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    By Bob Altman


    In this column I am devoting to my trip to Perris Auto Speedway this past November .

    I am writing purely about my trip because I feel it ‘s important for fans to know about this race, and another great speedway , which are fast disappearing .

    I flew to the Ontario , CA airport from Baltimore hoping to catch practice night , Wednesday , I arrived late that afternoon .My hotel the Comfort Inn in Riverside , CA was only 20 minutes from the airport , and only 15 minutes to the track . The practice session was from 6pm to 9pm for the non-wing USAC/ CRA guys , what a great idea to enable the drivers to practice their setups several times and get use to the track surface .

    Upon arriving at the track I noticed it was a huge venue with many concession stands , a very spacious facility with clean modern restrooms , good viewing and seating from anywhere in the grandstand . There were not many people in the grandstand this practice night , but the concessions offered half priced beer and pizza at $3.00 each .

    Perris Auto Speedway is very unique and, definitely one of the top three dirt tracks in the country. It’s a wide big half mile with sweeping turns,that are slightly banked ,with a relatively tacky overall surface that was conducive for good racing all three nights . My tickets cost $80.00 for all 3 nights. The seats were in the reserved section , and were well worth the price as they were 14 rows up .

    I met the announcer Scott Dalioso and the track promoter Mr. Don Kasarian two great people who do an excellent job in their respective positions to make Perris Auto Speedway what it is, one of the most outstanding dirt tracks in the country . The sound system was outstanding with large double box speakers placed throughout the grandstand area , and they played a variety of present day music during down times . This is a point more tracks could learn from in pleasing the crowds during down time.

    On the first night , I met a great family who lived locally , not big on the newly re- elected Governor Jerry Brown but then who is ? They told me a lot about the track, its procedures and all about racing in sunny CA LAND. Everywhere I go I learn from fans; it’s a shame certain other people don’t do the same.

    The next night Thursday was the start of qualifying night one , fifty six cars checked in and was I ever excited to see the action . My friends had flown in and they too enjoyed the action. Constant action all night with plenty of passing and battles to please any race fan. If any accidents occurred they were quickly cleaned off immediately and racing continued .

    Friday ‘s racing was good again with Damian Gardner getting this one and putting on quite a driving exhibition for the win .

    Saturday was also good again, but the track was perhaps a bit too fast making it an easier win for Chris Windom .

    I knew before I left I had made the right choice in going to Perris Auto Speedway instead of the World Finals . I had never been there before , more passing is what I wanted to see , a first class speedway with a first class promotional team . I had heard so many good things from other fans that I knew I had to go. Traveling to California was time consuming, but worth it

    And not really that much more than going to any other race.

    This trip to Perris Auto Speedway is one I highly recommend to each and every fan who enjoys sprint car racing , especially non-wing ; and the costs are reasonable . The travel time to California is long, but the convenience of , hotels, the track , restaurants , sights to see , and the driving time is worth it .

    I know I will be going back to see this great track ,its fans, the promoter , a great announcer ,and superb racing overall for basically at a bargain.

    Till next time fans , this column is for you the force behind the racing who give and dedicate so much to the sport we love .

    Any Comments ,or ideas can be sent to or call me at 443-974-7027 .






    The Knoxville Nationals is not only a race that earn driver’s quite bit of money , but an event to see every year and this year was no different .

    This year Knoxville commemorated it’s 50TH Annual running by the fans selecting what distance or laps to run . It was decided by fans to run a 50 lap race in it’s honor , however made it mandatory to have a fuel stop at the half way point of the race .

    No fan and even some driver’s don’t like fuel stops which is necessary to enable these high powered machines to finish the entire 50 lap event . This slows up the race and it did for 10 MINUTES WORTH LONGER THEN THEY SHOULD HAVE TOOK can make a boring race , and often can change the outcome of a race. It did change maybe the outcome by allowing all teams to take on new tires , adjust cars, and of course add the necessary fuel .

    This writer and many other fans have voiced the opinion THAT NO ADJUSTING OR TWEAKING SHOULD OCCUR during the fuel stop and that only FUEL SHOULD BE ALLOWED . I realize this can be very helpful to teams in there goal to win the Knoxville Nationals. or to finish in a high earning position to overcome the high expense of racing in this race, besides the prestige one gains by even starting in such an event .However this could also change the virtual outcome in who finishes , who doesn’t and other variables can arise .

    Well, the outcome did certainly change as I predicted and fans knew it would happen. I am happy for driver Tim Shaffer who won this race , as he is a class act who some drivers can learn from in dealing with fans . I feel very sorry for Sammy Swindell , as he out drove Donny Schatz around the high speed oval at a torrid pace through traffic and making great moves to be the actual winner of this prestigious race . But behold the tire problem struck again as it had during the week of racing before and during the nationals week . My opinion is that this is something that has to looked at for safety of the drivers , how much did the actual speed of these cars play into these blowouts , more R&D , WHY this occurred and why more this year then others , what is the right tire pressure for these tires and more questions have risen in this writer’s mind .

    But when all was complete at Knoxville , it was a great race for the winged cars that are too locked down too often for good racing .More often we usually see the winners coming from the first two rows in winged racing . I do admire these drivers for there abilities at such a high rate of speed and more passing or more slide jobs that are now the normal form of passing .

    The best thing that happened was that Tim Shaffer did pass Donny Schatz for the win after Sammy Swindell had to leave the race for the future of the KnoxvilleNationals . Yes , this race may have given a new breath of life to Knoxville in bringing back fans for the actual race itself if Tim Shaffer had not won this race .

    We want all fans or even first time attendees leaving there with a rewarding experience of the racing , and the actual events of the week long atmosphere of Knoxville . Sure they won’t forget all that goes on in the town , or The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, but the racing itself is always planted more in ones memory then any other event that took place .

    At the present time we need to create more fans , provide a show that is fast moving more passing , not one that can totally bore people and not make them want to return to Knoxville or sprint car racing in general . All shows are a reflection on our great sport, not just some which may have been better then others. Yes , proposals are out there to cure this continuing problem but for now MOVE THE SHOW QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE , NO FUEL STOPS , NO TWEAKING , PROVIDE A TIRE THAT WILL LAST AND NOT HAVE TO BE REPLACED AT 25 LAPS . Which in turn will create excitement , more returning fans , higher paying purses for car owners and more in the way of a future for sprint car racing in general . Just think one minute what would have happened if the 50th Annual Knoxville Nationals had gone now stop!!! Without a fuel stop?

    My concerns are for the betterment of the sport and our loyal fans who pay week in and week out to enjoy a show not a delay or a stop in the action . I hope this article generates some thought and not just solely that of personal praise or gain of how great the nationals were . You can contact me at or 443 -974 -7027, Thank you , Bob Altman


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