Late Model Stock Car driver and the most recent track champion at Hickory Motor Speedway recently provided an update after the speedway prevented him from racing in the most recent Late Model Stock event.
Huffman alongside Doug Barnes Jr. and Kade Brown suffered damage on the first lap of two twin races at Hickory Motor Speedway on March 11th. None of the drivers were able to get their cars repaired to complete the race. All three and their teams worked hard in the time between the two races to get their cars ready for the second race.
However, Hickory Motor Speedway would not let any of the drivers actually race in the event. They were given the option to go home empty handed or start the race and then immediately take it to the garage area.
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Hickory Motor Speedway explained their bizarre decision in a post on Facebook claiming they were enforcing an unwritten rule that had been previously talked about in past drivers’ meetings.
They wrote, “Hickory Motor Speedway has always worked hard to provide a level playing field for all of our competitors. During the first event for the Late Model Stock Cars, we had multiple cars (3) that were in a 2nd lap incident and did not complete the event. Unfortunately, this situation would give these (3) cars an advantage of much fresher tires for the second event. With the abrasive surface of a track like Hickory Motor Speedway this advantage can be quite substantial.”
The track’s General Manager Kevin Piercy continued, “The drivers meetings are intended to go over any individual particulars for each event including, but not limited to sponsors, fuel, tires etc. This tire situation which occurred on Saturday has been addressed in these drivers meetings and prior drivers meetings for YEARS. The competitors in Late Model (Twin Events) are told if they do not complete 20 laps of the first event, their tires will not be eligible for the second event. This would also apply for a flat or cut tire before 20 laps are complete.
He went on, “The solution for this issue is the competitor is expected to purchase scuff tires for 1 or more tires (based on how many tires did not make it 20 laps) which would help to equal the tire situation with all of the other competitors. Although Hickory Motor Speedway officials could have re-iterated the rule to these (3) teams, it does not take away the responsibility of the teams to know and understand the rules, whether conveyed in the rule book or at the drivers meeting.”
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Huffman called out the response writing on Twitter, “I assumed this would be the response. Completely evading the fact that it’s on the track to enforce a rule that isn’t on a rule book.”
He then listed off, “1. Not mentioned in drivers meeting (on video) 2. Never a word said to any team while thrashing on cars for second race. 3. No options given to teams to choose tires, or run scuff laps. 4. No rule written in any rule book by HMS that states said rule. 5. All track staff admitted this said ‘rule’ was not mentioned in the drivers meeting nor was it addressed to teams.”
He concluded, “This is a COMPLETE failure to communicate and a chicken s**t response. A simple ‘yes we screwed up’ would have been enough. But naturally we get this.”
Now, in an update on his YouTube channel, Huffman relayed, “I have met with track management and we have come to terms.”
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He later detailed, “I had a discussion with the track promoter and he did apologize for poor communication. We agreed that the track was at fault for not communicating properly to the competitors. Also not having a rule in place that was written down. We agreed to disagree on some things, obviously.
“But I do agree that a rule of this nature is beneficial; however, it’s got to be written down,” Huffman continued. “It’s got to be conveyed to the competitors properly. It’s got to be issued and enforced in a timely manner so that we’re given option to be able to compete because there’s really no reason why race cars should be turned away from competing in a race at a local level.”
Huffman then declared, “I’m still not happy with the situation, obviously, but it was nice to see them accept a little responsibility. Could I have handled it a little bit differently? Probably so. Am I sorry for that? No, because I feel like I’ve been 100% honest through everything that I’ve conveyed to you guys and showed to you guys. I haven’t lied one bit. I’ve showed you exactly my experiences.”
Later in the video he shared his plans moving forward, “We are still going to race at Hickory Motor Speedway and fulfill the sponsor obligations that I have to my local partners. I feel like it’s only fair to continue forward with the goals that we had set at the start of the year.”
“Like I said in my previous video, I have partner obligations and it’s not fair to the sponsors that are expecting me to be there on any given Saturday night in front of a local crowd to not be there. It’s also not fair to the fans in my local area here that come out to Hickory every Saturday to watch and support me. It’s not fair to them,” he added.
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Huffman then relayed, “I want to make sure that the fans understand that we can’t alienate the facility and the racetrack because it does need you guys, it needs me, it needs other competitors, it needs people to support the track so it doesn’t go under.”
“We don’t have to like the management. We don’t have to agree with the management. You don’t have to like and agree with the management. However, do not let that keep you from coming out and supporting your favorite local driver who may be racing there on a weekly basis whether it’s Hickory or Tri-County,” he continued.
Huffman then declared he’s still trying to make it back-to-back track championships at Hickory, “It’s only fair for me to go back and accomplish the goal we set out to accomplish and that’s win a track championship back to back, and get my name on the wall for a second time. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
He went on to reveal he’s also looking at competing in a number of CARS Tour races as well as weekly races at Wake County.
What do you make of Huffman’s response and his goals for 2023?
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