From Jim Hanks
HOLLY, Mich. – With 10 high-profile events at prominent Midwestern venues, MustSeeRacing enjoyed a robust inaugural campaign in 2010 with Troy DeCaire earning the BioBased.US Xtreme Sprint Car championship. The series brought a new level of competition and entertainment to the arena of winged sprint cars on asphalt, opening new areas of interest and attracting competitors from a large geographic region.
While car counts have been a persistent challenge for the sport in recent years, the series attracted an average of 26 cars at each event. Teams and drivers from eight states and Canada were represented.
The series also introduced several new racing formats, geared toward enhancing the competition and event presentation. A Twin-20 format at Auto City Speedway in June produced tight competition and rave reviews from a crowded grandstand, while the “Fast Car Slash” at Berlin Raceway proved popular with fans and competitors alike.
Half of the 2010 events featured races longer than the traditional 30-lap length, offering extended competition and action.
Nine of the 10 series events in 2010 were televised on a delayed basis to 90 million U.S. homes via DirecTV, DishNetwork , Comast and a growing network of sports outlets.
“Our goal from the beginning was to provide fans with close competition at first-class venues,” said series founder Jim Hanks. “Short track racing is consistently one of the most exciting forms of entertainment, and we will continue to focus on ways to engage our audience and offer them an exciting, interesting show.”
The lightning-quick sprint cars lived up to their reputation throughout the season, as track records were shattered at nearly half of the venues. At Michigan’s Kalamazoo Speedway 17 of 27 cars were under the old record, and Jeff Bloom established a world record of 9.908-second at the high-banked quarter-mile Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin.
Eight drivers stood atop the victory podium in 2010, led by Jimmy McCune and Mike Ling with two victories each. Mike Larrison, Bobby East, Troy DeCaire, Dave Steele, Eric Gordon, and Aaron Pierce also scored wins.
A busy May schedule kicked off the season, with competition at two of the nation’s most legendary racing venues, Salem Speedway and Winchester Speedway, both in Indiana.
Gordon’s Memorial Day weekend victory at the Pay Less Little 500 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway was all the more notable as he outdueled the fastest field in the 61-year history of the event. One of the largest crowds in decades at the historic track witnessed Gordon’s impressive victory.
Then came memorable visits to Michigan, first at Flint’s Auto City Speedway and later at Kalamazoo Speedway. Both venues produced intense, side-by-side competition, with a huge crowd waiting out a two-hour rain delay at Auto City.
A return visit to Salem was in the offing in early August for the historic Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial event.
The series enjoyed two popular trips to Wisconsin, with visits to Slinger Speedway and Wisconsin Dells Raceway Park, further strengthening a growing open wheel fan base in the region.
The 2010 campaign drew to a close at popular Berlin Raceway in Michigan for the Open Wheel Shootout in late September.
DeCaire, a 24-year-old transplant from Tampa, Florida, relocated to Indiana at the onset of the series and quickly found himself among the point leaders after a strong showing at the series opener. DeCaire was both fast and consistent, and his performance carried him to the series title after season-long pressure from Jeff Bloom and Jimmy McCune.
Car owner honors went to the Indianapolis-based team of Mike and Susie Blake.