Kevin Gundaker on the crate late model class: “They’ve allowed too much of the high dollar equipment in that class.”
The crate late model came into the St. Louis and surrounding areas by storm. Then, just as soon as the arrived, they evaporated.
Kevin Gundaker is the owner of Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, IL. His track sits just outside St. Louis, MO. The 3/8 mile was one of the early adaptors, in this region, for the low budget late model class.
Years later, just like everyone else, Tri-City eventually bailed on running the crates. They were one of the last tracks in the area that supported them, if not the lone location.
Now, the crate late model class is making a return to Tri-City Speedway. It’s coming back with a few tweaks. Gundaker is aiming to fix what he thought went wrong with the UMP Pro Late Model division.
Why did you get rid of them at your track in the first place?
“When I got rid of them, I didn’t really want to get rid of them, at the time,” Kevin Gundaker explains to RacingNews.co. “I felt that it was going in the wrong direction.”
What do you mean by that?
“Well, they’ve allowed too much of the high dollar equipment in that class. That class was designed for 9-5 racers. Our weekly racers that have a 9-5 job. That can’t afford big dollar deals.”
“It was a great class for that. It brought back a 3-5 year old race car. You could be at the race track. Buy a good used car and a new motor for $11,000-12,000. I mean, what a great deal.”
“It’s a shame they let it get so far out of hand. You have to have deep pockets again to go race that class.”
So how do you plan to bring them back? Are you going to try and fix that?
“We’re gunna change it around a little bit and bring up some of our own rules. We’re going to bring back an affordable class again.”
It’s not going to be flat UMP Pro Late Model rules? Is it going to be it’s own thing?
“It will be somewhat the same but with some tweaks in it. You take out the high dollar shock packages, the high dollar rear ends. Keep it a more affordable, entry level type class.”
Will it still be UMP sanctioned?
“It will still be UMP sanctioned. We’re just going to tighten up on the rules a little bit.”
I thought that class was the answer.
“It really was.”
A 2018 schedule has yet to be released for Tri-City Speedway. A rules package for 2018 is also pending.