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Posts Tagged ‘knoxville late model nationals’

Hello, It’s Me-No, Not Todd Rungren, Ron Meyer AKA Bruton

December 23, 2017 1 comment

Wow, I am doing a blog post. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. I have reasons, but if I am honest, they are just excuses. I can say I will try to do better, but being honest again, I know that isn’t so. Anyway, quality is better than quantity, right?

It is still not too late to get someone special a Christmas present, and you don’t even have to fight all the nut cases at the mall. I have three suggestions that any race fan would appreciate.

First, is a subscription to www.DirtonDirt.com. First because I just happened to do what I am saying you should, give a subscription. If you love late models, and most of you reading this blog do, this site is a must. Day after day all the information you could possibly want about the sport is on display. The articles are great, even though they don’t think I am good enough to write for them, and the videos are top quality. DOD also does PPV’s, and does them professionally-to me they do live late model races better than the networks cover NASCAR races. And often subscribers get a package deal that is better than what non-subscribers get. For example, DOD is covering all six days of the Wild West Shoot-out from Phoenix in January. Non-subscribers have to purchase the races each day, but subscribers get a package deal that saves them more than $50 off the non-subscriber package. Check out the site for more information. And yes, I am a subscriber. Actually I am to all three of these sites.

The next subscription you could give that race fan of yours is to Lucas Oil Racing TV. LORTV is going to provide live coverage of 17 nights of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, including 8 nights of racing in late January and early February from Georgia and Florida. That alone makes a subscription a great deal, but as the commercials say, “wait-there is more.” For open wheel fans-and there are a few reading this, LORTV will air one night of the Chili Bowl, and 8 nights of the Lucas Oil ASCS 360 sprint car series. 10 ARCA races will be shown live, including races from Nashville, Toledo, Elko, Madison, and Berlin-that is in Michigan, not Germany. There are 16 other live events scheduled, meaning 53 live events will be aired. AND, there are over 80 different shows covering any division of racing you can imagine. This is a great value-like DOD and Speed Shift TV.

Yes, Speed Shift TV is the other site you can subscribe to. Thanks to Speed Shift TV I watched more sprint car racing in 2017 than I ever have. And yes Speed Shift does late models, modifieds, and midgets too. The site has 23 events scheduled for January and February-starting with the Ice Bowl from Talladega, and every month has 10 or more live events.

I know some reasonably intelligent people who do not like the onset of racing coverage on the internet. I like it. I never stay home and watch an event on the computer that I would otherwise go to-OK, the Beatrice spring and fall races are ones I might attend-rather, I get to see races at tracks around the US that I would never visit otherwise. Sprint cars in Washington, modifieds in California and New Mexico, USAC sprint cars in Indiana and Pennsylvania, late models in Arizona and Mississippi, and midgets indoors in Oklahoma. I watched them all in 2017 and will again in 2018. Do these races keep me from going to weekly shows at a local track? NO. With the advent of 6 (or more) weekly classes at most tracks, I have no desire to go to weekly shows.

As far as specials Matt and I will attend in 2018, there are only three for sure-the Silver Dollar Nationals in Nebraska, the Prairie Dirt Classic in Illinois, and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals from Iowa. A USAC sprint car race-if there is one-in Nebraska is a possibility, as is a USAC midget race from Fairbury-in Nebraska, not Illinois. Matt seems to think a show from Park Jefferson and one from Junction Motor Speedway are musts for us, and I go, reluctantly. Matt also has been talking up a WoO Sprint Car race at River Cities Speedway in North Dakota. That is a far away track, but no further than FALS in Fairbury, Illinois and like the journey to FALS, all but about 75 miles are on Interstate highways. Who knows?

2018 is going to be an important year in my life. Yes, the Sunset Speedway book. Yes, my grandson’s activities-personally I which he had games every night as I would rather watch him play than watch any pro event. I don’t know if I will still be working full-time as I am now in Omaha or if I will be working part-time, temporary, or not at all. I do know that January 25th is a big day, and one I am concerned about. My left knee will be replaced that day, and I am more than a little worried. But I survived prostate cancer in 2016 and I know I will get through the knee surgery too-but keep me in your thoughts in late January.

I am not real hung up on making sure I say Merry Christmas. If someone says Merry Christmas to me I say the same to them. If they tell me Happy Holiday, that is what I say to them. No one has ever said Happy Hanukkah to me, but I am saying that now to several of my readers. Mainly just enjoy the season is what I have to offer. That, and a big thanks for stopping by.

 

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A Knoxville Wrap, Plus For Your Viewing Pleasure

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Before calling it a wrap on the 2017 Knoxville Nationals, I would like to make a not so bold prediction for 2018. Josh Richards will finally add a Knoxville victory to his impressive resume. I would say the track owes him one, but in reality it owes him more than one. Richards led much of Saturday’s 100 lapper only to be passed by Mike Marlar on lap 92 and tire trouble ended his night a few laps earlier. Last year Richards was running second and ran out of fuel, and the West Virginia driver does have four runner-up finishes at Knoxville. Yeah, snake bit, Heartbreak Hotel, or any other cliché for a tough loss you want to add.

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series heads to Brownstown Speedway in Indiana for two shows this weekend. Richards continues to lead the series point standings, followed by Tim McCreadie and Scott Bloomquist.

The World of Outlaws late models have a three night swing through the nation’s heartland. On Friday night the outlaws will be at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City. On Saturday they venture into Oklahoma for a $10,000 to win show at Salina Highbanks Speedway. They finish the weekend with a Sunday night race at 81 Speedway near Wichita, Kansas. Brandon Sheppard holds a commanding lead in the series point battle, with Chris Madden and Shane Clanton trailing.

Lucas Oil Racing TV will show all three nights of the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial from Wheatland Missouri, starting on Thursday. The Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars and the WAR Sprint Cars will be featured. Speed Shift TV has multiple events this weekend, starting with 410 Sprints from Susquehanna Speedway on Thursday then going to Williams Grove Speedway on Friday and Lincoln Speedway on Saturday for more winged wonder racing.

If sprint cars aren’t your thing, Speed Shift TV will also show the IMCA Septemberfest from Beatrice Speedway on Friday and Saturday. What will I be watching? Some of the sprints and some of the IMCA action, especially the IMCA stock cars.

Although the 2017 season is coming to an end, Speed Shift TV still has 27 nights of racing on its schedule. Lucas Oil Racing TV has 10 live events scheduled through November. And www.DirtonDirt.com will be showing 11 nights of late models, including the season ending indoor Gateway Nationals in December. Yes, TROTD Speedway will be open for business no matter how cold the Nebraska weather may be.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Knoxville-Randomly

September 17, 2017 Leave a comment

After spending two nights at the track watching preliminary events and tuning into Lucas Oil Racing TV last night for the Knoxville Late Model Nationals finale, I have lots of thoughts, in no particular order.

Well, no particular order except the first thing I have to do is thank my son Matt for his thoughtfulness. My left knee is shot, getting worse every day, and I am having it replaced in early November. Our tickets for Thursday and Friday at Knoxville were in row 27-meaning a climb of 16 steps just to get to the grandstands, and then of 54 more steps without a rail to get to where our seats were. The thought of climbing all those steps, most without a rail was daunting, and the thought of coming back down to the ground was scary. However, Matt emailed the track and was able to get an elevator pass for us-meaning we were able to ride the track elevator to the top of the grandstands. We did have to climb down 13 rows, or 26 steps, but for some reason the track had aisle rails from row 40 down to row 26, so I had no fear of falling. This really gave me some peace of mind, and I greatly appreciated it.

-On Thursday we were sitting in our seats before the race, the sun was shining and it was about 90 out. And then it began to rain. It only rained for about 15 minutes, but that was enough to set back Thursday starting time by not quite an hour. Matt looked at a weather app on his phone and it appeared the only rain anywhere in Iowa was right over Knoxville.

-Jonathan Davenport had a near perfect point night on Thursday. He was second fast in time trials, won his heat, and finished 3rd in the feature, garnering 494 points. Mike Marlar did have a perfect point night on Friday, setting fast time, winning his heat, and finishing 1st in the feature, all in a back-up car. Davenport and Marlar made up the front row of Saturday’s feature.

-Brandon Sheppard started 22nd in Thursday’s feature and moved all the way to 4th at the finish.

-Jimmy Mars was the only driver to appear in all previous Knoxville Nationals 100 lap features, and he made it again this year, finishing 4th on Saturday night.

-Billy Moyer had nothing but woes this weekend, starting with scaling light after his Thursday night heat, and finishing 52nd out of 56 drivers in points that night. Friday was just as bad as a wreck on the last lap of the B feature kept him out of the second preliminary feature and ended up making the field for Saturday virtually impossible. Moyer did not race Saturday. I do hope he will be back next year, as this would be a said end to his racing in Iowa.

-This has nothing to do with Knoxville, but my 6 year old kindergarten grandson ran all 35 laps around a 1/16th mile track at his school’s PTA fundraiser. I had said on Facebook that I was sure he would go the distance, and he did not even stop for a water break, he wanted to finish before he drank any water. Yes, grandpa is very proud of Henry.

-Back to Knoxville. There were only 56 cars on hand for the Thursday program and it was down to 51 on Friday. I don’t mind that at all because all the drivers I wanted to watch were on hand. This car count was fairly typical of the count at other major races, except for Eldora.

-Even though I am not a great sprint car fan, I do enjoy visiting the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, which is just off turn two of Knoxville Raceway. The featured display at the museum was on Sammy Swindell and it was quite interesting-a number of cars, plus a touch screen that gave information on various aspects of Swindell’s career. Good stuff.

-I have enjoyed the Friday morning programs at NSCHoF in the past, and this year was no different. Commentator Dave Argabright interviewed drivers Don O’Neal and his 17 year old son Hudson. I have always enjoyed the elder O’Neal, and the youngster is not only a talented driver, but is well-spoken too.

-We have a Friday tradition in Knoxville. Matt and I have lunch at the Pizza Hut with Tony Anville and Lee Ackerman. When we got there O’Neal and his wife and Hudson had just arrived. Matt and I were able to talk with them for a moment, and I told the proud dad that with drivers like his son, the future of dirt late model racing was bright.

-Track prep at Knoxville is second to none. If only every track would put that much effort into preparing the racing surface for a program.

-With a grandstand that holds 20,000 people, even stands that are half full hide how many people are there. There must be enough in the stands so the track makes some money, because if it was a loser I am sure there would be no more Knoxville Late Model Nationals.

-Matt and I had talked of staying for all three nights of racing, going home after Saturday’s 100 lap feature. With the L-O-N-G rain delay, I am glad we decided to go home early on Saturday and watch on Lucas Oil Racing TV. If we had stayed, we would not have left Knoxville until 12:30 a.m. and arrived home around 3:30 a.m. Instead I was in bed shortly after midnight. Plus the TROTD Speedway concessions served birthday cake and ice cream, and I know Knoxville would not have served birthday cake, at least not my birthday cake.

-We already have our reservations at the Cobblestone Hotel for 2018. And they are for three days Tony. Of course that could change over the next year. Just like the Knoxville Sprint Nationals is for sprint car fans, the Knoxville Late Model Nationals should be on the bucket list of every late model fan.

I am sure I am missing something-oh yeah, Mike Marlar became the first back to back winner of the event-and if I did, I will write more tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Knoxville Nationals-No, Not The Winged Wonders, Real Race Cars

September 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Like the World 100, the Knoxville Nationals reads like a Who’s Who of dirt late model drivers with a solid group of locals added. Like Eldora, Knoxville track prep is first rate. The campgrounds will be full in Knoxville, and there is a plethora of golf carts and 4-wheelers clogging streets. The winner’s share of the 50-50 raffle at Knoxville won’t be in the $25,000-$35,000 range, but it will still be substantial. The Knoxville grandstands won’t host 20,000 be this weekend, but they should. This is definitely a crown jewel event.

Like the World 100, except for hot laps, every time a car is on the race track it is earning points. At Knoxville, only the best preliminary point night counts-I like that, and the points don’t determine starting spots in Saturday heats, they determine starting spots in the various features. I like that too. That is a just reward for a good effort.

I also like the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series method of time trials. Well, if there has to be time trials, I like it. The field is divided in half and a driver’s best lap time is compared only with drivers in that half. I do wish a provision was added that would divide the top 20 drivers in Lucas Oil points so heats don’t become “top heavy.” Too many times I will watch a heat that is almost like the line-up of a feature, but the next heat will be what I call a “bozo heat,” full of drivers that would be more adept at racing locally than in a national event.

Having the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame adjacent to the track is something I enjoy. I will take a quick trip through the displays and head to the souvenir shop to buy a book or two. The programs are always fun to attend, and if it is hot, well, the theater is a good place to rest and take a nap.

The food at Pizza Hut is Pizza Hut food, but on Friday it is location, location, location. Matt, Lee, Tony, maybe Joe, and I will gather around a table and tell lies and eat pizza. I am not sure how I get stuck with the bill given I am the poorest in that group.

Later, we will head to Slideways Karting, just north of Knoxville. Matt and Tony will race-more like bumper cars for them, and I have always watched. In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, “I’m too old for this shit.” I hear a miniature golf course has been added to the site, so that I may do.

We’ll breakfast at the Hy-Vee store across from the track, but more importantly, we will park there as well, helping the Knoxville Boy Scout troop to raise funds. We do, but so do race fans from about a dozen states. When the race is over we can take a side street for about 8 blocks and miss all the congestion. Matt learned his logistics from an expert.

This is a great road trip. The conversation is always good, especially when we talk about my grandson. It only takes about 3 hours to get to Knoxville, and all but about 40 miles are divided highway. All the drivers we want to see will be on hand. The racing is great. The atmosphere is great. All the side events are great. I only have one complaint, and that is because of my soon to be replaced left knee. Aisle rails are needed.

Since Lucas Oil Racing TV is showing Saturday’s action, Matt and I are just going for the Thursday and Friday prelims. It should be a great time.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

Superman Conquers The World, Is Knoxville Next?

September 10, 2017 Leave a comment

A little over a week ago, Clark Kent aka Jonathan Davenport found a phone booth and donned his Superman outfit for the first time in 2017. Davenport won the Hillbilly 100 at Tyler County Speedway in West Virginia, giving him a big boost in momentum entering World 100 prelims.

Davenport finished 2nd in a Thursday feature and 8th in his Friday feature, giving him enough points to start on the pole for his Saturday qualifying heat. He won his heat and started the World 100 on the inside of row 2, just behind pole sitter Hudson O’Neal.

The Blairsville, Georgia driver stormed past the young O’Neal and led lap1. And lap 2, and lap 3, and lap 4. And led every other lap too, becoming the first driver to lead all 100 laps of dirt late model racing’s most iconic event since Dan Schliepper did in 2003. It was Davenport’s second World 100 victory in three years.

Odds and ends:

-Pole sitter Hudson O’Neal is just 17. He did not qualify for the Saturday night main event last season, so this was his World 100 debut. I am certain there will be many more in his future. For those of you going to Knoxville this week-me too-Hudson and his dad Don will be mainstays of the Friday morning program at the Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

-Not having many World 100’s in his future is Hall of Famer Billy Moyer. The Batesville, Arkansas driver hinted this would be his last World 100, but he is supposed to be retired but he has run 56 nights already this year and will be at Knoxville starting Thursday, so maybe there is a glimmer of hope Mr. Smooth will be back at Eldora next season. Moyer has 8 wins this season, so he still can find the way to Victory Lane. Oh, Moyer finished 8th last night ahead of name drivers like Sheppard, McCreadie, Pearson, Owens, O’Neal-father and son, Pierce, Bloomquist, Clanton, and Richards.

-I am not a big fan, but have to admit that Darrell Lanigan had a great week at Eldora. Lanigan won both of his preliminary features and finished 5th in the World 100. Those finishes were worth $28,750 dollars.

-The 50/50 winner amounts at Eldora are staggering. Saturday night’s raffle drawing winner took home over $35,000. That is not a typo. Of the drivers, only Davenport left Ohio with a bigger check.

-If I heard correctly, Saturday’s attendance was the biggest ever for the World 100. I realize that many weekly dirt tracks struggle-I tend to blame promoter for that, but most of the crown jewel events see plenty of butts in the grandstands.

-Scott Bloomquist did not have a typical Bloomquist week at Eldora. Not being allowed to time trial on Thursday was just the start of a “not good” three days for the Zero car. While Bloomquist often has an off-night at the track, he normally bounces back. He did not in 2017. His feature finishes were 12th-8th-24th. Still, guess who will be among the favorites at Knoxville this week. Yeah, Bloomquist.

-There were 10 Rocket chassis in the feature, and Davenport, Gregg Satterlee, and Mike Marlar, the top three finishers, all drove Rockets. Other chassis makes in the feature: 5-Longhorn, 2- Sweet Bloomquist, 1-Pierce, 4-Club 29, 1-Swartz, 3-Moyer Victory, 2-Black Diamond, 1-MB Customs, and 1-Capital.

-17 states were represented in the feature, including 5 Illinois drivers.

-Among the drivers not making Saturday’s feature were Steve Francis, Steve Casebolt, Mason Ziegler, Eddie Carrier Jr., Billy Moyer Jr., Brian Shirley, and Shannon Babb.

This week is the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, one of the big three events Matt and I attend-the others are The Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway and The Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois.

Knoxville means good conversation on the drive over and back, breakfasts at Hy-Vee, lunch at Pizza Hut with Tony and Lee, and visits to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and to Slideways Karting. It means sitting in row 20 (my left knee is already complaining) behind the flag stand. This year I’ll even be wearing a race t-shirt, one I bought at FALS in July, and that is definitely a first.

If you can’t make it to central Iowa this week, Thursday and Friday prelims will be shown on www.DirtonDirt.com. A 2-day subscriber package costs $42.99, while single nights run $24.99. Saturday’s feature race night will be shown on Lucas Oil Racing TV. It is available to yearly subscribers only. Yes, a year’s subscription costs $99.99 but the number of live late model and sprint car events makes it easily worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

100 Laps, No 80 Laps, Wait-100 Laps Again

September 6, 2017 1 comment

The once 100 lap Saturday night Knoxville Late Model Nationals feature that became 80 laps because officials were concerned a winner could be determined by a driver running out of fuel is now back to 100 laps. I am sure the punctuation of that last sentence is all wrong, and perhaps so is the decision by Knoxville officials.

Apparently officials were concerned that the race had been advertised as 100 laps and that fans buying tickets for Saturday would be upset if the race was only 80 laps. So, it is back to being 100 laps with the quirk being there will be a fuel stop on the first caution to occur between laps 20-40. If there is no caution between those laps, a caution will fly on lap 40 to allow cars to refuel.

I would assume that this is not a NASCAR like pit stop-when the race resumes, the line-up will be the same as it was when the caution flag flew. Will cars only be allowed to refuel? I can see drivers wanting to change tires during this stop, especially if it does not occur until lap 40. Will they be allowed to make a tire change? Will there be a penalty if tires are changed? If the penalty would be a lead lap car just goes to the tail of the lead lap on the restart, would it be worth it to change tires anyway?

Look at what changing tires did for Scott Bloomquist a few weeks ago at the Topless 100 in Batesville. Could the same thing happen at Knoxville?

I used to want to go to the IMCA Supernationals in Boone, Iowa. Haven’t for a long time. That changed when I began to realize that 200-400-600 cars does not make for better racing than 80 of the “right” cars. I’ll be watching the www.DirtonDirt.com coverage of the World 100 for three nights starting tomorrow, and while I may check to see who won at Boone, that will be it for my Supernationals experience.

My friend Steve “Raceguru” Basch says I am not qualified to participate in the World 100 experience. He thinks I need to “start slow,” like go to The Dream before I even think of going to Eldora in September. Apparently I am very boring. I still envy Steve being in Rossburg, Ohio this weekend, and hope he has a great time too. And will see him in Knoxville.

I was going to take a day off from blogging today, but the Knoxville news got me going-I couldn’t not talk about it. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

A “Global” Event Plus Knoxville And More

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

It is officially World 100 week. If you can’t journey to Rossburg, Ohio for dirt Late Model racing’s premier event, you can watch all three days on www.DirtonDirt.com. Michael and the DOD gang do a great job with every PPV, but save the best for Eldora.  Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. Central time Thursday-Saturday. There are no 3-day packages. Thursday and Friday PPV’s cost $23.95, while Saturday’s show is $39.95. Prices are dictated by the track.

The DOD production is top notch, with multiple cameras and announcers, interviews, instant replays, and live scoring. I am just a little biased, but I enjoy DOD’s race coverage more than I do NASCAR coverage by FOX and NBC. Yes, the cost is a little more than we usually pay for race PPV’s, but it is worth it.

With the World 100 on tap, the Knoxville Late Model Nationals are just around the corner. DOD will cover the first two nights of this crown jewel event, while Lucas Oil Racing TV will provide Saturday night coverage. The Prairie Dirt Classic remains my favorite event, but Knoxville is a close second.

I enjoy the travel to Central Iowa, always good conversation with my son Matt. And we do talk about things other than racing and my grandson Henry. Cinnamon bears for me on the way over are a must. Yeah, I do know I am 66-actually the last day of Knoxville I will be 67-but the candy is just one more item on our Knoxville check list. Visiting the Sprint Car Hall of Fame is a good use of our time, but not sure if there will be a Friday morning program or not this year-come on Lee Ackerman, get it done. Being creatures of habit, we will visit the same eating establishments for breakfast and lunch, and of course at least much of one afternoon will be spent at Slideways Karting. Matt has a really sore shoulder and may have surgery on it later in the fall, so I don’t think he will be climbing in a go-kart this year. Maybe he can play miniature golf with me.

It has been announced that Saturday’s feature will be just 80 laps instead of 100. I have mixed feelings on this. If the race had been just 80 laps a few years ago, we would not have had the all-time feel good moment of Brian Birkhofer winning his swan song race. On the other hand, I have watched some real last 20 lap stinkers at Knoxville. So, since Birky already has his big win for all of us to remember, I have to say 80 laps instead of 100 is a good thing.

Something I do wish the governing Marion County Fair Board would have installed at the track for the safety of all old people like me is aisle rails. I am having knee replacement surgery in early November, and climbing all the steps to our row 20-something seats is not fun and quite honestly the fear of falling is present in my mind each step I climb. There is no good reason why these rails have not been put in. While I am at it, I would say the same thing to the Fairbury American Legion about the back stretch grandstands at FALS-put is aisle rails.

I watched time trials and heat races of USAC and CRA Sprint Cars and Midgets from Calistoga Speedway in the northern Napa Valley of California. Years ago Jane and I visited Calistoga-the town, not the track-when I had a financial management conference at the Silverado in Napa. The area is beautiful, and the track looks well prepared too.

Jonathan Davenport won a big race after a long drought-his last previous Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory was September 3, 2016. Davenport took the checkered flags at the Hillbilly 100, held at Tyler County Speedway in West Virginia, NOT in Nemaha County, Nebraska. Davenport received a $25,000 check for his efforts. Next year the winner’s share of this major event will be a whopping $50,000.

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. For what they are worth-nothing-I will make my World 100 predictions tomorrow.