by Bobby Kimbrough on February 24, 2011
Taking a note from NASCAR, who decided to have their drivers declare which series they would compete for a championship, IMCA Racing has banned Modified drivers from racing in the Southern SportMod series. Previously, Modified drivers were able to race in the Southern SportMod series and “Cherry-pick” the higher paying SportMod events. IMCA’s latest rule would prevent drivers from a different series taking prize money away from the regulars in the SportMod series.
While it may appear that IMCA Racing followed NASCAR’s lead, and went them one better, IMCA Racing actually planned and announced a rule change over a year ago. Drivers were told last January that they would not be able to compete in both divisions. This gave the racers a chance to evaluate which division they wanted to participate in, and get their racing program ready for the season. For more information on this rule, see IMCA’s press release below.
IMCA Official Press Release:
No Modified Drivers Allowed In Southern SportMods This Season
VINTON, Iowa – Modified drivers won’t be allowed to compete in the Smiley’s Racing Chassis Southern SportMod division this season, regardless of whether they compete in IMCA sanctioned or non-sanctioned events.
“Our main objective is that the drivers who benefit from higher paying special events for SportMods are the drivers who have supported the division during the season,” explained IMCA Vice President of Operations Brett Root. “It’s not fair to them that a Modified driver can borrow a SportMod, race and go home with $2,000.”
IMCA announced last January that the 2010 season would be the last in which drivers could compete in both the Modified and Southern SportMod divisions. The Modified-Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod combination has never been allowed.
Modified-Late Model, Modified-Stock Car and SportMod-Stock Car or Hobby Stock license combination will be permitted again in 2011. Mach-1 Sport Compact drivers may not compete in any other division.
“We can keep track of drivers racing at sanctioned events using race reports submitted to the home office. We will have to use other means to know who’s racing non-sanctioned Modifieds,” Root said. “Our position is that if a driver is racing a Modified, licensed or not, we will not issue them a license to compete in a sanctioned SportMod event.”
Root, Competition Director Tom Gutowski and ButlerBuilt South Central Region Director Davey Plato will attend a number of Southern SportMod specials during the season to ensure Modified regulars are not interloping for bigger potential paydays.
Among the specials getting more attention will be the Southern SportMod Nationals, during the Labor Day Weekend at Boyd Raceway.
“We will try to be as objective as we can. We realize that for whatever reason, there will be a number of drivers going from a Modified to a SportMod,” Root said. “We’ll do our best to keep track of who is racing what and where and address guidelines as the season progresses.”