About this same time every year the calm after the racing summer storm sets in and I get a chance to reflect on the racing experiences of the recent past. The last few weeks seemed to have me down on the mat ready to tap out. Burn out; depression; man it’s been a long season. I constantly rack my brain searching for more speed. It seems when I can take a step back and reflect a little, some things become a little clearer. I can see things I missed during the weekly grind of the season that I should have paid more attention to. Speed in the car that was accidentally over looked for that brief moment in time. Let’s explore some of the major dirt news events of the previous season to see what we can pull out.
Billy Moyer’s return to the top
The top on the list has to be, “Billy Moyer”. Written off for extinct, or creeping on to the easy chair; he reemerged this season with a vengeance. Sweeping the Eldora ‘Crown Jewels’ and being a formidable threat almost every time he unloaded. Some say he found something extra special with the car, I believe he found something extra special within himself. Small tweaks in the car probably gave him the feel he was looking for, and then a couple good runs instilled a wave of confidence to carry him through the rest of the season. I got the opportunity to watch his trip through the B main to topple the World. The car turned well, accelerated even better, but it was the youthful attitude to shoot from the hip and bolt on softer tires that took him past team zero to be the hero that day. Moyer tops my list for news of the year.
Second on the list for me would have to be the reemergence of Mastersbilt as a strong brand. Although Don Oneal gets the close , but no cigar award for the year, other great runs by other people has put Mastersbilt back firmly on the radar. Ray Cook won the Show Me 100 and several other Lucas Oil Races. Earl Pearson knocked off several wins before switching to the Labonte Longhorn chassis brand. And Don Oneal and the Mastersbilt house car still had a great year by winning several regular Lucas Oil Races; they just couldn’t get one of the crown jewels after leading so many laps.
Next on my radar this season is what has been going on with sponsorship opportunities. In some sort of partnership with the Lucas Oil Series, Dan Schlieper signed a deal with Rock Star Energy Drink. Now Appliance zone is conducting a sponsorship contest to see who carries their colors through the 2011 season. It has happened in the past, but will the frequency increase of the series landing sponsor deals for drivers? It would only make sense that corporate sponsors want to be tied at least a little to a more corporate entity. Race teams in the past have always been a little unpredictable and I can definitely understand the need for a large corporate entity needing the stability that a sanctioning body has to offer. I believe race teams are handling themselves in a much more professional manner than years past, but the vehicle into the dirt racing world may just need some training wheels.
The big return of Miller
Darren Miller falls on my list for his triumphant return to the sport after a two year hiatus. I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet Darren and am not at all surprised that almost immediately after getting back in the saddle that he hits his winning stride. As I write this he is coming off back to back wins, on the same day, in two different classes, lapping up to second in one, and lapping up to fourth in the other. Oh yea, did I mention it was at the flat half mile, West Liberty, where if your car is good you don’t have to burp the throttle until the middle of the corner. It looks as though he has some good funding, and the last time I talked to him, two good cars with possible plans for a third. He is definitely a story in 2010 and could possibly take 2011 by storm.
Everyone will have their list. Many lists will be different. That’s my list. What is yours?
Till next time,