The Crate Series launched in 2014! The Fast Unified Engine Late Model (FUEL) Racing Series is being started in North Carolina. Series Director, Jason Atkins, took the time to tell us a bit more.
CI: For those who may not be familiar, what are the basics of your series? (Car type, surface, engine, region)
JA: The FUEL Racing Series is a touring dirt late model series powered by Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engines. The series is slated to run 15 events in the southeastern United States within a 3.5 hour driving radius of its Charlotte, NC headquarters.
CI: Tell us how you came to found the FUEL series.
JA: The FUEL Racing Series was created to help universalize dirt late model racing in the southeastern United States. Powered by engines that are stronger than the traditional crate engine and much more affordable than custom built super late model engines, the FUEL Racing Series (C525 Engines) simultaneously allows the following: a current crate late model racer to affordably move into a faster division, a limited late model racer an economical alternative to their rising engine costs, and a super late model racer to race competitively without the burden of escalating engine and travel costs.
CI: How do your rules align with other similar series?
JA: The FUEL Racing Series utilizes the affordable CT525 engine. While the power of this engine rivals that of a limited late model, the cost is much more affordable. Tire, Body, Shock, and Fuel rules remain very similar to those of other sanctioning bodies (WoO, Lucas Oil, NDRL, etc.)
CI: What has been the biggest challenge?
JA: The biggest challenge has been simultaneously attempting to get both racers and race tracks to adopt a concept that is new to our area. Many of us are reluctant to change, even if the change represents potential growth and longevity. Though the adoption of the FUEL Racing Series concept has been very promising to this point, it still remains a "work in progress" at this point.
CI: What is the one thing that people misunderstand the most about your role as the Series Director?
JA: The most misunderstood aspect of my role as a Series Director is the necessity of developing and executing a program that fits everyone's (racer, race track, and fan) agenda. Structuring and executing a plan that meets the needs of everyone involved is easier said than done. Managing a racing series is a business and it is imperative that we take care of our race teams. However, it is equally important that our purses are affordable for our partnering tracks and that the product we bring to these tracks is exciting for the race fans that patronize these facilities.
CI: What is your view/opinion of the future of Crate Racing?
JA: Crate Racing has been a wonderful addition to our sport. Racers will always continue to look for an edge, but controlling the costs of engines has been a huge step in the direction of longevity. I am firm believer that crate racing, because of these things, will be here for many years to come. It provides an exciting yet cost efficient (for tracks and racers) way for dirt late model racing to survive and in some aspects prosper.
JA: I am excited about seeing how our sport reacts to two big changes. I am excited by the new FUEL Racing Series and its potential to combine affordability and excitement into one dirt late model series. I am also excited to see how the racers react to the recent efforts to universalize tire compounds. Here in the southeast, many of our teams will be able to take one tire rule (two tire compounds) and race with several different tracks and series. That is a huge win for the industry!
To see more information about the FUEL Racing Series, you can check out their website at http://fuelracingseries.com. To reach Jason Atkins, you can call him at 336-648-5757.