Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Countdown to the 7 Wonders of the (DIRT) World: 16-20

Here we begin the first of 3 separate posts that will ultimately lead up to the "7 Wonders of the (DIRT) World". Before we begin, I'd like all readers to feel free to comment at the bottom of the article on any thoughts, comments, or disagreements you might have.

Our goal is to rank the top 20 events of the dirt racing world and give them some sort of a ranking. It's almost wrong to say that one is any better than the other, because they are all such great events.

Determinants in our countdown range from historical significance, number of years ran, winner's purse, strength of field, fan atmosphere, and everything in between. So without further adieu, here are our no. 16-20 in our unique TDN countdown.

16. Show-Me 100 - Lucas Oil Speedway
     Finding itself at 16th on the grid is the first “crown-jewel” race of the season, which will again occur in late May as drivers shoot for the $30,000 payday. This year’s edition of the Show-Me will be the 23rd running and take place at Lucas Oil Speedway, a facility that is renowned for being state-of-the-art. The track has historically put on phenomenal racing from top to bottom as the surface slicks off and widens out, so don’t look for this year to be any different.

17. Short Track Nationals - I-30 Speedway
     The 17th position gets filled by the Short Track Nationals, which have been a staple in 360 sprint car racing for what will be 28 years this coming season. The event pays an impressive $15,000 to win and largely highlights the popular ASCS 360 sprint car schedule. In a day and age where drivers only race at tracks that are financially feasible, this field of 360’s will go largely unmatched aside of the Knoxville 360 Nationals and the rising Fall Brawl at I-80.

18. Knoxville Late Model Nationals - Knoxville Raceway
     Coming in at 18th on our countdown is the 12th Annual Knoxville Late Model Nationals which will be taking place this coming fall, and it has worked its way up to being a “can’t miss” event. The inauguration of this event was met with some scrutiny as Knoxville is associated with only two words: sprint cars. How would the Knoxville faithful feel about this event? Well 12 years later, I’d say it’s been a huge success. Top-notch fields of drivers pile in for a weekend of competition leading up to the $40,000 finale and it has produced some awesome racing and heart-wrenching moments (Birky’s last-lap rally in 2014).

19. Fall Brawl - I-80 Speedway
     Falling in line 19th on the grid may be disappointing for some, but there is no shame when the event has only ran for 2 years. The Fall Brawl at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE has provided the 360 sprint car of the country an opportunity of a lifetime. The $50,000 payday for the winner is more than a motive for giving it everything you’ve got…it is also a chance to beat the toughest competition you’ll ever find and notch up one of those “Career Achievements” that we love to talk about so often.

20. Mudsummer Classic - Eldora Speedway
     Coming in at 20th on our Dirt Track countdown is the recently formed Mudsummer Classic for the NASCAR trucks at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH. It is currently the only dirt track race for any of the top 3 NASCAR series (what a shame, isn’t it?). This year will be the 3rd edition of the innovative race and we’ve put it on the list for a number of reasons. First and foremost, getting NASCAR back to their grassroots for a couple hot summer nights just feels right – and way overdue. On top of that, the dirt world has received an incredible gift by having the cameras of National TV grace one of our premier dirt tracks in the country, undoubtedly driving up curiosity and interest from those less fortunate asphalt fans.

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