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Pink Floyd, Mitch Ryder, Goldilocks, Average, Mean, Happy Medium

August 29, 2016 1 comment

This weekend was a busy one for the Meyer family members who actually are race fans. On Saturday, Matt and I made our annual trek (I define trek as a difficult journey) to Park Jefferson, and last night we drove west from Fremont to US 30 Speedway in Columbus. Other than the fact that I-29 through Sioux City seems to have been torn up for the last 10 years, the difficult part of the trip to Jefferson, South Dakota is more mental than physical. I expect little when I go there, and normally that is still too much.

 

A quick summary of the two nights would be one track over-watered and the other under-watered. Oh, and PJ was somewhat of a surprise, while US 30 was somewhat of a disappointment.

 

I am not writing too much tonight. If I did, you might not be able to tell what dark sarcasm, thank you Pink Floyd, was and what was a thirst for knowledge (a good pun). I am wondering if not too skinny, not too fat, not too cold, not too hot, mean, mode, average, ordinary, standard, norm, and a happy medium might not be better than heavy (as in a heavy track) or dry (as in a dusty track). I am wondering because it seems like too wet or too dry does not promote good racing for the drivers, nor good viewing for the fans, but it seems like most Nebraska tracks are hitting one or the other this year.

 

I’ll be honest, I don’t go to tracks to watch support classes. That is why I quit weekly shows and why I complain loudly about B-mods. So, when the best race of the night is a support class race I feel like I have been cheated out of my hard-earned money. At PJ it was the sprint car feature, and at US 30 it was the hobby stock feature. I wanted to see USMTS mods at PJ and SLMR late models at US 30 put on great shows, and they did not.

 

I don’t claim to know much about track prep, but if you water the hell out of the track like PJ apparently did it is going to be heavy, and if you don’t put enough water on the track ala US 30, it is going to be dusty. Yeah, Sunday was hot, and the show started at 5:00 p.m. Shouldn’t those things mean putting down more water? Wouldn’t time spent earlier in the day have meant avoiding an hour trying to fix the problem-and not really fixing it either? I have always praised this throwback track, but both times I have been there this year it was way too dusty.

 

IS THERE SIMPLY NO WAY TO GET A MIDWEST DIRT TRACK SURFACE JUST RIGHT?????

 

Perhaps if PJ had watered less and started the show at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. the track would have dried nicely for the USMTS feature. Perhaps if US 30 had started at 6:00 p.m. and watered more a little earlier in the afternoon, the track wouldn’t have dried out so much. Oh well.

 

Matt wondered if I was going to anymore races this year. I have only been to the tracks 13 nights this year, though I have watched at least twice that many nights on the various websites I subscribe to. Before last night I had thought of one more night at US 30 Speedway. Now I don’t know. I-80’s Cornhusker Classic for one night is a possibility. I would love to go to Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR race in October, but that is probably out of the question. One night, no nights? Maybe it is better than 5-6 more.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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How I Have Been Spending My Summer

August 21, 2016 4 comments

Below is a link to this year’s Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois. If you can watch this video and not want to go to FALS for the 2017 Prairie Dirt Classic, you are either an auditor or not much of a Late Model fan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3McMF2E1ag

During last night’s lengthy rain delay at Bristol I turned to my trusty remote to find me something entertaining. I stopped pushing buttons in HBO land where the movie “Mad Max, Fury Road” was showing. It took me 10 minutes watching before I realized this wasn’t filmed on the streets of Knoxville during the Sprint Car Nationals. Hey, look at the “warriors” in the movie and look at the average Sprint Car fan. The resemblance is uncanny.

When the last rain delay at Bristol came, I got online to watch the Topless 100 from Batesville Speedway in Arkansas. The rain played havoc there too.  With 6” already fallen and more to come the event was cancelled.

I suppose next weekend will be totally dry in the Midwest, when I wouldn’t mind seeing rain at all on Saturday. USMTS Modifieds, OK. 360 Sprints-a reluctant I suppose so. Sport Mods and Sport Compacts-can any track in the area run a special without at least of these divisions? Apparently not. Yeah, I am talking about Park Jefferson on Saturday. For some reason my son continues to want to visit PJ, ACS, and JMS while I wouldn’t mind simply saying “adios amigo” to all of them. But I like my son and will tag along anyway.

On Sunday the SLMR Late Models will visit US 30 Speedway for the second time this season. I do like that the races will start at 5:00 p.m. that night. I also like that Hobby Stocks will be part of the program. I don’t think that adding IMCA Northern Sport Mods makes the program better, but they will be there anyway. I still like the track though and think the Melcher’s are doing a great job promoting.

What did you do on your summer vacation? The proverbial question asked of returning students everywhere. Me? I didn’t really have much of a vacation. I had about three days in between when my temp job ended and my new permanent full-time position started. Later I did have two days off to go to Fairbury, Illinois for the Prairie Dirt Classic, and that was the simply outstanding. But, I have experienced a rather eventful summer.

Back in mid-July I had what I thought was a routine doctor’s appointment, one I have to schedule occasionally to have my prescriptions refilled. I try to put these off as long as possible, because I do not like getting on the scales, and I hate having blood drawn for a test. Rarely does the first stick work on me, and three times before getting blood isn’t uncommon. But, I was out of refills, so in I went.

Four days later I got a call from the doctor. My PSA level was high and I needed to see an urologist ASAP. Thus began my summer of high anxiety and hurry up and wait. Even with my doctor’s help it took me several days to get an appointment with the urologist. There I had blood taken-great fun, not-and an ultrasound. Yeah, even less fun than the blood draw. A week later the results came back from the lab and showed that I had a better than 50-50 chance of having prostate cancer.

This was on a Wednesday, and the next day Matt and I were leaving for Illinois. Not a good start, but fortunately the trip turned out wonderful. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy on Friday, which was out as far as I was concerned, so I did not have a biopsy until 10 days later.

As Lynyrd Skynyrd sings “let me tell you son, it ain’t no fun.” That was the biopsy. Deep breathing technique was the order of the day. Then came another week long wait. Logically I knew the results were going to be positive, emotionally I was hoping one more time to dodge a bullet. I would say that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Yeah, thanks Tom Petty for that line.

But it is true. It was not a good week for me or my family. And the results came back that four of the samples taken were positive for cancer. After the long waiting, the next two days were hurry up. I had a CT scan on Thursday and a bone scan on Friday. Nothing like a barium cocktail to start the morning on Thursday and an injection of radioactive material to begin Friday. However, both tests were clear, which should mean that the cancer has not spread from the prostrate.

I am very pleased with Dr. Khan, my urologist. He requested the bone scan be read immediately at the conclusion of the test and that the results be emailed to him so he could give them to me Friday afternoon. Yeah, Friday afternoon, a time most doctors spend out of the office.

There was some disturbing news from these tests, but I really don’t want to go into that right now. I have to deal with one problem at a time, and cancer is the problem I am dealing with right now. Again, Dr. Khan felt the cancer has not spread outside my prostate and we discussed treatment options.

I can tell you for a fact that I feared surgery because of risk factors. Age, weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure are not a welcome combination for a surgeon or anesthesiologist. I can’t do anything about age, but the doctor (and Jane) were quite forceful in stating I must do something about the others. Anyway, my treatment started on Friday. First up was hormonal treatment to reduce the size of my prostate gland. Two shots in the stomach made my day. Well, it was a start and I want to get better and will deal with any discomfort.

I go back to see the doctor again in a month. If the size of the prostate has been reduced enough, the plan is for a cryotherapy procedure. For those of you who can remember the Cornhusker Classic at Sunset Speedway and freezing your ass off, this procedure is a little bit like that. A solution of some kind at -100 C will be injected into my prostate, freezing and destroying the cancer cells-and the prostate with it. It is an outpatient procedure, which surprised me, and I will only be off work a few days.

I have spent a lot of time online this past five weeks learning about prostate cancer. It is the most common cancer among males-over 200,000 men are diagnosed with this cancer each year, and there are over 2,000,000 survivors of this malaise living in the U.S. If caught soon enough, it is very survivable. And for me, it does appear it was caught soon enough.

So, I will do what it takes to get rid of the cancer and go on with my life. A life that has to be changed in many ways. Red meat is going to appear less and less on my daily menu. Same with white bread. McDonald’s is going to be a rare treat, not a regular stop. Pork and chicken will replace red meat. I need to start exercising again. I need to get my weight down, way down, and honestly the choices I have to make aren’t terrible ones, I just haven’t made them. Now I will.

I have no desire to leave my family. Any of them. And most especially there is a soon to be 5 year old living in northwest Fremont that I want to watch grow up to become what I know will be a fine young man. So, I am making the decision to live and stop killing myself.

I suppose from time to time I will write about this again. Most likely when the cryotherapy is done. The past five weeks have been tough ones, an emotional rollercoaster-and I hate and am afraid of rollercoasters. So, I got this off my chest. Now I can go watch the postponed Bristol night race being run on a Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Wait Until Next Year-Part IV, Or Is It V, VI, VII, Or More

August 14, 2016 1 comment

Driving west on I-80 toward York last night, my race travel companion was asked why he continues to want to go to Junction Motor Speedway for the King of the Hill race every August. He stated “well, sooner or later they are going to get it right.” Unfortunately, to quote Chicago Cubs fans, we’ll have to “wait until next year.”

I was very surprised when MLRA/MARS late models came out to hot lap. There were gray areas around the track-areas I thought needed more water. Once the green flag flew, so did the dust. I was very glad we were sitting in the middle of the grandstands and not at the south end where the dust was thick. Actually the dust must have been thick on Friday as well as the concourse was covered-dust shows rather well on a checkered flag paint job-as were the grandstand seats.

Somehow the straights were dusty and the corners were greasy. Cars in the first set of hot laps were sent out to back the track with cars from the second set. After the second set of hot laps were done, the first set of cars came back on the track for more hot laps. And after the final set of hot laps for all the divisions, the water truck showed up to douse the back straight. Not the front straight, just the back straight.

Then track packers were doing a circle on the back stretch trying to pack the newly added water. All in all, this caused a 30 minute late start to the program. Wouldn’t it have been better to get the track watered properly before hot laps? Maybe my ignorance is showing.

As far as late model heats, well Ryan Gustin managed to take himself out of a very good feature starting spot, nearly hitting the turn one wall in his heat. Bill Leighton Jr. was leading his heat until a caution flew. On the restart, Randy Timms driving over his head, or maybe with it inserted somewhere managed to run into Leighton coming out of turn two, knocking him into the back stretch wall and out of the evening’s festivities. The front row qualifiers both came out of the final heat, with Austin Siebert starting in the back and racing to second and Terry Phillips starting fourth and winning the heat.

There was nothing outrageous in the support class heats-well, unless you call a five car heat outrageous. Following the heats came what has always irritated me about JMS-well, one of the things. A long intermission. In this case, 30 minutes. Yes, track prep was going on during the intermission. That took about 15 minutes-what the intermission should have.

Next up was the B-Mod A feature. This will surprise anyone who knows me, but it was actually the best race of the night. It ended up with a 2 lap two between brothers Austin and Justin Svoboda-sons of former late model and current modified driver Tom Svoboda-with younger brother Justin eking out the win.

One thumb up to whoever decided to run the late model feature ahead of the modified and crate late model features. Two thumbs down to whoever insists on out of the car driver introductions. As far as I am concerned, they better be racing for $50,000 before drivers get out of their cars for pre-race introductions. $5,000 to win? Nope.

Terry Phillips started second and jumped to an early lead. I thought that cautions and lapped traffic might reel in the Springfield, Missouri veteran, but that was not the case. First Jesse Stovall, and later Tad Pospisil tried, but the 75 car was never headed. On Friday night Phillips led all 30 laps of the feature, and on Saturday he led all 40 laps.

Now I happen to like the grizzled late model pilot, and he is certainly one of the best drivers in the Midwest. But, he did have an assist from the track. With 15 laps to go, I told Matt they might as well throw the checkered then because nothing was going to change. And nothing important did change.

Again, with the late model feature moved to second on the feature schedule, we were able to leave the track around 10:15 a.m. Matt commented that the trip from York was certainly a lot easier than the trip home from Fairbury, Illinois. True, but the track and the racing at Fairbury American Legion Speedway were far better.

So, two of my Saturday night not-favorite tracks out of the way for this season (I like Corning even less), and it looks like one more Saturday night non-favorite to go yet.

Matt is nothing if not a creature of the tech age. While the races were on at JMS, he was texting to both Tony Anville-at the Knoxville Nationals (the sprint car carnival) and Joe Kosiski in Florence, Kentucky for the North-South 100. You can find the results of those races elsewhere, but Donny Schatz did not win in Iowa, and Scott Bloomquist lost in the Bluegrass State.

Oh, speaking of Schatz, I saw someone at JMS wearing a Schatz t-shirt. The North Dakota driver will be at JMS on Tuesday for a WoO show, so a Schatz t-shirt at this track was no great surprise. However, as he passed I noticed the back of the t-shirt showed Schatz’s late model, not his sprint car. Interesting. Or maybe not.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Several thoughts just came to mind. First, no CBC aka Corn Belt Clash or to me Can’t Bring Cars. That was on purpose-only MARS and MLRA sanctioned the event. If the CBC does not bring cars to next year’s specials, I think I-80 Speedway needs to do that for their late model events. Second, MLRA and MARS are the regional tour versions of the Lucas Oil and WoO late models. If the regional tours car work together for the good of the series and for racing fans, how about the national series trying to do the same. A $53,000 to win Silver Dollar Nationals coming at the end of a Lucas Oil Midwest swing and the finish of the first half of the WoO Wild West Tour would seem like a good event for a national tour truce.

 

 

Knoxville Karts, NASCAR Burn-Outs, And Lucas Oil Series Tires

August 11, 2016 1 comment

My friend Tony Anville had his moment in the sun-actually a very hot Iowa sun-at Slideways Karting in Knoxville today. Anville raced against Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart in a fundraiser for the Jeff Gordon Foundation. He managed a 4th place finish-yes, both Gordon and Stewart beat him as well as one normal type human.

Anville lined up beside Stewart in his heat and, was sure that all the fans with cameras yelling “Tony, Tony,” were yelling at him. Yeah, sure they were.

Anyway, it was for a good cause and a lot of fun, so two thumbs up for the auditor from Auburn.

NASCAR is considering changes in winning driver’s post-race celebration. I say “about time.” Unlike all the rednecks out there I am not a big fan of burning tires off the car, breaking transmissions, and bending sheet metal all because a driver won the WhoReallyCares 500. If you win the Daytona 500 I will certainly cut some slack. That is an iconic win-same for the Southern 500 at Darlington, and the World 600 at Charlotte. A few other tracks would be burn-out iffy, but most are “come on, this is New Hampshire (or Pocono, or Dover). You won, great, now go to Victory Lane.

 

Depending on who wins the race-I switch channels immediately after the checkered if it is Keselowski, Logano, or Hamlin-I don’t watch all of the burn-out celebrations. Does it really take such theatrics to put people in the stands? Do FOX and NBC need the burn-outs to get people to watch? Crazy. Richard Petty won 200 races in NASCAR’s top division and never felt the need to celebrate with a burn-out. I am sure he was just as happy each time he won as Hamlin was at Watkins Glen last Sunday.

 

Call me a relic, call me what you will. Say I’m old fashioned, say I’m over the hill. That is a direct quote from Bob Seeger, and it certainly could be about me. To paraphrase him, “today’s racing ain’t got the same thrill.” Forget the burn-outs. And this has nothing to do with me dropping the drive shaft in 1968 in my ’64 Chevy Impala trying to “burn rubber.”

 

I am OK with Carl Edwards doing a back flip off his car. I am OK with Kyle Busch bowing to the crowd. Polish victory laps, two thumbs up. Grabbing the checkered flag from the flag man-of course. Any driver who wins can do any or all of those stunts. Burn-outs, nope.

 

And I am anti-dog pile as a celebration too. Pouring champagne over other players and sports writers, no problem. That usually happens after a long regular season and a seemingly endless post-season, not after a couple of hours on a track most of us wish wasn’t on the circuit.

 

Jim Hitzemann sent me the following, a press release from the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series:

 

 

“WAYCROSS, GA (August 5, 2016) – Since 2009, the LOLMDS protocol for policing race tires has been to send samples to a certified lab for a comprehensive report on each tested tire. To-date in 2016, the series has spent a tremendous amount of money to police tires, and vows to continue to provide fair and equitable opportunities for race teams to compete in any LOLMDS event.

After consulting with representatives of Hoosier Racing Tire, Florence Speedway, several drivers, and teams; the series will experiment with a new concept at the upcoming Sunoco Race Fuels North/South 100 – Presented by Lucas Oil.

The series will provide a new LM40 right rear tire, at no cost, to each team who transfers into the 100-lap North/South on Saturday night. Race teams will bring their wheel to a designated impound area where they will choose from fifty LM40 tires that are the same date code and 95″ chalk mark. Those tires will have to be mounted – in the presence of an LOLMDS official, inflated – using the nitrogen provided, and then remain stored at the LOLMDS trailer, until the start of the North/South 100 main event.

 

The series will sound a 10-minute call at the start of the 20-lap, Modified feature – held prior to the North/South 100 main event. At the conclusion of the Modified feature, the starting grid will roll to the infield where they will then receive their right rear wheel/tire from impound. Each team will have an opportunity to make air pressure adjustments, however, no cutting, siping, or buffing will be permitted. Following a brief intermission for track prep, the grid will roll to the front stretch for driver introductions.

Drivers will only be permitted to change their right rear tire in the event of a flat. In that event, the series will provide a mounted LM40 that is not cut, siped, or buffed.

“We’re very excited to try this concept, the response has been tremendous,” said Series Director, Rick Schwallie.

The tire rule for Thursday’s Ralph Latham Memorial, Friday’s preliminary events, and Saturday’s B-Mains will remain the same – with standard testing policies in place. The left rear and front tires will also be subject to lab testing during Saturday night’s 100-lap main event.

 

Tire Rule for Florence Speedway – August 11th-13th:
Left Rear/Fronts – Hoosier Rib 1350
Right Rear – Hoosier 03, LM40 (LOLMDS will supply all right rear LM40 tires for the North/South 100 main event, with this exception, right rear 03 tires are allowed at all other times.)”

 

I like this idea. A lot. I am not sure how a sanction could make that work at 100% of its events, but perhaps someone smarter than me has an idea. Never say never when it comes to cheating, but it would certainly seem to be almost impossible for a driver to in any way doctor the all-important right rear tire with such rules.

 

I would love to see how this plays out-in person I mean. Florence Speedway is definitely a track I want to visit in the future.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Preaching To The Choir-OK, I Am No Choir Boy, But This I Do Believe

August 10, 2016 Leave a comment

I got an email telling me about Michael Rigsby’s Keys to a Quick Show.  They are:

-Start hot laps EARLY.

-Start racing at 7:00 p.m.

-3 classes at most.

-Total show time of 3.5 hours.

 

What do I have to say about that?  Well, check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLjXt7KxD4c

 

I have never understood if it takes x hours on race day for track prep-including track packing, y minutes for hot laps, and z minutes for opening ceremonies why a promoter cannot start with 7:00 p.m. and subtract z, y, and z and come up with a time to finish track prep. For some reason unknown to mankind though, it can’t be done. Apparently it is rocket science and brain surgery combined.

Or, since tracks seem to manage to get things going about 30 minutes late, why not start track prep, etc. 30 minutes earlier?

OK, I just solved how the first two items on Michael’s list can be accomplished.

Three classes racing? Oh my goodness, how the back gate will suffer. Not. I seem to recall that the legendary Sunset Speedway (sorry, I just automatically type legendary talking about the place), had but 3 classes in its last few years of operation, and had well over 100 cars filling inside and outside pits. The Pro-Am stock cars, Grand Nationals, and Late Models produced some of the best racing anywhere.

I say a beginner’s class-by that I mean relatively inexpensive, everything in racing being expensive. A class that is a step-up from beginners but several steps down from the feature class. And of course the feature class. If racer’s want to race, wouldn’t they find a home in one of the classes? I believe they would. And it would do away with 5 car heats and 9 car feature races. To win would mean something, really mean something.

And by all means, finish the program in 3.5 hours. Hard core stupid’s like me put up with anything to watch racing, but the casual fan does not. I can’t tell you how I hate to see these fans walking out the front gate at 10:00 p.m. not having seen the feature class A-Main because the show is running long. Keep the show moving. That means less than a plethora of parade laps that add a minute a lap to show-think that is picky? One of the reasons the Silver Dollar Nationals finished late (in addition to the farce USMTS dash) was how many caution flag and parade laps were run. 30 such laps mean a show that is a half-hour longer than it needs to be.

And yeah, I know the flag man and other officials need to take a pee, so yeah, have an intermission. Just not 30-45 minutes long. And if the track needs work during intermission, have the equipment manned and ready to go at the pit gate, AND have a plan of attack. And get the work done quickly.

An intermission of 15-20 minutes does not mean a decrease in beer sales. I have watched more than enough races in my lifetime to know that a beer drinker is going to get his beer whether it is during intermission or when there are cars on the track.

Here is an idea that I wish some promoter had the guts to do. Guarantee that the feature for the feature class will be on the track at 9:30 p.m. Even if it means changes to the schedule. GUARANTEE it. If it is not, hand out free passes to people as they walk out the gate-free passes to the next week’s show. It is good public relations, plus it likely will get people to the following show, people that might have been mad otherwise.

Believe me, I wish I was on the road to Florence, Kentucky today. The Lucas Oil late models are at Florence Speedway for three big nights this weekend. Tomorrow is the $30,000 to win make-up Ralph Latham, a 75 lap event. Friday is night one of the North-South 100, with a qualifying format like that of the Silver Dollar Nationals. And of course Saturday night will be the $50,000 to win North-South 100. Great racing, plus I really would like to visit the Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame at the track.

More about this race tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryan Clauson

August 8, 2016 3 comments

I am truly saddened by the death of Bryon Clauson. His was not the first fatal crash I saw-actually the first fatal crash I saw happened at the west end of the old Waterloo viaduct when I was 8-but I hope it will be the last. I realize auto racing is inherently dangerous and that something bad can happen on the track, even in the pits, at any time. Still when you see it happen the hurt seems more real. I watched the pre-race introductions and saw Clauson’s wave to the crowd before climbing into his car. I watched as the green flag flew and he immediately moved to the front. I saw his wild flip, and the horrid end of the crash when his car was hit by another. And knew it was bad, very bad.

 

I figured that two of my readers who are big open wheel racing fans would disagree with me on what I said in Sunday’s blog, but to me, their arguments proved my point. Ivan Tracy commented on the low car count, saying there was a POWRi sanctioned race in Pevely, Missouri on Saturday. 24 cars raced there, including drivers from Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri-just like at Belleville. Sanctioning bodies schedule against each other all the time. Well, all the time except for against iconic races-in late models that would be the Dream, the World 100, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, and in sprint cars that would be the Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals. Not only do tracks or sanctioning bodies not schedule against the Knoxville Sprint Nationals, many actually close during that week.

 

That a sanctioning body would schedule against what is supposed to be the B-I-G Midget race of the year says to me that many drivers do not want to race at Belleville, and that others can’t afford too. It ought to send a message to promoters that something ain’t right. Randy Palmer suggested that drivers could not afford the $50,000 engine it takes to have major speed at Belleville. I don’t disagree at all. These drivers race on 1/5, 1/4, 3/8 mile tracks instead of a big 1/2 mile track like Belleville. They are doing what they can afford-well, probably not, but they aren’t spending like fools just for a chance to win at Belleville. So, wouldn’t racing on a smaller track be a win-win situation? More drivers could afford to race on a smaller track, meaning more cars could and would race at the nationals.

 

Palmer talked about races at Fairbury, Nebraska and Beloit, Kansas and how good the racing was. I saw replays of both features and he is right. The features were very good. Much better than watching 24 cars scattered all around a huge track like Belleville. One of Palmer’s first words in his argument was “history.” I will translate that as tradition. So, don’t move the race from Belleville. Like other big 1/2 mile venues, Belleville has a smaller track in the infield. Upgrade it and run the races on this track. It would be very forgiving-i.e. no walls, would not be so fast as to be too fast, and like bullrings everywhere would produce close racing. And again, quite likely more cars.

 

I am not a close follower of open wheel racing. So, perhaps as Palmer suggests, I do not understand and never will. So be it. Whether or not I understand open wheel racing isn’t the point. The death of a driver is not good for the sport, and when it happens, it should be automatic that all aspects of a race be reviewed-including the track raced on.

 

The deaths of Dale Earnhardt and Adam Petty helped bring about changes that made NASCAR racing safer. Will the death of Bryon Clauson bring about changes to make Midget racing safer?

Thanks for stopping by

 

Here are several links to stories on Clauson, including a tribute:

 

http://blackflag.jalopnik.com/what-america-lost-with-bryan-clauson-a-racer-out-of-an-1784981187

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2016/08/08/sprint-car-driver-bryan-clauson-dies/88365372/

 

Horrible Crash At Belleville

August 7, 2016 2 comments

Before anything else, my thoughts and prayers are with Bryan Clauson and his family. I was watching the Belleville Nationals for the first time on Speed Shift TV and while I have seen a number of terrible wrecks in the last five decades, this was one of the worst.

Clauson had started the feature 9th and by lap ten was in the lead and pulling away from second place Chad Boat.  A car Clauson was lapping forced him into the turn 4 wall. Clauson flipped three times and his car came to rest on its side. Before the red flag was flown another car going at full speed through the turn slammed into Clauson’s car which looked like it exploded.

It took rescue workers 30 minutes to free the unconscious driver from his car. He was airlifted to Bryan Hospital in Lincoln. I have read several reports stating he was in critical condition, and several others that he was stable.

OK, now my safety preaching. I am sure some open wheel fans will tell me I am full of it, since this was the first time I ever watched the race. 29 Midgets signed in for last night’s races. 28 ran heat races. 24 qualified for the feature. There were at least four cars in the feature I don’t think belonged there, maybe more. But the numbers were such they were in the feature anyway. I don’t think these drivers had the equipment, experience, or talent to be racing in a feature race at Belleville. Bad things can happen any time in a race, but adding cars that shouldn’t really be there ups the chances dramatically.

And now to really peeve open wheel fans. There are surely more than 30 or so Midgets racing around the U.S. But that is all that showed for supposedly the biggest Midget race of the season. Is there a reason for that? Maybe that the track is too fast, too hard on equipment? Traditionalists will scream when I say something needs to be done to slow down the speeds on this track, but if speeds were slower, the worst part of this wreck might not have happened. I suppose it would not be the Belleville Nationals if it wasn’t held at Belleville Speedway, but does the current product resemble what used to be in this race? If not, then perhaps now is a time for change.

The rolls along the fence were not really anything most people had never seen. I think Clauson might have walked away from the rolls. It was the hit from a car that could not slow down to miss him that caused the critical injuries. It was no fault of that driver. It is reminiscent of NASCAR at Bristol-things just happen too fast to miss a wreck ahead of you.

I am not going to put any links on showing the crash. Just Google it if you want to see it, there are a number of videos online.

No, I did not buy the www.DirtonDirt.com USA Nationals PPV this weekend. Honestly, I have not been overwhelmed by this race for a number of years. It is usually well past midnight before it gets over-yeah, I know, the previous two weeks I was at races that did not get over until well after midnight, but also, I really don’t think the racing has been all that great either. I got an email from Matt about the Cedar Lake race-he did get the PPV-telling me that they stopped the race on lap 44 so drivers could replace tear-offs. They had used up all their tear-offs before half the race was complete. Interesting. I keep forgetting I should never say “I’ve seen it all” when it comes to dirt tracks, because some track will surely prove it isn’t so.

And that was not the only negative email I got this weekend about Late Model racing. The following comes from an anonymous source-not to me though, commenting on both the Belleville Nationals and the SLMR show at Park Jefferson:

“I really think they should find a nice 3/8 mile to run that race on (talking of Belleville). I think they could get 50 cars and have a much better race. I almost went down to the race, but made another bad choice and went to Park Jeff. Five classes plus SLMR. Got over at 11:50 spent 50 minutes reworking the track at intermission. Of course had to run SLMR last. Actually the SLMR feature was a great race with Bill Leighton holding off the repeated challenges of Kyle Berck. But it was another reason of how tracks are going to kill racing.”

Not sure why this Peter, Paul, and Mary song came to mind-Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Substitute “Race Tracks” for flowers. Work in B Mods and Sport Compacts in some way. And make the last verse come hell or high water be sure to run the feature class last to sell a few more beers along the way. Some things just aren’t going to change no matter what the evidence to the contrary shows.

About the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Watkins Glen today. Well, Denny Hamlin won. To me that just means that neither Brad Keselowski nor Joey Logano won, so at least something good came of it.

Thanks for stopping by.