Friday, July 30, 2010

Chad Simpson Dominates Corn Belt Clash At CJ

A large crowd turned out on a beautiful Thursday evening in Columbus Junction to witness another dominating performance by Chad Simpson on the Dart Corn Belt Clash Late Model series. Nathan Wood, Paul Hallett and Wayne Noble also visited victory lane during the night’s main attraction at the annual Louisa County Fair.

There was a collective groan that you could hear from the Late Model fans who were sprinkled among the many fairgoers as series announcer Ryan Clark introduced the front row of Justin Mitchell and Chad Simpson for the thirty-lap Late Model feature. After all, Simpson had already won seven of the ten CBC races so far this season and he proved he was fast again tonight by coming from sixth to pass Ron Boyse on the final lap to win his heat race. Sure it would be a lot more fun if he started further back, but the luck of the draw is just that. And besides, the result might likely be the same anyway!

Simpson already had a ten car-length lead as he rocketed off of turn two on the opening lap only to have the caution wave soon for Boyse who had broken something in the front end of his #74. The caution waved again on lap four when Denny Eckrich spun off turn four, but once back to green the car to watch was the 21H of Brian Harris. Harris, sporting the spec engine rules configuration with extra sideboards and no roof, had started ninth and was now driving by people in the corners like they were standing still. Harris moved into second on lap number six and he then went to work on cutting in to the straightaway lead that Simpson was enjoying. The gap between the two was shrinking lap-by-lap until it was down to two car-lengths, but all of a sudden Harris slowed in turn two on lap fourteen and the caution waved.

With Harris gone the crowd now wondered if anybody could even keep pace with the leader and the two drivers starting side-by-side behind him, Jason Rauen and Justin Kay were going to give it their best shot. As the field throttled up off turn four though Rauen spun his car all the way around and was hit in the rear by Mick Wiele. It was a tough way to end the night for Wiele as he was very impressive in winning his heat race in front of his hometown fans. Rauen was sent to the rear and later retired with a flat tire. When back to action it was Justin Kay who picked up the chase on Simpson and for a few laps it looked as though he might be able to keep the leader within striking distance. But Simpson would have none of that as he again pulled away and cruised to his eighth victory in eleven starts on the Clash schedule. Kay, who came into the night ninth in the point standings, was impressive finishing second, hometown hero Jason Utter was third, Chris Simpson picked up fourth-place money and Dave Eckrich finished fifth.

Three of CJ Speedway’s weekly Friday night divisions set the stage for the Late Models. The IMCA Stock Cars started out the night by putting on two exciting heat races that saw plenty of two and even three-wide action and they did the same thing later in the evening. Unfortunately though, that action was interrupted often during their main event as drivers spun and sat waiting for a yellow, and there was even an intentional “take out” or two resulting in a race that seemed to take forever to complete. When the green flag was out, the battle up front was a good one as Nathan Wood moved quickly from row four to take the lead from Jim Redmann after a lap two restart, but then had to hold off continued challenges from Redmann the rest of the way to take the win. Wood is having a productive 2010 season as he guns for the IMCA Stock Car National Rookie-of-the-Year title and he currently ranks second in the All Iowa Points. Redmann settled for second and was quick to congratulate Wood on his win, Dave Hemsted took the third spot, Blaine Dopler was fourth and Kirk Kinsley rounded out the top five.

The Four Cylinders ran their main event caution free and it was a good one with Bill Whalen Jr. holding the early lead. Nathan Chandler move past him on lap five, but Whalen fought back and he was joined by Wayne Noble to go three-wide for the lead the following lap out of turn four. Noble emerged from the middle of that formation to takeover the lead and he held off Whalen the remaining distance to take the win. In victory lane Noble told track announcer Gene Arnold that he had just told his grandchildren that it was about fifty-one years ago this week that he won his first-ever feature event. Hopefully the personable veteran will be winning for several years to come! Whalen was the runner-up, Brad Chandler moved up to third after his brother Nathan climbed the front stretch wall with two laps to go, but he still held on for fourth and Ricky Kay completed the top five.

Twenty Mod Lites buzzed to action for their main event with Paul Hallett moving quickly to the lead. Joel Huggins was running second and Troy Philpott was challenging him when Philpott spun in turn three. Justin Bucholz, who won one of the three heat races, had no place to go and collided with Philpott sending the Bucholz #69 ride over onto its roof. Both drivers emerged unscathed, but both of these top contenders were now through for the evening. Once back to action there was nobody that could challenge Hallett as he cruised to his third straight feature win at CJ. Mike Morrill passed Huggins late for second, Mike Kennedy was fourth and Late Model driver Kurt Kile improved steadily throughout the evening in this division coming home fifth.

CJ Notes…..Andy Eckrich had a tough night as he appeared to have problems with the driveline while crossing the finish line in his heat race. After making repairs Eckrich started the feature but did not last long before dropping out…..Jake Meier rolled the #5M car that was owned at one time by Bill Moyer out his trailer tonight. This ride saw several drivers behind the wheel in the past including Todd Shute and Mike Marlar. Meier, who normally campaigns a #20 car, was never a factor on the night….The next event for the Corn Belt Clash will be on August 13th at Chateau Raceway in Lansing, Minnesota…..I enjoyed talking with Elmer Arnold and Sam Simpson in the pit area before the night’s action. Elmer has a Modified in his garage that he is looking forward to putting back into action soon and Simpson, who we nicknamed “Sam The Sewer Man” when he was racing Hobby Stocks at 34 Raceway in the 80’s now lives in Tennessee, but came back to help out at the Fair and catch some racing. He told me that his new “home track” is Duck River Speedway, the same place that we kicked off our season at this year. I also had a chance for a quick “hi” to former drivers Steve Watts, Dan Thomas and Mark Kemper…..Look for another write up on the night’s events soon from Danny Rosencrans in Racin’ Down The Road…..The track is selling t-shirts this season with all proceeds going to the drivers’ point fund and the shirts have a catchy motto for a track that has a levee for a back stretch “wall”. CJ Speedway, Flooded With Excitement!…..A big thanks to the promotional team of Don and Sharon Wood, and Brian and Amanda Tipps for their hospitality. I always enjoy returning to one of the facilities where I was introduced to the sport some forty years ago!

One event that we do not have on our Specials schedule at is this Sunday’s POWRi Midget show at U.S. 36 Raceway in Osborn, Missouri. If you are thinking about attending click here to see my report on last year’s event.

This is a bit of a milestone as it it blog post #200 for the Back Stretch. How many have you read?

Have a great racing weekend, be Positive and Support the Sport!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guss and Timmerman Earn Feature Wins On Night Two Of The Harris Clash

After a three week delay due to weather, night number two of the 2010 Harris Clash unfolded at the Knoxville Raceway with just over one hundred cars in the pit area between the Deery Brothers IMCA Late Models and the IMCA Sport Mods. In the Late Models it would be another Ray Guss Jr. cakewalk, while Jared Timmerman fought off the challenges of Cayden Carter to take the big win in the Sport Mods.

Thirty-three Late Models checked in and thirty-two raced in four heats and two B-Mains to determine the twenty-four-car starting field that would run thirty-five laps around the prestigious half-mile oval. (One sentence, seven hyphens) Tyler Bruening and Jay Stewart would start from the font row and it was the Nebraska driver Stewart who would be scored as the leader of the first lap, but only after the first two attempts at a start were wiped out due to single car spins. The race was halted again on lap two when T.J. Criss spun in turn three and was then drilled by former IMCA Late Model National Champ Kevin Blum. It took several minutes for wrecker crews to survey the damage before they proceeded to remove the battered machines from the racing surface.
Jay Stewart of Blair, Nebraska, ran up front early at Knoxville - photo by Barry Johnson

When the green flag returned it stayed out for a while and the racing was good. Both up front, where Jeff Guengerich drove by Stewart for the lead on lap three, and in the back moving forward as Brian Harris, Jeff Aikey and Jeremiah Hurst were making big strides. Harris had started fourteenth and was up to fifth by lap four, Aikey started in the tenth row and was up to sixth by lap seven and Hurst, who restarted at the rear after being one of the lap-one spinners, was on the march forward as well. Ray Guss Jr. had the best seat in the house in third as he watched Guengerich drive by Stewart and on lap ten Guss made his own move for the lead. With Guengerich glued to the bottom, Guss drove into turn three one line higher, moved past the leader and then shut the door on him by steering back down to the bottom in turn four. As Guss started to pull away the top six cars really got strung out before the caution waved again on lap seventeen when contact between Craig Roberts and Robby Warner sent Warner for a spin down the back stretch.
Ray Guss Jr. (58) stalks leader Jeff Guengerich (15) during the first ten laps of the Late Model main event - photo by Barry Johnson

As the field settled into the Delaware-style two abreast restart formation it looked like we might have us quite a race with Guss out front and drivers like Darren Miller, Aikey, Harris, Andy Eckrich and Hurst now close behind. As the field rumbled into turn one Charlie McKenna went too low and caught the berm sending his #22 into a series of at least four snap rolls. It was the second Wednesday in a row that McKenna’s night would end in a devastatingly spectacular fashion and we were once again pleased to seem him climb out of the car under his own power. Once back to green it became obvious that nobody had anything for Ray Guss Jr. as he powered away from his talented challengers to pad his series point lead even more with the $2,000 victory. Darren Miller, in what I believe to be his 2010 debut, scored a runner-up finish with Jeff Aikey third, Jeremiah Hurst fourth and Brian Harris fifth.
Jeff Aikey (77) and Brian Harris (21H) both made strong runs to finish in the top five - photo by Barry Johnson (For more of Barry's photos from Knoxville visit the page on Facebook)

Bob Harris put out the general invitation and Seventy-one Sport Mods accepted with eight heat races and four B-Mains paring the field down to twenty-four cars for twenty laps. Jared Timmerman started from the pole position and lead the field around for lap one before Doug Smith and Robert Weber collided in turn one on lap two. The scramble resulted in about six cars being involved causing a red flag and while most of them drove away under their own power, it still took several minutes to get the track cleared and ready again for action.

On the restart, while most of the field used the bottom and middle grooves through the corners, young Cayden Carter went way upstairs where Fonzie used to live (credit to World of Outlaws announcer Johnny Gibson) and drove past six cars in one lap to move up to second behind Timmerman. The chase was on and, with smoke starting to belch from his car in the corners, Carter used that same high groove to take the lead from Timmerman on lap six. I don’t carry a stopwatch with me and Warren Busse was nowhere to be found, so I don’t know if Carter’s lap times were increasing as the smoke worsened, but Timmerman came back to regain the lead four laps later at the mid-point of the event. With the laps winding down and with lapped traffic now coming into play, Carter was again reeling in Timmerman looking to make one more challenge and on the final lap Carter spun his car sideways in turn three. The caution waved, but with drivers still racing side-by-side for position, Adam Ackerman found himself with no place to go and he slammed into the side of Carter’s #10. Both drivers walked away uninjured, but it was an expensive turn of events for both as they were less than a quarter of a mile from the checkers.

I can only imagine how Timmerman must have felt when he saw the yellow waving instead of the checkers as he came off of turn four, but he retained his composure and ran the green-white-checker “overtime” laps flawlessly to take the win ahead of Dylan Book and Nate Chodur. Jeremy Embrey made a big run up from twenty-first to fourth and Jim Gillenwater edged out Carter VanDenBerg by half a car-length for fifth.
Jared Timmerman picked up the top prize for the IMCA Sport Mod portion of the 2010 Harris Clash - photo by Barry Johnson

Harris Clash Part Two Notes…..“The Ironman” Darrell DeFrance checked in for the evening and collected his twenty show up points for the series, but did not compete as he reportedly had some procedures done this week to help him remain “The Ironman” for some time to come. Here’s hoping for a quick return to the track Double-D!……Darren Miller didn’t show any signs of rust as he returned to action in fine fashion behind the wheel of the Steve Diercks owened car. Usually it is Brad Diercks behind the wheel of the #29D, but tonight they had it lettered up with Miller’s traditional #32D. “The Thriller” told our own Barry Johnson that he plans on running the $10,000-to-win Pepsi USA Nationals at 34 Raceway in September, but otherwise his schedule is unknown…..Brian Harris hot lapped a plain jet black car and then applied red 21H decals to each side for racing action. He was definitely fun to watch as he attacked the cushion on both ends often pulling the front left wheel up in the air for that magical moment when the throttle goes back down and the chassis responds…..Jeff Guengerich was behind the wheel of the Richard Realty and Auction car #15, the same ride that won this event last year with Tommy Elston at the controls and it looked for a bit that Guengerich would be able to keep the trophy in Richard’s shop. The Washington, Iowa, driver who had not raced for a couple of season before stepping into the ride in May finished seventh behind Andy Eckrich….As the Late Model field was preparing for the four-wide parade lap a track official pulled over Kelly Tapper to remove a clipboard from the back of his car…..Ryan Giles was running second in the fourth heat race before he pulled to the infield on the final lap with mechanical issues. Giles would earn a provisional start in the feature, but only made it around the track once before the parade lap before returning to his trailer….Jeff Aikey did not finish his heat and then had to pass Cory Goldbeck on the final lap for the last transfer spot out of the first B-Main. With his run from nineteenth to third in the feature, obviously his crew repaired whatever the issue was in the heat race…..Goldbeck would join Giles, Robby Warner and Craig Roberts as provisional starters….It was my first time this season to see Nebraska drivers Jay Stewart, Al Zeitner and Dave Jorgenson in action…..While the car count of thirty-three was solid it was below what many would have expected at Knoxville, especially given that only twelve of the top twenty in Deery Series points were in attendance. Jason Rauen was winning the Fair race in Dubuque and he was likely joined there by Joel Callahan and Rob Toland. Mark Burgtorf popped his spec engine at Osky last week and will be on the sidelines for a bit despite being second in points. I saw a message board post stating the Jay Johnson is out on RAGBRAI this week, something that didn’t conflict with the Deery schedule until rain pushed this event back from July 7th, and that may have been a similar story for Boone McLaughlin, Tom Goble and others……The Deery Series returns to action next Tuesday night August 3rd at the Farley Speedway…..It was interesting that the eight Sport Mod heats advanced the winner only while the four B-Mains took four cars out of each…..The Sport Mod field included drivers from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Kansas…..Racing action started at 7:30 and the last flag waved at 11:17…..I always enjoy being the taxi cab geek for Bill W. and Bob Wilson and it was nice to get to talk to announcers Blake Anderson and Tony Bokhoven, and Paymaster Dave Schrader during my pre-race visit to the booth….Another big thanks to Bob Harris who again extended his hospitality to the entire Positively Racing crew and we look forward to two straight nights of action, free of any weather issues for the 2011 Harris Clash at Knoxville. We hope that you will mark it on your racing schedule as well.

Tonight the Corn Belt Clash makes its farthest trip south so far with an appearance at the CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction. Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two New Tracks......Monday Notes

Some random notes here on what Bob Bruce refers to as the worst day of the week....

If you read my entry from our trip to Haubstadt, Indiana, last week you may have noticed that we were unsure of where we might end up on Sunday night, if anywhere. We did stop at Shepp's Speedway just west of Springfield, Illinois, to take a look, but when we found out that they were going to start an hour later than normal due to the heat, we decided to head for home since Mo had to be up for work at 5 a.m. the following day. It definitely looked like a great little bullring that would offer up plenty of action, so I am hoping that I can get back down there before the end of the season. Perhaps on a Sunday night in September.

This past weekend I thought that I was going to be away from the sport as we headed nown to northwest Missouri to visit with some friends at a home that they recently purchased on Lake Viking, but when I discovered that I-35 Speedway was only six miles from their house I planted the seed about checking the place out. Somehow the track avoided the line of storms that built up during the afternoon and marched to the south and east and by the time we were able to get the ladies to be more interested in their wine than us, we arrived just in time for the five feature races. The SportMods were up first and had a tough time stringing some green flag laps together early on and I was hoping they would get their act together since this was only my friend's second-ever visit to a dirt track. Finally the race stayed green with south central Iowa driver Shay Woods moving to the front. But when Woods unexpectedly looped his car mid-race, that gave the lead back to John Fugett who then went on to take his first-ever feature win. The Hobby Stocks were up next and it was veteran driver Brad Whitney who took the win driving one of Greg Kuehn's #7 cars. Whitney has had success here in both the Modifieds and Stock Cars in the past (and again tonight) and in this Hobby Stock A-Main he fought off the challenges of Eric Stanton who make the 120+ mile trip down from Hartford, Iowa, every Saturday night.

The Grand Nationals, similar to the old Pro Stock division that used to race around this area, provided the best battle for the lead on the night as Gene Claxton and Travis Walker ran the majority of the event side-by-side without more than a rub here and there prompting my friend to ask, "can those other divisions race like that as well?" Claxton, who won the NKF Tour Modified event here on my only other visit to the facility in 2001, went on to win while Walker faded out of the top five over the final laps. The Stock Car feature started out with a bang when Bennie Turner got tagged in the right rear exiting turn four on the first lap turning him nose first into the front stretch and sending him into a couple of rollovers. This happened right in front of where we were seated, so now my buddy was really on the edge of his seat, especially after he saw Turner climb out uninjured. Once back to green it was Brad Whitney who drove his own #X9 to victory, his second of the night. The IMCA Modifieds were ready to wrap up the night and it was Bud Wilson who went flag-to-flag in a race that had more cautions than you would like to see when you are trying to introduce a new fan to the sport. But, once we returned to the house the first thing that he told his wife was that he knew what would fit nicely in that empty space in the garage, an IMCA Hobby Stock. She had not consumed enough wine yet to agree.

If we get invited back to the lake, I'll look forward to spending another Saturday evening at I-35 Speedway near Winston, Missouri!

It was a rough weekend weather-wise around the area and Ryan Clark did a nice job describing his weekend of uncertainty. Here's hoping that all who were effected by the flooding can make a quick recovery with a minimal loss.

Those of you who follow this blog know that I am not a big fan of double-file restarts and Kevin Trittien points out another reason to support my stance in his latest entry. The third-place car had been realigned on the oustide of the first double row, but when he coasted to a stop before the green flag waved, the outside row was just moved forward rather than taking the time to cross everybody over. This meant that the car that was being scored in fifth prior to the caution was now going to restart in third AHEAD of the fourth-place car, the seventh-place car was now starting ahead of the sixth-place car, etc., etc. I don't blame the track crew for doing this, after all one of my biggest gripes with the double-file restart is the extra caution laps and time that it takes to get the field into the correct positions, so they were just trying to save time. There are a couple of crews who have mastered the art of getting the field doubled up, but even they run an extra lap under caution than what they would have if it were just a single-file restart. I know that I may be in the minority on this one, but give me a single-file restart any day.

I was not a bit surprised to see all of the empty seats at the Brickyard on Sunday. When I went about six years ago I had seats one row from the top on the short stretch between turns one and two. I could see the cars for about twelve seconds and then they were gone for another half minute or more. Honestly, I had to keep myself from falling asleep on a couple of occasions. Yes, it is a big race for NASCAR, but if I would have been anywhere around Indianapolis this weekend, I would have spent my money watching USAC Sprint Cars fling the dirt at Lincoln Park Speedway Saturday night and DVR'd the Brickyard for later viewing.....maybe.

Here's hoping the weather cooperates for a couple of Late Model specials in the area mid-week as the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models along with the IMCA Sport Mods will fill out the card for the rescheduled night number two of the Harris Clash at Knoxville on Wednesday night. Then, on Thursday, the Corn Belt Clash pays a visit to the CJ Speedway in Columbus Junction. There are other Fair races, weekly shows and special events on the card as well so get out and have some fun this week!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fantastic Racing at The Southern Iowa Fair!

The Southern Iowa Speedway was flat out fast Wednesday night as the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models came to town to join the weekly talent in the USRA Modifieds, B-Mods, Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks. And, with the Southern Iowa Fair in full swing, there was a large crowd on hand to witness a very entertaining night of high-speed action on the half-mile oval.

Thirty-one Late Models helped fill the pits tonight, considerably better than the low-twenties count that this event had last year and I feel that this shows that the changes that IMCA made with scheduling this year have been good for the series. The four qualifying heats and the two B-Mains saw plenty of high-speed action and the stage was set for the thirty-five-lap main event. Mark Preston and Charlie McKenna drew the front row with McKenna rocketing out to lead at the drop of the green. Andy Eckrich quickly moved in to challenge on the inside, but McKenna rode the cushion off turn four and squeezed into the minimal space between Eckrich and the outside guardrail to maintain the lead into turn one. Following a lap eight restart it was now Ray Guss Jr. who was working on McKenna and on lap ten we saw the same scenario as the two raced off turn four. This time there was even less space between Guss and the guardrail, but McKenna kept the hammer down and again fought off the challenge. But on the next set of turns Guss showed his power and drove under McKenna in turn three to become the new leader.

With Guss opening up a comfortable advantage, the crowd had plenty of other battles to marvel at as several drivers ran side-by-side or even three-wide while racing for position. With only seven laps remaining Eckrich had again worked his way into second and was noticeably taking a nice bite out the distance between he and Guss until he appeared ready to make a challenge with three laps remaining. As Eckrich made his bid, the center of the right rear wheel on McKenna’s car broke as he entered turn three and he slammed into the fence head on at full speed. Ryne Staley immediately displayed the red flag and we all let out a sigh of relief a few minutes later when a dazed, but otherwise uninjured McKenna climbed out of his used up Late Model.

On the restart Eckrich appeared to have a good run on Guss going into turn one, but the wise veteran changed his lane up just a bit over what he had been previously running and that seemed to make Eckrich hesitate for a split second. That was all that Guss needed to put enough space between himself and the talented youngest member of the Eckrich family to maintain the lead over the final three laps and take the $2,000 top prize. Jay Johnson made a late charge to finish in the third position with Terry Neal fourth and Jeremiah Hurst fifth. Drivers crossing the stripe sixth through tenth were Tom Darbyshire, Jeff Guengerich, T.J. Criss, Jeff Aikey and Darrell DeFrance.

The extra people who were in attendance Wednesday night, either due to the Fair or because of the Late Models being on the card, should have gone home impressed with the four weekly divisions as well and hopefully they are planning a return trip in the near future. The Sport Mods kicked off the order of feature races and while they had to fight through some early cautions, the twenty-three-car field put on some good racing. Mike Wanders was the early leader and he was being stalked by Grandpa Jimmy’s boys as both Carter VanDenBerg and Cayden Carter were right on the leader’s rear bumper. Cayden made the move to the lead on lap five and then proceeded to drive away from the field as the fourteen-year-old redhead collected another trophy for his room. Last week’s feature winner Jason McDaniel tried to keep pace on a late restart, but would have to settle for second tonight while Bill Gibson finished third. Most teenaged boys try to show off for the cute girls at the county fair by winning the ring-toss game or ringing the bell with the sledgehammer, but winning and running fourth in the feature race works much better for these two cousins as VanDenBerg finished ahead of the early leader Wanders who completed the top five.

The Hobby Stocks were up next and what a great race this was upfront in a non-stop fifteen-lap affair. Todd Reitzler and Donovan Nunnikhoven battled back and forth and side-by-side over the first four laps before Derek Kirkland closed in to make it a three-car tango for the top line on the scoreboard. On lap seven Nunnikhoven gained the advantage and when Kirkland moved to second those two now went at it wheel-to-wheel for the next few laps. Kirkland nosed ahead to lead lap ten before Nunnikhoven regained the point a lap later and appeared to be on his way to a win only to have his right rear tire blow out when he leaned on the cushion too hard in turn one with two laps to go. Kirkland inherited the lead, but after taking the white flag he went into turn one too low and clipped the implement tire tearing the left side of his nose piece off in the process. Luckily for Kirkland the damage was only cosmetic as he maintained control and completed the final lap for the victory ahead of Reiztler, Kris Walker, Steve Allen and Craig Brown.

Nine Stock Cars were on hand tonight and with three of them racing each other in tight formation for nearly the entire feature event, who cares what the car count was! Mike VanGenderen paced the first ten laps of the fifteen-lap finale with Shane Weller and Nathan Wood in hot pursuit. Both took their turns at pulling alongside VanGenderen, but “The Flyin’ Dutchmen” shook them off until lap eleven when Wood finally made a move stick. Nathan would then pull away for the win while VanGenderen and Weller continued to run door-to-door for second. At the line it was Weller by a bumper with Kyle Harwood not far behind the duo in fourth and Corey Stout, who fought the county fair traffic to come from across the street finished fifth.

The USRA Modified feature was up next and with a couple of USMTS regulars on hand in Kelly Shryock and Zack VanderBeek I would have put my money on one of those two to wind up in victory lane. Current point leader Steven Blattler had other ideas though as he rocketed to the lead at the drop of the green and started to run off and hide from the other thirteen competitors. It took a few laps for Shryock to make his way around VanderBeek for second and he then set his sights on the leader, but despite his best efforts there was just no catching the youngster from Osky as Blattler chalked up his first feature win here in convincing fashion. Shryock and VanderBeek were next in line while Ryan Peckham was impressive in fourth. Josh Truman would round out your top five and that is why I don’t put money on the races.

SIS Deery Notes…..The track was lightning fast and very racy with drivers able to run from the bottom all the way up to the moist cushion. This of course had our buddy Fasttrackfan Craig in high heaven and he is letting everybody know about it on the message boards today I see! The Late Models heats saw Ray Guss Jr. come from eighth to finish second to Boone McLaughlin in the first one, and “Chargin’ Charlie” McKenna came from eighth to finish third in the second heat. The action had me on the edge of my seat and my heart was a pumpin’ with the high-speed moves that the drivers were making to maintain their momentum…..Mark Burgtorf, who came into the night trailing Guss by twenty-five points in the Series, had his motor let go during the fourth heat and was through for the evening. There are still several events left on the schedule, including next Wednesday’s Harris Clash at the Knoxville Raceway, but the battle for the championship may be all but over as Guss will now enjoy at least a fifty-five point advantage. Of course, something similar could happen to him as well, so stay tuned…..Jeremiah Hurst started fourteenth and was moving quickly toward the front before leveling out in fifth……T.J. Criss made the feature with a provisional and then thrilled his hometown fans by coming from row eleven to finish eighth……B-Mod point leader Tyler Groenendyk popped his motor in the heat race, but then climbed aboard his dad Leroy’s car to run the feature and I believe he was right around tenth at the checkers…..With the low counts of late in the Stock Car division, T.J. Henderson strapped on the bigger tires to his Hobby Stock and joined the field tonight…..Jim Hughes is out of retirement and getting faster every week in his Hobby Stock #558, but he might have hit a setback this night as his motor appeared to let go while running a strong fourth at the mid-point of the feature….. I enjoyed visiting with promoter Todd Staley who was already talking with Nathan Wood about racing the following night at the fair in Webster City. Staley has a Stock Car that he races when he has the chance. I also enjoyed seeing Todd’s partner for the night Mick Trier who is very busy over this week and next running something like sixty-seven events (actually I think it is thirteen) in eleven nights between Osky, Indianola, Des Moines, Vinton and other parts unknown. I got a kick out of listening to Mick on the pre-race radio show with announcer Tony Paris stating “come on out and enjoy the races. I hope we have a big crowd tonight because my kids need new shoes!” Always the promoter!

There are a bunch of specials running tonight (Thursday) and a full weekend of action up ahead. Get out and support the track of your choice!

Enjoy the photos below by our own Barry Johnson:

Charlie McKenna was fast all night, but his right rear wheel gave way and he crashed hard with just three laps remaining.

Kelly and Zach who? Steven Blattler was the man to beat in the USRA Modifieds tonight

Derek Kirkland (2K) and Donovan Nunnikhoven (2N) do battle in the Hobby Stock main event

Cayden Carter on cruise control to another B-Mod feature win

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Duffy Collects HDT Cash at Fayette County

Darin Duffy knows his way around the Fayette County Speedway in West Union and he used that track knowledge to his advantage Tuesday night to win the IMCA Modified Hawkeye Dirt Tour Napa 30.

Two drivers who were likely making their first-ever visit to the banked 3/8-mile oval, Jeff Waterman and Nate Caruth started from the front row and they swapped the lead on the first circuit with Caruth officially leading lap one. A series of four cautions over the first six laps kept the race from setting any kind of rhythm, but when the green stayed out it was Duffy who was on the charge. Starting from inside row four the Hazelton driver charged to the front and on lap eleven, when Caruth slipped up the track off turn four, that was all the room that Duffy needed to power past and into the lead.

Duffy looked as though he would run away with it from there, but Mike Jergens stayed close and was actually looking to mount a challenge through traffic when the caution waved one last time on lap twenty-five for a Toby Hartman spin. On the restart Jergens took a look under Duffy into turn one, but Darin denied the challenge and drove off to the $1,000 victory on the fifth event for the JR Motorsports Hawkeye Dirt Tour. Jergens would settle for runner-up honors while Waterman passed Caruth late to finish third. Vern Jackson would come home fifth followed by Rich Smith, Richie Gustin and Justin O’Brien. Mike Burbridge was ninth and Mark Schulte rounded out the list of the top ten.

Stock Cars and Hobby Stocks were also on hand tonight running for track points and both divisions provided some entertaining feature races. In the Stock Cars Dan Trimble prevailed in a tight three-car battle with Danny Cole Jr. and Mitch Hovden. Cole held the advantage for the first ten laps with Hovden working him low and Trimble waiting for room on the outside. Hovden finished second while Lynn Panos nipped Cole late for third. Kevin Donlan rounded out the top five. The Hobby Stock main event also saw a three-car battle for the top spot featuring Steve Holthaus, Chris Hovden and Scott Spilde. Holthaus paced the first twelve laps, Hovden nosed ahead on lap thirteen only to have his stepfather Holthaus come back to lead again the following lap. On lap fifteen Hovden found the bite that he needed on the low groove and pulled ahead for good to take the win. Spilde also drove by Holthaus late to finish second while Dan Hovden and Troy Hovey completed the top five.

FCS HDT Notes……Twenty-seven IMCA Modifieds, seventeen Stock Cars and thirteen Hobby Stocks were on hand……The Hawkeye Dirt Tour was missing its point leader as Josh Foster is out with a non-racing related injury. I believe that Rich Smith will come out of this event as the new point leader with Mike Jergens close behind…..Tyler Glass suffered mechanical problems in hot laps and scratched for the evening……Riley Emmel added some international flavor to the HDT point list as he is from Estevan, Saskatchewan……The first two cautions in the main event came on lap two and lap three for debris, the next two came on laps five and six for incidents involving two or more cars. Following the fourth caution HDT rules call for a single-file restart rather than the Delaware-double-file formation. The race then ran nineteen straight laps under green. Coincidence? Maybe……..or maybe not……The next Hawkeye Dirt Tour event is Thursday July 29th at the beautiful Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah. The short little circle should provide quite a challenge for the Modified drivers and quite a show for the crowd……I took advantage of the intermission to visit with some great racing people. Todd Ihde is the co-promoter at FCS and at Upper Iowa Speedway in Decorah and the former Modified driver told me that he is enjoying this role. Todd reports that car counts have been solid at both tracks and that the fan support in Decorah has been tremendous. West Union on the other hand has been a bit short on people in the stands. So there you have it West Union area race fans, if you want to keep racing at this nice fairgrounds facility you need to get some friends and neighbors out to the track on Friday nights!…..It was my first chance to shake the hand of Scott Tjabring of Action Track Photography. Scott is a great shooter and we really appreciate the fact that he allows us to use some of his shots in our blogs. I use his work whenever I go to Vinton and Ryan Clark includes Scott’s photos on many of his reports “In Staging”….I enjoyed catching up with former NKF Tour Hobby Stock champion Steve Holthaus and his stepson Chris Hovden. Steve always ran big blocks in the past and was dead set against going to 9:1 engines, but now he says that it has been the best thing that has happened to the Hobby Stock class in the area. Hopefully I can catch up with Steve this offseason and do a feature story with him on this subject. Steve also noted that he had seventeen second-place finishes two years ago, all of them to Chris. Tonight though he got third…..Mike VanGenderen pulled his Stock Car up from Newton for his first-ever look at the speedway and actually had the car loaded after the heat race. Holthaus, Hovden and I convinced him to pull it back out and run the feature where he started thirteenth and was up to eight before his left rear tire went flat.

Special thanks to HDT Director Bucky Doren for his hospitality and to announcer Ryan Clark for the plugs. And he didn’t even talk about himself! Check Ryan’s blog as well as the 4dFan Report and TapFan’s Tours for additional reports from West Union. Hope to see you tonight in Osky!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Indiana Sprint Week Concludes With A First-Time Winner At Tri-State

The seventh and final night of the 2010 Amsoil USAC Indiana Sprint Week unfolded at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt Saturday night and, while Jon Stanbrough wrapped up the weeklong points title, it was a first-time winner in victory lane.

Stanbrough entered the thirty-lap feature event nine points behind Levi Jones and needed to finish three or more positions ahead of Jones to erase that lead. Stanbrough started on the outside of row one and shot to the early lead while Jones started in row eight and would have to pick his way through the field. On lap two Bryan Clausen spun in turn three and just ahead of him on the exit of turn four the cars of Daron Clayton and Jerry Coons Jr. tangled and spun. Both Brady Short and Jones could not avoid these two and both went for a tumble. While Short was able to make repairs and restart at the rear with Clausen, the Tony Stewart Motorsports #20 of Levi Jones had suffered too much damage and was done for the night. And so was the drama of the point chase.

On the restart Dave Darland put a slider on Stanbrough into turn one and took over the lead down the back stretch while Clausen went to work on coming back to the front. The caution waved again on lap eight when Jeff Bland Jr. spun to the infield after contact from Clausen and Bland showed his displeasure with Bryan before taking his spot at the tail of the field for the restart. Once back to green Darland tried to open up a lead riding the steep cushion around the high-banked quarter-mile while Stanbrough now had his hands full with young Blake Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick slipped by Stanbrough for second at the mid-race mark and was cutting into Darland’s lead before the caution waved again on lap seventeen for a spin by Casey Riggs in turn four.

The race for the lead heated up on the restart with Darland riding the cushion and Fitzpatrick diving into the turns down low. On both ends the youngster would nose ahead briefly before “The People’s Champ” Dave Darland would charge back to the front down the straightaways. Just when it looked like Fitzpatrick might fade and have to settle for runner-up honors, that low groove came in and Fiztpatrick again showed Darland his nose. With four laps remaining Darland tried to block the challenge by using the lower line himself into turn three, but it didn’t work as Fitzpatrick shot ahead down the frontstretch. The kid from West Terre Haute would then pull away over the final three laps for the victory, his first USAC National Sprint Car feature win and only his second-ever Sprint Car feature win period, the other one coming at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville.

Stanbrough nipped Darland by inches at the stripe to finish in the second spot, Clausen capped off an amazing recovery to finish fourth while Damian Gardner rounded out the top five. Tracy Hines, Kurt Gross, Chris Windom, Hunter Schuerenberg and Danny Holtsclaw finished sixth through tenth.

Tri-State USAC Notes……Thirty-three traditional Sprint Cars were in attendance……California driver Justin Grant set quick time on the night with a lap of 13.137…..Two more Californians, Robert Ballou and Matt Mitchell both got upside down during qualifying. Mitchell was able to make repairs and compete during the night making the feature with a provisional while Ballou was done for the evening…..J.J. Hughes was scheduled to start on the pole of the first heat, but scratched after mechanical issues ended his qualifying run…..Stanbrough, whom the announcer called “The Silent Gasser”, edged out Brady Short by an inch or two for the fourth and final transfer spot in heat race number two. Officially the margin on the transponders was 0.007 seconds and, by the way, we had a kid in high school who had that same nickname, but he didn’t drive a sprint car…..The fourth heat took five attempts before the field would finally start clean with nobody jumping…..The B-Main ended in an exciting and the scary fashion. With the sixth and final transfer spot on the line Kevin Thomas Jr. threw a hard slider on Hud Cone going into turn one on the final lap. When Cone tried to return the favor into three, Thomas went low as well and the collision sent Cone into a terrifying series of barrel rolls up the banking and into the wall. One of Cone’s rear wheels was launched high into the air, clearing the wall and the billboards and disappearing into the soybean field across the road. Cone was speaking with officials in his crumpled wreckage and after a few minutes he climbed out of the car and walked to the ambulance to the relief of the large crowd. It was announced after the feature that the wheel had still not been found in the bean field……Fitzpatrick, who is usually a high-side hero, was obviously thrilled in victory lane and his response to the first question that he was asked on the PA was “How ‘bout that s&!t on the bottom!” Fortunately he was G-rated for the rest of the interview…..I counted twenty photographers in the infield tonight and one of them was “Photo Daddy” Dennis Krieger. Check the Speedblitz for some of his action shots from here as well as his other work…..Seventeen UMP Modifieds provided support for the show and it was Trent Young of Crofton, Kentucky, who went flag-to-flag for the win. Paul Miles finished second, Everett Bradham as third with Levi Kissinger and Brandon McDowell next in line……Modified driver Kelly Aldrich rolled his car once in turn four with three laps remaining in the feature.

This was my second trip to Tri-State Speedway having been here for a UMP Summer Nationals event a few years back. Track owner Tom Helfrich has a reputation for providing a perfectly manicured surface and he definitely lived up to that reputation again tonight. The track used to run a weekly Sunday night program featuring Late Models and Sprint Cars, but has gone to a Specials Only schedule over the past several years. Something that we might see other tracks doing around the midwest. If you ever get the opportunity to catch a show here, please do so, you won’t be disappointed! The World of Outlaw Sprint Cars will be at Tri-State on October 16th.

Not sure yet if we’ll make it a three-night racing road trip yet, or just return to home sweet home on Sunday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Four In A Row On The Lucas Trail For Earl Pearson Jr.

Earl Pearson Jr. is on a roll as he picked his fourth straight Lucas Oil Late Model Series win Friday night at the Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. This $10,000 win came in dominating fashion as Pearson led the entire distance in the Budweiser 50.

Pearson started on the pole alongside Billy Moyer, but it was fifth-starting Scott Bloomquist who quickly moved to second to chase the leader. The top five cars of Pearson, Bloomquist, Moyer, Chris Wall and Don O’Neal put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field through lap ten and as EPJ started to work lapped traffic Moyer and Bloomquist battled for second. One lap after Moyer slipped by Bloomquist, the only caution of the event came on lap twenty-one when Tyler Reddick slowed on the topside of the speedway.

With the Delaware-style restart, Moyer chose the inside groove and that allowed Bloomquist to discover the top line around the speedway. Fellow “Team Zero” ace Jimmy Owens went to the top as well and it was now Pearson leading Bloomquist and Owens with Moyer back to fourth. On two consecutive laps Bloomquist was able to make a run up to the back bumper of Pearson coming off of turn two, but he couldn’t make the pass. Then when he stumbled a bit on the turn one cushion that was all that Pearson needed to pull away once again.

As the laps wound down, and with Pearson way out front, the race to watch was for second through fifth as Bloomquist, Owens, Moyer and Brian Birkhofer were each working one of four different lines through turns three and four. Moyer’s line would prove to be the best as he came back to take the checkers in second a car-length ahead of Bloomquist while Birkhofer made a final lap pass of Owens to take fifth. Don O’Neal would hold on for sixth ahead of Dale McDowell who used a series provisional to start from row twelve. John Blankenship finished in the eighth spot, Jimmy Mars was ninth and Ray Cook nipped Steve Casebolt at the line to round out the top ten.

Lucas Notes…..Forty-two Late Models were on hand for the event and the series moves to the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, on Saturday night for the Diamond Nationals…..Pearson and Bloomquist started side-by-side on the front row in the first heat and the initial start that saw Bloomquist take the lead into turns one and two was called back by series officials. On the second try it was Pearson who had the lead with Bloomquist chasing. I’m pretty sure that I saw the white flag wave on lap seven (some others around me thought they did too) and again on lap nine of the ten-lap race. Pearson’s win put him on the pole for the feature and before the second heat could take the green Bloomquist had driven his four-wheeler to the infield to have a discussion with the Lucas series official…..Wisconsin driver Pat Doar qualified well and started on the pole of the second heat. He faded to fifth at the finish putting him on the front row of his B-Main, but he could not stay in one of the top three transfer positions so he watched the feature from his trailer……Ray Cook started seventh in the second heat after flying back from Cherokee Speedway in South Carolina where his Southern Nationals ran an event on Thursday night. Cook moved quickly up to third only to have his left front tire go flat during a lap three caution. He went ahead and restarted with the flat and was able to hang on for seven laps to finish third….John Anderson started outside of Moyer in heat three and had the advantage coming out of turn four on the first lap, but when he slapped the wall with his right rear it was all he could do to save it and he faded to sixth……Dan Schlieper held off a last lap charge from Billy Moyer Jr. to take the fourth and final transfer out of the third heat……Mark Burgtorf started eighth and drove by series regular Brad Neat late to take the fourth transfer in the final heat race……In the second B-Main Brian Shirley appeared to have passed Terry Phillips in the final laps to take the third and final transfer, but Shirley was docked two positions back to fifth for jumping Mark Voigt on the final restart……The checkered flag flew on the Lucas Oil main event at 10:49 p.m……Twenty-seven UMP Pro (Crate) Late Models started their feature after victory lane festivities came to a close, but when one of the up-front starters spun in turn two on the opening lap six cars piled into him. As officials tried several times to get the final three rows to line up the way that they wanted them, we decided to call it a night……A solid field of UMP Modifieds were still waiting in the wings. The Modified second heat may have been the best race of the night as the top five drivers raced three-wide for several laps before Michael Long took the win ahead of Kenny Wallace and Dean Hoffman……The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was supposed to be racing just down the road at Gateway International Speedway tonight but a power outage attributed to a downed power line on a nearby highway forced the postponement of the race to Saturday afternoon. Take a hat, it is supposed to be ninety-five degrees!

The road trip continues, check back in tomorrow to see where we end up!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Late Models From Around the USA.....

Here are the current Late Model state point standings from several states. The All Iowa and All Missouri points can always be found at

1 Tim Busha Boaz 44
2 Stacy Holmes Munford 35
3 Cameron Cherry Pinson 32
4 Mark Mears Decatur 30
5 Bradley Price Hamilton 27
6 Chad Winkles Falkville 26
7 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 26
8 Daniel Miller Shelbyville TN 24
9 Chris Ragan Chewalla TN 23
10 Jamie Flannagan Tuscumbia 20

1 Clay Daly Watsonville 34
Mike Johnson Lompoc 34
Mike Kirby Torrance 34
4 Jeff Decker Morgan Hill 29
5 Steve Drake San Luis Obispo 28

1 Donald Lingo Jr. 24
2 David Hill 21
3 Mark Byram 21
4 Kenny Pettyjohn 17
5 Ray Davis Jr. 17

1 Travis Varnadore Dover 28
2 Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater 23
3 David Schmauss Tampa 18
4 Josh Peacock Dover 17
5 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 17

1 Frank Ingram Woodstock 39
2 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 31
3 Brent Dixon Elberton 29
4 Derek Ellis Chatsworth 26
5 Ethan Hunter Tiger 22
6 Tony Knowles Tyrone 22
7 Randy Weaver Crossville TN 19
8 Bruce Taylor Toccoa 18
9 David Payne Murphy NC 18
10 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 17

1 Jason Feger Bloomington 66
2 Chad Zobrist Highland 52
3 Ryan Unzicker El Paso 47
4 Brian Harris Davenport IA 44
5 Ray Guss Jr. Milan 42
6 Shannon Babb Mowequa 38
7 Michael Kloos Trenton 37
8 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville 36
9 Eric Smith Shirley 35
10 Frankie Martin DuQuoin 34

1 Jamie Lathroum Mechanicsville 22
2 David Williams Charlotte Hall 18
3 Frankie Plessinger Big Cove Tannery 18
4 Dale Hollidge 17
5 Jason Covert York Haven PA 16

1 Jeff Wildung Nassau 74
2 Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 55
3 Jeff Provinzino Hibbing 47
4 Zach Johnson Kensington 35
5 Kyle Peterlin Hibbing 34
6 Harry Hanson Eleveth 33
7 Corey Nelson 29
8 Jeremy Keller Mandan ND 27
9 Lance Matthees Winona 27
10 Doug Herrick West Concord 21

1 David Breazeale Four Corners 38
2 Rick Rickman Columbus 33
3 Jason Cliburn Star 25
4 Chad Thrash Meridian 22
5 Doug Showah 18

1 Craig Preble Omaha 77
2 Bob Milander 47
3 Bill Leighton Jr. Omaha 44
4 Kyle Berck Marquette 33
5 Matt Buller 33
6 Dave Cook 29
7 Kevin Safranek 29
8 Robert Osborne 24
9 Justin Gregg Grand Island 23
10 Mark Lueken 21

North Carolina
1 Bobby Panter 35
2 Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 24
3 Ricky Weeks Rutherfordton 21
4 Jamie Oliver Murphy 18
5 Dean Bowen Whiteville 17

South Carolina
1 Frank Coates Hodges 40
2 Larry Timms Hodges 38
3 Mike Ashley Greenwood 38
4 Johnny Pursley Clover 32
5 Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 27

South Dakota
1 Kent Arment Aberdeen 45
2 Brian Diede Huron 40
3 Chad Becker Aberdeen 35
4 David McDonald Huron 30
5 Nick Beyenhof 25

1 Bo Feathers Winchester 38
2 Wes Bonebrake 20
3 Jason Covert South Haven PA 15
4 D.J. Myers Greencastle PA 14
5 Ronnie DeHaven Jr. Winchester 13

1 Chad Mahder Eau Claire 43
2 Jake Redetzke Eau Claire 37
3 Rick Scheffler Waukesha 36
4 Nick Anvelink Navarino 35
5 Pat Doar New Richmond 33
6 Russ Scheffler Waukesha 29
7 Terry Anvelink Navarino 27
8 John Kaanta Eau Claire 22
9 Cory Mahder Elk Mound 20
10 Troy Springborn Shawano 19

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Unzicker First Time "Hell Tour" Winner at Spoon River

The UMP Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” made its way back to the Spoon River Speedway south of Canton, Illinois, Monday night after being rained out last Wednesday and a solid crowd was treated to some fantastic racing on a perfectly prepared surface. Sunny and hot conditions during the early afternoon yielded to overcast skies with a cool breeze from the north as a thunderstorm complex to the north blew itself out even providing a few sprinkles. The result was plenty of high-speed action with any dust being taken away from the grandstand and at the end of forty-laps there was a first-time winner standing in victory lane.

Jeep VanWormer and Jason Feger would start the main event from the front row and my thoughts were that these two would fight it out for the win. After all, VanWormer had looked pretty dominant the night before at Quincy and Feger, the current point leader on the Tour, loves running the cushion and that was where he was starting. When the green flag waved VanWormer faded quickly dropping all the way back to eighth on lap two while Tim Lance applied the early pressure on Feger. Jack Sullivan had started fifth and was on the move as he drove by Lance for second on lap twelve and then went to work on the leader before the event’s only caution waved on lap eighteen for a slowing Billy Moyer Jr.

On the restart the race was on for the lead as Sullivan, working a middle line, made several attempts on Feger who was sweeping off the cushion on both ends. On lap twenty-three Sullivan was able to take the lead down the front stretch only to see Feger come storming right back to the front off of turn two. This same process played out again on lap twenty-four and this time Feger tried a lower groove in turns three and four to see if he could keep Sullivan from regaining the lead off of turn four. As Feger and Sullivan thrilled the crowd with this exchange all of a sudden we had a new player in Ryan Unzicker who was now finding the very bottom groove to be extremely fast for his #24 car. Unzicker relegated Feger to third on lap twenty-six and two laps later he took the lead away from Sullivan coming off turn four. Jack tried to fight back in turns one and two, but drove his GRT house car off the top side of turn two and by the time he recovered he was now back in sixth.

There was no doubt who the fastest car on the track was now as Unzicker, from El Paso Illinois, drove away from the field to win his first career Summer Nationals main event in convincing fashion. Tim Lance completed an impressive run to take runner-up honors, Feger continued to build his point lead over his closest contenders by finishing third, VanWormer recovered from his poor start to come home fourth while Shannon Babb completed the top five. Sullivan wound up sixth, Ohio’s Doug Drown was seventh, Steve Lance Jr. took eighth, ninth went to Brian Shirley and Dennis Erb Jr. was tenth.

Spoon Notes…..Thirty-eight UMP Super Late Models were in competition…..Unzicker started seventh after finishing second to Drown in the third heat race…..The other heat race winners were VanWormer, Feger and Tim Lance…..Erb, the two-time defending champion of the Tour was forced to qualify by winning the B-Main after finishing fifth in the last heat race. His tenth-place run in the feature started from seventeenth…..Young talent was again on display tonight as 13-year-old Bobby Pierce unofficially finished 11th in the main event, plus he won his heat race in the Pro (Crate) Late Models. This was also my first chance to see 18-year-old Kentucky driver Dillan White in action. He was impressive running third in the first heat behind Jeep and Sullivan…..Iowa driver Boone McLaughlin made his first-ever trip to Spoon River and was the final transfer out of the B-Main…..Support classes included 27 UMP Modifieds, 13 UMP Pro Late Models and 13 E-Mods. All three divisions put forth some good racing in their qualifying races, but with Morgan facing a 5:30 a.m. workday on Tuesday we chose to start the two-hour drive home after the checkers waved on the UMP Late Model feature at 10:07…..We were very impressed with flagman Dave Walden who made sure that the two-by-two starts were nice and even off of turn four in all classes. And, on the minimal number of restarts that we saw, he was quick to get the realignment set and did not waste laps before turning the field loose once again……For many years I listed Spoon River Speedway as one of my top-five favorite tracks, but after a couple of bad experiences there in the past five years it had been moved down the list. This return trip, my first since 2008, has me considering what facility I might have to bump out of my current top five to put “The Spoon” back in.

Specials tonight at Farley and Peoria, weekly racing at Osky and “The Beaver” plus the Corn Belt Clash at Indee on Wednesday, Sprint Invaders at Tipton on Thursday and then a full weekend of racing action starting again on Friday. We live in the best area possible to be a race fan, so get out and enjoy the action!

Monday, July 12, 2010

VanWormer Collects $5,000 as "Hell Tour" Stops at Quincy

Have you ever seen a Jeep fly? The large crowd that gathered at the Quincy Raceways did on Sunday night as the UMP Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” came to town. Tony Rhinaberger and his Quincy Raceways staff had the banked dirt oval perfectly manicured allowing the Super Late Models to circle the quarter-mile at amazing speeds in multiple grooves and after forty-laps it was Jeep VanWormer who stood in victory lane.

Brian Shirley, driving one of Tim Lance’s Digital Copy Systems sponsored #48 cars, started from the pole and fought off a first lap challenge from the third-starting VanWormer to hold the early lead. On lap six, with Van Wormer still applying the pressure, Shirley’s car faltered on the exit of turn two and as Jeep took evasive action to keep from plowing into the rear of Shirley I thought that I saw a yellow spring pop out from under Shirley’s car as he pulled to the infield. A caution for Brandon Sheppard on lap eleven bunched the field, but the leader again pulled away on the restart as the battle for positions behind him heated up.

Ryan Unzicker was doing his best to hold back Jason Feger and while that was interesting enough, the four-car battle for third featuring Doug Drown, Mark Burgtorf, Shannon Babb and Dennis Erb Jr. demanded attention. Babb, who started twelfth, was hooked up and haulin’ seemingly able to run anywhere on the track as he picked his way through the field. Feger made the move into second on lap nineteen and set his sights on trying to close the gap on VanWormer while Babb had cleared his pack and was now quickly reeling in Unzicker for third. Lapped cars of Bobby Pierce and Brandon Thirlby were racing each other side-by-side as Unzicker and Babb closed in behind them and on lap twenty-six Babb tried to make a move to the very low groove of the front straightaway to clear all three cars but the door closed and he hooked the left rear of Thirlby sending the two cars spinning to the infield. After taking a few minutes to pry the two cars apart, Babb would restart at the tail end of the cars on the lead lap in ninth with fourteen-laps remaining.

Feger tried to keep pace with VanWormer on the restart, but he could not mount a serious challenge as Jeep cruised the remaining distance to earn the $5,000 top prize. Feger will retain the Tour’s point lead with his runner-up finish, Unzicker was solid in third while Ohio’s Doug Drown held off the hometown favorite Mark Burgtorf for fourth. Babb was able to make his way back up to sixth ahead of defending Summer Nationals champion Dennis Erb Jr., Jack Sullivan nursed his smoking ride in for eighth while Denny Woodworth and Tim Lance completed the top ten.

Q Notes……Thirty-two cars attempted to make the twenty-one car starting field and eight of those were cars who were also competing in the track’s weekly IMCA Late Model division that requires a spec engine. Dustin Griffin was the only one of those who raced his way into the field. Justin Reed drove his own #1st in the IMCA division and drove Tony Dunker’s #4 in the UMP division. Reed was granted the track provisional to start last on the field…..VanWormer’s rig arrived after hot laps and just before qualifying as he had suffered a flat tire on the way to the track…..It was an interesting mix of cars on hand with Doug Drown dropping in from Ohio, Brandon Thirlby coming in from Traverse City, Michigan, and Craig Vosbergen on hand from Perth, Western Australia. Officially Vosbergen started the feature with a provisional, but he was being very aggressive trying to get qualified out of the B-Main as he came from deep in the pack to finish fourth…..At thirteen-years-old “The Short Cool One” Bobby Pierce is usually the youngest driver in the pits, but on this night he was like an old veteran to eleven-year-old UMP Modified driver Jake Griffin…..Billy Moyer Jr.’s night came to an early end when he appeared to have motor problems on lap four of the main event……A break for track maintenance between the heats and the B-Main really improved the racing action. A heavy cushion entering turn three was scraped away and an implement tire marking the infield in turn one was rolled back into the infield rather than out on the racing surface where it had spent the first half of the evening…..I was thrilled to see that “The Hell Tour” uses single-file restarts for all of their events. Just goes to show that my way of thinking is usually similar to those who have been banished to that dark place…..The Summer Nationals moves to the Spoon River Speedway south of Canton, Illinois, tonight (Monday) for an event that was rescheduled after being rained out last Wednesday……The checkered flag flew on the UMP feature at 9:35 p.m. and knowing that I wanted to follow the Tour again on Monday, I decided to skip out on the three remaining feature events. Click here full results and the story from track PR-specialist Jack Walbring.

Plenty of racing action to be had around the area this week, get out and enjoy it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Morning Notes.....

I made my way over to Osceola Saturday afternoon for the grand opening of the Clarke County Speedway and I was very impressed with the friendliness and the enthusiasm of owners Tim and Janene Nelson and their entire family. It is obvious that they have put a lot of hard work and resources into the new facility and if the area decides to support them I feel that this place will be a big success.

The opener was a bit short on cars and competitors, something that I expected from the simple fact that there just aren't that many race cars already up and running in this area. Even though Iowa has more race tracks per capita than any other state in the nation, this one particular area of the state does not have any, until now. The divisions that they are planning to run are all economical and built for fun, so if the racing bug hits the area look for car counts to grow, and possibly grow very fast.

On this day the Iowa Mini-Sprint Association brought a field of ten with Dan Beerends taking the victory. Taylor Musselman of Norwalk topped the field of Open Front Wheel Drive cars and there was some good action in the Stock Front Wheel Drives, the Pro 4 Trucks and the Double Figure-8 divisions as well.

Picking my way through the results this morning I see that Grinnell driver Todd Reitzler made the pull down to the Adams County Speedway in Corning Saturday night and won the Hobby Stock Feature.

It was good to see that Knoxville had thirty-two cars on hand for the twin features in the 410 class with Terry McCarl and Ian Madsen taking the win. The roster included veteran Aussie driver Max Dumesney who was making his first appearance at the track in some time and he brought along his sixteen-year-old son Mitchell for his debut as well. You'll recall that Max's wife and Mitchell's mother, Melinda Dumesney has also been a competitor in the 410 class at Knoxville, so Mitchell is a unique "second generation" driver.

Nice to see Mike Weikert Jr. of Muscatine back in victory lane after winning the IMCA Modified main event at 34 Raceway Saturday night.

I-55 Raceway in Pevely had to cancel last night's show due to high water closing off the access road to the Speedway. This is the second time that they have had to cancel due to this issue in the past month.

While some tracks' car counts are remaining solid there are a couple who are fading fast. Here's hoping that this trend turns around for those facilities soon.

I'm watching the radar closely today hoping to go to either the UMP Summer Nationals event at Quincy or the Hogan Memorial at Vinton. Looks like Mother Nature may end up making the tough choice for me on this one. Hopefully your favorite track stays dry tonight and you can see some racing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gustin From Twentieth To First for 2010 Harris Clash Victory

Race fans, the Harris Clash continues to be one of the signature events here in the Midwest that you must find a way to include on your summer schedule. The combination of great promotion and a solid purse offered up by Bob Harris, excellent track preparation and race-night presentation at the sport’s premier facility the Knoxville Raceway, and an ever-consistent rules package and supervision by IMCA annually produces one of the best race nights that we see. And the 2010 version that was pushed from Tuesday to Thursday due to heavy rains, may just have been the best of the many Clashes that we have attended.

Seventy IMCA Modifieds were on hand to do battle with each and every race being important to the eventual outcome. Six heat races would transfer three cars each and three B-Mains would find four cars each moving on to complete a thirty-car starting field for the $2,000-to-win twenty-five-lap Harris Clash. Usually I write about the feature first and then fill in notes from there, but in this offering I am going to report the events chronologically to hopefully illustrate just how good the racing was from beginning to end.

Heat One – Jay Schmidt drew the lowest number in the pill bag to start from the pole and he checked out for the win. Robert Tippery of Council Bluffs, a rookie in the division for 2010 after stepping up from the Sport Mods, was impressive running second holding off the charge of Josh Foster. Foster, the two-time defending track champion at the Lee County Speedway and the current point leader on the Hawkeye Dirt Tour, started seventh and quickly moved to third but could not get by Tippery to move into a re-draw position over the final laps.

Heat Two – Oh this is nice, the kid who pulled in from North Carolina and has been here all week waiting out the weather drew the outside front row. We’ll see how long he can keep up. Little did I know that Kyle Strickler has already rung up fourteen feature wins this season and he was definitely ready for his Knoxville debut. Nate Caruth grabbed the eary lead, but Strickler who is apparently known as “The High Side Tickler” made the pass of Caruth and then held off Vern Jackson to take an impressive victory. Eric Dailey came from the inside of row five to snare the third and final transfer spot.

Heat Three – Defending Harris Clash champion Jay Noteboom wasted no time coming from row two to take the lead and drive away with a convincing win. The race for third was intense throughout as David Brown tried to fight off challenges from Jake Durbin, Tim Murty and Randy Havlik and the caution waved when Durbin spun in turn four. On the restart Havlik took control of third and eventually nipped Levi Nielsen at the checkers for that second re-draw position.

Heat Four – Mark Elliott started from the pole and checked out for a dominating win. Jordan Grabouski would chase him in for second while the battle for third would come right down to the closing lap. David Murray Jr. had started eleventh and was up to fourth needing one more pass to make the show and it was Ryan Ruter who was in his sights. Murray pulled even with Ruter going down the backstretch on the final lap and he dove into turn three low and hard before drifting up to the cushion, a classic Knoxville slidejob. Ruter hopped the cushion and climbed the guardrail cutting down his right rear tire and he would never make it to the checkers going from a qualifying spot to last in just a few seconds. Richie Gustin, who started eighth, would have to come back in a B-Main after finishing fourth.

Heat Five – Pole-sitter Chris Abelson and sixth-starting Todd Inman both had great starts and were running one-two down the backstretch on the first lap. Abelson and Inman would drive away from the field to the checkers. Jimmy Gustin was running a strong third when he slowed suddenly on lap five and pulled to the infield. Jeremy Mills would come back from a poor start to qualify third. J.J. Wise moved from tenth to fourth holding off a twelfth-starting Johnny Saathoff at the checkers, but both would have to try again to qualify out of a B-Main.

Heat Six – Bill Davis Jr. was a rocket. Starting ninth on the eleven-car grid, Davis pass several cars in turns one and tow on the first lap and then blew by early leader Mike Fluegel coming off of turn two on the second trip around the half-mile. He was gone but the shuffle for the two remaining qualifying spots was entertaining with Jeff Jones and Michael Long making the transfer.

The heat races were completed at 7:45 and after a fifteen-minute break we were ready for three B-Mains that would be the equivalent of feature events on most nights.

B-Main One – Nate Caruth moved to the lead at the outset before front-runners Josh Gilman and Bub Larette tangled in turn one. On the restart Caruth again was the class of the field while the battle behind him was being waged. Todd Shute moved into the second spot and former Clash winner Clayton Christensen was running third before smoke billowed from his car with just three laps remaining. This moved Mark Schulte up to third and Mike O’Lear passed Tyler Vandekamp in the final two laps to qualify in fourth.

B-Main Two – Richie Gustin was on cruise control in this one building nearly a half-lap advantage before the checkers waved. David Brown was again under fire from several drivers, but this time he was successful in holding back their efforts to finish second. The only Wisconsin driver to pull down for the Thursday show, Dan Ratajczak finished in third while Jake Durbin clawed his way forward from row number five to finish fourth.

B-Main Three – Johnny Saathoff, Cory Wray and J.J. Wise started in the top three and finished that way while the driver to watch was Jimmy Gustin. Starting seventeenth on the grid, Gustin only had twelve laps to make it to fourth if he wanted a shot at the big money and he methodically made his way toward the front. Over the final three laps he tried every racing line that he could to try to get around J.D. Auringer for that one last transfer position, but Auringer did not make a mistake and relegated Jimmy to being a spectator for the main event.

The Harris Clash – After another short break to allow the B-Main transfers to prepare, the thirty-car starting field assembled on the front straightaway under an absolutely beautiful sunset in the western sky. Jay Schmidt continued to display his skills on the draw as he pulled out the pole position with Mark Elliott set to start next to him on row one. As the field thundered into turn one after the drop of the green, it was Todd Inman who again had a great start and moved from inside of row two to the lead down the back stretch. Elliott had not trailed a lap yet tonight and he wasn’t about to start now riding the cushion around three and four to sweep past Inman and officially lead lap number one. The advantage grew quickly, but was erased just as fast when the caution waved on lap six for debris up in turn two. On the restart both Jeff Jones and Jordan Grabouski tried to keep Elliott close, but as they raced each other for second the leader once again began to pull away. As the laps clicked off the dominance of Elliott showed and Grabouski was now comfortably in second, but there was plenty of two and three-wide racing action behind them to keep the crowd well entertained. Several drivers were on the move and making their way to the front including Josh Foster, David Murray Jr., Jeremy Mills and Richie Gustin. Foster had started thirteenth, Murray was coming from fifteenth, Mills had lined up sixteenth and Gustin had started twentieth and all four drivers were slicing their way through the other competitors while also battling amongst themselves along the way. Once they were up into the top seven you almost wished for a caution flag so that you could see what might happen, but as I thought that I felt bad about it since Elliott had been so strong all night and deserved the victory. Just as this inner-conflict took shape, Jones who was running fifth spun at the exit of turn two and came to a stop on the apron and inside the berm the runs along the inside of the turns at Knoxville.

The green flag stayed out as Jones fired up his #19J and drove dejectedly to the pits, but just a moment later Murray caught the cushion wrong in turn and smacked the guardrail. The caution waved with just two laps remaining, Elliot’s insurmountable lead was wiped out, the contenders were assembled close behind him and the crowd moved to the edge of their seats for the green-white-checkers conclusion. Elliott stormed into turn one and started to rebuild that lead coming off of turn two, but then it appeared that he had a fuel pickup problem or something as he slowed going down the back stretch. Grabouski jumped to the cushion and to the lead in turn three with Gustin hot on his bumper, while Elliott came back to speed racing through the turns now in third. The problem reared its ugly head again down the frontstretch though and Elliott’s once apparent victory would now go to someone else as he faded back through the field to finish fifteenth. Grabouski and Gustin raced side-by-side into turns one and two for the final lap with Mills and Foster right behind and ready to take advantage of any mistake. Going into turn three Gustin hit his marks perfectly and set the car in just right to pull ahead of the Nebraska hotshoe off of four and claim the thrilling victory. Grabouski would settle for being the runner-up with Jeremy Mills taking third, Josh Foster fourth and it was Johnny Saathoff, who started twenty-first nipping Michael Long at the line for fifth. The rest of the finish was a scramble as Randy Havlik slowed suddenly coming to the stripe sending drivers scrambling for an opening that unfortunately not all of them found. The cars of Havlik, Vern Jackson, Strickler and a couple more wound up sitting on the track just past the checkers with damage, but luckily no injuries. A full rundown of the official results can be found on the Knoxville Raceway website.

After catching our breath, Morgan and I made our way out of the grandstand thoroughly impressed with how the evening unfolded. We saw seventy race cars involved in nine qualifying events where every lap and very position counted on a track where drivers could run any number of different lines. The show started on time, there were a minimal number of cautions (thanks to some drivers who, if they spun on their own, were enough of a sportsman to start it up and continue on), the breaks that were needed were brief and the feature race was excellent. All of this and we were on our way home at 9:15!

A big thanks to Bob Harris for the hospitality that he extended to the entire crew and to all involved who continue to make the Harris Clash a “must-see” event. Following are some shots that our own Barry Johnson took from his vantage point down in turn one.

Jeff Jones (19J) and Jordan Grabouski race for second early in the main event - Barry Johnson photo

Randy Havlik (3z) had a solid top ten finish before slowing coming to the checkers. Here he races with eventual winner Richie Gustin - Barry Johnson photo

David Murray Jr. (97m) and Josh Foster put on quite a show as they raced toward the front, but it was Murray who would necessitate the late-race caution after he hit the turn one guardrail - Barry Johnson photo

Mark Elliott had things well in control until apparent mechanical issues slowed him up for the final two laps - Barry Johnson photo

Richie Gustin started 20th and finished first to collect the $2,000 top prize at the Harris Clash - Barry Johnson photo

Thursday, July 8, 2010

One Closing, One Opening......

As I made my way around the internet this week searching for results to compile both the All Iowa Points and the All Missouri Points, I came across some posts on the forum board at Heartland Motorsports in regard to the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. It appears that there will be no more weekly racing at the speedway after last Saturday night's show and since a couple of the posts are from sources I would rely upon (the track announcer and a couple of drivers), I'm going to assume that it is true despite no official announcement.

New promoter Wayne Messamaker appeared ready to make a solid run at providing weekly racing in Memphis this season, but with the unforgiving weather and the continued slow economy he was never really given a good shot at building something up. Sadly, this may be the last attempt at a weekly show at this neat little race track in northeast Missouri for some time to come, but here's hoping that they can still find a way to put on a special event or two each year. This news, along with the announcement this week that 24 Raceway in Moberly will be cutting back to an every-other-week schedule for the remainder of the season means that race fans in that area will have to do some traveling to find some racing on Saturday nights.

And by the way, I still haven't found the results from last Saturday night at Memphis.

As one track closes, another one opens, finally! The Clarke County Speedway in Osceola has been trying to hold their first race for some time now, but the fact that southern Iowa is evolving into being a tropical rain forest has kept that from happening until now. This Saturday July 10th will see the first racing at this new facility and don't forget that, with no lights, this will be some good old fashioned day-racing with action getting underway at 1 p.m. I am hoping to make the trip over for the grand opening and usually I would then try to pair it up with a visit to Corning or Knoxville that night. But my wife, bless her heart, is still trying to "class me up" a bit and will instead have me at the outdoor symphony concert that evening. After all, there will be fireworks at the end, an nobody loves fireworks more than my Christine!

That's it for now, hope to see you tonight at the Harris Clash or somewhere at the track this weekend. Don't forget that the UMP Summer Nationals are at Quincy Sunday night and they will then move to the Spoon River Speedway near Canton on Monday night to run the event that was rained out last night. Also, the Hogan Memorial is this Sunday night at Vinton.

Be Positive, Support The Sport!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aikey Dominates Summer Spectacular At Hamilton County

With the change of schedule for the Harris Clash, and with a radar that was only lighting up down in our corner of the state, Jean and I loaded up and made the three hour drive up to the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City Tuesday night. The Motor Inn Summer Spectacular featuring IMCA Late Models was on the card and it has been way too long since I have seen the friendly faces of the Pro Track Promotions folks. Al Uhrhammer was one of the biggest supporters of the NKF Tour when we ran it nearly a decade ago and I always enjoyed my trips to Webster City, not only for the great racing, but for the nice people as well.

A lot of hard work went into putting this event on and I learned later in the evening that former IMCA Late Model Tech Director Dick Griffith had a lot to do with it. Of course that was no surprise to me and Dick was one of the first ones to slide in next to me in the grandstand to shake my hand and say “welcome back to Webster City”. This event would pay $2,500-to-win and $300-to-start, plus with lap money being paid out to the leaders each circuit it would be possible to walk out of the rustic half-mile with $3,000. Needless to say, the solid field of twenty-four that pulled in tonight should have all felt pretty decent when they went to the pay window.

The feature race had a hard time getting any kind of flow to it as the caution waved on lap one, two, three, seven, fifteen, nineteen and twenty-four with that last one mentioned being used for a pre-announced ten minute break where crews could do anything but change tires or add fuel. When the green came back out, it didn’t stay out for long as a car spun in turn one on lap twenty-five. Then on lap thirty-three the fourth-place car of Bryan Klein bicycled and rolled hard landing on its wheels in turn one. At this point, with my next workday set to start in nine hours and with a three hour drive still ahead of me, we decided to call it a night. Honestly, I probably would have stayed for the checkers, but two other factors helped make my decision. First was that it was pretty evident that nobody was going to touch Jeff Aikey as he had gone unchallenged during the green-flag segments after starting from the pole, and second, I thought that if I lost any more blood to the mosquitoes I might not have the strength to even walk out to the car, let alone drive home! (Note to self, when a track was completely under water the week before, make sure that you bring bug spray with you)

The racing behind Aikey was fun to watch as we saw several instances of three-wide action and it was great to see Greg Kastli running up front again. This was also my first opportunity to see Jeremy Hodapp wheel a Late Model and he stayed in the front half of the pack through that red flag. I do know that Aikey held on to take the win and the big $3,000 payday and you can visit TapFan’s Tours for the rest of the results.

Support classes offered up some exciting action as well. In the Sport Mods, track point leader Rocky Caudle paced the first eight laps of the twenty-lap main event and on a lap six restart he actually got shuffled back to third momentarily behind Matt Lettow and Scott Davis before passing them right back down the back stretch. Caudle would bobble two laps later in turn three though and spin to the infield handing the lead, and the eventual win over to Davis. Defending IMCA Northern SportMod National Champion Jesse Sobbing was able to put a nose under Davis in turn four on the final lap, but had to settle for second while Lettow, Bob Sutherland and Cayden Carter completed the top five.

In the Hobby Stocks Kyle Schmauss was the early leader before his driveshaft decided to venture out on its own. Robert See, who we saw roll hard at Fort Dodge a couple of weeks ago, had his new ride humming as he took over from there. Brad Ratcliff made a run to the inside of See in turn four on lap nine when suddenly sparks flew from the front of Ratcliff’s car turning him hard right into See. With both cars eliminated this put current track point leader Matt Ring out front and he went on to take the win ahead of Brandon Chaplin, Daniel Krieger, Adam Hagen and Craig Graham.

We also ran into Kevin Babcock as we entered the grandstands and I always enjoy taking a look at his Chasin Racin website to get his views and to check out all of the old pics. Wow, do they bring up a lot of memories, just like seeing all of the names of the HCRSA Hall of Fame members posted around the ampitheater. It was great to see the big black dirt oval once again and, while the show ran a little late, Jean and I both agreed that it was well worth the trip. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m Positive that I don’t like double-file restarts.

I let the radar talk me out of going to Spoon River tonight, so we’ll see if that was a good decision or not. Hopefully we’ll see some of you in Knoxville on Thursday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Harris Clash Is Coming Up.....And Ten Years Ago....

I hope that you had a great Independence Day weekend and that you are now looking ahead to the second half of the racing season. My wife loves fireworks so I made sure that we spent the last three nights finding the best displays in the area and we are definitely spoiled here in Mount Pleasant. The city had a great display at McMillan Park on Saturday night, then on Sunday evening the Country Club with the support of John and Kim Wright puts on a display that rivals any festival in a big city such as Chicago or Kansas City. With the focus on being at these fireworks displays, it does keep me away from the race tracks generally on the Fourth though which seems wierd because as I was growing up the tracks were the place to be for both racing and fireworks.

I'm ready now for a big week ahead with my focus on the annual Harris Clash at the Knoxville Raceway. Tuesday night will feature the IMCA Modifieds while on Wednesday night the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models will be in action along with the IMCA Sport Mods. Thursday night will serve as a rain date for the Tuesday show if needed and unfortunately it looks as though Mother Nature has parked a stationary front over the area for the week ahead. My best advice is to ignore the forecast and keep an eye on the radar instead. We had an 80% chance of heavy rain here on Sunday and it did nothing more than sprinkle for a few minutes during the middle of the day. Yes, there will be rain falling in Iowa this week, but if it is not on the racetrack you'll miss out on a great show if you stay home. (Note: Shortly after posting this blog entry I learned that there has been a change in the schedule for the Harris Clash due to the heavy rain and the forecast for more. The Modified portion has been moved to Thursday night and they are still trying to decide what to do with the Late Model and Sport Mod show) There are some other options as well this week including the rescheduled Summer Spectacular at the Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City on Tuesday night, the UMP SummerNationals are at Spoon River Speedway Wednesday night and the Ideal Ready Mix Sprint Invaders headline the Davis County Fair race at Bloomfield on Thursday night. And those are just the ones in my driving range, make sure that you check the Specials Calendar to see what is going on near you.

I stopped doing the All Iowa Points back in the middle of the 2000 season for two reasons. One was that I was so busy with the NKF Tour and two was that the results in Hawkeye Racing News became more sparse as tracks were not doing a good job feeding the paper any more with the new wave of the internet. After starting the Points up again in 2006 I now have this six year gap that needs to be filled so this past winter I made Barry Johnson dig into his archives to pull out all of the old papers from 2000 through 2005 thinking that I could get all six years done before the start of this season. I found that it would be a much more time consuming project than I thought and I actually gave up and took the papers back to him about six weeks later. Now I'm asking for them back and when the 2010 season starts winding down I'll get back to the project with a much more realistic schedule in mind. But for now, let's go back ten years in time and take a look at how the All Iowa Points stood in early June of 2000.

Late Model
1 Gary Webb Blue Grass 27
2 Jeff Aikey Cedar Falls 24
3 Gary Russell Biggsville IL 21
4 Kyle Berck Marquette NE 20
5 Steve Boley West Liberty 20
6 Mark Burgtorf Quincy IL 19
7 Chris Smyser Lancaster MO 18
8 Rob Toland Hillsdale IL 17
9 Terry Gallaher New London MO 17
10 Rick Wages Moline IL 16
11 Jason Friesen Sutton NE 15
12 Terry Schlipman Mendon IL 15
13 Darrell DeFrance Marshalltown 14
14 Kurt Stewart Ainsworth 14
15 Denny Eckrich Coralville 13
16 Joe Kosiski Omaha NE 13
17 Curt Martin Independence 12
18 Greg Kastli Waterloo 12
19 Denny Woodworth Mendon IL 11
20 Gary Wilson Frankford MO 11
21 Mike Smith Jewell 11
22 Boone McLaughlin Mediapolis 10
23 Denny Osborn Cedar Falls 10
24 Steve Kosiski Omaha NE 10
25 Thad Trump Kahoka MO 10
26 Darin Burco Independence 9
27 Todd Bennett Peoria IL 9
28 Brent Slocum Burlington 8
29 Ed Kosiski Omaha NE 8
30 Kurt Kile West Liberty 8
31 Mark Wyman Griswold 8
32 Randy Wages Moline IL 8
33 Rick Wendling Hazelton 8
34 Tom Svoboda David City NE 8
35 John Anderson Omaha NE 7
36 Todd Cooney Des Moines 7
37 Bob Moore Sioux City 6
38 Chris Spieker Massena 6
39 Terry Golder Hooper NE 6
40 Thad Wilson Moline IL 6
41 Tommy Elston Keokuk 6
42 Ace Ihm Kieler WI 5
43 Bill Martin Council Bluffs 5
44 Bob Dominacki Bettendorf 5
45 Brian Birkhofer Muscatine 5
46 Darren Miller Chadwick IL 5
47 Jamie Wilson Quincy IL 5
48 Kevin Scheff Port Byron IL 5
49 Randy Faux Earlham 5
50 Ron Gustaf Moline IL 5
51 Terry Neal Ely 5

1 Kevin Pittman Waterloo 43
2 Danny Wallace Des Moines 34
3 John Logue Boone 33
4 Jeff Gorman Ogden 30
5 Ron Barker Dubuque 24
6 Mark Noble Blooming Prairie MN 23
7 Mark Wyman Griswold 23
8 Rod Scheuremann Scranton 22
9 Jim Lynch Bloomfield 21
10 Kevin Stoa Kasson MN 20
11 Rich Lewerke Garner 20
12 Ricky Stephan South Sioux City NE 20
13 Adam Larson Ames 19
14 Rick Gustin Marshalltown 19
15 Corey Dripps Cedar Falls 18
16 Jeff Schroyer Marshalltown 18
17 Darin Duffy Hazelton 17
18 Mike Hejna Clear Lake 17
19 Scott Boles New London 17
20 Troy Cordes Raymond 16
21 John Bull Rock Island IL 15
22 Ken Bryant Ottumwa 15
23 Mark Burgtorf Quincy IL 15
24 Robbie Schmuecker Vinton 15
25 Vance Wilson Bowling Green MO 15
26 Joe College Earlham 14
27 Chad Waples Sioux City 13
28 Dave Farren Des Moines 13
29 Kelly Meyer Big Rock 13
30 Robbie Verbeck Annawan IL 13
31 Scott Megonigle Cedar Rapids 13
32 Terry Pruitt Redfield 13
33 Todd Holman Ottumwa 13
34 Bruce Hanford Davenport 12
35 Jeff Morris McCausland 12
36 Mark Widmar Ottumwa 12
37 Terry Walker Riverside 12
38 Darin Thye Burlington 11
39 Greg Peck Sioux City 11
40 Jeff Walker Davenport 11
41 Larry Herring Lone Tree 11
42 Mike Garland Sterling IL 11
43 Pat Graham Ames 11
44 Bryan Behning Davenport 10
45 Dan Bohr Decorah 10
46 Doug Lenth Colona IL 10
47 Jason Schueller Dubuque 10
48 Jay Noteboom Hinton 10
49 Jim Vest Wellman 10
50 Kendall Sather Ankeny 10
51 Mike Jensen Sioux City 10
52 Roy Pestka Wilton 10
53 Tim Anderson Long Grove 10
54 Troy Folkerts Albia 10

Stock Cars
1 Jeff Anderson Atlantic 38
2 Brian Tank New Hampton 26
3 Mark Elliott Webster City 26
4 Scott Bauer Riceville 26
5 Scott Bloemke Belmond 24
6 Ron Konkel New Albin 23
7 Jeff Wollam Marshalltown 22
8 Steve Jackson Des Moines 22
9 Brant Fuhs Eldon 21
10 Brian Blessington Breda 21
11 Skeeter Paris Boone 18
12 Milo Veloz Jr. Colona IL 17
13 Rob Henry Colona IL 17
14 Todd Inman Des Moines 17
15 Jeff Ellsworth Boone 16
16 Todd Foster Webster City 16
17 Craig Gray 15
18 Dana Wells Moscow 15
19 Dave Clark Maquoketa 15
20 Tony Trower New Hampton 14
21 Keith Conroy Jefferson 13
22 Mike Robinson Moravia 13
23 Bill Johnson Sioux City 12
24 C.J. Ormsby Moscow 12
25 Dan Trimble Fairbank 12
26 Dan Welp East Dubuque IL 12
27 Dan Woods Colona IL 12
28 Ed Anderson Marshalltown 12
29 Jake Grathwohl East Chain MN 12
30 Jeff Dolphin 12
31 Pete Hutzell State Center 12
32 Scott Carlson Council Bluffs 12
33 Andy Eckrich Cosgrove 11
34 Cliff Gray Waterloo 11
35 Cody Miller 11
36 Jim Redman Lockridge 11
37 Joe Stewart Blair NE 11
38 Mark Smyser Lancaster MO 11
39 Ryan Vicker Creston 11
40 Todd Hansen Exira 11
41 Travis Thornton Rhodes 11
42 Brad Holtkamp Mt. Pleasant 10
43 Brian Bushong Colona IL 10
44 Craig Berhow Belmond 10
45 Davey Elliott Muscatine 10
46 Don Killen Des Moines 10
47 Dwaine Hasson Rock Island IL 10
48 Jason Wagoner Iowa Falls 10
49 Jim Lynch Bloomfield 10
50 Kerry Kierscht Denison 10
51 Matt Gilchrist Grandview 10
52 Tim Baker Winterset 10

Pro Stock
1 Norman Bean Muscatine 15
2 Bobby Sexton West Branch 14
3 John Anderson Omaha NE 13
4 John Maher West Branch 13
5 Chris Morris Glenwood 12
6 Tom Hanson Vinton 11
7 Leon Zeitner Omaha NE 10
8 Dan Higdon Vinton 9
9 Jeremiah Hurst Dubuque 9
10 John Irwin Lost Nation 9
11 Roger Ciesielski Waterloo 9

Limited Mods
1 Larry Cook Fort Dodge 21
2 Gary Dreyer Fowler IL 18
3 Lance Gardner 15
4 Alex Webner Garner 14
5 Brian Wendel Clarence 14
6 Joe Hooper Camp Point IL 13
7 Arvin Sidles Emmetsburg 12
8 Brad Willier 11
9 Mike Meyer 11
10 Steve Inman 11

Hobby Stocks
1 Dan Hanselman Algona 32
2 Jeff Zehr Manson 31
3 Kris Walker Oskaloosa 28
4 Damon Murty Chelsea 26
5 Randy Embrey Granger 24
6 Richie Gustin Marshalltown 24
7 Dan Jones Waukon 23
8 John Oliver Burlington 23
9 Kent Husted Sioux City 23
10 Terry Shaffer State Center 23
11 Ryan Griffith Webster City 22
12 Scott Anderson Mason City 19
13 John Davis Altoona 17
14 Brad Tursic Ottumwa 15
15 Jason Schlangen Cresco 14
16 Jeff Griffiths Ottumwa 14
17 Orville Gilbert Tama 14
18 Jamie Ayers Dumont 13
19 Keith Williamson Bondurant 13
20 Larry Embrey Granger 13
21 Rob Hughes Humboldt 13
22 Steve Curtis Des Moines 13
23 Allen Dixon Webster City 12
24 David Smith Lake City 12
25 Lynn Panos Protivin 12
26 Matt Krieger Burlington 12
27 Donavon Smith Lake City 11
28 Harley Hill Kahoka MO 11
29 Jason Daniels 11
30 Jim Lampe Carroll 11
31 Mike Albertson Audubon 11
32 Terry Dulin Vinton 11
33 Tim Murty Tama 11
34 Andy Bryant Clemons 10
35 Devin Guyer Clermont 10
36 Don Pataska Green Island 10
37 Doug McCollough Webster City 10
38 Junior Boyer St. Lucas 10
39 Rick Ringenberg Kelley 10
40 Terry Cornelison Boone 10
41 Dan Ross Reading MN 9
42 Earl Webner Garner 9
43 Jason Mallicoat Boone 9
44 Jason Minnehan Churdan 9
45 Jerry Bliesener Burlington 9
46 Johnny Smith Winfield 9
47 Justin Temeyer Independence 9
48 Mark Neal Sioux City 9
49 Matt Horner Aredale 9
50 Blaire Benzing Waterville 8
51 Chad Hallahan Dubuque 8
52 Chris Webb Biggsville IL 8
53 Dewey Willuweit 8
54 Jeff Roete Oelwein 8
55 Jeff Vsetecka Cresco 8
56 Jeremy Dooley Promise City 8
57 Steve Mehlman Crescent 8
58 Stoney Leonard Ladora 8
59 Tully Beeghly Conrad 8

410 Sprints
1 Danny Lasoski Dover MO 18
2 Sammy Swindell Bartlett TN 13
3 Steve Kinser Bloomington IN 13
4 Terry McCarl Altoona 10
5 Joey Saldana Brownsburg IN 8
6 Mark Kinser Bloomington IN 8
7 Matt Moro Des Moines 7
8 Jeff Mitrisin Oskaloosa 5
9 Johnny Herrera Albuquerque NM 5
10 Manny Rockhold Pekin IL 4

360 Sprints
1 Tim St. Arnold Des Moines 13
2 Jake Peters Sioux Falls SD 12
3 Ryan Jamison Mediapolis 11
4 Don Droud Jr. Lincoln NE 9
5 Doran Doty Des Moines 8
6 Randy Plath Stonghurst IL 7
7 Tyson Hart Monmouth IL 7
8 Bruce Divis Lincoln NE 5
9 David Hesmer Marshalltown 5
10 Jeff Nehring New London 5
11 John Kearney Valley Falls KS 5
12 Randy Droescher Larchwood 5
13 Todd Taeger Burlington 5
14 Tony Norem 5
15 Wade Nygaard Fargo ND 5

Keep checking in this Fall and in the offseason as this project unfolds.

Hope to see you at the track, Be Positive and Support The Sport!