Steel Block Bandits

Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Own...
Erwin's Patience Proof Positive In Capturing Secon...
Swann Named Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Serie...
Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Own...

Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Own...

4/16/2024 -
Three races into its fourth season, the Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Late Model Challenge series is under new ownership. Tour founder and presiden
Erwin's Patience Proof Positive In Capturing Secon...

Erwin's Patience Proof Positive In Capturing Secon...

4/16/2024 -
Maryville, TN (4-13-24) Russell Erwin of Beaverdam, Virginia captured his second straight win and third consecutive top-three finish in as many starts
Swann Named Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Serie...

Swann Named Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Serie...

4/11/2024 -
Fayetteville, NC - As the Series progresses to its third race of the year at Smoky Mountain Speedway this weekend, Joseph Swann, the current race dire

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Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Ownership

Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Ownership

4/16/2024
Three races into its fourth season, the Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Late Model Challenge series is under new ownership. Tour founder and president Jim Long Jr. of Stedman, N.C., has sold the series in equal shares to his stepdaughter, Hope Wade, and to Jason Walls,...more
Erwin's Patience Proof Positive In Capturing Second Straight Stee

Erwin's Patience Proof Positive In Capturing Second Straight Stee...

4/16/2024
Maryville, TN (4-13-24) Russell Erwin of Beaverdam, Virginia captured his second straight win and third consecutive top-three finish in as many starts on the 2024 Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandit Late Model Challenge Series. He did so while patiently settling behind a...more
Swann Named Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Series Director

Swann Named Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Series Director

4/11/2024
Fayetteville, NC - As the Series progresses to its third race of the year at Smoky Mountain Speedway this weekend, Joseph Swann, the current race director and former Series photographer, has been elevated as the Series director of the Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Dirt...more
ROUSE RUMBLES TO WIN IN BANDITS SEASON OPENER

ROUSE RUMBLES TO WIN IN BANDITS SEASON OPENER

4/3/2024
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Michael Rouse broke out the broom Saturday night (March 30) at Fayetteville Motor Speedway, sweeping the night to kick off the 2024 Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Dirt Late Model Challenge season. Rouse, of Wilson, N.C., set quick time in...more

Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Ownership
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4/16/2024

4/16/2024

Steel Block Bandits


Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Tour Gets New Ownership

Three races into its fourth season, the Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits Late Model Challenge series is under new ownership.
Tour founder and president Jim Long Jr. of Stedman, N.C., has sold the series in equal shares to his stepdaughter, Hope Wade, and to Jason Walls, who promotes five other North Carolina-based series. The move is effective immediately, with thirteen races remaining in a 16-race season at tracks stretching from Virginia to Alabama.
Long said that his ongoing cancer treatment was a factor in his decision to sell to Walls and Wade.
“Through the sickness and the loss of my late wife Denah, through 3 major surgeries last year I’ve given it everything I’ve got,” Long said. “I just don’t have anything else to give right now. We’ve built a great series. It’s in the best shape that it’s ever been, and I just felt like the Lord was leading me to do some other things.
“All the staff that’s in place now will stay in place. I’ll still be around as a consultant and do some contract work for them in the future if they need me. The main thing is that it’s business as usual.”
Jim and Denah Long had a five-year run as promoters of Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and in 2016 they were honored as Promoters of the Year by the World of Outlaws Late Model series. Wade, 21, has been involved with Long’s racing endeavors since she was 13.
“She’s learned a lot, continues to learn a lot, and continues to try to understand this industry and this sport better,” Long said. “So I wanted her to have an opportunity to own a piece of it.”
Wade, a 2023 graduate of Coastal Carolina University, said she has handled a “lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that a lot of people probably don’t think about” with the Bandits, “making sure we have whatever we need.
“The series has grown so much and become a series that a lot of people know about and race with. We had over 200 drivers race with us last year, so that says something about the series,” she added. “I never imagined owning any portion of a series. I expected to be a part of the racing community, doing different things, but I never expected to have an ownership role in it.”
Walls, of Hamptonville, N.C., raced in numerous classes before creating the Mid-East Modified Tour in 2017. That series, sponsored by the Sheetz convenience store chain, started with four events and last year presented 24 with more than 210 drivers participating.
Walls later launched the Mid-East Street Stocks circuit, as well as the City Chevrolet Mid-East 602 and Pro Fabrication Mid-East 604 tours for late models. This year, Walls has added the Mid-East Super Late Models series, with its $20,000-to-win inaugural race in Gaffney, S.C., won by Trent Ivey. The second race, held March 29 in Elkin, N.C., attracted 43 entrants and was won by Lucas Oil Late Model dirt regular Daulton Wilson.
Now Walls has added the Vision Wheel Steel Block Bandits to the list.
“I had zero intentions of anything on this scale, ever. I couldn’t even wrap my head around something like this,” Walls said.
“Jim and I have worked together a long time, back to when he had Fayetteville and the Mid-East Mods went there. He started talking to me in the offseason about doing something different. Getting the Mid-East Supers off the ground this year, I tried everything I could to put him off: ‘I’d love to, I just can’t.’ Then he said, ‘I’m going to do something. If you’re not interested, I’m going to do something else.’ I knew he was serious and it was going to happen, so I called up some of my people, talked to my staff, talked to some of my supporters and told them what was going on. It just worked out perfectly for everybody. Everything that needs to be in place to make this deal happen is in place.”
Long said he will continue to attend many Bandits events and assist Walls and Wade as much as needed.
“I’d like to thank some people who helped get us to this point,” Long said. “Lee McClain, Montreal Green, Joey Chapman, Marie Long, J.D. Gunther, Marty Hubbard, Joe Swann, our new series director Joseph Swann, Ryan Swann, Eddy Pollard, Rickey Collins, Hope Wade, and Kathy Jones, who graciously walked by my side through three major surgeries and did anything she could to help with the series. I couldn’t have done any of it without Kathy and the good Lord seeing us through it all.”
The first race for the Bandits with the new ownership duo is scheduled for April 27 at Natural Bridge (VA) Speedway.
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March 30 – Fayetteville (NC) Motor Speedway (Michael Rouse)
April 6 – Sumter (SC) Speedway (Russell Erwin)
April 13 – Smoky Mountain Speedway, Maryville, Tenn. (Russell Erwin)
April 27 – Natural Bridge (VA) Speedway
May 11 – Cherokee Speedway, Gaffney, S.C.
May 31 – Dixieland Speedway, Elizabeth City, N.C.
June 1 – Virginia Motor Speedway, Jamaica, Va.
June 15 – Talladega Short Track, Eastaboga, Ala.
June 29 – Lake View Motor Speedway, Nichols, S.C.
July 27 – East Lincoln Motor Speedway, Stanley, N.C.
Aug. 10 – Halifax County Motor Speedway, Brinkleyville, N.C.
Aug. 17 – Virginia Motor Speedway, Jamaica, Va.
Sept. 21 – Natural Bridge (VA) Speedway
Oct. 12 – County Line Raceway, Elm City, N.C.
Oct. 19 – Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway
One race TBA
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Submitted By: Hope Wade

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