Here at OneDirt.com we normally write on a variety of topics in our Opinion/Editorial section. However we decided it was time to start having some more guest columns from the people in the driver’s seat. So for our first racer column we decided to hand the reigns over to open wheel ace and Eibach Springs Motorsports Specialist David Cardey.
There’s no denying how passionate Cardey is about open wheel racing. But in his column he addresses how dirt racing as a whole doesn’t receive much respect and deserves a lot more credit within the motorsports industry. Will you agree with all his thoughts? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts on the matter. – Editor
Once someone finds out I race the conversation goes something like this…“So you race cars – like NASCAR?” I can’t tell you how many times I get asked that question. Then I go on to explain the type of racing I do. The usual response I get is something to the effect of, “Oh so it’s not NASCAR? I’ve seen that on TV on Sunday.” I race sprint cars, on a dirt track. That’s right, a dirt track.
Pitching a car sideways at a 100mph is a life changing experience, either you’re going to get hooked or you’re going to s**t your pants. I can guarantee one thing you will never forget it.
Daily I’m puzzled as to why more people don’t know much about dirt track racing. Typically, if someone has any dirt track experience it’s late models or modifieds. Don’t get me wrong, there are some bad ass Late and Modified cars out there, but none have the horsepower to weight ratio that a sprint car has. I am pretty sure most people can relate to stock cars better than they can a sprint car because they look like their personal vehicle.
I also think that they have done a better job of promoting fender cars than the open wheel community has done lately. Most people think of sprint cars as bad ass, but as an older type crowd instead of a younger generations crowd, which I believe is why they are dying. People ask what can they do to help promote and grow local racing as fans, and the simple answer is show up and bring people. The more people that watch and follow the races, the more fans they will establish.
What Happened To Thursday Night Thunder?
It’s pretty disappointing that when you flip on SPEED and all there is to watch is some figure 8 or swamp buggy racing. However, you won’t find a single non-wing sprint or midget race all year except maybe a pay-per-view of the Chili Bowl. What happened to Thursday Night Thunder? I’m thinking NASCAR or someone with money needs to get involved in the feeding pool to their sport. How cool would it be to have a televised weekly racing series that the next generation could get noticed and known in the grassroots level before they actually move up? This would only help strengthen the upper levels as the fans would build a relationship along the way with them.
Social media is our spot light now – if you are not in front of people being seen, then you’re never going to pull the next generation along with you. I have sat in USAC meetings before and asked why we can’t get TV time and they basically said because it costs too much. Supercross, Lucas Oil Offroad and NASCAR have done a pretty good job of getting TV time and look were they are. The viewers and fans know the drivers and riders because they are getting TV time, which is just helping people want to come see their product.
Back in the day it was very easy to see dirt racing as the original extreme sport because there just wasn’t as many forms of extreme sports. It should also be noted that the safety has greatly improved, which helps to not have people getting flung out of cars and losing limbs. These days although there are still big flips and on occasion drivers suffer the worst, there isn’t the extreme label on them compared to watching guys doing double back flips on motorcycles or jumping out of airplanes without parachutes.
Dirt Racing Is Still The Best Racing In The World
For fans who actually like racing, dirt racing it is still some of the best racing in the world. NASCAR really isn’t the best racing to watch, anyone who has been to a dirt race with some big horsepower cars can tell you that. So why doesn’t someone step up and take our sport to the next level?
All this rule stuff in NASCAR gets old, too low, too waper-jawed, too whatever. But what if we had a non-wing sprint car series with basically open motor rules? I think people would love tuning in on to Thursday Night Thunder just to see what people were going to show up with and see what new stars are going up against the wiley old veterans. Something different and kind of more X games style of racing vs. cookie cutter race cars that all look exactly the same.
For fans who actually like racing, dirt racing it is still some of the best racing in the world.
We see Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne taking a step “back” to run Sprints and Late Models quite a bit. Why? Clearly they don’t need money. They go back to dirt track because it’s in blood. These guys go to NASCAR because of the money, but dirt racing is where they go for fun! If you have never done a lap in a 410 sprint or Late Model you need to because there is nothing like it on earth. Pitching a car sideways at a 100mph is a life changing experience, either you’re going to get hooked or you’re going to s**t your pants. I can guarantee one thing you will never forget it.
One thing I have learned from this last year while working at Eibach is dirt racing deserves more credit. Dirt racing is a truly significant part of all forms of racing. If you consider yourself a race fan of any type, I ‘d like to encourage you to go out to a local dirt track. Support the Dirt and the Dirt racer. Be it just by showing up watching or helping a team out in the pits. You never know who you might see racing that night. Support your local dirt tracks and racers; the ultimate reality show. So put the I-pads down and go play in the Dirt!