On the setup side, we saw tracks where the surface bumps necessitated using stiffer springs on what would otherwise have been soft springs and big sway bar setups. I've seen this before at Watermelon Speedway in Georgia. Teams showed up with super soft springs running on bumpers only to find that the bumps in the track upset the cars so much that they became undriveable.

At Lanier, we watched as the fast qualifier ran off from the field only to fade later on after 35 laps and watch as the most consistent car in the field caught and passed him for the win. We preach consistency and we were rewarded with a demonstration of just that.

There were development teams at both Lanier and Tri-County Speedways. These areas are in NASCAR country and generate interest for Cup wannabes. Tri-County had Revolution Racing, part of the Drive for Diversity campaign, in attendance. We met two female racers and a young man from All American Speedway in Sacramento, California, who was of Hispanic background.

Trends Overall, we see a transition of the classes into more affordable racing. Not only the advent of 8-inch tires and combined engine rules, but the addition of Legends cars in the program drives the back gate attendance and that is much different than we've seen in the past.

The young drivers are a big part of short-track racing and it seems like they get younger every year. We did run into one dad who had a novel approach to his son's racing. They were competing at Lanier in the very competitive Super Late Model division.

Dad explained that ever since his son had competed in karts, the requirement was for him to maintain straight A's in school or not race. If not, he would have to sit out the next six weeks until the next report card came out. Well, he hasn't missed any races so far. What a plan!

Tracks are trying to become more a part of the growing community around them rather than apart. The running of mufflers to quiet the cars, and getting the program underway early and finishing earlier helps attract the families who need to get the kids to bed at a decent hour and helps bring larger numbers of fans.

Keeping a tight schedule helps move the program along. Complaints that come from non-attending neighbors are usually reduced when the sound level drops and the races can be finished by 10 p.m.

One trend we saw and have had reports about at the end of last season is the giving away of vouchers instead of money at the awards banquets at season's end. We talked to numerous teams that really were disgusted with this practice.

It's hard enough to fund a team and when you're given paper instead of the expected money, that limits where you can buy what you need. It's a cheesy way to save a little money and it ends up costing much more when many teams either quit racing or go to another racetrack where the management stands by its word.

Conclusion It's the changing times that drive the changes in how short-track racing is promoted, developed, and operated. This Tour is looking to be very timely indeed. We are on the cusp of big changes in our sport and hopefully we can share information that will help all of the promoters and participants to improve their game for the success of all.

We want to especially thank AMSOIL for its support and the whole of the industry will come to realize what that support will mean to us all in the long run. Also lending their support are CV Products and Holley Performance Products. Sometimes things just come together when the timing is right, and now is the perfect time for this historic Tour. We look forward to sharing even more information as time goes on.

SOURCE
AMSOIL
925 Tower Ave.
Superior
WI  54880
800-777-8491
http://www.amsoil.com
CV Products, Inc.
42 High Tech Blvd
Thomasville
NC  27360
800-448-1223
www.cvproducts.com
Holley Performance Products/Brands
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green
KY  42101
270-781-9741
www.holley.com