Since I started posting sprint car results over 20 years ago, many new series have risen up all over the country. Most are 305 and spec engine series attempting to create affordable winged and non-winged racing. One series based around the Twin Cities area of Minnesota has been doing just that. The series is called Upper Midwest Sprint Car Series (UMSS) and they run both winged and non-winged divisions at tracks around the upper Midwest.
The UMSS is bringing low-cost sprint car racing to the teams, tracks, and fans. The series has become popular by having economical rules for the participants and economical purses for the race tracks, with a competitive program for the race fans.
The winged sprint car division was the initial UMSS class of cars starting in 2009. The series runs a spec motor, and teams can build a competitive car for under $15,000. The series has a tire rule and strict teching to ensure an even level of competition. The majority of the races are booked within 150 miles of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota to keep travel expenses down.
The UMSS developed a purse structure that works for the race tracks. The purse structure allows track operators to maintain their weekly admission price or just raise it slightly. This ensures that the race track’s weekly attendance base will be maintained without much added expense to the fans.
In 2011, the series added non-winged sprint cars, calling the division the Traditional Sprint Car Series. The Traditional Sprint Car Series was started due to a demand for a non-winged alternative to the typical winged sprint cars in the area. The key to its ultimate success was having an affordable rules package, especially concerning the engine. The series converted the popular “B” Mod engine used throughout the region to run on alcohol, to attract cars, drivers, and teams to the TSCS series. Teams can build a competitive car for under $10,000. The non-winged division continues to gain in popularity with the drivers and fans.
The Traditional Sprint Car Series is part of five regional Renegade series, running non-winged sprint cars throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. They all run separately, but occasionally run combined shows. When you include the IRA-based Wisconsin wingLESS sprint car series, affordable non-winged sprint car racing has taken off in the region.
The winged division runs heats, a dash, and a feature event. The traditional sprints run heat races and a feature race, with an occasional dash thrown in. Brooke Tatnell is the leading feature winner in the winged series, with Rob Caho Jr leading in non-winged features.
Affordable non-winged sprint car racing has been gaining popularity in various new regions of the country. The UMSS has a good thing going in the upper Midwest as a sprint car series that is attracting participants and allowing the tracks to put on a night of racing with something different to entertain the fans. They are helping the economics of sprint car racing to change for the better.