Jason Feger calls for dirt late model drivers union – Fans are hurt most by DIRTcar driver suspensions
And he couldn’t be more correct. When was the last time you saw a driver or an entire team suspended in NASCAR for rule violations? I know many will hate that I compare dirt to NASCAR, especially in the second sentence. I’m sorry. Bear with me because in this case, NASCAR does it correctly. Drivers in NASCAR are suspended for outrageous on track actions. Only when it’s absolutely required.
Why? Because NASCAR fans pay good money and travel long distances to see their favorite driver. To suspend an entire team is unheard of. To my knowledge, NASCAR has never suspended an entire team, only people within a team, at least in the last 20 years. The fans come first, that sanctioning strategy shouldn’t be any different in dirt racing, especially on the national level. Fans still travel across multiple states to see their favorite driver at their little dirt track.
This week, DIRTcar placed a harsh penalty on LaSalle Speedway. They lifted their sanction of the track and cancelled events. They also issued fines to driver Josh Richards (who never gets into trouble) as well as the #1 team Best Performance Motorsports. The team filed a false entry, just so they could race around a suspension. DIRTcar responded by throwing the book at them all.
Jason Feger is a national dirt late model driver. He runs multiple sanctions including World of Outlaws, World of Outlaws, DIRTcar and he’ll even through in a local race here and there. He speaks on the recent action from DIRTcar, “The worst part of these stupid suspensions is that in the end the drivers and the fans are ultimately the ones who lose.”
Continuing, “I have some strong opinions and would love to go in depth but the fear of the tyranny for a failed tire or drug test or some other made up hypocrisies keep the truths of the ugly politics behind the scenes of our sport hidden. There is a lot of $$$ on the line for many people and a lot of undermining actions, greed and underlying things that happen in our great sport.”
Feger believes LaSalle Speedway did what was best for the fans who traveled miles to their little Illinois bullring, “It’s days like today when I wonder why I even do this sport I love because loyalty means nothing when there are hidden agendas. Agree or disagree Tony did what was best for the fans and the driver. Now we don’t get to race at a great track and the fans don’t get to see a great show.
Fans are hurt the most by this, “The fans suffer the most. I do all I can to support my local tracks as much as possible it’s a shame that I got to support a organization that doesn’t support me or our sport. I wish drivers could get on the same page and have a union like all other major sports. We have no voice and are at the mercy of others.”
After Feger made the statement above, some people took it the wrong way. He clarified, “I feel some people are miss understanding my previous post. I am against suspensions for violations of the rules for first time offenders. Nobody wins when that happens. Mostly fans and promoters lose.”
Feger says disqualifications and loss of money do the same thing, without hurting the fans, “I don’t understand that it’s ok to run traction control, illegal suspensions, put on a illegal compound, weight light or many other rule violations you get disqualified. Many time you still get start money. The series have made tire prep the devil. If you just dq someone and take their winnings and points what does it matter? Is that not enough? If they keep doing it and want to race for free let them.”
When is a suspension justified, “The only thing in my mind that warrants suspension is physically trying to hurt someone. The people who don’t know how to bolt lead on a car and almost take of someone’s head should be held more accountable than someone prepping tires. Fines points and winnings are plenty of enough penalties. Drivers can still race, tracks get the cars, fans get to see their favorites.”
Speaking directly on the recent loss of sanction to LaSalle Speedway, “Nobody wins in Tony or LaSalle Speedway case. The fans and drivers loose the most. Drivers loose a great track to get ump points at. UMP is hurting itself you think he will ever schedule another ump show? Tony puts on as many big races as anyone. Thawl brawl, does two Lucas shows, and had 3 summer nats this year. Plus his sprints and other shows. He has been a ump champion and his family has promoted since the 80s I believe and this is what he gets?”
A strong UMP is great for the sport, “UMP is united Midwest promoters maybe the name has changed to dirtcar so we don’t have to unite. I have been a ump member since Bob Memmer. I’ve supported it as much or more than anyone for 14 years. We need a strong UMP they do lots of good things for our sport. This is above ump there are other things at play here. We also need WoO. We need 2 strong national series. There is just more to it than many know.”
In closing, “We need to put drivers and tracks first and the fans will come. There are certain people who’s pocket come first. They don’t listen to drivers on rules or schedules. We are the ones paying the bills and high cost and putting in the long hours. The drivers need a voice they need some power to save our sport. We need to look long term not short term to keep our sport alive. I love this sport and would do anything to help it.”
A dirt late model drivers unions already exist, partially. Earl Pearson Jr stated the The LOLMDS has meetings with the core regulars on the direction of the sport. I would think the World of Outlaws do that same, though I can’t speak on WoO for certain.
Other drivers take things into their own hands, refusing to run select events. Scott Bloomquist has already bailed on DIRTcar. He hasn’t run a single World Racing Group event since his tire issues at Eldora Speedway. Jimmy Owens only has 2 UMP events on his 2017 schedule, both at Eldora Speedway.
DIRTcar sent a message with the LasSalle Speedway and Best Performance Motorsports penalties. They had their feelings hurt when a little dirt track decided to over-rule the sanctioning body. But, what the track did was correct. DIRTcar forgot about the fans, the track did not. The track took a gamble against the sanctioning body for the sake of the grandstands and the fans who traveled to fill them.
That difference of opinion nets the loss of a UMP track, in the middle of UMP country. LaSalle is now promoting IMCA events.
I wish LaSalle Speedway would have gotten back to me for this story. I reached out for a quote, I tried to help. At this time, we haven’t heard from the track. The bulk of the fans, are on their side.
Author: Shane Walters
World Racing Group