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    Runnin' the High Groove

    by Paul Kuyawa

      

      

    Runnin’the High Groove

    By Paul Kuyawa Jr.

    Some of you young guys may not remember his name I am hoping most will, I know do. His voice presented the names of race car drivers I still consider heroes. His voice was on the radio on Saturday mornings. He was every where in the pit area, in the tower announcing races and on the track interviewing the evenings winners. He was true professional in the sport of auto racing. He always had a story to entertain the race fans. He was the voice of the Wilmot. WI Speedway, Waukegan Speedway and the Lake Geneva Raceway. I am sure there were other race tracks he announced at it were these three my Dad and I went to most. Sadly we lost the area’s first professional announcers that Wisconsin and Illinois had. Jack Biddison passed away August 4, 2012. Known as “Jack at Trackside” Biddison was a sprint car racer turned announcer and public relations master. Jack was inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Hall of Fame in 2010 and was one of the founders of the Midwest Vintage Race Car Club. Biddison was 88 years old having spent many of those years announcing at many of southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois race tracks. Biddison also had his own radio show in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Jack at Trackside, his radio show was broadcast on WLIP in Kenosha, WI making the show a perfect promotional tool for area tracks. Jack loved getting the race fans involved with the program. One of his best lines was when Biddison would ask “who’s here from Wisconsin followed by who’s here from Illinois”. With the Wilmot Raceway being located virtually on the Wisconsin, Illinois state line this always fired up the fans to see who was most vocal. Jack was a master announcer always cruising the pit area before each race to see what was new with any of the drivers. He then knew just the right time to inform the fans about the latest news in the driver’s lives. There was also one more phrase Mr. Biddison used as he signed off following the completion of the evening’s events. Biddison would remind race fans on the way home “that you don’t have to drive fast to enjoy fast driving”. Rest in peace Jack you entertained race fans for years especially a six year old young boy and his Dad at the old Waukegan Speedway. It’s been 46 years since I first heard his voice describing the racing action. Thanks Jack for the memories.

    Biddison’s family also endured another loss only two following Jack’s passing, Nadine Biddison, Jack’s wife of 53 years passed away. It is said that when loved one passes away their life long partner just dies of a broken heart. Think about it, I know my Mom gave up when my Dad died. Our prayers are with the Biddison family.

    As long as we are on the subject of modified racing I understand my old “ride” has been sold. My good friend and brother John Surges had let me drive his Paul Feldner modified at many area tracks including the Milwaukee mile. John sold the car to the Safro’s out of Milwaukee who go on to sell the car to another good friend of mine, Howie Gleason. Why would Howie want this car? For the same reason a lot of race cars are restored. “They were a car I watched when I was a kid, my dad drove it, I love the modifieds all are valid reasons for owning an old piece of Wisconsin short track racing”. My old ride now belongs to Gleason. Howie’s Dad, Buzz Gleason drove this car many years ago and Gleason wanted it back. After a little wheelin’ and dealin’ Howie has his Dad’s car back. I am sure it will be blue with a number 53 proudly painted on its side. While Surges would have loved to have the car back he was back breathing when I told him that Gleason was the man to take care of the first modified him restored and kept me driving. Now I have bother Howie into driving his race car and I will be after Gleason to bring his new treasure out to some of the Vintage Modified Stock Car events all will be good. Howie I will be after you to let us see your Dad’s car.

    Let the horns sound, all hail the mighty Bill Balog now four time IRA Champion. As I write this you have proved yourself a true champion. Your laid back and don’t toot your own horn. If you’re an IRA fan you know the year 2012 will without a doubt go down as the year of Super Bill Balog. Balog has quietly decimated the competition with 18 wins as of last week. A second row starting position at the Filskov race would have the guys contemplating giving this guy the winners check and saving their equipment. Billy got out the broom having a rare clean sweep. This dude has something figured out. It’s a total package, great driver, good car Maxim, heavy hitting Gleason/Shaver and Parker engine, good crew, and plenty of that green stuff that sprint cars like to swallow. Eighteen wins going into the Dick Witt Memorial. One more chance to derail the 17B express. I know there are naysayers that think he has the dreaded TC that being traction control. I’ll go on record that I don’t think the 17B is fudging the rules. They have figured out what this Goodyear tire likes and they are able to hook that sucker up just a little better than anyone else. IRA officials took the top three fastest cars MSD boxes earlier this year and found them legal. The boxes belonged to Balog, Reinke and Kertscher. As Judge Joe Brown would say NOT GUILTY! Billy I need a shirt it hit the bleach and it’s no longer wearable.

    Now if it hadn’t been for Balog the big winner for 2012 would have been everyones favorite Mike Kertscher. While Mike may have finished behind Balog more than once this guy has proven that he can push that right pedal as hard as anyone. He has put Capt. Jim’s Yacht Sales J&J/Kistler sprinter upfront on more than several occasions. Mike has three IRA wins in 2012 including the prestigious Jerry Richert Memorial at Cedar Lake. This win banked Mike and the Captain 5 large. There were some pretty stout gassers the Mike had to beat. They included everyone favorite Aussie Brooke Tatnell, Scott Winters, Knoxville Nationals Feature winner Justin Henderson, Mark Dobmeier and young lead foot Davey Haskin, plus Balog and Mike Reinke. Kertch did not back into this one he earned it. Guys face it we need Mike and Captain Jim’s race car. It is a first class operation and valuable asset at our races. Mike and the Captain are also the Wilmot Raceway champions for 2012. Not bad for a team that did not race full time. I know the public opinion poll ranks Mike somewhere between Obama and Romney, who cares, face the fact this cat can flat drive a race car. There’s another driver that has a run in now and again let’s see if I can remember his name…… ah yes Slammin’ Sammy. Captain Jim please keep your team running up front you have a great team, car, driver, mostly your one heck of a car owner.

    Mike Reinke has turned in a solid season aboard Scott Cowman’s Maxim/WESMAR. Mike’s lone win came at Cedar Lake, WI Speedway. Consistency has the Howards Grove driver second in the IRA standings unable to touch Balog. Mike ran second at the Beaver Dam Raceway last night. Second isn’t bad I know Mike wants that crown bad. Next year Mike and Scott? Antioch, IL super lead foot Tommy Sexton scored the only other win for the local racers as he put the Timmy Anderson owned Rich Stefka wrenched MAXIM/ XXX/Fisher powered racer in victory lane at the Wilmot Raceway. Tommy had a rough year starting with his hideous flip at the Wilmot USAC show. The team did show shots of brilliance but wrong place at wrong time did in the 83. This team also suffered a major set back when someone didn’t see their huge rig turning in a driveway up north. They did nail down a third place at the Beaver Dam Raceway last night a good finish for this group of good guys they had tough year. Keep your head up guys next year will be better. This wreck totaled Team Fore-Play’s truck and trailer. Kenny Illes from Carriage Auto Body came to the rescue and loaded the 83 bunch his trailer for the remainder of the season.

    Thanks to Sexton team and Mock team for the rides to Plymouth, we would have made it without your kindness.

    Keep the Biddison family in your prayers Jack did more for auto racing than most will know. That’s all for now were at rthg@wi.rr.com

     

     

     

    Runnin’ the High Groove

    By Paul Kuyawa

    We’ll call this one “Full Moon at Plymouth”. Let’s just say over the many years I have visited the adorable Sheboygan County Fair Park, when the moon glows full and bright somethin’ bad is gonna happen. It all started years ago when Raymond Hensley destroyed Larry Millers Maxim and Travis Whitney balled up Mike Frost’s Schnee racer. You’ll need a gray hair or too to remember these names. Ever since a full moon and Plymouth equal one hell of an entertaining race program. Last Saturday night the same results. For your reading pleasure here are some of our personal best.

    We were fortunate to have hitched a ride with former driver now IRA official Kevin Spease, thanks Kevin. Supper was provided for us courtesy of IRA prez and guru Steve Sinclair, he is also our connection for entry to the races. Thanks for always extending us entry to the IRA races. Dana and I are still talking about it. Again Steve thanks.

    Our first and foremost event happens when they ladies at the pit gate slap those fine complementary bracelets on us. From there we can be meek and mild race fans or we can participate or, and this is the neat thing we can do both. Last night we chose to do both. After watching good heat races, the battle between Bill Wirth and Phillip Mock was classic short track racing good job guys, we couldn’t wait for the main events.

    360 B-main action was also most entertaining. What caught my eye was a blue number 4 sprint car. Not really knowing this driver his car his driving reminded me of good friend, Carmen Manzardo who thrilled us for years with his on and sometimes off the track antics. Turns out the number four belongs to law enforcement officer Paul Pokorski. Pokorski and his blue and yellow sprinter thrilled this writer with his drive into the transfer spot to the 360 A-main. I’m tellin ya’ this dude was in a transfer spot fell back to eighth and calmly drove past the two drivers in his way to capture a starting spot in the A-main. Paul your car caught my attention, your driving ability kept my attention. It isn’t often if ever I write about the driver picking up the last transfer position but Saturday night you brought back many pleasant memories by not giving up and staying up on the wheel and making the feature. Kindly let me know what jurisdiction your with, I would not want a high speed chase with such a determined wheelman.

    Here we go it’s time for the IRA 410 show. Things got off to a full moon start as Raymond Hensley once again made the highlight reels running over Bill Wirth and dumping Donny Scroff’s racer on its side on lap seven. Things remained relatively calm with some excellent racing. Dave Uttech had pole vaulted to the lead followed closely by cousin Scott Uttech. Just when it appeared it may be an Uttech family victory along came quick timer and tenth place starter Mike Kertscher aboard Captain Jim’s Yacht Sales sprint car to spoil the family feud. Mikey passed both Uttech’s to take the lead and check out on the field. Twelfth starting Bill Balog moved into second and quickly was making things interesting until the white flag lap. Coming off the fourth turn Kertscher and the lapped car of front row starting Ty Bartz made contact with Bartz getting the short end of things ending up in the cyclone fence at Plymouth.

    Now I have heard the boo-birds all week about what happened between Mike and Ty. First all of Internet geniuses please go through the video frame by frame and as you get to frame 16 go through it slowly and many times you will see Mike’s car get upset and get turned right smack dab in the middle of three and four. It looks as though there was a slight hole there and he hit just right with the right rear as it does it turns him briefly towards the front wall. Mike was able correct his car and get it straight. Mind you at this point Kertscher was leading with Bill Balog running not to far behind. “I was thinking Ty knew I was passing him again and may have lifted just for a second. That’s what it would have taken. There is NO way I would have punted a lapped car while leading the race. I was racing for two thousand dollars and he was going for two hundred. I know there are people that don’t care for me some are jealous of my relationship with Captain Jim. Others probably because we’ve been running pretty well. If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I trusted Ty. All I can say is that it was unintentional and I am truly sorry the race ended up finishing under the controversy,” Kertscher said.

    We were there and at times right in the middle of the bitchin’ following the crash. There were people complaining about Mike. How can someone that races there own race cars on the nights directly opposite when the IRA races even know what happens at an IRA show . They were complaining loudest, Dana quieted down most. Gentlemen if your racing your cars at opposite tracks on the same night as the IRA races how can you tell is any drivers are guilty of rough driving. I know how, your friends tell you or you read about on the Internet. I call this school yard gossip, no more no less. It’s kinda like the old expression, the checks in the mail. If Mike has a talking to coming I am told officials will take care of things. For you rumor believers as of Sunday night he was NOT suspended!

    That’s all for this incident, you nameless jockstraps that love to bash people under your screen name, I mean spineless, name please do the same. To the man Old Racer, send me an e-mail I like your views.

    Some crew and drivers sure don’t know how to act following an incident. It is a good thing Steve Sinclair has his pit-bull, Kim Mock, to keep order. This is a compliment not a slam. Mr. Mock kept the angry crew from getting out of hand. Kim takes care of business when it needs to be done. For those of you that don’t know Mock, he is the unofficial IRA enforcer when trouble arises. I worked with Kim for years and know just how tough he is. He is the only dude I know that can put a beer truck transmission in by himself and no fancy transmission jack. Don’t let the gray hair fool you Kim is one tough person. He pulled steel out of Gary, IN where you had to be mean. Kim is also one of the nicest guys I have met in racing, just don’t piss him off and cross the line if you do all bets are off as he will kick your ass. Much like a pit bull once he gets a hold of you its over. Only a select few will remember Buster’s Pappy’s Pizza Parlor and Punching Emporium.

    Between Balog and Kertscher they are the two fastest cars and drivers that there are right now competing with the IRA consistently. Yes there are some guys knocking on the door, the combinations of Cowman/Reinke, Nietzel/Lemanski, Kristan/Robinson, the Mock organization is getting there as is the 53 of Bill Wirth and family, both Uttech cars are running real good..I drove Bill Wirth’s kart to a convincing win at Dousman during one of there anniversary events many years ago and I keep trying to get him to at least let me wheel pack with the 53. Hey Bill I am undefeated in your equipment! Bill and his Dad are getting it together and I found out a couple ex-racers have had their hand in Billy’s success. Smokin’ Joe Symoens and Mike Stefka have be helping Bill and his Dad. They have stumbled on something Bill likes and their efforts have been showing with up front runs. I am told he led the IRA show at Beaver Dam until a late caution let the money teams beat him. Bill keep Stefka and Symoens around they will make you faster. Load the trailer full of Geritol and the products to keep them “regular” and you should be fine.

    DO NOT forget the co-sanctioned IRA/ All Star Circuit of Champions show at Wilmot July 21, 2012. This promises to be a fun, be there.

    Hoping to be able to get to the beautiful Kalamazoo Speedway July 14 for the Must See Xtreme Sprint Car Show. If you’ve never been there you owe it to your self for a night of unbelievable speed.

    No longer wishing to bring up the Paymouth incident.

    You can reach us at rthg@wi.rr.com. God Bless and we will see you at the races.

    Paul

     

     

     

    Runnin’ the High Groove

    By Paul Kuyawa

    It’s been a month or so since the last column here is what we have been to. On June 9 Dana and I headed towards Indianapolis for a Must See Extreme Sprint Series race at Lucas Raceway Park. One word describes this place and it is WOW! This place knows how to take care of people. From the moment we arrived until the time we left we were treated like royalty. While others toiled in 90 degree Indiana heat we sat comfortably in the air conditioned press box. An absolute treat for someone from the short tracks of Wisconsin a big thank you to Scott Smith for extending us all the hospitality. Something that I noticed that isn’t always at a short track. They had safety workers postioned in firefighting gear ready to assist any unfortunate driver. We had been blessed to have the Midwest Safety Team at most IRA sprint shows, but with Gil and Donna Radtke retiring I noticed only Scott there in his familiar orange firesuit ready to assistance at a moments notice this past weekend at the Wilmot Raceway. The “safety” feature that really blew me away was the fact the Lucas Raceway Park had a med-flight helicopter land in the infield and stay for the races. I know this is cost prohibitive for most if not all short tracks but it was way cool to see. I can proudly say it was not needed.

    Someone needs to figure out how to beat the number 50m of Brian Gerster who decimated the Must See field with. This small team has been dominate wherever they unload. I am told it is a rather old car but with a stout MOPAR power plant. Owned by Dick Myers backed by RAM Engineering Gerster has made the Must See series his own playground. This team doesn’t run the entire schedule and I think that is a relief for some of the Must See competitors. Gerster swept the program atLucas Raceway Park. He was a full seven miles an hour faster than the already fast Must See Sprint guys in qualifying.

    Jason Blonde pounded the first turn concrete at LRP, he was fortunate to have hit the safer barrier in turn one, even though it stung just the same. Blonde had a wing drop down in the back during hot laps. Eventually the added pressure on the wing was too much and it simply blew apart sending him helplessly into the fence. Jason was taken to the hospital complaining of back injuries and did not compete the following weekend. I am sure Don and Suellen Wilshe will have a new stead ready as soon as Blonde is up to it.

    Jason Cox won the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Sprint Series at the Toledo, Ohio Speedway last weekend. Jason had quick time and simply pulled away from a star studded field aboard Dick and Jane Fieler’s Hurricane chassied sprint car.

    Troy DeCaire bested the Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series race at Baer Field Speedway in Fort Wayne Indiana Saturday driving the Swanson Racing Engine backed number 7 sprinter driven for many seasons by champion Tim Cox.

    Back home the IRA was racing at the Oshkosh, WI Speedzone this past Friday night. Once again Bill Balog showed his dominance as he bested the IRA for his sixth A-main win with the Bumper to Bumper Outlaw Sprints. With one race being cancelled due to rain Balog has won 6 out of 11 events. He’s batting over .500 and looking to continue his dominance at the Sheboygan County Fair Park in Plymouth,WI this coming weekend June 30th. This show will feature both IRA and MSA sprint cars. A sprint car racing fans dream, two classes of sprinters on the same card.

    At the Wilmot Raceway this past Saturday it was the USAC National Sprint Cars doing battle. Twenty two sprints signed in. Local racers removing their wings were Tommy Sexton, Matt Vandervere, Craig Lager and Ryan Irwin. Sexton, I’m sure would have rather stayed home as he made the highlight film reels with a massive turn one crash on the first lap of his heat race. Tommy barrel rolled Timmy Anderson’s racer a good 7 or 8 times. Sexton was transported to the hospital for observation and released the same night. I talked to Sexton the following day and while he admitted to moving a little slow he was surprised he wasn’t “all that sore”. Crew chief Rich Stefka and crew will be burning the midnight oil to get another racer ready Sexton for this weekend. Vandervere also brought out a red when he dumped his mount in turn two only to be collected by second place running Dave Darland. Darland, a champion in all three national USAC divisions was bitterly disappointed as he was closing on leader second generation racer Kevin Thomas Jr.

    Good racing throughout the pack saw several well place slide jobs with drivers swapping positions especially in turns one and two. One slide job gone wrong was that of Robert Ballou versus Hunter Schuerenberg. We all have heard the old saying two objects can not occupy the same place at the same time, I was no science wiz but I can tell you same rule applies. Ballou thought he had Schurenburg cleared and didn’t, Schuerenberg wasn’t conceding the position and the above rule came to be with Schuerenberg getting some unneeded air time. Blowing off the ambulance ride Hunter stopped by Ballou’s car on his way back to the pits. While we couldn’t quite be sure of what was said I’m sure Hunter said something about Robert’s mother then telling him to perform an impossible sex act on himself. Schuerenburg was solidly in the top five. Red flag conditions for the Vandervere mess allowed Jon Stanbrough to close up on the young Thomas eventually getting past Thomas and sailing to victory. Following Thomas was Shane Cottle filling in for Brian Clauson who was racing at an Indy Lights race in Iowa. Rounding out the top five were defending champion Levi Jones and Damion Gardner.

    Here are a few notes from Wilmot’s USAC show: Winner Jon Stranbrough is in his first season aboard the Leer Motorsports sprinter 21x. Stanbrough had many successful seasons aboard the Fox Brothers number 56 racer. Stanbrough is the USAC’s point leader when talking with the Leer’s prior to the races they indicated they plan on running for the USAC title and they, like most, hate the Chicago traffic and all the road construction in the area. They finished third at Sun Prairie on Sunday so I’m sure the extra cash and trophy made the long ride home to Indiana a little more pleasurable.

    National USAC Midget point leader Darren Hagan was at Wilmot driving the Hoffman Racing number 69. While leading his heat Darren popped a u-joint giving his Rob Hoffman led crew a lot of work to do before the feature. They replaced the u-joint and housing, driveline, and rear end assembly prior to the A-main. The work was worth it a Hagan finished seventh.

    Multiple USAC champions in attendance were Jerry Coons Jr. and Dave Darland e both have won USAC’s Triple Crown which is champion in the Silver Crown cars National Sprint and Midget cars throughout their career. Damion Gardner is a past Chili Bowl Winner, Shane Cottle has tamed the wild Little 500 asphalt classic. Another Little 500 winner Chris Windom finished sixth at Wilmot. The names Thomas and Gurley should ring a bell or two if, like me, you suffer from gray hair. Kevin Thomas Jr. is son of Indiana superstar Kevin Thomas. This writer met the elder Thomas when he was driving a beautiful number 2J Adkins and McQueen racer out of Indy. Good friend Rick Becker still owns one of Adkins and McQueen sprinters. Those were the cars to have if you wanted to go fast with USAC and in Indiana in the mid eighties. Looks like Thomas Jr. is a chip off the block leading a good portion of the USAC Wilmot race. Chris Gurley shares the last name of former drivers Van and Chris Gurley. Once again this writer is dating himself but I watched the Gurley’s race in the late eighties and nineties at the now defunct Warsaw Indiana Speedway. Chris proudly wears the family auto dealership names on his sprinter Gurley ran ninth. Levi Jones has an incredible five USAC sprint car championships to his credit was a Wilmot top fiver aboard Tony Stewart’s Chevy backed entry. CJ Leary son of USAC veteran Chuck Leary ran the family car into the top ten at Wilmot. Tracy Hines a Silver Crown and Sprint Car titlist finished a disappointing seventeenth.

    That’s all for now, we are trying to find a ride to Plymouth this weekend for the IRA/MSA sprint car race. God Bless and we will see you at the races.

     

     

    Runnin´ The High Groove

    By: Paul Kuyawa

    Well it’s here and gone another Little 500 is in the books. Many obstacles were jumped through to get

    to Anderson Indiana. The family truckster dropped a tire rod on the way home from Wilmot.

    Being too cheap for a tow we drove with right front steering only. That’s how the asphalt boys do it

    right? Contact lenses to decided to tear and needed to be replaced. One day before we left my

    computer blew up and its still in the shop I’m borrowing Dana’s. We were forced to cut the trip

    to just two days but Dana and I had a blast just the same.

    First and foremost I need to thank Rick Dawson and the employees at the track for their

    hospitality. As always we were made to feel at home thanks Rick.

    Friday was bump day what could be called the gutsiest move of the weekend Canadian Ryan Litt

    pulled his already qualified car out of the race an attempt to improve his starting position. It

    worked as Litt starting 23rd in the Little 500 to starting 16th. Had Litt’s time come on pole day it he

    would have been starting the Little 500 from the pole position. Litt will be chasing Auto Value Sprint

    Series points aboard the Dowker number 42 and will be using his number 07 in Must See events

    Young Kyle Feeny buimped Dave Baumgartner. Baumgartner returned and bumped Jim Sheets

    Sheets quickly bumped his way back in the field. Chris Neunschwander gave car owner Ron

    Kohler a 75th birthday present by putting Kholers number 10 sprint car solidly in the field.

    Jason Cox suffered stripped gear on the Magneto while being pushed off for final warm ups. Dad and

    outstanding driver Tim Cox quickly diagnosed and fixed the problems allowing the Dick Fieler owned

    sprinter to start the race,

    Front row starter Aaron Pierce added a clutch to his sprinter this allowed him to keep his Sam Pierce

    Chevrolet to keep running during a pit stop and not having to wait for a push truck. Pierce also added a

    Indy car style jack to help hasten pit stops. It worked well until a flat tire dropped him from contention

    with less than 150 laps to go.

    Jacob Wilson had a plan and that was to avoid the carnage while working his way to the front. He was

    doing just that running as high as fifth in his Wilson Brother Racer until being caught up in a tangle not of his doing. Had he been there at the end

    Jacob would have been a contender. “ I was kinda crusing and 3 of them got together in front of me. I thought I had miss them but someone

    rolled down the track in front of me I had nowhere to go and road over someones wheel breaking the front end. Too bad we had a great

    racecar.”, Jacob said.

    Billy Wease took the rookie of the year honors Wease started at 11th finishing runner up position in

    Jerry Powells Sprinter, the run was worth in an extra one thousand dollars Wease who is a veteran but

    competing in his first Little 500.

    Brian Gerster, the fastest man of the Bristol Speedway, was voted most improved. Gerster started

    29th and finished 3rd at the Little 500.

    Front row starter and early leader Jojo Helberg was awarded the races hard luck award. Jojo

    took off at the drop of the green and was simply cruising opening up huge leads at will. Helberg was

    lapping a back marker which moved up into his lane taking him out. The hard luck award was worth five

    hundred dollars to Helberg. Jojo led the first 121 laps until the incident involving Shauna Hogg.

    Veteran Brian Tyler started 15th and quietly moved his way onto the lead scoring his second Little 500

    into his career. Tyler driving for Larry Contos won by over one lap he lead the final 158 circuts.

    Wease finished a strong second one lap down into his first Little 500. Wease is supposed to

    follow the entire Must See circuit while driving for Jerry Powells.

    Gerster moved up from 29th to 3rd position in the Davis Dash Gerster Sprinter. Gerster pilots the

    RAM Racing 50m for the winged shows and is a threat to win wherever he shows up at.

    Pole sitter Tony Hunt from California suffered an early exit from the Little 500. His night ended

    after 113 laps with mechanical issues.

    Of the 500 laps 151 were run under caution there were 14 caution flags in all. Rick Dawson

    safety crew doing a superior job making the caution laps as short as possible.

    After bump day prior to heading to Gas City for a Friday night show we decided to take a dip in

    the pool at our hotel. All was fine until attempting to use the elevator. It seems the only non carpeted

    area was in front of the elevator. As Danatried to get the elevator she slipped on the wet floor severely

    spraining her wrist instead of going to Gas City we ended up in the emergency room in Anderson

    Indiana. Now all we need is to find a good ambulance chasing lawyer. The fall ended up with Dana being

    bandaged up and in a sling.

    A very strange twist of fate track owner Rick Dawson also saw hospital time on the Friday before

    the Little 500. Seems Rick tripped out of his house breaking his elbow. Rick and Dana both look like a set

    of book ends with both their left arms in a sling.

    Only 360 days till the 2013 version of the Little 500.

    Tommy Sexton Jr.r captured the most recent IRA show at Wilmot. Mike Kertscher finally broke out of

    the brides maid role and won his first race of 2012 in Francis Creek.

    Were taking a week off as Dana’s graduation I’m proud of you baby.

    See you at the races.

    God Bless,

    Paul Kuyawa

     

     

     

    Runnin’ the High Groove


    Sometimes you need a good kick to the buttocal area to get things back in the proper order. This writer received one of these. I took it with constructive criticism and look for it to help me out. With me being the kickee I do thank the kicker.

    This Sunday IS MOTHERS DAY guys. I know there is a an IRA sprint show on Saturday so do your shopping early to avoid to see just how far a non-lubricated drag can be inserted into certain part of the body (ouch).

    Next on the Mothers Day is Mike Babicz’s “Lets Go Racing” car show at the Lynch Chevrolet Super Store in Burlington, Wisconsin on Saturday May 12th. Babicz has been putting on this show for years; it seems to have found a home at the beautiful Lynch dealership. Mike expects sprint cars, late models, drag racers, midgets, sportsman, custom cars, and of course a good contingent of vintage cars from John Surges’ Vintage Modified Stock Car Club. The event should be in full swing by 10:00am.

    Finally opening night of the sprint car season in the upper-Midwest. The Kenosha County Raceway opened its gates once again since 1973. I do believe this writer has been going ever since through good and bad the race track located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds is home. For the last two seasons my daughter has been coming with dad also getting her first racing fix for 2012.

    Typical spring Wisconsin weather was on tap overcast and in the 50’s. After getting a call from top wrench spinner Kelly Speace that there was a good field of sprinters pit side Dana and I fired up the family truckster and headed for yet another Wilmot Raceway season opener. Season openers always bring out some of the finest looking cars you’ll see all year. It seemed the nicest sprint cars carried the Rhey Graphics decal on them. Todd Rhey is a good friend as well as an excellent artist. If your looking for anything to be lettered be it race cars, company trucks or any type of signage you’ll find him at Rhey Graphics.com.

    So it’s race time. For the most part the sprint car heats were fairly uneventful. Terrific Tommy Sexton took his heat by a straightaway, BK Brian Kristan won by a half a track only to have his racer catch fire on the cool down lap. BK bailed out on fire up to the knees looking for the fire crew. “I knew I could be in trouble when I remembered that Gil and his Midwest Safety crew were not there. Finally they put me out and the car out”, Kristan said. It was discovered that that the fuel line that runs to the engine had come loose. We all breathed a sigh of relief that it turned out to be minor. Kristan’s crew made the necessary repairs in time for the A-main.


    Come feature time the top dogs were lined up all together. Sexton had the poll. Dave Uttech shared the front with Sexton. BK was back a row. Mike Kertscher was back in the fourth row. Sexton was shot out of a cannon at the drop of the green and just kept stretching his lead as the race went on. Uttech and Kristan had a terrific battle for second for most of the race, with Kertscher piloting his Captain Jim’s racer toward the front. A Jeremy Schultz flip erased Sexton’s lead and bunched everyone up for the finish. Sexton again was a rocket leading handily. Kertscher was able to get around Kristan and Uttech for second and set sail for Sexton. Kertscher got to three car lengths at the checkers as Terrific Tommy Sexton had this under his control. Sexton was able to run his 83D sprinter anywhere on the track he wanted. Sexton’s crew chief, Rich Stefka, told this writer that the car was going to be fast. I think he underestimated himself the 83D was a rocket ship as no one really got close to Sexton all night.


    I hope he kept that set up in his note book as it worked great. Kertscher was second Kristan was third and Uttech fourth that is all the I saw as the PA in the pits was a little on the silent side.

    A plus for safety a Wilmot it looks like they put up another traffic light coming out of the fourth corner. I applaud any extra safety features.

    On safety draw back is that he Midwest Safety team is going to be sorely missed and we all knew it. It was the first thing Brian Kristan said after exiting his flame filled sprinter. Gil, Donna and your entire crew kept everyone safe for years. Racers with the IRA and any track you covered will be hard pressed to even come close to putting together such a top notch safety crew. You guys were the best, THANK YOU for keeping everyone safe fore all your years of service. I am proud to call you friends.

    The track at Wilmot was very good all night. The place stayed good and moist all night. I judge a track by when I put on my Donald Dodd approved “geek” goggles. I could have almost got by all night only needing the buy feature time. Great job with the track guys please try to get it that way again this week.


    This coming Saturday night May 12 the IRA sprint cars will be the headliner. This promises to be another good event. Remember to get there early and support our home track the Wilmot Raceway.


    Walking around seeming a little out of place was asphalt sprint car superstar Tim Cox. Tim, like us just couldn’t stay away from opening night. Tim has put his helmet on the only temporally to focus on getting his son Jason going. And going he is, Jason was super fast in Florida setting a new track record at over 130 miles per hour at Pensacola Florida in a winged sprint car. After witnessing the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Cars at Salem last year I’ll never be the same. The cats are flat flying.


    We are only a few weeks away from the nation’s biggest and most prestigious pavement sprint car race in the country. That being the Pay Less Super Marker Little 500 at the Anderson, Indiana Speedway. This race is quite the spectacle. See it once and you’re hooked for life. This race typically draws the best of the best pavement wheelmen. Don’t miss it activities begin May 23rd with the Little 500 going off on Saturday May 26.


    That’s all for now see you at Wilmot Saturday May 12 and don’t forget Mothers Day on Sunday the 13th.

     

     

     

    Winter in Wisconsin sucks, but its home. If you can put up with some cold the spring, summer and fall are simply wonderful. I have been in a self imposed hibernation for the most part of the winter. It was a nice to get a phone call from one of the countries best asphalt pilots, Tim Cox.

    After last years Little 500 Tim’s Dad, Roger, adopted my daughter Dana it’s been a great relationship since. Tim is not real sure of his plans at this time. He will be making sure his son Jason Cox is running up front in Dick Fieler’s sprinters as of right now. Plans for Jason and Mr. Fieler are to run all the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series races and fill in with HOSS and Auto Value races when they are available. This team is in its second year together and both are happy with the arraignment. It is very rare for someone to give two complete cars, truck trailer and all the goodies it takes to go race., Mr. Fieler has done this for Jason and Jason is making the most of it. I had the chance to talk with Mr. Fieler quite a bit last year as Dana and I escaped Kenosha and wound up at the Cox compound. This gentleman made us feel right at home never making mention of his investment in Jason, rather how happy he was Jason was driving for him. He realized Jason was short on laps but was showing such improvement at every race and that he couldn’t wait for the next race. We went to Salem with Tim and the family Dick flew into Indiana just to watch Jason at Salem. He was genuinely happy with a fourth place finish. “I know Jason has the talent to be one of the best. I’m pleased that Jason and his Dad are taking such good care of my equipment”. This is a true car owner that loves racing our sport could sure use more owners like Dick Fieler.

    A few notes from Tim, “Jason ran great in Florida and that made the car owner very happy. Two thirds for his first trip south certainly opened everyone’s eyes. I was told Jason was the fastest car there”.

    They are in the process of rebuilding cars with the trip south Tim told me he me “we really have not had winter to relax we have been racing and rebuilding race cars”. We will take a trip to the Cox shop soon and have more information as soon as possible.

    While Tim is unsure about his racing plans someone please offer this veteran wheelman a car to drive and he will put it up front. Tim takes care of equipment is a true gentleman driver and would be an instant asset to any racing team. Hire this guy quick.

    As April arrives so does the long awaited racing season. While there are several real good races coming up at some of our local tracks the one Dana and I have been waiting for is the Pay Less Supermarket Little 500 at Rick Dawson’ s Anderson, IN Speedway. Those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed this spectacular event cannot write enough good about the event. Traditional Sprint

    Cars starting three wide on a high banked quarter mile and going 500 circuits is a sight that you have to see to believe. If you’re near Anderson Indiana over the Memorial Day weekend do stop in and witness this most amazing race. See it once and you will be hooked. This is one of those races that as soon as it is over it leaves you counting the days until next year’s race.

    Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series kicks off their season on April 13 at Five Flags Speedway in Florida. The following night the winged asphalt pilots will take on the Mobile Int. Speedway in Alabama. It’s then back to the Midwest for a show at Winchester followed by the festivities of the Little 500 week in Anderson Indiana starting on May 23rd with the Must See 60 winged race. The rest of the week the wings come off for qualifying and the Little 500. Jim Hanks, leader of the Must See series has his boys hitting the highway this year. In addition to the Midwest shows the group puts on the winged sprinters will be making three trips to the state of New York with two shows at Oswego, home of the Supermodifieds. Check out the entire Must See goings on at their web- site mustseeracing.com. All the news about the new Must See Supermodified series as well as information about when the Must See shows will be televised.

    On the dirt side of things and closer to home the Interstate Racing Association will open their 2012 season at the 141 Speedway in Francis Creek, Wisconsin on April 21. Beaver Dam Raceway is next on the schedule April 28 with the Wilmot Raceway hosting the IRA on Saturday night May 12. Wilmot has five IRA shows and Beaver Dam is on board for four IRA events and Plymouth has signed on for three IRA races. “With the way the economy is and now the insane gas prices I’m glad we cut the traveling down”, said Steve Sinclair. Sprint Car teams should be able to do quite a bit of racing without a ton of traveling. One of the five IRA races will be a challenge race against the All Star Circuit of Champions. Those of you with a little grey hair will remember the All Star shows that Wilmot Raceway used to have during the 1980’s and 1990’s. These were always excellent races when Bert Emick would bring his boys to Wilmot. This race is set for July 21 and promises to bring in cars and stars that haven’t been to Wilmot in some time if ever. This always equals up the playing field for the locals. If you have been yearning for a big show at Wilmot your wait is over. Now it’s up to the race fans to show up and show track management that Southeastern Wisconsin is still a great place to see a sprint show. Mark your calendars for July 21. Another biggie on the Wilmot Schedule is a non wing USAC Sprint Car race June 23rd. That’s right non-wing USAC sprint cars are also making a return to the Wilmot Raceway. I am hoping many of the local racers will shed the top side aluminum and come race with the USAC boys. Once again race fans mark your calendar for this USAC race come watch these guys back em in to the Wilmot Raceway. For those of you who have never witnessed traditional sprint car racing you’re in for quite a treat. The following night June 24 the USAC boys will tow up to Angell Park in Sun Prairie for the second night of racing in the land of cheese. Once known as the “Thunder and Lightning” division of USAC the USAC sprint cars were once a driver’s ticket to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Another treat for the open wheel lovers is a POWRI/Badger midget doubleheader. On July 14th the POWRI/Badger boys will invade the Wilmot Raceway. The following night July 15th Angell Park will host the POWRI/Badger co-sanctioned show. That’s all for now as you can see there is plenty of quality open wheel racing in Southeast Wisconsin. Let’s all make sure we support these shows so there will be more of these big shows for our entertainment.

     

     

     

    Six points, six measly points, it could be the difference between winning a heat race or setting quick time one night. Four drivers, twenty five laps on neutral ground for the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series Championship. This battle started at Salem Speedway in April and will end October 1st at the Worlds Fastest Half Mile, the Bristol Motor Speedway.

    Four pilots still have a chance to win the 12 race series which included asphalts most prestigious race, The Little 500 at Anderson Indiana and now the Xtreme Speed Classic at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Nineteen year old speed demon Jason Cox sits 34 points out of first place. He will need a perfect night and some help in order to capture the title aboard Dick Fielers sprinter. Jason has had a tremendous season considering his age. A top five finisher on most night Jason has opened many eyes. Sitting in third place is Santa Rosa California’s JoJo Helberg. Helberg has come on strong in the later part of the year winning at Salem, and Anderson JoJo drives the number 7 Helberg Motorsports entry back by ADTS Alcohol and Drug Testing Services, Pit Stop USA.com and All Star Performance Sprinter. JoJo finds himself six points out of the lead. Sitting second is Canadian Ryan Litt. Litt is two points back driving the BS&B Radiator, OTC, Leaf Racewear number 07L racer. A consistant top finisher Litt has himself in the right spot to win the Must See title. Just like last year defending Must See champion Troy DeCaire finds himself in a strange car going into the final race of the year. Troy will be piloting the number 6 Davey Hamilton owned Trufuel, Trusouth, Crystal Clean, Hoosier Tire, Royal Oak Charcoal racer normally piloted by Mike Larrison. Larrison was injured in an Indy Lights crash in Kentucky. DeCaire was quickly called up to drive the potent Davey Hamilton racer at Bristol. “This is an excellent car if I can do my job and stay of trouble I really like our chances to win both the race and championship. It’s going to be tough with Ryan and JoJo right there”, Decaire said.

    If you’re fortunate enough to be able to go to Bristol this weekend we envy you. This should be one heck of a speedfest as the fastest short track cars in the world take on the world’s fastest mile in Bristol Tennessee. Have fun and be safe. This race will put a cap on a fabulous season. We need to thank Jim Hanks and his staff for believing in something and going forward with it. There is more good things on the horizon for the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series, stay tuned for more information.

    Kyle Flint who sits tenth in Must See points was awarded the ultra prestigious Rich Vogler Memorial Scholarship. It’s off track awards that show the quality of pilots on the Must See circuit. For sprint car fans that have never taken in a Must See Extreme Sprint Series race you have no idea what you are missing. Those that know me know I have mainly a dirt background. Well I’m here to tell you that the pilots of the asphalt missiles are the pavement equivalent of dirt’s World of Outlaws. For out and out speed you can’t beat Jim Hanks’ Must See Show the Xtreme part comes in when these brave pilots buckle up and smash track records wherever they run. Side by side action at 150 miles per hour is not uncommon.

    Must See Extreme Sprint Series is on television. Cable network Com-Cast brings tape delayed shows into millions of homes throughout the nation. Keeping things on a tape delay is the only way to have Sprint Cars on television. Hanks and crew have done a wonderful job having Rick Benjamin and Tom Bigelow calling the races with award winning author Dave Argabright calling the shots from the pit area it’s a pleasure to watch on television.

    Dana and I have checked these speed demons out at quarter miles, third miles and huge high banked joints. We have yet to see a bad show and like dirt we have made some wonderful friends. To all we have met though the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series We are glad to call you friends. Thanks to Kyle Flints Mom for showing us the Moon at Salem.

    Billy Balog had things his way this year with the IRA winning twelve races. With an incredible five victories in a row over the course of the year Balog also put together back to back victories three times. Big track or small track it didn’t matter Balog simply made the IRA circuit his personal playground in 2011. While I figure the 17B team simply had their act together there are those that have been complaining he may be fudging the rules. The IRA bunch went over Balog’s racer with a fine tooth comb and called it legal, face it guys they just have everything figured out. My congratulations to the entire 17B crew.

    Years ago Joe Roe was winning races and championships no one accused him of cheating he was simply better than the rest. For those making the accusations get over it guys Balog had you covered.

    What will probably go down as one of the best Frank Filskov Memorial race that I have seen Brian Kristan came home the winner. Brian and second place finisher Tommy Sexton put on a heck of show. For what ever reason these two seem to hook up and look out because you know the slide jobs are coming. Kristan showed his strength after being put behind Sexton on a restart. Brian kept his composure and drove around Sexton back to the front. Sexton kept the pressure on waiting for a mistake that never came. Kristan needed an IRA win away from Wilmot just as Sexton did just a few weeks earlier at Plymouth. Other IRA notables include three time winner Mike Kertscher, Scotty Nietzel, Scott Biertzer and Mike Reinke each scored IRA main wins. Outsiders Chad Blonde and Dusty Zomer also occupied the IRA victory lane.

    That’s all for now wish I we were going to Tennessee this weekend. See everyone soon God Bless. You can reach us at rthg@wi.rr.com.

     


     

     

    If someone had told us earlier this week that we would have had the chance too go to Michigan to check out Jim Hanks’ Must See Racing Extreme Sprint Series I would have needed to question their sanity. Like most American’s we are struggling just to stay only one lap down on the monthly bills let alone being on the same lap. I need the Aaron’s lucky dog times ten to make my profit and loss sheet right side up. I need to thank Tim and Jason Cox for letting us “stow away” in their immaculate Ford Dually to Michigan as we saw an absolute fabulous race from the time hot laps started until the final checkered flag flew.

    A huge crowd braved the heat and humidity as High Groove Media Service unloaded for their initial trip to the Wolverine State. Impressed is only the first words out of my mouth as Dana and I took an immediate liking to Gary and Donna Howe’s immaculate 3/8 mile “D” shaped high banks. Just looking at this speed palace from high above the grandstand I just knew we were going to be in for a treat. There were paved paths and entry ways all over the Kalamazoo grounds for those needing to use a scooter, walker or any aid while trying to motivate around a race track. This place, Kalamazoo, MI Speedway has it all. On our visit the Must See Racing Extreme Sprint Series were the headliner, they were phenomenal! Their late model class was top notch also. If you in or near Kalamazoo Michigan during the summer look up Gary and Donna Howe’s Kalamazoo Speedway, you will see some racing you’re most likely not to forget. Dana and I look forward to getting to getting back to Kalamazoo for another sprint car race.

    Brian Gerster must like Kalamazoo as much as Dana and I do. Gerster blazed around the 3/8 mile D shaped track with his sprint car in 10.985 seconds. Now Gerster’s fate lie in his owns hands. Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series roll an oversized pair of dice to determine the invert for the A-main. Gerster rolled a ten putting him outside row five for the big money race. “Great this puts Jimmy McCune on the poll. Going into tonight McCune has won the last three Must See races,” Gerster said. Jimmy McCune started the 50 lap feature on the pole and was out front with a comfortable lead cruising to what may be win number 4. Gerster was slowly closing on McCune when disaster struck the McCune 88. A broken driveline quieted The McCune Family Sprinter on lap twenty as Jimmy McCune slowly and dejectedly parked his race car in turn four. This left Gerster and his Dick and Debra Meyers owned race car on the point for the last 30 laps of A-main racing. The MOPAR power under Gerster’s hood was no match for anyone tonight. Greater led the final 30 laps, after setting the evening’s quickest time.

    A red flag on lap 17 for a nasty crash by Jason Blonde who touched wheels with Jason Cox. Blonde ended up airborne slamming the left rear of the car into the turn two concrete. Blonde was uninjured but also done for the evening. Cox’s crew made some repairs and returned to the fight. Canada’s Ryan Litt and defending series champion Troy DeCaire put on a heck of a show over the last 25 laps battling for second and third. Litt bested DeCaire in the Ron Kohler owned number 1 machine. Jason Cox put on a spectacular show coming from the back after a lap 17 caution in Dick Fieler’s number 40x for the fourth position. Geoff Kaiser rounded out the top five.

    Without a doubt these Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series race cars are the fastest short track cars on the face of planet.

    Drivers Troy DeCaire, Jason Cox and recent Rich Vogler Memorial Scholarship winner Kyle Flint all were flying the High Groove Media Service colors for the first time in 2011. Drivers if you are looking to get your team all the media coverage you deserve call us at High Groove Media Service at 262-496-9446 or rthg@wi.rr.com.

     

     

     

     

     

    Where did you go over the forth of July this year? We went to the Rockford Speedway to see the worlds fastest sprint cars the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series. These rocket ships on the quarter mile high banks of the Rockford Speedway were something that I knew was going to be something to see. I wasn’t wrong. Right off the bat with time trials the evening was in a word a “blast”.

    In qualifying Indiana’s Jacob Wilson obliterated the track record by over three tenths of a second! This has been a long standing Rockford record and won’t likely be rbroken.

    If you have never seen twenty winged 410 sprint cars line up on a quarter mile, you don’t now what you’re missing. At the drop of the green these cats took off like they were being chased by a pack of dogs.

    Mike Larrison was out front setting a blistering pace until disaster struck and he spun on lap 38. This gave the lead to Jimmy McCune as he held off a hungry Troy DeCaire for the victory. Jo Jo Helberg, Jason Cox and Canadian Ryan Litt were the top five.

    These guys blistered fifty laps off Gregg McKarns speedway in no time flat, I only wish it was longer. When the Must See Xtreme Sprint Series comes back to Rockford plan on being here you will be happy you did. Dana and I were. Great racing, good food, and fireworks what else can a race fan ask for?

    I had a chance to talk with several of Must See pilots here are some of things going on in there lives.

    Kyle Flint, who is the youngest of the Must See lead foots. He drives the Flint Truck Service/ Dowker Chassis/ Scott Bailey Racing Engines Sprinter and is a college student at Saginaw State Valley University Kyle does a super job of balancing both school and racing. Notice I said school first. Kyle is studding to be a mechanical engineer and works on the race team there. Flint just received the prestigious Rich Vogler Memorial Scholarship. This was extremely important to Kyle’s twelve year racing career. Flint has high hopes of taking that elusive checkered flag. Watching this team it’s clear to see it’s a family affair. Both Mom and Dad Flint are busy helping Kyle prepare the car at the track. Good people, I’m happy to have met them at Slinger. Thanks for the Flint Racing hats Mom.

    I also had a chance to talk to Jason Cox this the first time since the Little 500. “The Little 500 was cool starting 32nd and finishing 9th. I was voted Rookie of the Race and Most Improved Driver of the race. I wasn’t real tired after the race it was when I got out my butt hurt from sitting for two and a half hours.”Cox said. Jason won an Auto Value Super Sprint Series race at the M40 Raceway. Cox has been a top five car at most races. Jason has a busy schedule for the rest of the year as he plans to run a late model and a non-wing sprint car at the 4 Crown Nationals at the Eldora Speedway in addition to his pavement sprint car commitments. Nice purse Jason.

    Jacob Wilson, the new track record holder at Rockford, is from Crawfordsville, IN. He has been racing since he was six years old he now has fifteen years of racing behind him. He started in karts. Jacob has six years of sprint car experience four without a wing and two with a wing on the pavement. “We’re finishing races which is an improvement from last year. All our finishes have been in the top five so far this year. Our only DNF is when we popped an engine at the Little 500. I plan on running all the Must See Xtreme races, some USAC and Silver Crown races the rest of the year,” Jacob said. Darryl Guiducci and Team 6 R are responsible for the power on the Wilson sprinter.

    Defending Must See Champion, Troy Decaire was also at Rockford in his Ron Kohler owned machine. He is the point’s leader right now finishing in the top three in the previous nights while winning a couple nights ago at Berlin Speedway. Everything has been going a long pretty good. At the beginning of this year DeCaire didn’t have a ride; Kohler picked him up and put him in a Beast with Ron Kercher power. “We seem pretty strong right now a threat to win you knows and that’s important. Ron is a super guy to drive for and truth be known I don’t know what I’d be driving without him,”DeCaire said. Last time High Groove saw Troy was at the Little 500 where he was cruising in the top five until a water hose broke. Even while talking about his disappointment at the years biggest pavement party Decaire summed it up by saying “ these are man built machines parts are going to fail once in a while”. Who knows what might have happed he was running with the leaders Chet Fillip, Eric Gordon and winner Chris Windom and for the Kohler team was a positive. This Must See Xtreme Sprint Series titlist plans on hitting the rest of Jim Hanks shows as well some other winged sprint car races, along with a midget ride or two.

    Next on the schedule for the Daddy and Daughter team of High Groove Media Service is Kalamazoo, Michigan Speedway (hopefully) for another Must See Xtreme Sprint Series show and then off to Wilmot Raceway on July 23rd the Roger Iiles IRA Show.

    A big thanks to Gregg McKarns and his staff for the hospitality at Rockford Speedway. I’ll give the Howe’s at Kalamazoo Speedway a pre-race thanks for their media hospitality next week. Apologies to racer John Musser for missing breakfast.

    That’s all for know God Bless, we miss you Sassy. See ya’ at the races.

     

     

     


    After much planning, wheeling and dealing Dana and I headed out on our first racing road trip. Leaving at midnight we made Indianapolis by sun up, the Racing Capital of the World, this city breathes racing. We wanted to see the Museum at the Speedway and we achieved goal one checking out all the winning cars from days past. From there it was out to Brownsburg. Sadly there are a lot of shops empty. The Nine Shop of Steve Lewis was open so of course we stopped and got the grand tour.


    Anderson was next on the list. We checked in to the Holiday Inn Express in Anderson, a perfect hotel to rest following a day at the races. If you go to the Little 500 this is the place to stay.


    Finally we arrived at the Anderson Speedway for bump day. There are some tracks that could care less that the press is there. Not the folks at Anderson we both were welcomed with opened arms and the Cheeseheads were made right at home in Hoosier country.

    It was Bump Day at the Payless Little 500 and a couple drivers were waiting with sweaty palms waiting for to see who will race at the 63rd running of America’s most unique traditional pavement sprint car race. Ageless Jeff Bloom used Jacob Wilson’s backup car to get in to the Little 500 putting Kyle Wiegand and his Mike Blake owned racer on the trailer, at least for 24 hours. Wiegand would later get in the race after Mike Ling’s car owner scratched from the race because of the day delay.


    With race day upon us I remembered a certain restaurant that we visited on our last trip to Anderson. There is one place to refuel that is Bob Evan’s. We were not alone in our pick, race team after race team all piled into Bob Evan’s for some excellent food and even better service. Just in case you missed it the place to stay is the Holiday Inn Express and if you want good food check out the Bob Evan’s. Both places are excellent and located right in Anderson.


    Back to the track on Saturday. Crews were busy setting up their pit area in the infield’s figure 8 track. Veteran Tim Cox pointed out that figuring out where to enter and where to exit can be a little tricky especially after running 250 10 second laps on Anderson’s high banked quarter mile. Dana met up with some of the drivers she has profiled in her column Cravin’ Racin’. One was Troy DeCaire now residing in Indy, Troy showed us his Ron Koehler owned racer, invited us for a Jimmy John’s lunch and gave Dana a t-shirt. Seeing her light up when one of her guys gave her a shirt was priceless, thanks Troy.

    With threatening weather popping up track owner Rick Dawson and his highly motivated staff skipped some of the pre-race pageantry trying to get the race going. Following hot laps, during the autograph session it began to rain. Standing under the big top Dana accumulated enough autographs to fill her checkered flag.


    Someone recognized me and try as I may I couldn’t do the same. It was former IRA sprint car racer Jeff Wilke. Jeff jumped over the state line into Illinois and is now racing a MSA sprint car with some success. Jeff turned into a front runner as soon as he bought the former Bill Kojis Tognotti. We laughed about the good old days as the rain seemed to stop.


    Rain began falling harder as it approached race time. The skies cleared and the Anderson track crew began to dry the high banks. Within an hour so they began calling the drivers to report to their cars. Finding a comfy seat lightning could be seen just over the back stretch. What comes with lightning is rain and before one car could get pushed off the clouds opened up.


    We were scooped up by one of Anderson Speedways track workers and brought back to the car in his golf cart while others ran through the rain. It was after ten and with another hour or two to dry the track it was announced the race would be held the following night. This was NOT in the High Groove plans. We headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.


    Sunday morning and I watch all the loonies trying to get into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was time to head home despite the fact Little 500 was rained out. Or was it? Those of you proud enough to have teenagers, especially those of the female persuasion will understand what comes next.


    I planned to return home on Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend to avoid traffic. With the Little 500 rain date today Dana turned on all her teenage power letting me know there had to be a way to see the race. Even my wife Nancy got into the act to talk me into staying. My problem was Chicago’s traffic and our accommodations were up today, Sunday. “We can just drive home after the race tonight”, Dana suggested. Home was about four and half hours away, normally I can’t make it home an hour before falling asleep ask the folks that I ride with. I gave in and was glad I did. We were going to see the Payless Little 500.


    Back to the speedway on Sunday and as usual we met with open arms. I am so very impressed with Dawson’s staff and their friendliness. Dawson’s crew explained they liked to make their guests happy. That is the key word guest, not customers. Walt Disney used the word guest in his mission statement, why do you think visitors are so happy in Walt Disney World. Dawson made sure he tracked us down to let us know we would not return to Wisconsin without seeing the 63rd running of Payless Supermarkets Little 500. He was right.


    It was hot and we were soon summoned to the hauler of Tim and Jason Cox. A nice breeze coming through and we were very happy. Dana spent a lot of time talking with Tim’s dad Roger. He is one cool dude that kept area racers in line using his flags to perfection. Roger was one of the most respected race starters in the Midwest and now has another granddaughter, Dana.


    Watching fast qualifier Aaron Pierce bring thirty three traditional sprint cars to start the race three wide is spectacular. The race was great only one red for a frightening Tom Patterson flip was the worst. The boys were well behaved with close exciting racing. For a while it looked like Mr. Little 500 Eric Gordon was going to bag number ten until Illinois driver Chris Windom roared by Gordon with five laps to go capturing his first Payless Little 500. Jason Cox was named rookie of the year just like his father had done.


    Dana was right I could drive from Indy after the race. I did have some help she stayed up right till we hit Chicago and our Garmin GPS, which we call the bitch because she is always yapping. Tired yes, happy yes.


    This was one of the best weekends this writer has ever had. I would like to thank Rick Dawson from the Anderson Speedway, Holiday Inn Express and of course Dana for making this trip a reality. Dana and I agreed this trip was going to become a family racing tradition.


    Sadly a week after coming home our loved Golden Retriever Sassy passed away. She was a loyal pooch who was always happy to see us. Reminds us of a James Taylor’s song You Got a Friend. We love you Sassy see ya soon.


    Interstate Racing Association Sprint Cars is next on the High Groove schedule at the beautiful Oshkosh Speedzone on June 17; this is one nice race track. Three time champ Billy Balog has nailed the last two IRA shows. Mike Kertscher also has a pair of victories in 2011.

    Something from last year. Remember my knee pad crusade, what color are the knees today Dave. Did the Saprano bunch get you with the baseball bat?


    That’s all, God Bless. You can find us at rthg@wi.rr.com.

     

     

     

     

     

    Hibernation is what was happening here. Basketball occupied our time with coaching my daughter’s team and watching the Milwaukee Bucks on the hardwood courtesy of one of auto racing’s top announcers Mike Babicz. Babicz held his annual Let’s Go Racing car show at Lynch Chevrolet in Burlington WI recently with great success. Mike goes through so much work getting this show together all in an effort to promote the sport of auto racing. Our sport needs more people like Babicz, he does more than most will ever know. Mike is keeping himself busy with the Midwest Enduro Series. However we miss his Let’s Go Racing Motorsports radio show and fans at the Wilmot Raceway are being cheated out of Mike’s talent as the tracks announcer.

    Thanks to some wheeling and dealing Dana and I will be seeing the Payless Supermarkets Little 500 in Anderson IN. This writer has experienced the extravaganza in 2006 courtesy of sprint car superstar turned Algebra educator John Musser and have always wanted to return. With the 1970’s song “Indiana Wants Me” in my head we made several deals to make this happen. Sprint car fans, if you have never seen this event before you owe it to yourself to get to Anderson Speedway on Saturday night May 28th. Thirty three of the best pavement sprint car drivers in America and Canada start this deal three wide on the wicked fast high banked Anderson quarter mile.

    There are also mandatory pit stops. Watching a sprint car crew do a pit stop can be quite exciting. Cars are required to shut off during refueling. One of the hardest things to do is catch the push trucks just right so the driver can get back going again.

    Our own area superstar Park City IL champion Tim Cox has a runner up finish to his credit in 2005 as he started twenty-second and worked his way through the pack to finish second. Going back to the early eighties Fox Lake’s Jim Moulis had a second and third place to his credit. Treat yourself this Memorial Day weekend and go to the 500 in Indiana. It’s the one were you can see the entire race. It’s the Payless Supermarkets Little 500. Its 500 laps of non-winged Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series action that you’ll never forget.

    Tim and his son Jason Cox will be attempting to start this year’s Little 500. Tim will be driving Tony and Deb Swanson’s number seven looking for start number eight. Tim was the rookie of the year in 2001 joining a list of a long list of champions. Jason will be trying for his first Little 500 aboard Dick Fieler’s Landrum backed number 40x machine. Both are Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series Champions.

    After sorting through some old pictures I came across an album of pictures and other neat stuff. One good hing about our memories no matter what happens good or bad no one can take them away from you. Simply precious.

    Sammy Swindell and the gorgeous red Old Milwaukee number one must have been the favorite on our first trip to the Speedway in 1984. Slammin’ Sammy had the coolest tow rig at the time also; to be cool you needed a crew cab dually with a sleeper and a Chaparral trailer. Sammy’s deal like always was immaculate. He was kind enough to pose for several pictures for me. I still have the promotional card from Old Milwaukee and Motorcraft.

    House cars were all the rage and they were all there on the spring Ohio afternoon. Laverne Nance had the white and red 1n that carried Sammy to his first two Outlaw championships. On this day it was Doug Wolfgang behind the wheel. Proudly decked out with the built by Nance Speed Equipment, Whichita, KS logo’s this was going to be a car to watch. Wolfie didn’t disappoint he had the Nance speedwagon against the cushion all day.

    A young Brad Doty was aboard Gary Stanton’s Challenger house car. Stanton’s number 75 had the slickest yet simple paint job white with yellow, red, and blue stripes with CHALLEGER boldly proclaiming whose talented hands put the powder blue number 75 on the track. Doty was as cool then as he is now. I had the pleasure of spending an evening with him while working for Marie Winker. He had stories about everything.

    Sitting in beautiful yellow, purple, blue and red number 11 was smiling Steve Kinser. A Gambling man at the time Kinser/Gambler Chassis Co. / Gaerte Engines and Goodyear Eagles were the choice of King Kinser and most that were going fast. I do remember Karl did not have the snazziest hauler, but that yellow Gambler was as fast.

    Jack Hewitt was right at home in the Briscoe number 5. Not real sure how Jack did but I think I remember he was on those crazy Marsh plastic wheels at the time.

    Most will remember the orange 21X OFIXCO Spl. Of LLOYD K. $TEPHEN$ Challenger driven by the Flyin’ Shoe Ron Shuman. Shuman was driving a Stanton built Challenger with Carbone power, Hoosier tires and was proudly wearing the Stroh’s decals on Lloyd’s missile which was sitting in victory lane when the day was over. Watching Shuman run Eldora was an unbelievable sight. Mind you this writer had never experienced the high banks of Earl’s palace. Witnessing his Eldora run made Shuman one of my favorites. Tried to get Shuman and the SCRA to Marie Winker’s Wilmot Raceway, came close until funding ran out. Shuman did send me a box of his shirts which I still proudly where.

    Gil’s Drilling had taken over the Gambler House Car with a young Bobby Davis Jr. at the wheel. This was a high pressure much sought after ride. Davis made the most of it. The loud yellow number 18 Gambler was probably one of the most recognized sprinter with Kenny Rogers supplying cash for Gambler’s CK Spurlock who was manager of Rogers music. Many a good driver parked there butt in the Gambler, but it was Steve and Karl that helped Gambler to the top.

    Pennsylvania’s Bobby Allen and his 1a was also in attendance. Allen’s cars were not much to look at but were sure fast. As long as he kept fluid it he was fine. Another favorite because of his underdog status Allen could always be found near the front on the bottom.

    Challenging Sammy for the prettiest car and tow rig was none other than the Al Hamilton number 77 Challenger driven by Keith Kauffman. All red and gold, car truck and trailer was a high dollar deal and plenty fast.

    A few others that made the 1984 album included Canadian Timmy Gee in his dad’s white and blue Yukon Spirit number 88g. Jeff Swindell was there in the number 80 B&L Electric sprinter. Randy Wolfe showed up with the Keen Transport 5W from the east coast.

    Judging by some of the memorabilia I found 1984 was a heck of a year for attending races. I have my 1984 Eldora pit pass; Knoxville Nationals pit stubs, a ticket for the Indianapolis 500, ASA Late Models at the Milwaukee Mile and several USAC Midget shows.

    Looking forward to Dana’s first Anderson extravaganza we hope to have great stories from the Payless Super Markets Little 500 in a couple weeks that’s all for now. God Bless

     

     

    Runnin’ the High Groove

    By Paul Kuyawa

    Ok I know it’s been a while, rotator cuff surgery will do that to a person. I need to give a personal thanks to Kevin Montgomery from the USA Raceway in Tucson, AZ for the hospitality he extended while we were in Arizona. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am one of the most frugal guys on the planet. Our motto if it’s free it’s for me!

    Perfect weather seventy degrees in Arizona while back home in Wisconsin it was twenty degrees. Seeing a non-winged and winged show was just what I needed.

    Seeing Sammy Swindell. Jason Johnson, Brady Bacon, Donny Schatz, Levi Jones, Joey Saldana and so many others was to cool.

    Starting third Schatz simply had the field covered he won by a very comfortable margin. Bring on the traditional sprint cars. After starting in the sixth row, Brady Bacon raced his way to victory taking the lead on the 18th lap from Levi Jones.

    I did enjoy the traditional sprints over the winged cars this night. Great racing warm temps, never did I think I’d be seeing racing in November. If you’re near Tucson check out the USA Raceway you won’t be disappointed. Oh yeh did I mention this was an ASCS race. This means engines are limited to 360 cubic inches. Watch the races and don’t worry about engine size. This was a great race.

    Some of the High Groove 2010 Highlights,

    Watching Dana start to enjoy racing as well as starting to write about racing.

    Thanks to my daughter, Dana I was able to talk to one of the big three Doug Wolfgang! She did an article Robby Wolfgang and happened to be looking for Robby; low and behold she happened to get Wolfie on the phone as she called the shop. Before she ended the call she asked Mr. Wolfgang if he would talk to me. When she gave me the phone I couldn’t believe it. When he found out where we were from he immediately brought up the late Billy Wood as the best midget driver he ever saw. Way cool.

    Our trip to Slinger, WI to enjoy the MustSee pavement sprint cars and watching Dana meet Troy Decaire one of the champions she wrote about was great. We also dropped in on the Cox clan Tim, Jason and Cheryl. I have been friends with Tim going back to his modified days and this year we got to be friends with Jason. Dana also did an article on this years HOSS champion Jason. She knows her champions.

    My first trip to Oshkosh Speedzone was great. Get there for an IRA sprint car race. You’ll enjoy yourself.

    Watching Billy Balog race this guy is incredible.

    Our trip to Elkhart Lake to see Nationwide practice to us this was an event. We need to get in the pits next time. Cousin Carl I’m still waiting for my 20 bucks. Your smile and wave to my daughter was priceless.

    Any conversation with my good friend Kelly Speace, he has a vivid imagination.

    Attending any IRA race it has so many interesting characters, including all the “interesting” officials. I do need to find out just what Fast Freddy has on the back of his 4 wheeler. Drivers on the IRA circuit are great, 99% percent of them I can proudly call friends.

    My trip to the USA Raceway, clean facility and good food.

    Hitching rides to the races with Kim and Phillip Mock and with Tommy Sexton and his 83D team. Don’t be surprised if we once again ask for your hospitality.

    Getting articles about Brian Kristan and Tommy Sexton Jr. published in the SprintCar and Midget Magazine.

    Another borrowed ride to the races this time with retired sprint car driver John Musser. I think this guy should be in somebody’s Hall of Fame as soon as he turns 50. Not only can he drive a race car, but he is a top notch algebra teacher, growing up in Iowa Musser can call a pig with the best of them.

    Any conversation with my good friend Carmen Manzardo. Carmen didn’t have any bright shiny cars or huge haulers, but his cars were fast. I am very proud to have worked on his cars most importantly we have stayed friends since 1975.

    Meeting up with professional race fan Jack Eckert. This guy complete with huge motorhome and endless adult beverage selection is an absolute blast.

    Watching Dana use all her “resources” to work herself into the NASCAR world. Her latest work involves a phone call from Joey Logano. Imagine Joey Logano calling your house. Well it happened and Dana did an interview with him that will be published shortly. She is learning very quickly just how the system works. You have to know somebody in order to break the ice. Dana thanks Mrs. Deborah Logano for her help in getting the interview with Joey. Myself I still can’t believe he called the house. I thought Dana may have passed out. When she answered that call.


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