I was recently asked that with the new cars( I.E. Car of Tomorrow) would having a dirt background help? Well since 75% of my racing has been dirt I find this an interesting question, an one that is hard to answer. But let’s try anyway, from a experience standpoint, dirt is excellent experience for any form of racing, it teaches good car control and teaches you to respond in ways that will often “save your bacon”. But from a sponsor standpoint it seems to hurt dirt drivers, or it has in the past, look at Steve Kinser the true “King of the Outlaws” he made the trip to NASCAR a few years ago with Quaker State in tow, he didn’t cut the mustard so to speak. There were many factors that caused Steve to finally go back to dirt where he was and still is the”king”.
In todays NASCAR you must bring the sponsors with you to get anyone to take a chance on you, but the skills you develop running dirt will serve you for years to come.
Nothing can teach car control like running 125mph sideways on dirt, it is simply “seat of the pants driving”. Learning how far around the rear end can go before it goes past the point of no return, will sure enough help you at the cup level. Learning how far the car can rotate on pavement will help you to relay input to the crew, and will help in improving the car during practice or during the race. Anything a driver can do to get a good feel of the car and be able to tell the crew what your feeling will only help the team to improve the car. Without the input from the driver the crew is just guessing, this is why you see some drivers go like the blazes during qualifing but soon fall back during the race, they lack the ability to relay info to the crew to make good changes. The changes that are needed to keep up with the track as it changes through out the race, and nothing changes more than dirt, moisture moves from top to bottom, or the track goes dry slick, or the groove moves down, all these things are vitally important information that neds to be relayed to the crew so they can make informed changes on the car.
So to answer the question” will dirt racing experience help you at the Cup level? the answer is YES it will. But will it get you a ride at the Cup level? not always. Hope this helps explain the question….
Man I love it when I am asked questions…..