Cody Sommer: “Now we can all very confidently say, ‘It can be done.’ “
History was made, yet again, inside The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. A full-blown fire spitting sprint car along with a dirt midget ran around the 1/5 mile bullring of the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
I’m sure you’ve seen the videos. If you haven’t, they’re posted below. But what was the consensus of the track test?
I caught up with Cody Sommer, event promoter of the Gateway Dirt Nationals directly following ‘the test’.
What are you thoughts?
“We just tested a sprint car and it went extremely well,” Cody Sommer tells RacingNews.co subsequent to the midget and sprint car test inside The Dome in St. Louis. “I think it surprised a lot of people.”
“Last year, this event surprised a lot of people because it was the first time it had been done since 1980. In a lot of ways, it’s easy to forget about the fact that we really were essentially re-creating history. In some aspects, we were creating history.”
“I think we could say the same about today. A 410, full-sized sprint car, running inside of a building on a 1/5 mile race track is something a lot of people would say, ‘couldn’t be done.’ ”
It can be done.
“Just like like they told us about Gateway Dirt, last year. The simple fact is, now we can all very confidently say, ‘It can be done.’ ”
“Does that mean we’re doing it? I don’t have those answers. But, what I do know is, what I would consider, a pretty successful test of that idea and of that possibility. That by itself, is pretty exciting to think about.”
“Landon did a great job for us. It helped us prepare for the event this weekend, which was priority number one. You know, analyzing the track and seeing what it’s doing and maybe tweak things.”
The Gateway Dirt Nationals is a temporary built race track. Even though the team has already constructed this once, there’s been a few tweaks to the design. Any time you start from scratch or tweak on a layout it’s a solid idea to give it a test run.
They did the same thing for the debut race. Last year, Kenny Wallace and Gordy Gundaker ran a handful of laps on a Tuesday before the big show.
“Whether it was a sprint car or a late model, that didn’t necessarily matter for us, to see what we needed to do. With the midget, it’s exciting when a driver gets out as says, ‘Man, you could put on one heck of a race, right now.’ That’s pretty exciting when you’ve got something like that in a whole different race car.”
“All in all, I’m pretty tickled right now. My adrenalin’s runnin’ and we’re good to go.”
3 cars were tested on Tuesday at The Dome. A dirt midget, winged sprint car and a non-win sprint car.
For this track, which one’s your favorite?
“I enjoy watching the non-wing 410 sprint car the most. It seemed to just get around here very nicely. And it’s a full-sided race car.”
“At the end of the day, if you’re a race fan and you don’t wanna see that on this type of race track, in this type of building, in this type of environment. Well, you might want to question whether you’re a race fan.”
“Because I can tell you, that was exciting to watch. I would have to say, that non-wing going around here was, by far, what really get my blood flowin’.”
The 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals begins this Thursday. In 2017, the legendary indoor race will feature only late models and dirt modifieds.