THE source for one sided, out of date, and incomplete information.

Mitch Mitchell
October 19, 2013
Arizona
Speedway

Hard Charger

Good weather, friends, and racing.  What more could you ask for?  How about a pre race party? 

Mike at Beaver Stripes gathered some friends that support racing and threw a pre race luncheon at Piggly’s.  It was cool to see a handful of teams put their cars on display in front of the restaurant.  By doing so all teams that displayed their cars were given gifts that ranged from several sleeves of Racing Optics to a Right rear tire.  Enough can’t be said for what Beaver Stripes, Ellis Race Cars, Canyon Speedway, RSS industries, Arizona Speedway, and Piggly’s did for the racers and fans.  I would like to thank Jody Wirth, Shon Deskins, R.J. Johnson, Josh Pelkey, and Tye Mihocko for being there with their cars on display for the fans.  Those guys and their owners are great for racing.

With the cooler weather the track was very fast early.  For the first heat you wanted to start on the inside row as they were able to finish one through four.  The real movers were Matt Rossi and Shon Deskins.  Both of those guys were able to pass cars and move up.  The outside row starters didn’t fair as well ending up fifth on back.

Finishing order: Pelkey, Davis, Rossi, Deskins, St. James, Johnson, and Imperial

The second heat was more vanilla than anything.  It lacked action, as the track was still heavy.  Andy Reinbold was able to hold Matt Lundy and Tye Mihocko at bay and get his first heat win of the year.

Finishing order: Reinbold, Lundy, Mihocko, Ream Jr., Martin, Linder, and Lee

In the third heat we finally got some action.  Jody Wirth led the first few laps from the pole.  Mike Bonneau got by Wirth for second when Wirth fired a slider getting the lead back again.  Bonneau got back by about a lap later and was able to hold Wirth off to win the third heat. 

Finishing order: Bonneau, Wirth, Harms, Clark, Hosford, Stetson, and Williams

Top 8 to the Dash with Chuck D on the pole. (Later dude/or so I thought) Actually Pelkey, Rossi, and Deskins kept it close and all three battled but the track never really widened out to allow any passing of the front-runners.  But the cars to watch seemed to be Deskins and Rossi again.  Both of those guys were fast.  Someone laughed as they called the Spike Chassis “Magic”.

Finishing order: Davis, Pelkey, Rossi, Deskins, Reinbold, Lundy, Wirth, and Bonneau

It’s go time and R.J starts 17th.  No one would take my bet that he would still podium.  It’s a good thing, as we all know what the outcome was.  But long before the finish there were a few passes here and there.  I have to say I lost count of the laps early do to the large number of cautions.  But during the early laps Rossi was extremely fast and even took the lead before a caution negated the pass.  Unfortunately for Rossi his new AEC power plant proved to be too much for the driveline as it was twisted up and broke.  Chuck D was able to maintain his lead for 10 laps before JP12 was able to get by him.  The whole time guys like Matt Lundy were unbelievable on the bottom during the restarts even flirting with the guys up front before his brakes faded.  Matt was still able to pull off a respectable 7th place finish.  Eight place starting Mike Bonneau ran up front all night and pulled off his first top five of the season as he finished a very solid 4th.  Ryan Linder also moved up several spots to 6th from his 18th starting position.  Ryan has a knack for starting in the back at Arizona Speedway and making his way to the front.  He was probably affected most by the reduction in laps.
R.J. continued to pick cars off; he was not wasting time with the slower cars.  They nailed the setup on a track that never really got wide.  Pelkey was able to lead for 6 laps before R.J. flexed and took the lead from him.  It was cool to see the excitement of the fans as they watched a guy who started 17th pick a car off per lap and take the lead on the 18th lap.  Not only did he take the lead he was able to start lapping cars as well.  As he lapped a car we got what turned out to be the final caution.  Those around me were guessing how many laps were down.  I mentioned that there had to be more than 5 remaining since the lap car was left between R.J. and Pelkey.  As the green flag flew R.J. was gone.  The rest of the field got trapped behind the lapped car.  As they got around the lapper and attempted to chase down R.J., within a couple laps the flagman threw the white flag.  That can’t be right because all lap cars are sent to the back with less than 5 laps to go, right?  This day and age of transponders and radios apparently don’t apply as all fingers were pointed at the flagman for cutting 5 laps from the race.  The official response is “he lost track”.  I personally don’t think it would have changed the outcome of the race but I sure would have liked to see it unfold.
R.J. was clearly the car to beat.  He did have some help with the timely cautions early but put on a passing clinic. His car worked where ever he put it. 

All that remains in the 2013 championship season is the Western World at Canyon Speedway Park.  Will R.J. be able to maintain his lead and win his first Sprint Car championship?

Finishing order: 1)Johnson, 2)Pelkey, 3)Davis, 4)M Bonneau, 5)Reinbold, 6)Linder, 7) Lundy, 8)Ream, 9)Clark, 10)Martin, 11)St. James, 12)Stetson, 13)Mihocko, 14)Harms, 15)Hosford, 16) Lee, 17) Williams, 18) Deskins, 19)Wirth, 20)Imperial, 21)Rossi


Mitch Mitchell

October 14, 2013

Out of the Box

In four races at Central Arizona Raceway the Southwest Sprint Cars have had four different winners.  This time it was Matt Rossi making his first start of the season with the Southwest Sprint Cars.  Not only did he win, but he dominated the main event leading every lap.  As Rossi said after the race “the car was good in the heat so we left it alone.”  It was a good thing they did because he was clearly the fastest car at the track.

As the first heat got underway, Bruce St. James used his outside front row starting position to his advantage and got out front quickly.  Mike Martin and Josh Pelkey were both in tow.  As the front 3 battled, Matt Rossi quietly made his way forward from his sixth place starting spot.  As the 1st heat draws to a close Josh Pelkey has a driveline fail causing him to pull off the track.  The Radio Flyer was able to hold off Mike Martin and get the heat race win.  Matt Rossi was able to round out the podium.

Finishing order:  Bruce St. James, Mike Marin, Matt Rossi, Steven Harms, Matt Lundy, Ronnie Clark, Andy Reinbold, and Josh Pelkey

Go figure that one and two in points are both in the second heat.  And Charles Davis Jr. who is currently 2nd in points starts on the pole.  Starting Chuck D on the pole is almost unfair to the fans and the competition.  He wasted no time in “playing a game of get gone.”  Everyone else was racing for 2nd.  And that’s what Brian Hosford did from his fourth place starting position.  R.J. Johnson completed the podium from his 6th place starting position.

Finishing order: Chuck D, Brian Hosford, R.J. Johnson, Jody Wirth, Shon Deskins, Mike Bonneau, and Tom Lee (Mike Colegrove had motor troubles and did not make the call)

All that remains to determine the main event lineup is the Dash.  The Dash is made up of the top eight point earners from the heat races.  The track is still a very fast and had not developed multiple grooves yet.  That being said, Brian Hosford took advantage of starting on the outside of the front row and brought home the dub.  Matt Rossi appeared to be the fastest car on the track but could not mount a run to get by Hosford.

Finishing Order: Brian Hosford, Matt Rossi, Mike Martin, Bruce St. James, R.J. Johnson, Jody Wirth, Steven Harms, and Chuck D.

With the lower car count and minimal yellows the program moved along quickly.  The USAC Southwest Drivers in attendance got the rare opportunity to stage on the front stretch and get introduced to the fans.  It’s a nice touch that should be done more often (when time permits). 
As the drivers were strapping in I was running through some questions with those around me.  Who leads the first lap?  Will JP12 be the hard charger?  How long before the track develops another groove?  There were a handful more but nothing worth mentioning. 

The green flag dropped and Rossi did not hesitate to flirt with the Cush.  By doing so he was the lead dog as a red flag flew within a few laps of the initial green.  Jody Wirth spun off of the track and Shon Deskins was collected as he tried to avoid the spinning car.  Deskins left rear tire was cut in the process.  The SDR crew was fast at work and had the tire changed as the cars were beginning to push off.  Both Deskins and Wirth were able to continue.  

Wow, now we get to watch JP12 and Deskins come through the field.  Both did with precision.  As Rossi continued to click off laps up front it didn’t take much time for him to catch and begin to lap cars.  First it was Lee then Lundy.  As he got by Lundy we had another caution.  This time for a spinning Harms in turn 3.  So Lundy got his spot back and Lee was a buffer.  Being so close to going a lap down seemed to motivate Lundy as he also got on the loud pedal after the restart eventually finishing 8th.  The next stoppage was for an unfortunate Clark who broke a right rear wheel center that sent him flipping wildly over the turn 4 banking.  When the cars came to a stop a massive fuel leak on the Jody Wirth car was apparent to the officials as he was sent to the infield.

We had more of the same up front.  Rossi continuing to lead, a series of aggressive passes between Chuck D and Mike Martin, and R.J. Johnson trying to catch Rossi.  I can’t give Rossi enough credit for the way he handled the lapped cars he came up to, passing all cars with precision and ease.

The next and final caution was for Mike Bonneau who had a flat left front and finally went off the track.

Man is R.J. going to pull his best Jeremy Sherman impersonation and pull a masterful pass to take the lead on the restart?  Unfortunately for Johnson, Rossi had other plans and on the following restart Rossi again pulled away from the competition.  As the flagman signaled 5 to go the crowd was getting excited for Rossi.  Could he pull it off and maintain his lead?  He could and did.

Finishing order: 1. Matt Rossi 2. R.J. Johnson 3. Mike Martin 4. Chuck D 5. JP12, 6. Shon Deskins 7. Andy Reinbold 8. Matt Lundy 9. Bruce St. James 10. Brian Hosford 11. Steven Harms 12. Tom Lee 13. Mike Bonneau 14. Jody Wirth 15. Ronnie Clark

Corrie McDonald
September 28, Canyon Speedway Park

It’s a rare occasion when the USAC South West Sprint Cars qualify.  Even with the addition of a retaining wall in turns 3 & 4 the track did not disappoint.  Eight drivers were able to best the track record that was set earlier in the year by Mike Martin.  Shon Deskins was the eventual fast qualifier and new record holder with a time of 13.827.

“Chargin” Charles Davis wasted no time in complete domination of the first heat.  Shon Deskins took a different approach and tried using the bottom side to his advantage. Deskins held a solid 5th through the race. St. James did all he could to pass Ogle, but in the end Ogle held him off. Chris Bonneau held a solid second place throughout this heat race.

Finishing order: Davis, C. Bonneau, Ogle, St. James, Deskins, Harms, Hosford, Lee, Morin (nt)

A stacked second heat race had Josh Pelkey and Mike Martin battling for the lead. Pelkey jumped on the start and the flagger called it back; they lined up again. Pelkey’s car was fast all evening, and he proved to be a contender in his heat race. Linder used the entire track to his advantage, going high in one and two and using the low side in three and four.  Curtis brings out the yellow flag when he spins in turn four. Copeland was also pushing to get to the front of the track but Linder held him off. 

Finishing order: Pelkey, Martin, M.Bonneau, Linder, Copeland, Aragon, Curtis (nt)

Heat race number three had two of the three California boys, Mike Spencer and Damion Gardner, competing against each other. Clark got out front first, beating Gardner into turn one. Lundy and Ream were racing each other towards the end of the pack, both competing for a transfer spot. The 41 of Rick Ziehl seemed to be holding up Lundy, but Lundy didn’t give up. Point’s leader RJ Johnson tries to make the middle work, but held a solid 5th throughout the race. Matt Lundy tries to push the bottom a little too hard hitting the tires the line the racetrack in turn four. The tires around the track seemed to be giving Lundy a tough night hitting them in hot laps and the main event as well.

Finishing order: Clark, Spencer, Gardner, Reinbold, Johnson, Ziehl, Ream, Lundy (nt)

With 25 cars making an appearance for the Brawl For It All, the Semi seemed to be a challenge to get through, with the top 7 transferring. Rick Ziehl was out front early leaving Curtis in the dust. Lundy got his car fixed and ready for the semi and was running with Hosford for a lap, but Hosford had more power and got Lundy in two. With a fast track, the semi main had very little passing and seemed to be a great example of follow the leader.

Finishing order: Ziehl, Curtis, Hosford, Ream, Lundy, Mihocko, Harms, Aragon, Lee, Morin

The Dash drivers took the field. Spencer takes the number one position with M. Bonneau hot on his heels followed by an extremely fast Johnson. Johnson passes Bonneau in two and pressures Spencer for the lead. Mike Spencer did all the right things, and stayed in front of Johnson.

Finishing order: Spencer, Johnson, M.Bonneau, C. Bonneau, Copeland, Martin, St. James, and Deskins (nt)

At 9:57 the USAC sprint cars took to the track for the main event. My eyes are immediately drawn to the two extremely fast cars starting in the front row, RJ Johnson and Mike Spencer. There were 6 cars that I wanted to keep my eyes on for this main event: RJ Johnson, Shon Deskins, Damion Gardner, Mike Spencer, Josh Pelkey and defending Brawl For It All champion Charles Davis. All six of these awesome drivers wanted to take home a W for their teams and get those Brawl points.

When the green flag dropped Spencer gets the jump on Johnson, and takes the lead in turn two. Andy Reinbold brings out the caution flag for a flat right front tire. On the restart, Johnson was wicked fast and gets the jump on Spencer. Deskins going against his usual hi-side demeanor, tries the bottom and made it stick.

Charles Davis is making his way through the field, using the entire track to get to the front. Mike Bonneau after an impressive run goes off the track extremely fast in turn two; ending his night.

The pack seems to be thinning out, and falling into place. Copeland feeds Mike Martin a right rear and Martin brings out the yellow flag in turn one. Spectators are watching C. Bonneau’s car bounce on the backstretch almost like a front shock died.

Order so far: Johnson, Spencer, Copeland, Pelkey, Deskins, and Davis.

Bob Ream and Damion Gardner get into each other causing a right rear tire to go dead on Gardners car. A very disappointing night for the “Demon” Damion Gardner.

Johnson started to pull away from the field. Deskins was pushing his new car extremely hard trying to make his way to the front of the pack. Deskins tries the bottom to get under Pelkey, but Pelkey shuts the door.

Davis is refusing to be left in the dust by the front-runners. Spencer seemed to put his car in the next gear as his car was hooked up and extremely fast.  Johnson is exceptionally fast as well but Spencer is not letting him get to far out front. Tye Mihocko brings out the yellow flag, turning his car around in two, possibly getting hooked on Lundy’s rear.

(10:17) St. James is running 7th behind Davis and catching him. St. James takes to the bottom of the track trying for 6th with no success as Davis pulls away in the straightaway. After an impressive run, Chris Bonneau spirals through turn two. Bonneau walks away from the crash with a destroyed racecar and a deflated ego. Pictures show that Bonneau had help getting into that compromising position.

Lap 18 of 30

Lundy brings out the caution flag hitting the very large tires on the high side of two, ending his run for the night. Mike Martin and Clark seem to be having a battle of their own at the back of the pack.

On the restart the top 6 cars go high into turn one. Johnson is still able to comfortably maintain the lead over Spencer. Then disaster strikes. Points leader and Championship contender RJ Johnson goes off the track in turn one; Johnson had a bolt fail on the front end thus ending his night.

With Johnson out, the Mike Spencer show begins. The number 74 car of Copeland tries to make an appearance, but Spencer is just too fast. Pelkey holds off Deskins to finish on the Podium.

Mike Spencer pulls out the win, with Copland hot on his heels.

Finishing order: Spencer, Copeland, Pelkey, Deskins, Davis, Ziehl, Hosford, Ream, Ogle, Martin, St.James, Curtis, Harms, Clark, Johnson, Linder, Lundy, C. Bonneau, Mihocko, Gardener, M. Bonneau, Reinbold

With Johnson not finishing the race this cuts down significantly on the points lead that he held over Davis. Davis now trails Johnson by only 51 points with 4 nights of racing remaining.

The next stop for the USAC South West Sprint Cars is Central Arizona Raceway on October 12th.

Corrie McDonald
September 14, Central Arizona Raceway


A racetrack known as the Eleven-mile corner is nestled between farmlands and an animal shelter. When the lights turn on, and fire suits are zipped up the track comes to life. The track was definitely at its peak on a breezy Saturday night. On a track that seemed as if it had very little water during wheel packing it just kept getting better and better.  Outside of the cowboy up bump in three the track remained extremely fast and tacky throughout the event.

The USAC Southwest Sprintcars took the track for their heats. With 21 cars making the trip it was time to rock and roll.  The racetrack was eerily quiet as the green flag dropped for the first heat. James Aragon had his hands full with a racecar that would just flop and start to bicycle on entry to the corners.  As it turned out they had a right rear shock fail.  Following a successful couple races by Jody Wirth his car seemed to be struggling with horsepower. Wirth was lapped by M. Bonneau on lap 5.  Brian Hosford tried the low side challenging M.Bonneau for the lead, but in the end had nothing for Bonneau.      

Finishing Order:  M. Bonneau, Hosford, St. James, Aragon, Curtis, Harms, Wirth (NT)

Heat two was stacked with 3 drivers that have main event wins this season. Johnson, Pelkey and Martin all wanted the heat win.  Rj Johnson mentioned in a pre race interview that he had never won a race in Casa Grande. With a championship coming into view for the recently engaged driver, eyes were on him.

Mike Martin got the jump on the start and was out front early.  With a caution flag coming out, Martin was going to have to wait another lap to get the jump again.

Martin eventually got out front again, and held his position to the end. Pelkey and C. Bonneau were holding a solid second and third. Johnson didn’t move up during his heat race, but held a respectable fifth. 

Finishing order:  Martin, C.Bonneau, Pelkey, Clark, Johnson, Mihocko, and Lee (NT)

Charles Davis and Andy Reinbold were on the pole for the third and final heat race. Matt Lundy started towards the end of the pack and picked off two cars on the high side of the by turn three. Lundy had never ran a sprint car in Casa Grande, but proved that he can hang with the big boys. By lap two of this heat race, it was Chuck D’s race to lose.  By lap three Davis had a full straight away lead over the Texas sensation Aaron Reutzel, who was making his non-wing debut. Shon Deskins was using the full track to his advantage and brought home a fourth place finish for the SDR team.

Finish Order: Davis, Reutzel, Reinbold, Deskins, Lundy, Stetson, Danielson (NT) 

We now had the top 8 sprints ready for the dash, all wanting to take home the win and start on the pole of the main.  JP12 started on the front row and never looked back.  C.Bonneau and Hosford were fighting for positions, holding up Charles Davis. Ultimately Davis got past Hosford for a third place finish. JP12 used the bottom of the track to bring the ABC Motorsports sprintcar to the winner circle.

Finishing order: Pelkey, C.Bonneau, Davis, Hosford, Martin, St. James, M.Bonneau, Reutzel (NT) 

Main event time rolled around at 10:30, as the breeze died down and lightning was in the distance. Crews were packed into the infield to cheer on their driver. While looking towards the grandstands, there were many seats left unfilled. They missed an awesome main event.

Josh Pelkey and C. Bonneau took the green flag at the cone. Deskins and St. James were skirting the hi-side and St. James went off the track in turn one with Deskins following, bringing the yellow flag out. St. James was sent to the back of the pack while Deskins restarted in his original position. 

Pelkey, C. Bonneau and Davis were holding down 123. Davis takes the low side in turn four and gets by Bonneau. Bonneau was taking a risk by running that hi-side and it came back to bite him later in the race when he went off the track.

Johnson was steadily making his way through the field using the hi-side of one and two and the low side in three and four. Lundy was in tow and picking off cars with him. Brian Hosford slows on the front stretch, bringing out the yellow flag.  Hosfords night is done.  Two lapped cars (Lee and Danielson) send themselves to the back of the pack. Some confusion there because of the positioning they should have been in.  Both Lee and Danielson had been lapped by Pelkey and should have lined up between Pelkey and Davis..  But they didn’t.

Racing continues, C. Bonneau showed Charles Davis the bottom but Davis shut the door in his face. Johnson is making his way through traffic and creeping up to fifth place. Johnson using the low side gets by Martin but the yellow flag comes out; Lee goes off the track. 

On the restart Johnson gets by Martin and is challenging C. Bonneau. Bonneau goes hi and Johnson took the low side shooting past him. Chris Bonneau couldn’t handle the pressure and goes off the track in turn one.

Aaron Reutzel was holding a solid third most of the night, but with Johnson on his tail it didn’t last.

14 laps down, order this far: Pelkey, Davis, Reutzel, Johnson, Martin, M. Bonneau, Lundy, Reinbold, Deskins, Clark, Curtis, 

Pelkey is sneaking away from the pack and is hooked up high and low. My eyes were on Shon Deskins. Deskins has a talent for making the tops of tracks work for him, and in the usual Deskins fashion he took to the high side.

With 16 laps down of a 30 lap main event Aaron Reutzel was charging hard for the leaders. Josh Pelkey hit lap traffic in turn four; Disaster strikes. 

Pelkey blows a front tire when he makes contact while lapping a car for the second time.  The ABC motorsports team goes to work on Pelkeys car, but didn’t have enough time to complete the task at hand.

When racing resumed Johnson was hooked up on the bottom and took the lead away from Davis.  Johnson never looked back.  Going into three Shon Deskins topside persistence pays off on the white flag lap.  Deskins went into three in 6th place, and takes the checkered flag in third place! Deskins continues to impress me with his driving! 

Congratulations to Rj Johnson on his first win in Casa Grande!

Finishing order: 1. R.J. Johnson, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Shon Deskins, 4. Aaron Reutzel, 5. Mike Martin, 6. Mike Bonneau, 7. Matt Lundy, 8. Andy Reinbold, 9. Ronnie Clark, 10. Michael Curtis, 11. Jordan Stetson, 12. Bruce St. James, 13. Tom Lee, 14. Steven Harms, 15. Josh Pelkey, 16. Tye Mihocko, 17. Chris Bonneau, 18. Kyle Danielson, 19. James Aragon, 20. Brian Hosford, 21. Jody Wirth. 

Next race for the USAC southwest sprint cars is on September 28th at Canyon Speedway Park for the “Brawl for it all”

Special thanks to Jeff McDonald a long time Sprintfan supporter for his donation of a case of WD40 and Engine Degreaser that went to Matt Lundy.

Corrie McDonald
September 8, 2013 Arizona Speedway

With the fans crowding the stands, ET continues to be one of the most exciting places to watch a race in Arizona.  It’s easy to get caught up in the joy and excitement of the races.

Heat race one started off with Mike Bonneau and Harms in the front row. By lap three Brian Swinehart was passing his way through the field all the way up to third place. Last weeks winner Ryan Linder had a mechanical condition and pulled himself into the infield. Bonneau had a solid lead over Pelkey. After starting in the front Harms finds himself in the middle of the pack going into one and almost spins out, but saves it at the last minute.

Finishing order: Bonneau, Swinehart, Pelkey, C. Bonneau, Martin, Harms, Lundy, Morin, and Linder

Point’s leader RJ Johnson started on the pole of the second heat.  Nobody had anything for Johnson as he took a commanding lead over the field.  Shon Deskins was trying to make the high side stick when he hit the front stretch wall coming out of four and ending his heat race.  Andy Reinbold was pushing hard against the 11c of Curtis. Reinbold got lose in three and four and lost two positions. Towards the end Clark was challenging Curtis, only to end up with third.

Finishing order: Johnson, Curtis, Clark, Reinbold, Ream, Shipley, Wirth, and Deskins

Who started in the front row? The car to watch during the third heat race was definitely Charles Davis Jr. who started last.  The sprinkles started to come down steadily as the third heat race got underway. Bruce St. James and Charles Davis, after working his way through the pack, were racing hard all by themselves. In the end Charles had nothing for Bruce, and Bruce took the checkered flag.

Finishing Order: St. James, Davis Jr., Colgrove, Mihocko, Stetson, Lee, Hosford, and Keegan

8 cars took the track for the dash, but only one prevailed. To no surprise, RJ Johnson had a commanding lead. St. James had Johnson in the first corner but Johnson kicked it into hi gear and took off. At the white flag Johnson had a straight away lead over the field.

Finishing order: Johnson, St. James, C. Bonneau, Davis Jr., Swinehart, M. Bonneau, Curtis, and Clark

Lee and Harms started on the front row of the B main event. Keegan goes high and is passed by multiple cars. Ryan Linder was pushing hard in fourth after a throttle linkage problem in the heat. Wirth pulls in with 6 laps to go. Shon Deskins and Linder, both winners last weekend, were pushing each other hard with Linder going low and being passed by Harms.

Finishing order: Lundy, Hosford, Deskins, Harms, Linder, Lee, Keegan, Morin, and Wirth

Main event time.. Johnson, Davis, and C. Bonneau pushed hard at the beginning. The three cars were in sync and ran the high side of the track. Pelkey takes the low side of the track early on and passed Reinbold and Clark.  St. James makes contact with the wall in turn two costing him 4 spots.

Johnson, Davis jr., and C. Bonneau were slowly making it a three-car battle in the front of the field as they were walking away from their competition. Shon Deskins brought out the yellow flag.

Ryan Linder who started second to last continued to pick off cars one by one, and making a charge to the front of the pack.  After the restart Clark lights a fire and passes 4 cars coming out of four.

Reams motor died coming out of two, and cars scattered to avoid the stopped car.  One unlucky competitor, Harms was unable to avoid contact. The yellow flag was thrown and an epic restart was about to happen. Pelkey had been pushing all night to get to the front of the pack. The die-hard fans around me were calling for Pelkey to get a jump at the start and challenge for the lead.

Running order this far: Johnson, Davis, C. Bonneau, Pelkey, Swinehart, and Martin

Johnson takes the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars into the restart slow and then takes the high side with three cars in tow. Mike Martin passes Swinehart on the bottom.

Linder and St. James are running the bottom trying to make it work. Johnson continues to walk away from the pack followed by Davis and C. Bonneau. Johnson catches lap traffic as the flagger signals ½ way down. Davis is catching Johnson quickly, and passes Johnson in three. Johnson coming out of turn for starts smoking as he goes down the straightaway.

5 laps to go: Johnson’s car is smoking heavily but trailing Davis close.

3 laps to go: Davis, Johnson, C. Bonneau, Pelkey, St. James, and Linder. Top four cars take the high side, with Johnson pushing hard on Davis’ bumper.

Chris Bonneau, after an impressive run, was pushed hi by Josh Pelkey. Pelkey clips Bonneau and he goes for a ride, end over end almost making it out of the ballpark in turn four.

What happens next, stuns people. Mike Bonneau who was running 7th, jumps out of his car on the backstretch and runs up to Pelkey to confront him.

—And the crews go wild— What a riot. Pelkey unbuckles from his car and continues to have a “discussion” with Mike Bonneau.  An exciting race leads to pissed off women in the pits. We almost had a Max Papis incident on our hands!

As everyone is pushed back to their corners of the ring, the gloves are still on. Back to the race.

Davis, Johnson, St. James, Linder, Clark. Did you notice Pelkey not in the top cars? Officials sent Josh Pelkey to the back of the pack. The question is for what? Taking off his seatbelts on the track to get out of the line of fire being rained upon him by one of the Bonneau boys? Nope, apparently it was for hard racing.  Great call official (sarcasm). In the words of Chuck D. “He could have lifted”

Bruce and Linder take it to the bottom and are making it work wonderfully, when the yellow flag comes out again, this time for Stetson as he gets turned around.

As the green flag drops, Davis is out front with Johnson catching him in the turns. The red flag then flies again as Swinehart goes vertical and ends up on the wrong side of the fence.  Officials then deemed it necessary for a fuel stop. When the green flag dropped, Deskins in 7th takes the high side and tries to make it work for him.  Johnson and Davis were fighting each other for the win. Johnson and Davis go into turn three even, but in the end Charles Davis Jr. had the top side advantage and pulled just enough coming out of four to take the win from Johnson.

As the celebration started for Davis’ crew, officials needed to smooth things over with the ABC Motorsports team.  I heard it first hand, an official actually said, “I made the wrong call, I apologize”.  That wrong call cost Pelkey a potential podium.

Finishing order: 1: Charles Davis Jr. 2: R.J. Johnson 3: Bruce St. James 4: Ryan Linder 5: Ronnie Clark 6: Mike Martin 7: Shon Deskins 8: Andy Reinbold 9: Josh Pelkey 10: Steven Harms 11: Michael Curtis 12: Brian Hosford 13: Tye Mihocko 14: Tom Lee 15: Jordan Stetson 16: Josh Shipley 17: Bryan Swinehart 18: Mike Bonneau 19: Chris Bonneau 20: Mike Colegrove 21: Bob Ream Jr. 22: Matt Lundy.

 

Corrie McDonald
September 1, 2013 Thunder Valley Raceway, Show low Arizona

The first heat race of the night proved to be quite the demolition derby. Visser and Fuller collected each other on lap two ending their heat race. Brandon Hacker in his second sprint car race started on the pole and proved to be a very fast car. Unfortunately Brandon was testing turn three and got loose and up into the marbles hitting the tires. Brandon’s car hit on the right side cockpit. He walked away from the crash, and seemed to be in good spirits. When asked if he was okay Brandon replied with “man, I crashed my racecar”. But the good news is, he lives to race another day. James Aragon and Josh Williams were putting on a show battling for one and two. Aragon got around Williams in turn two as the yellow flag came out. Rookie sprint car driver Cash Watson made his debut at Thunder Valley, but his heat race ended on lap 5 when he got together with Wagner in turn one.  And then there were three cars left to battle it out in heat one. James Aragon and Josh Williams battled for the lead followed up by Wagoner. Aragon got past Williams and that was all she wrote, Williams had nothing left for him.

(Finishing order: Aragon, Williams, Wagner)

Heat two proved to be a battle of the wills. Rick “the real deal” Ziehl tried taking the high side and got into the turn two wall blowing his rear tire and ending his heat race. Shon Deskins took the lead and was riding the top of the track, and he was hooked up with his brakes glowing. Ryan Linder got past Deskins and proved to be a fast car and walked away with the W.

(Finishing order: Linder, Deskins, Baker, Lee)

As all the crews were making their adjustments before the main event, shock struck the track. NO LIGHTS! The lights on the track as well as in the pits flickered and went off. Donald and his team went to work and got the generators up and running in no time at all. Whew, who knew Show Low Arizona had so much drama in store for us.

The sprint cars rolled onto the track with high expectations. Unfortunately goals were set too high for Fuller as he spun out all by himself in warm-ups. As nerves calmed down the green flag was flyin’. But the first start is a no-go. 

Once we got underway Baker spun out in turn four and it’s to the back of the pack for him. After a fantastic night one, the track at Thunder Raceway had finally met its match. Turn three and four were proven to be extremely dusty as the track started to take rubber and burn tires off. Shon Deskins shoots to the front of the pack early on, and holds his lead for some time.

Deskins amazed me all night by pushing the high side, and making it work. Before he got too much of a lead Baker spun out, bringing out another caution flag and ending his night.

Rick Ziehl started at the rear of the field and was picking cars off one by one using the catfish approach and sticking to the bottom. Linder and Williams were battling between each other for second place as Deskins started to walk away from the pack and working his way through lap traffic. Linder also worked the field and was gaining on Williams while smokin’ his right rear.

Deskins was the star of the show until tragedy struck and the high side got the better of him. Going into turn three Deskins hit the pit entrance almost head on. Deskins luckily walked away but his car was not as lucky.

With five laps to go the lineup was Williams, Linder, Ziehl, Lee and, Aragon. With a twitchy Williams going hi Linder gets him in four and takes off.  Ziehl made his move work shortly after and got by Williams as well.  It was a heck of a drive by Ziehl with a right rear tire loosing air and finally blowing on the cool down lap.  Ryan Linder picked up the win on the final night of the Warren Wampole memorial.

I would like to thank everyone that showed up to support this great event.  A special thanks to Shon Deskins, Beaver Stripes, and the Red Onion Lounge for everything they did to make this show a success.

Unofficial results: Linder, Ziehl, Williams, Lee, Aragon, 55 (Dykes?), Wagner, Morin, Watson, Deskins, Fuller, Baker, Hacker NT, and Visser NT

Corrie McDonald
August, 31 2013 Thunder Valley Raceway, Show low Arizona

The question on everyones mind going into the two day, Warren Wampole Memorial…. Is it going to rain?! I was doubting mother nature driving from Glendale through Payson when it was raining so hard my wipers had a hard time keeping up. But after an extensive amount of mudpacking we were ready to roll at Thunder Valley.

With many talented drives in tonight’s race, Shon Deskins took the win.

When the first heat race started mud was flying. The black 3 of Leland Fuller took the short end of a stick and had a right rear tire go flat before he had the chance to complete a full lap. Brandon Hacker also had a tough start going around in turn one, with a little help, might I add.  Rick “the real deal” Ziehl got the win with a fast Baker on his tail. A couple more laps could have made a big difference in the finishing order of that race.

The second heat race was locked down by Shon Deskins in the Maxim number 20. Shon started on the pole and ran into lap traffic on lap 6. With motor problems early on Shon’s crew rose to the occasion and made sure his car was put back together for the heat race.  Josh Williams came in second and James Aragon hung onto third.

The saying goes if you have a slow hotlaps you’re going to have a fantastic track for the main… and that’s exactly what happened. It got a little worrisome watching the heat races of the three other classes of competition but in the end the track came together into one of the best tracks I have seen this year. I didn’t get hit with mud or dust and the track didn’t take rubber.

James Aragon started on the pole of the A main event and lead for 7 laps before catching lap traffic. The lap traffic consisted of Aragons’ older sister Katherine Aragon. With her fourth debut in a sprint car, Katherine and James got collected going into turn one. Katherine went over ending her night while James was able to continue, and went on to take the third place at the end.

Shon deskins and Rick Ziehl lead the pack. Ziehl was challenging Deskins the last couple laps but couldn’t close the deal.

A big congratulations to Shon Deskins, Rick Ziehl, James Aragon as well as all of the other drives who came out to the Warren Wampole Memorial.  If the second night of racing is anything like night one we have a lot to look forward to.

Unofficial results: 1.Shon Deskins 2.Rick Ziehl 3.James Aragon 4.Josh Williams 5.Baker 6. Tom Lee 7. Ryan Linder 8. Mike Visser 9. Brandon Hacker 10.L. fuller 11.(35) 12.(55) 13.Katherine Aragon 14.Mark Morin 15.Colquette

 




June’s Southwest Report

July 27, 2013

Canyon Speedway Park – Summer Sizzle

They named this race right, as it was a sizzler. The racing was out of this world, track conditions were wonderful and racy and the weather was pretty nice.

What started out as a race weekend I thought I was going to miss, turned into being one of the best races I’ve watched this year. Special thanks to the person who made it possible for me to get to the track on Saturday. This person knows who they are and I hope they realize how appreciative I am.

I got to the track kind of early and sat in the car and just looked around. There looked to be the monsoon storm clouds to the east, west, south and north of the track but around the track it was clear and sunny. It was around 104 and a little humid, but not as bad as it was earlier in the week. My usual gang was there at the track already, Joe, Curtis and the rest of the Turn 1 Top Row Rowdy gang. I went up to my seat, minus my soda that I couldn’t bring in that I got from Circle K (I will never understand why 1 track lets you bring in stuff and another won’t but it’s not my call) and headed up to watch wheel packing and hot laps.

The first thing I noticed was how wet the track was. Thank you Mother Nature and the track prep crew at Canyon. They pushed off the sprint cars and I watched the Challenge Cup and the USAC boys packing the track in. I saw this beautiful purple and white car, and at this time I didn’t know if it was Challenge Cup or USAC, but it caught my eye as purple is my favorite color. I was really happy to hear that Katherine Aragon has moved up to Challenge Cup sprint cars. Congrats to you Kat! Another new car on the scene was a California team that has moved to the Phoenix area. Welcome to Phoenix Jonas Reynolds. Sorry the track wasn’t friendly to you last night. More about that later in the report.

Some people were stating that qualifying was to happen last night, but thanks to Bruce St. James, I had the heat race lineups before I walked in the gate. How I love social media! I had my stat book filled out while I was sitting in my car before I went up to my seat. It was so nice to be able to enjoy more of the racing. We had 22 USAC Sprint Cars race on Saturday night. 22 cars in the middle of summer racing in Phoenix. Thank you to all of the teams who came out and participated. Thank you to the Mod Lites, Mini Sprints, Pure Stocks, Challenge Cup and USAC SW division racers, teams, families, as well as the officials, and staff of Canyon Speedway.

Heat one saw James Aragon and Steven Harms on the front row. All I can say is what a race. Steven Harms took the lead and never looked back. Harms was a man on a mission. He held his line and really drove a great race. Coming in second to Harms was Thomas Ogle. Ogle, driving the Tim Ogle #48 sprint car sponsored by RSS Race Cars, Ogle Performance Engines, JT Engineering, Rob’s Sprint Car Detailing, Dads Retirement, really looked good Saturday night. Following Ogle was Andy Reinbold, Tye Mihocko, who was doing double duty by driving a Challenge Cup Sprint and a USAC SW Sprint, Chris Bonneau in the #78 Priced Right Auto Sales car, Jody Wirth, Brian Hosford and James Aragon. Aragon, who started on the front row, seemed to have missed the set up and looked to have been fighting his car during the heat race. Heat two found Ronnie Clark and KTAR’s Radio Flyer Bruce St. James starting in the front row. Josh Pelkey in the #12 ABC Motorsports sprint car, was slated to start inside of row two but he had some motor issues and pulled off. Moving up to the second row was Ryan Linder and on the outside of the second row was Tom Lee. Third row was Mike Morin and RJ Johnson in the #77 Pigglys at the Fair sponsored car. I thought St. James would have the advantage on the start by starting on the outside but

to my surprise, Ronnie Clark took the lead. RJ was charging hard from the third row and made his way up to second when the checkered flag flew. Behind RJ was St. James, Lee, Linder, Morin and Pelkey was a DNS.

Third heat was another great race. On the front row was Michael Curtis and Shon Deskins. Both drivers are hungry and want to win. Starting 3rd was the new AZ resident and racer Jonas Reynolds and next to him was Mike Bonneau in the #39 Priced Right Auto Sales car, teammate to his brother Chris. Third row found Bob Ream in the #8 Racers Advantage Store car on the inside and Charles Davis, Jr. in the Massey Motorsports #50, on the outside. In the back row alone was Mike Martin. Curtis and Deskins made it a good race on the start with Deskins coming out on top. Curtis stayed in the fray as Davis came through the cars like he was on a rail. Finishing order was Deskins, Davis, Curtis, Martin, M. Bonneau, Ream and Reynolds.

When I saw the lineup for the Trophy Dash I was excited. Harms and Deskins on the front row, Ogle and Reinbold in row 2, Davis and RJ in row 3 and row 4 found Clark and Martin. This was going to be a race with Martin, Davis and RJ in rows 3 and 4. When the green flag dropped, Deskins and Ogle became the men to beat. Ogle got around Deskins and took the checkered flag. It was Ogle’s first dash win and the smiles on the faces of the team and family were easily seen from my seat in turn one. Finishing order was Ogle, Deskins, Davis, Clark, RJ, Harms, Martin and Reinbold.

Between the Dash and the Main event there was some great racing going on. Larry Gibson got his first win in the Challenge Cup division. Congrats to the Gibson family and racing team on their win. With it being a first win (not sure if it’s the first win ever or first win of the season as they never announced it) the smiles were big in the winner’s circle. I was able to watch Dustin Cormany get back into the winners circle in the mini sprint division. In the pure stock division there was a very scary part when 4 cars crashed hard right in front of me. Thankfully, all drivers were ok, but there seemed to be some overheated tempers after the incident but at least all of the drivers were able to walk or drive away.

It’s main event time for the USAC SW 360 Sprint cars. The front row found Ogle and Deskins followed by Davis and Clark, Johnson and Harms, Martin and Reinbold, St. James and Curtis, Mihocko and Lee, C. Bonneau and M. Bonneau, Linder and Wirth, Ream and Reynolds, Hosford and Morin, Aragon and Pelkey. At the green flag found Shon Deskins taking the point. Chargin’ Charles Davis Jr. lived up to his name and charged through the field and by lap 8, Johnson took the lead and never looked back. During the main was the one and only red flag for the night when Jonas Reynolds climbed over the right rear of James Aragon and flipped in turn 2. Thankfully Reynolds was ok but the car looked bad. Once the cars were underway again, during the final laps of the race it became really exciting. Tom Ogle and RJ Johnson began doing slide jobs to get around each other. It was pure finesse and great talent that these men could race so hard and so close and not hit each other. Johnson ended up finishing ahead of Ogle but it was a great race between the two drivers. It was great to see a driver get his best finish with USAC SW as Tom Ogle did with his 4th place finish.

All in all it was a great and exciting night of racing. I haven’t enjoyed myself or the racing that much in a long time. What I really liked was the fact that they didn’t re-work the track before the sprint car main event. In my opinion, it made for a much better race. I think the best passing job should go to Bob Ream, Jr. He started 18th and finished 7th. Great job by the Bullet.

The next races for the USAC SW division are the races that are going to be in the Midwest. The first race is at Creek County Speedway in Kellyville, OK on 8/21/13. From there the guys travel to one of my favorite tracks at 81 Speedway in Wichita, KC on 8/22/13. On Friday and Saturday, 8/23/13 – 8/2/13,

Dodge City Raceway Park in Dodge City, KS is the track to be at. Dodge City is the last stop on the tour that our teams are going on. I want to wish each team safe journeys while you are traveling. I wish everyone lots of luck and remember to have fun while you are gone. As for me, I will be staying home this year and living vicariously through everyone’s updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks again to the one person who made it possible for me to make this great race. I’m so happy to have witnessed this awesome race. The first race back in town for our guys is on 8/7/13 at Arizona Speedway. Let’s make sure we get out to the track and show them how much we appreciate what it is they do.



June’s Southwest Report

Canyon Speedway, Peoria, Az

May 1, 2013

It was time for the Canyon Clash at Canyon Speedway in Peoria, Arizona.  What a beautiful weekend for this race.  The sun was shining bright, there was a nice breeze and the temperature was in the mid-to-high 90’s.  I was excited to go as it was my first race at Canyon since the Winter Series and my husband was joining me for the race. 

I found out that since our association is now USAC, tonight was the first night of qualifying.  I know there are some people that don’t like the qualifying and some people do.  I don’t mind either way.  However, if there is going to be qualifying, my biggest request from tracks is that you have your announcer announce the times for BOTH qualifying laps as well as announce the times so that everyone can hear them.  Thankfully, there is now a speaker down in the turn 1 area that I sit this year, BUT, the announcer started to announce both laps, then abruptly quit!  I am one of those people who keeps all of these types of stats just for my own records and to look back at in later years.  Having all of the information is really a pleasure to look back and relive those memories.  A suggestion to any/all announcers who announce races – for those of us who take down the starting line ups and finishes, it would be so nice if you would announce the heat race line ups before racing begins so that we have a chance to get all of the information written down.  A run-down of the finishing order is sincerely appreciated as well.  You don’t have to give out the car number and driver; just the car number would be great.  I just know there are many nights that I don’t get the line up or finish because it isn’t announced. 

Qualifying was really exciting.  All but 4 cars were in the 14 second range.  At first it looked like it would pay to have an early pill draw.  Boy was I wrong.  It was the last qualifier of the night, 16, Mike Martin from Yuma, Az. who pulled off the fastest lap of qualifying with a 14.062!  Yes, you read right, almost a 13 second lap!  Second fast time was “Chargin” Charles Davis, Jr. of Buckeye, Az. with a time of 14.126.  Third quick was the #1AZ of Stevie Sussex.  I think the drivers in the USAC Southwest Sprint Car division did a great job in qualifying since they aren’t used to doing that.  I was really surprised how fast qualifying went as the officials really kept it going.  One scary moment in qualifying was when “The Bullet” Bob Ream, Jr. of Glendale, AZ. climbed the K-Rail on the back straight as he was coming out of turn two.  The Bullet managed to keep the car headed straight and continued on for a decent qualifying effort.  Great job was done by all of the drivers and crews in the first night with qualifying. 

The heat races were pretty exciting, from a person sitting in the stands.  These drivers really are trying to put on a great show for the fans, and in my opinion, they succeeded in doing just that.  Even though the finish doesn’t seem like there were some exciting moments, believe me there were!  Taking the win in the first heat race was Josh Pelkey from Peoria, Az. in the Robbie and Gaye Allen owned #12 ABC Body Shop sponsored car.  Josh started on the outside of the second row and he had a lot of competition in his heat race.  Pole started Brian Hosford in the #32B, Bob Bondurant School sponsored car finished in fourth place which got him a direct transfer into the A Main event.  Second place finisher Shon Deskins in the #20 car started from the inside of the third row and charged up to get second place.  The number 1 qualifier Mike Martin got third in his heat race qualifying him for the Passing Masters Dash.  Following Hosford was Jason Grady in the #45 car, Michael Curtis in the #11C and the 17K of Kyle Danielson.

The Second heat race saw Nick Aiuto in the #27 car take the checkered flag.  Following Aiuto was #93 Justin Quinn, #50 of Charles Davis, Jr., #8 The Bullet, Bob Ream, Jr. who made the direct transfer into the main event.  Following Ream was Mike Bonneau in the #29 car, the 5X of Jody Wirth and 29S of Darrell Sickles.  It was good to see one of the young guns, Nick Aiuto do so well and win the heat race.  Aiuto has really come far in sprint car racing.  He was smooth and fast and held a great line.

 

Heat 3 brought back some great memories of a driver for me.  Nathan High is back driving a sprint car.  Starting on the outside of the front row in the #1A car, High came back strong by winning his heat race.  It doesn’t look like Nathan has forgotten how to wheel a sprint car.  He raced a strong race and it was so good to see him in a car again.  Following High was Tucson’s Ronnie Clark in the RCM #6.  Bryan Swinehart came in third in the #68 Beals Auto Body car, which is beautiful by the way.  Rounding out the transfer spots coming in fourth place was KTAR’s Radio Flyer, Bruce St. James in the #7K car.  Bruce has an awesome paint job on his car; it looks like the Arizona State Flag.  Please check out his car up close after the races to see what a great paint job Bruce had done.  Finishing in 5th place was the 1AZ of Stevie Sussex, 6th place was Stephen Harms in the #60 and in the #28 was Mark Morin.

 

There were enough cars this week to run 4 heat races.  It’s so great to see such a good car count.  The 4th heat race saw RJ Johnson take the checkered flag in the brand new #77 Ford powered car.  RJ was fast in his heat race as he started in the third row on the outside and came up through the field to the lead.  Following RJ was #48, Thomas Ogle, #94 James Aragon and in the final transfer spot was the #78 of Chris Bonneau.  Following Bonneau was #19 Andy Reinbold and #5 Tye Mihocko.

 

I couldn’t believe the car count and the fact that we had to run a B Main event.  It was so good to see a full night of racing for the USAC SW Sprints.  The B Main was exciting and a good race to watch.  It came down to the last couple of laps with #19, Andy Reinbold taking the checkers followed by #45 Jason Grady.  3rd place finisher was Stephen Harms followed by Mike Bonneau, Tye Mihocko, Stevie Sussex, Jody Wirth, Darrell Sickles, Kyle Danielson, Michael Curtis, Johnny Shelton and Mark Morin.  Transferring to the A Main were Reinbold, Grady, Harms, M. Bonneau, Mihocko and Sussex. 

 

The Passing Masters Dash was awesome.  It was like a trophy dash on steroids!  “Chargin” Charles Davis, Jr. lived up to his nickname coming from the back row to win the PMD.  Following Davis was the night’s fast time qualifier who also came from the back row to 2nd place, Mike Martin.  Josh Pelkey started on the pole and finished 3rd followed by Shon Deskins, Chris Bonneau, Bruce St. James, RJ Johnson and Justin Quinn.  Watching Davis come from the back to the front was fun.  I really enjoy watching races where guys who start in the back really make an attempt to charge to the front.  At that point of the night, the track was still pretty racy.

 

I realize that the track is not to blame, but hey, I have to admit, I’ve seen better track conditions.  My hat’s off to all of the track prep crew, who really put their heart and soul to try and bring the fans and racers a great track.  I’ve been to the tracks early and watched the track prep crew work and work and try to get the tracks to hold the moisture, but here in the desert when the temps are in the high 90’s and there’s a breeze blowing, it’s not going to hold no matter how hard they try.  Try they did on Saturday night.  My only complaint is that they keep trying to put more water on the track after its gone dry slick.  To me, as a fan, I would rather watch the drivers drive the track even if it’s dry slick rather than to have to wait for the track prep crew try to rework the track.  It never seems to make the track any better except for holding the dust down.  Saturday night was no exception.  Again, it’s no one’s fault, unless you want to blame Mother Nature.  It was the weather conditions that made the track dry out.  I’m not complaining about the track prep because they did try.  I just wish they would have left the track alone so the guys who set up their cars for a dry slick track immediately wouldn’t have had to wait for the track to come to them.

 

By winning the Passing Masters Dash, Charles Davis, Jr. started on the pole with Mike Martin starting outside.  We all knew it was going to be a great race with those two starting on the front row.  Starting behind Davis and Martin were Pelkey and Deskins, C. Bonneau and St. James, RJ Johnson and Quinn, Clark and Ogle, Ream and Bryan Swinehart, Aiuto and High, Aragon and Hosford, Reinbold and Grady, Harms and M. Bonneau, Wirth and Sussex.  In the early laps there was an incident where Deskins stopped and had to restart at the back of the pack.  Martin took the early lead with Davis behind him.  Bruce St. James was hooked up.  St. James managed to get around Davis and was on Martin’s heels when something happened in Turn 4 and St. James got sideways and spun around stopping the action.  Unfortunately for St. James, he had to restart at the back of the back.  Martin took the lead on the restart and due to the track being so dry and slick, tire management became an issue.  Bad luck hit The Bullet, Bob Ream, Jr. as his left rear tire went flat and he had to pull off and was a DNF.  Bullet wasn’t sure what happened but it was unfortunate for him.  On one of the many restarts, Martin and Pelkey got together in turn one putting both cars in the rear to restart.  When RJ Johnson took the lead, he never looked back.  The car to watch in the main event was Shon Deskins.  When Shon restarted at the back of the pack, he decided to run the cushion all the way around the track.  Shon began to pass cars each lap and sometimes he got around two cars in one lap.  Shon was the only driver who attempted to run the high line.  Watching Shon go in high and set that car right against the cushion and then rocket off was exciting and thrilling.  Even though due to where he started the main event it doesn’t show him going through the field, if anyone deserves the hard charger award, it is surely Shon. 

 

RJ Johnson came down to win the Canyon Clash.  In second place was Bryan Swinehart and rounding out the podium in third place was Chris Bonneau.  What a great night to see guys that work so hard to get that podium finish.  Congratulations to all three on such a great race.  Thank you to all of the racers who came out and made the Canyon Clash a great night of racing. 

 

A side note here.  The Challenge Cup cars were racing with the USAC SW cars.  I have to say, the Challenge Cup races were as exciting and racy as the USAC SW races were.  Congratulations to Josh Shipley on his win.  Shipley and Matt Lundy put on some great racing moves. 

 

Next up for the USAC SW Sprints is the race at Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, AZ on May 11.  If you haven’t been out to Arizona Speedway, you are in for a treat.  The track is big, wide and banked!  You won’t want to miss the sprint cars at Arizona Speedway.



June's Southwest Report

ASCS Winged Sprints @ Arizona Speedway
April 4 2013

This was my first race of the 2013 regular racing season. Due to health issues, I've missed races until now. I was ready to see some sprint cars race and breathe in the methanol fumes. I was not disappointed. It was a standing room only crowd on Saturday. AZ Speedway was packed to the rafters. I am so happy to see so many fans go out and support racing the way they are at Arizona Speedway.

There were 16 Winged Sprints signed in to race on Saturday night. Since I'm not a regular winged sprint follower, I was really interested in watching these racers race on this track. I could tell that Jonah had put in a lot of hard work on the track trying to make it good and racy for all of the divisions racing.

It was a great night of racing for all divisions. There were not a lot of yellow flags for any division. The track kept the racing going at a good clip and it seemed like we were out of there by 10:30pm - 11:00pm.

It was great to see everyone at the track again. The regular Top Row Turn 1 Rowdies from Canyon made the trip to the East Valley for the race. I was really excited to see "The Bullet" Bob Ream, Jr. race a winged car again. Running the Racers Advantage, The Hose Store sponsored car, "The Bullet" is in the familiar #8 car painted that black and yellow. Watching Bob run a wing is something new for me, but Bob proved that if it has wheels, he can race it.

Darrell Sickles came out with a new paint job and a new number for the 2013 racing season. His S&S Motorsports sponsored car is now numbered 29S and it's painted red and black. You can't miss finding Darrell on the track or in a crowd. Just look for the most colorful drivers uniform and that will be Darrell.

The track was really racey for the heat races, but you could feel that it was drying out. The cars started kicking up the dust a little bit. Not too bad, but enough to know it was going to be dry slick for the main event.

Heat 1 found the #18 car driven by Lorne Wofford taking the checkers. Heat 1 had a lot of heavy hitters in it. Following Wofford was the 2L of Logan Forler, 20Z of Rick Ziehl, #41W-Joshua Williams got 4th, 1X- Dalten Gabbard finished 5th, 6th was #8-Bob Ream, Jr, 7th place was the only lady driver in the field, #01 Kaylene Verville. DNS was #15-Kenny Brewer. The only driver who really moved through the field was the #20Z of Rick Ziehl. Ziehl started in 7th place and finished a very respectable 3rd place.

In the 2nd heat race, we watched Lance Norick in the #90 take the win over second place #41C of Billy Chester III. Following Chester was the #1 of Kyle McCutcheon, 91-JT Imperial, 22-Mike Rux, Jr, 57X-Doug Spurlock, #36-Shane Dayney. The 29S of Darrell Sickles had motor issues and was not able to start the heat race. Lance Norick came from inside of the second row to take the lead and the win. Billy Chester is in the team car to Joshua Williams and he did a really good job in claiming second place in the heat race.

The ASCS Winged Sprints were the last class to race on Saturday night. Jonah put down a spritzing of water just to keep the dust down for the main event. I have to give each driver credit. They did the three wide salute and most of the drivers remembered to wave to the fans on the parade lap. It's nice to see that.

Watching the sprint cars with wings is a lot different to me than watching the sprint cars without wings. You still see sliding through the corners and you do see slide jobs, but in my opinion, they don't seem to be as drastic as the non wing cars slide jobs and sliding sideways through the corners. Having said that, the racing that went on was not only outstanding but so much fun to watch. Once the green flag dropped Logan Forler took the lead and never looked back. Scary moment time when #15, Kenny Brewer climbed the turn 1 fence and was straddling the fence for a few feet and then the car came off of the fence and rolled into the infield. I think my stomach jumped into my throat and stuck there for a few when that happened. Thankfully, Kenny was not injured, but sadly his car was and he was unable to restart. A few laps later, Dalten Gabbard in the #1X car stopped. He was able to restart but Gabbard stopped a few laps later and due to the 2-stop rule, Gabbard was out of the race. The battle resumed after the yellow flag for Gabbard with Forler taking the lead again. Norick came up to battle him but Forler was able to hold Norick off and take the checkered flag. Joshua Williams had a top 5 finish until the last lap when it looked like he broke. I was so happy to see JT Imperial back out at the track. He had a pretty good night with a 6th place finish. It was a good race as there were no red flags and only a couple of yellow flags. To me, that's a great race!!! I'm looking forward to the next winged race I attend. I had a lot of fun and the racing was excellent.

After the races were over and I could make my way into the pit area, I went down to see and talk to "The Bullet." I couldn't figure out why he wasn't moving up on the track like he usually does and in my own mind I wondered if there was a problem. I'm glad I went down into the pits and talked to Bob. He was having brake issues. I don't blame him for not wanting to go into a corner at full throttle not knowing if you are going to have the brakes to slow you down and keep you out of the fence or someone else's car. It was great to see all of the Racers Advantage Crew. I even got to see, talk to and sit with Racers Advantage Store owner, Steve Stroud. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you are a racing fan, you HAVE to make time to go to the museum Steve has. I'm like a kid in a candy store every time I go see it. He's always adding things to it and adding so many pictures. It's a walk down memory lane for me. I'm a big fan of Steve Stroud's. He does so much for racing not only in Phoenix but for racing all over. Take the time, go down to see his store. It's on Broadway, I think on the corner of 36th Place and Broadway. Steve has a Facebook page and I know you can look it up on Google or Yahoo.

I had a chance to talk with Darrell Sickles as well as Bob Ream. Darrell plans on running both wing and non wing races. Darrell is a really nice man who always takes time for his fans, old and young. Each child that comes up to his pit area he never turns away or is too busy for. He always answers their questions and if they ask to sit in his car, he always makes time for it. Last Saturday, one lucky child got to sit in the seat behind the wheel while Darrell and his team pushed the car up onto the trailer. I haven't seen such a big grin from a child in a long time. I'm sure Darrell has made a fan for life!

All in all it was a perfect night for racing here in the Valley of the Sun. It wasn't too hot during the daylight hours nor was it too cold during the evening hours. I saw a lot of people putting on lightweight jackets if they needed them. There were a lot who weren't in jackets at all. This time of year is the perfect time to catch a race here in Phoenix. Arizona Speedway is one of the tracks that you don't want to miss a race at.

Next up on the schedule for Arizona Speedway is the Mud Bogs on 4/6/13.

Heat 1:1. 18-Lorne Wofford; 2. 2L-Logan Forler; 3. 20Z-Rick Ziehl; 4. 41W-Joshua Williams; 5. 1X-Dalten Gabbard; 6. 8-Bob Ream Jr; 7. 01-Kaylene Verville; DNS 15-Kenny Brewer

Heat 2: 1. 90-Lance Norick; 2. 41C-Billy Chester III; 3. 1-Kyle McCutcheon; 4. 91-J.T. Imperial; 5. 22-Mike Rux Jr; 6. 57X-Doug Spurlock; 7. 36-Shane Dayney; DNS 29S-Darrell Sickles

Main Event Results: 1. 2L-Logan Forler; 2. 90-Lance Norick; 3. 18-Lorne Wofford; 4. 1-Kyle McCutcheon; 5. 20Z-Rick Ziehl; 6. 91-J.T. Imperial; 7. 41C-Billy Chester III; 8. 8-Bob Ream Jr; 9. 22-Mike Rux Jr; 10. 01-Kaylene Verville; DNF 41W-Joshua Williams; DNF 36-Shane Dayney; DNF 57X-Doug Spurlock; DNF 1X-Dalten Gabbard; DNF 29S-Darrell Sickles; DNS 15-Kenny Brewer
 
Junes Southwest Report

2012 Season Wrap Up and More

2012 began with a great start.  I was able to come over from California to Phoenix for the Winter Challenge at Canyon Speedway Park.  It was an awesome 6 races in 9 days.  I had so much fun.  I met some great people that became great friends during that time.  I knew then that I wanted to make the move from California back to Arizona; I just didn’t know how soon I could do it.  Thanks to a very understanding husband, I was able to move back to Phoenix in September to look for work.  With a lot of luck, prayers and work, I found a job that I’m enjoying.  It’s so good to be back in the Valley of the Sun.  I didn’t realize how much I missed living here until I moved back.  I received such a great welcome from the racing community and my friends that I really feel like I’m back where I should be.

Before September, I was able to make it over for a few races.  It was so hard being in California while the ASCS guys were racing but thanks to social media (Facebook, Twitter and Text Messaging) I was able to keep up.  Special thanks to people like Bruce St. James, Lyndsay Sickles, Bob Ream, Jr. and others, I was able to feel like I was at the track from my home in California.  My husband Jimmy and I came over for two races and I was able to show him why I love racing here in AZ more than racing in California.  To me, there is a difference.  When Rickie Gaunt came over to race a couple of races at Canyon, he said it best when he said, “Racing over here reminds me of the good ole days of racing.  Everyone is like a big family.”  I totally agree with that statement as I feel the same way.

Once I moved over here in September, racing consumed my life again.  I lived for Saturday nights.  I was made to feel so welcomed here that it was almost like I never left.  It felt so good to reconnect with people like Robbie, Gaye and Jessica Allen, Bob Ream, Jr., Bruce St. James, Byron Mitchell and so many more.  I ran into people that I haven’t seen since I left as well.  People like Bernie Smith, Jeff Henry and his 2 very tall sons Devon and Chase and made so many new friends like the Sickles Family, Joe Ott, Curtis Read, Jerry Terranova and so many others that it would take my whole column to name.  My racing friends mean so much to me that if I didn’t name you here, please know that it’s not because you don’t mean something to me.  Everyone on the track means something to me.  I appreciate everyone who makes it possible for me to enjoy the sport I love.  From guys like Kevin Montgomery who promote the races and work so hard at the track, all of the staff and management at Canyon and ET/Arizona Speedway, to the car owners, drivers, crew members and their families, I want to take the time to say thank you for all of your hard work and efforts.  I sincerely appreciate everything you all do.

I have to say congratulations to one of my all-time favorite people on winning the 2012 ASCS Canyon Series Championship.  Charlie, you had a helleva year and it was so fun to watch you run.  I wish you nothing but continued success in 2013.  Congratulations to Charlie Davis, Jr. and his Massey Motorsports team on being #1 for 2012.

One thing that I noticed this year was something that really troubles me.  It seemed like this year that the racing had the same “boys have at it” rule that is in NASCAR.  I haven’t seen so much bumping and banging in sprint car racing in a long time.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there will be some bumping and banging going on, that’s racing, but what I’m talking about is intentional bumping and banging.  When I first saw it, I thought that it was because it was the beginning of the season and everyone is getting their feet wet again.  But when it continued until the last race of the season, it made me think about it.  After the brawl between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon at PIR and what could have happened there, it made me do some serious thinking about it at the local level.  I’m not ashamed or afraid to say that it scares the living hell out of me.  There is one driver in particular that did it more than most.  I watched him run into cars for no reason at all this entire season.  Even at the Western World Championships, this young man drove both divisions and was a squirrel in the winged division and was using his opponents as bumper cars in the non-winged division.  This young driver scares the hell out of me every time he gets on the track.  I am talking about Dalten Gabbard.  This young man has the best equipment, the big hauler but I’m afraid he’s driving over his head.  I’ve watched him hit numerous drivers and cause serious damage to their cars.  After the last race at ET/Arizona Speedway, I was in the pits talking to Josh Pelkey and Robbie Allen when Mr. Gabbard came over.  He apologized to Josh and told him that he couldn’t see Josh when he was stopped on the track in turn 1.  I’m sorry to say this, but how in the hell can you miss seeing the Robbie & Gaye Allen owned #12 on the track?  It’s DAY-GLO!!!  When young Mr. Gabbard made this statement to Robbie and Josh, right then and there I realized that this kid has no idea of what he’s doing on the track nor is he paying attention and concentrating to what’s going on around him.  When I got home from that race, I called my husband in California and asked him (since he was a driver) how someone could miss seeing the #12 car stopped on the track.  I even went so far to ask my husband to ask his grandfather, Jack Gardner, Sr. who is 1954 CRA Champion, if he thought it was possible to miss seeing this car.  Grandpa’s words to me (after seeing a picture of the car on the computer) were, “How in the hell can you miss that bright car?”  I could understand if Dalten was right behind Josh and had nowhere to go, but he had plenty of time to see the incident and move around it.  When Dalten made this statement, it reminded me of the crash that took Jeff Bagley’s life at Ascot.  It was said by many, that Jeff could have slowed down and avoided the entire incident that night.  We will never know with Jeff Bagley, but to hear this from Mr. Gabbard, really shook me up.  I’ve been thinking about writing about this ever since that night and wasn’t sure if I had the courage to do this, but after all of the incidents at the Westerns, I knew in my heart that I have to do it.  I don’t know if it will make a difference or not to anyone, especially young Mr. Gabbard, but at least I’ve tried to make him aware of what needs to be done.  There’s so much controversy about the entire Gabbard team.  I’ve heard so many things that have gone on in the pit areas.  I’ve heard that the Gabbard family fights all of Dalten’s battles for him.  That’s just so sad.  In my opinion, if he’s man enough to strap in a sprint car, then he’s man enough to fight his own battles.  I think his family needs to step back, sit down and let Dalten fight it out for himself.  It just makes Dalten look like a wimp, in my eyes.  In all of my years of racing, I’ve never been on a team that fights the battles for the driver.  If our driver had a beef with another driver, he went up to that driver and had it out with him.  The rest of the team never got involved unless the other team went after us.  Our drivers always said, let me fight my own battles otherwise I lose any respect I’ve ever earned.  Well, Dalten has lost all of my respect and I have no respect for his family either.  My biggest fear is that Dalten is going to hurt himself or someone else out on the track; or even worse kill someone.  As a sport that has lost so many, we DO NOT need anyone on the track who is not totally focused on driving.  That is the way drivers are hurt and/or killed.  This sport doesn’t need that kind of publicity. 

I want everyone to realize that this column is of my OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS and facts that I’ve personally gathered or witnessed.  I refuse to let anyone influence my writing.  I have a lot of friends who were victims of Mr. Gabbard’s rough driving this year but that isn’t why I’m writing this.  It’s because I’m truly scared of what could happen if this isn’t stopped.  I don’t know why the tracks allow the fisticuffs to continue when it’s the same people week in and week out that are starting it.  That’s not my business.  My business as a writer is to call it as I see it.  And I’m doing just that. 

If you have a beef about what I’ve written, please don’t get on the owners of the websites about it.  Have the courage to face me with your opinions.  My email is ASCSJune@gmail.com.  I’m always open to discussing what I write with anyone.  However, if you want to attack me, threaten me or anything else, just don't.  It’s not worth my time to deal with that kind of crap. 

I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.  I’m really looking forward to the 2013 Winter Shootout at Canyon Speedway Park starting January 25, 2013.  Remember to look for me in Turn 1 because that’s where the action is at.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Cya in 2013.


The time is JP12
5-13-12 Peoria, Az

 

JP12 assaults the Et Topside and brings home the W.  Not a lot of flash or a last lap pass.  But anytime you get someone coming from as far back as 16th. It gets the crowd excited.  Josh committed to the topside, massaged the cushion with precision, and  “played a game of, get gone.”   The ABC team has had a pretty rough start to the season.  This could be the slump buster.

 

The Run Down

 

Ream finishes in the runner up spot.  Three of the last four races he has finished in the top five.  Last week in Yuma may have been his best run.  The stat line shows him starting 7th but he was involved in a caution early and had to come through the field.

 

Reinbold claims the show position.  This is the best finish of the year for Andy.  At times it looked like he had a grudge the way he was mashing that RSS into the cushion.  Could he be through the learning curve on that new car?

 

Bonneau brings home fourth.  If he didn’t have to battle Ziehl the whole race he might have been able to hold on the runner up spot (nobody had anything for JP12).  It was a long night for Bonneau motorsports.  After walking away in the heat and developing a fuel issue they went to work and managed to rebuild the car before the main. (Correction, long week, they junked a car at Cocopah speedway)

 

Rounding out the top five was Ziehl.  He seemed to be driving all over the place with aggressiveness.  There were some grumbles in the pits and stands calling him dirty.  I’m not sure if I would call it dirty, but he certainly was not giving anyone room.

 

I’m sure there are a few teams out there happy to have a week off.  Three weeks in a row was tough.  Especially if your one of the unfortunate teams that junked a car.  After traveling to Yuma and watching the Air show Bruce St. James and Chris Bonneau put on it was impressive that they were able to get cars ready for this week.  Heck it was impressive that they were able to get themselves ready. 

 

Take advantage of this next weekend off.  Looking at the aggressive schedule coming up, with five races in fifteen days at 4 different tracks in 3 different states.  Get out the checkbooks this is going to put a hurt on the all of the teams.  It might cripple the smaller teams.

 

Quote of the night. “Winning the heat by a half a lap wasn’t good enough for you”



“The Winner is going to have to do it up top” A quote from early in the night at ET.
4-15-12
Phoenix, AZ


Back to Back…four of the top five do it again

 

It cant be said enough how strong Chuck D looks this year.  Back to back wins this season and has won the last two races at ET.  Will this weekend be any different?

 

Runner up, two races in a row for RJ.  He all but had that race won.  Chuck must have saved a push to pass.  RJ has been very consistent in winning both heats this year just ahead of Chuck D.  Maybe he should let that orange 50 finish ahead of him in a heat race.

 

Show position was the show.  That was the hardest I have seen Bruce race.  The dicing back and forth and splitting cars was the bulk of the show.  Chuck robbed him of that with the last lap pass of RJ for the win (last lap passes always steal the whole show/that’s all we remember).  Not sure what they are doing different in the 7k camp, but if they keep it up look out.  He will be a legit contender the rest of the season.

 

Another top 5 for JP12.  Despite an ill handling racecar he was able to maintain and bring home a 5th place finish.  Heck, I think I even saw him crack a smile.

I’m switching it up this weekend.  Heading up to Nor Cal to take in some Wing Action.  The King of the West Sprints will be running at Placerville Speedway.  I’m excited to make the trip up North.  It’s been a minute since my last trip when I watched TK hold off Kyle Larson at Calistoga for a W.

The Rundown.

Well the season is finally underway.  That’s kind of a funny statement.  Fortunately for those of us in the Desert there is not much of an off-season.  It’s more like a winter break.  You take a few weeks off and repeat. Speaking of repeating…

 

Our winner Chuck D. was one of the most consistent finishers last year but didn’t find the winners circle till late in the season (9/24 @ Canyon).  Not this year, With 2 wins during the Winter Challenge and winning the season opener this past weekend Charles is clearly the car to beat this year.  Not to mention the Massey Motorsports addition of M Square.

 

Runner up honors to RJ.  We all know RJ brought home the win in the season opener last year.  Heck, the talk was about how he finished 2010 by winning 5 of the last 9. Then started 2011 atop of the podium.  Well 2012 he was not atop of the podium but managed to finish just behind Chuck D.  How about the show RJ and Charles put on in the first heat.

 

Show position went to Jeremy Sherman.  Last years season opener we all watched Jeremy win the B to start 17th in the A and come through the field to finish 2nd.  No heroics last week but did have a solid third place finish.  I’m excited to watch him this year pilot the SDR Ellis.

 

4th place finisher and this weeks hard charger JP12 or is it JP44 now?  Looking back, the ABC Team missed the show at the season opener last year.  I remember stating that the season opener was not kind to the ABC team.  Heck 2012 has not been kind to the ABC Team.  They have had some bad luck so far this short season.  With the slow start last year he still managed to get two wins on the season.  So what car is Josh in at ET on the 14th?  And if JP is back in the 12 does Reagles put someone else in the Four Four.  Call Nic Fass that dude is going to win a fistful or two of races this year.

Rounding out the top 5 was Mr. St.James.  The man that usually has something to say about something.  Bruce had a solid run and never just let the leaders get by him.  I like the fight he showed.  We see a lot of the other drivers cower down when some of the ASCS elite get beside them.  During the race I kept remembering an interview Bruce did at Manznita years ago after finishing 2nd and stated he was the winner.  Not saying it in protest but finishing 2nd to a guy that seemed to win every week (Sherman) was a lot like winning a race. Classic.

This thing we do..

7/26/11 Phoenix, AZ

Special thanks for all of the people that help when they can.  I know I have neglected the site for a few weeks.  It has been an interesting few months with work and all.  Even with the lack of activity we have had a few contributors step up big time.  Jeff McDonald has again gone over the top with his care packages.  To date he has been one of the largest product contributors to the cause.  The last race at ET Matt Lundy was the recipient.  Unfortunately I got sidetracked, spun out and hit the wall in the parking lot (a.k.a. tailgating) and never made it to the pits to give him the stickers to go with.  We have also had a few others donate cash.  With those financial contributions, we have committed $400.00 to help get the Aragon sprinter back to the track.

Again, thanks to all that check out the site.  I have a better grasp on my new position at work so the updates should come more frequently.  But in the meantime, I have a write-up about the ET race that was submitted via email and as the author said "you have to sing it".  SF disclaimer; the views of the author may not represent the views of SF. Haha whatever….See you guys at the track.

ET Motopark Wild West Shootout Round 3 7-16-11

Well I don’t know why I went to AJ tonight.   I got a feeling that something just was not right!  Drivers so scared, in case they fall out the seats, and I’m wonderin if we can take all the heat.  Bombers to the left of us, stock cars to the right, here we were stuck in the middle of Apache Junction.

Well we started off with a drunken website owner, got himself a partner and said “Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen…………………………Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen”.   

So we tried to make some sense of it all, some drunk chic with a head-band of pink beans and franks.  Parents came, and had a cocktail and left, sun went down decided to make our way in.  Bombers to the left of me, stock cars to the right, here we were stuck in the middle of Apache Junction.

Well we finally saw some sprint cars and they did not disappoint, we had ASCS rock stars, Challenge Cup bad asses, and a Punk from Prescott Valley, a Punk from Prescott Valley......for a little while at least.  After a few rounds of the beer gardens, we found a home and fastened up for a dry slick main.  

Tryin to make some sense of it all, a pure dirt track took rubber in no time at all.  ABC was looking like a guaranteed win, then an old guy came from the back named Deskins.  Sussex in the front of me, High to the inside like usual, there we were stuck in the middle of a great race!

As Pelkey started fading real late, High was catfishing without any bait.  Sussex had em’ all covered, High just held on tight, and Deskins was a brides made again. 

Attention ET Motopark- The only thing this track could possibly do better (other than add some clay), is to move to 35th Ave and Broadway!  This facility is top notch, great set up, awesome crowd, and the customer relations make a grown man cry.  Beer Gardens were legendary and servers…..well let’s just say we kept buying beers “just because”…….shout out to Jamie!

1st        Stevie Sussex Jr

2nd             Nathan High

3rd        Shon Deskins

Last place lapped 2X            Bam Bam

Ruff Ruff


Back-to-Back

6/30/11 Peoria, AZ

Here we go again.  This is the 2nd time this year the ASCS Canyon Region has back-to-back nights of racing.  The first was late April at Canyon Raceway.  As we all know Jeremy Sherman avoided the RPG’s and swept both nights.

This may be the weekend Chuck D gets a win.  It’s hard to imagine he is winless thus far this season.  He may not have a win but outside of his self imposed penalty (thinking the race was over at the white flag/finishing 7th) he has not finished outside of the top 4.  I did pick him to finish 2nd at the last race.  I also said he would win one of the races this weekend.  I’m going to stick by that prediction.  Outside of that I’m sure all of the usual suspects will be up front.

The story will be the car and fan count.  Will the excessive heat keep people away?  I hope not.  But we all know when the heat exceeds 108 it sometimes keeps the fair weather supporters away.  Heck when it’s that hot I sometimes question my motivation.  See you guys at the track.

Big-Time

6/17/11 Peoria, AZ

Nine races into the ASCS Canyon Region season we have 3 different multi race winners.  With the most recent winner R.J. Johnson doing so on back-to-back nights.  Good drivers always seem to rebound from unfriendly finishes and R.J. is no exception.  After failing to take a green flag in the main event on May 14th at USA Raceway he has reeled off three podiums and two consecutive wins in ASCS competition.  If you want to include his Arizona Speedway stats he has 4 podiums and fell a few laps short of 3 consecutive wins.  Not even 1 full week into a two week hiatus and I can feel my momentum changing.  Will his?

The big news this past weekend was Canyon Raceway announcing they will host USAC for the Hall of Fame Classic on October 28th and 29th.  In my opinion this will be the biggest race of the year for traditional Sprint Cars in Arizona.  With the changing of the rules over the last few years, the McCluskey has lost its luster.  The Western has a totally different feel (more than the wings).  The Copper is still in its infancy and has lost my attention.  Maybe USAC coming to town can help bring back the feel of Big-time racing in Arizona.  Actually for the traditional sprint car fan, there is no question.  This will be the biggest race of the year in Arizona.  Can I buy tickets now and reserve some seats up top.  Without additions to the grandstands this will be a standing room only race.

Sherman vs. the Field

6/9/11 Glendale, AZ

Can anyone beat Sherman at Canyon?  The only one to do it thus far is Mother Nature April 9, 2010.  I think Sherman will continue his trend this weekend.  It will not be from lack of cars or effort from the other drivers.  The last time we had a West Coast shoe in Arizona was the last race at Canyon.  The race was spectacular.  Although it was cold and windy the race was great.  At the time I said it was the best race of the year.  Looking back, I still think it might be.  Anytime you can toss a blanket over the top four cars lap after lap, is solid racing.  I will stand by my earlier write-up, saying last weekend at Arizona Speedway was the most exciting to date but I think the best racing through the field was at the last Race at Canyon on April 30, 2010.

So what is a bigger story this year?  Sherman winning half of the races held in ASCS competition, or Chuck D without a win eight races into the season?

My Top 5 for this weekend.

1. Sherman, uh no explanation needed.  One would think I’m a Sherman fan.

2. Chuck D, to get his best finish of the season.  Then will follow it up with a win in 1 of the next two races Fourth of July Weekend.

3. Pelky, led a few laps at that joint earlier in the year.  Just go to the topside earlier.

4. Johnson, 3 of the 4 drivers mentioned at this point have multiple wins on the season.  R.J. is one of them.

5. Deskins, Looks to be in pre-Labor day 2010 form and fresh off a win at Arizona Speedway.  If we could get him out on the town with a can of Brakleen he would move up 4 positions.

Supplemental pick: Spencer, That dude can wheel a sprint car.  I just don’t see him cracking the top 3 at Canyon this weekend.  If we were at the Pas, I would change my tune.

I may be late but I will be there.  See you at the track.

Anyone home?

6/5/11 Phoenix, AZ

The excitement and energy from the crowd was unbelievable.  The racing was pretty good too (my attempt at selling it short).  Actually, I have not been that excited since well the last race at Arizona Speedway.

After the heats and intermission I was certain this was going to be a one-groove drag race.  With that being said I was already giving the victory to R.J. Johnson.  Early on it seemed as if R.J. was going to make it happen.  But as the bottom started to go away and the top started to come in Shon Deskins reeled in, passed, and pulled away from the competition.  R.J. did pressure him with a lap to go but Shon held him off and claimed the victory at Arizona Speedway.  Just in case your keeping score the two races at Arizona Speedway have came down to late race passes coming from the high side.  The drive Shon put on was pretty impressive.  Watching him dive across the bottom of turn one and drift to the top of two then rim ride the wall in turns three and four was fun to watch and it had the crowd on the edge of their seat.

As I mentioned, the excitement from the crowd was amazing.  You can’t help but getting wound up and into the race when you have a packed grandstand and everyone is cheering, giving each other high fives, and so forth.  It makes it fun to be a part of the whole racing experience.

After attending the first 2 races at AZ Speedway July 16th can’t come soon enough.  At this point that’s about the only thing to look forward to, as we all know how miserably hot it is in July.  Victorville was on the calendar for June 11th but a promotion at work has crushed those plans.  Canyon Speedway will serve as a great alternate to get my fix of racing as ASCS Canyon Region returns to action.

Action

5/20 Glendale, AZ

Josh Pelky pulls off the win in Tucson.  From what I heard it was a good race.  I will say the email updates I was getting made it sound exciting.  As I mentioned in my picks, Andy usually runs pretty good in Tucson.  He was running pretty good down there another night a few years ago when he tried to tear down the front strait fence.  Those guys are so close to getting another ASCS win.

This weekend I’m heading to Canyon Raceway to take in some wing action with the ASCS Southwest series.  This will be the first wing show for me this year.  I am following it up with a couple of races in Northern California for the holiday weekend.  While there I’m looking forward to that big half mile in Calistoga on Saturday for some King of the West action.  Then driving over to Chico on Sunday to watch the 360’s do battle in the Civil War Series.  I get excited every time I get to go watch races at the tracks I grew up at.

I’m not sure what to expect with the race at Canyon Raceway this weekend.  From the average it looks like it will be around 20 cars.  Canyon Raceway held two wing races last year and had 2 different winners (Herrera and Ortega).  Rick Ziehl had a 2nd and a 3rd.  And if I were a gambling man, I would bet that Herrera and Ziehl will have podium finishes.  I guess I should rephrase the “I’m not sure what to expect”.  I know I will have a good time.  And I’m pretty sure there will be some action worth talking about.  See you guys at the track.

Top 5

5/13 Glendale, AZ

Two of the five ASCS Canyon region races have been held at Tucson’s USA Raceway.  Three drivers have finished in the top 5 both times.  With that in mind those 3 will make up the first 3 picks for the top 5 this week. 

Look for Jeremy Sherman to finish one spot ahead of his back-to-back runner up finishes at USA Raceway.  Both of those races he started way back and battled to get to the front.  This should be win number 4 on the season.  He is on pace to blow the over/under out of the water.

Rj Johnson won the season opener in Tucson and followed it up with a top 5 on the second go around.  Outside of the win he has had a quietly successful season.  In three of the five ASCS races he has finished in the top 5.  The other two he finished in the top 10.  He also has a top 5 at the initial race at Arizona Speedway, A race he was heavily favored to win.

The 3rd driver to not finish outside of the top 5 is Andy Reinbold.  Andy has a 3rd and 5th.  He also finished 3rd at AZ Speedway, passing RJ on the last lap.  Andy generally does pretty well at the slick track in Tucson.

Anyone that does not have Ziehl in there top five should go to the end of the line and hold their breath, because they are stupid.  Rick always seems to be up front or winning in Tucson (with or without the wing).  Unfortunately he was caught up in a wreck during the last race in Tucson.

Who rounds out the top 5?  I’m going with a driver that has consecutive top ten finishes in Tucson and is fresh off of a win at Arizona Speedway, Matt Rossi.  Maybe then we can get a new facebook status update “suck it”.

Of course it’s hard not to pick Chuck D because he has finished in the top 4 in all but one race.  And that race was the last race in Tucson where he inadvertently thought the race was over 1 lap early.  Talk about a tough break.

I’m not going to make it to Tucson this weekend, but I will see you guys next week at Canyon Raceway for some wing action with the ASCS Southwest series.  Lets see if ABC Motorsports driver Josh Pelky can jump ship and take the Dura Plumbing #31 to the front.  Josh has ran and won for the Hackers in the past.  I'm sure it's going to be a good time.

Worth the Drive

5/11/11 Phoenix, AZ

The dust has settled, and the emotions have calmed from the first sprint car race at Arizona Speedway.  What they lacked in cars was made up for with solid racing action.

I arrived at the track in Top Row fashion (early).  I wanted to walk around the facility to see what it was all about.  My initial response driving up was WOW!  It is surprisingly high banked and seems bigger than what I had imagined from how others explained the track to me.  I did take advantage of being the first one there to walk around the track and toss a few rocks.  The track has wide corners and a lot of racing surface.  With some clay that track would be lighting fast.  Surprisingly enough though the surface held up much better than I anticipated.  The guardrails are something I’m not a fan of, but at least they were layered in the right direction.  I also think they need to burry the wiring from the safety lights as they are lying across the infield.  It’s only a matter of time before a car goes through the infield and rips all of the wires out of the poles.  It’s obvious that the facility is a work in progress, but overall they seem to be doing a great job and are heading in the right direction. 

My walk was cut a little short as I was asked to stay off of the track “it’s a soft spot”.  Not sure what that means but ok.  I wanted to check out the rest of the facility anyways.  As I got back over to the grandstands I ran into Frosty.  He was saving us some seats up top and telling me how it was going to be standing room only.  I did not see a press box so he pointed out that they have a table located in front of the top row.  Initially I thought it was pretty hokie, but they made up for it by keeping the fans interested, and involved.  I also like the way that they talked back and forth.  We all know a good announcer can help your show a great deal.  They have that nailed at Arizona Speedway. 

As it was explained during one of the intermissions they are not allowed to have any permanent fixtures out there.  Not sure what you do for the restrooms besides the porta-johns.  But if you have to have porta-johns don’t skimp on the quantity or hide the wash stations. 

If you’re looking for the bells and whistles, Arizona speedway is not for you.  But if you’re the race-fan that’s there for the energy of the crowd, action, entertainment, and camaraderie go with confidence.

I think the June 4th race could have double the cars as the word spreads.  As I mentioned last week there were questions and concerns on how the track would hold up.  As a spectator it seemed to hold up quite well.

I have to say kudos to Matt Rossi on the win.  He started up top and worked it until it came in.  Doing so, virtually by himself.  And once it did?  Well that’s history and as Mickey posted “Been there won that”

Excuses

We are only days away from the 1st sprint car race at Arizona Speedway.  I’m still hearing 30 to 35 cars from Mike.  But when I talked to a handful of drivers there seems to be a split.  Some make it sound like the new venue is bad for Sprint Car racing because it’s not an ASCS sanctioned race.  I don’t get that mentality.  The first argument was because of money.  But now they have a race that pays.  What’s the argument now?  Then you will hear “having another association will split the cars”.  Ok, the dates are non-conflicting and the rules allow for more motor options (which in turn allows more cars the option to compete) NEXT.  “The track is just going to eat up tires”.  Well there is a possibility of that, but what track doesn’t do that on occasion.  I did see some tires that were blistered after Saturdays race at Canyon Raceway.  What else?  “I’m running for points with ASCS, and I don’t want to tear my car up”.  That I can respect.  Fielding a sprint car is very expensive, I get it.  And if your running for points you have a chance of making a few bucks at the end of the year.  But if your going somewhere with the mentality of tearing up your car, you could use the extra seat time.

To the fault of the new track they have done little to have cars out there to see how the track would respond.  That actually seemed to be the biggest concern out there.  Guys want to see how the track holds up before they take their car out there.  I kind of see the point but not really.

The first impression is often the most important.  With that being said, track prep is REALLY, REALLY, important.  This goes back to the previous paragraph.  Without knowing how the track is going to respond to the high horse power big tire cars what do they do?  A non-conducive track hurts future car, and fan counts.  And we all know what that leads to. 

I did change my plans for the weekend to be part of the first sprint car race at a new track.  It’s really kind of exciting and I would much rather go to an opening race instead of a closing race.  The handful of now closed tracks I have been to is enough for me.  I do think 30 to 35 is a stretch.  I’m thinking a more realistic number is 18 to 24.  Only time will tell.

I will be doing a live update via Facebook on Sprintfan.

Wind

On a chilly, windy night in the desert we ended up with one of the best races of the year.

It was one of the few races where 1st through 4th had a shot at the win.  But this write-up is not about the race.  I can’t do it justice with my lack of writing skills.

I started the day at the Wild Horse.  It’s a must stop as it’s across the street from Canyon Raceway and they have a pretty good burger.  Initially I was just stopping there to get a bag of ice for James Aragon and crew.  But once inside I ended up having lunch with super fans Top Row and Frosty (that sounds like a cartoon) there were also a few drivers and an owner at the table.  It was an interesting lunch with some great stories and a lot of laughs.  (owner and driver names left out to protect the innocent)

Shortly after pulling into the pits I was informed the little engine that could was under the weather.  After some troubleshooting we determined the head gasket was no bueno.  Now what?  Not racing so enjoy the day with friends, family, and enjoy the races.  Off subject a little but not really.  What’s the word with Perris Auto Speedway?  Rumors are flying that they are now reducing the USAC/CRA purse with the exception of a few of the big races and Oval Nationals.  I was told 500 off the top and cuts throughout.  We all knew there was talk of cuts and it went back and forth.  But they have been pretty quiet about it.  The Pas is a great place to watch a race.  It always baffles me when I go there and it’s not packed.  It’s a top-notch facility with great racing.  That’s all I got but Brie may have some updates from the King of the West Sprints from Marysville Raceway Park to follow.

Not worthy of a title

Interesting night of racing, but then again most are for one reason or another.

I will keep this short because I’m feeling a bit under the weather.  I did mention there would be a toll. 

Unfortunately arrived late and watched the first heat from the parking lot.  I think it’s only the 2nd time in my life I was late for a race.  The first was back in 1984 for the Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway (made the last 5 laps of the main).  Interesting story on how I got tickets for that race.  I will save that for another time.

Back to the lack of action.  Sherman continued his early season dominance and led nearly every lap (may have been every lap).  Over/Under on wins for Sherman this year 6.  I might take the over on that.  They are in the zone.  This was the second race in a row Chris Bonneau was flexing.  When picking your top 5 he will have to be considered.  Showtime was pretty strong in the Bishop car.  He was in good spirits after the races.  He may be my pick tonight.  Bruce finally got everything worked out and had a solid finish.  I’m sure they would like a mulligan on the first 3 races.

Hopefully the track will allow more action tonight.  It was extremely heavy and never developed the 2nd groove.  

Back-to-Back

With back-to-back nights of racing this week it puts a toll on everyone involved.  I don’t know about you but I’m excited.

There are a lot of factors going into back-to-back nights of racing.  From the racers aspect, you don’t have much time to knock out the maintenance involved in being a successful team.  I’m sure we will see several cars push off on Saturday with dirt still caked on from Friday.  If I were setting odds on finishes, most of those cars would be in the bottom half of the field.  Cleaning the car is more like an initial inspection period.

Wait a minute I was about to get side tracked, spin out, and probably offend someone.

Where to start, hmmm….

The odds on favorite to win has to be Jeremy Sherman in the Potent Ellis #21.  They have been on fire this year and racing like they have something to prove.  We all know that’s not the case.

Josh Pelky has rebounded well after the first race gremlins, leading laps at the initial Canyon race and winning the last race in Tucson.  I had mentioned a few weeks a go he was hungry for a win.  I asked him yesterday if he was still hungry.  He said “more than ever”. 

Andy Reinbold had 2 respectable finishes in Tucson (3rd and 5th).  With that momentum he should be able to better his 12th place finish from the last race at Canyon.

Chuck D. started the season with back-to-back 4th place finishes.  If not for a self-induced mishap “I thought the race was over, it was the first time I have ever done that” He would have finished in the front 20% of the field again.

Stevie Sussex has finished 6th in both of the races he entered.  Even more impressive was that it was in 2 different cars.  He is certainly a guy to keep an eye on.  With a full time ride he could get a W.

Rising stock this week; If the rumors are true the Bishop #62 with Showtime.  Initially I thought he would be in an Ellis car.  But I'm hearing he is in Bishops RSS.  Only time will tell.

I will shoot for another update Saturday morning.  Although I did mention the back-to-back nights of racing puts a toll on everyone.  I’m no exception.  The one thing that may save me from myself is helping out the Aragon #99 little engine that could.  See you at the track.

Second Wind

Sorry about the hanger.  I have my second wind now.  Getting home at 4am and up by 8am just didn’t work for me.  I was running on fumes the whole day.

I did give little thought on where to take the main event write-up.  And the conclusion?  I have nothing.  That’s hard to admit when it was one of the best races of the year.  Maybe I just don’t have the writing skills required to express the excitement of the time.  There was no clear winner until Josh Pelky crossed the finish line.  It seemed as if it was one of those few times where the lapped traffic helped the leader of the race.  We have all been to races where a lapped car jams the leader up and the guy behind gets through clean.  This was not one of those nights.  In the closing laps Jeremy Sherman seemed to be the fastest car out there.  I wonder how many people were in the stands saying not again.  Falling one car short of a win for the second time this season.  I’m sure the competition is on notice and happy he was not part of the eight-car invert for the 2nd time this season.  BTW, great drives on both nights with a 17th to 2nd and this time a 15th to 2nd.

Lets get back to the excitement.  There was pure enjoyment in the stands with a fresh face winning the race.  The last time I remember seeing that in the fans and in the pits.  Was probably June of 2008 for the Hank Arnold Memorial at Manzy when Andy Reinbold won.  Speaking of Reinbold he also had a solid run starting 12th and finishing 3rd.  Looking back at that Hank Arnold race.  Even with the disappointment of having an engine throw up its insides out the side of the block, I was still stoked when Andy won that race.  Why? When you look at the numbers over the last four years, nearly 64% of the ASCS Canyon Region races have been won by Sherman (28) or Davis (20) and another 20% (15) goes to guys that don’t run consistently or are no longer with us.  So when you get that fresh face up there people get excited.  Going to a sprint car race in Arizona is like going to Las Vegas.  Most people expect to loose money when they go to Vegas.  Most people attending a race in Arizona expect Sherman, Davis, or maybe RJ (Creeping up the list 8 wins/ nearly 11%) to win.  But the one time you hit at the blackjack table or someone else wins a main event, you feel that pure enjoyment and it keeps you coming back.

In the next day of two I may have something on the upcoming race at ET.

Second Thought

I had what I thought was the beginning of this post race update done.  But I just realized one should not drink and write.  I have enough trouble stringing words together as it is.

As I left work yesterday afternoon I had second thoughts about making the trip to Tucson.  Not because of anything but the cost of gas.  Looking back I’m glad I made the trip.  You can’t put a price on solid racing action, and the company of all at the track.

Man, I don’t even know where to start. 

Last nights ACSC Canyon region race had a little bit of everything starting from the first heat race.  With RJ Johnson starting in the rear of the field he looked to make a quick move forward.  Attempting to split 2 cars on the back stretch going into 3 is no buenos.  I’m sure having another competitor not lift or give you any room did not help the situation either.  So on lap 1 we get a car upside down.  Is it going to be one of those nights at the track?  As they restarted the racing action was between Stevie Sussex and Rick Ziehl for second.  That was a great battle, both drivers racing hard. 

Besides the game of “get gone” by Pelky the second heat action was also for 2nd place with James Aragon finishing just ahead of Dalten Gabbard.

As the third and final heat pushed off you had the feeling there would be some hard racing.  Anytime you get 2 of the best racers in the state in the same heat you know there is going to be some action.  And action there was; of course between the two heavy hitters (Charles Davis and Jeremy Sherman) those guys race each other so hard and neither gives an inch.  That was evident as they made contact early, causing Jeremy a flat left front.  The action did not stop there as they played after the race all the way to the pits.  BTW, Kudos to Chris Bonneau. His car was strong all night and he won the heat convincingly.

So now the conversation is; will RJ get his car done in time for the Semi?  On the positive side crashing in the first heat gives you plenty on time to reassemble a car.  He was clearly the class of the field in the 8 car Semi.  Starting last he wasn’t messing around as he was in a transfer spot before the first lap was completed. 

Man I’m feeling long winded and I’m not sure how to approach the main event.  I think I will come back to the main later.  I need to go get something to eat….

Open Comp?

What does it mean?  We get everyone thinking that if they open up the rules it will allow more cars to compete.  And if actually done it absolutely will.  But when you call your show open comp and barley open up the rules (non-ascs heads and 370ci); who are you really allowing to race with you? 

I have to say I like the idea of a new track in Arizona.  I also like the fact that they are doing their own thing, it does give a handful of cars that are sitting idle someplace to race.  I don’t understand why they would not open it up a little more.  Use something like they did with the McCluskey (when it meant something).  Let the 410’s run; add some weight and intake restrictors.  Heck or even use the NMMRA engine rule (unlimited ci/no aluminum blocks).  To me it seems like all they are doing is allowing non-ascs headed cars someplace to race.  Again, I think that’s great.  But why not do something that will allow more than just a handful of cars.

I guess it depends on what open comp means to you.  Is “open competition” about giving racers someplace to race without an outside sanctioning body? Or is “Open Competition” about allowing you to run what you brung.  Personally I believe in a blend of both.  I’m all about opening up the rules to allow MORE competitors.

Humor!

If that’s not funny I don’t know what is.

Just for the record the pic is not my handywork.  It was something that was sent to me by 1 of the 4 people that check my site regularly.  Well I don’t want to sell myself short it’s actually like 8 people but who’s counting.  Certainly not me, I don’t have that kind of ego (but my investors might).
(Added 4/14 just in case you missed it.  It was a victory photo of Jeremy Sherman and team after the win at Canyon raceway, but it was photo shopped with Dave wearing a RSS sweatshirt.)

More to follow

As predicted the ASCS Canyon Region shoes were no competition for Mother Nature.  So with Canyon out of the way the next stop is back at USA Raceway in Tucson.  As most of you recall, USA Raceway is where the 2011 season began for the ASCS Sprint Cars.  The first race out was not overly exciting.  The biggest conversation piece was about the restart at the end of the race.  You had Rick Ziehl in 2nd with a flat front left tire and you had Jeremy Sherman in 3rd with a right rear loosing pressure fast.  Of the two choices I’m sure most would pick the left front.  I’m not sure how Jeremy rim rode that car around the track but he did and managed to pass Ziehl in the process.  Not to take anything from the winner R.J. Johnson he was clearly the fastest car out there when it counted.

JS Vs. Mother Nature

 On a heavy one-groove track he was the only one aggressive enough to pass.  With back-to-back strong finishes Sherman shows why he is going to be the ASCS Canyon Region car to beat this year.  I’m sure the grumbling is starting among the haters out there.  Ninety plus last week sixties with chances of rain this week.  If anyone is going to beat the stout Ellis #21 it might be Mother Nature.

Rising stock: the #97 Norman car with Stevie Sussex.  He had an impressive 6th place finish last race in his first start with the Norman crew.  Sussex has improved by leaps and bounds the last few years and ran up front nearly every weekend last year.

Falling stock: the #62 Bishop car with Nathan High.  The Bishop car was among the contenders last year.  Nathan hasn’t raced with the sprints much in the last year and it may take him a race or two.

Start/Finish

The first Sprint race of the season in the Phoenix metro area and I may not be able to make it…Go figure.

As most know the ASCS Canyon region sprints will be racing at Canyon Raceway this weekend.  Most of the talk seems to be about the strong finish of RJ last year and continuing that at the first race in Tucson.  One has to think if he did not get off to the bad start last year the points race could have been a lot different.  After the win in Tucson more than one person commented that this could be his season for a championship.  I would say it’s still a little early (1 race in) but that he is heading in the right direction. 

Not a lot of talk out there about the drive from 17th to 2nd.  That is another impressive drive by Jeremy Sherman.  I think what makes it more impressive is the lack of help from timely cautions and having a right rear that was nearly flat at the end of the race.  I think this is going to be a bounce back year for Sherman.  Look for him to have multiple wins this year.

Josh Pelky started the 2010 season strong and was in contention for a win all season.  The first race of 2011 was not kind to the ABC team, mechanical problems kept them from making the show.  Come to think of it? I can’t remember the last time an ABC car did not make the show.  I may have to contact Top Row to find out.  I know Josh is hungry for a win.  I’m sure they will rebound from the slow start and be up front at Canyon.

SDR will roll out a new Ellis Race Car this weekend at Canyon Raceway.  Shon has multiple wins at Canyon raceway.  Although he has not raced an Ellis in a while I’m sure he will find the sweet spot.  It might be somewhere up top.

Check back early next week for updates and a potential driver interview.


Excitement?

The gates open in one day for the McCluskey.  It’s interesting that all is still quiet.  I’m sure the usual ASCS suspects will be there.  With that being said, this does not seem like a traditional Kevin Montgomery event.  Usually he is all over the message boards.  I know he has been in contact with the owners/drivers to get the car count.  But it seems he has done little to excite the fans.  Is it a sign of the times?

I guess we will see what the word on the street is while in Tucson for the Seventh Annual Roger McCluskey Classic.


All is quiet.

For the McCluskey being less than 3 weeks away it’s still pretty quiet out there.  I have only heard a few owners confirm that they will be fielding a car.

I guess only time will tell.  I’m sure Kevin is doing his part and burning up the phones.


New Possibilities

The rumors floating around about a new track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds has sparked interest by many in the racing community.  I am one of the interested.  Since the closing of Manzanita Speedway, racing in Arizona has not been the same.

It will be nice to get another family friendly track in the State.  But then again with the talk of it being a temporary track that will be removed for the fair, will we get another track with porta-johns and grandstands children will fall through?  Regardless of the facilities I’m excited for the potential.


I’m just saying..

What’s with racers stealing from other racers?  There are very few things that bother me more than someone who steals.  I got a phone call today from a car owner that was at the Western and wanted to know if I heard of anyone that may have taken a MAG out of his Toter.  I just don’t get it.  This sport is hard enough without someone stealing your parts.



What Off-season?

Sitting around wondering what we were going to do for the off-season and just realized the 7th Annual Roger McCluskey Classic is just 4 weeks away. 

Although I was extremely disappointed with the turnout last year, this is becoming one of my favorite races to attend.  Where else (in this country) can you attend a sprint car race in January?  In the past this was as close to open competition as we got.  The rules allowed 410’s with added weight and intake restrictors to compete with the 360's.  The popularity was evident with the car counts and quality of drivers that were competing.  It’s unfortunate that the promoters changed the rules just weeks before the race last year.  Resulting in the lowest car count of the five previous races.

Some said it was unfair running a 410 against the 360’s.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t a 360 win three of the five races that the 410’s were allowed to compete in?


No Name Dropping..

With a new/old team reforming to assault the 2011 ASCS Canyon Region series Sprintfan.com will get it’s first sponsorship opportunity.  There are still a lot of things being worked out, but more information will follow.  Stay tuned Sprint Fans.


Great Race..

I’m still rocking a little bit of the high from the Western World.  This past race was the first in some time that I went as a fan and not part of a team.  I can’t say the racing was the best I’ve ever seen.  I don’t even know if I would classify it as a good race.  But I had a great time, and that is all you can really ask for when attending the races.

One of my favorite things to do at the races especial at the bigger races is to walk around and meet the different fans.  AKA Tailgating.  This past weekend was no exception.  I met several great people, with some great stories. 

Of course none were as good as the gentleman I met a few Years ago at the Oval Nationals.  This particular guy from Indiana lost his job but already had a ticket to California for the Oval Nationals.  Most would probably cancel the trip but he did not.  He flew in and managed to get a ride to the PAS.  Camped for the weekend, hitched a ride to Phoenix for the real Western World and then hitched a ride back to Indy.

It just doesn’t get any better than that.  It makes me wonder why I’m sitting in a Village Inn in Phoenix instead of Irwindale for the Turkey Night Grand Prix.



         Only the name changes…

 Most in the racing community have the pipe dream that if we change the sanctioning body there will be immediate positive changes.  That’s just not the case.  The one common factor with the changes to our Local, Regional, or National sanctions is a drop in car and fan count.  That is fact. 

I’m sure We can all agree the current economy is also a factor.  But when the Wholesale changes were made, the biggest thing that We accomplished is the dilution of owners, drivers, sponsors, and fans.  Most of us know someone with a car, engine, or spares just sitting in the garage?  Some will tell you it’s the economy and others still voice displeasure with way everything went down.  I don’t blame them either way.

The common factor here is We all love Sprint car racing.  We (Promoters, Track Owners, Sponsors, Car Owners, Drivers, Crew, and Fans) can all help.  The biggest change required is to us, and the way we think.  Stop the madness of arguing over the sanctioning bodies and with each other.  Otherwise the only things that will change are the names, car count, and places to race.

 

Something to SMILE about.

  In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia Coli (E.Coli) bacteria found in feces.  In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of Poop.
However, we do not run that risk when drinking wine, rum, whiskey, beer or other liquor because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.
Remember:

Water = Poop
Booze = Health

Therefore, it's better to drink booze & talk stupid, than to drink water & be full of shit.
There's no need to thank me for this valuable information; I'm doing it as a public service.