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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Do You Think Is Wrong With Today's Nascar?

For What It's Worth, My 2 Cents
by: Dale Hall

I read a Wall Street Journal article today titled "Nascar, Once A Cultural Icon, Hits the Skids". That article got me to thinking about how, even though I still enjoy Nascar and it's products, racing at the highest level isn't as important to me as it once was. I suspect that many of you are in the same boat. The question is why? After a little bit of introspection, I came up with a few reasons as to why I think Nascar is in the it's current predicament. Before I share my thoughts on this subject, I was wanting to get the thoughts of any of you who may be concerned about the direction Nascar is headed in. Please, in a constructive way, let me know what your concerns are and what you think could and should be done to correct the situation. Please refrain from making derogatory and off-base comments. I will post this on the Deep Dixie Racing Facebook page. Please leave your comments there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wanted And Needed: Public Relations People To Help Promote Racing

For What It's Worth, My 2 Cents
by: Dale Hall

This is just my opinion and mine only. I see a glaring absence of any organized effort to promote stock car racing and that needs to be rectified for the good of the sport. Too many tracks and racing series do not have dedicated public relations people and, if they do, they most often resort to a hodgepodge of efforts to get information about their track or series out to the public. The most prominent of those efforts rely on social media and even those efforts often have no rhyme or reason. Just think about how many different ways the tracks or series each of you know about disseminate information regarding their upcoming events.

I am not saying that social media doesn't have it's place in this day and age of electronic media. For sure it does. What I am saying is that the way we done things twenty or thirty years ago doesn't necessarily work anymore and we need to adapt with the changing and evolving technology if we want to see stock car racing survive and continue to grow, hopefully, in a coordinated effort.

One glaring omission is that most often a track or series does not have at least one person dedicated to providing reliable updated information to the public. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of this, let's focus on where some are getting things right. For example, East Alabama Motor Speedway has got themselves an excellent public relations person in Lamar McClellan. So does Senoia Raceway with their public relations specialist, Ted Austad. Both of these gentlemen go about their business in a professional way and they are constantly promoting their individual tracks by providing information to the public as often as possible in various ways. Some of you may have noticed their articles on Deep Dixie Racing where they are either promoting or recapping races at their facilities. They provide those stories for any media outlets which are willing to publicize them. People, that is a win-win situation because the media outlets get content and the tracks get free publicity. Lamar also provides updates as racing action is taking place at the track as well. Another person I am impressed with is Wesley Outland and the way he handles his duties as the National Series Announcer/Public Relations Director duties for the USCS. He is constantly doing live videos to help promote that series and that helps keep those guys in the public eye.

Traipse on over to the East Alabama Motor Speedway Facebook page and scroll down to see how a well-maintained track page looks. New Senoia Raceway's Facebook page is another one you will want to check out. They do it right.

What makes a good public relations person one might ask? Well, first of all, a love of the sport itself is a given. If a person doesn't have that going for them - well, just forget it. To generate interest, your topic has to be interesting. If you love stock car racing and you can communicate that to your audience, it should show in your work. That will help attract a following. As you attract a following, that following in turn will help share your work with others, most often through social media. Now, some people are apt to be good writers and others are likely to be real comfortable in front of a camera. Others may be comfortable with both writing and getting their point across by doing a video. A good PR person will be able to adapt to a style he or she is comfortable with and proficient at. They may even evolve their style as they become more comfortable with different media. Probably, more often than not, they also surround themselves with others of like mind and talents who help out in their efforts. For example, Lamar McClellan and Eric Gano work hand in hand in providing coverage for East Alabama and Ted Austad and Francis Hauke work together doing the same at Senoia Raceway. Eric and Francis just happen to be photographers at those tracks, and dang good ones at that.

Public relations is all about information, information, information, and getting that information out to the public in the most advantageous way.

As a race fan,  I always like to be informed about what is going on at favorite tracks and race series I like to follow. That includes information about upcoming racing events, information about events when I am at the tracks, and a recap of anything I might have missed after leaving or getting home from the tracks. It is probably in the best interest of the tracks and series to be the ones who provide that information so that is timely and accurate.

Information about upcoming events is pretty much all about event announcements, getting out flyers, notifications regarding participating drivers, rules, payouts, ticket costs, and other typical information regarding the event. Those are important to most of us. Once at the track, I would like to be informed about the schedule of events for the evening, which drivers actually showed up, qualifying information, and information about any changes which may be taking place. To be honest, most of that can and should be taken care of by the track announcer but, more times than not, that information is not always heard by everyone or it may go in one ear and right back out the other. For those reasons, the track announcer's information could and probably should be accompanied by releases of tidbits online that have actual lists, photos, and videos for fans to look at and share with others. Those things could be accomplished by a dedicated PR person. Once again, Lamar McClellan and Eric Gano are already doing a lot of that at East Alabama Motor Speedway. What will it take for other tracks to follow suit?

I don't want to come across as being critical of any track or series. I am hoping to point out that, because of evolving technology and fan habits concerning social media, there might just be a better way for those tracks and series to interact with fans and that they should explore ways to do so. Having at least one person dedicated as a PR person should be a good start in that direction.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping promote racing at a local track or racing series, I encourage you or them to develop relationships with your local track management or series management. To be honest, people should not expect to be making much, if any, money in such an endeavor. Do it because you love the sport. That is why a lot of us do it, even here at Deep Dixie Racing. As Eric Gano recently told me, you won't get rich doing this sort of stuff but you get to meet a lot of interesting folks and you pretty much always get one of the better seats in the house. I am going to share this on Facebook so hit me up on there if you have any questions or comments. Let's all try to make our sport more enjoyable for everyone and help make it grow at the same time.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Recap of the 3rd Annual Groundhog Classic at EAMS February 4, 2017

Submitted by Lamar McClellan
Photo Credits: Eric Gano, EPA-Photography

Cory Hedgecock

1 - #23 Corey Hedgcock - from 7th starting spot to the lead by lap 6 - worked the top right to the lead.
2 - #18E Chase Edge - started 4th, fell back to 8th, steadily worked his way back up to 2nd.
3 - #12 Ashton Winger - lead early, fell back to 4th, back up to 2nd, then 3rd.
4 - #55 Montana Dudley - started 6th, ran as high as 2nd, pushed high off 2 and dropped back to 4th.
5 - #101 Forrest Trent - started 3rd, dropped back to 9th early, then steadily moved back into the top 5.

Joseph Brown

1 - #92 Joseph Brown - this race was over when JB took the green flag, though #5T Thomas Lewis made a good run near the end to make it look good.
2 - #5T Thomas Lewis - started 8th and was up to P2 by lap 6.
3 - #55 Montana Dudley - started 6th, up to 3rd early, then back to 5th, then back to 3rd.
4 - #1D Dalton Cook - started 4th, ran as high as 3rd, as low as 5th, then back up to 4th.
5 - #47 Tyler Crowder - started an uncharacteristic 11th, was in the top 5 by lap 15.

Donovan Singer

602 LM Sportsman:
1 - #6 Donovan Singer - started 2nd and lead every lap
2 - #25 Wiley McDaniel, Jr. - started 5th, moved up steadily to P2
3 - #23 Ahnna Parkhurst - RCR development driver started 6th, settled into P3 by lap 5
4 - #22 Danny Stroud - started 3rd, fell back to 6th, then moved back up
5 - #17 Kevin Bennett - started 11th, up to P6 by lap 6, with 2 to go had moved into the top 5

Jason Price

1 - #17 Jason Price - dominated this class same as Joseph Brown did his class, though #21 Corey Dunn made it interesting at the end.
2 - #21 Corey Dunn - started 4th and was up to 2nd within 5 laps where he got stronger and stronger as the race went on, actually reaching Price's bumper late in the going
3 - #1 Ben Steele - started 2nd but gave way to Dunn early and ran P3 the rest of the way.
4 - #31 Richie Grantham - started 5th, fell back to 7th, then settled into P4 by lap 7.
5 - #0 Blake Harmon - started 9th, had altercation with #92 on lap 2 and again on lap 6, but settled down and moved into the top 5 with 2 to go.

Steve Pate

Street Stock:
1 - #07 Steve Pate - started 4th, up to P3 on lap 2, P2 on lap 3, and the lead on lap 7.
2 - #4 Tyler Brown - started 2nd, lead the 1st 6 laps, the P2 the remainder
3 - #3 Larry Faulk - started last after DQ in his heat, broke into the top 5 by lap 6, P4 on lap 10, and P3 on lap 12.
4 - #69 Jason Harrison - started 3rd, took 2nd on the start, back to P3 on lap 5, then P4 on lap 12
5 - #2 Brian Hansford - started 8th, moved up to P5 on lap 13

Chandler Diem

Road Warrior:
1 - #999 Chandler Diem - started on the pole, but was involved in a wreck on lap 1 and restarted last, was back up to P5 by lap 4, spun on lap 5 and back to the rear, back to P5 by lap 10, moved to 2nd on lap 12, took the lead on lap 14 and never looked back.
2 - #16 Robert Price - started 2nd, lead from lap 1 to lap 14
3 - #17 Bo Robinson - started 3rd, lead the 1st aborted start, ran 2nd early but fell little by little back to 5th before moving back up to 3rd.
4 - #41 Wesley Burke - started 5th, ran as high as 2nd, as low as 5th
5 - #113 Josh Childers - started 11th, persevered up to top 5 by lap 13

Jonathan Merritt

Hot Shots:
1 - #5J  Johnathan Merritt - started outside pole and lead every lap
2 - #5M Terry Merritt - started 6th, P5 on lap 1, P4 on lap 3, P3 on lap 6, and P2 just past half way
3 - #1 Lee Hutchinson - started on the pole, ran P2 until just past half way
4 - #8 Victoria Purcell - started 8th, moved up to P5 by lap 3 and P4 by lap 6.
5 - #2 - Patrick Harrelson - started 9th and moved into the top 5 by lap 6.

That's a wrap on the 3rd Annual Groundhog Classic.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just A Little Racing Action To Whet The Appetite

Many of us are getting racing fever this time of year. Having been deprived of any significant racing action in and around the area one lives is responsible for said fever. Alas, hope is just around the corner. Speed weeks will be kicking off soon and a lot of racing events will soon be available to all the stock car racing fans. Just this past weekend, we at Deep Dixie Racing were able to take in the Hangover Classic at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. Here is video of one of the features which was run this past Saturday night.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fastrak Champion Knight Ready For Showdown In Savannah At OSP

Cla Knight of North Augusta, SC celebrates winning his second Fastrak Pro Late Model Championship with his family and crew at Lavonia Speedway in Lavonia, GA on November 20.  Knight made Fastrak history in 2016 by becoming the first driver to win the Southeast Region and Mid-Ohio Valley Region Championships in the same season driving the Augusta Aquatics Longhorn.  (Photo By Jule Coffee )  

SAVANNAH, GA – The 2016 Fastrak Pro Late Model Southeast and Mid-Ohio Valley Champion Cla Knight of North Augusta, SC will be one of the top entrants at the $10,000-to-win 19th Annual Showdown In Savannah for Crate Late Models this Thursday through Saturday at Oglethorpe Speedway Park.

Knight is a driver that has come into his own in the second half of the 2016 season with wins and top five finishes in some of the biggest Crate Late Model Races in the Southeastern United States. Knight made Fastrak history this season by becoming the first driver to win both the Southeast Region and the Mid-Ohio Valley Region Championships in the same season.

 “After winning the Rookie of the Year and placing fourth in points in two Regions last year, to back it up with Championships in both Regions made it a fun and satisfying season,” Knight said. “This season, I had more experience with a full notebook from the 2015 season to take back to tracks, we upgraded our equipment, and I made better decisions as a driver.”

 Knight won four Fastrak Weekly Racing Series events in 2016, but he seemed to come into his own during the Labor Day Weekend three-race Fastrak East Coast Rumble. Knight opened the trio of races with a Regional win at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN, and then followed that up with his second win in three days at Wythe Raceway in Wytheville, VA.

 In two trips to East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, AL, Knight finished fourth in the Alabama State Championship Race in October, and followed that up with a second-place finish in the National 100 in November. Knight has experience, and more importantly, success at Oglethorpe Speedway Park.

 “I like Oglethorpe Speedway Park and I’ve had some good runs there in the past,” Knight said. “I’ve got a lot of top three finishes there and I finished second last year in the Showdown In Savannah. We run a different compound of tire at the Showdown than we run with Fastrak, so I’m looking forward to getting down there on Thursday to get everything dialed in.”

 Knight will face some tough competition for the 19th Annual Showdown In Savannah. Top entrants will include World of Outlaw hot shoe Brandon Overton of Anderson, SC, who will be driving for former Showdown winning car owner Bobby Kay who had Tuck Trentham driving. Superman Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, GA will also be looking for the $10,000 top prize.

 The defending Showdown In Savannah winner Cecil Eunice of Blackshear, GA will return to defend his title. Also entered is Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL, Robert Diekemper of Bloomingdale, GA, Travis Pennington of Stapleton, GA, and Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL.

 Along with the Crate Late Models, the Super Stocks and the Super 4s will be in action for the 19th Annual Showdown In Savannah with each Division competing in a 50-lap $5,000-to-win main event. The Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks will each compete for 20 Laps and $1,500-to-win in their respective main events. The Amateur 4 Division will also be in action with a 10-lap main event each night.

 The Crate Late Models are powered by economical Chevrolet Performance 604 Circle Track Engines that are built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications. Kelcar Motorsports will provide the personnel to scrutinize the Crate Engines and collect tire samples in the Tech Area during the post-race inspection.

 The Showdown In Savannah gives race fans an opportunity to see big track racing on a dirt surface, as Oglethorpe Speedway Park is the last standing half-mile dirt track in South Georgia and North Florida. There have other dirt tracks in each area that have been half-mile in length, but they have either reduced in length or closed. Only OSP has stood the test of time as a half-mile race track.

 The on track action begins on Thursday night, December 1 with an Open Practice Session. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with practice from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Pit passes are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and Grandstand admission will be $5.

 Friday night action will feature Qualifying and Heat Races as preliminary events for the big show. The Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks will run Heat and Feature Races on Friday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. with Hot Laps and Qualifying for Crate Late Models and Super Stocks will be at 6:15 p.m. Racing action is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

 Pit passes on Friday night will be $30 for Adults and $15 for children 12 and under. General Admission Grandstand tickets will be $15 for Adults, $13 for Seniors and Military, and $5 for children 12 and under.

 Saturday night will see B-Main races and the big money feature events. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., with Hot Laps at 6:20 p.m. and Racing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pit passes are $40 for Adults and $20 for Children 12 and younger. The Grandstand ticket prices are $20 for Adults, $18 for Seniors and Military, and $5 for children 12 and under.

 Oglethorpe Speedway Park is located Northwest of Savannah, GA at 200 Jesup Road, Pooler, GA 31322, or three miles east of I-95 at Exit 102 on U.S. Highway 80. For more information call 912-964-8200, or visit them online at You can also like their Facebook page at Oglethorpe Speedway Park.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Clanton Claims $10,000 Pay Day At The Showdown At Senoia

Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo Credits: Francis Hauke

(November 13, 2016 - Senoia, GA)  Shane Clanton from Zebulon ran flag to flag Saturday night to claim the $10,000 top prize at the inaugural running of the ‘Showdown at Senoia’ year end auto racing extravaganza at the 3/8ths mile bull ring in Senoia.  Clanton jumped in front of polesitter Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN and then held off a late race scare provided by Winston’s Michael Page.

“It’s always good to win.  It’s even better to win close to home,” said Clanton afterwards on the front stretch.
Shane Clanton

The 2015 Craftsman Tools World of Outlaws Late Model Tour champion, Shane Clanton, used the high side of the slick racing gumbo clay to sneak past Owens.  Then he slowly made his way back to the bottom increasing his lead through the middle part of the 60-lap main event.

Michael Page emerged as his strongest contender near the halfway mark and then began to pressure Clanton as the two began to work lapped traffic.  Clanton went low on the slower traffic entering turn three on lap 52 which allowed Page to sneak past on the highside.  But, that tease at the lead was short lived as Clanton charged past the lapped car while Page had to slow slightly giving Clanton the lead back.  That close call was enough for Clanton to turn it up a notch and he pulled away through the final few laps to claim the victory.

Michael Page settled for second place ahead of Evans’ Brandon Overton in third.  Kansas hot shoe Chase Junghans was fourth followed by polesitter Jimmy Owens.  Short track dirt racing ace Scott Bloomquist finished in sixth place while Mississippi’s David Breazeale was seventh.  Acworth’s TJ Reaid was eighth, Tennessee’s Riley Hickman ninth and the race’s hard-charger was Cartersville teenager Zach Leonhardi rounding out the first ten.  Leonhardi started eighteenth after making the field with a win in the second consolation race.