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    A Typical Weekend

    by Pat & Bruce Eckel



    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Meseraull In A Thriller At Gas City



    Friday, May 20 – The forecast for today was sunny skies with temperatures in the high 80's with gusty winds from the southwest at 20 to 30 mph. This combination of sun, high temperatures and lots of wind can be disastrous for a dirt track and we were worried that the track conditions for our Friday night destination, the Gas City Speedway, would be less than ideal. To our pleasant surprise the track held up very well the entire evening with only minimal dust appearing during the wingless sprint car feature. A tip of the hat to Larry Boos and the entire track crew at Gas City for providing an excellent racing surface under trying circumstances. Now let's get to the evening of racing.

    The Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) were in town this evening and the pits were filled with 35 wingless sprinters to do battle along with 12 hornets, 17 D2 midgets and 16 street stocks to round out the program. BOSS runs group qualifications broken into four groups with AJ Hopkins in the Wingo Brothers #77 setting fastest overall time around the mile bullring with a time of 12.222 seconds. The D2 midgets would also do group qualifying sessions to determine the starting positions for their heat races. Stratton Briggs would be fast timer with a lap of 13.297 seconds in group qualifying.

    The BOSS sprint cars would be first to the grid for their heat racing with the top four finishers moving into the 25 lap main event. Scotty Weir in the Petersen #4P went to the front in the first heat and scored the win over Cole Bodine, Kyle Shipley and Tye Mihocko. Colten Cottle wheeled the Hazen #57 to victory in heat two over Jack Hoyer, Matt Goodnight and Jamie Frederickson. Heat three fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Cheney #42 out of California besting Dave Darland, Ricky Lewis and Koby Barksdale. Korbyn Hayslett, the college student out of Ohio, captured heat four beating Paul Dues, Isaac Chapple and Jesse Vermillion.

    The hornets would follow with one heat for their 12 car field before the D2 midgets would take to the track to contest their two heats for their 17 car field. The first heat would go to Stratton Briggs over Drew Rader and Wes Pinkerton. Heat two was taken by Kyle Dager besting Abby Hohlbein and Carl Peterson. The street stocks would run two heats for their 16 car field before the sprint cars would return for B mains with three to qualify into the main event.

    Ryan Thomas scored the first B main win over JJ Hughes and Cody White. The second B main went to Saban Bibent over Travis Hery and Brian Ruhlman. The 22 car field was now set for the 25 lap feature event. A medical emergency in the grandstand area toward turn one delayed the program about twenty minutes which is something you cannot avoid with the person transported to the hospital before racing could continue.

    The 20 lap D2 midget feature would be the first division to take to the track for their main event and would take the green flag at 9:27 with second starting Kyle Dager taking the lead from first starter, Carl Peterson, on the high side of turn two on the opening lap. The first eight laps would stay green with Dager increasing his lead by several seconds. A rash of cautions slowed the middle portion of the race with four yellows appearing between laps nine and twelve. Briggs and Rader had a good battle over the last eight laps for the third position as from that point forward the race stayed green and Dager paced the field up front. Wes Pinkerton made a late race charge from sixth to claim second with Drew Rader riding home third, Stratton Briggs fourth and Bryce Massingill, a recent winner at Circle City who had mechanical problems in his heat, marched from 13th to round out the top five with the checker waving at 9:39. This was Dager's first career win in the D2 midgets.

    Landon Arcaro was the third different leader taking the lead on lap 8 after a good race up front between the top three. Arcaro would lead the remaining seven laps to score his first ever win at Gas City in a brand new car prepared for him.

    Now it was time for the 25 lap BOSS sprint car feature with the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Korbyn Hayslett bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 10:01. Hayslett got the advantage using the top of turn two to grab the lead away from Meseraull on the opening lap. Hayslett would pace the first four laps until T-Mez returned the favor on Hayslett in turn two. Arizona's Kyle Shipley in the Michael Dutcher #17GP powered by Hayslett for second on the backstretch on lap six and took up the chase of T-Mez who had opened up over a two second lead. Hayslett was not done yet and reloaded and closed in on Shipley. Lap 12 saw Hayslett take back second before the only caution of the race appeared on lap 13 when Ricky Lewis and Jamie Frederickson tangled in turn two to bring out the yellow. Meseraull's big lead was wiped out at this point. On the green Meseraull powered back out front Hayslett and Shipley in tow. Shipley regained second using the low side of turn four one lap later. Shipley found some extra speed and tracked down and passed T-Mez on the inside of turn three on lap 17 to take the lead and pulled away. Shipley looked like he might pull off his first career win at Gas City but Meseraull never gives up. T-Mez tried several different lines and started to reel in the leader. Lap twenty two saw Meseraull regain the lead but Shipley was not rolling over and came back one lap later to reclaim the top spot. A small bobble off turn four was just enough for Meseraull to make another run and at the white flag he edged ahead entering turn one. T-Mez scampered away and was able to hold off the final advances of Shipley to score the popular win at 10:11 trailed across the line by Shipley with Dave Darland looking strong in his return to racing after sitting out for a year after suffering a stroke coming home third after a tough battle with Scotty Weir who notched fourth with Hayslett holding on for fifth. Isaac Chapple moved from 12th to finish 6th with Cole Bodine 7th, Colten Cottle 8th, Tye Mihocko 9th and Koby Barksdale advancing from 15th to 10th at the finish.

    With the street stocks still to come we decided to pull out as the long trip home was still ahead and it was going to be almost impossible to top the wingless sprint car feature so why bother. We arrived back in Crawfordsville around midnight fully satisfied with the well run show we witnessed and impressed at how well the race surface held up after all the sun and wind attacked it. Again a fine job by everyone involved in the track prep and race direction keeping the program moving along in a timely manner.

    That's it for this report and while tying it we found out that the Hulman Classic at Terre Haute tonight (Saturday) have been postponed due to rain and the forecast moving forward for the rest of the day. The Action Track will return to run the Hulman Classic tomorrow (Sunday) with hot laps starting at 5 PM. Looking forward to this one. News, comments, notes of interest and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And hopefully the weather is better in your area so you can get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area. In the meanwhile be safe and have fun. And last but certainly not lease we want to thank you for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our thoughts and opinions we bring to you so if you thinking of visiting one of the tracks we write about you will have pertinent information to process and help your enjoyment of a visit there.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Wrapping Up The Weekend With Action At Circle City



    Sunday, May 15 - We started out the morning in Columbia, Missouri at our Drury Inn where we had a nice breakfast at the buffet with real plates and metal utensils!! Then we jumped on I-70 east and began to make the long journey across Missouri and Illinois toward Indiana. As we continued East the gas prices rose from $3.99 to $4.15 when we had burned off enough to make it worthwhile to fill it back up. As we approached St. Louis the prices rose into the $4.39 range and as we crossed the border into Illinois they jumped to $4.59 a gallon. Ouch, as this could affect people's driving and vacation plans especially depending on what type of vehicle they drive. Spoke with our pastor on Tuesday and after returning from a hospital visit to Indianapolis with an empty tank and a twenty cent discount his gas bill was an incredible $105!!!!! Continuing with the present story we motored up I-70 and stopped at our favorite restaurant in Illinois, the Blue Springs, and ended our delicious family style meal sharing a slice of their famous mile high chocolate pie topped with melange. Simply heavenly!!! But the trip was not over yet as we continued on to the Circle City of Indianapolis and our destination, the Circle City Raceway in Marion County. On tap this evening was a four division program consisting of wingless sprint cars (27), D2 midgets (17), 600 micros (11) and UMP modifieds (19). We were joined by Gordy Killian making his way back home after a four track swing with two new tracks in the middle of the sandwich.

    The wingless sprint cars would start off the night of racing action with four heats taking the first four finishers to the 25 lap main event. Thomas Messeraull aka T-Mez captured heat one from third in one of the Tyler Sturgeon entries over Scotty Weir in the Landon Simon car with Travis Berryhill third in the other Sturgeon car with young Rylan Gray coming home fourth. Heat two went to AJ Hopkins in the Wingo Brothers #77, one of five #77's entered this evening. Kyle Shipley finished second with Zack Pretorius third and Tim Creech in his pink and white sprinter fourth. Matt Westfall dropping by on his way home from Missouri took down heat three besting Ricky Lewis in the Wolfe #43, Frank Guerrini, another California transplant and Matt McDonald. Ryan Thomas, a local boy would win heat four in the third numbered 77 car over Chad Boespflug, Koby Barksdale and young Saban Bibent.

    The D2 midgets were next on the agenda running two heats with Stratton Briggs beating Ryan Thomas, doing double duty on the evening, and Ian Creager. The second heat fell to Gunnar Lucius over Abby Hohlbein and Josh Yenser in an all Ohio sweep. Bruce Newlin Jr. and Justin Harper triumphed in the 600 micro heats while John Demoss and Derek Groomer won UMP modified heats.

    Only the sprint cars would need a B main with Cole Bodine copping the win over Sterling Cling, Derek Crane making the trip down from Wisconsin and Colin Grissom.

    At this point the track was dusty and slick and the track maintenance of watering the top side would do little to alleviate the situation. The front row of AJ Hopkins and Ricky Lewis brought the 20 car field to the green flag at 8:15 with Lewis wrestling the lead away from Hopkins exiting turn four on lap one. Lewis would hold the top spot until Hopkins executed a turn four slider on lap four to regain the lead. Hopkins would pace the field with Lewis and Matt Westfall in tow. The first caution flew on lap twelve when Travis Berryhill and Kyle Shipley tangled in turn two. On the restart Scotty Weir attempted a slide or die move on third running Thomas Meseraull banging his left front and sending T-Mez sideways where Chad Boespflug finished off his spin sending T-Mez to the back of the field. The field was slip sliding around the oval until lap fifteen when Cole Bodine and Ryan Thomas locked horns in turn two bringing out another caution. One lap later Koby Barksdale and Rylan Gray bumped with Gray spinning in the middle of the turn. From that point on it was all Hopkins as he paced the field over the remainder of the race. Westfall would finish second with Weir third, Zack Pretorius fourth in a good run from tenth with Frank Guerrini nailing down the fifth spot at the finish at 8:39. It was an emotional victory lane as Hopkins stated that this was his first win since his father died late last year.

    The 20 lap D2 midget feature was next to the post with the green dropping at 8:50. Stratton Briggs would jump to the early lead over Josh Yenser and many folks knowing how fast Briggs is in the D2's might have figured this one was over. Briggs would lead until eighth starting Bryce Massingill would execute a high side sweep by Briggs on lap nine securing the lead at the line. Massingill would pace the field the remainder of the distance but good racing was occurring behind him with ninth starting Michael Magic passing Briggs late in the contest to claim second at the finish at 9:06 with Briggs third, Ian Creager fourth and Josh Yenser holding on for fifth.

    With rain moving eastward we decided to forgo the last two features and head into the brewing storm where we encountered rain as we approached Brownsburg on I-74 and continued the rest of the way home to Crawfordsville. Somehow Circle City was able to sneak in the last two feature events with Bruce Newlin Jr. winning the 600's and Derek Losh claiming the UMP modified win.

    That's it for now but check back on Saturday as we will stay local this weekend in Indiana planning on stops at Gas City on Friday for BOSS sprints and Terre Haute on Saturday for USAC sprints. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some upcoming midweek shows in your area at one of your local tracks. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope that you enjoy our perspective on the events that we travel to. And be safe out there in your travels.

     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Rain Stops US 36 & Ballou Triumphs On USAC's Return To I-70



    Friday, May 13 – From midnight to early morning it rained buckets in Kansas City and surrounding areas, more than enough to bring an morning announcement from USAC that tonight's sprint car race at the US 36 Raceway was canceled due to saturated grounds. This was the track that we had heard nothing but good things about and were looking forward to visiting the high banked 3/8 mile dirt oval but it was not to be as mother nature had other plans for the race schedule. Coupled with the Twitter post from Chet Christner which described how sad he was that USAC couldn't race at this joint and it looked like an absolutely epic place to showcase USAC sprints made us even more disappointed. And adding to the pain was that the day turned out to be a nice day with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 80's and no more rain.


    Saturday, May 14 – The day dawned bright and sunny and hot. Temperatures would climb into the 90's once again and before making our way over to I-70 Motorsports Park in Odessa it was a wonderful trip to the Negro Baseball League Museum in North Kansas City at 18th and Vine Streets, the old home of the Kansas City Monarchs. It was a well thought out and assembled collection of the Negro baseball history in the United States with many placards and stories, uniforms, statues and other memorabilia. It was wonderful to see the history of black baseball in the USA with not only stories on Jackie Robinson but Satchel Paige, Larry Doby, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson who many considered the best black ballplayer who never made it to the major leagues due to an early death. Gibson was said to have had the eyes of Ted Williams and the power of Babe Ruth all in one package and was the only player to hit a home run completely out of the old Yankee Stadium!!! There was so much more in this museum and is well worth the $10 admission ($9 for senior citizens) and the experience is well worth the time and money spent to view this living history museum. The movie just after entering the main entrance is a must see as it gives you a great perspective of life and experiences in the Negro baseball leagues before the racial barrier was brought allowing black ballplayers into the Major Leagues. After leaving the museum we encountered a black street vendor selling drawings he had done of many of the old time Negro players and after having a good conversation with him we bought one of his 8x10 drawings of Satchel Paige which will be proudly displayed in our sports room at home.

    From the museum it was over to Independence, Missouri, the childhood home of Harry S. Truman, where we lunched at Big Bear Diner of California origins before working our way over to Odessa and the home of the I-70 Motorsports Park, a half mile dirt oval brought back to life in 2021. I-70 was originally an asphalt oval first opened in 1969 and later converted to dirt and ultimately closed in 2008. I-70 rose from the ashes like the Phoenix in 2021 when it was reopened as a 3/8 mile dirt oval. And what a beautiful facility it is. From the stone driveways to all the nice out buildings and the lower stadium seating and upper bleacher seating running the entire length of the homestretch it is a gem. The bathrooms are beautiful, clean and well maintained as are the entire grounds and facility that sits on it. It is truly a state of the art racing complex that includes a drag strip also.

    On tap this evening was a program consisting of the USAC National Sprint Cars (28) joined by the Show Me Vintage Cars (19). The sprint car field was down by 3 from Thursday due to a split field caused by the POWRi WAR sprints running at the Lucas Oil Speedway also on this evening. Time trials would push off at 6:55 PM and wrap up by 7:17 PM with rookie Emerson Axsom setting fast time around the 3/8 mile dirt oval with a lap of 15.856 seconds. The vintage cars would be next up with hot laps before the USAC sprints in co-sanction with the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association would return at 7:45 to contest three heat races with the top five moving onto the 30 lap main event.

    Jason McDougal driving one of the KO Motorsports entries would take down heat one over Jake Swanson, CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to Brady Bacon in the Dynamics #69 besting Brandon Mattox, Matt Westfall, Robert Ballou and Alex Banales. The third and final heat would be claimed by Logan Seavey in the Baldwin/Fox #5 orange crate over Chase Stockon, Mario Clouser, Jadon Rogers and Wesley Smith.

    Three heats would be run for the Show Me vintage cars and in one of the heats a car spun into the homestretch wall and drifted down off the wall into the path of another car which clipped it sending several wheels bouncing across the track. One wheel was leap frogged by another competitor and he almost flipped his bright yellow coupe but luckily returned to the track surface on all fours. It took a while to clean up the mess and we were impressed by the one wrecker which was able to lift the heavy car who hit the wall totally off the ground behind him.

    The sprint car semi or B main was next on the race card with seven moving into the 30 lap feature event. Wyatt Burks who miss by one spot in the first heat dominated this one beating Xavier Doney, Mississippi's Chase Howard, Chad Frewaldt, Chad Tye, Brian Beebe and JD Black the last man in.

    The 20 lap vintage car feature was spun off next before the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature took to the track. In a first for us as the sprinters were pushing off the action was suddenly red flagged. It turned out that one of the Flo Racing camera men stepped into a hidden open ditch inside turn three and his leg was lodged in the ditch and took several minutes for safety crews to dislodge with the good news that no injury was suffered and we were able to continue.

    The green flag would wave at 9:44 with Mario Clouser taking the early lead with Robert Ballou and Logan Seavey in hot pursuit. Ballou executed a slider in turn one on lap one and pulled off the pass for the lead by turn two. Fifth starting Brady Bacon passed CJ Leary for third in turn four on lap five before Leary returned the favor one lap later. Bacon regained the position several laps later and went off in chase of Seavey and Clouser. Brady executed a two for one pass between turns three and four to dispose of Seavey and Clouser on lap eleven before taking up the pursuit of the long gone Ballou. The first twenty laps was all Ballou but as he entered lap traffic Bacon began to cut the deficit. With nine to go Ballou encountered Alex Banales who slowed the progress of the leader to allow Bacon to roll by Ballou on the low side of turn three and slid up in front of Ballou for the lead in turn four wedged between Banales in front of him and Ballou right on his tail. Many thought Bacon had pulled the winning move of the night but no one informed Ballou of this as Ballou dove low in turn two below Banales and Bacon to regain the lead as he motored away from the other two. The Mad Man was not going to not take advantage of his second chance and powered away over the remaining laps to over a three second lead and crossed the line at 9:54 in the second non-stop feature of the Midwest tour claiming his first win in USAC competition in 11 months and ending Bacon's two race win streak where Ballou had finished second both times. This was also Ballou's 32nd career USAC sprint win passing Tyler Courtney on the all time win list and tying Rollie Beale for 14th on the all time win list. Bacon came home second with Justin Grant advancing from eighth to third with CJ Leary fourth and Emerson Axsom rounding out the top five. Mario Clouser would lead the second five across the line with Seavey seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Jake Swanson ninth and Matt Westfall completing the top ten. The emotional Ballou climbed to the top of his roll cage and choked up in victory lane after scoring the popular win. It was a good night of racing with everyone exiting the track grounds knowing that they had witnessed a good night of racing where the USAC sprints raced for the first time in 26 years.

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow for last race we attended on the weekend after traveling back from Missouri. News, comments, stories and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the weather finally looks like it will stay warm for us to enjoy some racing without sweatshirts or jackets. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our column as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care out there and be safe.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Bacon Sizzles In USAC Return To Lakeside Speedway



    Thursday, May 12 – We penciled this three day USAC sprint car tour through the Midwest on the calendar when the 2022 USAC schedule came out with Lakeside Speedway, US 36 Raceway and I-70 Speedway on the docket. We drove as far as Quincy, Illinois the first night and arose to continue the tow across Missouri into Kansas for night one of USAC racing action at the Lakeside Speedway outside of Kansas City, Kansas. The 3/8 mile black gumbo clay oval is very nice and well kept and the facility as a whole is top notch. Pennsylvania's Gordy Killian was in town making a race tour to pick up some new tracks though Lakeside was not new for him but it was for us. We also chatted with Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser from the Bloomington area before the racing began.

    The weather was sunny, breezy and very hot with the temperature topping 93 degrees but we were surprised that the surface held up so well under these conditions but were glad it did. The tracks in Ohio should take note of this as it shows you can run a race on a hot, breezy sunny day and not have bellowing
    dust if you have good dirt and proper maintenance including plenty of water.

    The USAC sprints would push off at 7:13 for their single car time trials and when it was all said and done by 7:37 Robert Ballou was standing at the top of the leader board with a time of 16.783 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval for his first fast time since 2018. The first heat racing of the evening would kick off at 7:58 with the USRA B mods spinning off three heats in an impressive time of just 13 minutes.

    The USAC Natonal Sprints were joined by the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association on the evening and four heats would be needed for them. Kansas racer, Wyatt Burks, would hold off the USAC invaders to score the heat one win followed by Robert Ballou, Jadon Rogers and Logan Seavey. Heat two would fall to the defending WAR sprint car champion, Mario Clouser, besting Brady Bacon, Alex Banales and Brandon Mattox. Heat three was captured by Chase Stockon over Emerson Axsom, Jake Swanson and Wesley Smith. The fourth and final heat went to Jason McDougal beating CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Xavier Doney.

    The USRA stock cars were the last to run their heat races with three of them called to the post. Their very competitive races were finished by 9:03 and some track maintenance was performed before the USAC sprints returned to run their semi race or B main. The top six would move into the 30 lap main event with Lone Jack, Missouri's Cody Baker looking strong in winning this one over Zach Daum, Matt Westfall, Chris Parkinson, Rece Wommack from Mississippi and Zach Clark.

    The three feature races were the only ones remaining with the 20 lap USRA B mod feature the first one called to the post. We must admit that the B mods were probably the best B mod feature we have ever seen with only one caution and some very competitive racing throughout the field. Andy Bryant drove by Tim Powell to take the lead around lap 11 and looked like he was going to win until pulling off the backstretch with just four to go. Powell would go on to take the gift over tenth starting Gabriel Hodges and Terry Schultz in an 11 minute run.

    The 30 lap USAC sprint car feature would take the green at 10:06 and that was the last time the green flag was needed as the entire 30 laps would go non-stop in nine minutes. Emerson Axsom would take the early lead at the green with the field in hot pursuit. CJ Leary would use the inside groove in turns one and two to take away the lead on lap two. The action heated up on lap three with Brady Bacon down low, Leary in the middle and Axsom on the top going three wide into the corner. Axsom held the lead by half a car length at the line to start lap four. Bacon committed to the bottom raced into turn two and cleared Axsom for the lead racing down the backstretch. Brady was on a rail at that point and proceeded to stretch his lead from that point forward. Axsom trailed in second with Robert Ballou surging forward into third from his sixth starting spot. Ballou chased Axsom lap after lap finally catching him for second in turn two on lap eighteen but by this time Bacon was long gone stretching his lead to over four seconds. Bacon ran into heavy, three wide lap traffic in the closing circuits but with such a huge lead he would not be challenged. After a poor start to the race Logan Seavey surged back to third at the finish passing Axsom for the last podium position with just four to go. At the finish at 10:15 (nine minute feature) it was Bacon across the line first for the 42nd time in his USAC career passing Bryan Clauson on the win list and tying Pancho Carter for sixth on the all time list. Bacon was also the last USAC winner at Lakeside in the last time they ran here. Ballou scored his second consecutive second place finish with Seavey third, Axsom fourth and Leary fifth. Matt Westfall came home sixth from 11th with Jason McDougal seventh, Chase Stockon eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Justin Grant rounding out the top ten. To show you how dominant Bacon's run was he almost put the tail end of the top ten one lap down.

    We decided to stay for the USRA stock car feature as it was early and the hotel was only 20 minutes away and we are glad we did as it turned out to be the best feature of the evening. Ed Griggs in a spirited battle would hold off Chad Walker and Jaylen Wettengel for the win with the final checker waving at 10:50 in a very good night of racing in Kansas.

    That's it for now but check back soon to see if we are able to sneak in US 36 Raceway as the weather is iffy with powerful thunderstorms a possibility. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated. Comments, news, stories or any other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where our next typical weekend takes us. Be safe and take care.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Cummins Late Race Surge Garners POWRi Midget Win At Macon



    Saturday, May 7 – During the morning we toured the catacombs next to the Indianapolis City Market underneath Whistler Plaza where the old Tomlinson Hall stood. It was an interesting tour weaving around the Roman style brick arches beneath the plaza and the stories that went along with the buildings. All that is left of Tomlinson Hall which burned in 1958 is a brick arch at one end of the plaza. From there we lunched at Jersey Mike's before heading back to Crawfordsville to pack up to leave for our Saturday destination of the Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. The POWRi National midgets along with the POWRi 600 micros were racing on the 1/5 mile bullring along with three of the regular classes that race at Macon. The car counts were 24 POWRi midgets, 31 POWRi 600's, 25 modifieds, 12 pro late models and 19 hornets.

    Time trials for the modifieds & pro late models commenced at 6:54 and were spun off quickly. By 7:27 the first of three POWRi midgets heats took the green flag. POWRi uses passing points instead of time trials to determine the top 16 from the heats that automatically lock into the 30 lap main event. Michael Magic and Emilio Hoover tangled in turn two with Magic rolling over in the incident. Both drivers were OK after the tangle. Cannon McIntosh would go on to win the first heat but first time Macon runner, Kyle Cummins, would charge from 7th to 2nd and earn the most passing points in the three heats to earn the first starting position for the feature. Mariah Ede and Chance Crum were the next two across the line. Heat two saw Jade Avedisian in one of the Boat entries win from first over fourth starting Bryant Wiedeman, Mitchell Davis and Joey Wirth. The third heat fell to Chase McDermand over Taylor Reimer, Maria Cofer and Karter Sarff.

    The POWRi 600 micros would contest four heats on the evening with Joe B. Miller coming from 5th to win heat one and earn himself the first starting position in the 20 lap feature event besting Collin Shain and Joe Taft. Heat two was captured by Aarik Andruskevitch over Sean Robbins and Billy Lieb. The third heat fell to Austin Schaeffer who seemed to hit everyone he passed on the evening beating Kylee Griffitts and eighth starting Tyler Kuykendall. The fourth heat would go to Indiana's Craig Ronk outrunning Cole Tinsley from 5th and John Barnard.

    The modifieds ran three heats with the pro late models and hornets running two each. The only division that ran a B main was the 600 micros with Alex Midkiff prevailing. In a much appreciated gesture management pushed the modified feature to the third slot running the two POWRi features first.

    The 30 lap POWRi National Midget feature would take the green flag at 9:16 with Cannon McIntosh taking the early lead over fellow front row starter Kyle Cummins. The pair would retain the top two positions through the first 11 laps before they encountered lap traffic. McIntosh worked the lap traffic in good order with Cummins a few car lengths back. The first caution would wave on lap 17 for a double spin with Jade Avedisian in turn two and Devin Camfield in turn four. On the restart McIntosh retained the lead with Chase McDermand edging by Cummins for second. Taylor Reimer started applying the pressure to Cummins for third as the two exchanged sliders over the next several laps. Reimer pulled ahead for third at lap 20 with Cummins slipping to fourth. The race had run with only two cautions over the first 20 laps but five would wave over the last ten laps mostly from the same back markers. Lap 23 saw Austin Barnhill and Emilio Hoover tangle in turn three and one lap later Brenham Crouch while running sixth slid sideways in turn three to bring out the caution. On the ensuing restart Chance Crum running steady in seventh stopped in turn three to slow the action once again. With six to go the green waved for the final time and Cummins decided to go up top and quickly surged by Reimer for fourth. One lap later he surprised McDermand for third as the #3G was honking on the high side. With three to go Cummins flew by McIntosh for the lead entering turn one before he even knew it and powered away over the final three laps to score his first ever POWRi National midget win on a track he had never raced before in his career. McIntosh held on for second with McDermand rounding out the podium. The gals, Taylor Reimer and Maria Cofer, would round out the top five in two fine runs. Positions six through ten went to Bryant Wiedeman, Mitchell Davis, Karter Sarff, Jace Park and Brenham Crouch from 16th. The checkered in this one waved at 9:36.

    The twenty lap 600 micro feature would take the green flag ten minutes later with Joe B. Miller taking the early lead with Austin Schaeffer getting into him hard in turns three and four before Miller pulled away from Schaeffer. Craig Ronk was the first to break out of the pack catching and passing Schaeffer for second and taking up the chase of Miller. Ronk pulled close several times in lap traffic but Miller was up to the challenge and streaked across the line at 9:54 for his 45th career POWRi 600 micro win, the most of any driver. Ronk who started sixth finished second with Schaeffer third, Tyler Kuykendall fourth and Aarik Andruskevich fifth.

    It was a well run program and being on the road around 10 for our two hour drive home was much appreciated with the one hour loss entering back into Eastern Time making it 1:07 AM when we pulled the Rogue into the garage in Crawfordsville. Macon is such a racy joint and we love to go there and almost the racing action is second to none.

    That's it for this segment as we prepare for a road trip following the USAC National sprint cars to Kansas and Missouri for three nights of racing at three new tracks for us. Check back Friday for report #1 for the road trip. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road to check out something new. News, comments, stories or any other points of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. As always be safe and thanks for reading our efforts and sharing your comments with us. We appreciate the feedback.

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Sumar Classic Falls To Justin Grant At Terre Haute



    Sunday, May 1 – Anticipation was high for the season opener at the Terre Haute Action Track as new management was in place and many improvements have been made at the historic mile dirt oval located on the Vigo County Fairgrounds in the city of Terre Haute. Scott Ronk, the Vice President at H & R Industrial in Kokomo has teamed up with Bernie Stuebgen, owner of Indy Race Parts since 2002 and Reece O'Connor, one of the O'Connor family who have run Kokomo Speedway for many years and a great track preparer to form the new promotional team here. New Armco fencing has been added in the turns with the concrete blocks forming the walls on the homestretch and backstretch. The infield tower had been renovated and new bathrooms underneath have been installed. New and better lighting has been added and the concession stand underneath the covered grandstand has been gutted and now is a walk in arrangement. New track equipment and a concrete pad for the water trucks have been added along with the walking tunnel into the infield has been paved. In the near future a children's playground will be added in the infield and currently there are children's toys on a giant blanket to play with and return to the same spot. The historic mile clay oval is looking much better and all the improvements are a big plus.

    Now to the racing end of the deal. Thirty six USAC Silver Crown cars signed into the pit area with 33 of them taking time as mechanical issues sidelined the other three. After two sessions of hot laps for the Grand Dames of USAC single car qualifying took the initial green flag at 6:22. Kody Swanson, the defending Silver Crown champion with his car wearing the #1, was one of the earlier time trialers and his time of 20.410 seconds would hold up through the qualifying session which wrapped up at 6:58 giving him his 37th career fast time award in his Silver Crown career and third one at the Sumar Classic.

    Also on the race card were the UMP modifieds who brought a good field of 25 entrants which necessitated three heats which were first on the race agenda starting off at 7:18. Randy Shuman, Brian Shaw and Richie Lex would capture the three heats and were spun off in good order. Next up was the 12 lap Last Chance Race with the top six joining the top twenty in the 100 lap Sumar Classic later in the day. Unlike the modifieds this race was filled with three red flags for flips and shortened to 10 laps. The first flip was executed by Ohio's Ronnie Wuerdeman who went for a ride in turn three on lap one bouncing off the new Armco barrier and landing hard on the track surface. Wuerdeman suffered a broken collarbone in the hard crash. Chris Fetter hopped the right rear of Casey Buckman's car in turn four and found himself crashing hard into the Armco barrier before landing back on the track. In days gone by that one could have been much more serious for anyone on the other side of the fence as we believe he would have cleared the old fencing and wound up in the pit area. Even though the rivets were popped in one of the seams and a half hour was needed for repairs it could have been much worse. The new improvement already had paid for itself in terms of human injury not occurring. Fetter suffered a deep cut on his knee that required stitches but as we said it could have been much worse. The third flip of the LCR was on the final lap exiting turn four when Dave Berkheimer tried to pass Patrick Lawson for the last qualifying position with Berkheimer going end over end twice and Lawson stopping and not making it to the finish line. Tommy Nichols of Tampa, FL was the recipient of the gift last pass into the main event. Berkheimer was OK after his big ride. Kyle Steffens won the LCR over Davey Ray, Terry Babb, Casey Buckman, Travis Welpott and Nichols. This race took almost an hour to complete.

    The 15 lap UMP modified feature would take to the track next taking the green flag at 8:50. It was a competitive race with Brian Shaw holding off all attempts by Will Krup to score the win at 9:07 with Tyler Weiss third, Adam Strickler fourth and Derek Groomer advancing from 13th to finish 5th.

    Now it was time for the 100 lap Sumar Classic which had not been run since 2018 with Justin Grant the defending champion. The front row of Kody Swanson and CJ Leary brought the 27 car field to starter Tom Hansing's green flag at 9:30 as Brian Tyler was the 27th car using a provisional to join the field and in the process became the all time USAC Silver Crown starter making his 202nd career start in the division surpassing Dave Darland and Russ Gamester. Tyler would end up 22nd in the final rundown. Surprisingly CJ Leary in the Klatt #6 assumed the lead from Swanson and would pace the field for the first 45 laps of the race. The first 17 laps would be green until Tommy Nichols stopped in turn four to bring out the first caution. Caution laps would count for the first 75 laps of the 100 lap event. Leary would bound out front again on the restart with Swanson and Justin Grant in pursuit. Lap 22 would see Emerson Axsom, making his SC debut in the Nolen #20, a car his father had driven at one time, move into 14th after starting last when the Nolen car had problems firing and then continuing to run which was worked out before the field went green. Jerry Coons Jr. in the Bateman #55 was another man on the move advancing from 12th into the top five by lap 28 with sixteenth starting Brady Bacon in the Five Three entry moving to 7th on the backstretch on lap 29. A scary moment occurred on lap 33 when Shane Cockrum pulled to the work area on the homestretch with a fire in the cockpit area with the Chief already climbing out of the roll cage before the car came to a stop. Cockrum was OK after the flareup was extinguished. One lap later Grant found his way around Swanson for second as Axsom continued his march forward cracking the top ten on lap 35. Coons passed Buddy Kofoid also making his rookie appearance in the Lein #97 and running in the top five for fourth on the backstretch on lap 43. Grant caught and passed Leary for the lead in turn one on lap 45 as Kofoid was flying moving into second moments later. Leary began to slow noticeably on lap 47 as his right rear tire was deflating and he pulled to the work area where he lost two laps under caution. Axsom was ninth on lap 48 and Bacon was up to 5th at the same time.

    The field took the halfway mark under caution with Grant leading Kofoid, Swanson and Logan Seavey in the Rice #22 with Bacon 5th. Bacon worked his way past Seavey for fourth going down the backstretch on lap 55 as the defending USAC sprint car champion was turning up the wick. Kofoid meanwhile was all over Grant for the lead and dove low in turn one and slid by Grant on lap 58 to assume the lead. The action was fast and the pace was furious as Kofoid sailed away from the pack behind. Coons motored by Grant for second moments later with Axsom and Bill Rose having a fine run from 16th to 6th having a fine battle for that spot. Axsom took it on lap 59 but Rose was not done and reclaimed it moments later. Axsom slipped back by on lap 64 and Rose returned the favor on lap 72. Coons was gaining on Kofoid as the leaders encountered lap traffic but a bobble off of turn two by Coons lost him the ground he had gained. Kofoid opened over a three second lead as the race moved into the 80's. It looked like a big upset was in the making as Kofoid continued to pace the field. Suddenly a bar broke on the right front of the Lein #97 with the shock working loose sending Kofoid hard into the turn two wall on lap 86 with the youngsters rolling over in the process. How suddenly the fortunes of a race can change. This would hand the lead over to Jerry Coons Jr. who had not won a Silver Crown race in 8 years with 14 laps to go. Coons was a rabbit on the restart and retained the lead as the laps clicked off. With 10 to go Grant was starting to reel in Coons and the race was on again. Grant made a move on lap 96 diving low in turn three and pulling alongside Coons but was unable to sustain the move. One lap later Kyle Robbins running seventh slowed on the backstretch bringing out the yellow which Coons did not want to see as it seemed Coons car was starting to drift high in turns one and two because of possible tire wear. On the lap 97 restart Coons got a good restart but Grant closed racing down the backstretch diving between the rail and Coons in turn three and sliding high in turn four with the lead in his hands. Grant opened up several car lengths on Coons who looked to be in trouble of losing the second position but closed the door on a Bacon move in turns one and two to retain second. The remaining three laps were spun off with Tom Hansing waving the double checkers at 10:26 with Justin Grant scoring back to back Sumar Classic wins four year apart. Coons would finish a disappointing second with Bacon coming home third, Seavey fourth and Axsom in his maiden voyage copping a fine fifth at the finish. Bill Rose would lead the second five across the line in a fine run in sixth with Swanson seventh, Carmen Perigo eighth, Terry Babb ninth after starting 22nd and CJ Leary rounding out the top ten.

    It was a very good race run on a track surface that held up well considering a stiff wind was blowing all day from west to east at 15 to 25 mph which can play havoc on a racing surface it produced minimal dust and was somewhat choppy but that was due to all the rain the last couple of days. Good job to the new promoters and thanks for all the improvements and look forward to returning several more times this year to the Action Track.

    That's it for this typical weekend with some local racing and a venture into Illinois on Saturday for some POWRi midget action. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Hopefully since it is now May it will start to warm up some!!! Comments, news and other tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing them to you as much as you enjoy reading them. Take care and be safe out there.

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Bloomington USAC Run Comes Up Short



    Friday, April 29 – All week long we monitored the weather for Bloomington and the prognosis did not look good. When we awoke on Friday the predictions had vastly changed for the better with a high of 9 per cent possible rain for Friday evening. So at 4 PM it was southbound on Rt. 231 with a full tank of gas in the Rogue down to Spencer. A left onto Rt. 46 past McCormick's State Park and into the Bloomington area for USAC National sprint car racing on the red clay high banks of Bloomington Speedway. A three division program was on tap for the evening with 35 USAC sprints joined by 13 Racesaver 305 winged sprints and 21 hornets for the night of racing action.

    It was the Larry Rice Classic for the USAC boys tonight with time trials kicking off at 6:49. When it was all said and done at 7:09 Jake Swanson spun off the quickest time with a lap of 10.931 seconds around the mile oval. The USAC sprints would run four heats with Brady Short scratching for the evening leaving us with 34 cars. Kyle Shipley of Arizona in the Michael Dutcher #17GP collared the first heat win holding off Justin Grant, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. Jake Swanson was forced over the first turn banking and restarted at the rear missing the transfer position by one at the finish. Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74 claimed heat two besting Chase Stockon, CJ Leary and Brady Bacon. Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #47 looked strong in heat three winning over Robert Ballou, Carson Short in the Epperson #2E (Tony Epperson painting the new fencing at Terre Haute) and Max Adams in the Gass #17G. The fourth and final heat fell to Brandon Morin in an impressive run beating Ricky Lewis in the Stensland/Haley #41, Kyle Cummins and Logan Seavey.

    The Racesaver 305 sprint cars were next up with two heats for their 13 car field with Ethan Barrow passing John Paynter Jr. for the win with Ryan Tusing third. The second heat fell to Jordan Welch over Rod Henning and Blayne Ridgley. The USAC sprint car B main was called to the track next as a storm front had formed to the west and was moving in and was run before the first hornet heat. Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati #66 prevailed in this one fending off Zach Daum, Jake Swanson, Carson Garrett, Brayden Fox and Braxton Cummings. Tanner Thorson and Jadon Rogers would have to use provisionals to increase the starting field to 24.

    One hornet heat would be run to allow the B main cars to prep for the main event and the hornets were not cooperative as several times they flew off the various corners and finally were waved off the track as the sprinters gathered in the chute to be pushed off for the 30 lap main event. The weather people had predicted 9 PM as the start of the rain and wouldn't you know it probably for the first time this year they were right!!! As the sprinters circled the track under yellow the rain began falling lightly and picked up in a next few minutes. The cars were sent to the pit area as the crowd headed toward the exit and their cars. After sitting in the Rogue for 30 minutes with the rain still coming down lightly the decision was made to postpone the features to a future as of yet undetermined date. It was a disappointment but we don't believe that there is anything else they could have done to have moved the show along any quicker. It is just one of those things where you cannot control mother nature and sometimes she wins and on other times we prevail as the show gets in. You will have this when you go racing no matter where it might be.

    That's it for this segment and check back Monday as we look forward to attending the opener at the Action Track in Terre Haute where the new promotional team of Scott Ronk, Bernie Stuebgen and Reece O'Connor host their first race at a track where they have made many improvements to one of the most historic tracks in Indiana and also in the United States. In the meantime get out there in your area and support some good short track racing and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our column and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.




     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Good Night Of Racing At Lincoln Park

    Well, it's been quite a while since we have reported on any racing that we attended since February. We have been to two races in Arizona, one in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey in the interim but none of the racing involved sprint cars or midgets so no reports.

    Adding to the woes was the fact my brother, Bob, had quadruple heart bypass surgery in late March and I traveled to New Jersey to take care of him. I spent nearly four weeks there before returning this Saturday just in time to unpack the luggage and load the canvas folding chairs into the Rogue and head south on Rt. 231 to beautiful downtown Putnamville to attend the races at the Lincoln Park Speedway.

    Saturday, April 23 – It was a joy to pass below the track on Route 40 and see the large concrete grandstands up on the hill in Putnamville as we pulled into the back road to proceed to our parking spot on the side of the hill with the cemetery in our rear view mirror. On tap tonight was a five division program consisting of wingless sprints (18), UMP modifieds (13), winged 305 sprints (15), super stocks (17) and bombers (17). The car count was lower than usual for LPS but that was due to the new competition of Paragon Speedway now running on the same night and paying $2000 to win the wingless sprints. Looks like the Spikers are going to have to up their game and put more money into the purses of all the divisions to draw some of the defectors back to Putnamville.

    The high temperature (85) and the wind blowing all day long at 10 to 20 mph played havoc on the surface especially turn two where it was slimy and the track crew had a difficult time working it in causing a 45 minute delay in the start of the racing action. Brian Hayden's rough night began in hot laps as he was fast but caught the backstretch berm the wrong way and ending up going end over end two times before landing upside down on the track. He was OK after the wild ride and his crew went to work to repair the torn up sprinter.

    The wingless sprints would kick off the action running two heats for their 18 on hand with Sebastopol, California's Geoff Ensign, the new pilot of the Burton #04 capturing heat one over Travis Berryhill, Tye Mihocko, the new shoe in the Paul #24P, and Alec Sipes. The second heat fell to Brent Beauchamp besting Brayden Fox, Brandon Spencer and Nic Harris. The UMP modifieds were next up for their two heats with Andy Sherley and Tyler Loughmiller winning the heats. Two heat races would be contested for the 305 sprinters with John Paynter Jr. scoring heat one over Keith Langley and Rod Henning. Hamersville, Ohio's Justin Clark took down heat two beating Jeff Wimmenauer and Roman Gephart. The 17 super stocks spun off three heats while the bombers had two competitive heats to round out the qualifying. No B mains were needed so it was right into the five feature events.

    The 25 lap wingless sprint car feature was brought to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:07 by the front row of Travis Berryhill and Brent Beauchamp. Berryhill would jump into the early lead and pace the field until the backstretch of lap two when Geoff Ensign charged by to take the lead. Tye Mihocko who started fifth caught and passed Berryhill on lap six to take second and took up the chase of Ensign. Ensign and Mihocko locked up in an intense battle for the lead swapping the lead back and forth until the red waved on lap 14 when Brian Hayden who got the car repaired from his hot lap flip rolled his #2H in turn two ending his frustrating evening with more work to do at the shop. On the restart Mihocko grabbed the lead between turns three and four with Ensign battling back to regain the lead the next lap around. Mihocko returned the favor on lap 16 and looked like he might have this one in the bag. But Ensign had other plans and tracked down Mihocko taking the lead back on lap 20. Ensign was not to be denied over the remaining five laps and flashed under the checkered flag at 9:25 for his first win in Indiana to the delight of the good crowd on hand. Mihocko would bobble off turn four allowing Brent Beauchamp to slip under Tye to grab second at the line with Mihocko third, Alec Sipes in a good run to claim fourth and Travis Berryhill rounding out the top five.

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda and produced a good race for the top spot with Tyler Loughmiller, the DePauw University student at nearby Greencastle, besting Rob Brickert and Will Bennett for the win.

    The 20 lap 305 sprint car feature would take the green at exactly 10 with John Paynter Jr. taking full advantage of his first starting position blasting into the lead and opening up a good lead and even though there were four cautions each time Paynter pulled away on the restarts. Rod Henning charged from fifth to second at the finish but was later disqualified for a rules infraction and placed last with Justin Clark awarded second with Ethan Barrow who had mechanical problems in hot laps and started 15th and last in the feature was third with Ryan Tusing placing fourth and Jeff Wimmenauer rounding out the top five. It was 10:15 with two features to go so we decided to call it an evening and head back up the road satisfied with the three good feature events we had witnessed.

    That's it for this report but check back next weekend where a three night racing weekend is on the docket. Hopefully the weather will cooperate as the month of April has been very unpredictable and everyone is ready for the warm weather to stick around. In the meantime plot your own calendars and get out there and see some good short track racing in your area or take the show on the road. Take care and thanks for reading our efforts and hope that you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy writing them for you.

     

     

      A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Axsom Is The Real Deal With 2nd USAC Sprint Win At BRP



    Saturday, February 19 – The last night of our Florida vacation race tour would be spent in the Ocala area before heading about and hour and twenty minutes north to position ourselves for a long 12 hour drive home on Sunday. The Bubba Raceway Park was hosting the USAC National sprint cars in night three of Winter Games XIII along with the UMP modifieds this year. Thirty eight sprint cars returned for the final night of the three race series at Bubba while twenty UMP modifieds joined them for the last evening. The format would be different tonight with no time trials for the sprints but instead the top five drivers based on points awarded the first two nights were automatically locked into the 35 lap main event, which was only the second time USAC sprints have run for 35 laps and technically it was the first time as the last one in May of 2006 at Anderson Speedway was shortened by rain. The five drivers locked into the feature event were Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins. The remaining 33 drivers and cars for tonight would run in three eight lap qualifiers with the top four moving on to the big dance and the qualifier winners joining the locked five in a fast dash with the finish determining the first four rows of the main event. The others would run a C main or a B main with the top five from the B main joining the back of the A main.

    With that all explained and I hope no one is confused at this moment we will move forward into the actual program at hand. Shane Cottle who has given the Tim Hogue #39 some fine runs during the week with both sanctioning bodies took down qualifier #1 over Brady Short, Landon Simon and Jason McDougal. Qualifier #2 was claimed by Carson Short besting Brady Bacon, Shane Cockrum and Braxton Cummings who has surprised many in Florida with some good qualifying runs. Qualifier #3 was won by Jake Swanson over Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson and CJ Leary. The modifieds ran their three heats non-stop and the sprinters came back with their C main won by Josh Turner over Robert Bell, Jack Hoyer, the 16 year old micro & mini sprint grad from Frankfort, IN in one of the DCT-Crow/Bodine entries and Jeremy Kerzman. The next order of business was the six lap fast dash with the five locked in drivers and the three qualifier winners. What didn't make sense to me and others around us was why did all eight drivers participate in drawing for starting positions in the dash instead of the top five drawing for positions 1-5 and the qualifier winners drawing positions 6-8?? Seems that a couple of the teams that were locked in questioned this also on Twitter as it seems to me and the teams that the top five locked in should start in the top five positions as a reward for being the best over the previous two nights. Anyhow Kyle Cummins went on to win the dash over Chase Stockon, Carson Short, Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Shane Cottle and Jake Swanson.

    The B main was captured by Robert Ballou who has struggled in the last two nights flipping his primary car on Friday beating Logan Seavey, Jadon Rogers, Alex Bright and Matt Westfall. Allentown PA's Briggs Danner miss the big race by one position as he tried everything to find a way around one of the toughest drivers to pass, Matt Westfall, including riding his right front wheel up on the homestretch wall but unlike Charles Davis Jr. earlier in the B keeping it on all fours and continuing. Maybe the decision to not run on Friday because the team was penalized for not joining their qualifying group (by only 20 seconds) on time and loading their sprinter for the evening could have cost them in the long run as they would have started up further up in their qualifying race and might have made it earlier in the night. Going back to Davis he rode his right front tire up on the homestretch wall which turned him sideways and into a series of rolls ending up past the starter's stand but he climbed out quickly after the jolting ride.

    Track prep was performed before the field was lined up with Southern Indiana's finest in Kyle Cummins and Chase Stockon bringing the 22 car field to starter Michael Heath's green flag at 10:28. Stockon jumped into the early lead over Cummins. The front two went side by side for several laps battling for the top spot. Finally Stockon edged ahead with Cummins and fourth starter, Emerson Axsom in his tire tracks. And behind the top three the battles raged with many positions contested with three wide racing throughout the field. Axsom looked for ways around Cummins and finally on lap eleven found the opening on the inside of turn two to grab second away from him. Tanner Thorson was eating up large amounts of real estate working his way from 14th into the top five around the halfway mark. Around lap twenty Axsom began to find the middle to his liking and edged closer to the high side riding Stockon who noticed the front of Axsom's machine in his view of vision and adjusted to the low side to protect his lead as the caution then waved when 8th and 9th running Robert Ballou and Jake Swanson banged wheels on the homestretch with Swanson suffering front end damage and ending his evening early. Swanson was not happy with Ballou after the incident and faked throwing his steering wheel at Ballou when he passed by. Swanson's racing may have ended early but his action did not as the two resumed their “discussion” in the pit area after the checkered had waved. An unconfirmed KO was the result of the “discussion” between the two with Ballou the victor. Might have been a payback in Ballou's mind when the two touched going three wide down the backstretch the previous night with Ballou taking the wild ride barrel rolling five times in the accident. Seems to be a good time for USAC to step in and have a real discussion with the two.

    On the restart Stockon went back to the point with Axsom in hot pursuit. Axsom went to the top on lap twenty two with Stockon coming off the bottom to counter. This allowed Justin Grant and Tanner Thorson an opportunity to close on the front two. With nine to go Axsom found the bite on the inside of turns three and four and moved by Stockon to grab the lead. Thorson disposed of Grant for third a lap earlier and with eight to go dove low off turn four to motor into second and take up the chase of Axsom. With five to go Shane Cottle slowed to a stop and the field was regrouped. Axsom hit the loud pedal on the ensuing restart and blasted to a commanding lead leaving the field in his wake. Thorson tried to wheel him in but Axsom was determined to prove that Friday was not a fluke taking the checker at 10:48 besting Thorson with Stockon third after being challenged in the last two laps by Grant with the two rubbing wheels as they raced to the line with Stockon prevailing and Grant steaming after brushing the homestretch wall. Grant drove fast after the checker flew to pull alongside Stockon and swerved toward Chase to show his displeasure. Another instance of a long memory as in the fall of 2021 racing for the lead at Terre Haute on a restart Grant jacked up Stockon's rear end causing him to slide high in turn one allowing Grant to motor past and onto the win. Two famous quotes come to mind on this one and they are “Paybacks are a bitch” and “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword”. And while we are at it how about “If you dish it out, you got to be able to take it also”. Enough said!!! Brady Bacon finally had a decent run at Bubba in 2022 finishing fifth after starting tenth. His high watermark was the fine second he recorded in the Xtreme Outlaw sprint race on the final night at Volusia finishing second to T-Mez. The second five was led to the finish by Buddy Kofoid with Logan Seavey advancing from 19th to 7th with Robert Ballou from 18th to 8th, Carson Short ninth and Shane Cockrum rounding out the top ten.

    The racing tonight was good and the track was about right in quiet the critics from afar.

    That's it for a few weeks as Arizona for a short “baseball” vacation (short because we may not see much) before we picked it up again in early April. Until next time get the warm clothes out if you are planning to visit Lincoln this weekend (don't think it is going to happen) or sharpen the pencils to write in your 2022 schedule on the calendar. Remember as Jake Swanson said after using a slider on Saturday night to win his qualifier over a perturbed Thomas Meseraull, “Slide or Die”. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and in the meantime stay safe and keep warm. And thanks for reading our column and for the support you show us.
     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Grant's February Dominance At Bubba Continues With Friday Night Win



    Friday, February 18 – Night two of the Winter Games for the USAC National Sprints would take place tonight at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. A stop at Ford's Garage in Celebration for lunch produced a fine meal of pulled port nachos, a large Ford's original burger and burnt end brisket melt for the two of us. The next order of business was to head north on the Florida Turnpike to Ocala area for Friday night under the lights at Bubba Raceway Park. Little did we know a long night was ahead of us. The surface was in better shape than the night before as the sprinters pushed off for time trials at 7:14. Just 16 cars into time trials it began to rain shutting down the activities as everyone in the stands headed for cover. It would be nearly a three hour rain delay that incurred before time trials commenced from the top at 10. This is another example for major racing groups to have a backup plan in place for a weather delay. It seems silly to me to have time trials at 10 PM. Maybe scratch time trials at this point and go to a heat only plan with a draw for starting positions and a passing point procedure to determine the top 16 to lock into the main event with another six taken from a B main. Just a thought. Anyhow time trials completed by 10:31 with Kunz driver, Buddy Kofoid, picking up his first career fast timer award to the tune of 14.100 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval.

    The track was fast as the first of four heat races taking the top four directly to the A main went green at 10:56. Kyle Cummins was able to fend off Buddy Kofoid to win heat one with Logan Seavey third and Braxton Cummings putting it in the field for the first time. Brady Short wheeled the Edwards #61M to victory in heat two besting Brady Bacon, Steve Irwin and Carson Short. Tanner Thorson motored to the front in heat three to secure the win over Justin Grant, Alex Bright and Jason McDougal. The fourth heat would fall to Thomas Meseraull who's victory lane interview was out of line criticizing the track surface (don't know what they were suppose to do after a 3 hour rain delay) and wonder if Robert Ballou made the same statement would there have been any flack from USAC officials. Just asking!! Matt Westfall, Emerson Axsom and Chase Stockon trailed T-Mez. Heat racing for the sprints was completed by 11:23 with three heats for the 17 UMP modifieds on hand over by 11:37.

    The sprint car C main was next in line with Alex Banales making a last lap pass of Jeremy Kerzman to win this one with Josh Turner and Jadon Rogers joining the top two to move into the B main. The B main turned into a wild affair as first Robert Ballou took a wild ride down the backstretch into turn three after a three wide battle for the lead with cars touching and Ballou rolling five times before coming to a stop right side up with Ballou quickly exiting the wrecked sprinter. He started to run across the infield with helmet in hand and many thought he was going to “talk” with one of the drivers involved in the incident but instead he was rushing to get back to the pit area to prepare his backup sprint for the 30 lap feature event as he would use a provisional to make his 400th career USAC National sprint car start. A four wheeler met him at the pit gate and wheeled him back to his pit stall to prepare the backup for the feature. We were not done flipping yet in this one as shortly thereafter Charles Davis Jr. got into the side of fellow Arizona driver, Kyle Shipley, sending him rolling several times in turn two with Mario Clouser also involved and rolling over also. Shipley visited Davis' car to discuss the incident before heading back to the pit area. Finally when things settled down it was CJ Leary taking the B main win over Jake Swanson, Shane Cottle who would make his 300th career USAC National sprint car start, Kory Schudy, Landon Simon and Shane Cockrum. All prelims were in the books by 12:37 and the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature was next on the racing docket. It was a tick before 1 AM when the front row of Justin Grant and Carson Short brought the 23 car field to the green flag with Carson Short gaining the early edge. Short and Grant raced over the first two laps with Short holding the slight advantage. Lap three saw Grant motor low in turn two to take the lead away from Short. Short was not done yet as he regained the lead racing down the backstretch on lap four. Short bobbled in turn four allowing Grant the opportunity to go by Short into the top spot. These two drivers would pace the field over the first half of the contest until Short slowed on the homestretch on lap sixteen to bring out the caution. Short would go to the work area and return advancing back to eighth at the finish. Thursday's winner, Emerson Axsom, was now in second and in position to make it two in a row for the week as the green waved again. Fast timer, Buddy Kofoid, had other plans as he powered by Axsom for second in turn one on lap sixteen and took up the chase of Grant for the lead. Grant was up to the task and opened up a several car length as the race progressed. Lap twenty four saw Thomas Meseraull and Jason McDougal tangled in between turn ones and two while running seventh and eighth. T-Mez spun while McDougal slowed with a flat tire. As Meseraull sat against the outside wall Robert Ballou suffering though a tough night slid into Meseraull's sprinter with Ballou's car spinning around and contacting the wall also. The race restarted with Grant jumping back out front followed by Kofoid. With three to go CJ Leary lost power on the homestretch with Brady Bacon right behind and with no where to go Bacon smacked Leary in the rear end. The last restart saw Grant flawless going back to the lead and over the last three laps would easily hold off Kofoid for the win with Axsom third, Chase Stockon coming from 11th to 4th and Tanner Thorson from 9th to 5th. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Cummins in sixth, Jake Swanson seventh, Carson Short rebounding to eighth, Logan Seavey ninth and Shane Cottle nailing down tenth with the checker waving at 1:23 with a UMP modified feature still to go.

    Grant has now won three out of four races held at Bubba Raceway Park this year and has to be the favorite for Saturday nights big finale. This win for Grant was #29 of his USAC sprint career moving him into sole possession of 18th place on the all time list now ahead of some big names in USAC history, such as Don Branson, Levi Jones, JJ Yeley and AJ Foyt. The top five in points after the first two nights that are locked into the Saturday main event are as follows: Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins.

    Check back on Monday for the final night report as we make our way back starting tonight after the races and hope to be home by Monday. Until then enjoy your racing on the different streams or get out to an indoor race or ice race in your area. Comments, news or stories can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the nice comments from many of our readers. Take care, be safe and stay warm.


     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Axsom Takes Career First USAC National Sprint Win At Bubba



    Thursday, February 17 – Today was a glorious day of warm weather and plenty of sunshine with temperatures pushing 90 and by far the nicest day we have spent so far in the Sunshine State. The destination tonight was the Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida where the USAC National Sprint Car Series would be contesting their season opener but before we settled in at Bubba it was a stop at Sam's St. Johns Seafood House for a delicious meal with Dale O'Brien and Allan and Nancy Brown. From there we ventured over to the track and settled in for a night of racing joined by Pennsylvania residents Rich Watts and Bing Metz. It was the first time since we have been down here I did not have to wear a sweatshirt also.

    On tap tonight were the USAC National sprints with a grand total of 43 sprint cars joining the UMP modifieds who brought 20 cars to the affair including David Reutimann and Kenny Wallace. Single car time trials for the sprint cars commenced at 6:52 and by 7:26 Justin Grant was being interviewed by Kristy Bemmes on the homestretch after setting the fast time ripping off a lap of 13.959 seconds around the 3/8 mile avocado shaped dirt oval. By 7:55 we were ready to go with the first of four sprint car heats with Justin Grant powering from sixth to capture the first heat win in impressive style over Shane Cottle, Tanner Thorson and Chase Stockon. Brady Bacon, the very consistent and defending USAC point champion scored the win in heat two over Buddy Kofoid, Emerson Axsom and Brady Short in the Edwards #61M. Robert Ballou looked strong in heat three winning this one over Charles Davis Jr., Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. The fourth and final heat fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Chris Dyson #20M beating CJ Leary, Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati #66 and Brandon Mattox. Three UMP modified heats followed before the sprints returned for their C Main.

    The top four from the C main would join the rear of the B main with Dustin Clark recording the win over Jadon Rogers, Steve Irwin and Alex Banales in the second Baldwin #5. The B main was next on the agenda with Kyle Cummins cashing in the win over Carson Short, Landon Simon, Mario Clouser, Jake Swanson and Wesley Smith with Logan Seavey coming one spot short of qualifying and used a provisional to join the field along with Jadon Rogers. At this point after good, close racing in the heats, C & B the track was rubbered up. Track maintenance was attempted at this point but it was to no avail as the track was too far gone so you knew the feature was not going to be that competitive.

    At 10 PM the front row of Jason McDougal and Emerson Axsom brought the 24 car field to the green flag. Axsom raced side by side with McDougal into the first two turns and down the backstretch until taking the lead for good in turn three. Lap five saw Brady Bacon make a rare miscue sliding sideways in turn three while running fifth with sixth running Robert Ballou with no where to go plowing into his side straightening Bacon who never stopped but Ballou was not so fortunate. Three laps later Bacon again lost the handle and spun in turn four. The middle portion of the contest saw the caution and red wave another four times with the most serious incident being when Wesley Smith caught the backstretch wall on lap 13 and flipped several times ending up in turn three. After several minutes Smith climbed from the sprinter to the relief of the crowd. From this point forward it wasn't much of a race as it was a skill contest to conserve your tires and hit your marks as the field mostly went low to protect their position. Axsom continued to pace the field with McDougal and Meseraull riding right behind him. Buddy Kofoid was the exception to the rule as he began to steer the repaired Keith Kunz sprinter (from an earlier in the week practice session here) forward. The defending USAC National midget champ who is also making the full fledged run at the USAC National sprint car title in 2022 began to pick off cars left and right. Buddy was working on Kyle Cummins for fourth as the checkered flag waved at 10:47 with 17 year old Emerson Axsom scoring his first career USAC sprint car win in only his eighth career start. He almost won the fall race at Lawrenceburg last year leading with four to go when he blew a tire so it was redemption time tonight in Florida. Its been 19 years since a driver won his first USAC sprint car race in the season opener. The last was Aaron Pierce in 2003 and the 11th in USAC history. (Thanks for the stat Richie Murray).

    McDougal rode home second in one of the KO Motorsports #5M with Meseraull third, Cummins fourth and Kofoid fifth. Fast timer, Justin Grant, started and finished sixth with Chase Stockon seventh, Carson Short eighth, Logan Seavey ninth from 23rd and Mario Clouser rounding out the top ten. Hopefully the right amount of moisture can be applied to the surface for tonight without causing a delay to the start of the races.

    That's it for this segment and check back tomorrow for night two of the Winter Games at Bubba Raceway Park and see who takes down the hardware in round two. In the meantime get prepared for your 2022 racing season as it rapidly approaches in other areas of this beautiful country and be safe and stay warm. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Eliason Rebounds To Win All Star Jean Lynch Classic At East Bay



    Tuesday, February 15 – Today it was off to the west coast of Florida and the second night of the All Star Circuit Of Champions sprint car series at the East Bay Raceway Park for the Jean Lynch Classic. But before arriving at East Bay a stop at Fred's in Plant City for their fine buffet featuring meat loaf as the daily special along with many other delicious entrees. Their strawberry shortcake is probably even better than Parksdale Farm Market.

    We arrived around 2:30, tied our blanket down in the wooden grandstand and ventured back to the speedway office to sign in. Inside was Miss Jean, the namesake of the Classic, and we chatted and wished her a belated birthday as her birthday was a few days earlier.

    Thirty seven All Star sprints were joined in the pit area by 13 mini sprints, a fine number for a filler class, to allow the sprints time to sort their cars out between heats and the B main and to not have down time or in broadcasting empty air time and keep the momentum and action going. Time trials were the first thing on the agenda for the All Star sprints commencing at 6:53 and wrapping up at 7:20. Danny Dietrich, the Pennsylvania runner, set fast time of 12.747 seconds for the evening. After a short break the first of four heat races for the sprints was taking the green flag at 7:44. Conner Morrell surprised the field by copping the first heat besting Dylan Westbrook, George Hobaugh, Cody Bova and Danny Smith in his Captain Jack Nowling inspired #66 in honor of the veteran car owner who passed away this past October. Anthony Macri made a daring last lap, last corner pass of Kerry Madsen to capture the heat win in heat two with Brent Marks third, Gio Scelzi fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. fifth. Heat three fell to winged newcomer, Chris Windom, outrunning Tyler Courtney, Aaron Reutzel, Dustin Gates and Danny Dietrich. The Law Firm, Parker Price-Miller, in a second McGhee #11 took down heat four beating Justin Peck, Wayne Johnson, Cory Eliason and Tim Shaffer. The heat races were fast and furious and spun off in good order. Two mini sprint heats followed won by Brian “Bubba” Hughes and Bruce Comer.

    The sprint car dash was the next order of business with an eight car field with the finishing order determining the front four rows of the main event. A draw was made for starting spots and Cory Eliason took advantage of his front row starting position to capture the win over Parker Price-Miller, Brent Marks, Dylan Westbrook, Chris Windom, Danny Dietrich, Anthony Macri and Conner Morrell. The last qualifying event would be for the sprints with a 15 car field for the B main with the top four moving into the feature event. Brian Bell would nail down the win chased by Ryan Smith, Tanner Thorson and Max Stambaugh. All qualifying was in the books by 8:57 and we only had the two main events to run.

    The 20 lap mini sprint feature was first up and took the green flag at 9 PM and would go non-stop in six minutes. Bubba Hughes took the lead from Bruce Comer right before the midpoint of the race and would lead the remainder of the distance outrunning Brandon Shaw and Doug Dyal to the finish. That set the stage for the 30 lap All Star sprint car Jean Lynch Classic with a $6000 payday on the line.

    By 9:26 the front row of Cory Eliason and Parker Price-Miller brought the 24 car field to the green flag with Eliason bounding into the early lead. The first of only two cautions would wave on lap seven when Brian Bell slowed to a stop in turn two. On the restart Eliason went back to the point with fourth starting Dylan Westbrook, a young Canadian upstart who raced ASCS 360 sprints the past two years, in his shadow. Tyler Courtney, last night's winner, was making headway from his ninth starting position up to third by lap eight and closing on the leaders. Aaron Reutzel's evening came to an early ending when he slowed to a stop in turn three to bring out the last caution on lap fourteen. Eliason continued to lead on the restart as Anthony Macri slipped by Brent Marks to crack the top five. The race for fourth heated up with Price-Miller and Anthony Macri swapping sliders and positions over the next five laps or so. It was the best racing of the feature. Eliason was not to be denied on this evening flashing across the line at 9:41 coming back after flipping in turn three the evening before nailing down his eighth career All Star win over an impressive Dylan Westbrook who fended off Tyler Courtney the entire race with Courtney third, Price-Miller fourth and Macri rounding out the top five. Justin Peck came home sixth with Kerry Madsen seventh, Brent Marks fading to eighth with two impressive performances turned in by the non-wing boys with Tanner Thorson motoring from 23rd to 9th and Kevin Thomas Jr. coming from 18th to 10th.

    It was a good feature go and the program was spun off in good order with everyone on the road home or to their hotels, motels or motor homes before 10 PM. Nice job, All Stars!!!

    That's it for this installment and check back Friday for the story on night one of the USAC National Sprints from Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. In the meantime get your race calendars together and plot your races for 2022. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Be good, stay safe and healthy and try to stay warm. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and continue to come back and check out our reports.

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Leary Triumphs In Inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Sprints At Volusia



    Monday, February 14 - Happy Valentine's Day to our readers.

    We write this column from a fan's perspective and always try to call it straight and not sugar coat things. The old saying that “You only get one chance to make a first impression” applies here and despite all the hoopla and buildup to the first race of the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Series the World Racing Group fell short of many people's expectations in their debut. First off when running a race you have to take into consideration the weather. The high on Monday reached 64 degrees and steadily dropped when the sun went down. The temperature before the start of the 25 lap feature (was suppose to be 30) was a bone chilling 39 degrees. To make people sit out in the cold for at least 4 hours in such cold weather to me is a total disrespect to the race fan. You have to remember that the race fan is the one you have to please the most and tonight they failed in this respect. Ending the first of two feature events at almost 11 PM is not acceptable. To not be able to adjust your schedule for cold weather and to insist on running three sessions of hot laps for the DirtCar modifieds consisting of four different groups in between the events is not good. Especially when these cars are not running as part of the show on this cold evening. A suggestion to run one session during the program and run another session after the last feature might be a better option in the future. Don't be so rigid in your race schedule to not change it when the situation rises. And to cut the sprint car main event by five laps because you are running late is not an acceptable option either. Ask Justin Grant what he might have done with that extra five laps and the hoopla that could have been created if he made a big challenge to CJ Leary at the end. Another suggestion is to give the Xtreme Outlaw Series the same respect you give the WOO sprints and if you know the track surface is going to get black and hard run the entire wingless portion first as you did the week before when the WOO sprints were in town. Enough said on this subject. Let's move on to the actual racing.

    On tap this evening was the first race of the newly formed Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car series and the UMP late models. A very good field of 37 sprint cars and 43 late models graced the pit areas. Time trials for the Xtreme sprint cars pushed off at 6:33 and were group qualifying with six sprint cars on the track at the same time racing around the mile oval for three laps in the same groups they would race their heats against. The times from these groups were used to line up the heat races inverting the top four for each heat and qualifying points awarded in each heat (similar to what is used in ASCS & POWRi) with the top sixteen in points locked into the main event. The remaining six would come from the two Last Chance Showdowns and these drivers would start behind the top sixteen according to their finishes in the LCS's to make for a starting field of 22 cars. We like the format that was used. Robert Ballou set fast time with a time of 16.783 seconds around the half mile oval. When is the last time you saw Ballou set fast time?? It has been quite a spell. But Ballou is good on the big tracks. The last time the WOO sprints ran wingless at Volusia was back in 1981 with Steve Kinser setting the fast time at 16.555 seconds which held up after all those years.

    The UMP late models would time trial three at a time and all time trials were completed by 7:15. The four Xtreme Outlaw sprint car heats would be first up with the green dropping on the first event at 7:34. Justin Grant would score the heat one win over Shane Cottle in the Tim Hogue #39 with Carson Short third and Mario Clouser fourth. Robert Ballou made a nifty early move to grab the lead and go onto win heat two over Brady Bacon in the Wedgewood #98, Charles Davis Jr. and Jake Swanson. The third heat was captured by a surprising Dustin Clark who has been inactive as of late but looked good in this one passing and beating Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati Racing #66, Mitchel Moles in a second Giles #13M and Logan Seavey. The fourth and final heat went to CJ Leary in the Michael #77M turning back Alex Bright, Dennis Gile and Chad Boespflug in the Benic #2B.

    Four late model heats would follow with hot lap sessions for the DirtCar modifieds mixed in before we returned to the sprint car Last Chance Showdowns. Thomas Meseraull who has struggled so far down here in Florida powered the Dyson #20M to victory in LCS#1 by a country mile over Briggs Danner and Chad Boespflug. The second LCS went to Ohio's Matt Westfall in the Marshall #33M over Wesley Smith and Brandon Mattox. The 22 car sprint car field was now set but first more modified hot laps and a break to spray water on the blackened track and attempt to use the sheep's foot to chop up the surface without too much success.

    The scheduled 30 lap Xtreme Outlaw Sprint feature was cut to 25 laps at this point probably because of the lateness of the evening with the initial green flag waving at 10:30. Third starting CJ Leary shot to the lead on lap two passing first starting Carson Short shortly before the red flag flew when Brady Bacon took a nasty ride into the turn one catch fence after climbing over the wheel of Dennis Gile who dropped a drive shaft and slowed dramatically in front of Bacon who had no where to go. Brady was OK after the wild ride but the Wedgewood #98 was done for the series with a bent frame. After starting fifth Justin Grant went backwards to seventh at the start and rode around fifth as he adjusted the shocks until he felt comfortable and began to move forward picking off cars in the latter stages of the race. He picked off Short for second on lap twenty one but ran out of time and laps as he closed on Leary. That extra five laps that was cut could have made for an exciting finish but we will never know!! Grant ended up second with Short third, Chase Stockon in a fine run advancing from 15th to 4th at the finish with Robert Ballou rounding out the top five with the checkered waving at 10:57. The second five was led across the line by Charles Davis Jr. with Alex Bright seventh, Jake Swanson eighth after starting 16th, Dustin Clark ninth and Shane Cottle tenth.

    We opted to get out of the cold and skip the 30 lap late model feature which went non-stop with Ricky Thornton Jr. winning.

    The first Xtreme Outlaw Sprint race was a disappointment to us and hopefully going forward they will realize that you need to prepare a totally different surface for non-wing racing than you do for the other WRG divisions as the followers of midwest non-wing sprints and midgets will not support their events on less than ideal track surfaces.

    Until tomorrow when we venture back to East Bay Raceway Park to take in the second night of the All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars be safe and try to keep warm wherever you are. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next in our travels on a typical weekend or weekday in some cases!!


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Grant Beats The Rain & The Field For Second Straight At Bubba



    Saturday, February 12 – We started out the day with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's but as we arrived at Bubba Raceway Park the weather forecast had taken a turn for the worst. Rain had crept into the forecast with a line of storms rolling across the northern part of the state with some forecasts of 70 to 80 percent during the early evening. We sat it out for a while until hot laps began and with the blankets already in place from last night did not have to worry about securing a seat.

    At 6:43 time trials were pushed off and by 7:01 Cannon McIntosh was sitting on the homestretch being interviewed after setting the fast time of the evening at 14.424 seconds around the 3/8 mile avacado shaped dirt oval. Drops of rain began to hit our sweatshirts as the first heat took the green flag at 7:23. Entering turn one on the first lap Brenham Crouch jumped the left front of Kevin Thomas Jr.'s mount and went into a series of rolls totally at least eight to ten times before landing back on the track surface with Corey Joyner sliding in and rolling over also. Crouch was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion while Joyner was OK. Two laps into the event the rain picked up enough to bring the yellow out as the midgets circled the oval. A few minutes later the decision was made to send the midgets to the pit area while the push trucks and other vehicles were called to the track to run in the surface and try to keep it race able. Around thirty minutes later the midgets were called back to the track with each of the three heats getting track time to adjust to the “new” surface after natural watering from above. Another fifteen minutes later the first heat was restarted with Bryant Wiedeman scoring the heat win over Kevin Thomas Jr., Mitchel Moles, Kaylee Bryson and Hayden Reinbold. Chase McDermand came back from a last night flip to register the heat two win besting Logan Seavey, Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid and Jade Avedisian. Rookie Jace Park won his first USAC midget heat race capturing heat three over Ethan Mitchell, Thomas Meseraull, Justin Grant and Dominic Gorden.

    The rain situation continued to hang over our heads literally as USAC officials scurried to push along the program as the two heats for the 10 three quarter modifieds were spun off. By 9 PM the 30 lap USAC midget feature was ready to rumble with the front row of Jade Avedisian and Justin Grant bringing the 21 car field to the green flag. Avedisian jumped to the early lead with Grant in pursuit. Lap 3 saw eighth running Thomas Meseraull drift high in turn three and catch the wall causing him to flip over several times before coming to a stop. During the delay the rain returned causing the race to be delayed again. During the stoppage Meseraull's RMS crew was able to repair the damaged midget with T-Mez returning to the tail of the field on the restart. On the restart Avedisian bounded back out front with Grant chasing. The track was super fast making passing at a premium as the cars raced around the 3/8 mile oval. Jade held sway through the first half of the race until encountering lap traffic on lap 19. Avedisian held the middle lane while Grant raced high entering turn one and dove low at that point with Grant and Avedisian touching wheels with Grant surging into the lead. Buddy Kofoid began to pressure Avedisian and with ten to go went low in turns three and four to pull even with Jade as they raced side by side down the homestretch. Kofoid edged ahead entering turn one and secured the runner up spot and took up the chase of Grant. With six to go exiting turn four Meseraull's rear axle snapped with the right rear wheel going underneath spinning him with the axle digging in and causing T-Mez to flip for the second time in the race. The right rear rolled the entire length of the homestretch almost reaching the rear bumper of leader Grant in turn one.

    On the restart Grant assumed the lead with Kofoid nipping at him sticking his nose alongside entering the corners on laps 25-27 with Grant edging ahead each time. At 9:47 the double checkers waved on Justin Grant for the second straight evening chased across the line by Kofoid, Avedisian, Emerson Axsom and Mitchel Moles. Grant after celebrating on top of his roll cage went down to Avedisian's mount to congratulate her on her fine run and gave praise to the young lady in his victory lane speech. A real nice gesture by a class act!! Tanner Thorson led the second five across the line followed by Bryant Wiedeman in seventh bettering his career high USAC finish by one with Taylor Reimer eighth, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Jace Park rounding out the top ten. We were lucky to get this one in and thankful that we did.

    Earlier in the day I was gutted when it was reported that Kevin Olson, two time USAC National Midget champion and five time Badger midget champion, was killed in a car crash on Friday night in Janesville, WI by an alleged drunk driver and his companion, Nancy, is in critical condition so I ask for prayers for her recovery. There are all types of irony in this story as Kevin died in a car crash the same as his buddy, Stan Fox, did and it happened in Stan's old town of Janesville. Also the alleged drunk driver was from Sun Prairie which is home to the Angell Park Speedway where both Kevin and Stan raced many a time. Olson was a truly colorful character who you couldn't help but laugh when seeing or hearing about his many escapades. Who else would claim to be a light bulb repairman or a shoe string re-tipper. A personal KO story was when Pat and I traveled to Venture for Turkey Night in 2016 and we encountered Kevin standing outside the front gate selling his book dressed in a trench coat. Upon stopping to say hello he asked and opened one side of his trench coat to see if we wanted to buy any of the Monica Lewinsky jewelry collection. When replying no he opened the other side and revealed about a dozen wrist watches and asked if we needed a Rolex!!! He was truly one of a kind and will sorely be missed in the racing world. If you want to lift up your spirits just Google Kevin Olson light bulb repair interview and watch the clip from 1987 where Larry Nuber interviews him on his new enterprise. But KO was not just a colorful character he was a great racer winning seven championships as mentioned above. He also won the prestigious Fireman's Nationals at Angell Park five times. KO also won Turkey Night at Ascot back in 1983 along with the 500 lap race at Indianapolis Speedrome in 1988. His last USAC midget win came at Terre Haute in 1996 winning the famous Hut 100. His last race triumph came at Angell Park in a Badger midget race in 2019 at the age of 68. RIP KO and thanks for the wonderful and funny memories.

    That's it for now but check back Tuesday as Volusia and the Xtreme sprint cars are on the dance card Monday. And in the meantime start working on your hit list for must see races in 2022. Stay warm and be safe out there. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for the kind comments and reading our efforts and letting us know you enjoy them. We try to give you a fan view of the different race tracks we visit and hope that it will inspire you to visit some of the great short tracks in the United States.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Grant Becomes First USAC Midget Winner Of 2022 At Bubba


    Saturday, February 11 – The traveling crew of Allan and Nancy Brown along with Pat and I left the timeshare in Celebration at 9:30 AM to make the 2 hour driver to Starke, Florida to catch the INEX legend cars and bandaleros running on the 1.8 mile, 14 turn road course at the Florida International Rally Motorsports (FIRM). He had a bit of trouble figuring how to enter the grounds as you had to push a button on a keypad at the entrance gate to enter the facility's grounds. This was a new track for us all and we congregated underneath a canopy trailer located off the final turn of the course and allowed us to see about half of the course. Feature racing was suppose to start at 12:30 but the first race did not begin until 2:30. The Young Lions legend cars ran six laps for their eight car field before two bandoleer classes ran their four lap features. The 11 semi-pro legend cars took the green flag at 3:20 and put on a good race with the top five running close together. By close to 4 PM the checkered waved and we bid farewell to trackchaser, Brian Dolphy, and headed south toward Ocala and first a stop at Sam's St. John's Seafood where we dined on a fine meal of various kinds of seafood delights.

    Saturday, February 11 – After dinner we headed about 2 miles down the road to Bubba Raceway Park, the avocado shaped dirt oval, where the USAC National Midgets (24) were running night one of two in their season opener along with the scale modifieds (10). Our good friend, Dale O'Brien, now a resident of Florida after spending many years living in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area arrived earlier and placed down blankets to reserve seats for us all.

    Time trials were the first order of duty commencing at 7:10 with Kevin Thomas Jr. driving one of Dave Mac's/Dalby #08's look like he would score his fourth straight midget fast time at Bubba Raceway Park but a late run by Tanner Thorson found him knocking Thomas from the top rung and recording his 24th career fast time tying him for 17th on the all-time list with Gene Hartley (thanks Richie Murray). The three USAC midget heats would follow with the first one taking the green flag at 7:55. The surface was in good shape and the midgets were flying around the odd shaped oval with 15 year old Jade Avedision in one of the Chad Boat entries outdistancing Buddy Kofoid, Thomas Meserall, Cannon McIntosh and Tanner Thorson to score the heat one win. Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 guided his missile to victory in heat two besting Dominic Gorden making his USAC midget debut, Kevin Thomas Jr., Brenham Crouch and Kaylee Bryson. The final heat of the night fell to Bryant Wiedeman in one of the Keith Kunz rides beating Justin Grant, Emerson Axsom, Ethan Mitchell and Jace Park to the finish. Chase McDermand took a nasty flip in turn four on the last lap of heat three bouncing off the catch fence before returning to the track surface. McDermand was OK after the wild ride but his midget was not quite so. All qualifying was competed by 8:29 including the modifieds with the midget B main scrapped and all 23 capable starters were added to the field.

    Cannon McIntosh and Justin Grant brought the 23 car field to the green flag at 8:47 with McIntosh assuming the early lead with fourth starting Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC in tow dropping Grant to third. Grant recovered quickly diving low in turn one and pulling alongside McIntosh racing side by side with him down the backstretch and taking the lead in turn three as the top five raced furiously in the opening laps. Grant led to lap 15 as he began to enter lap traffic with his lead shrinking. Axsom pulled to the rear bumper of Grant as the heavy lap traffic caused much congestion. Grant made a nifty move past another first time USAC starter, Frank Beck of Florida, with Axsom slowed momentarily. Tanner Thorson closed on Axsom but also encountered Beck and nudged him in the rear to move him over. With three to go Thorson challenged Axsom for second in turn two and his momentum carried him past Axsom for second in turn three. Racing to the checkered flag Grant crossed the line at 8:58 with Thorson coming across second but Axsom had a lap car tag his rear bumper in turn three sending him into the wall and a series of flips ending his fine run. Brenham Crouch raced from 11th to 3rd, a career high, with Thomas Meseraull 4th from 13th with Buddy Kofoid rounding out the top five. McIntosh led the second five to the finish with Logan Seavey home seventh, Bryant Wiedeman, the 2021 POWRi champion eighth, Ethan Mitchell ninth and Mitchel Moles tenth.

    This win was Grant's tenth USAC National Midget triumph and his fourth combined USAC win (midgets and sprints) at Bubba tying him with Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney for most wins at the 3/8 mile oval. Grant also became the 13th different driver to win an USAC midget opener on more than one occasion. Maybe more importantly in three of the last four years the opening night winner has gone on to win the point championship which could bode well for the Ione, California driver. Having the feature finish before 9 PM was welcomed by all who attended.

    Check back tomorrow for night two of the USAC National Midgets from Bubba Raceway Park and in the meantime get out your calendars and write in your race dates and get out there and enjoy the great sport of auto racing in your area when the openers happen. Comments can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where a typical weekend leads us in 2022. Take care and stay warm.


     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Welcome To Not So Sunny & Warm Florida


    Well, we arrived in not so sunny and warm Florida on Sunday, January 30th and would be staying in the Lake City, Florida area for the next week. The first two nights we spent at the Bubba Raceway Park watching Bubba perform his race track preparation magic (not) and taking in the Lucas Oil Late Models. Native New Yorker, Tim McCreadie claimed night one with the white hot Devin Moran, two wins and 4 seconds, in his first six starts claiming night two.

    We already suffered one cold out on the way through Georgia before moving onto All-Tech Raceway in Lake City for another three nights of Lucas Oil Late Model racing. Brandon Sheppard won night one at All-Tech with night two falling to the rain before Saturday's finale seeing recent birthday boy, Jimmy Owens, celebrating his 50th birthday in victory lane at the end of the 50 lapper. The Lucas Oil Late Model organization is the most finely tuned race organization bar none in the country producing good racing in a fan friendly program usually spinning their programs off in a two to three hour format. This is especially important for the paying fans sitting out in the cold to watch the races. In fact on the final night at All-Tech the late model feature was scheduled to start at 9 PM for live MAVTV but they posted on their Twitter account that incoming bad weather was coming so they were pushing up the starting time of the feature to 8 PM. By 8:46 the 50 lap late model feature was in the books and as we headed about 5 miles north on I-75 we ran into rain. Good job gentlemen!!!

    Monday, February 7 – We all always write about the Lucas Oil Late Models when they visit the Clay By The Bay at East Bay Raceway Park. Even if you are an open wheel fan you should come check out the late models before the tracks closes after 2024. Seventy late models towed into East Bay for night one of the Winternationals for the LOLM's. Time trials three at a time kicked off the night's activity at 6:10 and concluded at 6:58 with “Big Sexy” Brandon Overton clocking the fastest time with a time of 14.990 seconds. Next up would be six heats with the top three moving directly to the 30 lap main event. Two B mains would follow starting 24 & 23 cars respectfully with only two more to move onto the feature race. The last chance to get in on the evening was the Strawberry Dash with West Virginia's Matt Cosner grabbing the last qualifying position. Two provisionals would round out the 28 car starting field but tonight was a little longer than the normal program at East Bay as an hour of track prep was performed between the dash and the feature event but unfortunately it did little to help the surface which went black and slick.

    By 10:05 the green flag would drop on the main event with Brandon Overton powering into the early lead. Hudson O'Neal and Devin Moran trailed dropping second starter Dennis Erb Jr. back to fourth. Moran went to second and began to chase Overton. Meanwhile Dennis Erb regained his mojo moving back from fifth to second on lap 11. Erb charged by Overton for the lead in turn two on lap 19 as the crowd roared. Overton started to backpedal and was back to fifth but found something late on the top side motored back to second on lap 25 and began to challenge Erb for the lead. One lap later he caught the turn two wall and Overton's night was over early. Erb would fend off the challengers over the last four laps taking the final checkered at 10:27 for his first win at East Bay in seven years and also his seventh career win here and ninth career Lucas Oil Late Model win. Dennis Erb Jr. led Hudson O'Neal to the finish with Tim McCreadie climbing from eleventh to third with Shane Clanton advancing from 19th to fourth and Stormy Scott rounding out the top five.

    Tuesday, February 8 – It was a rainy day and night in Central Florida and both East Bay and Volusia Speedway Park threw in the towel early as the rain was not going to let up at all. Hopefully Wednesday will be dry and sunny to dry out the saturated grounds at both facilities.

    Wednesday, February 9 – Today the weather was beautiful with temperatures rising to 68 degrees and sunny. Hello Florida!!! It was off to East Bay Raceway Park for night two of the Wrisco Industries Winternationals where another 70 cars greeted us with about six or more of them different ones than on Monday. One notable no show on day two was Jimmy Owens. Tom Schmeh, former director of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Allan & Nancy Brown joined us on this evening. The standard format for three at a time time trials would be followed by six heat races qualifying three each with three B mains tonight taking the top two to the main event. Two provisionals would tag the tail of the field for the feature event. Time trials commenced at 6:33 and were in the books by 7:07 with Brandon Sheppard setting fast time at 14.980 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval. Heat winners were Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger, Devin Moran, Earl Pearson Jr. and Tim McCreadie and the heats were finished by 8:00. The three B mains followed before we were ready for the big 40 lap main event.

    The front row of Brandon Sheppard & Devin Moran brought the 26 car field to the green flag at 9:09. Sheppard would lead the first seven laps of the feature before Brandon Overton caught and passed him in lap traffic. Overton led until Sheppard regained the lead again on lap 13. Sheppard would retain the lead for the remainder of the race but the race behind him was furious with Ashton Winger, Tyler Erb and Tim McCreadie among others swapping positions. Hudson O'Neal and Kyle Bronson ventured to the high side and started to move forward passing many cars. Bronson had went to the pits early and returned so he charged from 26th to 4th at the finish. Ashton Winger continued to impress with another strong run to score his career high of second in Lucas Oil competition with Tyler Erb third, Bronson fourth and Ricky Thornton Jr. with another steady run for fifth. All activity was completed at 9:38 on a night that turned cool (two sweatshirt night) with the temperatures dropping to the low 50's and damp by the end of the racing.

    Thursday, February 10 - Our final night with the Lucas Oil Late Models at East Bay started out sunny and temperatures rising into the low 70's dropping down to the mid 50's during the course of the evening. Festivities kicked off at 6:36 with time trials and by 7:06 Brandon Overton was sitting on the homestretch after setting the fast time of 14.394 seconds. It was right into the six heat races for the growing 75 car field with the first heat going to Max Blair after Garrett Smith was DQ'd for the evening for an illegal spoiler after winning. Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Shirley, Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger and Tim McCreadie nailed down the other heat wins. Three B mains followed and all qualifying was completed by 8:45. We needed to take a 15 minute break until MAVTV went live at 9 PM. At the drop of the green flag at 9:24 Brandon Overton went to the point from his second starting position over third starting Earl Pearson Jr. Overton would proceed to lead the first half of the race. On a lap 21 restart Brian Shirley came out of nowhere to pass both Overton and Pearson to grab the lead with Brandon Sheppard following through for second. One lap later Sheppard marched into the lead from eighth and would not be headed though Pearson was in his shadow the entire remaining distance even sticking his nose underneath a few times but was not able to grab the lead. Some late runs using the high side by Kyle Bronson from 16th, Devin Moran from 9th and Hudson O'Neal from 17th made things interesting but when the checkered waved at 9:52 it was Sheppard home first for the second night in a row besting Pearson, Bronson, Moran and O'Neal. Tyler Erb deserves kudos motoring from 25th to 7th at the finish.

    Three good nights at East Bay come to an end as we move northward back to Bubba Raceway Park for night one for the USAC National Midgets at the Ocala oval shaped like an avocado.

    Until tomorrow start plotting your road trips for the 2022 season and keep warm if you are up north having to battle with the snow and cold. Any correspondence can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and as always thanks for continuing to read our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Bell Gets Belated Birthday Gift With Win At Southern Illinois Center


    Saturday, December 18 – The day started out early with an 8 AM Eastern time rise and a 9 AM departure for our four hour trip to southwest Illinois and the small town of DuQuoin. Why DuQuoin? Well, the USAC midgets were running a non-point race at the Southern Illinois Center and we wanted to be there to witness our last show of 2021. It would be #107 for me on the year and #106 for Pat. Before we made our way over to the Southern Illinois Center we visited downtown DuQuoin to eat at Alongi's, an Italian restaurant staple in DuQuoin since 1933. We had never eaten there and went on the recommendation of fellow Indiana Open Wheel member, Russell “Abe” Abrams aka mc/rider, who mentioned it in a pre-race post on IOW. Well, we are glad we dined there as Alongi's delivered the best Italian food we have tasted in years with reasonable prices to boot. And we ran into Abe and some of his traveling buddies while dining at Alongi's and Abe was kind enough to invite us to sit with his group as he already had blankets down and had extra room for us. Thanks Abe for the traditional Hoosier hospitality!!!

    After stuffing our stomachs at Alongi's we ventured over to the grounds of the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds where the Southern Illinois Center is located and secured a good parking spot hanging out in the car for a while until venturing in before 3 PM. Warmups for the six division show kicked off promptly at 3 and the first USAC midget heat of five for the Jason Leffler Memorial event took the green flag at 5:05. All the midget heats were good and competitive with Chad Boespflug back behind the wheel of a non-wing machine piloted the Jody Rosenboom #14X to victory in heat one over Christopher Bell behind the wheel of an RMS Motorsports entry numbered #7XT and Chase Howard. Heat two fell to California's Mitchel Moles hitting the loud petal in one of Dave McIntosh's #08M who have now combined forces with Dalby Motorsports. NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year, Chase Briscoe, finished second with Derek Doerr capturing third. Cannon McIntosh brought his dad's #08 home first in heat three on his 19th birthday defeating Chett Gehrke and Jake Neuman. Max Adams brought another of the black #37's home first in heat four besting Cory Eliason in one of two Rudeen mounts and Patrick Lawson. The fifth and final heat was claimed by Chance Crum in the second Rudeen steed beating Sam Johnson and Wyoming's Mark Chisholm. Thirty six cars with drivers from 14 different states competed in the heat races with qualifiers to follow.

    The other five divisions would run features only except for the non-wing outlaw 600's which would also contest a B main which seemed to take forever to spin off. The other division's features would be weaved in between the midget action which led to the situation of trying to stuff 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag scenario. Three of the features only took an average of 7 minutes to run but the non-winged outlaws took an unbearable 23 minutes to complete their 25 lap feature with eight cautions slowing the action. The problem was with all the six divisions pounding the dirt surface numerous track prep sessions were needed with the one between the non-winged outlaws and the midget feature taking nearly an hour to perform the track prep. In all the five features on the under card except one (junior sprints – winner from second) the winner came from first starting position. The first feature for the restricted class was 15 laps in distance with Steven Doss holding off the challenges of Collin Shain and Kameron Sneed for the win. The junior sprints would be taken by young Eli Holden and Daniel Robinson doing triple duty notched the 20 lap A class win over Aaron Skinner and Hunter Pruitt advancing the most positions of any of the five micro divisions coming forward from ninth to third at the finish.

    Then it was back to the four qualifiers for the midgets using the passing point format to determine the starting field for the 50 lap main event. Cannon McIntosh would capture the first qualifier from fifth beating Chase Briscoe who started sixth and Terry Babb. Qualifier #2 fell to Christopher Bell wheeling from fifth to defeat fourth starting Chance Crum and Jeff Schindler, a mini sprint graduate. Zach Daum nailed down qualifier #3 from second over Rylan Gray from fourth and Sam Johnson from fifth. The fourth qualifier went to sprint car driver, Jordan Kiner, at the keyboard of a second Briscoe entry, over sixth starting Mitchel Moles and Greg Mitchell, an Ohio sprint car driver.

    It was back to the micro features with the outlaw winged micros going 20 laps with James Scott dominating this one besting Chevy Boyer and Jake Cheatham. The 25 lap non-winged outlaws would be next up and they did not perform any better than their B main with eight cautions and 23 minutes of pain even though the finish was the best of the all evening with Brad Thompson edging Matt Veatch from fifth by inches after Veatch worked Thompson hard to try to pass him for most of the contest. Daniel Robinson rounded out the podium.

    Now it was finally time for the 50 lap USAC midget Jason Leffler Memorial with Chase Briscoe and Cannon McIntosh bringing the 20 car field to the green flag at 10:51. McIntosh powered into the early lead and would pace the field for the first ten laps. Bell slipped by Briscoe on the green to take second and take up the chase of another birthday boy. McIntosh's birthday was today and Bell's was a couple of days earlier. Lap traffic came into play at lap 10 and Bell was able to use it to his advantage to take the lead in turn three on lap 13. Chase Briscoe caught and passed McIntosh for second on lap 16 using the high side as Briscoe was running a strong race. Briscoe, McIntosh and the two Rudeen drivers, Cory Eliason and Chance Crum were duking it out behind Bell. Lap 18 saw Eliason loop his midget in turn three taking him out of the hunt. A seven car tangle in turn one on lap 19 brought out the caution again. Jake Neuman lost the handle in turn four on lap 22 to bring the action again. On the restart Bell gets a good jump and powers away over Briscoe. Neuman loops it in turn two on lap 26 for the second time to bring out another caution. One lap later Briscoe running second at the time spins in turn three by himself and takes any chance away of winning this one. Bell again assumes the lead on the restart with McIntosh in tow. The longest stretch of green flag racing was accomplished during laps 30 through 44 where Bell stretched his lead to over a second over McIntosh. Lap 44 saw the eighth and final caution appear when Rylan Gray running the race of his life in fourth lost the handle all by himself with Zach Daum caught up in the mishap while running fifth. McIntosh would get one more chance to challenge Bell for the lead but Bell was up to the task and pulled away by several car lengths over the final six laps. The double checkers would wave on Bell at 11:22 making him the eighth different winner in eight Leffler Memorials with McIntosh crossing the line second, Chance Crum turning in a fine performance to place third with ninth starting Sam Johnson completing a strong run taking fourth with Mitchel Moles rounding out the top five. Jordan Kinser would lead the second five placing sixth after starting thirteenth with Chad Boespflug seventh, Daum coming back for eighth, Chett Gehrke ninth and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top ten. It would be Christopher Bell's first USAC midget win in over three years and netted the Oklahoma native a cool $8000 in the process, not a bad birthday present to himself.

    It was a very long day and night of racing and with the hour time difference now with us being in Central time it was actually 12:22 on our body clocks. The 40 minute drive up to Mount Vernon found us arriving at around 1 AM Eastern time. In the future if they want to run this type of show in December they should run the micro portion completely on Friday and just run the midgets on Saturday. You know you ran too long when a fourth of your crowd exits the arena before the main event and the prospects of them returning the next time are slim. I'm sorry to say but this late show could negatively affect the Lauren Stewart promoted USAC midget program scheduled for March of 2022 at Southern Illinois Center even though she only has a total of two divisions booked for that show.

    That's the final effort for 2021 and the next race could either be from Florida or possibly a mid-January sprint car ice race from Michigan if they are able to get enough ice to safely compete on and the weather is good enough for us to make the long haul north.

    We would like to wish everyone who reads this column a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year with plenty of races in your future. Until next time be safe and stay warm. News, comments and any other tidbits of information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Leary & McDougal Triumph At Fall Festival Finale At Gas City



    Friday, October 22 – Friday was a pretty miserable day in Crawfordsville with a misty rain prevailing over the area the entire day before we left for Gas City in the late afternoon. Trans versing the back roads of Indiana in our trip to Gas City the weather was about the same for the majority of our trip with misty rain prompting the intermediate wipers with a few minutes of full wiper action during the two hour venture. Even in Fairmount, the home of James Dean, only about 15 miles south of Gas City the mist was still in the air. Jumping on I-69 for the last 10 miles of the trip the mist let up and upon turning into the entrance of the Gas City I-69 Speedway the grounds were dry.

    We love Gas City and the racing here and are appreciative of the fine job that promoter, Jerry Gappens Jr., has done revitalizing racing here but there are two things that he needs to watch out for or his crowds could dwindle in the future. The first of these two things are his posted starting times as we traveled to Gas City seven times in 2021 and we don't remember them ever having started at the posted starting time. This may seem trivial to some but Jerry and others need to remember that not everyone attending Gas City are within 20 or 30 minutes of the race track. We travel two hours one way to attend Gas City and like a good portion of the crowd that attends Gas City we are getting older. It is tougher every time if we leave the races at 11 PM to not arrive home until 1 AM on a Friday/Saturday trip. We don't know if racing at 7:30 means hot laps at 7:30 but hot laps are not racing so either state hot laps starting at 7:15 and racing to follow. Don't post racing at 7:30 and don't start your first heat race at 8 PM consistently!!! A good thing is that they always run the main class the wingless sprint cars first but there are some of us who like to see some of the other classes run before we depart for the evening. That leads to the second problem which is the event creep that has invaded Gas City. What we mean by event creep is the increase of the number of divisions running weekly there and we implore Mr. Gappens not to become another of the many back gate promoters in racing today and try to limit the number of divisions to three during a normal Friday night and no more than four for some other nights during the season.

    Tonight was another instance of starting late (after 8 PM) on a shaky night weather wise and four divisions to run with car counts of 37 wingless sprints, 27 Wisconsin WingLESS crate sprints, 23 non-wing micros and 21 USAC regional midgets in the pit area waiting to take their turn qualifying. The mist pushed north and during the heat racing for the wingless sprints and crate sprints the mist could be seen in the illumination of the track lights on the homestretch. It let up for a while but returned during the second micro heat (the last division to run heats) at 9:30 and the cars were waved off and we were in a rain delay. The mist turned heavy and by 10 PM management decided to pull the plug and reschedule the two sprint car classes for 3:30 PM starting with the three B mains and then the two sprint car features. It was a shame for the midgets and micros as they would not return for Saturday's action as the UMP modifieds, street stocks and hornets were scheduled to join the two sprint car classes for Saturday night.

    Heat winners on Friday before the postponement in the wingless 410 sprints were Brayden Fox, Isaac Chapple in the Slinkard #51, Mario Clouser and Shane Cockrum with Kyle Shipley flipping in turn four in heat one and Jake Swanson rolling lightly and restarting in the third heat. The Wisconsin WingLESS crate sprint heat wins went to Jake Kouba, Clayton Rossmann and Natalie Klemko.

    Saturday Afternoon, October 23 – The forecast for the day was much better and we traveled over to Ivanhoe's in nearby Upland for lunch and the heralded eatery did not disappoint with huge salads and tasty burgers and fries. They are known mostly for their huge selection of ice cream sundaes and shakes and my banana strawberry one was great with chunks of strawberries and slices of banana throughout the mixture. It was the highlight of the day.

    Again with the time factor, the 3:30 start came and went with the first 410 wingless B main taking the green at 3:55. With the posted starting time of the evening show scheduled for 6 you knew that was never going to happen. Maybe posting a more realistic 2 PM start for the completion of the afternoon show would have brought them closer to the 6 PM Saturday night start instead of the 7:34 program start that occurred.

    Braydon Cromwell outran Steve Irwin in the first 410 wingless B main with Jake Swanson capturing the second B main over Emerson Axsom. Ryan Marshall, the point leader with the Wisconsin WingLESS sprints, took down their B main over Ralph Johnson, Bryce Andrews, Michael Summers, Chance Giskowski and Lance Thompson.

    By 4:31 it was feature time for the 410 wingless sprints with Shane Cockrum and Brayden Fox the 20 car field to the green flag. Cockrum would go to the early lead but the caution would wave on lap one when Mario Clouser slid off of turn four. On the restart Cockrum assumed the lead but CJ Leary who started fifth in the Gray Auto #81 took the lead on the backstretch on lap two. Cockrum was not done yet as he battled Leary for the top spot taking it back at the line to start lap four. Robert Ballou was on the move from his sixteenth starting position up to eighth by lap eight while two laps later Anton Hernandez lost the handle in the second Gray Auto #81 and spun in turn two. Cockum went to the point on the restart in the Paul #24P with the field in tow. Ballou raced into sixth on lap thirteen as he continued his march forward. The caution waved again on lap sixteen when Ryan Thomas slid over the turn four banking to a halt. One lap later Thomas duplicated his move to bring out another caution. Cockrum was still out front with Leary applying pressure for the lead. Entering turn two on lap nineteen Leary attempted a slide job on Cockrum though not touching he forced Cockrum over the banking in turn two when Shane dropping back to fourth as Leary took the lead. Jadon Rogers and Scotty Weir slipped by Cockrum into second and third. Lap twenty saw Fox catch the homestretch fence and rolled over climbing out quickly. On the restart Cockrum passed Weir to take third but Weir came back on lap twenty two to regain the third position. Shortly thereafter Rogers running second at the time slid off the edge of turn four, caught the wall and rolled over ending his night prematurely. Leary led on the restart with Weir and Cockrum trailing. Coming for the white flag off turn four Cockrum passed Weir for second but ran out of time to challenge Leary for first. The checkered waved at 5:01 with Leary taking his second straight win in the #81 with Cockrum second, Weir third, Jason McDougal fourth and Steve Irwin across the line fifth after tangling with Ballou racing to the line with Ballou turning backwards and ending up 15th as his transponder never crossed the line but common sense should have prevailed as he slid across the line in sixth.

    The 25 lap Wisconsin WingLESS sprint car feature was the last item of the afternoon session taking the green flag at 5:11. There really was not much to report here as Jake Kouba stormed from third to the lead and lead the entire distance as the cars went huggy pole with anyone venturing up higher losing ground. On the last lap Clayton Rossmann tried to rout Kouba off the bottom but Kouba held his turf and crossed the line first at 5:21 followed by Rossman, Allen Hafford from seventh, Natalie Klemko and Greg Alt from ninth.

    Saturday Evening, October 23 – The car counts for the evening program were 38 for the 410 wingless sprinters, 28 for the Wisconsin WingLESS sprints, 20 for the UMP modifieds, 31 for the street stocks and 6 for the hornets. The first heat of the evening commenced at 7:34 featuring the 410 wingless sprints.

    Heat one fell to Scotty Weir besting Shane Cockrum, Emerson Axsom and Tyler Hewitt behind the key board of the Paul Hazen #57. Nathan Crane hit a tire in turn two and rolled over in heat one. Heat two saw a nasty incident involving Anthony D'Alessio and Jadon Rogers. D'Alessio had led the majority of the event until Robert Ballou passed him late in the race. As D'Alessio raced to the checkered flag off turn four he slid over the turn four banking losing second to Cole Bodine and third to Jake Swanson. As he attempted to return to the racing surface he clipped Jadon Rogers near the flag stand with Rogers crossing the line fourth but turning sideways and rolling several times toward turn one. D'Alessio also turned sideways past the starter's stand and went into a series of rolls and flips taking out the turn one traffic light before ending up outside of turn one just past the fencing. D'Alessio was taken to the hospital awake and his Twitter the next day showed a swollen and blackened left eye and another tweet said he had a concussion, bruised lungs, a crack in his spine and had to keep his eye closed and iced. After a short delay the third heat went off without a hitch with Mario Clouser beating Matt Westfall, Zack Pretorius and Jack Hoyer. The fourth and final sprint car heat was captured by Jason McDougal over Wesley Smith invading from Missouri, CJ Leary and Dustin Ingle. Three heats were needed for the WingLESS sprints with Ryan Zielski, Derek Crane and Tim Cox winning.

    The 410 wingless sprint B mains fell to Ryan Thomas over Ricky Lewis in B one and Isaac Chapple over Paul Dues in B two. Jimmy Sivia scored the WingLESS B main. A mist returned for a period of time tonight adding worry to an already long racing program.

    The first of five feature events with the 410 wingless sprints taking center stage went green at 10:52 with Jason McDougal scooting to the early lead from third on the start. McDougal would lead the first two laps until Mario Clouser powered by on the outside of turn one to grab the lead and the two would run closely together in a good battle until lap seven when Ryan Thomas spun off his favorite turn of the day (turn four) to bring out the first caution. On the restart Clouser retained the lead and racing hard in turn one on lap nine McDougal slid up into Clouser banging wheels with Clouser spinning off turn one bringing out the caution as he went to the work area but did not return. McDougal was at the point on the restart with Robert Ballou sitting in second. CJ Leary was the man on the move advancing from 12th to 5th on lap twelve and passed Matt Westfall and Shane Cockrum going from fifth to third on lap 13. Two laps later Isaac Chapple stopped outside of turn four to bring out the caution. McDougal would lead on the restart with Ballou and Leary in tow. Lap seventeen saw Leary sneak by Ballou for second on lap seventeen but Ballou took the positions back one lap later. Cockrum re-passed Leary off turn four for third on lap twenty one and used the same move one lap later to dispose of Ballou for second. Weir slipped by Ballou one lap later for third as Cockrum closed the gap on McDougal. The laps and time ran out as Cockrum raced off turn four with the checkers waving falling about a car length short of pulling off the win. McDougal unlike Leary in feature #1 apologized for getting into Clouser in turn one as the crowd respected his explanation and gave him a cheer. The finish at 11:09 was McDougal, Cockrum, Weir (the 2021 Gas City point champ), Ballou and Leary rounding out the top five.

    We wanted to see the UMP modified feature but with the time already after 11 we passed and missed seeing Little 500 winner, Tyler Roahrig, win his first race on dirt in only his third time on this type of surface. Pat monitored the results on Race Monitor with this one ending at 11:46 and the final race with the hornet winner posted on Twitter at 12:20. Much too late on a cool fall night.

    That's it for a while as our next race may not be until mid-November so in the meantime get out there and support your local short track or go on the road and take in a bucket list track. Comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Messeraull & Grant Score At Tri-State During The Harvest Cup

    Saturday, October 9 – It was a unseasonably warm fall day with temperatures in the middle 80's with no rain in the forecast so that was the best part. We left early to take our time driving down to Haubstadt for the final race of the 2021 season at Tom & Loris Helfrich's well manicured Tri-State Speedway where The Harvest Cup was the main attraction this evening. A triple-header of MSCS sprints (38), USAC midgets (29) and MMSA mini sprints (40) would take to the high banked mile dirt oval tonight with the sprints vying for $5000 to win. The MSCS organization does not run normal time trials but instead times the hot laps by groups with the top four inverting for their heat races. Also the four heat winners do a pill invert to determine the top four starting positions in the main event. Overall fast time out of the four group sessions was rookie Carson Garrett out of Colorado who also was selected as the top rookie of the year with the group. Next up were the USAC midgets for their single car time trials which began at 6:08 and were completed by 6:26 with Tanner Thorson continuing his fall blitz setting fast time with a new track record of 13.226 seconds around the quarter mile bullring.

    The MSCS sprint cars would contest their heats first with Daison Pursley in one of five KO Motorsports entries looking impressive in only about his third sprint car run capturing heat one besting Kendall Ruble, Critter Malone and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to Kevin Thomas Jr. outrunning Jason McDougal, Aric Gentry and Carson Garrett. Home area favorite Chase Stockon nailed down the heat three win beating rival Kyle Cummins, Robert Ballou and Tayte Williamson. On the initial start of heat three Ballou and Williamson ran side by side into turn two where Williamson slide into the side of Ballou causing Ballou to roll twice. The car was turned over & Ballou went to the work area and returned with elbows up and placed his car in the field for the feature. The rolling continued in heat four when Donny Brackett got sideways on the backstretch with Stephen Schnapf having no where to go but up and over Brackett rolling two times in the process. Justin Grant went on to win heat four over Kent Schmidt, Stan Beadles and Jake Swanson. The USAC sprints would run three heats with the top five moving onward into the 30 lap main event. Buddy Kofoid took top honors in heat one beating Chris Windom, Daison Pursley, Tanner Thorson and Emerson Axsom. Heat two went to Thomas Meseraull who set a new track record for 10 laps at Tri-State in a time of 2:17.42 which broke the 10 year old record also set by Meseraull. T-Mez beat Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant, Chance Crum and Bryant Wiedeman. The third and final heat fell to Ethan Mitchell turning back Kaylee Bryson, Cannon McIntosh, Tanner Thorson and Logan Seavey.

    The MSCS C main would run next before the four heats for the MMSA mini sprints with Jadon Rogers scoring the win from seventh with Stephen Schnapf, Harley Burns and Jeff Pritchett trailing with the foursome moving to the rear of the B main. Sam Scott surprised the crowd by winning the sprint car B main after Brady Short tangled with a lap car and spun in turn three late in the race. Cole Bodine, Zach Daum and Jadon Rogers joined Scott at the back of the starting field for the 30 lap A main. The USAC midgets still had a B main to run to add the final eight cars to their 22 car starting field. Jace Park in his first run in an USAC midget behind the wheel of one of Chad Boat's potent machines won the B over Kyle Cummins, Brenham Crouch, Carson Garrett, Jake Neuman, Sam Johnson and Haubstadt resident, Tyler Rust, also making his first start and making his first USAC national event. Johnson and Rust can thank Stephen Schnapf and Shane Cottle who pounded on each other until turn three with just two to go when Cottle decided to drive into the left side of Schnapf causing Schnapf to flip and Cottle slid into the turn three wall and tipped over ending both their nights prematurely. Cottle is a hard runner but sometimes his temper gets the best of him and this was one of those occurrences.

    The next race of the evening after two MMSA B mains would be the 30 lap MSCS feature with the front row of Justin Grant and Chase Stockon bringing the 21 car field (Brady Short added as provisional) to the green flag. Grant jumped into the early lead with fourth starting Daison Pursley powering by Stockon into second. The top two ran nose to tail until lap ten when Jake Swanson got into the homestretch wall and rolled over bringing out the red. On the restart Grant continued to lead with Pursley right there looking for a way around. Stockon, Jason McDougal and Kevin Thomas Jr. duked it out for positions three through five. The laps started to tick off as the front runners ran in the same order until lap twenty two when seventh and eighth runners, Kent Schmidt and Emerson Axsom, got together off turn four and slid along the homestretch wall. On the restart Grant led with Pursley sticking his nose underneath looking to steal the lead. One lap later Kyle Cummins who had worked his way back into the top ten after an early lap skirmish had someone run over him on the homestretch sending him into the wall and out of the race. Grant continued to pace the field on the restart with Pursley and McDougal in hot pursuit On the white flag lap Critter Malone got hard into the homestretch wall while running seventh and flipped ending his good run. Robert Ballou was moving forward from his 11th starting position and slipped by Stockon to crack the top five on the last lap as Grant raced under the checkered winning over Pursley with McDougal third, Thomas fourth and Ballou fifth. Chase Stockon finished sixth with Jadon Rogers advancing from 20th to 7th, Aric Gentry a good run in eighth, Kendall Ruble ninth and Emerson Axsom rounding out the top ten.

    We still had two features to run and the 30 lap USAC National midget race was next with the front row of Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. bringing the 22 car field to Tom Hansing's green flag. Thomas surged from the outside to take the early lead over Pursley and Buddy Kofoid. Thomas led through the first 13 laps while Kofoid, Cannon McIntosh and Thomas Meseraull hooked up in a duel for third through fifth. McIntosh and Kofoid exchanged sliders in turns three and four for two consecutive laps with McIntosh taking third in four and Kofoid back in third in turn two on laps 12 and 13. Lap 14 saw McIntosh dive low in turn four trying to pass Kofoid but Meseraull got a good run and dove to the inside of McIntosh. This caused McIntosh to react with a wheel turn to the right and into Kofoid who caught the homestretch wall and rolled over several times. Kofoid was set back on his wheels and proceeded to the work area which he returned from the pits and ultimately drove back to ninth but it cost him valuable ground in the season long points race. On the restart Thomas led with McIntosh second but Pursley and Meseraull quickly passed McIntosh to move to the podium positions. On lap 21 the race came to a grinding halt as Ethan Mitchell flipped his midget between turns three and four to bring out the red with Mitchell OK after the tumble. Meseraull got by Pursley on the restart and took up the chase of Thomas. On lap 23 T-Mez made his first move for the lead off turn four but banged wheels with Thomas and sliding back and forth before retaining control. Lap 25 saw Meseraull drive by Thomas in turn two using the inside to take the lead. Over the remaining five laps Meseraull ran lower and Thomas went to the high side trying to retake the lead. Justin Grant who started 17th made a late challenge on Thomas but fell short at the finish at 11:22 with Meseraull taking his fourth win of 2021 and sixth all-time win. Pursley settled for fourth with Chris Windom, the point leader by 13 now heading west, came home fifth after starting 14th. Kyle Cummins was sixth, Logan Seavey seventh, Bryant Wiedeman eighth after starting 20th, Kofoid ninth and Tanner Thorson tenth.

    Since we had almost a three hour drive home and an one hour time change to our disadvantage we rolled up the blankets and headed for the exits arriving back in Crawfordsville by 3:10 AM. Just another typical weekend!!!

    That's it for a few weeks as we have two trips planned and no open wheel racing on the horizon. So until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area before winter sets in and the outdoor season is just a memory. Comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always be safe and watch out for the other guy. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Thomas Jr. Takes Third Fall Nationals At Lawrenceburg

    Saturday, October 2 – We ventured down to the Madison/Cross Plains area during the late afternoon to catch an IXCR UTV race at The John Vincent before driving the 40 minutes over to Lawrenceburg to attend the USAC National sprint car Midwest final race at the Lawrenceburg Speedway. We arrived at 7:15 and had already missed time trials and the first two sprint car heats. We entered behind the grandstands and found a seat toward turn four in time to witness the final USAC sprint car heat.

    To fill you in briefly Tanner Thorson set the fast time for the 30 sprint cars on hand for the second straight evening with a time of 13.441 seconds around the high banked 3/8 mile dirt oval known as the Burg. The sprint cars would run three heats with five moving directly to the 30 lap feature event while the UMP modifieds also ran three heats for their field. Chase Stockon won heat one in the sprints besting Thomas Meseraull, Jadon Rogers, Tanner Thorson and Logan Seavey. Heat two saw CJ Leary and Brady Bacon tangling in turns one and two while battling for fifth with reports of Bacon taking a nasty looking flip. Bacon would return with a backup car and make the feature coming from the tail to qualify through the B main. Chris Windom secured the heat two win over Robert Ballou, Emerson Axsom, JJ Hughes and CJ Leary. The third sprint heat was captured by Max Adams tonight behind the wheel of the Epperson #2E fending off Justin Grant, Justin Owen, Saban Bibent and Kevin Thomas Jr. The 12 lap semi or B main had some heavy hitters in it with guys like Tye Mihocko, Shane Cottle, Jake Swanson, Brady Bacon, Jason McDougal, Scotty Weir and Dallas Hewitt among the 15 starters vying for 7 tickets to the big dance. Swanson ran away from the field in this one with Brandon Mattox nailing down second, Brady Bacon from 15th to 3rd in a super run, Jason McDougal fourth, Ryan Thomas fifth, Dallas Hewitt sixth and Shane Cottle seventh and showing his displeasure with Thomas by tapping his rear nerf bar after the checkered several times after almost turning turtle when the two got together with a few laps to go.

    For the second night in a row the program was moved along at a swift clip with the 30 lap $10,000 to win Fall Nationals taking the initial green flag at 8:20, just an hour and twenty minutes after start time. Emerson Axsom bounded off the outside of the front row and took off into the lead where he paced the field for the first 12 laps by a comfortable margin. The first of only two cautions would then appear as Chris Windom running inside the top five entered turn one and jumped the right rear tire of JJ Hughes almost flipping but somehow returning to Earth and continuing. Hughes right rear went down quickly slowing him in an instant in turn one with eighth running Robert Ballou (up from 15th) missing the slowed Hughes but contacting the outside wall ending both driver's nights prematurely. Under the caution fifth running CJ Leary developed a flat right rear tire and retreated to the work area and was able to return and worked his way back to tenth at the finish. On the restart Axsom stormed back out front chased by Thomas. The battle raged behind these two with Logan Seavey, Chris Windom, Tanner Thorson and Brady Bacon jockeying for positions inside the top five. Axsom was seeking his first USAC National sprint car triumph and looked to be in control until disaster struck as he exited turn four on lap 26 when his right rear tire went flat flapping off the rim and ending his bid to add his name to the list of first time winners in USAC National sprint car history. This would hand the lead over to KTJ and he hit the loud pedal on the restart and scooted out front chased by Windom and Thorson. Thomas raced into turn one on the final lap and missed his mark and lost time and momentum as he moved into turn two. This allowed Windom to close the gap and racing down the backstretch he pulled to the tail tank of Thomas setting up for one last slider entering turn three. Windom executed the slider to perfection in turn three sliding past Thomas in the middle of the turn but Thomas was ready for the move and turned the wheel to the left for the crossover and exiting turn four he regained the lead as the pair raced to the double checkers. Thomas crossed the line first by a little over a car length margin with Windom settling for second with Thorson third, Bacon advancing from 11th to 4th and Jake Swanson motoring from 10th to 5th at the finish at 8:39. Justin Grant paced the second five across the line with Seavey seventh, Max Adams eighth, Chase Stockon ninth and CJ Leary tenth. Thomas would become the first three time winner of the Fall Nationals and take home the big check, both figuratively and literally, scoring his eighth USAC sprint win of 2021 and his 35th career win tying him for 11th on the all time list with Jon Stanbrough and Rich Vogler as he advances up the win list totals. We decided to use the early finish as a chance to make the 2 hour trek back to Crawfordsville in an earlier time frame and even with a gas and pizza stop at Casey's we still arrived back home by 11:30.

    That's it for this column but check back next Sunday to see where we ended up on a typical weekend. Comments, thoughts, news or any other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime make those fall race trip plans and get out there and see some good short track racing wherever you may end up and have fun and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Windom Wins Eighth USAC Sprint Race At Terre Haute


    Friday, October 1st – Tonight at the Terre Haute Action Track it was a night to celebrate the career and life of Jim Hurtubise as the 22nd Jim Hurtubise Classic was on the docket with the USAC sprint cars (24) and the IMCA 305 sprint cars (16) racing on the big half mile located on the Vigo County Fairgrounds. What the night really ended up celebrating was the dominance of Canton, IL's Chris Windom at Terre Haute as he captured his eighth career USAC National Sprint Car victory here tying Gary Bettenhausen and Jack Hewitt for the most all-time wins at this historic dirt oval. Here is how the night unfolded.

    On a glorious fall day with temperatures in the mid 80's with low humidity we set off from Crawfordsville for our 1 hour trek south to the Terre Haute Action Track for the fifth time in 2021 to watch USAC sprint cars and IMCA 305 winged sprint cars tackle the historic half mile of the track located in the city of Terre Haute. We arrived around 5:30 and it being Friday the crowd was a later arriving one as many had worked on this nice Friday and gathered their blankets and seat cushions after working and headed to Terre Haute for this evening's racing. By race time a good sized crowd was on hand to witness the final race of 2021 at Terre Haute honoring Jim Hurtubise on the evening. We had a good conversation with friends, Don and Burleigh Skidmore, before racing began and my back pleaded with me to sit down after mowing a good portion of the church's grass that afternoon. We settled in and prepared for the night of racing when another good friend, Max Niemann, came by to say hello and chat for a spell.

    Now it was time to kick off the night of racing with time trials for the 24 USAC sprint cars on hand with the first one being pushed off from the turn four chute and taking the green flag at 6:47. When it was said and done at 7:09 Tanner Thorson was being interviewed on the homestretch by Kristy Bemmes after setting his third fast time of the year with a lap of 19.377 seconds around the mile dirt oval. The 16 IMCA 305 sprint cars on hand would hot lap next before the USAC sprint cars returned to contest their three heats with the top five moving directly into the 30 lap Jim Hurtubise Classic later in the evening. Heat one went to a determined Max Adams in the family car holding off Robert Ballou to score the heat win with CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Jadon Rogers trailing. It was good to see Max back and running strong after being burned in a sprinter at Gas City earlier this season. Chris Windom would nail down heat two after charging from fifth to win over Tye Mihocko who tried to make it the second straight race a #5 would win. Mario Clouser, Chase Stockon and Harley Burns joined the feature field out of this one. The third and final heat was won by Kevin Thomas Jr. in a strong run besting Shane Cottle, Jake Swanson, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon. The 16 IMCA 305 sprints would run two heats with everyone moving into their 15 lap main event with Rod Henning and Jeff Wimmenauer prevailing. At this point it was announced that the USAC B main would be scratched and a twenty four car field would start the 30 lap feature after the 305 sprints ran their 15 lap feature event.

    The IMCA 305 sprint cars took the green flag at 8:40 with Rod Henning taking the early lead. Henning looked like he would pace the entire 15 laps until with just a few laps to go the power plant on the #22H went sour and he pulled to the pit lane on the homestretch while leading and turned the lead over to young Alex Nalon, the great grandson of legendary Duke Nalon, the midget, sprint and Indy car veteran, who went on to lead the remainder of the race taking the checkered flag at 8:45 besting Jeff Wimmenauer, Bradley Sterrett, John Paynter Jr. and Alfred Galedridge in a good run for the 305 boys.

    The front row of Robert Ballou and Jake Swanson brought the 24 car field to the green flag at 9:03 with Ballou taking the lead entering turn one. Swanson drew even down the backstretch and through turns three and four edging Ballou at the line to lead lap one. Chris Windom who started third used the low side to work his way by Ballou for second off of turns three and four on lap three and went to work to try to track down Swanson for the lead. Brady Bacon was up to fourth by lap four with Kevin Thomas Jr. taking over fifth on lap six in turn one. One lap later Tanner Thorson moved by Thomas to take over fifth. Swanson continued to pace the field entering lap traffic on lap nine causing his lead to shrink with Windom able to close the gap as the pair picked their way through the lap traffic. Windom made his first run at Swanson entering turn one on lap twelve showing his nose to Swanson but Swanson pulled back in front. Swanson bobbled on the cushion on lap seventeen in turn two and Windom edged slightly ahead but Swanson zoomed off turn two and retained the lead. The next lap Windom used a slider cutting in front of the nose of Swanson to wrestle the lead away as the pair hit the backstretch on lap eighteen. Lap nineteen saw Swanson lose valuable ground as he jumped the cushion in turn two with Windom pulling out to a comfortable lead. Windom's lead increased to over three seconds over the remaining twelve laps as Windom crossed underneath the double checkers at 9:13 in a non-stop time of 10:31.97 seconds breaking a 23 year old track record set by Cary Faas by 25 seconds. Windom's second win of 2021 (both coming at Terre Haute) was also is fifth Hurtubise Classic triumph giving him the most wins in this race and his 30th lifetime USAC National win tying him with Tyler Courtney on the all-time list for sixteenth. Jake Swanson would finish second again and he stated in the podium interview he is tired of losing as he searches for his first USAC National sprint car win. Robert Ballou would finish third with Brady Bacon fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Tanner Thorson, Logan Seavey, CJ Leary, Shane Cottle and Chase Stockon in this well run night of racing with an early finish.

    Tomorrow is the last Midwest appearance for the USAC National sprint cars traveling over to Lawrenceburg Speedway where the weather is looking like it could play a big factor for Saturday evening. That's it for this segment but check back tomorrow to see if we get the Lawrenceburg run in or not. Until next time get out there and take in some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. And most of all thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Clouser Wins The Battle, Hopkins Wins The War At Lincoln Park



    Saturday, September 25 – Tonight was the last night of racing in 2021 for the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana and Steve Kimmel, the truck driver from Arizona, let us know he would be in town so we saved him a space in the top row to place his lounge chair to enjoy the racing at LPS. It was the rescheduled King of the Non-Wings event which was rained out previously. Every sprint in attendance would get a chance to run a feature event and they turned out in full force, 39 strong to participate in this race. Also on the line were the point championships in all divisions with only 9 points separating Brayden Fox and defending champion, AJ Hopkins, in the sprint car standings. Hopkins had demolished his Burton #04 sprint the week previous at Bloomington and that ride would not be available but Ohio's Jaime Paul offered up his top notch sprinter, the #24P, for Hopkins to drive as his regular and backup drivers, Shane Cockrum and Tye Mihocko, were at Eldora Speedway competing. Each division was lined up by hot lap qualifying sessions with the top four times inverted for each heat. Joining the 39 sprint cars on the evening were 15 UMP modifieds, 20 super stocks and 24 bombers plus the always awesome fireworks display by Circle City Pyrotechnics for added entertainment on the final night of racing.

    The sprint cars would contest five heats with the top three moving directly into the 30 lap feature event with the rest going into two B mains. Indiana State University student, Harley Burns, captured heat one holding off AJ Hopkins and Alec Sipes for the win. Indiana Wesleyan student, Zack Pretorius, scored the heat two win besting Braydon Cromwell and Ben Knight. Illinois' Mario Clouser, the 2021 WAR sprint car champion, won heat three over Gabriel Gilbert and Carson Garrett from deep in the field. Heat four was taken by Jesse Vermillion who has improved vastly after taking his show on the road and running with BOSS sprints this year. He defeated Andy Bradley and Brayden Fox in this one. Kyle Shipley from Phoenix, Arizona continues to improve taking heat five over Travis Berryhill and Pat Giddens. Jake Leitzman and Jimmy Hayden would take the two UMP modified heats run. Only the sprints and the bombers would need B mains with the sprints running two of them with the top three to move into the main event. Brandon Spencer would snag B main one over Nate McMillin and the veteran, Kent Christian, who raced for the 40th year at Lincoln Park in 2021.
    The second B main fell to Mitchell Davis of Illinois besting Blake Vermillion and Cody Williams. Eddie Vancil also from Illinois rolled his sprinter between turns three and four during the second B main without injury. After the bomber B main the wonderful fireworks display occurred with the crowd enjoying the colorful and loud fireworks.

    After the fireworks it was feature time with the sprint cars first up which is the custom at LPS with the front row of Harley Burns and Zack Pretorius bringing the 21 car starting field to Brian Hodde's green flag to start the race at 9:55. Burns would power out front and pace the field for the first ten laps as the college student looked strong looking for his first career win. Mario Clouser was lurking behind him nipping at his tail tank finally passing the young gun on the homestretch as the pair raced to the line to start lap 11. Over the next two laps Clouser and Burns swapped the lead numerous times before Clouser wrestled the lead away from young Burns. Meanwhile Pretorius, Kyle Shipley and AJ Hopkins were locked up in a battle for third through fifth with Hopkins finally breaking up the battle by passing the other two and solidly taking third. Brayden Fox was on the march moving from his 14th starting position up to 6th and pulling within three spots of Hopkins. Fox's fine run went out the window on lap 15 when he clipped the inner tractor tire in turn three and spun his sprinter taking him out of the point championship run. Fox continued but did not gain many spots over the remainder of the race and ended up 14th. Hopkins was able to pass Burns for second on lap nineteen and took up the chase of Clouser. Hopkins edged close several times but Clouser was up to the challenge and raced across the finish line at 10:11 for the big win with Hopkins second securing his second straight point title with Ben Knight turning in a fine performance moving from 12th to 3rd at the end with Burns coming across fourth and a great run by Mitchell Davis charging from 17th to 5th at the finish.

    The UMP modifieds would run 20 laps in their final race of 2021 at LPS with Jimmy Hayden and Jake Leitzman leading the field to Brian Hodde's green flag with Hayden soaring out front. Hayden was on a rail this evening and was not to be stopped as he led the entire 20 laps for his first win at LPS in seven years beating out 2021 modified point champion, Jake Leitzman, and Brian Hayden. Will Bennett and Cody Wright would round out the top five in this one which ended at 10:29. Brian Hayden announced on his Facebook page that he and his teammate, Ivan Glotzbach, would be moving into the non-wing sprint cars in 2022. Hayden had previously run sprints but Glotzbach who will only be in his second year of competition having never run any kind of race car prior to this year will move up with him. It should be interesting to watch Glotzbach especially in 2022 in his rookie campaign in the sprint cars to see how he progressed during the year. We decided to call it a night as the air was cool and damp and you could see your breath as you breathed. It was a good year at Lincoln Park, which we attended eight times in 2021, and is the closest track to our house in Crawfordsville. Only Kokomo with 10 visits did we witness more racing at in 2021.

    That's it for this segment but check back next Saturday and Sunday as we have a doubleheader planned of non-wing sprint car racing and who knows what else. The season in the Midwest is definitely winding down quickly as the races are fewer and farther between. Some great out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area before it is all done for 2021 and the winter season closes in. Comments, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Be safe out there and be good. Thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you still enjoy them as much as we enjoy sending them your way.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Thorson Takes Fifth USAC Sprint Win In Debut At Circle City


    Friday, September 17 – It was a rather warm mid-September day with temperatures skying into the high 80's but the humidity was low as we made our way across I-70 through Indianapolis toward the Circle City Raceway for our fifth time in 2021. Tonight on the race card were the USAC National sprint cars making their first ever appearance at Circle City and the first time USAC sprints have raced in Indianapolis on a dirt surface since 1984. The USAC National midgets had raced here earlier this year during Indiana Midget Week but it would be the first of hopefully many more appearances for their big brothers, the USAC sprint cars. We found our usual Circle City seat and sat next to Seth, our friend from Bloomington who made the difficult Friday night trek from Bloomington north into the Indianapolis area which normally takes about 45 minutes but was doubled on this Friday night. The USAC sprints brought a quality field of 26 cars to the big dance while the USAC D2 midgets had 20 strong for their racing on this Friday evening.

    Time trials would start off the program tonight beginning at 6:53 and when it looked like Jake Swanson would sit at the top of the heap the last car out, Brady Bacon, changed all that turning a lap of 12.163 seconds around the mile dirt oval (closer to 1/5 mile in our opinion) for fast time of the night and also a new track record of course. After D2 hot laps the USAC sprint cars returned for their three heats with five cars from each heat moving directly into the 30 lap main event. Thomas Meseraull in the Simon #23S, a previous winner here in winged sprint car action earlier in the year, scored heat win number one besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Tanner Thorson, Brent Beauchamp and Brady Bacon on the tight oval. Max Adams wheeling the Epperson #2E came home first in heat two turning back CJ Leary, JJ Hughes, Chris Windom and Robert Ballou in this one. Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC took down heat three over Shane Cottle, Chase Stockon, Matt Westfall and Koby Barksdale. The D2 midgets would run three heats with two Bryce's, Massingill and Dues, taking heats one and two with Taylor Nibert taking heat three in some good side by side racing.

    Only the sprint cars would need a semi which would be 12 laps in distance with the top seven moving into the main event. This race got off to a nasty start when Andrew Prather slammed the homestretch wall near the starter's stand and flipped numerous times into turn one ending upside down on the racing surface. Prather climbed from the car to the relief of the good crowd on hand after his scary ride. Jake Swanson who encountered problems in his heat race in a jingle with another car resulting in a bent front axle came back to claim the semi win over Jason McDougal, Justin Grant who seemed to struggle the entire evening, Jadon Rogers who found the outside to his liking, Ricky Lewis, Travis Berryhill and Brandon Mattox, the last man in. Former Lincoln Park champion, Scott Hampton, missed by one spot of qualifying in his first USAC start in two years.

    The 20 lap D2 midget feature would get the first honors of running their feature with the 20 car field taking the green flag at 9:13. What ensued was a doozy of a race among Bryce Massingill, Jacob Denney and Michael Magic up from Georgia. This group went side by side various times three wide for the lead exchanging the lead back and forth. Magic split the pair in a nifty move on lap seven to take the lead and opened a small lead over the other two. Magic looked to be in command but no one told Massingill of that fact. Massingill charged back to his rear nerf bar and over the final few laps the pair exchanged slide jobs which were well executed allowing each other to counter and as the final sliders were exchanged off turn four they raced to the checkered flag with Massingill edging Magic by mere inches in a photo finish at the line at 9:28. The crowd was buzzing after that one with Massingill noting in victory lane that that race was the closest that he was ever involved in and was a lot of fun to race in. Magic came home second with Jacob Denney third, Abby Hohlbein fourth and Alex Watson rounding out the top five.

    The 30 lap USAC sprint car feature was still to come and the front row of heavy hitters, Chris Windom and Tanner Thorson, brought the 22 car field to the green flag at 9:44 with Thorson taking the early lead. Thorson would pace the field leading the first ten laps with Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. in hot pursuit. Thomas slipped by Windom for second on lap five and takes up the chase of Thorson. Lap eleven saw a turning point in the race as Travis Berryhill and Jadon Rogers tangled in turn two right in front of leader, Thorson, with Thorson able to split the two and escape the incident but Brady Bacon was not so lucky as Berryhill set sideways on the bottom of turn two after spinning and the Macho Man had no where to go except into the side of Berryhill's machine. Moments later in a separate incident Ricky Lewis clipped the turn three inside tire and flipped several times before coming to rest. Lewis was OK after his tumble but his new car was worst for wear. Bacon meanwhile retreated to the work area and was able to return before the green reappeared but had to start at the tail of the field. On the restart Thorson went back to the point with Thomas dogging him down low over the next six laps pulling alongside several times but never able to quite grab the lead. Emerson Axsom was coming like gang busters from ninth on the restart up to third by lap twenty one when eighth running Thomas Messeraull spun to the infield off turn two to slow the action. On the restart Thorson resumed command with Thomas in tow. Entering turn three on lap twenty two Axsom pulled a slide job on Thomas racing for second with Axsom almost spinning in front of Thomas with the two touching straightening out Axsom but causing Thomas to lose momentum and ground being passed by several competitors. This gave Thorson all the advantage he needed as he motored away from the rest of the field to a comfortable lead. In the meantime Bacon was making another amazing comeback run from the rear and was challenging for the top five with five to go. The battle was behind Thorson as he crossed the start/finish line at 10:01 for his fifth USAC National sprint car win of the year and his 12th overall USAC win of 2021 and his fifth on a Friday night also a season high total. Windom would finish second with tenth starting Jake Swanson turning in an impressive third nipping Bacon at the line for the final podium finish. Bacon finished fourth after restarting 20th with CJ Leary claiming fifth. Shane Cottle placed sixth with Axsom seventh, Thomas Jr. ending up a disappointing eighth, Justin Grant ninth and Chase Stockon rounding out the top ten. It was an interesting race with some good runs and we look forward to a return of the USAC sprints in 2022 at Circle City.
    That's it for this report but check back Sunday as we make the long haul down to southwest Indiana to the Helfrich's fine speed plant in Haubstadt for the Haubstadt Hustler. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the kind words from many of you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Leary and Windom Bank $20,000 Each For Final Night Wins At Huset's

    Before we get started on talking about the final night racing action at Huset's Speedway we would like to touch on the different format used for the three day event and our ideas about tweaking it somewhat to make it even better going forward. Don't get us wrong as Matt Wood and his staff and USAC did a heck of a job with the inaugural USAC Nationals and the racing was very good but these ideas are thoughts that could make the event even bigger and better. The format of awarding points for all the heat races and features on Friday and Saturday nights is good but Sunday's final night needs to be tweaked. If you are going to invert the top 12 in points after the Sunday night heat races than you either have to do one of two things. You either have to have a point fund for the top 12 worthwhile enough to run for if the point leader is going to start 12th in the main event or make it tougher to reach the invert by either cutting it to 8 or the normal USAC standard of 6. This will benefit everyone but mostly the fans who are paying good money to see racing every night and not having crew chiefs or crew members using calculators in the pit area telling their driver to “sandbag” in his heat on the last night to earn less points and start further up in the starting lineup for the final. Hope the powers that be will read this and take to heart what the crux of the idea is that it is not criticism but just a way to make the racing even better next year. On another note we noticed quite a few people leaving before the 100 lap midget main was completed and that is never good to see as if you want the locals to support your program you need to get them on the road in a good time as most of them have to work the next day.. The remedy there might be to start earlier and possibly run twin 50's for the midgets with the first 50 running first followed by the sprint car main event and then the second 50 inverting all the cars that finished on the lead lap and placing the lapped cars behind them obviously regaining their lost laps and run a second 50 lap feature. What do you the fans think?? Would be interested to talk to you or receive emails on your thoughts or ideas and maybe if we receive enough emails we could do a column devoted to just this event. Get to work on those emails!!

    Now back to the racing on Sunday night and what went down. No time trials were scheduled so after hot laps were run the USAC sprint cars were first to the speedway to run their three heat races on the evening. The first heat would take the green flag at 6:20 with Ryan Bernal in the Wood #17W scoring the win over Jason McDougal, Robert Ballou, Tanner Thorson and Jake Swanson. The second heat fell to Chase Stockon in the KO Motorsports #5S besting Terry Richards, Isaac Chapple, Mario Clouser and CJ Leary. The third and final sprint heat was captured by Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. in the Davis #47 after starting fifth over Kevin Thomas Jr., Matt Westfall, Justin Grant and Alex Banales in the second Baldwin #5. Glen Saville rolled his sprinter in turn two in this one for the second time in two days but was able to make repairs and crack the field for the final. Davis has run strong the last two nights and seems to have found a fountain of youth or maybe some American Indian magic to improve his performance at Huset's. The sprints would be the only ones to run a semi with Alex Banales scoring his first USAC win of any kind by notching the semi over Cam Schafer, Glen Saville, Jeremy Kerzman, Jeff Pellersels and Clinton Bruns setting the starting field at 24 sprinters.

    The USAC midgets would contest three heats also with Emerson Axsom in the Petry #15 taking down heat one over teammate, Kevin Thomas Jr., Hayden Reinbold who led for the majority of the race, Ryan Timms and Logan Seavey. Daison Pursley placed one of Keith Kunz's stable in first in heat two besting Cannon McIntosh, Brenham Crouch, Buddy Kofoid and Chance Crum. The final heat of the evening fell to RMS Motorsports driver, Justin Grant, outrunning Jason McDougal, teammate, Thomas Meseraull, Chase Randall known as the fastest chicken and Chad Frewaldt who had a very good week. All heat racing was completed by 7:23,

    This left us with driver introductions for both races and the two final main events paying $20,000 to win and $1000 to start.

    The 40 lap USAC sprint car feature was the first one called to the post with the front row of Logan Seavey and Robert Ballou bringing 22 of their other buddies to the green flag to kick off their feature event. Jake Swanson was docked two rows for arriving on the starting grid late forfeiting his ninth starting spot and moving everyone up one from 9th through 13th. Seavey took the early lead and led lap one until entering turn one Ballou hopped the right rear of Chris Windom's car with his left front and glanced off the turn one wall stopping with a flat tire. That for all intended purposes took Ballou out of the running for the big bucks but he did return and finished 11th. Seavey paced the first three laps until Windom used the high side to storm out front for the lead. Seavey battled back to lead laps five and six with Windom out front on lap seven, Seavey for lap eight and Windom back on top for laps nine through eighteen. CJ Leary was on the march from his ninth starting position move forward at a quick clip. Leary picked off Brady Bacon for third using the bottom on lap eleven in turn two and plucked second from Seavey in the same spot on lap sixteen as they raced their way through lap traffic. Leary threw out the fishing line and began to reel in Windom who continued to lead and by lap eighteen he caught and passed Windom in turn three with the front two split Isaac Chapple on each side with Leary assuming the lead as they raced to start lap nineteen. Leary would move ahead until five to go as the duo raced past Mario Clouser in turn three and four with Windom motoring low and taking the lead but the caution then appeared when Seavey slowed low in turns one and two slowing the action. On the restart Leary was at the point but Bacon had some other ideas as he stormed by Windom for second and applied pressure on Leary over the remaining five laps but Leary was up to the challenge and raced under the double checkers at 8:38 scoring back to back wins for the second time in 2021 beating eighth starting Bacon, Windom, tenth starting Tanner Thorson and eleventh starting Kevin Thomas Jr. to the line for the big $20,000 check at the end of the rainbow. Justin Grant would come home sixth with Chase Stockon seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Thomas Meseraull ninth and Ryan Bernal rounding out the top five in an entertaining race. That was also Leary's fifth USAC sprint win of the year.

    It was now time for the 100 lap USAC midget main event with Chase Randall and Emerson Axsom pacing the field to the initial green flag at 9:18. Randall would charge into the early lead and pace the field for the first 13 laps until third starting Kevin Thomas Jr. was able to wrestle the lead away on lap 14. Thomas would lead until lap 20 when eighth starting Cannon McIntosh looking like he was fired out of one blasted by Thomas in turns three and four to lead that lap. McIntosh checked out at that point and drove like a man possessed setting a torrid pace until the first caution waved on lap 42 when McIntosh slowed on the backstretch with a flat right rear tire making you wonder why run so fast and abuse your tires when the caution was set to wave around lap 50. Might want to think about that strategy for next year as caution laps counted so McIntosh lost several laps under the caution until USAC decided to stop the race as previously planned and allow everyone to refuel and perform any other adjustments or tire changes that they were able to do during the eight minute stoppage.

    After the break when racing resumed Jason McDougal in the Hayward #19 was the new leader but the red appeared quickly on the restart when Thomas Meseraull spun between turns one and two causing a chain reaction behind him which saw the impressive Mitchel Moles get upside down ending his night prematurely. Daison Pursley and Shane Golobic were also involved with both able to restart after the red and Golobic making infield repairs to return. On the second restart to start the second 50 laps Chase Randall quickly went up top and took the lead away from McDougal. Thomas and McDougal battled for second as Chris Windom moved to fourth after starting seventh and Logan Seavey filling out the top five. A multi-car tangle in turns one and two involving four cars slowed the action on lap 56. Randall resumed command on the restart with Thomas and McDougal chasing. Windom began to inch up taking third from Thomas on lap 68 and second from McDougal on lap 72. Windom reeled in Randall and made several moves to move by the young Texan but each time Randall was able to thwart off the challenges. Racing into turn one on lap 86 with victory all so close disaster struck as Randall shredded his right rear tire causing the youngster to hit the turn one wall and roll down the banking ending his evening in big disappointment as he was looking for his first career USAC midget win. Windom would inherit the lead on the restart and after losing Friday night's race in the closing laps Windom was ready for anything and everything in the last 15 laps. Windom was the rabbit on the restart jumping out front by a good margin as the war waged behind him among Buddy Kofoid, Thomas and Daison Pursley as the laps clicked off. A caution for a two car tangle on lap 91 reset the field and had to have Windom worrying if something would happen over the remaining nine laps. It was not to be as Windom would ride home first for back to back wins in the midget ranks over eleventh starting Kofoid with twelfth starting Daison Pursley taking third with Tanner Thorson the hard charger of the race slicing from 18th to fourth with Thomas taking down fifth. Logan Seavey would lead the second five across the line with Shane Golobic rebounding for seventh, McDougal eighth, Brenham Crouch from 15th to ninth and Emerson Axsom crossing the line tenth at 10:19. This feature was better than we originally expected and certainly held your interest throughout the 100 laps.

    It was a good three days spent in South Dakota with good racing on a nicely prepared race track with the area also providing some good sights to visit during the day before the racing began that evening. If everything is a go for 2022 we plan on returning to South Dakota and Huset's Speedway for the second USAC Nationals event.

    That's it until Friday when we plan to take in the first appearance of the USAC National sprints at Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis before making the long haul to southwest Indiana to take in the always exciting Haubstadt Hustler featuring the USAC/MSCS sprints at the finely prepared Tri-State Speedway. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road and visit a track outside your normal venues. Either way enjoy yourselves and be safe. Comments, USAC National's format ideas and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you all enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Windom & Leary Top 9/11 Tribute Races At Huset's


    Saturday, September 11 – Another nice day in the 80's with low humidity greeted us upon leaving the Hotel at Phillips as we were on our way to meet Sally Ebling and Gary Dean for lunch/dinner at El Tapatio's in Brandon. The Mexican food there was delicious and plenty of good conversation was shared by everyone during the meal. After satisfying our hunger it was time to head over to the Huset's Speedway for night two of the USAC Nationals featuring the USAC midgets with 26 on this evening, two less than yesterday, and the USAC sprint cars with 27, one less than the night before.

    Again time trials would start off the evening with the midgets the first on the agenda starting at 6:02. Mitchel Moles, in a second car for USAC Nationals promoter, Matt Wood, would break the one day old track record set by his teammate, Shane Golobic, with a new record of 12.776 seconds around the 1/3 mile gumbo clay oval. The sprint cars would follow with their hot laps and time trials with Logan Seavey setting the fast time for the second straight night in the Baldwin #5 with a time of 12.589 seconds.

    After time trials were completed there was a very touching and thoughtful tribute for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with many flags and emergency personnel and their vehicles lining the entire homestretch area with several speakers including the mayor of Sioux Falls paying tribute to the heroes of that fateful day and all the firemen and police and so many others who helped to save lifes and help others on that tragic day. The tribute was very well done and very much appreciated after 20 years and again reminded us to never forget what happened on that day back in 2001. Well done to all involved for putting this tribute together!!

    Back to racing where the USAC midgets would take the first green flag for their three heat races at 7:37 with Austin Barnhill surprising everyone by taking heat one beating the fast timer, Mitchel Moles, Brenham Crouch, Chris Windom and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to a strong Buddy Kofoid besting Ryan Timms, Cannon McIntosh, Justin Grant and Kevin Thomas Jr. Shane Golobic used the low side to capture heat three over Jason McDougal, Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson and Daison Pursley.

    Next up were the sprint cars for their three heats with Robert Ballou dusting the field in heat one beating Mario Clouser, Jake Swanson, Chris Windom and Brandon Mattox. Thomas Messeraull continued his good runs in the Yeley #2 capturing heat two over Kevin Thomas Jr., Logan Seavey, CJ Leary and Chad Frewaldt. Buckeye Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. paced heat three over Jason McDougal, Isaac Chapple, Brady Bacon and Ryan Bernal.

    No B main would be needed for the midgets but one would be contested for the sprint cars. Brandon Mattox would top the field beating Isaac Chapple, Alex Banales who was feeling his oats in this one pounding the cushion and backing his sprinter into the turn one wall after the checkered, Terry Richards, Cam Schafer and Robert Bell.

    It was now feature time and the USAC midgets 25 strong would take the green flag at 9:07 and the feature would go the entire distance non-stop in a new track record of 7:31.12 in a torrid affair. Daison Pursley would take the early lead and pace the field for the first two thirds of the race with Chris Windom who started sixth moving quickly to second by lap four and kept step with Pursley up front. Buddy Kofoid was another who was working his way into the top five moving from seventh and getting by Chance Crum and Logan Seavey on his way into third. Windom briefly took the top spot in turn one on lap sixteen but Pursley was having none of that and countered in turn two to take the lead back. Logan Seavey gained some ground on Windom and challenged for second but Windom was able to stave him off. Buddy Kofoid pulled a slider in turn two on lap seventeen which was questionable forcing Seavey to bang the cushion and lift his left side tires off the ground and upon return to earth Seavey's left front first find a landing spot on Kofoid's right rear before returning to the track. This gave Kofoid the third slot and a shot at tracking down Pursley and Windom. Lap twenty one saw Pursley get into some heavy lap traffic diving low to pass which gave Windom the momentum and opportunity to quickly close the distance between the two in the void on the high side. Exiting turn four with the big mo on his side Windom streaked to the inside of Pursley on the homestretch and slid by the leader in turn one before returning to the top with the lead starting lap twenty two. That was the move that would clinch Windom's fourth win of 2021 as he raced to over a second lead and ultimate victory crossing the finish line at 9:15 for the win over Pursley with Kofoid third, Seavey fourth and Shane Golobic rounding out the top five after starting 12th. Justin Grant would come home sixth after starting 13th with Kevin Thomas Jr. seventh, Thomas Meseraull eighth, Cannon McIntosh ninth and Chance Crum taking down tenth at the finish. Windom was $5000 richer with his 10th career USAC National midget triumph and this had to make up somewhat for his disappointment of losing the race the night before.

    The 24 car USAC sprint car field was brought to the green flag by Charles Davis Jr. and Brady Bacon at 9:42 with Davis jumping out front. The green didn't last long as fourth starting Mario Clouser got sideways in turn two bunching the field behind and with no where to go Kevin Thomas Jr. hits Clouser and spins collecting Justin Grant, Matt Westfall who almost flips, Logan Seavey, Alex Banales and Glen Saville who does flip in the melee. Everyone was able to continue with the exception of Saville and Grant made several pit stops trying to rectify a brake problem. On the restart Davis take command and leads the first two laps until sixth starting CJ Leary is able to take command on lap three. One lap later Justin Grant slows in turn one bringing out the caution as Grant goes pit side but is able to return to action before the next green. On the restart Leary leads with Davis and Bacon in his tire tracks. The man on the move is ninth starting Jake Swanson who is making a bee line forward cracking the top five by lap seven and not stopping there. Swanson then picks off Ryan Bernal and Brady Bacon on his march forward tucking in behind Davis for a few laps until passing the Arizona driver moving into second and going after Leary. Swanson hounds Leary as the pair pound the cushion and run just a scant few car lengths off of each other as the laps click off. Tanner Thorson begins to weave his way forward moving into fifth ahead of Bernal. The second yellow appears on lap twenty seven when Jason McDougal noses into the inside homestretch wall after contact with two others. McDougal is none too happy with the results as he exits his sprinter. On the ensuing restart it is Leary at the point with Swanson, Bacon, Thorson and Bernal right behind. Leary continues to lead as Thorson and Bernal hook up in a crowd pleasing duel exchanging sliders over the next several laps. On the white flag lap entering turn one Thorson dives low on Bernal and catches Bernard's left rear tire turning Bernal backwards and spinning into the turn one wall collecting Robert Ballou and Meseraull in the incident. On the restart with one to go Leary leads Swanson, Bacon, Thorson and Davis to the line. All hell breaks loose in turn four coming for the checkers behind Leary with Swanson jumping the cushion while in second allowing Thorson and Davis to dive low to avoid the incident with Bacon up high behind Swanson getting the worst of the deal dropping from third to sixth at the end. At 10:12 it was CJ Leary across the line first for his fourth win of 2021 with Thorson taking second with Davis third for his highest career finish in national competition with Swanson fourth and Thomas rebounding from the lap one incident to salvage a good fifth place finish. Bacon would end up sixth with Chris Windom seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Thomas Meseraull ninth and Brandon Mattox finishing tenth after starting 18th.

    It was another good night of action on a racy track and we all look forward to tonight and the final events of the USAC Nationals at Huset's. Check back Tuesday for our report on the final night and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. Comments, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And continued thanks for reading your columns and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Meseraull and Thorson Open USAC Nationals With Wins At Huset's


    Friday, September 10 – We drove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Thursday night and arose early on Friday morning to complete the long haul to Brandon, SD for the three night USAC Nationals featuring the USAC sprint cars and the USAC midgets in a highly paying weekend culminating on Sunday with a 40 lap sprint car feature and a 100 lap midget feature both paying $20,000 to win and a $1000 to start. Californian Matt Wood has leased the facility for the three days and though the crowd was OK hopefully the crowds the next two nights will pick up for all involved. We saved seats for Steve Kimmel and his wife, Maggie, and Gary Dean and Sally Ebling in Section KK above turn four for the weekend's action. In a different format for the three nights points would be awarded starting at 36 for the fastest qualifiers in each timed group decreasing by three per position thereafter. The heats would award 36 points to the winner decreasing by three points thereafter. No points were awarded for the top six finishers in the semi. One hundred points would go to the feature winners decreasing by two points per position thereafter. So even if you finished in the top five in a heat race you were not guaranteed a starting spot in the main events.

    Things got underway at 5:58 with the 29 USAC midgets on hand pushing off for their time trials. By 6:16 Shane Golobic in Matt Wood's midget set fast time overall with a time of 12.923 seconds on the 3/8 mile black gumbo dirt oval which was a new track record for the midgets who were racing at Huset's for the first time in 25 years. USAC sprint cars followed with hot laps and their time trials with the first car of twenty eight taking the green flag at 6:35. It was 6:52 when Logan Seavey was interviewed on the homestretch by Kristy Beemes for setting the fast time of the three groups at 12.576 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval.

    The midgets would be first up for their heat races with Tanner Thorson taking down the first heat win over Kevin Thomas Jr. who applied heavy pressure with Chance Crum third, Chase Randall fourth and Brenham Crouch fifth. Heat two was nailed down by an impressive Thomas Meseraull turning back Ryan Timms, Daison Pursley, Emerson Axsom and Cannon McIntosh as the kids chased the veteran to the finish. Buddy Kofoid captured heat three besting Logan Seavey, Brady Bacon, Jason McDougal and Mitchel Moles in this competitive heat race. Justin Grant took a header in heat three when he was squeezed into the backstretch wall and flipped over several times ripping the front wheels from the RMS Motorsports entry. He was OK after the wild ride and would go to a backup car and use a provisional to start the feature event.

    The USAC sprints would contest three heats also with Robert Ballou taking heat one over Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr., Logan Seavey and Brandon Mattox. Heat two fell to the Ford powered sprinter of CJ Leary followed by Thomas Meseraull, Jake Swanson, Chase Stockon and Robert Bell. The third heat went to Jason McDougal over Justin Grant, Isaac Chapple, Brady Bacon and Charles Davis Jr.

    Then it was right into the B mains with the midgets first up. Chance Crum captured this one beating Ethan Mitchell, Hayden Reinbold, Austin Barnhill, Brant O'Banion and Chad Frewaldt. Colorado's Lance Bennett took a flip in turn four and was OK after the tumble. The sprint B main was taken by Charles Davis Jr. over Cam Schafer, Chad Frewaldt, Alex Banales, Robert Bell and Glen Saville from Australia. Both fields were now set for their respective feature events with the 30 lap USAC midget feature being the first one called to the post.

    The front row of Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. brought the 24 car field to the green flag at 9:04 with Thomas bounding into the early lead. The action only made one lap before Thomas' teammate, Emerson Axsom's engine, went up in a cloud of smoke to bring out the caution. On the restart Thomas regained control and led the first two thirds of the event with others battling for position behind him. One of them was Thomas Meseraull who was moving forward from his sixth starting position up to fourth by lap nine and third by lap eleven. Chris Windom who started fourth began to pressure Thomas for the lead at the halfway mark with the pair exchanging slide jobs over the next two laps with Thomas retaining the lead each time. Thomas opened some breathing room as the field passed lap twenty. On lap twenty one Thomas motored into turns three and four with his right rear tire suddenly going down sending him up against the turn four wall ending a great run for Thomas who ended up 19th. Windom inherited the lead on the restart with Meseraull on his tail tank. Shane Golobic passed Meseraull for second shortly thereafter and went after Windom. With five to go T-Mez tapped the rear nerf bar of Golobic going down the backstretch and on lap twenty seven passed Golobic to take back second. Entering turn one on the white flag lap Meseraull tried to pass Windom but came up short as they raced down the backstretch with the Wood cars of Golobic and Mitchel Moles closing quickly using the low side. As they raced into turn three Moles had passed both Golobic and Meseraull and dove low on Windom as the yellow waved for the stopped midget of Cannon McIntosh in turn two which wiped out the tremendous run by Moles. This would set up a two lap shootout for the win with Windom leading Meseraull, Golobic and Moles as the race went green. For some reason Windom went low leaving the outside to Meseraull who's eyes probably got as big as saucers sweeping high to take the lead in turn two and taking the lead for the final two laps. As the checkered waved at 9:22 it was Meseraull in for the win trailed by Windom, Golobic, Buddy Kofoid and Daison Pursley who both made banzai charges to claim fourth and fifth at the wire. Moles who was so close to the win finished sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Chase Randall ninth and Chance Crum rounding out the top ten. After coming close the past two races Meseraull finally came home first for his third win of 2021 shaking the monkey off his back in the progress.

    We still had the 25 lap USAC sprint car feature still to run and the front row of Tanner Thorson and Thomas Meseraull brought the 24 car field to the green flag. Thorson went to the lead quickly with Meseraull in tow. The front two quickly moved away from the rest of the field as Robert Ballou, Jake Swanson and Jason McDougal battled it out behind them. Thorson began to gap T-Mez up front as the duo approached lap traffic. Both weaved their way around and through the tail end of the field with Meseraull gaining some ground in the process. Brady Bacon was another car on the move steadily moving from his tenth starting position up into the top five as the laps clicked off. With two to go Thorson tangled with Charles Davis Jr. in turn three with both getting sideways but continuing with Meseraull jumping on the miscue sliding by Thorson for the lead. The yellow did not appear until the leaders passed the flagger's stand which did not make sense to everyone around us including us as it didn't seem a caution was warranted. But it was what it was and the field realigned for the restart with Thorson back up front trialed by Meseraull and Ballou. Entering turn three on the white flag waving Bacon stole third from Ballou while Jake Swanson dove under Ballou also touching with Ballou jumping the cushion both losing fourth to Kevin Thomas Jr. Ballou rebounded in an instance passing Thomas back for fourth as the field raced around the oval for one last time. With the double checkers waving at 9:52 it was Thorson home first with Meseraull second in his best run in the Jack Yeley #2 with Bacon third, Ballou fourth and Thomas taking fifth. Jake Swanson came home sixth with Justin Grant seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Jason McDougal ninth and Chris Windom tenth.

    It was a good night of racing and we look forward to the next two nights of the USAC Nationals at Huset's Speedway.

    Until the next report get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and kept checking back to see what happened the next time in our typical weekend.


     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Thorson, Meseraull & Marshall Take Firemen's National Events At Angell Park


    Sunday, September 5 – After a good night of racing at Wilmot we looked forward to our first visit to Angell Park Speedway since July 3rd of 1994, a span of 27 years since we have visited the iconic track owned and operated by the Sun Prarie Volunteer Fire Company and is in its 61st year of operation. The 1/3 mile dirt oval is located on a large fairgrounds plot and also houses a midget hall of fame in a pavilion on the grounds. Since 1946 Angell Park has run weekly Sunday night programs of racing featuring only the mighty midgets with the exception of 1966 when they ran on Saturday night before adding other divisions in the last few years after the host club, the Badger midgets, fell on hard times but have rebounded and like the Phoenix from Greek mythology it rose from the ashes and reinvented itself. The club went to more affordable engine package using Honda, Mazda and Chevy power with restrictions. The Badger Midget Auto Racing Association or BMARA has been around for 85 years now and is the oldest midget club in the United States.

    Tonight would be the 37th running of the Firemen's National race and it would be the first time in six years that the USAC midgets (22) would be the featured class. They would be joined by the Badger midgets (33) and the Wisconsin WingLESS sprint cars (28) for an all wingless open wheel program. You gotta love that!!!

    After hot laps the USAC midgets would take to the track for their time trial session at 6 PM. Just 20 minutes later young Daison Pursley was being interviewed by Christy Bemmes after setting his second fast time of the year with a lap of 15.463 seconds around the 1/3 mile dirt oval.

    The Wisconsin WingLESS sprint cars would be the first ones to run heat races with three of them on tap with the top six advancing to the 20 lap feature event. Jimmy Sivia nailed down heat one turning back Daniel Graumenz, Allen Hafford, Derek Crane, Natalie Klemko and Clayton Rossmann. Heat two was captured by Tim Cox besting Ryan Zielski, Chris Klemko, Zach Hansen, William Huck and Trinity Uttech. The third heat went to current point leader, Ryan Marshall, beating Nathan Crane, Dennis Spitz, Greg Alt, Tate Hensley and Craig Lager.

    Next up were the Badger midgets and they do something unusual as they run a non-qualifier first with the cars lining up at the tail of the B main as these are the slowest ones from hot lap qualifying and do not run in a heat race. Three heat races followed with the top six moving forward to the 25 lap feature race. Thomas Meseraull in a Badger legal midget out of the RMS stable took down heat one after starting eighth over Cody Weisensel, Lamont Critchett, RJ Corson, Kevin Douglas and Kevin Battefeld. Heat two went to Andy Baugh from fifth over Justin Grant in a local car came from ninth with Zach Boden from sixth, Jeff Zelinski from eighth, Adam Taylor and James Collins Jr. The third and final heat went to Jeremy Douglas outrunning Todd Kluever from sixth, Scott Hatton from fifth, Kyle Koch, Tyler Baran and Kyle Stark.

    The USAC midget heats were third up running three heat races for their 22 car field with five advancing to the big 30 lap main event. Chase Randall would win heat one over Zach Daum in a strong run using the inside, Daison Pursley, Chris Windom and Chase McDermand, a usual Badger regular. Heat two fell to Cannon McIntosh motoring to the front early and outdistancing Emerson Axsom, Thomas Meseraull, Ethan Mitchell and Logan Seavey. Kevin Thomas Jr. looked impressive in heat three storming to the front from fifth to win over Buddy Kofoid, Tanner Thorson, Justin Grant and Trey Gropp.

    The WingLESS sprints and Badger midgets would need B mains with Ralph Johnson and Aaron Muhle winning their respective events.

    The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be the first one to the post with the RMS team of Justin Grant and Thomas Meseraull bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 8:42. Grant would take the lead early but teammate Meseraull took the lead racing down the backstretch on lap one and would set the pace for the next 22 laps. T-Mez opened up a one to two second lead over the first half of the race with Grant Tanner Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr. the chasers. Meseraull picked his way through the traffic as the laps clicked off and looked like it was going to be his night. But with nine to go Cannon McIntosh brought out the only caution of the race as his Toyota gave up the ghost puffing a large plume of smoke and stopping on the homestretch. On the restart Thorson who have motor problems earlier which were not totally rectified had found something on the inside and began to make his move on the slick surface. Thorson dove under Grant in turn two and did not pass Grant until using a slider in turn three to grab second and went after Meseraull who was still out front. Racing into turn one on the next lap Thorson had it hooked up down low drawing alongside long time leader, Meseraull, and taking the lead away exiting turn two. It was a real turn of events as Meseraull looked like he was home free but the restart gave Thorson time to reload and make his charge to the lead. Thorson then proceeded to scorch the field moving to over a two and a half second bulge over the field in the remaining seven laps. At 8:54 Thorson raced under the double checkers first for his seventh USAC midget win of 2021 beating Meseraull, Grant, Chris Windom and 11th starting Logan Seavey to the line. It was also Thorson's 27th career USAC National Midget win tying him with Gary Bettenhausen and Tony Stewart for 14th on the all-time win list. It also had to feel good for Thorson who led the entire distance the last time (six years ago) USAC was in town only to lose the race when Rico Abreu passed him off the fourth turn coming to the checkered flag. Kevin Thomas Jr. slipped to sixth at the finish with Emerson Axsom seventh, Daison Pursley eighth, Buddy Kofoid ninth and Chase Randall rounding out the top ten.

    We still have two features to run and the next on the agenda was the 25 lap Badger midget feature with Andy Baugh and Scott Hatton bringing the 24 car starting field to the green flag with Baugh hustling out front and motoring away from the field. Baugh built up a huge lead as he approached lap traffic and weaved his way through until a spin would slow the field and wipe out Baugh's big lead. On the restart Thomas Meseraull was right there on Baugh's tail tank and pressured him with Baugh bobbling in turn two allowing T-Mez to draw alongside racing down the backstretch. Messeraull took the lead away after starting eighth going down the backstretch and began to pull away. One lap later Baugh still running second got sideways on the backstretch after having brake problems and did a classic Tommy Tipover and his fine run ended prematurely. Meseraull raced out front on the restart and built up a big lead the rest of the distance outpacing Jeff Zelinski who moved from 9th with Cody Weisensel running a fine race coming from 11th to finish 3rd, Zach Boden fourth and Adam Taylor rounding out the top five. It was Meseraull's second Badger win of the year, the last coming on July 4th also at Angell Park which he says is his favorite track to run a midget on.

    The 20 lap Wisconsin WingLESS sprint car feature was last up and the track was gone by the time they took the green flag at 9:36. Everyone drove to the inside groove and the ones who didn't found themselves floundering around on the top. Ryan Marshall was able to slip and slide his way from eighth starting position to the lead with Derek Crane never letting him get too far away over the 20 lap distance. When the checkers waved at 9:49 it was point leader, Marshall, adding to his lead with the win with Crane second, Allen Hafford third, Jimmy Sivia fourth and Tim Cox, last night's winner at Wilmot, claiming fifth.

    It was great to be back at Angell Park after so many years absence and the crowd was huge but the track surface did not hold up well and the racing suffered as a consequence. Well, hopefully the next time we go the surface will be better.

    That's it for this weekend but check back Saturday for our report from South Dakota where we will be taking in the big three night show at Huset's Speedway where USAC sprints and midgets will do battle over three straight nights of racing on the 3/8 mile dirt oval. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe as the season is winding down. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy the column as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Tim Cox Scores Wisconsin WingLess Win At Wilmot


    Saturday, September 4 – After being rained out the previous night at Sycamore Speedway we hoped for better weather this day as we were visiting the Wilmot Raceway for the first time ever. Wilmot is a 3/8 mile dirt oval located on the grounds of the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Southern Wisconsin. It is the closest Wisconsin track for us to get to but it seems in the past we have bypassed Wilmot to venture further into the state to catch a race. Tonight Wilmot fit perfectly into the plan as it was not that far from Sycamore and close to our third race of the weekend at Angell Park in Sun Prairie. The skies were overcast all day which helps a dirt surface but at the same time the weather only showed a high of 7% chance of rain and as we started over toward Wilmot a misty rain began to fall. It was one of those rains that you set the wipers on intermediate and adjusted it every so often. The light drizzle continued most of the trip over to Wilmot until the wipers began to scrape across the windshield indicating that the worst was over as the skies brightened. Pulling onto the fairgrounds property we worked our way across the huge parking area closer to the ticket booth and entrance way. We parked the Rogue at 5:30 and decided to wait a while as the large wooden and metal grandstand was nearly empty and the drizzle had returned. By 6 the cars were on the track for hot laps and the rain had dissipated again so we grabbed our blanket and sweatshirts and bought our tickets and ventured inside. We placed our blanket about three rows from the top of the grandstands in section C and settled in for the evening of racing. What a change of temperature from one week ago at Kokomo where we were baking in the sun with high humidity to one where after about an hour we were sliding on our sweatshirts as the temperatures dipped into the low sixties. The program would consist of five divisions of cars which was billed as Championship night as it was the final night for the points in each division. The five divisions participating on the evening were the lightning sprints (16), the Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars (36), modifieds (26), bandits (22) and street stocks (14) for a grand total of 114 race cars. We figured it might be a late night but Wilmot management did a fine job moving the program along quickly and efficiently.

    The first of the five divisions, the lightning sprints, took the green flag on their first heat at 6:34 and from that point forward it was one race over and exiting the track off of turn one with the next race entering the track off of turn four. Tim Brannam won heat one over Max Brannam and CJ Malueg. The second heat was taken by Mike Neau besting John Kirk and Ron Brannam in a cake walk. The Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars were next to the post and they would be contesting four heats for their fine 36 car field with the top four moving into the main event. Heat one would fall to Tate Hensley beating Jimmy Sivia, Rusty Egan and Jordan Paulsen in a spirited battle up front. Heat two would go to the veteran mostly pavement sprint car driver, Tim Cox out of Illinois, outrunning Ryan Marshall, Greg Olsen and Allen Hafford. Heat three went to the maroon #70 of Chris Klemko outdistancing his wife, Natalie, with CJ Malueg doing double duty and Derek Crane. The fourth and final heat was won by Clayton Rossmann over Greg Alt, Brian Strane and Dan Wade. The modifieds would run three heats with Chris Carlson, Mike Simons and John Dost winning. The bandits would spin off three heats while the street stocks ran two heats. Only the sprints and the modifieds would need B mains with Ryan Zielski capturing the sprint B main over Dennis Spitz out of Kentucky, Mike Sullivan and Craig Lager the last man in. The modified B main would go to Scott Barnharst.

    All feature events would be 20 laps in distance with the lightning sprints getting the honors to run their feature go first. The green dropped on the first feature at 8:33 and was a good run with winner, Nick Petska, taking the lead in turn two on lap 11 and holding off 10th starting Mike Neau for his third win of 2021 and also capturing the season long point championship. Mark Heinert would ride home third with Ron Brannam fourth and CJ Malueg rounding out the top five in his lucky #13.

    The bandits would contest their 20 lap feature next on the dance card and after a rough start with several incidents they settled in and spun off their main event. Ryan Johnson was victorious in the bandit feature.

    Now it was time for the 20 lap feature event for the Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars and they took their initial green flag at 9:17. Only two minor cautions for spins slowed the action with Tim Cox leading the majority of the event. It was late in the going when fifth starting Chris Klemko caught and passed Cox in turn three with just three laps to go for the lead. Klemko looked like he would steal this one from the veteran but that is why we call them veterans. Cox stayed right with Klemko and worked the outside and pulled alongside Klemko with two to go and wrestled the lead back from him and crossed the line first at 9:31 grabbing the win over Klemko with sixth starting Daniel Graumenz third, seventh starting Clayton Rossmann fourth and Tate Hensley slipping from first back to fifth at the finish. It was a very competitive feature event with plenty of passing and action with B main winner, Ryan Zielski, advancing from 21st to 6th at the end.

    The 20 lap modified feature was next on the race card taking the green at 9:36. Chris Carlson would lead this one from start to finish but it was not easy as sixth starting Mike Simons pressured him for many laps but was never able to slip by the point champion for the win. Lee Tibbitts was the show in this one advancing from 21st to 3rd in a fine run with Don Scheffler moving from 9th to 4th and John Dost rounding out the top five at 9:54. The street stocks still had their 20 lap feature to run but we decided to hit the exits early and travel back to our hotel discussing the races as we drove back. Both of us enjoyed our evening at Wilmot and would not hesitate to return to watch another show there if we are back in the area. A good facility with a good surface and good reasonably priced food to boot. A good trifecta to have at any race track!!

    That's it for this segment and check back Monday for our report from Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie where we will be making only our second ever appearance and the first since July 3rd of 1994 where the USAC midgets are returning to. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, stories of interest, comments and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and continue to check back to see where we end up next in a typical weekend.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Grant Survives Late Challenge To Win Second Smackdown Finale


    Saturday, August 28 – Reece O'Connor and his track crew worked their magic in the 1.5 hour break between the afternoon matinee and the evening's finale. The track held up well through four heats for the USAC sprints, two heats for the USAC regional midgets, the King of the Hill match races and a C & B main. Even after doing some maintenance on the track between the B and the finale the track finally dusted up from the beginning of the A main with the wind blowing south to north the fans were covered by the brown stuff throughout the 40 lap main event.

    But that was not the big story of the night as Smackdown X saw its third multi-time winner emerged from the dust to nail down his second Smackdown title in a dramatic ending. First though let's backtrack and give you a rundown of the events leading up to the 40 lap Smackdown X feature.

    There were no time trials tonight so the first racing after hot laps was for the 32 USAC sprinters not locked into the main event. The other eight were locked in after points were awarded over the previous two races of Smackdown with Justin Grant the top point man but that didn't guarantee him the pole position. The top eight in points would square off in three lap match races with the winner advancing to the next round and finish determining the starting order of the first four rows of the finale.

    The first of four sprint car qualifiers went green at 9:09 with just the top two to lock into the 40 lap finale. Shane Cottle would wheel the Hodges #74X out of New Mexico to the first heat win over Brent Beauchamp. The second qualifier saw a scary incident occur on the homestretch with the two #57's in the field driven by Max Adams and Cole Bodine battling for a qualifying position tangling just past the starter's stand as Bodine ran out of room on the outside and went flying. Bodine flipped and rolled several times shearing off the right front tire and part of the axle that cleared the fencing at the end of the homestretch and rolled down the walkway luckily not hitting anyone in the process. It was a racing accident with Bodine getting the worst of the deal injuring a finger and destroying his family owned machine in the nasty flip. It was a shame for Bodine who had showed good speed the entire week and still ended up winning the pass master award for Smackdown passing 23 sprints during the weekend. Max Adams would be able to restart the qualifier and finished second behind Jake Swanson to move to the main event. Jadon Rogers dominated the third qualifier turning back Emerson Axsom. The four qualifier fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Jack Yeley #2 besting Chase Stockon for the win. Two heat races for the 14 car USAC regional midgets would follow with Chance Crum and Chase McDermand winning.

    Melinda Stanbrough and many others who help her raise money every year to kick cancer with the money raised through raffles, a kickball game and an auction going to the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. This year an amazing $56,000 was raised by the efforts put forth by many driver's wives and so many more for such a great cause. Hats off to Melinda and the others for a job well done!!! Five thousand of the fifty six thousand was donated by an American Legion Post which I believe is local but didn't catch the name or location so they also get a big round of applause for their contribution.

    Next up was the King of the Hill three lap match races with Justin Grant defeating Kyle Cummins in the first match up. Tanner Thorson turned back Brady Bacon to win the second one with Logan Seavey defeating Chris Windom in the third match up and Kevin Thomas Jr. beating CJ Leary in the last round one match up. Round two saw Tanner Thorson knock off the top point man, Justin Grant, in the first match up with Kevin Thomas Jr. downing Logan Seavey in the second one. This led up to the final matching Thorson vs. Thomas with Thorson easily winning the King of the Hill title and the first starting position for the feature event.

    So with the first four rows decided we still had two additional races to run before the rest of the field was determined for the finale. First a C main was contested with the top four tagging the tail of the B main which would take six to the main event. Terre Haute's Brandon Mattox scored the victory in the C besting Brayden Clark, Steven Drevicki and Brandon Long representing Ballou Motorsports. The B main was captured by Scotty Weir in the Petersen #4P trailed to the line by Mario Clouser, Arizona's Stevie Sussex, Californian Chase Johnson, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall the last man invited to the big dance.

    The 20 lap USAC regional midget feature would be called to the grid first with the green flag waving at 10:34. It was a good run with only one caution and taking just seven minutes to run. Chance Crum in the Rudeen #26 took the lead on the backstretch with seven to go passing race long leader, Chase McDermand, and went on to receive the double checkers at 10:41 winning over McDermand with Hayden Reinbold third, Jack Routson fourth with Mitchell Davis rounding out the top five.

    It was time for the introduction of the starting field of 22 for Smackdown X with $15,000 on the line to the winner with each driver (half on the backstretch and the other half on the homestretch) entering to a song picked by them. The most interesting of the group was Tanner Thorson who displayed a banner reading “Lions Not Sheep” which is a top selling men's gear who say you have two choices. To lead (lion) or be led (sheep). This could also be applied to the world today and the choices you have to be your own man or follow the crowd and listen to all the news outlets and government officials. Let's move on from here back to the race at hand.

    The front row of Tanner Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr. would lead 20 others to the green flag at 11:40 with Thorson getting the jump into the early lead. Thorson would pace the field for the first 15 laps with Thomas, Grant and Seavey in chase mode. Thorson caught the tail end of the field where Matt Westfall and Stevie Sussex were waging a side by side battle for position allowing Grant who had passed Thomas earlier to chose the gap in a hurry. Racing down the backstretch Grant dove low on Westfall and entered turn three on the low side and went to the top in turn four cutting across the front of Thorson's car to take the lead off turn four but Thorson crossed over and nipped Grant at the line to retain the lead. Grant used a slider entering turn one and pulled it off in turn two racing down the backstretch with the lead on lap sixteen. Grant was now the lion as he opened up a sizable lead as the laps ticked down and the rest of the field were the sheep chasing him. Scotty Weir gave Grant a few anxious moments in the latter stages of the contest nearly spinning in front of Grant in turn one. Thorson closed dramatically in an instant but Grant recovered and moved out front to a comfortable lead once again. With two to go Grant saw what he least wanted to see when the yellow flag waved for eighth running Shane Cottle who saw his fine run end in a ball of flames and smoke as the engine of the Hodges car gave up the ghost. This set up a two lap shootout to decide it all and everyone in the house knew there would be a big slider coming from Thorson in turn one on the restart. And Thorson did not disappoint as he executed the perfect slider taking the lead in turn two as he and Grant raced down the backstretch. Grant was not about to give this one up as he raced into turn three throwing a slider on Thorson and taking back the lead in turn four even kissing the wall with his right rear to boot. Grant again entered turn one low on the white flag lap as the leader and slide from the bottom to the top of turns one and two to counter any slider Thorson might have in mind. Thorson tried one last vain attempt in turns three and four sliding alongside Grant in four but not enough to pass him with. The front two raced to the double checkers at 11:56 with Grant prevailing to take his second Smackdown finale and seventh win of 2021 over Thorson with Thomas Jr. third, Brady Bacon fourth and Logan Seavey rounding out the top five. After the leaders crossed the line there was a tangle in between turns three and four involving CJ Leary and Jake Swanson battling for seventh at the time with both cars rolling over. Ninth running Kyle Cummins was also involved damaging his front end as he ended up in the turn four wall. All drivers were OK after the incident but ended up 11th through 13th in the final rundown. The win was Grant's 28th career USAC National sprint car win tying him for 18th on the all-time list with numerous drivers. Positions six through ten were filled by Chris Windom, Emerson Axsom from 15th to 7th winning the hard charger award, with Chase Stockon eighth after starting sixteenth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Mario Clouser finishing tenth after starting 18th.

    It was a good race run under trying circumstances as the weather conditions did not do anyone any favors. It might not have been the best Smackdown ever but it still a good Smackdown finale.

    That's it for now as next up will be a Labor Day road trip with three stops during the weekend with two of them being new ventures for us. So check back Monday to see where we ended up and how things went. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the season begins to wind down especially in the Midwest where both high school and college football take center stage and the races in Indiana and Illinois began to dwindle. News, comments, notes and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Stay safe and stay hydrated until the weather turns cooler. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Thomas Jr. Scores Saturday Afternoon Matinee Win At Kokomo Smackdown


    Saturday, August 28 – Thursday's race was rained out as you all know by now so track management in conjunction with USAC decided to run a Saturday doubleheader with hot laps for the sprinters for the afternoon matinee program beginning at 3 PM with the complete program to follow. After the afternoon show was completed there would be a ninety minute break to clear the grandstands and for Reece O'Connor and his crew to go to work on transforming the track to good running condition for the night's finale.

    Time trials for the forty one car field hit the track at 3:36 in two groups with Logan Seavey from group one setting the fast time around the quarter mile bullring with a time of 12.863 seconds. The first heat would take the green at 4:29 in the single division show with CJ Leary scoring the first heat win over Shane Cottle, Logan Seavey and Kevin Thomas Jr. Heat two saw Alex Bright get clipped from behind by Tanner Thorson turning him sideways in front of Californian, Eddie Tafoya Jr., who had no where to go except into Bright's car and up and over rolling his sprinter in the process. Tafoya was done for the day after the mishap. Cole Bodine who has looked strong in the three races during the week so far won heat two over Chase Stockon, Matt Westfall and Tanner Thorson. Chris Windom powered to the win in heat three Max Adams, Mario Clouser and Jadon Rogers followed Windom to the finish in this one. The fourth and final heat fall to Brady Bacon outdistancing Kyle Cummins, Emerson Axsom and Justin Grant.

    Next up was the C main taking the top four forward to the tail of the B main. Ryan Thomas in the second Wingo Brothers #77 prevailed over Anthony D'Alessio, Tye Mihocko and Reading, PA's own Steven Drevicki. The B main would follow shortly thereafter with the top six moving into the 30 lap main event. Jake Swanson would run rough shod in the B taking the win over Thomas Meseraull, Scotty Weir, Alex Bright, Stevie Sussex and Chase Johnson nailing down the last spot into the main event. By this time with the combination of the beating sun, the heat index at triple digits and the pounding of the surface by 41 sprinters had taken its toll as the track was quite dusty. As much as the track crew tried to bring it back it was not to be on this afternoon. The feature would be run on a dry, slick, dusty track and that is what it was. Even with that the feature itself was still competitive and kept your interest.

    The front row of Matt Westfall and Jadon Rogers brought the 23 car field to the green flag at 6:17 joined by provisional Brandon Long running a sprinter renumbered 12 so Ballou Motorsports could be awarded some owner points. Westfall and Rogers battled for the lead in the first lap until fourth starting Justin Grant split the pair exiting turn four and taking the lead away. Grant quickly motored away using the high side to increase his lead as the laps ticked off. Kevin Thomas Jr. worked his way up to second with Logan Seavey moving from sixth to third. Lap eleven saw Chase Johnson ride the turn four wall to bring out the caution and re-bunch the field. On the restart Grant holds off Thomas and Seavey gets a great run through turns three and four to take the lead away from Grant passing them both. Brady Bacon gets into the act catching and passing Thomas for second at the halfway mark and takes off after Seavey. Inside of ten laps to go lap traffic is a big issue as Seavey picks his way through with Bacon right behind. With seven to go fifth running Jadon Rogers loses the handle in turn two and spins bringing out the caution. With six to go Seavey bikes the Baldwin #5 in turn one causing Bacon to brake with Thomas diving underneath for second. Emerson Axsom brings out the third and final caution on lap twenty five when he spins in turn two. On the restart Seavey leads with Thomas second and Bacon third. Seavey catches the turn one wall allowing Thomas to move underneath and into the lead with four to go. Thomas pulled away by a few car lengths over the remaining four laps and crossed the finish line at 6:32 for his sixth USAC win of 2021 tying Justin Grant for the most wins. It was also Thomas' 33rd career USAC sprint car win moving him past Rollie Beale into 13th place on the win list. Seavey would record another second place finish with Bacon a close third, Justin Grant fourth and CJ Leary rounding out the top five. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth with Jake Swanson seventh, Shane Cottle eighth, Chris Windom ninth and the hard charger, Chase Stockon from 18th to 10th at the end.

    For a day race it was still pretty competitive and though dusty it was still a decent race to watch.

    Check back Tuesday for the report on the finale of Smackdown X as we plot the Labor Day weekend ahead of us. In the meantime put together you're own Labor Day weekend race track visits somewhere and enjoy yourselves but most of all stay safe and stay hydrated. And thanks as always for reading our efforts and for the nice comments that come our way.

     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Grant Scores Night One Win Of Smackdown X At Kokomo


    Friday, August 27 - Today was another scorcher with temperatures in the 90's with the heat index over 100. It was also now the opener of Smackdown X as Thursday night's scheduled opener fell to heavy rain hitting around the time hot laps were suppose to start. Everything has now been rearranged with Friday now the opener with Thursday's show being run on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night's finale will follow the daytime show after an hour and a half break to perform track maintenance and clear the grandstands.

    A fine field of 46 entries graced the turns three and four pit area and during hot laps we lost one car when Alex Banales in the backup Baldwin #5 rode the turn two wall and fencing before returning to the track without flipping over but doing serious damage to the rear side of the #5. This left us with 45 cars to go under the clock and the two groups started their time trial sessions at 7:20 and ended at 7:48 with Justin Grant of group one posted the quickest time of 12.579 second around the mile bullring in Howard County on the outskirts of the city of Kokomo.

    Up next would be the four heats for the USAC sprint cars with the top four moving directly into the 30 lap main event this evening. Thomas Meseraull drew first blood copping heat one in the Jack Yeley #2 turning back Brent Beauchamp, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant in an action packed heat one. Chris Windom would score heat two in a very competitive affair with Kevin Thomas Jr., Jake Swanson and Kyle Cummins battling each other the entire distance. Danny Faria Jr., a two time USAC West Coast 360 sprint champion, has struggled in the first two nights of racing at Kokomo getting into the wall during hot laps and rolling the Michael Dutcher #17GP during heat two. It would end his evening prematurely. Heat three went to Robert Ballou on a tear since switching to gas shocks the night before taking down this one besting Tanner Thorson, Jason McDougal and Logan Seavey. The fourth heat saw Ohio's Matt Westfall coming off a strong run on the mile at Springfield in Silver Crown action last Saturday withstanding the relentless advances of CJ Leary to win heat four with Jadon Rogers and Emerson Axsom joining the party to move forward.

    A C main was next on the dance card with the top four advancing to the tail of the B main. Cole Bodine would take the lead late in this one by utilizing the high side to beat Tye Mihocko back in the Epperson #2E, Max Guilford and Steven Drevicki, the three time USAC East Coast 360 winner, who had better luck tonight than his West Coast counterpart. The 12 lap B main was next up and during the race a nasty crash occurred when Brandon Mattox pounded the turn two wall and flipped wildly ricocheting into the path of Chase Johnson who had no where to go except into Mattox sending Johnson rolling through turn two. Both drivers emerged from their battered machines to the relief of the crowd on hand. When racing resumed Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74X went to the point and would capture the B main over Stevie Sussex, Chase Stockon, Mario Clouser, the current WAR sprint car point leader, Alex Bright and Cole Bodine in the drive of the night advancing from the C to qualify after starting 15th in the B main.

    That left us with just the 30 lap main event to run and by 9:47 the front row of CJ Leary and Brent Beauchamp brought the 23 car field with the addition of Steven Drevicki to Tom Hansing's green flag. Leary assumed the lead off turn two and lead the field for the first two laps until Kyle Cummins pounded the cushion and squeezed between Leary and the turn four wall to nip Leary at the start/finish line to start lap three. A scant few seconds later Brady Bacon tangled with another car in turn four and stalled his sprinter forcing the point leader to restart at the tail of the field. Cummins led on the restart with Leary and Tanner Thorson trailing. Thorson disposed of Leary at the line to start lap five and went after Cummins. Lap nine saw Cummins bobble on the turn three cushion allowing Thorson to close the gap and on lap twelve exiting turn four Thorson surged ahead with a wheelie to boot. Lap traffic became an issue just past the halfway mark with Thorson and Cummins working it well. Lap twenty saw a close one for the leaders as they entered turn one where Stevie Sussex caught the turn one wall ricocheting off it and almost collecting the leaders in the process. On the restart Thorson went out front but Cummins found the high side to his liking and started to use it to pressure Thorson for the lead. Cummins blasted by Thorson for the lead on the homestretch on lap twenty two and was back in command. One lap later disaster struck for last night's Darland winner, Robert Ballou, running fifth at the time when he entered turn one and caught the cushion wrong sending his car into a flip into the turn one catch fence. Ballou's machine was extradited from the accident scene by a wrecker in a vertical manner and left dangling from the end of the wrecker in the infield while the race went green again. Justin Grant had now moved into contention using the high side running third behind Thorson and Cummins. With five to go Thorson went high in turn four allowing Grant to dive low off the corner dispatching Thorson for the second position. With three to go Thomas Meseraull pulled up lame off of turn three to bring out the caution and re-stack the deck for the remaining three laps. The slider contest began on the restart with Grant throwing the first bomb entering turn one with Cummins crossing over in turn two with Grant reloading in turn thee and Cummins crossing back over in turn four outracing Grant to the line with two to go. Grant threw another slider in turn one not giving Cummins any room sliding right in front of Cummins' front bumper which gave him the lead. Grant raced down the backstretch as the leader and as they entered turns three and four Cummins jumped the cushion allowing Chris Windom who started tenth to steal second as they raced to the white flag. Grant surged ahead on the last lap outrunning Windom to Tom Hansing's double checkers at 10:13 to take night one of Smackdown with Cummins third, Leary fourth and Thorson taking fifth. Brady Bacon made a fine comeback after starting at the tail and finished sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Shane Cottle eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Matt Westfall rounding out the top ten. It was Grant's sixth win of 2021 and 27th of his career moving him into 21st place on the all-time list ahead of two good racers in Tony Elliott and Dave Steele who are no longer with us.

    It was an exciting night of racing and we look forward to Saturday and the full day of racing beginning with hot laps at three and a second show to follow 1.5 hours after the checkers fly on the afternoon race.

    Check back for the report on Saturday's Smackdown action from Kokomo and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road for a road trip somewhere. News, comments and any other tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Ballou Takes Wild Win At Bob Darland Memorial At Kokomo


    Wednesday, August 25 – Today was a hot one so we decided to place our blankets on the backstretch at Kokomo Speedway because you have the sun at your back and the grandstand becomes shaded fairly early. Joining us tonight would be first time visitor and Ohio trackchaser Rich Berry along with Sally Ebling and Gary Dean from Missouri as we placed blankets down in the aluminum grandstand enough for all.

    Tonight was not officially considered part of Smackdown but we always considered the Wednesday event as part of the Smackdown week and it was special tonight as it was the previously rained out Bob Darland Memorial race added to the schedule. Thirty nine sprint cars would be joined by seventeen thunder cars for a good two division show to kick off Smackdown week. The sprint cars were first up for their four heats for their fine 39 car field with four advancing to the 36 lap feature event, 36 signifying the signature number used by Bob Darland over the years. Logan Seavey would claim heat one in the Baldwin #5 over Tanner Thorson, Brady Bacon and Brandon Mattox. Sprint car rookie, Emerson Axsom, took his second heat win in two starts in heat two turning back Jake Swanson, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. Heat three was captured by Robert Ballou beating Kevin Thomas Jr., Thomas Meseraull in the Simon #23S and CJ Leary. The fourth and final heat went to Justin Grant over Max Adams back in the Hazen #57 after having been burned in that car at Gas City about a month earlier, Mario Clouser and Max Guilford. The thunder cars would run three heats before the sprints returned for two B mains with just two to qualify out of each. We felt only two out of the B's was a little chintzy and why not three to make a normal USAC field of 22. Anthony D'Alessio would garner B main one over Cole Bodine while in B main two Stevie Sussex in the Wingo #77 took top honors over PA's Alex Bright making his sprint car debut at Kokomo in the Hummer #20.

    That would lead us up to the 36 lap Bob Darland Memorial race which would go green at 9:08. The front row of Logan Seavey and Emerson Axsom raced side by side into turns one and two where Axsom used every inch of the outside to power by Seavey going down the backstretch. Brandon Mattox would slide off of turn two into the infield and return to the surface and stop on the backstretch to bring out the first caution and force a complete restart. The results were the same on the restart with Axsom going to the point with Seavey in tow. The second caution would appear on lap five when Anthony D'Alessio would spun in turn four. Two more laps would go into the books before Alex Bright followed D'Alessio's suit and looped his sprinter in turn four. The action resumed with Axsom the leader chased by Seavey and Ballou but soon Justin Grant was on the scene and began to get very racy. He moved by Ballou for third and caught Seavey for second and began the chase of Axsom. Suddenly on lap 13 Grant pulled to a stop on the high side of turn four and was pushed to the pit area done for the evening. On the restart Axsom went out front with Seavey and Ballou in his tire tracks. Ballou took second from Seavey on the homestretch on lap fourteen with Seavey using a slider in turn one and Ballou crossing over in turn two to retain second. Axsom stretched his lead over the middle stretch of the race and looked like he might pull off the upset for the Clauson/Marshall team. But lap traffic began to become an issue and as Axsom worked his way through the slower cars they also slowed his pace and allowed Ballou and Seavey to close the gap somewhat. Lap twenty eight saw Axsom still leading but as he passed about halfway down the backstretch Ballou was exiting turn two and suddenly like being shot out of a cannon Ballou was alongside Axsom as they entered turn three. Ballou blasted by in turn four and took the lead and threw Axsom off his game as he missed his mark in turn four drifting to the fence allowing Seavey to charge by for second. Then Seavey tracked down Ballou in a flash and the two exchanged sliders over the next several laps until Ballou prevailed and moved out front again. Disaster almost struck with three to go when Ballou entered turn one and went up against the wall and turned his sprinter sideways between turns one and two. We don't know how he saved it without stalling and actually did not lose much ground or the lead during this close call!! Seavey closed again in the closing laps but was not able to mount a serious charge again and at 9:26 Ballou streaked across the line first for the win with Seavey second, Axsom third, Tanner Thorson fourth and CJ Leary completing a fine drive from 15th to 5th at the finish. Brady Bacon finished sixth with Jake Swanson seventh, Thomas Meseraull eighth, Max Guilford in a good run from 16th to 9th and Stevie Sussex coming from 18th to 10th at the finish.

    Since it was still early and we were staying in Kokomo we decided to watch the 17 lap thunder car feature event and it was a good one with the top three battling the entire distance with Nate Payton edging ahead on the backstretch with two to go past Gregg Tarr and holding on to take the win as the three raced side by side on the last lap through turns three and four before Payton pushed ahead to get the win over Tarr and Gary Walker.

    It was a real good night of racing to start off the Smackdown week at Kokomo and we hope the intense racing continues the rest of the week as the last ten laps of the sprint car race were certainly money's worth and vintage Kokomo. And it was good seeing old friends, Rich Berry, Sally Ebling and Gary Dean, and swapping stories and trip plans for the remainder of the racing season.

    That's it for this segment and check back tomorrow for the “official” night one of three of Smackdown X. Comments, news and other tidbits of information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or join us at Smackdown for some great racing over the next three days. Until next time be safe and stay hydrated. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and commenting on them as your comments make it all worthwhile spending the time typing out these columns to you all.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Thomas Jr. Wins Fifth USAC Sprint Contest In USAC's Return To Paragon


    Sunday, August 22 – Church was first on the agenda for Sunday before preparing to leave in the late afternoon for a Sunday night special race at the 3/8 mile dirt oval in Paragon. The USAC National sprint cars would be returning to the historic Paragon Speedway in its 67th year of operation for the first time in 23 years after an earlier program was rained out in April. Thirty USAC sprints were joined in the backstretch pit area by fifteen bombers to make for an almost perfect car count for a two division Sunday night program. Seats were secured for us by Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser in the top row of one of the aluminum bleacher sections on the homestretch. We all tried to stay out of the furnace that is created on the hillside where the seating is located as the sun is directly in your eyes and on this day it seemed relentless beating down on us all. It was good to see Brent Goodnight back at the races tonight as serious medical issues have kept him on the sidelines with addition surgery scheduled for September 1st and our thoughts and prayers go out to him for the doctors to finally resolve his problems. We finally ventured into the seating area around 6 and drank plenty of fluids and used the battery powered fan that Jen loaned us until the sun went down and it cooled off a little. Thanks Jen and Dan!!!

    Time trials for the USAC sprint cars were the first order of business after warm ups were completed with the first car pushing off at 6:36. By 6:58 Kyle Cummins had toured the 3/8 mile oval the quickest with a time of 14.905 seconds for the top honor. Three USAC sprint heats would follow with five to qualify out of each. The first heat literally got off to a bumpy start when Braxton Cummings lost his battle with the four turn cushion and flipped in the early going of this heat. Emerson Axsom, the Indiana youngster and midget driver, was making his USAC National sprint car debut tonight in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC and what a debut it was as he scored the win in heat one over Jason McDougal, Shane Cockrum in a guest ride in the Gass #17G, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins racing into the last qualifying position late in the event. Logan Seavey wheeling the Baldwin Brothers orange crate #5 looked good winning heat two besting Chase Randall in one of the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ's after winning his first Indiana sprint car race at Lincoln Park the night before & also making his USAC sprint car debut, Jadon Rogers, Justin Grant and Robert Ballou passing Tanner TThorsonlate to send Thorson to the B main. Kevin Thomas Jr. went from third to first on the last lap of his heat to win over Jake Swanson, Ricky Lewis, CJ Leary and Brady Bacon in a stacked heat. Chris Windom finished sixth after taking a ride off of turn four after contact with Kyle Shipley and charging from the rear to fall one spot short of qualifying and joining Thorson in the B main. Two bomber heats were run with Jordan Almanza and David Bumgardner prevailing before the sprinters would return for their B main. The top seven would advance to the 30 lap main event with Koby Barksdale in his new ride in the Knight #16K taking the B outrunning a strong contingent led by Chris Windom who finished second, Jake Scott third, Brayden Fox fourth, Brandon Morin fifth, Brandon Mattox sixth and Tye Mihocko at the key board of the Epperson #2E the last man in. Tanner Thorson suffered a flat tire during the event, changed it and returned to finish one spot out of qualifying. Thorson and the Reinbold/Underwood crew would have to use a provisional to join the field and would start twenty third on the grid for the 30 lap feature event.

    The 23 car field was led to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:13 by the front row of CJ Leary and Logan Seavey. It would be the last time the green was needed as this race would go non-stop in 8:28.95 which was a new track record. Leary would lead three corners of the first lap until Seavey charged by on the cushion in turn four bringing Kevin Thomas Jr. along for the ride. Seavey would lead the first seven circuits of this one before Thomas passed Seavey off turn two to grab the lead on lap eight. The leaders began to encounter lap traffic as they raced in lap eleven with Thomas still leading the way with Seavey close behind in his tire tracks as the pair weaved its way through the traffic. Seavey several times during the middle portion of the race was poised to make his challenge but the cushion in turns three and four slowed his advances. Meanwhile two competitors were working their way forward with ninth starting Brady Bacon moving into fourth on lap nineteen while Chris Windom threaded his way from 18th to 6th. In the last five laps Seavey chased Thomas making it too close for comfort for the leader several times. With three to go Thomas closed on Koby Barksdale with three to go hesitating as he figured out which way to go allowing Seavey to close within two car lengths. Thomas dove low in turn two on Barksdale as slid right allowing Thomas to open a little breathing room as he raced by him. The front two raced to the white flag with Seavey again edging within a few car lengths as they charged into turn one. Thomas was able to gap Seavey down the backstretch and entering turns three and four went to the top to take away Seavey's line as they screamed off turn four with Brian Hodde's double checkers flowing. It was Thomas to the line first for the fifth time in 2021 and it was also his 32nd career USAC National sprint car win tying him with Hall of Famer, Rollie Beale, for 13th on the all-time win list. Seavey would come home second with Kyle Cummins third, Brady Bacon fourth and the hard charger, Chris Windom, fifth after starting 18th after two tangles with Kyle Shipley during the evening which he expounded upon in his podium interview. CJ Leary led the second five to the finish in sixth with Robert Ballou moving from 19th to seventh, Justin Grant eighth, Jason McDougal ninth and Emerson Axsom tenth. The other rookie, Chase Randall, ended up 13th in the final rundown. The season points race has tightened up as Thomas' recent strong runs has closed the gap on leader Brady Bacon to 39 with Justin Grant in third 77 back in the standings.

    We decided to stay and watch the 15 lap bomber feature as it was still early (9:22) and we have watched these guys and gals run heat races at LPS but never have watched one of their features. They usually race close and competitive so it was the night to watch them run their main event. David Bumgardner would lead the entire distance but don't let that fool you as the race up front was a race long four car battle with Bumgardner crossing the line at 9:50 first with Jason Trader second and Josh Litton, a normal super stock driver, taking down third.

    It was a good night of racing in both divisions and wrapping up the entire program before 10 PM is a good way to get people to return to your facility the next time you host a Sunday night event. Good job, Joe Spiker and company!!!

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Kody Swanson Prevails In Rain Shortened Bettenhausen 100 At Springfield


    Saturday, August 21 – We awoke in Springfield to sunshine and the weather outlook had improved for the better but was still iffy from 4 PM onward. We made the short (1.8 mile) drive to the Illinois State Fairgrounds and followed the road signs that led us to Gate 8 and entrance to a large parking lot outside of turn four of the one mile dirt oval that we were going to attend today. The senior admission to the fair was just $3 each (regular admission was $10) with parking costing an additional $5. We felt that was a pretty good deal to attend such a large state fair. We decided to hang in the car for a while as the skies looked threatening and sure enough about 30 minutes later it began to lightly rain. It only rained for a short period of time and after watching a couple of racing video clips on my phone we decided to enter the race track grounds via the tunnel underneath turn four which leads to the infield. We walked the pit area for a while checking out the grand beasts of the USAC Silver Crown division with Pat taking pictures of many of the cars especially Ken Schrader's mount and Ken himself after he climbed from his machine after practice. It was a special collage of pictures for Ken's favorite fan in Pennsylvania, Beverly Bucks Grim, which Pat added out on her Facebook page. There are two other tunnels to exit the infield area and go over to the front of the grandstand but one could not be used unless you had your Covid-19 vaccine card to show before entering. Seems silly to me to require a vaccine card to just walk through an underground tunnel. Anyhow we emerged from the other tunnel and walked around checking out the various food vendors before deciding on two underneath a pavilion facing the back of the grandstands. I opted for a gyro while Pat chose the pork chop sandwich. After seeing Pat's sandwich I knew I made the wrong choice. Though the gyro was good it did not hold water to the two inch pork chop sandwich Pat feasted on. After finishing my gyro ($6.50) I threw down another six dollars and munched down a delicious pork chop sandwich myself. It was the most tender pork chop sandwiches I have ever eaten and was a real bargain when over vendors were charging seven to nine dollars for lesser sandwiches. Twenty ounce cold waters at $2 each were also a bargain at the pavilion stands. After filling our stomachs it was time to head into the giant grandstand as Silver Crown time trials were already under way starting at 11:28. Of all the dirt miles we have attended over the years we think the Illinois State Fair track and seating are by far the best we have ever witnessed. The seats are nicely pitched and from our Row 20 seats we could gaze over the entire facility with minor obstructions but still better sight lines than anywhere else in our long dirt mile history.

    Time trials took just slightly under one hour (59 minutes to be exact) to complete as Cary Oliver took a hard ride into the turn three retaining wall tearing off the right side wheels in the incident. Oliver was OK but did not record a time for the day and joined six other drivers who due to different mechanical woes did not record a time either. Among the other six were several contenders such as Brady Bacon, CJ Leary, Chris Windom and David Byrne along with Kyle Cummins and Chris Urish. That cut the field from 38 to 31 after time trials and USAC would start all the 31 remaining cars in the 58th running of the Tony Bettenhausen 100 on this day. Kody Swanson in the Dyson #9 would set fast time for the 31 timers with a time of 30.075 seconds around the nicely prepared dirt mile or an average of 119.701 mph to give you another perspective. Two sportsman heats were run next with these cars prepared to run the next day with the Menards ARCA series stock cars on the mile. Pat and I discussed during the down time that with the weather conditions it would be a good idea to start the Bettenhausen 100 earlier than the scheduled starting time of 2 PM. We were hoping that a 1:30 starting time would be announced but track management and USAC officials stuck to the 2 PM starting time with the 31 car field taking the initial green flag from Tom Hansing at 2:13 PM. But before the green flag dropped five drivers choose to change right rear tires losing their starting positions and starting from twenty third to twenty seventh on the start. They were Kody Swanson dropping from 1st to 23rd, Jason McDougal from 7th to 24th, Shane Cockrum dropping from 11th to 25th, Shane Cottle from 17th to 26th and Patrick Lawson from 26th to 27th.

    That gave the front row over to Matt Westfall and Logan Seavey who was scheduled to start second. Jerry Coons Jr. in the Bateman #55 went to the early lead and would lead the majority of the first lap before Seavey stormed back edging him at the line to lead lap one. Jake Swanson would take second away from Coons on the homestretch on lap two and take up the chase of leader Seavey. Chase Stockon in a second DMW Motorsports entry as a teammate to J. Swanson passed Westfall to move to fourth on lap three as the field raced each other hard in the early going. Justin Grant was on the move from 11th taking fourth from Stockon on lap seven as Kody Swanson cracked the top ten at this point. Lap ten saw the oldest man in the field, 67 year old Dave Peperak making his first Silver Crown appearance in 39 years since Nazareth in 1983, slow to a stop just short of the pit entrance to bring out the first caution. On the restart Seavey went to the point trailed by Jake Swanson. Seavey would lead until lap eighteen when Jake Swanson swept by on the homestretch to take the lead. Meanwhile Kody Swanson and Shane Cockrum were hooked up in a great battle for the ninth spot further back in the field after starting 23rd and 25th respectively. Kody clawed his way up to sixth by lap twenty one and cracked the top five with a turn two pass of Coons on lap twenty two. Justin Grant continued to turn in a strong run moving into third past Chase Stockon in turn three on lap twenty three as Kody Swanson took fourth from Stockon in turn one on lap twenty four. Cockrum stormed to sixth on the inside of turn one surpassing the fading Stockon on lap twenty eight with Kyle Steffens making a move into seventh on lap thirty. The caution waved on lap thirty two when both Chris Fetter and Shane Cottle slowed in turn three unable to limp over to the pit entrance on the homestretch to pull into the pit area. Carmen Perigo was on the move after stopping on the homestretch earlier and restarting at the tail moving up to 11th by lap thirty five. Lap forty two found Perigo into eighth and moving forward in a hurry. One lap later Cockrum slipped by Coons in turn three to move into the top five. Logan Seavey had looked high and low for numerous laps on Jake Swanson finally powering back into the lead on the backstretch on lap forty five. Kody Swanson moved into third past Grant on lap forty five with Perigo sliding by Steffans for sixth on lap forty six. Grant battled back and re-passed Kody for third and now Jake for second as the NOS car seemed to come to life once again on lap forty nine. Just two laps later disaster struck for Grant as his machine slowed on the homestretch with mechanical woes and pulled off on the backstretch exit ending his fine run much too early. Lap fifty four saw the amazing run by Perigo continue as he pulled off a two for one pass of Jake Swanson and Cockrum between turns one and two bolting from fifth into third. Going down the backstretch on lap fifty seven Perigo continued his march doing something not too many drivers do in a Silver Crown race and that is passing Kody Swanson for position shooting by for second to the roar of the crowd. Entering turn one on lap fifty nine Perigo challenged Seavey for the lead with the two banging wheels in the process. Perigo lost ground as Seavey raced out front again after the challenge with Kody Swanson sneaking by Perigo into second shortly thereafter. Kody was like a shark seeing blood as he stalked Seavey making a big run down the homestretch and diving low in turn one to take the lead away from Seavey on lap sixty one. Shane Cockrum rumbled by Perigo for third with an inside run in turn one on lap sixty six and Coons went to fourth with the same move on Perigo on lap seventy one. Kyle Steffans just moved by Perigo for fifth on the outside of turn one starting lap seventy seven before Patrick Lawson and Nathan Moore, two Texan natives, locked horns entering turn one battling for 13th and sliding hard into the turn one wall with Lawson rolling over twice with Moore spinning like a top in the air never flipping but landing hard on the track surface. Both drivers were OK after the scary ride as the wrecker crews cleaned up the accident scene while the field sat quietly on the homestretch waiting for them to finish. As the cars fired back up rain began to fall in turn three and by the time the cars rolled through that area the rain quickly increased making the track unraceable with the field stopped again on the homestretch. At 3:23, just eight minutes after the rain began the race was declared official and the checkered flag was waved bringing the race to a premature ending. The rain continued for 45 minutes and with a concert scheduled for the homestretch stage at 7 PM it would have been impossible to run in the track and restart the race once again.

    So it was over at lap seventy six with Kody Swanson declared the winner taking his third Bettenhausen 100 joining ten other drivers with at least three wins in this race and it was also Swanson's first dirt Silver Crown win in three years. It now gives Swanson a 51 point bulge over Seavey in the points title with just three races remaining on the Silver Crown schedule. Logan Seavey would take second with Shane Cockrum third, Jerry Coons Jr. fourth and impressive Kyle Steffans claiming his highest Silver Crown finish ever in fifth. Jake Swanson would record sixth with Matt Westfall riding home seventh, Arizona's Casey Buckman a steady eighth, Carmen Perigo dropped back to ninth after a four spot penalty for jumping on a lap 34 restart which was a shame after his inspiring run and Chase Stockon rounding out the top ten. This one will have the rail birds chirping for years to come about what would have happened if the race was able to go the remaining 24 laps but we will never know for sure. Both Seavey and Cockrum said on Twitter they both had plenty left in their cars and right rear tires to challenge Kody Swanson but you got to wonder if they were prepared for the last stretch don't you think the Silver Crown master had something also??

    The plan was to take the thirty minute drive over to Macon Speedway to take in the POWRi midgets but upon approaching the Decatur exit to turn off toward Macon the POWRi Twitter account informed us of a rain out there. With it being too late at that point to go back into Indiana and proceed down to the Lincoln Park Speedway (with an 8:15 arrival for a 7 PM start) we decided to stop in Champaign, Illinois and eat at Hickory River BBQ where the food is delicious especially the brisket which I feel is the best I ever had and believe me we have eaten at many BBQ joints around the country. If you are ever in the Champaign area check out Hickory River BBQ, you will not be disappointed!!!

    Check back tomorrow for our report on USAC sprints for the first time in 23 years at Paragon Speedway. Until next time get out there and enjoy some short track racing in your area as the season is moving into the fall. And thanks for reading our column and hope you continue to enjoy our observations and comments.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Neuman Takes First MOWA Sprint Win At Lincoln


    Friday, August 20 – Friday was the start of our weekend in Illinois all centered around the USAC Silver Crown cars running Saturday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The race we were heading to on Friday was at the mile black gumbo clay located on the Logan County Fairgrounds in Lincoln at the Lincoln Speedway. It was billed as the Night Before The Fair Race building up to the big day on Saturday. It would be a six division program with the MOWA winged sprint cars the main attraction and they brought 24 to the dance to join 9 D2 midgets, 11 UMP modifieds, 13 pro late models, 11 hornets and 8 kid modz in the turns three and four pit area outside the mile and inside the confines of the mile horse track that also separates the covered grandstand from the mile inside.

    This track gets it on keeping the town folks happy by spinning off a snappy program topped by a racing surface that produces virtually no dust. Some other dirt tracks located in a town should send representatives to Lincoln, Illinois to see how to properly operate a race track in a town and keep the locals happy. The scheduled starting time was 7 PM and at 6:53 PM the first of two D2 midget heat took the green flag to kick off a fast paced night of racing. Korey Weyant, a sprint car and Silver Crown driver, won heat one with Mark McMahill capturing heat two. The next division is lined up ready to go on the horse track and roll onto the speedway as the previous race exits the track through the backstretch opening. Two UMP modified heats were next on the card with Ray Bollinger and Brandon Roberts taking top honors. The MOWA sprints would be the third division to run their heats with three to be contested for the 24 car field which included two normal USAC wingless drivers in Robert Ballou and Chris Windom. Brandon Hanks would score the heat one win over Brayton Lynch, Austin O'Dell and Jeremy Standridge. Heat two would go to sprint car rookie, Jake Neuman, over Robert Ballou, Chris Windom and Chris Urish. Heat three was won by Zach Daum beating Cory Bruns, Luke Verardi and Joey Moughan. Jose Parga and Dakota Ewing who are teammates won the pro late model heats. No consies or B mains were needed before launching right into the feature events.

    The eight lap kid modz feature would go first and was spun off quickly with an eight or nine year old kid winning. The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda with Ray Bollinger taking the lead on lap 11 and going onto his fifth win of the year at Lincoln over Brian Diveley and Brandon Roberts. Next up was the 25 lap MOWA sprint car feature and it was a competitive run with Jake Neuman scoring his first career MOWA win over sixth starting Robert Ballou, Joey Moughan, Chris Windom and Zach Daum. The 20 lap pro late model feature went green at 9:17 with Jose Parga moving from fourth to take the lead also on lap 11 passing his teammate, Dakota Ewing, who never let him get too far away and drew alongside coming to the checkered at 9:29 but fell a few car lengths short of pulling off the upset. Roben Huffman, Zac Kuhel and Blaise Baker were the next three across the line.

    We decided to skip the hornet feature and head south to Springfield to check into our Springfield based hotel for the evening. It was a good night of racing with some good runs in each division ending in a very reasonable hour to keep everyone happy.

    Check back tomorrow for our report from the Springfield mile and the rest of the weekend. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, comments and everything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing our thoughts and views to you.

     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Stockon Sweeps MSCS Sprint Weekend With Win At Terre Haute


    Sunday, August 15 - It was Sunday afternoon and time to head south on Rt. 47 and Rt. 41 to the city of Terre Haute. The beautiful August day was sunny and clear with temperatures in the 80's and low humidity as we arrived on the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds at 5:30. Joining us in the covered homestretch grandstand would be Gordy Killian and three of his traveling companions passing through on their way to Pennsylvania after attending the 60th running of the Knoxville Nationals. What greeted them and us were disappointing car counts of 15 MSCS sprint cars, 14 Indiana Pro Late Models and 13 UMP modifieds for the Sunday tripleheader. What the MSCS field lacked in quantity it more than make up for in quality as 12 of the 15 entrants were capable of winning the feature event.

    Heat racing action pushed off at 7:04 with the first of two MSCS sprint car heats. Jason McDougal, the newest driver in the KO Motorsports stable, captured heat one winning over Logan Seavey, Brandon Mattox and Cole Bodine. Chase Stockon, another KO Motorsports team driver, won heat two over Jadon Rogers, Carson Garrett and Max Guilford. The Indiana Pro Late Models would also run two heats with Shelby Miles taking heat one while nine time winner, Tyler Neal, triumphed in heat two. The UMP modifieds would wrap up heat qualifying with two races of their own with Will Krup and Kenny Wallace the victors. All heat qualifying was in the books by 7:45 and after a short track prep session the first of three features would take the green flag at 8:03.

    The 15 lap Indiana Pro Late Model feature took the green at 8:03 with the front row of Shelby Miles and Tyler Neal running side by side the entire first lap. Neal edged out front after crossing the start/finish line on lap one and would lead the remainder of the distance but Miles never allowed him to feel comfortable as he dogged him the entire distance drawing alongside several times. When the checkers flew at 8:22 it was Tyler Neal across the line first for his 10th Indiana Pro Late Model win of 2021 followed by Shelby Miles, Tyler Cain, Brad Barrow and Jeremy Owens moving from ninth to fifth at the finish.

    The 25 lap MSCS sprint car main event was next on the docket with Logan Seavey and Chase Stockon bringing the field to the green flag at 8:38. Seavey surged into the early lead with Stockon in hot pursuit. Lap two saw Jadon Rogers go end over end three times between turns three and four bringing out the only stoppage of the race. Rogers was OK but the sprinter was a lot worse for wear. On the restart Seavey retained the lead with Stockon and Jason McDougal in tow. McDougal made his move on the backstretch on lap five and took second away from Stockon at that point. Stockon was not done by any standards as he chased McDougal and took second back with a high side pass of McDougal in turn three on lap eight. Stockon began to reel in Seavey who was running the bottom while Stockon worked the top and on lap thirteen in turn three Stockon found the speed to breeze by Seavey and into the lead., Chase pulled away from Seavey and the rest of the pack past the halfway mark and into the second half of the race. With ten to go Seavey began to mount a comeback as he went topside and began to narrow the deficit. With six to go the leaders approached lap traffic with Brandon Morin and Cole Bodine running hard for positions in the top ten. Stockon was able to quickly work his way around the pair as Seavey was trapped and delayed for several laps before clearing the pair. By that time Stockon was gone again and flashed under the checkered at 8:56 for his second straight MSCS win of the weekend having won at Haubstadt the night before, Seavey would cross the line second with McDougal third, Mitch Wissmiller in a fine run from ninth to fourth and the hard charger of the race to boot with hometown boy, Brandon Mattox completing the top five. MSCS rookie and second in points, Carson Garrett, came home sixth with Max Guilford a good seventh, Brandon Morin eighth, Cole Bodine ninth and Collin Ambrose tenth. It was a decent race with some good passing and good runs but at the end Stockon was the victor and takes a commanding points lead into the next race.

    We still have a 15 lap UMP modified feature to run with the green dropping at 9:05. This one would go non-stop with Will Krup making it an easy Sunday afternoon drive to victory lane at 9:12 winning by a straightaway. Kenny Wallace would come home second with Kenny Carmichael third, Jacob Rexing fourth and Jake Leitzman rounding out the top five.

    They may not have had that many cars but management kept things moving along nicely ending a Sunday night show in just over two hours which is nice for people who have to work on Monday or go to school.

    That's it for this typical weekend as next week is looming as a mostly Illinois road trip with a stop back in Indiana on Sunday. Check back next Saturday to see where we end up and in the meantime plot your own road trip or get out to your local short track and support them as once a race track is gone, very rarely do they ever return. News, funnies, stories or other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And thanks as usual for reading our efforts and letting us know that you enjoy reading them.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Salem to Lincoln Park Double Header Highlights Saturday Racing


    Saturday, August 14 – The plan was to venture to southern Indiana to take in the racing at the Salem Speedway which was racing on the outer oval, the inner oval and the figure 8 configuration. The inner oval and figure 8 would be new tracks for Pat while the figure 8 would be new for me. The racing kicked off about 25 minutes late at 6:25 and the first feature would be the 30 lap compact front wheel drive feature with eight cars starting the contest. Bubby Gelding would win in this one at 6:39 and one new track was in the books. The next race up was the 50 lap Ford Crown Vic feature (about 25 laps too many) for the seven cars in attendance on the inner oval. This was a rather uneventful contest with only four cars finishing and only two on the lead lap with Greg Smith winning. New track #2 for Pat. The third feature of the day was the 25 lap race also on the inner oval with produced the most controversy of the day when Jared Soards pulled alongside leader Matt Stice entering turn one with it looking like Stice turned into Soards and Stice ended up spinning in turn two. Officials made the call that Soards would restart at the tail of the field and that Stice would start back up front. Also Rocky Stice Jr. bumped Soards several times under caution with no penalty. He later got into Soards under green causing him to lose valuable ground and Soards eventually give up the ghost and pulled to the infield after having almost taken the lead at one juncture in the race. We both thought it was a poor call on the official's part. Matt Stice went on to win over Logan Huckeba and Jordan Tanselle. At that point it was 7:20 and with only the 25 lap figure 8 race for the five remaining Crown Vics and the 50 lap feature for the Great American Stocks remaining we decided to pull out and drive up to Putnamville, which is on the way home and see if we could catch the features.

    Saturday, August 14 – We arrived at Lincoln Park after 9 PM and with the help of two makeup features from a previous rain out and kid's bike races we were able to catch the last two bomber heats, the bike races and B mains for the sprint cars and super stocks before the regular features began.

    The two features that we decided to stay for were the sprint cars (30) and the UMP modifieds (20). They turned out to be two exciting features and were worth the hurried trip back from Salem to witness them. The 25 lap sprint car feature took Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 10:27 with Brayden Fox taking the early lead. That was short lived as Shane Cockrum in the Jaime Paul #24P swooped around the outside and took the lead from Fox at that point. Cockrum looked like the man to beat as he swept around the high side on the slick outside groove. Jake Swanson quickly moved from fifth to second and took up the chase of Cockrum. The race spun off in good order with Cockrum pacing the field but after the halfway mark Swanson began to close the gap. By lap nineteen Swanson was up to the tail tank of Cockrum and looking for a route around when Harley Burns went off the track in turn two and brought out the only caution of the event. On the restart Cockrum got the jump and resumed command but Swanson was in his tire tracks trying to figure a way around. With three to go Swanson dove low in turn one and slid up in turn two briefly taking the lead until Cockrum crossed over and raced down the backstretch. Swanson tried again in turns three and four with two to go with the same results as the pair raced to the white flag. Entering turn two the pair were close with Cockrum bobbling on the curb for an instant but just enough to allow Swanson to dive low exiting the turn and race down the backstretch edging ahead as the pair reached turn three where Swanson went up high and was fully in front as the pair exited turn four. They raced to the checkered flag with Jake Swanson pulling off the win over Cockrum with Brayden Fox holding down third with AJ Hopkins fourth and Jake Scott rounding out the top five at 10:38. Positions six through ten were filled by Braydon Cromwell, Kyle Shipley, Brandon Spencer, Australian Glen Saville and Matt McDonald. It was a good finish and had the fans buzzing after that one.

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda with outside pole sitter, Derek Groomer, taking the early lead. A couple of quick cautions slowed the affair early and on a lap four restart leader Groomer exited the track via the backstretch as a right rear shock broke. The lead was handed over to third starting James Walters who used the low side to his advantage and paced the field over several more cautions before they settled in and ran some consecutive green flag laps. Eighth starting Tyler Loughmiller started to reel in Walters in the latter stages of the race and was on his back bumper with two to go. Loughmiller was never able to make a serious challenge over the last two laps with Walters crossing the line first at 11:05 over Loughmiller with Jeff Deckard passing Jim Mallery on the last lap to take down third with Mallery fourth and Matt Mitchell advancing from tenth to fifth at the finish. We were glad we decided to do the double as we really enjoyed the two features we watched at LPS.

    That's it for Saturday's action and check back tomorrow as we head south on Rt. 41 later in the day to take in a three division program highlighted by the MSCS sprints at the Action Track at Terre Haute for a Sunday evening program on a beautiful day in August. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. Also thanks to all that read our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Seavey Grabs First SC Win At Selinsgrove While Bright Takes EC Sprints


    Sunday, August 8 – Today would be our last race day in Pennsylvania and the mile dirt oval at Selinsgrove Speedway would be our destination. On tap this evening would be the USAC Silver Crown Series, the grand ladies of all the USAC divisions with the longest wheel base and the biggest tail tanks filled with fuel to allow them to run the extra distance races that dot the Silver Crown schedule. Tonight's edition was the Bill Holland Classic, a 75 lap affair around the big half mile in Selinsgrove. But before we settled into our seats and watched the racing eight of us gathered up the road in north Selinsgrove to dine on BBQ at Skeeter's that serves some tasty smoked meats and also offers a nice view of the river as you sit high on the hill overlooking everything below.

    The USAC Silver Crown division brought 21 entries into the Selinsgrove pit area while the USAC East Coast sprint car division brought in 22 entries. Time trials would start off the two division program at 7:05 and wrapped up at 7:36 with CJ Leary breaking his own track record from a year ago setting the new standard of 21.185 seconds around the half mile dirt oval. The USAC East Coast sprints would follow with three good heats with the first one won by Steven Drevicki being the best of the bunch as Drevicki held off Alex Bright, Damon Paul, Shane Cottle making a one off appearance in the Tim Hogue #39 and Nash Ely. Briggs Danner would dominate heat two in the Gallagher #5G turning back Ed Aiken, Jonathan Swanson, Joey Amantea and Mike Walter II taking off the wing to compete. Another impressive young man, Christian Bruno, claimed heat three besting Colin White, Eric Jennings, Tommy Kunsman and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. No B mains or semis would be needed and the sprint cars would get first honor to run their 25 lap main event.

    The front row of Ed Aiken and Eric Jennings the 22 car field to the green flag with Aiken taking the early lead. It was short lived as another impressive young talent, Damon Paul, in one of Lou Cicconi's bright yellow cars took the lead in turn two on the second lap right before Mike Walter went into the spin cycle in and turn one. The normal big guns had started in the middle of the pack and began to sort their way forward. Alex Bright was the first of the bunch to challenge up front taking over second on lap three. Bright caught and passed Paul on lap five to assume the lead while Briggs Danner had moved from ninth into third at this point. Shane Cottle was next to make his presence known motoring into sixth after starting tenth. Bright continued to lead as Danner passed Paul for second on lap eight and took up the chase of the leader. Close to the halfway mark Bright and Danner had caught the tail end of the field and began to pick their way around them with Paul still in third and Cottle moving by Drevicki to take over fourth. The second yellow would fly on lap fifteen when Jonathan Swanson rolled to a stop at the end of the homestretch before entering turn one. This would set up a fun ten lap race to the finish. On the restart Danner got a good run on Bright entering turn one and pulled alongside but Bright was able to use the cushion and retain his lead exiting turn two. Paul and Cottle were having their own war for third exchanging slide jobs in various sections of the speedway over the next three laps before Paul prevailed. Nash Ely caught and passed Drevicki for fifth during this time as the son of former sprint car driver, Dave, was coming into the battle ground. Bright pulled out to a comfortable lead as the laps dwindled down but Danner was not done yet. Briggs closed the gap dramatically from lap twenty six to lap twenty nine when he was on the tail tank of Bright entering turn one. Danner dove low as Bright was high as the pair raced into turn two where it looked like Danner edged upward toward Bright leaving him little room to race with Danner taking over the lead heading down the backstretch. Entering turn three Danner threw it in hard and the cushion did not hold him as he slammed into the turn three wall and began a series of rollovers ending up in turn four. Danner climbed from the wrecked machine but his strong run was done. On the final restart which would be a green, white, checker finish Bright bounded back out front with Paul in tow. The race was for third with Cottle and Ely exchanging sliders with the veteran Cottle prevailing. Bright would race under the double checkers at 9:27 as his engine popped and snapped slowly as he approached the finish. Bright was able to get enough momentum to come across for his sixth win of 2021 besting Paul with Cottle third, Ely fourth and Drevicki coming home fifth. Tommy Kunsman led the second five across the line with Ed Aiken seventh, Eric Jennings eighth, Colin White ninth and Mike Thompson rounding out the top ten. It was a good, competitive run and a very exciting final several laps.

    The 75 lap Bill Holland Classic was next on the card with the front row of CJ Leary and Jake Swanson bringing 19 others to starter, Warren Alston's green flag with Leary motoring into the lead with third starting Logan Seavey using the bottom to take second on Swanson entering turn two. The green would not stay out long as defending Selinsgrove Silver Crown winner, Shane Cottle, slowed to a stop on the backstretch on lap two bringing out the caution flag. Cottle would go pit side but did return numerous laps behind when returning and finally called it a night on lap thirty two pulling pit side for the evening credited with an 18th place finish. Leary retained the lead on the restart using the high side to pull away from Swanson who slipped by Seavey for second. Seavey would be patient and took back second in turn two on lap eight right before Mark Smith rolled his machine several times in between turns three and four just after taking tenth spot landing on his wheels and ending his evening much too early. On the lap nine restart Leary went back to the point but it was short lived as Seavey drew side by side with Leary racing down the homestretch and into turn one on lap ten where he would take the lead that he would never relinquish. Seavey pulled away from the pack as he increased his lead to several seconds as he ran high in the first two corners while running low through turns three and four with Leary and Swanson chasing in vain. Not much passing occurred over the next fifty laps as Seavey opened up a straightway lead on the field putting many cars a lap down with only ten cars remaining on the lead lap by lap sixty. Leary began to close the gap somewhat in the remaining laps but Seavey was still the car to beat. To Seavey's chagrin Matt Goodnight rolled to a stop on the backstretch with just two laps to go setting up a green, white, checker scenario. On the restart Leary dove low entering turn one and pulled alongside Seavey in turn two briefly nosing in front but Seavey stomped the pedal and pulled ahead as they raced down the backstretch. It would be the closest that Leary would be again as Seavey raced away turning some of the fastest laps he had run all night. The double checkers waved at 10:33 with Seavey crossing the line with about a 1.5 second lead with Leary second, Jake Swanson third, Shane Cockrum fourth after starting eighth and Justin Grant filling out the top five. This was Seavey's first Silver Crown victory after coming close earlier in the year at Williams Grove but tonight he was not to be denied as he parked the Robbie Rice #22 in victory lane for the first of what could be many more Silver Crown victories. Kody Swanson finished a quiet sixth in the Chris Dyson #9 with Matt Westfall claiming a good seventh, Brady Bacon eighth, Carmen Perigo ninth and Kyle Robbins tenth.

    It was not one of the better Silver Crown races we have witnessed with little position changes and not a heck of a lot of passing but every race can't be a burnburnerwe guess.

    That's it until Friday as another typical weekend unfolds with nothing written in stone for the weekend plans. So check back over the weekend to see where we end up and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some mid-week and weekend short track racing in your area and be safe and keep hydrated. News, comments or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our articles and letting us know that you enjoy reading them.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Grant Gets First Of Year In USAC Midgets At Clyde Martin


    Saturday, August 7 - Yet another beautiful day dawned in Pennsylvania which would make for another good night of racing. The USAC midgets did not lose a single show to rain on their Pennsylvania tour this year and that is a blessing. So glad that for all that traveling and expenses involved they were greeted by sunshine and clear skies the entire five days to go racing in. The finale tonight would take place at the 1/8 mile high banked dirt oval named the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway run by the Lanco Club and when we first heard a few years back that the USAC midgets were going to run here we thought it would be too small to do so. Well, we are glad to admit when we are wrong and this is one instance where we were proven wrong. The USAC midget racing here has been action packed and very competitive and has been very enjoyable to witness in the past several years. Pat would not be part of the traveling crew tonight as she did some solo traveling of her own taking the rented giant SUV over into New Jersey to surprise her boss on his 60th birthday and they were having a party for him at Foresgate Country Club. So it was Bill, PA Bruce and Indiana Bruce making the short trek over to Clyde Martin for tonight's racing action.

    A good crowd turned out to watch 22 USAC midgets and 39 600cc micro sprints put on a show on the 1/8 mile speed bowl with midget time trials pushing off at 6:48. By 7:06 Daison Pursley set at the top of the speed charts with a time of 9.972 seconds which was his first career USAC midget fast time and also a new track record in the process. By 7:21 the first of four 600 heat races were ready to zoom around the finely groomed surface with Kyle Lick drawing first blood by taking down the first heat with Aaron Espenshade nailing down heat two, Alex Ruppert rode home first in heat three and Tyler Ulrich won heat four. The USAC midgets would contest three heats with Justin Grant beating Daison Pursley, Hayden Reinbold, Emerson Axsom and Kevin Thomas Jr. in heat one. Chase Randall who has shown great improvement since the beginning of the year notched heat two over Buddy Kofoid, Ethan Mitchell, Chris Windom and Logan Seavey. Thomas Meseraull claimed heat three besting Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson, Hayden Williams and Jimmy Glenn. No midget semi would be needed and the rest of the cars would be added to the field according to their times.

    By 8:52 it was time to go USAC midget racing for 40 laps with the front row of Justin Grant and Tanner Thorson, winner of the two previous races, leading the 22 car field to Warren Alston's green flag with Thorson getting the early lead. Thorson would lead the first two laps until fourth starter, Emerson Axsom, dove low in turns one and two on lap three and took the lead away. Lap six saw Cannon McIntosh launched into the turn one catch fencing about half way up in a nasty ride and thankfully he was OK after the incident. Axsom was the leader on the restart with a battle taking place for second between Daison Pursley and Justin Grant with the pair racing side by side down the backstretch with Grant low and Pursley high. Pursley ran out of room racing hard down the backstretch and climbed the backstretch wall with his right side wheels before returning to the surface and then again hitting the wall in turn three and for the third time in turn one. Pursley then slowed on the backstretch where Brett Wanner drilled him in the tail tank with Chase Randall spinning into the crash. Wanner was finished for the night but Pursley and Randall would return once again. Axsom held firm on the restart as Grant started to throw sliders on the youngster but Axsom responded with crossovers to retain the lead. Finally entering turn one on lap twenty two Grant's slider stuck and he was able to wrestle the lead away from Axsom. Lap twenty four saw Axsom briefly regain the lead in turn one but by turn two Grant was back out front. Lap twenty five saw Thomas Meseraull back his midget into the turn three wall with Taylor Reimer, Hayden Reinbold and Kevin Woody also involved. Meseraull and Reimer were finished with the other two able to continue. Just three laps later Kevin Thomas Jr.'s fine run (was up to fifth) ended when white smoke came from the headers on the homestretch and it looked like the entire oil pan was laying in turn one with oil everywhere. The red appeared to clean up the mess before the field was able to restart once again. On the restart Grant went back to the point with Axsom and Buddy Kofoid in tow. With nine to go Kofoid make his run for second passing Axsom in turn one and making it stick but he had his work as Grant had a good lead. A lap thirty two incident between Kenney Johnson and Hayden Reinbold on the homestretch had the pair both flipping over with Johnson done for the evening with Reinbold again returning for more action. Grant was ready on the restart and got a good jump on Kofoid and opened about a five car length lead. Grant glazed the turn three wall on the white flag lap but it did not slow him down as he raced to the checkered flags at 9:46 winning his first USAC midget win of 2021 after finishing second four times previously in 2021. This was also Grant's sixth career USAC midget victory. Kofoid would cross the line second with Axsom settling for third, Chris Windom fourth and Daison Pursley rebounding from his earlier mishap to finish fifth. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Chase Randall eighth, Hayden Williams ninth and Hayden Reinbold showing that persistence plays off came back to finish tenth. Kevin Woody Jr. claimed the Hard Charger Award for the second straight night as he started 20th and finished 11th. Good job by the war vet from New York state!!!

    The 600 micro sprints would go 30 laps taking the green flag at 10:12 with Steven Snyder Jr. moving out front. Snyder would lead the entire distance but it was not as easy as it sounded as he had many challenges but fended them all off. Kevin Thomas Jr. was running one of the 600's and expertly moved from 9th to 2nd about halfway through the event but on a restart it was determined that he jumped the start and was placed back a row to the displeasure of many around where we sat and as one person mentioned it was home cooking and I agree the food at Clyde Martin is very good but I don't think that was what he was talking about!!! I thought it was very questionable myself but the call was made. Snyder would go onto victory crossing the line at 10:31 with Kyle Lick coming home second, Christian Bruno third after starting seventh, Bobby Butler making a fine charge from 13th to fourth with Austin Quick rounding out the top five. Thomas would end up sixth at the end.

    It was a good night of close, highly competitive racing but the combined eight yellows and reds in the midget feature took a little away from the total enjoyment of the race.

    That's it for this segment but check back Monday to read the report from the Selinsgrove Speedway where the USAC Silver Crown series will race for the second straight year with the USAC East Coast sprint cars joining them in what should be a good doubleheader of open cockpit racing. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, comments, worlds of wisdom and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you are enjoying them as the summer rolls on.

     

     


    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Thorson Makes It Two Straight & Danner Tops EC Sprints At Bloomsburg



    Friday, August 6 – This was one we were really looking forward to as the fair board at the Bloomsburg Fair decided to have a new 3/8 mile dirt oval built completely inside the mile dirt oval used for horses only and host a variety of auto racing events once again at Bloomsburg. This was the fourth time race at Bloomsburg in 2021 and tonight they would host the USAC National Midget Series (27) and the USAC East Coast 360 sprint cars (23). The Trackchasers were out in good numbers with Allan Brown (1374) and wife, Nancy (756), Andy Sivi (1097), Paul Weisel (1076), Norm Wagner (889), Bruce Eckel (857) & wife, Pat (853), Bruce Carley (411) and James Reeder (202). Guy Smith (1896) and his wife, Pam (1121) had been there previously. We had last been at Bloomsburg for a figure 8 race in 2004 and saw racing on the mile track during the fair on October 1st, 1983 when we were rained out after heat racing was completed.

    Midget time trials as usual would start off the night taking the initial green flag at 7:12 with Tanner Thorson setting fast time with a lap of 15.600 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval over 26 other entries for his 21st time in his career. They would be followed up by three heat races for the East Coast sprint cars with Carmen Perigo taking down heat one over Alex Bright doing double duty, Justin Grant also doing double duty in the Lou Cicconi #75 in this one, Richy Carnathan and Eric Jennings. Heat two fell to Briggs Danner beating Tommy Kunsman who started eighth, Steven Drevicki, Kenny Miller III and Ed Aiken. The third and final heat was won by Christian Bruno topping Damon Paul from seventh, Nash Ely, Bruce Buckwalter Jr. and Jonathan Swanson.

    The midgets would be up next for three qualifying heat races with Chris Windom capturing heat win one over Emerson Axsom, Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson and Thomas Meseraull. Kevin Thomas Jr. copped heat two after half spinning on the backstretch and being straightened out by Buddy Kofoid which saved him. Taylor Reimer looking impressive came home second with Hayden Reinbold third, Eric Heydenreich fourth and Jimmy Glenn qualifying for his first USAC start in fifth. Cannon McIntosh won heat three besting Daison Pursley, Chase Randall, Justin Grant and Ethan Mitchell.

    The sprint car B main would be next on the agenda with Colin White notching the win in this one over Joey Amantea, Billy Ney, Mike Thompson and Jacob Balliet. The midget semi would be won by Logan Seavey beating Buddy Kofoid, Kenney Johnson, Kevin Woody, Michael Markey, Glenn Waterman and Shannon Mausteller. The Mausteller is literally across the street from the pit area entrance and they fielded three cars on the evening with only Shannon advancing to the main event.

    All we had left to run now were the two 30 lap main events with the East Coast sprints getting the nod to run their feature first. Justin Grant and Carmen Perigo would bring the rest of the 23 car field to the green flag at 9:46 with Grant assuming the early lead. Grant would pace the field until lap six when Grant pitched it a lot too much sideways in turn four with Perigo making contact sending the yellow #75 for a full wash circle spin. Perigo would inherit the lead and Grant decided to park the Cicconi entry for the remainder of the race. On the restart Perigo moved out front with now Danner, Damon Paul, Tommy Kunsman and Alex Bright in his tire tracks. The top five would all run the cushion as the laps spun off in the above order until lap fourteen when Nash Ely and Jason Cherry tangled in turn three bringing out the second and last caution of the event. On the restart Perigo held sway with Danner and Paul right there. Steven Drevicki cracked the top five a few laps later after starting eighth as the leaders worked their way into lap traffic a few laps after the halfway mark. Perigo remained our front but at lap twenty three Danner began to first show his nose to the inside of Perigo entering turn one and then inching closer for the next few laps. Lap twenty six saw Danner execute a slider entering turn one sliding up in front of Perigo as they exited turn two and Danner was now the new leader. Danner's patience had payed off and he would go on to lead the remaining four laps of the tussle scoring his seventh EC sprint win of 2021 and chopping the point lead of Alex Bright to just two points entering the next race at Selinsgrove on Sunday night. Perigo would cross the finish line second with Paul third, Bright fourth after starting ninth and Kunsman rounding out the top five. Drevicki would lead the second five to the finish in sixth with Christian Bruno seventh, Kenny Miller III in eighth, Eric Jennings ninth and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. finishing tenth at 10:01.

    We still had the 30 lap USAC midget feature to contest and by 10:19 the front row of Alex Bright and Daison Pursley brought the 22 car field to the green flag. Bright bolted to the early lead with Thomas Meseraull who started fourth powering by both Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. to take over second. Bright would pace the first eight laps of the feature until Meseraull made the pass for the lead low exiting turn four coming to start lap nine. T-Mez pulled away to over a two second lead in the middle stages of the race until Chase Randall slowed to a stop with terminal issues on lap thirteen. On the restart Bright found a second wind sliding by Meseraull as they entered turn three with Meseraull countering off turn four to retain the lead and the story repeated itself the next lap with the same results. In the meantime Tanner Thorson had steadily worked his way from his sixth starting spot into third by the halfway mark. Thorson caught and passed Bright for second on lap seventeen but T-Mez had checked out again by almost two seconds. Lap nineteen saw a drastic change in the race as leader Meseraull raced into turn one on the bottom quickly approaching lapped car Glenn Waterland who was running the middle of the turns. As Meseraull slid upward to pass Waterland on the cushion his left front clipped Waterland's right rear enough to send both of them spinning into turn two wiping out Meseraull's commanding lead and sending him to the tail of the field in a heart breaker. Thorson inherited the lead on the ensuing restart and he was not going to let this gift get away from him as he motored out front of the field for the remainder of the distance able to stave off any serious challenges from runner up Justin Grant who chased him across the line at 10:37 for a good second place run. Cannon McIntosh would rise from seventh to third at the finish with Bright hanging on for fourth and Emerson Axsom moving from tenth to five at the end. Daison Pursley would come home sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Chris Windom eighth, Buddy Kofoid ninth and Taylor Reimer taking tenth. Meseraull would end his disappointing night in 11th. Kevin Woody Jr., the black driver from New York state, would receive the Irvin King Hard Charger Award as he gets more comfortable driving the midgets advancing from 21st to 15th during the course of the race.

    It was a very good night of racing and we all feel it was the best of the USAC midget feature runs so far with Clyde Martin Speedway still to come tonight. To add some constructive criticism for management at Bloomsburg Fair Speedway we would pass along the following. First of all you must continue to work on keeping the dust down on the track surface since there are many homes nearby and you should strive to end your racing program by no later than 10 PM to be a good neighbor to the town folks. Also two added openings in the track wall for a separate entrance and exit for the track would speed things up considerably and a small gate on the homestretch for the flagger or photographers to more easily access the track surface from the infield and get to victory lane would be good. Kudos to management for the first time allowing people to park inside the fences of the fairgrounds instead of having to hike about a half mile from the grass parking lot outside of the fences.

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow for a report on the final night of PA Midget Week as he travel over to the Clyde Martin Speedway in Brickerville area for action packed racing on one of the smallest (1/8 mile) but racy tracks the USAC midgets run on. Comments, news, stories and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy the good weather and catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. And last but not certainly not least thanks for continuing to read our column and personally speaking with us at the tracks to let us know you read them and enjoy them.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Thorson Checks Out On Midget Field At Bridgeport Motorsports Park


    Thursday, August 5 – Another beautiful day of sunshine and clear skies greeted us upon awakening on Thursday and by 1:30 the road crew of Bill Burns, Bruce Clelland, Pat and I were on the way to South Jersey where round three of PA Midget Week was taking place at the reconfigured Bridgeport Motorsports Park and it would be the first time we would witness racing on the new high banked 4/10 mile dirt oval called the Kingdom of Speed. The traffic traveling south on I-476 also known as the Blue Route is horrendous and I don't know how people do this day in and day out. It was only in the 3 o'clock time frame and the traffic was bumper to bumper but finally we made our way over the Commodore Barry Bridge and onto Flood Gate Road to the race track. The facility has come a long way from years ago with paving everywhere to walk on, a covered picnic area where we ate our V & S sandwiches and bench raced before the events began. The new track was modeled after the Lawrenceburg Speedway and in our opinion is better than Lawrenceburg. The progressive banking gives the drivers may grooves to choose from and the racing is much better than its counterpart in Indiana.


    The program tonight would consist of USAC Midgets (22) and big block Eastern modifieds (19) with both the car counts being a bit disappointing but the racing was not disappointing. USAC midget time trials were the first order of business who were racing in New Jersey for the first time in 32 years with Pennsylvania driver, Alex Bright, setting a new track record of 16.375 seconds around the fast 4/10 mile. Next up on the race card were two qualifying heat races for the modifieds with Dominick Buffalino and Sammy Martz taking down the heat wins. The USAC midgets would contest three qualifying heats with Emerson Axsom capturing heat one over Zach Daum, Alex Bright, Hayden Reinbold and Jonathan Shafer. Buddy Kofoid, broken bones and all, piloted the Keith Kunz #67 to victory in heat two over Logan Seavey, Thomas Meseraull, Chris Windom and Taylor Reimer. Heat three fell to last night's winner, Daison Pursley, besting Cannon McIntosh, Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant back from his tumble the night before and Tanner Thorson. No B mains or consies would be needed tonight so the next order of business would be the 30 lap big block modified feature.


    The front row of Alex Yankowski and Ryan Godown brought the 19 car field to the green flag at 8:40. Godown would take the early lead and steadily distance himself from the rest of the field with Yankowski and Sammy Martz chasing. Only one caution would slow this event but an alarming amount of cars began dropping to the infield on the mile oval including leader, Godown, who's engine looked like it went south. This handed the lead over to 17 year old Yankowski with Neal Williams having worked his way forward into second the new competition for Yankowski. A good battle ensued over the closing laps between Martz, Dominick Buffalino and Billy Pauch Jr. for third with Buffalino moving as high as third in the late going. Martz was able to rebound and pass Buffalino to retake third as Yankowski flashed under the checkered flag at 8:53 winning his first of the year over Williams, Martz, Buffalino and Pauch Jr.


    The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be led to Warren Alston's green flag at 9:08 by Emerson Axsom and Cannon McIntosh. Axsom got the hole shot and took the early lead chased by McIntosh with Tanner Thorson all over McIntosh. Axsom would lead the first five laps of the contest until Thorson flexed his muscles and took over the lead and as far as the race for first it was basically all over. Thorson pulled away from the rest of the field like he was shot out of a cannon as the racing raged on behind him. The lone caution waved on lap five when Zach Daum's Honda power plant went up in spectacular fashion blowing a ball of fire from the headers before he was able to roll to the infield in front of the fire crew. On the restart Thorson took off and ran the bottom to perfection moving away once again to a commanding lead over Axsom. Meseraull worked his way by Axsom for second on lap eight but Thorson was well ahead. Thorson opened up a half track lead by the halfway mark with the normally cushion pushing Meseraull also using the bottom groove to open a healthy lead over the rest of the field in second. Buddy Kofoid raced past Axsom for third with nine to go. Thorson would cross the finish line at 9:20 a whopping eight plus seconds ahead of T-Mez with Kofoid coming from seventh to third, Chris Windom passing Axsom late for fourth and Axsom holding on for fifth at the finish. It was Thorson's fifth USAC midget win of 2021 as he rises in the yearly point standings. Kevin Thomas Jr. raced from 14th to 6th to win the Hard Charger award with Cannon McIntosh seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Chase Randall ninth and Justin Grant rounding out the top ten.


    It was good night of racing over at a good hour and we indeed like the new configuration of Bridgeport.


    That's it for now as we prepare to head west to Bloomsburg Fair Speedway which is a new 3/8 mile dirt oval located inside of the old half mile horse track on the fairgrounds. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. It was nice meeting Dick Williams, a long time follower of eastern racing who reads our column and expressed how he enjoys it. Thanks Dick and continue to check in to see where we end up next. And as always thanks to Mr. Williams and all the others who reading our efforts and it is always nice to hear that people read and enjoy our efforts as it makes it worthwhile to write it.



     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Pursley & Buckwalter Win In Doubleheader At Action Track USA



    Tuesday, August 3 – I'll start off this one going back to Tuesday night at Grandview where looking at the posted column I failed to mention an incident that happened prior to the start of the 30 lap USAC midget feature. While the midgets were being pushed off a push truck accidentally ran up over the right rear section of Thomas Meseraull's midget causing some damage to the car. Hats off to USAC officials for doing the right thing and allowing Messeraull to proceed to the work area to replace a bent shock and other things before they started the main event. T-Mez was also allowed to restart in his original starting position of15th and ended up the hard charger of the race. The proper way to handle an unfortunate situation.


    Wednesday, August 4 – Today turned into a beautiful day in the low 80's with plenty of sunshine and was a perfect day to go racing. Tonight's racing would be at Action Track USA located on the grounds of the Kutztown Fairgrounds in the quaint town of Kutztown, also the home of Kutztown University. A fine crowd of race fans turned out for the doubleheader of USAC National midgets (25) and the 600 micro sprints (33) who are a stable of the normal program at Action Track USA. This would be the first time we would witness a race at the newly reconfigured dirt oval with the turns being widened and nicely banked making for even a more racier track than previously. The changes will allow management to run sprint cars both winged and non-winged (which they have already done) and any other divisions they desire giving each room for the cars to navigate. We were pleased by the new configuration.


    Time trials would begin the program at 6:36 with the track record expected to fall with the increased banking allowing for higher speeds. Fall it did as 12 midgets shattered the existing track record of 11.146 seconds with Tanner Thorson, the previous track record holder, setting the new standard of 10.881 seconds around the 1/5 mile dirt oval. It was Thorson's 20th career fast time tying him for 22nd on the all-time list with some big names such as Bryan Clauson, Bobby East, Bobby Grim and Dan Drinan.


    Next up on the dance card were the four heat races for the thirty three 600 micro sprints on hand and it was noticeable in the heat races that there was less contact due to the increased racing room. Heat winners included Christian Bruno, Michael Nolf, Jackson White and Joey Jarowicz scoring wins in good 600 racing. The USAC midgets would contest three heats with New Zealand National Champion, Hayden Williams, scoring heat win one over Daison Pursley, Zach Daum, Tanner Thorson and Jonathan Shafer. Ethan Mitchell in the Honda powered #19M prevailed in heat two besting Chris Windom, Justin Grant, Logan Seavey and Buddy Kofoid racing with a broken right wrist and broken left foot after a late model crash at Elko Speedway in Minnesota. Thomas Meseraull controled heat three winning over Cannon McIntosh, Alex Bright, Chase Randall and Emerson Axsom setting a new 10 lap track record of 1:54.72 around the racy oval.


    Each division would run a B main with Fred Heinly winning the 600 race and Kevin Thomas Jr. winning the midget B main after encountering various scuffles in his heat race. Thomas would beat Taylor Reimer, Hayden Reinbold, Travis Buckley making his second career USAC midget feature, Eric Heydenreich, Michael Markey making his first USAC midget main and another New Zealand driver, Glenn Waterland.


    The 30 lap USAC National midget feature would be the first one up on the evening taking Warren Alston's green flag at 9:01. Daison Pursley went to the lead at the start but halfway down the backstretch second running Thomas Meseraull tapped Pursley allowing Emerson Axsom to slip by both the front runners and take the lead in turn three with Meseraull hot on his heels. Exiting turn four Axsom popped a wheelie on the reworked surface causing him to lose control and upon landing the front end on the surface turning left into Meseraull on the homestretch which in turn caused T-Mez to turn toward the infield clipping his RMS teammate, Justin Grant, sending Grant into a series of barrel rolls on the homestretch. Grant immediately tossed his steering wheel out of the wrecked racer and climbed from the battered machine. Meseraull also quickly climbed from his wrecked machine but had a different idea of where he was going. He followed the contour of the infield around the inside of the oval on his way to make a social visit to young Axsom who he confronted on the backstretch while he still sat in his midget. Words and hand gestures were exchanged between the two before T-Mez stormed off to the pit area with the RMS team done for the evening. On the restart a six car pileup caused when Tanner Thorson turned sideways with Logan Seavey with no where to go finished him off with four others also involved eliminating Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jr. for the remainder of the evening. When they finally decided to settle down and went to racing Pursley went back to the point with Axsom and Buddy Kofoid in hot pursuit. The top three opened up a distance on the remainder of the pack as they raced around the 1/5 mile oval. Chris Windom, the defending series champion, started to work his way forward from 13th starting position moving into the top five as the race progressed. The leaders worked the lap traffic in good order with Axsom closing at points when Pursley decided which way to manever the traffic. With ten to go the action heated up as Axsom closed enough to throw three sliders on Pursley entering turns one and two with Pursley crossing back over each time to retain the lead. With eight to go Pursley created a buffer when he passed his teammate, Jonathan Shafer, placing him in between himself and Axsom. With two to go Pursley encountered two lap cars of Zach Daum and Chase Randall entering turn one. Pursley bounced off the turn one cushion losing some ground as he recovered and stormed down the backstretch somehow threading the needle in a hole that seemed barely the size of half a midget and somehow race through giving him the breathing room he needed. Pursley raced to the double checkers at 9:28 less than a second ahead of Axsom for his second career USAC National midget win both coming in 2021 with Axsom second for the second straight night with Kofoid third broken bones and all, Hayden Williams fourth in a fine run for the Kiwi with Windom finishing fifth after starting 13th. Alex Bright would pace the second five at the finish moving from 16th to 6th receiving the Irvin King Hard Charger Award in the process with Ethan Mitchell seventh, Taylor Reimer a fine eighth, Thorson recovering for ninth with Chase Randall rounding out the top ten. The victory lane interviews were interesting and next time Axsom might want to choose his words a little more wisely and show some remorse for wrecking two other cars in the opening lap incident even though it was truly a racing accident and nothing more.


    We still had the 25 lap 600 micro sprint feature to run and it was a good affair with plenty of action and passing with Tim Buckwalter making up for some of the heart break he suffered the evening before suffering a flat tire while leading the 358 modified feature at Grandview by winning tonight's 600 feature. Christian Bruno and Steven Snyder Jr. gave him a run for the money in this entertaining event with the final checker waving at 9:59 on a very good night of racing.


    That's it for now until tomorrow when we check in with the next segment of PA midget week venturing across the river into New Jersey for round three at the Bridgeport Motorsports Park, another reconfigured track that we have yet to see in its new form but have heard nothing but rave reviews from everyone we spoken to including staunch open wheel fans who say the modifieds are the best and most entertaining class at the south Jersey oval. Time will tell. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. And thanks as always for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Windom Opens PA Midget Week With Win At Grandview



    Tuesday, August 3 – On Monday we drove from Crawfordsville to Washington, PA before stopping for the night and resumed our trip in the morning to arrive at host Bill and Judy Burns' home slightly after 1 PM. After having a delicious lunch and settling in we loaded up the VW Atlas and headed out to pick up Bruce Clelland and make out way over to the track on the hill in Bechtelsville, the mile Grandivew Speedway. On tap tonight was the opening night of PA midget week and a better than expected 27 midgets along with 35 358 modifieds were pitside to provide the entertainment for tonight. The crowd was down from previous visits to Grandview but decent none the less. Thanks to Rich Rauser for providing our seating arrangements we settled in for the night of racing after renewing acquiences and doing some bench racing beforehand.


    Midget time trials would start off the night commencing at 7:30 and by 7:46 the 27 USAC midgets had taken their turn qualifying with Kevin Thomas Jr. in one of two Petry entries posting a time of 13.970 seconds which was a new track record in the process. The three heat races for the USAC midgets would follow with USAC Eastern starter, Warren Alston, dropping the first green flag at 8:14. Alex Bright from Pennsylvania driving a second Tom Malloy entry as teammate to Logan Seavey captured heat one besting Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jr. as five qualified from the heats with only three being contested. Heat two went to Justin Grant in a late race pass for the lead on Logan Seavey who came home second with Ethan Mitchell third, Buddy Kofoid fourth and Chase Randall fifth. Heat three was won by Daison Pursley over Zach Daum in the second Bundy Built entry as teammate to Mitchell, Chris Windom, Tommy Kunsman and Emerson Axsom. Three 358 modified heats would follow with Duane Howard, Tim Buckwalter and Mike Gular prevailing.


    The midget B main was next up with sixteen year old Ohio resident, Jonathan Shafer, in one of four Keith Kunz cars in the field winning. Florida's Oliver Akard ramped over another competitor's left rear entering turn one launching into a series of flips, some of them completing in the air before landing hard back on the track surface in turn one. Akard quickly scrambled from the wrecked racer but was reported to have had some facial injuries from the hard ride but was otherwise OK. Shafer was chased across the line by Kunz teammate, Taylor Reimer, the Oklahoma University cheerleader in second with Hayden Reinbold third, Steve Buckwalter fourth, Kiwis Hayden Williams and Travis Buckley in fifth and sixth and Kevin Woody Jr. being the last man in. A new track record for the ten lap distance was also set tonight in the B main.


    Next up was the 30 lap USAC midget feature with the front row of Chris Windom and Chase Randall bringing the 22 car field to Warren Alston's first and only green flag as this one would go the distance non-stop in nine minutes. Chase Randall got the jump on the start and surprisely moved out front for the first seven laps until Windom went to his diamond style going high in turn three and cutting low in turn four allowing him to close ground on Randall. Entering turn one on lap eight Windom dove low and slid high in front of Randall in turn two with Randall crossing low with the pair racing side by side down the backstretch. Randall drifted high in turn three allowing Emerson Axsom to scoot by Randall for second in turn four and he took up the chase of Windom. After the halfway mark Windom started to encounter lap traffic which allowed Axsom to close the gap. Lap nineteen saw Axsom draw to the tail tank of Windom as Windom looked for a way around B main winner, Jonathan Shafer. Windom had increased his lead at this point but it was short lived as Axsom disbatched of Shafer and closed again. With five to go Windom got some breathing room as he passed Hayden Williams to put him a lap down in turn three and pulled away to a comfortable lead with Axsom lurking behind him. Coming to the white flag Windom encountered teammates Ethan Mitchell and Zach Daum racing for fourteenth as he tried to decide which way to go to move by the pair allowing Axsom to close once again. Windom went high while Axsom slid low and passed both Mitchell and Windom through turn one as Axsom slid up in turn two with the lead but Windom didn't come all this way to not win as he cut low in turn two and raced back into the lead halfway down the backstretch on the final lap. Windom dove under Daum in turn three giving him the cushion he needed to fend off Axsom as the pair raced to Alston's double checkers. Windom flashed across the line first at 10:13 for the big win holding off Axsom in a wild last lap. Chase Randall would come home third and record his highest USAC midget career finish with Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth and Tanner Thorson riding home fifth. The second five was led by Daison Pursley with Justin Grant seventh, Thomas Meseraull rebounding nicely from his push off incident to place eighth after starting 15th and receiving the Irvin King Hard Charger Award, with Cannon McIntosh ninth and point leader, Buddy Kofoid finishing a quiet tenth in the final rundown. It was a good race and an interesting one watching Windom and Axsom battle their way through the lap traffic the second half of the feature.


    We still had the 30 lap 358 modified feature to contest with Craig VonDohren and Tim Buckwalter leading the field to the green flag. Buckwalter bolted to the early lead in a surprise outrunning VonDohren in the early going. VonDohren dropped back to fourth and spun on the backstretch a few laps later. When was the last time you saw the all-time win leader at Grandview start up front and not win the feature. Tonight would be that night. Buckwalter would build up a half track lead over the course of the race and looked like a sure winner until with two to go his right rear tire started to lose air. He tried to hang on but entering turn one after taking the white flag lap the field pounced on him and he lost the lead and I believe finished eighth at the finish. Mike Gular took advantage of the gift and blasted by Buckwalter to take the lead and the win turning back two Jersey invaders, Ryan Krachun and Matt Stangle, who finished second and third with Craig Whitmoyer fourth and Jeff Strunk rounding out the top five. The final checker of the evening fell at 10:49 to wrap up two good feature events.


    That's it until tomorrow when we will have night two from Action Track USA in Kutztown with the USAC midgets and the 600 micro sprints. Until then get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take the show on the road to catch some racing elsewhere but get out there and enjoy. Comments, news, tidbits and other items can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime be safe and stay hydrated as the summer progresses. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Bacon Rebounds From No Start To Win Round Six At Bloomington



    Friday, July 30 – The heat and humidity finally broke and Friday turned out to be a picture perfect day with no a cloud in the sky, temperatures peaking out at 81 degrees and low humidity and a nice breeze to boot. Tonight was round six of Indiana Sprint Week to be contested on the red banks of the Bloomington Speedway and when we arrived at 5:25 we couldn't believe the amount of vehicles stuffed in the main parking area outside of turns one and two. Management needs to do a better job next year of managing the parking of the campers and motor homes as they took up a vast majority of the parking and then some. We were lucky to find a spot near the gate with the help of good friend, Suzie Niemann, who asked some people if we could park behind their tent area and saved us space for our lawn chairs on top of the hill in turn one to sit.


    It was the Sheldon Kinser Memorial at Bloomington tonight and announcer and historian, Pat Sullivan, gave a nice talk about the local resident who died of cancer and was a 37 time winner in USAC sprint car competition during his career. Sullivan ended his talk with the traditional request of cheering and clapping one more time for the great champion, Sheldon Kinser. Thirty six sprint cars and only six UMP modifieds graced the backstretch pit area for tonight's racing and the earliest start of sprint car time trials for ISW at 6:44 followed warmups promptly. By 7:05 Brent Beauchamp had surprised the field with a lap of 11.273 seconds around the high banked red clay oval to pick up the fast time award for the third time in his career.


    The standard format of four qualifying heats for the USAC sprint cars was next on the agenda with the top four transferring directly to the 30 lap main event later in the evening. Chase Stockon drew first blood with a victory in heat one outrunning Shane Cottle back after his disappointing end to last night with Kyle Cummins third and Chase Johnson. Thomas Meseraull threw the monkey off his back from all week winning heat two in the Cactus Jack Yeley #2 beating CJ Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Stevie Sussex to the line. Robert Ballou picked up his 12th heat win of 2021 beating Tanner Thorson, AJ Hopkins and Logan Seavey in the process. Jake Swanson captured heat four over Chris Windom, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant. Only one modified heat was needed with Jordan Wever winning other five others before we turned to the sprint car B main.


    The B main had a wild moment when Anthony D'Alessio and Max Guilford collided in turn one with Guilford flipping over the turn and D'Alessio flying off the turn landing on all fours but on Twitter saying his car was junk. D'Alessio has had a rough ISW with two flips and this lastest hairy ride. Going onto capture the B main was ISW point leader, Logan Seavey, turning back Jadon Rogers, Brent Beauchamp, Braydon Cromwell, Brady Short and Cole Bodine the last man in.


    Brian Hodde would wave the green flag on the 22 car field for the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature at 9:11 with CJ Leary and Chris Windom battling hard through turns one and two where Windom hopped the cushion in two lifting his car off the ground and causing him to do a 180 degree spin on top of the cushion bringing out the caution and forcing Windom to have to restart at the tail of the field where he would only make it back to 12th at the finish. On the restart Leary went out front with Kyle Cummins and Brady Bacon in tow. The top three remained that way through the first ten laps of the feature with Bacon finally working his way past Cummins for second on lap eleven in turn four. Lap thirteen saw Cummins hop the cushion in turn two making it now a two car battle for the lead. At the halfway mark Leary slid his right side wheels off the backstretch losing momentum and allowing Bacon to pounce on the mistake and take the lead at that point. Four laps later Cummins found his way around Leary to take second away from the Greenfield resident. Tanner Thorson made his presence known as he slipped by Leary for third on lap twenty three but Leary returned the favor one lap later. Thorson moved back by Leary for third low in turn two on lap twenty five but one lap later Thorson suffered a flat right rear tire bringing out the caution as he drove off the backstretch and behind turn three. Thorson would return to finish 15th but the flat might have ruined his bid to win the ISW point title for 2021. Bacon was ready to go on the restart and went back to the high side and pulled away from Cummins over the final five laps to win by over a second for his third win of 2021 and his first in over three months which ironically was his 38th career USAC National sprint car win snapping a tie for eighth with none other than the man (Sheldon Kinser) that the night was dedicated to. So after a tough night the night before Bacon and his crew rebounded back to the top and placed themselves thick in the battle for the ISW point crown only 12 markers behind Seavey who still leads the standings heading into the final race on Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt with Kevin Thomas Jr. only 15 points back. Cummins chased Bacon across the line at 9:27 for second, his best finish of the week, with Leary third, Thomas Jr. fourth and Robert Ballou rounding out the top five. Shane Cottle ran another good race this time getting better final results advancing from 15th to 6th with Seavey seventh, Jake Swanson eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and hard charger AJ Hopkins from 22nd to 10th.

    We decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature to let the crowd filter out of the parking lot and watched Jordan Wever lead the entire distance in the non-stop feature event besting Jacoby Hines, Jake Leitzman, Michael Hussmann and Lance Foreman in just six minutes of racing. Upon packing up the chairs, walking to the car and pulling out of the parking lot took less than five minutes and we were on the road again for our trip home to Crawfordsville.


    That's it for night six and check back Sunday to see what happened at Haubstadt, who won and who took home the coveted ISM crown and the traditional hand carved rocking chair for winning the title. News, comments, words of wisdom and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible or take it on the road and check out some racing in another area. Most of all be safe and stay hydrated. Thanks for continuing to read our efforts as we hope you continue to enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     


     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Hot Weather, Hot Action & Hot Tempers At LPS ISW Run


    Thursday, July 29 – The weather was not the only hot thing at Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night for round five of the 34th annual Indiana Sprint Week as several drivers temperatures boiled over during the hot action of the 30 lap feature event. We will cover all the moments but lets set up the stage that led into the fireworks of the feature.


    A large crowd turned out on another hot day in Indiana but at least tonight we had moments of a breeze which made it bearable as we all baked in Joe Spiker's concrete grandstands on a Thursday night. Forty seven drivers signed into the pit area on night five of ISW which was a single division program and by the end of time trials the count was down to 45 with 43 drivers participating in the four heat race for the USAC sprint cars. Time trials were the first order of business pushing off at 7:07 with Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ taking down the fast time of the evening coming out of flight one to do so with a time of 12.553 seconds around the 5/16 mile high banked dirt oval in beautiful downtown Putnamville.


    By 7:55 the first of four heats for the sprinters was trackside. Kyle Cummins would garner heat one in a good contest over Matt Westfall, Tanner Thorson and Justin Grant. Brady Bacon in the Dynamics #69 claimed heat two beating Shane Cottle, Jadon Rogers and Jason McDougal. Kevin Thomas Jr. triumphed in heat three over visiting Californian Chris Gansen who made his first feature of the week, Brent Beauchamp and CJ Leary. Brandon Mattox looked strong in heat four after a rough week cashing in the win over Logan Seavey, Robert Ballou and Cole Bodine. All four heats were very competitive and enjoyable to watch as the track was in good condition with the berms building after every heat race run. All heat qualifying was completed in just 24 minutes.


    The C main was next on the card with the top four moving onto the B main. Braydon Cromwell from Missouri would win this one over AJ Hopkins, Max Guilford and Shane Cockrum. Thomas Meseraull in the Jack Yeley #2 would race no further tonight. The B main was a scramble from the start and when all was said and done Chris Windom came out on top besting Carson Short, Jake Swanson, Chase Stockon, Brandon Spencer and Stevie Sussex the last man in for the big show.


    The 30 lap feature event took a dramatic turn even before the green flag would wave when Brady Bacon was pushing off from the pit lane to line up for the main event. A roll pin sheared off his car causing a mag issue and the #69 was not able to fire and was done for the night. This threw the ISW points wide open as Bacon led coming into Lincoln Park and also had a big effect on the national point chase.


    The green flag would drop at 9:35 on the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature with Cole Bodine taking the early lead over Jason McDougal. Lap four saw Robert Ballou and Justin Grant make contact in turn two with Grant spinning bringing out the first caution. On the restart CJ Leary challenged Bodine in turns three and four sliding past Bodine but Bodine countered exiting turn four and regained the lead. Lap seven saw Leary take the lead from Bodine in turn one while Tanner Thorson was coming forward passing Kevin Thomas Jr. for third on lap eight and polishing off Bodine for the runner up position on lap ten and took up the chase of race leader Leary. The front two raced past the halfway mark weaving through lap traffic in the process. The laps were clicking off with Leary still leading with Thorson and Thomas the pursuers. With just six laps to go Bodine and Grant tangled in turn one with Grant climbing over the left side of Bodine's mount sending both spinning in turn two collecting innocent bystander Brandon Mattox in the incident with Leary bearing missing the scramble. On the restart Leary bolted back out front and looked to be the man to beat. With just one lap to go a front stretch tangle found Thomas and Shane Cottle make contact with Cottle and Stockon running fifth and sixth spinning backwards on the homestretch with the field scattering around them. This would end Cottle's fine run from 18th to 5th and he showed his frustration by first tossing his steering wheel at the passing Thomas on one lap and clapping as Thomas drove by the second lap around. That set up a green, white, checker scenario with Thorson making the most of his new found chance to take the lead. On the restart Thorson dove low in turn one and slid up in turn two as Leary ran the cushion. The pair never touched as Leary jumped the cushion getting his left side wheels off the ground and allowing both Thorson and Windom to charge by. Leary regained second for a brief moment but Windom took it back in turn two on the white flag lap. The trio raced to the checkered flag with Thorson crossing first for his third win of the year with Windom second and Leary third. Thomas would come across fourth with Logan Seavey rounding out the top five and ending his three race win streak.


    It was far from over as Leary first cut off Thorson on the homestretch afterwards and then jumping from his car and greeting Thorson in victory lane placing his foot on the front nerf bar of Thorson's machine. Thorson quickly came up through the top of the roll cage and angry words were exchanged between the two with Thorson then jumping on top of the cage, waving to the crowd and giving the double finger to Leary in the process. It was a hot finish to a hot night and hopefully tempers will cool as the temperature is also suppose to drop. We will see what plays out tonight at Bloomington for round six of ISW. Getting back to the race the second five was paced by Jason McDougal in sixth, Jake Swanson in seventh, Justin Grant ending up a troublesome night in eighth, Stevie Sussex turning in another stellar night from 22nd to 9th with Jadon Rogers riding home tenth.


    The heat racing was very good tonight and the feature was action packed filled with a lot of controversy. That is good for selling tickets for tonight at Bloomington!!! The ISW point standing have been shook up with Bacon's no start at LPS with Logan Seavey now on top with a total of 366 now leading Tanner Thorson who has 351. Kevin Thomas Jr. is third with 344 while Bacon now drops to fourth at 336 and Justin Grant is right there with 333 as just 33 points separate the top five. In the national point standings Bacon is still on top with 1693 with Grant second with 1636, Thomas Jr. third with 1628, Leary fourth at 1471 and his buddy, Thorson, fifth at 1470.


    That's it for now but check back tomorrow as we will bring you a report from round six of ISW from the red clay high banks of Bloomington Speedway. Comments, opinions, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible or tune into a live stream on one of the streaming networks. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.



     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Seavey Dominates At Terre Haute To Win Third Straight in ISW




    Wednesday, July 28 – Today had to be the most oppressive day of Indiana Sprint Week so far as the temperature pushed 90 and the humidity was off the charts. We opted for the covered grandstands as that least we didn't have the sun beating down on us but as Xia Xianna Bacon said on Twitter “A sauna...that's what it feels like sitting in the covered grandstands tonight at the Action Track.”


    A good field of 36 sprint cars filled the turn three and four pit area joined by 16 UMP modifieds to make for a good two division program on the historic half mile located on the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds run by the Wabash Valley Fair Association where $5 got you a parking spot on the grounds. At least proof of the parking fee was evident as the main road into the fairgrounds was newly laid with stone and no bumps for your driving pleasure.


    The Don Smith Classic started off with time trials for the 36 sprinters on hand taking the initial green flag at 7:12. By 7:44 Kevin Thomas Jr. in his Ronald McDonald House charity car was quickest at 20.039 seconds around the half mile giving him his sixth fast time of the year and thirty fifth of his career tying him with the late Rich Vogler for eighth place on the all-time list.


    Four heat races for the USAC sprints with the top four moving directly into the 30 laps feature event would go green at 8:14. Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ would hold off the fierce challenges of Kevin Thomas Jr. to win an entertaining heat one with Chase Stockon and Brady Bacon also moving into the big dance. Chris Windom won a competitive heat two besting CJ Leary, Eddie Tafoya Jr. making his first ISW A main and Nick Bilbee. Heat three saw an impressive Tye Mihocko in the Eades #47 holding off Justin Grant, Charles Davis Jr. and Shane Cottle to win this one. Heat four went to Logan Seavey in a cake walk beating Matt Westfall, Shane Cockrum and Robert Ballou in a confusing finish as the cars raced down the homestretch as a car spun in turn four having the caution wave but the race was considered official with the finish reverting back to the last completed lap costing Jake Swanson a qualifying spot as he nipped the fourth place finisher at the line. Two heats followed for the UMP modifieds with Brian Shaw and Richie Lex winning those.


    The sprint car B main would be next up on the agenda and his race produced two flips in the event. First Cannon McIntosh found himself rolling over twice between turns three and four in the Phillips/Daugh #71P climbing quickly from his wrecked sprinter. The second incident saw Sterling Cling taking a wild ride into the turn one wall rolling over several times with Chase Jones and Ryan Bond also involved. In fact on Jones' Twitter this morning we found out that he was in the hospital after suffering a split elbow and also being hit in the head by Cling during his flips. The good news is Jones is doing well and will be released from the hospital today. Jake Swanson went on to win the sprint B main followed by Brandon Mattox, Max Guilford, Mario Clouser, Jason McDougal and Kyle Cummins with a late charge to sneak by Chase Johnson to be the last man in for the 30 lap feature.


    The 15 lap UMP modified feature was next on the racing card and the first four laps produced five cautions and found track management cutting the distance of the race from 15 to 12 laps. Once the repeat offenders were sifted out the racing was very good with Brian Shaw leading the majority of the race but not the most important laps. Shaw, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader and Tyler Nicely hooked up in a crowd pleasing duel with Nicely slipping by everyone to win from the 16th starting position chased across the finish line by Wallace, Schrader, Shaw and Tyler Weiss.


    It was 10:24 when the front row of Logan Seavey and Nick Bilbee brought the 22 car field to Tom Hansing's green flag with Seavey bounding into the early lead. Justin Grant was quick to move from his fourth starting spot to second by lap two as he first charged by Chase Stockon on the cushion in turns three and four on the opening lap for third and caught and passed Bilbee in turn one on lap two for second. Seavey and Grant checked out on the field over the next several laps until lap nine when Robert Ballou and Eddie Tafoya Jr. tangled on the backstretch and both drivers went tumbling over several times before coming to rest on the track. Both drivers were able to climb from their battered machines to the relief of everyone in attendance. During the red Kevin Thomas Jr. running third at the time pulled to the infield work area to change a flat rear front tire and rejoined the field at the tail. On the ensuing restart Grant pulled a slider on Seavey entering turn one clearing him for the lead in turn two with Tanner Thorson using the low side to pull alongside Seavey for second but Seavey was not giving up as Grant drifted to the cushion in turn two and Seavey dove in the middle between the pair to take back the lead racing down the backstretch. Seavey powered away to over a two second lead over the middle part of the race as the Derek Claxton powered #5 was flying. As Seavey approached lap traffic he began to pick his way past them but with 10 to go Grant was noticeably cutting into the big lead that Seavey had built up. With four to go Seavey's lead had disappeared with Grant in his tire tracks and making a run for the lead. With two to go Grant pounded the cushion in turn two and lost valuable ground which he was not able to make up over the final two laps. The double checkers waved at 10:51 with Seavey leading every lap on his way to his third straight win in Indiana Sprint Week becoming the first driver since Kevin Thomas Jr. in 2013 to do so. Jay Drake (2000) and Cory Kruseman (2002) are others that have won three in a row during ISW. Jon Stanbrough holds the all-time record of four in a row from 2006-2007 so Seavey is getting into some lofty ground here. Grant came home second with Chris Windom some 10 seconds behind the front two in third from seventh so you can see how dominant the front two were in this feature. Brady Bacon moved from 12th to 4th at the finish with Jason McDougal becoming the Irvin King hard charger marching from 15th to 5th at the end.


    Chase Stockon rode home sixth with Kevin Thomas Jr. racing from the tail of the field to salvage a seventh with Tanner Thorson starting and finishing eighth, Shane Cottle ninth and CJ Leary ending up tenth. The race up front was interesting and the runs by McDougal and Thomas were fun to watch in this decent race.


    That's it until tomorrow when we report on round five of ISW from the Lincoln Park Speedway in beautiful downtown Putnamville as we see if Logan Seavey can continue his white hot streak during ISW. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible and if not tune into Flo Racing or DirtVision to catch some on track activity. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you all continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. In the interim stay safe and stay hydrated.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Seavey Goes Back To Back With Monday Win At Gas City



    Monday, July 26 – It was a rare Monday night race for Indiana Sprint Week, only the fourth in the 34 year history of the event (stat thanks to Richie Murray) and the day was almost picture perfect with plenty of sunshine and very warm temperatures. You know it is a warm day when you see plenty of blankets in the grandstands but as you walk through the parking lots you see many people inside their cars with the air conditioning running!! Such was the case today.


    Forty six cars returned for the makeup date from Friday, down from 49 but still a good, solid field. Once again sprint car time trials would start off the program taking the initial green flag at 7:10. Two flights would qualify with Tanner Thorson coming out of flight two to score the fastest time of the evening with a time of 11.809 seconds on the gnarly surface (using a word out of the Justin Grant playbook) which everyone handled with care with no incidents occurring during the time trial session. With all the rain over the weekend the track was rough and unruly or cowboy up and even with various periods of manicuring of the surface it reared its gnarly head again and again.


    The four heat races for the USAC National Sprint Car series would go green at 8 PM with Jason McDougal scoring the heat win over Cannon McIntosh, Justin Grant moving through the field nicely and Chase Jones putting the Gray #81G into his first feature of the week. Robert Ballou started up front once again and that is where he finished for the 11th time in 2021 outpacing CJ Leary, Logan Seavey and Tye Mihocko at the wheel of the Eades #47 for the week. Jake Swanson continues his strong runs by capturing heat three besting Stevie Sussex, Jadon Rogers and Thomas Meseraull putting the Cactus Jack Yeley #2 into the field. Rogers ran over the left front wheel of Kevin Thomas Jr. battling for a qualifying position with the front end of Thomas' car the worst for wear. I'm sure that Rogers will be taken off the Thomas Christmas card list this year. Chase Johnson rolled his Goodnight #22 during this heat and was OK and returned later. The fourth and final heat winner was national point leader, Brady Bacon, starting up front after a dismal time trial and outrunning Kyle Cummins, Chris Windom and Cole Bodine. Two heats would follow for the second division of the evening, the 600 micro sprints with 12 in attendance. Jakeb Boxell and Kole Kirkman were the winners in the two races.


    The sprint car C main was the next race on the card with 15 starters looking for 4 spots to move into the B main. Brent Beauchamp nailed down the C main win chased across the line by Braydon Cromwell, Shane Cottle from deep in the field and Charles Davis Jr. Next up was the sprint car B main taking the top six finishers into the A main. It was a wild and wooley affair with two cars flipping during the course of the race. Early in the B main Paul Nienhiser running third at the time dug his right front into the cushion sending him high into the air with a complete flip landing hard on his wheels. Nienhiser was not injured in the mishap but the KO Motorsports #5N was done for the evening. On the last lap of the race Shane Cottle and Shane Cockrum driving the Gass #17G tonight tangled entering turn one racing for a qualifying position with Cottle climbing the rub rail of the Cockrum car and ended up sitting there as Anthony D'Alessio came upon the scene and caught the left rear of Cockrum's spun car launching himself high into the air for a series of flips landing right side up on the track. The dejected D'Allessio climbed from his wrecked sprinter tumbling for the second time in three days. The last lap was then spun off with fast timer, Tanner Thorson, winning over Kevin Thomas Jr., Zack Pretorius qualifying for his first USAC National Sprint Car race, Chase Johnson, Brandon Mattox and Chase Stockon. The field was now filled and no provisionals were used so the 22 car field was now set.

    The 15 lap 600 micro sprint feature was next to run and it was a very entertaining race. Kole Kirkman and Mike Landis exchanged the lead back and forth over the first 13 laps until Landis biked in turn two spinning around and forcing him to restart at the rear of the field. This now put Darin Naida on Kirkman's tail tank for the restart with Naida diving low in turn three to take the lead away from Kirkman coming for the white flag. Naida held on for the last lap and flashed across the line first for his 15th time this year in 600 competition with Kirkman a disappointed second and Jakeb Boxell rounding out the podium. An excited Naida was pumped from the reception he received from the crowd and thanked the USAC sprint car fans for their applauses. The 14 year old fourth generation driver from Adrian, Michigan said he can't wait until he is able to run full sized sprint cars.

    Now it was time to go sprint car racing with the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature taking the green flag at 10:10. Jake Swanson powered into the early lead from second with Jason McDougal and Tye Mihocko following. Logan Seavey who started fourth was quick to the front diving in between Swanson and McDougal exiting turn four with Swanson the leader at the line by a nose. Seavey held the inside entering turn one and slid in front of Swanson in turn two to take the lead on lap two. Seavey stormed forward and had a huge lead by lap ten with Swanson still holding off the rest of the field at this point. Brady Bacon was moving forward from eighth and was now third and took second from Swanson in turn two on lap eleven and shortly thereafter Chase Jones brought out the only caution of the race spinning between turns three and four. On the restart Seavey sped away quickly and built up another big lead as he approached lap traffic with ten to go. Seavey worked his way through the traffic flawlessly and by 10:19 raced under the checkered flag for his second straight win in Indiana Sprint Week and his fourth career USAC sprint car win. Brady Bacon came home second with the hard charger of the race, Kyle Cummins, advancing from 12th to 3rd with Jake Swanson fourth and Jason McDougal hanging on for fifth. Tanner Thorson led the second five across the finish line in sixth with Chris Windom seventh, Justin Grant moving from 14th to 8th, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Tye Mihocko taking down tenth.

    It was an exciting and interesting race on a true cowboy up race track with Seavey coming home the top cowboy on this evening.


    That's it for now but check back Thursday as there is a night off before we complete the rest of Indiana Sprint Week 34 with four nights in a row starting up again at the Action Track at Terre Haute followed by Lincoln Park, Bloomington and Tri-State where the ISW champion will be decided. Until next time get out there and enjoy this hot weather and take in some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road to catch racing somewhere where you have wanted to go for a while. Comments, news, stories or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next. Remember be safe and stay hydrated.


     

     

    A Typical Weekend


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel



    Rain Pushes ISW Opener To Saturday At Kokomo



    Friday, July 23 – It was a hot day in the 80's and tonight was the opener of Indiana Sprint Week #34 starting off the festivities at the Gas City I-69 Speedway. The track was in prime condition and had us salivating knowing that the racing should be great with such an awesome surface. The mud balls flew in warmups and during time trials that kicked off at 7:05. Brayden Fox would surprise the 49 car field setting fast time with a lap of 11.916 seconds around the mile bullring. Dark clouds had been moving across the northern horizon over the past few hours but the rain looked like it was going to spare us tonight. Well, before you knew it another dark cloud moved over us from behind and a very light rain began to fall. Luckily Pat had brought our umbrellas in so we decided to sit out the rain delay right in our seats. Over the next 20 minutes or so the light rain continued and then began to pick up some. We decided to leave the blanket and move to the Rogue and it was a good move as after jumping into the SUV the rain picked up and after about ten minutes it was rainy pretty hard. We decided along with many others to exit the parking lot at that point and go over to the hotel as it didn't look promising. About ten minutes later the call came that the race was postponed for the evening and would be rescheduled for Monday evening as a new complete program. That moves the opener to Kokomo on Saturday for now the round one.


    Saturday, July 24 – The temperature read 82 degrees but with the humidity it feels like temperature was 97. The forecast was good until 11 PM when storms were predicted to roll in then. After leaving the hotel in Gas City we drove over to Kokomo to try Hawg Heaven rated as one of the top five places in Indiana for Bar-B-Que. We were not disappointed!!! After that we made a stop at Ollie's to pick up some home supplies before venturing over to the track and finding a good parking spot up front. The race car haulers were held out of the pit area until about 2:45 to allow the pit area to dry with some extra time and that caused a log jam on the road behind the grandstands. I stood in the long and slow moving line for the 3 PM gate opening and upon entering secured our blanket three rows from the top of the frontstretch wooden grandstand and retreated to the comfort of the air conditioned SUV. Ohio traveler, Benny Trask, arrived a short time later and luck have it a parking spot opened up next to us and we waved him into the spot.


    Finally around 6 PM we decided to walk into the grandstand area after purchasing two bottles of cold water to try to keep us cool. Track prep was still going on and the cars were still entering the pit area causing the time trials to not start until 7:11. With a strong 54 sprint cars on hand it was 7:44 until the time trials were completed with Brady Bacon setting the high mark early in the process and ending up the quickest of the evening with a time of 12.594 seconds around the mile oval. We were starting to worry if they would be able to get the entire show in with four heats, a D main, a C main, a B main and a 30 lap main event for the sprints while the second division, the thundercars brought 24 cars to the party necessitating three heats which would be a lot of racing to fit into a three hour time frame.


    The first of four sprint car heats took Tom Hansing's green flag at 8:13 and the race was on both on the track and against the weather. The action heated up early when Scotty Weir and Brady Bacon battling for the fourth and final qualifying position made heavy contact entering turn four with Weir taking a wild ride into the turn four wall almost flipping in the process. To say Scotty was not happy with Bacon would be an understatement as his double salute sitting on top of his roll cage was a good indication that he was none too pleased with his fellow driver. Kyle Cummins would go on to win the first heat besting Shane Cottle, Bacon and Justin Grant. Heat two was a good contest with Kevin Thomas Jr. winning this one over Jason McDougal picking up a ride in one of the KO Motorsports fives, Brady Short in the Edwards #61M and Brandon Mattox who was involved in several skirmishes in the heat. The third heat would see Garrett Aitken rolling his sprinter in between turns one and two to stop the action. When things resumed Robert Ballou would go on to win heat three beating Jake Swanson, Jadon Rogers and CJ Leary. The fourth and final heat fell to Tanner Thorson outrunning Braydon Cromwell in a fine performance for second with Chris Windom third and Cannon McIntosh rounding out the top four.


    The thundercars ran two heats with the first one being a very good race with the front runners two and three wide throughout the entire race. Before running the third roadrunner heat the sprint D main would take to the track and a second lap double flip in turn one involving Ryan Bond and Cooper Welch brought this race to a quick halt and at this point a good decision was made to scratch the remainder of this race and add the survivors to the tail of the C main. After the thundercar heat the sprint C main was called to the track as the approaching storm flashed lightning in the skies behind the backstretch grandstand and off of turns one and two. Stevie Sussex raced his Scooby Doo inspired painted #77S from the tenth starting position to capture the C main and move on along with Evan Mosley, Chase Stockon and Cole Bodine in a race where another double flip occurred when Anthony D'Allessio jumped the right rear of Charles Davis Jr. and rolled in turn three with Mitchell Davis with no where to go making contact with D'Allessio and rolling over his sprinter also. Quickly the B main was ushered to the speedway and went green with the top six finishers moving to the A main. Logan Seavey would triumph in this one outpacing Chase Johnson, Thomas Meseraull making his ISW debut in the Jack Yeley #2, Brent Beauchamp in the LB #29, Stevie Sussex charging from 15 th to continue the alphabet soup run into fifth with New Zealander, Max Guilford, placing the second Goodnight entry into the feature event.


    The A main cars were called to the track as the storm moved closer and within 10 minutes of the B main ending the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature would take the green flag at 10:02. Kevin Thomas Jr. went to the point on the start from his first starting position with Justin Grant slipping by CJ Leary for second in turns one and two on the opening circuit. Thomas would pace the first six laps of the event when the only stoppage of the event came on lap six when Brandon Mattox flipped on the homestretch first hitting on his nose and then landing on his tail where the fuel tank was ripped from his car with Mattox ending up wrong side up in the middle of the track. The emergency crews were quickly on the scene and personnel turned over the flipped sprinter with a brief oil fire breaking out but it was quickly extinguished as Mattox quickly exited his sprinter. The tail tank was carefully lifted into the back of one of the UTV's trying to not spill anymore of the fuel on the track surface. The wrecker crew whisked the worse for wear sprinter to the infield with the yellow returning. The cars were pushed off in good order and we were underway in a few minutes. It was a rough night for Mattox as he was involved in several tangles with this one being the worst.


    On the ensuing restart Grant dove low in turn one pulling a slider on Thomas and taking the lead in turn two but Thomas countered entering turns three and four to retake the lead. Lap nine saw Grant repeat his move in turns one and two with Thomas countering down the backstretch. Thomas entered turn three a lot hot Grant would win his fourth ISW win and his 25 th career USAC National Sprint Car win in the process also taking the second straight USAC race contested adding to his Silver Crown win at Winchester on Thursday. That win placed Grant 24 th on the all-time win list passing Parnelli Jones, Jay Drake and Steve Butler as he climbs the win list. It was also the first ISW race rain shortened in the 34 year history of the series and the first rain shortened USAC event since Anderson Speedway in 2006. Kokomo also became the third shortest USAC sprint car race in their history tying it with the 1959 event at Terre Haute where they completed 18 of 30 laps also. Bacon would come across the line second with Thomas third, CJ Leary fourth and Tanner Thorson rounding out the top five after starting ninth. The second five was led to the line by Kyle Cummins with Chris Windom seventh, Jadon Rogers eighth, Robert Ballou ninth and Logan Seavey rounding out the top ten.


    Of course we all would have liked to have seen the race go the full distance but we will take 18 laps instead of a rain out any day especially after last night. Kudos to all the USAC officials, Kokomo personnel, wrecker and safety crews and the drivers for helping to move the program along as quickly as humanly possible and allowing everyone to see a shortened though official main event.


    That's it until Tuesday as we are taking the night off from tonight at Lawrenceburg and will pick up the tour again Monday for the rest of ISW34 culminating with the grand finale at Tri-State Speedway on Saturday in Haubstadt. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or pack the car and make a road trip to another track. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care and be safe.

     

     

    A Typical Weekend

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Grant Takes First Asphalt SC Win In Vogler Classic At Winchester


    Thursday, July 22 – A beautiful day in the 80's greeted us as we awoke on Thursday and something special was on the agenda today as the 37 degree banked mile asphalt oval at Winchester, IN was running the Rich Vogler Classic for the USAC Silver Crown Series tonight. It would be only the second time and first in nearly 32 years that we have visited Winchester and we were really looking forward to seeing racing there again. We arrived at 4:45 and found a good parking spot facing the entrance road which would make our exit much easier and sat in the car until 5:45 when we entered the historic facility to watch the time trials for the 19 car field on hand. Upon entering we ran into the grand marshal for tonight's race, Tom Bigelow, and had a nice chat with him before finding our seats for the evening.


    Time trials pushed off at 6:03 and 30 minutes later Kody Swanson was the top gun (no surprise) for the 32 nd time in his career at 14.459 seconds beating out Bobby Santos III for the quick time and the first starting position for tonight's Vogler Classic. An autograph session followed on the midway before pre-race festivities kicked into gear around 8.


    Tom Hansing's green flag would drop on the starting field at 8:15 with Kody Swanson taking the early lead and he would pace the field for the first five laps until Bobby Santos drove low in turn three and took the lead away on lap five. The top seven runners were nose to tail for the next several laps with Aaron Pierce moving into third on lap fourteen after dropping back earlier. The first caution would wave on lap seventeen when Patrick Lawson slowed on the inside of turn three. On the restart Santos led with David Byrne motoring into fifth low in turn three on lap twenty two. One lap later Pierce turned up the wick passing Swanson for second on the backstretch and roaring by Santos for the lead exiting turn four. Justin Grant moved by Santos for second in turn two on lap twenty seven with Byrne following suit into third with 15 th starting Kyle O'Gara taking fourth relegating Santos and Swanson back to fifth and sixth. Pierce opened up a good lead over the field over the next twenty laps as the others battled it out behind him. Swanson meanwhile had regrouped and worked his way by Santos and then O'Gara by lap thirty five to move back into fourth. One lap later Swanson took third in turn three and was now back in the hunt. By lap forty four Grant meanwhile had chopped into Pierce's big advantage as the caution then waved on lap forty eight. On the restart on lap fifty seven Grant applied the pressure to Pierce for the lead diving low in turn four and drawing alongside racing to the start/finish line. Pierce led that lap but Grant took the lead in turn two on lap fifty eight with Swanson and Santos following him through shuffling Pierce from first to fourth in one fair swoop!! Grant started to approach lap traffic and worked his way by with little difficulty keep Swanson at bay. By lap seventy the top four had opened a half track lead over fifth place running Byrne. They would run this way until lap eighty four when Shane Cottle broke a panhard bar and spun in turn four brushing the wall in the progress. With fifteen laps to go there were now only four cars on the lead lap. The green dropped with eight to go with Grant at the point with Swanson on his tail tank and Santos not far behind. Santos broke loose in turns one and two one lap later and lost valuable ground to the front two so it was down to a two car shootout for the win. With five to go Austin Nemire running tenth at the time lost the handle on his car in turn two and spun to bring out the fourth and final caution. The green would wave with two to go and all Grant had to do to win his first Silver Crown race on pavement and third overall and first in almost three years was hold off Swanson who has been virtually unbeatable on the pavement in the last couple of years. Grant got a good jump on the green and pulled several car lengths away but Swanson quickly ate up that advantage. Entering turn three on the final lap Grant went low while Swanson drove up top as the two drew closer exiting turn four for a run to the checkered. At the line Grant had done it by 0.50 seconds to claim his first pavement win over Swanson, Santos and Pierce who all completed 100 laps. O'Gara led the drivers one lap down in fifth across the line with Travis Welpott garnering a fine sixth with hometome boy, Matt Goodnight, seventh, Kyle Robbins eighth, Derek Bischak ninth and David Byrne tenth.


    It was a very good race exceeding expectations with a good crowd on hand with everyone leaving satisfied that they had witnessed a good run by the Silver Crown guys in their debut at Winchester. A race completed before 9 PM on a Thursday night was an added bonus and had everyone on the road in a decent hour to prepare for the start of Indiana Sprint Week starting tomorrow at Gas City I-69 Speedway.


    That's it for this segment and check back every day as we follow ISW as it travels back and forth across the state of Indiana for seven races over a nine day period. News, comments, stories, articles and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or if not able to do that tune into one of the live streaming services to get your racing fix. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and your kind words on our writings. Until tomorrow keep safe and keep cool.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Hopkins Rebounds To Win Wild Night At Lincoln Park

     


    Saturday, July 17 - We are back from our vacation in Wisconsin seeing many of the sights around the Wisconsin Dells area and attending a slew of asphalt tracks within a two hour radius. But it was time to return to the dirt and our choice was the Lincoln Park Speedway only 40 minutes from our front door. The weather this week was very rainy with many places receiving 2 to 4 inches of rain and saturating the ground. Joe Spiker and his track crew were in a damn if we do and damn if we don't scenario to run tonight and they decided to go for it. The result was an hour and twenty minute late start and a rough, bumpy race track to start the night with. It was beyond cowboy up as the turns were very rough and treacherous with the warmups seeing many cars bouncing and sliding around in the corners.

     

    The first competitive green would wave at 8:22 on the first of five sprint car heats for the fine 39 car field on hand with Jake Swanson surviving the unruly surface to score the heat one win over Harley Burns and Geoff Ensign, the California driver in for the summer. Heat two saw two drivers roll their sprinters in the unforgiving turn two with Carl Rhuebottom catching the cushion and rolling over. On the ensuing restart leader Jake Scott took a tumble in turn two with both drivers OK and able to return for the B mains. Shane Cockrum would go onto win this heat besting AJ Hopkins and Arizona's Kyle Shipley. Heat three saw point leader, Brayden Fox, roared out front and win this one over Blake Vermillion and Zack Pretorius. Jadon Rogers charged to the front in heat four beating Tye Mihocko in the Mike Gass #17G getting ready for Indiana Sprintweek and Braydon Cromwell. The fifth and final heat would go to Jesse Vermillion over Gabriel Gilbert and Alec Sipes with all three of these drivers showing noticeable improvement in their driving. The UMP modifieds would present three heats for their 25 car field with the super stocks having three heats for their 24 car field and the bombers (24) spinning off three good heats as the track finally began to come around. With 108 cars on the grounds it was already 10:20 when the heat racing ended. Every division would need a B main with the sprinters running two before we would be close to running any feature events. Brent Beauchamp returned from his heat after doing everything but flipping in turns one and two to win B main one over Cole Bodine and Tim Creech. B main two saw invader Dickie Gaines scoring the win over Ricky Lewis who charged from tenth with Jeff Wimmenauer the last man in. A final rework of the surface before the sprint car A main was performed which gave the sprinters a raceable surface to show their talents on.

     

    The green would drop on the 25 lap sprint car feature at 11:46 and it would be the next day until this one was over. In between was some very good racing under trying circumstances. AJ Hopkins would jump to the early lead over Harley Burns and many in the crowd thought this one was already over but no one informed the rest of the drivers of this fact. The first caution flew after the completion of lap one when the cars of Kyle Shipley, Braydon Cromwell and Brent Beauchamp tangled low in turn two with Ricky Lewis clipping one of them going by collapsing his front end and ending his evening prematurely. On the restart Hopkins went to the point with Jadon Rogers passing Burns for second in turn two on lap two with Jake Swanson following him into third. Swanson polished off Rogers for second on the backstretch after Rogers bobbled in turn two and took up the chase of Hopkins. Jeff Wimmenauer slowed in turn two on lap eight to bring out another caution. Hopkins controlled the restart with Swanson and Rogers following. Fifth starting Brayden Fox with coming fast passing Rogers for third on lap ten on the backstretch. Harley Burns fine night ended while running fifth on lap thirteen when his car broke in turn one. Hopkins held sway on the restart with Swanson and Fox in tow. Shane Cockrum made a two for one pass on the backstretch to move into the top five on lap fifteen as Swanson snuck by Hopkins on the low side entering turn one on lap 16. Rogers made contact with third running Fox low in turn two causing Fox to spin and ending his fine run also as he had to restart at the tail of the field. Swanson led on the restart with Hopkins slipping to fourth as we seemed to be out of sync. Hopkins now dug deep and went to the cushion battling back to second by lap twenty one and caught and passed Swanson on the homestretch starting lap twenty two. In a shocker Swanson lost the handle entering turn one on the white flag lap and spun taking him out of a sure second place finish. The green and white waved on the restart and at 12:15 AJ Hopkins flashed under the double checkers winning his sixth of the year at LPS over Shane Cockrum who made a late rally to finish second with Rogers third, Cole Bodine advancing from 18th to 4th with Tye Mihocko rounding out the top five.

     

    We decided to exit the track and head home as it was a long night but kudos go out to the LPS track crew and Joe Spiker for hanging in there and giving the fans a night of racing that they probably shouldn't have attempted to do. As this is being written Spiker and crew have thrown in the towel on Sunday's scheduled race at Paragon facing another long day and night attempting to whip the facility into running shape.

     

    That's it for this weekend as we look ahead to a busy upcoming week starting with racing on Wednesday and continuing through Sunday as Indiana Sprintweek kicks off starting Friday at Gas City.

     

    Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Check back often to see where we end up next and any comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for continuing to read our efforts and the nice comments from many of you which are much appreciated.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Mihocko In Sub Role Wins Sprints At Lincoln Park

     

     

    Saturday, June 26 - USAC Silver Crown and SRX were running at Eldora and MSCS sprints were running at Tri-State but we opted to stay closer to home and take in the racing at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, only 40 minutes away from our home. We arrived early to grab one of the hillside parking by the cemetery spots and went inside to place our chairs. We retreated back to the SUV as the humidity was off the charts so the AC was the choice until 6:15 as we made our way into the grandstand area which had filled in nicely since our last visit. Fireworks were on the card tonight along with the regular four divisions so we expected a good crowd and it turned out to indeed be one.

     

    After hot laps/group qualifying for each of the four classes the non-wing sprint cars would be the first to the post to run their four heats for their higher than expected 28 car field. Tim Creech ran a heady race to capture heat one over Colten Cottle, Pat Giddens in a good run and Daniel Clodfelter. The second heat was the best race of the night as the front four went at it tooth and nail many times running three to four abreast around the 5/16 mile banked dirt oval. Mitchell's Dickie Gaines in a rare LPS appearance prevailed in this barn burner over Brandon Spencer in a strong run, Jesse Vermillion and Brayden Fox. Missouri's Braydon Cromwell looking better each time out won heat three over AJ Hopkins, Mario Clouser and Harley Burns. Brent Beauchamp took the family car to victory in heat four beating Tye Mihocko making only his second appearance in the Jamie Paul #24P subbing for Silver Crown racing Shane Cockrum, Matt McDonald and Zack Pretorius. The UMP modifieds (17) would contest two heats with a pair of 2's driven by Matt Mitchell and Jake Leitzman taking them. The super stocks would spin off three heats for their 26 car field while the bombers also raced three heats for their 22 car field. Only the sprints and the super stocks would need B mains before the main events were run.

     

    Blake Vermillion was never headed in the 12 lap B main besting Robert Carrington, Gabriel Gilbert and Crawfordsville's own Chad Davenport.

     

    The 25 lap sprint car feature would be called to the post first and would run before the fireworks would be launched skyward. Brian Hodde's green flag waved on the front row of Tye Mihocko and A J Hopkins at 9:47 and that would be the last time the green was needed as this one went non-stop in seven minutes. Tye Mihocko bolted to the early lead over Hopkins with Colten Cottle moving into third. Cottle would pass Hopkins for second on lap three and take up the chase of Mihocko. The trio would never get too far away from each other as the laps clicked off and we entered the second half of the contest. Brandon Spencer knocked off Hopkins for third on the backstretch on lap sixteen as Cottle continued to stalk Mihocko. Spencer was looking very racy in the later stages of this race as he worked his way by Cottle for second in turn two on lap seventeen as Mihocko opened up a bit of a lead. Hopkins suddenly found some grip on the outside groove as he raced past Cottle for third on lap twenty two off turn four and closed on Spencer. One lap later Hopkins took back second from Spencer but ran out of time to possibly make a serious run for the win. As the double checkers waved at 9:54 it was Mihocko in for his first win in the Paul #24P after running second to Hopkins in his previous start in the car with Hopkins second, Spencer coming home a fine third, Brent Beauchamp slipping by Cottle late to garner fourth and Cottle rounding out the top five. Matt McDonald led the second five to the line in sixth after starting 12th, Braydon Cromwell was seventh, Pat Giddens eighth, Mario Clouser ninth and Jesse Vermillion closing out the top ten.

     

    The fireworks were next on the agenda and the Circle City outfit who does the show are very good at what they do. These fireworks have to be among the best we have ever seen. A great 15 minutes of ooohs and awwws were uttered by most everyone.

     

    We decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature which went green at 10:25. The front row of Jake Leitzman and Matt Mitchell went side by side for about five laps until Leitzman edged in front. Leitzman led until lap 13 when he half spun in turn one down low and lost the lead to Rob Brickert which he never recovered from. Leitzman and Mitchell both faltered down the stretch allowing Jeff Deckard from eighth to make a late race challenge to Brickert but on the last restart Brickert pulled away for the win at 10:45 with Deckard second, Cody Wright turning in a good ride from ninth to third with Tyler Loughmiller fourth and Brian Hayden securing fifth at the finish.

     

    It was time to pack the chairs into the carrying bags and head for the exit after another good night of racing at Lincoln Park Speedway where the fine voice of Brad Dickison did a great job tonight announcing solo as normal partner, Pat Sullivan, was announcing at Eldora on this beautiful evening.

     

    That's it for this week as the Bob Darland Memorial at Kokomo Speedway has fallen victim to the rain in the area relegating us to a one race weekend. Comments, news, stories and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime if your area is opening up from the pandemic get out there and support your local track and promoter who struggled last year with some tracks not allowed to have fans the entire 2020 racing season. Be safe and stay hydrated and enjoy that short track racing in your area or take it on the road for hit list track that you have always wanted to see. And as usual thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we might end up next.

     
     


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Kofoid Makes It Two Straight With Finale Win At Fayette Co.


    Sunday, June 20 - The temperature soared back up to 90 today but it wasn't as humid. We stayed in Effingham last night so we found a local establishment called the Gabby Goat American Pub and Grill where we dined on nachos and sandwiches before heading south on I-70 toward Brownstown, Illinois, the site of the Fayette County Speedway, a quarter mile dirt oval with decent banking. It was the final night of the five race series sanctioned by POWRi called the Illinois Midget Week with the point title still to be decided tonight. In addition to 24 POWRi National midgets and 12 POWRi 600 micro sprints there were four other local classes on the card making for a long evening of racing on a Sunday night with the next day a work day for many. To compound the length of the program the one town ambulance was called away to transport a citizen of Brownstown to the hospital causing an hour late start. It might be a good idea to hire a second ambulance for this race next year.

    The covered aluminum grandstand was a blessing on this hot and sunny day as we waited out the necessary wait for the ambulance to return. Finally at 8:02 it was time to go racing with the POWRI midgets starting off the heat racing with three heats.

    The racing Oklahoma University cheerleader, Taylor Reimer, scored the win in heat one over Thomas Meseraull, Ryan Timms and Cade Lewis. Timms spun during the heat on the backstretch and rolled over lightly restarting and finishing third. Buddy Kofoid won heat two beating Brenham Crouch, Max Mittry and Karter Sarff. The third and final heat went to Cannon McIntosh over Brent Crews, Bryant Wiedeman and Gavan Boschele. The POWRi 600's would spin off two heats with Cody Key and Asron Andruskevitch winning. The other four divisions ran their heats before the POWRi midgets would return for their 30 lap feature race taking the green at 9:39.

    Brent Crews would grab the early lead but the red would fly quickly when Max Mittry and Mark Chisholm executed a double flip on the backstretch. On the restart Cade Lewis rolled his midget in turn one but was able to right the car and continue at the tail of the field. They went green again with Crews chased by Kofoid and Reimer. The caution appeared on lap three when Emilio Hoover looped it in turn four. Crews would retain the lead on the restart until lap eight when Kofoid executed a slider in turn four to gain the lead. Lap eleven saw the yellow lights flash again when Karter Sarff spun in turn one with two others also involved. On the restart Kofoid went out front with Crews and now Cannon McIntosh making a pass on Reimer on the backstretch to take over third. One lap later Daniel Adler rolled his midget in turn four to bring out the red. The restart saw Emerson Axsom and Brenham Crouch tangle on the backstretch with Axsom flipping and Crouch spinning. They went back to green for another four laps until Taylor Reimer made an ill advised slider attempt in turn four on Trey Gropp slamming into Gropp and sending the pair flipping in the turn. Both were fine after the hard hit but done for the evening. From that point forward after the field was thinned to ten cars running it went caution free with Kofoid leading the field around the 1/4 mile bullring. At 10:27 it was Buddy Kofoid across the line first for his second win in a row, seventh on the year and fourteenth career POWRi victory. Brent Crews would hold off Cannon McIntosh for second with McIntosh third and winning the Illinois Midget Week point title with Ryan Timms fourth and Karter Sarff coming back to finish fifth after his spin. Gavan Boschele came home sixth at the end with Bryant Wiedeman seventh, Kaylee Bryson eighth, Emilio Hoover ninth and Dalton Camfield tenth and the last man standing.

    The 15 lap 600 micro sprint feature saw the green flag at 10:37 with newcomer, Ashton Torgerson, breezing into the early lead from his first starting position. Unlike the midget feature which had eight cautions/reds this one would only have one yellow due to a spin. Torgerson set a heady pace and pulled away from the field in an easy run to the checkered scoring his first career POWRi 600 win becoming the third driver to do so in five races held with second place finisher, Aaron Andruskevitch, winning the other two events held during midget week. Cody Key would drive home third followed by Shain Kaiser and Bradley Fezard with this checkered waving at 10:43. There were still four features to run at this point and they would be running them without us as we exited stage right to return back to our hotel in Effingham to get a good night's sleep before making the journey back the next morning to Crawfordsville.

    That wraps up the ninth running of Illinois Midget Week with all five races being held which has happened for the first time in several years. This week looks like we will be staying local and taking in four races over four days. In the meantime get out there and enjoy the summer and get to some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. Comments, news and anything of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoyed them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Kofoid Captures Night Four Of Illinois Midget Week At Macon

     

     

    Saturday, June 19 - Today we received a little break on the hot weather as thunderstorms during the evening cooled the temperatures down somewhat for this Saturday. The daytime temperatures only reached the mid-80's and a nice breeze to boot.   After leaving the hotel in Springfield we rode around the city and viewed various older homes in the area near the capital. We were going to tour the Dana-Thomas House or the Vachel Lindsay House but neither fit into our time schedule. We talked with a gentleman from the Chicago area in the parking lot of the Dana-Thomas House who asked if the cling sticker in our car window was a Little Giant. Upon informing him that it was he told us that we worked with another fellow that was a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville where the Little Giant is the mascot of the school. He asked if he could take a picture of the sticker and we are sure he will have a good story to tell his fellow worker. After leaving Springfield we ventured south to the small town of Macon where their 1/5 mile black clay oval was hosting the fourth night of POWRi Illinois Midget Week. We taped down our seat on the backstretch and proceeded over to Whit's End 51, our go to eating spot in Macon. After enjoying a delicious meal we drove back to the track where Pat enjoyed reading one of her Amish books while I toured the pit area talking with various drivers such as 14 year old Cade Lewis, Kaylee Bryson, Shain Kaiser, Mark Chisholm from Wyoming and head honcho of POWRi, Ken Brown, who I got to meet in person for the first time. Thirty two POWRi midgets, fourteen POWRi 600 micro sprints, twelve pro late models and thirteen street stocks had signed into the pit area for tonight's racing.

     

    As we ventured into the backstretch grandstands hot laps were under way and everything suddenly went quiet as the midgets ground to a halt as newcomer, Tanner Allen, had just gone for a wild ride after exiting turn two, doing a wheelie, landing hard with his ride darting to the right causing him to go into a series of rolls ending up in turn three. The safety crews did a great job stablishing him in the car before removing him and transporting him to the hospital. The announcer said he was awake and alert but we do not have any report of his condition at this time. We will pass along anything updates that we receive. That incident caused about a twenty minute delay but the safety and care of the competitors is the number one priority. Later in hot laps Austin Barnhill rolled his midget between turns one and two with the youngster emerging unscathed.

     

    After all hot lap sessions were completed the first of four POWRi midget heats hit the track at 7:57. Taylor Reimer continued her impressive speed week with a win in heat one over Gavan Boschele, Ryan Timms and Emerson Axsom moving into a second RMS ride after the Petry entry suffered terminal woes at Jacksonville. Buddy Kofoid claimed heat two over Karter Sarff, Terry Babb and Brandon Waelti. Kaylee Bryson took down heat three making it the second female to win a heat tonight besting Thomas Meseraull, Trey Gropp and Sam Johnson. Brenham Crouch dumped the Kunz #97 in turn four in this one. Cannon McIntosh went to a backup car tonight and won heat four beating Mitchell Davis, Daison Pursley and Brent Crews. The 600's would run two heats with Shain Kaiser and Kyle Barber winning those. The pro late models ran two heats with Colby Sheppard and Jake Little winning. The street stocks ended up heat qualifying with two heats.

    It was right into the midget B main where the action heated up early when Mark Chisholm hopped a right rear tire of another competitor and hit the turn one wall and flipped. Chisholm was OK after his wild ride but done for the evening. Later in the B David Camfield rolled his midget in turn four slowing the action. Camfield was fine after his flip also. Brent Crews would go onto win the B main over Trey Gropp, Zach Daum, Tyler Nelson, Emilio Hoover and Brenham Crouch.

     

    The 20 lap pro late model feature would be the first of the night with the field taking the green flag at 9:40. Battling for the lead Colby Sheppard body slammed Jake Little into the turn four wall ending Little's night prematurely. After that five more cautions slowed this affair and with body parts schedding all over the track surface during the course of the race Timmy Dick came home the winner at 10:02 trailed by Danny Koehler and Blake Damery. The race was not an artistic success.

     

    It was 10:18 when the 30 lap POWRi midget feature took the green flag with the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Kaylee Bryson racing side by side around the oval before Daison Pursley running third at the time caught an infield tire sending him rolling off the inside of the track with his car soaring in the air with others passing underneath. Luckily when he landed no one was under him and he settled onto the track in turn three. Pursley was reported as OK after several anxious moments spent inside the cockpit of the midget. On the restart the front row again went side by side all the way around the 1/5 mile with Meseraull edging Bryson for the lead at the line to complete lap one. Cannon McIntosh made the pass for second on the homestretch on lap four and tracked down Meseraull taking the lead on the homestretch to complete lap six. Buddy Kofoid would pass Meseraull for second on the backstretch on lap nine and took up the chase of McIntosh. Brandon Waelti slowed to a stop on the inside of turn three to bring out the caution on lap fourteen. The man on the move at this point was Bryant Wiedeman slicing from 14th to 7th by lap fifteen. It was McIntosh still up front as the field approached lap traffic by lap twenty and started to work their way through. Kofoid got the break he needed as McIntosh stumbled on the cushion in turn two on lap twenty three and Kofoid pounched on the opportunity and grabbed the lead. A scary moment happened just after Kofoid's pass when Cade Lewis flipped in turn one in traffic with Meseraull clipping his car sitting on its side on the track at full speed but luckily both drivers were uninjured but finished for the evening. Kofoid's pass was negated and McIntosh was back in the lead. One lap after the restart Trey Gropp flipped in turn three to bring out a quick red. Gropp climbed from his wrecked midget after the incident. The race went green again with McIntosh and Kofoid swapping sliders for the lead with Kofoid taking the lead for good on the backstretch. Lap twenty five saw the final caution wave when Mitchell Davis spun on the inside of turn two. Kofoid jumped out front on the restart and opened a two car length lead over McIntosh which he would maintain the remainder of the distance flashing under the double checkers at 11:16 ending the long feature scoring his 13th career POWRi win in the 41st time that POWRi has raced at Macon. McIntosh finished second with Bryson taking third after a race long battle with Gavan Boschele who finished fourth with Bryant Wiedeman completing a fine ride ending up fifth. Karter Sarff finished sixth with Emerson Axsom seventh, Taylor Reimer eighth, Zach Daum ninth and Ryan Timms tenth.

     

    The 20 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature went green at 11:25 with the race getting off to a rocky start when first starting Daryn Stark spun sideways in turn two collecting four others including two time winner, Aaron Andruskevitch. All were able to continue but had to restart at the tail of the 14 car field. Kyle Barker was the new leader and he took full advantage of the situation sprinting away from the field. Shain Kaiser went after Barker and made the pass for the lead and began to pull away from the pack. Just after the halfway mark the front struts on the top wing of Kaiser's car broke sending the wing backward on top of the roll cage. Kaiser tried to continue but after a few laps it was to no avail as he pulled to the infield out of the hunt. Barker again was the benificiary of the misfortune and regained the lead. Barker would lead the remaining six laps of the tussle coming home with his first career POWRi 600 win over a fast closing Tyler Kuykendall with Daryn Stark making a good comeback from the rear to nail down third with Bradley Fezard fourth and Trevin Littleton fifth. Aaron Andruskevitch had also made his way back to fourth but spun in turn four coming for the checkered and did not cross the line.

     

    It was a long night of racing with too many flips but as always it was exciting racing at the bullring at Macon.

     

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow afternoon to see what happened in the final night of Illinois Midget Week from Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, IL. and who is crowned the 2021 midget week champion. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun and stay hydrated in this hot weather. Comments, news, insider scoops or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you are enjoying them.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Pursley Holds Off Kofoid In POWRI Midgets At Jacksonville

     

     

    Friday, June 18 - Another scorcher awaited us as we exited our hotel in Springfield, IL. Lunch was on the agenda and we ended up at Dew Chilli Parlor which was a great choice. They had been in business since 1909 and their founder, Joe Bocklemann, died in 1975 at the age of 89 and the business went on until 1995 under other management. It closed in 1995 but returned in 2013 and is going strong with three locations as of 2021. And they spell chili in Springfield with two L's (chilli). We had sanchos which are a soft tortilla filled with chilli meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers and covered with white cheese. Pat opted for the Philly Cheese Steak sancho and she was pleased with her choice also. If in Springfield check out one of the three locations of Dew Chilli Parlors. From Dew's we pointed the Rogue west on 72 toward Jacksonville and our destination, the 1/4 mile dirt oval on the Morgan County Fairgrounds known as the Jacksonville Speedway. We placed our blanket behind Don and Burline Skidmore and retreated to the cool and comfort of the Rogue before the night of racing kicked off. Our Indiana friends, Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser, were sitting behind us when we reentered the grandstands to settle in for the night of racing. The dance card looked like this: 32 POWRi National midgets, 15 POWRi 600 micro sprints and 8 non-wing 410 sprint cars. The feud between Jake Neuman and Buddy Kofoid continued after last night's incident with the two banging wheels before they went green in their hot lap session with Neuman suffering a flat right rear tire in the process.

     

    The POWRi midgets would start off the night at 7:08 with four heats for racing with the top 16 in passing points locking into the 30 lap feature later in the evening. Daison Pursley would streak by Buddy Kofoid who suffered a flat right rear tire off turn four to win heat one with Kofoid second, Taylor Reimer third and Trey Gropp fourth. Heat two would fall to Gavan Boschele beating Sam Johnson, Cade Lewis and Kaylee Bryson. Brent Crews captured heat three over Jake Neuman, Bryant Wiedeman and Mitchell Davis. The fourth and final heat went to invading Thomas Meseraull besting Emerson Axsom who drove from eighth to second with Tyler Nelson and Shelby Boise following. Caden Englehart would go for a hard ride in turn one in heat four after bashing the wall and rolling over four times. Englehart would return for the B main. The 600 micro sprints would post two heats with Aaron Andruskevitch and Tyler Kuykendall claiming top honors. The non-wing sprints would spin off two heats with Colten Cottle and Mario Clouser posting wins.

     

    Only the midgets would need a B main and that was brought to the track as the thunder and lightning carried on nearby. Cannon McIntosh would take down the B over Karter Sarff, Daniel Adler, Zach Daum, Brenham Crouch and Cheyenne, Wyoming's Mark Chisholm making his first race of the series. Terry Babb rolled over in an incident in turn four after clipping a spun Crouch and on the last lap Elizabeth Phillips went flipping on the backstretch with starter, Ron Standridge, waving the red and checker as the other cars exited the fourth turn. The weather bypassed us though it knocked out some of the equipment of the MAVTV Plus but things continued on schedule.

    The 30 lap POWRi midget feature was called to the track quickly to make certain the rain did not circle around and cause us to get rained out. The green flag of Ron Standridge would wave on the front row of Emerson Axsom and Daison Pursley with Pursley gaining the lead on the high side racing down the backstretch on the opening lap. Pursley opened is lead as Axsom and Thomas Meseraull battled for second. Lap eight saw a five car tangle in turn four halt the action with both Axsom and Meseraull involved in the mess while running second and third. Meseraull and Axsom would return from the work area and restart at the tail of the field.

     

    On the restart Pursley moved out front pursued by Boschele and Kaylee Bryson. A frightening moment happened on lap fourteen when Meseraull broke a steering gear and swerved across the homestretch right toward the female camera person on the concrete slab against the homestretch wall but somehow he was able to miss her and the concrete. On the restart Pursley retained the lead with Brent Crews moving to second and Buddy Kofoid climbing into third. The laps started to click off with Pursley maintaining a comfortable lead over Crews and Kofoid. With four to go Kofoid disposed of Crews to garner second but had a ways to catch the high flying Pursley. Kofoid's break came on the white flag lap when Axsom pulled onto the half mile ramp with a small fire under the hood ending his evening prematurely. Axsom would finish 20th and tarnish his chances of winning the speedweek point title. On the ensuing restart Pursley got a nice restart and pulled several car lengths ahead but Mark Chisholm spun in turn one to bring out the caution. The race went green again with Kofoid right on the rear tail tank of Pursley diving low in turn one to make a move but Pursley held sway. Coming off the fourth turn to the white flag Kofoid edged ahead in the middle groove but Pursley never lifted and raced back around Kofoid. Pursley would hold on to the finish to claim his fourth career POWRi National win and third of 2021 over Kofoid with Cannon McIntosh storming from 17th to third with Crews fourth and Jake Neuman nailing down fifth. Ryan Timms would ride home sixth with Boschele seventh, Bryant Wiedeman eighth, Cade Lewis ninth and Kaylee Bryson tenth.

     

    The 20 lap POWRi 600 feature would race next with the green flying at 9:20 with Aaron Andruskevitch grabbing the early lead. Hayden Harvey would chase Aaron the entire distance to no avail. Jacob Tipton would drop back early but rebounded nicely making a good run all the way up to third at one point but fading to seventh at the end. Bradley Fezard would come home third at 9:27 with Tyler Kuykendall fourth and Shain Kaiser, last night's winner, coming in fifth.

     

    The 15 lap non-wing sprint car feature was last on the agenda taking the green at 9:38. Colten Cottle took the early lead with Mario Clouser in hot pursuit. Clouser would take the lead with an inside move in turn three on lap seven and Cottle would return the favor the next time around. Entering turn one to start lap nine Cottle lost the handle and spun in front of Clouser with no damage except maybe to his pride. Clouser would inherit the lead and cruise the remaining seven laps to score the $1000 to win feature over Logan Faucon, a normal MOWA winged sprint runner, in a good run with Korey Weyant finishing third with the final checker waving at 9:44.

     

    Night three was a good night of racing and the POWRi midget feature might have been the best of the three. All three programs have ended right around 10 or before. Hope this continues as the weather for tonight at Macon is hit or miss especially after 10 PM.

     

    Night three of five for the POWRi Illinois Midget Week is in the books with night four Saturday at the incredible 1/5 mile bullring at Macon, Illinois. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and keep hydrated. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next in a typical weekend.


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cannon McIntosh Takes Wild POWRi Midget Win At Lincoln


    Thursday, June 17 - After spending the night at the Hampton Inn in Mattoon we searched for a place to eat lunch and found Hubbartt's Downtown Diner. It was a good choice as our waitress was friendly and very good and the food was delicious. A good place to eat with a salad bar to boot. From there we headed over toward Springfield where we would be spending the next two nights at Candlewood Suites. After checking in we spent some time in the room staying cool before venturing out into the sweltering heat where the temperature read 97 degrees as we left Springfield. It did drop down to 93 on our ride up to Lincoln but it was still very hot. Thank goodness there was a covered grandstand to sit under once we reached the 1/4 mile black clay oval on the grounds of the Logan County Fairgrounds. The grandstands sit back from the 1/4 mile oval as the half mile horse track separates the two. A decent crowd was on hand on this hot Thursday to take in the POWRi National Midgets (32), POWRi 600 Micro Sprints (12), pro late models (21) and UMP modifieds (12). A nice touch as you entered the grandstands was a program given to each person highlighting the event tonight and giving the schedule of events with the starting time listed at 7 for racing.

    Qualifying for both the pro late models and UMP modifieds were time trials two at a time starting at 6:31. They went smoothly and by 7:04 it was time for the first of four POWRi midget heats. Sam Johnson said See Ya in heat one outrunning Emerson Axsom, Gavin Boschele and Buddy Kofoid. Kaylee Bryson beat the boys in heat two besting Jake Neuman, Brent Crews and Bryant Wiedeman. Mitchell Davis claimed heat three over Emilio Hoover, Cade Lewis and Zach Daum. Cannon McIntosh scored heat four over Ryan Timms, Daison Pursley and Shelby Bosie. The 600's would spin off two heats with Arkansas' Bradley Fezard winning the first and Trevin Littleton the second. The pro late models ran three heats with Jake Little, Braden Johnson and Jose Parga the winners. The UMP modifieds would run two heats with Kentucky's Hunt Gossum (never know where he is going to show up) and Tommy Sheppard Jr. winning.

    Only the POWRi midgets would need a B main with Bryant Wiedeman taking this one over Karter Sarff, Taylor Reimer, Terry Babb, Austin Barnhill and Brandon Waelti, one of the Badger regulars taking the sixth and final qualifying position. In this one veteran Ronnie Gardner from California took a nasty ride into the large tractor tires that protect the edge of the turn one wall displacing one of the tires and climbing the wall and shearing off one of the wooden poles holding the fence up. A loud roar came from the crowd when Gardner climbed from his midget and another when he walked down the outer track toward the pit area. It was indeed a scary moment for everyone.

    With all qualifying now completed it was right into the main events with the 20 lap pro late model feature the first called to the post. Jose Parga had a good duel with Jake Little before assuming the lead and going on to win his fifth time in six outings over Little and Brandon Eskew.

    The 30 lap POWRi National Midget feature was next on the schedule with Jake Neuman and Emerson Axsom bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 9:00. Neuman and Axsom would race side by side the entire lap with Neuman edging Axsom at the wire to complete lap one. Neuman would pull away to a comfortable lead leaving the rest to battle it out behind him. Buddy Kofoid was on the move from his eighth starting spot and was up to fifth by lap two. Two laps later Kofoid was in fourth and moving forward. Austin Barnhill rolled to a stop on the backstretch to bring the first caution out on lap four. On the restart Neuman was the leader with Brent Crews taking second from Axsom going down the backstretch with Kofoid taking third from Axsom on the inside of turn two on lap seven from Axsom. Lap nine saw Kofoid use the high side to slip by Crews for second and he now set his sights on Neuman. Daison Pursley cracked the top five in turn four moving by Axsom to take that spot. Racing into turn one on lap sixteen Neuman was on the outside and Kofoid slid low with Kofoid sliding up into Neuman sending him backwards toward the fence. Neuman was none too happy with this turn of events and climbed from his car causing an automatic disqualification and he was sent to the pit area. It would take a few times to move on from lap sixteen as on the first restart Brent Crews would slide into the turn two wall to bring out the caution. The second restart saw leader Kofoid into the turn four wall after contact with Pursley with both flipping over and eliminating Kofoid from further racing. With the front four cleared out in front of him Axsom would assume the lead with Cannon McIntosh and Kaylee Bryson in his tire tracks. On lap nineteen McIntosh made his move breezing by Axsom on the homestretch to take the number one position. Bryant Wiedeman was coming quickly from his 17th starting position taking second from Axsom with an inside move off turn four on lap twenty. Karter Sarff from 18th disposed of Axsom for third on the outside of the backstretch on lap twenty one with second and third closing the gap on the leader. The sixth and final caution would wave on lap twenty seven when Trep Gropp pulled to a stop in turn four. With a clear track in front of them the top three took off chasing each other over the remaining three laps. McIntosh was up to the task and would hold off Wiedeman and Sarff to the finish scoring his first POWRi National win in his dad's Dave Mac Motorsports entry. Axsom would ride home fourth and Taylor Reimer, the Oklahoma University cheerleader, would wrap up a fine drive from 19th to 5th at the finish in a backup car. Positions six through ten were filled by Emilio Hoover with Daison Pursley coming back for seventh, young 13 year old Cade Lewis eighth, Zach Daum ninth and Gavin Boschele tenth.

    The 15 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature was up next taking the green flag at 9:43. Shain Kaiser of Missouri went to the point at the start and would not be headed the rest of the way. Aaron Andruskevitch stalled on the homestretch early and went to the tail of the 12 car field on the restart. Andruskevitch sliced his way through the field taking second on the last lap but it was the 6'7" tall Kaiser in for his first career POWRi 600 win over Andruskevitch with Tyler Kuykendall third, Bradley Fezard fourth and Xavier Doney riding home fifth at 9:52. The 600 field has been way down due to a big show at Southern Illinois Raceway on Friday and Saturday with Saturday night's final paying a cool $12,000 to win.

    There was still the 20 lap UMP modified feature to run with the green waving at 9:57. The track was worn at this point but these guys still put on a good show. Hunt Gossum worked the bottom relentlessly finally finding an opening underneath Ray Bollinger late in the contest and snuck by to take the win. Brandon Roberts would claim third with Tommy Sheppard Jr. fourth and Brian Lynn rounding out the top five with the final checker flying at 10:07 on another finely run program.

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for round three of Illinois Midget Week coming at you from the Jacksonville Speedway. In the meantime get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area or take a road trip but be safe and stay hydrated. And thanks for reading our efforts and come back often to see where we end up next. Take care and be good.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Axsom Captures Illinois Midget Week Opener At Charleston

     

     

    Wednesday, June 16 - Today would be the opening round of the five race series sanctioned by POWRi known as Illinois Midget Week in its eighth season of competition. It was a beautiful day in the mid 80's, sunny and a light breeze or in other words a picture perfect day. We made the 1 1/2 drive out of western Indiana into eastern Illinois stopping to see a covered bridge and the Ernie Pyle Memorial in the same park outside of Dana, Indiana. For you are too young to know or don't remember Pyle was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and war correspondent who is best known for his stories about ordinary American soldiers during World War II. He was killed in Okinawa, Japan in 1945 while reporting on the battle there. It was an interesting stop and was nice to see how the small town of Dana honored their most famous former resident.

     

    After a fine Italian meal at Rocky's Italian Bistro in Paris, Illinois we made the last 20 mile drive over to the Charleston Speedway, a 1/4 mile banked dirt oval, where the POWRI National Midget League and the POWRi 600's were on the card in an open wheel doubleheader. Twenty four midgets and fourteen 600's were in the pit area located off turns three and four to do battle in the first of five races on the week. Burline and Don Skidmore were already there and had saved us seats in the top row of the old wooden covered grandstand and we found them and chatted before I ventured down to purchase two 2021 Illinois Midget Week t-shirts for the unfolding events.

    After hot laps it was right into heat racing as POWRi does not run time trials but instead runs heat races awarding passing points with the top sixteen in points locking into the 30 lap feature. Normally a B main would be run qualifying the remainder of the field but tonight it would be waived and all 24 cars would start the main event. They really motor around the 1/4 mile and the action is fast and furious. Daison Pursley would capture heat one outrunning Kaylee Bryson, Brent Crews and Gavin Boschele. Heat two was the best of the night with a torrid battle up front finally falling to Cannon McIntosh over Ryan Timms, Zach Daum and Taylor Reimer. The final heat saw a double flip occur on lap three in turn four when Buddy Kofoid made a dumb slider that you knew wasn't going to work from the start and creamed teammate, Brenham Crouch, with the pair flipping over before landing on the track. Both drivers were OK and Kofoid would return for the feature but Crouch was done for the evening. Kofoid is very talented and fast but at this point his driving choices need to improve for him to move to the next level. Emerson Axsom would go on to win the third heat over Max Mittry, Bryant Weideman and Shelby Boise. The 600's would run two heats with Shain Kaiser and Aaron Andruskevitch winning those.

     

    By 8:18 it was time to go feature racing with the 30 lap POWRi midgets led to the green by Cannon McIntosh and Emerson Axsom with Axsom taking the initial lead in turn two on the opening lap. The red appeared on lap four when Emilio Hoover executed a light roll in turn three. He was OK but done for the evening. On the restart Axsom went back to the point but a crowd pleasing duel was being played out between McIntosh and Daison Pursley exchanging sliders on each end of the oval until Pursley got the upper hand several laps later. Lap traffic was coming into play by lap eleven as Axsom and the others worked their way through it. The racing was intense from second back to sixth with close competition and much passing back and forth among Pursley, McIntosh, Brent Crews, Ryan Timms and Kaylee Bryson. Lap seventeen would see McIntosh shred a right rear tire in turn four while running second. McIntosh would go to the work area and return to the race starting at the tail and moving forward from the next green. Buddy Kofoid who had started 19th had made his way into the top ten at this point and wasn't done yet. On the ensuing restart Bryson hit a rut in turn two, bounced off all four wheels, landed again and dug into the track and flipped over several times ending her night earlier than anticipated after a fine top five run. Pursley had executed the perfect move on that restart hanging back and getting a good run entering turn one and sliding up in front of Axsom in turn two to take the lead but the red negated the move. Axsom would not let that happen again. On the restart Axsom retained the lead with Pursley second and Timms sliding into third. Lap twenty four saw Kofoid crack the top five as all eyes shifted to the #67 to see if he could pull off another from the back to win. Caden Englehart would turn turtle between turns three and four on lap twenty five to bring out the red again. After cleanup the race went green again with Axsom first, Pursley second and Crews third. Lap twenty six saw Kofoid made a low side move in turn one to claim fourth and two laps later used the same move to take third from Crews. Axsom was flying the top and would flash under the checkered flag at 8:58 claiming his second POWRi win of 2021 and second career win for the sixteen year old. Pursley would trail him to the line in second with Kofoid third, McIntosh making a charge from the rear to fourth and Brent Crews rounding out the top five. Bryant Weideman would lead the second five to the line in sixth with Taylor Reimer seventh, Cade Lewis eighth, Gavin Boschele ninth and Max Mittry tenth.

     

    The 20 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature would close out the program taking the green at 9:03. Aaron Andruskevitch would bound off the outside of the front row and be gone like the rabbit but unlike the children's story the turtle nor anyone else would catch him the rest of the twenty laps. The racing was good behind him with Aubrey Smith squeezing by Shain Kaiser late to pick up second at the finish for the female driver with Kaiser third, Bradley Fezard fourth in his triple digit #938 fourth and Trevin Little fifth as the final checker waved at 9:13. It was Andruskevitch's 13th career POWRi 600 micro sprint win.

     

    The car counts were down especially with the 600's but give credit to POWRi for not wasting any time and getting the working fan back on the road a quarter of the clock past nine. If the midget feature had not had the numerous cautions everything could have been in the record books before nine. A well run program for sure.

     

    Check back tomorrow as he attend night two of Illinois Midget Week at the Lincoln Speedway to see how things play out. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news, stories and tall tales can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Windom Takes The Battle But Kofoid Wins The War At Kokomo

     

     

    Saturday, June 12 - The weather was hot, hot, hot!!! Temperatures soared to 95 degrees and a heat advisory was posted for Indiana. But the races at Kokomo would go on as the USAC Midget Week caravan was making their final stop of the eight race tour in ten days at the 1/4 mile clay oval located on the northside of Kokomo known as the Kokomo Speedway. A good lunch beforehand at Choo Choo Magoo's was in order before making our way over to the track in the company of Iowa's Jim Reeder and Florida/Wisconsin's Dale O'Brien. Blankets were placed on the aluminum grandstands on the backstretch and we spent the next few hours in the comfort of the SUV with the air conditioner blowing.

     

    It was the final night of racing for Indiana Midget Week and the points battle was still mathematically possible for seven drivers led by Buddy Kofoid. Teammate Daison Pursley trailed Kofoid by just three markers with Logan Seavey just twelve points behind. Emerson Axsom was fourth 43 points back with Chris Windom 48 points back in fifth. The other two with an outside shot were Kevin Thomas Jr. 49 back and Corey Day 63 behind.

     

    Time trials would start off the program at 7:24 for the 32 USAC midgets on hand to do battle in round eight. As the last three or four midgets took their time rain began to fall as the time trials were completed by 7:44 with Chase Randall setting his first career fast time with a lap of 13.112 seconds. At first it was only a light rain and we thought we were going to be alright until the wind began to pick up and you just knew it was going to rain harder and it did. Many took refuge underneath the leaking grandstands until it let up enough to venture back out to the SUV to wait out the storm and wait to see what was going to happen. After about a half hour it was posted on social media that the show was still on and working the track back into shape would take at least an hour to 90 minutes before wheel packing could begin and everyone would need to hot lap again before the racing began. Just minutes short of three hours the green flag would drop on the first sprint car heat race at 10:40.

     

    Brayden Clark after a rough night the night before at Gas City went to work and walked off with the first heat race besting Parker Fredrickson, Max Adams and Minnesota visitor, Rob Caho. Andrew Prather ran a fine race in heat two winning over Thomas Meseraull, Scotty Weir and Matt Westfall. The third and final sprint car heat fell to Charles Davis Jr. outrunning Texan transplant, Brandon Long, now residing in Kokomo, Matt Goodnight and Brayden Cromwell. Four USAC midget heats would quickly follow with Tanner Thorson claiming heat one over Jerry Coons Jr., Logan Seavey and Chase Randall. Bryant Wiedeman brought home one of five Keith Kunz Motorsports entries in this one in the almost all Kunz heat turning back Buddy Kofoid, Brenham Crouch and the first non-Kunz car across the line in Emerson Axsom. Jason McDougal stormed from sixth to first in the opening lap on his way to victory in heat three over Cannon McIntosh, Hayden Williams and Justin Grant. Corey Day would lead everyone to the finish in heat four with Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr. in a backup car and Cole Bodine. The sprint would not need a B main but the midgets would with Thomas Meseraull who also was forced to go to a backup machine winning over Daison Pursley, Kyle Cummins, Kaylee Bryson, Brian Carber and Ohio's Jonathan Shafer making his first ever USAC National midget start in a Keith Kunz mount. Only Oklahoma's Trey Gropp would use a provisional tonight to make it a 23 car feature field for tonight's 30 lap finale.

     

    The 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature would be the first to the grid with Brandon Long and Brayden Clark bringing the twenty car field to the initial green flag at 11:40. Four starting Thomas Meseraull made short work of the three cars in front of him and roared into the lead on the opening lap and never looked back. Long and Andrew Prather had a great race for second swapping the spot back and forth for many laps. Scotty Weir was steering the Petersen #4P to the front after starting outside of the top ten. Weir took third on lap eleven past Prather and in turn two on lap fifteen grabbed second from Long and took up the chase of Meseraull. T-Mez was seating a good pace though Weir cut the distance but was never able to get close enough to make things uncomfortable for Meseraull. At 11:49 it was Meseraull first across the line for the win with Weir in for second, Long in an impressive drive to place third, Tye Mihocko making a later run to claim fourth and Andrew Prather holding on to take down fifth.

     

    We still had a midget week champion to crown along with a 30 lap feature to spin off before the eight race series came to a close. It was 12:20 AM on Sunday when the USAC midget feature went green with the front row of Justin Grant and Logan Seavey running side by side for the first three laps with Grant leading at the line for the first two before Seavey's high line finally gave him the advantage on lap three. Seavey would pace the field into lap nine when Grant who had closed on Seavey pounced on the opportunity when Seavey bobbled on the turn four cushion allowing Grant to move back by with Chris Windom almost passing the pair exiting turn four but Grant held the advantage at the line. Lap fourteen saw Windom who was in Grant's shadow over the last several laps made his move and charged by Grant as they crossed the line to complete the lap. Windom led using the bottom while Grant stayed up high and followed in second. Lap twenty one saw the only slowdown appear when Brenham Crouch catch the backstretch wall turning him sideways turning into a series of flips before landing in turn three after a wild ride. When the race went back to green Windom sped out front as he wanted this one badly after having a dismal three race streak leading into the final. Grant continued to pursue him but this one was Windoms' as he flashed under the double checkers at 12:36 for his third straight IMS triumph at Kokomo and his eighth USAC National midget win beating Grant, Jason McDougal, Axsom and Thomas Meseraull coming from 11th to round out the top five. Corey Day would lead the second five to the finish with Buddy Kofoid seventh after starting 13th and his finish was good enough to clinch the 2021 Indiana Midget Week title by twenty points over Logan Seavey. Chase Randall came home eighth with Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Logan Seavey finishing tenth.

     

    It was time to head for the exits and the 1 1/2 hour ride back to Crawfordsville where we arrived after 2 AM, weary but happy we had seen a good, competitive race.

     

    That's a wrap on the 17th running of Indiana Midget Week for 2021 as we make plans to attend the POWRi Illinois Midget Week starting Wednesday in Charleston, IL and running for four additional night wrapping up at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, IL. So plenty more racing coming your way in the next week and check back often to see the updates from each night of racing this week. Comments, news and any other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area. Be safe and stay hydrated in this hot weather upon us. And last be surely not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy our observations on each race.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Kofoid Snaps The Streak With Second Win At Gas City

     

     

    Friday, June 11 - The weather for Gas City looked good for today with little chance of rain with temperatures in the low 90's and it indeed was hot when we arrived a tad past five. A very good crowd turned out for round 7 of Indiana Midget Week at the 1/4 mile dirt oval in Grant County and the racing action would be as hot as the weather. We love Gas City but those grandstands have to be one of the most uncomfortable ones to sit in. Every time I attend the races at Gas City I feel like I need to go to a spa as both my legs and back hurt during the course of the evening. Hopefully with all the good things Jerry Gappens Jr. has done for this facility the town government will allow him to replace these grandstands soon with new ones.

     

    Anyhow it was time to kick off the night after hot laps for both divisions, the USAC midgets at 34 strong and the non-wing sprints at 32 strong. USAC midgets time trials went under the clock at 6:51 and by 7:09 a surprise in Ethan Mitchell in his Honda powered Bundy built #19M would turn the fastest lap of 12.191 seconds around the black clay of Gas City. As has seemed the case for the fast timer in many of the IMS events this year it has turned out to be the highlight of Mitchell's night as he failed to qualify through his heat race and the B main and was forced to take a provisional to start 24th in the main event.

     

    The USAC midget heats would be first on the dance card with the standard four of them with the top four moving directly to the 30 lap main event and the rest into the 12 lap B main or semi. Justin Grant's high mark of the night in an otherwise trouble filled evening was when he won the first heat over Kyle Cummins, Daison Pursley and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kaylee Bryson would score heat win two over Corey Day, Jason McDougal and Hayden Reinbold. Chris Windom was running second in this one until a caution appeared and Bryson slowed on the homestretch for the caution but Windom was slow on the brake petal running into the left rear of Bryson and messing up his front end and was forced to the B main. Trey Gropp would capture heat three besting Brenham Crouch, Thomas Meseraull and Emerson Axsom. Cannon McIntosh claimed heat four beating Kevin Thomas Jr. at the wire, Bryant Wiedeman and Buddy Kofoid.

     

    The non-wing sprint cars would also contest four heats with four moving to their main event with the following results. Charles Davis Jr. of Arizona continues to impress nailing down heat one over Brayden Fox, Tyler Kendall and Jake Scott making a rare Gas City appearance after Paragon fell to the rain to the south. Kevin Thomas Jr. would score the heat two win over Thomas Meseraull, Cannon McIntosh and Chet Williams. Scotty Weir parked the Pedersen #4P in victory lane in heat three besting Max Adams, the new driver of the famed Paul Hazen #57, Adam Byrkett and Tyler Hewitt back to racing again. The fourth heat went to Paragon invader, Jadon Rogers, over Kyle Simon of Ohio, Brady Bacon and Brayden Clark in a crash filled one. Clark and Tye Mihocko got into a disagreement in this one with Clark throwing a poor slider in turn two with Mihocko retaliating with an equally poor one in turn four not only wrecking himself but causing AJ Hopkins to stand his Burton #04 on its nose before returning to earth basically ending Hopkins' evening as the Burton crew could not get the car to fire for the B main. Mihocko is a hard nosed driver and we enjoy his hard charging style but his temper got the better of him tonight causing work for him and others unnecessarily.

     

    It was back to the midgets for their B main with Logan Seavey who has struggled since his Saturday night Lawrenceburg double win taking this one over Jerry Coons Jr. who would now start his 400th career USAC National midget feature in a long and distinguished career. Tanner Thorson finished third with Windom fourth, Hayden Williams, this year's New Zealand's finest and Cole Bodine following. A pair of 19's with Chase Randall and Ethan Mitchell would join the field in 23rd and 24th starting positions after taking the provisional route to the main event. The sprint car B main went to Braydon Cromwell turning back Matt Westfall, Tye Mihocko and Sterling Cling to join the 20 car starting field for the sprints.

     

    The 30 lap USAC midget feature would get first honors to run their event with Jason McDougal and Buddy Kofoid bringing the field to the green flag. Kofoid was off the front row like a rocket and bolted into the early lead. Kunz running mate, Daison Pursley, took up the chase of Kofoid until lap three when he stumbled on the cushion in turn three and handed second back to McDougal. Kofoid was flying out front and opened a healthy lead until the first caution waved on lap nine with Justin Grant's night ended when he stopped in turn two with problems and would end up finishing 24th. On the restart Kofoid retained the top spot with Emerson Axsom sliding by McDougal for second in turn one. The top three ran this way until lap 13 when a four car tangle in turn four brought the race to a halt involving Windom, Coons, Williams and Wiedeman. Only Windom would rejoin the field but only for a short time retiring to the pit area and finishing 20th in his recent stretch of bad luck and poor finishes. With things went back to green Kofoid was still out front chased by Axsom and the battle was for third between McDougal and Pursley who exchanged several sliders until McDougal took back third with Logan Seavey moving into the hunt past Pursley for fourth after starting in the 11th slot. By lap nineteen Kofoid was way in front but McDougal tracked down and passed Axsom for second and tried to find the high flying Kofoid. Heavy lap traffic in the last ten laps had Kofoid practicing the patience I mentioned in an earlier column he needed to develop with McDougal able to gain some ground on the leader. Kofoid went to work and dispensed of the lappers in good order opening up another monster lead. On the last lap disaster struck for McDougal as racing down the backstretch a front end part broke with the front axle snapping causing McDougal to spin off the backstretch and come to a halt outside of turn three relegating him to an undeserved 15th place finish in the final rundown. When the checkers waved at 10:09 it was Kofoid in for his second win of IMW snapping the six race different winner scenario and his fourth overall win of 2021 over Axsom with Seavey third, Pursley fourth and McIntosh rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Kevin Thomas Jr. in another fine run from 15th to sixth with Corey Day seventh, Tanner Thorson the hard charger from 20th to eighth, Kaylee Bryson getting herself a nice ninth and Thomas Meseraull taking down tenth after starting 14th.

     

    Kofoid now takes the season long points lead and the IMW points lead into the final night at Kokomo with the IMW lead a mere three points over teammate, Daison Pursley. Seavey is third only 12 back with Axsom fourth 43 back and Windom dropping to fifth 48 markers behind. Stay tuned to see what transpires in the final at Kokomo.

     

    In the meantime we still have a 25 lap sprint car feature to report on with Jadon Rogers and Scotty Weir leading the field to the green flag at 10:27. Weir would take the early lead in his quest to make it two in a row at Gas City after breaking a four year drought here. Kevin Thomas Jr. was quick to move from fourth into second on the opening lap and take up the pursuit of Weir. Weir lead as the front runners encountered lap traffic on lap ten. Thomas took advantage of an opening in turn two to pass Weir for the lead on lap twelve just before Max Adams took the Hazen #57 for a hard ride into the turn four wall bringing out the first caution of this race. Chet Williams would spin in turn one on the restart for the only other slowdown of the race. On the restart Thomas went back to the point with Weir in tow as several drivers began to make their advances forward such as T-Mez, Cannon McIntosh and Brady Bacon. As the action raged behind him Thomas remained out front with a late race half spin by Brayden Clark right in front of the leader causing some anxious moments and some other lap cars not heeding the move over flag causing some added congestion. But Thomas would thread the heavy seas and see the checker wave at 10:40 on the Dr. Pepper #9K winning over Weir with Meseraull third from eighth, McIntosh fourth from 10th in the Phillips/Daugh #71P and Bacon finishing fifth after starting 12th in a competitive feature.  Tye Mihocko with his temper under control ran a fine race from 19th to finish 6th in the final rundown.

     

    It was a good night of racing and sets the table for the final night of Indiana Midget Week at Kokomo Speedway, the O'Connor playground where the kids will go at it again tonight.

     

    That's it for this installment and check back on Sunday to see how it all plays out at the baddest bullring in Indiana. Comments, news, bits of information and any other notes can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Until next time get out there and attend a good Saturday night race at a short track near you and have some fun in the sun with your clothes on. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next time or next week.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Thorson Breaks Through For IMW Win At Lincoln Park

     

     

    Thursday, June 10 - Round 6 of Indiana Midget Week found us traveling 40 minutes south of us to beautiful downtown Putnamville to the 5/16 semi banked dirt oval named the Lincoln Park Speedway, the origional of the now tri-fecta empire of Joe Spiker. A good crowd was on hand on a very nice but very humid Thursday afternoon and evening to watch 36 USAC midgets and 20 non-wing sprint cars do battle at the Putnam County speed plant.

     

    After setting up the lounge chairs in the big concrete grandstand Pat and I hung out in the shade by the car while the cicadas serenaded us. As the cars came out to warm engines and practice we made our way into the grandstands after picking up a big bag of popcorn to munch on. The first order of business for the evening were the USAC midget time trials with Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 setting quick time with a lap of 12.940 seconds.   Seavey would struggle for the rest of the evening not qualifying through the heat races and being the last qualifier in the B main.

     

    The sprint cars would be the first to contest their heats with only three of them with everyone advancing to the main event. Brayden Fox, one of the youngsters who is showing great promise, nailing down heat one over Jake Swanson, Braydon Cromwell from Missouri and Illinois' Zach Daum. Brady Bacon back in the Wedgewood Motorsports #98 cashed in the win in heat two over Shane Cockrum, Sterling Cling and Geoff Ensign making his initial appearance in Indiana in the #44 with a 360 under the hood. Peoria, Arizona's Tye Mihocko claimed heat three over fellow Arizonian, Kyle Shipley, Ricky Lewis and Harley Burns from nearby Brazil, Indiana not the country! Four USAC midget heats would be next on the card with the top four moving directly into the 30 lap main event. The fastest chicken, Chase Randall, wired heat one from wire to wire beating Cannon McIntosh, Kaylee Bryson and Kyle Cummins. Jason McDougal drove the Dalby #4 to heat win number two over Trey Gropp in a strong run, Buddy Kofoid and Tanner Thorson. Thomas Meseraull blew away the field in heat three besting Daison Pursley, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. Young Oklahoman, Ryan Timms in one of the Boat cars, won heat four over fellow Okie, Brady Bacon, Bryant Wiedeman and Emerson Axsom. No B main would be needed for the sprints so the midget B was next on the schedule with 20 cars starting the event. Justin Grant would prevail in this one over last night's feature winner, Corey Day, Brenham Crouch, Jerry Coons Jr., Chance Crum and Logan Seavey.   Brian Carber and Hayden Williams would go the provisional route to joining the tail of the midget main.

     

    The USAC midget feature would have first honors tonight taking Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 9:17 with the all Reinbold/Underwood front row of Tanner Thorson and Chase Randall leading the pack of 22 others. Thorson quickly assumed the lead over his teammate. Justin Grant and Kaylee Bryson got together in turn three on lap four with Bryson rolling over in the incident. on the restart Thorson went back out top with Randall and Emerson Axsom in hot pursuit. Lap nine saw Kevin Thomas Jr. running fourth pulled to a stop when his brakes locked up sending him to the tail of the field. Under the caution Chris Windom came up with a flat right rear tire and retreated to the work area for a quick change and returned to the field. Thorson opened up a two second lead laps after the next restart with Randall in second. Randall bobbled on the turn two cushion the next lap and got freight trained by Daison Pursley, Kofoid and Axsom dropping back. Just after the halfway mark Brenham Crouch caught the fourth turn cushion and flipped over ending his night early. Thorson established his lead once again on the restart and pulled away with Axsom and Pursley battling it out for the runner up position. With five to go Pursley cleared Axsom for second and closed somewhat on Thorson. But Pursley jumped the turn two cushion a lap later and Thorson was gone. Thorson flashed under the double checkers at 9:47 for his second win of the year and his third win at LPS and also became the sixth different IMS winner in six races. Daison Pursley finished second with Emerson Axsom third, Buddy Kofoid fourth and Corey Day rounding out the top five as Cannon McIntosh spun out of fifth in turn four on the last lap. Kevin Thomas Jr. made a fine comeback working his way back to sixth with Jason McDougal seventh, Chase Randall eighth, Jerry Coons Jr. ninth and Logan Seavey taking tenth.

     

    There was still the matter of running the 25 lap sprint car feature and after victory lane ceremonies and podium interviews it was time for their event. The green waved at 10:03 with Brady Bacon bounding off the outside of the front row to take the early lead with Brayden Fox and Tye Mihocko following. Braydon Cromwell brought out the caution when he spun in turn four on lap one while Shane Cockrum had already moved from fifth into third in one lap. Bacon controlled the restart and led until lap seven when Jake Swanson swept by in turn two with Bacon dropping to the infield with mechanical woes. One lap after the restart Harley Burns sat sideways in turn four to bring out the caution again. The race went green for a few laps with Swanson in the lead until lap eleven when Robert Carrington looped his sprinter in turn three. One more lap was recorded in the record book when Carrington spun in turn one and the two caution rule was enforced and Carrington was sent pitside for the rest of the race. The race went green again on lap eleven and would go the rest of the remaining fourteen laps without another caution appearing. Swanson controlled the pace but Fox, Cockrum and Mihocko swapped the positions behind the leader. In the late stages of the contest Mihocko closed the distance but Swanson was able to maintain his lead to the checkered at 10:22 scoring his second win of the year at LPS for car owner, Joe Daming, trailed to the finish by Mihocko with Fox third, Cockrum fourth and Zach Daum in a rare Lincoln Park appearance taking down fifth after starting tenth. It was a well run show but lacked the wow factor of some of the earlier IMW events from the week before.

     

    Check back tomorrow to read about round seven of Indiana Midget Week where the point battle is heating up and is so close and will be decided with the last checker waves at Kokomo on Saturday night. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our adventures.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Day Becomes Youngest USAC National Midget Winner At Circle City

     

     


    Wednesday, June 9 - This was the questionable day of the week weather wise looking at the forecasts on Monday but as Wednesday dawned the forecast was much better. Traveling in for the second half of Indiana Midget Week were Dale O'Brien of Florida who summers in Wisconsin, his former residence, and Jim Reeder coming in from the Hawkeye state of Iowa to join us. We all made the less than one hour trip over to the Marion County Fairgrounds where the 1/4 mile Circle City Raceway is located. You could see by the puddles on the grounds that it had rained the night before and that a decent amount had fallen. Jim secured us seats on the top row in front of the scoring tower on the homestretch when the gates opened at 5 and we were set for the evening. A visit from trackchaser, Brian Dolphy, was a nice surprise and a good chat ensued. Opening ceremonies were conducted down front on the aluminum grandstands for the inaugural John Andretti Memorial Double with son, Jarett, in attendance driving a RMS Racing #18.

     

    The time trials pushed off from the turn four entrance at 6:52 for the fine field of 36 USAC midgets on hand with Brady Bacon wheeling the TKH #21H to fast time at 12.869 seconds around the 1/4 mile bullring and establishing a new track record. Hayden Reinbold got upside down after hitting an infield tire in turn one during time trials doing a half spin in the air before rolling over. Reinbold was OK and would return to action later. Following the midget time trials were three MSCS sprint car heats for their 23 car field with Brent Beauchamp capturing heat one over Chase Stockon, Sterling Cling and Carson Garrett. Heat two would fall to Brady Bacon in the Wedgewood Motorsports #98B besting Thomas Meseraull, Logan Seavey and Ricky Lewis. The third and final heat would go to Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. over Paul Nienhiser, Jason McDougal and Tye Mihocko. The USAC midgets would follow with four heats taking the top four to the main event. Chris Windom would take heat one over Tanner Thorson, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon. Heat two would see New Zealand's Hayden Williams flip on the backstretch after apparently something broke on the #1NZ with a quick turn right into the wall. Buddy Kofoid would garner heat two over Thomas Meseraull doing double duty, Kaylee Bryson and Kyle Cummins. Bryant Wiedeman caught the wall in turn three and rolled over in heat three and was OK. The college cheerleader from Oklahoma, Taylor Reimer, making her IMW debut surprised everyone by capturing heat three over Jerry Coons Jr., Cannon McIntosh and Corey Day with a bold move at the line to edge Max Guilford for the last qualifying position which turned out to be a very important pass for the youngster for later in the evening. The action continued in heat four when Trey Gropp and Justin Grant tangled off turn two with Chance Crum ramping over a wheel and flipping. On the restart Gropp took a hard ride into the turn one wall flipping over and was fine after his nasty ride. Emerson Axsom would prevail in heat four winning over Daison Pursley, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Logan Seavey who was celebrating a birthday today.

     

    The sprints would not need a B main but the midgets would. A big pileup early in the B saw six or seven cars get together with another New Zealand driver, Travis Buckley, turning turtle. Brenham Crouch would score his second last lap pass of IMW to win the B over Justin Grant, Hayden Williams, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brian Carber and Sam Johnson. Bryant Wiedeman and Chase Randall would go the provisional route to swell the starting field for the midget feature to 24.

     

    The 25 lap MSCS sprint car feature would go first in the feature order tonight with the green waving at 9:49. Charles Davis Jr. would take the lead but it would only last until turn four when he went high on the cushion and came down making contact with Brent Beauchamp and pulling to a stop in turn four. Beauchamp would be the new leader on the restart until the second lap when Ben Knight spun in turn two to bring out the second caution. Beauchamp was out front on the next restart with the pack in chase. Brady Bacon moved to second on lap five with Thomas Meseraull moving to third. Landon Simon would slow in turn three to bring out another caution on lap seven and we would only make it one more lap when Jake Scott spun in turn one. Two laps later Parker Frederickson stopping in turn four for yet another yellow. Lap eleven saw Ricky Lewis running fifth hit the wall in turn four and roll over and on the restart Brandon Morin rode the wall in turn four after contact with another sprinter to slow the action once again. Brady Bacon had just made the pass for the lead at this point and with the MSCS split scoring as long as the leader and two more crossed the line the lap would count so Bacon was the next leader. On the restart Bacon went to the point and began to stretch his lead with Beauchamp and Meseraull among others battling it out behind him. Meseraull would make the pass on Beauchamp for second with Seavey moving past to garner third. The race would go non-stop from this point forward with Bacon powering away to a healthy lead and crossing under the flagstand at 10:17 notching the win trailed by Meseraull, Seavey, Beauchamp and Chase Stockon.

     

    Next up was the 30 lap USAC midget main event with the front row consisting of Kevin Thomas Jr. and Corey Day who were seventh and eighth fastest timers but with two of the top six timers not transferring through the heat races they moved up into the top six and made up the front row (remember the earlier pass by Day at the line for fourth in his heat). As the green waved at 10:31 the front pair raced side by side for the entire lap with Day edging Thomas at the line to complete lap one and take the lead. Lap four saw the first caution appear as Buddy Kofoid was racing hard for position in turn four (seventh) when he contacted the rear bumper of Chris Windom and spun. On the restart Day went to the high side while Thomas raced low in a good race for the top spot. By lap nine Day had pulled to a comfortable lead on Thomas as the laps ticked off. The caution flew again on lap 13 when the trio of Justin Grant, Brian Carber and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all tangled together in turn two. This brought the field back to Day and on the restart Day led with Emerson Axsom moving by teammate Thomas for second and a few laps later the caution appeared again for a stopped T-Mez in turn two. On the restart Axsom threw a successful slider on Day in turn one to take the lead but day countered in turn three to go back out front. Lap sixteen saw Axsom pass Day again in turn three with Day cutting low in turn four to retake the lead. Axsom made the same move in turn three on lap eighteen but with the same results off turn four as the 15 year old Day was up to the challenge. Buddy Kofoid who started at the tail had made his way back into the top ten by lap nineteen but made an ill advised slider on Kaylee Bryson which found him dumping his KKR #67 over in turn four. Kofoid is still working on the aspect of patience and will learn the hard way like tonight. On the restart Day went out front once again with Axsom bouncing in the cushion in turns three and four losing second to Thomas and valuable time to the leader. Axsom's troubles continued on lap twenty with the turn two cushion costing him third and fourth to Bacon and Brenham Crouch. Day pulled away and coming to the white flag Cannon McIntosh slowed in turn four causing the last caution to wave. This set up a green, white, checker scenario with Day, Thomas and Bacon the top three. The last lap was a nail biter as when Day raced into turns three and four he bounced on the cushion at least three times almost stalling his midget with the pack closing in. Day was able to land on all fours and still point his midget the right way and race off turn four still as the leader. Day would cross the line at 10:56 scoring his first ever USAC National midget victory in what I believe was only his fifth start in USAC midget racing. Day also became the youngest driver to win a USAC National midget feature at the ripe old age of 15 years, 6 months and 12 days breaking the record set by Zeb Wise in 2018 at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in PA who was 15 years, 8 months and 21 days when he did it also driving a Clauson/Marshall entry. Day was the fifth different winner in five nights of racing in Indiana Midget Week and it will be interesting to see if the streak continues as we head to Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night. The order of finish was Corey Day the winner over Kevin Thomas Jr. with Brady Bacon third, Emerson Axsom recovering to finish fourth with Brenham Crouch rounding out the top five. Sunday night's winner at Haubstadt, Kyle Cummins, would place sixth with Logan Seavey charging from 22nd to seventh with Tanner Thorson eighth from 16th, Daison Pursley ninth from 17th with Jerry Coons Jr. ending up tenth.

     

    It was a good night of racing, abet with a few too many caution flags, but good side by side racing throughout the field.

     

    That's it for now but check back soon as the caravan moves onto Lincoln Park for round six of Indiana Midget Week. I would like to mention that I provided some misinformation in our last column when I said that Jack Yeley was wrenching the Styres #3G which was not right. Kyle Cummins and his dad are the main workers on the midget and I apologize for the misinformation. Comments, news, stories or facts can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or head to Indiana to catch the last three nights of IMW. And until next time thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next on a typical weekend or weekday.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Cummins Doubles Up At Tri-State Winning USAC Midget First & MSCS Sprints

     

     

    Sunday, June 6 - A text in the morning to Burline and Don Skidmore, our friends from Illinois, guaranteed us a good homestretch seat at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana for tonight's running of round four of Indiana Midget Week. Before arriving at the track we partook of the good buffet at Stoll's Amish Buffet not far south of the track. It was delicious and we both agreed that the pork chops were the best item on the menu. It's funny how something small turns into an opportunity to make a new friend as Don asked me if I could switch seats with Pat as he was having problems seeing over my head. Since he had saved our seats I figured it was the least I could do. Well, right away the person next to me, Jeremy from Bloomington, struck up a conversation and we chatted all night long off and on and a new friend was made on the evening.

     

    Twenty seven USAC midgets would be joined on this Sunday evening by 25 MSCS sprint cars to make for a good doubleheader of racing on the well manicured 1/4 mile black clay race track owned by Tom and Loris Helfrich. The weather was threatening almost all day long but little rain fell at the track though we ran through a large thunderstorm on our way down I-69 below Washington. If that storm had hit Haubstadt it might have been curtains for the evening.

     

    Time trials for the USAC midgets would start off the night's program commencing at 6:37 and by 6:54 it was Chris Windom being interviewed after touring the 1/4 mile bullring in a new record time of 13.377 seconds breaking the 11 year old mark of 13.629 set by the late Bryan Clauson. After time trials the track crew reworked the surface and when they were finished a light rain shower hit the track causing a half hour rain delay before they were able to resume.

     

    The MSCS sprint cars would run their heats first with three of them for their 25 car field. Chase Stockon would score a hard fought win over Carson Garrett of Colorado, Kendall Ruble and Jadon Rogers, last night's winner at Lincoln Park Speedway. Heat two would fall to 51 year old Critter Malone still going strong as he turned back Donny Brackett, CJ Leary and Aric Gentry. Kyle Cummins nailed down heat three over Chet Williams in a good battle with Ricky Lewis, last night's sprint car winner at Macon Speedway, and Collin Ambrose. The USAC midgets would also contest three heats for their 27 car field with the top five moving to the main event. All of the midget heats were highly competitive with Thomas Meseraull out dueling Chris Windom, Daison Pursley, Kyle Cummins and Emerson Axsom to win heat one. Kevin Thomas Jr. took off in heat two winning easily but the racing behind was fun to watch with Logan Seavey, last night's midget and sprint car winner at Lawrenceburg, outrunning Trey Gropp, Ethan Mitchell and Buddy Kofoid. Tanner Thorson who has been struggling lately managed to score the win in heat three besting Jason McDougal after McDougal passed him in the last lap but Thorson countered off turn four to win it. Corey Day, the 15 year old driver who has been the fast timer the previous two nights finished third with Justin Grant fourth and Cannon McIntosh fifth.

     

    A pair of B mains were needed to round out the starting field with Kent Schmidt taking the sprint car one over Tye Mihocko, Stan Beedles, the 2020 MSCS Rookie of the Year, returning after being seriously burned last year and James Lyerla. Hayden Williams, the reigning New Zealand midget driving champion, copped the midget B main beating Stephen Schnapf, Brenham Crouch, Bryant Wiedeman, Cole Bodine, Kaylee Bryson and PA's Brian Carber.

     

    The 25 lap MSCS sprint car feature would be the first in the chute and by 9:27 the green flag waved to start their event. Carson Garrett jumped to the early lead but it was short lived as second starting Kyle Cummins passed Garrett entering turn one on the inside groove on lap one. Cummins would pretty much have this one in hand the remainder of the distance but Critter Malone and Chase Stockon were never far behind. Malone and Stokcon put on a good battle for the runnerup position for many laps before Stockon took it over. Malone was not finished and in the latter stages of the race he caught and repassed Stockon to take back second. That would be the way they would finish the race when the checkered waved at 9:42 with Cummins scoring yet another Haubstadt win over Malone, Stockon, Kendall Ruble who started seventh and Jadon Rogers who advanced from tenth to fifth at the end.

     

    The 30 lap USAC midget feature took the green flag at 9:57 with third starting Kyle Cummins sliding down low in turn one and passing the Kunz teammates, Daison Pursley and Buddy Kofoid, to go to the point. Pursley took the lead on lap two but Cummins battled back and used a turn three slider to regain the lead on lap three. The racing was fast and furious with many drivers swapping positions in the top seven with Cannon McIntosh, Logan Seavey, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. going at it. Ethan Mitchell brought out the red flag when he caught one of the infield tires and turned his midget upside down in turn four. Mitchell was OK after the hard tumble. Chris Windom made his run forward after the restart going from fifth into third in one big move and then securing second on lap nine passing Pursley for that position. Cummins continued to pace the field as the laps ticked off and the surprising leader held sway even as the many veterans pressured him from behind. Thomas Meseraull was coming to the front and cracked the top five after the halfway mark racing with McIntosh and Pursley as the two leaders opened some ground on the rest of the pack. Kaylee Bryson caught the berm in turn four right in front of the leaders getting sideways on lap twenty just as Windom was making his move to pass Cummins for the lead causing the caution to wave and relegating Windom back to second and giving Cummins second life. Kevin Thomas Jr. used the inside route to enter the mix moving as high as third until a couple of laps later he jumped the cushion in turn three and lost several positions taking him out of the hunt. on lap twenty one Hayden Williams clipped an infield tire and his midget turned sideways on the homestretch directly in front of Brenham Crouch who hit him broadside causing Williams to roll over. Williams was done for the evening but Crouch was able to restart. Cummins scooted out front on the restart leaving Windom to deal with an resurgent Pursley for the runnerup spot. Pursley took second for two laps until Windom regained second on lap twenty three. Cummins ran the middle in turns two and three to prevent any sliders from behind as the swarm of bees led by Windom with Pursley, Meseraull, Thomas and McDougal were tracking down the leader. Cummins was able to hold off all challenges over the remaining seven laps and crossed the line first at 10:19 to score his first career USAC National midget win and the first for his car owner, Glenn Styres of Canada, in the midget wrenched by 75 year old "Cactus" Jack Yeley.   Windom would barely edge the ninth starting Meseraull for second with Pursley fourth and Thomas completing the top five. McDougal came from 15th to 6th, Cannon McIntosh was seventh, Justin Grant was the hard charger from 19th to eighth, Tanner Thorson was ninth and Buddy Kofoid was tenth. It was Cummin's 17th career midget start and he became the second first time winner of the year and the third new IMW winner in the process.  Cummins also became the second driver in two nights to win both the midget and sprint car features in the same evening.

     

    It was an excellent race with plenty of passing and slicing and dicing and replaces Paragon as the top midget race of IMW so far.

     

    That's it for now and check back Thursday for our report on Circle City's IMW event if the weather cooperates. In the meanwhile get the calendar out and fill in the open dates to catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And last but not least thanks for continuing to read our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     


    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Schultz Tops Must See Sprints At Speedrome


    Saturday, June 5 - We decided to change it up today as the five hour round trip to Lawrenceburg Speedway followed the next day by a nearly six hour round trip to Tri-State Speedway did not sound appealing on Saturday so we opted for the two hour drive to the Indianapolis Speedrome. The winged sprint cars were returning to the 1/5 mile flat asphalt oval after a 21 year absence and we decided to take in the Must See Sprint sanctioned on this Saturday night. The only disappointment of the night was the low car count for the sprints (13 starters) and only 9 USSA Kenyon midgets as the second division and 10 champ karts. The price was right at $15 for seniors as a very good crowd turned out to witness the return of the winged sprint cars and by a reaction to the question posed about the school bus figure 8, many in attendance also came out for this special event. The Speedrome posts a schedule on their website and Facebook with start times and the order of business and stick to it very well. The 100 lap MSS feature was scheduled for 9 PM and took the green at 8:46 even when adding a World Record challenge which Aaron Pierce broke the track record driving a late model with huge plexi glass on one side with a time of 10.714 around the 1/5 mile oval.

    The Indianpolis Speedrome is a neat joint with stands nearly all the way around the oval except for turns one and two. We choose to sit in turn four with a view directly down the homestretch. The National Anthem was precisely at 6:55 and right on time at 7 the first of two champ kart heats took the green flag. Cole Rhoton and Mike Mason won those two. The USSA Kenyon midgets spun off their two heats next with Jack Macenko and Ayrton Houk prevailing. After the world record challenge was completed it was right into the 25 lap champ kart feature with Cole Rhoton leading from start to finish beating Mike Mason and Karl Schildbach. Next up would be the 50 lap Kenyon midget feature with Ayrton Houk moving to the lead from third on the first lap and checking out from the rest of the field as Kameron Gladish held sway to the pack as Houk sped away. There was only one caution with three to go and that produced the most action when third running Jack Macenko loosened up second running Kameron Gladish passing him and allowing Colin Grissom to also slide by for third. As the checkered dropped at 8:12 it was Ayrton Houk in for the easy win over Jack Macenko, Colin Grissom, Logan Huggler and Kameron Gladish.

    The 100 lap Must See sprint feature would go green at 8:46 with Adam Blitz hustling off the outside of row one to take the early lead. Charlie Schultz, the veteran supermodified driver from Ohio, would take second away from Dylan Watson driving one of the Must See Light Division cars with less power. Jimmy McCune, one of the favorites dropped to the infield on lap three out of the event after a early tangle. Blitz would pace the field for the first twenty laps until Todd McQuillan looped his sprinter in turn three to bring out the first caution. On the double file restart Blitz went back out front with Joe Liguori slipping by Watson for third on lap twenty one. Lap twenty three saw the red appear after Anthony McCune rode up over the left front tire of 71 year old and three time winner of the Little 500, Jeff Bloom, eliminating both of them from further competition as the cars were pushed over to turn two where they were allowed to top off their fuel tanks. On the ensuing double file restart on lap twenty three Schultz was able to out gun his teammate, Blitz, to take the lead and began to pull away from the the field. Liguori, the only one with Speedrome experience, put it to good use using a turn three outside move to wrestle second from Blitz on lap fifty four. The final caution would appear on lap fifty six when Virginia's Anthony Linkenhoker slowed to a stop in turn four on lap fifty six. Schultz would go to the point on the next restart with Liguori in hot pursuit. Schultz was able to open up the lead to a healthy margin over the next twenty laps until encountering lap traffic on lap seventy seven with Liguori able to close the gap and possibly make a lead challenge. Schultz was up to the task and maneuvered around the lap cars quickly to dispel any ideas Liguori had of trying to take the lead. Nolan Allison broke away from the pack into third and reeled in the front two to make it a three car race. Schultz was able to maintain his lead over the last twenty five laps and flashed under the double checkers at 9:42 taking the win over Liguori and Allison. Dylan Watson in his light machine was able to pass Blitz in the last few laps to snatch fourth with Blitz holding on for fifth.

    It was a decent night of racing with us on the road before 10 PM and Pat brought up the Flo Racing app on her phone and we viewed the USAC midget feature from Lawrenceburg all the way home until we stopped to pick up the mail. We went inside and transferred the broadcast to our Smart TV and sat down and watched the non-wing sprint car feature also from Lawrenceburg. When the race ended after midnight we both looked at each other and said we were glad we were not just leaving Lawrenceburg with a 2 1/2 hour ride home before us. It was the right decision to stay closer to home and save the extra three hours of driving for tomorrow.

    Check back this evening to read our observations from Tri-State Speedway or Haubstadt as everyone calls it as we attended the four round of USAC Indiana Midget Week at the southwestern Indiana speed plant. In the meantime check your calendars and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and come back often to see where we end up next on a typical weekend.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Kofoid Takes USAC Midgets While McIntosh Takes First Sprint Car Win At Bloomington

     

     

    Friday, June 4 - The temperature soared into the 80's today with bright sunshine and no chance of rain making it a perfect day for everyone especially for race fans. The caravan made its way to the Bloomington Speedway, that 1/4 mile bullring of red clay with the high banks which blend well with the nicely manicured green grass all around the track facility. It would be round two of Indiana Midget Week with 32 USAC midgets joined by 22 non-wing sprint cars for an all open wheel doubleheader. We were joined on the asphalt above turn one in our lawn chairs by Max and Suzie Niemann, Ron Miller, Jerry Shaw and Al and Loretta Pierce making it a real murderer's row and much bench racing went on before midget time trials commenced at 6:55. Corey Day, the 15 year old son of long time California sprint car racer, Ronnie Day, set fast time (11.489) in a surprise driving his Clauson/Marshall #47BC. It would turn out to be the highlight of his evening as he failed to qualify in his heat race and finished second in the B main before dropping out of the main event and finishing 23rd.

     

    The first of four USAC midget heats would go green at 7:45 with the New Zealand National midget champion, Hayden Williams, nailing down the opener beating Daison Pursley, Chase Randall and Jason McDougal. Justin Grant would triumph in heat two besting Buddy Kofoid, Thomas Meseraull and Brenham Crouch. Defending USAC National midget champion, Chris Windom, captured heat three winning over Kyle Cummins in the last corner of the last lap with Logan Seavey third and Sam Johnson fourth. The fourth heat race went to Cole Bodine rebounding from a DNQ last night to solidly put himself into the field tonight winning over Emerson Axsom, Brady Bacon and Bryant Wiedeman. The sprint cars would contest three heats with Brady Bacon in the Longworth #410 taking heat one over Tye Mihocko in a late race pass, Cannon McIntosh and Sterling Cling. Brady Short claimed heat two over Jadon Rogers, Jake Bland and Ricky Lewis. Jordan Kinser took heat three over Andrew Prather, Jason McDougal and Scott Evans from Rhome, Texas making his second straight Indiana feature event in two starts.

     

    Next up was the 12 lap B main for the midgets and Kevin Thomas Jr. in one of the Petry Motorsports entries won this one over Corey Day, Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh, Brian Carber and Trey Gropp. Ethan Mitchell would take a provisional to make it a 23 car starting field for tonight's 30 lap feature tussle.

     

    The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be first on the card taking the initial green flag at 9:16 with Chris Windom securing the lead in turn three over first starting Bryant Wiedeman. Windom would lead in the early going until the caution appeared on lap five when Corey Day stopped in turn three and was done for the evening. On the restart with Windom on the point third starting Buddy Kofoid was able to pass Wiedeman for second and went to work on Windom for the lead. Kofoid tried several sliders that did not produce results as Windom changed his line to protect his lead. Lap eight saw Cole Bodine loop his midget in turn four to bring out the second caution. On the next restart Kofoid went to work trying to figure a way around the crafty Windom and finally on lap fourteen using a slider in turn two to secure the lead but Windom was not finished as he countered and regained the lead for another lap until lap 15 when Kofoid went back out front. The caution appeared on lap twenty when Kyle Cummins slowed on the track. On the restart once again Windom went back out front passing Kofoid in turn one but it was short lived as Kofoid duplicated the same move one lap later to regain the lead. The red appeared on lap twenty four when Chase Randall stood his midget on it nose atop the cushion in turns three and four. Randall was OK after his jolting ride. Kevin Thomas Jr. at this point had moved into contention advancing from 11th to 3rd and waiting for any mistakes from the front two to pounce upon the opportunity. Kofoid was perfect on the restart and as Windom nosed to the inside in turn one Kofoid rode the cushion to retain the lead. Over the final six laps Kofoid was able to open up a few car lengths lead and flashed under the checkers at 9:39 scoring his third USAC win of the year and his sixth career USAC National midget win in his first appearance at Bloomington.   Kofoid became the second driver in two nights to win their first IMW win. It was also car owner, Keith Kunz's 117th USAC midget win placing him just 16 behind the all time leading midget car owner, Steve Lewis. Kunz's cars have also won the most career midget wins at Bloomington with five, all during Indiana Midget Week action. Windom would ride home second with Thomas third, Brady Bacon fourth and Bryant Wiedeman holding on for a fine fifth. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth after starting 14th with Logan Seavey seventh, Daison Pursley eighth, Justin Grant ninth and Jason McDougal finishing tenth.

     

    We still had a 25 lap sprint car feature to run and the majority of the crowd remained to watch this one. Jadon Rogers stormed into the lead at the drop of the green flag and opened up a large lead in the early going. Brady Bacon battled it out with Tye Mihocko and Brady Short before moving into the runnerup position and took up the chase of the high flying Rogers. The caution only waved two times and the second one on lap twenty set the stage for what everyone knew was coming with Bacon diving low in turn one and sliding in front of Rogers to grab the lead in turn two but Rogers panicked and slid into the rear of Bacon's car breaking something in the rear end of Bacon's car and finding Rogers sitting on top of the turn two cushion. Rogers needs to show some more patience and with five laps to go should have been able to repast Bacon as he had the fastest sprinter on the track. But now with the outcome altered it was young Cannon McIntosh who found himself the recipient of the gift and inherited the lead. McIntosh wasn't going to ride home free as the race over the last five laps was a four car battle to the finish with Mihocko, Brady Short and Jason McDougal all taking serious runs at the youngster. Unlike Rogers the Oklahoma native would turn back the furious challenges and hang on to bring the Phillips/Daigh #71P home first for his first non-wing sprint car victory fending off Short, Mihocko, McDougal and Ricky Lewis to the checkered at 10:18. It was a happy victory lane for McIntosh and the crew on their first victory together. It wrapped up a good night of racing on the red hills of Bloomington and sent everyone away happy with the exception of Rogers and Bacon.

     

    Check back tomorrow as we are switching it up a little bagging the long ride to Lawrenceburg for round three of IMW and instead traveling over to Indianpolis to catch the Must See Winged Sprints contest a 100 lap feature go on the 1/5 mile flat oval at the Indianapolis Speedrome. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

    Sorry to learn of the passing of one of Pennsylvania's legendary sprint car drivers, HOF driver Steve Smith, passing away at the age of 74. The Black Bandit was a threat wherever he showed up to win and will be sorely miss. Condolences to the entire Smith family for their loss. And God Speed, Mr. Smith.

     

     


    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Two Last Lap Passes Highlight IMW Opener At Paragon


    Thursday, June 3 - Today would mark the opening day of the eight race Indiana Midget Week spaced over a ten day period at the Paragon Speedway. As we drove toward the track we noticed many saturated fields as the rains over the past few days had left a lot of water behind. Taking one look at the track after we parked our SUV and we knew it was going to be an interesting night of racing. After working on the track and the sprints packing it in you could tell the surface was going to have a lot of "character" tonight. We were expecting a lot of tumbles on the evening but thank goodness that did not come to pass as only two cars, one midget and one sprint car, turned turtle all evening long. The track started out ripply and rough but give great credit to the track crew who kept after it and improved it the entire evening and by feature times it was pretty decent and racy with a massive cushion built up in turns three and four which truly rivaled Lincoln Park. It also brought the best Twitter quote of the night from Dakota Jackson which read "Anyone wondering where the rest of the border wall money went? Apparently (Joe) Spiker got some of it for turns 3/4." The cushion indeed looked like a small wall in those two turns. We knew it was going to be a long night but the group sitting around us which included fellow Hoseheads.com blogger, Kevin Oldham, Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser and Max and Suzie Niemann made the evening very enjoyable and entertaining.

    USAC midget time trials pushed off at 7:54 and were tough to watch on the rough track but you could see it starting to come around as Chris Windom going under the clock third from last came up with the fast time of 15.809 seconds when the midgets were done time trialing at 8:23. The non-wing sprint cars would start off the night with their three heat races for their 26 car field with all cars moving to the A main later in the evening to save some time and move the program along as quick as possible. Buckeye, Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. would run away from the field in heat one winning over Andrew Prather, Zack Pertorius, Jadon Rogers and Colin Parker. Logan Seavey came home the winner in heat two turning back Jake Scott, Chase Jones, AJ Hopkins and Harley Burns. The third and final heat was won by Jason McDougal besting Nick Bilbee, Brandon Spencer, Kyle Shipley and Josh Cunningham.

    Heat one of the USAC midgets would see Bryant Wiedeman set a new 8 lap track record breaking a 41 year mark set by Wes Stafford in 1977. Wiedeman made a late race pass for the lead on Bryan Stanfill with Chris Windom third and Justin Grant fourth. Chance Crum in the Rudeen #26 won his first career USAC heat win in heat two topping Kyle Cummins, Hayden Williams, one of three New Zealanders in the field, and Ryan Timms. The new 8 lap track record did not last long as Jason McDougal in the Robert Dalby #4 shattered the mark by four seconds with a new track record of 2:10.840 over the eight lap distance. Ethan Mitchell, Buddy Kofoid and Logan Seavey chased him across the line. Daison Pursley took down heat four in a race where his teammate, Brenham Crouch, dug his right rear into the cushion in turn one on the last lap and rolled over. Crouch would return and win the B main on the last lap. Pursley passed Trey Gropp in the latter stages of this one with the fastest chicken man, Chase Randall, third and Cannon McIntosh fourth.

    Brenham Crouch would steal the midget B main from Thomas Meseraull on the last lap with Corey Day, Emerson Axsom, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Sam Johnson joining the big party later in the evening. Teammates Tanner Thorson and Hayden Reinbold would use provisionals to join the party starting at the tail of the field.

    The 25 lap sprint car feature would be first on the agenda with Logan Seavey and Charles Davis Jr. bringing the field to the green flag at 10:25. Seavey would jump to the early lead and would pace the field for the first eleven laps with plenty of racing going on behind him. Jason McDougal would catch and pass Seavey going down the backstretch on lap 11 and the red would wave shortly thereafter when Carl Rhuebottom got turned in turn three by one of the lead cars and rolled over with fuel spilling from the tail tank causing a delay in the racing to clean up the accident scene. On the restart McDougal bounced on the cushion in turn one with all four tires off the track surface allowing Seavey and several others to sneak by. AJ Hopkins who started 11th was working the outside without much success in the early stages of the event and decided to move down low and began to pick his way forward. Seavey, Davis, McDougal and Nick Bilbee battled it out among themselves up front with Hopkins picking them off one at a time with Bilbee the first victim followed by McDougal and then Davis. Hopkins was up to second by lap 19 and took up the chase of Seavey. He closed the distance each and evey lap until coming to the white flag where Seavey bobbled off turn four with Hopkins drawing alongside in a race to the line. Hopkins took the lead entering turn one and pulled away by several car lengths and as he exited turn four at 10:57 the crowd came to their feet to welcome the local hero across the finish line first with Seavey second, Davis third, Jadon Rogers making a late race charge to edge McDougal for fourth with McDougal fifth. Brady Bacon came from 16th to 6th with Jake Scott seventh, Nick Bilbee fading to eighth, Colin Parker ninth and Tye Mihocko rounding out the top ten. After victory lane ceremonies one of the announcers proclaimed it would be nice to see another last lap pass for the win in the midget feature. He would get his wish.

    It was time for the one that almost everyone came to see to take Brian Hodde's green flag at 11:14 with Justin Grant powering to the early lead from his first starting position and leading the first two laps. Grant stumbled on the cushion in turn two on lap three allowing second starter, Cannon McIntosh, to grab the lead. McIntosh in his dad's entry looked strong as he led the middle portion of the race with Grant in his shadow not letting him get too far away at any point. By the halfway mark McIntosh had encountered lap traffic and picked his way through until lap eighteen when Brenham Crouch brought out the caution with a spin in turn one. On the restart McIntosh get a good run and pulled away from Grant with Thomas Meseraull making his presence known with a march from 12th to third at this point. The RMS teammates closed the gap again on McIntosh as the laps wound down. With eight to go Grant squared off with the fourth turn cushion and lost, loosing ground and also loosing second to Meseraull as they entered turn one. McIntosh's lead evaporated quickly as he on the next lap when he jumped the cushion with Meseraull like a big cat pouncing on his prey drawing to McInstosh's tail tank. For the next several laps T-Mez drove low in turns one and two drawing alongside McIntosh but Cannon powered off turn two and back out front each time. It looked like McIntosh would weather the storm with the same scenario playing out through turns one and two on the white flag lap with McIntosh leading down the backstretch and entering turn three where he dove low while Meseraull went high. McIntosh slid from bottom to top entering turn four while Meseraull diamonded from top to bottom in turn four producing a drag race to the line with Meseraull edging McIntosh by inches to score his first ever IMW victory and fourth career USAC midget victory in his last 13 starts after going 0 for 88 previously. McIntosh would have to settle for second with Grant third, Buddy Kofoid, the current USAC midget point leader, fourth and Logan Seavey taking down fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Jason McDougal, Daison Pursley, Emerson Axsom, Chris Windom and Hayden Williams, the New Zealand driver who turned in a heady drive to finish tenth after starting 14th. The final checkers waved at 11:28 capping off the exciting night of racing.

    About the only thing Meseraull didn't do right was his victory lane roll cage stand where he fell off backwards with his fall cushioned by USAC official, TG Sammy, or otherwise that one might have really hurt of cause some injury. Again hats off to the Paragon track crew who did a yeoman's work to tame the unruly track surface to allow everyone to see two great feature events!!!

    That's it for night one of Indiana Midget Week and tune back tomorrow to see what happened at Bloomington Speedway in round two of IMW. Until then plot a trip out to Indiana to catch some of this action packed racing or get out to your area home track to witness some good short track racing, the backbone of racing. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them. Be good and be safe.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Grant & Sherman Take BC Double Wins At Kokomo Speedway

     


    Sunday, May 30 - Spent the afternoon watching the 105th Indianapolis 500 on TV and what an ending as Helio Castroneves drove by Alex Palou in the closing laps to win his fourth 500 victory joining AJ Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as four time winners. The celebration afterwards was heartwarming as Castroneves displayed unbridled joy and happiness after taking his fourth win at the age of 46. He climbed the fence twice and ran up and down the homestretch embracing everyone that crossed his path. How could you not like this guy who's display of passion for the race he loves had to bring a tear or two to your eyes as he celebrated for a long time before being escorted to the elevator to take him and the winning car and crew up into the air as the crowd went wild. Congratulations to Helio for his big win!!!

     

    After watching the 500 we headed northeast toward Kokomo where they were running the BC Double in honor of Bryan Clauson who ran the 100th Indianapolis 500 and led at the halfway mark and then afterward traveled north to Kokomo and won the non-wing sprint car feature that evening. The Clauson family was on hand tonight and pre-race ceremonies were held at the flagger stand to celebrate Bryan's life.

     

    When I entered the track warmups were already underway and as I walked up the ramp under the grandstands the sprinter of Andrew Cockman was being lifted by a wrecker and the track crew was working on repairing the turn one fencing after his flip taking one car out early in the evening. The card tonight consisted of 31 non-wing sprints, 30 UMP modifieds, 31 thunder cars and 27 hornets which would make for a long night of racing with the first heat not starting until 8:44. The sprints were first up and the heats were fast and furious. Scotty Weir in "Plain Jane", the Pedersen #4P, which is towed to the track with an open trailer won heat one besting Jason McDougal, Stevie Sussex and Matt Goodnight. Heat two saw Zack Pertorius bounce off the turn four wall and drifted across the track right in front of Alex Banales, one of the crew members of the Baldwin #5's, given a chance to drive the backup car causing him to roll over in the mishap. Jake Swanson would take heat two from fifth over Braydon Cromwell, Sterling Cling and David Hair. Justin Grant ran away with heat three beating Cannon McIntosh, Cole Ketchem and Aaron Davis. Heat four was captured by Thomas Meseraull over Cole Bodine, Logan Seavey and Chase Johnson. James Walters, Ian Keller, Bub Roberts and Nick Allen would win UMP modified heats. The thunder cars would contest four heats and the hornets would spin off three heats.

     

    All divisions would run B mains with Tim Creech who crashed hard at Kokomo last year showing no ill effects by taking the B main pacing Brayden Clark, Ryan Thomas and Texan invader, Scott Evans, to the checker. Derek Losh would take home the UMP modified B main.

     

    After all preliminary qualifying was completed it was finally time for the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature. Jake Swanson and Scotty Weir would lead the field to the green flag at 11:13 with Weir using the outside groove to take the early lead. Weir would pace the field for the first ten laps with Swanson, Justin Grant, T-Mez and Cole Bodine mixing it up in a crowd pleasing duel within the top five. Grant would make his move on Weir in turn two on lap ten using a slider to wrestle the lead away from Weir. It was far from over with Weir and Swanson going at it for second as Grant led. Jason McDougal joined in the fray and was soon joined by Logan Seavey up from 12th. Grant continued to lead but Weir and Swanson were never too far behind waiting for a break to pounce upon Grant in lap traffic. Bodine, McDougal and Seavey raced side by side for fourth through sixth as the laps counted down. Grant would flash under the checkers at 11:22 taking the win over Weir with Swanson third, Seavey sneaking by both Bodine and McDougal on the last lap to take fourth with McDougal rounding out the top five. A good, competitive race with many battles throughout the field and good racing all over the 1/4 mile bullring.

    We decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature after the sprints ran their feature so quickly in just nine minutes. The modifieds were up to the challenge and also put on a good display of racing with Nick Allen also leading the first ten laps until fifth starter, Tood Sherman, passed him to take the lead. With only one caution this one was checkered at 11:39 or just seven minutes after the initial green. Sherman would take the win over Allen with Ian Keller third, Bub Roberts fourth and Zeke McKenzie rounding out the top five. That would be enough for us on the evening as we still had to head south to Shelbyville where we were spending the night before arising on Monday to drive to Cincinnati to take in our first ever baseball game at Great American Ballpark where an enjoyable day was had though our Phillies took it on the chin in a 11 to 1 whitewashing by the Reds.

     

    USAC Indiana Midget Week starts this coming Thursday with everyone converging on the Paragon Speedway for night one of eight which will determine the 2021 midget week champion. Check back often in the next two weeks as we cover the action of IMW. Comments, news, stories and other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take the show on the road and hit some tracks you've always wanted to attend. And as always thanks for continuing to read our efforts as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     
     
     
     

     

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Two Nights Of Rain Then Jake Swanson At LPS For First Indiana Win

     

     

    Thursday, May 27 - The weather changed drastically in the last two hours before we left for Terre Haute on Thursday for the USAC Silver Crown race. Checking it right before we left it looked doubtful and with a little more time and thought we probably would have saved ourselves a three hour round trip and stayed home. Down Rt. 47 and 41 we went again for the second night in a row and we hit sprinkles here and there but the first light rain was encountered when we hit the city limits of home of Tony Hulman. A call a few minutes later from friends Suzie and Max Niemann confirmed our worst fears that the Action Track was done for the evening. At least we salvaged a delicious meal with Max and Suzie at Longhorn Steak House before making the return trip to Crawfordsville. The field of 32 Silver Crown cars and some returns to the big cars for Ballou, Stockon and Coons had us excited to watch the Sumnar Classic but it was not to be.

     

    Friday, May 28 - The Josh Burton Memorial at Bloomington was at the top of the list for tonight followed by sprints at Gas City, Silver Crown and midgets at Indianapolis Raceway Park and late models at Farmer City, Illinois. The weather watch combined with the Twitter watch went into effect as the cards began to fall. Gas City was the first to throw in the towel followed by Farmer City and then Bloomington. IRP was the only game left in town and the continued forecast was not very promising. Instead of traveling over to IRP and sitting out a rain delay we decided to park our butts in the easy chairs. It was the wise decision as IRP gave up the ghost at 10 PM and rescheduling for 9:30 AM with the USAC Silver Crown race with the temperature at the start at 43 degrees and the feels like temperature checking in at 37.

     

    Saturday, May 29 - After deciding to pass on the IRP program and pick up flowers for outside the condo and set out the front porch furniture it was soon time to head south on Rt. 231 for beautiful downtown Putnamville, the home of the playground of Joe Spiker called the Lincoln Park Speedway. On tap tonight would be a four division program of MSCS sprints hauling in a fine field of 46 sprinters while the UMP modifieds checked in with 31, the super stocks bringing 32 pitside and the bombers rounding out the field with 20 on hand for a grand total of 129 cars packing the backstretch pit area for the night's racing action. With these large car counts we knew it was going to be a long night and indeed it was. There had been a lot of rain in the area over the last few days and the track was rough and tumble and tumble they did as in heat two of the sprint cars Kevin Thomas Jr. slowed on the homestretch with mechanical woes and tried to pull up against the homestretch fence but Brent Beauchamp couldn't quite avoid him and climbed his left rear tire sending him into a series of end over end flips with Beauchamp ending up outside of turn one. Beauchamp was no worse for wear but the same cannot be said for the family owned sprinter. Though many others were bouncing around and such no one turned turtle until Brian VanMeveren rolled over on the turn four cushion after trying to avoid an out of control Ricky Lewis. And then on the next restart Lewis caught the turn four cushion in almost the same spot as VanMeveren and rolled over twice. Yes, it was cowboy up indeed.

     

    Five heats were scheduled for the MSCS sprint cars with Arizona's Kyle Shipley taking down the heat one win over Colten Cottle and Chris Babcock. The heat two winner was Robert Ballou in an exciting race beating Jake Swanson and Brayden Fox. AJ Hopkins nailed down the third heat win besting Brandon Mattox from 8th and Brayden Cromwell the youngster from Missouri looking more impressive every time out. Kyle Cummins would win heat four over Cole Bodine and Shane Cottle sending Shane Cockrum to the B main. Chase Stockon back in last year's chassis won the final heat over teammate, Paul Nienhiser, and Jadon Rogers sending Jason McDougal to the B main. The UMP modifieds ran four horrible heats and with many outsiders in town tonight it was a good chance to show their wares but the track got the best of them and they were painful to watch. The super stocks ran four heats while the bombers ran two before we returned to the sprints for their C main.

     

    Kevin Thomas Jr. would win the C main but fall short of qualifying out of the B main and called it an early night. Kentucky's Aric Gentry won the B over Shane Cockrum, Charles Davis Jr. in from Buckeye, Arizona, Jason McDougal and Chase Johnson the last man invited to the big dance. Eric Perrott would take a free pass to join the others at the big dance tonight.

     

    It was 10:53 when Brian Hodde's green flag would drape the front row of Robert Ballou and Kyle Shipley with Ballou powering into the early lead. Third starting AJ Hopkins had other plans as he snatched the lead away from Ballou on the homestretch to start lap two. The racing up front was intense with the tandem of Hopkins, Ballou, Chase Stockon, Kyle Cummins and Jake Swanson swapping positions back and forth like a square dance at the old barn on a Saturday night. Paul Nienhiser was coming forward up to fifth by lap twelve when he spun to the infield on the homestretch bringing out the only caution of the race. At this point besides the super battle up front Shane Cottle had worked his way from 14th to 6th and Shane Cockrum was up to 8th from 17th. Hopkins led on the restart with Stockon and Ballou in hot pursuit. Swanson began to pick off competitors getting by Cummins then Ballou and catching Stockon for second and passing Hopkins for the lead on the homestretch just before the red appeared for a rollover in turn four by Charles Davis Jr. Swanson would be at the point on the restart and he had to have in the back of his mind a few earlier races this year that got away from him in the late stages. With that in mind Swanson hit the loud pedal and sped away leaving the gang behind him to duke it out for second on back. When the double checkers waved at 11:09 it was Jake Swanson from Anaheim, California coming home the winner for the first time in the state of Indiana outpacing Stockon, Ballou, Hopkins and Cummins. Yes, Jake dreams do come true and the very excited winner expressed in victory lane that he had always dreamed of winning a sprint car race in Indiana. Well, my man you have done it!! Shane Cottle advance would stop at sixth at the finish with Cockrum seventh, Brandon Mattox eighth, another California youngster, Chase Johnson, moving from 20th to ninth and Jadon Rogers rounding out the top ten. It was a very good non-wing sprint car race and made the long and cold night a little more bearable.

     

    That's it for this installment but check back tomorrow when we will bring you our report from Kokomo Speedway and the BC Double night of racing. Comments, news, stories and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the positive feedback we receive from you all.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Windom Makes It Two Straight In Hulman Classic At Terre Haute

     

     

    Wednesday, May 26 - A few days ago the weather forecast for Wednesday at Terre Haute was not good but by the time Wednesday dawned the forecast had totally changed and racing would happen at the Action Track tonight. We left Crawfordsville at 4:20 taking Rt. 47 south past Thomas Meseraull's current home of Waveland and Turkey Run State Park down to Rt. 41. At the junction of 47 and 41 if you turned right and traveled about a mile you would be at the old sight of the famous Jungle Park Speedway. Turning left leads you down Rt. 41 straight into the city of Terre Haute. Using some back streets we wound our way to the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds where we were surprised to find fairground personnel collecting a five dollar parking fee. After entering the grounds we found a good parking place and collected up the gear and proceeded to enter the wooden covered grandstand to secure a seat and meet our friends from Massachusetts, Brian and Elaine Hickey, and have a good chat before the racing for the evening commenced.

     

    On tap tonight was the 51st running of the Hulman Classic for the USAC National sprint cars with 33 entrants on hand with 31 of them making it to the heat races. Also joining the sprints on the card were 23 UMP modifieds with national leader, Nick Hoffman, in town for the racing action tonight. The first sprint car pushed off the chute in turn four at 6:58 to start time trials and by 7:26 Brady Bacon was the man being interviewed on the homestretch after setting the fast time of 19.495 seconds around the only half mile dirt oval in the state of Indiana.

    Next up would be the four heats for the USAC sprints with the top four transferring from each heat. The action heated up quickly as in heat one entering turn one Anthony D'Alessio clipped Brady Bacon in the left rear sending him sideways and into a series of horrifying rolls and flips including a launch off his tail tank that saw him raise high into the air nose skyward clearing the turn one wall and landing outside the track confines. Everyone held their collective breaths until it was announced that Bacon had climbed from his battered machine and was OK. D'Alessio had also flipped in the incident rolling several times on the track ending up against the turn one wall. Nate McMillen was also involved sliding along the wall and jumping out of his sprinter and climbing over the wall to check on the condition of Bacon. When the racing resumed Chase Stockon made a steady march to the front passing Robert Ballou for the heat one win with Ballou second, CJ Leary third and Cole Bodine taking down fourth. Bacon in the meantime along with his crew went to work to prepare the backup car for the B main which we will get to later. Kyle Cummins claimed heat two over Chris Windom, Nick Bilbee and Jake Swanson. Kevin Thomas Jr. used the inside to advance from fourth to take heat three over Max Adams, Mario Clouser and Davey Ray. Justin Grant also powered from fourth to nail down heat four beating an impressive Riley Kreisel from Missouri running a strong race. Mitch Wissmiller and Tanner Thorson snatching the last qualifying spot on the final lap from Matt Westfall. Two UMP modified heats were run with Nick Hoffman and Hunt Gossum the winners.

     

    Logan Seavey in the Baldwin #5 would cop the 12 lap B main but the buzz was about Brady Bacon would sliced his way from 14th to finish third behind Seavey and Charles Davis Jr. Matt Westfall, Chase Johnson and Tye Mihocko would take the remaining qualifying positions. Paul Nienhiser and Brandon Mattox would use provisionals to join the feature field for tonight's Hulman Classic.

     

    The 15 lap UMP modified feature would be the first to the post with Nick Hoffman going to the point on the start and never being headed. He was chased to the line by Will Krup, Derek Groomer, Kenny Wallace and Tyler Weiss in a nine minute feature with only one caution.

     

    Tom Hansing unfurled the green flag to drop at 9:45 on the front row of Justin Grant and Davey Ray with Grant getting the early jump into the lead. Grant opened up a large lead by lap 10 and many thought only a caution could slow his pace. No one told Chris Windom that as he finally picked off Kyle Cummins for second around that point and took off after the high flying Grant. If Grant was flying then Windom was launched as within three laps he was on Grant's tail tank as the pair began to work their way through lap traffic just after the halfway mark. With nine to go Windom threw a monster slide entering turn three and continuing into turn four where he jumped the cushion and allowed Grant to drive back around him. Grant scooted away once again and would remain the leader until lap 27. Windom made the slider move again in turn three sliding up and contacting Grant's left front with his right rear sending Grant into the cushion with Grant going airborne with all four tires off the surface for an instance before landing again and bouncing off the wall with Windom racing away with the lead. As Windom raced off turn four for the checkered Chase Johnson tagged the fourth turn wall and flipped right in front of the leader. Instead of the checkered flag the red flag appeared and this would set up a green, white, checker scenerio to wrap this one up. On the restart Windom roared out front as Grant bounced off the cushion (broken Jacob's ladder from the earlier contact) and lost valuable ground as he fall back into the clutches of Cummins and Bacon. Windom charged off turn four this time looking at Hansing's double checkered flags copping his second straight Hulman Classic and the rifle that comes along with it and also his third win in this race joining Levi Jones and Cary Faas as three time winners. It was also Windom's 29th career USAC National sprint car win tying him with Kevin Thomas Jr. for sixteenth on the all time win list. Kyle Cummins would cross the line second with Brady Bacon turning in a gritty performance after his earlier wild ride coming to third from ninth with Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth after starting seventh and Justin Grant staggering across the line in fifth. CJ Leary would pace the second five to the finish in sixth with Robert Ballou seventh after starting 15th, Jake Swanson eighth after starting 13th, Riley Kreisel ninth and Logan Seavey finishing tenth. Tanner Thorson was the hard charger marching from 22nd to finish 11th. The final checker flew at 10:06 on a good night of racing and a stressful though still rewarding one for Bacon.

     

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for details on the USAC Silver Crown race back at Terre Haute tonight if the weather holds off long enough for everyone to see the event. In the meantime plot a road trip or stay local and get out and see some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to follow our writings about our typical weekends.

     


     


    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Zeb Wise Gets First All-Star Win In Rudeen Race At Kokomo


    Sunday, May 23 - Sunday night is a tough night to race anywhere as many people have run out of money and time by Sunday evening. That makes it imperative that if you are indeed attempting to run on this night you must make the program fast, crisp and completed in a good hour (9:30 to 10:30 range) so people will want to come back the next time your show is in town. The All Star Circuit of Champion sprints failed in this attempt on this particular Sunday. With the majority of the crowd going to work on Monday morning time is of the essence and ending your main event at 11:14 with another feature, non-wing sprints, to run which ended at 11:50 will not have the fans knocking down the gates to return the following year. A sanctioning body needs to remember that the bulk of the fans work on a Monday morning and many are not from 10 to 15 minutes away and arriving home on a Sunday after midnight or 1 AM is not a good recipe to generate a good crowd the next time your road show is in the area. With that being said lets get to the report of the night's racing action.
    Tonight's racing action would be the final night of four straight nights of All Star sprint racing in the Hoosier state dubbed the Indiana All Star Invasion culminating with the Rudeen Foundation, $26,000 to win 40 lap finale of the mini series. The Rudeen Foundation was founded by Kevin Rudeen who's son, Rayce, passed away in 2016 due to drug addiction. His family vowed to help others working with organizations that encourage a healthy and productive life drug free. Every year for the past several years Kevin Rudeen has sponsored a race with the All Stars paying $26,000 to win to keep the memory of Rayce alive and to help others in their struggles with a check for $10,000 raised this evening to go to the foundation from many donations, fund raisers and activities surrounding this night of racing.

    With all the extra things going on for this special evening and with 42 All Star sprints showing up to run for the big bucks it seems to most that they would have started at least an hour earlier with time trials to fit everything in at an earlier hour. This was not the case as time trials pushed off at 6:43. By 7:13 two time USAC sprint car champion, Brady Bacon, had surprised his winged friends by setting the fast time of 11.483 seconds around the 1/4 mile bullring at Kokomo. Five heats would be needed tonight to pare down the field from 42 to 24 with four to qualify out of each heat race. Ian Madsen in the McGhee #11 aced the first heat starting at 7:35 besting Bacon, Hunter Schuerenberg and Justin Peck. Heat two would fall to Kerry Madsen in the Tony Stewart #14 winning over Scott Thiel, Buddy Kofoid making a guest appearance in the Kevin Swindell #39 and Sam Hafertepe Jr. Cap Henry came home first in heat three topping Cory Eliason, Brinton Marvel and Rico Abreu. Zeb Wise in the Wise/Priddy #10 scored heat four beating Carson Short, Tyler Courtney and Paul McMahan. The fifth heat went to former MOWA champion with the wing, Paul Nienhiser, now running wingless as a rookie in USAC outrunning Kevin Thomas Jr., Scott Hampton and Danny Dietrich hauling in from Pennsylvania via West Virginia where he competed the night before. Dietrich was penalized off the front row of this heat for a very questionable jump of the start and restarted fourth virtually taking him out of any chance to make the dash lineups.

    The non-wing sprints were also on the race card with 20 sprinters making the tow making for only two heats and no B main. Cole Bodine, the Kokomo point leader entering tonight's action, had his evening come to an early ending when racing down the backstretch in heat one he banged wheels with Thomas Meseraull which sent him into the wall and a series of flips ending up in turn three. He waa OK but the same cannot be said for the #57. New Zealander, Max Guilford, launched the Goodnight #79 high in the air in turns one and two on the next restart of heat one. Guilford was also fine after his wild ride. After things settled down some Logan Seavey, last night's winner at Lincoln Park, in the Baldwin #5 won heat one over Meseraull, Ricky Lewis and Anthony D'Allesio. Brent Beauchamp won heat two turning back Clinton Boyles, Jake Swanson and Jadon Rogers. Then before the dash races were called to the track someone decided it would be a good idea to have the cornhole tournament final in front of the homestretch grandstands. So about twenty minutes were wasted on something nobody cared about especially if you were sitting on the backstretch.

    The first dash was finally called to the track and Buddy Kofoid did a great job winning this one over Rico Abreu, Cap Henry, Zeb Wise, Justin Peck and Ian Madsen. The second dash event was won by Tyler Courtney over Kerry Madsen, Brady Bacon, Hunter Schuerenberg, Paul Niehiser and Kevin Thomas Jr. so now the front six rows were set for the big 40 lap feature event. The 23 car B main was next on the slate with Gio Scelzi winning over Bill Balog, Cole Macedo and Parker Price-Miller. Noah Gass flipped in this one with just two to go in turn two while running in the last qualifying position. Also DJ Foos and Chris Andrews executed a double flip in turn two in the B.

    The green flag would wave on the 24 car field at 10:17 with Buddy Kofoid taking the early lead but it was short lived as Tyler Courtney passed Scelzi coming to the line to complete lap one. Lap five saw Sam Hefertepe Jr. looped his sprinter on the backstretch to bring out the first caution. On the restart Scott Hampton hit the inside truck tire in turn two bringing out the red flag. On the restart Courtney moved back to the point trailed by Kofoid with Brady Bacon taking over third. One lap later Bacon was second and applying the pressure to Courtney. Lap eight saw the yellow wave as both Paul McMahan and Buddy Kofoid rolled to stops on the homestretch and on the infield runoff. McMahan would continue but Kofoid was done for the evening. On the restart we got as far as turn three when Ian Madsen rode the wall and flipped over. At this point an open red was called and the crews scrambled to the track with fuel cans and tire gauges. Cory Eliason also changed a front wing during the downtime and was set for the restart. The green waved again on lap eight with Courtney the leader. one lap later Brady Bacon charged by Courtney and into the race lead. Bacon was looking strong and would lead the field up to a lap eighteen caution. Running under caution Bacon gunned the sprinter in turn two and the Hoffman #69 spun around and Bacon was pushed to the work area. Some throttle linkage issues and a broken throttle spring ended Bacon's fine run prematurely. Kerry Madsen was now the new leader with Courtney second and Rico Abreu. Suddenly on the restart Zeb Wise was in the hunt powering his sprinter from fifth to second using the extreme high side to execute his moves. Lap twenty three saw Wise throw a slider on Madsen entering turn one and by turn two he was the new leader. Madsen returned the favor one lap later and retook the lead and as they worked their way through lap traffic Madsen started to stretch his lead. Wise closed again and the two leaders put on a classic duel through lap traffic swapping sliders and the lead. With just six to go Cap Henry spun in turn two and Madsen had no where to go making heavy contact with Henry leaving the Stewart #14 with front end damage and handing the lead back over to Wise. On the restart Wise mashed the gas pedal and scooted away from Courtney and Abreu as the youngster who just gradulated high school smelled his first career All Star win and drove a flawless remaining six laps to take the checkered flag at 11:14 winning his first one over Courtney, Abreu with Cole Macedo turning in a masterful performance advancing from 22nd to fourth with Scotty Thiel turning in a strong fifth. Justin Peck finished sixth with Cory Eliason seventh, Hunter Schuerenberg eighth, Gio Scelzi ninth and Paul McMahan battling back for tenth. It was a competitive race but with seven slowdowns and almost an hour in length it could not be considered a good race. Tyler Courtney may have finished second, one place out of the $26,000 top prize but he was awarded a cool $10,000 for being the top point man in the four race mini series with two wins, a second and an eighth.

    We still had a 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature to contest as probably half the crowd headed for the exits because of the late hour. This one was worth staying for as the racing among the top five or six was intense. Logan Seavey went to the early lead with Thomas Meseraull in hot pursuit. Meseraull would make the pass for the lead around lap three with Seavey, Boyles and Jake Swanson trailing. Meseraull paced the field past the halfway mark but Seavey found the high side up against the wall to his liking and cut into T-Mez's advantage. With five to go Seavey edged out front with Meseraull giving him a run for his money. Brent Beauchamp found the inside to his liking and dusted off Boyles and Swanson and went to work on the two leaders. The final five laps turned into a hum dinger as Seavey, Meseraull and Beauchamp made runs at each other trying different grooves to close the gap. With one to go Seavey had a couple of car lengths lead but Beauchamp eased his way under Meseraull to grab second and down the backstretch for the final time Beauchamp made a serious challenge to unseat Seavey. The charge just fell short as the two raced under the checkered at 11:50 with Seavey holding on for his second win of the weekend in the Baldwin #5. Meseraull would settle for third with Jake Swanson coming up the big loser being shuffled back from fourth to sixth on the final lap. Clinton Boyles would end up fourth with Jadon Rogers passing Swanson for fifth. This race was the better of the two spun off in twelve minutes with only two cautions slowing the intense action.

    That's it for this installment but check back on Thursday as Memorial Day week is race packed with racing beginning on Wednesday at Terre Haute and going straight through Sunday. It will be a busy one if the weather cooperates. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible or if not tune into some of the live streams on the various streaming services. Comments, news, stories or other points of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we try to call it the way we see it not sugar coating anything in the process.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Henry Caps The Evening With All Star Win At Gas City

     

     

    Saturday, May 22 - It's Saturday so it must be Gas City. Oh, wait a minute Gas City usually runs on Friday but since the Flo Racing All Star sprints ran a two day show on Thursday and Friday at the new Circle City Raceway the Grant County oval switched to Saturday for their All Star date. It would be the first time that Gas City would host the All Star sprints in 17 years with now All Star official, Dale Blaney, winning the last time they appeared on the 1/4 mile bullring. In fact Dale's brother, Dave, won tonight with the WOO sprint cars at Sharon Speedway for the first time since 1997, a full 24 years ago!!! Wow, that is incredible in both instances!!

     

    A late start from home due to a hotel snafu cost us an extra half hour but we still have time to stop at the Windmill Grill in Kokomo, one of our favorite eating places, for a good meal before continuing our journey on the backroads of Indiana for a pleasant ride over to Gas City. Riding through the town of Gas City is a treat as every street has a mini gas derrick with the street sign attached to the top of it. This is a good way to play on the usual town name. In 1892 the discovery of natural gas reserves in the area by the Gas City Land Company prompted the town folks of 150 to change the name of the town from Harrisburg to Gas City.

     

    We arrived on the grounds around 4:45 and found the front parking lot filling up quickly. I walked to the front gate to enter the facility to place our blanket down and walked back toward the back part of the parking lot noting that there were some parking spaces closer to the front and moved the Rogue forward next to tent covering with Pat starting a conversation with the two guys underneath finding out that they were from Pennsylvania specifically from around the Big Diamond Speedway area. A good discussion followed and it is funny how small the world really is!!!

     

    Time trials would start off the evening with the 32 sprint car field going under the clock at 6:34 with Justin Peck, an Indiana native in the Buch #13 setting fast time touring the 1/4 mile oval in a time of 10.395 seconds. At 7:29 the first of four All Star sprint car heats would take the green with Ryan Broughton of Ohio surprising quite a few garnering the first heat win over Sam Hafertepe Jr., Justin Peck, Scotty Thiel and Thomas Meseraull. Cap Henry kept the Ohio streak going capturing the second heat from fourth over Cory Eliason, Gio Scelzi, Tyler Courtney and Rico Abreu. Heat three went to Bill Balog having a good Indiana All Star Invasion besting Hunter Schuerenberg, Brady Bacon from 7th, Carson Short and Tanner Thorson. The fourth heat was nailed down by Kerry Madsen over Kevin Thomas Jr. in the Indy Race Parts #71, Greg Wilson, Brinton Marvel and Brandon Wimmer. The All Star TQ midgets would be the other class on the racing card and their field was done some from Thursday standing at 19. Three heats were spun off with Matt Lux, Ron Combs and Joey Paxton winning.

     

    The two sprint dash races would follow determining the starting positions of the first ten cars for the feature event with the cars of dash one filling the inside five rows and the cars of dash two filling the outside five rows. Rico Abreu and Cap Henry would lead the field to the green flag later after winning their respective dashes. The sprint B main was next on the agenda with Zeb Wise the victor over Ian Madsen, Paul McMahan and Kyle Reinhardt. There would be no provisionals for the evening.

     

    After some short track prep it was feature time with the green flag dropping on the 24 car field at 9:22 with Cap Henry jumping out front but that was short lived as Ryan Broughton was helped around in turn one to bring out the caution. On the restart Rico Abreu made sure he didn't get beat again into turn one taking the early lead. Henry and Bill Balog battled it out for second as Abreu paced the field in the early going. Lap 10 saw Zeb Wise spin in turn four to bring out the second caution of the night. On the restart Abreu was back out front but Henry began to apply the pressure and finally off turn four on the high side on lap 16 Henry took the lead. Abreu was not finished as the two went at it tooth and nail but Henry retained the lead over the next several laps. The leaders worked their way through lap traffic and by lap 22 Abreu was right on the tail tank of Henry once again. Abreu executed a slider between turns three and four to briefly take the lead but Henry would have nothing of it returning the favor in turn one to regain the lead. The fourth and last caution appeared on lap 26 when Sam Hafertepe Jr. looped it in turn four while running seventh setting up a four lap dash to the finish. With no lap traffic to impede his progress Henry easily moved out front on the restart and built over a one second lead in the last four laps flashing under the checkered flag at 9:38 for his first All Star win of 2021 and his fifth career All Star triumph overall. Abreu would again finish second with Balog third, with ninth starter, Kerry Madsen, fourth and Justin Peck riding home fifth at the finish. Scotty Thiel would place sixth with Cory Eliason seventh, hard charger Tyler Courtney from 17th to 8th with Brady Bacon ninth and Gio Scelzi taking home tenth. It was a good, competitive feature run sending the sprint car fans home happy.

     

    We still had a 20 lap All Star TQ midget feature to spin off with the green waving at 9:54. Ron Combs went to the early lead with Matt Lux putting on the pressure from third. Lux would go to the lead on lap three with Joey Paxson following through the hole for second. Paxson would try his darnedest to pass Lux but Matt was up to the challenge and lead the remainder of the contest taking the black and white flag at 10:04 for his first win of 2021 and capping off a good night of racing at the Grant County speed plant. Paxson was second with Cory Clay coming from sixth to third, Addison True, Thursday night's winner, fourth with Robbie Roland rounding out the top five.

     

    That it for now but check back soon as the All Star sprints wrap up their Indiana swing with the big Rudeen Foundation $26,000 to win finale at the Kokomo Speedway on Sunday. Be there or be square. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible but if it so then support the various racing live streams for your racing fix. Comments, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts, it is our pleasure to bring them to you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Kofoid, Clouser and Miller Triumph In Tripleheader At Charleston

     

     

    Friday, May 21 - It was another glorious day of sunshine and warmth which made some of the previous Fridays in May start to seem like a decent bad memories (weather wise only). After taking in the All Star sprints at the new Circle City Raceway last night the plan was to venture into the neighboring state to the west of us, Illinois, to take in the POWRi tripleheader at the historic Charleston Speedway. We left in the afternoon using the scenic backroads of rural western Indiana and eastern Illinois to make the two hour journey over to Charleston. Along the way we passed through many small towns which are the heart amd soul of this great country and make you proud to say that this is America not the hustle and bustle of the big cities that dominate the headlines of today and are a symbol of what is wrong with this land today. We stopped in the small town of Paris on our route and enjoyed a fine dinner at Bubba Lubba BBQ where the food was simply delicious before we continued the trip west toward Charleston. We were not worried about securing a seat in the old covered grandstand at Charleston as Illinois friends, Don and Burline Skidmore, would be reserving two spots to plant our butts in the top row of one of the sections of the very unique wooden covered grandstand where no two steps seem to be the same distance and height between steps.

     

    On tap tonight was an open wheel tripleheader of POWRI midgets (32), POWRI 600's (20) and WAR Sprints (31) in night one of the ILLI-ANA Showdown. POWRi and WAR do not time trial but instead using a system of passing points in the heat races to lock in the top sixteen to the main event with the remainder participating in a B main to determine the remaining six starters for the feature events. The POWRi midgets would start off the program of racing at 7:26 with the first of four heat races for their division. Ryan Timms would power one of the Chad Boat midgets to victory in heat one besting Cannon McIntosh, Buddy Kofoid and Brent Crews in a fast paced race. Fourteen year old California phenom, Jade Avedisian, would capture heat two in another Boat entry in an impressive performance over Zach Daum, Trey Gropp and Brayton Lynch. Heat three would fall to one of the Keith Kunz stable of drivers in Daison Pursley triumphing over Shelby Boise, Cole Bodine and Sam Johnson. Bryant Wiedeman in another Kunz captured heat four beating Mitchell Davis, Joe B. Miller and Jake Neuman in the process. The POWRi 600's would contest two heats with Joe B. Miller doing triple duty tonight and Daison Pursley winning.

    The non-wing WAR sprints would spin off four heats which were the best of the night with Wesley Smith winning a hard fought heat one over Kory Schudy, Sterling Cling and Chet Williams. Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74X took down heat two over Garrett Aitken, Aric Gentry and Mitch Wissmiller. Mario Clouser looked like a rocket ship blasting to the front in heat three and besting Riley Kreisel, Anthony Nicholson and Zach Daum. Indiana's Evan Mosley claimed heat four over Xavier Doney, Brandon Mattox and Colten Cottle. All ten heats were in the record books in an hour in a finely tuned program.

     

    Two B mains were needed for the midgets and sprints with 15 year old pilot of another Boat entry, Brent Crews, winning the midget B while Oklahoma's Trey Gropp turned in a masterful high side ballet coming to the front almost riding over the turn one banking when Kory Weyant rode him high entering turn one. Some track maintenance was performed before the 20 lap POWRi 600 feature was called to the post.

     

    The green flag waved on the 20 lap 600 feature at 9:09 with Frank Galusha the early leader over Joe B. Miller. By lap four Miller found an opening and powered into the lead and would never look back as he pulled away to over a four second lead by the time the checkered flag waved at 9:23 for his second win of 2021 and his 42nd career win in POWRi 600 micro sprint racing. Galusha would hold on for second after a race long battle with Daison Pursley for that position with Pursley settling for third with Lane Warner running a nice race to finish fourth and Trevin Littlton rounding out the top five.

     

    Next up would be the 30 lap POWRi midget feature led to the green flag by Jade Avedisian and Daison Pursley at 9:57. Pursley bounded into the early lead with Avedisian on his tail tank. Buddy Kofoid tangled with a group of cars off turn four and spun to the inside on lap four to bring out the first of nine cautions in this event and Kofoid would have to restart 23rd for the restart. Meanwhile up front Pursley resumed his lead and began to distance himself from Avedisian and the rest of the pack. Just past the halfway mark Avedisian running hard caught the turn two wall and flopped her midget over lightly while running second and was finished for the evening. As Pursley continued to lead the battle behind him was heating up with Cole Bodine, Bryant Wiedeman and Ryan Timms duking it out while Kofoid was working his way back to the front. Cole Bodine spun in turn four while running fourth and was t-boned ending his night prematurely. This gave Kofoid another position and on the restart he went to work once again picking off Jake Neuman and then his teammate, Bryant Wiedeman, and now found himself in second and took up the chase of another teammate, Daison Pursley, looking for that number one prize. Kofoid was eating up chunks of real estate as he closed on Pursley and with nine to go he used a turn one slider to take the lead in turn two with Pursley countering but Kofoid finally finishing off the job in turns three and four. Jake Neuman lost a top five in a late race tangle with Wiedeman in turn four with four to go. At 10:37 Kofoid would complete the last to first march flashing under the checkered flag for his fifth win of 2021 in POWRi competition and his twelfth career POWRi midget win. Pursley would finish second with Wiedeman completing the Kunz podium sweep with Joe B. Miller fourth and Emerson Axsom overcoming heat race troubles rebounding to salvage a fifth at the end. California's Corey Day led the second five to the line in sixth with Brent Crews seventh, Shelby Boise eighth, Joey Wirth ninth and Cannon McIntosh rounding out the top five.

     

    There was still one more feature to go for the WAR sprints with 25 laps to be the distance. The front row of Mario Clouser and Garrett Aitken brought the 23 car field to the only green flag at 10:51 with Clouser powering to the front. Aitken would dog Clouser the entire distance never letting him feel comfortable especially in lap traffic where he was only a mistake away from grabbing the lead. Shane Cottle worked his way up to third and tried to chase down the lead duo but they were gone. Clouser would pace the non-stop feature from start to finish claiming his second WAR win of the year and the point lead over Aitken with Cottle third, Wesley Smith fourth and Zach Daum rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Brandon Mattox, Riley Kreisel, Xavier Doney, Anthony Nicholson and Mitch Wissmiller. The 25 lap distance was completed in just seven minutes in a non-stop ocean of motion. We quickly bid our farewells and headed to the SUV to make the 2 hour trek back to Crawfordsville completing the journey in record time hitting the sack even with the one hour time change by 2 AM.

     

    That's it for another report of our travels and check back tomorrow as we are back on the Indiana Invasion of the All Stars racing at Gas City on Saturday and the big Rudeen $26,000 to win race at Kokomo on Sunday. Until next time get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next. Be good and enjoy the warmth.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Courtney Comes Home To Win His Second All Star Race At Circle City


    Thursday, May 20 - The temperature has finally warmed up after a cold last few weekends with the thermometer soaring to the mid 80's for today's season opener at the Circle City Raceway on the grounds of the Marion County Fairgrounds. Extensive work has went into converting they say the 1/4 mile dirt oval but it is more like 1/5 or 1/6 but the improvements are noticeable. Another 15 rows have been added to the aluminum grandstand at extends toward turn one and the brand new bathrooms are simply beautiful. Automatic soap dispensers and great hand dryers are among the features offered along with both urinals and toilets. The big food stand is nice with good, friendly service at a speedy rate with reasonable prices with the exception of the bottled drinks which are a tad high. The track surface held up well especially for the first night of racing though it was dusty in the feature but fortunately it was blowing away from the seating area. Some improvement safety wise needs to be made with the backstretch exit with more padding needed but over all things have been done well and it is great to have a dirt track back in Marion County hosting a variety of racing divisions and sanctions. Tonight's opener would feature the All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars bringing a good car count of 31 to the new dance along with 25 All Star TQ midgets joining their big brothers in the turns three and four pit area. Speaking of joining the festivities saving us seats were Michigan's Allan and Nancy Brown along with Ohio traveler and Flo Racing announcer, Dustin Jarrett, making for a fun night of racing and bench racing to fill in the gaps.

    The four night Indiana All-Star invasion would start off with sprint car qualifying starting at 6:45 with Corey Eliason in the Rudeen #26 setting fast time with a time of 11.785 seconds around the 1/5 mile oval. The first heat of the night would push off at 7:44 with the All Star sprints running four of them with Wisconsin's Scotty Thiel scoring the first heat win over Gio Scelzi, Zeb Wise, Carson Short and Corey Elliason the qualifiers. Heat two would fall to Hunter Schuerenberg over the Indiana bred Sam McGhee #11 team driven by Ian Madsen, Cale Thomas, another Indiana driver, Sam Hafertepe Jr. from Texas and Brinton Marvel, the lastest driver out of one of the famous racing families in Indiana. Thomas Meseraull would bolt on the wing and capture heat win #3 over Bill Balog from Alaska, Cap Henry, Kerry Madsen, behind the key board of the Tony Stewart #14 tonight as Tony was at home celebrating his 50th birthday with Greg Wilson checking in in fifth. Hometown boy, Tyler Courtney, would snatch heat four over TJ Michael, another Texan, Justin Peck, another Indiana native, Kyle Reinhardt from New Jersey and a recent first time All Star winner and veteran Paul McMahan. All heat winners came from the front row and the track was beginning to widen and with some later water and prep it was in good condition by feature time. But before that happened the second division, the All Star TQ midgets had four heats to spin off. The four TQ heats would be captured by Jason Goff (one of many Goff cars in the field rivaling the Kunz midget stable), Cory Clay, Dylan Powell and Addison True.

    The two sprint car dashes which determine the top ten starters for the feature with dash one lining up the inside row and dash two lining up the outside row. Hunter Schuerenberg would claim dash one besting Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Carson Short and Justin Peck while Thomas Meseraull would take dash two over Scotty Thiel, Kerry Madsen, Gio Scelzi and Ian Madsen. Brady Bacon was another driver bolting on the wing after USAC's cancellation of sprint racing this weekend in Kansas due to bad weather and he would take down the B main over fellow USAC'er Tanner Thorson, Clinton Boyles and Rico Abreu making a late charge to place it in the starting field. The TQ B main would go to Indiana non-wing driver, Isaac Chapple.

    By 9:57 it was feature time as Hunter Schuerenberg and Thomas Meseraull brought the 24 car field to the initial green flag. Schuerenberg went to the early lead but it was not long before Tyler Courtney went to the point to lead the event. Schuerenberg and Meseraull fell in line behind the #7BC until Carson Short made a daring two for one slider in turn four to move to second and take up the chase of the leader. Four cautions through the first twenty laps kept the lap traffic to a minimum but after that the leaders began to catch the backmarkers and picked their way through with Short never too far behind Courtney as they went. The last caution appeared on lap 33 and set up a two lap dash to the finish. On the restart Short dove low entering turns one and two and drew alongside Courtney down the backstretch and into turns three and four. They raced that way until Courtney edged out front entering turn three where Short executed a slider pulling alongside Courtney but Courtney did not life exiting turn four coming to the white flag with the two within inches of each other. The move looked like the last lap at Kutztown when Zeb Wise stayed on the gas and beat Kyle Larson to the line in the USAC midget main there. The checkererd waved at 10:17 with Courtney across the line first for his second All Star career victory and two out of the last three edging Short, Schuerenberg, Zeb Wise in a fine march from 13th to fourth and Bill Balog nipping Justin Peck at the line for fifth after starting 11th. Peck led the second five across the line with Gio Scelzi seventh, Kerry Madsen eighth, Kyle Reinhardt ninth and Ian Madsen tenth.
    After some lackluster heats the feature more than made up for it with some great racing throughout the field and multi-grooves all around the track. It was a good one and a great way to open up the new Circle City Raceway in front of a very nice crowd.
    With only an hour drive home we decided to stay for the 20 lap TQ midget feature which was run off in good order with only two cautions and ten minutes in length. Addison True would lead from flag to flag pressured by Matt Hedrick, Joey Paxson, Rylan Gray and Johnny Goff with the final checker waving at 10:46.

    It was a good night of racing and a good way to open the season for the new Circle City Raceway and look forward to returning in the near future.

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow as we will bring you our report from Charleston Speedway in Illinois where the POWRi midgets & 600's along with the WAR sprints will take on the tough 1/4 mile oval. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, quotes, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy writing them for you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    McDougal Wins On Long Night At Lincoln Park

     

     

    Saturday, May 15 - Usually by this time of year we have visited Lincoln Park Speedway at least two or three times but bad weather and some other trips found us making our first 45 minute drive south on Rt. 231 to the Putnamville oval. We knew beforehand that it was going to be a long night of racing as they had three features from last week to makeup before continuing into the four division program for this Saturday evening. We arrived early just after 5 PM, exchanged our wrist bands from the opening night rainout at Bloomington as promoters, Joe & Jill Spiker, honor wrist bands from any of their three tracks, Bloomington, Lincoln Park and Paragon, to be exchanged for an equal value or ticket price event. We placed our folding chairs in the top row of the concrete grandstand to the right of the flagger's stand and relaxed, one of us took a nap, before the 111 cars pitside came out to run in the track and take hot laps. The breakdown was 34 non-wing sprint cars, 27 UMP modifieds, 21 super stocks and 29 bombers.

     

    By 7:03 we were ready to start the first of three makeup features from the previous week with the 20 lap UMP modified feature getting the honors. It was a decent feature with John Demoss holding off Derek Groomer for the win with Cole Parker, Michael Fish and Jordan Wever following. The 20 lap super stock feature was next on the card and they ran a good 20 lap feature with a good battle for the lead throughout with Josh Litton edging Wes McClara for the win trailed by Larry Raines, Kyle Johnson and Scott Ricketts in an 11 minute feature with only one caution. The bombers finished off the makeup features with a 15 lapper with Josh Foxworthy winning that one.

    The non-wing sprint cars would kick off the regular portion of the evening's activities with their four heats with AJ Hopkins checking out in heat one after starting first outrunning Tim Creech, Katlynn Leer in from Iowa and Matt McDonald. Young Harley Burns missed all the carnage behind him in heat two to score the win over Koby Barksdale, Steve Hair and Carl Rhuebottom who caused two of the pileups behind him. Shane Cottle spending the weekend in the Paul #24P garnered heat win three over a strong looking Braydon Cromwell of Missouri, Jason McDougal in the Dutcher #17GP and Nate McMillen. The fourth and final heat would fall to Jake Swanson over Iowa's Davey Ray, Travis Berryhill and Evan Mosley. The UMP modifieds would run four heats, the super stocks three and the bombers four. The weather at this point became a concern as 75% to 80% chance was forecasted as the time approached 10 and it started to sprinkle lightly. We decided to pack the chairs and take all the extras to the car and sit it out for a while while the three classes with B mains ran their events. Mario Clouser would win the sprint B main over Brent Beauchamp, Brayden Fox and Jake Scott.

     

    The rain let up and we headed back inside this time positioning ourselves on the top row of the concrete grandstand on the wooden boards close to the exit in case it started to rain again. The front row of Tim Creech and Koby Barksdale brought the field to Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 11:19 with Barksdale taking the lead on the high side of turn two. Fourth starting Jake Swanson worked his way to the lead going down the backstretch on lap one and was the new leader. Sixth starting Davey Ray dove low in turn one on lap five and banged wheels with third starting Shane Cottle as they raced toward turn two. Both drivers continued but upon entering turn three Cottle let his temper get the better of him as he turned to the right in the corner turning Ray sideways with Ray able to recover while Cottle spun and Matt McDonald with no where to go clipped the spinning Cottle and turned turtle in the turn ending his night prematurely. After Cottle's tangle with Max Adams the night before at Gas City which we felt was unintentional you might have thought that he would have been more forgiving and raced on as the race was early. On the restart Swanson went to the point again with Barksdale and now AJ Hopkins chasing. Swanson was looking strong and many thought he might be on his way to his first career win at LPS but no one told ninth starting Jason McDougal about this as he moved steadily forward picking off cars one by one as Swanson led Hopkins and Barksdale. McDougal passed Barksdale and then Hopkins in the next several laps before closing on Swanson as the pair raced to the line to start lap 15. By turn two McDougal using the cushion breezed by Swanson and captured the lead spot. In the meantime the rain returned and was noticeable in the lights as the race wore on. Everyone hoped for a complete 25 laps unlike last week when the rains came and shortened the race to 20 laps. Tonight the rain would hold off and Jason McDougal would drive the Michael Dutcher #17GP under Brian Hodde's checkered flag at 11:38 for his first win at LPS with the new combination looking strong after only a couple of outings. Hopkins would wrestle second away from Swanson with four to go and remain that way to the finish with Swanson third, Barksdale completing his evening with a fine fourth and Davey Ray getting a last laugh placing fifth. Some good runs in the second half of the top ten saw young Brayden Fox climbing from 17th to 6th, Jake Scott moving from 18th to 7th, Travis Berryhill 8th, Brent Beauchamp from 16th to 9th and Nate McMillen taking down 10th.

     

    At this point we decided to not tempt mother nature anymore and headed toward the SUV and homeward after seeing a boat load of racing in beautiful downtown Putnamville.

     

    Sunday, May 16 - Pat and I became virtual crew members of the newest Indy Car team, Top Gun Racing with rookie driver, RC Enerson, and friend, Max Niemann, organized a guided tour of the 555 acre Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis for us all. Seven of us were led through the massive cemetery grounds in cars by Dave Ondo has done extensive research on who was famous in the racing world and is buried there. The Cannonball Run, 24 minutes of touring, took us through many areas of the cemetery with spots highlighted with checkered flags. Sites seen were the grave sites of the four founding members of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, drivers, car builders, famous mechanics and riding mechanics and more including the grave site of John Dillinger, the famous bank robber. Also we saw the grave site of the only person killed at IMS that was not in attendance as an 11 year old boy, Wilbur Brink, across the street from the track was struck and killed by a flying part off one of the cars that cleared the homestretch grandstand and sailed into the front yard of the family of the little boy in 1931. That was truly a tragic story of the Indianapolis 500 history. We also visited the mausoleum on the grounds where the remains of A.J. Watson and George Bignotti along with Howard Wilcox Jr., the founder of the Little 500 bike race that is held every year since 1951 are em-tombed. It was a truly fun and interesting day to learn about some of the Indianapolis 500 legacy.

     

    That's it for now but check back next week as our typical weekend kicks off on Thursday with four straight races planned through Sunday as long as the weather cooperates. Comments, stories of interest, press releases and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Bacon Is The BOSS At Gas City

     


    Friday, May 14 - Tonight was a welcomed relief from the weather of last Friday night as we headed once again to the Gas City I-69 Speedway for the BOSS sprints paying $2000 to win at the place where you get your Backside Trackside and a good crowd turned out to do so. Joining us on the evening would be our good friends, Allan and Nancy Brown from Michigan, taking in the night's action on their way to visit the All Stars at Route 66 Speedway in Joilet, IL Saturday.

     

    A fine field of 44 sprint cars turned out to do battle on the evening along with 10 UMP modifieds including Ken Schrader making his first ever appearance at Gas City. The modified count was down as Bloomington was hosting a special UMP modified race tonight and 38 showed up there. Also on the evening's card were 16 street stocks and 18 hornets. Jerry Gappens Jr. has done a wonderful job revitalizing Gas City but the one thing he has to work on is starting the racing on time (7:30) not 7:55 for tonight and usually never at 7:30. With running multiple divisions (4 or 5) starting on time is of the essence as not everyone is from Grant or Howard County and have some drive time after the races are over.

     

    The BOSS sprint were first up with their first of five heat races taking the initial green flag at 7:55 PM with Kevin Thomas Jr. walking away with the first heat over Justin Grant making a guest appearance in the Hazen #57, Cole Ketcham who lost his mother this week and Evan Mosley. Heat two would fall to Cody White in his #26W beating Ben Knight, Katlynn Leer hauling in from Iowa and Matt Goodnight. Brady Bacon behind the wheel of the Wedgewood Motorsports #98 looked fast in taking heat three over Matt Westfall, Max Guilford and Mike Miller. Korbyn Hayslett looking better each time out captured heat four besting Max Adams in the family car, Isaac Chapple and Jerry Dahms. The fifth and final heat went to Shane Cottle wheeling the Paul #24P once again outrunning Thomas Meseraull, Adam Byrkett and Travis Hery. The modifieds would contest two heats while the street stocks and hornets also ran two heats.

     

    The BOSS sprints would run two B mains with the top two moving into the main event with Luke Hall getting some serious air time in turn two when he hit the cushion wrong, turned sideways and rolled several times before standing his sprinter on his nose and performing several of those maneuvers before coming to rest outside of turn two. Luckily Hall was OK after that nasty ride. Anthony D'Allessio would nail down B main one over Minnesota's Rob Caho and Tyler Kendall was the victor in B main two over Zack Pretorius to set the 24 starters for tonight's 25 lap feature go.

     

    The 25 lap feature got off to a rough start when Ben Knight took a wild ride on the first lap in turn three and was done for the evening. On the restart entering turn three Shane Cottle saw a hole down low and dove into it but the #24P drifted to the right and tagged Max Adams sending him into a series of flips before landing in turn four. Adams was OK but decided to take a ride to the local hospital for observation. After the rough start things settle down with Brady Bacon sliding up two rows from ninth to fifth on the third take with Justin Grant taking the early lead hounded by Shane Cottle and Matt Westfall. The early action was tight with three wide in various parts of the track and good close racing throughout. Brady Bacon was on the march and took the lead on the homestretch beginning lap nine from Grant as the race went forward. The racing of the leaders through lap traffic was classic sometimes four wide on the homestretch with Cottle low, Grant in the middle and Bacon up high passing lap cars all while racing each other for the lead. Thomas Meseraull and Kevin Thomas Jr. soon joined the chase running fourth and fifth with Westfall giving Thomas fits every lap running the extreme inside and pulling alongside and passing him numerous times in the course of a lap. Bacon remained out front but it never was a comfortable margin as Cottle still dogged him through the traffic. With just three laps to go Thomas did a slow spin in turn two, kept in the gas and executed a full 360 and kept going only losing two positions in the process. As the checkered waved at 10:27 it was Bacon across the line first chased by Cottle, Grant, T-Mez and Westfall. Positions six through ten were filled by Korbyn Hayslett with Kevin Thomas Jr. recovering for seventh, Isaac Chapple eighth, Mike Miler ninth after starting 18th and Cody White rounding out the top ten. It was a very good and exciting race from start to finish and kept the crowd into it.

     

    We decided to stay to watch the 20 lap UMP modified feature with Dillon Nusbaum pouncing off the outside of the front row and never looking back outdistancing Andy Bishop, Cole Sink, Ken Schrader and last week's winner, Bub Roberts to the checkers in a non-stop race of five minutes in length. It was now 10:38 and time to bid farewell to the Brown's and make the two hour tow back to Crawfordsville.

     

    That's it for now but check back Sunday to hear all about our first trip of the year to Lincoln Park Speedway, the closest track to our house, as double features are on the card except for the sprint cars who finished 20 of 25 laps for an official race before the rains came.

    Comments, words of wisdom and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some short track racing in your area and be warm and be safe. Also as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     


     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Meseraull Doubles Up On His Birthday At Gas City Opener

     

     

    Friday, May 7 - It was my brother Bob's 73rd birthday today and it was also Thomas Meseraull's 40th birthday and I know one of them celebrated in a big manner winning both the non-wing sprint car feature and the USAC regional midget feature at the Gas City I-69 Speedway on a cold, cold night of racing for their opener.  Guess who???

     

    The drive over to Gas City was mostly done in the sunshine with temperatures in the 50's but as we approached Fairmount, the boyhood home of the actor James Dean, the skies turned ominous and it began to rain lightly. As we turned onto the entrance ramp to I-69 North the rain steadily increased and a text message to Jimmy Hillegas who was already at the track confirmed that the storm had hit Gas City also and it had rained hard and things didn't look good for racing. Kudos to promoter, Jerry Gappens Jr., as he could have thrown in the towel at this point and no one would have blamed him. But instead his track crew went to work and massaged the surface into shape and by 8:57 the first of five divisions competing on the evening are ready to run their qualifying heat races. The non-wing sprint cars (24) were first up on the unruly, cowboy up racing surface with Scotty Weir wheeling the Petersen #4P to victory in heat one over Thomas Meseraull, Shane Cottle taking a guest ride in the Paul #24P and Tyler Kendall. Oxnard, California's Ricky Lewis nailed down heat two besting Jason McDougal in the Michael Dutcher #17GP, Aaron Leffel and Sterling Cling. Clinton Boyles drove the Paul Hazen #57 to victory on Paul Hazen day, 5/7, over Zack Pretorius. The USAC regional midget series which consists of a combination of open midgets, D2 midgets and 1000 cc mini sprints brought 28 to the dance tonight with Shane Cottle, Chett Gehrke in a D2 and Emerson Axsom winning their heat races. The UMP modifieds (18) and the street stocks (12) would contest two heats with the hornets (22) rounding out the heat qualifying with three heats. Only the midgets would need a B main and Thomas Meseraull would cop that one after having car problems in his heat race and being pushed to the pit area.

     

    It was a shame that over half the crowd had already left before the first of five features was called trackside after 11 PM but as we sat in the car waiting out the rain delay earlier we commented on many proceeding to the ticket booth as being "under dressed" for the cold evening predicted with temperatures to slid into the 30's before daybreak. Even with proper clothing and other items of warmth it was plenty cold by the time the 24 car field of sprint cars took the green flag at 11:14. Scotty Weir got the jump on first starting Clinton Boyles entering turn one to take the lead but entering turn three Boyles biked the #57 and rolled over in front of the field sitting upside down on his roll cage with no one making contact which was a blessing. Boyles was finished for the evening though. Weir went out front again on the restart with the field in hot pursuit. Ricky Lewis and Jason McDougal would have a good race for third for several laps before McDougal wrestled the second spot away. By lap six Thomas Meseraull had moved from sixth starting spot and passed Zack Pretorius for second exiting turn four. Two laps later he would use the same high side move to grab the lead away from Weir. On lap nine Harley Burns dumped his sprinter in turns three and four to bring out the red. Burns was OK after the incident but done for the evening. On the restart T-Mez was the rabbit leading Weir and McDougal. Meseraull continued to increase his lead over Weir on each lap as the feature progressed. On lap sixteen McDougal was able to pass Weir for second and went after the high flying Meseraull. He closed somewhat but T-Mez was flying and crossed the finish line with the Don Whitney #00 at 11:41 over three seconds ahead of McDougal with Weir third, Shane Cottle placing fourth and the real drive of the night being Garrett Aitken advancing from 24th and last to fifth at the finish. Aitken was involved in a heat tangle and did not qualify through the heat forcing him to start at the tail for the feature and steadily worked his way forward the entire 25 lap distance. It was a good birthday present for Meseraull but he was not done yet with more presents to come. Colten Cottle placed sixth with Jackson Slone turning in a good performance coming from 20th to 7th with Ricky Lewis eighth, Tyler Kendall ninth and Aaron Davis rounding out the top ten.

     

    There was still a 20 lap USAC regional midget feature to run with the green dropping at 11:53. It quickly turned to red as Greg Mitchell slammed a tractor tire inside turn four and flipped over. Mitchell was OK and as the race went back to green Emerson Axsom who started second went to the point and almost everyone still in the grandstands believed this one had already been decided. That is everyone except T-Mez. The first night USAC National midget winner last week at Kokomo paced the field for the first 15 laps until Thomas Meseraull who started 16th used his high side groove to drive by Axsom easily off turn four to take away the top spot with the red appearing one lap later when Adam Taylor flipped in turn two. Not to worry as T-Mez hit the loud pedal on the restart and took off. Four laps later he flashed under the checkered with a second and a half lead over Axsom for his second win of the evening as the presents kept rolling in. Shane Cottle would take down the final podium position finishing third with Jarett Andretti in a rare appearance taking fourth and Chett Gehrke the top D2 across the line in fifth. It was now 12:17 and with a two hour ride home we bid farewell to our buddy, Benny Trask of Ohio, and thawed out on the ride home just happy we saw racing when others were rained out or for other reasons.

     

    That's it for now as it looks dismal for racing at Macon or Lincoln Park for tonight but we might be able to sneak in a late afternoon UTV race down in Bedford. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be warm and safe. Comments, news, rumors or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cummins Prevails At Terre Haute Action Track In MSCS Sprints

    Sunday, May 2 - It was shaping up to be a three race weekend as the Terre Haute Action Track's season opener was today as long as the weather cooperated. The forecast called for overcast skies and chances of rain from 4 PM forward with lower percentages in the early evening and good chances by 9 PM. We decided to take chance and make the 1 1/2 hour tow to Terre Haute and we are glad we did. We arrived around 4:30 and decided to sit it out for a while in the SUV as light showers peppered the area for about a half hour or so. Finally after 5 PM we made the decision to head into the old wooden grandstands that stretch along the homestretch and found a seat three rows from the top to plant our butts. Warmups were underway for the three division program of MSCS sprint cars (27), Indiana Pro Late Model Series (18) and UMP modifieds (27), one of the largest modified fields at Terre Haute in quite a while. With the overcast skies and the natural watering of the track, Terre Haute was fast, racy and virtually dustless for the entire evening and in the best shape in many a year.

    Management knew that they were not only in a race on the track but also a race against the rain scheduled to move into the area and stepped up to the plate and spun off a finely tuned and quick night of racing for the good crowd that turned out to support them. The MSCS sprint cars do not run time trials just heats and the first heat of the evening took the green promptly at 6. Tye Mihocko of Arizona started seventh and sliced through the field like the proverbial hot knife through butter making a fourth to first blast for the lead down the backstretch in one smooth move. Mihocko would go on to win the first heat over Nic Harris, Carson Short making a start in the Bond #7R, JJ Hughes and Max Guilford. Robert Ballou won an entertaining heat two in a good battle with Kyle Cummins with Shane Cottle during double duty on the evening (also driving an UMP modified), Sterling Cling and Jadon Rogers following. Chase Johnson claimed heat three besting Chase Stockon, Ricky Lewis, Davey Ray, last night's sprint car winner at Lincoln Park and Paul Nienhiser. The Indiana pro late models spun off two quick heats with Tyler Neal and Keaton Streeval claiming wins. The UMP modifieds would contest three heats with Will Krup, Shane Cottle and Tyler Nicely notching wins. Only the sprint cars would run a B main with Matt Goodnight taking that one over Nick Bilbee, Brian VanMeveren, Cole Bodine and Nate McMillen. The UMP modifieds would start all 27 cars in their feature event. All qualifying was completed in slightly less than an hour. Good job!!

    The first of the three main events would feature the Indiana Pro Late Models in a 15 lap affair around the half mile dirt oval in Vigo County. The green would wave at 7:14 and only two cautions would slow the action. Tyler Neal who has so far in 2021 dominated this division pulled off his fifth win of the year holding off a late race charge from Shelby Miles to win. Brad Barrow and two former LPS runners, Steve Peeden and Tyler Cain, rounded out the top five with the 15 lap feature only taking 10 minutes to run. Another good job!!

    Next up on the card was the 25 lap MSCS sprint car main event paying $2000 to win. Tye Mihocko and Robert Ballou brought the 20 car starting field to the green flag with Ballou sliding high in turns one and two, catching the cushion and standing his #12 on its nose before flipping over and landing on the track. Ballou was OK but this mishap took him out early in an event that he was one of the favorites to win. On the restart Nic Harris grabbed the early lead and Harris was looking very good leading the first four laps until fifth starting Kyle Cummins passed him exiting turn four to take the lead away. The second red would wave on lap eight when Max Guilford went straight into the turn one wall and flipped over coming to rest on the track. Guilford was fine but the car was done for the night. On the restart Cummins went back to the point with Harris in tow. Seventh starting Carson Short was the man on the move powering into third on lap ten. Jadon Rogers in the family #14 was also advancing forward from his 14th starting position. One lap later Cole Bodine found the turn one and two wall flipping over and tearing down some of the white covering around the outside of the wall in that area. Bodine was also OK after his wild ride. Cummins moved to the front again and continued to stretch his lead lap after lap holding a straightway lead in the latter stages of the race. Nic Harris running the race of his life in second had the story book finish go up in smoke on lap 22 when heavy smoke bellowed from the rear of the #N2. He pulled to the infield ended his great night three laps earlier than planned. Cummins would cruise under the checkered at 8:21 taking his second win of the weekend taking home another $2000 for his wife and baby. Carson Short finished second in a fine run with Jadon Rogers being the hard charger moving from 14th to 3rd at the end with Chase Stockon fourth and Tye Mihocko rounding out the top five. Chase Johnson came home sixth with Davey Ray seventh, Paul Nienhiser eighth, Nate McMillen ninth and JJ Hughes tenth on the fast tacky half mile.

    There was still the 15 lap UMP modified feature to go as we noticed some umbrellas appear outside in the seats with the roof over them. The 27 UMP modified starters rumbled to the green at 8:28 with Will Krup taking the early lead. Tyler Nicely challenged early from his third starting spot and took the lead away from Krup after racing side by side with him around the big half. There was only one caution and that is where Krup challenged and retook the lead from Nicely and went onto score yet another Terre Haute win with Hunt Gossum trailing the lead pair with Derek Groomer in a strong run for fourth and Shane Cottle nailing down fifth at the finish at 8:37.

    As we exited the covered grandstand the rain was picking up to the point where we don't believe they would have been able to run on the track much longer. So it was good to beat Mother Nature for once as we have 10 rainouts already in 2021 and didn't want to make it 11 so thank you to Terre Haute management and all the organizations involved in the racing tonight cooperating and being ready to race when it was their time to do so. Without everyone working together they would not have been able to complete the entire program of racing tonight. We drove back to Crawfordsville in the rain the entire distance and were thankful to be able to witness the complete show of racing tonight at Terre Haute.

    Check back next Saturday as tentative plans have us taking in the season opener at Gas City, POWRi midgets at Macon and USAC Silver Crown racing at Winchester but again the weather will be the deciding factor on what we do and do not see this coming weekend. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be warm and safe. News, comments and other tidbits of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where our typical weekend takes us in the next few months.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Night Two Of Kokomo Grand Prix Goes To Windom

     


    Saturday, May 2 - We stayed the night in Kokomo and went to lunch at Half Moon and had a delicious meal before venturing over to Ollie's to do some shopping. The day was much warmer with temperatures in the 70's and plenty of sunshine but that nasty wind persisted. From there we drove over to the track and parked in the front row and just relaxed. A battery problem with the Rogue as we were preparing to grab the gear and head trackside found Pat waiting for AAA to arrive and give the battery a jump. She missed the midget time trials and sprint car heats but made it in to see the green drop on the first midget heat race.

     

    The midget field remained at 20 while the sprint car field dropped from 29 to 20 with two other regular Saturday night tracks running on this evening. Time trials commenced at 6:58 and when finished at 7:10 last night's first time winner, Emerson Axsom, was quickest at 13.371 seconds. As was the format last night the non-wing sprint cars would run their heat races first with the new arrival of the Hank Byrum #3R with Kyle Cummins at the controls notching heat one over Chris Windom, Max Guilford and Cannon McIntosh. Jadon Rogers dumped the Baldwin #5 in turn one in this one with the car spinning around on its side for a moment. Rogers was OK but the Baldwin car was done for the evening. Shane Cottle used the Cottle groove (low side) to claim heat two over Cole Bodine, Matt Goodnight and Clinton Boyles. Brady Bacon looking for two in a row brought the Marc Lognworth #410 home first in heat three over Justin Grant, Chase Johnson and Anthony D'Alessio.

     

    The midgets would grind out three heats for their 20 car field with Buddy Kofoid scoring the win in heat one just as he did last night defeating Kevin Thomas Jr., Brenham Crouch, Emerson Axsom and Chase Randall. Tanner Thorson had the Reinbold/Underwood #19T honking in heat two turning back Jason McDougal in the RAMS #4A, Chris Windom, Kyle Cummins and young Hayden Reinbold. Logan Seavey put the Malloy #25 out front and prevailed in heat three over Bryant Wiedeman, Justin Grant, Cannon McIntosh and Daison Pursley who came back from tipping over on the cushion in turn one to garner fifth. All qualifying was completed by 8:22 and there was no need for any B mains so next up would be the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature.

     

    The loaded front row of Brady Bacon and Kyle Cummins would bring the 19 car starting field to the green flag at 8:51 with Cummins storming out front leaving Bacon to do battle with Justin Grant and Cole Bodine. The yellow appeared five times in this one slowing the action but each time the race went back to green Cummins powered back into the lead. Grant, Bodine, Bacon and Chris Windom diced it out among themselves for the other top five positions but Cummins was gone. Suddenly in the last five laps Grant was catching Cummins as they entered lap traffic. After clearing the lap traffic Grant continued to close and was making a race of it. Time ran out with Cummins crossing the line first at 9:09 chased by Grant with Bodine in a great run for third, Bacon fourth and Windom rounding out the top five. Another five laps and the outcome could have been different but it was not to be.

     

    At 9:27 the green flag dropped on the 30 lap USAC midget feature and unlike last night Chris Windom who started first both nights went to the cushion in turn two and led the opening lap. Daison Pursley was quick to dispose of Randall for second and put the pressure on Windom like last night. Lap five saw Pursley execute a slider in turn three for the lead with Windom countering in turn four to regain the lead and going to the cushion in turn two to establish his lead. Windom chose the inside beginning on lap seven hugging the infield tires as he continued to pace the field as Kevin Thomas Jr. also found the inside to his liking advancing into the middle of the top ten from his 13th starting position. The first yellow would wave shortly thereafter when Ethan Mitchell suffered a flat tire, went to the work area and returned before the field went back to green. Windom went to the top on the restart and led but suddenly Tanner Thorson found the inside to his liking and moved into second and poked his nose underneath Windom prompting Windom to move to the bottom groove to retain his lead. As the race hit the halfway mark Windom had a comfortable lead of over a second. The red would fly on lap seventeen when fourth running Daison Pursley got bit by the turn one and two big cushion first biking and then the right side wheels digging in and causing him to roll over twice followed by an end over end before coming to rest on the track. This time Pursley would not be able to continue. On the restart Windom and Thorson hugged the inside while Thomas and now fourth running Buddy Kofoid chose the outside to make their assault. Thomas returned to the bottom in a few laps but Kofoid stayed topside where no other man seemed to go. Kofoid dove into turn three on lap twenty one with all four wheels on the cushion and executed a two for one pass of Thomas and Thorson to move from fourth to second and set his sights on Windom for the lead. With five to go Kofoid had closed within four car lengths of Windom but a turn four stumble on the cushion gave Windom the breathing room he needed over the remaining four laps and he charged under the checkers at 9:44 for his first USAC midget win of 2021 besting Kofoid with Thomas using the outside off turn four to edge Thorson at the line for third with Emerson Axsom rounding out the top five. Thomas' run from 13th to 3rd would earn him the hard charger award of the night. Justin Grant would lead the second five to the line with Logan Seavey in his shadow for seventh with Thomas Meseraull eighth, Brenham Crouch ninth after starting 16th and Kyle Cummins hanging on to finish tenth.

     

    The midget race was indeed the better of the two features tonight with all activity in the record books by 9:44 wrapping up the Kokomo Grand Prix for 2021.

     

    Check back Monday for our third race of the weekend as we travel to the south and Terre Haute for a night of MSCS sprint cars, Indiana late models and UMP modified racing as the Action Track opens for 2021. Until next time get out there and take in some good short track racing in your area and if not possible turn on Flo or DirtVision to keep in touch. Comments, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And thanks for following our travels and hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Be safe out there and enjoy your next race.

     
     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Axsom Takes Down First Career USAC Midget Win At Kokomo

     

     

    Friday, April 30 - Today was a day that fooled you depending on where in the state of Indiana you were. I ventured out in the early afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60's with little wind and felt it was a nice day. Driving to Kokomo later in the afternoon on the trip northeast we encountered the winds that were predicted in that area as the car blew from the gusts and the flags stood straight out in the various yards and small towns along our route and by the time we reached the Kokomo Speedway it was very windy and those winds did not let up the entire evening. This made for a cold and uncomfortable evening of watching racing as the winds played havoc on the smaller than usual crowd on hand blowing from our left on the backstretch and probably straight into the faces of the folks on the homestretch. One thing it did not cause was a dusty track as the track crew worked their magic and though rough in the beginning the surface was worked in and produced a racy track to complete on.

     

    A disappointing field of only 20 USAC midgets made the tow to Kokomo and the evening started with time trials for the mighty midgets commencing at 7:17 and wrapping up at 7:30 with Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 set fast time with a lap of 13.022 seconds around the 1/4 mile bullring. The non-wing sprint cars (29) were the other division on the race card and would kick off racing action at 7:54 and the action was wild from the get go. In the first heat Max Guilford clipped the turn one inside truck tire and rolled his Goodnight #79 over several times. On the restart entering turn one Landon Simon and Logan Seavey in the Michael Dutcher #17GP tangled with both turning sideways and tumbling numerous times ending up in turn two. Neither would return for the remainder of the evening. Finally things settled down and we got to racing. Clinton Boyles powered the Paul Hazen #57 to victory in heat one over Brady Bacon in the #410, Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74 and Tye Mihocko in his own sprinter. Ben Knight looked good in heat two leading from start to finish winning over Cannon McIntosh making his non-wing sprint car debut in the Phillips/Daugh #71P, Chris Windom and Jadon Rogers making a guest appearance in the Baldwin #5. The third and final heat fell to Max Adams in the family owned #5M besting Anthony D'Alessio, Justin Grant and Scotty Weir in the Pederson #4P.

     

    Next up were the USAC midgets for their three heat races with Michael "Buddy" Kofoid notching the heat one win over Thomas Meseraull, Emerson Axsom, Chase Randall and Kevin Thomas Jr. Heat two would fall to Bryant Wiedeman making it two for two for Keith Kunz Motorsports beating teammate, Daison Pursley, Chris Windom, Kyle Cummins and Brenham Crouch. Heat three was captured by Justin Grant in the RMS Motorsports #2J over Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh, Ethan Mitchell and Clinton Boyles. Only the non-wing sprint cars needed a B main with California's Chase Johnson in one of the Goodnight steeds taking the win over Brian VanMeveran passing him on the last lap with Matt Goodnight third, the previous non-wing feature winner at Kokomo, Matt Westfall, fourth and Zach Pretorius taking the fifth and final qualifying spot.

     

    It was now feature time and the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature would be the first called to the post and the green flag would drop on the 20 car field at 9:31 with Clinton Boyles jumping to the early lead. Boyles would pace the field for the first nine laps until Brady Bacon made his move to the inside of turn four coming to start lap ten to grab the lead. Several drivrs were moving forward through the field with Chris Windom from 8th, Shane Cottle from 7th and Chase Johnson from 16th making big moves. Boyles battled first with Cottle for second then Windom for third before falling into fourth. Windom and Cottle duked it out behind the high flying Bacon with Windom finally clearing Cottle and taking up the chase of the Macho Man. Windom was closing some serious real estate but time ran out with the checkered waving at 9:42 with Brady Bacon who was winless at Kokomo in 2020 on his way to the point title nailed down his first win here in 2021 over Windom with Cottle third, Boyles fourth and Chase Johnson in a fine run from 16th to 5th at the wire.

     

    We still had the 30 lap USAC National midget feature to contest with the front row of Chris Windom and Emerson Axsom bringing 18 others to the green flag at 10:03. Axsom dove low entering turn one and took the lead from Windom in turn two sliding in front of the defending series champion. Windom countered in turn three and Axsom reversed the standings diving low in turn four. Daison Pursley pulled a two for one slider in turn one on lap two taking the lead but Axsom retaliated in turn three regaining the top spot which this time he would not give up. Lap five saw Brenham Crouch bike on the cushion entering turn one but return to earth OK but the car then slid up the track in between turns one and two smacking the outside wall and rolling over twice in the incident. Crouch was OK except for his feelings but will soldier on for another day. On the restart Daison Pursley running third, Buddy Kofoid running fifth and Kyle Cummins running sixth got together in turn two with Kofoid spinning and Pursley suffering a flat tire. All three would return to race from the rear of the field with Kofoid battling all the way back to fifth at the finish. On the restart Windom threw a slider at Axsom which didn't work and Axsom drove away as Cannon McIntosh raced with Windom for second in a good battle with McIntosh prevailing and taking off after Axsom who was looking for his first USAC midget win after scoring one last week with POWRi in Missouri. The best racing through the middle stages of the race was mid pack where Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull, Ethan Mitchell, Chase Randall and Buddy Kofoid were swapping positions every lap. Meanwhile Axsom held a steady healthy lead most of the remainder of the contest until the last five laps when it looked like McIntosh was gaining some serious ground on the leader. McIntosh closed to about a second but could not get any closer as the 16 year old Axsom would hold on to claim his first USAC midget win at 10:20 flashing under the double checkers ahead of McIntosh with Windom third, Grant fourth and Kofoid salvaging fifth at the finish. Daison Pursley would rebound for sixth with Tanner Thorson seventh, Ethan Mitchell eighth, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth in his 100th career USAC midget start with Meseraull rounding out the top ten.

     

    It was a good night of racing but gee could it warm up some!!! We are tired of blasting the heat in the Rogue after the races are over!!! And the track surface was a surprise after taking the relentless pounding of the wind the entire day. Good job to the Kokomo track crew on a job well done.

     

    Check back Sunday as we stay in Kokomo to take in night two of the Kokomo Grand Prix and the temperatures are reported to be in the 70's during the day and 60's at night but the wind remains. Until next time get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area and stay warm and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and for the kind remarks about our writings.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Thorson Takes Second Win Of Keystone Invasion At Path Valley

     

     

    Sunday, April 25 - This day had been the questionable one as we checked the weather forecast before leaving to travel East. It turned out the rain came through earlier and almost wiped out Saturday's racing if the tracks had not moved up their starting times. By the time we left our hotel and started our trip westward the weather had cleared up and it turned out to be a nice day with the exception of the pesky wind that had plagued us the entire four days. It would play a role today also as the start time for racing was 6 PM, still under sunny and windy skies. Pam Smith joined her husband, Guy, today to sit with us along with Steve Perotto. I also spotted Bob Walker, aka CanaryBob on Twitter and went up to chat with him. He introduced me also to Scooter, another Twitter aquience, and also introduced me to his friends from Virginia, Neil and Phillip Sandridge, Doug Cassatt and more. This group got together and raised $250 and gave it to Indiana driver, Isaac Chapple, for traveling the farthest alone without a pit crew. It is gestures like this that make racing special and meeting people at the race tracks all around the country that keeps us going to the races. Wanted to also mention our PA buddies, Rich Rauser, John Hoppel and Keith Barto along with the visiting California contingent of Chiller, Leslie and Mark. Good seeing everyone again and making some more friends at the race track. Racing people are the best!!!

     

    Path Valley Speedway Park is a 1/4 mile high banked dirt oval that sits in a bowl like setup with the wooden grandstands starting in turns three and four and extending all the way over to turn one looking down on the track surface. The track got dusty from all the wind reeking its havoc but the corners still developed a cushion which was quite remarkable. Time trials kick started the program beginning at 5:24 and were in the books by 5:37 for the 24 car (lowest of the four venues of the week by one) with Brady Bacon snapping the three race stranglehold on the fast time award held down by the East Coast USAC drivers by setting fast time of 10:943 seconds which was a new track record. It was also Bacon's 38th career quick time moving him past Larry Dickson for 5th on the all time list. Joining the USAC National sprints on this early Sunday evening program were the wingless super sportsman (20) which were totally different drivers from the 23 that ran yesterday at BAPS.

     

    The USAC sprint cars would be first up for their heat races with Robert Ballou holding off Chris Windom, Tim Buckwalter, CJ Leary and Mark Smith for the win. Heat two saw Justin Grant rip the lip on his way to victory over Steven Drevicki, Paul Nienhiser, Chase Stockon and Nash Ely setting a new 10 lap track record with a time of 2:00.41. The third heat went to Brandon Mattox who while interviewed in victory lane that he was ready to head back to Indiana a day early but his crew talked him out of it which turned out to be a good thing as he won his heat and would finish fifth in the feature. Jake Swanson, Kevin Thomas Jr., Tanner Thorson and Ricky Lewis would trail Mattox across the line. The wingless super sportsman would spin off three heats with Steve Wilbur, Brad Mellott and Mike Smith scoring wins.

    Only the sprint cars would need a semi and Brady Bacon captured this one after executing a rare spin in his heat and missing the cutoff. Thomas Meseraull, Carmen Perigo, Matt Westfall, Isaac Chapple, Alex Bright and Briggs Danner rounded out the qualifiers.

    Only the two features were left to run and by 7:18 after performing the traditional four wide salute the green flag would wave on the 40 lap USAC sprint car feature. Tanner Thorson from the outside of row one would jump into the early lead trailed by CJ Leary and Chase Stockon. Lap two would see a major incident unfold when Chris Windom dove for a hole between Stockon and Leary off turn two which closed too quickly with Stockon running over Windom's left front wheel while Leary ramped over Windom's rear front knocking his front end completely out. In the ensuing scramble Brady Bacon spun to avoid the tangle but Tim Buckwalter was not so lucky flipping over in the incident. Both Windom and Buckwalteer were finished for the day and everyone was OK. On the restart Thorson went to the top and the lead again trailed by Leary. The field behind the front two swapped positions back and forth with Justin Grant moving forward from his sixth starting position into contention. Alex Bright was also a driver making up ground from his 18th starting spot moving to the front. The key moment of the race came around lap 19 when Leary dove low in turn three and slide ahead of Thorson exiting turn four. Thorson went low in turn one and slid in front of Leary in turn two with Leary jumping the cushion with Thorson out front entering turn three where Leary again executed a slider taking first back again. Thorson used a slider in turn one and the two collided in turn two, Thorson's right rear to Leary's left front resulting in Leary jumping the cushion allowing Grant to sneak underneath for second. Leary and Grant went at it tooth and nail for second until lap 23 in turn three when Leary went cushion jumping again bouncing down in front of Kevin Thomas Jr. who had no where to go except over Leary's left front which ended the evening prematurely for Leary in the process. On the restart Thorson was in command as he approached lap traffic on lap 30 and weaved his way through with relative ease. With just two laps to go Thorson had to change lanes and go low in turn one exchanging Goodyear labels with Briggs Danner but not unsettling either car. At 7:38 Thorson raced under the checkered flag for his second win of the Keystone Invasion holding off Grant, Thomas, Alex Bright for his third straight hard charger after starting 18th and Brandon Mattox. The second five was led by 11th starting Jake Swanson with Steven Drevicki moving from 14th to 7th, Robert Ballou 8th after going to the rear after making a pit stop before the start of the race, Thomas Meseraull nailing down 9th after starting 20th and Chase Stockon dropping back to 10th at the finish.

     

    The super sportsman were scheduled to run 35 laps with Steve Wilbur the early leader. After the sun went down the night turned colder and after seven cautions and 18 laps I followed Pat to the car as shortly thereafter caution number eight waved. The wind was downright blustery as I headed to the car as we left early to make our way westward to Bedford to spend the night before arising early to continue the remaining 7 1/2 hour tow back to the Hoosier state. Kevin Gutshall ended up winning the super sportsman race and he was leading when I left so I don't think we miss much except for maybe more cautions.

     

    That's it for the reports on the Keystone Invasion tour as we prepare for a weekend in Indiana of two nights at Kokomo for USAC midgets and Sunday night at Terre Haute for MSCS sprint cars. Until next time get out to some good short track racing in your area or plot a road trip to visit some tracks on your bucket list. Either way have fun and be safe out there. Comments, news or other tidbits of information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our column and thanks to one reader for letting us know that the Grandview report was not out there and it has since been added in proper order so look back a ways to read that one if you haven't already done so.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Leary Triumphs In Afternoon Special At BAPS Motor Speedway

     

     

    Saturday, April 24 - The weather forecast for Central Pennsylvania was not good with rain predicted to start around 8 PM so BAPS Motor Speedway along with Port Royal Speedway and Lincoln Speedway used social media in a positive way letting everyone know that they were starting their programs several hours earlier than previously posted. In BAPS Motor Speedway's case the starting time was pushed up to 3 PM for the three division card of USAC sprints (25), their regular top division, the super sportsman (23) and extreme stocks (18). We had to cancel our originally planned noon lunch date with my brother, Bob, from New Jersey when the starting time was moved up but things happen and the main reason we came East was to see racing so it was off to BAPS. Our lunch stop was Rock-It Pizza near the track in Newberrytown for a steak sandwich and an Italian sandwich taking it over to the track and eating it in the parking lot before the races started.

     

    Time trials would lead off the card of events with the start ten minutes earlier than the new posted time of 3 PM. By 3:17 three time USAC East Coast sprint car champion, Steven Drevicki, was being interviewed on the homestretch after posting the third straight fast time for the impressive Eastern contingent with a time of 19.349 seconds. The nice part about the matinee racing was it was warm (in the 60's) but the bad part was it was dusty which was expected by running an afternoon show on a dirt track. The track crew tried their best to provide a decent track surface and by feature time it was not bad. In between we witnessed three sprint car heats, three super sportsman heats and two extreme stock heats along with a sprint car B main before the main events. Russ Mitten, Kenny Edkin and Tony Jackson, son of Larry, who the super sportsman part of the program was named after being called the Larry Jackson National won heat races in that division. The USAC sprint cars also ran three heats with CJ Leary in the Bill Michael #77 out of Arizona taking heat one over another Arizona car in last night's feature winner, Tanner Thorson, in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ, Nash Ely, Steven Drevicki and Kevin Thomas Jr. Heat two went to Robert Ballou who by winning secured himself at top ten starting position (8th) and would not have to charge through the field as normal. Alex Bright, Matt Westfall, Chase Stockon and Briggs Danner chased him across the line. Heat three was won by Chris Windom over Justin Grant, Jake Swanson, Brady Bacon and Billy Ney making his first appearance of the tour and qualifying for his first USAC National sprint car race in a feel good story as he always wanted to race with USAC and finally got the chance to.

     

    The only B main needed was for the sprint cars and Isaac Chapple scored the win over Mark Smith in the Hank Byrum #3R, Ricky Lewis, Thomas Meseraull who had a heat spot wrapped up until suffering a flat tire, Brandon Mattox, Paul Nienhiser and Joey Biasi.

     

    Warren Alston's green flag would wave on the field at 5:42 with CJ Leary jumping to the early advantage over Matt Westfall. Leary looked like he was shot out of a cannon pulling away to a huge lead as second was up for grabs with first Westfall then Stockon and then Grant having the runner up position. By lap 12 Leary's lead was a straightway as the former champion had checked out. Leary began to work lap traffic allowing Grant to half the lead and the advantage totally disappeared when the caution waved on lap 17 for a wheel cover on the track high above the cushion. On the ensuing restart Leary took a run at Leary with a slider entering turn one sliding in front of the leader in turn two but jumping the cushion allowing Leary to counter underneath along with Ballou taking away second from Grant in the scramble. Chris Windom joined the fight throwing a turn three slider to wrestle second away from Ballou and take up the chase of Leary who again was shot out of the cannon. Lap twenty one brought the red flag out for a turn one double flip involving Ricky Lewis and Brandon Mattox both getting upside down with Joey Biasi spinning to avoid the two. You knew another big slider was coming on the restart, this time from Windom, as a great run off turn two set the stage for the turn three assault on Leary but Windom's head of steam carried him high onto the cushion allowing Leary to escape with the lead again and costing Windom second to Grant as he wrestled his mount off the cushion and continued. Leary again opened his lead up to over two seconds in the last nine laps and brought the Michael honking Ford powered sprinter to the checkered flags first at 6:05 trailed by Grant with Windom third, Alex Bright the hard charger of the race placing fourth after starting 13th and notching his third straight top ten run in the tour with Brady Bacon rounding out the top five after starting 11th. Robert Ballou would lead the second five to the finish in sixth with Steven Drevicki seventh, Jake Swanson eighth, Paul Nienhiser ninth after starting 17th and Thomas Meseraull tenth after starting 20th. That was the first time in ten years that a Ford powered sprint car has graced victory lane with USAC, the last being Bobby East's win at Toledo in July of 2011 and was Michael's first USAC National win as a car owner. Even though it was a day surface I felt this was the most competitive race of the series so far with one to go at Path Valley.

     

    The 30 lap super sportsman feature was next up taking the green flag at 6:23 with Kenny Edkin moving up from fourth to second after a false start when Matt Ondek jumped the start on the initial start. Edkin, the multi-time winner in the past two years really didn't need the extra help but he took the gift and grabbed the lead at the start and was never headed. Russ Mitten tried his best from fifth to track down Edkin but to no avail. The best racing was being waged for spots three through six which continued the entire race. A few sprinkles were felt during the middle of this race and everyone hoped that any rain would hold off until this one was completed and it did. With only one caution the 30 lap distance was covered in sixteen minutes with Kenny Edkin in for his first of many wins in 2021 over Mitten with Chase Gutshall third, Tony Jackson fourth and Scott Dellinger driving a heady race from fourteenth to fifth at the checker at 6:39. The crowd scurried for their cars as the drops picked up and we made it safely keeping dry in the process. Around 8 PM a steady light rain fell in the Harrisburg area as we dined at Fiesta Mexico before checking into our hotel behind the restaurant for the evening.

     

    That brings this report to a close as we prepare to make the trip over to Path Valley for round four of the Keystone Invasion so check back Monday or Tuesday for the rundown on the series finale. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay warm and be safe. And thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Thorson Becomes Another First Time USAC Sprint Winner At Big D

     

     

    Friday, April 23 - After last night's frigid temperatures it soared into the middle 60's during the day in eastern Pennsylvania and the forecast for the evening was for the temperature only to fall into the 50's. Tonight's stop was in the coal region of eastern PA near Minersville where the USAC National sprint cars (26) would be joined by the regular 358 modifieds (26) and the roadrunner (18) division which almost always puts on a good program.

     

    Things didn't take long to heat up when Paul Nienhiser went for a ride in time trials off turn two and dumped his steed in the process. During time trials 11 cars broke the existing track record set nine years ago in USAC's last appearance here set by Levi Jones, who now directs operations on the sprint car and midget circuits. Tim Buckwalter became the second USAC East Coast driver to set the new standard with a time of 14.924 seconds around the Schuykill County dirt oval.

     

    It wasn't until 8:35 when the first competitive wheels turned on the surface with the USAC sprint cars pushing off their first of three heats with the top five moving directly into the 30 lap main event. Briggs Danner continued to impress the USAC followers nailing down the first heat win over Isaac Chapple, Tanner Thorson, Chris Windom and CJ Leary. Paul Nienhiser returned to run in this heat and promptly rolled it for the second time between turns one and two. Heat two was topped by Chase Stockon followed by Kevin Thomas Jr., Jake Swanson, Steven Drevicki and second generation driver, Nash Ely, son of former winged 410 driver, Dave. Brandon Mattox produced a new eight lap track record winning heat three in a time of 2:05.481 beating Robert Ballou, Brady Bacon, Carmen Perigo and Justin Grant to the finish. The 358 modifieds would contest three heats also with Jeff Strunk, Shawn Fitzpatrick and Rich Laubach claiming wins.

     

    Next up was the sprint car semi which turned into a wild affair. In the middle of the race Joey Biasi started flipping end over end in turn three and looking like he was going to exit the speedway. Somehow he stayed inside the confines and climbed unscathed from the nasty tumble. On the last lap of the semi Kyle Lick went sailing off turn one tumbling end over end over the giant truck tires lining the bank there in a feat that I have never seem anyone acomplish in my many years of attending races at Big Diamond. Lick was not as lucky as Biasi with a report that he broke both collar bones in the jarring crash. Tim Buckwalter by the way won the semi over Thomas Meseraull, Matt Westfall, Kenny Miller III, Alex Bright, Ricky Lewis and Mark Smith. Two roadrunner heats were spun off next and all qualifying was now completed.

     

    It was finally feature time as the front row of Jake Swanson and Tanner Thorson brought twenty others to Warren Alston's green flag with Swanson scurrying to the early lead and opening up a lead over Thorson. Coming off turn four on lap four Meseraull got sideways collecting Ballou and Mattox with Mattox swirling and rolling over in the incident. Meseraull and Mattox were done for the evening with Ballou restarting. Swanson bounded back out front on the restart and continued to pace the field looking for his first career USAC win. The caution would fly on lap sixteen as Thorson had closed the gap beforehand and looked both high and low to figure a way around Swanson. Finally on lap twenty Thorson went topside in turns one and two and powered around Swanson to grab the lead. With just five laps to go Ricky Lewis brought out the last caution when he spun wiping out Thorson's healthy lead. On the final restart Thorson was up to the task and smelled his first victory in the sprint car ranks taking off to lead the remainder of the race. Thorson became the fourth different USAC driver to score his first career win at Big Diamond joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Whitt and Chris Windom. Swanson chased him across the line in second with Kevin Thomas Jr. third, Brady Bacon fourth and CJ Leary rounding out the top five. Robert Ballou moved from 12th to finish 6th with Briggs Danner turning in a solid seventh, hard charger Alex Bright advancing from 19th to eighth, Justin Grant ninth and Tim Buckwalter claiming tenth.

     

    The 358 modifieds were next up on the card to run their 25 lap feature with Eddie Strada taking the early lead over Jeff Strunk. Strunk would take the lead on lap three and led until lap nineteen when entering turn one he dove low to attempt to pass a lap car and clipped one of the turn marker tires and spun across the track in front of the entire field with everyone avoiding the hapless Strunk. This gave the lead to Billy Pauch Jr. but it was far from over as 11th starting Ryan Krachun was all over Pauch like white on rice. With a lap to go Krachun made a run into turns one and two and secured the lead from Pauch but it was shortlived as Pauch retook the lead down the backstretch. The 9th starting Pauch would not give up the lead again flashing under the checkered at 11:27 with Krachun in tow with Craig VonDohren third, Rick Laubach fourth and Tim Buckwalter, the current point leader, advancing from 12th to fifth at the end.

     

    The roadrunners would contest a 20 lap affair and after a rough start they settled down and ran side by side throughout the entire top five or six. At 11:59 Alex Schoffstall took down the win besting Don Murphy and Kris Ney in a good run.

     

    It was a good night of racing with the 358 modified feature the best of the lot on this evening.

     

    That's it for this installment and check back soon for Saturday's USAC stop at BAPS Motor Speedway and Sunday's visit to Path Valley Speedway. Correspondence of any kind can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe at the same time. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Bacon Makes It Four Straight At His Home Away From Home At Grandview

     

     

    Wednesday, April 21 - We decided that we were going to take in the Keystone Invasion where the USAC National sprint cars were making a second swing through Pennsylvania in addition to their June Eastern Storm swing of the previous several years starting this Thursday through Sunday. The previous day (Tuesday) it snowed across most of Indiana including Crawfordsville where we received 3 inches of onion snow (A Pennsylvania Dutch term). We left Crawfordsville under sunny skies at 5 PM to start our journey back East to our former home of Pennsylvania with our first night stop to be Zanesville, Ohio. We encountered snow once again in the Richmond, Indiana area which enveloped us for the next 45 minutes and made for a white knuckle driving experience during that time period. We were finally able to outrun the snow in the Dayton, Ohio area and after making sure the temperature was up and the roads were dry I put the hammer down to make up some of the ground that we lost in the rogue late April snowstorm that followed us. We arrived in Zanesville about a half hour behind the original schedule glad to be in one piece and ready to hit the sack for the evening.

     

    Thursday, April 22 - We arose and left the Holiday Inn Express and Suites slightly after 9 AM to make the remaining six hour drive East to Pennsylvania and our first night destination, the 1/3 mile high banked Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville. We checked into our home for the next two nights, the Hawthorn Suites in Fogelsville, dropped off the luggage and grabbed our winter gear for the cold, windy night ahead. We made a side trip to one of our favorite PA hot dog stands, Willie Joe's, to grab a quick supper before heading over on Rt. 29 to Rt. 100 to make our way to the track on the hill, the Grandview Speedway, also known as Brady Bacon's home away from home. More on that later. We secured our seats one row from the top of the homestretch grandstands before touring the t-shirt stands talking with Witney Thomas, wife of KTJ, and numerous friends from back east such as John Bayliss and Tim and Mason Long. By 6:20 we were ready to pack up the rest of the winter gear and head to our seats while shortly thereafter Area Auto Racing News columnist, Guy Smith, joined us to take in the night of racing action.

     

    Time trials would kick off the Keystone Invasion at 7:02 for the 25 USAC sprint cars gathered in the turns one and two pit area which included 9 of the USAC East Coast sprint car contingent which did themselves proud on this evening. To start things off 19 year old phenom, Briggs Danner of nearby Allentown, set his first ever USAC National sprint car fast time wheeling the Bill Gallagher #5G around the 1/3 mile in a time of 13.571 seconds to set the standard. Heat one saw the Eastern contingent continue to impress with Collegeville's Alex Bright posting a new USAC National Sprint Car 10 lap track record in this one of 2:24.412 breaking the old one set by Mat Neely back in 2007. Bright led Robert Ballou, Carmen Perigo, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Steven Drevicki to the finish. Heat two would be captured by another East Coast runner, Joey Biasi, outrunning Justin Grant, Tim Buckwalter, Chase Stockon and Tanner Thorson in this one. The third and final heat was won by Chris Windom besting Brady Bacon, Matt Westfall, Jake Swanson and Brandon Mattox. The 358 modifieds, the main division on Saturday nights, brought 22 to the dance with Duane Howard, Jared Umbenhauer and Doug Manmiller scoring wins in their heats.

     

    Briggs Danner would come back strong after not qualifying in his heat race with a smoking engine and take down the semi over CJ Leary, Paul Nienhiser, Thomas Meseraull in the local Tim Hogue #39, Kenny Miller III, Isaac Chapple and Ricky Lewis. PA's Mark Smith, builder of the Hank Byrum #3R chassis, subbing for Kyle Cummins on the eastern swing would take the only provisional to push the starting field to 23 cars for the 40 lap main event.

     

    Credit to everyone involved in running this evening of racing as they moved the show along at a brisk pace in the frigid night which dropped into the high 30's by the end of the evening.

     

    By 8:57 it was feature time with the front row of Brandon Mattox and Kevin Thomas Jr. bringing the field to the green flag. Thomas quickly jumped to the front and opened up a comfortable lead in the early going. By lap four Thomas had opened up a straightway lead with Mattox and Bacon chasing. Bacon got to second with a low side turn four pass of Mattox on lap eight and the break for the rest of the field came one lap later when Chris Windom got sideways between turns one and two with Tanner Thorson with no where to go tapping Windom and turning him completing around and sending him to the tail of the field on the restart. Thomas went back out front on the restart but Bacon was all over him as the two raced away from the rest of the pack. The man on the move was Robert Ballou who started 13th and was moving forward at a steady pace. He cracked the top five past the halfway mark and was not done yet. He would end up pulling a massive slider in turn one to wrestle third from Thorson in the latter stages of the contest and end up on the podium and also receive another hard charger award. It took Bacon until lap 22 to execute a diamond move in traffic starting in turn three and ending successfully in turn four to grab the lead for the first time on the evening. The red would appear on lap 29 when 3-time East Coast champion, Steven Drevicki, slid into the turn three wall and dumped his #19 over in the process. Drevicki was OK but done for the evening at this point. The lap traffic was gone over the remaining 11 laps with Bacon controlling the front but Thomas was never too far behind. When the checkers waved at 9:18 it was Bacon across the line first scoring his fourth consecutive win at Grandview joining only nine others who have won four straight at one track in USAC history and also scoring his 37th career USAC National sprint car win tying him with the late Sheldon Kinser for 9th on the all-time win list. Thomas would flash across the line second with Ballou third, Thorson fourth and Swanson fifth with the latter two battling for half the race for that position. CJ Leary would pace the second five in sixth with Alex Bright seventh, Tim Buckwalter eighth, Briggs Danner ninth and Chris Windom keeping intact another amazing consecutive streak now finishing in the top ten in the last 21 USAC sprint car features dating back to July of 2020.

     

    The 358 modifieds would run a 30 lap feature to wrap up the cold evening and with all-time winner, Craig VonDohren, starting second we figured it was going to be an easy one for the Oley veteran. The green dropped at 9:30 and VonDohren was off and running from his second starting position. Another Oley veteran and neighbor, Duane Howard, started third and quickly took away the runnerup position and had a race long chase of CVD. Only one caution slowed the action and in just 10 minutes the 30 lap affair was in the record books with VonDohren claiming his 110th career victory at the Bechtelsville oval. Howard crossed the line second with Alex Yankowski third, Jeff Strunk advancing from 11th to 4th and Doug Manmiller rounding out the top five.

     

    It was a quick, good night of racing at Grandview and our kudos go out to the Grandview track crew who prepared a virtually dustless surface on a day with winds at 17 mph and gusting higher and with the wind blowing in our faces that was very much appreciated.

     

    Check back tomorrow as we head up the back roads into the coal region of eastern PA to the Big Diamond Speedway for night two of the Keystone Invasion at the Minersville area dirt track. Until next time stay warm and be safe. Comments, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for your continued support and readership as this would be a fruitless exercise if you loyal fans did not follow us on a typical weekend.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Cummins Wins In Late Race March At Tri-State

     


    Saturday, April 17 - After spending the evening at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Washington we ventured out for lunch at Gasthof Amish Village in Montgomery. It was a fine spread of delicious food and of course we ate too much but if in the area check this place out as it is worth the effort. Montgomery is also home to Barr Reeve High School, the 2020-21 Class A Indiana Boy's High School state basketball champions and the community shows their pride for their beloved Vikings with billboards and banners all around the small, well kept town to celebrate and honor their student athletes. Congrats to the Vikings who also just lost to Carmel, the state's Class 4A champions, during the regular season by just one point in overtime. Yes, Barr Reeve had a special team this year.

     

    From Montgomery we traveled southwest to Haubstadt, the home of one of the nicest surfaced dirt tracks in the state, the Tri-State Speedway, "The Class Track" owned and operated by Tom & Loris Helfrich, and the pride of southwest Indiana. On tap this evening was the Spring Showdown for the USAC and MSCS sprints along with the MMSA mini sprints. Two fine fields of 35 sprinters and 38 mini sprints were nestled in the turn one and two pit area to take on the finely prepared 1/4 mile dirt surface on this evening. Time trials for the sprint car field would kick off the evening's action starting at 6:40 and by 7:02 Kevin Thomas Jr. was being interviewed after spinning off his 30th career USAC sprint car fast time tying him with Pancho Carter for 10th place on USAC's all time qualifying list.

     

    Next up on the racing card were four heats for the USAC/MSCS combined sanctioned sprint cars with Brady Bacon continuing his strong early season run taking down the first heat turning back Kendall Ruble, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Jake Swanson in the process. Heat two went to Stephen Schnapf beating CJ Leary, Jadon Rogers and Chase Stockon who was not happy with a late race slider from Rogers and showed his displeasure afterwards by running into the front end of Rogers' mount. Brandon Mattox turned in a super performance in heat three winning it over Chris Windom, Kyle Cummins and Tanner Thorson. Justin Grant banged wheels with Critter Malone coming to the checkered in heat four with Grant edging the ageless veteran with Malone being another driver not too happy with the driving of another competitor and the fans voiced their displeasure with Grant during his victory lane interview. The MMSA mini sprints spun off four heats before it was time for the sprint car B main. Paul Nienhiser turned in an incredible drive advancing from 13th to 3rd in just one lap on his way to the top spot in this one dusting off Max Adams, Robert Ballou, Shane Cottle, Carson Short and Nic Harris nipping Cole Bodine at the line for the sixth qualifying position. As you can see Nienhiser passed some stout runners in his amazing run from 13th to the win.

    By 9:16 it was feature time with the 30 lap USAC/MSCS sprint car feature 24 strong with the addition of two provisionals, one each from USAC and MSCS, Cole Bodine and Aric Gentry taking the green after being sent off by the fans with the traditional cell phone light show with Chase Stockon assuming the early lead over Jake Swanson who slid high in turn four allowing Stockon's teammate, Kent Schmidt, to move into second. Stockon would pace the first five laps of the feature with fifth starting Jadon Rogers buzzing from that spot to pass Stockon for the lead on lap six. Rogers was wheeling the Edwards #61M, the same car that had won this race the year before with Stephen Schnapf at the wheel, and was looking to repeat the feat as well as improve on his best USAC finish of second recorded in the fall of 2020 here at Haubstadt. Rogers looked like he was going to pull off his first USAC triumph as he pulled away from the field by a healthy margin as he worked his way around the backmarkers. Stockon continued to hold down the runnerup spot during this portion of the race with Kyle Cummins, who is money in the bank at Haubstadt, steadily worked his way forward from his 11th starting position into the top five as the laps clicked off. Two quick cautions after the halfway mark allowed the field to close on the leader with Cummins now lurking in third on the second restart. Lap 21 saw Cummins dispense of Stockon for second and the battle was set as another caution waved at this point. On the restart Rogers powered away using the high side while Cummins poked his nose low looking for a run on the youngster. In the next five lap run Rogers was able to hold sway actually gaining some ground on second place Cummins. The caution waved on lap 26 when Carson Short slowed in a hurry on the homestretch bunching up the field and causing the yellow to be displayed. This gave Cummins the opportunity he needed and on the restart Cummins dove low entering turn one and with his momentum was able to pull off the slider in turn two taking the lead with three laps to go. Rogers was not done as he threw it into turns three and four pulling alongside Cummins but was not able to take the lead back with Cummins pulling away over the remaining laps. At the checkers at 9:36 it was Cummins in for his sixth USAC win at Haubstadt and tenth overall USAC victory beating a disappointed Rogers with Stockon third, Justin Grant fourth and point leader, Brady Bacon, rounding out the top five. The second five was led by 12th starting Robert Ballou with Kevin Thomas Jr. seventh, Tanner Thorson advancing from 13th to 8th, Kendall Ruble impressive from 19th to 9th and the hard charger with Chris Windom going the wrong direction sliding from fourth to tenth at the finish.

     

    It was a good race and even though many including us wanted to see Rogers snare his first USAC win you can't take credit away from "The Master of Haubstadt" as he raced from 11th to grab the win. We headed for the exit pleased with our second night of good racing witnessed during our three race weekend of USAC sprint car racing.

     

    That's it for now but check back Monday for race three to be held at Paragon Speedway on Sunday where the USAC sprint cars return for the first time in 23 years. Comments, news, complaints and other tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible and bundle up and stay warm. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and continue to check back to see where we end up next as after Paragon an eastern trip is on the horizon. Take care and be safe out there.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Thomas Staves Off Bacon To Capture USAC Sprint Go At Bloomington

     

     

    Friday, April 16 - What a difference a week makes as last Friday the clouds rolled in and dumped rain on us at Bloomington and this Friday the skies were blue with white clouds and not a storm cloud in sight. It is always a beautiful sight to walk into Bloomington and see those red hills of clay against the green grass all around and then the sprint cars hit the banks and fling the clay into the grandstand area and you know racing is back in the state of Indiana. Tonight was the delayed season opener at Bloomington Speedway and 43 non-wing USAC sprint cars were joined by 12 winged 305 Racesaver sprints in the backstretch pit area to supply the entertainment for the good crowd on hand this evening including a newbie lady next to me in our lawn chairs in turn one who told me that she loved it at the end of the night.

     

    Time trials pushed off at 6:49 and by 7:13 Justin Grant had bested the 43 car field with a time of 11.232 seconds around the 1/4 mile high banked bullring with only walls on the frontstretch and fence separating the surface from the backstretch pit area. The first heat of the evening took the green flag at 7:32 and Colorado youngster, Carson Garrett, was like a jackrabbit and took off never being headed outrunning Shane Cottle back in the Hodges #74, Carson Short wheeling the Epperson #2E and Justin Grant. Heat two saw right rear to left front contact in close racing between Dave Darland in the Baldwin #5 and Logan Seavey in the Michael Dutcher #17GP with Seavey taking a ride off the track flipping right toward Tom Hansing on the starter's stand who never flinched as he waved the red flag as Seavey landed at the base of the starter's stand. Seavey climbed from the wreckage unscathed but the Dutcher #17GP was done for the evening leaving us with one less combatant for the remainder of the evening. Kyle Cummins back in the Hank Byrum #3R captured the heat win over Cole Bodine in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC looking better each time out in this mount, Chris Windom in the Hayward #19 and Darland in the #5. Heat three was won by Paul Neinhiser in one of the KO Motorsports stable of cars numbered #5N shedding the wing and taking up a full season of non-wing racing and looking quite good in the early going and could surprise everyone with a feature win before the 2021 season is over. Arizona driver, Tye Mihocko charged from 9th to 2nd using the cushion with Brady Bacon third and Brayden Fox taking down the fourth qualifying position as this youngster continues to improve in each outing. Heat three saw CJ Leary battling for the lead with Matt Goodnight stick his nose low clipping an infield tire and sending him rolling into Goodnight taking both of them out of the hunt in the heat. Braxton Cummings took a light roll on the backstretch in heat four in the best heat of the evening before Kevin Thomas Jr. in his own steed, the 9K, prevailed with a wing ding battle for positions two through five with Ballou second, AJ Hopkins using the big cushion to battle into third with Scotty Weir stomping and steering the Pedersen #4P into the last qualifying heat position.

     

    Two heats were spun off for the Racesaver 305 sprints with Santa Claus, IN's own Ryan Tusing and Andy Bradley taking down the wins before we switched back to the USAC sprints for their C main. The top four finisher would move to the rear of the B main with Brent Beauchamp topping this one over Braxton Cummings, Brady Short and Sterling Cling. That would lead us into the B main where the top six would advance to the 30 lap main event with CJ Leary righting the ship bringing the Michael #77 home first over Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ, Max Adams in the Gass #17G, Mario Clouser in his own #6, Jake Swanson in the Team AZ #21AZ after spinning out of a qualifying spot in his heat and Ricky Lewis in his own #11L. The field was set with the additional of two provisionals with Matt Westfall and Sterling Cling raising the feature total to 24 but the biggest news was the consecutive start streak of Chase Stockon was snapped at 324 straight USAC sprint starts dating back to 2012. That is a streak that will take a long time for anyone to come close to.

     

    All that was left now were the two division's features as the night grew more chilly by the moment. The 30 lap USAC Sprint Car feature would be the first called to the post with the front row of Shane Cottle and Kevin Thomas Jr. bringing the 24 car field to Tom Hansing's attention with Cottle bounding into the early lead. KTJ would challenge Cottle for the top spot entering turns one and two on lap one before nipping him at the wire for the lead starting lap two. Brady Bacon used the middle from his fifth starting position to move forward and raced into second in the early stages of the contest. Another driver on the march was Robert Ballou who started 20th and was up to 11th by lap seven as the race progressed. Bacon went up top to try to reel in Thomas while Thomas chose high in turns one and two and low in turns three and four as his preferred lines. Kyle Cummins was also coming forward from his seventh starting position battling into the top five as the race wore on and gaining on the top two runners. On lap 24 the red waved as Sterling Cling rolled several times off the turn four banking into the darkness as all cars pulled to a stop. Cling was OK after his wild ride but sometimes it might be better to call it a night earlier than to end up wrecking your equipment for another evening. On the restart Thomas went low into turns one and two to retain the lead but on the next lap he ventured to the outside opening the door for Bacon to pull off a close slider in those turns edging by KTJ into the lead. It looked like Bacon had pulled off the big move of the night but Thomas battled back using the low side and regained the lead off the low side of turn four with just three to go and went back to the top entering turn one to retain the lead. Bacon tried to respond but KTJ pulled away in the remaining laps to about a 1.5 second margin to nail down his second USAC win of 2021 and fourth career USAC win at Bloomington in the process. It was also his 29th career USAC National sprint car win moving him into 14th on the all time list past such stars as AJ Foyt, Don Branson, Levi Jones, JJ Yeley and Chris Windom in doing so. Bacon would come home second behind Thomas at 9:48 with Cummins third, Cottle fourth and Windom rounding out the top five. A good run by Tanner Thorson from 11th to 6th at the finish with CJ Leary seventh, Justin Grant slipping to eighth, Scotty Weir in a strong run from sixteenth to ninth and Robert Ballou the hard charger from 20th to 10th. If only Ballou could up his time trial performances he could be a contender for the win every evening but the action might not be as exciting to watch him tear his way through the field toward the front. As the checkers flew 13th running Carson Garrett and 14th running Mario Clouser banged wheels sending Garrett into the frontstretch wall and flipping over landing partially on the turn one banking upside down. Garrett climbed from the mount quickly but laid down on the banking being attended to by the EMT's and was transported to IU Hospital for observation.

     

    We still had the 25 lap Racesaver 305 sprint feature to contest with the 12 car field taking the green flag at 10:15 after the Garrett delay. Ryan Tusing took the early lead from Andy Bradley but Bradley battled back and briefly took the top spot away but Tusing would have nothing of that and raced back by Bradley a lap later. Tusing began to pull away with Bradley and Ethan Barrow in hot pursuit. Ohio's Justin Clark steadily worked his way from 12th cracking the top five about halfway way through the event. Clark continued to mount his charge picking of Jeff Wimmenauer for fourth then pressuring Bradley for third before dusting him off. He closed on Barrow for second and took that position away and began to reel in the leader. It looked like Clark might pull off the last to first charge but came up short at 10:33 as Tusing crossed the line first fending off Clark who finished second with Barrow third, Bradley fourth and Wimmenauer taking down fifth.

    It was an enjoyable night of racing at Bloomington with plenty of good racing on a finely prepared track surface and sent the fans away clammering for more and that is what you want to do.

     

    That's it for this installment but check back tomorrow for night two of three from the action at the "Class Track" of Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt where Tom Helfrich will have the track in fine shape for the combined USAC/MSCS sprint car show on Saturday. Until next time bundle up and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible and if not tune into Flo or DirtVision for some racing action. News, comments, tidbits or other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts as we hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care and be safe out there.


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Bacon Supplies Ass Whooping Performance In USAC Sprints At Lawrenceburg

    Saturday, April 3 - A beautiful day unfolded on this April Saturday as Pat and I made the 2 1/2 hour tow to southeastern Indiana as temperatures rose to the upper 60's as we approached the home of the Seagram's Distillery, Lawrenceburg, close to where the states of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky all meet. On tap tonight was the Midwest opener for the USAC National sprint cars with 31 sprinters nestled in the turn three and four pit area waiting to kick off the evening's activities. They would be joined in the pit area by 15 UMP modifieds and 29 hornets.

    Before the racing began Rob Hoffman of Hoffman Racing was presented the Richard Hoffman USAC National Sprint Car Championship trophy awarded to the owner of the championship winning car from 2020. By the time the evening ended Bacon and the Dynamics Inc./Hoffman Auto Racing team would celebrate in victory lane after delivering an ass whooping performance by the Oklahoma native in the 30 lap USAC National sprint car which highlighted the evening of racing.

    Here's what happened in between point one and point three. Lawrenceburg Speedway in its 71st year of competition would host the Midwest opener for the USAC sprint cars with time trials hitting the track at 6:17. With the track already blackening in turn one the importance of having an early time trial run was crucial. Jadon Rogers in the Edwards #61M was second out and set the standard at 14.297 seconds and it ended up holding up after the other 30 sprint car time trialed. That would put Rogers sixth in the starting lineup of the first heat and with passing at a premium early Jadon would have to qualify through the B main winning that one. The first of four heats took the initial green flag at 7:31 with first starting Sterling Cling jumping out front at the beginning and was never headed trailed to the finish by Scotty Weir in the Pedersen #4P, C.J. Leary and Cole Bodine in the Clauson/Marshall/Newman #39BC. Heat two went to second starting Dave Darland, the all time leading USAC winner at Lawrenceburg with seven, in the Baldwin Brothers #5 besting Brady Bacon, Justin Grant and Max Adams, a two time winner in USAC/CRA sprint car action already in 2021, taking a spin in the Gass #17. Thomas Meseraull in the Eades #47 captured heat three over Garrett Abrams in his Culver's sponsored #32, Paul Nienhiser in one of the KO Motorsports #5N and Robert Ballou. The fourth and final heat went easily to Chris Windom in the Hayward #19 trailed by Kevin Thomas Jr., Kyle Cummins and Steve Sussex in one of the Wingo entrants. Two modified heats and four hornet heats followed before it was time for the sprint car B main where the top six would advance to the big dance. Jadon Rogers prevailed over Nick Bilbee, Matt Westfall, Jake Swanson, Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ and JJ Hughes the last man in by qualifying. The iron man, Chase Stockon, and Brandon Mattox would take provisionals to swell the starting field to 24. Stockon had a rough night as the KO Motorsports #5S was not up to snuff and retired early placing 24th.

    When the green flag dropped at 9:18 it was C.J.Leary to the lead trailed by Justin Grant. Brady Bacon started sixth and was up to third by the end of lap one using the high side to his advantage. The only caution appeared the next lap when Chase Stockon biked and then bounced hard in turn two ending his dismal night earlier than expected. On the restart Bacon snuck by Grant to assume second. Bacon chased Leary until diving low in turn three coming to lap six and assuming the lead exiting turn four and the rout was on. Bacon checked out and in just two laps had a full straightway lead over Leary as he began picking off the tail of the field in his dominating performance. In the meantime Chris Windom from tenth and Thomas Meseraull from ninth were making their way forward making runs for the top five. Windom picked off Paul Nienhiser and Justin Grant to secure third and that would be the high water mark for Windom as first and second were far ahead. When the checkers flew at 9:32 it was Bacon across the line first for his third career Lawrenceburg USAC win and two in a row at Lawrenceburg. Also it was his 36th career USAC National Sprint Car victory moving him into 10th on the all-time win list pass Jon Stanbrough and Rich Vogler. C.J. Leary trailed by almost three seconds at the finish with Windom third, Grant fourth and Meseraull rounding out the top five. Jadon Rogers nailed down a strong sixth after starting eleventh with Nienhiser seventh, Cole Bodine eighth, Robert Ballou, the hard charger award from 22nd to 9th and Stevie Sussex taking down tenth. It was an old fashion below the wood shed ass whooping administered by Bacon in an impressive showing by him. We decided to call it a night heading back up I-74 arriving home just after midnight ending a good day.

    That's it for now but check back next weekend as plans have us taking in the WOO sprints next Friday at Kokomo before venturing down the road to Lincoln Park on Saturday. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if you are able to or plan a road trip to knock some of those tracks off your hit list. Comments, news, rumors or any other tidbits of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And once again thanks for reading our efforts and hope you are still enjoying our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.



     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    The Long Journey Home Led Us Through Oklahoma

    Thursday, March 25 - We were suppose to be in Elk City, Oklahoma on this morning but instead started the day driving at 6:45 AM from Albuquerque, New Mexico due to a winter snow storm hitting the mountain area surrounding Albuquerque the day before making I-40 treacherous to travel on until this morning. We knew that everything would have to fall into place perfectly for us to make it to the Creek County Speedway in Kellyville, OK for night one of the POWRi midget Turnpike Challenge. After traveling along well for a while we reached the summit of the mountain range and started down the other side. Shortly thereafter we came to a complete halt due to a rental moving truck plowing into the rear of a tractor trailer around 9 AM. We sat on I-40 for the next 2 1/2 hours only moving in short spurts until we finally were able to drive past the badly mangled moving truck in which we doubt any passengers survived. This would severely set back our time table but during the stoppage I reviewed Twitter and found that POWRi officials had canceled the race at Creek County due to overnight rains making the facility too wet to host the night of racing. That took the pressure off to try to mash the petal even harder to make up for lost time but the time loss made for a long 13 hour day on the road either driving or sitting. After clearing the long delay on I-40 with the big problem being that there are few to none alternate routes you can take while driving in New Mexico. We came upon more I-40 carnage a short time later where we counted no less than eight tractor trailers smashed or upended with four being tandems in less than a 200 yard span of the highway. It was truly unbelievable to see all the wrecked vehicles scattered all around the highway's edges. The long journey continued until we finally passed the Kellyville exit at 8:45 PM on our way to the hotel in Glenpool for the next two evenings.

    Friday, March 26 - Jim Reeder and his son, James, had driven in from Iowa to join us for the Turnpike Challenge and stopped at Humboldt Speedway in Kansas on Thursday before that USMTS show was postponed also. They were in the same hotel and after having lunch at Tally's Cafe in Tulsa we all went over to ONEOK field in downtown Tulsa, the home of the double A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tulsa Drillers. It is a beautiful stadium especially for the double A level and we were able to visit the gift store where the Reeders, both of them being Dodger fans bought t-shirts for themselves and James' boys. The original racing plan had been to attend the grand opening of the New Tulsa Speedway instead of night one of two at I-44 Riverside Speedway but wet grounds and race track forced them to push back their opener for several weeks. Thoughts of going to Humboldt were processed but Jim found they were running the Thursday show on Saturday morning so a proposed double of Humboldt to I-44 Riverside was plotted with us instead choosing the season opener at the Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee which was only a 45 minute jaunt.

    We arrived early and climbed the long entrance ramp and the huge concrete grandstand to take in a panoramic view of the 1/2 mile dirt oval located next to police headquarters in Muskogee. After a while we retreated to the parking lot and make phone calls and checked out Twitter and Facebook before returning to the track grounds around 6:30. A four division program was in place for the evening and I wouldn't go into detail as none of them were open wheel divisions. The Sooner Super Late Models brought 26 cars to the dance while the factory stocks checked in with 20, the USRA B-mods with 25 and the USRA mods with 14. The crowd continued to roll in and by race time the huge grandstands were over half full including Rick Schneider, the traveling man from Long Island, NY, who we had not seen in almost three years. It was great to see Rick and the look on his face when Pat sat down next to him was priceless!! The announcer made a classic mistake announcing that the program would begin at 7:30 PM sharp and was wiping the egg off his face when the factory stocks hit the track at 7:50, a full twenty minutes after the start time with no explanation of why they were starting late. I will say that once underway they ran an efficient show sending one division to the track surface as the previous one exited the track. The final feature which was the Sooner SLM's with the top four positions switching in the final two laps with Indiana's Joe Godsey swiping the win away from Kip Hughes at the end. It was a good show and we are glad we decided to support this local speedway.

    Saturday, March 27 - The Reeders decided to take the trip north to catch the doubleheader at Humboldt Speedway as we decided to stay put in Oklahoma as close to 100 cars in both the USMTS modified and B-mod classes made the Humboldt to I-44 Riverside impossible to pull off. Upon arrival at I-44 Riverside we ran into Ed and his wife, Lori, from central Pennsylvania as well as Rick Schneider which made for some lively conversation before the races kicked off later in the day. There was a relentless wind blowing all evening long which made watching the racing uncomfortable even though the track surface held up well and only some dust appeared during the running of the three features on the evening.

    POWRi runs heats only without time trials with passing points awarded with the top sixteen locked into the main event after heat racing and two B mains fill the rest of the starting field. The first heat of the evening was for the POWRi National midgets (39 cars) with North Carolina's Ethan Mitchell in his Honda powered midget winning this one over Jake Neuman and Ryan Timms. The second heat produced the scariest moment of the night when young Cade Lewis, one of the youngsters out of the Keith Kunz stables running up over the rear wheel of another midget and flipping sideways on the homestretch in the process losing his right front tire, shock and part of the axle which cleared the homestretch catch fence and landed in the spectator area in front of the grandstand and bouncing toward turn one where two ladies were sitting in lawn chairs. A daring gentleman was able to deflect the assembly with his arm and no harm came to anyone but it could have been much more serious. Daison Pursley in another of the Kunz steeds won heat two over teammate, Kaylee Bryson, and Trey Gropp. Sam Johnson said "See Ya" in heat three winning over Joe B. Miller and Cannon McIntosh. Michael "Buddy" Kofoid in another Kunz entry garnered heat four over Brenham Crouch and Bryant Wiedeman. Blake Hahn scored heat win five over Tyler Thomas and Keith Rauch. Heat six was nailed down by Indiana's Emerson Axsom in the Petry #15 over Terre Haute's own Caden Englehart and Jerry Coons Jr.

    The POWRi outlaw 600's were next to the stage bringing 32 cars to the dance with heat wins going to Russ Disinger, Frank Flud, Laydon Pearson and Joe B. Miller. The POWRi winged micros (26 cars) ran their heats third in the order with Mason Daugherty, Trey Robb, Gage Robb and Daison Pursley winning their respective heats. The two B mains for the POWRi midgets were won by Trey Marcham and Brent Crews in a Chad Boat entry.

    By 9:18 it was green time in the first feature of the evening showcasing the POWRi National midgets with Lubbock Texas native, Brenham Crouch, taking the early lead. Crouch used the high side of the semi-banked 1/6 mile dirt oval to hold off all comers over the first ten laps before the first caution flag appeared. On the restart it was Crouch back out front hotly pursued by Ryan Timms and Buddy Kofoid who had won the first three races of the 2021 POWRi midget season. Over the next several laps Kofoid worked his way by Timms for second and began to apply the pressure on his Kunz teammate. In turn four coming for lap 19 Kofoid was able to execute a slider that stuck and flashed into the lead at that point. Lap traffic was a factor over the remaining laps with Crouch staying within striking distance of Kofoid but Buddy did not falter and raced under the checkered at 9:32 for his fourth straight win to start the season and his 11th career win in only 22 starts. Crouch would chase him across the line finishing second with Emerson Axsom advancing from seventh to third at the finish with Timms claiming fourth and Jake Neuman, last year's POWRi point champ, rounding out the top five. Daison Pursley led the second five in sixth with Sam Johnson seventh, Cannon McIntosh eighth, Bryant Wiedeman ninth and Trey Marcham advancing from 17th to 10th after winning the first B main. There were still two features to go after victory lane ceremonies concluded for the top three.

    The winged outlaw 600 feature was next on the card and the 20 lap main event took the green flag at 9:43. Frank Flud started second and bounded into the lead in turn one never to be headed but it was still good racing behind him throughout the 20 lap distance. Joe B. Miller raced hard to try to track down Flud but came up short and settled for second with Daison Pursley doing triple duty managed a third after starting eighth with Noah Key fourth and Willie Urish rounding out the top five at 9:57.

    There was still the 20 lap winged micro feature to run off and the overall racing and battling for position in this one might have made it the best feature of the evening. Only two cautions would slow the affair and in the end Frank Flud would score a double on the evening nailing down the win in this one over Trey Robb, Daison Pursley, Gage Robb and Mason Daugherty rounding out the top five with the final checkered waving at 10:22 in a well run and competitive racing program.

    Sunday, March 28 - The final night of the 8th annual Turnpike Challenge would be contested at the 1/8 mile dirt oval outside of Tulsa promoted this year by Shane Stewart. Ed and Lori would so gracious to save us seats in the top row with them for the evening in the steeply pitched wooden bleachers with racing action kicked off seven minutes early at 5:53 for the Sunday evening program. This is how a Sunday night show should be run with only two divisions ending before 9 PM giving the racing fan choices to wander into the pit area to see the cars and drivers or to get on the road early to prepare for a new week of work. Good way to start your promoting career, Shane Stewart!!!

    The POWRi National midgets were first up on the dance card and would run five heats for their 37 car field which made me wonder why they had to run six heats for 39 cars on a bigger track last night. Anyhow that was how it was with Brent Crews scoring a win for Chad Boat chased by Daison Pursley and Jonathan Beason. Heat two went to 39 year old Joe B. Miller outpacing Emerson Axsom and Chance Morton. Heat three saw Ethan Mitchell cop the win over Buddy Kofoid and Cannon McIntosh. Young and impressive looking Ryan Timms captured heat four besting Jake Neuman and Bryant Wiedeman. Brenham Crouch nailed down heat four over Jake Bubak and Karter Sharff. The POWRi winged outlaw 600's would spin off five heats in good order for their 39 car field with wins going to Daniel Shaffer, Jake Nail, Tyler Kuykendall, Ryan Timms and Frank Flud. Each division would run two B mains with the midget B's won by Tyler Thomas and Wesley Smith. The outlaw 600 B's fell to Jeffrey Newell and Riley Goodno with all qualifying completed by 7:38.

    The 30 lap POWRi midget feature got off to a rough start when the front row of Joe B. Miller and Jake Bubak banged wheels in turns one and two with Bubak going for a ride before coming to rest against the turn two wall. Two more quick cautions slowed the action and we were starting to think it was going to be a lap of racing and then a caution but things settled down and the remainder of the 30 laps were run with only three cautions for minor spins. It was a rough night for Brenham Crouch as last night he finished second and tonight he was involved in four of the six caution periods. It was the classic hero to zero statement made so many times in racing. When the racing proceeded it was fast and furious with tight racing and plenty of sliders throughout the field which made it difficult to watch it all. Jake Neuman was slated to start fourth but with the first lap tangle he slid into the second starting position chasing Joe B. Miller in the early going. The caution appeared on lap four and on the restart Neuman was able to execute a slider on Miller to take the lead at that point. Cannon McIntosh and Miller battled for second with the two touching causing Miller to spin and to restart at the tail of the field. Neuman took off on the restart and assumed the point with the rest of the field nipping at his tail tank. The racing was tight and tough with so much action that it was impossible to follow it all. Neuman continued to pace the field as they reached lap traffic with Neuman making the right moves at the right time to maintain the top spot even though McIntosh, Axsom and Buddy Kofoid were in the hunt. Kofoid managed to work his way to second and many thought that Neuman's time out front would soon end but Neuman had other thoughts. Jake continued to work the traffic to perfection and a backstretch pass of one of the backmarkers on the last lap sealed the deal and Neuman flashed under the checkered at 8:35 for his first win of 2021 and his eighth career POWRi win. Emerson Axsom was able to complete a good slider to take second from Kofoid and crossed the line behind Neuman with Kofoid third having his four race win streak snapped with Daison Pursley moving from 12th to 4th and Cannon McIntosh rounding out the top five. Brent Crews would score a solid sixth with Karter Sharff seventh in a strong run, Trey Marcham eighth after starting 20th, Bryant Wiedeman ninth from 14th and Tyler Thomas tenth from 17th. It was a good and exciting race with plenty of sliders and action to satisfy everyone.

    The 20 lap POWRi outlaw 600 feature went green at 8:44 with Daison Pursley jumping to the early lead. Ryan Timms and Frank Flud took up the chase of Pursley but Pursley was on a mission and pulled away. Timms and Flud duked it out over the course of the 20 lapper exchanging second with Timms reigning supreme taking his career best second at the finish behind Pursley who scored his first outlaw 600 victory and the first for Kunz Motorsports in this division. Flud would have to settle for third after doubling up last night with Joe B. Miller fourth from 10th and Jake Nail turning in a good performance to complete the top five with the final checker waving at an impresive 8:53.

    Good show, good racing and a good surface made for an enjoyable night of racing at Port City.

    That's it until this weekend as we have plans to take in the USAC sprint midwest opener at the Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday so check back sometime on Sunday to see how things turned out. News, comments and other notes of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Until next time get out there and see some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And thanks for reading this column and commenting on it. It is greatly appreciated and makes it all worthwhile as we try to tell it like it is through the eyes of a race fan first.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     


    Brent Takes Western Midgets At Adobe Mountain Speedway


    Saturday, March 20 - Our vacation to Arizona was drawing to a close and after the cold weather and rain last weekend we wanted to be sure to get to at least one race before departing Arizona. With Allan and Nancy Brown staying with us we decided to venture over to Glendale where the 1/5 mile dirt oval named Adobe Mountain Speedway was running a seven division program scheduled to start at 5:30. With the temperatures in the 80's on a sunny day with winds at 15 mph the track prep took a little longer to prepare the surface so a mulligan was issued when the initial green flag waved at 5:43. The action started on the 1/10 mile inner oval with a kart division followed by three youngsters in outlaw karts. There was only one open winged outlaw kart on hand so counting the 1/10 mile would not be an option on this day.

     

    The four junior sprints kicked off the racing on the 1/5 mile oval followed by eight mini late models with KJ Goodwin and Lyle Askren taking the heat races. The restricted winged 600's were next on the agenda and the ten car field ran two heats with Elijah Gile and Bradley Cox prevailing. The Western Midgets were next up and this group based out of California brought nine cars to the dance. David Prickett and Corey Brown triumphed in the two heats run for the division. The final division to run on the evening were the non-wing 600's which brought the biggest field with 23 cars in attendance. Mark Morin, Ashton Torgeson and Dustin Cormany scored heat wins and sprint car driver, Colton Hardy, won the B main for the only division that needed one. The track became dusty and needed to be worked on again before the main events were called to the grid.

     

    The inner track features were first on the card and were spun off in quick order. The first of the 1/5 mile features was probably the best with the mini late models putting on quite a good show. Lyle Askren was one of the few on the evening to make the outside work for him and stole the lead on the white flag lap and held off KJ Goodwin and Nic Savaglio to take the popular win. The 15 lap restricted winged 600 feature was next and Bradley Cox held sway for the entire distance beating Quinn Thurein and Mickey Gile. The 20 lap Western Midget was called to the post and took the green flag at 8:57. Only two cautions slowed this one and Darren Brent scored his second career win besting Shawn Arriaga, Corey Brown, Rick Shuman and Megan Moorhead. The last race of the night was the 12 lap non-wing 600 feature which took 40 minutes to run with seven cautions slowing the action making it the longest and least exciting race of the evening. Cam LaRose led wire to wire defeating Dustin Cormany and Paul Martin with the final checker waving at 9:54.

     

    Passing was at a premium on the evening and we think the reason was the tough track conditions with the outside never really coming around. We think we just caught it on a bad night.

     

    That's it until Thursday when we join the POWRi midgets for their Turnpike Challenge running for four straight evenings beginning at Creek County Speedway in Kellyville, Oklahoma and ending up on Sunday at Port City Raceway. Check back for daily reports starting Friday as we cover the action in Oklahoma. News, comments and any other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Until next time start plotting your racing season and get out there and enjoy some live racing in your area if they have started racing yet. And as usual thanks for reading our efforts and keep the comments coming. Take care and be safe out there.

     
     
     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Rain Closes Out Florida Speedweek

    Saturday, February 13 - Weather would again be a factor in our Saturday race plans. A check of East Bay and Volusia before we left on Saturday produced two rainouts and as we prepared to march north to Ocala the USAC Twitter announced that Bubba Raceway Park was canceled for today due to rain. We would leave Florida with five rainouts in a real down year for racing in the Sunshine state due to wet weather. We proceeded to our backup plan which was to go further north into Georgia before stopping for the evening and picked Valdosta as our destination. Google Maps said it would 11 1/2 hours back to Crawfordsville and checking the weather for Indiana on Monday showed heavy snow moving into Central Indiana starting early Monday morning so it was decided to make the long tow back all on Sunday. Out of the hotel before 7 AM it was northbound in light to moderate rain and temperatures in the high 40's. We cleared Atlanta in good order and our next target was Chattanooga, Tennessee which we passed through without any difficulties. As we closed in on Nashville the mountain that separates Chattanooga from Nashville was climbed with us being in the 40's at the southern base and in the 30's by the time we ascended to the bottom on the other side. At the top of the mountain the trees were all covered with ice and a tighter grip was applied to the steering wheel. As we drew closer to Nashville the temperature continued to drop reaching 32 degrees and then dropping below the freezing mark as we trekked on in the light rain. Road signs on the interstate began to flash to slow down as icy patches on the roadways could occur. This portion of the trip was done mostly in silence and with some silent prayers to go along with it. After we cleared Nashville and reached I-65 north and moved out of the Nashville area the rain dissipated but the temperature remained in the 30's. Into Kentucky we ventured as the temperatures continued to drop reach the 20's but the roads were dry so things were good. We were just hoping and praying that we did not encounter any snow before reaching home. The snow held off until after midnight as we arrived back home in Crawfordsville by 7 PM, 12 hours after leaving Georgia. We did not stop anywhere to eat along the way but snacked on pretzels, chips and carrots. We treated ourselves to a pizza once we arrived back in Crawfordsville. It was sketchy at times but we made it home safe and sound.

    The snow arrived after midnight and continued until 2 AM on Tuesday in our area with somewhere between 7 and 10 inches of the white stuff on the ground. Thanks goodness we live in a 55+ community where the snow plowing and shoveling is done for us. It was indeed nice to look out the window on Tuesday while sitting in my easy chair and watch the guys plow and shovel the complex while we stayed inside warm and out of the elements.

    Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania pulled the plug a few hours ago for this Saturday so the PA people will have to wait another week for their racing fix. Our next race will not be until the middle of March as we make our way to Arizona for 10 days with a four day stop on the way home in Oklahoma to hopefully take in the POWRi Turnpike Challenge for the midgets.

    So check back in March as we hope to catch some racing then and going forward. In the meantime stay warm and safe. Any comments, news, stories, video clips or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always we would like to thank you for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    Grant With Late Race Pass For Win At Bubba Raceway Park

     

     

    Friday, February 12 - Friday's weather for Ocala didn't look good as late as Thursday but upon awakening on Friday and checking the forecast the report had turned much more promising. So it would be off to Bubba Raceway Park instead of East Bay Raceway Park for USAC National sprint cars instead of 360 winged sprint cars. A day trip to Dade City produced no shopping I can't live withouts for Pat but a good lunch/dinner at Beef O'Brady's filled the disappointment for us both. From there it was north to Ocala and the second of three nights of non-winged USAC sprint car racing on the 3/8 mile clay oval at Bubba Raceway Park.

     

    Dale O'Brien secured the seats for tonight's racing before we arrived so we lounged for a while in the Rogue before making our way into the track grandstand to settle in for the night of racing. By 6:55 the 45 sprint cars were ready to trip the timing eye and start their time trials for the evening. By 7:30 it was all said and done and once again it was Pennsylvania's Timmy Buckwalter touring the 3/8's in the fastest lap of the evening at 13.884 seconds for the fastest time for the second straight evening. Hobby stock warmups followed before the sprint cars would return to square off in their four qualifying heat events with the top four moving directly to the 30 lap main event and the others either moving to the B main or the C main. Heat one saw Justin Grant power out front early and pace the field winning over Tyler Courtney, Dave Darland and Robert Ballou. Heat two saw Tanner Thorson claim the heat win over Brady Bacon, Noah Gass and Kevin Thomas Jr. Davenport, Iowa's Davey Ray surprised in heat three holding off Chris Windom, Buddy Kofoid and Matt Westfall for the big win. Kyle Cummins looked strong powering to the front in heat four to win over CJ Leary, Cole Bodine and Jake Swanson. The hobby stocks would run two heat races for their 10 car field before the sprints would return.

     

    The sprint C main was next on the agenda with the top four joining the rear of the B main. Mario Clouser would top this one chased across the line by Brandon Mattox, Brent Beauchamp in the Epperson #2E and Tyler Thomas in the second Wingo #77. The 20 lap hobby stock feature would give time for the C main guys to make some changes and this race was worth watching. It came down to the wire with Jason Gamble winning by inches after racing the final three laps side by side with the second place finisher and it was a pleasure seeing these two race closely without the need of beating and banging into each other. And the fans sure appreciated the run giving both combatants a hearty round of applause after the event took the checker. Next up was the 12 lap B main with Paul Nienhiser, a former MOWA winged 410 racer, adapting to the wingless racing quite well in his rookie season bringing one of three KO Motorsports entries home first over teammate, Chase Stockon, Kory Schudy advancing from ninth to third, Chase Johnson in a Goodnight #22, Jadon Rogers and Timmy Buckwalter. Brent Beauchamp flipped in turn four on the first lap of the B main and was uninjured in the mishap.

     

    By 9:53 it was time to go feature racing with the front row of Kyle Cummins and Robert Ballou bringing the field to the green flag. Cummins grabbed the early lead but that would not last long as it entered turn three on the inside and slid a little wide opening the door for fifth starting Jake Swanson to fill the gap and take the race lead off turn four on lap two. Swanson had the Team AZ sprinter hooked up and scurried away to a comfortable lead past the ten lap mark. Eighth starting Justin Grant was picking his way forward and was up to third when the yellow appeared for debris slowing the field on lap 11. On the restart Swanson led with Thorson second and Grant third. Grant slipped by Thorson for second one lap later and diving low in turn one on lap 13 with Grant moving out front. It was not to be as Tyler Courtney banged the turn three wall shortly thereafter flattening his right rear tire and bringing out the caution and resetting the deck. Paul Neinhiser caught the wall on lap 14 rolling to a stop and a quick tire change was made also with him returning to the field. Swanson continued to pace the field and many in attendance were considering that the California driver was going to cop his first USAC National sprint win. Swanson would lead until lap 23 when Swanson opened up the bottom off turn four and Grant dove to the hole racing side by side with Swanson down the homestretch and entering turn one where the pair banged right front to left front wheels with Grant gaining the advantage. Swanson tried to now hold off Thorson for second while Buddy Kofoid went to the top shelf and passed both drivers for second and closed on Grant for the lead with six to go. A yellow flag appeared and probably saved Grant's lead as Kofoid was blasting the cushion and had the momentum. Grant had some time to think about where he wanted to go on the restart and hand motions from one of his crew sealed the deal and sent him up top on the restart to break the momentum of Kofid and Brady Bacon who had also found the top to his liking from his 11th starting position. On the restart Grant went to the top fending off Kofoid for the lead. Grant had enough to hold off the field and flashed under the checkered flag first at 10:14 for his 21st career USAC National sprint car win tying him for 31st on the all time list with Greg Weld and also is trying to continue the streak of drivers who has won at Bubba Raceway Park and went onto win the USAC National sprint car title from 6 in 11 years to 7 in 12 years. Bacon would pass Kofoid to finish second and record is fourth straight hard charger award at Bubba Raceway Park moving from 11th to 2nd with Kofoid third, Thorson finishing fourth and CJ Leary making a late surge to garner fifth at the end. Kevin Thomas Jr. would finish up sixth with Jake Swanson falling to seventh, Tyler Courtney driving from the rear after his flat to take down eighth, Chris Windom finishing ninth and Robert Ballou rounding out the top ten.

     

    It was a good and interesting run for many drivers and kept your interest for the entire distance with one more to go if the weather will cooperate for one more night. Only time will tell.

     

    That's it for night two at Bubba Raceway Park as our Florida racing vacation is nearing an end. Check back to see if Saturday's racing gets in or if it doesn't. Until next time stay warm and stay safe and be good. Comments, words of wisdom, news or any other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. As always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them.

     


     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    Thomas Back On Top With Win At Bubba Raceway Park

     

     

    Thursday, February 11 - This Thursday the weather was back to the temperatures we enjoyed at the beginning of the first week in Florida with the thermometer soaring into the 80's after suffering through an extended cold snap in the Sunshine state. A visit to Mt. Dora during the day was in order for some shopping and a good lunch at a Cuban restaurant before continuing the trip north to the Ocala area and Bubba Raceway Park. On tap tonight was the first of three nights for Winter Dirt Games XII featuring the USAC National Sprint Car Series with 44 strong taking to the 3/8 mile clay surface to do battle on this evening.

     

    We settled into our seats one row from the top of the aluminum grandstands to take in the entire night of racing that would unfold. The sprint cars would start the night with a round of time trials beginning at 6:42 and wrapping up at 7:18 with a surprise fast timer, Timmy Buckwalter of Pennsylvania, sitting on top of the speed charts with a time of 13.853 seconds around the fast 3/8 mile clay oval besting 43 others in the process. Next up on the dance card were the four qualifying heat races for the sprint cars with Kevin Thomas Jr. blasting to the front in heat one and staking his claim as one of the favorites on the evening with an impressive heat one victory over Jadon Rogers, Timmy Buckwalter and Dave Darland nipping Sterling Cling at the wire to steal away the last qualifying position. Kyle Cummins looked like a strong contender in heat two slashing to the win over Brady Bacon, Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ and Chase Stockon. Justin Grant placed the Topp Motorsports #4 on top in heat three besting a hard charging Tyler Courtney, Noah Gass and CJ Leary in his new ride in the Bill Michael #77M. Heat four went to one of two Wingo entries with Arizona driver, Stevie Sussex, on board beating Chris Windom, Kory Schudy and Jake Swanson with all heat racing for the sprints in the books by 8 PM. The perfect filler class, the hobby stock division, brought 11 cars to the dance and ran one heat going to Jason Gamble in between the sprint heat races and the sprint C main.

     

    Chayse Hayhurst would take down the C main run advancing to the B main along with dance partners, Riley Kreisel, Dustin Clark and Shane Butler. The hobby stocks would return to break things up and contest their 20 lap feature which only took 11 minutes to run with Jason Gamble bringing out the broom to sweep the evening of hobby stock action. The sprint cars would return for their B main with the top six moving into the big dance, the 30 lap USAC feature race. Robert Ballou, former USAC National champion, would top the B main field outrunning Buddy Kofoid making a guest appearance in the Dyson #20, young Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA making his USAC National sprint car debut in the many time URC racing champion Gallagher #5G, coming home third ahead of Mario Clouser, Colorado rookie Carson Garrett and fellow rookie Paul Neinheiser inching out Matt Westfall at the line for the final qualifying spot.

     

    All we had left was the 30 lap opening night feature for the USAC sprinters and by 9:37 it was showtime with the front row of Kyle Cummins and Justin Grant bringing 22 of their buddies to the green flag to start the main event. Cummins went to the early lead with Grant and Thomas Jr. in full chase. The top three ran this way until encountering lap traffic after lap 10. Thomas began to chomp away at Grant's tail tank until finally using a low side pass of Grant in turn three for second on lap 13 and one lap later finding an opening to make his race leading move on Cummins on the bottom of turn four on lap 14. Thomas promptly powered away to over a two second bulge with Grant working his way by Cummins for second with just five laps to go but Thomas was too far gone to try to track down at this point. Thomas flashed under the checkered flag at 9:45 in a 30 lap non-stop new track record of 7:45.762 to notch his 28th career USAC sprint car victory tying him for 16th place on the all time win list with a group of heavy hitters led by AJ Foyt, Don Branson, JJ Yeley, Levi Jones and Chris Windom. It also snapped a long 16 month winless streak in USAC sprint cars for Thomas dating back to October of 2019 and assembling the old gang led by top wrench, Davey Jones, was a big key to Thomas returning to the top and victory lane. Grant came home second with Cummins third, Brady Bacon turning in another impressive Ocala run nailing down the hard charger in his march from 12th to 4th with Tyler Courtney rounding out the top five. Tanner Thorson would pace the second five across the start/finish line in sixth with CJ Leary seventh, Buddy Kofoid eighth, Chris Windom ninth and fast timer, Timmy Buckwalter rounding out the top ten.

     

    It was a good race to start out the 2021 USAC sprint car season and the efficient program was spun off in entirety in less than three hours. Good job USAC and everyone involved with good track prep also in the mix.

     

    Check back tomorrow to see where the weather takes us. Will it be to Bubba for round two or East Bay for round two of their 360 sprint car nationals. Time and the weather forecast will tell!! Until next time try to keep warm and be safe out there. News, comments, tidbits of other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and continue to check in to see where we end up next.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

      By Pat and Bruce Eckel

      Meseraull Wire To Wire At Bubba Raceway Park

     
    Monday, February 8 - The USAC National Midget series was suppose to race Friday and Saturday nights at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala but Mother Nature did not cooperate with them. To recap first Friday's program was interrupted by light rain 13 laps into the 30 lap feature and was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon. After the midgets timed for the night show the remaining 17 laps were spun off with Buddy Kofoid winning this one. Before starting Saturday night's heat racing the rain moved in again along with a tornado warning wiping out the program for the evening. It seemed a shame that all the teams and drivers towed all the way to Florida and would only get one chance to race. To our delight USAC stepped up and said that they were going to reschedule the Saturday portion of the program to Monday evening. Thank you USAC for salvaging a two race weekend for the teams and drivers to make it worthwhile for their travel efforts!!!

    We pointed the Rogue northward on the Florida Turnpike with at least three Dodge Chargers storming by us traveling at least 90 to 100 mph in their trek northward. We reached I-75 still in one piece and with all body panels intact to finish off the remaining 30 mile tow to exit 358 and Bubba Raceway Park. A small crowd gathered by race time but it could not have been a financial success for all involved but we and the others assembled were grateful for an opportunity to see our beloved USAC midgets run a second night in Florida. Soon afterwards our buddy, Dale O'Brien, arrived and we chatted for a while before entering the facility. To show my support for USAC I visited their souvenir trailer and purchased a new USAC hat and a USAC license plate to place on the front bracket of our gray Rogue which matched the background cover of the license plate.

     

    It would be a single division program on this evening with USAC midget time trials commencing at 6:30. By 6:52 Tanner Thorson had spun off the quick time of the evening on the 3/8 mile clay oval to the tune of 14.325 seconds. A short warmup session for two early arrivals for the USAC sprint car shows starting Thursday were next and then it was right into the three heat races for the 26 car field assembled for tonight minus 7 from the previous event. Heat one would fall to the young Oklahoma cheerleader, Taylor Reimer, who fended off the challenges of Chris Windom to capture the her first win in one of the Dave McIntosh entries on a fast and tight race track. Tanner Thorson, Tanner Carrick and Trey Gropp trailed the top two in this one. Heat two would be won by Thomas Meseraull turning back Jason McDougal, Bryant Wiedeman, Logan Seavey and Buddy Kofoid. The third and final heat race was captured by defending Monster Cup NASCAR champion, Chase Elliott, taking the Boat entry out front early and being never challenged. The surprise heat winner outran Kevin Thomas Jr., Chase Randall, Cannon McIntosh and Justin Grant in a feel good moment for the crowd who appreciated the younger Elliott taking the challenge to race in other divisions that are probably outside his comfort zone.

     

    Emerson Axsom in a second Petry entry as a teammate to Thomas Jr. nailed down the B main leading Daison Pursley, Brenham Crouch, Kaylee Bryson, Daniel Robinson, Ethan Mitchell and Kade Morton to the finish to complete the starting field for the 30 lap main event.

    In a well run, no nonsense program the green flag waved on the 22 car field led to the green by the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Chris Windom at 8:15.   T-Mez went to the point with Windom and Buddy Kofoid, Saturday's winner, in hot pursuit. The track continued to be fast with the cushion in the middle of the track making it extremely tough to pass another car. The top three raced nose to tail through the middle stages of the race until approaching lap traffic which would make things more of a challenge for Meseraull and the others. Windom was able to nose to the inside of T-Mez exiting turn four several times making his presence known but Meseraull was able to fend off his challenges. With eight to go in lap traffic the top three approached Taylor Reimer who was running high but decided to pull low just as Meseraull was setting up to pass her high. This forced Meseraull to dive lower to pass her sliding high in turn two allowing Windom to pull alongside with Kofoid right there also. Meseraull was able to power off turn two with the lead once again and would not be seriously challenged the remainder of the contest. When the checkered waved at 8:25 it was Meseraull across the finish line first for his third career USAC midget win and only the third driver to win both an USAC midget and sprint car race at Bubba Raceway Park joining Chris Windom and Tyler Courtney on that short list. Windom would come home second with Kofoid third, Justin Grant fourth and Daison Pursley the hard charger of the night advancing from tenth to fifth at the finish. The second five was led by Jason McDougal with Emerson Axsom seventh, Tanner Thorson dropping from sixth to eighth on the homestretch when his engine compartment blew out a large fireball crossing the line with Tanner Carrick ninth and Kevin Thomas Jr. rounding out the top ten.

     

    It was a good, quick night of racing with the satisfied crowd on the road by 8:30 on a work night for many in attendance. Thanks again to USAC for making this race possible for one and all.

     

    That's it for this installment and check back soon to see where we end up next on our Florida racing vacation. News, comments, rumors and any other points of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. In the meantime try to stay warm and be safe wherever you are. And last but certainly not least thanks for your loyalty in reading our efforts and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


    Schuchart Takes Big Gator At Volusia Afternoon Show

    Sunday, February 7 - Today was billed by Volusia Speedway Park management as you can catch WOO sprint car racing in the afternoon and still attend your Super Bowl Party on Sunday night. It did not turn out that way. As racing went from the afternoon and into the early evening after the start of the Super Bowl.

    The day started off innocently enough in the afternoon hours of Sunday under blue skies with puffy white clouds with temperatures in the mid 70's but ended slightly after 7 PM for the WOO sprint cars with wind, cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 50's. In between was less racing action than Wednesday and Thursday night when the All Star sprints and UMP modifieds were in town. The All Star sprints and UMP modifieds also had more cars and more racing events than Sunday’s show. The culprit was the two 40 to 45 minute track reworkings during the course of the day that pushed the finish of the WOO sprint car feature to 7:04 and the UMP modified feature finish to 8:05. One attempt to try to produce a better racing surface for racing on this sunny afternoon should have been enough. The second attempt did not do much to change the surface and after a few laps it reverted to the way it was prior to the attempt. It was never dusty and you could not expect more from an afternoon surface. All the second rework did was add to an already longer than expected show.

    WOO sprint car qualifying went under the clock at 2:26 with 30 entries taking two laps around the 1/2 mile clay oval. By 2:47 one of the earlier timers, Danny Dietrich of Pennsylvania, had laided down the fast time with a lap of 13.919 seconds around the fast 1/2 mile oval. UMP modified hot laps/time trials would follow for the 47 car field before the WOO sprint cars would return for their three qualifying heat races pushing off at 3:56. Danny Dietrich would nail down heat one turning back Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, Gio Scelzi, David Gravel and Jason Sides in the process. Logan Schuchart captured heat two over Cory Eliason, Brent Marks, Justin Peck, Carson Macedo and Brock Zearfoss who made an exciting three car pass on the last lap to steal the last qualifying position. The third and final heat race went to Kasey Kahne looking more comfortable in his sprinter each and every time out winning over Sam Hafertepe Jr., Jacob Allen, Kerry Madsen, Kraig Kinser and Wayne Johnson. The four UMP modified heats went to Nick Hoffman, Tyler Nicely, Justin Allgaier and Spencer Hughes. The six lap dash race for the sprints was next on the card and Donny Schatz perfectly postioned himself to take a run at scoring his 300th career WOO triumph later in the day by winning this one and securing the first starting spot. Cory Eliason, Danny Dietrich, Logan Schuchart, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Kasey Kahne chased Schatz across the finish line. Two last chance showdowns were spun off for the UMP modifieds with Brian Ruhlman and Brad DeYoung prevailing before the track maintenance equipment returned.

    By 6:27 it was time for the Greatest Show On Dirt for the 47th time at the Volusia Speedway Park to take the green flag from Dave Farney with the front row of Donny Schatz and Cory Eliason bringing the 26 car field to Farney's green silk. Schatz was first to the lead with Eliason and Dietrich in hot pursuit. Almost everyone migrated to the top shelf as the race clicked off with Schatz opening a comfortable lead with Eliason, Dietrich and Schuchart racing each other for the runnerup position. A multi-car tangle off turn four on lap eight saw Sheldon Haudenschild get upside down but he and the others involved were able to go to the work area and return before the race would go green again with Haudenschild replacing a top wing in the process. Lap 13 would see Gio Scelzi do an end over end flip in turn two after another competitor blew a motor in front of him and slowed quickly with Scelzi having no where to go but up and over while running seventh ending his evening prematurely. Meanwhile Schatz continue to cruise out front when racing continued as the race was behind him in positions second through tenth. As the laps counted down it looked like history was going to happen for the crowd on hand as Schatz was closing in on #300 in his WOO career. Suddenly with two to go Schatz began to slow entering turn one as the sprinter's engine was running rough and he slowed dramically exiting turn two and rolled to a stop halfway down the backstretch. Schatz was pushed to the work area and returned minutes later but at the tail of the field the victim of a faulty ignition box that ruined his bid for #300. Several laps previously Schuchart had finally worked his way past the strong running Eliason for second and found himself as the leader on the restart with two to go. Schuchart took full advantage of the gift and motored out front with the green waved again. When the double checkers waved at 7:04 it was Schuchart winning his second race of the week at Volusia, one WOO and one All Star win, along with two seconds to cap off a very good week for the 28 year old Pennsylvania driver and his crew along with two Gators including the big one. Dietrich would slip by Eliason to claim second at the finish with Eliason slipping to third, David Gravel fourth and Brad Sweet rounding out the top five. Carson Macedo led the second five across the line in sixth with Kerry Madsen seventh, Jacob Allen eighth, Tyler Courtney ninth and Aaron Reutzel tenth after starting 25th. Sheldon Haudenshild rebounded to finish 12th after turning turtle earlier.

    At this point we decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature which Nick Hoffman dominated once again from first with Tyler Nicely starting and finishing second. Florida driver, Garret Stewart, made the best run moving from 11th to stake out third with Matt Crafton fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth after both started inside the top five also with the checker waving at 8:05.

    After high expectations it turned out to be a disappointing day of racing.

    Check back on Tuesday morning for our report from night two at Bubba Raceway Park as our Florida racing vacation continues. Stay warm and be safe and thanks for your continued readership of our efforts.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    Rain Stops Bubba's USAC Midget Feature On Friday

     

     


    Friday, February 5 - We have some catching up to do as the weekend came and went very quickly. Friday was a trip north on the Florida Turnpike and I-75 to Ocala where the USAC National Midget Series was running night one of two of their Florida weekend appearance billed as Winter Dirt Games XII. The weather did not look promising all day as rain was in the forecast at various times the entire day, it was a matter of when would it hit Bubba's Raceway Park and would we be able to sneak in the Friday night portion of the two day event. Saturday's forecast was even more bleak and we were worried and upset the 33 car midget field had made a long trip south for nothing and hoped their might be a contingency plan in place if rain messed things up for Friday and Saturday.

     

    Time trials would start off the night of action with the first of thirty three midgets activating the timing light at 6:27. By 6:54 the time trials were in the record books with Kevin Thomas Jr. of Cullman, AL being interviewed on the homestretch for the third consecutive year after setting fast time of 14.037 seconds around the 3/8 mile clay oval in his Scott Petry #5. IMCA mod lites were the second class on the card and they brought 33 entries from all over the country to race also with time warmups following the midget qualifying.

     

    By 7:30 the first of four USAC midget heats were ready to hit the grid with Sam Johnson in his family owned mount captured heat one over young Bryant Wiedeman, Buddy Kofoid and Thomas Meseraull. Heat two was led to the checkers by Kunz stable mate, Daison Pursley, over Chase Randall in one of the Reinbold/Underwood entries, Jake Neuman and Justin Grant in the second RMS entry. Max McLaughlin, son of former NASCAR series driver, Mike McLaughlin, surprised everyone with a heat three victory over Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh and Steve Buckwalter. Heat four saw defending National Midget champion, Chris Windom, score the win over Kade Morton, Ethan Mitchell and Kaylee Bryson. Four mod lite heat races followed and then some light rain rolled over the race facility causing a one hour rain delay. Things were dried out and racing resumed with the midget B main won by Jason McDougal in the Robert Dalby #4 after Kevin Thomas Jr. dropped to the infield on lap eight while leading the event with mechanical woes. McDougal went on to win over Emerson Axsom, Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 for the full season, Tanner Carrick, Chase Elliott, the defending NASCAR Cup champion, making his USAC midget debut a good one qualifying for the main event in a good run and Brenham Crouch rounding out the starting field.

     

    The 30 lap USAC midget main event was ready to rumble by 10:30 with Buddy Kofoid pouncing from his second starting spot to the early lead. The track was slick and narrow and difficult to pass on. Around lap eight sprinkles appeared and as the laps clicked off the sprinkles turned to light rain and by lap 13 you could see the shine on the track from the rain so the yellow appeared and the field was sent to the pit area to see if the rain would stop. Shortly thereafter the remainder of the event was postponed until Saturday afternoon at 3 PM where the race would be resumed from lap 13 with Buddy Kofoid leading his teammate, Daison Pursley, Tanner Thorson, Chris Windom and Thomas Meseraull.

     

    Saturday, February 6 - After waking up on Saturday we went right to our phones and brought up the Weather Channel app and reviewed the weather for Ocala and Barberville, the home of the Volusia Speedway Park, our backup destination if Ocala was scratched. The forecast was dismal for both so we decided to sit this one out and tune into Flo Sports on Pat's laptop to watch the completion of Friday's USAC midget feature and the mod lite 20 lap feature. It looked like the weather would hold off long enough for them to get in both of the Friday features but not much afterwards. And we hit the nail on the head as after midget qualifying, the remaining 17 laps of the USAC midget feature and the 20 lap mod lite feature which took 45 minutes to run the rains hit with a heavy force to the tune of tornando watches across various Florida counties including Marion and Volusia where the above two tracks are located. Glad we didn't drive into that mess and elected to sit it out in the dry condo. Buddy Kofoid would lead the entire remaining 17 laps on Saturday afternoon but not before Tanner Thorson applied heavy pressure the entire distance thwarted by two untimely cautions that negated an earlier pass for second and a later pass for the lead. Kofoid would hold on for his fourth career USAC midget win over Thorson, Chris Windom, Daison Pursley and Emerson Axsom up from tenth.

     

    The good news of all this rain was that USAC has announced that the midgets will return on Monday night to attempt to finish up the two day run and hopefully the weather will cooperate and they will be able to run tonight. Our thanks go out to USAC to give the midget teams another opportunity to run their mounts after making the long tow to the Sunshine State to put on a show for the racing fans.

     

    By the way the Saturday night program at Volusia Speedway Park was partially completed but ultimately rained out also.

     

    Check back early Tuesday for our report from Sunday at Volusia Speedway Park's afternoon WOO sprint car show and either late Tuesday or early Wednesday for our report from USAC midgets at Bubba's Raceway Park.  News, comments and other items can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net and hopefully all you Northern people are recovering from the latest round of snow.  In the meantime stay warm and stay safe.  Thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    Macedo Scores All Star Win In Second Night At Volusia

     


    Thursday, February 4 - It was a return to Volusia Speedway Park for the final night of All Star sprint car racing in the state of Florida and it was a little warmer but not that much. During the day the temperatures were in the mid 60's but when the sun dropped below the horizon the temperature dropped like a lead balloon. First it passed through the 50's and then into the upper 40's and the dampness settled on us like a cold blanket. Had the pleasure of sitting with long time friend, Scott xxxxx, higher in the reserved seats of the aluminum grandstand with backs on the seats and the pitch of the grandstand affords an excellant view of the entire track as do the lower seats. A vast improvement from the old wooden bleachers. On tap for tonight's activities were the All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCOC) sprint cars (31) and the UMP modifieds (94). Time trials for the sprint cars commenced at 5:42 and by 6:06 David Gravel had toured the fast 1/2 mile dirt oval to the tune of 13.229 seconds to claim the fast time. Group qualifying for the hoard of modifieds followed and by 7:07 the first of four heat races for the ASCOC sprint cars would take Dave Farney's unfurled green flag. Logan Schuchart would make short order of the first heat winning over Joey Saldana and Brad Sweet. Danny Dietrich paced heat two turning back Ian Madsen and Brent Marks in the process. Heat three went to Kasey Kahne in a fine run over Jacob Allen and David Gravel. Donny Schatz claimed heat four over Aaron Reutzel and Carson Macedo. Eight UMP modified heats were next up on the card with some familiar names winning such as Jason Hughes, Mike McKinney, Tyler Nicely, Nick Allen, David Stremme, Kenny Wallace, Nick Hoffman and Kyle Strickler with these heats completed in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

     

    By 8:45 the two sprint car dash races to determine the front five rows of the sprint car feature were trackside and ready to rumble. Brad Sweet captured dash one and the first starting position for the 25 lap feature event besting Danny Dietrich, Donny Schatz, Brian Brown and Brent Marks to set the inside starters in the first five rows. Carson Macedo made it a cakewalk in dash two over Logan Schuchart, David Gravel, Jacob Allen and Kasey Kahne to determine the outside starters in the first five rows. The sprint car B main was next with the law firm of Parker Price-Miller prevailing over Sam Hafertepe Jr., Cory Eliason and Gio Scelzi to set the 24 car field for the 25 lap A main. Two B mains for the modifieds would be spun off before the sprint cars would return for their main event.

     

    For the 94th time in Volusia Speedway Park history the mighty sprint cars of the All Star Circuit of Champions would race on the half mile clay oval with Canadian Dave Farney, the former high school principal, unraveling his green flag to start the feature at 9:45 with Carson Macedo blasting to the front from his second starting position as the extreme outside groove against the wall was the fastest option on the evening. Macedo was hauling the mail and set a torrid pace before he encountered a lap car on lap 11 which slowed him momentially enough to allow Logan Schuchart to draw even. Macedo mashed the loud pedal after clearing the lapper and reestablished his lead once again. Macedo went into cruise control and raced high around the big half mile leading a parade of high side runners led by Schuchart and Brad Sweet. With only a few circuits to go Macedo hit heavy traffic but was able to weave his way through the tangle and retain his lead to the double checkers in the non-stop 25 lap go completed in just eight minutes. It would be Macedo's seventh career ASCOC win and remarkibly accomplished on seven different tracks that the All Stars compete at. Schuchart would have to settle for second tonight after winning the night before with Sweet finishing third for the second straight night to complete the podium finish. David Gravel would come home fourth with Danny Dietrich turning in a strong ride to round out the top five. Positions six through ten would be filled by Jacob Allen, Donny Schatz who never got unleased, Joey Saldana, Kasey Kahne and Sheldon Haudenschild up from 16th. It was a fast affair but not as good racing as the evening before. It was only 9:53 but it was exit stage right for these two cold spectators making the hour and twenty minute tow back to Celebration in time to watch the Top Gun sprint car 25 lap feature on Flo Sports from our condo!!!

     

    That's it for this installment and be sure to check back tomorrow as we tow northward to Ocala and Bubba Raceway Park for the first of two nights of USAC midget racing on the 3/8 mile clay oval there. Saturday's weather looks iffy but hopefully it will change for the better. Until next time stay warm and turn into Flo to watch some racing if you can't be in Florida live. Thanks for continuing to read our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    Schuchart Surprises In Late Charge At Volusia Speedway Park

     


    Wednesday, February 3 - I know you people in the North do not want to hear about cold weather but when the highs in Florida are only in the 50's and the lows at night have been dropping into the 30's it is COLD especially for Florida!!! Yesterday at our first appearance at Volusia Speedway Park near Barberville it was sunny and mid 50's which was not bad while the sun was out but once the sun disappeared so did any semblance of warmth. Also when it gets dark in Florida especially near the coasts it gets damp also. That can make for a long, cold night adding in 90 + UMP modifieds running with 34 All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars for an evening of racing.

     

    The All Star Sprints kicked off the evening with time trials commencing at 5:41. By 6:10 WOO champion in 2019 and 2020, Brad Sweet, had set fast time around the newly re-clayed 1/2 mile in Volusia County with a time of 13.032 seconds. Group qualifying for 90+ UMP modifieds followed with three at a time under the clock before the sprint cars returned to the track for their four heat races at 7:16. The All Star car count was down to 31 for the heat racing and in just 22 minutes all four heats had been spun off in quick order. Sheldon Haudenschild looked dominant in heat one running away from Ian Madsen and Donny Schatz. David Gravel in his new ride in the Todd Quiring #2 was strong in heat two beating Brad Sweet and the Law Firm, Parker Price-Miller, to the line. Gio Scelzi in the KCP #18 captured heat three turning back Tyler Courtney and Kasey Kahne filling in for his full time driver, James McFadden, until McFadden's wife delivers their child in Australia soon. Kraig Kinser easily won heat four besting Logan Schuchart and Brian Brown. Eight UMP modified heats would be next up completing by 8:50.

     

    The sprint car dash redraws were next and then the two dash races determining the top ten starters in the 25 lap main event were lined up and waved off after 9. Sheldon Haudenschild would establish himself as the favorite for the feature with a runaway victory in the first dash over Jason Sides, Brad Sweet, Gio Scelzi and Kraig Kinser determining the inside of the first five rows. Iowa's Brian Brown paced dash two in his Casey's sponsored #21 winning over Donny Schatz, Brent Marks, Aaron Reutzel and David Gravel. The 12 lap B main would follow with four to qualify with Cory Eliason scoring the win over Mason Daniel, Joey Saldana and Brock Zearfoss nipping Cale Conley at the line for the final qualifying position with the two tangling at the flagstand with Conley spinning but no heavy wall contact.

     

    Thirteen minutes later it was showtime with Dave Farney's green flag waving on the 24 car starting field at 9:31 with the initial start called back because of a false start. On the second start Jason Sides who started third found himself facing the wrong way on the homestretch against the inside wall relegating him to the tail of the field for the restart. Brian Brown would take the lead on the third start from the outside pole beating Sheldon Haudenshild into turn one while Haudenshild tried using the slick inside for a slider but banged the turn two wall allowing Brad Sweet to race by for second. Brown would pace the first seven circuits of the feature until Sweet used the inside through turns one and two to slide in front of Brown exiting turn two to grab the lead with Donny Schatz executing the same maneuver the following to take third away. Lap traffic entered the picture on lap nine with Sweet able to work it well until encountering two cars entering turns one and two blocking his momentum on the high side on lap thirteen allowing Schatz to shot the low side and clear the three for the lead at that point. Schatz looked in command as the race entered the late stages with Sweet and Brown in pursuit with Logan Schuchart working his way forward from 13th to 5th by lap twenty with the caution appeared for third running Brown jumping the cushion off turn four and pulling to a stop. On the restart Schatz went back to the point with Sweet and Haudenschild in pursuit. Schuchart was on a run clearing Brent Marks and Haudenschild quickly and Sweet for second by lap twenty one. The only man standing between him and the lead was Schatz which was no easy task. Schuchart made it look easy though sweeping by Schatz in turns one and two on lap twenty three and going to the lead as the crowd went wild. At 9:57 it was Schuchart home first under Farney's double checkers for his second career All Star win and $6000 for the kitty of Shark Racing with Schatz second, Sweet third, David Gravel fourth from tenth after some late race sliders and Brent Marks rounding out the top five. Tyler Courtney looking better and better each outing in the winged machines advanced from 12th to 6th at the finish with Carson Macedo marching from 16th to 7th at the end, with Haudenschild fading to eighth in a disappointing run after such promise earlier with Danny Dietrich 9th from 17th and Cory Eliason 10th from 21st. Even thought the bottom was slick early it came around later and some good runs were turned in in the second half of the contest. That was enough for us in the cold and we headed Rogue side for the trip back to the condo in Celebration.

     

    Check back tomorrow for night two of the All Stars at Volusia and the rest of the week racing action. Comments, news and any other points of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Hope everyone who suffered the high snow counts are dug out and safe and warm as we hope for warmer weather down south for the rest of our vacation in Florida. Thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to read where we end up next in a typical week and weekend.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Schatz Wins Second All Star Race Of Year At East Bay

    Monday, February 1 - We left about an hour earlier on this sunny but cold day in the low 50's in Florida with winds between 15 and 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph to stop in Plant City for lunch. Last year we found a fine restaurant called Fred's, which is a country buffet style setup with fine southern country specialties. Fred's has taken many precautions to make your eating experience safe with long panes of glass covering the food along with a large sink next to the buffet where you have to thoroughly wash and wipe your hands before taking any dishes or food. In addition you must wear at a minimum of one plastic glove on your serving hand to dispense your food to your plate. The process is repeated for every visit to the buffet table. Seems like a good system and a decent crowd socially distanced were on hand to enjoy the delicious prepared food. After eating we climbed back into the car and started west again on our way to East Bay Raceway Park for night one of the All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars at the Clay by the Bay. It was not to be on this cold day as a text from Florida resident, Dale O'Brien, alerted us that the show had been canceled due to heavy rains last night which flooded part of the infield and part of turn one and posted pictures verified the scene at the track. We could have headed further north to Ocala to catch the Lucas Oil Late Models but temperatures in the 40's which felt like the high 30's had us retreat to the warm condo and viewing of the race from my laptop. Tuesday, February 2 - Today it was East Bay take two as the temperatures were slightly higher in the mid-50's and the winds were not quite as bad, in fact they were at our backs the entire night which made it seem not as cold as it could have been. It was the Jean Lynch Classic in honor of the grand lady of sprint car racing who was in attendance on this evening and we had the pleasure of saying hi to Jean, an old friend of ours.

    The night of racing would start off with time trials for the 36 sprint cars on hand at 6:38 and by 7:05 Ian Madsen, the new driver of the Mike McGhee #11 had turned fast time around the oval at 12.680 seconds. Next the All Stars would contest four heats for their now 35 car field as Danny Smith suffered engine woes during time trials. Five would qualify from each heat with Pennsylvania's Steve Buckwalter in the Ritter #17B nailing down heat one on a track where he mentioned that he had never used so much gearing in a sprinter. Tyler Courtney brought the Clauson/Marshall #7BC to victory in heat two with Frank Neill flipping in turn three after something broke on his sprinter turning him into the wall. Neill was OK but done for the evening. Tim Shaffer the new chauffer of the Mike Heffner #72 claimed heat three and 10 time WOO champion, Donny Schatz nailed down the win in heat four with all heats completed in 37 minutes. The on track redraw for the two dash races which determine the top ten starting positions were next followed by the actual dashes themselves. Ian Madsen remained perfect on the evening so far capturing dash #1 over Donny Schatz, Tony Stewart, Steve Buckwalter and Kyle Reinhardt. Dash # 2 fell to Cory Eliason beating back Justin Peck, Anthony Macri, Tyler Courtney and Tim Shaffer. The final four qualifiers would come out of the B main with Altoona, Iowa's Terry McCarl triumphant in this one over Cale Conley, Chris Myers and Carson Short.

    The green flag would drop on the third All Star race of 2021 with Cory Eliason in the Rudeen #26 jumping into the early lead over Ian Madsen. Eliason would lead the first eight laps and looked strong until tangling with the lap car of Chris Windom in turn three ruining his evening with a trip to the infield. Justin Peck would assume the lead with Donny Schatz in hot pursuit. Peck would pace the field for the next seven laps until Schatz was able to make his move taking the lead with an inside move between turns three and four on lap 15. Ian Madsen followed Schatz through for second and took up the chase. Meanwhile Ian's older brother, Kerry, was making some noise working his way forward from his 17th starting position into third and beginning to apply the pressure to Ian for second as they both chased Schatz. Several times they closed the gap significantly until Schatz made a dandy move between two lappers to seal the deal on lap 28 as Ian opened some breathing room on Kerry for second. As the checkered waved at 9:28 it was Donny Schatz home first for the 20th time in All Star competition and two out of three in 2021 beating Ian Madsen, Kerry Madsen, Tyler Courtney from eighth and Gio Scelzi squeezing by Tim Shaffer on the last lap to bring his Toyota powered sprinter home fifth at the finish from 13th.

    The heats lacked a little in the action department but the 30 lap feature more than made up for them with an exciting run by several drivers with the hard charger going to Kerry Madsen from 17th to 3rd. A good night of racing on a cold evening with the entire show including time trials completed in less than three hours in front of a good crowd who braved the cold to witness some good winged sprint car racing. Check back tomorrow as he head toward the Volusia Speedway Park for more All Star sprint car action along with the UMP modifieds that flock to the Barberville oval in large numbers. Comments, quotes, notes, complaints and other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. To our Northeast readers digging out from a massive winter storm that dropped over two feet of snow in various parts of the Northeast be safe out there and take frequent rests from shoveling and snow blowing and think warm thoughts. It is never too late to catch a flight south and catch some racing in the Sunshine (but cold) State. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy our reports as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Smith Triumphs At Jacksonville International Raceway

    Saturday, January 30 - The Lucas Oil Late Models were running their finale at East Bay and it was the same for the STSS modifieds at Bubba's Raceway Park but we decided to change it up and attend a relatively new track that reopened in late 2020. We took a leisurely stroll up through the backroads of central Florida through the Ocala National Forest and arrived in Maxville, Florida, the home of the Jacksonville International Raceway. JIR is located right off Highway 301 just above Starke on the northbound side of the road. Spectator admission for the event was $10 and you paid that the gate as you drove onto the grounds. We found a parking spot right across from the scoring tower and tied down our blanket on the top row of a small wooden bleacher on the homestretch and returned to the SUV to read for a while as the 1/4 midgets raced before the regular show was to begin. Jacksonville International Raceway is a 1/7 mile very wide dirt oval with good lighting and a small bleacher for spectators on the homestretch. The walls on both the homestretch and the backstretch are made of painted plywood while the homestretch has an additional chain link fence behind the wooden wall. The corner walls are piles of old tires separating the track and the pit area. An unique feature at the track is that a railroad track runs directly behind the backstretch wall and during the evening a very long train went by as they raced.

    On tap tonight were the outlaw 600 mini sprints running a 20 lap feature paying $500 to win and 13 600's turned out to contest the top prize. Also mini stocks and 270 micro sprints were scheduled but only one showed for each division so they were given about a dozen laps each to test the racing surface.

    The first of two 600 heats hit the track at 7:48 with female driver, Paige Moss, one of many of the Florida Moss racing family, taking the win in this one. Robbie Smith, one of the top runners in the mini sprint division in Florida captured the win in heat two in a good race. A fifty minute intermission followed which included a foot race for about a dozen youngster for one lap around the 1/7 mile with a girl running barefoot taking the easy victory over two boys.

    By 9:11 the 20 lap feature event was ready to rumble with Paige Moss taking the early lead. Moss would hold off Smith until lap 12 when he was able to squeeze by Moss exiting turn four for the lead. Veteran John Crowder was also able to slide by Moss but she worked her way back by Crowder with three to go but Smith was gone at that point. The checkered waved at 9:27 with Robbie Smith home first chased by Paige Moss and John Crowder. It was a decent race with some good racing and it was nice to see racing at a new track to us. We wish the new management good fortunes with their new venture and hope that they can build their car counts up especially in the 270's and mini stocks and provide a place for racers to race in north central Florida.

    That's it for this installment and check back Tuesday as we head back to East Bay Raceway Park for night one of two for the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars. News, rumors, comments and anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. Until then be safe, stay warm and if you have to shovel snow take it slow and easy. And as usual thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    45th Annual Winternationals Kicks Off Florida Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway Park

     


    Today kicks off our Florida racing vacation and as we have done in the past three years or so we cross over to the dark side and start out our 2021 racing season with the 45th Annual Winternationals hosted by the East Bay Raceway Park management group. Now as you already know Hoseheads.com is an open wheel website but we feel we would be remiss in not reporting on the fantastic late model racing at goes on at East Bay sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Models for six days this year in January but usually in February. If you insist on sprint cars then Monday and Tuesday of next week the All Star Sprints are running on the Clay at the Bay but you don't know what you are missing if you don't check out at least one night of the intense late model racing at East Bay where 73 late models have raced for the past two nights. East Bay is our favorite dirt track in Florida and the multi-grooved racing and side by side action has you sitting on the edge of your seats every night and the Lucas Oil group knows how to produce a well run program each and every night.

     

    Monday, January 25 - Time trials kick off every Lucas Oil Late Model event and with 73 cars competing you would think this would take quite a while but the Lucas Oil folks have got it down to an art with three late models timing together and the entire process was completed in 36 minutes on opening night. Brandon Overton set fast time with a lap of 14.373 seconds in group two to be the fastest overall timer. Next were six heat races starting at 7:02 with three to qualify to the main event. Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Erb, Brandon Overton, Hudson O'Neal and Tanner English scored heat wins. All were completed in just 51 minutes. Two B mains followed with 27 and 24 starters (no cautions in the 27 car B main) with two to advance to the 30 lap feature event and all qualifying was completed by 8:24. Dennis Erb Jr. and last year's Lucas Oil champion, Jimmy Owens had to win B mains to get in the field. A rework of the track followed and by 9:03 the last opportunity to qualify for the evening, the Strawberry Dash hit the track with Frank Heckenast winning this one.

    The green flag waved on the 30 car field (eight provisionals - which is too many) at 9:35 and the battle was on. Throughout the 30 laps there was position swapping galore with Bronson and Sheppard the first ones battling for the lead with second starter, Overton, slipping back to sixth with O'Neal and Tyler Erb in the hunt. Impressive marches were made by Devin Moran running as high as second from twenty second and Billy Moyer Jr. from 27th to as high as 4th. A late spin by Erb running third at the time forced to the tail, 18 cars at this point with 11 to go. When it was all said and done at 10:23 Hudson O'Neal, all of 20 years old, was the victor over Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Devin Moran and steady Earl Pearson Jr. advancing from 24th to 5th at the checkered. Tyler Erb worked his way back to seventh at the end. Ten cautions tarnished what would have been considered an incredible feature but the action throughout the field over the course of 30 laps was spectacular.

     

    Tuesday, January 26 - Another 73 cars took time trials with Brian Shirley setting fast time with a mark of 14.256 seconds around the 1/3 mile clay oval. The format would be slightly altered tonight with still six heats with three to qualify but three B mains instead of two with two advancing from each and no Strawberry Dash on the agenda. Tanner English, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Overton and Brandon Sheppard scored their second heat wins of the series joined by Brian Shirley and Shane Clanton for the first time. The three B's went to Mike Marlar, Kyle Strickler and Floridian Mark Whitener holding off Jimmy Owens for the win. The track was in fine shape on this evening and no additional track work was needed before the 30 lap main event was rolled to the track as fog began to move in.

     

    The green flag flew at 9:12 with the front row of Tanner English and Brian Shirley squaring off for the lead. In this one tonight there was not as much wild action but the racing for the top six positions was intense and very enjoyable. Tyler Erb would started ninth used a late race pass to take the lead from Brandon Overton and survived an extra restart after Brandon Sheppard slowed on the backstretch on the last lap while running fourth with a flat tire and the yellow waved after the leaders crossed the start/finish line. Overton had one more shot at the win but Erb was up to the challenge and crossed the line first at 9:42 scoring his tenth career Lucas Oil win over Overton, Shirley, Josh Richards who muscled his way into the field in the bB main and turned in an impressive feature drive moving from 23rd to 4th with Kyle Bronson rounding out the top five. Kudos go out to Johnny Scott qualifying for his first feature of the week and making a steady run from 18th to 7th at the finish.

     

    Wednesday, January 27 - We were leery of today's weather forecast as that nasty four letter word, rain, was in the forecast for the Gibsonton area between 8 and 9 PM so we didn't want to chance driving over there, settling in and then getting rained upon before the complete show was in the books. So instead we decided to watch some of the action on Facebook live and then watch some TV as the night proceeded. As it would turn out the Lucas Oil Late Model series officials did a yeoman's job spinning off the program getting as far as four laps remaining in the second of three B mains before the rain arrived right before 8 and after a delay to wait it out and see the remainder of the program would be picked up and completed after the regularly scheduled Thursday night program presenting the opportunity to witness two feature events in one evening.

     

    Thursday, January 28 - Thursday dawned cloudy but as the day progressed the sun appeared and by the time we left the condo it was a sunny day with the temperature topping out at 70. As is usual with this week the crowd increases as the week progresses and tonight it was the biggest one of the week so far. Activities kicked off earlier as there was plenty of racing to present as time trials took to the track by 6 PM. Forty minutes later Wednesday arrival, Bobby Pierce, had scorched the clay to the tune of a time of 14.773 seconds in group two and stood the fastest qualifier of the evening. It was right into the six heat races with the heavy surface causing many of the bigger stars to produce slower times forcing them to the middle to back parts of the heat fields and thus even more passing in the heats. Boom Briggs, Brian Shirley, Kyle Bronson, Bobby Pierce, Mason Zeigler using the high side from ninth to first and Tyler Erb were heat winners with the three B mains falling to Jonathan Davenport who has struggled all week after capturing three wins at the Wild West Shootout in Arizona. Ashton Winger and Tyler Bruening were the other two B main victors with all qualifying in the books by 8:21.

     

    The green flag would drop on the 30 car field at 8:43 with Bobby Pierce going to the early lead. Kyle Bronson and Brian Shirley would challenge early with Bronson taking the lead first then Shirley before ninth starting Stormy Scott clawed his way to the lead passing Shirley for the top spot in the 100th sanctioned Lucas Oil race run at East Bay. The track went slick and a venture off the bottom the remainder to the event would see you go backwards as Scott approached lap traffic. The New Mexico driver was able to pick his way through the lappers and maintain a slight advantage over Bronson and seventh starting Tim McCreadie as the race rolled on. At 9:19 Scott would flash under the checkered flag first to score his initial Lucas Oil Late Model triumph besting Bronson, McCreadie, 11th starting Frank Heckenast Jr. and Brian Shirley.   Ross Bailes was able to work the slick surface to advance from 24th to 8th at the finish. It is always fun to see a first time winner and Stormy Scott was truly a deserving one and hopefully it is the first of many more to come for him.

     

    The track crew went to work to try to bring life back to the track with a 40 minute rework of the surface before the remaining two B mains were run. It seemed to help a little but the unruly surface would revert back to slick by feature time of main event #2. It was worth the effort to try to make the surface more racy but sometime the elements do not cooperate.

     

    The green cloth for the start of the second 40 lap feature event would fall on the 28 car field at 10:48 with Florida's Mark Whitener the early leader. Josh Richards marched quickly from his ninth starting spot to take the lead from Whitener on lap seven and never looked back on his way to his eighth career win at East Bay and his 32nd career LOLM victory of his career. Ninth seems to be the position to start to win an East Bay feature in Lucas Oil competition as Richards joined earlier winner, Stormy Scott, and Tuesday night's winner, Tyler Erb, winning from that spot in the lineup. Brandon Overton moved by Whitener for second on lap nine and took up the chase of Richards. Whitener would run a strong third until suffering a flat tire with five to go ending a great run for the Floridian. Hudson O'Neal, Monday's winner, would work his way up from tenth to garner third at the checker at 11:36 behind Richards and Overton. Brian Shirley after starting 17th would post a fine 4th with Devin Moran from 14th to claim 5th. Not all of the advances were due to pure passing as some of the field in front of the two was cleared by nine cautions in the 40 lap distance. It wasn't one of our best nights at the Clay by the Bay but sometimes things don't all work together.

     

    It still is highly recommended by us both to take in at least one night of Lucas Oil Late Model racing action at East Bay and we guarantee you will like what you see and return again for another exciting round of good, competitive side by side late model racing here in Florida.

    Check back on Monday as our next report should be the WOO sprint cars from Volusia Speedway Park on Sunday. Until then be safe out there and if in the rest of the country try to stay warm or venture south for some warmer weather here in Florida. Comments, news, stories or other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next in a typical weekend.

     
     
     


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Our Last Race of 2020 At National Equestrian Center

    Sunday, December 13 - Although my personal streak of seeing at least one race in every month of the year was snapped in April of 2020 at 29 constitutive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic I started another one in June of this year. I figure I will be 94 when I equal my previous record of 29 years in a row!!! You have to stay optimistic right??

    We decided to take the four hour drive to Lake St. Louis, Missouri for the Clash at the Coliseum promoted by Kevin and Tammy Gundaker, the promoters at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois. It had previously been held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield but due to Covid-19 restrictions the Gundaker family found a new venue for their kart winter series. In addition to the two day show on Saturday and Sunday they will host four more shows, two in January and two in February. The new venue was the National Equestrian Center in the bedroom community of Lake St. Louis not far from the home of the St. Louis Cardinals. The track itself was located in the East Arena which had attached barns for indoor pit facilities for the competitors. A total of 16 classes raced complete programs on both days with 87 total karts in 14 races running on Sunday afternoon starting heat races at noon. The track itself was 1/8 to 1/10 mile dirt oval with good lighting and a bumpy surface but understandable as it is normally used to show horses not race on.

    The heat racing was scheduled for noon and by the time we entered the arena after 1PM they were running the last three heat races for the two divisions of winged outlaw karts. The LQ 206 box stocks which were a smaller version of the winged outlaw karts had the best car count with 14 followed by the open winged outlaw karts with 11. Most of the other classes ranged between 2 and 10. The program was well run with the first of 14 feature events starting 21 minutes earlier than the scheduled start time of 2 PM. Most classes ran very well and quickly around the small oval until the 14 kart LQ 205 box stock feature. Numerous cautions prolonged this event with realignment of the field taking quite a while. Blake Adams, young son (age limit of class was up to 14) of Buzzy Adams, 4 time WISSOTA modified champion out of Wisconsin, ended up scoring the big win. The five kart intermediate winged outlaw kart 20 lap feature was next up with Trice Roden coming home the winner. The final feature of the day would be the 20 lap open winged outlaw kart feature which was a competitive race. Terry Reed, a 39 year old driver out of Illinois who normally runs street stocks during the summer at Macon and Lincoln, dominated the top spot in his #00 and came home the victor at 4:03 besting Gage Montgomery and Rodney Greenwalt.

    It was a well organized day of racing spun off in good order. If you are in the area in January or February stop by to check out the action at the National Equestrian Center in Lake St. Louis. It is worth the effort.

    That's it for the 2020 racing season where I ended up attending 63 races during the shortened pandemic season while Pat's total was 59 for the season. Check back in January as our plans are to travel south to Florida to take in the racing action during Speedweeks in the Sunshine State. Until next time buckle down if you are in the northeast as a monster storm is headed your way and wherever else you are enjoy your weather whatever it is. We would like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year and we hope in 2021 we can control this virus and get back to some normalcy in the near future. Any news, stories, notes of interest or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And last but certainly not least is thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing them to you as much as you express your enjoyment of us being honest with the reports and letting you know what went on at the tracks we visit.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Fall Fling At Kokomo Falls To Haudenschild & Courtney


     


    Saturday, October 24 - When The Fall Fling was announced at Kokomo Speedway being promoted by Indy Race Parts owner, Bernie Stuebgen, for October 24th featuring the WOO sprint cars and the Kokomo non-wing sprints it was going to be a must see. It seems that many others agreed with my assessment as a large crowd turned out on a sunny, cold day to witness the return of the WOO sprints to Kokomo for the first time in five years. Some were there to see if Donny Schatz could win his 300th career WOO win while many others ventured over from Ohio to watch their favorite driver, Sheldon Haudenschild make his 300th start with the World of Outlaws. Still others came to see awesome racing involving the best winged sprint car drivers in the country on the baddest bullring in Indiana. And there were still others who came to see the non-wing sprints compete at Kokomo and see if one of the six drivers entered in both divisions (Chase Stockon, Paul Nienhiser, Chris Windom, Tyler Courtney, Justin Grant and Clinton Boyles) go for a $10,000 bonus. If one of these six drivers could place on the podium (first through third) in each division they would take home the extra cash in their pockets.


     

    Unlike last Friday qualifying was scheduled to start at 5:30 and pushed off twenty minutes late at 5:50 but the 44 WOO sprinters in attendance were very efficient spinning off the time trials in just 25 minutes. The winged track record was set in 2012y Sammy Swindell who toured the 1/4 mile in 10.950 seconds. Brad Sweet out late in qualifying flight B was the only driver to crack the 11 second bracket by attacking the track with a 10.981 seconds which came close to Swindell's mark. Next up on the dance card were the four heat races for the WOO sprints with five to move to the big dance with the top two moving to the dash race to determine the the front four rows of the feature. Heat one saw Tim Kaeding spin the Tony Stewart #14 off turn four with Kerry Madsen left with nowhere to go and ramming into the side of Kaeding turning the car on its side. Kaeding would return later but Madsen was done for the evening. Jacob Allen would capture heat one besting Aaron Reutzel making his virgin appearance at Kokomo, Logan Schuchart, Spencer Bayston and Wayne Johnson. Shane Stewart powered one of Stuebgen's Indy Race Parts #71's to victory in heat two outrunning Donny Schatz, Buddy Kofoid, Hunter Schuerenberg and Paul Nienhiser. Sheldon Haudenschild triumphed in heat three beating Brad Sweet, Tyler Courtney, James McFadden and Parker Price-Miller qualifying the third Stuebgen entry along with Stewart and Bayston. The fourth and final heat would fall to Cory Eliason over Dominic Scelzi, Ian Madsen aboard the Sam McGhee #11, Carson Macedo and Kraig Kinser.


     

    The four non-wing sprint car heats would be next up with Thomas Meseraull running away with heat one over Max Adams, Dave Darland and Jadon Rogers. Chase Stockon powered to the heat two win over Tyler Courtney, Matt Goodnight and Tye Mihocko, one of the heroes from the week before during the Darland fire in turn three. Clinton Boyles, last week's winner, in the Paul Hazen #57 picked up where he left off winning heat three over Kevin Thomas Jr., Travis Berryhill and Jake Swanson. The fourth and final heat of the evening went to Shane Cottle at the keyboard of the Jamie Paul #24P on the evening besting Justin Grant back in the Goodnight #22, Cole Bodine and Saban Bibent, the 15 year old rookie of the year at Lawrenceburg Speedway. Heat four saw Davey Ray take a wild ride in turn three after jumping the right rear tire of Justin Grant and into a series of flips before landing back on the track. Ray was OK after his wild ride but the same could not be said for his racer.


     

    This would lead us to the WOO sprint C main with the top two advancing to the B main. Veteran Bill Rose would score the win turning back Chase Stockon at the finish. The dash race was up next and it was an interesting one to boot. Donny Schatz took the early lead with Dominic Scelzi in hot pursuit. Haudenschild was all over Scelzi and Sheldon dove low in turn one to attempt a pass but Scelzi slammed the door closed. Haudenschild got into Scelzi turning him sideways and he finished off the job tapping him and sending Scelzi spinning. On the restart Schatz, Haudenschild and Aaron Reutzel hooked up in a crowd pleasing duel with Haudenschild splitting the pair coming off turn four on the last lap to steal the win and the pole position for the 40 lap main event. Tim Kaeding returned for the B main and took down the win in a strong run after a good duel with David Gravel with Jason Sides third and DJ Foos taking down the last qualifying position. Daryn Pittman would use a provisional to get the Mike Heffner #72 into the starting field. Austin McCarl hit an inside tire off turn three and rolled over in the B main and emerged unscathed. We still had one more B main to run and that was on the non-wing side with AJ Hopkins winning this one over Paul Nienhiser, Brandon Long, Anthony D'Alessio, Nate McMillen and David Hair. All qualifying was in the books now and things were moving along nicely on this cold evening with temperatures in the 40's. It would soon be time for the first of two feature events, the 40 lap WOO Fall Fling paying a cool $10,000 to win.


     

    The front row of Haudenschild and Schatz brought the field to the green flag at 9:03 with Haudenschild blasting into the early lead. Haudenschild was setting a torrid pace reaching heavy lap traffic by lap six. Schatz stuck to the bottom while Sheldon used the high side and they raced side by side for the entire lap on lap eight until Schatz got the clear lane and charged into the lead. Three cautions flew in the next twelve laps with Schatz holding sway with Haudenschild studying his adversary trying to decide the best route to regain the lead. Lap twenty three saw Haudenschild drive to the top in turns one and two with momentum going down the backstretch. He dove low in turns three and four and the pair drove side by side entering turns one and two. The two front runners raced side by side down the backstretch until turn three when Haudenschild edged out front on the low side and was the new leader on lap twenty five. Meanwhile several other drivers were working their way to the front with David Gravel up ten spots until a spin sent him to the tail. Also Tim Kaeding was putting on a march advancing from twenty first to fifth until catching the turn two wall, punching a hole in the safety fence before bouncing off and ending up sitting on the low side of the backstretch ending a brilliant run to the front. Logan Schuchart was another moving forward from ninth up to third with Brad Sweet cruising in fourth sitting pretty in the points race. James McFadden was up to fifth from fourteenth and making his presence engine compartment and it progressively got worse over the next several laps as he slowed but continued. At the finish he had dropped to 11th and his healthy point advantage was down to 46 over Schuchart and 64 over Schatz going into the final two contests at Charlotte in November. At 9:35 Haudenschild flashed under the checkered flag claiming his seventh win of the 2020 season matching the total he had posted over the previous three WOO seasons. Schatz crossed the finish line second with Schuchart third, McFadden fourth and Carson Macedo slipping into fifth at the end from sixteenth. Jacob Allen led the second five to the finish with Tyler Courtney seventh, Ian Madsen eighth, David Gravel coming back for ninth and Aaron Reutzel fighting back for tenth after going to the tail involved in a tangle not of his earlier while running in the top four. The crowd appreciated the good, close racing and give everyone a good hand at the finish.


     

    We still had a 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature to run and most of the crowd on hand remained to watch the wingless cousins of the winged cars. The green waved on the front row of Shane Cottle and Chase Stockon at 9:57 with the pair racing wheel to wheel for the first two laps before Stockon edged his way in front. Stockon would lead until lap five when fifth starting Courtney tracked him down and charged by to assume the top position. Courtney was on a mission and moved to a comfortable lead as the race progressed. Stockon, Grant, Boyles and Thomas Jr. battled behind the leader in an entertaining contest for positions in the top five. As the clock struck 10:08 it was Courtney who had a love/hate affair at Kokomo this year came up loving the 1/4 mile bullring tonight taking the $2000 win with Cottle and Grant racing side by side over the last several laps battling for second with Cottle getting the edge at the wire for the runner up position with Grant third. Dave Darland made a late charge to nail down fourth with Stockon hanging on for fifth with Thomas Jr. pushed out of the top five at the finish.


     

    It was a fine night of racing spun off in quick order with 78 cars in two divisions completing their program in four hours twenty minutes from start to finish on another cold evening in October.


     

    That's it for another typical weekend with plans up in the air for next weekend at this time. So until next time get out there and catch whatever racing may be left in your area and stay warm and dry. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at bruce. eckel@ comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back next week to see where we end up.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Kokomo Klash XIV Wins For Boyles & Meseraull


     

     

    Friday, October 21 - First off if you know us you know that Kokomo Speedway is our favorite race track around. But when something is not right we will speak our mind and let you our fellow fans know how we feel. Tonight was Kokomo Klash XIV at the 1/4 mile bullring and with temperatures only in the mid-fifties during the daylight hours and a frost advisory for the evening we felt that track management would move the program along in a timely fashion. Well, we were wrong tonight. In Kokomo's ads timed hot laps were listed for 6 and racing at 7. With fields of 34 non-wing sprint cars, 39 USAC regional midgets, 24 IMCA Racesaver 305 winged sprints and 47 thunder cars starting on time is on essential element of the equation. When the first heat pushes off one hour 15 minutes late this is unacceptable. It was not going to get any warmer as the evening progressed and your number one priority as a track owner should be the comfort and well being of your loyal faithful fans. This was not accomplished on this evening. We know that unanticipated things are going to happen during the evening so that is all the more reason to start on time especially on a blustery cold evening. When the first of four features ends at 12:09 AM and the temperature is 37 degrees you are more understanding about all the circumstances that unfolded on this evening if you subtract 1.25 hours off the ending time. It is then only around 11 PM, a reasonable time considering all the incidents that interrupted the racing evening. Enough said on this subject so let's more on and report on the racing that happened tonight.


     

    The non-winged sprint cars would be first to the post and would contest four heats for their 35 car field with the top four moving directly to the A main with a straight up start from your finishing positions. Clinton Boyles motored the fabled Paul Hazen #57 from the first starting spot and never looked back notching the heat one win and first starting position in the feature winning over Jake Swanson, Jason McDougal back in the Daigh/Phillips #71P for the evening and Max Adams. Heat two saw Dave Darland taking a spin in the Jeff Nanny #32 scoring the win over Shane Cottle in the Paul #24P, Tye Mihocko and Korbyn Haslett. After the checker flew a scary incident happened when the fuel line on the Nanny #32 broke in turn three dousing Darland with fuel in the cockpit. He climbed from his sprinter with his legs in flames and rolled on the ground with Shane Cottle and Tye Mihocko lying on top of him like blankets to extinguish the flames. Darland had burns on his knee and ankle but someone was sent to his home for a new driving uniform and The People's Champ would be ready to race in the 25 lap feature coming up much later. Hats off to Mihocko and Cottle for their unselfish act of helping a fellow driver in need as the situation could have been worse without their quick response. Back to the racing after this serious incident saw Justin Grant jump into the Goodnight #22 for the evening and take it to the front to win this one over Brian VanMeveren, Brayden Clark looking better each time out and Cole Bodine. The final sprint heat went to Thomas Meseraull besting AJ Hopkins, Matt Goodnight and Travis Berryhill.


     

    The USAC regional midgets, a combination of regular and D2 midgets, were next on the racing card also running four heats with four to qualify in straight up starts for the feature. California transplant, Robert Dalby, claimed heat one while Shane Cottle took down heat two with Justin Grant taking home heat three and Clinton Boyles nailing down heat four all from the first starting positions. The IMCA Racesaver 305 sprint heat wins were taken by Bradley Galedrige, John Paynter Jr. and Alex Nalon, grandson of Duke Nalon. The thunder cars ran five long heat races with all heat qualifying not in the books until 10:29.


     

    Two B mains would be needed for the non-wing sprints and the regional midgets and three B mains for the thunder cars were necessary. Two from each of the sprint and midget B mains would join the starting fields with Scotty Weir in the Petersen #4P notching B main one over Anthony D'Alessio with Dustin Smith prevailing in B main two over Keith Sheffer who made a last corner pass for the last qualifying position. The midget B mains were taken by Zane Briggs and Adam Taylor, the regional midget winner at Gas City last week. The clock struck 12 and we had yet to see a main event take place. Two minutes later we would get our wish.


     

    Tom Hansing, who did yeoman duty tonight on the flag stand, dropped the green flag on the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature at 12:02 with Clinton Boyles surging into the early lead. Boyles looked like he was on rails in this one steadily distancing himself from the rest of the snarling pack in chase. Dave Darland, Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull, Jake Swanson and Shane Cottle duked it out for the next several positions as Boyles set the torrid pace. Shane Cottle made things interesting in the late stages closing the gap from half a straightway to only several car lengths at the end. This one would go non-stop in seven minutes with Boyles guiding the Hazen #57 under the flagstand first for the second time in 2020 over Cottle with the tough as nails Darland third, burns and all, Swanson fourth and T- Mez rounding out the top five. At this point Pat had had enough of the cold weather and retreated to the warmth of the SUV while I decided to take in one more feature before calling it a long evening.


     

    The 25 lap USAC regional midget feature was next on the docket and after victory lane ceremonies were completed took the green flag at 12:22. Robert Dalby took early command but that was short lived as Justin Grant powered to the front from his third starting position. The only stoppage of this event would occur on lap six when Adam Taylor flipped his mount on the inside of turn two. He was OK after the wild ride. Grant would retain the lead on the restart with Shane Cottle, Thomas Meseraull, Clinton Boyles and Chase McDermand in hot pursuit. Grant would hold sway until turn four of lap fourteen when in traffic T- Mez was able to sneak by Grant for the lead. Clinton Boyles went from hero to zero when he looped it in turn two while running third and had to restart at the tail ending his dreams of making it a double on the evening. From this point on it was all Meseraull as he has been hot in the midget ranks lately and got to wonder if a west coast trip is on the horizon for the Waveland resident. The second checkered would fly at 12:39 with Meseraull across the line first with Grant second, Cottle third, McDermand fourth with his Badger legal organization engine with Dalby rounding out the top five. It was time to head for the comfort and warmth of the Rogue to make the 1 1/2 hour tow back to Crawfordsville after a cold and windy evening of racing.


     

    That's it until next weekend as we decided to sit the Springfield USAC Silver Crown race out today. On the horizon for next weekend could be both WOO late models and sprint cars at Kokomo on the dance card but we will have to see how the weather plays out. In the meantime get out there and enjoy whatever remaining racing is happening in your neck of the woods and be safe and dry. Comments, news, rumors, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce. eckel@comcast.net. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing our thoughts to you.


     

    P.S. - Sending out a towel so CJ Leary can wipe the egg off his face after being a critic of tire doping and then being caught for the same offense at Gas City at the USAC event in late September.
     


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cold Fall Festival Of Speed At Gas City Claimed by Darland

    Friday, October 2 - It was a bright day but it never was very warm. The temperature may have flirted with 60 but it was windy all day long. When we arrived at Gas City I-69 Speedway for night one of their two night Fall Festival of Speed with this night being Open Wheel Mania with non-wing sprints (40), IMCA winged 305 sprints (21), USAC Regional midgets (36), 600 non-wing micros (19) and AVSCA (vintage) sprints (11) it was cold already. Sweatshirts were donned and off into the front gates we went after paying a reasonable $20 admission. When the sun set the temperature pummeled dropping into the 40's by early evening. It was one of those nights when no matter how much clothing you had on you still felt cold. By 8:00 all hot lapping was over and the non-wing sprints were trackside.

    Nick Bilbee, the guest driver of the Jamie Paul #24P, copped heat win one over Chase Jones, Cole Bodine and Matt Goodnight. Scotty Weir back in the Goodnight #22 captured heat win two over Max Adams who was second in points coming into the last night of points and was out of qualifying position until two cars tangled in front of him. Harley Burns and Brayden Fox would join the top two in the feature. Robert Ballou stormed to heat win three passing Anton Hernanadez late for the win with Kevin Thomas Jr. third and Brayden Clark fourth. Shane Cottle claimed heat four in the Hodges's #74X beating Dave Darland, Cody White and Tye Mihocko. The 305 sprints would contest three heats with Bradley Galedrige, Cody Trammell and Jeff Wimmenauer winning their respective events. The USAC regional midgets were next up with Glenn Waterland taking heat one, Stratton Briggs prevailing in heat two, Adam Taylor dominating heat three and veteran Jerry Coons Jr. capturing heat four. The 600's would run two heats and the AVSCA sprints ran two heats also.

    The sprint cars spun off two B mains with just two to advance with Cole Ketchum taking down B main 1 over Travis Berryhill. B main two was scored by Chad Boespflug reuniting with Paul Hazen in his famous #57 outrunning Adam Byrkett. Dustin Ingle, a recent BOSS sprint winner at Fremont, took a full gainer off of turn two and was OK after his wild ride. Of note on the evening point leader, JJ Hughes, did not make the field out of B main one and was done for the evening leaving the door wide open for Max Adams to take the point championship.

    Nick Bilbee and Scotty Weir brought the twenty car field to the green flag at 10:37 with Bilbee sprinting out front for the lead. Bilbee worked the inside to perfection and pulled away from Weir. Dave Darland who started seventh was working the high side and quickly cracked the top five by lap five. Darland made an amazing move passing both Max Adams and Robert Ballou on the backstretch to roar into third on lap seven trailing Bilbee and Weir. Darland went after Weir for second and passed him for the position on lap thirteen just before Harley Burns rolled to a stop on the homestretch with a broken driveline. On the restart Bilbee still led but Darland began to stalk him and made his move on the high side of turn four to grab the lead coming to start lap fourteen. Two laps later Ballou used the high route to take second from Bilbee in turn two and took up the chase of the high flying Darland. The second and last caution flew with five to go when Cole Ketchum and Matt Goodnight tangled and spun in turn two. This would give Ballou one more shot at Darland and Ballou got a good run entering turn one and pulled alongside Darland exiting turn two but Darland's momentum was too much on the outside and he retained the lead down the backstretch. Darland would maintain the lead over the last five circuits with Bilbee and Cottle having a war for third over the remaining laps with Cottle winning the war with two to go. Darland crossed the line first at 10:49 for his first win of the year anywhere becoming the ninth different sprint car winner in 2020 at Gas City. Ballou would finish second with Cottle third, Bilbee fourth and Weir rounding out the top five. Max Adams was running sixth with seven to go but took a high ride on the ridge of turn two losing two positions in the process. Kevin Thomas Jr. would finish sixth with Tye Mihocko seventh, Adams settling for eighth, Anton Hernandez ninth and Adam Byrkett the hard charger of the night marching from 20th to 10th. Adams' finish was good enough to give him his first Gas City point championship as the young Californian wrapped up a solid year at the Grant County 1/4 mile dirt oval.

    The 25 lap IMCA Racesaver 305 sprint car feature was next on the docket taking the green flag at 11:02. Bradley Galedrige was quick on the pedal taking the lead and pacing the field for the first 19 laps of the feature. The racing was taking place behind him as several drivers duked it out back and forth. Ethan Barrow decided to try the high side as he shuffled back to sixth and he started to move forward again. He was up to second on lap nineteen and made the winning move on the outside of turn three passing Galedrige for the lead. With three to go ninth starting Dustin Stroup passed Galedrige for second but Barrow was too far ahead to catch. Galedrige held on for third with Bradley Sterrett fourth and Cody Trammell fifth when the checkered waved at 11:27 with the thermometer dropping to a frigid 43 degrees. The combination of the cold weather and a two hour drive back to Crawfordsville had us decide to pull the plug and head for the warmth of the Rogue for the ride home.

    That's it for this weekend as we decided to sit tonight out and watch the USAC National sprint car final from Lawrenceburg from the comfort of our living room keeping the cat company. So in the meantime if the weather permits get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area before there is no more to watch before winter sets in. News, comments and other notes of interest can reach us by email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back next weekend to see where we end up.


     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Night Two Of Double Double USAC Races At Kokomo Go To Courtney & Windom


     

     

    Saturday, September 26 - Saturday dawned and as the morning hours moved on you knew it was going to be another beautiful Hoosier fall day with cloudy skies and mild temperatures in the 70's with low humidity. Pat and I worked on doing errands and setting up her dad's schedule for the day before venturing downtown for lunch at the newly opened The Table that moved into the long time downtown eatery known as Allen's Country Kitchen that closed in the past couple of months. The Godfather was a hit with both of us as the grilled chicken on toasted bread with onions, mushrooms and cheese was very tasty. From there we ran some errands and then returned home to prepare food for Pat's father before loading up the new Rogue and taking the country roads and state highways over to Howard County, the home of the Kokomo Speedway, the fine 1/4 mile dirt oval located north of town for night two of the USAC Double Double featuring the USAC sprint cars and midgets in twin 30 lap features paying $5000 to win each event. And with the state of Indiana moving to Stage 5 and witnessing the large crowd at Gas City the night before we expected more of the same. Jim and Brian Reeder had secured seats in the large aluminum backstretch grandstand so seats would not be an issue but parking might be. After surveying the parking situation behind the backstretch grandstands we decided to park the Rogue on the homestretch and take the hike down the dirt road to the backstretch as we figured the traffic would be terrible trying to exit the backstretch area after the race. We arrived at 5:45 and were in our seats slightly after 6 preparing for a good and long night of racing on the baddest bullring in Indiana.


     

    An earlier push-off of sprint car time trials at 6:37 with the field of 41 USAC sprint cars on hand was welcomed with Dave Darland out of group two nailing down his 62nd career USAC sprint car fast time placing him just 3 behind the all time leader, Tom Bigelow, for first on the list knocking off a time of 13.068 seconds around the 1/4 mile semi-banked dirt oval which built a quick and tough berm in turns one and two. Midget time trials were next on the agenda kicking off at 7:23 for the 31 car field gathered in the pit area. Two cars would not take time with 29 midgets racing in the heat races. Tanner Thorson in his second time in the Malloy/Trench Shoring #25M out of the state of California clicked off the fastest lap of the 31 with a time of 13.175 seconds proving that Thorson can go fast no matter what car he is manhandling.


     

    The USAC sprint car heats would be the first of the night with the first one taking the green at 8 PM. Thomas Meseraull would take the Eades #47 to the front and claim the heat one win over Jadon Rogers, Tyler Courtney and Chase Johnson. CJ Leary would be forced to take a spot in the B main as would Tim Creech who missed by one and that story will play out later. Heat two would fall to Robert Ballou besting Logan Seavey, Chase Stockon and Shane Cottle in a loaded heat race sending Justin Grant and Kendall Ruble, recent USAC winner at Haubstadt, to the B main. Heat three saw a dogfight for the top spot among Scotty Weir, Chris Windom, Chase Stockon and Dave Darland biting and clawing at each other with Darland running second with just two to go and ending up behind the other three at the checkered as Weir prevailed in the "Plain Jane" all white with red lettering Pedersen #4P which is hauled to the track on an open trailer. Carson Short and Kevin Thomas Jr. would join the loaded B main from heat three. The fourth heat was captured by Kyle Cummins, a two time Smackdown prelim winner a month ago, over Mario Clouser who had a race long battle with Brady Bacon who finished third with Brandon Mattox punching his ticket to the big dance claiming fourth. Max Adams piloting the Hazen #57 would visit the B main lineup from this one. Ricky Lewis plowed the turn two wall head on and flipped in the fourth heat but returned for the B main to the chagrin of several drivers who he took out later in the B main.


     

    The USAC midgets would spin off four heats in rapid succession with Buddy Kofoid in one of the Kunz stable cars outrunning Logan Seavey and teammates Chase Johnson and Tanner Thorson in heat one. Thomas Meseraull claimed his second heat win of the evening in heat two beating Chris Windom in a torid battle for the top spot. Tyler Courtney and Cannon McIntosh would join them in the A main lineup. Kaylee Bryson would out drag teammate Bryant Wiedeman to the line by inches to win heat three with Andrew Layser and Brady Bacon trailing. Daison Pursley made it three out of four heat wins for Kunz with the victory in heat four besting Justin Grant, Karter Sarff and Emerson Axsom.

    The 10 lap sprint car C main was next on the dance card with California invader, Matt McCarthy, holding off Cole Bodine, Eddie Tafoya Jr. and Zack Pretorius with these top four moving to the back of the B main. The B main was 19 strong when the race went green. Several quick cautions, the first with Ricky Lewis getting sideways in between turns one and two taking several others with him in the process. Exiting turn four battling for second on lap one Tim Creech jumped the right rear of another competitor sending him rollcage first into the homestretch concrete wall bringing a quick red flag to wave with emergency crews rushing to the scene of the accident. The entire place went silent as everyone prayed for the best as the EMT's attended to Creech. An agonizing 45 minutes later after removing Creech from his sprinter and stabilizing him in the ambulance on the homestretch the ambulance left the grounds with a sheriff's escort and Creech was transported to a Kokomo hospital where he was later air lifted to Indianapolis for further evaluation. As of this morning after many prayers were offered up during the course of the p