Keepin’ it Short – Messing with tradition

Martinsville Speedway has hosted the biggest race in Late Model racing for nearly 20 years in the fall. The best race car drivers from around the country converge on the historic half-mile track every year to not only chase the $25,000 first prize, but also a historic grandfather clock. For years the drivers have practiced and then qualified on Saturday, locking in the top 22 drivers for the Sunday feature race, however, this year that will change. Qualifying will technically not be held. Drivers will post some kind of a speed in a practice session on Saturday afternoon and then race in a heat race on Sunday. The cars who do not advance into the feature through heat races will run a 50 lap last chance qualifier, with 10 drivers advancing into the feature. Finally the feature will be run, but 50 laps shorter than the 200 that has been customary.

Change is hard to deal with and the Late Model community has been up in arms this week talking about the alteration to the qualifying process. The unintended consequences of the change will probably not be fully realized until at least the start of the Sunday feature if not years from now. The initial blush at the changes is people either love them or hate them.

One of the largest questions is going to be maintaining order within the rules during the practice session that is going to set the starting positions in the heat races. The infield at Martinsville will be full of cars from end to end and front to back. Keeping eyes on every car to make sure it enters the race track in a legal configuration is going to be a very difficult task. A car could end up with an oversized carburetor that allows it to rip off a few good laps and then come in and change to a legal one for whatever technical inspection will follow. Tires will be issued to teams before practice. Will there be a way to ensure they haven’t been altered? It will be very difficult to have officials looking at some 100 cars simultaneously.

Once the cars are on the track for their practice period, there comes the issue of blocking. The starting positions are going to be set by some kind of fast time, although initially it isn’t sounding like it is going to be a single fast lap. If averages are being taken into consideration, and a car is well off of the pace, it could delay the car of one of the faster drivers and cost him a front row starting spot.

Once the heat races roll off on Sunday, you then have the issue of a back marker interfering with a leading car and wrecking him, costing him a position in the race. Drivers in one heat could pay someone in another heat to wreck the top one or two cars to eliminate them from competition. We’re talking about the biggest race in Late Model competition. Eliminating the best cars would make it easier for another competitor to have a better shot at a win.

At the same time, this rule change will eliminate having cars that are set up solely for qualifying make the race. A car can’t go out and stay competitive for 25 laps when it is set up for a handful of fast ones. The heat races should bring out the best of drivers and the best drivers should rise to the top of the hill.

When something isn’t broken, you don’t need to fix it, but that is what they’re doing with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers’ 300. In the end, it probably won’t make much of a difference and all of this hand wringing is going to be for naught. We’ll all find out at the end of October when the Late Models hit Martinsville the week before the NASCAR touring series races.

*Whelen All-American Points Race*

The National Championship race has hit the home stretch. It is less than a month until the points are finalized and the winner of the Whelen All-American National Championship is crowned. With that short period of time left, Lee Pulliam is still well ahead of second place and is now almost to the point where the goal is a perfect season rather than winning the title. Pulliam scored two more max point wins this past weekend and now has 20 total victories on the season. Pulliam is 27 points from the maximum 810 points and is 57 points ahead of Nate Monteith who is now in second. C.E. Falk, III has topped the 700 point barrier along with Ryan Preece. Keith Rocco’s broken wrist has dropped him from second to fifth.

The top 10 has drivers from the North, South and Midwest with the difference in points less than 130 from first to tenth.

Position Name Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s Total Points

1. Lee Pulliam 29 20 24 25 783
2. Nate Monteith 27 10 20 23 726
3. C.E. Falk III 25 14 21 23 701
4. Ryan Preece 38 13 27 32 700
5. Keith Rocco 34 11 21 26 699
6. Ted Christopher 41 6 33 36 691
7. Tim Brown 24 8 13 18 672
8. Deac McCaskill 22 14 20 22 666
9. Jason O’Brien 26 5 18 24 657
10. Duane Howard 17 8 14 17 654

A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 are counted toward their states and national point totals, and the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.
Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.

*ASA National Points Race*

While Lance Gatlin finally spent a week at the track without going to Victory Lane, Shelby Stroebel continues to get it done at Meridian. He is now 13 for 13 and 15 total without a loss. The lack of car count at Meridian has still not killed Stroebel’s chances as he continues to lead his region with the masses from I-44 breathing down his neck. Stroebel leads Matt Wallace, Mike Slone and Jim VanZandt while Michael Hale rounds out the top five in the Western Region.

For Gatlin, the loss did not unseat him from atop the East region where he is still the only driver with an average about four at this point in the season. Newport Speedway’s Dennis Queen is leading the tight group that is chasing Gatlin along with Taylor Coffman from his track, who is fourth. Ryan Stiltner and Kevin Wolfe are keeping Gatlin honest at Lonesome Pine while they’re third and fifth in the race.

Eastern Region

Position Name Average

1. Lance Gatlin 4.3944
2. Dennis Queen 3.8336
3. Ryan Stiltner 3.7508
4. Taylor Coffman 3.6258
5. Kevin Wolfe 3.5602

Western Region

Position Name Average

1. Shelby Stroebel 4.5261
2. Matt Wallace 4.0754
3. Mike Slone 4.0237
4. Jim VanZandt 3.7815
5. Michael Hale 3.6495

Throughout the season, drivers competing in the premiere divisions at eligible ASA Member Tracks are in the running for the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship. In order to have a chance for the national title, a driver must first win their 2012 track championship.

Speednetdirect.com, for the fifth year in a row, will tabulate the National Championship standings. Using a proprietary formula that creates an average based on wins, finishing positions, number of cars passed, car counts and events. The driver who wins their track championship and has the highest average over the other ASA Member Track champions will win the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship. Full standings are available at www.speednetdirect.com. Click on the ASA Member Track logo at the top of the page.

*Weekend’s Racing Schedule*

Fri : Aug 24th – Castrol Raceway ; Edmonton :Alberta – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Fri : Aug 24th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – Limited Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – SK Lights
Fri : Aug 24th – Stafford Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – SK Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Five Flags Speedway ; Pensacola : FL – Pro Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Kokomo Speedway ; Kokomo : IN – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Fri : Aug 24th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Hornets
Fri : Aug 24th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Legends
Fri : Aug 24th – Paducah International Raceway ; Paducah : KY – MARS Dirtcar Series Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – USRA Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – IMCA Stock Cars
Fri : Aug 24th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Valley Speedway ; Grain Valley : MO – United Late Model Association Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Late Models x2
Fri : Aug 24th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Limited Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Madhouse Scramble Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – NDRA Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Open Wheel Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Mod Lites
Fri : Aug 24th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Nationals Preliminaries Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Salina Highbanks ; Salina : OK – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Fri : Aug 24th – Delaware Speedway ; Delaware : Ontario – OSCAAR Super Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Final Points Night 358 Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Final Points Night Sportsman
Fri : Aug 24th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Late Models
Fri : Aug 24th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Street Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Black Hills Speedway ; Rapid City : SD – Super Stocks
Fri : Aug 24th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : Aug 24th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Stock
Fri : Aug 24th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – Street Stock
Fri : Aug 24th – Oshkosh Speedzone Winnebago County Fairgrounds ; Oshkosh : WI –IRA Outlaw Sprint Cars
Fri : Aug 24th – Oshkosh Speedzone Winnebago County Fairgrounds ; Oshkosh : WI –Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Castrol Raceway ; Edmonton :Alberta – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Sat : Aug 25th – I-30 Speedway ; Little Rock : AR – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Sat : Aug 25th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 305 Winged Sprints
Sat : Aug 25th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 600 Mini Sprints
Sat : Aug 25th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Hobby Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Super Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Aug 25th – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Watermelon Capital Speedway ; Cordele : GA – Super Streets
Sat : Aug 25th – Grundy County Speedway ; Morris : IL – USAC Midwest Focus Midgets
Sat : Aug 25th – Grundy County Speedway ; Morris : IL – USAC Mopar D1 Stars
Sat : Aug 25th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Limited Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Kokomo Speedway ; Kokomo : IN – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : Aug 25th – Lawrenceburg Speedway ; Lawrenceburg : IN – Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Sportsman
Sat : Aug 25th – South Bend Speedway ; South Bend : IN – Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – 34th Annual Pepsi Late Model Figure 8
Sat : Aug 25th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Hornets
Sat : Aug 25th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Season Championship IMCA Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Season Championship IMCA Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Season Championship IMCA Stock Cars
Sat : Aug 25th – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Season Championship IMCA Sport Mods
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – USDCS Dirt Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Outlaw Mini Cup
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Junior Mini Cup
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Baby Grand National Points
Sat : Aug 25th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Pro Challenge National Points
Sat : Aug 25th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Outlaws
Sat : Aug 25th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Strictly Stock
Sat : Aug 25th – Hagerstown Speedway ; Hagerstown : MD – Small Car Nationals Qualifier Late Model Sportsman
Sat : Aug 25th – Hagerstown Speedway ; Hagerstown : MD – Small Car Nationals Qualifier Pure Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Berlin Raceway ; Marne : MI – Outlaw Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Outlaw Super Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Super Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Kalamazoo Speedway ; Kalamazoo : MI – Pro Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Championship Night Wissota Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Championship Night Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Championship Night Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Championship Night Wissota Super Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Championship Night USRA Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Season Championship Wissota Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Season Championship Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Season Championship Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – North Central Speedway ; Brainerd : MN – Season Championship Wissota Super Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Columbus Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Super Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Columbus Speedway ; Columbus : MS – NeSmith Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Columbus Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Back to School Bash ASA Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Back to School Bash Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Back to School Bash Lucky 21 Sportsman Doubleheader
Sat : Aug 25th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Back to School Bash Road Warriors
Sat : Aug 25th – I-44 Speedway ; Lebanon : MO – Back to School Bash Chargers
Sat : Aug 25th – I-55 Raceway ; Pevely : MO – MARS Dirtcar Series Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Weekly Series Championship Night Factory Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Weekly Series Championship Night A-Mods
Sat : Aug 25th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Weekly Series Championship Night B-Mods
Sat : Aug 25th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Weekly Series Championship Night United Late Model Association Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Petty International Raceway ; River Glade : New Brunswick – Parts for Trucks Pro Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Junction Motor Speedway ; McCool Junction : NE – Super Late Model Racing Series
Sat : Aug 25th – Monadnock Speedway ; Winchester : NH – MRS Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – Sportsman
Sat : Aug 25th – Dunn Tire Raceway Park ; Lancaster : NY – Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Red River Valley Speedway ; West Fargo : ND – USMTS National Championship Series
Sat : Aug 25th – Red River Valley Speedway ; West Fargo : ND – Super Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Southwest Speedway ; Dickinson : ND – Championship Night IMCA Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Southwest Speedway ; Dickinson : ND – Championship Night Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Steel Block Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Nationals Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Emo Speedway ; Emo : Ontario – Keith McNally Memorial Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Emo Speedway ; Emo : Ontario – Keith McNally Memorial Wissota Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Emo Speedway ; Emo : Ontario – Keith McNally Memorial Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – ARDC Midgets
Sat : Aug 25th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Sprint Cars
Sat : Aug 25th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Xcel 600 CCs
Sat : Aug 25th – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – 60th Anniversary 410 Sprints x2
Sat : Aug 25th – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – 60th Anniversary Thundercars
Sat : Aug 25th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Circuit Riverside Speedway ; Saint-Croix : Quebec – Can Am 200 ACT Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Circuit Riverside Speedway ; Saint-Croix : Quebec – Can Am 200 ACT Castrol Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Estevan Motor Speedway ; Estevan : Saskatchewan – IMCA Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Estevan Motor Speedway ; Estevan : Saskatchewan – IMCA Street Stocks
Sat : Aug 25th – Winchester Speedway ; Winchester : VA – World of Outlaws Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Elmer Cook Memorial Late Models
Sat : Aug 25th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Elmer Cook Memorial Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Elmer Cook Memorial Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – TNT Speedway ; Three Lakes : WI – Season Championships Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Aug 25th – TNT Speedway ; Three Lakes : WI – Season Championships Wissota Street Stocks
Sun : Aug 26th – Stafford Motor Speedway ; Stafford Springs : CT – PASS North Super Late Models
Sun : Aug 26th – Portland International Raceway ; Portland : OR – NASCAR K&N Pro West Series
Sun : Aug 26th – Huset’s Speedway ; Brandon : SD – USMTS National Championship Series
Sun : Aug 26th – Madison International Speedway ; Oregon : WI – ARCA Racing Series
Wed : Aug 29th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Outlaws
Wed : Aug 29th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Rebels
Wed : Aug 29th – Oxford Plains Speedway ; Oxford Plains : ME – Renegades
Wed : Aug 29th – Fairmont Raceway ; Fairmont : MN – USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup Modifieds
Wed : Aug 29th – McKean County Raceway ; East Smethport : PA – World of Outlaws Late Models
Wed : Aug 29th – Grays Harbor Raceway ; Elma : WA – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Thu : Aug 30th – Highway 3 Raceway ; Allison : IA – USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup Modifieds

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