By TJ Buffenbarger
8/23/99: During the Amoco Knoxville Nationals Ted Johnson announced that the Pennzoil World of Outlaws were going to start their own support series. No matter how anyone tries to sugar coat it, the series is going to be based on the home turf of the All Star Circuit of Champions run by Bert Emick and is rest of the All Star Board of Directors. Since both series look to be racing during the 2000 season , and it appears they will be butting heads. So I decided to weigh all of the options in the only fair way to compare the two series, with a little match race.
Lap #1: The Name
ASCoC: The All Star name has been around for 20 years with the current series, and was in use years before even the Pennzoil World of Outlaws came to be with Bud Fisher running the show. The name has been synonymous with sprint car racing in the midwest.
WoO Support: Better known as “the Ted Series” around Slideways central. This group will probably be named in some kind of Outlaw theme with a corporate name (probably some kind of oil or parts store) tagged on the front of it.
Give lap one to the All Stars unless the Ted Series can come up with a name more gimmicky than the entire concept of The Spice Girls.
Lap #2: The points fund
ASCoC: After Frigidaire dropped their sponsorship two years ago, no point fund has been boasted by the All Stars. We think it’s something around where the points fund was pre-Figidaire, but we’re not entirely sure.
WoO Support: A $150,000 backed by a corporate entity.
Give lap #2 to the Ted Series. Money talks.
Lap #3: Announcers
ASCoC: Uses track announcers that are perfectly capable of plugging the nice Chevrolet Silverado Pace Truck when it’s out on the track.
WoO Support: Will probably have another P.T. Barnam sales pitch person on the mic reminding us to go to the Featherlite Souvenir trailer every time someone dumps a sprint car on it’s wing.
Leader: Too close at the line to call. Some of those local track announcers don’t have a clue about names and other facts about the series. Many are good, but it’s the few bad ones it for the others. On the other hand, I had to walk around that big semi in back on the stands to get through the gate. Plus the World of Outlaws have some of the gaudiest apparel in all of racing. It’s better this year, but still to NASCAR-esc for my taste.
Lap #4: Television Exposure
WoO Support: Will co-sanction the races at Charlotte and Texas that will be seen on TNN Motorsports.
ASCoC: Bert has a TV in the motor home
Woo leads lap #4 by a straightway!
Lap #5: Innovations
ASCoC: Came up with the cone on a rope.
WoO Support: According to TNN Ted Johnson practically invented the sprint car wing.
Leader: Give this lap to the cone heads!
Lap #6: Race Format
ASCoC: With the six car inversion you never know who might win an All Star race. Butch Schroeder and Alvin Roepke were just two of the upset winners during the 1999 All Star season.
WoO Support: Will have the same format as the Big Series. An upset win will be if someone can win from further back than row two.
Leader: The All Stars because the WoO support series car is weighed down too much by the drum strapped on the front in preparation to lead the parade.
Lap #7: *white flag* Drivers and teams in the series
WoO Support: Kenny Jacobs, Holbrook’s, Joey Saldana, and Dean Jacobs are just a few of the prime candidates for the Ted Series.
Leader: Ted Series. (Why is the Ted Series car the alone on the race track?)
Lap #8: *checkered flag*
WoO: Ted drives around the race tracks in a nice four wheel drive monster golf cart.
ASCoC: Bert flips his golf cart while racing down the cart path in a charity tournament up in Michigan.
Leader: Tie. We think Ted’s cart is really awesome, but Bert crashing a golf cart so hard the foursome in back of him thought the sound was an accident on the highway is a pretty incredible accomplishment.
So with that it’s clear to see nobody really wins hear. I really hate racing politics, and don’t get involved with them. What I do have is a incredibly sarcastic sense of humor that kicks in at times, and this little deal inspired it. So thanks for Bert and Ted for giving me something to write about tonight.