September 17, 2010 in Sports

Racing program will supply boost to drivers

Doug Pace
 
Racing roundup

Spokane County Raceway

Today and Saturday

Street Legal Drag Racing Series, National Dragster Challenge Race, 7 p.m.

spokanecountyraceway.com

Stateline Speedway

Saturday

Northwest Modified Series championship, Street Stocks, 6 p.m.

raceidaho.com

Extreme Motocross

Supercross Round 7, 10 a.m.

www.extmotorsports.com

Northport Raceway

Sunday

Les Weaver Memorial Race, noon

northportraceway.net

A Southern California marketing company and Post Falls-based Competitive Edge Racing School are teaming up to provide a racing series in 2011 that rewards the overall winner with a ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the runners-up chances to compete on the ARCA Re/Max Series.

A group of 15 participants will compete in a 14-race schedule similar to what Competitive Edge offers each summer for aspiring drivers and those looking to hone their skills. Next summer’s overall winner receives an opportunity to race for Billy Ballew Motorsports, which this season is fielding trucks driven by Aric Almirola, who took over for Kyle Busch. Ballew’s opportunity will be provided at Martinsville Speedway while the series runner-up will compete for Andy Belmont Racing at an ARCA event in Pocono, Pa.

Put together by Progression Racing, the program will also give prospective drivers the opportunity to learn marketing skills, fitness techniques, sponsorship coaching and driver profile creation that will be situated on the Internet for wider exposure.

“We are thrilled to announce this one-of-a-kind racing opportunity,” said Russell Cude, president of Progression Racing. “This program is a collaboration among the best in the business and we are excited to award budget-minded racers a chance to showcase their talents at the next level. Every driver will receive unprecedented career coaching and opportunities that do no exist in motor racing today.”

Competitive Edge’s Randy Koch envisions a program that is similar to a combine or open tryout in stick and ball sports.

“Thousands of racers spend countless hours in the garage, shop or barn across this country working on their race cars,” Koch said. “They hold on to nothing but a dream that they will hopefully be seen by someone that will give them that one chance to make it in NASCAR. Next summer someone is going to get that chance.”

In most cases, a baseball player who goes undrafted goes across the country looking for opportunities to try out or catch on with a minor league. Racing offers little chance for a driver to take that same approach, Koch said.

“Racing does not offer a Pop Warner or Little League program, nor is their racing in the high schools or colleges and certainly no draft for talent,” he said. “Our program is similar to a combine, but instead of just one chance to make an impression, the competitors will get six weekends of racing head to head with other drivers. The opportunities for all of these drivers are tremendous, even if they are not one of the winners. Each one has the chance to learn from marketing professionals that may give them what they need to find the funding to make it to the next level on their own.”

Using the stock cars in Competitive Edge’s fleet gives drivers an even equation on the race track. Each car is prepared the same and built with similar designs, motor programs and set-ups, making the driver’s talent the most important factor, Koch said.

“In our current arrive and drive racing program, which has been going on for 10 years, we are teaching, coaching and mentoring the drivers on short tracks, which promotes close door-handle-to-door-handle racing,” he said. “This fact excited all of the partners in this program. With all of our cars built to be equal, it gives the driver who wins this series the chance to truly be the best”

Having a Southern California company choose Competitive Edge for their program is an honor Koch does not take lightly.

“Although there are certainly other ways for Progression to evaluate potential drivers, their decision to choose Competitive Edge was due to the fact that we already had been conducting this series for nearly a decade,” he said. “We had the equipment and the program in place to do provide what they sought.”

Drivers interested in learning more about the Progression Racing combine can go to: www.raceastockcar.com or www.progressionracing.com.

To reach motorsports correspondent Doug Pace, e-mail him at racingnewssource@gmail.com

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