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Silver Dollar National News, USMTS WMDTC, And More

July 31, 2011 3 comments

My Silver Dollar Nationals source finally came through with some information.  Some of you might have heard that tire samples were taken from the top five finishers of Saturday night’s A feature.  Test results came back yesterday, and all were negative.

Also, expect an announcement next week regarding SDN II.  Yes, it was supposed to happen last week.  I am not concerned about there being a race next year.  I can’t imagine it being any other date, because it would conflict with tour races or other big late model shows.  I know that at least one of the promoters is uncompromising on the tire rule, so I am not sure if any change will be made.  The way of qualifying was an unqualified success-pun intended-with fans and media, so I don’t see a change there.   While I have no doubt the even made money, I can’t picture promoters going off the deep end and adding some unfathomable amount to the purse.  So, it seems like the announcement isn’t going to contain much unexpected news, so why get so upset about the timing?

I didn’t realize this, but the first 10 rows of the World Modified Dirt Track Championship will go three wide.  A provisional will start 31st.  Big names who have not qualified yet include nine time USMTS champion Kelly Shryock, who has a lot of work to do to make the big money main event.  Shryock is starting 16th in the D main. Only 6 drivers from the D main will tag on the end of the C main.  24 drivers will start the C main, with only six moving on to the B main.  If Shryock makes it to the C main, tough USMTS competitors Dereck Ramirez, Ryan Ruter, and Jason Krohn will be there to greet him. 

Corey Dripps, Jason Hughes, Jon Tesch and Tim Donlinger are already in the B feature, and 12 of the 24 B main drivers will move on to the $20,000 to win A main.  I wish this race had a computer PPV, though with Ryan Gustin starting on the pole, the Reaper has to be the favorite to go home to Iowa a happier, wealthier young man.  Still, with 31 cars taking the green flag on a track about the size of the old Sunset Speedway, there will be action everywhere, and the unexpected should be expected.

My son is talking 3 races in nine days starting late next week.  I am talking 2 races, maybe.  We are in the process of negotiating, so I have no idea which tracks.  I am in favor of Independence, Iowa a week from Monday for WoO late models, and Junction Motor Speedway two weeks from today for the King of the Hill late model special.  We’ll see-I have a long and sad record of losing battles to my family members, so it might be some other race plus JMS.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Chill Pill On SDN II, USMTS, Brickyard 400

July 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I apologize for no blog yesterday.  Sometimes life just gets in the way of having fun. Writing a blog post would have been much more fun than what I was doing.

No, there has not been an announcement from I-80 Speedway regarding SDN II.  Normally I would be all over this, but the announcement is one that we might all need to take a chill pill on.  My friend Randy Palmer told me that Lee Ackerman is in Minnesota taking in the four day USMTS show at Deer Creek.  I believe Ackerman has been doing PR work for the track, so this could be why the expected announcement has been delayed.  That is just a guess on my part. Again, no one announces an announcement is coming just to announce an event won’t be held in the future.  I do not have access to numbers, but it simply is impossible for me to believe the race did not make money, and the word was if it broke even or made a little money, there would be an SDN II.

If we don’t need to worry about an SDN II being held, it seems like whenever an announcement is made, it will be about things that might enhance the event in 2012.  My source continues to tell me “I know nothing,” and I can’t disagree with that, so this is speculation on my part, but it does seem logical. And good things are worth waiting for, right?

Qualifying for the World Modified Dirt Track Championship at Deer Creek is a little complicated.  Drivers received points for how well they do in time trials, heat races, and a B or A main.  They also receive passing points. The top six from each of the three preliminary nights are locked into Saturday’s feature race.  The top six Wednesday were Colt Mather, Jason Cummins, Dustin Boney, Zack VanderBeek, Tommy Myer, and Mike Steensma.  The USMTS site doesn’t show point standings from Thursday yet, but I suspect Randy Timms is in by virtue of a 10th place finish in time trials, and winning his heat and the Thursday night A feature.  I am thinking teammates Terry Phillips and Jeremy Payne are also in. And I am thinking still that I would rather be inMinnesota watching the USMTS mods than in Nebraska working.

As far as who is going to win the Brickyard 400, I have been paying so little attention to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lately, I don’t have a clue.  However, staying in my jinx mode, I will say Carl Edwards.

Thanks for stopping by.

Odds And Ends-Mostly Odds

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Thank you readers.  Last week was the best week ever for The Rest of the Dirt.  Monday became the best day ever, and as of noon today, July became my best month ever.  I appreciate all of you, especially Steve ‘Belleville 100’ Basch.

 

Like you I have been waiting, and am still waiting for the “Tuesday” announcement from I-80 Speedway promoters regarding the future of the Silver Dollar Nationals.  I have heard nothing.  Even my source in all things SDN claims to know nothing-which I can’t argue in most things not the Silver Dollar Nationals.  I do not think a promoter would make an announcement that there won’t be another SDN, so I am confident we will see this event again in 2012. 

 

I checked out the entry list for the four day USMTS show at Deer Creek Speedway starting tonight.  Many very good USMTS, IMCA, and WISSOTA modified drivers are shown on the list.  I would much rather be in Deer Creek tonight than stuck in Nebraska.  I wish I had a job that would take me to all the big race shows in the country to do my writing thing. I don’t think I am too old to do that.  Or maybe retire and just travel with the series taking in the races and different venues.  That will never happen-I don’t have Palmer or Anville money to retire in style.  I don’t even have enough to retire period.

 

It looks like this weekend will be a NASCAR on TV weekend with me.  I doubt I’ll watch all of any of the races, but the Camping World Truck Series is at the Lucas Oil Speedway inIndianapolis on Friday.  The Nationwide Series is at Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday, and the Sprint Cup Series will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

 

This will be the last Nationwide Series from Lucas Oil Speedway, formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park.  Next year’s Indy Nationwide Series race will be held at IMS.  No matter how NASCAR spin doctors want to state it, this was done solely to benefit IMS and its flagging attendance, and fans will now be able to watch mediocre racing at IMS instead of great racing at Lucas Oil Speedway.  Someday I wish the have nots would rise up and bite NASCAR square in the butt for doing things like this.

 

Yes, I do know that will never happen.  It’s a nice thought though.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Oh, the latest on the Silver Dollar Nationals website says “Big announcement Wednesday.” Maybe I can talk about it tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Top 25 Late Model Drivers, Cedar Lake USA Nationals PPV, and Lynyrd Skynyrd

July 27, 2011 5 comments

A www.dirtondirt.com poll listing the top 25 late model drivers showed seven of the 25 at the Silver Dollar Nationals last week:

 5-Billy Moyer

 6-Don O’Neal

 7-Jimmy Mars

12-Brian Birkhofer

17-Austin Hubbard

19-Tim McCreadie

20-Chad Simpson

For a first time race, that is a good field of national drivers.  If there is a second SDN-and I haven’t seen any announcement yet today, a reasonable goal would seem to be 12 of the top 25 late model drivers. Anyway, adding seven top national drivers with regional stars like Kyle Berck, John Anderson, Chris Simpson, Terry Phillips, and Kelly Boen made for crowd pleasing action.

I have ordered the complete www.dirtondirt.com USA Nationals PPV coverage from Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin.  This includes the Corn Belt Clash on Thursday, August 4th, WoO late model preliminaries on Friday, August 5th, and the finals on Saturday, August 6th.  For www.dirtondirt.com subscribers, the 3 day package costs $22.00.  If you don’t subscribe to the site, you can get the 3 day package for $30.00, which also includes a one month subscription to the site.  If you don’t want to watch each night’s action, you can order any single night for $15.00. Ordering it by July 31st will get your name in a drawing for two tickets to the WoO finals in Charlotte in November.

I am not sure when my next live race will be.  Matt has talked about the WoO late model make up race in Independence, Iowa, and I am doing a story for Dirt Late Model on this race, so that might be it.  I am very much enjoying specials only racing this summer.  I would call that a fans version of drivers racing less but getting more out of each effort.  

With baby Meyer due in about six weeks and football season coming up too, I am not sure how many more specials Matt and I will make in 2011.  I think Matt is about to find out just how life changing a baby can be.  Matt will probably want to do late models at Junction Motor Speedway in August. Maybe we can take in the MLRA at I-80 Speedway on Labor Day-its only 50 minutes away from Fremont if Steph goes into labor, less if Matt does his imitation of Tony Anville driving through Percival, Iowa. I plan on going to one day of the Abe Lincoln Memorials at US 30 Speedway. I would love to take in one of the preliminary nights at Knoxville, and maybe I can convince Matt that a trip to Humboldt, Kansas for one of the preliminary nights of the big USMTS show there makes sense.  I would like to take in the Duel in the Desert inLas Vegas in November, but I have a feeling that my significant other of many years will have something to say about that. It seems like the season just started, and there aren’t many events left for me to go to.

I was just thinking that I am about the opposite of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Travelin’ Man, but Dirt Knights should make a video of this song showing some of the 80-100 stops this tour makes every year.  That would be a cool way to introduce season two.

I have been waiting to post my blog in hopes that I could give my take on the big SDN announcement I-80 Speedway is supposed to be making, but nothing yet.  So, I’ll talk about it tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by.

DirtOnDirt.com’s Michael Rigsby Gives His Take On The Silver Dollar Nationals

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Michael Rigsby has a dream job.  He gets to travel around the country covering late model races.  If Rigsby is at a track, you know a big-time late model race is happening.  At one time Rigsby worked for the NBC station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and covered major league baseball and NBA basketball (and in all the professional locker rooms he visited, he never found an individual quite like Scott Bloomquist).  He brought his professionalism to late model racing, as anyone who subscribes to www.DirtOnDirt.com knows what I am talking about. 

I emailed Rigsby asking him to comment on the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway.

TRODT: First, thank you for the fantastic coverage of the biggest race ever in Nebraska.  It was very professional for sure. My son Matt talked with you several times and came away quite impressed as well.

I have been doing a racing blog for several years, and would appreciate if you could answer some questions for an upcoming blog:

You travel to big shows around the country.  How did the facilities at I-80 compare with other facilities you go to, and do you have any suggestions for making them better for future big events?

Rigsby: The facilities there are easily in the top 15ish in the country…VERY nice….could use a tick of TLC…but overall great…and let me say from the standpoint of a media working area….FANTASTIC…one of the 2-3 best in the country…

Note: The facilities were in much better shape than they had been.  While I don’t think the SDN upkeep efforts need to be maintained, I would hope the facilities would be kept clean, mowed, and even more weeds knocked down. Regarding the media working comment-The Nashville Network used to cover WoO Sprint Cars, I-80 hosted several of their events, so it is set up well from a media standpoint.

TROTD:  What did you think of the qualifying format?  I know a few of the big time drivers were complaining about the format, but look at the end results.  Personally I think it is what they build their brand on.  It is unique and out of the comfort zone of the national drivers, but it seems like it leveled the playing field a little for the regional drivers.

Rigsby:  I’m actually a huge fan of the format…I know some of the drivers complained…but you race 80 times/year….isn’t qualifying 79 of them fine…?? Ha…I think it was wildly popular amongst fans, and I’d think long and hard if you were going to change it…

TROTD: I suspect that the announcement Tuesday is to lock in a date for 2012 and possibly even to add to the purse.  What can the promoters do to make SDN II better?

Rigsby: When people ask me about that…I ALWAYS tell promoters that you don’t need more money on top…25-thousand is plenty…if you want to fatten the purse…always pay more through the field…the only hesitation I have with that is that when you’re “out of the geographic loop”….as I-80 is…the attention that paying more to win would create could turn heads….that’s a tossup to me…I’d lean more towards fattening the purse through the field…but maybe paying 30-to-win and fattening the purse isn’t a bad idea…

Great minds think alike.  Matt and I discussed this on the way home Saturday night and said basically the same thing, though I used $35,000 for the first place share of the purse. I am not a big fan of $50,000 to win and $10,000 for second place.  I would much rather see $25,000 to win, a nice payback throughout the field, including $2,500 to start.  The Show-Me 100 used to be that way.

TROTD: I think that the promoters need to “educate” some of the big name drivers on the format, and need to be recruiting them early.  What can promoters do to get more of the national type drivers to race in the SDN?

Rigsby:  YES YES YES….get out early, often, trade shows, Advertising, etc….the drivers need to know EXACTLY what they’re in for before they get there….call each and every one of them if you have to.

Again this was something Matt and I discussed on the way home.  Joe Kosiski would be a good one to follow up with drivers that were on hand to learn about their likes and dislikes and what they think needed to be changed to make SDN II better.  Actually if Joe doesn’t want to do this, he should have a person who he is going to lunch with soon do it. Setting up a booth at several of the trade shows would be a good idea too-Orlando andIndianapolis?  Again, I know of someone who would be a great help to the Kosiski’s on this. No, not me-I would be terrible at it.

TRODT:  Personally I think it would kill the feel of the event to go with a national sanction, but do you think they should try to work with Lucas Oil or the WoO?

Rigsby:   You’d definitely have to give up your format and other charms of the event…but your tire rule, etc. would likely go by the wayside…just something to keep in mind…

TRODT: I do have a fear that the sanctioning bodies will schedule against the SDN, but that weekend in July has been traditionally an off weekend for tours.

TRODT: Anything else you would like to comment on?

Rigsby:  I’d consider the 1600 tire as well as the 40…just a thought there…many of the national guys have that tire in their arsenal already…

I agree with Rigsby on this. If I understand correctly there is no performance advantage, and if it would help line up 5-6 more national drivers, it seems like a no-brainer.

Again, I am already past my normal word limit, so more SDN tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Random Ramblings On A Jewel Of An Event

July 24, 2011 21 comments

Very random thoughts-I have not had my first cup of coffee yet.

I thought attendance at Friday’s show was very good, and last night’s show had even more fans in the stands, meaning attendance at last night’s show was great.  I am terrible at estimating crowds, but I think it has been quite some time since so many people have been on the I-80 Speedway premises at the same time.

An announcement will be made on Tuesday about the future of the event.  I don’t think an announcement would be made if there was not going to be a 2nd Annual Silver Dollar Nationals.  My thinking is the announcement locks in a date for the big money event in 2012. I think that the Alphabet Soup Race and the SDN will become I-80’s equivalent of Eldora’s Dream and World 100 or Cedar Lake’s Masters and Outlaw Nationals.

There are few things about racing that I dislike, but one is lapped cars affecting the outcome of a race.  When lapped cars wreck a race contender, bad words start coming out of my mouth. Kelly Shryock could not avoid a multi-car, lapped car, crash.  With just a few laps to go Shryock was running second to Jeremy Payne, and challenging for the lead.  Shryock lost at least 37 points because of the lapped car mess, but I don’t think it cost him a regional championship as he was ahead of Ryan Gustin by 49 points after Friday’s races. Still.

There were some rumblings of discontent about the qualifying procedure.  No, not from any Midwest driver, from some of the “name” drivers on hand.  This really pisses me off.  The drivers had a chance to win $25,000 and all 11 of the invaders qualified for the feature, meaning they won at least $1,000.  Actually Billy Koons paid $2,700 in an auction for the last starting spot. This amount was divided among the last 20 finishers, so the minimum ended up being $1,135.

Anyway, there were complaints about the qualifying procedure and about the tire rule.  I won’t name names, but one of the drivers said he would not come back to this race because of the qualifying procedure.  Another suggested there would have been 20 more top drivers on hand if 1600 series tires would have been added to the 40 and 55 series tires allowed. I think that is an exaggeration, but it might have added five WoO series drivers if 1600 series tires had been allowed.  My understanding is that theses tires would not give a driver and advantage, so maybe this is something that needs to be looked at for SDN II.

The SDN qualifying format is unique.  To me, it should become the trademark of the event. Do NOT change it.  NASCAR Sprint Cup series drivers don’t complain about the qualifying format for their all-star races at Daytona or Charlotte, and I don’t think dirt late model drivers should whine about something different in a race.  Yes, the big names are comfortable with time trials and soft tires. Given that this race had an overall purse better than some of the so-called crown jewel late model races, I think that drivers ought to be able to step out of their comfort zone at least once a year.

The qualifying procedure is fair, and it allows regional competitors a more level playing field in qualifying, though the professional drivers still have many advantages over the drivers who don’t race for a living.  In the end, look at who the top five finishers were-O’Neal, McDowell, Birkhofer, Hubbard, and Mars. The invaders got the big money, so why the complaints?

Again, if 1600 series tires don’t give an advantage to a driver and it will get more national names that might be a change to consider.  The race needs more than 11 big names to be seriously considered as a major race. Talk with the 11 invaders now and ask them about changes that could be made to make the race better, though the qualifying format is off limits to change. Recruitment for next year’s race starts now.

Brian Birkhofer started 20th and finished 3rd.  Our other Fans Fund driver Billy Moyer Jr. finished 11th.  I talked to both drivers last night and both were appreciative of the Fans Fund money and wanted me to thank all the donors. I am not saying that there will be a Fans Fund program next year, but if there was going to be one, I would be interested in hearing of changes that might better our efforts-to get more donors and more cash donated.

Matt had an interesting idea on how to attract more USMTS modifieds, especially all the heavy hitters of the series.  Pay $3,000 to win, which would increase the payout for at least the top ten finishers and on one night the race will count for Central Division points, and on the second night the race will count for Great Plains Division points.

Actually Matt has lots of interesting ideas about this event that I hope he will pass on to a certain driver/promoter on whose crew he used to be.

After the Kelly Shryock lapped car incident took out the 9 time USMTS champion, Terry Phillips inherited 2nd place in the modified feature.  Though Ryan Gustin challenged Phillips, the wily veteran held off the youngster and with teammate Jeremy Payne pulled off a Springfield, Missouri 1-2 finish.

Most hardcore fans thought that Don O’Neal would jump to an early lead and maybe fade late in the race allowing Chris Simpson to finally get his big win at I-80 Speedway.  Instead it was Simpson jumping to an early lead and O’Neal who came on strong midway through the race.

Billy Moyer broke his transmission about 3/4ths of the way through the race.  Moyer seemed to be about a 4th place car.  Kyle Berck broke a cam shaft and dropped out of the race too.

Do NOT sanction this race with Lucas Oil and especially not with the WoO.  That would wreck it.  Continue with the MLRA sanction and with USMTS officials race directing and scoring the late models too.

I think the reserved seat ticket option was a little confusing.  I truly believe that the K’s need to come into the 21st century on ticket handling for a major event.  Let an online ticket site handle it, just like Deer Creek and Knoxville do.  Yes, these sites have fees, but most concerts and sporting events add a postage and handling fee to tickets purchases on line.  I-80 Speedway should do the same.  They lose no money and get rid of a lot of headaches.

Before next year’s race tickets go on sale I will contact all the official and non-official members of the Sunday Night Irregulars and see who is going to go and get our tickets together.  As obnoxious as all my friends are, I would rather have them around me than a group of loud, stupid, obnoxious drunks.

My friend Tony Anville hosted a group of seven others last night, and most of them had never been to a race.  He was worried they wouldn’t like racing, but I figure if they are open minded enough to consider Anville a friend, they had to be open minded enough to give the racing a chance. Sorry Dr. Hayward.  Tony’s friends did get to see some good racing.  Maybe the cheap !@#$ should buy them tickets to the SDN race every year.

I know I missed a lot, but I am up to about 1,250 words, double what blog experts say the normal blog should be, so I will stop now.  I will be writing about the SDN for a few more days, and am going to try to get some comments from the www.dirtondirt.com reporter who was on hand for the event.  Oh, the site provided top notch coverage of the SDN, so you should visit it-yes, Tony you have to pay, but it is worth it.

Thanks for stopping by.

USMTS At The Silver Dollar Nationals-2nd Post On 7/23/11

July 23, 2011 2 comments

Yes, there was a USMTS show at I-80 Speedway.  A good one.  With 33 modifieds signing in, the car count was much better than the USMTS shows in Iowa this week.  As always the USMTS show was well run, and provided lots of action.  Iowan Ryan Ruter won heat 1, and New Mexico mod pilot Bumper Jones won the final heat.  In between Dirt Knights, Ryan Gustin and Dereck Ramirez took checkered flags.

Speaking of Dirt Knights, a rumor floating around the track was that there was definitely going to be a second season of the acclaimed Versus TV show.  That is good news for dirt nuts wanting some racing action on TV during the winter months.

Drivers from 11 different states signed in.  I was surprised that South Dakotan Jon Tesch was not one of them, but he must figure he has a top ten regional spot sewed up and he isn’t going to win the region, so save the car for the four day show at Deer Creek Speedway next week.

Kelly Shryock started the feature from the pole position.  Yes, that would be 9-time USMTS champion Kelly Shryock I am talking of.  Steve “Belleville 100/Raceguru” Basch was sitting beside us and I told him “Shryock starting on the pole is about as fair as me versus you in a battle of wits,” but start on the pole he did.  Shryock let every lap of the feature, but he did not have an easy time of it.  Ryan ‘The Reaper’ Gustin tried everything he knew to get my Shryock, could not, and fell out of the race with a few laps left.  2010 USMTS champion Jason Hughes made a late charge, almost getting by Shryock as they took the white flag, but Shryock was in front for the checkered flags, and strengthened his Central Region point lead over Gustin.

As always, good racing action, and I am looking forward to another night of USMTS racing tonight.

Thanks for stopping by. And be sure to read my first post of the day.