Views & Notes: September 2016 Edition | Performance Racing Industry
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Views & Notes: September 2016 Edition
By Dan Schechner on September 6, 2016

* Short Track Epicenter: The Dirt Track at Charlotte next month plays host to an all-new three-day extravaganza showcasing some of the best “weekly racers” from across the US, according to DIRTcar Racing officials, as some nine divisions will contest a purse in excess of $120,000 during the Thursday (October 20) to Saturday (October 22) World Short Track Championships. Suitably, it’s slated for the weekend before the Bad Boy Off Road World of Outlaws World Finals, also at The Dirt Track.

“This massive event will make Charlotte the epicenter of dirt track racing in the United States and bring the best and brightest from around the country together for two incredible weeks,” noted Brian Carter, CEO of World Racing Group, which owns and runs WoO and DIRTcar. Participating divisions for the World Short Track Championships include: DIRTcar/SECA Pro Late Models; DIRTcar UMP Modified; DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds; DIRTcar/SECA Pro Modifieds; 360 Sprint Cars; DIRTcar Pro-Sprints; SECA Crate Sportsman; MMSA Mini-Stocks; and FWD/Hornets.

A four-hour open practice on Thursday will be followed by qualifying events for all divisions on Friday, with six of the nine divisions running all-star invitational features. On Saturday, racers will make a run for the gold. For full competitor information and division payouts, visit DIRTcar.com.

* Welcome Addition: ECR Technologies announced last month that it is now a wholly owned division of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), with whom it shares an impressive campus in Welcome, North Carolina. The business will retain the name (ECR Engines) that has seen it through the last nine years and more than 250 race wins in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series, among others.

Beyond NASCAR, ECR also produces engines for the Corvette Daytona Prototypes competing in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (after winning titles in 2014 and 2015), the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, SCCA, dirt and asphalt short track, and sprint car racing.

ECR, which sprouted from the union of RCR and Dale Earnhardt, Inc., today enjoys technical partnerships with Chevrolet, WIX Filters, Lucas Oil, Zeiss, PTC, Cometic Gasket, Bosch, Clevite, ARP, Smith Brothers, Spring Technologies, Total Seal, and others. For more, visit www.ecrengines.com.

* Off-Road Honors: On Halloween night (October 31), the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame opens its doors to five new honorees in a special induction ceremony at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Festivities, which are open to the public, include a cocktail hour, silent auction and banquet alongside the enshrinement of inductees Don Amador, Bud Feldkamp, Jim Ober, Larry Ragland and Tracy Valenta.

A tireless land-use advocate, Amador currently serves as Western Representative for the Blue Ribbon Coalition and owns the recreation consulting company Quiet Warrior Racing. For more than 20 years he has spearheaded political and legislative strategies on both the state and national levels to fight unnecessary restrictions on off-road sports.

Current Glen Helen Raceway president Feldkamp rode his blue and white Funco SS II (aka The Belray Bullet) to overall wins in two Baja 1000s, three Baja 500s and two Mint 400s in the mid-1970s and ’80s. He also earned two consecutive desert championships (1977 & 1978) along with two Bilstein Madonna awards.

Trackside Photo is virtually synonymous with off-road photojournalism, and Ober kept it going for more than 40 years. Being named SCORE Photographer of the Year an astonishing 17 times only begins to illustrate the profound impact of Trackside Photo on the sport, in particular its historical preservation.

Desert racing legend and trophy truck virtuoso Ragland is a five-time winner of the Baja 1000 along with dozens of class and overall victories in the BitD Nevada 1000, Baja 500, Nevada 500, Parker 400, Mint 400, Gold Coast 300, Primm 300, San Felipe 250, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and more over a career spanning four decades. Depending on the source, he’s either the winningest or second-winningest driver in the history of desert racing.

Notwithstanding his exploits behind the wheel, Valenta’s Party Ice team was considered one of the premier off-road racing organizations of the 1970s and ’80s. His stable of drivers included iconic names like Malcolm Smith and Feldkamp, Rick and Roger Mears, stunt drivers Bobby Ferro and Kitty O’Neal, and rock superstar Ted Nugent.

Tickets to next month’s induction ceremony are $125, with member and sponsorship options available, too. For more information, visit www.ormhof.org.

About the Author
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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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