What is this “Late Model Dirt Track Racing”? [VIDEO]
You hear me talk of "Late Model Dirt Track Racing" on the air. So what is it? Watch as Tony Stewart introduces NASCAR Hall Of Fame driver and announcer Darryl Waltrip to it at his Eldora Speedway. Tony is also responsible for getting the sport into the NASCAR ranks.
Ever since I was a little kid, my Dad has taken me to the races in Illinois. I have pictures of the "Stock Cars" when they were just that: Stock Camaros outfitted with a roll cage and a souped up motor. Every Friday night in the summer, my Dad is in the stands watching the Late Models, Open Wheeled Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hornets race for money and fame at Farmer City Raceway. I even plan my vacations around the "big" race dates to get back to the track with Dad.
I miss watching the races every week, although we have a few tracks here on the Western Slope that race Modifieds, Street Stocks and a few other classes on Saturday nights. There is one off Highway 50 just north of Olathe, one in Price, and one in Vernal, UT. In Illinois, you can find a Dirt Track about every 30 miles, and they race on Fridays, Saturdays and even Sundays sometimes.
The advent of the internet has made it possible to "watch" the races online all over the country, as I was doing last night for a race $50,000 payout to the winner race in New Richmond, WI. For some reason, maybe because it is the fastest track in Illinois, Farmer City Raceway has turned out quite a few drivers that are racing all around the country these days. It is neat to watch guys like Jason Feger, Bobby Pierce, Ryan Unzicker, Brian Shirley and my favorite driver, Shannon Babb race for money and fame all over the country and be able to say "I saw them racing when they just started out as teens." In fact, NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier was racing Late Models at the age of 14 at FCR. Even if you can't make it to the races, they seem to make it to YouTube and are even getting broadcast on national TV these days with CBS, Speed Channel and MAVTV airing them.
Here is a video of the Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway from this spring.
I always wanted to be a race car driver, but the money and time needed to compete is high, and with one wreck your entire $100,000+ investment can be a pile of scrap. I look forward to snowy roads in the winter, so I can practice my "Drifting" just in case the call comes in. I hope one day to get behind the wheel of a stock car, until then I will be on the phone with Dad every weekend talking about the races and who finished where, and cheering on my favorite drivers!