NDRL A Reminder That There Is More To Racing Than NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, NC (April 15, 2013) – While NASCAR was shooting itself in the foot with arbitrary edicts over ‘the spirit of the rules’ in Saturday’s NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway – and then not having the stones to park a driver after an intentional crash during a caution period at Rockingham Speedway Sunday – something very different was going on in America’s heartland with the birth of the National Dirt Racing League (NDRL).

The NDRL debuted at Paducah Raceway in Kentucky Friday and then moved on to Federated Auto Parts Speedway in Missouri Saturday. The new dirt late model sanctioning division – which offers $20,000 to win – was an instant hit with the drivers drawing over 50 entries to both events (only 24 started the features).

The fans thought it was something special too.

Friday, a near capacity crowd at Paducah saw Josh Richards best top dirt late model stars Scott Bloomquist, Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer, Steve Francis and a host of others to take the first-ever NDRL feature event. Saturday, another full house at Federated Speedway saw Jimmy Owens grab the top spot over an equally stellar field of cars and drivers.

Both NDRL shows featured plenty of action as six heat races and two ‘B-Main’ events in addition to the $20K to win headline event.

The three NASCAR events featured the above-stated rules wrangling, debris cautions, lucky dog free passes and races that were won on pit road instead of the track. Honestly, Saturday’s best ‘action’ came off the racing surface when defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski blasted NASCAR for ‘targeting’ his Penske Racing team during the pre-race technical inspection process.

Sunday, the racing in the Truck Series event at Rockingham was better and Ron Hornaday, Jr. provided the post-race antics by insisting he didn’t intentionally wreck another competitor under caution despite the fact that television replays – including one from his cockpit – clearly showed he did.

What a circus.

Meanwhile, the NDRL shows were all about the racing action – no silly rules flaps and no manufactured race ‘resets.’ Both weekend races were won on the track, not in the pits.

And, with overflow fields of cars, there were no ‘start and parks.’ Everybody was there to race their asses off, not just collect a check.

To say the NDRL made a big splash in its inaugural weekend is an understatement.

These comparisons are made not to discredit NASCAR, but rather to remind race fans that there’s a lot more to America’s auto racing landscape than what they see on television each weekend.

It’s no secret that many fans have tired of NASCAR’s weekly revolving door of controversy. Fining drivers tens of thousands of dollars for speaking their minds, lifting $25,000 from a team for their car being an eighth of an inch too low and worse – impacting championship outcomes for inflicting point’s penalties for said infractions – has worn thin with a lot of fans.

Meanwhile, grassroots racing leagues like the NDRL are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Local and regional short-track touring series suffered like everyone else during the recent economic downturn. Now that things have rebounded some, groups like the NDRL and the Southern Super Series – a touring pavement super late model series – are springing up bringing large car counts and crowds to racetracks near you.

NASCAR has done a great job in making a lot of people believe that Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Truck Series are the be-all, end-all when it comes to auto racing in America. A lot of money – and constant television bombardment – will do that.

But the truth is the majority of racing in this country is still done on Friday and Saturday nights at local racetracks like Paducah – not Daytona, Talladega, California, Texas et al. Groups like the NDRA, UARA, CRA and several other short-track local and regional racing associations – including NASCAR’s own K&N stock car and Whelan Modified divisions – provide amazing end-to-end action without the constant string of television promos, commercials and announcer cheerleading.

Now that spring and summer seems to finally be here, it is strongly urged here that race fans to turn off the television, get off the couch, and go see one of these great touring series when they come to a track near you.

In addition to a great time at an affordable price, you just might find out why you liked auto racing to begin with.

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