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Archive for August, 2014

Rain, Dirt, Volleyball, And Asphalt

August 29, 2014 Leave a comment

One way to keep Rodney Sanders from winning another USMTS feature is to let Mother Nature get involved.  Thursday’s show at Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa was rained out.  The tour heads to Chateau Speedway in Lansing, Minnesota tonight.

 

For those of you who can’t make it to Eldora Speedway for next weekend’s World 100, www.DirtonDirt.com will have PPV’s for all three nights. I am somewhat ambivalent about this.  The Dream preliminaries in June were outstanding and I can see the same happening with World prelims. And, the DOD crew does an outstanding job of covering the races.  However, PPV’s from Eldora are expensive-the Thursday and Friday shows are $21.95 each and to watch Saturday racing $39.95 will be added to your credit card. This is not DOD’s doing, it comes from the track, and the PPV’s are just a nickel cheaper than a ticket to the event.  I may buy the Thursday and Friday shows and just check out DOD live updates for Saturday’s feature.

 

XSANTV will be showing the IMCA Supernationals from Boone, Iowa starting Monday.  The shows air at 3:00 p.m. Central Time and run until God knows when, probably 8-9 hours each day Monday-Saturday.  NU football starts at 11:00 a.m. on September 6th, so there is no conflict there.

 

The SLMR has two races scheduled for this weekend.  Tonight the series will visit the track across the street from Park Jefferson, Raceway Park.  Matt and I visited the track several years for a USMTS event, and it is a racy 1/3rd mile oval.  We won’t be going tonight as Matt and Steph are going to a Nebraska volleyball match.  Tomorrow the SLMR will race at Junction Motor Speedway, and we will have to forego that event as well, with Matt helping Steph get ready for an important birthday celebration on Sunday, the third birthday of future doctor Henry Meyer.

 

Tony Stewart is returning to racing this weekend at Atlanta.  While law enforcement officials have not announced results of their investigation, I believe that Stewart’s attorneys have been in close contact with officials and that no criminal charges will be filed against the past NASCAR champion.  I do believe that a civil suit will be filed-too many lawyers looking to make a name and a buck for there not to be, but that the suit will be settled before going to trial.

 

Stewart will hold a noon Central Time press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  NASCAR President Mike Helton will speak with reporters an hour later.  I don’t know if Stewart will take questions or just read a prepared statement-possibly he will do both.  I suspect at least one attorney will sit with him-there is no doubt mainstream media will be on hand and there will be no easy questions from reporters. While I am glad to see Stewart racing again, he does need to answer these questions for his fans and for his sponsors.

 

While the Ward family wants to hear Stewart’s explanation of how the tragedy unfolded, I doubt he can offer any remarks that will help with their healing.  I cannot begin to comprehend their suffering, and losing a loved one under any circumstances is tough to deal with, but to have it surrounded by a media circus is more than any family should have to endure.

 

I don’t know what Helton will have to say.  Perhaps he will announce a NASCAR waiver allowing Stewart to remain eligible to participate in The Chase if he wins at Atlanta on Sunday or Richmond next Saturday night.  Racing is a dangerous sport, but NASCAR is a business, and team sponsors have millions of dollars invested in the business.  The Chase offers exposure for sponsors that 39 other race teams will not get over the final ten races of the season.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: August 2014 Tags: , ,

44 Years With Me, 24 Wins For Rodney, 22 Cable Dates For Sprint Cup, Plus 1 ’57 Corvette Convertible

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

On August 28, 1970 I married Jane Kephart, the girl I had been dating for a little over three years.  We were too young to get married.  I still had two years of college to finish, plus I was working nights, 35 hours a week running a computer at Hormel-in those days you really did run it. The first few years we were married we lived in a trailer in a court that was long ago leveled to become a part of Diers Ford in Fremont.  All those things, plus I am not the easiest person to live with (I do know that is hard to believe, but it is true), should have meant the marriage would not last.  But it has for 44 years.

 

When we were first married Jane actually did go to the races with me.  Yup, we went to Sunset Speedway in the days of Jim Wyman, Bob Kosiski, Bud Burdick, and Bill Wrich, when a late model stock was something that came from a show room floor.  After a few years Jane realized she did not have to go, and it wasn’t until the early 80’s when Matt was old enough to go that I had a racing partner again.

 

Life has been far from perfect, plenty of downs, but a lot of ups too.  Matt arrived in 1976, Amanda in 1981.  Just when it seemed like Matt would never leave home, he did and brought Steph into the family.  After waiting what seemed like an eternity for a grandchild we hit the jackpot when Henry arrived on September 1, 2011.  If our children and grandson are the legacy of this marriage, we could not have done better.

 

For those of you doing the math, I was not 20 until September 16, 1970 and Jane had turned 18 in April of that year.

 

Here’s a real surprise for you.  Rodney Sanders won a USMTS feature last night after four second place finishes in a row.  It was his 24th USMTS win of the season, which ties him for second all-time with Ryan Gustin who won 24 races in 2011.  Kelly Shryock is the all-time leader with 30 USMTS wins in 2006.  The series has five more point races and three multi-night special events remaining on this year’s schedule, so Sanders does have an outside chance at breaking Shryock’s record.

 

The just released 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule shows a shuffling of dates, but nothing earth shattering as a “robust discussion” might have suggested. Atlanta moves from August to March.  The first Bristol race moves from March to April.  The Darlington race moves from April to Labor Day weekend, what once was the traditional date of the Southern 500.  No midweek dates were added, and Iowa Speedway still did not get a cup date.

 

22 of the televised Sprint Cup dates will be on either Fox 1 or NBCSN.  The first time I watch a race on either of those cable spin-offs will be the first time I ever watch any event on either one.  I just hope Time-Warner actually carries these channels.

 

Because of this blog I get all kinds of emails about cars.  Today I received one from Classic Motor Sales showing Corvettes for sale.  One that caught my eye was a ’57 convertible, white with red interior, a 220 h.p. 283 CID V-8, with a Powerglide transmission, selling for just $96,790.  Since I am not wealthy like some of my friends, I’ll add this to my “if I win the lottery” bucket list.

 

Actually, I picture Count’s Kustoms of Las Vegas fixing me up with a car like that, and me making a leisurely drive back to Nebraska, visiting the Grand Canyon and other Arizona sites, and then heading through New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas on the way home. It may be a crazy dream, but it sure would beat the heck out of motoring around in my 2003 Mazda work car.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glory Days-And I Don’t Mean Springsteen

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Last Friday Curtis Roberts of Coleman, Michigan accomplished something that is a rarity in dirt late model racing.  Roberts is a local/regional driver and he won a national tour race, a WoO event at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan. It seems that about once a year a driver like Roberts will gain some notoriety by winning a tour event.  So, can a Nebraska driver do what Roberts did?

 

I don’t think so.  First, there are very few national tour events in the Midwest.  There is a WoO show in Independence, Iowa.  There is the Knoxville, Nationals in late September, and there is the Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway, and a Lucas Oil show at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City several days before the SDN.  That is it, and yes it does suck.  Local drivers don’t get much of a Kansas to compete in national caliber events.

 

No late model driver in Nebraska races for a living, and while all of them would like to win a national tour race, none of them actually expect to.  Most would be thrilled with a top ten finish in a Lucas Oil or WoO feature. Anymore it seems like most area drivers are satisfied with a top ten finish in an MLRA regional tour event (sorry, I just can’t bring myself to call the NCRA a regional tour). John Anderson once dominated the MLRA, but seems to struggle for a good finish much of the time.  Kyle Berck has other priorities and is content to dominate the SLMR and NCRA races, series that are not as strong as the MLRA, and don’t even approach the quality of a Lucas Oil or WoO event.

 

Travis Dickes has potential to be a good regional driver, but in national events at Wheatland and Cedar Lake this season he did not come close to qualifying for the feature, though he came close to a top ten finish in the SDN.  Dickes is tied for 3rd in MLRA points.  John Anderson is 8th in the MLRA this season, while Bill Koons is 10th. I can remember when Joe and Steve Kosiski and Berck dominated the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour and the WDRL.

 

Anyway, if the best Nebraska drivers are average, or maybe a little better than average local/regional late model drivers, I can’t see anyone winning a national tour feature in the next few years.  Winning a heat race at a national event would be overachieving.  Maybe it’s just that “rainy days and Mondays” get me down, but more likely it is that late model racing in the area is not what it used to be and never will be again.  Local racers can compete hard against each other-like in last week’s late model feature at I-80 Speedway, but put them up against drivers from Missouri, Iowa, and around the U.S. and it is like a dirt track version of Nebraska football-forget big time victories.

 

“Glory days, well they’ll pass you by.”

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Top 25 Plus NASCAR Issues

August 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is my www.DirtonDirt.com Top 25 Ballot for 8/25/14.  After saying I didn’t think I would make any changes from last week, I did make changes.

 

  1. com Top 25 Voting Ballot
Voter Name: Ron Meyer
Please Enter Date Below
Position 08/25/14
1 Jimmy Owens
2 Scott Bloomquist
3 Darrell Lanigan
4 Don O’Neal
5 Billy Moyer
6 Dale McDowell
7 Jonathan Davenport
8 Tim McCreadie
9 Steve Francis
10 Rick Eckert
11 Eddie Carrier Jr.
12 Shannon Babb
13 Brian Birkhofer
14 Jimmy Mars
15 Chris Madden
16 Bobby Pierce
17 Mike Marlar
18 Jason Feger
19 John Blankenship
20 Gregg Satterlee
21 Terry Phillips
22 Brandon Sheppard
23 Billy Moyer Jr.
24 Earl Pearson Jr.
25 Randy Weaver

 

Only one of my drivers was not in the overall Top 25.  Matt has I put that driver on my ballot to irritate him.  Perhaps, that is so and irritating Matt is one of my small pleasures.  However, I have the top five Lucas Oil drivers as well as the driver in 7th place in point standings in that series among my Top 25, so I think I should include #6 in the series as well. However, not many of the other 22 voters agree with me as this driver was 26th in the www.DirtonDirt.com voting.

 

Bob Pockrass has an article in today’s Sporting News stating that other drivers will think twice about racing on dirt after the tragic accident involving Tony Stewart that killed young Kevin Ward.  He presents many of the same arguments that NASCAR Sprint Cup car owners use to keep their drivers from racing at grassroots tracks, and also quotes Kasey Kahne who would like to race on dirt and Brad Keselowski who has never raced on dirt and really ought to just shut up once in awhile.

 

I would like to debate Pockrass on this matter-seriously, and I couldn’t make myself look dumber than a lot of politicians do in debates-BUT, to me I am afraid it would be a debate about a matter that has already been settled. Plus, I agree with several of the Pockrass points-sponsors have huge investments in NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, and the driver is the tip of the team iceberg, with big name teams having 300 or more employees and at least some of the compensation of those employees depends on where the driver finishes in NASCAR divisions, not where he finishes at a dirt track. Those responsibilities are more important than a driver’s hobby.

 

Drivers like Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kyle Larson may want to drive sprint cars, but I doubt that Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, or Chip Ganassi will OK it anymore.  Austin and Ty Dillon may race in a dirt late model occasionally because their grandpa Richard Childress owns the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars they drive.  Kyle Busch raced an asphalt late model at a track in Michigan after Canandaigua, but as with the Dillons, that was in a full bodied race car. Fans at dirt tracks will still be able to enjoy past NASCAR stars like Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace racing dirt late models or modifieds, but I am afraid that when current drivers make appearances at local tracks it the future it will be for non-racing activities.

 

I remember when Eldora Speedway held the Prelude to the Dream with mostly NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers racing in late models for charities. Drivers had a great time racing on dirt and millions of dollars was raised for charity. Despite most drivers not being familiar with late models, no one was hurt.  It is a shame that event fell by the wayside when Eldora began hosting the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in 2013.  If NASCAR drivers are less likely to race on dirt, it is too bad that one race a year like the Prelude can’t be held. It would be a win for the fans, a win for drivers, a win for NASCAR sponsors, and a big win for driver charities.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Boone, Busch, Sanders, Owens, And Sunday Rain?

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Matt and I talked about going to the Deery Brothers race on September 1st-Labor Day-during the IMCA Supernationals at Boone, Iowa.  We are still kicking it around, but according to the schedule on the IMCA site, racing will begin at 2:00 p.m. that day and the Deery Brothers feature will go off at 9:00 p.m. Leaving at 10:00 a.m. (it’s a three hour drive east on Highway 30), over 7 hours of racing and watching track prep, and getting home around 1:00 a.m. makes for a long, long day and night.  I wonder if this is something we should do at least once though.  I have been on both sides on this one-several years thinking it was a must, and many years thinking it was a bust.  I would say we are leaning toward no can do, but we haven’t been to that many races this year and later in September we are only going to Knoxville on Friday, so who knows?

 

If we don’t go to Boone, I can always watch it on XSANTV.  So can you.  There is even a freebie prelude.  Check out the site for more information.

 

Yes, I did like it when Crew Chief Dave Rogers told Kyle Busch to “take your whiny little ass to the bus,” as Busch was complaining about his car Saturday night at Bristol.  Busch isn’t the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver that ought to hear those words from a crew chief.  Too many of the prima donnas forget that a lot of people work extremely hard and are on the job far more than 40 hours a week to make that car go fast and have a chance at a Victory Lane visit.  It isn’t just those who get face time with reporters who make a team all it is. And some nights what happens, both good and bad, happens no matter what everyone on the team does.

 

USMTS driver Rodney Sanders proved he is only human last week.  The series raced three times in Kansas and Oklahoma and Sanders did not win one of the races.  He finished second all three times and holds a 159 point lead over Zach VanderBeek in the Hunt for the Casey’s Cup championship.  If Mother Nature is agreeable, the USMTS will race five times this week, starting Wednesday at Marshalltown Speedway in Iowa. From there the haulers head a little northwest to Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, Iowa.  Friday and Saturday will be spent in Minnesota, first at Chateau Raceway in Lansing, then Deer Creek Speedway.  The long weekend ends Sunday with a race at Cresco, Speedway back in Iowa.

 

Do I think Sanders will finish second five times this weekend?  No.  I think he will win at least twice though and will increase his point championship lead over VanderBeek.

As with Sanders, Jimmy Owens proved he was not infallible last weekend.  Owens followed up a 15th place finish at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee with a 6th place finish at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana.  This allowed Don O’Neal to close within 40 points of Owens in the Lucas Oil standings. I know I am not the best with predictions, but my guess is O’Neal will get no closer the rest of the season.  I would not be surprised at all if Owens bounces back from a “bad” weekend last week with two wins this weekend.

 

If it rains Sunday, will I-80 Speedway run its All-Star Championship Sunday on Labor Day? No, I am not hoping for rain, just wondering.

Rain or shine I will be having cake and ice cream with my amazing grandson as we celebrate birthday #3 for Henry. Later I’ll watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Atlanta.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lanigan, O’Neal, And Moyer-Lions And Tigers And Bears

August 24, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s August, the WoO Late Models raced twice this weekend meaning that Darrell Lanigan won a race for about the 100th time this season. He did win a race in Michigan, though it is “only” his 13th series win of the season. Lanigan is now 278 points ahead of second place Rick Eckert in the WoO standings. Only 8 nights of racing remain on the 2014 WoO schedule, beginning with a night at Lernersville, followed by two nights at Selingsgrove in Pennsylvania next weekend.

While Lanigan has an insurmountable lead, the point race in the Lucas Oil series danced to the tune of Archie Bell and the Drells circa 1968 called ‘Tighten Up.’ In the two series races this weekend Jimmy Owens managed only a 15th and a 6th place finish, while Don O’Neal had a 5th place finish and a win. O’Neal is now just 40 points behind Owens. The Lucas Oil drivers will spend their Labor Day holiday working, at least racing. The series races twice in Ohio-Attica Raceway Park and Portsmouth Raceway Park, before heading to West Virginia and a date at I-77 Raceway Park. I guess like millions of Americans the drivers are head to a “park” anyway.

The WoO is through with its big money events, racing for no more than $10,000 on its last 8 races. Lucas Oil is just hitting its stride on big $$$ events though, with 4 events paying at least $20,000 to win in its last 12 nights of racing.

Billy Moyer raced closer to home, winning a MARS race at Pevely, Missouri. Moyer took $5,000 back to Arkansas for his efforts in besting drivers like Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Jason Feger, Brian Shirley, and Randy Korte.

I’ve been looking at results from around the country preparing to cast my www.DirtonDirt.com Top 25 Ballot. I’ve changed my ballot every week, but am having a difficult time convincing myself I need to this week. I was thinking I might move Mike Marlar ahead of Jason Feger. Does a 2nd-1st-23rd better a 1st-17th? I think the quality of Marlar’s competition was a little better than that of Feger. Overall, Lanigan has been ahead of Scott Bloomquist, but not on my ballot. And despite his win this weekend, I am not putting him above Bloomquist. And, someone is going to have to win 2-3 season end crown jewel events to topple Owens from his #1 spot on my ballot.

On Friday in USMTS action, Terry Phillips found a way to defeat Rodney Sanders at Lakeside Speedway, despite having to change engines between his heat race and the feature. Sanders finished a car length behind Phillips and Jeremy Payne followed Sanders. Last night at Salina High Banks Speedway in Oklahoma it was Payne’s turn to win with Sanders coming home second. The USMTS series remains in Oklahoma tonight for a race at Outlaw Motorsports Park in Oktaha.

In yet another rain cancellation, Adams County Speedway, aka Always Cancel Shows, set the SLMRS race back to September 6th. Or not. Yes, I do realize there are some who say I should not be criticizing the Fair Board running the track since they have already lost out on their chance to import Meyer money to southwest Iowa. I pretty much don’t like the head in the sand crowd who say such things and never listen to them. The SLMR is scheduled for action at Raceway Park north of Sioux City next Friday, and at Junction Motor Speedway on Saturday. I don’t know if the Berck Bounty is in force at other tracks or just at ACS.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

I-80 Speedway August 22, 2014

August 23, 2014 1 comment

Until last night it had been over a year since I last attended a weekly racing show. That wasn’t the only factor in me skipping weekly shows, but it certainly contributed. My thinking on weekly racing is that it is like trying to sneak a pocket knife through airport security-a lot of trouble for no gain. So, I did not think I would be using the words “it was fun,” in my blog today. But it was fun. And full of surprises too.

As we passed through Mead-just 10 miles south of Fremont-it was raining so hard Matt nearly pulled over. I figured we would be getting a text saying the races had been cancelled. I figured ACS, either Adams County Speedway or Always Cancels Shows, had already cancelled tonight’s races. Anyway, the further south we drove, the lighter the skies. By the time we reached the track the sun was shining, though the track did receive a shower in the afternoon.

Those showers did cause the one negative for the night. It was dusty. Promoter Joe Kosiski sat behind Matt and I during several features and he stated when it rained they quit watering the track for fear that watering and more showers would mean losing the track, i.e. making it too muddy to race on. The track was dusty, but it was very racy, so to me that was an OK trade-off.

I was amazed by the crowd. Many people had to drive through rain to get to the track, but the crowd was much bigger than I expected. Two thumbs up for real race fans and good for the track as well.

By my count there were 104 cars racing in the six divisions. To me this is an almost perfect number because it meant no B features which mainly add to the length of the show and are races most fans don’t want to watch anyway.

Yes, the B-Mods irritated me, at least during the feature, but the Grand Nationals irritated me even more. There were only 12 GN’s on hand, and the last place car brought out two cautions before even one lap of the feature was completed. That same car was lapped twice (in 18 laps) by the top five cars and was even lapped by the other car that was lapped. Ugh.

Back to B-Mods. If only the top ten that raced last night were on the track for the feature, it would have been a decent race. It was far from a disaster anyway.

The Pro-Ams/Stock Cars are still a favorite. The start of their race brought a “whoa” from me, with maybe six or seven cars in a pack going through the first two turns. Unfortunately a quick caution and single file restarts kept this from happening again. However, side by side racing throughout the pack made for a good show. I wish they would use the double file restart with these cars as every feature would be a classic. This is I-80’s version of IMCA Stock Cars, and there are plenty of good drivers in the class.

Hornets are Hornets are Hornets. They don’t rumble, they buzz. They don’t go particularly fast, but they don’t do many things stupid either. 10 laps is a plenty for their feature.

The A-Mod feature was last and we did not stay for it. Well, I did not stay for any of it, Matt stayed for about half of it before leaving so we could beat the post race rush.

I was totally surprised, but the Late Model A feature was one of the best weekly features I can remember. For much of the race 4-5 cars were in a pack. Few mistakes were made, but every mistake cost the driver several positions on the track. I know some of you were on hand for the Silver Dollar Nationals. On the ride home Matt made a good point linking the two races. He said that if last night’s feature had been the SDN feature, www.DirtonDirt.com would have proclaimed it the race of the year. Yes, it WAS that good.

With three September birthdays coming up-Henry’s on September 1st, mine on September 16th, and Matt’s on September 23rd, I woke up this morning thinking of the hundreds of ball games and races we have watched together. We have been going places together since 1979. At my age that means we are well past the halfway mark of things we will do together. Matt and Henry are quite a pair. I hope that they will go as many places and do as many fun things as Matt and I have.

So, does all of this mean that Matt and I will be doing weekly shows regularly again-harkening back to the days of Sunset Speedway and the Craig Kelley Nebraska Raceway Park era? No, that won’t happen. I suspect we will go to a weekly show or two every year though.

And yes, I did have a pork tenderloin sandwich for supper. I didn’t have my Dilly Bar dessert until I was standing near turn one during the A-Mod feature though.

Tonight, the Bristol night race. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Categories: August 2014 Tags: