The Ohio weather has finally turned nice, knock on wood, on race nights. Well, at least last weekend it was nice for the most part. Last weekend it was a trip to Attica on Friday night for an All Star make-up and a complete regular show. Plus, radio duties in the booth for the first time this season. Saturday, it was off to Waynesfield Motor Sports Park for my first ever visit to the facility.
Friday, 32 410's, 9 out of the top 10 in All Star points, and 36 30's were in the pits for the regular show. With a long night of racing on tap, the Attica crew was in a hurry to get thing a moving. A mid-afternoon rain storm tried to slow the progress but to no avail as the Attica crew was ready for action. They say the 3rd time is a charm and it was the 3rd attempt to get the prelim night of the Spring Nationals, for the All Stars, in the books. While most A Mains are ran in the dark, the All Star make-up A Main the 1st thing on the card. Dean Jacobs and Dale Blaney paced the field. As the green flew, Bruce Robenalt spun on the start. Restart, Blaney blast to the lead. With a pretty heavy track, Blaney was on a rail. Lap 11, the race was slowed for Bryan Scott stopping on the track. Restart, Brian Ellenberger spins, Brandon Martin tags him, doing a slight roll. Restart, its all Dale Blaney. The only thing slowing Dale was a spin by Brian Paulus on lap 21. The former All Star champ was hooked up and was trying to keep his fairly hot streak a rollin. Blaney lead wire to wire in the 30 lapper to take the $3000 paycheck. Rob Chaney, Jacobs, Greg Wilson, and Caleb Griffith rounded out the top 5. That was just the start of the night. Could dale go 2 for 2 and take home 6g, could Caleb Griffith repeat a great run like in the 1st A, or could Greg Wilson get back on track at Attica? A few of the All Star regulars had engine problems in the 1st A and scratched for the night. They were Brock Mayes, Craig Mintz, and Brian Paulus. The 305 heats were ran 1st to allow the 410s a break and a chance to work on their rides a little. I'll cover that action later. The 410 heats ran off with no major incidents and featured some good races and passing. The only caution was for a Bruce Robenalt spin on the start of heat 4. Poor Bruce had excellent starting spots his 1st two races and spun both times. Paul Weaver, Blaney, Dean Jacobs, and Gus Wasson took the heat wins. Heat 3 featured 3 Jacobs, Kenny, Lee, and Dean. They put on a great race and the slide job Lee put on dad Kenny will be talked about for a while. Good racing. Rob Chaney ran away with the 410 B. The regular A Main of the night was also a 30 lap event. Byron Reed and Caleb Griffith paced the field on this one. This A Main was a dandy. A great battle upfront on several occasions. Lap, 13 Brandon Martin's bad luck roars is head again as he slows on the track. Reed gets a good restart but, Caleb looks strong and very fast. Shane Stewart and Wilson work towards the front as well. With 8 to go, Caleb has a bulls eye and Reed's tail tank and is ready for battle. Caleb is running the cushion looking for room to pass. Lap 26, Caleb jumps Byron's tire going into turn 1 but flys pass him on the outside. Wait, the yellow waves just seconds after the pass for Paul Weaver stopping on the top of the track. Reed gets the lead back. Man, Caleb made an awesome move. Restart, Caleb flys on the outside of turn 1 again, OUCH, too hard this time, falling off the track. Rob Chaney slams the turn 4 wall as the yellow is flying for Caleb's trek off turn 1. You have to give Caleb credit for going balls out but too darn bad he went from actually leading for a second to about 15th. The last 4 laps, it was all Byron Reed. Stewart, Wilson, Wasson, and Dean Jacobs rounded out the top 5.
The always tuff 305s once again provided some good racing. Their only incident in the heats was BJ Haudenschild and Ryan Dickey colliding in turn 2 during heat 3. Pretty heavy damage to their racers. Andy Shammo, Kevin Lee, Dustin Keegan, and Bryan Sebetto took the heat wins. Once again 2 B Mans were ran for the 305s. I personally like this idea. Only 2 car transfer from each but it breaks the field up and gives everyone a fair shot. You don't see many guys go from 20th to 4th in 8 to 0 laps in a 20 car B Main, so why not make them 10 car B's to give everyone a fair shake? Good idea guys. Mark Pridemore and Matt Lucius took the B wins. The 25 lap A Main was a good one. Many year 305 vet, Bill Kraylek took the early lead. Kraylek and Bryan Sebetto were at battle quickly. Lap 6 was a dead even heat for the lead. Lap 7, Sebetto takes the top spot. Sebetto gains a little margin over the field and is hopes he can maintain it. Bryan has been running upfront most of 07 so far and looks to keep it that way. Another 305 driver having a great season, Andy Shammo is moving to the front as Sebetto maintains his lead. Can Andy get Bryan, or is Bryan too strong? The A Main is running off green to checkered, so lapped traffic is getting heavy. This night was all Sebetto. Bryan takes the win over Shammo, Dustin Dinan Cap Henry, and Brad Bowman. It was Brad's 1st gig in the 66L machine. It was a very long night of racing but a good one. Plenty of heat race action and some good battles in the mains. Saturday, after I found the little spot on the map of where the heck Waynesfield is, it was off to the races. I have wanted to get to WMS all of last year and this year so far but never made it until now. After a personal invite from fellow Hoser and WMS PR Man, Blake, I knew I had to make the trip. Once in the gates, I knew I would like the racing. A high banked 1/4 mile oval with enough room for 3 wide racing. The track looked pretty wet as well. This just happened to be the 1st ever visit of the NRA sprints to WMS as well as the 1st ever winged sprint car race at Waynesfield. 34 winged sprints were pit side. A great turn out and a first visit by many, so I didn't feel too bad. Plus, this place seems to have a very friendly staff. All staff members that I ran into made you feel welcome to be there. Even got a few seconds with Andy James, the new promoter over there, before his busy night was in full force. During the hot laps, I took in the action from the infield, just to check things out and shoot up some pics. A very racy little joint it is. Turns 3 and 4 and the entire front stretch has a huge guardrail for a wall, while 1 and 2 and the back stretch is all open. The track started to blacken up quickly but don't worry, the track crew isn't afraid to do some maintenance during the night. The heat race action was very good. Plenty of passing and close side by side battles. Oh yeah, there was a very high rim ridin groove, a middle, and a fair bottom groove. Luke Hall's night ended quickly as he blew a head gasket in hot laps. Phil Gressman, Mike Dussel, Dale Blaney, and Mike Brecht took the heat wins. Only 1 heat winner was from the front row. Darren Long tagged the turn 3 wall hard in heat 2, ending his night. In heat 3, Andrew Bowsher and Jared Horstman was fighting for 3rd when Bowsher caught Horstman's right rear off 4 and flipped. 2 B Mains were on tap. Note, 1st B was pushed off at 8:44 PM. The heats started right at 7:30 for all 3 divisions and B were on the track by 9, good deal. That was with just a little track work too. Kirk Jeffries and my ole buddy Kent Wolters took the B Main wins. Some major track work took place before the A but it was still a few minutes before 10 when the A pushed off. There was about 20 minutes of down time and it really did help the track. Did anyone really think it would? No, but tell you what it did make the track a 2 1/2 to 3 groove track for the A Main. If the track is anywhere close to where is was Saturday night for the Speedweek show, it will be a barn burner and a must see! Mike Dussel took the lead at the start of the 25 lap contest. Rim riding Mike Brecht went too hot into turn 3 on lap 7, fighting for the top spot, and took a big tumble. After the clean-up the battle was on. Dussel was strong but Gressman and Blaney were on the move. 1 high, 1 low, and 1 in between. An excellent 3 car battle. As the lap were winding down, traffic was getting heavy and the battle upfront was side by side. Dussel is holding his own but he is getting heavy pressure from Gressman and Blaney. The last 5 laps was more than likely the best ever to date in an NRA 360 race. 3 cars just all out fighting for the lead. Gressman bounces off the turn 4 rail but still never lets of the hammer. Lap 23, Gressman takes over on the high side. Blaney and Dussel try to counter on the bottom. 3 wide with 1 1/2 to go. Coming to the white, Gressman slides just a little low to protect his spot but somehow Blaney slips past to lead lap 24. Gressman puts it on the rim in 1 and 2 to try and shot back around, Dussel is still strong on the low side. Checkered in hand coming into turn 4, it is still any of the top 3's race. All 3 get a great run off 4, Blaney nips Gressman and Dussel by just a few feet for the win. For real, it was the closest to a 3 way photo finish I think I have ever seen. The official top 5, Blaney, Gressman, Dussel, Mike Miller, and Tim Allison. An excellent race. I highly recommend everyone to pay a visit to Waynesfield Motor Sports Park soon. Plus, the place is still a work in progress. Andy and crew want to continue to improve the track and the racing. All 3 divisions were over just minutes after 11. I got to my car at 11:09. Now, there is a few things that still need worked on. The track is very racy but the facilities is fairly small. The main grandstand probably holds 1000 to 1500 people, maybe a few more. I am no bean counter on seating capacity. Point is, its smaller than most of our local tracks. A new section of stands will be complete before Speedweek. This will help a ton for the Speedweek fans. The pit grandstands is decent size and is very nice. It will hold many of the over flow crowd that buys a pit pass. Also, there is a little area for lawn chairs. The restrooms are very small. I heard some port of johns are on the way for the big Speedweek show. Trust me, those few minor things are nothing compared to the racing that this place can produce. It was an excellent show and has the making to be every week. I for sure 100% will be back, maybe even this Saturday night. I can tell you this, if you like quick shows, great action, and great racing, you missed it last week. Plus, its only $10 on a regular show, and remained the same price for the NRA show. I can see this place making a good name for itself in a hurry once people take in a show for there. I have heard about it for over a year and heard it was a good racy joint but had no idea what I had been missing if the racing is anywhere near what it was last week.
THURSDAY USAC Gas City IN
FRIDAY AVSS & IMSA Toledo NRA Limaland Motor Sports Park
SATURDAY NRA Eldora IMSA Jones MI USAC Sprints and Midgets ORP in Indy
SUNDAY KISS Kokomo IN
Do you hear it? Can you hear it? It is saying Eldora is back! See the world didn't come to an end of anything yet and Eldora is pretty much fixed. If you would of seen any sprint car message board in the world since April, it was telling how the end has came to Eldora. Well, like Tony said and many fans that have been around for a while, it will get fixed, don't worry. Yes, the little dip, ledge, whatever you want to call it that made Eldora a powerhouse rim rider special is gone but, the track actually has multi-grooves you can race on. Yes, one of them involves rim riding against the fence. The Eldora crew has worked hard the past few weeks making strides on obtaining the original goals they set out to achieve. They even dug the Earl of Eldora out of the house and onto a grater. So all seems to be turning well at the Big E.
Saturday, 27 All Star sprints were pit side at Eldora for their first visit of 07. The race was a make-up date from the May 5th rain out. Like stated above, the track was looking more like the Eldora of old. I had a ring side view from the pits since my radio duties switched at the last minute, back to pit reporter. Danny Smith set quick time. The All Star part of the program was running off at a great pace. The 3 heats were to transfer the top 6 to the A. Brian Paulus, Brandon Martin, and Brock Mayes took the heat wins. In heat 1, ROY contender, Craig Mintz, in his 1st ever laps at Eldora, was leading the heat, when a torsion stop fell off the left front of his car going into turn 1. This slammed Mintz into the wall hard. As he flipped down the track, Bill Rose, with no place to go, tagged Mintz's car. All were OK but their cars were junk. Rob Chaney took the dash win. Since a few cars had scratched and only 1 car would miss the show, it was announced all cars would be in the A Main and the B was canceled. Next up, the 30 lap A Main. Shane Stewart and Dale Blaney set the front row of the A. Green, Shane Stewart gets the lead. Lap 4, Ed Neumeister spins in 4, collecting Paulus. Restart, its all Stewart. Chaney, Greg Wilson, and Dean Jacobs try to reel Shane in as the laps race by. Heavy traffic slows Stewart some but, not much. Lap 18, Dale Blaney slows for a yellow while running 4th. Restart, Kevin Huntley tags the wall and slows, Paul May has no place to go and hits Huntley. This puts Chaney and Wilson closer to Stewart with 12 laps to go. Shane Stewart was hooked-up. It was all Stewart taking his first ever Eldora A Main. Chaney, Smith, Wilson, and Mayes rounded out the top 5. All in all it was a good race. Stewart ran away and hide but an excellent battle all race long for 2nd to 5th.
Dean Jacobs has taken the role of super sub again. Last year DJ subbed for Terry McCarl and Tim Shaffer due to their injures. Butch Schroeder broke his tail bone a few weeks back at KC and it out at least 1 more month. Enter Dean Jacobs in the Jessup 7k until Butch is healed. Lets all hope Butch gets well soon...Tyler Thompson made a visit to Ohio this past weekend racing Eldora and Attica. I had a chance to talk to Tyler and the crew and you can plan on seeing them more this season. The 22 year old MO driver is testing some waters for the 08 season. He would like to run a series in 08, so look for him to run some All Star shows this season and other shows in our region to get laps and seat time. Tyler seems to be a very approachable guy.
UPCOMING: Of course a HUGE weekend of racing. Thursday: Jack Hewitt Classic Kokomo IN
FRIDAY: All Star Attica OH, USAC Silver Crown Indy Fairgrounds Mile.
SATURDAY: USAC Midgets ORP Indianapolis IN, Little 500 Anderson IN
SUNDAY: NRA Eldora, MSCS Haubstadt IN
MONDAY: 305 sprints Lorain County OH.
Eating dirt, talking on the radio, and chicken sandwiches. Those things would pretty much sum up last weekend's racing for me.
Friday, the All Star Circuit Of Champions hit Attica for their 1st visit of the year. 37 cars were on hand. If you heard or listened yet, I have been doing some pit reporting for the BAS Broadcasting shows out of Fremont Ohio. Friday was one of them. I have a lot of fun doing them and hope people listening enjoys them too. The only problem I have found, it is harder than you think to run up and down pit lane, looking for your interview, and still keeping up whats happening on the track. So far, I have managed to do so but it get crazy sometimes in a big pit area like Attica's.
I am going to try something a little different as far as writing on the races. I am trying a brief summary type thing this week. See if you like it better than the 2 mile long columns i usually write.
The track was in great shape as the cars went out to qualify. Kenny Jacobs set quick time in the upper 11 second bracket. Not bad for his 1st race in 7 months. The 4 heat races went off without too many problems. There was some side by side action back in the pack, as all 4 heat race winners came off of the front row. Not what you usually see at Attica or an All Star event but it was still decent racing. The only real incident was in heat 3 when Chris Andrews and David Harrison got together. Dustin Daggett, Mike Linder, Caleb Griffith, and John Ivy won the heats.
The 6 car dash went to Brock Mayes. 17 cars were lined-up for the B. A huge incident on lap 1 took out the top 3 cars. Chris Andrews, Brian Paulus, and Bruce Robenalt were battling 3 wide off 2 for the lead when Andrews bobbled a little. Paulus tagged Andrews and then shot into Robenalt, causing Robenalt to flip. All were Ok but that was not the case for their cars. After that it was all Gus Wasson in the B. Gus took the win. I got to interview Gus and he is still in disbelief that he is driving for Rick Ferkel. Rick was on of Gus's heroes growing-up and now he is racing for him. Look for Gus to stay back in the sprint cars. After a few year in NASCAR's Busch Series, he is back helping his dad and the dealership and racing sprints.
When its a 40 lap A Main at Attica, more than likely it is going to be a shootout at the end. I love 40 lap shows at Attica! Note to Rex, lol. The A started by Ed Neumeister falling off of turn 1. Too bad for Mark Keegan, as Mark had a great start. Mark said in his pre-race interview he wanted to just stay close to the front and be there at the end. Attica's own, Brandon Martin took the early lead once things got started. Brandon was looking good but a few others were hooking-up and getting fast. Brock Mayes took the lead on lap 11. Lap 24, John Ivy slows with a flat. Greg Wilson is fast and gets an excellent restart, taking the lead on lap 26. Its Wilson's race to lose and at Attica he has owned the place lately. Just as it looks like another Wilson win, lap 35, Greg collects the wall coming off turn 4 and flips. I think many people could not believe what had just happened. This hands the lead to Brock Mayes, who has a tire going down. A yellow on the restart and Mayes's tire just keeps getting worse. Byron Reed is on Brock's tail for the final 5 laps. Every knows Byron will pass Brock since his tire is going flat and Byron is tough at Attica, but will he? Byron trys high, low, in the middle and can;t get past. White flag, Byron gets a run off 2, side by side into 3 and 4, off 4, to the line, close to a photo finish. Brock wins his 1st ever All Star show. It was still a hometown win as Brock's house is just 12 miles down the road. Reed, Keegan, Shane Stewart, from 11th, and Chad Kemenah, from 13th round out the top 5. Yeap, CK was there despite the 12 hour drive to the Outlaws race on Saturday. A very good show and the track stayed racy all night. The only down fall, was not a huge crowd. It was a little chilly and very windy but man, you missed a good. Saturday the original plans were to head to Eldora for the second straight night of All Star action. I have only been to Eldora once this year due to family commitments, so I was looking forward to the visit. Plus, if the track was in the shape they are striving to achieve, I wanted to say hey to all the nay sayers. Well, mother nature decided to scratch plan A. Plan B was check the radar and see how it looks towards Fremont. It looked like the storms would hit close to Fremont but not quite in Fremont, so off I go. An usually trip, I made fly solo for the 1st time in a while. I had some business to talk anyways that I was going to do at Eldora but the venue changed to Fremont. It has been a while since I have spent 95% of the nights in the pits. I remembered quickly, when you stand against the fence on the backstretch at Fremont, you get dirty. The wind was blowing straight into your face.
32 410's and 42 305's were pit side. This was a long night, make-up 305 B's, yep 2 of them, and a make-up 305 A Main were on the card too. The track started off fairly wet but, turned Fremont hard before the night was over. Now before all the Fremont bandwagon starts saying here we go, he's bashing the track, NO I am not. If you don't know by now that Fremont is going to get slick, you better open your eyes. Does it make for bad racing, not usually. Actually, they usually race pretty tight because they are all figuring out how to get hooked-up and stay hooked-up. Is it balls to the walls all out speed, not usually. Do they still crash as hard, this night YES. Some nasty crashes in the 305's that we will get to in a minute.
We will start with the make-up races. The make-up B's went off without any major deals at all. just all out racing. Todd Heuerman and Matt Lucius took the make-up B wins. Even though 305 regular, Ryan Kirkendall didn't make the A, he still had some great chicken sandwich's in his hauler that they offered to share with me. See Ryan is just starting like many, low budget team, no experienced wrenches or driver but he is having fun and learning. The team is based about 15 miles from my house and I have known them for years as huge race fans like myself. Well, most of us have wanted to go drive a sprint car at some time, so they went out and bought one. Its a huge learning curve but at least they are having fun and learning at the same time. I got to remind them when I am coming back, see if they have more chicken, it was good! The make-up 305 A was a pretty darn good race. Duane Zablocki looked strong and jumped to the lead. Duane is a guy that has started at ground zero a few years back in the 305's. He has gotten better each time out and now looks like has a chance at a win. The battle was on for the lead most of the A. Kevin Lee took it on the 2nd restart, then Zablocki again on lap 2. Lee again on lap 4, but Zablocki and others on still on Lee's tail. Lap 9, Heuerman takes a nasty tumble in between turn 1 and 2. He jumped a wheel and went cage 1st into the fence. He was OK. Andy Shammo and Bryan Sebetto was on the move. They pressured Duane in the closing laps and battled out to the end. Shammo takes the win after starting 10th. Sebetto, Zablocki, Bill Kraylek, and Stuart Brubaker rounded out the top 5.
There was 4 heats for the 410 sprints. The only incident of measure was Brandon Marting crashing in to the turn 3 wall. Martin was scratched for the night. Bobby Clark, Paul Weaver, Greg Wilson, and Todd Heller took the heats. The heats were pretty fair with only one winner coming off the front row. With the night before 1st and 2nd place finishers in the A at Attica in the B at Fremont, and on the front row, it was going to be tough to get past them. Byron Reed took the B.
The 30 lap A Main was paying $2500 to win. Greg Wilson took advantage of his pole position and took the early lead. Lap 3, Mark Keegan gets a great run off 2 and takes the lead. Keegan looks strong as Wilson just hang behind some getting ready for traffic. The track was getting slicker as A went on and that is what Dale Blaney needed. Dale car hooked-up and could run 3 different grooves, past traffic and working on Wilson and Keegan. Blaney and Keegan are wheel to wheel for 3 laps. Lap 21, Blaney takes the lead. Just after they past the stripe for lap 21. Keegan falls off the top of turn 2, wait so does Wilson. The 2nd and 3rd place cars just dropped over the bank. This put Byron in 2nd. Blaney cruised the final 9 laps and took the win over Reed, Mike Linder, Lee Jacobs, and Brock Mayes. A pretty good A Main with some excellent side by side racing for the lead between laps 18 and 21.
The regular show 305 heats were full of action. Jimmy McGrath took a wild ride down the backstretch in heat 2. The yellow flew and he climbed a tire, taking a ride. He all but cleared the fence. Just a very small part of his car hit the fence pole sending him back on the track. How do I know, I just walked away from that spot 5 minutes before that and seen the wreck happen standing in Bruce Robenalt's hauler. In heat 4, Shawn Colvin trashed his racer going into turn 1 on the start. How Craig Mintz and other didn't get collected too, I don't know. Mintz for sure won the good hands driving award of the night. Dustin Dinan, Matt Ferrell, Sebetto, and Brad Bowman took the heat wins. The Computer Man Dash went to Bryan Sebetto. The 2 B main went to Matt Merrill, see Ross I got them right this time, j/k buddy, thanks for paying attention and letting me know, and Kevin Lee.
The regular 305 A Main for the night looked to be all Brad Bowman. Brad shot from the pole to the lead and was covering the field until they entered traffic. Craig Mintz was taking the night off form the 410s to have some fun in a 305 and was closing fast. Plus, Andy Shammo was looking to make it 2 for 2 and was on the move from his 9th place starting spot. Mintz tries but can't get past. Now the front 3 are pretty much nose to tail in traffic. Bowman shoots to the inside of Ferrill to put him a lap down, contact, Bowman's front end is broken, Mintz, Shammo, and Sebetto all go off the top of turn 2 to miss the accident. This gives Mintz the lead with 5 to go. Shammo is fast and now has a shot on a clean track ahead. Mintz gets a good restart as Andy tries to get past. They battle and on lap 23, Shammo takes the lead. Shammo sweeps the night. Mintz, Ryan Lowe, Sebetto, and Dinan round out the top 5. A very good A Main.
In closing, I would like to remember Scott Seaton. Scott ran the AVSS and HOSS pavement sprints in Michigan and Indiana. I have watched Scott for years but never really got to know him. I think I said hi or something like that a few years back at Angola one night but that was about it. Even thought I didn't know Scott, I knew he was a good person from what others had said about him. Scott died the way many would probably want, fast and painless, but it is still the part of this sport that is hard for everyone. RIP Scott, God Speed!
FRIDAY: KISS Gas City IN, AVSS M-40 MI, SOD Hartford MI, MSA Birch Run MI
Saturday: KISS North Vernon IN, Sod Thunderbird MI
Last weekend was an excellent weekend for racing in more ways than one. First, the weather was pretty much picture perfect for mid-April. 2nd, there was many races to choose from. 3rd, the 2 shows I took in were excellent races.
The World Of Outlaws made a visit to Attica Raceway Park last Friday night. 55 cars were pit side. What an excellent night of racing. Only the top 44 qualifiers made the heat races. The heats were stacked. I still don't like the new WOO rule that puts so much weight on qualifying but, hey, we will live with it and see what happens. I am just one that thinks everyone deserves a fair shot and sending 11 cars to a NQ race and only taking 2 to the tail of the C out of it, just seems like you want the little man to stay home. Anyways, at least I give the World Of Outlaws credit for new ideas and they are trying to put on a good show for the fans and a quickly ran show. Like I said before, the heats were stacked. Plus, the ARP crew had the track in prime shape for the Outlaws, so plenty of passing and slicing and dicing were on the agenda. Pal Weaver took a tumble in the NQ race. All the heats were full of action. Shane Stewart starting dead last to earning a transfer spot. Greg Wilson shooting from 4th to 1st in a half of a lap. Rob Chaney trying a HUGE slider on the last lap, in turn 4, for a transfer spot, falling just short and collecting the wall. McMahan and Schatz racing side by side for 2/3rd of the heats for the lead. Those were just some of the bigger highlights of the heat action. By the way, Steve Kinser, Greg Wilson, Butch Schroeder, and Paul McMahan took the heats wins. Brooke Tatnell took the C, yeah I said C, told you the heats were stacked. Craig Dollansky took the Dash. Neon Dion Hindi took the B Main. Zac Chappell took another tumble in the B. Zac has flipped 6 times in WOO competition this year. The 40 laps A Main was a good one. Attica's 40 lappers always seem to produce a great race. I hope Attica keeps all of their sanctioned shows 40 lappers because they seem to not disappoint. Dollansky took the early lead. After that the race was on. The battle upfront was all race long. Plus, it just wasn't just a 2 car battle. Lap 6, Schroeder does a small rollover. After that it was hammer down. Dollansky, Kinser, and Saldana was putting on an sweet battle for the lead. Each one trying to squeeze the other just enough to slow them but yet not enough to cause harm or contact. A true classic battle. Coming down to complete lap 27, Joey Saldana made a stellar move to take the lead. They were 3 wide going into 4, Joey kinda just diamond-ed the turn a little and came flying off the bank, splitting Dollansky and Kinser, pulling the wheels off the ground a little, taking the lead. Kinser never gives up battling as Schatz and Jason Meyers enter the battle. Joey looks to have things in hand as they were taking the while flag. Coming off 4, Kerry Madsen flips, collecting Jeremy Campbell and Jason Sides. One rule I like, no lapped cars in between the leaders. 4 cars have a real shot at the green, white, checkered. Joey was too tough and holds on for the win over Kinser, Schatz, Meyers, and Dollansky. An excellent show that was ran at a very decent pace, getting fans out of there at a fair time. You could not of asked for too much more. Sunday my BAS Broadcasting duties took me to Winchester(IN)Speedway for the Rich Vogler Classic. This was the USAC Sprints only visit to Winchester this season. I have went to Winchester for years and wasn't sure if I was going this time until Bash called and needed some radio help. Actually, it just gave me a good excuse to go and get away with it with women. Honey, I got to work it. LOL!! 28 USAC Sprints were on hand. One of the best car counts I remember in years at the wicked high banks. the USAC Sprints always put on a good race there but, this one was excellent. Marc Jessup takes fast time at a 14.281. Trust me, that is fast at Winchester, like 130 average speed. Jessup's day was just beginning. he usually runs his family owned 14j car but today, he gets to pleasure of driving for Keith Kunz. Lap 1, heat 1, Jessup's day turns bad quickly! The front row wiggles coming to the green and the field stacks up behind them, just as Marc hits the go button. Jessup climbs a wheel and flips past the flag stand. After that, the heats were wicked fast and produced some hair raising passes and moves. Dave Steele, Dave Darland, Brian Tyler, and Cameron Dodson took heat wins. The Kunz crew makes some fast repairs and gets Jessup back out for the B. Just as the field is moving into formation, Jessup is on pit road. Hood is off and the crew goes to town. Seems the throttle is hanging 5% to 8% open. They need to go and Jessup motions for a push off. A good battle for transfer spot but, Jessup just spanks the field in the B. Come to find out after the B. The crew never got the throttle fixed and Marc ran the 1st 3 or 4 laps of the b, using his thumb to control the throttle. What, his thumb? Yep, the problem fixed itself after a few laps and things went back to normal. 30 A Main. Dave Darland gets takes the early lead. Darland is good but, cars are faster trying to get around quickly. Lap 7, Jessup's day is getting better again as he takes the lead. The battle is on and a great race is the product. Jessup has things under control upfront but 2nd to 7th, you could put a blanket over them. a few cautions slow the pace. Jessup is still strong but the pavement master, Steele, is closing, as is the Kunz team car of Darren Hagen. Jessup is too much and puts a good spin on his roller coaster ride, taking the win. Steele, Hagen, Tracy Hines, and Eric Gordon round out a close top 5. There was actually some last lap drama coming off 4 to the stripe. Gordon was hounded the last 5 laps by a quick Kevin Swindell. Kevin would get a run but, Gordon would get wide enough, Kevin would have to back off. Last lap, coming off 4, Gordon wiggles a touch, Kevin sticks his nose in there as Gordon comes down to block, contact and a mess break out. Kevin slides across the stripe in 6th, then slams the inside wall. Daron Clayton and Nick Green get collected. Green takes a nasty tumble into turn 1. The car is a write off, not a straight part on it. A beautiful sunny day and a great race. Jessup has a story book day and some of the young guns show they got game. Looks like an interesting year in USAC.
The weather was getting better in Ohio. OK not really but, at least one show got in the books last weekend. Friday, 41 World Of Outlaws were pit side at the Eldora Speedway.
Many changes were present as you past through the gates of Eldora. The empty spot between the turn 3 grandstand and the love tunnel now features level ground and a nice pit grandstand. More huge billboards grace the backstretch. New lights brighten turn 1 through turn 4. Even the pits benefit from some of the new lights. Then there is the new clay on the track. This of course has been the hot topic of the week. Eldora's owner, Tony Stewart, has already made a public statement answering everyone's talks of the week. What has happened, the crew had added a bunch of new clay and in sense, has not cut the banking down but, has raised the bottom of the track. With all of the excellent Ohio weather of late, the project wasn't 100% complete. Friday was actually the 1st day in 2 weeks the track crew really got a good chance to work on the track. So, was the track 100% in tip top shape. No. Come on, is wasn't that bad though when you take everything into account. If you seen any sprint car message board in the world after Friday night, you would think the end of the world came to Eldora last week. Was the cars racing inches off the wall? No. Have you ever seen a race before where cars didn't get all the way to the wall at Eldora? Yes. Will you again? Probably sometime. Was is dusty? Yes, what dirt track isn't anymore. It is dirt track racing. Was is absolutely terrible racing? No. There was 4 cars the last 3 laps that could of won the A Main. The guy leading on lap 28, finished 4th. Yeah, is was not balls to the wall, slide job city, but, it wasn't the end of all time like so many message boards and such made it out to be. As Simon would say " it was OK." I personally think, just my cents for now, the new clay will make for much better side by side racing at Eldora. Not to worry, you will see some rim riding inches from the wall again at Eldora. I think with the new clay, you will see a middle and bottom groove develop too, making a 3 groove track at times. When that happens, you will totally forget the 1st night on the new clay, no one was riding high at Eldora. Not everything will perfect every since night of racing, no matter how good things are or how much you try. Some people just need to deal with that and not doom everything before a real chance was giving. OK enough of my useless wisdom.
Jason Meyers set quick time with a 12.972. Yes, the track was fast even though dust was flying. The WOO bunch has another new format for the 07 season. Some of it I like, some I don't. We will get to that in a minute. Anyways, phase 1 of the new format, the top 2 finishers in the heat, make the Dash, and draw for starting spots in the Dash. Then, spots 9 and 10, in the Dash, are filled by the 2 fastest qualifiers that transferred to the A but, didn't finish in the top 2 spots of their heat. Yeah I know, you need a translator to keep up but, I actually think if you have a Dash that determines the top 5 rows of the A Main, this is a good format. Only inverting 4 in the heat, I am not so keen on. Meyers, Daryn Pittman, Jason Sides, and Danny Lasoski took the heat wins. Zach Chappell took a nasty tumble on the start of heat 1 in turn 2. Meyers and Sides both started 4th in there heats. The C Main featured 5 WOO regulars. The cold weather play tricks on many top teams and their engines. Guys like McCarl, Tim Kaeding, Randy Hannagan, Sammy Swindell, and Jason Martin scheduled for the C. Jason Martin took the C. The C and B Mains is where the new format is not good, in my opinion. The B is the top 12 fastest that did not transfer to the A through. The rest are in the C. So like last Friday, if you qualify bad, you night is pretty much over. Not many guys are going from the C, to the B, to the A this year. Only 2 transfer from the C to the B. Only a 14 car B Main, unless someone scratches from the B, then is it only 13 or 12 or how many cars make the call. Why not add cars from the C to the B when there is a scratch in the B? I didn't think the B paid that much money or points that a person could not be added when a scratch occurs. To me, this shows a sign that they don't want over 32 cars. If you have problems and qualify 33rd or worse, they don't think you are worthy of a chance of making the A. I could be seeing things the wrong way here but, only 1 car that qualified out of the top 24 made the A. That was the 25th quickest car. If Zach Chappell would not of scratched for the night, the 25th guy probably would have been sitting out of the A too. Sorry to ramble but, this format just don't seem too oriented for anyone qualifying 25th fastest and beyond. Anyways, Daryn Pittman took the Dash, holding off a fast Donny Schatz. Rob Chaney took the B Main, which featured 9 WOO regulars. The 30 lap A Main was next. Pittman and Schatz pace the field. Pittman gets the lead on the start. The inside groove was the preferred line of the night. Lap 2, Justin Henderson stops. Pittman maintains the lead on the restart but, Jac Haudenschild is making an early bid for the lead and they battle closely. Lap 5, Haud takes the lead. Lap 7, Brian Paulus slows for a caution. Haud pulls away from the field on the restart, as the battle starts to heat up behind him. The laps wind down and the top 5 cars are bunching together in traffic. Meyers is close, so is Schatz, and Sides. 5 to go, 4 cars have a real shot at the win. They battle past traffic. Lap 29, Meyers takes the lead off 2. Haud fades as Schatz and Sides give Meyers a shot. Meyers wins, Schatz, Sides, Haudenschild, and Pittman round out the top 5. Haud looked to have it in the bag but faded quick at the end. Sides may have been the fastest car the last 2 laps but fell short. Schatz works the outside of the pack but, couldn't make a pass on the leader.
FRIDAY: WOO Attica
SATURDAY: WOO Haubstadt IN, USAC Lawrenceburg IN
SUNDAY: USAC Winchester IN
See you at Attica and working pit road for the BAS broadcast at Winchester. As always, feel free to contact me with any comments, complaints, or other.
As the year comes to an end and the new one arrives, we get a few shots to catch a racing fix.
First off, the Rumble In The Expo (Fort Wayne Indiana Expo Center) tradition continues the week between Christmas and New Year's. This event has grown and grown each year and has turned into a major event. Not only do you have non-stop racing action all day and part of the night, the promotion crew has added more and more side shows to it each year. The addition of the Fan Fair this year was an excellent idea. Sam Hornish Jr and Jack Arute signed many autographs and gave fans a chance to catch-up with them when they were not so busy at the track. Tim's Simulators, always a big hit, the Flat Out booth, Hooter's Girls, the new women's roller derby team from Fort Wayne, the silent auction, and the usual vendors made this a happening, alone with a race. I have made all the Rumble In The Expo events to date except the 2nd day of this year's event. I had a late family Christmas. I did make Friday's show and it was full of action. 41 USAC Midgets, around 30 some 600 mini sprints, many quarter midgets, and the annual stellar field of go-karts were all ready to battle. As in the past few years, Tony Stewart (midgets) and John Ivy (mini-sprints) are the men to beat. This year was no different. Both set quick time in their respective division with a blistering pace. Stewart, Dave Darland, Drew Charlson, and Tracy Hines took the midget heat wins. The tight indoor track makes for some close action, a little banging, and some bump and run driving. Billy Wease tagged the wall hard in his heat, other than that, the incidents were fairly minor typical indoor racing deals. With a large field, 3 USAC B Main were ran. Kyle Hamilton, Mel Kenyon, and Brandon Knupp won the B's. The invert was 8 for the 60 lap midget A Main. Could Tony Stewart work from 8th to the lead? Rich Corson took the lead as the green fell. Smoke was on fire and cruised to the lead on lap 8. The only thing stopping Tony after that was the 7 cautions for minor incidents. Tony earned the Smoke name tonight by smoking the field. Only the top 3 were on the lead lap. Smoke took the easy w over Darland, Mike Fedorcak, a great run by Ginny Quinones, and the ageless one, Mel Kenyon, rounded out the top 5.
John Ivy has put a serious whipping on the 600 mini sprints the last few years at the Rumble and this year was no different. John took the lead by lap 2 in the 50 lap A Main and went on a evening cruise after that. Lapping the major part of the field, more than 3 or 4 times, Ivy took the win. Jason Ormsby, Danial Robinson, Russ Belt, and Erik Rudolph rounded out the top 5.
It is always fun watching the kids in the quarter midgets. Those little racer not only race their hearts out, they still have that natural excitement that all racers had before all the sponsor pressures, series pressure, money pressures, and pressure to say or do the right thing under the watchful eye of the racing gods. With sprint and midget drivers names names like Nemire, Feeney, Ronk, Rankin, and Streicher in the quarter midgets, looks like racing still runs deep in the family bloodlines.
The Rumble shows are always a good time and a winter fix for some racing. The shows run non-stop and are VERY well organized. To get that many racers and races off in an orderly time is just amazing. The next event on the Rumble calender is January 20th, the 1st Rumble In Ohio. As stated before, I have made almost every Rumble event, not just Ft Wayne, to date but will have to miss this one. Long time racer friend, Bruce Robenalt ties the knot that day. Since he his a good friend and told me a year and a half ago NOT to make plans for that day, my civil duties and friendship bond will be in Tiffin Ohio that day. Sarah Fisher will be in the fan zone that day alone with Kenny Schrader. KS will put a helmet on later that day to race in the midget program. Jack Arute will run a 600 again that day. A new twist that day, probably to try and rattle Ivy's set-up a little, the 600's will run non-wing.
This past Sunday Eldora Speedway, the All Stars, and the ALMS late models held their banquet at the Eldora Ballroom. It was standing room only, another Eldora sell-out event. As Eldora Speedway guru, Larry Boos stated, in typical Eldora fashion, they are trying to due too much in a short period of time. What he forgot to leave out, in typical Eldora fashion, they ran a tight ship and got in show done in excellent time. This was like my 3rd or 4th Eldora banquet and by far the best one to date. The Eldora crew always tries to keep in as entertaining as possible with Larry cracking a few jokes, Earl getting involved, and some interviews with the drivers but, this year it was like a comedy show. New Eldora Speedway owner, Tony Stewart, like you haven't heard that a million times by now, was on hand and must of ate his funny pancakes in the morning because he was a blast. Maybe since he was finally wearing and suit it was just cutting the oxygen off to his head but, either way, it was a riot. If you didn't laugh of enjoy the show, you need some serious help. The banquet was done well once again. The food is always top-notched. The video and picture shows was a great addition.
Notes from the Eldora side and All Star side of the banquet. Eldora opens March 31st with the USAC Sprints...The new dirt is in place on the track and is looking good...New Musco lights are on the way for Eldora in 07...The turn 4 restrooms are going to receive an overhaul...The Eldora Ballroom is getting A/C and the plans are to have more events on race weekends in the Ballroom...USAC reported 07 looks great and they are already working on things for 08...Dale Blaney has been released of his day to day duties at Sharon Speedway in hopes of racing more. Maybe a run at the All Star title again...Chad Blonde's future depends on sponsorship money. His mom and dad has took his career as far as they can without any major funding coming aboard. Let's hope Chad is back on the track in 07 because he is too bright of a future star in this sport for him to be bleacher side...James Mosher is jumping to the WOO in 07...Other that James and Chad's question mark, all the other top 10 drivers in the 06 All Star points will be back in 07...The All Stars and Eldora Speedway are working on a huge show for 07. No details are final yet as sponsorship dollars will plan a major role in if the event happens. Both sides said it will be an attention getter if all goes as planned...Ohio Speedweek has received a boost in the overall week's points fund. $15,000 will be up for grabs. Plus, depending on sponsorship again, a huge bonus may be up for grabs if you will 3 or 4 Speedweek shows...The All Stars stated the 07 tour has 43 stand alone dates and 7 or 8 co-events.
OTHER NOTES: NRA 360 regular Kent Wolters was spotted in a cast and on crutches Sunday. Kent had a little off-season accident that should be healed in plenty of time for the upcoming season...Neil Shepherd plans to run all the USAC dirt sprint shows. Neil would love to find a pavement ride to go for the USAC points, or at least a ride in 1 of the first few pavement shows to get try and stay up in points.. Limaland Motorsports Park in making some major improvements for 07. New dirt is already on the track and new grandstands are being constructed. Look for a pretty similar slate in 07 at Limaland with exception of the USAC show. Hopefully USAC sees they made a mistake and gets Lima back on the schedule...Attica Raceway Park is making some major improvements too. Go to their website, www.atticaracewaypark.com for pics. New lights and a new catch fence has been installed... Wayne County Speedway has just signed a major sponsor renaming the speedway with the title sponsors name in it...To me it looks like many of our Ohio tracks are staying major players in 07 or working towards the major player goal. All these improvements seem to show who wants to keep up with the times and do everything they can to improve their entertainment value. Now lets hope it all works out. Speaking back on USAC, why do they put 10 cars in a heat INDOORS and allow all 41 cars to run heats but will only run 8 in a heat and only let 32 cars run heats outdoors? I think that has really hurt their car counts this past season. Let EVERYONE run a heat, period! With so many tracks running on the same nights, why on earth would someone go run a race, knowing there will be a large field and only 32 cars actually get to race? Answer, they are not anymore. That is why you don't see too many 40 car fields at a USAC event anymore. Just my 2 cents.
Happy Holidays to all!! With 50 degree temps in December, it doesn't really feel like the Christmas Season but, the season is upon us.
Even though it seems like it has been ages since I wrote a column, I am still here and haven't disappeared yet.
Is it just me or does it seem like the off season is just as busy as the real racing season anymore? The only problem with the off season, most of the busy part is checking the sources for the facts of all the rumors, hear say, and such that seems to fly around non-stop these days. Don't get me wrong, some of it is all fact and actual news. It is the ones where someone throws someone else under the bus and drives away that creates the most stir.
Just a few weeks from now, the indoor season starts. The Rumble Series has 3 excellent nights of racing planned this season. 1st off, December 29th and 30th at Fort Wayne Indiana's Expo Center. The card features USAC National Midgets, 600 cc winged mini-sprints, and go-karts. Sam Hornish Jr. will be on hand the 29th for an autograph session. Then on the 30th, Tony Stewart will be racing in the USAC National Midgets event. Just in my humble opinion, you would think if Sam Hornish Jr. is already there, why doesn't he get behind the wheel of a midget?Regardless, they will be great shows, like always. Then, part 2 will take place January 20th at the Ohio State Fairgrounds Coliseum. The 1 day show showcases the same divisions as the Fort Wayne show. The racer's racer, Kenny Schrader, will be behind the wheel of a USAC Midget that night.
HoserVille Ohio is alive and well! The group is closing on its 3rd year and has passed out over $7000 to injured drivers racing in Ohio, to date. The Northern Ohio Sprint Car Show has just signed March 24th 2007 as HoserVille Ohio Day. The 4th annual HoserVille Ohio auction will take place from 3PM to 5 PM that day. The annual benefit is the group's main source of income for the injured drivers fund. Anyone wanting more information on HoserVille Ohio go to www.hoservilleohio.com or e-mail email@example.com
Hot off the press. OK some of it you may have already heard but, others you may have not. Tony Stewart announced Levi Jones and Tracy Hines at his USAC drivers for 07. Bobby Barth will wrench the 21 Hines ride. Bubby Jones comes over to TSM to wrench the 20 ride for Jones. Chevrolet will support the program...Paul McMahan, we pretty much knew this one, was named TSM's World Of Outlaws driver today as well. Bass Pro Shop is back on board for Paul and crew chief Jimmy Carr. TSM should open a new race shop near Indy in January to house all of the teams...The next generation of Robenalt Team 98 Racing will be on the track in 07. Regular Team 98 driver, Bruce Robenalt, will turn the wheel over to 15 year old son Robert some in 07. A late October test showcased some of Robert's talent and earned him a seat in the 410 powerhouse. Look for Bruce to run the car on Friday nights at Attica and Robert Saturday nights at Wayne County. Bruce grew up racing at Wayne County and believes that will be the proper place for Robert to start his career. Bruce plans to dial the car in the 1st time or 2 at Wayne County before handing the car over to Robert...Rob Chaney has teamed up with Randy Hammer for the 07 season. The team plans to run fairly local, within 4 hours or so of their Fremont basis. Hammer ran with the All Star tour a few years back before parking the ride...Recent talks with 305 driver Mark Pridemore has him looking towards racing more pavement than dirt in 07. Time will tell...More recent talks have Neil Shepherd's plans up in the air for 07. The high cost of winged 410 racing has them checking out the non wing option for 07. Nothing is set in stone yet. If a major sponsor came on board that could dictate things a little too. Neil did some amazing things this past season as a rookie. No matter what avenue the team takes I believe they will be OK...Brock Mayes has been racing in Western Australia the past month. Brock is actually driving for the team Dean Jacobs won the Australian Championship in last season. Some early problems have forced the team not to showcase their full potential yet. Brock did set fast time and take 2nd place in the A Main last weekend. Lets hope the bad luck is over for them...Speaking of Dean Jacobs. Dean leaves for Australia between Christmas and New Years. Dean will be driving for the Harvey Team this season across the pond...The Eldora, All Star, and ALMS banquet takes place January 7th in the Eldora Ballroom. Track owner Tony Stewart plans to hand the awards out that day...The World Of Outlaws have just added Attica Raceway Park to the 07 tour, April 20th. That is usually the Attica Spring Nationals date. Not 100% sure if this is the Spring Nationals replacement or what. Either way, the WOOs at Attica in April sounds like a very good idea...Before I close this column, I need to give a few shout-outs. 1st of all to Stacy Nickels. Stacy is the daughter of Tim Nickels, Tim's Dirt Track Simulators, and was involved in a major car accident recently. Some badly broken bones, bumps, bangs, and a long recovery period but it sounds like she will be A-OK. Well as normal as she can get. Just kiddin' Stacy, get well girl!! Another shout-out to a friend of mine, Jamie, who better be reading this column since its been so long since I wrote one. What's up Jamie? Told you not to doubt me.
This year's USAC 4-Crown at Eldora Speedway was already a legendary event, 25th anniversary, the Mopar Thunder deal making it $25,000 to each USAC divisions A Main, and the huge bonus offered by Mopar. Now, it will hold another legendary mark, the now famous Eldora marathon. First and foremost, I want to give a HUGE round of applause to the entire Eldora staff for sticking to their word and getting the 4 Crown in, no matter what. Stuff like this made Eldora the hollow grounds it is today. Glad the new era can continue that special edge that is Eldora. The weekend was one of those that will be talked about until the end of racing time, like the HBO a handful years back at the Big E. Was the place mess? Yes. Was it a pain? For many especially all the track workers and the pace truck driver. Was it fun? For most the part. Would I do it again? Without a doubt. Was it the best decision for all? YES, why cancel the show at 2:30 AM, send everyone miles back to motels, home, etc, and bring them back Sunday at 11, when rain could still be in the area. Thing is, not too many people left early, many actually stayed for it all, and you didn't hear man boo hoos because they kept racing. Some people slept, some mingled, some just sat quite, but, race fans did what they do, hung in there and supported the sport we all love.
38 USAC Midgets, 54 Sprint cars, and 32 Silvercrown cars were pit side when the track was ready for hot laps Friday night. The midgets got all of their hot laps and time trails in the books. The sprints were on car 48 in time trails, when the skys let loose. Ricky Stenhouse Jr was quick time at that point but, after 2 hours of non-stop rain, the event was postponed until Saturday. This meant the sprints had to re-qualify since all of them did not get timed in.
Saturday when the gates kicked open, it didn't look to good for much racing. Rain most of the early morning and heavy clouds, with rain in the forecast, was the order of the day. The events were to start at 1PM. An excellent decision again by the Eldora staff, moved the start time up to just about 12:30. The chicken BBQ was moved ahead too, allow fans to partake in the event.
The marathon was on. The sprints got re-timed and the mods and silvercrown was ready for their shot. Well, mother nature decided to delay that. After many off and on showers, all day, the qualifying was finally finished somewhere around 8ish. Not exactly sure due to taking part in the other race of the weekend, Tim's Simulators Mopar Challenge. That too was a marathon due to the weather and such. Finally, the meat and potatoes part of Friday's show was finally to begin, Saturday night. The Non-qualifiers race for the sprints was 1st. Mike Miller took the honors in that. As usually, the heat races were excellent for the 4- Crown. Something about midgets and sprints running 3 wide, side by side, at top speed, gets you excited. Brady Bacon, JJ Yeley, Shane Hollingsworth, and Michael Pickens took the midget heat wins. Yes, I did say JJ. He was to be in a 2nd Benic sprint car, actually was 2nd quick Friday night before the rains, but had to scratch since the sprints re-qualified during his trip back to Dover for the Busch race. Jerry Coons Jr., Scotty Weir, Hollingsworth, and Josh Wise took the sprint heats. All these races on a super fast Eldora and not 1 major incident. Until, the mods hit the track. Not only did the rain delay the show, several hours, a mod tested Tony's new fence in turn 3 and the mod won. Around an hour delay to repair the fence. After all this, here comes the rain again. Finally, Tim's deal was over, yeah it ran that late too, and Saturday's program was about to start. Oh yeah, it was decided that the stands would not be cleared between shows, due to time restraints. Another classy move. Granted, some people that only had Friday tickets got a deal, or ones that had Saturday tickets and was left in a little early, got a bargain, but it goes to show, the track was committed to the fans, drivers, and teams by getting the show in the books. Matt Westfall, Dickie Gaines, and Joe Liguori got tangled up on the start of the midget B. Coons Jr. took the B. Jeff Babcock flipped in the sprint B. Tracy Hines took the win. Paul White took the Silvercrown B.
After another brief rain. The 25 lap midget A Main was pushed off at 1:24 AM, the 1 to go was given at 1:34. Don Droud Jr.'s rear-end locked up just before the green was to wave. Tracy Hines took the lead on the start. It was all Hines in the beginning. JJ Yeley was on the move but, come to a stop on lap 14, ending his night. Hines had company in Darren Hagen and Adam Clarke. Clarke was getting faster as the laps wound down, taking 2nd spot, and working towards Hines. Lap 20, Levi Jones stops. Hines shows his Eldora experience and holds off a quicker Clarke at the finish line. Hagen, Davey Ray, up from 14th, and Coons Jr round out the top 5.
Next, the 30 sprint car A Main. Rob Chaney and Hines set to front row. On the start, Chaney gets in trouble going into 1, spins, collecting Jon Stanbrough, who flips. Restart, Hines takes the lead. Lap 1, Coons Jr., Mike Brecht, Levi Jones, Daron Clayton, and Shane Cottle have a meeting in turn 2. The only thing slowing Hines is mother nature on lap 14. It is now 2:24 AM. What to do. Wait out the storm, knowing it will be 4 or so until cars are back on the track, or, send everyone packing and return 8 hours later at 11AM. The show must go on, so the wait is on. 4:17 AM the 1st car is pushed off for wheel packing. 4:54AM the final 16 laps of the sprint A gets the 1 to go sign. Wait, can't go yet. The brand new 2006 Dodge pace truck tries to knock down the infield wall. Green again, YEAH. Josh Wise is just flat footing it after the restart. Lap 19, Stenhouse Jr. spins in 4. Hines holds on at the restart but, Wise is cooking. Hines has many laps around Eldora and shows that pays, holding Wise at bay to collect his 2nd $25,000 check of the night/day/morning/whatever it is by now. Wise, Brady Bacon, Dave Darland, and Mat Neely round out the top 5.
Next, the 50 lap USAC Silvercrown A Main. It would be awesome to see a USAC sprint and Silvercrown double header sometime next season at Eldora besides, just the 4- Crown. The big cars are pretty cool to watch on the high banks. Mat Neely won the pole and showed why on the start. Lap 1, Stenhouse backs it into the turn 1 wall collecting, Ray, Bud Kaeding, Brian Tyler, Chaney, and Teddy Beach. Kaeding returns but points leader Tyler is done for the night. This would cause BT to lose the points lead to Kaeding. The usually action packed Silvercrown race turned into a Mat Neely driving school. Mat spanked the boys bad in this one. All but the top 5 were lapped. Neely went on to take his 1st ever Silvercrown win. Mike Brecht, Coons Jr., Darland, and Shane Cottle rounded out the top 5. Neely was very happy but said he really didn't think his 1st ever Silvercrown win would be at 6 AM. No truth to the rumor Mat wants all Silvercrown races to start at 5:30 AM.
Once again, kudos to the entire Eldora staff and race teams to get the show in...Bryan Clauson was spotted walking pit side. Great to see Bryan back at the track...I ran into Kyle Stugill at the Simulator race. Kyle believes his sprint car days are over. After breaking his neck early this season at Eldora, most of his team has been sold. They were just doing it for a hobby and don't really need to reform. Kyle said don't rule out a 100% retirement or rule out a return to a different division of racing some year. Glad to see Kyle 100% again...Look for Niel Shepard to run a few more non wing shows this season. With the All Stars done this Saturday and Niel hailing from Indiana and wanting to race yet, a Gas City, Terre Haute, or Kokomo race(s) could sport the red 4N in the pits. Neil is very impressive this year and will impress the non wing boys here in a race or 2 once he gets the handle on that. Niel is by far by pick for 410 rookie of the year.
UPCOMING: FRIDAY: USAC Ford Focus Final Gas City IN, MSCS Lawrenceburg IN
SATURDAY: All Stars Eldora, MSCS Lawrenceburg, IMSA/AVSS Berlin MI, MSA Sandusky OH
Many have asked, "where have you been ?" and, "did you give up on sprint car racing ?". Here is the answer. After hitting a Big and Rich concert in Lima, Pittsburgh Steelers game, in Pittsburgh, the ARCA race at Toledo, the biggest late model race of the year at Eldora, and being in a demo derby at the local county fair, it is time to get back to some sprint car racing. It does seem like ages since I have been to a sprint car race. Really it has only been since August 18th but, it seems like it has been a season ago. So really, I have been around, just in different places. I am always somewhere, even when I am not chasing race cars. Right now, I am suppose to be at a BMW driving school down by Charlotte NC but, I wormed my way out of it to hit Eldora and Kokomo this weekend, plus, hopefully take home Mopar's $5000 this weekend at Eldora.
There are still plenty of sprint car races this season, if you are willing to travel away from your local tracks that have shut down for the season. This weekend is a HUGE weekend. Eldora host the USAC 4 Crown Nationals. Mopar has put up some major $$$ for this event. The 4 Crown is already a great race, this just added more value to an already excellent event. $25,000 goes to the winner of the sprint, midget, and silvercrown winners Saturday night. A $100,000 to sweep the 3 USAC event and another $25,000 bonus if you claim all 3 USAC events and the modified A Main Saturday. 1 person could win $202,500 by sweeping the weekend. Will it happen? Hewitt did it almost 10 years ago when there was no bonus. Could get exciting. Plus, it should be interesting to see who shows up. Some regular winged racers named Stenhouse, Wolfe, Swindell, and others have been rumored to have rides in 1 or more divisions. I hope mother nature decides to be nice and lets us enjoy what could be the greatest weekend of racing all year. Plus, Eldora has a chicken BBQ, a live band, and Tim's Simulators $5000 to win tournament. A weekend of racing the way it should be. I remember the US Dirt Nationals at Terre Haute, and other places, but Terre Haute made it a happening. There was racing all weekend, plus, flea markets, monster truck rides, kiddie rides, free beer party, and other stuff during the down time to make it a true race fest. Looks like Tony and the crew are trying that for this years 4 Crown. I have always wondered why more tracks haven't tried stuff like this on a 2 day show. It surely should help sell more food and beer. Then, if that is not enough for the weekend, the WOO and All Star sprints hit Kokomo Speedway Sunday night, with non-wing sprints as the support division! A weekend I have been looking forward too every since I seen it booked. Next, the NST hits Putnamville Speedway next Tuesday the 26th, for the Bob Kinser Classic.
After this weekend, the USAC Ford Focus hit Gas City for their final points race of the year, along with Gas City's normal Friday night show. Eldora host the final All Star points show the next night. That takes us through September. Plus, Lawrenceburg has a big non-wing show that Friday and Saturday. October sees sprints at Gas City the 1st Friday night of the month, USAC at Terre Haute the same night and the following night, and Kokomo's Jack Hewitt race on the 14th. If you want to add some late model into your diet, you can hit Eldora the 6th or 7th and KC the 19th- the 21st. Kenny Jacobs will try to take the $50,000 from the late model boys at KC. If you want some road trips, I recommend the National Open at Williams Grove September 29th and 30th. I went last year for the 1st time and it was a blast. Or you can hit the Hub City 350 at Hagerstown October 28th and 29th for sprints, late models, and big blocks. I am sure I have missed some but, that is what I can think of at this point. So don't pack up those racing blankets and chairs yet, we still have plenty of action ahead.
Just want to finish by taking a moment to wish Bryan Clauson a speedy recovery. Bryan is a great talent and a true future star in the sport of racing. It sounds like BC has a long road to full recovery but, should be back at it again, hopefully very soon.
See you at Eldora, Kokomo, and my 1st trip to Putnamville.
Living in Northwest Ohio can have its advantages. Last week, I caught 2 WOO shows with in a 90 mile radius of my house.
Wednesday, it was off to the Butler Battlegrounds, in Michigan, for the WOO 1st appearance since August 21, 1982. Believe it or not, I was only 11, but I was there back in 1982. Finally, a race that is only 57 miles, 1 way, from my house. Butler is the closest weekly sprint car track too me but, I rarely head that way. 41 cars were pit side. I must admit, the track was in a lot better shape than I expected. With temps near 100, it was a hot one. A late arriving but, decent crowd was on hand. With some extra track prep taking place, it looked like a long night was in store. The WOO announced a new starting procedure for the rest of the 06 season at the driver's meeting. Now, you will see 2 white lines in turn 4. Almost a box type area. The front row cannot get on the throttle until they are inside the 2 white lines. Pole car still sets the pace. Then, on restarts, there will be 2 orange cones. 1 somewhere on turn 4 and 1 at the flag stand. The leader cannot get on the throttle until he is somewhere past the 1st cone. Something new to help keep the starts equal and fair. So far, I like the new concept. Even though the track was running about 45 minutes behind time, once things got started, they pushed the program through. Of course, the lightening in the distance that keep creeping closer to the track could of have a big factor in the speed of the program. James Mosher had a steering bolt break, trashing the brand new 12m machine in hot laps. That was his Knoxville car. Brooke Tatnell set quick time of the night. The heat race were some excellent races. Some great battles upfront and some tight racing for transfer spots. Even a few locals were shinning in the heats. Also, Niel Shepard showed no fear in his heat. How about Haud and his bonsai moves? Brandon Martin, Sean Robinson, Shepard, and Jac Haudenschild won the heats. Martin held Chad Kemenah at bay. Robinson pulled off the upset win for the locals. Shepard battled wheel to wheel with Butler master, now All Star regular Chad Blonde. Haud, well lets say it was typical Haud style. He used the high side, cowboy up style, and charged to the front. Local Shelby Bilton took a nasty tumble off turn 1 in heat 4. With the weather looking worse and worse off turns 3 and 4, the C Main was scraped. Craig Dollansky held off a fast Tatnell in the Dash. Jeremy Campbell took the B. Doug Zimmerman flew off turn 4 coming to the white flag. A ton a fans seen it but, I guess the flagman didn't, no yellow. The 35 lap A Main was next. You could see the storm moving in, so everyone was pretty quick to line-up. Green flag, Dollansky enters 1, VERY WIDE, and clears Tatnell right off the top side of turn 1 and 2. Brooke had no choice, either spin off the top of the track or climb over Dollansky right rear. Pretty shady move on the 1st lap. Restart, Dollansky gets the advantage, this time without crowding anybody off the track. Joey Saldana has been on a roll and used some of his past Butler experience to take over the top spot on lap 10. Lap 13, Donny Schatz slows. This could be the break Joey needs to gain some major points. Lap 14, Randy Hannagan is battling Dollansky in traffic for 2nd, going into 1, Dollansky slams the door on Hannagan, Randy pinches it too tight and slides into Brandon Martin, both coming to a stop. Lap 20, the yellow finally waves for Niel Shepard, who actually spun off the top of turn 3, 2 1/2 laps before that. Under the yellow, Joey's cars shuts off, ending his night. So much for gaining a bunch of points. Dollansky inherits the lead. Terry McCarl is hot on Dollansky's tail. TMac gets a run off 2, gets past Dollansky, but, hits a hole in 4, allowing Dollansky to regain the lead. Next lap, off 2 again, TMac has another run, this time Dollansky left turns it, forcing TMac towards the infield. Lap 22, Danny Smith slowed. TMac shows CD he was a little unhappy with CD's road blocking moves he seemed to be pull all night, giving him a little love tap in the left front. This yellow put the hard charging Chad Blonde closer to the lead pack. Chad had moved from 14th to 5th. Under this caution, a huge wind kicked up, plus a huge dust storm. Dollansky got a good restart as the wind was starting to play tricks on the drivers. Blonde was on the move and moved into 3rd, much to the crowd's delight. Dollansky holds on to win over TMac, Blonde, Dale Blaney, and Daryn Pittman. Dollansky may have not been the fastest car but, he was for sure the widest road block to take the win. I will have to say a much better show than I excepted it would be. Good job by the Butler Battlegrounds crew. Well, the flagman could of used the yellow a few laps sooner a time or 2. Its not too safe having cars sitting on the top of a track, 2 different times, for 2 to 3 laps before his notices.
Friday, it was off to Eldora Speedway for the final WOO show of the 06 season at Eldora. The final event was a WOO/All Star co-event. 33 cars were pit side. Another hot humid day. The Eldora track crew did all they could on a bright day with a slight breeze to keep the track in top shape. Donny Schatz set quick time on the night. With the track slicking up early, the heats were pretty much follow the leader. All 4 heat winners came from the pole. Niel Shepard made it 2 for 2 this week in heat action. Bil Rose, Greg Wilson, and Rob Chaney took the other heat wins. Joey Saldana made an excellent move in the Dash, shooting from 4th to 1st, earning the win and the pole for the 30 lap A Main. Jac Haudenschild put his heat race bad luck behind him and ran away with the B Main. 30 lap A Main. Paul McMahan made the 490 plus mile haul back form the NST show Thursday to start outside row 1. Oh Yeah, its another 480 plus return trip for the 20 team for Saturday's show. Thanks for the effort Paul and the entire 20 team. McMahan shot to the lead on the start. Paul was looking to give car owner and host track owner Tony Stewart a good luck start to kick off the Brickyard weekend. Schatz was fast and was running the cushion for all its worth. Lap 12, Schatz takes the lead. McMahan won't go away as they enter traffic. Saldana is closing in too. Lap 19, Saldana tries to cut in between McMahan and a lapped car, not quite enough room. Joey accidentally taps Paul, sending McMahan hard into the turn 4 wall, flipping the 20 car. Paul's team never wants to see this, especially when they have a 480 mile trip to the next night of racing. Lap 21, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slows. 9 laps to go and a clear track. Shatz has been running the cushion with ease and looks to have Joey covered. Restart, Schatz gets a goo start but Joey is gaining ground. With about 4 to go, Schatz starts dropping low in 3 and 4. Joey uses this to his advantage big time, running the cushion hard in 3 and 4, gaining and Schatz asap. Coming to the white in 3, Joey flys past Schatz. Joey holds on to take the win. Schatz, Dollansky, Tatnell, and Kemenah round out the top 5. A good race with a great finish. A good battle upfront almost all A Main long.
A few notes I forgot last time. When Craig Mintz had his Tommy Tip-over at the Brad Doty Classic, it was his 1st ever 410 sprint car flip...Dean Jacobs looks to have the cast off his arm in time for Knoxville. Not sure if this will happen but, it not, Dean might just cut part of it off again to better grip the steering wheel...Cody Jacobs has been traveling the road with the NST team of Brian Paulus. Cody raced 410's last season but money woes put him in a pit crew roll this season...Randy Hannagan's new Penthouse magazine sponsorship has brought on much talk. Some good and some bad. I think people need to chill a little and look at the huge benefits this brings to the sport. National publications on sprint cars, thats a good thing. Just because its says Penthouse don't mean you have to take a look in 1 of the magazines, if you don't want too.
UPCOMING: We all know the world famous Knoxville Nationals are this week. For those who don't travel out West here is whats happening in the Tri-State Outlook area.
FRIDAY: NRA Limaland Motorsports Park OH, SOD Merritt MI, IMSA/HOSS Mansfield OH, USAC Ford Focus I96 MI.
SATURDAY: USAC Sprints and Midgets Salem IN, WSOA Columbus OH, AVSS Kalamazoo MI, NRA Fremont OH
WEDNESDAY August 16th, NRA Eldora, plus Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, and Dave Blaney racing sprint cars.
My recent travels lead me to the 5Th leg of Indiana USAC Sprint Week last Wednesday at Gas City I69 Speedway and, to the Attica (OH) Raceway Park last Friday for the return of the NST.
Last Wednesday, leg 5 of the USAC Indiana Sprint Week took place at Gas City. 52 cars were pit side. This actually turned out to be the final leg of Sprint Week. The last few visits to Gas City have seen rough, dry track surfaces, but not tonight. Gas City was back to the surface we are have grown very familiar with. Jiggs and the crew had the place ready for action. The track was fast and very racy. Since USAC STILL only takes the top 32 fastest to the heats, 2 non-qualifier races were ran. Guys like Cory Kruseman, Dickie Gaines, John Wolfe, Terry Pletch, Darren Hagen, and Mat Neely were in the NQ races and, USAC don't think they have a problem with their system. Wolfe and Gaines took the NQ wins and tag the heats. Why does USAC only put 8 cars, 9 counting the NQ transfers in a heat? One time I called them and asked that very question. The answer, heats would be too crowded with more cars. OK, probably. When you have such a large car count and 20 of them, well 16 since 4 transfer to the heats, only get 3 hot laps, 2 time trial laps, and 6 NQ laps, that don't seem too fair to guys who have traveled 1000 to 2000 miles to get there. Just my humble thoughts. Anyways, the action was very good at Gas City. For real, you could not even tell for a minute who the 4 transfers from the heats would be until the checkered flag fell. Tight, wheel banging, side by side action, excellent racing. Jay Drake, Ron Dennis, great to see Ron win one, Jesse Hockett, and Shane Cottle took heat wins. Jon Stanbrough flipped in the 2ND heat and re-fired to finish 2ND. Gaines went from the NQ Race to earning a transfer in heat 2. Johnny Rodriguez and Ryan Pace were fighting for 4Th on the last lap of heat 3 and took each other out. Don't send hate mail on this one because I like Josh. Josh Wise made the bonehead move of the night, if not week, in heat 4. Josh fell off the track between 3 and 4, ran the ledge a little, then hammered the gas, flying into Ted Hines, who flipped pretty wildly, and AJ Anderson, taking AJ out too. Wise was good to go, the others were not too happy. Like I said, I think Josh is a awesome young talent, just he made a very risky move that could of took him out for the night too, if he wasn't so lucky. AJ Anderson's crew thrashed, along with help from Bill Rose, to make the final call for the B. Which AJ won. The track was still very racy. A quick water job and its time for the 30 lap A Main. It did get pretty dusty in the A but, dang there was 52 cars, plus stock cars, 2 NQ races, 4 heats, and a B Main all ran, plus, 90 degree temps. Not bad at all. Daron Clayton lead the first few laps. AJ Anderson was on a mission, after the crash, and took the lead on lap 3. Anderson was looking to run away and hide from the pack. Not on this night, Levi Jones, and Stanbrough are dogging him at the mid-way point. Lap 16 to 27, was classic Gas City non wing racing. The top 3 cars were nose to tail, side to side, racing for the lead. You didn't know who was going to win. Jones took the lead on lap 18. Stanbrough took over on lap 25. Jon sealed the deal with 2 laps to go and pulled to a 5 car length lead. From a tommy-tipover, then from 13Th to 1st, Stanbrough took the win. Jones, Anderson, Dave Darland, and Casey Shuman rounded out the top 5. An excellent race.
A much better crowd, 35 NST, and 24 305 sprints were on hand at Attica Friday. The track was in excellent shape. The best I have seen it this year. Fast, smooth, and very racy. One would think, its too fast for good racing, guess again, the racing was top notch. The heats were very excellent. Mark Keegan and Brian Paulus actually raced side by side all 10 laps in their heat. What a race. Tim Hunter, Mark Keegan, Tim Kaeding, and Danny Smith took heat wins. The NST guys were racing hard and so were the locals. The NST still has the best format for the Dash line-ups. They take the 12 fastest guys that transfer through the heats and put them in 2 Dashes, odd, (1,3,5, and so on) and even (2,4,6, and so on). Then for the starting spots in the Dashes, they take 12 kids from the stands and have them pair up with a driver. Then the kid draws a number, which will tell the driver their starting spot in the Dash. Then the fastest Dash winner gets lane choice for the A. OK, so what it takes a few minutes, big deal. It throws many elements into this that no other group traveling can compare to. It gives the 12TH fastest car just as much shot at the pole as the quickest car, it gets the kids involved, it brings out some entertainment value that many people struggle to do now days, it gets the drivers involved with the kids and crowd, and it adds an element of surprise to the night. Like the NST, WOO, All Stars, split, or what, the NST wins an A++ on this deal. Shane Stewart (9Th quickest Dash car)and Jason Solwold (6Th quickest Dash car) take the Dash wins. All these events go off without any major incidents. David Harrison gave the Attica regulars something to yell about, charging from 8Th to 1st in the B to steal the win from Jason Meyers. Jamie Miller had a solid transfer spot until spinning in turn 2. Once again the B was some good racing. The 40 lap A was your typical Attica 40 lapper. If you have ever been to Attica on a semi-regular basis, you know that whoever leads on lap 30, more than likely won't be on lap 40. After Solwold spins on lap 1, the 1st half of the A was pretty much just ride around and get yourself set to make your move. Stewart lead the 1st 7 laps until Lasoski took over on lap 8. The Dude was looking like a run away winner but, we all know this is Attica and the action heats up as the laps wind down. Kaeding and his boss, Steve Kinser, work towards Lasoski in lapped traffic. Lap 32, Brandon Martin spins. Oh no, most of us think, clear track, now Lasoski will run away from TK and Steve and they won't get a shot at him. WRONG! What a final 8 laps. Taking my advice I was trying to send to him through a brain wave under yellow, hey its my story, TK rides the rim on the restart and shoots past Lasoski for the lead. Wait, The Dude don't go away and someone woke up this Kinser guy. The trio battle tightly to the finish. Are Kinser and Kaeding really teammates? You couldn't tell by the way they were sliding each other and almost taking each other out. Steve gave Tim a slider in 4 and TK stood on the gas and said back at ya buddy. Then, my move of the night, boss Steve tries TK high on the last lap and TK sticks a wheel up there saying, boss who? TK takes the win. Lasoski slips past Steve off 4 for 2nd, Steve, Stewart, and Dale Blaney round out the top 5. An excellent race. The best NST race I have seen to date and the best race I have seen at Attica this year. The 305s were on the program but, only got heats in due to a track problem after the late model B. Paul Weaver, Dustin Dinan, and Bryan Sebetto took the 305 heat wins.
It was nice to see Tim Shaffer walking around the Attica pits. Tim still has a long road to recovery. Tim is very lucky on 1 deal, with the spot he broke he went against odds and will make a full recovery. The bad luck part is, Tim's only income was from racing, so money is very scares right now...Bill Rose has dropped off the World Of Outlaw tour. Bill had a non wing ride at Gas City and plans to just rebuild his struggling winged program before heading back on the road again...What is up with USAC?? The final 2 shows of Indiana Sprint Week were canceled due to weather. Well NO rain at all in Lawrenceburg and, very little at Terre Haute. I know there are many rumors of who's fault is was, tracks, USAC, whatever, there was some situations but, this looks bad all around. You had cars that came just for those few days from over 1000 miles away, fans that took vacations, fans that drove 100's of miles at $3 a gal for gas, and saw no racing or attempt at a race. Now, USAC cancels the Jack Hewitt Classic August 17TH Sprint car show at Kokomo due to a conflicting race by another group. This is not the USAC of old...It is not sprint car related but it is pretty cool. I was in Defiance tonight and being from that area, seen and heard stuff all day about the Sam Hornish Jr solute. I will be the 1st to admit I am not a big Sam fan but, it is pretty cool for the area and racing in general to see all the people that gathered in the area for Sam Hornish Jr Day today...Thanks to all who sent responses last week. I love hearing from you, good or bad. I even heard from one of my racing friends that has told me from day 1 that he reads my column. I just thought he was saying it to be nice, guess not. Everyone is more than welcome to respond anytime. I know when I make a mistake, I usually hear about it ASAP but, it was cool to hear some others thoughts on my way of thinking/reporting...Oh Yeah, I was on his butt last time but, the NST announcer has REALLY improved since their 1st visit. Him and the excellent Brian Liskai made a great tag-team Friday at Attica.
FRIDAY ASCS/SOD Butler MI, IMSA Sandusky OH, WSOA and USAC Ford Focus Midgets Kil-Kare OH
SATURDAY IMSA & WSOA Sandusky OH
SUNDAY AVSS & USAC Ford Focus Midgets Galesburg MI
WEDNESDAY AUG 2ND WOO/All Stars Butler MI, is it really August already?? OUCH....
Hope to make my 1st ever trip to Galesburg.
Rain was everywhere last Wednesday as the WOO/All Star teams were traveling to Limaland Motorsports Park for the 18th annual Brad Doty Classic. With heavy rains all day Tuesday and much of Wednesday, the BDC was postponed until Thursday. This made for 3 straight nights of WOO/All Star racing in Ohio. Not only was in 3 straight nights, it is the 3 biggest nights of the year for winged sprint car racing in Ohio.
Bright sunshine and hot temps, in the mid 90's, welcomed everyone Thursday for the 18th annual Brad Doty Classic. Has it really been 18 years? The event moved to Limaland Motorsports Park this year. The LMP staff have been shooting for a major event of such nature for a few years now, to showcase their prime-time facility. Rumor is next year, the grandstands will be totally redone, including chair back seats. You have got to love the paved pit lanes, driveway, and walkways at Limaland Motorsports Park. This show seems to grow more and more each year. 44 cars were on hand. The crowd was decent but not as big as I expected. The WOOs on a 1/4 track is priceless, so I figured the place would be SRO but, some empty bleachers were visible. It may take a few years of people figuring out the race has switched venues, plus, it was a rain date. I know of a few that skipped it for another race, other functions, and only taking 1 day off work, not getting the other off. All factors in a make-up date. Anyways, the track was ready and the action heated up quickly. Rob Chaney flipped on his 2nd lap of time trials, after timing in the top 20 on the 1st lap. Joey Saldana, winning in his last visit to LMP, set quick time. Joey took home $300 for QT. The heats were loaded and the dry track conditions made for some excellent battles for position. You say how is that, the biggest horse power giants don't always have the advantage when the track slicks up a little. With 6 inverted for the heats, how often does anyone out of the invert make the A through the heats? Well, this night, 3 out of the 4 heats seen someone starting beyond the invert transfer. Those 3 were Chad Kemenah, Dennis Yoakam, and Greg Wilson. Yep, 360 regular Dennis Yoakam from 10th starting spot beat some on the best in the business. Craig Mintz got up side down, collected in someones mess, and Justin Henderson found the wall in turn 4. The C, sported 1 WOO regular, 1 All Star regular, and a hot shoe Ohio driver, sending some good cars already. Todd Kane and Brian Carlson go on to the B. The B, well lets just say, it was a start of things to come for the weekend, since so many good teams were present. 6 WOO regulars, 4 All Star regulars, and some excellent local drivers made the B look like an A just about anywhere in the US. Donny Schatz took the B win. Chad Blonde made an excellent run from 14th to 4th to earn the last A Main transfer spot. Finally, a 40 lap A Main at Limaland Motorsport Park. I wish for all winged shows at LMP, they would race 40 laps. Joey Saldana has always ran the top side of LMP like a pro and this night was no different. Jac Haudenschild was on the rim chasing Joey until he caught a rut in 3 and flipped wildly. Greg Wilson was flying from 22nd to 6th, before he too found the turn 3 hole and flipped. Ricky Stenhouse Jr was making his move, hot off his Ohio Speedweek win, but couldn't quite catch Joey. Joey takes his 1st BDC win. Stenhouse, Terry McCarl, Schatz, and Danny Lasoski round out the top 5. Post race inspection finds Stenhouse 10 lbs light, DQ'ing Ricky, moving Brooke Tatnell into the top 5. It was an excellent night of racing. Plenty of passing and tight battles. The Limaland Motorsports Park staff wanted to showcase their facility and prove they have what it takes to entertain such races. All indications are, they proved themselves right. Hopefully, all the fans that were present this year will tell their racing friends and the place can be SRO only next year. Oh yeah, you gotta love the media tent too. An excellent added bonus to the show. Granted it was just a tent but, they had free bottled water for the drivers and media types, plus, a nice little duffel bag. A little added touch of class and appreciation on a 95 degree day and a showcase event.
The Knight Before The King's Royal. Plus, the Jimmy Johnston Memorial. Those words just speak for them self. 52 WOO and 34 NRA sprints were pit side. A rain shower just before hot laps delayed the start of the program. Actually, much to my liking since I couldn't leave work until 5 and was hauling butt to make the 90 mile drive before hot laps started. Not to worry, made it in plenty of time with the rain delay. The track was fast but not too fast for a 1 lane train. It was shaping up just right to allow for some passing and slide jobs. The say the heats were loaded, was a huge under statement. Once again, we had guys transfer to the A that started out of the invert. You can't always say that for a big high-banked 1/2 mile track. Jason Martin and Dale Blaney did it this time. Jeff "Longhair" Rankin flipped in heat 2. When you race at an event like this, you have to bring it non-stop because the cars are so equal now a days. A C Main that contains, WOO A Main winners and many top travelers makes you realize how strong the competition is anymore especially at all these big shows. Dean Jacobs slows in the C, breaking something, before the yellow waves, Jeremy Campbell slams Dean, flipping for the 2nd night in a row. JC was ok but, Dean got hit by a tire and broke his wrist. Paul May takes the C. Kevin Swindell was hooked-up in his heat and proved it by winning the Dash. Bill Rose gathered the wall in the B. Stevie Smith won the event which seen Steve Kinser miss the A Main. Yeah, you heard right. Told you it gets tougher each day on the sprint car circuit. 30 lap A Main. Stevie Smith is late to line-up, moving him back 1 row on the start. Kevin Swindell won his 1st WOO A in May, his 1st USAC National Series win a week ago, and now was looking for his 1st Eldora win. Running a very similar line to what dad Sammy does on a fast Eldora surface, Kevin shoots to the lead and is hooked up. Pulling away from the field, Kevin looks good, not the smoothest but good. Lap 4, Kevin tags the turn 1 wall, flipping wildly down the track. The Bulldog is done for the night. This hands Craig Dollansky the lead. After that, it was all Dollansky. Lap 21, Tim Kaeding slams the wall. Restart, Haudenschild and Hindi collide, Hindi flips, Tim Hunter has no place to go, slamming Hindi. All are OK. McCarl and Walker chase Dollansky but to no avail. Dollansky wins, McCarl, Walker, up from 10th, Dale Blaney, up from 24th, and Kenny Jacobs round out the top 5. Bob Carman flips wildly at the start of heat 1 for the 360s. Ron Blair, JR Stewart, and Tim Allison took the heat wins. Darren Long slams the while leading the running away with the B. Dwain Leiber take the win. Sean Robinson take the lead at the start of the A. Lap 8, Tim Allison takes over the point. Allison takes a comfortable lead and cruises to the win. Tim Hunter, Bobby Clark, up from 18th, Luke Hall, and Kent Wolters round out the top 5.
The 23rd annual King's Royal by Crown Royal. 57 410s and 30 360s are pit side. The King's Royal is a special race an a fan friendly format is used. 6 heats, top 3 to A, winner of heat to Dash, and quick qualifier draws for the invert for the heats. A 4 was drawn by quick qualifier, Ed Lynch Jr. Ed also took home a $6000 4 wheeler. The track was little slower compared to Friday but in excellent racing shape. Some bold moves were made in the heats and the heats were pretty decent races. Jason Soldwold, Donny Schatz, Danny Lasoski, Terry McCarl, Jac Haudenschild, and Joey Saldana took the heat wins. Greg Wilson took the C. The B saw Kevin Huntley, Brian Ellenburger, and Justin Henderson all flip. Niel Shepard catch on fire, and Paul May hit the wall. The B Main was an excellent race though with plenty of passing. Daryn Pittman took the win. Kevin Swindell and Rob Chaney came from row 6 to make the transfer. A bunch of track work had already taken place but, the rough stuff in 1 was getting bigger and the track was slicking off quickly, so Tony Stewart made the call to fix the track before the A. Yes, it was late but, this is one sprint car racing's major events and TS wanted to make a track surface that could provide the best show it could. He was doing this for the fans and drivers. Its funny how some people have complained for the last few years the track is too dry, now they complain when he tries to fix it. I want to see a great race, so I could careless how long it takes to fix the track, if it makes for better racing, go for it!!! TS, you made the correct call! PERIOD! The King's Royal A Main was a good one. Lasoski shot to the early lead but Saldana was ride high and looking for a shot to pass The Dude. The 1st 22 laps were fast and non-stop. Lap 20, Joey got past Lasoski. Lap 22, Steve Kinser hits the wall between 1 and 2, collecting Kerry Madsen and Kevin Swindell hits the scrapes, getting a flat. Soldwold was in 4th and stops before the red was displayed, giving up his spot. Green and the race is on. Joey is quick but Danny won't go away and Schatz is gaining ground. The duo reel Joey in just before Haudenschild flips on lap 31. The guy to watch, Kevin Swindell, he is hooked, moving from 18th on the restart to 7th. Joey gets a good restart and holds on to take his 2nd King's Royal crown. Schatz, Lasoski, Swindell, and Kemenah round out the top 5. Hail to King Joey the 23rd. What about this Swindell kid? He improves more and more each week and is showing his has got plenty of talent. Kasey Kahne gets the honor of crowning the new King. Mike Brecht pretty much ran away from the pack in the NRA 360 show. Brecht took the win over Ben Rutan, Mike Miller, Hall, and Clark.
The Brad Doty Classic and King's Royal were good races this year. Excellent car counts, good racing, and good fun. Of course we had to throw some bags before hand Saturday with the Knoxville crew. Classy move of the weekend, Tony Stewart drawing 10 winners for $100 each as they fixed the track after midnight Saturday. Where else have you been and it gets late and the promoter digs deeper in his pocket to claim the natives. Bone head move, Darren Long spanking them in the 360 B and hitting the wall with a handful of laps to go. Also, all the fans that started booing Tony and chanting bulls*** when the grater hit the track. Some of these people are the same ones that complained the track was too dry. Its a dirt track race, sometimes they run late, deal with it. In other hot news from Eldora, Eldora Speedway has an excellent deal for people who purchase pre-sale tickets for the 360 Old Spice Summer Sizzler. If you purchase a pre-sale ticket, your name goes into a drawing for 2 major prize packages. Package 1: 1 winner will receive a personal meet and greet with Tony Stewart the night of the Sizzler, a photo with you and TS, pit pass for the event, Old Spice product package, an autographed die-cast of TS, and 1 2007 Eldora Speedway season pass. The 2nd winner get the same package of the 1st on, it is just with Kasey Kahne and Kasey stuff instead of Tony. WOW, that is huge for 2 people. I can say the promotion team at Eldora seems to be stepping it up a notch.
UPCOMING: FRIDAY: NST Attica OH, USAC Terre Haute IN, NRA Limaland Motorsports Park OH, SOD Cherry MI
SATURDAY: AVSS Baer Field IN, MSA Lorain OH, SOD Merritt MI, NST Fremont OH
SUNDAY: AVSS/HOSS Winchester IN
After spending the last several races following winged sprint cars, last week it was time catch some non-wing action. Friday lead us to the Gas City (IN) I-69 Speedway for Hastings Law Firm of Indy's double $$$ Night. The entire payout was doubled thanks to Hastings. Saturday, it was off to the Toledo Speedway for some USAC Sprints and Midgets pavement style.
Having to work late, thanks to a new computer system at work, I arrived at Gas City just as the National Anthem was playing. 36 cars were in the pits. Much to my surprise, I seen the Gas City surface was pretty rough. Usually the track is in A-1 tip-top shape. Hey, it is dirt track racing and that is just part of it. Actually, I like a track that has a cushion and that adds a little texture to the set-up. There was a cushion but it was a fairly rough one. The heats were fair as many guys had problems bouncing through the rough stuff. 11 of the 16 transfer drivers started in the 1st 2 rows of the heats, not your typical Gas City heats. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, that happens to everyone once in a while, I just reviewing the results. Shane Cottle, Jerry Coons Jr., and Scotty Wier did work their way to a transfer spot from the back of the pack. 2 B Mains were ran with the transfer coming from the front rows. ALL heats and B's for all 3 divisions were complete by 8:50. The track crew swung into action and took about 45 minutes to manicure the track in to a much smoother surface. The 25 lap A Main paid $2800 to win. Dustin Smith jumped to the early lead. What a battle upfront. AJ Anderson and Mat Neely quick hopped on Smith tail and never really fell more than 10 car lengths behind. A few early cautions slowed the action but, the race was on. Smith was looking to pull the somewhat of an upset and take the $2800. Anderson had a solid 2nd now, as he gained on Smith. Lap 19, Anderson gets past Smith, Smith won't go away but, here comes Neely and a charging Jerry Coons Jr. AJ Anderson holds them all off, taking the win. Neely, Coons Jr., up from 15th, Smith, and Cottle, up from 12th, round out the top 5. The A Main turned out pretty decent. Come guys charging to the front and some close battles upfront. All in all, a fair show.
Saturday, the wicked fast Toledo Speedway awaited the USAC Sprints and Midgets. 25 Midgets and 23 Sprints were on hand. The temps were up there that day but, so was the track speeds. Josh Wise in the midgets and Bryan Clauson in the sprints, set new track records in qualifying. It was Racers Reunion Day and the young guns were ready to show some of the old timers they knew how to go fast too. It is always good to see some of the stars of yesteryear during this annual event. The midgets heat were full of action. Plenty of tight battles and some wild action. Only 1 crash, result of Michael Lewis making a risky attempt at a pass, for 2nd, coming to the checkered flag, taking himself and a few others out of a transfer spot, when they clearly had it made. Hey, that's racing, he did make an exciting move until it all broke loose. The midget B ran off without a hitch. 25 lap midget A Main. Young guns Kevin Swindell, who looked very fast in his heat, and Bryan Clauson were on the front row. That in itself has a funny story to it. My daughter, all of 11 years old, going on 20, she thinks, is a huge fan of Kevin's and Bryan's. During the little autograph session they had for the fans, Kevin and Bryan was setting next to each other. We approached them for a few photo opts with Shelby. Bryan was like " look she has an airplane on her shirt." Of course it was a winged Kevin Swindell shirt. So Kevin and Bryan got to diggin each other a little just as Shelby says," well I bought a Bryan one today." A little more digging and all was good. It was pretty cool seeing these 2 young guns laughing it up and having a good time, when they are under such a pressure pot anymore. Now, they are side by side on the front row of the A Main. Anyone who thinks Kevin Swindell is just a kid riding on daddy's name, better start taking notice, he can drive. Kevin won his 1st WOO A Main back in May and is looking for his 1st USAC Midget win, in just his 3rd start of the year, and on pavement. Kevin was fast, Bryan looked just as fast. The duo was nose to tail the entire distance. Except, one restart, Kevin got a good jump but, a caution ended that quickly. Pavement master, Dave Steele was lurking in 3rd, waiting for the youngsters to bobble. Sorry Dave, these kids are for real. Kevin Swindell goes flag to flag, with Clauson on his rear nerf bar all race, taking his first ever USAC national win. Clauson, Steele, Levi Jones, and Tom Hessert III, up from 13th, rounded out the top 5. Sprint car time. Once again, there was plenty of tight racing and some passing. Brady Short got caught a wheel and slammed the wall in heat 2, ending his night. Too bad because he looked pretty decent for not running too much pavement. The 6 car B, transferred 7, yeah, that is what I said. So everyone made the show. The 30 lap was ready to roar. With Dave Steele on the pole, most thought this would be a snoozer, WRONG. Dave jumped out to a decent lead and set a fast pace. The pace was not only wicked fast, they guys were battling hard but, with no incidents. This one would go non-stop. Steele was hiding out front but lap after lap, Ron Gregory and Bobby Santos III were reeling Dave in. The lead pack was in heavy traffic with 5 to go. The Master Steele thought that was good. Santos III was hooked-up and knew there would be no passing on the inside, so he jumped to the high groove. Coming to the white in turn 3, Santos passes Steele on the outside, planting him right behind a lapped car. Santos holds on the last lap, taking the win. Steele, Gregory, Claus on, and Jones round out the top 5.
Its mid-July and the month of money is kicking off. One on my favorite weekends is on tap, King's Royal Weekend. It all starts Wednesday night with the Brad Dotty Classic. this year the BC has a new venue, the high-banked 1/4 mile at Limaland Motorsport Park. A huge field should be on hand. With the Crown Royal bonus at Eldora, 56 car are pre-entered. It should be an awesome weekend of racing. You need to be there! This is King's Royal 23, I have been to all of them. I am already pumped. For real, I rarely sleep King's Royal week, just waiting for the excitement and fun time at the event. Plus, the Doty gets bigger and bigger every year, its an excellent week for racing in Ohio. I look for a new winner this year at the Royal. That would be cool. Of course, looking over the pre-entry list, I would be happy if Swindell, Swindell, Gressman, Hannagan, Blaney, Smith, Blonde, Jacobs, Rose, Schroeder, Sides, Miller, Tatnell, Saldana, Campbell, Kaeding, Mayes, Mosher, Meyers, Kemenah, Smith, Anderson, McMahan, Pittman, Naber, McCarl, Stewart, Jacobs, May, Kane, Chaney, Solwold, Wilson, or some others not pre-entered was the winner come Saturday night. I can't wait!!!
UPCOMING: Indiana Sprint Week starts. Is this an awesome country or what?? Here we go for a huge list of events this week and into next week.
Wednesday: WOO Limaland Motorsports Park
Thursday: USAC North Vernon IN
Friday: WOO/All Stars Eldora, USAC Bloomington IN
Saturday : WOO/All Stars Eldora, USAC Haubstadt IN,
HOSS Mansfield OH, AVSS Auto City MI, SOD Crystal MI
Sunday: USAC Kokomo IN
Wednesday: USAC Gas City IN
Thursday: USAC Lawrenceburg IN
See You at the Doty, The Royal, hopefully Kokomo, and Gas City.
Last Friday, the 5th annual Buckeye Nationals hit Limaland Speedway in Lima Ohio. 32 USAC Sprints and 27 NRA 360's were pit side. A hot humid sunny 95 degree day, what type of track would we have tonight? All factors included, the track was in good shape. You can tell Gene has been working hard to keep the track in-line.
Mat Neeley was filling-in for Bud Kaeding and set quick time of the night for the USAC sprints. The tight high-banked Limaland 1/4 mile has been known to produce some close racing, take the wings off and it seems to tighten it up all the more. How much passing and close racing, only 2 cars that started on the front row of the heat races transferred to the A Main, through the heats. Derek O'Dell, Shane Hollingsworth, Dave Darland, and Jon Stanbrough took the heat wins. Brandon Danials, Luke Hall, and Jared Horstman took the 360 heat race wins. After all the heats, the track was still in fair shape. Tony Elliott took the USAC B. Mike Miller took the 360 B. A bad night for Darren Long, as he broke on the last lap, missing a transfer spot. Next up, the 30 lap USAC A Main. Brady Short makes it a 23 car field by taking a provisional. When the green flag dropped on the USAC A, everyone looked like they were going to win it on the first lap. Cars were 3,4,5 wide going into turn 1. Just as you thought, didn't work too well. Hollingsworth flips collecting Brandon Petty. Restart, Rex Norris III, Stanbrough, Ryan Pace, and Kyle Nicholas collide in turn 2. Finally, Josh Wise takes the lead on a clean start. Lap 4, Justin Marvel spins. Lap 7, Tony Elliott flips in turn 3. Restart, Darland works on Wise upfront. Lap 10, Darland takes the lead. Lap 18, Darren Hagen stops. Restart, Marvel flips and Shane Cottle spins, running in the top 5. The last 12 laps, its clear sailing for Darland. The Rave takes the win over Neeley, Stanbrough, with a nice charge from the back after a lap 1 incident, Daron Clayton, and Bryan Clausen rounding out the top 5. The 360's are up next for their 25 lap A Main. Much different than the USAC guys, the 360's were keeping it together. Dennis Yoakam shot to the lead at the start, looking for some extra money to pay for his daughter's wedding from the prior week. Luke Hall spins on lap 8. After that it was the Dennis Yoakam and Rick Boughan show. Boughan caught Dennis several times, was nose to tail a few laps, just could not make his move. Boughan faded the last few laps as Yoakam holds on for the win. Boughan, Mike Dussel, Dwain Leiber, and Horstman round out the top 5. Young Kyle Stuchell was hurt Saturday at Eldora, night 2 of the Buckeye Nationals. Kyle broke his neck and looks to be in a back/neck device for the next 12 to 15 weeks. Please keep Kyle's family in your thoughts and prayers. The Jacobs family has came up with a brilliant idea on how to pass on the motorhome of the late Ken "Jake" Jacobs. A special raffle, for real race fans only, will award someone Jake's motorhome. Tickets go on sale June 26th. See any of the Jacobs for details. I for one, will be buying a ticket.
The 24th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek starts this coming Sunday. I guess this will be my so called Speedweek preview/review. Speedweek is an awesome deal. 7 nights, 7 different track, and a load of fun. I have been to at least 2 or more Speedweek shows every years since it has started. Not too bad since I was only 12 when it started. This is a week I can't wait for each and every year. There always seems to be some surprise entry at the last minute. From Sammy Swindell, to Steve Kinser, to Mark Keegan, you just never know who might be at a Speedweek show. This year should be no different, if not even more. With the NST and WOO's off the majority of Speedweek, rumors have many of the super-stars racing through Thursday night of Speedweek. Even if they don't, the week will be full of cars and great races. With a $10,000 points fund this year, it should be one of the best Speedweeks in years. If you have never chased all of Ohio Speedweek, you need to do yourself a favor and do it some year. All the stories and memories of the past Speedweeks. Some of mine: Bobby Allen and Jack Hewitt starting 23rd and 24th at Millstream and finishing 1st and 2nd. Mark Keegan running down and passing Steve Kinser at the $10,000 to win final at Attica. The parking lot catching on fire on Millstream one year. The chicken BBQ each year at Millstream. Drinking beer after the Portsmouth race 1 year, in the motel bar, with several of the participate of Speedweek. Then jumping the fence of the motel pool at 2 am and going for a swim. Kevin Huntley's 1st Speedweek final win at Eldora in the Nance 1n car. Steve Kinser winning a Speedweek show at Fremont 1 year and just as he got presented his trophy, an egg came flying out of the crowd landing onto Steve's head and all over the trophy. The day it was 107 degrees at Mansfield for a Speedweek show, back when it was dirt. When, actually my current boss, called me to come work for him, wanting me to start in an hour, right at the start of Speedweek. My answer, I can't, I have a family matter to handle this week, can I start next week? Well, 17 years later and I am still there and the boss, well next to him since he owns the place. I could go on and on but that is just a few of many. Good times for sure, good times. For real, if you are a sprint car fan and can break free for part of the week or the entire week, it is well worth the trip. Heck, I remember when Ohio was the only ones that had a so called Speedweek, now look at all of them.
UPCOMING: A HUGE week of racing, actually a HUGE 3 weeks of racing non-stop almost is on tap. Be sure to get off the couch, out of that boat, or off that golf course and take in some real fun in the next few weeks, a sprint car race. In the next 24 days, starting this Friday the 23rd, you could go racing 22 of the 24 days between Ohio and Indiana. Man, only to be rich, I could do them all. 21 of those shows being a sprint, midget, or old style Silvercrown races. OK here we go, since I am hitting all of Ohio Speedweek and heading to King's Island the day after Speedweek, I will give you the upcoming races for now until the 4th of July.
Friday June 23rd: SOD Butler MI
Saturday 24th: All Stars KC, HOSS Anderson IN, AVSS
Berlin MI, SOD Thunderbird MI
Sunday 25th All Stars Attica
Monday 26th All Stars Wayne Co
Tuesday 27th All Stars Muskingum Co Speedway
Wednesday 28th All Stars Sharon
Thursday 29th All Stars Fremont
Friday 30th All Stars Limaland, AVSS Dixie MI, SOD Hartford MI
Saturday July 1st All Stars Eldora, USAC Midgets IRP, AVSS Angola IN, SOD Crown Point IN, MSA Sandusky OH Sunday July 2nd HOSS Plymouth IN Tuesday July 4th USAC Sprints and Midgets Columbus OH
See You at Speedweek Later Duane
With all the major sprint car series off or on the road, last weekend was a good time to catch-up with old faces in new places. Friday, a trip to Limaland to catch the Elwer Fence 360's on a Mean Gene prepared surface. Saturday, OK, is wasn't a sprint car or midget race but, it was time to check-in on former sprint car champion, Cameron Dodson, and his climb into the stock car world.
FRIDAY: 25 360 sprints were ready for action at Limaland. Of course, the first thing I have to do, check out Mean Gene's track prep that everyone around the Lima area has been raving about this year. Gene, job well done. The track was in excellent shape, smooth and little dust. During the A Main it got a little dusty but, it was 100 times better than the Limaland dust storms of years past. It was meet the drivers night before the action started. I personally think this is an excellent idea. You have 30 minutes or so of down time before the scheduled racing time, why not? This helps keeps the kids excited about the racing and could give them a chance to meet their favorite driver or, make a new one. It was an excellent site seeing all the drivers that took time out for the kids and fans. The 360 heat seen plenty of passing. 4 of the 15 transfers came from the last row of their heat race. Cory Seeling, Darren Long, and Dennis Yoakam took the heat wins. Yoakam ran an excellent heat holding off a fast Tim Allison. Plus, Yoakam missed hot laps due to his oldest daughter's wedding rehearsal. So his night was great right out of the box. Kent Wolters took the win in the B Main. Mike Brecht was on the pole for the 25 lap A Main and everyone was trying to figure out how they were going to get past him. To no one's surprise, Brecht shot to the lead on the start. Mike was strong, looking to run away from the field. Lap 7, Luke Hall spins. Lap 13, Hall spins again. On the restart, Mike Miller spins and then gets hammered by Tom Conrad Jr. Everyone was OK. Brecht was on a rail, charging through the field. Long was working towards the front from his 9th place starting spot, but just couldn't get close enough to Mike to challenge. You ever see those people that leave the race early because they think they are getting the jump on traffic and they think the race is wrapped up? Here is why you don't do that!! Lap 22, Brecht is in lapped traffic, Allison hits the wall in 4 as Brecht gets ready to lap him. Allison bounces off the wall, just clipping Brecht's right rear, locking Brecht's rear-end up and flatting his tire. This hands the lead to Darren Long. Long has 3 laps to go and a clear track. Darren takes the win over JR Stewart, Yoakam, Mike Dussel, up from 11th, and Jeff Williams. It was a pretty decent race was quite of bit of passing. Just because the passing wasn't for the top spot, doesn't mean it was a bad show. 3 of the top 5 started 8th or worse. A good smooth show with only a few bruised cars from a spin out that turned bad.
SATURDAY: Since I have still been keeping in contact with him and, promising I would jump over to stock car land for a night or 2. It was off to Mansfield for the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup race and a chance to catch-up with former sprint car champion, Cameron Dodson. The last time I was at Mansfield was in 1988 for Ohio Sprint Speedweek, when the track was dirt. WOW! what a facility for a 1/2 mile pavement track. We got there just before qualifying. Cameron was 10th in line to qualify. Still adapting to the bigger stock cars and seeing a new track the majority of the time, Cameron has struggled in qualifying. This is the 1st race with a new crew chief, so maybe things like that will change. Not today, Cameron ends up 27th out of the 35 cars. After qualifying, the USAR groups lines the cars on the front stretch and opens it up for an autograph session. Once again, an excellent idea. You just can't buy PR like that and imagine how much it can make a kids day to actually see or talk to a real live race car driver. Heck, Shelby is going to be 11 in a few weeks and couldn't wait to get out there and see Cameron and others. After 45 minutes, the fans are kicked off the track and its time for pre-race activities. Many rookies are in the field today. Cameron is boxed in by them, wait he is a rookie too, over here. After a few near misses in the 1st few laps, Cameron is looking fast. By lap 80, Cam has moved from 27th to 6th and is still moving forward. Lap 118, Cam takes over the 3rd spot, under yet another caution. Cam is fast but, the car looks like it is starting to loosen up on him. Lap 120, Cam drops to 4th. Lap 126, he is on pit road, under caution. Looks good entering the pit box. Right side up, tires off. Front is ok, back not so good. Problems with the right rear cost them a lap and only a 2 tire change. From the biggest mover, to a lap down in less than a minute. Cameron is fast but with no lucky dogs and half the race over, a lap behind will be hard to overcome. With 80 to go, he enters the pits again the get left side rubber. Good in and out stop with no problems. There is still time but, it is running out. Cameron has to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, car as the lap wind down. He stays with the leaders but, can't get a break to get back on the lead lap. As the checkered flag falls, Cam crosses the stripe in 13th, 1 lap down. Not a bad day but, when you go from 27th to 3rd and lose a lap in the pits, its kind of heart breaking. There will be plenty more shots for Cameron. If Saturday night was any indication, when Cameron gets a little more seat time in these stock cars, look out, he will be racing up front.
I would like to say "hey" and thanks to the people the last few weeks who have stopped me, just to say hi and say that they actually read my stuff. Glad you do! Sometimes you wonder if anyone actually reads it or enjoys it. Its kind of funny to me, still after 5 years of doing this, that people look forward to reading what you have to say or, your take on things. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I will always stand by what I say, believe in it, and try to make it as accurate as possible. Thanks Again!!!!!
UPCOMING: FRIDAY: USAC Sprints and NRA 360s Limaland OH, AVSS and IMSA Toledo OH
SATURDAY: USAC Sprints and NRA 360s Eldora, AVSS Baer Field IN, SOD Merritt MI, IMSA Mansfield OH
SUNDAY: KISS Kokomo IN
Until Next Time Duane
Memorial Day weekend is always a huge weekend for auto racing. This year was no different. It actually starts on Wednesday, in this region, and last until Monday. After a trip to Kokomo Thursday for the USAC show, that got rained out 20 minutes after I made the 2 and 1/2 hour drive, it was off to Attica Friday. Wait, too much rain Friday. The NST's 1st visit to Ohio is postponed until Sunday. Well, here we go again, 0 for 2 to start my 4 days of planned races. At least I didn't make the trip Friday before it was cancelled. Don't get me wrong, nothing the tracks could of done, its just that nasty mother nature. Saturday really wasn't in the plans to go racing anymore but, after a 10 year old daughter begging me ALL day to go racing, I know, hard to twist my arm, not.
Saturday, it's off to Fremont Speedway for Legendz Sports Bar & Grill Night. 38 410 and 40 305 sprints were pit side. It was an awesome day, plenty of sun and the track was racy. Bobby Clark, Greg Wilson, John Ivy, and Chad Blonde took the 410 heat wins. Bryan Sebbeto, Todd Hiermann, Bill Kraylek, and Dustin Dinnan took the 305 heats. The track was slicking up some but still very racy. With 6 full-time All Star regulars, plus Niel Shepard, 2 NST regulars, and all the savy locals, the racing was good and tough. 4 of the 8 quickest qualifiers didn't transfer from their heat race to the A. This made for a very stout 410 B Main. Brian Smith took the B win in a very tight race. Smith, Byron Reed, David Harrison, and Phil Gressman had a heck of a battle to earn the 4 trasfer spots. Reed faded fast at the end, just holding on to the final transfer spot. The large 305 field called for 2 305 B's. Paul Weaver went from last to 1st to win the 1st B. Kevin Lee took the 2nd B. Sebetto took the Computer Man Dash. Time for the 410 30 lap A Main. Alvin Roepke has been running strong this year but, seems to find bad luck every time. Starting 3rd in the A, Alvin is my pick in our little group of people. It was actually a group of 8 as Coach Bob and Co. joined us for the night. Green flag, Alvin spins in turn 3. Sorry, Alvin!! I was informed asap I could never do any picking for Coach's wife. Plus, Ashley was like, "who did you pick?" Opps, told you bad luck has been striking him, it wasn't just because I picked him, was it? Bryan Scott was looking to make it 2 in a row and shot to the early lead. David Harrison took a nasty flip on lap 3. Super Dave was so high, a few cars drove complete underneath him and still had 3 foot of clearance. Dave was later taken to the hostipal for some loss of vision. He later regained his vision and was released with a concussion. The track took a strange twist, it looked to form a lip in the upper groove. Craig Mintz had problems with the lip too and got airborne but, never did flip, just flatten his tire. If you have ever been to Fremont and seen the pits, you know Mike Linder and Bryan Scott always park side by side and are great friends. The friends battled up to the mid-way point of the A with Linder taking the lead on lap 16. Mike was on a rail, charging to the win. Scott, Dale Blaney, Brock Mayes, and Danny Lasoski rounded out the top 5. It was Lasoski's 1st visit to Fremont. Lasoski found out what all the Fremont hype was about and was lucky to hold on the 5th. Greg Wilson was on his tail, up from 17th. Brad Bowman pretty much dominated the 305 A. Leading wire to wire. Paul Weaver had a great run from 17th to 5th, before blowing a tire with 5 to go. Bill Kraylek, Chris Andews, Andy Shammo, and Bobby Foster rounded out the top 5.
Sunday was the NST's 1st ever appearance in the state of Ohio. Tim Kaeding lead the troops to Attica, ready to battle the locals and the All Star visitors. 38 cars signed-in for the action. With all the recent rain, the track was very soft and wet, making it rut up big time after hot laps. It was cowboy up for time trials. Tim Kaeding (TK) set quick time. Before the racing action continued, the Attica staff attended to the track surface. They did an excellent job of fixing the rough stuff. Yes, it took a little extra time, started 32 minutes after advertised start time, but it was very well worth it to see a multi-groove racing surface. I would rather start 30, 45, 50 minutes late and see a dual lane race track than, start on time and see a 1 horse bouncing buggy parade. So A for effort by the track crew to fix the problem. The NST boys soon found out the Attica locals were not just going to lay down and let them steal all the thunder. Greg Wilson, Danny Lasoski, Andrew Palker, and Todd Kane took the heat wins. That's 1 for the NST, 2 for the Attica locals, and 1 for the All Stars. A very neat thing the NST does is how it determines the starting orders for the 2 Dashes. The Dashes are made up of the 12 fastest drivers that transfer to the A through the heat races. Odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 quickest in the 1st Dash. Evens in the 2nd. OK sounds like the normal so far, here is the fun part. Each Dash and its 6 drivers come out on the front stretch, Attica it was the horse track. The driver is paired up with a kid, from a lucky draw on the kid's admission tickets. The driver presents the kid with a sticker and a group photo is taken. Then, the kid draws a number, from 1 to 6, to determine where the driver they represent starts in the Dash. Very cool and an excellent way to keep the kids involved and the next generation of fans interested. Jason Meyers and Byron Reed took the dash wins. Oh Yeah, the guy that wins the Dash and that qualified the quickest of the 2 winners, gets to pick either the inside or outside front row starting spot in the A. Score is now NST 2, locals 3, All Stars 1. The B Main is pretty loaded. 2 NST regulars, 2 All Star regulars and a bunch of local and national talents. The track was fairly racy and the B was clicking the laps off quickly. Tim Shaffer lead wire to wire to take the B. Mark Keegan, Craig Mintz, and Brandon Martin, up from 9th, transfered to the A. The $10,000 to win 40 lap A was next. Reed was ready to win for the locals and Meyers was looking for his 1st NST A win on the year. Reed took the early lead. The track was still racy but, the guys were having problems. A marathon was in the making. The action was good, when they actually got more than 3 laps in at a time. Meyers and Reed battled, guys moved up from the back, and passing was of plenty for a while but, 10 yellows and 1 red was displayed before the 40 laps were complete. The red was for a fuel stop with 3 laps to go. 7 of the 10 yellows were for NST regulars that had a hard time figuring out the Attica oval. Meyers slid past Reed on lap 25 and held on to take his 1st NST win of the year and the 1st ever NST win in Ohio. I mean many guys, Huntley, Kinser, Wilson, Keegan, and other passed many cars, charging towards the front. Some stayed there, others slipped back at the end. Dale Blaney, Reed, Steve Kinser, and Paul McMahan rounded out the top 5. Steve restarted at the tail after a lap 1 incident with Lasoski. Granted, some will argue how many cars Steve did pass. Its seems the NST officials let him get past a few under the yellows. A new group like this is going to take a few shows with everybody to get to know, when a lap is scored and when its not. I guess that is my best answer to why that happened. There were a few more growing pains too but, who don't have growing pains?
Time is running out to get your Ultimate Sprint Fan Experience raffle tickets. You have a chance to spend an entire day, hands-on, with 2005 Fremont Track Champ, Mike Linder. Drawing will take place June 29th at the Fremont Ohio Speedweek show. All money raised will go into the HoserVille Ohio racer's benefit fund. Look for a table set-up selling tickets at the June 6th NST show at Fremont....Speaking of Fremont, July 22nd a charity auction to benefit a lung transplant patient is on tap. Many racing items will be auctioned off that day. The auction is from 2 to 4 in the 4H building.
UPCOMING: FRIDAY: NST Bloomington IN, SOD I-96 MI
SATURDAY: WOO Eldora, HOSS New Paris IN, AVSS Kalamazoo MI, MSA Supers Sandusky OH
SUNDAY: All Stars/WOO Terre Haute IN
TUESDAY June 6th: NST Fremont OH
Is the weather finally coming around to us race fans? Even though 1 of my 2 nights of racing plans got cancelled, the weather was a lot nicer this past weekend. The reason Friday's show got called-off, wet grounds. I didn't make the trip to Sharon for Saturday's WOO show but, a excellent effort by their entire staff allowed the show to get in the record books. How many times have you heard of a track renting helicopters to help dry the track?
Sunday, I made a visit to Baer Field Speedway in Ft. Wayne IN for the HOSS (Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series) show. The sky was blue, the sun was bright, but, that strong wing made it just a little on the cool side. Especially when all I wore was a hooded sweatshirt, silly me. Also, the wind play a few game with the sprint cars as they exited turn 2. A few guys slid high off 2, dropping the right rear off the pavement and into the grass but, all went pretty well. 19 cars were officially entered for the day. 20 were actually on the track. Jerry Caryer had his new 75c track side but, couldn't work the gremlins out of it before race time. So, Jerry was offered Jonathan Kettlewell's back-up car for the day. The 98c had a few gremlins of its own. Jimmy McCune set fast time of the day, pacing the huge paved 1/2 mile at 15.157 seconds. Ron Koehler took the win in heat 1 over a charging, Geoff Kaiser. Teammates, Dennis Craft and John Boy Hotchkiss battled at the start of heat 2. Craft took home team honors with the heat win. Dennis Craft was looking for a bigger win, as he took the lead at the start of the 30 lap A Main. Craft was quickly dogged by Richey Jacobs. They were nose to tail for the 1st handful of laps. Jacobs took the lead on lap 4. Craft on lap 5. Don't forget about Jimmy McCune working his way up from 7th. McCune catches the leaders and takes the point on lap 11. Geoff Kaiser was following up his strong heat race run, charging after McCune. Kaiser also took advantage of the Satuday night practice the track offered to the guys coming to the Super Sunday show. Kaiser blew past McCune on lap 16. The rest was history. Kaiser spanked the field, lapping up to the 4th place guy. Kaiser pleased the hometown crowd by earning his 1st ever sprint car A main win. McCune, Jacobs, Craft, and Hotchkiss rounded out the top 5. Once I seen Kaiser in victory lane, I realized his dad and him use to sit a few rows from us at Eldora for years as we were growing up. I am a few years older than him but, remember seeing him all the time as kids. Still makes me wonder if I could ever get a shot at driving one of these things yet. All in all, it was a pretty decent show. As always, the Swanson family and their HOSS group ran an efficient show. The heats started at 2:15 and the A was over just around 3:30. If I was thinking, I could of made 2 shows in 1 day by heading to Kokomo. Instead, I stayed and watched the rest of the Super Sunday show presented by the CRA racing group. It was actually a good show too.
A thing I like to do every once in a while. Every day it is harder and harder to find sponsors or keep sponsors in this sport. So, I like to walk through and write a few down, then post them on here. Not sure if any of them ever see it but hey, we all should make sure to support all the racing sponsors we can or at least let them know we appreciate their efforts. Here is Sunday's list: Jenkins Napa, Marty's Place Ney OH, Stinton Concrete, Englewood Garage and Roofing, Tiffin Academy of Hair Design, Wooden Indian Motel, S&S Masonry, Solar Shower, Hartman Auto Body, and Geiger Developing Inc.
Almost half the field was Ohio drivers Sunday at Baer Field. Jerry Caryer and Jimmy McCune are HOSS regulars. Dave Baumgartner is driving for Mike Blake now, a HOSS supporter. Dustin Keegan, Brad Keckler, and Josh Burdette all made the tow from the Fremont OH area with their pavement cars. Jonathan Kettlewell made the tow from the Dayton area. Former Attica regular Chad Levinston had made the switch to pavement. Chad raced for years on the dirt until finding a new home in the HOSS series this season.
Driver updates. Terry McCarl was hurt Saturday crossing the finish line at Sharon. A u-joint broke, sending his drive-line into his legs. T-Mac did receive a broken leg and could be sidelined for a month or so...Worse for the wear, Findlay Ohio's Mark Wilkins. Mark was racing in the 360/305 challenge Saturday night at Fremont. Mark got up-side-down and was transported to Fremont Hospital and then to Toledo. Mark suffered a fracture of the T-6 vertrbra. Mark was fitted for a body cast and should be home soon. Bad news, Mark will miss several weeks of work while in the body cast. Cards, and I am sure donations to help out the lost wages and medical expenses, can be sent to Mark Wilkins, 839 Nutmeg Lane, Findlay OH 45840.
Don't forget!!! There is just a month to go in the HoserVille Ohio Ultimate Fan Experience to buy your tickets. All money raised goes directly into the HoserVille Ohio injured drivers fund. The fund was set-up directly for situations like Mark and Terry's. Be sure to get your tickets today and help support a very worthy cause. You can contact www.hoservilleohio.com, any hoservilleohio member, or we will be selling them this Friday at the Attica NST show, the June 6th Fremont NST show, or the night of the drawing at Fremont, June 29th. Plus, any track you can catch me at.
HUGE WEEK/WEEKEND OF RACING::::
Wednesday 24th USAC Anderson IN.
Thursday 25th USAC Kokomo IN plus regular midget show.
Friday 26th NST Attica OH, USAC Silvercrown Indy Fairgrounds, NRA & SOD Lima OH
Saturday 27th Little 500 Anderson IN, USAC Midgets IRP, KISS Lawrenceburg IN
Sunday 28th NRA Eldora, MSCS Haubstadt IN
Monday 29th 305's Fremont OH
Let's hope Mother Nature is nice to us and everyone has a safe one!!!!
CU at Kokomo, Attica, and Fremont Monday. Plus, maybe Anderson Wednesday and a trip to Jennerstown PA Saturday to catch-up with former sprint car driver Cameron Dodson.