Why do wrecks happen in Pro Late Model features?
If you’re a race fan in Ontario, then you’ve probably attended a Pro Late Model extended distance feature, whether the one at Autumn Colors, one at Delaware Speedway, the Grisdale Triple Crown, the Goldrush 100, the Beat the Heat 150 – any of those. You’ve probably also that there seems to be a bunch of wrecks in those extended distance features.
So I have to ask this question – why? Why do we see the wrecks?
Many people have different opinions and offered them when I posed the question via my facebook page.
Ryan Dick says it happens “because it’s easier to push and bump cars because it’s easier than trying to go on the outside lane where generally there is no grip. Somehow I made the outside pass at Delaware in our 50 lapper. Watch across track as leader crosses the line in OSCAAR Mod feature vid last lap.”
Tracks like Delaware Speedway, Flamboro Speedway and Sauble Speedway are known for being “one groove race tracks”. Peterboorugh Speedway can also be like that sometimes, too. If you’re going to make a pass on these tracks, you have to make your pass on the inside or you’re out of luck. There are some instances, like Dick brought up, where you can make a pass on the outside, but they don’t happen as often as you would like.
So how do you get to the inside of that competitor? Bump and run. Simple as that. Now that may be okay in a short distance race as that may happen to a competitor a couple times. however, a 100 or 150 lap race, you have that happening not once, not twice, but say five to 10 times.
While you may okay with that happening to you a couple times, multiple times is going to get you frustrated. If you get frustrated, you are going to get mad and start bumping harder yourself or blocking, causing wrecks of your own making.
Then on the flip side of that, with more bump and runs happening due to a longer race, you also increase the chance of them going wrong and turning into wrecks rather than pure bump and runs.
As Karlie says, “Because more laps equal more chances to wreck equal more tempers flaring.”
With the bumping and banging aspect, Tom Ingram makes the point it could be happening “because these guys don’t race against each other all the time or they have no respect for their fellow competitors.” Due to no respect, some drivers push that envelope over the limit and with more laps equaling more chances for it to happen, it just happens more.
Also on topic of drivers not always racing each other, that’s another valued point. Because you don’t race said driver every week, you don’t know how they drive their car, how they run their line and their drivng style. Therefore, you have drivers that either predict the other driver’s style wrong or try something the other driver isn’t used to.
However, this isn’t a problem that is just stuck to one-groove tracks persay, as we saw it at Sunset Speedway last year when Sunset ran a pair of Pro Late Model invitationals. Sunset is known as a two-groove track with Late Models and Super Stocks running two-wide multiple nights without problems.
So what is the problem there? Dick says that you may still see the bumping there “because you can't get a run on the car in front because everyone is using a crate engine” so you can’t get those runs to the outside. True point, something to consider, but something that you can’t fight your way around. In that case, it’s all about finding the extra edge with your set-up or by being smart with your tires. As they say, these longer distance races are all about strategy and saving equipment.
Though with the bumping and banging, there comes to be another aspect – officials and the black flag. Ingram also made the point to say, “Some of the blame can fall on the officials as well for not using the black flag when it comes to rough driving infractions. Before I get dumped on for this statement, I was an official for 19 years and have black flagged drivers for rough driving.”
With each bump, drivers test the boundaries. If they see they get away with a bump, they then bump a little harder and then harder the next time. If they keep getting away with it, then they keep increasing and doing it. But once either handed a warning, the black flag or a wreck happens the boundary is seen by that driver. Now not in every case is the boundary seen, though, as we’ve seen drivers push twice as hard trying to get through the field so it’s a balance.
Brent Bentley makes the point that it’s all about ego and “sometimes their helmets are too tight and nobody like to be the first place loser” which is true when it comes to any racer.
Another point that Bentley states is, “I have only seen a handful of Pro Late extended races but for the few that I have seen it seems like it is a wreckfest for about the first 30 laps. Then the next 70 laps seem to run more smoothly....I'd have to wonder if with the bigger power that it takes that much more time to get the tires warmed up enough to stick well enough instead of the car snapping free when getting on the load pedal coming out of the corners.”
Bentley may be on to something as maybe they need more laps before the start to warm the tires up, or maybe we’re just seeing less wrecks in the next 70 due to less cars in true contention for the win as a result of the first set of wrecks ;).
Either way, this is something that I know many fans and drivers wonder about and it would be nice to see them stop as it’s always a pain to see a bunch of good cars wrecked.
If you want to throw your feedback in to the pot or have any comments with regards to the article, make sure to either comment below, hit me up on twitter at @R_Informative or on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ashleymccubbin.media.