Saturday, September 23, 2017

Josh Schneiderman Wire To Wire For The Win, Jon Agan Takes Title At Sprint Invaders Season Championship

On a night where there were several different story lines for fans to follow along with a major announcement from the ownership of the track itself Saturday, Josh Schneiderman made his way to victory lane at 34 Raceway while Jon Agan captured his third Sprint Invaders championship in the last four years.

Agan came into the night trailing point leader Jamie Ball by ten points, but when Ball got held up by a slow starting pole-sitter he dropped from third to sixth on the opening lap of heat race number one. Race leader John Schulz lost a motor with two to go though moving Ball up to the fifth and final transfer spot, a position he then lost on the final lap when Jarrod Schneiderman zipped around him on the outside of turns three and four coming to the checkers.

With Ball now headed to the B-Main, Agan felt better about drawing the fourth and final row of the third heat, a race that he would go on to win after three caution flags slowed the field. The win would pull Agan into a tie for the point lead, a tie that he knew that he would break by making the Budweiser King of Beers Shakeup Dash where he finished second to Josh Schneiderman. This would give Agan a five point adavantage heading into the feature where he would start fourth while Ball dominated the B-Main to earn the sixteenth starting spot and needing to now beat Agan by three positions to claim his first series championship.

Dave Getchell and Ryan Jamison would bring the field to green for the thirty lap season finale, but it would be the third starter Josh Schneiderman who would seize the advantage on the opening lap. The caution would wave after scoring lap two though when the fourth-place car of Paul Nienheiser went over the top of turn two and spun sending him to the back of the twenty-car field in the Midland Performance #50.

On the restart Schneiderman pulled away a bit as Jamison and Agan raced side-by-side for second with Jamison digging down low as Agan pounded the cushion. Just after Agan finally cleared Jamison for second he too would sail over the top of turn two and go for a spin forcing him to restart from the back of the field with twenty-two laps remaining. And, with Jamie Ball now running in the twelfth position Again would need to get back to within two spots of him in order to secure the title.

On the restart fans had to decide what to watch as Josh Schneiderman continued to lead while his younger brother Jarrod Schneiderman was closing quick after starting thirteenth. Or they could keep an eye on Agan as he gradually picked off positions until he was back to within three of Ball when suddenly, on lap twenty, Jamie slowed and pulled into the infield as his car had just shut off with apparent electrical issues.

With the championship now decided the focus went back to the front where Jarrod was doing his best to track down Josh until the caution waved one last time with three laps remaining as Tom Lenz spun in turn two.

On the restart the younger brother just did not have anything for the leader as Josh Schneiderman clicked off the final three laps to score his first win of 2017. Jarrod was officially the Hard Charger of the show coming from thirteenth to second, but the biggest charge of the night came from Paul Nienhesier who came back from twentieth after his lap two spin to finish in the third spot ahead of Cody Wehrle and Ryan Jamison. Tyler Groenendyk started tenth and finished sixth, Andy Krieger had a solid ride in seventh, Brayden Gaylord was eighth just ahead of the champion Agan while Tanner Gebhardt's tenth place finish was enough to edge out Gaylord for the 2017 Rookie-of-the-Year title, just another story line for the fans to follow throughout the night.

Announced at the driver's meeting earlier in the night and to the crowd at intermission, after eleven years of operating 34 Raceway the Laue, Parrish and Bowling families have sold the track to Brad Stevens. Stevens who along with his girlfriend Jessi Mynatt have headed up the the Brent Slocum Foundation and the presentation of the Annual Slocum 50 event here at 34 the past several years. In addition they will now takeover the operation of the high banked 3/8th-mile oval in 2018.

The Sprint Invaders will celebrate a successful 2017 season that saw ten exciting nights of racing and no rain outs with the Awards Banquet on Saturday November 11th in Burlington. Sprint Invaders Results - Season Championship Night, September 23rd at 34 Raceway near Burlington, Iowa

Randall's Performance Heat One - 1. Ryan Jamison, Mediapolis 2. Daniel Bergquist, Burlington 3. Damian Getchell, Sperry 4. Tyler Groenendyk, Oskaloosa 5. Jarrod Schneiderman, West Burlington 6. Jamie Ball, Knoxville 7. Justin Bucholz, Davenport 8. John Schulz, West Burlington

CenPeCo Lubricants Heat Two - 1. Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington 2. Paul Nienheiser, Chapin IL 3. Cody Wehrle, Burlington 4. Bob Weuve, Newton 5. Ben Wagoner, Emden IL 6. Tanner Gebhardt, Burlington 7. Dan Keltner, Grandview 8. John Greenwood, Woodward

Mohrfeld Electric Heat Three - 1. Jon Agan, Knoxville 2. Dave Getchell, Sperry 3. Andy Krieger, Burlington 4. Rob Weuve, Oakland Acres 5. Brayden Gaylord, Wever 6. Joe Laue, Morning Sun 7. Harold Pohren, Lowell 8. Tom Lenz, Marion

Golden Eagle Distributing Budweiser King of Beers Shake Up Dash - 1. Josh Schneiderman 2. Agan 3. Bergquist 4. Nienheiser 5. Dave Getchell 6. Jamison

B-Main - 1.Ball 2. Gebhardt 3. Bucholz 4. Pohren 5. Lenz 6. Keltner 7. Greenwood 8. Laue DNS: Schulz

A-Main - 1. Josh Schneiderman 2. Jarrod Schneiderman 3. Nienheiser 4. Wehrle 5. Jamison 6. Groenendyk 7. Krieger 8. Gaylord 9. Agan 10. Gebhardt 11. Bergquist 12. Wagoner 13. Bucholz 14, Pohren 15. Damian Getchell 16. R. Weuve 17. Lenz 18. B. Weuve 19. Ball 20. Dave Getchell


Kreitz Oval Track Products: Daniel Bergquist
Pyrotect: Jamie Ball
Saldana Racing Products: Damian Getchell

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Notebook: September 20, 2017

This will be a notebook entry where I will probably wish that I had just torn out the page rather than typing it into the Back Stretch as I will likely make at least a few people mad. Now, if you happen to be one of those, I want you to keep in mind that this is coming from a grumpy old man who, after having to be put under anesthesia twice over a three day period last week, was not only grumpier than usual but had more time to read through all the stuff out there on race forums and Facebook. Stuff that he would usually ignore because it more often than not just makes him mad, so with that in mind just remember that these are my opinions only. Are they right? At this point in time I think that they are, but unlike some others I am more than happy to listen to an intelligent counterpoint and I have been known to soften my stance and sometimes even change my mind, a trait that more people in this country need to have right now. So without further ado......

As I mentioned in my story from Friday night, I should not have traveled ninety miles each way to go to Knoxville. My head was pounding, I was dizzy at times and I vowed that I would never again leave the house for a race thinking that I would actually feel better once I got there. But even with all that going on I still enjoyed the racing because it is absolutely the best format there is if you are a fan that wants to see action from the drop of the green in heat one to the final checkered flag of the night. I won't go through the whole explanation other than this. Under a point system that is used at both the Sprint Car and Late Model Nationals drivers need to post fast qualifying times, then with an eight car invert they must pass cars in their heat to advance to the feature and then race hard for every spot in the feature to gain those valuable points as well, In other words, no pulling off if you are running 20th mid-race because those two points that you gain by getting to 19th might be the difference in making Saturday's main event.

This format is polar opposite to most big time Super Late Model races where you go out and set a quick qualifying time to start on the front of your heat race where an easy win then lands you on the pole of the feature which is why, when you read the race summary at the majority of these events, you will see that the winner went "flag to flag" like it was some kind of big accomplishment.

During Friday's B-Main a last lap skirmish for the final transfer position went to young Texan Tyler Erb after he successfully blocked Hall of Famer Billy Moyer who ended up in the fence in turn three. I don't fault Erb for making his car extra wide on that final lap and I am guessing that at some point over his brilliant career Moyer has had to do the same and that is why it was no more than a snippet in the Notes section of Friday's Back Stretch. Then I see this conversation that Shane Walters of Racing News had with Tyler Erb. It is a discussion of the Friday night incident with Moyer, but to frame it Erb puts himself in to my list of "I'm Fast Start Me Up Front" whiners by stating "We qualified good, but then the invert penalizes you for the most part. Everybody's the same speed and it's really hard to make up any points. You just get buried in the heat race."

Well of course this sent me to the results from both Thursday and Friday night to see just how this driver compared with others who were racing under the same format. On Thursday Erb qualified fourth in his group meaning that he would start seventh in his heat race where he then finished seventh. Just a reminder, the six cars lined up in front of him all posted slower qualifying times. How did some of the other drivers do in their heat races that night? Jonathan Davenport, Don O'Neal and Mike Marlar all started eighth and won! Josh Richards won his heat from sixth, Jimmy Owens came from eighth to second, Jared Landers advanced from seventh to the third and final transfer spot from his heat race and young Hudson O'Neal in his first ever race at the historic half-mile started sixth and finished second.

On Friday night Tyler Erb qualified eighth in his group putting him in the sixth starting spot in his heat race. Where did he finish? Sixth. Did everybody else pretty much finish where they had to start under that "penalizing" invert? Nope. Marlar and Richards won from eighth, Darrell Lanigan almost crashed in a three-wide scuffle early, but still won his heat from seventh. Second-place finishers Rodney Sanders, Jimmy Mars and Tim McCreadie all started sixth while Chris Simpson did them one better coming from seventh. Brandon Sheppard won his heat from fifth and that Hudson O'Neal kid came from fourth to win his heat. I have a few more examples, but I think you get the point. If you are going to complain about an invert penalizing you, maybe you should check to see if you were perhaps one of the few that couldn't race your way forward on either night. Then again this is a driver who races with a series that, with straight up starts in heat races, he is used to finishing where he started just as he did here at Knoxville on Thursday and Friday night.

Despite another successful event, Knoxville is getting all kinds of "suggestions" from the internet experts as to how to improve the show, so I am going to add one as well. With the car counts down into the fifties do away with the Group A & B qualifying with then six heat races and do it just like the Sprints where the drivers all qualify together and only one driver earns that valuable 200 points in qualifying. Then run your normal five heat races, each with an eight car invert, where the top four move on to the feature, the next four to the B-Main, etc. This way drivers like Tyler Erb who was actually ninth fastest overall on Thursday and 19th on the overall qualifying charts for Friday might actually appreciate the invert rather than consider it a penalty. Plus, when Marlar, Davenport, Richards, Landers, Simpson, Owens, McCreadie, the O'Neals and others go blowing by him maybe he will realize that he needs to step up his game a bit rather than complaining about the format to some blogger.

If you check out more of the Racing News coverage of Knoxville you will see another story where Jason Feger questions the track preparation leading me to think that Shane Walters needs to hang out with some happy drivers from time to time as well.

Who can I piss off next? How about my friends at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson who this past weekend held a meeting to discuss the possibilities of having an Outlaw Hobby Stock class next year. Why? Because reportedly they have had several drivers show an interest, some of them who still apparently have cars sitting around from when the class was dropped due to low car counts a few years back. Okay, so this is not a knock on the class itself, but simply the concept of adding yet another racing division period. First of all there is already a Hobby Stock class of cars in the area, so adding another rules version will just spread things out even further because we don't have just Late Models, Modifieds, Sport Modifieds, Stock Cars and Four Cylinders right now in the region. We have six divisions of Late Models (Open/UMP, IMCA, Crate, Darlington Limited, USRA Limited and WISSOTA), we have IMCA, USRA, WISSOTA and UMP Modifieds, we have B-Modifieds, Sport Mods, E-Mods and Midwest Mods, we have Sport Compacts and "Outlaw" Four Cylinders not to mention Trucks, Mod Lites, Mini Mods and the assortment of Sprint Car and midget classes. At least the differences in the USRA and IMCA Stock Cars are minimal enough that drivers can run both, but do you see where I am going with this? If you don't, a friend of mine on Facebook David Schlise made a comment this weekend that sums it up pretty well. "we need another class like we need a hole in the head" and that was in regard to whomever is out there pushing this thing right now.

I haven't heard how the meeting went but the first question that I would have would be can you define "several"? When the track had their meeting a couple of years ago to discuss the new Crate Late Model class there were 18 to 20 drivers who showed an interest with some having old cars still in their possession. We are still waiting for about ten of those to make their first appearance so if you have thirty-five or forty drivers who are saying that they want to have the Outlaw Hobby Stocks back then by all means move forward. But if that number is in the ten to twenty range, as history shows that is not "several" enough to add another division unless the plan is to drop one of the five classes that you already have. Oh yeah, and if you want the Crate Late Model class to grow, try using a lineup format similar to your other classes rather than the draw/redraw.

Remember, just the opinions of an over anesthetized grumpy old man! I think that Tyler Erb is one the most exciting young drivers to watch on the national Late Model scene and that the Lee County Speedway is one of the five best tracks that I have ever been to anywhere and that I am lucky to have it within twenty-five miles from home. Perhaps that is why I am holding both to a higher standard.

Next up?

Promoters, if you are shutting down your season early, or getting out of the business completely, don't go on social media and point the blame at the drama on social media as being the reason for your decision! Why? Because it only creates more drama on social media!

We get it, you work your ass off to put on a show, you have officials who make decisions that in every case are going to have someone that is going to feel like they were jobbed, Mother Nature throws a monkey wrench into things, you have lost money and all you see are people snipping at this or that so you decide that you are done. Just walk away from it, there is no need to write a missive about how social media is killing racing, its been done and all that you are going to get are a bunch of people who apparently feel that you just can't take some "constructive criticism". Because you see, that is all there really is out there, just some well informed people with nothing but good intentions who want to point out to you how you can improve your track and your racing program so that not only themselves, but the many others who should value their thoughts can benefit by attending your track after you make the changes that they suggest. And that Mr. Promoter is why they provide their feedback on a forum board, through Twitter or on Facebook rather than speaking to you personally about these issues.

Some recent valuable feedback recently found on Facebook.....

Maybe its time to be done promoting the speedway. This right here shows that you are not in it for the racers or the fans - Posted after the promoters of the Quad City Speedway announced that after the final scheduled race of the season had been completed that they would not be having any September races that they had been considering.

You need to run the Super Late Models through September. I still have three punches on my card - Posted by a driver after the new owners at Quincy announced that they were dropping the division due to a car count that had dwindled to five at the last show. That driver was not one of the five by the way.

and what happened to 24 car guarantee for each feature not one race had 24 cars in it friday - Posted as the Shelby County Speedway announced that Saturday's portion of the Tiny Lund Memorial had been rained out. The only thing that I can think of is that a flyer for the event must have been put out there at some point showing the payout for the feature race in each class and that somehow this individual took that as the track guaranteeing that they would have at least 24 cars in every class.

And these were just three that stood out the most to me of all of the smart, intelligent feedback provided as "constructive criticism" to the promoters of their choice. Please....

Please, please, please as a reader of the Back Stretch, please do not be one of these people. I'd like to think that I attract a better class of crowd.

So now let's get to some good stuff!

Jason and Robert Goble have definitely spiffed up the Quincy Raceways in the few short weeks that they have had ownership and that was obvious as soon as I pulled into the facility for Sunday night's race for the Sprint Invaders. Not only have they removed some old buildings, they have painted the ones that remain, but what made the biggest impression on me was the track preparation. Dash winner John Schulz was quick to point out that he had been to Quincy several times in the past, but on this night the track was in the best shape that he had ever seen it and the comment prompted a big round of applause from the crowd. Drivers in all divisions were able to race from the bottom to the top from the heat races all the way through the features and amazingly even with the winged sprints on hand there was little if any dust.

Jon Agan came from the sixth starting spot to take the win setting up a battle with Jamie Ball for the Sprint Invader championship this coming Saturday night at 34 Raceway near Burlington. And don't forget that the Quincy Raceways will be racing every Sunday night through October 22nd so make sure that you get down there at least once to see what's going on with the new owners.

Now back to feeling near 100% I am hoping to take advantage of this hot early Fall weather and get to at least two races this weekend. One of course will be on Saturday night with the Sprint Invaders as 34 Raceway closes out its 2017 campaign then, on Sunday evening, the Bill Waite Jr. Memorial at the LaSalle Speedway has my attention with the unique combination of Open Late Model, IRA Sprints and Badger Midgets. In addition I have convinced my wife that she needs to host one last pool party for her friends on Friday afternoon since it is supposed to be 90 degrees with my hope being that she will then release me to go racing that night as well where I will need to choose from several solid options.

Take advantage of this warm weather and attend a race of your choice this weekend and, if you have an idea that you think might make a future race there even better, introduce yourself to the promoter, shake his or her hand and let them know in person because that is really the only way that you have a chance for them to make that change.

See you on the Back Stretch!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday Night Is "Perfect" For Marlar At Knoxville

Defending Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals Champion Mike Marlar set himself up for a possible repeat by posting a perfect score during Friday night's qualifying action setting quick time in his group, winning his heat race and then taking the 25-lap main event. This followed up a Thursday night performance that was equally impressive until an early incident in the feature making Marlar the man to beat as the Crown Jewel event wraps up tonight at the Knoxville Raceway.

With Rodney Sanders giving up the pole position after smoking a motor late in his heat race, Brandon Sheppard would line up next to Tim McCreadie on the front row for Friday's main event with McCreadie holding the lead on lap one. Sheppard would come back to take the lead on lap two and those two would separate themselves from the field over the first ten laps. As Sheppard closed in on traffic McCreadie would close the gap to within a car length and was set to challenge when Jason Feger and Boom Briggs tangled exiting turn two sending Briggs for a spin right in front of the leaders.

The lap fourteen caution would bring the field back to Sheppard and McCreadie with Mike Marlar, Josh Richards and Chris Simpson, who were previously racing hard for third, now with the front back in sight. McCreadie would take the lead from Sheppard with seven laps remaining just before the caution waved for Jared Landers who had spun the Larry Mooring owned car at the exit of turn four.

For this restart Sheppard and Marlar would go side-by-side behind McCreadie with Marlar setting sail on the cushion to take the lead with five to go. There would be no touching the Tennessee driver from there as he captured the $7,000 win ahead of McCreadie, Richards, Sheppard and Simpson.

It is interesting the parallels that can be drawn between Knoxville's Sprint Car and Late Model Nationals. In 2016 the Thursday night show at each event was threatened by weather with both races being hustled through to complete before 9:30 and beat the rain. This year, on the second night of qualifying at the Sprint Car Nationals David Gravel posted a perfect score and on night two of qualifying for the Late Models Mike Marlar tallies a 500 point night. Now Marlar will hope for a better Saturday night outcome as Gravel suffered mechanical issues after leading the first twenty-two laps of the Sprint Car championship main event.

Friday Notes.....Marlar's perfect score was aided by Rodney Sanders' mechanical woes as Sanders appeared to have the win in the first heat well in hand until smoke started to trail from his car with two laps to go allowing Marlar to take the win.....Sixteen-year-old Hudson O'Neal was impressive winning heat two, a race where the two fastest qualifiers Jimmy Owens and Dale McDowell failed to transfer.....Shannon Babb drove around front row starter Randy Timms coming to the green to take the lead in heat three, but he then faded to third until the final lap when Iowa's Tyler Bruening nipped him for the third and final transfer spot......The fourth heat race was absolutely stacked with talent and it would be an impressive win for Chase Junghans over Tim McCreadie. After a poor qualifying lap Bobby Pierce started from the pole and finished third while Jonathan Davenport punched a ticket to the B-Main in fourth and Scott Bloomquist found himself headed to the C-Main after finishing seventh.....Thursday's winner Josh Richards won the fifth heat as Chris Simpson made a late charge up to second......The sixth heat had a close call when Darrell Lanigan, Earl Pearson Jr. and Don O'Neal went three wide down the front stretch with contact sending all three drivers scrambling to maintain control. Lanigan kept his foot on the throttle though and scored an impressive win......Knowing that he already had a Thursday point total that would put him in the show Bloomquist must have been trying some other stuff tonight as he finished second to Dennis Erb Jr. in the C-Main and then only made it up to 17th in the B. Don't be surprised to see him challenging for the win on Saturday though as he will roll off twelfth......With only one car in G.R. Smith's hauler, Jonathan Davenport needed to be careful tonight after having the best point total on Thursday and when something broke in the driveline on the opening lap of the B-Main he was lucky to be able to bring the car back to the pits in one piece. Davenport was running second coming off of turn four before slowing up near the guardrail and there were several close calls as drivers narrowly missed him as the caution waved.....Six drivers would transfer from the B-Main and it would be a talented bunch with Don O'Neal, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell and Chad Simpson in the top five. Tyler Erb threw a couple of big blocks on Billy Moyer during the final lap to hold on to the sixth and final transfer position as Moyer ended up in the turn three guardrail.....The first attempt to start the feature was a sloppy one as Sheppard and McCreadie brought the field to green at a very slow pace and when they were both slow to get on the throttle at the stripe the accordion effect took hold with Don O'Neal and Earl Pearson Jr. both suffering damage.

Marlar and Davenport will start from the front row in tonight's 100-lap finale and while I would love to be there I realized last night that after being put under twice this week for surgery to remove a kidney stone that perhaps a trip to the race track wasn't a wise decision. Obviously at the age of 54 I do not bounce back like I used to so I will take tonight off to rest up for Sunday night's visit to Quincy by the Sprint Invaders. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering......

Two of the biggest weekends in dirt track racing have come and gone and there has been nothing new on the Back Stretch. I have good reasons!

Over Labor Day weekend, when the Yankee Dirt Classic and other traditional events were being staged, Christine and I made the drive down to Dallas to meet our first grandchild Watson Jeffrey Wick! He's a big boy born on August 14th at 8 pounds 13 ounces and 23 inches long and he has already stolen our hearts. I will be missing another race weekend in early October to go back and see just how much he has grown.

Then, this past weekend with the IMCA Super Nationals and the World 100 among other big events going on, Christine and I traveled to Kalamazoo for our daughter Ashley's wedding. I believe that I have bragged about Ashley here before as she is the Biological Research Director at the Kalamazoo Nature Center and that is where we had the wedding. The ceremony was held at an outdoor amphitheater and it rained on us during the rehearsal the evening before and all the way until noon the day of. Then the skies cleared and it was an absolutely gorgeous night for the wedding with Ashley pointing out that when you are nice to nature, she will always smile upon you.

The wedding party walked nearly a quarter of a mile to emerge from the woods for the ceremony and we then had the reception in the barn where they have the Summer Camp for area students. It was a wedding that was uniquely Ashley and we had several people tell us that it was the best ever.

During my speech one of the memories that I recalled was when Ashley worked with me as the Event Volunteer Coordinator for the NKF Tour races where this little sixteen-year-old girl organized volunteers from the local dialysis units to sell 50-50 tickets and raise money for those who were battling kidney disease. She always did a great job, but the best part of it for me was the fact that I was able to spend all of that time road-tripping to more than forty races with my teenage daughter. Not something that every father gets to experience!

I am now ready to get back into the swing of things from a racing standpoint with trips this week to both Knoxville and Quincy. I had hoped to make both qualifying nights at the Late Model Nationals but an uncooperative kidney stone decided that it wasn't ready to be removed today, so I have to go back in on Thursday. If all goes well then on Friday there will be no stopping me from attending one of the best night's of racing that you will ever find with the Late Model stars qualifying and then actually racing in deeply inverted heats, something that as far as I know you will only see at Knoxville!

On Sunday night I look forward to my first visit to the now Jason & Robert Goble owned Quincy Raceways as the Sprint Invaders take top billing for the evening. Reports are that the place has been spiffed up quite a bit and I heard that this past Sunday's show actually ended well before nine o'clock. Great job guys! Plus they have scheduled Sunday night racing all the way through October 22nd, something that I have missed since the good ol' days at Hawkeye Raceway near Blue Grass when they would run on Sundays in October. I plan to be back in Quincy often before the season closes and I hope that racers and fans alike who may have not been to Quincy this year, or ever before will give it a try.

With the World 100 in the books and the Knoxville Late Model Nationals coming up here are the top 200 in my National point standings. How many of these drivers will we see at Knoxville?
I may be a bit tender this weekend, but hopefully I will see you on the Back Stretch!

The "Back Stretch"
Dirt Late Model Points
Pos. Driver Hometown Points
1 . Brandon Sheppard New Berlin IL 227
2 . Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 165
3 . Brandon Overton Appling GA 157
4 . Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 150
5 . Chris Madden Gray Court SC 137
6 . Bobby Pierce Oakwood IL 136
7 . Josh Richards Shinnston WV 125
8 . Mike Marlar Winfield TN 120
9 . Don O'Neal Martinsville IN 116
10 . Jimmy Owens Newport TN 91
11 . Shane Clanton Locust Grove GA 86
12 . Shannon Babb Mowequa IL 85
13 . Darrell Lanigan Union KY 82
14 . Dale McDowell Chickamauga GA 79
15 . Devin Moran Dresden OH 75
16 . Billy Moyer Batesville AR 74
17 . Rick Eckert York PA 70
18 . Gregg Satterlee Rochester Mills PA 67
19 . Chris Simpson Marion IA 66
20 . Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville IL 64
21 . Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 63
22 . Jonathan Davenport Blairsville GA 63
23 . Brian Shirley Chatham IL 55
24 . Donald McIntosh Dawsonville GA 51
25 . Ryan Unzicker El Paso IL 51
26 . Tyler Erb Magnolia TX 47
27 . Don Shaw Ham Lake MN 46
28 . Max Blair Centerville PA 46
29 . Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville AR 45
30 . Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 44
31 . Dona Marcoullier Houghton Lake MI 44
32 . Tanner English Benton KY 43
33 . Tyler Carpenter Parkersburg WV 43
34 . Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 40
35 . Ross Bailes Clover SC 38
36 . Jeff Rine Danville PA 37
37 . Chris Ferguson Mount Holly NC 36
38 . Jimmy Mars Elk Mound WI 36
39 . Jason Covert York Haven PA 33
40 . Hudson O'Neal Martinsville IN 32
41 . Jason Feger Bloomington IL 31
42 . Austin Hubbard Seaford DE 30
43 . Brandon Thirlby Traverse City MI 30
44 . Eric Wells Hazard KY 30
45 . Michael Page Douglasville GA 30
46 . Steve Casebolt Richmond IN 30
47 . Zack Dohm Cross Lanes WV 30
48 . Kyle Bronson Brandon FL 29
49 . Chub Frank Sugar Grove PA 28
50 . Justin Kay Wheatland IA 28
51 . Shanon Buckingham Morristown TN 28
52 . Eric Spangler Lake City MI 27
53 . Frank Heckenast Jr. Orland Park IL 27
54 . David Breazeale Four Corners MS 26
55 . Rodney Sanders Happy TX 26
56 . Jared Miley South Park PA 25
57 . Chad Becker Aberdeen SD 24
58 . Freddie Carpenter Parkersburg WV 24
59 . Jason Jameson Lawrenceburg IN 24
60 . John Kaanta Eau Claire WI 24
61 . Terry Phillips Springfield MO 24
62 . Timothy Culp Sheridan AR 23
63 . Chad Simpson Marion IA 22
64 . Jack Sullivan Greenbriar AR 22
65 . Kyle Hardy Stephens City VA 22
66 . Mason Zeigler Chalk Hill PA 22
67 . Tony Jackson Jr. Lebanon MO 22
68 . Dale Hollidge Mechanicsville MD 21
69 . Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 21
70 . Trever Feathers Winchester VA 21
71 . Alex Ferree Saxonburg PA 20
72 . Corey Conley Wellsburg WV 20
73 . Dustin Mitchell Pine Level NC 20
74 . Mark Whitener Middleburg FL 20
75 . Cory Hedgecock Louden TN 19
76 . Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 19
77 . Eddie Carrier Jr. Salt Rock WV 19
78 . Gordy Gundaker St. Charles MO 19
79 . Travis Pennington Winston GA 19
80 . Chase Junghans Manhattan KS 18
81 . Matt Ryan Davenport IA 18
82 . Vic Hill Mosheim TN 18
83 . Zack Mitchell Enoree SC 18
84 . Michael Chilton Salvisa KY 17
85 . Riley Hickman Ooletwah TN 17
86 . David Payne Murphy NC 16
87 . R.J. Conley Wheelersburg OH 16
88 . Ryan VanderVeen Six Lakes MI 16
89 . Tad Pospisil Norfolk NE 16
90 . Dakotah Knuckles Ewing VA 15
91 . Jesse Stovall Galena MO 15
92 . Logan Martin West Plains MO 15
93 . Dave Hess Jr. Waterford PA 14
94 . David McCoy Franklin NC 14
95 . Jackie Boggs Grayson KY 14
96 . Johnny Pursley Clover SC 14
97 . Russell Erwin Beaverdam VA 14
98 . Ben Watkins Rock Hill SC 13
99 . Billy Drake Bloomington IL 13
100 . Chad Holladay Muscatine IA 13
101 . Coleby Frye Dover PA 13
102 . Randy Timms Wheatland OK 13
103 . Scott Ward Watertown SD 13
104 . Todd Cooney Des Moines IA 13
105 . A.J. Diemel Navarino WI 12
106 . Brian Rickman Columbus MS 12
107 . Clint Smith Senoia GA 12
108 . Jesse Sobbing Glenwood IA 12
109 . Jon Henry Ada OH 12
110 . Kent Robinson Bloomington IN 12
111 . Matt Cosner Ridgely WV 12
112 . Russ King Bristol OH 12
113 . Steve Francis Ashland KY 12
114 . Terry English Benton KY 12
115 . Austin Horton Grantsville GA 11
116 . Cody Mahoney Madison IN 11
117 . Garrett Alberson Las Cruces NM 11
118 . Jason Welshan Maryville TN 11
119 . Kenny Moreland Waldorf MD 11
120 . Kyle Berck Marquette NE 11
121 . Michael Brown Pageland SC 11
122 . Michael Kloos Trenton IL 11
123 . Michael Norris Sarver PA 11
124 . Morgan Bagley Longview TX 11
125 . Anthony White Clinton TN 10
126 . Bill Leighton Jr. Omaha NE 10
127 . Billy Rushton Hodges SC 10
128 . Brandon Fouts Kite KY 10
129 . Devin Gilpin Columbus IN 10
130 . Devin Shiels Britton MI 10
131 . Doug Drown Wooster OH 10
132 . G.R. Smith Huntersville NC 10
133 . Gus Simpson 10
134 . Jared Hawkins Fairmount WV 10
135 . Jeremiah Hurst Dubuque IA 10
136 . Joel Callahan Dubuque IA 10
137 . Michael Lake Uniontown PA 10
138 . Mike George 10
139 . Rhett Carter Blackshear GA 10
140 . Rich Neiser Fruitport MI 10
141 . Tim Manville Highland IL 10
142 . Travis Stemler 10
143 . Tripp Gerrald 10
144 . Tyler Millwood Kingston GA 10
145 . Brent Larson Lake Elmo MN 9
146 . Bryan Bernheisel Lebanon PA 9
147 . Chad Zobrist Highland IL 9
148 . Dane Dacus Lakeland TN 9
149 . Darrel DeFrance Marshalltown IA 9
150 . Daulton Wilson Fayetteville NC 9
151 . David Seibers 9
152 . Derek Doll Greenwood WV 9
153 . Gene Knaub Dover PA 9
154 . Jason Croft Woodstock GA 9
155 . Kent Arment Aberdeen SD 9
156 . Lance Hofer Cochrane WI 9
157 . Mike Prochnow Menomonie WI 9
158 . Payton Looney Republic MO 9
159 . Rob Toland Hillsdale IL 9
160 . Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 9
161 . Willie Milliken Leland NC 9
162 . Billy Ogle Jr. Knoxville TN 8
163 . Chad Hollenbeck Kingsley PA 8
164 . Christian Joyner 8
165 . Collen Winebarger 8
166 . Curt Gelling Aberdeen SD 8
167 . Darrell Nelson Hermanton MN 8
168 . Dylan Yoder Selinsgrove PA 8
169 . Eddie King Jr. 8
170 . Eric Mass Rapid City SD 8
171 . Jason Fitzgerald Jacksonville FL 8
172 . Jason Hiett Lincoln AL 8
173 . Keith Barbara South Park PA 8
174 . Ricky Frankel Quincy IL 8
175 . Ross Robinson 8
176 . Shaun Sewell 8
177 . Spencer Diercks Davenport IA 8
178 . Tyler Bruening Decorah IA 8
179 . B.J. Robinson Blanchard LA 7
180 . Ben Schaller Omaha NE 7
181 . Brad Skinner Spring Hill TN 7
182 . Chad Thrash Meridian MS 7
183 . Charles Powell Jr. Brooskville PA 7
184 . Chris Smyser Lancaster MO 7
185 . David Brannon Elora TN 7
186 . David McDonald Huron SD 7
187 . Doug Eck Corry PA 7
188 . Fito Gallardo Las Cruces NM 7
189 . Jay Brendle Kingston IL 7
190 . Jeff Smith Dallas NC 7
191 . Jimmy Johnson Danielsville GA 7
192 . Kanyan Methvin Yellville AR 7
193 . Matt Micheli Live Oak CA 7
194 . Mike Spatola Manhattan IL 7
195 . Nick Marolf Moscow IA 7
196 . Robert Osborne Norfolk NE 7
197 . Steve Laursen Cumberland WI 7
198 . Andy Haus Hamburg PA 6
199 . Barry Sorenson Harlan IA 6
200 . Boom Briggs Bear Lake PA 6
201 . Brent Robinson 6
202 . Brian Ruhlman Clarklake MI 6
203 . Chad Mahder Eau Claire WI 6
204 . Chase King 6
205 . Christian Hanger 6
206 . Curtis Roberts Coleman MI 6
207 . Dalton Cook 6
208 . Derek Ellis Chatsworth GA 6
209 . Devin Dixon Apollo Beach FL 6
210 . Dustin Strand Grand Forks ND 6
211 . Eddie Kirchoff Gillette WY 6
212 . Gary Stuhler Greencastle PA 6
213 . Hunter Bailey Bailey NC 6
214 . Jake Gallardo Las Cruces NM 6
215 . Jake Knowles Tyrone GA 6
216 . Jason Russell Eugene MO 6
217 . Jeff Provinzino Hibbing MN 6
218 . Jesse Glenz Cadot WI 6
219 . Jonathan Edwards Lake Wylie SC 6
220 . Kyle Lear Severna Park MD 6
221 . Mark Pettyjohn Milton DE 6
222 . McKay Wenger Fairbury IL 6
223 . Mike Palasini Jr. Leland MS 6
224 . Nick Anvelink Navarino WI 6
225 . Paul Kot 6
226 . Paul Parker Kaukauna WI 6
227 . Randy Gifford 6
228 . Ray Cook Brasstown NC 6
229 . Rick Hanestad Boyceville WI 6
230 . Robert Baker Bryant AR 6
231 . Rod Conley Wheelersburg WV 6
232 . Ryan Markham Ashland OH 6
233 . Skip Arp Georgetown TN 6
234 . Steve Drake San Luis Obispo CA 6
235 . Tyler Clem St. Petersburg FL 6
236 . Walker Arthur Forest VA 6

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Eagle Is Where It's At

If you are a fan of weekly racing you would be hard pressed to find  a more successful program than what they have going on right now at Eagle Raceway in southeast Nebraska. Yes, they have a couple of big advantages over most other tracks, namely Lincoln and Omaha and the large population that each has to offer, but they are obviously doing many, many other things right or we would see all kinds of ultra successful tracks just outside of large cities. If this is sounding like something that you have read on the Back Stretch already I did refer to the track here back in April so when the opportunity came up this weekend to go back to a facility that I had not been to since 2001, I took it!

It was Season Championship night at "America's Home Track" so of course the first thing that I did before leaving home was to check to see if they would be using their normal IMCA invert lineup procedures. And, when the answer came back "yes", I bribed Christine with an afternoon at the Henry Doorly Zoo and it was amazing how fast she had her bag packed. My wife is not much for racing, but she does love zoos and this one is one of the best in the country, so it was really great day for me since I secretly love both! Don't tell her though or she won't go to the races with me at night as a payback.

More than 140 cars in five classes signed in on the night and, while there were not enough Modifieds or Hobby Stocks to require a B-Main, the Sport Compacts needed one and with 39 Sport Mods and 41 Racesaver Sprint cars even a C-Main was required in each. That's right, no politically correct "everybody gets a medal" two, or even three B-Mains that some tracks or series would run if blessed with that kind of car count. They actually ran five heat races in each with the top three going to the A-Main. Fourth, fifth and sixth made the B-Main while seventh on back would have to run a C-Main. The top five from the C then started 16th through 20th in the B-Main. (Twenty cars in a B-Main????Oh my gosh, how will they ever do it????) And then the top-five in the B-Main made it to the A where twenty cars would start on the 1/3rd-mile high banked track.

Now that's what I call doing a lineup procedure right as it puts on a show for the fans, who by the way showed up in the thousands. That's right, the place was darn near packed for a weekly show and they were into it. A little too much in one instance where a fight between two women broke out soon after the Sprint Cars of Gregg Bolte and Brandon Horton went for a wild double flip down the front stretch in the B-Main. Thankfully a female police officer was on the scene and quickly restored order in a manner that only she would have been able to, but back to the number of B-Mains for a moment. I have seen special events this year where with twenty-eight cars they ran two B-Mains. Seriously? Man up and do it the right way, transfer sixteen or eighteen out of your heats (redraw only twelve if you'd like) and run ONE B-Main to complete the field.

With the IMCA Racesaver Sprint Car Nationals coming up at Eagle next weekend there were already three long distance travelers in town to get a night in on the track as both John Carney II and Kevin Ramey towed in from Texas while Fresno, California's Monte Ferriera was on hand as well. Colorado driver Jake Bubak had been here before this season as he was within the invert and he would take the lead from the front row for the 25-lap main event. The race was red-flagged on lap two when Shayle Bade smacked the wall exiting turn four and took a tumble. After climbing out from the damaged car uninjured she told the crowd that she would have her other car ready for next week and that she wanted to see everybody back here for the Nationals.

Once back to racing Bubak opened up a sizable advantage while Mike Boston and Tyler Drueke exchanged sliders for second. Jason Martin had started tenth and around lap ten he found something as he then quickly marched toward the front. I didn't think that he had any chance of catching Bubak, but Martin did just that making the pass for the lead and the win with just four laps to go. Bubak, Drueke and Boston were next in line as Toby Chapman completed the top five and don't be surprised if Jason Martin comes out on top at next week's Nationals.Carney had the best run of the visitors coming from 13th to sixth.

Nate Thompson would lead the seventeen car field of IMCA Modifieds for the first five laps before Dustin Anderson got by him. Anderson would then open up a big lead that he would maintain the rest of the way even though on the final lap while trying to get around a lapped car he would spin down the front stretch taking the checkered flag sideways for the win. Chad Anderson finished second, Shane Hiatt scored the track championship in third, Thompson was fourth and Anthony Roth finished fifth.

The Sport Compacts raced fifteen laps non-stop with Steffen Oaks taking the lead from Jared Jackson on lap two. Oaks then did his best to try to fight off the challenges from Dillon Richards, racing door-to-door for two laps before Richards grabbed the lead with one to go to score another win here. Oaks was a close second, Tim Horsham was third followed by Shawn Hein in fourth and Zach Bohlmeyer came from seventeenth to fifth.

The 18-lap Hobby Stock finale was a good one that also went green-to-checkers as Albert Kiihne led the way from the drop of the green. Justin Busboom was applying the pressure on lap ten challenging Kiihne to the inside and as Albert fought off that bid Roy Armstrong used the cushion in turns one and two to race around them both. Busboom would give chase over the closing laps but there would be no catching "Rapid Roy" as Armstrong took the win. Busboom and Kiihne completed the podium while Mark McKinney and points champion Jeff Ware were next in line.

The Sport Mods were the only class that struggled a bit with cautions on the night and one of them waved on lap nine of their feature race when the leader, Scott Bivins popped a motor in turns one and two. Joe Feyen would assume the point on the restart and he would survive a couple of more restarts to take the win over Trent Roth, Gary Saathoff, Shawn Harker and Arie Schouten. Mary Lenz, one of those five drivers that earned a start from the B-Main, came from nineteenth to sixth at the checkers.

Even with a forty-five minute intermission to give hundreds of kids rides in the race cars the full show was completed before 10:30 and we were on our way back to our hotel in Omaha completely satisfied with our trip. The visit even sparked some long ago memories for me as our family lived in Lincoln from 1973 to 1975 and while trips to the old Midwest Speedway in town were more frequent, I do recall taking in a few races right here in Eagle as well. At the age I am now I had better make sure that it isn't another sixteen years before I return!

That's all for now, check back here in a couple of weeks as a new grandson and my daughter's wedding are next up on the schedule. Get out and enjoy the racing action at a track near you this Labor Day weekend!