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.
So tell us a little bit about it, what is the official title, where you're at, and the type of cars that you race? (0:46)
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.
What region of the country that you race in? (1:55)
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.
So tell us about the announcement. And then tell us also, you know, how that happened and how you got there. (2:41)
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.
I'm sure your guys are gonna like that. (5:52)
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.
From what I've heard- I don't actually sell tires. So I really don't have a horse in this race at all. But I've heard great things about the longevity of the American Racers. (6:25)
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.
Jimmy, you've talked a lot about when you were racing years and years ago, and that one of the best tires that you'd like - Good Years? (7:35)
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.
Do you do you actually sell tires yourself the series or is it all through distributors? (10:00)
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.
All of the shutdown times, you know, the supply chain. Have you been with American Racer like before that or, you know, one thing I remember is that so many of the tires were in such short supply, you know, American Racer has had made tires, you know, they planned for what their normal stuff was. And all of a sudden, they were seeing a very much increased demand. But were you already like involved with American Racer back then? Or was it kind of sparked by those supply chain? I'm just curious. (10:51)
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.
Now you're promoting Beckley too, right? (12:24)
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.
I have a lot of friends up in the Beckley area. And some of those guys that haven't raced down here, they always like, you know, they complained about Beckley and I'm like, have y'all seen our racetrack? Why don't you come and race down here a little bit? I would drive up there. I love it. I'm going up north. (13:04)
You got some great track promoters down in your area, but but the racing from what I've seen is definitely, you know, we got blessed at Cherokee and had a race there last year. So it was a really phenomenal race because Cheeseburger blew a tire and went to the tail and got on the top side and, and came back to win it, but from, from what I understand, you know, some of the some of the races in the south like that, you don't get that lucky.
Scott says, "The new bill introduced Wednesday would require cars and trucks of the 2027 model year or later that are built or sold in California to include speed governors that would prohibit motorists from driving more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limits."(14:32)
That right there is a violation of our Second Amendment rights. Isn't it? No, but maybe we need to have I don't know how many amendments? Because like, you know, some of us have a need for speed you know what we do have? We have the, it's in the Declaration of Independence. We have the right to for for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Pursuit would already lead you to believe that we have the ability. That's being creative here.
Chris Cheek is here. His car, of course, was in the in the CARS Racing Show in the Benji Hicks booth. And he says " Looking forward to getting back in the driver's seat. Plan on making some of your series races this year. Thanks for what you do for the racers" (15:58)
Thank you, Chris. We look forward to having you with us. Speaking of the CARS 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.
A real underrated part of the show is the business to business that gets done there. (17:14)
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.
I don't know if you know we were a little bit of inspiration here. I think we kind of were but tell us about what you've got coming up here. (17:41)
Yeah, 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.
Are you gearing this to more of a racer industry type show or you going to include the fans and stuff too? (19:57)
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.
Richard is saying "looking forward to visiting Beckley for the first time". (22:54)
Yeah, we're excited. That's actually something new. We just announced just a few couple hours before we came on the show tonight. We are teaming up with DirtRich TV. And that's owned by Richard Green there. This year. He's going to take our streaming for 2024 Very late model centered platform, and He's based in East Tennessee, and he's also an affiliate of Speed Sports. So we're excited about that. And it's good to have him him hanging out with us here tonight.
You guys are paying a lot of money for the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial this year, correct? (25:14)
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.
I'm sure you're gonna get a ton of cars for that. Now, after that, $15,000 like the are you going to automatically like, tear the winner down? (26:09)
That's something else we do different Jimmy. 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.
I see I love the whole West Virginia thing like that mean, like Beckley is great, Princeton was it was a really great racetrack only went there a couple of times, but went to West Virginia Motor Speedway. And when was big the first time for the dirt track World Championship. We had a great race up there. So we it was only a one day show. But we got to show up like the last day. And so here they've been camping. And so when I guess we came in, and we came in the pit area never been there before, we must have went through 50,000 people camping, I don't I don't know, it was a lot of people. And then it was like, wow, there's a lot of people here, and probably more than the population of the state of West Virginia, they were at the racetrack. And but they supported their racing. And that, you know, now that place was fun. (32:10)
We didn't ever get to go there. We're on a schedule a couple of times, but unfortunately, just didn't work out to get to there. We are supposed to go to Pittsburgh this year with Barry and he had just announced that they're gonna run the big track. So that's gonna be an interesting trip. And and, you know, one that I'm excited for the series to go to just because of the the legacy of the track.
Were you a racer at one point, or how did you end up being a series promoter? (33:31)
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.
We need more people that love the sport. (35:44)
So I definitely think that's, that's, that's why I do what I do. You know, we're not getting rich doing this by any means I teach full time. That's my day job. My wife and I both we teach in the same school, but it works well with racing.
Now we're getting somewhere! So what do you teach? (36:03)
I do Elementary Special education. And my wife teaches fifth grade. So she's in the door room right next to me. And we we share some kids and I work with fourth and fifth graders both and do math and reading with the elementary special education students. We definitely love it. I love my kids. And but then, you know, on my lunch breaks and things I've been working on racing most days. So that's how I spend my lunch. Instead of eating lunch. I'm working on some food for the series. But, but I definitely do love teaching. That's like I said, that's, that's where I make my money racing is, I'd love to say we're getting rich off this, but but if I did, I'd be lying. So we pay out most of what comes in back to our racers. And it's just the passion and the love of running up and down the road that that, that we do this. Like I said, without her support. I couldn't do it because she she's not ever missed one of our series races, she's she's always there working the trailer and, and doing the things we need. She, I always say she takes care of the behind the scenes stuff. And I'm, I'm just the one out shaking hands and kissing babies. So that's kind of how we work with.
I'm just saying mad respect, you know, to, to I had no idea. I thought this is what you did, you know, full time and and on top of that. It's not like I mean, you. I mean, school is a rigid schedule. It's not like you're self employed to where you're just gonna take off a week or a few days or anything like that sort of work all that together and organize all that and do what you're doing in a, in a tour type situation, not even a weekly, you know, racetrack I mean, that's impressive. (37:36)
All of our days that we get off, we basically use for racing, it works out well, that pretty much everything that we do, we can take just Friday's off when we need them. We don't ever have free days to take out for what we want. But then of course the summer, you know, the summer months, we're out of school anyways. So that works out very, very well. But, you know, these trade show season stuff, you know, it's easy to take a Friday off here and there's as needed and then once we get into spring races as well. So it's definitely a good job. And I've learned more and more as I the more I'm involved in racing, there's a lot of people that are in education and teaching the that also work in racing and I guess it just works out with the schedule pretty well for most.
It's a brilliant schedule the fact that this you have the summers off as teachers and that's when we race and then you've got things like if you can plan around spring break and winter break and Thanksgiving break and there's I mean there are breaks that are built in there that are like oh wow, okay, this is really making sense to me right now. (38:52)
You'll see our you know, you'll always see our season kickoff during our spring break schedule. I always schedule our first week of racing for spring break.
Steve Gallagher says "what tire will you run next year?" Yeah, so we can do a recap. I mean, you know, we kind of kicked things off talking about tires. But you know, just do a quick recap of what tires you're going to offer next year. (41:10)
It's hard to believe, you know, we're here. The left front is is open - as long as it's late model tire can't bring it you know, straight tire and run normally for as long as as late model tire. That's legal on the left front, the right front and the left rear are Pro 2's only. And then the right rear is the Pro 2 or an option of the Pro 4 which like I said, I don't think that's a tire that that you're going to need often if we were doing a day race at Cherokee. Yeah, you probably need a 10. But it's gonna be around a whole a whole lot this season. We do allow grooving inside. We have since the beginning. So we run rib tires to start with and we just, you know, tell them to re I feel like that that's the cheapest route for the for the racer. It's it. I know, it's time consuming, but also, you know, let them run tires longer.
Being on the road all the time, just name even one funny experience you've had (42:37)
In most of our experiences, or you know, so we got the young guy that I was telling you about, he works for us, we just like to goof off and have a good time. So one time we were sitting in a parking lot, and Kentucky between Isom Kentucky and Willard Kentucky which is the middle of nowhere. And this lady just like flies backing out of the, you know, does like a 180. And so we've made that into a huge story. So it's a lot of times the things that we see this past year, we're going to Ponderosa and wheel bearing went one out on a trailer and that was that was an experience. Thankfully, we were close enough to the track there were people stopping from all over Hey, you go into Ponderosa tonight, you know, to help us and so we got it fixed. We got jacked up enough to get to the track and then somebody knew somebody that came and fixed it while we were racing. So we have a lot of fun experiences just crazy stuff happening - we had a flat tire that same trip when we're at Isom, we had a flat tire go on and a racer that had run with us just two or three times saw us broke down, you know, saw us on the side of the road and stopped and helped us get to Walmart and did everything he could to help us so you know, it just it's it's a lot of you know, fun and crazy stuff that happens on the road. We definitely love it.
I'm a history person too. I have a degree in history on top of my teaching degree. And so I definitely like the the fact that we get to experience so many different places. You know, that's that's one thing that's really cool. Going to Buckshot that's that's an experience because that's that's the furthest away we we've been from our home base to go to a race it's about about nine hours and you lose an hour coming back. So it's it's definitely a haul but just the the I've never been to Alabama before. So you know getting that experience of going somewhere new and I really enjoy the things like that. So it's it's a lot of fun. You know, a lot of nights have very little sleep. We enjoy getting Airbnbs we stayed in an old Texaco station once so and while we were there, I found a die cast like they had stuff for sale sitting out, and I found a Dwayna Hommel diecast Oh, wow, I was like, hey, what do you want for this? You know, and so I ended up with that. And we just tried it on one of our series hats for it. So we've had some cool experiences with that. met some great people, like I said, Shane Mills at Pro Built - He gives us a place to stay when we're down in that area, not only for not knowing, but you know, racing as well. So it's the experience that I think that that's a lot of, of what makes this this thing, so great, met a lot of great people. Not everybody is going to support you and like what you do, that's fine. But there's a lot of good ones too, that do support us. So it's it's been awesome. The experience of doing this for five years and heading into our sixth year. And just even with mentioning, you know, trade shows the CARS Show was the first one we had done on our own. So that year of COVID that we participated in, and we had no idea what we're doing, you know, when we showed up with with a tablecloth and a few legs, now we've got a nice backdrop and schedule. And you know, so the learning experiences along the way, the PRI I went through the first year, and in 2018, 2019, which are first season. And that was the first time I'd ever experienced that, which was just, you know, you go there in the first time and it just kind of blows your mind. So but but now I love doing things like these trade shows and participating in them, I really enjoy that and all the people that we meet along the way and get to shake hands with and you know, we have a lot of great partners too, that support the series and PPM actually announced that our banquet that we had a few weeks back that they would they would be with us as our presenting sponsor, as long as we want to do this. That definitely helps build into the future, you know, you can look down the road at what you're doing as well and not just worry about every year having to worry about you know, we're gonna get everything together because like I said, we're definitely not rich people by any means. So everything we do, we do off of sponsorship that comes in. And that's what that's what helps keep us on the road. And we paid out nearly $40,000 in points money this year. So that's, that's that's how we do what we do. And I definitely love it and love all the people that we've got to meet along the way.
How many tour races are planned for 2024? (47:30)
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.
Do you have quite a few racers that follow your entire tour? (48:28)
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.
So because you're a teacher where'd you go to school? (55:10)
I actually I went to a local school, Concord University. And I ended up getting into special education because my first year teaching that was basically what was open. So then I had to start a master's in special education. I had a history degree in the K-6th degree. So then I had to start my master's in special education, and I ended up loving it and stuck with it. And that's, that's how I got to where I am with with working in special education.
Well and you can go ahead and plug all your sponsors. (58:31)
I'll try to list them all. 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.