USMTS Modifieds Plus Late Models!

USMTS Modifieds Plus Late Models!
Cedar County Raceway, Tipton

Friday, October 30, 2009

Osky's Halloween Show Postponed To November 8th

This has to be the worst month of October ever when it comes to dirt track racing here in Iowa and it is only fitting that the final event of the month, which was actually originally scheduled for earlier in the month, has been postponed once again. This Saturday's Fall Challenge race at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa will now be run on Sunday November 8th as the facility received just too much rain over the past twenty-four hours to be able to run this Saturday. The rescheduling will make for a busy weekend for promoters Todd & Janet Staley and crew as they will run a practice night at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri, on Thursday night November 5th, before two nights of racing with the Pepsi Memphis Nationals. Then on Sunday they will make the nearly two hour trip north to Oskaloosa to round out the weekend. Let's hope that the first weekend in November finally yields some nice racing weather! Look for Zack VanderBeek to be a top contender at both Memphis and Oskaloosa the first weekend in November - Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography photo

It's official, the Show Me 100 will now be run at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, on Memorial Day weekend and will be part of the Lucas Oil Late Model Series. How much "value" did the Gibson's put on this event? After they worked out an agreement to "sell" the Show Me to Lucas, the asking price for the West Plains Speedway reportedly dropped from two million dollars to $750,000.

Have a great weekend and let's go Hawkeyes, Golden Hurricane and Washington State!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome Readers of "Flat Out" Magazine!!

Barry and I were thrilled to stumble across our names on page 80 of the December issue of "Flat Out" magazine this week as editor Justin Zoch gave PositivelyRacing.com a nice mention in his "You May Have Missed It....." section. If you are a reader of "Flat Out" and you are clicking on the Back Stretch right now you are probably wondering why in the heck J.Z. sent you to a site that is not exclusive to open wheel racing! For sprint car coverage here on the Back Stretch scroll down to the Blog Archive area on the left side and click on August. There you will find a story on the Sprint Invader event held at the West Liberty Raceway late in the month (the Invaders are also featured in the December issue of "Flat Out" with a nice article written by the series announcer Bill Wright), and you will find a bunch of coverage from both the 360 and 410 Nationals at Knoxville as well as a couple of nights in Oskaloosa. From the July archives you will find a report on a great Midget show at U.S. 36 Speedway in Osborn, Missouri, as well as a write-up on Joey Saldana's World of Outlaws win at 34 Raceway. The June archives start out with the ASCS National Tour event at the Lake Ozark Speedway and the first story that you will find when you click on May is from Knoxville's midget show. Two more stories from Knoxville are in the May archives and if you go back to March you'll see a report from the 360 Sprints and Midgets at Springfield, Missouri. While you are at it, make sure and check out Barry Johnson's "Running The High Side" archives for even more sprint car news and photos from this past season. Yes "open wheel only" fans, you will have to sort your way through a lot of stories on "taxi cabs" here at PositivelyRacing.com to find what you are interested in, but we do hope that you will check back in often going forward!

Now, for those of you who have never read or do not subscribe to "Flat Out" magazine it is now my turn to try to get some of you to take a look at the best magazine on the market featuring open wheel racing. In each issue, from page one to the back cover, it is obvious that editor Justin Zoch and his entire staff are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the sport and when you sit down to read the magazine you can't help but to start planning your next trip to the sprint car or midget races. I especially enjoy the no-holds-barred writing style of Rob McCuen and not just because he and I grew up in the same hometown of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, riding our bikes around the big half-mile dirt oval at McMillan Park acting like we were Jerry Blundy (in Rob's case) or Mel Morris (in my mind) beating our competition like a drum. Sadly that half-mile is now gone with only a few hundred feet of the frontstretch remaining where antique steam tractors parade daily during the Labor Day weekend at the annual Old Threshers Reunion, but back to the magazine! If you enjoy open wheel racing you really need to subscribe to "Flat Out" and you can take that step by visiting their website at http://www.threewidemedia.com/

For those of you who enjoy dirt track racing in and around Iowa in general you need to check out Kevin Babcock's "Chasin Racin" site at http://chasinracin.homestead.com/index.html There are a bunch of great snapshots of cars from all around the Midwest (see how many you can identify) and Kevin has some great statistics on there as well. I found the "Iowa Numbers" page particularly interesting as it shows just how many rainouts each track suffered through during this past season. Kevin now has thirteen seasons where he has attended at least one hundred nights of racing! Take a look at his efforts and enjoy.

A couple of blogs back I mentioned that 34 Raceway in Burlington announced that the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series would be making its first-ever appearance at the speedplant in May of 2010, but I didn't have the exact date. This race will take place on Friday night May 21st. In fact the full 2010 schedule for the series has been released at http://www.lucasdirt.com/ and not without a bit of controversy regarding what is on the schedule the week following the race at 34. For the past few years the series has run "The Diamond of the Dirt Nationals" at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, in mid-May, but on the 2010 schedule it is listed for Memorial Day weekend, the same weekend that the Show Me 100 has been run at the West Plains Speedway. As also mentioned in that blog from a week or two ago, the Show Me became a part of the Lucas Oil Series last year at the last minute and apparently series officials thought that they had a deal worked out where the event would now be moved to the Lucas home track in Wheatland. However, West Plains Speedway owners Don and Billie Gibson have come out this past week and stated that they would have the Show Me 100 penciled in on their 2010 schedule despite the fact that the Lucas Series is scheduled just 175 miles up the road in Wheatland. Reports state that the two parties are discussing the situation and it will be interesting to see how that discussion plays out.

Good luck to Todd Staley and his crew as they run this Saturday night October 31st at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa and then again on November 6th & 7th at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. Hopefully the weather treats him better than every other October show here in Iowa this year!!! The Memphis show will be the final All Iowa Points event of 2009 while Springfield's Turkey Classic will wrap up the All Missouri Points season. Check back often during the offseason as we'll try to keep you up-to-date on news and notes from racing as well as provide you with some feature stories on area drivers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Terry Phillips Cruises To Checkers In Larry Phillips Memorial

With my Saturday plans at Shiverfest pushed back a day, Barry Johnson and I decided to load up and head south for the Larry Phillips Memorial event at the Springfield Raceway in southwest Missouri. The weather was perfect, the show featuring Late Models, Modifieds, Sport Mods and Bombers was offering an attractive purse and if I would have stayed home I would have been bouncing off the walls watching the weather forecasts for Sunday. Barry and I actually started our 2009 season at Springfield with an event that fought a chilly rain all day where only the Sport Mod feature was completed before Mother Nature won out, so it was good to get back to the track owned and operated by Modified chassis builder Jerry Hoffman with assistance from Doug Bland for what would be a full show.

We pulled in just minutes before the 4:45 starting time and could see that the pits were full with 37 Late Models, 33 Modifieds, 28 Sport Mods and 18 Bombers. The track was in great condition as drivers were able to find racing grooves from top to bottom during the heats and cautions were at a minimum. The second Sport Mod heat saw the lead pack go five-wide down the back straightaway and the fourth Late Model heat was perhaps the best five consecutive laps of racing that I saw all year as John Beck, Eric Turner and Brad Looney ran three-wide for the lead without touching each other to the checkers.
Brad Looney (23), Eric Turner (99T) and John Beck (28B) thrilled the crowd with five straight laps of three-wide racing for the lead before Beck prevailed at the checkers - Barry Johnson photo

The Sport Mod A-Main was up first and pole-sitter Steve Muilenberg assumed the early lead. On lap three David Kirkland, who had started fourth driving a Hoffman Race Car with a “For Sale” sign on it, advertised well by driving past Muilenberg on the high side of turn four to take the lead. Only one caution on lap six slowed the twenty-lap event and as the laps clicked away Muilenberg’s low line came back into play and he closed in on Kirkland. On the final lap Muilenberg pulled even with the leader entering turn three and then made it stick coming off of four to nip Kirkland at the line by about two feet to take the victory. Dean Wille finished third, 2009 track champion Billy Street was fourth and J.C Morton rounded out the top five.


Steve Muilenberg (33) had to hold off Billy Street (4) for second before he could make the last lap pass of David Kirkland for the win - Barry Johnson photo

Dean Wille (67) and David Kirkland (2) race for position early in the Sport Mod A-Main - Barry Johnson photo

The Late Model headliner would follow and front row starters Terry Phillips and Bill Frye ran the first three laps side-by-side before Frye established himself as the pacesetter on lap four. Phillips stayed close though and on the tenth lap it looked like he was shot out of a cannon coming off the low line of turn two to take the lead away from Frye. With the leaders now in heavy traffic Jeremy Payne, Brad Looney and Justin Wells closed in and it looked like we were setting up for quite a battle until the caution waved on lap eighteen for a flat tire on Bobby Maggard’s car. On the restart Phillips took off and hid from his contenders leaving the battle for second between Frye and Payne the race to watch. As the race neared its end most of the drivers had settled into the low groove and it appeared that there would be no change of position over the final laps. But on the final circuit going into turn three Payne inexplicably drove into the left rear quarter panel of Frye, flattening his tire and turning him around, before Payne jerked the wheel to the right and continued on to what appeared to be a second-place finish behind his teammate Terry Phillips. The crowd jeered Payne and cheered Frye as the veteran drove up and over the nose of Payne’s #74 as he came back around on the cool down lap, but cooler heads prevailed and that appeared to be the extent of the extra-curricular activities. It was never officially announced over the p.a. system, at least that I heard, but Payne was disqualified for rough driving putting Brad Looney into the runner-up spot at the pay window followed by Justin Wells, Eric Turner and Tony Jackson Jr.
This is how the first three laps of the Late Model feature looked as Terry Phillips (75) and Bill Frye (66) raced side-by-side for the lead - Barry Johnson photo

The Modified finale was up next and it was all Johnny Fennewald as he shot from the outside of row one and was never seriously challenged. Rex Merritt chased Fennewald throughout the twenty laps and finished second, Erik Maggard came home third with Jody Tillman and Jamie Ragland next in line. The Bomber feature closed out the evening, however with the Iowa Michigan State game down to the closing minutes I opted to head for the car and the call from WHO as the Hawkeyes pulled out the dramatic victory to remain unbeaten.

Johnny Fennewald was unstoppable in the Modified main event - Barry Johnson photo

A big “thank you” to Jerry Hoffman and his staff at the Springfield Raceway for their hospitality and for putting on a quick, efficient and entertaining night of action on a cool late October night. They started right on time at 4:45 and the racing concluded a little before nine o’clock. You can still catch one more show at this racy little quarter-mile this season on Saturday afternoon November 28th with the annual Turkey Classic. For more information visit http://www.springfieldraceway.com/.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wet Grounds Push Shiverfest Back to Sunday October 25th

A steady rain that fell for sixteen hours straight on Thursday has left the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson too wet for the racing action that was scheduled for this Saturday. So, at this point, “Shiverfest” has been postponed by one day to this Sunday afternoon October 25th.

“We are going to need some cooperation from the weather both today and Saturday to dry this place out enough to run Sunday,” stated promoter Terry Hoenig, “but with the winds of Friday and the sunshine that is predicted for Saturday we thought that we would give Mother Nature a chance to see if she is a race fan or not!” The pit gate will open at noon on Sunday with the rest of the original schedule moved up by one hour. The draw cutoff will be at 2:00 p.m., hot laps will be at 2:15, trick-or-treating at 3:00 with racing starting at 3:30 p.m.

Fans and drivers are encouraged to check back on Sunday before making the trip to Donnellson as officials will be evaluating the facility mid-morning to make sure that enough drying has taken place and that the weather for Sunday is looking favorable. “Our main concern will be the pit area as the track was packed hard on Tuesday night in anticipation of the rain,” said Hoenig. “Sunday’s forecast right now is calling for a temperature near sixty with a slight chance of rain depending upon what service you are looking at. That was the same forecast that we had for this past Wednesday and look how it turned out, that day would have been perfect for racing!”

Information on this Sunday’s “Shiverfest” can be found at www.leecountyspeedway.com and the race day track phone number is (319) 835-5523. Fans and drivers can also receive notifications and updates via text to their cell phones by joining the Lee County Speedway group, just text the word RACE to 91011 to sign up. For rules questions or other information please contact the speedway office at (319) 528-4301. Hope to see you on Sunday at “Shiverfest”!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shiverfest This Weekend; More Racing Still To Follow

For the past several years I have made the unscientific argument that the weather in October is better for racing, after most tracks have long closed down for the season, rather than in April when nearly every track tries to kickoff the season here in the upper Midwest. For the first three weekends of October 2009, trying to maintain that argument would be like trying to convince someone that the sun rises in the west. All they would have to do is look out the window and they would know that I was out of my mind!

Here’s hoping that weekend number four in October bucks the trend and provides us with dry weather and near normal temperatures (high 50’s) as this is the weekend of “Shiverfest” at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson. Ten years ago Terry and Jenni Hoenig, the promoters at LCS, took a chance and agreed to schedule this late October event as the final race of the old National Kidney Foundation Heartland Tour for Cure that I directed at the time. It was cloudy and it was cold with temps starting out in the mid-forties and then dropping through the evening, but the cars came out and there were enough crazy ticket-buying people there to watch them to make the show a success and a tradition was born. That first event was titled the “Millennium Grand Finale” as it was the final race to be held in the 1900’s in Iowa, and perhaps the final race ever if the Y2K bug was going to wipe us off the map as some predicted so if it were to be run again we would obviously need to come up with a new name. After the show had concluded, the purse had been paid, and the crowd had headed for the warmth of their cars, several of the track’s employees were discussing the night’s activities when Jenni made the comment, “well that was a real shiverfest.” Needless to say, it stuck!

Shiverfest is not a big money race, it is after all traditionally scheduled for late October and our race day weather has ranged from drizzle with temps in the low forties to bright sunshine warming the temperature into the mid-seventies, and one year we were forced to cancel the show completely due to two straight days of rain and snow. This is a family fun event that includes hayrack rides through the pit area from 1 to 3 p.m. and trick-or-treating with the participating drivers on the front stretch at 4 p.m. After that, we’ll all settle in and enjoy the racing action featuring five classes of cars; Modifieds, Stock Cars, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and the Four Cylinder “Wild Things”. Best of all, through the generosity of our sponsors and the fans who participate in the 50-50 drawing, we will raise well over $1,500 for the Southeast Renal Dialysis Units to assist the individuals and families who are fighting kidney disease in Mt. Pleasant, Burlington, Fort Madison, Keokuk and Fairfield, keeping the tradition alive from that very first NKF Tour event. We do hope that you will join us this Saturday in Donnellson for Shiverfest “The Big Party Race.” For more information visit www.leecountyspeedway.com.

Usually Shiverfest wraps up the racing season in Iowa, but with this cool wet October weather we have been having a couple of area events had to be rescheduled beyond this weekend. The Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa will run night number two of their annual Fall Challenge on Halloween night, Saturday October 31st and then the following weekend Todd Staley and his crew will present the Pepsi Fall Nationals at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. Practice night will be held on Thursday November 5th with complete shows on both Friday and Saturday November 6th and 7th. I know that a few people are thinking they are nuts for racing in November, but you watch, it will probably be sunny and in the sixties that weekend! We wish them the best.

I don’t have anything official on it yet, but I heard that promoters Jeff and Amy Laue have announced that the Lucas Oil Late Model Series will make an appearance at 34 Raceway near Burlington next May and I believe that it will be the weekend before the annual Show Me 100 down in West Plains, Missouri. The Lucas Series already draws an interesting mix of drivers, including 2009 point champion Scott Bloomquist, and with the Show Me the following weekend there could be quite a field at 34 as drivers make their way into the Midwest. Keep an eye on their website at www.34raceway.com for more details. This is quite a change from this past season as you will recall that DIRT Motorsports and 34 Raceway had scheduled a World of Outlaws Late Model show on the Saturday night of the Show Me 100 weekend, the middle show of a three-day stint for the Outlaws that included Osborn, Missouri, and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. With the World of Outlaws scheduling on top of the Show Me in its own neck of the woods, the long running non-sanctioned event later announced that it would become part of the Lucas Oil Late Model Series. I will be interested to see if this new arrangement with the Lucas Oil Late Model Series will have any effect on the scheduling of a third World of Outlaws Sprint Car show at 34 in 2010, as the first two have been very successful.

Several Fair Boards are requesting proposals from prospective promoters right now including the tracks in Bloomfield, Eldon and Cresco. For any of you considering taking a look at running the Cresco Speedway I can tell you that you will have a hard time finding anybody better to work with than Tom Barnes and the Mighty Howard County Fair. Tom was the first person to book an NKF Tour race when we started it all off in 1998 and he was the first one to re-up each of the next three years. Hopefully all three of these facilities will be successful in finding the right promoters.

I still have two and a half more years of tuition to pay so I am definitely not in the market to be a promoter, but I would have to think that the most effective plan for tracks like these would be to keep it simple and keep your costs as low as possible. Run three or four divisions at the most on a weekly basis, such as Stock Cars, Sport Mods/B-Mods, Hobby Stocks and Four Cylinders and structure your purses where you aren’t paying a bunch to win, but instead payout a solid amount “to start”. Make sure that driver who is running in the back of the pack has more than enough to cover his pit pass, his family’s tickets and some fuel money at the end of the night so that he’ll be back again the following week. And this way if you are paying that Stock Car driver for instance $65 to run sixteenth in his feature your purse only goes up as your car count rises. And, as your car count rises, so does your pit pass sales and likely so does your grandstand ticket sales. Sure you’ll have the vocal minority of local drivers that will stomp their feet and complain that you are not paying enough to win, possibly even threatening to go run somewhere else, but when it all shakes out the extra money that they would spend to travel to that “somewhere else” and the lack of exposure that they are getting for their own local sponsors who are vital in supporting their racing efforts usually finds them right back at their local track after a few weeks. The bottom line is this, if a promoter cannot bring in more money than what he pays out in purses and expenses, then it is definitely not worth his efforts to continue to operate and tracks will shutdown. Painfully we saw that happen with at least three facilities in 2008, so racers and fans alike need to realize that when someone new comes in, and their not running Late Models weekly, or the Modifieds are only getting $350-to-win, that just might be what it takes in order to keep the gates open. And that is a much better situation than having weeds grow on your local track.

Be Positive, support the sport and we hope to see you at Shiverfest this Saturday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Little Bit of This and That......

There were a couple of big announcements in the world of sprint car racing this past week, both involving Goodyear tires. First was the official word that the World of Outlaws will run exclusively on Goodyear tires in a multi-year deal that will begin in 2010. “Goodyear is making a significant investment in Sprint Car racing through this partnership with the World of Outlaws,” said World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter. “Goodyear is committed to providing teams with world class tires that will produce the best possible racing, while also adding major promotional support through various marketing initiatives.” The additional promotional support will include appearances by the Goodyear blimp at key Outlaw events, a certificate program that will allow drivers to earn free tires and a nice $55,000 mid-season point fund that will be distributed in July.

Following on the heels of the Outlaws announcement came the news that Goodyear will partner with the Knoxville Raceway for the next three years to provide title sponsorship for the Knoxville Nationals. And of course the “cherry” for this deal is the fact that the first “Goodyear Knoxville Nationals presented by Lucas Oil” will be the 50th annual edition of the event running August 11th through the 14th in 2010. A $1,000,000 cash purse will be up for grabs making this event the richest ever in sprint car racing and 410 c.i. Sprint Car drivers competing in Knoxville will be required to race Goodyear tires on both the left and right rear wheels. “Over the past 49 years we have had many great partners for our showcase event,” stated Race Director Ralph Capitani. “We see Goodyear marking a new era in the sport for both Knoxville and open wheel dirt track racing. Their foresight and ingenuity will help the teams focus on the importance of building the fan base for sprint car racing while keeping the costs reasonable.”
Gary Crawford and Mike Borders head up our local Goodyear store, Mt. Pleasant Tire & Service, and with both of them being big race fans they are very excited with this news. If you are ever in the Mt. Pleasant area and need mechanical help or some work on your tires, make sure that you give them a call.

While snow wiped out the racing in Iowa on Saturday night it was still nice enough in other areas to get some racing in this weekend. Scott Bloomquist wrapped up the Lucas Oil Late Model Series point championship with a victory in Rome, Georgia, on Sunday night. Jimmy Owens wound up second in points while perennial Lucas Oil series champion Earl Pearson Jr. had to settle for third this year. Despite five inches of rain on Thursday the Springfield Raceway in southwest Missouri was able to run their “Octoberfast” show as a one night event on Saturday night with Terry Phillips taking the win in the Modified headliner. Colt Cheevers topped the Sport Mod contingent at Springfield. If you thought it was cold here this weekend, what do you suppose it was like up in La Crosse, Wisconsin? Race fans bundled up and filled the stands for another exciting edition of Octoberfest at the 5/8-mile paved oval that pretty much runs everything on the schedule despite the weather. It is one of three events that I have been at over the years where I sat through snow flurries to watch the races. And finally, congratulations to Andy Eckrich of Cosgrove, Iowa, who made the four hour plus pull over to the Kankakee Speedway in northeast Illinois this weekend for their Fall Harvest event. Running with the UMP Late Models Eckrich finished fourth in the main event behind 2009 UMP Late Model National Champion Jason Feger, Frank Heckenast Jr. and Kevin Weaver.

Special events coming up this weekend include two-day shows, Friday and Saturday, at Webster City IA, Dubuque IA, Memphis MO and Pevely MO, while single-day events will be run Saturday night at East Moline IL, Nevada MO and at 34 Raceway in Burlington. Hopefully the weather will be a little closer to normal for this weekend’s action!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Guss, Hunter and Bechen Takes Wins On Night One of Tipton's "Governor's Cup"

My first order of business Friday night was to watch my nephew Cormac play in the freshman football game as his Williamsburg Red Raiders smoked my Mt. Pleasant Panthers 41 to 14. Sitting there in the sun with little or no wind felt pretty good and when my wife Christine said "you can go to the races if you want to", I didn’t have to think twice. So at ten minutes before seven I started the 72-mile trip north to Tipton for night number one of the Governor’s Cup event promoted by Stuart Motorsports.

Back in the 1980’s I spent just about every Sunday night in Tipton with the standard routine of calling ahead to Happy Joe’s to pick up a great pizza from the Montgomery’s before heading out to the speedway to watch my buddy John Vantiger race his street stock against Bruce Current, Johnny Spaw, Ron Fare and many more. I have always loved this quick little quarter-mile, but for whatever reason it has been since 2001 when the old NKF Tour was still in operation that I last visited.

I arrived at 8:15 just as the second IMCA Late Model heat race was taking the checkered flag and my timing was pretty good as with the two Modified divisions running heat races only, I was in time to see them so I got a chance to see all 170+ racecars in action for my $15 ticket. I love season-opening and season-ending events like this one due to the variety of cars that you will see thrown together and the IMCA Modified class really showed that variety tonight, especially in the first heat race. Rod Scheuermann made the trip over from Scranton and held off Darin Duffy of Hazelton and Michael Long of Quincy, Illinois, to take the win. Rich Smith, Scott Hogan and Richie Gustin earned the other three heat race victories with Gustin being most impressive driving the blue #99M from the rear to the front. The Open Mods had some variety too as Delhi’s Mark Schulte and Cresco’s Jason Schlangen won the first two heats before local favorite Ryan Dolan took the third qualifier.

Eleven cars took the green for the Hobby Stock feature and despite the small field the action up front warmed the crowd. Justin Yarolem and Chad Paup raced side-by-side for the first half of the race before they were joined by Sheldon Hunter, and those three then jockeyed back and forth before a late caution slowed the field. On the restart those three went right back at it, but now they also had Emily Gade looking for racing room in fourth. As the white flag waved Yarolem, Paup and Hunter were running three distinct lines and each of them had a shot to win, but it was Hunter who had the momentum off the top side of turn four to take the win by a nose over Yarolem. Paup would be third with Gade fourth as the Hobby Stocks set the bar pretty high for the classes running features here tonight.

The Mini-Sprints were up next and one of the twelve cars went for a tumble even before the green flag waved. I’m not sure what was going on with the p.a. system, but nothing was heard on the grandstand side throughout the mini-sprint main and it’s victory lane presentation, and the first half of the Four Cylinder main event, so I do not have the name of the Mini-Sprint feature winner. Brannon Bechen and Jeremy Capron ran away from the rest of the field in the Four Cylinder finale as they waged their own battle up front and even when the caution waved mid-race, those two took off and hid once again. While Bechen and Capron would decide the winner on their own there was quite a battle for third on back between some of the top drivers in the state in this division. Jeremy Campbell, Brad Chandler and Nathan Chandler were all in the top five at some point, but two drivers, Tyler Kelly and William Michel, who had to transfer out of the B-Mains were on the move as well. Bechen, the 2008 All Iowa Points Four Cylinder champion, would hold off Capron to take the win while Kelly would come from row seven to finish third. Justin Kay slipped into the fourth spot late while Michel looked strong coming to fifth after starting in the eighth row.

The IMCA Late Model field was very stout tonight, so strong that both Rob Toland driving the 4D car and Brian Harris in a second Joe Zrostlik car were unable to transfer out of the first consolation event. Passing points from the four heats were used to set the feature lineup and that landed Ray Guss Jr. on the pole position for the twenty-five-lap event. It was no surprise that Guss opened a quite an advantage from the drop of the green as Bret Diercks tried to keep pace. The race to watch was for third with Matt Ryan, Terry Neal, Doug Nigh and Tipton’s Jake Meier, who was driving the Merfeld #87, all involved. When the white flag waved Guss had a half-lap advantage over Diercks and the battle for third now also involved consolation race winners Mike Murphy Jr. and Mark Burgtorf, but after Meier took that white flag he slowed suddenly and parked on the top side of turn one. The race was called complete with a yellow-checker combination and with my toes numb and my face freezing from the 34 degree temperature I wasn’t about to stick around to hear the "official" finish! By my count I know that Ray Guss Jr. was your winner and that Bret Diercks was the runner-up, but beyond that it is all an educated guess. I had Matt Ryan in third, Terry Neal fourth Mike Murphy Jr. fifth and Mark Burgtorf sixth. I believe that those six, plus Meier were the only cars remaining on the lead lap so it will be interesting to see if Meier ends up being credited with seventh despite causing the final caution. Murphy started from the inside of row seven after winning the first consolation event while Burgtorf started outside row six after winning the second consy. Burgtorf’s starting spot improved when scheduled second row starter Jason Rauen failed to make the call.

Other than having only one wrecker the show was moved right along and the racing was definitely good enough to take your mind off the cold while the green flag was out. As I finish up this effort of the "Back Stretch" I see that night number two of the Governor’s Cup has been postponed to Saturday October 24th which of course is the same night as our "Shiverfest" event at the Lee County Speedway. Oh well, I guess Mother Nature strikes again. I also see that the second night of the Annual Fall Challenge at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa has been postponed until Saturday October 31st so we can now all stay warm tonight near our television, or by bundling up at Kinnick to cheer on the Hawkeyes!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tenth Running of "Shiverfest" Set for October 24th

Donnellson, Iowa – The leaves are turning colors, the farmers are in the fields and that nasty word of “snow” is starting to pop into the weather forecasts, so it must be time for “Shiverfest”! The tenth running of Iowa’s racing finale that includes a unique mixture of racing and family fun is scheduled for Saturday October 24th at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson and even though it is usually the latest regularly scheduled race program in the state of Iowa, the weather has cooperated for nine of the first ten years.

“The early October weather has not been real conducive to dirt track racing, but hopefully Mother Nature is getting it out of her system,” stated promoter Terry Hoenig. “The drivers and the fans really enjoy this event whether it is cloudy and chilly, or warm and sunny, but I think we all know what we would prefer! Either way it is a great event to top off our season here at the Lee County Speedway.” Last year Hoenig and his crew had to scramble on race day to roll in over an inch of rain that fell in the days before the event, but after a brief delay more than 170 cars and drivers put on another excellent show for the fans and more than $1,500 was raised for the individuals and families battling kidney disease at the Southeast Regional Dialysis Units. The “Shiverfest” lineup will once again showcase five racing divisions including Modifieds, Sport Mods (B-Mods), Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks & Four Cylinder “Wild Things” and if history holds true, another solid car count is expected. “We have been thrilled with the support of our sponsors and in fact we have even picked up a couple of more over last year” continued Hoenig, “if we catch a good weather day on the 24th we just might go over the $2,000 mark for the dialysis units this year”

Modifieds will be racing for a $500 top prize, Stock Cars will shoot for $300-to-win, Sport Mods will be looking for a $275 winners check, the Hobby Stock winner will earn a $250 check and the winner of the Four Cylinder “Wild Things” will collect $100. In addition there will be Bonus Money on the line for all five feature winners through the All Iowa Points and Modified and Sport Mod drivers ranked in the top 100 in Missouri Points will also collect additional cash in victory lane.

Kids in costume will be able to participate in trick-or-treating with the drivers in the infield after hot laps and there will also be hayrack ride pit tours and more for fans of all ages during this family fun event.

Pit gates will open at noon and drivers are encouraged to arrive early. The pill draw will end at 3:00 p.m. as the drivers’ meeting begins and hot laps will get underway at 3:15. Drivers who would like to participate in trick-or-treating for the kids should have their car and their treats ready to go to the infield at 4:00 and green flag racing will get underway at 4:30 p.m..

For more information on “Shiverfest” please contact the Lee County Speedway office at (319) 528-4301. Drivers and fans can also visit http://www.leecountyspeedway.com/ to view the rules for each division, or for raceday information call the track at (319) 835-5523.

Shiverfest Fun Facts:

Date: Saturday, October 24th
Lee County Speedway, Donnellson IA
3/8th-mile semi-banked dirt oval
Gates Open at Noon
Draw Closes at 3:00 p.m.
Drivers Meeting at 3:00 p.m.
Hot Laps at 3:15 p.m.
Trick-or-Treating in the infield from 4:00 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
Race Time is 4:30 p.m.

Race Divisions and Purse:
Modifieds $500-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($100 for 10th, $50-to-start) plus $40 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Stock Cars $300-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($65 for 10th, $35 to start) plus $30 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Sport Mods (B-Modifieds) $275-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($60 for 10th, $30 to start) plus $25 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Hobby Stocks $250-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($60 for 10th, $30 to start) plus $25 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Four-cylinder “Wild Things” $100-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($15 for 10th, $10 to start).

All Iowa Points Bonus Program (to be paid to the feature winner)

Gold Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 1st through 10th in the All Iowa Points.

Silver Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 11th through 30th in the All Iowa Points.

Bronze Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 31st through 100th in the All Iowa Points.

Division Gold Silver Bronze
Modified $500 $350 $200 (sponsored by LaMae Gerst)
Stock Car $400 $300 $200 (sponsored by LaMae Gerst)
Sport Mod $300 $200 $100 (sponsored by Lawson Racing)
Hobby Stock $300 $200 $100 (sponsored by Boles Auto Sales)
Four Cylinder $200 $150 $100 (sponsored by Boles Auto Sales)

All Iowa Points standings may be found at www.PositivelyRacing.com

Missouri Points Bonus Program (to be paid to the Modified & Sport Mod feature winners)

Gold Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 1st through 10th in the Missouri Points.

Silver Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 11th through 30th in the Missouri Points.

Bronze Bonus paid to winning driver who is ranked 31st through 100th in the Missouri Points.

Division Gold Silver Bronze
Modified $500 $350 $200 (sponsored by LaMae Gerst)
Sport Mod $300 $200 $100 (sponsored by Lawson Racing)

All Missouri Points standings may be found at www.PositivelyRacing.com

Rules and Information: Visit http://www.leecountyspeedway.com/ or call the office at (319) 528-4301.

Race Day Track Phone (319) 835-5523

Admission Prices:
Adults: $10
Seniors (60+): $9
Students (11-17): $7
10 & Under: Free
All Pit Passes are $22
NO ENTRY FEES for all divisions

Family Fun:
Trick-or-Treating in the infield immediately following hot laps (race teams wishing to participate should bring treats for the kids)
Hayrack Ride Pit Tours between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

“Shiverfest” is proud to raise funds for the dialysis patients and their families at the Southeast Renal Dialysis units in Keokuk, Burlington, Fort Madison, Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant. Area event sponsors will be donating funds on behalf of this event and a fifty-fifty raffle will be conducted by volunteers from these units to increase that amount. We also hope to raise awareness of the early signs of kidney disease and stress the importance of having a signed organ donor card. Participating sponsors include Mt. Pleasant Tire & Service, Hy-Vee Food Store (Mt. Pleasant), Mike Henderson with Edward Jones Investments, Brown’s Shoe Fit (Mt. Pleasant), Becker’s Jewelers, Jason Liechty with Balzer’s Inc., Hagge Insurance, Access Energy and Access Energy Propane, KILJ Radio, “The Pepsi Inside Track” on KRNQ, Floyd’s EZ Way Container Service, 101.7 “The Bull”, KDMG “Big Country 103.1” and Lee County EMS. Donations to the Dialysis Units have also been received from Fleck Sales Company, Pilot Grove Savings Bank, Zaiser’s Florist and Greenhouse and Elder Implement in association with “Shiverfest”.

Previous “Shiverfest” Feature Winners:
Modifieds – Bruce Hanford (2001, 2008), Tony Fraise (2005, 2007), Donovan Lodge (2006), Darin Thye (2004), Brad Pinkerton (2003), Scott Megonigle (2000) and Mark Burgtorf (1999)
Stock Cars – Matt Greiner (2008), Mike VanGenderen (2007), Jason Cook (2006, 2003), Eric Flander (2005), Zack VanderBeek (2004), Jeremy Miller (2001), Jim Lynch (2000) and Brad Pinkerton (1999)
B-Modifieds – Tony Dunker (2008), Jim Gillenwater (2007) and Wyatt Lantz (2006 & 2005)
Hobby Stocks – Doug Fenton (2008), Jake Wenig (2007), Chris Hovden (2006), Dave Warth (2005), Jeremy Hamlin (2004), Mike Jones (2003), Greg Johnson (2001), Tim Bradley (2000) and John Oliver Sr. (1999)
Wild Things – Brannon Bechen (2008), Joe Zrostlik (2007), Travis DeMint (2006), Tyler Schulte (2005), Dennis Schulte (2004), T.J. Newberry and David Burdette (2003) and David Sugars (2001)

Rain Date if needed: Sunday October 25th or Saturday October 31st

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bloomquist Takes Forty Grand Out of Knoxville

For the second time in two months the Knoxville Raceway was forced to run the final night of a premier event on a Sunday evening and, for the second time in two months, the fabled facility delivered with an entertaining night of racing for those drivers and fans who persevered through the annoying weather issues that plagued both the Sprint Car and Late Model Nationals.

Fifty-three drivers returned on Sunday for what would be the one and only night of the originally scheduled three nights of action for the 6th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Nationals at the Knoxville Raceway and the first big decision to be made was in regard to the format to be used to run the abbreviated event. Officials went with a modified version of the standard qualifying night format as drivers took one lap of time trials with fast timer Shannon Babb collecting 200 points with points then awarded in two point increments on down the list of fifty-three. The top six qualifiers were inverted in each of five heat races where race winners were awarded 100 points with second receiving 97, third 94 and so on. Following qualifying and the heat races the top twenty cars in points were locked into the A-Main with the starting grid to be lined straight up by points. Frankly, for a one night show this is a pretty darn good system that some traveling series just might want to adopt as it rewards the fast qualifiers, but it also encourages some good racing during the heats with the invert.

After running third in his heat Shannon Babb tallied the highest point total putting him on the pole for the $40,000-to-win one-hundred-lap finale alongside Rick Eckert. Eckert held the lead by a nose as the field thundered by for lap one, but when Babb found the cushion to his liking he picked up the advantage on lap two. Babb was on the fly with former event champion Brady Smith trying to match the pace before the first caution of the event waved for another former winner Brian Shirley on lap ten. On the restart Scott Bloomquist emerged from the middle of a three-wide battle to pick up the chase on Babb only to have Shirley stop on the track once again on lap thirteen.

This restart saw Smith regain the second spot as Babb flew away from the field, but when the leader entered lapped traffic both Smith and Bloomquist were able to close ground. On lap thirty-one Bloomquist eased by Smith in traffic and tried to keep the leader in sight until the caution waved on lap thirty-nine for the #29H of Jeremiah Hurst who had parked near the guardrail. During this caution five drivers who had been running mid-pack ducked into the work area to check on tires and adjust setups to see if they could make changes to help them get to the front, but one driver who did not come in was Sprint Cup star Tony Stewart. Fresh off his win at the Kansas Speedway, Stewart made a quick helicopter trip north and was able to run four fast hot laps along with NASCAR teammate Ryan Newman in between the C-Main and the B-Main. His quickest lap of 18.763 on the freshly reworked surface was nearly a full second under the quick time set by Babb earlier in the night, but on his final hot lap the engine let loose down the back straightaway. During the B-Main and the forty-minute break that followed Stewart’s crew made the engine change completing it just in time for “Smoke” to start in row fourteen and, at the lap thirty-nine caution, he was just about to enter the top ten.

The green flag returned for just one lap as Steve Francis stopped on the track and on the next restart Babb was once again looking dominant. Bloomquist stayed within striking distance though and when lapped traffic came into play, the race was on. Bloomquist showed his nose to Babb a couple of times only to have Shannon pull away again until lap sixty-five when Bloomquist powered his way to front using the middle groove in turn four. While the lead duo went at it, both Billy Moyer and Jimmy Mars were on the move and soon made it a four-car battle for the lead bringing the chilled crowd to the edge of their seats. On lap seventy-five the top seven cars were all on the same straightaway on the big half-mile and four laps later it was three-wide for the lead going into turn three with Moyer down low, Bloomquist in the middle and Mars pounding the cushion. Mars stumbled a bit and dropped back while Bloomquist fought off Moyer down the frontstretch. The battle continued between the two Late Model legends for the next two laps before the caution waved for Mars after his motor expired in turn three.


Tim McCreadie (39) and Jimmy Mars (28) made late charges to the front. Mars challenged for the lead before breaking while defending chmpion McCreadie finished third - Barry Johnson photo

Defending champion of this event Tim McCreadie was now in the mix after starting twentieth and as the field bunched up ready for the final nineteen laps it looked like we were setup for a classic battle for the lead. Scott Bloomquist had a different scenario in mind though as he took off and ran away from his contenders quickly opening up a sizeable lead over Moyer and McCreadie. The race to watch over the closing laps became the heated duel between Brian Birkhofer and Tony Stewart for the sixth spot. Stewart rode the cushion on the restart to blow past Babb and Chad Simpson and had a run on Birkhofer coming down the frontstretch only to have the door shut on him. The two made contact but somehow stayed out of the guardrail and the battle was now on. Stewart would have the momentum coming off of turn four and would then try to dive low on Birky into one. Tony was able to grab the spot on a pair of occasions only to have Birkhofer come storming back down the backstretch and into turn three. With just a few laps remaining Stewart had the nose of his car so far up under the rear end of Birkhofer’s down the front stretch that they looked like they were one and from there Birkhofer would ease away from Stewart.

Tony Stewart (14) and Brian Birkhofer kept the crowd on the edge of their seats during the final 19 laps with a thrlling battle for sixth - Barry Johnson photo

Bloomquist would take the checkers well ahead of Moyer with McCreadie third and Brady Smith fourth. Josh Richards was never a factor for the lead, but ran a steady race to finish fifth ahead of Birkhofer and Stewart who exchanged some “love taps” after the event before heading to the pits. Babb faded to eight with Chad Simpson and Earl Pearson Jr. completing the top ten.

Late Model Nationals Notes……Pearson was the only one of the five drivers who pitted on lap thirty-nine that finished in the top ten……Darrell Lanigan qualified twelfth quick but was forced to the B-Main when he tagged the fence on lap two of the first heat race. Lanigan would win the “B” to start 21st in the “A” where he finished 13th……

Brady Smith (2) and Darrell Lanigan (29) in action during the first lap of the first heat race prior to Lanigan tagging the outside guardrail - Barry Johnson photo


Tommy Elston saw his opportunity to qualify for the feature hampered as he was racing Chad Simpson for second on the final lap of the second heat race. As the lapped car of Ed Sanger came into play there was contact going into turn one that sent both Sanger and Elston for a spin. After qualifying 23rd the second place heat race points would have put Elston on the pole of the B-Main, one point out of qualifying for the feature. Instead he started the “B” in tenth and finished 14th…….
Tommy Elston (15R) paced the second heat race before Brian Birkhofer swept by on the outside - Barry Johnson photo


Despite having the third quickest time in qualifying, and the 196 points that went with it, Scott Bloomquist was forced to start from the back of the third heat since he did not make his qualifying attempt in the correct order. His third quick time came as the final car out to time. Bloomquist finished seventh in the third heat, but still had enough points to start the feature from the sixth position……Terry Casey was running a strong second in the third heat before shucking the driveline and ending his night……With hot laps and qualifying taking place in bright sunshine the track locked down for heats four and five as drivers ran in single-file procession around the bottom groove. A fifty-five minute break to rework the track was worth every second as the racing in the “C”, “B” and “A” was fast and multi-grooved with a ton of action!……Boone McLaughlin popped a motor in the early laps of the C-Main and Rich Bell found the now higher inside berm hazardous as it nearly took the nose off of his car in turn four while he was battling Jill George for the final transfer position. Jill would then hold off Dan Shelliam to finish fourth and move on to the B-Main……Along with the winner Lanigan, Brad Neat, Scott James, Denny Eckrich, Vic Coffey and Jeremiah Hurst would transfer out of the B-Main. Andy Eckrich was challenging in seventh when he spun in turn two with five laps remaining.


Jeremiah Hurst (29H), shown here racing with Wyoming driver Eddie Kirchoff, collected the sixth and final transfer spot out of the B-Main - Barry Johnson photo

I have been battling bronchitis all week and probably wouldn’t have made the trip up to Knoxville by myself, but a ride offered up by Bill and Pam Vantiger saved the day for me. Thank you very much for putting up with me for the evening!!! Bill and Pam and their daughter Megan operate the Finish Line Restaurant and Pam’s Cakes and Bakery on the east edge of New London and you can find their ad on the homepage of PositivelyRacing.com. During this offseason make it a point to pull of the Highway 34 by-pass when you are around New London and stop in to the Finish Line for some great home-style cooking from very friendly people in a racing atmosphere. I hope to see you there! And, if you are lucky enough to get Kaitlynn as your waitress, ask her all about her trip to Knoxville, Daytona, Memphis and all of the other tracks that she has toured so far.

A nephew playing football in town, my wife’s class reunion and a wedding will likely keep me away from racing this coming weekend, but hopefully you will have a chance to catch one of several interesting shows including Oskaloosa, Tipton, Webster City, Granite City and Oktoberfest up in La Crosse. Also, make sure that you have “Shiverfest” marked on your “to do” list for October 24th at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson!

Support the sport, be Positive!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Random Thoughts On a Gloomy Saturday Morning.....

Well this week has been a disappointment so far! Hopefully the sun will break out later this (so far) gloomy Saturday morning and both Knoxville and Donnellson can hold their racing events tonight. If you were looking at going to Donnellson tonight make sure that you check the website http://www.leecountyspeedway.com/ or call the track at 319.835.5523 before leaving home as I know that Terry needed some drying today so that he could get on the track and get it ready for tonight’s Heartland Challenge.

You have to feel for the race officials at Knoxville as not only did Mother Nature torture their signature event, the Sprint Car Nationals, in August, but now she is making an unwanted repeat performance for the Late Model Nationals. There is absolutely NOTHING that you can do about the weather, you can only react and do what you feel is the best thing possible. Unfortunately in this day and age no matter what you do, somebody is not going to agree with you and they are going to boldly state their opinion on one of the forums. The problem is that they are often only considering their own circumstances and how the decision effected them rather than thinking about the big picture. Plus, it is a lot easier to draft a solution when your financial stake is, at most, the cost of fuel, a ticket and maybe even a hotel room. My guess is if they, like the promoter, had thousands of dollars at stake, the internet jockey likely would not come to that same conclusion. Yes, I have been personally disappointed by decisions made by promoters when they are faced with bad weather, but when it is their show backed by their money, it is their decision plan and simple.

One of those tough decisions that the Knoxville officials have to make tonight is how they will run the show and I am going to tell you right now, no matter what they do somebody is not going to be happy! Race fans love the format where drivers qualify with the quick timer earning 200 points, run heats with ten cars inverted in each and having to run in the top four to transfer to the A-Main while also earning points (100 to each heat race winner with three point increments on down), and then having "C", "B" and the A-Main. The A-Main paying out points in the same fashion as qualifying with points being awarded to the B-Main and C-Main competitors as well. This is why many will tell you that the two qualifying nights for both the Late Model Nationals and the Sprint Car Nationals are the best four nights of racing action that you will find anywhere. The drivers don’t like it even though the system has never yielded what I would consider a "fluke" qualifier for the Championship feature at either event. The cream always seems to rise to the top all while giving the fans some of the best racing action that they will find anywhere.

Tonight though is a "one shot deal". If they run the format similar to a qualifying night then you can bet that the fastest qualifier is not going to be real happy about having to start tenth in his heat and having to get all the way up to fourth to transfer to the Championship feature. If they don’t invert several cars for the heats then the fans are going to feel like they missed out on some of the magic of Knoxville, so as I said no matter what the officials decide to go with there is somebody that is not going to be happy. Oh well, I guess that is just the nature of our sport anymore.

Lee County Speedway promoter Terry Hoenig is catching some of that grief right now and it is actually my fault!! For the eleventh year in a row Terry and his wife Jenni are promoting the annual "Shiverfest" event to be held on October 24th in Donnellson, an event that originated as part of the old National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Tour for a Cure that I operated for four years. "Shiverfest" has built up a nice reputation over the years as being a "fun" event where drivers from all around the area can come in and compete. It is not a "big money" show and, while the racing is still the primary draw, there is also Trick-or-Treating for the kids, hayrack rides through the pits prior to the action, pumpkin carving contests and more, all while raising money to help out the individuals and families who are battling kidney disease in the area. Back in 1999 it seemed pretty easy to put together a set of rules for this event that would allow just about every Modified, Stock Car and Hobby Stock from around the area to compete. Eleven years later though, with rules in each division becoming more diverse from track to track, that is no longer an easy task.

Using Modifieds as an example, the split between the IMCA Modified and the Open/NASCAR/USRA Modified rules has really grown over the past few years. So much so that tracks like Davenport and Maquoketa actually ran them as separate divisions for the first time in 2009. It would be very easy for Terry to just say that the Modifieds must run IMCA rules at "Shiverfest", especially since the division produced twenty-five or more cars each and every race night at Lee County this season. But if he did that than several drivers who have made the trip in each and every year for "Shiverfest" would no longer be able to compete. So with my encouragement Terry has tried to come up with a set of rules that will still allow the non-IMCA cars to run the event without giving them a competitive advantage over the drivers who have supported the Speedway week in and week out. His "thanks" for making this effort? He has open motor guys chewing him out for not allowing quick-change rear ends and he has some AWP from Wisconsin (why would he care anyway?) giving him hell for opening up the rules at the end of the year. Oh well, I guess that is just the nature of our sport anymore.

This is not new for Terry when it comes to the rules for "Shiverfest" and we hope that we’ll see the same thing happen on October 24th that we have seen in the past. Drivers, fans and their families who want to have one last fun day of racing before the season ends will show up and we will have another great show. If you want to bitch and argue please feel free to stay home as I wouldn’t want you to ruin it for the rest of us!!

Drivers and fans around Memphis, Missouri, have to be feeling pretty good right now with the announcement that Wayne Messamaker will be promoting weekly racing at the Scotland County Speedway in 2010. I am excited for Wayne and the great things that he can do with that competitive race track in Memphis, but I will caution him about this. Don’t be surprised if when Messamaker announces the three or four divisions that he plans to run next year, there is suddenly a big discussion as to why leaving out this class or that class will be the "downfall" of the track. I hope that I am wrong, but I guess that is just the nature of our sport anymore.
I found it interesting that Jeff and Amy Laue felt the need to put out the open letter that they did this week. If you haven’t seen it you can check it out on the 34 Raceway forum board at http://www.heartlandmotorsports.com/. Apparently they felt the need to squash some rumors that are going around, rumors that always seem to pop up about 90% of all racetracks at this time of year. With twenty-five race nights in the books for 2009 and one more still on the schedule, 34 Raceway ranks second among all of the All Iowa Points tracks for number of event held this season. Knoxville will get their twenty-fifth night in tonight while the Boone Speedway leads the way with twenty-nine. The folks at 34 Raceway have worked their tails off in 2009 so they deserve a rest this off-season.

And as I wrap up these thoughts at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning I notice that tonight’s races at the Lee County Speedway have been cancelled due to wet grounds. Their next race will now be "Shiverfest" on October 24th.

Here’s hoping that I can get up to Knoxville tonight and then on Sunday I am looking forward to my first trip to the brand new Shepp’s Speedway near New Berlin, Illinois.

Support the sport, be Positive!!!