With many competitors anxiously awaiting the schedule for the 2012 WKA Speedway Pavement Series, WKA officials, along with several track promoters and owners, are pleased to announce a major change to the structure for the upcoming season.
With challenging economies for competitors preventing them from traveling as much as in the past, combined with declining kart counts on the local level, World Karting is looking to find its way back to grassroots racing, starting with the Pavement program.
Instead of running a four-race national program in 2012, national competitors will be required to travel but only one time this season, that being for the August 10-12 Grand National Championship event at Chapel Hill Raceway in Humphrey, New York.
The path competitors will have to travel to get to the Grand National at Chapel Hill prior to the August date will be denoted with local signs, meaning, competitors will have the opportunity to choose from one of many tracks that have signed on to be a part of the 2012 divisional program, and for many, may be very close to their own backyard.
Tracks that have signed on to the new program include the following:
Competitors can run at their track of choice, thus participating in the track's 2012 divisional program. One of those races at each track will be designated as a Super Regional, offering double points on that day, with the winners gaining guaranteed starting spots for the August Grand National event. If winners of these guaranteed starting spots choose to race at Chapel Hill for the Grand National event, they need to declare themselves a full WKA member instead of a temporary. Otherwise, the next driver in the Super Regional finishing order is eligible, provided he/she fulfills the membership requirements. Additionally, while guaranteed starters are locked into the field, they MUST take a qualifying lap. However, as part of a bonus for winning the Super Regional, guaranteed starters will start no lower than 10th in their respective fields.
While there will be an additional charge by the track on the day of the Super Regional, the additional cost will go toward a very attractive awards package for the top-five finishers at the Grand National, with the winner of each class offered being deemed 2012 National Champion.
The response by the tracks has been most receptive and positive as this program also opens the door back up for the Flatheads/Raptor Motor Program. With many tracks still very flush with Flatheads, WKA will break the Grand National Championship into 2 days, one for Animals, one for Flatheads.
Clones will also be part of the weekend's festivities. At present, work continues in an effort to provide three classes that would include a mix of Animals, Flatheads, and Clones. Those projected classes are Junior and Senior Champ, as well as a Stock Mix class.
As for tires, the Grand National event will utilize the tire of choice of any Super Regional, thus allowing competitors to use his/her tire of choice, but limiting tires to be used to only those that were run at each respective facility's Super Regional event.
For the Grand National weekend, there will also be a scheduled Champ Heavy Money Race, very similar to the successful ones run at Riverhead Raceway with sponsored laps and merchandise adding to what should already be a blockbuster weekend of racing.
While many may be sad to see the regular series be somewhat limited to a one-race shootout, the theory behind the new program is very cost saving to the competitor, eliminating three trips, while also building back up a divisional program at the grassroots level of racing in the Pavement Series. The participation by the tracks announced more than quadruples the amount of participating divisional tracks in 2011, heading the program in an already positive direction.