Monday, October 20, 2014

Hurst Dominates; Franzen, Garnhart, Keiser, Schnell and Clark Also Winners At Darkside's Fall Bash

Sunday was a perfect day for a Fall drive with the foliage in full color and a high cloud cover filtering the sunshine. Many memories of Sunday afternoon's spent at Hawkeye Raceway near Blue Grass came rushing back, especially as I drove by the old entrance to the facility that is now a housing development and I was happy that this old tradition of daytime racing in October was coming back to life, at least for one day, as I continued my trip north to the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa.

The promotional group headed up by Timmy Current and Ryan Duhme, better know as "The Darkside" were hosting the Fall Bash at the quarter-mile oval in the Timber City and a good field of cars were on hand to do battle here for one more time in the 2014 season.

The Hobby Stocks would contest the first of six feature races on the day with Lane Vohringer using his pole starting position to snare the early lead. Jacob Keiser, making his first ever trip to Maquoketa, drove by Vohringer on lap three and then weaved his way through traffic the remaining nine laps to score the win. Dustin Chapman started seventh and finished second, Daniel Wauters was third while Lane Vohringer and Kris Vohringer completed the top five. Keiser had to delay the celebration of his Hobby Stock victory though as he had also purchased an extra pit pass and had entered the Outlaw Super Bomber division for the day and that feature would be up later in the program.

A six-pack of Mod Lites raced for twelve laps with pole-starter Brian Schnell leading from flag-to-flag to take the win. Rob Guss, Mike Morrow, Dan Guss, Dustin Edwards and A.J. Pappas completed the running order.

The Sport Mod division had twenty-nine entries with four heats and two B-Mains trimming the field to twenty for the fifteen-lap main event. Bryce Garnhart drew the pole position and he would lead through three early cautions. Once the green flag stayed out for some consecutive laps Austin Moyer worked the high line around the speedway trying to get around Garnhart who was hugging the bottom. The caution waved for a fourth time on lap ten when Scott Busch spun in turn one and following the restart Moyer again went to the top side using every inch of the racing surface to try to get some momentum to pass Garnhart. Bryce was smooth around the bottom though and the short way around would win out as Garnhart scored the victory despite the gallant effort from Moyer. Tony Olson started ninth and worked his way up to third at the checkers just ahead of K.C. Ansel. Dave McCalla had to win the first B-Main to qualify and he then advanced from row seven up to fifth.

The Outlaw Super Bombers were up next and this field of cars was a true smorgasbord as you also had IMCA legal Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks mixed in for the 15-lap distance. Once again the pole-sitter grabbed the early and this time it was local driver Jarrett Franzen. Nathan Hall advanced quickly from fifth to second in his sharp black #140 and he then applied the pressure to the leader. The race was halted on lap seven when Steve Gustaf hopped the track tire guarding the infield coming off of turn two and went for a hard barrel roll, but thankfully the driver emerged from the wreckage uninjured. Once back to green, as Franzen hugged the bottom Hall tried to work the next groove up and with two laps remaining it looked as though Hall might just make it stick as he nosed ahead going down the back stretch. Franzen was not about to give in though and he drove his #33 just a little bit deeper into turn three to regain the advantage and he then fought off one last run by Hall to take the hard fought victory. Hall gave the winner a thumbs up in victory lane as his sportsmanlike challenge came up just short in second, Joe Bonney started eighth and finished third, Erick Knutsen was the highest finishing Stock Car in fourth and Chance Huston took fifth. Jacob Keiser had his Hobby Stock in the top five for most of the race only to slip to seventh in the final few laps.

The Four Stock feature saw the fourth-starting Tristan Clark move quickly to the lead at the drop of the green and the nine-car field then ran ten laps of non-stop racing with Clark taking the win by a full straightaway. Cameron Poci was the runner-up followed by Connor Wahl, Shawn Pappas and Mike Woolley.

Twenty Modifieds lined up for twenty laps to close out the evening with Tyler Soppe and his Sport Mod starting on the pole next to Jeremiah Hurst behind the wheel of Tyler Madigan's #21M. Hurst would outrun Soppe to the point as the race was slowed by three early cautions. Once everybody settled in the event would stay green with drivers finding racing lines from the bottom to the top around the speedway evidenced by the three-wide battle for fifth between Brandon Durbin, Ray Cox Jr. and Kyle Brown with six laps remaining. That was definitely the race to watch as Hurst had checked out in the lead and Ryan DeShaw was comfortably in second and despite some lapped traffic down the stretch that would be how they would finish with Jeremiah Hurst taking the win. Cox not only prevailed in that three-wide battle, he also picked up two more spots late to finish third after starting tenth, Kyle Brown was fourth and kudos to Tyler Soppe who raced his Sport Mod in for fifth.

Ray Cox Jr. had a teammate for the day as Corey Cox made the trip in from Littleton, Colorado, to drive Ray's backup car. Apparently the two drivers started communicating on Facebook a couple of years ago with the same last name being the initial conversation and it grew to the point where Ray invited Corey over to race one of his cars sometime at his hometown track of Maquoketa. Corey, a past Sport Mod track champion at the Phillips County Raceway in Holyoke, Colorado, made the trip in, started fifteenth and made some early progress before fading back to sixteenth at the finish. Now we will have to see if Ray makes a trip west to do some racing soon.

A special thanks to the Darkside for their hospitality and for putting on a Sunday show in October that stirred up so many memories. It used to be that the Hawkeye Raceway Sunday series was just about the only thing going on around here in October, but not anymore and that is a good thing!

Don't forget that you have one more opportunity to go racing in the state of Iowa this season as the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson will once again host "Shiverfest" this Saturday October 25th.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Night Zack Attack in Memphis

A cool windy night sent the dust flying Friday at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri, but that did not slow "the Z-Man" one bit as Zack VanderBeek pulled away to easily win both the Modified and the Stock Car features to open the annual Memphis Fall Nationals. Curtis VanDerWal, Mike Hughes and Trent Orwig also visited victory lane as Southern Iowa Speedway regulars dominated just south of the border.

Kelly Shryock raced out to a big early lead in the 22-lap Modified headliner, but after young Jake Griffin drove around NASCAR vet Ken Schrader for second that lead vanished quickly. Griffin appeared to have Shryock set up for a challenge off the cushion on lap nine when the caution waved as Schrader and Michael Long tangled in turn two sending Long for a spin. Griffin chose the high side for the double file restart behind Shryock leaving the bottom to Zack VanderBeek who had moved to third after starting in row five. VanderBeek seized the opportunity and drove under Shryock in turn one to take the lead off the restart and then drove away as Griffin and Shryock tried to maintain the pace.

The caution waved again with five laps remaining as the third-running Shryock slowed with a flat right front tire and the leader was brought back to the filed for the restart. Contact on that restart within the first double row allowed Cayden Carter to move from fourth to second and that contact caused Griffin to fade and eventually retire from the event a few laps later. Carter tried to work his low groove magic that saw him come from the back to the front in his heat race earlier, but there would be no catching VanderBeek as he eased in for the victory. Carter would go second, Schrader held off Bruce Hanford for third and Carter VanDenBerg had another solid run in Jacob Murray's "Six Pack" lookalike #49J as he came from fourteenth to fifth. Jeff Waterman was sixth and young Ben Kates started last on the twenty-four car grid and finished seventh.

VanderBeek's task was not as difficult in the Stock Car main event as he drew the pole position for the twenty-lap race that closed out the evening and he was never seriously challenged throughout. With some extra money added from Jason See Racing it was a beautiful Nutz Graphics designed $1,000 check waiting for Zack in victory lane as he finished ahead of Nathan Wood, John Oliver Jr., Derrick Agee and Michael Petersen.

The first feature of the night, the 20-lap Sport Mod main event, may have been the best as Brayton Carter outran fellow front row starter Brandon Dale for the lead at the drop of the green. Dale spun in turn two on lap two and one lap after the restart the eleventh-starting Curtis VanDerWal moved into the second spot. With that big early move and following his weekend sweep here three weeks ago I assumed that VanDerWal would make quick work of Carter, but "Speedy Bray" was in a zone and maintained the lead as the lead duo put nearly a half a lap between themselves and the battle for third.

With three laps remaining and while working through traffic VanDerWal was able to mount a challenge pulling to the inside line in both sets of turns. Carter was able to use his momentum off the top side to fight back that challenge for two laps and when the white flag waved VanDerWal drove even deeper into turn one and for the first time he had Carter cleared exiting turn two. As Carter again tried to use that high side momentum going down the back stretch VanDerWal came up the track nearing turn three and contact between the two broke the left front on Carter's #01.

VanDerWal used the final lap pass to score his third straight win here in Memphis and the lead duo had such a big advantage over the rest of the field that Carter was still able to nurse his broken mount in for second. Jared VanDeest, Logan Anderson and Jenae Gustin came across the stripe in tight formation for third, fourth and fifth.

Tim Dawson who won the Friday night show here three weeks ago paced the first four laps of the Hobby Stock headliner, but on Mike Hughes powered by on a restart and ran away with the 16-lap victory. Dawson held off Dustin Griffiths to take the runner-up spot, Clayton Crump finished fourth and Nick Ulin was fifth.

It took four attempts to finally get the Sport Compact feature underway and oddly enough that fourth start was the only one where the driver starting on the inside of the fourth row, Trent Orwig, didn't have the lead entering turn one. On that fourth try it was Matt Moore who was out front for the first left turn and he would lead the first lap before Orwig moved to the front. Moore fought back into the lead briefly on lap four only to have Orwig come back the following lap to take the lead and the eventual victory. Kimberly Abbott kept the pressure on Orwig late, but had to settle for second, John Whalen nipped Moore at the line for third and Travis DeMint filled out the top five.

The Memphis Fall Nationals close out tonight at the Scotland County Speedway and without the stiff wind you can expect that the track conditions will be improved over Friday night. And, in my opinion, promoter Mike VanGenderen did everything that he could to try to keep the dust down by applying water to the crumbs above the groove several times during the night. Even with the wind blown dust there were still at least two racing grooves and this was far from "follow the leader racing". Perhaps we were all a bit spoiled by what we were treated to here three weeks ago when there was not three inches of rain earlier in the week, temperatures were in the seventies and, most importantly, there was not a sustained twenty mile per hour wind.

I am still hoping to head north to the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa Sunday afternoon for the Darkside Fall Bash. Get on out and enjoy some racing before the season comes to an end!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Notebook: M&M Weekend Coming Up

It is rare that I am able to pull off a two-race weekend during the second half of October due to social commitments with my lady, weather and the fact that there are fewer shows to choose from each week, but as of right now it looks like I will be able to go racing on Friday night in Memphis and on Sunday afternoon in Maquoketa.

Friday's show will be the first of two nights of racing this weekend at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri, and if the action is anything like it was three weeks ago this is one that you will want to attend. Kenny Schrader will be on hand to take on the area's best Modified drivers, plus the Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts will be in action. Hot laps get underway at 7 p.m. on Friday night and an hour earlier, 6 p.m. on Saturday night.

College football and "date night" will keep me away from the track on Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon I am looking forward to heading north to the Darkside Fall Bash at the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa. The next to last race in the state of Iowa for 2014 will include the Modifieds, Sport Mods, Outlaw Super Bombers, Hobby Stocks, Mod Lites and Four Stocks with hot laps scheduled for 3 p.m. I had a good time visiting the track for the first time in several years back in May and I am glad that my next visit to Maquoketa is only a few days away.

There are three other multi-day events going on in the region this weekend. "The King of the Cage" runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Atchison County Raceway in northeast Kansas. The 14th Annual Cotton Boll Cup runs on Friday and Saturday at the Poplar Bluff Speedway in Missouri's bootheel and the Barb Nunnenkamp Memorial McCool 100 is Saturday and Sunday at the Junction Motor Speedway in eastern Nebraska.

The new 410 Winged Sprint Car series has a new name, the National Sprint League, and frankly I am surprised on a couple of accounts. First, the intent of the series is to only schedule events in the upper Midwest so to include the word "National" in the title seems to suggest something else and second, I would have thought that Tod Quiring's business, Big Game Treestands, would have somehow been reflected in the name of the series. After all, we have the "Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series", so why why not the "Big Game Sprint Tour"? Oh well, he is putting up the money so he can call it whatever he wants!

I am glad to see that my good friend Bill Wright has been hired as the Public Relations Director for the National Sprint League as you will be hard pressed to find anybody who is more enthusiastic and knowledgeable about sprint car racing than "Bill W". And the great about him is that he is very capable of spreading that enthusiasm either over a microphone or through the written word. With Bill taking care of things you can be sure that we will all be well updated as the 2105 schedule comes together.

A lot of racing people up in arms this week about Good Morning America's two minute segment Monday on the post-race shenanigans at Charlotte last Saturday night. I actually saw it live as it aired and, having not paid attention to what the NASCAR boys were up to over the weekend, yes I found it to be over-sensationalized and too focused on Tony Stewart's minor involvement. But before you get all in a snit and claim unfair coverage by the uninformed media, keep in mind that just two months ago Stewart was involved in a high profile tragic accident where a driver who was reacting angrily on a racetrack lost his life. And why was that incident so highly publicized and drawn out? Perhaps because of Stewart's past history of reacting in an aggressive manner following incidents on the track? So just how do we expect the general media to respond when after a post-race bump, Tony throws it in reverse and delivers a demo derby blast to the offending driver? Like it or not, Stewart now lives under a magnifying glass that is being held by those who will not understand what racers and fans might consider to be a "justified reaction". He needs to stop reacting in that manner. Take Stewart out of that mix and that story never makes it to GMA.

On a lighter note, I came across this commercial for Subaru today and just had to share it. This one is Super Bowl quality and for some reason the thing that really makes me laugh is the reaction of the puppy in the child seat when Momma growls at Dad. So then, since I have worked in the Direct Mail business for most of my adult life, I had to love this one as well. Cat lovers will prefer this version, and this was better than my most recent attempt at parallel parking. Subaru made 19 of these Dog Tested/Dog Approved Commercials (where have I been??) and even offered up this blooper reel.

Okay, so now I have fifteen more commercials to watch.......hope to see you on the Back Stretch this weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

VanDerWal Continues Fall Dominance at Lee County's Fall Extravaganza Opener

One hundred and thirty cars packed the pits on the first of two nights of racing during the Fall Extravaganza at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson Friday night including five drivers who made the long trip in from the Green Bay area. The temperatures were cool and the racing was hot with Oskaloosa's Curtis VanDerWal taking the spotlight as he looked to make it five $1,000 wins in a row in the Sport Mod division.

When front row starters Logan Anderson and Dakota Simmons pushed up the track in turn one it allowed the third starting Tony Dunker to drive by and take the lead on the opening lap of the 22-lap Sport Mod feature. A caution following the first lap slowed the field for a moment and once back to green Dunker built up a nice advantage as drivers shuffled for position behind him. Robert Gould's second spin on lap nine brought the field back to Dunker and the race was red-flagged a lap later when a five-car pileup in turn two saw the Cossel Racing #15 driven tonight by Jim Gillenwater get upside down.

On the restart Dunker had company in both Curtis VanDerWal and Jenae Gustin and two laps later VanDerWal would take the point of this three-car battle. The caution waved again on lap fourteen when the fourth place car of Joey Gower slowed suddenly in turn four and just before the restart the third-running Gustin pulled her car to the infield with mechanical issues. The 2014 track champion at Donnellson, Dunker tried to keep pace with VanDerWal, but there would be no catching the driver who has now won five straight big money shows at Memphis, Oskaloosa and now Donnellson. Dunker settled for second, Brett Lowry came from tenth to third, Carter Vandenberg moved from thirteenth to fourth and Brandon Dale completed the top five.

Dustin Griffiths was the class of the Hobby Stock field as he passed Brandon Symmonds on the second lap and cruised to a convincing victory. Justin Wacha passed both Derek Hodges and Brandon Symmonds in turn four coming to the white flag to finish in the second spot. Contact from Hodges sent Symmonds sideways in turn four on the final lap and while Hodges crossed the line in third he was penalized back to fifth at the pay window behind Dale Porter and Brandon Symmonds.

Dean Kratzer returned to action this weekend and paced the Stock Car feature for the first six laps before Todd Reitzler took over the top spot. Jeff Mueller driving the Dane Fenton #3 car seemed to be enjoying his return to the Stock Car division as he hounded Reitzler for several laps, but as the race wore on Reitzler was able to pull away to take the $1,000 top prize. Mueller who has raced a Modified the past two seasons after much success with all four fenders finished in second, John Oliver Jr. came from the fourth row to take third, Kratzer was solid in fourth and Shane Paris took fifth.

Cody Thompson was looking to follow up on his sweep in Oskaloosa last weekend with another win tonight in the 26-car Sport Compact field and he looked to have the race well in hand early on. When two cars got sideways in front of him on lap seven, Austen Becerra spun to avoid and caused a caution and on the restart Kimberly Abbott made a strong move coming from fourth to second. Abbott was then ready to challenge Thompson, but before that battle developed Thompson slowed and pulled off the speedway. Kimberly took over from there and pulled away to score her first feature win at Donnellson. As she climbed out of the car in victory lane announcer Dan Workman asked her how she felt and she replied "I feel like I can throw up, this is freakin' awesome!" Michael Grossman turned in another solid run second after starting in row four, Trent Orwig was third, Travis DeMint took fourth and Brandon Lambert held down fifth.

The Modified division drew the biggest car count of the night, thirty-six, including the five drivers from the Green Bay area Lance Arneson, Mike Joski, Mark Joski, Brad Lautenbach and Tyler Hackett. All five travelers made the show with Arneson racing into the top five early, but it would be drivers who are very familiar with the Lee County Speedway who would prevail. Bill Roberts Jr. would lead the opening lap before blowing a motor in turn two on the second circuit. Jimmy Gustin would assume the lead on the restart, but Michael Long was coming fast after starting in the fourth row and he blew by Gustin around the outside of turn four on lap four. Debris with seven laps remaining drew a caution, but it still looked like Long's race until the caution waved again for a Kyle Brown spin with just two laps remaining.

Cayden Cater had started thirteenth and was now up to second for the green-white-checkered restart and "The Gasman" was able to find the bite that he needed down low to get past Long and take the $1,000 top prize. A two-time winner at Memphis two weeks ago, Long would have to settle for second tonight just ahead of Scott Hogan and, unofficially, I had Joel Rust nipping Carter Vandenberg at the line for fourth.

It was another great night of racing on a track that could not have been prepped any better by Dave Sapp, Mike VanGenderen and the entire LCS crew. The Fall Extravaganza closes out tonight with another full program in all five divisions.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Notebook: Let's Go Racing!

The sun is shining here in southeast Iowa and while they are calling for our first round of frost overnight it should be a great night for late season racing. There are two great shows this weekend within an hour from my home and tonight I will head to Donnellson since they are running a complete program with heats, last chance races as needed, and features in all five divisions. Saturday's weather looks just as bright and perhaps even a bit warmer and, if I am able to go, I will then be in West Liberty as the Liberty 100 will wrap up the 2014 campaign for the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models.

Other racing in the region this weekend includes the Cornhusker Classic at I-80 Speedway between Lincoln and Omaha, The Crate Hater 50 at the Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa, a MOWA Sprint Car and POWRi Midget doubleheader in Illinois at Lincoln and Jacksonville and the Bahama Bracket Nationals will run Saturday and Sunday in Rockford. There were three events scheduled for tracks in Missouri this weekend and while the Open Wheel Nationals at I-35 Winston may stay north of the persistent rains down that the way, the MLRA finale weekend at the Lucas Oil Speedway may be at risk. The Poplar Bluff Speedway has already postponed the 14th Annual Cotton Boll Cup to next weekend.

It doesn't look like it is just a rumor anymore as the new 410 Sprint Car series being organized by Big Game Treestands owner Tod Quiring announced this week that it will have four dates at the Knoxville Raceway in 2015. If you clicked on the link you will see those four dates at Knoxville the first being May 9th, plus the Eagle Raceway will host a series event on May 8th with Phil and Ryan Durst posting a $20,000 bonus if a driver is able to win both nights. So that is five nights and with the series looking to schedule up to thirty dates it will be interesting to see just where those other dates will land. It sounds like Quiring wants to make this very doable for tracks from a cost standpoint so hopefully we will see some of these events in the eastern part of Iowa, besides Knoxville, as well. Somebody asked me the other day just how this series was going to make it with such a high points fund and I echoed what a Sprint Car friend of mine told me when this was first being talked about. After funding two World of Outlaws Sprint Car teams for the past several years, the "cost" of presenting this series will be dimes to the dollars that he has spent before and his business, Big Game Treestands, will get featured exposure at each event that will be held in his prime market area. Makes total sense!

I am excited to see how this schedule comes together over the next six months.

Perhaps as a result of the new budget allocations for Big Game Treestands, Craig Dollansky announced this week that he will return to the World of Outlaws tour in 2015 behind the wheel of the Destiny Motorsports #7. This team owned by Rick and Barb Rogers out of Williston, North Dakota, had veteran Jac Haudenschild at the wheel for most of 2014 before recently pairing up with Arkansas driver Derek Hagar. One of Dollansky's longtime supporters, Aggressive Hydraulics, will sponsor and the team will give a preview of next year by running at the Outlaws World Finals in Charlotte the first full weekend of November.

The pairing doesn't surprise me, but the plans do as it would seem that a North Dakota based team with a driver from Minnesota would be perfectly suited for the yet to be named new series here in the upper Midwest.

Did you hear that Jeremy Mayfield is planning a full season of Dirt Late Model racing in 2015? The former NASCAR Cup driver that was banned due to drug issues is joining the dirt Late Model ranks next weekend at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, North Carolina, with plans to run a full schedule in 2015. I don't really have a comment, just find it interesting and I will be checking the results to see how things go.

Don't forget to log into Track Talk with the Racin' Boys from 8 to 10 a.m. tomorrow. They once again predicted last week that Kyle Larson would get his first Cup win and he came oh so close to finally making that prediction come true finishing second to Joey Logano at the Kansas Speedway. Yes, Kyle will win one someday and perhaps soon, but when he does I sure hope that the words "just as we predicted" are not used. I am interested to see if they discuss the announcement made by the new sprint car series as a couple of weeks ago, while discussing the rumor, Scott and Kirk did not seem to like the idea of having a new series of this type in the area as it would likely have an effect on the ASCS National 360 Tour that they are closely tied to. The "Boys" are always a good listen and I make a point of tuning in each and every Saturday, perhaps you should too. This will be your starting point.

It was sad to see the following posted on Facebook this week by first-year Cedar County Raceway promoters Rodney and Debbie Ohrt:

"RD Promotions would like to say we will not be returning as track promoters to the Cedar County Raceway for the 2015 season. Debbie and i sat down at the end of the season and figured are books. We lost alot of money and the bank will not go along with us to get more so the main reason we will not be back is because we lost alot of money. This was are decision not the fairboards. We would like to thank all of our help , sponsors and fans and most of all are drivers who came out and supported us week in and week out. I feel we had some great racing every week and i would put are drivers up against anyone. I hope they get a new promoter for next year at Tipton. There are some things that needs fixed by the fairboard but they know about them. The fairboard treated us good this season. I really hope everyone reads this and don't assume things. Debbie and I put are heart and soul in the track week in and week out . We knew that this wasn't going to make us rich but we didn't expect to lose the amount we did.We hope this makes it clear why we are not coming back. All of are equipment is for sale and it was a pleasure to meet and see old and new friends."

From all reports the Ohrts were very well liked by drivers and fans alike and they had the support of their hometown community in Tipton. So is the fact that they could not make a weekly program work there a sign that perhaps now is not a good time to be trying to race weekly in Tipton? Going through the results each week I knew that the books probably weren't looking good for the small town track as their featured division, the Modifieds, had by far the largest car count each race night. How can that be a bad thing? From a fan's perspective it isn't, but if the division that commands the largest purse by position is outnumbering your support classes by two to one then things aren't going to look so good on the balance sheet unless you are filling the grandstands each night. Obviously that wasn't happening.

So what now for Tipton? The first thing that jumps out at me is what I just mentioned. If a small town race track cannot have full fields in the lower purse divisions like the Hobby Stocks or the Four Cylinders (no, they didn't have the four bangers there in 2014, but that was because the track would only draw single digits in the class in the years before) and have those drivers be from the communities right there in the area so that they would draw in friends and family, then it has little or no chance to succeed. And frankly, those cars and drivers just aren't around Tipton anymore for whatever reason.

Then you have to look at the reality of the situation. Within a 100 mile radius of Tipton you have quite a few race tracks that are running weekly on Friday nights, and Tipton isn't the only one of those that has struggled for cars or fans. The market is over-saturated and if nobody steps in to give it another try next year at Tipton, the drivers and fans from there will not have too far to go to still go racing. Two of those other tracks, Farley and Davenport, both have schedules where they take two or three Friday nights off a year. Perhaps the thing to do for Tipton in 2015 would be to run a partial schedule that would take advantage of those "off nights" at area tracks along with a Spring "special", a Fall "special" and a mid-week fair race?

It is a tough thing to hear when it is "your track", but we have too many that are trying to run weekly given the current state of the sport and having one or two pull back from weekly racing will be a benefit to all. I have been politely saying this for several years now, but you watch. Every time it looks like one will actually close down or at least stop racing weekly, somebody comes along who thinks that they can somehow do better than those before them, or the fair board decides to operate it themselves. I won't be surprised if that happens again.....

I love the racing at Tipton and always have ever since we towed John Vantiger's Street Stock up there every Sunday night to race against two of the best, Bruce Current and Johnny Spaw amongst others. Hopefully racing will continue there for years to come in one manner or the other, but when good local people lose a lot of money trying to keep weekly racing alive, something has to change.

Go help a promoter make a dollar this weekend!