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Tire shortage leads to cancellation of racing event at VMS

Add tire shortages to the growing list of reasons for events being canceled this year.

The 2021 FASTRAK World Championships, a two-day event that had been scheduled for Sept. 17 and 18 at Virginia Motor Speedway, has been canceled, according to an announcement from the Middlesex County track.

“With Hoosier’s continued tire shortages and after exhausting all avenues available to get enough FT200 and FT400 tires to cover the number of cars expected,” officials at VMS and FASTRAK Racing have made the decision to cancel this year’s event.

“I do appreciate VMS working with us during the struggle with tires,” said FASTRAK Owner/Founder Stan Lester. “The World Championship is our biggest profit event of the entire season, and as badly as we hate to cancel it, what choice do we really have?” Lester added that there is no compatible tire to the FT200.

“It’s an impossible situation to be in, but we don’t manufacture tires, so it’s completely out of our hands,” he added. Based on Hoosier’s tire production schedule, the time of year they will be released, and the other events already scheduled late in the year, the event just did not have a place to go.

“This decision did not come lightly. The track and the series have worked for over a month now to see if we could rectify the tire issue in advance of the World Championship weekend,” VMS owner Bill Sawyer said. “We have been in constant contact with Hoosier about the availability of the FASTRAK FT200 and FT400 tires and have not come up with enough tires for every competitor to have the same chance at getting tires.

“The FASTRAK World Championship has been our season-ending crown jewel for seven years, and it has been gaining the momentum in fan and competitor support that we have been working towards since the first World Championship at our speedway.”

According to a May article in Car and Driver magazine, “the supply of natural rubber trees mostly grown in Southeast Asia, is about to get harder to find. There are a number of reasons, but the main one is that supply was high recently and, because of COVID-19, rubber producers were not able to plant new rubber trees as they otherwise would have. Since these trees take seven years to mature and leaf disease and flooding have affected the trees that offer the current rubber supply, the supply is dropping.

“Add to that higher demand from China, which is the largest consumer of natural rubber in the world and is bouncing back from the pandemic before other major industrial countries, and a lack of shipping containers, and you have a situation where the forecasters can see trouble on the horizon. According to Bloomberg, rubber prices hit a four-year high in February.”

All efforts now will be on the 2022 FASTRAK World Championships and other events, the VMS release stated. The 17th annual Run-A-Muck Mud Bog will be held on Oct. 2 at the Pit at VMS.