South Boston Speedway News
South Boston Speedway’s Cost-Cutting Changes Propel Danny Willis Jr. Back To Late Model Division
Feb 11, 2016 - updated Feb 11th, 2016 9:35pm
Web posted by Mike Smith
Southboston, Va --
SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (Feb. 11, 2016) – Thanks to some cost-cutting rule changes, Danny Willis Jr. is going back to his racing roots this year at South Boston Speedway.
Willis began his racing career in the Late Model Stock division at South Boston back in 1999. After a couple of seasons, the division became cost-prohibitive for Willis and he made the move to the Limited Division.
“The biggest thing (in the decision) was the new tire rule in Late Model,” said Willis. “The way the tire rule is now in Late Model is the way we did in Limited, so I’m used to that. It’s going to save us a lot of money during the year.
“In the past to keep up with some of those (Late Model) guys who used to buy so many (tires) … if you wanted to keep up with them, you had to buy as many tires as they did.”
Willis certainly knows success under the recently introduced rule that limits Late Model teams to purchase only two new tires a race night. Under the same rules Willis was dominant in the Limited Division at South Boston. In the past five years he won three Limited track championships and finished second twice.
Willis had actually decided to step back from racing after the 2015 season and sold the car he had finished second in the points.
“I had intentions of getting out,” said Willis
He had a change of heart though after South Boston introduced a broad range of changes for the season to help the teams and make racing better for fans, including the two-tire rule and a minimum of $500 to start a night of Late Model racing. Willis figured it gave him the chance to move back up to Late Models and to be competitive.
“They came out with the new rules and it’s going to be just as easy to run the Late Model car,” said Willis. “The rule changes, the tire cost, that was a big deal for me.”
He also elected to take the cost-saving route of a crate motor which he said would help cut the “cost of motor upkeep. Hopefully it will be competitive.”
Even though it’s been a lot of years since Willis competed regularly in Late Models, he thinks the playing field has been evened with the two-tire rule.
“We’ve had a lot of success the last couple of years. I’m familiar with the two-tire deal, but we’ll be running more laps in Late Model and that’s something I’ll have to get used to,” said Willis. “But everybody is going to have to be thinking about how to save your two new tires and not wear them out for the next week. That’s gonna be a learning curve for everybody, but maybe we’ll come in with a little advantage.”
Even though he’s been around the sport a lot of years, Willis admits he’s pumped about the upcoming season.
“We’re excited. We’re trying to hurry up and get the car ready. There are a lot of late nights,” said Willis, who has Gardner Marsh, Riverview Signs, Gene Comer Construction and Meeler Insurance Agency coming back as sponsors, but is still looking for more backing. “We bought a new car, but there were a lot of things on it I didn’t like, so we stripped it and are putting it back together.”
Willis will get to try out his new ride on Saturday, March 12 when the South Boston season kicks off with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model twin 100. There will also be a 50-lap Limited race, 30-lap Pure Stock race, 50-lap Modified race and a 15-lap Hornet race.