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Prairie Dirt Classic-A BIG Thank You

July 30, 2018 Leave a comment

I didn’t include this in yesterday’s blog post because I thought it deserved attention on its own. This is my thank you to my son Matt for all he did to make our Fairbury trip special-which was pretty much everything.

-He reserved out seats at FALS. This is not as easy to do as it sounds, with the tremendous demand for tickets for the Prairie Dirt Classic. Still, he managed to get great tickets, AND as long as we continue to reserve them each year, they are our seats.

-He reserved a rental car and drove from Midway Airport in Chicago to FALS and back to the airport. My only task was paying for half of the rental fee, BUT I got to sit back, enjoy the ride, plus I learned new ways to group certain words as Chicago drivers acted nutty per Matt.

-He reserved our hotel room, checked in before we headed to FALS, and checked out when we left Sunday morning. Again, all I had to do was pay half of the charge. Matt even got up first to shower at 7:00 a.m., even though we didn’t get back to the hotel until 1:00 a.m.

-He ordered pop, water, ice, and a Styrofoam cooler that he picked up at Dave’s Grocery in downtown Fairbury. We all know that race track concessions are outrageous. 

-He has introduced me to some interesting and well known people who make a living from dirt late model racing-no, not drivers, but others important to the sport. They know he is a serious and knowledgeable fan. Yeah, he knows drivers too, but I usually don’t go into the pits.

-More than once he got concessions for me.

-At Midway Airport Matt took one of my bags-I have a CPAP machine, plus my wife insisted I pack for a week, even though we were staying only one night. Of course it could have been that he thought I was going too slowly, but no matter what I appreciated it-that damn airport has a lot of walking to it.

-He got us to the airport in time to switch flights yesterday. The flight we had booked was going to be delayed, but we managed to switch to an earlier flight. We got home before our original flight even left Chicago.

-More than anything, I enjoy talking racing with Matt. He knows more about the sport than 99% of the people involved, and quite frankly is smarter than any promoter I know. Dirt track racing would be far better if someone found a niche for Matt to fill.

And he is well versed on college sports, another road trip topic, and of course he is always willing to talk with me about my favorite subject, my grandson Henry.

He does similar things for the Silver Dollar Nationals, the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, and every other race or University of Nebraska sports event we attend. He makes going easy for me. I do not tell him often enough how much I appreciate all he does, but I do appreciate it more than he could ever know.

Thank you Matt.

P.S. Our next big event is the Knoxville Late Model Nationals in September, but I am ready to head back to Fairbury, dust and all.

 

 

 

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Superman Leaps Tall Buildings-And Passes Pierce Late

July 22, 2018 Leave a comment

A Silver Dollar Nationals recap:

If you have money-a lot of money-you can buy a dirt late model. That doesn’t mean you should, just that you could. And if you buy a dirt late model, you can race it anywhere it is legal to track or sanction rules. That doesn’t mean you should, just that you could.

I know all about racing being a hobby, and have heard the cliché “to get better you have to race against the best.” The Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series is the dirt track equivalent of NASCAR’s top divisions. For series regulars, racing is not a hobby it is how they make their living. AND, if a driver is getting lapped by lap 7 of a 15 lap race, he is not getting better racing against the best-he is a road block and a danger to other drivers on the track and to himself.

I don’t often agree with dirt track legend Scott Bloomquist, but in an interview with Dave Despain several years ago he talked about crown jewel events and how if a driver had not won at a certain level in racing he should not be participating in a crown jewel event. Last night at I-80 Speedway proved what Bloomquist said. A local racer who is not a winner at the local level was being lapped by four Lucas Oil drivers not quite midway through a qualifying race. Somehow he managed to put one driver into the infield wall and end his weekend, and put last year’s Lucas Oil champion Josh Richards into the outer wall, causing much damage to his car. Sorry, two thumbs down to the local.

Again, racing might be a hobby for the local driver, but it is not for Lucas Oil series drivers. They make their living racing. I am not saying there aren’t local drivers capable of running with the Lucas Oil series at an event like the Silver Dollar Nationals. There are, BUT they have been winners at the local level. They were ones who could say they were getting better racing the best, not acting as road blocks.

Random thoughts:

-If you know me, you know I don’t really wear racing t-shirts. I have purchased on shirt in the last 20 years, a Prairie Dirt Classic shirt simply because I love Fairbury American Legion Speedway. However, if I did wear racing t-shirts, Jonathan Davenport and Hudson O’Neal t-shirts are ones that I would wear.

-My grandson has never been to a race, but he has watched some of the computer offerings, and he does have a Jonathan Davenport Superman t-shirt that he wears. When Matt explained Thursday’s Lucas Oil feature to him, it was in terms Henry understands-it was not Davenport vs. Bloomquist, it was Superman vs. Darth Vader and Superman won.

-Glenn Robey was at I-80 Speedway this weekend taking in all the action. The octogenarian still looks like he could pilot a late model, though he said not. He did say he wouldn’t mind racing against Bob Kosiski again though. Here is a thought-find GOTRA cars similar to their old coupes and have Stan Cisar of Action Signs make up 53 and 8-Ball wraps for the cars and let Bob and Glenn do some parade laps at the 2019 Silver Dollar Nationals. Glenn won the first ever feature and Sunset Speedway and Bob won so many races at the famed Irvington, Nebraska track you would have thought he owned the place. Yeah, nostalgia, but both deserve such recognition.

-The weather was very unlike typical SDN weather. All three nights were comfortable, not the 110 in the shade SDN weather we are used to.

-The last 12 laps of the Go 50 with Bloomquist and Davenport racing side by side was about as good as racing gets. Superman high, Darth Vader low, almost like synchronized swimming go through turns 1 and 2. No room for mistakes, none made. And the good guy won.

-Every year I am amazed at the cars that come from the back of the starting grid and move to the front. Ryan Gustin several years ago, Brandon Sheppard last year, and this year is was Bobby Pierce from 28th to first, running away from the field before his car broke. Pierce had not had a great on-track performance until the feature. Actually he had not had a good on-track performance until the 80 lapper. His talent showed last night, thrilling the crowd with his high side charge to the front.

-Tim McCreadie was another far to the back starter who ended the weekend on a good note. T-Mac started 31st and moved all the way to 8th place when the checkered flags flew. Last year’s SDN winner has not had a great 2018, but maybe he is getting better as the dirt late model season moves into its big money month.

-Ricky Weiss was the surprise of the weekend. Ricky Who? It shouldn’t have been Ricky Who after his success at the Wild West Shootout in Arizona in January-2 wins, 1 second place finish and 1 third place finish in 6 nights of racing. After finishing 4th in a WoO late model race in Grand Forks, North Dakota last week, the driver from Manitoba, Canada raced with the Lucas Oil series all week, and finished 4th in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and 7th at Jackson Motorplex in Minnesota. Weiss made the Go 50 feature at I-80 Speedway on Thursday, but mechanical issues on lap 10 gave him a DNF. Weiss had a good Friday night qualifying and started Saturday’s feature on the inside of row 3. He challenged early leader Scott Bloomquist and actually passed him for several laps. Weiss remained in the top five the entire race, and his $20,000 pay-out for finishing 2nd to Davenport at the SDN had to be the biggest of his career.

-There is no doubt Jonathan Davenport earns his Superman nickname every time he takes to the track. It takes guts to run as high as he runs. He bounced off the outer wall several times in his charge to the front, but hung on to claim his second SDN victory. Obviously amazingly talented, Davenport is also well-spoken, nice appearing, and a really good super hero role model. I would be more than pleased to see him pick up a few big dollar wins in the coming weeks, and of course finish atop the Lucas Oil point standings at the end of the season.

-For a few laps Billy Moyer and Scott Bloomquist ran side by side around the I-80 oval. Bloomquist was lapping the 60 year old from Arkansas, but Moyer did not make it easy for the 54 year old from Tennessee. I hope others watched this skirmish too as there aren’t going to be that many more times these Hall of Famers do battle. Well, maybe there will be more times. Moyer supposedly retired after last season, but has raced 38 times this year and finished first 6 times, including his 100th UMP Hell Tour win. And much to my pleasure, Moyer will be racing in the Prairie Dirt Classic in Fairbury, Illinois next weekend.

-Like I said, random. In Friday’s 10 heat races, 9 winners came from the front row. There were 10 different winners, and only Scott Bloomquist came close to winning both of his heats, with a 1st and 2nd place finish.

-I like the fact that sponsors provide cash for the top three finishers in Friday night heats. With payouts of $300 for a win, $200 for a runner-up finish, and $100 to place 3rd, that meant $6,000 more to late model drivers. I wish a sponsor could be found to increase the purse for the bottom 2/3rds of the drivers racing in the 80 lap feature.

-My sandwich of choice this weekend was not the famed Pork Tenderloin, but the BBQ sandwich instead. And I do love the track’s popcorn.

-A Russian oligarch, Anatoly Hakobanbahr, was seen leaving I-80 Speedway before Friday’s USMTS modified feature races. According to Matt, Hakobanbahr has known ties to Vladimir Putin and Scott Bloomquist-he read that on the internet. Matt tried to take a photo, but only got the back of the Russian’s head as he quickly left the track. Still, there was something about the photo that seemed familiar. The Russians fixed our elections in 2016 and now they are trying to fix races to the benefit of the leader of dirt racing’s evil empire? We are watching you Anatoly and like Superman, aka Jonathan Davenport, seek nothing but truth, justice, and the American way-meaning the driver of the Zero car does not win the Lucas Oil point championship.

-I paid big bucks for a three day SDN ticket. I paid big bucks to see the Lucas Oil late models, NOT weekly modifieds. If I wanted to watch weekly modifieds, I could go to a weekly show much cheaper. Having the mods on Thursday’s bill added at least an hour and 15 minutes to the show. Perhaps a lot of people had Friday off, but a lot of people had to work, and would rather have had the show end shortly after 10:00 p.m. rather than 11:30 p.m. I was one of them. Getting home close to 1:00 a.m. and getting up at 5:15 a.m. to get ready for work was not a lot of fun. My thinking is that if 80 something USMTS modifieds and Lucas Oil late models are a good enough car count for Friday and Saturday shows, 80 something SLMR and Lucas Oil late models should be a good enough car count for the Thursday night program.

-I do like the idea of the Go 50 being a part of the SDN weekend rather than in May. The May date never has worked out well for the track, drivers, or fans. As I said above though, make Thursday a nothing but late model night. And I will take a vacation day on Friday.

-I rarely jump out of my seat at a race, but I admit I did when Davenport passed Pierce with just two laps to go in Saturday’s feature. Davenport is certainly my favorite late model driver now, with 17 year old Hudson O’Neal a close second.

I am probably forgetting a lot about the SDN, and not bitching about some things Matt had to listen to on the way home Thursday and Friday. Not the best of the 8 SDN’s, but it darn sure had some memorable moments and these days that is about all you can hope for.

This coming week is the Prairie Dirt Classic in Fairbury, Illinois. I love the track and enjoy the back stretch fans too. Matt and I are flying into Chicago on Saturday morning and driving the few hours south to Fairbury. It is a WoO sanctioned event, but I expect many of the Lucas Oil regulars to be on hand, along with national drivers like Moyer and Babb and a slew of tough Illinois locals as well. I love walking around the back stretch midway and through the pits. We sit so close to the action we are pelted with dirt clods, just like at Sunset Speedway years ago. FALS and the PDC are a good reminder to me why I have loved dirt tracks since 1955. I do not do weekly racing anymore, but I am afraid if I lived close to FALS that I would be

 

showing up at the track every Saturday night. If you have never been there, make the pilgrimage. You will not be disappointed. Check out the link about the PDC below. Love it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mJHcrC4LWY

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Dollar Nationals

July 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Is it the prodigal son coming home, or me returning to the scene of the crime? Likely both. After not posting a blog for some length of time, here I am Maybe it is just spending $200 for the right to keep this site another two years-and NO, it has not been making money since the early years, or maybe it is the time of year I truly am excited about racing.

I openly admit that I have been less excited about racing in 2018, than I have in any year. I have watched only a few laps of NASCAR this season, and that was at best inadvertent. I have attended one race live, though I was at Junction Motor Speedway a few weeks ago when the rain poured down before the start of hot laps. Due to another commitment I missed Matt’s trek to Adams County Speedway in Corning, and Park Jefferson was rained out on the night we planned to head to greater Sioux City. I’ll explain more of my no tears later.

Thanks to Speed Shift TV and Lucas Oil Racing TV I still have watched plenty of racing this season. I have visited tracks in Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I have watched late models, modifieds, midgets, winged sprint cars, and non-wing sprint cars in action. And have tried my very best to miss support class racing.

This coming week I will be watching Lucas Oil late models race in South Dakota and Minnesota prior to heading to I-80 Speedway for three super nights of the SDN. Thank you to www.DirtonDirt.com for the coverage. The site will also be covering the SDN if you can’t make it to the track, and next week will be showing both nights of the Prairie Dirt Classic from Fairbury, Illinois. Like the SDN, the PDC is simply a race dirt late model fans need to see. Because of my new job, Matt and I won’t make it to Friday’s PDC prelims, but we are flying into Chicago on Saturday and will be there for the main event. It is that good of a show.

As I mentioned, I have held little enthusiasm for racing in 2018-at least until this week. I have enjoy the computer races because I visit tracks I know I will never go to otherwise-I won’t be going to Washington or Oregon or Ohio or Pennsylvania, even though the tracks do put on great shows. But more important is the convenience these races provide. It is a constant 72 degrees where I sit, and there is no threat of getting wet if an unexpected shower takes place. In all honesty, I have watched very few features this season. I watch hot laps, time trials, and heats of the feature class, and usually turn off my computer and go on to something else.

It is after the feature class heats when tracks start to irritate me. Support class races that go on and on and on bore me. Intermissions that last forever infuriate me. But at The Rest of the Dirt Speedway, I control all of that. A couple clicks on the computer mouse and I can be on to something else, instead of sitting in the stands fuming over shows I feel are not professionally run. With my feelings running like they are, I suppose it is for the best I do not attend more shows. Right now the three nights of the Silver Dollar Nationals, the final night of the Prairie Dirt Classic, and the three nights of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals are all I have scheduled to physically attend the rest of the season, though I suspect Matt will somehow finagle me into going to Park Jefferson or Junction Motor Speedway sometime.

And I am looking forward to the next few weeks. I was hoping that Scott Bloomquist would not win his 600th feature before the Lucas Oil late models pulled into the I-80 pits, but he took care of that last night at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. That doesn’t mean there is a shortage of stories for the Nebraska event. Tim McCreadie has not won a Lucas Oil feature this year, and a repeat of his 2017 SDN win would be very popular.  Last year’s point champion Josh Richards has not won a Lucas Oil feature since the Georgia-Florida Speedweeks in February. Youngsters Hudson O’Neal and Bobby Pierce will put on a great show. Don O’Neal, known now as much as Hudson’s dad as being a former Lucas Oil champion has won at I-80 Speedway, and put together back to back wins in Ohio a few weeks ago. Superman, Jonathan Davenport leads Lucas Oil points, but of late has been racing more like Clark Kent. Will any regional driver other than the Simpson brothers (boo) actually compete with the national drivers? There are 14 Lucas Oil regulars and they will all be on hand, but what other well know drivers will journey to Nebraska?

I am hoping the temperature will be somewhere below 100 for the SDN, but will be there no matter how hot it is. I do hope Thursday night’s show will be run quickly. I have to work on Friday and would like to get some sleep before going in.

Thanks for stopping by and see you at I-80 Speedway this weekend.

 

PPV’s Plus Some Silver Dollar Nationals Thoughts

April 27, 2018 1 comment

There are two Lucas Oil Dirt Late Models shows on PPV this weekend. The Busch 50 from Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois is on Lucas Oil Racing TV tonight at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and is available to yearly subscribers only. Tomorrow night, www.DirtonDirt.com will be showing the St. Louis U-Pick A Part 100 from Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. Modified action on the 1/5th mile track will also be shown. Check out the DOD website for details.

I-80 Speedway promoter Joe Kosiski might think I will be knocking the $90 3 day Silver Dollar National reserved ticket package, apparently the only way to guarantee getting the same reserved seats each night. I am not going to. It is a steep price, but it is the price we have to pay to see one of dirt late model racing’s crown jewel events. So, Matt and I will pay-and hope admission prices won’t go up in the future as $90 is plenty for this retiree.

I would ask several things of Joe, though. First, when Lucas Oil announcer James Essex interviews you on the Saturday night of the Silver Dollar Nationals, DON’T announce an increase in the winner’s share of the purse. 53 is a number long associated with the Kosiski family, so $53,000 for a winner’s share of the purse seems appropriate. Plus, unless the winner’s share is increased to $100,000, I doubt any addition would draw a single car more.

$53,000 should remain the winner’s share every year the track hosts the Silver Dollar Nationals. I would like to see the lower half of the purse beefed up, BUT only if a major sponsor could be found to allow the increase-not coming out of the wallets of fans.

The other thing I would ask is to make sure everyone in the grandstand area has a reserved seat. It angers me a lot when people without reserved seats sit in the grandstand. Last year I watched a redneck foursome move three times when people who had the seats arrived. A sign in front of the grandstands saying “Reserved seats only,” is not going to keep anyone without reserved seats from walking up the grandstand steps. I am not sure how many people actually notice the sign, and those who do tend to ignore it.

What is needed? When we go to the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois, I get a pit pass-the pits are near our back stretch parking spot and I don’t have to walk across the track to get to them. Like every other track, those in the pits at FALS wear a wristband. In this case, it is a plastic wristband and I do not take it off for two days. How about doing the same at the SDN and having people at the bottom of the stairs checking for the wristbands? Perhaps this sounds petty, but someone who paid for reserved seats should NOT have to ask someone who didn’t to move. Yeah, this does irritate the hell out of me.

I am not sure if egos involved would ever allow this, but it would be great if somehow the Silver Dollar Nationals could be co-sanctioned. No, I don’t mean my MLRA and the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series, I mean with Lucas Oil and the World of Outlaws. The WoO Wild West Tour finishes up about the same time as the SDN. Seldom do WoO drivers venture outside their series, but a co-sanctioned event would certainly bring them to Nebraska. I realize I am being greedy wanting all of the best drivers racing in the Cornhusker State, but it would turn a top ten event into a top five show.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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.

 

Silver Dollar Nationals vs. Prairie Dirt Classic-And The Winner Is: Race Fans

August 6, 2017 Leave a comment

I watched some of both nights of the Belleville Nationals. I was disappointed that a legendary event had only 24 cars in the pits. I am not into open wheel racing enough to comment on the obvious difference of opinion between USAC and POWRi, but there were 35 cars at the POWRi show in Peveley, Missouri.

One of last night’s heat races was supposed to start eight cars, started only six, and one car was black flagged for not maintaining a competitive speed. Five cars on the track at Belleville is simply ridiculous.

The grandstands at Belleville seemed full, but the pits certainly weren’t. For shame.

Earlier this week I mentioned I would do a blog on comparing fields at Late Model crown jewel events. I would rank the events as follows:

#1-The World 100 at Eldora.

#2-The Dream at Eldora

#3-The Knoxville Nationals

#4-Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway

#5-Silver Dollar Nationals at I-80 Speedway

#6-USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway

#7-Show Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway

#8-North/South 100 at Florence Speedway

Some might argue about #4-#8, and I admit there is room for argument. I am just going to compare the PDC and the SDN though.

Josh Richards was at the SDN, but not at the PDC. Bobby Pierce was at the PDC but not the SDN. Both have won major events. Richards is a multiple time WoO champion, while Pierce is a multiple time Hell Tour champion. Both are capable of winning any event they enter. I would give a slight nod to Richards and the SDN though as Richards does not make the too aggressive mistakes Pierce does.

Steve Francis was at the SDN, but not at the PDC. Rick Eckert was at the PDC, but not at the SDN. Francis is on the Lucas Oil tour, Eckert races with the World of Outlaws. Eckert has several wins this season, so a slight edge to the Eckert and the PDC.

Hudson O’Neal was at the SDN, Devin Moran was not. Moran was at the PDC, young O’Neal was at home. Both have plenty of potential. Moran does have a national tour win on his resume, so slight edge to Moran and the PDC.

Jimmy Mars was at the SDN, Shane Clanton was not. Shane Clanton was at the PDC, Mars stayed closer to home to race with WISSOTA. Both have big wins and Clanton is a former WoO champion. Mars is on the downhill slope of his career, Clanton is in his prime. Big edge to Clanton and the PDC.

Nebraska locals were at the SDN, Illinois locals were at the PDC. If 12 local Nebraska Late Model drivers were in a feature race with 12 local Illinois Late Model drivers, I believe the top half of the finishers would show far more Illinois drivers than those from the Cornhusker state. So talent wise the PDC comes out ahead of the SDN on local drivers involved, but also on numbers. There were 65 Late Models entered in the PDC, just over 50 in the SDN. To me, the big difference is the number of local drivers entered in each event.

That is just about the quality of the Late Model field. The USMTS Modifieds at the SDN are more talented as a group than the UMP Modifieds at the PDC. The USMTS does not time trial at the SDN and for some unknown to God or man reason, the UMP Modifieds do time trial at the PDC-a big waste of time in which a lot of the grandstands at FALS empty out.

There are multiple racing grooves during the feature races at both the SDN and PDC. Three wide racing is common. Both features are always exciting, and the reason I would give the nod to the PDC is that it is a smaller track and there is absolutely no let up to the action. It is simply insane for 100 laps. Perhaps some of that comes from being so close to the action-at the PDC we are close enough to be pelted with mud flying off cars entering turn three. At the SDN my left knees complains about the 47 steps I climb to my seat.

Anyway, while the PDC gets the nod over the SDN-just my opinion-BOTH are great races and the best back to back racing Late Model Specials period. Now if I could figure out how to post photos on Word Press I would show you a few Matt great overhead photos Matt sent me.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

A Final 1300 Words On The Silver Dollar Nationals

August 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Here are some thoughts from several others regarding the Silver Dollar Nationals a few weeks ago.

 

From Jim Hitzemann:

 

My take is always a little different as I am busy working with explosives and don’t get to watch a whole lot but the 80 lap feature which I did with Jimmy and Glenda Wyman and Jack McKee from the infield grandstand by the scale… I thought that O’Neal was going to pedal it to a victory but Shirley had a different plan and that damage to his car was enough to take the possibility away.  He must have gotten something else fixed when he went in the second time because he was coming late in the race…

 

McCreadie was the class of the field however and I don’t think that Bloomquist would have been able to catch him as it sounded as though he was lifting awful early and just kind of coasting around there after he would his get his half straightaway lead time and again.  Brandon Shepperd’s run from the butt was amazing, he just kept picking them off one by one…He and Richards were coming for a bit but Richards leveled off. Hudson O’Neal is going to be a heck of a shoe once he settles down a little, I’m sure there were several drivers that weren’t thrilled with some of the moves he made and he is lucky that Pearson Jr didn’t put him in the wall harder coming off of 4 when the race was getting to “go time”.   Overall a hell of a race with multiple grooves on the track very race able!!!!  The view from the backstretch amazes me as you see them come off of 2 and it is as when they really start biting they were wanting to head to the outside wall more than normal, which is something that I’m sure was a handful for some of them out there… Not sure but, I would guess that is from the track not slicking off as much as it usually does.

 

Fireworks central is located in the Steve McKee (Imperial Tile) and Al Belt campground on the backstretch.  Always have a fantastic time with them all and they treat me and my guys very well. Tons of people stop by so I get to see a lot of people that I don’t get to see with not going to I-80 much anymore.  I spent Friday night back there after my little bit of explosives that I had to do and agree wholeheartedly with you that it was a my kind of night.  Some of the heats were pretty good but I think not having any features for the USMTS kind of hurt the evening…. I think that if they are going to keep it that way they need to have another class there to run a full show.  Question is, what class would be best for that?   

 

Thursday was a pretty darn good night from what I got to watch but being so hot made it miserable… Don’t know that I have ever sweat that much while doing pyro.  Even standing in lot D at the phone booth setting up CWS or Home Run Derby…brutal

 

I know that I am going to take some crap for my premature explosion during the caution of the USMTS Feature and some things not going off after the Lucas race but, I know what happened now and trust me, that mistake won’t happen again if I can help it…. really embarrassing… almost as bad as causing a red flag for a corner on fire…. “Measure twice and cut once” falls right in line with what I do.  Hopefully everyone liked them and I hope that they have me back to redeem myself.

 

Got to meet Ryan Gustin after the dust all settled early Sunday morning… Very nice and respectful young man there!  He was ecstatic with the win and loves I-80.  He has a driving shoe for the money on that tour. Still don’t understand why no one has put him in a good Late Model to give him another shot.  Didn’t get to really follow him after the show he put on at the SDN a few years back so, I don’t know what the problem is there…but it seems to be a waste of some really smooth talent.

 

Don’t know if any of this will add to what you are doing for a follow up but, that is what I got.  Have a Great weekend!!! Hope all is well with your health wise as well!!!!!

 

 

 

From T-Mac, no, not the racer winner, another T-Mac:

Glad they got the show going on time Saturday.  Thursday and Friday dragged out entirely too long, especially for those of us who had to work Friday morning at 6:30.  An 8:00 start should mean cars are lined up and ready to roll out on the track at 7:59, not 20 minutes later.  I know they make money selling beer and tenderloins but don’t force me stay home and watch it on pay-per-viewer in the recliner where the weather is always perfect, the concessions are cheap and the bathroom is 10 feet away…

 

I really, really wish LOLMS would do away or at least minimize all the courtesy cautions for tires, helmet changes, etc.  It’s an 80-lap race, plan accordingly and run what you bolted on.  Having a great race stopped so some mid-packer or bad decision maker (see Don O’Neal) can change a tire or have a LOLMS official pull out bodywork is very frustrating to say the least.  We discussed this at length and if I ruled the world there would be no courtesy cautions for anyone after the race hits the midway point, no courtesy cautions at all for lapped cars (or about-to-be-lapped cars) and lone ranger rule in the feature for lapped cars.  At this level of the sport I expect to see a great, continuously flowing race, not a series of trophy dashes.  It was also very nice to see some of the more talented (and patient) local drivers rewarded with some respectable showings this weekend.

 

Having said all of that, the SDN is far and away the best weekend of the year for any late model fan.  If you didn’t like it, you need to turn in your fan card.  I don’t think anyone was unhappy to see Tim McCreadie win this race – he’s a very popular working-man kind of guy and he definitely had his car dialed in.  And Sheppard coming from 32nd to a close 2nd – that alone is the best advertisement for coming to the SDN.  Everyone at I-80 really does a great job with this show and it’s surprising how many fans come from a long way away just to see a star-studded show that’s not weighed down with b-mods, hornets and other assorted slow-moving, crash-happy weekly classes.  It does not need any changes, it does not need any extra classes, filler races or other stupid gimmicks.  It does not need any extra field-fillers that just become start-and-parkers or caution magnets and add nothing to the show besides a number.  This show is the cream of the crop on the perfect race track, no other track in the state could even come close to pulling this off.  Give us 3 hours of great racing with the best drivers in the country, awesome fireworks and a fully-stocked concession stand every night and we’ll be very happy to support it for years to come. 

From Anonymous:

Great A-Feature racing Saturday.  Kudos to whoever directed the show Saturday and made the early decision on order of events and on how things were going to be different on this aspect than years before.

I was also going to blog about the quality of fields at major Late Model events, but this post is long enough as is. I will save the quality of fields for another post.

Thanks for stopping by.