Sunday, March 2, 2014

The NDRL Kings of Dirt Season Outlook and Predictions

So yeah, I know, I'm writing another season preview after the season has begun. I've been a little busy lately and haven't had so much time to pen my thoughts. Thing is, this weekend's race added some different thoughts to what this season could be for the NDRL. So my procrastination made for a more interesting article. That's always good, right?

Anyways, The NDRL's Kings of Dirt tour went from being a five race series to a thirty race series (though some of those added races are extra points nights added to existing races). None of the thirty races conflict with any Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series points races. Many of the NDRL races are scheduled over World of Outlaws Late Model Series races, including the WoO's two highest paying races, the Firecracker 100 and USA Nationals. This has been discussed and debated many times over, so I'm not going to rehash that argument again. It is what it is. I believe all three national tours will thrive this coming season. and I'm going to leave it at that.

The drivers the NDRL lists as series drivers are as follows...

Mike Benedum
Brian Birkhofer
Max Blair
John Blankenship
Jonathon Davenport
Dennis Erb Jr.
Chris Ferguson
Steve Francis
Tim Fuller
Tony Jackson Jr.
Bub McCool
Billy Moyer
Billy Moyer Jr.
Kent Robinson
William Thomas
Mason Zeigler

That's a crapload of touring drivers for one national series, isn't it? Surely they won't all make the entire tour, right? Well, that's already happened. Brian Birkhofer wasn't at this weekend's opening points race at East Alabama Motor Speedway, so I guess he's out, right? Not big loss, with a driver list as expansive as the one they boast, one driver isn;t going to make a lot of difference. I have a feeling more guys will drop off as the year goes on, and still, I don't think it'll make much of a difference, except for the race up at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. There's no local late models up there to fill out the field, so if the tour is down a few drivers, it could defnitely make a difference between a full field and a not so full field.

But, this weekend's race brought up some interesting questions. There was no Birkhofer, but there were a bunch of other national touring drivers who haven't committed to the NDRL. One of those drivers, Chris Madden, took home the win (pending tire test results). Clint Smith, Scott Bloomquist, and Don O'Neal, finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. None of them plan on running the NDRL at this point either. Next week, the tour goes to Smoky Mountain Speedway in Tennessee. There's no WoO or Lucas race, so I'd expect many of the same non-NDRL drivers who showed up at EAMS to show up there. such as the guys I mentioned before and others, like Shane Clanton, Tim McCreadie, Ray Cook and Billy Ogle Jr.

Say Madden wins again next week. He'd be leading the points. Does he continue on tour? What if Clint Smith, Scott Bloomquist, or Don O'Neal comes out of the weekend as point leader? Do they continue on tour?

This is the fun thing about a third tour coming to fruition. More drivers have more opportunity to run for good money, and more drivers are going to chase the money that makes the most sense. It's all pretty unpredictable, even on the Lucas and WoO tours and to me, that's cool, because it makes the races must see events. You gotta go just to see who shows up.

Speaking of must see... here's where you can see the NDRL Kings of Dirt tour in 2014: NDRL Kings of Dirt Schedule.

I know I'll be hitting as many of those races as my schedule will allow. Me and the wife just had a little girl and I gotta do my part to help out.

Anyways, have fun and be safe at the races.

No comments:

Post a Comment