Sprint Car Insider Exclusive: LEMOORE, Calif. (January 14, 2019) – > Is California missing the boat?
One of the most contested Micro Sprint classes nationwide is the A-Class, or Stock Wing.
This years Tulsa Shootout offered a clear indication to the popularity of the Stock class in comparison to the Outlaw, or Super 600, class by the number of entrants alone. The A-Class had a significantly higher amount of participants with 242 drivers making the final call as opposed to just 189 Outlaw Class drivers at this years 34th running of the Tulsa Shootout.
A quick look at some of the densely populated Micro Sprint hot beds shows the Stock class as a viable, and competitive option. In fact, the Lucas Oil National Open Wheel (N.O.W) Series only runs A-Class as far as a winged division.
But why is that?
Is it because of its widespread popularity throughout the nation? Is it simply more affordable? Or do those numbers skew largely in part because of the transitional Restricted drivers and their eligibility to contest?
According to Dean “Kiwi” Alexander each factor listed plays a role but he truly believes those same factors will benefit racing in the state on many levels.
According to their mission statement, the goal with N.O.W , is to promote the growth of Stock Class Racing and Micro Sprint racing in general. After being founded in 2013, just six years ago, the sanctioning body has expanded five regions on top of a national schedule. Although ironically the series was founded just after the California stock class went away, their expansion says the interest in Stock Class racing is definitely there. It’s popularity is good for the sport as a whole and something this region looks to emulate.
Given the classes popularity throughout the nation, offering the class locally provides drivers more opportunity to practice with a car they would end up running only a couple times a year. Secondly, with the one-upping nature of our sport, the price tag on a competitive Outlaw Class motor has grown to a level nearly comparable with that of Sprint Car.
Has California really been missing the boat here?
While bringing back the stock class will undoubtedly bring relief to smaller budget race teams. History says California’s claim to fame may just be the young transition from Restricted to Super 600. The Central Valley represents 4 Restricted Drillers since 2012 and 6 Outlaw Class Drillers overall. On top of the Tulsa Success drivers from the central San Jauquin Valley have won the Clay Cup Nationals several times and the Highbanks Hustle, all in the Outlaw Class. Not to mention the amount of drivers currently running in Sprint Car racings top divisions. Part of that could be luck of the draw, but a lot of it could be attributed to the competition level in California’s Outlaw Class ranks and throwing young drivers into the fire.
The amount of naturally gifted young drivers to come through the ranks and beginning winning Outlaw class races as young as 12 years old against full fledged adults says a lot about the west coast breeding grounds.
But that is why the Super 600 class is going no where. The addition of the Stock Class back to the California lineup is not meant to hurt the Super 600 competition level what so ever. The addition of the Stock Class is fully intended to insure the continued growth of the sport and provide a viable option to race teams without the budget to sustain the level it takes to compete in Outlaw.
The Stock Classes popularity nationwide indicates that we need to jump on board. The numbers this year in Tulsa tell the story. The Stock Class is thriving in most regions. Giving the Central Valley drivers a legitimate Stock Class to compete in should benefit all around and give drivers a better opportunity to sustain success on a national level in Micro Sprint Racing.
Providing an additional stepping stone for young Restricted drivers could also help produce even more national championship caliber drivers. While some drivers jump right into the fire and have success, it can hurt others. The Stock Class will be a good place for young drivers to gain confidence and build momentum heading into Super 600 by racing against the best drivers on an equal playing field.
The Micro Sprint ranks have lost too many talented drivers due to the excessive cost. If more drivers stay around and the popularity increases could guarantee California stays on the map as a breeding ground for the best race car drivers in the world.
So has California really missed the boat?
Not really. California has actually been ahead of curve but fallen behind in one niche. That will be no longer.
With the addition of the Super Stock class to the lineup the Nation will have an advantage more. It’s time to level the playing field.
The Super Stock class is back in the Golden State. Are you ready to race?
JJ Cox -
Lead Contributor of Sprint Car Insider.
Sole Proprietor of Prodigy Race Promotions.
Current Freelance Announcer with educated broadcast experience.
Media Relations Advisor.
Fresno State Bulldog - Broadcasting and Public Relations.
Grew up going to 50+ Sprint Car races a year and Raced Motocross for 10 years.
Die Hard Dirt Race Fan
Just a rolling stone.