Another tire prepping scandal
I decided to write this post amidst another tire prepping scandal in dirt late model racing. Scott Bloomquist was busted for cheating on tires at the Woo World Finals. Was he or was he not cheating? I don’t know. I certainly don’t have all the facts, but for the past couple of years now tire prepping stories have filled the media surrounding our sport. I do think it is kind of odd that he ran the Lucas Series all year, which runs a majority of their races under a 1300 and 1350 tire rule and he didn’t have a problem. He then goes to a Woo event, which I understand to be an “OPEN” tire event, and gets pinched for preppin’. Scott, in an interview I saw on Dirt on Dirt, eluded to the culprit being a citrus cleaner he used on his tires to clean them……I guess without knowing all the facts, who can really say. Do you think there could be a little bit of politics going on here? The way I see it Scott was one of the original ‘Dirty Dozen’ and one of the founders of that Woo late model series. He must have had some sort of falling out with them to not want to be a part of it anymore. Now, years later, he goes and runs a competing series, but yet goes back and wins the preliminary night show of probably the biggest Woo date of the year. Maybe he did soak tires, maybe he didn’t; that is not my dilemma with this whole thing. My problem with it is that the fine and penalties were handed down weeks after the tire was originally confiscated. Do they have a penalty precedent set saying that if a tire is found to have illegal additives in it, this is the penalty. I don’t like the fact that penalties are just handed out at the discretion of the group. NASCAR does the same thing. Penalties are whatever they feel like throwing out there. The problem with the Woo doing this is that I don’t believe they have a big enough market share to attempt to through their weight around like that. NASCAR does. They own the whole show, if anybody doesn’t like it, tough.
I remember several years ago there was a similar ongoing dilemma in the sport involving traction control. Ya know, you really don’t hear too much about that any more ever since one particular series decided to take, what I call the ‘shame on you’ approach. One series said, basically, traction control is illegal; we can’t police it; shame on you if you use it. Maybe that will be the direction tire soaking will go when people get sick of talking about it and the media finally lets it go. Don’t do it, shame on you if you do.
I have heard that a major go kart sanctioning body basically threw their hands up and said we can’t police the soaking of tires. I guess they still have a rule on the books stating you cannot do it, but will take no position on trying to police it. So in essence they are saying, “Have at it!” Is that what is going to happen in our sport? I think so. Although we will still play the games for years to come.
Something fun to watch
Here is another angle to look at this whole thing. Hearing about some name star in a series getting busted for cheating creates interest. Sometimes without controversy the sport would become boring. The occasional fans would lose interest. Occasional fans are what we need to bring this sport to the next level. I don’t believe this sport can only be supported by the Kamikaze ‘die for dirt racing’ fan. We need to build a good foundation on the occasional fans, like short track racing was in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. The population in the United States is growing by leaps and bounds, but fan attendance at the grass roots level is not what it was in those previous decades.
So; yes, previous precedent set by the traction control fiasco of previous years shows that this tire prepping issue will go by the wayside. Other forms of auto racing have tried to police it, but failed. Sanctioning bodies will just eventually have to say, ‘don’t do it; shame on you if you do.’