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Archive for February, 2013

February 28, 2013 2 comments

 

The race car wrap shown in the photo is that of young Wyoming driver Zach Hensley.  You make have to enlarge the photo a little, but on the nose is “The Rest of the Dirt.” I am honored that Zach and his dad Will have allowed my logo on their car.  Given where the logo is, I do hope Zach does not stick his nose where it doesn’t belong-like I don’t.

 

 

 

Congratulations to the Midland University Warriors men’s basketball team on qualifying for the NAIA Division II national tournament.  The 25th ranked Warriors will take on 8th ranked Eastern Oregon on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.  You don’t need any faux Creighton fan drinking games to watch the Warriors, just purchase the PPV on the tournament website.

 

 

 

It appears there is plenty of room on the schedules of Midwest dirt tracks to host 360 sprints.  The new series Nebraska 360 Sprints has 9 confirmed race dates, with two more being negotiated.  Butler County Speedway will host the 360 sprint four times-4/27, 5/18, 6/22, and 7/20. Those dates are all Saturday nights.  Interesting.

 

 

 

The series will make several appearances with the SLMR late models-first at Albion Speedway on Monday, July 8th, and later in the month at the Silver Dollar Nationals on Thursday July 18th.  The series repeats at I-80 on Sunday, September 1st

 

 

 

Nebraska sprints will visit Iowa on Wednesday July 24th, as the 360’s journey to Crawford County Speedway in Denison.  A final confirmed date is Saturday, August 17th in an event co-sanctioned with the NCRA at Doniphan. 

 

 

 

Nebraska 360 Sprints officials are negotiating with WoO promoters to have the 360 serve as support class for the Outlaw 410’s at I-80 Speedway on Sunday June 9th, and at Junction Motor Speedway on Tuesday August 13th.

 

 

 

The ASCS Midwest Series will run 13 dates this year, so 360 sprints have at least 22 possible dates to run.  As I said, there seems to be plenty of room on the schedule of most Midwest tracks to host this division.

 

 

 

Scott McBride commented on yesterday’s blog:

 

 

 

“Maybe we can get Brutie to be the honorary starter at the Nebraska 360 sprint races this year.”

 

 

 

Well, I can’t say you’ll see that happen when Danica Patrick wins the pole position in a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. 

 

 

 

I am tempted to ask how much is it worth readers to see me do that.  Is it worth $2,800 donated to the Silver Dollar Nationals Fan Fund?  I thought of bartering my dignity for that much in donations.  The problem is my old body and arthritic left knee tell me “you ain’t climbing up no ladder to a flag stand.” If not for that, I would say raise the $2,800 for the SDN Fan Fund and I will drop the green flag for the sprint car feature at the SDN. 

 

 

 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend.  Will Danica Patrick be able to race on a track that can be raced on? Will there be any racing or will it be another NAPCAR event? Will Toyota engines hold up this weekend? Will Jimmie Johnson make a statement that wrenching a 6th Sprint Cup championship from his hands won’t be an easy task?  Will dump or dumb truck driver Clint Bowyer exact revenge on Jeff Gordon?

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dirt, More Dirt, A Lotta Dirt

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

The latest http://www.DirtonDirt.com top 25 drivers poll is out. Over 30 drivers and members of the media voted. Hey, I am carrying a press pass from the National Motorsports Press Association in my wallet that says I am media, and yes I do realize that will not get me into any event in the Midwest, but that card and $1.00 will get me a large cup of coffee at McDonald’s. You’ll have to go to the website to see their top 25, but I will show you mine.

1. Darrell Lanigan
2. Josh Richards
3. Don O’Neal
4. Scott Bloomquist
5. Dennis Erb Jr.
6. Jimmy Owens
7. Brian Birkhofer
8. Billy Moyer
9. Tim McCreadie
10. Shane Clanton
11. Rick Eckert
12. Steve Francis
13. Eric Wells
14. Tim Fuller
15. Shannon Babb
16. Bobby Pierce
17. Donnie Moran
18. Jimmy Mars
19. Mike Marlar
20. Tyler Reddick
21. Dale McDowell
22. Eddie Carrier Jr.
23. Earl Pearson Jr.
24. Stormy Scott
25. Chub Frank

For me Lanigan or Richards was a toss up. I am not a big fan of either, and early on Saturday I made out a list that had Richards on top. I switched them after Lanigan won Saturday’s WoO show at Volusia.

Brady Smith could have been substituted for Stormy Scott or Chub Frank. I thought Scott had a good month in Florida, especially since those races were his first in a late model. That I knew it would irritate my friend Tony if I voted for Scott had nothing to do with putting him 24th. Smith also did better than Chub Frank at Volusia. My placing Frank at 25th was one chub voting for another.

20 of the drivers I voted for were in the top 25, and the other five received votes other than mine. 59 drivers received at least one vote.
As the season progresses I hope to add Kyle Berck and John Anderson to my list and possibly another regional driver as well.

The MARS sanctioned Tuckasee Toilet Bowl has been postponed from this weekend to March 8th and 9th. It will be available on XSANTV PPV.
XSANTV will also have a PPV Winter Meltdown from Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces. The Meltdown is schedule for March 1st-3rd and will pay $10,000 to the winner of Sunday’s A feature. Terry Phillips won last year’s event.

The ASCS National Series will be racing at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Arizona this weekend. On hand to challenge the winged wonders will be none other than Tony Stewart. Apparently Stewart plans to race his sprint car at least 50 times this season.

Brian Brown and Roger Crockett each have wins in the 360 sprint cars openers, with Brown edging Crockett by seven points in the series standings.

The forecast for Somerton is in the low 70’s for the next few days. I am hoping it will be much cooler this weekend, not that I envy anyone who has his motorhome parked at Cocopah Speedway this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Little More Sunshine From The State Of Florida

February 26, 2013 6 comments

Congratulations to late model race nut supreme Scott McBride on the birth of Jameson Clifford McBride. The young Mr. McBride weighed in at 8 pounds 11 ounces.

Radio personality John Bishop of the sports talk show Unsportsmanlike Conduct weighed in on the controversial finish of the Nationwide Series race at Daytona. Bishop stated that fans are closer to the track at the 2 ½ high banked Florida oval than they are at I-80 Speedway. This is so even though the cars at I-80 Speedway travel less that half as fast as the stock cars at Daytona.

Before anyone questions Bishop’s credentials and calls him just another stick and ball flake talking of what he doesn’t know, Bishop happens to be a long time race fan who graduated from that fine institute of learning, Fremont High School. I don’t know if he emcees every Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame (NARHOF) banquet, but that august group thought enough of Bishop to have him emcee the banquet Matt and I attended several years ago.

For some reason whenever I sound out NARHOF I think of the good old days and car hops. Of stopping at A & W Root Beer and ordering a couple of Mexiburgers and a stein of ice cold root beer before heading off to work at Kelly’s IGA Store. On a grease scale of 1-10 the mexiburgers were at least a 15, but damn they were good.

At least three of the injured Daytona fans now have an attorney, meaning law suits are soon to follow. Yes, there is a waiver on the back of each ticket, but I suspect that waiver is worth about as much as the 1-wood I used to carry in my bag when I golfed, i.e. totally worthless. I would look for some out of court settlements happening.

I would like to say the Sunday’s Daytona 500 was a great race. I would like to say that, I would be lying if I did. What do sprint car and NASCAR Sprint Cup restrictor plate race have in common? The cars go very fast, single file, don’t pass anyone, and the race stops occasionally for a wreck. Ho-hum, I actually watched some of the Nebraska versus Iowa women’s basketball game

I didn’t take a nap, but I could have, should have during the race. I did not have great expectations for this race, but it did not even live up to the limited expectations I had. The race had few highlights-Jeff Gordon let the first 30 laps, Trevor Bayne wrecked Carl Edwards, the Toyota’s of Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch blew up, and Danica Patrick finished in the top ten.

An old truism floating around the NASCAR garage is that the Daytona 500 may be the first race on the schedule, but the season will start the following week. I hope that Phoenix will be more fun to watch than Daytona, or I am going to have to dust off all my NAPCAR comments.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Little More NASCAR Safety, A Lot More Volusia, Even A Little USMTS

February 25, 2013 1 comment

I will write about the Daytona 500 tomorrow. I want to say a little more about Saturday’s wreck that injured fans, and mainly talk about the finish of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

I realize that some of you disagree with my thinking on Saturday’s accident. I could be wrong-it happens a few times every year. I just expressed my opinion. Anyone who would like to state a different opinion is welcome to. I can include your comments on one of my blog posts, or even allow you to be a guest blogger.

I did get an anonymous email this morning talking about Tony Anville’s stand on this situation. Anonymous in that the writer requested he remain unknown to not have to submit to a tax audit from the Nebraska Department of Revenue.

From anonymous:
“Dab Gummit – dem liberal media punks ain’t gunna take my right away to sit feet from them cars roaring by at 200 mph. If I wanna take my shirt off and hang on da catch fense that’s my damn right – it says so in the NASCAR Constipation. You ain’t gunna take dat from me, that’s like taxasstion without reprezentation.

Think of how removing the first 10 rows on the lower level and replacing it with beautiful grass with sponsor names painted on it or billboards could increase revenue for a track.

Daytona is reimaging the entire grandstand and concourse, the firm doing that just started over.

Meanwhile I am saving money, hoping to save enough to buy Tony Anville front row seast in the tri-oval at Talladega. When Crash Edwards’s oil pan flies into the stands I want Tony’s forehead to feel it.”

No, I did not write that. I cannot force myself to misspell words, even to make it seem I am someone else. I certainly laughed at it though.

It is unfortunate that the track prep crew at Volusia Speedway Park is so busy during Speedweeks that they cannot give a seminar at the RPM-Race Promoters Monthly meeting in Daytona. The crew simply did an outstanding job during the DIRTcar Nationals. Night after night for nearly two weeks the track had two different classes with nearly 100 cars a night racing on it. And it was just as racy the last few days of the event as it was at the beginning.
To me, racing has never been a single file of fast cars roaring around an oval. Racing mean cars passing each other, and there was plenty of that at Volusia. With a field of cars as strong as any south of Eldora, there was plenty of passing, and cars starting 20th or even further back managed a top ten or even top five finish. If it could only be that way at every dirt track.

I also enjoyed the DirtVision/www.DirtonDirt.com video coverage of Volusia. The camera shots were good, the announcers were good, and the interviews were good. This may be the poor man’s version of race coverage in comparison with Fox Sports, but the dirt boys do a much better job of using their resources.

On Friday night, Billy Moyer won the feature, much to my delight. Rick Eckert was second, followed by Lanigan, Erb Jr., and Clanton. The racing was as good Saturday night, though I did not appreciate the outcome nearly as much. Saturday’s winner was Darrell Lanigan, followed by Josh Richards, McCreadie, Clanton, and Tim Fuller.

Some may complain about the car count at Volusia, but for my tired old butt it was perfect. There were enough late models and big block modifieds for four heats, 2 consolations, and the A feature in each class. With the drivers that were on hand, I would call this perfect.

The USMTS managed to get in two shows at Royal Purple Speedway near Houston last weekend. Ryan Gustin begins the season where he ended 2012-at the top of the point standings. Gustin had a win and a top five in Texas. Rodney Sanders won the other feature.

While his brother Stormy was in Florida racing late models, Johnny Scott was in Texas racing his modified. Scott had one top five and one top ten and is behind Gustin in the USMTS point standings. Next up for the series is the Spring Fling at Humboldt Speedway in Kansas on March 8th, and Thunder in the Valley at Grain Valley Speedway in Missouri on March 9th.

Again, I’ll talk about the Daytona 500 tomorrow and try to refrain from using the word race to describe it.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Rational Discussion Of NASCAR Safety Issues

February 24, 2013 4 comments

The Rest of the Dirt is for auto racing fans. The blog is meant to inform them, entertain them, promote their interests, and occasionally to make them think. When 28 fans are injured in the grandstands of a race track, it is a tragedy and fans should demand changes. Not just fans either-drivers, car owners, corporate partners, and TV networks should too.

It is human nature to find fault in incidents like this, and from the second it happened until typing this, I have wondered just who is to blame. It seems like there is enough blame for almost everyone.

Was it the drivers? The accident was triggered when Regan Smith attempted to block Brad Keselowski and Keselowski did not lift. Did either driver do anything that other drivers would not do? Drivers are paid to win races, and a win at a track like Daytona is big on any driver resume. In an ESPN interview after leaving the infield care center, Regan Smith insisted he would do the same thing if he was leading today’s race. To me that said “yes, I am willing to destroy a dozen race cars, injure 28 fans and endanger hundreds more, and destroy part of a race track so I can win.”

Wouldn’t second place have been better?

Was the track to blame? Should the catch fences have been able to withstand more force? How much more force? I am not a physics professor, but shouldn’t the fence be able to withstand a force equal to a 3,200 pound car hitting it at 200 miles per hour? Maybe it was that sturdy, and this was an impossible to predict event.

Should the track sell seating so close to the action? What is too close? Debris from the 32 car went at least 12 rows into the grandstands. A wreck like yesterday’s wreck is more likely to happen in the tri-oval portion of the track, close to the finish line, but it could happen anywhere. Should the first 12 rows of seats no longer be sold?

The track did have safety protocols in place that were immediately followed, and that is a good thing. To me, while the safety protocols are critical to have in place, it would be much better to never have to use them.

Was NASCAR to blame? I don’t think they should be excluded from blame. NASCAR sells a product-to fans in the grandstands, to fans watching on TV, and to its corporate partners. The sanctioning body tries to balance speed, danger, excitement, and safety. While it has done much to improve the safety of drivers, it has also created restrictor plate racing. Restrictor plate racing will always have the potential for a big accident, or like yesterday’s Nationwide Series race, several big accidents.

Should NASCAR do away with restrictor plate racing? Unfortunately, technology has advanced beyond most drivers’ ability to perform. Without restrictor plates lap speed around Daytona and Talladega would soar to well over 200 miles per hour. How many drivers are capable of driving a race car at such speed for several hundred laps? Tony Stewart? Yes. Jeff Gordon? Yes. Kyle Busch? Yes. Jimmie Johnson? Probably. All the other drivers? I doubt it.
Should fans be blamed for yesterday’s tragedy? After several years of two car drafts at NASCAR’s biggest tracks, NASCAR was forced to respond to fan complaints, and tinkering with the rules brought back pack racing, which makes the likelihood of a “big one” greater.

I also believe fans are not safety conscious. Most tracks I have been to try to get fans to consider the danger of the sport, but how many really give personal safety even a moment’s thought when walking into a track? Not many. Many want to be as close as possible to the action.

So, who is to blame for the disaster at Daytona? My answer would be everyone that has anything to do with auto racing. What is the solution? A better question might be “is there a solution?”
Drivers are always going to be drivers-meaning they will try a risky move like Regan Smith in the hopes of finishing first, even when the downside is tearing up a dozen cars, injuring fans, and finishing 14th instead of 2nd which was likely if the blocking move had not been made.

Still, it is imperative to give them a voice in potential changes. Can they come up with a racing solution that eliminates restrictor plates, yet keeps lap speeds under 200 miles per hour? A solution that will allow for fewer “big ones?”

Catch fence incidents are becoming commonplace at Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR cannot want that. Every incident puts NASCAR under the scrutiny of main-stream media, media that does not have any understanding of the sport, and will portray it as always, a redneck, bootlegger cult. NASCAR funded the SAFER barrier program with the University of Nebraska; why not spend some of its millions of earnings with UNL to develop even safer catch fences?

Should seating in potential trouble spots be eliminated? I don’t think any track is selling out anymore, so eliminating some seating isn’t necessarily the same thing eliminating revenue. A certain friend of mine informs me he wants to be close to the action, and NASCAR has protected him just fine. I am not sure that nothing happening to him is the same as protecting him.

NASCAR does not change fast and usually has to have something bad happen to propel it into the future. Dale Earnhardt’s death led to many safety improvements for drivers. Kyle Larson was a benefactor of those improvements-it was his car that was torn apart by the catch fence, and he walked away from the crash. Now is the time to make the sport safer for fans.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Below is a comment made by Mike Pierson. I thought it was worth posting since many do not go back to a blog to read comments.

“Ron I realize I’m jumping the gun because I’m certain you will have a wise opinion on today’s events but NASCAR caused itself a major black eye today. NASCAR thinks that if they act like a bunch of clueless rednecks when the sh** hits the fan nobody will call them on it. When NASCAR was losing their stars(paychecks) to preventable injuries they reached out to people smarter than them (nearly everyone) and developed devices to greatly reduce the chance of it happening again. The fans aren’t quite so lucky, when dangerous events involve the fans NASCAR describes it as an event you could never predict, when we know that is a load of hillbilly hooey. Adequately protecting the fans at places like Daytona would cost too much money in NASCAR’s eyes. The fans at Daytona sit as close as fans at SCS and are protected in the same manner. That is a concrete wall slightly taller than the height of the cars, a fence similar to what most people use to contain Fido the dog and a couple strands of steel rope. Does anyone see a problem with the same method being used at SCS and Daytona International Speedway? I have a degree in absolutely nothing but common sense and it tells me that the wall should be taller, maybe the length of the cars and then a buffer zone and then another wall and then seating. NASCAR professes to care about their fans and it is about time they prove it. I predict that absolutely nothing will be done and instead there will be a bunch more idiotic statements like Mike Helton’s today after the incident. I hate the overuse of the legal system but it may be the only path to some much needed change in fan safety.”

Snow In Nebraska, Short Sleeves At Volusia

February 22, 2013 3 comments

After shoveling snow twice last night I decided to splurge and purchased the final three days PPV of racing action from Volusia Speedway Park. If tonight and tomorrow are as good as the Thursday night show, I made a great buy.

While snow was blanketing the Midwest, WoO announcers were wearing short sleeved shirts at Volusia last night. I know it is not always that way, but other than hurricanes I am thinking any Florida weather is better than shoveling snow.

53 late models time trialed last night, with 27 cars in heats 1 and 2 taking to the track before the 26 cars in heats 3 and 4. I don’t like time trials, but if they are going to happen, I do prefer group trials. In this case, until the last cars of each group, 4 cars at a time were timed. Eric Wells and Scott Bloomquist set fast times.

Cars that finished first and second in their heats and qualified for the redraw were Wells, Rick Eckert, Dennis Erb Jr., Bobby Pierce, Bloomquist, Vic Coffey, Billy Moyer, and Shane Clanton. Erb drew the pole position.

Miscellaneous thoughts in no particular order:
-Tim Fuller is the only driver doing double duty this weekend, racing both his late model and a big block modified.

-After winning his heat, Billy Moyer was interviewed while still sitting in his car. He was wearing glasses. For some reason that made me feel old.

-Dennis Erb Jr. crew chief heather Lynn is working on her second master’s degree. She already has a degree in engineering.

-Tony Anville favorite Stormy Scott blew an engine in heat #2.

-The feature looked almost like it was mud racing. I don’t think I have ever seen that many race cars covered by that much mud, especially those from mid-pack on back.

-3 of the 4 late model heats were won by drivers with a Bloomquist chassis. Several times during the feature the top four cars were all racing a Bloomquist chassis.

-The second consy included Josh Richards, Steve Francis, Dale McDowell, Chub Frank, and Scott James. Most promoters would be thrilled to have those drivers racing.

-Richards was borderline out of control in all of his races last night. He spun out in his heat and had to qualify in a consy. He started 22nd and had moved into the top five by lap 30. On lap 31 he tried to pinch Shane Clanton up. Clanton held his ground; Richards spun, and created a dirt track version of the big one.

Dale McDowell hit the spinning Kid Rocket, sending his car into the wall. Jimmy Owens could not get stopped and hit McDowell hard enough to turn Owens and lift all four of his wheels off the ground. WoO champ Darrell Lanigan was caught up in the mess, and his car was too damaged to continue. Also wrecking were Scott James, Tyler Reddick, and Mason Ziegler. Naturally, the instigator escaped the carnage and was able to continue racing.

That brought out a red flag, which apparently with the WoO means you can work on your car and do everything but change a tire. What everyone did was scrape mud.

-Prior to the wreck Richards had moved from his 22nd starting spot to running 4th. On the restart he was 19th and in less than 20 laps moved up to 5th place.

Wednesday night’s winner Tim McCreadie had to qualify via a consy. He started 20th and finished 8th in the feature.

-Eric Wells led the first 36 laps, and the WoO rookie ended up finishing 4th.

-Rick Eckert blew a motor on Wednesday night, but was a major factor in the Thursday feature, finishing second to Bloomquist.

Volusia is still on my “if I win the lottery” bucket list, but maybe if I save my pennies, and encourage some of my friends, a trip there might be a possibility even if I don’t win the lottery. Fly to Florida on the Wednesday of the Daytona 500, take in three nights of late model and big block racing at Volusia and go to the Twin 150’s at Daytona, and fly home on Saturday.

Even if I can’t go to Volusia, I will be watching next year’s races on PPV.
No, I was not right on my Daytona Twin 150’s predictions. At least on my winner picks. Until his pit road penalty Gordon did look like a winner though.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S.-Tony, the use tax check is in the mail.

Rednecks & Bowyer, Volusia & Daytona

February 21, 2013 1 comment

Last night when I arrived home after watching my beloved Midland University Warriors defeat Hastings College by 24 points I found my daughter watching Duck Dynasty. I have no idea why, but she loves this show about rednecks acting like rednecks. To me, a few minutes of this show is about all I can handle, but last night NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer was a guest so I watched.

Yes, THE Clint Bowyer you saw running through the pits at Phoenix after Jeff Gordon had enough of the Bowyer antics and wrecked him. I remember at that time receiving an email stating that Bowyer should be thrilled he is a NASCAR driver because without racing he would be a dump truck driver-or maybe it was a dumb truck driver. Anyway, Bowyer showed up driving a camouflage painted old Cadillac limousine with horns on the hood. Tony-you really want to keep arguing about Bowyer being a redneck? The next day one of the Duck Dynasty boys shows up in an old Lincoln Continental camouflage painted limousine. At that time my wife arrived home, and for her no Duck Dynasty is plenty, so we switched to something less silly. I have no idea how the show ended. My loss.

55 super late models took to the ½ mile Volusia Raceway Park oval last night. Tim McCreadie finished first in the A feature, barely beating Darrell Lanigan and Billy Moyer. Dale McDowell crossed the finish line fourth follwed by Don O’Neal. My current 2013 top driver Josh Richards qualified through a consolation race, started 22nd, and finished 24th. The southeast Nebraska favorite Stormy Scott finished 7th in his heat and scratched from his consolation.

Tonight’s Volusia action will include a 50 lap WoO late model event and a 30 lap feature for the DIRTcar big block modifieds. With snow supposedly piling up outside my door, I think ordering the http://www.DirtonDirt.com PPV is a good idea. Any single day package is $17.99. If you are a subscriber to the site you can purchase the final three night package for $39.99. That sounds like a good deal. I only wish I was in Florida right now, instead of thinking about shoveling snow.

I have a dentist appointment at 11:30 a.m. With snow supposedly starting early this afternoon, I wonder if I should return to work. I do have an ulterior motive for not returning-the NASCAR Twin 150’s from Daytona. What a dilemma, work or racing, work or racing.

Thanks for stopping by.