When you are a kid growing up going to the local dirt tracks, you always believe that more is better.
Friday, Saturday and some Sundays with your dad at the track. Food, fast cars and loud noises. It doesn't get any better.
Of course, in my case, I wasn't footing the bill for these trips. The purse and what these daredevils got paid to win was lost on me. And I, certainly, didn't know or care at that point what the racers and teams put into it..
But as you get older, your focus shifts. You start understanding and appreciating the business and realize that maybe less is more. That a scaled back scheduled might be the way to approach Sprint Car racing.
That's what Lance Dewease, Blane Heimbach, Doug Esh and a few others around the country are doing this season. It's not by design as much as necessity, but I have to wonder if it might be better to pick and choose your nights at the speedway.
We could be anywhere from 60 to 80 races, Dewease said. It just depends how we are going. We have a budget [Dietz Motorsports] wants to race with and if we get going good, we will race some more.
If we are going bad, we won't be able to race as much.
Heimbach is in the same situation as Dewease only with different circumstances. Finances and the grind of a full schedule take their toll.
The Selinsgrove driver has been with owner Jeff Creasy since 2001. They have raced a full schedule but have since made the decision to scale back to one night a week Port Royal and hit special shows.
It's worked. A year ago, Heimbach claimed the Port Royal title and has two wins in two starts this season.
Our operation doesn't have a choice, said Heimbach, who plans to run Sunday's race at Susquehanna Speedway Park. Everyone involved in my team works themselves to death.
Everyone has jobs that require time. We tried getting to more races, but it got to the point where it takes a lot of work. We wanted to stay sharper and take a loaded gun to the track every time and be the best we could be.
Let's face it, the sport is getting too expensive and the high-profile owners with deep pockets are dwindling by the season.
It takes a lot of resources to go through a weekly grind, trying to earn points towards a championship that, in most cases, pays peanuts to win.
I think it's a trend for older guys, guys that have done it a long time, said Dewease, who hooked up with Dietz Motorsports in the offseason after parting ways with Mike Heffner.
From a financial standpoint, I could run 60 or 70 shows and if I'm prepared right and it helps you in the bigger shows, you end up further ahead money wise than running week in and week out.
There will be those fans, drivers and owners that argue a scaled back, or part-time, schedule isn't the way to go.
The argument is that a driver needs to race more to be sharp. That a team needs be together more at the track to jell and be successful.
It makes sense for the younger guys that need experience, Dewease said. If I didn't show up until the World of Outlaws shows, I think I could compete.
I've been doing this so long, it's habit. Everything is habit, and I don't have to learn the driving standpoint.
It's a tightrope many teams around the country might be forced to walk in the near future.
Drivers will have to find a balance between staying sharp, finances and keeping their teams fresh for the long season.
It's six of one, half a dozen of the other, Heimbach said. It's staying on top of your program, making sure everything is ready to go and keeping yourself driven. If you show up tired, you're not going to do your best; it's not possible.
You have to accept what you are ready to do and what you are not able to do. If you really want to do something, you find a way to do it regardless of how many times you do it.
-There is no denying Super Sportsman driver Scott Dellinger's dedication after flipping during his heat race Saturday night at Susquehanna Speedway Park. He went home and got a back-up car to start 12th in the B-Main. Dellinger not only qualified for the feature, he drove from 22nd to third in the main event.
-Speaking of Susquehanna Speedway Park, the Newberrytown oval will hold its first 410 Sprint Car race Sunday night at 6 p.m. The 358 Sprints will also be on the card.
-Details have been released for the Kasey Kahne Dirt Classic Sept. 27 at Lincoln Speedway. The race will have a total purse of ,000, with ,000 going to the winner. There will also be two qualifying days, June 1 at Roaring Knob and June 8 at Bedford. The winners of each race will receive ,000 and a guaranteed spot in the Dirt Classic.
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