It’s no secret Sunday evening’s meeting of late model drivers and owners will be one of the most important in track history, but don’t look for any earth-shattering news to come from it that night or even in the next few days.
Management wants to hear what the drivers and owners think about affiliations, specifically IMCA and UMP. A decision will likely be made sometime between the end of the meeting and before the Jan. 22 track banquet.
The decision that will be made will ultimately be decided as much by what other tracks decide to do as what is voiced by drivers and owners Sunday night. The ultimate decision of whether to remain IMCA or switch to UMP will be what management feels is the best overall position for the long-range future of the track.
Things like the 8000 rpm chip and size of tires aside, here are some of the key elements that will help dictate that ultimate decision:
— Lee County Speedway, an IMCA track, looks to be cuting back to two or three late model shows next season. The late models are an expensive class because of the purses that must be paid. Attendance was down in 2010 at Lee County, and coupled with a higher-than-average number of rainouts (and lost gate receipts) some tough decisions have to be made.
— West Burlington, an IMCA track, is planning on running the same scaled-back number of late model nights as 2009. There have been all sorts of wild rumors about West Burlington dropping its IMCA affiliation, but none are true, at last at this point in time.
— Shepp’s Speedway, a UMP track its first two years of existence, near Alexander, Ill., is contemplating a number of things. Switching from Sunday to Saturday nights, switching to UMP crates and/or not running UMP late models every week are some of the possibilities being kicked around. Shepp’s also suffered attendance problems.
So what would be best for Quincy (and its drivers)? There is no clear-cut answer at this point. Management wants to hear what track drivers have to say and will factor that in with what unfolds at some of the other tracks in the region, which have to finalize their own lineups and affiliations in the next few weeks.
If you’re a Quincy late model fan, you’re going to have to be patient. We’ll have an answer soon whether Bullring late models will be IMCA or UMP in 2011, but don’t expect that answer Sunday night.