Billy Moyer lines up to run the Topless 100 race at Batesville Speedway. He has an impress
The second half of our AMSOIL Great American Circle Track Tour of the Southeastern U.S. is now well under way and our next two stops are at two great dirt tracks-Batesville Motor Speedway for the annual Topless 100, and then on to Paducah International Raceway for the first race of a MARS-sanctioned double header weekend. We learned a whole bunch from these two races.
The trip, up to this point, was a long one and one not without adventure. We had so far traveled from our home in Ormond Beach, Florida, in our 40-foot motorhome pulling a 28-foot double stacker trailer, to Clarksville, Tennessee, and Highland Rim Speedway; then on to Columbus, Indianna, for the Salem USAC race; and on to an RV park in Paducah, Kentucky, overnight. The next race was the Topless 100 at Batesville and so we needed to break up the trip from Indiana.
Continuing on to Batesville, I chose a route from Paducah that would place me at a fuel stop on I-55 west of the Mississippi River and that required taking Kentucky and Mississippi highways 60/62 across the Ohio and Mississippi rivers near where they join. No big deal. But it was.
The racing at Batesville was all good. We had a chance to observe first-hand the new style
These two bridges are extremely high and long two laner's that were built around 1929 or so and only 20 feet wide from boiler plate to boiler plate. Where the right lane stripe is on a normal highway, these bridges had steel plating. Cross the line and scrape the steel. And, semi tractor trailers were coming at me from the opposite direction. Our mirrors were passing less than six inches apart. Talk about up on the wheel.
We stayed in an RV park up the road a bit from Batesville in Mountain View, Arkansas, and got a much needed rest. This part of Arkansas was wonderful with low mountains and lots of forests and farms. We drove the Jeep Wrangler all around the Ozark National Forest. Batesville Motor Speedway is right on the edge of this rolling hills country and itself, in a great location. No wonder Billy Moyer calls this place home.
Speaking of Moyer, we are going to tell a tale about Billy in this installment. Don't write us and tell us that we devoted excess print on him, because that is the plan. There are about 24 reasons why as of the date of this writing.
The heat races and B-main ran into the night and just before the A-main was to be run, mot
Batesville Motor Speedway
Every year, Batesville holds the Topless 100 race where the best DLM teams from across the country come to race with their roofs removed from the car. I first came here about 1997 and still think this is a neat way for fans to see the racers. Without the roofs, the drivers are clearly visible and it's fun to watch. Because of the rain delaying the running of the race until Sunday, the view was even better.
So far we had been to only two dirt races on this 2010 Tour, Carolina and Cherokee, and both were regular weekly race schedules. This time, we were treated to a race where most of the top Dirt Late Model teams in the country would be competing.
In preparation for this race, I remembered to look up the stats on Billy Moyer because this is his home track and because I have watched Billy and the way he races for some time. What I have preached as to driving style on dirt is what he has been doing his entire career. And it has paid off, but not quite as well as this year.
"Mr. Smooth," as he is called, races more straight ahead that most any other driver including Scott Bloomquist-and that has produced consistency in his race results. I remember seeing where he had won the Dream at Eldora this year, something I could relate to as I was part of a setup conspiracy in 1998 when Billy won the Dream and the World 100 that year with a crazy asphalt setup.
The Topless 100 gets its name from the removal of the roof from the Dirt Late Model cars.
As the race unfolded, I could see where the setups were different than I had remembered in the recent past. The right front corners were down and staying that way. A quick few questions put to some insiders told me something I had run into a few months before, tie-down shocks were being used at the RF to hold that wheel down. And stiffer RR springs were holding the left front down as well.
Look back at the cover on this issue and see what this does to the car, or some cars. In extreme front end dive, there can be a lot of camber change with the right front wheel gaining negative camber. The amount depends on the upper control arm length and static angle. With short upper arms and a higher static angle, the camber change can be unreal.
Jonathan Davenport told me at Barry Wright's shop that he likes this tie-down stuff because for one thing it allows him to see better than if the front end were up in the air. I get that, but the track must be fairly smooth in order for this to work. If not, the front end gets bounced around and the car will push severely.
On Sunday at Batesville, the water truck was busy trying to put enough moisture into the d
All in all, in the heats, the more balanced cars with all four wheels on the ground ended up in the Main event. The problem was, it rained late in the afternoon and again before race time. There was no way the A-main could be run so it was postponed until the next afternoon on Sunday.
In his heat race, after the start, Moyer was a distant third with the two front runners pulling away. The tendency was to project that Billy had nothing for them. But after an early caution, he pounced in a way I had observed before. It was like a new car, he overtook the second place car going into Turn 1 at the green flag and then within a lap, took the lead and never looked back. This is his style a lot of the time. More on Moyer later in the Paducah review.
Did I mention the heat we had experienced on this late summer round of the Tour? We had been scheduled to go to Bloomington Speedway when we were in Indiana, but that race was canceled due to high heat with the heat index at more than 100 degrees. I think the temperatures were near or above 100 all around the Midwest around that time. And it was hot in Batesville too.
At the start, it looked like Donny O'neal had the field covered, but you can never be sure
The mid-day heat dried out the track and tire wear became the issue. Most teams had to pit two or more times in the race to replace worn out tires. It made for a very interesting show because as teams put on new rubber, they rocketed to the front. It became a matter of tire management more than driving skill, but then that is a driving skill, isn't it?
Jared Landers, in the appropriately sponsored Mark Martin Ford entry, which is located in Batesville, put it on them in the end and took the win. His late race charge was timed just perfectly to dominate over the fading stars.
Paducah International Raceway
We arrived in Paducah after taking a much needed break in the hill country of Arkansas, one of the few times we were able to stop for a few days and rest. Most of this leg of the Tour had us on the road going between racetracks that were far apart.
When we arrived at Paducah for a "regular" Friday night show, we were surprised to find Bi
In choosing our schedule for this second half of the Tour, we saw certain races and tracks where we needed to be, regardless of the distance between. So, this is what we ended up with and it was wearing us out. Nonetheless, we were accomplishing our goals in a big way. We were gathering lots of valuable information about circle track racing.
The Paducah event was, in our original estimation, supposed to be a regular event of sorts. I guess we didn't look hard enough, because the track was having a special race called the USA World 50 MARS/UMP Challenge Night for $5,000 to win. As we arrived, we noticed that two regulars to the high-dollar shows were there, Shannon Babb and Billy Moyer.
Our AMSOIL sponsorship Tour partners provided their representatives at Paducah with a disp
Shannon was "dressed" appropriately having borrowed Kenny Schrader's trailer while his new one is being built. Kenny is one of the owners of this track having purchased it in 2005 along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and promoter Bob Sargent. In 2006, Tony Stewart came on as a partner and you couldn't ask for a better run show and facility than this.
As for Billy, I saw this as a sort of pickin' style where a top driver chooses to pick and choose races that might not be well attended by the best drivers in Dirt Late Model (no offense to the local teams, but you know what I mean) and where they might be able to pick up some "easy" money, not that this stuff is ever easy.
He did manage to win his heat race and the feature, but that doesn't tell the story for Moyer this year. As of this writing, he has put up some amazing numbers. According to his website that tracks his results in every event he runs, he now has 24 wins this season, out of 58 starts. That is a whopping 41 percent win to not-win ratio. His First Place earnings are at $324,000 and that doesn't include money he took in from winning poles and other-than-First Place finishes, or T-shirt sales.
Paducah was a track that was to our liking. We have talked in the past about dirt tracks t
This race was a MARS double header with the second race run at I-55 Raceway on the following Saturday night and Moyer won that one too. What caught my eye was the way Billy drove this race. Remember that we have advocated a more straight ahead style of driving on dirt and keeping all four wheels on the ground.
I won't go into the lecture on front end geometry and moment center design that will help make that happen, but if you've been paying attention to what we preach, you know what I mean. Billy drove his heat running the middle groove and never, ever got the rear end out running the turns just like an asphalt car.
As the track dried out during the other class races, he observed carefully how the track was transitioning. When it came time for the A-main, he had decided to move up to the top, something I never suspected he'd do. But it worked very well.
Still, he would make his run down the straights entering the turns going very fast. Instead of throwing the car sideways like 99 percent of the other cars, he seemed to brake the car hard to slow it down, entered the middle of the turn still straight ahead, and then rotated slightly to drive off the corner. He was able to maintain a lot of momentum doing that, and he won the race.
The track at Paducah has some banking up to about 12 degrees. It held moisture fairly well
The most important message I can give about all of this is, as we have stated before, consistency wins. This style is very consistent and it has its share of wins this season. Most drivers would give their right lug nut to have 24 wins in a season, not to mention the $350,000 plus in winnings. No, Billy Moyer does not win every race and some he doesn't even get into the feature, but a 41 percent win record is unheard of at this level of competition.
Next Up I'll get off my BM soap box now. We have lots of great races to go on this Tour. We observed other trends and practices and met some great track owners and promoters in little places like Crossville, Tennessee. We're all set to be a part of really big shows like the World 100 at Eldora and Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track where hundreds of Modifieds come to put on a great show.
As always, stay tuned. And be sure to check out my many blogs on www.circletrack.com that offer a glimpse into the touring life and tidbits about each weekend's races.
As we were walking the pits and talking to various teams, we came across one car owner who
Kenny Schrader is one of the owners of this track along with Dale Jr., Bob Sargent, and To