T.J.’s Notebook: Classic from the Couch, Scheduling Bewilderments, and More

Living in a world where one can watch the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic from over 9,000 miles away is remarkable.

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(January 24, 2022) — This 2022 edition of the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway turned out with great racing the two nights I was able to witness from afar courtesy of DIRTVision. While waking up early to catch the Classic has been a tradition in our household since the ability to catch the race via online pay per view has existed, this year it appeared more people than ever took in Australia’s version of the Knoxville Nationals based on the social media traffic I witnessed from other people I would not typically associate with setting an early morning alarm.

The new racing surface produced two grooves of racing and seemed to prevent some of the rubber down conditions seen in recent years during events at Premier Speedway. Saturday’s preliminary feature may have been the best feature I’ve seen this calendar year with Grand Anderson, Marcus Dumesny, and James McFadden racing for the win. Dumesny blasting around the top on his drive to the runner up position was particularly entertaining.

Sunday’s finale also produced a good race for the win between McFadden and eventual winner Lachlan McHugh along with Carson Macedo charging through the field after an incident in his heat race forced him to transfer to the finale through the B-Main.

Premier Speedway General Manager David Mills and his staff along with everyone else from the Sprint Car Control Council did a great job getting the 2022 edition to take place due to travel restrictions that didn’t keep teams from certain portions of Australia to participate and Macedo being the only American in the field, yet 80 race cars participated in the program.

The night was capped off with Alistair and Tammy McLean from South West Conveyancing announcing that the 50th edition of the Classic, scheduled for January 27-29, 2023, will pay $50,000 to the winner.

If you haven’t checked out the Classic make sure to tune in next year online if you can’t go in person. Hopefully I can make the trip across the pond someday for a pair of trips to Australian equivalent of the Knoxville Nationals.


• Macedo’s trip to Australia will extend one more week for him to participate in the Australian Midget Car Title Friday and Saturday at Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane, Queensland before returning to the United States. Macedo has one midget car feature win to his credit this season at Archerfield.

• Racing in New Zealand appears to be on hold again for at least a week after additional COVID protocols were put in place over the weekend. Events at Baypark Speedway, Western Springs Speedway, and Kihikihi Speedway schedule for this coming weekend have been postponed or cancelled.

• Sprint cars were in action stateside for three nights at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Bandit Outlaw Sprint Series, a series that typically competes around Texas, ventured north to sanction the event. The car count was a bit lighter than I expected with 13 cars participating, but produced three different feature winners in Chase Randall, Garet Williamson, and Garen Linder. Williamson’s feature win came on Saturday after the feature scheduled for Friday was postponed due to high wind conditions.

• One of the most unusual stories of the weekend involved some scheduling with the Great Lakes Super Sprints and the National Racing Alliance. The NRA schedule was released on Friday showing nine events that also appeared on the Great Lakes Super Sprint schedule as “with GLSS”.

This caused some confusion initially because none of these tracks or GLSS had agreed on a co-sanction contract. It turns out the NRA Sprint Invaders put the events on their schedule just to show up and compete without the events being co-sanctioned, meaning everything would be run with GLSS officials and rules and there would not be a sanction fee attached or any NRA officials involved.

Some tracks were not happy with the lack of notice about this and both GLSS and NRA put out a statements about the situation over the weekend.

After talking with parties from both groups I feel the entire situation could have been avoided with better communication. In recent years there has been a falling out between the two series that used to have a good working relationship. Now it seems most or all communication between the two is non-existent. There are some new parties involved that would like to open the communication gap, but some of the people that have been involved for a longer period don’t seem anxious to do so.

At the end of the day these series don’t have to eat Thanksgiving dinner with each other, but for both to grow there needs to be better communication on certain issues consider they share some geography and race teams with each other. Both series have potential to grow (and GLSS has grown significantly in their first seven years), but open lines of communication could help grow and strengthen both series further.

• The World of Outlaws Late Model Series had an eventful weekend fighting a new racing surface and the weather for three nights at Volusia Speedway Park during the Sunshine Nationals. Only one of the three programs was completed with the Saturday evening portion of the event scheduled to be completed on Wednesday February 16th with the DIRTcar Nationals.

It will be worth following what happens with the Volusia surface as the choppiness was due to 300 loads of clay having an extremely high moisture content when it was delivered to the track. With high speed winged sprint cars the debut of the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series coming up Volusia officials will be putting in some extra work to get things smoothed out by the time the All Star Circuit of Champions hit the track on February 8th.

• Chet Christner will return to “Drop The Hamma” as the voice of the United State Auto Club for the 2022 season. Christner is known for his work with Floracing and previously with Speedshift.tv. Christner previously worked with USAC in 2017 and 2018.

• The Motorsports Racecar and Trade Show in Philadelphia returned for 2022 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center last weekend with nice size crowds on hand.

Logan Schuchart’s new paint scheme for the 2022 season on display with Duramax Liquid Armor on the car and Drydene appearing on the top wing of the car. RelaDyne, the parent brand of Duramax, acquired Drydene to his portfolio in September of 2021.

Jacob Allen in turn announced he will be running his father’s throwback paint scheme that was debuted at last year’s Knoxville Nationals on the World of Outlaws tour in 2022.

Another highlight was legendary NFL football coach Dick Vermeil taking in the show. Vermeil’s family has deep ties to sprint car racing with his father being a car owner and still follows the sport.

• Tony Stewart will join the NASCAR broadcast in the play-by-play booth with is former driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, Clint Bowyer, for the Busch Clash at the LA Coliseum and the Daytona 500.

• Two new supermodified series have popped up for the 2022 season.

The NE Big Block Supermodifed series will feature winged big block supermodifieds for 10 shows in 2022 include the division’s first appearance at the legendary Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre Vermont and a return to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park during the World Series of Short Track Racing at Thompson, Connecticut

The other new series is the Outlaw Super Sprints which will feature open competition between sprint cars and supermodifieds with a few cost saving measures put into place. The NE Big Block Series is also looking at some potential cost saving initiatives including gear rules and a potential spec engine.

• Keller Auto Speedway added 120 truckloads of clay to their racing surface over the weekend in preparation for their opening event February 26yh featuring King of Thunder 410 and 360 sprint cars.

• Action is starting to pick up outdoors in the Western United States. The USAC/CRA Sprint Cars get their season started this week with three nights of racing at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Arizona, The Top Gun Sprint Car Series also has three nights of action scheduled at East Bay Raceway Park, and Western Midget Racing will be at Adobe Mountain Speedway this weekend.

• Our thoughts are with Jim Morrison who has seen his health declining of late. Morrison was a photographer and reporter based out of Iowa and was long known for his newspaper work including the Hawkeye Racing News.