Speculation 2010

By T.J. Buffenbarger

Did anyone hear a good rumor last week?

The sprint car world along with my twitter and e-mail inbox went crazy last week after rumors of a a possible new sprint car series started to come to fruition (one friend appropriately coined the series the “WTF Sprints”, as in “WTF, my inbox has 50 new messages…).

Speculation ran rampant through message boards and even on syndicated radio about drivers, tracks, and teams that were looking at the new series for 2010. Some even reasoned the big news would be dropped at Charlotte during the World Finals, which I never believed would happen for any series, regional or national, on the World of Outlaws. After talking with several of the parties involved my best advice to the readers is stay tuned. There are enthusiastic parties that want to be a part of this group, but right now a new series appears to be still in the feeling out stage.

My personal assessment of the potential WTF Sprint Series is about a 50/50 chance of happening. A lot of it is going to have to do with the number of tracks unhappy with their current situation combined with the ability to produce a viable 40 race schedule by the PRI show. With the clock ticking getting that many tracks to secure dates for an unproven commodity is a daunting task no matter what name is behind it. I’m also of the opinion that another regional series would not be bad option for the sprint car world right now.

The WTF Sprints combined with the tire turmoil has already kick started one of the busiest silly seasons in recent memory.

TJ’s Notes…

  • While running into Ken and Cheryl Pelkie from the Ohsweken Speedway at Saturday’s Engine Pro ASCS Sprints on Dirt presented by ARP banquet on Saturday I picked up some tidbits of information for 2010. Ken indicated that the two day World of Outlaws show at Ohsweken would take place July 30th and 31st during the 2010 season. This will be the first time the Outlaws will take to Ohsweken’s clay during a weekend rather than a mid-week show. It will be interesting to see how many cars head over the border and who will stick to various point races, and how the crowd will be affected with nearby speedways having their regular programs against the Outlaws.

    Other changes in store at Ohsweken for 2010 is group qualifying for the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. Ohsweken officials plan taking a different approach than other sprint car organizations and adopting the format most commonly seen in Late Model racing where drivers will time in groups that will make up the heat races, and the inversion for that heat will be determined by each session’s qualifying times. For example, when the first eight cars hit the track they will be the eight cars that make up the first heat race. After two sessions a predetermined number of cars from that group will be inverted for the heat race. This should speed up the program and should put less wear and tear on the racing surface.

    The other big news out of Ohsweken this week was about the change in the qualifying procedures for the 2010 Ohsweken Shootout. Affiliate series will have the option to hold qualifiers at other race tracks. This allows groups like the NRA Sprint Invaders and ASCS CanWest regions to hold qualifiers during the season. I could see more series will joining this list as Ohsweken’s weekly sprint car program grows stronger and the need to hold sanctioned events at Ohsweken decreases.

  • Did you read the World of Outlaws press release from their 2010 banquet closely? One of the most interesting nuggets of information released in that presser indicated was Knoxville Raceway will host a three-day Hall of Fame event at the legendary half-mile in June. Tony Veneziano from the World of Outlaws indicated on Tuesday’s Open Wheel Spectacular details are still being worked out to make this happen, but it things are looking positive. It seems natural to have the Outlaws at Knoxville during Hall of Fame induction weekend. Many of the sports modern heroes from the Outlaws have either had to charter flights, skip out on another event to be at Knoxville, or be absent for their induction. Hopefully this event happens so we do not have to see another Outlaw star miss their induction.
  • Tony Bruce, Jr. went into a lot of detail on Tuesday’s Open Wheel Spectacular on his plans for 2010. Bruce plans on racing the entire 2010 Lucas Oil ASCS National Sprint Car Tour along with hitting and missing other races in the Midwest to go with an ambitious schedule of organizing racing events through TBJ promotions. The latest promotion will be a reboot of the Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway as a two day ASCS National Tour program. Eagle Raceway also announced they would not hold a World of Outlaws event in 2010.
  • The United States Auto Club is slated to be at the Iowa Speedway in Newton on Saturday May 22nd. What has not been released is the schedule for that day to see if the event is a day or nighttime affair on likely the same night Knoxville Raceway would hold a sprint car race 45 miles up the road.