The question concerning whether the national late model touring world could support another sanction will more than likely be answered in 2014. And if the fledgling National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) exceeds all expectations as it appears primed to do, the answer will be YES.
Having completed a reasonably successful inaugural 2013 campaign that saw five races which bookended the season, the NDRL will soon announce a schedule for it’s follow up season that is expected to feature 25 to 30 dates as well as a nine date mini series in January at Tuscon International and El Paso Speedway’s respectively.
Headed by John Kennedy, the series has laid the groundwork for success with key hires in series director Kelley Carlton formerly of the Ultimate Super Late Model Series, and announcer extraordinaire Rick Eshelman who served the World of Outlaw Late Model series in the booth for ten years.
The aforementioned schedule announcement is quite possibly the most anticipated release of this year’s dirt racing offseason, and a few dates have already been announced. The series has already confirmed dates at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway, Batesville Motor Speedway, New Atomic (formerly KC Speedway in Chillicothe, OH) and will also continue it’s sanctioning of the Pittsburgher 100 at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.
What’s interesting to note, is that any track that had been considered either a Lucas Oil Series or World of Outlaw stronghold is now fair game it appears. The other two major sanctions, Lucas and WoO had a few common places where they both raced, Winchester Speedway comes to mind. But the NDRL and it’s new formats and purse structures will be alluring for any promoter looking to enhance their facility, no mater what their allegiances have been in the past.
A strong third sanction presence may come with cost though. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that oversaturation of the super late model special event market could happen. It’s truly a double edged sword too. Fans will have more choices than ever to see top notch special events with big name drivers and this is a welcome jolt to the stagnation of the two other sanctions simply rehashing the same schedule year after year and changing the dates.
However, questions still remain, along the lines of ; “Will weekly super late model racing suffer with too many choices to run?” “What will I do when the drivers I want to see are no longer racing close by like they had been and I can’t afford to travel as far?” “Will there be any live audio streaming of races so I can listen when I can’t be there”
And they will be answered in time, but one thing’s certain. The NDRL WILL change the landscape of super late model racing, offering perhaps a new and better way of doing things, and shaking the two senior circuits (Lucas and WoO) out of their comfort zone, constructively leading to changes in their way of doing things that help the sport grow.
Either way, the days of being a change hater in dirt super late models is at an end, it’s time to adapt and grow, and the NDRL may be leading the way.