Archive

Archive for June, 2017

Thursday Night Thunder-Malvern Bank SLMR Series At US 30 Speedway

June 30, 2017 1 comment

Matt and I made our annual trek west of Columbus to US 30 Speedway last night to watch the Malvern Bank SLMR Late Models in action. I am bad at guessing crowd size, plus it is very difficult to do so at this track with many people watching the races on the concourse behind the grandstands. It was not a great crowd, maybe a fair crowd. I hope the promoters made money.

With four of the track’s regular IMCA classes running, there were 74 cars in the pits last night: 6 Sport Compacts, 11 Hobby Stocks, 10 Stock Cars, 18 Northern Sports Mods (aka B-Mods), and 29 Late Models.

Random thoughts:

-It was warm and sunny when we arrived at the track, though there were threatening skies all around. Rain did fall during the first Late Model heat. I would describe it as a hard sprinkle. It wasn’t hard enough to cancel the racing for the night, but it did require cars from the second and third late model heats to pack it again before the second heat was run. Yes there was some thunder during Thursday Night Thunder.

-The best race of the night was the Hobby Stock feature, with six cars close enough on the last lap to vie for the win. The Stock Car feature was also a good one. With only six cars there really wasn’t much to watch in the Sport Compact race, and then came the Northern Sport Mod feature. Let me count the ways I loathe B-Mods. 1, 2, 3, 18, 47. As usual, they did not fail to disrupt proceedings, with blown engines, spin outs, multi-car wrecks, and even a roll-over. More about B-Mods later.

-Worst incident of the night involved veteran Late Model driver Junior Coover of Norfolk. Coover was tagged going into turn three and flipped violently. I thought he was going to go out of the track. He didn’t, but the 10-wing car was destroyed. About the only good thing with this wreck was that Coover was able to walk away from it.

Coover is not a high budget racer. He shows up, races, and occasionally will make a feature, more often his night ends after a consolation race. This is going to be a tough one for him to recover from. I almost wish someone would start a GoFundMe account for him. Yeah, I know. If one racer did that, there would be thousands of such accounts started for racers down on their luck.

-Other than multi-time SLMR champion Kyle Berck dropping out early in the race, the Late Model feature was uneventful, with Ben Schaller taking the win.

-I do think promoters are trying to make things work at US 30 Speedway. I liked the free popsicles at intermission for everyone that wanted one. I liked the Junior Flagman. I like their popcorn, though not so much their hamburgers. Those may be little things, but details are important. I like that the track is a throwback to a bygone era. However, there was one thing I really did not like at all.

-I have no problem with the $15.00 admission charged because of the visit by Late Models. That is $5.00 more than normal, and if I wasn’t OK with it, I wouldn’t go to the races on a Thursday night. However, I am very glad I don’t have to go to work this morning, because we did not leave the track until 11:30 p.m., and got home about 12:30 a.m. We stayed that late because the Late Model feature was the last race run. That simply should not be. A lot of fans came a long distance to watch the Late Models, even further than Matt and I.

I realize that traditionally the feature class A-main event is run last. I think this is one tradition that promoters need to change. Fans walking out before this race even begins is NOT a good thing. We did not go last night to watch the support classes. We went to watch the Late Models. If we wanted to watch the support classes we could have saved $5.00 and attended a regular weekly show instead.

The Late Model A-feature should NOT have been the last race run, especially at a track that races on a work night. To me, the Late Model Last Chance races should have been run before intermission-which did not need to be about 25 minutes long-and the Late Model feature should have been run second, after the Hobby Stock feature.

Almost every year I have a blog post praising US 30 Speedway. It reminds me of racing 40 years ago when I was much younger. But times change, I am older-yes, less patient too, and race tracks need to change with the times. ALL race tracks, not just US 30 Speedway. I do hope the track west of Columbus is willing to adjust their race night schedule in the future. Oh, and get better meat for the hamburgers too.

Tonight we will be heading to I-80 Speedway for another Malvern Bank SLMR race. Two guesses who came up with that idea, and one should not be “Ron.” Thanks for stopping by.

 

Advertisements

Is Speed Shift TV Turning Me Into An Open Wheel Fan??

June 25, 2017 1 comment

For the past two weeks Speed Shift TV has tried to turn me into an open wheel fan. First it was the Indiana Midget week, with both Midgets and Sprint Cars being shown. Speed Shift followed that up with the Eastern Storm tour-featuring USAC Wingless Sprints, but also Midgets and the Silver Crown Series cars. That was 10 different shows from tracks in Indiana and Pennsylvania. And they followed that with 410 sprints from Jackson, Minnesota.

Oh, and give an assist on this project to Lucas Oil Racing TV. For the past three nights, LOR TV showed the ASCS National Sprint Cars in action from Skaget Speedway in Washington. In two weeks I watched more open wheel racing than I had in the last two years. Maybe the past five years. Maybe more than I ever have.

I would give my experience a solid B. I enjoy the Midgets bouncing around dirt tracks, I like the Wingless Sprints, and I very much enjoy seeing tracks I have never been to and likely will never visit in person. Then there was the three nights at Skaget Speedway. Without question this has to be the most scenic race track around. It is surrounded by forest and hills, and in the distance you can see snow-capped Mt. Baker.

I also liked the Skaget Speedway fan viewing area. I have often thought that if I built a race track it would include grassy berms for fan seating. Skaget Speedway has grandstands from the middle of turn three to the end of the front straightaway, and a grassy berm area in front of the turns 3-4 stands. The berm area was far enough away from the track to be safe, yet a great spot for families with small children to watch the races. Two thumbs up.

I did watch a Lucas Oil Late Model shown on LOR TV, and am also watching the Wild West Modified Shoot-Out on Speed Shift TV.  I would have watched more Late Model action, but the Firecracker 100 preliminaries scheduled for Thursday and Friday were postponed due to rain. One of those shows was made up in the afternoon yesterday, but I am not a big fan of dirt track racing in the day. Brandon Sheppard won the Saturday afternoon preliminary, collecting $6,000 for his efforts. Brandon Overton won the 100 lap event last night, earning $30,000. And I am not a big fan of either Brandon, so enough of that. Mike Marlar had a decent weekend finishing second to Brandon in the afternoon, and then finishing second to the other Brandon that night.

For someone who is 99% retired, Billy Moyer is certainly doing a lot of racing. He is second to Bobby Pierce in the UMP Summernational points, and has claimed two feature wins in the opening week of the Hell Tour. I am hoping Moyer will show up for the Silver Dollar Nationals, but his website schedule only shows through 6/27. If you are willing to grind on this tour for a chance to win $5,000-$10,000, it would seem like spending a few days in Nebraska in July would be worth the opportunity to net $53,000. Keep your fingers crossed.

I’ll be watching Speed Shift TV this week for Modified action from the Northwest, including a night at Sunset Speedway Park in Oregon. Matt and I will be going to Columbus on Thursday for the SLMR race at US 30 Speedway, and my son is also suggesting we head south to I-80 Speedway for the SLMR event on Friday. Maybe. I certainly am not thrilled with watching five support classes that night, the trade-off being the track’s famous pork tenderloin sandwich.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Corning And Eldora

June 11, 2017 1 comment

This has been a big week of watching racing for me. Thanks to Speed Shift TV I watched racing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and last night Matt and I made the long haul to Corning, Iowa to watch the SLMR Late Models and USMTS Modifieds race at Adams County Speedway. Tuesday was Deery Brothers Late Models, Hawkeye Dirt Tour Modifieds, and IMCA Stock Cars from Marshalltown, Iowa. Wednesday was USAC Midgets from Gas City, Indiana and Friday was again USAC Midgets from Bloomington, Indiana. And tonight will be USAC Midgets from Kokomo, Indiana.

One member of the Meyer family likes ACS far better than the other. One member of the Meyer family reluctantly goes with the other because he enjoys doing things with his son. One member of the Meyer family has stated “I can’t remember seeing a good race at Corning.” That person is still not a big fan of Adams County Speedway, but after last night can’t say he hasn’t watched a good race there.

I have been calling Southwest Iowa Steve King territory, but I was wrong. This part of the state is represented by David Young. OK, that is bad, but not as bad as Steve King. And that will be my political statement for this blog.

Random Thoughts:

-106 cars filled both the inside and outside pit areas at ACS. There were 16 B-Mods, 20 Pro Stock, 21 Sport Compacts, 21 USMTS Modifieds, and 28 SLMR Late Models. I think that adds up to 106.

-To me, the admission charge of $25 was a little steep, especially since only 21 USMTS cars were on hand. I still paid it though and did not complain to the ticket seller.

-The Pro Stock class at ACS is similar to I-80 Speedway’s Pro-Ams and IMCA’s Stock Cars. As with those classes, the Pro Stocks at ACS put on a good show. In fact, the 15 lap feature was one of the best races I have watched in quite some time. You don’t see four wide racing very often, and this feature had that early on. The middle laps were more single file, but the last few laps were outstanding, with the top five finishers taking the checkered flags in the blink of an eye.

-The SLMR race was decent too. Tad Pospisil and Corey Zeitner battled for the win, while Kyle Berck and J.C. Wyman raced for third. Pospisil won, followed by Zeitner, Berck, and Wyman.

-Promter Joe Kosiski has put together a great local tour. I call it local because all the drivers are from Nebraska and Iowa, but the car count is better than most regional tours, and there is not much of a drop-off in talent from regional tours. The rules package allows drivers to use various engines and still be competitive, and it is a fun group to watch.

-As I mentioned, only 21 USMTS Modifieds were on hand. These were mostly drivers racing for points in the USMTS Central Region. I suspect next Friday and Saturday there will be far more cars on hand at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin, where drivers will be vying for a $50,000 winner’s share of the purse.

-Call it “Instant Carnage,” but a less than full field was whittled even more in the three USMTS qualifying races. Six cars finished the evening early, with the ride of Norfolk, Nebraska’s Kyle Prauner viciously rolling off the track in turn 3. Prauner was transported to the local hospital for observation, but reported later that he was OK.

-Zack Vanderbeek had the USMTS field covered. He started from the pole and led every lap of the feature. He wasn’t challenged at all, and actually was pulling away from the field late in the race. Cade Dillard started 15th and last in the feature after being involved in the Prauner incident. He advanced from 15th to 2nd place at the finish.

-As I mentioned, the Pro Stock race was great, and the SLMR race was decent. I would only give the USMTS feature a C for lack of cars and the dominance of Vanderbeek. Still, that was about as racy of a night as any we have spent in Corning. My one complaint was the same as I have complained of on every trip to the Iowa track-they simply cannot go without a lengthy intermission. With three LONG red flags in heat races, I do not think a 35 minute intermission is necessary. On specials, not everyone is from the surrounding area-we have a 2 hour drive home. A 15 minute tops intermission would have been plenty. And no, watering the top and bottom of the track did not do anything to make the track racier for the features. It just added to the length of the intermission.

Yes Tony, I will mention that Scott Bloomquist won The Dream at Eldora. This was Bloomquist’s 7th Dream win, starting with a victory in 1995. Not that many drivers even race for 23 years, and winning dirt late model’s richest event that many times and in that lengthy of a time span is impressive. Bloomquist has also won the World 100 four times, and finished 2nd in the Dream and World 100 ten times. Of course who can forget the 2015 Dream when he won the race but was disqualified for crossing the scales light?

I always like to look at the list of drivers who do not make the Feature at one of the big Eldora events. This year’s list included Eddie Carrier Jr., Jackie Boggs, Jimmie Owens, Jeep Van Wormer, Gregg Satterlee, Billy Moyer Jr., Brian Shirley, Steve Casebolt, Steve Francis, and Jason Feger. It almost included Show-Me 100 winner Bobby Pierce. The young Illinois driver started 25th in the second consolation race, a race in which only the top four qualify for the $100,000 to win feature. Pierce was fortunate to have some cautions in the race, and he gained the final transfer spot on lap 19 of the 20 lap race. Pierce started the A-feature last on the grid, but moved up to 13th at the end of the 100 lapper.

Chassis breakdown of the starters:

8-Rocket

5-Longhorn (all in the top 11 finishers)

4-Club 29

3-Sweet Bloomquist

2-Moyer Victory

2-Black Diamond

1-Pierce

1-MB Custom

1-Barry Wright

1-Schwartz

Yes, one of those Moyer Victory chassis cars belonged to the man himself, the 99% retired Hall of Famer Billy Moyer. The Batesville, Arkansas driver finished a respectable 12th.

No, I won’t be watching the NASCAR race from Pocono today. After the trek to Corning, I think a nap is in order. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

A Real Hodgepodge

June 4, 2017 1 comment

Here is an interesting article on why some fans have stopped attending NASCAR races:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2016/07/01/nascar-fans-attendance-cost/86587042/

A variety of reasons was listed, including cost-not just of tickets, but also the cost of transportation and the price gouging of hotels. Decisions made by NASCAR was mentioned often. I have visited four NASCAR tracks, but never for a race. The closest to a race was a qualifying day at Kansas Speedway. Kansas City is not really a bad trip from Fremont, the tickets were reasonable for that day, and we didn’t have to worry about a hotel.

One person who no longer attends NASCAR races commented on how tough it was the first year, but then “things just evolved.” That is true of when Matt and I stopped heading to the race track for weekly shows all summer long. It was not easy at first, but now I don’t even think about it. Of course B-Mods influenced those feelings. And a plethora of classes-ah for the good old days of just 2-3 classes instead of 5-6 classes racing.

My entertainment yesterday: a David Baldacci novel, Nebraska baseball on the radio-not entertaining at all, the movie “Captain Underpants” with Jane and Henry-enjoyed this, and Speed Shift TV’s showing of the All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprint Car show from Mercer Speedway Park in Pennsylvania.

I enjoy seeing tracks I have never visited and probably won’t, but I just could not get into the ASCOC show last night. I will be watching Speed Shift TV tonight as they will be showing a WISSOTA LM Challenge race from Casino Speedway in South Dakota. And I very much will be watching Speed Shift TV on Tuesday, as they will be at Marshalltown Speedway in Iowa to cover the Deery Brothers IMCA Late Models AND the Hawkeye Dirt Tour IMCA Modifieds. Two good regionals series at a great track makes for a very good special. Check out the Speed Shift TV website for details.

Also, check out Speed Shift’s June schedule. The site will be showing 23 different events in June, including USAC Midget, Sprint Car, and Silver Crown series races. Actually, if you are an open wheel racing nut (and all open wheel racing fans are nuts), 10 open wheel events are included in the 23 June shows.

If you are on Facebook, there are a number of interesting racing sites you can check out. I Miss Sunset Speedway is one. And boy do I ever miss that place. Midwest Dirt Track Racing Legends, Central Nebraska Dirt Track Racing Memories, All Late Models from Yesteryear to Today, and Good Ol’ Racing Association are others I visit. I love the photos from the past, plus there are plenty of videos as well.

20/20 Racing Page is more current, but another page for fans. My Canadian friend Anthony Leeks posted results and a video from Emo Speedway today. I would love to visit that Canadian track, but wonder if I would not be allowed to re-enter the US if I did-I am only half kidding.

On a three night swing through Missouri and Iowa, the MLRA had car counts of 21-25-18. Interesting-only one night with a full field (I define full field as 24 cars). The SLMR series is averaging almost 34 cars per night, and most features pay $1200 to win, versus the MLRA’s $3,000 to win norm. Until this week the MLRA did have full fields, so I am not sure what happened on this swing. As a fan I don’t think 18 is a good count for a special, but this was a series low for the season.

Finally, I would like to give two thumbs up to SLMR announcer Anthony Ainslie. He is enthusiastic, he gets the details right, and most importantly he pronounces the names correctly. Good job Anthony-but when you post on www.dirtdrivers.com, please leave a blank line between paragraphs.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topless A Go-Go

June 3, 2017 1 comment

On May 23rd the Lucas Oil late models battled at I-80 Speedway on a damp, windy, cold night that felt more like March than late May. Last night the USAC wingless sprint cars took to the I-80 Speedway high banks on an evening that felt more like the 4th of July than early June in Nebraska. Actually my only surprise was that the drastic difference occurred 10 days apart. In Nebraska that could be a next day change.

Random thoughts, which at my age are all I have:

-I had hoped for a full field of USAC sprints, but would have settled for 20 of the wingless monsters in the pits. There were 27, so not only was it a full field, a B main took place too.

-40 Malvern Bank SLMR late models were on hand. They were racing for $1200 to win. The night before just 21 MLRA late models kicked off a three day swing through Missouri and Iowa. Call me crazy, but it seems like the SLMR series is a better value for promoters-more cars and not as big a purse. Promoter Joe Kosiski’s rules package means a driver can run about any engine package he wants and still be competitive. That is a good thing.

-There were only 16 B-mods on hand. No, that did not upset me. The most irritating class in the history of auto racing even behaved well early on-no cautions during the two B-mod heats. In the feature their true colors came shining through.

-If I added correctly, the car count for the night was 83. As I have said often, I like that number for a car count better than 150 or 200.

-I think you need plenty of courage to strap into any race car. To buckle up in a 410 wingless sprint car you also have to be slightly crazy. No, you have to be major crazy.

-I remain anti-time trials, though sprint car fans seem to love them.

-I admit to not really knowing most of the USAC drivers. Brady Bacon, Dave Darland, and Robert Ballou are about all I have heard much of. That is not a bad thing though-just like when I watch races on the computer from tracks I have never been to, I don’t have a rooting interest in any driver and can just enjoy the racing.

-The trouble with the wingless sprints is the car numbers are small and when the cars at speed my eyes find it difficult to read them.

-About half-way through the sprint car feature the track was rubbered down and it was less a race than a top side running freight train. Only one or two cars ventured out of the high side groove, and they were not particularly fast. What saved the race was the last few laps of slide job after slide job between race leaders. That was fun to watch.

-Tyler Courtney, Chris Windom, and Justin Grant finished 1-2-3 in the USAC feature. I know nothing about any of them-yes I read that Justin Grant is the current series point leader. Robert Ballou finished 4th, Brady Bacon finished 6th, and Dave Darland finished 8th.

-Ivan Tracy’s friend from Phoenix, Bruce St. James, finished a distant 17th.

-Ivan stopped by to chat, as did Mike Pierson. We sat behind Anglophile Steve Basch. Oh, almost forgot, Big Show was in the house too.

-Kyle Berck won the SLMR feature, but give an assist to Bill Leighton Jr. On a caution Berck was running 3rd behind leader Corey Zeitner and Leighton. On the Delaware restart, Leighton chose to line up in the outside lane, forcing Berck to the inside lane. When the green flag flew again, Berck blew by Leighton and Zeitner on the front stretch and that was the race.

-Yes, I did have a pork tenderloin sandwich. Yes, it was good. Very good. Almost like Sunset Speedway broasted chicken used to be-worth a trip to the track just to eat.

-Next up for Matt and me is June 10th at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa. I do not understand Matt’s love for this track. But I enjoy doing things with my son, so I’ll make the long haul to Steve King country.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

MLRA Late Models On Speed Shift TV

June 2, 2017 Leave a comment

I watched the MLRA race from Scotland County Speedway on Speed Shift TV last night. It was supposed to start at 7:00 p.m., but do to track prep-imagine that-it did not. In fact, the first support class race did not even start until 8:00 p.m.

In addition to the MLRA feature class, four support classes ran-stock cars, sport mods (of course), modifieds, and sport compacts. The four support classes had a car count of 55, and there were 20 MLRA late models.

With the late start I was pleased to see that the late models ran before two of the support classes. Heat winners were Jesse Stovall, Tony Jackson Jr., and Chris Simpson.

Chris Simpson jumped to an early lead and ran away with the feature. Stovall finished 2nd, Jackson finished 3rd, Terry Phillips was 4th, and Rodney Sanders rounded out the top five.

The series heads to Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa and Randolph County Speedway in Moberly, Missouri tomorrow night. Both shows are $3,000 to win events.

It was 90 out at noon when I finished working out at the YMCA in Fremont. It appears tonight will be just the opposite of when Matt and I visited I-80 Speedway about 10 days ago. I am still taking a jacket along just in case.

Yeah, just a short one today. Going to go see my grandson before Matt and I head to the track. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Tonight And Tomorrow Night Too

June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

MLRA Late Models will be the feature class at Scotland County Speedway in Missouri tonight. If you subscribe to Speed Shift TV, be sure to check it out. Or, you can also get it as a PPV.

Speed Shift TV also will be showing All Star Circuit of Champions 410 Sprint Cars from Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania tomorrow and Saturday. On Sunday the site will be showing WISSOTA Late Models at Casino Speedway in South Dakota.

I am considering doing a blog post on race track food. Yeah, I know, what is supposed to be warm is cold, what is supposed to be cold is warm, all of it is overpriced, and a lot of it isn’t of very good quality. What I am talking about is a track’s signature concession item, not its entire menu.

For example, I think I-80 Speedway’s signature concession item is its Pork Tenderloin sandwich. The meet is far bigger than the bun on this item, and it is tasty as well. I think it is worth $6.00.

Do any of you know of other tracks that have one special item on their concession menu? Years ago Matt and I went to a Busch All-Star race (maybe it was the spin-off WDRL series) in Fairmont, Minnesota. They had a Pork Chop sandwich that was really good, and it would certainly be another item I would write about.

I am going to contact a number of well-known dirt tracks on this subject, but if you have an item you like at a particular track, let me know the item and track. Just email me at   brutonnb@yahoo.com

I don’t follow the www.DirtonDirt.com Top 25 since I haven’t had a vote the last few seasons-only 10 people now vote. I noticed it today because I was checking on DOD’s coverage of The Dream from Eldora and this was headlined. Anyway, the rankings list Brandon Sheppard on top, followed by Scott Bloomquist and Bobby Pierce.

Supposedly back in the days I had a vote, the survey was supposed to focus on the most current results. Sheppard did have a World of Outlaws win, but I can’t think any win last week was bigger than Bobby Pierce’s in the Show-Me 100. I would have voted Pierce first, Bloomquist second, and MAYBE Sheppard third. Tim McCreadie and Earl Pearson Jr. would have been both been high. McCreadie was tied for fourth in the DOD poll, but Pearson was just 12th. This is based on my thinking that the Lucas Oil series is far better than the WoO this season.

Tomorrow night is USAC 410 non-wing sprint cars at I-80 Speedway. I will be rooting for the 7K of Bruce St. James tomorrow. According to Ivan Tracey, St. James has a radio show in Phoenix and like me is a great thinker-no, those aren’t Ivan’s exact words. Anyway, last time the non-wings were at the track they put on a great show and I am looking forward to another good evening. And yes, also one of the track’s amazing pork tenderloin sandwiches.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. Yes, I know I was not very consistent with capitalization in this post.