Weekends are racing everywhere. As an example, a lot of eyes were on the wheels of NASCAR in New York at Watkins Glen. Sprint Cup stock car racing on a road course. As it was, amidst the twists and turns of The Glen, Joey Logano won the day as Kevin Harvick ran the tank dry.

Jump a bit south and another race on another road course was crossing the checkers as they were going green in New York. The differences between these races are many but the game is the same. Drive, go fast, pass who you can, get up front and try to stay there. The racing is often close, cars break and drivers push too hard and it either pays off or they go off. Racing is racing and the price tag is a matter of details.

Twenty-Four hour racing is not new but events like Daytona and Le Mans are full of big teams with big sponsors and international, seasoned professional drivers on the top of their series. The cars they race are on the razor’s edge of technology with the absolute best engineering and testing. It’s a little different when they race 24 hours at Virginia International Raceway.

At VIR the Optima Batteries ChumpCar Series take on the full course with cars and drivers from the daily grind. The same course that hosts the world class speeds of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship drops the green flag on “every man” racing with cars that were built on a shoe string. Safety is the only real consideration for modifications with seats and harnesses, roll cages and other requirements to protect the drivers. The cars themselves are limited in the way in which performance enhancements can be made. The focus is on giving an opportunity to anyone who wants to go racing without having to spend a lottery fortune on the latest tech, power and engineering. The cars can be found anywhere and it will cost a bit to add the safety spec but it is quite affordable as far as racing goes.

Virginia International Raceway hosts the Chumps and the 24 hour endurance test of drivers and their machines. To see it is to believe it. Some of these cars look pretty nice and except for the numbers and some stickers you likely wouldn’t give them a second glance on the highway. Many look a bit like something you might find 17th down in the third row at the local salvage yard. It’s possible that is where some of them came from. It’s a fair bet a big bunch of them have parts from there.

ChumpCar racing is the essence of “run what ya brung”. The pit crew is your family or friends and the car is what you could find for a few hundred dollars. The performance is essentially what the car was when it was a “car”. It’s obviously a fun thing to say you are a “race car driver” and have the thrill of racing. It’s also quite fun to watch. Check the schedule at Virginia International Raceway and the ChumpCar World Series websites. The Chumps are scheduled to return for racing in December. Grab a jacket or grab a car and come join in the fun.

Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series website

Virginia International Raceway website

Photos from Saturday at Virginia International Raceway with the Optima Batteries ChumpCar Red Line Oil 24 Hour Classic, including the big rigs of the ChampTruck series earlier in the day.

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ChumpCar and ChampTruck at VIR. August 8, 2015. Hi-Res digital images suitable for print are available by request / Donations accepted. Email  sales@missedgear.net  with subject VIR CHUMP Car #


So maybe, as Spring racing brings NASCAR to Martinsville, you just don’t dig on the big and the loud and the crowd and the repeated left turns of national stock car racing. Maybe you like racing but want something a bit different…

It doesn’t get much more different than Chump Car Racing. It is colorful. It is fun. It is full of left turns AND right turns. There is variety. There are trees. (more…)

Racing comes in all shapes and sizes. All summer long we’ve been inundated with IndyCar, Formula 1, dirt tracks, sprint cars, trucks, drags, NASCAR and more.

The bulk of it has been through television. Now, however, racing is back on and coming to Virginia and it gets rolling with what could be the most basic of the sport. It is “run what you brung” racing at Virginia International Raceway with the Optima Batteries Chump Car VIR 24 Hour Classic!

Yes – It’s a long name for a long race. 24 hours of a track full of cars of all different sizes and colors and makes and models. These cars are the result of tinkering and tweaking in garages and barns and little car shops all over the country. These are Chumps! They are at VIR to race this weekend (August 9-10-11). (more…)

NASCAR is off. Grand-Am, American Le Mans… Both are off. IndyCar and F1 are off. Even NHRA is off.

Racing just got started and here comes Peter Cottontail to shut it all down. Easter weekend is fine for chocolate bunnies and colored eggs and peeps.

Peeps, by the way, used to be yellow. They still have the yellow ones but now they come out in all sorts of colors not seen in nature. Not seen anywhere, for that matter, until you find them poking out of fluorescent green, fake grass in a machine woven basket on Easter morning.

Easter celebrates the Christian holiday of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the coming of Spring and the scientific creation of unnatural colors. It also puts auto racing off the track.

We think drivers’ families hide their keys in colored eggs so they can’t leave. (more…)

Has racing become too “predictable”? We hear it sometimes… Lap after lap… Left after left… Yeah…

We had an opportunity to check out a fairly new series of racing over the weekend of August 11-12 at Virginia International Raceway. “Chump Car” racing puts a lot of folks behind the wheel and on the track with real racing and, compared to NASCAR or other national series, little investment. It is grass roots racing with a “run what you brung and have some fun” attitude.

The premise is basic. Get your hands on a cheap car. Throw in the roll cage and basic safety stuff so you don’t damage yourself. Leave the engine and suspension alone for the most part. Go to a drivers’ meeting and get the rules and such for the day and “go racing”!

How simple is that? Anybody can race as long as their car falls inside the fairly loose regulations. The goal is fun, safety, and clean competition. (more…)

Virginia International Raceway had some tangles in 2011. The AMA “Suzuki White Lightning” event was pulled from the August date basically from a lack of communication, contract verbiage and an issue with promotions. Fingers pointed both ways. The end picture is that a big weekend at VIR was out.

Follow that with the announcement from the Grand-Am ROLEX Series that VIR would not be on the schedule for 2012.  New Jersey gets an earlier date and Belle Isle Park in Detroit is added to the mix. The Grand-Am race has been a showcase nationwide coverage event for VIR for several years.
Two big events that went a long way to re-establish Virginia International Raceway as a destination for fans and racing were out of the picture as 2011 came to a close.

This would seem to put a kink in the potential for 2012. Hit the brakes and stop the presses, so to speak. However, the folks at VIR have some surprises in store that may have blown by while you were watching the last turn… (more…)