Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Score one for the Pennsylvania Posse, as Anthony Macri held off a persistent charge from Kyle Larson to win the High Limit Racing sprint car feature Tuesday night (April 25) in his first career visit to 34 Raceway in Iowa.
Macri’s race-winning pass came not on Larson, but on Buddy Kofoid, who made two unforced errors that cost him a likely race win. Kofoid had lost the lead to Brent Marks with around 17 laps to go after jumping the cushion in turn 1, but got bailed out by a caution flag before the lap was scored.
As Macri noted in victory lane, it appeared that momentary hesitation by Kofoid in dealing with lapped traffic opened the door for Macri to take the lead for good.
Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: For the second event in a row, the High Limit tour played host to a violent crash in preliminary action, this time seeing a collision between Cup Series regular Alex Bowman and Conner Morrell send both cars into a nasty tumble in heat-race action.
Fortunately, there were no injuries from this incident, though both drivers withdrew from further competition on the evening.
What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning
I know sprint car racing doesn’t have an R&D center, but I certainly hope that Morrell’s chassis gets a real hard look from some experts. The degree of bend seen in his car’s front end after that heat-race accident was more than enough to be concerned about.
Unless your last name is Larson, it was a bad night to be a NASCAR regular in sprint car racing. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failed to transfer out of the C-main and Bowman wasn’t the only NASCAR-associated driver to endure a violent wreck on-track.
All things considered, night two of the High Limit Series was much improved over Lakeside. The last 15 laps of the feature were damn good, the car count stayed extremely healthy despite the race going for the standard $23,023 purse instead of the $50k that Lakeside put up two weeks ago and the entire program felt like it progressed more steadily (and not just because there was no extended red flag this time).
Having said that, the A-main didn’t end until after 10:30 local time and 11:30 for East Coast viewers. That’s still too damn late for a Tuesday night racing program. And if there was one detriment to the night, it was a crash-filled 305 sprint car support feature. The business rationale for needing a support class is well known and was articulated by High Limits/Flo Racing folks after last week’s Lakeside program, but there also needs to be an acknowledgement that sprint car racing, by nature of requiring push starts, take longer to run.
Stop running a non-qualifier heat and get rid of the gimmicky dice roll that has proven an academic exercise for drivers to decline. There’s 10-15 minutes back already. Trim the fat. With stacked 50-car fields, the on-track product will take care of itself.
I was harshly critical of the Welch family duo doing commentary at Lakeside, and while they were definitely better this go-around, I still think their monotone delivery is doing more harm than good to Flo Racing’s coverage of the tour.
Dillon Welch’s call for fans to rise to their feet for the four-wide parade lap sounded like Jeb Bush begging for applause. Vince, I beg of you man, please say sponsors and then the car number, not the other way around. And yes, this happened again.
While on the one hand it was cool to Brad Sweet doing his Tony Stewart impression, running around as a promoter doing everything from supervising track prep to breaking up a heated exchange between Kahne and Blake Hahn after their mid-race accident, it also sucks that the current defending World of Outlaws champion was on premises for a five-figure sprint car race and unable to actually compete in it.
I really hope the WoO tour gets over its insecurities and allows its race teams to contest this tour sooner than later. Late model racing has proven that big-money mid-week races are not going to stop big teams from running tours full-time.
34 Raceway was the focal point of dirt racing Tuesday, but a couple stories to touch on away from there. One, I’ll let the post speak for itself, but everyone with even a passing interest in short-track racing should read this post from Jacksonville Speedway in Illinois, which offered some insight into the finances associated with promoting in 2023.
Yes, this account is a little opaque about the trackside sponsorships sold and how much concessions sales actually generated. But for anyone looking to understand the margins for making money in this industry, it’s as close to a Rosetta Stone as will be found. Credit to the track’s promoters for sharing this.
The bloodbath of track closures in 2023 claimed another victim this week, with the announcement being made that Minnesota’s Chateau Speedway will not be opening for this race season. Support your local tracks while you can.
Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day
I’m going to let my post-race tweet about Macri’s performance speak for itself. Winning on a national stage against a stacked field was a major step forward for the Pennsylvania hot shoe.
Dirt Racing’s Villain/Victim of the Night
Chase Randall’s bad-luck streak at 34 Raceway continued Tuesday night. Having already had a feature win with the IRA sprints tour stripped from him two weeks ago at the track for failing to meet minimum weight post-race, Randall saw a top-five run evaporate courtesy of a mechanical failure in Tuesday’s feature.
Number of dirt tracks in the U.S. to contest an oval-track program Tuesday night.
Largest car count in the nation Tuesday night, the weekly racing program at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.
Largest purse awarded in the nation Tuesday night, the High Limit Racing winner at 34 (Macri).
Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Friday morning (April 28) with coverage of the Schaeffer’s Spring Nationals from the Crossville Speedway in Tennessee. Coverage can be found on Flo Racing.
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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