There are so many variables...
There are so many variables in the setup of a Dirt Late Model, says Shaver, that it's "almost insane."
After another $10,000 win at Allegheny Mountain Raceway in Pennsylvania in 2002, the 2003 season soured with equipment problems. Then came 2004 and his second-best season.
The most memorable race that season was the legendary North-South 100 at Florence (Kentucky) Speedway, and the winner's share for the race was $50,000.
"I just love that place, but I can't really tell you why," says Shaver. "The place gets pretty slick later in the race and that's the kind of conditions where I seem to do well. I can remember an earlier North-South race when I followed Jack Boggs. He passed me three times, so I got a lot of chances to see how he drove the track."
Shaver was looking forward to the 2005 North-South, but he failed to qualify for the feature. Even still, there were two big wins providing him with $17,000 that season.
Then the North-South race in 2006 brought more high hopes, and rightly so, as Shaver took another $50,000 with his second win in the classic race. In addition, he garnered a pair of $5000-to-win races in 2006.
The old "all-or-nothing" situation hit again in the 2007 North-South. If the win-miss-win trend followed through, he would not make the field last season, and that's exactly what happened. "Got bumped around in the heat races, but still missed making the feature by just one position," Shaver recalls. "I am really looking forward to the race this year because it's my turn to win again."
He thinks the entire 2008 season could be very good to him.
"This will be my second year driving for owner Sean Cosgrove," he says. "He really provides me with great equipment. His heart and soul is really into this type of racing, that's for sure."
Shaver adds that he doesn't plan to run with any particular series this season, but hit some of the Lucas and World of Outlaw races, and all the big-money races.
As far as the future is concerned, Shaver says, "I will keep driving as long as I stay competitive and enjoy doing it. I can see it lasting quite a bit longer, at least I hope so. I think the sport is going to continue to grow and it certainly will get more exposure if the NASCAR guys continue to be involved. Just look at how much interest there was in the Prelude at Eldora (in recent years) with all those Cup guys there."
Steve Shaver's Dirt Late Model TipsDriving If you are just starting in these cars, I think the Crate Late Model is a great place to begin. Even though you are running slower, there is a chance to learn to steer and not being forced to drive over your head with the power of a real Dirt Late Model. Try to align with somebody who has had success. If I had done that, I might have been five years ahead when I was starting. Watch the good drivers-it's something that I've done for my entire career.
Technology It's so important to understand the technology of these cars. I mean every part, how it works, and how to fix it. If you do it, you will outperform the driver who doesn't have that capability every time. There are so many variables in the setup of these cars, to the point that it's almost insane. So I can't repeat this too many times: Learn everything you can!