|Doty and WoO returns to Limaland|
|Tuesday, July 08, 2014 8:14 PM|
DHI Media Sports Editor
LIMA — Limaland Motorsports Park has developed quite a reputation in Northwest Ohio — and throughout the nation — for its racing schedule.
One of the main reasons is the annual Brad Doty Classic that has previously attracted NASCAR stars such as Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart to the semi-banked, 1/4-mile oval.
Today is the 26th annual installment of the Ohio Logistics Brad Doty Classic presented by Racing Optics event which brings the best of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series to the dirt track west of Lima.
“This started as a benefit in 1989 for me and my family after an accident ending my racing career in 1988. It has grown into what we have today: an exciting, highly-competitive and highly-sought-after race on the circuit,” he reflected.
Especially since there has been seven different winners in the past eight events — defending champion Donny Schatz is the only 2-time winner in that span and is also the current leader of the World of Outlaws — 20 overall and only four that won twice: Schatz, Danny Smith, Steve Kinser and Dale Blaney.
“Steve has announced that 2014 will be his last year of full-time racing in the World of Outlaws, so this might be his final time here. I know he wants to win every race but I think he especially wants to win here,” Doty said. “This race is not only national in scope but international. You get drivers from Australia coming here to race. These are full-time professionals and they take it very seriously. That’s one of the reasons why this race has grown to what we have today.
“The second is the great racing that attracts fans. That is what you have to have every year and that, as a co-promoter, is what you work hard for; to make sure you have great racing.”
The setting itself is a great draw for racers and fans, according to Doty.
“I think what makes this such a competitive draw is it’s a high-banked oval; they term it a bull ring. The racing is hard; you have 40 laps and there is no strategy outside of running hard all the time,” Doty continued. “If you make a mistake here, two cars are passing you on either side. You cannot relax or get comfortable; it’s very intense for all 40 laps and the adrenaline is really flowing once it goes green. This is a tough race to start with and when you consider the competitors here, it’s even more special. That is what makes it so nice for the fans and has helped it grow from then to now.
“The Lima racing fans are very passionate and knowledgeable and this is really a gem. We look at it as if this might be the only race a fan goes to, so we want to entertain them and keep bringing them back.”
The event has been part of allowing Doty to remain active in the sport.
“I was fortunate to be able to transition to the TV booth after my accident. I have done analysis for TNN, ESPN, the Outdoor channel, Speed; I don’t want to leave any one out,” he said. “I am doing analysis for CBS Sports this year, as well as for this event. That has helped me stay involved in the sport I love.
“It has helped that I became co-promoter of the event in 2005; it gave me even more incentive to keep bringing great racing to the local fans. I am proud and humbled that it has grown to the level we have today.”
With the advent of new technology, Doty could get back in the car full-time but nixed the idea.
“They have done a lot of testing — especially at Indianapolis — for people like me to maybe continue to drive, with hand controls and such,” he added. “I drove a Coors Light-sponsored car before my accident and had the chance to drive a specially-made car — kind of a replica — in 1998. It was fun but I made a promise to my wife and children that that was it; I am retired from racing.”