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    A Typical Weekend

    by Pat & Bruce Eckel


     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Macedo Scores First Career Williams Grove Win In Season Opener

    Sunday, March 15 - We are back East for a week as Pat's father, Howard, is in the hospital with breathing and swallowing concerns. He was released on Sunday afternoon as I ventured off to Williams Grove Speedway with my brother while Pat picked him up at the hospital and brought him back home to rest up.

    We drove west on I-78 while the temperature pushed the 50 degree mark as the cloudiness turned into bright sunshine which would make the day much warmer. We arrived on the speedway's ground around noon and parked along one of the main arteries onto the grounds and a few minutes later my friend, Mike "Bezz" Lavinga pulled alongside us. We chatted for several minutes before he headed toward the office to secure his season tickets while Bob and I ventured into the track to secure our seats. We ended up sitting in front of Dwight Bucks and Ned Beck along with Dave and Donna Keller and Marshall Kern. Next to me was Bob "Grumpy" Swartz and new friend, Rich Watts. It was a gathering of the clan and great discussions commenced.

    Finally at almost 2:30, a half hour after the scheduled starting time, it was race time. Thirty sprint cars made the trek to Williams Grove and actually 31 were in the pit area but Lucas Wolfe had mechanical woes and was never able to get his sprinter to start. The first of four heats went green at 2:26 and Ryan Smith in the Heffner #72 took off and hid outdistancing Steve Buckwalter, Gerard McIntrye Jr., Brent Marks and Chase Dietz. Heat two was a good affair with Ohio's George Hobaugh outrunning Rick Lafferty, Brandon Matus beating out Lance Dewease for the last redraw spot and TJ Stutts. The third heat was captured by Brett Michalski holding off Brian Montieth, Danny Dietrich from seventh, Anthony Macri and Dylan Norris. The final heat of the day went to Indiana native Cale Thomas at the keyboard of the Trone #39 beating out WOO invader, Carson Macedo, Freddie Rahmer, Jared Esh and Chad Trout. All heat qualifying was completed by 3:04 and the only other thing to run before the feature was the B main. Brock Zearfoss made short order of this field opening up a half track advantage and the All Star regular crossed the line ahead of Dylan Cisney, Robbie Kendell and Kyle Moody the final man into the big dance.

    It was 4:03 when the initial green dropped on the 25 lap sprint car feature with Ryan Smith bounding into the early lead. Danny Dietrich made short order of the three runners in front of him and was in third by the third turn of lap one. Smith was setting a good pace up front and by lap seven he reached the tail end of the field. Lance Dewease who started way back in 14th cracked the top five passing for fifth in turn two on lap nine. Smith worked the traffic with perfection and maintained three lap cars between himself and Rahmer on lap nine. Shortly thereafter Smith's front wing came loose and turned sideways which caused Smith to slow somewhat. Rahmer was able to cut the margin as you could see Smith's front end lifting as he powered down the homestretch. Dietrich caught Rahmer in lap traffic on lap ten and took second away on lap ten and Carson Macedo made his presence known sliding by Rahmer in turn four on lap thirteen. Two laps later Macedo passed Dietrich for second in turn one. Macedo was flying and with Smith encountering wing problems closed the gap on the leader. Macedo charged hard and low into turn three on lap sixteen and made the pass for the lead. Dietrich polished off Smith on the homestretch on lap eighteen just before Brock Zearfoss spun on the homestretch. On the restart Macedo powered out front with Dietrich and Smith in tow. Another outlaw invader, Brent Marks, worked his way into fifth on lap nineteen advancing from 13th. Dewease was able to work his way past the fading Smith on lap twenty one on the homestretch with Marks taking fourth off turn four on the same lap. The remaining four laps clicked off and at 4:17 Macedo crossed the start/finish line for his first career win at Williams Grove besting Dietrich, Dewease, Marks and Smith. The second five was led by Rahmer with McIntrye seventh, Montieth eighth, Macri ninth and Lafferty rounding out the top ten. It was a very good competitive feature with lots of dicing and slicing and was especially good for a daytime surface.

    We listen to the winner's interview before biding farewell to our friends and heading for the exits. This was my first race of March keeping my consecutive month streak of seeing at least one race in each month into the 28th straight year.

    That's it for now and check back to see when we end up next which will be determined by the corona virus mandates and such. Stay safe and stay healthy and see you on the road someplace in the future. Until next time plot your season and when you feel comfortable and someplace in your area is running an event go out and support it. Comments, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11 and now in addition I have a page on Facebook.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Kohler Scores NYPA TQ Midget Tussle At 4-17 Southern Speedway


     

    Saturday, February 22 - It would be a busy Saturday day and night as we had a baseball/racing doubleheader on the docket and left early Saturday morning to make our way over to the Gulf (West) Coast. First stop was a new Florida Spring Training ball park visiting JetBlue Park also called Fenway South, the winter home of the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers. Today's game was a 1:05 start versus the Tampa Bay Rays and unlike the majority of racing events it got underway right on time. Before the game we dined on various items of ballpark items and found the prices to be very reasonable. The Italian sausage with onions and peppers for $7.25 was a good deal and we came away satisfied. We had seats in the 200 level (still close to the action and good viewing) about even with the Boston dugout for $20 each with the fees added in from Stubhub and was another good buy. The game was entertaining with the final score ending up Boston 4, Tampa Bay 3, which included a diving game saving catch by the Boston right fielder with a runner on first to end the game. The outside of the park did not have much of a curb appeal but the field inside was an exact replica of Fenway Park including the Green Monster. The seats were comfortable and the weather was warm though windy. The distance between the ballpark and our night destination of the 4-17 Southern Speedway in Punta Gorda was only a half hour so it allowed us to stop for dinner at Bob Evans.


     

    Even after all that we still arrived before 6 PM and waited in the parking lot for a while as the crowd was not that big and there were plenty of seats. Finally around 6:45 we ventured into the nice aluminum grandstand that stretches the entire length of the homestretch and sat about two thirds of the way up toward the fourth turn. Most of the qualifying had taken place between 6 and 7 with only the modified minis and the mini stocks running heat races after 7. The first of six divisional features took to the track at 7:25 as the sun was down and the wind was making the night uncomfortable. The 8 car dwarf car feature went to Ray Hart Jr. which was decent but took 26 minutes to complete 25 laps on the 3/8 mile asphalt oval. The 25 lap, 6 car legend car feature was next on the docket with young Gavin Graham taking the checkered 24 minutes and six cautions later. The best of the local features we witnessed was the 25 lap, 7 car modified mini feature with Mike Kerrivan holding off an orange #93 who spun early and restarted last and put the pressure on at the end.


     

    Next the NYPA TQ midgets and the headliner sportsman division were called to the track where they parked on the homestretch and the gates were opened for a meet and greet with the fans. By 9:19 they were ready to go with the 25 lap TQ midget feature with 18 cars starting the event down 2 from Thursday at Showtime. One of the missing was Thursday's winner, Steven Hollinger, who it was reported suffered engine woes on Friday at Showtime. That left the field wide open and one of the favorites had to be Jimmy Wilkins who was the runner up on Thursday. The Floridian driver came forward in a hurry from his fifth starting position and was second behind leader, Rob Kohler, who had led from the start. All of a sudden in turn two Wilkins lost the handle on his #11 and looped it. Wilkins had to restart at the tail of the 18 car field and began to slice his way back to the front in rapid order. Meanwhile Kohler and New Yorker Kyle Hutchinson were having a nice duel for the lead until Kohler assumed control and began to pull away. Kohler cracked the top five around lap 18 and wasn't done yet. He blasted by Bobby Holmes for fourth and caught and passed second running Hutchinson with a hand full of laps remaining. Kohler had a good sized lead but Wilkins was hauling the mail and dramatically cut the gap to only a few car lengths with two to go. Kohler must have heard Wilkins motor as he reached down and found a little extra and maintained his lead over the last two laps and flashed under the checkered flag at 9:32 with Wilkins on his tail with Hutchison third, Holmes fourth and Mark Schulz rounding out the top five. It was a good race and definitely the best race of the evening. We decided to call it an evening at this point and headed for the exits satisfied with an decent evening of racing to make the 2 hour drive back to Central Florida.


     

    That's it until late March as we head west to Oklahoma for the POWRi Turnpike Challenge with the POWRi midgets. Saw on Twitter that Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania had a huge crowd for their season opener under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 50's. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and continue to check back to see if we end up anywhere before the Turnpike Challenge. The real challenge is to have enough change to transverse the Oklahoma Turnpike system as we traveled through the Sooner state.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Swanson Takes Dave Steele Non-Wing Sprint Championship at Showtime


     

    Thursday, February 20 - A stop at Fred's in Lakeland was on the agenda before venturing further west for the evening of racing at Showtime Speedway. Fred's was wonderful with many culinary delights including the roast turkey and pulled pork along with the scalloped corn and the strawberry shortcake all for the low price of $12.87. If you are ever in Florida check out one of their four locations in Lake Mary, Lakeland, Plant City or Riverview. You won't go home hungry or not find something that you like.


     

    The traffic on I-4 and I-275 was not as bad as yesterday and we arrived early around 5:40. Dale O'Brien had reserved out seats in the second section of the aluminum bleachers toward turn four and tonight we were joined by trackchaser Bruce Carley from Ohio and Gary Dean and Sally Ebling from Missouri who are down in Flordia since Janauary 1st. Later in the evening Gary and Bruce C got to talking and found out that they both grew up in the same hometown of Bellevue in Ohio. Boy, it sure is a small world!!


     

    Activities kicked off at 7:13 with two heats for the Ford 4.6 cars which fielded 12 cars tonight. The NYPA TQ midgets were next on the docket and produced a good field of 20 entries which was a mix of the Florida Midget Racing Association and the NYPA club out of Western New York. They ran three competitive heats and spun them off in good order. The non-wing sprint cars were pushed trackside by the four wheelers and fans were allowed to go on the track and meet and greet the drivers before the big 125 lap Dave Steele Non-Wing Sprint Car Championship was pushed off.


     

    The front row of Joe Liguori and Kody Swanson brought 11 of their friends to the green flag at 8:48 with Swanson scooting into the early lead. Kyle O'Gara who started third tracked down Swanson and passed him on the inside of turn four to take the lead away on lap five. Tommy Nichols was quickly moving forward from his sixth starting position up to third by lap ten. In the meantime O'Gara stretched his lead to full straightway by lap 15 and was playing the rabbit in the field. Bobby Santos III was coming to the front from seventh starting spot moving into fourth by lap twenty one and taking third from Liguori on the homestretch on lap twenty three. Meanwhile O'Gara was on a mission lapping up to seventh place by lap thirty two with Floridian Shane Butler cracking the top five on lap thirty five. Butler's run to the front ended early on lap forty two when he pulled to the infield with mechanical woes while running fifth. By lap fifty we were down to five cars on the lead lap with O'Gara still setting the pace with Swanson and Santos in tow. Swanson began to close the big gap and by lap sixty he was only 1.4 seconds behind leader O'Gara. At the halfway mark at lap sixty three the running order was O'Gara, Swanson, Santos, John Inman and Liguori. Kody Swanson made his move for the lead and passed O'Gara on the homestretch on lap sixty six and began to pull away. By lap sixty nine Liguori fell a lap down to Swanson leaving only four cars on the lead lap. Swanson continued to set the pace as the race proceeded into the eighties with Santos pulled to O'Gara's tail tank by lap eighty three. One lap later Santos executed an outside pass for second on O'Gara in turn two. As Santos entered turn four Tommy Nichols blew his engine spewing smoke and oil everywhere and Santos spun in the oil off turn four but was able to continue without stopping and thus remained second as the red appeared to clean up the engine mess. On the restart it was Swanson to the point with Santos and O'Gara giving chase as they were now the only three cars on the lead lap. Swanson maintained a healthy gap between himself and Santos as he worked his way past some of the lap traffic. Santos seemed to gain some speed after the hundred lap mark and noticeably closed the gap on Swanson by lap one hundred five. Swanson then picked up the pace again and pulled away to a decent sized lead. The checkered would wave at 9:29 with Kody Swanson bringing the Doran Enterprises #77 across the line first garnering the $5000 to win check in the process with Bobby Santos III second, Kyle O'Gara third all completing 125 laps with Joe Liguori fourth and John Inman rounding out the top five with the latter two one lap behind. It was an interesting race with the leader being tracked down several times but with only 13 entries the field was disappointing as most of the local Florida contingent did not come out and support the event which was sad.


     

    We still had the 25 lap NYPA/Florida Midget Assocation feature to run and after victory lane ceremonies the green flag dropped on the 20 car field at 9:40. Three cautions and one red slowed the swift action but at the end in a competitive race it was young Floridian Steven Hollinger holding off another Florida racer, Jimmy Wilkins, at the finish with New Yorker Andy Jankowiak third, Florida's Rob Kohler fourth and New York's Kyle Hutchinson rounding out the top five at 10:10. It was a good night of racing and a nice gesture by Showtime management to run a race to honor Steele but we thought more of the Florida racers would turn out for this one.


     

    That's it for now as we plan on attending a Florida Spring Training game in Fort Myers tomorrow and may drop in at 4-17 Speedway in Punta Gorda to check out the NYPA TQ midget. If you are in the Northeast you have two venues to choose from this weekend. You can catch the 600 micros indoors at Trenton or you can catch the 410 sprint cars outside at Lincoln Speedway. News, comments, stories or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. 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


     

    Santos Wins Another With Victory At Showtime


     

    Wednesday, February 19 - The GPS says an hour and twenty minutes from Celebration to Pinellas Park but that is under ideal driving conditions. That does not include hitting Tampa during rush hour and road construction. It took us two hours to make the trip but it was worth it as we got to see racing on a normal Wednesday night (not during Florida Speedweeks) and all was well with the world.


     

    We arrived slightly after six and found Dale O'Brien perched on the top row of the bleachers to the left of the entrance toward turn four and we joined him for the evening. Easton, PA's Bing Metz joined us a short time later to add to the party. Things got underway at 6:56 with time trials for the nine street stocks on hand and were followed by about a half hour of hot laps for the late model F-8's, NYPA TQ midgets and one super late model. Then it was into the heat racing for the second of three classes of cars competing tonight the Ford 4.6 heat for their eight car field. Two sprint car heats were next for tonight's 13 car field assembled with 20 or more expected for tomorrow night's Dave Steele Classic for the non-wing sprints, a 125 lapper paying $5000 to win. It was the first time in over ten years that 410 pavement sprinters had performed in the state of Florida. Tonight was be a warm up 30 lap main event for the division. Indiana's Aaron Pierce looked strong in heat one winning over local Travis Bliemeister and Joe Liguori. The second heat went to Kody Swanson in a V-6 powered sprinter over Florida's John Inman and Bobby Santos III.


     

    The nine car street stock 30 lapper was the next event on the docket and turned out to be a pretty good event with the 30 laps going non-stop in eight minutes and some good racing for the top spots. Dodge Carlbert would lead the #11 brigade across the line at 8:39 topping the #11H of Casey Hall and Dennis Wilson in his #46.


     

    The 30 lap non-wing sprint car feature was next to the post with the front row of Kyle O'Gara and Bobby Santos bringing the field to the green flag at 8:57. Santos would power from the second spot into the early lead with Joe Liguori in hot pursuit. Lap six saw the first caution wave when Travis Bliemeister lost the handle in turn three. The most serious incident of the evening occurred on lap eight when Dylan Reynolds hopped the right rear tire of John Inman entering turn one and rode the wall for several yards before grinding to a stop in turn two. Everyone was OK in the scary accident but the #555 of Reynolds was worse for wear. On the ensuing restart Liguori worked his way by O'Gara for second and took up the chase of Santos. Meanwhile a good battle was developing for fourth and fifth between Aaron Pierce and Kody Swanson. They were running close together and exiting turn four on lap 13 Swanson ran up and over the left rear tire of Pierce causing Pierce to spin on the homestretch bringing out the caution. All restarts were double file which made for some interesting racing with Santos able to retain the lead on every restart. At the halfway mark it was Santos, O'Gara who worked his way back past Liguori for second and Liguori. John Inman was racing hard in turn two in fifth at the time and spun on lap twenty but kept going but Pierce was not so lucky looping his sprinter once again to bring out the caution. After the restart Inman began to make his presence felt first charging by Swanson on the outside in turn two on lap twenty one for fourth and powering by Liguori in turn three for third. One lap later Pierce spun for the third time in turn two on lap twenty two and set up an eight lap dash to the finish. On the restart Santos jumped out front once again with O'Gara second and Liguori getting the advantage on Inman for third. They would closely run that way the remainder of the race with O'Gara right on Santos tail tank but unable to mount a serious challenge. When the checkered waved at 9:29 it was Santos III in for the win beating O'Gara, Liguori, Inman and Florida's Tommy Nichols in a beautiful #68. We decided to call it a night at this point and headed for the exit satisfied with the night of racing.


     

    Check back tomorrow for night two of the Ice Crusher Week, one in which Showtime will run five straight nights with a variety of classes expected to compete with the big late model figure eight race scheduled for Saturday night with a big field including many cars from Indiana expected along with a big crowd expected. News, stories, rumors, facts and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Until next time get prepared for the 2020 racing season which is upon us. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the kind words.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Bacon Sizzling With Second Straight Win In USAC Action At Bubba's


     

    Saturday, February 15 - It was north to Ocala for another day as the USAC National Sprint Cars were wrapping up their Florida swing at Bubba's Raceway Park after rain cut short the tour and only allowed two races of the series to be run. First off it was a stop in Wildwood off the Florida Turnpike to dine at Woody's BBQ. To our surprise Woody's was not open (don't know if permanently closed or for some other reason) so we went to the backup plan and exited I-75 at exit 341 to eat at Sonny's BBQ instead. After finishing we jumped back on I-75 to exit 358 and straight over to Bubba's Raceway Park where a good sized crowd was already gathered at 4:30. We secured our parking spot outside the entrance gate in turn four and proceeded into the track grounds where we tied down our blanket and chatted with Dale O'Brien before venturing over to the pit area to chat with numerous drivers and crew members before returning to the grandstand area to settle in for the second night of USAC sprint car racing.


     

    Twenty nine sprint cars were in the pits again for the second night with the dynamics a little different as youngsters Connor Leoffler (pounded turn two wall in feature last night) and Evan Mosley (mechanical woes) did not return but the traveling man, Robert Bell, towed his sprinter with his open trailer in for tonight's activities. As is normal with an USAC program time trials started off the evening at 6:39 and by 7:00 the defending USAC National Sprint Car champ, CJ Leary, was being interviewed by Georgia Henneberry on the track after touring the 3/8 mile avocado shaped dirt oval at a time of 13.845 seconds. Sixty two mod lites returned for night two and spun off their warmups before the sprint cars returned to contest their three heats with five to qualify in each heat race. Heat one saw the action heat up early when Kent Schmidt and Dustin Clark tangled entering turn one with Schmidt getting the worst of the meeting flipping over between turns one and two. Clark was able to restart but Schmidt was done for the evening. Logan Seavey would go on to score the first heat win in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ besting Kyle Cummins, Carson Short, CJ Leary and Mario Clouser. Heat two saw Dave Darland claim the popular win in the EZR/Curb-Agajanian #36D beating Chris Windom, Justin Grant, Dennis Gile looking good making his second straight feature via the heat and Kyle Robbins. The third heat had a bizarre happening as Brady Bacon looked in firm control and on his way to victory when he suddenly slowed on the backstretch on the last lap and Chris Phillips and seven others charged by. It was found out later via Twitter than Bacon had thought he had taken the white flag a lap earlier and the checkered on the white flag lap so he slowed down!!! Luckily it only cost Bacon two starting positions in the feature lineup as he would go onto garner the semi and start ninth for the second straight night. Phillips would be credited with the heat three win over Chase Stockon, Kevin Thomas Jr., Scotty Weir and Sterling Cling. Three mod lite heats were squeezed in between the heats and the sprint semi with Bacon nailing down the win over Anton Hernandez, Katlynn Leer (becoming the first female driver to make two straight USAC National sprint car features), Kory Schudy, Stephen Schnapf, Tyler Gunn and Anthony D'Allessio making his first USAC National start passing Harley Burns for the final spot on the last lap.


     

    It was 9:39 when the feature went green with Chase Stockon taking the lead from first starting Logan Seavey. Chris Windom quickly polished off Seavey for second and took off after Stockon. Meanwhile Brady Bacon had figured out that the bottom was good from running the semi and began to pick cars off in rapid succession. Stockon continued to pace the field with Windom in tow. Bacon caught and passed Windom for second low in turn three to take second and used the same move the next lap to wrestle the lead away from Stockon. Bacon then proceeded to check out on the field as the pack battled it out with each other. Down the stretch Seavey made some serious runs at Windom for second throwing two sliders in turn one at Windom but Windom countered twice to retain the runner up spot. With three to go Katlynn Leer caught the homestretch wall with her right rear tire and took a wild ride tumbling down the homestretch. Leer was able to climb quickly from the battered sprinter and was OK. This would give Windom one last shot to upset the apple cart and a slider into turn one gave him the lead but a counter move by Bacon off turn two gave him the lead back. The same act was repeated on lap 28 with results being the same. On the final lap Bacon took away the low line exiting turn four and didn't allow Windom another shot at the win. Bacon raced to the line at 10:00 to score his second straight win of 2020 and his 31st career USAC National Sprint Car victory. This win also came on his 333rd career start in the series knotting him for 10th on the list with Sheldon Kinser. Windom raced home second with Seavey claiming third, Stockon fourth and Justin Grant rounding out the top five. Carson Short finished sixth with CJ Leary seventh, Kevin Thomas Jr. eighth, Kyle Cummins ninth and Dennis Gile scoring a strong tenth. Bacon will take the point lead to Lawrenceburg on April 4th for the next USAC sprint car race.


     

    That's it for now but we are not done yet as we move to the pavement at Showtime Speedway next Wednesday and Thursday for non-wing sprints with the Dave Steele World Non-Wing Championship. Check back Thursday and Friday for reports on these two events. Comments, news, ideas, suggestions and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. For those of you in the Northeast get your warm clothes out and head to Lincoln Speedway next Saturday for their season opener. And not to be forgotten thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them.


     
     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Rain & Bacon Start Off USAC Year At Bubba's Raceway Park


     

    Thursday, February 13 - Rain was the big word on Thursday at Bubba's. When looking at the forecast in the morning it didn't look like they were going to be able to run the entire show as a 30% chance of rain was forecasted by 10 PM and with a co-field of 60+ mod lites on hand it was going to take a yoman's effort to pull it off. But we still decided to go and upon arrival at the track we checked the forecast again and the rain was pushed back to 1 AM. The chances of running improved dramatically. As we exited the car around 6:30 Pat commented on the cloud band to the west of us which didn't look very promising. We were hoping that it would pass above or below us but shortly after entering the track grounds that band rolled right over us and it began to rain lightly. As we took refuge under the walkway beneath the grandstands the intensity picked up. The first band rolling through dumped some quick and heavy rain while the second band passing through was like turning on the water faucet as it poured. As we waited it out under the grandstands we all realized that the damage had been done and after just working and watering the track surface the previous 45 minutes this double dose of rain would be too much to overcome without being here until around 1 AM or so which I am sure no one wanted to see happen. So the call was made at 7:35 to throw in the towel and come back tomorrow to try to start the season. And on the weather app on the drive home it looked like rain rolled back in around 8:45 so it was a moot point even for the few who thought they could have still run. Welcome to Florida as we drove down to the interstate where it had never rained which was only about five minutes away. And all of the other three tracks running in Florida completed their programs on this evening!!!


     

    Friday, February 14 - The day started out wet again as showers greeted us upon arising in the Celebration area but as the morning progressed the rain subsided and though cloudy it would rain no more here. Lunch was half of a giant Italian sandwich from Jersey MIke's, the best Eastern type sandwich we can find living in the Midwest now and supper would be two giant burritos at the track covered with queso which were pretty darn good. As we made our way north in the afternoon we encountered showers as we reach the top of the Florida Turnpike as it ties into I-75. Unlike last night as we drew closer to the track the showers stopped and by the time we pulled onto the track grounds the area was dry. Yes!!!!


     

    Thirty USAC sprints greeted us along with sixty two mod lites and the program would officially commence at 7:27 with USAC sprint time trials. Chris Windom in his new ride, the Hayward #19, would post fast time of 13.644 seconds around the unique avocado shaped dirt oval at Bubba's to pick up the fast time award. After mod lite warmups it was time for the three qualifying heats for the now 29 entrants as young Evan Mosley did not make the call for his heat race nor the semi race. Five would qualify out of each with Carson Short looking strong in his new steed, the Phillips/Daigh #71P copping heat one outpacing Justin Grant, Chris Windom, Anton Hernandez in his maiden voyage in the Baldwin #5 and Matt Goodnight. Heat two was captured by Kyle Cummins in the Hank Byrum #3R picking up where he left off in 2019 beating Brady Bacon, CJ Leary in the Gile mount adorned with the #1 in recognition of his point championship run of 2019, Chase Stockon and Kent Schmidt. The third heat was garnered by Kevin Thomas Jr. back in his own #9K backed by McDonalds and Dr. Pepper outrunning Brandon Mattox, Logan Seavey at the helm of the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ, Sterling Cling and Dennis Gile, son of Leary's car owner, Gene. All of the USAC heat racing was in the books in less than twenty minutes which was followed by the first three of six mod lite heats. Next up was the sprint car semi with seven more to move forward to the 30 lap A main later in the evening. Dave Darland in the EZR #36D would take down the win in the semi over Mario Clouser, young Connor Leoffler making his first USAC feature, Matt Westfall, Chris Phillips, Kory Schudy and Katlynn Leer also making her initial USAC sprint start. Three more mod lite heats followed before the 30 lap USAC National Sprint Car feature was called to the track.


     

    The green flag would wave on the front row of Kevin Thomas Jr. and Kyle Cummins at 10:10 with Thomas bolting to the early lead. That was short lived as Cummins caught and passed Thomas exiting turn four to complete the first circuit. Cummins looked like the man to beat as he pulled away until catching lap traffic by the tenth circuit. Cummins worked his way by the pack with Thomas closing a little. On lap later Connor Leoffler biked in turn one just after having been passed by Cummins and caught the turn one wall finishing him for the evening as the car was towed back to the pit area. On the restart Cummins went back to the point with Thomas in pursuit. Thomas edged his way underneath Cummins off turn four but Cummins repealed the advance and streaked back out front. Cummins was in total control until lap 20 when Kyle and Katlynn Leer banged wheels side by side with each getting squirrelly before regaining control of their machines. Thomas was able to close the gap quickly after the tangle and dove underneath Cummins in turns three and four and into the lead. In the meantime there was some good racing going on behind the lead pair with Brady Bacon steadily working his way forward from his ninth starting position crashing the top five by this juncture. Bacon continued his march picking off first Justin Grant then CJ Leary to now be in third and within striking distance of the leaders. Disaster would strike Thomas on lap 24 when his right rear tire went flat on the backstretch with Thomas slowing to bring out the second and final caution of the night and spoiling Thomas' bid for the victory. As happened in the USAC midget race last week Cummins inherited the lead with now the flying Bacon on his tail tank for the restart. Cummins jumped out front on the ensuing green but Bacon was all over him and coming off turn four dove low to draw even at the line but Cummins took away the low line entering turn one and retained the lead. Bacon continued to chomp at the tail tank of Cummins like a mad dog and finally on lap 27 Bacon was able to use the low line entering turn one and pull a slider on Cummins and take the lead exiting turn two. Bacon was not to be denied as he led the final three laps to secure his 30th career win and only the 13th driver in USAC sprint car history to do so. Cummins would have to settle to second on this evening with Leary coming home third, Grant across the line fourth and Windom carving out a fifth place finish at the checker at 10:26. Chase Stockon would finish sixth after starting 11th with Logan Seavey taking seventh, Anton Hernandez eighth, Carson Short nailing down ninth and Dave Darland advancing from 17th to tenth at the finish. For Bacon's wife, Xia, it was a better Valentine's Day gift than candy as her Twitter said and it was worth more money also.


     

    Check back tomorrow as we travel back to Ocala to take in night two of the USAC National Sprint Cars and will have our report here on Sunday. Until Sunday try to stay warm if it is cold where you are and be safe. Comments, stories, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy writing them.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Larson Invades & Wins Jean Lynch Classic At East Bay


     

    Tuesday, February 11 - Today at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Florida it was the second night of two for the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars and the night was billed the inaugural Jean Lynch Classic. Jean Lynch is one of the classiest and nicest ladies involved in the sport of auto racing and this was a fine way to honor the National Sprint Car Hall of Famer by naming this race in honor of her. The son and daughter of Jean along with her grandson were all in attendance and it was a nice gesture by East Bay management and the All Stars to honor her in this way.


     

    The buzz was in the pit area and the grandstands as Kyle Larson now of NASCAR fame was in the house to take on the All Stars in his first ever appearance at the 1/4 mile dirt oval known as the Clay by the Bay. Larson did not disappoint as he blistered the track to the tune of a 12.480 second lap in time trials to establish fast time and make himself the favorite to win the 30 lap, $5000 to win Lynch Classic. The first of four heat races qualifying five cars from each into the 30 lap feature with former NASCAR star and champion, Tony Stewart, notching heat one beating Davie Franek, Greg Wilson, Jamie Myers and Jordan Mackinson to the line. Heat two saw Missouri's Brian Brown capture that one outdistancing Cale Conley, Aaron Reutzel, Terry McCarl and Mark Smith. Ian Madsen beat Chad Kemenah (who was DQ'd for losing a muffler during the heat action) so Paul McMahan was awarded second with Danny Dietrich third, Dylan Westbrook fourth and Danny Smith taking advantage of Kemenah's woes to claim the fifth finishing position. PA's Brock Zearfoss claimed heat four outrunning Brent Marks who held off Kyle Larson, Cory Eliason and George Hobaugh. All heats were completed by 8:04 and it was time for the interviews and drawing for starting positions in the two dash races for the heat winners and fastest timers in each heat. You knew when Kyle Larson drew the #1 pill for the second dash that the rest of the field was in trouble. Ian Madsen scored dash #1 and the first starting position for the 30 lap feature holding off Cory Eliason, Tony Stewart, Paul McMahan and Brian Brown. Indeed in dash #2 Kyle Larson walked away to victory in this one outrunning Cale Conley, Terry McCarl, Brock Zearfoss and Greg Wilson. Four more cars would advance to the feature out of the B main with Chad Kemenah with all mufflers intact taking down the win over Tim Shaffer, Sam Hafertepe Jr. and Trey Starks nailing down the final ticket to the big dance. All qualifying was in the books by 8:49 and after a short break it was time for the 30 lap Jean Lynch Classic.


     

    The green flag would drop at 9:12 on the front row of Ian Madsen and Kyle Larson with Larson ripping the top to take the early lead. Larson would lead the first seven circuits with Madsen and Eliason in tow before the first of only two caution flags waved on the field. On the restart Larson went back to the point, a position he would not relinquish for the remainder of the event. The next 22 laps went green with Larson slicing his way through the lap traffic with Madsen keeping touch with him staying within striking distance. In the meantime last night's winner, Aaron Reutzel, with a bad time trial found himself starting 14th in this one but he would not remain there. Reutzel sliced and diced his way toward the front cracking the top five with five to go. The second caution appeared on lap 29 for a slowed car and this gave Madsen and the others one last clear shot to unseat the high flying Larson. It was not to be as Larson crushed the loud pedal on the restart and streaked away from the field. With the checkered flag waved at 9:26 it was Larson home first for his 10th career All Star win and first outside of Ohio Speedweek and also his 10th win during the NASCAR off season, a goal Larson had established for himself which included wins at Turkey Night at Ventura and the Chili Bowl in Tulsa. Madsen completed a fine Florida tour for himself claiming his second straight second place finish with Cory Eliason also having a good Florida tour third, Aaron Reutzel squeezing by Tony Stewart at the end to finish fourth and Stewart bagging the fifth position at the finish. Positions six through ten were filled by Cale Conley, Paul McMahan, Brock Zearfoss, Greg Wilson and Brent Marks. Larson was the winner but Reutzel was the show and last night had the better racing as tonight the track never seemed to develop a good second groove and passing for the most part was at a premium. But the two nights were good enough to want the fans to want to come back for more in 2021 with the 410 winged sprints.


     

    Check back soon for reports on USAC sprints at Bubba's along with 360 sprints from East Bay on the horizon. All news, comments, tidbits and items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net via email or @bruceeckel11 on Twitter. So in the meantime work on those racing plans for 2020 and mark up that calendar with dates of races you want to attend. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and we hope that you enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Until next time stay warm and be safe.


     
     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Reutzel Dominates In All Star Opener At East Bay


     

    Monday, February 10 - Before heading out for the evening races it was time to celebrate our condo guest, Judy Burns' birthday so it was first to Ford's Garage for a big burger and then to Parksdale Farms for strawberry shortcake. Both were delicious and fun was had by all.


     

    We rolled into the East Bay parking lot at 4:30 and found a parking spot on the main grounds before venturing into the track. It was a return of winged 410 sprint car racing to the Clay by the Bay for the first time in ten years with Mark Smith of Pennsylvania being the last winged 410 winner here. Time trials started the evening of racing at 6:33 with 36 sprinters attempting time and one, John Garvin, crashing hard into the turn two wall which ended his night early. By 7:15 it was Aaron Reutzel standing in victory lane accepting his fast timer award after turning a lap of 13.252 seconds around the quarter mile dirt oval. Twenty minutes later the first of four heats was trackside with WOO regular, Ian Madsen, taking his mount out front and winning heat one over Brock Zearfoss, Terry McCarl, Cale Conley and Danny Martin Jr. Chad Kemenah won heat two in the second Garvin #15K besting Paul McMahan, Cory Eliason, Brian Brown and Brent Marks. Aaron Reutzel swept heat three winning over Greg Wilson, Tim Shaffer, George Hobaugh and Sam Hafertepe Jr. The fourth and final heat went to the boss-man, Tony Stewart, turning back Mark Smith, Trey Starks, Danny Dietrich and Jamie Myers. All heat racing was completed by 8:04. Next up were the two dash races to determine the top ten starting positions with entrants being the heat winners plus the top timer making it into the top five in the heat. Also two additional timers not meeting the above criteria are added to the dashes making two fields of five. Brian Brown prevailed in dash one over Sam Hefertepe Jr., Mark Smith, Paul McMahan and Chad Kemenah. The second dash fell to Tony Stewart beating Cory Eliason, Aaron Reutzel, Ian Madsen and Danny Martin Jr. Four spots were waiting to be filled and the B main would provide the answer to this question. Bradley Howard scored the B main win over Danny Smith, Davie Franek and Dylan Westbrook. So now the field was set and all that was left to run was the 30 lap feature with the winner taking home $5000.


     

    The green flag would drop on the 24 car field at 9:14 with Brian Brown going into the early lead. Aaron Reutzel who started sixth was ripping the cushion flying by Tony Stewart for second in turns one and two on lap one and zipping by Brown in turns three and four coming to complete lap three as the Texas driver was on a mission. Reutzel would never be headed from this point but it didn't mean that the race was completely over as the battle for positions two through six were a race long battle with Brown first running second, then it was Stewart and after that it was Madsen and Eliason. Finally when the dust cleared it was Reutzel from sixth for his second All Star win of 2020 and his 27th career All Star win with eighth starting Ian Madsen crossing the line second after trying to cut into the leader's dominating performance which saw Reutzel lap up to 11th with Cory Eliason nailing down third, Tony Stewart coming home fourth and ninth starter, Chad Kemenah, rounding out the top five in a good race. Brian Brown slipped to sixth at the finish with Terry McCarl coming from 13th to 7th, Sam Hafertepe Jr. eighth, Brock Zearfoss ninth and Paul McMahan claiming tenth at the checker at 9:23. Reutzel looks like he started off where he left off from 2019 and looks like the man to beat for the All Star title in 2020.


     

    That's it for today but check back tomorrow for the inaugural Jean Lynch Classic honoring the nicest lady in racing and Sprint Car Hall of Fame member who has done so much for sprint car racing in the United States. Comments, questions, news and other tidbits can reach us by e-mail at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. So in the meantime look for some ice racing in your neck of the woods or an indoor venue or turn on the TV and check out some of the fine broadcasts from the Sunshine state. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Schuchart Wins The Battle & Sweet Takes Home The Big Gator At Volusia


     

    Sunday, February 9 - Today's activities started out with a visit to Sweet Tomatoes for some salad and other things before heading northeast toward Barberville. The destination this evening was the Volusia Speedway Park for the last night of the WOO sprints along with the UMP modifieds running a split night of racing leading up to their championship night on Monday. The car counts were healthy with 35 sprinters and 31 UMP modifieds to do battle around the 1/2 mile dirt oval. Things kicked off at 6:05 with time trials for the sprint cars and when it was all said and done at 6:28 it was David Gravel being interviewed in victory lane after touring the half mile with a time of 13.351 seconds for the 11th place finisher in yesterday's ARCA 200 race.


     

    The WOO sprints would then present four qualifying heat races with the top five to advance to the main event and the top two finishers to advance to the dash race to determine the top eight starters in the main event. The track was in fine condition and many of you will know what I am saying when I say it was a "speedway" at this point. It was so fast that passing was at a premium for both divisions which made for some mundane heat race action. David Gravel ripped the cushion for the win in heat one besting Cory Eliason, Donny Schatz, Lucas Wolfe and Ian Madsen. Brad Sweet mastered heat two beating fellow California driver, Carson Macedo, Brian Brown, Aaron Reutzel and Sheldon Haudenschild. Shane Stewart powered the Sides #7 to the front and held on to defeat Logan Schuchart John Garvin qualifying for his first WOO race, Kerry Madsen and Chad Kemenah. The fourth heat of the evening saw Daryn Pittman pilot the Roth #83 to victory over Jacob Allen, Danny Dietrich, James McFadden and Terry McCarl. Four UMP modified heats were next up with Tyler Nicely, Ray Bollinger, Justin Allgaier and Kyle Strickler coming out on top.


     

    The dash was next on the agenda with Daryn Pittman dominating this one turning back Logan Schuchart, Carson Macedo, Cory Eliason, Brad Sweet, Shane Stewart, David Gravel and Jacob Allen. The last chance showdown saw Sam Hafertepe Jr. bounce off the turn four cushion sliding across the homestretch making contact with second running Parker Price-Miller causing Miller to spin the Deitz #14 out of the second spot and forced to realign at the tail of the field. In a late race charge Kyle Larson sailed by Hafertepe to win with Hafertepe Jr. second, Brock Zearfoss third and Tim Shaffer bring home the Tony Stewart #14 for the last qualifying position. Three provisionals would be added to the feature field with Kraig Kinser, Jason Sides and Mason Daniel joining the big dance.


     

    By 8:53 after the traditional four wide salute to the fans we were ready to go feature racing for 30 fast and furious laps. At the drop of the green flag Daryn Pittman bolted to the lead but Logan Schuchart was all over him and took the lead away as they crossed the line to complete lap one. By lap five the leaders had already reached lap traffic and began to pick their way through the slower entries. Sheldon Haudenschild was beginning to make his way forward from 18th and cracked the top ten about halfway through. The entire field was racing hard and with ten to go Schuchart was slowed by lap traffic allowing Pittman to close within a couple of car lengths. Cory Eliason was ramping up his performance and began to dog Pittman for second with Sweet right on his tail tank. With five to go Eliason cleared Pittman for second and took off to try to track down Schuchart. In the meantime Haudenschild was ripping the lip and knocking on the door of the top five. With two to go and smoke blowing from the exhaust of the #26 Eliason pulled off the pass for the lead off turn two and Schuchart countered with a slider entering turn three and pulled it off exiting turn four as they raced to the white flag. Going down the backstretch Eliason's engine gave up the ghost as he slowed and pulled to a stop off turn four. The fine run for Eliason ended in smoke and disappointment. On the restart Schuchart was at the point with Pittman and Sweet ready to pounce. Schuchart was up to the challenge and was able to hold off Pittman and Sweet over the green, white and checker restart and score his first victory at the Florida oval. In fact Schuchart finished in the top five at Volusia for only the second time (last night being the first - 25th to 5th) before tonight's triumph and had never led a lap at Volusia before tonight. Sheldon Haudenschild completed a fine march placing fourth after starting 18th and claiming the hard charger award with Carson Macedo rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were claimed by David Gravel, Donny Schatz, James McFadden, Shane Stewart and Aaron Reutzel. After some boring heats the feature made up for that with the checker waving at 9:06. Brad Sweet took home the big gator trophy after his consistent runs during the week including one win.


     

    There was still a 20 lap UMP modified feature to spin off and after a rough start with three cautions in the first three laps the boys settled down and put on a good show for the fans. Tyler Nicely led for several laps before Kyle Strickler blasted past and never looked back even though Nicely never let him too far ahead. Justin Allgaier ran a steady race and ended up third with Indiana's Ryan Cripe advancing from ninth to fourth at the finish with David Stremme rounding out the top five. The most impressive run of the evening goes to Mike McKinney who stormed from 27th to 6th at the finish with the entire show in the books by 9:48. Good job to the DirtCar organization on an efficiently run program.


     

    Check back tomorrow as we move back to East Bay Raceway Park where the All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars return to the Clay by the Bay for two nights of racing action and it should be some good racing action. Comments, news, rumors, questions or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net via email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Until tomorrow stay warm and get prepped for the 2020 racing season. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and passing along nice comments on our works.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Windom Rises From Tenth To Score Victory At Bubba's


     

    Saturday, February 8 - It was day two of the Winter Dirt Games XI but before we ventured north to Ocala we had two stops on our agenda with the first being at Palace Pizza in Lakeland. If you are from the Northeast you will be familiar with a pizza parlor which displays over a dozen different variations of pies for the customers to choose from and you can order by the slice. Allan and Nancy had never experienced this common eastern practice and enjoyed everything from the calzone down to the Italian cookies. It was great and we thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Eastern style pizza after having lived in the Midwest the past six years. Then it was off to Parksdale Farm for our first strawberry shortcake visit. Upon pulling into the parking lot we noticed the line looked extremely long (probably around 150) like a Disney ride so we decided to bag this one until a weekday when it is not as hectic and full. From Plant City it was onward to Zephyhills where Nancy had to return some Spectrum TV and internet equipment from her friend's mobile home before she pointed the chariot van northward to Ocala. We arrived at Bubba's around 5:30, found a good parking spot and I toured the pit area and talked with Logan Seavey, Steve Buckwalter, Flea Ruzic and Ron and Jane, a couple from Pennsylvania who don't miss much USAC midget racing during the year.


     

    Around 6:30 we all headed into the track to get ready for night two of the USAC National Midget Series with the car count dropping to 19 from the 23 the previous night joined by 4 gladiators this evening. Time trials started the night of new track records with last night's winner, Tanner Thorson, clocking a new fast mark of 13.724 seconds around the 3/8 mile D-shaped dirt oval to outrun the remainder of the field. The first midget heat produced an eight lap track record for the USAC midgets with Zeb Wise turning the track in a time of 1:52.636 to establish the new mark for the eight lap distance outdistancing Tanner Thorson and Andrew Layser. Cole Bodine brought the Clauson/Marshall #39BC home first in heat two outrunning Chris Windom and Daison Pursley in the process. Tyler Courtney brought the second Clauson/Marshall steed home first for the second night straight beating out Kevin Thomas Jr. and Logan Seavey. All heat racing was in the books in just 15 minutes and shortly thereafter the 10 lap gladiator feature was trackside. Nathan Rhoad's brother (didn't catch his first name) scored the feature win keeping the trophy in the family in an entertaining contest but what happened after the checkered flag was very concerning. One of the competitors had been run into the homestretch wall as he battled for second late in the contest and he showed his displeasure by spinning out the other guy on the dogleg after the checkered. The other racer in the event was a brother to the spun car and followed the culprit around to the pit entrance where he rammed the other car from behind and pushed him into the opening at the pit gate into the huge truck tires that are placed there. That could have been a fatal act if anyone had been standing there and was totally uncalled for. Using your car in that manner is using your car as a weapon and should not be condoned. After all that excitement it was time for the 30 lap USAC National Midget feature with 18 starters after Jerry Coons Jr. had mechanical issues in his heat race and scratched from the main event.


     

    Tyler Courtney for the second straight night would bring the field to the green flag along with Cannon McIntosh with the race starting at 8:54. McIntosh went to the point at the start over Courtney and sixth starting Tanner Thorson sliced to the front passing Courtney for second between turns three and four on the opening lap as he was on a mission. And when is the last time you saw Courtney start first and not lead a single lap in two straight features?? McIntosh was able to hold sway until turn one of lap four when Thorson swooped to the lead. The first of only two cautions waved on lap 11 when Tanner Carrick clipped an infield tire in turn three while running inside the top ten and stalled his machine. He was able to restart and joined the rear of the field working his way back to finish 10th at the end. As Thorson paced the field up front it was Chris Windom who was on the march after starting 10th clearing McIntosh for third on lap 14 and racing past Courtney for second on the backstretch on the next circuit. Thorson was ripping around the 3/8's and maintained a healthy lead as the laps clicked off and he looked to be in total control. The turning point of the race came with six laps to go when smoke bellowed from the Hayward #19 exiting turn four with Thorson rolling to a stop on the homestretch robbed by motor failure of acheiving the Florida double and the points lead. Windom was thankful for his stroke of good luck and took full advantage of the gift and on the restart pulled away from the pack. The remaining six circuits clicked off in rapid succession with Windom flashing under the checkers at 9:06 outdistancing Courtney with young Andrew Layser in the second Tucker/Boat entry earning his first podium visit of his career fending off Kevin Thomas Jr. in the closing laps for third with Thomas settling for fourth and McIntosh coming across the line fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Buddy Kofoid, Zeb Wise, Daison Pursley, Jesse Colwell and Tanner Carrick. It was a good feature with some good runs (Thorson, Windom and Layser) but the night before was the better of the two features. It was Windom's third career USAC National Midget win and his first in his new Tucker/Boat ride and in an interesting bit of trivia he became the first driver since Parnelli Jones in 1961 at the Milwaukee Mile to win a USAC midget race in a car numbered 89.


     

    That's it for this one with plans for Sunday of taking in the WOO sprint cars at the Volusia Speedway Park for the first time this year so check back Monday for a review of that one. Until next time news, comments, yeas or neahs can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. In the meantime if you are up north stay warm and catch some racing on TV. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to read our labor of love.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Thorson Zips To USAC Midget Opening Win At Bubba's


     

     

    Friday, February 7 - It was time to pack up the chariot and head north toward Ocala and the opening night of the USAC midget racing season. With Nancy Brown at the helm we ventured up the street to pick up Bill Burns at the Westgate resort before continuing our trip northbound up Rt. 429 to the Florida Turnpike and eventually to I-75 and our destination, Bubba's Raceway Park in the Ocala area. On tap tonight were the USAC National Midget Series competitors along with the gladiator division, a four cylinder class with only three entrants. But before arriving at the track we went straight for an additional mile to enjoy a late lunch at Sam's St. John's Seafood Restaurant. After a delicious meal of various types of fresh seafood we arrived at the track around 5:15 and found a good parking spot in the handicapped area for Allan Brown and went inside to secure our blankets with ties because the wind was still gusting from the storms that passed through this area the evening before which included heavy thunderstorms and a tornado watch. Dale O'Brien, the now Florida resident after spending most of his adult life in Green Bay, Wisconsin, soon joined the conversation in the parking area as we waited for the start of warmups in the comfort of the van.


     

    Warmups commenced after 6:30 and by 7:15 time trials were underway for the 23 car field on hand to do battle tonight on the 3/8 mile avocado shaped dirt oval in Ocala. Twenty minutes later Kevin Thomas Jr. in one of three Petry Motorsports entries had secured quick time with a lap of 13.901 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval. By 8:03 the first of three midget heats were trackside and racing was underway for the evening. Kevin Thomas Jr. quickly blasted from his fourth starting position to take command of heat one and nailed down the top spot beating out teammate, Tanner Carrick, Cannon McIntosh and rookie Buddy Kofoid from California piloting one of four Keith Kunz steeds. Heat two went to the swift Chris Windom taking his driving skills over to the Tucker/Boat stables besting Tanner Thorson wheeling the Hayward #19, Jerry Coons Jr. back for another season in the Petry #25 and Logan Seavey making an appearance in the Reynolds/Ruzic #21KS. The final heat saw Tyler Courtney, the defending USAC National Midget Champion, take the Clauson/Marshall SR-11 powered mount out front fending off rookie Daison Pursley, Zeb Wise in a Kunz mount and Jesse Colwell in a second Reynolds/Ruzic car for the win. No B main would be needed and all heat qualifying was completed by 8:19.


     

    The three car gladiator feature was next up and believe it or not it was an entertaining race as the three evenly matched four cylinder racers went at it tooth and nail. The race included a last lap pass by Nathan Rhoads for the win.


     

    The 30 lap feature was ready to go by 8:56 with Tyler Courtney and Jerry Coons Jr. bringing the field to the green flag. Coons got the jump at the start and assumed the lead which he would hold for the first ten laps. The Tucson, Arizona native looked strong in the early going and held sway up front. Buddy Kofoid began to make his presence known sweeping by Courtney on the top on lap four and racing the high side in his chase of low riding Coons for the lead. Lap eleven saw Kofoid grab his first lead of the night off turn two. By lap fourteen Tanner Thorson made his move catching Coons in turn one on the low groove for second and moments later the first of two cautions waved when Jesse Colwell rolled to a stop in turn two while running in the top ten. On the restart Thorson made a huge slider entering turn one and securing the lead from Kofoid in turn two but Kofoid returned the favor in turn three and retained the top spot. Kofoid slid high in turn four and Thorson slid underneath and by turn one had the lead for good. Chris Windom up from seventh worked his way into second past Kofoid on lap seventeen and took up the chase of Thorson. Soon thereafter the second and final caution waved as the USAC Western States Champion, Robert Dalby, who has relocated to Indiana to contest the entire national circuit in 2020 stopped on the track with motor issues. As the green waved for the restart Kofoid dove between first and second entering turn one making a bid to move back to the front but Thorson and Windom were able to ward him off. Over the final seven laps Thorson pulled away to a comfortable lead and raced under the checkered flag at 9:10 for the satisfying win over Windom, Kofoid, Courtney and McIntosh. Zeb Wise led the second five over Kevin Thomas Jr. who lost a power steering line on lap two and manhandled the car home seventh with Coons fading to eighth, Pursley ninth and Andrew Layser bringing the second Tucker/Boat entry home tenth. It was a good win for Thorson rebounding from a March of 2019 highway crash that sidelined him for months and was his 14th career USAC National Midget win moving him into 48th place on the all-time win list. The field was a little lean at 23 but it was a solid field which provided some good racing action and left everyone exiting the track with a good experience and making them want to return tomorrow for round two of the Winter Dirt Games XI at Bubba's.


     

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for a report on night two of the USAC midgets from Ocala and much more. Any breaking news, comments, stories or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. So get your butt down to Florida or turn on the many different racing services to take in some good racing down south in the Sunshine state. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and for the many nice comments on our writings. We will continue to report things as we see them and won't sugar coat anything in the process.


     
     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    First Two Nights Of Florida Racing At East Bay

    Monday, February 3 - For those of you who only want to read about open wheel racing probably want to skip this column and check back on Saturday when we review the first night of USAC midget racing at Bubba's. But for the ones who appreciate good racing of any kind please read on as we report on our first two nights of racing in the Sunshine state with Lucas Oil Late Model racing at the Clay by the Bay at East Bay Raceway Park.

    It was the 44th running of the Winternationals at East Bay which already had kicked off the previous week with UMP modified and Top Gun sprint car racing. Week two will feature the late models of the Lucas Oil Series with 62 of them converging on the 1/4 mile bullring to do battle for six straight nights of some great racing. One of the largest Monday night crowds in the last ten years showed up for the LOLM opener with time trials kicking off the night's activities at 6:07. New York state driver, Tim McCreadie, former Chili Bowl winner and part time DIRT modified driver, threw down the challenge by posting quick time of the evening before six heats races were lined up and ready to go by 6:54. McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Jimmy Owens, Devin Moran, local Florida racer, Jeff Matthews and former New Jersey resident, GR Smith, bagged heat wins. Shane Clanton and Chase Jungens would win the two B mains and the Strawberry Dash went to Illinois racer, Allen Weisser.

    The 30 lap feature event took the green flag at 9:15 with first starting Tim McCreadie taking the early lead. McCreadie looked strong for the first ten laps leading the field and some thought that he was on his way to his second straight LOLM win of 2020 but Brandon Sheppard had other plans racing by McCreadie into the lead at the line to start lap 11. Another Florida driver, Kyle Bronson, who runs the LOLM circuit was flying advancing from tenth to third by lap 15 and into second one lap later. The caution appeared shortly thereafter and on the restart Bronson threw a slider for the lead in turn one that would have made any non-wing sprint car driver envious but Sheppard countered in turn two to take the lead back with Bronson throwing another slider entering turn three and holding the lead exiting turn four. The two leaders racing each other hard made side to side contact entering turn three the next lap racing for the same real estate with Sheppard doing a slow spin and bringing out the caution and relegating Sheppard to the rear of the field. On the next restart 13th starter, Tyler Erb, wrestled the lead away from Bronson off turn four and was out in front. The racing throughout the field was intense with many battles throughout the field. Devin Moran came on in the late stages and took the lead on the homestretch on lap 22 and would hold off the furious pack of wolves to score his second ever LOLM win fending off Bronson, Erb, 22nd starter, Jonathan Davenport and West Virginia's Chris Garnes who nipped Billy Moyer Jr. at the line for fifth. The final checker waved at 9:45 on a tremendous feature event with plenty of action throughout.

    Tuesday, February 4 - It was night two of LOLM racing action with 61 entrants signed into the pit area to compete on this warm night of racing. Time trials started at slightly before 6 PM and Chase Jungens 15.252 second lap around the quarter mile was the best of the 61 car field. The first of six heats went green at 6:41 with Tim Dohm making a last lap pass for the win. Jonathan Davenport bagged heat two, Indiana's Hudson O'Neal placed first in heat three, Brandon Sheppard garnered heat four, Tyler Erb captured heat five and Mike Marlar cashed in on heat six. Three B mains were contested with Shannon Buckingham, Chase Jungens and Shane Clanton scoring wins. Mississippi's David Breazeale garnered the flat of strawberries winning the Strawberry Dash and the field was set for the 30 lap feature on night two.

    After some track prep the 30 lap feature went green at 9:41 with Brandon Sheppard taking the early lead on the backstretch. First starting Tim Dohm battled back on lap two to retake the lead with Sheppard bouncing back into the lead on lap three. Eleventh starting Kyle Bronson was coming like gang busters and was up to fourth by lap eight when he ran out of racing room on the backstretch and tagged the backstretch wall bending his right front tire and ending his night early. Sheppard, Davenport and Erb paced the field through the middle stages of this one with 13th place starter, Brandon Overton, making a march into the top five just past the halfway mark. His march continued as he knocked off the rest of the top five with the exception of Sheppard by lap twenty and took up the chase of Sheppard. Overton closed on Sheppard but was never able to mount a serious challenge as Sheppard was not going to miss out on winning this one tonight flashing under the double checkers at 10:07 scoring the win in night two of the racing action. Overton would come home second with Tim McCreadie placing third after starting tenth, Tim Dohm hanging on to secure fourth with Jonathan Davenport placing fifth in the final tally. This one was a good run but was not nearly as good as the night before.

    Check back soon for our next installment with the USAC midgets visiting Florida at the Bubba's Speedway on Friday for the first of two nights of midget racing in the Sunshine state. Until next time comments, news or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. In the meantime sit down and map out your 2020 season and mark your calendars with must see races in 2020. Until next time stay warm and be safe. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and check back often for further columns.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Indoor Racing To Kick Off The Year At PPL Center in Allentown


     

    Friday, January 3 - The end of the two week visit back East for Christmas to visit relatives and friends was drawing to a close so it was time to score our January race and the race of choice was at the PPL Center in Allentown. The Lenny Sammons promoted Indoor Auto Racing Series fueled by VP for the headliner TQ midgets was scheduled for Friday and Saturday night at the beautiful PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania where the champ karts would join the action on Friday with the Tobias slingshots joining the TQ's on Saturday. We were undecided on whether we were going to take in both nights or one and ended up opting for Friday night only. Beforehand we joined Area Auto Racing News columnist, Guy Smith and his wife Pam, for an early delicious dinner at Grumpy's BBQ in the Whitehall/Copley area before venturing to downtown Allentown for the night's activities.


     

    Upon signing in at the tunnel entrance to the PPL Center and winding our way through the catacombs of the complex we found our way to the press room where we had a good conversation with AARN employee, Earl Krause, who we always enjoy chatting with before making our way to the elevator and to level 3A where we would view the evening's action from the press box along with the Smiths. We spotted Ohio's Benny Trask a level below and he came over to talk with us before the races commenced and a good time was had by all.


     

    Racing for the two division program kicked off at 7:38 with the first of four heat races for the 34 champ karts in attendance. Their racing was spirited and very competitive. The TQ midgets would also contest four heats for their fine 42 car field and heat wins went to Ryan Tidman, Erick Rudolph, Ryan Flores and Scott Kreutter making these four the top contenders for the top prize later in the evening. Two B mains for each division followed with Ryan Bartlett and Timmy Solomito nailing down the two wins. A short intermission followed before the two main events were called to the concrete floor to run their feature events.


     

    The 20 lap champ kart feature was the first of the evening and as good as they ran in their heats it was the opposite in their feature race. The green waved at 9:32 and seven yellows slowed the racing action. When it was all said and done Tyler Brown out dueled Jeremy Tuttle in a fine battle for the lead through the entire 20 lap distance with Massachusset's resident, Mike Perry, taking down the final podium position with the checker waving at 9:45.


     

    By 10:10 the initial green flag would drop on the 40 lap TQ midget main event but would not stay out long as on lap one Ryan Flores, one of the pre-race favorites, tangled with several others on the homestretch and ended up on his head and out of the event early. He would bounce back the next night to score the big win in the finale. One lap after the restart Timmy Solomito was sliding upside down in turn four to bring out the second red flag. Shawn Nye would pace the field with Andy Jankowiak tagging his bumper through the early laps. Fifth starting Erick Rudolph began to use his smooth indoor driving style to his advantage moving forward eventually taking second from Jankowiak on lap 13 and beginning his stalking of Nye. Another red and eight more cautions slowed the racing action before the TQ runners strung together some consistent green flag racing. Rudolph dove low off turn four on lap 22 to wrestle the lead away from Nye , one which he would retain the remainder of the distance. Nazareth, PA's Matt Janisch made a late charge from his eighth starting position to move into third and on the bumper of Nye but was never seriously able to mount a challenge over the remainder of the race. When the final checkered flags waved at 10:44 it was Rudolph the winner for the tenth time in his career, the most in the series, prevailing over Nye with Janisch coming home third with Jankowiak fourth and Jonathan Reid rounding out the top five. When the competitors were running it was good racing but the plethora of cautions and reds drug down the race as a whole.


     

    That's it for now with our next races scheduled for Feburary in Georgia and Florida so check back then for another Typical Weekend report. News, comments, stories, news releases and so forth can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Get out there and catch the next round of the Indoor Racing Series scheduled for Atlantic City on January 31st and February 1st or get out to Tulsa for the week long Chili Bowl coming up soon. Until next time stay safe and warm and as always thanks for reading our efforts.


     

     
     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Silly Season In Indiana

    I figured I would write a column about the plethora of driver and team swaps that have occurred in the past few weeks in sprint car and midget racing circles in Indiana. The term "silly season" has been used in the racing world for years to describe the time during the off season that driver and team changes take place. I don't know if I like the term silly season but for lack of better words that is what I will use to bring you the numerous changes in the midwest sprint and midget rosters.

    Tanner Carrick started the revolving door by announcing he was leaving the Keith Kunz stables and taking his helmet over to the Petry Motorsports team becoming the third driver on their midget team joining Jerry Coons Jr. and Kevin Thomas Jr. for the up and coming USAC National Midget tour in 2020. Thomas made news for himself a short time later announcing he was leaving the Hayward Motorsports #19 taking the McDonalds and Dr. Pepper sponsorship with him to restart KT Motorsports, his own team driving the #9K again in 2020. Chris Windom quickly filled the still warm seat at Hayward Motorsports leaving the Goacher #5G in the process. Don't have any word if the Goacher enterprise is going to continue in 2020 with another driver.

    A lot of news was coming out of the Kunz camp where driver selections were being posted for the Chili Bowl Nationals with Rico Abreu, Holly Hollen, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Cannon McIntosh and 15 year old Daison Pursley singing on for the big event. Further additions were announced of Presley Truedson coming over from the Zach Daum team and 18 year old Michael "Buddy" Kofoid bringing the total to six. The seventh driver was a bit of a surprise as former Clauson/Marshall driver, Zeb Wise, singed on for the Chili Bowl. Wise's full time 2020 plans have him joining felllow Indiana resident, Sam McGhee, on the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car circuit replacing Dale Blaney who finished as runner-up in 2019 in the All Star points.

    With Wise's departure from the Clauson/Marshall camp he was replaced in the #39BC by Cole Bodine coming back home after spending a season turning the wrenches for the Petry forces. This is a great opportunity for Bodine for a full time ride on the USAC National midget tour. The dust had not cleared at Clauson/Marshall when it was published that Chris Windom was leaving the midget team taking his NOS Energy Drink sponsorship with him to join forces with the Tucker/Boat team who is establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Andrew Layer, the 2019 USAC National midget rookie of the year, was next to bolt Clauson/Marshall to join the flegling Tucker/Boat team. No further word on if Clauson/Marshall will field more than two midget entries for Tyler Courtney and Bodine in 2020.

    Logan Seavey made a splash also as he proclaimed that he would join Swindell Speed Labs to pilot the potent #39 alongside Sam Swindell in his #1 for the Chili Bowl. No further information is available on Seavey's 2020 plans but a full time ride in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ could be on the horizon unless an ARCA, Xfinity or Gander truck ride is in his near future.

    Why would Seavey possibly be in the Reinbold/Underwood entry in 2020 when they are the defending USAC National Sprint Car Champions?? Well, in another surprise announcement it was stated that Leary and the #19AZ had parted company after the season was over with Davey Jones leaving with the Greenfield based driver. Leary will move his heavy right foot over to another Arizona based team in 2020 joining the Gene Gile Racing Team with the car carrying the #1 for the 2020 season, the first champion since Robert Ballou to paint the #1 on their mount for the following season.

    Two other racing items were posted in the past week or so with the biggest one being that Toyota will be building an engine to World of Outlaw specs to be ready for the start of the 2021 racing season as they will joining Chevy and Ford in sprint car racing. The other news was Tony Stewart purchasing the UMRA/King of Indiana TQ series which will run in 2020 under the new banner of the All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midget Series.

    That's all the news up to this Sunday as their have been many changes and many surprises along the way during the off season and probably a few more to come.

    That's it for now and any other driver or team moves or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. As always thanks for reading our efforts and try to stay warm during the offseaon and hopefully see some of you in Allentown at the PPL Center in January.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Bacon Takes Midget Win & Courtney Doubles Up In Sprints At Western World


     

    Saturday, November 16 - Another picture perfect day greeted us upon awakening and on the game plan today was dinner at Village Inn and then onward to the San Tan Valley where the final of the USAC National Sprint Car Championship was taking place at the Arizona Speedway. Also on the card was the USAC National Midgets racing at Arizona Speedway for the first time ever. Last night ended on a disappointing note with the track surface turning abrasive and the sprint car feature turning into a survival competition. Tonight the surface would hold up much better and tires were not a factor in the outcome. Thank goodness for that and hats off to the Arizona Speedway track crew for rectifying that situation for the final night of the USAC sprint car series. We had the pleasure of sitting with midget driver, Andrew Layser's mom and dad along with having Kyle Cummins sit one row behind us with his wife during the sprint car action. Cummins was running the Cactus Jack Yeley midget in competition tonight and did not have a sprint car ride for the Western World. It was enjoyable speaking with both couples during the evening.


     

    Things cranked up earlier tonight with the USAC sprint cars taking to the track for time trials at 6:17. Thirty two sprints would take time with CJ Leary claiming his 11th fast time of the season with a lap of 15.007 seconds around the 1/3 mile dirt oval. This gave Leary six additional points to add to his 26 point lead but Courtney's fourth fastest time shaved 3 points off that total and the difference was 29 going into the heat races. The USAC midgets were next up on the agenda for their time trials with 28 cars making the call. By 7:17 Tyler Courtney was being interviewed as fast timer with a lap of 15.725 seconds on the 1/3 mile dirt oval. Next up on the program were the qualifying heats with the sprints first and the midgets second.


     

    The sprinters would contest four heats with the top four moving onto the big dance. Heat one saw fast timer, CJ Leary, take down the win over Austin Williams, Damion Gardner and Josh Hodges. Heat two saw rookie and first time Arizona Speedway visitor, Dustin Clark, surprising many with a photo finish victory over Logan Seavey after leading the entire distance. Hunter Schuerenberg and Thomas Meseraull rounded out the top four. RJ Johnson held up local pride taking heat three in a good race barely holding off Kevin Thomas Jr., Chris Windom and Chase Stockon. Brady Bacon had a race long duel with Tyler Courtney in heat four before prevailing and dropping Courtney two points further back in the championship run. Eric Wilkins, an Arizona Hall of Famer, making his first non-wing run in a while and Chris Bonneau punched their ticket to the final. Three heat races for the midgets were next up with five to qualify in each. Zeb Wise would corral heat one beating Jason McDougal, Buddy Kofoid and Rico Abreu. Fifthteen year old Daison Pursley in his USAC debut scored his second heat win in two nights over Jesse Colwell, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Logan Seavey and Tanner Carrick in a Keith Kunz stable sweep of this one where also another Kunz car of Holly Hollan rolled over in turn two after contact from Carson Macedo. Tuscon native, Jerry Coons Jr., notched heat three besting Kyle Cummins, Kevin Thomas Jr., Brady Bacon and Andrew Layser.


     

    B mains would be needed for each division with the sprint cars first up. Jake Swanson would claim this one over Justin Grant, Brody Roa, Eddie Tafoya Jr., Jason McDougal and Chris Gansen. Three provisionals would join the field pushing the starting field to 25 with Tommy Malcolm, Stevie Sussex and Charles Davis Jr. getting special invitations to the big dance. The midget B main would qualify an additional seven with Chris Windom winning this one over Gio Scelzi, Carson Macedo, Holly Hollan, Thomas Meseraull, Conor Daly and Karsyn Elledge. Daly was impressive late running the cushion and driving his way into the top seven making his second straight race. Shannon McQueen would be the only provisional with Noah Gass added as an alternate as Carson Macedo was a scratch from the feature.


     

    All that was left were the two main events and the USAC midget feature would be first up with Zeb Wise and Brady Bacon bringing the field to the green flag at 9:40. Bacon soared into the early lead with a big battle among the rest of the top five in the early going. Logan Seavey slipped by Wise for second and took up the chase of Bacon. Seavey sized Bacon up several times for sliders in turn one but every time Bacon was up to the challenge pounding the cushion to remain in front. Meanwhile Shannon McQueen was picking off cars left and right from her 22nd starting spot moving to 13th by the halfway mark. She would not advance any further as the early flourish. The top four at the halfway mark was Bacon, Seavey, Wise and Tyler Courtney when the action was interrupted by a series of mishaps. Jesse Colwell caught the turn two wall after being squeezed while running tenth and rolled over to bring out the red. On the restart Tucker Klaasmeyer found the turn two wall also the same as his teammate and flipped after the contact. Two laps later the worst wreck of the night occurred when Karsyn Elledge contacted the homestretch wall and went flipping high into the night sky tumbling several times before coming to a rest close to entering turn one. Luckily Elledge quickly climbed from the battered midget to the relief of the large crowd on hand. All drivers involved in the three incidents were OK after their wild rides. Things calmed down after that with Bacon leading with Seavey trying different lines to try to make a move for the lead. Seavey drew to the rear bumper of Bacon several times over the remaining laps but never mounted a challenge for the top spot. Bacon would hold on for his first midget win of the year for the part time runner and his first since the BC39 at Indianapolis last year in the second Fred Manafort entry besting Seavey with Wise third, Courtney fourth and Rico Abreu turning in an impressive run advancing from 18th to fifth at the finish. Kevin Thomas Jr. led the second five in sixth with Chris Windom seventh, Jerry Coons Jr. eighth, Gio Scelzi ninth and Tanner Carrick tenth. It was Bacon's eighth career USAC National midget triumph and the fifth time he has won a final night race at the Western World Championship at various locations with the other four wins in 360 sprint car competition.


     

    Now we were ready for the 30 lap USAC sprint car finale with CJ Leary leading by 31 markers entering the main event and needing to only finish 11th or higher to clinch the point championship. Josh Hodges and Brady Bacon paced the 25 car field to the green flag at 11:03 with New Mexico's Hodges taking the early lead. Bacon would take over on lap two and lead until lap 16 when Tyler Courtney would wrestle the lead away in lap traffic. Bacon came right back and slid low to regain the lead exiting turn two. The two raced into turn three side by side on lap 17 and touched wheels with Courtney going into the air and landing once again but allowing Bacon to scoot away. Courtney charged back entering turn one with the leaders almost touching again as Bacon jumped the cushion but roared off turn two to retain the lead entering turn three. The next lap was a repeat of the previous one with the same results. Lap twenty saw Bacon have some problems attempting to pass Charles Davis Jr. in turn two allowing Courtney to shoot to the inside and take the lead. In the meantime Leary was running a steady race alternating between fifth and seventh during this period. With five to go Bacon had reeled Courtney back in but before he was able to mount another challenge Jason McDougal and Justin Grant tangled in turn two with Grant turning turtle in the incident. It took several minutes for Grant to exit the car but he was OK. Under the red Courtney's car began to spout steam with a hole in the radiator the culprit. This was after the Clauson/Marshall crew had changed engines between time trials and their heat. Many wondered if the car would last as the field went back to green with five to go. Kevin Thomas Jr. who had been closing on the front two before the latest red made his move on the restart. He slid Bacon for second in turn one and took off after Courtney. The yellow waved on the white flag lap when Chase Stockon slowed with a flat tire. On the restart Courtney got a good jump and led the green, white, checker scenario to the finish with Thomas chasing. Bacon came home third over Chris Windom in fourth and the new USAC National Sprint Car Champion, CJ Leary, bringing it home in fifth. It was a first for the entire team in their first year together and it has been a while since an Arizona based team has won the championship. Leary's first championship was also head wrench, Davy Jones, first time as a USAC champion also. Damion Gardner who clinched the USAC/CRA championship when he took the green flag was sixth with Josh Hodges getting a fine seventh, Jake Swanson eighth, Logan Seavey ninth and Brody Roa taking down tenth and winning the USAC Southwest sprint title by a mere 18 points over RJ Johnson ironically the margin that the national title ended up between Leary and Courtney. Courtney won the battle tonight but Leary won the war. To console the losing team tonight was a bonus of $5000 put up for anyone who could win both nights of racing which Courtney did.


     

    It was a much better night of feature racing than the previous night and kudos go out to the track crew for their added work tonight to provide a better surface to race on.


     

    That's it for now as our next race probably will not be until early December as the season winds down. If there is anything still running in your area get out and catch it before the winter arrives. News, comments, releases and other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as we always like to end with thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care and be safe.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Thomas and Courtney Triumph In Night One Of Western World At Arizona Speedway


     

    Friday, November 15 - Another bright sunshine day greeted us in the morning as we awoke with early temperatures in the high 50's but by noon the temperature had moved into the low 80's. By late afternoon it was time to make our way over to the 1/3 mile dirt oval Arizona Speedway in the San Tan Valley, southeast of the metro Phoenix area for night one of the 52nd Annual Western World Championship presented by San Tan Ford. Upon arrival we secured our seats in the fifth row of the homestretch grandstands while Pat went back to the car to make her daily call to her father I hung out and browsed the area buying a BC39 tee shirt for $10 from the USAC trailer and grabbing a NOS Energy drink before heading back to my seat to browse Twitter. I found out that there were 35 USAC sprint cars and 30 USAC midgets gracing the pit area making for two fine car counts for the evening of racing.


     

    The USAC sprints were first up for four rounds of hot laps followed by time trials which commenced at 6:43. At 7:07 Logan Seavey, in one of the three Reinbold/Underwood entries, had set fast time with a lap of 14.763 around the 1/3 mile oval and was interviewed by Georgia Henneberry on the homestretch. The USAC midgets hot lapped next and began their time trial session at 7:32. It was the first time that the USAC National midgets had raced at Arizona Speedway so fast time tonight would be a new track record. After several drivers stepped up and establish the new mark during time trials it was finally Logan Seavey topping the speed charts with a time of 15.426 to establish the new track record and pull a rarity of being the fast timer in both USAC classes on the same evening.


     

    The USAC sprint heats were next on the card with four of them to determine 16 qualifiers for the 30 lap main event later in the evening. Heat one produced some fireworks as Justin Grant tangled with two others on the homestretch and did a light rollover of his machine. The car was righted and Grant was pushed off and rejoined the field at the tail. By the end of the first heat Logan Seavey had powered around everyone in the late going using the outside cushion to score the exciting win over Jason McDougal back after his nasty crash at Perris last week this time in the Grau #34X, Chris Gensen and Grant who managed to battle back of qualify. Heat two saw Buckeye, Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. hold off the field besting Chase Stockon, Jake Swanson and Brody Roa to capture this one. CJ Leary nailed down heat three over Damion Gardner, Max Adams in the Cheney #42 this weekend and Austin Williams. Tyler Courtney would snag heat four also using the high side in the best heat of the night catching Thomas Meseraull late for the lead and the eventual win with Meseraull, Brady Bacon and Chris Windom trailing.


     

    The USAC midgets would also run four heats with rookie Andrew Layser in one of the Clauson/Marshall stable winning heat one over Jason McDougal, Tanner Carrick and Logan Seavey. Heat two saw POWRi point champion, Jesse Colwell, scoring the win in one of eight Kunz entries in tonight's tussle winning over Tyler Courtney, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Karsyn Elledge. Brady Bacon powered the second Fred Manafort #76 to victory in heat three beating Jerry Coons Jr., Conor Daly in a third Petry entry in a strong run and Zeb Wise. Daison Pursley at the tender young age of 15 in his USAC midget debut shocked the field by winning heat four over Chris Windom, Gio Scelzi and Holly Hollan.


     

    There were still two B mains to run, one in each division with the sprint B main going to Kevin Thomas Jr. over Josh Hodges, Hunter Schuerenberg, RJ Johnson, Dustin Clark and Kyle Shipley. During the sprint B main Sterling Cling took a nasty flip between turns one and two and everyone was relieved when he climbed from the wrecked sprinter. The midget B was won by Carson Macedo in the Tarlton #21 over Rico Abreu, Cory Elliott, Robert Dalby, Kyle Cummins in the Jack Yeley #2G and Thomas Meseraull in the Gile #13. The two feature fields were set by 9:44 and all that was left to contest were the two 30 lap main events. No track work was done at this point and in hindsight should have been but that is another story.


     

    By 10:11 after the four wide salute the 24 car field was ready to go with provisionals Tucker Klaasmeyer and CJ Sarna tagging the field making it 24 total with Kevin Thomas Jr. taking the early lead from his first starting position. Thomas had only clocked tenth fastest but with four others not qualifying through the heats he moved into the top six invert and the pole position. The midgets all used the inside groove during the 30 lap distance with passing being at a premium. Zeb Wise was able to scoot by Gio Scelzi who slid high in turn two to take second and would chase Thomas the entire 30 lap distance. There were five total cautions with Karsyn Elledge bringing out the first three with spins until she retired to the infield for the remainder of the event. With ten to go lap traffic was looming and it was going to get interesting as the leaders approached with everyone using the low groove. That was all resolved when Thomas Meseraull brought out the final caution as he slowed in turns one and two. On the restart with a clear track in front Thomas went back to the point with Wise and Tanner Carrick in tow. Wise cleared the lap machine of CJ Sarna who in in between he and Thomas and began to reel in the leader. Going into turn one after crossing the line with two to go Wise dove low on Thomas and edged alongside until Thomas slammed the door on his foot midway through the turn. This gave Thomas enough room and time to hold off the late advances of Wise who was celebrating his 17th birthday today and deny him the ultimate birthday gift with a win. Thomas crossed the line first at 10:32 for his sixth career USAC National midget win with Wise second, Carrick third, Logan Seavey in a race long duel with Carrick settling for fourth and Carson Macedo rounding out the top five. The second five was filled by Rico Abreu, Chris Windom, Tyler Courtney, Jerry Coons Jr. and Brady Bacon. The crowd enjoyed the victory lane ceremony when two long horned steers were brought into victory lane and the announcer asked Thomas if he was going to mount one of them which he responded "Sure, why not" and jumped onto the back of the big steer and was walked around on the homestretch.


     

    The 30 lap USAC sprint car feature was expanded to a starting field of 24 when two Western drivers, Dennis Gile and Stevie Sussex used provisionals to gain access to the main event. On the start Chris Windom went to the point but the first of six cautions waved on lap one when faster timer and heat winner, Logan Seavey, pulled up lame with mechanical woes and was done for the evening. On the restart Windom went to the top as did the rest of the field, the direct opposite of what the midgets did in the previous feature. Windom ran rough shod over the field in the first half of the race. By the halfway mark though Justin Grant had caught Windom and looked high and low for a way around the high flying Windom. On lap seventeen Grant made his move diving low with a slider with contact between the two leaders with Grant taking over the top spot. Two laps later Windom returned the favor and was out front again entering turn two. It was far from over at this point as Grant made a turn one slider stick on lap 21 entering turn one retaking the lead with Windom and a fast closing Kevin Thomas Jr. as the top three. Lap 22 was the major turning point of the race as the top three entered turn one approaching the lap car of Kyle Shipley. Shipley was racing hard and abusing the right rear with smoke coming off the tire entering turn two when he slid high off the rubber and sideways in front of the leaders. Grant, Windom, Thomas and Hunter Schuerenberg, the top four runners, had no where to go and crashed into the sideways Shipley. Also involved like a secondary crash on the interstate were Chase Stockon and points leader, CJ Leary, who sat against the wall between turns one and two. You could hear the air go out of the balloon as Shipley's refusal to move over had for all legitimate reasons ruin the race and possibly Leary's title hopes. Windom and Schuerenberg were done for the evening with Grant, Thomas, Leary and Stockon returning but Thomas dropped out a few laps later. Austin Williams in the Moose Racing #92 inherited the lead with Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney on his tail tank. The track turned tire abrasive as with five to go Williams chance at his first USAC National win went south when his right rear tire blew in turn three causing a major melee with five other cars involved. Bacon was now the leader with Courtney in second. With three to go Chris Gansen pulled up lame with a flat tire. When racing resumed it was not for long as both fourth running Damion Gardner and 12th running Kevin Thomas Jr. went to the sidelines with flat right rears and under caution you could see the cords on Bacon's right rear and you knew it was just a matter of time and second running Courtney saw the situation and was like a shark seeing blood as he moved in for the kill. On the lap 29 restart sliding to the low side of Bacon entering turn one Courtney cleared him for the lead in turn two. Bacon pulled to the fence exiting turn two with the right rear gone and it was Courtney now on top. The last lap went off without incident with Courtney flashing under the checkered flag first for the eighth time in 2019 and for the 25th time in his career tying him with Jay Drake, Steve Butler and Chris Windom for 20th on the all-time win list. Justin Grant rebounded from his earlier tangle to charge back to second with fresh rubber on the right rear with Jason McDougal third, Charles Davis Jr. fourth and Stevie Sussex one of the happiest men in the field after taking a provisional and riding home fifth. CJ Leary salvaged a rough night coming home sixth with his point lead dropping from 44 to 26 entering the final night of the season Saturday so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out on the final night. Will it be Leary for his first title or will it be Courtney for back to back titles. Time will tell. Josh Hodges came home seventh with Chase Stockon eighth, Austin Williams a disappointed ninth and Tommy Malcolm rounding out the top ten.


     

    It was a disappointing last ten laps of the main event but hopefully they will tighten up the program so they can have some extra time to rework the track before the two features especially the sprint car feature as you would like to see the championship decided with racing not tire woes. Check back on Sunday to see the results.


     

    That's it for now as we prepare for tonight and what it holds. So get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area as the season winds down and be safe and dry. Comments, news, stories, rumors or what not can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where our travels take us.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Santos Sweeps King Of The Wings Weekend With Win At Irwindale


     

    Sunday, November 10 - After spending the morning over at the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix watching UTV's, motorcycles and ATV's run a 5.2 mile road course we headed northwest toward Irwindale where the Irwindale Speedway was hosting a rare Sunday afternoon program of racing headlined by the King Of The Wings sprint cars along with vintage cars running on the inner oval, the legend cars and enduro stocks running features on the new Roval and motorhomes running a race on the figure 8. A nice crowd turned out to view the variety of racing action which was kicked off at 2:08 by the vintage open wheel cars on the inner oval. The two heats for the KOTW sprint cars was next on the agenda with 12 sprinters in the pit area to do battle. Eric Humphries and Bobby Santos III would score the heat wins both easily outrunning the competition.


     

    The seven legend cars were the first to tackle the 12 turn Roval in their 15 lap feature with only four finishing the race. Young Jake Bollman won the event over Jeff Smith and Brian Park. The 25 lap enduro stock feature was next up on the Roval and a fine field of 20 cars took the green flag. A race long battle between Bobby Ozman and Bory Molina ensued with the pair rubbing and bumping through the various turns exchanging the lead back and forth. Finally Bory Molina took command late in the contest and crossed the finish line first for his third straight win in this division besting Ozman.


     

    By 4 PM it was time for the 30 lap KOTW sprint car feature. Justin Segura took the early lead and led the first eight laps with Monty Bergener and Bobby Santos III in hot pursuit. Smoke began to emit from Segura's mount and officials waved the yellow to check his car to see if oil was leaking from his mount. It was determined that it was so Segura was sent to the pit area for the rest of the race. Bergener assumed the lead on the restart and held the lead until they crossed the line to start lap 14 where Santos charged around the outside into the lead which he would hold the remainder of the 30 lap distance. Santos would sweep the California weekend after winning at Kern County the night before and was his eighth straight KOTW win. Eric Humphries would cross the line second and secure his second straight KOTW point title with AJ Russell coming home third, Audra Sasselli, the women racer, came home fourth and Ron Larson of British Columbia raced home fifth.


     

    There was still a 15 lap small motorhome feature to run on the figure 8 track and the majority of the crowd stayed to watch the fun event. Nine small motorhomes took the green flag and raced around the track with several close encounters but no crashes at the X. At the conclusion of the event slightly before 5 they declared Wild Bill the winner but there was so confusion as the Flying Fillipino we believe was a lap ahead of the rest of the survivors. It was a fun day and we all came away satisfied with a day race in the sunshine in November.


     

    That's it until Friday when we travel over to Arizona to take in the Western World Classic at the Arizona Speedway in Apache Junction where the USAC National Sprints conclude their 2019 season and are joined on the card by the first appearance of the USAC National Midgets in Arizona in ten years. Should be a good series. In the meantime catch the remaining races in your area and be safe out there. We heard that in our hometown of Crawfordsville, IN they received over 5 inches of snow on Tuesday while we enjoyed 80 degree temperatures out here in California and Arizona. Hey, somebody has to do it!!!!! And in ending this column we thank you for reading our efforts and enjoy bringing them to you as much as you seem to enjoy reading them.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Leary Scores Budweiser Oval Nationals Finale At Perris


     

    Saturday, November 9 - After another sunny and fun day spent in Southern California it was time to head over to Perris and the Perris Auto Speedway for the final night of racing in the 24th Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction. Thirty six sprinters returned for the last night of racing on the half mile dirt oval and the track was in vintage shape for the 40 lap finale. The top six in points were locked into the field and they would run a super six dash later in the evening but first it was time for the remaining 30 cars to run time trials which pushed off at 5:57. When it was all said and done by 6:18 it was Concord California's favorite son, Damion Gardner, doing the interview with Georgia Henneberry trackside after setting the fast time of the evening at 16.362 seconds on the half mile equaling Thursday's fast timer, CJ Leary, for fastest time of the week.


     

    Next up would be four heats for the USAC sprint cars with just two to qualify making these races even more intense. Austin Liggett would draw first blood notching heat one over Damion Gardner. Californian Max Adams who raced the year in Indiana returned home to drive the Ford #73 to victory in heat two outrunning Jake Swanson for the win. Thomas Meseraull, an 18 time feature winner this year, brought the Gile #13 home first in heat three holding off Chris Windom in the process. Jace VanderWeerd made it three for four in heat wins on the evening for the California contingent besting Logan Seavey in the fourth and final heat of the night. The super six dash was next on the card with the finishing order determining the top six starting order for the 40 lap main event. CJ Leary in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ would grab the win in this one turning back Chase Stockon, Justin Grant, Brady Bacon, Tyler Courtney and Richard VanderWeerd in this event to secure the first starting position for tonight's main event. Two B mains would round out the qualifying portion of the program with five drivers from each B main moving into the starting lineup for the feature. Austin Williams would bring the Moose Racing #92 home first in B main one for his car owners the grand marshals for the Oval Nationals beating Charles Davis Jr., Bud Kaeding, Hunter Schuerenberg and RJ Johnson to the line in this one. Kevin Thomas Jr. would park the Hayward/Thomas #19 in victory lane by a country mile in B main two romping over Brody Roa, Stevie Sussex, Cody Williams and Tommy Malcom. Four provisionals would swell the starting field from 24 to 28 with Josh Hodges for the third straight night taking the free pass along with Eddie Tafoya Jr., Chris Gansen and Chris Bonneau as the added starters.


     

    After pre-race ceremonies which included a huge American flag held by armed forces veterans on the homestretch doing several patriotic songs including the National Anthem the drivers were introduced to the large crowd on hand going across the stage to cheers from the large gathering.  It was feature time with the green flag waving at 9:32 on the 28 car field led to the green by CJ Leary and Chase Stockon. Stockon used the cushion in turns one and two to storm into the lead with Leary in chase. Chase looked very strong and would pace the field for the first 16 laps until Leary used the inside through turn two to grab the lead on lap 17 and never look back. It wasn't as easy as it sounds as Stockon locked up in a crowd pleasing duel for second with Tyler Courtney, Brady Bacon and Chris Windom in an out and out war for the top five. Courtney was able to work his way past Stockon in turn three on lap 23 and took up the chase of Leary. Lap traffic loomed ahead as the top two raced nose to tail until lap 26 when Courtney ran too close to Leary's tail and jumped the cushion in turn three losing three spots in the process. Stockon was back in second but now Brady Bacon was in third and closing looking for a three night sweep of the Oval Nationals. That would all end on lap 29 when Max Adams spun between turns three and four and as the yellow appeared Bacon ran up and over the left rear tire of a slowing Stockon looping it on the backstretch missing any wall contact but relegating him to the rear of the field on the restart. Bacon would end up 12th when the final checker would fall. Lap 33 would see Chris Windom work his way by Stockon and put him in the hunt over the last seven laps. The last ten laps were interrupted by no less than four cautions from Logan Seavey with a flat on lap 31, Austin Liggett rolling over in turn three on lap 35, Justin Grant spinning in turn four on lap 37 and a debris caution on lap 38. Windom was still lurking in the shadows behind Leary at every point but he also had to worry about Stockon and Damion Gardner who were turning up the wick and pressuring him also. Leary would prevail over the remaining two laps and nail down the victory, his ninth career USAC National win, and probably the biggest of his career holding off Windom, Gardner, Stockon and Courtney for the win. He also increased his season long point lead on Courtney from 32 to 44 with just two point races still to go. The second five was filled with a bunch of overachievers in Kevin Thomas Jr. from 16th to 6th and the hard charger award, Jake Swanson from 13th to 7th, Austin Williams from 15th to 8th, Richard VanderWeerd the only backslider from 6th to 9th and Bud Kaeding from 17th to 10th. Kaeding also nailed down the pass master award for the three day Oval Nationals passing a total of 17 cars over the three day period.


     

    Saturday night's finale was by far the best of the three races and was an indication of the vintage racing normally seen at this historic oval. Now it is onto the Grand Canyon state and the final two races for the USAC National Sprints who will be joined on the card by the USAC National Midgets who are entering their last five races of the season culminating in Ventura for Turkey Night.


     

    Check back tomorrow for our report from Irwindale and on Saturday and Sunday for reports from the last two USAC sprint car races of the year and in the meantime get out there and catch the last races in your area before the winter season sets in. Comments, news, tidbits and other notes of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the kind words sent our way as we enjoy bringing these reports to you as much as you enjoy reading them.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Bacon Doubles Up On Night Two At Perris


     

    Friday, November 8 - Upon arrival at Perris Auto Speedway on Friday we knew we were in trouble for the evening. There are two bad four letter words in racing, the one is rain and the other is wind. Tonight it was the second bad four letter word as the flags on the flag poles in the parking lot were standing straight out at attention and that is never a good sign if you are going to see racing at a dirt track. Wind wrecks havoc on a dirt track and tonight's surface took a beating all day long so you just knew it was going to be dry, black and slick.


     

    Forty one cars would take time trials for the second night in a row Californian Chase Johnson would not make it out of time trials as his #68 busted a rear axle entering turn three which caused his right rear tire to depart from the sprinter and sent him into the turn four wall hard again flipping over in the process. It would be another short evening for the Northern California driver who has had a pretty decent year before the Oval Nationals began. Johnson was OK but done for the evening. Chris Windom would clock the fast time for the evening at 16.835 seconds, a full half second off last night's fast time.


     

    The first of five sprint car heats for the 40 sprinters left to run would start at 7:19 with Richard VanderWeerd sweeping a top four Western drivers finish winning this one over Arizona's RJ Johnson, Jake Swanson and Stevie Sussex. Heat two would see the veteran Indiana driver, Bill Rose, hold off Brady Bacon to score a popular win in this one with Austin Williams and Jace VanderWeerd trailing. Austin Liggett would bring home the bragging rights for the California contingent in heat three winning over Thomas Meseraull, CJ Leary and Chase Stockon in a competitive heat race. Tyler Courtney would score heat win #16 for the year besting Charles Davis Jr., Logan Seavey and Brody Roa. The fifth and final heat would go to one of the Kaeding clan with Bud winning over Damion Gardner, Hunter Schuerenberg and Justin Grant. All heat racing was completed in less than an hour with a twenty minute break for some water and for the latter heat cars to make some changes.


     

    The 18 car B main would take the green at 8:30 with fast timer Chris Windom who dropped out of heat one easily capturing the win outdistancing Kevin Thomas Jr., Max Adams and Tommy Malcolm. Three provisionals would join the qualified cars for the 30 lapper which was next up on the agenda. Josh Hodges for the second night in a row used a provisonal along with West Coasters Eddie Tafoya Jr. and Steve Hix. The field was now determined with 27 sprinters locked into the 30 lap main event.


     

    By 9:13 it was feature time with the front row of Damion Gardner and Tyler Courtney bringing 25 of their friends to the green flag. Gardner got the jump and so much so that the caution waved to realign the field to try it again. On the second restart it looked like Courtney got the jump but it stayed green until the backstretch when Garner tagged the backstretch wall, climbed it and came back down on his left side wheels going into a spin against the backstretch wall. Steve Hix, near the tail, clipped him going by sending both to the work area with Hix done for the evening and Gardner returning four laps behind after front end repairs were made. On the next start Brady Bacon who moved up one when Gardner failed to return for the next green got the slight advantage as he and Courtney raced off turn four and took the lead until Chris Windom, CJ Leary and Jace VanderWeerd tangled in turns three and four causing the yellow to wave again. Windom was finished for the night while VanderWeerd and Leary returned after Leary changed a left rear tire in the work area. The third restart saw Justin Grant making it three wide down the homestretch into turn one with Grant inching ahead until Bacon blasted off the cushion and back into the early lead. There was not much passing after this point with Grant keeping Bacon in sight as the laps ticked off. Bacon approached lap traffic on lap 18 struggling with Bill Rose allowing Grant to close but not challenge before Bacon worked his way by. In the last five laps Bacon caught Hunter Scherenberg but could not make any sort of pass by him as the black middle strip was the fastest way around and as Bacon mentioned in victory lane "if he couldn't pass Schuerenberg then he felt that no one would be able to pass him" and that turned out true as Bacon crossed under the checkers at 9:41 taking his second straight win at Perris after going winless the previous 13 years and notching his 29th career USAC National sprint car victory. Grant would trail in second with Courtney third, Chase Stockon fourth and Austin Williams the highest finishing West Coast entrant in fifth. The second five was led by Logan Seavey with Kevin Thomas Jr. seventh, Richard VanderWeerd from 19th to eighth, Bud Kaeding ninth and CJ Leary working his way back to tenth at the finish. Leary's national point lead drops to 32 from 55 with one night left at Perris and two at Arizona Speedway to determine the point championship. The top six from points over the first two nights are locked into the Saturday night finale with Bacon, Courtney, Grant, R. VanderWeerd, Leary and Stockon being those six.


     

    That's it for now until tomorrow or Monday when we report on the last night at the Budweiser Oval Nationals and Sunday from Irwindale as the King of the Wings clash there on the half mile asphalt oval. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy whatever racing is remaining in your area or take it on the road to catch one of those bucket list tracks. Comments, news, releases and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And not to be forgotten thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND


     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel


     

    Bacon Picks Up First Perris Win In Fourteen Years Of Trying


     

    Thursday, November 7 - The day dawned bright and sunny in the Palm Springs area with the temperatures rising to the high 80's before we set off for our one hour drive over to Perris, California, the home of the Perris Auto Speedway and the site of the 24th Budweiser Oval Nationals, a three night affair featuring the USAC National Sprint Cars, the USAC/CRA sprints and the USAC Southwest sprints meeting to do battle on the 1/2 mile dirt oval there.


     

    Brady Bacon has raced here since 2006 and even though he has finished in the top ten 17 times and the top five 9 times he has never won at Perris in his fourteen years. That would all change tonight as he would race from first at the start and never be headed to notch his first win at the PAS on this Thursday night. But first lets go back to the beginning of the evening and fill in the blanks of what preceded Bacon standing in victory lane. Forty one entries filed into the infield pit area to square off against each other on this pleasant evening with temperatures dropping down into the mid 50's by night's end with Chase Johnson starting the action off early taking a flip in turn four during warmups and ending his evening even before it began. Time trials kicked off at 6:21 and after setting second fast time on his first time trial lap Tyler Courtney caught the four turn wall and went for a nasty ride into the catch fence and landing hard on the wall and track after tumbling to earth. Courtney climbed from the wrecked mount and when the second heat rolled around he was trackside with the same steed to do battle in the heat. CJ Leary in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ wrenched by Davy Jones garnered their tenth quick time of the year with a lap of 16.362 seconds around the 1/2 mile Southern California oval. The first of five heats kicked off at 7:20 with Justin Grant capturing heat one in a strong run besting Hunter Schuerenberg, his teammate CJ Leary and Brady Bacon who all locked into the 30 lap main event later in the evening. Tyler Courtney showed no ill effects from his wild ride storming from sixth to win heat two for his 15th heat win of the year beating Arizona's RJ Johnson, Thomas Meseraull in one of the West Coast Gile entries and Tommy Malcolm, one of the California contingent. Heat three went to West Coast charger Damion Gardner over Californian rival Brody Roa in one of two Cheney #42's, Logan Seavey in the third Reinbold/Underwood entry and Austin Liggett in the family #83. Charles Davis Jr., one of the Arizona hot shoes would nail down heat four over Kevin Thomas Jr., Chase Stockon and fourth fast qualifier, Richard VanderWeerd. Heat five would see a nasty crash in turn one after first starting Sterling Cling got a bad start and charged into turn one with a full head of steam as the caution waved crashing into second starting Jason McDougal in the second Chaney #42 sending both of the drivers into a series of flips and rolls with McDougal entangled in the turn one fencing. McDougal was groggy and took a ride to the hospital for a checkup and was released after being checked out. Chris Windom would take the Goacher #5G to victory in this one over Cody Williams, Bud Kaeding and Stevie Sussex in a Western series sweep behind the Bear.


     

    The 18 car B main was next on the agenda after a short break with Max Adams in the Ford #73 outrunning the field in this one with Jace VanderWeerd second, Austin Williams in the Moose Racing #92 third and Jake Swanson nailing down the last qualifying position. Four provisionals would join the 24 qualified cars swelling the starting field to 28 for the 30 lap main event. Josh Hodges, Chris Gansen, Dennis Gile and Eddie Tafoya Jr. were the drivers added to the big dance tonight with the main event ready to rumble by 9:25.


     

    Bacon and Windom brought the field to the green flag with Bacon bounding into the early lead, one that he would not give up for the remainder of the 30 lap distance though Windom stayed close and challenged several times in traffic. The first caution occurred on lap four with CJ Leary and Tyler Courtney battling for position collided on the backstretch with Courtney suffering a flat left rear in the incident heading to the work area and restarting at the tail of the field. On the restart Bacon moved back to the point with Windom and Damion Gardner pressuring Windom for second. Near the halfway mark Gardner made his move in traffic for second but Chris Gansen was in his way and Gardner had to back out allowing Windom to retain second. Windom turned up the wick at this point and surged ahead cutting into Bacon's lead and reeled in the leader as the laps ticked off. A timely caution moments later with a Dennis Gile spin cleared the path for Bacon and he welcomed the open track in front of him. Bacon resumed the lead on the restart with Windom in pursuit. Just as they approached lap traffic with eight to go tenth running Bud Kaeding spun and sat low in turn two to bring out the last caution. With six to go Windom made a hard run on Bacon entering turns one and two but Bacon staved off the challenge exiting turn two. Bacon would retain the lead over the remaining six laps and flash under the checkered flags at 9:45 for the fifth time this season and first since sweeping the Corn Belt Nationals at Knoxville in July. It was also his 28th career USAC National Sprint Car win tying him with some heady company of Levi Jones and JJ Yeley for 14th on the all-time win list. Windom rode home second for his sixth straight top five pushing him into third place in the points past Kevin Thomas Jr. with four races to go. Richard VanderWeerd would be the highest finishing West Coaster in third which equaled his highest USAC National sprint finish which occurred in 2017 also here at Perris during the Oval Nationals. Damion Gardner would place fourth with Leary coming home fifth and increasing his points lead by eight to 55 over Courtney who charged back to eighth at the end. Justin Grant led the second five in sixth with Jace VanderWeerd seventh, Courtney eighth, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Austin Williams rounding out the top ten.


     

    That's it for now with tomorrow night being night two of the Oval Nationals with a stop in Lake Elsinore for some UTV and truck off road racing in the afternoon. Until next time get out there and catch some good late season racing in your area and be safe and dry. News, releases, words of wisdom and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and keep checking back for the next installment of A Typical Weekend.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Racing Hawaiian Style On The Big Island At Hilo Oval Track

    Saturday, October 19 - The day arrived that we were planning on going racing on the Big Island of Hawaii and we were up bright and early to make the two hour trek from Kona to Hilo for some auto racing Hawaiian style. Driving up and over the mountain we encountered low clouds and rain at the top and as we made our way down the other side it was still raining and the prospects were not looking good. Our destination would be the Hilo Oval Track, a 1/4 or 1/5 mile dirt oval located a little south of Hilo. It is not the easiest place to find as it is located on a long road that takes you pass a recycle center and a public transportation center but we trekked on and first came upon the drag strip and then the motocross track, the go-kart track and finally the dirt oval. As we pulled up to the ticket booth and paid our $10 admission the gal on duty wasn't positive that they would be able to run today and assured a full refund if they did not prevail. Hilo Oval Track runs once a month starting in March and it is a grassroots track where the racing people come out to enjoy themselves and see some down home racing.


     

    We parked in the back part of the parking lot as we didn't want to take any chances of dirt or rocks hitting the rental Mustang instead of pulling the car up to the homestretch fence to view the action. There are two sets of smaller aluminum grandstands on the backstretch where we were located about six rows high and many of the locals set up tents to sit under and watch the racing. We ran into a couple from Oregon and I chatted with a very nice man from Hawaii who introduced me to his entire extended family and offered me Taro chips which were very good as we chatted before the races began. A light rain fell around starting time which delayed the start until 12:38 when the first heat came to the track. The car counts were low but that was expected but they had enough to produce a day of racing. There were 7 front wheel bombers, 6 rear wheel bombers, 5 four cylinder stocks, 4 V8 stocks and 3 non-wing sprints which was a real surprise to us. In fact another one arrived later but only took a few warmup laps and never competed in the actual racing. There was also 1 winged sprinter on hand who also only took some practice laps on the tacky surface.


     

    The front wheel bombers kicked off the day of racing and each class ran two sets of heats with the same cars participating with Kaimi Francis sweeping the FW bombers heat runs. Ed Miner would do the same in the rear wheel bombers while Gilbert Quiroz would do the same in the four cylinder stocks. The V8 stocks would be dominated by Steven Bosch in a division where they lost two of the four competitors after the first heat due to accidents. The non-wing sprint heats were won by Richard Gill and Abel Wood. All heat racing was completed by 2 PM and an hour intermission was taken before the feature events were called to the speedway. The weather was looking worse as the first feature with the front wheel bombers took the green at 3 PM in a light rain. Kaimi Francis would lead the majority of the 15 laps but not the most important one as they slid high in one of the turns with Micah Grace sneaking by and holding off Francis for the win. The rain let up for the rear wheel bombers and Ed Miner would complete the sweep of his division copping the main event over Richard Blackwell and Kenji Jones. The 15 lap four cylinder stock feature was captured by the truck of John Montpas after Gilbert Quiroz dropped out. Steven Bosch got out the broom sweeping the V8 stock feature. Only two of the three non-wing sprint cars made the call for the 15 lap feature as the rain returned and a steady rain fell during the entire 15 laps of racing which we are sure must have made it difficult for them to see as they had no roof to block the rain falling. Richard Gill would prevail at 3:50 over Abel Wood as the folks at Hilo were able to complete the day of racing which we were thankful for. It had taken us three attempts before we saw a race at Hilo Oval Track and it was satisfying to finally be able to add this one to our career total. It was #822 for me while Pat scored her 818th career track. It was also our 100th race of 2019 with more planned in November and December. Thanks to Sue Cabral for promptly providing me with names of the drivers as there was no public address system and we like to give the drivers recognition for their efforts and were able to do so.


     

    That's it for now as we prepare to leave the Hawaiian Islands and make our way back to Crawfordsville and sleep in our new condo there. Until next time get out there and see some good short track racing in your area or maybe take it on the road and catch one of your bucket track list tracks. Comments, news, stories or anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see what is happening.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND
     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel
     

    Thomas Scores Big Fall Nationals Win At Lawrenceburg
     

    Saturday, October 5 - It was another tough decision as two big events were scheduled for the same night in Indiana. Gas City I-69 Speedway was running their two day program called the Fall Festival of Speed with non-wing sprints, winged 305 sprints, open midgets and MMSA mini sprints while Lawrenceburg Speedway was running their Fall Nationals with USAC sprints and UMP modifieds. We opted for the two division program at Lawrenceburg and started the 2 1/2 hour trek southward to southeast Indiana stopping along the way to have dinner at Bob Evan's before continuing on to the fast 3/8 mile high banked dirt oval located in Lawrenceburg, the home of Seagram's distillery.


     

    The 10th Annual Fall Nationals was on tap with a big $10,000 pay check to the winner of the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature this evening. Twenty six sprint cars made the tow south along with 23 UMP modifieds joining them in the turn three and four pit area. First up on the agenda was time trials for the sprinters commencing at 6:19 and by 6:45 Tyler Courtney stood in the infield on the homestretch being interviewed by Georgia Henneberry after setting his sixth fast time of the year touring the 3/8 mile in 13.831 seconds. A scary moment occurred in time trials when Tyler Kendall's left front tire left is sprinter entering turn three but Kendall kept on the gas and kept the left front from digging into the track surface and probably sending him for a nasty ride in the process. Kendell was able to slow and finally stop his car on the backstretch no worse for wear but causing everyone a few moments of worry. Pre-race activities honored Richard Hoffman, long time owner of the #69 currently driven by Brady Bacon and the Purple Heart Foundation.

    The sprints would come back after modified warmups at 7:23 to run their three heats with five to qualify with the rest relegated to the B main. Kyle Cummins would use his front row starting position to his full advantage leading from start to finish in heat one besting sixth starting Tyler Courtney, Mario Clouser, CJ Leary and Max Adams back in the family owned #5M tonight. Kevin Thomas Jr. came from sixth to easily win heat two beating Jarett Andretti, NIck Bilbee, Brady Bacon and Justin Owen the last man in after Chris Windom had late mechanical woes while running in fifth. Dustin Clark, the rookie of the year leader, won his third heat of the season turning back Scotty Weir, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon and JJ Hughes. Clark changed his last name from Christie after finding out that his biological father's last name was Clark. The UMP modifieds spun off three heats with Curtis Deisenroth, Adam Strickler and Matt Hamilton winning before we returned to sprint car action with the 12 lap B main with the top seven to move into the 30 lap main event. Chris Windom would easily prevail in this event trailed by Josh Hodges, Garrett Abrams, Dustin Smith, Tyler Kendall, Isaac Chapple and Aric Gentry joining the starting field.


     

    After driver introductions and the four wide pace lap the green flag was ready to fly at 8:54 on the front row of Justin Grant and Brady Bacon with twenty others close behind. It looked like slight contact might have been made as the front row raced into turn one with Grant getting sideways recovering but dropping back to fourth as CJ Leary raced around the top of Bacon and into the early lead. Bacon came back on lap three and drove back by Leary into the top spot with Grant closing on Leary. Grant executed a turn one slider on lap eight to take second from Leary and one lap later Kevin Thomas Jr. used the same move in the same spot to secure third. The leaders reached lap traffic on lap twelve but shortly thereafter Aric Gentry pulled up lame to bring out the first yellow. On the restart Bacon went back to the point and looked like the class of the field looking to bring the Hoffman team another victory to add to their impressive list. Lap eighteen saw Kyle Cummins shred a right rear tire exiting turn four to bring out the second caution and regroup the field. Under yellow Grant drew up alongside Bacon to let him know that the right rear tire was going down and Bacon headed for the work area to replace the flat shoe and turned the lead over to Grant at this point and ending an almost sure victory for Bacon. Grant led into turn one on the restart with Thomas closing on the top as they exited turn two and the momentum by Thomas led to a turn three slider into the lead but Grant countered off turn four racing side by side down the homestretch and into turn one where Thomas assumed the top spot. Lap twenty saw the third caution wave as Max Adams rolled to a stop in turns one and two to give Grant another chance to challenge for the lead. Thomas was up to the challenge and moved away on the restart as Grant and Leary swapped sliders for the next four laps around the big 3/8's with Grant prevailing. Leary made another attempt in turn three on lap twenty four but fell short as they exited turn four allowing Tyler Courtney to draw even down the homestretch and slide by in turn one on lap twenty five to grab third. One lap later Justin Owen jumped the cushion in turn four and slid across the middle of the corner collecting the oncoming Garrett Abrams who ran up and over Owen's car flipping high into the air in the process. Both drivers were OK after the mishap and it reset the field for the last four laps with Thomas leading Grant and Courtney to the restart. Thomas was flawless on the restart and left Grant and Courtney to battle it out for second. With three to go Courtney slid by Grant to take second but Thomas was gone by this time. At 9:20 Thomas raced under the double checkers for his second USAC win of the year and his twenty seventh career USAC win tying him with Brady Bacon for 16th on the all time list also passing Tony Elliott and Dave Steele to move into 16th. Courtney finished second and cut Leary's point lead down to 47 points with seven races to go with Grant third, Leary fourth and Chris Windom rounding out the top five. Nick Bilbee in a strong run led the second five in sixth with Bacon battling his way back to seventh at the end with Jarett Andretti eighth, Scotty Weir ninth and Chase Stockon finishing tenth.


     

    Since it was early we decided to stay for the companion twenty lap UMP modified feature but after four cautions with the last one a multi-car mishap and no laps in the books we decided to bag this one and head toward the car at 9:50 as did many other fans at this point. It was a shame to end the evening on a sour note but we enjoyed the sprint car main enough to make us forget about the modified fiasco.


     

    That's it for this weekend and we will be away for a while so no reports for a while. But in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or head to Oswego for Super Dirt Week on the half mile that is converted to dirt for just this event. Comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or at Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and we will catch you soon.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    LPS Point Champion Cockrum Takes Thriller At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, September 28 - This was the final points race of the season at Lincoln Park Speedway and the non-wing sprint car title had already been determined with Shane Cockrum driving the Paul #24P scoring his second straight point championship at the 5/16 mile dirt oval in beautiful downtown Putnamville. There were three other divisions to still be decided so the clan gathered in the large concrete grandstands and on the turn four hillside to watch the last night of racing at LPS for the 2019 racing season.


     

    The four sprint car heats for the 33 car field assembled for the evening would take the initial green flag at 7:04 PM. Travis Berryhill would fend off AJ Hopkins in the Burton #04 tonight for the win with Tye Mihocko and Harley Burns following. Brady Short would score the win in heat two over eighth starting Matt McDonald, Grain Valley, Missouri invader, JD Black, and Kent Christian. Brandon Mattox would take heat three over Alec Sipes, Andrew Prather and Matt Thompson. Shane Cockrum would start up front and remain there to capture heat four over Brent Beauchamp, Jadon Rogers and Parker Frederickson. The 21 UMP modifieds assembled tonight would contest three heats with James Walters, Tyler Loughmiller and Jeff Deckard taking heat wins. Wes McClara, Wade Goodale and Bryce Shidler would score heat wins for the 20 super stocks gathered in the pits. The bombers would race three heats for their 19 car field gracing the backstretch pits. Only the sprint cars would need a B main and 17 out of 18 would make the call with only 4 advancing to the 25 lap main event. During this event Gary Hayden caught the homestretch wall and started flipping end over end high into the air before landing in turn one. After a few anxious minutes Hayden climbed from his battered sprinter to the relief of the crowd as they showed their relief with a loud round of applauds.  Jake Bland would prevail in this one turning back Jesse Vermillion, Shey Owens and Shane O'Banion the last man in.


     

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature would be the first feature of the evening to give the B main sprinters a chance to make some adjustments before their main event would be run next. Jordan Wever and Jeff Deckard would bring the 21 car field to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:07 with Wever moving out front. Only one caution would slow the affair with James Walters taking up the chase of Wever the entire 20 laps falling short at the finish at 9:16. Derek Losh was not in attendance tonight so we would have a different winner on the evening with Wever scoring his third win of the year and Walters clinching his second straight point championship in the modifieds. Matt Mitchell of Lafayette would finish third with Deckard slipping back to fourth and Tyler Loughmiller, the DePauw University (nearby Greencastle) student, taking down fifth at the finish.


     

    Next up would be the season ending 25 lap sprint car feature with the front row of Brent Beauchamp and Alec Sipes bringing the field minus a scratch of AJ Hopkins to the start/finish line for the initial start at 9:31. Beauchamp would scamper into the lead at the start with Matt McDonald and Brandon Mattox chasing. A three car tangle in turn two on lap five saw former LPS winner, Tye Mihocko of Arizona, rolling over lightly to bring the action to a quick halt. Mihocko was able to return after a pit side visit and finished back in the top ten at the end. On the restart it was Beauchamp as the rabbit jumping back out front trailed by McDonald and Mattox. Matt Thompson would bring out the second and last caution on lap eight when he lost the handle in turn four and spun. The top three continued their intense battle on the restart with Shane Cockrum joining in the fun taking third from Mattox on the backstretch on lap eleven. In the meantime young Jadon Rogers was patiently working his way through the field from tenth and gaining on the leaders. By lap fourteen he had wrestled fourth away from Mattox and was reeling in Beauchamp, McDonald and Cockrum who were still ahead of him as he looked to make it two wins in a row at LPS. A fine run by Matt McDonald ended two laps later as he pulled over the cushion in turn three and stopped his sprinter there with mechanical woes while running second and the complextion of the race changed at this point. It was now Beauchamp, Cockrum and Rogers on the restart with nine laps to go. Cockrum attempted a slide job in turn four on lap nineteen but came up short of passing Beauchamp who countered to the bottom. Rogers drew closer to Cokcrum and put the pressure on the point champ for second as the top three flew around the track in the remaining laps. After taking the white flag with about a ten car length lead Beauchamp charged into turns one and two with Cockrum chasing. As they raced down the backstretch Cockrum was making up huge chunks of real estate and everyone in the house knew that the slider was coming in the east turns. Cockrum launched his assault entering turn three with a massive slider ending in turn four moving him in front of Beauchamp. As they exited the turn Beauchamp crossed over and pulled alongside Cockrum as the two raced to the flag stand with Beauchamp sliding up and banging into Cockrum trying to scuff some speed off the Paul #24P as they closed on the finish line. As they hit the line it was Cockrum by mere inches as Beauchamp lost control and spun backwards across the line as the crowd went wild. Both drivers drove to victory lane where it was announced that Cockrum had edged Beauchamp for the final win. Rogers would complete a fine drive from tenth to third with Mattox fourth and Brady Short rounding out the top five after a late race surge to grab the fifth spot. Positions six through ten were filled by Andrew Prather from eleventh, Alec Sipes, Jesse Vermillion from eighteenth, JD Black and Tye Mihocko. It was a spectacular finish to a good racing season at Lincoln Park with us visiting eleven times in the 2019 season.


     

    The 20 lap super stock feature was still to come and the green waved at 10:02 on this one. Crawfordsville's Bryce Shidler took the lead from Jonny Newgent after a few laps and looked like the man to beat until attempting to pass a lapper high on the backstretch. The lap car pulled higher and Shidler had to back out of it allowing seventh starting Josh Boller to sneak through on the low side for the lead. Shidler battled back but could never make a serious challenge over the remainder of the event with Boller crossing the line first at 10:21 for his tenth win of the season and clinching the 2019 point championship in the process. Shidler finished second in the race and the points with Wes McClara third, Larry Raines moving from eleventh to fourth and Daniel Norman advancing from tenth to fifth at the finish. We decided to call it a night and a season at this point and headed toward the exit pleased with another good night of racing at LPS.


     

    Sunday, September 29 - We were looking forward to this race as it was billed the Best Of Both Worlds as the FAST series winged 410 sprints would be racing at the Kokomo Speedway along with the non-winged BOSS sprints with both organizations based out of Ohio. The weather would play a big factor in today's events as showers were predicted off and on the majority of the day. In addition to the FAST sprints paying $3000 to win and the BOSS sprints paying $2000 to win Indy Race Parts owner, Bernie Stuebgen, was offering the first starter through the fourth starter in each main the chance to start 16th and if they won the feature would receive a $1000 bonus on top of the first place share of the winnings.


     

    When we arrived at the track around 5:30 we were surprised to see that a small crowd was on hand for this event. The crappy weather was the culprit for the dismal crowd and the lower sprint car count (21) for the FAST series even though the field assembled was good in quality. Dominick and Gio Scelzi were on hand in the winged cars as were Christopher Bell, Parker Price-Miller, Brandon Wimmer, Tyler Gunn, Cole Duncan, Cale Conley, Buddy Kofoid, Lee Jacobs, Joe B. Miller, Max Stambaugh, Thomas Meseruall and Zeb Wise making his 410 sprint car debut in the McGhee #11. The BOSS sprint field checked in at 31 with regulars Matt Westfall, Dallas Hewitt, Dustin Ingle, Steve Little and Cory Crabtree along with non-BOSS drivers such as Dave Darland, Jarett Andretti, Joe B. Miller, Jadon Rogers, Scotty Weir, Brayden Fox, Anthony D'Allessio, Cole Ketcham, Max Adams and Dustin Smith among others. We waited out the weather sitting in the Rogue and saw fellow Hoseheads.com columnists, Kevin Oldham and Danny Burton stroll by during the wait. The O'Connors worked hard on the track surface as the rain appeared and disappeared over the course of the next almost two hours. Around 7:15 the proper call was made to cancel the night of racing more for the fact that the pits were a mess more than the track and another round of rain was to be upon the speedway between 10 and 11 with another hour needed to dry the track enough to attempt racing. It was a darn shame but understandable and we applaud the O'Connors and the two organizations on trying their best to provide the fans and teams with a show but sometimes it is just now meant to be. Since we will be away on vacation when the Kokomo Klash is scheduled to run that was our last chance to see a race at the baddest bullring in Indiana.


     

    That's it for this weekend but check back next Saturday and Sunday to see where we end up next weekend.  In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the season winds down.  Comments, news and any other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11.  And as always thanks for reading our efforts and letting us know you enjoy reading our perspective of racing at our tracks that we visit. 
     


     


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Windom Comes Home First In James Dean Classic At Gas City

    Thursday, September 26 - Gas City I-69 Speedway which is normally a Friday night track was running this week on Thursday as Eldora Speedway was hosting a two day show as part of the Four Crown Nationals. Gas City would be hosting the USAC sprint cars in the 2nd James Dean Classic honoring the local (Fairmount, IN) movie star who was killed in an auto accident on September 30, 1955 in California on his way to sports car racing event at the age of 24. He was a rising star in Hollywood and was best known for his role in Rebel Without A Cause as a troubled teen and was destined for stardom but his life was cut short in the crash. Twenty eight USAC sprints and 24 non-wing 600 micro sprints would fill the pit area tonight to pay tribute to the man who the night was named in honor of.

    It was a beautiful evening with temperatures in the 70's necessitating a sweat shirt later in the night. First up on the agenda was time trials for the USAC sprints with late qualifier, CJ Leary, nailing down his ninth fast time of the year with a lap of 12.121 seconds around the 1/4 mile black clay oval which was in prime condition. By 7:41 we are ready for the first of four heat races for the sprinters with the top four moving directly into the 30 lap feature later in the evening. Kevin Thomas Jr. took his black beauty #19 McDonalds/Dr. Pepper machine to the front and held off CJ Leary, Isaac Chapple and Cody White for the first heat win. It was White's first ever time qualifying for a USAC National sprint car feature and he was jacked on the occassion. Cole Ketcham was a bit of a surprise pulling off heat win #2 over Thomas Meseraull, Jason McDougal and Chris Windom. Heat three would go to the pilot of the second Goodnight entry numbered #39G and it was the one and only Stomp and Steer Scotty Weir besting Brady Bacon, Tye Mihocko and Tyler Courtney. The fourth and final heat of the night went to the Topp Motorsports #4 of Justin Grant beating Dustin Ingle, Chase Stockon in his ovarian cancer awareness paint job on the #32 and Dave Darland in the Tibbitts #43. The non-wing 600's would contest three heats with Dylan Cromer, Darin Naida and Kevin Hapner scoring wins. B mains would be needed for both divisions with the sprint cars going first with Chad Boespflug making his return to USAC competition winning the first B over Max Adams wheeling the Paul Hazen #57, Harley Burns (the teenager also making his first USAC National sprint car main), Matt Westfall, Matt Goodnight and Shane Cottle the last man in piloting the Matt Cooley #19C. Dustin Christie would take a provisional and become the 23rd starter in tonight's main event. The 600 B main would fall to Katy Waggoner in her #89.

    The 20 lap 600 micro sprint feature would be the first feature to the post tonight and it almost went non-stop. Kokomo's Todd Kirkman led the first sixteen laps until third generation driver, Corbin Gurley, son of Chris, motored under him entering turn three and cleared him in turn four to take the lead. As the white flag was about to wave Jakeb Boxwell slowed in turn four to bring out the first caution. On the restart all hell broke loose in turn one as 13 year old Darin Naida running inside the top five and Dylan Woodling got together and both flipped hard between turns one and two. Both drivers were OK but they were done for the evening. Kole Kirkman who was running second pulled to the infield after the push-off and was done for the evening. On the restart Gurley moved back out front with Kole's dad, Todd, chasing him in second. As the checkered waved at 0:03 it was Corbin Gurley in for his first ever Gas City win trailed by Todd Kirkman from 11th, Dylan Cromer, Eastin Ashbrooke from 14th and Mike Landis from 12th. It was a pretty competitive event and run in good order.

    The 30 lap James Dean Classic took the green flag at 9:20 with Chris Windom jumping from the first starting position into the early lead over Kevin Thomas Jr. Windom and Thomas had a little contact in turn three on the opening lap but Thomas retained control but dropped two spots as Justin Grant and Thomas Meseraull surged by. Thomas Meseraull was on the move and took second away from Grant on the backstretch on lap four and took up the chase of Windom. Meseraull was looking for his eighth win of the year at Gas City but lap six found him sliding his sprinter into the infield backwards as smoke bellowed out of the engine compartment and a small fire was evident. That would end Meseraull's night prematurely and also damaged the motor in the #00. In a bit of a disappointment the outside groove did not seem to be coming around as the majority of the racers used the middle to bottom grooves racing around the 1/4 mile oval. Windom continued to pace the field as they reached the halfway mark with Grant a distance back in second. Lap traffic was now a factor as Windom worked his way by Harley Burns as Grant and Thomas were able to tighten the gap. Scotty Weir spun in turn four battling with Brady Bacon for seventh with some contact between the two. Windom once again retained the lead with a clear track in front of him and no lap cars on his tail. The third and final caution would wave with just three laps to go when eighth running Jason McDougal sent a large cone flying onto the track as he exited turn four. Windom once again jumped out front on the restart but the donnybrook was for second as Grant, Thomas and Courtney battled hard for second. Courtney surged to the outside exiting turn four on the final lap to steal second at the line from Grant with Thomas settling for fourth with Chase Stockon moving from eighth to fifth at the finish. CJ Leary would notch sixth with Brady Bacon seventh, Jason McDougal picking up the hard charger after starting seventeenth and finishing eighth with Isaac Chapple ninth and Max Adams in his first ride in the Hazen #57 taking tenth after starting 15th. This was surprisingly Windom's first USAC sprint car win at Gas City in twenty tries and he led this one easily from start to finish. It wasn't the best feature I have seen at Gas City this year but there was some good racing in the pack and with the final checker waving at 9:33 on a week night it was a finely run program for one and all.

    Check back Sunday and Monday as we continue on our typical weekend with races at Lincoln Park and Kokomo scheduled. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take the act on the road and catch one of your bucket list tracks before the season winds down. Comments, news, stories and facts can reach us on email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and keep checking back for our next installment.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Jadon Rogers Takes Career First Win At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, September 21 - It was decided to take the short trip (40 minutes south) to Putnamville and the Lincoln Park Speedway, the 5/16 mile dirt oval for a five division night of racing action. The MMSA mini sprints would join the regular four divisions of non-wing sprints, UMP modifieds, super stocks and bombers tonight.

    The non-wing sprints would start off the racing on the evening with 29 in attendance and I must admit it was the weakest field of sprint cars I have seen all year long. The first heat took the initial green flag at 7:14 and the Paul #24P wheeled by Shane Cockrum took down top honors besting Max Adams in the Burton #04, Brayden Fox and Kent Christian. Tim Creech, the new papa, stepped away from the pack and cruised to the heat two win over young high schooler, Harley Burns, Alec Sipes and Shey Owens. Matt McDonald scored heat win three with Travis Berryhill right behind and the rest of the field some distance behind led by Matt Thompson and Colin Parker. Seventeen year old Jadon Rogers controlled heat four beating Nate McMillen in the Robinson #57, Jesse Vermillion and Steve Hair. Three MMSA mini sprint heats were next on the agenda for their 25 car field with Jake Hesson, Jeff Schindler and Cody Trammell scoring wins. Next up were the 21 UMP modifieds contesting three heats won by James Walters, Derek Losh and Rob Brickert. Three super stock heats were needed for the 25 car field with Mark Dickerson, Bryce Shidler and Randy Brawley coming out on top. Three bomber heats were run for their 19 car field before we moved to the sprint car B main. Midget driver and mechanic and sprint car rookie, Cole Bodine, captured the B main over 12 others with Troy Link second, Nick Montani in a nice looking blue #56 third and Shane O'Banion taking the final transfer spot to the main event.

    The 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature was first to the grid and the 20 car field took the green flag at 9:19 with Jadon Rogers taking the early lead from first over fellow front row starter, Matt McDonald. Rogers who has won four features this year at nearby Paragon was looking for his first ever at LPS. He looked strong extending his lead in the early going and reached lap traffic as he ran lap seven. Rogers was smooth through the lap traffic picking his spots wisely as he continued to pace the field. Shane Cockrum knocked McDonald high in turn four on lap nine to take over second and almost everyone expected the Chief to track down Rogers in short order. Rogers had other ideas and kept his strong pace over the remaining two thirds of the non-stop affair and finished about a half straightway ahead of Cockrum when the checkered flag waved at 9:26 with McDonald placing third, Nate McMillen strong all night from eighth to fourth and Max Adams rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Tim Creech, Harley Burns, Travis Berryhill, Brayden Fox and Cole Bodine coming from sixteenth to tenth at the finish. Rogers had shown considerable improvement over the three or four years he has been racing non-winged sprint cars and 2019 is looking to be his breakout season.

    The 20 lap MMSA mini sprint feature was next to the staging area taking the green flag at 9:37. Drew Dorsett looked like a sure winner leading 19 of the 20 laps but not the most important one as Jeff Schindler made an outside sweep of Dorsett exiting turn four coming to the checkered and nipped Dorsett at the line by inches to score his first ever MMSA win in a thrilling finish. Ohio's Jac Nickles claimed third with Cody Trammell (last night's MMSA winner at Thunder Valley in Salem) fourth and Brad Strunk taking down fifth.

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature was ready to rumble by 10:01 with Jeff Deckard taking the early lead. That would be short lived as Derek Losh who seems to be winning every modified race we attend took the lead shortly into the event and led the remainder of the distance with Deckard remaining second throughout with James Walters nipping Rob Brickert for third at the finish and Jimmie Haager notching fifth. It was now 10:27 which was still early but it had been a long day cleaning the garage and moving things over to the condo and we both were beat so we decided to call it a night at this point.

    That's it for this past weekend as rainy weather forced the cancellation for the second time of the USAC Silver Crown division at Springfield, Illinois on Sunday cutting our racing weekend one race short for our 17th rainout of the 2019 season. So get out there and enjoy the remaining scheduled racing in your area because before long it will be winter and racing will be few and far between. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and thanks for the kind words as it is nice to see that people enjoy reading our efforts and it makes it all worthwhile.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Roahrig Takes Neibel Classic At Anderson & Erb Takes Kokomo Gold

    Thursday, September 12 & 19 - The 20th Annual Glen Neibel Classic was scheduled for September 12th and made it as far as lap 61 when a approaching thunderstorm cleared the stands for safety reasons with a shower also arriving with the lightning and wind. After over a half hour delay the track was drying quickly when another shower arrived postponing the remainder of the evening to the following Thursday. The leader for the first 61 laps was Bobby Santos III but prior commitments found Santos along with Eric Gordon and Kyle O'Gara not returning and leaving the starting field for the restart at 10. The green flag would wave on the remaining field at 7:11 for the remaining 64 laps with Tyler Roahrig inheriting the race lead with Nick Hamilton and Aaron Pierce in tow. Roahrig would open up a comfortable lead on the field with the race for second among Hamilton, Pierce and Kody Swanson. Caleb Armstrong would take over fifth with a turn two pass on lap 84 and take up the chase of the other four. Hamilton was fast enough to hold back Pierce and Swanson but not strong enough to make a challenge of Roahrig. Lap 116 saw Pierce get in too hot in turn three washing up allowing Swanson to take over third at this point. Though Swanson tried his best he could not find a way around Hamilton for second as Roahrig cruised out front. Roahrig scored his first ever Neibel Classic victory at 7:24 and his second career win at Anderson after taking the Tony Elliott Classic last fall. Nick Hamilton held serve for second with Kody Swanson third, Aaron Pierce fourth and Caleb Armstrong rounding out the top five.

    The 40 lap Kenyon midget feature was next up and took the green at 7:35. The entire distance would go non-stop in nine minutes with Colin Grissom leading all 40 laps and capturing his fourth win in his last six starts here with Ashton Tucker second and Logan Huggler taking down third. The 30 lap thunder roadster feature would be the last race of the night and went green at 7:53. Only one minor spin slowed the action and on the restart Clayton Gaines was able to clear the leader, Jason Powers, entering turn one and led the rest of the distance with Powers hounding him throughout. It would be Gaines first career win at Anderson and he was trailed by Powers and Ron Wright with the final checker waving at 8:02.

    Friday, September 20 - We decided to do something a little different tonight. No, we still went to the races and it was at a normal sprint car track but tonight Kokomo Speedway was hosting the Lucas Oil Late Models for the first time ever and we decided to take in the action along with fellow Hoseheads.com scribe, Kevin Oldham. The quantity was not there but the quality was as 24 fine late models graced the Kokomo pits along with 40 American Ethanol modifieds. The crowd was the biggest surprise as the turnout was probably the second largest of the year only being surpassed by the Smackdown final. The racing was well organized and spun off in good order with the final checker waving at 10:57 which included three at a time time trials for both divisions, seven heats, two last chance races for the modifieds and a 50 lap late model feature and a 30 lap modified feature. The Lucas Oil Late Model feature was action filled with two of the youngsters, Hudson O'Neal and Tyler Erb, putting on a whale of a race for the lead joined at times by Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens and Don O'Neal. Hudson O'Neal led until three to go when his car started to show some smoke and he slowed somewhat allowing Erb to slide by for the lead and Owens to follow for second. Don O'Neal moved his son aside late in the race for third. Owens was all over Erb the last three laps like white on rice but the Texas native was able to withstand his advances to take the $12,000 to win 50 lap feature over Owens with Don O'Neal third, Hudson O'Neal dropping to fourth and Tim McCreadie rounding out the top five.

    The 30 lap American Ethanol modified feature was a good contest but would have been better without the five cautions and one red. Derek Losh having a monster year claimed another modified win over Curt Spalding from eighth, Will Krup from 13th, Allen Weisser fourth and Todd Sherman rounding out the top five.

    That's it until tomorrow when we bring you the report from Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night and our rainout on Sunday afternoon. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the season is getting shorter and the races are becoming less and less especially in the midwest. News, comments, opinions and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or @bruceeckel11 on Twitter. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Logan Seavey Scores Tenth POWRi Midget Win At Macon

    Saturday, September 14 - Another beautiful day greeted us upon arising and another tough decision had to be made in regards to where we would be going on the evening for our racing entertainment. Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt has the always fun and competitive Haubstadt Hustler combining the USAC and MSCS sprints for a great night of racing. But instead we opted for the four division program at the 1/5 mile bullring at Macon, Illinois for POWRI midgets and 600's along with modifieds and street stocks. We were chomping at the bit to see a race at Macon as rain and a schedule reschedule made us 0 for 4 for the season at one of our favorite tracks in the midwest. And another bonus as we scanned the backstretch bleachers for a seat was spotting our good friends from Plainfield, IN, Jerry and Michelle, who had room next to them on the top row and we sat with them for the evening.

    Racing kicked off nine minutes early at 6:51 with two heats for the 17 modifieds won by Willy Myers and Rob Timmons. The street stocks would run three heats for their 21 car field before the Lucas Oil POWRi National midgets would take to the tacky black clay to contest three heat races for their 20 car field. Tanner Carrick would bring his Keith Kunz steed to the front and onto victory in heat one beating teammate, Jesse Colwell, and Cannon McIntosh. You knew the track was in good shape when the Camfield clan kept lifting their front ends off the ground almost every lap!!! Logan Seavey conquered heat two over Jake Neuman in the Reynolds/Ruzic #21KS and Zach Daum. Andrew Felker dominated heat three outrunning Shelby Bosie and Ace McCarthy. The POWRi 600 micros with wings are fun to watch here at Macon and they did not disappoint. Frank Galusha won a spirited race in heat one while Harley Hollan scored heat two and Gabe Verardi in his Mountain Dew #82 won heat three. All the qualifying was completed before 8 PM with no B mains or semis needed so it was right into the first feature of the evening.

    The 15 lap modified feature was the first to the post and it was not an artistic success to say the least. While the racing up front among the top four was good the guys in the back ruined the race chalking up seven cautions among four or five of them. Rob Timmons was able to fend off point leader, Tim Hancock Sr., for the win with Willy Myers taking the last podium position.

    The 30 lap POWRI midget feature was next on the card taking the green flag at 8:28. Cannon McIntosh got the jump from his second starting spot into the early lead with Tanner Carrick and Jake Neuman in hot pursuit. Soon sixth starting Logan Seavey was in the hunt using the high line to burst into third by the third lap. Seavey then dove low on the next lap to snatch second from Carrick and continued low to try to track down the cushion pushing McIntosh for the top spot. The top two locked up in the crowd pleasing duel over the next several laps running side by side nearing touching as they raced each other hard. Seavey edged ahead exiting turn four and was the leader as they started lap nine. Neuman also executed a pass to take over second entering turn one. After two early cautions the remainder of the race went non-stop causing heavy lap traffic with Seavey losing and gaining ground on his challengers in each lap while Neuman, McIntosh and Carrick went at it tooth and nail for the runnerup position. With ten to go Seavey encountered a road block up ahead as all lanes were filled by cars and he pulled back somewhat to access the situation. This allowed the pursuers to close but daylight suddenly appeared with five to go and Seavey drove on by. Neuman broke away from the next two but McIntosh and Carrick continued to swap spots over the remaining five laps. When the checkered waved at 8:39 it was the native of Sutter, California, Logan Seavey, notching his tenth POWRi win of 2019 making him only the second driver to have double digit wins in the 15 year history of the POWRi series. He moves within one of the all-time single season record of 11 set by Christopher Bell in 2014 with seven races to go in the season. It was also Seavey's 18th career POWRi midget win tying Tanner Thorson for sixth on the all-time win list. Jake Neuman came home second after winning the night before at Belle-Clair with Cannon McIntosh third, Tanner Carrick fourth and Zach Daum rounding out the top five. Current points leader, Jesse Colwell, came home sixth with Holley Hollan notching seventh after starting 15th, Andrew Felker eighth, Austin Brown ninth and Austin O'Dell tenth.

    The 20 lap POWRi 600 micro feature was next and went green at 8:47. Chad Elliott moved out front at the start heavily pressured by Harley Hollan and Gabe Verardi. Elliott was passed by Hollan around lap five but a timely caution gave Elliott the lead back and even though six cautions slowed the furious action Elliott was up to the challenge and scored his first career POWRi 600 micro win besting Harley Hollan, Luke Verardi (last night's winner at Belle-Clair) and making a late charge to claim third with Frank Galusha fourth and Gunner Ramey hanging on for fifth. The drive of this race was Joe B. Miller in a borrowed ride after wrecking his main mount the night before and slicing his way from 24th to 6th at the finish at 9:05. The last race of the night was a 47 lap street stock memorial race so we decided to skip this one and make the one hour, forty minute trip back into Indiana and to Crawfordsville. It was a good solid night of racing here at Macon and we were glad we finally got to see a race here in 2019.

    That's it for this weekend but check back Friday as we plan on attending the completion of the Glen Neibel Classic and two other features from Anderson Speedway, Lucas Oil Late Models from Kokomo on Friday, probably Lincoln Park on Saturday and Springfield mile for USAC Silver Crown on Sunday. A busy typical weekend ahead. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the season is starting to wind down and a long winter looms ahead. News, comments, notes of interest and good stories can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our column and check back often to see where we end up next.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Hurtubise Classic Goes To Justin Grant

    Friday, September 13 - It was Friday the 13th and a full moon on the horizon and if you were superstitious this was not your night to race. Luckily 27 entrants were not buying into the superstition thing and maybe one, Justin Grant, gave it some thought after he won the first heat from fifth and after taking the checkered rolled down the backstretch and felt his left radius rod coming apart. He coasted into turn three where it came fully apart turning him into the inside guard rail bumper first and did not cause any major damage. Thank God it did not come apart at speed!!!

    Twenty seven sprinters pulled into the pit area at the Vigo County Fairgrounds to race in the 20th annual Jim Hurtubise Classic honoring the great sprint car racer that won five straight races at Terre Haute between 1960 and 1962. Chris Windom in the Goacher #5G turned the fast lap of the evening on the big half mile circling the oval in 20.094 seconds. By the time the three qualifying heats taking five from each were ready by 7:51 we had already lost three, Brandon Mattox, Patrick Budde to mechanical woes and Paul May to contact with the second turn wall. So 24 sprinters would do battle in the three heats with fifth starting Justin Grant nailing down heat one in a strong run over Brady Bacon who changed engines between qualifying and heat racing, Chris Windom, Jason McDougal and Brian VanMeveren, the racing lawyer. Heat two went to Carson Short in a dominant run besting Chase Stockon, Kevin Thomas Jr. in an all black McDonalds sponsored entry, Josh Hodges and Mitch Wissmiller. Heat four went to fourth starting Tyler Courtney who has won three out of the last five USAC sprint car races here outrunning CJ Leary, Nick Bilbee, Isaac Chapple and Dustin Christie. The UMP modifieds continue to dwindle at the Action Track with just 10 entrants showing up to race tonight and they ran two uneventful heats with Will Krup and Brian Shaw winning. Next up on the agenda would be the 10 lap sprint semi with the veteran Bill Rose winning in a cake walk over Dustin Smith, Aric Gentry, Max Adams, Tye Mihocko, Kyle Robbins and Steve Thomas the last man in.

    The 15 lap UMP modified feature was next to the post and took the green flag at 9:01. It went the entire distance without a yellow with Will Krup moving to the front from first and never being headed with second starting Brian Shaw second and the best run of the race turned in by Tyler Loughmiller advancing from ninth to third, one position via a DQ. It was a lackluster event but only took six minutes to spin off so it was enough time to give the semi runners a chance to make some last minute changes.

    The 30 lap Jim Hurtubise Classic USAC sprint car feature would take Tom Hansing's initial green flag at 9:32 with Justin Grant wasting no time charging from his third starting position making it three wide using the low side of turn one to take the lead away from first starting Nick Bilbee with Jason McDougal making some serious moves from his seventh starting spot up to second by the end of lap one. In the next several laps Kevin Thomas Jr., Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney all worked their way around McDougal dropping the early achiever back to fifth by lap seven. Lap traffic began to pay into the equation by lap ten. Thomas closed the gap but Grant was able to work lap traffic better and increased his lead. Lap eleven found Grant go high in the loose stuff in turn two allowing Thomas to get a run and pull alongside as the pair raced down the backstretch and into turn three. Grant was able to stave off the challenge for the time being. Lap eighteen saw Grant get a big break as he hit the lap traffic right cruising by Steve Thomas and Dustin Smith and opening up his lead by over two seconds as Thomas struggled to get by the two lappers. Courtney caught and passed Thomas for second on lap twenty one exiting turn two and turned up the wick to try to reel in Grant. Things would take a drastic turn with just five laps to go when Brady Bacon running fourth at the time encountered the turn one wall with heavy damage to the right side of the Hoffman #69. Everyone knew on the restart that the big slider was coming from Courtney entering turn one and sure enough it happened. Grant used the extreme outside against the wall in turn two and turned back the slider by Courtney as mere inches separated the two cars and the wall. Thomas jumped on the opportunity of lost momentum by Courtney to race by Sunshine off of turn two to regain second. Thomas used a lower groove over the last five laps which allowed him to cut into the lead of Grant but not enough to allow him to make a serious challenge. As the double checkers waved at 9:48 it was Grant first across the line for his first sprint car win of any kind at Terre Haute beating Thomas, Courtney, Windom and Leary to the finish. Jason McDougal would lead the second five across the line trailed by Chase Stockon, Nick Bilbee, Josh Hodges and Carson Short. It was a decent race but not spectacular but the show was well run and over before ten.

    That's it until tonight when we had to make another tough decision on two good races to go to (Friday - Hurtubise vs. Amati at Paragon) and tonight is the Haubstadt Hustler at Tri-State while we opt for the POWRI midgets at mighty Macon where we have been rained out four times in 2019 and are chomping at the bit to see a race there. So check back sometime on Sunday to read the report from Macon and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. News, comments, tidbits or any other information can reach us on email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. 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

    Cockrum Sweeps Weekend With Wins At Gas City & Lincoln Park

    Friday, September 6 - Fall has arrived which has brought cooler temperatures and high school football season to Indiana and smaller crowds are the norm after Labor Day for race tracks. Hoosiers love their high school and college football and show up in force at games. Gas City was no exception as tonight's crowd was probably the leanest of the year.

    Fortunately the car counts are still strong as the racers realize that the season is winding down and the ones who can still afford to run show up. A fine field of 33 non-wing sprint cars were joined on the card by 12 mini sprints, 28 UMP modifieds, 12 street stocks and 12 hornets to do battle on the 1/4 mile black clay oval at Gas City. The sprint cars would start things off on the evening with four heats with the top four moving directly to the A main. JJ Hughes powered to the front early and was never headed beating Ty Tilton, Tyler Hewitt and Adam Byrkett. Shane Cockrum drove the Paul #24P to victory in heat two over Anthony D'Alessio, Dallas Hewitt and Tony Main. Heat three saw Scotty Weir in the Goodnight #39X cruise to the win beating Sterling Cling, Matt Westfall and Cody White. The fourth and final sprint car heat went to Thomas Meseraull back in the #00 after trashing the Eades #47 at Kokomo during Smackdown turning back Dustin Ingle, Brandon Mattox up from Terre Haute and Mike Miller. All sprint heats were in the books by 8:14, a total of 21 minutes. The mini sprints ran two heats with Austin Powell and Brad Strunk winning. The UMP modifieds would contest four heats with Tony Anderson, Zeke McKenzie, Scott Orr and Derek Losh notching wins. The street stocks and hornets ran two heats each before the sprints returned to contest two B mains. Tyler Kendall would power his beautiful #20 to victory in B main one over Evan Mosley and Aaron Davis. Cole Ketcham claimed B main two besting Dustin Smith and Garrett Abrams. The UMP modified B main was captured by Todd Sherman. All preliminary qualifying was wrapped up by 9:37. At this point the track was holding up well considering that there had been a constant wind all night long which made the temperatures seem colder than they were. There was so dirt blowing but not dust clouds.

    The first of five features was ready to go by 10:04 and would be the featured 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature. Dustin Ingle, a BOSS regular, led the first seven laps of the feature from his first starting position until sixth starting Shane Cockrum made a pass on the backstretch to claim the top spot. Thomas Meseraull was on the march from seventh and moved into third behind Ingle by lap 11 looking to notch his eighth win of the year at Gas City. Meseraull moved by Ingle and began to track down Cockrum as the race was on. T-Mez dove low in turn four on lap 17 to take the lead from Cockrum and Cockrum countered in turn one with a slider which he cut short in turn two allowing Meseraull no room with T-Mez banging into the rear of the #24P loosing a shock mount which became worse as the race progressed. Lap 21 saw a battle royale for second and third with Meseraull and Scotty Weir swapping sliders in various corners of the track with Weir wrestling away second for sure on lap 22. Cockrum had a comfortable lead over the remaining eight laps and the non-stop event took the checker at 10:11 with Cockrum beating Weir, Ingle, Dallas Hewitt from 10th and Matt Westfall from 11th. Meseraull with the dangling shock faded to sixth at the finish trailed by Brandon Mattox, Sterling Cling, JJ Hughes and Cole Ketcham. Meseraull stopped on the backstretch at the end and climbed from his sprinter and ran over to the homestretch to voice his displeasure with Cockrum's move for the lead and walked away as Cockrum yelled after him and T-Mez departed with a double #1 gesture over his back as he returned to his sprinter which needed to be towed to the pit area.

    The 20 lap mini sprint feature was next on the docket taking the green at 10:17. Brad Strunk, the racing realtor, made short order of this one taking the lead early and outdistancing Ryan Moran and Jac Nickles in a race with only one caution. Derek Losh took full advantage of his first starting position going to the point and never being headed as Zeke McKenzie made a hard charge from eighth to second with Dillon Nusbaum third, Dylan Woodling fourth and Tony Anderson fifth. This one was over by 10:43 and we decided to call it a night and take the two hour tow back to Crawfordsville satisfied with our eighth visit to the Grant County oval run expertly by Jerry Gappens.

    Saturday, September 7 - Today offered a little more sunshine and a little higher temperature with the thermometer reaching to 80 on the day. The plan was to stay local and head south on Rt. 231 below Greencastle to beautiful downtown Putnamville where a full card of racing was on tap topped by the Gary Ricketts Memorial-Buckeye Bob 33 for the UMP modifieds paying $2000 to win the extra distance contest of 33 laps. In a difference of format the UMP modifieds would run group time trials by heats but they would only come out one at a time. The modified time trials started at 7:05 and ended at 7:29 with Will Krup setting fast time with a time of 13.992 seconds around the 5/16 mile dirt oval.

    The non-wing sprint cars were first up for their heat qualifying with four of them scheduled for the nice 32 car field. Shane Cockrum would prevail in heat one continuing his strong streak of good finishes in the last month beating AJ Hopkins, Matt McDonald and Thomas Meseraull. Jordan Kinser commanded heat two beating Sterling Cling, Austin Nigh and Gary Hayden. Braydon Fox continues to impress in his rookie season in 410 action taking heat three over Kent Christian, Travis Berryhill and Blake Vermillion. Brady Short captured heat four over Brandon Mattox, Cole Ketcham and Jarett Andretti in the best heat of the night. The super stocks had three heats for their 23 car field with Matt Jordan, Travis Heramb and Josh Boller. The UMP modifieds would spin off four heats with James Walters, Derek Losh, Jordan Wever and Jake Leitzman scoring wins. The bombers ran two heats for their 16 car field and the MMSA mini sprints ran two heats for their 17 car field. The UMP modifieds ran a dash race with the four heat winners running for some extra cash with Derek Losh taking that one. A sprint car B main was next with Braxton Cummings turning back Chad Davenport, Jake Bland and Shane O'Banion. It was 9:38 when all the preliminaries were completed and it was now feature time.

    The UMP modifieds would get first shot at the surface which was becoming more black and slick by the minute as the surface was breaking down under the pounding of 121 total race cars plus time trials during the course of the evening. The UMP modifieds were able to put on a pretty good performance running their 33 lap main event with only one caution and in just 14 minutes. Derek Losh looked like he was going to score two wins in two nights as he burst out front at the start from his first starting position. Jordan Wever though did not let him get too far away as he dogged the leader the entire distance. Wever continued to close on Losh with less than ten laps to go and worked his way around Losh with an outside pass with seven to go. A lap later Losh pulled to the infield with battery problems and the youngster was home free with Will Krup moving from eighth to second at the finish trailed by Jake Leitzman, Randy Shuman and Kentucky invader, Cole Falloway, rounding out the top five. It was a good race and a big victory for the youngster from Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

    The 25 lap sprint car feature was next to the line with the front row of Brady Short and Braydon Fox bringing the 20 car field to Brian Hodde's green flag. Short went to the early lead but the action was stopped quickly when current TQ midget driver and 410 newcomer, Austin Nigh, flipped high in front of the starter's stand on the first lap. Nigh was OK and after hooking up the car it was taken pitside. Short went to the point on the restart with Shane Cockrum motoring by Fox for second on lap one. By lap two Cockrum has powered the Paul #24P to the front and was going to be tough to catch. Matt McDonald and Sterling Cling tangled in turn two on lap five with both spinning bringing out the second slowdown. Three laps later McDonald spun by himself in turn two and track officials told him to watch the rest of the feature from the pit area. Cockrum continued to pace the field through the middle portions of the race trailed by Short, Jordan Kinser and AJ Hopkins. Thomas Meseraull was on the move from 13th and soon found himself just outside the top five. Lap fourteen saw Braxton Cummings lose the handle in turn one and spin to bring out the another caution. Once again Cockrum went out front chased by Short, Kinser, Hopkins and Meseraull. Kinser worked his way by Short for second and Meseraull dusted off Hopkins for fourth and Short for third in successive laps. Kinser and Meseraull tried to reel in Cockrum but he was gone and crossed the finish line at 11:16 for his second win in two nights and the Paul crew and Cockrum celebrated in victory lane with their second straight win at LPS. Kinser finished second, Meseraull was third, Short was fourth and Hopkins rounded out the top five.

    We usually stay for the super stocks but it being 11:16 we decided to call it a night and head for the exits after a full night of racing.

    That's it for this weekend and check back Friday as the next race on the agenda for us is Thursday evening as Anderson is hosting a 125 lap race for the asphalt non-wing sprint cars with a full weekend following. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and enjoy yourself. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy writing them for your view.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Zeb Wise Snags BC39 In Grand Fashion

    Thursday, September 5 - Unlike last year when the weather was iffy at best for the day today's weather for the BC39, USAC midget race to be held at the Dirt Track @IMS was perfect. The daytime temperatures were in the high 70's maybe touching 80 but it was cloudy and windy making it seem cooler. The wind would take a toll on the racing surface over the course of the evening but the O'Connors worked hard to stay on top of the situation. Pat, Gordy, Dale and I left in one vehicle around 3:20 while Hoseheads photographer, Steve Koletar, Dick Rauser and Keith Barto left earlier so Steve could get infield access tonight to take some of his fine photos that grace the pages of Hoseheads.com. We stopped to pick up steaks and subs at Jersey Mike's before entering the infield area and even though we had a handicap sign and parking pass from Gordy we ended up about a half mile away from the front gates and we all were disappointed in the shuttle service provided to and back to our vehicle. Especially on the return trip where we noticed over 20 wheel chaired people waiting for quite some time as we decided to hoof it back to the Rogue. Gordy was able to hitch a ride about 15 minutes later but we all felt that the shuttle service needs to be improved upon in time for next year.


     

    The night of action would start out with six qualifying races with all cars participating which tonight the number was 85. The first competition green flag waved at 5:51 and this one was a good one with Tyler Thomas fending off Kyle Larson for the win. In fact Larson did not even place second as Thomas Meseraull the top point getter coming into tonight's event raced by Larson on the last lap to snag second. Zeb Wise would good in qualifier two beating Tucker Klaasmeyer and CJ Leary. Christopher Bell scored the win in a very competitive qualifier three besting Justin Grant and Kevin Thomas Jr. Dillon Welch continues to look impressive in his limited midget appearances garnering qualifier four beating Spencer Bayston and Tyler Courtney. The young and very talented Gio Scelzi captured qualifier five over Jason McDougal and Chris Windom. The Kiwi, Michael Pickens, nailed down qualifier six over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Jones. Alex Bright in the Darryl Saucier #1ST spun and rolled in turn four during qualifier two while Jesse Colwell climbed the wall in turn four in qualifier three and both drivers being OK. Blaze Bennett from Coldorado brought out six cautions during the evening on solo spins of his own accord and might want to consider gaining more experience before returning for this race.

    Two D mains would be next on the agenda with the top three moving to the back of the C mains. Oklahoma's Jonathan Beason in the second Reynolds/Ruzic entry as teammate to CJ Leary scored the first D main victory over Jesse Colwell and Andrew Layser. Brent Beauchmap, the non-wing sprint car driver, beat the field in D main two with Dave Darland and Alex Bright chasing. The C main went to young Sam Johnson winning over Robert Dalby, Kyle Jones, Jesse Colwell, Ace McCarthy and Zach Daum. The 20 lap B main was next on the schedule with the top six moving into the $15,000 to win BC39. Christopher Bell would dominate this one turning back Tucker Klaasmeyer, Jerry Coons Jr., Tyler Courtney, Chase Briscoe and Cannon McIntosh the last man in on actual qualifying. Robert Dalby for the second year in a row took a tumble on the homestretch in the B main was was OK climbing from the car quickly. Tanner Carrick, Jesse Colwell, CJ Leary and Jake Neuman would receive provisionals and join the tail of the 26 car feature event.

    IMS management were eyeing the curfew (which is either 10:30 or 11) when the initial green flag on the 39 lap feature waved at 10:13. With a contingent of NASCAR fans in the house we all stood for the start of the race. The bad part of this was we were all standing at the end of the 39 laps. There is no reason for a minority to force the remainder of the crowd to have to stand the entire distance as you certainly can see just as well if you are sitting on your butt as you can standing up. This is another important issue that needs to be addressed before next year and can simply be accomplished by the announcing crew telling everyone to take their seats after the initial start and remain in them. There were many people in the crowd who could not stand up due to physical problems and surely did not see much or any of the main event that they paid $60+ to watch from their seat.


     

    Thomas Meseraull in one of the RMS entries motored into the early lead trailed by Spencer Bayston and Kevin Thomas Jr. Zeb Wise was the early mover advancing to third and then second with Thomas caught the cushion wrong. T-Mez was flying and led the first 18 laps before he developed tire bleeder issues which slowed his pace. A four car tangle occurred at this point in between turns three and four when Tucker Klaasmeyer got upside down with Jerry Coons Jr. also sliding into Klaasmeyer and turning over. Gio Scelzi and Cannon McIntosh were also involved as the red waved. On the restart Wise got a good run down the homestretch and into turns one and two where he was able to sneak by T-Mex for the lead with Jason McDougal and Kyle Larson following him through for second and third as T-Mez slipped to fourth with the bleeder problems. The next circuit around found Larson going high to turn two to dispose of McDougal for second and pouncing on Wise when he struggled with the cushion off of turn four. The two raced hard down the homestretch and into turn one where Larson launched a massive slider moving in front of Wise in turn two. As soon as this took place Michael Pickens rode the turn four wall and came to a half nullifying the pass for the lead. Wise assumed the lead on the restart and opened some ground as Larson gave chase. Lap 28 was action filled as Wise biked in turn three and Larson caught up and threw another slider into turn one clearing Wise in turn two but the red flew as Thomas Meseraull ended his night prematurely riding the fence and rolling over between turns three and four. All hell broke loose in turn three on the restart as Larson attempted an ill advised slider that caused hard contact between himself and Wise high in turn four with Wise catching the concrete and Larson zig zagging all around. Brady Bacon saw everything unfolding and threw his Manafort #76E low off turn four and went from fourth into the lead in one fair swoop passing the top three. Larson then slowed with a left rear flat and headed to the work area and returned but was out of the hunt for the victory and ended up ninth. Cannon McIntosh brought out another red flag on lap 31 when he dumped his midget between the nasty turns three and four. Even with a bent steering arm sustained in the Larson incident Wise was able to used a slider on Bacon to retake the lead on lap 33 when Chris Windom following him through. Two laps later a tangle occurred between Manafort teammates, Bacon and McDougal, on the homestretch while running fifth and sixth taking them both out of contention and I'm sure not making their car owner none too happy. On the restart Wise and Windom went back to battle racing each other side by side as Bell entered the picture and challenged the leaders. With three to go Bell racing hard bounced and twisted in turn three scrapping his left side of the rollcage off the racing surface before coming to a halt ending his bid for the big prize. Wise and Windom resumed their battle for the lead on the restart with Tyler Courtney up from 20th now in the 3rd hole. Wise opened up a small lead over the pair as they raced it out for the second position. With the low side slicking up Courtney was able to pass Windom racing to the white flag. The double checkers from Tom Hansing would wave at 10:53 with 16 year old Zeb Wise taking home his biggest win and the $15,000 to boot beating his teammates Courtney and Windom. Chad Boat would finish 4th after starting 16th and Logan Seavey claimed 5th after starting 14th. A fine, fine run was turned in by 16 year old Jesse Colwell who marched from 24th to 6th at the finish and still got the pass master award over the two days even after his 18 positions tonight didn't add to his total as he took a provisional. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran a steady seventh with Kevin Thomas Jr. eighth, Larson ninth and Justin Grant rounding out the top ten. It was a decent feature but the seven total slowdowns really took away from the overall run. Last year's event we felt was better.


     

    That's it until tomorrow when we will be bringing you our Friday night stop at Gas City and probably our Saturday night visit to Lincoln Park. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news, thoughts, press releases and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And lastly thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see what is happening.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Inaugural Brad Gray Memorial At Rush Co. Goes to Tony Stewart

    Monday, September 2 - We decided to take the 1 1/2 hour two over to Rushville to join Gordy Killian and Dale O'Brien for the inaugural Brad Gray Memorial race with UMRA/King of Indiana TQ midgets as the top division on the bill at the 1/6 mile Rush County Fairgrounds. Joining the TQ drivers tonight were several top notch sprint and midget drivers that folks might have heard of. They were Tony Stewart, Jerry Coons Jr., Dave Darland, CJ Leary and Kevin Thomas Jr. The first thing we noticed is that the TQ's have divided into two groups, the Honda engine division and the normal tried and true TQ midget division. We don't get it why this group needs two divisions as they only drew 24 for the regular TQ's and 8 for the Honda powered TQ's. When you start dividing up the pie it makes for a diluted show. Brad Gray was a gentleman who owned a family run auto sale and service business in Greenfield, IN and passed away several months ago. He owned and sponsored several cars including a midget which Dave Darland had driven at the Chili Bowl in January. His family and friends were gathered tonight to pay tribute to a fine man who left us too soon. It was a shame that UMRA/King of Indiana TQ's couldn't have presented a more streamlined show than what they produced.

    Time trials for the Honda TQ's started off the show at 6:55 and were followed by time trials for the regular TQ's. Time trials ended at 7:20 and then a four car dash was run with Matt Lux notching the win. The Honda TQ's ran one heat for their eight car field with Nick Spiedel winning this one. Four heats were presented by the 24 car regular TQ field which seemed to take forever. I understand that one delay was due to someone on the grandstand side needing medial assistance but it should not take almost two hours just to run five heats!!! Veteran Ron Combs garnered heat one while Austin Nigh captured heat two. In heat three Matt Lux hit the homestretch wall and twisted and turned right past the starter's stand and almost ended up in turn one. He was OK after the wild ride but the same could not be said for his mount. He obtained the John Heyenreich car for the fourth heat and returned. Dave Darland claimed heat three with Joey Paxton winning heat four.

    The TQ semi was won by Kevin Thomas Jr. who battled battery and electrical gremlins during his heat race but returned for the semi and won it.

    We were almost into our third hour of the program when the 20 lap Honda TQ feature was called to the post. Nick Speidel sliced through the field from the third row to take the lead about eight laps into the main event and it was history at that point. Speidel crossed the finish line at 9:59 outdistancing Trent Henderson and Robbie Roland. At this point I heard two ladies behind me state that they had business meetings at 7 AM and 7:30 AM respectively and they could not stay any longer. That is a shame that people pay good money to see the complete show but a general lack of organization sends them to their cars before they get to see the main event. That is not a good way to produce return business!!

    It was 10:33 when the 40 lap TQ midget feature took the green flag with second starting Austin Nigh jumping into the early lead. Nigh would set the pace until lap twelve when Tony Stewart wrestled the lead away from him in turn two. A few laps later lap traffic came into play and Stewart worked it with perfection. Joey Paxton in Goff entry edged by Nigh for second also in turn two on lap sixteen and took up the chase of Stewart. Paxton closed the gap several times but each time Stewart added some lap cars between himself and Paxton to have an extra cushion. Johnny Goff and Stephen Davis tangled on the homestretch and executed a double roll before landing back on the racing surface on their wheels. Both drivers were OK after the mishap. On the restart Paxton had a shot to challenge as no lap cars were now in between. But Stewart did not give Paxton an opportunity to mount a challenge as he scooted away on the restart. When the double checkers waved at 10:53 it was the hometown boy, Stewart, the winner trailed by CJ Leary who passed Paxton in the last two laps with Paxton third, Jerry Coons Jr. fourth and Austin Night hanging on for fifth. Kevin Thomas Jr. turned in a creditable performance working his way from 15th to 7th at the end. It was a good, competitive feature but it took entirely too long to run the program. It should not take four hours to run five heats, one semi and two features when we went to Lincoln Park last Saturday and witnessed 18 heat races, three B mains plus fireworks and three features in three hours and forty five minutes!!! UMRA/King of Indiana TQ midgets you need to really tightened up your standalone shows or people will not come out to watch anymore. And last but not least while I am on a roll the announcers need to come up for air every once in a while as we do not need to hear them the entire night without stop.

    That's it for now as next stop is the 2nd BC39 at the dirt track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where 90 midgets are entered for a maximum 24 car starting field. Should be interesting!!! Check back as I am not sure when I will be posting the report from the BC39 as I have to travel back East in the next few days to attend a funeral of a lifetime family friend. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news, tidbits and any other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always 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

    Shane Cockrum Claims King Of Non-Wings At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, August 31 - Today broke cloudy and cool but as the day unfolded the sun peaked through as the temperatures hovered in the mid 70's the entire day. The game plan today was to take in the King of the Non-Wings program at the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville just south of Greencastle and is the closest track to our house now that Kickapoo Speedway in Danville, Illinois has closed. After witnessing the King of the Wings program last night at Gas City we were feeling very Kingly on this Labor Day weekend. We arrived just after 5 and were able to secure a spot on the top row of the large concrete grandstands on the homestretch where the hot setup is your lawn chair in the wide leg area between the wooden seats in front of you. The majority of the crowd bring their lawn chairs every Saturday night but there are always ones who don't so you have to scout out the chair placings to try to position yourself so any people who sit on the wooden bleachers do not block your view. It was an art!!! After securing our spot I stopped to chat with Jim Goerge and we enjoyed discussing various topics race related and I always enjoy my chats with this veteran race fan. Jim would win the 50/50 later in the evening so his night surely was made!!!

    The track was dry in turns three and four and some pre-race watering and other maintenance brought the track into decent running condition. A fine 39 car field of non-wing sprints greeted us along with 27 UMP modifieds, 24 super stocks and 17 bombers to fill out the amount of cars in the pit area. The sprint A main would pay $2000 to win for the King of the Non-Wings with a second feature pitting the 18 non-qualifiers in a 20 lap feature paying $500 to win. Five heats would be needed to qualify the 39 car sprint field with the top three moving directly to the A main and the rest moving into one of two B mains. Shane Cockrum took the Jamie Paul #24P out front in heat one to claim this one outrunning Brent Beauchamp and Alec Sipes. Brandon Mattox would take down heat two beating Kent Schmidt and Matt McDonald. Jadon Rogers looked strong in claiming heat three beating Friday's Bob Kinser Memorial victor at Bloomington, Jordan Kinser, and Troy Link in the oldest car powered by a Ford and probably the oldest driver to boot. Nate McMillen continues to look good knocking down heat four over AJ Hopkins and Max Adams. The fifth and final heat went to the veteran Bill Rose outdistancing Brady Short and Jesse Vermillion. The 27 UMP modifieds would spin off four heats with Devin Wright, Ryan Cripe, Matt Mitchell and Jake Leitzman winning. Three super stock heats were contested with Wes McClara, Justin Massie and Bryce Shidler cashing in. Two bomber heats were run before the twin sprint car B mains were next on the agenda. Arizona's Tye Mihocko looked dominant in B main one over Travis Berryhill and Chase Stockon. B main two was captured by Hunter O'Neal besting Brayden Fox and Kent Christian. John Grenier Jr. took the modified B main while Jonny Newgent notched the super stock B main with all preliminary qualifying completed by 9:10. Next up was a fine end of summer fireworks display and we believe that LPS has the best fireworks except tonight the wind was blowing toward the frontstretch grandstand which carried firework debris onto the crowd. We think it was the first time we ever had to dust ourselves off after a fireworks display!!!

    The 30 lap King of the Non-Wings sprint car feature was ready to rock and roll at 9:46 with the front row of Brady Short and AJ Hopkins bringing 19 others to the green flag. Hopkins grabbed the lead high in turn two and led the first lap. Lap two saw Brent Beauchamp hit a rut in turn one and turn right straight into Jadon Rogers with both sliding toward the outside losing many positions before continuing. Brandon Mattox would bring out the second caution on lap three when he stopped on the backstretch and was pushed pitside. Beauchamp joined him pitside but returned after changing a tire and starting in the rear. The Chief, Shane Cockrum (a fire chief in Illinois) was slicing his way to the front from his tenth starting position moving into fifth by lap four while two laps later Hunter O'Neal stopped on the backstretch forcing the third and final caution of the race. Another driver on the march was Tye Mihocko moving from fourteenth to sixth by lap six. Travis Berryhill was also making up huge chucks of real estate from his 18th starting position. The track might have been a little slick but passing was plenty. Hopkins led on the restart with Short and Jordan Kinser in third. Cockrum blasted by Kinser in turn four on lap eight and went after Short. Mihocko took over fifth on lap ten and by lap thirteen Cockrum had polished off Short and set his sights on Hopkins. The battle was on and the two leaders swapped sliders for several laps until Cockrum got a good run on the backstretch and roared by Hopkins into the lead. The front two stayed close to each other as they worked lap traffic and several high runs into turn two were interesting to witness. Cockrum would maintain the lead over the final ten laps and take the checker flag at 10:02 besting Hopkins, Short, Kinser and Berryhill rounding out the top five. Berryhill's run from 18th to 5th was impressive as was Mihocko's run from 16th to 7th. Jadon Rogers worked his way back to sixth at the finish trailed by Mihocko, Max Adams from 14th to 8th, Nate McMillen ninth and Alec Sipes notching tenth. The High Aspiration Farms #24P picked up another non-wing win tonight and the Paul team is having a whale of a year in Indiana.

    The second sprint car feature was to be 20 laps in distance with eighteen starters taking the green flag at 10:17. Surprisingly this one would go non-stop in six minutes with Matt Thompson the early leader. Anthony D'Alessio, the young driver moving to Indiana from Apollo Beach, Florida took his black and white #01 to the point and set the pace over the remaining 14 laps. Thompson never let him get too far away and indeed in the closing three circuits was noticeably closing on the Floridian. A restart or a couple extra laps could have spelled a difference for Thompson but neither one happened as at 10:23 D'Alessio flashed under the checkered flag first for the big win for him. Matt Thompson trailed him across the line with Gary Hayden taking third, Jake Bland fourth and Travis Thompson nailing down fifth.

    There were still three features to go with the 20 lap UMP modified feature called to the post at 10:29. This one turned out to be a very entertaining affair with Devin Wright invading from Northern Indiana staving off the furious challenges of a pair of two's with the trio in the closing five laps running at times three wide. Jake Leitzman in his #2 was second at the finish with the #2M of Matt Mitchell third, Jimmie Haager coming home fourth and Jordan Wever rounding out the top five. The 20 lap super stock feature was next on the plate and went green at 10:50. Many thought that Josh Boller starting second would be a cake walk but it wasn't that easy and no one informed Crawfordsville's Bryce Shidler of that fact either. The two raced each other cleanly over the second half of the race running side by side many times before Boller was able to hold off Shidler for the win with Larry Raines making a strong run from tenth to third with Justin Massie fourth and Paul Wright joining the top five. It was now 11:05 and we decided to skip the bomber feature and call it another satisfied evening of racing at Joe Spiker's race joint.

    Sunday, September 1 - The plan was to go to Kokomo Speedway for the Vince Osmun Memorial race but persistent rain caused the O'Connors to call the race early. We had packing and other things to do so we decided to take the night off after the Kokomo cancellation.

    That's it until Monday when we travel over to the Rush County Fairgrounds to take in a TQ midget race on the oval where Kevin Thomas Jr., Dave Darland, CJ Leary, Jerry Coons Jr. and yea a guy by the name of Tony Stewart will be racing along with the regular TQ drivers. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news flashes, stories or any other tidbits can still reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but certainly not least thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Scelzi Sweeps The Night With FAST Sprints At Gas City

    Friday, August 30 - Today was a day of many choices. There were three tracks running sprint cars this Friday with USAC at Tri-City in Illinois along with midgets, Gas City running winged FAST sprints and Bloomington running non-wing sprints at the Bob Kinser Memorial. Tri-City was taken off the list early as they canceled due to a dismal weather forecast around 2 PM which held true as the St. Louis Cardinals were also rained out on Friday. Bloomington has a 50% chance of rain over a three hour period and we were worried that it was the storm in the St. Louis area coming east so we opted for Gas City for the seventh time in 2019. On tap tonight were the FAST on dirt sprint car series, a winged 410 organization from Ohio bringing 22 cars to the big dance along with 22 UMP modifieds, 11 street stocks and 10 hornets. We had hesitated about coming to Gas City because the All Stars were at Attica for two nights of racing but the car count of 22 was not that bad considering Attica had only 33 for $5000 to win.

    The FAST series would start off the evening with two at a time sprint car qualifying commencing at 7:06 and wrapping up at 7:20. In between young (17 year old) California driver, Gio Scelzi, son of drag racer Gary Scelzi established a new track record for winged 410 sprint cars at Gas City with a time of 10.413 seconds around the 1/4 mile dirt oval. The first of three FAST heats would take the green at 8:01 with the top two from each heat redrawing for the top six starting positions in the 30 lap feature event. Gio Scelzi was now two thirds of the way to a sweep of the evening as he ran away with heat one besting Texan TJ Michael and PA's Brandon Matus. Heat two went to Illinois' Andy Bishop who blew the engine as he crossed the line winning over Jordan Harble and Kody Kinser. Bishop was able to return for the feature event. Heat three went to Ohio's Max Stambaugh beating Cole Duncan and Tyler Gunn. The sprint heats were spun off in just 16 minutes in an impressive fashion. The UMP modifieds would contest three heats with Clayton Bryant, Derek Losh and Todd Sherman claiming wins. Two heats each for the hornets and street stocks followed.

    By 9:12 it was time to go sprint car feature racing with TJ Michael and Cole Duncan bringing the 22 car field to the green flag. The green did not stay out long as Jordan Harble rolled his sprinter in turn four on the initial lap. This would cause a complete restart and on the second green Michael again went to the point but that didn't last long as sixth starting Scelzi knifed through the front runners and took the lead in turn two on lap two. If you were looking for a battle for the lead in this one you would have been disappointed as Scelzi caught lap traffic by lap four and worked it to his advantage and was never challenged. If you were looking for good racing then you didn't have to look any further than from second through fifth where Michael, Duncan, Kinser and Gunn swapped positions lap after lap as they weaved their way through the lap traffic. A red flag on lap 25 when Brandon Wimmer climbed the left rear of Noah Dunlap while running inside the top five caused the two to tumble end over end in turn one and bring out the red. It closed Cole Duncan to the rear nerf bar of Scelzi on the restart but that is as close as he would get as when the green flew again so did Scelzi. Gio was not to be denied as five laps later he streaked under the checkers for his second win in two years at Gas City in this King of the Wings race besting Duncan, Kody Kinser who started eighth, TJ Michael and Tyler Gunn who started ninth. Young Scelzi completed the sweep of the evening in a dominating performance leading 28 of the 30 laps in the process. Positions six through ten were filled by Lee Jacobs up from tenth, Max Stambaugh, Brandon Matus, Brinton Marvel and Paul May from 15th to 10th at the finish at 9:39.

    There were still three features to go and we decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature. Derek Losh would make short order of this one passing Scott Orr after one lap and leading the rest of the way though he never pulled out to a big advantage. Aaron Orr remained in striking distance of the leader but never mounted a serious challenge but instead had to fend off Todd Sherman for second. Dylan Woodling would cruise home fourth with Ryan Cripe putting on the best charge of the night marching from 14th to 5th at the finish at 10:06.

    We along with many other fans decided to call it an evening at this point and headed toward the front parking lot satisfied with what we had witnessed on the evening. To make it even more sweeter the $5 HARF discount off the $20 admission payed for the McDonalds drive-through stop on the way home. A good night of racing was observed and the track held up very well on some grit during the sprint car feature but no dust whatsoever. We arrived back in Crawfordsville a little after midnight about the same time that the sprint car feature ended at Bloomington after an hour delay due to the lights going out. We were both tired after a long week and a 2 AM or later arrival home from Bloomington would have been a real bear of a drive.

    Check back Sunday for our report on the King of the Non-Wings direct from Lincoln Park Speedway as we continue our Kingly weekend. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the fall is approaching and you all know what they means. And for you all that are in the projected path of hurricane Dorian batten down the hatches and keep out of its destructive path and take cover in a safe area. News, comments, press releases, rumors and the such can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see what is going on.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Courtney Takes Second Smackdown Title While Westfall Wins BOSS Feature

    Saturday, August 24 - Another beautiful day greeted us upon awakening with temperatures in the low 70's and plenty of sunshine. The weather this year at Smackdown has been like night and day from the last year edition. A fine lunch was enjoyed at Golden Corral where you can't beat the buffet for the senior price of $8.59 with a great variety of high quality food and if you walk away hungry than it's your own fault. We arrived early at the track to secure a good parking spot and Pat read a book in her lawn chair with an umbrella over top while I lounged in the Rogue listening to the Cubs game and taking a short snooze before venturing into the pit area to take in the sights. A fine field of 42 Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) cars would join 31 USAC sprints to fill the pit area with a total of 73 wingless sprint cars!!! That's a wingless fan's dream. Included in the total entrants was Illinois' Al Thomas still driving his nice looking #72 on his 85th birthday none the less!!! Happy Birthday Al and Happy Birthday to our own Hoseheads columnist, Danny Burton, who gave Keith Kunz's back one of his favorite numbers. Hope that was 67 and not 71 and indeed not 97!!!! As the cars hit the surface for the first time around 6:15 we headed inside to settle down with the two Phils and Gary and Sally to enjoy a full night of non-wing sprint car racing.


     

    The BOSS sprints would start out the evening first scheduling five heats for their fine 42 car field taking the first green flag of racing at 7:30 on this evening. Matt Cooley would walk off with the heat one win over Dallas Hewitt, Brian Karraker and Cody White. JJ Hughes with his beautiful #76 claimed heat two beating Lee Underwood, Logan Hupp and Bill Rose, Friday night's winner at Paragon. Michael Fischesser from the Cincinnati, Ohio area notched the heat three win besting Ty Tilton, Parker Fredrickson and Cody Gardner. Carmen Perigo won heat four over Dustin Webber, Matt Westfall and Chris Phillips. Andrew Prather was the best in heat six outdistancing Travis Hery, Dustin Ingle and Korbyn Hayslett. The USAC sprints would run three heats for the remaining field of 23 after 8 were locked in from Thursday and Friday combined points with Brady Bacon scoring heat one over Carson Short and Dave Darland. Jason McDougal took down heat two over Scotty Weir and Timmy Buckwalter. The third heat went to Hunter "100%" Schuerenberg outrunning Dustin Smith and Landon Simon doing guest duty in the Simon #23S on this evening. Tempers flared in heat three when Shane Cottle and Clinton Boyles tangled battling for position on the backstretch with both drivers turning upside down and ending their evenings early. After Cottle and Boyles exchanged pleasantries after climbing from their wrecked cars all things were calmed back down and both cars were removed. This incident produced the hard luck award winner with money donated by fans and others collected by Danny Burton to the tune of $500 + which should help in repairs to the Epperson #2E driven by Cottle.


     

    Next up was the King of the Hill competition pitting the top eight in points against each other in three lap match races that would determine the starting positions for the 40 lap, $11,000 to win Smackdown VIII finale. These were the best match races we might have ever seen with close competition and some surprises along the way. It started with the #8 seed, Kyle Cummins, knocking off the #1 seed, Justin Grant, in the first matchup and went from there. CJ Leary barely beat the lower seed, Chase Stockon, in matchup #2. Logan Seavey went down to defeat in his matchup with Thomas Meseraull and Kevin Thomas Jr. went out in the first round after meeting Tyler Courtney. The second round saw CJ Leary edge Kyle Cummins and Tyler Courtney hold off Thomas Meseraull who biked and rolled the Eades #47 in this matchup. It ruined T-Mez's feature chances as he borrowed a replacement car to start the 40 lap feature later and retired early ending any chances of T-Mez pulling off the $11,000 top prize. In the final it was Tyler Courtney turning back CJ Leary in a finish that many felt was opposite of what the official decision that was announced. Courtney pocketed an extra $400 for his efforts and also would start first in the 40 lap finale.


     

    The BOSS sprints would contest two B mains with only the top two moving into the twenty four car starting field for their 25 lap feature paying $1500 to win. Mike Miller, last year's BOSS's Smackdown winner on the last lap, aced the first B main holding off Kory Crabtree. Justin Owen notched B main two over Steve Little. Now the BOSS feature field was set and only the USAC field needed to be finished off with five moving to the main event. Chris Windom won this one in dramatic fashion at the line in another finish that many in attendance felt was won by Cole Ketcham. The #41 of Ketcham was awarded second with Isaac Chapple third, Corey Smith fourth (making it two Smith brothers in the Smackdown finale) and Josh Hodges nailing down the final qualifying position. Max Adams would add his tune and name to the 23 car field using a provisional and it was a good move as the California kid ended up taking home a 14th place finish after 40 laps of racing.


     

    The sun was now down and the temperature turned nippy as the wind was relentless at our backs and the sweatshirts and blankets were pulled out and used. It was also feature time and that would help to warm the race fans as the BOSS sprints would kick off the feature action with their 25 lap main event paying $1500 to win. A pair of 21's, Travis Hery and Carmen Perigo, would lead the field to Tom Hansing's green flag at 9:59 with Hery bounding into the early lead. Hery would lead the opening 11 laps of this one but it was anything but boring as Dallas Hewitt from tenth and Matt Westfall from fourteenth were working their way forward at a rapid pace. Hewitt caught and passed Hery on the homestretch to start lap 12 and one lap later Ty Tilton running a strong race in third caught the homestretch wall and flipped past the starter's stand landing in the middle of the track. Tilton quickly exited the damaged machine and was upset over his misfortune. On the restart Hewitt went back out front and one lap later Westfall passed Hery to take second. Lap sixteen saw a major turning point of the race when Hewitt charged into turn one leading and got bit by the cushion sending him into the concrete wall and rolling over in between turns one and two crushing his hopes to become the first three time winner in BOSS competition in 2019. Matt Westfall was the beneficiary of the mishap inheriting the lead. Westfall took off on the restart with Hery and Dustin Webber in hot pursuit. Ohio's Lee Underwood decided to try the top side and began to advance forward cracking the top five in the late going. Hery tried several times to use the low side to pass Westfall but could never quite get the traction needed to pull off the pass for the lead. Meanwhile Underwood's march continued finding him in third as the white flag appeared. Entering turn one a hub broke sending the Ohio native straight toward the turn one wall and high into the air before landing back on the track surface. Underwood was OK but his fine run came to a sudden halt with one to go. Westfall would stave off any challenges over the green, white, checker sceniaro and flashed under the double checkers at 10:31 trailed by Hery for his career best BOSS finish, Perigo, Logan Hupp and Dustin Webber. Chris Phillips marched from 19th to 6th at the finish with Andrew Prather 7th, Bill Rose from 17th to 8th, Mike Miller from 21st to 9th and Justin Owen from 23rd to 10th. It was a good race with plenty of passing and some strong runs through the pack.


     

    Some track maintenance was performed as the wind and the number of race cars pounded the surface and brought some dust blowing into the backstretch stands. Work was completed and the pre-race introductions were conducted with Dave Darland getting the award for most unique introduction posing as the wrestler, The Undertaker, complete with long coat and hat along with son, Trenton, flashing his three previous Smackdown championship belts as the crowd enjoyed the presentation. To not exclude the large backstretch crowd from the introductions half the field walked the backstretch while the other half walked the homestretch.


     

    It was 11:25 when the 23 car field would take the initial green flag with ironman Chase Stockon receiving the green cloth for his 284th consecutive start with Tyler Courtney sliding to the high side in turn two on the opening lap staving off the advances of CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Kyle Cummins in a brief four wide challenge. Cummins drove between Grant and Leary to secure second on the opening lap and took up the relentless race long pursuit of Courtney. Lap traffic was a factor as the leaders approached the tail runners around lap 15 with Courtney picking his way through cleanly opening up some breathing room. The caution appeared on lap 24 when Carson Short looped it in turn two to slow the field and bring Cummins back to the tail tank of Courtney for the restart. Cummins nosed underneath entering turns one and two but Courtney kept his composure and maintained the top position. A piece of debris between turns one and two brought out the next yellow on lap 32 and bunched the field once again. Cummins got up on the wheel on the restart and applied the pressure as the Southern Indiana star tried to force Courtney into a mistake but Courtney was flawless over the remaining eight laps bringing the Clauson/Marshall entry to their first Smackdown title crossing the finish line first at 11:42 dogged by Cummins, Leary, Grant and Logan Seavey. It was Courtney's sixth win of 2019 and his 23rd career USAC National sprint car win tying him for 23rd on the all time list with AJ Foyt and Roger McCluskey. Courtney expressed that it was more satisfying than his 2017 triumph as the team worked hard and long on the car after Sunshine flipped in Friday's time trials and damaged the frame. Kevin Thomas Jr. led the second five coming home sixth with Brady Bacon seventh, Chris Windom from 18th to eighth for another Crume Evans Insurance (long time sponsor of the #10E) hard charger, Jason McDougal ninth and Chase Stockon fading to tenth after running as high as third earlier.


     

    It was a hard run feature with some good battles but lacked some of the intensity of earlier versions of this special race. A fine job done by the O'Connor family and their staff in bringing us another successful Smackdown week and already looking forward to next year. A good race but not a great one and sometimes I may be tougher in my assessment of Kokomo as I consider this track week in and week out as the most competitive track in the country. Sometimes I come away saying it was good or OK and then read comments from others on Indiana Open Wheel stating how much they enjoyed a particular race there and then I think I am too tough in my assessment of the baddest bullring in Indiana. We may have become spoiled by being able to witness racing here over 10 times a year and have slipped into what Pat and I termed in the made up word of "Indiana-aized" after being blessed to be able to witness so many good races here at Kokomo and other venues here in the Hoosier state. We noticed when we first came to Indiana how we were excited with many of the finishes and showed our pleasure while the natives seemed to take it in stride. These days we observe other people reacting like we use to and we are now one of the Indiana faithful who take it in stride. Sometimes you don't realize how good you have it!!! Thank you, Lord for leading us to the Promised Land of non-wing racing and we will try to appreciate what we have more going forward.


     

    That's it for now and until next week where it looks like we will stay local and enjoy the racing in our backyard with stops at Gas City, Lincoln Park and Kokomo planned. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as we quickly close in on Labor Day which traditionally marks the end of summer and the march into fall. Comments (positive or negative), news, stories and any other notes of interest can reach us on email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Will be observing the cones in the work area as we don't want to get disqualified from the race wherever we go. And last but not least thanks as always for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy our observations and reports as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. In closing be safe and enjoy yourself wherever you venture to watch the best sport in the world with the best people in it.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Seavey Wires The Field On Friday At Kokomo

    Friday, August 23 - Friday started out a little cloudy but as the day progressed it turned into a Chamber of Commerce type of day with temperatures in the low 70's and enough sunshine to go around for everyone. It was the type of day for the folks doing the brochures for the city of Kokomo to snap some awesome photos for future tourism display as it was a picture perfect day. It was also a picture perfect night for young Logan Seavey, one of the three drivers for the Reinbold/Underwood stable of three cars for Smackdown VIII, as the team came loaded for bear and tonight it was all Seavey. After winning the karaoke trophy the previous night after the races for singing a rendition of Garth Brooks "That Summer" tonight the young Sutter, California native would take home the big hardware after leading the 30 lap USAC National Sprint Car Series feature from wire to wire. It was a year ago on this Friday that Seavey met Arizona car owner, Andy Reinbold, here at Kokomo and they have run a few USAC Southwest events winning one in April but this was only his third start in a USAC National sprint car placing fifth on Wednesday and breaking a wheel cover and finishing 15th on Thursday. Tonight it all came together for this team as Seavey took full advance of his first starting position and took off at the start and was never headed in the 30 lap contest which went non-stop in a new track record of 6 minutes, 48.92 seconds chased by his teammate, CJ Leary, the entire distance.

    The night started off at 7:11 with two group sessions for the 38 car field on hand with Justin Grant turning a 12.549 second lap in session one while Thomas Meseraull turned an identical time of 12.549 seconds in session two with Meseraull awarded the fast time because of his second lap being faster than Grant's second lap. Also during time trials Tyler Courtney biked his Clauson/Marshall #7BC entering turn one on his second lap of time trials pounding the wall and flying up into the catch fence before returning back to the track surface after a series of twists and turns. Courtney was OK after his nasty tumble and remarkably his machine was ready to rumble for the third heat of the night. The first of four USAC sprint car heats hit the track at 8:04 with the top four moving directly to the 30 lap main event. Jason McDougal took the Daigh/Phillips #71P to the front in heat one and won going away over Justin Grant, Timmy Buckwalter and Isaac Chapple. Shane Cottle scored heat two driving the Tony Epperson #2E besting Chris Windom, Dave Darland and Logan Seavey. The young man from New Mexico, Josh Hodges, came back from a flip the previous night to score heat win #3 in the family owned #74X over last night's winner, Thomas Meseraull, Scotty Weir and Brady Bacon who changed engines after time trials. Chase Stockon in the TBI #32 claimed heat four beating Kevin Thomas Jr., CJ Leary and Dustin Smith.

    With the car count at 38 a C main was needed with Dustin's brother, Corey Smith, notching the win and moving into the B main along with Carmen Perigo, Tye Mihocko and Matt Goodnight. That brought us to the B main where the last six top finishers would join the field for tonight's main event. Tyler Courtney would win the 18 car B main beating Kyle Cummins, Carson Short, Hunter Schuerenberg, Cole Ketcham and Matt Westfall who literally beat Jarett Andretti by mere inches to claim the last qualifying position into the feature event. Sterling Cling was not so lucky as he and Andretti banged wheels earlier in the event on the backstretch with Cling getting sideways and rolling over for the second straight night. Brandon Mattox would take a provisional to make it a 23 car field to contest 30 laps coming up.

    At the drop of the green flag at 9:41 Logan Seavey led a trio of 19's into turn one with Kevin Thomas Jr. and CJ Leary in pursuit. Leary disposed of Thomas for second on lap three and took up the chase of Seavey. Leary closed the gap over the next several laps using all of the track and pulled alongside Seavey numerous times but was unable to pull off the pass. Seavey remained loyal to the cushion and slowly began to edge away from Leary and the rest of the pack. Brady Bacon was slicing and dicing his way forward at the same time from 22nd eventually ending up 10th to score the hard charger award but it was Seavey who was flawless the entire race who would pass under the double checkers first for his first career USAC National Sprint Car win beating his Reinbold/Underwood teammate, CJ Leary, to the line and being the first team since the Keith Kunz stable of Cole Whitt and Darren Hagen did it at Gas City in July of 2008 during Indiana Sprint Week that year. Kevin Thomas Jr. came home third with Tyler Courtney fourth and Justin Grant rounding out the top five. Jason McDougal came home sixth after starting tenth with Thomas Meseraull seventh, Chris Windom eighth, Kyle Cummins ninth and Brady Bacon tenth in the final rundown. It was a fun race to watch though there was not as much side by side action and passing as the previous two nights but it was still an interesting race none the less.

    Justin Grant leads the points entering the final night of Smackdown VIII trailed by Tyler Courtney, Thomas Meseraull, CJ Leary, Chase Stockon, Logan Seavey, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Kyle Cummins with this top eight locked into Saturday night's finale.

    That's it for now but check back sometime Sunday for the report on Saturday's Smackdown VIII finale which we are sure will be a doozy. In the meantime 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 check back often to see what is happening next.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    T-Mez Triumphs At Smackdown VIII In Strong Run

    Thursday, August 22 - Today is officially the first day of Smackdown VIII but to me the #GYATK night kicks off the Smackdown week to me but since it is not a USAC points race it is considered instead an extra race in the week. So after confusing everyone let's just move into what happened last night at the Kokomo Speedway. We arrived early enough to secure a good parking spot in the main parking area and as I walked the pit area checking things out and talking with various people including Scott Pedersen who owns the #4P driven by Scotty Weir. Pedersen tows his sprinter to the track on an open trailer and when speaking with him he said it only takes a good car and a good driver to win a race not a fancy enclosed hauler. A very nice and sensible man to talk to and enjoyed our conversation very much. It was also great to see our Nebraska friends, Gary Dean and Sally Ebling, and enjoyed chatting with them the entire evening.


     

    Now to the night of racing action. The first order of business on the evening was the time trials for the 36 car field on hand tonight, down from 50, but still a very good amount of non-wing sprint cars none the less. The first green flag of time trials waved at 7:15 and 22 minutes later the final checkered waved with Tyler Courtney coming out late (30th) turning the 1/4 mile dirt oval in a time of 12.365 seconds to garner the fast time of the evening. The next order of business on the night would be four heat races with the top four moving into the 30 lap main event that would highlight the night of action. The action heated up early as Corey Smith running strongly in second got into the turn two wall and rode it for a distance teetering on the wall before rolling over lightly and coming to a rest on the track. Smith was able to return to the race after visiting the work area to a good round of applause from the decent sized crowd on hand. Tyler Courtney would go on to claim the first heat win turning back CJ Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. starting last after going to the work area before the start of the heat with a shock problem and returning to work his way from the tail of the nine car field to qualify. Scotty Weir was the last man in with the Pedersen #4P which I have dubbed Plain Jane. Isaac Chapple scored heat win #2 outdistancing Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull and Hunter Schuerenberg. Carson Short won his second heat race in two nights besting Dave Darland in his own car, Brady Bacon and Jason McDougal. Brad Greenup on the last lap of this heat climbed the turn two wall and turned turtle. He was OK after the inverted ride. Kyle Cummins in his first night at Kokomo claimed heat four in what may have been the most competitive heat we have seen all year as the top six dueled it out the entire distance with Carmen Perigo holding the lead for the majority of the race and ending up third at the finish. Logan Seavey hustled to second at the finish with Perigo third and Shane Cottle in the Epperson #2E taking down the last qualifying spot. After a round of track prep it was time for the 12 lap B main was a good field of 18 cars assembled running for the last six spots into the main event. Chase Stockon walked away with this one outrunning Chris Windom, Dustin Smith, Max Adams, Josh Hodges and Cole Ketcham. Brandon Mattox would receive the Saldana Racing Products first non-qualifier award missing the big show by one. Brian VanMeveren and Dustin Christie would make it 24 starters by using provisionals to join the big dance field.


     

    It was 9:41 when Tom Hansing would drop the green cloth on the reversed front row from last night of Brady Bacon and Thomas Meseraull. Bacon slid from the bottom in turn one to take the lead from Meseraull at the start and led the first seven circuits with T-Mez in tow. The red flew on lap seven when Josh Hodges caught the berm wrong and flipped in turn four. Hodges was OK but was finished for the evening. On the restart Bacon resumed in the lead with T-Mez chasing. Meseraull used a turn one slider on lap nine sliding in front of Bacon in turn two to take the lead and he started to pull away. CJ Leary entered turn one right after the leaders and biked his sprinter and did everything except turn it over but in the process flatten his left rear tire and went to the work area to change the flat. The current point leader would return to action but would finish 14th ending his streak of consecutive finishes in the top ten this year at an amazing 21 which is quite impressive to say the least. When the green waved again it was Meseraull, Bacon and now Tyler Courtney in third as the top three battled it out. Courtney used the high side to pass the low riding Bacon at the line to start lap 11 and threw out the hook to try to reel in the high flying T-Mez. Courtney jumped the cushion in turn four on lap 12 allowing Meseraull to scoot away to almost a three second lead by the halfway mark. Two laps later on lap 17 seventh running Logan Seavey slowed to a stop on the homestretch just as the leaders were approaching lap traffic. Meseraull mashed the pedal on the restart and drove away to a comfortable lead for the remainder of the distance. Entering heavy lap traffic in the last five laps of the race Meseraull looked to be extra cautious picking his way through as this allowed Courtney to close the deficit. Courtney was not able to close enough to mount a serious challenge and at 10:03 T-Mez flashed under Hangsing's double checkers to score his first USAC sprint win of 2019 and his tenth career USAC sprint victory. It was the first for his car owner, Tom Eades of Kokomo, and the emotion from the first time winner was just as good as last year when Tony Epperson graced victory circle here at Kokomo. Courtney trailed Meseraull across the line with last night's winner, Justin Grant, coming on strong late for third with Bacon slipping to fourth with Chase Stockon turning in a strong run rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Hunter Schuerenberg, Chris Windom, the hard charger for the second straight night from 16th to 7th, Scotty Weir eighth, Kyle Cummins ninth and Carson Short tenth. T-Mez expressed in victory lane that he expected Justin Grant to challenge as he (Grant) is on fire here and I guess so am I. It was classic T-Mez as the crowd went wild and cheered wildly as the San Jose native now living in Waveland celebrated his most recent victory in Bryan Clauson Victory Lane. Meseraull scored his 12th sprint car victory of 2019 to go along with two Badger midget wins as the 35 year old driver enjoys his breakout and career year.


     

    The race was very good tonight also but last night was the better of the two so far but you didn't walk away disappointed last night by any stretch of the imagination and we look forward to the final two nights of Smackdown VIII.


     

    Check back tomorrow for the next installment of A Typical Weekend as Smackdown VIII continues. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or plot a weekend trip to several of your bucket list tracks. News, comments (good or bad) and any other notes of interest can reach us on email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see what is happening.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    #GYATK Night Of Smackdown Week Goes To Justin Grant

    Wednesday, August 21 - The day started out cloudy and cooler in Crawfordsville but by the time we left Cville at 3:30 the sun had broken through and the temperature was in the mid 80's. The drive to Kokomo took us up Rt. 231 to Romney and then across Rt. 28 into Frankfort and through the back roads of Clinton County before entering into Howard County when you know it won't be long before you are pulling onto the grounds of the baddest bullring in Indiana, the 1/4 mile oval at Kokomo. This is fast becoming my favorite four days of racing the entire year as the week of Smackdown brings out the fans and cars in droves to watch racing at the O'Connors speedplant located on the northern border of the city of Kokomo. It has now become tradition that the O'Connor family throws open the gates on Wednesday night to everyone free of charge in what is known as #GYATK night. This is Get Your Ass To Kokomo and was popularized by the late Bryan Clauson who had it on the back of his IndyCar ride at Indianapolis and it has spread from there. The race tonight also is a tribute to Bryan and the feature is 27 laps, the age of Clauson when he was killed at Belleville Speedway in a midget crash. Bryan would be proud of what this event has turned into and the fine racing that was presented on this evening with 50 sprinters on the grounds and 49 running in the heat races after Dave Darland's string of bad luck in his own mount continues with the People's Champ suffering a broken valve in the engine during hot laps/timed laps.


     

    The action would be fierce tonight as six heats were going to be needed to qualify the 49 cars with only the top three moving directly into the A main, the next three to the B main and the remainder to the C main. Heat one was loaded and you knew some good runners were not going to make the A main from this one. Justin Grant in the TOPP Motorsports #4 established himself as a strong contender dominating this one beating Logan Seavey, in one of three Reinbold/Underwood entries for Smackdown VIII, and Tyler Courtney. Kevin Thomas Jr. in the Hayward/Thomas #19 decked out in its new colors of McDonald's red and Dr. Pepper would be relegated to the B main. Thomas Meseraull or T-Mez took the Simon #23S to the front in heat two and won it besting Cole Ketcham and Timmy Buckwalter. Jason McDougal brought the Daigh/Phillips #71P home first in heat three in a spirited battle over Scotty Weir and Brandon Mattox, recent winner at Bloomington. Heat four saw the lead entry of the Reinbold/Underwood stable with CJ Leary at the controls raced from fourth to capture this one over Isaac Chapple and Anthony D'Alessio. Jarett Andretti jumped the cushion in turn one, caught the wall with his right rear and tumbled into turn two finally ending on the track upside down on his roll cage. Andretti was OK but finished for the evening. Chris Windom would have to make another start this time in the B main from this heat. Brady Bacon blasted from fourth to win heat five in the Hoffman #69 outdistancing Shane Cottle and Max Adams in a race where Sterling Cling caught a left rear tire entering turn one and rolled his #34 into the turn one fencing. He was OK but done for the evening. Carson Short claimed heat six after Brian VanMeveren either caught the cushion wrong off turn four or something broke in the front end sending him into the homestretch wall and into a series of end over end flips with a few rollovers mixed into the ride landing way past the starter's stand while leading. The practicing lawyer was fine as he quickly climbed from the battered machine and threw his steering wheel on the track exiting. Chase Stockon and Matt Goodnight would get the last two tickets directly into the A main.


     

    Next on the agenda was the C main with eight cars competing with the top four moving on to the back of the B main. Pennsylvania's Carmen Perigo would take this event with Paul Nienhiser, a first timer at Kokomo, second, Evan Mosley third and Aaron Leffel, a D2 midget graduate only in his second 410 non-wing ride taking the final transfer position. The redraw for the six heat winners in front of the fans on the homestretch where youngsters are picked to choose a card with a starting position on it and if that driver wins the youngster gets to join the driver in victory lane and receives $20 to boot was next. Thomas Meseraull was one happy fellow after his kid picked the #1 card and give him a big hug. Also during intermission a special presentation for legendary car owner, Paul Hazen, was recognized with the Indiana Racing Historical Society unveiling a plaque that will permanently reside on the grounds of Kokomo Speedway in his honor. Hazen who has been a non-wing sprint car owner over 50 years should truly be honored by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville for is many years of dedication and providing winning cars for an endless number of drivers.


     

    It was now time for the B main with 22 eligible starters and a field many tracks would have killed for to be their A main. Chris Windom passed Kevin Thomas Jr. late in the event for the win and to move on with Clinton Boyles bringing the Hazen #57 home third with Hunter Schuerenberg edging Anton Hernandez for the last qualifying position in a wild battle where many wondered how they did not crash each other crossing back and forth over the last couple of circuits. Hernandez did not go home empty handed though as he won the #GYATK challenge for first time non-wing drivers competing at Kokomo during Smackdown with the highest finish of the evening. He pocketed $1539 for his efforts and that had to take some of the disappointment out of his missing by one position of moving to the A main.


     

    The Musco Lighting flashed on and off while the feature cars toured the speedway four wide as the fans held their phones up with the lights on to salute the 22 starters for tonight's 27 lap #GYATK feature. Tom Hansing would drop the green flag at 10:13 on the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Brady Bacon with Bacon getting the early jump and the early lead. Lap two saw a red flag fly as Carson Short and CJ Leary got together off turn four with Short getting the worst of it rolling over twice before landing on the surface. Short was pushed to the work area and was able to rejoin the field before the green waved again and ultimately ended up finishing 12th. On the restart Bacon went to the point with T-Mez chasing. Entering turn one on lap four T-Mez threw a slider on Bacon to take the lead but Bacon countered off turn two to retake the lead. The two raced down the backstretch and into turns three and four with Meseraull with all four wheels over the cushion fit between the wall and Bacon to pass Bacon exiting turn four. On lap later in turn two the red appeared again as Max Adams caught the wall and rolled his family owned #5M over. The driver was OK but the same couldn't be said for the sprinter. Meseraull assumed the lead on the restart and ripped the cushion for the next eight laps or so with Bacon on his heels. Bacon stuck his nose underneath T-Mez in turn three and four near the halfway mark in the process allowing Justin Grant to close on the front two. Grant caught and passed Bacon for second off the inside of turn two on lap 13 and went after Meseraull for the top spot. Bacon was done yet and raced into turn three as the top three went three wide in a crowd pleasing moment. Grant caught the cushion wrong off turn four and did a wheelie allowing Bacon to drive by into second. Grant dove low in turn one to retake second but it was short lived as Bacon countered off in turn three and second was his off turn four. Grant went to work and used the high side off turn two to claim second back again and then threw a slider on T-Mez in turn three to attempt to take the lead. The top three raced three wide off turn four with Meseraull out front at the line by a half car length over Grant and Bacon. The next lap T-Mez went high to take away the momentum of Grant and the two nearly tangled with Bacon diving low and passing both off of turn two for the lead. Grant and Meseraull raced hard into turn three just inches apart for second with Bacon leading by two car lengths at the line with ten to go. Grant dove low entering turn one and nearly pulled off a two for one pass in turn two while Meseraull had problems hopping the turn two cushion and almost spinning but retaining control and barely being avoided by fourth running Leary. Bacon was now out front pursued by Grant and Leary with Meseraull dropping to fourth. Lap twenty saw a big turning point as Grant went low in turn one sliding close in front of Bacon in turn two with Bacon nearly stalling and losing the lead and two seconds in the process. From that point forward it was all Grant as he moved away to almost a four second lead at the double checkers at 10:34 winning over Bacon, Leary, Meseraull and Logan Seavey running a steady but not noticed race for fifth as all eyes were on the top three most of the race. Scotty Weir would finish a strong sixth with Chase Stockon coming from 12th to seventh, Tyler Courtney eighth, Shane Cottle ninth and Chris Windom notching the hard charger award advancing from 19th to 10th at the finish.


     

    It was an very entertaining race with much action throughout and hopefully is just a warm up for the next three nights of racing at the baddest bullring in Indiana as Smackdown VIII continues tonight.


     

    That's it for this segment and check back tomorrow for the next installment of racing at Kokomo and in the meantime find a midweek show in your area and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing. Comments, news, rumors and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back soon to see what is going on.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Beauchamp Cops Bill Gardner Sprintacular At LPS Worth $4000

    Saturday, August 17 - We started the day in Bloomington, Illinois and ended the day in Putnamville, Indiana. Let me fill you in on the in between and what happened to bring us to beautiful downtown Putnamville. We checked Twitter several times in the morning as we awoke to thunder and showers in the area. By 9:30 the word was out that the Springfield Mile was postponed for the day with the USAC Silver Crown division and would be rescheduled for Sunday afternoon, September 22nd. That left us with Macon Speedway scheduled to run the POWRi National midgets and four other divisions on Saturday evening. We received a text from Dale O'Brien around 11 that Macon was canceled due to the heavy rains making the grounds and track unraceable. That caused our plans to be rerouted back into Indiana where the MSCS sprints were running a $4000 to win race at the Lincoln Park Speedway also known as the Bill Gardner Sprintacular Night Two which was rained out in July. So we leasurely made our way across I-74 back to Crawfordsville where we made a pitstop to unload the traveling gear and restock the cooler for our nighttime destination of Lincoln Park, the most relaxing place to kick back and enjoy some good short track racing only 45 minutes from home. The weather for Lincoln Park started out with some rain in the morning but the forecast improved as the day moved forward. So by 5 PM we pointed the Rogue toward Putnamville and off we went.


     

    The card of divisions for tonight's racing pleasure was as follows: MSCS non-wing sprint cars (34), UMP modifieds (19), super stocks (26) and bombers (16). Timed hot laps for the sprint cars started off the night with the heat lineups determined by the hot lap times. Hot laps for all the other divisions followed and racing kicked off at 7:11 with the first of four sprint car heats with the top four finishers moving directly to the 30 lap A main. The first heat was a very entertaining affair with Brazil's Nate McMillen staving off the intense challenge of Kyle Cummins to score the heat win. Andrew Prather and Jesse Vermillion would claim the remaining two spot to the big dance. Heat two saw AJ Hopkins walk away from the field claiming the win over Kent Schmidt, Harley Burns and Tim Creech. Heat three went to Brent Beauchamp in dominant fashion over Garrett Aitken, Stephen Schnapf and Anton Hernandez wheeling his 305 powered sprinter into the field. Brandon Mattox took a spill in this one jumping the turn three cushion and bouncing around before landing on top of the cushion. He was OK and would return for the B main. Carson Short subbing for Shane Cockrum in the Paul #24P who notch the heat four win besting Max Adams back in the Burton #04, Colten Cottle and Brady Short. The UMP modifieds were next on the agenda and would contest three heats for their 19 car field. Dan Lewellen returning after several weeks of inactivity showed no signs of rust as he won heat one with Rob Brickert taking heat two and James Walters scoring heat three. Three heats were run for the super stocks with Chris Bennett, Daniel Norman and Travis Heramb winning. Two bomber heats rounded out the heat qualifying with only the sprints and super stocks needing B mains. The MSCS sprint B main got off to a rough start when Jadon Rogers starting at the rear of the 18 car field tried to split two cars entering turn one on lap one and tangled with Ryan Bond causing him to turn sidways and rolls several times into turn one. Rogers was OK after his wild ride but was finished for the evening. Chase Stockon would go on to win the B main in the Schmidt #5S outrunning Collin Ambrose, Brandon Mattox and Alec Sipes. Dakota Jackson would resort to a provisional to add his name to the starting field in twenty first. Austin Phelps would garner the super stock B main and all preliminary qualifying was over by 8:56.


     

    By 9:21 it was time to go Brandeis MSCS sprint car racing in the 30 lap, $4000 to win main event. The front row of Carson Short and Brent Beauchamp brought the 21 car field to the green flag with Beauchamp jumping to the early advantage. Brady Short brought out the first caution on lap 2 when he spun in turn 4. On the restart it was Beauchamp, Short and AJ Hopkins battling it out up front over the next several laps until Jesse Vermillion launched his sprinter high in turn one on lap 8. Vermillion was OK after his nasty ride. Hopkins would briefly take the lead until jumping the cushion in turns three and four with Beauchamp and Short moving past. Kyle Cummins was also now in the hunt after starting fifth as the top four worked their way through some lap traffic. Short drew close on occasion but Beauchamp was able to pull away again. With the race going green the rest of the way Beauchamp was able to ward off Short for the win at 9:42 crossing the line first with Cummins taking down third, Hopkins fourth and Max Adams turning in a strong run to claim fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Nate McMillen in a good run, Garrett Aitken seventh, Stephen Schnapf eighth, Kent Schmidt ninth and Alec Sipes notching a fine tenth for the little guys.


     

    We decided to stay and watch the next two features on the UMP modifieds the next on the card for their 20 lap feature event. James Walters, the current point leader, would start first due to him dropping out of the feature last week. Walters would move out front at the drop of the green with Jimmie Haager, the fifth starter, chasing him the entire distance. When the checker waved eight minutes later in a race only slowed one time it was Walters first with Haager second followed by Derek Groomer in third from eighth, Rob Brickert fourth and Jeff Deckard advancing from tenth to fifth at the end. The 20 lap super stock feature was next to the post and these guys ran another very competitive feature event over the past several weeks with Crawfordsville's own Bryce Shidler slipping by Paul Wright off turn four with two to go after the pair raced cleanly side by side for several laps previously. Wright would come home second with eight time winner in 2019, Josh Boller, rounding out the podium finishers. It was now 10:30 and the announcement was made that bad weather had just crossed the Illinois/Indiana border so it was time to say goodbye after witnessing a solid night of racing at Lincoln Park Speedway. We never hit rain on the ride back but passed through several areas where the west to east storm had passed through watching a quite impressive light show as we drove north.


     

    That's it until Thursday when we will be back reporting on the first night of four as Smackdown is here at the Kokomo Speedway with the forecast looking great as of now. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated and well protected from the sun. News, stories, comments and any other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and drop back often to see what is going on.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Courtney Powers To Front For POWRi Win At Lincoln

    Friday, August 16 - After spending most of the day at the hotel where Pat worked remotely we ventured outdoors around 2 and went to lunch/dinner at Red Lobster in Bloomington. After a delicious meal mostly paid with gift certificates we drove the 37 miles over to Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, Illinois and met up with Dick Rauser and Keith Barto along with fine Hoseheads.com photographer, Steve Koletar at the backstretch pit shack where we chatted for a while until Steve headed into the pits and the rest of us headed to the homestretch to park our vehicles. Dale O'Brien arrived about a half hour later and the gang was all assembled for tonight's night of racing on the 1/4 mile black clay oval on the fairgrounds in Lincoln.


     

    Racing started right around 7 with two D2 midget heats for their 11 car field won by Andy Baugh and Mitchell Davis. Three POWRi midget heat races were next up on the card for their clan of 27 with Tucker Klaasmeyer scoring the heat one win over Cannon McIntosh, Daison Pursley and Jesse Love. Logan Seavey ran away with heat two besting Tanner Carrick, Tyler Courtney and Zach Daum. Tyler Thomas was strong in heat three beating CJ Leary, Zeb Wise and Maria Cofer. Two pro crate late model heats were needed for the nine car field with Denny Woodworth and Cody Maguire triumphing. Two heats for the 12 car UMP modified field were contested with Austin Lynn and Allen Weisser winning. Last but not least one hornet heat was run for the eight on hand with Brady Reed winning. Only the midgets needed a B main with Jake Neuman winning over Holly Hollan (seen doing running laps on the horse track earlier in the day), Shelby Bosie, Andrew Layser, Ace McCarthy and David Camfield.


     

    The 20 lap pro crate late model feature would be the first main event called to the post taking the green flag at 8:05. This competitive affair would go non-stop in six minutes with Denny Woodworth scoring his third win of the year holding off the challenges of Jake Little and Cody Maguire. The 15 lap D2 midget feature would go next with first starting Patrick Ryan catching the inside berm in turn two on the first lap and taking several end over end flips before returning to the track surface. Ryan quickly climbed from the wrecked midget and was OK. Andy Baugh went out front on the restart and would never be headed as he raced to his sixth win of the year besting Mitchell Davis to went to the back of the field to try to collect the $600 bonus for doing so but came up one position short. Sean Murphy would charge from 12th to claim the last podium position.


     

    Now it was time for the 30 lap POWRi National midget feature event. At the drop of the green flag CJ Leary, Tyler Courtney and Logan Seavey engaged in a three wide battle for the top spot. Courtney used the high side to take the lead completing lap one. Courtney bobbled on the cushion in turn four allowing the low riding Leary and the middle groove running Seavey to slip by for first and second. Courtney pounded the cushion and regained the lead by lap four. Two quick cautions followed for Ace McCarthy and Cannon McIntosh before the restart occurred again. Courtney moved out to a comfortable lead with Leary and Seavey locking up in a crowd pleasing duel for the runnerup position. While battling for fourth near the halfway mark Tyler Thomas and Tucker Klaasmeyer tangled with Klaasmeyer stopping on the track between turns one and two and was done for the evening after waving his displeasure at Thomas. On the restart Courtney went to the point but Seavey was now breathing down his back and applied the pressure over the next ten laps drawing close on several occasions. Seavey made his move on lap twenty five diving low in turn one to execute the slider but Courtney countered in turn two and went back out front and pulled away. Ace McCarthy brought out the red rolling over in turn two with two to go giving Seavey one more chance to mount a challenge on Courtney. When the final green waved Courtney launched out front and pulled away over the last two circuits crossing the line first for his second career POWRi triumph beating Seavey, Zeb Wise who dropped back to seventh on the start but rebounded to finish third with Leary notching fourth and Thomas coming across fifth. Leading the second five was Holly Hollan advancing from 18th to 6th with Tanner Thorson seventh, Andrew Layser eighth from 20th, Zach Daum ninth and Jesse Colwell tenth. It was a good competitive run and entertaining with some fine runs throughout the field.


     

    There was still a 20 lap UMP modified feature to run taking the green at 9:18. Only two cautions slowed the action with fifth starting Allen Weisser taking the lead on lap five and holding off eighth starting Tommy Sheppard Jr. and Brian Lynn for the win and his second in two nights with the feature ending at 9:30. We skipped the hornet feature and headed for the exits satisfied with a well run program run on a dustless tacky surface.


     

    That's it for now and check back on Sunday to see if we get in the POWRi midget program at Macon as rain in the area has postponed the Bettenhausen 100 USAC Silver Crown run to Sunday, September 22nd. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area. Comments, news, press releases and other tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And we would be remiss if we didn't thank you for reading our efforts and hope you 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

    Wise Notches Second Career POWRi Win At Fairbury

    Thursday, August 15 - It was an early start to our weekend as we headed west on I-74 toward Fairbury, Illinois for the first of three POWRi National Midget events being held in the Land of Lincoln. Fairbury American Legion Speedway or FALS is a 1/4 mile dirt oval located in the center of the small town of Fairbury, Illinois where in addition to the races the 143rd annual Fairbury Fair was taking place on the fairground grounds. We met up with PA travelers, Rich Rouser and Keith Barto, on the backstretch where we would be sitting for the evening. Also former Wisconsin trackchaser now living for most of the year in Florida, Dale O'Brien, joined us also for the night of racing. FALS is a beautiful 1/4 mile semi banked dirt oval with a covered grandstand on the homestretch with another uncovered aluminum grandstand next to it toward turn four. The entire backstretch has a large uncovered aluminum grandstand where we sat for the first time ever. We really enjoyed the viewing lines from this spot and our next trip will find us here again. The best part of this facility is the track surface with the rich black dirt that is so famous in Illinois. It stayed tacky the entire night which attributed to the fine racing that we witnessed.


     

    Three divisions of racecars, the POWRi midgets (27), pro crate late models (24) and UMP modifieds (21) were on the card for the evening as the entire night they moved the program along swiftly. The three POWRi midget heats were first on the agenda with Thomas Meseraull wheeling his #7X from sixth to the heat one win over Shelby Bosie, Tanner Thorson and Zach Daum from ninth. Heat two went to the Clauson/Marshall entry of Tyler Courtney (17BC) from third to the win over Tanner Carrick, Tyler Thomas and Jesse Colwell from ninth. California driver, Robert Dalby, in one of the Tucker/Boat cars won heat three from first over Zeb Wise from eighth, Holly Hollan from fifth and CJ Leary in the Steve Reynolds #21KS. The pro crate late models ran three heats with Jose Parga, Dakota Ewing and Torin Mettille winning. Allen Weisser, Danny Schartz and Jeffrey Ledford won the three UMP modified heats which did not produce much passing as they were lined up straight up from their hot lap qualifying times. Tucker Klaasmeyer would come back to win the midget semi over Jake Neuman, Cannon McIntosh, Daison Pursley, David Camfield and Ace McCarthy who really earned his spot after spinning twice with the second spin including a Tommy Tipover from which he returned.


     

    The 30 lap POWRi National Midget League feature would be the first out of the chute taking the green at 8:47. It was a rough start with two cautions waving before one lap was completed. The first was for a turn four spin by David Camfield and the second was for a three car spin involving Tyler Thomas, Tucker Klaasmeyer and Camfield with Thomas done for the evening. On the next restart Zeb Wise used the turn four cushion to buzz by Thomas Meseraull for the lead coming to the line to complete lap one. Wise ran the outside cushion all the way around increasing his lead in the early going. Tyler Courtney took third in turn one on lap seven breezing by Jesse Colwell for the position. Shelby Bosie brought out the next caution when he spun between turns one and two on lap eight. Courtney caught Meseraull on the homestretch on lap nine to take second from him and took up the chase of his high flying teammate. Lap eighteen saw several things happen at once when David Camfield lost the handle in turn four and at the same time Holly Hollan had a right rear go flat and headed pit side. Logan Seavey was the man that a lot of people had their eyes on as he had advanced from fourteenth to sixth at this point of the race. Seavey went to fourth off turn four on lap nineteen but encountered Jesse Colwell's, his teammate's rear bumper exiting the turn and dropped back to sixth with some front end damage. Courtney in the meantime was closing on Wise and threw a slider at him and took the lead but the caution waved as T-Mez's evening ended suddenly as the #7X stopped in turn two while running third with mechanical woes ending his fine run prematurely. On the restart it was Wise, Courtney and Seavey up front and with five to go Seavey threw a slider at Courtney in turn two which stuck and Seavey was now second and chasing Wise for the lead. The final caution waved on lap twenty seven when California driver, Maria Cofer, winner of two straight USAC Western States midget features spun the second Reynolds entry in turn four to set up a three lap dash for the cash. Courtney got back by Seavey for second but Seavey returned the favor in turn four on lap twenty eight and this gave Wise some breathing room as he slightly pulled away. The checker would wave at 9:11 with Wise across the line first for his second career POWRi win as the youngster has been on a tear over the last week and a half picking up his third midget win in that time span. Seavey would cross the line second and take the hard charger award with Courtney third with Tanner Thorson in a late charge crossing fourth after starting twelfth and Zach Daum taking down fifth. Robert Dalby would lead the second five in sixth with Tucker Klaasmeyer recovering from his opening lap spin to claim seventh, Jesse Colwell fading to eighth with Tanner Carrick ninth and Cannon McIntosh rounding out the top ten in a very competitive race.


     

    We would stay for the 20 lap pro crate late model feature event and it was a good one also with Aaron Heck scoring his first career win at FALS beating Dakota Ewing, Jose Parga, Torin Mettille and Bobby Richey Jr. all the way from Chattanooga, Tennessee in a very racy feature up front among the leaders. We decided to call it a night before the UMP modified feature and bid farewell to Rich, Keith and Dale and headed for Bloomington, IL where our hotel was for the next two evenings. A real good night of racing on a very nicely groomed surface with no dust and just a little bit of grit but nothing to complain about.


     

    Check back tomorrow as he head to Lincoln Speedway for a five division program and hopefully the weather will cooperate and management will run an efficient program as 40% chance of rain is predicted by 9 PM with it increasing to 60% by 10. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road to catch one of those bucket list tracks on your hit list. News, comments, rumors and facts can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. 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

    Windom Takes New Car To Victory With MSCS At Terre Haute

    Sunday, August 11 - A late addition to the MSCS sprint car schedule found them running a Sunday night race at the Terre Haute Action Track along with UMP modifieds. It was our race of choice for a nice Sunday summer night traveling down Rt. 47 and Rt. 41 down to Terre Haute, the home of the Hulman family and also home to Indiana State University. Going to Terre Haute for me is like going to granddad's house. It is usually a pleasant time with good company and plenty of stories. In this case it would be the stories that the painted concrete block walling could tell if concrete blocks could talk. The history here, the old covered grandstand and the whole Vigo County Fairgrounds make for a nostalgic visit just like going to granddad's house. Sometimes the cars get strung out on the big 1/2 mile but sometimes the racing leaves memories for years to come. This one was somewhere in between.

    The card tonight consisted of MSCS sprints (25) and UMP modifieds (12) competing at the old fairgrounds track with racing kicking off exactly at 7 PM with the first of three sprint car heats. We had the pleasure of sitting with two of our Indiana racing friends, Al Pierce and Jerry Shaw, and enjoyed touching on various racing topics during the course of the evening. Jerry showed us a picture of him and his dad taken in the infield at Terre Haute from back in the 60's which was fun to view and make you realize that things have not changed all that much here at Terre Haute and that is probably a good thing. Justin Grant would wire the field in the first heat turning back Chase Stockon in one of Kent Schmidt's steeds, Dakota Jackson, Josh Hodges and Max Adams back in the family #5M. Heat two saw Jarett Andretti handle the field taking the win over Carson Short, Kyle Cummins, Dustin Smith and Critter Malone. Chris Windom scored the win in heat three over Paul May, Isaac Chapple, Mitch Wissmiller and Kendall Ruble. May drifted into James Lyerla early in the third heat in turn three forcing him into the wall there where he flipped over and was OK but finished for the evening. Two UMP modified heats were run with all heat qualifying in the books by 7:36. The MSCS sprints would need a B main to trim the starting field down from 25 to 20 with the Englishman, Tom Harris, driving in from the Knoxville Nationals and taking the wing off and defeating the rest of the field for the win. Chris Babcock trailed by a big distance with Chayse Hayhurst third, Colin Ambrose fourth and Kent Schmidt nailing down the last qualifying position. Now all that was left to run were the two main events. The 15 lap UMP modified feature took the green flag at 8:03 and spun off in just eight minutes with only one caution slowing the action. Will Krup took the lead on lap 10 and led the remainder of the distance to stand in victory lane at 8:11 with his proud family by his side.

    A little track prep was performed before the 25 lap Brandeis MSCS sprint car feature was send to the post with Chase Stockon and Chris Windom bringing the starting field to the green flag at 8:32. Stockon went to the early lead but the action slowed when Chayse Hayhurst spun in turn four on lap two to bring out the first caution. On the restart it was Stockon, Justin Grant and Windom nose to tail with Grant taking the lead with a turn one slider on Stockon making it stick in turn two. Lap three saw Windom pull the same move on Stockon in turn one to wrestle second away from him and take up the pursuit of Grant. Lap seven saw the caution wave again as Chris Babock and Tom Harris tangled and spun in turn three. Max Adams was making up huge chunks of real estate to this point advancing from 13th to 6th. The next restart would be his undoing as he raced hard into turn one attempting a slider on Jarett Andretti with the two getting together in turn two and executing a double flip before landing on the track surface against the turn two walling (oh if only they could talk). Both drivers were OK but were finished for the evening. Grant led on the restart but Windom was pressuring him for the lead taking it away from Grant as they raced through turn three. Windom would never be headed from this point on as he opened up a small lead on Grant and the rest of the field in his newly built Goacher #5G. Carson Short would pressure Grant the majority of the race for second but was never able to pull off the pass. The last caution waved on lap twenty two when Tom Harris went into the turn two wall and was done for the night. On the restart Windom was off and running and three laps later passed under the checkered flag first followed by Grant, Short, Stockon and Dakota Jackson who had a race long battle with Kyle Cummins for fifth with Jackson prevailing. Cummins came home sixth with Dustin Smith in a fine run for seventh, Isaac Chapple finishing eighth, Paul May ninth and Critter Malone rounding out the top five with the final checker falling at 9:04 in a finely and timely run program. The racing was decent enough and it was surely good to visit granddad once again.

    That's it for this weekend as the next one looks like a busy one with POWRi midget racing starting at Fairbury on Thursday night followed by Lincoln on Friday, USAC Silver Crown at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on Saturday afternoon and finishing up at Macon Speedway with the POWRi midgets on Saturday night. Should be some good ones!! In the meantime wherever you are get out there and enjoy some good short track racing and be safe. News, facts, rumors, tidbits and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net on email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Check back next weekend for reports on our races and how we made out. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and the kind words that come our way. It is much appreciated and makes the hours spent writing these columns worthwhile.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cockrum Is Chief At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, August 10 - After a morning of visiting the local farmer's market and buying some goodies and having lunch at Allen's Country Kitchen in downtown Crawfordsville we ventured over to the condo as Pat wanted to clear the bathrooms. After accomplishing that task it was time to head south on Rt. 231 toward Greencastle and then on Rt. 40 into beautiful downtown Putnamvillle where the 5/16 mile high banked dirt oval known as the Lincoln Park Speedway is located. It was a regular Saturday night card of racing at Joe Spiker's playground with non-wing sprints (30), UMP modifieds (28), super stocks (23) and bombers (18). Don't know what is up with the bomber car count but they use to draw 40 or more on a Saturday night. Could be people are running out of money in the latter stages of the racing season.

    After warmups for all divisions it was decided by the track crew to work on two trouble spots, one in turn four and the other in turn one. A slight delay was encountered as the track crew worked diligently on the problem spots with great results as after the work was finished the surface was in much better shape and stayed that way the rest of the evening. As always the wingless sprints were first up for their four heat races with the top four advancing straight to the main event. High school senior, Harley Burns, looked good in winning heat one beating Brent Beauchamp, Tye Mihocko from Arizona and Shane O'Banion. High school junior, Jadon Rogers, the winner the night before at Paragon took heat two besting Travis Berryhill, Jesse Vermillion and Justin Owen. Shane Cockrum put the Paul's potent #24P in front in heat three and won going away over Andrew Prather, Brayden Fox and Colten Cottle. The fourth and final heat went to Nate McMillen beating Dave Darland, David Applegate and Tim Creech. The UMP modifieds took to the track for their four heats with Roy Bruce Jr. making his first appearance in a while winning heat one, Jordan Wever taking heat two, Randy Shuman scoring heat three and Jimmie Haager winning heat four. The super stocks contested three heats with Crawfordsville's own Bryce Shidler claiming heat one, Tucker Chastian heat two and Josh Boller heat three. Jordan Almanza took an exciting at the wire win in heat one of the bombers with Andrew Pollock winning heat two and Justin Litton taking the lead on the last lap in heat three. B mains were needed for the sprints and the modifieds with Paragon regular, Josh Cunningham, notching the win in the sprint B main over Kent Christian, Blake Vermillion and Evan Mosley securing the last spot into the main event. James Walters came from 11th and last to score the modified B main in an impressive drive.

    All the prelims were in the books and now it was time for the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature with Travis Berryhill and Brent Beauchamp bringing 18 others to the green flag at 9:24. Beauchamp jumped to the early lead over Berryhill and Nate McMillen. Lap five saw Shane Cockrum move into third passing McMillen and went after Berryhill for second. Cockrum used a big slider in turn three to move from third to first on lap seven for the lead. The middle part of the race saw some real close racing up front with Cockrum using the high side, Beauchamp in the middle and Berryhill working the bottom with the threesome sometimes three wide as they duked it out. Dave Darland was quietly working his way to the front from eighth and made several runs at Berryhill in traffic for third. Meanwhile up front Cockrum worked the lap traffic hard with Beauchamp keeping tabs on him and waiting for a mistake from the leader. Though Cockrum pounded the cushion several times hard off turn four he remained in control as the laps clicked off. This one would go non-stop in seven minutes and the Chief brought the Paul Farms #24P across the line first at 9:31 besting Beauchamp, Berryhill, Darland and McMillen. It was a good race with much close racing throughout the field and was very entertaining as the surface held up well.

    The 25 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda with Randy Shuman and Jimmie Haager pacing the field. Shuman went to the point and worked the cushion to perfection with Haager continuously poking his nose underneath throughout the race. James Walters was coming from the rear after starting 17th and was up to 7th when mechanical woes sidelined him in the latter stages of the contest. On the last lap coming off turn four Haager made one last ditch effort to steal the win from Shuman but instead spun his #5 to the infield. Shuman from Danville, IL crossed the line moments later at 10:01 scoring the win over Roy Bruce Jr., Jordan Wever, Jeff Deckard from 12th and Ohio invader, Scottie Williams, making his first ever LPS start. We decided to stay for the 20 lap super stock feature especially after their fine showing during ISW and didn't regret it one bit. Daniel Norman worked the cushion the entire race while race leader, Wes McClara, ran the middle. It looked like McClara was going to be able to stave off Norman but one last caution with two to go gave Norman one last opportunity and he took full advantage of it. Racing off turn four for the checkered Norman edged ahead of McClara and beat him to the line by several feet in a crowd pleasing finish. Bryce Shidler came home third in this one which ended at 10:29. We decided to forgo the bombers and head north on Rt. 231 back to Crawfordsville satisfied with another good night of racing on this summer weekend.

    Check back Monday as we go for the below I-70 weekend (OK - LPS is above but not far) as we travel to the Action Track at Terre Haute where the MSCS sprints are racing on a rare Sunday night. Comments, stories and other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and use plenty of sun tan or sun screen and keep hydrated. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and come back often.

    Congratulations to David Gravel and the entire Jason Johnson Racing Team on their big $150,000 paycheck won Saturday night at the Knoxville Nationals. Also kudos go out to Logan Schuchart on his awesome run from 22nd to 2nd in the Knoxville Nationals. Great job, gentleman!!!

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Feel Good Win For Brandon Mattox At Bloomington

    Friday, August 9 - It is always good to see a little guy pull one off and with $3500 on the line tonight at Bloomington Speedway it was the perfect time to score your first sprint car win of the year and that is what Brandon Mattox did tonight at Bloomington. It was truly a feel good win to see the underdog who never quits and has went through much adversity and has stuck with it with pure determination and comes out on top in this big race.

    After working until three (summer hours) today Pat was ready to head south with me as we made our way down to the Bloomington Speedway in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of the Indiana University. Along the way we stopped just above Spencer to dine at the Hilltop Restrauant for a fish fry of pollick before completing the trip to the south side of Bloomington. Tonight's racing card was to honor former long time promoters of Bloomington, Mike and Judy Miles, for their many years of service at the Bloomington Speedway. What attracted us to this evening of racing was the four good classes of cars scheduled to participate on this evening. On hand were the non-wing sprints (19) racing for $3500 to win, UMP modifieds (20), Racesaver 305 sprints (18) and midgets (22). I can never figure with some good money on the line to win that only 19 sprinters show up to do battle. Yes, I understand two other tracks were running on this evening but with $3500 on the line you still would think more than 19 sprinters would show up.

    Heat racing got underway at 7:35 with the non-wing sprints kicking things off with two races with Brady Short capturing heat one over Jarett Andretti, Max Adams taking his first ride in the Jerry Burton #04 and Brandon Mattox. Heat two saw Josh Hodges passing AJ Hopkins for the win with Dave Darland third and Tye Mihocko fourth. The UMP modifieds would contest three heats for their 20 car field with Tyler Nicely, the current national UMP modified points leader, winning heat one, Jacoby Hines nailing down heat two and John Clippenger victorious in heat three. The 18 Racesaver 305 winged sprints on hand would run two heats with Ryan Tusing dominating heat one and Alfred Galerige Jr. notching heat two. The midgets would run three heats with two flips in turn one in heats one and two. Zane Briggs turned it over in heat one while Jacob Denney went for a ride in heat two. Both drivers were OK after their tumbles. Stratton Briggs, Tyler Nelson and Chase Jones captured the midget heat wins.

    By 9:02 it was time to go feature racing with starter Tom Hansing dropping the green flag on the 19 car non-wing sprint car field. Brady Short went to the early lead at the start with AJ Hopkins using the nice cushion to sweep by Short for the lead on lap two. Jarett Andretti got by Short for second on lap five and stormed into the lead when Hopkins jumped the cushion in turn four and rode the other side before returning to the track surface in second. Brady Ottinger tangled with another car in turn three shortly thereafter and lightly rolled over done for the evening. On the restart Hopkins was clearly the fastest car in the field as he pounded the cushion all the way around the 1/4 mile high banked red clay oval and retook the lead from Andretti in turn two on lap seven. Hopkins remained in the lead until lap 13 when he came down off the top as Andretti challenged on the low side for the top spot with the two leaders getting together with Andretti spinning while Hopkins continued but pulled off the backstretch into the pit area done for the evening. Hopkins is a good driver and fun to watch but I feel he needs to harness his energy and get more under control as he should have won the feature tonight but instead wound up in the pit area with another DNF. That is the second time this year I have seen Hopkins leading and taking himself out of the win because of over aggressive driving. Tone it down some, son!!! Anyhow after the scuffle up front it handed the lead to Brandon Mattox who drove off and left the rest of the field in his wake never being challenged over the remaining 17 laps with this guy flashing under the checkered flag at 9:24 first taking home the bacon to the tune of $3500 big ones. Isaac Chapple ran a good race advancing from ninth to garner second with Josh Hodges third, Dave Darland fourth and Brady Short hanging on for fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Dustin Smith from 12th, Hunter O'Neal from 19th, Tye Mihocko, Chris Phillips from 15th and Max Adams from the tail after sliding over the turn one and two banking. It was a good race with good entertainment value.

    The 25 lap UMP modified feature was next in the chute taking the green at 9:32. The competitive race saw Tyler Nicely take the win over Jacoby Hines and Josh Harris. A twenty minute fireworks display was next on the agenda and it was a good one but maybe a tad bit too long. When we went back to racing it was the Racesaver 305 sprints to the track for their 25 lap main event with the green flying at 10:19. Bradley Sterrett went to the point at the start from his first starting position and led the entire distance but it wasn't as easy as it sounded. Heavy lap traffic needed to be negostiated and allowed Anton Hernandez to close on him at various times during the event. When it was all said and done by 10:29 it was Sterrett being interviewed in victory lane by Dr. Pat Sullivan. Hernandez came across the line second with Ethan Barrow advancing from ninth to third at the finish followed by Ryan Tusing and Chase Stockon fifth after starting 11th. Another decent race and it was fun watching the leaders picked their way through the lap traffic.

    The last feature of the evening was the 25 lap midget contest and it was decent enough considering by this time the track was really worn out and most everyone went to the huggy pole to run. Chase Jones powered by Stratton Briggs for the lead on lap five and never looked back as he outdistanced Chris Baue in a good run, Tyler Nelson, Ronnie Gardner from California and Justin Dickerson for the win taking the final checker of the evening at 10:53.

    It was a well run solid program of racing featuring four good classes of race cars and fireworks done in less than 3 1/2 hours. Good job by the current Bloomington management on a job well done.

    That's it for this installment and check back Sunday for our report from Lincoln Park Speedway where we will be taking in a regular Saturday night program there. So until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and continue to support your local tracks. Because once they go away they usually don't come back. Comments (positive or negative) can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you will continue to do so.

    Our condolences go out to the entire Jordan family on the loss of Dick Jordan, the veteran USAC public relations and media person for over 50 years, who passed away on Friday morning from cancer at the age of 74. He was a friend to scores of people and performed a superb job in his duties for over 50 years. He will sorely be missed by all the people he touched in his long and distinguished career. RIP Dick.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Seavey Closes Out USAC PA Midget Week With Win At The Clyde

    Saturday, August 3 - The final night of racing for the USAC midgets during Pennsylvania midget week had arrived and after spending the day with Pat's dad at his home in the Temple, PA area we took the short drive (30 minutes) over to Newmanstown, the home of the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, the 1/8 mile high banked dirt oval in the countryside of Eastern Pennsylvania. A reduced field of 16 USAC midgets due to a variety of factors (drivers running at their normal Saturday night tracks and mechanical issues) took a little luster off the final night of racing but the midgets that did show still put on a good show for the good sized crowd on hand. They were again joined by the 600 micro sprints with 67 in number cramming the turns three and four pit area preparing for their fourth out of five nights of their speedweek.


     

    After hot laps for both divisions the USAC midgets started off the program with time trials for their 16 car field at 7:07 with Zeb Wise placing the Clauson/Marshall #39BC on top of the scoring tower with a time of 10.248 seconds around the 1/8 mile dirt oval by 7:19. The first of six 600 heat races were ready to rumble by 7:25 and these guys and gals put on a good display of driving in their heat races. Heat winners included Nash Ely, Tommy Kunsman Jr., Aaron Bollinger, Christian Bruno, Alex Bright and Bradley Brown. Only two heats were needed for the 16 USAC midgets on hand with Chris Windom grabbing heat one turning back Steven Drevicki, Tyler Courtney, Zeb Wise and Chad Boat. Jason McDougal would score heat win two over Jerry Coons Jr., Kevin Thomas Jr., Logan Seavey and Karsyn Elledge. The 600 came back with their qualifiers with Kyle Spence, Tim Buckwalter, Colin White and Jim Radney garnering wins. With the short field of midgets on hand USAC decided to offer a $300 to win, six lap Dash For Dash to provide some extra entertainment. Jason McDougal pocketed the extra cash after the six laps were spun off with action returning back to the 600's with three B mains to qualify the last six into the feature event. James Morris, Damon Paul and Jason Swavely picked their ticket to the big show with wins with all preliminaries in the books by 9:30.


     

    The 40 lap USAC midget feature was first on the schedule and Warren Alston's green flag would wave on the field at 9:41. Chad Boat would go to the point on the start with Andrew Layser and Logan Seavey in tow. Layser and Seavey hooked up in a battle for second exchanging sliders on lap four before Seavey pulled off the pass with a slider in turn one that stuck and he motored after Boat who had opened up a straightway lead. Tyler Courtney was also able to slip by Layser for third one lap before Steven Drevicki, former two time ARDC champion, came to a stop in turn four and was pushed to the infield where he motioned for someone to push him to the work area but no one saw him waving. Drevicki expressed his displeasure with USAC officials on the next caution when he exited the car and found a nearby official to register his complainant. Now the field was closed up tightly for the restart with Seavey attempting several sliders to dislodge Boat but Chad held him off until lap nine when Seavey pulled a successful slider to grab the top spot. Two laps later Zeb Wise slowed to a stop in turn three while running fifth ending his night prematurely and ending any hopes of winning his third PA midget race in the past four nights and his second straight at Clyde Martin. On the restart Seavey moved out front with Courtney now up to second past Boat and the battle was on. Seavey held off Courtney until lap 14 when he bobbled on the cushion allowing Courtney to execute a turn one slider which Seavey countered in turn two to retain the lead. Seavey kept the top spot secured until lap 25 when Kevin Thomas Jr. pulled up lame with a flat right rear between turns three and four while running third. A quick trip to the work area saw the Petry #5 returned to race again from the back of the field. Seavey quickly jumped out front on the restart with Courtney his stalker in second. Courtney was ready to pounce if Seavey bobbled but instead it was Courtney who stumbled twice with the cushion allowing Seavey to scoot away to a comfortable lead. The red would appear on lap 33 when Steve Craig tumbled in turn one bringing out the fourth and last stoppage. Craig was OK after his tough ride and walked away from the wrecked car and into the infield. With five to go Seavey went too low in turn one and slid up to the cushion opening the door for Courtney to take a shot at him for the lead. The pair raced side by side down the backstretch and remained that way entering turns three and four with Seavey catching the turn four fence with his right rear seeming to give him a boost off the turn as the two raced down the homestretch. Seavey entered turns one and two like he had been shot out of a cannon located in turn four and had a five car length advance exiting turn two. Over the remaining five laps Seavey made no further mistakes and crossed the line at 10:08 securing his third USAC midget triumph of the year and his sixth lifetime USAC midget win. No heroics like last year when he rode the wire fencing in turns three and four to miss another car and was able to return to the track and finish third in 2018. Instead it was a solid run by Seavey besting Courtney, hard charger from 12th to 3rd in Jason McDougal with Thomas rallying for fourth and Jerry Coons Jr. recording a solid fifth. Chris Windom came home sixth with Andrew Layser recording seventh, Tucker Klaasmeyer eighth, Tanner Carrick ninth and Karysn Elledge riding home tenth. It was a good race even with the lower car count and everyone around us seemed to have enjoyed the USAC racing for the evening.


     

    The 30 lap 600 feature was still to run and took the initial green flag at 10:24. There was a lot of hard and position swapping action throughout the field during the entire 30 lap distance. The only downside of the event was the excessive eight caution flags that flew for minor tangles and such but took away from the race being considered a real good race. Kyle Spence steadily worked his way from the eighth starting position not using his normal on the fence driving style using instead the inside groove to the front taking the lead past the midway point of the contest and holding off Eddie Strada, Tim Buckwalter, Aaron Bollinger and Kenny Miller III for the big win with the final checker waving at 10:52 capping off a good night of racing on a tacky and well manicured racing surface unlike the dust field that they ran on the previous evening. This is one track that definitely gets the correlation between good racing surfaces almost always produce good racing which makes fans and drivers alike happy to race there. Thanks LANCO club for presenting a well run program on a great racing surface to wrap up the five nights of racing entitled USAC PA midget week.


     

    That's all for now and check back next weekend for the next reports as the plans are to stay local but the final choices are not yet quite decided. Any news, comments, press releases or anything else of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated and use that sun screen or lotion often. And as always thanks for reading our column and check back soon to see where our travels take us.


     

    In closing we would like to send our condolences out to the family of Carl Sandy, the 1984 USAC National Midget championship car owner teamed with Tom Bigelow that year to win the owner's and driver's championships. RIP, Carl.


     

    Also well wishes go out to injured Oklahoma wingless sprint car driver, Grady Chandler, who continues to fight to get better after his serious crash last week.  Our thoughts and prayers are continually with you for a complete recovery from your serious injuries. 
     

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Wise Remains Hot With Second USAC PA Win At Linda's

    Friday, August 2 - Today was the scheduled round four of USAC PA midget week with the troops towing their rigs on Rt. 78 and US 22 to the Linda's Speedway in Jonestown, PA, the 1/5 mile dirt oval located there. Pat, Bill, Bruce and myself arrived slightly after 4 and secured a good parking spot underneath a line of pine trees and parked the Rogue for the evening.


     

    Hot laps were first up on the agenda and already a trail of dust was shooting off the rear tires of the cars circling the oval. It would not get any better as the night of racing proceeded. It was very disappointing to see the lack of preparation given to the racing surface in advance of probably one of their biggest shows of the season for this track with the USAC National midgets and the 600 micro sprints running one of their PA speedweek shows here. During the evening there were several times that water was added to the dirt surface but it was too little too late. My opinion is that USAC should look for an alternative track in 2020 for their PA midget week Friday night program and feel that Big Diamond Raceway up the road in Minersville would be a good alternative as they already have run several USAC East Coast Sprint Car events in 2019. There is no excuse to present a big race on such a deplorable surface as it is not fair to the fans to endure such dust and it is dangerous for the drivers to race on such a dusty track.


     

    Now let's go to the show that unfolded last night at Linda's. USAC midget time trials kicked off the night with the first car taking the green flag at 7:16. Tyler Courtney set his sixth fast time of the year over the field of 21 midgets with a time of 12.582 seconds around the 1/5 mile oval. Next up were six heat races for the fine 63 car 600 micro sprints on hand with Aaron Bollinger, Brian Carber, Kenny Miller III, Mike Thompson, son of former sprint car driver, Len and grandson of Bruce and Bev Thompson. Also Jesse Maurer and Tim Buckwalter scored heat wins in the 600 class. The USAC midgets would contest three heats with Tyler Courtney capturing heat one over Chris Windom, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Jerry Coons Jr. and Steve Buckwalter. Tanner Carrick would post the win in heat two besting Jason McDougal, Zeb Wise, Logan Seavey and Tanner Thorson. The final heat went to Kevin Thomas Jr. beating local Tommy Kunsman Jr., Chad Boat, Karysn Elledge and Andrew Layser. The 600 field was pared down to 40 at this point so A main qualifiers were next awarding passing points and determining the top 18 that would lock into the night's 25 lap feature event for the 600's. Christian Bruno, Aidan Borden, Damon Paul and Colin White would win the qualifiers with still three B mains to qualify two from each to run but they would be spun off after the 30 lap USAC midget feature was run.


     

    The 30 lap USAC midget feature was ready to take Warren Alston's green flag at 9:14 with the front row of Kevin Thomas Jr. and Tanner Thorson leading 18 of their friends to the line. Thorson jumped to the quick lead and pulled away quickly to a big lead by lap 5. Andrew Layser moved by Thomas for second and chased Thorson in the opening laps. Thomas came back on Layser on lap 8 exchanging sliders before Layser bounced sideways in between turns three and four and stalled bringing out the caution. On the restart Thorson retained control but Thomas began to run the middle and gained ground on the leader. The top two raced side by side as they approached the flagger's stand to take the halfway crossed flags when suddenly Thorson slowed in turn one with a flat right rear. This caution gave a break to allow the dust cloud enveloping the entire track like a ha-boob to calm down before the race went green again. On the restart Thomas went to the high side while Courtney now in second worked the bottom. Thomas edged Courtney at the line for the next two laps with the momentum off four carrying him past Courtney. Thomas and Courtney remained in this tussle in the 20's with Zeb Wise moving into third from eighth and reeling in the front runners as he figured out which groove he wanted to use to track down the top two. With five to go Wise closed and dove low on Thomas and used the low side unlike last night and raced by Thomas on lap 26. Next up was his teammate and how to attempt to pass him. The laps dwindled down to two to go as they entered turn three approaching the lap car of Bruce Buckwalter with Courtney deciding to go high while Wise followed Buckwalter low as they crossed the line to take the white flag. Buckwalter left enough room for Wise down low and Wise filled the hole and blasted by Courtney entering turn one. The pair raced down the backstretch with Wise taking a several car length lead into turn three. Wise raced off turn four with Courtney on his tail and flashed under the double checkers for his second PA midget week win beating Courtney who was looking for the sweep of the evening fall one position short. Thomas raced across the finish line third for his best finish of the swing with Chris Windom placing fourth and Jason McDougal rounding out the top five. Logan Seavey led the second five to the line with Jerry Coons Jr. seventh, Tanner Carrick eighth, Chad Boat ninth and Steve Buckwalter, the top PA runner, claiming tenth.


     

    There was still the rest of the 600 racing to complete with three B mains scheduled with two to qualify from each. Eddie Strada, Alex Bright and Ryan Groff punched their tickets to the big dance with wins in the triple B's with a slight light rain delay in between B2 and B3. The 25 lap 600 feature was ready to go by 11:10 with Damon Paul and Jesse Maurer leading the pack to the green flag. Paul pulled out to a big lead in the early going with four cautions bringing the pack back to him each time with Paul pulling away after every restart. This was Paul's race to win or lose and win it he did crossing the finish line at 11:26 trailed by Tommy Kunsman Jr., Aaron Bollinger, Jesse Maurer and Colin White, last night's winner. Alex Bright turned in a strong run advancing from 20th to 7th at the finish. The racing was decent enough if you could see it properly but the surface left us and many others seriously dissatisfied with the overall night of racing.


     

    Until tomorrow when we report to you the results from Cyde Martin Memorial Speedway for the final night of the USAC midget PA midget week take care and be safe. Also get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and support your local track. News, comments and other tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and continue to enjoy them.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Boat Sails To First Win In Almost A Year At Path Valley

    Thursday, August 1 - Tonight was round three of USAC PA midget week and after a wonderful lunch at Judy and Bill Burn's house the traveling crew of myself, Bill, Pat and PA Bruce headed west for the longest trip of the circuit carrying us two hours west on the PA Turnpike to the small hamlet of Spring Run. The high banked quarter mile dirt oval known as the Path Valley Speedway Park was ready to host the visiting USAC midgets (23) along with the wingless super sportsman (23) and the 600 micro sprints (61).


     

    USAC midget time trials were the first matter of the evening commencing at 7:05 with young Zeb Wise blistering the 1/4 mile to the tune of a 11.057 second lap posting a new track record in the process and establishing himself as an early favorite to take home the gold for the second straight night. After 600 micro hot laps it was time for the three USAC heat races with Logan Seavey claiming heat one over Tyler Courtney, Zeb Wise, Chad Boat and Karsyn Elledge. Heat two saw Tanner Carrick establish a new ten lap track record with a run of 1:59.93 over the ten lap distance besting Jason McDougal, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Chris Windom and Andrew Layser with the latter two hooking up in a crowd pleasing duel in this one. Jerry Coons Jr. managed to hold off Kyle Larson in heat three with Tanner Thorson, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Ryan Greth trailing. The 600's would contest six enjoyable heats followed by three heats for the wingless super sportsman which look like a sprint car but have self starters. Carmen Perigo, his son, Craig, and Tony Jackson claimed super sportsman heat wins. In a change in the schedule for the better the four A main qualifiers for the 600 micros were moved to after the 30 lap USAC midget feature which was bumped up on the agenda.


     

    The front row of Tanner Thorson and Chris Windom brought the 23 car field to the green flag with third starting Chad Boat diving to the bottom to take the lead entering turn two on lap one. Thorson tried to follow suit on the low side but Wise from sixth powered by on the top to secure second and take up the chase of Boat who would lead the first sixteen laps. Wise cut the margin and a good run on the top through turns three and four saw Wise nip Boat at the line to lead lap 17. Wise would hold the lead for two laps until Boat remained loyal to the bottom and passed Wise to retake the lead at the line for lap 19. Wise came back strong to wrestle the lead back at the line on lap 20. Boat got a good run through turns one and two when Wise bobbled on the cushion and took back the lead. Shortly thereafter Kyle Larson running fifth at the time biked it high in turn one coming to rest against the wall and being towed to the pit area but he was able to return before the race went back to green. The caution negated the move by Boat for the lead and on the restart Wise held the top spot with Boat right there to challenge. On lap 23 Boat was able to motor by on the bottom to take the lead for the final time as the top began to go away and Wise lost ground and positions over the remaining seven laps as he refused to abandon the top. Lap 25 saw a red wave as Karsyn Elledge rolled over in a tangle on the bottom of turn two with Kyle Larson and Steven Drevicki also being involved. Everyone was OK and able to continue as the green waved a few moments later. Windom and Thorson were able to hook up on the bottom and raced past Wise for second and third on the restart. Tyler Courtney and Logan Seavey made some late challenges with Courtney slipping by Thorson for third and Seavey dusting off Wise for fifth. As the double checkers waved at 9:24 it was Chad Boat across the line first scoring his fourth career Pennsylvania triumph breaking a tie with Mel Kenyon for most wins in the Keystone State all time. In a neat twist it was also Boat's ninth career USAC National midget win equaling his father Billy's national total. Chris Windom scored another podium finish coming home second with Courtney third, Thorson fourth and Seavey rounding out the top five from tenth. Wise slipped to sixth at the end with Jerry Coons Jr. seventh, Tanner Carrick eighth, PA's Tim Buckwalter scoring the first top ten for the PA contingent and also knocking down the hard charger award from 16th with Andrew Layser nailing down tenth. Layser is also from Pennsylvania but is running the national schedule so that eliminates him from the PA bonus for the local cars.


     

    There was still plenty of racing still to go and the wingless super sportsman were next on the schedule for their 30 lap feature and even though the track was wearing out these guys put on a good show. Veteran super sportsman campaigner, Carmen Perigo, returned to his roots and moved from his third starting position to take the lead early and hold off all comers to score the victory. A late tangle between third place runner, Gary Johnston, and fourth place runner, Derek Sheaffer, wiped out good runs by Johnston and fifth place runner, Steve Wilber, who suffered a left rear flat tire in the ensuing tangle after advancing from 19th. Perigo was first across the line at 10:31 with Craig Perigo closing chasing him with Sheaffer taking third, Steven Drevicki coming all the way from 23rd to 4th with Tony Jackson rounding out the top five. At this point with two 600 B mains and their 25 lap feature still to run and a two hour trek back to Bill's house we decided to call it an evening pleased with the racing that we witnessed on this evening.


     

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow to see if the weather cooperates for round four of USAC PA midget week at Linda's Speedway where the USAC caravan makes their next appearance. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and support your local track as once a local track closes it rarely reopens. Comments, news, stories or tidbits of information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruce.eckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back soon for the next report.


     

    In closing I want to congratulate dirt modified racer Stewart Friesen on his first NASCAR Truck series win at Eldora Speedway last night and a fine fourth place finish for the Marathon Gas entry of WOO late model runner, Mike Marlar.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Wise Likes Pennsylvania Taking Second Career USAC Midget Win By Inches At Kutztown

    Wednesday, July 31 - We spent the day at Pat's dad's house before coming down off the hill and being greeted by wet roads and light rain as we made our way over to Action Track USA on the grounds of the Kutztown Fairgrounds. A good sized crowd was already assembled as we pulled onto the grounds at 5 PM. I took a tour of the pit area while Pat took our blankets in to replace the wet plastic tablecloths that Rich Rouser had placed down to reserve seats for the gang that all would be sitting together for tonight's racing. In addition to the USAC midgets (24) were the 600 micro sprints (78) running their first event of their 600 micro sprint speedweek. Also the Tobias slingshots (15 - picture miniature modifieds) were also there to run a feature only. As you can imagine that was going to make for a busy night of racing and considering the 10:30 PM curfew where you have to have the last race take the initial green before that time it didn't make much sense to schedule three divisions on this evening. And as it turned out the slingshots never got to run their feature and sat there the entire evening and paid $35 per person with the car for that privilege. Not the way to run a good business.

    USAC midget time trials were first on the agenda with the first car taking the green at 7:04. By 7:25 Tyler Courtney was standing on the homestretch being awarded the fast time award for his lap of 11.313 seconds around the 1/5 mile dirt oval. Next up were six heats for the 600 division with Jason Swavely, Alex Bright, Jim Radney, Bradley Brown, Christian Bruno and Luke Thomas scoring the heat wins. It was already after 8:30 before the first of three USAC midget heats was trackside with Courtney looking impressive driving from sixth to the win besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Tanner Thorson, Tanner Carrick and Tucker Klaasmeyer in this one. Heat two saw Clauson/Marshall driver, Andrew Layser, the Pennsylvania driver from Collegeville, notch the win beating Tim Buckwalter who ran Kyle Larson into the turn four wall earlier in the event taking second with Jerry Coons Jr. third, Logan Seavey fourth and Larson coming back for fifth. The grandaughter of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Karsyn Elledge, scored heat win number three outrunning her boyfriend, Jason McDougal, Chris Windom, Zeb Wise and Chad Boat and with that lineup it was not a fluke that Elledge held off the boys. As the 600's were all done on passing points three qualifiers were run next to determine the top 18 starters for the main event and three B mains followed after the 30 lap USAC midget feature. The racing is usually good at Kutztown but one of the problems I have when we visit this track is they try to schedule 10 lbs. of sh.. into a 5 lb. bag and only start to show a sense of urgency when the time begins to slip away and the curfew nears. My solution is run a more realistic schedule of events and allow for some track maintenance time, some unexpected delay time for wrecks, light failures or anything else you can conjure up and don't make a division sit there all night and only get to run hot laps and nothing more for their $35 pit admission. I hope that they will be able to use the pit pass for a future event but maybe they could use that $35 this week for something else. Just my opinion.

    Anyway onto the 30 lap USAC midget feature which rolled toward the green flag at 9:28 led by the front row of Chad Boat and Logan Seavey. The early leader was Seavey who led the first seven circuits before a power steering line came loose causing Seavey to wrestle with his midget on the tight oval and allowing Boat to sneak by to assume the lead. Zeb Wise who started fourth motored by Seavey for second on lap ten and took up the pursuit of Boat for the top spot. Lap eleven saw Kyle Larson move into the hunt with a two for one pass of teammates, Seavey and Thorson, to advance from fifth to third. One lap later Wise raced off the top of turn four to pull alongside Boat on the homestretch and dove low in turn one to take the lead away from the Arizona pilot. Larson picked off Boat for second at the halfway mark and took up the search to track down Wise. Larson rolled the bottom in turns one and two and went to the top in turns three and four to cut into Wise's gap with less than ten to go. Larson poked his nose underneath Wise several times in turns one and two and with eight to go Wise took the hint and decided to change his line and at the same time take Larson's line away down there. Lap traffic was also a factor at this point and Wise went back up top to clear some of it before returning to the bottom. With just four laps to go Boat lost the handle in turn one battling with Thorson for fourth to bring out the caution and set up a final dash to the checkers. On the restart Wise went low in turns one and two and high through turns three and four. Larson pulled alongside Wise in the far turns but Wise's momentum allowed him to shoot off the top side and retain the lead. Coming to the white flag Larson threw a slider on Wise entering turn three crossing the front end of Wise and briefly into the lead before Wise responded with a counter move off turn four to take the white flag in front. Entering turn three on the final lap Larson tried the move again but Wise never lifted and used the entire corner to draw even with Larson off turn four even bouncing his right rear off the concrete as the pair raced to the line. At the line it was Wise nipping Larson by 0.078 seconds as the crowd roared its approval. Chris Windom had a bird's eye view of the lead tussle after working his way from 12th to 3rd and was probably hoping for the leaders to tangle so he could steal the win at the finish. Thorson would cross the line fourth with Courtney coming across fifth. Seavey held on for sixth with Andrew Layser turning in an impressive run from 14th to 7th with Jason McDougal eighth, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth with his teammate, Jerry Coons Jr., rounding out the top ten. It was a dramatic finish and had the crowd buzzing as Wise climbed to the top of his midget to celebrate his second career USAC midget victory both occurring in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania.

    The 600 micro sprints still had their 25 lap feature to run after the B mains completed and took the green flag at the curfew time of 10:30. It was a well run feature with few cautions but the outside had worn out at this point and made the bottom the preferred lane of choice. Alex Bright worked his way by Tim Buckwalter and Eddie Strada coming to the front leaving Strada and Buckwalter to settle it up for second. Buckwalter used the middle to finally take second late in the affair only to see the yellow rag waved to negate the pass and put Strada back to second which he kept over the final five laps of racing. When the double checkers waved at 10:41 it was Alex Bright in for the first 600 victory of their Speedweek competition with Strada second, Buckwalter third, Tommy Kunsman Jr. fourth and Brian Carber filling out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Colin White, Billy Pauch Jr., Jason Swavely, Damon Paul and Christian Bruno. It was a good night of racing and was doubling enjoyable because of the friends that we shared it with.

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for the report on round three of PA midget week from the Path Valley Speedway in Spring Run for triple division action of midgets, wingless super sportsman and 600 micro sprints. So until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or come out and enjoy some exciting USAC midget racing here in Pennsylvania. Comments, news, press releases, tidbits and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but certainly not least is 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

    Windom Opens Pennsylvania Midget Week With Win At Grandview

    Tuesday, July 30 - After driving eight hours from Columbus, Ohio we arrived at Pat's father's house in the Temple, Pennsylvania area. We visited for an hour and a half before heading over to our Tuesday night destination, the Grandview Speedway in Bechelsville, PA. The 1/3 mile banked oval was hosting round one of the USAC PA midget week (their first appearance here in 30 years) which was titled the Ken Brenn Midget Masters with Mr. Brenn on hand throwing the green flag for several sessions of hot laps. Also Keith Kunz repainted one of his midget stable to look like one of Brenn's former midget mounts with Kyle Larson scheduled to wheel it in the first three events of the week. After arriving at Grandview to was nice seeing and talking to many of our Eastern friends before the racing started tonight.


     

    Twenty five USAC midgets joined twenty six 358 modifeds on tonight's card for the doubleheader action with USAC midget time trials starting off the night of speed at 7:20. By 7:36 Kyle Larson stood in victory lane being interviewed by Georgia Henneberry after establishing a new track record with a lap of 14.310 seconds around the 1/3 mile oval. Some track prep was performed before the first of three USAC midget heats hit the track at 8:00. Tanner Thorson would score the win in heat one outrunning Karsyn Elledge, Chris Windom, Jerry Coons Jr. and Kyle Larson. Tyler Courtney won heat two besting Steve Buckwalter on the last lap with Tucker Klaasmeyer third, Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth and Andrew Layser back home in PA fifth. Jason McDougal put the Manafort #76M out front in heat three beating a fast closing Zeb Wise, Logan Seavey, Steven Drevicki and Shawn Jackson. The 26 modifieds would contest three heats also with Kevin Hirthler, Tim Buckwalter and 14 year old Alex Yankowski winning their heats. No consies or B mains were needed so after a short track maintenance session it was time for the 30 lap USAC midget feature.


     

    Zeb Wise was scheduled to start first in the feature but he was forced to go to a backup car after losing the engine at the finish of the third heat thus having to start last on the field and slid the inside row up one row moving Chris Windom to first. On the drop of the green flag at 9:03 Windom went to the front with Kevin Thomas Jr., Tyler Courtney and Kyle Larson in pursuit. Windom maintained a comfortable two car length over Thomas by running the high side through turns one and two and the low groove through turns three and four. Windom remained out front reaching lap traffic by lap nine. Windom was forced to run high all the way around the oval as the lap traffic hugged the pole inside. It turned out to be a blessing for Windom as his new groove seemed to be faster as the inside was going away. Windom continued to lead past the halfway mark with Thomas and Courtney dueling it out for the runnerup position. Lap 18 saw Karsyn Elledge lose the handle between turns three and four and took the lap traffic out of the equation. On the restart Courtney slid Thomas for second in turn one with Thomas countering in turn three to regain the second spot. Courtney repeated the move in turn one on lap 25 and slid in front of Thomas in turn two with Thomas tapping him on the rear bumper with Courtney securing second at that point. Shortly thereafter Wise and Steve Buckwalter tangled in turn two with Buckwalter getting the worse of the deal rolling his midget over in the process. On the restart a mad scramble ensued for second among Courtney, Thomas, Carrick and Larson allowing Windom to scoot away. Steven Drevicki looped it in turn two on lap 27 to bring out the caution. Windom went out front again on the restart with Courtney sticking with him as they raced around the track. Taking the white flag Courtney was close enough to make a slider but it was tharwted when Jason McDougal got sideways between turns three and four rolling to a stop. This would set up a green, white, checker scenerio and the fans moved to the edge of their seats anticipating a close run to the finish. At the drop of the green Windom moved out front with Courtney a car length back in second. They came to the white flag with Courtney throwing the slider on Windom in turn one going out in front but Windom countered by diving low in turn two and racing side by side with Courtney clearing him in turn three. Courtney tried one last ditch effort off turn four but it fell short at the line with Windom holding on for the win trailed by Courtney, Carrick, Thorson from 14th and Chad Boat. Thomas slipped to sixth at the finish with Tucker Klaasmeyer seventh, Kyle Larson trying hard on the last lap to advance forward but getting ganged up on and slipping to eighth with Jerry Coons Jr. ninth and Logan Seavey rounding out the top ten. It was a real good run by the USAC midgets and the crowd seemed to enjoy the tussle that went on.


     

    There was still some feature action to complete with the 358 modifieds set to run their 30 lap feature with Doug Manmiller and Tim Buckwalter bring the field to the green flag. This one would go non-stop in 8:10.65 seconds with Tim Buckwalter taking the lead on lap four from Manmiller and leading until Jeff Strunk passed him halfway through the race. Craig VonDohren worked his way by Buckwalter late and tried to track down Strunk but Strunk was too far ahead and the #126 flashed under the checkered flag at 9:55 scoring his 82nd career win at Grandview and notching his 200th career win in his stellar career. VonDohren came home second with Buckwalter third, Kevin Hirthler fourth and Brett Kressley fifth after advancing from 14th. It was a good race also but the midget feature was the better of the two.


     

    That's it for this report but check back tomorrow if the weather cooperates for round two with Action Track USA in Kutztown hosting the USAC midgets for the first time ever. So get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated and use plenty of sun screen. News, comments and other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and come back soon for the next report.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cummins Makes Late Race Pass For Win At Tri-State In ISW Final

    Saturday, July 27 - It would all come down to tonight to determine the point champion of the 32nd annual Indiana Sprint Week title with $5000 up for grabs along with a hand made ash rocker being presented to the winner. The battle would come down to CJ Leary, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant and after time trials the deficit had been trimmed by two points as Grant set overall fast time with a lap of 13.539 seconds around the finely manicured 1/4 mile dirt oval. Tom Helfrich and his track crew and their plethora of farm equipment prepare the best dirt surface to race on in all of Indiana and it was ready to go for the ISW final. After sprint car time trials hot laps were run for the 23 car UMP modified field in town before the track crew did their customary half hour of track maintenance before the start of the four USAC sprint car heats.


     

    By 7:52 it was time to go racing and the fine 40 car field was ready to do battle at Haubstadt. Justin Grant continued to put the pressure on Leary by scoring the victory in heat one outrunning Brody Roa, Brandon Mattox and Dustin Christie back in action one night after boarding the Air Christie flight in Bloomington where he ended up outside of turn one coming to rest in the bed of a pickup truck. Local racer, Stephen Schnapf, turned in an impressive heat two picking up the win over Chase Stockon, Chris Windom and Critter Malone who for the most part limits his sprint car starts to the southern Indiana bullring. Heat three saw Tyler Courtney place the Clauson/Marshall #7BC out front to win over Kyle Cummins, Tony DiMattia and Jarett Andretti. The fourth heat saw Ryan Bond get sideways on the backstretch and dig in lightly rolling over in the process. Evansville's Chayse Hayhurst surprised everyone in heat four with a super run notching the victory beating Brady Bacon, CJ Leary and Jason McDougal. The UMP modifieds would spin off three heats before the sprinters returned for their 10 lap C main with Donny Brackett wiring the field besting Mario Clouser, Trey Gropp and Dave Darland who all advanced to the back of the B main. Josh Hodges would triumph in the 12 lap B main over Kendall Ruble, Isaac Chapple, Kent Schmidt, Max Adams and Donny Brackett moving from the C to the B and into the A main.


     

    At this point the track crew went to work again completely reworking the racing surface and taking it back to the beginning of the evening. This may not make me a very popular guy in Southern Indiana but I think there is such a thing as doing too much track maintenance and after the track came around and was in fine shape there was no reason to take the time or effort to rework the racing surface in my opinion. If they felt they needed to rework the track a better time might have been before the C main thus giving the track some laps on it to run in and widen the surface rather than making the drivers run on a completely green surface. I hope those reading understand I am not criticizing Helfrich and his track crew for trying to deliver the best surface possible but the timing seemed to be out of order. Of course it produces a lightning fast surface but one that did not produce a lot of passing withe the exception of Brady Bacon. My whole point is some laps are needed on a reworked surface before you send the main event out to run and equipment circling the track is not going to produce the same results as 28 sprinters (10 in the C main and 18 in the B main) would have produced. I just felt that the A main seemed anti-climatic after some excellent heat racing and semis.


     

    The 30 lap USAC National Sprint Car feature was ready to go green at 9:51 with Brody Roa and Stephen Schnapf bringing the 24 car field including provisionals Kevin Thomas Jr. and Carson Short to the flagger's stand. Schnapf got the edge at the start but two quick cautions, one at each end of the track involving four cars each, slowed the event quickly. Schnapf again got the edge on the third start moving ahead of Roa. Fourth starting Chase Stockon claimed second in turn four coming to the line to complete lap one. For the next ten laps Schnapf paced the field pulling away to over a two second lead as he approached lap traffic. Kyle Cummins managed to slip by Stockon for second around lap seven and took up the chase of the high flying leader. Schnapf led still at the halfway mark but it was obvious that Cummins was closing the gap and had it down to 1.5 seconds at this point. Cummins continued to eat away at Schnapf's lead and with ten to go Cummins had an open track between himself and the leader. With seven to go Schnapf passed Isaac Chapple on the low side with Cummins right there on his tail tank. With just five laps to go Cummins gained even more ground in turn two and by turns three and four he was there like a snake just ready to strike and pulled side by side with Schnapf down the homestretch. The pair then ran side by side through turns one, two and three before Cummins was able to edge ahead as they exited turn four with four to go. Cummins was the leader at the line by a car length and he wouldn't look back from here. Cummins was on a roll and lapped Tyler Courtney and CJ Leary with two to go lapping up to tenth as he worked lap traffic to perfection. As the double checkers waved at 10:07 it was Kyle Cummins across the line first for his second ISW win of the week and his fifth career USAC sprint car win and now four for four at Tri-State in 2019. Schnapf came all so close for his first career USAC sprint car win and had to still be happy with the runnerup position with Justin Grant giving it all he had managing to take home third coming up 23 points shy of Leary who took home the championship. Chase Stockon finished fourth with Brady Bacon trying his best also to reel in Leary for the title streaked from 15th to 5th at the finish coming up just 12 points short for the title. Jarett Andretti paced the second five coming home sixth with Brody Roa seventh, Kendall Ruble in a good run for eighth, Jason McDougal ninth and CJ Leary holding on for tenth and the ISW title. Cummins and the Byrum crew were really hooked up over the final four races of ISW and could have easily won three straight if he hadn't went over the edge in turn three at Bloomington on Friday while contending for the lead after avoiding a bouncing Thomas.


     

    It was a good eight days of ISW with good prepared tracks and fierce racing throughout the eight days with some strong runs by Kyle Cummins, Brady Bacon, CJ Leary and Justin Grant along with two time winner, Tyler Courtney. Some of the underdogs also fared well with Nebraska's Terry Richards leading the class of overachievers. Brandon Mattox was another little guy who turned in some strong runs and who will forget the photo finish at Gas City between Shane Cottle and CJ Leary for Cottle's first career ISW victory. The good weather brought out record crowds and some fine racing was witnessed by all. Can't wait for ISW 2020.


     

    That's it for now as we head East on Monday night for five nights of USAC National midget racing starting at Grandview followed by Kutztown for the first time ever, Path Valley which is always good racing, Linda's and the always exciting Clyde Martin Speedway. So get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and hopefully we will see some of the old PA gang to chat with when we return to our roots. Any comments, news, rumors and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Thomas, Kreisel, Cheatham & Steinkoenig Win On Busy Night At Belle-Clair

    Friday, July 26 - Not wanting to get involved in the pandamonium battling for unobstructed seats at Bloomington Speedway on Friday we decided to detour to the 1/5 mile dirt oval in Belleville, Illinois known as the Belle-Clair Speedway or Little Belleville. On tap on the evening were the POWRi National Midgets (24), WAR sprints (23), POWRi 600 micros (26) and UMP Pro modifieds (15). One of the best crowds we seen at Belle-Clair turned out tonight on a picture perfect day with temperatures in the high 80's and relatively low humidity. Besides the fact that 90% of the seating is under roof it make for an enjoyable evening of racing.


     

    Since POWRi does not run time trials and line up the top 15 via passing points that contributed to a faster evening. The first of three midget heats took the green at 7:08 and subsequent races were lined up and ready to enter the track as the previous one exited also contributed to a fast paced program. Cannon McIntosh had the field covered in heat one besting Sam Johnson, Jesse Love and Daniel Adler. Tyler Thomas ran away with heat two turning back Daniel Robinson, Zach Daum and Austin Brown. Heat three saw Jake Neuman win over Jesse Colwell, Presley Truedson and Karter Sarff. The three 600 heats were next to the post with Josh Fisher, Sean Robbins and Jake Cheatham posting wins. The WAR sprints would contest four heats with Brian Beebe holding off Wesley Smith and Patrick Budde in heat one. Colten Cottle scored the win in heat two beating Quinton Benson and Pete Palazzolo. Heat three went to Korey Weyant over Zach Daum and TJ Artz. Riley Kreisel took down heat four outdistancing Kory Schudy and Braydon Cromwell. The UMP pro modifieds ran two heats with Billy Knebel and Denny Tribout posting wins. Only the 600 micros would need a B main with Dustin Clary taking home the win.


     

    By 9:03 it was feature time with the 24 car field taking the green flag with Jake Neuman assuming the early lead from the outside of row one beating Cannon McIntosh into the first turn. Tyler Thomas quickly moved from fourth to second passing McIntosh and chasing Neuman for the top spot. Lap seven saw Neuman suddenly slow on the backstretch while leading and pull to the infield with mechanical woes. That gave the lead to Thomas and he would take full advantage of the gift. Thomas went up to the cushion and began to pound it against the wooden fencing of Belle-Clair. McIntosh stuck with Thomas and challenged several times but never made a serious bid to unseat Thomas. Numerous cautions early and in the middle part of the race slowed the action and broke up the momentum of Thomas but he was able to regroup and remain out front. In the latter stages of the race the battle heated up for third with Jesse Colwell and Sam Johnson trading sliders back and forth over a five lap period. Colwell eventually won out in the battle and claimed third at the end behind Thomas and McIntosh with Johnson turning in an impressive performance finishing fourth with Ace McCarthy rounding out the top five. Broc Hunnell scored an impressive sixth after starting sixteenth with Daniel Robinson seventh, Karter Sarff eighth, Daison Pursley ninth and Holly Hollan taking tenth. It was Tyler Thomas' 13th career POWRi National win and his fourth career win at the iconic 1/5 mile bullring.


     

    The POWRi 600's were next up with their 15 lap feature and unlike the ten cautions that plagued the midget feature only two slowed the action in this one. Jake Cheatham prevailed in this good contest over Chad Elliott and Sean Robbins.

    The 23 car WAR sprint field were next to present their 25 lap feature with Riley Kriesel jumping off the pole into the early lead with the field jockeying behind him. Kriesel led running the cushion with Wesley Smith and Zach Daum in hot pursuit. Just before the halfway mark TJ Artz turned turtle in turn two and brought out the red. Kriesel led on the restart with Smith and Daum duking it out for second. Daum worked the bottom on Smith and finally passed him with ten to go. A lap 21 caution tightened up the field with Daum glued to Kriesel's rear bumper. Kriesel was up to the task and pulled away over the remaining nine laps and flashed under the checkers at 10:24 trailed by Daum, Colten Cottle, Smith and Korey Weyant.


     

    The 15 lap pro modified feature was last on the card and it was the best feature of the evening. After many exchanges of the lead Owen Steinkoenig from 11th took the lead late in the event and prevailed over Tim Stadler, James Edens, Zach Hoffman and Joe Mercurio in a very hotly contested race. The final checker waved at 10:45 capping a good night of racing at the tiny bullring located in Belleville.


     

    That's it for now until tomorrow when we take in the final night of Indiana Sprint Week at the finely groomed Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana located in the southwestern portion of the Hoosier state. So check back soon and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and slop on that sun screen and drink plenty of water and other fluids. News, comments, tidbits and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often for new reports.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cummins Emerges From The Shadows After Lights Restored At LPS

    Thursday, July 25 - It was a unusual night at Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night when a transformer blew during the super stock feature taking out several areas of track lighting. Repairs were completed in good order, a little over a half hour, and some temporary lighting was added in the infield to illuminate the first and second corners before the USAC National Sprint Car feature was pushed off. But we are getting ahead of ourselves so we will backtrack to earlier and fill in the details before the main event.


     

    Another beautiful day greeted us upon awakening with temperatures in the mid 80's with plenty of sunshine. I left the house at 12:20 to drive down to Putnamville to place down three lawn chairs for the night's racing at Lincoln Park Speedway. There is not a bad seat in the large concrete grandstands and even though we had to venture down about ten rows from the top directly behind the starter's stand it was not a problem as the viewing lines are still great. Pennsylvania resident, Gordy Killian, would be joining us tonight as a stopover on his way to Missouri so a third chair was needed for him. Then I spent some time chatting with some friends before making the return journey to Crawfordsville picking up lunch along the way and coming back to gather up the working Pat. We departed Crawfordsville at 4 PM after purchasing Subway sandwiches for later at the track and traveled down Rt. 231 to Putnamville to try to find a parking spot not too far away from the front entrance. Luck was with us as we drove onto the grounds and were fortunate to find a hill parking spot below the graveyard that lies outside the speedway off of turn one. A gigantic crowd filled every nook and cranny of Joe Spiker's facility and we were happy to see such a good crowd here in beautiful downtown Putnamville as good crowds make promoters money which allows them to keep the gates open.


     

    It was round six of Indiana Sprint Week at the 5/16 mile banked clay oval in Putnam County with time trials starting off the program at 6:55. A fine field of 40 sprinters graced the backstretch pit area breaking the field up into two qualifying groups. Carson Short topped group two qualifying with a time of 12.662 seconds but overall fast time came out of group one with Kevin Thomas Jr. attacking the oval to the tune of 12.558 seconds to establish himself as the fastest of the 40. The other division on the evening were the super stocks and they brought 18 entries to the party and made for the perfect filler division for the evening. After their warmup sessions the USAC sprint cars were up next to contest four heat races with the top four advancing directly to the 30 lap main event on the evening with the top six inverted for each heat. Max Adams surprised everyone by notching heat one besting Brady Bacon, Justin Grant and Josh Hodges with fast timer, Thomas, nearing spinning twice in turn four and failing to advance to the big dance. Heat two saw local hotshot, AJ Hopkins, beat the rest with Jadon Rogers, Jordan Kinser and Chase Stockon trailing. Current ISW point leader, CJ Leary garnered heat three outrunning Carson Short, Dave Darland tonight in the Cunningham #17 and Brady Short. The fourth and final heat was loaded with Tyler Courtney getting the victory over Chris Windom, Kyle Cummins and Thomas Meseraull who spun and went to the rear and came back to take away the last qualifying spot from Travis Berryhill who was relegated to the B main and where his night got much tougher. All the heats produced some fast and furious racing and the three super stock heats also were very entertaining with great battles for the lead in each one.


     

    This lead us to the sprint car C main and the unusual continued as leader Dakota Jackson hit the cushion in turn three wrong and went bouncing up high on top of the cushion ending his evening early. Shane Cottle would go on to win the C main and advance to the B main. Kevin Thomas Jr. dominated the B winning over Brandon Mattox, Mario Clouser, Jason McDougal, Shane Cottle from the C and Brian VanMeveren. During the B main a scary incident happened entering turn three when McDougal and Travis Berryhill collided racing for position with Berryhill taking a couple of end over end flips before landing on the track. Berryhill was OK but his racer was the worse for wear.


     

    The 20 lap super stock feature would take the green at 9:14 and the feature racing was as good as the heat racing previously. Wes McClara ran the high side while Josh Boller steadily made his way forward from the eighth position. At times the top three ran three wide and it was an entertaining race. McClara would prevail in this one edging Boller for the popular win.


     

    At this point all that was left was the 30 lap sprint car feature but the demise of the transformer delayed the start of the feature for slightly over a half hour. Partial power was restored and a temporary light was brought in for turns one and two after trying to line up about eight vehicles with their headlights on pointed toward the turns. That didn't work as the banking of the turns only allowed the headlights to shine at the bottom of the track. With most of the lights functional and the temporary light doing its job by 10:09 the 24 car field with the addition of Isaac Chapple and Dustin Christie were ready to rumble. Kyle Cummins moved the Hank Bryam #3R to the point at the drop of the green flag. Cummins chose the bottom and hit his marks each lap as he extended his lead in the early going. By lap four Brady Bacon was challenging CJ Leary for second also using the lower groove as Leary ran high in turn one and diamonded off in turn two holding Bacon at bay. Cummins was in cruise control up front while Bacon and Leary continued to battle for second. Finally on lap 13 Bacon worked Leary up the track a little allowing him to edge into second right before Isaac Chapple added to his dismal 2019 season flipping on top of the cushion in turns three and four on lap 14. On the restart Cummins pulled out to his comfortable five car length lead with Bacon trying different lines trying to reel in the leader. Cummins worked the lap traffic to perfection over the remaining laps and breezed across the line first scoring his fourth career USAC sprint car victory and third ISW win out of the four triumphs. Cummins explained in victory lane that this one was his favorite as you have to be a technical driver at LPS and he enjoyed turning in the flawless performance. Bacon chased Cummins across the line for second with Leary remaining in third, Tyler Courtney nailing down fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. claiming fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Carson Short, Brandon Mattox, Justin Grant, Shane Cottle the hard charger once again marching from 22nd to 9th again being the master of the bottom with Chris Windom placing tenth. It was an interesting race but one with not much passing with the exception of Cottle and it was good to see someone different park his sprinter in victory lane.


     

    That's it for this installment as Friday will be a surprise as we are passing on the expected mad house at Bloomington in favor of one of our Illinois favorites. So until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated and put on the sun block. Comments, news, tidbits or other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And in ending 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

    Courtney Sweeps The Night At Terre Haute

    Wednesday, July 24 - It was a beautiful summer day with nary a cloud in the sky with plenty of sunshine and even more on the track at Terre Haute. Temperatures bounced around 80 all day and made for a very pleasant day as the throng made their way to the Vigo County Fairgrounds, home of the Action Track or Terre Haute, whatever your preference is. The road down from Crawfordsville was enjoyable taking first Rt. 47 past Waveland, home of Thomas Meseraull, and past Turkey Run State Park in Parke County. Then we hooked onto Rt. 41 which eventually took us into the home of the Hulman Family and Indiana State University. The only problem the whole trip was a detour from our back way into the track grounds which led us back out to Rt. 41 again. Not a big problem and after laying down the blanket in the old covered grandstands I made my way out to the bench to do some bench racing with Al Pierce, Ron Miller and Jerry Shaw. After some fun discussions the sound of racing engines scattered us in various directions to take in the hot laps.


     

    The Don Smith Classic was on tap this evening featuring the USAC National Sprint Cars and the UMP modifieds. Thirty two sprints made the haul to Terre Haute for racing on the big half mile while a very disappointing ten UMP modifieds showed for their portion of the program. Time trials commenced at 6:54 and by 7:25 Tyler Courtney stood on the homestretch being interviewed by Georgia Henneberry who's mike needs to be replaced as the interviews cannot be heard in the grandstand area whatsoever and that is a shame. The UMP modifieds ran their hot laps next and by 8:01 the green was ready to drop on the first of four USAC sprint car heats. Tyler Courtney wasted little time blasting from his sixth starting spot to the lead and scoring the first heat win and two thirds of the way to a clean sweep of the night's activities winning over Justin Grant, Brandon Mattox and Great Britian's Tom Harris taking the wing off after making his first WOO feature at the King's Royal none the less last week. CJ Leary in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ duplicated Courtney's run from sixth in heat two triumphing over Carson Short, Chris Windom and Max Adams, the California youngster, who has migrated to the midwest to race with the best and continues to impress in every outing. Heat three saw Kevin Thomas Jr. wheel the Hayward/Thomas #19 to victory over Brody Roa who he passed in the last corner of the last lap for the win. Josh Hodges and Brian VanMevern joined the top two in advancing to the main event ending VanMevern's streak of having to use provisionals to join the starting field. Brady Bacon ran off with heat four besting Kyle Cummins, Chase Stockon and Isaac Chapple in this one. The sprint heats were in the books in less than a half hour. The modifieds followed with two heats won by Will Krup and Tyler Weiss. The sprint car semi would be next on the agenda with Jason McDougal who bearly missed qualifying in heat two winning this one outpacing Scotty Weir in the Cheney #42, Nate McMillin, Dustin Christie, Dustin Smith and Nebraska's Terry Richards who is having a good ISW qualifying for most of the events in his USAC debut. A good battle with Dakota Jackson over the final five laps of the semi highlighted this run.


     

    The 15 lap UMP modified feature was next to the post with Will Krup taking the early lead. Tyler Weiss did what most drivers have not done and that is pass Krup after he takes the lead but midway through the event that is exactly what Weiss did. He pulled away from Krup and won by a comfortable margin over Krup with Michael Tarlton third, Dave Baldwin fourth and Tyler Loughmiller fifth in a race that took only ten minutes to complete.


     

    Now all that was left to run was the 30 lap NOS Energy Drink USAC National Sprint Car feature and the green flag dropped on the 22 car starting field at 9:50. Chris Windom led the opening lap of the feature event with Justin Grant securing the top spot with a backstretch pass of Windom on lap 2. Meanwhile Tyler Courtney was coming quick moving from sixth to third by lap 1. Tom Harris brought out the first caution with major engine woes when he pulled to the infield entering turn one on lap 3. On the restart Grant led with Courtney diving under Windom in turn two and shooting down the backstretch into second at that point. Grant was running the middle line with great success and held a comfortable six car length lead up to the halfway mark. At this point the leaders were approaching lap traffic and Grant picked his way through with Courtney now on his tail tank as the two weaved through the traffic. Lap 18 saw the second caution appear as rookie of the year contender, Brian VanMeveren stopped in turn four to slow the action. On the restart Courtney went to the cushion in turn two to take the lead away from Grant but Justin was not done yet as he raced into turn three side by side with Courtney. Entering turn four the duo banged wheels with Courtney careening toward the wall. Courtney retained control and blasted down the homestretch with a full head of stream entering turn one. He dove low in one and caught a rut sending him into a giant bike and upon touchdown sent him toward first Grant and then the concrete wall in turn two which he somehow managed to miss and kept going without losing a position in all this mayhem. Chase Stockon then slowed on the backstretch while running sixth bringing out the third caution and allowing Courtney to regain his breath and composure under the yellow. Grant went out front on the restart with Windom challenging Courtney for second. The green didn't last long as the yellow appeared once again when Jason McDougal, running eighth at the time slowed on the backstretch to bring out the final caution of the night. Lap 23 saw Courtney throw a tight slider on Grant entering turn one and took the lead for the first time in turn two. The leaders raced down the backstretch where Grant attempted a slider entering turn three but came up short with Courtney maintaining the top spot. Entering turn one Grant biked his sprinter losing valuable ground to Courtney in the process. Over the remaining six laps Courtney raced away into the night opening up a four second advantage. At the finish at 10:14 it was Courtney across the line first for the second time in ISW action this year and his fifth overall win of the year with Grant chasing. Kevin Thomas Jr. came on late to pass Windom and rode home third with Brady Bacon, the hard charger of the evening advancing from 14th to 4th at the finish with Windom relegated to fifth at the end. ISW point leader, CJ Leary, came home sixth with Carson Short coming from 12th to 7th with Max Adams marching from 16th to 8th, Chase Stockon ninth and Kyle Cummins rounding out the top ten. It was a decent race and there was some good racing between Courtney and Grant with Thomas and Bacon providing some highlights also but it was not a classic.


     

    Time to move on with round six on tap tonight at Lincoln Park Speedway in beautiful downtown Putnamville where the USAC warriors travel to to resume battle with CJ Leary leading Chris Windom by 14 points in the ISW standings with Brady Bacon just 20 points back in third. Justin Grant has moved into fourth just 33 points back with Kevin Thomas Jr. in fifth 46 points off the pace with three races to go.


     

    That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for the report on the action at Lincoln Park Speedway. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or come on out to Indiana for the last three races of ISW. Comments, quotes, news, stories and any other things of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but certainly not least thanks for reading our efforts and we hope your enjoy reading about our typical weekends and sometimes weekdays.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Windom Fends Off Bacon For ISW Win At Kokomo

    Saturday, July 20 - The insanely hot weather continued as we prepared to take in Round three of Indiana Sprint Week at the Kokomo Speedway. The temperatures were in the high 90's and the heat index was once again above 100 as our scorcher was upon us. We decided to stay in the air conditioning as much as we could first dining with Jimmy Reeder and Max and Suzie Niemann at Golden Corral then hanging out in the car at the track (it does a number on the gas mileage but it makes sense not to sit outside either in the shade or especially in the sun on days like this). In a great move by USAC and all the tracks in the first half of ISW the starting times have been pushed back to try to alleviate everyone having to be out in the worst part of the day. As the cars rolled out for engine heating and eventually hot laps we along with many others made our way into the big aluminum grandstand on the backstretch for tonight's racing action. In addition to Jimmy and Max and Suzie we were joined this evening by Gary Dean and Sally Ebling, our racing friends from Missouri and Nebraska. Also later in the evening we were graced by the presence of 74 year old Johnny Parsons Jr. sitting right behind me. Johnny was interesting to listen to between races and added some good insight to the racing taking place.


     

    Time trials commenced at 7:55 for the good 40 car field in attendance with CJ Leary setting yet another fast time with a lap of 13.001 seconds around the bullring at Kokomo. Some additional track maintenance and we believe a break to allow the sun to go down pushed the start of the USAC heat races back to 9:03. Four heats races would be contested taking the top four directly into the 30 lap main event with the others given a second chance in the 12 lap B main. The top six in time trials after the heat races (if you were in the top six and did not qualify through the heat races the best you can start is seventh) are inverted with the sixth fastest starting first in the feature event.


     

    Thomas Meseraull claimed heat one from third beating Brody Roa, CJ Leary and Brady Bacon to the line in this one. Bacon and the crew of the Hoffman Racing #69 were able to change power plants between time trials and the first heat enabling Bacon to qualify through the heat and retain his fifth fastest time trial lap. Heat two saw Matt Westfall battling for a top four spot bike twice before losing control and rolling over in turn four and relegated to the hook for the race. Justin Grant would garner the win in heat two besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Chris Windom and Tyler Courtney. Heat three produced the surprise of the night when young Apollo Beach, Florida driver, Anthony D'Allessio, notched the heat win over Kyle Cummins, Carson Short and Jarett Andretti. The fourth heat produced a scary moment when then leader Clinton Boyles of Missouri in the Paul Hazen #57 biked his sprinter entering turn three and flew into the wall and catch fence roll cage first flipping over and coming to rest on his wheels on the track. Due to good safety equipment Boyles was OK but the Hazen #57 was the worst for wear with a broken roll cage among other bent up parts on the machine. Shane Cottle would win this one beating Scotty Weir, Jason McDougal and Brandon Mattox who all moved to the main event. The 16 King of Indiana/UMRA TQ midgets ran two heats with the Goff entries of Joey Paxson and Robbie Roland prevailing. Next up was the highly contested with 21 drivers battling for the 6 remaining spot for the 30 lap main event. Chase Stockon would post the win in the B main outdistancing Josh Hodges, Koby Barksdale, Shane Cockrum, Dave Darland and Dakota Jackson. Isaac Chapple and Brian VanMeveren would use provisionals to join the starting field which swelled to 24 at this point.


     

    The TQ midgets would run their 20 lap feature next and they spun their main event off in seven minutes with only one caution. This division always seems to run competitive races and I wonder why they don't get more attention as they bring a decent amount of cars and produce some good racing. Matt Lux took advantage of his first starting position and led all 20 laps but it was not as easy as it sounds as Austin Nigh pressured him in the closing laps after starting seventh and making his way to the front. Cory Clay was another who charged forward from eleventh to third with Tate Martz fourth after starting ninth and Matthew Hedrick fifth after starting tenth.


     

    Now it was time for round three of ISW with the front row of Scotty Weir and Brady Bacon bringing the rest of the field to Tom Hansing's green flag. Bacon and third starting Chris Windom raced side by side on the opening lap until Weir made it three wide off turn four and claimed the lead at the line to complete lap one. CJ Leary threw his helmet into the ring challenging Windom for third off turn four with the pair battling back and forth over the next several laps. Windom diamonded turn three to take third back from Leary on lap four. Windom and Bacon duked it out with Windom using a slider to secure second from Bacon on lap five shortly before Dakota Jackson turned turtle in turn four in end his night early. Meanwhile Scotty Weir was pacing the field and led past the halfway mark as the champion of the underfinanced outran all the others. With 12 to go Windom began to pressure Weir through turns one and two with Weir jumping the cushion allowing Windom to streak by on the low side for the lead. Weir countered with a slider into turn three regaining the lead but Windom dove low again in turn four and was out front once again. With seven to go Bacon used the high side to wrestle second from Weir in turn two and took up the chase of Windom. Chris had a good sized lead but Bacon was gobbling up big chunks of real estate as the laps dwindled down. With just two laps to go Bacon was close behind when Anthony D'Allessio lost the handle in turn four to bring out the first caution. On the restart Windom got a good start and raced ahead by four car lengths. Entering turn three coming to the white flag Bacon made a good run on the low side with Windom going into blocking mode diving off the top and pulling in front of Bacon. After taking the white flag the pair raced into the turns one and two with Bacon surging out front by the slimmest of margins. As they raced down the backstretch side by side they entered turn three with Windom forcefully closing the door nearly colliding with the surging Bacon and completely taken the inside line away. They raced off turn four with the double checkers waving with Windom nailing down his third win of the year and surprisingly his first in ISW competition in eight years. Bacon raced across the line second with Leary third, Kyle Cummins coming from tenth to fourth and Scotty Weir hanging on for fifth. The second five were paced by Carson Short with Kevin Thomas Jr. seventh, Justin Grant, the hard charger from 18th to 8th, Tyler Courtney15th to 9th and Chase Stockon rounding out the top ten.


     

    In victory lane Windom was greeted by quite a few boos for his last lap chopping action and later Bacon's interview was short and sweet saying that he wouldn't race that way but it seems like Windom has been doing it more and more lately. It seems the rest of ISW could be something to watch as not only are the temperatures soaring but so it seems are the tempers of some of the drivers. It was a good race and Jimmy Reeder really enjoyed the different perspective that the backstretch offers especially how the track swings out on the backstretch which you don't notice sitting on the homestretch. It was a hot, fun evening enjoyed with many friends and we look forward to the remainder of ISW. We are stepping off the tour tomorrow instead taking in an afternoon Northwoods League contest at Kokomo Municipal Stadium with the Kokomo Jackrabbits taking on the Battle Creek Bombers in a collegiate wooden bat league with 24 teams in this fine collegiate league.


     

    Justin Grant won Sunday night at Lawrenceburg in round four of ISW just beating the rains winning over Chris Windom, CJ Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Carson Short with 30 cars in attendance.
     


     

    Check back on Thursday as we will report on Wednesday night's ISW event from the famed Action Track in Terre Haute where the troops gather for another round of non-winged sprint car racing. Until that time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated and put on plenty of sun screen to enjoy the racing near you. News, comments, press releases, observations and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always the case thanks for reading our efforts and keep coming back to see where a typical weekend (or week) takes us in our racing travels.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Courtney Wires The Field At Plymouth

    Friday, July 19 - Another day dawned with the heat index above 100, 106 to be exact but despite the heat it was time for round two of Indiana Sprint Week tonight be hosted at the Plymouth Speedway in Northern Indiana. From our base in Kokomo we ventured north after having lunch at McAllister's avoiding a road closure on Rt. 31 by taking some back roads including a dirt one before returning to Rt. 31 further north in our trip. We arrived around 5:30 and found a good parking spot up toward the main entrance. Our Iowa friend, Jimmy Reeder, had saved seats for us so we provided some extra blankets to save two extra seats for the Niemanns who texted us after our arrival. It was hot but we sat in air condition of the Rogue listening to the Cubs beat the Padres 6-5 before we ventured over to visit with some of our Pennsylvania buddies near their car. Between the shade from their vehicle and the nice steady breeze blowing in our faces it was not uncomfortable sitting outside. As the cars hit the track for hot laps we all gathered our belongings and made our way into the huge aluminum grandstand that runs the entire length of the homestretch and towers high above the track surface. Upon entering we noticed that Dan and Jen Morgan from Bloomington were in the row right behind us so some additional friends were added to the party.


     

    USAC sprint time trials began the program at 7:56 with two groups of 19 under the clock with Dustin Ingle fastest in group one at 13.485 seconds while Tyler Courtney was fastest in group two and overall at 13.368 seconds. Warmups were next for the 13 micros on hand who were racing on the inner oval this evening giving Jimmy Reeder two new tracks for his list. USAC sprint car heats commenced at 8:46 with four in total advancing the top four to the main event. Heat one saw Ohio's Matt Westfall pace the field winning over Brandon Mattox, Chase Stockon and Dustin Ingle. Heat two was a very competitive contest with New Mexico's Josh Hodges holding off the advances of Brady Bacon, Zane Hendricks and Nebraska's Terry Richards battling tooth and nail with last night's feature winner, Shane Cottle, for the final transfer spot with Richards prevailing. Cottle's bad night would continue in the B main where he was involved in a scuffle and retired to the infield during the running of the B. This is the prime example of someone going from hero to zero in an instant and show you how fickle racing can be going from the top of the mountain to the bottom in one night. Hopefully The Throttle will rebound tomorrow night at the stop at Kokomo always a good track for him. The third heat of the evening seemed to be the loaded one as it was last night with T-Mez prevailing in this one in his own steed besting Carson Short, Justin Grant and Tyler Courtney. The fourth heat was a wild one as Dickie Gaines and Brody Roa tangled entering turn three with Chad Boespflug becoming involved with Roa and Boespflug flipping over in the process. Everyone was OK after this altercation. Kyle Cummins would go on to win this one outrunning Kevin Thomas Jr., Chris Windom and Jason McDougal who passed Dave Darland late for the final qualifying position. Two micro heats on the inner oval would follow and next up was the sprint car B main. CJ Leary would garner the B turning back Dakota Jackson, Max Adams, Jarett Andretti, Mitchell Davis in a good run and Clinton Boyles in the Paul Hazen #57 punching the last ticket into the big dance. Chad Boespflug and Dustin Christie would use provisionals to join the back of the field raising the number of feature starters to 24 for the 30 lap feature event.


     

    Jesse Holt nailed down the 20 lap micro feature with a strong run besting the 13 car field for the win.


     

    The front row of Chris Windom and Chase Stockon brought the rest of the 24 car field to the green flag at 10:34 with Stockon taking the lead on the backstretch. That was short lived as Windom powered by in turn one at the beginning of lap two. Brady Bacon worked the bottom to take second away from Stockon down the homestretch on lap three and took up the chase of the high flying Windom. Bacon edged Windom at the line to complete lap twelve and promptly nipped the inside tractor tires through turn one and clearly moved ahead in turn two. One lap later Brandon Mattox rolled over in turn one to bring out the red flag and he quickly climbed from his wrecked machine. On the restart Bacon used the inside to scoot away with Windom and Tyler Courtney now hooking up in a race for the runnerup position. Courtney took second away from Windom with a high side sweep entering turn one on lap 15 and took up the pursuit of Bacon. Courtney was using the high side to his advantage and swept closer to Bacon entering turn two on lap 18 when Bacon went high to block the advance and took away some of Courtney's momentum. Zane Hendricks broke up the duel for the lead when he went hard into the turn one wall and rolled over to bring out the second red of the feature event. On the restart Bacon led with Courtney and Windom in tow. Bacon was on the low side again but exiting turn four he anticipated an outside sweeper by Courtney and drifted high but Courtney drove low and powered by Bacon for the lead at the line. Thomas Meseraull blew a right rear and half spun off turn four moments later to bring out the yellow but Courtney was in front at the time. Courtney powered away on the restart but a battle royale brought out behind the leader with Windom, Grant, Leary advancing from seventh, Bacon and Jason McDougal slugging it out for positions in the top five. Courtney was gone over the remaining ten laps and flashed under the checkers at 11:03 for the fourth time in 2019 tying Brady Bacon for the most wins so far and collecting his 21st career USAC National Sprint win in the process tying Greg Weld for 28th on the all time sprint win list. CJ Leary used the top to wrestle away his second consecutive runnerup finish at the finish with Grant third, Bacon fourth and McDougal rounding out the top five. Windom faded and settled for sixth with Dakota Jackson giving the Gass #17 a good ride from 13th to 7th with Stockon slumping to 8th, Kyle Cummins placing 9th and Josh Hodges claiming 10th.

    It was a decent race with some good battles throughout and provided some good entertainment for the good sized crowd on hand as the shade in the grandstands and the pleasant breeze all evening made for a surprisingly comfortable night of racing.


     

    That's all for now and check back soon for round three of ISW from the baddest bullring in Indiana, the Kokomo Speedway, where the action is just around the next corner. So until next time stay hydrated (plenty of water & not just beer) and put on the sun screen and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or make your way to Indiana for the best non-wing racing in the country. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where our next typical weekend takes us.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cottle Nips Leary At Line For ISW Opener At Gas City

    Thursday, July 18 - A heat advisory was in effect for most of the Midwest but racing was still on at the Gas City I-69 Speedway for the opener of Indiana Sprint Week Edition 32. Good friends, Max and Suzie Niemann, were kind enough to save us seats for tonight's racing as Pat had to work and we knew we would not be arriving before 6 PM. Thank goodness that they did as we arrived around 6:10 to find the front lot totally packed and the field outside of turns one and two filling up quickly. We found a parking spot along the tree line equal with the backstretch and after consuming dinner in the air conditioned car we ventured across the grass field to make our way into the grandstand area. Right in front of us entering the gate were Max and Suzie and we chatted for quite some time before spotting Dan and Jen Morgan who we talked with for a while until heading toward our grandstand seats. Jerry Gappens has done a fine job bringing back Gas City to its former glory and he and his staff deserve a round of applause for the great job they did on this evening also. Tents with fans, an area to soak your towels to place around your neck and beverage stands were a few of the perks provided on this hot evening and was truly appreciated by everyone in attendance. And in spite of the hot weather they were rewarded with a very large crowd on hand maybe being the largest in the short tenure of Jerry Gappens and that is good to see. Now onto the racing!!


     

    One of the things that we really like about Indiana Sprint Week is the fact that every show is just a two division program and with the fact that starting times have been pushed back to help beat the heat it is good to only have two divisions so the show can be move along in a timely manner. The two sessions of time trials kicked off at 7:42 with Jason McDougal setting fast time of session two at 12.199 seconds but the first session had the fastest overall time of 12.046 seconds set by Illinois invader, Carson Short. Corey Smith caught the homestretch wall with his right rear tire during his time trial run that turned him sideways and into a series of rollovers. Smith was OK and would make repairs to his machine and return to race in his heat race.


     

    The four heat races for the fine 43 car field on hand would begin at 8:38 and the action started early as fast timer, Carson Short, cut across Josh Hodges' front end in turn three and rolled his sprinter before coming to a rest. Damage was minimal and Short would return for the B main later. Scotty Weir took the Pederson #4P to the front and held off Chris Windom, Justin Grant and Josh Hodges who had a great race for the last qualifying position with Chad Boesplug and fellow Californian Brody Roa. Heat two went to Kevin Thomas Jr. besting Brady Bacon, Chase Stockon and Brent Beauchamp in a loaded heat. Jason McDougal would cop heat three beating Thomas Meseraull, a five time winner at Gas City in 2019, Dave Darland in the Cheney #42 and CJ Leary. The fourth and final heat would be a romp by Tyler Courtney outdistancing Dakota Jackson in the Gass #17, Corey Smith recovering nicely from his time trial ride and Kyle Cummins from eighth to fourth. The non-winged 600's were the other class on the card and they brought 20 entries to the dance. Dylan Woodling, normally an UMP modified standout, took heat one with Eastin Ashbrooke taking heat two and Justin Harper slicing through the field to take heat three. Next up on the agenda was the sprint car C main with Max Adams scoring the win and moving into the B main. Shane Cottle would motor the Tony Epperson #2E to victory in the B main outrunning Carson Short, Isaac Chapple, AJ Hopkins, Cole Ketchum and Max Adams advancing from the C to the B and now to the A main in a fine run.


     

    The 20 lap 600 feature would take the green flag at 10 PM. Mike Landis would lead the first eleven laps and as Dylan Woodling challenged for the lead on the backstretch on lap 11 he caught something wrong and went flipping high in the air before landing back on the track surface. He was OK but done for the evening. Devan Myers had worked his way up to third from 19th at this point and pressured Ashbrooke for second on lap 13 slipping by in turn two. In turn three Myers dove low to pass Landis for the lead and the march from 19th was now to 1st. Two laps later Justin Harper grabbed second from Landis and took up the challenge. Harper drew close but never made a serious challenge for the lead and twelve minutes after the start Devan Myers flashed under the checkered flag first with Harper second, Landis third, Ashbrooke fourth and Abby Hohlbein rounding out the top five in a fine race that was a prelude to the upcoming 30 lap USAC sprint tussle.


     

    The front row of Kevin Thomas Jr. and CJ Leary brought the 24 car field to the green flag with the addition of provisionals Chad Boespflug and Brian VanMeveren joining the party. Leary went to the early lead with Thomas and Grant in tow. Lap three saw Scotty Weir spin in turn two with Isaac Chapple sliding in after having nowhere to go. The second yellow appeared on lap six when Corey Smith stopped high in turn two. On both restarts Leary continued to pace the field and looked like he would cruise to the victory. The action was fierce behind him with Thomas, Windom, Bacon, McDougal and an advancing Shane Cottle, the master of the bottom, using that line to advance from 18th into the hunt. Lap seventeen saw ninth running Thomas Meseraull get sideways in turn three with 11th running Tyler Courtney plowing into him with no choice as they were running too close together to avoid him. Courtney's night was over prematurely at this point to his disappointment. On the next restart Leary had two lap cars behind him and second running Thomas and pulled away quickly. Windom used the top to power into third past Bacon as Cottle was working the bottom as only he can taking over fourth. The last yellow appeared on lap 25 when Isaac Chapple spun in turn one to set up a five lap dash for the cash. On the restart Leary jumped back out front with Cottle diving low in turn two to pull alongside Thomas for second. They raced side by side down the backstretch and into turns three and four before Cottle edged ahead to take second. Leary had about a five car length but every lap Cottle whittled away at the deficit and drew closer. Taking the white flag the pair raced side by side entering turn one and this continued all the way around the 1/4 mile. Coming off the final corner the top two raced to the line with Cottle edging Leary by 0.002 seconds in one of the closest finishes in USAC history. There was some controversy as the transponder which are located on the rear bumpers showed Leary edging Cottle but the USAC rule is the winner is determined by who's front wheels cross the start/finish line first and the USAC officials called the exciting win for Cottle at the line. Leary led 29 laps but not the one that counted ending up second with Windom third, Bacon fourth and Thomas slipping to fifth at the finish as he stuck with the top but it went away as he slipped from second to fifth in the last five laps. Positions six through ten were filled by Jason McDougal who also stuck with the top, Dakota Jackson, Kyle Cummins, Brent Beauchamp from 20th and Justin Grant. It was Cottle's third career USAC National Sprint Car victory with all of them coming at Gas City. It was also his first since 2008 and only the second for car owner, Tony Epperson, with his last coming last year at Kokomo with Tyler Thomas at the wheel.


     

    It was a fine finish to a fine feature and it will take a lot to top this night of racing over the course of the remaining events of the 32nd Indiana Sprint Week but we look forward to seeing if any other track can do so!!! A grand evening of racing from start to finish topped off with two excellent feature events. It don't get much better than that!!!


     

    That's it for now and check back tomorrow for round two of ISW from the Plymouth Speedway where we will be heading. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or head out here and take in some of the exciting non-wing action of ISW. Comments (good or bad), notes, news and tidbits can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And 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

    Carrick In Right Place At Right Time To Score Career First USAC Win At Sweet Springs

    Sunday, July 14 - We slept in at our hotel in Concordia, Missouri as we only had a short 11 minute ride to tonight's racing at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex in Sweet Springs. After rising and getting ready to go we ventured underneath the interstate over to the Seven Day Diner on the westbound side of the road. A very good meal was enjoyed before returning to the hotel to hang out a while until it was time to go to the race track. We would be joined on this evening by Dale O'Brien and Bill Burns in the homestretch wooden grandstands that stretched the entire length of the front-stretch on the 1/6 mile dirt oval. The track was a little smaller than the others on the tour but it was wide and well groomed and produced some good racing on the evening.


     

    After warmups USAC midgets were first on the agenda with their time trials for their 23 car field starting off at 6:05 and by 6:23 Chris Windom had spun off a time of 11.951 seconds which was a new track record. The other divisions on the card tonight were the winged 600 micro sprints and they also brought 23 steeds to the rodeo. The USAC midgets would contest their three heats first with Sam Johnson holding off the field to take heat one over Jerry Coons Jr., Ethan Mitchell, Jason McDougal and Logan Seavey. The Petry Motorsports team brought out a third car on the last night for their chief wrench, Cole Bodine, and he took it to the heat two win besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Tyler Courtney, Tucker Klaasmeyer and Tanner Thorson. Young Zeb Wise bested the field in heat three beating Chad Boat, Tanner Carrick, Andrew Layser and Brady Bacon. The 600 micros lined up for three heats also with Riley Goodno, Matt Carr and Garet Williamson notching heat wins. No USAC semi would be needed so next up would be the 40 lap NOS Energy Drink USAC midget feature.


     

    Logan Seavey and Andrew Layser brought the 23 car field to the green flag at 8:13 with the front row battling side by side through turns one and two. Going down the backstretch the two banged wheels with Layser losing control entering turn three with Jason McDougal making contact throwing him sideways. Tanner Thorson caught McDougal's left rear and flipped wildly in turn three ending his evening early. Zeb Wise made contact with Thorson also rolling over in the process but Wise was able to restart after visiting the work area. On the restart Layser took the lead but the red waved again on lap two when Curtis Spicer flipped in turn two. Layser would lead the first two laps until Tyler Courtney swept by to take the top spot. Courtney looked strong as he paced the field with Jason McDougal jumping to second and Seavey running in third. Tanner Carrick and Chris Windom threw their helmets in the ring and joined the party up front as this group battled it out tooth and nail. The laps were clicking off and it looked like Courtney was on his way to his seventh win of the year with Seavey advancing to second and applying the pressure to the leader as they worked their way through the lap traffic. With five to go Seavey entered turn three and threw a massive slider on Courtney taking the lead but Courtney countered and retook the lead off of turn four. With three to go Courtney entered turn three and caught the cushion wrong with his right rear tire which sent him sideways and over onto his side with Seavey clipping him as he drove by. Courtney was able to restart at the rear but Seavey had front end problems and retired to the pit area and would not be repeating his win from last year. This gave the lead to McDougal on the final restart with Windom and Carrick lurking on his tail tank and Zeb Wise in the hunt after restarting last on the lap two scrum and slicing his way back into contention. McDougal led into turn one with Windom looking to throw the slider but he didn't have enough room so he slid behind McDougal entering turn two where McDougal jumped the berm and tagged the wall slowing Windom's charge and opening the inside for Carrick who drove by both of them into the lead. Carrick went to the cushion and kept the wolves at bay as they charged to the finish at 8:53 with Carrick scoring his first career USAC midget win and becoming the fourth new winner in the midget class in 2019. Zeb Wise dusted off Windom for second off turn four with Windom settling for third, McDougal ending up fourth and Chad Boat rounding out the top five. Kevin Thomas Jr. would end up sixth with Jerry Coons Jr. seventh, Daniel Robinson climbing from 23rd to eighth and claiming the hard charger award, Tucker Klaasmeyer ninth and Andrew Layser hanging on for tenth.


     

    It was a very competitive race but the two reds and five other cautions (including three from Ethan Mitchell) spoiled what would have been considered a great race but it still was very good.


     

    The winged 600's were next with their 20 lap feature and these guys fly around the 1/6 mile oval with reckless abandon. This one would go non-stop in five minutes and it looked like Quinn Jones would bag this one taking the lead early from his sixth starting position. As he worked his way through lap traffic on the last lap Brady Bacon closed to within striking distance and as they raced off turn four Bacon stuck with the middle groove and sped off the corner nipping Jones at the line for the win at 9:08. It was a good night of racing on the small oval and maybe the best of the Mid-America USAC tour.


     

    That's it for now as Indiana Sprint Week looms on the horizon starting Thursday evening at Gas City. So get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or head to Indiana and take in some of the Indiana Sprint Week. News, comments, quotes, insights and more can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back Friday for a report on round one of Indiana Sprint Week.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Ace McCarthy Wins POWRi Career First At Valley

    Saturday, July 13 - We decided to come off the USAC Midwest Tour and take in the POWRi National Midgets and the winged 600's in their second night of two racing at the Valley Speedway in Grass Valley, Missouri instead. The drive from Fairbury, Nebraska to Grass Valley, Missouri was uneventful as we enjoyed the back roads and the scenery driving down from Nebraska. A delicious lunch at Bandana's in St. Joseph, MIssouri was enjoyed by all before completing the drive into Missouri.


     

    We arrived early and parked under a tree to try to escape the blazing sun as temperatures hovered in the mid 90's. The facility at Valley Speedway is rudimentary at best with old cars and lots of tractor trailers parked all around the grounds of the track. The stands were the worst for wear with many boards warped and rising up in the air. After the sun went down the lighting was turned out and it was not good with many dark spots around the oval. Basically to sum it up the facility was a dump. Sorry to say but true. The race surface itself was the highlight of the facility with good dirt and multiple grooves.


     

    POWRI does not run qualifying or time trials and the lineups for the main event are determined by passing points in the heat racing. The fine 35 car midget field would contest five heats with fourteen year old Daison Pursley in one of the Kunz steeds scored heat one turning back Zach Daum and Chad Fredwaldt. Heat two went to Trey Marcham from third over Jake Neuman from seventh and Daniel Robinson. Holley Hollan in another Kunz entry nailed down heat three besting fifth starting Cannon McIntosh and Noah Gass. Heat four went to Kennedale, Texas driver, Kyle Jones, over seventh starting Ace McCarthy and Andrew Felker. Fifteen year old future star, Hank Davis, captured heat five over Jesse Colwell and Clinton Boyles. The 23 car winged 600 field would contest three heats with wins going to Joe B. Miller, Frank Galusha and Jackson Frisbie. The midget semi was next on the agenda with Oklahoma's Noah Gass taking this one. Some additional track prep was performed before moving into the 30 lap POWRi midget feature.


     

    The 22 car field was led to the green flag by last night's winner, Jake Neuman, and Ace McCarthy with Neuman leading lap one at the wire. McCarthy tossed a slider at his teammate in turns one and two to take the lead but Neuman countered with his own slider in turn three to regain the lead. McCarthy crossed over in turn four and took command of the lead to start the next circuit. Two quick cautions bunched the field and seventeen year old Holley Hollan had worked her way from seventh to second on the tail tank of McCarthy. On the restart Hollan drew even with McCarthy and they raced side by side until McCarthy was able to fend off the lady's advances. Hollan continued to stalk McCarthy and her persistence was rewarded as McCarthy wrestled with the cushion off turns three and four on lap 11 with Hollan slipping by on the inside but the caution appeared at that moment and negated the move. On the restart McCarthy scooted out front with Hank Davis challenging Hollan for second. This gave McCarthy some breathing room as he raced out front. McCarthy switched his line in turns one and two clinging to the bottom but remaining loyal to the cushion through turns three and four allowing him to increase his advantage over Hollan who raced in second. The battle royale was for the third position with Davis, Felker, Neuman, Daum and Pursley taking runs at each other. Up front McCarthy was breezing and would race under the double checkers at 10 PM for his first career POWRi National midget win besting Holley Hollan who garnered her best career finish with 11th starting, Andrew Felker, working the bottom to perfection to nail down third with Zach Daum coming from 10th to 4th and Hank Davis rounding out the top five. Trey Marcham led the second five in sixth with Jake Neuman seventh, Daison Pursley eighth, Cannon McIntosh ninth and Jesse Colwell rounding out the top ten. A joyous McCarthy celebrated in victory lane savoring his first career victory.


     

    The 20 lap 600 feature was next up with Joe B. Miller taking the lead from his first starting position with Frank Galusha in hot pursuit. Galusha threw a slider on Miller to take the lead on lap two and Galusha looked strong in the middle stages of the race. The two front runners swapped the lead over the next 12 laps before Miller blew by with a turn three slider on lap 15 to take the lead for the final time. Gunner Ramey made a late charge from tenth to take second from tenth with Galusha retaining third with Harley Hollan fourth from 11th and Jackson Frisbie rounding out the top five with the final checker waving at 10:24.


     

    The features were entertaining when they were running but with seven and five cautions respectively that took away from the racing action.


     

    That's it until tomorrow when we travel a short way down the road to the Sweet Springs Speedway for the final USAC Mid-America tour race there. So until the next report get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated. News, comments, stories and such can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for taking the time to read our column and hope you enjoy it.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cancellation At Concordia & McDougal Wins First USAC Midget Race At Jefferson County

    Wednesday, July 10 & Thursday, July 11 - The second stop of the Mid-America USAC midget tour was suppose to be at the Concordia High Banks Speedway in Concordia, Kansas, the home of Chad McDaniel who the race was in memorial to. We drove the 5 hours north from Edmond, OK only to arrive to the news that the Wednesday night program had been postponed due to saturated grounds at the fairgrounds. So instead of preparing for racing that evening we visited some tourist interest sights in Concordia such as the orphan train museum, the Cloud Co. museum and the Brown Grand Theatre and Opera House along with the World War II German prison camp outside of Concordia. They were all interesting and passed the time but it wouldn't replace a good night of racing.


     

    The next day dawned sunny and hot and we were ready to go racing or so we thought. As we approached the fairgrounds around 5:15 a parade of haulers were headed our way in the opposite direction. That is never a good sign. Upon entering the grounds at the fairgrounds we found other haulers pulling out and pulled up near the grandstands to found out what had happened. The official release from USAC cited saturated grounds and track safety concerns as the cause of the cancellation of the event. Many people were gathered by the ticket booth and inside near the stands discussing what had happened. No one was quite sure of the official track safety concerns and many were tight lipped about what had happened at the driver's meeting. It would turn out to be a lose/lose situation for USAC as there were many disgruntled fans who had traveled from bordering states and further with Tweets proclaiming just hours before the event that they were running this evening and upon arrival found that the race was postponed. Add to that the local Kansas folks who had come out to honor their hometown boy, Chad McDaniel, and realized that the event had been canceled and to them that was a slap in the face. Upon further inquiry the next day I found out that the main concern by the owners and drivers were two issues with the fencing. I viewed several pictures on someone's phone of a potential problem with an steel guardrail in various sections of the track secured by small wooden posts with a gap between the guard rail and the catch fencing causing concern. The other issue seemed to be the placement of smaller piping at the top of the catch fence sticking straight out toward the track. This concerned the drivers and owners if someone would flip that they might be impaled on the piping. This led to a vote taken place at the driver's meeting where the owners and drivers refused to race on the evening. Its a shame that someone from the drivers/owners side had not spotted these concerns the day before and save the fans the expense of an extra day of lodging and a needless day of travel for many. That is why this situation was a lose/lose situation especially for USAC and was a shame for everyone but to us the bottom line comes down to safety and I don't think you can argue with that. You still can be unhappy about the way the whole thing came down but you have to respect the tough decision made by the drivers and owners and move forward from this point.


     

    Friday, July 12 - It was a shorter drive for us today, only about an hour and 45 minutes from Salina, Kansas to Fairbury, Nebraska which allowed us time to have lunch at Perkin's and pay a visit to the National Midget Hall of Fame in Belleville, Kansas before traveling further northeast to Fairbury, the home of the Jefferson County Speedway, the site of the next round of the Midwest USAC Midget series. Twenty three midgets and 17 flat track motorcycles signed into the pit area for tonight's racing action at the quarter mile semi-banked dirt oval on a nice fairground's facility that was having their annual fair also.


     

    The night kicked off with time trials for the 23 car field at 6:36 with Logan Seavey continuing his surge setting a new track record in qualifying with a time of 10.685 seconds. Shortly thereafter the flat track motorcycles began their three heat races before the midgets returned for their three heat races. Tanner Carrick would notch the first heat win from second over Tanner Thorson, Jerry Coons Jr., Logan Seavey and Chris Windom. Heat two would go to the high flying Tucker Klaasmeyer from fourth beating Tyler Thomas, Zeb Wise, Brady Bacon and Kevin Thomas Jr. The final heat would go to Chad Boat also from fourth turning back Tyler Courtney, Jason McDougal, Sam Johnson and Robert Dalby. There would be no need for a semi for the midgets on the evening. The flat track motorcycles returned to run three features in their different classes and the only thing left was to run the 30 lap NOS Energy Drink 30 lap USAC midget feature. In a nice touch the entire starting lineup was introduced and they walked across the stage attached to the covered aluminum grandstand with a line of youngsters giving high fives to the drivers as they passed. They gave the Nebraska crowd a chance to see the drivers up close and personal and was a good selling point.


     

    The 30 lap feature took the green flag at 8:54 with Tanner Thorson taking the early lead from first over Robert Dalby and Jason McDougal. By lap seven McDougal used a low side turn four move to pass Dalby for second and fell in behind Thorson. The turning point of the race occurred on lap nineteen with the lap car of Olivia Bennett slid sideways in front of Thorson off turn four causing him to spin and with no where to go Kevin Thomas Jr. and Tucker Klaasmeyer tangled and spun with Thomas getting the worst of the deal needing the hook and retiring for the evening. This handed the lead over to Jason McDougal and he took full advantage of the gift situation. Two laps later Klaasmeyer's night got worse as he flipped over in turn three and was done for the evening. On the restart McDougal went to the point trailed by Chris Windom and Tyler Courtney. Windom and Courtney began to mix it up allowing McDougal some breathing room and Courtney who had started 12th worked his way by Windom after a good battle with six to go and went after the leader. On the final lap Courtney got a good run on the high side and challenged McDougal as they raced to the line but fell short and it was McDougal first across the line for his first career USAC midget win in his new ride in the Fred Manafort #76M out of Vermont. Courtney would cross the line second with Windom third, Chad Boat fourth from ninth and Jerry Coons Jr. fifth from tenth at the checker at 9:21. The second five were led by Tyler Thomas who made a fine run from the rear after spinning earlier in the event to claim sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Andrew Layser eighth, Zeb Wise ninth and Robert Dalby fading to tenth at the finish. It was a good event and the good crowd on hand seemed the enjoy the small car action.


     

    That's it until the next race which is the POWRi midgets from Valley Speedway in Missouri so check back soon. News, comments, press releases and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Mid-America USAC Midget Opener Falls To Logan Seavey

    Tuesday, July 9 - It was a long day's drive from Grinnell, Iowa to Meeker, Oklahoma (9 hours with two gas stops and lunch added in) but it was worth it to see the Mid-America USAC midget week opener at the quarter mile red clay oval of the Red Dirt Raceway. On tap tonight were the NOS Energy Drinks USAC midgets with a fine field of 36 on hand joined by the local 600 micro sprints who brought 20 cars pitside. Dale O'Brien arrived about 15 minutes before us and secured seats in the top row of the new Trex granstands on the homestretch as we rode into town to buy some ice cream and drinks for the scorching day where temperatures touched the 100 degree mark before settling in at 96 degrees. The NOS energy drinks sure came in handy after entering the facility to keep us hydrated.

    USAC midget time trials would start off the night of action with the first car taking the green at 7:08. When it was all said and done at 7:31 it was Zeb Wise placing the Clauson/Marshall #39BC at the top of the podium with a time of 13.207 seconds which was also a new track record. By 7:50 the first heat race of the evening went green with the 600 micro sprints providing the entertainment. Shawn Mahaffey would draw first blood taking heat one with Kale Drake notching heat two and Daison Pursley claiming heat three. The USAC midgets would follow with four heat races for their 36 entrants on hand with local Jonathan Beason streaking to heat number one victory besting Chris Windom, Jerry Coons Jr. and Jason McDougal relegating fast timer, Zeb Wise, to the semi. Heat two saw another Oklahoma native, Holley Hollan, capture this one over Kevin Thomas Jr., Shannon McQueen and Matt Sherrell. Chad Boat broke the Oklahoma stranglehold by notching heat three over Tyler Courtney, Cannon McIntosh and Robert Dalby joining McQueen as the second traveling Californian in the starting field. Tyler Thomas put another Oklahoma driver at the top claiming heat four over Tanner Thorson, Jesse Colwell and Tanner Carrick.


     

    The 20 lap 600 micro sprint feature was next on the agenda with Daison Pursley taking the early lead and looking like a sure winner until encountering mechanical woes and pulling to the infield while leading. This handed the lead over to Shawn Mahaffey and he took full advantage of the situation and led the remainder of the 20 lap distance outrunning Seth Shebester and Kale Drake for the win. Next up was the USAC midget semi with a terrifying moment when Karsyn Elledge launched her midget out and over the turn three wall in a series of end over end flips bringing everyone to silence as we awaited a report from the scene. Fortunately the news was good when Elledge climbing from the battered machine and was OK and the crowd was able to take a collective breath once again. Zeb Wise went onto to score the semi win over Tucker Klaasmeyer, Zane Hendricks, Andrew Deal, Hank Davis and Logan Seavey baring sneaking into the main event.


     

    By 9:56 it was time for the 30 lap USAC midget feature with Tyler Courtney and Jason McDougal bringing 20 of their friends or enemies to the line (all a matter of opinion) to the green flag for the start of the race. McDougal ripped the cushion to take the early lead from Courtney on the start until the first of six caution flags flew on the field. Lap nine saw Holley Hollan take a nasty ride over the turn three fence similar to Elledge's earlier ride and again everyone was relieved when they found out the young racer was OK after the hard tumble. On the restart Courtney threw a slider on McDougal to take the lead as the action was hot and heavy throughout the entire field on this muggy evening. Sliders galore were the norm of the early action as drivers battled for every inch of ground and every position. Tanner Carrick was on the move racing hard high into turn one with McDougal with McDougal running out of real estate jumping the cushion and while trying to return to the racing surface collided with Kevin Thomas Jr. resulting in both of them turning over. Tanner Thorson slid into the fray with nowhere to go and Tyler Thomas joined the tussle sliding into Thorson and also turning turtle. Thorson and Thomas were able to return while Thomas and McDougal were done for the evening. A key turning point of the evening occurred on lap 12 when suddenly leader Courtney slowed on the backstretch with mechanical gremlins and handled the lead over to Carrick. The California driver would lead through the middle stages of the race with Chris Windom on his rear nerf bar. Laps 18 and 19 were very entertaining with Carrick and Windom swapping slide jobs with each of them leading a lap at the line until Jerry Coons Jr. working the bottom to perfection as only he can do slipped by both of them to lead lap 20. Suddenly out of nowhere also (actually ninth) was Logan Seavey who ran in the latter end of the top ten for the first twenty laps was now a dog in the hunt flying up to second past both Carrick and Windom. With eight laps to go Carrick and Windom raced side by side into turn three with Windom deciding he had had enough of some of Carrick's sliders and became judge and jury sliding hard into Carrick carrying him to the wall and resulting in Carrick suffering a flat left rear tire which he changed in the work area. Before anyone decides they are judge and jury and the final decision maker on slide jobs they should watch the video of earlier moves by said driver and apologize for their actions instead of declaring in post race interviews that he took care of Carrick short sliding people all night. Remember when you point the finger you have four others pointing back at you!!! Back to the action at hand with Coons the leader but not for long as one lap after the restart Seavey charged around the bottom running Coons to secure the lead. The last seven laps were mild in comparison to the first 23 as Seavey cruised to his fifth career USAC midget victory with Zeb Wise passing Coons for second with five to go and Windom nipping Coons at the line for third. Jonathan Beason would round out the top five after starting 18th on the grid. From almost not making the field to winning the opener of the five race series was a stirring comeback for Seavey who has been on a tear since winning Indiana Midget Week followed by Illinois Midget Week this year. The top five started 9th, 7th, 11th, 15th and 17th which might give you an indication of how wild this one really was. The second five were led by 16th starting Matt Sherrell, Chad Boat, Tanner Thorson, Tucker Klaasmeyer and Tyler Thomas rallying for tenth after rolling over in the lap nine incident. With six yellows and one red it could not be called a great race but it was a good and interesting race none the less.


     

    That's it for now and check back tomorrow for round two (take that anyway you want to) of the Mid-America Midget Week from the Concordia, Kansas high banks for the McDaniel Memorial. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and try to stay dry and hydrated at the same time. Comments, quotes, news and any other tidbits came reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy sharing them with you.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Bacon Dominates In Cornbelt Nationals $20,000 Finale

     

    Saturday, July 6 - We arranged to meet Bill and Judy Burns Saturday morning at their hotel in Indianaola and we set off to tour the Bridges of Madison County, a series of six covered bridges made famous by the movie of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. It was a fun day and was topped off by a good meal at Crouse's Family Restraurant in Indianaola before heading over to Knoxville for the night's racing.


     

    It was night two of the Cornbelt Nationals for the non-winged sprint cars (47) and they would be joined on the card by 23 winged 410 sprints for the evening. We were joined in the massive homestretch grandstands by Jimmy Reeder and we enjoyed each other's company the entire evening. The winged 410's started off the time trial action slightly after 7 with Carson McCarl setting the fast time of 15.506 seconds for this division. The non-wing sprints followed with hot laps and then went to work with their time trials with Justin Grant coming out on top of the pylon with a time of 19.312 seconds around the big half mile located on the Marion County Fairgrounds. Then it was right into the winged 410 sprint heats with Terry McCarl drawing first blood defeating Brook Tatnell and Jaime Ball in heat one. Chris Martin looked strong winning heat two over Matt Juhl and Wayne Johnson. The third heat went to Davey Heskin turning back Gio Selzi and Tasker Phillips. Four heats would be contested for the 410 non-wing sprints with fast timer, Justin Grant, capturing heat one over Carson Short, Nick Bilbee and Riley Kreisel. Chase Stockon charged from seventh quickly to dominate heat two winning over Ryan Bernal, Mitchell Davis and Kory Schudy as the WAR sprint boys continued to impress against the more well known USAC boys. Heat three was captured by Tyler Courtney over CJ Leary, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. in the loaded heat of the night. In this one Wesley Smith took a nasty end over end flip in turn one exiting his sprinter quickly to the relief of the large crowd on hand. He was able to repair his damaged machine enough to start the A main as he had enough points to lock into the top 18. He took one lap at the back of the field to earn his $1000 to start the race. Brady Bacon would pick up from where he left off last night powering from fourth to the lead in a lap and a half on his way to a heat four victory over Wyatt Burks, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. The non-wing cars would run a C main and a B main before the feature fields would be set. Chris Morgan triumphed in the C main over Brandon Stevenson, Lane Stone and Slater Helt moving to the back of the B main. Dave Darland would blister the B main field winning handily over Josh Hodges, Anthony Nicholson, Kory Schudy, Korey Weyant and Steve Irwin. All the prelims were now in the books and all that remained were the two 410 sprint car main events.


     

    The 20 lap winged 410 sprint car feature was the first one to the post and took Doug Clark's green flag at 10:22. Paker Price-Miller known as the Law Firm jumped out front on the start trailed by Justin Henderson and Lynton Jeffrey. Gio Scelzi was coming quickly cracking the top five by lap four taking fourth from Heskin at that point. The leaders entered lap traffic by lap six and threaded their way through them. Jeffrey shot by Henderson for second on lap six and closed on Price-Miller and challenged him for the lead. Scelzi picked off Henderson for third with five to go as Price-Miller continued to hold off the field. Six minutes later it was all over as Parker Price-Miller flashed under Doug Clark's double checkers to score his first win of 2019 and also his first win ever at Knoxville. It was appropriate that a kid from Kokomo, Indiana would win on this night as he outran Lynton Jeffrey, Gio Scelzi, Davey Heskin and Austin McCarl to score the popular win.


     

    Now it was time for the $20,000 to win Cornbelt Nationals for the non-winged sprint cars with the green flag dropping at 10:58. Brady Bacon made short order of Grant sliding across his nose entering turn one to secure the early lead and going to the cushion in turn two with CJ Leary in close pursuit. Leary was able to make one challenge for the lead entering turn one on lap three with a slider but Bacon countered and regained the top spot off turn two and took off like a cannon ball fired from a cannon breezing to a ten car length lead. By lap ten Bacon was long gone with a straightway lead over Leary as he approached lap traffic for the first time. Bacon picked his way through the backmarkers easily actually increasing his lead to ten seconds with ten to go. The race for second behind Bacon was intensifying with Leary and Tyler Courtney battling it out. With five to go Bacon encountered a tense moment as Nick Bilbee hit the cushion in front of him and biked his sprinter before retaining control but indeed it caught Bacon's attention as he streaked by. Courtney caught and passed Leary for second in lap traffic on lap 23 but Courtney jumped the cushion off turn four on lap 28 allowing Leary to retake the runnerup position. The racing in the latter part of the top five was intense over the last ten laps with Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant, Jason McDougal swapping positions in a frenzy.   Chris Windom came out of nowhere very late to crack the top five with some fine moves. But in the end it was all Bacon in this one crossing the line at 11:10 with over an eight second bulge besting Leary, Courtney, Thomas and Windom at the line. Justin Grant faded to sixth with Jason McDougal sliding to seventh, Chase Stockon eighth, Ryan Bernal ninth and Carson Short rounding out the top ten. It was a total dominating performance by Brady Bacon as he claimed his third career USAC win at the big Marion County oval in the process and pocketing $20,000 big ones bringing his two day total to over $25,000.


     

    It was a good two days of racing with the Friday features in both divisions of sprint cars probably being the better but it was a great start for the Cornbelt Nationals and something to build on in the coming years if Knoxville came bring all the non-winged groups together in the middle of Iowa in the future.


     

    That's it for now when the next race on the schedule being the USAC midgets invading the Red Dirt Speedway in Meeker, Oklahoma for the start of the Midwest Midget Championships over six days at four different venues. So check back sometime on Wednesday for night one results and every day moving forward from there. And get out there and enjoy some good short track racing wherever you are and try to stay dry. News, stories, comments and other notes of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but certainly not least is thanks for reading our efforts as we totally enjoy bringing them to you.


     

     

     

     

    Bacon Engine Change Key To Cornbelt Nationals Preliminary Win

    Friday, July 5 - We left Crawfordsville at 8:40 AM to make the six hour drive west to our destination, the Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa, for the first time running of the Cornbelt Nationals for the non-wing sprint cars with the winner receiving $20,000 for the final on Saturday evening. Former Belvidere, NJ resident, Jimmy Reeder, had moved from New Jersey to Newton, IA 20+ years ago and contacted us about two weeks ago wanting to know if we would like to stay at the house next to his that they had purchased a while ago. Newton is only about 20 miles north of Knoxville so we jumped at the opportunity to stay with friends and said yes. We arrived at the Reeder's place around 3 PM and spent the next hour chatting about racing and anything else that came up before departing Newton to make the half hour trip down to Knoxville. We were suppose to meet our friends, Gary Dean and Sally Ebling, who had secured suite seats in Terry McCarl's suite high above turn two for tonight's racing. Gary is an old friend and sponsor of the McCarl clan and we looked forward to checking out the digs and view along with seeing our Nebraska friends once again. A call on the drive down found bad news that Gary had come up sick and him and Sally would not be making it to Knoxville tonight. They still wanted us to use the seats and we arranged through Sally to pick up the tickets and parking pass at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame building. We then met our Pennsylvania buddy, Bill Burns and toured the souvenir stands before heading up to our suite seats. Upon entering we met a nice couple, Wayne and Candy Parker, and chatted with them before visiting the fine Rib Shack for some delicious bar-b-que and sides.

    Tonight's racing would feature two divisions of sprint cars, the winged 360's and the non-winged 410's from both USAC and WAR. The car counts were impressive with 42 of the winged sprints and 51 of the non-wing variety. Both divisions would run time trials on the evening with two sprinters taking to the big 1/2 mile at the same time in two qualifying groups. In the 360's Terry McCarl set overall fast time with a lap of 16.340 in Group 1 while Trey Starks was fastest in Group 2 with a time of 16.470. In the non-wing sprint car class CJ Leary was fastest in Group 1 at 19.297 seconds while Justin Grant matched his time in Group 2 at 19.297 seconds. Brady Bacon and his crew changed engines after time trials when the motor went sour on the second lap of his run.


     

    The first sprint car heat did not get underway until almost 9 PM with the 360 sprinters taking to the track first. Manitoba Canada's Thomas Kennedy won heat one going away over Clint Garner and Terry McCarl. Heat two saw Okie Wayne Johnson hold court besting Joe Beaver and Josh Higday. Heat three saw Austin McCarl score the win over Ryan Roberts and Trey Starks. The fourth heat was won by Jason Martin beating Davey Heskin and Matt Juhl. The non-winged cars would contest six heats with CJ Leary notching heat one over Ohio's Matt Westfall and veteran Don Droud Jr. taking off the wing for tonight. Heat two saw Brady Bacon motor from fifth to first in two laps and walk away in this one over Dave Darland in the Cheney #42 and Ryan Bernal in the Baughman #17. Wesley Smith surprised the field walking off with heat three besting Landon Simon and Timmy Buckwalter. Tyler Courtney romped in heat four over Justin Grant and Kevin Thomas Jr. Indianapolis' driver, Nick Bilbee, went to the front on the start winning over Wyatt Burks in a strong run and Chris Windom nipping Jason McDougal for the last qualifying spot on the final lap. Chase Stockon blistered the field in heat six beating Chad Boespflug and Anthony Nicholson.


     

    Jason Martin would win the 360 B main even though he won a heat it all goes on passing points for the 360's. Kory Schudy would score the non-wing C main with Isaac Chapple, Rob Caho and Dickie Gaines advancing to the tail of the B main. The ten lap non-stop distance broke a 47 year old record for non-winged sprinters at Knoxville set back in 1972 by Billy Thrasher. The non-wing B main was next and there was a big eight car tangle in turn one with Glen Saville getting sideways and flipping with Craig Compton also flipping. Carson Short who came up one short in his heat took the B main joined in the main event by Jason McDougal, Korey Weyant, Josh Hodges, Mario Clouser and Riley Kreisel as the last man in. It was 11:04 when all preliminary qualifying was finally completed.


     

    The 18 lap 360 sprint car feature would take the green flag at 11:10 and immediately an eight car dustup occurred in turn one with Austin McCarl and Rob Kubli flipping in the melee. Once the lengthy delay was cleared up by just two wreckers (totally inadquate for such a facility) with everyone OK it was Carson McCarl to the early lead. Carson's father, Terry, moved to second on lap two with Wayne Johnson advancing from sixth to third. Johnson passed Terry on the homestretch on lap eight for second and took the lead from Carson on lap nine. We really feel that Terry McCarl was content with riding second behind his son until Johnson spoiled the party. So T. McCarl stepped it up a notch and blasted by his son and Johnson by the time they exited turn two on lap ten. Terry McCarl was in control over the next several laps but Johnson was narrowing the gap on every lap. Turn two on the white flag lap saw Johnson make the winning move passing McCarl high and holding off the elder McCarl over the rest of the lap to win this one with Clint Garner making a late charge to grab third with Carson McCarl ending up fourth and Californian Gio Scelzi making a late charge to crack the top five at 11:35.


     

    The 25 lap non-wing feature was in the chute by 11:47 and the green flag dropped with Chris Windom taking the Goacher #5G to the head of the pack on the start. Kevin Thomas Jr. slipped by Matt Westfall for second on the low side on the first lap. Windom ran the cushion while Thomas committed to the bottom and the pair ran side by side over the next four laps with Windom leading by inches as they crossed the line every lap until lap five when KTJ surged off turn four to take the lead at the line. Brady Bacon up from sixth joined the battle up front. Bacon took second using the middle groove through turns three and four to wrestle second from Windom and went after Thomas on lap six. Windom used the high side through turns three and four on lap seven to advance from third back into the lead as the battle heated up even more. Bacon slipped by Windom as Chris opened the door just slightly in turn one on lap twelve and took the lead. Windom wasn't done yet as he pulled the same move one lap later. Lap fourteen saw Windom bobble on the cushion between turns three and four and Bacon pounced on the opportunity and regained the lead. Lap traffic came into play with ten to go and Bacon worked it to perfection. With just five to go Bacon encountered some heavy congestion and split a pair of cars to open up a little breathing room. Shortly thereafter Bacon was boxed in by a lapper allowing Windom to close the gap and make things interesting. Windom remained close to Bacon but over the last couple of circuits was unable to make a serious challenge and by 11:56 Bacon flashed under the checkers winning the non-stop affair in 9:11.86 which was a new track record for USAC at Knoxville. Bacon also scored his 26th career USAC National Sprint Car win tying him for 16th on the all time list with the late Tony Elliott and the late Dave Steele. Windom crossed the line second with Kevin Thomas Jr. in tow in third with Tyler Courtney fourth and Justin Grant claiming fifth. Ryan Bernal turned in a strong run nailing down sixth with Chase Stockon seventh, Jason McDougal marching from twentieth to eighth, CJ Leary ninth and Matt Westfall coming in tenth.


     

    The night was a bit long in the tooth and management needs to work tightening up the program for tomorrow as a two division program should not take almost four and a half hours to complete even though there were a lot of cars. The racing was very good especially in the two feature events and we look forward to Saturday and the big finale paying $20,000 to win after tonight's payoff of $5000.

    That's it for now as night two will be coming at you in a few days as the next several days involve a lot of activities and travel so it might be Tuesday until the next segment hits the site. Until then get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and try to be dry. Comments, news clips, rumors, facts and anything in between can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you will drop back soon.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Grant Catches Weir In Traffic To Win Kokomo Special

    Wednesday, July 3 - It was a nice partly cloudy day in the high 80's and the humidity was lower so it didn't seem so darn hot. Kokomo Speedway was running a July 3rd special four division program plus fireworks and so it was onward to Kokomo. We choose to sit on the backstretch with the sun at our backs and sat with our friend, Phil, for the evening. Warmups began after seven and we were surprised and alarmed that only 14 sprint cars turned out for the holiday program but the fact that the non-wing Cornbelt Nationals at Knoxville, Iowa are on the schedule for Friday and Saturday could have been the main reason for the low count. They were joined by 21 UMP modifieds, 16 thunder cars and 17 hornets for the night's action.

    The first of two sprint car heats took the green at 8:16 with Florida's Anthony D'Alessio charging from fifth to score the win over Brian Karraker, Zane Hendricks and Cole Ketchum. Scotty Weir would bring the Pederson #4P from fourth to nab heat two over Justin Grant, Dave Darland in the Corey Smith #66S on the evening and Clinton Boyles. The UMP modifieds would contest three heats with Bradley Jameson, Derek Losh and Curt Spadling the victors. The thunder cars and hornets would ran two heats each and no division needed a B main. After a short break it was time for the 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature.

    Justin Grant and Anthony D'Alessio brought the field to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:41 with Grant moving to the point. Scotty Weir slipped by D'Alessio for second at the start and the race was on between these two gladiators. Grant set the pace in the early going with Weir not far behind. Clinton Boyles was working his way through the pack from his eighth starting spot and was up to fourth by lap ten making a homestretch pass for that spot. Dave Darland had moved into third but the two leaders had a good advantage over the rest of the field. Boyles was coming and caught and passed Darland for third in turn two on lap 12 and focused on catching the leaders. Meanwhile up front Grant's lead had diminished with Weir pulling to his tail tank by lap 13. Coming to the line to start lap 14 Weir executed the pass for the lead and opened up several car lengths on Grant. Weir was now in control as the laps ticked off but lap traffic loomed in front on him by lap 20. Weir caught some back-markers going down the backstretch and hesitated just long enough for Grant to get a good run entering turn three and regained the lead on the low side of that corner. Grant surged out front and over the remaining four laps Weir was close but was not able to mount another challenge and at 9:47, just six minutes after the start in a non-stop contest Grant flashed under the checkered flag for the win with Weir second, Boyles third, Darland fourth and Travis Hery making a fine run from tenth to fifth at the end. Even though there were only 14 cars it was a good race with Grant and Weir dicing back and forth and Boyles and Hery making up some real estate over the course of the 25 laps.

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the card and took the green flag at 9:54. Derek Losh who started fourth took the lead on lap two and looked like he was ready to add another one to his impressive 2019 resume as this one looked like it was going to go non-stop also. With just three laps to go a car stopped in turn one bringing out the first caution. On the restart Curt Spadling got a good run at Losh as the two swapped sliders over the next two laps. Spadling got the edge on Losh on the white flag lap and raced down the backstretch with the lead. Losh gave it one more shot diving low in turn four making a rare mistake spinning his modified to the inside as Spadling raced to the line for the win. Dylan Woodling would end up second with Darron Orr third, Todd Sherman fourth and Bob Baldwin rounding out the top five at 10:05. We decided to head to the exits passing on the thunder car and hornet features and the fireworks. We noticed when we turned right the roadway was lined with cars of Kokomo residents coming to watch the upcoming firework display.

    Even though the fields were lean the racing was good and well worth the $15 admission price.

    That's it until the weekend as we are heading west to the non-wing Cornbelt Nationals at the famous Knoxville Raceway which is also the home of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. To all you who are not headed to Knoxville get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road somewhere and knock one of those tracks off your hit list. Comments, news, tidbits and any other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for the kind remarks and taking the time to read our efforts. Until the next column from Knoxville keep dry, be safe and don't get sunburned.

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Berryhill Capitalizes On Cockrum's Misfortune At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, June 29 - It was another scorcher today with temperatures in the 90's but no chance of rain so we will take it. Tonight's plan was to head south on Rt. 231 toward Greencastle and our destination of the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville. On tap for tonight's program was a four division card of non-wing sprints (31), UMP modifieds (24), super stocks (30) and bombers (23) plus fireworks to celebrate the fourth of July a little early. The added fireworks seemed to bring out extra people for the evening's activities and the crowd was the second largest we have seen in our five visits here in 2019.


     

    The non-wing sprints would contest four heats for their division with the top 4 moving on directly to the A main on the evening. Tim Creech fired the first shot scoring the win in heat one over Brayden Fox, Blake Vermillion and Troy Link making his first start of 2019. Heat two saw Travis Berryhill triumph over Brent Beauchamp, Nate McMillin and Jesse Vermillion. Veteran Bill Rose nailed down heat three besting Chad Boespflug, Matt Moore and Jadon Rogers. The fourth and final heat went to 27 year old school teacher, Evan Mosley, over Koby Barksdale, Dave Darland in the Cunningham #17C and Tye Mihocko the Arizona driver spending his summer in Indiana. Three UMP modified heats would follow with Derek Groomer, Jordan Wever and Jacoby Hines scoring the wins. Four super stock heats and three bomber heats followed before the two B mains were presented for the sprints and UMP modifieds. The sprint car B main was first up and featured a high end over end flip in turn one for Colten Cottle who was OK after taking the nasty tumble. Shane Cockrum would secure the B main win over Harley Burns, Lee Underwood and Kent Christian punching his ticket for the big dance. James Walters would score the shortened modified B main after a wreck between turns one and two only left four cars to advance to the feature. It was now dark and time for the fireworks portion of the program and we have to admit that Lincoln Park puts on a fine display of aerial lighting. It was indeed impressive.


     

    The front row of Brent Beauchamp and Brayden Fox would bring the rest of the field down to Brian Hodde's green flag at 10:34 with Beauchamp gaining the early lead. Fifth starting Travis Berryhill was flying and picked off Beauchamp for the lead in turn one on lap one. Seventh starting Chad Boespflug was also motoring taking third on lap two. Evan Mosley caught the cushion wrong in turn one on lap three and launched his sprinter high into the air going end over end several times before landing hard outside of turn one. After a few minutes to regroup himself Mosley climbed from his battered machine to the roar of the crowd. On the restart Berryhill remained at the point with Beauchamp and Boespflug in tow. Lap five saw the caution appear again as Lee Underwood stopped above turn three to slow the action on lap five just after Boespflug completed the pass for second. Many eyes had been on defending track champion, Shane Cockrum, powering the Paul #24P from 17th to 7th by lap five. Three laps later Cockrum completed a turn two pass of Tim Creech for fourth. Berryhill continued to pace the field chased by Boespflug and Beauchamp. At the line to start lap 12 Cockrum disposed of Beauchamp for third and went after Boespflug for second. Lee Underwood brought out another caution on lap 12 when he stopped at the edge of turn two to bunch the field once again. On the restart Berryhill led the field as Cockrum dove low in turns one and two and made it three wide down the backstretch. The leaders raced side by side by side exiting turn four and at the line to start lap 13 Cockrum was your new leader. The Jamie Paul #24P was looking for its second straight win in two nights with two different Shanes at the wheel. The caution waved on lap 15 when Koby Barksdale tagged the wall on the homestretch and came across the track toward the infield with Fox having nowhere to go but into Barksdale causing him to roll over entering turn one eerily like the Ballou crash at Kokomo last Sunday. Both drivers were OK after exiting their bent machines. On the restart it was Cockrum, Berryhill and Boespflug trailed by Beauchamp and Creech. Lap 17 saw Creech catch and pass Beauchamp for fourth with Beauchamp returning the favor one lap later. Meanwhile Cockrum was pounding the cushion with his right rear tire lap after lap in turns three and four and suddenly exiting turn two on lap 19 was passed for the lead by Berryhill as Cockrum's right rear was going flat. Cockrum limped around the track over the last six laps but fell to the last man running. Berryhill would inherit the lead at that point and hold off Boespflug and Beauchamp to score his first ever sprint car win at LPS and only his second career win as the Oklahoma driver is starting to come into his own. Creech would garner fourth at the finish with Dave Darland making a late march to claim the fifth position at the finish at 11:07. It was a competitive feature with some good marches contested on a nicely prepared surface especially considering the temperature and sun beating on it all day.


     

    The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda and by 11:15 the initial green flag waved. This was surely no artistic wonder as eight cautions waved slowing the action too many times. Tim Prince survived all the mayhem to score the victory over Tyler Loughmiller who will be attending DePauw University in nearby Greencastle in the fall and Jacoby Hines in the race that ended at 11:39. Would have liked to have stayed for the super stock feature event but an early departure the following morning determined it was time to call it an evening after witnessing some good racing on the night.


     

    That's it for this weekend as we made a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday to visit our ailing friend, Allan Brown, who had just returned home from a five day hospital stay on Friday. On the horizon is a Wednesday night special at Kokomo before we hit the road on Friday for a two day visit to Knoxville for the Cornbelt Nationals for the non-wing sprint cars on Friday and Saturday. Check back over the weekend for reports from Knoxville and beyond. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated in this intense heat. News, comments, press releases and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net via email or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and look forward to our next race and ensuing report.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Last Lap Pass Gives Cottle Win At Gas City

    Friday, June 28 - Today was my 64th birthday so what did I want for a present. How about dinner at Payne's in Gas City and then a night of racing at Gas City I-69 Speedway. It doesn't get any better than that!!!

    It was hot today with temperatures in the low 90's but the best thing was the chance of rain was 5%!!! We arrived a little after 6:30 and found a light crowd on hand but as race time drew closer the fans started to stream in and by race time a good sized crowd filled the grandstand including Jimmy and Tonya Hillegas back spectating after Tonya donated a kidney to Jimmy six weeks ago. A five division program of non-wing sprints (27), UMP modifieds (13), hornets (20), street stocks (10) and 600 mini sprints (5) made up the fields and racing kicked off around 7:50 with the first of three sprint car heats. Garrett Abrams sidelined for several weeks with car woes returned tonight and raced from fourth to win heat one over Dave Darland back in the Cheney #42, JJ Hughes, Cole Ketchum and Paul Dues. Thomas Meseraull with a four race win streak on the line charged from fourth to take heat two besting Tyler Hewitt, Shane Cottle in the Paul #24P, Dallas Hewitt and Scott Hampton in the Slinkard #51. Heat three went to Ohio invader, Mike Miller, skipping the BOSS race at Lernerville beating Clinton Boyles, Jarett Andretti, Tim Creech and Sterling Cling. The UMP modifieds would spin off two heats with Derek Losh and Aaron Orr winning followed by three heats for the hornets, two heats for the street stocks and one heat for the five 600 mini sprints on the grounds. The non-wing sprints would be the only division needing a B main with the action being stopped on lap one when the front row got squirrely with second row starter, Tony Main, having nowhere to go running up and over the right rear of one of them tumbling in turn one. Main was OK but his #74 was done for the evening. Travis Hery went on to score the B main win by a large margin with Evan Mosley trailing chased by Brayden Clark, Brian Karraker and Adam Byrkett the last man into the field. Failing to make the field was 14 year old South Carolina resident, Connor Leoffler, who was making his first appearance at Gas City after joining the USAC East Coast 360 sprint cars in late May in Pennsylvania as the youngster is getting experience as he plans on joining the USAC National Series in the next two years.

    The 25 lap sprint car feature took the green flag at 9:32 with Mike Miller jumping into the early lead. Thomas Meseraull who started second swept by Miller at the line to start lap two and was the new leader. Cole Ketchum spun in turn three on lap three to bring out the first caution as it was noted that Shane Cottle had moved from eighth to third by this time. It only took Cottle two laps to dispose of Miller for second low in turn two and he took up the chase of the high flying Meseraull. Clinton Boyles slipped by Miller one lap later and took over third. The lead trio was approaching lap traffic just after the halfway mark when Dallas Hewitt looped it down low in turn four on lap 14 to slow the action. On the restart the battle royal was on for second with Cottle and Boyles duking it out. Boyles wrestled away second from Cottle in turn three on lap 20 and Cottle returned the favor two laps later on lap 22. Ketchum found himself turned around again in turn two with one to go setting up a one lap shootout for the win. On the restart Meseraull protected the low line as Cottle got a good run entering turn one and was on T-Mez's tail tank exiting turn one. Meseraull left the inside door open down the backstretch taking to the cushion and Cottle filled the hole entering turn three. Cottle got a tremendous bite down low exiting turn three with a narrow lead as the two raced into turn four. The pair exited turn four side by side and at the line it was Cottle stealing the win by 0.008 seconds or mere inches ending T-Mez's winning streak at four. Boyles ran third with Jarett Andretti moving forward from ninth to finish fourth with Mike Miller rounding out the top five. JJ Hughes led home the second five followed by Dave Darland, Travis Hery in a nice run from 16th to 8th, Tyler Hewitt ninth and Sterling Cling notching tenth. An elated Cottle climbed on top of the roll cage to celebrate and thanked Jamie Paul for preparing such a fine car and not letting him touch it at all to work on.

    There was still the 20 lap UMP modified feature to contest and Derek Losh took care of the drama for the lead early taking the top spot from Jimmie Haager on lap four and moved away from the rest of the pack. The race in this one was for positions two through five where a torrid battle ensued. Haager held second until one to go when Scott Orr finally made the high side work passing Haager on the white flag lap and Aaron Orr was able to sneak by Haager to grab third before the finish. Dillon Nusbaum rounded out the top five in the race that had only one caution and took just seven minutes to click off. At that point we decided to head for the exit to make our two hour drive home and prepare for the next morning to meet with our real estate agent to put our old house under contract for sale.

    Check back Monday for our Saturday night trek to Lincoln Park Speedway for more non-wing racing action. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and dry. Any news, comments, notes of interest or other things can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

    Received some mail from loyal reader, Carroll McCoy, down on the panhandle of Florida in Milton where the Southern Raceway is located. He was introduced to midget racing during the March 29-30 Gator Dirt Nationals and he loved the small car racing around Southern along with the non-wing sprint cars. He noted that present time owner, Tom Lowery, decided to bring back some big racing events to the 3/8 mile dirt oval located in Milton and was pleased with the Gator Dirt Nationals and the USCS sprint cars that have also appeared on the fine dirt there. Always good to hear from Carroll and hope the good racing continues for many years at Southern Raceway!! Carroll also sends along a Dirt Monthly article from fine fellow Hoseheads.com writer, Kevin Oldham, on the demise of auto racing at the Indiana State Fairgrounds after the fairboard decided to cease dirt racing on the mile oval in favor of placing crushed limestone on the surface for all weather parking for the fair and year round harness training. It was a very sad day in Indiana auto racing when the last engine sounds reverberated under the massive covered aluminum grandstand on the Thursday of Memorial Day weekend for the 64th and final Hoosier 100 for the USAC Silver Crown cars.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Bizarre Win For Ballou At Kokomo

    Sunday, June 23 - It was delivery day for Pat as we were meeting several people in various spots to bring them their antique orders. First was a stop in Avon where Lori received Penny Playpal, a doll she had as a child and was thrilled to pick up this one which was exactly like the old one. After that we dined at the new Portello's in Avon, a restaurant famous in Chicago for its Italian beef sandwiches, and it did not disappoint. They were delicious and really hit the spot. Next up were two more doll deliveries up Rt. 31 above Westfield. After the second delivery was picked up it poured and the prospects for racing at Kokomo we thought were dismal. But since we were only about 15 miles from the baddest bullring in Indiana we decided to finish the drive after stopping at Wilson's Farm where we picked up fresh vegetables, fruits and some kettle corn and whoopie pies. Driving up Rt. 31 just five miles below Kokomo we encountered dry roads and surrounding areas and were surprised to find that it had not rained there. We pulled onto the grounds and drove to the backstretch, parked and made our way into the large aluminum grandstand to await the start of the Bob Darland Memorial honoring the father of Dave Darland who was an owner and mechanic for many years.

    The crowd was way off due to the threatening weather conditions all around and this one was surely not going to be a money maker for the O'Connors but they moved forward with the evening and gave the faithful fans that did come out a racing program when many others would have pulled the plug in the morning with the forecast. But we know the ever changing forecast of the weather in Indiana with any chance of rain being pushed back to the 9 PM time frame. The Darland Memorial was a four division program with non-wing sprints (21) paying $3000 to win the 25 lap feature, 600 mini sprints (13), thunder cars (15) and hornets (10). Knowing the weather was staring them in the face even though it looked nice at the time the program was kicked off right on time at 7 PM. The sprint cars would run three heats for their disappointing 21 car field though the quality was good. Robert Ballou would charge from the fourth starting position to score heat win one over Tyler Hewitt, Jarett Andretti and Thomas Meseraull. New Mexico summer visitor, Josh Hodges, would claim heat two beating Dave Darland in the California based Dwight Cheney #42, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Corey Smith. Scotty Weir wheeled the Pederson #4P to victory in heat three besting Justin Grant, Chris Windom and Jadon Rogers. The 600 mini sprints would contest two heats along with the thunder cars while the 10 car hornet field was bunched into one heat to save some time. All qualifying was completed by 7:56 as the skies started to become overcast.

    The 21 car sprint car feature was lined up and took the green flag at 8:16 with Robert Ballou getting the draw on first starting Justin Grant for the lead. This one would officially go non-stop with the red flag appearing after the checkered flag flew for a serious homestretch accident which we will get to in a moment. Ballou held the lead with Grant and Darland in tow in the early going. By lap seven Scotty Weir disposed of Josh Hodges in turn two for fourth as he closed on the front three. Lap ten saw Chris Windom crack the top five after starting ninth and the Goacher #5G was looking stout. He duplicated his homestretch move on lap 19 to grab third from Darland who began to fade. Ballou stretched his lead to around ten car lengths on Grant as the laps ticked off. With three to go Kevin Thomas Jr. raced by Darland for fifth in turn two. As the leaders raced into turns three and four on the final lap Koby Barksdale climbed the homestretch wall before the starter's stand and bounced back on the track turning his car sideways as Ballou streaked off turn four to take the checkered. Ballou had no where to go and made heavy side contact with the disabled Barksdale slamming into him and rolling over just past the start/finish line. The red was quickly thrown as the safety crew rushed to the scene. The car was uprighted and the backboard was brought to the scene. After several anxious minutes Ballou was lifted from his wrecked sprinter and waved to the crowd from his backboard. It was later reported on Twitter by his crew that Ballou had suffered two fractures of his arm and successful surgery was performed the next day. Ballou's crew chief accepted the Darland Memorial trophy in BC victory lane in one of the most bizarre finishes in track history. Ballou was the winner followed by Grant, Windom, Weir and Thomas with Darland sixth, Hodges seventh, Andretti eighth, Hewitt ninth and Jadon Rogers rounding out the top ten.

    After a lengthy delay the 15 lap 600 mini sprint feature was trackside for their feature event as the clouds began to drop some moisture as many fans headed for the exits. I decided to stay but as the rain increased in strength I positioned myself at the end of the grandstand near the steps so I could use the umbrella that we brought in as Pat had retreated to the safety of the Rogue. Young Darin Naida, son of Dain, a long time good 360 sprint driver, grabbed the lead around lap 5 and led the remainder of the distance as the rain continued and the track became damp but they still raced to the non-stop finish. Another multi-generation driver, Corbin Gurley, son of sprint car driver Chris, chased Naida to the finish with Todd Kirkman notching third with Nathan Franklin fourth and Jessee Holt rounding out the top five. Standing on the walkway behind proud father, Dain, who had filmed the entire race on his phone I gave him a high five as he and a crewman exited the grandstands to head over to victory lane. The rain had now let up as I proceeded to the Rogue to start the trip back to Crawfordsville thankful that management stuck with it and gave us all some racing on this questionable weather evening where the crowd was way down.

    That's it for this past weekend as Lincoln Park fell to saturated grounds on Saturday for their USAC sprint car show and next weekend is looking like a three night racing weekend with scheduled stops at Gas City, Lincoln Park and Haubstadt on the agenda. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and support your local tracks as once a track closes the chances of it reopening are not good. Comments, critiques, news and other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for checking in and reading our efforts. Take care and stay dry if possible.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    T-Mez's Time At Gas City

    Friday, June 21 - The original plan was to head south on Rt. 231 toward the Paragon Speedway to take in the Amati 68, one of our favorite races held every year at Paragon. Checking the weather in the early afternoon Paragon's forecast was questionable at best (35-55%) so we checked Gas City and the forecast was much better so we decided to play the percentage game. As we were headed north on Rt. 231 Pat checked the Paragon forecast and the forecast was even more bleak as the percentages jumped to 75 and 85%. At 4:40 Paragon management pulled the plug so it was a good move going northeast to avoid the rain.


     

    Tonight was the second running of the Jerry Gappens Sr. Memorial honoring the memory of the promoter's father who was involved in auto racing throughout his lifetime and led to his son, Jerry Jr., also becoming part of the racing scene. A nice mix of Gas City regulars joined by BOSS sprint regulars (who had their 2 weekend races canceled early) and Paragon refugees boosted the car count to a very impressive 39 entries. Along with the non-winged sprints on the card were the UMP modifieds (24), hornets (13), street stocks (14) and AMSA mini sprints (17). There was a threat of rain around 9 so the program was moved along quickly with the first of five sprint car heats taking the green flag at 7:37. Tyler Hewitt, the #2 man in points coming in, drew first blood bagging the first heat outrunning Brady Bacon and Cody White. Heat two honors went to Kevin Thomas Jr. beating AJ Hopkins and Matt Goodnight. Heat three saw Robert Ballou storm to the front to win over Dustin Ingle and Scotty Weir. Matt McDonald wired heat four besting Matt Westfall and Paul Dues. Thomas Meseraull nailed down heat five triumphing over Josh Hodges and Jarett Andretti. Derek Losh, Ryan Sutter and Josh Morton claimed UMP modified heats after the sprints. Two heats were also spun off for the hornets, street stocks and mini sprints before the sprints returned for their two B mains with three advancing to the A main the same as the heats qualified. BOSS regular, Luke Hall, notched B main #1 over Max Adams and Koby Barksdale. Isaac Chapple blasted from sixth to win B main #2 over Shane Cockrum making a rare Friday night appearance and Mike Miller.


     

    It was now after 9 and as they were announcing the starting lineup for the 25 lap sprint car feature it started to drizzle. Everyone was hoping that it was nothing to worry about and sure enough about five minutes later the drizzle stopped. Twenty one sprinters approached the green flag at 9:32 with Thomas Meseraull getting the advantage on his front row mate, Matt McDonald. Lap two saw the action grind to a quick halt as Isaac Chapple flipped his sprinter in between turns one and two. When the action resumed it was T-Mex, Kevin Thomas Jr. and McDonald nose to tail for the green. KTJ lost the handle in turn two on the restart and looped it with AJ Hopkins with no wheres to go piled into Thomas. Both entries were done for the evening and this took some pressure off T-Mez as two top competitors were finished for the evening. Meseraull took the lead on the restart with McDonald and Robert Ballou in tow. Ballou worked by McDonald off turn four on lap five and set his sights on Meseraull. T-Mez led until lap eleven when Scotty Weir bounced and then spun in turn three to bring out the caution. On the restart Ballou made a serious run at Meseraull diving low in turn two but not being able to pass him. Lap twelve saw Brady Bacon take over third passing Westfall for the spot on the backstretch. Ballou and Bacon had a great battle for second between laps 16 and 17 with Ballou holding sway. Bacon again challenged on laps 23 and 24 both Ballou was up to the challenge and held him off again. Meanwhile Meseraull was cruising out front and was in total control. The checkered waved at 9:59 with T-Mez scoring his fourth straight non-wing win of the year at Gas City with Ballou second, Bacon third, Westfall fourth and Jarett Andretti using the low side from 15th nipping Tyler Hewitt at the line for fifth. A jubilant Meseraull expressed in victory lane that "I've been racing open-wheel cars for 20 years now and sometimes you have to wait your turn but my turn is here now!!!" to the delight of the good crowd on hand.


     

    Derek Losh made it look easy in the 20 lap UMP modified feature taking the lead at the start and leading the entire distance outrunning Scott Orr, Josh Morton, Todd Sherman and Weasel Philpot in a strong run from tenth to fifth as the checkered waved at 10:12.

    At this point we decided to forego the final three features and get a jump on our two hour tow back to Crawfordsville satisfied with another good night of racing at Gas City.


     

    Check back tomorrow for our next report from the Bob Darland Memorial run Sunday at Kokomo. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and try to stay dry. News, notes, comments and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. 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

    Seavey Wins Makeup Then Midget Week Race Falls To Rain At Jacksonville & Rain Curtails Macon & Lincoln

    Friday, June 14 - Weather would play a major role again today for the Illinois Midget Week round at the Jacksonville Speedway. We arrived early around 3 PM and secured our blankets in the big covered wooden grandstand on the homestretch before pushing back and relaxing before the night of racing. It was overcast most of the day and it sprinkled a few times while we waited but it never rained substantially. Around 6 we ventured into the grandstand and settled in for a good night of racing with the POWRI midgets (35), POWRi 600's (40) and winged 305 sprint cars (10). Promoter Ken Dobson was everywhere directing operations and moving things along as quick as possible. Hot lap sessions were spun off quickly for all three divisions but as soon as hot laps were over it began to rain. The rain was not heavy but it was long enough to cause the start of the program to be delayed almost an hour and fifteen minutes. The first race on the card was the previously rained out POWRi midget feature from April 28th with the WOO sprint cars were in town.


     

    So by 8:40 the green flag dropped on the 19 car starting field for the POWRi midgets with Logan Seavey bounding into the early lead over teammate Tucker Klaasmeyer. Cannon McIntosh soon joined the fray and the top three raced around the heavy track at breakneck speed. Shelby Bosie making his POWRi debut spun in turn three while running fourth to bring out the first caution. On the restart Seavey went to the point again with Klaasmeyer second. McIntosh bobbled on the restart allowing the third Kunz car of 14 year old California native, Jesse Love to slip into third. Seavey streaked around the bullring with Klaasmeyer drawing close on occasion but never close enough to make a serious challenge. As the checkers waved at 8:40 it was Seavey in for his third straight POWRi midget victory and six out of nine on the season and also his 13th career POWRi triumph with Klaasmeyer trailing in second with Jesse Love third, Cannon McIntosh fourth and Zach Daum rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Holly Hollan from 13th, Jesse Colwell seventh, Tanner Carrick eighth, 14 year old Daison Pursley ninth and Joe B. Miller tenth after starting 18th in the Steve Reynolds #21KS.


     

    After victory lane ceremonies it was right into the full card of regular racing scheduled as part of Illinois Midget Week. The POWRi 600 micro sprints would contest five heats for their fine 40 car field with some good action in these events. Jake Cheatham would win from the front row in the first one with Jeremy Camp capturing heat two. Kyle Schuett claimed heat three with Trevin Littleton besting the field in heat four and Gunner Bowden notching heat five. The POWRi midgets would also run five heats for their 35 car field with Cannon McIntosh making a last lap, last corner pass of Jesse Love to claim the heat one victory with Jerry Coons Jr. coming home third. Holly Hollan came from the back in a very impressive run to capture heat two beating Austin Brown and Daniel Robinson. Heat three went to Logan Seavey outrunning Thomas Meseraull and Michael Pickens. Joe B. Miller guided the Steve Reynolds owned #21KS wrenched by the colorful Flea Ruzic to victory in heat four over Tucker Klaasmeyer and Oklahoma's Grady Chandler. The fifth and final heat was captured by 14 year old Oklahoma driver, Daison Pursley, beating Zach Daum and Clinton Boyles who had the night off at Gas City and ventured west for the night's action, a true racer indeed.


     

    At this point the 305 sprint car heats had been scratched and they went right into the 20 lap 305 sprint car feature. Robbie Standridge went right out front and took command with Paul Nienhiser in pursuit. The race reached the halfway mark when a sudden heavy shower struck the track and the sprint cars were sent to the pits to wait it out. Since it was already 10:16 and the curfew was approaching there was no way they were going to be able to work the track back into shape and complete the semis for both POWRi divisions so the decision was made that the program was postponed and the 305 sprint car feature was declared official with Robbie Standridge declared the winner. A yoeman's effort by Ken Dobson and the entire Jacksonville Speedway staff from the track crew down to the concession crew was well appreciated but it was not to be on this evening.


     

    Saturday, June 15 - The call came down early in the morning that Macon Speedway bowed to the overnight rains and another round of Illinois Midget Week was canceled. We made the best of a bad situation by having a fine lunch at Hickory River Barbecue and Pat wanted to go shopping at Hobby Lobby so I went along to push the cart. The night plan was to take in a Prospect League Collegiate wooden bat game with Guy Smith pitting the Lafayette (IN) Aviators vs. the Springfield Sliders at Robin Roberts Stadium in Springfield. Robin Roberts was a Springfield native to went on to be a Baseball Hall Of Famer with the majority of his 19 year career spent with the Philadelphia Phillies. The ballpark in Springfield named in honor of Roberts was a nice venue with comfortable chair seats with plenty of butt room and leg room. We talked and joked with two rabid female fans of the Sliders who were seated in back of us behind home plate and we all enjoyed the exciting back and forth contest which ended with Lafayette winning 12 to 10 with each team pounding out 16 hits but Springfield committed six errors which led to their demise. The food was good and reasonably priced and Guy enjoyed his fifth and sixth port chop sandwich of the trip while we dined on pork chop sandwiches and hot dogs also. It was a fun night of baseball but it was not Macon!!!  When they give you lemons you make lemonade!!!


     

    Sunday, June 16 - We awoke to the news that the final round of Illinois Midget Week was canceled due to saturated grounds so it was a disappointing end to a rain logged five days of expected racing where we only witnessed one complete show and one partial show. Mother nature really did us in on this week and we were especially disappointed for Guy Smith who was attending this midget week for the first time and all five tracks would have been new tracks for him.


     

    That's it until next weekend where you will have to check back and see where we end up taking in or trying to take in some good short track racing. Hope you upcoming week is better than our previous one was and that you get out there and see some good short track racing in your area or take in on the road to scratch one of those tracks off on your bucket list. Be safe and be dry. News, comments, press releases, gripes and other issues can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11 where we will also be taking donations (need $250,000) so we can enter a sprint car in the special race at Huset's Speedway in South Dakota where the winner get the keys to the facility lock, stock and barrel but bring your lawyer along to do a title search and look at the fine detail in the contract. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we do bringing them to you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Rain and Fayette County Open Illinois Midget Week

    Wednesday, June 12 - We left Crawfordsville at 9 AM under sunny skies and puffy white clouds and by the time we crossed the border into Illinois it was somewhat cloudy but still nice. We never gave it a thought to check the POWRi website or Twitter feed to check on Belle-Clair. We figured they were running even though the forecast was not that good for the day. It turns out Bell-Clair had already pulled the plug by 10 AM but we did not know. It didn't matter though as our hotel was already booked and Pat had arranged to meet two sets of people on Wednesday and then Thursday morning to sell some of her antiques to them. After eating a good lunch at McAllister's with Melanie and her mother we ventured down the road toward Belle-Clair. We arrived at our hotel room in Collinsville and checked in and when I logged onto the POWRi Twitter site we found out the bad news that the Illinois Midget Speedweek opener was canceled. It rained off and now several times but it was only a light rain and would have been nothing more than a free watering job for the track crew. We thought that it being the opener of Illinois Midget Week with cars, drivers and fans making their way into the area they would have given it more of a effort to run the event.


     

    Thursday, June 13 - The day dawned bright and sunny with temperatures in the 70's. By nightfall the temperatures were predicted to drop into the 50's making for a chilly night for the middle of the month of June. We arrived early and found a parking spot on the grounds of the Fayette County Fairgrounds located outside of the small town of Brownstown in the shade and I laid down our blanket on the top row of the covered aluminum grandstand and settled back to wait until race time. Joining us for opening night would be Todd Shannon of Wisconsin, Guy Smith of Pennsylvania and Dale O'Brien now of Florida by way of Green Bay, Wisconsin. We all gathered in the grandstands around 6:15 chatting and eating before the five division program of racing action was scheduled to begin at 7 PM. Our feelings on a five division which turned into a six division program on a week night is not a good idea but we understand the other side of the coin in that the promoter is covering his ass and if the front gate crowd is not that large he is hoping the back gate will cover the expenses and produce a profit. The crowd was good but not overflowing and therefore the extra classes and the revenue they produce helps pays the bills but on the other side of the coin it makes for a long night of racing. If you run the main classes first (which they did) it gives people options and after the POWRi midget feature ended at 10:23 a good portion of the crowd exited the facility. At 10:51 when the winged 600 micro sprints ended another segment of the crowd headed toward the exits. With three or possibly four features to go it was going to be a while until the last class of cars took the final checker. The car counts were as follows: POWRi midgets (32), POWRi 600 micros (31), modifieds (12), B mods (16), hornets (22) and some sort of stocker class (7) with two people in the cockpit with one steering and the other working the gas and brake.


     

    POWRi does not do time trials but instead does their qualifying procedures by passing points with the top sixteen in passing points locking into the 3 lap feature with the top point getter starting on the pole. The final six come out of the semi event lining up at the tail of the field by their finish. The first midget heat of the evening was scored by Michael Pickens winning over his teammate, Thomas Meseraull, Jesse Colwell and Tanner Carrick. Heat two went to 16 year old Cannon McIntosh besting Logan Seavey who came from eighth and earned the most points in the heat action, Andy Malpocker and 14 year old Jesse Love. Heat three saw 17 year old high school graduate, Holly Hollan, post the victory over Jerry Coons Jr., Tanner Thorson and Tucker Klaasmeyer. The fourth and final heat went to Zach Daum, the man from nearby Pocahontas winning over Daison Pursley, another 14 year old, Austin Brown and Broc Hunnell. The four 600 micro sprint heats would be captured by Harley Hollan, father of Holly, Jeremy Camp, Aaron Andruskevitch (must have been tough spelling that one as a kid!!!) and Scotty Milan. The mods would run two heats along with the B mods which were 10 laps in distance longer than any other divisions for whatever reason. The hornets ran three good heats before the "sixth" division appeared for the first time, the stocker class with two passengers which ran one race (don't know if this was their only race or not) for their seven car field. Only the POWRi midgets would run a semi with fourth starting Ace McCarthy triumphing over young Jesse Love, Robert Dalby making the long tow from California, Ethan Mitchell, fast timer at Bloomington during USAC Midget Week action and hailing from North Carolina, Sam Johnson and Sterling Cling. Only one provisional, Kade Morton, would tag the making it a 23 car starting field.


     

    The 30 lap POWRi midget feature would take the green flag at 10:00 with Logan Seavey pulling ahead of the other front row starter, Holly Hollan. The first of five cautions would appear on lap two when Andy Malpocker and Sterling Cling tangled in turn four. Seavey moved back out front on the restart with Thomas Meseraull in close pursuit. The second caution waved on lap four in turn four again as Cannon McIntosh backed it into the turn four wall collecting Tucker Klaasmeyer in the process. Michael Pickens was also up to third and began to exchange sliders with Meseraull as they jousted for second. The third caution interrupted things again when Robert Dalby came up lame on the homestretch to force the yellow again. Daison Pursley spun on the low side of turn two on lap nine to slow the action for the fourth time. It was a shame as the constant cautions were taking away from what could have been a heck of a show. Seavey continued to lead at this point but the battle behind was fast and furious. T-Mez, Pickens, Zach Daum and Tanner Thorson up from 11th were going at it tooth and nail. Thorson used the high side off turn four to take second from Daum on lap 13 and took off after Seavey. The leader was running the high side in turns three and four while using a diamond move through turns one and two as he paced the field. On the last restart Thorson tried a slider entering turn one but Seavey was up to the challenge blasting off turn two with the lead. That must have been a wakeup call for Seavey as he steadily pulled away from Thorson and the rest of the field over the remaining laps. Over the last five laps of the feature all eyes were on the battle for third as Jerry Coons Jr. worked his patented low groove while Jess Colwell went up high and the two raced side by side. As the checkered waved at 10:23 it was Seavey in for his fifth POWRi win out of eight races contested in 2019 with Thorson chasing him across the line. Colwell would prevail in the race for third with 13th starting Jerry Coons Jr. notching fourth and a fine run by Ethan Mitchell slicing from 20th on the grid to nail down fifth. Michael Pickens would finish sixth with Meseraull seventh, Tanner Carrick eighth after starting 15th, Cannon McIntosh ninth and Zach Daum fading to tenth at the finish.


     

    We still had the exciting winged 600 micro sprints ready to contest their 20 lap affair with Aaron Andruskevitch taking the early lead after earning the most passing points advancing from fifth to first in his heat race. It was all Andruskevitch in this one leading from wire to wire but the 37 year old from Riverton, IL was not the whole story of this race. Joe B. Miller had to qualify through the semi and started 21st on the starting grid. Miller using the cushion in turns three and four to perfection blasted his way from 21st all the way up to 3rd at the finish in an impressive charge from the rear. Riley Goodno was able to fend off Miller for second over the closing laps with Gunner Ramey coming home fourth and Allen Cope rounding out the top five in this one which ended at 10:51. We all decided to head for the exits with the exception of Dale who was staying nearby and was going to watch the modified feature. It was a decent night of racing on a racy track but was long due to the amount of classes running.


     

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow as we move over to the Jacksonville Speedway for round two of Illinois Midget Week where two midget features are on the card with one being from the rained out WOO show at Jacksonville earlier in the season. Should be a good night of racing. To those of you who are not following Illinois Midget Week still get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as these tracks need our support as if they close due to poor attendance it is highly unlikely they will ever reopen. A fact shared by Guy Smith last night passed on from Allen Brown was this year has the lowest number of short track ovals running since 1947 dipping below the 1000 track mark. This is not a good trend for racing as a whole and we hope it turns around in the future. Any news, comments, tidbits or other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Thorson Completes The Comeback With Spectacular Win At Lincoln Park

    Thursday, June 5 - Tanner Thorson was a fortunate young man. Returning from Las Vegas Dirt Track after a WOO show there three months ago Tanner was driving the tow rig on Rt. 99 near Modesto, California in the wee hours of the morning when he was involved in a furious highway crash resulting in serious injuries. Thorson was able to escape the destroyed cab but suffered a broken left arm, a broken right foot, a cracked sternum, several broken ribs and a punctured lung in the serious crash. He has been rehabbing over the last several months and made his return Tuesday night at Montpelier Motor Speedway where he finished second but Thursday night at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville he completed the comeback by winning the 30 lap USAC National Midget contest at the track in beautiful downtown Putnamville. The race was spectacular throughout but over the last five laps it was truly amazing and was the prototype of the race you keep coming back for which only happens on a rare occasion. The weather was again very nice with temperatures in the 80's and wonderful track conditions the entire evening with multiple racing grooves the entire evening even when it blackened off toward the end of the evening. We were joined at the B & B (our house in Crawfordsville - known as bed and bull....) by Pennsylvania friends, Bill and Judy Burns, and Florida resident by way of Wisconsin, Dale O'Brien.


     

    A fine trio of open wheel divisions checked into Joe Spiker's playground to take part in round three of Indiana Midget Week with 36 USAC midgets, 26 non-wing sprint cars and 25 MMSA mini sprints filling the backstretch pit area with a good crowd of fans turning out for this one. USAC midget time trials commenced at 6:37 and the last car took the checkered at 7:04 and in between 36 entries took aim at the track record with "Young Money", Kyle Larson, motoring the yellow and black Kunz #97 to a new track record of 12.383 seconds around the 5/16th mile egg shaped dirt oval. Next up were four heat races for the midgets with the first one taking the green flag at 7:23. The first heat was simply awesome with the top four swapping slide jobs and crossovers like they were going out of style. At one point Jason McDougal was shuffled back to fourth but when the checkered waved McDougal had found his way back to the top and scored the impressive win over Tanner Thorson, Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant. Kyle Larson was relegated to the B main and the highest he would start in the feature was seventh if he transferred. Dave Darland finally had a good run in the RMS #36 winning heat two over CJ Leary, Logan Seavey and Jerry Coons Jr. Thomas Meseraull brought another RMS entry home first in heat three besting Tucker Klaasmeyer, Michael Pickens and Zeb Wise. Jesse Colwell looking better each time out brought one of the Keith Kunz steeds to the front outrunning Kevin Thomas Jr., Zach Daum and Chris Windom in another very exciting heat contest. Zane Hendricks turned turtle in turn one in this one after setting fourth fastest time and was OK exiting the midget quickly. The non-wing sprints were next up and Dave Darland doing double duty this time in the Cunningham #17 won heat one over Thomas Meseraull, Lee Underwood, Braydon Fox and Nate McMillen. Brady Short back fulltime in 2019 took heat two turning back Brandon Mattox, Travis Berryhill, Shelby VanGilder and Korbyn Hayslett. Kevin Thomas Jr. triumphed in heat three beating Shane Cockrum, Gary Rook, Sterling Cling and Harley Burns in a new mount for the high school youngster. The MMSA mini sprints brought a good field of 25 with Jeff Schindler, Austin Powell and Brandon Deputy taking home heat wins.


     

    The midget B main saw the female contingent of two both get upside down with Holly Hollan executing a slow roll in turn four while later in the event Karsyn Elledge went over the front end of Cannon McIntosh and rolled in turn two. Kyle Larson would win this one over Chad Boat in a fine run, Shane Golobic, Dillon Welch, Tanner Carrick and Andrew Layser. Holly Hollan and Cole Bodine would use provisionals to tag the end of the feature field. The sprint car B main went to Jadon Rogers.


     

    It was time for round three of IMW with the 24 car field set to go 30 circuits around the 5/16th mile. As the green waved Tyler Courtney went out front followed by fourth starter, Thomas Meseraull. These two started to open the gap on the field but entering turn one on lap five it looked like Courtney bobbled and Meseraull at full steam ran into Sunshine and took both of them around. Logan Seavey inherited the lead and pounded the cushion with Kevin Thomas Jr. in the middle until lap eleven when Andrew Layser flipped in turn three to bring out the red. Layser was uninjured in the incident. On the restart Michael Pickens inside the top five at the time found himself facing traffic after spinning between turns one and two. Lap 13 saw Thomas use the middle to take the lead away from Seavey with Tanner Thorson and Kyle Larson joining the fray up front. The racing was intense all over the oval with Thomas holding sway until Thorson dove low in turn one and two and edged ahead of Thomas momentarily until Thomas went back out front down the backstretch. Seavey executed a slider entering turn three to move by Thomas but a crossover gave Thomas the lead onto the homestretch. Seavey threw another slider in turn one to take the lead with Thorson edging by Thomas into second on the low side of turn two. Thomas was not done as he split the gap on the two down the backstretch and went back to the point. There were an incredible 13 lead changes in the following Seacrossover off turn four to inch ahead. Seavey again set up the slider in turn one but Thorson also had some ideas and dove low entering turn one. Seavey was on top exiting turn two with Thorson second and Thomas third but Thomas regained second down the backstretch. Thorson slid Thomas in turn one on lap 27 but Thomas returned the favor in turn two. Thorson took the lead low off turn four coming to the two to go. All of a sudden Kyle Larson was ripping the cushion and threatening to pass everyone on the high side of turn two as the white flag waved. Larson caught the turn two cushion wrong and promptly launched his mount skyward as the red waved. Larson had come to win and it was wreckers or checkers and tonight the Cup racer ended up on the wrecker. On the restart Thorson got a good run entering turn one with a three car length lead. Thomas went to the top to try to track down the streaking Thorson over the final two laps but didn't have enough. Seavey dove low in turn three and slid in front of Thomas for second coming to the checkered and one of the old guys, Jerry Coons Jr., used the inside to edge Thomas at the line for third. Boy, oh boy what a finish and what a race!!! WOW, WOW, WOW and WOW.


     

    Thorson was one happy dude in victory lane and expressed his doubts over the course of the past three months if he would ever be able to do this again. Well he summed it up when he stated "I'm Back!!" The finish was Thorson from 15th for his 13th career USAC midget victory over Seavey, Coons, Thomas and Chris Windom in another steady performance advancing from 14th to 5th at the end. Shane Golobic, Tyler Courtney from the rear, Jesse Colwell, Zach Daum and Jason McDougal rounded out the top ten.


     

    We still had a 25 lap sprint car feature to go but we knew nothing was going to top this one. Dave Darland sprinted to the early lead with fifth starting Brandon Mattox getting a good hole shot to advance to third on lap 2. Lap six saw the caution and then the red appear as first Harley Burns slid off turn four and nailed the wall while Korbyn Hayslett took a ride into the billboards in turn one. Darland would lead until lap 8 when T-Mez passed him exiting turn four. Jadon Rogers rolled on top of the cushion in turns three and four on lap 10 to bring out the second red. On the restart it was T-Mez, Darland and KTJ. Thomas wrestled second from DD on lap 11 and Shane Cockrum took third away from the People's Champ on lap 12 just as Travis Berryhill rolled up in turn four to become the third flipper of the feature. Thomas caught and passed Meseraull for the lead in turn two on lap 14 and Cockrum got by Meseraull from turn four on lap 17. T-Mez quickly came back and regained second with KTJ playing rabbit in the lead. The remaining eight laps spun off with Thomas maintaining the lead and cruising to his third straight sprint car win during midget week turning back T-Mez, Cockrum, Darland and Brady Short at the finish.


     

    The USAC midget racing was fantastic, awesome and amazing all wrapped up in one and will have the fans in attendance talking about it for year to come. That is why we come out week after week just hoping to catch five or six of those during the course of the season.


     

    That's it until tomorrow when we bring you round four of IMW from the red clay high banks of Bloomington Speedway where the action should be hot and heavy. In the meantime get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe. News, comments, rumors or facts can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and thanks for the kind words they mean so much.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Grant Comes Through With Big Gas City Win During Indiana Midget Week

    Wednesday, June 4 - Weather again was the big issue of the day. Forecasts improved from Sunday (80% day, 80% night) to (60% day, 40% night) on Wednesday. We awoke to cloudy skies but no rain and the weather stayed that way until after noon time. The forecast dropped to 20% for most of the remainder of the day with the exception of the 5 to 6 PM time frame where the percentage was 60%. If we could make it through that hour without any rain we looked like we were going to be fine. The bad stuff passed south of us where many places received as much as three to four inches of rain from that storm.

    After warmups for the three division card the USAC midgets took to the track for time trials for their fine 40 car field. The first car took to the clock at 7:08 and they were divided into two qualifying groups with California's Shane Golobic qualifying in group two set the fastest overall time with a lap of 12.349 seconds around the 1/4 mile oval. Next up would be the heat racing for the midgets with four in total with four moving on from each heat. Tyler Courtney set a new track record in heat one with an eight lap record of 2:05:54 in winning this one over Tucker Klaasmeyer, CJ Leary and Kyle Larson. Holly Hollan made a very strong run in heat two beating the boys in this one trailed by Cole Bodine, Jesse Colwell and Cannon McIntosh. Heat three saw Logan Seavey claim the win besting Zeb Wise, Shane Golobic and Justin Grant in a race which saw Floridian Oliver Akard flip in turn two. Kevin Thomas Jr. brought the Petry entry home first in heat four over Chad Boat, Karsyn Elledge (granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt) and Jason McDougal. The 600's were next up and they spun off two heats for their 16 car field. The non-wing sprint cars were the third division on the card and they ran three heats for their 24 car field. Brady Bacon took heat one over Max Adams, Cole Ketchum and Sterling Cling. Kevin Thomas Jr. scored heat two besting Kyle Robbins, Clinton Boyles and Dustin Ingle. Tim Creech snared heat three over Corey Smith, Brandon Rose and Lee Underwood.

    Next up was the C main for the midgets with Brady Bacon taking the event and moving to the tail of the B main. The sprint B main went to Ohio's Korbyn Hayslett over Tyler Hewitt, Scotty Weir, Brad Greenup and Billy Cribbs who I apoligize to mistaking him last night at Montpelier for Ben Knight. The midget B main was captured by Tanner Thorson defeating Michael Pickens, Jerry Coons Jr., Tanner Carrick, Andrew Layser and Zach Daum the last in on qualifying. Chris Windom would be forced to use a provisional to join the party in the 23rd starting position.

    The 30 lap USAC midget speedweek main event was ready to rumble at 9:54 with CJ Leary and Justin Grant bringing them to the green flag. Grant jumped out front at the start. Lap three saw the first caution wave as Jesse Colwell stopped on the infield grass in turn one to slow things down. Grant proceeded to walk away from the field on the restart and had a big lead near the halfway mark being chased by fourth starter, Jason McDougal in the Reynolds #21KS. Shane Golobic and Jerry Coons Jr. tangled exiting turn four on lap fifteen with Golobic looping his midget. On the restart Cannon McIntosh slipped by McDougal into second and set his sights on Grant. Michael Pickens and Kyle Larson were running sixth and eighth at this point and on the next restart turned up the wick and began their march forward. They passed Tanner Thorson and McDougal positioning themselves in contending spots running third and fourth with five to go. Coming to the white flag the caution waved for the last time when Tucker Klaasmeyer slid off turn four and stopped setting up a green, white, checker scenario. On the restart Grant loaded up and missed his mark coming off the fourth turn and allowed McIntosh to pull alongside to challenge. The yellow saved Grant when Coons and Karsyn Elledge collided on the inside of turn four. On the ensuing restart Grant was ready to go and jumped to a several car length lead over McIntosh. In turn two third running Pickens was low on fuel and slowed ruining a fine run by the New Zealander. Exiting turn four McIntosh dove low making one last attempt to steal the win but came up two car lengths shy in his bid. Kyle Larson would come home third trailed by Jason McDougal and Tanner Thorson. Tyler Courtney was the hard charger advancing from 15th to 6th at the finish with Zach Daum seventh after starting 12th, Tanner Carrick eighth, Chris Windom making the most out of his provisional charging from 23rd to 9th and Zeb Wise rounding out the top ten at 10:13.

    There was still a 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature to run and the 20 car field took the initial green at 10:26. Brady Bacon took the early lead until lap three when Kevin Thomas Jr. claimed the top spot. These two raced each other hard over the next dozen laps with Tim Creech motoring around in third. Lap 11 saw Korbyn Hayslett loop it in turn three to bring out the caution. Thomas continued to lead when the race went green again with Bacon and Creech in tow. Max Adams, Corey Smith and Kyle Robbins were having a grand battle for positions four through six with positions changing on every circuit. Robbins fine night was ruined on lap 17 when he spun in turn four while running fourth. Bacon nipped at Thomas' tail tank on the restart but KTJ was up to the challenge. Thomas Meseraull who started 18th was suddenly in the mix challenging for a top five spot. As the checkered waved at 10:42 it was Thomas for his second straight sprint win during midget week besting Bacon with Adams third, Corey Smith fourth and T-Mez sneaking in for fifth. Tim Creech faded to a disappointing sixth trailed by 18th starting Scotty Weir, Lee Underwood, Cole Ketchum and Brandon Rose.

    The racing on the evening was real good with a nice surface to allow good viewing and some close racing was witnessed.

    Round three moves to beautiful downtown Putnamville at the Lincoln Park Speedway where lawn chairs are a must to relax and enjoy the racing. Until tomorrow get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be good. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Seavey Opens Indiana Midget Week With Win At Montpelier

    Tuesday, June 3 - The forecast late last weekend looked dire for Montpelier for Tuesday but as the new week dawned the weather forecast improved immensely. By race day there was very little chance of rain until 2 AM so it was go at Montpelier. Bill Burns arrived early to secure good seats in the wooden grandstand as we would not be able to arrive until around 6:15. It took eight minutes to enter the speedway grounds as they ran out of wrist bands and everyone had to wait until a new supply was brought over from the office.

    It was night one of six with an impressive field of 37 midgets, 27 UMP modifieds and 17 non-wing sprint cars jamming the turn one and two pit area for tonight's action. Time trials for the USAC midgets commenced at 6:49 with Sterling Cling finding the turn four wall and rolling over during this time. When the dust cleared which was not often on the evening Tyler Courtney had topped the field with a time of 14.029 seconds for fast time on the evening. Four midget heats would follow with the first one taking the green at 8:05. Tanner Carrick won heat one for Keith Kunz chased by Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant and Shane Golobic taking the last qualifying spot after tangling with Jesse Colwell battling for the last qualifying position with Colwell going off on the hook. Heat two saw Dave Darland clip another car in turn three and flip over exiting without any harm. Logan Seavey made it two straight for the Kunz stables with a stirring last to first charge with a last lap, last corner pass of Jason McDougal for the win. Chad Boat and Tucker Klaasmeyer would claim the last two qualifying positions. Heat three was a good one with Zach Daum holding off the advances of Tyler Courtney, Jerry Coons Jr. and New Zealand visitor, Michael Pickens, for the win. Heat four saw young Cannon McIntosh impressively hold off fellow young one, Zeb Wise, Tanner Thorson returning to racing action after a nasty highway accident earlier in the season in California and Chris Windom. Three UMP modified heats would follow and then three lackluster sprint car heats with Ohio's Lee Underwood beating back Clinton Boyles and Isaac Chapple in heat one. Heat two went to Kevin Thomas Jr. over Brady Bacon and Kyle Simon while heat three was scored by Thomas Meseraull over Ben Knight and Sterling Cling. The midget B main would follow with 20 entries with Thomas Messeraull bringing the third RMS entry home first over CJ Leary, Dillon Welch, Dave Darland in another RMS car, Kyle Cummins in the Cactus Jack Yeley mount and Zane Hendricks the last man in by qualifying.

    By 10:09 it was time to go USAC midget racing with 22 qualifiers joined by provisionals taken by Jesse Colwell and Andrew Layser to make it a 24 car starting field to roll out of turn four to Tom Hansing's green flag. Zeb Wise was able to get the jump on Logan Seavey entering turn one or at least I think he did as a huge dust cloud bellowed off of the turn. It was a shame that it was so dusty as the action was very good throughout the feature but the combination of the relentless dust and too many black cars made it very difficult to follow the action on the track. Seavey would lead the first five laps until T-Mez pulled to a stop on the high side of turn four on lap five. On the restart Seavey threw a massive slider on Wise entering turn one and had the lead momentarily in turn two before the yellow waved again negating the pass. By lap seven Seavey dove low entering turn one and slid in front of Wise in turn two to grab the lead and this time no caution appeared. Seavey pulled away and by the halfway mark he had a comfortable lead. Seavey picked his way through lap traffic with Wise and Thorson dogging him through the traffic. Thorson was able to slid by Wise for second with five to go as the track rubbered up and became very slick. Seavey was flawless through lap traffic over the last five laps and flashed under the double checkered flags at 10:20 for his first USAC midget victory in 2019 and his fourth career USAC midget triumph including his first midget week win. Thorson came home second in his return with Wise holding on for third with Courtney fourth and Dillon Welch in a fine performance in one of the Boat entries to nail down fifth at the finish. Shane Golobic led the second five coming home sixth with Jason McDougal seventh, Kevin Thomas Jr. eighth, Tanner Carrick ninth and Chris Windom.

    The 25 lap sprint car feature was next on the card and took the green flag at 10:42. Thomas Meseraull went to the early lead with fifth starting Lee Underwood looking very strong moving to second early and challenging T-Mez. Lap eight saw Clinton Boyles bang wheels with Isaac Chapple in turn two forcing Chapple over the corner and into a flip. An unhappy and limping Chapple started to walk down the backstretch to converse with Boyles but a push truck moved Boyles to turn four and that was the end of any confrontation. T-Mez went to the point on the restart with Brady Bacon moving by Underwood for second in turn two on lap ten with Kevin Thomas Jr. following. Thomas caught Bacon on the backstretch on lap twelve for second and took off after Meseraull. It was a good, competitive race considering that the track was black and slick as the front runners battled it out. Thomas made several slider attempts in turns one and two on T-Mez but T-Mez was up to the challenge never backing off and maintained the lead. With two to go Clinton Boyles running fifth at the time tried a slider in turn one which ended up not good in turn two for lapper Brian Ruhlman who spun off turn two. This also knocked out Boyles for the remaining two laps. On the restart Meseraull spun his tires just enough to allow Thomas a run on the inside on the homestretch clearing Meseraull with a slide in turn one and taking the lead. Thomas would lead the last two laps and beat a disappointed T-Mez to the finish with Underwood making a white flag pass of Bacon for third with BOSS regular, Korbyn Hayslett, turning in a good run notching the fifth spot at the finish at 11:06.

    The racing was good but it was disappointing that with the dust problem it really took away from being able to properly enjoy the close racing on the track.

    That's it for now as we sit in the hotel at Gas City waiting to see if the rain will hold off to allow us to see round two scheduled for Gas City Speedway tonight.

    So get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Any comments, news or other items of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Kokomo Klassic Falls To Justin Grant

    Sunday, June 2 - We woke up to another nice day on Sunday and soon thereafter were on the laptop checking out to see if the rain yesterday had put a damper on Kokomo's plans for Sunday. It was found that things were on schedule and they were racing today. Hooray!!!! After attending church and grabbing lunch afterward it was northeast toward Kokomo as tonight they were running the Kokomo Klassic, a special $2000 to win, 30 lap feature for the non-wing sprints along with winged 305 sprints, thundercars and hornets. We sat on the backstretch with the sun at our backs as the sun does not set until around 9 PM. Our good buddy from the New Castle area, Phil, was there along with his grandson, Cole, and we sat in front of them for the evening and a little later the other Phil came with his wife. We had fun chatting together as it seemed forever before they kicked off the program with the first heat taking the green flag at 7:50. It could have been that the stiff wind and the sun were punishing the track and the track crew wanted to make sure the track was good to go before cranking things up.


     

    The non-wing sprints would take to qualifying first with three heats scheduled for their 23 car field. Clinton Boyles put the Paul Hazen #57 out front in the first one and was never headed trailed by Isaac Chapple, Dave Darland tonight in the Paul #24P and Tye Mihocko spending the summer in Indiana and normally riding out of Arizona in his first appearance here. Heat two saw Justin Grant win with the Topp Motorsports #4 outdistancing Thomas Meseraull, Tyler Hewitt, Koby Barksdale and Corey Smith, the second place finisher at Gas City on Friday. "Stomp and Steer" Scotty Weir took the plain Jane looking Pederson #4P to the point and walked away with this one over Kevin Thomas Jr., Cole Ketchum, Lee Underwood and Anthony D'Alessio. The Racesaver 305 sprints were next in the chute also running three heats for their 24 car field. Jeff Wimmenauer, Ethan Barrow and Jackson Slone won their respective heats. The thundercars ran two heats for their 11 car field and the hornets wrapped up heat qualifying with two heats for their 19 car field. None of the heats were anything to write home about and we thought that the wind and sun might have taken its toll. Boy, were we in for a surprise!! Only the two sprint divisions needed B mains with Ben Knight corralling the non-wing one and Scott Bradley nailing down the 305 one.


     

    By 9:54 it was time to drop the hammer with Justin Grant and Clinton Boyles bringing 18 others to the green flag. Grant and Boyles ran side by side for the first five laps each edging in front at various junctions of the track before Grant pushed out front at the start/finish line to start lap 7. Boyles wasn't done yet as he raced low off turn four and retook the lead at the line on lap 8. Two laps later and a few more slide jobs from both Justin Grant moved out front on lap 10. Kevin Thomas Jr. was now in the hunt and he disposed of Boyles for second on lap 12 and went off in hunt of Grant just as Matt Cooley spun in turn two. The two swapped positions for the next two laps until Thomas dove low and powered by Grant in turn four on lap 14 for the lead. Thomas Messeraull was also moving forward picking off Boyles and trying to reel in the front two now. The red appeared on lap 17 when Cole Ketchum flipped on the inside of turn two on lap 17. On the restart Thomas held sway with Grant and Messeraull in this tire tracks. Grant made a strong move on the outside on the backstretch and once again was on top on lap 18. Mario Clouser brought out the second and final caution when he looped the #6 off of turn four on lap 20. On the restart it was Grant, Thomas and Meseraull with Scotty Weir lurking in fourth and Boyles fifth. Meseraull was ripping the fence and blasted by Thomas high in turn two to take away second on lap 22 and immediately began to gain huge chunks of real estate on leader Grant. Two laps later Weir passed Thomas low on the homestretch and was now third. Meseraull continued to stalk Grant growing closer and closer as the laps ticked off. Lap traffic loomed ahead as Grant worked the top in turns one and two and the bottom in turns three and four. T-Mez closed to Grant's tail tank with two to go and the battle was on. Grant worked the lap traffic to perfection and one last gasp effort by T-Mez off turn four coming to the checkered fell short with Grant racing under the flagstand at 10:15 for the victory. Meseraull notched second with Weir third, Thomas dropping to fourth and Clinton Boyles rounding out the top five. Dave Darland led the second five followed by Isaac Chapple, Tyler Hewitt, Travis Hery and Mario Clouser rebounding for tenth. This race certainly lived up to its name of the Kokomo Klassic and had the crowd buzzing.


     

    The action was by far not yet over as the Racesaver 305 winged sprints would contest twenty laps of feature action. John Paynter Jr. raced from fourth at the start to take the lead entering turn three on lap one from Jordan Welch. Anton Hernandez took over third after starting fifth on lap 3 off of turn two. It took Hernandez until lap eight to track Welch down for second down the backstretch. Hernandez now set his sights on Paynter as the race was on. Paynter worked lap traffic with Hernandez trying to narrow the gap. With six to go Hernandez was on Paynter's tail tank and he used the high side to make the winning pass down the backstretch with five to go. Hernandez would flash under the checkered flag at 10:36 in the non-stop contest beating Paynter Jr., Damon Fortune, grandson of the owner with the same name who fielded USAC sprint cars for many years with drivers like Ken Schrader and Ricky Hood. Rounding out the top five was Bradley Sterrett motoring from 11th to 4th with Ethan Barrow closing out the top five.


     

    Two very good sprint car features were witnessed tonight and the overall weekend produced some fine racing at all three facilities that we attended.


     

    Until next time where Indiana Midget Week lays on the horizon we are hoping and praying for good weather and that as usual the weatherman is wrong as Montpelier looks to start off the six nights of midget racing followed by Gas City and Lincoln Park. As for you all get out there and catch some good midweek short track racing in your area or meet us at Montpelier. News, comments, insights and other items can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but certainly not least thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you continue to enjoy them.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Cockrum Triumphs In Mid-Season Championship Race At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, June 1 - The month of June opened hot and more importantly dry. Though north of us the day was not nearly as nice as thunderstorms rolled through northern Indiana, southern Michigan and Northern Ohio wiping out races at Montpelier (0 for the season so far) and Oakshade where the BOSS sprints were scheduled to run for the first time. Hopefully the next few days will be nice at Montpelier to dry out their grounds so they can host their first race of the season Tuesday when the USAC midgets visit for opening night of Indiana Midget Week.


     

    Tonight we were headed south on Rt. 231 toward beautiful downtown Putnamville where Lincoln Park Speedway was hosting their mid-season championship event for the non-wing sprint cars. Thirty two sprint cars were pitside but only twenty eight of them made the call for heat action while the UMP modifieds brought 20 to the dance, the super stocks 23 and the bombers chipped in with 19. The sprint cars would be first up in the long push-off chute extending from outside of turn three up to high above turn four where they enter the track. Jesse Vermillion fresh off a second in the Paragon sprint contest the night before torched the field in heat one outrunning Oklahoma's Matt Moore in the Krockenberger #21K, Jarett Andretti and Ty Mihocko spending the summer in Indiana by way of Arizona. Brent Beauchamp wired heat two easily winning over Zach Hampton, Jadon Rogers and Blake Vermillion. The Chief, Shane Cockrum, driving the Jaime Paul #24P nailed down heat three besting Brandon Mattox, Matt McDonald and Joey Parker. The fourth and final heat was won by Joe Stornetta Jr., the current point leader, in the Burton #04 winning over Colten Cottle, Travis Berryhill and Jacob Wilson making a rare dirt sprint car appearance on the evening. The Crawfordsville native main prowess is on the black top being a back to back winner of the prestigious Little 500 held in Anderson last Saturday. Three UMP modified heats followed with three super stock heats next and finally two bomber heats completed the heat qualifying. Only the super stocks and the sprints would need B mains. Mario Clouser ventured over from Illinois and captured the sprint car B main outrunning Alec Sipes, Harley Burns and young Brayden Fox making his Lincoln Park 410 debut securing the last ticket to the big dance.


     

    The 30 lap mid-season championship for the sprint cars would be the first one to the post taking Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 9:12. Rookie Jesse Vermillion, out of the MMSA mini sprint ranks, would get the early edge over fellow front row starter, Brent Beauchamp. Lap 3 at the line would see Beauchamp take the lead away from Vermillion with Shane Cockrum passing Jesse for second down the backstretch on lap four. Suddenly the leader, Beauchamp, slowed on the backstretch pulling to the infield with mechanical woes as Cockrum inherited the lead. Cockrum remained in front until the first caution waved on lap seven when Matt Moore lost the handle in turn four and ended up on the wrong side of the berm on top of the pit road. Cockrum went to the point on the restart chased by Joe Stornetta Jr. with Colten Cottle moving into third in turn three on lap 8. The top three were putting on a whale of a race until Stornetta jumped the cushion exiting turn four sending him sideways and rolling several times down the homestretch ending up in the middle of the track. Stornetta was OK but the car was done for the evening. On the ensuing restart Cockrum moved out front again with Jarett Andretti making his march forward from ninth into second on the backstretch on lap 13 using the low groove. Two laps later Colten Cottle's fine run hit a snag when he spun in turn four while running third after entering the corner at an awkward angle as Andretti slid sideways in front of him. Travis Berryhill became a factor in this race as he took third entering turn one on lap 18 after starting 12th. Lap 21 saw the next caution as Harley Burns looped it in turn two. The restart brought another quick caution as Blake Vermillion pulled off the track in turn three above the cushion. As the green waved again it was Cockrum with Andretti nipping at his heels several times drawing even but never able to pass Cockrum. With five to go Cockrum went high in turn four and caught the cushion wrong almost spinning him and loosing valuable ground as Andretti tried to take the lead exiting the turn. Cockrum was able to recover and ward off Andretti over the remaining five laps to score the big victory for the farming Pauls of Ohio with Andretti, Berryhill, Mario Clouser who advanced from 17th after winning the B main to claim a strong fourth with 11th starting, Matt McDonald registering a fine fifth for himself.

    It was a good interesting race run on a nicely groomed surface and was very competitive with many good runs throughout.


     

    Next up were the UMP modifieds for their 20 lap feature. Jake Leitzman led until lap 11 when Derek Groomer found his way around and into the lead. Groomer would lead the rest of the way with Leitzman in tow with Tyler Loughmiller coming from sixth to third at the finish. Since it was only 10:11 we decided to take in the 20 lap super stock feature with Josh Boller starting first and leading the entire distance with Crawfordsville's Bryce Shidler finishing second with Doug McCullough third, Jonny Newgent fourth and Matt Jordan rounding out the top five at 10:39. At this point with only the bomber feature left we headed toward the exits satisfied with a well run program tonight at LPS and hope that our next visit on the coming Thursday for Indiana Midget Week is met with more good weather.


     

    That's it until tomorrow when we will bring you the report from Kokomo with non-wing sprints and 305 winged sprints. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Maybe a visit to Indiana Midget Week is on your horizen and if so hope to see you there. Comments, news, rumors, facts and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always 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

    Cummins Sweeps To MSCS Sprint Win At Paragon

    Friday, May 31 - Today was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 80's and no chance of rain. That is a great forecast considering the past six weeks or so and what we all have had to endure. The call tonight was to invade Monroe County and take in new promoter, Joe Spiker's operation for the first time this year at the Paragon Speedway. Paragon has been around since 1954 and as Indiana fan, Jerry Shaw, commented in conversation "its like time has stood still here." That's not a bad thing but Shaw and many others have been coming here for many years and the overall layout of the facility is the same it has always been except the trees have grown bigger. At Paragon you have your choice of aluminum or wood planks on top of pillars or bring your own lawn chair and set it up against the plank or set it up on the hill toward turn one. All choices seem to be good choices. Tonight's program would consist of the Midwest Sprint Car Series or MSCS which brought 28 warriors to the tussle while the Paragon sprint division brought 23 cars through the pit entrance. Also on the card were UMP modifieds (18) and bombers (17). That brought the four division total to an impressive 86 jamming the backstretch pit area. Paragon is a 1/4 mile dirt oval with long straights and tight turns with no walls except for the homestretch. There is a pond inside turns three and four and yes no one visited it on this evening. The viewing area is located on a hill with a steep climb but new concrete walkway greets you at the bottom so it is easier and viewing is good from anywhere. A good crowd turned out for this special event on this nice Friday evening and were rewarded to some good racing in all divisions during the evening.

    Action kicked off at 7:48 when the first of three MSCS sprint car heats hit the track with nine entries going to the post. AJ Hopkins went wire to wire in this one besting Jadon Rogers, Kyle Cummins, Colten Cottle and Chase Stockon back in Kent Schmidt's #5S. Dakota Jackson pounced from fourth to take heat two over Brady Short, Brandon Mattox, Chet Williams and Brian Karraker. The final heat went to pole man, Jordan Kinser, turning back Travis Berryhill, Dave Darland back in the Cunningham #17, Aric Gentry and Hunter O'Neal. The UMP modifieds contested two heats with RT Gamble and Blake Davis coming out on top. Three Paragon sprint car heats were next on the menu with Spencer's David Traux, Josh Cunningham and Jake Henderson coming out on top. The bombers ran two heats for their 17 car field and then it was right into the MSCS B main. Shane Cottle outran 12 others in the Epperson #2E for the win chased by Matt McDonald, Chayse Hayhurst, Donny Brackett and Joe Stornetta Jr. storming the top side in the Burton #04 took away the last qualifying spot from Kent Schmidt who had to use a provisional to tag the starting field.

    The first feature of the evening would be a 20 lapper for the UMP modifieds and it was a good one. James Walters stormed into the lead in turn two after starting third and looked good but in the middle stages of the race Jordan Wever made a serious challenge but Walters stepped up to the plate and moved away. At the checkered at 9:31 it was Walters in for the win besting Wever, Jeff Deckard, Tyler Loughmiller and Jake Leitzman. Walter's three daughters joined him in victory lane and he lifted each of them onto the roof of his modified.

    Travis Berryhill and Brady Short brought the 21 car field to the green flag at 9:46 with Berryhill scooting out front. Berryhill paced the field for the first six laps until Matt McDonald got into an out of control AJ Hopkins and McDonald spun in turn four to bring out the first caution. On the restart Berryhill went to the front again until lap 9 when Brandon Mattox spun in turn one to bring out the second caution. Shane Cottle was on the move as he raced into ninth after starting sixteenth right before the caution. On the ensuing restart Dakota Jackson got a good run and passed Berryhill racing down the backstretch. Jackson would lead until lap 12 when Colten Cottle slid off turn four and slowed the action once again. Jackson retained the lead with Brady Short getting by Berryhill for second down the backstretch running on lap 13. Seventh starting Kyle Cummins made his presence known racing by Berryhill to crack the top three on lap 14. The top three duked it out over the next eight laps with Jackson holding off Short and Cummins. Enter turn two on lap 22 Cummins made a sweeping move to the outside and passed both of the others to become the new leader. Cummins would stretch his lead over the remaining three laps and crossed underneath the double checker flags at 10:03 for his third win of 2019 at his third different track. Cummins is looking strong as we move to the summer months. Jackson just barely held off Short for second with AJ Hopkins managing a fourth with Berryhill dropping to fifth at the finish. Positions six through ten were filled by Jadon Rogers, Jordan Kinser, Dave Darland, Joe Stornetta Jr. receiving the hard charger advancing from 20th to ninth with Shane Cottle rounding out the top ten. It was a good race with plenty of action throughout and was one of the better we have seen this year.

    The Paragon sprints were next up taking the initial green at 10:22 with Jesse Vermillion taking the early lead. Vermillion held sway for over half the race until Josh Cunningham finally managed to past the leader. In the meantime Brandon Spencer was marching from 12th to 3rd and was dueling with Vermillion as Cunningham pulled away. Cunningham flashed under the checkers at 10:45 with Vermillion second, Spencer third, Cody Leohr fourth and Ben Knight rounding out the top five after starting ninth.

    It was a good night of racing from all divisions and it will prompt us to return sometime later in the season.

    That's it for now as they are warming up at Lincoln Park as I sit in the parking lot typing this edition. Check back soon for reports from Lincoln Park and Kokomo as the weekend progresses. Get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Swanson Dominates Little 500 For Second Straight Win

    Saturday, May 25- Today would be our first trip to Anderson for the Little 500 in many a year as I believe Bentley Warren won the last time we were here. The Little 500 is in its 71st year of existence and it is truly an unique event with the fastest 33 asphalt sprint cars starting three wide and then running 500 laps on a 1/4 mile high banked asphalt oval having to make two stops during the course of the evening. The pit area is set up on the figure 8 course in the infield with many teams having big fuel tanks and big tubes and nozzles ready to refill the thirsty sprinters.

    We arrived around 6:15 for the 8 PM start and found an overflowing parking lot which forced us to park across the street from the track in another parking lot with crossing guards and the whole bit. We gathered up our gear and headed across the street when we found Wisconsin buddy, Todd Shannon, who we chatted with for a while before making our way to our turn one seats in Section S, Row 12. If you have been to Anderson before especially for the Little 500 you know the seating is tight both butt wise and leg wise. We met some new friends sitting right behind us, the father and son team of Joe Jellison and Mike Jellison from Parker City which is near Winchester. They joked about having their knees in our backs all evening and we told them we understood the circumstances but apparently the two Australian visitors in front of us who have also been there before did not understand the knees in your back concept and continued to push back against my 6' 3'' frame until the one turned around and complained about me constantly kneeing him. After explaining to him the facts of my body, the tight seating and several other factors we seemed to reach a compromise and settled in for the long evening. Rain earlier in the day pushed back the entire schedule causing the Little 500 to take the initial green flag at 8:44 instead of 8 PM. The front row of Kody Swanson, Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Roahrig brought the 33 car field to the green flag with Swanson powering into the lead. The first caution appeared on lap 12 when Caleb Armstrong pounded the turn four wall sliding to a stop on the turn four apron. I will not attempt to give you a blow by blow description of the entire 500 laps just some highlights of the race. Later in the contest Tyler Roahrig spun and encountered the water barrels protecting the turn four track entrance with his rear puncturing one of the barrels sending gallons of water down the steep banking. The red appeared and the delay was about 15 minutes before we got back underway. Kody Swanson led from the start until pitting in the late 200's giving the lead to his teammate, Shane Hollingsworth, in the other Nolen V-6. Hollingsworth would lead until Swanson worked his way back to his bumper and executed the pass to go back out front on lap 325. The best racing of the evening for the lead occurred in the 360 to 360 lap range when Hollingsworth who had regained the lead when Swanson had pitted again battled it out for many laps with Swanson and Santos with Swanson moving by again on lap 370. At that point Swanson checked out and was in another time zone over the remaining 130 circuits eventually putting a lap or more on the entire field with about 40 to go. When the checkered flag waved at 11:25 it was Kody Swanson bringing the Nolen #4 across the line first for the second straight year and his third overall Little 500 finishing a lap ahead of second place finisher, Bobby Santos, with Jacob Wilson, the Crawfordsville driver, placed third completing 498 laps. Shane Hollingsworth would fade somewhat to finish fourth completing 497 circuits with Chris Windom finally getting the monkey off his back after three separate week of Indy crashes in three separate races to finish fifth completing 496 laps. Positions six through ten were filled by Brian Gerster in a fine run, rookie of the year, Joey Schmidt from Ellisville, Mississippi notching seventh in his first time running the Little 500 in a second Pierce entry. Floridian driver, Mickey Kempgens, brought it home eighth with Travis Welpot ninth and MIchigan's Jimmy McCune, rounding out the top ten. Kudos go out to Scotty Hampton from Greenfield who ran a strong race running as high as fifth before ending up a disappointing fourteenth at the end.

    It may not sound like it was a very good race with the Nolen Racing entries leading 499 out of the total 500 laps and Swanson finishing a lap ahead of second but there were plenty of moments of good action and the race kept your attention the entire 500 lap distance as there was always something going on somewhere around the speedway. We sat and talked with our new friends, Joe and Mike Jellison, for over a half hour letting the crowd dissipate before making our way out to our parking spot and pointing the Nissan Rogue southwest toward Jacob Wilson and our hometown of Crawfordsville.

    That's it for the week of Indy as overnight and morning rains caused a cancellation of tonight's BC Double at Kokomo Speedway and even though Tri-State was running we just were not up to the 3 hour tow each way after witnessing four races in four days and felt that was enough for this week. Until next time where it looks like we will stay local for three nights of Indiana sprint car racing this upcoming weekend be safe. Also get out to a short track near you and enjoy some good racing. News, comments, tidbits and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy writing them for you.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Ballou Scores MSCS Win In Sixth Josh Burton Memorial At Bloomington

    Friday, May 24 - Summer has arrived as the temperatures touched the 90 degree mark a few times during the daylight hours before settling back to the high 80's with a lot of humidity to boot. We were able to depart Crawfordsville earlier than usual on a work day as summer hours on Friday have began for Pat and she only works until 3 PM starting this Friday until Labor Day. This allowed us to stop for an early dinner at the Fairway Family Restaurant in Greencastle before continuing our trek down to the Bloomington Speedway for their second race of the year, the 6th Josh Burton Memorial, honoring a young sprint car racer who was killed at Bloomington in a racing accident six years ago. Burton was an up and coming young driver wheeling his family owned #04 and each year Bloomington and his family stage this race to honor the young man who left us much too soon.


     

    On tap tonight was a full slate of four divisions of racing with MSCS sprint cars (29), Racesaver 305 sprint cars (25), unsanctioned midgets (31) and UMP modifieds (25). After a nice pre-race ceromony it was time to go racing with the first of four MSCS sanctioned non-wing sprint cars with the green flag waving at 7:45. Evansville area driver, Stephen Schnapf, won the competitive first heat defeating Jordan Kinser, Aric Gentry and Colten Cottle in this one. Robert Ballou would score the victory in heat two besting Kyle Cummins, Dickie Gaines and Brady Short. Heat three saw Isaac Chapple go to the point outdistancing Chase Stockon, Wednesday's USAC winner at Terre Haute in one of Kent Schmidt's steeds, Hunter O'Neal, the non-late model racing son of Don and Carson Short. The fourth and final heat was taken by AJ Hopkins turning back Dakota Jackson, Shane Cottle in the Epperson #2E on the evening and Joe Stornetta Jr. wheeling the current Burton entry after taking an off road ride and coming from the tail of the field to grab the last qualifying position. The 305 winged sprinters would be next up also contesting four heats for their 25 car field. John Paynter Jr., Ethan Barrow, Bradley Sterrett who received the Josh Burton spirit award earlier and Rod Henning were all heat winners. Three heat races for the midget class saw former 305 sprint driver, Kendall Ruble, win heat one, Sterling Cling in one of the Petry stable win heat two and Emerson Axsom score heat three. Last but not least three UMP modified heats were spun off with Devin Gilpin, Will Krup and Jacoby Hines taking the heat wins. The sprint car B main was next on the agenda and the 12 lap contest went to Donny Brackett after Dave Darland went from 13th to 1st only for the engine to go south in the Dustin Smith #77 on the white flag lap handing the win over to Brackett. Brian VanMevern, Brandon Mattox and Alec Sipes would also move into the 25 lap main event coming up next.


     

    The green flag dropped at 10:08 on the 25 lap MSCS sprint car main event with Kyle Cummins grabbing the early lead but that was short lived as Carson Short slowed in turn three bringing out the only caution flag of the event on lap one. On the ensuing restart Cummins moved back to the point chased by Jordan Kinser and AJ Hopkins. Robert Ballou who started fifth was coming to the front passing Hopkins for third on lap four. Cummins continued to lead with Kinser and Ballou following. Cummins worked his way into lap traffic by lap 10 and started to pick his way through the tail end of the field. Ballou caught and passed Kinser for second on lap 11 and took up the chase of Cummins. Among lap traffic Ballou mastered the winning pass in turn four coming for the halfway mark moving by Cummins into the lead. Hopkins challenged for second on the high side of Cummins and the two banged wheels with Hopkins sliding wide and dropping back several positions. This is the second time these two have tangled, the last being in March at Brownstown battling for the lead in the No Way Out 40 with Hopkins flipping that evening. Tonight he was able to continue but lost a lot of ground and momentum in the incident. I hope this is not a feud in the making. Anyhow Ballou worked the lap traffic to perfection and increased his lead to a comfortable margin as the laps ticked off. When the twin checkers waved at 10:17 it was Ballou in for the big $4000 dollar win beating Cummins, Kinser, Hopkins and Dakota Jackson to the finish. Positions six through ten were filled by Dickie Gaines, Joe Stornetta Jr. after starting 14th, Isaac Chapple, Carson Short from the tail and Shane Cottle. It was a good, competitive race on a well prepared surface and Ballou ran a strong race to take top honors.


     

    Next up on the feature docket was the 25 lap Racesaver 305 sprint car feature with the green flag waving at 10:34. Andy Bradley assumed the lead on the start and held sway until Ryan Tusing passed him on lap six for the lead. Once out front Tusing set a good pace and expertly picked his way through lap traffic to hold everyone at bay over the next nineteen laps in a race with only one caution flag also. There was some close racing going on behind Tusing with Ethan Barrow making the most noise advancing from seventh to third. Bradley and Barrow then duke it out for the remainder of the race and even began to close on Tusing in the later stages of the race. But time ran out as the checkered waved at 10:43 with Ryan Tusing scoring the win over Andy Bradley and Ethan Barrow. We debated about staying for the midget feature but with all 31 cars starting we thought it might take a while to finish and we had to be up early for a TV cable appointment so extra sleep got the nod and off we went. With modern technology today we were able to watch the wingless sprint car feature live on Facebook from Gas City while they ran the 305 sprint car B main earlier and as we drove home to Crawfordsville around 11:30 Pat checked Twitter and saw that Sterling Cling captured his first Indiana midget victory at Bloomington. It used to be you waited anxiously for your National Speed Sport News to arrive in the mail on Tuesday so you could see who won races around the country but now today you can watch races live on your phone while sitting at the races. Isn't technology wonderful?? That's a loaded question we will leave for another blog sometime.


     

    It was a well run program with plenty of racing action and we came away feeling that we saw a good show. You can't beat that.

    That's it for now as we prepare to pack up and point the Rogue Northeast toward Anderson, the site of the 71st Annual Payless Little 500 where 33 sprint cars will come to the start/finish line three abreast and then proceed to run 500 dizzying laps around the 1/4 mile bullring starting at 8 PM. Check back soon for a report from the Little 500 and the BC double Sunday at Kokomo. Hope the weather is nice where you are and you can get out there during this long Memorial Day weekend and enjoy family, friends and racing and remember to take a few moments to remember the many brave men and women who gave their lives for this country to protect our freedom and liberty. And if you see a vet thank them for their service, it will be much appreciated. Comments, news, stories, rumors and facts can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we sure enjoy bringing them to you. Take care and be safe over this high driving weekend.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    End Of An Era As Courtney Steals The Last Hoosier 100 At Indy Fairgrounds


     

    Thursday, May 23 - The 64th running of the Hoosier 100 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds tonight would be the final auto racing program presented at the historic half mile which has seen so many of the all-time greats race here. It was a sad occasion for many who had supported this facility for so many years only to see it drop by the wayside as fair-board officials decided that the track area would bring more profits if it was rented out for harness racing training for the horses and concerts and other venues in the large grandstand that spreads along the majority of the homestretch. A real nice crowd turned out for the finale and it was nice to see the support that the fans provided for the last race here. Temperatures were in the high 80's and humid but as the week progressed the chance of rain dropped from 80% to around 10 to 15%. That was sure welcomed after so many weeks of almost continuous rain almost every day. The farmers will appreciate the sunny weather so they can finally get out there and work in their fields. We arrived around 5:30 and parked outside of turn four and took the long walk down to the massive grandstands to purchase our tickets for the final Hoosier 100 here. We found our friends, Max and Susie Niemann, sitting in Section 3 and sat with them until someone who had our seats arrived so we moved about five rows higher to where our seats were.


     

    After some warmup sessions by the USAC Silver Crown series we were ready to go with time trials for the grand old dames. Thirty four entries took time with another five not making it out to turn a timed lap including Shane Cockrum and Aaron Pierce. Casey Buckman who hit the turn one wall on his first lap under the clock returned for the last chance qualifying race along with non-timer Kyle Robbins. The green flew on the first of 34 at 6:15 and when the checkered waved on the last car at 7:15 it was Kevin Thomas Jr. driving the Foxco #56 turning the fastest lap at 32.929 seconds around the mile oval and being the only driver to crack into the 32 second bracket. Twenty four big cars were locked into the starting lineup for the Hoosier 100 at this point with Chris Phillips taking down the last time trial qualifying position. Twelve drivers and machines would be next up for the last chance qualifying race for 12 laps with six cars to qualify. Jason McDougal blasted into turn one off his second starting spot and never looked back in this one outdistancing Eric Gordon, Kyle Steffens, Chad Kemenah making his first Indy Fairgrounds start, Dave Darland and Austin Mundie the last man in beating back the 1997 winner of this race, Chuck Leary who came out of retirement to run here one last time. With the 30 car field now set it was time to run the 15 lap UMP modified main event with seventeen cars showing at the fairgrounds for the final event. Kenny Schrader would write his name into the record books scoring the final victory over Joey Kramer who gave him a late run with PA's Jonathan Taylor making his first ever appearance, Curt Spalding and Dave Shain.


     

    Now it was time for the 64th running and final running of the Hoosier 100 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the 30 rumbling beasts rolled out of turn four to take the green flag at 9:18 with second starting Chris Windom outdragging first starting Kevin Thomas Jr. into turn one to take the early lead. Windom would pace the field for the first six laps until blasting down the frontstretch Windom's right rear tire shredded turning him sharply to the right and head on into the homestretch wall where he barrel rolled five to seven times bouncing into the middle of the homestretch where he was narrowly missed by both Brian Tyler and Brady Bacon. It was a horrifying crash and thank God no one collided with the flipping Windom who climbed from his twisted machine to the roar of the relieved crowd. After the cleanup and pushoff of the remaining cars it was Kevin Thomas Jr. jumping out front with the field in tow. Thomas was on rails early and by lap 16 had already caught the tail enders and began to place some of the competitors a lap down. As Thomas dominated up front most eyes were on young Jason McDougal who was using the outside of turns one and two where no one else dared to venture. By lap 43 he had advanced from 25th to 10th and he wasn't done yet. McDougal snared ninth by lap 47 but Royersford, PA driver, Steve Buckwalter was also on the move grabbing ninth from McDougal on lap 52 after starting 17th in the #53. Just after halfway it was Thomas cruising up front with Courtney riding along in second and the winner of four in a row on the Indy mile, Kody Swanson, looking for a way around Sunshine. Another driver turning in a fine run was Shane "The Throttle" Cottle pushing the Williams #81 from 19th into 5th and looking mighty fast. Unfortunately for Cottle his night would end on lap 64 when his machine slowed on the backstretch bringing out the caution while running fifth. On the next go McDougal was at it again charging into seventh on lap 65 and taking over sixth by lap 67. Meanwhile Brady Bacon had went to the work area during one of the yellows and unlike the outside performance of McDougal the other Oklahoma driver was picking off cars using mostly the inside groove on his march to the front. On lap 69 Swanson edged by Courtney briefly taking second in turns one and two but Courtney countered and regained the runnerup position exiting turn two. McDougal in only his second Silver Crown start was still up high and stormed into fifth with 25 to go. Courtney began to close the gap somewhat on Thomas over the next 10 laps as it was going to be interesting in the last fourth of this race. As the leaders exited turn two Chris Dyson was starting down the backstretch when he tagged the wall and went end over end several times as the leaders approached on lap 92. The race went red again and Dyson was also able to climb from his badly damaged machine and was OK. On the ensuing restart Courtney put the hammer down entering turn one in the McDougal groove storming by Thomas into the lead for the first time tonight. Over the remaining seven laps Courtney pulled away and Thomas slipped high in turn two with four to go almost giving up second at that point. Thomas was able to retain second but Courtney was long gone and flashed under the double checkered flags at 11:15 in the Hans Lein #97 from Wisconsin scoring his second career Silver Crown win and the first on a mile. Thomas would come home a disappointing second with Swanson third, Justin Grant fourth and Brady Bacon making the long comeback drive into fifth at the finish. Jason McDougal or the show as many referred to him placed sixth with David Byrne seventh, Steve Buckwalter eighth, Brian Tyler ninth and Jacob Wilson of Crawfordsville rounding out the top ten.


     

    It was a good race but also a sad time as when the checkers flew we all knew it was for the final time. Courtney ran a heady race and made the move when it counted so hats off to one of the hottest drivers in USAC at this time.


     

    Check back soon as the week of Indy continues as I write this from the parking lot of Bloomington Speedway where the Josh Burton Memorial is getting ready to fire up. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news releases, rumors and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Week Of Indy Kicks Off With Stockon Romp At Terre Haute

    Wednesday, May 22 - The weather was hot and the forecast was clear so it time to go racing on the week of Indy starting tonight at the Terre Haute Action Track located on the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds in the hometown of the Hulman family whose patriarch, Tony, had the race named in his honor this evening. It was the 49th running of the Tony Hulman Classic and disappointing fields of 20 USAC National Sprints and 17 UMP modifieds turned out to race tonight on the fast half mile dirt oval which was whipped into good shape by the track crew after some heavy morning showers placed through the area.


     

    Activities were kicked off early at 6:54 with time trials for the sprinters on hand with CJ Leary setting his fourth quick time of the season so far with a time of 19.750 seconds around the historic half mile. The UMP modifieds ran two sessions of warmups/timed runs with David Stremme setting a new track record for the UMP modified division at Terre Haute with a lap of 22.086 seconds circling the big half. After pre-race ceremonies it was time to go racing and the good crowd on hand settled into their seats as we were joined by friend, Todd Shannon of Wisconsin, for the evening's action. There would be no B mains tonight and just three heats for the sprints and two heats for the modifieds. The USAC sprints would start the heat qualifying with Robert Ballou charging to the front and pacing heat one for the victory outrunning CJ Leary, Brandon Mattox and Brady Bacon. Heat two would see Kevin Thomas Jr. take top honors in the Hayward/Thomas #19 fending off Chad Boespflug, Chris Windom and Chase Stockon for the win. Heat three honors would go to Illinois driver, Cason Short, looking strong in his win over Tyler Courtney, Paul May and Bill Balog. The third and fourth place finishers in the third heat were an interesting story in themselves as both drivers usually drive winged sprint cars. May in fact had just won the MOWA winged sprint race Saturday night at Tri-State in Haubstadt and is a local boy from Terre Haute. Balog is formally from Alaska and now lives in Wisconsin where he was the winged IRA sanctioned sprint car champion in 2018 and was making his first wingless start in 14 years in the Hans Lein #2. They were a welcomed addition to the short field and held their own during the entire night of racing. The two UMP modified heats were captured by Will Krup and Michigan's Brian Ruhlman.


     

    After a short maintenance period performed by the Track Enterprises crew it was time to push off the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature. The green flag waved at 9:09 with the front row of Carson Short and Chase Stockon charging side by side into turn one before Stockon edged out front exiting turn two. Stockon has come close to winning the Hulman Classic in the last two years leading twenty laps in 2018 before being passed by Chris Windom and eventually fading to fifth at the finish and the year before after leading the first 27 laps was passed by Kevin Thomas Jr. finally ending up third. Maybe the third year would be the charm. Stockon paced the field the first seven laps with Chris Windom making short order of first Brady Bacon and then Carson Short to take second by lap four and take up the chase of Stockon. Misfortune struck the second place man in points, Kevin Thomas Jr. when he slowed and eventually stopped on the backstretch to bring out the first caution. After some work area thrashing Thomas was unable to join the field hurting his early point chasing numbers. Stockon went to the point on the restart with Windom and Tyler Courtney in his tire tracks. This would continue until lap 11 when Carson Short running seventh stopped in turn four to bring out the second yellow flag of the evening. After a work area stop Carson was able to rejoin the field unlike Thomas. Nate McMillen brought out the third caution on the race on lap 15 when he stopped in turn three. Stockon on each of the subsequent restarts was able to hold sway and move back out front by several car lengths. The fourth and final caution would appear on lap 23 when current point leader, CJ Leary, slowed in turn four with a flat right rear shoe. Leary was able to go to the work area and re-shoe the horse and joined the rear of the field. On the last restart Stockon quickly powered to a six car length advantage and the Fort Branch, Indiana driver was not going to be passed or fade at the end in this one flashing under the checkered flag at 9:34 for his first USAC victory of 2019 and his first since Ocala opening day of 2018, a span of 46 races without a USAC win. An emotional Stockon was interviewed in victory lane by Georgia Hanneberry and he stated that this was the one he had wanted to win the most and was very happy to receive the traditional rifle which would be mounted in the trophy room of his house proudly. This important win also gave him a dozen career USAC National sprint car wins tying him with Eric Gordon for 45th on the all-time win list. Stockon dedicated the win to his grandfather who is currently in the hospital and added to the emotion in victory lane. Windom would fend off Courtney for the runner up spot with Robert Ballou making a late charge from sevent to fourth at the end with Justin Grant ending an eventful evening in fifth after coming oh so close to rolling over not once but twice in his time trial run earlier in the evening. Positions six through ten were filled by Brady Bacon, Jason McDougal, Carson Short, CJ Leary rebounding to ninth and hard charger Isaac Chapple for the third straight race coming from 16th to 10th at the finish.


     

    There was still the 15 lap UMP modified feature to run with the front row of Will Krup and Brian Ruhlman leading the other 15 to the green flag. Krup would jump out front on the start and open a comfortable lead. It was not all peaches and cream as Ruhlman closed the gap late in the go and challenged Krup for the lead several times over the closing laps. Krup was able to fend off the challenge and charged under the checkered flag and 9:55 with Ruhlman second. Former NASCAR drivers, Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace, put on a whale of a race for fourth with Schrader finally prevailing.


     

    Neither race was great but it was still fun to see racing on a pleasant Wednesday night after so much rainy weather and a track able to work in their surface and presented some racing for all those in attendance. Thanks to the Track Enterprise crew for their hard work to make this one happen.


     

    That's it for this installment but check back tomorrow for a report on the last race from the Indiana State Fairgrounds where the Hoosier 100 will take place tonight for the final time. The weather has totally cleared and racing is on for tonight in Indianapolis. Hope to see many of you out there for the final run. Until tomorrow take care, be safe and get out there and see some good short track racing in your neighborhood and support your local track. Any comments, news, stories or the such can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts. See you soon.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Hopkins Wins Again At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, May 18 - It was a triple of sorts for me as I left Pat at the condo to unpack boxes and the sort as I headed toward the Circle City of Indianapolis to take in some of the first day qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I had arranged to meet and park at Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) president, Bob Black's house on Main Street in Speedway, as close as you possibly can get to being at the track. Bob was kind enough to let me park for free at his house and also gave me two qualifying tickets for free. I had some slightly used 3X t-shirts for sale and Bob wanted some so we exchanged the shirts and some conversation before heading over to the big track. Fifteen minutes later I was sitting in section E under the roof at the end of the long homestretch with a view of the entire homestretch and turns one and two with a nice breeze blowing through the stands. Long time Indy fan, Max Niemann, dropped by to say hello and chat for a while before Conner Daly was the first to hit the bricks to start qualifying. It was a beautiful day with a slight breeze and temperatures in the high 80's and it was fun to see the Indy car drivers do their thing. By 2 PM it was time to leave the big track and trek westward to pick up Pat and head to my second track of the day for MWXC UTV's at Walnut Creek in North Salem. The 5 PM start was pushed back almost to 7 PM before things got underway as this type of racing doesn't seem to worry about keeping on schedule. The late start caused us to miss the sprint car heats and the UMP modified heats at our next stop of the day at the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville.


     

    We arrived in time to see the three super stock heats and three bomber heats and found out that there were 26 sprint cars on hand to go along with 15 UMP modifieds, 25 super stocks and 25 bombers. Also on the card was the first of three Little Feet Bike Challenge for kids with age groups 5-7, 8-10 and 11-13 who race around the track with the winner taking home a new bicycle for his or her effort. It is a nice gesture from management to give away the bikes and it is also a great chance for them to make young new racing fans. The sprint car B main was next on the agenda and Northern Illinois invader, Jimmy Sivia, made the most of his visit by nailing down the B main win and the sixteenth starting position for the 25 lap sprint car feature in the process. Crawfordsville's homie, Chad Davenport, trailed with Gary Hayden claiming third, Harley Burns fourth and Shey Owens punching the final ticket into the main event.


     

    It was 10:16 when starter Brian Hodde would drop the green flag with Scott Hampton and Colten Cottle leading the field into turn one with Hampton getting the early advantage. Cottle took the lead away in turn one on lap four but a lap later Hampton regained the top position. AJ Hopkins was on the move from his sixth starting spot and when the bottom literally dried up Hampton was prime meat and Hopkins charged around the top in turn two on lap ten for the lead. Shane Cockrum in the Jamie Paul #24P was moving forward and took second away from Hampton in turn two on lap 14. Brent Beauchamp up from 11th suddenly was in contention and breezed by Cockrum for second right before Hopkins teammate, Brady Ottinger brought out the first caution on lap 15 spinning in turn four right in front of the leaders. On the restart Matt McDonald and Gary Hayden got together on the low side of turn two with Hayden rolling over in the process. Everyone was OK and on the restart the top three was Hopkins, Beauchamp and Cockrum. Hopkins went to the top once again and pounded the cushion all the way around the 5/16 mile clay oval. Hopkins back in the middle of April here had the lead in the feature only to jump the cushion in turn three and flip over ending his night on a down note but tonight he was able to handle the cushion to perfection and glide home under the checkered flag at 10:41 first besting Beauchamp, Cockrum, Hampton in a strong run and Travis Berryhill looking better and better each time out. Joe Stornetta Jr. brought the Burton #04 home sixth with Cottle fading to seventh, Chris Babcock eighth, Nate McMillen ninth after starting 18th and Koby Barksdale taking down tenth. It was a good race and it is always fun watching a cushion pounder like Hopkins run the top side to perfection.


     

    We decided to stay and watch the 20 lap UMP modified feature and Derek Groomer went to the front early and remained there though tenth starting Jordan Wever gave him a run over the course of the twenty laps never letting him get away. Rob Brickert would notch third with Brent Hudson fourth and Tyler Loughmiller taking fifth after starting ninth. It was now 11:06 and we decided to call it an evening after a long day of racing and head back to C'ville for a good night's sleep and church on Sunday.


     

    That's it for this weekend and stop by Thursday for our report from Terre Haute as Memorial Day weekend starts early with USAC sprint cars at the Action Track on Wednesday, USAC Silver Crown at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds for the last auto racing at that facility, the Josh Burton Memorial at Bloomington on Friday, the Little 500 at Anderson on Saturday and to wrap it up the BC double at Kokomo on Sunday. Until next time plot your weekend and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe on the roadways. Comments, news, tidbits and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing our perspective to you on our visits to racetracks around the country and the world.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

     

    T-Mez The Zen Master at Gas City & Hopkins Wins Again At Lincoln Park


    Friday, May 17 - Finally sun and warm weather looked down upon us on a Friday in Indiana and it was the choice of us to visit the Gas City Speedway for the second time in 2019 for Open Wheel Madness. This night would feature five divisions of open cockpit racing with non-wing sprints (30), winged 305 sprints (24), midgets (30), TQ midgets (16) and 600 mini sprints (2). Wouldn't you know it during warmups with a 10% chance of rain it started to rain. It was not a heavy rain but enough to stop everything and cause a delay. The light rain lasted for around 50 minutes but there was no time that we didn't think that they would eventually run. After the track crew went to work re-preparing the surface and another set of warmups for all divisions except the 600's who were removed from the schedule were completed the non-wing sprints hit the track for their four heats at 9:14. Tim Creech continues to look strong at Gas City scoring the heat one win over Tyler Hewitt, Cody White and Dallas Hewitt. Heat two saw Michael Koontz triumph over Matt Westfall, Dave Darland in his own car and Koby Barksdale. Shane Cottle back in the Jamie Paul #24P for the second week notched heat three winning over Thomas Meseraull, Clinton Boyles and Kyle Robbins. The final non-wing heat went to JJ Hughes making his first start at Gas City in eight years beating Brandon Rose, Anthony D'Allessio and Paul Dues.


     

    The 305's would contest three heats with Rod Henning, Jackson Slone and John Paynter Jr. picking up the heat wins. Midget heats were scored by Emerson Axsom, Tyler Nelson and Michael Koontz doing double duty. The TQ midgets would finish up heat qualifying contesting two heats captured by Matt Lux and Ron Combs. Shawn Westerfeld would take down the sprint B main besting Garrett Abrams, Adam Byrkett and Landon Simon nailing down the last qualifying position with a late charge.


     

    Now it was feature time with the non-wing sprints being the first class to run their feature which was 25 laps in distance. When the green flag dropped at 11:29 it was BOSS regular, Matt Westfall, taking the Marshall Motorsports #33M to the point with the rest of the field chasing. Thomas Meseraull was making some early moves climbing to second in the early going. Another car cutting through the field was opening night winner, Clinton Boyles in the Paul Hazen #57, knocking on the top five door after starting 11th. Lap 10 saw the red appear as Michael Koontz dump it in turn four hard while running in the top ten. Boyles was now up to fifth and the race was on. Westfall continued to hold sway up front until lap sixteen when T-Mez made his move diving low in turn one and pulling off the pass exiting turn two for the lead. Shane Cottle was another one who was moving forward hounding Tyler Hewitt for fourth executing the pass in the late stages. Boyles caught and passed Westfall with six to go and took up the chase of Meseraull. Boyles made it interesting but ran out of time with Meseraull flashing under the checkered flag at 11:42 scoring the first sprint car victory for car owner, Tom Eades. In victory lane Meseraull sounded like a Zen master explaining that he was one with the car especially with the Stensland power plant under the hood and that was the key to the team's first victory together after some rough runs. Boyles would come home second with Matt Westfall claiming third, Shane Cottle fourth and Tyler Hewitt rounding out the top five. Dave Darland led the second five to the line with JJ Hughes seventh, Dallas Hewitt eighth, Landon Simon ninth after starting 20th and Floridian Anthony D'Allessio rounding out the top ten. It was a good race on a nicely prepared surface and was worth the wait.


     

    Next up on the card was the 25 lap 305 sprint car feature which went green at at few ticks after midnight. Alex Nalon went to the front on the start and led the first eight laps of the event until Anton Hernandez passed him going down the backstretch on lap eight. Hernandez pulled away over the remainder of the distance picking his way expertly through lap traffic until lap 18 when a very unusual occurrence happened. Andy Bradley rolled in turn two while running fourth while Jordan Welch flipped in turn four while running sixth. But drivers were OK but done for the evening. Hernandez was up to the challenge on the restart moving back out to a comfortable lead over the remaining seven laps to score the first 305 victory held at Gas City ever outdistancing Bradley Sterrett who passed Nalon in the last two laps for second with the youngster Nalon hanging on for third as the checkered fell at 12:28.


     

    We would have loved to have stayed for the final two features but the rain spoiled being able to stay as the two hour drive loomed and it was nearly 3 AM when our heads hit the pillow as an early rise for Indy qualifying was a short time away.


     

    That's it for now but check back tomorrow for a report on our Saturday night visit. Until next time plot your racing trips and get out there and see some good short track racing in your area and be safe in your travels. Comments, reviews, news and anything else can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    King Of Kokomo Crown Goes To Windom

    Sunday, May 5 - Sunday we woke up and there was a bright yellow circle in the sky and we couldn't figure out what it was. Turns out it was the sun, something we have not seen in the past couple of weeks with the rainy weather. So after church we drove north to Lafayette to return some flooring items to Lumber Liquidators before venturing east to the Kokomo Speedway. The King of Kokomo crown was on the line tonight with an increased purse and a strong 33 entrants pulled into the pit area at the raciest track in the state of Indiana for some side by side by side non-wing sprint car action along with thunder cars (12) and hornets (14).


     

    The weather was finally warm with temperatures in the high 70's and the track was groomed to perfection. The first heat of the evening for the sprint cars kicked off at 7:21 and what a doozy it was. Clinton Boyles, Dave Darland and Thomas Meseraull duked it out over the 10 lap distance exchanging sliders and racing side by side the entire distance before Dave Darland in the Michael Dutcher #17GP prevailed to the delight of the crowd besting Clinton Boyles, Thomas Meseraull and sprint car rookie, Zane Hendricks in the Goodnight #27. Chris Windom driving the Goacher #5G triumphed from fourth in heat two outracing Jarett Andretti, Scotty Weir and Tyler Courtney. Chad Boespflug copped heat three from third over Kevin Thomas Jr., Travis Hery and Nate McMillen. The fourth heat went to the Topps Motorsports #4 of Justin Grant over Shane Cottle throttling the Jamie Paul #24P this evening, Joe Stornetta Jr. and Koby Barksdale. The thunder cars and hornets each ran two heats before the sprints came back with their B main. Dustin Christie continues to impress in his early sprint car career as he won the B main over another Dustin as in Smith, Isaac Chapple and Brian Karraker. Ben Knight  looked like a top between turns three and four during the B main ending up laying his sprinter on its side. Knight was OK after his wild ride. Anthony D'Allesio, the young gun from Apollo Beach, Florida was added to the field as the first alternate when last night's winner at Gas City, Clinton Boyles, scratched from the main with a broken push rod.


     

    Tom Hansing's green flag waved at 9:15 on the 30 lap King of Kokomo sprint car feature with first starting Justin Grant taking the point. Thomas Meseraull looped his new ride in turn four on lap one with four others involved eliminating Meseraull from further competition on the evening. On the restart Grant again assumed command with a gaggle of drivers right behind like a swarm of bees. Koby Barksdale lost the handle in turn four on lap four to bring out the second caution. The green waved soon again with Grant out front with most of the field using the high groove with the exception of two of the best in the low groove, Scotty Weir and Shane Cottle, finding the inside fast and comfortable to them as they moved forward. The third caution appeared on lap seven when the fourth turn claimed another spinner in Zane Hendricks. From this point forward the race would run under green flag conditions until lap 27 and it was a barnburner. Grant was the leader with Darland second, Weir third, Cottle fourth and Chris Windom rounding out the top five. Tyler Courtney had the Clauson/Marshall/Newman steed on the march from 14th up to third by lap 9 and taking second on lap 14. Windom followed Courtney to the front and the top three all carried NOS Energy Drink sponsorship on their mounts as they raced through lap traffic. In lap traffic Windom polished off Courtney for second and caught and passed Grant for the lead on the backstretch on lap 27 right before Jarett Andretti lost a right rear tire in the Bermuda Triangle or turn four. It was going to be an interesting last three laps and was classic Kokomo racing down the stretch. On the restart Windom jumped out front opening up a lead over Grant as Courtney and Weir did battle swapping sliders like they were going out of style. Windom was like a shark sensing blood as he wanted this one badly and maintained his lead for the remaining three laps besting Grant at the finish. Courtney threw the last slider off turn four which rewarded him with third over Weir with Darland claiming fifth. It was a thriller and vintage Kokomo racing and had the crowd buzzing long after the final checkered flag. That is why we love this place when racing like this takes place. Positions six through ten were nailed down by Shane Cottle, Chad Boespflug, Travis Hery in a strong run, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Isaac Chapple from 18th in a fine run which went virtually unnoticed with the duel up front. Windom who has dialed in Kokomo in the last 1 1/2 years would wear the crown of King of Kokomo for 2019 as this guy is on a tear at the baddest bullring in Indiana. It was only 9:40 but after seeing that great feature there was no reason to watch anything more this night.


     

    That's it for another weekend with the next one quickly approaching. Weather will determine once again where we end up so check back soon to see where we ended up. And hopefully you will have better luck with the weather in your area and can catch some good short track racing wherever you are. Comments, thoughts, news and other bits of wisdom can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter you can reach me @bruceeckel11. As always thanks for reading our efforts and letting us know you enjoy the stories.


     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Dick Jordan Classic At Anderson For Must See Sprints

    Saturday, May 4 - The weather was again a big factor on Saturday with the dirt tracks falling victim to the wet stuff. First Lawrenceburg then Haubstadt and finally Putnamville succumbed to the wet weather and the resulting saturated grounds with only Anderson, an asphalt 1/4 mile oval, still on the slate and upon arrival there the parking lot in many sections was quite wet and unusable.

    It was a very cool day never venturing out of the high 50's with the temperatures dipping into the 40's when the sun went down with the resulting dampness that goes along with it making it a tough night to sit out and watch racing or anything else for that matter. And to top it off an inefficient race program added to the uncomfortable conditions we all had to endure. On tap tonight was five division card headlined by the Must See Sprints, a winged asphalt sprint car series based out of Michigan who brought 21 cars to the dance. Jimmy McCune was last out and set the fast time for the sprints with a lap of 11.006 seconds around the high banked 1/4 mile oval. Also on the card with car counts in parentheses were the Kenyon midgets (7), late models (11), legend cars (8) and champ karts (9). With a grand total of 56 cars in 5 divisions you would think that this show should move right along but that was not the case. A late start to qualifying due to the morning rains caused the starting time for racing to be pushed back over a half hour. That may not seem like much but combined with a slowly processed program it was 11:20 when the first of five feature events was completed. That is entirely too long for a five division with 56 total cars!!! To management's credit they realized how long the program was and offered a 50% discount to anyone returning next Saturday with their raincheck from tonight. That should have been extended to include the entire season as many people in the crowd were there only for the sprints and had no interest in returning for next week's regular show. We would have used the raincheck for a discount on one of their Thursday night sprint car shows ourselves if the extended offer was made.


     

    It was the Dick Jordan Classic tonight honoring the long time USAC employee (since 1968) who is currently USAC's Vice President of News & Communications. Pat Sullivan conducted pre-race ceremonies honoring Jordan who is battling in-operable pancreatic cancer and it was a nice ceremony but difficult to hear from the speakers in the turn four grandstands. Racing finally kicked off at 8:36 PM with three sprint car heats with Tony Grams copping heat one over Brenden Torok and Tim Henthorne. Heat two went to Canadian Ryan Litt besting Jerry Caryer and 16 year old rookie, Trey Osborne. Heat three went to the ageless veteran, Jeff Bloom, beating Charlie Schultz and Joe Liguori. One Kenyon midget heat followed along with two late model heats, one legend car heat and one champ kart heat with the legends and champ karts putting on the closest racing. That little bit of action took an hour and twenty minutes to complete as things moved along at a turtle's pace.


     

    It was not until 10:22 when the 50 lap Must See sprint car feature took the initial green flag with Tom Jewell and Trey Osborne bringing 18 others to the start after first starting Ryan Litt dropped to the infield before the start with engine problems. Jewell got the jump as Osborne bobbled and he led the first four laps until Tom Geren spun in turn three to bring out the first caution. Two laps later Christian Koehler and Joshua Sexton got together in turn one in a hard crash bringing out the red flag. During this time one of the two wreckers in attendance got stuck in the mud and grass inside turns one and two resulting in a twenty minute delay until a small bulldozer was able to extradite the tow truck out of the mud. Jewell held sway on the restart with fast timer and four time defending champion, Jimmy McCune, now in fifth after starting tenth began to make his presence known. McCune advanced to third by lap 11 dusting off Geoff Kaiser in the process. McCune passed second place runner, Joe Liguori, with a three wide move on lap 14. The third and final caution appeared on lap 18 when Jerry Caryer pounded the turn four wall and came to an abrupt stop. On the restart McCune was ready and passed Jewell entering turns one and two for the lead and that was all she wrote over the remaining 32 laps all run under green flag conditions. With three to go Anthony McCune, the nephew of Jimmy, caught and passed Jewell with a low side move off turn four for second but there was not enough time to make a serious run at this uncle. At the double checkers at 11:20 it was Jimmy McCune across the line first with Anthony McCune second getting his career best finish for the 21 year old. Tom Jewell would garner the remaining podium position with two rookies, Tyler Roahrig and Joe Liguori, nailing down the final two spots in the top five. When they were running it was a good race but the wrecker delay and excessive laps run under yellow for no apparent reason as no positions were switched nor any speedy dry was applied and this drug the race down. With the dampness chilling us to the bone we decided to call it an evening and head southwest back to Crawfordsville with the heat on in the car the entire trip.


     

    That's it for our Saturday night stop of our three race weekend and check back real soon for the Sunday night report on the King of Kokomo sprint car race held at the raciest joint in Indiana. Until next time news, comments and other points of interest can reach us by email at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. Hope the weather is nicer this weekend wherever you may be so you can get out there and see some good short track racing in your area. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing our perspective to you.


     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Boyles Scores Opener At Gas City

    Friday, May 3 - The terrible weather over the past two weekends extended into this weekend with Bloomington and Paragon falling victims to saturated grounds but Gas City Speedway said they were running so off we went toward Gas City. In the past two weekends the only race we were able to attend was a late model show at Farmer City in Illinois so we and many others were chomping at the bit to see some good non-wing sprint car racing. It is now into May and it sure has not warmed up much since March. Temperatures topped out in the high 50's during the day and dropped close to the 40's by the end of the evening. Rain was not predicted for the evening but a heavy mist lingered the entire evening making it wet, uncomfortable and very damp. Upon arriving we knew the parking would be altered by the saturated parking areas with only the gravel lot behind the grandstands available for parking. If you had a four wheel drive vehicle you could park in a small section of the grassy area outside of turn one. Management was able to secure parking next door to the track property at the business there and that was where we ended up as we arrived at 6:30 and the front lot was filled. A good sized crowd came out on not so nice of a night and they showed how hungry the fans were for some racing. The track owner did not want to run tonight put promoter Jerry Gappens wanted to get their opener in after a rainout the week before so racing was a go for tonight.

    A six division program was on tap with a fine field of 34 non-wing sprint cars joined by 28 UMP modifieds, 15 mini sprints, 6 super streets, 12 street stocks and 17 hornets for a grand total of 112 cars gracing the pit area. The sprint cars would hit the track first for warmups and rookie Shane O'Banion was the first to dump it taking a ride off of turns one and two. He was OK but done for the evening. With all the rain we have had in the past three weeks it was not a surprise that the track would soften up and become a real cowboy up type of track that owners hate, some drivers like and most fans love. The bigger surprise was that only two machines during the evening got upside down the entire evening, the sprinter in the warmups and a mini sprint on the first lap of the feature. A good and cautious job was done by all and some good racing was also witnessed. Isaac Chapple would score the win in heat one besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Ohio invader Matt Westfall and normal Lincoln Park runner, Tim Creech. The Topp Motorsports team headed by Justin Grant garnered the win in heat two over Brady Bacon, Paul Dues who is a normal BOSS runner and Tyler Hewitt. Clinton Boyles, the defending track champion in the Paul Hazen #57, notched the win in heat three outrunning Chad Boespflug, Jarett Andretti and Ben Knight. The fourth and final heat went to a real surprise with young Florida driver, Anthony D'Alessio, dominating this one in his first ever appearance at Gas City besting Dave Darland, Cole Ketcham and Rex Norris.

    The UMP modifieds spun off four heats with Daniel Russell, Zeke McKenzie from 7th, Derek Losh and Nathan Loney taking their respective heat races. The mini sprints ran two heats the super streets one, the street stocks two and the hornets two before the sprints came back to run their two B mains. Thomas Meseraull in his new ride took B main one over Scotty Weir in the Pederson #4P. B main two went to Garrett Abrams outracing Travis Hery who was the last man in.

    The green dropped on the 20 car sprint car feature at 10:45 with Dave Darland wheeling the Michael Dutcher #17GP went to the point on the first lap. Chad Boespflug assumed the lead on lap two with Clinton Boyles on a tear pounding the outside cushion to third from eighth by lap two. Boyles disposed of Darland the following lap and took the lead from Boespflug on lap four as Boyles was looking like the top cowboy in this one. The track was getting rougher and rutty in turns three and four but the boys handled the cowboy up track like true professionals. Justin Grant was on the move coming from the sixth hole to pass Boespflug on lap 11 and took up the chase of the high flying Boyles who was lapping cars at reckless abandon. Boyles was not going to be caught and flashed under the checkered flag at 10:52 in the non-stop feature with Grant chasing. Kevin Thomas Jr. rounded out the podium finish with Brady Bacon fourth in the #410 and Tyler Hewitt turning in an impressive run advancing from 14th to finish 5th. The second five was led by Darland with Jarett Andretti seventh, Matt Westfall eighth, Scotty Weir ninth and Paul Dues rounding out the top ten.

    The 25 lap UMP modified feature was next up taking the green at 11:01. Nathan Loney was the early leader and led until Zeke McKenzie who was driving like a madman through the ruts in turns three and four caught up to the leader. The two raced side by side until contact in turn two between the leaders found Loney pulling to the infield off turn four out of the event. McKenzie led until lap 16 when something in the rear end of his machine broke causing him to slow and handing the lead over to ninth starting Ryan Sutter. Sutter looked like he had this one in the bag until Derek Losh began to close and the race for the lead was again on. Losh dove low off turn four coming to the checkered and edged Sutter for the exciting win with Scott Orr third, Bill Griffith fourth and Tony Anderson avoiding most of the bumps running a smart race from 17th to claim fifth at the finish at 11:08.

    Mission accomplished for Mr. Gappens with opening night now in the books and we decided to call it an evening and make the two hour trek back to Crawfordsville happy that a promoter tried everything to get the show in and succeeded with a good crowd to support him in the process. It was good racing on a cowboy up track which we are sure had many car owners and crews checking over their machines the next day to make sure all the bolts and everything else were in good order for the next night of racing. A good way for Gas City to open up their 2019 season.

    Check back shortly for the rest of our weekend which included an asphalt sprint car show and racing at the best joint in the state. Until next time hopefully the weather in your area is warming up and drying up also. Get out there and see some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road and catch a track you've always wanted to see. And as always thanks for reading our efforts. News and other information can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11.

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND
     

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    T-Mez Stuffs His Pockets At Lincoln Park

    Saturday, April 13 - As Thomas Meseraull so correctly stated on his Twitter account on Saturday morning it was wake up to the weather apps and let the chase for a race to begin. Well, Meseraull found the right one and at 9:34 stood in victory lane at the Lincoln Park Speedway in beautiful downtown Putnamville as the victor of the 25 lap non-wing sprint car tussle on this cool evening. And as many know T-Mez is usually a good victory lane interview and he did not disappoint once again. Talking with track announcer, Brad Dickison, he declared that he was glad he won as after buying his pit pass tonight he had three dollars left in his pocket and he must have bought a hot dog as he noted he was now down to one dollar. Well, after taking the win his pocket will be bulging as he left the track.

    The rain situation had played havoc with Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt (Saturday) and Terre Haute Action Track (Sunday) already having thrown in the towel for the weekend. That left Lincoln Park and Lawrenceburg as the only ones running non-wing sprints and since Lincoln Park is a 45 minute trip and Lawrenceburg is 2 1/2 hours the choice was a no brainer. It was south on Rt. 231 into Greencastle where we first stopped to dine at the Greencastle Inn before proceeding down to the track in nearby Putnamville.


     

    Most of the day had been partly cloudy and the rain forecast had been pushed back from the initial 9 PM in the morning to after 10 PM by race time. This still meant that Lincoln Park management had to spin off an efficient program and that they did. We placed an extra lounge chair down for Guy Smith, a columnist for Area Auto Racing News, from Pennsylvania as he would be joining us later (around 7:45 PM) after taking in an UTV race in the Paragon area. Sure enough at 7:50 during the second of three bomber heats Guy arrived making his first appearance at Lincoln Park Speedway in over 30 years. Before he arrived they had spun off four sprint car heats for the fine 33 car field, two heat races for the 13 UMP modifieds on hand, three heats for the 17 super stocks and finally three heats for the 20 bombers. The sprint car heats were won by Canadian Lee Dakus back in Indiana after a two year absence to regroup his finances and he didn't look like he had missed a beat as he drove to victory in heat one over Kent Schmidt and Dave Darland back in the Epperson #2E for the second straight night. Heat two would go to the defending sprint car track champion, Shane "The Chief" Cockrum in the Jamie Paul #24P besting AJ Hopkins and Colten Cottle in a stirring battle for the top spot and the best heat race of the evening. Hunter O'Neal, youngest son of LM ace Don O'Neal, was very impressive in heat three coming from the fourth hole and passing Shane Cottle and Kevin Thomas Jr. who finished second and third in the process. Pat quipped that we now have Don "The Real Deal", Hudson "The New Deal" and Hunter "What's The Deal" who is going the open cockpit route!!! Koby Barksdale ran off and hid in heat four outdistancing Thomas Meseraull and Joe Stornetta Jr. Jeff Deckard and Jamie Lomax were the two UMP modified heat winners. Next up were the two sprint car B mains with Nate McMillen and Garrett Aitken bagging these events.


     

    By 8:35 it was feature time and with the sprints having been the only class that needed to run B mains the UMP modifieds would move to the chute as the first class to run their feature event tonight. The 25 lap UMP modified feature was a good one with only two cautions with Jamie Lomax taking the win over sixth starting James Walters and Randy Shuman.


     

    The front row of Lee Dakus and Shane Cockrum would bring 18 of their friends to Brian Hodde's green flag with Cockrum assuming the early lead. The yellow waved on lap one when Joe Stornetta Jr. stopped above the fourth turn cushion for the first slowdown. On the restart we made it until turn four where Koby Barksdale looped it to bring out the second caution. We made it as far as turn one on the restart when second place running Lee Dakus lost the handle and spun. The third time was the charm as Cockrum motored our front with the field in tow. Last week's winner, AJ Hopkins, was on the move from sixth moving to third on lap four and second by lap six. Thomas Meseraull was the second one to break out of the pack advancing from eighth to fourth by lap five. Hopkins grabbed the lead from the Chief between turns three and four on lap eight and went to the top and began to pull away as Meseraull disposed of Cockrum at the same time to take second. Kevin Thomas Jr. was another one making his presence known as he marched into fourth on lap 11 after starting 11th in the Hayward/Thomas #19. Disaster would strike on lap 17 when Hopkins who was still leading got into turn three very hard jumping the tall cushion and rolling his machine ending up in turn four before it was all over. A tough break for the gasser but sometimes it is better to let up a little but it is not in the vocabulary of this guy. T-Mez found himself at the point on the restart and powered away with the lead. Thomas was able to dust off Cockrum for second as they crossed the line to begin lap 19 and the chase was on. Another guy having a great run at this point was young Jadon Rogers who moved into the top five after starting 13th. Colten Cottle rolled to a stop in turn four just after the pass and the caution waved again. On the restart Meseraull was back out front and on the cushion but turn four saw Dakus spin for the second time on the night. We were ready to go again with six to go with Meseraull out front trailed by Thomas and Cockrum. Rogers slipped by Cockrum on the restart and the youngster was now a contender. Also Joe Stornetta Jr. wheeling the Burton #04 was coming quickly after tagging the tail on lap one after spinning pressuring Dave Darland for fifth. As the checkered waved at 9:34 it was Meseraull across the line first followed by Thomas, Rogers, Cockrum and Stornetta besting Darland at the wire for fifth. Darland hung on for sixth with Travis Berryhill notching seventh after starting 14th with Brandon Mattox eighth, Hunter O'Neal ninth and Garrett Aitken rounding out the top ten. It was an interesting race but not a great one as six cautions and one red slowed the action much too often.


     

    We all decided to watch one more feature event with the super stocks scheduled to go 20 laps in their main event. Jonny Newgent would hold off a fast charging Wes McClara and Josh Litton for the win at 9:57. Hats off to Lincoln Park management for running a very efficient program with rain moving closer to the area which arrived around midnight and continued the majority of Sunday before stopping.


     

    That's it for another weekend with us sneaking in two races after some dismal forecasts for Saturday and we beat Mother Nature this time. So until next weekend make some plans and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take a road trip and catch some racing at a track you have always wanted to visit. News, comments and other notes of interest can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you enjoy them.

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    Brady Takes Home The Bacon At Bloomington

    Friday, April 12 - Tonight was the season opener for the Bloomington Speedway under new management and since they are only running a seven race schedule this year we wanted to make sure we got here as often as possible. Temperatures were in the 60's which would have normally been pleasant but along with the warm weather there was a pesky brisk wind which made it much cooler. Bloomington Speedway has been running races since 1923 and when you enter the track the setting before you is so darn pretty with the hills, woods and all that red clay!!! Management has made many changes with the biggest one being covering over the old wooden bleachers with an aluminum grandstand which stretches down the homestretch. The new grandstand is indeed a vast improvement from the old weathered and warped and dangerous wooden ones but with this improvement they may have also alienated some of the old fans by taking away some of the hillside viewing from the past which I feel added character to the the joint. Tell will tell but unhindered sight lines are going to be at a premium come Indiana midget and sprint weeks and people might be staking out their claims on Monday for their Friday races during those two weeks!!

    Now onto the racing itself. Tonight's USAC sprint car racing was dubbed the Larry Rice Classic and a nice trophy was assembled for the winner to add to his trophy case. Members of the Rice family were on hand tonight led by son, Robbie, to present the trophy in victory lane and for a pre-race presentation given by Sprint Car Hall of Fame member, Patrick Sullivan. After the pre-race festivities it was time to kick off the night of action with USAC National sprint car time trials commencing at 6:41. Brian VanMeveren, the racing lawyer from Minnesota, bicycled the Wingo Brothers #24 entering turn three after setting sixth fastest time on his first lap and went a tumbling off of turns three and four rolling over numerous times and ending up upside down in the ditch outside of turn four. After safety crews turned the sprinter over VanMeveren was able to climb gingerly from the wrecked sprinter to a sigh of relief from the gathered crowd. When things were said and done by 7:00 it was CJ Leary in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ setting fast time with a new track record of 10.685 seconds around the 1/4 mile red clay high banked oval over the assembled 26 car field for tonight's racing. Warmups for the Racesaver 305 sprints (21) and the UMP modifieds (with a disappointing 7 car field) followed.

    Next up were the three heat races for the USAC sprinters taking the initial green at 7:37 with Robert Ballou outdistancing the rest of the pack to score the first heat win over Carson Short, Kevin Thomas Jr., Stephen Schnapf and CJ Leary with the top five from each heat moving to the 30 lap main event. Heat two saw Brady Bacon back in the Hoffman #69 steal the win off the final corner on the last lap to rip victory from the hands of Jordan Kinser with Isaac Chapple, Chad Boespflug and Dustin Christie trailing. The third and final heat went to "Sunshine" Tyler Courtney turning away Jason McDougal who dogged him in the latter stages of the contest with Justin Grant third, Joe Stornetta Jr., the new driver of the Burton #04, fourth and Dakota Jackson nailing down fifth. Jackson Slone, Andy Bradley and Ryan Tusing scored heat wins in the 305's with Justin Clark taking a nasty end over end flip in turn one on the start of heat three which he was able to walk away from. The USAC semi was next up and Chase Stockon held off the advances of Chris Windom relegated to a backup machine when his primary mount developed problems in the heat race. Lee Underwood, Dave Darland making a guest appearance in the Epperson #2E, TJ Artz towing in from Nebraska, Zach Daum who crossed the line with smoke pouring from underneath the hood of his #5D and Josh Hodges being the last man into the big dance.

    Up next was the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature which took the green flag at 9:05 and if you blinked or were in line at the concession stand you might have miss the race. It went non-stop in 6:47:18 breaking an 18 year old 30 lap track record in the process. Brady Bacon jumped into the early lead and you could tell that if no mechanical woes or lap traffic hindered him he was going to be tough to beat. In fact he had a half a straightaway lead over Kevin Thomas Jr. by lap four and was pulling away even more before reaching the tail enders by lap nine which slowed his progress and allowed Thomas to close in somewhat. By lap 19 Bacon had worked the lap traffic masterfully and had an open road in front of him race on. The only thing at that point that was going to stop Bacon was himself who admitted in victory lane that the way the light reflected off the move over flag he thought it was the white flag at one point and almost slowed down as he returned to the flagger's stand the next time around and realized the double checker was not waving and stomped down the pedal again. Bacon flashed under the double checker at 9:12 scoring his first ever Bloomington feature win along with his 24th career USAC National sprint car win allowing him to pass both AJ Foyt and Roger McCluskey into sole possession of 21st place on the all time USAC sprint win list. Kevin Thomas Jr. would drive home second chased by Jason McDougal, Tyler Courtney up from ninth and points leader, CJ Leary, nabbing fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Justin Grant, Chad Boespflug, Chase Stockon, Chris Windom and Robert Ballou.

    Since it was still early we decided to stay for the 25 lap Racesaver 305 sprint car feature and it was a good one to witness. Ethan Barrow used the high groove to take the lead at the flag stand at the halfway mark and hold off the challenge of Anton Hernandez to score the win by 10:00 with John Paynter Jr., Bradley Sterrett and Ryan Tusing chasing him across the line. We decided to call it an evening at this point and start the 1 hour, 40 minute drive back to Crawfordsville satisifed with a good night of racing.

    Check back Sunday or Monday to see if we beat the rain at Lincoln Park Speedway tonight as USAC/MSCS sprints at Tri-State have already been postponed to June 30th along with the Sunday's Silver Crown contest at Terre Haute bowing to the approaching rainy weather. Until next time try to beat the rain in your area or hopefully the weather is nicer where you are and catch some good short track racing in your area. News, comments, rumors and the such can reach us at bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing A Typical Weekend to you.

     

     

     

     

    A TYPICAL WEEKEND

    By Pat and Bruce Eckel

    First Night of Kokomo Grand Prix And Celebrating A Friend

    Friday, April 5 - This was the weekend we were looking forward to for quite some time but it didn't quite work out as we expected as the death of a good friend caused our Kokomo Grand Prix to be shortened to one night instead of two. A first time Kokomo winner and the early dominator in USAC midget action found themselves in Bryan Clauson victory lane on Friday night. Here is what took place in between.

    The evening was cool but it heated up quickly as the track was rough down low and took its toll of cars before the evening was over. Chad Boat went for a ride in turn two during hot laps and during midget time trials a surprise in Dillon Welch, a part time competitor driving one of the Tucker/Boat entries, nailed down fast time with a new track record of 12.665 and in his interview even he was surprised that he had pulled this accomplishment off. Following midget time trials were the non-winged sprints (23) running three heats with all drivers qualifying for the 25 lap sprint car feature. Dave Darland scored the win in heat one in his own recently purchased Baldwin Brothers machine with the familiar #36D on the tail tank besting Colten Cottle, Thomas Meseraull and Aaron Farney. Jarett Andretti brought the John Andretti #18 home the victor in heat two over Justin Grant, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Clinton Boyles. The third heat saw Chad Boespflug claim the win over Jason McDougal back in the Phillips/Daigh #71P, Matt Westfall and Rob Caho Jr. making the tow in from Minnesota. The four midget heats for the 32 car field would commence next with Tanner Carrick in one of the Keith Kunz entries drawing first blood harnessing heat one over Kevin Thomas Jr., Tucker Klaasmeyer and Chris Windom. Heat two saw Tyler Courtney take advance of a Tyler Thomas bounce in turn four to grab this one with Thomas, Jason McDougal in the Reynolds #21KS for a one shot deal and Chad Boat trailing. Heat three saw Justin Grant in the RAMS #4 flip between turns one and two after battling the rough inside path. Ethan Mitchell was the surprise winner in this one beating Jerry Coons Jr., CJ Leary wheeling the Fred Manafort #76M in 2019 and Jesse Colwell. The fourth and final heat went to young Zeb Wise in one of the Clauson/Marshall entries over teammates Dave Darland and Thomas Meseraull in the RMS team cars and Andrew Layser. All heat racing was completed by 8:55 as the night grew more cold and damp. The midget semi would be next on the card with defending USAC midget point champ, Logan Seavey, coming home first over Dillon Welch, Holly Hollan, Zane Hendricks, Justin Peck and Tony DiMattia besting Jake Neuman for the last qualifying position. Tyler Nelson was OK after dumping his midget in turn one during the semi.

    The 25 lap sprint car feature was next to the post with Chad Boespflug and Jarett Andretti bringing the field to Tom Hansing's green flag. That was the last time the green would appear as this one would go flag to flag in six minutes with Boespflug leading the entire distance in the Chuck Eberhardt and Fred Zirzow #98E scoring his first ever Kokomo sprint car triumph in the process. Jason McDougal would march from sixth to second at the finish with Justin Grant third, Dave Darland fourth and Jarett Andretti rounding out the top five at 9:54.

    The first night of two for the USAC midgets at Kokomo was a 30 lap event with Kevin Thomas Jr. sliding Thomas Meseraull between turns one and two on the opening lap to take the lead. Zane Hendricks bounced around in turn one on lap one to bring out the first caution. The red appeared on lap three when Tony DiMattia flipped exiting turn four stopping the action quickly. On the restart Thomas remained on the point with teammates Chris Windom (4th starter) and Tyler Courtney (6th starter) duking it out for second. Courtney used the inside groove to take second from Windom at the line to complete lap six and soon after the caution waved when Justin Peck looped it on the inside of turn two. Peck's weekend would greatly improve after Friday night when he won the first two FAST winged 410 sprint shows at Attica on Saturday and Waynesfield on Sunday. After the racing resumed Thomas and Courtney had a two car breakaway with the rest of the field chasing. On lap 14 Courtney would power low in turn two to take the top spot away from Thomas and would never be headed the remainder of the 30 lap distance. Courtney stretched his lead over the field until lap 20 when the final caution appeared for Zane Hendricks who bicycled and stopped in turn two. On the restart Courtney got a good jump and was gone once again as Thomas, Windom, McDougal and Wise mixed it up behind him. McDougal made the top side work for him in turn four on lap 24 to grab second from Thomas and took up the chase of Courtney who was cruising. Things would get interesting when with two laps to go Andrew Layser dumped the Clauson/Marshall #47 in between turns three and four to bring out the red and set up three lap dash for the cash. Courtney was up to the challenge as he gunned the #7BC on the restart and never allowed McDougal to get close as he spun off three good laps and flashed under the checkered flag at 10:45 scoring his fifth career USAC victory at Kokomo and also his third midget win out of four races run in 2019. McDougal did an impressive wheelie coming to the checkered out of turn four almost into turn one to finish second with Windom third, Zeb Wise making a late charge on the outside advancing from 12th to 4th and Kevin Thomas Jr. fading to fifth at the finish. Logan Seavey would start the second five gaining sixth with Thomas Meseraull seventh, fast timer Dillon Welch eighth, CJ Leary ninth and Tanner Carrick rounding out the top ten. Both features were decent but not spectacular.

    Saturday, April 6 - After the Kokomo finish we motored north and spent the night in Crestwood, a suburb of Chicago, before leaving by 6:30 the following morning the complete the remaining 3 1/2 hour trek to DePere, Wisconsin, the hometown of good friend and fellow track chaser, Jack Erdmann, who had lost his one year battle with cancer. The St. John's Lutheran Church was the site of the viewing and service that followed and we joined racing buddies, Gordy Killian, Roger Ferrell, Dale O'Brien and Pete Vercauteren and his wife for the day. Afterwards the whole group of us sat together in the church fellowship hall eating good food prepared by the church members and swapping Jack stories and celebrating the live of a guy who visited 1102 different tracks in his long track chasing career which ranks him seventh on the all time list. Jack lived a full life in his 63 years and visited many places along the highways and byways of the nation. It was fun hearing some stories from the pastor, his family and our group and we found out many things we never knew about Jack. That made the day extra special and we were sure glad we made the long trip to see our good buddy one last time. Jack may you rest in peace and we will be depending on you to have heaven staked out and know where all the race tracks are there!! Godspeed Jack and see you in the future.

    That's it for this segment and check back next week as we have a three day race weekend planned all in Indiana but Sunday is not looking good at the present time. So now that spring has sprung (though it could be warmer) get out there and take in some good short track racing in your area or pack up the car and take a road trip to somewhere where you always wanted to go. As always thanks for reading our efforts and keep the comments, news and other tid bits coming to bruce.eckel@comcast.net or on Twitter @bruceeckel11.

     

       Contact Pat & Bruce at bruce.eckel@comcast.net

     


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