIRTcar Series gets going with stops at Lancaster and Cherokee. Both races are $10,000 to win. Chris Madden has won the championship in each of the last two seasons, so we'll have to see if he's looking to defend. It sounds like the field at Cherokee should be stacked and will include Madden, Brandon Overton, and a nice cast of characters. Saturday's field may be a little lighter. If you can't get to the tracks, DIRTVision will have live coverage both days. You can find more series details at xtremedirtcar.com.
There are nine shows on the streaming schedule today with plenty more dirt races to watch this weekend. DIRTVision has the Reutimann Memorial from Volusia, Flo has the Hangtown 100, King of the Sandbox at Southern Raceway, plus racing from Needmore and Central Arizona. There is also racing on Speed Sport, Fast Four, and The Cushion through Sunday. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
That's it for the show today, hope you have a good Friday and a good weekend. If you have thoughts about the topics on today's show, leave them in the comments below or tweet at me.
Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you next week for more DIRTRACKR Daily!