The weekly track shows pay $500-$700 per race. With the touring series, the winning payoff is from $2,500 to $3,000 per show. Two tire brands are allowed in this season with either the Hoosier D55 or the American Racer 56.

Indiana Crate Series Co-Owners Mike and Donna Bechelli's Indiana-based series began in 2006 and ran that first season under Fastrak sanction. This season, they are going it alone with 12 races scheduled, all of them in Indiana. Right off the bat, Bechelli's hyped about the reliability of the crate engine. Still an active driver, he indicated, "Heck, I ran one of them 1,600 laps last season and only had to change the valve springs and retainers." Instead of a standard points fund, Mike will award racing parts and pieces including chassis from Rayburn, Rocket and MastersBuilt along with transmissions and engine parts. Hoosier, American Racer, and Goodyear brands are all allowed with this series.

Crate American Racing Series (CARS) Being around only since late 2005, the CARS organization was formed by a group of car owners, track promoters and officials who were all looking for a more economical form of Dirt Late Model racing. Car counts were dropping and all concerned were interested in an alternative to the high-dollar cost of running a Super Dirt Late Model. Using basically the same rules as the other crate organizations, CARS carries out its racing activities in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana. It also sanctions weekly events at Mt. Vernon (Ill.) Raceway, along with Kentucky tracks Paducah International Raceway and Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway.

In addition to the tracks listed, 2007 saw CARS aligned itself with Fredericktown (Mo.) Raceway, Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway and Windy Hollow (Ky.) Speedway. CARS had 108 different drivers compete in the series in its first full year with hopes that this number will double this season!

"With the cost of running a (Super) Dirt Late Model, we felt the CARS crate Late Model series was the answer for controlling the cost of these cars," explained Kentucky's Soggy Bottom Speedway track promoter Don Adams. Adams' was another track that joined CARS in late 2006.

The tire requirement for CARS is the Hoosier WRS-2. The winner's payoff at weekly series CARS tracks is $500-$600 with special events paying between $1,000-$2,500.

IMCA Crate Models Noting the success of other crate Dirt Late Model groups, the longstanding IMCA group entered the fray this past season. For the immediate future, the racing will be done at the local level. IMCA VP of Operations, Brett Root, says with the used Dirt Late Model market being very strong, it's possible to pick up a car with a crate engine go racing for as little as $10,000.

"It makes a very affordable option for low-budget teams and for tracks that want to start a crate class from scratch." The Hoosier D55 is the spec tire with the winner's share being between $300-$600 depending on the track.

Late Model sanctions aren't the only ones who are following the crate trend. There are an increasing number of organizations developing Sprint, Modified and even Sportsman crate divisions. One of the higher profile organizations, DIRT Motorsports, which sanctions the prestigious World of Outlaws Super Dirt Late Model series, was one of the first. Cory Reed, Director of the Dirt Sportsman Division, indicated that the series will be completely converted to the crates in 2008.

"We didn't want to start a new division and felt the Sportsman cars would be a good place to start the crates in our organization." But this isn't all new to the series (also known as the Northeast Modified Division) as the crate engines have been allowed in the series for the past two years. "The standard 350 small-block and the 350 crates have run together with the crate-powered cars getting a 150-pound weight break, that was the same situation for the 2007 season," Reed said.