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Fun Facts Friday

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Birthday to my friend Jim Hitzemann.  Jim is an original member of the Sunset Mafia and keeps his hand in racing by scoring at an area track.  Jim and his wife own Candy Wrappers in Omaha-if you are looking for candy or gourmet popcorn for the holiday season, check out their website or their Facebook page.  Some chocolate/walnut fudge sounds pretty good.

 

The World of Outlaws released the series’ 2013 Late Model Schedule yesterday.  Fifty-four nights of racing are scheduled, though four are listed as the infamous “TBA.”  Eight races are scheduled in February as part of the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks, with the big event at BubbaRacewayPark in Ocala, a $20,000 to win show.

 

There are five WoO events that pay at least $20,000, with the richest event the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin, a three day show paying $50,000 to the winner of the 100 lap main event on Saturday August 3rd.

 

The series is off from July 14th-July 29th, meaning it will not be competing with the Silver Dollar Nationals.  However, I don’t see any WoO regulars showing up in Nebraska to race, with the possible exception of Wisconsin driver Pat Doar.  If there was a Lucas Oil Dirt Series midweek show between the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri and SDN III, some drivers might consider venturing into the competitor series, but as is, I say it is doubtful.

 

Here is a link to the entire schedule:

 

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Record-Number-Of-Events-On-2013-World-of-Outlaws-Late-Model-Series-Schedule.html?soid=1102009614617&aid=e73DMIw6avk

 

Also, Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City has put out its tentative 2013 schedule.  The USMTS modifieds will return to the WyandotteCounty half-mile track on Friday, April 19th.  That might be a good race to earn some kitchen passes to.

 

Second in our “get to know” series is Iowan Quinten Robinson:

 

“Hey, my name is Quinten Robinson and I am 22 years old, a licensed real estate agent in Iowa, and an avid racing fan! My story starts before I was even born! My dad and uncle both raced, so I was going to the track “with” my mom. I had been watching racing for a few years, when a guy from my hometown asked me if I wanted to go to the Mineral City Speedway in Fort DodgeIowa with them one Friday night. He was basically a rookie at racing, only having half a season before he asked me under his belt. Ever since that Friday night I have been on the crew for a number of my friends. They have helped me by teaching things that I normally wouldn’t have learned on my own, and for that I’m thankful.

 

My favorite racing memory would have to be the summer of 2011. I got to go to tracks I never dreamed of going to with my good friend Shane Demey, who at the time was running with the USMTS. We may not have had the best season by far, but racing with the USMTS regulars made us step our game up, and he is now a successful IMCA a-mod racer, winning his first race this year! He also won his first track championship this year at the Crawford County Speedway in Denison, Iowa. 

 

Some of my racing superstitions are not eating chicken on race day and jamming out to some music right as we are getting to the track. 

 

I would like to thank the guys that have let me crew for them; Justin Nehring 20N IMCA Hobby Stock, Cory Flanigan 75 IMCA Sport Compact, and Shane Demey IMCA A-Mod 15M.”

 

Thanks for sharing your story Quinten, and thank you for stopping by.

 

 

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Camping At Eldora, Veteran Howard Koziol

November 29, 2012 2 comments

No, I did not win the Powerball drawing last night.  I don’t know if I won anything at all, just that I did not win the big prize.  There were two winning tickets-heck, why would I want to share the prize with someone else?  Sharing meant a cash prize of only $190,000,000 each, instead of $380,000,000.  No, buying or building a new race track was never in my “if I win the Powerball lottery” plans.

 

The rumored NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora is no longer a rumor.  The pick-up boys will race on Ohio dirt on Wednesday, July 24th.  Interestingly enough, that happens to fall just four days prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  If you look on a map, Rossburg, Ohio is not far from Indianapolis.  I know this because of the times I have thought of going to a special at Tony Stewart’s speed plant, and finding that Indy was the best big city to fly into.

 

To me what makes the dates interesting is that any Sprint Cup driver who wanted to race the trucks on dirt can do so with no conflicts at all.  Getting name drivers like Kyle Busch and Stewart should help fill the grandstands.  I see the field as being a mix of truck series regulars, Sprint Cup stars, and perhaps a few dirt track stars like Scott Bloomquist.

 

I received the following email yesterday:

 

“Anville Investments is pleased to announce that immediately following the Silver Dollar Nationals, they will be hosting a trip for Ron & Matt Meyer and Lee Ackerman to the legendary Eldora Speedway for the first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on dirt to be held on Wednesday night, July 24. The all-expense trip paid for by Anville is just one way to express his gratitude to his friends.”

 

I am still having a difficult time comprehending Tony spending $3.00 each to pay our way into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.  This is one I am not holding my breath on.

 

Joe Kosiski can rest a little easier now, as I don’t see the Eldora truck race competing with Silver Dollar Nationals III for fans.  And, I don’t think it will affect any drivers, because they can run both races.

 

Howard Koziol was the first to respond to my request for individual stories from members of the racing family.  I can remember watching Howard race his late model at Sunset Speedway and both of us were in our 40’s in the glory days of that legendary track. 

 

From Howard:

Next stop on the year wheel is # 60, and for the first time since I was 18, I am realizing that I’m not a teenager anymore. I spent 34 yrs at OPPD, and for the last 5 have worked for HGI Resources, owned by the same person that sponsored our racing for yrs (Husker Glass).

I used to run the 77 Ford LM at Sunset that John Nicholson now runs at I-80, then ran GN at I-80 for a couple years.

The last time I ran a big car was 2005, when I ran GN at I-80 on my own with a very tired, borrowed engine owned by Tyler Ray (when you fired it up, instead of roaring, it wheezed). By 2005 season’s end, my long-time sponsor (who I now work for) had enough, so I was done.

A friend got me going in Cage Karts a couple yrs ago, and this last season at Mini E was pretty good. Karting meets the need—not the want, but it’s either meet the need or become a grumpy old man that wasn’t ready to quit racing, which I don’t want to do.

 I started racing at Playland a gazillion yrs ago, and Paul Zdan’s recent passing resurrected some good old memories.

 

-Tell me about yourself?- In addition to the book I wrote yesterday; married to wife Teri, 3 adult kids, 2 sons; Dave 31 &  Dan 25, 1 daughter; Tricia 22, and Junior (96 lb part Lab/part Great Dane)
-How did you get into racing? Started at Playland 1973 in a strictly stock class—wanted to race since age 5
-How old were you?-20
-First car/class?-Road Runner Class (strictly stock) 1962 Dodge
-What is your favorite racing memory? Winning A Feature early Sept 1977 at Playland when my dad was there. He rarely came to races, but did that night.
-Greatest achievement in your racing career?- Probably winning Late Model A at Sunset in 1998 on 7 cylinders
-Any racing superstitions?-None other than when you think things are going ok something will probably break—or, when you least expect it, something good happens
-For drivers, what is the story behind the number you use?- always wanted 1x but it was never available. Chose 77 with big cars because to me it’s unique; currently using 1x on cage kart because it’s the number I always wanted as a kid
-What is the hardest part of racing?-Hard to name just 1; finances, finding the proper set-up, wrecks, running well then having something break, time commitment
-What is your home track?- currently Mini-E
-What do you like most about your home track?-Track management has put a lot of effort into making it a fun, family-friendly atmosphere
-What are some of your other favorite tracks?-All time favorite was Playland (it was asphalt). Enjoyed racing Sunset, Eagle, and ShelbyCounty

 

-What is the hardest track you ever competed at? I-80
-What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?-Walking, getting together with family, hanging out with my wife Teri
-People and sponsors you would like to thank?-Thanks to my wife for putting up with me; thanks to my uncle for taking me to Playland when I was 5—something went bonkers then and I ‘m glad it did; thanks to my current cage kart sponsor Allen Tire & Auto in Omaha

 

Thank you Howard.  My 40th birthday was no big deal.  Turning 50 didn’t bother me much.  Turning 60 really bothered me-as you said, it makes you realize you aren’t a teenager anymore. I do remember you racing at Sunset Speedway, and was probably in the stands the night you mentioned winning an A feature. Winning a race there-especially with just 7 cylinders-was certainly a big deal. 

 

Several other people have responded to my request, and I will be featuring them in future posts. I hope that when others read Howard’s story I will get more responses.  To me one of the best things about internet access is that I have met and learned of members of the racing family I never knew before, and would likely never meet otherwise.  I would enjoy publishing every reader’s story.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

It’s For You

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Does anyone know what became of Brian Scott and Dan “GQ” Hall?  I used to be President of their international fan club-members from Bulgaria, Cuba, Papua New Guinea were on the rolls along with those from Bobo-both Alabama and Mississippi, Square Butt in Montana, Idiotville in Oregon, Podunk in Michigan-yes there is really a Podunk, Delaware Blue Ball in Connecticut, Yellow Water in Florida, and of course the BSDHIFC home office in Colon, Nebraska.  Anyway, I haven’t heard from either in quite sometime and wonder if they are up to any good.

 

Just a short post today-I am going to hang out with Mr. Henry Ross Meyer this morning.  His daycare provider is gone for the day, and Matt and Steph were so desperate for someone to baby sit they actually considered me for the task.  OK, they asked Jane and I am just Jane’s helper, but someday I will be the main man taking care of the lad for a short period of time.

 

Henry jabbers a lot-which certainly reminds me of his dad, but the 15 month old also knows a lot of words too.  The young man is incredibly intelligent, but even if he only used two of the words he knows I would consider him genius material-grandpa and basketball.  No, I did not teach him either word, but I sure like it when he says them.

 

Thanks to the FASTRAK Racing Series newsletter for reminding me of one thing I wanted The Rest of the Dirt blog to accomplish-make everyone more aware of people in our sport who are not often recognized. With that in mind I would like to offer everyone a guest appearance on TROTD. Winter is a slow time of year for racing, and I can always use stories-your story. I promise to publish a seperate post for everyone who responds to this message. Just email your response to: brutonnb@yahoo.com

-Tell me about yourself?
-How did you get into racing?
-How old were you?
-First car/class?
-What is your favorite racing memory?
-Greatest achievement in your racing career?
-Any racing superstitions?
-For drivers, what is the story behind the number you use?
-What is the hardest part of racing?
-What is your home track?
-What do you like most about your home track?
-What are some of your other favorite tracks?
-What is the hardest track you ever competed at?
-What do you like to do when you aren’t racing?
-People and sponsors you would like to thank?

Thanks,
Ron Meyer

 

While some of the questions pertain only to drivers-I don’t think many of us number our family vehicle-most of them can be answered by any member of the racing family.  As I said above, I will use every response I get-make that everyone that is fit to print, just thinking now of my “friends,” and will do only one per post. I will even use material from drivers and fans of wind ‘em up cars with wings.

 

So, tell us your racing story.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Arizona Late Model Races-No Turkeys, Plus Christmas Shopping Made Easy

November 27, 2012 3 comments

Arizona in January is becoming Florida in February for late model fans.  The Wild West Shootout will be running at Central Arizona Raceway near Casa Grande, and the DirtCar Winter Extreme Series will be racing at Tucson International Speedway. 

 

Dirt late model racing starts earlier than ever, with the WWS scheduled to take to the track on January 5th and 6th.  The Shootout has four nights scheduled the following week, January 9th, 11th, 12th, and 13th.  The Winter Extreme Series opens on January 12th and 13th, and then races January 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th. DirtCar will be offering UMP points for the Winter Extreme Series.

 

The late model support class at Casa Grande is IMCA modifieds, while Tucson will also include A mods, though not IMCA sanctioned.  I hate to see the two events competing against each other on 1/12 and 1/13, but that seems to be the nature of the dirt car beast, at least with DirtCar and its sister sanctions.

 

Many drivers do not like going to Florida in February.  The competition is fierce and racing in the SunshineState can be very expensive.  While a good Speedweeks can lead to a great year, a struggle in Florida starts a driver’s year going in the wrong direction.  The Arizona races will have some national caliber drivers on hand, but far more regional type drivers will be racing.  This might be a good time for Midwest drivers to escape the snow and winter cold and get in as many as nine races.

 

I don’t know of his plans, but Arizona in January seems made for former IMCA National Modified champion Dylan Smith.  He can race his modified for IMCA national points at Casa Grande, and then follow up at Tucson racing for some early season cash.  Plus, he could climb into an Al Humphrey late model and gain experience in that division too.

 

With the Christmas shopping season already setting records, you can avoid long lines at the local mall by shopping for your race fan online.  The USMTS has driver and series t-shirts on sale for $10, and hoodies will cost you $35.  I didn’t do a survey, but I suspect if you check out other racing series and tracks that many will have deals on apparel as well. 

 

And of course you can buy a one year subscription to the site www.dirtondirt.com for $65, or $1.25 a week.  At that rate you can use the money you would have spent on Twinkies and Hostess Cup Cakes.  There is no question that watching video and reading blogs and articles on this site is better for your health then the now defunct, but likely to return sometime Hostess products.  A subscription to dirtondirt.com is one of Matt’s Christmas presents, and everything else I leave to Jane to buy.

 

You can go online to purchase subscriptions to Dirt Late Model, Dirt Modified, or Flat Out magazines.  I subscribe to National Speed Sport News, and find this reborn racing rag very informative as well as inexpensive.  A year’s subscription is just $24.95. 

 

Like me, I am sure some of you are wondering what you can get the editor of The Rest of the Dirt-me because he catches my mistakes, you because you so enjoy these posts.  Well, for those of you who are well-to-do and you know who I mean, a trip to Central Florida in mid-February would be nice.  A visit to Eldora in June or September would be a real thrill too.  Or, in lieu of a trip, several thousand dollars worth of audio/video hardware and software to make podcasts possible would be greatly appreciated.  And no, Randy, sprint car DVD’s or a gift wrapped lump of coal is not all the editor deserves.

 

If you would like to give an early Christmas present, send me story ideas.  There is far less gold in TRODT’s story vault, than real gold in Tony Anville’s Auburn State Bank vault.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 26, 2012 2 comments

My daughter makes the best homemade soups of anyone, anywhere.  Soup chefs at fancy restaurants could learn from her.  Her vegetable beef soup would be an award winner, and her chicken noodle and bean soups are not far behind.  Last night she made turkey noodle soup, a wonderful way to finish off Thanksgiving leftovers.

 

However, something from the soup must not have been digested well-whether it was the rich broth, turkey, noodles, carrots, or celery, something caused me to wake up in the middle of the night thinking I should honor weekly racing champions on my blog.  I admit to waking up with weird thoughts on occasion, and this is not my weirdest thought ever.

 

Weekly champions are often overlooked in the media, even the racing media.  Usually the only place you can learn about a track’s weekly champions is on its website.  While it is true that tours often provide better competition than weekly racing, there are divisions at some tracks that rival the competition of tours and major events. 

 

All champions prepare hard during the week to race hard on the weekend.  It takes a big commitment from a driver/owner and crew members to work long hours on a race car night after night after night during the racing season.  That commitment deserves recognition.  Because of that commitment fans are entertained and far too often we forget what it takes to provide us with good racing.

 

So, I salute champions everywhere.  In fact, if you would like champions from your home track listed on The Rest of the Dirt, please email me at brutonnb@yahoo.com or just comment on the this blog.  Sorry Stan, that still does not apply to the track you announce at.

 

I decry NASCAR racing regularly, but no racing yesterday left a void in my Sunday afternoon.  Sunday’s without racing are almost as boring as attending an auditor’s convention.  Yes, I did take a nap. 

 

XSANTV.com has archives of 2012 racing that I might check out over the next few months.  The site is also offering coverage of the IMIS Show from Indianapolis, but that seems more for the racer than the racing fan.  If you are into extreme sports, the site will offer 6 nights of snow mobile racing from Minnesota during the winter.  No auto racing is on tap until January 31st, when XSAN begins coverage of the East Bay Winternationals from Tampa.  For the really hard core or seriously demented like Scott McBride, everything from street stocks to UMP mods, 360 sprints, and Lucas Oil late models will be covered. 

There is still some racing going on, just not on TV or webstreamed.  R.C. Whitwell won the $6,500 Carl Trimmer Classic late model event at Tucson International Raceway, and Ray Cook won the crate late model portion of the Turkey 100 at Swainsboro, Georgia, a late season victory worth $20,000 for the North Carolina driver.  73 cars were on hand for the crate late event, including several other super late model drivers.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

I Went Shopping Today-NOT!!!

November 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I received a very sad email from my friend and fellow late model hard core fan Tom Schwartz of Lincoln.  Tom’s wife Judy passed on Tuesday.  I hope you will keep Tom and his family in your thoughts and prayers this week.  Below is a link Tom sent:

 

 http://roperandsons.com/obituaries_detail.lasso?-Token.id=61696
 

Judy was also a late model fan and Matt and I saw Tom and Judy not only at specials at I-80 Speedway, but at tracks around the Midwest.  Rest in peace Judy.

 

Matt sent me the article below. 

 

“After an uptick last year, NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup fell back to record-low levels.

The 2012 Chase for the Cup averaged a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.2 million viewers on ESPN and ABC, down 13% in ratings and 12% in viewership from last year (3.1, 4.763M), and flat in ratings and down 7% in viewership from 2010 (2.7, 4.494M).
The 2.7 rating is tied with 2010 as the lowest ever for the Chase for the Cup (dates back to 2004). Complete historical viewership for the Chase was not available, but it is likely that this year’s edition ranks as the least-viewed ever.

Of the nine Chase races that can be compared to last year, eight had a decline in ratings and all nine had declines in viewership.
Year-to-year comparisons were not available for the season-opener from Chicago, as last year’s version of the race was rained out.

 

Compared to the equivalent 2010 race, however, the Chicago opener was also down.
The highest rating of the Chase was a 3.2 for the Talladega and Charlotte races. Talladega ranked as the most-viewed race, with 5.113 million viewers.

 

The Loudon and Dover races were the lowest rated of the season, each earning an all-time Chase record low 2.2. The Loudon was as the least-viewed of the season, with 3.517 million viewers.”

 

To me this comes as no great surprise, especially Loudon and Dover earning all time rating lows. I have said before that NASCAR should alternate tracks in The Chase, and those two tracks could be ousted forever. 400 miles at Dover seem like an eternity. When Dover “raced” 500 miles, it seemed like watching an evening of sprint car races-on and on and on and on.

 

Certainly part of ratings drop is too many NASCAR races are won on fuel mileage and that is far from exciting viewing. Hearing crew chiefs tell drivers to slow down to win a race infuriates me. However, it also seems like younger male viewers would rather watch MMA-a “sport” I truly do not get, or play video games.  I suppose NASCAR could let teams dress up cars like in the movie Road Warrior and Brad Keselowski could be Mad Max. Cars could have riders throwing Molotov cocktails at other cars, or shooting arrows at competitor’s tires.  Points could be earned by leading laps, leading the most laps, and finish position like is done now, but more points could be given for wrecking another car. Put this out in a video game first and then go live with it and ratings will sky rocket. 

Speaking of wrecking cars, Clint Bowyer remains angry with Jeff Gordon and in an interview with a Kansas City radio station said he plans on wrecking Gordon next year because Gordon kept him from winning the championship.  Clint-do the math; Gordon wrecking you cost you maybe 20 points. You lost to Keselowski by 39 points.  Your claim holds no more money than a busted radiator.

 

I gained a Twitter follower this week who calls himself an internet publisher.  That sounds good to me.  I am no longer a blogger, I am an internet publisher.  And, in January I am not going to the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, rather I am attending the New Media Expo.  Funny how slight changes in description make things sound so much more important.

 

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  I certainly did.  Anytime I can hang out with that not quite 15 month old dude who lives at Matt’s house, well, that is a very good day for me.  No, I did not go shopping today.  It is leftover turkey, Nebraska football, and later tonight some basketball at Midland University. Another good day.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Sprint Car Challenge, Danica Divorce, When I Win Saturday’s Powerball, Good Job Inserra-Kelley

November 21, 2012 1 comment

I received an email last night challenging me to stray from my comfort zone and write about sprint cars once a month.  This person knows I usually don’t ignore challenges-though if anyone challenges me to write positive about Roush Fenway Racing it ain’t happening-and I will consider writing about the wind ‘em up cars as challenged. However, I am not now, nor will I try in the future to lease Boone County Speedway in Albion to run a 360 sprint show.

 

I also received another email with the headline “Auburn Auditor Angered at Allegation.”  Despite circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I don’t think the Auburn auditor had anything to do with Danica Patrick’s divorce.  The line was too good to leave out.

 

As tour schedules come out, I like to check all the places I wish I could visit, but know I probably won’t.  The World of Outlaws late model schedule is obviously a work in progress, with only 17 nights listed to date.  Number one on my “if I win the lottery” bucket list remains a winter trip to Florida that would include the NASCAR Sprint Cup Twin 150’s at Daytona International Speedway, and three nights of WoO late model plus big block modified racing at Volusia Speedway Park.

 

The USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin is high on that bucket list too.  This year all three nights of the event will be WoO sanctioned. Thursday, August 1st, will be a full point night for the Outlaws, while Friday and Saturday will follow the traditional USA Nationals qualifying and feature format. As I mentioned yesterday, there are rumors that a certain magnate with deep, deep pockets is looking to buy another tour, possibly one that raced previously at CedarLake.  I wonder if that contributed to only WoO sanctioning at the USA Nationals. 

 

While the Commonwealth 100 is still on the series schedule, it appears that the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models will not be racing at Virginia Motor Speedway this year.  Citing the economy, promoters will use the track resources to build up the weekly show in 2013 and decide after the season is completed whether to hold future specials.  The Commonwealth 100 paid $25,000 to win.

 

The North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Kentucky, and the Topless 100 at Batesville Motor Speedway in Arkansas remain races I would love to see, but know I won’t be going to.  The Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals is an event that Matt and I plan on attending, and since Nebraska has a bye week that weekend, we are even talking of staying overnight and going to at least two of the three nights racing.

 

Two thumbs up to Inserra & Kelley Law Office for founding the Nebraska chapter of Lawyers Against Hunger.  Yesterday, in conjunction with Food Pantries of the Heartland and No-Frills Super Markets, the firm donated 500 frozen turkeys to those in need and hopes to take this effort across the state in 2013.  Craig Kelley, former Sunset Speedway owner and G.M. of Nebraska Park is one of the partners in the law office.

 

This time of year I am reminded of the many blessings bestowed on me-I have a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and a wonderful family to share my blessings with.  I intend to donate to the Salvation Army Tree of Lights in Fremont in memory and honor of my dad, and I would encourage you to donate to the Salvation Army in your community. The organization is outstanding in all they do to help less fortunate.

 

I am also thankful to have you as a reader.  It is a thrill every time I click on the ‘publish’ icon on my blog, knowing that people want to read what I write and that they spend part of their day with me.  I am sincere when I end my blogs with “thanks for stopping by.”

 

Have a good Thanksgiving.  Go Washington Redskins and Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Husker’s Thanksgiving ends with a cupcake-the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday.