Drivers from three divisions at Silver State Raceway met with track officials Saturday at the Ormsby House to discuss the 2000 racing season. The meeting was attended by more than 100 drivers, owners and crew.
The biggest news came from Robert Kline, director of competition, who announced that for the first time in the history of Legends racing at the track, they will be paid a purse each week and will compete for a points fund to be awarded at the end of the season. In addition, a $2,500 points fund has been added to the limited sportsman division.
"I went round and round with Larry Burton on this matter guys and after hours of chewing back and forth, he agreed to pay a purse to you Legends drivers, as well as a points fund," said Kline.
"You have no idea what I've gone through to get this."
As an incentive to race in Carson City, the Legends drivers competing for the points fund must race at least 20 of the 28 scheduled races at the track to be eligible for the points money.
"We're not trying to undermine the efforts of the Nevada Legends Association," said Kline. "I've gone to bat for you. What I've gotten from Larry is in your best interest. Our schedule leaves you open to race for money at Fernley."
One rule change suggested, voted on and agreed to by Kline and Price was in the Maverick division. It would allow a car to be automatic or stick shift, making it the driver's option which car to run. The four classes racing include Legends, Mavericks, the addition of Street Stock, and the Limited Sportsman. It has not been determined if the Crazy 8 division will return.
Kline and Price are working towards getting the Maverick division back to a Street Stock class, which will be cheaper for drivers to run. It will not be done in one season, changes will be gradual. Also, a "Paint to Pass" class will be added, similar to one called "Black and Blue" that raced more than 10 years ago. The object is to "pass paint" before you can pass a car. Kline did point out that this does not mean to force the driver off the track, but to simply bump before going on.
"We're adding this for the fans," said Kline. "We're also thinking of them as well as our drivers. We want the shows to be good for them. And we will have driver autograph sessions in the grandstands. We want this to be a fan-friendly place also."
The Junior Fan of the Week program will continue with one addition -- the selected youth also gets to be the guest starter of the race.
To help cover increased costs of operations, pit passes for Silver State Raceway license holders will increase to $25, and $30 for non-members. Maverick division drivers will stay at $20.
Official track personnel will be increased also. To possibly avoid controversy in scoring, there will be three scorers in the tower. Most of the 1999 season was scored with one scorer. In case of any disputes not immediately resolved, all payoffs will be held one week until further review and a decision is made.
Kline also announced a new track tire will be used. It is a McCreary tire, which is said to be a better tire than Goodyear (last year's official tire), in that it holds up longer, is more consistent on wear and is cheaper.
McCreary Tires (Placerville, Calif.) was recently purchased by McCoy's in Stockton (Calif.), making tire availability much easier. It could take up to a week to obtain tires from the Goodyear distributor in Ohio.
"We still hope to grow and continue learning this year," said Kline. "We want to keep the line of communications open with everyone. We have an open door policy. We know things can get a little heated at times, but all matters will be discussed."
Kline said all efforts and changes made by himself and technical inspector Tom Price, are being done to improve racing at the track. Past officiating and relationships between racers and Burton have not been great. Kline is hoping that with increased car counts, special racing events that are scheduled for the season and better relations on and off the track, the image of Silver State Raceway will improve.
"We're all professionals," said Kline. "I don't downgrade anybody. We are doing our best to work with the racers to make it better for everybody. We will always be asking for your feedback. We need feedback to help make this work for everyone involved."
Silver State Raceway kicks off its season with the Desert Rose 100 on March 25-26. It is an open competition. Qualifying races are at 7 p.m. Saturday, the 100-lap main event is at 1 p.m. Sunday.