Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Longtime veteran Terry Phillips stomped the United States Modified Touring Series field at Humboldt Speedway in Kansas Thursday night (March 23), leading all 35 laps to win the opening night of the King of America event without every being challenged.
Phillips then caught the Racin’ Dirt crew off guard in victory lane, saying with some emotion that he had retired from late model racing this same day. “It’s all about the modified now” he said in his post-race interview.
Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Thursday’s biggest drama came off the track with the announcement that World of Outlaws regular Bill Rose was taking over promotion of the legendary Terre Haute Action Track, meaning that the landmark half-mile will host three races in 2023 after facing an uncertain offseason.
What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning
It confuses the hell out of me that Humboldt Speedway calls the USMTS portion of this weekend’s racing program the King of America and the B-modified portion the Battle at the Bullring. If there’s a branding argument for this to be made, I don’t pretend to understand it. Then again, I don’t speak modified.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regular Tyler Erb was in the infield catching the races at Humboldt Thursday night. With fellow series regular Ricky Thornton Jr. scheduled to race with the USMTS tour Friday and Saturday, the mission that someone needs to accept is finding a modified ride for Terbo.
Rain is again wreaking havoc on dirt racing across the country, with cancelations already occurring from Kansas to Ohio, but none of the schedule changes have caused more consternation than that at Bridgeport Speedway Park in New Jersey, where the Short Track Super Series opted to withdraw its sanction of a scheduled modified race at the track.
Bridgeport announced a revised schedule later in the evening that confirmed the track would use a scheduled rain date, running an unsanctioned modified race instead of an STSS event.
There’s a very simple plausible explanation here; that Bridgeport is gung-ho about racing this weekend and that the STSS, looking at a likely miserable weather weekend, decided they didn’t want to put their brand and purse on the line for an event that will face potential challenges drawing fans and could also be subject to a water-logged racing surface.
Having said that, there were rampant rumors running on Facebook Thursday night about the state of the racing surface at Bridgeport, a surface that received new clay during the winter months. The track did post video from modified practice Thursday that looked good, but there’s a major difference between hot laps and a full racing program.
Sunday is going see Bridgeport under a microscope.
Tomorrow’s headline racing program with the XR Super Series season opener at Volunteer Speedway delayed will be down south at the Talladega Short Track in Alabama, where the World of Outlaws sprint cars will tackle the reconfigured facility. The track has taken on new clay and also erected a retaining wall in turns 1 and 2 where one did not exist previously.
Given how God-awful the track’s Ice Bowl late model race was back in January, this writer is thrilled for Friday just because it means the track that put that debacle on no longer exists. Whether adding walls to an already tight racetrack will do anything to improve the racing for the better remains to be seen.
Dirt Racing’s Heroes of the Day
Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night
Winona, Minn.’s Jake Timm fell victim to the commentary booth curse. Picked as the race winner by the Racin’ Dirt booth during pace laps, Timm brought out the yellow on lap 1 with a fuel-pump belt failure causing him to stop in the middle of traffic in turn 2. Timm was credited with a last-place finish in the USMTS feature.
Dirt track that ran an oval-track racing program in the U.S. Thursday night (per MyRacePass and Race Monitor)
The nation’s largest car count Thursday night, at Humboldt.
The nation’s largest purse Thursday night, awarded to the USMTS feature winner at Humboldt (Phillips).
Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Saturday morning (March 25) with coverage of the World of Outlaws sprint cars’ visit to the newly-revamped Talladega Short Track. Coverage can be found on DirtVision.
About the author
Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.
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