Barberville, FL — Format Changes Geared To Create Excitement
By Tony Veneziano, WoO Sprint Series PR Director
Barberville, FL — To provide even more exciting racing for fans, World of Outlaws officials announced during the 36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented By Mopar Speedshop several procedural changes for the 2007 season, including some tweaks to the race night format, restarts, realignments, the work area and push lane staging.
One of the most noticeable differences from recent years involves heat races. These qualifying events will be inverted by four, meaning the quickest driver during time trials will start fourth in his or her heat race, as opposed to sixth in the past. The first- and second-place finishers in each heat will qualify for the dash, followed by the next two fastest qualifiers who transfer from the heats during a standard four heat-race program. Those 10 cars will make up dash which will continue to set the Top 10 starting spots for the A-main. A pill draw on the front stretch, time-permitting, will create the dash line-up.
“It absolutely puts more importance on winning a heat race,” said World of Outlaws Series Director Carlton Reimers. “Here again we believe this simplifies the program for the viewing audience as well as the live audience. They know when that heat race crosses the finish line that the first and second place cars are going to the dash. It absolutely makes being in first or second place in the heat more important.”
Looking to curb confusion among fans, especially those new to the sport, lapped cars will now go to the tail of the field for realignment on a restart, thus making it easier for the fans to identify which cars are battling for the lead. Also, cars two or more laps down will receive one of their laps back when they restart at the tail end of the field.
“We wanted to make the race format way simpler for new fans and for casual fan to be able to follow our racing,” Reimers said. “We feel like it will look better on television, and someone watching will know that the first, second and third cars in line, are in first, second, and third place. We also feel it will lead to more exciting finishes without the lapped car being in there. We believe it will make the whole program look better, especially on television.”
Also new for 2007, when a car visits the work area it will have two minutes to fix whatever problem it has encountered and then must be ready to be pushed off.
“This again simplifies things,” Reimers stated. “Every track is different, there are no true quarter or half-miles. It varied from track to track how far the work area was, and how fast the pace car was going and clicking off the laps. We felt it was better to go with a time limit. When one car goes to the work area and gets off the wrecker and in a position to be worked on, he will go on a two minute clock. If we have multiple cars going there, it will not start until the last car gets there.”
Another amendment in 2007 is that most two-day events will become two one-day events with no second night “locked-in” cars. These events will be conducted and pointed as such, with full championship points available..
“The main reason for doing it that way was for the fans,” Reimers said. “We are making a conscious effort to listen to our fans and our promoters, and what they want to see is more of our racing. With the four cars locked into the feature from the preliminary night, they actually did not start racing until the dash. Someone pays a feature night price for a ticket and comes in to see one of their stars, and all of a sudden they don’t see them until the dash, and they feel like they want to see them all night long. If you come on Friday night or Saturday night, you will see everyone race. You will see everyone qualify and everybody heat race through the entire program.”
In addition, staging in the push lane will be timed as well. Any car not in the staging lane once the allotted time has expired will be penalized two starting positions.
The changes, implemented in conjunction with the season-opening events at Volusia Speedway Park, will be in effect for the entire 2007 season.