Last night I visited my grandson Henry and his dad too. Matt decided to show me how much Henry likes riding in his little car. The car comes with a seat belt, but unfortunately like another type of vehicle I don’t like to talk about, it has to be pushed before it can go. I am glad it did NOT have a wing on top, rather a large spoiler in the back.
Anyway, Henry loves riding in the car, even puts his hands on the steering wheel in the right places, something other members of his family don’t. His favorite part of the ride was the times when Matt tipped him back on two wheels. Oh, oh. The image that just stuck in my mind was Top Fuel Dragster. He did not want to get out of the car when Matt decided it was time to go in the house. That is putting it mildly.
I have already been accused of wrecking Matt’s mind when it comes to automobile racing, and I would just as soon Henry waits a few years before developing bad racing habits. Maybe taking him to some basketball games this winter will get him pointed in the right direction.
We are leaving for Knoxville at 11:30 a.m. The plan is to meet Tony Anville there are visit the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, then walk through the midway. I don’t know why I bother, I never buy anything. I do like to look though. Hopefully Steve Basch will find us-we’re sitting where we always do-and we’ll be able to enjoy a good night of racing.
Actually the only thing I am not looking forward to is the trip home. Talking about racing will get us past Des Moines, but then we start to get tired and it is still a long way home. That isn’t a good combination. I keep thinking we should have planned on staying over, and did Friday afternoon and night in Knoxville too. Somewhere around the Avoca exit on I-80 when we still have well over an hour before we get home, we will say, “yeah, we should have listened to Anville and stayed at Pella tonight.” But, we never listen to Anville, and we never learn either.
I am thinking we need a sugar rush on the way home. Maybe I’ll go to Bomgaar’s and buy some cinnamon bears and black licorice. I can’t buy candy bars-I have not had a candy bar since late May and I don’t want to break that string, so it will have to what used to be known as “penny candy.” I think a nickel’s worth of penny candy-when I was a kid-now costs about $1.89. If nothing else I can use the licorice as a trade-off. No Matt singing Johnny Cash, no me chomping down black licorice for 125 miles.
Wow, this was like the five hours of NASCAR prerace coverage where Kenny and Kyle and Rusty and Brad talk about everything you don’t need to know and don’t care about. Damn, I should re-do this, but I don’t have time to come up with another 500 words. I guess just call me Kenny.
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Late Models And USMTS Modifieds Go Together Like Hostess Cup Cakes, Lay’s Potato Chips, And Diet Coke
Surprise, surprise, Jimmy Owens and Darrell Lanigan won big super late model tour races this weekend. Owens led every lap of the Lucas Oil Jackson 100 at Brownstown Speedway in Indiana, while WoO point leader Lanigan led the five most important laps-the final five-at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan.
Both collected $20,000 at the pay window, and both padded almost insurmountable point leads in their respective series. Owens was followed by Steve Francis and Scott Bloomquist, while Billy Moyer and Rick Eckert finished second and third behind Darrell Lanigan. I thought it interesting that Moyer raced with the WoO in Michigan, while Moyer Jr. finished tenth in the Lucas Oil show in Indiana. Both will head to Knoxville for the track’s three night Late Model Nationals this weekend.
I am psyched for our trip to the Marion County Fairgrounds on Thursday. I am thinking this weekend is going to be a big one for fan favorite-and my favorite driver too, Brian Birkhofer. I am not sure anyone can repeat the Moyer sweep of a few years ago, but Birkie seems quite fond of big tracks this season-he has won $$$$$ races at I-80 Speedway and Eldora, and the Muscatine Maniac knows his way around the b-i-g half-mile track at Knoxville.
I am hoping to see some of our racing pals on Thursday. I know Raceguru Steve Basch will be there. Maybe Tom Schwartz from Lincoln will be on hand too. AND, Super Fan Tony Anville swears he will be there and even wants to take a photo of me in the Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Although he did not win any of the USMTS battles at Deer Creek this weekend (I can’t believe some anonymous blogger predicted he would win two of the three features), Ryan Gustin “reaped” the rewards from three consistent finishes to hold off Rodney Sanders and add the USMTS Casey’s Cup title to the 2012 USMTS National Title he secured several weeks ago.
Go to www.usmts.com and check out the video from Mark Dotson’s bumper cam. What interested me the most on this video was the amount of dirt clods Dotson’s car was throwing in the air around the track. I realize that drivers have a pretty stout steel grid in front of where they sit, and I realize they all wear a full-faced helmet, fire suit, and gloves, but some of those clods do end up hitting the drivers.
Years ago when Matt was on the Joe Kosiski pit crew he told me that the day after many races Joe would have sore hands from rocks and clods hitting him. Watching the Dotson video, I can certainly understand. The clods aren’t just thrown in the air waiting for a car to drive into them, they are shot backwards. I have no idea what the exact speed of the clod or the approaching car is, but the two could easily be traveling at each other at a closing speed of 150 miles per hour. Adrenaline and the need to focus during a race might mean the hurt of a clod hitting a hand-or a head-isn’t felt so much during the race, but it sure would be later. Getting hit like that at race speed has got to hurt as much as listening to Matt sing Johnny Cash at 1:30 a.m. on the way home from Knoxville.
While the two USMTS series have been decided, the best modified drivers in the business still have a three race weekend remaining on the schedule. The 6th Annual Texas Winternationals will be held at Royal Purple Speedway in Baytown, Texas 11/15-11/17. Yeah, that place is on one of my bucket lists, and not just because the track hosts the first and last races of the USMTS season. A track with the name Royal Purple Speedway is one every fan should visit.
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Talk about great supporters of a series. Last summer a dozen sponsors added $30,000 to the USMTS World Dirt Track Modified Championship held at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota. Two of the tracks biggest supporters-Randy and Patty Eastvold have added $1,000 to the Featherlite Fall Jamboree Saturday night feature, with the top five drivers to each receive an additional $200. Also, if any driver can win two of the weekend’s three features, the Eastvolds will provide a $5,000 bonus.
I think fan support like this adds a lot to a big event. CedarLakeSpeedway has a fans fund for the USA Nationals, and other tracks have done something similar. I helped with the Fans Fund for Silver Dollar Nationals I, and we were able to give $400 to Brian Birkhofer and also to Billy Moyer Jr.-something which helped a lot to get you know who, the hall of famer to the race. Unfortunately we did not do a Fans Fund for SDN II. Most of the funds came from fewer than 10 people, meaning it was a lot of work to get very little from other than the 10, plus some clueless yahoo on whowon.com spouted off about the fund not being legitimate which irritated me to put it mildly.
Both Birkhofer and Moyer Jr. appreciated the money we were able to provide them and I would be willing to try this again, but only if someone can come up with an idea on how fans could come up with $5,000-$10,000 for the event. Any ideas???
Who is going to be the big national tour winners this week? I wouldn’t bet against Darrell Lanigan winning the Down & Dirty 100 at the asphalt covered in clay Berlin Raceway. As dominant as the Kentucky driver has been this season that is a pretty safe bet.
The Lucas Oil series is racing at Brownstown Speedway in Indiana, and Scott Bloomquist has won the last two Jackson 100’s at the track. While the Zero car has found Victory Lane in quite sometime, Bloomquist has several second place finishes in big money races this season. No one has ever 100 three consecutive Jackson 100’s, and I think that record is going to remain intact. My prediction is Don O’Neal in a big late season win.
I realize I am making “easy” picks, but Lanigan, O’Neal, Jimmie Owens, Moyer, Bloomquist, and Brian Birkhofer are hard to pick against.
Back to the USMTS-Ryan Gustin must be seeing $$$$ in his dreams. All three nights of the Fall Jamboree pay well, there is now a potential $5,000 added to the pot, and if he does better than Stormy Scott this weekend, he could claim the $15,000 that goes with winning the Casey’s Cup championship. I see the young Iowan harvesting a big crop of greenbacks this weekend.
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A little rain fell on Eldora Speedway yesterday and more is in the forecast. The fastest drivers in the fastest cars on a hammer down track that is blazing fast anyway is a little scary. The time trials lock in 84 cars for tomorrow’s qualifying heats. The remaining 25-30 drivers will run non-qualifier races tonight. I am still debating on whether or not to pull out my credit card and purchase the PPV for the event. If my last name was Anville or Palmer I wouldn’t have to think twice, but since I have to work hard for my money, I do.
Former Eldora owner Earl Baltes will be at the World 100 as always, but taking it easy as befitting a man 91 years old. Has any other person done more for dirt track racing than Baltes? Ask million dollar man Donnie Moran what he thinks. The World 100, Kings Royal, Dream, and Four Crown Classic all sprung from the brilliant promoting mind of Baltes. From Mario Andretti to Steve Kinser to Scott Bloomquist to Tony Stewart, the drivers who have raced on the track Baltes created would fill a who’s who book or two. Yes, the track is on my bucket list-and not just the one that says “if I win the lottery.”
For numerologists, Billy Moyer drives car #21, and this year is the 21st anniversary of his first World 100 win. Are all the cosmic tumblers aligned so the legend makes it to the Eldora Victory Lane one more time? That would be a popular win in the grandstands and on the hillsides of the Rossburg, Ohio half-mile track.
Since the U.S. Army is retreating from sponsoring the 39 car of Ryan Newman I suppose saying he re-upped with Stewart-Hass Racing doesn’t really fit. So, I’ll just say he renewed his contract with the team. It is interesting that both Newman and team owner Tony Stewart have lost their primary sponsors-Newman again losing Army and Home Depot leaving Stewart. Renewing Newman’s contract sounds like new sponsors are in place or almost so.
The Fremont paper carries a weekly NASCAR page. The feature yesterday was the way one of 8 drivers will take the second wild card spot into The Chase. It was all very confusing, kind of like buying advanced tickets at a certain race track-one driver must win, have a second driver finish 34th or worse, and have a third driver finish 24th or worse. I guess it could happen, but the odds of that happening are even greater than lame duck driver Matt Kenseth winning the Sprint Cup point championship.
The two with the best chance to gain a wild card spot are Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. If either wins the Richmond race they are in. I wonder what would happen if on the last lap of the race Busch was first and Gordon was second. Would Gordon spin out Busch? I don’t wonder what would happen if Gordon was first and Busch second. No question the 24 car would be headed toward the wall.
After watching my alma mater MidlandUniversity make the Timberwolves of Randy Palmer’s alma mater NebraskaWesleyanUniversity an endangered species-at least on the football field-I’ll be watching NU vs. UCLA and during commercials and if the game gets boring I’ll switch over to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race tomorrow.
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I thought I presented several viable dates for a Black Diamond 125 make up, but apparently WoO officials did not agree, and the event has been cancelled. With far fewer big dollar races than competitor Lucas Oil Dirt Car Series, I thought the BD 125 would be made up.
I wonder what would happen if it rained hard in southwest Ohio the next four days. When would the World 100 be made up if it did?
Hopefully that won’t happen-I would hate to think my friend Steve Basch had nothing to do but sit in his tent in the Eldora campground and drink beer all weekend.
So, who is going to win the 42nd World 100? 2012 has been the year of Lanigan, but the Kentucky driver has no victories in dirt track racing’s most famous event, despite making the race 18 times.
Don O’Neal has not won the race 11 times, but when big money is involved, don’t ever count out the Indiana native. 2012 has not been the year 2011 was for Jimmy Owens, but with five consecutive top five’s in the early September Eldora race including last year’s win, he has shown he knows how to get to the front at Tony Stewart’s track.
Shane Clanton won The Dream in June in a car specially built for Eldora. That car has been raced only a few times since, so should be ready to tackle the high banks again. When you think of Eldora, you have to think of Scott Bloomquist and Billy Moyer, but their record in recent World 100’s is OK, but certainly not great. Bloomquist last won the race in 2001, but has 8 top tens in the past ten years. Moyer won in 2010, but that was his only top ten in the last ten years-four years he did not make the race, and his best finish in the other five years was 21st place, three times.
Can Brian Birkhofer celebrate the 10th anniversary of his 2002 triumph with another trip to Victory Lane? Yes, I do want him to win, but picking him would probably be too big a jinx for Birkie to overcome.
Of the 93 preregistered entrants, 36 are running Rocket Chassis. 17 different chassis makers are represented, with Rocket, MasterSBilt(20), and Bloomquist(6), the only chassis builders with more than four cars entered. Numbers alone would make Rocket the chassis to beat, but included in the Rocket numbers are Lanigan and Josh Richards, and that makes the odds even better.
So, who is going have the world on a trophy, take home $45,000, and have bragging rights for the coming year? I’ll say Jimmy Owens, but would not be surprised to see any of the drivers I mentioned take the checkers. Someone like Bart Hartman who won in 2009 would be a surprise, but O’Neal, Lanigan, Clanton, Bloomquist, Moyer, Birkhofer, or Richards would not.
Right now I am trying to talk myself out of paying $39.95 for the online World 100 PPV. Nebraska vs. UCLA is a night game on Saturday, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Richmond is also on. Still, if the World 100 is archived it might make for a good Sunday afternoon viewing.
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I see the TV show “Mad Men” received an Emmy nomination. I hear it is about Nebraska 360 sprint car drivers. I wrote this because a certain friend didn’t believe I would mention sprint cars during the Silver Dollar Nationals weekend.
Even though the super late model race at US 36 Speedway in Cameron, Missouri was a co-sanctioned MLRA/CBC event, only 17 cars took to the track. I don’t know if a mid-week race before a big event kept car count down, but that number is a norm for a single sanction Midwest super late model race, not a co-sanctioned race.
John Anderson won the race, followed by Chris Simpson, Terry Phillips, and Will Vaught. Anderson leads MLRA points heading into SDN II. Billy Moyer must have been hoping to pick up some gas money on the way to I-80 Speedway as he did race, finishing 10th. To me, the most interesting story of the night was that Jimmy Owens was on hand and raced Mark Dotson’s modified. Owens is an old modified hand and won the modified feature. Will Owens run both a late model and a modified in the Silver Dollar Nationals? I doubt it, but that would be cool.
Matt and I are skipping tonight’s opening night of the Silver Dollar Nationals. It is the I-80 weekly show with practice sessions for the MLRA/Lucas Oil late models. At one point there was some talk of NASCAR star Clint Bowyer visiting the track tonight, but that must have been unfeasible as Bowyer is hosting a golf tournament in his home town of Emporia, Kansas on his weekend off from the Sprint Cup Series.
The USMTS show at Raceway Park in Jefferson, South Dakota is our destination on what should be a hot, hot Thursday night. I have passed RacewayPark numerous times on the way to watching Busch All-Star and WDRL late model events at Park Jefferson, which is across the road from RacewayPark, but I have never visited the track. It is not a huge track-the track website says 3/10th’s mile, but it is high banked and fast with a black gumbo surface. I anticipate a large field of modifieds as this is a National Series event.
Jefferson, South Dakota was the first real racing road trip Matt and I took. Matt always was a big Joe Kosiski fan and Joe did very well at Park Jefferson so we decided to make the 120 mile journey from North Bend to watch the best NASCAR dirt late models in action-Gary Webb, the Eckrich brothers, Steve and Joe Kosiski, and Kyle Berck. Matt still thinks it is hilarious that he got me in trouble with his mother by saying we were going to South Dakota for a race, after I told her we were going to Sioux City-never mind that Jefferson is only 8 miles north of Sioux City.
How times have changed. I handled all the logistics that first road trip, from locating the track on a map to grilling hamburgers to eat on the way to driving from North Bend. Now we leave from Fremont, we don’t have to check where the track is, and Matt lines up pop and food and drives his car-and does almost as good as I used to do.
After tonight, Silver Dollar Nationals II, the biggest auto race ever in Nebraska. Bloomquist, Moyer, Owen, O’Neal, Birkhofer, Mars, Phillips, Francis-or as Sly Stone said at Woodstock, “on and on, etcetera, etcetera, and wow.” Years ago I said that watching Steve Francis hot lap was worth the price of admission. That is still true, though I am not sure how can I watch all that is happening when the big name drivers are on the track at the same time. Throw in the unique qualifying of the event-no time trials, double heats-and add USMTS modifieds and for this weekend, I-80 Speedway becomes dirt racing nirvana.
I wonder if any of the drivers sell toddler t-shirts. It would freak out Henry’s mom and grandma to see the normally stylish young man in a Bloomquist t-shirt. Hey, it would freak out Jane to see me in a racing t-shirt. Actually if I buy one it will just be to work out in, because I know a certain person would say “You are not riding with me if you wear that t-shirt.”
363 nights ago I started a count down. I don’t do that for other races. I don’t even do it for Nebraska football. This race is something special, and I have enjoyed hyping it. And I am ready for whatever happens on the track.
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The Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway is less than three weeks away. At least the top 10 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series drivers will be on hand and that includes Scott Bloomquist, Jimmie Owens, Don O’Neal, Steve Francis, and Earl Pearson Jr. Add Brian Birkhofer and Jimmy Mars and regional stand outs Terry Phillips, John Anderson, and Kyle Berck to the mix, and you have the ingredients for a tasty racing cake.
Are you hungry for top notch late model racing and want some icing on that cake? Well, six time World 100 winner Billy Moyer has added the Silver Dollar Nationals to his 2012 schedule. Throw in the USMTS modifieds and it is almost like having your cake and eating it too. If you love racing, you would need to travel to New Richmond in Wisconsin, Rossburg inOhio, or Knoxville, Iowa to find a field that is any better.
It would be nice if the track could get some of the WoO late model drivers to race in SDN II, but I don’t see that happening. Lucas Oil driver Scott Bloomquist was the only driver from that series to participate in the WoO Firecracker 100 at Lernerville,Pennsylvania last weekend, so it seems the two series don’t have a lot of interaction this time of the year. Still, the WoO drivers will have off seventeen days after finishing their Wild West Tour, so maybe an email to the twelve regulars on the tour could bring some positive results.
I guess we were not the only Nebraskans treated rudely in Corning, Iowa on Saturday night. Scott McBride had some difficulty at the local Casey’s after the race, and like with us, it was not of his own making. I don’t know if Scott will be returning to Adams County Speedway in the future, I am just hoping I don’t have to argue with Matt about going to that part of Iowa anytime soon.
This weekend has US 30 Speedway on our Thursday night schedule, with NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series televised races on tap for Friday and Saturday nights. Speaking of the Nationwide Series, congratulations to young Austin Dillon for winning the series race at Kentucky Speedway last Friday night and taking over first place in the standings too.
My predictions for last weekend were off, which is normal. Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, not Kyle Busch, and Kyle Berck did not win either of the MLRA late model races. I don’t see Busch bouncing back this weekend, but I do see Berck winning the SLMR series race at US 30 in Columbus. Actually it would not surprise me if Berck won several times this weekend as the series races at Wagner Speedway in South Dakotaon July 4th, US 30 Speedway on July 5th, Junction Motor Speedway on July 7th, and Dawson County Raceway in Lexington, Nebraska on Sunday July 8th. I look for at least 20 late models to show for each event.
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Call Dale Earnhardt Jr. overrated as a driver. I have. Make fun of his rabid supporters, aka Junior Nation. I have many times. Say NASCAR plays favorites, especially with the 88 team. There are lots of conspiracy theories involving NASCAR, and some of them must be right. Make no doubt about it though; Earnhardt’s victory at Michigan on Sunday was a very big deal.
There are twelve articles in the latest Sporting News Today’s NASCAR, and eleven of them are about Earnhardt. Even NASCAR President Brian France admits “he’s the biggest franchise in NASCAR.” Earnhardt Jr. sells the most souvenirs of any NASCAR driver. His winning presence will mean an increase in ticket sales for races on the remainder of the 2012 schedule. An Earnhardt win means TV ratings should increase. And all of this helps to attract sponsors to the sport, sponsors looking for more bang for their bucks than NASCAR was providing with a non-winning Earnhardt.
On a national level, dirt track racing has its own version of Dale Earnhardt. Jr. Yes, I am talking about Scott Bloomquist. Who brings more cheers when introduced than Bloomquist? Who brings more boos when introduced than Bloomquist? Do you think promoters care if you cheer or boo? They are seeing green, not envy, but the cash coming in from more seats in the grandstands filled because the Zero car is in the pits.
There are drivers on the regional level that fans will travel to see. I did not like the fact that when Kelly Boen was on the track, other drivers repair bills shot up, but there is no denying he was/is an exciting driver. Kyle Berck has a legion of fans-though not a nation like Earnhardt Jr. When Joe Kosiski was driving, red 53 t-shirts stood out in the grandstands wherever he raced. One of my favorite racing lines came while Matt was on Kosiski’s pit crew. Joe certainly had a “unique” fan base, and his crew chief asked him, “Joe, do you have any normal fans?” Normal or not, there were plenty of them.
While no dirt track driver makes millions of dollars off souvenir sales like Earnhardt Jr. and some other NASCAR drivers do, it is a good source of income for Saturday night heroes. For local and regional drivers, the profits from t-shirt sales pay for gallons of expensive fuel to move their hauler down the road. For hall of famers like Billy Moyer and Scott Bloomquist, on nights when they do not finish well, they make more from souvenir sales than from their share of the purse.
Do you think I am exaggerating? Bloomquist has not raced in Nebraskaf or at least five years. How many t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and die cast car models do you think he will sell during the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway in July? 100 t-shirts? 200 t-shirts? How well do you think Billy Moyer did in souvenir sales at last year’s Silver Dollar Nationals? His souvenir trailer was pulled by a very nice-read expensive-motor home, not a pick-up. If he didn’t sell a lot of souvenirs, the trailer would be pulled by a pick-up, and he would be sleeping in his hauler.
I rarely buy racing t-shirts. The last t-shirt I bought was an event t-shirt for the East Bay Nationals in Tampa about six years ago. Before that it was a Bloomquist t-shirt. I may have to break down and buy another one in July. I’ll start saving my pennies- the midway at I-80 Speedway will be packed with souvenir trailer.
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Jimmy Owens, Scott Bloomquist, Don O’Neal, and Billy Moyer all won heat races at night one of the Show-Me 100 and will draw for starting positions in the front two rows of tonight’s feature race. The phrase gets used often, but for super late models fans, it doesn’t get any better.
16 drivers have qualified for the event, but those not yet qualified would make for a good feature at any track. Running in tonight’s consolation events are Billy Moyer Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Morgan Bagley, Brian Birkhofer, Jared Landers, Terry Phillips, Jesse Stovall, and Chris Simpson.
Matt was contacted by the track when a 14 person suite was made available for this weekend’s racing. Wow, I wish he wouldn’t have passed up on it. Divide the cost by 14, same with a 14 person limo for the trip from Omaha to Wheatland, throw in shared hotel rooms, and it would not have been outrageous. Oh well, I am still looking forward to tomorrow night’s Alphabet Soup Race and will keep the Show-Me 100 on my bucket list.
Speaking of suites, according to Ernie Saxon in AARN, a luxury suite at the F1 race in Austin, Texas will cost you $237,000, though that gets 24 people through the gates and allows you four parking spots.
A general admission ticket-meaning blanket on a hillside seat-starts at $287. Grandstand reserved seats go for $713-$851. Even money man Tony Anville has decided this is outrageous and is thinking of going to the 2013 Daytona 500 instead. I hope I didn’t give I-80 Speedway any ideas for ticket prices for future specials.
I have mentioned before that I very much enjoy columnist Gary London of AARN. He is a little overweight, wears glasses, and is good at writing about auto racing. Sound familiar? I don’t need any 2 out of 3 ain’t bad comments either. Anyway, London lambasted the NASCAR All-Star race in his column in the current AARN. Among some of his tidbits that fall in the “damn I wish I had said that category” were:
-“This event is the most over-hyped, over-blown, underachieving night on the schedule.”
-“It seems every year they change the format. The idiot who came up with this year’s idea ought to be forced to open his wallet and grant refunds.”
-“Larry McReynolds, with his fourth grade grammar, tried to make strategy sound interesting.”
-“I have been following racing for 60 years. Even as a youngster I loved the racing.”
-“It’s a real shame that good racing hardly matters anymore.”
London also mentioned a rumor that Fox Sports is going to change Speed TV into an all-sports network. Well, we need more soccer and Australian Rules football on TV. I just wish someone, somewhere was smart enough to bring back Dirt Knights.
Well, shut my mouth, although that is unlikely. The NASCAR Hall of Fame has an exhibit on grassroots tracks, featuring Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, Bowman Gray Stadium, Hickory Motor Speedway, and South Boston Speedway. I mentioned several of these tracks in a recent blog. Also included in the exhibit is a 1937 Ford modified that was driven by David Pearson. It is nice to see something other than Sprint Cup at the Hall.
Finally, I wonder what my friend Randy Palmer is going to do tonight. He could go watch an evening of sprint cars and far too many B-Mods or he can stay home and watch the Boston Celtics in game seven of their NBA Play-off series. He is a devoted Celtics fan, and their game would be my recommendation, but he is also a sprint car elitist, which may cloud his thinking more than it normally is.
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I have hawked www.dirtondirt.com many times, not because I get a kick back for doing so-I don’t-but because it is an amazing source of information for late model fans. There is a Todd Turner article currently on the site that shows how valuable the site is.
The Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series are conducting tests at various tracks this year to find ways to slow down its cars. Yes, slow down, as in less speed, better racing. I have never equated pure speed with good racing, and it seems like others understand that too-just not sprint car people.
The series tested last week during practice for the Bad Boy 98 at Batesville Speedway in Arkansas, and tests will be held tonight at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri during practice for the Show-Me 100. Showing great wisdom, series director Ritchie Lewis chose Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, and Steve Francis to do the testing.
As Lewis noted, fans might not be able to tell the difference between a 15 second lap and a 17 second lap, but they can tell the difference between a good race and a bad race. I can remember when the old NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour raced at Crawford County Speedway in Denison,Iowa. The track was a huge half mile, and one time a radar gun set on cars racing down the back stretch of the track showed super late models hitting 128 miles per hour. Faster than about anywhere in the Midwest, but I can’t say I ever saw a really good race there.
To me, side by side by side racing throughout the track at 90 miles per hour is far more exciting than single file racing at 128 miles per hour. Despite the claim of “Home of 100 mph racing,” Sunset Speedway never was a pure speed track and many of the best races I ever saw were at that facility.
One thing I was very surprised to learn was that all three of the test teams think aerodynamics is very important in late model racing, just as in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. Bloomquist crew chief Tommy Hicks said “the air is so important anymore, especially on some of the bigger tracks, when you get close to somebody it takes the air off your car and you can’t pass him.”
Who is going to win the Show-Me 100 this weekend? Don’t bet the farm against Jimmy Owens taking home $30,000 of Forrest Lucas’ money. Owens, Don O’Neal, and Bloomquist as 1-2-3 finishers would not be surprising at all.
This is a big weekend for the WoO late models. The series will be at Wayne County Speedway inOhiofor a $10,000 to win show then go to Tyler County Speedway inWest Virginiaas part of the Bullring Bonanza. Their race, the Jackpot 100 pays $25,000 to win. Sunday the series moves on to I-77 Speedway at Fairplain,West Virginia for another $10,000 to win show.
Tri-City Speedway near St. Louisis hosting a 50 lap, $10,000 to win UMP super late model show on Sunday May 27th. I suspect far more Show-Me 100 drivers will race here, rather than in the Alphabet Soup Race at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska for that track’s $5,000 to win 50 lap CBC/MLRA event. The MARS DirtCar Series will race at Monett, Missouri on Sunday as well. Some of the southwest Missouri drivers that race in both MARS and MLRA will have to make decisions where to race this weekend, though logic would say compete closer to home.
25 B-Mods, 13 Pro-Ams, 21 GN’s, and 33 ASCS sprint cars to the track at I-80 Speedway last night. Shawn Harker took the B-Mod checkered flags, with Jesse Sobbing finishing 18th. Sounds like Sobbing was either involved in a crash or had mechanical problems-that is my guess based on him not winning. Brad Derry won the Pro-Am feature and Matt Buller captured the GN feature. Danny Lasoski, Brian Brown, and Jason Johnson took 1-2-3 in the sprint car feature. Next up at the track is the Alphabet Soup Race on Sunday.
I am guessing 55 super late models at the Alphabet Soup Race, and really hope there aren’t more. I will predict one of the Simpson brothers to win this race. I get confused as to which is the good one and which is the bad one; I just think one of them will win. As for the starting time, well who knows? Seriously. The track website says 5:55 p.m. The MLRA website says 6:30 p.m. A track representative’s column in the Omaha World-Herald today said 6:35 p.m. My guess is none of the above; just that it will start sometime and finish sometime, hopefully before Monday morning.
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P.S. If you get Speed TV, you can watch the WoO Sprint Cars at The Dirt Track in Charlotte tonight at 7:00 p.m.