Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Passing Of A Friend

It was a sunny Sunday in mid-October, I can’t remember the exact year but I am going to guess around 1982, and I was driving down a two-lane highway in western Illinois. The sun was high in the sky around noontime and I was marveling at the colors of the leaves as I was nearing my destination, a racetrack near Mount Olive that was holding a Fall Special. I had seen an ad for this show in Speed Sport and I was excited to see several drivers in action that I had only read about before even if it would take four hours to get there.

When I was within about fifteen miles of the track I came up behind a vehicle that had Iowa plates and as I pulled out to pass it I noticed the familiar face behind the wheel. It was that guy, the guy that I saw at seemingly every race that I attended whether it would be close to home or at some farther off track. I smiled and waved at him as I went by and he did the same. As I parked my car I noticed him pulling into the lot as well so I paused figuring that I should introduce myself to this person who was obviously every bit as much addicted to this sport of short track racing as I was, or even more. I approached him with my hand out and I said “I swear I see you all over the place, my name is Jeff Br..” and as he shook my hand he laughed and said “I know who you are, I read your column in Hawkeye Racing News, I’m Gary Storey.”

We sat together in the stands that day and while the racing action on the big sun-baked half-mile left a little to be desired, the stories that he shared that day made the four hour trip very much worth it. From that point on we would always try to catch up with each other a bit when we would see each other at the races. Sometimes I would sit with him, but most of the time I wouldn’t because, frankly, the guy was nearly always surrounded by his racing friends. He had a bunch of them and it was easy to see why. Gary would always greet you with a smile and that oh so distinctive laugh of his. Then he would ask you what you thought about a show that he knew you had recently attended. Then he would tell you about some of the places that he had been recently. Gary was the true definition of a “SuperFan”, and not just because he went to a bunch of races each year. He truly loved a night at the races and even if the show was a stinker, he would still be able to tell you something he liked about it after he told you why it was a stinker!! I valued Gary’s opinion so much that I often asked him for his thoughts on how we were handling the NKF Tour events. And, from the stories of his travels I have actually made it a point to visit some tracks that Gary really loved, and I have even avoided one or two that Gary didn’t really like. One of the main reasons that I continued to subscribe to Speed Sport News for so many years was just to see that one paragraph summary of Gary’s thoughts from his travels when they tabulated the SuperFan rankings.

On Monday night, September 20th, the USMTS ran a show at Oskaloosa and I thought about leaving early enough so that I could pay a visit to Gary at the Hospice House in town before heading out to the track. It was a very busy day at work and I did not leave Mt. Pleasant until after five o’clock so I instead went straight to the track. I thought of Gary as I climbed the steps of the grandstands heading for that section near the top where all of the people that he basically introduced me to over the years still sit (a couple of them also write for Positively Racing) and I thought of how much Gary would have enjoyed having a Monday night race in late September to add to his total. I smiled when the thought came to me and I could almost hear his laugh as I settled into my seat.

Oh, how I will miss that laugh…..

Rest in peace Gary, your racing friends love you and will miss you greatly!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hogan, Murty, Fish, Parizek and Chandler Win At Vinton

When I was announcing races on a weekly basis I used to love Season Championship night. Even though the races were aligned straight-up by points it was like the culmination of a story that I had watched and been a part of all season and, if there was a point championship or two still up for grabs, that just added to the fun. For the past several years though I have avoided season championship nights because if I hadn’t been there to see the story unfold all year, the last thing I wanted to do was to watch races that were lined up with the fast guys up front. After last night in Vinton though, I may have changed my mind!

Promoter Mick Trier and track manager Dana Benning put an interesting spin on their season championship activities as they give the top four drivers in each division the opportunity to start at the rear for a chance to double their money if they can make it back to the front and win the feature event. Not only did some of the drivers take the challenge, but announcer Bucky Doren added to the intrigue by getting the crowd involved as the drivers pondered their decision during on-track introductions. The result was a fun night of racing and entertainment that was spiced up even more by a track that was on the choppy side due to the steady rains of the day before.

The IMCA Hobby Stocks were up first with three of the four eligible drivers (Scott Pippert, Brad Forbes and Matt Brown) taking the challenge to start at the back of the twenty-car field. Brown started quickly as he used the outside groove to move all the way up to ninth on the first lap, and only a few laps later he was into the top five. Vince Bucholz held the lead when the caution came out on lap seven and on the restart Brown got a little too wide off of turn four and tagged the wall bouncing him back down into the car next to him. The contact flattened his left rear tire and he was done for the evening. The driver who chose to not go to the back, Wes Stanek moved to the lead on lap eight only to have Kyle Parizek go charging by two laps later. Scott Pippert soon moved into second and picked up the challenge on Perizek even appearing to have him passed with four laps remaining only to have the caution wave for Stanek who had stalled in turn two. Steam was billowing out of Parizek’s car as he led Pippert and Brad Forbes back to the green and again it looked like Pippert was going to make the double-money winning move before his right rear tire went flat with two laps remaining. Now it was Forbes who tried to pick his way around the leader’s overheating machine, but he could not get it done before the checkers waved and Kyle Parizek took the win. Forbes would have to settle for second while Michael Peterson recovered from a flat tire mid-race to finish third.

The Sport Compacts were up next and with the point battle still tight only the fourth starting Justin Wacha chose to try his luck from the rear. The rough surface took its toll on the Four Cylinders as there were several cautions for debris and flat tires and the red flag flew on lap eight when Josh Reddick went for a ride off the backstretch. Merv Chandler paced the field for the first two circuits before Bill Whalen Jr. worked by him. On the restart following the red flag Brad Chandler who had started eleventh used the high line to drive by Whalen and he then held back Brett Vanous over the final laps to take the victory. Vanous, Whalen Jr. and Dallas Chandler were next in line while Wacha drove a steady race to come from eighteenth to fifth.

The top four IMCA Sport Mod drivers all decided to stay put on the first two rows and it was newlywed Austin Kaplan who moved to the lead from his pole position start. Drew Fish kept the heat on Kaplan putting the nose of his #3D under the leader on several occasions. Fish looked as though he might have had Kaplan set up for a final lap pass down the backstretch and into turn three, but the caution waved as three cars had piled up under the flagstand while taking the white flag. As the field circled the track under caution preparing for the green-white-checkered restart, Kaplan’s left rear tire went flat and he headed to the pits handing the lead over to Fish. Danny Dvorak kept Fish honest over the final two laps, but he could not mount a challenge as Drew picked up the checkered flag. Dvorak was the runner-up, Brian Rodman was steady in third while Jim Buhlman finished where he started in fourth. Shane Ebaugh would complete the top five.

Justin Temeyer and Norman Chesmore abandoned their front row start to try to win the extra money in the Stock Car main and for Temeyer it may have been a move that saved him from any additional damage as his car slowed suddenly on the first lap with transmission issues. Damon Murty moved from fourth to first on the restart to pick up the lead and he then held back the persistent challenges of Nathan Wood to take the victory. Wood came from eighth to finish second, Chesmore raced his way back up to third at the checkers, Curtis Roster finished fourth and Roger Cieseleski came from row seven for fifth.

The IMCA Modifieds closed out the evening with only Jerry Luloff taking the chance on starting at the rear, but he too suffered mechanical problems in the opening laps that would force “The Independence Icon” to the pits. It was amazing to watch the Modifieds dart around on the rough surface and the drivers should be commended racing each other as hard and as clean as they did throughout the twenty-five-lap distance. Scott Hogan started on the pole and went the distance for the victory, but the battle for second was a thriller as Mark Schulte, Tony Olson and Joe Docekal ran three-wide on several occasions. That ended though when Docekal spun in turn three on lap seventeen and he restarted from the rear with eight laps remaining. Olson and Schulte then slugged it out for the remaining laps with Olson taking second behind the winner Hogan while Schulte settled for third. Mike Burbridge who started eighteenth clawed his way up to fourth at the checkers while Jonathan Thimmesch held back a hard charging Docekal to take fifth.

As usual there was nearly a packed house of very enthusiastic race fans on hand proving that this place should be a model for how a successful weekly racing program should be built. With the Frostbuster and the Season Championship I attended both the first and last race of the 2010 at the Benton County Speedway and I have already marked the first Sunday in April of 2011 for my next trip north. A big thanks to Mick Trier and Dana Benning for their hospitality and it was great to see my old friend Kevin Kemp, who handles the scoring duties here, once again. Special thanks to Bucky Doren who gave us some great publicity for “Shiverfest” and we hope to see several drivers and fans from Vinton down at Donnellson on October 23rd!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shiverfest Set For October 23rd At The Lee County Speedway; Open Practice Night Added As Well

Donnellson, Iowa – The leaves are turning colors, the farmers are in the fields and footballs fill the air on Friday nights here in the Midwest, so it must be time for “Shiverfest”! The eleventh running of Iowa’s racing finale that includes a unique mixture of on track action and family fun is scheduled for Saturday October 23rd at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson.

The weather played a huge role in the 2009 edition of Shiverfest as wet grounds forced the show to be moved to Sunday, then Mother Nature claimed all five feature events as beautiful conditions mid-day turned wet as the day wore on. Despite the threatening weather another big field of cars was on hand and over $1,500 was raised for the individuals and families battling kidney disease at the Southeast Regional Dialysis Units. The 2010 “Shiverfest” lineup will once again showcase five racing divisions including Modifieds, Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Hobby Stocks & Four Cylinder “Wild Things” and another solid car count is expected. “Hopefully Mother Nature will stay out of the mix this year, at least as far as the rain is concerned” commented promoter Terry Hoenig. “Shiverfest has been a big success when it has been cold and an ever bigger one when it is warm, we just need to keep things dry!”

With added money courtesy of LaMae Gerst at Shottenkirk in Mount Pleasant, the Modifieds will be racing for a $550 top prize and Stock Cars will shoot for $350-to-win. Paul Boles at Boles Auto Sales, located just east of Mount Pleasant has added to the Sport Mod and Hobby Stock purse with the winner in each division cashing in a $300 check. As of right now the winner of the Four Cylinder “Wild Things” main event will collect $150, but that amount may rise with the addition of a sponsor for that division.

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

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

New to the event this year will be an Open Practice session to be held on the Friday night before Shiverfest, October 22nd. “We know that at this time of year there are drivers who are looking to buy or sale a race car, and who would like to give it a test drive before closing the deal,” said Hoenig. “So not only will this practice session provide that opportunity, but it will also give drivers a chance to dial in their cars for Saturday’s Shiverfest.” There will also be separate hot lap sessions on Friday night for drivers who want to let their mechanics take the car for a drive, and for the ladies as well.

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

Shiverfest Fun Facts:

Date: Saturday, October 23rd
Lee County Speedway, Donnellson IA
3/8th-mile semi-banked dirt oval
Gates Open at Noon
Draw Closes at 3:00 p.m.
Drivers Meeting at 3:00 p.m.
Hot Laps at 3:15 p.m.
Trick-or-Treating in the infield from 4:00 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
Race Time is 4:30 p.m.

Race Divisions and Purse:
Modifieds $550-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($100 for 10th, $50-to-start) plus $40 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Stock Cars $350-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($65 for 10th, $35 to start) plus $30 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Sport Mods $300-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($60 for 10th, $30 to start) plus $25 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Hobby Stocks $300-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($60 for 10th, $30 to start) plus $25 tow money to non-qualifiers.
Four-cylinder “Wild Things” $150-to-win, pays all twenty-four positions in feature ($15 for 10th, $10 to start).

Rules and Information: Visit or call the office at (319) 528-4301.

Race Day Track Phone (319) 835-5523

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sharing A Brain

In the most recent entry of In Staging my colleague Ryan Clark stated that he thinks that we share a brain and, if that means seeing a night of racing the same or having the same opinion on how we as race fans react in given situations, then he is probably right. After all, I am primarily writing this brief blog today to refer you once again to Ryan's great write up on the events that happened this past weekend at 34 Raceway and what it means to the race fans. "Is it unfortunate that the Pepsi rained out? Damn right it is. Is it anyone's fault? Absolutely not. Is it your money? Nope. Do you want a place to go racing next year? Thought so."

In regard to how the track is handling the situation with the Late Model drivers, that is up to them to work out with each. Some will be happy with how it is resolved, others will not, but so far it is good to see that those who are not directly involved are staying out of it if you know what I mean.

In this day and age we as race fans need to realize that promoters do not owe us a rain date for a special event no matter what time of year it is. As Ryan mentioned, it is not like there are a bunch of open dates out there that something can be dropped in on, and besides I know from experience that running a special event on a rain date is more likely to be a money losing situation. When a promoter loses money, they stop promoting races, and when we run out of people who want to try to promote races because they heard that many are losing money, then we have closed up race tracks. (You probably know of one or two near you) So the next time that you feel that an event should be rescheduled just because the promoter "owes it to the drivers and fans," maybe take another moment and think about how ignorant that statement really is.

When rain/inclement weather does interfere with our Special Events it often brings out the best (or worst) on the internet forums. This was illustrated in fine fashion this past Saturday after Burlington had postponed the Late Model Nationals to Sunday afternoon. The Four Cylinders and the Mod Lites were to run a full program in support and one poster asked the question why couldn't the track start earlier in the day. This way the Four Cylinder drivers who were in the points chase for both Burlington and Vinton could then run Burlington and then make it up to Vinton in time to compete up there as well. Of course this would have meant that Burlington would have had to have been done with the Four Cylinder portion of the program by around 2:30 p.m. which means that they would have needed to start around noon or so on a Sunday after receiving a full day of rain on Saturday, not to mention church, etc....... Yes, I know that to this individual and to perhaps three or four other Four Cylinder drivers this was their primary concern and a valid one at that. BUT.......did they really think that 34 Raceway should have taken that into consideration when rescheduling the Pepsi USA LATE MODEL Nationals? Proof once again that we as fans can often see only how something effects us rather than the big picture.

I stumbled across The Race Blogger's World recently, so if you want to follow racing over in Central Illinois check it out.

The weather forecast looks decent as of right now for this weekend, so get out and enjoy some action at a track near you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gustin Repeats USMTS Win At Osky; Pinkerton, Carter and Wood Also Prevail On A Monday Night

With over five inches of rain falling on the Southern Iowa Speedway over the past week, drivers found themselves racing both the other competitors and the increasingly rough track on a beautiful September night in Oskaloosa. Temperatures near ninety and the fact that the 2010 racing season is nearing a close brought out a nice field of cars and a surprisingly large crowd for a Monday night of action on the big half-mile.

The United States Modified Touring Series headlined the show as they kicked off a week that will see over a quarter of a million dollars in prize money distributed as they move to Allison tonight (Tuesday) and then on to the Fall Jamboree at the Deer Creek Speedway near Racine, Minnesota, this weekend. The Modified field tonight was a little smaller than I expected with twenty-seven cars on hand as apparently drivers who are no longer in the point race decided to save their equipment for the Jamboree. Still, as always, it was a solid group of drivers who displayed the high-speed action that you can expect at a USMTS event.

Colt Mather thundered out of the gate to lead the first lap of what would be reduced to a twenty-lap Modified feature, but when the second-place car of Mike Spaulding slowed in the groove of turn four on lap two both Brad Pinkerton and Tim Donlinger piled into him. The scramble to avoid the mess continued and the final starter Ryan Schaffer ended up on his roof up near the guardrail. Everybody escaped injury, but at least four cars were quickly eliminated.

On the restart Ryan Gustin slipped past Mather to officially lead lap two only to have Colt come galloping back to regain the advantage on the following lap. The two young hot shoes then waged an interesting battle over the next several laps even swapping the lead once in corners three and four. On lap twelve Gustin made a pass that stuck and he then drove away over the final laps to have a very comfortable margin of victory at the checkers. Point leader Jason Hughes moved past Mather to take second making sure that Gustin did not make too much progress on carving into that point lead of his. Mather ran a solid third at his home track, Texan Rodney Sanders moved from thirteenth to fourth and Tommy Myer passed Mark Elliott on the final lap to finish fifth after taking the initial green flag in fifteenth.

One note of interest that did not likely play a part in the early issue for Mike Spaulding, as the field was making their traditional four-wide parade lap the steering wheel came off in the hands of Mark Elliott and his car veered left into Spaulding’s. Series officials checked both cars for damage and had to pull out some sheet metal from Spaulding’s right rear before the field could go to green.

There was an interesting mix of Stock Cars on hand for the Dart Ironman Challenge event with Rich Gregoire making the longest tow in from Russell, Minnesota. Todd Inman, driving the Billy Allen #17A, started from the pole and lead lap one before Jason Minnehan charged past him for the top spot on lap two. Inman came right back though and took the lead on lap four only to lose it again a lap later, this time to Brad Pinkerton who was driving the car that Nathan Wood uses at the IMCA-rules tracks. On lap six the race was red-flagged for a scary crash in turn one. Shane Weller who running near the front of the pack slowed suddenly and drove up to the guardrail and came to a halt at an angle with the back of his car just above the cushion. With the cushion being the preferred line in turn one several cars just missed him, but Missouri driver Chad Walter did not and the impact tore the rear end out from under his #23 and put him into a quick snap roll. It was good to see Walter crawl from his damaged ride without injury as did Weller.

Once back to green the race up front was heated as six cars ran in a tight formation. Some contact in turn four between Mike VanGenderen, Nathan Wood and Minnehan left Wood and Minnehan against the guardrail bringing out the caution. Minnehan was done for the night while VanGenderen and Wood, the top two drivers in the Dart Challenge point standings, would restart from the rear. With Pinkerton building up a lead the race for second heated up between Inman and Kyle Harwood and on lap twelve the two made contact sending Harwood off the track over turn two while Inman came to a stop at the pit entrance more than halfway down the back straightaway. The crowd buzzed as Harwood climbed from his car and started sprinting down the track, helmet on, apparently to confront Inman. But as he reached him instead of getting physical the two appeared to have more of a conversation with some pointing and gesturing instead. Don’t get me wrong, I never want to see drivers get into a fight, but some of the comments of the friends and fans around me were quite humorous. “Maybe he was too tired after running all that way” or “I bet Inman kept looking bigger as he got closer to him” and “you can tell he’s done this before, he kept his helmet on!” Kudos to both drivers for maintaining their composure and discussing the incident rather than trading punches.

Once back to green the race belonged to Pinkerton, but the show was watching Wood and VanGenderen charge back through the pack to finish second and third. Mark Elliott would finish in the fourth spot just ahead of his brother Greg Elliott in fifth.

B-Mods and Hobby Stocks were also in action on the night and in the B-Mods it was Cayden Carter taking another victory. Carter started from the pole position in the main event, but it was fellow front row starter Bill Gibson who paced the field for the first four laps. Carter came charging back on lap five though and then pulled away for the victory. Gibson was the runner-up with Jason McDaniel, Tony Johnson and A.J. Johnson filling out the top five. Scott VanBuskirk ran sixth and John VanDenBerg charged from 25th to seventh driving a new looking #3K car. It was all Nathan Wood in the Hobby Stocks as he started on the front row and lead all fifteen laps to win driving a #55 with “Wilson” across the bottom of the car. Dan Hovden gave Wood a good challenge over the final two tri[s around the half-mile, but ended up taking the second-place money back to Decorah with him. Kris Walker finished third, Bobby Greene was fourth and Todd Reitzler recovered from an early flat tire to finish fifth.

The Southern Iowa Speedway will close out its 2010 schedule on October 8th and 9th with the annual Fall Challenge. It was announced last night that all four divisions Modifieds, Stock Cars, B-Mods and Hobby Stocks would race for $1,000-to-win on Friday night and $2,000-to-win on Saturday night. If that doesn’t bring out a huge field of cars I don’t know what will!

A big thanks to track announcer Tony Paris for the Positively Racing mention!! Hopefully the weather will cooperate as the week continues for the stars and cars of the USMTS.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday News And Notes From 34 Raceway's Pepsi Nationals

Fifty-one IMCA Late Models began the process of setting the field for the Pepsi USA Nationals at 34 Raceway Friday night with qualifying and five heat races. Coming out past the midway mark, Denny Woodworth would set quick time for the night and that would line him up on row two of the first heat race as all heats inverted the top four, with three advancing to Saturday’s 100-lap headliner.

Defending event champion Jason Frankel, driving the #72 normally piloted by Billy Genenbacher, dominated the first heat race and with this win Frankel will start the main event from the pole position on Saturday. Jason Perry qualified second with Josh Most coming from sixth to take third just ahead of Woodworth. The story of the first heat though just might be the story of the weekend as Mark Burgtorf failed to report to staging in time and did not compete. We were told that there may have been some confusion as to how Burgtorf’s crew read the lineup board and they thought that he was to start in heat two instead of heat race number one. Sure enough Burgtorf slowly pulled up to staging as his actual heat race was taking the green flag. This will put Burgtorf at the back of one of the two B-Mains on Saturday and it will likely be quite a show as he tries to race his way up to third in order to make the dance.

Nate Beuseling who looked so stout here back in April repeated that performance winning heat race number two ahead of Darren Miller. Second fastest qualifier on the night, Tyler Bruening ran a strong third. Keith Pratt drove the #11 car of Darin Weisinger and finished well back in the pack.

Lonnie Bailey was one of the top contenders in this event last year and look for him to be up front again on Saturday as he ran away with heat race number three. Veteran driver Ron Elbe locked himself into the show with a solid second-place performance and Jay Johnson held off Terry Neal for the third and final transfer. The third fastest qualifier on the night Leroy Brenner pulled to the pits on lap number one. Stephan Kammerer was behind the wheel of the #99 normally driven by Doug Curless.
The fourth heat race offered up some of the best racing of the night as Boone McLaughlin and Tom Goble fought it out for the lead, while Justin Reed tried to hold back Ray Guss Jr. for third. With two laps to go though Goble slowed and pulled to the infield with steam spewing from his overflow and this allowed both Reed and Guss to advance to the big show.

The fifth and final heat belonged to Andy Eckrich as he went flag-to-flag for the victory. Joey Gower backed up his fifth fastest qualifying time by running second and Kevin Blum, in the Christner #67, survived some last lap contact with Jay Chenoweth to take third. It was an impressive run for Chenoweth who came from eighth to finish fourth ahead of Jack Sullivan and Jeff Aikey. Sullivan, the GRT house car driver is giving the Richard Realty car #15 a whirl this weekend while Aikey was driving the new car in the Hershel Roberts.Ray Guss Jr. stable after the motor let go on Aikey’s regular ride during hot laps.

The fourteen drivers that have been at every Deery Brothers Summer Series show this season lined up inverted by points for the twenty-lap J&J Steel Ironman Challenge and it was T.J. Criss who drove away from the field from his pole position. Criss survived a late bid from Terry Neal to take the victory, Mark Preston followed Neal in for third while Andy Eckrich and Ray Guss Jr. completed the top five.

Prior to that Ironman race the 305 Sprint Cars and the IMCA Stock Cars waged their feature event battles for twenty-laps each. The Sprint Car feature seemed to take forever, and nearly did, as several cautions and a red-flag period slowed the action. Sixteen-year-old Carson McCarl started on the outside of row one and had the advantage racing into the first turn. But when he got too sideways he collected the fourth starting Jayson Dittsworth and both cars were through for the evening. On the restart Brandyn Martin grabbed the lead, but the caution waved again for a three-car skirmish in turn two involving Pat Moore, Jarrod Schneiderman and Harold Pohren. With the Delaware-style double-file restart Josh Higday was supposed to restart inside of the first double row, but he pulled even with the leader Martin going down the back stretch and then just drove past him before the green flag came out. Starter Donnie Williams said "no, no" to that and sent Higday to the rear of the twenty-car field and once again he jumped the start. Surprisingly not tossed after that second incident, Higday driving the second Hetrick Racing #23 entry then put on an amazing show making his way all the way back up to third before he retired to the pits with six laps remaining.

Meanwhile, back in front, Justin Parrish had taken the lead from Martin on lap four, but by lap ten Brandyn was pulling even with Parrish in turn four. On the same lap that Higday called it an evening, so too did Martin as he slowed down the front stretch and pulled to the infield. Before all this happened though, on a lap eleven caution for Bazil Hicks, we had a bit of drama on the front straightaway. Bobby Mincer missed his heat race and then lined up 19th on the starting grid for the 305 feature. By lap eleven Mincer was up to fourth and was challenging Kevin Hetrick before the Hicks caution, but while riding slowly around the track, the engine compartment of his #14S started on fire and Mincer shut it down quickly before climbing out with the leg of his driver’s suit in flames. Bobby rolled around on the track trying to put it out and it was sixty-year-old race photographer Dennis Krieger who sprinted like Usain Bolt to the rescue and he laid on Mincer’s leg until the flames were smothered. It was cool to be there later in the pits when Mincer walked up to shake Krieger’s hand and thank him for what he did, and there wasn’t even a singe mark on Krieger’s Kraig Kinser sweatshirt.

Anyway, back to the racing. With Martin and Higday both leaving on the same lap, Parrish now had a full straightaway lead and he cruised to the victory with ease. Matt Stephenson was a distant second, Kevin Hetrick finished third, Chad Huston made the trip from Jamesport, Missouri, payoff by taking fourth while Matt Krieger, despite damage to his nose wing, finished fifth.

Jeff Mueller started from the pole of the Stock Car main event and he held off a late bid by Nathan Wood to take a flag-to-flag victory. Wood was second, Jim Redmann finished third, Derek St. Clair was fourth and Kirk Kinsley rounded out the top five after starting in tenth.

Two B-Mains and the 100-lap $10,000-to-win main event remains for the Late Models on Saturday night at 34 Raceway, plus the Mod-Lites and Four Cylinders will provide the support action. I have another commitment on Saturday night and will not be able to attend, but make sure that you check out coverage from Ryan Clark "In Staging", Brian Neal "Midwest Racing News" and Danny Rosencrans "Racin’ Down The Road" online at Positively Racing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Points Update.....

Heading into one of the busiest "specials" weekend of the year, let's take a look at how the state point standings stack up as we hit the home stretch.

What more can you say about Ray Guss Jr.? Twenty-four feature wins this season and he will walk away with his fifth All Iowa Points Late Model championship. The Modified championship is still up for with the top eight drivers still having a real shot at winning the 2010 title. This weekend's Havoc on the Highbanks in Marshalltown, with two full shows for IMCA Modifieds will determine if Jeremy Mills, Jimmy Gustin, Richie Gustin and Scott Hogan still have a chance as they currently rank fifth through eighth respectively. Ryan Dolan currently holds a ten-point lead over Michael Long with Doug Crampton only thirteen points back in third. Sioux City driver Jimmy Cole is currently fourth.

We have a new leader in the Limited Mods this week as Jesse Sobbing now has a one-point lead over Austin Kaplan. With his willingness to travel Cayden Carter is still a threat in third while Super Nationals champion Brett Meyer is ranked fourth. Dustin Smith has wrapped up his third straight All Iowa Points Stock Car title and it should be noted that two-time champion (1996 and 1997) Rick Brown recently announced his retirement. Hope to still see you in the stands Rick!!

We also have a new leader in the Hobby Stocks as on the strength of his Super Nationals performance Dustin Larson has overtaken year-long leader Devin Smith. The lead is only five points though, so they will battle it out over the remaining events to see who can win their first ever AIP title. Nate Coopman is looking for his second straight Four Cylinder championship and he holds a solid 22-point lead over Nathan Chandler who is not yet out of it.

With a 15-point lead and only a race or two left it looks like Mark Dobmeier will earn his fourth 410 Sprint championship in the last five years. The 360 Sprints championship is still up for grabs with Eric Lutz leading Jack Dover by four and Clint Garner by five markers. And the 305 title will likely be decided in Jackson on September 25th as Casey Friedrichsen and Ryan Voss will go into the night tied for the lead.


One point separates Justin Wells and Larry Jones for the lead in the Late Models with defending champion Donnie Timmerman only five points behind the leader in third. Vance Wilson appears to have a lock on the Limited Late Model title as he holds a 21-point advantage over both Bob Test and Jason Bodenhammer. Jesse Stovall continues to lead the chase for the Modified championship, but his lead has been whittled down to nine points by Rusty Griffaw, and Jason Russell still has a shot only twelve points back.

Colt Cheevers galloped out to a big lead early in the season for the Limited Modifieds, but defending champion Brad Smith has been reeling him in and is now only twelve points back. The two may actually finally do some head-to-head racing during Specials season and that will likely determine this year's winner. And in the Sprint Cars, with only a couple of races still on the schedule Jonathan Cornell holds a one-point lead over Randy Martin and a three-point edge on Joey Montgomery.

Late Models from across the USA!

Before I list the current Late Model leaders in the other states that I track, I must first mention the loss of a true friend to the sport and a great race track announcer. Perry Holman, 61, passed away recently after a struggle with liver disease. Perry was the long-time voice of the Talladega Short Track and I had the pleasure of working with him on a few occasions during the annual Ice Bowl and on Cup weekends. He was the kind of guy who never met a stranger and he treated everybody like they were his best friend. Perry will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends in and around the sport of dirt track racing. Rest In Peace "Voiceman"!

1 Tim Busha Boaz 65
2 Mark Mears Decatur 47
3 Stacy Holmes Munford 46
4 Chad Winkles Falkville 44
5 Terry Smith Anniston 39
6 Cameron Cherry Pinson 37
7 Michael McKleroy Muscle Shoals 37
8 Jamie Flannagan Tuscumbia 34
9 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 34
10 Anthony Burroughs Athens 29

1 Bill Frye Greenbriar 30
2 Kyle Beard Trumann 24
3 Billy Moyer Jr. Batesville 22
4 Jon Mitchell Nash TX 14
5 Rob Litton Alexandria LA 12

1 Mike Kirby Torrance 46
2 Jeff Decker Morgan Hill 42
3 Mike Johnson Lompoc 42
4 Clay Daly Watsonville 34
5 Nick Bartels El Segundo 30
6 Steve Drake San Luis Obispo 28
7 Anthony Restad 26
8 John Silva 25
9 Paul Guglielmoni 23
10 Tommy Malcolm 17

1 Donald Lingo Jr. 42
2 Kenny Pettyjohn 30
3 David Hill 23
4 David Pettyjohn 23
5 Mark Byram 22
6 Ray Davis Jr. 21
7 Rob Schirmer 21
8 Hal Browning 19
9 Staci Warrington 18
10 Mark Pettyjohn 17

1 Travis Varnadore Dover 37
2 Bryan Bernhardt Clearwater 30
3 Josh Peacock Dover 22
4 David Schmauss Tampa 21
5 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg TN 17
6 Josh Richards Shinnston WV 16
7 Donnie Chappell 13
8 Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville FL 13
9 Tim McCreadie Watertown NY 13
10 Joe Kump 12
11 Lawton Minchew 12

1 Frank Ingram Woodstock 55
2 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga TN 52
3 David Payne Murphy NC 37
4 Bruce Taylor Toccoa 33
5 Randy Nichols 33
6 Tony Knowles Tyrone 33
7 David McCoy Franklin NC 32
8 Derek Ellis Chatsworth 32
9 Ethan Hunter Tiger 31
10 Brent Dixon Elberton 29

1 Jason Feger Bloomington 120
2 Michael Kloos Trenton 81
3 Ryan Unzicker El Paso 79
4 Ray Guss Jr. Milan 75
5 Chad Zobrist Highland 71
6 Frankie Martin DuQuoin 65
7 Eric Smith Shirley 62
8 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville 52
9 Denny Woodworth Mendon 49
10 Mike Provenzano Marseilles 47
11 Brian Harris Davenport IA 46
12 Brian Shirley Chatham 46
13 Rich Bell Sheffield 46
14 Mark Faust Breese 44
15 Todd Bennett Peoria 44
16 Shannon Babb Mowequa 42
17 Mark Voigt Marine 40
18 Craig Smith Godfrey 39
19 John Provenzano 39
20 Brandon Sheppard New Berlin 38

1 Dillan White Crofton KY 23
2 Joe Janowski Columbus 16
3 Mark Barber North Vernon 16
4 Greg Johnson Bedford 15
5 Mike Jewell Scottsburg 14
6 Jeremy Hines Seymour 12
7 Don O'Neal Martinsville 11
8 Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 10
9 Jason Feger Bloomington IL 9
10 Marty O'Neal Martinsville 9
11 Shannon Babb Mowequa IL 9
12 Steve Barnett Franklin 9

1 Kelly Boen Henderson CO 31
2 Delbert Smith Wichita 17
3 Terry Phillips Springfield MO 16
4 John Anderson Omaha NE 15
5 Eddie Kirchoff Gillette WY 13
6 Eric Turner Hermitage MO 11
7 Alan Vaughn Belton MO 10
8 Al Purkey Coffeyville 8
9 Ryan McAninch Wichita 8
10 Jimmy Segraves Valley Center 7

1 David Webb Nicholasville 55
2 Justin Ratliff Campbellsville 50
3 Victor Lee Stanford 49
4 Derek Fisher 47
5 Mike Marlar Winfield TN 40
6 D.J. Wells Wooten 39
7 Dustin Neat Dunville 36
8 Michael Chilton Harrodsburg 35
9 Brandon Fouts Kite 34
10 Dustin Linville Bryantsville 34
11 Jeff Walston Paducah 34
12 Larry Gray Jr. 34

1 Kenny Merchant West Monroe 29
2 Kyle Cummings Sibley 19
3 Ray Moore Shreveport 19
4 Ronny Adams Greenwood 13
5 Allen Tippen Minden 10
6 Rob Litton Alexandria 9
7 Brock Williams Leesville 8
8 Kevin Sitton Baytown TX 8
9 Bill Frye Greenbriar AR 7
10 David Ashley Zachary 6
11 Jody Prince Sibley 6
12 Jon Mitchell Nash TX 6

1 David Williams Charlotte Hall 31
2 Jamie Lathroum Mechanicsville 28
3 Alan Sagi Hagerstown 26
4 Dale Hollidge 25
5 Gary Stuhler Greencastle PA 22
6 Andy Anderson Bunker Hill WV 20
7 Frankie Plessinger Big Cove Tannery 20
8 Jason Covert York Haven PA 20
9 Matt Quade 19
10 Roy Deese Jr. Laurel 19

1 Alan Vochaska South Haven 120
2 Kevin Nelson Jr. Muskegon 71
3 Rich Neiser Fruitport 65
4 Roger Wing 52
5 Tom Sprague Jr. Muskegon 46
6 Eric Spangler Lake City 45
7 Phil Ausra Dowagiac 44
8 J.R. Hotovy Covert 43
9 Dave Hartman 42
10 Zack Olger St. Johns 35

1 Jeff Wildung Nassau 149
2 Kyle Peterlin Hibbing 104
3 Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 99
4 Jeff Provinzino Hibbing 86
5 Zach Johnson Kensington 79
6 Corey Nelson 75
7 Harry Hanson Eleveth 58
8 Darrell Nelson Hermanton 42
9 Brad Waits Zumbrota 40
10 Jeremy Keller Mandan ND 39
11 Lance Matthees Winona 38
12 Kevin Carlson Hermanton 35
13 Doug Herrick West Concord 33
14 Tom Waseleski 31
15 Mike Prochnow 30
16 Shaun Peterson 28
17 Don Copp Brule WI 26
18 Kelly Anderson 25
19 Seth Brede 25
20 Keith Foss Winona 21

1 David Breazeale Four Corners 58
2 Brian Rickman Columbus 41
3 Rick Rickman Columbus 40
4 Chad Thrash Meridian 35
5 Jason Cliburn Star 34
6 Bo Gordon 22
7 Ronny Lee Hollingsworth Northport AL 22
8 Neil Baggett Shannon 21
9 Ross Campanovo Clarksdale 21
10 Jeremy Broadus Biloxi 20
11 Ray Moore Shreveport LA 20

1 Craig Preble Omaha 128
2 Bill Leighton Jr. Omaha 96
3 Kyle Berck Marquette 69
4 Matt Buller 66
5 Bob Milander 60
6 Kevin Safranek 56
7 Dave Cook 46
8 Justin Gregg Grand Island 43
9 Les Seibert York 36
10 Kelly Boen Henderson CO 34
11 Mark Lueken 34
12 Mike Wiarda Aurora 34
13 Robert Leonard 28
14 Tad Behmer 27
15 Robert Osborne 24
16 Micah Brown 23
17 Tom Kubicka 21
18 Mike Kelley 20
19 Jim Johnson 18
20 John Anderson Omaha 18
21 Todd Hipnar Omaha 18

New York
1 Chris Hackett Corry PA 34
2 David Scott Garland PA 33
3 Dick Barton Ashville 33
4 Scott Johnson Wattsburg PA 22
5 Dave Hess Jr. Waterford PA 20
6 Doug Eck Corry PA 20
7 Mike Knight Ripley 20
8 John Lobb 19
9 Chad Valone Warren PA 16
10 Dutch Davies Warren PA 13
11 Robbie Blair Titusville PA 13

North Carolina
1 Bobby Panter 37
2 Dennis Franklin Gaffney SC 32
3 Ricky Weeks Rutherfordton 26
4 Dean Bowen Whiteville 24
5 Jamie Oliver Murphy 23
6 Johnny Pursley Clover SC 22
7 Chris Ferguson Gastonia 19
8 Danny Ledford Warne 19
9 Preston Crisp 15
10 Austin Dillon Lewisville 14

North Dakota
1 Mike Balcaen Winnipeg MAN 63
2 Brad Seng Grand Forks 56
3 Ricky Weiss Winnipeg MAN 54
4 Cody Skytland Edmore 45
5 Jeremy Keller Mandan 37
6 Joel Cryderman Thunder Bay ONT 25
7 Joey Pederson East Grand Forks MN 23
8 Steve Anderson Grand Forks 21
9 Pat Doar New Richmond WI 18
10 Tom Corcoran East Grand Forks MN 18

1 Rusty Schlenk Jackson MI 106
2 Barry Doss Sardinia 59
3 Cody Parker 54
4 Chris Carpenter 53
5 Chris Garnes 53
6 Brian Ruhlman Clarklake MI 49
7 Jason Flory Creston 48
8 R.J. Conley Wheelersburg WV 48
9 Ryan Markham Ashland 47
10 Jason Jameson Lawrenceburg IN 44

1 Jeff Rine Danville 95
2 Jared Miley South Park 86
3 Dave Hess Jr. Waterford 83
4 Scott Haus 65
5 Sammy Stile Charleroi 62
6 Gregg Satterlee Rochester Mills 51
7 Clate Copeman Greensburg 50
8 Jeremy Miller Gettysburg 50
9 Waylon Wagner 50
10 Jim Yoder Selinsgrove 47
11 John Britsky Indiana 47

South Carolina
1 Larry Timms Hodges 54
2 Frank Coates Hodges 48
3 Mike Ashley Greenwood 40
4 Johnny Pursley Clover 39
5 Casey Roberts Toccoa GA 38
6 Jim Rasey Southington OH 20
7 Mike Measamer Clinton 17
8 Zack Mitchell Enoree 17
9 Colby Cannon Hodges 16
10 Tony Quarles Greenwood 15

South Dakota
1 Kent Arment Aberdeen 67
2 David McDonald Huron 59
3 Brian Diede Huron 55
4 Chad Becker Aberdeen 52
5 Curt Gelling Aberdeen 52
6 Nick Beyenhof 45
7 Shawn Malsam Aberdeen 36
8 Chad Williamson Watertown 33
9 Bryan Berger 24
10 Jordan Heiman 21

1 Jeff Walston Paducah KY 72
2 David Gentry Lewisburg 64
3 Caleb Ashby Cunningham 43
4 Terry English Benton KY 41
5 Todd Morrow Oldfort 39
6 Mark Haddon Estill Springs 38
7 Ray McElhiney Pulaski 33
8 Jay Brinkley Raus 32
9 Mark Fields Lawrenceburg 32
10 Jeff Maupin 31
11 Tony Morris Murfreesboro 31

1 Bo Feathers Winchester 50
2 Tommy Armel Winchester 32
3 D.J. Myers Greencastle PA 23
4 Wes Bonebrake 23
5 Denny Bonebrake 22
6 Ronnie DeHaven Jr. Winchester 22
7 Jason Covert South Haven PA 19
8 Allen Brannon 14
9 Andy Anderson 12
10 J.T. Spence Winchester 12
11 Walter Crouch 12

West Virginia
1 Chris Garnes 45
2 Robbie Scott Shinnston 45
3 Butch McGill West Union 42
4 Rick Williams Beckley 38
5 Jared Hawkins Fairmont 33
6 Paul Wilmoth Jr. Clarksburg 33
7 Jake Hawkins Fairmont 25
8 Jeff Burdette Parkersburg 22
9 Steve Wilmoth Clarksburg 18
10 Andy Bond Coolville OH 17
11 Chuck Harper Beverley 17
12 Todd Smith 17

1 Rick Scheffler Waukesha 69
2 Russ Scheffler Waukesha 69
3 Chad Mahder Eau Claire 64
4 Jake Redetzke Eau Claire 55
5 Pat Doar New Richmond 49
6 Nick Anvelink Navarino 43
7 Terry Anvelink Navarino 40
8 Tim Buhler Glenbeulah 36
9 Craig Schueffner 35
10 Chris Oertel 32
11 Scott Reichers 32
12 Adam Hensel Barron 29
13 Gordie Seegert Jr. Oostburg 29
14 Paul Parker Kaukauna 29
15 Jimmy Mars Elk Mound 28
16 Justin Ritchie 28
17 Troy Springborn Shawano 27
18 Ashley Anderson Eau Claire 26
19 John Kaanta Eau Claire 25
20 Tom Naeyaert 24

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eckrich and Guss Battle Spices Up Night One of the Yankee

The Yankee Dirt Track Classic kicked off in fine fashion Wednesday night at the Farley Speedway with an efficient program that was highlighted by a great battle for the lead in the night’s only feature event.

The IMCA Late Models were up for a full program with a solid field of twenty-three cars in attendance. Andy Eckrich and Dan Shelliam would start from the front row for the 35-lap main event and while Eckrich held the lead running the low line, Shelliam stayed close working the topside of the 3/8th-mile oval. When Shelliam slipped a little too high around lap ten, Ray Guss Jr. took advantage and moved up to the second spot as the leaders started to work heavy traffic.

The first caution of the event waved on lap seventeen when Todd Hormel stopped in turn two and the second running Guss chose to start on the outside of the first row of two in the Delaware-style realignment. It was definitely the right choice as Guss worked the cushion while Eckrich ran down low and on lap twenty the high groove won out as Guss moved to the lead off turn two and down the back stretch. The caution waved again on lap twenty-two when flames were coming from the rear end of Jon Passick’s car (oh, so many inappropriate jokes that could be made) and fortunately the fire snuffed itself out once he slowed under caution.

For the restart Eckrich stuck with the low line even though Guss started to open up a gap while running the top groove. Persistence would payoff though for Eckrich as that gap started to close as the laps wound down and with seven circuits remaining he was once again sticking his nose under Guss in the corners. As the battle for the lead heated up, so too did the race for third as Terry Neal and Tyler Bruening were running side-by-side about a straightaway back. With five laps remaining Eckrich nosed ahead down the back stretch only to have Guss regain the lead at the flagstand, but on the following lap “Little E” made it stick and he regained the lead officially on lap thirty-one. He started out running the low line, he stuck with the low line even when it looked like the top had come in better, and in the end that faith in his strategy paid off as Andy Eckrich picked up the victory on opening night for the Yankee. Guss who has had an incredible 2010 campaign with twenty-four feature wins would have to settle for second on this night. Neal prevailed in the battle with Bruening for third while Jeff Aikey wheeling Rick Dralle’s #4D car for the night finished fifth. Jeremiah Hurst was sixth at the line, Shelliam faded to seventh, Joel Callahan was eighth, I had Doug Nigh in ninth with Jon Merfeld completing the top ten. Chad Simpson drove a #44L car that I had not yet seen this year to a twelfth-place finish.

There were good fields on hand for the IMCA Modifieds, the B-Mods, and Limited Stocks while the Flyer count was a bit on the light side. These divisions ran their qualifying heats and B-Mains as needed on Wednesday night with Last Chance races and features on tap for tonight (Thursday). Heat race winners were Jason Seegmiller, Jason Schueller and Vern Jackson in the IMCA Modifieds. John Campbell, Zach Less, Duane Toay and Kurt Crist in the B-Mods, Quinton Miller and Troy Bauer in the Limited Stocks and Jeremy Campbell and Tyler Kelly in the Flyers.

The rain that had been predicted for late in the afternoon and all evening actually built up just to the northwest of the speedway as the Late Model feature was being called to staging. Thankfully it drifted to the northeast and the show was completed before ten o’clock. The 33rd Annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic continues through the weekend!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pittman, Beuseling and Zrostlik Are Winners At Tipton

For the second time in less than three weeks, Al & Kathy Dlouhy and the Cedar County Raceway served up a fantastic special event featuring Late Models, Modifieds and Four Cylinders on a very well prepared quarter-mile surface. On Saturday night it was in memory of their brothers, Bob Dlouhy and Mike Devore, and a large crowd was on hand to enjoy their tribute.

It was another perfect night for racing weather-wise, and thank goodness that the Hawks had snuffed out the Clones early (and often) as I was able to escape the rush out of Kinnick and make it to the track just in time for the opening ceremonies. Twenty-nine Late Models, fifty Modifieds and thirty-one Four Cylinders filled the pit area with the feature fields to be determined using passing points and B-Mains, while the lineup for the first three rows in each feature would be decided by a dash featuring the top six in points. This method, along with using a "one and done" rule on cautions during the qualifiers kept the show moving right along despite the large field of cars.

The Four Cylinder main event was up first and with a $400 top prize up for grabs it apparently had the natives a bit restless as the first few laps were littered with cautions. Joe Zrostlik, the 2006 All Iowa Points Four Cylinder champion who has been running IMCA Late Models the last couple of years, has a four banger once again in time for the special events season and he maintained the lead until lap thirteen in the fifteen-lap event when Jeremy Campbell drove by him into turn three. Campbell, who came from the back of the twenty-car field after being involved in one of the early cautions, held the lead as the white flag waved but when he slowed behind the lapped car of John Whalen on the back stretch, Zrostlik came charging back on the outside. The two contenders were side-by-side coming out of turn four with the slower car still directly in front of Campbell and in the drag race to the finish line it was Zrostlik by a matter of inches at the flag. Jacob Ellithorpe came from row five to finish in third. Steve Dwyer made the trip down from La Crosse, Wisconsin, and challenged Zrostlik mid-race before settling for fourth while 2010 track champion Jarrod McMichael also ran up from the back of the pack after being involved in a caution to finish in fifth. (Note: While linking up the track's website I noticed that Campbell was listed as 13th in the feature. No mention of this was made over the P.A. prior to the checkers in the Modified feature. This moves Ellithorpe to second, Dwyer to third, McMichael to fourth and Kile Vohringer is credited with fifth)

With the top two drivers in the 2010 IMCA Late Model National points chase Ray Guss Jr. and Terry Neal starting side-by-side on the front row I figured that the thirty-lap main event would be a two-car battle up front. Boy, was I wrong! Nate Beuseling surprised everybody but himself as he drove under Neal and Guss off turn two on the first lap and then opened up a sizeable advantage over the entire field. Not even a restart on lap eight, or dealing with lapped traffic during the final ten circuits would phase Beuseling as he went flag-to-flag in dominating fashion to cash the $1,500 winner’s check. Andy Eckrich who started next to Beuseling in row two finished in the runner-up position while Guss who was reportedly in a new car tonight came home third. Brian Harris raced his way forward from a row five start to take fourth while Doug Nigh put on a nice show coming from thirteenth to take fifth.

The Modifieds were the headliners tonight and they emphasized that by having a stellar field of fifty cars and drivers in attendance. Jeff "Bone" Larson took the early lead in the 35-lap finale and following a lap nine restart he was under fire from Mark Schulte and Kevin Pittman. It was a thrilling three-car battle for the lead over the next four laps and just when it looked like Schulte would takeover the point, it was instead Pittman who motored to the front on lap fourteen. Schulte tried to keep pace with the new leader, but Pittman was pulling away before the caution waved with eight laps remaining for a spin in turn four. On the restart both Ryan Dolan and Bruce Hanford put the heat on Schulte for second and that was all that Pittman needed to pull away for the $2,000 victory. Schulte fought off the challenges to finish second, Dolan raced his way to third after starting eleventh, Hanford finished in fourth and Noah Coppes completed the top five.

Dlouhy/Devore Memorial Notes…..The show started right on the scheduled time at 6:45 and the final checkers flew just before 10:30…..Kevin Blackburn made the trip up from Fulton, Missouri, with his Modified and was leading the second heat before he spun in turn two. He returned to start twelfth in one of the B-Mains and was up to fourth at the finish, two spots out of a transfer…..Scot Fridley appeared to have won the third Modified heat, but then later started at the back of one of the three B-Mains. He didn’t appear to transfer as he was outside of the top four, but then he lined up at the back of the A-Main. So I have no idea what the story was on that……Late Model veteran Rob Toland was doing double duty tonight also driving a #42 Modified with "Dickey" across the bottom of it, but Dan Albright made a nice late-race move on him in the first B-Main for the second and final transfer position…..The primary reason that I take the time to do the All Iowa Points is so I can know a little bit about most of the drivers at a big special event like this. I never heard Steve Dwyer’s hometown announced, but having compiled the points I knew that he was from La Crosse and that he wins just about every night out on the quarter-mile up in Decorah. In fact Dwyer has ten wins and three second-place finishes this season, most recently running second to Zrostlik up in Cresco on September 5th. It was fun to finally see him in action and he put on quite a show after starting nearly dead last in his heat race….. This race was originally going to be the season ender for the Cedar County Raceway, but they are now talking about running more events in September and possibly even into October. Given the success of their two recent specials, why not?! Check their website for more info.

Mother Nature adds to an excellent show with another beautiful sunset over the back stretch of the Cedar County Raceway.
The weather looks great again and there a few Sunday shows on tap around the area for you to catch, so set your NFL game up to record and get on out to the track of your choice tonight!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Bit Of Late Model News and Barry's Photos

My Wednesday morning started off with a call from Lynn Richard, owner of the Richard Realty and Auction GRT Late Model #15 based here in my hometown of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Lynn is excited to announce that he will have a nationally known crew chief and driver in action for next week's Pepsi USA Late Model Nationals at 34 Raceway near Burlington as GRT owner Joe Garrison and driver Jack Sullivan will partner with Richard in the quest for the $10,000 top prize. With Darren Miller also stating his intentions to be in Burlington next week that will be two "nationally known" contenders and Richard noted that there just might be a couple of more show up.

Of course the field will already be stacked with talent and names that all of us around the Midwest know pretty darn well including Guss, Aikey, Eckrich, Burgtorf, Toland, DeFrance, McLaughlin, etc., etc. Once again it should be a huge field of IMCA Late Models that pull into 34 Raceway next weekend and with names such as Sullivan and "The Thriller" Miller joining in, it can only add to the reputation of the event throughout Late Model Nation.

Our own Barry Johnson was at the opening night of the IMCA Super Nationals in Boone on Monday night and he snapped the following during the Deery Brothers Summer Series action.
Kevin Sather (3) races with Craig Roberts. Sather has picked up a couple of feature wins during his first season in a Late Model.

Jason Rauen goes for a tumble making some contact with Boone McLaughlin as well, wile Tyler Bruening (16) slips by on the inside.

Ray Guss Jr. (58) continued his dominating 2010 season adding the Super Nationals trophy to his three track championships, the Deery Brothers Summer Series title and the IMCA National Championship.

Andy Eckrich (56) has sewn up the Rookie-of-the-Year title on the Deery series for 2010. Here he races with another RoY contender Todd Malmstrom.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hurst Takes Shootout; Five Champions Crowned At Dubuque

Simmons Promotions staged three Open Late Model Shootouts this weekend to serve as an appetizer for the $15,000-to-win Yankee Dirt Track Classic coming up in less than two weeks at the Farley Speedway. Jeremiah Hurst picked up the $2,000 top prize at Farley on Friday night and Darren Miller returned to "open" Late Model racing style by winning at the West Liberty Raceway on Saturday night. On Sunday night, at the Dubuque Speedway, it was a race of attrition as Hurst picked up his second win of the weekend.

Dubuque is one of my favorite tracks in the Midwest and I always wish that it was about an hour closer to home so that I could catch more of its Sunday night action. So with the alarm clock turned off for Labor Day I made the two hour plus drive north for the Late Models that were on the card along with the season championship events in the support divisions. As I started my drive I noted a huge thunderhead to the north and east that sure enough dropped a bit of rain at the speedway causing the show to start about an hour later than originally planned. And with the extra moisture the high-banked surface was tacky and ultra-fast throughout the night.

The B-Mods were first up in the feature order and their ten-lap run was plagued by cautions along with "the fourth place curse." On lap six 2010 point champion Jed Freiburger shucked his driveshaft on the back stretch while running fourth. A lap later John Campbell spun his car in turn two while running fourth and on lap eight Jeff Willis went for a spin in two turn. Where was he running at the time? You guessed it, in fourth. Finally, like an elevator in a high-rise hotel handles the thirteenth floor, scorer Kevin Feller stopped writing down the fourth-place car and the checkers finally flew over Matt Gansen who lead the race the entire distance. Jarrett Franzen started thirteenth and finished second while Jason Buss, who was the track champion this year at both Freeport and Darlington, came from the back of the seventeen-car field to finish third. Dustin Wilwert was scored as fifth, but was paid for the cursed position while John Campbell returned to finish behind Wilwert and was paid for fifth.

The Stock Car feature was up next and it did not take long for Jerry Miles to charge from his sixth starting position to the front as he drove by Austin Heacock on lap two. There was a fair share of cautions in this one as well, but there was no denying Miles who celebrated a track championship in victory lane during his 25th season of action. Timmy Current drove a new car from row eight up to second. Andy Hedrick ran a solid race in third, Terry Rittmer finished in fourth and David Brandies came from row seven to take fifth.

The Limited Stocks saw Jeff Baker go flag-to-flag for his second straight feature win at Dubuque. Troy Baurer started ninth and ran second ahead of Jeremy Campbell, Steve Miller and Nick Widmeier. Tim Schneider collected the track point championship for the division. Lenny Ollendick left the rest of the Flyer feature field in his wake as he cruised to his first win at the facility. Pat Quinn, "a big man in a little car" as announcer Eric Huenefeld calls him, rounded out a championship season in style by running second followed by Kile Vohringer, Derek McBee and Tyler Kelly.

There was plenty of drama building up to the Modified headliner as Ron Barker and Tony VonDresky came into the race tied atop the point standings and whoever finished ahead of the other would be crowned as champion for 2010. Barker earned the pole position in the feature by winning the fast heat from row three earlier in the evening and he left no doubt tonight as he drove away to convincing victory in the twenty-lap feature. Jason Schueller did his best to keep pace, but ended up as a distant second. Mike Burbridge passed Pete Bonin late to take third while VonDresky settled for fifth.

The fifty-lap Late Model feature would complete the program and 2010 season at Dubuque in front of a solid crowd that could now see lightning well of in the distance to the west. Darren Miller charged to the lead from the pole with Jeremiah Hurst and Jeff Larson in hot pursuit. The first caution waved on lap two when Russ Adams stalled on the back stretch and on the restart the lead trio went three-wide in true Dubuque Speedway fashion with Miller retaining the lead by rocketing off the cushion of turn two. My attention was on Jason Rauen who was once again putting on an amazing display of driving in "Hammer Down" style. Rauen was late to the track in his heat race, so started ninth and was up to second before breaking on lap seven. So here in the feature he again started dead last, seventeenth, and was already up to sixth in five laps, but he was trailing smoke from his #98 and it would soon be the end of his evening as he pulled to the pits during a caution. Top contenders Ron Klein and Brian Harris also left the track during that caution.

Miller jumped the cushion in turn four on lap eleven and that allowed Hurst to go storming past with Mike Murphy Jr. right behind him. As Miller recovered to make it a three-car battle up front the caution waved again on lap nineteen as Nick Marolf slowed to a stop. The Hurst, Miller, Murphy battle was interrupted again on lap twenty-four as Jon Rogers spun in turn four and it was shortly after that when Miller pulled to the infield with mechanical issues. Jeff Larson stepped up again to join Hurst and Murphy in the race for the lead and it looked like Murphy’s high-line around the speedway was about to earn him the lead on several occasions only to have Hurst fight back. On lap thirty-six though Murphy went too high into turn one and slapped the wall knocking the spoiler off of his #14 and causing a caution for the debris. Murphy restarted the race in second, but without the spoiler he quickly faded to the back and pulled to the infield a few laps later.

Jake Meier was now in second and trying to keep pace with Hurst, while the race to watch was for third where Ace Ihm and Jeff Larson were doing battle. Nobody had anything for Hurst through the final laps though as he claimed his second big win of the weekend. Meier would come home in the runner-up spot while Ihm took third. Larson dropped out of the event just four laps from the finish so it was Becky Roth who took fourth-place money following a consistent drive and Rogers recovered from his spin to finish fifth.

While a bit disappointing in count, the seventeen-car field of Late Models was intriguing to me as I saw one driver that I don’t get to see often, Jason O’Brien from Atlantic, and two drivers that I had never even heard of before. Jim Rychtik of Port Washington, Wisconsin, was challenging Rogers for fifth at the finish and Todd Alexander of Fair Haven, Illinois, was the seventh and final car on the track at the checkers.

Simmons Promotions now gears up for a big week of action at the annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic in Farley. It should be great week of racing on the track and fun in the Palace Ballroom.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Most Takes A Thriller At Lee County

Josh Most swept around race long leader Jason Perry coming off turn four to the checkers to win the Deery Brothers Summer Series IMCA Late Model main event at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson Saturday night. It was the second career Deery Series victory for Most in his first-ever appearance at the track that is in the opposite southern corner of the state from his Red Oak home.

Perry surprised front row starters Tyler Bruening and T.J. Criss by rocketing to the lead on lap one from his third starting spot. A driver who was looking for his first career Deery win, Perry looked like he would be tough to beat on this night as he opened up a nice advantage before the first caution waved on lap number four. Series point leader Ray Guss Jr. had slowed in turn three with a flat left rear tire and on the restart Perry again drove away from the field before the caution waved again two laps later. This time it was Most who had slowed in turn two thinking that he had a flat tire on his #92 after negotiating the heavy cushion on both ends of the speedway. Josh circled through the pits and was apparently given a "thumbs up" from somebody as he drove right back onto the track to restart twenty-third. Once back to green it was Rob Toland and Jeff Aikey who were on the move as they raced their way toward the front after starting in tenth and twelfth respectively. Track champion Mark Burgtorf was also lurking in fourth until he slowed in turn four on lap thirteen to produce the third caution of the event.

When back to green Toland began to apply the pressure on Perry, but Jason was not intimidated by the veteran driver and maintained the advantage before the curse of the fourth place car struck again as Lonnie Bailey went up in smoke. At this point Josh Most had worked his way back up to seventh as he was literally flying around the high side of the speedway and on the restart he picked up two more spots before the caution waved on lap twenty-three. Perry pulled away a bit as Aikey and Toland swapped the second spot between themselves and it looked like Most’s run to the front would be impeded by Toland who was now also using the top line around the 3/8th-mile oval. Most used a nifty high-to-low move to get by Toland and into second with four laps remaining and when the white flag flew he cut the distance down to a car-length behind Perry. As Perry stuck with his low line on both ends, Most kicked it off the cushion in turn one and then drove off turn two low and his momentum allowed him to put his nose around the outside of Perry’s right rear quarter-panel as they raced into turn three. Most didn’t really hit the cushion just right, but Perry also missed his mark just a bit and that was all that Josh needed as he blew past Perry in the final ten yards of the event to take the checkers and the $2,000 top prize. Perry had to be both frustrated and pleased with his solid performance that came up just short of a victory. Toland held off a late charge from Justin Reed to finish third while Jeff Aikey completed the top five.

The fans were buzzing about this one as they made their way out of the grandstands with the final checkers waving at 10:30 on the five division program.

In support class action, Mike Shelton picked up the first win of the night as he cruised in the Sport Mod headliner. Cayden Carter prevailed in the battle for second with Joe Bliven, Carter VanDenBerg was fourth and Derek Coleman came home fifth. The Hobby Stock feature had a bit of drama to it as Jake Wenig drove to the early lead with Matt Gavin mounting a pretty stiff challenge. When Gavin’s right rear tire went flat on lap number four, he slowed coming down the back stretch and made the right hand turn to the pit area. As I watched to see if Gavin would be able to clear the track, something happened in turn four that saw the new second place car of Rob Wilsey go for a spin bringing out the caution. As the field lined up for a restart Wilsey made a run at Dean Kratzer, apparently for what happened to him in turn four, and both drivers were shown the black flag. It took a bit for track officials to convince both drivers to leave the racetrack and, once they did, there was nobody who could keep up with Wenig who cruised to victory. Jim Lynch, who started sixteenth, passed Dane Fenton in the final laps to take second, Fenton was third, Jim Oliver Jr. took fourth and in fifth it was Matt Gavin who had plenty of time to change his tire during the long caution period.

Abe Huls paced the field for the first twelve laps of the Stock Car feature only to have 2010 track champion Matt Greiner drive by him on lap thirteen. Huls then slowed and pulled off the track leaving the door open for Jason Cook to make a late race challenge on Greiner. Cook was able to put a nose under the leader in turn one of the final lap and he then tried the high line in turns three and four, but Greiner fought him off to claim the victory. Cale Samberg who has been running very strong as of late finished in third, Phil Holtz made the trip down from Manchester worth while by running fourth and Andrew Griffin rounded out the top five. In the four cylinder "Wild Things" twelve-lap main event Nick Wilkerson went side-by-side with Wayne Noble in the early laps and then fought off Noble again late in the race to take the victory. Chuck Fullenkamp finished just behind Noble in third, Darin Smith finished in the fourth position while Bill Michel recovered from a flat tire on the first lap to then come from eighteenth to finish fifth.

It was great night of racing on a near perfect weather night with cool temperatures and little to no wind under a crystal clear sky, diversely different then the weather that the Lee County Speedway has had to deal with on most Friday nights this season. The track has three more events on the schedule for 2010 culminating with "Shiverfest" on Saturday October 23rd.

Look for more coverage of tonight’s action on Positively Racing as Ryan Clark, Danny Rosencrans, Brian Neal and Barry Johnson were all in attendance as was our webmaster Sue McDaniel.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tesch Takes Soggy USMTS Marshalltown Checkers

For all but a couple of people the rains came too early Tuesday night as the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) packed them in to the Marshalltown Speedway. Both Darin Duffy and Mike Spaulding would have liked to have seen Mother Nature’s interference arrive just five minutes earlier and both of them would have been money ahead, but for Jon Tesch the timing was just right as the South Dakota driver won his second straight touring event on the Marshalltown high-banks.

Lightning flashed to the west as the twenty-four-car starting field was hurried onto the speedway for the scheduled forty-lap USMTS Modified main event with Darin Duffy and last year’s Marshalltown winner Jon Tesch starting from the front row. Duffy looked strong as he drove through the middle groove to take the early lead while Tesch picked up the chase running the high line in second. Duffy runs IMCA Modifieds weekly and it is not often that you see a non-USMTS regular out front at one of their shows, but Tesch was doing all he could just to keep up with the leader before the first caution waved on lap nine for a spin by Jeff Larson in turn four. On the restart Duffy again pulled away a bit while Tesch had to deal with Rodney Sanders and Jason Hughes who raced him three-wide off of turn two. At this point Duffy, in his Karsyn’s Krusaders “Kickin’ Cancers Butt One Lap At a Time” #19D looked as though he was going to kick the butts of his competitors as well until he slowed suddenly on lap seventeen with mechanical issues.

Tesch would inherit the lead as the field restarted with the wind picking up and the lightning getting closer. Again Sanders and Hughes made a run at Tesch with no success before disaster struck for veteran Minnesota driver Mike Spaulding. As he raced with Derek Ramirez into turn one Spaulding’s car set sideways and then barrel-rolled a couple of times down on the bottom groove. As Spaulding climbed out of his car uninjured the rain started to fall and having watched the storms approach on the radar I knew that it was time for a quick exit. Unofficially I had Tesch with the win, the current point leader Hughes in second, Sanders third, Tommy Myer fourth and Mark Elliott fifth.

USMTS M-town Notes…..The five division show that also included Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Dirt Trucks and Mod Lites started right on time at 7 p.m. and the Modified feature was on the track at 8:37. Unfortunately the rains came at 8:51 about an hour and ten minutes earlier than the weather service had predicted…..It was a nice recovery for the Texan Rodney Sanders as he had rolled his car on Saturday night in Moberly, Missouri…..Myer had moved up from the twelfth starting spot to fourth……Spaulding had one of the Dirt Knights cameras mounted on the roof of his car. Hopefully it will give us some good footage to see next January when the show runs on the Versus network as it is probably toast now……Spaulding had trouble earlier in the night as well as he spun in turn two on the final lap of his heat race while running second…..Corey Dripps is another one of the Dirt Knights stars and they should have some great footage of his heat race battle with Duffy as the two recovered from some pretty good contact on the front stretch to finish one-two with Dripps taking the win……With no provisionals on the USMTS tour the pressure to qualify out of the B-Mains is intense. Dan Chapman looked to have a transfer spot sewn up before he slipped off of turn two late in the second B-Main and points contender Tim Donlinger lost a transfer when he did the same thing on the final lap of that race…..Ryan Gustin passed Nate Caruth on the final lap to win the first B-Main and his hometown fans were on their feet and cheering as if it were the big money race. It is good to see such great fan interaction!….Cayden Carter started from the front row and dominated the twelve-lap Sport Mod feature. Danny Dvorak and Matt Lettow provided a great race for second though with Dvorak making the pass in the final two laps to secure the position. The winner’s cousin Carter VanDenBerg finished in the fourth spot while young Tyler Droste rounded out the top five. I believe that Droste is the son of 1996 All Iowa Points Modified Champion Steve Droste and the grandson of 1967 All Iowa Points Late Model Champion Red Droste. Could he someday be our first “third generation” All Iowa Points champ??…..Tim Hennigar won a quick Mod Lite main event while the Stock Car and Dirt Truck features were washed away…..Local Late Model star Darrell DeFrance was behind the wheel of one of the trucks tonight…..Great to hear Todd Narveson on the microphone tonight. Todd is a regular announcer at Deer Creek Speedway and also works several events for the USMTS around the area. Just another case of a younger and better announcer taking work from me!!!…..As I was driving home WHO radio reported trees and power lines down in Tama from sixty mile per hour winds at 9:40. As I was leaving the Dairy Queen in Tama the clock on my car showed 9:20 so thank goodness for the quick exit!

If weather permits, the cars and stars of the USMTS will be at the Southern Iowa Speedway tonight (Wednesday) and at the Highway 3 Raceway in Allison on Thursday before moving up to the state of Minnesota with a show at Chateau Speedway on Friday.