All American All-Star Series Announcements and More with Joe Rush

All American All-Star Series Announcements and More with Joe Rush

On this weeks episode, Kate and Jimmy welcomed Joe Rush. Joe is with the American All- Star Series. They discussed news from the series, tires, and Joe’s travel for the series. 

The American-All Star Series

It’s the American All Star Series. So, the first year we did have “Crate” in the name. And officially legally we still do. But we DBA is American All Star Series. So you know, we get all sorts of names from the All American Crates Series to you know about everything in between the two you can think of with our name, but we are the American All Star Series, AASS for short. But we’re starting our sixth season, and it’s going to be a great year, really, really fired up about it got more money on the line than we’ve ever had. As far as points money goes, we do have a weekly sanction as well. We focus just on 604 Late Models. I’ve had some opportunities to do other stuff. But you know, really, I think it’s take one thing and make it great rather than do a bunch of different stuff and just kind of half do it.

Racing Across the Southeast and Beyond

We used to be kind of the southeast, but this year, we’ve got races all the way from Alabama to Delaware. So the Delaware race kind of came out of our new tire rule, which I’m sure we’ll hit on tonight with American Racer, and we’re going to Georgetown Speedway in October this year excited about that. Told him we couldn’t come for less than $10,000 to win, he said it was no problem. So we’ve got another $10,000 to Win race on the schedule. And we’re gonna we’re gonna check out check Delaware off the list of places we raced.

Navigating Tire Dynamics in Racing Series Management

We had always allowed both tire brands. And then last year, it got kind of bumpy. Just being honest, you know, we didn’t make this decision to exclude anybody. But, but where you’re at, I mean, sponsorship is what makes series go that’s what makes it work. That’s what those are points funds. So last year got a little rocky, because there was a new tire brought out by one brand, American Racer didn’t change their tires. And at that point, last year, we were,  kind of given an ultimatum and American Racer stepped up and we continued to allow both, but it seemed like things just kept getting further and further apart as the season went on. And this offseason, we had the opportunity we met with American Racer at PRI not just with American Racer South and Ray Cook but the gentleman from the factory and last tire as well. And we discussed some different options for how to implement this and how to make it happen. Left front tire is still open because really, you know, we all agree that in late model racing that’s not very important. But but the other three do have to be American Racer tires and we kind of made that decision – we looked at some different options so if you notice what a lot of the other crates series is the crate tire actually cost more than what the open late model tire does. And that’s because though the the crate series are making money off that tire that’s that’s how it works you know, that’s just the truth of the matter that’s how it works. So we had that option we could have stuck a stamp on an American Racer and made $10-$20 Extra per tire just like the other series do and we could have raised our points fund and and we could have paid out more to the guys that do support the series you know weekly, but instead we decided to to forego that and go with the Pro2 which is a tire that American writer was already producing. We are going to have a pro for right rear option which is just nobody’s ever going to use that except maybe 100 lap race you know in the daytime. Those Pro2’s are very durable tires. But But we decided to forego that making the 10 to $20 Extra we’re gonna give it back to everybody that races with us instead of just supporting the points guys. One of my my racers and I actually Sit down and we compare the cost our car cost to the to the other series. And then we even looked at the the one series requires a certain spec fuel, we allow you to go to Speedway, many times, guys weren’t win running Speedway 85 or 85 with us. So we sit down and we just compare to apples for apples, we set entry fee at the same, you know, everything. And even with, with the way that ours is structured, if our points funds a little less, you actually come out better running with us by saving money on tires and fuel and things like that we don’t require the spec things with the cost extra money. So we decided with the tire, we got really solid points found already. So we decided we would go the extra 10 to $20 a tire and just focus on passing that on to everybody else is with us throughout the season, both on the tour, and on the weekly series. 

Racer Feedback on New Tire Rules

You know, it’s it’s been for the most part, very positive, I would say 80/20, you know, positive the negative on it. Of course, guys that still get deals, those are the guys that that have been a little more upset about things because there are still a few of those guys out there that are that are left. But overall, it’s been such a positive thing. And we’ve had a lot of a lot of great support behind what we’re doing.

American Racer Tires Longevity

Yeah, these Pro2’s you know, last year, we ran the 56 and 48, which they were they’re great tires, too. They’re more of an open compound tire. So they’re about $15 More expensive apiece than the than the Pro2’s with under running this year. But I’ve talked to Jason Smoot, which those guys have run those tires for years now. And also had a conversation with local racer down in your all’s area Mark Green, because he’s a racer firsthand. So he’s got that experience with them. And his comment to me about the tires were, they’re great all the way around. But once you get two or three races in they’re better than when you start on them. So that’s what what he was telling me about him that they last forever. Because I was asking him if he had any for sale, because I was thinking, you know, get a few used ones help guys out, you know, get started that have had the other brand of cars just to help them out. And he’s like, I really don’t want to sell any because they last so long. You know, I’m gonna keep up his backups for next year.

Good Year Tires and Jimmy’s Experience

Well, yeah, cuz they weren’t, they weren’t very good. That’s why, you know, because it was, you know, now, like around here, I mean, the one thing about tires, it just seems like that, you can’t have just one size fits all that fits all the different surfaces, you know, the racetracks in the south are way different than the racetracks in the north, you know, so on and so forth. So, you know, you have to have different compounds to kind of suit suit those, like, for instance, a lot of people really love the 55 tire rule, and, you know, but the 55 is great if there’s traction, but then you can, once you start spinning it and get it, get heat in it, and then you knock the edge off, and it’s really no good. So it’s kind of like down here in the south, we, you know, I always found that pretty much anything softer than say like the American Racer 48, you’re running off a compound and anything harder, you’re running off the edges. So I always thought it would be pretty good to make a tire that was harder, but that it had a round edge to begin with. That way you couldn’t ever have a sharp one, you know, just round the thing off. But anyways, those Good Years where we’re just not very good. And, and but they were not very good from the beginning all the way to the end. So, you know, everybody was on the same tire. So that was good. But I applaud you though, for not mixing the tires. Because when, you know, it’s just, there’s very few series or racetracks that have been able to be successful by mixing different kinds of, of motor rules, tire rules because, you know, you know, there’s always going to be an advantage one, you know, with something one way or another, one might, you know, like a tire one’s gonna qualify, better one’s gonna race better. And you know, there’s no way really to get around that, especially when you go to different racetracks. So, so I think you’re really doing the right thing there.

And that’s what we learned last year, we’d like I said, we did try it. But up until 2022, both companies had supported us until we got that ultimatum, just being honest and 2023. So we did mix the tire brands last year, and it was an unfair car rule. We knew that we were getting American Racers for the advantage because they were the ones supporting us. But still yet we saw the Hoosiers win probably 50% of the races because come race time that Hoosier was was the better option.

Stocking Tires in Series Management

So we do stock them. Because it just helps the ricer. We don’t really make a whole lot of money off tires. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a tire business, but there’s not really money to be made off selling tires. But it definitely helps the racers to have them available. We’ve also worked really hard with American Racer South and Ray to make sure that all of our local -the weekly sanction tracks, either the track has an option to sell them or somebody local is selling those tires. So you know, there’s no distribution issue. Whoever, wherever you go racing, if you’re running American All Star Series Race you should be able to get your hands on tires pretty easily.

American Racer Tires and Supply Chain Issues

We were involved with American Racer back then. We had both at that time. And I was able, you know, thankfully, you know, I’m in West Virginia. So thankfully, I’m blessed and able with the series, mainly being in Tennessee, we’ve always dealt with the southern dealers, but we also have connections with people in the North. So if we couldn’t get stuff from the South that we needed, we could go through people in the North that got what we needed during that time. And looking at this now, you know, the supply chain issues have definitely been solved American Racer has doubled the amount of molds that they previously had. And they’re now running, I believe three shifts a day instead of two. So I don’t think anybody has, you know, any concerns now moving forward. They really picked up production this past offseason and talking to Ray and Matt with South it seems like that tires are in the the best shape they’ve ever been as far as stock.

Beckley Motor Speedway and the American All-Star Series

There’s a general management at Beckley. I’ll pretty much put the schedule together. And I do Randy Kinder about the track back in 2022 was his first season with the track. And I pretty much get him ready to race on race days when we’re when we’re not home when we’re on the road. And he can just go in and open the gates and race. So we have a really good relationship and a good thing going there too.

American All-Star Series and the CARS Racing Show

It’s been very successful for us, I appreciate what you and Jimmy do – BHR renewed their sponsorship with us for 2024 as well as KRC and Pop Bit. So you know, those, those were three good things that came out of the show for us again, this year. We love coming and they gave us a good a good opportunity to mention that so and we have a new relationship with Daytona1. And I definitely credit that I met coach, coach Ron Phillips, down there was my first experience with him. And I’ve really, really enjoyed that. So I definitely enjoyed the vendor time this year.

I’m a big believer in face to face business and you know, calls are great emails are great, but the the CARS Show gives us the opportunity to go see some people we don’t we don’t get to see you know, real often.

What’s Next for the American All-Star Series

You know, we decided to put on a mountain state racing expo here in Beckley. I definitely took some inspiration from from the CARS Show and John Ackley the Outside Groove show always try to support both your guys shows up and you know, looking here in Beckley, it just there’s a lot of racing in this community in this region. And there’s not really a good option for tradeshows I mean the closest one would be to come to Hickory or go to Knoxville and See John I think there’s some good ones you know a little further north in Pennsylvania but But everything’s three hours or more away from from you know, right here in central Beckley area. So you know, we’re putting this deal together the Mountain State Racing Expo March 8-9 in hopes that we can build on to something use use what we’ve seen er is using what we’ve seen with John’s and and make our own little show you know here in southern West Virginia and make it something special and something that lasts for years and years to come. So we’re we’re excited about the building we’ve got so Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center which is an old armory so you know, nice big building lots of space and there’s there’s like annexes to it too. So that where they do banquets and that sort of stuff so there is the opportunity to to expand and use those rooms in the future if need be.

We picked our dates March 8-9 because most racing you know down your all’s region you’re wide open at that point. But But up here in in this region, really things are still kind of old school they don’t kick off till the middle of April, beginning middle of April. So it should be a time for those vendors and exhibitors that are coming in that that people are really spending money because it’s about a month out month and a half so you know when they’re trying to get those last finishing touches on their their cars and things so I’m really excited about that. The dates we got I feel like we lucked into that. And you know hopefully it goes great not only for us, but all our vendors so that we can continue to grow this in the future.

It’s definitely a racer industry type show but we do have several of the champions from Beckley are gonna be there. My weekly champion, AJ Hicks is going to be there. So there will be racers there. We’re gonna have a little kids corner with some face painting and bounce houses and stuff too. For those fans that do want to come out actually, it’s funny you asked me that because I got a message from from a gentleman last night on the page and said, Hey, are there gonna be cars and stuff there too because me as a fan diehard race fan has always felt like this region needed. You know, a tradeshow? So I’m excited to come as a fan, as well. But but it is geared toward you know, racers, we do have a swap meet built into it. But you know, we’ve got several great vendors ProFab, Daytona1, ATC, Spring Rhythm, are several of the vendors that are that are already lined up to come and set up. But like I said, we’ve got, I think 33 Total on our list right now. So I feel like that’s a pretty solid number for our first year.

Big Payouts for the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Race

Last year we did $20,000 to win and $800 to start. And that’s a great payout. You know, for crates, that’s that’s almost unheard of. But this year, we decided we would rerack it and try again and do $15,000 to win and $1200 to start so yeah, I don’t it’s the same, virtually the same purse that we had last year, but with that $1,200 of start money so very, that, you know, a lot of times in crate racing you see in it, and it’s just the nature of the beast, you know, I’ve tried to work it till it works better. But with this play out, I think it really will work. You know, a lot of times you see a $10,000 win race, it’s $300 or so to start. But but we’re excited about this and the opportunity to to be able to offer, you know, $1200 to start on this race, that that’s even bigger than the $15,000 to win. 

Engine Tear Downs in the American All-Star Series

That’s something else we do different. So last year, we got hooked up with Shane Bales Pro Built Motorsports in Sevierville. Tennessee, has a very, very nice race shop. And it took him about a season a whole season to talk me into it. So we really started talking back in 2022. And he said, you know, Joe, instead of tearing down a lot of times what what they do on the asphalt side the asphalt world, is they’ll take it and put it on dyno. So he said, let’s look at putting that in for 2023. And we put it in last year. And it went really, really well. We have a series engine that we keep on hand at all times. We use the same headers and the same carb when we dyno it. And so we take it to the dyno, if it hits within you know the numbers, I don’t put the numbers out there because I don’t want people trying to build to the max, the max HP. So if it hits within our specified numbers on his dyno, then it’s good. So yes, we do have to go to Sevierville after racing and basically, but on the other hand, your engine still in one piece, and you’re not spending $3-4000 of what you won to put your engine back together, as long as the dyno is right. So was very successful. Last year. We had Logan Roberson there a few times, we took Cheeseburger there and Ramey they’re both head for Cherokee. We did Hitchcock’s a couple times as well. So every time and Zack gnomes, which I don’t care to share that his was the worst that we dyno’d all season long. So. So that was after winning at Beckley. But, but we do that instead of the teardown because I think if you advertise a $10,000 to win race, or a $15,000 to win race or whatever, the guy should get to win $15,000. Not have to spend part of that put the engine back together.

When we go to Delaware, we’ll probably go ahead and tear down the engine there. Just because our engine on the road tech man is Ronnie Phillips used to work for ACR Engines and NASCAR. So very experienced tech man as well, we’ve got as far as I’m concerned, the best tech man, you could you could have for a crate series just with all of his experience. So we do have the protest rules in place. And there’s the option of like, can either protest tear down or they can protest for the dyno, whichever they prefer. So there’s different prices. We do the teardown is a little more because it’s expensive to tear one down, it’s expensive to put one back together. So you know that protest is little more than a dyno. But the dyno is there. And I think it’s been a great option and thing that we’ve added in for the series.

Honestly, that’s something that our weekly tracks, I’ve encouraged my weekly drivers to encourage the weekly tracks to take advantage of it too because I think that would be a good way. You always hear the crates that are weekly on a weekly basis – they’re being cheated, you know. 

I remember we went to this Fast Track race. So it was like look, I’m not even gonna say so I’m not gonna rat anybody out. But like, so take like track a right. So like, so we have a Fast Track race. And so the poll is like, hey, 16 nine or something like that? I don’t know. And it’s like and there’s 60 cars because there’s is that was a big paying race and it was had all the big dogs of the crate race and whatever there. So none of the locals really showed up. You know, it was just a couple of them showed up. And so, so six to take the number 16 Nine, then next week for a weekly show. Paul was like a 15 Seven. Same rules, same rules, right?

Did you ever go to Lizard Creek Jimmy? So this is a great story I can share while we’re talking about you know, Southern West Virginia and things so Lizard Creek opened and it was COVID year and COVID year we just had a phenomenal year because everybody was racing. So they gave us the opportunity to bring the tour in there. And it was just it was a small race $2500 $300  something like that it wasn’t wasn’t a huge payout by any means. But But I did Jason Wilson pulled down there with me and the look on his face as he came up I was on the four wheeler and he’s coming in and he’s big you know the hauler there Jason wash and pulls it was pulled in at that time and the look on his face was absolutely priceless. But But then afterwards I talked with well the next night because it was a you know swing where went with Phil to and he’s like I’ve never raced in place like that is that as long as drag strip wide open down the straightaways stop turn wide open again. So that’s one of the best stores we’re having tour. I wish I wish you’d been down there because you know exactly what I was talking about.

Just getting to Lizard Creek. I mean, it’s Oh, I bet it’s a monster. You get off the interstate, you’re off the interstate for a good two hours or so before you ever ever get to the racetrack.

Joe Rush’s Racing History

It’s a different story than most. So Beckley, has been in my life all my life. My my grandfather scored there from the second year, the track was open. And at that point in time, the track was inside the light poles now, so you can imagine how small this track was that they were racing at you because I know you’ve been there. So so he scored there from the second year, the track was open. And then on and off, when I was a kid, he scored he, there were some years we just went to sit in the stands. But nonetheless, I built that passion for it. When I was about 15, he got back into scoring. And I asked, you know, hey, I’d like to have a job too. I might try my hand at this. So I got thrust into to hand scoring, that’s my start and racing was with hand scoring. The second year they got a computer and nobody would learn how to do computer scoring. So I was like, hey, Pick Me Pick Me. So I did the computer scoring there. And I then started working at I-77 and continued hand scoring at I77 they didn’t get computer in probably till 2012 2013 So you know I had a lot of experience in scoring over those years but but it basically just my love and passion for the sport has I’ve always shown I guess, and the people I worked for, I eventually I moved the race director and you know, doing the promotions and things like that. And then the opportunity presented itself for a series. And I was like, let’s do it. So my wife supports me I couldn’t do without her. It’s oftentimes it’s me and her run it up down the roads. And then I’ve got a young fella that it’s about 21, that helps us as well. And, and that’s where we’re how we got to where we are today. So it’s really different from most because I know most for most promoters or series owners were former racers, but I never had the desire to race. I always liked being in tower, and, you know, messing with that and the stuff.

American All-Star Series 2024 Schedule

We have 26 tour races right now. So, we scheduled 28 last year, and I thought well, we’ll get some rain outs along the way. I think we ran 28 races last year. I’ve never seen a season like it, you know, you always I wouldn’t be happy with getting like 20 to 22 in you know, somewhere in that range. I always schedule with your tracks closing or, or things like that. But last year, everybody ran and if we rain out we ran on Sunday. So it was one of those deals where we’d already got to the track. So thankfully, we do have great tracks that have worked with us, because you hate hauling out all the way to a place and then it ran out and they have to go home. So we ran them off. Um, and hopefully this year, we I’d love to get all 26 in, if possible. If not, you know, I’m happy with 20 to 22 as well.

American All-Star Racing Tour Payouts

This past year, the way we do pay out, we pay out if you’re on 80% or more of the events, they get full points fund on the tour. So we ended up paying out five for the full amount. And then I decided because some some crate guys want to support you, but they only want to support you in that region. So instead of trying to do multiple regions or something like that, I said, Well, let’s look at guys that run 50 to 79% of the races. And we’ll give them half points fund. So we actually had four more that were in that that bracket that ran 50 to 79%. And they were able to get some points money out of the out of the end of the year deal as well. So I think that was a big deal to help you know, a more regional guy that didn’t want to maybe maybe from Tennessee travel to West Virginia, or or vice versa. So though on our tour, Jesse Lowe was our champion. He was from Tennessee. Our second place driver was from Kentucky. Third place was Tennessee. Fourth was Georgia and fifth was North Carolina. So we were very well represented as far as people traveling from from different states to race with us this past season. 

American All – Star Series Sponsors

So we we’ve got PPM Racing Products of course that our presenting sponsor VLAN has been with us since I’m a Risko. Year one ModelA been with us since year two. They’re a great partner to have. They make all the crate engine pistons so it kind of makes sense for them to to be with us. Then we’ve got just picked up Daytona1, BHR Fab. KRC Power Steering, Profabrication is the official header of the series, Outside Groove is they do stories on us. They do a lot of great stories on the series, so they’re really good partner to have as well. Of course Beckley Motor Speedway is one of our partners. That that’s one that obviously helps us a lot through through what we do. And Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, Chevrolet Performance, let’s another one that we couldn’t do it without and of course American Racer Tire. They’re gonna help us pay out more of our weekly we our weekly series this year as well with what they’re doing in their title sponsor, our rookie Rookie of the Year award or your race cars also helps with our Rookie of the Year awards. So just got a lot of a lot of really, really great partners and Rocky Top Health. Excited about that it’s a brand new thing that that We’re gonna do a Power Rankings and do a bonus payout every three weeks this year, thanks to Rocky Top Health, and he’s gonna take care of all of it. So I don’t really fully he has the point system, everything set up, and he’s going to include weekly and touring and do an average and somebody’s gonna get about $400 once every three or four weeks.

You can find the American All-Star Series on Facebook, X (Twitter), YouTube, MyRacePass, and on their website.