Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Morning Notebook: Pre-Yankee

The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky and there is absolutely no mention of even a possibility of rain here in Dubuque this morning, just twenty miles away from the Farley Speedway where the 47th Annual Yankee Dirt Classic will be held tonight featuring the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models and the XSAN Hawkeye Dirt Tour IMCA Modifieds. Sport Mods, Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks will also be in action. Yes, it will be a bit colder than normal for this time of year, so bundle up and come on out for a full night of action beginning at 6:30.

I am doing my usual Fall Saturday morning routine jumping back and forth between listening to Track Talk with the Racin' Boys on the internet and watching College Game Day on ESPN. If you are in that same routine then it would have been no surprise to you to hear Scott and Kirk talk about Kyle Larson for about five minutes and speculate on how he would have had a win and made the Chase if he would have been driving for Hendrick. They then concluded that it is still likely that he will win one of the ten remaining races on this year's Sprint Cup schedule. One of these days, man, one of these days.....

Would you have ever thought that College Game Day would be broadcast from a location where the day's game featured the University of Incarnate Word?

This is the first Notebook entry since my good friend Ryan Clark ended his fifteen year run as the track announcer at the Independence Motor Speedway and, while he would have never wanted to have the spotlight, I thought that it was great that the track and his friends paid tribute to him on his final night. A great voice, a quick wit and an incredible passion for dirt track racing makes Ryan one of the best announcers that you will find anywhere and while he will no longer work at Independence on a weekly basis, you will still get to hear him from time to time at tracks, likely including Independence, when he fills in for somebody and at special events such as the IMCA Super Nationals. And not only is Ryan a great announcer, he might just be an even better writer and Barry and I are thrilled to have him associated with us at Positively Racing with his In Staging blog. Congratulations Ryan and enjoy the new found flexibility in your schedule, I will look forward to running into you more often in 2015.

My favorite Sprint Car driver made a major announcement a couple of weeks ago. Effectively immediately Sammy Swindell has retired from Sprint Car racing, that's it, cold turkey. The only racing that he plans to do from here on out will be the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals and while I could try to put together some words to honor the driver that I pulled for over the past three decades, I could not even come close to the tribute that freelance writer Troy Harrison put forth this week, so whether you loved "Slammin' Sammy" or hated him I encourage you to click this link and re-live the Hall of Fame caliber career of Sammy Swindell.

Ryan Bowers made an impressive debut with the Brockway Mechanical and Roofing Sprint Invaders Thursday night driving around Austin Johnson and Bret Tripplett in the final six laps to take the $1,500 win during the Yankee Dirt Classic at the Farley Speedway, but the bigger conversation in the Sprint Car pits was the continuing development of a potential new 410 Sprint Car series that would run throughout the upper Midwest and would pay out an amazing point fund with the champion taking $75,000 and the tenth place driver still making as much as $15,000. A list of drivers who are potentially committed to this series was being shared and if everything falls into place this will be something special. Is it a viable concept? Does it have the financial backing needed to pay out these kind of numbers? Well, how much money did someone have to spend to support two World of Outlaw teams over the past several years?

Up until this week I thought that I would be spending next Saturday night, September 20th, at the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa working a Sprint Invaders show, but when the track cancelled that date it opened me up to an impressive list of opportunities. My shortest trip would be to go to the Davenport Speedway for the Deery show at a facility that has one of the strongest IMCA Late Model weekly programs that you will find anywhere. Todd Staley and his USRA/USMTS crew will be busy with the Featherlite Fall Jamboree at the Deer Creek Speedway, an event that I ave always wanted to take in at some point and the Adams County Speedway in Corning features their Pro Am/Stock Car division with "The Tradition", another event that has been on my bucket list for some time now. Big money will be on the line during the World Nationals at the Marshalltown Speedway as well as during the Fall Brawl at the I-80 Speedway in southeast Nebraska. Peoria, Raceway Park, Tri-City Speedway, Elko, Beaver Dam, Red Cedar and season championship night at the Clarke County Speedway in Osceola would also be great choices so I am going to take my time, watch the weather, and perhaps make my decision as late as Saturday morning. I do know that on Wednesday night the 17th I will be in Oskaloosa for season championship night at the Southern Iowa Speedway and then on Sunday night the Quincy Raceways will host the MOWA 410 Sprints.

Plenty of racing still to be found, get out and enjoy the show of your choice!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weather Playing Havoc With Farley's Yankee Dirt Classic

Less than two weeks ago it was 91 degrees out. Tonight in Dubuque it is 43 degrees and the pavement is almost dry after nearly a full day of steady rain. There is no racing at the Farley Speedway tonight, but with a sunny day in the forecast for Saturday the 47th Annual Yankee Dirt Classic will be able to close out in style with full programs for both the Late Models and Modifieds, a pair of Last Chance races for the Sport Mods, and feature races for the Sport Mods, Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks. It will be a busy night with racing scheduled to begin at 6:30 sharp.

When Wednesday's opener was washed out it was combined with Thursday's show and that made for a long night of racing with seven divisions in action plus the Late Models and Modifieds were given the opportunity to test and tune. The Brockway Mechanical and Roofing Sprint Invaders were the featured division for the night with eighteen 360 c.i. winged sprint cars racing for their first time ever on the 3/8th-mile oval. Terry McCarl was on board Jimmy Davies' #99 again tonight and when the green flag dropped "T-Mac" quickly went from fourth to first on the opening lap. But when his son Carson spun in turn three the caution waved before the lap was scored and the field was returned to its original lineup. On the restart Bret Tripplett and Josh Schneiderman raced to the front and the chase was on. Austin Johnson was the driver on the move early advancing up to second and when traffic came into play suddenly the top five became tightly bunched.

Terry McCarl was pinched off entering turn one while racing in third and his spin would give Tripplett an open race track once again while the race for second heated up between Johnson and Ryan Bowers. A first year Sprint Car driver from Ham Lake, Minnesota, Bowers raced Johnson hard for several laps but could not complete the pass as Tripplett benefited from that battle. When McCarl dropped a drive line with seven laps remaining the caution waved again and Bowers took full advantage on the restart. First he drove around the outside of Johnson for second and on the following lap he used that same line to dispose of Tripplett for the lead. Bowers was then flawless over the final six laps to secure the win in his first ever appearance with the Sprint Invaders. Series point leader Jon Agan made a big move late to finish second after starting ninth, Johnson was solid in third, Tripplett dropped to fourth and Schneiderman completed the top five.

The Sprint Invaders will close out their 2014 campaign on Saturday September 27th at 34 Raceway in Burlington.

Forty-five IMCA Sport Mods helped fill the pits and current IMCA National points leader Clint Luellen was holding off the challenges of Austin Moyer before breaking just past the mid-point of the night's qualifying feature. Moyer picked up the lead from there with Tony Olson now providing the challenge and when the white flag waved Olson was able to drive past Moyer for the lead in turn one. Austin was not about to give in though and he used a nice high to low move from turn three to turn four to drive under Olson and nip him at the line by a bumper for the win. Tyler Soppe came from the final row to finish third, Ty Griffith was fourth and Sam Wieben completed the top five.

The IMCA Stock Car feature was poised for a thrilling finish with Damon Murty ready to pounce on leader Jerry Miles before the caution waved with two laps to go. There would be no stopping Miles from there as he would take the win ahead of Murty, Scott Pippert, Phil Holtz and Roger Cielielski.

Brian Happel got around early leader Cory Tharp to secure the Hobby Stock qualifying night victory ahead of Eric McDonough. Tharp, Shane Oberbroeckling and Randy Byerly completed the top five.

Keeping in mind that this was a double show, the checkers waved on the Sprint Car main at 1:10 a.m. and I headed for the hotel instead of staying for the final three races of the night. Tim Brockhouse was Yankee champion in the Legends cars, Brannon Bechen won the Sport Compacts and Nate Yoerger was the champ in the SPI Stock Car division.

It is frustrating that the weather has played havoc with the event's schedule and, as usual, there are several forum board jockeys who are complaining about this or that like there was anything that could be done about it. My favorite are the folks who attempt to make the point that an event like this should be scheduled "a month earlier" as if that would guarantee warm and dry weather. Of course, an August run Yankee would not be near as big since every other track in the region would still be racing as well, but hey, why consider all of the other variables when the hot topic for this week is the weather?

And that weather should be ideal on Saturday for the final night of the Yankee Dirt Classic, hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

National Dirt Late Model "Hot 100"

Following the 47th Annual World 100 won by the guy who has been atop these standings nearly all season......

The "Back Stretch"
Dirt Late Model Points Through 9/7
Pos. Driver Hometown Points
1 . Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 216
2 . Jimmy Owens Newport TN 187
3 . Darrell Lanigan Union KY 180
4 . Don O'Neal Martinsville IN 144
5 . Billy Moyer Batesville AR 135
6 . Bobby Pierce Oakwood IL 112
7 . Jonathan Davenport Blairsville GA 112
8 . Rick Eckert York PA 105
9 . Steve Francis Ashland KY 97
10 . Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 93
11 . Brandon Sheppard New Berlin IL 88
12 . Dale McDowell Chickamauga GA 80
13 . John Blankenship Williamson WV 79
14 . Shannon Babb Mowequa IL 75
15 . Jason Feger Bloomington IL 73
16 . Brian Birkhofer Muscatine IA 71
17 . Chris Madden Gray Court SC 65
18 . Gregg Satterlee Rochester Mills PA 65
19 . Mike Marlar Winfield TN 63
20 . Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville AR 60
21 . Jimmy Mars Elk Mound WI 60
22 . Ryan Unzicker El Paso IL 57
23 . Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock WV 56
24 . Brady Smith Solon Springs WI 55
25 . Brian Shirley Chatham IL 52
26 . Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 52
27 . Terry Phillips Springfield MO 50
28 . Kent Robinson Bloomington IN 46
29 . Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 44
30 . Justin Kay Wheatland IA 43
31 . Tim Fuller Watertown NY 43
32 . Ryan Gustin Marshalltown IA 40
33 . Riley Hickman Ooletwah TN 39
34 . Jason Covert York Haven PA 38
35 . Brandon Overton Appling GA 37
36 . Devin Moran Dresden OH 37
37 . Randy Weaver Crossville TN 37
38 . Shane Clanton Locust Grove GA 37
39 . Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville IL 34
40 . Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 34
41 . Billy Ogle Jr. Knoxville TN 33
42 . Jackie Boggs Grayson KY 33
43 . Chub Frank Sugar Grove PA 32
44 . Jared Landers Batesville AR 32
45 . Morgan Bagley Longview TX 32
46 . Randy Korte Highland IL 30
47 . Eric Wells Hazard KY 29
48 . Chad Simpson Marion IA 28
49 . Jason Hiett Lincoln AL 28
50 . Matt Miller Whitehouse OH 28
51 . Mason Ziegler Chalk Hill PA 27
52 . Russell Erwin Beaverdam VA 27
53 . Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 26
54 . Austin Hubbard Seaford DE 25
55 . Kenny Pettyjohn Milton DE 25
56 . Duane Chamberlain Richmond IN 23
57 . Ivedent Lloyd Jr. Ocala FL 23
58 . Jason Fitzgerald Jacksonville FL 23
59 . Jesse Stovall Galena MO 21
60 . Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 21
61 . Jake Redetzke Eau Claire WI 20
62 . Tim Dohm Cross Lanes WV 20
63 . Chris Simpson Marion IA 19
64 . Davey Johnson Latrobe PA 19
65 . J.T. Spence Winchester VA 19
66 . Jeff Rine Danville PA 19
67 . Kyle Berck Marquette NE 19
68 . Ross Bailes Clover SC 19
69 . Dona Marcoullier Houghton Lake MI 18
70 . Jon Mitchell Nash TX 18
71 . R.J. Conley Wheelersburg OH 18
72 . Tanner English Benton KY 18
73 . David McCoy Franklin NC 17
74 . Dustin Linville Bryantsville KY 17
75 . Dustin Mitchell Pine Level NC 17
76 . Jared Miley South Park PA 17
77 . John Kaanta Eau Claire WI 17
78 . Ray Cook Brasstown NC 17
79 . Tyler Carpenter Parkersburg WV 17
80 . Andy Eckrich Cosgrove IA 16
81 . Chris Ferguson Mount Holly NC 16
82 . Greg Roberson Waynesboro VA 16
83 . Mark Whitener Middleburg FL 16
84 . Todd Cooney Des Moines IA 16
85 . Bobby Hogge IV Salinas CA 15
86 . Brett Hamm Newberry SC 15
87 . Chris Wall Holden LA 15
88 . Clint Smith Senoia GA 15
89 . Dan Stone Thompson PA 15
90 . Kevin Weaver Gibson City IL 15
91 . Max Blair Centerville PA 15
92 . Todd Morrow East Ridge TN 15
93 . Tony Jackson Jr. Lebanon MO 15
94 . Victor Lee Stanford KY 15
95 . A.J. Diemel Navarino WI 14
96 . Brad Seng Grand Forks ND 14
97 . Dale Hollidge Mechanicsville MD 14
98 . Derek Fisher Olympia KY 14
99 . Jeff Aikey Cedar Falls IA 14
100 . Kyle Bronson Brandon FL 14
101 . Mike Murphy Jr. Colona IL 14

Thursday, August 28, 2014

McDaniel Wins, Thrasher Inherits At Osky

I was eight days in to what I thought would be a twenty-three day absence from racing when my schedule for Wednesday just happened to land me in Oskaloosa for the next to last night of regular season racing at the Southern Iowa Speedway. Watching a shield of rain cover western Iowa all day, I am sure that I wasn't the only one that kept a wary eye on the radar all afternoon and that was likely what kept some of the IMCA National points contenders from making the long haul on a Wednesday night. But a dry wind out of the east kept the rain away and it was a beautiful night for racing even though I knew that I needed to honor a self-imposed ten o'clock curfew due to an early meeting on Thursday.

The car counts at Osky have been volatile during the second half of the season and on this night while there were solid fields of seventeen Sport Mods and sixteen Stock Cars, the twelve car Hobby Stock field was out of the norm and the Modified count continued to dwindle down to seven. The class that has struggled with car counts since its introduction to the big half-mile, the Sport Compacts would see six cars line up for the first feature of the night with All Iowa Points leader Austen Becerra recovering from mechanical issues in his heat race to quickly take the lead from his third row start.

On lap four of the ten lap event, the lead pack was in turn two when a gasp from the crowd drew my attention to turn four where I caught the last rollover of the car driven by Jon Menuis. With sparks flying as the car settled to the ground, it was a scary looking wreck and there was immediate concern when the track worker in turn four frantically waved for the Fire and Rescue crew to get to the scene as soon as possible. Sources have told me that the driver's belts had become loose and that his helmet came off during the rollover. As of 4 p.m. on Thursday I have not been able to confirm anything on the condition of the driver, and I hope that you will join me in keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.

Once back to racing Becerra held off a final lap challenge from Bill Whalen Jr. to take the win, reported by announcer Tony Paris as being his 33rd feature win of the season. Austen, you are a fine young driver, hope to see you taking another division by storm in 2015! John Whalen and Matt Moore were third and fourth.

The 16-lap Sport Mod feature was out next and this one was a good one throughout as Charlie Weber paced the field for the opening laps. Coming from his eighth starting spot Jason McDaniel moved quickly to the front and drove by Weber on the outside coming down the front stretch on lap three. A caution on the following lap allowed McDaniel's fellow fourth row starter Curtis VanDerWal to move to second and he was not content to be tonight's runner-up. Entering the turns on both ends of the speedway VanDerWal was able to pull even by diving to the inside, but McDaniel maintained momentum off the top and was able to re-establish himself as the leader once again on the straightaways. On lap ten VanDerWal had his best run yet into turn three and when McDaniel was barely able to clear his challenger once again at the flag stand, the leader then decided that he needed to protect that lower line entering turn one.

VanDerWal was already committed to that same bottom line and with McDaniel now there Curtis slid the car sideways to avoid contact and he almost had it saved before he got in the slick stuff down low and spun it around the opposite direction. The caution waved and VanDerWal went to the rear while track point leader Brett Lowry now picked up the challenge. McDaniel looked like a sure winner though until coming to the white flag when he jumped the cushion in turn four and gave Lowry one last chance. Once again though the "Mighty Mouse" protected that bottom line, this time in turns three and four on the final lap and Jason McDaniel held on to win over Brett Lowry, Ryan Fullenkamp, Cory VanZante and Brayton Carter. VanDerWal redeemed himself nicely by charging back up to sixth at the checkers.

Fifteen laps of Hobby Stock action was up next and it was Mike Kincaid who opened up a solid lead while the rest of the field jockeyed for position behind him. Kincaid was till looking strong until he exited turn four on lap eight and slowed suddenly with an overheating engine. This handed the lead over to Mike Hughes who then held off Danny Thrasher for the second half of the race to take the apparent victory. However, Hughes failed the post-race tech inspection and the win was then awarded to Thrasher. Brad Stephens, Craig Brown and Dustin Griffiths crossed the line in a tightly bunched three-wide formation with Stephens then being credited with second. Nick Ulin collected fifth-place money.

A check of the time told me that if the fourteen lap Modified feature went flag-to-flag I should be okay, but I would then have to miss the Stock Car feature......and when you come to Osky, the last thing that you want to miss, trust me, is the Stock Car feature!

Cayden Carter took off like a rocket at the drop of the green and appeared to have the race well in hand before the caution waved mid-race and my own curfew had arrived. As I climbed in my car I could hear Tony Paris making the call as Andrew Schroeder now applied the pressure and a review of the results today tells the story as Schroeder made the pass for the win. Carter, Scott Dickey, Jerry Pilcher, Tyler Groenendyk and A.J. Johnson completed the six-car starting field.

And, just as I suspected, the Stock Car feature was a thriller with Cayden Carter passing Todd Reitzler on the final lap to take the win. Hopefully I will have no early morning meeting scheduled for the next day when the Southern Iowa Speedway closes out its regular season on Wednesday September 17th. Season Championship night will use the regular average points inverted starting procedure as weekly shows so don't be surprised if there are some long distance travelers there that night looking for one final shot at National and Regional points. Perhaps you should mark it on your calendar and join us there.

Dick and Joyce, it just isn't the same without you two there! Good thing I had Jack and Kevin, and later on Gary Lee there to keep me company!

Next race for me will be the Yankee Dirt Classic in Farley, hope to see you there!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hot 100: Current "Back Stretch" National Dirt Late Model Points

The "Back Stretch"
Dirt Late Model Points Through 8/21
Pos. Driver Hometown Points
1 . Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 191
2 . Jimmy Owens Newport TN 162
3 . Darrell Lanigan Union KY 155
4 . Billy Moyer Batesville AR 128
5 . Don O'Neal Martinsville IN 127
6 . Bobby Pierce Oakwood IL 109
7 . Jonathan Davenport Blairsville GA 94
8 . Rick Eckert York PA 84
9 . Brandon Sheppard New Berlin IL 82
10 . John Blankenship Williamson WV 77
11 . Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 77
12 . Shannon Babb Mowequa IL 74
13 . Steve Francis Ashland KY 74
14 . Brian Birkhofer Muscatine IA 68
15 . Dale McDowell Chickamauga GA 67
16 . Chris Madden Gray Court SC 64
17 . Jason Feger Bloomington IL 62
18 . Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville AR 60
19 . Gregg Satterlee Rochester Mills PA 60
20 . Jimmy Mars Elk Mound WI 59
21 . Mike Marlar Winfield TN 56
22 . Ryan Unzicker El Paso IL 55
23 . Brian Shirley Chatham IL 52
24 . Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock WV 50
25 . Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 46
26 . Terry Phillips Springfield MO 46
27 . Brady Smith Solon Springs WI 43
28 . Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 41
29 . Ryan Gustin Marshalltown IA 40
30 . Justin Kay Wheatland IA 38
31 . Tim Fuller Watertown NY 38
32 . Brandon Overton Appling GA 37
33 . Riley Hickman Ooletwah TN 35
34 . Randy Weaver Crossville TN 34
35 . Billy Ogle Jr. Knoxville TN 33
36 . Jason Covert York Haven PA 32
37 . Morgan Bagley Longview TX 32
38 . Devin Moran Dresden OH 31
39 . Kent Robinson Bloomington IN 30
40 . Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 28
41 . Jared Landers Batesville AR 28
42 . Jason Hiett Lincoln AL 28
43 . Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville IL 27
44 . Eric Wells Hazard KY 27
45 . Jackie Boggs Grayson KY 27
46 . Chub Frank Sugar Grove PA 26
47 . Shane Clanton Locust Grove GA 26
48 . Mason Ziegler Chalk Hill PA 25
49 . Duane Chamberlain Richmond IN 23
50 . Randy Korte Highland IL 23
51 . Austin Hubbard Seaford DE 22
52 . Chad Simpson Marion IA 22
53 . Russell Erwin Beaverdam VA 22
54 . Jason Fitzgerald Jacksonville FL 21
55 . Ivedent Lloyd Jr. Ocala FL 20
56 . Jesse Stovall Galena MO 20
57 . Chris Simpson Marion IA 19
58 . Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 19
59 . Davey Johnson Latrobe PA 18
60 . Dustin Linville Bryantsville KY 17
61 . J.T. Spence Winchester VA 17
62 . Jon Mitchell Nash TX 17
63 . Kenny Pettyjohn Milton DE 17
64 . R.J. Conley Wheelersburg OH 17
65 . Ray Cook Brasstown NC 17
66 . Tyler Carpenter Parkersburg WV 17
67 . Andy Eckrich Cosgrove IA 16
68 . Chris Ferguson Mount Holly NC 16
69 . David McCoy Franklin NC 16
70 . Kyle Berck Marquette NE 16
71 . Mark Whitener Middleburg FL 16
72 . Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 16
73 . Ross Bailes Clover SC 16
74 . Todd Cooney Des Moines IA 16
75 . Brett Hamm Newberry SC 15
76 . Jared Miley South Park PA 15
77 . Jeff Rine Danville PA 15
78 . Kevin Weaver Gibson City IL 15
79 . Tanner English Benton KY 15
80 . Todd Morrow East Ridge TN 15
81 . Victor Lee Stanford KY 15
82 . Dale Hollidge Mechanicsville MD 14
83 . Dan Stone Thompson PA 14
84 . John Kaanta Eau Claire WI 14
85 . Matt Miller Whitehouse OH 14
86 . Max Blair Centerville PA 14
87 . Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 14
88 . Terry English Benton KY 14
89 . Vic Hill Mosheim TN 14
90 . Brandon Fouts Kite KY 13
91 . Chris Garnes Evans WV 13
92 . Clint Smith Senoia GA 13
93 . Donald McIntosh Dawsonville GA 13
94 . Greg Roberson Waynesboro VA 13
95 . Joey Leavell Waynesboro VA 13
96 . Brad Seng Grand Forks ND 12
97 . Dona Marcoullier Houghton Lake MI 12
98 . Jake Redetzke Eau Claire WI 12
99 . Mike Spatola Manhattan IL 12
100 . Ray Moore Shreveport LA 12