(CBS Local)- One week of SRX racing is in the books and it was the local hero, Doug Coby, who came out on top at Stafford Speedway. Now, for week two, the series heads to Iowa and Knoxville Raceway where the drivers will get their first taste of how these cars handle on the dirt.
For veteran motorsports announcer Allen Bestwick, who’s handling play-by-play duties for the series on CBS, the opening week was basically all you could ask for from an entertainment and broadcast perspective.”
“If you think about starting something new, for everything that could have gone wrong, the night went really well. They tested the cars but that was the first time they raced the cars,” Bestwick said. “You have this concept but is that concept going to turn into reality? And the answer is, it went almost as good as you could have asked it too. The idea to include the local drivers was brilliant. The choice of the local driver to bring in was brilliant. The choice of location for the first race was brilliant. So everything came down just about as good as it could have for opening night and now you have a chance to step back, adjust a few things for it to continue to be better and better as it goes on.”
The next stop in the series is an opportunity to test the drivers once again. Just as they may have gotten used how the car drives and handles on asphalt, it’s time to switch over to the dirt. Once again, local heroes will get their shot against the veterans, Brian Brown, Scott Bloomquist and Hailie Deegan hop behind the wheel this week. Bestwick notes that this kind of transition is one of the best parts of how the SRX schedule was set up, forcing drivers to adapt each week.
“The fun thing about it is, anything you might have learned in Week 1 is useless in Week 2 because you’re completely changing the style of racing you’re doing,” Bestwick said. “Now, the cars are changed up to go from an asphalt race to a dirt race, you’re sliding it around the corners, you’re working the throttle, you’re trying to manage the tire spin off the turns. That’s one of the fun parts about it. Last week doesn’t matter and it’s a totally new learning experience for the drivers and we get to ride along as they figure it out on the fly.”
That’s not to say that none of the drivers have experience in the dirt. Bestwick points to Tony Stewart’s experience at dirt tracks as a reason to have him in mind as one of the favorites this week.
“You put Tony Stewart in as kind of a ‘favorite’ for this week because he has a lot of experience racing on dirt. What he doesn’t have is experience racing this car on dirt, which nobody has,” Bestwick said.
Then of course, there’s Brown, who is the reigning 410 sprint car champion at Knoxville having won in 2019 and 2020. But, as with Stewart, he doesn’t have experience driving this particular car.
Bestwick also lists Bobby Labonte as a driver to watch entering the weekend
“Guys like Bobby Labonte have more experience on dirt than you might think. Bobby owns a company that builds dirt late-model chassis along with his brother Terry,” Bestwick said. “So they have more experience at it than you might think. I think it will be a pretty good fight up front.”
There will be some changes to the race format this week as well. SRX announced on Wednesday that the two 15 minute heats will be reduced to 12 minutes while the full race will be dropped from 100 laps to 50. Co-founder Ray Evernham said the changes were made based on some of the feedback that the series received from fans after the race at Stafford.
“The Camping World SRX Series was created for the fans, and our quest to deliver exciting races with engaging personalities will never end. We want Knoxville to be better than Stafford, and when we go to Eldora in two weeks, we want that event to be better than Knoxville. We heard from our fans after Stafford and we’ll continue to listen to make the Camping World SRX Series the best it can be,” Evernham said in a statement.
Race number two of the Camping World SRX racing series is set for Saturday, June 19 with coverage on CBS Television Network and streaming on Paramount+ at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.