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by Duane Hancock
Mother nature tried to raise havoc on many race tracks last weekend but,
I was lucky enough to hit 2 shows that braved the weather and work in their
tracks after the rains hit each day. Friday, The Gas City I-69 Speedway
hosted the USAC Sprints. Saturday, Fremont Speedway fought off mother nature
to showcase the FAST Sprints.
After the rain storms passed through the Gas City Indiana area, the
O'Connor family, now in charge at Gas City, made the decision to try and get
the program in. Which is normal for them and why its always nice to try and
attend one of their events at Kokomo or Gas City because they make all
efforts possible to race. 28 USAC Sprints were ready to hit the tacky 1/4
mile oval. Hot laps pushed off at 7:15 due to the earlier rains laying down
some heavy moisture on the track surface. The track was super fast as 3 cars
laid down laps in the 11 second bracket qualifying. Brady Bacon set the
fastest lap at 11.855.
4 heats with the top 4 moving to the A. On a fast tacky heavy track, the
action was excellent in the heats. The best heats I've seen all season so
far. An excellent battle in heat 1 all race long for the top spot between
Shane Cottle and Kevin Thomas Jr. As they were glued together lap after lap
after lap upfront, a great battle for the transfer was happening just behind
them. Thomas nipped Cottle at the line for the win as Bacon and Jon
Stanbrough raced into the transfer spots. Heat 2 was just an absolute
amazing heat race. There was a 6 car battle all race long for the top spot.
It was the closest thing to a Talladega type race but in sprint cars. The
guy running 4th in turn 2 may or dropped to 6th by turn 3 or may have jumped
into 2nd. It went back and forth that close until they crossed the finish
line. It looked like they just dropped into a blender and just whirled
around and when the stop button was pushed, that's where they finished.
Making a late race move from 4th to 1st, Chase Stockon took the win over
Kyle Robbins, Logan Jarrett, and Jerry Coons Jr. Another great heat in heat
3. As Aaron Farney and Dave Darland battle upfront, Chris Windom works up
into the battle late into the race. Windom steals the win late in the race
as Farney and Darland follow. T-Mez,Thomas Meseraull battled all race long
for a transfer position and nipped Connor Donaldson by inches at the line
for the 4th and final transfer spot. Stuart Hanft spins slowing heat 4. Once
things restarted, Landon Simon speed to the lead and held on to take the
win. Robert Ballou, Josh Spencer, and CJ Leary moved on to the A.
Pushing the program quickly along due to rain showers in the region and
the late start, the B main was up next. The top 6 from the B would move into
the A. Another good battle for the transfer positions. Justin Grant gassed
it to the win over Tracy Hines, Casey Shuman, Max McGhee, Matt Goodnight,
Just giving the teams a 9 minute break after the B, the A Main was called
to the track. By 9:12 the cars were rolling around the track getting in line
for the A. T-Mez and Stanbrough paced the field for the 30 lap A Main.
Meseraull muscled to the lead as the pack raced into turn 1. With most the
guys running huggy pole on the bottom, the field was bunched up. Lap 7,
Robbins slows the action with a spin in turn 2. Restart, its T-Mez as
Darland starts to move towards the leader. A great battle as Darland catches
T-Mez a few laps later and Bacon is the only run running the high side,
quickly closing of the leaders. As they battle back and forth, Darland dives
to the lead on lap 13. Lap 14, Shuman stops for a yellow. Under the yellow,
Darland crew is motioning him to run high as Bacon found something up there.
Restart, Darland sinks the right rear in the cushion and lets it eat,
pulling away just a bit over T-Mez. Bacon gets the Hoffman 69 car wound up
once again and quickly is on Darland's tail tank, both running the top. Lap
17, Bacon blast to the lead. An excellent 3 car battle for the rest of this
one in and out of traffic, running both the top and the bottom. Meseraull
regains his momentum with 5 to go and is applying heavy pressure on Bacon.
Almost side by side the final 3 laps, its anyone's race. White flag, T-Mez
is fast and tries to make a move off 2, going into 3. Bacon pushes the
throttle pedal just a tad harder and edges Meseraull to the line, taking the
win in a close one. Darland, Stanbrough, and Leary, up from 16th, round out
the top 5. Excellent night of racing, best to date this season. Excellent
job by the entire track crew and staff to 1 get the track ready and 2 get
the show in with rain all around the area.
Rainy weather all over the region plagued Saturday which resulted in
several tracks in the region cancelling their races for the night. Fremont
Speedway weathered the storm and was the only track opening the gates in
Ohio for the FAST 410 and 305 Sprints. 31 410 and 22 305s were pit side as
the track crew finished to drive in the wet track. After getting into a
collision with Stuart Brubaker at the close of hot laps, Dale Blaney
recovered to set quick time of the night.
4 410 heats with the top 4 moving to the A Main. TJ Michael spins on the
start of heat 1. With the track fast and heavy, the laps clicked off
quickly. Brian Smith slide to the lead and never looked back, taking the win
over Cap Henry, in a good battle upfront, Tim Shaffer, and Broc Martin. Also
recovering from a hot lap incident, Stuart Brubaker blasted from 3rd to the
lead and held on for the win over Craig Mintz, Nate Dussel, and Chris
Andrews. Tyler Gunn gassed it up from outside row 1 in heat 3. The 410
rookie ran a smooth race holding off Dean Jacobs, Byron Reed, and Tracy
Hines for the lead. Yes, the USAC Champion Tracy Hines. Hines plans to hit a
handful of winged shows when not chasing the USAC titles. Duane Zablocki
zipped from the pole to the lead in heat 4. As Zablocki controlled things
upfront there was an intense battle for the final transfer spot. Zablocki
held on for the win over Max Stambaugh, Chad Kemenah, and Cole Duncan made a
late last lap pass for the final transfer position.
3 305 heats with all the cars moving to the A. Dang I would like a 305
ride a night or 2. Steve Rando ripped to the lead in heat 1 and never looked
back. Rando held on to win over a nice 2nd place run from Josh Harrison,
Luke Griffith, and Ricky Peterson. Kyle Farmer slowed heat 2 with a spin.
The only thing slowing Jamie Miller's romp in heat 2 was another Farmer
spin. Miller won with ease in heat 2 over Bobby Clark, Seth Schneider, and
Kyle Capodice. Austin Ream slowed heat 3 with a spin. After that, it was all
Jordan Ryan in heat 3. Ryan ran away to the win over TJ Michael, Paul
Weaver, and Alvin Roepke.
Moving the program along quickly, the 410 Dash was next. The Dash
featured the top 6 fastest cars that transferred to the A via the heats. The
finishing order, sets the first 3 rows of the A. Dean Jacobs held on to take
the win over Cap Henry.
410 B, the top 4 moved into the A. With the fastest 2 qualifiers missing
the A through the heats, the B was stacked with some fast cars upfront. DJ
Foos out-dueled Dale Blaney for the win in the B. Caleb Griffith and TJ
Michael earned transfer spots.
Jacobs and Henry brought the field to green in the 30 lap 410 A Main.
Jacobs has been super stout so far in the FAST races this season as he jumps
to the lead on the start. Jacobs sails upfront as they quickly encounter
traffic. Henry starts to reel Jacobs in lap after lap. The battle is on and
Henry takes over the top spot on lap 11. Reed quickly enters the mix as he
pressures Henry. A great battle as the pair race side by side the next
handful of laps. Lap 15, Reed leads, lap 16 Henry takes back over as Reed
follows closely. An excellent battle for 3rd to 6th takes a bad turn on lap
19 as Blaney and Jacobs collide coming off turn 4, both spinning to a stop.
Blaney returns to action but, Jacobs is done for the night. Restart, after
charging from 12th to battling for 5th, Foos spins in turn 2. Restart, Henry
opens the gap and starts to pull away from the pack. Lap 21, Martin spins.
Green, its all Cap Henry. Henry hustled the final 9 laps and takes the win.
Reed, Mintz, Duncan, and Andrews round out the top 5. A decent race. A great
mid race battle upfront and some tight racing from 3rd to 6th, too tight a
Roepke and Miller paced the field in the 25 lap 305 A Main. The veteran Roepke roars to the lead on the start. Lap 3, Dahms spins. Roepke controls the restart as Michael marches towards the front. Lap 9, TJ takes the lead. Lap 13, Farmer spins, slowing the pace. Michael has raced a handful of races in Texas this season and looks in mid-season form, pulling away from the pack. Alex Paden slams the wall hard off turn 4 on lap 20, causing the yellow light to flip on as he sits in the middle of the track. Michael masters the last 5 laps and takes the win over Roepke, Ryan, Peterson, and Weaver. As the leaders took the checkered flag, Dahms darts up the track in turn, bumping into Farmer, causing Farmer to slip off 2 and roll on to his side.
A HUGE holiday weekend full of racing, get out to a track near you!!
Thanks for reading
When the schedule was released a few months ago, the first weekend of May was one I circled to hit Eldora Speedway. USAC Sprints and WOO Sprints on the same card. What once looked like I was going to miss day 1, I reorganized some things and made it back sooner from my work conference in Las Vegas to squeeze both days in my racing calendar. It took some hustling but, I made it. I was really looking forward to this event, best of both worlds. A handful of drivers were doing double duty, all non wing drivers putting a wing on too. Funny, no WOO drivers too the wing off, big shock.
Beautiful weather kicked off day 1 of the mother of sprint cars weekend at Eldora Speedway Friday. 39 WOO and 30 USAC sprints were ready for action. My first visit to the Big E and seeing the new clay that was added over the off season. Brandon Mattox took a wild tumble in USAC qualifying, ending his weekend. Chase Stockon USAC and Paul McMahan WOO, set fast times of the night.
The USAC Sprints were first up with 4 heats, taking the top 4 to the A. Heat 1, Stockon gets a great start, charging up from 6th. Shane Cottle is upfront as Stockon started to apply pressure for the lead. Stockon sealed the deal late in the heat, taking the win. Cottle, Landon Simon, and Kevin Thomas Jr transfer. Heat 2 featured another decent race. The action game to a halt when Jarrett Andretti bicycled entering turn 1 and went on a wild flip. Getting high as the top of the fence, Andretti was okay. Dave Darland took the win over Robert Ballou, Thomas Meseruall, and Tracy Hines. As heat 3 raced into turn 1, Mark Hery had some engine issues as Logan Jarrett was trying to zip past him. Hery's car hiccuped and Jarrett climbed his right rear, hitting the wall in turn 1. Jarrett pulled away but the damage sidelined him for the night. Chris Windom was impressive, racing to the front in this one. Windom took the win over Chad Boespflug, Justin Grant, and Jon Stanbrough. Almost a repeat of the start of heat 3, just a few feet farther between turn 1 and 2, the start of heat 4 seen Dallas Hewitt and Brady Bacon tangle as Bacon flipped on the start. Jerry Coons Jr took command of heat 4 on the restart and cruised to the win over Aaron Farney, Kody Swanson, and Hewitt.
4 WOO heats with the top 5 moving into the A was next on the agenda. With the lap times over 2 seconds quicker, it seemed like the WOO heats flew by running the 2 divisions back to back. You never really noticed the huge difference until this night. Heat 1, Kody Swanson swept into the lead as the green light flicked on and never looked back. Greg Wilson was inches off his tail tank the first handful of laps but, couldn't make a move. Swanson takes the win over Wilson, McMahan, Jason Sides, and Cody Darrah. Its all about the starts in the WOO heats. With a invert and a high speed half mile oval, once the field got a lap or 2 in, it was hold your spot and ride. Heat 2, Kerry Madsen motored to the lead as Joey Saldana got the crowd's attention running the cushion from 8th to 4th by turn 2. Madsen couldn't be touched out front, leading flag to flag for the win. Shane Stewart, Dale Blaney, Saldana, and Daryn Pittman took 5th in a great battle for the final transfer spot. Really looking stout this year, Gary Taylor continued to shine in heat 3. Taylor throttled to the lead on the start and took the win over Jamie Veal, Donny Schatz, David Gravel, and DJ Foos with a last lap pass for an A Main bid. Logan Schuchart slide to the lead in heat 4, holding off a fast Rico Abreu. As the laps were winding down, Schuchart's teammate, Jacob Allen slows for a yellow. Rico mastered the restart and raced past Schuchart for the lead. Rico held on the final few laps, taking a popular win. Schuchart, Randy Hannagan, Brad Sweet, and Caleb Helms raced their way into the A.
USAC was back on the track with their B Main, taking the top 6 to the A. A decent race through out the entire pack, the final transfer spot wasn't was up for grabs as the white flagged waved. CJ Leary took the win over Bacon, Matt Goodnight, Dustin Smith, Daron Clayton, and Jake Simmons, who got past Kent Wolters late in the race to punch his ticket to the A.
The 8 car WOO Dash was up next with finishing order of the Dash determining the line up for the 1st four rows of the A Main. Kerry Madsen has found his groove at Eldora the last few seasons and once again races to the lead. Schatz slide from 4th to 2nd but didn't have anything for Madsen. Madsen takes the win over Schatz, Abreu, and Stewart.
Next up, the WOO B taking the top 4 into the A. A pretty loaded B too boot. That's another excellent thing about the WOO's at Eldora, the field is always stout. Christopher Bell blasted from outside row 1 on the start and was on a mission. As Bell lead the way, Steve Kinser got past Brady Bacon for 2nd. The real battle in the closing laps was for the final transfer spot as Kraig Kinser was battling a charging Chad Kemenah. Bell took the win over The King, Bacon, and Kemenah as he raced he was from 9th to pass Kraig late for the final transfer spot.
Stanbrough and Ballou paced the field for the 30 lap USAC A Main. Ballou bounced to the lead as the lead raced off into turn 1. Setting a torrid pace, Ballou quickly pulled away from the pack as a great battle was on from 3rd to 7th. Lap after lap, Ballou rode up on the cushion, opening up over a 3 second lead. Lap 15, Grant lands in the wall while fighting an intense battle for 4th. Restart, its still all Ballou. Bacon's night got worse on lap 23 as he comes to a rest in turn 2 after slamming the wall battling for 5th. Restart, Simmons stops. Green, no one has anything for Ballou. Running in a different zip code than anyone else in the A, Ballou cruises to the win. Stanbrough, Leary, Meseruall, and Hines round out the top 5.
Madsen and Schatz brought the field to the green in the 30 lap WOO A Main. Madsen muscled to the lead as the field battling in turn 1. Schatz dropped back a few car lengths as Madsen pulled away. Lap 6, Kraig Kinser stops with a flat right rear. Under the yellow, Bell pulls pit side with no brakes. Restart, Madsen maintains his lead. Schatz starts get make a run by lap 10. Donny pulls within a few feet of Kerry as they battle. Lap 14, Schatz slide past for the lead. Schatz quickly pulls away as Madsen begins to fade the last half of the race. Stewart starts to make a run at Schatz as Wilson is running the low line through the pack. Lap 26, Hannagan stops with a left rear flat. Restart, Schatz has them covered, leading the final 4 laps for the win. Stewart, Abreu, McMahan, and Wilson, up from 12th, round out the top 5.
Mother nature tried messing with day 2 of the Mother of Sprint Car Weekend but the Eldora staff and track crew wasn't going to let her ruin the weekend. With just over an inch of rain at 2 PM in a heavy down pour, the rain let up and the crew went to work. I would say 98% of any other track in the US would have canceled but not The Big E. Trying all they could to get the show in the books with rain all around the area, at times just a mile and half a way from the track, the show was on. 21 USAC and 35 WOO Sprints were back for day 2.
With hot laps kicking off at 8:15, the track was fast and heavy. Chase Stockon repeated night one's feat and set quick time for USAC. Rico Abreu came out late and set quick time for the WOO.
3 USAC heats, all cars move into the A. Heat 1, the top 3 cars were glued together all race long. Just when you thought a fast heavy track would be follow the leader, the USAC boys showed they like a thick track. Excellent racing seen Landon Simon held on for the win over Justin Grant, Stockon, Dallas Hewitt and Jon Stanbrough. More good racing in heat 2 as Kevin Thomas Jr held off CJ Leary, Dave Darland, Aaron Farney, and Adam Cruea for the win. Taking right back off from where he left off the night before, Robert Ballou blasted to the lead of heat 3 and never looked back. No one was even close to Ballou as he raced to the win over Daron Clayton, Chris Windom, Tracy Hines, and Brady Bacon.
4 WOO heats, top 5 to the A. Not like the USAC guys, the WOO heats were pretty much hammer down with little passing, which no matter what track you are at will happen with winged cars on a fast track. Heat 1, Paul McMahan motored to the win over Joey Saldana, David Gravel, Rico Abreu, and Kraig Kinser. Jamie Veal volted into the lead in heat 2. Christopher Bell applied heavy pressure on Veal for the first half of this one. Veal subbing for the injured Jason Johnson, broke away and took the win. Bell, Logan Schchart, Daryn Pittman, and Brad Sweet moved into the A. Donny Schatz slipped into the lead on the start of heat 3 and sailed away from the pack. Schatz lead flag to flag for the win over Dale Blaney, Brady Bacon, who was having a much better night, Jason Sides, and Cody Darrah. Shane Stewart sped to the lead on the start of heat 4 and that's all she wrote. Stewart spanked the field in this one taking the win over Travis Philo, Gary Taylor, Kerry Madsen, and Danny Holtgraver.
With officials moving the program quickly along due to the late start and rain all around, no USAC B was ran so the WOO Dash was up next. Schatz and Veal battled side by side the first 2 laps of this one until Schatz got the advantage. Donny went on to win over Veal, Blaney, and Taylor.
WOO B took the last 4 car to the A Main. Craig Dollansky took over the 83 Beef Packers ride and got things a rolling in the B. Dollansky darted to the lead and never looked back. The Crowd Pleaser took the win over Kody Swanson, Greg Wilson, and DJ Foos.
Leary and Grant paced the field for the 30 lap USAC A Main. Leary leaped into the lead as the field raced into the turn 1. Setting a fast pace, Leary was running the cushion, looking good out front. With heavy action in the top 5, Leary was all alone at the point. Hines and Farney started to makes some noise as Ballou raced up from 9th. 10 to go, its all Leary as Grant started to slam the cushion harder and harder, gaining on Leary. 5 to go, Grant is there and the battle is on. Leary leads as Grant lurks, waiting to make a move. White flag, Leary leads but Grant sets up a huge slider into 1, Grant slides up and shuts off Leary's line, taking the lead. Leary tried making a cross move as Grant pulls ahead. Making a last lap pass, Grant thrills the crowd and takes the win. Leary, Hines, Farney, and Ballou round out the top 5.
Schatz and Veal took the field to the green in the 30 lap WOO A Main. Another great battle on the start as Veal and Schatz raced side by side, Donny having a slight advantage. By lap 3, Schatz opened the gap, pulling away from Veal. Lap 5, Gravel slows for a yellow. This was the first yellow all night long between both divisions. As Schatz sailed out front, Saldana and Madsen charged through the pack. The last 10 laps, Schatz was in traffic and out of nowhere, Gary Taylor was turning some heads and gaining thousands of fans by the minute. 5 to go, Taylor is closing the gap quickly as the crowd began to get excited, looking for a major upset win. White flag, Schatz is struggling in traffic and goes high as Taylor is within striking distance. Just about then, the yellow waves, ruining Taylor's sneak attack on Schatz. With an open track and a green, white, checkered finish, Schatz sailed to yet another win. Taylor was still the man of the hour coming home 2nd, McMahan, up from 7th, Saldana, up from 9th, and Madsen, up from 12th, rounded out the top 5.
A great night of racing. Most tracks would of thrown the towel in earlier in the day but not Eldora. Kudos to the staff and track crew. The new clay held up well and was still so sticky after the show, it wanted to suck your shoes off your feet as you walked on it. You can say what you want about tacky, heavy, hammer down half mile tracks but on this night, the racing was great!! 1 last lap pass for the win and if not for a last lap caution, I'm not too sure we wouldn't have seen a 2 for 2 on the last lap passes for a win. Would of, could of, should of, Gary Taylor was about to make the crowd erupt in turn 3 before the yellow light flipped on.
Thanks for reading Duane
Mid April and temps reaching the mid 70s made for an excellent night to head to Attica Raceway Park last Friday. It was the first race in the FAST 410 and 305 sprints. 28 410 and 25 305 sprints were ready to roll.
ARP switched their weekly format similar to the All Stars, but a bit different. You group qualify and hotlap at the same, only against the cars in your heat race. Then the top finishers in the heats, depending on car count how many, redraw for the top starting spots in the A. The rest of the A and B line ups are determined by your heat race finish. Like the idea real well and add more excitement to me to each race.
4 410 heats with the top 4 moving to the A. Jordon Harble clipped the infield tire going into turn 1 on the start of heat 1, breaking his car and spinning out. Complete restart, Stuart Brubaker slid to the lead and cruised upfront. Chris Andrews made a late race move to try and chase his old ride down but couldn't make a move. Brubaker took the w over Andrews, Mitch Harble, and with a last lap move on the low side, Michigan veteran Ken Mackey. In heat 2, Rob Chaney rode up on the high side and ripped into the lead. Chaney looked very stout and ran away with the win over Duane Zablocki, Craig Mintz, and Nate Dussel. An excellent race in heat 3. Byron Reed and Chad Kemenah raced wheel to wheel upfront for the majority of this one. Reed held on for the win over Kemenah, Brian Lay, and Jac Haudenschild. Another decent heat race in heat 4. Dean Jacobs had his hands full with DJ Foos on his heals. Jacobs jolted across the finish line first over Foos, Cap Henry, and Caleb Helms.
With the track still in excellent shape, the 305s were up next with 3 heat races taking the top 5 to the A Main. Paul Weaver whipped to the lead in heat 1. Weaver lead flag to flag for the win holding off a fast Jamie Miller. Bobby Clark, Seth Schneider, and Luke Griffith raced into the A. Making a great move early in heat 2, Ricky Peterson shot from 3rd to 1st. Peterson pulled off the win over Alvin Roepke, Jeremy Duposki, Steve Rando, and Jason Keckler. Coming off as one of the most improved drivers in 2014, Dan McCarron was looking good in heat 3, leading the way. McCarron turned in another solid run holding off the early season hot shoe, Jordan Ryan for the win. John Ivy, Kyle Capodice, and Brandon Moore transfer to the A.
Moving the program along very quickly as usual, the ARP staff had the B Mains ready to roll.
The top 4 of the 410 B transfer to the A as pole sitter Parker Price Miller scratched for the night. Broc Martin motors to the lead on the start. As the action heats up, Jordon Harble spins in turn 3 after some contract with the 60 of Jody Keegan. As the field takes the green again, Martin has Tim Shaffer to deal with and Harble races up towards Keegan. Harble throws a HUGE slider going into 4 that has about as good of chance of working at me winning the lottery and drives hard into Keegan, flipping them both. I am not sure but, it looked like Harble was trying to pay Keegan a little payback but got in about 10 feet over his head and junked a lot of parts on both rides. Shafer took control of the B, taking the win over Martin, Gary Taylor, and Jimmy Colvin.
Next in the push off area was the 305 B with the top 5 moving into the A. Mike Burkin started on the pole and blistered into the lead as the green light flipped on. Burkin was under pressure from Rookie Tyler Street. Burkin used his experience to hold on and take the win over Street, Trey Jacobs, Frank Neill, and Kelsey Ivy making her first A Main at ARP in the 305s.
Jacobs and Brubaker paced the field for the 30 lap 410 A Main. Jacobs jumped into the lead on the start as a great battle ensued upfront. Jacobs, Brubaker, Kemenah, and Reed all 4 were racing wheel to wheel, just a few feet apart in a 4 car battle for the lead. It took 7 laps before Jacobs pulled to a slight advantage. With the track clean and green, Jacobs entered traffic and stretched the lead. By the half way mark, Dean was out of reach, cruising all alone upfront. As the laps wound down, Reed was quickly closing on Jacobs. Dean gets stuck in traffic and Reed is within a few car lengths with 5 to go. Byron is in Dean's tire tracks, trying to make a move. Last lap, off 4, Reed tries to get a run on Jacobs, Jacobs nips Reed at the line to hold on and lead wire to wire for the win. Reed, Kemenah, Henry, up from 12th, and Foos round of the top 5. Another solid run from Henry, passing a lot of cars once again. Foos is looking good in the 21 ride. Another group of the 305 drivers that made the jump to 410s find themselves in the A again too. Plus, you can't help but notice Dean is back in the 97 and looking good. Reed is solid as well and it looks like just a matter of a few more races back together and the Kemenah duo is going to be making some noise in victory lane.
John Ivy and Ryan brought the field to green in the 25 lap 305 A Main. Ryan rolls to the lead as the pack races into 1. Ryan has been strong all season and starts to quickly pull away. Ryan isn't having any issues as no one is near him. A near miss on lap 13 as Jacobs spins right in front of Ryan as Jordan tried to lap Trey. The only thing slowing Ryan was a caution on lap 19 for Street, after he spun and came to a stop. It was all Jordan Ryan in this one, leading flag to flag for the win. Clark, Miller, Roepke, and Rando round out the top 5. Another smoothly ran program from the ARP staff as the final checkered flag on the night waved at 10:15
Breaking news on this weekend already! The USSA race at Anderson Speedway set for Saturday night has been pushed back to Sunday. With a 100% chance of rain and cool temps on Saturday, Sunday looks sunny and warmer so officials made the change this afternoon.
Friday NRA Lima OH
Saturday SOD Crystal MI, non wing sprints Plymouth IN
Sunday KISS Terre Haute IN, USSA Sprints Anderson IN
Thanks for reading Duane
For the last 3 years now Kokomo Speedway has kicked their season off with the Kokomo Grand Prix. I love the fact they are trying to make a big event for the USAC Midget even though mother nature hasn't been so nice to the Grand Prix since its inception. With night 1 getting cancelled from heavy rains most of the week, the Kokomo track crew was ready to kick the gates open Saturday. Adding the Kokomo sprints to the program was a very welcome addition in my book. Nothing better than a midget and sprint car double header at Kokomo. I hope they keep growing this event and mother nature gets off her broom and starts to be nice to this early season event.
30 USAC Midgets and 14 Kokomo Sprints were ready to attack the 1/4 mile bullring under a beautiful sunny sky. Alex Bright in his first full season chasing USAC points, took a tumble in midget qualifying. Kevin Thomas Jr. was added to the Keith Kunz team after full time drivers Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell moved into the stock car ranks. Thomas pick right up where Rico left off in this event last year by setting fast time of the night.
2 sprint car heats were ready to kick off the program. All drivers would transfer to the A Main with the top 3 fighting for the redraw. In heat 1, as the green flag flew, the cars were running 4 wide by the time they raced off turn 2, showing they don't need huge fields at Kokomo because the action speaks for itself. Justin Grant worked his way to the front as Kevin Thomas Jr was glued to him all race long. Grant took the win as Thomas and Dave Darland crossed the line on Grant's tail tank. Jamie Fredrickson brought the red out in heat 2 after getting airborne in turn 4. Jamie was okay. The young guns of CJ Leary and Logan Jarrett have been quickly making a name for themselves on the Indiana sprint car scene and tonight was no different. Leary nipped Jarrett for the heat win as Jerry Coons Jr took the final redraw spot.
4 midget heats with the top 4 moving into the A. Tyler Thomas took the early lead in heat 1 as Jerry Coons Jr chased him. In just a few laps, Kevin Thomas Jr. got the 67k machine wound up and was coming to the front. Riding the high side, Thomas tromped into the lead as Davy Ray was making a move as well. Ray tried closing the gap on Thomas but to no avail. Thomas Jr. took the win over Ray, Coons Jr., and T Thomas. Andrew Felker brought a huge roar from the crowd on the start of heat 2, running the cushion from 6th to 1st by the time the cars raced down the back stretch. Felker was flying away from the pack and raced to the win. Alex Bright recovered from his earlier flip to take 2nd, Zach Daum and Dave Darland transferred to the A. Heat 3 was a good one. Darren Hagen raced from 6th to 1st in this one but was under heavy pressure upfront as Tracy Hines came from 5th, looking for the lead. Hagen hustled to the win over Hines, Tanner Thorson, and Shane Hollingsworth. Heat 4 was a barn burner. A great race as Justin Grant and Steve Buckwalter had a shootout upfront in this one. Buckwalter ran just a bit higher on the cushion and slipped past Grant to take the win. Grant, Tyler Courtney, and Spencer Bayston moved into the A.
Moving the program quickly along while the temps were still decent outside for April, all the heats were done by 8:40 and the midget was getting lined up in the push off area. The top 6 would complete the 22 car A Main line up. Green, Justin Peck and Colton Cottle battle for the lead. After a terrible night, Shane Cottle finally got his midget a moving charging from the tail, passing 6 car on lap 1. Just as the pack comes around for lap 2, it was a Cottle nightmare. Colton's car shut off as he coasted off turn 4, down the front stretch as the yellow waved. Under the yellow, Shane developed issues once again and pulled off the track. Green, Peck pulled away and it was smooth sailing. With no other incidents in this one, Peck pounced to the win over Ryan Greth, Gage Walker, Isaac Chapple, Tucker Klaasmeyer, and Jim Randey. Greth and Randey made the tow from PA with team cars for this one, paying off with both earning A Main bids.
Travis Hery couldn't make the call for the sprint car A Main as it was pushed to the racing surface. Coons Jr and Grant brought the field to the green in the 25 lap event. Grant gassed it up and took the lead. Grant likes the high side and quickly ran the tricky cushion. Leary had a unique line, high in 1 and 2 and real high entering 3 but, cutting down in 4 and quickly ran Grant down. The battle was on. Lap 7, Leary leaped into the lead. Grant said I don't think and quickly threw a slider in turn 2 and took the lead on lap 8. The 2 battled lap after lap as Grant finally got a slight advantage a handful of laps later. Yes, Kokomo was living up to its rep already. Lap 14, Kyle Robbins stops with some damage in turn 4. Restart, Leary makes a huge move, lap 15 Leary takes the lead once again. As Grant gathers himself, a new player enters the mix as Kevin Thomas Jr is right there for a 3 car battle. Thomas tries to go low as the battle rages on. Leary holds strong, keeping a slight advantage. With 3 to go, Leary starts to open the gap just a little, and that's all he needed. Leary lands in victory lane as he takes the checkered over Thomas Jr, Grant, Darland, Coons Jr, Jarrett, Daum, Chris Gurley, Chapple, Fredrickson, who made it back out for the A, Shane Cottle, who had engine issues all night in the sprints too, and Robbins.
With just an 8 minute break after victory lane photos, the 30 USAC Midget A Main was trackside. Daum and Ray paced the field. Ray rips to the lead as the field takes the green. Lap 2, Bright gets bit by the cushion in turn 1, flipping wildly for his 2nd flip of the night. This time his 56 Great Clips entry is in need of some heavy repairs. Green, Ray looks good upfront as Hagen starts to work towards the leader. Lap 7, The Hawk hustled past Ray for the lead. Just about then things were heating up. A great 4 car battle as Daum and Thomas Jr are on the leaders rear bumper. Lap 12, Tyler Thomas spins for a yellow. Restart, the battle is on as Hagen hangs in the lead. Lap 15, Bayston spins for a yellow. Restart, Thomas Jr makes as move as the pack is inches apart as Hines enters the fray as well. Lap 16, Thomas and Daum collide in turn 2 as Hines sneaks past. Thomas can't make repairs in the allotted time but the Daum crew did as Zach reenters the track. Restart, Hines, Buckwalter, and Thorson make a run towards Hagen. It seems to take Hines a few laps to get a rolling as he quickly closes on Hagen. Side by side Hagen and Hines battle, Hines low in 1 and 2 but extremely high in 3 and 4 and that's where he is making hay. Hines looks to be faster but Hagen is running a great line. Lap 24, Greth tags an infield tire barrier off turn 4 and take a hard flip. With 6 to go, the restart is going to be huge. Hagen in on the hammer and gets an excellent restart. Hines tries to hustle the 24 machine but Hagen is just too stout. Hagan seals the deal and The Hawk flew to victory lane. Hines, Thorson, up from 11th, Buckwalter, and Ray round out the top 5. Another excellent show at Kokomo. A nice job as well with the program seeing the final checkered flag just a few minutes after 10.
Friday FAST Sprints Attica OH, NRA Lima OH, USAC Sprints Bloomington IN
Saturday FAST Sprints Fremont OH, All Stars Wayne County OH, USAC Sprints Haubstadt IN, OVSCA Atomic OH
Thanks for reading, as always feel free to contact me with
any questions, comments, concerns, or just to say hey,
Kicking off the new Tony Stewart owned All Star Sprints points season, Attica Raceway Park couldn't beat mother nature on Friday as the 2 day show was scheduled to do. With the sun a shining Saturday, the ARP crew had the track ready to go and kicked the gates open on a beautiful yet cool evening. A loaded field of 42 All Star Sprints were eager to kick the season off. This was the first race with some major changes in the new All Stars format. For those that wasn't there or were lost it goes something like this. Depending on car count, the field its split into 3, 4, or 5 groups after the pill draw. Those groups are your heat race and even though its single car qualifying, you are timing against just those cars for your heat race line up. The top 2 finishers in the heat races go to the Dash plus, the 2 fastest drivers that transferred to the A but didn't finish in the top 2 in the heat. So a 8, 10, or 12 car Dash with the finish of the Dash being the line up for the A. The rest of the A is lined up by your heat race finish. I like that!! The Dash line up is via a grudge draw between the drivers, were you can pass you card drawn to another driver if you don't like your draw and take their spot. Not sure I like that, its exciting but someone like Blaney that wins a lot is going to get handed a bad number each week by another competitor. The B and C are lined up via times. I wish they would line up by heat finish as well. A driver times bad, starts last in a heat of say 9, bust ass up to 5th and misses the A by 1, then goes to tail end of C instead of the B. The All Stars have provisional starters now too. Never never ever have been a fan of that. Also, the lapped cars all go to the tail during a yellow or red. A+ on that change. Where things could get interesting is if there is ever 20 cars or less. The field will be split into 2 groups and each group runs 2 heat races, the 2nd one totally inverted from the finish of the 1st one. Each paying 10 points to win and dropping by a point each position. With the highest 8 in points after the heats in the Dash. Tie breaker goes to the quickest time. I like that format too. I hope its never used because that means a very low car count but that would be cool to see just once with the All Stars. Hey, I may have an opinion on the changes but even on the ones I'm not sure I like, I give them kudos for trying something new and making it entertaining for all of us.
Chris Andrews was the first flip victim of 2015 at ARP getting his new 19 ride over I hot laps. Tim Shaffer set the pace with overall quick time of the night.
With 5 heats, the top 4 moved into the A Main. Looking like he was on a mission, Shaffer set sail from 4th to 1st in heat 1. As Shaffer slid around the excellently prepared track surface, a great battle for the top 5 was going on. Steve Kinser was right in the middle of the battle as got sideways, saved it, kept going, but fell deep in the pack and out of a transfer spot. Shaffer went on to win over Ryan Smith, Caleb Helms, and Travis Philo.
With the wind still stout and the temps pretty chilly, the next heat was quickly pushed out. Heat 2 showcased a decent battle upfront and a good one for transfer position. Greg Wilson wrapped up the win over Danny Holtgraver, Cody Darrah, and Sheldon Haudenschild.
Heat 3, Byron Reed held off a closing Christopher Bell to take the win. After having engine woes on his qualifying lap, DJ Foos charged from 8th to 3rd. Even after starting on the pole and dropping back, TJ Michael ran a great race to take the final transfer position in his rookie 410 season.
A great 3 car battle all race long mid pack in heat 4. Andrew Palker looked very stout, taking a convincing win over Dale Blaney, Kyle Patrick, and Lee Jacobs. Jacobs held off a stout field of cars he had been battling with all race long. Another impressive run was by Kyle Patrick putting it in the show. Patrick plans to pull out of his normal Canada routine and hit Attica and Fremont on a regular basis this season.
After a bad start, the front row of Dean Jacobs and Chad Kemenah was pushed back a row. Paige Polyak and Gary Taylor now set the pace. Polyak pulled to the early lead. Taylor took over the point a few laps later as Kemenah got to rolling. Making the 3rd different leader, Kemenah took the lead and never looked back. CK held on to win over Taylor, Polyak, and Cap Henry.
Helms got messed up at the beginning of the Dash from the pole and collected Holtgraver and Reed. With 3 of the top 4 cars now out, many guys made some moves to the front. Taylor trotted from 6th to 1st to take the Dash win. Palker and Ryan Smith took top 3 honors.
The top 2 from the C Main would tag the tail of the B. Recovering from his flip earlier in the night, Chris Andrews cruised to the lead as Steve Kinser followed. Kinser was under heavy fire in the late stages of the race. Andrews took the win as Kinser narrowly held on the final transfer spot.
Moving the program quickly along, the B Main was next out with the top 4 moving to the A. As Parker Price-Miller raced Danny Smith upfront, a great battle was going on from 4th to 7th. The young Miller, held off Smith for the win. Jac Haudenschild secured an A Main spot coming home 3rd, as Stuart Brubaker nipped Dean Jacobs at the line to take home the final transfer spot.
Giving the teams from the B 8 minutes to be ready, the A Main was ready to roll as the nice crowd endured the chilly temps. Taylor and Palker brought the field to the green in the 40 lap A Main. Entering turn 1, Taylor clipped the infield tire barrier and spun in front of the pack as they raced into the turn. A huge mess as Bell, Reed, Michael, Jac, Kemenah, Patrick, and Philo who flipped, all got gathered in the accident. Complete restart, Ryan Smith slipped into the lead as the field raced into turn 1. Never seeing the Attica oval, Smith was hoping to open some eyes as he pulled away from the pack. The PA Posse member decided to stray away from PA the first handful of All Star events and see how he fairs. Lap 11 , Helms slows the pace with a spin. Restart, Polyak brushes an infield tire and stops just as lap 12 is complete. Green, Smith leads as Palker tries to make a move. Lap 16, Helms spins again for a yellow. Smith gets the breaks right when he needs them to get clear track once again on the restart. Smith looks good out front as some guys make charges from the back. As they charge through the pack, Wilson and Blaney start to mount charges towards the front. Lap after lap, the field tightens up. 10 to go, the top 3 are just a few car lengths apart in heavy traffic. Smith makes an awesome move in traffic, sticking the field behind him. Palker closes once again as he is right on Smith's rear push bar. Lap 37, Helms spins again for a yellow, an excellent break for Smith. Restart, Smith gets a great run and seals the deal, racing home for the win. Palker, Wilson, Blaney, and Henry, up from 20th, round out the top 5.
A very good opening night at Attica after mother nature ruined night 1 of the 2 day show. With below normal temps and high winds, the ARP and All Star crew did a great job pushing the show through, trying to get the nice crowd on hand out the gate as soon as they could. From the way things look, the All Stars are going to be very fun to watch this year with many great drivers and past champs chasing the 2015 title. It looks like the All Stars are finally back where there should be.
Dale Blaney has a new team as Big Game Treestands and Muddy owner Tod Quiring teamed up with CH Motorsports to field a car for Blaney. This team should be a real powerhouse. Thoughts and prayers go out to Daryn Pittman and Jason Johnson as they were both injured in the same accident in CA Wednesday night. Pittman had surgery to repair a broken collar bone as Cody Darrah fills in for him now on the WOO tour. Johnson has a fractured back and is still in the hospital. No word on his team plans at this time. Wish them both a full and speedy recovery!! Kokomo has already cancelled night one Friday night of the USAC Midget Grand Prix.
Friday: OVSCA Skyline OH
Saturday: USAC Midgets Kokomo IN, OVSCA Atomic OH
Thanks for reading Duane
After this weekend's racing being canceled and me being too chicken to try just over a 460 mile round trip to see a race on Sunday when its a 50% chance of rain, this is the first year since 2006 that I have not witnessed a race before April 1st. Hopefully, the weather gets straightened out and won't be a factor here very soon.
Hearing the news a few weeks ago, I didn't say anything in my last column before I could confirm it, Attica Raceway Park has added a huge twist to their weekly programs, the lucky dog award. In each weekly A Main, not just 1 car, ALL cars a lap down will get back on the lead lap when a caution flag or red flag waves, tagging the tail of the pack. YES, all cars that are 1 lap down at the time of an incident. There has been much debate already on the message boards and such already as the announcement became official. First off, I applaud ARP for trying something totally different and trying to bring more excitement to the paying customers. All too often, People forget the paying customers is what pays the purses, pays the bills, and allows the track to stay open and pay decent $$$ to their drivers. Another thing, yes us old traditional race fans don't like change but forget this sport in an entertainment and every day its more of a struggle for tracks fight all the million other sources of entertainment and keep their gates open. Will it work? Is it the perfect answer to add excitement and draw more cars and fans? Who knows but, before one race has been ran yet, no one knows!!! Give them credit for trying something new to local dirt track racing and see what happens before making a decision on it. I can see it being a hot topic in the point championship battles, especially with great $$$ ARP posted for points payouts this season. With all cars getting back on the lead lap, if you happen to have a car failure or crash out in an event late race or with one to go, or on the last lap, all the cars that were once a lap down now will pass you and lose you several points. Should keep the points battles really interesting since unless the A goes flag to flag, there won't ever be many lapped cars at night's end.
Millstream Motorsports Complex, home of the Millstream Speedway and its staff, headed by Randy and Lisa Hammer, are working hard getting the track ready to open for 2015. The track has seen several loads of new clay added to the racing surface as well as many other improvements. Keeping the Sunday night tradition a going, Millstream boast a 8 race schedule right now kicking off May 31st with the All Star Sprints and the 305s. The BOSS nonwing sprints, mini sprints, 360 sprints, and non sanctioned shows for nonwing sprints and 410 winged sprints all are on the 2015 agenda. Plus late models, modifieds, and stocks all hit the oval at same point this season as well. Go to www.millstreamspeedway.net for more information and the 2015 schedule.
The 2015 season has barely even hit the tracks and the silly season has started. Tony Kennedy, owner of Dale Blaney's 14k ride has stated the 14k operation is for sale as he has to attend to his personal business and a sprint car team just doesn't fit into his plans right now. It sounds like the team will hit Attica April 3rd and 4th and KC April 11th but after that anything could happen. Blaney has been super strong the last few seasons and hopefully won't be on the sidelines long IF the 14k team disappears. Remember I said, IF, who knows maybe a buyer will come along or a huge sponsor or things will turn around for the team, who knows but it sent a shock wave through the Ohio sprint car scene when announced this week...Speaking of Ohio teams and drivers, Jac Haudenschild was ride shopping until Jerry McClure announced yesterday the Wild Child will take over the seat of his team. This is the car Dean Jacobs has ran a lot the last few seasons. This leaves Dean looking for a ride as the season opens this week.
Lastly, the biggest story in auto racing this week was the
passing of Earl Baltes, the creator of Eldora Speedway. Earl was one of a
kind and affected several people's lives through the years. Like some have
said, if there was no Eldora or no Earl, would there be a World Of Outlaws
or All Stars, or would dirt track racing be where it is at today because he
had influences on ALL of that. Not to mention several top stars cut their
teeth or made their name at Earl's Eldora. Many have reflected this week on
what Earl and Eldora meant to them. I had to work and missed my normal
Racing World spot this weekend and didn't get to reflect on the program but
I will here. Eldora to me hasn't just been a race track, its been a way of
life. I have been going to the Big E since I have been 17 months old, which
aging myself, makes this the start or my 43rd season hitting Eldora. Earl
created a place that my mom and dad and I spent family time at all spring to
fall long. My uncle, grandpa, cousins, daughter and friends all joined in
the mix as well. Its a place I would bring a friend that has never seen a
race and their eyes instantly light up in amazement. Its a place I've made
lifelong friends that are like family, some closer than family. Its a place
where excellent memories have been made with cookouts, camping, drinks, and
just a place to go have fun and kick back and enjoy life. Oh yeah they have
racing there too. From watching Apes get married, to kings getting crowned,
to watching drivers that had dreams when they passed through the back
stretch gate come true, to eating a famous Eldora hot dog, Eldora has been a
way of life for me and a truly a second home most of my life. I have been to
every King's Royal, every 4 Crown, every HBO, and have truly missed around
10 or less 410 sanctioned sprint car events at Eldora since I started going
when I was 17 months old. I truly think its less than 10 but thinking back
it is close. Not to mention hitting many other shows there, a handful of
World 100s, the AMA show, when they had some regular shows, all but 1
Prelude, the NASCAR Trucks, and some of the other bigger late model shows,
Earl's Eldora, which personally it will always be that in my mind, has
always been in my life. Thanks not only for all the memories Earl but,
thanks for a life style!! God Speed Earl!!
Saturday All Stars Attica OH, USAC Sprints Lawrenceburg IN
Thanks for reading
After attempting a goal I've always wanted to try, hitting 100 races in one year, last season I attempted 103 races with 12 being canceled as rain outs, I seen 91 complete shows. I am ready to crank up the 2015 season. With a failed attempt to attend Lincoln PA the first weekend in March this season, I look to hit some new places again this season, taking in 10 tracks I've never seen before last season. I can see why crew members and teams get burnt out. I never understood it until hitting that many shows, and working full time yet too. I took a longer break from the sport this winter than usual, mainly because the Ohio sprint car scene was a major soap opera for the majority of the winter until recent developments achieved everyone's goal of improving the sport for the good in this region. After all the issues facing winged sprint car racing in the region going into the off season, this look very stout as 2015 season approaches. With the new ownership of the All Stars, the division that was in a rapid collapse, looks to be back to where it once with huge potential of being the best its ever been. A very talented field of drivers, upwards of 10 or so, plan the entire tour with Steve Kinser and Rico Abreu dropping in at times during the season as well.
The Northern Ohio Sprint Car Show takes place this weekend, March 20-22 in Tiffin Ohio at the Tiffin Mall. Another nice group of cars will be on hand along with the local tracks and some vendors. A huge part of the show is the 12th annual HoserVille Ohio injured driver's benefit auction. With helping almost 50 drivers to date and passing out 10s of thousands of dollars over the years, this is the annual big fund raiser for the group. Another excellent list of items are ready to help keep the fund a growing. The following weekend, Lima Fairgrounds will play host to Tim's Motorsports Expo. Tim always puts on an excellent show with entertainment all weekend long Friday and Saturday.
Next weekend, the racing season officially kicks off in Ohio and the sprint car season kicks off in Indiana. Attica Raceway Park will open its gates Friday March 27th for opening night. Attica has stepped up the points fund this year majorly! $63,000 will be passed out at the end of the 2015 season for ARP points! The 410 sprint car champ will take home a $10,000 check with the late model champ taking home $7,500, 305 sprint champ $3,000, and dirt truck champ $600. Look for a stout field of cars each week when Attica opens the gates. A great way for the Bores to celebrate their 10th anniversary of promoting the track. March 28th Atomic Speedway kicks their sprint car season off in style with the All Stars hitting the pit area for a $10,000 to win show. The Indiana sprint car season starts March 28th as well with a huge $7,500 to win No Way Out 40 at Brownstown Speedway. Great ways to open the 2015 sprint car season.
I am glad to see track promoters always trying new things to try and draw fans. Each year it seems to be a bigger fight to grab someone's dollar they have set aside for entertainment so why not try new things that might give you an advantage. A few events that catch my eye this season is May 8th and 9th at Eldora Speedway running the WOO Sprints and USAC Sprints on the same card. Best of both worlds that weekend. July 24th Hartford MI does a similar thing in the winged sprint car world with the All Stars and the SOD 360 sprints on the same card.
With the season kicking off many changes took place over the winter. A great field of rookies in the 410 ranks this season with many 305 drivers jumping up. I know of 3 for sure with rumors of up to 6 different ones moving to the 410 ranks. Other moves include Nate Dussel has taken over the Davis 40dd ride, Chris Andrews moving to a 2nd Mintz Motorsports entry for the season, and Stuart Brubaker taking over the Burmeister Racing 16 ride.
I will get back in action this weekend with the HoserVille auction and then at Attica the 27th. Also, I will be part of the Racing World team as I travel the US this summer.
Thanks for reading, Duane
Since it was announced several months prior, there has been much talk about the Open Wheel Championship at Atomic Speedway at the end of October. Good, bad, and in between, people were talking talking and talking about the OWC. As last Thursday hit the calendar, beautiful sunny skies filled Southern Ohio with temps in the mid 60s as day 1 of the Open Wheel Championship was finally a reality. Running a bit of a different format than many big shows, which was talked about alot and still was that day, Thursday was traditional sprint car day with time trials, heats, and C mains if needed for the sprints. With a much smaller than expected car count for the traditional sprints, 23 cars made the trip to Atomic. Kody Swanson set a new track record on the fast smooth oval with a time of 14.883.
3 heats with the top 5 moving on to Saturday's A Main with the remainder of the field running the B on Friday. With the heat invert of 4, the heats were ready to roll. In heat 1, Swanson didn't waste any time moving to the front. Swanson did have a decent battle with Kory Crabtree and Matt Westfall before opening up a few car length advantage. Swanson held on to win over Crabtree, Westfall, Todd Kane, and with a last lap move in turns 3 and 4, Aaron Fry got past Chris Gurley for the 5th and final transfer spot. Brady Short slide out to the lead in heat 2 and pulled away from the pack. A great battle between Bryan Clauson, Dave Darland, and Robert Ballou for 2nd as Chad Wilson battles Randy Fink and Brady Bacon for 5th. Andy Hill slows the heat with a spin. Short sails out front as 3 cars battle for 2nd. Wilson clears Fink as Bacon follows and tries to battle Wilson. Short handles the field taking the win. Darland wins the battle for 2nd, Clauson, Ballou, and Wilson move into Saturday's A. The 3rd and final heat was quickly on the track as the program was pushed along very nicely. Kevin Roberts gets bounced around on the start and comes to a stop. Josh Davis runs a great race upfront and holds on taking a somewhat surprise win in heat 3. Dallas Hewitt, Sheldon Haudenschild, Tyler Courtney, and Nick Roberts raced into transfer positions. With the program over just after 9, the Atomic staff let cars in for Friday's program or those that wanted more track time from Thursday's program to test for about an hour and a half. A cool move I believe from the track staff.
Another excellent day for late October Friday as day 2 kicks off for the OWC. This day belongs the Renegade winged sprints for their qualifying, heat races, C Main, and B Main as a stout field of 53 cars were pit side Friday. After over an hour wait to start the program due to the EMS confusion, the show was ready to roll. With the track smooth and fast and wide, the high side was the quick way around. Danny Smith set quick time of the 53 cars on hand.
With a invert of 4 as well for the winged sprints, 6 heats races would take the top 3 cars to Saturday's A Main. 4th through 6th to the B, the rest to the C. With the track many grooves wide, it was very racey and had racing grooves for whatever line you wished to run. As heat 1 took the green, the pack gets bottled up off 2. Smith gets tagged and drops back to 7th, making it look like his A Main bid via the heat race was dim. Sheldon Haudenschild jumped out front as Travis Philo and Kody Swanson follow. Caleb Armstrong spins for a yellow. Jac Haudenschild quickly worked from deeper in the pack, racing into 2nd, setting up a father son battle at the front of the pack. As they duel upfront, Smith works back to battle for a transfer spot. Sheldon and Jac have a excellent battle, thrilling the crowd. Sheldon held dad Jac off for the win. Smith recovers to secure the 3rd and final transfer spot. Greg Wilson looks very stout in heat 2, wresting from 4th to 1st, battling Brandon Wimmer. Aaron Higgins spins for a yellow. Nathan Skaggs runs the bottom to perfection and it's a 3 car battle. Wilson breaks away as Skaggs chases him as Wimmer is solid in 3rd. With 2 to go, Wimmer tags the wall coming off 4 and takes a wild ride, flipping hard. Wilson controls the restart and holds on for the win over Skaggs and Ronnie Blair. Heat 3, another great battle. Chad Kemenah looked super fast in his first race aboard the Hunter 10h. Brady Bacon and Jimmy Stinson battled with Kemenah all race long. Bacon took the win over Kemenah and Stinson. Kevin Roberts can't shake the bad luck streak in his heat race at Atomic. Getting taken out of his non wing heat early Thursday, Roberts has issues in heat 4 of the winged heat on Friday. Caleb Helms spins in heat 4. Once things get to rolling, the battle heated up. Danny Lasoski made a late race move to take the win over Bryan Nuckles and Tyler Courtney. Keeping his winning ways a rolling in 2014, Dale Blaney took charge of heat 5 and never looked back. Blaney blasted to the win over Todd Kane and Kory Crabtree. Tim Shaffer shot from outside row 1 to the lead of heat 6. Shaffer looked stout and slid to the win over Randy Hannagan and Cole Duncan.
The show kept rolling along with the C Main up next. The top 4 from the C would move on to the B. Brandon Wimmer's crew worked quickly and got Wimmer on the track for the C. Wimmer whipped into the lead of the C. Wimmer had things a rolling out front as Brandy Bower was thrilling the local crowd, running the low side, closing the gap on the leader. Bower caught Wimmer and blew by for the lead. Bower remained fast and took a very popular win in the C. Wimmer, Josh Davis and Helms moved into the B.
Next up, the final race of the night, the B Main. The top 6 would move into the A. As the field raced into turn 1, Dean Jacobs and Taylor Ferns collided after the pack got all bunched up and side ways fighting for position. Bill Balog made the long trip from Wisconsin and took charge of the B Main. Rick Farley gets into the wall, slowing the race. Balog keeps his good run a going as Kody Swanson chases. As the battle upfront is fairly calm, Ryan Broughton is making a charge through the pack from the back, once again keeping the local crowd vocal. The battle for the top 6 heats up as the action is quickly heating up. Broughton enters the top 10, looking for more as DJ Foos enters the top 5. Foos tries a huge slider on Wimmer for 4th with 2 to go and runs over Wimmer's front end, sending both car wrecking. This was a huge break for Broughton, just one spot out now. Restart, Balog holds on and takes the win. Swanson, Ryan Meyers, Danny Holtgraver, Travis Philo, and with a move with 1 to go, Broughton races into the A Main after starting 22nd.
Bright sunny skies and temps in the low 70s greeted Atomic Speedway for the night night of their huge 3 day show Saturday. Dashes, the Charlie McCann non qualifiers A Main, and the 2 regular A Mains were all set and ready to roll Saturday. The track was once again in great shape.
Kicking the night off was the 20 lap Charlie McCann Memorial A Main for the top 20 cars that didn't make the winged A Main. Caleb Helms and Curtis Evans brought the field to the green. Evans escaped with the lead as the packed roared into turn 1. Before a lap was complete, Mitch Harble, Kevin Roberts, and Dean Jacobs collide. Complete restart, Evans once again gets the lead. Lap 2, Josh Davis Adam Strausser flip in turn 4. Evans leads once things go green. Lap 4, Rob Chaney claims the lead. Chaney looks stout upfront but Ian Madsen didn't come from Iowa to stink it up all weekend like he has to this point. Madsen, up from 11th, catches Chaney and an excellent battle rages on. Slide job for slide job, side by side, they swap the lead back and forth several times. Chaney kept the lead at the line but 5 to go, they are hard inches apart. Lap 16, Brandon Conkle spins for a caution. Restart, Madsen marched to the lead on lap 17 but he hasn't seen the last of Chaney. Lap 18, Chaney leads. Madsen is glued to his tail tank, looking to make another move. With the white flag in the flagman's hand, Madsen makes a move into the lead again. Chaney can't get back by as Madsen wins the battling, taking the win over Chaney, Helms, David Smith, and Taylor Ferns. In a field packed full of good cars, the top 5 featured some drivers that are just beginning their 410 careers, a great sign for our sport. A great race.
The top 10 fastest drivers that made the A would make up each Dash. A random draw was used to determine the starting order. The winners will start on the pole of their A Main event. Stinson and Lasoski paced the field in the winged Dash. The first 2 never changed spots all 8 laps as Stinson went on to win over Lasoski. Kemenah and Blaney moved into the top 4 with good runs.
Davis scratched from the non wing Dash as he used the same car to run both the winged n non wing part of the show and his car was still under repair from the McCann race flip. Same as the winged Dash, the first 2 never switched a spot, running flag to flag. Brady Short took the win over Bryan Clauson.
40 laps, $15,000 to win was on the line for the Renegade A Main. Ian Madsen was given an option of taking the $2000 that the McCann raced paid or tag the tail of the A and run for more. Madsen didn't blink an eye and said he came to race. Mark Imbler was added as a track provisional. Stinson and Lasoski lead the field to the green. Lasoski leaped into the lead, running right up on the cushion. Lasoski was making his debut in the Big Game Treestands 2 machine a good one pulling away from the pack. Lap 5, Duncan slows before the flag stand but is coasting around the top, trying to stay out of the way, as the yellow isn't flying. Finally, in turn 2, Philo has to spin not to ass pack the almost stopped Duncan, as the yellow finally waves. A almost bad bad moment that could have been totally avoided with a caution 8 seconds earlier like it should have been, very dangerous moment, thankfully all went well. Restart, Lasoski sets sail out front and looks untouchable. As the Dude is on cruise control upfront, Blaney starts to show no matter if it's the All Stars, World Of Outlaws, or Rengades, he's stout and their to take home the check. Lap after lap as I've seen several times this season, Blaney has his car working on the low side, closing in on the leader. Lap 15, Blaney blast to the lead. With only one causion all race long, the laps click off quickly. Blaney stretches his lead lap after lap. With not much changing up front, Madsen is moving through the pack, getting into the top 15. Blaney keeps is excellent season a rolling and is uncatchable, leading the final 25 laps with no real pressure. Blaney wins over Lasoski, Wilson, Skaggs, and Stinson.
Closing out the 1st ever OWC weekend was the 40 lap traditional sprint car A Main. Short and Clauson brought the field to the green. Short has been the car out front all weekend so far and this was no different as Brady shot to the lead. Instantly the pack started racing 3 and 4 wide behind the leader. Lap 6, Swanson stops with a flat left rear. Restart, Short leads as a great battle is on from 3rd to 11th. That pack of cars looked like a Talladega race. They were 3, 4, and 5 wide lap after lap, switching spots back and forth. As Darland and Clauson start to fade, Ballou and Kane start moving forward. As Ballou catches Short, the battle behind them is still amazing. Lap 21, Ballou takes the lead. With the battle still going on hard behind the leader, Short starts to back slide as well. Ballou right up on the fence is leading as Kane runs the bottom, closing in on the Mad Man. Gurley makes a charge and uses the extreme bottom to enter the top 3, looking for more. Ballou can't shake Kane but, Todd can't make a move either. In an excellent race, Ballou holds on to take home the $5000 payday. Kane, up from 12th, Gurley, up from 16th, Westfall, and Haudenschid round out the top 5. A great show with more passing than you could count.
With the 1st OWC now history, the weather gods truly shined on the Atomic staff to pull this one off. With much less than expected car counts, slim crowds Thursday and Friday, you gotta give the Atomic staff and crew kudos for doing business as usually and pulling this event off. Plus, you gotta give it to them for having the balls to do it this late in the year and pulling it off. They tried it, it was great racing all 3 nights, even though the ca count was down from what was expected, I think the support Saturday with Friday's okay crowd made it a positive race for the track. They didn't get rich by any means but I think they made a few bucks which is excellent. I heard much talk about the event all year, mostly negative with alot of naysayers saying no way they will pay that, no way will they run it, and many other non sense things but you gotta say guess what, now what? Atomic did it, pulled it off, paid the $$$, had excellent racing, and seemed to not lose their ass. Great job Atomic, glad to see a track that balls up to the plate and makes it happens reguardless of being surrounded by negative stuff all year long. Just goes to show you, try to focus on the positive at EVERY track that races and help keep this region thriving with racing when so many are closing tracks right and left.
Thanks for reading, Duane
With the outdoor racing season coming to an end in the next few days, a few tracks closed their seasons last weekend in big fashion. Kokomo Speedway in Indiana held their 8th annual Kokomo Klash closing out the Indiana season. After hitting night of of the Klash on their open wheel night, Saturday it was off to Fremont Ohio's Fremont Speedway for the last sprint car race of 2014 in Ohio as the World Of Outlaws visited town.
One of my top favorite events of the year, the Kokomo Klash kicked off last Friday with 34 traditional sprints, 25 midgets, and 17 600cc mini sprints pit side. With a windy chilly overcast day, the track was fast and heavy as the cars took to the racing surface.
4 sprint car heats with the top 4 moving on to the A Main. The action was hot and heavy from the start, warming the fairly decent sized crowd. Shane Cottle charged from 5th to 1st in this one. With tight close racing through out the pack, Cottle held off a late surge from Thomas Meseruall to take the win. Jon Stanbrough, and Scotty Weir raced into the A. The magic of Cottle's win, he past all those drivers that made the A on his route to the win. As Dave Darland and Jerry Coons Jr battled upfront in heat 2, Chad Boespflug had a solid 3rd place run a going as his car burst into flames, ending his heat race. Darland held on to win over Coons Jr, Justin Grant, and Robert Ballou in his 1st ever stint in the Marshall Motorsports 33m. The cushion was thick but fast. It was awesome seeing some of the guys get 4 wheels above it and cowboy up. Parker Fredrickson slowed heat 3 with a spin. Once things took back off, AJ Hopkins held on to win over Brady Short, Bill Rose, and Michael Koontz. A great heavy battle in heat 4. Bryan Clauson got airborne on the semi rough track in turn 4, catching some air hooking a rut. A lap later BC came to a stop when his car jumped out of gear, probably with some help. Chase Stockon slid to the win holding off a super fast CJ Leary. Kyle Robbins and Dallas Hewitt earned A Main starts as they rounded out the top 4.
3 midget heats with the top 5 moving into the A. Austin Nemire hooked an infield tire barrier in turn 4, leading heat 1, and took a hard tumble. Shane Hollingsworth took command on the restart and never looked back. Shane held on to win over Chett Gehrke, Gage Walkes, Kevin Studley, and Patrick Burns, who narrowly held on to a transfer spot. With the track still fast, the midgets didn't get as high as the sprint cars but, some were testing the cushion at times in heat 2. Dave Darland drove from 4th to 1st in this one. Darland was super strong but had to hold off a late race run by Trey Marcham to seal the win. Michael Koontz, Thomas Meseruall, and Nick Spiedel, with a late race move, followed Darland and Marcham across the finish line. As Shane Cottle cruised out front in heat 3, Tate Martz and Spencer Bayson was charging through the pack from the last row. Just as Cottle had a lock on the win, his car died entering turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. As Cottle tried coasting to the finish line, Bayson speed past for the win after starting 8th. Fellow back row starter Martz took 2nd, as Kyle Schuett, Ross Rankin, and just nipping Cottle at the line, Justin Dickerson raced into the A.
Instead of an 18 car B Main for the sprints, 2 B Mains were ran with the top 2 moving on. I like this idea for a 10 lap race. Gives drivers more of a chance unless they would make the B Mains about 15 or 16 laps, then maybe start 18 in the B. Logan Jarrett jumped out to the lead from the pole of B1 and spanked the field. Jarrett ran away, taking the win over Travis Hery by almost a half a track margin. Connor Donnelson spun in B2 to slow the pack in turn 4. Once things got to rolling, Buddy Lowther lost a left front tire in turn 2 causing a caution. An excellent race upfront the entire distance. The top 4 cars were pretty much glued together with the 5th and 6th place car right there as well. Bryan Clauson recovered from his heat race incident and took the win. Chris Gurley won the 3rd battle at the finish libe to take the final transfer spot.
9 cars made the call for the midget B Main with the top 5 moving into the A. Jimmy Clark was battling for a transfer spot when he took a wild flip, ending his night. Shane Cottle rebounded from his heat race woes and dominated the B. Cottle took the win over Kurt Mayhew, Alex Watson, Logan Arnold, and at the line Andrew Henning.
Darland and Cottle paced the field in the 25 lap sprint car A Main. Darland dipped into the lead as the field took the green. Lap 2, Coons and Grant collide on turn 4. Coons goes pit side to change a flat and returns but is sent pit side because it was stated at the driver's meeting if you pull into the pits, you are done for that event. Not sure if the crew was supposed to bring a tire onto the track and change it or what. I'm not sure that's a good rule for the Klash if they don't hold the show up while the accident is still bring cleaned up, not sure why they can't return after fixing a issue from an accident. Under the yellow, Cottle pulls in while running in 2nd. Restart, Darland is fast but running just under the cushion. Leary puts the right rear up on the edge of the cushion, at times way above the cushion and closes the gap. T-Mez and Ballou follow suit, running the thick cushion. Lap 9, doing what rarely happens at Kokomo, Leary around the outside of Darland and takes the lead. Just after they complete lap 9, a caution flys for one of the big tractor tires used for infield barriers was rolling on the track in turn 2. Restart, Darland gives Leary a challenge as Stockon and Meseruall joins the mix. As they battle it out, Ballou and Clauson are moving up from the back. By the lap 9 caution, Clauson was half way through the pack. A great race was unfolding as Leary was still in control. Lap 15, Weir slows with issues. Restart, Leary has been fast all year and keeps a rolling and races on to his first ever Kokomo Speedway sprint car win. Not only was it his first Kokomo win but, it was the 8th different Klash sprint car winner in 8 years. Darland, Meseruall, Ballou, up from 14th, Stockon, and Clauson, up from 18th round out the top 6. A pretty good race and great season closer for sprint car racing in Indiana.
Hollingsworth and Darland brought the field to the green in the 25 lap midget A Main. Darland dives to the lead as the field races into 1. Lap 2, a big pile up in turn 4 collects Meseruall, Rankin, Watson, Bruns, and Koontz. Restart, Darland leads and is looking to stink up the show but hold on, it's about to get all Kokomo out on the track. Hollingsworth runs Darland down and a typical Kokomo battle unfolds. As they battle, Cottle is blistering through the pack from 16th. Lap 12, Hollingsworth takes the lead. As Darland fights back, a 4 wide, 4 car battle for the lead soon has the crowd on the edge of their seats. Lap 17, Darland regains the lead as the battle rages on. Hollingsworth never fades as Cottle now enters the mix catching the leaders. Cottle gets a run on Darland with 3 to go, looks to have the advantage going into turn 3 but gets stuck behind a lapped car allowing Darland to stay in command. That's all The People's Champ needed to seal another Kokomo win. Darland wins a great one over Cottle, up from 16th, Hollingsworth, Bayson, and Marcham who had a teammate battle to the line for 4th. Another excellent Kokomo event.
The 600 mini sprints were dominated by all night by Kyle Schuett and Todd Kirkman. Both drivers took heat race wins. Then in the A, Schuett took the early lead to have Kirkman take over near the half point and never looking back to seal the win.
Saturday on a cold blustery misty day, Fremont Speedway determined the show would go on as the World Of Outlaws sprints hit town. Driving through rain 60 of the 75 miles there, my hopes of seeing a race was being tested but knowing the Fremont staff was determined to get this one in and finally turning my windshield wipers off the final 15 miles, I was starting to think of how awesome of a sprint car season closer in Ohio, a WOO race. A lot bigger crowd and an excellent field of 45 sprint cars was pit side.
Deteremined to put on a quick program, the Fremont staff was on target getting things kicked off right on time. On a fast tacky track, Cole Duncan set quick time of the night in qualifying.
5 heats with the top 4 moving on to the A. Jason Sides slide from the pole to the lead of heat 1. Using the low line, Double Down ran away from the pack and never was challenged for the lead. Sides took the win over Chris Andrews, Stuart Brubaker, and Duncan. A excellent race in heat 2 that got the crowd fired up on a chilly night in many ways. On the start, front row starters Caleb Griffith and Paul McMahan make heavy contact just past the chalk line, going for the lead. McMahan loses his front wing as the field raced into turn 1 causing a yellow. Under the yellow, McMahan drives over Griffith's right front tire showing his displeasure about the start. Griffith didn't back down much to the home town crowd's approval. Complete restart, McMahan leads as the battle is on. Another yellow slows the action when Paige Polyak spins off the top of turn 4. Green, Steve Kinser gets a run on the bottom and races into the lead, as a huge roar bellows from the crowd. Cody Darrah follows Kinser through the pack and gives the King a battle. Kinser holds on to win over Darrah, Griffith, and McMahan who holds off Donny Schatz at the line for the final transfer spot. Another huge bellow from the crowd, even from people who just was cussing McMahan minutes before after contact with a homer. Another good race in heat 3. Gary Taylor never trailed in heat 3, holding off Kraig Kinser for the win. Kerry Madsen and Greg Wilson raced into the A. Keeping the Fremont locals showing they can run against anyone, Byron Reed ripped to the lead in heat 4 and never looked back. Reed lead flag to flag for the win over Joey Saldana, Shane Stewart, and Dale Blaney. Ian Madsen was making a charge towards the front in heat 5 when something broke going into turn 4. Running the high side, Madsen slammed the wall hard, destroying the 18 ride. Brad Sweet took the win in heat 5 over Brandon Wimmer, Daryn Pittman, and Rob Chaney.
Moving the program quickly along, the C Main was rolling out less than 10 minutes after the heats. After Ian Madsen scratched, Bryan Sebetto started on the pole. Sebetto slipped into the lead on the start. With just the top 2 moving on to the B, Sebetto was in total control of the C. Sebetto took the win over Duane Zablocki.
The 10 car Dash would set the top 5 rows of the A Main. Andrews got the advantage over Steve Kinser on the start. Andrews showed he was going to be a huge factor, cruising to the win of the Dash and earning the pole for the A Main.
As soon as the Dash went pit side, the B Main was hitting the track with the top 4 moving into the A. Schatz slide to the lead over Bryan Clauson on the start. Schatz showed he found the Fremont groove and pulled away from the pack. Clauson ran a good race, following Schatz across the finish line. Tim Shaffer and Craig Mintz raced into the A.
With just a 15 minute break, the A Main was pushing on to the track. Andrews and Stewart paced the field in the 40 lap A Main. Stewart sped to the lead as the field raced into turn 1. With the track featuring 3 to 4 racing grooves, cars could run anywhere on the track. Lap 3, Darrah spins. With nowhere to go, Mintz collides with Darrah, breaking his 09 ride. Restart, Stewart pulls away from the pack as Andrews tries to reel Stewart in. Andrews closes the gap several times but can't make a move for the lead. As they run tightly upfront, Schatz is working his magic once again, quickly running through the pack. Lap after lap, Schatz was closing the gap. Now a 3 car battle for the lead, Schatz makes it a 3 car battle upfront. Racing nose to tail, then side by side, in and out of traffic, Schatz slips past for the lead on lap 35. Andrews falls back to 3rd as Stewart tries to make a run at Donny. Keeping his last half of the season domination a rolling, Schatz takes the win after starting 11th. Stewart, Andrews, Sides, and Duncan round out the top 5. A decent A Main and the entire program was complete at 9:26. Excellent job by the Fremont staff on a less than desirable night for racing. The strong support of fans and cars that showed up Saturday showcased how great the Ohio sprint car fans turn out for big shows.
The Open Wheel Championship hits Atomic this weekend, closing the Ohio sprint car season. The action kicks off Thursday. A action packed 3 day show featuring $5000 to win for traditional sprints and mods as the Renegade sprints race for $15,000 to win.
Thanks for reading
Quickly becoming a must see weekend of racing, last weekend the Harvest of Sprints took place at Waynesfield Raceway Park in Friday. Saturday the action switched to Eldora for the Sprintacular. Piggy backing these 2 shows back to back now for the 2nd year straight has quickly turned into a big weekend of racing in early October on the Ohio sprint car scene.
With a beautiful fall Friday night, Waynesfield Motorsports Park kicked the gates open for the 2nd annual Harvest of Sprints featuring the traditional non wing sprints, the 360 winged sprints, and the winged mini sprints. 44 traditional sprints and 25 360 sprints were ready to attack a fast wet and tacky WMP. Using the pill draw system the heats were ready to roll.
5 traditional sprint heats with the top 5 moving to the A. With the track fast and tacky, things heated up quickly. Jarett Andretti bicycled entering turn 3 and got super huge air and took a nasty flip. Andretti went through the turn 3 fence, landing just a few feet from the haulers parked in the pits. Jarrett eventually walked away with another trashed 18A machine. Dave Darland made a rare WMP appearance and held off Matt Westfall for the win. Mike Dunlap drove a stout race, earning a spot into the A. Steve Little and Tyler Hewitt flip in a crash at the start of heat 3. Tyler Gunn got collected in the incident as well. Cooper Clouse held off a fast Chris Gurley, who charged from 8th, to take the win. Mark Silva held on for a transfer position. Heat 3 didn't feature anyone charging up from the back but, it showcased a great battle between the first 3 starters. Luke Hall held on in a close on over Mike Miller and Landon Simon for the win. Kevin Myers joined the flip club in heat 4, flipping in turn 1. Dustin Ingle thrilled the crowd holding off a fast CJ Leary for the win. Travis Hery held on for 3rd. Just one year prior, Ingle was life flighted out of the Harvest of Sprints event with severe injuries that took months to full recovery. Right in his wheel house, Thomas Meseruall loves tacky fast California style tracks and he showed that in heat 5. T-Mez took the win over Max McGhee, making his debut in the Marshall 2M, and teammate Todd Keen.
3 360 heats where all the cars ended transferring into the A. With the track hammer down, and all cars moving to the A, not a lot of passing in the 360 heats like the traditional sprints. Max Stambaugh held off fellow front row starter Butch Schroeder to take the win. Randy Hannagan took 3rd. Tim Allison held off a fast Greg Wilson and Kyle Sauder for the win. Making her 360 debut, Taylor Ferns held off Knoxville Iowa's Jon Agan for the win. Agan made the tow sighting it made the trip more feasible with a 2 day show that close together. Nick Roberts took 3rd.
With the large turnout of traditional sprints, 2 B Mains would transfer the top 3 to the A. Dallas Hewitt was having a tough night and spun slowing the B. Justin Grant fell one spot short in his heat but making sure he didn't in B 1. Grant held on to win a tight one over Travis Berryhill and Scotty Weir. Brian Gross and Andy Conley get together in B2. Logan Jarrett has been looking strong lately and kept that a going taking control out front in B2. Jarrett took the win over Steve Irwin and Toby Alfrey.
Mitch Brown and Nick Roberts brought the field to the green in the 25 lap 360 A Main. After a bad start, Brown blasted to the lead on the restart. Lap 1, Ferns takes a nasty ride in turn 2 after running over Schroeder's right rear when he bicycled in the middle of the turn causing his car to drift up the track a bit. Danny Smith got some wing damage battling with a car through the incident. Brown leads on the restart. Looking good, Brown made the tow from Canada to showcase his talents. Hannagan quickly closed on Brown. Lap 5, Allison spun in 4, Dustin Daggett looped it to avoid him, backing his 2M machine into the wall. Devon Dobie was right in the middle of this and tried to avoid the accident but when he mashed the throttle to help steer around the spinning Daggett, he was in the heavy cushion and got a huge bit, flipping his car across the track. Restart, Brown leads as the caution waves on lap 6 for Kevin Roberts and Kris Davis colliding in turn 2. Restart, Hannagan takes a shot at Brown but, Brown drives right back past the Hurricane. Inches apart, Brown and Hannagan battle for the lead. Lap 8, Hannagan takes the lead. As lap 8 is completed, Beau Stewart sticks the 33M in the fence. Restart, Hannagan leads as Greg Wilson battles Brown for 2nd. Lap 15, Chase Ridenour, Shawn Dancer, and Nick Roberts gather in turn 2. Lap 16, Smith and Dancer collide in turn 2. Lap 18, Tyler Moore spins. Green, Wilson breaks free and chases Hannagan. Wilson closes on Hannagan with 4 to go. Hannagan is just too stout and holds on for the win. Wilson, Brown, Agan, and Sauder round out the top 5.
Hall and Gurley paced the field for the 25 lap traditional sprints A Main. As the pack races under the flag stand on the start, teammates Hery and Grant climb on each other, spinning to the top of turn 1 for a yellow. Complete restart, Gurley grabs the lead as the field races into 1. Quickly under pressure, Gurley and Hall battle side by side. Lap 2, Hall hustled into the lead. Lap 3, Clouse flips wildly off turn 2 into the corn field. As the pack slowed, Grant flips hard in 1, trashing the 40 ride. McGhee gets involved too. Restart, Hall looks good in the lead as Miller drops low and starts to go forward. Miller's car was stuck hard in the bottom, steaming the right rear off the turns it got so much grip and the front end roaring into the air. Lap 9, Miller marches past Hall, taking the lead. Miller is just showing how an awesome set up can make you fast, pulling away from the pack. Westfall in another catfish at Waynesfield as he moves into 2nd, trying to run Miller down. As they run 1 2, Darland works into 3rd, up from 8th, but is well behind them. Looking like Miller is uncatchable, the laps wind down. Lap 19, Hery changed all that, spinning in turn 2. This put the lead pack nose to tail on the restart. Miller and Westfall followed each other on the bottom as Darland jumped up on the cushion and let er eat. Darland pulls even with Miller as they battle for the lead. Lap 22, Darland drove around the high side to the lead. Giving Darland all he needed to have a shot, The People's Champ held on to take the win. Miller, Hall, Meseruall, and Dunlap, up from 11th, round out the top 5. A very good A Main.
Saturday the action moved to the Eldora Speedway featuring the Sprintacular with the BOSS traditional sprints, the All Star Sprints, and NRA 360 sprints in action. Another gorgeous day for the season final at the Big E. 53 BOSS Sprints, 36 All Star Sprints, and 25 NRA Sprints packed the star studded Eldora pit area.
The All Stars and NRA 360 sprints used time trials as the BOSS sprints used a pill draw for their line ups. A super fast Eldora as Dale Blaney set the pace for the All Stars with a quick time of 12.990. Randy Hannagan set the pace in the 360 division with a quick time of 14.154. Evan Gindling flipped in BOSS hot laps. Jason Holt's night ended early as a push truck and Holt collided hard at the back stretch pit entrance. Holt got hit trying to enter the pits, damaging the car beyond repair for the night.
4 All Star heats, moving the top 5 into the A. Danny Smith had a rough Friday night and it carried into heat 1 on Saturday. Smith got into the turn 1 wall when his rear broke in the 4 machine. Jac Haudenschild held off a fast Greg Wilson who charged up from 5th. The Wild Child took the win over Wilson, Dean Jacobs, in the 59 ride, Blaney, and Tyler Courtney rounded out the top 5. Some great battles in heat 2. Derek Hager spun in turn 3 when Rico Abreu blew past him for 5th and Hager jerked the wheel and spun. Leader Ryan Myers tagged the wall while he was upfront all alone. Paul May inherited the lead. May held off a fast Gary Taylor for the win. DJ Foos, Abreu, and Hager rounded out the top 5. Heat 3 began with a bad start. Josh Davis slowed the action with a spin. Randy Hannagan charged from 6th to 1st to take the win over Ian Madsen, Chris Andrews, in the Mintz 09, Jim Nier, and Brandon Matus. Brandon Wimmer took control of heat 4 as Rob Chaney applied pressure to the leader. Chaney slowed as his car started to smoke. Wimmer held on to win in a close one over Sheldon Haudenschild, Mark Dobmeier, Christopher Bell, and Lee Jacobs.
3 360 heats with the top 5 moving into the A. Heat 1, Shawn Dancer darted from the pole and never looked back. Dancer took the win over Jared Horstman, Randy Hannagan, doing double duty, Tim Allison, and Greg Wilson, also doing double duty. Jimmy Snead slowed heat 2, stopping on the track. Kyle Sauder slipped from 3rd to 1st and went on to win over Dustin Daggett, Beau Stewart, Ron Blair, and Devon Dobie. Taking a move out of Sauder's book, Max Stambaugh shot from 3rd to 1st in heat 3. Stambaugh held off all challenges and took the win over Butch Schroeder, Hud Horton, Kevin Roberts, and Mitch Brown.
6 BOSS heat with the top 3 moving to the A. Some great action with the excellent track surface and stacked field. Thomas Meseruall used the Eldora cushion to race to the win in heat 1. Derek Hastings and with an excellent last lap move, Mike Moore transferred to the A. Brandon Spithauler shot from outside row 1 to the lead of heat 2. Brandon never looked back taking the win over Mike Miller, and Bill Rose, up from last. A excellent heat 3. CJ Leary charged from last to make a late race pass to take the win over Justin Grant and Dustin Smith. Rebounding from a hard crash the prior night and breaking a car into two at Eldora a few weeks before, Jarett Andretti raced from 5th to the front of the pack in heat 4. Andretti took the win over Michael Fishesser and Matt Westfall. Another winner from the last row in heat 5. Dallas Hewitt charged from the last row to take the win over Travis Hery and Justin Owens. Landon Simon took control of heat 6 from the start and held off Logan Jarrett and Luke Hall for the win.
The All Star Dash seen Blaney race to the lead, holding off Hannagan and Bell for the win.
The top 4 from the All Star B Main raced their way into the A. Travis Philo abroad his family owned 5t jumped to the lead from the pole. Philo held off a late race charge from 8th place starting Dustin Daggett for the win. With a nice run after a hard crash the prior night, Taylor Ferns put it in the A as well as Danny Smith with a late race move.
The 360 B Main transferred the top 5 into the A. Nick Patterson stopped the action, flipping in the B. Jon Agan recovered from a bad heat race run, taking the win over Nick Roberts, Brandon Ferguson, Shane Ross, and Joe Geibe.
2 BOSS B Mains with the top 3 moving on to the A. B1, Travis Berryhill used the inside line to move from 3rd to 1st. Once Berryhill took the lead, Travis searched for the fast line and found his groove, taking the win over Nick Bilbee and Steve Little. Mark Silva slowed B2 with a spin. Kent Wolters used the Eldora cushion to hold on to the win in a super tight battle in this one. Steve Irwin and Josh Moffett punched their ticket to the A.
Kicking the A Mains off was the All Star 30 lap $5000 to win A. Blaney and Hannagan brought the field to the green. No surprise to anyone, Blaney blasted to the lead on the start. With Blaney dominating the All Stars all season, people were quick to write this one off as Blaney pulled away. Hannagan held strong, hoping to get a run at Blaney. Lap 6, Hager spins for a caution. Blaney gets a good restart as the action comes to a haul on lap 7. Taylor and Lee Jacobs was fighting for 5th going into turn 4 when they made contact and Jacobs flipped hard off 4. Lee exited the car quickly but fell to the ground. EMTs quickly attended to Lee and took him to away. Lee would suffer a broke back, T 11 and T 12, in the accident. Restart, it's all Blaney upfront. With 10 laps in the crowd started getting restless as Rico Abreu has became a huge fan favorite and is putting his car inches off the big white Eldora wall, running the leaders down. Gaining quickly, Rico has the fans cheering loudly as he closes the gap. There is a line in 1 and 2 that is super fast is you dare run it, just an inch or 2 off between the right rear and the fence and if you run it, it the fastest your car can go at Eldora when ran proper. I've seen many attempt it but crash or not hit it 100% on like the 3 best I've seen run it, Sammy Swindell, Kevin Huntley, and Joey Saldana, when you hit it just right like those 3 can, watch out. Rico hits the mark lap after lap, reaching Blaney's tail tank. Better in 3 and 4, Blaney holds Rico off. Rico has none of that and rides the rim getting his momentum up, sliding Blaney for the lead on lap 17 as the crowd pumps their fists and waves their arms, cheering Rico on. Blaney regroups as the leaders are in heavy traffic. 8 to go, Blaney is side by side with Rico. Rico makes an amazing 3 wide move with 4 to go in traffic, forcing Philo high a little but doing what you need to do at the Big E in traffic to not get beat. Rico holds off Blaney's last charge, taking a very popular win. Blaney, Hannagan, Wilson, and Madsen round out the top 5. Very good race with a awesome battle between Rico and Blaney.
Minutes after the All Stars were done, the show quickly moved on as the NRA 360 A Main was next. Horton and Dobie paced the field in the 25 lap event. Horton hopped to the lead as the pack roared into turn 1. Lap 2, Schroeder wasted no time and slide to the lead. Schroeder looked very strong out front as Hannagan started to reel him in. Hannagan makes his move as Schroeder fights back and won't give up the lead just yet. Lap 11, Hannagan gets past after the duo battled for a few laps. Butch follows right in Randy's tire tracks, never falling out of reach of Hannagan. As we've seen several times the past few years, Hannagan is a huge powerhouse in the 22H and shows it once again. Hannagan takes the win over Schroeder, Daggett, Wilson, and Blair. Another good race as Hannagan and Schroeder battled for a while and then Butch never faded out of reach the entire race. One hiccup and Schroeder would have been right there.
The night capper at about 9:20 push off time was the BOSS A Main. Jarrett and Hery paced the field in this one. Jarrett jumped to the lead on the start. Before a lap was complete, his terrible weekend continued as Grant brushes the wall in 3, breaking his front end. Complete restart, Jarrett repeats his move and jumps out front. Jarrett is riding the high side and opens up a 5 car length lead very quickly. Looking for a huge win to add to his resume, Jarrett is looking great at the front of the pack as he enters traffic. Meseruall starts to test the rim of Eldora, running inches off the fence in turn 4. T-Mez gets into 2nd and makes a charge towards Jarrett. Lap after lap, Jarrett's car seems to be losing his earlier set-up, slowing him down a bit. Lap 15, Meseruall dives into the lead. Lap 16, Andretti stops for a yellow. Restart, Meseruall leads as Leary now works to the front. Leary tries to set-up a run at the leader but T-Mez is too stout and seals the deal, taking the win Leary, Hewitt, Jarrett, and Miller round out the top 5. Miller's top 5 run earned him enough points to take the 2014 BOSS title. 3 BOSS tours, 3 different champs and the last 2 years the the title wasn't secured until the final lap of the A Main at Eldora. A good race and a great series championship. The Sprintacular is a must see event. If you haven't been there it's a $20 ticket for over a 100 sprint cars and great racing. Add Friday night's Harvest Of Sprints at Waynesfield to the weekend and it's a no brainer! It's been just 2 years now they have had a dual weekend and the teams are quickly picking that up. Look for this weekend of racing to grow bigger and bigger each year. A quick program as well with the final checkered falling before 10PM
The Open Wheel Championship at Atomic October 23rd - 25th now has 63 410 winged sprints pre entered and almost 20 traditional sprints 30 mods is shaping up to be an excellent season ending sprint car event in Ohio. $15,000 to win winged and $5000 non wing and mods.
Upcoming Friday Kokomo Klash Kokomo IN sprints, midgets, mini sprints
Saturday WOO Fremont OH
Thanks for reading Duane
See you at Kokomo and Fremont
The calendar flipped to October last weekend, setting up the last month of outdoor racing in our region. With mother nature acting like it was December, the weather was cold and wet in alot of areas. Eldora Speedway survived mother nature's shot of cold and held the UMP National Championships for the late models and modifieds for the 2014 season. A 3 day event for the mods, was capped off by adding a full program of late models to Saturday's agenda.
With strong winds, misty skies, and cold temps, Eldora opened the gates for day 3 of the UMP Nationals Saturday. 107 modifieds ran heats and qualifing mains the prior 2 days, setting up the alphabet soup for them on Saturday with 95 mods returning as 43 late models were pit side as well.
Bill Bray found the wall early in late model hot laps. Running a complete show, group qualifying was used for the lates. Scott James set the fastest overall time of the night.
4 late model heats moved the top 5 into the A Main. The mods mixed their mains in between the heats to keep the show a moving more efficiently. To keep it less confusing, I'm going to do each division together, not particularly in event order.
In heat 1, returning from an injury that side lined him all season long, Kid Rocket Josh Richards tried shooting the gap on the high side on the start. Richards roared from 4th up on the cushion, battling for the lead before tagging the wall in turn 2. Duane Chamberlin took command holding off a very fast Bobby Pierce for the win. Jeep VanWormer, Ben Atkins, and Brian Diveley raced into the A. Rusty Schlenk held off a fast Scott James to take the win in a close battle during heat 2. Kent Robinson, Brandon Thirlby, and Devin Moran, from deep in the pack, raced into the A. Greg Haskell found the wall in heat 3. A good battle upfront as Frank Heckenast Jr took the win over Matt Miller, James Rice, Steve Kester, and John Gill with a last lap move to transfer to the A. Mason Zeigler lead flag to flag in heat 4 taking the win over Jerry Bowersock, Nick Latham, Dan Schlieper, and Andrew Reaume.
2 late model B Mains transferred the top 2 out of each B to the A Main. In B1, Doug Drown and Randy Korte raced upfront as Josh Richards charged from the last row through the pack. Andrew Gordon and Butch Kruckeberg spin together in the middle of the back stretch, slowing the pace. As the laps wind down the leaders are in heavy traffic all bunched up as Richards ran the lead pack down. White flag Richards has a huge run on Korte. Going into 3, Korte makes gets through traffic as Kid Rocket gets hung behind a lapped car. Drown wins as Korte holds off Richards by inches for the final transfer spot. It was Korte's last race of his career as he is retiring for health reasons. Ben Mott had trouble finding grip in B2, bringing the caution out for 2 different spins. Once things got to rolling, Jacobs Hawkins took the win over Jeff Babcock to move to the A.
Pierce and Zeigler brought the field to green in the 40 lap A Main. Pierce pounced into the lead as the pack took the green. James and Zeigler battled behind Bobby for 2nd. Pierce was super fast and within a few laps opened up a 10 car length lead. Lap after lap, Pierce stretched the lead, totally running away from the pack. Showing why he is the 2014 UMP Champ, Bobby was in total control. By the half way point, Pierce had lapped over half the field, never looking back. Lap 33, Ausra and Reaume both spin in different places on the track. Only 9 cars were left on the lead lap as Pierce was closing on a group of cars that would of put only 5 cars on the lead lap before the yellow flew. Restart, it's all Pierce. Bobby wasn't even close to being challenged in this one. Robinson, up from 10th, James, Miller, and VanWormer round out the top 5.
After running heats and qualifying mains the previous 2 nights, 95 mods returned Saturday for their mains only night. With shadows of the Chili Bowl or Knoxville Nationals, it's go or go home time in these mains. Starting the night off for the mods was the F Main. 13 of the 18 starters made the call with the top 8 moving to the E. The drivers in the 3rd row was the show on this one. Josh Morton raced from 5th to 1st, cruising to the win. 6th place starter, KC Burdette gave Morton a run but had to settle for 2nd. David Treon Jr, Joe Brosseau, Michael Stratton, Jeff Danials, Gary Ricketts, and Kris Williamson raced into the E.
As just a few drivers wasn't in the other mains, the fields would be filled with the alternates from the prior main. Same as the F, the E main took 8 to the D Main. A huge pile up in turn 2 collected Ricketts, Drew Smith, Stratton, and Anthony Flannery were involved. As Brian Brindley lead the pack, all eyes were shifting to Morton and Burdette as they were moving through the pack. Morton on the high side, slide jobs, and moving in and out of traffic as Burdette took the low line. Brindley held on to win over Jonathan Taylor, Rob Starkey, Patrick Lyon, Jeff Koz, Morton, up from 17th, Burdette, up from 18th, and Brett Hole, with a last lap move, transferred into the D Main.
The D Main was a great race. It took the top 8 on to the C. A huge crash took Morton out for the night as he was trying to make a charge through the mains. Pete Holt, Terry Sroufe, Scott Bowersock, Starkey, and Kurt Allison were also collected in the mess. A few drivers escaped without much damaged to restart the D. Brandon Vaughan was leading all race long as some a handful of drivers were charging through the pack. With laps winding down, Derrick Ramey and Burdette caught Vaughan. Ramey slipped past for the lead after moving up from 15th. Ramey took the win with his late race move holding off Vaughan, Burdette, who quickly became a fan favorite charging up from 23rd, Curt Spalding, Koz, up from 21nd, Taylor, up from 18th, Zeke McKenzie, and Sroufe, up from 25th.
With just a few mains to go, the field is tougher and tougher as most drivers in the remaining events have wins all over the US this season. On to the C, the top 8 move on to the B. Nathon Loney and Casey Luedeke get together at the beginning of the C. Loney spun and Luedeke had nowhere to go and slammed into Loney. Vaughan spins once things roll again. As Danny Schwartz leads upfront, the crowd is cheering Burdette on as he's already up to 12th. Ramey is grabbing some attention as well, moving quickly into a battle for transfer positions. Once again Ramey works all the way through the pack and catches the leader late in the race. Schwartz holds on for the win as Ramey, up from 16th, Chad Bauer, Nick Stroupe, Spalding, up from 19th, Kasey Schrock, Ray Bollinger, and just holding on to move on, Burdette, up from 18th.
With the final showdown, the B Main, many drivers have brought much excitement to the prior mains. Can of them run all or the majority of the alphabet soup. Burdette has went from the F to the B. Koz from the E to the B. Ramey from the D to the B but, with runs to the front to battle for the win in each. The final 8 would move into the A from the B. As the pack raced into turn 1, Burdette and Koz made contact as Burdette's car is broken, needing a tow. I'm not sure if Burdette broke before the contact or not but, Burdette's run has ended. Stroupe spins once the race restarts. Eldora ace, Jeff Babcock raced from 3rd to the lead and was in control out font. As the pack battled heavily in the middle, Ramey was making a charge through the field once again. As Ramey and Josh Rice charge, David Stremme is sinking backwards. Babcock holds on to win as Rice, up from 9th, Brandon Green, Bryce Jewell, Travis Stemler, Ramey, up from 18th making the charge from the D, Stremme, and David Mielke race into the A Main.
Evan Taylor and Kenny Wallace paced the field for the 25 lap $5000 to win modified A Main. Wallace whipped to the lead as the pack raced under the flag stand. Lap 4, Jimmy Dehm spins. Restart, Wallace holds a slight advantage, looking to score a big win at one of his favorite tracks to visit. At the half way point, Wallace's lead is shrinking as the to the top 3 are getting closer to Wallace. Brian Ruhlman has several laps at Eldora and is quickly running Wallace down. Lap 19, Rulhman thrills the crowd with a pass for the lead. As Rulhman leads, Wallace starts to slip with 5 to go. Nick Hoffman won the previous 2 nights breaks free to chase Ruhlman the final 3 laps. Ruhlman is too strong and takes the win. Hoffman, Matt Mevert, Wallace, and Jacob Hawkins, up from 12th, round out the top 5.
With less than ideal weather conditions, the Eldora Speedway staff did a fantastic job of getting the show in the books, despite a less than desired crowd on hand. The show was pushed along quickly and over just past 9:30. A good night of racing.
Kokomo Speedway has dropped the entry fee for their annual Kokomo Klash this year. A huge move as the entry fee each Klash generated between $4000 and $5000 to the pockets of the O'Connor family. Hopefully, this will even draw more cars to an already large event....The inaugural Open Wheel Championship set for October 23rd - 25th at Atomic Speedway has already received 51 entries in the 410 winged sprints and mid 20s for the traditional non wing sprints.
Friday Harvest of Sprints Waynesfield OH non wing sprints, NRA 360s, and mini sprints.
Saturday BOSS, All Stars, NRA Eldora OH MSCS Habstadt IN
Thanks for reading Duane
For 3 years now, Berlin Raceway in Marne Michigan has turned their 7/16th pavement speedway into a dirt track, covering the track with several loads of dirt they acquired just a few miles away from the speedway. Each season they have expanded their dirt schedule, after originally just running in it one weekend. After running a midweek SOD sprint car show last year, the staff at Berlin added a sprint car weekend this past weekend with the SOD 360 sprints on Friday and the World Of Outlaw sprints on Saturday.
I heard the already nice facility had done some major work over the off season since my first visit there last September. The track did some major work adding huge suites, a bar, redoing the grandstand area, and some stands for food vendors. Plus, Berlin is known for running a quick fast show and Friday as I headed there, I witnessed that first hand. Thinking the first green flag statement in their ad meant hot laps, it meant start of the first heat. Making record time, after leaving work at 5, I pulled in just as the 1st heat was on the track, missing the first 6 laps of the 8 lap heat. 29 SOD sprints were pit side for the $5000 to win event. Which by the way I think they need to advertise A LOT more that it pays $5000 because a lot people I talked to before and after had no idea it was more than a standard SOD show.
4 heats, took the top 16 in passing points from the heats to the A main. Heat 1, Brad Lamberson took the win over Max Stambaugh, who charged from the tail, I got lines up on way there. Shouldn't admit that but, had to multi task on way due to running late. Dain Naida and Robert Huisken finished in the top 4. Jay Steinbach ended on the hook. Heat 2, Andy Chehowski held off Shawn Dancer for the win. Troy Chehowski and Devon Dobie followed Dancer across the line. Dustin Daggett dominated heat 3, jumping to the early lead and running away from the pack. Jared Horstman, Andy Teunessen, and Gavin Hunyady crossed the finish line a distant 4 seconds after Daggett. In the most exciting heat, Randy Hannagan made a late race pass on Ryan Ruhl to take the win in heat 4. A couple of young guns 15 year old SOD rookie Chase Ridenour and New York's 15 year old Dane Lorenc rounded out of the top 4.
Usually after the top 16 in points are figured out, the top 8 in points are in a Dash but with the show running behind time on the Berlin staff's time schedule, the Dash was scrapped and it was on to the B Main. The top 8 would move into the A. Brett Mann marched from 6th to 1st, using his years of experience on the slick surface to take the lead. Hunyady had a good run going battling for 3rd before he spun and hit the wall ending his night. As Mann cruised out front, Kyle Sauder was working through the pack towards the leader. Mann held on for the win as Chris Pobanz crossed the line by 10 feet over Sauder for 2nd. Craig Karazim, Jay Steinebach, Kyle Pitts, Kirk Cheney, and Joe Geibe raced into the A Main.
Horstman and Lamberson brought the field to the green in the 30 lap $5000 to win A Main. Daggett darted from 3rd to 1st on the start. Lap 2, Mann had contact with the wall the lap before now coasted to a stop for a yellow. Restart, it's all Daggett upfront. Looking like he did last year at the first dirt sprint car show at Berlin, Daggett was running the high side, opening up over a straightaway lead. As Daggett stunk the show up out front, Ruhl was moving up from mid pack and Sauder was charging from deep in the pack. At the half way point, Daggett still held a huge lead as Hannagan broke free from the pack, trying to run Daggett down. With the track blackened off and slick, there was a few good lines but, a few slick ones that killed your forward bite if you hit one. One of the biggest challenges was lapped traffic as the leaders were 25 miles per hour faster than some of the lapped cars, making it hard to not run over them. 8 to go, Hannagan started to close the gap quickly as Daggett seemed to be struggling hitting the high line as Hannagan ran low in 1 and 2 and high in 3 and 4. 5 to go, Hannagan cut the lead by 3/4rds of the gap. Lap 26, Hannagan got loose on the high side of 3, spun and hit the wall, all but flipping. Restart, Daggett quickly pulled away from the pack. Daggett was uncatchable and lead flag to flag for the win. Horstman, Ruhl, up from 9th, Stambaugh, and Sauder, up from 19th, rounded out the top 5. Daggett ran away but Hannagan was would have made it interesting if he didn't have issues with a few laps to go. Ruhl and Sauder made the A alright, passing a lot of cars in the 30 lap A. The track crew pushed the program as the final checkered flag flew at 9:38
Saturday, with absolutely beautiful weather, the World Of Outlaw sprints made their first ever visit to the Berlin Raceway. 24 cars, 25 were there but one 360 team couldn't find proper headers and took off before the show, were on hand. There was much talk among the locals, as I walked around during the day, about how fast the lap times would be with the powerful WOOs in town. With the track already slicking up in hot laps, the teams were ready to qualify. Donny Schatz kept his hot streak a going with quick time at 15.616
With 24 cars, all cars from the heats would transfer into the A. Under the bright sunny skies, the 1st heat was ready to roll just minutes after the 6:30 start time. In heat 1, Steve Kinser slipped into the lead on the start and never looked back, cruising to a very popular win. Brad Sweet, Schatz, Cody Darrah, Chase Ridenour, up from last with an impressive run, Jacob Wilson, Paul McMahan and Joey Saldana rounded out the field. Heat 2 brought a huge roar from the crowd once again as SOD regular Ryan Ruhl raced to the win in his WOO debut. Ruhl held off a fast Daryn Pittman for the win. David Gravel, Gary Taylor, Jacob Allen, Max Stambaugh, Kraig Kinser, and Jay Steinebach rounded out the heat. Christopher Bell made an excellent move on the start, sliding from 3rd to 1st on the extreme bottom. Bell looked like the fastest car in the pits as he pulled to a huge lead. Bell took the win by a huge margin over Kerry Madsen, Dustin Daggett, Logan Schuchart, Jason Sides, Tim Kaeding, Shawn Dancer, and Mark Strpko.
Moving right along, the Dash was ready to roll after a invert of 6 was drawn. Most the drivers interviewed in the Dash were all talking about the slickness of the track and never seeing such a surface. Bell blasted to the lead as Schatz adjusted quickly to the track, moving towards the front. Schatz couldn't catch Bell as Bell takes the win.
Bell and Schatz brought the field to the green in the 30 lap A Main. Bell blocked Schatz as the field skated into turn 1. Donny was all over Christopher's tail tank as Bell blocked his line. Lap 2, Schatz forced his way to in the inside off 4 and took the lead. Donny quickly pulled away from the pack. Lap 7, Schuchart broke a rear axle and flipped as his car dug into turn 4. Restart, it was all Schatz opening up a 5 second lead. Each lap he pulled farther and farther away, lapping over half the field. Schatz just couldn't be stopped and took his person best 24th WOO win of the season. Pittman, Sweet, Bell, and Steve Kinser rounded out the top 5. Schatz just totally kicked everyone's butt. Pittman had a few good runs in traffic to close the gap to 2 seconds but that's the closest anyone got after lap 5. The ice like track surface made many teams struggle with set ups.
Tim Nickels from Tim's Dirt Track Simulators is hosting a Racing and Auto Parts Swap Meet at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima OH November 29th and 30th. For spaces go to www.timssims.com....Jamie Osborn was named the new SOD Sprints series director starting the 2015 season. Jamie has been the head scorer for SOD since 2005 and is bringing some new ideas to the SOD series next season....The winter Rumble Series event in Fort Wayne during December has been expanded to 3 days this year December 26th through the 28th.
Saturday BOSS Fremont OH, SOD Plymouth IN
Thanks for reading, Duane
Jim Ford played a vital role in keeping local racing going at Fremont Speedway years ago when the track was on the verg of closing it's gates forever. In Jim's honor, the Jim Ford Classic was established 7 years ago, featuring 2 days of sprint car racing. The event, which it truly is an event with live bands, charity kick ball games, an auction, a queens pageant, an autograph session, and much more keeps growing and growing to try an attract large crowds to the Ohio oval. This past weekend, the All Star Sprints was the main draw for the 7th annual Jim Ford Classic.
Friday night 32 All Stars and 26 305 sprints towed through the pit gates of Fremont Speedway. With cloudy skies all day, the track was fairly tacky with some ruts throughout the surface. Dale Blaney has been destroying the competition on the All Star tour this season and he starts the big weekend off with quick time on the night.
4 All Star heats with the top 5 moving into the A Main. Brian Lay leaped into the lead of heat 1 and never looks back. On the tricky track, the action was all over the place. Lay lead flag to flag for the win over Byron Reed, Blaney, DJ Foos, and Brandon Spithauler. Chris Andrews went from being 2nd quick to burying himself for the night, spinning early in heat 2. Caleb Griffith took the win in heat 2 over Derek Hager, aboard the 9w Destiny Motorsports ride, Craig Mintz, Brandon Wimmer, and Taylor Ferns. A lot of action in heat 3. Bryan Sebetto got loose in turn battling for position, Cap Henry was right there and spun keeping for flipping both rides. Rob Chaney slowed the action stopping on the track. As Jac Haudenschild had the Miller 6 car a rolling out front, his son Sheldon was in a physical battle for the final transfer spot. Sheldon and Caleb Armstrong are sliding and bumping each other, as Sheldon gets into Caleb entering turn 4, Armstrong goes for a tumble into the turn 4 fence. Jac Haudenschild went on to win heat 3 over TJ Michael, Sebetto, Gary Taylor, and Henry. In heat 4, Cale Thomas and Carl Bowsher make contact entering turn 2, battling for position, Bowsher ends up in the soft walls. Jody Keegan took win over Dean Jacobs, Brandon Matus, Thomas, and Lee Jacobs.
26 305 sprints were lined up for 3 heat races, taking the top 5 to the A. Trey Jacobs spins, slowing heat 1. Seth Schneider took the win in heat 1 over Jason Keckler, Dan McCarron, Dean Jacobs, and Ricky Peterson. Tyler Gunn looks fast in heat 2 taking the win over John Ivy, Nate Dussel, Steve Rando, and Dan Hammond. Bobby Clark crushed the field in heat 3 over Dustin Dinan, TJ Michael, Brandon Moore, and Jordan Ryan.
Moving the program right along, the All Star Dash was next up. Sebetto took the Farmer 29, that was just assembled on Thursday, to the win, earning the pole of the A Main.
The All Star B Main was up next, taking the top 4 to the A. Chris Andrews showed he was fast after a heat race mistake, dominating the B Main. Andrews took the win over Stuart Brubaker, Chaney, and Sheldon Haudenschild, up from 11th.
The top 5 from the 305 B would transfer to the A. Paul Weaver took control of the B and went on to the win. Kyle Capodice, Dan Hennig, Alvin Roepke, and Caleb Griffith rounded out the top 5 and was headed to the A.
TJ Michael had to go to his back up car for the A, which happened to be his 305 car, as he has issues with his 410 after the heat. This is clearly stated in the All Star rule book that this is allowed. Sebetto and Wimmer brought the field to green in the 30 lap All Star A Main. As the field roared into turn 1, Ferns spins off the top of 1. Complete restart, Sebetto sails to the lead. Lap 2, Taylor flips in turn 3. Restart, Keegan not only hits the cone but, splits it into pieces for a yellow. Sebetto gets a rolling when the green waves once again. As the ruts got bigger throughout the night, 3 and 4 was different than 1 and 2, as a big rut was present in 4. Hitting the spots just right, Sebetto opens a 5 car length lead. Bryan gets caught behind Ferns on lap 9 as he tries to lap her. Wimmer whips past to gain the lead. Lap 13, Henry stops running in 3rd. Restart, the battle is on. Sebetto regains the lead on lap 14 but Wimmer fights back. The next several laps, the battle for the lead in excellent. Near getting more than a car length apart, Sebetto and Wimmer battle side by side, nose to tail, all but hitting on many occasions. Lap 21, Wimmer leads, lap 22 Sebetto. As they battle in out of traffic, Blaney is now on their tail tanks, lurking towards the front. Lap 27, Blaney takes the lead. Sebetto tries to stay in Blaney's tire tracks. White flag, Sebetto spins in turn 2 running 2nd. A green, white, checkered restart gives Wimmer one chance to make a move. Blaney has destroyed the All Stars all year and this night is no different as Dale holds on to win. Wimmer, Dean Jacobs, Mintz, and Reed round of the top 5. A great mid race battle between Sebetto and Wimmer made this one very worthwhile to watch.
Ivy and McCarron paced the field in the 25 lap 305 A Main. Ivy inched into the lead as the pack raced into turn 1. Lap 4, Hennig takes a wild tumble at the end of the front stretch, off turn 1. Restart, its all Ivy out front. Lap 6, coming off 4, something breaks in Ivy's car and snaps him hard into the front stretch wall. A huge hit that rattles Ivy for a minute. Ivy gathers himself and walks away. Clark inherits the lead on the restart. Lap 7, Weaver bounces off 3 into the soft wall but restarts. Clark crushes the field once the green light flashes back on. Lap 18, debris is on the track as Capodice's car has the arm guard and other pieces knocked off of it. Lap 20, Griffith spins. Lap 21, Weaver spins. Its all Clark is this one taking the win over Dussel, Gunn, up from 11th, Rando, and Dinan, up from 12th.
Saturday, the sun was out and a little chilly with a bit of a wind brings 39 All Stars and 33 305 sprints to a smooth Fremont Speedway for day 2 of the Jim Ford Classic. The action started quickly in time trials. Jody Keegan and Byron Reed both found the wall qualifying. Caleb Helms flipped qualifying. Once again, Dale Blaney sets quick time of the night.
Same deal as day 1, 4 All Star heats with top 5 moving to the A. Brian Smith snuck to the lead on the start of heat 1 and pulled away from the pack. Smith opened the gap lap after lap, taking the win by a straight away. Brandon Spithauler, Blaney, Mintz, and Thomas move on to the A. Some wild action in heat 2. Dan Kuriger cruised out front as the battle was for 5th. Henry stops for a yellow. The battle resumes once the green light flashes on as the father and son Haudenschild duel rages for 5th. The Haudenschid gang gets crossed up, about taking each other out as Henry has a run on them in turn 2. Henry can't avoid Jac as he slowed getting crossed up,Henry runs into him, spinning to the infield. Kuriger leads wire to wire for the win over Lee Jacobs, Andrew Palker, Foos, and Keegan. Danny Mumaw gasses it hard battling for position in heat 3 and gets upside down. Chris Andrews looks super stout, charging from 6th to 1st. Andrews takes the win over Chad Kemenah, Wimmer, Dean Jacobs, and Sebetto. Greg Wilson missed the A on Friday but wasn't letting that slow his spirits in heat 4 on Saturday. Wilson whipped the field in heat 4, taking the win over Tim Shaffer, Chaney, Broc Martin, and Griffith.
With the largest 305 field of the season, 4 305 heats with the top 4 moving to the A. In heat 1, Clark held off a fast Dinan for to take the win. Dinan dashed from 8th to 2nd over Jamie Miller, in the Weaver 1w ride, and Gunn. Jason Keckler jolted from 6th to 1st in heat 2. Keckler held off Jordan Ryan for the win as Ryan ripped from 8th to 2nd. Josh Harrison and first time Fremont visitor, Clay Riney moved to the A. An excellent heat 3. The top 4 cars were glued together the last 2 laps, almost pushing each other across the line. Dan Hammond took a huge win holding off Nate Dussel, Dan McCarron, and Dale Blaney, yes Dale made his first 305 start. Ryan French crashes in heat 4. Luke Griffith takes the win over Steve Rando, Trey Jacobs, and Mark Pinski.
All Star Dash was up next as Blaney starts on the pole. Andrews looks awesome, flying from 4th to 1st in the Dash. Andrews has his hands full as Chaney looks fast as well. Andrews holds on for the win.
With a 19 car B Main and the top 4 moving to the big $10,000 to win A Main, the drivers were racing hard in the B. Henry has the lead as the spin cycle starts throughout the pack. Brubaker spins for a yellow. Jac Haudenschild spins for a yellow. Travis Philo and Brandon Matus spin together in turn 2. Finally, Roger Campbell is the last spinner. Henry feels some pressure from Caleb Armstrong from about half way on. Henry holds on for the win over Armstrong, Brian Lay, and Todd Heller.
Same deal in the 305 B, top 4 to the A. Jeremy Duposki flips in turn 4 early in the B. Cody Bova held off Ricky Peterson, Alvin Roepke, and John Ivy, aboard the Merrill 39m, move on to the A.
Andrews and Chaney set the pace for the 50 lap $10,000 to win All Star A Main. Andrews looked super strong all night and shoots to the lead on the start. Lap 4, Henry spins. Restart, Andrews leads as Blaney closes in. The battle is on as Andrews blocks Blaney's moves lap after lap. Lap 8, Mintz spins into the infield off turn 4, just as Blaney passed Andrews for the lead. Andrews regains the lead since a lap wasn't complete. Lap 9, Thomas stops in turn 4. Restart, Andrews and Blaney battles nose to tail, cutting each other off, up front. Several times, they come within a few inches of touching. Lap 18, in traffic Andrews kinda hesitates going into 3 next to a lapped car. Blaney threads the needle and forces his way into the spot and the lead. Lap 24, Palker spins and Foos drives into the soft walls in turn 2. During the yellow, the red light turns on for a fuel stop. Restart, it's all Blaney. Lap 27, Lay spins. Lap 28, Henry squeezes between a lapped car and the wall off 4 and runs out of room, not letting off the throttle and flips. Blaney pulls away on the restart as Lee Jacobs is now trying to make a run at The Low Rider. Blaney is just doing what he's done all year, dominate the All Stars. Lap after lap, Dale stretches his lead. Lap 41, Jacobs bust his front end entering turn 1. Blaney is too strong on the restart and goes for a Saturday night drive, taking the win. Chaney, Andrews, Wilson, up from 17th, and Sebetto round out the top 5. A great battle with Andrews and Blaney for several laps at the beginning but once Blaney got the lead is was pretty much a snoozer.
Griffith and Ryan lead the 305 A Main to the green. Riney spins on the start. Restart, Ryan roars to the lead. Ryan looks excellent and quickly stretches his lead. The only thing slowing Ryan, is another Riney spin on lap 12. Ryan made the 305 a snoozer, doing his Dale Blaney impression, running away from the pack. Miller tried to make a late race charge but, Ryan can't be caught and takes the win. Miller, Dussel, Dinan, and Clark rounded out the top 5.
A decent weekend of racing for the 7th annual Jim Ford Classic. Both shows were ran quickly. Saturday some of the old All Stars were on hand for the big $$$$. This off season things will get interesting as it seems 2 sets of drivers fight for sprint car dates in Ohio and the surrounding area. Hopefully, the dust settles and the big shows such as the Jim Ford Classic keeps drawing all the best Ohio has to offer.
A huge late season mini Speedweek starts in Indiana tomorrow. With a few rain outs and one show originally scheduled now you can hit 3 nights in a row before the 4 Crown this weekend. Jack Hewitt makes his Eldora return in the Silver Crown cars Saturday.
Tuesday Woo Kokomo IN
Wednesday Woo Terre Haute IN
Thursday USAC Sprints Terre Haute IN
Friday Woo Eldora OH, OVSCA Brushcreek OH
Saturday USAC Sprints, Midgets, Silver Crown Eldora OH, All Stars Brushcreek OH
Thanks for reading, Duane
There are many big paying late model racing each season anymore but, when the beginning of September rooks around the most prestigious of them all takes place at Eldora Speedway. As many in the late model circle call it, "The World", the World 100 set the showcase for it's 44th time last week at Eldora. Changing the format just a few years back, the event is now a 3 day show that features twin 25's on Thursday and Friday. Full programs with qualifying, heats, B's, and A Mains. None of the racing on Thursday or Friday effects Saturday's show except qualifying. Your best time between Thursday and Friday in time trials is used to set your Saturday heat race line up. This differs from the old format of 2 qualifying sessions on Friday, using the best time to line up your Saturday heat race. Now drivers can earn 2 extra pay days and not just qualify. Each purse is over $53,000 on
Thursday and Friday, drawing 118 cars the first day and 119 the second.
Thursday with 118 cars, the teams were places into odd and even heats via their qualifying time. 6 odd heats with the top 3 to the odd A Main, 6 even heats with top 3 moving to the even A Main. Both odd and even groups have 2 B Mains each with the top 3 moving into their respective A Main. That's right, 12 heats, 4 B's, and 2 A Mains each night leading up to Saturday's big show. An excellent change I think in many people's opinion as a great crowd was on hand Thursday as things kicked off.
118 cars are lined up for the heats after Brad Neat set quick time of the night. Neat spun a 2 for the invert, putting the quick qualifier on the outside front row of each heat. Neat nestled to the lead in heat 1 and held Tyler Reddick, and Curtis Roberts for the win. Scott James got loose in turn 4 in heat 2, collecting Chad Ruhlman as Ruhlman slams James spinning car. Both drivers were okay. John Blankenship blasted to the lead and held off a fast Earl Pearson Jr for the win. Chris Simpson held on to the final transfer spot. Scott Bloomquist blew to the lead from 3rd in heat 3. Bloomquist had things well under control as Jason Feger and Randy Weaver fight for 2nd. With the white flag waving, Bloomquist slows and pulls to the low side of the track, ending his run. Feger holds off Weaver for the win. Devin Moran took 3rd after starting 7th. T-Mac, Tim McCreadie out dueled Shane Clanton for the win in heat 4. Jimmy Owens made it a great 3 car battle taking the last transfer position. Darrell Lanigan lead as Eric Wells whistled through the pack. Lanigan held off a super fast Wells for the win after Wells went from last to 2nd. Cody Mahoney took the final transfer spot. An awesome battle in heat 6 as Kent Robinson nipped Brian Shirley and Mason Zeigler for the win. Jimmy Mars mastered heat 7 taking the win over Brandon Sheppard and Chris Brown. It was the young guns fighting the veteran in heat 8. Bobby Pierce pulled out the win over Steve Francis and Brandon Overton. Dale McDowell had his hands full out front of heat 9. Jonathan Davenport drove from 6th to McDowell's rear bumper. McDowell took the win over Davenport and Mike Marlar for the win. Using his years of Eldora experience, Jeff Babcock brought a roar from the crowd taking the win over Eddie Carrier Jr and Dennis Erb Jr in heat 10. Greg Satterlee and Brian Birkhofer battled upfront all 8 laps in heat 11. Satterlee slide to the win over Birkhofer and Rusty Schlenk who took 3rd by about 6 inches at the line. Chris Smokey Madden slipped to the lead of heat 12 and never looked back. Frank Heckenast Jr and Doug Drown moved on to the A.
Moving the show quickly along, the 4 B Mains was in the staging area. Terry Phillips and Ryan Gustin had a excellent battle in B1. Phillips took the win over Gustin and Matt Miller. At the start of B2, Randy Korte spun on the start and tagged the wall but kept going as Scott Bowersock hits the wall and stops. Korte got his spot back for the complete restart. Restart, Korte cruised to the lead and held off Jason Hughes and Dustin Linville for the win. B3, Chase Junghans held off Wendall Wallace and Austin Hubbard for the win. Another Eldora regular, Jerry Bowersock took another seasoned win for the locals over Greg Johnson and Billy Moyer Jr for the win in B4. Moyer Jr held off father Billy Moyer for the final A Main spot.
Satterlee and McDowell brought the field to the green in the first 25 lap A Main. McDowell got the advantage when the pack raced into turn 1 as Satterlee and Mars follows. McDowell is very smooth on very well prepared Eldora Speedway. Weaver is quickly moving up to the top 3. Lap after McDowell leads as Weaver starts to apply pressure. Mars starts to slip some as Birkhofer enters the top 5 after starting deeper in the field. Weaver and McDowell race the last third of the race almost nose to tail. In the end, it was all McDowell, leading flag to flag for the win. Weaver, up from 8th, Satterlee, Birkhofer, up from 12th, and Mars round out the top 5. Even tho McDowell lead wire to wire, it was a good close race upfront for the majority of the A.
Madden and Babcock paced the pack in the second twin 25 A Main. Madden gets the jump on the start but, Linville spins in turn 2. Complete restart, Babcock blast to the lead, running right up against the wall. Babcock looks fast as Madden regroups and starts to close in. Lap 6, Madden makes his move and takes the lead. McCreadie joins the battle upfront as Owens is flying through the field. Babcock slips backwards as Owens and Heckenast Jr work into the lead pack. Owens is closing on Madden as the half way point. Lap 15, Owens makes is look easy, taking the lead. Robinson follows Owens, trying to repeat his win just 4 days earlier. Owens is just too strong and holds on to win after charging up from 14th. Robinson, McCreadie, Madden, and Heckenast Jr, up from 12th, round out the top 5. A very good race with plenty of passing and 3 different leaders. All that racing and it was just 11:32 when the final checkered flag flew. Excellent job by the Big E staff to keep the show a rolling on a week night.
119 cars were ready for night 2 as Jackie Boggs was the new entry. Jeff Babcock set quick time of the night, which happened to be the fastest time of the weekend. Jeff spun a 4 for the Friday night heat invert. Same format as Thursday, 12 heats, 4 B's, and 2 A Mains.
Bloomquist and Birkhofer battled upfront in heat 1. Bloomquist looked stout and took the win over Birkhofer and Babcock. A great battle in heat 2. 2nd quick qualifier Brandon Overton moved from 4th to the lead, holding on to win over Satterlee and Tyler Reddick. Madden kept looking strong in heat 3. Smokey took the win over Moyer and Weaver. Darrell Lanigan showed some strength in heat 4, moving from 4th to 1st. Lanigan held on to win over Wells and Wallace. Heat 5 seen Erb Jr take the win over Simpson and Mars. Another driver looking good so far all week, McCreadie took the win on heat 6. Drown and Clanton move into the A. Davenport brought some cheers from the large crowd on heat 7, taking the win over Moyer Jr and Neat. A great race in heat 8. RJ Conley held off Earl Pearson Jr and Robinson at the line for the win as the top 3 were glued together off 4 on the last lap. Gustin nipped McDowell to take the win in heat 9. Moran moved to the A after racing up from 6th. The top 3 shuffled spots a few times in heat 10 as Korte took the win over Blankenship and Chad Ruhlman. Carrier Jr held off a fast Zeigler, up from 9th, to take the win. Zeigler and Brian Shirley move to the A. Matt Miller took the win in heat 12 over Sheppard and Feger. Some great heat races. With the 4 invert, there was loads of passing in the heats. Thursday heats were close but not a ton of passing with the top 2 fastest starting on the front row. Friday's heats featured much more passing.
B1, a stacked field as Pierce held off Jeep VanWormer and Owens for the win. One thing about big fields, a bunch of good drivers are working through the B's. B2, Shannon Babb held off Heckenast Jr and Insane Duane Chamberlin for the win. Terry Phillips handled business in B3 over Chris Brown and Nick Natham. Mike Spatola held off a fast Mark McCarter, up from 7th, to win B4. Rodney Melvin raced into the A.
Carrier Jr and Gustin brought the field to green in the first twin 25 A Main, as the weather was moving in. Davenport made a huge move on the start, slipping from 3rd to 1st. Running the high side, Davenport quickly pulled to a huge lead. Bloomquist started to roll at the half way mark and was cutting down Davenport's lead. As the caution waved on lap 19, for Shirley stopping in turn 1, this put Bloomer side by side with Davenport on the restart. Green, Davenport runs the famous Eldora cushion and shows his strength. Davenport opened the lead up once again and ran off the lightening in the sky to take the win. Bloomquist, Birkhofer, Moyer, and Madden rounded out the top 5.
With storms and rain surrounding Eldora Speedway, the rain was holding off as the second twin 25 was on the track. Excellent job once again by the Eldora staff, pushing the program to beat the storm. Miller and Korte paced the field in A2. Korte used the high side to race to the lead on the start. King Kong Korte looked good running the famous Eldora cushion. With the laps clicking off quickly, Miller was closing back in on the leader. As the crossed flags were displayed for the half way mark, Miller charged under Korte, taking the lead. Miller and Korte race pretty much nose to tail the next half of the A. With 5 to go, some rain started to fall. Just light rain as the final 5 laps get in the books. Miller holds on for the win over Korte, McCreadie, Conley, and Lanigan. Minutes after the checkered flag flew, the sky let loose and the heavier rains fell. Fantastic job by the entire Big E crew to get the races in, plus a little luck, just in time as the storm hit. Plus, it was just before 11. How many places you go that run that many races and click them off in less than 3 hours as it was 8ish when the first heat hit the track. A great 2 days of racing.
Thanks for reading Duane
When the 2014 BOSS schedule was released early in the year, I circled September 6th on my calendar for their invasion of the Montpelier Speedway in Indiana. Always being a fan of the place, even announced a few sprint car shows there, I haven't been there since the new ownership took over and made several improvements to the facility.
Pulling into the track, everything looked pretty much the same except for the addition of a building between the concession stands and grandstand. Once walking in, a bunch of major changes were very visible. A wall down past turn 1 and 2, the wall around the middle of turn 3 and 4 gone, a wider track, new restrooms, and a fence down towards turn 1. Many many excellent improvements for a small town track. I've always seen great racing there and was stoked for this one.
41 cars were pit side and ready to roll. 5 heats, top 3 moving to the A, 2 B Mains, top 3 moving to the A, and a 25 lap A Main was on tap for the traditional BOSS sprint cars.
Some very good racing in the heats. Heat 1, Matt Goodnight slowed the heat, stopping in turn 3. Michael Fischesser and Jarrett Andretti had a great battle upfront for the lead as 3 car battle was going on for 3rd. Andretti took the lead late over Fischesser, taking the win. A torrid battle into turn 4 for the final transfer spot, as Fischesser followed Andretti across the line, Joe Bares forces his way into 3rd, running over Tyler Hewitt who was starting to spin. Bares flips hard,collecting Hewitt as the red flys before the rest of the field gets to the flag stand. Travis Berryhill had charged from 9th to 5th got a early Christmas present as he was awarded 3rd after the accident. Making his 1st BOSS start, the Bro Show, Jon Stanbrough took command of heat 2 from the pole. In another good race, that was slowed by Logan Jarrett having car issues, stopping twice and Adam Miller spinning, Stanbrough held off a great charge from Josh Spencer. In what most thought would be a run away, Stanbrough won by 3 car lengths over Spencer and Aaron Middaugh. Robert Ballou took command of heat 3 and never looked back taking the win over Dustin Smith and Cooper Clouse. Clouse had an excellent run holding strong in a 3 wide battle for the last transfer spot. Former Montpelier Speedway track champion Scotty Weir whipped the field in heat 4 as the pack behind him, battle hard for position. Weir took the win over Todd Keen and Joe Butera. Another great battle in heat 5 as Brandon Spithauler and Joe Liguori battle upfront. As fight for the top spot, Matt Westfall is charging from the back row. Spithauler holds over for the win over Liguori and Westfall who made a late pass for 3rd, up from 7th. Very good heats with 3 wide battles, a lot of passing, and good battles for the lead. Just a quick reminder why I like sprint cars there and with the new configuration, it just made it better yet.
2 B Mains, top 3 moving on. Joss Moffat takes the early lead in B1 as a intention battle for 2nd irrupts. The irruption boiled over as Dallas Hewitt, Adam Miller, and Jamie Fredrickson collide in turn 4, battling for 2nd and 3rd. Restart, Moffatt and Tyler Hewitt duel for the lead. The battle for 3rd heats up as Adam Byrkett and Steve Irwin fight for the final transfer spot. Moffatt motored to the win over Hewitt and Irwin. Just when you thought there was passing in the heats, B Main 2 was on the track. Derek Hastings hustled to the lead on the start as some drivers with heat race troubles were deep in the pack. Tony Main is chasing Hastings for the lead as cars are batting 3 wide from 4th on back. Logan Jarrett got his issues cured and has a hot rod, passing cars left and right, flying through the pack. As Jarrett uses the top of the track, Mike Miller is using the bottom to work through the pack. Miller takes the lead as Jarrett dives into 2nd. Miller holds on to win after moving up from 8th, Jarrett races into the A, charging up from 11th, as Hastings nips Main for the final transfer spot. More great racing.
Fischesser and Keen brought the field to the green in the 25 lap A Main. Keen climbed to the lead as the green light flashed on. Quickly under attack, Keen had Spithauler and Stanbrough on his tail tank as the 3 cars fight upfront. Lap 3, Keen and Spithauler cross the line side by side. Lap 4, Spithauler slides around the high side and takes the lead. Lap 5, Spithauler hooks the cushion in turn 1 and goes for a nasty tumble. As Spithauler exits the car and it gets flipped back upright, the hot oil and fuel ignite. Spithauler tries to knock the flames out on his own as the fire crew seemed to be in slow motion getting to the scene. Finally, the crew gets the fire out. If there was one down fall of the night, it was that moment. A track safety crew needs to be on the spot not matter what wreck but especially sprint cars when you can't see the fuel burn. Thank god it was not worse and hopefully the crew learnt not to piss around when a sprint car gets upside down. Stanbrough inherits the lead followed by Keen and Spencer on the restart. Restart, Spencer runs into Keen going into 1, batting for 2nd. Spencer and Keen both flip. Westfall, Liguori, Moffatt, and Miller were collected in the accident as well. Keen lands on all 4 after a few rolls and coast away. Keen is shook up at first but then tries to confront Spencer. Keen was later found to have a concussion. It was just a both guys going for same spot on a quarter mile track deal. Restart, Stanbrough leads as Weir gives his a challenge at first but each lap, Stanbrough opens the gap. Leading is not the place to be in this as on lap 12, Stanbrough gets into Hastings as he was lapping him, spinning out. Weir is the new leader on the restart. Ballou has just been back there lurking as the guys upfront were crashing. Lap 15, Weir and Ballou are side by side for the lead. Weir holds on as Ballou is fast off 4. Lap 20, Ballou blast around Weir and takes the top spot. After working his way up from 9th, Ballou opens just a slight gap with 2 to go. Weir tried to get another run but, Ballou was on a rail and sailed to the win. Weir, Andretti, up from 10th, Jarrett, up from 19th, and Berryhill, up from 11th, rounded out the top 5. Excellent race and battles all race long. Hopefully, Montpelier will add some more sprint car shows next year.
FRIDAY All-Stars Fremont OH
SATURDAY All-Stars Fremont OH, MTS Crystal MI, USAC Sprints Haubstadt IN
Thanks for reading, Duane
Kicking off the big holiday weekend, Friday night it was off to Attica Raceway Park for the opening night of the Attica Ambush. I really enjoy this night as the All Star Sprints and Lucas Oil Late Model series share the card on this night. With great weather, a nice crowd was on hand along with 30 All Star Sprints. Being opening night of a 2 day show for the All Stars, it was a $3000 to win show. Lee Jacobs set quick time of the night.
4 heats with the top 5 moving into the A Main. Sheldon Haudenschild spun collecting Duane Zablocki as they collide at the beginning of heat 1. Both drivers restart, Sheldon has top wing damage. Once things get to rolling, Dave Blaney takes a hard tumble in turn 3. The action was very good upfront once racing resumed as Byron Reed battled a fast Gary Taylor who charged up from the last row. Taylor fell just short as Reed took the win. Taylor, Jacobs, Haudenschild, and Zablocki transfer to the A. Danny Smith charged from 3rd to pass Brandon Martin to take the win in heat 2. Danny Holtgraver, Jac Haudenschild, and Dean Jacobs punched their entry to the A main. Randy Hannagan has had the Neumeister Napa 11N car a rolling lately and started on the pole of heat 3. The Hurricane blew away from the pack and cruised to the win. Cap Henry looked strong coming home 2nd over Brandon Wimmer, Max Stambaugh, and Rob Chaney. Stambaugh a NRA 360 regular had a great run in just a handful of 410 starts. Jody Keegan slowed heat 4 with a spin. Dale Blaney took command of heat 4 as Caleb Armstrong was looking very good, trying to give Blaney a run. Blaney pulled away in the late stages, taking the win. Improving each winged race, it just a handful of starts, Armstrong took 2nd over Brian Lay, Chris Andrews, and Caleb Griffith.
The 6 car All Star Dash determines the 1st 3 rows of the A main via their Dash finish. Chaney got the advantage on the start over Holtgraver as they battle for the top spot. Just a 6 quick laps, Chaney took the win over Holtgraver and Henry.
Only 8 of the 10 eligible cars for the B Main are ready to go with the top 4 moving into the A. Tim Shaffer was having a less than stellar night as he rolled off for the B. Shaffer got things a going in the B, charging from 6th to the lead, passing Cole Duncan for the lead. Shaffer gets the win over Duncan, Stuart Brubaker, and Jody Keegan.
Chaney and Holtgraver paced the field in the 30 lap A Main. As the pack took the green and raced into turn 1, Lee Jacobs losses the handle on the 81 machine and spins in front of the pack from his 4th place starting spot. Armstrong gets stuck in the middle and collides with Jacobs. Complete restart, Holtgraver hops on the throttle and races into the lead. Chaney and Henry give chase to Danny. Lap 7, Keegan hooks the cushion in turn 3 and flips off the top of 3. Jody's car remarkable only has just slight top wing damage after rolling 3 times and fires back off. Restart, Holtgraver gets a good run and pulls away from the pack. Lap 10, Lay spins for a caution. Lap 11, Brubaker spins. Holtgraver takes off again opens up a 5 car length lead. Reed, Chaney, and Griffith battle hard for 2nd through 5th as Holtgraver has things under control up front. Lap after lap, Holtgraver hits his marks and no one has anything for him. Danny leads flag to flag and takes the win. Griffith, up from 8th, Reed, up from 11th, Chaney, and Zablocki round out the top 5. An alright race. Holtgraver was never really challenged but some good racing from 2nd to 6th.
After hitting a late model show on Saturday and hitting the US Nationals at Indy Sunday during the day, I blasted from Indy to Kokomo Sunday night for the Vince Osman Memorial. Getting my timing down just right on these Kokomo trips, I pulled in just as the first hot lap session was on the track. Max McGhee had issues in hot laps as I walked up to the ticket window. By the time I got inside the cars were pushed back off. I'm not sure what happen but Max had heavy damage and was done for the night. 24 cars were pit side, including McGhee.
3 heats with the top 5 moving into the A Main. All Bryan Clauson has to do is transfer to the A Main to clinch his 1st ever Kokomo track championship. Lee Dakas goes for a wild ride in heat 1, all but flipping, Lee slams the wall in turn 1, ending his night. An excellent battle as race long in heat 1. 2014 Kokomo rookie of the year, Garrett Miller narrowly holds off Justin Grant for the win. Tyler Hewitt, Scotty Weir, and Dustin Smith transfer to the A. Joe Liguori held off John Andretti to win heat 2. Adam Byrkett, Jamie Fredrickson, and Travis Hery round out the top 5. Another excellent heat race during heat 3. Shane Cottle reunited with the Edison 10e machine holding off Bryan Clauson for the win. Josh Spencer, Logan Jarrett, and Brent Beauchamp race their way into the A. Clauson clinched the track title over Grant with his heat race run.
The top 5 from the B Main would transfer into the A. Another great race as Chad Boespflug runs down leader Chris Gurley in the late stages of the B, taking the lead and the win. Gurley, Connor Donelson, Cooper Clouse, and Payton Pierce punch their ticket into the A.
Grant and Miller brought the field to green in the 25 lap A Main. Grant gases it up on the high side and grabs the lead on the start. Lap 1, Clouse spins for a yellow. The battle is on, Grant high, Cottle low, as Shane takes the lead on lap 2. An excellent 3 car battle upfront as Grant is running up above the cushion as the others run low. Lap 5, Boespflug and Hewitt collide for a yellow in turn 2. Restart, the battle rages as Grant and Cottle fight it out for the lead. Gurley is making a charge from the back entering the top 10, running the high side. Grant blast past Cottle for the lead on lap 10, just as he does, Spencer stops in turn 4. Cottle is placed back into the lead. Restart, the shootout continues but the action quickly slows as Miller spins in turn 4 collecting Byrkett. Gurley pulls pit side with a flat tire after moving from 17th to batting for 9th. Gurley makes it back out after a quick tire change. Restart, Cottle runs higher taking Grant's line away as they still battle tooth and nail. Lap 13, Cottle makes a rare mistake running the top of 2, jumping the cushion and hitting the wall. As they pull the 10e off on the hook, Grant inherits the lead. Grant leads as Clauson closes in and a tremendous battle emerges 3 and 4 wide for 3rd on back. Gurley is moving through the pack once again, looking very fast. Lap 17, Jarrett spins batting for 5th with Andretti. Restart, the battle is on as Clauson pressures Grant. Gurley enters the top 7. Liguori is in a huge battle for 3rd. 5 to go, Grant right up against the fence in 1, Clauson on the bottom race inches apart for the lead. Off 4, Grant slams the door as Clauson drifts up. In and out of traffic, they battle each lap like this as Gurley enters the top 5. White flag, the duo battle side by side into 1, off 2 Clauson gets a slight edge. Into 3, Grant slings the dirt high in the air as he slams the right rear on the cushion and Clauson dives low. Off 4, Clauson edges ahead and just before the flag stand, the red light flashes on even as the checkered flag waves. Liguori took a nasty tumble and the red flag was on even tho the flagman waved the checkered, he couldn't grab the red quick enough since the race was all but over. Since the red was on and just a few cars passed the flag stand before stopping, it was determined to go back to lap 24 and do a green white start for a 1 lap shoot out. Restart, Grant and Clauson battle hard into 1 and off 2. Clauson is side by side with Grant down the back stretch. Into 3, Grant gets a better run, Clauson tries to make a move, Grant holds on to take the win. Clauson, Weir, Gurley, from the tail on lap 11, and Andretti round out the top 5. An excellent race at Kokomo once again. A little mix up at the end that pretty much got blown off because no one really knew what to do at first but excellent racing as usually at Kokomo. Probably why I've been there 9 times already this season.
As Labor Day has past by, the season starts to wind down little by little each week. With a few huge key figures retiring, Sammy Swindell immediately and Steve Kinser, at from full time racing, at the end of the season. Tracks closing it's gates for good or at least until new people take over. Plus, a battle in the Ohio region for sprint divisions, the sport seems to be going through some major changes the last half of this season and the start of next year. Fans need to get out and support the tracks still racing, take a friend, a neighbor, a relative, or someone new to the track and help this transition period of the sport so we can keep this region strong as always.
Saturday FAST Fremont OH, BOSS Montpelier IN, OVSC Atomic OH
Thanks for reading Duane
Last weekend, mother nature tried to rain on the Kokomo Speedway's parade as it hosted the USAC Sprints for the 3rd annual Sprint Car Smackdown. A HUGE thanks to THE ENTIRE Kokomo staff as they went above and beyond, despite mother nature being a pain in the ass, to make this event happen. The Smackdown is somewhat like a Knoxville Nationals type of an event for non wing racing in Indiana. A 3 day event that pays extra $$$ and has a boat load, I mean a ton, someone has done an amazing job, of extra added bonuses. 70, YES 70 EXTRA awards PLUS, oh yeah there is a plus, lap money for every lap of all 3 A Mains split with the top 5 cars each lap!!! That's 100 more bonuses! Well 500, if you count the top 5 times 100 laps! You tell me an event that pays 570 different bonuses, simply amazing and they are not chump change bonuses! How about right rear tires, GoPro camera, $500 cash, $150 cash, Simpson shoes, a USAC membership, team shirts, and so much more. In today's market and how tough it is to get any extras, a true excellent job done for this event, because it is an event, not just a race, to give back all they could to the racers. Most people on the outside looking in might not realize how much some of these bonus awards could help a team. This event is just in it's 3rd year and if they keep adding bonus deals like this and more $$$$, this could truly grow into the Knoxville Nationals of traditional sprint car racing. To me, I know the quality was great and I have no issues with the car count but I can't believe when drivers and team owners talk non stop about the lack of $$$ in non wing racing, why the biggest car count of the 3 days was 36 cars. A track or division bust it's butt to add a 170 bonus awards, some very excellent, and there is no more cars than a regular show, just don't make sense why at least a dozen or more guys I can think of wouldn't be there, that have been a lot at times would opt out of this one. Guess why I'm the guy typing this and not the guy figuring out where to race and where not too.
Making my 1st ever Smackdown event, the gates opened Thursday as the weather was moving all around the Kokomo Speedway. With the track receiving rain earlier in the day, the track crew was working hard to get the wet service ready to start on time. 36 cars were pit side and ready to roll for opening night. Starting hot laps an hour late due to all the rain earlier in the day, I pulled in the driveway just as the 1st group was called to the push off area for hot laps, working a full day, I was smiling I didn't miss a thing. The track was fast once qualifying started as Dave Darland set the pace with quick time at 12.791.
With a huge storm getting closer and closer to the 1/4 mile oval, the 4 heats were trying to get set. A USAC officials meeting took almost 25 minutes to get the program figured out, as the 24th fastest car scratched before the heats, shuffling the line ups since the heat invert is 24. Once things got figured out properly,the top 4 in the heats would move into the A Main. Heat 1 hit the track as lightening was flashing through the sky just North of the speedway. The action was excellent in heat 1 as CJ Leary raced from 5th to the lead. Leary had his hand full in the closing laps as Darland was looking to make a move. Leary held on to win a close one over Darland, Chris Windom, and Chris Gurley. Another exciting heat in heat 2 as Chase Stockon held off Kevin Thomas JR, Justin Grant, and Robert Ballou in a tight one. As heat 2 was heading off the track, the sky let loose as a huge down pour with flash floods hit the area, ending the program of night 1. The remaining part of Thursday's program was pushed to Saturday afternoon at 2 PM.
Friday, night 2 of Smackdown was set to roll as mother nature was trying to play havoic on the event once again. 34 cars were sitting pit side for night number 2. After several hours of work from early morning on, the Kokomo staff got things ready to roll just about the same identical time as the night before, making me happy once as again as I pulled in as the first hot lap session was on the track. Dave Darland once again set quick time of the night taking home another $150 and another case of oil with a time of 12.712.
Same format for the 2nd qualifying night, 4 heats with the top 4 moving to the A. The track was super tacky and heavy with all the moisture. Heat 1, Kevin Thomas Jr throttled into the lead as the top 4 cars were pretty much glued together all heat race long. Thomas lead flag to flag for the win over Justin Grant, Tyler Courtney, and Brady Short. Heat 2 seen more of a typical Kokomo heat with plenty of passing. Chris Windom started upfront and took the win as Brady Bacon, Jon Stanbrough, and Jerry Coons Jr raced into transfer positions. Tracy Hines had to work to take home the win in heat 3 over a fast Shane Cottle. Casey Shuman and Bryan Clauson raced into the A. A battle of good friends took place in heat 4 as Brandon Mattox and Chase Stockon dukes it out for the win. Mattox held on just enough to take the w over Stockon, Max McGhee, and Kyle Cummins.
With the track fast and heavy, the B Main was stacked with many of the top qualifiers. The top 6 from the B moved on to the A. Darland darted from the pole and had a great battle with Robert Ballou upfront in this one. Darland held strong and took the win over Ballou, Chad Boespflug, Logan Jarrett, CJ Leary, and Scotty Weir.
Clauson and Grant brought the field to green in the 30 lap A Main. Clauson climbed into the lead as the field raced into turn 1. Lap 2, Shuman spins. Restart, the battle is tight amongst the top 5. Lap 4, Cottle lays some heavy contact on Darland coming off turn 4, breaking Darland's front end battling for 3rd. Clauson leads the restart as soon the action slows on lap 5 for a Hines spin. Another restart, Stanbrough and Cottle try to pressure Clauson for the top spot. Lap 8, Brian Karraker took a provisional to get in the A but, his decision didn't go so well as he flipped hard. Cottle has some issues with the rear end of his 2E machine and pulls pit side while running 3rd. Restart, Clauson leads as Stanbrough follows in his tire tracks. The duo battle closely upfront. As they battle for the top spot, a great battle through out the top 5 is going on as it's almost a 5 car battle for the lead. Lap 19, Weir stops calming the battle down. Clauson gets the advantage on the restart as Stanbrough holds tight in 2nd. Stockon works into a top 5 battle. Lap after lap, Clauson and Stanbrough are just right there battling, waiting for the other to make the slightest hiccup. Bouncing right against the huge cushion, Clauson seems to be unbeatable on this night with 3 to go. Coming to the white flag, Clauson just hooks the edge of the cushion, slowing his car as Stanbrough fills the gap quickly and takes the lead off 4 as the white flag is displayed. Clauson battles back, makes a move but falls just short at the line as Stanbrough takes the win. Both drivers are still on the throttle racing hard on the cool down lap. As they pull to the front stretch, both drivers stop, neither one seeing the white flag, thinking the other one won. Stanbrough went from pissed to happy as he found out he won over Clauson, Ballou, Cummins, and Bacon.
Bright sunny skies greeted us Saturday morning as we woke up. With 2 shows on the agenda Thursday nights on Saturday afternoon and Saturday's Saturday night, the sun was a welcome sign. With just a few quick hot laps and heading right into the 3rd heat, the track crew had the track in fantastic shape. Actually the program started just a bit late due to the heavy moisture.
Thursday's heat 3, on Saturday now, was ready to roll. Some great heat race action as Brandon Mattox took the win holding off Brady Bacon, Brady Short, and Bryan Clauson for the top spot. Another good battle in heat 4 as the mud was still flying. Logan Jarrett took the win over Jerry Coons Jr, Josh Spencer, and Shane Cottle. The track is excellent for a hot sunny day time show.
Another fairly stout B Main would once again take the top 6 on to the A. Moving the show quickly along, the B was on the track. Stanbrough slide to the lead on the start as the red quickly flew before a lap was in the books. Thomas Meseraull had the rear axle snap entering turn 4, sending his car a flipping high into the air and hard in the fence. An open red as T-Mez took about 20 feet of fence down that the track crew quickly fixed. Restart, coming off 4 once again trying to get a lap in, things get bottled up as Landon Simon gets loose in 4. Jarrett Andretti hits Simon and flips over. Finally, things restart and Stanbrough leads again but this time completes a lap. The only thing slowing the Bro Show was midget ace now turned sprint car driver Trevor Kobylarz finds the wall off 4 breaking his front end. In a decent race, Stanbrough went on to win over Cummins, McGhee, Hines, Shuman, and Boespflug.
Grant and Leary paced the field for the 30 lap A Main. With the track still in excellent shape, Leary gets a great start but it's quickly called back as a bad start. Restart, Clauson and Leary get bottled up behind Grant in turn 2, resulting in contact and Clauson needing repairs. Green, Grant gets the break he needs finally and gains the lead. A great battle upfront as the top 5 cars are together. Lap 6, a yellow flies for debris on the track. Lap 7, Shuman brings the caution out after stopping on the track. Lap 8, Karraker spins after taking another provisional to get into the A. Green, the battle is on. Grant, Ballou, and Darland are battling upfront. Some excellent racing action and by far the best track conditions and day time show I've witnessed. Darland starts to pressure Grant for the top spot as they battle inches apart. Ballou lurks behind them as Stanbrough pokes his nose in the mix as well. Darland is trying to make a move as the crowd is waving, cheering, and pumping their fist rooting The People's Champ on. Darland is there, lap 24 Dave makes his move and takes the lead as the crowd highly approves. Cummins stops bringing out the yellow. The lead pack is all bunched together now, looking for the restart. Darland gets a good start as Grant, Ballou, and Stanbrough chase Double D. Coming right down to the wire, Darland holds strong and takes the win, tying Tom Bigelow's all time USAC Sprint win total. Grant, Ballou, Windom, up from 12th, and Stanbrough round out the top 5. Great racing action.
As the victory lane gathering gets pushed along and the grandstand cleared to prepare for Saturday night's program, a huge storm is moving in the area. Just after the gates opens for the night show, the clouds let loose and a monster storm dumps loads of water down. After rain and more rain and no sight of clearing in the next few hours, the races were postponed until Sunday afternoon at 4.
Sunday brought sunshine to the Kokomo Speedway to finally try and get the 3rd annual Sprint Car Smackdown in the books. The format for Saturday's show which is now Sunday, is where the unique part of the event occurs. The top 8 in points for the first 2 shows are locked into the A Main. To determine the first 4 rows of starting spots, the 8 cars are paired up in king of the hill match races. The winner moves on, the loser, highest points first, gets a 3rd or 4th row starting spot. 3 qualifier races with the top 3 moving on to join the top 8 in points in the A. A B Main will add 5 more starters to the 40 lap $10,000 to win finale.
With beautiful skies, the track crew grooms the track as it's still wet and heavy. The qualifier races are lined up by points, highest car on points on the pole. The winner of qualifier 1 starts 9th in the A and the other starting spots are determined by your finishing spot as well. Example 2nd in qualifier 1 starts 12th. After starting a little behind time, the program was ready to roll. Grant grabbed the lead from the pole and never looked back. In some more typical Kokomo tight racing action, Grant takes the win over Leary and Jarrett. Max McGhee is batting for a transfer spot in Q2 and takes a tumble in turn 4 after jumping the cushion. Max walks away. Kevin Thomas Jr holds off all challenges from Brady Short to take the win. Shuman secures the finally transfer spot. Jerry Cooooooooooooons Jr crawled to the lead on the bottom in Q3 and held off Cummins and Hines to take the win.
With hot temps and a bit of a breeze, the king of the hill events were next, 2 cars, 2 laps winner moves on. High points man Ballou takes on the low points guy Stockon in race 1. I've never been big on king of the hill type races, usually a waste of time, that is until I seen them at Kokomo. Stockon and Ballou battle, swapping back and forth as Chase gets the final advantage off turn 2 on lap 2 and hangs on to win. Darland and Clauson battle in race 2 and Darland takes the win. Bacon gets the best of Windom is race 3. Stanbrough shuts the door on Cottle in race 4 moving on to the win. In the semi finals, Stockon gave Darland an excellent battle but falls short at the finish line. Bacon and Stanbrough have the best king of the hill race I've seen. Battling tooth and nail both laps, off 4 to the checkered flag, they both shoot for the win making contact, Bacon takes the as Stanbrough spins and the have contact shooting Bacon all but over just past the finish line. In the final, Bacon and Darland race hard in a showdown. Bacon slides in front of Darland off 4, taking the upset win and the pole for the A, along with some great awards.
The final shot to get in the huge A main seen the top 5 cars move on from the B. On lap 1, a gaggle of cars get bunched up in turn 4, coming to complete lap 1 4 wide, contact all over cars every which way, all get straightened out except Josh Spencer has to spin to avoid a huge collision. Tyler Courtney leads upfront as Boespflug charges from the rear of the pack towards the leader. Mattox hooks the cushion in turn 1 and flips. Not to be out done, Jarrett Andretti goes for a wild ride a few laps later in turn 4. The battle for the final transfer spot heats up as Boespflug charges into the lead. Heavy contact going for 5th, Kobylarz slams Karraker, as Karraker is done for the B. Boespflug holds on for the win over Courtney, Landon Simon, McGhee, and Spencer on a late race move for the final transfer spot.
As the track crew did it's final prep, the crews brought the cars to the track and the drivers were introduced to the crowd. What was different with this driver intros that I thought many tracks could learn from to draw more excitement to the event and keep fans on their feet, the PA blasted some music as the drivers was brought out one by one in front of the crowd as their name was announced. Kinda like a basketball intro or football game intro plus the drivers were throwing shirts, hats, can koozies, and other items into the crowd. Little kids, big kids, adults, or all the above were giving high 5s to the drivers, just kinda a rock star like approach that seemed to really pump up the fans. Oh btw, if you got the winning drivers T-shirt that was autographed, you won $100, a victory lane photo, and a ticket to next year's event.
Bacon and Darland brought the field to green in the 40 lap finale. Bacon sizzles into the lead as the field races into 1 and 2. Darland quickly applies pressure and is inches away. Lap 6, Darland brings the crowd in an uproar as he takes the lead, looking to become the all time leader in USAC Sprint car feature wins. Lap 8, Windom stops. Restart, Bacon tries a move as Stanbrough and Clauson are all right there. Darland quickly breaks away from the pack, looking to run away and hide. Green light stays on as lap after lap quickly passes by. Leary is making a huge charge into the top 3 from 12th. Darland seems to being getting slower as Leary and Ballou are quickly closing in. Leary starts to battle Darland as Ballou is the fastest car and seems to be waiting to make a move. Lap 26, Shuman stops bringing out the yellow. Restart, the battle is on as Darland holds strong. The top 5 are all right there in typical excellent Kokomo style racing. 5 to go, it's still tight up front. Lap 37, Leary blows a right rear sending him into the turn 3 wall. This gives Ballou and Clauson one more shot at Double D. Restart, Darland leads as Ballou and Clauson battle. White flag, all 3 cars are glued together. The crowd rises as Darland shoots off turn 2 in the lead. Clauson dives low, Ballou high, it's all for not as Darland leads off 4. The crowd erupts as Darland takes the checkered flag and becomes the all time leader in USAC Sprint wins. Ballou nips Clauson for 2nd, Bacon, and Stanbrough round out the top 5.
Excellent racing all 3 nights and a unbelievable effort by the entire Kokomo staff to make this event happen on it's given weekend. It was tough and took an extra day and a lot of shuffling around races but any other event except the Knoxville Nationals, the track would of pushed to a different time. Not many crews will work with 10 inches of rain in 3 days and spend countless hours working the track, pumping water, and making the show happen. Job well beyond excellent Kokomo!!!
The last big long holiday racing weekend of the year for the season. With all the tracks closing or struggling or for sales, here's is a chance to get out on the long weekend and take a friend of the family and enjoy a true American tradition, a trip to the races.
Thanks for reading,
After traveling some far distances this season, last weekend I got back on to the regional scene at headed up to the Butler Motor Speedway in Quincy Michigan Friday for the opening night of the 1st annual All Star Sprints Butler Bash. This was the first race on the schedule since some of the All Star regular drivers split from chasing the series and started the new Renegade Sprint Series. There has been much talk of how things will proceed but it was business as usual for the All Stars on day 1 of the event. 19 cars were pit side and ready to battle at the bash.
Dale Blaney has been on rampage in the All Star series and once again serviced early notice as he set fast time of the night in qualifying.
All cars were set to transfer to the A main from the 3 heat races, you couldn't tell though as the heats were pretty wild for pretty much meaning less heats in reality. Stuart Brubaker blasted to the lead in heat 1 and rode the high side of the 3/8th mile oval. Blaney and Jac Haudenschild chased Stewie but couldn't make a move as Brubaker held on to take the win. Blaney and the Wild Child rounded out the top 3. In heat 2, young Quentin Blonde was trying to extend the Blonde family speed in the next generation by blowing into the lead on the start. Blonde is in his early teens and in his 2nd year of sprints looking to carry the Blonde 5B car to a bright future. Blonde held off a late race charge from Lee Jacobs to take the win. Heat 3 was Butler's version of survivor. As the green flag waved, Brian Lay had a great run on the high side as Chad Blonde quickly trying forcing his way up the track to reach the high side. With heavy contact, Lay's machine hit the wall just past the flag stand as he flipped wildly down to turn 1. Emerging from his junk 45L machine, Lay wasn't too happy with Blonde's aggressive move in a meaning less heat race. Restart, Matt Merrill gets into turn 1 on the bottom and drives it in deep, sliding up the track and making heavy contact with Ken Mackey, sending Mackey flipping over the steep bank in turn 2. Mackey as well wasn't happy with Merrill's move on the start. Under the yellow, Ryan Kirkendall encounters a right front flat, ending his heat. As it looks like a 2 car heat now, Merrill rejoins the field with heavy wing damage. Chad Blonde bangs into the lead on the next restart with just 3 cars in heat. Blonde makes the already bad enough heat into a joke as he destroyed the field, lapping the 3rd place car, almost twice and just about lapped the 2nd place car in an 8 lap heat. Blonde wins over Merrill and Rocky LaPresto.
Brubaker and Blaney made up the front row in the 6 lap Dash that determined the top 3 rows of the A main by the finishing order. Blaney showed he's not messing around and shot to the lead on the start. Leading wire to wire, Blaney took the win and the pole for the A. As the teams got ready to line up for the A, the action was delayed a minute as Lay and Blonde exchanged Thanksgiving invites as the boys in blue made sure the invites were delivered properly. They didn't use to call the place " the battlegrounds" for just it's racing and this is the Bash. You can always count on Butler being entertaining, on and off the track.
17 cars made the call for the 30 lap A Main. Blaney and Brubaker paced the field to the green. In a huge shock to everyone, okay not really, Blaney quickly raced into the lead. Lap 2, Quentin Blonde flew over the banking in turn 4 for a yellow. Restart, Blaney leads as Brubaker and Jacobs battle for 2nd. Lap 5, Robert Bulloch spins in 2. It's all Blaney once the green light flashes on once again. Brubaker bobbles in 4 as Jacobs sneak past for 2nd, looking to run down Blaney. Jacobs closes in and is within 2 car lengths of Blaney. Lap 13, Cale Thomas does a 360 in turn 2 running 5th, keeps going as Mike Burns hits him and barely flops on his side. As the red waves, Blaney stops in 2. Sitting on the track for the red, LaPresto didn't see or hear or slow for the red any too quick and slams Blaney's stopped car, knocking LaPresto out for a moment. Once the cars refire, Blaney pushes off with a badly bent chassis in the back but, Dale is going to try and limp the car home with a bent chassis on just the 2nd race it's seen on a track. Green, Jacobs gets a run a tries a move but, Blaney defends the move and races off 2 in the lead. Dale opens up a 6 car length lead as Lee tries to recover and make another run at Blaney. Lap 22, Quentin Blonde spins again. Restart, it's all Blaney. Blaney seals the deal, leading flag to flag for the win. Jacobs, Brubaker, Doug Zimmerman, and Roger Campbell round out the top 5. A alright race. Jacobs made it interesting for a handful of laps, not handing the race to Blaney real easy. A quick program as the sprints were done by 10.
Butler did the 2 day show upright with a great band and free hog roast after the Friday night show. A large crowd enjoyed the extra activities as the band rocked out. It was announced to look for the event to take place next year as they try to establish a annual event with the same Friday style of events after the races as well. You gotta give them credit for trying to make it an event and not just a race in today's tough battle where several tracks are struggling and a handful closing the doors.
With the recent closure of Baer Field Speedway and Gas City I-69 Speedway in Indiana, let it be a serious warning to support your local tracks and even if the races weren't perfect that night or up to your standards, give them a break because we all know every once and a while a track will have a bad night. If they do, don't blast them non stop as we seen now a track as popular as Gas City can't make it happen under the new promotion team after many weeks of being bashed because of this and that and so on. Yes you pay good $$ to race or to watch but be happy you have a place to go local and don't bite the hand that feeds you too much because you look week after week another track is shutting it's doors due to low car counts and small crowds. Of course some don't get you need to promote and add just the simplest of things here and there to keep the fans walking through the gates because with all the options there is today in entertainment sometimes just the racing isn't enough to wow them.
Thursday USAC sprints Kokomo IN
Friday USAC sprints Kokomo IN, MTS Cherry MI
Saturday USAC sprints Kokomo IN, Renegade sprints Atomic OH, Must See Berlin MI
Thanks for reading Duane
It's been a whirlwind of a racing season for me so far this year. If mother nature would of cooperated this past weekend, I would of surpassed my entire 2013 race total for the year already in July. Trying to catch up and hopefully get back on a quicker columns, I'm sorry I'm about a week behind. After King's Royal weekend, I hit Lernerville for the Don Martin Classic on Tuesday, Bridgeport Speedway for the night of wings on Wednesday, Lincoln Speedway for the World of Outlaws on Thursday, Fonda Speedway Saturday, Utica Rome Speedway on Sunday, Eldora's NASCAR Truck race on Wednesday, Gas City on Friday, a Wayne County rain out Saturday after getting to the track, and a early rain out at Kokomo on Sunday where I had not left the house yet. Plus worked 7 days in that stretch too, I know it's the I've gone crazy tour this year. So I'm just going to highlight some of the events as it was my first visit to a few of the tracks.
The annual Don Martin race I thought brought a big crowd to Lernerville. I got there about 7:30 and was amazed how crowded the place seemed to be. With double WOO A mains, I was surprised at just over 30 cars on hand. With the finish of the first A main totally inverted, lead lap cars only, the 2nd A Main interesting to see who can race through the pack. A pretty good battle most of the race in the 1st A with Donny Schatz and Kerry Madsen. Dale Blaney made a late race charge towards the front after starting 17th in the A. Danny Holtgraver flipped with 2 to go. Under the red, Jack Sodeman Jr was attended to as a huge clump of mud came through the side of his car, breaking his leg. Schatz held on for the win in the 1st A.
17 cars was on the lead lap, so Cdy Darrah and Danny Dietrich was upfront in the 2nd A. Usually a better A, this year, the 2nd A wasnt as good as the first. Dietrich and Darrah battled a while but Darrah pretty much controlled the entire A that didn't see a lot of charging through the pack as the first A. Darrah took home a must needed win tho and made the PA natives happy. A decent show with just WOO that was over by 11 with 2 A's.
I made my first visit to New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway on Tuesday after picking up the famous Jersey Sprint Nut and friend Tom and Zach. My first impression of Bridgeport was a huge place but nice facility. Now a 360 show in it's 3rd annual event, a nice field of 360s was on hand with a few 305s mixed in. The 305 s were so much slower on the huge 5/8th mile oval that it could have been dangerous at times. The heat races were pretty decent. Greg Hodnett drew the pole for the A and you put a big track professional on the pole, look out. Hodnett dominated the race, leading by about 8 seconds at times, Hodnett took an easy win. It was not a bad race, some good battles for 2nd to 5th and back farther in the pack. It wasn't a barn burner by any means but it was an alright show and I would return for sure.
My long awaited visit to PA's Lincoln Speedway finally happened for a Thursday night WOO visit with 39 cars in hand. I really liked Lincoln. With a tunnel to the infield you can stand real close to the inside guardrail and see the drivers work the wheel. The track was in excellent shape, fast and tacky. Some good heat race action and action all night long. In the A Main. Former Posse member Daryn Pittman had a great battle with Alan Krimes and Brian Montieth. The Edge, drove from 15th to dive under Pittman for the lead with about 10 to go. If Montieth waited to where he was so much faster in 1 and 2 on the high side to make a move, he would of flew past Pittman. Daryn was on the bottom and quickly changed his line to the high side, knowing The Edge was up there, taking his line away. Pittman drove away as Montieth battled with Krimes for 2nd once he fell back. Pittman took the win as Montieth and Krimes brought the local Posse home 2nd and 3rd. Lincoln is a must see in PA.
The trip to New York was for big block mods as I got to witness races in New York now, making it my 19th state to see races in. A ride along with friend Kevin, is there's a town just up the road journey but a fun one for sure. Going to watch and hang with Stewart Friesen made the trip well worth the visit. I was very shocked at Fonda and Utica that the fence was no bigger than there are for the few sprint car shows they have a season, way too low in my book. Fonda was the 2nd dustiest track I've seen, nothing compared to Hilltop a few years ago but Fonda is VERY close to it. A great time though and Fonda was a very good race. Utica was decent too. I like the lay out of Fonda old fairgrounds, covered grandstand, and right off the bridge where traffic going past can see the races. Utica was a nice show on a Sunday with quick program over before dark.
The truck race at Eldora was the Kyle Larson show. Just pay Larson 25 grand to show each year and the race will be great. If you wasn't a Larson fan before that race,you should be after if you like pure talent drivers. When a guy car launch a 3400 pound truck 6 inches in the air off turn 4 several times and then do slide jobs, bounce off the wall over 100 laps and still be the fastest truck in a truck that only had the roof not bent on it, he's got some skills.
Gas City beat mother natural and had their regular show Friday night. A very thin crowd and low car count was a surprise. 19 sprints and 17 midgets were on hand. The heats were okay but 6 car heats with all making the A, don't get too carried away in action. With that said, it was a tacky Gas City so of course there was some very good action.
Jerry Coons Jr and Robert Ballou had a great battle in the early stages of the sprint car A. Ballou took over as Coons never faded much. Ballou brought home his first 2014 Gas City win.
A exciting Midget A took a while to run with a few reds and many yellows. The track developed a rut in turn 1 and 2 that the midgets struggled with. A great A Main. Chett Gehrke lead as Ross Rankin and Lindsey Liguori gave Chett their all. Lindsey looked to have a faster car at times as Chett held off all her challenges for the lead. Ross Rankin got up on the wheel the final 5 laps and took 2nd away from Liguori late in the race.Gehrke took the win.
Thanks for reading
When the World of Outlaws are scheduled to hit Ohio 3 nights in one week, it means one of my most favorite weeks of the year, King's Royal week. The action kicked off Wednesday at the Limaland Motorsports Park for the prestigious Brad Doty Classic. Friday and Saturday the focus of the sprint car world moves to New Weston Ohio's Eldora Speedway for the Knight Before the King's Royal and the King's Royal.
Wednesday one of the most prestigious events on a WOO drivers calendar takes place as the annual Brad Doty Classic brings the WOO sprints to the 1/4 mile oval. 43 sprints are pit side for the popular event. With a late morning rain shower, the skies cleared and Mean Gene Frankert took to the track, drove the track in, then waterd it more, making it a super racing surface when the cars hit the oval. 19 of the the 43 cars on hand broke the track record in qualifying. David Gravel finally was the man that kept the record with quick time of the night.
The 4 heats seen the top 5 move to the A Main. In heat 1, the locals struck early as Dallas Hewitt darted into the at the wave of the green and held off several heavy hitters to take the win. Ian Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Gravel, and Brad Sweet moved into the A. Shane Stewart took the Larson Marks entry to victory lane in heat 2 over Paul McMahan, James McFadden, Kraig Kinser, and Cody Darrah who charged from dead last into the final transfer spot. An all Swindell front row in heat 3 seen father Sammy slam into the lead as he got the jump on his son Kevin in the through back 28D machine he was driving in honor of Doty. Sammy held on to win over Kevin, Joey Saldana, Rico Abreu, and Jason Sides. Looking good since hitting the ovals in Ohio, Aussie Jamie Veal took the win in heat 4 over Brandon Wimmer, Danny Holtgraver, Kerry Madsen, and Jac Haudsenschild.
Keeping the WOO only program a moving, the LMP crew took just a short break before the C Main hit the track. Trying to dig his way out of a deep hole, Tim Kaeding took the C Main win over Stuart Williams.
A young fan drew the number 8 for the invert of the Dash putting Veal and Sammy Swindell on the front row. Swindell looked super fast all night long in a brand new car he just put together that morning. Veal blew a engine trying to battle Swindell. Sammy slide to the win over Stewart and Madsen.
When you have a great field of cars, especially on a smaller track, the B Main is stacked as it is on this night. Dale Blaney has dominated the Ohio scene lately but found himself in the B. Dale made the most of it by holding off Randy Hannagan for the win. Bryan Sebetto aboard the Seeling 97 and with a great effort in a torrid battle, Brady Bacon raced into the final transfer spot. This kept Donny Schatz and Steve Kinser on the outside looking in until they quickly took a provisional. BTW to me provisionals suck!!! Plain and simple if you ain't good enough to work into the A that night, you should pack your car and watch like the others. To me the WOO championship is a joke. They only pay show up points for regular events, no special format shows, aka King's Royal, Knoxville, Gold Cup, Don Martin Classic, so it's the champ of the regular WOO shows which ranks the Doty in my book as the most prestigious regular points race of the year.
As the A was pushed off, Veal's team worked super hard and fast and got the 35 machine back on the track and ready for the A. With no time to adjust the car, the team had a shock issue as all the other cars were still pushing off so Veal pulled in the field as the crew changed a rear shock. Quickly the announcer was on it and the officials were quickly scrambling to make a decision since Veal was outside the work area that was still having cars pushed out of it. The WOO's, nothing on Limaland's part, WOO's solo, made a terrible ruling and DQ Veal from the A, not just sent to tail, total DQ allowing Sheldon Haudenschild to be added to the A in Veal's place, so Veal gets no A Main $$$ either after clearly being one of the best cars all night. I guess next time drivers should just park it sideways in the work area, which still was the push off area ad delay the show, which will probably get you DQ too. Wonder if it was a TSR or KKR car what the call would have been? Swindell and Stewart brought the field to the green in the 40 lap A Main. Sammy looked stout and ran to the high side, right up on the cushion and into the lead. Lap 2, Sheldon Haudsenschild rolls on his side after clipping a spinning Kevin Swindell. Restart, Sammy slams right up on the cushion all away around as others tries high, low, and all around. The battle heats up as McMahan closes on Swindell. Madsen enters the mix, as the 3 drivers battle, almost 3 wide at times in and out of traffic. Lap 12, McMahan leads, 13, Sammy leads as they battle back and forth. Just after lap 13 was complete, Darrah takes a nasty tumble off the exit of turn 4 after contact with Wimmer and Hewitt, collecting all 3. Darrah was up to 9th from 24th. Restart, the battle is back on as Sammy just stays 3 car lengths ahead of the pack. Lap 20, Holtgraver and Ian Madsen collied for a yellow. Double file restart again as Sammy picks the bottom. Green, Swindell gets another great bite off the bottom but quickly sticks the right rear up on the cushion it turn 1, running a few feet off the fence. Swindell seems to be struggling on entry as the race winds down and quickly it's a 3 car battle for the lead once again. Lap 31, McMahan takes the lead as Swindell quickly moves off the cushion searching for a bite down low. Sammy totally misses the bottom groove and drops back to 4th as Madsen chases McMahan. Schatz is screaming through the pack on the bottom now in the top 5. McMahan holds tight and takes the win over Madsen, Pittman, Schatz, up from 25th, and McFadden, up from 14th. Great race and great racing all night. Plus, just after 10 and we was out the gates and headed home.
Friday 49 WOO Sprints and 34 NRA sprints tow to the Eldora Speedway for the Knight Before the King's Royal. Joey Saldana set the pace with quick time in the WOO sprints and Tim Hunter in the NRA 360s.
A 5 heat format for the WOOs with the top 4 moving to the A, made for some guys trying what they could to get to the front. The Wild Child thrilled the large crowd by taking heat 1 over Cody Darrah, Tim Shaffer, and Joey Saldana. David Gravel kinda got a gift handed to him in heat 2 after pole sitter Danny Holtgraver got called for a jumped start. Gravel took over the pole position and grabbed the lead. Paul McMahan blew an engine running a strong 2nd. Gravel took the win over Holtgraver, Logan Schuchart, and Kraig Kinser. The only thing slowing Steve Kinser in heat 3 was 2 Jason Sides spins. Kinser took the win over Shane Stewart, Kerry Madsen, and Greg Wilson in a great battle for 4th with Tim Kaeding. Daryn Pittman took the win in heat 4 over Brandon Wimmer, Caleb Helms, who got docked a row for jumping a start, and Cole Duncan. Chad Kemenah took a great win after some struggles this season in heat 5 over Brad Sweet, Donny Schatz, and Sammy Swindell.
With just a handful of cars making the C Main call Austen Wheatley took the win over Jacob Allen.
Tim Shaffer and Sammy Swindell battled in the Dash with Shaffer passing Swindell at he half way point, cruising on to the win over Swindell, Madsen, and Saldana.
Shaffer and Swindell paced the field to green in the 30 lap A Main. Shaffer slide to the lead as was looking good. Swindell ran right up on the skinny cushion, just inches off the fence and quickly ran Shaffer down. A great battle as Shaffer and Swindell go at it, the top 5 are almost nose to tail, battling in and out of traffic. Swindell works on Shaffer but is fending off Saldana, Madsen, and Stewart as well. Lap 14, Swindell takes the lead. Lap 16, 3rd Saldana slows with a flat rear tire. Swindell gets a good restart but slows again for a lap 18 caution for Duncan. Restart, Swindell sweeps into the lead again as the pack races tightly together. Madsen runs into Gravel, sending Gravel a spinning, who collect Wilson in the incident. Next restart, Wimmer gets high in 4 and junks the 24H Hammer ride with a nasty flip. It was so hard it knocked the engine out of the car, side lining the 24H for the weekend. Restart, Swindell once again gets a splendid start and actually breaks away from the pack a little. Shaffer and Madsen hold solid as Swindell clicks the laps off. As the laps wind down, Shaffer, Madsen, and Stewart gain on Sammy. Getting closer and closer the gap is very narrow as Swindell run flawless on the cushion. Swindell stays strong and takes the win. Shaffer in a solid run, Madsen, Stewart, and Pittman round out the top 5. This was Sammy's 36th Eldora win and gives him 106 top 5s in 171 career Eldora starts.
Saturday 47 cars entered the gates of the famous Eldora Speedway for the 31st annual King's Royal. Making my 31st one as well, I really like the special format. 6 heats, top 3 move to A, invert 4, winner of heat 1, fastest heat, starts 6th in A, winner of heat 2, starts 5th, and so on. Then 2nd in heat 1 starts 7th, 2nd in heat 2 starts 8th and so on. The after the heats, the fastest 2 cars that wasn't transferred to A yet starts 19th and 20th. Then last 4 spots are filled from the B main. Makes each spot worth a ton.
Starting the night off with a crowd pleaser, The King, Steve Kinser took a popular win in heat 1 over Kerry Madsen and Rico Abreu. Adding some local flavor into the mix, Greg Wilson held off some heavy hitters taking the win in heat 2 over Kevin Swindell and Brian Brown. Rocking the place like a hurricane, Randy Hannagan took the win in heat 3 over Sammy Swindell and Brad Sweet. Shane Stewart looked stellar in heat 4 taking the win over Daryn Pittman and Jason Meyers. Donny Schatz spoiled a great run from PA Posse member Brent Marks by passing Marks and taking the win. Dale Blaney worked his way into the A with a 3rd place run in heat 5. David Gravel was a quick winner at Eldora after landing the Roth ride early in the season and kept it a rolling in heat 6 taking the win. Paul McMahan and Jason Sides raced into the A. Some decent heats with cars making the A starting in the 3rd row and winners coming from the 2nd row, more passing at times than normal WOO heats usually produce.
Travis Philo holds off a surprise C Main entrant The Wild Child, Jac Haudenschild for the win. Big shows always have some big hitters struggling and putting them into the lower mains to try and run through them to the big show.
Logan Schuchart took control of the B Main as a wild battle unfolded for the 4th and final transfer spot. Schuchart takes the win as Christopher Bell, Kraig Kinser, and a wild 3 car battle on the last lap seen Tim Kaeding make heavy contact with James McFadden in the battle, with Joey Saldana close by, putting McFadden in the wall TK raced on to the final transfer spot. Saldana got the latest previous winner provisional spot to not make the A via the regular program, 25th starting position.
Gravel and Schatz paced the field to the starting line in he chase for royalty. Gravel grabs the massive crowds attention as he races into the lead. Gravel looks great as Schatz gets to rolling and they battle the first handful of laps very closely. Lap 9, Donny slips past and takes the lead. Lap 10, Schuchart spins. Gravel and Schatz resume battle and Gravel grabs the lead again on lap 11 but Madsen is in beast mode. Charging from 6th to 1st from the restart to lap 13, the Madman is flying on the high side. Madsen quickly pulls away and is just hammer down. Kevin Swindell looks like he's making charge at times, hitting a groove in 1&2 that no one seems to be as fast as him in. As the laps wind down, Schatz and Gravel close in a bit. Lap 33, Sweet stops and Hannagan's ride has major flames from the engine region. Restart, the battle is on as Schatz tries to make a move but the Madman is on a rail. Lap 38, Stewart stops and the red flys for a fuel stop. Restart, Madsen seals the deal and the newly documented American citizen took the win. It was still huge for a lifelong Aussie, up to a few weeks ago, to win a major event in the US. Madsen had an amazing interview as showed how much the win meant to him, what sprint car racing means to him, and just how much effort and commitment this sport takes. If you wasn't a Madsen fan before, you can't help but be a little after his speech. Schatz, Gravel, Kevin Swindell, and McMahan rounded out the top 5.
As the 4th of July weekend approached, we have reached the midway point of the racing season, with some tracks already in their later stages of the season. With the 4th of July on a Friday, many tracks ran special events over the long holiday weekend. Taking a rare break from hitting all the races I could in a weekend, I still managed to hit Waynesfield Motorsports Park Thursday for their huge Bob Reynolds Memorial race and Attica Raceway Park on Friday. With just two races in the books for the weekend, I took the rest of the weekend off to hit the Motley Crüe concert in Indy and a day of R&R before going full tilt here again the next few weeks.
Thursday, growing bigger and bigger each year so far, the 3rd annual Bob Reynolds Memorial race promoted by Ron Hammond boasted a $7500 paycheck with $700 being paid just to start the A. 40 360 sprint cars made the trip to Waynesfield for the event. A stacked field of talented too boot. The pill draw system was used to line up the heats.
4 10 car heats with the top 4 moving into the A Main. Young Chase Ridenour slowed heat 1 as he coasted to a stop after running in a transfer spot. Christopher Bell looked super strong on the Marshall 33, taking the win ove teammate of the night Sheldon Haudenschild in the other Marshall 33, Brandon Wimmer, up from dead last, and Ryan Ruhl holding on to the final transfer spot. A decent heat race. Bryan Sebetto picked up a new ride a week ago and slide the Seeling 97 car to the lead in heat 2. Florida's Kyle Pitts spun as Parker Price Miller brushed Pitts as he sat stopped in turn 4. Restart, it was all Sebetto upfront, running away with the win. Jared Horstman, Derek Hager, from the last row, and Gary Taylor raced their way into the A. Coming off a trip to the hospital the week before, Dustin Stroup slipped into the lead of heat 3. Paul Dues slows the pace with a spin. Under the yellow, Aussie hot shoe James McFadden had worked from 8th to 4th in just a few laps but would pull pit side with a flat rear tire. Restart, Stroup gave it his all in a close one beating another Aussie gasser Jamie Veal, JR Stewart, and with a late race move, Greg Wilson, from the back row. Randy Hannagan is always one of the top cars to beat in the 360 ranks as he shows it once again in heat 4 by running away and spanking the field. Hannagan wins over Kyle Sauder, Dustin Daggett, and Max Stambaugh. The heats were pretty good races with 3 of the 4 showcasing drivers racing up from the back row into transfer spots.
2 Dashes were ran with the 16 drivers won transferred into the A Main. Each dash has 8 cars with the finishing order of Dash 1 making up in the inside row on the A Main and Dash 2 finishing order making up the outside starting row of the A. Bell tried to battle teammate Haudenschild in the 1st dash but spins out, falling to the tail. Haudenschild lead flag to flag to take the win and earn the pole position for the A. Hannagan and Taylor battled hard in the 2nd dash with Taylor scoring somewhat of an upset win over Hannagan, earning the outside row 1 A Main starting position.
2 B Mains with the top 2 tagging the back rows of the A. After suffering back luck in his heat, McFadden was on a mission in B1, charging from 8th to the lead. The only thing slowing him was a Roberts and a Sneed spin. McFadden takes the win over Nate Dussel in the 3rd Ron Hammond car making the A Main. Butch Schroeder blasted to the lead in B2. A spin by Dancer and one by Pitts slowed the action. Schroeder cruised out front and took the win over a Devin Dobie who thrilled the packed house with a last lap pass for the final transfer spot.
Haudenschild and Taylor brought the field to green in the 40 lap A Main. Haudenschild hugged the bottom and took the lead. Lap 3, Daggett slowed to a stop. Restart, Haudenschild maintains the lead but the battle us quickly on as Wilson and Hannagan close in on the leader. An epic 3 car battle, 3 wide at several points, brought the crowd to the edge of their seats. As the lead triplets worked in and out of traffic they stayed glued together from lap 11 to 19 before Haudenschild broke free by just a car length. Wilson regains his groove a few laps later and makes a move for the lead. Lap 23, Wilson whips into the lead. Haudenschild slips up just a bit and Wilson opens the gap. Working traffic like a boss, Wilson stretches the lead lap after lap. Hager now battles Haudenschild for 2nd and quickly works past Sheldon, looking for Wilson. Hager gains sone serious ground on Wilson the final 6 laps but Wilson can't be denied and takes home a much needed win. Hager, Haudenschild, Veal, and Hannagan round out the top 5. A good race and very good night of racing.
After catching up on some much needed rest Friday, I decided I couldn't just stay home and headed to Attica Raceway Park late Friday afternoon for the FAST 410s and 305 sprints. It was $10 night for a 4 division show. Pulling into Attica just before hot laps, a excellent crowd was on hand along with a very nice field of cars. 26 410 and 23 305 sprints were ready to fire it up on Independence Day.
All kinds of issues in hot laps as Dean Jacobs pops an engine as Todd Heller, Rodney Hurst, and Travis Philo all have car issues in hot laps.
3 heats for the 410 sprints, top 5 to the A. Caleb Griffith slows to a stop in heat 1. Restart, a great heat race unfolds as race long leader Byron Reed gets ran down and passed on the last lap by Caleb Helms. Helms takes the win in the thriller over Reed, Brandon Martin, Cap Henry, and Duane Zablocki. The only thing slowing Cole Duncan in heat 2 was a Taylor Ferns spin. Duncan ran away from the pack in this one leading flag to flag for the win. Jamie Veal, Brian Lay, Jody Keegan, and Dain Naida transfer to the A. Travis Philo rebounded from early issues and held off a closing Bryan Sebetto for the win. Chris Andrews, Stuart Brubaker, and Jim Nier, with a late pass, transfer. Paul Dues slowed the heat with a spin.
Same deal as the 410s, 3 305 heats with the top 5 moving to the A. Dan Hennig brought out the caution in heat 1 with a spin. To repeat heat 1 of the 410s, Nate Dussel ran down race long leader Dustin Dinan and made a last lap pass to take the win. Dinan, Bobby Clark, Tyler Gunn, and Ricky Peterson move into the A. Steve Rando roared into the lead of heat 2 and never looked back, taking the win over Jason Keckler, Seth Schneider, Dan McCarron, and Trey Jacobs. Kurt Huber spins in heat 3 for a caution. Restart, a great battle all race long as Jordan Ryan nips John Ivy for the win. TJ Michael, Kyle Capodice, and Luke Griffith race into the A.
With a few scratches, half the B Main, top 5, transfer to the A for the 410s. Dues couldn't get the handle of Attica and spins in the B after all but spinning a handful of times before he finally did. Griffith didn't let a bad heat race slow him down as he ran away with the win in this one. Stuart Williams, Cale Thomas, Heller, and Ferns transfer into the A.
After 1 car scratched in the 305 division, the ARP staff stepped up and added 2 cars to the A, canceling the B Main.
Lay and Veil paced the field in the 30 lap 410 A. Lay leaps into the lead as the field takes the green. Before lap 1 is complete, young Thomas spins. With a complete restart, Lay lights it up again and takes the lead. Lay had been super stout all year and quickly opens up a 4 car length lead. Lay quickly enters traffic as Andrews races into 2nd. Lap 9, Thomas looked very well early, spins again and is pushed pit side being parked for the night after his 2nd spin. Lay gets a good restart as Andrews starts to make some noise. Lap 13, Andrews takes over the lead with ease. Philo finds the wall in turn 4 for a yellow. Andrews gets an awesome restart and pulls away. Lap after lap, Andrews is all alone upfront. Helms takes over 2nd and tries to run down Andrews. Lap 25, Martin stops for a yellow. 5 to go, it's all Andrews on the restart. Lay and Helms battle for 2nd. Andrews pads his FAST points lead and takes the win. Lay, Helms, Reed, and Sebetto round out the top 5. An alright race.
Capodice and Clark brought the field to green in the 25 lap 305 A. Capodice cruises to the lead as the green light kicks on. Looking good upfront, the rookie leads the first few laps until Clark takes over on lap 3. Clark pulls away just a few car lengths as Capodice and Dinan follow. Lap 12, Dussel spins in turn 4 as the caution light flashes on. Restart, Clark maintains and pulls away once again. Lap 15, Schneider slips off the top of 4 into the wall by the push off lane. Restart, it's still Clark as the rest of the field settles in. 8 laps to go, Ryan starts to reel Clark in inch by inch. 5 to go, the gap is tighter. 3 to go, Ryan is looking to make a move. White flag a waving as they cross the line nose to tail. Into 1, Ryan dives in low super deep, pulls side by side with Clark in the middle of 1 and 2, they slightly bumps wheels as Ryan races off 2 in the lead. Clark tries to make a run into 3. Ryan excites the large crowd taking the win with a last lap pass. Clark, Rando, Dinan, and Michael round out the top 5. A very good race.
Many people, me included, have been seeing this Cale Thomas name popping up here and there this season a handful of times. So I had to investigate just who this was after hearing he was new to sprint cars and had made an All Star A Main at Atomic and looked decent in his first Attica trip, well until the A when he struggled a bit. Cale is a young 16 year old racer who was in just his 7th sprint car race ever. Cale raced micro sprints a handful of times in 2011 before running full seasons in 2012 and 2013. He also has 2 Silvercrown starts this season with a 7th place finish his best to date. Looks like another young gun to keep on your radar with looking that good in just a few races behind a wheel of a sprint car.
Wednesday WOO Lima OH Brad Doty Classic
Friday WOO Eldora, USAC Sprints Gas City IN, MTS Cherry MI
Saturday WOO Eldora (King's Royal) USAC Sprints Kokomo IN, AVSS New Paris IN, MTS Merritt MI, Must See Sprints Berlin MI
Sunday USAC Sprints Lawrenceburg IN
One of my favorite weeks! Royal week!! See u at Lima and Eldora Thanks for reading Duane
The 32nd annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek opened up last weekend for 9 straight nights of racing. Hitting 8 different venues in 9 nights, Speedweek always seems to draw a good amount of cars and a few surprise visitors.
Friday, the All Stars were set to open Ohio Speedweek at the Attica Raceway Park. After avoiding the rain from late morning on, the ARP crew worked to get the track in shape and wasn't letting the program be lost. Just as the pit gates were set to open, a huge down pour that flooded pit lane and soaked an already wet track, pit area, and parking lot, the show had to be cancelled as it was now too far gone to get race ready for the night.
Saturday, it was off to the BOSS show at Pittsburgh Motor Speedway. After a morning call to the track and saying the track was good to go and then post at noon by the track saying the track is set for the gates to open at 4. Then bam at 3PM, the event gets cancelled for a wet infield from the early morning rain. A huge waste of money for a low budget traveling group that had 97% of it's regulars on the road already for 3 to 6 hours. Just to make the show that was said to be in good shape. Hopefully tracks that could carless about racers such as this one will disappear off the BOSS schedule or only get a date if they pay $500 to start to make up for a phantom rain out. There's no shame in calling off early if you are unsure but don't tell teams for 6 hours you are racing and then decide oh it's too wet when teams already have $300 to $500 invested in fuel and toll road fees that is now just a total waste on a bright sunny day that hadn't seen rain since early morning.
Sunday, after getting their Speedweek show in at Eldora Speedway, the sun was out at Waynesfield Motorsports Park for the All Stars next leg of Speedweek. A great field of 45 sprints were putting heat in their engines getting ready for the program. Andrew Palker got in the fence hard and flipped in hot laps, ending his night. Stuart Brubaker stayed upright after tagging the wall in hot laps. With Dave Blaney unofficially turning the fastest timed lap in WMP history, the track was looking good. In qualifying, it was the younger of the Blaney brothers, Dale Blaney setting quick time of the night. Caleb Armstrong was struggling all during hot laps with cutting the turns way short and finally tagged a infield tire in qualifying, breaking his front end.
4 heats with the top 5 moving into the A Main. Kevin Swindell swooped into the lead on the start of heat but as he went blasting into turn 3, the Bulldog got up in the loose cushion and tagged the guardrail and flipped wildly. Restart, Cole Duncan and Brandon Wimmer battle upfront for the lead. Wimmer finally wrestles away the lead. James McFadden is charging through the pack, gaining on the leaders after moving into 4th. Armstrong has more issues in turn 3 spinning, as he stopped on the track, McFadden slams into Armstrong. Wimmer holds on for the lead to take the win over Duncan, Dale Blaney, Cap Henry, and Travis Philo. Chad Kemenah held off a super fast Danny Dietrich to take the win in heat 2. Following Dietrich, who charged up from 6th, Greg Wilson, Danny Holtgraver, and Brubaker transfer to the A. Taylor Ferns slowed heat 3 after brushing the wall and coming to a stop. After a good battle with Lee Jacobs, The Wild Child, Jac Haudenschild thrilled the crowd with a late race pass to take the lead. Haud raced to the win over Jacobs, Shane Stewart, Darren Mollenoyux, and Stevie Smith. After a bad start, pole sitter Paul May was sent back a row for the restart. Caleb Helms hammered the throttle and took the lead on the restart. The only thing slowing Helms was a Dallas Hewitt spin. Helms took the win over Jamie Veal, Gary Taylor, Tim Shaffer, and Byron Reed. Some good heat races on a tricky track that was super slick in 3 and 4 and had a big cushion in 1 and 2.
With a large field of cars, the C Main was up next with the top 2 moving into the B. Cole Ketcham rolled to a stop for a caution in the C. Local 360 racer Max Stambaugh stomped the C taking the win over Jack Fee.
PA Posse invader Danny Dietrich dominated the Dash, taking the win and earning the pole for the A. Cap Henry held off Dave Blaney for 2nd at the line.
Christopher Bell blasted by Ron Blair on the start of the B to take the lead. As Bell cruised out front, Derek Hagar was hurrying through the pack from deep in the field. A decent battle in the B as Bell went on to win over Sheldon Haudenschild, Hager, up from 13th, and Blair.
Deitrich and Henry paced the 24 car field to the green in the 40 lap A Main. Dietrich darted into the lead as the pack raced into turn 1. Lee Jacobs gets airborne off the top of turn 2 and all but flips slowing the pace on lap 3. Restart, Dietrich looks excellent and pulls away with the leas as Reed and Blaney battle for 2nd behind the leader. Dietrich has 3 wins in the stout Central PA region so far this season and was looking to add a Ohio victory to that total as he stretched his lead. Reed starts to find his groove and starts to close on Dietrich as 12 laps are in the books. Lap 15, Henry spins in turn 2 on his own while running in the 4th spot. As the car were rolling down the backstretch on the restart, Taylor coast to a stop. Reed gets an excellent start and battles Dietrich for the lead. This is the first real pressure Dietrich has felt for the lead as he battles side by side with Reed. Just as Reed takes the lead, Bell spins on lap 17, collecting Wimmer, bringing a yellow out. Green, the battle is on again as Reed quickly goes after Dietrich. An excellent race is unfolding as the duo battles side by side, for the next several laps, Dietrich right on the high side slim cushion in 3 and 4 and Reed in the middle to bottom of the track. Reed gets a slider to stick on Dietrich, takes the lead, sticking in on the high side going into 3 as Dietrich tries a cross over move to regain the lead, Henry spins directly in front of Reed collecting Byron and taking him out of the battle as Reed slams into Henry. Reed quickly exits the car and tells Cap how much he appreciates his 3rd spin of the night. A red for a fuel stop is thrown under this caution. Just before the car are to re-fire, Stevie Smith who had worked up to 3rd with no brakes, was told he had to go to the tail for holding up the restart as his crew finished putting brake fluid in the car and was told they had to be the first car pushed off. I never knew a certain car was labeled the first car to be fired and if it wasn't they had to go to the tail. I've seen several cars get pushed from at random every restart so not sure why Smith got screwed on this one. Restart, Dietrich looks stout still and races away into the lead and the crowd sees Stewart move into the top 10 after starting on the last row. Blaney starts to get his mojo a rolling and lurks behind Dietrich. As the laps quickly pass by, Blaney is there, applying pressure to Dietrich as Veal is turning some heads charging into the top 5. Blaney inches his nose under the lead as the come off 4 to complete lap 34. Dietrich makes a super aggressive move entering 1 to block Blaney but he pitches his car too hard into the turn, spinning the car and handing Blaney the lead. Restart, it's all Blaney as The Wild Child and Veal now battle for 2nd. As they battle, Blaney is on cruise control and races off into the night. Blaney takes the win as Veal takes 2nd, up from 15th, Haudenschild, Stewart, up from 23rd, and Philo round out the top 5. A good night of racing. Good heats and an epic 7 lap battle in the A until a lapped car ruined that one. All in all another excellent Speedweek stop at The Field.
Wednesday MTS Plymouth IN, All Stars Atomic OH
Thursday All Stars Fremont OH
Friday All Stars Lima OH, AVSS Dixie MI,
Saturday All Stars Fremont OH, SOD Merritt MI, MSCS Haubstadt IN, King Of The Wings Berlin MI, Buckeye 305s Sandusky OH
Thanks for reading Duan
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