ARGABRIGHT: Second Chance For Brad Doty Classic

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Dave Argabright.

INDIANAPOLIS — Brad Doty and his partners at Ohio’s Attica Raceway Park got a bad break. But there’s still a chance for a happy ending.

Doty, a Hall of Fame sprint car racer and television analyst (and my colleague on MAVTV), helps promote the Brad Doty Classic each summer. The origins of the event came in 1989, when Brad was recovering from a spinal injury that ended his driving career. Through the years the race has evolved to become one of the most cherished events in sprint car racing.

This year’s race, originally to be sanctioned by the World of Outlaws, was set for July 16 at Attica with a rain date of the following day. Unfortunately, the rain date was lost with the rescheduling of an earlier rainout at Eldora Speedway.

Storms swept through the Ohio area on July 16 and despite a great effort by the Attica staff they were forced to cancel that night’s racing. The endless cycle of rain in the Midwest — and other areas of the country — has made life very difficult for everybody.

For a couple of days it looked like there would be no Brad Doty Classic in 2019. The hectic of the World of Outlaws calendar made rescheduling a daunting proposition. But Eric Walls, competition director of the Ollie’s All Star Circuit of Champions, hatched a great idea.

Walls and his fellow All Star leaders proposed moving the date to Labor Day weekend. They reached out to Doty and Attica Raceway Park officials and a deal was struck to expand the event to two nights of racing.

The Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic presented by Racing Optics will run on Friday and Saturday night, Aug. 30-31. Friday’s winner will earn $5,000 and Saturday’s top pay is $10,000.

The Doty Classic kicks off a big weekend for the All Stars. On Sunday and Monday, Sept. 1-2, the series will travel to Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. The Pete Jacobs Memorial runs on Sunday night and pays $10,000 to the winner, with a $5,000 top prize up for grabs on Monday night.

Most tracks and sanctioning groups have struggled to reschedule events after a rainy spring and it has led to some contentious situations. It’s a perfect example that bad weather seldom brings good news. Kudos to Walls and the All Stars for jumping in to save the day for an important racing event.

This year’s race is a throwback of sorts. The early years of the event ran under the All Star banner, led by legendary former series leaders Bert and Brigitte Emick. Those years built a great foundation and here we are, 30 years later, still talking about the Brad Doty Classic.

Doty is one of the most conscientious and upstanding people in the sport and a cancellation would have been a real setback for the event. Brad and the Attica folks have worked hard to develop a strong network of event sponsors, and it’s difficult to maintain your momentum when a race is lost completely. But with the move to Labor Day, the event can keep on trucking.

It’s a win for the All Stars as well. Their racers gain a couple of nights of racing and the series sponsors — Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Mobil 1 — are associated with a high-profile event.

This situation is just like a rainy day. It’s dark and gloomy and it feels like it might rain forever, but then the sun comes out and — boom! — there’s that rainbow arcing across the sky.

A pot of gold? I don’t know about that; but I can predict a big weekend, lots of familiar faces at the track and several nights of good racing. What more could we ask?