More updates today on the Winger/Smith stuff, Winchester's video policy, plus a ton more rainouts, Cale Thomas finds a 2023 ride, and why you shouldn't sleep on the USAC sprint car series. Let's go!
It's Thursday, March 16th, I'm Justin Fiedler. This is DIRTRACKR Daily.
While I was waiting for my Wednesday show to upload to YouTube yesterday, the Southern All Stars late model series did announce penalties for both GR Smith and Ashton Winger. Winger has been suspended from the series for 60 days with zero tolerance probation due to a crew member using a weapon in a physical altercation. This is in regard to his dad Gary supposedly going after Smith with a hammer. And for his actions, GR Smith has been suspended from the series indefinitely. The series release says quote "The driver struck the 12 machine repeatedly under caution. He failed to comply with our race director who repeatedly told him to leave the track. He was disqualified from the event. Requirements for reinstatement will be discussed with G.R. privately and once the requirements and stipulations are met the suspension will be lifted" unquote. The series also stated they will not tolerate behavior like this at their events. And on top of that, Southern Raceway's promoter Tom Lowery told Outside Groove that anyone who uses a weapon in an altercation at the race track will be banned for life. This follows both this incident and one a few weeks ago where a shovel was used to attack someone at an event there. Both instances led to arrests, as the track does have sheriff's deputies on hand at each race. I think the whole community can look at the events over the past several weeks as a bit of a wake up call. We are all entirely way too on edge at the moment, and none of this is worth going to jail over. Racing is supposed to be fun, let's not forget. It's supposed to be an escape, a chance to be entertained, see drivers perform incredible feats. Nobody ever has a problem with a little bumping, a spin here and there, maybe a shouting match in the pit area. But we absolutely do not need things to continue to devolve to the point they did last weekend. Hopefully going forward we will see the action on track stay good, while tempers simmer down a bit.
One other update for you today, this one involving the situation at Winchester Speedway in Virginia and their video policy. They issued a clarification yesterday to their original post banning video from race days at the track. They are now saying live video feeds are prohibited, which includes on track racing. The ban does not include non-racing footage from the pit area, whether live or recorded. It sounds like they had lots of questions from teams and fans and needed to make an adjustment. You can see the full post over on their Facebook page.
The cold and wet start to 2023 continues to affect dirt races around the country, and the cancellations keep pouring in. High Limit cancelled their season opener that was set to take place next Tuesday, March 21st. On the heels of that, the Tulare Thunderbowl also sacked the following Saturday night of racing that was to feature the USAC CRA sprint cars and winged 360s. So both March 21st and March 25th at Tulare are off. The ASCS canceled their opening weekend yesterday as well, with rain and cold temperatures forecasted for the weekend at Devil's Bowl Speedway. THey will try again in a few weeks at Jackson Motor Speedway. Bakersfield Speedway in California has also canceled their March 18th program because of wet weather. The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars are scheduled for Williams Grove on Friday and Lincoln on Saturday, and the Saturday start time has bee moved up to 5PM because of chilly temperatures on tap there. So like I keep saying, pay attention in the coming days as the schedule changes are coming in hot.
In some sprint car team and driver news from yesterday, Demyan Rudzick Racing announced they will have Cale Thomas back in the seat of their black and orange number 49 sprint cars this season. They are planning a pick and choose schedule which will most likely include racing around Ohio, plus appearances with the big series like the Outlaws, All Stars, and High Limit. Thomas made scattered starts with the Outlaws and All Stars a season ago, picking up an Outlaw top ten at Atomic, and All Star top fives at Atomic and Wayne County. He's a past All Star feature winner as well, back in 2018. They should have a schedule out soon, according to the social media post.
If you didn't happen to tune into the show on DIRTVision last night from Millbridge, find your way over there today, and at least check out the non-wing micro feature. Big slider fest in that one, especially late. Really good racing between guys like Brent Crews and Sheldon Creed. Millbridge continues to produce some bangers on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Finally today, I've got a couple of interesting stat thoughts for you. Now that the season is starting to get rolling again, the analytics section at dirtrackr.com will be a place I spend plenty of time, because it helps illustrate what we are seeing on track week to week. One of the premium stats available with a subscription to DIRTRACKR Plus is current possible top ten streaks. Looking this morning, the longest current active top ten streak in the country is owned by Brady Bacon. He's got 17 straight with the USAC National Sprint Cars. If you might remember from a season ago, Bacon fell short of the series championship by 51 points, with Justin Grant taking down his first ever title. What's interesting though, as I looked back over the 2022 season for Bacon, his championship chances were basically undone right out of the gate. JG opened the year at Bubba Raceway Park with runs of sixth, fourth and a victory, while the Macho Man was outside the top ten on nights one and two, bouncing back to fifth on night three. He spent the rest of the year chasing and was never able to make up the difference. Later on in the season, in the other 36 races, he was outside the top ten on just four other occasions, with two of those being 11th place finishes. Also of note, in Bacon's nine most recent trips to Bubba, the 15th and 16th place runs to start 2022 are big outliers. His other seven finishes there include three wins, two seconds, a fourth, and a fifth. That's an average of just under 2.3. If somehow those two tough nights had results in usual top five runs for Bacon, he probably wins the championship based on average finish. I know that if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas, but I point all of this out for two reasons. One, don't sleep on the USAC sprint cars. This series is very tight all season. Also, it shows just how important single races can be to a championship. You can see all of these numbers for yourself over at dirtrackr.com/analytics.
Three shows are available today across the streaming services. Overnight there is racing from Top of the South Speedway down under, there is also FloRacing 24/7 and DIRTVision Now happening all day. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
Have a good Thursday out there, we'll see you guys tomorrow.