Motor Mile Speedway launching no-holds-barred support division in 2017 - JW Martin
Caleb Holman is excited about his first-career start as an owner at Motor Mile Speedway.
The 33-year-old driver from Abingdon, Va., is returning in a new role, with a new team, to compete in a new class this season. Holman will be fielding an entry in the Super Street division--- Motor Mile Speedway’s first-ever “outlaw” class.
“[The Super Street division] is the most original -yet simple- idea that has come along in years,” says Holman.
Motor Mile Speedway’s new class is the result of an off-season overhaul of the Street Stock division. The rules package has been modified to afford teams unprecedented freedom of engineering, transforming the Super Street division into the least-regulated of the track’s four points-paying classes. Minimal technical restrictions will govern the cars participating in the Super Street division; a spec shock and tire package are the only major requirements. The division is not NASCAR-sanctioned.
The restructuring encourages an unfettered first-or-worst approach to preparation. Ultimately, the division is a testament to American motorsports heritage: Any race car constructed in the spirit of a modern, American-made passenger vehicle is permitted…replete with the best ribcage-rattling engine imaginable. Bring it on.
The Street Stock contingent has been receptive to the changes. And outsiders like Holman have embraced the Super Street concept.
A journeyman racer, Holman’s extensive driving resume includes stints in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and, more recently, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Holman has made a plethora of sporadic starts at Motor Mile Speedway in numerous divisions dating back to 2000, a time period that coincides with a 10-year run in the now-defunct X-1R Pro Cup Series with Henderson Motorsports. To date, winning the series title in 2014 has been the capstone of Holman’s career.
One year after capturing the Pro Cup Series championship, the series dissolved. Holman subsequently acquired Henderson Motorsports’ stable of Pro Cup cars, but finding an asphalt track with a class that allowed the obsolete cars proved challenging. The advent of the Super Street division changed that.
Holman repurposed the championship-winning Pro Cup Series machine over the off-season. Although identical in appearance to the Pro Cup ride of yesteryear, the new race car is Super Street legal. And in a turnabout, Holman will serve as crew chief.
“To make the car race-ready for this class, I really would not have had to change anything except for the shocks and tires,” explains Holman, noting the cost-saving measures inherent in the division’s design. “It’s great. The last thing I want to do is buy tires and spend a pile of money on shocks. The really great thing about the tires is it forces the driver to learn how to drive the thing.”
Enter Holman’s driver: Kyle Lockrow. A native of La Plata, Maryland, Lockrow sports a diverse racing background. In his brief career, the 26-year-old driver has amassed seat time in an array of disciplines, including modified four-cylinders and Legends cars, and boasts experience on road courses as a competitor in the ChumpCar World Series.
A self-funded racer with lofty NASCAR aspirations, Lockrow found the Super Street concept intriguing.
“It’s an affordable division, and what I like about Super Street is that it allows me to showcase what I can do behind the wheel,” explains Lockrow. “With the small tires and big engines, you really have to get up on the wheel.
“It’s going to be a really good experience for me,” Lockrow continues. “I’ve never been to Motor Mile before. So, for me, it’s kind of ‘same song, different verse’ in a sense. New car, new track--- I’m going to have to learn on the fly against guys that have been there time and time again. I’ll be racing against guys that probably have an abundance of experience in the bigger cars compared to myself. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ll be able to learn from these guys, which will help me moving forward in my career.”
Lockrow won’t be the only newcomer participating in the Super Street division this season. Track officials report a groundswell of interest in the new class; more than 20 phone calls pertaining to the Super Street division have been received during the off-season.
Coupled with the Street Stock teams transitioning to the new class, Lockrow will have plenty of company on the track…and a sizable amount of stiff competition to contend with.
The list of headliners that have committed to the Super Street division include three-time Street Stock track champion Scooter Hollandsworth of Indian Valley, Va., and 40-year-old defending Street Stock track titlist Doug Williams of Newcastle, Va.
Williams’ team has expanded to a two-car operation entering the 2017 season. Rookie
Bryce Blake of Roanoke, Va., will be piloting Williams’ primary car from his 2016 championship campaign. Williams will pursue his second consecutive title in a refurbished Late Model car.
Defending a track championship is no easy task. The changes to the class, Williams admits, will make it even more difficult. According to Williams, the unknowns associated with the relaxed rules package could be an early-season equalizer.
“It will be like starting over again to a certain extent. It’s going to be a very challenging year. I think every race will be up for grabs; it’s not going to be like it has been for the past two years,” explains Williams. “It puts it more in control of the driver. It’s going to be a driver’s race. You can have all the power in the world, but if you can’t get it up off the corner and down the straightaway, it’s not going to do you much good. You’re going to have to finesse these cars; if you drive them like we did our car last year, it’s not going to work.”
Several teams, including Williams’ organization, have tested at Motor Mile Speedway in recent weeks in preparation for the division’s season opener Saturday night, but questions still abound. While competitors are unsure of what to expect on the track, everyone is excited for the green flag to unfurl.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting class. There will be a lot of variation in the cars--- some older Late Models, some original Street Stock chassis. Motor rules--- if you’ve got it, bring it,” Williams says. “It goes back to the grassroots of racing. We’re all excited.”
For Holman, the anticipation is such that it could be hard to stay on the pit box and out of the cockpit. When asked to describe his thoughts on the Super Street division, Holman didn’t hesitate:
“Just tell them it’s the coolest thing to come along in racing in years.”