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Viva Las Vegas

November 29, 2014 1 comment

I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again. Well, actually I do. I am heading to Las Vegas for NASCAR Champions week and am leaving very early Tuesday morning and returning early Friday afternoon. While there I will be participating in the Sports Business Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum on Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday, and attending the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon and the NASCAR After the Lap program on Thursday.

Speakers at the forum include:

-Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR

-2014 Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick

-Brent Dewar, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR

-Brad Keselowski

-Mark Lazurus, Chairman NBC Sports Group and Eric Shanks, Executive Producer of Fox Sports

-Gene Haas, Co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing

-Steve Lauletta, President of Chip Ganassi Racing

The Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon will be held at the Encore from 11:00 a.m-1:15 p.m. PST, or 1:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Central time. You can watch it on www.nascar.com.

The After the Lap event will feature all 16 of the Chase participants and will be held at the Palms. I’ll try to get some photos with my new Fire H.D. tablet, but won’t promise anything-my daughter showed me what to do, but it is a long time until I am in Vegas, and I am totally techno-challenged.

Between the forum and other activities I hope to come up with information for at least 10 blog posts. And, I am crossing my fingers that this trip will go much smoother than my trip to Las Vegas for the New Media Expo this past January. My flight to Las Vegas was delayed for three hours because of weather, and my flight home was delayed, making me miss connections and get home eight hours late.

As Elvis sang:

“Bright light city gonna set my soul,

Gonna set my soul on fire.

Got a whole lotta money that’s ready to burn,

So get those stakes up higher.”

Ha-I have an agreement with the Las Vegas Convention Bureau to make sure that what I do in Vegas stays in Vegas-they don’t want anyone else to know just how boring Vegas can be.

I am staying at the Aria, with The Shops at Crystals adjacent to the hotel. My daughter would like me to bring back a souvenir for her from Cartier, Gucci, or Versace. I am afraid that isn’t going to happen. She also suggested I eat at Jean-Georges Steakhouse, where an 18 oz. Bone-In Ribeye can be had for $68 or a 36 oz Porterhouse costs a mere $109 dollars. That also will not be on my agenda. I wonder if there is a McDonald’s close by.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Have Park Jefferson And Abu Dhabi Ever Been Used In The Same Article Before?

November 24, 2014 3 comments

I could say something like “I really haven’t been shirking my responsibilities, there just hasn’t been much to write about,” and it would be I was copying our members of Congress because that would be a half truth. There hasn’t been much to write about, but I am not sure I would have posted even if there was.  And I am not sure how much I will post this week, and I might not even post at all next week-next week is my trip to Las Vegas for NASCAR Champions Week.

But I am here now, and so is the 2015 MLRA schedule.  Below is a link:

http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101945589870-124/2015+MLRA+Schedule.pdf

The schedule shows 27 nights of racing, 4 practice nights, and 1-TBA.   The series will visit 11 tracks in 5 Midwest states, with most purses paying $3,000 to win.

Park Jefferson in Jefferson, South Dakota has been added to the schedule with the 2-night Carlson Clash being run on May 29th-30th.  I suspect my arm will be twisted to visit the Siouxland oval at least one of those nights.

I watched a little F1 race from Abu Dhabi yesterday.  I am totally intrigued by this series, as much from the fact that the tracks at the two races I watched this year-the other was the race from Austin, Texas-both look like big scale version of slot car tracks. I have no idea if the brightly covered surface on either side of the track is cement, grass, dirt, plastic, or what, but it is cool. Lewis Hamilton won in Abu Dhabi as he did in Texas.

I also watched the tape delay Whiskey City 50, a Lucas Oil series race held at Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana earlier this season.  Teammates Don O’Neal and Steve Francis finished 1-2 in the race that really closed the gap between Jimmy Owens and O’Neal in the series point battle ultimately won by O’Neal.  I wish that these late model tape delays would run right after the actual race, not months later.

There were several late model races run last weekend.  Billy Moyer Jr. won two features at El Paso Speedway Park, collecting $2,500 and $3,000 for his efforts.  Donald McIntosh won the Turkey Gobble 50 at Auburn Raceway in Auburn, Nebraska.  OK, there is no such place, just seeing if someone is reading my blog or not.  The win for McIntosh came at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Georgia.  McIntosh bettered a decent regional field that also included Shane Clanton, Riley Hickman, Mike Marlar, Vic Hill, Kent Robinson, Chase Junghans, and Billy Ogle Jr.

Surprisingly there are several big $$ events on the schedule this weekend.  Swainsboro Speedway in Georgia will host a $20,000 to win unsanctioned crate late model race-sounds like a benefit for Chris Madden or Jonathan Davenport, and Cochran Motor Speedway, also in Georgia, will host a $10,000 to win late model event.

That’s about all I can come up with today.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Duel in the Desert Plus Midwest Sprint Cars

November 18, 2014 1 comment

Terry Phillips ended the 2014 season in the same fashion he has took several other times in recent years, with everything coming up 7’s at the Dirt Track in Las Vegas.  Phillips captured the 2014 Duel in the Desert, leading 36 of the 40 laps in the race.  Teammate Jordan Grabouski finished 2nd.

During Thursday prelims Phillips finished 2nd in his heat and 4th in an A feature.  Even though he qualified for Saturday’s feature, the Springfield, Missouri veteran decided to toss the dice and race again on Friday, attempting to gain a better starting spot.  That he did, winning his heat and a Friday A main to claim the outside second row starting spot in Saturday’s feature.

Saturday’s win was worth $7,777 to Phillips.  I wish I could pull the lever of a slot machine at the ARIA in early December and have it come up a big winner.

The Midwest was well represented in the IMCA season ending event.  Johnny Saathoff won a heat and a feature on Thursday, and finished 7th in Saturday’s big dollar event.  In addition to finishing 2nd in Saturday’s feature, Grabouski won a heat and finished 2nd in a Friday feature. Jesse Sobbing finished 8th in Saturday’s A main. Chris Abelson won a last chance race on Saturday and finished 14th in the feature. Dustin Anderson won a last chance race Saturday night, and was four spots back of Abelson in the feature. Chad Anderson also won a last chance race on Saturday, and finished 20th in the feature.

In Sport Mod action, Shawn Harker of Nebraska City won a last chance race and finished 11th in that division’s feature on Saturday.  332 cars signed in for the event, with 25 states and 3 Canadian provinces represented.

I am wishy-washy on adding the Duel in the Desert to my bucket list.  On one hand, I do enjoy going to Las Vegas, and a race in mid-November is well after racing is done in Nebraska.  On the other-well 332 cars = 26 heats, 14 B features, and 3 A features on the preliminary nights, for a total of 43 races and 418 laps. That can make for a long, long night in the grandstands, especially with Sport Mods racing.

The National Sprint League announced purse and point fund structure for its debut season in 2015.  Every race will pay at least $3,000 to win and $500 to start, with eleven special races paying from $5,000-$10,000 to win.  The NSL champion will collect a whopping $75,000 in point fund money with second through fifteenth paying $50,000-$40,000-$30,000-$25,000-$20,000-$18,000-$17,000-$16,000-$15,000-$12,000-$10,000-$9,000-$7,000-$6,000.

That is pretty serious money for what I would call a regional series-the NSL will visit 11 tracks in 6 states in the Midwest. The current schedule shows 22 dates, with 8 more TBA’s.  Donny Schatz collected $150,000 for winning the WoO Sprint Car championship, but the Outlaws raced 90 nights at 57 tracks in 23 states and 3 Canadian provinces. They raced from Florida to Washington and Texas to Canada. That seems to be a huge difference for just twice the championship money.

Hopefully the NSL has more money in the bank than the NDRL late model series did this year.  What seemed promising last winter for late model drivers shut down early in the summer.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Sprint Cup-Boo, Hiss Plus Duel In The Desert

November 14, 2014 Leave a comment

While NASCAR Sprint Cup TV ratings have been trending down for years, when the series rolls into down it is good news for local businesses.  It is estimated that events at Phoenix International Raceway have a $400,000,000 impact on the city’s economy.  While the track hosts other events, its two biggest weekends of the year are the spring and fall Sprint Cup races.

If the wise leaders of NASCAR had not decided that younger Americans had a short attention span and needed a jolt of excitement to follow the series to the bitter end each season-AKA the Chase-Jeff Gordon would be atop the point standing heading to Homestead this weekend.

Without any adjustments being made for Chase participants, points accumulated show:

1 Gordon 1217
2 Logano 1188
3 Earnhardt 1145
4 Keselowski 1138
5 Harvick 1124
6 Kenseth 1093
7 Newman 1093
8 Edwards 1050
9 Larson 1049
10 Johnson 1032
11 Biffle 997
12 McMurray 995
13 Kyle Busch 954
14 Hamlin 949
15 Bowyer 943

 

Logano and Harvick have good arguments for fighting for the championship, but I am not so sure about Newman or Hamlin. Newman has not won a race, and Hamlin actually missed a race-Fontana and would only be in 14 place if points were figured as in the good old days.  Even if Hamlin had not missed the Fontana race, the best he could have done would have been to win the race and lead the most laps, worth 48 points.  Add that to his total and it would just move him to a tie with 11th place Greg Biffle, hardly a championship caliber season.

I am not a Logano fan, and hope he doesn’t beat the other three finalists at Homestead, but if Logano or Kevin Harvick win, I would not complain about the final results.  If Newman would win the Homestead race I would be a little less hesitant to accept him as champion-“just,” but I would think plenty of others will be asking serious questions if either the RCR drivers is crowned champion.  Same for the JGR driver Hamlin.

To me Newman or Hamlin may win the Chase, but they darn sure are not the best driver this season.

Back to Mother Earth-Did anyone else watch the Duel in the Desert from Las Vegas last night?  I did-well, part of it.  I made it through the 20 modified heats, but when the XSAN.TV announcers said there were about 100 sports mods, aka B mods, I figured I wouldn’t make it through the entire program.  When the first B mod yellow came out before the completion of the first lap of the first heat, I made the decision to call it a night.  I’ll be watching again tonight though.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

U.S. 30 Changes Hands, Plus National Sprint League

November 13, 2014 1 comment

From the US 30 Speedway:

“As announced at our banquet last Sunday, the racing torch has been passed. Sam & Kenny Ganskow will retire as owners & promoters of US 30 Speedway. Oldest daughter Mari, with her husband Ron Melcher, have purchased the speedway and now hold the keys. The track will stay racing as a family operation. Just like the 2014 season, 2015 will be business as usual for the “Lincolns”. This is our “Dirty Thirty” year in operation and we intend on making it the best year yet! We are very excited to start this new chapter for U.S. 30 Speedway – Home of Thursday night Thunder!”

With the track staying as a family operation and family members working there for years and years, I don’t see any big changes happening. Hopefully the Melchers will keep the SLMR special around July 4th which is a very big night for the tack.

Listed below is the tentative schedule for the National Sprint League, the new Midwest 410 Sprint Car circuit. Most of the tracks do have at least some sprint car history, so the only thing I see wrong with the schedule is all the TBA’s. I hate TBA’s. The WoO is famous for them. It means there may be a race if a promoter’s arm gets twisted enough, but don’t count on it.

I do admit that I am somewhat leery about the advertised point fund for this series. I say this with the demise of the late model NDRL in 2014, a series that started with a lot of hype and then fizzled in mid-season. $350,000 is a big point fund for a regional series. Maybe the hunter’s tree stand business is really, really good.

The other question I have is the dates of the final race of the season at I-80 Speedway. Is this race in addition to the Fall Brawl which has been a 360 sprint car race, or is it in place of the 360’s?

Actually, this is not a race I have a horse in, so my interest is just casual-as I have mentioned several times, I would travel to Australia to watch sprint cars race, but I wouldn’t drive 50 miles to see them. I needed something to write about today, and the schedule helps me get 500 words easy.

TENTATIVE 2015 NATIONAL SPRINT LEAGUE SCHEDULE

Saturday, April 11, TBA Friday, May 8, Eagle Raceway, Eagle, NE Saturday, May 9, Knoxville Raceway, Knoxville, IA ($20,000 Bonus from Durst Motorplex to Win Eagle and Knoxville) Friday, May 15, TBA Friday, May 22, Jackson Speedway – Spring Nationals, Jackson, MN ($7500 to win) Sunday, May 24, Huset’s Speedway, Brandon, SD Friday, May 29, TBA Sunday, May 31, TBA Saturday, June 27, Knoxville Raceway – Midseason Championships, Knoxville, IA ($5000 to win) Friday, July 3, Huset’s Speedway, Brandon, SD ($5000 to win) Saturday, July 4, Knoxville Raceway (Fireworks), Knoxville, IA Friday, July 10, Park Jefferson International Speedway, Jefferson, SD Sunday, July 19, TBA Thursday, July 23, Jackson Speedway – Jackson County Fair, Jackson, MN Friday, July 24, Crawford County Speedway – Crawford County Fair, Denison, IA Sunday, July 26, Huset’s Speedway, Brandon, SD Friday, July 31, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, NE Monday, August 10, Southern Iowa Speedway – Front Row Challenge, Oskaloosa, IA (Special Purse TBA) Friday, August 21, TBA Saturday, August 22, Clay County Fair Speedway, Spencer, IA (Special Purse TBA) Friday, August 28, TBA Saturday, August 29, Knoxville Raceway – Season Championship, Knoxville, IA ($5000 to win) Friday, September 4, Jackson Speedway – Jackson Nationals, Jackson, MN Saturday, September 5, Jackson Speedway – Jackson Nationals, Jackson, MN (Special Purse TBA) Sunday, September 6, Randolph County Raceway, Moberly, MO Friday, September 11, TBA Saturday, September 12, Cedar Lake Speedway – Jerry Richert Memorial, New Richmond, WI (Special Purse TBA) w/IRA Sunday, September 13, Huset’s Speedway, Brandon, SD ($10,000 to win) Friday, October 2, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, NE Saturday, October 3, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, NE (Special Purse TBA)

I guess I do have one other question.  Even though it appears there will be no ASCS Midwest series in 2015, there are some fairly strong 360 groups in the Midwest, and I am having a difficult time thinking that a lot of these drivers are going to move up to 410’s in 2015.  So, other than Knoxville and Huset regulars, who is going to run in this series?

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Big Money For Point Winners

November 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Some fans may see the life of a professional racer as glamorous. In many ways for drivers at the top of the sport-NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series, it can be. Private jets, beautiful homes, fans fawning over you, media attention, and don’t forget lovely women too.  I don’t see the life of a dirt track professional as quite that glamorous.  It can be hours and hours spend driving down the highway to another track to race another night.  It can be living out of a hauler for days, even weeks at a time. It is getting your hands dirty seven days a week preparing a car to race, because you know your toughest competitors are doing the same.  Leading a normal family lifestyle is impossible. But it does reward the best of the best handsomely.

At the World of Outlaws championship banquet, Darrell Lanigan received a point fund check of $100,000. Coupled with his race winnings, he earned $390,000 in 2014.  There is no question he had well over six figures in sponsorship deals-well over, so the Kentucky driver did quite well for himself this year.

After receiving a $60,000 point fund check, Rick Eckert earned $164,685 in 2014. Actually, his race car earned that much.  Eckert driving the Rocket house car would have earned far less, but also would not have had to worry about all the expenses a car owner like Lanigan has to shoulder.

Tim McCreadie finished third in WoO late model standings and received a point check for $40,000, raising his 2014 earnings to $192,050. Morgan Bagley was fourth when the final standings were posted and he received a $35,000 check at the championship banquet.  His earnings for the season were $110,560.

WoO sprint car champion Donny Schatz received a point fund check of $150,000. He drives for Tony Stewart racing, so obviously nets a percentage of his winnings, but do the math.  Schatz won 26 times in 2014, including the Knoxville Nationals finale.  He finished in the Top 10 on 80 occasions. The total ought to be around $750,000 and even splitting evenly with the car owner, Schatz still made about $375,000-doing something he loves.  I would settle for 1/3rd of that doing something I love.

There are plusses and minuses to being a full time dirt track racer, but this time of year the positives do seem to outweigh the negatives. Lucas Oil series awards will be handed out at the championship banquet held in conjunction with the PRI show in Indianapolis in December.

Your opportunities to watch live racing have dwindled down to a precious few, September, November-thanks to Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill for those words from the “September Song”-but you can watch televised taped races through December on MAVTV, NBC Sports Network, and CBS Sports Network. Check the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series websites for times that the Dixie Shoot Out, North South 100, Dirt Track World Championship, Topless 100, Whiskey City 50, Knoxville Nationals, and the Show-Me 100 will be shown.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Top 25, XSANTV, USMTS, And NASCAR

November 11, 2014 1 comment

Here is my final www.DirtonDirt.com Top 25 ballot for 2014:

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

 

Just a little shuffling and one addition this week. Although I don’t have a say in who the site will choose as driver of the year, I have no doubt it will be Scott Bloomquist.  Even though Don O’Neal won the Lucas Oil point title I have runner-up Jimmy Owens ahead of him because of Owens other big wins.  And, even though I put the Lucas Oil series on a plateau above the WoO series overall, Lanigan’s win total in 2014 is just too difficult to ignore.  After those four you could arrange the next 10 spots in 100 different ways and be just as accurate as my guess.

This weekend will be one of the biggest of the season for IMCA modifieds and sports mods, the Duel in the Desert at the Dirt Track in Las Vegas. Early are up over 10% from 2013, with 146 modifieds and 60 sports mods drivers preregistered.  Saturday’s finale will pay $7,777 for the modified winner, with a nice $777 to start the mod feature.

As I mentioned previously, you can watch practice night for this event on XSANTV for free Wednesday night starting at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. The three nights of competition are PPV’s.  In looking at the XSAN schedule, I just noticed that the Day After The Duel-an event held at Puhrump Valley Speedway in Nevada is also a free event.  Go to www.XSAN.TV for more details.

The USMTS modifieds closed out their season with three night USMTS Winternationals at Ark-La-Tex Speedway in Vivian, Louisiana. 66 cars were on hand for the Thursday show, 71 raced on Friday, and 70 made it back to race on Saturday night.  Cade Dillard won $2,000 on Thursday, Rodney Sanders claimed $3,000 for his Friday win, and Kelly Shryock won $4,000 on Saturday.  Actually the Winternationals looked like Shryock’s best weekend of the year as he finished second on Thursday and third on Friday to go with his Saturday victory.

An anonymous source send me an email stating:

A driver who got two seconds in the last three Sprint Cup races and who won four races this year is not moving on to the Championship, while a driver who won no races is. Obviously he is talking about Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman.  This same person stated that sans all the point resets the person who garnered the most points this season was Gordon.

Unfortunately the rules allowed for that to happen. I say if wrecking another driver who has raced you clean all season is the only way to advance in the Chase, bring dirt late model driver Kelly Boen out of retirement. He could wreck other drivers with the best of them, and rarely damaged his car doing it.

Thanks for stopping by.