As far as race promoter Donald “Duck” Long is concerned, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with his premier Radials vs. the World class.
Created by Long in 2010 as an official class to prove his beloved radial racers were every bit as good, as fast, and as worthy of respect as any of their slick-tired brethren, RVW initially pitted mostly front-halved, radials-clad rides in direct competition against similarly constructed cars with true 10.5-inch slicks out back.
Over the years, though, radial tires have grown in size to accommodate ever-escalating speeds and 33-inch tall, 10.5-inch wide slicks were allowed to meet similar needs. Additionally, the front-halved cars from both camps gradually began dropping out, giving way to full-tube-chassis machines. Lately, though, Long is feeling tempted to push RVW to even farther reaches.
“I’m almost at this point willing to say if you want to bring any car out, full 17-34.5, full-blown Pro Mod kind of thing to Radials vs. the World, the weights are already set and as long as you meet the weight, I’m almost ready to say we’ll run any door car at all, any Pro Mod, any tire they want to put on it as long as they take the wheelie bars off and meet the weight,” Long stresses.
“You’ve got Pro Boost, Pro Nitrous, Pro Mod, you have all that out there, and that’s still the rest of the world, you know? I mean, I’m not going to sit there and prep one lane just for those guys, though. They’re going to have to go from the way we prep, but if they want to bring out the baddest Pro Mods with whatever size tire they want , I’m almost ready to say, go for it, go ahead and bring it.
“I mean, I feel like under the right conditions, the radial car with no wheelie bars is as fast as anything on the planet. We’ve proved that for the last 10 years, but there’s still some cars out there and there’s still some people with a few doubts in their minds, but I’m ready to finish it off and prove it.”
One side effect of inviting all comers, however, is that newcomers who accept the RVW challenge may force traditional hitters to the sidelines or at least to lower classes on the Duck X Productions roster. Already, stars like Mark Micke, winner of the inaugural RVW Sweet 16 event, multi-time class finalist Tim Slavens, and perennial contender Mark Woodruff have abandoned RVW in favor of Pro 275 competition. Significantly, all three run traditional-style cars with original body panels and at least remnants of their original chassis.
Regardless, Long recognizes a potential upside here, too.
“I actually like it because there’s no difference in engine combinations or transmission combinations between Radials vs. the World or Pro 275, so I think that you want to have top names in both classes. I mean, realistically, any of those guys could change to a brand-new, state-of-the-art, round-tube chassis and roll right back into RVW. They just choose not to take it to that next step as far as the car goes.
“I like have legitimate stars in Pro 275, too, because if you have Pro 275, but no stars in it, no characters, then it’s not worth anything,” he continues.
Established Duck X racer movement can work in the opposite direction, too, as evidenced by J.D. Campbell, a longtime X275 competitor who this weekend at No Mercy 11 made his Pro 275 debut.
“I like having some of the great guys, the household names over there in Pro 275 because people are coming out to watch not only who’s the baddest on a 315 tire, but who can get it done on that smaller 275 tire, too,” Long says. “To me, one’s just as exciting to the other.”
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