Steel Block Bandits Racing Series & More with Jim Long

Steel Block Bandits Racing Series & More with Jim Long

On this week’s episode, Jimmy and Kate were joined by Jim Long from Steel Block Bandits. They discussed the Steel Block Bandits Racing Series, and how the series has changed over the years. Steel Block Bandits has been a supported and exhibitor of the CARS Racing show for several years.

Kate, Jimmy, and Jim discussed several topics in the interview, including:

  • Jim’s History with Racing
  • What’s in a Name
  • Solution Based Racing
  • Building a Strong Dirt Track Racing Series
  • The Growth and Challenges of a Regional Dirt Track Racing Series
  • 2024 Schedule for Steel Block Bandits
  • Downtime is Important Too
  • A Sustainable Race Season
  • A Serie’s Role at the Track
  • Unveiling the Dynamic Stars of Steel Block Bandits
  • Negativity? We Don’t Do That Here
  • Embracing Diversity in Dirt Track Racing Engines
  • Shout Outs and Appreciation
  • Teamwork Makes the Dreams Work
  • Striking the Right Balance
  • Jimmy’s View on Schedule Madness
  • Sponsors and Benefits
  • Rebuilding 604s – Kate and Jimmy Weigh In

Jim’s History with Racing (1:13)

First, my dad raced for 30 years. So, my mom took me to the racetrack when I was a baby. But so I grew up around it. I started racing, my dad and I got to race three weekends together before he passed away unexpectedly. Within that time, before that I had been found my work my way tucked away into a job doing PR and marketing for NASCAR Busch grand national race team, Tim Fedewa was the driver. He was a rookie from Michigan, and we’re still great friends to this day. So I did a little bit of that. And I started driving and then I realized, you know, hey, I’m, I’m okay driver, but I’m probably a better promoter. I’m better at talking than I am at driving. And so, you know, I won some races, but it just wasn’t my heart was there wasn’t really any of that I really wanted to grow something. And so I started a modified tour way back when and we grew that we were just ahead of our time. Matter of fact, Todd Staley, and I started the same time with us back then it was USMS. But just out here in the southeast, it just wasn’t the thing. So anyway, we bounced around doing that. owned a couple cars, and then ended up had a chance to buy in the Fable Motor Speedway. And so I had that for five years. We did that for five years as a family. My late wife, Denah, she, she got sick with cancer. And so we ended up her our her first year being sick was our last year there at the track. And we met I’m really proud of what we did there. We put on some of the biggest races there in the southeast. I mean, back in 2018-19. We did $25,000 to win, and $2000 to start for the World of Outlaw Show. And nobody was paying that kind of money back then. But it was our 50th anniversary season there at the track. So anyway, we stepped out and we set out a year as Denah took treatments and things and then anyway, we had this idea to start this late model deal. For the quote unquote, limited, we don’t call them limited, but we just call him late models. But so we started that, and this is we just finished up our third season. And it’s going really well. So we’re get ready to start our fourth year. And so I’ve been involved in racing, you know, in some way, shape or form all my life really. Post military. I like said I was in the military. And so I ended up getting involved in racing, personally at my own level. So anyway, just something that the steel block bandits, I saw a need. We jumped in. And we’ve grown it now. And so we’ve got a good program. 

What’s in a Name (4:21)

So I wish I could take credit for the name. So there was a first iteration of the Steel Block Magnets from the guys up around Hagerstown, Potomac Winchester that northern area, they raced her in that area for a number of years. But it kind of fell by the wayside. The guys got busy doing other things and they quit doing it. And so when I had this idea to start a late model series, I called those guys and said, hey, you know, this is what I want to do. Would you guys mind if I use the name? And they all they signed off on it and said, hey, we’d be honored for you to take it and so That sucks. And I’d love to be able to take credit for it. But I recognize that it was a great name. And so there was no need for me to try to come up with something any different.

Solution Based Racing (5:10)

Well, so this was, this was during COVID. I said, we been away from the track for a year. Some of the tracks were. Basically what I saw was these cars may be they may call them limited late models in certain parts of the country. But there’s nothing limited about these cars. I mean, the cars themselves, I mean, we got guys that swapped super motors, and quote unquote, limited steel block motors in and out of the cars, suspension packages, you know, all that type of stuff, the cars themselves. That mean, you know what they cost, you guys know what they cost. And I just felt like they needed to be racing for more money. And even though we do have great personas, and we have great partners with tracks and marketing partners, that you know, I still feel like they need to be they need more. But at the time, during COVID some of the tracks are just being disingenuous at best. They were saying, oh, you know, we can’t we’re not making any money. We can’t this or whatever. But they were taking the same amount of people that they said they couldn’t put in the grandstands. And they were running them all the fans from the stands and from the pits through the pit gate. And so they were all getting pit gate money. But they cut the persons. And that’s not a stab anybody in particular. That’s just what was going on. And so I just didn’t feel like that, that. I didn’t feel like anybody was fighting for the racers at the time. This for this type of class of cars. And so, you know, I talked with Dean and hope about it cuz we did the racetrack as a family and they were all for it. And we got to do one season before Deena passed. And I asked hope at the at the end of that year today, what do you want to do? You know, do you want to keep going or not? And hope scores for us, by the way and does like a zine other things. And she said she wanted to keep racing, no matter of fact, it was literally, I was walking up to the podium at our awards celebration that for after the first season there at the speedway club in Charlotte. And I leaned over and asked her before I walked up, and I didn’t know what I was gonna say, Hey, guys, we had a great year, we’re done. Oh, wow, you guys had a great year, and we’re gonna keep going. And I asked open she said she wanted to race. So anyway, we’ve had season two, season three, and we’re getting ready to embark upon season four.

Building a Strong Dirt Track Racing Series (7:35)

We’re very proud of that we did average this past season 34 cars per race and that was that was counting with full was not a great night for us. We only had 16 and with we had 22 of the year before, but we had two races scheduled that night and so we only had 16 at with and in Beckley, the first year we were at Beckley, we had 35 and then they’re getting we had two races, one scheduled illness at home. And then what and then Todd, from Apple with the steel block late model series. They had a series race that night, so some of those guys couldn’t come anyway, we still average 3034 cars per race. We had nine guys the last two seasons that have had perfect attendance and ran for the championship. And then we’re just like said we just man, it’s nothing flashy. You know, I think we do a good job. We, you know, we legislate the races in a fair way. We do them efficiently. We get people in there and out of there. And it’s every year it’s picked up and grown every year. Our call count Sorry. Sorry. I suppose our hardcore count was it Hagerstown? We had 53 This past year at 53 cars.

The Growth and Challenges of a Regional Dirt Track Racing Series (9:09)

Last year, we had 17 races on the schedule, and that was in seven states. We ended up getting 14 in through rainouts and such and we lost Lavonia because they were scheduled to be a Friday night it was a Friday, Saturday, Livonia Cherokee deal. And after the first quarter of the season, Lavonia switched to Saturdays. And so we weren’t able to accommodate that. So anyway, we got 14 of our 17 events in. We will have 16 on the schedule this year. We’ve got 15 of those dates already out. We’re still waiting on a date for one more. So 16 races and we’ll be in that same geographical southeast year, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee. 

2024 Schedule for Steel Block Bandits (10:10)

So I do want to say this. This year, we’ve strategically kind of tried to stay a little bit closer to our base. I’m worried about the economy. I’m in real estate. And I talk with a lot of people in you know, that are in different types of ministries. And I’m concerned about, you know, I mean, I think everybody is obviously, given the state of affairs, but I think this year, could could we could have some bumps in the road. So we’re staying a little closer to our base. And our races are Friday night purses are all our personas are standardized. So we don’t just go in, hey, will you pay us? Friday night purchases are minimum 4400 to start. Our Saturday night verses are 5500 Start minimums. And that’s when I started, you know, this whole deal. That’s where I wanted to be. And I said I wanted to be the Lucas Oil late model series of quote, unquote, limited racing. And ultimately, I wanted to get these persons up to where they were 10,000 to win purses, these guys race hard, they’ve got great equipment, they’re great racers. And that’s why we chose this this class of cars to support. And so with that being said, we’ve we’ve made strides and bumping those persons up. We have great partners. And the reason the reason why we can do it is we make racetracks money. We’ve had a couple instances where our track partners have had a bad night, sometimes a couple times, and it’s happened, whether related, or just just a bad weekend, we had one time we went to attract for the third time reschedule date during the season. And I’ve learned if you lose a date one time, maybe make a date. But if you lose it a second time, just take it off the schedule. It’s hard to it’s hard to create hype again for a third time after you lose it twice. So but with that being said, We’re gonna kick our season off, that’s another thing that we do is we typically don’t go to a racetrack more than once a year. We go one time, once a year, typically, just so people know that, hey, the circus is coming into town and I can’t miss it. If you go to a racetrack four or five times a year. There’s no urgency there. You’re already no urgency amongst your fan base or the tracks fan base to come out and see you that night at that track. This year. We are visiting a couple tracks twice for scheduling purposes. And that’s all part of the plan that kind of stay a little bit closer to home. But we kick off our season here in Fayetteville on March 30. That’s a Saturday night 5500 to start. And then we’ll go to Sumpter. The following weekend, we’ll get we’ll start our season. We’d like to race once twice a month and we’ll start our season with three races. Right to start with March 30 April 6, that Sumpter and that race is for 7500 to win 700 to start. And as I talked to you before, you know, a lot of times people have been paying these races pay 10,000 When and like 500 to start and I’m like man is that start money, there’s more people going to the racetrack and knowing that their fate is going to be that $700 You know, or that $500 versus that that $10,000 So we just took $2,500 Off the top job cut it back Sunday 500 and win and added it down on the bottom line. So software 7500 to win 700 to start Smoky Mountain, April 13. Natural Bridge, April 27. May 11. We go to Cherokee go back to Cherokee, that’s 7500 to wins 700 to start. Then we’ve got our first doubleheader of the year. That’s Dixie lamb. Have you ever been to Dave, you want to ever been to Dixieland Speedway have not, of course you probably can’t get there from where y’all live, but just keep driving head northeast in North Carolina until you hit water and Elizabeth City and that’s where Dixie land is located. Okay. And they packed that place in there on Friday nights. We sell more merch up there on Friday nights than any other stop that we typically go to. This, the fans just don’t get many big races out there. You don’t see different cars. And I think we’re we’re some special when we go up there, but we’ll be there may 31. And then we go to Virginia Motor Speedway on June 1 for 10,000. The wind 700 to start. We take a week off and then we had to this is one that I’m excited about. We always try to go somewhere every year that’s historic or you know people have heard about and they want to raise last year it was Hagerstown. This year is Talladega show Our track, okay. Most of our guys have never, never seen the place much less race there. And so we’re headed down there, June 15. Then we’re June 29. We’re late viewed to July 27. Another new track for us going to East Lincoln speedway. We had some of our racers that live in that area and wanted us to race there. And so we’re heading there August 5. Halifax, back to Virginia Motor Speedway, August 17. Natural Bridge in September. That’ll be the second annual Tom bear Memorial race. That’s a bloopers father. And he was a racing legend, himself. That race, we’re really proud excited that race pays at $800 to win, and 800 To start, of course, the eighth source was Tom’s number. Let me go to county line, October 12, for the race for the kids. And then we’ll finish up our season at back at Fayetteville on the 19th of October for the 10th annual cash money 100. That’s 100 lap race. It’ll pay 10,000 Plus to win. And the start money will be to be determined. So we got one more day to add in there in the Tennessee area. But that is our schedule for this season.

Downtime is Important Too (16:32)

We got to get back to where we have, we got to get back in this industry where we have some downtime, not just for the racers, but for the families and for the manufacturers and the engine builders that we’ve got to get back to where we were not racing year round. It’s just it’s not sustainable. In my opinion.

A Sustainable Race Season (16:50)

Yeah, we do some neat things. Our Rookie of the Year program pays 3000. And when we pay three spots in the Rookie of the Year program, our points pay 10,000 When we pay 10 spots, and that I think toothpaste, kids play still gets 1000 bucks. We pay bandit posse money to our top 10 and points, that perfect attendance throughout the year, it’s 100 bucks, every time you show up to the racetrack if you have perfect attendance. And 100 bucks is not a lot of money. But we’re the only regional series it’s doing that, you know, at our level. But you know the guys, they really appreciate that. That $100 Extra the points man gets an extra $100 Courtesy of Gen3 Performance Imaging and Josef’s one. So every time, every time the points that he gets there, that’s up to a raise, he’s guaranteed to under bucks before he ever starts. So it’s, we just pay it every every chance we get we pay 100 bucks here. 100 bucks there. 200 bucks here. Brian Sullivan has done a pull award of 200 bucks for the first three years of our series in honor of his brother, Ricky Sullivan, Jr, who passed away. So we’ve got some great marketing partners. And we just we just keep, keep digging. It’s very racer friendly. I’m a racer at heart. I’m a race fan at heart. And so I do what I can I don’t I don’t live out of the series. It’s not how I make my living. And so we just tried to put it back in the hands of the racers.

A Serie’s Role at the Track (25:32)

The real answer is some tracks more than others. But we do we do speak with the promoters, obviously, beforehand, we try to find out what other divisions they’re running with us, we encourage them to drop a class or two or three, depending on which track and how many they normally run. Because we do bring a full program. That’s one of the things that’s attractive about what we do as well, we Hot Lap, we qualify. Everyone heat races, no one’s locked into a show. It’s just like a Lucas old format, or a World of Outlaw format that he raise, then we have two last chance qualifiers, you know, one, if only if only need one, but two. And so it takes a while to do all that, right. So we do encourage them and give them our input. Most of the time they, they listened and they work with us. We also prefer to race second or third in the lineup in the program so that we can get our racers back loaded up paid, and out on the road, headed back somewhere. You know, we always want to want to leave a racetrack better than you know when we leave them when we got there. And so we will work with them if we need to. But that’s a great point. We do our advanced scout with them and try to make sure that we can work together with our tracks to put a program together that makes sense and makes them look good and makes us look good.

Unveiling the Dynamic Stars of Steel Block Bandits (30:39)

Man, I don’t know. We’ve had some, you know, of course, your boy Willie. Milliken, Willie, Willie traveled with us and Willie, Willie was popular both ways. Ones that loved him and ones that hate him hated him. But I think there’s a whole lot more than love being the wild child. It’s a great name. Great nickname, but we’ll erase with this quite regularly course he went on to to do great things. After championship this past year with the Ultimate Series. Dustin Mitchell has come in and out of the series, Tyler bear is a fan favorite. Derek quake from Maryland, Derek is is a good one. The first eight flyer Robbie Emery from Delaware. Who runs with this man, we’ve got a bunch of Jeff Parsons is new. He was our rookie of the year this year. Man, we’ve got a bunch of them. I can’t say who’s speaking to Jeff there yet to see a comment pop up on the screen. It was perfect timing. But, man, we’ve got a bunch of great guys. We really do. And it’s we raised in such different regions. And each one of those guys have power power bases, you know, in their areas. And so whenever you go in somewhere, that some like superheroes. 

Negativity? We Don’t Do That Here (32:01)

We’ve had a few bumps in the road here and there. You know, but really, we haven’t had many I mean this in three seasons. It doesn’t even fill up a hand. One hand, the number of you know, you know, major disagreements? Is there anything we’ve had with with racers? We just We just haven’t you I left out one ratio a while ago. He hasn’t raced with us this past year. So it wasn’t run on top of the radar. But Michael Baton is another another racer that when when you come around the eastern North Carolina is a lot, a lot of a lot of folks there that are pulling. And you see a lot of Michael Baton, were there so but we don’t have we’re one big family. We see racers helping racers week in and week out if somebody needs something or need some help, they’re there to help. And I just think I think we know as a series, we’re fortunate to be able to showcase and showcase some really great racetracks and really great racers. And I think the racers are, understand and appreciate that we go to the mat form that we’re getting all the money we can get. We’re getting all the contingency stuff we can get for him. And so we’ll all have disagreements, but we’re all in this together. We really are.

Embracing Diversity in Dirt Track Racing Engines (33:55)

Really there is just the 525 we don’t we don’t disallow 604 guys. If we show up somewhere like a Beckley or somewhere that slicks off the Tennessee tracks, they slick off, so sometimes Natural Bridge, sometimes those 604s are very competitive. But typically our guys run either our engine package manager package is 365 cubic inch Max Steel block steel or aluminum heads. They’ve got to be 23 degree based for the Chevrolet heads, plus or minus three degrees. And so that’s our standard engine package that we have there. We do allow the 525 engines to race with us. We are not a 525 series, but we’d love them to come and race with us. So they’ve won races with us. Matter of fact, Tyler Bear has finished second, he finished second last year in opponents and second the year before, exclusively with a 525. The year before. So they are competitive. We do give them a weight break. But we do make them put in, they don’t like it, but we make them put the 50 pounds in front of the motor plate to compensate for the aluminum block. Getting that weight off the nose is a little bit of an advantage for them, but we do give them an overall weight break. Matter of fact, we just announced a little contingency program, weekly program for our races with Don Blackshear and Race City Performance $100 to the highest finish in 525 engine, you know, per race. And so just give some of those guys a little bit more incentive to come race with us when they can. But those are the two major we said there are 604s matter of fact our cash money 100 race we had a natural bridge of the year $10,000 to win in the top two positions, were 604 great cars just because they’re good up there. Justin Williams, and little Thuggy – Logan Roberson, so those those were the top two cars there so they can compete at certain racetracks.

Dale says “Jim has a great series and they take care of the racers”. (36:21)

Dale is one of our racers that came on board last year and ran for rookie of the year. And I’m telling you he would have been a whole lot deeper into that competitive race for the Rookie of the Year. But you are talking about a man who had the most terrible god awful luck you’ve ever seen. But one thing about Dale he has a great attitude. He never gave up. They kept digging. Even his father had some health troubles and we just reached out to him as best we could and loved on him when we could and he was able to finish the year out but he’s got a he’s got an exciting season ahead for him. He’s partnering with him and Jeff Parsons will be teammates with Sammy Speaks. And I think there’ll be campaigning the only two MB customs on the east coast. MB Custom racecars on the East Coast. I’d say that joke at least in the southeast. That’s what Jeff, your race last year and how you won Rookie of the Year. But Dale and his wife are good people. Very good.

Shout Outs and Appreciation (44:10)

Put me on the spot here. Obviously, obviously, David Miller, who’s retired south, they’re a big part of what we do. David Taylor, VP Racing Fuels, great partners. They really are. Donald and Gina Bradsher. Not only are they great friends, but they’re great marketing partners as well. With Mega Plumbing. They are our marquee partners with our points championship. Jonathan Scott from Scott Service Company they’ve been with us from the beginning, I can go really honestly I can go on and on and on. HDR Truck and Trailer Sales. Matter of fact, be on the lookout we’ll have our new series trailer. We have a new dually and a new 42 foot series trailer that will be posting some pictures up here in the next few days. But we just have some really great, really great sponsors. We give Gerald I give I give Gerald Newton probably deservedly so, so much crap when I see him and I’m surprised he just hasn’t punch me. But I just love picking on Gerald and he gives it right back in typical Gerald way but Arizona Sports Shirts they Gerald and Wayne Childers with Newpoint Lighting Design. They are our marketing partners with our Rookie of the Year program that they allow us to pay out right at $5,000 for three spots in our Rookie of the Year program and so that’s something unique for us. Three grand is nothing to sneeze at for, you know for winning Rookie of the Year for with us. So, like I said I go on and on. I would like to thank my staff also we are looking for some staff members also. If if you’re if you love racing, if you’re not jacked up, drugged up, whatever, give us a call. Send us a message. We’re looking for some staff and I’ve got some great staff folks. Of course, my daughter Hope. The OG original Sasquatch, boom city Sasquatch, Joseph Swan. He’s our race director, Hopes scores for us, Old Man Bandit – he lines up cars him and Ryan Swan. Joseph, younger brother. JD Gunther helps us Joey Chapman, he won with the Carolina Clash Class, Joey comes and techs with us some. We’ve got some, just some great folks that helped us, Kathy, my girlfriend, she’s the merch queen, we got a 24 foot merch trailer, double window merch trailer that we drag along to each event. And so that we can sell merch out of and Kathy does a great job of that and just keeping me from strangling somebody, you know, sometimes as well keep me calm down. So I appreciate her. But if you are looking for to get out on the road 16 events, we are looking for some help. So we’d love to have you come on board with us.

Teamwork Makes the Dreams Work (47:28)

I’d like to think I have – if you talk to my staff, they’ll tell you to no, that I’m not at all. But you know one of our only issues with building the team is is that I haven’t have some really good people. But they like to operate independently. And in their careers and in their lives. They’re just kind of laid back. And they just kind of keep to themselves. And sometimes that’s difficult to pull them together and bring them together as a team. Because they’re used to doing everything themselves. And so I like to use the term collaborate rather than cooperate, collaborate, just shows and you know, an active level of working together in cooperation. So everybody’s learned in our jobs. And you know, racing is not just a static, it’s not like sticking ball sports where everything operates within a certain parameter, you know, of events that may take place. Y’all been in racing, y’all know better than I, you go to a racetrack. It’s not yours, working, trying to blend it in with staff that are there weekly. And you’d have a way that you do things. You throw in weather and different events and lateness and whatever or catastrophic things, whatever. You’re just always overcoming something and you can’t have a contingency plan for everything. Sometimes you just gotta wing it. And so I’ve got good people and we’re learning that and we’re gelling together and I think I think our fourth season coming up here you’re gonna see us really hit our stride.

Yeah, that’s a great answer. And I’m sure ego there’s probably a little bit of ego clashing that can happen a little bit sometimes maybe. (49:29)

I mean, we all we all like to think that we’re good at what we do and I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even want sounds I don’t even see the racist I stay over in the trailer in the pits with our headquarters trailer and I make sure the lineups get posted and we have one of Elon Musk’s Starlink systems. And so we have that set up on the trailer. And so Hope sends lineups down, we put them there and a trailer and we get them posted. And, there’s they’re trying to coordinate and make sure stuff gets done and make everybody has any questions and that kind of stuff. But I try to really just empower them and let them do what they need to do. And they’ve shown that, that I can trust them. And so as you know, that’s just all you ask as the leader, as your folks can, can show that they can be trusted, and they put forth that effort and show they can get it done. Matter of fact, with my health the last, I missed three out of the last four races of the season, you know, with my health situation, and so they did a great job. And I’m proud of them. And I appreciate them, I can’t ever pay him as much as they’re worth. That’s one great thing with our new partnership with Vision Wheel is that I’ll be able to better take care of the people that make this stuff happen. And we’re going to invest in some some different merch some some more interactive things with the racetracks. The technical side of things, guys, and y’all know all the I mean, just look in the last 24 hours, all the uproar about the shocks and stuff that’s come out or whatever. But the technical side of stuff is where we still struggle. Because you have engines and you have suspension stuff. And really, you need two people, because usually a suspension guy doesn’t know a whole lot about the engine side and vice versa. And so as we’re on the road, and we cover such a big footprint. So we have some folks out there that are gifted in that area and aren’t biased one way or the other with, you know, that’s the thing, people were fans of this one or that one or whatever. So I think I’ve learned more about suspensions. And I’ve asked, probably Steve Maynard’s, probably tired of me texting him, Hey, can you send me a picture of this right? Can you send me a picture of that, or whatever. So. But, man, these guys are always trying to figure out how to go fast and try to get around the rules and work in the gray area. And that’s their full time jobs. I mean, that’s all they focus on. I’m trying to get a schedule together. I’m trying to get an itinerary and travel and generate trying to get hotels trying to do this trying to do that. So we’re always, we’re always going to be behind. 

Striking the Right Balance (52:18)

My philosophy is, is that you got to have balance. And last year, I tried to have 16 races, and I swore at your show, when we released our schedule last year, I swore and I basically fussed Joseph out because he said we had 17. I said, No, I only scheduled 16 races. But I was the idiot that somehow scheduled 17 races and couldn’t count. But that there’s a sweet spot in there that 14 to 16 races across that many months to where you’re racing once, maybe twice a weekend. So that you can do things if you want to race, that’s fine, there’s plenty of places to go race. But if mama wants to go to the beach, or she wants to do this, or it’s your anniversary, or you’ve got kids that are graduating or doing this or doing that, or starting T ball, there’s lots of stuff that goes on outside of racing. And I just feel like if you have a balance, you know that life will be easier and life life will be better. Plus, let’s just be honest, the last several years gate, you know about supply chains better than both of us do. Parts were hard to come by turnaround times on repairs and things or whatever had been difficult. So I think that 14 to 16 ratio range is a is a good range. I try to front load our schedule. For several reasons. I try to get as many races in as I can. They’re the first several months of the year, without making it too hectic the first three months or so. A everybody’s ready to go. Everybody’s excited and ready to go. Everybody’s got a little bit of money or money, you know, they haven’t had anything catastrophic happen yet. And then it also gives us time if we have some rain outs, and we need to do some makeups we have the last half of the year. And we have more dates available to do that. So I am strategic about that. To try to make sure that you know that we do try to get as many as much as we can is for first half of the season.

Jimmy’s View on Schedule Madness (54:51)

I’m sitting here thinking about talking about the schedule. And here’s me that, like, I have a full time job trying to run a business and have, you know, had two kids and, you know, married and stuff like that. And there’s one year I ran 26 races, I swear, that was a lot of races. For me, that is a lot of race. That’s a lot of races. I mean, it just really was it was, you know, and so, I know, a lot of people look at 26 is nothing, you know, when you have like 60 race, I mean, you know, Lucas schedule or something like that, but like for a guy who works, you know, a regular job and, and you have a life and you have, you know, outside of your, you know, your job and all that sort of stuff that it’s like, you know, 26, you know, Saturday nights, or, you know, let’s say there’s 18, Saturday nights, and eight Friday nights, whatever. That’s, that’s a lot. And you’re asking your family to sacrifice a lot to do that, too. And so I think that there are certainly in, in any industry. Um, I remember when I was started work for Harley years ago, and there went to I went to a dealer meeting, it wasn’t like Texas, and there was a guy that went up there. And he said, 20 years ago, the average age of the core Harley buyer was 42 years old. And now 20 years later, the average age is 62 years old. So guess what, it’s the same guy. So it’s like the core like, and that’s what like all, you know, Harley was the same way they had their core people that bought their motorcycles and bought their stuff. But there was, but trying to go outside of your core, people aren’t hardcore like that people don’t, you know, aren’t gonna put 100,000 miles on their motorcycle every year, or whatever. Same thing with racing, I think you’ve got some really core people that just love it, eat it, breathe it, they would just like, live at the racetrack if they could, but you have a lot of people that love racing, but they love to do other stuff, too. And so I’m really glad to see that, you know, things are broke up that way that like, if there’s a guy who, who, you know, I mean, his family want to do other things, and 16 races, a lot of races, you know, they can run that series. But if they’re if people are like, well, that’s enough, and I do that, but they can go run other stuff, too. You know, and there’s other you know, there’s other series and, and it really sounds like, you know, Jim hearing you talk, you really try to get along with other series to, you know, seem to you, I’ve known you for a long time, you’re not a territorial guy, I really, the thing I respect about you the most is, is how you use what I’ve talked about last week, a lot about about giving back to racing and not taking that I really do believe that you’re doing this for the benefit of racing, overall, and trying to leave it in a better place as as as what you came, you know, into it as and because you love it. And so I’m glad to see that, you know, all these things that you’re doing, are all, you know, are all going in that same direction.

Sponsors and Benefits (58:15)

One thing we’ve never done before is like charge a membership or have a membership or whatever. But we do have a package a bundle of benefits that we feel like has value to it. And so we are going to charge you know $100 to be a member. But one of those things is will be a discount through Vision Wheel and there’ll be a code that you can go through there and they track that. And so we’re gonna work hard on that. There’s lots and lots of neat stuff that we’re working on that man I just, we just need more help. We need more more folks to take some of the load off as we race so that we can take care of our marketing partners like they should. It’s a big step for us. Man, we’re just as proud as we can be, as you can see their lineup, they’ve got wheels for everything, and beautiful wheels. And so anyway, I appreciate you asking that question, hang tight. And I’ll make sure we get everybody aware of that. One thing we do, we do a great job with our social media stuff. Making sure that the people know where we’re going to be, when we’re going to be there, and who’s helping us get there. So I do want to thank you all. We talked last week, the show was great. I love the trade show. I go to PRI every year, I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world, whether I get one bit of business or not. It’s just good to be around racing people. And same thing with you guys. I love coming to Hickory, our team loves coming there, we’re going to keep coming. And we’re gonna keep telling people about it as long as you keep having it. So I just encourage you all to keep putting up with a bunch of knucklehead racers that drag around and don’t do things until the last minute. So don’t don’t get frustrated with this. And let’s keep digging together.

Rebuilding 604s – Kate and Jimmy Weigh In (1:01:21)

You want to take that one Kate I’m, I’m not a 604 guy. So I’m sorry, I can’t I can’t be much up there.

(Jimmy) With like fast track, I know that there was like, there was always because so many of these parts in the 604 are commercially available in the exact same part. But just branded different like you can buy the GM oil pan is like I don’t know where the 800 bucks, but you can buy the exact same oil pan that’s branded by somebody else for like $200. But same thing with rings and lifters and things like that. So whenever there were shortages, I always remember them saying they were allowing them to be able to replace them with the with these part numbers or whatever. So if I was him, what I would do is I would contact your sanctioning body. And whatever whoever he’s he’s racing under because with a crate motor, he’s definitely racing under a sanctioning body. So contact them, tell them that you have some parts shortages. And first if they see if they can locate the parts. Okay, rods are the issue. That’s interesting. So you know that I don’t I don’t know about that. But like, I would imagine that there’s a rod, an aftermarket rod, that would be a direct replacement, I don’t think that anybody’s going to let you get hung out there.

(Kate) Well, actually, let me to add on to whatever’s going on with this with this particular situation, because I had a conversation with actually Newsome Raceway Parts, who is a big supporter of the CARS Racing Show as well, a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about because we’ve been looking at this for a while in that with the the potential strike or the strike that was happening, it slowed everything down, it was kind of like that, kind of like what we saw during the shutdowns where you’ve shut down the supply chain, it takes a while. I mean, it’s, you know, honestly, it’s like a vehicle up north right now where it’s super cold, it’s just gonna take a little extra work to get it going. And, and so from what I understand is the most of those parts are going to start finding their way into the system. And you can probably call around to a few of the different, you know, see where engine builders are, I mean, work with your engine builder on that. I don’t work with don’t do anything with any internal parts, because I’m not an engine builder. I just deal with the external stuff. But yeah, you can kind of call around or engine builders should be in contact. And oh, Cory says I am an engine builder. Okay, gotcha. Yeah. So then whoever your part supplier is, like Newsome Raceway Parts, I know that there are big stocking dealer. I know City Chevrolet and there’s, you know, quite a, there’s several out there. You can even check with like Freezin Chevrolet in Nebraska. A lot of good guys. And he says, oh, Cory says also rods for the crates have become pricey for what they are and in poor supply. Yeah, nothing. I can have any control over it. But I know like Jimmy said, some of the sanctioning bodies they’ve made adjustments in the past, over like either rings and different aftermarket pieces. Because of that, because they’re exactly the exactly the same thing.

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