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DIRT 101


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So you’ve just seen your first World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series event and you’re totally confused, right? What’s a heat race? Why did the cars race around the track before time trials? How come my favorite driver wasn’t in the final race of the night? And who are these guys, and what are they driving? You’ve come to the right place. ‘DIRT 101’ aims to put your mind at ease.

Below are Answers to some of the most common DIRT racing questions

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is the nation’s premier traveling tour for dirt Late Model stock cars. A cousin of the longer-running World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series that was founded by the late Ted Johnson in 1978, the Late Model Series first ran in 1988-89 under the direction of Johnson. The series sat dormant until being rekindled in 2004 by World Racing Group and has grown each season since then to take its place as the most competitive and lucrative tour for dirt Late Model racers.

A dirt Late Model is a full-bodied, purpose-built race car that headlines arguably the most popular dirt track division in the U.S. and Canada. There is no cubic inch limit for the aluminum-head engines, but most teams use power plants of 400-430 cubic inches that produce over 800 horsepower. Dozens of builders construct dirt Late Model chassis, and the bodies of the cars are designed to resemble popular street-car makes from manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, etc. The cars weigh 2,350 pounds and run on racing gasoline.

The tour has visited tracks up and down the East Coast, heading as far north as Ontario and as far south as Florida; along the Gulf Coast; and throughout the Midwest and Great Plains. Some of the nation’s most well-known tracks will host events in 2023 for the Late Model Series including The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, NC; Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL; Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, IL; and Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI.

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The World of Outlaws Late Model Series season traditionally opens in mid-February and concludes in early November with the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, NC. The national tour – loaded with some of dirt Late Model racing’s heaviest hitters – includes dozens of races across the country.

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Yes! DIRTVision provides live broadcast coverage of every World of Outlaws Late Model Series event on the season schedule, as well as the entire DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour. Fans can purchase a monthly subscription at $39.99 monthly subscription or a $299.99 yearly subscription that gets them access to every World of Outlaws Late Model event except the USA Nationals in August. Individual event pay-per-views will still be available for an average price of $24.99 per night.

A standard, one-day show is headlined by a 50-lap Feature race that pays $10,000 to win from a total purse of around $50,000. There are some several longer, multi-day, crown-jewel races that offer blockbuster payoffs, like the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway ($50,000 to win), the Quad Cities 150 at Davenport Speedway ($30,000), the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway ($50,000) and the Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway – a two-night showdown ($25,000 to-win finale).

For winning the 2022 Series title, Dennis Erb Jr. was rewarded with a $125,000 points fund check, a championship ring, and the traditional World of Outlaws trophy for his efforts throughout the year. In 2023, the champion will earn $150,000 plus winner’s circle bonus money.

Points are awarded for finishing positions in the Feature and Last Chance Showdown events, and to drivers who enter a program and fail to qualify. The Feature winner receives 150 points, second place receives 146 points, third place receives 144 points and so on. Drivers who do not start a Last Chance Showdown receive 90 points.

An evening at a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event occurs in the following order:

Drivers Meeting – Prior to each night of racing, all World of Outlaws drivers attend a mandatory meeting, which is conducted by the World of Outlaws Competition Director and other Series officials. The meeting outlines the night’s racing events and any procedural changes that may be in place.

Hot Laps – A practice session held prior to time trials that allows drivers and teams to fine-tune their cars. Hot laps are run in groups, with each driver assigned to their group by the pill draw that determined the order for time trials. Each driver is allotted three or more laps (depending on track size) at speed in order to ensure that their car is ready for qualifying.

Time Trials – Each competitor is given two timed laps to determine where they will start in a heat race. If a competitor misses their spot in the qualifying order (determined by a pill draw when each driver signs in at the Series control trailer) by more than two places, by rule they are relegated to one lap at the end of time trials and the best they can qualify is 50 percent-plus-one of the overall number of qualifiers no matter what qualifying time they post.

Heat Race –A 10-lap race that determines the drivers who will move on to the Feature or Last Chance Showdown. Depending on the number of heat races needed for the field of cars on hand, the top three, four or six finishers in each preliminary transfer directly to the Feature and the remainder of the finishers move on to the Last Chance Showdown. The heat races are aligned from the results of time trials – ie., the driver who earns the fastest-time starts from the pole position in the first heat, second-fastest starts from the pole in Heat 2, etc.

Redraw –The top six to eight drivers (dependent upon the amount of heat races that take place) report to the front stretch of the racetrack before the Last Chance Showdown to redraw for starting positions. The starting positions will be within in the first three to four rows of the Feature event.

Last Chance Showdown –This is the final chance a driver has to qualify for the Feature. Depending on the number of heat races run, the top two, three or more finishers in a Last Chance Showdown will transfer into the night’s headline event. Last Chance Showdown distances are set at 12 laps. The two highest-ranked drivers in the Series points standings who do not qualify receive provisional spots to start at the rear of the Feature; track promoters have the option to add more provisional starters at their discretion.

Feature –The final race of the night which decides who is the overall winner of the event. The Feature is normally 40, 50 or 100 laps and the purses offered increase correspondingly with the length of the race. Caution-flag laps do not count toward the total laps completed. Additionally, the Feature must finish with at least two consecutive laps of green-flag racing.

Dennis Erb Jr.
Tanner English
Ryan Gustin's car at Red Cedar
Shane Clanton Hot Laps at Smoky Mountain

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