Old School Racing Series for NASCAR Legends is Postponed

nascar old school racing logo
Mid-January I was thick in the middle of a series of posts counting down the final 50 days to the Daytona 500.

Matching the day with the car number, I spotlighted drivers, owners, or other subjects with historical ties to the car number. With 33 days until the Great American Race my post that day would feature Harry Gant and his ride in the #33 Skoal car. A portion of that day’s post also included information about a new racing series that was set to have it’s inaugural season in the Spring of 2008. Harry Gant was scheduled to participate in the the Old School Racing Series which would have retired and semi-retired champion drivers competing in a 10 race regular season schedule followed by a “Last Chance Raceâ€? and a “Championship Raceâ€?. Drivers such as David Pearson, James Hylton, Ernie Irvan, Charlie Glotzbach, Dick Trickle, Dave Marcis, Geoff Bodine, and many more, would join Harry Gant in the series.

nascar 21 david pearsonHere recently I read about a special exhibition event at Darlington Raceway where Carl Edwards and David Pearson took hot laps on the recently repaved surface of the “Lady in Black.” Carl piloted his #99 Claritin Ford Fusion while David Pearson drove a 1971 Wood Brothers Mercury which was restored by legendary car owner Leonard Wood (who was also present to witness the event) with the maroon and white #21 Purolator sponsored paint scheme. [Click image for larger view. Note, this image is not from the exhibition day.]

This exhibition event reminded me to check on the status of the Old School Racing series as I was planning to attend one of the races in Charlotte in hopes of seeing Pearson and James Hylton race. Well, I was disappointed to learn that the inaugural season has been postponed until 2009. It seems the series was, at least in part, bitten by a bad marketing agent.

From the OSR website, OSR went to the PRI show in Orlando to introduce OSR and the show car to the racing world and the OSR marketing agent guaranteed us that OSR will have 2 “major” sponsorship contracts to sign at PRI.” However, OSR was in for a surprise when they got there. Instead of working out of the OSR booth, the marketing agent was in another booth representing another racing series. We came to find out that he had recently purchased that tour. From August thru December, he was promoting his new series instead of OSR. All of the sponsorship figures he had been presenting to OSR was a lie, for his own series, or just blatantly fabricated. One of the potential title sponsors he was touting had never even received a call from the marketing agent. A big “lesson learned” here, for sure.

I’m sure there are several other issues that have also played a role in the postponement of the series debut, such as not having enough cars built, the lack of major sponsorship, limited personal operating budget, and more. But it’s truly disappointing that this series won’t be kicked off now until next year at the earliest. They’re in a catch-22 though. They don’t have the funds without sponsorship to build the cars. And sponsors aren’t jumping on board without cars and a guarantee the series will go. Of the sponsors who are very interested in participating, their budgets for 2008 have already been set, or likely spent.

The good news is that while nothing specific has been announced yet, it does look like they’ve got something lined up for a “new plan” or layout of the series. Under the newly planned format, The series will be about much more than just the competitive nature of these drivers. The series will become much more of an event to celebrate the pioneers that molded modern racing, rather than just a race with drivers from the past. The new partnership between OSR and the soon to be named partner has not been completed, but plans have already begun to move forward for the 2009 debut of the redesigned OSR program.

I certainly wish them luck and hope the series does actually make it to a successful launch. I would love to see some of those legends race just so I could say “I saw _____ race at the _____ track.” :)