This is an admittedly arcane story whose purpose it to show how deeply economic forces can affect big-time automobile racing, even at the top levels. Just before last weekend’s World 100 for dirt Late Models at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Hoosier Racing Tire announced that it will be providing a single series of spec tires to all sanctioning bodies that present dirt Late Model racing in North America. The deal required agreement between the sport’s two main promotional rivals, the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model circuit and the World of Outlaws, both of which were well-represented at the big Eldora blowout won by Jonathan Davenport.
The National Late Model Tire, as it will be known, will consist of three rubber compounds for 90-inch-circumference tires and another three for 92-inch components. A simplified compound-identifying series of lettering will also be adopted. Why’s this important? Because with pro-level racing still coping with lingering COVID-related supply shortage, anything that streamlines the availability of tires will be hugely beneficial, rather than forcing traveling teams to haul across the country with big supplies of multi-sized tires from multiple suppliers in their ranks. Full disclosure: I recently produced a story on Hoosier and its streamlining plans for Performance Racing Industry magazine, which looked in part at the fact that Hoosier is now owned by the European rubber giant Continental, which has enhanced its capability to make major product moves like this one.