(This thank-you is aimed primarily at the people in the sprint car racing portion of my life. There are many others who have touched me in a positive way in other forms of auto racing, music, and basketball.)
Every once in a while we should all just say thank you. I didn’t win anything and I’m not sick. I just want some people to know that I appreciate them.
Thank you Mom and Dad. It goes beyond the obvious when I say I wouldn’t be here today were it not for my Mom and Dad. They never stopped believing in me. Heck, they even invested in me when I didn’t deserve it. Without my Mom and Dad – I would be either on skid row, or dead. My mother’s unconditional love for me is a remedy for my blue days. My Mom remains my number one supporter.
Because my Dad is in the same business that I am trying to succeed in – his advice is invaluable. I receive the benefits of his 50 years of broadcasting knowledge in a nurturing way that has given me what I feel is a strong base to allow my own personality to come out. Because of his job – I was able to observe, from a very early age, professional athletes applying their craft. I’ve learned from the mistakes of others and from my own stupidity but the idea of what a ‘professional’ brings to his job is rooted in observing my father’s preparation. Firsthand – I witnessed him always doing his homework before an event. My Dad is usually more prepared, before he ever sets foot on event ground, than most announcers are when the green flag drops. …Of course, there are more reasons why I should thank my Mom and Dad but I think you get the idea.
Thank you to my beautiful wife Kim. Do you know what an exceptional person you must be to put up with all my baggage on a daily basis? Like my parents – Kim never gave up on me when I was showing all the signs of having given up on my career. She tries to make me eat healthier. She helps me get organized before events, and she also does the billing for our HammerDownUSA.com advertisers. She takes my phone calls at all hours when I am on the road. …During some really lean time$ - Kim’s teaching job kept us afloat. She works hard and has very few if any ‘bad days’. Her positivity helps keep me positive. She loves me. …I would be figuratively and literally a mess without Kim.
Thank you to my sister Beth who supports me with words of encouragement.
Thank you to Kim's family for being patient with me and for loving me unconditionally.
Thank you to B.F. …Being my friend isn’t easy. I am bad about returning calls. I seldom reach out to anyone other than Kim. That said, Bill Foland, or “B.F.”, as we call him, never seems to be too concerned with how often we connect. I can go a month without speaking to B.F but as soon as we talk again – it’s as if we never missed a beat. He has my back and that is a good feeling.
Thank you to Big Mike, Naomi, Jessica, Jared, Ray (Grandpa Tuna), and Maxine Bannister. …Among my most trusted friends is Big Mike Bannister. He always looks out for me, and often helps as a spotter or note keeper when I am announcing. His big-brotherly friendship is a blessing. He is the hardest working guy I know.
Thank you Johnny Gibson. “Gibby” kept my name alive in announcing circles by allowing me to roll with him at the Chili Bowl the last two years. Doing Greg Stephens’ video coverage of the annual January Tulsa race helped me be visible when I could have just faded into obscurity in the Northern California winter fog. Gibby's racing knowledge is incredible – and I often wonder if the World of Outlaws fully appreciate all that Gibson brings to their traveling series. Did you know he handles the payoffs, program sales, and public address and internet announcing? He is also often the go-to guy when a rules situation gets sticky. His blessing to have me involved in the WoO TV deal was huge.
Thank you Troy Hennig. …Troy is a friend that I call on for anything. He seems to like me unconditionally and that is a good feeling.
Thanks to friends who keep me laughing and give me a sense of family on the road. This group includes but is not limited to Dean Bruns, Sean Buckley, Paul and Jan McMahan, Steve Gomez and his entire family, Tim Kaeding, Bud Kaeding, J.D. Kramer, Wendy Alexander, Michelle Etherton, Dean Mills, Kevin Eckert, Steve Eckert, Bruce St. James, and Greg Yannazzo. …I also have to thank Kevin Eckert for his web site which is like the encyclopedia for sprint car racing.
Thanks to Steve-O Turnross for giving some of my crazy and goofy ideas a stamp of approval. Steve-O often helps, and encourages different projects I throw myself into. His knowledge of racing is a great resource.
Thanks to Mike Zieske. …”Mike Z.” is a trusted friend that keeps me honest with info and tidbits that he picks up and doesn’t see on my web space. If I ever have a NASCAR question I turn to Mike Z.
Thanks to Brian Sperry & Larry Shelton. …”Sperry B” as I call him is a buddy that keeps me updated on all kinds of stuff regarding racing. If there is a new deal in sprint car technology that I don’t understand I can ask Sperry and he’ll explain it to me in a way I can understand. …Larry is my friend that eats, drinks, and sleeps sprint cars more than anyone I know. His input on the skill level of drivers is very valuable to me as I often am writing or speaking about the prospects for future success among the newest pilots. Larry also helped me learn the various components on a sprint car.
Thanks to the people who are in my corner with consistency. There are a handful of people I know that have taken time to write to me, or ‘go to bat’ for me through the years. These people have been consistent with their friendship and love. I am grateful to have Gaye & Walt Carmichael, Howard Holtsman, Chris Luck, Marcia & Jerry Phillips, Gary Costa, Bill Woodside, Don Sharp, Carol McMahan and her entire family, Dave Pusateri and family, Val Brose, Tom Schmeh, Chuck Stickley, Larry Muhlhauser, Alan Messick, Greg Stephens, Brian Matherly, and Doug Auld, on my side.
Thank you to Rob Butcher, Tom Deery, Chris Dolack, Brian Dunlap and Carlton Reimers. These are the guys that ultimately had the most to do with allowing me to have the job I have today as play-by-play announcer of the World of Outlaws television shows. Butcher was the first to contact me – saying my name had come up in discussions of who might be able to do the job. I thought I had no shot at the gig. But at the Promoter’s Workshop in Reno in December 2006 – I met Butcher, Deery and Dunlap and we all seemed to be on the same page. I told Carlton, Dolack and Shane Carson how much I wanted to have a shot at the job on ESPN and Speed and I think they must have gone to bat for me. I am thankful! …Especially good has been my relationship with Dolack and Dunlap. Thank you both for ‘getting it’. Dolack keeps me honest with any number of things in the booth, and Dunlap makes sure we are comfortable and informed on race nights.
Thank you to David Bruner. The production company that was hired by the World of Outlaws is Winnercomm – of Tulsa, OK. David Bruner is the Producer of our TV races. His dedication as a newcomer to sprint car racing is a God-send. He leads without ego and his intelligence, patience and laid-back style are a perfect fit for me. I am very thankful to have him as the guy in charge.
Thank you to Brad Doty. …Brad is an exceptional human being. I am thankful to work with someone as thoughtful, and as knowledgeable as Brad. Through our time together this season – it has become easy for me to see why no one ever has a bad word to say about Brad Doty.
Thank you as well to road-friends that accept me for me: Joey and Shannon Saldana, Shane & Kimberly Stewart, Al Weiss, Tyler Walker, Robert Hubbard, Jac Haudenschild, Kevin Loveys, and many more come to mind.
Thank you to drivers and their families who have offered support or words of encouragement. You always want to be accepted by the people who are really doing it. Andy Forsberg, Gary Taylor, Jason & Julie York, Kevin Urton, Kasey Kahne, Jim Richardson, Justin Adams, and Bob Ream are people that have said nice things to me. I appreciate that! Thank you to Glen Boune for his kind words at the Gold Cup this year. That meant lots to me. …Deanne Schatz-Eisenschenk, Big Ed Wilbur, LeRoy VanConett, Johnny Rodriguez and his family, Randy Hannagan, Joe Hill, Howard Kaeding, Tony & Philippa Hunt, Brian Brown, The Golobic's, Jerry and Pat Ponzo, Jason & Robyn Meyers, Garrett and Jerry Ishii, The Zieske's, Blake Robertson, Jesse Hockett, The Toops', Amy Swindell, Brad Bumgarner, Larry Trigiuero Jr., Rick Martin, The Bradway Family, The Hanestad’s, Jimmy and Theresa Patterson, Sheila Ross, Kevin and Don Pylant and Ronnie & Carol Day are people I am thankful to know and feel friendship from.
Thank you to Morrie Williams and Katie, and to Dave & Diane Durica for friendship and Calistoga feasts! Thanks to Jason and Stephanie Statler for getting Jason to play Santa Claus a few years ago at Tulare.
Thanks to Tommy Hunt and Rollie Helmling for three good years with USAC. I learned lots and I wish I could have accomplished more for you.
Thanks to John and Robbie Padjen and the JPM family for your years of support and special privileges at your race tracks and promotions. The entire Northern California racing community owes you a debt of gratitude for all of your hard work in keeping us all flush with racing from March through October.
Thank you to Dennis Gage. …His years of service as Chico announcer and sprint car racing historian should never be overlooked. Dennis has been a trusted friend as well.
Thank you to Brent Kaeding. Brent has, on occasion, endorsed me for various jobs over the years. When someone like Brent Kaeding vouches for you – it feels good. I respect him as a racer, a friend, and as a business man.
Thank you to all the people who have helped me with content and support for HammerDownUSA.com. Jim Allen was the original driving force of HammerDown! Photos from John Mierhofer are a regular deal. Mike “Mole” Wertz, Mike Avila, and “Top-Wing” (Jim Dale) have helped tremendously. Brenda and Johnny Anderson allowed me to scan a bunch of their collectables from Johnny’s career. Cheryl Starr – thanks for the help filling in Calistoga blanks. Tony Iacobetti helped with stickers! …Art Spaulding has helped with photos as has Doug Johnson, Jim Fleming, Mike Arthur, Fred Adams, Mark Funderburk, M&M Photos, Max Dolder, Al Drake, Randy Frank, Steve LaFond, Brian Simonseth, Stevie Kinser, Jamie Skinner, Chris Lovett, and Jim Fisher, and many more. …Marty Kobata has been a big help with my Chico winners project while Dolan Lannen was huge in the quest for Calistoga info. …Misha Geisert (Tony Stewart Racing), Jack Elam (J&J Chassis), Jeanie Hunt (Simpson, Hunt’s Race World), Natasha Buruato (Premier Racing Entertainment), and Steve Smith Autosports are all great advertisers.
Thank you to Jo Anne Kaeding, Carolyn McMillen, Judy Carter, and all the family members of racers who put up with me talking about their loved ones.
Thanks to media friends who provide great information. This group is headed by Dave Argabright. We should all thank Dave for his work done to capture in writing the biographies of Doty, Hewitt, and Doug Wolfgang. …Thanks to Alan Holland for starting Hoseheads.com. …George Hague – thank you for always being so easy to work with. You are a pro’s pro. …Thanks to John Sawyer for writing stories that I read every word of in Open Wheel magazine. …Lance Jennings of SCRAFan.com is often a reliable choice to get info on non-wing pilots. Same for Ken and Terry Wagner. …Lonnie Wheatley, Tony Veneziano and Dick Jordan are prolific in their work – and I thank them for it. Bill Sullivan, and Gary Thomas – thank you for your dedication to the sport. Andrew Kunas keeps me informed on what’s happening up North in Washington and Oregon. Richard Day, and Bill Klingbeil have been great friends through the years of working at dirt tracks. Ron Rodda is a friend who has a passion for racing the right way that I really respect. …John Katich – thank you for your radio show! I learn something new all the time by listening. …Thanks to Bruce Ellis for his millions of words written and spoken about the Pennsylvania racing scene. …Thanks to Justin Zoch for his work keeping us in tune with Upper Midwest scoops. …Thanks to Ron Albrite for being a friend and for many history lessons. …Mike Read – your work with NARC was top-notch! …Glenn Hopper – Thanks for finding a way to drive and write! …Thanks to Rob Klepper for his fun style and enthusiasm. Rob’s knowledge of cars and personalities matched with his quick wit is a good combination to entertain race fans. ...Thanks to Dan Fleischer, Debi Suppan, Norm Bogan, and Davey Munoz for their friendship. Thanks to Tom Parker.
Thanks to Addie Mueller, Jerry Ahrens, and Bruce Homer for taking me to Knoxville, and Eldora as a teenager. Those trips helped me grow and they gave me a base of history to reflect on. …Thanks to the Anderson Family and Willie & Baggy for their love and support through the years. …Thanks to Jimmy and Betty Boyd, the late Dave Bradway Jr. & Nancy, and the late Jack Gordon for rides to Baylands and Chico at various points. Thanks to Jim Teller and “Joe Tiny” for rides to Santa Maria, and Petaluma.
Thanks to Garrett Mueller for being one of the big brothers I never had.
Thanks to Mitch Sue for letting me hang out and for 'modeling' that it is/was okay to have other interests than just racing.
Thank you to Burt Foland Jr., Shinichi, and Rico for being supportive.
Thanks to others I work with or have worked with or for - that help(ed) me in various ways. …Laura Lingner, Kenny Garcia, Ron Sutton, Randy Furr, Larry Hol, Lawrence Coelho, Tom and Tommy Tarlton, Heather Henderson, Jake Vickers, Don Graby, Bill Pemberton, Mike Andreetta, Pat Johnson, Bill Sessa, Brian Carter, Ken Clapp, Kenny Takeuchi, Alan Bal, Mike Ericson, Niki Siegel, Grove Hill, Barbara Eversult, The Malies, Shirley Boldrini, Keith Berge, Bob Pool, Bryan Korot, Roger Vincent, Ken Henderson, Eloy Gutierrez, Floyd Busby, Lacy Carter, Ken Farney, The Belton's, Tony Bokhoven, Pete Richards, Dennis Wood, Tom Cavanaugh, Stephanie Chappell, Craig Agan, The Orth Family, Lauren Carter, Lisa Tillett, Tommy Estes Jr., Steve Sinclair, Roger Slack, Art Rorick, Josh Becker, Ralph Sheheen, Dave Rieff, Eli Gold, Vicki James, Dave Swindell, John Mullin, Pam Duckworth, Jeff Kelty, Bob Dillner, Ben Geisler, Patti Wheeler, Jim Roller, Jeff Manhart, and Pat Donnelly.
Thank you to the mechanics, drivers and car owners that have helped me try to understand cars that I talk about and write about but I don’t actually work on or drive. People who quickly come to mind are: Jimmy Sills, Tim Green, Rob Hart, Greg Hodnett, Scott Benic, Billy Albini, Steve Kent, Ron Shaver, Chris Good, Dale Blaney, Danny Smith, Scotty and Duke McMillen, Chuck Gurney Sr., Jimmy Carr, Chuck Cypert, The Bumgarner Family, Moose, Tim Shaffer, Glenn Stewart, John Sullivan, Randy Kinser, Kenny Woodruff, Scott Gerkin, Jeff Swindell, Slim Jim Osborne, Paul Baines, Mark Kinser, Jeff Shepard, Dave Yingst, Tyler Swank, Dennis Kohler, Mike Thurman, Rod Tiner, Ken Costa, Ashley Smith, Todd Ventura, Troy Renfro, Matt Britt, Ricky Warner, Dave Lawrence, Peter Murphy, Johnny Medina, Richie Paulson, Stuart Krum, Terry Grubbs, Bob Miller, Big Tommy, Scott Hall, Kerry Fasig, Tommy Sanders, Heavy D, Shane Scott, Jon Allard, Steve Scott, Joe Gaerte, Jaime Riolo, Kelly Wesphal, Willie Kahne, Mark Bristow, Sonny Kratzer, Robert Hubbard, Lonnie Parsons, Danny Schatz, Guy Forbrook, D.J. Lindsey, Shane Anderson, Gary Stanton, Rick Wright, Johnny Herrera, Sammy Swindell, Karl Kinser, Joey "Wolfgang", and Andy Hillenburg.
Thank you to drivers who have given me access to them when I’m sure the last thing they wanted was to have a ‘media-guy’ around. Steve Kinser and Tony Stewart don’t need to be bugged and I try not to bug them. But in the rare case I do need a quick question with them they have always accommodated me. I appreciate that! Ditto for Donny Schatz.
Thank you to the following drivers for treating me with respect: Danny Faria, Mike Faria, Sparky Howard, Rick Hirst, Monte Faccinto, Jim Taves, Steve Beitler, Lindsey Casto, Ryan Riley, Travis Rilat, Mark Hall, Rickie Gaunt, Jeremy Sherman, Cory Kruseman, Casey Shuman, Damion Gardner, Craig Smith, Brandon Lane, Craig Dollansky, Destiney Hays, Stephen Allard, Brett Miller, Rick Fowzer, Mike Henry, Chad Kemenah, Dean Jacobs, Jeremy Campbell, Kerry Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Troy Hovey, Greg DeCaires, Jimmy Trulli, Mike Benson, Sean Becker, Johnny Gray, Jim Skinner, Brandon Wimmer, Greg Anderson, Burney Lamar, Danny Lasoski, Steve Osborne, Robert Ballou, Justin Henderson, Gary Ormsby Jr., Quintin Crye, Jason Solwold, Ryan Flynn, Tony Bruce Jr., Brian McClish, Chad Riolo, Craig Stidham, Toni Lutar, Brian Coelho, Lee Brewer Jr., Roger Crockett, Trevor Green, Dion Hindi, Dan Ochs, Davey Key, Dennis Moore Jr., Todd Bammer, Brian Paulus, Gary Scelzi, Joey Hand, Jaime Hood, Daniel Hood, Dave Clarke, and Mark Flachman.
Thank you to drivers that have mentioned they like our website or Racer’s Racing Series. Some have written or questioned rules even! : )) This group includes: Jason Sides, Terry McCarl, Andy Gregg, Blake Feese, Nick Rescino Jr., and Gary Morgan.
Thank you to the new generation of racers that I see so much promise in. Brad Sweet – keep up the good work. I’m glad you have a sense of history for the sport. …Kyle Larson – Thanks for already racing as much as you have. You have sacrificed lots. Keep having fun. …Ryan Kaplan – You have special talent. …Kody Swanson – Thanks for being so grounded. I believe the sky is the limit for you…Chuck Gurney Jr. – Keep scratching and clawing man. You have the talent and I know you know that. …Kyle Hirst – I loved watching you at Chico. You are going to pile up some big win totals up there. …Nick Green – Have patience and faith and it will all come together. …Bryan Clauson, Shane Golobic, Paul Zimmerly, The Galedrige Brothers, Jimmy Pelk, Alissa Geving – thanks for taking time to talk with me.
If I have forgotten anyone – my apologies.