The action was side by side;...
The action was side by side; #2 Paul Gibbs and #88 David Pollen Jr.
Aside from the education of racing on asphalt which should help us in the upcoming races at Ocala Speedway (Bobby is going to explain that one in an article next month), the UDLMCS asphalt race at Charlotte County Motorsports Park proved one very valuable lesson: A good show will pack the grandstands.
"It was a great success without a doubt," says Diehl. "Let's face it, the first one you're going to have to please is the guy who pays the bills, which is your fan.
That philosophy is a big reason why the Drit Late Models wound up at CCMP (see the sidebar, page 24).
Side by side: "Topless" Shan...
Side by side: "Topless" Shan Smith #17 muscles by the #13 of J.R. Garcia.
And Diehl's fans made it clear that they'll support Drit Late Models running at Charlotte County. "I'll tell you what, my fans have bugged me to death as to when the next one was going to be," says Diehl. "They want them back, they want them back now. There were fans coming up to me telling me how great the race was the moment the checkered flag flew. So, naturally, I started bugging Ken from the moment he walked out of the track that night."
The grandstands were full and the grassy hill between Turns 3 and 4 were stuffed with people, blankets and chairs. With that kind of success, Diehl and Kinney would be crazy not to have the series make a return trip.
"Obviously you've already got a schedule and you can't add a second asphalt race mid-year," explains Diehl. "But I said, 'Let's look at doing an off-season program, maybe over the winter. Nobody really races then anyway.' We're definitely going to run one next year. Right now, we're working on a winter show.
Side by side: #42 Marshall...
Side by side: #42 Marshall Austin and #2 Paul Gibbs.
"Heck, if I had enough guys who wanted to do it on a monthly basis I'd have those races on a monthly basis and I'm not all so sure that I wouldn't have the roofs off of them. I thought watching that guy get up on the wheel of that 17 (Shan Smith) was just incredible." Smith showed up without his roof a la the Topless 100 racers up in Arkansas. He was the only one who did but was easily the fan favorite by the end of the night.
For the Circle Track Dirt Late Model Race Team, we learned a lot from racing on the asphalt. We learned that a good, well run show will put people in the stands even with gas at $4.00 per gallon. Bobby learned some new skills that he'll be applying to his dirt racing, which he'll tell you about in an upcoming article. The fans got to learn a little bit about Drit Late Models. And everybody on the team learned that the best planned strategy is still at the mercy of things you can't control; caution flags ... or the lack thereof.
Side by side all night long:...
Side by side all night long: eventual winner #5C Johnny Collins and #5W Mark Whitener.
Side by side: #48 Bill Howard,...
Side by side: #48 Bill Howard, #9 Jimmy Waldrop.
With the occasional single-file...
With the occasional single-file racing: Bobby Clark in front of Johnny Collins.