Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photos Added....

If you check down the list here you will find that photos have been added to the stories from Sedalia, Donnellson and Dubuque.

And for more photos, including archives from the past, check out our new PositivelyRacing.com page on Facebook.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rain Wins Friday; Heather Tesch and Other Forecasters Already Claiming Saturday Events

It's official, all but one of the Friday night tracks in the PR.com coverage area has been rained out this evening. The only one that is still on is Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minnesota, but a check of the radar at 2:40 p.m. shows the rain is on the doorstep at the speedway promoted by Darin Toot.

A rainout where it actually rains on your race track is one thing, but the weather forecast for this weekend has been so ominous that some tracks have or had already cancelled based solely on that forecast. Tony Bruce Jr. pulled the plug on his two-day ASCS Sprint Car show at Riverside Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas, on Thursday due to what the weather folks were saying would happen there on Friday and Saturday. Looks like a good call at this point as the area is under a tornado watch until 8 p.m. tonight and a flash flood watch through the weekend. As a driver himself TBJ was looking out for his own as the ASCS National Tour pulls drivers in from far and wide.

The promoter at Outlaw Motor Speedway in Muskogee, Oklahoma, made an interesting call based upon the weather forecast for tonight. The track was to host the MARS Late Models this evening, but the following has been posted on their website. "With all the Late Models traveling in from a good distance and the uncertain weather we just made a business decision to reschedule," said track co-owner Danny Womack. "We are still going to have great racing tonight with our third NASCAR points night at Oklahoma's only NASCAR track." The MARS event has been rescheduled for May 14th and a check of the radar at 3 p.m. shows all of the rain to the east of Muskogee so it looks like the weekly show will be able to be run. Do you suppose a few of the Late Model guys will be scratching their heads on this one? But again, with drivers following the series having to make the trip to town, perhaps they like the call.

Okay, I can see canceling an event a day or two in advance when drivers might be coming in from long distances, but what about a weekly show? On the Mid-South Racing Scene forum it appears that the track in Moulton, Alabama, has already canceled their weekly show for tomorrow. Why? Because the Weather Channel forecasts a near 100% chance of rain there for Saturday with the possibility of large hail, tornadoes, flying farmhouses and little dogs, that's why! Heather Tesch has never been so confident!

Heather Tesch of the Weather Channel

Here's hoping that the rain that is predicted for the rest of the weekend is nowhere near as bad as expected and we can get some racing in!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Dave Swale of West Union stopped by to say hi to me after the races at Vinton and I introduced him to Kyle Ealy who compiles the Midwest Racing Archives on the Speed Blitz. During the conversation we challenged Kyle to go back into his archives and pull up some old pics of Dave in action, but instead we have somebody who has beaten Kyle to the punch! Another former Hawkeye Racing News columnist Les Houser sent a set of five photos down to Barry Johnson who then scanned them in and sent them here. Isn't it great how all of us former columnists can come together for a common cause :)

Thanks a lot Les, it is great to know that you, Dave and many others (perhaps fourteen or fifteen now) are regular readers of the "Back Stretch" online!

From 1987 a Hobby Stock that Les thinks was owned by Larry Nefzger

From 1990, a Modified Street Stock that Dave drove to second in the final point standings at West Union

If you are rained out and bored, check out the latest entry by one of my favorites Mark "The Shark" Titus at http://clubtrillion.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-future.html Just so you know, it's a basketball blog (sort of), not racing.......but I think it will bring a smile to your face.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Change In Drivers for "Team 15"; Updated State Points

I learned today that changes are being made at “Team 15”, the Richard Realty & Auction Late Model based in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Tommy Elston of Keokuk handled the driving duties throughout the 2009 season and had a solid year highlighted by a feature win at Knoxville last July in the Late Model portion of the “Harris Clash”. The team started the 2010 campaign with the intention of following the full Deery Brothers Summer Series schedule as well as running weekly events at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson and at 34 Raceway near Burlington, but after making the feature field in just one of the first three Deery events, team owner Lynn Richard and driver Tommy Elston have decided to go in different directions.

“A lot of effort has been put in by both sides of this combination,” Richard told me over the phone this afternoon, “but we just weren’t clicking. Tommy is one of the best, if not the best driver that has ever sat in one of my cars and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Team 15 will be back in action this Friday night April 23rd as the Trump Trucks/Ideal Ready Mix “Drive for Five” series for the IMCA Late Models kicks off at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson with Jeff Guengerich of Washington behind the wheel. Guengerich and his father Willie have been an important part of the Team 15 crew and as a former feature winner in the Late Model division around the area, putting Jeff in the car looks like a pretty good fit for now. I have not yet talked to Elston, but here’s hoping that this talented shoe is not away from the tracks for long.


Our Webmaster, or “Webmistress” as we so inappropriately refer to her, is usually pretty good at updating both the All Iowa Points and the All Missouri Points on a timely basis each week. But since she is in the final few weeks of a grueling semester for her Masters degree, you may notice that the points updates on the “Points” tab at http://www.positivelyracing.com/ might be a bit behind for the next few weeks or so. Keep checking in though as she assures me that she will get to them whenever she has an extra few minutes to spare. It’s bad enough that she was already smarter than Barry and I to begin with, but soon she will be able to officially wave that fact in front of our faces!

Until the full rundown through events of April 18th get posted, following you will find the top ten.

All Iowa Points

Late Models
1 Mark Burgtorf Quincy IL 18
2 Craig Preble Yutan NE 15
3 Ray Guss Jr. Milan IL 14
4 Billy Leighton Omaha NE 8
5 Doug Herrick West Concord MN 8
6 Jeff Aikey Cedar Falls 8
7 Dennis Woodworth Mendon IL 6
8 Jacob Brown Omaha NE 6
9 Josh Krug Omaha NE 6
10 Andy Eckrich Cosgrove 5
11 Chad Simpson Mount Vernon 5
12 John Anderson Omaha NE 5
13 Justin Reed Quincy IL 5
14 Keith Pratt Quincy IL 5
15 Kurt Kile West Liberty 5
16 Leon Zeitner Omaha NE 5
17 Nick Herrick West Concord MN 5

1 Jay Noteboom Hinton 21
2 Ryan Ruter Forest City 19
3 Jeremy Mills Garner 17
4 Michael Long Quincy IL 15
5 Richie Gustin Marshalltown 15
6 Pat Graham Ames 13
7 Brad Diercks Clarence 11
8 Dylan Smith Osceola NE 11
9 Jason Cummins New Richland MN 11
10 Jay Ihrke Dover MN 10
11 Jon Snyder Ames 10
12 Mark Elliott Webster City 10
13 Mike Sorenson Rochester MN 10
14 Milo Veloz Jr. Colona IL 10
15 Scott Hogan Vinton 10

Stock Cars
1 Travis Shipman Mason City 22
2 Jeff Mueller New London 17
3 Chad Palmer Renwick 15
4 Larry Portis Nora Springs 15
5 Jeffrey Larson Rushmore MN 14
6 Kevin Opheim Mason City 14
7 Nathan Wood Sigourney 14
8 Damon Murty Chelsea 13
9 Dustin Smith Lake City 13
10 Elijah Zevenbergen Ocheydan 13
11 Trent Murphy Jefferson 13

Limited Modifieds
1 Austin Kaplan Ankeny 18
2 Jesse Sobbing Glenwood 18
3 Tad Reutzel Burt 18
4 Beau Kaplan Ankeny 16
5 Geoff Olson Ames 16
6 Karl Brewer Vermillion SD 15
7 Danny Dvorak Vinton 14
8 Brett Meyer Lytton 13
9 Dan Tenold Northwood 11
10 Adam Ackerman Mason City 10
11 Brett Moffitt Grimes 10
12 Dusty Kraklio Durant 10
13 Eric Elliott Boone 10
14 Matthew Looft Swea City 10

Hobby Stocks
1 Dustin Wanarka Northrop MN 16
2 Dustin Larson Rushmore MN 15
3 Chad Gentz Forest City 14
4 Devin Smith Lake City 14
5 Nick Murty Chelsea 14
6 John Watson Des Moines 13
7 Justin Yarolem Monmouth 13
8 Chris Hupp Boone 12
9 Cory Gansen Clear Lake 11
10 Josh Neal Monmouth 11

Four Cylinders
1 Jay DeVries Spencer 19
2 Kelly Miller Greene 13
3 Patrick Barrett Floyd 12
4 Brannon Bechen Bernard 10
5 Mick Rykhus Eagle Lake MN 10
6 Nate Coopman Mankato MN 10
7 Cody Thompson Sioux City 9
8 Gary Peiffer Troy Mills 8
9 Gary Stahl Kasson MN 8
10 Jacob Ellithorpe Delmar 8
11 Merv Chandler Cedar Rapids 8
12 Scott Powell Polo IL 8
13 Scott Schlichting Britt 8

360 Sprints
1 Gregg Bakker Sioux Falls SD 9
2 Jack Dover Springfield NE 9
3 Eric Lutz Sioux Falls SD 5
4 Jerrod Hull Sikeston MO 5
5 Mike Boston Crete NE 5
6 Dustin Morgan Tulsa OK 5
7 Chad Humston Giltner NE 4
8 Ryan Jamison Mediapolis 4
9 Clint Garner Sioux Falls SD 3
10 Jim Moughan Springfield IL 3
11 Lee Grosz Harwood ND 3
12 Robby Wolfgang Sioux Falls SD 3
13 Ryan Roberts Aurora NE 3
14 Terry Holliman Hamburg 3

All Missouri Points

Late Models
1 Jack Simmons Erie KS 10
2 Jeremy Payne Springfield 9
3 Mark Voigt Marine IL 9
4 Donnie Timmerman Eldorado Springs 7
5 Bryan Collins Elsberry 6
6 Larry Jones Eldorado Springs 6
7 Tim Manville Highland IL 6
8 Al Purkey Coffeyville KS 5
9 Billy Faust Highland IL 5
10 Eric Turner Hermitage 5
11 Justin Wells Aurora 5
12 Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 5

1 Erik Maggard Springfield 14
2 Jesse Stovall Galena 13
3 Tim Hancock Mt. Olive IL 12
4 Johnny Bone Jr. Pea Ridge AR 11
5 Billy Smith Park Hills 10
6 Bobby Bittle Smithton IL 10
7 Mark Miner St. Louis 10
8 Terry Schultz Sedalia 10
9 Austin Matthews Dexter 9
10 Lucas Dobbs Eldorado Springs 9
11 Rusty Griffaw Festus 9
12 Scott Burge Puxico 9

Limited Modifieds
1 Colt Cheevers Macks Creek 23
2 Roy Maynard Alba 16
3 Adam Hemby 14
4 Justin McBroom 13
5 Steve Muilenberg Sparta 11
6 Tyler Fowler 10
7 Josh Woody Buckhorn 8
8 Wayne Graybeal Springfield 8
9 Lance Cox Mexico 7
10 Chad Tilley 6
11 Clay Hale Cameron 6
12 Michael Stake Lebanon 6

1 Randy Martin California 10
2 Jonathan Cornell Sedalia 8
3 Jesse Hockett Warsaw 5
4 Joey Saldana Brownsburg IN 5
5 Marshall Skinner West Memphis AR 5
6 Steve Short Farmington 5
7 Brady Bacon Broken Arrow OK 4
8 Brian Brown Grain Valley 4
9 Craig Dollansky Elk River MN 4
10 Derek Hager Marion AR 4
11 Eric Todd Falcon 4
12 Jerrod Hull Sikeston 4
13 Josh Fisher Smithton 4

Limited Late Models
1 Trey Harris 13
2 Doug Moore Dexter 9
3 Joe McCain 8
4 Kyle Berry Poplar Bluff 8
5 Darin Walker Bowling Green 7
6 Jamie Robards Broseley 7
7 Jeff Herzog 6
8 Billy James Sikeston 5
9 Brandon Imhoff Lake Ozark 5
10 Danny Ems 5
11 Justin Wells Aurora 5
12 Tanner English Benton KY 5
13 Vance Wilson Bowling Green 5

If you are a Late Model fan I hope that you enjoy the tabs that I have been keeping on the others states outside of Iowa and Missouri. As the season gets into full swing I will likely not be able to keep up with the standings from the other states and I will have to catch up with them in November and December like I did last season. But for now, here are the top five Late Model standings from a few other states that have held more than a handful of events so far in 2010:

1 Mark Mears Decatur 24
2 Stacy Holmes Munford 24
3 Tim Busha Boaz 22
4 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 13
5 Bradley Price Hamilton 12

1 Austin Hubbard Seaford DE 13
2 Derek Ellis Chatsworth 13
3 Jonathan Davenport Blairsville 12
4 Josh Richards Shinnston WV 12
5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 12
6 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 12

1 Jason Feger Bloomington 18
2 Chad Zobrist Highland 13
3 Jeremy Nichols 12
4 Michael Kloos Trenton 12
5 Mark Voigt Marine 11

1 Kevin Cole Christopher IL 12
2 Todd Coffman 12
3 Dustin Neat Dunville 10
4 John Whitney 10
5 Dillan White 9
6 Don O'Neal Martinsville IN 9
7 Josh Williams 9

1 Chad Thrash Meridian 13
2 Chris Wall Holden LA 10
3 Rick Rickman Columbus 10
4 Jimmy Cliburn Star 9
5 Dane Dacus Lakeland TN 8

1 Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 15
2 Jeep VanWormer Pinconning MI 13
3 Ryan Markham Ashland 12
4 Doug Drown Wooster 10
5 R.J. Conley Wheelersburg WV 10
6 Ryan Missler Bellevue 10

South Carolina
1 Johnny Pursley Clover 14
2 Furman Parton Union Mills 11
3 Mike Ashley Greenwood 9
4 Zach Mitchell 9
5 Danny Howell 8

1 Jeff Walston Paducah KY 23
2 Jason McBride Carbondale IL 17
3 Anthony Burroughs Muscle Shoals AL 14
4 Mark Haddon Estill Springs 12
5 Randy Weaver Crossville 12
6 Riley Hickman Ooltewah 12
7 Todd Morrow Oldfort 12

This past weekend I had several people tell me that they saw here that my column would no longer be found in Hawkeye Racing News and each person had something nice to say as well. I cannot tell you how much that means to me, not only the kind comments that were made, but the fact that you found this bit of news right here online. For the thirty-one years that I wrote the "Back Stretch" for HRN I often joked that I had six or seven regular readers. This past weekend I discovered that I have at least doubled that number here online!

Thanks for checking in and remember, Support The Sport.....Be Positive!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Burgtorf Takes A Thriller At Dubuque

It took twenty-three years for the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models to finally make an appearance at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway. After the show that they put on Sunday night I am pretty confident that the “Boys of Summer” will be back again next year, and hopefully more than once! Keith Simmons and his crew provided a perfectly manicured track and the forty-four Late Model drivers used just about every inch of the wide high-banked 3/8-mile in five entertaining heat races, two frantic B-Mains and a fifty-lap feature that saw the final forty-one laps run under green flag conditions. This was just one fantastic night of racing on beautiful mid-April evening.

Hometown hero Jeremiah Hurst brought the field to green in the main event and cars were racing five-wide in turn two on the second lap before the red flag flew for an incident involving defending IMCA National Champ Kevin Blum. Blum who rode the cushion from mid-pack to win the second B-Main just a few moments earlier had it jump up to bite him in turn one as he climbed the wall and rolled over once. “The Wild Man” escaped uninjured, but his #54 required two wreckers to head back to the pits. Once back to green it was another rim-rider, Jason Rauen, who blew by Hurst for the lead on lap four while Ray Guss Jr. used the bottom line to work his way into contention. Earlier in the evening Guss looked dominant coming from eighth to first in just four laps before walking away with the win in heat race number five and his quick move forward from the fourth row in the feature was not a surprise.

A caution on lap nine slowed the field and on the restart Guss stormed to the front and quickly opened up a lead over the rest of the pack. Mark Burgtorf was also working the low groove and he moved past Rauen a few laps later to try to pick up the chase on Guss, but Rauen was not about to give in as he kept the pressure on Burgtorf rocketing off the topside of turns two and four lap after lap. Around the mid-point of the race with Guss still far ahead and with Rauen still making runs at him from the top, Burgtorf changed his preferred groove and moved up to the cushion as well. With the change of lines the lead started to shrink, and especially when Guss encountered some lapped traffic Burgtorf closed the gap. While that chase continued the battle for third took center stage as Dan Shelliam and Mike Murphy Jr. challenged Rauen. With about fifteen laps remaining, and two lapped cars also in the mix, Murphy made a brilliant move diving to the bottom in turns three and four passing all four cars to move into the third spot and, with Murphy now leading that trio, they quickly closed in on Burgtorf as well.

With ten laps remaining the lead had been cut to about five car lengths and with Burgtorf, Murphy, Rauen and Shelliam all flying around the cushion it looked as though five drivers would have a shot at the win. But when Murphy got a little sideways exiting turn four a lap later, both Rauen and Shelliam had to check up a bit to let him save it and the momentum had been broken for those three. This race would now be decided between Guss and Burgtorf. Ray was still using the same groove that had carried him to the front about three car-widths off the rail and he would then drift up enough on the straightaways to make it real tight for anybody coming off the high side to get between him and the concrete wall. Burgtorf had a couple of opportunities to show him his nose, but instead hit the binders choosing to wait until he had the run that he needed to take the lead. That opportunity came with just six laps remaining as Mark nailed the cushion perfectly in turns one and two and pulled even with Guss as they hit the backstretch. The momentum off the topside was too much for Guss to fight off and the race had a new leader in Burgtorf. Down on power a bit from a broken header, Guss could not fight back and Burgtorf cruised through the final laps to his third Deery series victory in five events this season and the $2,000 top prize. Guss would have to settle for runner-up honors while Shelliam disposed of Rauen over the final laps to finish third. Defending track champion Andy Eckrich made a late move past Murphy to complete the top five while Saturday night’s feature winner in Maquoketa, Jeff Aikey came home seventh in this thriller that sent a nice crowd home abuzz. Mark Burgtorf (7) makes the winning move to pass Ray Guss Jr. in the closing laps for another victory lane celebration with his crew at Dubuque - Barry Johnson photo

The B-Mods were a bit short on numbers as the only support class for the evening, but the nine-car field staged an entertaining fifteen-lap main event that would have been even better if not for a three-car pileup with five laps remaining. Kyle Eberle established the early pace before both Jed Freiburger and Timmy Current stormed past him in turn three on lap five. Those two would swap the lead a lap later with Current taking over until the caution waved with nine laps in the books for Eberle who had stalled on the backstretch. On the restart Freiburger and Current would pass the flagstand side-by-side and when Freiburger got a bit sideways on the bottom groove entering turn one it forced the third-place car of Dustin Wilwert to check up and spin. Jarrett Franzen and Matt Gansen had no place to go and they piled into Wilwert as well with only Gansen being able to make some quick repairs and continue.

Once back to green the battle upfront continued until Freiburger muscled his way past Current with three laps to go and held that lead until the end for the victory. Gansen was able to make his way back up to third behind Current at the checkers while Randy Leehan and Jason Seegmiller completed the top five. Jed Freiburger was the feature winner in the B-Modified portion of Sunday's show - Barry Johnson photo

DBQ Deery Notes…..Rob Toland had to feel snake-bitten tonight. He was running a strong third in the first Late Model heat race when his air cleaner popped off. He then started near the back of the first B-Main only to have that end for him before it even started when Todd Malmstrom’s left rear wheel come off as the field was coming to the green. Jay Johnson and Toland collided with Malmstrom as he spun sideways exiting turn four and, while Johnson was able to restart, the front end damage on Toland’s car forced him to the pits. On the pace lap just before the start I noticed Johnson pull up alongside Malmstrom so I wonder if Jay saw signs of the pending issue just before it happened. As it worked out Toland later had an opportunity to use a points provisional to start the main event but since he would not be able to make full repairs to his car before the start, and the fact that it would have been his third and final series provisional, he instead turned it down to allow somebody to use it who could actually “race” with it rather than just making a lap or two. How ironic that the next driver in line for that provisional was Todd Malmstrom…..SPI drivers swept the three transfer spots in heat race number two, but only after a thrilling last lap move that saw Jason Rauen and Andy Eckrich power by Shawn Mulvaney for second and third at the finish. Dan Shelliam was the winner…..I’d just like to toss this in here. Watching Jason Rauen run the cushion anywhere is more than worth the price of admission. They don’t call him “Hammer Down” for nothing!…..The third heat race saw T.J. Criss make a great move off turn four to steal away the final transfer spot from Rick Wendling. For Criss it was a great way to make his first feature race in the first five events of the series and for Wendling it was a disappointing ending after making a great run forward after starting ninth…..Defending series champion Jeff Aikey came from ninth to finish third in heat race number four and I already mentioned above that Ray Guss Jr. stormed through the field in the fifth heat taking the lead on lap four after starting eighth. The action was intense in all five Late Model heats…..While Mike Murphy Jr. drove off with the win in the first B-Main the third and final transfer position was determined coming off of turn four to the checkers when Nate Beuseling threw a nasty slider, including a bit of contact, on Justin Kay…..The second B-Main saw veteran driver Greg Kastli make his first Deery show of 2010 by holding off Mark Preston for the final transfer…..Tyler Bruening earned the Hard Charger provisional while Jason Frankel and Malmstrom started based upon series points…..Tom Darbyshire was scheduled to start the A-Main in row five, but when the oil light came on as he fired up the engine to head to staging it revealed problems that would force him to jump into Mark Preston’s #57 at the last moment. During the early red-flag for Blum’s accident Preston told one of Darbyshire’s crewmen to go tell him to strap in and race it, but Tom chose to pull in after another lap or two rather than risking damage to the equipment of the generous driver who loaned him the ride…..Guss started seventh and Burgtorf started sixth following the redraw fro the main event. With Darbyshire dropping to the back for the start, Murphy started his impressive run to the front from the outside of row seven. Eckrich started tenth and Aikey started twelfth…..Burgtorf recalled at least two previous trips to Dubuque. One for a Busch All Star Tour race back in the last '80s and another he thought in 2001, "but that was before they had this wall all the way around it.".....Justin Reed was listed in eighth on the series point list coming into the evening, but chose to race both his Late Model and the Dunker racing Modified at his hometown track in Quincy Sunday night. He ran second to Denny Woodworth in the Late Model and finished fourth in the Modified…..Thirty-one drivers have the J&J Steel Ironman perfect attendance record so far through five events…..The only negative on the night for me at least was the fact that the speaker system was not functioning well which meant that I could not hear the work of Eric Huenefeld, one of the top announcers in the area…..Simmons Promotions has a couple of big Open Late Model shows paying $10,000-to-win coming up on April 30th at Farley and on May 1st at West Liberty.

Long Puts The "Smackdown" On IMCA Mod Field At Lee County

The Discount Tire and Service IMCA Modified “Smackdown” kicked off the 2010 season at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson Saturday night with Michael Long in the Discount Tire and Service #18 taking home the big money.

Track announcer Dewain Hulett had me handle most of the booth duties on the night while he picked up some interviews during caution and talked with the winners in victory lane. So, with just over one hundred cars in action and with the show moving right along at good clip like it always does at Donnellson, I did not have any time to take detailed notes on the night so what follows are some general observations as I review the results.

A solid field of thirty-seven IMCA Modifieds were on hand for what I hope will become an annual event with $2,000 plus lap money going to the winner. Sean Jerovetz of Sobieski, Wisconsin, made the longest pull in for the event and he finished thirteenth in the main event. Other long distance travelers included Nate Caruth from Ames, Mark Elliott from Webster City, Troy Cordes from Raymond, Mark Schulte from Delhi, Scott Hogan from Vinton, Jeff Morris from Long Grove and Max Corporan from Marion.

As the final event of the night, the Modified feature looked like it might be a parade around the bottom line as a nice strip of moisture down there made it the preferred groove. But when Michael Long, Josh Foster and several more drivers stepped out of line early the track widened out nicely and Long eventually made his pass of leader Rich Smith using that higher line around the speedway. Smith, who picked up quite a bit of lap money himself, held off Foster to finish second while Scott Hogan and Mark Elliott rounded out the top five.
Michael Long makes the winning move around Rich Smith - Barry Johnson photo

Corey Dripps was leading the first heat of the night before smoke billowed out of his #31 car. He then stepped into the #25T of teammate Duane Peterson and finished third in the B-Main after starting fifteenth. Dripps then came from 22nd to finish 11th in the feature.

Jacob Waterman of Milan, Illinois, made his first trip to Donnellson after winning the IMCA Modified feature the night before in Davenport. As a testament to the highs and lows of this sport, Waterman broke in his heat race and was finished for the night.

Twenty-eight SportMods were on hand and while they struggled a bit with cautions come feature time, the racing action that they provided was pretty good. Phillip Cossel picked up the victory holding off a late charge from Jim Gillenwater, however Gillenwater would later be disqualified during post-race tech. Michael Bliven, Kurt Hogan, Cayden Carter and Thad Gaylord would complete the official top five. The car count was bolstered by several drivers who will be racing every Wednesday night at Oskaloosa and you may see them at Donnellson on the Friday nights when Bloomfield is not racing as that track is running a limited schedule in 2010.
Three-wide action at Donnellson with eventual winner Phillip Cossel working the inside against Michael Bliven (20) and Bob Lynch (41) - Barry Johnson photo

Derek Kirkland of Centerville topped the field of twenty-one Hobby Stocks proving that a 9:1 compression motor can win here. Kirkland had the father and son duo of Dan and Jake Wenig working on him late in the feature race only to have both of them falter at the same time with two laps remaining. Jim Lynch would bring his sharp looking #66 in for second followed by Andy Coleman, Dale Porter and Jake Wenig. I’m pretty sure that Coleman and Porter, plus the sixth and seventh place finishers of Donovan Nunnikhoven and T.J. Henderson were also running 9:1 motors. Derek Kirkland (2K) races with early challenger Jeremy Pundt - Barry Johnson photo

Fifteen of the four cylinder “Wild Things” were also in action and it was James Oliver III who walked away from the field in his #10 car that is currently sporting a “For Sale” sign. Jerry Ostby and John Helenthal finished second and third while Kimberly Abbott was fourth. The Wild Things were a late addition to the schedule thanks to some purse sponsorship by Abbott’s 71 Racing Team and others. This division has a definite “family” feel to it as Ostby’s daughter Dani Kimball and her uncle Bill Michel were also in competition. What better way to market a car than to put it in victory lane like James Oliver III did at Donnellson - Barry Johnson photo

The Lee County Speedway returns to “Friday Night Thunder in the Heartland” on April 23rd with the first night for track points featuring the Ideal Ready Mix and Trump Trucks “Drive for Five” for the IMCA Late Models with $1,000 going to the feature winner. Details can be found at www.leecountyspeedway.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

Schrader Welcomes In New Era of Weekly Racing at Sedalia

Weekly racing action returned to the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia Friday night with Ken Schrader, Jeremy Payne and Randy Martin taking opening night victories.

After running three shows in conjunction with the USMTS this would be the first stand-alone event for the new Mid-America Modified Series (MAMS) and the thirty-five car Modified field would serve as the headliners tonight. Jeremy Payne and Ken Schrader lined up on the front row for the twenty-five-lap main event with Schrader riding the cushion off of turn two on the opening lap to take the lead. Dustin Boney who started right behind Schrader moved past Payne in three and four to take up the chase of the leader before the caution waved on lap four. On the restart Boney nosed ahead of Schrader in turn two, but the former NASCAR Cup star came right back on the outside down the backstretch and regained the lead into turn three.

Another caution waved on lap ten and on this restart Mark Dotson moved by Boney to second and tried to keep pace with Schrader. Yet another caution flew on lap fifteen and with the double-file restart Boney was able to again move into the second spot. This time though he was unable to keep up with Schrader who pulled away over the final ten circuits to take the win. Boney and Dotson were second and third respectively, Payne finished fourth and Chad Lyle, who pitted twice under caution, rallied to take fifth. Sixth through tenth went to Jesse Stovall, Brian Bolin, Curt Rackers, Danny Crane and Johnny Fennewald.
Ken Schrader held off Dustin Boney for the MAMS feature victory - Barry Johnson photo

Twenty-one Late Models were up next for what I believe was to be a twenty-five lap event, but a pair of spectacular incidents on the frontstretch shortened the event to just fourteen laps. This one got off to a tough start when outside front row starter Jeremy Payne got on the gas well before pole-sitter Bryon Allison did. Flagman Herschel Thompson had already turned the yellow on for a false start when Allison spun in turn one and slapped the guardrail collecting Terry Phillips. The damage put Allison on the hook while Phillips was able to start once again in eighth. Bryan Collins assumed the pole position for the next try at a start, but this time Payne held back and again the start was called back. The third time was a charm as we stayed green and Payne charged to the front with Collins in tow. After a caution waved on lap five, all hell broke loose on the ensuing restart.

With the double-file realignment things stacked up mid-pack sending Larry D. Clawson spinning down the frontsretch just past the flagstand. Drivers scrambled trying to avoid slamming into Clawson, with Bob Cummings jumping the inside guardrail, before being retained by the chain link fence as pit spectators scrambled to get out of the way. Zach Simmons was also caught up in the mess and his night was done as well. During the long delay it was announced that the race would now be cut to a fifteen-lap distance. When the green reappeared it was Al Purkey who moved into second and he tried to keep the leader Payne within striking distance. With five to go it was obvious that Purkey was slowing down as he had picked up some mud in his right rear wheel causing quite a vibration. As Purkey took the white flag he suddenly veered to the left and he too launched over the inside guardrail before taking out about twenty yards of the chain link fence. Thank goodness that none of the pit area spectators were standing along that fence, perhaps due to the earlier incident! After using two wreckers to lift Purkey’s car back onto the frontstretch it was announced that this race had reached its time limit so the checkers waved and the field was sent to the infield. Payne would be the winner, Collins the runner-up and Phillips, despite the right side body damage that he incurred on the first start, would finish third. Larry Clawson would be credited with fourth, David Turner fifth and the rest of the top ten was Dave Meyer, Billy Koons, Chris Smyser, Brett Wood and Bob Test.
Jeremy Payne cruised to victory in the Late Model division - Barry Johnson photo

The Sprint Cars would close out the night, but the start of their feature was delayed briefly when pole starter Justyn Cox experienced problems even before the field tried to take the green. With Cox unable to go Terry Hinck would move up next to Randy Martin for the start, but when the green flag waved Martin was gone. Brian Brown was able to close within striking distance as Martin negotiated traffic, but was never able to mount a real challenge as Martin cruised to a non-stop fifteen-lap victory. Jonathan Cornell fought off Jesse Hockett to finish third while Rusty Potter was the only other driver to stay on the lead lap in fifth. Unofficially sixth through tenth were Hinck, Mike Trent, Austin Alumbaugh, Jon Corbin and Cody Forshee. Randy Martin went flag-to-flag for the checkers in the Sprint Car division - Barry Johnson photo

MSFS Notes……Along with the 35 Modifieds and 21 Late Models there were 14 Sprint Cars in attendance in front of a solid opening night crowd…..Terry Phillips had a tough night in turn one on the opening lap of his four events. In the incident in the Late Model main he was a victim, but in the Modified it was Phillips who would spin and collect others. In his heat Terry got sideways in turn one and collected Kevin Blackburn although both drivers were able to complete the race. And in the first B-Main again Phillips pitched his Mod sideways in turn one and this time several cars including John Allen, Matt Dotson and Jamie Ragland piled into his #75. Both Phillips and Ragland rode the hook into the pits while Allen and Dotson were able to restart from the rear…..With five laps remaining in that Modified B, John Allen’s left front tie rod broke and he was somehow able to muscle it the rest of the way to claim the sixth and final transfer position…..A-Mod rookie Mickey Burrell passed Dennis Walrath late for the final transfer out of the second B-Main…..Two time defending All Missouri Modified Points champion Tim Setzer was running fourth in the feature event before a plume of smoke emerged from his #51 with three laps to run…..The first heat race of the new era of weekly racing at Sedalia took the green at 8:30 and the final checkers waved at 11:55……Promoters Jason Bodenhammer and Reid Millard have done a nice job of selling sponsorships for just about everything involved with the events and the facility. It was the first time that I have ever heard of the bathrooms being sponsored with All Star Bail Bonds taking that title. Goody’s Steakburgers stays open late to feed hungry race fans and we are glad that they did as the food was excellent…..Weekly racing continues on Friday nights in Sedalia and the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars will be here on Wednesday June 16th…….Fellow PR.com blogger Barry Johnson was here as well and will likely have pictures from Sedalia on “Running the High Side” in the near future.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday "Hump Day" Notes

Two entertaining Deery Brothers Summer Series events for IMCA Late Models were put in the books this past weekend and an exciting tripleheader is up next with stops at Davenport on Friday, Maquoketa on Saturday and Dubuque on Sunday. It will be the first time ever that the Series has visited Dubuque and as of right now the weather forecast is looking good for all three. Isn't it amazing? We go through one of the worst winters in years and then we have one of the warmest first two weeks of April ever! Just remember race fans, temperatures in the 60's are still warmer than normal for this time of year so no complaints about it being cold this weekend!

I thought I would be able to give you a rundown of the Deery Series points after two races, but they weren't on the IMCA site as of yet. Of course we know that Mark Burgtorf enjoys a solid lead after winning both races and by my calculations the drivers next in line would be Rob Toland, Ray Guss Jr., Jason Frankel, Darrell DeFrance and Tom Goble. It will be interesting to see if Goble heads north this weekend after getting off to this good of a start.

I talked briefly with Reid Millard this morning and he is very excited about opening night at the Missouri State Fair Speedway coming up this Friday night. Reid and Jason Bodenhammer, both Late Model drivers themselves, are bringing weekly racing back to Sedalia in 2010 featuring Late Models, Modifieds and 360 c.i. Winged Sprints. He sounded just like a veteran promoter this morning though with the old line "I wish we had more time to get ready for it, but I'm excited for race night to be here!"

A couple of interesting events close to home this weekend. The Lee County Speedway in Donnellson will kickoff its 2010 season with the Discount Tire IMCA Modified "Smackdown" paying at least $2,000 and perhaps, with lap money, more than $3,000 to the winner. Twenty-four drivers have sent in pre-entries and you can expect many more to show up on race day so it should be quite a field as this is big-time money for an IMCA sanctioned Modified show. Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and the four cylinder Wild Things are also on the card.

It will already be the third night of action at 34 Raceway on Saturday night as the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders hit the track for their first event of 2010. "The Ultimate 360 Sprint Challenge" will also see the IMCA Stock Cars and the Four Cylinders in action.

The flyers for both of these events can be found on the home page http://www.positivelyracing.com/

While you are at the home page you can also click on the "Points" tab and check out the early season standings for both the All Iowa Points and the All Missouri Points. And for you Late Model fans here are some early standings from some other states.....

1 Mark Mears Decatur 24
2 Stacy Holmes Munford 18
3 Tim Busha Boaz 18
4 Bradley Price Hamilton 12
5 Cameron Cherry Pinson 10

1 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 17
2 Josh Richards Shinnston WV 16
3 Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 13
4 Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 13
5 Aaron Ridley Chatsworth GA 11
6 Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater 11
7 Dan Schlieper Sullivan WI 11
8 Darrell Lanigan Union KY 10

1 Austin Hubbard Seaford DE 13
2 Jonathan Davenport Blairsville 12
3 Josh Richards Shinnston WV 12
4 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 12
5 Derek Ellis Chatsworth 10

1 Michael Kloos Trenton 12
2 Jason Feger Bloomington 10
3 Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 9
4 Chad Zobrist Highland 8
5 Frankie Martin DuQuoin 8
6 Richie Hedrick Urbana 8

1 Jeff Walston Paducah KY 18
2 Jason McBride Carbondale IL 17
3 Anthony Burroughs Muscle Shoals AL 14
4 Riley Hickman Ooltewah 12
5 Jake Knowles Tyrone GA 9
6 Randy Weaver Crossville 9

More tracks are opening up this weekend, get out and enjoy a race near you! And remember.....

Be Positive, Support The Sport!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Burgtorf Doubles Up With Deery Win at Quincy

Mark Burgtorf is not a big fan of the draw-redraw format for lining up Late Model races. On Saturday night at 34 Raceway the Quincy, Illinois, driver drew out the highest number of the sixty-four drivers in attendance, a “98”, putting him on the back of a qualifying heat. He started eleventh, sliced through the field in just ten laps to win and then later went on to win the fifty-lap feature event, the opener for the 2010 Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models. On Sunday evening at his hometown track, Mark pulled a “2” out of the bag and when nobody drew the “1” he started the first heat from the pole position. Not surprisingly he won that ten-lap event and then later in the evening once again landed in victory lane after fifty laps of feature racing. So is this proof that it can be done from both ends of the spectrum when it comes to the draw format? Yes, but it really helps if you are Mark Burgtorf!

The Quincy feature had a similar storyline as the night before at 34 where a driver takes the lead early, opens up a full straightaway advantage, and is later tracked down and passed by Burgtorf. Darrell DeFrance established the early pace with Kevin Blum and Jason Frankel applying the pressure. On the thirteenth circuit Frankel charged into turn three on the high side and drove past DeFrance for the lead. As Frankel pulled away Burgtorf, who started sixth, moved past Blum and DeFrance to take second lap eighteen and the chase was on. A pair of cautions on laps twenty-one and twenty-two erased Frankel’s cushion and on the restart Burgtorf applied the pressure. Jason was up to the challenge though as he kept the challenger in his wake as the field seemed to all settle into the high groove.

As the leaders raced by me on lap thirty-one I heard the sound of metal snapping and I looked to see if somebody had caught the frontstretch wall. Everybody looked clean, but on the next trip by I noticed that the blade of the spoiler on the right corner of Frankel’s car had broken loose and was now floating in the wind rather than providing the downforce that it was supposed to. There did not appear to be any damage to the right rear quarter-panel on Frankel’s car so I’m not sure if contact with the wall caused the issue, or if the spoiler just gave way, but Burgtorf was now ready to pounce. Two laps later he charged to the inside and moved past Frankel for the lead and then pulled away for the convincing victory.

Ray Guss Jr. who started in row six tried a similar move on Frankel over the final laps, but would settle for third at the checkers being the only outsider to break up the “Quincy party” in the top five. Track regulars Keith Pratt and Denny Woodworth rounded out the top five with Woodworth coming all the way from row nine. Tom Darbyshire would finish sixth, DeFrance was seventh, Tyler Bruening had a solid run in eighth, Rob Toland was ninth and Jay Johnson completed the top ten. The win was worth $2,000 for Burgtorf who will enjoy a comfortable early point lead as the Deery series now prepares for a tripleheader weekend at Davenport, Maquoketa and Dubuque.

The IMCA Stock Car feature preceded the Late Model headliner and it was Terry Houston who raced to victory after taking the early lead away from Aaron Brocksieck. Former Late Model driver Kevin Tomlinson chased Houston in for second, Jeff Mueller came back from an early pit stop for third while Abe Huls and Jerry Janssen completed the top five. Earlier in the night Janssen climbed the frontstretch wall, wiped out a catch fence pole and then rolled his car a couple of times coming to the checkers in his heat race. Track crews took a little over a half hour to make repairs that would ensure the safety of the large crowd on hand and Janssen and his crew also worked hard to get that car back on the track for the feature event.

“Q” Notes…..The fifty IMCA Late Models on hand established a new track record for Quincy according to “Stevie Dirt” Steve Eighinger of the Quincy Herald Whig. If you have any interest in what goes on at the Quincy Raceways you need to check out his regular columns and you can find them on the home page of Heartland Motorsports at http://www.heartlandmotorsports.com …..Jason Rauen took the checkers first in the second Late Model heat, but was disqualified in tech when the “sniffer” did not like his tires. Rauen returned for one of the two B-Mains but could not advance to a transfer spot…..Two of the Deery series top drivers over the past several years had a night to forget as Jeff Aikey and Terry Neal did not make the main event. Aikey actually loaded up and left after his heat race…..Kelly Meyer appeared to have a transfer position in hand in the first B-Main until he slipped the right rear tire over the top of turn three with two laps remaining allowing Denny Woodworth and Boone McLaughlin to get by…..Dale Hackwell earned the Hard Charger provisional while Tom Goble and Matt Strassheim, two top-five finishers from the night before in Burlington, started the feature as series provisionals….Andy Eckrich was racing in the top ten in the main event before spinning in turn one on lap twenty-two. He would be credited with 21st…..Jeremiah Hurst was running eighth in the feature when he slowed and pulled off the track as the leaders took the white flag ahead of him…..After his beautiful new black #25 Stock Car let out a puff of smoke during hot laps, Andrew Griffin retrieved his old car and ran it in the feature race finishing seventh…..With the delay for fence repair earlier in the evening we chose to head out after the Late Model main event was completed. Michael Long took the top prize in the UMP Modified division over a solid field of twenty-two cars and Bobby Anders took the win in the Hobby Stock division…..Track owner Tony Rhinberger handled the announcing duties on the night…..Weekly Sunday night action continues at Quincy on April 18th.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burgtorf Banks Three Grand for Slocum 50 Win at 34

Mark Burgtorf is making a habit of collecting big paychecks at 34 Raceway in West Burlington. After drawing out the highest number in the bag Burgtorf stormed through the field from eleventh to win the third of six qualifying heats and then drew the number nine starting position for the fifty-lap feature event. Many in the large crowd that had gathered for the second annual Slocum 50, an event honoring Late Model driver Brent Slocum who lost his life in a pit accident here a few years back, figured that it wouldn’t be long before Burgtorf would be at the front of the field. After all, he did it in just ten laps earlier in the night, but young Nate Beuseling was going to make him work for it now.

It was another youngster Ryan Giles who jumped to the early lead as the twenty-five car field took the green and he enjoyed the view from the front for three circuits before Beuseling, who started fourth, slipped by him. While the field battled two and three wide behind him, Beuseling marched away opening up more than a straightaway lead by the time that Burgtorf moved into the second spot on lap seventeen. As Beuseling struggled to get by the lapped car of Mark Preston, it took him nearly eight laps to dispose of him, Burgtorf slowly closed the gap. And when Preston slapped the frontstretch wall and slid to a stop on the topside of turn one, the only caution of the event appeared totaling erasing the advantage.

It took four laps for Burgtorf to nose ahead of Buesling for the lead, but to the surprise of almost everyone, Beuseling fought back. He would regain the lead on lap thirty-one, only to see Burgtorf regain the advantage on lap thirty-two and on the following lap Beuseling ran the high groove to perfection and put himself back out front forcing Burgtorf to settle in behind him and regroup. The 3/8-mile oval started the evening dry, slick and dusty from a brilliant April sun and a warm breeze, nut now the moisture had worked its way back up to the surface and there were two distinct lines with Beuseling running high and Burgtorf down low. With nine laps remaining Burgtorf finally made the low line win out as he pulled ahead of Beuseling down the frontstretch and then slid up in front of him in one and two to seal the deal. Nate stayed within striking distance the rest of the way, but was unable to mount a challenge over the final laps as Burgtorf claimed the $3,000 top prize in the season opener for the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models.

Rob Toland perhaps put on the drive of the night coming from the twenty-second starting spot to finish third. Toland started deep in his heat race and a made a little bit of progress, then started eighth in the second B-Main before finishing fourth, one spot away from the final transfer position. He would start the feature as the recipient of the Hard Charger provisional that goes to the driver who passed the most cars in the heat and the B-Main, a great idea for a draw-redraw format that the series’ officials implemented last year. Local favorite Tom Goble made an impressive run late to finish fourth after starting next to Burgtorf in row five while Matt Strassheim was equally impressive coming to fifth after starting sixteenth.

The front row starters, Giles and Todd Malmstrom, were sixth and seventh followed by the "Iron Man" Darrell DeFrance in eight. Terry Neal came all the way from row eleven to finish ninth and Ray Guss Jr. completed the top ten. After the Deery Series and 34 Raceway staged one of the best one hundred lap features in memory last September, a race that Mark Burgtorf had slip away from him late, they followed it up nicely with a fifty-lapper that was full of action.

The IMCA Modifieds was the first of the three features to be run on the night and they, quite frankly struggled with multiple cautions and long delays in getting realigned for double file restarts. A lap seven restart saw front runners Scott Hogan and Jim Lynch get together coming to the green and while those two drivers made brilliant saves, the rest of the twenty-eight car field scrambled and stacked up behind them. Officials put the field in a single-file formation for the next restart and told them that they would either run the remaining thirteen laps under green or that the race would be checkered at the next caution. They made it five more laps before one of the backmarkers spun in turn three and the checkers waved for Dusty Kraklio. Kraklio started from the pole and had held off an early challenge from Darin Duffy to maintain the lead throughout. Duffy would be credited with second, Brandon Rothzen came from tenth to third, Rich Smith came all the way from row nine to earn fourth and the defending track champion Hogan rounded out the top five.

The Hobby Stocks had some early cautions as well, but they recovered nicely and went the full fifteen-lap distance as Randy Wachter won his first career main event in the division. Wachter looked like he has done this winning thing many times before as he started seventh and overtook early leader Dan Wenig on lap four. He then had to fight off the challenges of Tanner Thomann over the final few laps to take the victory by a little less than a car length. Ray Raker came from deep in the field to finish behind Thomann in third while Rob Wilsey and Wenig rounded out the top five.

34 Raceway/Slocum 50 Notes…….Sixty-four IMCA Late Models checked in for action bolstered by a few of the Simmons Promotions drivers who are making the transition to IMCA in 2010 including Andy Eckrich, Joel Callahan, Jeremiah Hurst, Jason Rauen and Dan Shelliam. Callahan and Rauen made the show while Eckrich was passed late by defending IMCA Late Model National Champion Kevin Blum for the final transfer out of the first B-Main……Jason Frankel, who won both series events here last year, spun while running fifth in the first heat race, started last in his B and then took a series provisional for the A-Main but was never a factor this night……Cory Goldbeck was holding off Tommy Elston for the final transfer in the second B-Main before he slipped over the top in turn one, perhaps with mechanical issues. This made for a happy group of fans where I was seated as I watched the heats and the B-Mains from the Richard Realty and Auction mobile VIP suite that pulls Elston’s #15 to the track.

Thanks to Karen, Coach Bob, Dick and Renee for letting me join them for the qualifying action! For more info on "Team 15" and Tommy Elston click here http://www.richardrealtyauction.com/ 

The Modified field featured several visitors from the Independence area including Duffy, Justin O’Brien, Adam Johnson, Chris Snyder and Jason Snyder, plus the husband and wife team of Mike and Julie Wedelstadt made the trip in from Wisconsin….Kraklio also won the night before in the B-Mod feature at the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton.....The Deery Series is back in action again tonight at Quincy while 34 Raceway will be the place where the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders will open their sesaon next Saturday April 17th.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pics From The Lee County Speedway Car in Downtown Donnellson

Derek St. Clair

Jim Lynch

Bob Lynch

Jeremy Pundt

Jim Redmann

Dean Kratzer

James Maxey

Ron Downing Jr.

Rod Staats

Phillip Cossel

"The Tall Thin One" Rodger Dresden

Donovan Nunnikhoven

The Back Stretch Has Been Shut Down......In Print That Is

After thirty-one years, the "Back Stretch" will no longer appear in print in Hawkeye Racing News. Two weeks ago I received a letter along with my new HRN Press Card for 2010, an interesting letter in that it started out basically saying that promoters will be less likely to accept your Press Card due to more restrictive media policies. And then later it stated that "this publication will have first access to the material submitted to us and that we will not see it published in another publication, or posted on a website, prior to publication in our pages."

As a contributing columnist to HRN for thirty-one years my "compensation" has been the opportunity to use the Press Card to get into the races for free and, for the most part, it has worked nicely over the years. It is actually the promoters who are compensating the columnist by not asking for the fee that would otherwise be paid for a pit pass or a grandstand ticket and in return that columnist writes something that publicizes the track and its drivers. The publication then uses that column that has been contributed to the paper for content that it then hopes to sell advertising space around and that people will pay money for to subscribe to. It is a nice arrangement for the publication as the only real cost of having the contributing columnist is the postage to send out that Press Card once a year and the time that it takes for the editor to make a credentials request to a track promoter.

I knew who was really "paying" me for my efforts, so a few years ago when we were told that we needed to limit our columns to a length of 750 to 1,000 words I had a dilemma. There are some weeks where I only go to one race, so in that case I still felt that I was giving a track a fair write-up even with the restricted length of the column. But there were also weeks where I would be lucky enough to attend two, three, four or even five nights of racing and in those instances it was impossible to really say much in 200 or 250 words about each night. I was cheating the promoters out of the coverage that they deserved and that is one of the primary reasons that Barry and I came up with the concept of Positively Racing. To be able to write what we wanted to and how much we wanted to about each event, and of course to provide that coverage in a more timely manner.

I’m not bitter, I completely understand the stance being taken by HRN. If the editor of the paper takes the time to arrange press credentials for an upcoming event, and I gain access to that event as a representative of HRN then yes, the paper does deserve to have the first opportunity to publish my thoughts on that event. In 2009, the first year of this website by the way, I attended 59 nights of racing. Of those 59 nights I used my HRN Press Card nine times to gain access to the event. On those other fifty nights I was either admitted to the event due to my relationship with the promoter through my other past racing activities (announcing, the NKF Tour, the old radio show, promoting, etc.) or I bought a ticket just like the other race fans who were there. With work and family I can’t always predict where and when I will be going a week or two in advance, the amount of time needed for the editor to request credentials. So instead of guessing and putting people through the paces to make arrangements that I might not be able to keep I would instead just buy a ticket, but I would still "contribute" a column to HRN.

After receiving this letter and knowing how few times I actually used my HRN Press Card in 2009, I sent the following thoughts and questions to the editor of HRN via e-mail. "My question is this, if I either obtain credentials in the name of PositivelyRacing.com or just purchase a ticket, do you still want me to contribute a column that would in essence be a shortened/edited version of what will have already appeared on our website? I understand the concern about old news, but isn’t that the same case with every race story and set of results that you run? I still have several people who tell me that they read my column in Hawkeye Racing News, people who either have no access to the internet or who do not want to take the time to look around the web to find everything that is pulled together into one newspaper that arrives in their mailbox once a week. It is your decision. If you do not want my old news any more, I will be disappointed but I would completely understand."

His response never really did directly answer the question about whether or not they would want my column if I did not use HRN credentials, but the tone of the response pretty much told me how he felt. During the heart of the season, in just its first year, PositivelyRacing averaged just under 6,000 unique visitors a month. The last time I saw the annual disclosure from HRN, the number of subscribers was somewhat less than that. Some of you who read this here are also subscribers to Hawkeye Racing News and I encourage you to continue to subscribe to what I truly believe is the best regional racing publication out there. For you, yes, the printed version of the "Back Stretch" is old news. But I firmly believe that a majority of the HRN readers do not come to this site before that paper hits their mailbox and I am thinking that at least two or three of those readers will be disappointed that my column will no longer be in there. After thirty-one years, this is not how I wanted my relationship with Hawkeye Racing News to end. If somebody asks you "hey, whatever happened to Jeff Broeg? I don’t see his columns in the Hawkeye anymore." Could you do me a favor and let them know where they can now find me? Thanks!

The sun is shining this morning and it is a big weekend of racing coming up here in the tri-state region! I will make a run down to Donnellson early this afternoon for the annual Lee County Speedway car show and I will try to put a few pictures up here when I get back to town. Then tonight I am looking for a record car count as the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models kicks off its 2010 season with the "Slocum 50" at 34 Raceway in West Burlington. For details and the schedule for tonight’s event you can click on the ad on the home page of http://www.positivelyracing.com/ or visit the track’s website by clicking on the 34 Raceway logo to the left of this page. The Deery series then moves down to the quarter-mile bullring in Quincy on Sunday night and once again the Late Model car count should be strong. For details click on the Quincy Raceways logo on the left. We hope to see you out and about this weekend!

The early standings in the All Iowa and the All Missouri points are up on the "Points" page at PositivelyRacing.com. Start following the progress of your favorite drivers now through the end of the season!

Be Positive, Support the Sport!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gustin, Dulin, Dvorak, Pippert & Wacha Score Vinton "Frostbuster" Wins

With severe thunderstorms rumbling across southeast Iowa, I took another calculated risk (see most recent post) and drove north to the Benton County Speedway in Vinton Sunday afternoon as they were kicking off their 2010 season with one of the IMCA "Frostbuster" events. This time the risk paid off as the skies cleared midway through the program and that bit of sunshine ended up playing a big part in the racing action. Usually this quarter-mile of black dirt offers up multi-grooved action every Sunday night, but by feature time this evening everybody wanted to be on the bottom and that produced some interesting action.

The Stock Cars were up first and when pole-sitter Paul Shepherd drifted up the track a bit in turn one it was row two starter Damon Murty who snared the lead on lap one. While Murty paced the field I was thoroughly entertained watching Jeff Mueller and Brian Irvine picked their way through the field after starting ninth and eleventh respectively. They swapped their own running order three times as they came toward the front and on the white flag lap it was Murty, Mueller and Irvine nose to tail going into turn one. Through the apex of the corner Mueller was able to get his nose under Murty, but with the big implement tire marking the inside of the second corner straight ahead they ran out of room and the right side of Mueller's car rose up in the air as they made contact. Everybody stacked up behind them and it was Irvine who ended up sitting sideways while the rest of the field raced on. The caution waved and officials ruled that all three drivers were involved, so all three would be going to the rear. Murty pulled to the infield to protest while Irvine and Mueller headed to the pits. Scooter Dulin inherited the lead for the restart and then held off a challenge from Justin Temeyer over the final two laps to pick up the win. Bob Ahrendsen held down the third spot, Jason DeShaw picked up fourth and Shepherd rounded out the top five.

Jeff Mueller (77M) and Brian Irvine raced their way into contention for a victory on the final lap only to wind up in the pits before the checkers fell - Photo by Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography

The IMCA Modifieds were up next and with a $1,000 top prize on the line and a slick racetrack it was no surprise that the first three attempts at a start failed to produce a completed lap. The field was then put in a single file order with Adam Johnson holding the lead for lap one. Richie Gustin drove by Johnson on lap two and proceeded to pull away establishing a comfortable lead even after each restart. It was Gustin's race all the way as he picked up the big money, Mark Elliott ran a distant second with Troy Cordes taking the third spot. Scott Hogan had some problems during hot laps and did not make it to his heat race, so he started last in the eighteen car field, but picked his way through to fourth while Quincy, Illinois, driver Jeff Waterman took fifth.

Richie Gustin had it on cruise control during the 20-lap IMCA Modified main event - Photo by Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography

During his heat race defending Hobby Stock track champion Scott Pippert spun his car to the infield and was over a half lap behind the rest of the field when he gathered it up and got back on to the racing surface. In just four laps Pippert was able to make up that ground and with just a lap to go he was able to race his way back into the top four and the opportunity to redraw for the feature lineup. It was only fitting that this effort was rewarded as Pippert drew the pole for the feature and was never seriously challenged over the fifteen-lap distance for the victory. Nick Murty started eighth and used the high groove to race his way to the runner-up finish with Wes Stanek coming on late to finish in third. Jerome Wilson would wind up fourth and I believe that it was Matt Brown by inches in fifth.
Scott Pippert in victory lane following his win in the Hobby Stock feature - Photo by Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography

Nearly thirty Sport Mods were on hand requiring four heats and two B-Mains to set the twenty-four-car feature field with local favorite Danny Dvorak drawing the pole position. The first lap was quite a scramble as drivers waged war trying to get to that bottom-line, but it was fourth-starting Chris Luloff who came off the top side of turn four to lead lap one. Dvorak went to work on the leader and actually made the pass on lap six only to have it negated by a caution before the full field could be scored. Three laps after the restart though, Luloff slipped high in turn one and fell back to fourth as Dvorak picked up the lead. Now it was Dvorak who was guarding the bottom with all that he had as DePere, Wisconsin, driver Johnny Whitman applied the pressure in second and Joel Rust, who had started twelfth, waited for a mistake in third. A few more caution periods brought the race to its time limit and on the final restart they would either race for four laps, or to the next caution, whichever came first. They didn't even make it through that first lap as the battle for fifth between Troy Jerovetz and Austin Kaplan saw contact between the two with Jerovetz going for a spin, so the checkers waved and Dvorak made his way to victory lane. Whitman, Rust and Luloff were next in line and I'm not sure if Kaplan was credited with fifth or not. Austin was caught up in a lap two caution and had restarted from the rear before racing his way back into contention for a top-five finish at the end.
Danny Dvorak (3R) and Johnny Whitman (08) also battled it out during this heat race for the IMCA Sport Mods - Photo by Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography

The Sport Compacts closed out the evening and it was great to see a solid field of eighteen cars on hand. Lap one was a wild one as sixth-starting William Michel emerged as the leader for lap number one only to give it up to Nathan Chandler on the next circuit. Nathan appeared to have the race in hand until mechanical problems slowed him down and Bret Vanous took over on lap six of the twelve-lap affair. Justin Wacha started tenth and had followed Vanous through the field, but he was not content to follow him the rest of the way. With two laps to go Wacha eased past Vanous in turn two and then held off a last second charge from Brad Chandler to take the victory. Vanous, Steve Miedke and Jerry Ostby would round out the top five as the final checkered flag of the night waved at 7:40 p.m.

Justin Wacha (45) races with Neil Nabholz during heat race action - Photo by Scott Tjabring, Action Track Photography

BCS Frostbuster Notes.....I was a bit surprised that the Modified field did not top the twenty mark with a thousand dollars on the line, but perhaps the threatening weather and this being Easter Sunday had something to do with that......The Gustin's had a pretty good Frostbuster weekend with Richie winning tonight and Jimmy taking the win at Boone on Saturday. Jimmy pulled out mid-race tonight while running mid-pack.....The opener of the scheduled tripleheader was rained out at Marshalltown on Friday......Jerry Wilinski and Sean Jerovetz were two Wisconsin competitors on hand in the Modifieds while Jeremy Christians, Mike Gilson and John Heinz represented the Badger state in the Stock Car ranks. Whitman had the best showing of the northern visitors while Troy Jerovetz, Rob Charapata and Scott Boulanger also competed in the Sport Mods.....August Bach and Eric Stanton were racing for second on the final lap of the Hobby Stock main until contact between the two flattened Bach's left rear and Stanton's right front tire......Joe Goodenbauer rolled onto his top in the Sport Compact main after contact with the implement tire in turn four......Three drivers who are regulars at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Jerry Ostby, William Michel and Seth Woodruff, pulled their four cylinder cars over one hundred miles up to compete in Vinton on this night.

I enjoyed sitting in the stands and sharing thoughts with Kyle Ealy. While I'll hold back a bit once in awhile in what I write, Kyle will pull no punches and that is why he is always an interesting read that you can find on the SpeedBlitz. You will also find Kyle's Midwest Racing Archives there, the thoughts of Jake Croxton and plenty of great photos from a collection of shooters headed up by "The Photo Daddy" Dennis Krieger. Check 'em out somtime.

I want to thank Dave Swale for stopping by and letting me know that he is a regular follower of Positively Racing. You may remember Dave as the man to beat in Sportsman ranks up around the West Union area not that long ago and it is nice to know that he reads these writings. We challenged Kyle to find a picture of Dave's #56 in his archives, so we'll see what he comes up with.

I also had a nice visit with track announcer Bucky Doren who is very excited about the new Hawkeye Dirt Tour for the IMCA Modifieds. The May 11th opener at Independence cannot get here soon enough for the Tour director. For details visit http://www.dirttour.com/hawkeye/index.html

Thanks to Dana Benning and Mick Trier for their hospitality, I know that I will be back to Vinton again soon, and for more thoughts on tonight's event check out Ryan Clark's "In Staging" at http://www.positivelyracing.com/ as I am sure that he will be posting his thoughts soon.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rain Sweeps Four Features at Lincoln

I took a calculated risk Friday evening. With a solid line of rain and thunderstorms marching from west to east I had my eye on the radar from the moment that I woke up. The Frostbuster at Marshalltown was my original destination, and when that line of storms advanced east faster than what was originally predicted it looked like there might be a chance that the races could go on even after the rain passed through. But at 2:30 p.m. the word came down from M-Town that just too much drain had fallen to be able to race, so I next looked to Des Moines as it definitely made more sense to go somewhere that was now behind the line of precipitation. That plan went down the drain quickly as their cancellation announcement appeared at just about the same time as Marshalltown's.

So now it was decision time. The line of storms had now reached the Mississippi river here on the north edge of it, but the rain seemed to be straggling behind a bit as it swung back to the south and the west into Missouri. Would it hold off long enough to allow a track in central Illinois to get their show in? It was worth the risk to me so I loaded up and headed for Lincoln Speedway where the Monster Midwest Tour for UMP Late Models, along with UMP Modifieds, Mini-Sprints and Wild Things were on the schedule for opening night.

It was an interesting drive as I didn't clear the rain until I was just outside of Peoria, but each check of my Black Berry for the radar confirmed that it was still dry in Lincoln and it looked like things would hold off long enough for racing. It was only 59 degrees when I drove through Galesburg and when I reached the east side of Peoria it quickly climbed to 77 degrees, so there was no doubt that the weather was coming.

The pits were packed with race cars and the grandstands filled in as well despite the threatening weather. Thirty-six Late Models, thirty-six Modifieds, thirty-one "Wild Things" and fifteen Mini Sprints were on hand as hot laps, qualifying and racing started right on time with the first heat taking the green right after 7:30. The track could not have been in better condition and that was proven during Late Model qualifying as the first car out, Jason Feger, shattered the track record with a lap of 12.441 seconds, more than a half second faster than Earl Pearson Jr.'s old standard of 13.022.

Modified heats were up first and the first heat had an interesting front row made up of Mike Chasteen Jr. and Jeffrey Leka. The two sons of central Illinois Modified legends went at it for the first half of the eight lap event before young Leka pulled away for the win while Chasteen slipped to third behind Tommy Sheppard Sr. The second Modified heat ate up some precious time that we just didn't realize at the moment due to two spectacular accidents. First it was Mark Grosevenor who climbed the wall going into turn one and completely wiped out two of the catch fence poles. With the quarter-mile racing surface sitting on the inside of the big horse track, the catch fence in turns one and two doesn't really protect anything other than open space so officials just laid the broken poles and the torn up fence down behind the wall and we went back to racing. Two laps later Ryan Blakeman clipped the wall in turn one and when the front end snapped to the right the left side wheels dug in and he rolled hard side-to-side about four times before ending up on his side. Thankfully both drivers walked away uninjured and defending track champion Brian Lynn finally won that second heat.

The third heat saw the fathers of the front row of the first heat in action as Mike Chasteen took the win after a race-long tussle with Wes O'Dell while Jeff Leka came from eighth to finish third. The fourth and final Mod heat went to Matt Gremminger.

Late Model heats were up next with drivers aligned straight up by qualifying times with the top four advancing to the feature and the top two eligible for the redraw. It was no surprise that all four pole-sitters, Feger, Shannon Babb, Steve Sheppard Jr. and Brian Shirley, went on to wins, but there was plenty of great racing behind them to hold your attention. Young Brandon Sheppard pulled a nifty slider with two laps to go on Cory Daugherty to grab the other redraw spot in the first heat while Ryan Unzicker had to dispose of Brian Harris late to take second in heat two. Steve Lance Jr. held back a late charge from Kevin Weaver for the right to draw from heat three and in the fourth qualifier I was impressed with the charge made by Charley Hess who drove past Richie Hedrick and Dennis Erb Jr. to finish third. Brandon Thirlby also made a nice charge in one the heats to take the fourth and final starting spot to validate his long trip down from Traverse City, Michigan.

It was now 8:30 and a check of the radar showed the line of rain getting agonizingly closer as the two Mini-Sprint heats came to the track. They ran off without a hitch and next rolled out three heats of the four-cylinder "Wild Things". At 8:55 and with the rain no more than twenty miles to the west according to the radar, track officials did the only thing that I could have considered to be an unwise use of time on the night given the weather conditions as they brought the eight Late Model drivers to the frontstretch for the redraw, and what would end up being a brief interview with each of them by the track announcer. The whole process only took about eight minutes, but it was right then and there that I realized that nobody must have been checking the radar!

The two Modified B-Mains rolled to the track immediately following the interviews but, as B-Mains are prone to do, they had their fair share of cautions and took twenty minutes to complete. So at 9:25 the first of two Late Model B's hit the track as sprinkles started to fall. Three minutes later a caution waved for a spin in turn four and the rain picked up in intensity. The wind was now from the north, the temperature had dropped at least ten degrees and the once perfectly prepared racing surface quickly became a slimy mess. Having watched the radar all evening I knew that this first little shower might actually let up in a few minutes, but that there would be more to come later. Plus, with the Lincoln Speedway tucked right into a residential area of this town of 15,000, I knew that a curfew would likely be in effect so I sprinted for my car and headed for home.

Was I disappointed? Yeah, a little bit. This was, after all, a Late Model special with drivers from as far away as Michigan on hand (Phil Ausra from Dowagiac was there along with Thirlby), so perhaps a little more effort to get that portion of the show completed would have been nice. Had this been a weekly show then I would not have expected officials to shuffle the race order, such as running the Four Cylinder heats later, or slipping the Late Model B's in before the Wild Thing heats and then running the Late Model feature right after those heats. But this wasn't a weekly show and with a little more sense of urgency I do believe that the Late Model feature could have been contested before the rains came at 9:28. I have seen other promoters do it, especially in this day and age of having radars that can be put into motion on your cell phone. That being said, I will commend the crew on running an efficient program with the only "down time" being the interviews, but eliminating that would have only allowed us to get to the second Late Model B-Main.

The racing action was fantastic and I was also entertained by some of the fans who were sitting around me. The Charley Hess cheering section went nuts as he blew by Hedrick and Erb, and the good looking ladies in the Wes O'Dell shirts could drink beer with the best of them! Yes, I took a calculated risk making a 160 mile drive to the races knowing that a line of storms was going to play a factor. I'm glad I took the risk and I look forward to returning to Lincoln Speedway in the future!