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Archive for June, 2012

Make Me Smile; WoO, UMP, And Trail Mix

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I am drinking plenty of water today, not wanting to suffer from heat stroke later on.  I have my ball cap, sunscreen, and ear plugs lined up-the ear plugs are as much for the company I keep as to avoid losing more of my hearing to the roar of unmuffled race engines.  I am going to meditate later on, hoping to calm myself, knowing where I am going there will be sprint car fans.  I am getting ready for a hot night of racing, reflection, and relaxation at I-80 Speedway.  All of that and a BBQ sandwich or two. I can’t wait.

 

Tomorrow I get to visit my grandson before heading to Corning, Iowa and the Liberty 50 at Adams County Speedway and on Sunday I get to spend more time with Mr. Henry Ross Meyer, the best 9 month old basketball player I have ever seen.  I give this weekend a 9.5, and only the heat and sprint cars on Friday night keep it from being a 10. 

 

Next week is payday on Monday, babysitting Henry on Tuesday, off for the 4th of July on Wednesday, and my first visit of the year to US 30 Speedway for the SLMR show on Thursday.  The next seven days will be the best I have had in months.  I may even smile a few times this week.

 

Scott Bloomquist won a Firecracker 100 preliminary last night in Lernerville, Pennsylvania.  The victory put $6,000 more in the already bulging Bloomquist bank account.  The Zero car was followed by Mike Marlar, Shane Clanton, and Tim McCreadie. A whopping 56 cars took part in the WoO event, though one of them was not Brian Birkhofer.

 

The UMP traveling band played a gig in Atwood, Tennessee last night.  Jason Feger started on the pole hoping to win his 3rd Hell Tour race in a row, but when the checkered flag flew it was New Berlin, Illinois driver Brandon Sheppard crossing the finish line first.  Sheppard was followed by Klint Byers and Wendell Wallace, and Feger finished fourth. Though Wallace was 3rd, it was not a great night for Batesville, Arkansas drivers as Moyer Jr. finished 18th and Moyer Sr. finished two spots behind his son.

 

My fascination with the Appalachian Trail continues even though in the book AWOL by David Miller, the author has twice come across mama bears with cubs, describes a run in someone else had with a 1,400 pound moose, traversed Mt.Washington in New Hampshire-known as the windiest spot on earth, has climbed hand over fist on several steep, rocky parts of the trail, and rarely a page goes by he doesn’t mention hiking in the rain. 

 

Bears may s—t in the woods, but I am not sure I am supposed to.  The last time I went camping was in my back yard and I was 12 years old.  Using a water filter to get water from a creek is probably too technical for me, and I would probably burn down a shelter trying to use a tiny stove to cook my supper.  My feet and knees ache just reading about such an adventure.  I get upset with Matt when he sits higher than row 15 at I-80 Speedway, though that does seem the equal to climbing a 5,000 foot high mountain. Unfortunately every book I have read about hiking the trail mentions 80 year olds doing it.

 

My big adventure should be following the UMP tour one summer, driving in an air conditioned car, sleeping in nice hotels, eating concession stand food, not walking along a ridge in a thunder storm, not bandaging blistered feet while hoping bears don’t steal my freeze dried food. Or maybe I should just go to the Blog World Expo inLas Vegas in January.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cool-Water, Berck, Jensen, & Feger; Not So Cool-Temps, Phillips, Kentucky Speedway

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

With triple digit temperatures yesterday and forecasts in the 90’s for the next 10 days, I am drinking plenty of water.  I want to make sure I am hydrated for the races at I-80 Speedway and Adams County Speedway this weekend.  I hope the tracks are getting plenty of water too.  Dry slick is OK, a track’s imitation of the 1930’s-i.e. a dust bowl, is not OK.

 

Will Vaught and John Anderson have already punched their tickets for the $25,000 to win Silver Dollar Nationals feature on July 21st.  Whoever wins the late model portion of tomorrow’s Trifecta will become the third automatic entry.  There will be no shortage of topMidwest drivers on hand for the event, but I see a big weekend on tap for Kyle Berck. I think Berck will drive his KBR chassis #14 intoVictory Lane at I-80 Speedway, and it would not surprise me if he repeated the feat on Saturday in Corning, Iowa.

 

55 cars were on hand for the USMTS show at Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota.  Joey Jensen of Forest Lake, Minnesota took home the $5,000 first place check.  Who is Joey Jensen?  Beats me.  He has raced in only five USMTS Casey’s Cup shows-there have been 18 to date-and is 19th in point standings.  Still, he finished ahead of all the USMTS heavy hitters and that is no mean feat.

 

Terry Phillips’ road trip did not get off to a good start.  Phillips finished 7th in his heat at Deer Creek Speedway, and followed that with a 5th place finish in a B feature, not good enough to qualify for the A feature.  Phillips will race his USMTS modified tonight in Fairmont, Minnesota before heading toNebraska and Iowa to finish the week racing his late model.

 

Jason Feger won his second UMP Hell Tour race in a row, taking the checkered flags at Belle Clair Speedway in Illinois.  Shannon Babb was second, while point leader Brian Shirley finished 11th.  Billy Moyer Jr. returned to Summernational action a day earlier than planned and finished 4th.  34 late models were on hand. The UMP traveling circus heads to Clayhill Motorsports Park in Atwood, Tennessee tonight.

 

Who is going to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night?  I would say all the fans that will be able to park their cars and see the race this year.  Last year thousands  never made it to the speedway because of massive traffic jams and parking problems.  Millions have been spent to improve both the traffic flow and acquire more land for parking so the problems should not recur. If they do, I suspect track owner Bruton Smith will be in a firing mode.

 

The on track winner in the Bluegrass State event will be Kyle Busch.  Busch won the inaugural Sprint Cup event at Kentucky Speedway and wants to turn around a lackluster season that has him in 12th place in Sprint Cup standings, making the Chase only as a wild card entrant.  The engine problems that have plagued the Toyota teams this season will be a thing of the past as Busch cruises to a win, giving Toyota back to back wins in NASCAR’s premier series.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Hell, WoO, Another I-80 Freebie, And Kenseth Takes A Powder

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The UMP Summernationals started a 13 day run at Lincoln Park Speedway in Indiana.  Jason Feger led every lap for the win.  Only 21 cars were on hand, though in my dotage that is close enough to a full field that I would not complain. Through 6/24 Brian Shirley is leading Shannon Babb in series point standings.  That wouldn’t change after last night because Shirley finished second to Feger and Babb finished fourth.

 

After winning 3 out of the first 4 Hell Tour races, Billy Moyer Jr. struggled, and decided to go home to Batesville to get away from the series for a few nights.  He’ll rejoin the UMP caravan on Thursday.

 

13 races in 13 nights is mind blowing.  Finish racing late, load up, ease on down the road for 150 miles or so, get a little sleep, get up and start working on the car in the elements, race, hoping you finish in the top four so you can make a buck or two, then do it all again-and again and again.  Racers are more than a little nutty.

 

Speaking of being more than a little nutty, my friend Randy Palmer doesn’t think he needs to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle because he has already suffered numerous head injuries.  I didn’t know that, but it does explain some things.

 

One of the WoO late model series biggest races, the Lernerville 100, is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday.  With no Lucas Oil races on tap this weekend, Lernerville should host many of the top national drivers, vying for winners purses of $6,000-$6,000-$30,000. 

 

Lately the WoO has become the Darrell and Tim show, with Lanigan winning 3 of the last 5 WoO events, and McCreadie capturing two checkered flags.  Lanigan is on top of the WoO standings, leading Rick Eckert by 150 points.  McCreadie is in third place.

 

I-80 Speedway is having another free ticket night on Friday July 6th.  The stands were packed on a free night earlier in the season.  You can get tickets from any I-80 driver.

 

Finally, former Sprint Cup champion and current point leader Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, and will be replaced by Nationwide Series driver Ricky Stenhouse.   Speculation has Joe Gibbs Racing adding a fourth team for Kenseth.  It will be interesting to see how Kenseth will do as a lame duck driver.  Tony Stewart won last year’s championship with a lame duck crew chief, but I wonder how many people actually knew Darian Grubb was being replaced.  I see the Kenseth situation as different from the Stewart title run.

 

Still, everyone involved is a professional and everyone on the team from the driver to people in the shop wants to win a championship.  I don’t see that changing.  Plus, veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig is a better crew chief than Kenseth is a driver, and he will keep the crew in line.  I don’t think Kenseth will end up winning the championship, but he will be a contender and finish in the top five.  I admit there is plenty of bias in that statement.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

Personality Disorders? BCM. Webb and Phillips, Black licorice

June 26, 2012 3 comments

Here is an opportunity for my “friends” to take a cheap shot.  One of the blogging sites I subscribe to had an article titled “Is Your Website Suffering from Personality Disorders?” I don’t think my site is, but me?  Here is your chance Randy, fire away.

Anyway, some of the personality disorders of a site:

-excessive self-love.  I like myself, but I know when I am wrong, and if I ever am, I will admit it.

-histrionic.  I don’t think I make outrageous claims.  I have never said that reading my blog will help you grow back lost hair, or make you skinny.  My one claim is that my blog will entertain you.

–writing in technical language.  Technically I suck (no excessive self-love here), so no way could I write in technical language.  If I tried to copy something technical someone else had said I would probably copy it wrong.

-passive/aggressive.  Oh-oh.  Moving on.

-anti-social.  Well, I am not the best at networking or establishing relationships, but I am not totally anti-social.  I do Twitter and Facebook, and try to get readers to interact.

-willfully choosing to fail.  I am not into self-defeat.

I am OK on five out of six, and I think readers expect me to be aggressive, so I am not going to lose much sleep over the rare occasions I might be a little aggressive.

I have heard lots of interesting rumors about what divisions the recently auctioned Butler County Motorplex might run, and what night the track might run too.  There is nothing new on the racing forums, and a Google search of “Butler County Motorplex” didn’t turn up anything either.  Hopefully owner Brent Pick will be making an announcement soon.

Gary Webb won the IMCA late model feature at the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa, Iowa last Saturday.  Not bad for a 63 year old.  Webb remains one of my favorite drivers from the glory days of the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour. I wonder if he still uses a pick-up and an open wheel trailer to get his race car to the track.

Matt and Scott McBride inform me of some of racing’s crazier aspects, and yesterday they emailed me the travel schedule of Springfield, Missouri veteran driver Terry Phillips.  Phillips will motor to Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota for a USMTS show tomorrow night.  On Thursday he will head west to Fairmont, Minnesota for another USMTS show.  On Friday night he will race his late model at I-80 in the MARS/MLRA/CBC portion of the Trifecta.  His website says he will race his late model on Saturday night at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, though Matt and Scott have him at Decorah, Iowa for another USMTS show.  ACS does make more sense, but no one ever said race car drivers are logical. Phillips has won seven feature races in his modified this year, and placed first in MLRA races in Missouri and Kansas last weekend in his late model.

MARS will be at I-80 Speedway on Friday, but will drivers Brad Looney and Will Vaught?  The drivers are serving five race suspensions from the series because of actions after a race at Monett Speedway in Missouri-those actions being fighting, physical violence, and threats of physical violence.  One of my sources tells me that a promoter tried to get MARS to change the suspensions to MARS stand alone races, not co-sanctioned events, but as of today, neither driver has the I-80 or ACS event on their schedule.

Even without Looney or Vaught, the Trifecta should play host to the best regional drivers in the Midwest-certainly in late models, but also in the ASCS sprint cars.  The afore mentioned Phillips will be on hand running a late model, as will Kyle Berck, John Anderson, the Simpson brothers, and the Eckrich brothers. Stu Snyder, Jordan Boston, and Ryan Roberts are the top three in points in the ASCS Midwest division, and should be on hand.  The A Mod turn out seems iffy to me.  Both Beatrice Speedway and Crawford County Speedway are running on Friday night, and any mod driver racing for points at those tracks will not be heading to I-80.  It still should be a good night of racing, even though forecasts call for highs in the 90’s on Friday.

It has been quite some time since we last visited ACS, and Matt has promised that Saturday’s  late model race will be a good one and that it will not be the last race of the evening.  Taking him at his word, I will tag along.  I will also visit Bomgaar Supply in Fremont this week to stock up on black licorice to help keep us awake on the long ride home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Clint Bowyer Is Hot; I Am Hot; The USMTS Is Hot

June 25, 2012 1 comment

I have been doing an imitation of my friend Tony Anville this summer.  From last year I knew my air conditioner was almost to the point of don’t bother to repair,  just replace it.  However, I kept my billfold tightly closed ala Anville, and did not replace it when the weather was cooler, hoping that maybe we would get one more summer out of the ancient unit.  Unfortunately it decided to quit on Friday night, meaning we were without A/C all weekend.

 

A temperature of 89 on the thermostat isn’t conducive to doing much but sitting with a fan blowing on you.  I didn’t feel like doing a blog that is for sure.  Hopefully we can get something installed today, though I am not holding my breath-it really would be hot air if I did. 

 

Congratulations to Kansan Clint Bowyer on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma yesterday.  Bowyer dominated the race though bad boy Kurt Busch was on his bumper late in the race.  Mechanical trouble in Busch’s 51 car allowed Tony Stewart to pass him during the green-white checkered end of the race to finish 2nd after starting 24th. 

Once again Lady Luck bit Jeff Gordon on the behind.  Gordon had one of the fastest cars on the track, but ran out of fuel before his final pit stop.  He went from the front of the field to 15th and could only manage to move up to 6th place by the end of the race.  He has moved into 18th in point standings, so a win or two could still get him into the Chase as a wild card entry. 

 

Despite a mediocre 13th place finish, Matt Kenseth remained at the top of the Sprint Cup point standings.  Greg Biffle moved back ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and is 11 behind Kenseth.  Earnhardt is 14 behind Kenseth. Right now Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman are the two wild card entries, and last season’s runner-up Carl Edwards would not make the Chase.

 

 

This weekend at Humboldt Speedway in Kansas showed why the USMTS is my favorite tour.  It remains the best run show of any of the tours, and if you give the drivers a racy track, they race.  Stormy Scott started 16th Friday night and won the race.  Ryan Gustin began the race in 20th and finished 4th.  Johnny Bone Jr. moved from 18th to 6th and Chris brown from 17th to 7th.  I can’t wait to see the best modifieds in the US in action, and perhaps I won’t have to wait until the Silver Dollar Nationals as I thought.

 

From not wanting to go to a race, my son and fellow traveler seems to have caught racing fever again.  He is talking about Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City on Friday, July 13th, Raceway Park in Jefferson, South Dakota on Thursday, July 19th, SDN at I-80 Speedway on July 20th and 21st, and then Nobles County Speedway in Worthington, Minnesota on Sunday July 22nd.  I am not sure if either of us has that many kitchen passes, but we will find out in the next month.

 

Good news-my air conditioner was repaired and should last through the summer.  The repairman is putting together a proposal to replace the A/C and furnace in early September.  My house is cooling as we speak, so the three females living there-Jane, my daughter Amanda, and puppy Sophie will now be less upset with me than they were about 7:00 p.m. last night.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

UMP-Racing, Not The College World Series; The Liberty 50 And The Trifecta

June 22, 2012 1 comment

The UMP Summernationals is a grinding, grueling event, not for the weak of heart nor those lacking the spirit to compete night after night after night.  Race, head on down the road a few hundred miles, get a little sleep, and start working on the car for the next night’s race, working under the hot (as hell) Midwest sun.  It is tough on drivers; it is tough on crew members.  So, a driver who loses his crew chief because his vacation is over might want to head home too. Not if you are Jon Henry.

 

With no crew left to work on his car, Henry did not head home from Wilmot, Wisconsin.  The Ada, Ohio driver traveled to Spoon River, Illinois, won his heat, sat on the pole, and led all 40 laps of the race.  He followed that with a 13th place finish at Highland Speedway, and a 5th place finish at Fayette County Speedway.  Henry is 8th in the Summernationals Point Standings. I wonder if he will get some crew help this weekend.

 

Rodney Melvin won at Highland and Brian Shirley at Fayette County.  After winning three of the first four tour events, young Billy Moyer Jr. finished 19th-19th-10th in the last three races.  He is 3rd in tour point standings, 65 behind leader Shannon Babb.  Shirley is in second place in the standings, just 3 points behind Babb.  Shannon Babb in the lead of the UMP Summernationals.  Well, the sun rose in the east today, didn’t it? Tonight the UMP tour heads to Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach,Illinois.

 

I learned last night that our first racing road trip is coming up sooner than I expected.  I really had not planned on going to Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa for the Liberty50 on Saturday, June 30th, but Matt wants to go.  It has been 4-5 years since we last visited ACS-the races there often get over well past 11:00 p.m. and Corning is 128 miles from Fremont, meaning a very late night.  Maybe, fingers crossed, the late model feature will be run ahead of some of the other features, and the fireworks show will NOT be held until after the races.

 

Like at I-80 Speedway’s Trifecta on Friday, June 29th, the super late models of the CBC, MARS, and MLRA tours will be feature at ACS.  Weekly Mods, B-mods, Pro Stocks, and Hobby Stocks will also run on the black dirt Iowa track.

 

As in years past, the Trifecta will include A-Mods and ASCS sprint cars in addition to the late models.  The late models will race for $3,000 to win, the sprint cars for $2,500, and the A-Mods for $1,000.  Hopefully, Matt will put in a good word with promoter Joe Kosiski and have the sprint car feature run last.

 

There are no races for me this weekend, but tonight we are babysitting Henry for a few hours, and that is better than any sporting event.  He can walk holding on to his dad’s index fingers for a little support, or he can walk holding on to one of his toys for balance, so it won’t be long before he is walking on his own.  Weeks ago Jane said he would walk by when he is 10 months old, and that is July 1st.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

More Junior, Daytona Bans Smoking, Mice And A Road Trip

June 21, 2012 4 comments

If you think I exaggerated about the impact of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michigan victory on the racing industry, here are a few interesting stats from a Bob Pockrass article for Sporting News:

 

-Ticket sales this week for the August Michigan race are up 22% over the same period in 2011.

 

-Sonoma is the next NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and on Monday ticket sales were up 20% over the same day last year.

 

-At the NASCAR.com Superstore, sales of Earnhardt Jr. merchandise were up 500% from the same day in 2011.  Normally the sales of his merchandise are 25% of total sales, but on Monday the figure was 78%. 

 

With praise and money flowing freely for one win in four years, think how it would be if Earnhardt won a few more races this year.  Imagine if he is still in championship contention when the series reaches Miami for the final race of the year-it would probably be the most watched TV race ever. I don’t understand the phenomenon, but as my detractors point out, there are lots of things I don’t understand.

 

Daytona International Speedway is banning smoking in grandstand and hospitality areas.  There will be designated smoking areas under grandstands.  Wow-not that many years ago Winston sponsored almost everything NASCAR, and certainly helped NASCAR’s top series gain prominence.  Sorry smokers, I happen to like this idea and wish all race tracks would do the same.  If I overeat, I am just hurting myself.  When you smoke around me, I am the recipient of second hand smoke, and it is not something I enjoy.  I realize that dirt tracks aren’t going to ban smoking, but I wish they would provide more non-alcohol and non-smoking sections.

 

Although the likelihood of me hiking the Appalachian Trail is remote-it appears to travel across every mountain from Georgia to Maine and my left knee gets nasty with me climbing 50 steps to get to seats in T.D. Ameritrade park for the College World Series-I remain fascinated by those who do what is called a through hike of the over 2,100 mile long trail. Never say never though.  An 80 year old retiree did it, and maybe by the time I am 80 I could get in shape to do it. Or, just get in shape to walk the Deadwood, South Dakota Marathon.

 

Anyway, I am reading yet another hiking book, and the writer talks of mice getting into his food when he stays overnight at one of the shelters along the trail. Gee, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains worrying about mice, or sitting in my office stressing on everything that raises my blood pressure.  I would have to choose hiking.

 

 

 

Actually, I would rather be on the road traveling to a race than hiking or being in my office.  The arrival of Henry Ross Meyer last September has us scheduling no overnight trips like last year to Deer Creek Speedway in Minnesota, but some combination of Lakeland Speedway in Kansas City for a USMTS show, Raceway Park in South Dakota for a USMTS show, Fairmont Speedway in Minnesota for a USMTS show, and the Knoxville Nationals-the real one with cars that don’t have to be pushed to start-will be our road trips, and no mice either. Matt burns a CD of sledge hammer rock, usually songs I have heard by groups I recognize, we eat junk food and talk trash and it is fun to visit a track we have never visited before.

 

I am ready right now to go somewhere, anywhere, but the Trifecta at I-80 Speedway on June 29th and the SLMR show at US 30 Speedway on July 5th are next on our schedule.  Analysts are calling the NASCAR Sprint Cup road race in Sonoma the equivalent of a short track race with plenty of beating and banging, so I will schedule a nap for before the West Coast starting time and watch that race on Sunday.

 

Thanks for stopping by.