The 5 W’s, Plus Speed Shift TV, KTJ, Sunshine, And Berck. I-80 Dirt Classic

June 9, 2018 Leave a comment

Who? What? Where? When? Why? The 5 W’s of news reporting. Of course my blog is more opinion than news, but today I am going to work with the 5 W’s anyway.

What? The I-80 Dirt Classic featuring Modifieds, USAC Non-Wing Sprint Cars, and SLMR Late Models. That also answers where-I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Nebraska-though I-80 Speedway is closer to Ashland than to Greenwood. Obviously when was Friday night.

Who? Matt, me, Race Guru Steve Basch, Scott McBride and Jameson, Randy Palmer and late arriving, very late arriving Tony Anville.

Who? Celebrity variety. I met Speed Shift Callie last night. If you ever purchase one of the Speed Shift PPV’s, Callie is their fixer. You have a problem receiving a race, she fixes your problem. She fixed a problem for me during Indiana Midget Week, though the problem had nothing to do with Speed Shift and everything to do with me being a duh. Anyway, a nice and lovely young lady.

Where? Again. Fortunately it was I-80 Speedway. It took me all of my debating skills to convince a certain family member that going to Jackson, Minnesota for the Jackson Nationals was a bad idea. I was proven right when the Thursday program at the Minnesota track was rained out, and it rained yesterday too. Jackson is a little over 200 miles from Fremont. I-80 Speedway is about 50 miles straight south of Fremont, although to get there from my house we have to go west-south-west-south-east-south-east-south-east-south-west-south.

Why? That is the real question. This race was the first Matt and I went to this season. Mainly we went for the USAC Non-Wing Sprint Cars, with the SLMR Late Models a bonus, and Modifieds something to endure. I very much enjoy Non-Wing Sprint Cars. You could not pay me to go to the Knoxville Nationals-Winged Sprint Cars, but if I could, I would certainly go to the USAC Indiana Midget Week or USAC Indiana Sprint Week. I probably can’t go, but I watched the Midget Week on Speed Shift TV and will watch the Sprint Week on Speed Shift TV in July. More about that later.

The car count for the I-80 Dirt Classic was my kind of number-77. 15 Modifieds, 25 Sprint Cars, and 37 Late Models filled the pits. The 37 Late Models ended up being a little problematic though. As if happened, I did not understand why there were 7, yup 7, Late Model hot lap sessions. Unfortunately the 7 hot lap sessions were followed by 7 time trial sessions, something the SLMR shows I had attended in the past did not have.

If you have more than a few of my blog posts, you know I hate time trials. Time trials try my patience. Time trials are minutes of my life wasted, minutes I will never get back. On a dirt track, when you time trial can be even more important than how good your car is. And time trials go a long way to influencing the kind of night a driver is going to have. Sorry, two laps should not be that important.

OK, that is time trials period. I was told the SLMR time trials had something to do with slower cars drawing spots close to the front of the starting grid of a heat. I am not sure who complained, the faster cars or the slower cars. If it was the faster cars, tough, pass them. If it was a driver of a slower car, admit you are slower and tag on the back of the grid while you gain experience. I do not think this was a good reason for having time trials. The SLMR Late Models simply should not have time trials.

Kevin Thomas Jr. was quite impressive last night. He set fast time, finished 3rd in his heat, and dominated the feature after taking the point on lap 6. The 69 car worked everywhere on the track-high, low, middle, wherever it needed to go to pass. Thomas leads the Amsoil USAC National point battle, and it would not surprise me to see him crowned champion at the end of the season.

A driver who could challenge Thomas is Tyler Courtney. Courtney did not have a good qualifying run and ended up starting the feature 12th on the grid. Getting to the front in a 30 lap feature running against quality drivers is no easy task. Courtney managed to move from 12th to 2nd in the race, despite no caution flags-surprise, the USAC sprinters had to cautions the entire evening. Maybe it has to do with NO wings.

Despite a plethora of cautions in the SLMR feature, Kyle Berck led all 25 laps, picking up his second series feature win of the season. Tad Pospisil finished 2nd, but the only way the Norfolk driver was going to win was for Berck to make a mistake, and that seldom happens. Andrew Kosiski finished a surprising 3rd, and looked good doing so.

The SLMR rules package is one all regional Late Model tours should follow-I am actually talking MLRA here. MLRA car counts are not that good at most races, and the SLMR car counts are good every race. If MLRA has the same rules as the SLMR, I believe their car count would jump from the low 20’s to 40 or more per race. The SLMR is going to be part of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals in September, so obviously promoter Joe Kosiski is doing something right.

Back to Speed Shift TV. There are some who claim sites like Speed Shift TV are detrimental to the sport. I think that is bunk. Speed Shift will show 16 races the remainder of June, 18 in July, 14 in August, 16 in September, 9 in October, 8 in November, and 1 in December. That is 82 shows I can watch, and I will watch many of them. The only track I have visited in those 82 shows is Park Jefferson. The only others I might actually visit are Marshalltown Speedway and Beatrice Speedway. Speed Shift TV allows me to “visit” dozens of tracks I would not otherwise visit. I am not watching Speed Shift TV in lieu of going to a local track, because I am doing very few weekly shows anymore (sorry, 6 classes of racing just chaps my you know what). AND, I can watch racing from warm weather states before and after the Nebraska racing season. Nothing wrong with any of that.

Over all I would give the evening a solid B. I enjoyed the company of my friends, got to meet a celebrity, very pleased with the USAC Non-Wing Sprints, but a little disappointed in the SLMR Late Model feature.

Matt may have other plans, but for now, my plans for this season are lots of races on Speed Shift TV and Lucas Oil Racing TV, and going to the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway and the Prairie Dirt Classic at FALS in July and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals in September.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Speed Shift TV Has All 6 Nights Of USAC Indiana Midget Week Covered

May 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Thanks to Speed Shift TV, I watched the USAC Indiana Midget Week show from Montpelier Motor Speedway-a track that was built in 1903 as a ½ mile horse track, but is now configured as a ¼ mile clay for vehicles with more than one horsepower. The first auto race at the track was held in 1915.

USAC midgets had four heats, non-wing sprint cars had three heats, and UMP modifieds also had three heats. This translated into 37 midgets, 20 sprints, and 20 modifieds. I do not mind three divisions, even for a special, especially when none of the three are junk classes. And I am now appreciative of car counts of 100 or less. Plus, I have to admit I do enjoy the midgets and non-wing sprints.

There are five more Midget Week shows scheduled-Gas City, Lincoln Park, Bloomington, Lawrenceburg, and Kokomo. You can get a Speed Shift TV package for the rest of the week, or for individual shows as well-and for open wheel fans, sprints will be running each night with the midgets.

Between the midget and sprint heats, Speed Shift TV showed a DVR of an in camera shot of a driver running a midget heat. The mud flying was insane, especially when this car was behind others, or if he jumped the cushion. The driver was ripping away one or more tear-offs every lap and above and below his visor his helmet was covered in mud, while his head was rocking like a bobble head doll. Ha, I used to complain about getting hit with a mud clod occasionally at Sunset Speedway and spinning my head to watch all the action.

In the sprint first heat, Parker Frederickson decided to go for a flight, despite no wings. If you saw the video of a sprinter climbing over the turn one wall at Knoxville last year, this was height Frederickson matched. He walked away from the crash though.

Several things I liked-only when a car didn’t fire did push trucks end up on the track wasting time. I do not like push truck starts. There was just one B feature-the midgets with 18 cars running just 12 laps. Also, the midget feature was run first, followed by the sprint feature and modified feature. To me this should ALWAYS be the case at specials-the top class feature goes first.

23 cars started the 30 lap midget feature-16 qualified in the 4 heats, 6 in the B-feature, and there was one provisional starter.  Drivers came from 13 states and 3 countries. NASCAR star Kyle Larsen took the lead a few laps before the halfway and was never headed. Larsen also set fast time-a new track record, and won his heat. On Sunday Larsen ran his Cup car at Charlotte for 600 miles, Monday night he ran a sprint car, and Tuesday it was a midget. Yes, he is a very talented racer. Unfortunately Larsen has NASCAR commitments the rest of the week so Montpelier was his only Indiana Midget Week stop.

Tyler Courtney finished second, and USAC National Points Leader Logan Seavey came home third. Despite many cautions it was a very good race. Hopefully, rainy weather will stay away and the midgets will put on another good show tonight at Gas City.

One very good thing about watching the races online is that if the support class features run last I don’t have to watch them. So, I had an enjoyable night without watching the sprint and modified feature and shut down the computer at 9:40 p.m. And Speed Shift TV does an excellent job. I know some of you are against PPV’s, but Montpelier Motor Speedway is not a track I will ever get to-thanks to Speed Shift TV and others I get to at least “visit” such places.

I know, this wasn’t my best blog effort, but it has been awhile. I’ll get back in the groove. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PPV’s Plus Some Silver Dollar Nationals Thoughts

April 27, 2018 1 comment

There are two Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models shows on PPV this weekend. The Busch 50 from Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois is on Lucas Oil Racing TV tonight at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and is available to yearly subscribers only. Tomorrow night, www.DirtonDirt.com will be showing the St. Louis U-Pick A Part 100 from Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. Modified action on the 1/5th mile track will also be shown. Check out the DOD website for details.

I-80 Speedway promoter Joe Kosiski might think I will be knocking the $90 3 day Silver Dollar National reserved ticket package, apparently the only way to guarantee getting the same reserved seats each night. I am not going to. It is a steep price, but it is the price we have to pay to see one of dirt late model racing’s crown jewel events. So, Matt and I will pay-and hope admission prices won’t go up in the future as $90 is plenty for this retiree.

I would ask several things of Joe, though. First, when Lucas Oil announcer James Essex interviews you on the Saturday night of the Silver Dollar Nationals, DON’T announce an increase in the winner’s share of the purse. 53 is a number long associated with the Kosiski family, so $53,000 for a winner’s share of the purse seems appropriate. Plus, unless the winner’s share is increased to $100,000, I doubt any addition would draw a single car more.

$53,000 should remain the winner’s share every year the track hosts the Silver Dollar Nationals. I would like to see the lower half of the purse beefed up, BUT only if a major sponsor could be found to allow the increase-not coming out of the wallets of fans.

The other thing I would ask is to make sure everyone in the grandstand area has a reserved seat. It angers me a lot when people without reserved seats sit in the grandstand. Last year I watched a redneck foursome move three times when people who had the seats arrived. A sign in front of the grandstands saying “Reserved seats only,” is not going to keep anyone without reserved seats from walking up the grandstand steps. I am not sure how many people actually notice the sign, and those who do tend to ignore it.

What is needed? When we go to the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois, I get a pit pass-the pits are near our back stretch parking spot and I don’t have to walk across the track to get to them. Like every other track, those in the pits at FALS wear a wristband. In this case, it is a plastic wristband and I do not take it off for two days. How about doing the same at the SDN and having people at the bottom of the stairs checking for the wristbands? Perhaps this sounds petty, but someone who paid for reserved seats should NOT have to ask someone who didn’t to move. Yeah, this does irritate the hell out of me.

I am not sure if egos involved would ever allow this, but it would be great if somehow the Silver Dollar Nationals could be co-sanctioned. No, I don’t mean my MLRA and the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series, I mean with Lucas Oil and the World of Outlaws. The WoO Wild West Tour finishes up about the same time as the SDN. Seldom do WoO drivers venture outside their series, but a co-sanctioned event would certainly bring them to Nebraska. I realize I am being greedy wanting all of the best drivers racing in the Cornhusker State, but it would turn a top ten event into a top five show.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

I Still Know How To Write

April 14, 2018 Leave a comment

I haven’t posted a blog in forever. Well, it seems that way. I haven’t been to a race since the Knoxville Nationals-Late Model variety-last September. For years I never missed a race at Sunset Speedway, or at I-80 Speedway when it was known as Nebraska Raceway Park. I doubt I will attend any race until the Go 50 Lucas Oil show at I-80 Speedway in late May. That, the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Prairie Dirt Classic, and Knoxville in September are the only races I have on my calendar in 2018.

To me, most other specials simply aren’t special at all. Yes, Late Models are featured at many “specials,” but to me there is nothing special about a race when 3-4-5 support classes are included. And always, every damn time, one of the support classes is the dreaded B-mods, or whatever it is they are calling this class nowadays.

I used to watch NASCAR every Sunday, but haven’t watched at all this year. Cookie cutter tracks, lack of real racing, and bland drivers make for a product I don’t find entertaining anymore. Couple that with mostly knuckle-head announcers and TV production that is beyond annoying, and I just don’t bother. I remember a few years back going to Kansas Speedway on a Friday to watch Cup practice and qualifying. It was cheap, it was fun, and for a while I wanted to repeat that visit. Now the only way I would consider that is having my grandson along.

And yes, my grandson is another reason why races are less interesting to me. That young man is way beyond important to Jane and me, and his interests are mine. He loves basketball, he really loves baseball, and he likes track and soccer, so guess what I like? Check out my Facebook page for photos of him and me at games (I know-you might not agree with my politics, but that is not all who I am).

There is a photo of Henry and me at last night’s Nebraska vs. Iowa baseball game at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. Matt and I did not go to the “special” at I-80 Speedway, but opted instead for the NU double-header. We arrived at the park at 1:00 p.m. and didn’t leave until 9:00 p.m. And yes Joe Kosiski, I would have been screaming bloody murder if I ever attended an eight hour long race show. Instead I loved every minute of our day at the ball park. Strike outs, double plays, home runs, Henry with fist bumps to his favorite players, and Herbie Husker sharing his cowboy hat with my grandson. It was great fun.

Part of my problem is I was witness to the golden days of Nebraska racing with the Late Models at Sunset Speedway. Sorry, but today’s Late Model drivers are not as good as drivers in the finals years of the legendary Omaha track. The SLMR is a good series, I won’t deny that, but no, it does not compare to the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour. And there is certainly no weekly rivalry to compare with that of Joe Kosiski and Kyle Berck in the late 90’s.

When Matt wants to go to Park Jefferson or Corning or even I-80 Speedway for an SLMR show I go, but reluctantly. Sunset Speedway once ran three classes, now every weekly show runs five or six classes. Sunset would have 100 cars in those three classes and competition to make a feature race was stiff. Now most tracks have less than 100 cars on hand, even with multiple classes, and except for the B-mods I hate, every car is going to make the feature race. It is just not the same.

I would like to think I am still a race fan. Just last weekend I watched two nights of Sprint Car racing from Texas on Lucas Oil Racing TV. There are at least 27 more nights of racing on LORTV that I will watch this year. I intend on buying a month of DirtVision to watch World of Outlaws Sprint Cars race at places like Fairbury, Jackson, Grand Forks, and Knoxville-11 nights of racing. And I suspect I will watch more on Speed Shift TV and DirtonDirt. That will take care of any need for speed I have, and if I get bored I can turn off the PPV at any time.

I would like things to be different, but I am doubtful they will be. One kudo to I-80 Speedway though. I like their concessions far better than the concessions at Haymarket Park. The service at the ball park is atrocious. The ball park serves Pepsi products, not Coke products. The Haymarket popcorn is pre-popped Colby Ridge popcorn. I hate pre-popped popcorn and I really dislike Colby Ridge popcorn. And Haymarket concessions have NOTHING to compare with I-80’s pork tenderloin sandwich.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

February 12, 2018 Leave a comment

The nine Lucas Oil late model races in ten days served as a reminder to me that I still love dirt track racing. Every race was exciting, every race was fun to watch, and I am ready for more. I guess I will get in on the Michael Rigsby retirement fund and subscribe to the www.dirtondirt.com six night WoO/UMP racing package from Volusia Speedway Park starting tonight.

In the last few years I have become a BIG Jonathan Davenport fan. With three wins in the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks session, Superman takes a 50 point lead over Josh Richards into the month long hiatus for series. Rookie Kyle Bronson stands third in the LOLMDS standings.

Another driver I am impressed with is 17 year old Hudson O’Neal. His driving talent is obvious, but the Indiana teenager is well spoken and a good role model for young fans. He struggled at East Bay, but a second place finish at Brunswick, and a podium finish last night at Bubba Raceway Park has him in 7th place in series standings.

Watching the races at East Bay triggered some bucket list thoughts for me. I have visited the Clay By The Bay near Tampa-about 10 years ago, but if anything the racing seems better now, and I would love to spend a week where February temperatures are in the 80’s, not 20 or below.

What other bucket list items did I think of? I would love to take my son and grandson to a Golden State Warriors game-anywhere. Steph Curry is Henry’s favorite basketball player. I would also like to spend a weekend in Arizona in January watching the late models run. A few nights at Eldora Speedway in June for The Dream would be nice too. And then, the bucket list is a little whacky.

I would love to travel with Jane across Canada by rail. OK, that is not too crazy. Then, I would like to travel to Australia (Quantas Business Class) for a few weeks to watch late models and sprints there race. That one falls in the category of “win the lottery,” though.

Notice I didn’t say anything about NASCAR races. I watched hours and hours of dirt track racing on Lucas Oil Racing TV, but I have not watched a minute of NASCAR racing from Daytona. I may watch some this week as the Daytona 500 looms, but then again I may not. Not many years ago I wouldn’t miss a NASCAR TV race. In the Brian France leadership era, it has become a chore to watch these races. I would rather read a book. And now, I would rather write a book too.

My knee continues to heal. That is not to say it still doesn’t hurt, because it most definitely does. But I am winning little battles every day, and my goal remains going to the state basketball tournament in March with Matt-even if I have to use a cane.

Funny. A little racing excitement sure makes it easier to blog. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Are You Kidding Me? Lucas Oil Series Knocks Socks Off

February 10, 2018 Leave a comment

A big thank you to Lucas Oil Racing TV for their coverage of Georgia-Florida Speedweeks. The Lucas Oil late models have raced 7 of the last 8 nights, and I have watched every night. The action has simply been unbelievable. There has not been a clunker of a race. It is the best of the best dirt racers and night after night they have shown why I have been a race fan for 60 years.

I am not a big fan of time trials. If you have read my blogs often enough, you know I hate them. Hate them, except for time trials at East Bay in Tampa. Over and over and over the announcers have shouted “new fast time.” This week a tenth or two tenths of a second has meant the difference between a great starting spot, and a so-so spot on the grid. Simply amazing.

Lucas Oil announcer James Essex is simply the best, and Chris Stephan has done a good job too. Dave Argabright’s pit interviews have been spot on and for the most part, the camera coverage has been good too-when Jonathan Davenport and Josh Richards are battling for the lead, I don’t really want to be watching a 5th-6th place duel though.

I have actually been to East Bay, and after this week I would love to go again. Of course I would also like to go to Volusia and Daytona too. I just need to hit Powerball one time and that will really help me to check off bucket list items.

Josh Richards, Don O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., and Scott Bloomquist-all the Lucas Oil champions since 2005 are racing full-time with the series this year. Darrell Lanigan and Tim McCreadie are past WoO champions and they are also full-time Lucas Oil drivers. Young guns like Bobby Pierce and Hudson O’Neal add to the excitement, as does Florida driver Kyle Bronson who will be running for the series Rookie of the Year title this season. What I am saying is 2018 is shaping up to be an incredible season for the Lucas Oil series. I can’t wait until they visit Nebraska in May for the Go 50 race, and in July for the Silver Dollar Nationals. I am definitely going to look at the schedule again to see if there are other Midwest events Matt and I can road trip to.

If you have not subscribed to Lucas Oil Racing TV, check it out. The live events are worth the price paid, and there are several dozen regular programs that are fun to watch too. Tonight’s East Bay late model finale will go live at 5:00 p.m. Central Time, and the series heads to Ocala and Bubba Raceway Park tomorrow for another 5:00 p.m. start time. Do yourself a favor and be there.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Yeah, the racing has knocked my socks off-even the compression stocking I am wearing after my knee replacement surgery.

 

 

 

It Isn’t Snowing In Florida-Or Arizona, And Knee News Too

February 5, 2018 1 comment

For as long as he has been driving and winning, I have attributed much of the success of Josh Richards to driving the Rocket house car and to racing with the WoO, to me by far the weakest of the two national circuits. Rocket is arguably the best late model chassis, crew members are the best in the business, and of course Mark Richards is a huge resource. And the best WoO races-like the Prairie Dirt Classic come when Lucas Oil series regulars are in attendance.

However, I need to give more credit to the driver. Richards did win the Lucas Oil series championship last year, and that not in the Rocket house car. And the way he has started off 2018, well, two wins in two races says it all. Well, almost all-the rest of the dirt is that a blown motor in his heat put Richards into a B Main last night, and power steering troubles before the start of that race relegated him to the 26th and final starting spot. No problem, just do the hard charger routine and win night #2 at Golden Isle Speedway in Georgia.

Tonight it is on to East Bay Raceway Park for six, yup, six straight nights of Lucas Oil late model action. If you subscribe to Lucas Oil Racing TV-and you should, racing action starts at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. They run the program quickly, and everything should be done shortly after 9:00 p.m.

Open wheel fans can tune into sprints from Volusia this week. Matt told me that all the WoO sprint car shows will be aired live this season-including the race in North Dakota. We had been talking of driving there, but a one night subscription to watch this at home is certainly a lot cheaper. He also talked about a WoO sprint show at FALS in Fairbury, Illinois. The track is wild for late models, but I think would be borderline insane for sprints. We sit on the back stretch just entering turn 3 when we go to the Prairie Dirt Classic there, and getting hit by the occasional dirt clod is cool, but I could see sprints flying out of the park there. Whoa.

Update on my knee surgery. The doctor called it a text book operation. I was up early Thursday afternoon, just hours after the surgery. I came home late Friday afternoon. I had met all the requirements to leave and I certainly preferred home to Lakeside Hospital. The old saw is that the first few weeks after surgery you will wonder why you did it, and making it through that period, you will start wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. I will attest to having plenty of pain. And I have not tried to be a hero and refuse pain pills. I have had good days and bad days-today started off bad, but see progress in little battles won. I am pushing hard on the physical therapy and intend to continue. That is the only way to get better. And I will get better.

Jane was kidding and said she hoped I got a new attitude along with my new knee. OK, maybe she wasn’t kidding. I will say they she is amazing and I am very lucky to have her. She has helped me do things I can’t do yet, and simply supports me. Thank goodness. Without her I would probably just stay in bed.

But now it is time for me to elevate my left leg and ice it. I guess that is important in getting rid of the swelling and stiffness. And I did miss blogging. I might have to try to do this more often. Thanks for stopping by.