Dirt Racing’s defining moment: Australia’s James McFadden took the lead Saturday night (April 2) and never looked back as he won the Texas Outlaw Nationals finals flag-to-flag at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on an extremely narrow racing surface that never widened.
Defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet won Friday night’s preliminary game at the Devil’s Bowl, leaving Texas 26 points behind current leader David Gravel.
Dirt Racing Dramatic Moment(s): On Friday night, Superman Matt Sheppard capitalized on a last-lap pass to earn a First State victory and slipped past a dominant Mike Gular on the white-flag round for the $8,500 Jake Marine Memorial at Delaware International Speedway to win.
The honorable mention goes to Tyler Bare, who completed a triple pass through lapped traffic to finally take the lead on the Steel Block Outlaws’ late feature on Saturday at the Bristol Dirt Track.
What dirt racing fans will be chatting about in the group this morning
Tough question no dirt racing fan would want to answer: What was the bigger parade on Saturday night? The rubberized surface of Ark-La-Tex Speedway for the United States Modified Touring Series Cajun Clash or the super wet and super narrow Devil’s Bowl Speedway featuring the Outlaws? You know it sucks when Johnny Gibson stays silent and calls a race.
Still, it was welcome news to hear The Outlaws return to Devil’s Bowlthe track that hosted the original WoO race in 1978 for two more dates this October.
Unfortunately, rumors have been circulating that the historic track may be set to close during the past off-season and while those rumors have died down, it is Difficult to overlook how tight the camp development is arrived at the race track.
It’s fucking Texas. No one could find a proper cowboy boot for McFadden drink a beer out of it?
Away from the outlaws, it was a welcome sight to see a full house for the Delaware season opener Friday, as this race was also the first for the circuit, which was promoted by Brett Dayo, the child prodigy who grew the Short Track Super Series and saved Georgetown Speedway from likely redevelopment. Part of me worries about having too many eggs in Dayo’s basket, but Friday night was a hit.
Another commendable track success was seen in Alabama, where the Buckshot Speedway successfully hosted the Spring Nationals Super Late Model Tour for the first time. Buckshot brought dirt racing back to Clanton, Alabama in late 2021, more than a decade after the closure of Central Alabama Motor Speedway, and has proven to be an extremely popular venue that was a rare example of a completely new dirt track. It’s nice to see a venue like this continue to grow.
It came as little surprise to see the late model Superman Jonathan Davenport slam the field Saturday night to win the MLRA Spring Nationals finals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri, though his winning comment that he saw the upcoming race weekend as the biggest of his career; Davenport, if you recall, is scheduled to drive a Cup Series car for Kaulig Racing in the Bristol Dirt Race this Easter Sunday.
It’s great to hear that Davenport is taking this opportunity seriously and seriously, but a part of me doesn’t like it when such an accomplished racer refers to a once-in-a-lifetime drive in a cup race that’s three years old as such a big event. The sad reality is that today’s Wal-Mart Cup cars are their own unique thing, one that talented dirt wrestlers like Stewart Friesen and Mike Marlar haven’t proven they can win. I’d love to see Davenport thrash the Cup boys, but I don’t see it happening.
This weekend was a stern reminder of the continuing risks of front-wheel drive classes in dirt racing. It started on Friday night when a nasty crash reminiscent of Kyle Busch’s leg breaker at Daytona in February 2015 did just that, breaking Dave Tolleson’s thigh at Ark-La-Tex Speedway on Friday night. Fortunately, Tolleson has begun his recovery, but a fractured femur is a serious injury that will keep him out of his race car for a long time.
The very next night, it was a minor miracle when Kyle Jenks got away from one of the worst barrel rolls in recent memory during a Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association event at Lake View Motor Speedway in South Carolina.
There is still a need for FWD type racing cars. Not only are they the most affordable type of race car for those looking to get into oval track racing, they’re the closest thing to stock car racing at all levels of motorsport in 2023. There is value in having these classes on the track. But just as they are a throwback to how good and approachable they are, They are unfortunately a throwback to how risky driving them can be.
We will end on a very positive note Texarkana 67 Speedway announces its concession menu for the 2023 season.
Why are you bringing this up? Two reasons. Firstly, after leaning over a keg at the Bristol Dirt Showcase on Saturday (where I paid $17 for a damn personal pizza and a lemonade), it’s nice to see a reasonably priced menu. Second, and more importantly, if you read the comments on the track’s Facebook page, you’ll notice that The Frito cakes advertised will be the same as those formerly served at the now defunct I-30 Speedway in Little Rock. For anyone who’s been there, there are few concession items in dirt racing that rival this pie.
Dirt Racing’s heroes of the weekend
I already credited Bare for his winning pass, but the whole thing Steel Block Outlaws field deserve credit for how well they raced on the treacherous high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. Completing four heats, two B-mains and a feature with no contact warning flags despite the extremely hard races (the cars were visibly out of shape all 30 laps of their feature) is a job well done.
Recently Arrested Ashton Winger didn’t appear to come loose once over the course of 53 laps at East Alabama Motor Speedway Saturday night. It was a sharp contrast to eventual race winner Brandon Overton, whose smooth and methodical driving style earned him the $10,053 paycheck. But for Winger, who finished second and kept his tires to himself, driving as aggressively as Saturday night made a hugely entertaining race.
Finally, Hunt the Front Joseph Tischler receives a nod for winning two super late model races over two nights at two different tracks, Friday night with the Spring Nationals at Buckshot and Saturday night with the Mississippi State Championship series at WhyNot Motorsports Park.
Dirt Racing’s casualties of the weekend
Port Royal Speedway was feeling vengeful for some reason this weekend. The most notable first casualty was Jason Schultz, who blew a right rear tire while leading the Saturday sprint car out on track with two laps to go (he finished 21st). This would be cruel for any driver, but even more so given that Shultz has spent the last two laps doing a masterful job putting lapped traffic between him and a stubborn Danny Dietrich.
However, things only got worse for the Port Royal racers once they left the track. The Wagner Motorsport sprint car team saw their van involved in a traffic accident on the way home.
Even worse was the late racer Andreas Yoderwhose racing team lost their caravan on the way home and whose racing car was damaged by fire.
Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported in any of the incidents listed above.
Dirt tracks running oval track racing programs in the US this weekend (via MyRacePass and Race Monitor)
The nation’s biggest car count this weekend, the Easter race at Central Arizona Raceway.
The nation’s biggest purse this weekend, awarded to the winner of Saturday’s Texas Outlaw Nationals (McFadden).
Next: front stretch will be back Friday morning (April 7) with coverage of the Kyle Larson Late Model Challenge at Tennessee’s Volunteer Speedway. Coverage can be found on Flo Racing.
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