Connect with us


ASA Promoter Has A Lot to Unpack from First Race

Bob Sargent is a numerous times promoter of the year and has a track record of success

There is no such thing as bad publicity or so the adage goes and the ASA STARS National Super Late Model Series had no shortage of publicity for the inaugural event on Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The race was decided on a late race (after the yellow flag had flown for a different incident) caution when Bubba Pollard spun off the nose of Casey Roderick on the frontstretch. Roderick went on to win the race but was physically confront by Pollard during post-race inspection, the two needing to be separated by deputies.

An argument could also be made that Roderick should have been sent to the rear after the incident for contact based on precedence, but race director Nicholas Rogers said the rule didn’t apply as it occurred after the caution waved for Dakota Stroup and Preston Peltier.

Earlier in the race, Boris Jurkovic crashed into the Turn 3 and 4 wall due to contact from Billy VanMeter. He responded under caution by digging into the back of a safety truck and until he found a fire extinguisher, running down the banking with it and hurtling it towards VanMeter as he drove by.

Ty Majeski was penalized two laps for intentionally stopping on the track with his hood covering his windshield. At the time of the penalty, Majeski became the only driver any laps down and benefitted from two cautions in seven laps to get back on the lead lap and charge towards a third-place finish.

There were numerous cautions, procedural challenges with a unique race format, and occasional issues with scoring from race control.

At the same time, the event was a spectacle befitting of the ASA National Tour brand, with a decent front gate and fans who seemed to enjoy the pre-race entertainment that included World of Outlaws announcer Johnny Gibson.

There was a four-wide salute, a declaration of the greatest show in pavement, and good racing until the cautions started to fall en masse. All of this to say that Track Enterprises president, Bob Sargent, the promoter of the ASA STARS Series has both good and bad to sort through after this inaugural event.

“It went, I don’t know how to describe the percentage, but started very well,” Sargent said. “We started the race and realized we probably should have had some different procedures, but that’s something we told the teams we’re going to work on.

“We knew it couldn’t be perfect, but we tried really hard and there was some good racing out there at times.”

Reigning Snowball Derby winner Derek Thorn was involved in one of those incidents and suggested the chaos was a byproduct of the race format, but also drivers who really wanted to run well and win the first ASA race, recognizing it as a bucket list achievement.

“A lot of it was just the comers and goers on the tire strategy,” Thorn said after the race. “The tire strategy caused guys with stickers to be behind guys with old stuff. That creates chaos and different line choices. I think a lot of it is circumstance. Maybe too many competition cautions.

“But at the end of the day, the comers and goers on the different tire strategies, and it’s the first ASA race.  Everyone wants to run well and it just created a lot of chaos.”

Sargent says he likes the format, but needs to determine if they need to be counting caution laps or adjusting the overall length of races, while also not overreacting to just one data point.

“We’re going to debrief, but I think it’s early yet,” Sargent said. “I think we’ll debrief, watch video, talk to fans and the teams. Again, I think a lot of positive things happened but we’re going to critique it ourselves and see what we want to change or enhance.”

As for any penalties to Pollard or Jurkovic, this is the first race of a new series so there is no set precedence yet, meaning Sargent faces a major decision on how to handles these first ‘action detrimental’ moments.

It’s important Sargent says, that they respond in a way that reflects the professional goals of the tour and what it is striving to become.

“We’re a series, we have a national series and three regional series, and we’re going to have rules and regulations,” Sargent said. “Every case is different but we’re going to deal with them accordingly.”

Sargent knows that fans, competitors or observers had strong opinions about this event, but he also encourages everyone to give them time to refine their processes and procedures.

“There’s a couple of things,” Sargent said. “I think one thing is that there were a lot of positives, entertainment and excitement. Great car count and great racing at times. In our industry, there are races that aren’t the best with some more cautions and wrecks than we would have wanted, and I think that’s what happened tonight.”

Majeski said it ultimately wasn’t a bad night for the industry.

“Anything that gets views is good, right,” Majeski said. “Bad PR is still PR. As long as people are talking about it, that’s a good thing.”

If you like what you read here, become a Short Track Scene Patreon and support short track journalism!

Read more Short Track Scene:

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.



  1. Bobby john

    March 12, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Was a really good race with cautions on top of competition cautions just drug the race out to long great race but shorting the laps of races is not the answer

  2. Rodney Hope

    March 13, 2023 at 10:44 am

    I’m a BIG FAN of short track racing, 1/2 mile tracks are the best. My eyes & brain says “ on that restart Pollard was being pushed by Rodrick from behind in turn 4 @ the start, causing the 1st place car to spin & out of the race”
    For Rodrick to go on & without a penalty says alot.
    Seen a lot of calls at 5 flags go this way & different ways. I guess the people in charge got THE DRAMA started early. ( the flag has nothing to do with the spin. ✌️

  3. John Reifsnyder

    March 14, 2023 at 7:30 am

    I’m hopeful that the series succeeds and happy to hear adjustments will be made. Let’s learn from the mistakes. Too much time after cautions was my biggest gripe. 5 to 7 laps after each caution is not necessary. And the inside outside lane choice is totally unnecessary. Great car count and some great racing, just not enough with the controlled cautions and stages. Looking forward to the next one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *