Flat Rock Speedway Last in Michigan to Run OSLM Weekly.
Flat Rock, MI (Wednesday, February 8, 2023) - Of all of the different classes of cars that compete throughout the state of Michigan, the Outlaw Super Late Models have arguably gone through the most ups and downs over the years. The Outlaws have had large and competitive fields from top to bottom, from the 1990s well into the 21st century. In recent years, those numbers have dwindled, forcing some promoters to take a second look at the Outlaws, and ponder whether the class can support weekly house shows.
Toledo Speedway dropped the Outlaws from their weekly program many years ago and Springport Mid-Michigan Speedway dropped the Outlaws from their shows a couple of years ago as well. With the 2023 track schedules being released, two more of Michigan’s pavement tracks have dropped the Outlaws from their weekly programs. Kalamazoo Speedway and Corrigan Oil Speedway will no longer run the Outlaws on a regular basis, instead scheduling special, increased-pay events. Berlin Raceway has also dropped the Outlaws from any specials in 2023. Kalamazoo with feature four Outlaw specials, and Corrigan Oil will feature one, as of this date.
Where does this leave the Outlaws? Only one race track in the state will feature the Outlaws as part of their weekly divisions in 2023 – Flat Rock Speedway. Flat Rock has had Late Model as a part of their weekly program since 1953, and even as the class has evolved over the years, their place at Flat Rock has not. Flat Rock and Toledo Speedway General Manager, Scott Schultz talked about the deep history between the Speedway and the Outlaws.
“We have three premier divisions, Outlaw Super Late Models, Figure-8s, and Street Stocks,” explained Schultz. “Since 1977, these have been our three premier divisions. We are committed to it.
As other tracks across the state continue to make the Outlaw Late Model a “specials only” division, Schultz explained that his fans want the Outlaws at Flat Rock Speedway, and that’s what they’re going to get.
“[The Outlaws are] a very very important part of our show, needless to say,” Schultz said. “That’s why we still scheduled 10 races for them.”
Schultz says the expectation for the division, and for short track racing as a whole, has had to change over the years. He says the days of seeing endless Heat Races, multiple Last Chance Qualifiers, and huge starting fields are likely behind us.
“At Flat Rock, being a quarter-mile, we want full fields, but we’re realistic too,” Schultz elaborated. “The days of having 20-car full fields is getting tough. We understand that the landscape of Outlaw Super Late Model racing is changing quickly,” he said. “We still believe in the product, we believe in our race teams, and it’s a good product at Flat Rock Speedway.”
The ¼ mile bullring has also maintained a couple of its premier events for many years for the Outlaws, the Joy Fair Memorial 100 and the Stan Yee Memorial 150. From Joy Fair’s 10 championships, to Brian Bergakker’s dominant performances in those events in recent years, the Outlaws will continue to be a staple at Flat Rock.
Options are available for teams looking to run a “specials only” schedule in 2023. The Reveal The Hammer Outlaw Super Late Model Series will contest events at Birch Run Speedway, Owosso Speedway, and Corrigan Oil Speedway in 2023. Kalamazoo Speedway will stage four specials for the Outlaws in 2023, with a total of $30,000 up for grabs. If you are looking south of the border, New Paris Speedway will stage their 22nd Annual Summer Sizzler on August 4th. Toledo Speedway currently has one date on their schedule for 2023 for the Outlaws listed as TBD, as part of the ARCA Menards Series Championship on October 7. South Bend Motor Speedway will continue with the Outlaws as part of their weekly schedule in Indiana.
Are these changes permanent? We’ll have to wait and see. One thing that is for certain, if you are a fan of Outlaw Super Late Model racing and wish to see them as part of weekly racing, Flat Rock Speedway is your only option in the State of Michigan. Flat Rock Speedway is set to open the gates for the first time in 2023 on Saturday, May 6th.
Story - Rich Frantz, support Zach Hiser
Photo - Rand Thompson