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Archive for June, 2016

Smoke In Sonoma, More Bloomquist Fireworks

June 28, 2016 1 comment

Like him or not, I think a win by Tony Stewart in his final NASCAR season is good for the sport. Maybe at my age I am too sentimental, but I love to see veterans show the way. His Sonoma victory all but ensures Stewart will be in The Chase. A Stewart championship might be more than a little far-fetched, but even a shot is a nice way to end a career.

Leave it to Scott Bloomquist to poke a stick in the eye of the World of Outlaws sanction. Bloomquist appealed his Dirtcar suspension, allowing him to race at the WoO Firecracker 100 event in Lernerville, Pennsylvania. And always up for some drama, he outdueled perennial WoO champion Josh Richards to take home the $30,000 first place prize.

With Bloomquist being a 50 something, I wonder if he ever gets tired during a long race like the Firecracker 100. Or perhaps that should be tire-d. An anonymous source with a demented sense of humor suggested that perhaps it would be somewhat humorous if the penalties against the other four drivers were abated, but the penalty against Bloomquist stuck. I’m just repeating what I heard.

Matt and I discussed the tire issue on the way back from Corning last night. Or was it on the way there? Or maybe it was both. Anyway, shouldn’t there be more transparency when situations like this arise? I am not suggesting that methods used in testing tire samples be made public, but perhaps the results should be more open.

With no WoO drivers getting busted, conspiracy theorists have a heyday when little more than penalties are announced. Do you think the WoO might see some benefit in saying that two of the biggest stars on the Lucas Oil circuit are cheaters? If 32 samples were taken, who were the other drivers that did not have a positive test for some illegal altering of tires? Can the results be explained in laymen’s terms? If a sample tests positive, should it be sent to another lab for testing to confirm results? Should the sample be returned to the driver to allow him to send it to an independent lab for testing?

I realize this is not Bloomquist’s first tire go round. Same with Owens. However, Ricky Thornton claimed to have bought the tires at the track and had to have the tire supplier show how to groove them because he had never done that with tires-Thornton is mainly a modified driver. So where at the track can a driver find a place to doctor tires?

I am not a tech person at all. I have never claimed to be. I am sure others would have better questions that should be asked AND answered about a situation like the Eldora 5 find themselves in. Me, as a fan I just want answers to be clear, to not suspicion sanctioning body motives.

Wow. Three out of four days with a blog post. Must be summer. And I haven’t even started hyping the Silver Dollar Nationals yet.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Is That All There Is? ACS June 25th

June 26, 2016 1 comment

3 series. 3 series-$5,000 to win show. 3 series-$5,000 to win show-22 cars. Say what?

So there is no misunderstanding, my complaint last night about the Super Late Model car count, and what is about to follow is not so much directed at I-80 promoter Joe Kosiski or the ACS Fair Board, rather at the MLRA, MARS, and especially the Corn Belt Clash Tour directors.

The track enters a contract with the tour to provide cars to put on a good show for their fans. The tours get a sanctioning fee-in this weekend’s case the MLRA got more than MARS and the CBC because it ran the programs. THE MLRA provided the most cars, but not really enough. MARS provided some cars and given how far away it is located, that was a surprise. However, the CBC shouldn’t have been paid a nickel. It did not provide a single car at I-80 Speedway, and just one car at Adams County Speedway. That is unacceptable.

So, what can be done to change this? I think Kosiski and the ACS promoter need to talk with driver-that were there and that didn’t come-and then meet with tour directors to come up with solutions to this problem. I am guessing that neither track made money this weekend, actually, I am guessing that both lost money, not a good thing.

I heard 250 miles worth of possible changes last night, none from a promoter, just someone pretty smart (obviously not me). I am thinking more of what would be good for I-80 Speedway, because I do not happen to be a great fan of ACS. Anyway, among the ideas discussed were a date change, a new dance partner for I-80 Speedway-a track other than ACS, and dropping the CBC. All were intriguing, but I am not a promoter.

There were 22 cars at ACS. Doing the math there were four cars that did not race at I-80 Speedway, meaning that 10 cars that did race at the Greenwood facility did not head to southwest Iowa to race. Why?

The weather? There was a threat of rain, forcing the track to put the Super Late Model A feature ahead of the five support class features-Hallelujah brothers and sisters. Perhaps drivers traveling from a long distance got an early start on going home. Or, maybe it is that the big track is hard on equipment ala the old Crawford County Speedway in Denison. Or, the track is well known for not being that racy. Friday’s runner-up Chris Simpson does not like ACS and went home Saturday. Maybe it was all of them.

Or perhaps it was that from the first Super Late Model hot lap the track was a dust bowl along the front stretch. In the bunched up start of heat races I could not see the dark colored cars going through turn 1. I have been through dusty at other tracks, but that was ridiculous.

And, this track farts around worse than any track I have been at-and there are tracks that are professional fart arounds. ACS is Hall of Fame fart around. I am NOT a fan of long intermissions, even when track prep occurs. In this case the powers that be decided to water the front stretch during intermission. To me that means the second the last car from the last heat before intermission is off the track, the water truck is on. Not at ACS. It was 10 minutes later when the water truck made its first pass along the front stretch.

Am I too picky? Well, if so, I am the exact opposite of the homer announcers who spin crappy car counts and grandstands that were maybe 1/3rd full into the Greatest Show on Dirt. I can remember full grandstands when the NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour rolled into the then Gail Hampel promoted track. I can remember support classes with full fields. Last night in five-yeah, count ‘em five-support classes, there were only 59 cars. And 21 of them were in the B-Mod division. And the support classes were racing for more money. Empty grandstands and half-filled pits would tell me something ain’t right.

Oh well, other than doing something with my son, I would not travel to the land of Congressman Steve King. Oh, and this was in no way a $20 show.

Random thoughts:

-at different times per the announcer, the winner’s share of the Liberty 50 purse was $5,000, or $50,000, or $500. Jesse Stovall led every lap and collected $5,000.

-Terry Phillips had a decent weekend, finishing 3rd on Friday night and 2nd at ACS.

-I really hate the long, hilly stretch of US 34 from I-29 to Corning. Even with passing lanes on the big hills it seems to take forever to get where you want to go-or in my case where I didn’t really want to go.

-Dave Eckrich finished a solid 4th. Two thumbs up for the NASCAR All-Star, WDRL vet.

-21 cars started the feature, only 15 finished.

-we got home before midnight, a first from ACS.

-the final caution flew with 9 laps to go and I walked down the grandstand steps to watch the rest of the race at ground level. The race restarted just after I started for the entryway and the cars passing close by nearly knocked me off my feet. Yes, ACS is a fast track, but if all I cared about was speed I would be a sprint car fan. I like side by side racing with lots of passing, and that is NOT ACS.

On Thursday we are going to the SLMR show at US 30, for me the exact opposite of going to a show at ACS. I like the track, and with the SLMR engine rules there will be plenty of action. If you have never been to the just west of Columbus track, do yourself a favor and go on Thursday. And if you have been to an SLMR show there, well, I don’t have to tell you to go, you’ll be there.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. It is a lot easier to do a blog post when I go to races.

 

 

 

Categories: June 2016

Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be B-Mod Drivers

June 25, 2016 Leave a comment

“They’ll crash and they’ll spin,

Then do it agin and agin and agin.”

 

Lyrics from the hill country of Nemaha County, music by Waylon and Willie.

 

Yeah, same song, 22nd verse. What other division can you almost count on a lapped car spinning in front of the leader? Of B features taking longer than A features in other divisions? Of randomness that before B-Mods was generated only by computers.

There is simply too much disparity in this class. Drivers drop down from A-Mods race against drivers who have never driven before. Drivers with a healthy equipment budget running with drivers who really cannot afford to race. Drivers with a ton of ability lapping drivers who can’t even spell the word. Put them on the track together and you have a time wasting mess.

But promoters love B-Mods. They seem to breed faster than mosquitoes in standing water on a hot summer day. And that means more bucks at the back gate.

Our friend Race Guru told Matt last night that starting a “special” with B-Mods set the tone for the whole evening. I agree.  B-Mods at a “special” are an oxymoron, for sure there are plenty of morons. And for auditors, here is what oxymoron means: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

When the first Alphabet Soup Race was held over a decade ago there were no B-Mods or Sport Compacts. There were not four support classes running-basically a weekly show with 28 super late models. That first race had nearly 50 super late models and I can remember trying to convince Dirt Late Model magazine to do a story on it as the best one day racing show in the country. It was a Memorial Day race, not something moved to the end of June at the “request” of a billionaire. It was special.

No more. Last night was not even a shadow of past A-B-C races. Even though a “Last Chance” race was run, I think every car still capable of racing at the end of the night started the feature. It wasn’t a 50 lap race as in the days of yore, and it didn’t pay $5,000 to the winner. It was a 30 lap race paying just $3,000.

Again, just 28 cars on hand. No Rodney Sanders, no Ryan Gustin, no Chris Simpson. And the support of Omaha drives was non-existent. Two thumbs down to several Omaha families of no-shows who could have added as many as 7 cars to the count.

Perhaps if the first two finishers had not been Jesse Stovall and Chad Simpson I would have been less harsh. I am not a Stovall fan, and if Simpson never turned up to race at a show I attend, well, I would NOT be disappointed. For me, the two things I will remember about this race was Kyle Berck starting 22nd and moving all the way to 8th, and Terry Phillips showing his displeasure with Simpson’s race tactics. Other than that it was just another race-and I have been to plenty of those.

Random thoughts:

-this was the first time Matt and I visited I-80 Speedway in 2016, and I definitely give two thumbs up to Joe Kosiski on the new concrete walkway leading up the hill to the grandstands.

-the track’s pork tenderloin sandwich remains the best race track sandwich in the U.S. If someone disagrees, let me know where to visit for something better. And their popcorn is superior by far to the name brand of a nearby track that always seems cold, stale, and tasteless. Actually, though the baseball stadiums may offer more items, for price and quality I would say that I-80 Speedway concessions are better than those at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, and at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha-both charge far too much for run of the mill concessions. And Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln is no better than the two ball parks.

-even with just 11 cars on hand, the Pro-Am Stock Cars put on a good show. This division may not be like it was back in the days of Sunset Speedway, but you can count on side by side racing and plenty of action when they take to the track. And mostly look like real cars too.

-people who show up for only the last two races of the evening do not get full credit in the Super Fan 2016 contest. Matt and I do. When I got home I watched the ASCS 360 Sprints from Skagit Speedway in Washington, so I am counting that on my resume too.

-best thing of the night? For me it was a photo my daughter in-law Steph emailed to Matt. Steph and Henry went to a Storm Chasers game in Omaha with friends. They sat right behind the Omaha dugout. Henry had his glove along, and for some reason caught the eye of one of the players who then tossed Henry a baseball-his fifth from ball parks. Steph was smiling in the photo, but the joy on Henry’s face was priceless.

Next up for the Meyer family? Maybe Adams County Speedway in Corning tonight. If not, US 30 Speedway next Thursday for the SLMR race. And we are getting closer and closer to Silver Dollar Nationals VI.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Free The Eldora 5? Probably Not.

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Five Disqualified Following the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway for Illegal Tire Samples!

CONCORD, N.C. – June 20, 2016 – DIRTcar Racing officials have disqualified five competitors following failed post-race inspections at the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway.

Tire samples collected from the #B5 driven by Brandon Sheppard, #22 driven by Gregg Satterlee, #20 driven by Jimmy Owens, #33X driven by Ricky Thornton and #0 driven by Scott Bloomquist and tested by an independent laboratory did not meet established benchmarks in a chemical analysis.

A total of 32 samples were taken throughout the weekend, June 9, 10 and 11, from participants.

All five competitors were found to be in violation of rule 15.11-G and were fined in accordance with rule 11.1.

Rule 15.11-G.) Chemical alterations, vulcanizing, tire softening, defacing and/or altering the face of the tire lettering and/or tire stamping will not be permitted. Chemicals or tire softening is not permitted at any time. Tires may be inspected at any time. Any violation with any tire presented for competition may result in immediate disqualification from the events and/or other penalties including but not limited to; loss of money, fine, loss of points and/or suspension.

All five have been disqualified from the event, including the loss of all purse money and championship points earned during the event, fined $1,000 and penalized 1,000 DIRTcar Late Model points for the 2016 season. The total penalty, including loss of money, fine and the cost of the tire analysis was $19,630 for Sheppard, $4,655 for Satterlee, $7,630 for Owens, $10,930 for Thornton and $6,105 for Bloomquist.

Each has been placed under a three-month suspension from all DIRTcar sanctioned events, which includes World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series competition, beginning June 11, 2016 and concluding Sept. 11, 2016 and will be under probation following the conclusion of the suspension for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Some thoughts on the press release above:

-it ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught.

-don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

-don’t roll the dice if you can’t pay the price.

Well, if you get caught it is cheating. It is an embarrassment to the driver, to his fans, and to his sponsor. Bloomquist and Owens are major league late model drivers and that is big news. Sheppard is an up and comer with a few big wins on his resume. Satterlee is like a baseball utility man and Thornton is a good modified pilot and a wannabe late model racer. Check out the fines below, certainly no small sum for any of them. But the suspension isn’t just doing the time, it is loss of a substantial amount of income for the Eldora 5, certainly for Bloomquist.

None of these drivers can run the UMP Summernationals, perhaps no big deal to any of them. However, there is no Firecracker 100 in Lernerville, Pennsylvania for any of them this weekend. No Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois or USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin in August. And most important, there will be no World 100 at Eldora either.

Bloomquist has won dirt late model’s most prestigious event four times and finished in the top five 18 times. Owens has two World 100 wins and six top five finishes. For them to be absent when the best of the best roll into Rossburg, Ohio in September is almost unthinkable. But they won’t be there, and that is not good for the sport.

Race fans are so accepting of cheating. Bloomquist and Owens and Sheppard will continue running the Lucas Oil circuit with no penalty. I suspect their souvenir trailers will still do a brisk business too. And knowing that these three cheated won’t keep me out of my already reserved seat at the Silver Dollar Nationals. Yeah, the stands will be packed, just like at all the other Lucas Oil shows.

Our heroes have an amazing talent to make a car go very, very fast around a dirt oval. But they are humans just like you and me. Yes, they have feet of clay, they are far from perfect. Obviously this is all about money, money, money-for the love of money people will lie, they will cheat-and thanks to the O’Jays for those words. I know, I know, it is the same in all pro sports.

I am not 100% sure what this rant has been about. Mainly, I am disappointed in Bloomquist and Owens. They are good enough to win without resorting to doctoring tires.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Did no WoO drivers tire cheat, or did the Dirtcar sanctioning body just not want to find them cheating? Conspiracy? Probably not. Or maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: June 2016

Father’s Day

June 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Thanks to Matt and Amanda for an early Father’s Day present. Yesterday they gave me a year’s subscription to Lucas Oil Racing TV. And last night I watched the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race Clash at the Mag from Mississippi. I love seeing new tracks for the first time, especially ones I know I am not likely to visit. Plus the racing was good on a track they call Black Ice. Three different leaders in 60 laps, plenty of passing, and plenty of side by side racing-all the things I like. Darrell Lanigan won the race which was a bummer, but it was his first series win in 2016 so I shouldn’t complain much.

From truck and tractor pulls to off road racing to ASCS sprints to late models and much, much more I can watch racing whenever I want, watching archives. All in all a very nice gift.

I also briefly tuned into Speed Shift TV for the last night of their West Coast Modified Madness-7 races in 8 nights, and will log on tonight to watch the NSL 410 Sprint Cars at Mason City, Iowa. Even though I have only actually been at the track once this year I am still seeing plenty of racing, and enjoying it too. And am way ahead in a certain contest with Matt and an unnamed party for Super Fan 2016.

Hopefully, the weather will be nice on Friday and Saturday so Matt and I can go to I-80 Speedway and Adams County Speedway for MLRA Late Models. Temperatures in the 80’s would be nice. I have had more than enough of the upper 90’s.

No Sprint Cup race today, but the XFINITY Series was at Iowa Speedway in Newton. That track is on my bucket list and the racing is always good on the ¾ mile oval. I still would like to see NASCAR host a Sprint Cup show there, but that is as likely as the Alphabet Soup Race not having B-Mods or Compacts as support classes. How about hosting the annual All Star race there? I am sure Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith would be agreeable.

7 Fathers Days ago I lost my Dad. I think of him often, and miss him very much. Sometimes you read about “The Four People You Would Like to Meet in Heaven,” or whatever. My Dad is the one person, and my grandpuppies Sophie and Kahlua (who were more human than many people I know) would be there too. And my grandfather, Louis Meyer. Wow. Very sentimental of me, but very true.

With no race today, I did a video interview. Not for this blog, for a job opportunity. That was a totally different experience and fortunately my IT person Amanda was on hand to help me set up everything. Watching myself and hearing me speak was very strange. Yeah, I know, watching me and listening to me is always very strange. But I am glad you come back for more.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Cottage Grove Speedway-Wow

June 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Surprised?  Yeah, me too. However, I have to once again sing the praises of Cottage Grove Speedway. When I logged on Speed Shift TV there was a rain delay. It had been raining on and off all day in Oregon. Most tracks-and I am thinking in Nebraska too-would have cancelled the special show. Not Cottage Grove Speedway.

The sun came out, track prep crews started work, and before long all of the Modifieds were on the oval packing. The show started about 45 minutes late, but that is much better than no show at all.

Yes, that is praiseworthy, but there is more. There was a support class scheduled to run last night, but because of the rain delay and more Modifieds on hand than were expected, the track removed the support class from the program. I am not lying, the program ended up as Modifieds only.

Two thumbs up, a fist bump, and a high five to the track for their efforts to get the program in and for dropping the support class to do so. 47 Modifieds were divided into 6 groups and each group ran two heats, the second one inverted ala the Silver Dollar National format. So, in addition to 12 heats of 8 laps, there were 2-B Features running 15 laps each, and a 35 lap A-Feature that paid $1,000 to win. My tired old butt says “perfect car count and just the right number of races.”

With all the moisture, the track was fast, but it was racy too-I am a big fan of three wide racing for the lead and lots of action throughout the field. And I am a bigger fan of keeping the program moving, which officials did last night like they did Tuesday. Even though the racing did not start until after 9:00 p.m. our time, I have no complaints at all. In a more perfect world, about 1,000 more dirt tracks would operate just like this one.

Tonight the Wild West show travels to Willamette Speedway near Lebanon, Oregon. Photos show a nice looking facility, and if they do even half as good as Cottage Creek Speedway it will be a good show.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. I doubt I will actually blog three days in a row, so let me wish TROTD an early birthday. On June 16, 2008 I posted my first blog. 1,957 posts later I still enjoy hitting the publish button.

 

 

Speed Shift At Cottage Grove = Good Deal

June 14, 2016 Leave a comment

No, I do not usually write much after a Penske driver wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. If Brad Keselowski is my least favorite Sprint Cup driver, then Joey Logano has to come in at #1.a. So, both have now made The Chase. Too bad. And that is all I have to say about Sprint Cup this week.

I have been watching Speed Shift TV and the Wild West Modified Speedweek the last three nights. It is always interesting to visit tracks you have never been to before, and tracks in northern California, Oregon, and Washington certainly fit that description for me.

Last night and tonight the tour is at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon, a 1/4th mile D-shaped track. General Manager Heather Boyce has become my favorite promoter-well, second to Toby Kruse. Last night’s bill of fare was Modifieds, all Modifieds, and nothing but Modifieds. 40 of IMCA’s most famous class signed in. They ran 5 heats, inverted the fields and ran another 5 heats with the top 2 of each group advancing to the A feature. There were 2 B features and a last chance race before the A Main. That was the program. NO, B Mods by whatever name. No Sport Compacts either. It was great.

So, nothing but the feature class, and right away I am liking this place. I started liking it even more when there was no messing around. As one heat pulled off the track finished, another was coming on the track for a parade lap. I figured there would be a short break after the first 5 heats, but there wasn’t. Heat 6 was on the track as Heat 5 pulled off. OK, 2 thumbs up for this track.

But that isn’t all. $10 got you into the grandstands for both last night and tonight’s racing. No, I do not mean $10 each night, though that would not have been unreasonable. $10 bought you a seat for each night. Amazing.

Now read those last three paragraphs again and tell me how many tracks you have been to in the last 10 years do all of the things Cottage Grove Speedway did. Right-none of them. They all seem to insist on running B Mods in special events.

How many tracks do some of the things?  OK, correct again, very few. Marshalltown keeps the program moving, but few others can claim to run heats in that fashion.

And $5 a night for admission to a special event? Unheard of. Joe Kosiski at I-80 Speedway is selling tickets to the June 24th Alphabet Soup race for $18 for 2, or $12 for a single ticket. That is borderline crazy (but I do like it), so Cottage Grove’s price is great for the fans. And, the racing there falls into the “not bad at all” category.

I am going to watch again tonight, but the one thing bad about this track is it is in the Pacific Time Zone. The races started at 6:30 p.m. Oregon time, which is 8:30 p.m. Nebraska time, and perilously close to my bed time.

Thanks for stopping by.