Column By: DERICK KRINER / RPW – GRANTVILLE, PA – What makes teams and drivers decide to run either the World of Outlaws or High Limit?
Might seem pretty simple for some.
It also might be really complicated for others.
Tow money, streaming money, merchandise sales, freedom to run wherever, big money shows, and a host of other factors make that decision for teams.
For many years, the decision came down to where a driver was in their career. Drivers that wanted to go and run a more regional series would go and run with the All Star Circuit of Champions, and if you wanted to go nationally, you went Outlaw racing. Now, with two national series being options, it has changed the dynamic.
The World of Outlaws have made major improvements to their package with increased tow money and also increasing the streaming share. High Limit is in a little more confusing waters with the charter system and its intent to start sharing streaming revenue with its charter teams come 2026. It would appear that High Limit will pay out tow money like a normal series, and is intended to be a little more open with information regarding streaming’s actual revenue for the series. So, both series are offering something similar in that regard, just a difference in the amount.
What is on the mind of a lot of the teams is the chance to get a charter. Five teams will get it this year, as a result of points, and five next year. This is a prime reason why a few of the teams that we’ve seen step up to a national tour have chosen High Limit. It offers a new way to help fund your operation, that the Outlaws have not moved towards and probably won’t until it is shown to be a sustainable avenue.
That being said, this is a reason that quite a few regular Outlaw teams have stayed committed to “The Greatest Show On Dirt.” Most teams that have already committed to the tour and the ones expected to, have built their team model around running the Outlaws and are more comfortable trying to gain their revenue “the old fashioned way.” And for some, the true goal is to win an Outlaw championship.
Both series also have decent merchandise rules that allow teams to make money at events, but some events are track dictated. One thing that High Limit had done last season that was different from the Outlaws, was the ability for everyone to bring their merchandise trailers and sell at all events, not just series teams. Whether that persists in 2024 will remain to be seen. While this might not be that huge of a win for teams, who are on tour, it is important to note, from a series growth perspective.
Most of the major teams that competed on the Outlaws have stayed. Also, most of the top All Star teams have transitioned to High Limit. The number of races has stayed about the same for both series, but High Limit has gone national, which is a difference that might have enticed some of the new national tour commits, and also might have been a welcomed sight for some of the former Outlaw teams, who are looking for a little less of a schedule, but still get to travel.
It also would appear that stronger alliances have surfaced showing more commitment to sponsors and tracks for certain teams and from the series’. Tracks that traditionally are on Flo for the most part don’t have Outlaw shows, and tracks that have been on DIRTVision don’t have High Limit shows. A few of the team owners also own tracks and we’ve seen their teams align with the corresponding series that runs there. As we know, you can go and race at these tracks as part of your 4-race allotment with the Outlaws, or go and run an Outlaw show when it doesn’t conflict with your High Limit schedule, but the freedom in that, is another reason why some drivers have decided to go High Limit racing.
All of these factors have certainly been considered by these 20+ teams that we’ve seen make their commitments already. The Outlaws and High Limit will definitely be in for a learning year, seeing how two series can co-exist in the world of sprint car racing. Race teams have undoubtedly thought through this and crunched their own personal numbers and the decisions have been that of personal desire and sponsor driven. What fans need to remember is that unless you are writing the checks to pay for the team, it is not your decision as to which series they choose. Just sit back and enjoy the action.