(March 24,2017 Mark Cathell) Nowadays, so many phrases out there in society try to explain the world we live in. Some say, The 21st Century, New Millennium or New World 2.0 just to name a few. With the 2017 Dirt Racing season about to begin at Delaware International Speedway, we’ve chose to follow suit, DIRT TRACK RACING 2.0. All of this comes on the heals of a very busy winter for the track management team.
In January, they announced all new Super Late Model series “The Battle of the Bay”, teaming up with Potomac and Winchester Speedways. This series would highlight three weekends of racing, with three consecutive nights to compete. The Battle of the Bay, will begin in April at Delaware International Speedway, on Thursday night, April 27. On Friday, April 28, the show moves across the bay to Potomac Speedway and ends up at Winchester Speedway on Saturday evening April 29. Two more weekends are planned, with the same three day format on July 27-29 and August 10-12. This new venue will offer racers increased purse structures and a points system. Laser X Chassis, Bernheisel Performance has joined forces with the big three to offer the Super Late Model points champion a 2018 Lazer X stage I chassis. The Top 5 finishers of this series will receive additional cash for their efforts. First place will receive $1000 (in addition to the Lazer X stage 1 chassis), 2nd $800, 3rd $700, 4th $600 and 5th place receiving $500. Hoosier Mid-Atlantic has also stepped up to offer each Super late Model feature winner one new Hoosier tire.
The next announcement out of DIS, was about the track joining forces with RUSH Racing series for the Crate Model division. This popular organization which operate in NY, PA, OH, VA, MD and Canada has become a trademark name in crate racing. After several meetings, the decision was made to run under the RUSH banner for 2017. Sports Clips of Maryland & Delaware will be the title sponsor for the Crate Model Series. Sports Clips will pay the Top 5 finishers who run the 9 races, with 1st place receiving $750. Second through fifth will receive accordingly: 2nd $550, 3rd $400, 4th $300 and 5th $200. That decision opened the door for more competitors to come and race at DIS. The GM602 engine program will still be legal to run, along with the GM604 motor programs. Now the Battle of the Bay series expands incorporating the RUSH Racing series with valuable points opportunities for our local drivers who choose to become RUSH members.  In 2017, RUSH Racing paid back over $115K to it’s competitors in six different categories, three which center around the GM604 & 602 crate models.
With all the above announcements, many Modified teams were left wondering what would be in store for them in 2017. The big announcement came just before the kick off of the Motorsports Racecar & Trade Show in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Delaware International Speedway unveiled the all new “Full Throttle” Modified racing series. The series would consist of seven races spread throughout the year, starting on Sunday, April 2, with the finale taking place during the Delaware State Dirt Track Championships. Big Block Modified teams will race 40 and 50 lap events, paying $4k – $5k to win. A respectable $400 – $500 guarantee to take the green flag feature start payout, will also be attractive for those traveling race teams. For the series, there will be one Sunday event, three Thursday night events and one Friday night taking place before the championship show.
In 2016, a strong field of cars competed weekly in the AC Delco Modified division. This made the decision very easy to incorporate the growing class in the Full Throttle series events. Teams from MD, DE, PA, NJ and farther, will be running 20 lap features for $1000 to win and $125 green flag starts, which is sure to bring some great racing to the 1st State. Management also made the decision to follow the Short Track Super Series rules & procedures for the Full throttle series races. They felt with the popularity of the STSS organization in this south region, it just made perfect sense to stay on the same page.  Another great addition to the Full throttle series, will be guaranteed starting positions in the Big Block Modified divisions from other speedways. Georgetown, Bridgeport and DIS will offer feature winners in these specialty events a chance to race at other venues throughout the season. 
At this point, it was obvious to many, DIS was moving the operations to the next level. A revamped schedule, two new racing series and larger purses for the series what else could DIS possibly do? We are so glad you asked! For the past couple years, the track had talked about placing a new surface on the 1/2 mile oval. Well race fans, you guessed it, over 200 loads of new clay has been place on the speedway. Not only is there new clay, how about a higher banking and the removal of the infield tires to expand the racing surface. Yes, it’s true, all of this has and is taking place as you read this article. It is for certain, all the changes which have been made were with the fans and race teams in mind.
Make plans now to attend a prelim to the season, with a special test & tune session on Wednesday evening, March 29. Gates will open at 5 pm and test & tune will be from 6-9 pm. Admission for spectators is FREE and only $20 per person to get in the pits. Then on Sunday, April 2, it all begins, Race 1 in the Full Throttle series, honoring the Messick family of Harrington, DE with the “Messick Family 40!” Gates open on Sunday at 4pm, warm-ups scheduled for 6 pm. Admission will be $20 on the spectator side and $35 pit admission. DIRT TRACK RACING 2.0 coming in 2017!!!