---- — PLATTSBURGH — The gates at Airborne Park Speedway will swing open May 3 and stock car racing fans can expect a mixture of change and familiarity all at once.
The Renegade and Limited Late Model divisions have been unified for the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season, promising exciting racing and interesting storylines throughout the season.
While both divisions have longevity, indications showed that the more sophisticated and expensive Limited Late Models would see less participation in 2014 and could not be sustained on a weekly basis.
“There were two choices: Have the Limited Late Models race with another division or get rid of them completely,” Airborne owner Jamie Atkins said. “We didn’t want to have a division with only eight cars, but we also didn’t want to leave our teams with nowhere to race. We initially looked at running the Limiteds with the ACT-type Late Models at Airborne this year, but that would not have worked.”
Instead, the new integrated Renegade division will stay true to the theme of affordable racecars and homegrown heroes behind the wheel. Limited Late Model cars will see minor, inexpensive changes to tires, suspension and weight that will create parity with the Renegades.
A successful year-long test was completed at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2013, including Tiger Sportsman cars from other tracks.
Airborne Competition Director and Devil’s Bowl owner Mike Bruno is confident in the move. Devil’s Bowl victories were split 6-3 in favor of the Renegades with drivers Richie Turner and Robert Gordon winning at both tracks. Turner won the Devil’s Bowl championship, while Limited/Tiger drivers Jamy Begor, Brad Bushey and Stephen Donahue also saw success at Devil’s Bowl.
“The Renegades, Limiteds and Tigers all use the same chassis, engines and other parts,” Bruno said. “The combination works well at Devil’s Bowl and the fans really get into seeing the different cars race against each other. We know that there will be several tweaks needed specifically for Airborne, and we’re going to take the time to get the testing done correctly. It has to be fair for everyone or it won’t work.”
Airborne Park Speedway’s 61st season opens May 3, followed by Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 48th season opener, the American-Canadian Tour Spring Green, May 4.
Airborne Park Speedway is located on Broderick Road, one mile from Exit 36 on Interstate 87. For more information, call 647-4444 or visit www.airborneparkspeedway.com.