We are happy to announce to the racing world that a new, innovative, and unique series has formed in Florida whereby team owners, drivers, track owners, and promoters combined their needs into a formula for a series that is sure to be a success.
Dick and Wayne Anderson along with Alan Bruns have organized the Florida All-Stars Tour Late Model Racing Series, or F.A.S.T. It is a 12-race schedule that visits six different racetracks from February 20 through October 16.
Recognizing that asphalt late model racing in the state of Florida had a problem, Wayne had a vision and decided it was time to act. He, along with the other partners and several tracks, developed what could be a near perfect plan to entice larger fields and crowds.
The series is called a Racers Series, a term used by Wayne. "The decision to create a racers series was because Florida needed a Late Model series with a common set of rules to compete at any track from south to north Florida, that was determined to keep racers together under one umbrella and concentrate on keeping the rising cost to compete down, along with helping our promoter partners."
That's one long sentence that really says it all. The key words here are "promoter partners" because the track owners and promoters have long been sensitive to the fact that they had most of the exposure and investment in short track racing and therefore had to dictate the rules. Now this group of racers has convinced them that in order to survive, they must work together. And the promoters have fully bought into the plan.
Dick says, "It is amazing the amount of support that we have received from track promoters, race team owners, and drivers. F.A.S.T. is organized by racers to promote Late Model racing within the state of Florida. We have looked at every aspect of the process when a touring series comes to a local track and is assisting the track promoter with sponsorship, advertising, and promotions." Through that analysis, they have come up with a way to please everyone, fans included.
Here Is The Plan The F.A.S.T. series competitors will include Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, and Crate Late Models which will all compete together in the same race. The different types of performance will be adjusted by weight based on engine combination and chassis. The group believes it has come up with a true and accurate way of equalizing the cars which amount to eight different categories of chassis and engine combinations.
Length The races will be 100 laps with a maximum of three laps counted per caution up to lap 75. Laps 75 to 100 will all be green (caution laps don't count) and the finish will be a green, white, checker if there is a caution at the end.
Tires There is also a maximum allowance of eight new tires per event-including practice, qualifying, and the race. The picking up, mounting, and use of tires will be closely monitored and there is a minimum of 46 durometer hardness rule with no tolerances.
Weights The weights are as follows: Crate 2,650 pounds, Limited Late Model 2,725 pounds, and Super Late Models 2,800 pounds (9-1 motors in a Super Late must weigh 2,825 pounds). There is a 58 percent left-side weight maximum for all cars. Only time will tell if this weight break system will be ideal to equalize the field and the qualifying runs will truly tell the tale
Bodies ABS or non-ABC are allowed, but nothing "out of the ordinary" and anything suspect must go through a referee. This means that if you race anything in Florida that even comes close to the rules, you'll probably be allowed in this series. Imagine if you run a Limited Late Model, stock clip car now. This means you can run with the big dogs and really have some fun.
Motors The motor rules are:
• Crate - No Chip allowed
• Limited - Spec with 650 Carb or Original 2 bbl motor with 500 cfm
• Super Lates - Spec motor with governor or 2 bbl carb
• 9-1 - With governor or 2 bbl carb and 2,825 weight
• Steel head Chevrolet - with governor or 2 bbl
• Steel head Ford - with governor or 2 bbl
• Hamner spec - with governor or 2 bbl
• McGunegill - with governor or 2 bbl
The idea of using rev limiters was not a consideration and using weight differences truly was the fair way to regulate the competition. And the weight rules can be modified as they see fit. That is my observation, not theirs.
Unique Rookie Program In addition to an overall winner for each race, there will be a Rookie program that will reward the top finishing Rookie with a podium appearance along with the overall winner. The Rookie with the most points at the end of the year will be awarded the Rookie Championship at a traditional year-end ceremony. Alan states, "There are a lot of young men and women in Florida who want to compete within a series on a regular basis and this gives them the opportunity to compete at a higher level and still have their own race within a race."
The Rookie division will be limited to a maximum age of 22 (no older than 22 at season's start). You must not have won a Late Model track or series championship in the past prior to racing in this series. And, you must have participated in more than 10 Late Model races or more than five in one year. This will be some serious racing and the organizers don't feel that this is the place to learn how to drive a Late Model.
Where most series ask the track to pay them to come and race at their tracks, this series wants to make sure the track makes money. They have done this with a guaranteed field count that is made possible with sponsor involvement and reduced back-gate prices. Wayne was asked the obvious question, "What's in this for you?" His answer, "Absolutely nothing. There is no angle, I'm just to trying to make racing in Florida a success for the teams and the tracks."
The Series Managers Gary Salvatore will serve as the Series Director along with Mark Tanner assisting him as the Technical Director. The tracks the series will run are Citrus County Speedway (Inverness), Auburndale Speedway, New Smyrna Speedway, Charlotte County Speedway, Columbia Motorsports Park
(Lake City), and Orlando Speedworld.
While Wayne and partners will oversee the series, once the racing starts, they will be relegated to ordinary participants just like everyone else. And, there is a rumor that Dick is coming back out of retirement to race again. He has been on a weight loss program over the winter and expects to be in great shape for the first race.
A Model For Other States New Smyrna Speedway held a combined class race on October 24, 2009, and the racing was excellent. There were numerous lead changes and the finish was very close, 3 feet between First and Second. Dick told me that he hadn't seen that good a race in years.
So, could this new series be a model for other states and/or regions? I don't know. I do know this, if things aren't working in your part of the country, there is a saying, "if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got."
It's time for some changes in short track racing and in the area of promotion and team involvement, maybe we're long overdue. We are going to be on the lookout for new ideas in promoting short track racing and we will bring those ideas to you. In the mean time, let us know what your promoters and teams are doing to make racing more successful in your area. We can all work together to promote ideas and systems that work.
For more information about the F.A.S.T. series, you can reach Mark Tanner at marktanner@organized jungle.com or visit the series website at www.floridaallstars.org.