The racing world has always been known as a “next man up” kind of sport. Whether it be drivers, crew, promoters, or owners, when one person steps away, there always seems to be a willing leader ready to take over the reins. Such is the case for the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series presented by Lucas Oil as it embarks on a new era.
I’d be lying if I said that I ever expected to be the owner of a racing series. – Chris Sullivan
When the tour kicks off its 2019 campaign in March, it will be operating under new ownership. Racing world veterans Chris Sullivan and Jack Sullivan have purchased the tour, effective immediately.
“I’d be lying if I said that I ever expected to be the owner of a racing series,” Chris Sullivan said. “However, 20 years ago, I would never have dreamed that I’d own a race team along with multiple businesses. Life has a way of presenting opportunities to you that you just need to take.”
The sale comes as series founder, Chris Ellis, is forced to step away from the series due to health issues.
“I’ve been battling some health issues over the past few years, and it’s all come to a head in the past month or so. The current situation isn’t life threatening, but if I don’t take care of myself it could be,” Ellis said. “Back in 2007, I had a dream to start a little series to help keep Super Late Model racing alive in our area. Never would I have dreamed that 12 years later, it would grow into something so big.
“So many great people have supported us over the years. It’s emotional to know that I’ll no longer own the series. However, it couldn’t possibly be in better hands than it will be with Chris and Jack (Sullivan).”
50-year-old Chris Sullivan has been around racing almost his entire life. Not only has he owned the car driven by his brother, Jack Sullivan, over the past several years, but he also sponsors various series’ and events throughout the area. He will assume the role of series director.
“(Chris) Ellis has done a phenomenal job building and growing this series,” Chris Sullivan noted. “We want to see Super Late Model racing continue to have a place in the immediate Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas region. Some of the greatest drivers in the history of Dirt Late Model racing got their start at tracks in our area. There’s a lot of young talent around here right now. I want to make sure they continue to have a regional series where they can hone their skills.”
While Ellis will no longer be the owner, Sullivan is quick to note the series founder will continue to play an active role within the tour.
“Ellis is going to stay on board in a consultant role, and honestly, for the most part, it will continue to be business as usual for the tour. He’s built a great model for success, and we just want to keep it moving forward.”
Since its inception in 2007, the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series has sanctioned 223 events across the Midsouth and Southeast. Former champions include Joey Mack, Bill Frye, Billy Moyer Jr., Jon Mitchell, Brandon Smith, Kyle Beard, and Jack Sullivan
Chris Sullivan’s younger brother, Jack, who is the series’ all-time winningest driver with 30 triumphs, will also be actively involved in series operations. The 2018, and now four-time CCSDS Champion, will only compete in select events as the tour moves forward. This will be done in an effort to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. He’s going to specifically help the series in technical aspects.
I’m still going to be racing quite a bit this year. – Jack Sullivan
“This is a really exciting deal for us to to carry the torch of what Chris Ellis started,” Jack Sullivan commented. “I’m still going to be racing quite a bit this year, just not much with the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series. I want to help it grow and bring new drivers in. Our region needs a series like this, and we are going to work hard to continue its tradition.”
Jack Sullivan is quick to thank everyone who supports his racing program as well as his endeavors with the series.
“I want to start by thanking COMP Cams, because they do so much to support our series and racing in general. Chris (Douglas) and Billy (Carroll) are two really great guys. Lucas Oil Products has also been a major supporter of the series over the past several years, and that support has helped the series expand into new areas.
“I also want to thank Terry Pannell of Pannell Chipping, Mark Bennings with Benning’s Heating & Air, Lance Landers, Keyser Manufacturing, Ben Shelton with MSR Mafia Website & PR Services, and everyone who supports our racing efforts, whether it be our team or the series. It takes a lot of folks to make it happen, and we are surrounded by some really great people.”
Memphis, Tennessee-based, COMP Cams has been the series title sponsor since 2010. The company is proud of what the series has accomplished to date, and is eager to see what the future will hold.
“It’s been impressive to see what Chris Ellis and his staff have accomplished in such a short time,” COMP Cams Chief Operations Officer, Chris Douglas said. “I have zero doubt that Chris and Jack Sullivan will continue to grow the series. Those guys live and breathe racing. As a company, we are thrilled to actively continue our involvement with the series.”
The 2019 schedule for the tour is almost completed and will be released in the coming weeks. With the exception of a few dates, Chris Ellis is close to having the schedule locked down.
“Even before Chris and Jack decided to buy the tour, I had decided that we would shoot for 20 to 22 races in 2019. My goal was to make it where it wasn’t so hard for working guys to be able to run the full tour,” Ellis continued. “The Sullivan family shares in my perspective, and I truly believe that 2019 could be the best year that the tour has seen so far.”
Keep your browsers pointed to www.COMPdirt.com over the next few weeks for more updates as well as the 2019 schedule.
Drivers, sponsors, and tracks who would like more information on becoming involved with the COMP Cams Super Dirt Series presented by Lucas Oil are encouraged to contact Chris Sullivan at 501-733-5916.