Archive

Archive for July, 2009

More Action In Outlaw Nationals Than Entire Ho-Hum 500

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Thanks to my son Matt I was able to listen to part of the WDRL show from Cedar Lake Speedway last night.  Matt sent me a link to the internet broadcast-www.racecastlive.com.  If you are a late model fan you can use that link tonight and tomorrow night as the Outlaw Nationals from Cedar Lake will also be broadcast on the internet.

 

There was more action in the seven late model heats of the WDRL show than there will be in Sunday’s entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Perfidious 500 from Is It Over Yet, Pennsylvania.   While it was a scheduled event for WDRL regulars, many of the drivers running in the Outlaw Nationals used it as practice for that show.  When starting grids for heats include names like Brady Smith, Billy Moyer, Terry Phillips, Rick Aukland, Wendell Wallace, Bill Frye, Matt Miller, Chris Wall, and Chris Madden, you wonder one thing.  Yeah, why am I sitting here listening to this on the internet when I could be there? The Outlaw Nationals has become #1 on our 2010 to do list.

 

 Last night’s show seemed like a win for everyone, with the possible exception of drivers running for WDRL points. The WDRL got a 70 car show and more exposure for the series and its sponsors.  Cedar Lake Speedway got a race night ahead of the huge Outlaw Nationals show, instead of just a practice night-which do you think draws more people, a practice night or a race? The Outlaw National drivers got some actual racing to help prepare for the weekend event. Only five WDRL regulars made the A feature, and that is the one downside of the event.  Still, the old racing cliché is to get better you have to race against the best, and WDRL regulars were certainly racing against the best last night.

 

Tim Fuller won the A main, followed by Tim McCreadie and Jimmy Mars.  WDRL points leader Chad Simpson showed he can race with anyone, finishing 4th, just ahead of Brian Birkhofer.  The list of drivers who did not qualify for the feature would make a great A main anywhere-Clint Smith, Jeep VanWormer, John Anderson, John Kaanta, Jeremy Payne, Eric Turner, Terry Casey, Pat Doar, Brian Shirley, and Justin Fegers were all non-qualifiers.  Matt thinks they should add a non-qualifiers race to the event.  With the line-up above he might be right.

 

Scott Bloomquist was noticeable in his absence.  He won’t be at the Outlaw Nationals either.  He is running for Lucas Oil Dirt Car Series points, and that sanction decided to schedule several events against the Outlaw Nationals.  If you add chicken or bull to a certain profane noun, you get what I think of the national tours scheduling races against the top open shows like the Outlaw Nationals.  The World of Outlaws does it too. Those shows have earned the right to have every top driver race in them, and race fans deserve to have all top drivers present at such shows.  Sorry, but a $7,000 to win show at Winchester followed by a $10,000 first place prize for the Hagerstown show just doesn’t compare to the Outlaw Nationals.

 

Lucas Oil Series promoters do not need to talk about no other dates available.  They did not race last weekend, and I certainly do not see how this weekend was more preferable to last weekend for race dates.  From what I have heard from credible sources, I would suspect that the Lucas Oil tour is not happy with Cedar Lake Speedway, and scheduled these dates on purpose.  Again, please feel free to add chicken or bull or both to that certain profane noun. 

 

Unless I want to go by myself, it looks like I will be staying home from the races this weekend.  Matt wants to listen to the Outlaw Nationals both nights, and also wants to watch the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Iowa Speedway tomorrow night. The Iowa track has sold over 50,000 tickets for tomorrow night’s race, and the event is one of the bright spots on an otherwise mediocre 2009 for the auto racing power.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Advertisements

Impatience In Kentucky, A Mod Shortage In Boone County

July 31, 2009 2 comments

Former owners of Kentucky Speedway are trying to revive their lawsuit against NASCAR.  Judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from attorneys representing both sides of the case.  The NASCAR attorney stated the claim “is a result of impatience to get a valuable premium race.”  Apparently NASCAR defines wanting a race sometime before hell freezes over as impatient.

 

I have been trying to talk Matt into going to Boone County Raceway in Albion tomorrow when the track hosts SMLR late models.  I was reading posts on threads on the Dirt Driver’s Boone County forum, and was distressed to see how few IMCA modifieds are racing weekly at Albion.  According to one post, only 10-12 mods race weekly at the fair grounds track.

 

That is about the same number that ran for a $1,000 first place prize as support class to WDRL late models during the fair race a few weeks ago.  I was disappointed in the turn out then, and attributed it to some cars racing for points at I-80 Speedway, and other cars simply not wanting to run for what they assumed would be at best second place money since Kyle Berck brought his mod as well as his late model to the special.  Maybe the Berck aura had nothing to do with the car count.

 

Mods are not the cheap class founder Keith Knaack envisioned.  Car owners winning races have a sizable investment in their equipment.  That is just the way racers are.  Promoters and sanctioning bodies can legislate against higher costs, but sooner or later-usually sooner, some vendor will come up with a part that makes a car a split second a lap faster, everyone will want it, and the cubic $$$ wars begin anew.

 

I do like battles between the modified “big guns,” but I also admit that I am not at all displeased when someone driving a beat up pick-up pulling an open trailer hauling a mod that doesn’t come with all the latest bells and whistles defeats one of the big rig boys. 

 

There are 6,000 IMCA modifieds racing at tracks around the U.S.  I wish there were more than 10-12 of them  racing at Albion each week

 

Social media might help me accomplish what begging and pleading emails to promoters and sanctioning bodies has not done.  I have fired emails to promoters around the country trying to come up with contact information for drivers at their tracks.  I received very few replies, even though my intent was to give some publicity to drivers who never get an ounce of pub yet have a good story to tell. I know promoters are busy with more important tasks and reluctant to hand out email addresses to some one they don’t know.

 

Because of Facebook, I won’t have to write about only Midwest drivers.  I now am Facebook friends with over 350 drivers from around the country.  This access means I can finally begin my “You Should Know” features.  Chase Hansen of Salt Lake City will soon be featured, and I will finally interview Dusty Poessnecker of my old home town, North Bend, NE, so look for a story on him in the near future.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Midgets In Nebraska, And NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heads To Long Nap, PA.

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I was going to do my weekly check of IMCA National Point standings, but couldn’t get on the IMCA website because it had exceeded bandwidth limit. I assume that means too many other people were trying to find out if Dylan Smith was still the #1 modified driver in the country. I tried again, still no luck.

 

I haven’t followed the NASCAR weekly point standings much for several years, but keep hearing that Bill Leighton Jr. is near the top this season, so I decided to check that out when the IMCA site wasn’t available.  After his two wins at I-80 Speedway on Sunday, Leighton stands 3rd in national points.  I know that JMS also runs NASCAR late models, but I am not sure how 5 cars calling I-80 Speedway their home track can all be in the top 11 in national points.  In addition to Leighton, Matt Buller is 6th, Mike Wallace is 8th, Andrew Kosiski is 9th, and Les Siebert is 11th. There is at least one NASCAR Home Track in 24 states and 4 Canadian Provinces. I am not being sarcastic on not knowing how 5 cars from one track can be in the top eleven nationally.  I simply do not know how the point system works.

 

Still no luck with the IMCA site.

 

Years ago I knew the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule by heart.  I had to go to the NASCAR website to find out where their race was this weekend.  Unfortunately the race scheduled is the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, near Long Nap, PA.  I guess that is Long Pond, PA., but for me it will definitely be a long nap. Just thinking about that race has me ready for a nap.

 

Right now it is less than 50-50 that I will be taking in any live racing this weekend.  Matt and I have discussed making our annual trek to US 30 Speedway on Thursday, or possibly making another trip to Albion on Friday to take in their weekly show plus the SLMR late models.  We have also kicked around just staying home, so we’ll see what happens.

 

More results checking, except IMCA.  Jerry Coons won the midget race at Butler County Motorplex on Monday, and Brady Bacon took the checkered flags in the midget feature at Junction Motor Speedway on Tuesday.  It appears that Chris Alcorn has moved his Saturday evening racing from Eagle to Doniphan.  That is too bad, but he has to do what is best for his program.

 

The IMCA site is still down.  Maybe I’ll email Tom Gutowski to find out the standings.  Thanks for stopping by.

Space Station Fly Overs, Space Cadets, BBQ Sandwiches, 354 Bikes, and More Racing Than The Brickyard 400

July 27, 2009 8 comments

Reflections on a weekend of racing:

 

-Matt has been producing some really strange CD’s for our race trips.  I burned one yesterday to show him how it should be done.  Everything from Hank Williams Jr. to The Hollies.

 

-I know Rhonda Bryan works miracles on Kids’ Night at Eagle Raceway, but scheduling a 9:33 p.m. fly over by the international space station is just too much.  Is this a great country we live in or what?

 

-Actually, the space station flying over Eagle on Saturday night was timely.  There were certainly a bunch of space cadets on the track that night.  With a huge crowd on hand it was a great opportunity to make some new fans.  Instead, we got to see banging and beating to the max.  News flash-if five cars from a heat race qualify for a feature, you don’t have to finish first.  Heat races pay nothing, and your starting place in the feature is determined by points, not your heat race finishing sport.  It is OK to finish fifth in a heat race if five cars qualify for the feature.

 

-I had already left Eagle when Tadd Holliman was injured, so I will refrain from comment.  Ah hell, I hardly ever refrain from commenting.  Several sources have told me it started with a blocking attempt by one driver and led to some torn up race cars and one seriously injured driver. Part of racing is drivers trusting other drivers.  If a driver is inconsistent from one lap to the next about what he does, there is no way other drivers can trust him or even want to be on the same track as him.  Maybe the driver who started this mess needs to sit for a few weeks and think about what it means to control his car and keep a racing line.

 

-It may have taken I-80 Speedway longer to run 30 kids through a dumpster dive than it did for Eagle to hand out 354 bikes.

 

-I don’t know what I-80 pays MC Blue, but it is too much.  Either give him more than lottery tickets and a cap to work with, or dump him.  Running around for half an hour or more trying to get people to scream for a hat is way stupid.  Guru had the best line of the night when he said “how about if you keep the hat and just shut up?”

 

-With first and second place finishes at the last two late model specials at I-80 Speedway, it appears the track is starting to pay back Iowan Denny Eckrich for all the bad luck he had there in the past.

 

-On the trip to I-80 last night I told Matt that Kelly Boen was going to win the super late model feature.  To Matt and Tony Anville, that is known as prescient.  Look it up.

 

-Speaking of Tony Anville, I saw both Tony and Blue in the same place at the same time, so can no longer suspect Tony is Blue and Blue is Tony.  Also to the Tax Man-your favorite driver Michael Waltrip will be at Eagle on October 3rd.  Sorry we won’t be, but it is the Knoxville Nationals for Matt and I that weekend.

 

-Last night was the first time in over a year that I watched my once favorite class-Pro Ams-race. I can’t say I like the winner of both Pro Am features, but I’m sure some people must. This is still an amazingly competitive division. 

 

-There should be a rule that on track introductions of drivers only occur at important races like the World 100 or Show Me 100.  At least schedule the feature for 50 laps if you are going to do this.

 

-The barbecue sandwiches at I-80 Speedway aren’t too bad.  Actually, they are pretty good.

 

-Matt had a keen observation about attendance at races that Nebraska’s two largest tracks, you know, the ones about 13 miles apart on the same highway, ought to heed.  Family and friends of drivers are always going to be there.  However, if you can get 15,000 other people to come out to the track twice a year, not counting specials, you will be successful.  There are at least 1,500,000 people living within 50 miles of the two afore mentioned track, so track marketing needs to convince 1% of area residents to come out to the races a couple times a year.

 

-I can’t believe I am saying this, but it appears that the current Fab Five owner running I-80 Speedway is doing a better job than those owners who ran it in the past.  Maybe not tinkering with everything and not knowing everything is not so bad.  And, I like his everyone free and $2 Tuesday promotions. It is also important to use all that land for non-racing revenue if possible, and the big equipment auction is certainly a good use.

 

-Congratulations to Joe Kosiski on winning the MLRA/NCRA late model race at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa on Saturday.

 

-The WDRL is the most professional of the Midwest tours and worth the extra bucks it takes to bring them to a track.  At least to hard core late model fans it is.

 

-Randy Palmer, I told my Mom what you did.  OK, that sounds like a little kid whining, but it is just the opposite.  I was greatly touched by Randy donating a bike to Eagle’s Kid’s Night bike giveaway, “in memory of Hank Meyer.”  Mom said that was a nice gesture and Dad would love it that some youngster was riding a bike given in his name. 

On a slightly different matter, did it seem like the semis entering the track at Eagle were a great deal like rstar is most of the time?

 

-Finally, Stan, Matt is somewhat remorseful for breaking your music machine Saturday night.  Buy’em books and they eat the covers.  What can I say?

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

P.S.  No, I don’t really think Rhonda scheduled the space station fly over.

TRUE Racing Heroes. No, Not One Of Them Is Running In Today’s Brickyard 400

July 26, 2009 5 comments

The word drive is used often in the sports world.  LeBron James drives the lane and slam dunks over anybody he wants to.  John Elway’s Hall of Fame career is highlighted by 4th quarter drives that led the Denver Broncos to the unlikeliest of victories.  Tiger Woods can drive a golf ball 300 yards.  When a pitcher makes a mistake in baseball, a good hitter drives the ball out of the park.  We all know the courage and skill of race car drivers to make a fast car go fast.

 

Our greatest athletes are driven.  Does this make them heroes?  I don’t think so.  They use God given talents at the utmost level, but are also paid millions of dollars to do so.  I think they are to be admired, even highly admired, but their athletic skills don’t qualify them as heroes.

 

What athletes do outside the arenas, ball yards, and race tracks can make them a hero.  Kyle Petty was a good, not great NASCAR driver.  However, his Victory Junction Gang Camp for terminally or chronically ill children is a fantastic program.  Scores of other athletes have used their wealth, fame, and connections to help hundreds of thousands of people.  What they accomplish off the field may be a result of what they accomplish on it, but that doesn’t diminish the good they do for others.

 

But does it make them heroes.  They do good, great work, but is it a heroic effort?  Most famous athletes are associated with or sponsored by large companies.  Even with the economy as it still is today these companies spend millions on such athletes.  That tends to make the path to helping people much wider and easier to follow.  And, most sports stars have a PR firm working for them.  The name alone is going to attract media attention to a cause, and the publicists will ensure the right people know what is happening at the right time. Again, with an army of helpers, the efforts of well known athletes are to be admired, but I am not so sure it makes them heroes.

 

The Bryan Racing team of Lincoln, Nebraska is not famous in the sports world.  It is a blue collar, hard working, low budget, racing because they love to race team.  They do not have any multi-million dollar sponsors to fill their shop with every part a sprint car team could dream of.  Heck, their entire budget for a year would not keep Tony Stewart racing in operation for a day.  But every Saturday they are back at America’s Home Track, Eagle Raceway.  Driver Nick Bryan races hard and clean and sometimes does good, sometimes not so well.  Does this make the Bryan Racing team heroes?  No, not heroes, just people we should admire.

 

But the Bryan Racing team, Bernie, Rhonda, and Nick are heroes in my book-if I ever get it written.  Years ago Bernie had a heart condition that required surgery.  Bernie survived the surgery, but at the same time a young fan of the team suffered through a terminal illness.  It was difficult for Bernie to deal with the question of his survival when this youngster with so much living to do died.  What was the purpose of Bernie living?

 

In stepped wife Rhonda, Saint Rhonda of Eagle, the Mother Teresa of sprint car racers.  To thank the good Lord for Bernie’s survival and to honor their young fan, they would do something special at Eagle Raceway’s annual Kid’s Night.  Like many good projects it started simple, and grew and grew.  A handful of bikes blossomed into a semi load of bikes to give away, then three semi loads.  Last year, through the Bryan’s efforts, and yes Rhonda others help a lot, but you are the DRIVE behind the giveaway, 353 kids received new bikes at the track.

 

Picture three semis loaded with bicycles, and several dozen people scurrying to unload them unto the front stretch of a dirt race track as 5,000 or so race fans watch from the grandstands.  It is chaos, though organized chaos.  Then try-emphasize try-to picture 353 excited youth with 353 just as excited parents filling the front stretch of the track, picking up a brand new bicycle.  I have watched this happen twice, and I am at a loss to describe this happening in the way it deserves. Remember the feeling you felt when you received your first bicycle.  Multiply that by 353. Simply, if you are ever there, you will never forget it.

 

I said I have been at Eagle twice to see the bike giveaway.  Last night was time number two.  Rhonda’s goal each year is similar to the goal of Jerry Lewis with his telethon.  Lewis always says he wants just one dollar more than the previous year, and Rhonda wants to give away just one more bike.  One more bike this year proved to be a tremendous challenge for the Bryan’s.  I don’t need to do a long story on the economy, but for many the $42.80 donation for one bike was a challenge. 

 

The month before Kid’s Night at Eagle is always stressful for Rhonda, but this year it was tougher than ever.  For much of the month it looked like Rhonda’s goal of “one more bike” was not going to be met.  It wasn’t met until the absolute deadline.  354 donated bikes, one more bike than 2008, were handed out to 354 thrilled kids last night.

 

Toss out the $15,000 spent on new bicycles.  Forget the hundreds of hours the Bryans and other volunteers spend on the program.  Look at the smile on the face of one child going home with a brand new bike.  Yeah, the Bryans are heroes.  Rhonda is a hero.

 

But you can’t forget the money collected, you can’t forget the hundreds of hours needed to make the project a success.  You can’t forget the Bryan’s are not media darlings and they do not have an army of high priced publicists helping them achieve this goal. Rhonda had a dream and made it happen.  Then made it happen again and again. Look up hero in a dictionary, and you will find this definition: a person celebrated for special achievements and attributes.  What the Bryans have achieved is special, and has taken heroic effort to achieve.  Take a bow Rhonda, Bernie, and Nick.  You are true racing heroes.

Jeremy & The False Positives-Going For The Gold

July 24, 2009 1 comment

Jeremy Mayfield just won’t go away.  The Mayfield meth case just keeps getting better and better, or crazier and crazier depending upon your interpretation of the “facts.”  I have to admit that I have been leaning to the NASCAR viewpoint, despite my normal bent toward cheering on the underdog and despising arrogance.  Now I am not sure of anything anyone says about this case.

 

My thinking has been that NASCAR would not dare screw up a second random test on Mayfield, that NASCAR drug testers would be more than diligent in ensuring all procedures were correctly followed.  Not only is the credibility of the NASCAR drug program on the line, so is the credibility of testing programs of all major sports. That would seem incentive enough to get it right.

 

I understand that a false positive could happen any time, but it seems a remote possibility for it to happen to the same person twice. Or at least it did.  Below is an email sent to me by my son Matt.  The information included is courtesy of the AP and CBSSports.  It makes a serious case for Mayfield’s claims and portrays NASCAR as a less than shining knight in this instance.

 

 

Tuesday, another member was added to the menagerie: respected Broward County (Fla.) medical examiner Dr. Harold Schueler, who reportedly stated in an affidavit that the methamphetamine level allegedly found in Mayfield’s urine in testing by Aegis Labs not only was “astronomical,” but also “could not be remotely accurate, unless Mr. Mayfield was deceased or a chronic abuser,” according to the Associated Press.
 
CBSSports:  http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/11978765   

 

So, is Mayfield a liar?  NASCAR?  Both?  Neither?  My friend Randy from Lincoln calls it a conspiracy.  Of course he is also one of the people who are vocal in stating the NASA moon landings were faked.  Anyway, Randy says this is a way for Mayfield to earn far more than he ever would on the track, and for NASCAR to have some drama in a time when every one of their races seems to be a ho-hummer.  It is an interesting theory, and probably has as much fact as any other theory.

 

This would be a great story for cable TV legal shows or internet blogs, but the saga of Michael Jackson is even crazier.  Still, NASCAR is striving to be as dysfunctional as possible. 

 

That noise you hear is me shaking my head.  Thanks for stopping by.

Jeremy Mayfiled & The NASCAR Drug Testers-A New Band Name? I Would Rather Talk About Eagle Kid’s Night Bike Giveaway

July 23, 2009 4 comments

Less than an hour after Jeremy Mayfield was tested for drugs by NASCAR on July 6th he was also tested by an independent drug testing firm.  NASCAR has already stated Mayfield tested positive in that test.  News reports today state that Mayfield passed the independent test.  So, who is fibbing?  Obviously the options are:

 

A. NASCAR.

B.  Mayfield

C.  Both NASCAR and Mayfield.

D.  Neither NASCAR nor Mayfield.

 

At this stage I could believe any of the options.  The NASCAR family isn’t quite as dysfunctional as the Jackson family, but you don’t have to travel far from one house to find the other. Maybe the crazy cable TV legal shows should do a story on this circus.

 

I am looking forward to Saturday night at Eagle for the track’s annual Kid’s Night Show.  Since Rhonda Bryan started this program, over 1,000 kids have received a new bike.  That is just a mind blower, and I think someone needs to tell ABC News about her efforts so they can do a piece on her for their Hero of the Week segment.  Rhonda truly is a hero for these kids. 

 

People need to consider arriving earlier than they do for a normal Eagle show.  In past years there have been times when traffic was backed up for a mile in three directions, and the Nebraska State Patrol was called out to “un-jam” the mess. The weather looks like it will co-operate too, with temperatures reasonably mild for a Nebraska July.

 

Sunday evening we will be making one of our infrequent trips to I-80 Speedway as the track hosts an MLRA/NCRA show.  The promoter has promised the super late model feature will take to the track no later than 9:00 p.m. or fans will receive a free pass to the next weekly show.  I have no interest in a free pass for a weekly show at the track.  I just hope we leave for home before 12:30 a.m., the time the late model feature was finished during the July 3rd Midwest Trifecta at the track.

 

Thanks for stopping by.