Archive for November, 2013

Obviously The Calendar Is Lying-This Is Winter Weather

November 24, 2013 1 comment

I planned on watching the Cactus Classic on XSANTV on Friday, but the same weather that is forecasted to cause travel difficulties on the east coast over Thanksgiving wreaked havoc in Arizona Friday.  I hoped to watch the Cactus Classic on XSANTV on Saturday, but bad weather ruined my hopes yet again.  I crossed my fingers that I would get to watch two shows from the desert today, but signing on to XSANTV I discovered it was still raining in the southwest and the event had been cancelled.

No dirt track racing this weekend, and nothing scheduled until January.  No NASCAR racing on TV until Daytona in February.  It is cold out-14 when I went to get coffee.  I turned on my fireplace for the first time this morning.  There is snow on the ground. I am old and getting older by the day.  Are these all signs of a long, dreary winter?  I hope not. 

Well, I’ll have to get my racing fix watching videos.  DOD videos and I still have two writing assignments to finish-one on California modified driver Josh Vogt, and one on a Nebraska late model driver who will remain nameless at this time. After that?  Basketball will have to entertain me. Basketball and my 26 month old grandson who now can recite the entire alphabet-modesty prevents me from making any claims as to where he got his smarts.  Maybe he’ll be a “real” writer someday.  That isn’t my quote, just something I have been told I wasn’t a few times.

No racing did mean a nice nap today though.  And a nice nap meant a short blog.  Maybe tomorrow won’t be so cold and my fingers can type out a few more words. Thanks for stopping by.





Categories: November 2013 Tags:

RIP Mad Dog, Blown Engine, North/South, And PPV’s

November 22, 2013 2 comments



Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon passed away.  If ever there was a more likeable wrestling villain than Mad Dog, I never watched them in the ring.  Mad Dog’s career spanned decades and I can remember watching him wrestle at the Fremont City Auditorium.  Yes, pro wrestling in Fremont.  If you are of a certain age-like as old as Stan Cisar or me, you will remember All Star Wrestling on KETV in the early 60’s.  Omahan Joe Dusek was the promoter and wrestlers like Dusek’s brothers Ernie and Emil, Dr. X, Dick the Bruiser, Mitsuo Arikawa, Jack Pesek, and Vern Gagne wrestled on TV, setting up matches around the area. And of course Mad Vachon, the villain from French Canada.


That face, that fire plug build, that voice, Vachon could be nothing but the villain. Years later I met Maurice in North Bend at the home of a friend of ours-Vachon was married to her cousin or aunt, I forget which.  There was no mistaking the grizzly bear voice and his hand shake was still like a vise though he was in his 70’s. He was quite a character. RIP Mad Dog.


It has been a hectic few days for me.  My wife literally blew the engine in her car-almost no warning-and we were faced with the decision of installing a new engine on a car with over 100,000 miles, or buying a new car. A week ago we weren’t prepared to do either.


The engine of a family sedan is not a $40,000 finely tuned high horsepower monstrosity; rather, in our case it is a 4-cylinder get good mileage piece of equipment needed because my wife puts 2,000 miles a month on her car. Still, it made no sense to put a new or at least newer engine in the old car, so Jane is now driving a new car full of electronic gadgets her old one did not have. And for the first time in years we have a car payment.  I better start writing more articles for Dirt Late Model and Dirt Modified magazines.  Maybe even start writing about sprint cars.  Nah, the car payment isn’t so big I need to writer about the winged wonders.


I don’t see the Silver Dollar National qualifying format becoming the norm for big dollar late model events, but a second such event is now going to two qualifying heats instead of time trials.  According to  the North/South 100 at Florence Speedway will copy what has worked so well at I-80 Speedway.  Good for the Kentucky promoters-and the fans that attend the race.  Unlike name drivers I absolutely hate time trials and believe that when fans get more laps of racing it is a good thing.


Speaking of more laps of racing, snow birds and Texans will get plenty of big time modified action early in 2014.  The USMTS Modifieds will begin the season at South Texas Speedway in Corpus   Christi on February 6th-8th.  The following weekend they will venture to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown for the “Spring Nationals.”  Then they will journey to El Paso Speedway Park for two nights of racing on February 21st-22nd.  Finally they head to Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces for races on February 28th and March 1st.  I wish I could attend even one of the shows.  All four would be like a visit to dirt track heaven.


With all the “pit” action do my Jane’s blown engine, I did not tune into XSANTV for the Cactus Classic from Casa Grande, Arizona.  I plan to watch the PPV tonight and tomorrow though.


A certain person I discuss racing with quite often suggests that dirt track PPV’s are saturating the market, and show producers are charging too much to viewers.  I realize there are costs involved to those who send the races into cyberspace, and that there are a finite number of viewers attracted. I don’t think XSANTV is pricy, especially if a person buys a multi-month package.  I think the packages are priced fairly.  The USMTS shows are borderline too high, but not outrageously so.  I think the WoO PPV’s are overpriced, but the worst offender is Eldora Speedway.  I am not willing to pay what they demand to view the Dream or World 100.


So, is the market saturated with overpriced dirt track PPV’s?  I hope not.  I have enjoyed my internet visits to tracks I know I will not visit otherwise, and I would hate to see the PPV’s become a fading fad.


Thanks for stopping by.





Arkansas-Arizona-Texas-Nebraska Dirt

November 19, 2013 Leave a comment

The NDRL continues to strengthen its position in the dirt late model racing world.  Last week it announced the National 100 was going to NDRL sanctioned, and this week the organization picked up another big dollar event, the Bad Boy 98 at Batesville Motor Speedway in Arkansas. A format change was also announced for the event.  It will now be three separate shows, with preliminary nights each paying $5,000 to win, and the final night feature paying $20,000 to the victor.


Batesville Motor Speedway is certainly on my bucket list, but it might be easier and take less time to get to Australia than it does to the Arkansas track.  If there is a direct path to the track it must involve some off-road travel through the Ozarks because no map shows anything resembling a straight line from Fremont, Nebraska to Batesville.  Still, as the Knoxville Nationals and other events prove, three nights of the best in dirt racing is something worth watching.


To me, the next four nights at XSANTV are also worth watching. XSAN is covering the IMCA Cactus Classic from Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, starting with practice tomorrow night-free, and then Thursday-Saturday on PPV.  Starting time for all four nights is listed as 7:00 p.m. Central Time.


If you winter in Arizona-gee, I am probably talking to one person here and he knows about every track and race in the next three months anyway-Cocopah Speedway near Yuma has 11 nights of racing from this weekend through mid-February.  West Coast Late Models and USAC Midgets take to the track on Friday and Saturday.  Next week is the 4th Annual Turkey Classic, again with racing on Friday and Saturday. The track’s championship night is on December 7th, and there will be two nights of racing in January, followed by two weekends of the IMCA Winter Nationals in February. Yeah, Cocopah is on my bucket list too, though retiring seems a long, long time from now.


Iowan Zach VanderBeek went 175 USMTS shows without a win, but took the checkered flag last Friday at Royal Purple Speedway in Baytown, Texas.  The tour regular liked winning so much he did it again on Saturday too.  Chris Brown was second on Friday, and Kelly Shryock was runner-up on Saturday.  I like the countdown clock on the USMTS website though I don’t like how long it is until race day. The clock is currently showing 79 days, 4 hours, 36 minutes, and 15 seconds until the tour’s next event, February 6th-8th at South Texas Speedway in Corpus Christi.


While the I-80 Speedway website does not have a countdown clock, it is now 241 days, 5 hours, 15 minutes, and 20 seconds until Silver Dollar Nationals IV at I-80 Speedway.  No, the NDRL is not sanctioning this race.


Thanks for stopping by.





Nothin’ Could Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina-Next Time I Think I Will Just Go To Carolina In My Mind

November 18, 2013 1 comment

Late Friday XSANTV sent out an email ad telling subscribers that it was going to show the “Race for the Kids,” from County Line Speedway in North Carolina.  The race is a two day show that pays $10,000 to Super Late Models and $5,000 to Modifieds. I thought that sounded a lot better than watching Friday night TV, but I am afraid I was mistaken-no fault to XSANTV though, their production quality was as good as always.


Friday’s show included a division the track calls Thunder and Lightning, though Blunder and Frightening would fit just as well.  My main problem was not a particular division-no B Mods were present-but rather the fascination of people down South with time trials.  The three divisions that ran on Friday night all time trialed.  Honest to God, I do not understand why support classes time trial.  It is a big waste of “time.” Let them draw for heat race positions and give passing points to determine what car starts where in the feature race.


If I was still in school I would not consider it punishment to have to stay after and write 100 times on the chalk board-if they still have chalk boards- Time trials suck. Time trials suck. Time trials suck. Time trials suck.


The only thing I found entertaining about the time trials was during the Modified qualifying the same car spun out three times in less than one full lap and was black flagged, something I had never before witnessed.


I started watching at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and it was a little after 8:30 p.m. when hot laps and time trials were finally over.  Of course the track had to go to an intermission then and that was all I could stand.  I turned the computer off and read a book. Two and a half hours gone, and not one lap of racing took place.


After watching Nebraska drop the football on Saturday more than drunks at I-80 Speedway drop their beer-obviously the drunks have more incentive to hang on tight-I again visited County Line Speedway, arriving during hot laps.  The fun and games began when a Legends car hit a wall.  One of the safety vehicles lost a wheel as it was driving to the crash scene.  I am not lying; I could not make up something like that.


With about 2/3rds of the hot laps completed a Modified hit the wall in a helluva crash, and the driver needed to be transported to a hospital.  Of course that meant calling in the local volunteer fire department ambulance, something that always takes time.  Drivers were complaining about the racing surface, so officials decided that track prep had gone awry and the track needed to be reworked.


While all this was taking place, the announcer for the Ultimate Super Late Model Series decided a redneck talent show was in order to pass the time. When that happened I thought of a threat I have heard from time to time-“I’m going to mace you and kick you in the —-.” Idle threat, I don’t plan on going to any race in that series. Still, I came close to closing TRODT Speedway for the night; instead I muted the sound and checked


Once the track was finally ready to race, officials decided all the cars needed to hot lap yet again.  My butt was growing tired of all of this, but with the likes of Scott Bloomquist and Jonathan Davenport in the Late Model race I really wanted to see that feature.  After the hot laps were completed, the series ran an 8 lap, 6 car late model B feature.  None of the cars was eliminated, so why the B Main was necessary I do not know.  Next up was the Legends feature, a 15 lap event that saw 4, yes no typo, 4 cars take the green flag.  Finally, the Late Model feature, what I had waited hours to watch.  Lots of yellows, some good racing, and 50 laps later the Ultimate point champion Casey Roberts won the race.  Davenport was suckered on a green-white-checkered restart and finished third in the race.  Bloomquist was never a factor, starting 8th on the grid, and finishing 5th.


No, I did not hang around to watch the Modified feature.  Is County Line Speedway on my bucket list?  No it is not.  I have to admit that after watching racing from Carolina I am a more thankful for what we have in the Midwest.  And I will be until at least the first race next spring.


Thanks for stopping by.



Categories: November 2013 Tags:

Indy Star Retires, Plus USAC/USMTS/NDRL Dirt

November 15, 2013 Leave a comment

IRL superstar Dario Franchetti has been forced to retire from driving because of injuries suffered in a horrendous last lap crash in Houston a little over a month ago.  At a press conference the racer from Scotland stated:


“One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long-term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.”


Franchitti won 31 Indy Car races, including the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions, and was a four time Indy Car champion.  It is difficult for any driver to end his career in this fashion, but I am glad that Franchitti is listening to his doctors.  Too many racers don’t.


So my dirt open wheeled friend doesn’t think I am ignoring him, USAC midgets raced at CanyonSpeedwayPark near Phoenix last night.  30 of the fun to watch cars were on hand.  Christopher Bell won the feature, followed by Bryan Clauson and Darren Hagen.  Most of the cars in Arizona will be racing on Thanksgiving night at Irwindale, California in the Turkey Day Grand Prix.  Hey, stuff yourself early, watch some football, and then head to the track for some good racing. That is what I would call a fine holiday.


64 hot rod USMTS modifieds from 12 different states found their way to Royal Purple Speedway near Houston to take part in night one of the 7th Annual Texas Winter Nationals.  From photos I saw, winter did seem to be the appropriate adjective as everyone was dressed warmly.  USMTS regulars might have felt the evening was a little chilly too. Point champion Rodney Sanders was forced to run a B Main-he won, as was past champion Jason Hughes-he finished second in his B Main.


Clyde Dunn Jr. of Sunnyvale, Texas won $2,000 for finishing first in the A feature.  Yeah, I have no clue who he is either.  Iowan Zach VanderBeek ended up second, and was followed by Steve Whiteaker Jr. of Corpus Christi-don’t know him either.  Stormy Scott and Kelly Shryock rounded out the top five.


I was surprised that the names Terry Phillips and Johnny Scott were missing from last night’s results.  Maybe they will race tonight and tomorrow night.  Again, you can watch the action on a PPV.


Finally, for the first time ever the National 100 will be sanctioned.  Next year will be the 40th year for the dirt late model classic, and the NDRL will sanction the event at East Alabama Speedway.  More and more it seems like the NDRL is going to give late model fans a third national tour to watch.  I don’t see that as a bad thing for fans or drivers.


Thanks for stopping by.




Last Vegas? Nah, I’m Going Again In January

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I saw the movie “Last Vegas” yesterday and left the theater angry, ready to litigate.  Somehow writers discovered my diary from my last January trip to the sin City and based the entire movie on it.


Well, not the part where they won over $100,000 gambling.  I understand the casino needs to make a profit and many players have to lose so a few can win.  I did my part, though I did not lose big because I did not gamble big because I suck at games of chance.


But the rest? Exactly like my trip.  Except I was not comped a penthouse suite at the Aria.  The NMX is at the Rio and I had to slip the desk clerk a $20 to get a room upgrade.  Believe me, the upgrade was no penthouse.  The view was so-so, and the most interesting thing about the suite-the Rio is all suites-was there was a window in the shower and I could look out into the rest of the suite while I was taking a shower.  Maybe that is something kinky that I am too old to understand.


I do admit I did not go on any Stratosphere thrill ride.  I do not do thrill rides.  Not for a million dollars.  Now if Warren Buffett stepped up and offered me a billion bucks to hurdle to the edge of death, maybe; but only if I was drugged to the point of being comatose.


I did not frolic by the poolside all day either.  It was January.  The temperatures may have been in the 50’s during the day, but from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. I was in seminars. I was. And those of you who know me know that sans Buffett’s billion I won’t be hosting any all night mega-party replete with scores of beautiful young women and crazy people.


OK, so I won’t win any loss suit.  The four friends were old and grumpy, and I am old and grumpy.  Near the end of the movie as the friends were leaving Las Vegas they departed from the Southwest Airlines terminal-me too.  And I often use the same words to describe my friends that they used.  In fact not a day goes by that I don’t use at least one of the words to describe my friend Tony Anville.  Many days I use both words to describe him.  Sometimes I even use both words in the same email.


It was a good movie.  Go see it. It made me want to do something wild and crazy when I return to Las   Vegas in January for NMX 2014.  Maybe I’ll splurge and get room service once. Or play a dollar slot machine-but just once.


This is the final NASCAR race weekend of 2013. I realize some of you said “good,” and others just yawned, but I will miss NASCAR the next few months.  Part of it is that it becomes difficult to write five blog posts a week when there is no racing happening, but even a not as good as 15 years ago NASCAR still has some enjoyable moments.


Unlike pundits who wrongfully crowned Matt Kenseth Sprint Cup champion after just two races in the Chase, I am not ready to boldly predict Jimmie Johnson leaves Homestead, Florida as a six-time champion. Still, all the 48 car needs is a 23rd place finish (24th place if Johnson leads a lap) in the season finale for the team to continue its dominance of the NASCAR Chase era. Some would call Sunday’s race an uphill battle for Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.  I agree, if you call climbing Mt.Everest an uphill battle.


Remember, you can find live USMTS Modified racing from Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas on a PPV tonight through Saturday.


Thanks for stopping by.












Young Drivers And Old, Warm Places And Cold

November 13, 2013 1 comment

NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup driver Trevor Bayne has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  The 22 year old former Daytona 500 winner has been tested at the Mayo Clinic and cleared by doctors and NASCAR to continue racing and will be at Homestead this weekend, and plans to run for the Nationwide Series championship in 2014.


There is no cure for MS, a disease that can cause loss of mobility, numbness, even blindness.  Treating symptoms and leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce the impact of the disease and allow Bayne to live as normal a life as any NASCAR driver leads.


After Bobby Pierce dropped off the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour to run the UMP Summernationals, Billy Moyer Jr. was the only remaining Rookie of the Year candidate on the circuit.  So, it comes as no surprise that he has been named the series ROY.  What surprises me though is comments Moyer Jr. made during the announcement.  His comments indicate that Moyer Jr. will be back on the Lucas Oil trail again next year.


The ROY award came with a cash prize of $10,000 and with product awards and point fund money for finishing 9th in the 2013 Lucas Oil standings, Moyer Jr. will take in $26,000 at the series championship banquet.  He won’t be eligible for much of that sum next year and will have to make up the difference in on track performance against the top dirt late model drivers in the country.  I see that as a daunting task, and it is why I am surprised the youngster plans on racing the series again next year.  To me, the MLRA, MARS, and Comp Cams circuit along with several crown jewel events seems more logical, but as I have said many times, logic is not something you can associate with many race car drivers.


Steve Kinser is heading south for the winter, at least early winter.  And I do mean south.  Kinser is leaving for Australia the week before Christmas and will be racing there in December and January.  Other sprint car drivers heading to the land down under are Kraig and Kody Kinser, Dale Blaney, Brad Sweet, and Justin Henderson.  The King will certainly be treated royally by his fans on what may be an Australian farewell tour for him. And yes, I envy Kinser-I envy all of the drivers.  I would even write good things about sprint car racing if I could ever visit a few of the Australian tracks.


With January races in Arizona, I wonder if any late model drivers will be heading to Australia.  There are nine late model races scheduled in the southern hemisphere through January, but US drivers can stay home and find decent paying races in Tucson and then in El Paso with the NDRL.  The Lucas Oil and WoO will have Speedweeks shows in Georgia and Florida, and at least one of the series will be racing over 17 straight nights in late January and through February.  Nebraska cold and snow or 17 nights of dirt late model racing in the winter.  Makes me wish I was retired and had Ivan Tracy money.


Unfortunately I am not retired and my bank account has a lot less in it than Mr. Tracy’s account so I will have to stick with PPV’s this winter.  The thought of waking up somewhere that is 40-50-60 degrees warmer and then heading to the track to watch the best drivers on dirt does have a lot of appeal though.


Speaking of PPV’s and the best drivers on dirt, the USMTS Texas Winternationals will be shown on this weekend. Pricing information is available on the site. Last November 82 USMTS Modifieds and 66 USRA Limited Mods filled the Royal Purple Raceway pits, so there should be plenty of racing action at the track near Houston. No, Tony, I do not get a discount for promoting the PPV.  I should, but I don’t.


Thanks for stopping by.