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Chris McWilliams: Are Multi-Car Teams Good Or Bad For Dirt Racing?

TSR and KKR drivers accounted for 23 wins in 2012 which was roughly 30% of the WoO races on the season.

It seems that big money in dirt racing has been evolving over the last few years or so.  Single car teams use to be the norm as a driver owned his own car or a team owner fielded one car for a season of racing.  Now there seems to be more and more multi-car teams popping up every season with an influx of money from NASCAR and other big time team owners. 

The two most recognizable teams in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series are Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) and Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR).  Tony Stewart Racing fielded cars full-time for Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz as well as a part-time schedule for Tony Stewart in 2012. 

2012 World of Outlaws Champ and Tony Stewart Racing Driver Donny Schatz (Photo Source: Donny Schatz Motorsports)

Kasey Kahne Racing fielded cars full-time for Joey Saldana and Cody Darrah with a part-time schedule for Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne in 2012.  TSR and KKR drivers accounted for 23 wins in 2012 which was roughly 30% of the WoO races on the season.

Big name multi-car dirt late model teams include Clint Bowyer Racing, Kennedy Motorsports, and Coffey-McCreadie Enterprises.  Clint Bowyer Racing fielded two full-time entries for Jared Landers and Jonathan Davenport in the 2012 Lucas Oil Late Model Series

Kennedy Motorsports fielded a full-time team for Shane Clanton who was joined mid-season by Tim Fuller and ran full-time for the 2012 World of Outlaws Late Model Series.  Coffey-McCreadie Enterprises consisted of full-time entries into the 2012 WoO Late Model Series for their team’s namesake Vic Coffey and Tim McCreadie. 

With more and more teams adding a second team, is this a good thing for dirt track racing? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of their involvement in the sport.

Clint Bowyer Racing Driver Jared Landers (Photo Source: Chris Bork Photo)

The Good

The are several good things that multi-car teams bring to dirt track racing.  When fans pay to see any of the nation’s top touring dirt series, they want to see the best drivers in the best equipment.  These teams bring more winning-capable rides to the sport, as the famous World of Outlaws Sprint Cars Series announcer Johnny Gibson says during the four wide parade lap, “You wanted the best. You got them four abreast.” 

Cody Darrah in His Kasey Kahne Racing Sprinter (Photo Source: Cody Darrah Racing)

Not to mention, some of these multi-car teams are owned by some of NASCAR’s biggest names like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Clint Bowyer. Big name drivers bring more media and fan attention to their roots in dirt track racing.  This attention hopefully brings more fans out to the races to see dirt track racing at its best. New fans get a chance to see that there is more than just NASCAR out there and that some of the best racing can be seen close to home at their local dirt track.

The Negative

Multi-car teams can also bring several bad consequences to dirt track racing. Big money teams can slowly push underfunded but equally talented local drivers out of contention when these big touring series comes to town.  The great local driver still does get a big win every now and then in these big series, but it seems that it is getting harder every year. 

Unfortunately, it seems that there are a great deal of politics involved in who gets to drive for these multi-car teams, the best driver might not get the job if another driver can bring more sponsorship dollars with him.  Finally, few want to see dirt track racing turn into NASCAR, which is dominated by multi-car teams where a single car team doesn’t stand a chance.  If more and more multi-car teams pop up, this could ultimately become the situation in dirt track racing.

Kennedy Motorsports Driver Shane Clanton (Photo Source: North Central Speedway)


My Conclusion

With all this being said, in my opinion multi-car teams are good for dirt track racing but only in moderation.

With all this being said, in my opinion multi-car teams are good for dirt track racing but only in moderation.  Multi-car teams bring big NASCAR names, money, and notoriety to dirt track racing.  I just don’t want the WoO Sprint Series, WoO Late Model Series, and Lucas Oil Late Model Series to turn into NASCAR where money has killed the racing and ended the chances for many great local drivers.

But where do you stand on the issue, you the fan matter most to dirt track racing. You are the one that purchases a ticket and ultimately keeps our sport alive. Do you want to see multi-car teams in our sport? Join the debate, and leave us a comment below with your opinion.

 


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