So you all know that I think the World of Outlaws tour is the toughest sprint car circuit right? Presently - there are 25 teams traveling with the 'greatest show on dirt'. But I was thinking - who should be out on the road full time with the Outlaws that presently is not? Here is a quick list of 15 guys I came up with: 1. Tim Kaeding - Tim is less than a season removed from winning 15 features at 15 different tracks on the National Sprint Tour. He is winning right now in California - driving the Tom Rolfe Trucking #10 maintained by the McMillen Family. Tim has driven the car for two weeks and he won both Golden State races contested in that span at Tulare and Antioch respectively. 2. Lucas Wolfe - 20 year-old Pennsylvania masher has the potential for greatness. He has been winning in 360's and recently took home the Pennsylvania Speedweek points title for the 410's. Like Kaeding - his dad (Randy) is a racer which seems to accelerate the learning curve of a young driver. 3. Stevie Smith - He does run selected WoO events as is but I would love to see Stevie at all the WoO shows. Smith is smooth and fast and his race team is top-notch. 4. Greg Hodnett - He has nine wins on the season and was second to Wolfe in the PA Speedweek point standings. He is smart and well spoken with the topper being that he also races aggressively. 5. Gary Wright - The Texan is just too good to be overlooked. If a track slicks off - Wright will be right. 6. Jeff Shepard - "The Jet" is fantastic on big tracks. His skill at Knoxville alone would make him an attractive driver for many teams. 7. Lance Dewease - One of Central PA's best for years - Dewease would certainly hold his own on big tracks. How he might handle bullrings like Chico or I-55 would be interesting. 8. Dale Blaney - Ohio's Blaney is a pro sprint car driver that would make any drivers roster look deeper and better. 9. Fred Rahmer - PA's greatest racer of the last twenty years owns 24 sprint car driving championships including seven track titles at Williams Grove. 10. Jon Allard - The reigning King of California is best on short tracks between a quarter and a third-mile. A two-time winner of the Dirt Cup at Skagit, Allard will put a car where it needs to be. 11. Brent Kaeding - The winningest driver in the history of California's sprint car scene is in the midst of another great year. He owns eight Golden State wins and leads the points with the season winding down. His equipment is great. His team is experienced. BK would be a factor on all short tracks. 12. Jason Johnson - Louisiana's greatest gift to sprint car racing? He just might be. He has nine ASCS 360 wins in 2007 coming off a 2006 that saw him take the checkered flag first at 24 events. 13. Brandon Wimmer - The 2007 Dirt Cup winner just keeps improving by leaps and bounds. He will have a chance to show off when his team catches up with the Outlaws later this year. 14. Shane Stewart - Ohio All-Star Speedweek champion always stands on the methanol. 15. Jesse Hockett - I think desire to compete should never be overlooked - and Hockett has burning desire. I would like to see what he is capable of in a quality ride.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Larry Kneppel. "Flea" as he was known - was a close firend of my buddy Larry Shelton. Flea never minced words and always had something to say. He was a part of the fraternity of those that 'grew up' at West Sacramento's West Capital Raceway.
...So the trip to Fargo was pretty okay. Some may view that as high praise from me. The race was interesting due to horrible luck for Brooke Tatnell and a surprise winner in Jac Haudenschild. …I learned Friday night via Johnny Gibson that Tim Kaeding was back in the Tom Rolfe Trucking #10 car maintained by the McMillen Family. Gibby checked the internet to inform of Stephen Allard’s Chico win – with TK running second. …Sammy Swindell is on the latest cover of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine. Sammy is sitting out of driving duties right now. …Joey Saldana was super fast in his Fargo heat race – running laps at 15.3 seconds or seven-tenths faster than quick-time in time trials. …Steve Kinser had a problem with his ride in the dash and went from the pole to tenth. I’ve never seen that before. …Paul McMahan abandoned the experimental chassis and promptly ran in the top-ten at Fargo, and won the following night at Cedar Lake. …Terry McCarl made me laugh during the ‘open’ of the TV show on ESPN2. McCarl was talking to a Donny Schatz bobble head doll. …Kerry Madsen and Daryn Pittman both passed eleven cars in Saturday’s Fargo feature. …Jason Sides had a nice night with a Dash win and a second place run in the feature. …TV Business: The whole night felt better than any previous for me. I am at a point where I am reacting instead of thinking about what I need to do. Brad Doty and I are having fun. We know the elements of the show and we have a good idea of what is expected. One thing we should have done better at Fargo was related to the opening on-camera shot where Brad and I were staring into a very bright sun. The production team did a nice job of covering us with b-roll of pit activity so the squinting eyes were less obvious than they could have been. …I felt bad for Sides who had his post dash interview cut from the show due to time restraints. Hopefully we can make it up to Jason who deserved some air-time following the best run of 2007 for his WTS #7s team. ...The Glamorous Life: They have jet service to Fargo so the ride in was not an issue. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express located near several food spots. It was nice to have some choices. Friday night the selection was takeout from TGI Friday’s. The Bruschetta Chicken Pasta was decent but I won’t rush to eat it again. More tasty was an appetizer called Fried Macaroni and Cheese. …At the track Saturday we were catered bar-b-q beef sandwiches for the second week in a row. …Post race Saturday (Sunday 2 am) – we did Denny’s Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. I had the early 6:35 am flight which meant I had to leave the motel by 5:00 am. – I lay down for an hour but never did fall to sleep before the 4:45 am alarm. ...First trip to Dodge city was about what I expected. The track – which I had heard good things about, was indeed a nice facility. The grandstand which houses 3,500 was perfectly sized for the 3/8’s mile clay track located in Southwest Kansas. The racing was pretty good behind leader Daryn Pittman. Jason Solwold, Donny Schatz, and others were flinging slide jobs at one another keeping me entertained during Saturday’s televised feature. …Paul McMahan has a one-of-a-kind Eagle Chassis he is currently running. The car has a unique look at the front – the way the tubing bends. Paul says so far the results have been less than stellar in the new car. …Jason Meyers won the Friday feature at Dodge City. …Joey Saldana rebounded from a poor night on Friday to land a second place finish in Saturday’s 30-lapper. …Kerry Madsen had an axel break on him Friday night. The personable “Madman” sure seems to have his share of bad luck. …Dyno Dave gave me a tour of Donny Schatz’s trailer which is easily the nicest piece I’ve ever walked into at a sprint car race – stealing that honor from Brad Furr’s cherry rig. The Schatz hauler – at a price tag near $350,000 is ridiculously clean, and well equipped without any wasted space. The spare axels for example sit vertically rather horizontally in their designated cabinet. …Rob Hart is now done with a quick stint as tuner for Tony Bruce Jr. Hart has signed on to share crew duties with Davey Whitworth on the Roth Motorsports #83 wheeled by Danny Lasoski. …We had a chance to catch up with Dean “Bonsai” Bruns on Friday night after the races. ‘Bonz’ says the Rick Wright #35 team is hanging tough right now – trying to make it through the busy summer season. Team morale might be suffering a bit though says Bruns – especially since the air conditioner on the truck is not up to snuff. …TV Business…We had a production meeting that was well attended – with WoO President Tom Deery in the mix. It became crystal clear to me that I had let down the Super Clean folks in round one of the TV series on ESPN2. I promised to mention Super Clean as the title sponsor a bunch more. Brad Doty and I had some time to ride through the pits in a golf cart – stopping to chat with McMahan, Jimmy Carr, Stevie Smith, Tim Shaffer, and Kevin Eckert. …We dodged a thunderstorm and started late. The post production lasted until 4:24 am. Brad, myself, Brian Dunlap, and Laura Lingner kept each other amused with talk of racers’ significant others, swimming while fully clothed, and an occasional thought that had to do with the job at hand. …I was feeling for Doty – who had to drive three hours to get to Wichita – where he was flying out of on Sunday. …I questioned a start to the dash – and later felt bad that I had done so – although several folks I respect said I had right to wonder about the start that saw Solwold’s car jump over the rear of Steve Kinser’s stumbling #11. I really do respect the thankless job that the World of Outlaws officials have. …The Glamorous Life sometimes includes having to overcome fear of aircraft with turbo props. I flew from Sacramento to Denver and then ‘sacked up’ for the ride from Denver to Dodge City. The Dodge City Regional Airport is by far the smallest joint I’ve ever flown into – with the exception of the landing strip next to Kings Speedway in Hanford. There were some bumps on descent into Dodge and then the outbound flight from Dodge to Denver on Sunday was a seatbelt tightener that drew some shrieks from assorted passengers. The Beech aircraft turbo-prop was being thrown around the sky for roughly 60 seconds that felt like ten minutes. During the intense buffeting I vowed to fly into Wichita on a jet if there is a next time. I must say though – it was nice to avoid that three hour drive.
...Destiney Hays is seeking a ride. She has been away from racing so far in 2007 - focusing her attention on the family business in Oroville, CA. ...Mike Benson won the Calistoga Cup Civil War event at Calistoga Speedway over the weekend. ...Kyle Larson became the youngest known driver to compete at Calistoga. The 14 year-old is leading the Rookie of the Year standings in the Civil War 360 ranks. ...Andy Forsberg leads the Civil War points as the series heads to Placerville Speedway this Saturday night (June 23, 2007). ...Brent Kaeding's win at Southern Oregon Speedway last week was his eighth Golden State Challenge win of the year - matching the record established by Tim Kaeding. ... Apparent race-winner Sam Hafertepe Jr., had a ASCS National race win taken away from him Tuesday when his #15 crossed the scales at 1,460 pounds, fifteen below the required 1,475 pound minimum. Jason Johnson was awarded the victory at I-90 Speedway in Hartford, SD. ... From Bill Wright's "Tuesdays with T-Mac" column, ...Waiting in line to draw and be interviewed for the dash, TMAC (Terry McCarl) struck up a conversation with the WoO point leader about the rubber-down racetrack that had developed after the heat races. “(Donny) Schatz was trying to egg me on about saying something about the track conditions and get the crowd behind me. I said, ‘You know, I’ve been the bad guy a little too much this year, and it’s time for you to be the bad guy.’ He didn’t want to do that, he thought Knoxville would be mad at him. I said, ‘You’re a Knoxville Nationals champion, what can they do to you? Your name is on the plaque out front, they can never take that away.’ So when I went up to be interviewed, I told them that Donny had something to say about the track.” After TMAC drew a three for a starting spot, Schatz appealed to the crowd for their opinion on the track surface. The crowd responded enthusiastically that something should be done, and after the dash and B main, Knoxville officials reworked the bottom of the track. ...Knoxville, Iowa was the destination for Saturday night’s World of Outlaws event – the final tune-up for WoO teams racing the Knoxville Nationals. Terry McCarl won the feature with a lap 19 pass of Randy Hannagan in traffic. It was T-Mac’s 43rd win at the historic half-mile in Marion County. The feature was enjoyable due to Ralph Capitani’s decision to re-work the track after it took rubber. The B-Main was B-oring with cars locked down in the rubber on the bottom. Capitani actually took to the microphone to address the fans. He told them to relax for a bit because he felt the rubber down condition needed to be corrected before the feature. The announcement was met with applause. It was a ‘seat of the pants’ decision that was wise and appropriate. …Stevie Smith set quick-time. He was the only driver in the 15 second bracket. …The deal about Tony Stewart getting involved in the Schatz family race team is understandable yet puzzling. Stewart – it is said – wants to start a second World of Outlaws team. It allows him to further develop relationships with corporate partners. People want to be down with Stewart. But he needs more inventory to appease all his suitors. We all know how competitive Stewart is. He wants to win. So why start a team from scratch in 2008? Tony would be better off buying an existing team, or a piece of an existing team. No team is currently stronger than Donny Schatz’ #15. It seems like a natural win-win. The puzzling part is when you start to consider the ramifications of the different chassis builders, and engine makers between the Schatz team and the Tony Stewart Racing teams. Schatz has always been a J&J chassis guy, with engines built by Ron Shaver. Stewart doesn’t run either of those two builder’s stuff. One would have to think that Schatz would insist on maintaining his relationships with his long-time backers before any deal with anyone could be struck. If it happens – I see it as a good thing for sprint car racing. Perhaps a new big-name company sponsors the Schatz/Stewart car which further adds credibility to the World of Outlaws as an avenue to get corporate ‘bang for the buck’. …Joey Saldana made a fantastic charge from 23rd starting spot to finish sixth in the Knoxville A-Main. Joey had motor home problems prior to the Knoxville race. …Paul McMahan had a black and blue and blood red toe on Saturday as he strolled the grounds with son Brayden at Knoxville. McMahan told us he was playing football with his son and a group of kids Friday night when he smushed the toe scoring a touchdown. …Chad Kemenah was a scratch from Saturday’s event with a mechanical problem. …Kerry Madsen was racing for the lead in the feature when he popped a left-rear tire. …TV Business: I didn’t get to see the show due to travel but I saw a bunch of what would make the air in the hours following the event. We stayed until 4 am at the track working on what is called ‘post-production’. It was a long Saturday with about 13 hours at the track. Many on the crew pulled an 18 hour shift in order to get the show completed and off to Des Moines where the show would be fed via satellite to Bristol, CT – home of ESPN. As has been the case so far this season – I had my share of mistakes, but I also did some things well. Self criticism for me is gut wrenching. Obsessive thoughts of the parts I screwed up make me want to be better next time. At the same time – I tell myself not to dwell on the negative stuff. As a team we all took ‘Mulligans’ at different points of the night. That is one reason why television is challenging. An announcer can mess up or it can be a glitch in the audio equipment – or a bad cue. There can be a mis-communication about what is coming next. In athletics – I have always appreciated those with a short memory for failures. In the NBA – which I love – if a guy shoots 3 of 15 from the field one night – he can’t come into the next game hanging his head. Without confidence, he will struggle again. So I try to remember that and wipe the slate clean hoping that I’ll be better at the next show. I just have to focus harder and prepare more. …Chris Dolack, and Brian Dunlap of the World of Outlaws went above and beyond by staying in the booth with Brad Doty and I until the job was done. We all got a bit rummy but we kept laughing exchanging thoughts on land-sharks, myspace.com, the Dirt Cup results, moths, and people’s ages. The Glamorous Life: Uneventful but long was the flight from Sac to Chicago on Friday. I had to race to change terminals at O’Hare to catch my Chicago to Des Moines plane. I made it. The motel this weekend was in Altoona, IA. I got some ribs from Applebee’s as take out and watched the in-room movie Breach about a U.S. FBI agent that was selling spy secrets to Russia. I enjoyed it. …At the track he had catered Hy-Vee Super Market chicken for our pre-race meal. I wanted a tenderloin from the infield concession stand but I ran out of time and never made it there. …My flight home was set for 6:35 am Sunday – so I had to hustle to make it from the track to the Holiday Inn Express in Altoona to grab my bag and hop in the shower. I missed the exit for the motel due to some confusing road construction. Then I get to my room and I can’t find my room key. It is 5:00 am at this point – and I know sleep is not an option. I was still a little nervous about making my flight in-time. Apologies to those who may have been awakened by my F-bomb on the second floor when I realized I couldn’t open my door. The lady at the desk hooked up a new key – and I flew into the shower. I was out the door of the motel by 5:15 am and made it to the airport in Des Moines by 5:40 am. I returned the Pontiac G6 rental and got my boarding pass. I breezed through security and made it to the gate with time to spare. The Des Moines to Denver flight was hassle free. We were delayed in Denver due to a “dent in the wing” as described by the captain. After airline paper work was filed and aviation bondo was applied – we bolted Denver for Sacramento. I was ready for sleep in my home bed by noon Sunday.
...Dustin Lindquist - who was fifth in Knoxville 360 points in 2006 - recently "retired" from racing according to his website. Lindquist was driving the Forbrook #5 in the 410 class at Knoxville this season. ...15 year old Shane Golobic won his first B.C.R.A midget main event Saturday night at Ukiah Speedway - a paved bullring. Golobic started fourth and took the lead on the second lap and led the last 29 laps .It was Golobic's fourth time in the Walker Motorsports #10 Bay Muffler Beast/Esslinger. ...Chico 410 sprint rookie Brett Miller had another good weekend with a third place in Chico on Friday in points racing at Silver Dollar Speedway. Miller backed that up with a sixth in the Golden State Challenge race in Petaluma. His website is www.brettmillerracing.net ...Dennis Roth hired Brandon Wimmer to drive his #83jr car. Wimmer started in the machine at Southern Oregon Speedway Monday June 11, 2007 - a race won by Brent Kaeding. Wimmer will also run the Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway. ...Set the Tivo or DVR or get up early Sunday to watch the World of Outlaws from Knoxville, IA. Kicking off the "SuperClean Summer of Money" on ESPN2, Saturday's event at the Knoxville Raceway will be the first of eight races that will be shown on the Sunday immediately following the event. With the hour-long broadcast beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific. ...Greg Anderson won the USAC Rocky Mountain Sprint Car Series feature event Saturday night at Rocky Mountain Raceways near Salt Lake City. ...
Sunday (May 27, 2007) I headed for Calistoga and the Tribute to Gary Patterson race. Brandon Wimmer smacked the wall hard in turn two, in the dash, when his ride suffered a suspension failure. …Jim Skinner and Jason York were both in the grandstands watching on Sunday. …There is still no place I’d rather be than at `Stoga on Memorial weekend Sunday. …I enjoyed listening to Dave Argabright who was doing pit reporting on the radio broadcast of the Indy 500. His insight to Indy weather and his smart questions were a highlight of one long day of radio. …Toni Lutar towed from Knoxville, Iowa where he raced the previous week to be at Calistoga for the Patterson race. …Taylor Malsam came down from Washington to race at the famous half-mile in the Napa Valley. …Brett Miller from Chico raced a 410 at Calistoga saying it was significantly different than the 360 he had previously tried. The 17 year-old is the leading candidate for Golden State Challenge Rookie of the Year. …Rick Hirst – the former NARC driving champ – is spinning wrenches on Willie Croft’s #29. Croft leads the GSC in quick-times this year. ...The trip to Charlotte, North Carolina for a night of racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Dirt Track (May 25, 2007) was a somewhat memorable experience. A sold out crowd of nearly 15,000 watched as Donny Schatz ‘cowboyed’ his way to victory running above the cushion in the rough stuff at the 4/10’s mile track. The heats races were horribly boring with no passing at all on the one-lane speedway. But in the 30 lap feature there was action aplenty. …Zach Chappell crashed again but it was no fault of his own. A car got loose on the freshly watered track just in front of Chappell in turn one – which led to a multi-car pileup. …There were NASCAR people crawling all over the facility. Ray Evernham, Clint Boyer, Richard Childress, and legendary announcer Ken Squier were all in the house. Of course Kasey Kahne, Dave Blaney, and those with dirt roots also took in the action. …Tony Bruce Jr. had his career best WoO run with a third place finish. …Rob Hart’s phone is ringing now that he is no longer a part of Craig Dollansky’s race team. Mike Woodring was spinning wrenches Friday night on the Karavan #7. …Rick Ferkel brought out his famous #0 for driver Gus Wasson. It was great to see and chat with the Ohio Traveler. …Paul McMahan led for 26 laps in the feature before Schatz made the winning pass. McMahan has been stacking up the top-five, and top-ten finishes in recent WoO action. Pauly now owns eleven top-ten’s in this young season. …The wildest deal of the night was driver Jason Solwold’s trip to the hospital after he was bitten by fire ants during the drivers meeting. Solwold had an allergic reaction that was so severe – he was reportedly unresponsive when paramedics first got to him. We were told that Solwold was treated and was going to be okay – but that he may need to stay overnight at the crash house. Crew chief Leonard Lee jumped into the car to run for the night. …Justin Henderson won the dash but was a victim of a shredded tire in the feature. …TV Business: Again – I want to stress that what I write about TV is nothing more than a cursory glance at what goes on behind the scenes. It takes a large staff of folks to make sure the whole deal works correctly. …We taped the third show for Speed which will air on June 10, 2007. We felt better about this race than the previous one done last week at Williams Grove – mostly due to the energy of the huge crowd and the amount of action in the 30-lap feature. …The racing was pretty good – especially at the front of the pack where Schatz was chasing down McMahan. Also, the battle for third place was excellent as Brooke Tatnell climbed through the field from 16th starting position to challenge Bruce Jr. Sean Buckley was hustling in the pits with reports and interviews. His Kasey Kahne interview was really entertaining with Kasey tipping that he plans to run the Brad Doty Classic at Limaland later this Summer. Meanwhile Evernham told Buckley that he and Erin Crocker have discussed owning a sprint car team. Working with Brad Doty in the booth makes my job much less stressful than it could be. Brad’s done so much TV work that he instinctively knows what to say and how to say it. We get along well. Always have – but this job has given us the opportunity to further bond as ‘teammates’. We have a conference call two days prior to the show, and then we meet again the afternoon of the race. …The World of Outlaws are headquartered in the Charlotte area so everyone from the office was on the grounds Friday. No one has pressured me, as the host of the sprint car shows, to do anything other than, “give me more enthusiasm”. Thus, I have made a concerted effort to be hyped for the bit called the ‘tease’ at the top of the show – and I am trying to maintain an overall level of excitement. But during the action - you can’t fake it (too much). If you fake enthusiasm during standard competition – where do you have left to go when it gets really exciting? …The other bit of questioning feedback I’ve received is from those concerned with sponsors. “How come you don’t refer to my car as the ‘Joe’s Greenhouse #420’?” The answer is that it has been proven more effective to communicate to new fans by simply stating “colors and numbers”. So I refer to the yellow #15, or the black #14. It doesn’t mean we will never mention sponsors. I have been directed to accommodate the company sponsors of the TV broadcast. Since Q Oil is a sponsor of the show we try to call Steve Kinser’s car the Q Oil #11. Sometimes – when the logo is very prominently displayed – I may glance at the car – and naturally belt out – “the Bass Pro Shops #20”. …The most heavily involved folks to date in the meat and potatoes of the show are our producer David Bruner, and WoO executives Chris Dolack, and Brian Dunlap. They lead by infusing ideas and imparting wisdom from their collective past experiences. Brian makes sure that our data/information is correct. He lines up the scoring loop for the booth which is a laptop computer that shows the real-time scoring of the race on the track. Behind the scenes he and Dolack help pre arrange the logistics with the tracks we go to. During the feature, Chris hands me notes and stats to sprinkle into the play by play. Bruner is a calming influence as Producer of the shows. He is the man with the most knowledge of the TV business. He works with Brad, myself, Rob Butcher, Dolack, Sean Buckley and Dunlap to set the table of contents for each show. While new to sprint car racing Bruner has earned the respect of all involved very quickly. He works hard and never seems to lose his cool despite the myriad of curveballs that can be thrown his way. Bruner, Dolack, and Dunlap are by no means the only cats involved in the look of the show – but they are the trio that is most responsible so far for what we have laid to tape. …The Glamorous Life: I had a flight from Sacramento to Denver and then Denver into Charlotte. I landed in the Queen City about 10 pm Thursday night. I had a chance to visit my old pal J.D. Kramer at his spot near downtown Charlotte so I drove the Hyundai rental to his house. Johnny Gibson, Wendy Alexander, J.D. and I enjoyed a chat before I headed into Kannapolis – where I was staying. I get to Kannapolis and the Fairfield Inn and there is David Bruner – the TV producer - standing outside the building – bags in hand. Huh? He tells me – he is waiting to check in but the front desk person is not there. A poorly positioned note explained that “we are tending to guests needs and will return shortly”. So here it is – 1:00 am and we wait 15-20 minutes. Finally – a lady arrives – without apology or explanation and checks us in. Goofy! …It is now 1:30 am – and I realize I haven’t eaten since the Denver airport. The choices within reach of the motel were McDonald’s, Taco Bell or a gas station – mini market. I chose the mini market and another Burrito. Yuck. …At the track Friday they fed us. Brad Doty and I scared each other away from the mayo and cheese which seemed too warm at the ‘burger bar’. Post race – I did McDonald’s. The Saturday trip home wasn’t as bad as last week. Charlotte to Chicago didn’t take too long but the Chicago to Sac flight was another patience exercise (crying baby two rows up, and traveliing dog two seats over in my row.) The little dog became agitated somewhere about 20 minutes into the flight. He then barked at every passer by. Somehow I managed to catch a few zzzzzz’s anyway.
It had been a minute since our last visit to Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA. In general, the track looked about the same. The racing was good, and brutally competitive. All you need to know about how tough the Grove is – occurred on Friday night in time trials when both Craig Dollansky, and Joey Saldana failed to qualify for heat races because they were outside the top 44. In fairness to both drivers and teams, the World of Outlaws officials – fearing rain in the area – decided to give cars only one lap against the clock in qualifying. With two laps I seriously doubt if Dollansky or Saldana would have been in such a predicament. For Saldana – a provisional saved his butt but for Craig D. it was all bad. In the D-Main, Dollansky cut a left rear tire down and did not transfer. He was out of provisionals – and before the first heat race was even run – the Karavan team was loading and locking. Quick time fell to a 20 year-old cat named Chris Meleason. The shaggy haired kid with a thick Pennsylvania accent shocked all with a smooth and fast lap. Williams Grove announcer Bruce Ellis admitted the quick lap by Meleason was completely out of the blue. …Ellis is a national treasure by the way. Any announcer who wants to hear a guy give the necessary info to inform fans should go to the Grove and hear Bruce do his thing. “Could it be…” …Donny Schatz was much the best after two nights of action at the unique half-mile red-clay racetrack. The straightaways are narrow and long, and the turns – especially in three and four - are really tight. Schatz was able to rip the top of turns one and two better than just about everyone. The 29 year-old is clearly the one to beat in the quest for the 2007 World of Outlaws sprint car championship. …Stevie Smith is now splitting time between his home in Broken Arrow, OK – and his original home in PA. …Long haired young racers in Pennsylvania included Lucas Wolfe (who WoO announcer Johnny Gibson said looked like Peter Frampton), Meleason, and Cody Darrah. …It was a bit weird to visit Central Pennsylvania and not see the Al Hamilton #77, or the Apple #12 in action. However, one moment that brought back warm feelings was seeing Barry Jackson’s JEI sprinter that was outfitted in Weikert Livestock colors. The #29 was fast with newly enshrined Hall of Famer Kenny Jacobs behind the wheel. …Paul McMahan had a solid fourth place run on Friday night. Pauly is quickly becoming among the most consistent WoO drivers. …Brian Montieth and Wolfe both suffered turn one flips that saw them go over the fence. Both walked away. …Tim Kaeding continued his stint as driver of the Volcano Joe’s #2 while Brooke Tatnell spends time with his family in Australia. Tatnell’s dad, George passed away recently – another victim of cancer. …TK says he is not sure what happens next when Brooke returns to the chair. Timmy has some equipment that he could use on his own but he needs sponsorship dollars to get up and down the road, and keep the car fresh. He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of racing at Skagit’s Dirt Cup in June. …It did my heart good late Thursday night to witness Reece Saldana greeting his daddy Joey following the night of racing. Joey and Shannon’s toddler is cuter than cute. It didn’t take a degree in psychology to see that Reece and Joey’s post-race reunion was the highlight of both of their days. …Jason Meyers continued to be fast. The Clovis, CA. driver was the hard charger of the feature event. …Television thoughts: We taped for Speed (airs Sunday June 3, 2007 - 2 PM Eastern) – and had a rushed night in the sense that weather was a concern and the Outlaws officials were really moving the show along. I was proud to have quickly and correctly identified Steve Buckwalter, and Zach Chappell in a crash that made it hard to tell who was involved. At the other end of the spectrum – I screwed up at least three times – once with a Freudian slip where I called one driver by the wrong name. The others mess ups were saying a turn three crash was in turn one, and also leading Brad Doty to a segment on Steve Kinser when I was supposed to be leading him to Fred Rahmer. Thank God we were on tape – and not live – so all the mess ups can be corrected. We showed more highlights of racing which I think is a good thing. Included was a package of pictures from the night previous which will allow viewers to see the wicked Brian Montieth and Lucas Wolfe crashes. …The Glamorous Life: (If you don’t like to hear personal accounts that delve away from Positivity – skip the next 450 or so words.) …Up at 3:30 am Thursday - so I could leave the house at 4:30 am to get to the Sacramento airport. The flight through Chicago left at 6:29 am. I am no fan of the Chicago O’Hare airport. On a warm day it is always hot at the poorly designed (too many windows) terminal. The flight from Chicago to Harrisburg, PA. got me into the Central PA. region around 5:00 PM. The Harrisburg airport has undergone major renovation since I last visited. The new digs were impressive. I got lost trying to find the motel – which it turns out was a brand new Courtyard by Marriott in Mechanicsburg. I liked it! Straight to the track – I took in the Thursday night show by watching from the infield. Post race – I gave Tim Kaeding a ride to his motel in Carlisle before catching up with Johnny Gibson. At 2:00 am – Gibby introduced me to “Sheets” – a chain of convenience stores that makes deli sandwiches to order 24 hours a day. My smokehouse chicken deal wasn’t bad especially for the time and price. …After the races Friday night – the choice for a meal was again a gas station burrito. Nothing else was open. I bumped into Sean Buckley at the same place. He had tried a Wendy’s but was denied. Apparently their “open late” policy doesn’t account for a sprint car fan’s version of late. …The Saturday return trip home was just one of those days that took too long. I never fell asleep after the Friday night of work. Glued to the TV showing the movie Almost Famous – which ended at 5:00 am - I tried hard to sleep but I couldn’t. It was soon time to depart for the airport. The Harrisburg to Chicago flight was on a Canada Air Regional Jet. I was in the last row next to a BIG fester. My left arm had to pull my right arm toward my own body to keep from touching this guys arm. We were treated to a wild approach into Chicago that saw the pilot gas the thing as we were about to touch down. As I wondered aloud what the deal was – the guy came on the speaker telling us that there was “an aircraft on the runway – so we couldn’t land.” Yikers! …We finally did land in time for me to be finicky about the Chicago airport food choices. My $10 meal from Manchu Wok was not the lick. …My restless legs hated the four hour journey from Chicago to Sacramento. I was in the ’back of the bus’ and I was ready to scream and throw elbows by the time we were still east of Lake Tahoe. Air travel in the coach cabin sucks ass. I really believe someday soon (twenty years?) the geniuses that run the airline industry will figure out a new way to do business. Lines are too long. Space is too tight. Blah blah blah.
...With the rain out cancellation of the ASCS event in Saluda, VA - we have added the World of Outlaws race at Perris, CA - October 20, 2007 - to the Racer's Racing Series schedule. Also - if the USAC Silver Crown Hoosier Hundred is re-scheduled we will award points at that make-up show. ...Cory Kruseman won Sunday night’s 30-lap USAC-CRA feature at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA. Rickie Gaunt, Danny Sheridan, Rodney Argo and Blake Miller rounded out the “top-five.” ...Eric Gordon won again in the Little 500. Tim Barber of San Francisco finished fifth, and Tony Hunt from Lincoln, CA. was seventh. ...In Civil War action at Chico on Sunday - it was Colby Wiesz emerging as the fair-time winner. Kyle Larson won his heat race. ...Sean Becker won the Friday night 05/25/07 event at Petaluma Speedway with Jason Statler getting the opening night Calistoga win on Saturday 05/26/07.
Jimmy Sills is going to run the Capitol City Sprint Car Classic at Roseville California's All-American Speedway on May 26th, 2007. Sills will drive the car that Tony Hunt usually competes in. Hunt will be in Anderson Indiana trying to win the Little 500. The Roseville race is exciting for folks in the Sacramento region who are race starved. Usually we have to drive 40-45 minutes to Placerville or Marysville to see sprint cars in action. ...Dusty Zomer scored his first win in the 410 division at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa during the weekly points contest Saturday May 12, 2007. Kaley Gharst - who may be the best young driver you might not know about - drove from 16th to second. ...Ricky Stenhouse Jr. continued to impress with a USAC National Midget win at Haubstadt. ...Bud Kaeding won the Watsonville 360 show on Friday night 05/11/07. ...Sean Becker was the Chico Friday night winner 05/11/07. "The Shark" now owns three Friday night wins this season. What do I call the #35 Fisher-Main Motorsports car? "Sharky's Machine". ...In King of Indiana non-wing action, Jon Stanbrough opened his title defense with a convincing 30-lap victory at Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday night. Stanbrough extended his series-leading victory total to eight after taking the lead from Damion Gardner with seven laps remaining. ...Aaron Pierce earned $23,500 for his 14-car USAC Silver Crown win at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina. ...Todd Shaffer has a nice web site that details his racing career. Shaffer is the current Williams Grove Speedway points leader. In 1991 Shaffer drove a #11car to 22 feature wins, including his first World of Outlaws victory at Selinsgrove. At that WoO race, WoO officials made Todd put the letter T on his wing to differentiate his car from Steve Kinser's #11 car. Being a regular at Selinsgrove on a weekly basis, adding the letter T to his wing did not make him happy. Todd told the crowd in the winner's circle "Steve Kinser is great, and I have a lot of respect for him, but at Selinsgrove there's only one #11 ... and that's me." ...Kyle Hirst won the $3,000 offered in the Al Hinds Memorial at Placerville Saturday night 05/05/07. ...Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico unveiled a new scoreboard. Troy Hennig says the sweet new piece can track the top-five in a race. Brad Sweet lit up the new board with an 11.555 time-trial clocking on Friday night at Chico. Jon Allard won the feature again. Allard has four wins already in the young season at Chico. ...In wingless 360 action at Hanford, Peter Murphy was the SCRA winner. Michael Faccinto made his sprint car debut in the Hanford show. The USAC Ford Focus National Champion, wound up 14th - driving a Tarlton Family sprinter. ...Bobby East won $15,500 for his Silver Crown pavement victory at Iowa Speedway. Only nine cars were running at the finish on a 7/8's mile track. ...Tyler Walker won the sprint car race at the Newton, Iowa joint. ...Tracy Hines - a perennial All-HammerDown! Team performer was recently injured in an off-track accident. According to Misha Geisert, speaking on behalf of Tony Stewart's racing team, the crash was an off-road motorcycle accident that occurred Monday evening near Hines' home in Indiana. Hines remains in stable condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured pelvis, fractured left femur and a dislocated right knee. The 35-year-old from New Castle, Ind., was scheduled to be released from Methodist Hospital on Friday. After intensive rehabilitation, Hines will return to Methodist Hospital in two to three weeks for reconstructive knee surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Joseph Baele, an orthopedic surgeon. In Hines’ absence, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) has named 19-year-old Ricky Stenhouse Jr., as the interim driver of the No. 21 TSR Chevrolet/Maxim in the USAC National Sprint Car and Midget Series, and the No. 22 Silver Crown machine. ...Bobby East will drive for A.J. Foyt's Silver Crown team. Dick Jordan points out that East competed in 25 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events in 2006 and in 2004 won USAC’s National Midget Championship. He was also named the 2004 National Midget Driver of the Year. His 23 career USAC National feature victories also include a 100-lap Silver Crown win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in 2004.
...Kody Swanson had quick-time and won the feature in the USAC Western Sprint Car event at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah Saturday night. It is not often that an outsider wins over the locals at the pristine track near Salt Lake City. ...Audra Sasselli is back! Audra who didn't race much in `06 - drove a backup Jimmy Waters car at RMR. ...Davey Pombo won again at Hanford in SCRA non-wing 360 racing. ...Jon Allard won his third Chico feature of the year on Friday night (04/27/07). Brandon Wimmer raced from 16th to fifth with a 360 engine vs. the 410's at Chico. The following night - Indiana's Wimmer won again at Placerville Speedway. The P-Ville triumph for Wimmer was his third at the high-banked red-dirt oval. Wimmer became the first driver since Brian Crockett to win a Civil War race, a Golden State race, and a weekly points event at P-Ville according to track spokesman Bill Sullivan. ...Jason Johnson continued to show that he is a big time winner with a weekend sweep of ASCS National action. ...Did you know that the weekly 360 features at Knoxville Raceway are only 15 laps? ...Good story on Brent Kaeding's success at Tulare in the Fresno Bee.
...Gary Wright won his 110th career ASCS feature Saturday night at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MO. ...Troy Hennig reports that Oroville driver Sean Becker continued his winning ways at Silver Dollar Speedway Friday by winning the feature for the second week in a row. Becker passed early leader Andy Forsberg on lap 13 to secure the win. “You know you’re doing something right when you pass Forsberg on the outside at Chico,” said Becker in victory lane referring to the pass for the win. ...Davey Pombo was the SCRA 360 sprint winner at Kings Speedway in hanford, CA. on Saturday night. ...We have adjusted the Racer's Racing Series schedule after two cancelled events due to poor weather. Added as replacement races are the USAC Silver Crown show at Chicagoland Speedway July 13th, and the Turkey Night Grand Prix USAC National Midget race on November 22, 2007 at Irwindale Speedway. Both races are scheduled to air on Versus as part of USAC's 2007 TV package. Also - we removed the WoO race scheduled for Joliet, IL on July 7, 2007 as it was banished from the TV schedule. Instead we switched to the I-55 Speedway, Pevely, MO, event on July 8th. ...Jeremy Sherman notched his third consecutive American Sprint Car Series Canyon Region feature win by topping Saturday night's 25-lap main event at Manzanita Speedway's 1/2-mile clay oval in Phoenix. ... In the sprint car standings at Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway, three drivers are within one point of the lead. San Jose, CA driver Jason Statler is the point leader at 139. But right on his tail is Jonathan Allard and Andy Forsberg. Both Allard and Forsberg are tied one point behind Statler. ...Television show number one is recorded. Winnercomm productions invaded Eldora Speedway this weekend to tape the first of 18 World of Outlaws sprint car race telecasts for Speed TV. The race was exciting in the waning laps which I think will help folks stay interested in staying tuned. The feature finish, and spot-on coverage of Zach Chappell’s nasty heat one crash are two must see portions of the show. …The changes to Eldora Speedway’s dirt surface included new dirt and a re-working of the banking. At one time, a reported 28 degree bank existed at the top of the turns. Now the track has an even 18-20 degree banking all the way across. The track was hard packed and the fast way around was on the bottom. No one was ‘on the wall’ the way you expect them to be at the Big E. I am choosing to believe that what I witnessed Friday night will not be indicative of what the track will be like from here on out. Hopefully, the ‘around the bottom’ Eldora was an anomaly. …Motor trouble kept Sammy Swindell out of competition. …It was hard to watch an Eldora race and not think about how much I still miss seeing Oklahoma Andy Hillenburg race. In his last season as a WoO competitor he was among the very best at the legendary half-mile. …Only two drivers have transferred through their heat race directly into the feature at every WoO event this season. They are Craig Dollansky, and Jason Solwold. …Rob Chaney was in the house driving the Hammer Family #24. The new team trotted out a good looking JEI chassis. …We hear that World of Outlaws officials are creating a top-wing template. Sounds like a good idea to me as I am certain that the rules are being massaged around by some high dollar teams. Simply stated, there are a few top wings that are not in line with the spirit of the 25 square foot rule. Side panels are kicked out, and mounted at angles that suggest trying to gain an advantage. A standard template can go a long way toward resolving that. …Tim Kaeding was driving a car from the Tony Stewart stable but the number was 11K. We were advised to refer to the machine as the Kinser-Stewart Motorsports #11k. Tim says the deal was for this past weekend only – and that he is not sure what will happen next. Steve Kinser, who provided the machine Tim drove prior to this weekend, has parked the team that was sponsor-less. That means that Mike Cool, the 2006 NST Crew Chief of the Year, is now working on Steve’s own #11. Rod Tiner was spinning wrenches for Kaeding on the car he drove at Eldora. The sprinter arrived in Bud Kaeding’s trailer which is housed in Indy. …Dave Argabright was on site Friday night. I also caught glimpses of Kevin Eckert, Dean Mills, and Damion Gardner. …Jason Meyers was much the best all night in the cold Ohio air. Meyers had quick-time, won his heat, and then tracked down Jac Haudenschild to win the feature. …Jason Sides ran strongly his own #7s. …Becca Anderson is no longer running the WoO schedule. …Sam Hafertepe Jr. finished 15th in the feature in his first run in a 410 at Eldora. The Texas driver ran a 360 event at the Rossburg, OH track last year. …Here’s a thought. If you are getting into sprint car racing – pick a number for your car that is unique. Too many teams insist on carrying their number from karting or mini-sprints, or whatever. We had at least six number elevens Friday night. …Todd King from Wisconsin made the trip to Eldora in an effort to shake down his car before the IRA season opener. …Tony Stewart has made many improvements to Eldora since taking ownership. A scoreboard in turn two is an especially nice addition. New lights worked well. My selfish gripe is that Stewart’s Coca-Cola sponsorship means there was no Mountain Dew flowing from the concession stand. Even the old Pepsi vending machine in the infield is gone. …The Glamorous Life: We flew coach class on American Airlines Thursday from Sacramento to Dallas, and then from Dallas to Dayton, OH. The all-day trip concluded with a 45 minute drive from Dayton to the ever-exciting Greenville, Ohio. From the time the alarm clock roared in Rocklin, CA to the time I rolled into Greenville was pushing 13 hours. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. There isn’t much to choose from in terms of food in Greenville. For the first time in a year – I ate McDonald’s drive-thru after midnight. Yuck. Friday’s pre-race food was catered for the TV crew. …The Friday post-race choice was a Hot Pocket and chips from the gas station next to the hotel. Yuck. Saturday’s rainout produced no chance of changing flights without penalty so I soaked up a day of nothingness at the motel. KFC for lunch, and pizza delivered for dinner were the selections as the snow fell. There were no in-room movies at the motel. There was a nasty grime in the shower in my room. Yuck. I was entertained thankfully by an Ethernet connection. I also enjoyed the NHRA coverage on ESPN of qualifying from the Strip in Las Vegas. The alarm sounded at 4:20 am Sunday morning for a trip to Dayton’s airport. A smoothie for breakfast wasn't bad. Seven hours later – I write this awaiting my next flight from Dallas to Sac. Lunch will will be from Popeye's at the DFW airport. …Presto! – I am home. The Dallas to Sacramento flight was three hours and 40 minutes long. I finished the latest John Wooden book on the flight and started a new read by Michael Eric Dyson.
Brooke Tatnell and Troy Renfro put together a new car for this upcoming weekend's Eldora races. Said Tatnell to Richard Day, "There’s really nothing wrong with the car we’re running; it’s just that sometimes when you put something new together, it turns things around. Ninety percent of this (racing) is in your head. Every car is just pieces of metal, and they all work. Whether it works the way you need it to or you can make the changes that make it right for you is a different story.” ...Check out Dale Blaney's website here. ...Chad Blonde, the 2006 All-Star Rookie of the Year says his goal is to race full time with the World of Outlaws in 2008. The Michigan driver scored two WoO top-fives last season. ...Tony Bruce Jr. is the youngest among those drivers that are full-time travelers with the World of Outlaws. He is 22 years old. ...Brian Carlson is a racer! The veteran driver made every stop on the 2006 World of Outlaws tour in 2006. Check out his web site for some nostalgic photos (found as links in his biography). ...Randy Cagle of Outlaw Graphics has "Get well soon stickers" for Billy Sellers that racers can put on their cars. Billy's wife Nadine has given Cagle the "ok" to make and sell the stickers with proceeds going to the Sellers Family. If you would like more info contact Randy at Outlaw Graphics, P.O. Box 998, Shingle Springs, Ca 95682 or call his office at 916-768-5846. ...Brett Miller, a 17 year-old known as "The Catfish" won the Friday night winged sprint car (410) feature at Chico. ...Brent Kaeding scopped up the Golden State win at Antioch's bullring quarter-mile on Saturday night. ...Scotty Weir of Indiana has taken to the USAC-CRA series nicely. Weir won at Tucson USA Race Park Saturday. Weir sits fifth in points. ...There were 29 USAC Western Midgets at Ventura Saturday night and it was local ace Troy Rutherford capturing the feature event. The field included aces Cory Kruseman, Shane Cottle, Garrett Hansen, and past series champs Robby Flock, Johnny Rodriguez, and Jerome Rodela. ...The latest on Billy Sellers III is here. ...The World of Outlaws television deal is in good hands. I am confident of that after traveling to Tulsa (April 3-4, 2007) for a production meeting concerning the upcoming coverage on Speed and ESPN2. The company that will handle the shows is called Winner Communications or ‘Winnercomm’, and they flat know TV. They are new to the sprint car game but they have wisely brought aboard many knowledgeable folks who understand racing. I always said – the best approach would be to staff the crew with those who know the sport, and then let the players play. Sprint Car racing is exciting and extreme by nature and the drama will show itself in the natural course of a night of competition. It always does. That is why we love this sport. In television there are a million and one things that can go wrong and we may not get everything right. I’m sure we will have some ruts and maybe a few outright screw ups but the approach and professionalism will be there. That is more ‘out of the box’ than we could say about past television ventures that tried too hard to be controversial, or like ‘big-time wrestling’. The first show from Eldora Speedway rightfully has very little scripted – leaving us as a broadcast team to bring the viewers the most pertinent stories. Of course – there is some pre-planning with regard to storylines. But none of what we expect to cover is manufactured b-s. We’ll highlight the teams that are performing the best; Donny Schatz and Joey Saldana. We will touch on the depth of history at a track like Eldora Speedway where virtually every great American open-wheel hero has turned laps. We will have in-car cameras, and speed shots, and more technical bells and whistles than have ever been thrown at a sprint car race before. I am excited to be a part of it knowing that if we all do our job correctly – we can help the viewer be entertained, informed, and interested in seeing another sprint car race- be it live – or on TV.
…I am pleased, humbled, and blessed to report to you faithful readers that I have been hired to do play by play hosting by the production company that will produce the World of Outlaws races for television this season. The 20 events will air on Speed and ESPN2. I am excited to work with Brad Doty - one of my racing heroes - in the booth. Sean "Jack Slash" Buckley will roam the pits for the one hour telecasts that will begin airing on Speed Sunday May 13th at 2 PM eastern. I have every reason to believe that the approach for these shows is straight forward and professional - hoping to present sprint car racing for what it is. For my money - what it is - is the most exciting form of racing imaginable. I will know more after a production meeting in Tulsa, OK later this week. Winnercomm is the company producing the events. They are established in the TV business, providing more than 1,000 hours per year of programming. ...I plan to offer thoughts throughout the season on the challenges of bringing sprint car racing into living rooms everywhere. ...The SCRA 360 wingless Sprint car event at Kings Speedway in Hanford on Friday May 18th has been cancelled and replaced with a new date on Saturday, April 21st. ...Troy Hennig reports that Jon Allard won the first points race of the season on Friday night at Chico, CA. Allard and his Morrie Williams team pocketed the $2,000 for the win. It was the second win of the year at Chico for the GT Trends #0. They won the opening night of Mini Gold Cup earlier this month. Matt Streeter, driving the Orth family sprint car #24, won the 20-lap wingless main event.
What it is. Your friendly columnist hit the road this weekend (March 23-24, 2007) for action at Bakersfield Speedway featuring a thousand and one divisions and the USAC Western Midgets. Actually there were two classes of taxi's and the USAC Ford Focus California Dirt Midgets but as previously stated here - I think it is hard for any open-wheel fan to endure the time between midget races when the class is basically a sideshow at a regular night of points racing for the faithful Saturday night hobby stockers. In fairness to the Schweitzer boys who own and promote the track - I understand why they do it the way they do it. They had a packed house and the bulk of the fans were there to see the stock cars not the midgets. Selfishly, I just see, in my mind's eye, what could be a really cool deal for open wheel fans if the racing was exclusively open-wheel. Can I have a USAC-CRA, and Western Midget show together? They would cost a pretty penny for a promoter. Can I have a huge pre-Turkey Night USAC National Midget extravaganza where maybe the stock cars run just two heats and a feature? Am I on a tangent? Okay - back to the racing that happened. Josh Wise - a driver with far too much on his resume to be messing around in a midget on an off night - was indeed there messing around in a midget. Wise was driving for Cruz Pedregon in the Toyota #75. Wise finished fifth in the feature despite having to go to the rear early for a smashed up front end. ...Danny Stratton looked sharp. He showed more patience than I've seen from him in the dozen or so shows I've seen him run. He was the definition of 'patiently aggressive'. The former term - used by Hall of Famer LeRoy VanConett to describe what a good driver should be. ...Johnny Rodriguez was in the house but motor issues kept him from competing in a second Mitchell #37. Matt Mitchell - J-Rod's teammate flipped hard in qualifying but later returned for the feature only to have more car trouble. The Mitchell family deserves praise for their continued attendance at USAC events - be it midgets or sprint cars. ...Michael Burkhart brought two cars from Litchfield Park, Arizona all the way to "Bakerspatch". His drivers Danny Stratton, and Nathan High took home first and third in the A-main. ...Fellow Arizona driver Stevie Sussex III endured a hair-raising flip during his heat race. The 16 year-old got loose off of turn two and drifted to the back chute wall. He smacked the wall and then took off flipping half the length of the straightaway. His car cracked the top of the concrete wall and kinked his cage in two places. Yikers!!! The kid was said to be "a bit dizzy, but okay" by his crew. ...By the way - I really like Kyle Larson and Shane Golobic - two young drivers under the age of 16 - but in the HammerDown! world - we think 16 is plenty young enough to be allowed to race with adults. This is real competition where adult 'stuff' happens. Just my two cents. Again - I like Larson and Golobic. I consider both friends and I believe in their ability. They will have their day. ...Quintin Crye moved up from Ford Focus Midgets to the full midgets for 2007. The Gridley, CA driver looked comfortable in his heat race driving a Lucas Oil #15. ...Nic Faas - who is racing for both the pavement and dirt Focus titles in `07 - won the Focus 20-lap feature. Faas is a 17 year-old from Huntington Beach, CA. ...Elsewhere in California: Ryan Kaplan made it two in a row in SCRA 360 sprint car non-wing racing. Kaplan won Saturday's Kings Speedway deal. ...Brandon Wimmer was the Golden State Challenge A-Main winner at Placerville. HammerDown! spies said Wimmer was booed in the winner's interview after last lap contact sent leader Andy Gregg upside down. ...Booing at Placerville? Go figure. : ))) ...P-Ville fans have always been among the most vocal in local racing. Actually - among California tracks - I think only Antioch has fans that come close to Placerville's folks when it comes to passion for their favorites. ...Brent Kaeding won the Friday night winged 360 race at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. ...R.J. Johnson won the USAC CRA 410 wingless main event at Perris. Jason York, in the Sertich #92 finished ninth. The USAC CRA series hits Hanford, CA this coming Saturday March 31, 2007. ...Chuck Gurney Jr. won his first feature at Chico on Friday in winged 360 sprint car action. He backed it up Saturday with a sweep in the Silver Cup. Yes, we are still on the Gurney Jr. bandwagon. We always said it was just a matter of time. ...Nick Green is finalizing plans for `07. Tim's number one son will run for Scott Benic and the 2B Racing team in all of the USAC National Sprint Car Pavement Events in a second car to Brady Short. "Along with that I will begin running local dirt shows such as Gas City on Friday nights and Kokomo on Sunday nights to begin developing a dirt program", said Nick. "I will be moving to Indiana full time to work at the Benic Enterprise shop." ...Read about sprint car driver Shane Morgan here. ...An article on Evan Funk is here. ...Sprint car driver Lance Dewease and wife Renne are celebrating the birth of their first child. Cole Allen Dewease entered the world at seven pounds, 20 ounces, and 20 inches. ...2006 Silver Dollar Speedway sprint car (winged 410) Rookie of the Year, Brett Miller is looking for a Dirt Cup ride. Gary Thomas reports that due to financing, Miller’s family won’t be able to bring the car up to Washington to compete in this year’s Dirt Cup at the Skagit Speedway. Since the Dirt Cup is one of the premier sprint car events on the West Coast, Brett would really like to run it so if there are any owners out there who need a driver, please contact Brett at firstname.lastname@example.org ...Mike Erdley the 2006 Port Royal champion won his first feature event at historic Williams Grove Speedway Saturday night. Read the story which includes details of Lucas Wolfe's nasty crash, and an injury to Greg Hodnett .
Congrats to Brandon Wimmer on his first Civil War win in California. The Indiana driver drove the Kumar Redi-Green #1k to a curfew shortened victory at Placerville Speedway Saturday night 03/17/07. Two drivers under the age of 16 - Kyle Larson and Shane Golobic both made their P-Ville winged sprint car debuts. ...Brad Sweet won the Golden State show Friday night (03/16/07) at Kings Speedway in Hanford. Roger Crockett finshed second followed by Brent Kaeding. Flips victims included Andy Forsberg, and Stephen Allard. ...Lance Dewease won the Icebreaker 30 at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania. The Saturday afternoon race was heavy on attrition with only a dozen cars finishing. Greg Hodnett was second at the checkered. ...Brad Sweet tells us that Kyle Hirst will run a McMillen #2 sprinter at the Mini Gold Cup. Scott McMillen will crew for Jason Statler on the #10 car according to Sweet. Duke McMillen meanwhile will bounce between Sweet's #6, and Hirst's #2. ...The USAC/CRA series has an opportunity to shine this week as they take to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Thursday and Friday. The series will blow out of town before the mayhem of the NASCAR Cup race on Sunday. Having the 'cuppers' in the same city will draw J.J. Yeley back to the seat of a sprint car. Yeley will run a Tony Smiley device in Sin City. I wish I was going. ......Too many people were having trouble with the new HammerDownUSA.com look. So we have adjusted again. I taught myself how to make web pages and I still haven't much of a clue apparently. Thanks to Steve Lafond, Jason Sides, Jimmy Patterson, and others who continued to update me on what the site was looking like for those without Internet Explorer. I apologize again to all of you who went through the painful process of switiching software with me. For those that care - I am back to using Macromedia Dreamweaver. The bad news is that I used to run 2.0 and now they are on version 8.0. Kinda like having a year 2000 chassis and going to a new one. I'll get it dialed in - so hang in with me while I work any bugs out. ...Here is a link to the last column from the Tulare races.