Dec. 4, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Ten Winners Highlight Delaware International Late Model Season”
Nestled in the southern most reaches of Delaware, lies Charlie Cathell’s Delaware International speedway. Since 1975 the late model division has enjoyed a lot of success despite the fact they race as an under card to the weekly run big-block modified division. 2011 was a banner season once again for the high-powered division as ten different winners graced victory lane. Even though DIS is a little off the beaten path as far as late model venues are concerned, the class produced solid car counts the entire campaign and a very loyal fan following as well. In all, 22-races were held for the class this season producing a familiar track champion. Here’s a look at the 2011 DIS late model feature winners.
Ricky Elliott- Without question the hottest driver at DIS the second half of the season. Elliott would score his first feature win of the season on July 9, which was the highly coveted Camp Barnes event. He would then win again the following week on July 12, before scoring a double as he swept the twin-20’s program for the division on August 6. At the controls of his Advanced Motorsports, Rocket no.88, Elliott would take one more win in August and one in October, before he capped-off a brilliant season as he took top-honors in the Delaware state championships on October 23 for his seventh and final win of the season. Elliott, a 24-time career LM winner at DIS, was the only driver all season to win three features in a row.
Donald Lingo Jr.- Just like Ricky Elliott, Lingo would have to wait until July before he finally reached victory lane. July 16 was the date, and he would remain hot as he would win again the following week (July 30). Lingo would reach victory lane once again on September 10, before he would take his fourth win of the season in the point finale on October 8. Lingo’s brilliant second half of the season would bring him his second track title in a row, which would be his fourth career LM title at DIS. Lingo’s title run came in his trusty 2006 Rocket, with a power plant assembled by his father. Lingo has now amassed 31-career LM scores at DIS, good enough for fifth on the tracks all-time win chart.
Richard Jarvis Jr.- The 2005 and 2009 DIS late model track champion was a four-time winner in 2011. Steering a Lazer chassis with his father, Richard Sr.’s, familiar no.680 on it’s doors was fast out of the box as he would take the season opening win on April 9. It would only take Jarvis two-weeks to repeat as he won again on May 7. Jarvis would cool down a bit as he would have to wait until June (25th) before he would win again. Jarvis would again remain strong as he would win the following week (July 2), however, it would be his final win of the season for the eventual runner-up in points. Jarvis’ four-win campaign upped his career LM win total at DIS to 26, which is 8th all-time.
Mark Pettyjohn- The only other multiple feature winner of the season.
Pettyjohn would win the second race of the season (April 30), but would have to
wait all the way to September (3) before he would win again. Pettyjohn would
eventually take fifth in the final point tally aboard his Hitchens Bros.
Trucking, Swartz Race Cars no.8-Ball.
Rick Eckert- The eventual World of Outlaw’s late model series champion scored his second-career DIS late model score on May 12, In the series one and only visit this season. Eckert’s win came in his J&K Salvage, Bloomquist race cars no.24.
Andrew Mullins- Became a first-time DIS late model winner with his victory on May 21 in his Bi-Rite auto sales no.51. The youthful leadfoot would complete his season with a solid fourth in the final point rundown. Before his late model career, Mullins was a winner in the DIS crate late models.
Staci Warrington- Lady racer Warrington, who still holds the distinction as the only female late model racer to win in the class, added her second career feature win on June 4. Chauffeuring her Warrington construction, Rocket no.20, The “Female Phenom” would finish third in the division standings.
David Hill- Scored his lone feature win of the season on June 18 with his very familiar Hills Electric Motor Rocket no.75. The win for Hill, a five-time DIS late model champion, was his 140th career win in the division, tops among all drivers.
Rob Schirmer- Became the sixth different winner of the season as he scored his only win of the season on May 28 aboard his Rocket no.118. Schirmer’s victory was the fourth of his DIS career, for the part-time 2011 campaigner.
Kenny Pettyjohn- The 10-time DIS late model kingpin scored one win (May 14) this season in limited appearances wheeling his Race Foundation, Rocket no.100S. Throughout his amazing DIS career, Pettyjohn has accumulated 154 career wins at the speedway. 109 in the late models, 36 in the old street modified division, and 9 in the modifieds, making him the most prolific winner in the tracks history.
Maryland Clay Dirt
Nov. 27, 2011
By Doug Watson
“The Spectacle That is…Wall Stadium”
What to do, what to do, was the question I asked myself when I wanted one
more season-ending race event to carry me through the winter. Mark Elksnis
(chief starter at Potomac Speedway) and I decided to trek to New Jersey’s Wall
Stadium for their season closer, the 38th annual “Turkey Derby”. Through stories
and pictures had I only knew of the action the nifty little bullring had
produced, but this past weekend I was able to witness it first-hand. The show,
in my opinion, is a must-see for any racing enthusiast as it is a full three-day
racing extravaganza featuring tour type-modifieds, legend cars, street stocks,
TQ midgets, Wall’s SK modifieds, dirt style modifieds, factory stocks, asphalt
late models and sportsman modifieds. on the ever popular Jersey Shore. Here are
some tid-bit’s from my first-ever visit to Wall Stadium Speedway.
Loyal fan following- Being a witness to many 410 sprint car shows at many Central PA. racetracks, made me a firm believer that the mighty 410’s had to most loyal, and vocal, fan following in the region. Until Saturday. The asphalt modified fans, whether it’s the tour cars or the hometown SK mods, have a very loyal and vocal fan following as well, making the show that much more enjoyable.
Three more years on the shore- Current Wall promoter Cliff Krause made the announcement on Saturday that he and his staff has signed an agreement to operate the facility for another three-years. That was met with a roar from the crowd, as the track’s future has been uncertain for the past few seasons.
What a crowd!!- By the time the first feature of the afternoon hit the speedway, you couldn’t have fit a penny in the grandstands!! The place was absolutely packed on a picture perfect weather day, as temps got to around 70 by mid-afternoon.
Ground-pounding asphalt modifieds- This would be only the second-time that I’ve been a witness to asphalt modified racing. The first was back in 2007 at Florida’s New Smyrna speedway, and I was blown away then. After watching the show at Wall on Saturday, I was as equally impressed as the racing, especially in the tour race, was some of the best slam-bang action I’ve seen all season, at any racetrack.
Quite a fan-friendly facility indeed- Not knowing what to expect when we got to the track, I was surprised at just how big the place really was!! There was plenty of parking for the over-flow crowd, and any seat in the grandstands offers a full view of the speedway. Numerous concession stands, clean restrooms with tiled floors, souvenir stands and a ten position scoreboard outside turn-two without question gives Wall Stadium two thumbs up in my book. Also, being that I go primarily to dirt tracks, it was really nice going to a facility that was entirely paved and not having to scrape ten pounds of mud off my shoes!! The only downside, to me, is the public address system. On more than one occasion the announcers were muffled and very hard to hear.
Blewett goes back-to-back- By the jeers from the crowd, I really couldn’t tell if Jimmy Blewett is a villain or a hero at Wall Stadium. A pit-stop for fresh rubber, timely caution periods, and quite an animated drive back to the front of the field gave Blewett the win in the tour modified race with just two laps to go. Continuing his hot streak, Blewett would win the SK feature as well which would be the 2001-02 Wall modified champions 41st career win at the speedway.
Howie “Conks” them in street stock main- Newly crowned Wall Stadium street stock champion Howie Conk capped-off his title winning season as he scored the biggest win of his career in the divisions 50-lap contest, which would be his fifth victory of the season.
Frye on asphalt- Dirt late model stand-out Colbey Frye was on hand for the Derby, but not with his usual Rocket no.F1, he was in a legend car. Frye, being the quick study that he is, drove his scaled down racer to a solid third in the divisions 35-lap feature which was run on Friday.
Line-up procedures- With the quality of the show unquestioned, one thing did strike me funny as we watched the tour modified race. In a race that was 150 “green flag” laps in distance, I would have to say counting cautions, was at least 250 laps!! I don’t know if Wall has the raceiver/transponder system in place like most track do these days, but lining up cars on restarts for this event was terrible!! On five different occasions the field had to be stopped on the front-stretch so the cars could be put manually back in their respective spots. Then once the field was set, and the green could have been displayed, the starter made them come around once again so he could give them the one to go signal. Even with the tight confines of the speedway, the first 43-laps of the race went through caution free. However, from that point on, I don’t know if it was the drivers or the track that just could not get the cars back in their proper line-up. I don’t want to put a damper on what was a great day, but Wall Stadium is 184 miles from home, which made Mark and I wonder what the other races would be like under this format. In all the race was very good, but after watching the first 43 laps run caution free, I was very disappointed the race was almost two-hours long making it almost impossible to stay for the remainder of the program.
First impression- Without question a “homerun” for season-ending shows. A clean well-maintained facility, a full pit area, an overwhelming crowd, and a decent format made it quite an enjoyable day indeed. Mark and I are already planning a return trip in 2012.
Williams Set to Return to Cameron/Mann Operation for 2012
Nov. 20, 2011
By Doug Watson
Charlotte Hall Maryland’s David Williams has finalized plans to return to the drivers seat for car owners Pete Cameron and Roland Mann for the upcoming 2012 season. Williams first season behind the wheel of the Cameron/Mann owned equipment was quite successful as he was able to score six feature wins and the Potomac speedway late model track championship.
“It was certainly a dream season for us.” Williams commented. “We just gelled as a team faster than I thought we would, and I cant thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to drive their car.”
Roland Mann, who owns half the operation, served as a teammate to Williams last season in the late model ranks but has decided to retire as a driver leaving Williams as the teams only driver. “We were going to keep the car Roland drove, but we decided to sell both cars and we have a brand new Rocket car on order.” Williams stated. “They were both really good cars, don’t get me wrong, but technology changes in this sport just about everyday, and we want to be able to roll into any racetrack and have the knowledge that all the other guys running newer style cars have.” Even with only one car in their stable the team will have two fresh power plants at their disposal, as Rick Leggett of Leggett Engine Research will handle all the horsepower duties.
2012 season plans are already in the works. “We’d like to follow the “Three-State-Flyers” this season and we want to hit the speed week shows as well.” Said Williams. “We’ll probably be at most Potomac events unless we decide to go to a big race that runs on a Friday, but everyone on the team loves Potomac. We’re just looking forward to a really good season.”
Williams was successful as well this past season driving a limited late model for car owners Sommey and Ruth Ann Lacey. Williams carried their Rocket no.45 to five overall wins on the season, and Williams plans to be back in that mount next season as well. “Sommey has really nice equipment, and we’ve already made plans to race together again next season. We’ll just pick and choose our races like we did a year ago and take each race as they come. I think I must be one of the luckiest drivers in the country to be able to drive two great cars for two great owners.”
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Potomac Speedway Crowns 2011 Track Champions”
Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway enjoyed another successful season under the leadership of third-year promoter Greg Gunter. Eight classes in all were a part of the weekly rotation with five of the eight track champions garnering their first-ever divisional titles. Economic hardships hurt Potomac in car counts this season, but the always close racing and the tremendous weekly fan turnouts, made Potomac quite a respectable facility despite the economy. 2011 would be the 37th consecutive season of operation for Potomac, which is one of only three existing tracks in the state. Here’s a look at the 2011 Potomac speedway track champions.
David Williams (Late Models)- Williams made track history in 2010 with his third-straight division title. At the end of the 10’ season car owner George Moreland was not going to field a car for Williams the following season, leaving Potomac’s most prolific winner ride less. Former Potomac promoter Pete Cameron and fellow LM competitor Roland Mann had a second car in their stable and the decision was made to put Williams behind the wheel. Williams would respond well as he would carry the car, a Rocket chassis with Cameron’s nostalgic no.72 on it’s doors, to five feature wins and his fourth-straight title. Just like the 2010 title struggle, Williams out-pointed Dale Hollidge by just 27-points to secure the crown. Williams would go on to have a personal-best season as he would also score a LM win at Winchester (VA), two steel-block LM wins at Virginia Motor speedway, two LLM wins at Potomac and would cap-off his season with a $5000 Steel-Block-Bandits win at the Alleghany County (MD) Fairgrounds speedway.
Ben Bowie (Limited Late Models)- At the controls of his Big Daddy Cool Motorsports, Rocket no.36, Bowie ended Tommy Wagner Jr.’s three-straight class title’s with his first in the division. Bowie, which was one of seven different class winners on the season, was able to rack up three feature wins on his way to the championship. Bowie is a former Potomac champion as he scored back to back hobby stock crowns in 2002-03 and 25 wins in the class during his tenure.
Troy Kassiris (Street Stocks)- Scoring the opening day win for the class set the tone for the eventual track champion. In a newly acquired, former Walt Homberg driven ARC race cars no.17, Kassiris would win once more during the season and then use consistent finishes to score hid first-ever Potomac title by 103 points over runner-up Donnie Smith. Kassiris would be one of nine different winners during the season, and one of only three to win more than one feature.
Bud Pickeral (Hobby Stocks)- The five-time winner from 2010, only scored twice this season, but it was enough for his first-ever Potomac championship. Pickeral, in his familiar Camaro no.81, would take the title by 177-points over Matt Tarbox. Pickeral was one of eight different winners the always crowd-pleasing class produced this season.
Tony Quade (Modifieds)- Quade enjoyed a banner season with the class that produced the closest point finish of the season. Wheeling his self-owned no.28 Quade would win two features, which were his career first in the class, and would then nip Brian Maxey for the title by a mere six points. Before his success in the modifieds, Quade was a ten-time career winner with the hobby stock’s. Despite off-season rumors that the class would be dropped from the Potomac schedule, the modifieds will return in 2012.
Larry Fuchs (Four-Cylinders)- Back behind the wheel of his Rob Raines owned, Mustang no.2, Fuchs would score two feature wins on the way to his second-straight division title. Fuchs two wins upped his career total to 33 in the class, moving him to third on the all-time win list. Unfortunately, due to low car counts, the class has been dropped from the 2012 schedule.
John Hardesty (Strictly Stocks)- On the strength of a two feature win campaign, Hardesty drove to his second straight, and second-career, Potomac track championship. Hardesty would take the title by 86-points over runner-up Nabil Guffey. Six different winners came within the 10 races run for the class this season.
Justin Bottorf (U-Cars)- With one feature win to his credit in 2011, Bottorf continued the list of new Potomac champions with his first-career track title. Bottorf claimed his championship by 69-points over Chris Maxey. The second year division produced five winners in the six races contested.
Nov. 13, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Hagerstown Late Models Strong as Ever in 2011”
Ask just about any late model driver in the mid-Atlantic region, young or old, and more often than not they’ll tell you the place to win is Frank Plessinger’s Hagerstown Speedway.
The late models were once again the featured attraction at the historic half-mile every Saturday night. Even with a season plagued with early-season rain, Hagerstown was able to spin-off 15 events for the high powered class producing 12 different winners. Wrapped within those 12 different winners, six of those were career first feature wins at the speedway. Proving just how tough the weekly fields were at every event, eventual and 8-time Hagerstown track champion, Roy Deese Jr. scored his 2011 crown without the aid of a feature win. So, with all that being said, let’s take a look at the 2011 Hagerstown speedway late model feature winners.
Jason Covert- Behind the wheel of his very familiar Barry Klinedinst owned, Rocket no.43A, Covert was one of only two multiple feature winner of the season. Covert scored his first victory of the season on May 28, becoming the fifth different winner in the five week old season, and would become the first repeat winner with a win on June 24. Covert would then take his third, and final, win at the track on July 2 becoming the second driver all season, not only to win more than one race, but to win back-to-back features. Covert’s 12 career late model scores at Hagerstown puts him in a three-way tie for 16th on the tracks all-time win list.
Jeremy Miller- After the March season-opener was lost to rain, Jeremy Miller took top-honors in the week-delayed opener for his only Hagerstown win of the season on April 2. Miller’s win was his career 28th at Hagerstown and it came aboard his trusty Miller Fabrication, MasterSbilt no.1M. Rumor has it that Miller has a chassis of his own design in the works.
Gary Stuhler- The 1990 and 2003 Hagerstown champion made his first-start of the season a good one as he was triumphant for the 129th time in his illustrious Hagerstown career with a win in the divisions feature on April 9. Stuhler would be fast the rest of the season in his new ride, the Loco-Motives, Rocket no.17, but it would be the tracks all-time leader’s only triumph of the season.
Josh Richards- The 2010 World of Outlaw’s late model series champion made his annual early season Hagerstown stop a profitable one as he was the winner on April 23. Richards would then close the season with his first-ever Octoberfest win on November 13, and the $10,000 pay day that went with it. Both of Richard’s Hagerstown scores came in the Ernie and Connie Davis owned Rocket no.25.
Jerry Bard- May 21 is a day Jerry Bard will never forget. Bard came close to a win on more than one occasion during his rookie season in 2010, but would finally hit pay dirt in 2011. The win for Bard, steering his self-owned Rocket no.26, would be his only win of the season for the eventual sixth-place point finisher.
Jimmy Mars- The June 4 speed week event was without question one of the most thrilling events held at the track this season. Invader Jimmy Mars added his name to the Hagerstown win list with a breathtaking win over Steve Shaver and eventual speed week champion Austin Hubbard. Mars first-ever Hagerstown win came in a car of his own design, and over the largest field of the season as 50 cars were on hand for the event.
Kyle Lear- Proving that the youth movement is alive and well, Lear became the seventh different winner of the season with his first-career Hagerstown late model feature win on June 18 in his rookie season in the division. Driving car owner Paul Crowl’s potent Rocket no.7, Lear would cap-off his season with rookie of the year honors and a second place finish in the final point tally. It would be a big night for the Lear family at this event as Kyle’s brother Cody, would win the late model sportsman feature.
Frankie Plessinger- The 2010 Hagerstown champion got off to a slow start in 2011. Crashes and mechanical issues with his P&W Excavating, Rocket no.9, made his early season ventures look quite dismal. However, in a late season rush, Plessinger would win his only main event of the season on July 16 for his 10th career win at Hagerstown and would then claw is way back to fourth in the final point standings.
John Blankenship- The Lucas Oil Late Model dirt Series made only one visit (July 30) to Hagerstown in 2011, and what a show it was. After trouble in qualifying, Blankenship came all the way from the 17th starting spot to score his first-ever Hagerstown late model win and the $10,000 payday that went with it chauffeuring his Rocket no.23.
Ashley Barrett- After a successful stint with the late model sportsman, that produced 11-career feature wins, Ashley Barrett went full-time late model racing in 2011. Barrett was off to a slow start adapting to the faster class and almost threw in the towel mid-way through the season, but he would persevere as he would score his first-career late model win on August 13. Barrett would then steer his Critter Creations Taxidermy, Rocket no.75X, to a solid second place finish the following event on August 20.
Ronnie DeHaven Jr.- It’s a chore in itself just to win a feature at Hagerstown, let alone in a brand new car, and that’s just what DeHaven did on August 20. DeHaven wrestled the top-spot from Ashley Barrett and then drove off to his fourth career win at Hagerstown and first since 2008. DeHaven’s winning run came in a brand new MasterSbilt chassis with his familiar no.1D on its doors. DeHaven would pilot the same car to a victory in the Winchester 200 at Greg Gunters Winchester (VA) speedway later in the season.
Rusty Sites- Continuing the list of first-time winners, Rusty Sites would also add his name to the Hagerstown win list with his first-career Hagerstown win on September 3. A fifth on August 13 and then a third a week later set the stage for Sties break-trough win. Sites victory came in his Sites Garage, MasterSbilt no3S, a car that was brand new at the start of the season.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Support Classes, What’s Your Favorite??”
Often overshadowed, but never outdone, support divisions at local area venues are without question the backbone of a weekly run program. Throughout the mid-Atlantic region race teams and fans alike are offered a plethora of choices to either watch or compete with on a weekly basis. Some of theses classes, in my opinion, have gotten a little out of hand as far as what teams spend to make their cars competitive, in return for what the class pays. This has hurt car counts at a lot of different speedway’s, However, the racing is typically second to none. With all that in mind, I just want to touch on what I think are some of the best “support classes” the area has to offer.
Lincoln (PA) Speedway Thundercars- They always have, and always will be, my favorite class to watch. These cars are basically late models wrapped in a steel body, and now that they race on mandated Hoosier racing tires, the competition has gotten better. Eight different drivers were able to win a feature in the division this season with Sam Gallagher claiming six feature wins and the track title. Even though the class has lost a lot of drivers that were once a mainstay with the class to the 358 late models, the racing is as good as ever. Even with the all-mighty 410 sprint cars serving as Lincoln’s headline division, I still travel to Lincoln when my schedule allows to take in the thundercar action.
Delaware International Speedway Delmarva Chargers/Super Trucks- This class is the perfect fit for DIS. One of the few area tracks that does not offer some type of full-bodied support class (street stock, pro-stock etc…) this class was added as an entry-level division for the 2011 season. The class is basically a stock four-cylinder class that allows trucks and cars to compete in the same race with two winners declared in each race. With car counts ranging from 24 to 30, for each event, the class seems to be a big hit. With DIS offering two classes of modifieds and two classes of late models at every Saturday night event, this class runs a 12-lap feature with no qualifying events and has given the DIS faithful a truly “fun” division to watch when they are on the schedule. Look for them more often on the DIS schedule in 2012.
Hagerstown (MD) Speedway Pure Stocks- I’m lucky enough to get to see this class up close and personal every Saturday night. I often refer to them as “One of, if not, the most competitive support division’s in the entire northeast.” Side by side racing and nail-biting finishes is the norm rather than the exception for the division at every race meet. Eight different drivers were able to score a win this season, with three of those being career-first wins at the speedway. Even though he came close on more than one occasion, eventual track champion Drew Fitzsimmons, was held winless the entire season on the way to his first-ever Hagerstown title.
Trail-Way (PA) Speedway Limited Stocks- 358 sprint cars headline the Friday night shows at the Hanover Pa. bull ring. When the TW mgmt. saw the dwindling numbers of their once no.2 division, the thundercars, a change was made by adding the limited stocks as the no.2 class, with various other divisions making up the typical three-division TW shows. Limited stocks are a stock front-wheel drive four cylinder class with a few safety modifications allowed. The class has grown into quite a competitive division with car counts in the 25 to 30 range. The racing is quite good in this class and they have become very popular with the fans.
Williams Grove (PA) Speedway Street Stocks- This is truly a class that has grown since the “Saturday Night Series” was put into place at the track a few years ago. The distinct look of theses cars add a nice variation to the WG Saturday shows that offer super sportsman as well as the 358 late models. When the class was first added fields were small, and no qualifying events were held. Now, the fields hover in the high 20’s with heat races setting the starting field. 2011 was another banner season for the class as ten different drivers scored a win at the historic half-mile with Doug Hoffman claiming his second WG street stock championship.
Potomac (MD) Speedway Street Stocks- Over the past five years or so, the Potomac street stock division has been one of the most solid and competitive divisions the track has to offer. 2011 was no different. Nine drivers were able to win at the track this season in feature finishes that usually always came down to the last turn, last lap. The tight confines of Potomac are typically conducive to tight, door-to door racing. Troy Kassiris was crowned division champion for the first time in his career and he also became the sixth different champion in the class in the past six seasons.
Maryland Clay Dirt
Oct. 2, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Silver Spring Speedway 2005, The Final Season”
Forever gone, but truly never forgotten, The Silver Spring (PA) speedway lives on in the memories of just about every person who ever witnessed an event at the at the popular Mechanicsburg oval.
The “Springs”, as the track was often referred to, built it’s reputation on their headline super sportsman division, however the stock car classes were alive and quite well for much of the track’s history.
In 2005 the 358 late model division was as competitive as ever. Even though the class produced a familiar track champion, eleven different drivers were able to score a feature win during the season and for four of those drivers it would be their first-ever win at the track. So, with the stage set, let’s take a look at the 2005 Silver Spring Speedway 358 LM feature winners.
Carl Billet- The long-time veteran of Silver Spring was once again in top form this season as well. Behind the wheel of his Magilton Brothers owned no.2M, Billet produced four feature wins, including the annual “late model 50” and the 2005 track title. Billet’s championship was his sixth career at the speedway with his first coming back in 1990. Billet’s four-win campaign made him the only multiple feature winner on the season an upped his career total to 57, good enough for third on the tracks all-time 358 LM win-list.
Scott McCann Jr.- The 2002 SS speedway 358 LM champion clicked for his lone feature win on July 2 aboard his Bruce Fulton owned no.41F. Not long thereafter, Fulton retired as a car owner and likewise did McCann as a driver. During his SS career, McCann accumulated 11 career 358 LM feature wins.
Gene Wrightstone- Still active as a driver today, Wrightstone scored his one win on the season on May 7 behind the wheel of his JTM no.10. Although never a champion at the track, Wrightstone scored 16 career wins with the 358 late models and was also a winner with the tracks street stock division.
Bud Witmer- Witmer won the opener for the division on April 9 with his Chisel Rock Construction no.5 and would then use consistent finishes to come within 70 points of earning his first-ever springs championship. Witmer would earn 11 career feature wins at the track during his career.
Gary Potts- The 1991 Silver Spring street stock champion and the 1996 Lincoln Speedway thundercar champion, posted his first-ever SS 358 LM win on September 4, for oddly enough, his only win ever at the track. Potts would finish the season with a solid fifth in the final point tally.
John Moser Jr.- After a starting his career with the thundercars, Moser would become another first-time SS 358 LM winner with his one, and only career win at the track on June 18 with his self-owned no.4M.
Steve Weikel- The successful proprietor of Weikel Racewear, became another first-time SS winner with his win on August 6, behind the wheel of his self-owned no.9W.
Jim Shuttlesworth- The 1984 Silver Spring 358 LM track champion drove to his 58th career win in the division on July 23. Known as the “Ironman”, Shuttlesworth is the only driver in the track’s rich history to win the late model and super sportsman features on the same night. Shuttlesworth was as equally impressive with his super sportsman stint as he was a 13-time career winner with the class at Silver Spring.
Jake Lettich- The eventual ninth place point finisher scored his second career Silver Spring feature win on April 16 with his Snyder Performance no.17. After Silver Springs demise, Lettich would go on to win features with the class at Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna.
Chuck Yingling- Behind the wheel of his very distinctive Charles Yingling owned no.91, Chuck would put the car into the Silver Spring victory lane on July 9. Even though it would be his only win at the Springs, Yingling would win again in the car over at Susquehanna. The Yingling no.91 was a very big part of racing at Silver Spring over the years with the likes of Jim Shuttlesworth and 1988 track champion Jeff Leiphart finding a lot of success with Yingling’s cars.
Sterling Kinard- Even though most people knew, but did not want to face the facts, that September 24 will go down in history as the final event ever held at Silver Spring speedway. Once a dominator in the 4-cylinder ranks early in his career, Sterling Kinard would drive the race of his career, with his Magnum Chassis no.12, to become the final 358 late model feature winner at the track which would also be his second win ever with the division.
Oct. 22, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Bedford Speedway 1995”
One of the longest running “Friday night” late model venues in the mid-Atlantic region was in its heyday under then promoting legend Joe Padula. Solid car counts and excellent crowds were the norm, rather than the exception at every event held.
The 1995 season produced 11 different feature winners and a first-time late model champion in the 20 races that were run for the class during the season. Bedford has since fallen on hard times, and with its 2011 season cut short, the future of the track for 2012 is uncertain. Hopefully the right set of hands will step in and put the Bedford speedway back on the map. Here’s a look at the 1995 Bedford speedway late model feature winners.
Nathan Durboraw- (Hagerstown MD) The eight-time LM champion at the Hagerstown speedway was the hottest driver the last six races of the season. Durboraw would score his first win of the season on August 11. The burly veteran would then win the Labor Day 55 on September 3 and then close out the season with his second in a row and third feature win of the season in the special 40-lap NEWS sanctioned event and the $3000 payday that went with it.
Kevin Smith- (Roaring Spring PA) Wheeling the very familiar Tom Gill owned no.55, Smith produced a career season at the track. Smith drove to his first victory on May 12 and would then score one in June and one in July to Join Nathan Durboraw as the only other three-time LM winner in 1995.
Tom Clise- (Frostburg MD) The 1993 track champion was in form this season as well carrying his no.C1 to two wins on the season. Clise, an 18-time career LM winner at the track, came within 36-points of the 95’ championship.
Bob Salathe- (Bedford PA) The 1994 Bedford champion was fast out of the box with his potent no.RG3. After finishing second in the opener, Salathe won the second race of the season on May 5. It would take Salathe only two weeks to repeat as he won again on May 19, but it would also be his last. Salathe currently sits tied for 8th with Tom Clise with 18 career LM feature wins at Bedford.
Tom Myers- (Greencastle PA) Myers win in the season opener set the tone for the eventual 1995 track champion. At the controls of the family-owned no.70, Myers would score his second, and final, 95’ feature win on July 7. Seven top-fives and 11 top ten feature finishes propelled Myers to his one and only Bedford championship.
Scott Haus- (Hamburg PA) August 10 gave the Bedford faithful a glimpse of what they would see for the next decade or so, as Haus drove his Ed Powell owned no.1 to his first-career Bedford LM win. Haus would win again on September 1 for his final win of the season and it came in the highly coveted fair race. Haus would come back strong in 96’ as he took his first of four-straight Bedford titles, Joining Rick Eckert who pulled the same feat from 1989 to 1992. Entering 2012, Haus still sits atop the all-time Bedford LM win chart with 37 career feature wins.
JR Keifer- (Bedford PA) The 1992 Bedford semi-late champion scored his first win of the season on July 7. Just like Bob Salathe earlier in the season, it only took two weeks for Keifer to repeat as he won again on July 21, but it would also be his last. Keifer, the current Bedford promoter, has been rumored that he will not return to the helm of the facility in 2012.
Paul Deasey- Truly the surprise winner of the season. Deasey drove his no.707 to his first-ever, and only, Bedford win of the season on August 2 becoming the 75th different driver to do the trick in the history of the speedway.
Gary Stuhler- (Greencastle PA) Even though Stuhler was never really considered a Bedford “regular”, his infrequent appearances over the years produced 27 career feature wins at the track which places him second on the all-time win list. Stuhler, at the pinnacle of his career, produced his one and only 95’ Bedford feature win on July 14 piloting his legendary “Speedy” Hayes no.44.
Lynn Geisler- (Cranberry Township PA) Geisler, the all-time LM winner at both Lernerville (PA) and Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway is still winning in 2011 and is still behind the wheel of the Cochran no.1C. In 1995 Geisler made an infrequent start at the track on July 4 and would take score his lone win of the season.
Wayne Johnson- (Hancock MD) Johnson, a former Hagerstown speedway roadrunner champion, became a first-time Bedford LM winner with his victory on May 26. Johnson’s win came in the Tri-State Challenge event in which he lead 29, of the 30-lap event
Maryland Clay Dirt
Oct. 9, 2011s
By Doug Watson
“Thundercars Out, 358 Late Models in For Pa.’s Sam Gallagher”
As the 2011 season is coming to a close, many drivers and teams start making plans for the following season’s campaign. This is just the case for Hanover Pa.’s Sam Gallagher.
When the first green flag of 2012 drops, Gallagher will be behind the wheel of a 358 late model, which is one of the toughest divisions the mid-Atlantic region has to offer. Gallagher, who drivers for car owner Derrick Glouster, will be utilizing a 2003 Rocket chassis for the upcoming season. The car was acquired from Cody Fairchok who carried the machine to one 358 LM victory at Williams Grove last season, but has since moved on to the open cockpit wars with the super sportsman.
Gallagher and company made their 358 LM debut at Trail-Way speedway back in September and would finish 10th in the divisions 50-lap main. When Gallagher was asked what the experience was like in the new car he said “Awesome” with an ear to ear smile.
So with the team set for 2012, Gallagher will all but likely wrap-up his second career Lincoln speedway thundercar track title, and first since 2008 as the division will host it’s season finale on October 15. Gallagher has amassed six feature wins this season and holds a healthy 350 point lead over runner-up Danny Beard. “Yeah, all we basically have to do is show up.” Gallagher stated. “We’ve really had a good season, but we feel that now is the time to move on. We’re trying to sell the car now, but if we don’t, maybe we’ll just keep it!!”
So, will all of Gallagher’s success with the thundercars carry over to the 358 car?? “I think we’ll be ok.” Gallagher said. “These 358-cars are so different from the thundercar the way they move around and all, but right now we’re just trying to get some seat time. I think once we get it figured out we’ll have a shot at being a front-running car.” Gallagher made his first-ever 358 LM start on Saturday at Williams Grove and would run well, but would miss the cut for the feature by just two spots in the divisions consolation event.
Williams Grove Saturday Night Notes-
Thirty super sportsman, 36 358 late models and 24 street stocks jammed the pit area on a superb fall evening, with track conditions the best I’ve seen them all season…Pancho Lawler had a career night at the Grove as he would steer his Rocket No.93 to a heat race win and then nail down a solid third in the 358 LM feature after starting sixth…Bobby Beard, wheeling his Renita Seymore owned Rocket no.81, came all the way from the 14th starting spot to grab sixth at the checkered. Beard’s machine was sporting a “for sale” sign on its sail panels…After scoring his first-ever win in the make-up super sportsman feature, 23year old Jay Fannasy drove his no.222 to a fifth in the regular event for the class…Sam Rial became the ninth different winner of the season as he took his first-ever WG street stock win with his no.11D and would also finish fifth in the point standings…Can anyone stop Gene Knaub? Knaub would come from 11th, take the lead at half-way, and then win by a full straight-away over runner-up Grant Adams for his seventh Grove 358 LM win of the season and his fourth track championship aboard his Donnie Broderick owned Rocket no.1...358 LM racer, and Susquehanna speedway regular Jason Rochelle made a stop at WG on Saturday and had quite a wild night with his no.48. A heat race crash forced Rochelle into the consolation where he would take the final transfer spot on the last lap with a still relatively wounded machine. Even though he would quietly finish 20th in the feature, it was a night of determination indeed…Street stock racer Jeff Haag was on hand with his recently acquired ex-Bob Gutshall no.65 with Haag’s familiar no.29 on its doors. Haag would win his heat race, but finish a disappointing 19th in the feature…Former street stock race, and another up and coming driver in the super sportsman ranks, Eric Walker enjoyed quite a night with his no.88W. After scoring a third in the make-up race, Walker would go on to win the regular event proving the youth movement in this class is alive and well…Matt Nailor lead the opening laps of the late model feature before settling for fifth at the finish with his BRC Lazer chassis no.19.…Pole sitter, and two-time 358 LM winner this season, Steve Clabaugh fought handling issues with his MasterSbilt no.29 during the feature and would finish a distant seventh in the main…With 36 358 LM’s on-hand for a regular show, I wonder how many cars would appear for a season-ending or, early season $2000-to-win event for the class.?? Just a thought…Congratulations to Frankie Herr (super sportsman), Gene Knaub (358 LM) and Doug Hoffman (street stock) on their 2011 Williams Grove speedway track championships.
Oct. 2, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Southern Maryland Nationals Close Out Potomac Speedway Season”
One of the longest running events for the “support classes” capped of a stellar 2011 season at Greg Gunter’s Potomac speedway. The 20th annual running of “the National’s”, as it’s often referred to, ran off without a hitch despite the forecasted rain that has recently plagued the Mid-Atlantic region.
Thirty-eight street stocks, 17 limited late models, 24 hobby stocks. 16 modifieds, 12 u-cars and 10 strictly stocks all took part in the two-day extravaganza. Cool fall weather conditions and an outstanding track surface made it truly a memorable weekend indeed.
Small car national events have become very popular in the region, allowing these weekly racers a chance to shine on the center stage. The first leg of the so-called “Triple-Crown” of small car national events took place at Hagerstown three weeks ago and was a huge success . Potomac hosted it’s event this past weekend and the Winchester (VA) speedway will contest their event next weekend, featuring street stocks, limited late models, hobby stocks, u-cars and four-cylinders in a two-day event on October sixth and seventh. There hasn’t been a repeat winner yet in either event run so far, and the Winchester event looks as though it could very well produce new winners as well.
Nationals News and Notes-
2011 Winchester speedway pure stock champion Mike Corbin came up one spot short of his second Potomac nationals win as he would finish second to eventual race winner Ricky Edmonds, after starting on the pole. Corbin, However, was the pure stock winner in the event for the division at Hagerstown and is one of the favorites heading into next weeks event at Winchester…Terry Staton earned hard charger honors in the street stock event as he came all the way from the 26th starting spot to finish fourth in the divisions 35-lap event…Kurt Zimmerman a 21-time Potomac SS feature winner, endured a frustrating night. Zimmerman went to the rear twice during the feature but would rally late to finish eighth with his no.9A…Three-time nationals winner Bryan Kerns was optimistic about his chances at a fourth victory after he earned the 5th starting spot for the feature. However, he was swept up in an early race crash with 2011 Potomac SS champion Troy Kassiris, and would finish 19th…Jimmy Combs, the only Lincoln (PA) speedway thundercar driver on hand for the event, came from the 24th spot to finish a respectable 15th in the feature…2009 Potomac SS champion Kyle Nelson made his first start of the season with his familiar no.66X. He would run well as he would start, and finish, in the third spot…Former street stock racer Mike Reynolds made his debut in the modified division. Reynolds ran well for the first time in the car as he won his heat race, but his luck in the feature was not as good as he would retire from the event early on, finishing fourteenth…Jonathon Raley appeared to have won the $1000 hobby stock main, but refused a post-race inspection handing the win to 2010 track champion Jimmy Randall…Three-time limited late model track champion Tommy Wagner Jr. was on hand for the show, but in a Rocket with his familiar no.50 on it’s doors. Rumor has it that he and Thompson motorsports, the team that carried Wagner to his three Potomac titles, have parted ways….Virginia Motor speedway hobby stock regular Wesley Givens, the defending winner of the nationals, drove from ninth to finish third in the divisions 28-lap feature…”Steady” Derrick Quade, a winner in LLM competition at both Potomac and VMS this season, finished sixth in the 30-lap LLM main with a for sale sign on his Joe Adams and Wayne Quade owned MasterSbilt no.23. The team will be utilizing a Rocket chassis for the 2012 season…Glen Elliott, one of the pre-race LLM favorites, was involved in a crash before the LLM feature even got started with his MasterSbilt no.5 forcing him from the event with a 15th place finish…Barry Williams Sr. (02 and 08) and Eric Johnson (2005) were notable former Nationals street stock winners who did not make the cut for the feature…David Williams LLM win was his tenth overall victory of the season. Williams has scored five LM wins and the track title at Potomac, one LM win at Winchester, two wins and a second in points at VMS and two LLM wins at Potomac…Two-time Hagerstown speedway pure stock winner Dave Stouffer Jr. ran as high as fourth in the 35-lap SS main at one point before mechanical woes forced him to the pits with a disappointing 24th place finish…Street stock winner Ricky Edmonds victory came in a car that he built, and the motor in the car was prepared by his father…After a heat race crash wounded his Rocket no.36 in qualifying on Friday, 2011 LLM track champion Ben Bowie salvaged his weekend as he came from 13th to finish fourth in the divisions 30-lap feature.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Weaver Garners Second-Straight Hagerstown Title”
Winning one championship at the historic Hagerstown (MD) speedway is a feat in itself, but to collect two-in-a-row is something truly special. After claiming his first-ever Hagerstown late model sportsman championship in 2010, Williamsport Md.’s Pete Weaver achieved personal history as he was crowned division champion for the second straight season. “Hagerstown is a tough racetrack.” Weaver surmised. “The level of competition up here is incredible and I really feel honored to be holding this championship trophy right now.” Weaver was quick to praise those who aided in his title-winning campaign. “We have some great sponsors that give us whatever we need to run every week. Doug Timmons and D&D Auto Recycling, Wise Construction, Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, and especially Robbie Allen who is key in the set-up of the car each week, they are the ones responsible for this championship.”
Weaver set the tone for his championship endeavor as he won the season opener for the class on April 3. Weaver would carry his potent Rocket no.16 to his second , and final feature win of the season on May 21, but it was consistent finishes in the remaining events that propelled Weaver to the title. Weaver’s two wins give him 19 for his career in the division, good enough for fourth on the all-time win chart.
2011 Hagerstown LMS feature winners-
Justin Weaver- The young son of track champ Pete, proved his win in his rookie season in 2010 was no fluke. Justin would win the feature on May 28 and would back that up with his second win of the season on July 16 with his family-owned Rocket no.05. Weaver would take 11th in the final point tally.
Andy Fries- Wheeling his distinctive Rocket no.82, Fries was the last multiple feature winner of the season, as he scored two wins on the season. One win in July and a win in the point finale in September gave the 06’, 07’ and 08’ track champion 12th in the final point standings.
JT Spence- The 2007 late model champion at Hagerstown made his one and only LMS start of the season a good one as he took the win in the “Greg Kerr Memorial” which was flying under the traveling “Steel Block Bandits” series banner. Spence’s $4100 win also came over the largest field of the season as 52 cars entered the event.
Cody Lear- Second in the final point standings capped off a career season for the Severn, Maryland native. Lear took his second career win in the class on June 18 and used consistent finishes to come within 87-points of his first-ever Hagerstown crown. Unfortunately, Cody’s father Barry Sr., destroyed Cody’s no.97 in a violent crash at the Trail-Way (PA) speedway during the “Thunder on the Farm” program. Barry Sr., was fortunately unhurt in the mishap.
Kenny Moreland- In only his second start ever at Hagerstown, Moreland would wire the field for his first-ever win at Hagerstown on April 9 steering his familiar Rocket no.24. However, as convincing as his win was, it would be the only 2011appearence of the season for Moreland.
Chaz Walls- August 20 will be a night Chaz Walls will never forget. After scoring a runner-up finish at the track earlier in the season, Walls added his name to the Hagerstown win list after he and Mike Walls raced side by side the entire 20-lap distance to post the win in his Rocket no.99W. Chaz would end his season with a solid sixth in the final standings.
Donnie Farlling- Farlling became another first-time Hagerstown winner with his LMS feature win on August 12. Farlling’s consistent season also earned him a third place finish in the season long point battle. At the controls of his Rocket no.48, Farlling also would take his first-ever LLM feature win at the nearby Bedford (PA) Speedway as well.
Trever Feathers- The 2010 Winchester (VA) speedway limited late model track champion became the 9th and final late model sportsman winner of 2011 with his win in the season ending Small Car National event on September 17 and the $2000 payday that went with it. Chauffeuring his Barry Wright Race Cars no.27, Trever joins his father Bo and grandfather Wayne, as Hagerstown feature winners.
Sept. 18, 2011
Trever Feathers Scores Career First Hagerstown Win in Small Car Nationals
Corbin, Whitt, Proctor and Jessmer also Score on Busy Weekend
By Doug Watson
Hagerstown, MD- Winchester Va.’s Trever Feathers drove the race of his young career as he was victorious in the 30-lap late model sportsman feature last Saturday night during the running of the 5th annual small car nationals at the Hagerstown speedway. The win for Feathers, the 2010 limited late model champions at the Winchester (VA) speedway, was worth $2000.
Mike Walls and Matt Parks paced the field to the initial green flag of the event. Walls got the jump at the start as he would lead the pack into turn one. Walls would then appear to have the car to beat as he lead the event for the first 20-laps. Meanwhile, sixth-starting Trever Feathers, reached second by the fourteenth lap and set his sights on leader Walls. Feathers would make what would be the winning pass on lap-21 and then survive a late race rush from 11th starting Scott Palmer to preserve the win.
“Man it’s awesome to win here.” Feathers stated. “We’ve been trying to get one up here all season and I knew starting sixth we’d be pretty good, but I was a little nervous because I’m tired of going backwards here.” Tire management was the key to Feathers victory. “It took a while for the left rear tire to come in, but once that happened I had to take car of the right front because it’s hard on that tire when you try to run the bottom and I knew I had to be there at the end.” Early leader Mike Walls held on for third, Andy Fries was fourth and Andy Anderson completed the top-five. In qualifying Saturday, Tyler Armstrong set fast time in time trials over the 32-car field with a one-lap time of 19.574. Heat race wins went to Armstrong, Fries, Anderson and Marvin Winters with Pete Weaver winning the consolation.
In the 25-lap pure stock feature, 2011 Winchester Speedway pure stock champion, Mike Corbin added his name to the Hagerstown win list with his first-ever win at the speedway. Two-time Hagerstown pure stock winner Eddie McClellan grabbed the top-spot as the first lap of the event was completed. Mike Corbin, who started sixth, reached second by the fourth lap and would snare the race lead from McClellan on lap-seven. From that point on, it would be a race for second, as Corbin would lead the final eighteen laps to score the $2000 win. “I just look down here and see all the good cars that are here and I cant believe that we finally won one up here.” Corbin said. “The guys did a great job on the car this weekend, it was just about perfect.” In a late race surge, 2011 Bedford Speedway street stock champion Bill Henney came home second, Brian Duffy claimed third, Doug Hoffman was fourth and Mike Franklin rounded out the top-five. During Saturday’s qualifications Mike Corbin set a new track record in time trials over the 40-car field with a one-lap time of 23.100. Heat race wins went to Corbin, McClellan, Franklin and Rick Stouffer with Doug Bennett and Dave Stouffer Jr. claiming twin consolations.
Tommy Whitt bested his runner-up performance from 2010 with his first-ever Hagerstown win in the 15-lap four-cylinder feature. Whitt took the lead from Hunter Crane on lap-six and then held off a determined Richard Gwizdale to post the win. “I wanted this one bad.” Whitt stated. “We finished second here last season, and it feels really good to be standing here in victory lane right now.” Ryan Laye took third, Stacy Crider was fourth and Kevin Thomas was fifth. Heats for the 36-cars on hand went to Gwizdale, Crane, Mark Digges and Randy Linaburg with twin consolations going to Austin Kirby and Ed Gageby.
Gary Proctor also became a first-time Hagerstown winner with his victory in the 20-lap hobby stock cruiser feature. Proctor would recover from two early race spins to take the lead from track champion “Krazy” Kenny Thomas on the seventeenth lap to post the win. “Man that was fun.” Proctor stated. “Kenny and I rubbed doors a little out there tonight, it was just hard racing, and I want to thank everyone who helped me get here.” Kenny Thomas took second, William Crook came home third, Danny Holmes was fourth and Nick Dibella filled the front five. Heats went to “Krazy” Kenny Thomas and Brandon Churchy.
In the five-lap powder-puff event Wendy Jessmer also became a new Hagerstown winner with her victory over Christine Stickley, Sue Walls, Dana Winters, Carolyn Koontz, Lori Long, Alyssa Rowe and Brooke Heseman.
In the nightcap Tommy Thompson Demolition derby championship John Pittman was the winner over the 16 cars entered.
Late model sportsman (32 entries. Lap leaders Mike Walls 1-20, Trever Feathers 21-30)
1. Trever Feathers 2. Scott Palmer 3. Mike Walls 4. Andy Fries 5. Andy Anderson 6. Marvin Winters 7. Tyler Armstrong 8. Glenn Elliott 9. Pete Weaver 10. Matt Parks 11. Matt Nailor 12. Justin Weaver 13. Charlie Schaffer 14. Chaz Walls 15. Donnie Farlling 16. Paul Cursey 17. Will Rowe 18. Kris Holliday 19. Matt Henry 20. Travis Stickley 21. Dale Smith Jr. 22. Tanner Kerr 23. Wayne Walls Jr. 24. Kyle Wiser DNQ- Sam Archer, Leon Lloyd, Sean Dawson, Charles Potts, Ronnie Dennis, Jimmy Richards, Robbie Beall and Jacob Burdette.
Pure stocks (40 entries. Lap leaders Eddie McClellan 1-6, Mike Corbin 7-25)
1. Mike Corbin 2. Bill Henney 3. Brian Duffy 4. Doug Hoffman 5. Mike Franklin 6. Mike Warrenfeltz 7. Doug Bennett (Turner Bowling Center hard charger) 8. Brian Miller 9. Brian Luttrell 10. Brian Kerns 11. Jamie Swank 12. Kevin Koontz 13. Bob Jay 14. Wayne Hawbaker 15. Jimmy Jessmer Jr. 16. Dickie Tharp 17. Scottie Nelson 18. Lin Sutphin 19. Rick Stouffer 20. Eddie McClellan 21. Steve Lowery 22. Kenny Dillon 23. Dave Stouffer Jr. 24. Chris Chamberlain 25. Billy Ecton Jr. 26. Michael Carter DNS-Drew Fitzsimmons DNQ- Brian Swiger, John Gossert, Keith Koontz, George Beckett, Jim Gross, Bill Ecton Sr., Jed Latshaw, David Walsh Jr., Charlie Pennsinger, Carl Biddle, Frank Dibella, Tony Catlett, Kurt Zimmerman.
Four cylinders (36 entries. Lap leaders Ryan Laye 1-3, Hunter Crane 4-5, Tommy Whitt 6-15)
1. Tommy Whitt 2. Richard Gwizdale 3. Ryan Laye 4. Stacy Crider 5. Kevin Thomas 6. Mark Digges 7. Scott McCarty 8. Larry Fuchs 9. Gary Dehart 10. Leroy Long 11. Austin Kirby 12. Kenny Hill 13. Jeff Koller 14. Mike Potts 15. John Stoll Jr. 16. Randy Linaburg 17. Lester Riley 18. Brian Neff 19. Matt Hasrhman 20. Matt Williamson 21. Hunter Crane 22. Ed Gageby 23. Allen Whitt Jr. 24. Roger Whitlock 25. Tracy Linn 26. Robbie Holmes DNQ- Keith Walls, Tim Williamson, David Edwards, Jeremy Ott, Richard Newcomer, Kyle Barnes, Sonny Hatzel, Jeff Arnsberger, Eric Seibert and Larry Duvall.
Hobby Cruiser (15 entries. Lap leaders Kenny Thomas 1-14, Krazy Kenny
Thomas 15-16, Gary Proctor 17-20)
1. Gary Proctor 2. Kenny Thomas 3. William Crook 4. Danny Holmes 5. Nick Dibella 6. Brian Ringer 7. Lane Hessong 8. Rodney Miner 9. Krazy Kenny Thomas 10. Craig Kline 11. Joe Rodgers 12. Brandon Churchy 13. Larry Hurley Jr. 14. Nathaniel Younker 15. Tommy Carvello (DNS)
1. Wendy Jessmer 2. Christine Stickley 3. Sue Walls 4. Dana Winters 5. Carolyn Koontz 6. Lori Long 7. Brooke Heseman 8. Alyssa Rowe 9. Tracy Younker (DNS) 10. Kyla Butts (DNS)
Sept. 11, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Diversity Reigns Supreme in Delaware”
With my usual Saturday night stomping grounds Hagerstown speedway idle this past weekend, I made the trip east to Charlie Cathell’s Delaware International speedway. On tap was an eight-division show featuring 18 big block modifieds, 18 late models, 19 crate modifieds, 24 crate late models, 20 modified lites, 23 Delmarva charger/super trucks, 13 little Lincoln vintage cars and 11 slide-for-five machines entered Saturday night’s program. The strength of the DIS car counts prove that racing is alive and well in the “first state.”
The show started right on time as the first qualifying event hit the speedway promptly at 7:30. Only the BB modifieds and the late models run heat races, With the crate late models, crate mods and the mod lites all running timed hot-laps to determine feature starting spots. The other three classes ran a very fan friendly “feature only “ format. Once qualifying was complete, the Delmarva charger/super truck feature was first, followed by the little Lincoln vintage car main. I must say, the addition of the charger/super truck class at DIS is without question a home run. With the exception of the mod lites and the little Lincoln vintage cars, DIS basically runs two classes of late models and two classes of modifieds, leaving the first-time fan a little on the confused side. However, the charger/super truck deal is just what DIS needed. The field was full, the racing was even better, and their feature was run first so the all spectators in attendance could witness their event.
Once those two events were completed, it was right around 8:50 and intermission was up next. DIS always puts on good shows with lots of good hard racing, but the downfall in my opinion, is intermission. During this time Promoter Cathell and his track crew grade and re-water the entire speedway surface. They’ve been doing this at DIS as long as I can remember, and it seems a little unnecessary to me, because the track was in excellent condition up to this point. After the lengthy 35-minute track re-working was done the crate mod feature was up first and went green to checker. Second on the program was the 20-lap late model feature, which is what I had come to see. Even though current point leader and former track champion Donald Lingo Jr. got the lead early and went on to win, there was plenty of passing and the feature was very good. The LM feature took the checkered flag around 10:00 and at that point we headed to the car to watch the modified feature from one of the vacated parking spots adjacent to turn one and two on the outside of the speedway. Matt Jester, in the midst of a career season at DIS, started on the pole and would lead every lap of the divisions 25-lap main for his 8th win of the season. So, with a 90-mile ride back home, we decided to hit the road, skipping the mod-lite, crate LM and the slide for five features.
In all, it was a VERY enjoyable show. Qualifying ran-off without a hitch and the features that we did witness were very good. Again, intermission was a tad long, but the track was really good during the features, especially for the late models. I forgot what a thing of beauty it was to watch a pack of late models blast-off turn four on the tacky DIS surface. Congrats to all the feature winners and a big thank-you to Charlie Brown (Track Announcer) for making it quite an enjoyable night indeed.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Pa.’s Trail-Way Speedway a Fantastic Friday Night Option”
Even with the multitude of racetracks the mid-Atlantic region has to offer, not many offer Friday night race programs. In Maryland there’s Potomac speedway, and in Pa. you have either Williams Grove or Bedford to choose from. Williams Grove is strictly an open-cockpit venue while both Potomac and Bedford are full-bodied race tracks.
Hanover Pa.’s Trail-Way speedway gives the first-time fan quite a diverse menu. The 358 sprint cars headline just about every Friday night show with several full-bodied divisions serving as support classes on a rotating basis.
With my normal Friday night haunt Potomac speedway racing on Sunday over the Labor day weekend, I decided to head above the Mason-Dixon line to catch some action at Trail-Way. Just about every Friday night that Potomac does not race, Trail-Way is always my first option. The friendly staff and the convenience of the facility make Trail-Way a must-see for any racing enthusiast.
A four-division show was on tap last Friday at Trail-Way with 26 358 sprint cars, 22 358 late models, 24 limited stocks (fwd 4-cyl) and 14 classic cars signing in to do battle on the nifty 1/3 mile oval nestled in the farmlands of Hanover Pennsylvania. Track conditions were very good at the start of the program, but they did deteriorate just a bit as the show progressed, however the racing was once again, very good. Qualifying was completed around 8:30 and after a short intermission the 358 sprint car feature took the green flag at 9:00. Even though eventual winner Arron Spahr started on the pole and would lead every lap for his third career sprint car win at TW, the action behind him was quite intense with several fast race cars and point contenders coming from the back to post top-10 feature finishes. The 358 late model feature was a good one as well. Former Trail-Way thundercar champion Bobby Beard lifted his spirits as he would start on the pole and lead all 25-laps to post the win over a hard-charging Cam Zeigler. With his win, Beard was also crowned the Williams Grove/Lincoln/Trail-Way shootout champion.
The one thing that I really like about the Trail-Way shows, is that they run the headline classes FIRST!! Trail-Way is just about an hour and fifteen minutes from my house and I love having the option of staying or heading home after the top classes have run. Now mind you, I always enjoy support classes and have often said that they are the backbone of any local dirt track program. However, a lot of traveling fans really like the option of being able to head for home after seeing the top-classes compete and in my opinion with running the top-classes first, they get the best possible track conditions to race on. As always, I give Trail-Way speedway two-thumbs up for providing great racing action in a very fan friendly enviornment.
Friday Night Notes-
358 sprint car point leader Jeff Rohrbaugh was involved in a skirmish with Brad McClelland during the divisions 25-lap feature while coming through the pack. Rohrbaugh spun on the front stretch with McClelland stopping as well. Rohrbaugh was sent to the rear, but was not happy with the call and showed his displeasure to McClelland. Rohrbaugh would later be disqualified from the event….Second place 358 sprint car point-man Billy Dietrich suffered mechanical woes with his mount during hot-laps and would not start his heat race or the feature…Late model racer Mike Walls earned hard charger honors in their 25-lap feature as he would carry his MasterSbilt no.1W home fourth after starting fourteenth…Former Susquehanna (PA) speedway 358 LM champion Larry Baer made a rare TW start and would win his heat race and then finish third with his GRT no.0 after starting fifth…Two-time Williams Grove 358 LM winner Steve Clabaugh suffered a miserable night with his MasterSbilt no.29. Mechanical issues scratched the car from his heat race and he would eventually start 21st in the feature. However, a lap-four feature crash would sideline him for the rest of the event. Clabaugh is a former 358 sprint car track champion at TW….Bernie Beard, also a former TW thundercar champion, had his familiar GRT “X” on hand, but the car did not see action as it is for sale. The car is a former Rick Eckert machine when he drove for the late Raye Vest…Pat Beard lost an engine in his Rocket no.7 during the late stages of the 358 LM feature…Tyler Armstrong was on hand for the show wheeling Terry Flaherty’s Rocket no.11. A heat race win gave Armstrong the fourth starting spot for the feature. Unfortunately, Armstrong collided with Barry Welch on lap-four of the feature, while running second, wounding the car. He would last for a few laps thereafter, but would eventually retire from the race. Armstrong is a former 358 LM winner at Trail-Way
Maryland Clay Dirt
Aug. 27, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Area “Support” Divisions Putting Up Big Numbers”
Street stocks, pure stocks, thundercars, pro-stocks whatever you want to call them are without question the “backbone” of weekly local short track racing. Often out shadowed by the classes they compete with each week, whether it be sprint cars, late models or modifieds, they often provide some of the best competition at weekly programs. I’m always one to give credit where credit is due, so lets take a look at some of the area speedway’s “Support Classes”.
Potomac (MD) Speedway- 2010 street stock track champion Kurt Zimmerman leads the way with five feature wins to date. Third-year racer Stephen Quade has collected three wins for his most productive season ever. Troy Kassirs, the current class points leader, is the only other multiple winner of the season with two victories. Solo winners include- Mike Latham, Mike Corbin, Eric Johnson, Scottie Nelson and Sam Archer.
Winchester (VA) Speedway- Six different winners have found there way to victory lane so far this season. Current points leader Davis Kaiser has collected four wins and former class champion Mike Bennett has also scored four times this season as well. Mike Corbin, also a past champion, is a three time winner while Mike Rose and James Gray Jr. have each tallied two wins. Michael Carter is the only one-time winner this season.
Lincoln (PA) Speedway- The mighty thundercars are once again as strong as ever. 2008 champion Sam Gallagher looks to be on his way to career title number two as his six wins on the season has given him a healthy lead in the current standings. Duane Watson, the 07 and 09 champion, is the only other multiple winner on the season as he’s scored three feature wins. Single event winners include, Brian Walls, Larry Niederer, Justin Mong, Jamie Zentmyer and Danny Beard.
Williams Grove (PA) Speedway- The always exciting WG street stocks have produced nine different winners this season. Craig Morgan and David Walsh are the only multiple winners on the season with two wins each. Current class point leader and former track champion Doug Hoffman has scored one win. John Greider, Dustin Hollinger, Paul Morgan, Kevin Sigler, Chris Heller and Bob Gutshall have each posted one feature win.
Susquehanna (PA) Speedway- Since moving over from the 358 late models, Danny Zechman has dominated the division with seven feature wins. Zechman, in his first full year with the class, is the current points leader. Former Hagerstown speedway champion Doug Bennett has clicked for four wins, while defending track champion Randy Zechman has captured three wins. Jeff Haag is the only other class winner this season, scoring twice.
Hagerstown (MD) Speedway- Six different drivers have won this season in the 13 races run to date. Steve Lowery, who’s enjoying a career season, leads the way with four wins. Kenny Dillon, Dave Stouffer Jr., Eddie McClellan and late-season phenom Tony Catlett have all scored twice this season. Wayne Hawbaker has clicked for one win. Oddly enough, current points leader Drew Fitzsimmons, has yet to become part of the winners list.
Selinsgrove (PA) Speedway- Defending track champion AJ Hoffman appears to be in championship form once again as he’s scored a division leading seven feature wins and is the current class points leader. 1998 champion Tim Krape has tallied four wins while, 2009 champion, Jason smith has scored three features. Kyle Bachman, the 03’ champion, and Nathan Kerstetter each have one win.
Bedford (PA) Speedway- Nine races were contested for the class before the season was cut short. Brian Duffy is a four-time winner and the current class points leader with just one show remaining this season. Defending champion Bill Henney is a three time winner, while five-time track champion, Bob Jay has annexed two feature wins.
Aug. 22, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Saturday Show at Hagerstown is What It’s all About”
Efficient and enjoyable are the two best words to describe last Saturday nights race event at Maryland’s Hagerstown speedway. Within the pages of AARN many readers have the chance to hear many different opinions on what keeps race fans coming back through the front gate at area venues each week. In my opinion a quickly paced show with good racing is the number one reason a paying race fan will continue to support local dirt track racing. Don’t get me wrong, special nights are a good thing. Events like kids night, fan appreciation nights and bike races keeps fan enthused to a certain point, but it’s the overall length and quality of the program that sets the standard.
We all know with the sour economy, a lot of local racetracks have really took a hit in the fan base and car counts. Despite the numbers, Hagerstown continues to do well with their weekly events. Last Saturday the late models were running the 25-lap Shorty Bowers/Bull Durham championship event for the late models. The, $2500-to-win, non-point event drew a solid field of 29 cars along with 22 late model sportsman and 18 pure stocks. Under absolutely perfect weather conditions the Hagerstown faithful would be in store for quite a memorable event. Nine qualifying events set the stage for the three feature program. The pure stock feature was up first and was a thriller as Tony Catlett won by a fender over Steve Lowery. The late model feature was second and would go green to checker in 8 minutes and 48 seconds with Ronnie DeHaven Jr. becoming the 11th different winner of the season as he would win over last weeks winner, Ashley Barrett. Not to be outdone, the 20-lap late model sportsman was the best race of the night. Fifth-starting Chaz Walls and sixth-starter Mike Walls (no relation) raced side by side from lap-two on swapping the top-spot on several occasion before Chaz would take the win by a nose for not only his first-ever Hagerstown win, but his first-ever win anywhere!! The racing on the well-prepared surface was the best I’ve seen all season and the last checkered flag of the night waved at 9:40!! So think about it, the first heat race took to the track at 7:25 and in between, 134 green flag laps were run during the program in just over two hours. That’s efficiency. Like I stated to all the fans last night, “If you didn’t like that show, shame on you!! It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Three-time Hagerstown winner Jason Covert had an interesting evening with
his Rocket no.43A. Covert missed the cut in his heat and was forced to the
consolation, which he won, to earn the 19th starting spot for the feature.
Covert was up on the wheel and would drive all the way to sixth at the finish in
the non-stop event…Gary Stuhler’s night ended early as he suffered terminal
mechanical issues with his Rocket no.17S during hot-laps scratching the car from
the remainder of the show…Jamie “The Jet” Lathroum drew the fourth starting spot
for the late model feature, but as the field was on the parade lap, Lathroum’s
MasterSbilt no.6 came to a stop prior to turn on. He would pit, but would not
return…One-time Hagerstown winner Jeremy Miller was ultra fast in his heat race,
but was a non-factor in the feature as he would start 10th and finish in
eleventh…Alan Sagi’s miserable Hagerstown luck continued as he encountered
engine woes with his Rocket no.81 during the feature, as he would be the first
car to retire from the event…JT Spence, who won the Winchester (VA) speedway
late model main the week prior was fast early as he would win his heat race and
then draw ninth for the feature. However, he was a tick-off in the feature as he
would quietly finish fourteenth…Rusty Sites has the ball rolling with his
MasterSbilt no.3S as he would post his second top-five finish in a row as he
would come from sixth to finish a solid third in the LM main…Jack Pencil, a
Hagerstown LM winner in 2010, was on hand for the show with his Rocket no.14 but
was not up to par this night as he would start, and finish, in the 22nd spot…
Championship contender Kyle Lear also drove to his second-straight top-five
feature finish as he would steer his Paul Crowl owned Rocket no.7 from seventh
to finish fifth in the feature after a spirited duel with current point leader
Roy Deese Jr. who would finish one-spot in front of Lear, Taking fourth in his
family owned Rocket no.05...Late model rookie Duane Harbaugh had high hopes
prior to the start of the feature as he drew the fifth starting spot for the
25-lap event, but would finish a distant 21st with his Rocket no.87...Defending
Winchester (VA) speedway LM champion got as high as fourth in the feature with
his Barry Wright race cars no.00 after starting 8th, but faded toward the end of
the event placing ninth.
Aug. 14, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Barrett and Williams Highlight Weekend Events in Maryland”
Over the past weekend, two drivers made personal history at their respective home tracks. Friday at Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway, defending late model champion David Williams scored a $4000 payday as he won both late model events presented at the speedway, for his 82nd and 83rd career feature wins at the venerable Maryland speed plant. Saturday at Hagerstown Ashley Barrett, a rookie in the late model ranks for 2011, broke through for his first-ever late model feature win at the historic half-mile.
Barrett, an 11-time winner in the late model sportsman ranks, drove the race of his career to score the emotional win. “I know starting on the pole helped, but I think anyone could have driven this car tonight.” Barrett stated. “I was just waiting for something to go wrong, the way our luck has been here this season. I guess tomorrow it will sink in that we won a late model feature at Hagerstown speedway.”
David Williams, on the other hand, has come quite accustomed to Potomac speedways victory lane, but never twice in the same night. “This is a total team effort.” Williams bottom-lined. “So much work goes into this effort, and the results show. It has always been so much fun to win here at home, and to win two in one night in front of all these people, is pretty neat.”
Hagerstown/Potomac weekend notes-
Area 358 LM dominator Gene Knaub made his first-ever late model start at Hagerstown on Saturday. Knaub, wheeling his Superior Homes Rocket no.1, finished third in his heat race after starting last to earn the 12th starting spot for the feature. Unfortunately, Knaub’s car encountered mechanical difficulties as the feature was about to go green, and he would not start the event…DJ Myers brought both his late model and limited late model car to the Potomac event on Friday. After finishing second in the make-up LM event, terminal engine woes sidelined his LM car and he would utilize the limited car for the second LM feature. Myers luck would get worse as a lap-one crash at the start of the second LM feature severely wounded the back-up mount placing him 12th at the finish… Hagerstown LM point contenders Kyle Lear and Roy Deese Jr. both had interesting evenings. Lear came form his 14th starting spot in a late-race rush to score third at the finish of the 25-lap LM feature. Meanwhile, Deese got as high as fourth in the feature from 10th, only to have a late race flat tire hamper his efforts with a 12th place finish in the feature…Tyler Hershey, who has been one of the fastest cars at Hagerstown in recent weeks, once again fell to bad luck. Aboard his BRC no.74, Hershey was as high as third in the feature until mechanical failure took him from the event, and ultimately a 17th place feature finish…Natural Bridge (VA) Speedway promoter Larry Ramsey was on hand for the Potomac event on Friday. Steering his Rocket no.90, Ramsey would complete the 35-lap distance with a respectable 8th place finish…Former Potomac LM champion Jeff Pilkerton had a productive night at Potomac with his MasterSbilt no.8 as he would finish 6th in the make-up LM feature and would then post a 5th in the nightcap…Selinsgrove (PA) speedway LM regular Chad Davis was on hand for the Hagerstown event with his BRC no.91D. Davis would complete the distance, earning 14th at the checkered…Long-time Hagerstown supporter Will Rowe was in action on Saturday. Driving a former Scott Palmer MasterSbilt chassis, re-lettered no.55, and would finish 12th in the 20-lap LMS feature in his first start of the season…Lady racer Lindsay Barton had a respectable outing at Hagerstown with her Rocket no.32. She earned the 24th starting spot for the LM feature and would bring the car home in 13th at the finish…Ronnie Dennis, the 2005 Hagerstown pure stock champion, had a career run in the LMS feature as he came from 12th to collect runner-up honors in the divisions 20-lap feature in a MasterSbilt chassis formerly piloted by Davey Johnson…Bryan Bernheisel won the LM consolation Saturday at Hagerstown, earning the 19th starting spot for the feature. The second-generation driver would then make the most of the racy track conditions to post a solid ninth at the finish with his BRC no.119B, Meanwhile, Bryan’s dad, Jim would take fourth…Ashley Barrett’s LM win at Hagerstown Saturday made him the tenth different driver to score a victory in the division this season and the fifth first-time winner…Seven-time Hagerstown LM champion Denny Bonebrake was on hand for the show, but was just a bit off with the family-owned Rocket no.5 as he would start, and finish, 23rd in the feature.
July 31, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“79, and Still Going Strong”
“I’ll be 80 in September” Were the words from Jerry Dick as he stood next to his pinto bodied 4-cylinder stock car after scoring his first feature win of the season in last Friday night’s 12-lap feature for the division at Potomac speedway.
These days we as race fans are constantly reminded of the “youth movement” that we are blessed to have, and fortunate enough, to watch blossom into the stars of the future at our local area venues. Jerry Dick, you would have to say, is and old school racer. When the four-cylinder class became a points paying division at Potomac back in the late 90’s, the class was meant to be a stepping stone for young drivers to hone their skills as they went forward into other racing ventures. Throughout the years, Jerry Dick started and stayed with the class finding the cost of operating one of these cars in his “budget” as he once put it.
Even though the class is not a weekly fixture at Potomac, the four-cylinders dot the Potomac schedule 10 times this season, and Jerry Dick has been at every race so far, and most nights by himself!! “Yep, I’m the driver, mechanic and the owner all in one.” Dick stated. “Sometimes I get someone to come help me once in a while but, most of the time it’s just me, and I’m fine with that.”
As Dick took the checkered flag, scoring his 9th career win in the 4-cylinder ranks, the crowd went into a frenzy as it was one of the most celebrated victory lane ceremonies I’ve witnessed at Potomac speedway in quite some time. “Yeah, it’s still a lot of fun.” Dick said. “Some of these young guys are pretty good these days and the wins are pretty hard to come by. This is the same car I’ve raced in this class since day one and It still seems to be pretty good once in a while.” With his win, Jerry Dick now holds the distinction of being one of two area drivers to win in his seventies as ageless Hal Browning clicked for a late model win at Delaware international speedway last season. This is, in my opinion, truly one of the most feel-good stories of the season.
Potomac Friday Notebook-
A quality field of 27 street stocks assembled for the $500-to-win Potomac /Winchester challenge event. However, the race was a survival of the fittest as only 6 of the original 24 scheduled starters were around for the finish…Former Winchester speedway pure stock champion Mike Bennett had the drive of the night as he came all the way from the 20th starting spot with his no.1M, to collect runner-up honors to race winner Mike Corbin…Jonathon Raley, after weeks of mechanical issues, had a new engine bolted into his potent no.92 hobby stock and would win his second feature of the season. Raley is a rookie in the class this season…After scoring his first-career hobby stock win at Potomac on July 15, Brian Adkins posted two third place feature finishes aboard his no.06 in the twin 15-lap feature run for the division last Friday night. Brian’s brother James, was the 1998 late model champion at Potomac…Defending hobby champion Jimmy Randall would also produce a productive night with his no.12X as he scored a win and a fifth in the two features for the class. In scoring his fourth win of the season, Randall has now collected 11 career wins in the class putting himself in a three-way tie for seventh on the all-time Potomac win chart with former hobby stock titlists Barry Williams Jr. and Wayne Suite…Current Winchester speedway pure stock point leader David Kaiser was another driver who came form deep in the pack in the 25-lap street stock feature as he would wheel his no.0 from 17th to finish sixth in the main…It’s rumored that Stevie Long, Friday night’s limited late model winner, will be moving up to the late models in 2012...The limited late model point standings will surely see a change entering next weeks program. Coming into Friday’s event current class point leader and defending track champion Tommy Wagner Jr. lead second place point man Ben Bowie by 73-markers. However, after an on-track incident with Andy Anderson during the divisions 30-lap feature, Wagner was disqualified by track officials and sent to the pits. Bowie would capitalize on the opportunity as he would bring his Rocket no. 36 home fourth in the feature…Virginia Motor Speedway limited late model regular David Puckett was on hand for the show but mechanical woes sidelined his MasterSbilt no.19 after qualifying and he would not start the feature…Derrick Quade, fourth in the LLM standings coming into Friday’s program, was at the track, but as a spectator.
July 17, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“The Thrill of a Lifetime!!”
Since I was 19-years-old I have been involved in the weekly action at Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway. Now 41, In all those years I have been corner flagman, Head flagman, handicapper, announcer, you name it, I’ve just about done it all. However, the one aspect of my Potomac career that had eluded me up until last Friday night was driving a race car around the nifty three-eight’s mile oval. Enter Glen Burnie Md.’s Bruce Kane.
For the past two season’s Kane has heard me drop enough hints about never driving a car on the Potomac speedway surface, so he was kind enough to offer me a shot at driving his car, a potent MasterSbilt chassis machine with Jules Racing Engines power under the hood. Unfortunately, the opportunity which Kane and company were kind enough to offer, always seemed to be thwarted by the lateness of a show, rain or some other uncontrollable reason’s that would eventually foil the plan.
Last Friday night that would all change. After the last feature was completed and victory lane ceremonies were wrapping up on limited late model winner Tommy Wagner Jr., Kane was perched on his four wheeler and came to me and said, “Do you want to drive that thing or what. We left it out and it’s still in one piece.” Kane said with a chuckle. A little taken back by the surprise offer, I quickly came to my sense’s and said yeah let’s do it!!
So down to the lower pits we went. After securing a helmet from defending Potomac street stock champion Kurt Zimmerman, my skeptical anticipation was building. Kane climbed into the car with me a passenger on the door and out to the infield pit area we went. At that point Kane gave me the once over on how these cars work. “All right. Here’s the deal.” Kane stated. “In these cars everything is opposite of what you know in a regular car. You have to push the clutch in to make it go and once you get the rpm’s up pull the lever nearest the firewall all the way back and that will put you into high-gear.” So here I sit in a car I’m scared to death of doing something wrong in but, as soon as I hit the ignition and the car roared to life, all those “jitterbugs” quickly went away. The feel of all that horsepower at you fingertips was a rush I can truly never describe. So, After stalling the car out on the first attempt to get it to move, I calmed myself down, took a deep breath, and tried it again. This time I fired the car, gave it some gas, and off I went. I made it out on to the racetrack and spent nearly half a lap trying to get the car into high gear. Seeing that I was having trouble, Potomac Speedway’s Ronnie Hollidge came to my rescue. He stopped me in turn one and said, “Listen, get the rpm’s up near 4000 and then pull that lever back to put it in high gear as hard as you can.” The advice paid off as I went down the backstretch I got the rpm’s up and pulled the lever back and the car was finally in high gear. Man what a rush!! The car just came to life, and I started my trek around the speedway.
I had first stated to Bruce that I was only going to drive one or two laps
around the track prior to me strapping in, but quickly those one or two laps
turned into nine or ten as I was starting to get a feel for the car. I have
always had a lot of respect for race car drivers no matter if they were in a
sprint car, late model or street stock because I know it isn’t as easy as it
looks, and let me tell you, it isn’t!! First, the cars or noisy, they are a lot
harder to see out of than I thought and I can now see first hand how track
conditions play a role in the performance of a car and driver and I was the only
car on the track!! I never pushed the car as hard as it would go but the few
times I did “get in the gas”, it was an absolutely awesome experience and
believe me, it does push you back in the seat!! So, after my joyride was over I
drove the car back to the infield and shut it off. Bruce said, “So, what did you
think??” Needless to say I was speechless!! That was one of the neatest things
I’ve ever done, and I would tell anyone who is ever given the opportunity to try
one of theses things out, do it!!, you won’t regret it!!
I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! To Bruce Kane for allowing me the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. There aren’t many drivers out there that would allow someone else to drive their car, but Bruce did for me, and it was something I will never forget. On a funny note, Bruce did ask me for my credit card number prior to hitting the track, I wonder what that was all about??
July 10, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Controversy Surrounds Steel Block Bandits Event at VMS”
“I think it was a poor decision on the management of the speedway.” Were the words from Kyle Lear on the outcome of last Saturday night’s “Steel Block Bandits “ event held at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor speedway. The SBB series was on hand for the “Firecracker 30” that carried a nice $3000 pay day to the winner, and when it was all said and done Booper Bare, a former VMS late model champion, took his first series win of the season over the solid 44-car field.
However, when the checkered flag came out on the event, runner-up Kyle Lear was not a happy driver. “We came down here not knowing what to expect. This is the first time that I’ve ever raced here and to have a car that was capable of winning, it was really disappointing how things turned out.” The 30-lap event was a caution-plagued affair according to Lear. “For whatever reason the race just couldn’t get going.” Lear stated. “We set fast time in time trials and drew the third starting spot for the feature and raced all over Booper and we were just waiting for our opportunity to challenged for the race win.” Then a decision was made that changed the outcome of the race. “I think it was around lap-15 the VMS staff decided to step in and say the caution flag laps would count until the race was over so we wouldn’t have to have a fuel stop. I was racing with Booper pretty good and the next thing I saw was the two-to-go sign from the flagman. I kind of wondered how that was possible because nobody told us over the radio that the caution laps were counting.”
After the race was over the top-three finishers of the race all have to report to victory lane for post -race interviews. “I pulled up there and Moe (Defino, Kyle’s car owner) was already there and I could tell he was not happy.” Said Lear. “Apparently Moe said some things to the VMS and SBB staff and we were disqualified from the race.” Lear, obviously upset, elaborated on the issue. “The track gave Booper the win in my opinion.” Lear bottom-lined. “The track was in horrible condition and we were just being patient waiting for the right time to go racing for real with Booper and I feel the track took it from us. They took one from the year before at Eastside (VA) speedway and I wasn’t going to go down quietly.”
Lear’s night would result in 26th place showing. “Yeah, it’s still kind of got me mad.” Lear replied. “We drove three and a half hours to get here because we like running with the SBB series when we can, and to be treated like this is a real shame. You won’t see us at any SBB races anytime soon.” Steel Block Bandits Series promoter Danny Wilson was unavailable for comment.
Hagerstown late model point chase starting to heat-up- With just four point races left on the schedule, the Hagerstown speedway LM championship battle looks like it will once again come down to the wire. Seven-time LM champion Roy Deese Jr. leads the way with 1109, Jim Bernheisel sit second with 1041, Kyle Lear third with 1031, Alan Sagi fourth with 1023 and Duane Harbaugh fifth with 1007. With the exception of Roy Deese Jr., it would be the first-ever Hagerstown LM championship for the remaining drivers in the top-five. Oddly enough, Only Kyle Lear has been able to win a feature at the venerable Maryland oval this season among the top-five drivers in the current standings.
Six winners and counting, with two features on tap for July 15 - Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway sure has seen it’s share of competition this season, especially in their limited late model division. Six races have been contested this season producing six different feature winners. Tommy Wagner Jr., Derrick Quade, David Williams, Kyle Hardy, Jamie Lathroum, and Stevie Long have all found their way to Potomac’s coveted parking spot this season. With two features on tap for the class this Friday winners 7 and 8 could easily be attained as drivers like Ben Bowie (Second in points), Kenny Moreland (Hagerstown LMS winner this season) and Glenn Elliott (Potomac winner last season) have yet to produce a win at Potomac this season, but are more than capable. Tommy Wagner Jr. is the current class point leader as he looks poised for his fourth-straight Potomac crown. Wagner currently leads Ben Bowie by 43-markers with seven point races left on the schedule.
June 26, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Winchester Speedway…Alive and Well”
Last Saturday night the “Three State Flyers” late model series wrapped up their two day “Red Ninninger Memorial” series at the newly refurbished Winchester (VA) speedway. This was the first chance I’ve had to visit Winchester speedway in over a decade, and I was truly impressed. Second-year track owner Greg Gunter certainly has spent a lot of time, and money, on the venerable Virginia oval and the results have paid-off.
Over the past two season’s, Gunter and company have completely turned, what was once a facility in dire need of a facelift, into one of the premiere tracks in the region. New concrete walls surround the entire speedway and all-new lighting was installed around the entire facility as well. New aluminum grandstands grace the backstretch and the pit area was enlarged to host the plethora of race cars.
The steeply banked track, with a very nice surface, offered plenty of “hammer-down” style racing the entire program. However, the surface was a tad on the rough-side during hot-laps and qualifying, but came around nicely during the features offering two distinct grooves. The view from the infield, which is now clear of all race cars, is where I chose to watch the show. Watching the late models “come right at you” as the enter and exit the turns was a thing of beauty. The well run show, which featured five classes of cars this night, was truly fan-friendly.
The headline 40-lap late model feature was the second feature run on the program and was completed by 9:45, having folks like me with a 2-hour ride home very happy.
Even with all the visual improvements and the well run show, there was one thing that truly got my attention, the atmosphere. A lot of tracks these days lack atmosphere and Winchester speedway has plenty of it. The pits were full, the grandstands were full and every body wanted to be there which seems to be a lost art of many local area speedway’s. It reminded me a lot of the Lincoln (PA) speedway, in my opinion, the most atmospheric track in the country!! “We’re committed to making Winchester speedway one of the best tracks in the country.” Gunter stated. “We want to improve this speedway and our shows every week, because I think we and the fans and race teams from this area have something really special here at Winchester speedway.”
Hagerstown/Winchester TSF series notes-
Kyle Lear posted two top-ten efforts over the weekend. At Hagerstown on Friday he drove his Paul Crowl owned Rocket no.7 from 18th to finish sixth and then on Saturday at Winchester he was at the controls of Moe DeFino’s MD1 Chassis no.1MD where he started, and finished, in sixth…Tempers flared during the second late model heat race Saturday at Winchester. While battling for a qualifying spot JT Spence and Jamie Lathroum tangled with Spence spinning. Obviously not happy, Spence went to the rear and came back through to qualify for the main, with Lathroum going on to finish second in the event. As the duo went back to the pits, words were said between each team. “I’m getting tired of being run-over every week. I think I have a bull’s-eye on my car these days.” Lathroum had a different view. “Yeah I hit him, but he checked up real bad in the corner and I had no place to go. I wouldn’t wreck anyone intentionally and I feel bad that it happened.” Before things got out of hand, track security stepped in and everyone continued their night. Spence would then come from 18th to finish seventh in the feature aboard his Rocket no.91 While Lathroum’s night got sour as he coasted to a stop in turn one on lap-ten of the feature while running third with his MasterSbilt no.6 placing 24th in the final rundown…Jeremy Miller produced two top-five feature finishes with his MasterSbilt no.1M as he would take fourth at Hagerstown and then take a solid third at
Winchester…Bo Feathers, the defending Winchester LM champion, has his newly acquired Barry Wright race cars no.00 on the right track as he was 8th at Hagerstown and followed that up with a fifth at Winchester after starting eleventh…Jason Covert’s two win weekend with his Barry Klinedinst owned Rocket no.43A was worth $7000...Alan Sagi was at Winchester, but as a spectator and commented on the semi-controversial pass by Jason Covert Friday night at Hagerstown that saw the two rub doors off turn four with Covert gaining the lead, and eventual win. “He drove me rough.” Sagi Bottom-lined. “We ran the bottom all night and I was trying to protect my line and he just drove into my door and pushed me out of the way. We work just as hard as anyone out there and to have a possible win taken from us is hard to swallow.” Covert had other opinions on the incident. “Alan is a good racer.” Said Covert. “I saw my chance at the lead and knew I had to take it. I didn’t do it on purpose, but Alan had a decision to make as to where he was going to go and I helped him make it.” Covert would go on to win the race with Sagi taking third… Nine different chassis brands were represented at Winchester Saturday. Rocket (Race Winner), MasterSbilt, GRT, Barry Wright, Lazer III, MD1, PPM, Bob Pierce and Swartz race cars all had cars at the program…With 42 cars entered Friday at Hagerstown the DNQ list was quite impressive with Roy Deese Jr. (current LM point leader), Frankie Plessinger (defending track champion) and Jim Yoder (Selinsgrove (PA) speedway LM winner), just to name a few, did not make the cut for the feature…While the show at Winchester was impressive, the Hagerstown event was equally impressive as five sets of hot laps, six heat races, two consolations, a dash and two features were spun-off with the final checkered flag of the night waving at 9:57.
June 20, 2011
"Knaub Eye's Record-Setting Season"
By Doug Watson
Dover Pa.'s Gene Knaub has established himself as one of the best 358 late model drivers the region has ever produced. Knaub continued his assault on the local scene as he totally dominated the action last Friday night at Pa.'s Trail-Way speedway for his 9th and 10th overall feature wins of the 2011 season. Knaub was triumphant in the make-up event from May 27th and then steered his Donnie Broderick owned, Superior Homes Rocket no.1 to the win, his second of the evening, in the first-ever "Mike Zeigler Sr. Memorial" that was worth a cool $1600 payday. "What can I say, we have a great car and a great team." Knaub said."We work on this car every night, and every time we hit the track I know we have a car capable of winning." Knaub is quick to praise the sponsor's that back his efforts. "We have some great sponsors." Knaub bottom-lined. "There are so many people that help with this car, I just couldn't ask for more." Knaub scored 14 feature wins in 2010 and seems well on his way to surpassing that mark as he's scored 10 feature wins and we're only in the third week of June!!
Brotherly Love Saturday at Hagerstown- "I think we have a lot more to come." Were the words from Kyle Lear as he proudly stood in Hagerstown speedway's victory lane after scoring his first-ever late model feature win at the venerable Maryland oval. "I knew the car was going to be good when we hit the track for the feature." Lear stated. "The bottom, for me anyhow, was the fastest place to be and I had to be patient getting to the front. I cant thank Paul Crowl (car owner) and all the people who help with this car enough for giving me this opportunity." Prior to the elder Lear's big win, Younger brother Cody found victory lane in the 25-lap late model sportsman feature for his second career win at Hagerstown and his first since 2007. "The car was as good as it's been all season." Lear quipped. "I was a little worried with the cautions towards the end of the race, but we were able to hold them off and get the win. This is a neat deal to win here with my brother and to be able to give my father (Barry Sr,) a great father's day present."
Weaver Primed for Title- Defending Hagerstown speedway LMS track
champion Pete Weaver seems well on his way to his second consecutive Hagerstown
track title. After struggling in his heat race, Weaver was forced to the
consolation where he finished second to earn the 20th starting spot for the
divisions 25-lap main event. Weaver made the most of his evening as he came from
deep in the pack with his rocket no.16, on the slicker than usual surface, to
finish a solid sixth in the feature. Weaver is the current class point leader
with two feature wins.
Making a Statement- Grant Adams continues to rack-up feature wins in 2011. After scoring his first-ever 358 LM feature win earlier in the season at Lincoln speedway, Adams has steered his self-owned BRC Lazer no.64 to wins at Susquehanna speedway park, Bedford Pa., and just last Saturday night added Williams Grove to his list of accomplishments with his first-ever 358 LM feature win at the historic Mechanicsburg Pa. oval.
Sagi on the mend- After the LM feature Saturday at Hagerstown, Alan Sagi was not enjoying the fact that he came from mid-pack to score a solid sixth place feature finish with his Rocket no.81, However he was at the attention of the track EMT's who were looking over Sagi with a possible hand/wrist injury. "I got up through there pretty good and when I got to Ashley (Barrett) we were racing hard,but he kept chopping me off in the corners. Finally I got a run on him down the front stretch and he turned right into me which jerked the steering wheel out of my hand. I tried to pass him clean on more than one occasion, but I guess he thinks he's still in the sportsman car and you have to drive rough to finish good. Needless to say, I'm not real happy right now, I guess we'll be making a trip to the hospital to get the hand checked over." Sagi sits second in the current LM standings at Hagerstown just 26-markers out from current points leader Roy Deese Jr.
Thundercars out at Trail-Way- Once a mainstay at the Hanover Pa. bullring, the thundercar division has been dropped from the remainder of the 2011 schedule. Low car counts, continually in the single-digits, forced TW management to drop them from the schedule. However, the highly competitive division will continue to see action at their Saturday night venue Lincoln speedway where car counts are relatively strong in the mid 20's. Craig Wagaman (50), Bernie Beard (37) and Bobby Beard (36) once dominated the thundercar ranks at TW but have all moved on to the 358 late models.
June 12, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Stephen Quade, The Talk of the Potomac Pit Area”
During my tenure at Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway, 23 years to be exact, I’ve seen my share of quality race car drivers emerge from that region. The likes of Jamie Lathroum, David Williams, Ronald Cusic and a host of talented wheelmen have not only left their mark at Potomac, but other area venues as well.
Another talented young racer has burst on the scene in the last two weeks, Mechanicsville Md.’s Stephen Quade. Entering his fourth year of competition in the ultra-competitive street stock division, Quade has enjoyed moderate success until the 2011 season. Quade was not on hand for the season opener in March and would be a feature no-starter in the second event for the season. However, Quade would come back strong the next three weeks as he posted two fifth place efforts and one eighth place finish, to get his season back on track. Then on June 3rd, Quade shocked the Potomac faithful as he started on the pole and would lead every lap of the feature to score his elusive first-ever Potomac street stock win. Proving the win was no fluke because of his front-row starting spot, Quade came back last Friday night and would steer his family-owned no.20 from 12th to score his second feature win in a row.
“My mom and dad are the reason we’re here right now.” Quade said. “My dad
works on this car just about every night and I can’t thank him enough for all
the work he’s put into our effort this season.” Summer time like track
conditions the past few weeks has played a roll in Quade’s recent success. “This
car seems to like the slick.” Quade remarked. I knew we’d have a tough time
coming from 12th, but the car was so good I was able to get through pretty
quick, and to be able to win two-in a row, especially in a class this tough, is
Quade’s recipe of a good race car, dedicated sponsor’s and a family-orientated approach to his racing efforts can only mean more good things to come from the youthful leadfoot.
Potomac Friday Night Notebook-
The Potomac staff was once again on it’s game as the six-division show went off like clockwork with the final checkered flag of the night waving at 10:25...DJ Myers, a one-time Potomac LM winner this season, was on hand for the event opting to skip the speed week finale at the Bedford (PA) speedway. Myers and Kyle Lear waged quite a battle for second for much of the LM feature until Myers spun from contention late in the race, resulting in a 10th place effort with his PPM chassis no.70J…Steven Axtell Jr. had a solid night aboard his family-owned MasterSbilt no.81. With 358 power bolted into the machine, Axtell drove from his 12th starting spot to collect a solid fourth at the finish of the 35-lap LM main…Booper Bare, a 50-time winner in the late model’s at Potomac, was on hand for the show with his MasterSbilt no.83 which is the same mount he uses with the “Steel-Block -Bandits”. Slated to go from sixth for the feature, Bare was late to staging and was sent to the rear of the field. Not happy with the call, Bare eventually went to the tail of the field and got as high as 8th in the feature before dropping out on lap-24 winding up with a 15th place feature finish…After spending the week on the Appalachian Mountain speed week tour, Daryl Hills returned to Potomac on Friday and came home with a third place effort in the LM feature with his MasterSbilt no.7H, despite the fact that he had flipped, for the second time this season, at Port Royal (PA) speedway the night prior…Matt Quade made a return to Potomac after a several week absence and would wheel his Rocket no.47 home sixth in the LM feature…Dale Hollidge, second in LM points coming into the event, got as high as third at one point in the feature before settling for fifth at the checkered flag with his MasterSbilt no.0...It would be the 28th career LM feature win for race winner David Williams, steering his Pete Cameron and Roland Mann owned Rocket no.72, and his third in the Bobby Allen memorial at Potomac. The Bobby Allen memorial is a race to honor the memory of a former, and very colorful, Maryland car owner who lost a battle with diabetes in 1995. Gary Stuhler, Ronnie McBee, Larry Moore and Butch McGill, just to name a few, all sat behind the wheel of Allen’s distinctive Orange number 55’s during it’s heyday.
June 5, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Racing Loses a Friend in Mike Zeigler Sr.”
The racing community was dealt a huge blow last week with the untimely passing of Spring Grove Pa.’s Mike Zeigler Sr. The elder statesman of the Zeigler racing family lost a battle with cancer that lasted for over a year. He was 53 years old.
Zeigler Sr. was one of the most versatile drivers the region has ever produced. Whether it was modern stocks at Trail-Way or semi-lates and thundercars over at Lincoln, Zeigler was one of the most recognized wheel-men in the area. With a win total well over 100, Zeigler was able to win, or be competitive in just about anything he drove. If my memory serves me, Zeigler hung up his helmet from full-time competition around 2004 to focus his attention on the career’s of his two sons Mike Jr. and Cam. However, always a racer at heart, Mike would drive when given the opportunity.
Mike Jr. had the unique opportunity to race with his father on more than one occasion when the duo used to be a two-car team in the thundercar ranks at Lincoln speedway. As Cam started to get more and more interested in the sport Mike Sr. was there every step of the way.
Besides the success of Mike Jr., which made his father quite proud indeed, Zeigler family racing reached it’s pinnacle on a sultry night at Pa.’s Susquehanna Speedway Park in 2007. Young Cam drove the race of his short career as he started on the pole and lead every lap of the 358 late model feature to score his first-ever win in the division, in just his first year in the class since moving up from the thundercars. I so happened to be there that night and what a celebration it was. “Man what do you think of that.” I remembered Mike Sr. telling me smiling from ear to ear as we walked towards Susky’s victory lane. “I never thought in a million years he’d be able to hold all those guys off tonight.” Words, not only spoken from a car owner, but a proud father as well.
Even with all the wins and championships, Some of Mikes greatest achievements were the numerous sportsmanship awards he collected during his career. Mike was a smart racer that could get the most out of anything he drove, and was always there to lend a hand to another competitor gaining much admiration from his fellow drivers. Thought’s and prayers go out to the Zeigler family, Kelly, Mike Jr. and Cam as Mike will be sorely missed, not only as a race car driver, but a father and husband as well.
Mike Zeigler Sr. Memorial Set for Friday, June 17th at Trail-Way (PA) speedway.
“Mike Sr. was a customer of mine for a lot of years, but he was also my friend, so his boys (Cam and Mike Jr.) wanted to do something special to honor his memory, so we came up with the idea to have a memorial race in his name for the 358 late models.” Those were the words from noted Pennsylvania graphics legend Dave Loss of Delco signs as we spoke about the upcoming event to be held at Pa.’s Trail-Way speedway. “The race will pay $1200 to the winner and at least $150 to start.” Loss explained. “The amount to start the race could change as we are still accepting donations, because we want to be able to put up as much money as we can.” The race will be a 25-lap contest with the qualifying format via the draw system. “We want everyone that attends this race a fair shake as soon as they roll in the gate.” Loss bottom-lined. “Drivers will draw for their starting spot in their heat races and then the top-four from each heat race will re-draw for the top-twelve starting spots in the feature.”
Loss is expecting a large turnout for the event. “I’m guessing around 30 or so right now.” Loss said. “We’re putting some nice money up for grabs and with the draw format in place hopefully it will attract a lot of cars. We decided to have this race at Trail-Way on a Friday night, not only because Mike had so much success here, but the fact that a lot of racers are racing for points at their home tracks on Saturday’s and we don’t want teams not to come for that reason.” Loss has some other special incentives planned for the event. “The heat races will pay money and the winner will also receive a six-foot trophy in victory lane.” Loss stated. “Also Sterling Kinard has put up a $100 bonus for the hard-charger of the race and all feature starters will be lined up on the front stretch for driver introductions prior to the feature. We want this to be a big event, and I think we’re headed in the right direction to do just that.” As stated above, donations are still being accepted by reaching Dave Loss at Delco Signs in McSherrystown Pennsylvania.
May 29, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Covert Keeps Hagerstown Streak Alive”
Five weeks into the 2011 season, there has yet to be a repeat winner in the headline late model division at Maryland’s Hagerstown speedway. York Haven Pa.’s Jason Covert kept that streak alive with his first victory of the season and tenth of his career in last Saturday nights “Three State Flyers” event at the venerable Maryland oval. Oddly enough, Eight of Covert’s ten career Hagerstown scores have come in TSF sanctioned events. Covert joins, Jeremy Miller, Josh Richards, Gary Stuhler and most recently Jerry Bard as Hagerstown late model winners in 2011.
Hagerstown speedway always seems to do well with the TSF series and this past Saturday’s event was no different. Thirty-seven late models, 22 late model sportsman and 20 pure stocks took part in the program., which was run under absolutely perfect weather conditions. For the second week in a row, another huge crowd was on hand for the event, and they were treated to some spectacular action. As per Hagerstown norm, the busy show ran-off without a hitch. Nine heat races, two consolations a dash and three features (totaling 70 green flag laps) were spun-off like clockwork with the last checkered flag of the night falling at 10:25.
Hagerstown Saturday Notebook-
Tyler Hershey was involved in a hard crash during the second late model heat race. Contact under the flagstand on the first lap saw his BRC Lazer no.74 spin wildly then slam the outside retaining wall in turn-one on the drivers side. After a few tense moments, Hershey climbed from his demolished race car unhurt. Rookie Duane Harbaugh was caught up in the same incident severely wounding his Rocket no.87, eliminating both cars from further competition…With the night off from the WoO, Three series regulars took in the show. Austin Hubbard (2nd), Josh Richards (14th to 4th) and Rick Eckert (25th to 8th) all had productive nights…Greg Satterlee had another nice Hagerstown effort as he came fro 24th to collect ninth at the finish aboard his Rocket no.22...Red-hot DJ Myers was on hand for the show. After a Friday win at Winchester, Myers and his PPM chassis no.70J were ready for Hagerstown, but the tricky track surface did not come to Myers and he would quietly finish 20th…Defending Hagerstown LM champion Frankie Plessinger endured another miserable night with his Rocket no.9. Scheduled to start ninth, Plessinger spun on the first lap of the feature and was his hard by Jamie Lathroum, eliminating both cars from the remainder of the event with heavy damage. Lathroum’s car was so bad, crew chief Huey Wilcoxon stated the car would be parked for repairs until speed week starts next week…Alan Sagi kept his nose clean the entire 35-lap grind and would wheel his Rocket no.81 home tenth after starting 18th…Chad Myers had a career night with the late model sportsman. Myers carries his MasterSbilt no.21 to a heat race victory and would then nail down a solid runner-up finish in the divisions 20-lap main…Drew Fitzsimmons scored his fifth top-five in five feature starts with a third place effort in the 15-lap pure stock feature…Wayne Hawbaker was scheduled to start on the outside pole for the PS feature, however his car would not fire prior to the feature and he would be a DNS…Steve Lowery has become the man to beat in the PS ranks this season as he’s scored three wins in the first five races for the class and is the current division points leader… Last week’s pure stock winner Dave Stouffer Jr. was swept up in a crash early in the event and would be credited with 14th…Billy Ecton Jr. is inching closer and closer to his first-ever PS feature win as he nabbed his second top-five feature finish in the past two weeks as he would take fourth in this weeks feature…Ronnie DeHaven Jr. was on hand for the TSF event with his GRT no.1D and would have a respectable night as he would come from 22nd (After a consi win) to take 11th at the finish on the drier than usual track surface…Jerry Bard backed-up his win from the week prior with a solid 9th to 6th effort in the LM feature steering his trusty Rocket no.26...CS Fitzgerald made his second Hagerstown start of the season. The recent LM winner at Winchester a few weeks back qualified well (7th) but could only produce a 13th place feature finish with his Rocket no.100...Marvin Winters and Mason Zeigler both encountered mechanical issues with their mounts during hot-laps and would not attempt to qualify…Jeremy Miller, a one-time Hagerstown winner this season, struggled in qualifying (20th) with his MasterSbilt no.1M and his feature luck would get no better as he was in and out of the pits before settling for 22nd at the checkered…Even though track conditions were slicker than usual, the surface was smooth and offered plenty of passing in a show that featured almost 200-laps of green-flag racing.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Two Winners in One Hagerstown Feature”
Last Saturday night the late model sportsman took the center stage at Maryland’s Hagerstown speedway. The division was competing in the third annual “Bill Bowman Memorial”, a 31-lap event in honor of a former Maryland car owner that carried a nice $1000 pay day to the winner.
Pete Weaver, the defending class champion and current point leader coming into the event, Came from his sixth starting spot to score the win. The win was Weaver’s second of the year at Hagerstown and his career 19th at the speedway aboard his trusty Rocket no.16. That was winner number one.
However, the story of the night was Gettysburg Pa.’s Chaz Walls. Even though Walls, wheeling his self-owned Rocket no.99W, did not win the feature his second place effort in the feature had the pits buzzing. Walls started on the pole for the feature and lead the event for the first 20-laps before succumbing to eventual winner Pete Weaver. Walls would remain in the runner-up spot for the last eleven laps of the event, and actually had faster lap times than Weaver, but a tight race car kept him from victory. “Man this is a win for us.” Walls stated after the feature with an ear-to-ear grin. ’We had the car way too tight and that cost us the win, but to finish second here at Hagerstown, with all the good cars that are here it’s just like a win.” Walls has been a regular in the LMS division the past few season’s and has steadily improved each time out. Just think, If the feature was a regular 20-lap show, Walls could have possibly been a Hagerstown winner, but with performances like that Walls certainly has to be considered a contender every time out.
Twenty-four late models, 24 late model sportsman and 17 pure stocks took
part in the show in front of the largest crowd of the season…Trever Feathers was
on hand for the show with his Barry Wright race cars no.27. Feathers lined up
ninth for the LMS feature, but spun on lap-two forcing him to the rear. Feathers
took matters into his own hands and would race from the back to score a solid
fifth in the feature…Point contender Andy Fries was hampered with mechanical
issues during the feature with his Rocket no.82 and would finish a disappointing
20th in the feature…Bruce Kane raced his way from 12th to apparently finish the
LMS feature fourth with his MasterSbilt no1K, but was found light at the scales
after the feature and was disqualified from the event…Todd Bowersox made a rare
Hagerstown start with his Rocket no.0B and would have a respectable run as he
came from 24th to finish 14th in the 31-lap LMS grind…Scott Palmer, second in
the point standings coming into the event, severely wounded his MasterSbilt
no.86 during hot-laps, scratching the car for the remainder of the
program…Marvin Winters was doing double duty on Saturday as he had two
identically prepared Tex Schaffer owned Rocket machines at his disposal.
Unfortunately his night was miserable with both the late model and the LMS as he
fought mechanical issues with both mounts placing 23rd in each feature…Kyle Lear
made his highly anticipated first start of the season for new car owner Paul
Crowl and his Rocket no.7. Lear did not disappoint as he was , once again, up on
the wheel and would carry the car home to a solid third place feature finish in
the 25-lap LM main…After scoring a late model win at the Bedford (PA) speedway
the night prior, Nick Dickson steered his Rocket no.17 home fifth at Hagerstown
after starting eighth…Rookie LM racer Duane Harbaugh continues to impress as he
would come from 23rd on the starting grid to nail down a solid ninth in the LM
feature at the controls of his Rocket no.87...Late model winner Jerry Bard
became the fourth different winner in the four races run to date for the
class…Billy Ecton Jr. had a career night in the pure stocks as he collected a
heat race win and garnered a runner-up finish in the divisions 15-lap
event…Seven-time track champion Roy Deese Jr. came from 10th to finish second in
the LM feature. It would be his third top-five of the season for the current LM
points leader…Ashley Barrett’s rotten Hagerstown luck continued on Saturday. A
heat race win gave Barrett the second starting spot for the feature, however, a
faulty water pump on his Rocket no.75X took him from the feature early in the
going placing him 19th in the final rundown…Second-place point man Paul Cursey
collected his first top-five of the season as he would wheel his Rocket no.37
home fourth in the LMS feature…Talk about a driver who’s on a roll, how about DJ
Myers. After scoring his first LM win of the season at Potomac on Friday, Myers
went to Winchester speedway on Saturday and would win one of the two LM
features, finish second in the other and would also win the limited late model
event as well. This is the second time this season that Myers has won both the
LM and LLM features at Winchester on the same night.
May 9, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“The Lost Art of Hospitality”
Having the night off from my usual Saturday night home, Hagerstown speedway, I thought I’d take a trip to the Williams Grove speedway for a little “Saturday Night Series” action at the Cumberland county Pa. oval.
After paying the $5.00 general admission, Yes $5.00!!!, I wandered up to the announcer’s tower to say hello to friend, and track announcer, Dave Hare before the program started. Hare was down in the pit area gathering notes prior to the show, however, Saturday Night Series guru Alan Kreitzer was there and we had a chance to chat for a few minutes about the 2011 season as it’s slowly getting into full-swing. After our conversation Alan said, “Hey Doug, you have free roam of this place and you can sit and watch the show from wherever you want.” Certainly a nice gesture on his part.
Any race track worker will tell you, having an “interloper” especially anywhere near the scoring/announcer’s area can be a little distracting, but not at Williams Grove. I’ve been to the Grove many, many times and it seems like the more I go, the friendlier the staff is on each return trip. After the heats races were over, Announcer Dave Hare took the time to come and introduce me to the Williams Grove crowd, stating that I was the announcer at Hagerstown and Potomac speedway’s and a writer for AARN. Needless to say I was thrilled. During my announcing career I’ve been afforded the chance to interview hundreds of different people, but this was only the second time for me, that I was interviewed by another announcer!! After the show was over Alan, Dave and all the people in the tower said, “Hey Doug glad you could come tonight, don’t be a stranger, and come see us whenever you’re off at Hagerstown.” If that’s not true hospitality I don’t know what is. I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! For making such a regular guy feel so special.
Saturday Night Series notes-
Thirty-one super sportsman, 27 358 late models and 25 street stocks signed in to do battle in front of a very nice crowd. The efficient Williams Grove staff spun-off nine heat races, two consolations and three features, with the final checkered flag of the night waving at 10:25...
Gene Knaub made it look easy as he came from his 12th starting spot to grab his third-straight 358 LM feature win at the Grove and fifth overall win of 2011 aboard his Donnie Broderick owned Rocket no.1...
Colbey Frye was on hand for the show with his Warrior no.U10. Frye was fast but had trouble in his heat forcing him to the consolation. Frye was up on the wheel and came from 21st to enter the top-ten after half-way until a tangle with Bernie Beard, that saw Beard’s mount flip, sent him to the pits with front end damage. Beard was unhurt in the mishap…
Charlie Schaffer posted his third-straight top-five feature finish of the season as he came from 11th to finish fourth in his Jesse Coleman owned, MasterSbilt no.12...
Invader Rance Garlock had a nice run with his Bullitt no.19 as he qualified for the 358 LM feature through his heat race and would then come from 14th to finish 9th in the divisions 20-lap feature…Consolation winner Ralph Morgan lost an engine in his Rocket no.44 just two laps into the 358 LM feature…
Chase Billet, son of three-time Silver Spring speedway LM champion Mark Billet, Won his heat race and would then bring his Rocket no.22 home fifth in the feature…
Craig Wagaman, who earned the sixth starting spot for the feature, jumped the cushion mid-way through the event wounding his Rocket no.30 forcing him from the event with a 21st place finish…Track conditions were superb as the multi-grooved surface provided plenty of passing in all three features…
Jared Miller steered his Rocket no.15 home 14th after starting 24th in the main…
Perennial Williams Grove 358 LM winner Bobby Beard could only produce an 8th in the feature after starting 10th with his Renita Seymore owned Rocket no.81S…
Legendary car builder Jim Bernheisel (Lazer Chassis) had to be happy after Saturday’s 358 LM main as the cars of Grant Adams (2nd) and Jake Jones (3rd) came from Bernheisel’s Lebanon Pa. shop…
DJ Mease did plenty of passing in the feature as well as he carried his Rocket no.18 home tenth after starting 18th…Former Winchester (VA) speedway LM champion Scott Richwine was on hand for the third event of the season at the Gove, but was a tad off the pace with his Rocket no.2 as he would start eighth, and finish eleventh…
The brothers Morgan once again kept it in the family as Craig Morgan wheeled his beautifully prepared Camaro no.11 to the street stock win. Craig’s brother Paul, the winner in the season opener on April 9, would take second in the event., giving him an 80-point lead in the current division standings. However, there is a 3-way tie for second with Dustin Hollinger, Sam Rial and Craig Morgan heading into the next street stock event scheduled for May 21
May 1, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Bandit’s Hit Home Run Saturday at Hagerstown”
“I couldn’t be happier with the way this night turned out.” Were the words from “Steel Block Bandits” promoter Danny Wilson as he reflected on the series first-ever appearance at Frank Plessingers Hagerstown speedway last Saturday night.
What a show it was indeed, as 52 cars entered the event, in the only series event scheduled at the Maryland oval in 2011. “Hagerstown speedway is an awesome venue, and all 25 drivers that qualified for the A-main are top-notch drivers.” Wilson remarked. The race was a 30-lap contest that offered a nice $4100 pay-day to the winner and was run as the “Greg Kerr Memorial” in honor of local limited late model racer and Winchester Va. Native, Tanner Kerr’s father who tragically lost his life not long ago.
“I’m real proud of what we were able to do for the Kerr family here at Hagerstown tonight.” Wilson stated. “The Kerr family are a great bunch of people, and Tanner worked his guts out to get this show and the pay-off where it was, and I’m happy that we were able to put on such a good show in honor of a great man.” The event was run under clear, but cool, weather conditions in front of a very nice crowd. As usual, the Hagerstown surface was in great condition and offered great racing throughout the entire program. “I just hope we put on a good show for the fans.” Wilson said. “I think the show ran pretty smooth considering all the racing we had to do with 52 cars in the pits. Hopefully we impressed everyone who was involved with the show, and we’ll be fortunate enough to come back here next season.”
Saturday Night Notes-
Speaking of the Hagerstown surface, Rick Hulson in his self-owned MasterSbilt no.18, set a new track record in time trials with a one-lap time of 19.090 eclipsing the mark of 19.285 set by Bruce Kane in September of last season…
Trever Feathers encountered mechanical problems with his Barry Wright race cars no.27 during hot laps sidelining the machine for the remainder of the program. Meanwhile, Trever’s father Bo, cane from his 12th starting spot wheeling his MasterSbilt no.00 to collect fifth at the checkered…
Late model standout Marvin Winters was on hand for the show with a small block bolted in his Tex Schaffer owned Rocket no.46. Unfortunately Winters burned a piston during hot-laps, parking the car for the rest of the event…
Al Shawver Jr., a late model winner at the track in 2010, also had 358 power under the hood of his Rocket no.215 and would produce a nice run finishing eighth in the feature after starting fourteenth…Pre-race favorite Andy Fries, fresh off his Winchester LLM win the week prior, qualified well and ran in the top-five for much of the event, with his Rocket no.82, until engine woes hampered his efforts forcing him from the feature with a disappointing 20th place finish…
Tyler Armstrong was at the controls of Terry Flaherty’s Rocket no.11 for the show and would run well placing fourth at the finish after starting ninth…
As JT Spence would go on to take the win, His teammate Pete Weaver did not have a stellar night. Steering his trusty Rocket no.16, Weaver struggled in qualifying and would make the show as a provisional, but could only produce a 21st place finish after starting twenty-third…
Kyle Lear posted his second runner-up finish in the last two Hagerstown events as he would carry his MDI race cars no.1MD to second in the feature from his sixth-starting spot…Booper Bare, the SBB point leader coming into the event, broke an axle on his MasterSbilt no.83 after his heat race and was not able to repair the car for the dash. Bare would then start 25th in the feature, make one lap for points, and then take the car pitside with a 25th place finish…
Five states were represented as drivers from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Va., and Pennsylvania all attempted to qualify…
Rick Singleton was slated to go from the fourth spot for the feature, but could not get his MasterSbilt no.99 hooked up with the tricky Hagerstown surface, and would quietly finish seventh…
Bruce Kane, the SBB point runner-up last season, had a trying night. Mechanical issues with his MasterSbilt no.1K forced him to be a spectator most of the program. However, he would use a series provisional to make the show and would utilize Ben Bowie’s Rocket no.36 for the feature. Kane would wheel the unfamiliar mount home 17th in the feature after starting twenty-fourth…
Mike Walls had a nice run with his MasterSbilt no.1W, as he would come from 18th, to score a solid tenth in the feature…
The show offered plenty of racing as four sets of hot-laps, six heat races, two B-mains, a dash and a thirty-lap feature were spun off, with the headline SBB feature taking the checkered flag right around 10:45.
Maryland Clay Dirt
April 24, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Hagerstown Presses On Despite the Weather”
Rain has truly been a four-letter word early into the 2011 season. Once again inclement weather interrupted many race programs, if not cancelling them completely. However, Maryland’s Hagerstown speedway was able to beat the odds.
“We were really skeptical about racing tonight as bad as the weather was looking for later in the evening.” Were the words from Hagerstown race director Steve Crumbacker prior to race activity last Saturday at Hagerstown. “There’s been a lot of rain up here during the week and with the threat of more rain for later in the evening, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to get the show in. Ultimately we made the decision to press on with the show because we knew we had a couple hour window to get the show in, and I sure am relieved everything worked out for us tonight!”
With race time quickly approaching, radar maps showed heavy rain and thunderstorms headed for the speedway, but no one but mother nature herself knew exactly when the rain would start to fall. So, with that in mind, the decision was made to run the race program as quickly as possible to get the fans and race teams on their way before the bad weather hit. The decision paid off.
Thirty late models and 13 pure stocks took part in the event. The late models ran three heats, a dash and a B-main to set the starting field for their 35-lap main event. The pure stock with their slim car count would be feature-only and would run their 15-lap feature last on the schedule. As per Hagerstown norm, the show was ran-off like clockwork with the nightcap 15-lap pure stock main taking the checkered flag at 8:50. You would have to say luck was in Hagerstown’s corner as not but 5 minutes after victory lane ceremonies were concluded, the skies opened up drenching the speedway. Once again hats off to the efficient Hagerstown staff as their was hardly any down-time in the program and the large crowd was treated to a good show, and on their way home by 9:00.
Saturday Night Notes-
Hagerstown’s most recent late model winner Gary Stuhler was forced to run
the consolation on Saturday to make the starting field. Stuhler and his Rocket
no.17S would start the main 22nd and quietly finish in the sixteenth spot…Dylan
Yoder was named the hard charger of the event as he came from his 13th starting
spot to nail down a solid fifth wheeling his Rocket no.32...CS Fitzgerald made a
very rare appearance at the speedway on Saturday. Steering a Rocket with his
familiar no.100 on the doors, Fitzgerald’s night was not spectacular as he would
not qualify for the event…JT Spence, the 2007 LM track champion, was another
driver who did plenty of passing as he would carry his Rocket no.91 from his
14th starting spot to finish sixth in the feature…Bart Hartman was at the
controls of an identically prepared, Ernie Davis owned, Rocket no.25H for the
nights festivities. Hartman’s run was less than spectacular as he would start,
and finish, in the eleventh spot…Frankie Plessinger severely wounded his Rocket
no.9 during his heat race forcing his crew to work overtime to get the car ready
for the consolation. Plessinger would qualify for the main and ultimately
salvage the night with a 15th place effort after starting 23rd…Jerry Bard, who
won the consolation, was moving up from his 19th starting spot only to have
suspension failure with his Rocket no.26 forcing him from the event on the 32nd
lap…Jamie Lathroum ran in the top-five most of the race with his MasterSbilt
no.6 only to fade at the end with nose piece problems on the car, finishing 7th
in the main…Miss Motorsports 2011, Karen Heisey, was on hand for the event and
waved the green flag for the start of the late model feature….Kyle Lear’s
combination of his MD1 race cars no.1MD and an all aluminum 358 small block
bolted into the machine carried Lear to s second place feature effort, his
best-ever finish in a LM at Hagerstown….West Virginia drivers Jared Hawkins and
Bob Gordon were both on hand for the show. Hawkins fared the best of the duo as
he started 15th in the feature and finished tenth. Gordon, on the other hand,
was not as fortunate and did not make the cut for the feature…The pure stock
division continues to struggle with poor car counts as 13 cars signed in but
only 11 took the green flag as the machines of Darrin Younker and Tony Catlett
did not start the feature…Kenny Dillon, the most recent pure stock winner, came
from his 12th starting spot to finish sixth in the feature on the slicker than
usual Hagerstown surface…Charlie Pensinger is inching closer to his first-ever
Hagerstown pure stock feature win as he was fourth on Saturday after starting
seventh. With finishes of sixth in the opener and a fifth two weeks ago, and now
a fourth, Pensinger should grab the pure stock win on May 28 if his trend
towards the front continues!!
April 24, 2011
Richards Opens Three State Flyers Series With Saturday Hagerstown Victory
Steve Lowery Claims Season Second Pure Stock Triumph
By Doug Watson
Total domination. That’s the best way to describe Shinnston West Va.’s Josh Richard’s season opening “Three State Flyers Series” win Saturday at the Hagerstown speedway. In scoring his first feature win of the season at Hagerstown, the defending and two-time World of Outlaw’s series late model champion, became the third different winner in the three-week old season at the venerable Maryland Half-mile.
After scoring a win in the dash, Richards earned the pole for the start of the 35-lap Stanley Schetrompf classic. As the pack took the green flag Richards, wheeling his Ernie Davis owned Rocket no.25, out-dragged fellow front-row line mate Kyle Lear as they raced into turn one. From that point on, it would be a race for second as Richards would go on to lead every lap of the event earning the $3000 pay day that went along with it.
However, as Richards lead, The race for second was quite intense. Eventual runner-up Kyle Lear held the spot the entire distance but had to withstand the constant pressure from Austin Hubbard and Jamie Lathroum that kept the crowd on their feet. As Richards took the checkered flag, Lear would come home second for his best-ever late model finish at Hagerstown with Hubbard settling for third. Tenth-starting Jason Covert would place fourth and Dylan Yoder would claim the Round Hill Auto Service hard charger award as he came from 13th on the grid to round out the top-five.
“I really enjoy racing here at Hagerstown, it’s always a lot of fun.” Race winner Josh Richards stated in victory lane. “This is one of the best tracks I’ve raced on all year so far, there wasn’t a bump on it. I just hope it was a good show for the fans.” A well-prepared race car made Richards job that much easier. “ I cant thank Ernie and Connie Davis and all the people who help with this car.” Richards said. “This Roush/Yates engine in this car is so strong, but the track was a little slick tonight, so I had to be really careful with the throttle.” Late race lapped traffic was the only scare Richards faced the entire event. “You just never know how big of a lead have so you have to be really careful in lapped traffic, but the cautions came when we needed them, and everything turned out good.”
Heats for the 30 Nininger’s Tire and Auto Center Challenge late models went to Richards, Jamie Lathroum and Kyle Lear with Jerry Bard claiming the consolation.
The Ernie D’s pure stocks were also part of the program and when it was all said and done, current point leader Steve Lowery became the first repeat winner of the season in the divisions 15-lap event. Bill Ecton and Billy Ecton Jr. brought the field to the initial green flag of the race. Bill Ecton would lead one lap before sixth starting Eddie McClellan took the top spot on lap-two. McClellan, who would go on to lead the remaining laps of the contest, would have to repel the advances of tenth-starting Steve Lowery to post the win. However, McClellan failed a post-race inspection, handing the win over to Lowery. Drew Fitzsimmons came home second, Bill Ecton held on for third, Charlie Pensinger was fourth and Wayne Hawbaker completed the top-five. Coming from tenth to first, Lowery also claimed the Turner Bowling Centers hard charger award.
Late Models- 30 entries (Lap Leaders, Josh Richards 1-35)
1. Josh Richards 2. Kyle Lear 3. Austin Hubbard 4. Jason Covert 5. Dylan Yoder 6. JT Spence 7. Jamie Lathroum 8. Nick Dickson 9. Roy Deese Jr. 10. Jared Hawkins 11. Bart Hartman 12. Marvin Winters 13. Brent Smith 14. Alan Sagi 15. Frankie Plessinger 16. Gary Stuhler 17. Ashley Barrett 18. Keith Jackson 19. Scott LeBarron 20. Derek Byler 21. Jerry Bard 22. Devin Friese 23. Matt Parks 24. Duane Harbaugh DNQ- Bob Gordon, CS Fitzgerald, Matt Murphy, Tim Murphy.
Pure Stocks- 13 entries (Lap leaders, Bill Ecton 1, Eddie McClellan 2-15)
1. Steve Lowery 2. Drew Fitzsimmons 3. Bill Ecton 4. Charlie Pensinger 5. Wayne Hawbaker 6. Kenny Dillon 7. Dave Stouffer Jr. 8. Billy Ecton Jr. 9. Mike Kratovil 10. Charles Shearer 11. Darrin Younker (DNS) 12. Tony Catlett (DNS) 13. Eddie McClellan (DQ)
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Elliott Pumped Over Friday Trail-Way Win”
Last Friday night was the season opener at Hanover Pa.’s Trail-Way Speedway. Twenty -two 358 sprints, nine 358 late models and 22 limited stocks took part in the program under windy and cold conditions. Even with the sub-par weather, Trail-Way played host to a very nice opening day fan turn-out and the racing on the nifty one-third mile oval was spectacular as usual.
The 358 late models were making their first of seven scheduled 2011 appearances. With only Bedford (PA) speedway running their season opener as well, The nine car turn-out for the division was quite disappointing, considering that nearby Williams Grove (PA) speedway pulled 29 cars for their season lid lifter the week prior.
However, what Trail-Way lacked in cars, the racing was very good, and a very happy winner graced victory lane at the conclusion of the divisions 20-lap feature. Sykesville Md.’s Glenn Elliott wired the field to score his first-ever feature win at the PA. bullring in his self-owned MasterSbilt no.5.
“Man this is great.” Said a jubilant Elliott as he climbed from his winning mount. “I’ve raced here a lot in the classic cars and the American outlaws, but I’ve never won here before. So to win here in this 358 car is something special for me and the whole team.” Elliott’s race winning MasterSbilt chassis was debuted at the beginning of the 2010 season and has been good wherever he’s raced it. “We’ve had our ups and downs with this car.” Elliott stated. “The car was good right out of the box last season, but we wrecked it pretty good at Hagerstown (MD) early in the season and it took us a while to get it back to where we needed it to be.” With the new car Elliott has won races at four different tracks in three different states. He’s carried the machine to feature wins at Winchester (VA), Potomac (MD), Hagerstown (MD) and now in Pennsylvania at Trail-Way. Elliott’s season is off to a fast start as he was the opening day limited late model winner at Winchester and has now added a Trail-Way score to his resume. “I have to thank Jerry Foster my crew chief and all the people involved with this car, I wouldn’t be able to do it with out them. I just hope we can keep it going as long as we can.”
Frye Three for Three- Dover Pa.’s Colbey Frye is of to a fast start in 2011. After scoring the win in the season opening 358 LM program at Susquehanna (PA) Speedway Park last Saturday night, Frye towed to the Bedford speedway on Friday night where he went on to win both the late model and limited late model features. This is the first time in the 75 year history of the PA oval that a driver has won in two classes on the same night. His LM win came in his trusty Rocket no.F1 while his limited win came in his Rocket no.U10.
Knaub Makes LM Debut- Without question Dover Pa.’s Gene Knaub has been the area’s hottest 358 LM driver the past several season’s. Knaub and car owner Donnie Broderick acquired a late model motor off fellow 358 driver Larry Baer and planned to race it when time allowed. Knaub and company towed to Bedford speedway for their season opener with their Superior Homes rocket no.1. Knaub scored a heat race win and would follow that up with a solid fourth in the 25-lap LM feature.
Hagerstown Prepares for upcoming “Steel Block Bandits” Invasion- Winchester Va.‘s Danny Wilson and his traveling Steel Block Bandits series are schedule to make their first-ever appearance at Frank Plessingers Hagerstown speedway on Saturday night April 30. The highly anticipated event will be the Greg Kerr Memorial and carry a hefty $4100 pay-day to the winner of the 41-lap contest. With a host of talented 358 LM drivers in the area and the SBB regulars set to do battle, this could be an epic event for the SBB series. The hobby stock cruisers will also see action in the program.
Grant Adams “The Real Deal” in 2011- Grantville Pa.’s Grant Adams is off to his best start ever in the ever-tough 358 LM wars of Central Pa. After scoring his first-ever win in the division two-weeks ago at Lincoln (PA) speedway, Adams towed to the Bedford opener on Friday and would wheel his BRC Lazer no. 64 to a solid fifth in the divisions 20-lap main over the solid 22-car field.
April 10, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Southern Maryland Boys Shine Bright Saturday at Hagerstown”
It was a tale of two races last Saturday night at the Hagerstown speedway. Two drivers with limited seat time at the Washington county half-mile made good on their respective first starts of the season.
Waldorf Md.’s Kenny Moreland in only his second-ever start at Hagerstown shocked everyone, including himself, as he lead all 20-laps of the highly competitive late model sportsman feature for his first-ever win at the speedway aboard his family-owned Rocket no.24. Several late race cautions made the outcome of the event rather exciting, but the youthful leadfoot was up to the challenge. “Man this is amazing.” Moreland stated in his post-race interview. “I have to thank my mom and dad especially, and all the people who help on this car. I know we have good equipment, but I never thought I’d ever be a winner at Hagerstown.”
Mechanicsville Md.’s Tommy Wagner Jr. has put together quite an impressive resume the past three season’s at his home track Potomac speedway. Three consecutive limited late model titles at the southern Maryland oval and numerous feature wins prove that Wagner is more than capable of steering one of these machines. Last Saturday night Wagner and his car owners Scott and Patti Thompson towed their Rocket no.4 to Hagerstown for the first time since they’ve been a team. “This is the first time I’ve ever raced here.” Wagner stated. “I’m going to run over and talk to Roy (Deese Jr.) and see how to get around this place. I’ve always wanted to race here, and I’m pretty excited.” Wagner looked as though he’s raced at Hagerstown before, as he would finish fourth in his heat race earning the tenth starting spot for the feature. Wagner held his own as he would complete the distance and finish the feature in the ninth spot. Wagner is a one-time Potomac winner in 2011.
Saturday Night Notes-
* Late model rookie Duane Harbaugh was on his way to his second top-ten finish of the season until a feature tangle wounded his Rocket no.87 forcing him from the event . Harbaugh would place 19th at the finish…Glen Elliott, a winner at Winchester (VA) this season, made his LMS debut on Saturday. He would wheel his self-owned MasterSbilt no.5 to a solid fifth place finish after starting eleventh….Roy Deese Jr. collected his second top-five of the early season as he came home third with his Rocket no.05, leaving the speedway as the late model point leader….Pure stock winner Kenny Dillon’s feature victory was his 23rd career Hagerstown feature win…Defending late model champion Frankie Plessinger decided to mount new rubber on his Rocket no.9 prior to the late model feature. With the new tire rule in place, Plessinger was forced to start dead last (22nd) in the feature. However, Plessinger would carry the car to a respectable ninth place feature finish….Opening day LMS winner Pete Weaver is primed for his second-straight Hagerstown title, as he would come from his 12th starting spot to collect third place honors with his rocket no.16. Weaver is the class point leader heading into next weeks program…Opening day pure stock winner Steve Lowery has established himself as a title contender as well. His third place effort on Saturday kept him in the class point lead….Winchester Va.’s Trever Feathers was on hand for the show preparing for the upcoming “Steel Block Bandit” event at the end of the month. Feathers had a solid outing with his Barry Wright race cars no.27 as he won his heat race and tallied fourth in the 20-lap LMS feature…Western Pa. star Greg Satterlee made the tow to Hagerstown on Saturday with his family-owned Rocket no.22. Satterlee lined-up 13th for the late model feature and would race his way to a solid fifth in the feature…Alan Sagi produced a solid evening as well with his John Chamberlain owned Rocket no.81. Sagi would come from his 15th starting spot in the LM feature to post a seventh place finish. Sagi currently sits second to Roy Deese in the late model standings…Pure stock racer Drew Fitzsimmons collected his second-straight top-five of the season with his no.31 as he would take fourth in the divisions 15-lap feature after starting ninth…Jerry Bard was scheduled to go from the 8th starting spot for the late model feature, but mechanical issues with his Rocket no.26 prior to the feature forced him to scratch from the event…Gary Stuhler’s LM win was his career 129th at Hagerstown…Keith Jackson earned the outside pole for the feature, however he could not capitalize on his opportunity and would fade to sixth at the finish with his Jack Bland owned Rocket no.41...Lady LM racer Lindsay Barton was back for the second week in a row with her Rocket no.32and would finish five spots better than she did in the opener finishing fourteenth…After scoring a runner-up finish in last weeks LMS feature, Andy Fries was running third in the LMS feature with his Rocket no.82 until mechanical woes forced him to retire from the event with a 17th place feature finish.
Maryland Clay Dirt
April 3, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Four Happy Winners Highlight Hagerstown Lidlifter”
Smooth and cold. They are the best two words to describe the highly anticipated season opener at Frank Plessingers Hagerstown speedway. After colder than expected weather conditions forced speedway management to cancel the scheduled season-opener the week prior, Hagerstown was faced with the same dilemma last Saturday. With temperatures struggling to reach the mid 40’s all day, Hagerstown made the decision to press on with the show, and what a show it was.
Unfortunately, the cold weather took it’s toll on the grandstand count, but those who chose to witness the show were treated to some of the best racing the speedway has produced in quite some time. The close racing could be totally attributed to track prep wizard Mark Schlotterbeck and his posse as they had the Hagerstown surface the best I’ve ever seen it. And as per Hagerstown norm, the show was spun-off with precision as nine heat races, one consi, and four features were contested with the final checkered flag of the night falling at 10:10. Here’s some notes from the show-
Late Models- A very nice opening day field was in the pits as 27 cars took part in qualifying…Seven-time Hagerstown speedway track champion Roy Deese Jr. had a solid effort with his Rocket no.05 as he lined up 14th on the grid and drove to a fine fifth place feature finish…Rookie driver Duane Harbaugh posted a solid run as well as he made his Hagerstown LM debut with his Rocket no.87. Harbaugh qualified well and ran in the top-ten the entire event before settling for seventh at the finish…Ashley Barrett, a graduate of the late model sportsman division, won the consolation earning the 19th starting spot for the feature. Barrett got as high as 13th in the main before he went to the pits with mechanical woes placing 24th in the final rundown…Phil Potts, all the way from Ontario Canada, made his first-ever Hagerstown start, finishing 22nd…Chad McClellan made a rare Hagerstown start with his BRC Lazer no.119T, but engine problems during hot-laps parked the car for the remainder of the program…Race winner Jeremy Miller’s victory was his career 28th at Hagerstown.
Late Model Sportsman- A field of 17 cars assembled for the season opener. Cody Lear made a return to the LMS ranks was rewarded with a fine sixth place run after starting 17th… Paul Cursey, who plans to run Hagerstown full-time in 2011, collected a heat race win and earned the pole for the feature, but fought handling problems with his rocket no.37 and would finish ninth in the feature…John Baker, a Susquehanna (PA) speedway regular, was on hand for the show and would collect 8th in the feature…Stevie Long, a five-time Virginia Motor speedway winner in 2010, was on hand for the show but fought mechanical issues with his Rocket no.44L during his heat race and would not start the feature…The win for Pete Weaver, the defending class champion, was his 18th career LMS feature win at Hagerstown.
Pure Stocks- Fourteen cars were on hand for the opener. Even though the car counts have dwindled in this class the last few season’s, the racing has been spectacular. Eddie McClellan, Mr. hard luck of 2010, ran well the entire evening with his no.170 as he would take second in the division’s 15-lap main…Randy Kline was at the controls of the Lin Sutphin owned no.43 and would carry the car to a seventh place feature finish after starting 12th…Engine failure took the cars of Danny Beavers, Wayne Hawbaker and Darrin Younker during the program…defending track champion Mike Warrenfeltz was not on hand for the opener. After his title winning campaign in 2010, Warrenfeltz announced that he had no plans to race for points in 2011.…Charlie Pensinger wheeled his brand new no.10 to a respectable 6th place finish in the machine’s maiden voyage…Race winner Steve Lowery’s victory, was his second-career Hagerstown triumph.
Hobby Stock Cruisers- The old enduro dash division has been give a new name
and is now a points paying division that will see action nine-times in 2011.
Sixteen cars participated in the event, and the action was as intense as ever.
Brandon Churchey, who lead the event for the first 11-laps, would late fail a
post race inspection and would be DQ’d from the event…Matt Smith fought
mechanical issues during his heat, but would salvage his night with an 8th place
feature finish…”Krazy” Kenny Thomas, who dominated the old enduro dash division,
ran with the leaders the entire 15-lap contest taking third at the finish.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Knaub and Lathroum Open Up 2011 in Victory lane”
Two familiar driver’s found themselves in quite a familiar place this past weekend. Friday night was the season opener at the Potomac (MD) speedway and when it was all said and done Mechanicsville Md.’s Jamie “The Jet” Lathroum collected top-honors in the 20-lap limited late model main event. At the Lincoln (PA) speedway on Saturday, Dover Pa.’s Gene Knaub, the defending 358 late model track champion at Lincoln came from deep in the field to score the win in the division’s 20-lap event.
Lincoln drew 22 cars for it’s first of six scheduled events for the class this season while Potomac only attracted seven cars as the track kicked off its 38th season of operation. Even with the low car count, Potomac’s opener featured some very good racing and a new track record in the process. Lathroum’s 35th career Potomac LLM feature win was spun-off in just 5minutes and 39 seconds. Meanwhile, Knaub came from the eighth starting spot at Lincoln and then held off a pesky Steve Weikel to post the win. Here’s some notes from both shows-
* Grantville Pa.’s Grant Adams was a busy guy on Saturday. Adams and company towed their BRC Lazer no.64 to the open practice session at Hagerstown earlier in the day. When practice was over, the car was quickly loaded on the trailer, to head to Lincoln. Adams would be rewarded for his day-long efforts with a heat race victory and a solid fourth place run in the feature.
* After his win on Friday at Potomac, Mechanicsville Md.’s Jamie Lathroum headed to the Lincoln speedway on Saturday. Wheeling his trusty MasterSbilt no.6, Lathroum would score a heat race win, but could only produce an eleventh place finish in the feature.
* Sykesville Md.’s Glenn Elliott was on hand for both shows. Elliott was a heat race winner at Potomac on Friday and was a feature contender until his car gave up while running second on lap-13 to eventual winner Jamie Lathroum, placing last in the feature. Elliott would then tow his self-owned MasterSbilt no.5 to Lincoln, where he would not fare much better, as he would take thirteenth in the final rundown.
* Mechanicsville Md.’s Derrick Quade made his season debut at Potomac on Friday in his newly acquired ride, the Joe Adams and Wayne Quade owned MasterSbilt no.23. Quade ran as high as fourth in the feature before he encountered mechanical woes with the machine on the 19th lap of the 20-lap feature, forcing him from the event.
* Thomasville Pa.’s Bernie Beard, Lincoln speedway’s all-time thundercar winner, had a solid effort on Saturday with a third place run in the 358 LM feature with his familiar GRT chassis “X”. Beard has recently acquired the services of noted tire man, and area graphics legend, Dave Loss of Delco signs to help with the preparation on his machines. Speaking of Delco signs, the McSherrystown Pa. based operation had a clean sweep at Lincoln on Saturday. Danny Dietrich (410 sprints), Gene Knaub (358 LM) and Danny Beard (thundercars) all sported graphics packages from Delco signs.
* Winchester Va.’s Trever Feathers, the 2010 Winchester speedway limited late model track champion, was at Hagerstown’s open practice with his newly acquired 2005 Barry Wright race cars no.27. Feathers plans to compete full-time with the “Steel Block Bandits” in 2011.
* Former Silver Spring speedway street stock pilot Todd Bowersox was at the practice session at Hagerstown on Saturday with his Rocket no.0. Rumor has it he intends to race full-time with the Hagerstown late model sportsman in 2011.
* Stoverstown Pa.’s Cam Zeigler was victorious in the 2010 season opener for the 358 LM’s at Lincoln, but this season was not so kind as he and his Rocket no.21Z would place 22nd in the feature.
* Hanover Pa.’s Sam Gallagher is off to a fast start in the thundercar ranks at Lincoln. After his win on opening day, which was the highly coveted “Spring Thaw 20”, he would take second in the divisions 20-lap feature to race winner Danny Beard on Saturday.
* Gettysburg Pa.’s Brian Walls made his Lincoln thundercar debut on Saturday with his no.2W, and would take a solid third in the feature. In a conversation with Walls at the end of last season, he had no intentions of racing this season, however, appears to be back in top form.
* Shermansdale Pa.’s Mike Lupfer was on hand at the Hagerstown practice with a sharp-looking BRC Lazer on.06, replacing his trusty MasterSbilt from last season. Still in search of his first-ever LM feature win at Hagerstown, Lupfer suffered driveline problems with the car ending his day early.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Kyle Lear, Paul Crowl, Join Forces for upcoming 2011 Campaign”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.” Were the words from Severna Park Md.’s Kyle Lear as we had a chance to talk about his new endeavor for the 2011 season.
Long time Maryland car owner/race car driver Paul Crowl recently struck a deal with Lear to wheel his equipment weekly at the Hagerstown (MD) speedway. According to Lear the deal came together about two-weeks ago. “Paul called me and asked me if I’d like to drive for him next season, and we’ve been putting things in place since that phone call. Paul will supply the car and motor and we’ll furnish the truck and trailer.”
As a car owner Paul Crowl had quite a memorable 2010 season with veteran Gary Stuhler behind the wheel of his cars. The team collected four feature wins with two coming at Williams Grove, including a speed week win in June, and two at Hagerstown with one of his Hagerstown wins being the season ending Octoberfest event and the $10,000 payday that went with it. However, not long after their big win together in the Octoberfest, Crowl announced he was selling his equipment and getting out as a car owner. Many were shocked by the announcement , even Lear. “I thought Paul and Gary had a pretty good thing together but when Paul called me and asked me to drive his car, I was pumped up. I think Paul has some of the nicest equipment in the area.”
The team will utilize the same 2009 Rocket chassis that Stuhler drove in 2010 and a fresh power plant from Leggett Engine Research will be bolted in the machines frame rails. As of now, the team plans on weekly stops at Hagerstown, but may branch out during the season to some other venues. “Racing weekly at Hagerstown is fine for me.” Lear quipped. “We only have one car and one motor so we’re planning on racing for the championship. I know Paul’s cars are capable of winning every time they hit the track, so it’s up to me to get the job done.” The only setback the team faces heading into the 11’ campaign is the Leggett engine that will be in the car will not be ready for at least six weeks. “Rick (Leggett) builds a great motor.” Lear bottom-lined. “He told us that the motor might be a few weeks out, but when it’s done I know it will be a horse.”
So, with aspirations of the Hagerstown late model title in mind, how will this effect the team being that the first points race of the season will fall on the season opener, March 26? “Paul was trying to come up with a deal to possibly obtain another motor, but if he doesn’t, Moe (DeFino) said we could use his MD1 Chassis no.1MD with the Russell Baker motor in it until Paul’s car is ready to keep up our points. Moe’s car is race ready, we just had it on the jig a few weeks ago and found some things we didn’t like, but it’s a good race car and I’m excited to drive if I get the chance.”
Colorfully referred to as “Showtime”, Lear has put together quite a resume since his first career feature win in 2007. In the past three seasons, Lear has accumulated 10 late model sportsman wins and the 2009 track championship at Hagerstown, 11 limited late model wins and 1 super late model win at Potomac and just last season added Winchester and the Alleghany County speedway as tracks the youthful leadfoot has won at. Even though Lear will be a full-time LM chauffeur this season, his tried and true MD1 chassis no.151 will see limited action this season. “I love that car.” Lear said with a laugh. “We’ll be at the Steel-Block-Bandit race at Hagerstown in April for sure, and maybe some other shows, but I really want to concentrate on the late model deal with Paul. I think we will do pretty good together and I’d really like to get that Hagerstown championship for him.”
“Action Jackson” Staying in Maryland- Coming off a season that produced five
feature wins at the Roaring Knob (PA) motorsports complex, Odenton Md.’s Keith
Jackson will be switching gears for 2011. Jackson will not return as the driver
of the Rick Jones owned, Rocket, no.88, but will be the new pilot of the Jack
Bland owned Rocket no.41. Several different drivers drove Bland’s car last
season with Andy Anderson scoring a feature win in the car at Potomac. I would
have to assume the duo will race weekly at Hagerstown with some stops at Potomac
thrown in as well. Even with his five feature wins, the highlight of Jackson’s
season was his runner-up finish to Gary Stuhler in the speed week event at
Williams Grove last June.
Harbaugh heads to Hagerstown- After several seasons in the 358 late model division, Hedgesville West Va.’s Duane Harbaugh will be a weekly fixture in the late model division at the Hagerstown speedway. Harbaugh has yet to win in the late models after a stellar career in quarter midget and micro sprint action, However, he will have quite a mentor in his corner when the first green flag of the season is waved. Moe DeFino, noted crew chief and the proprietor of Pro Fabrications, will serve as crew chief for the team this season. With nearly four decades of knowledge, DeFino and Harbaugh should make quite a formidable team. The team will utilize a Rocket chassis with power coming from legendary engine supplier Curt Hershey.
March 5, 2011
“Gallagher Breaks the Ice in Lincoln Thundercar Opener”
By Doug Watson
Abbottstown, Pa- “This is a much better way to start the season than the way we did last year.” Were the words from Hanover Pa.’s Sam Gallagher after his victory in the season opening “Spring Thaw 20” for the thundercars last Saturday afternoon at the Lincoln speedway.
By the luck of the draw Gallagher lined up third for the start of the
divisions 20-lap main event. At the drop of the green flag 2007 track champion
and five-time opening day winner Duane Watson jumped out into the early race
lead. Watson’s lead would be short-lived as Gallagher, would make what would be
the winning pass, coming off turn four to complete lap number two.
As Gallagher lead, the race for second was quite intense. Eventual second-place finisher Duane Watson, Kyle Martin, Mike Slaybaugh and Danny Beard all ran in a tight pack that lasted the remainder of the event. A lap-17 caution set-up a three lap dash to the checkered, but Gallagher, the 2008 Lincoln track champion, was not to be denied as he drove his F.X. Smith Cigars, Byers Tire no.25 to his 17th career Lincoln thundercar feature win which was worth a cool $500 payday.
“We’re here to win every race.” Gallagher stated in his post-race interview.
“I have to thank all the guy’s on the crew and all the sponsors, they’re the
ones that make all this possible.” Tricky daytime track conditions played a roll
in the outcome of the event. “This car was awesome on the bottom today.”
Gallagher said. “Running after the sprint cars, I knew there wouldn’t be much
left on the top, so I figured if I could get to the bottom quick we’d have a
pretty good shot at the win.” Having five-time opening day winner Duane Watson
on his bumper the entire race, made Gallagher get up on the wheel. “Oh yeah, I
knew he was back there.” Gallagher quipped. “Duane is really good in these
daytime shows and he’s a lot of fun to race with and he raced me really clean
today. I figured if someone was going to stop him from winning all theses
openers, I hoped it would be me, and it all worked out real good.”
Watson would take second, eighth-starting Kyle Martin was third, Mike Slaybaugh took fourth and Danny Beard completed the top-five. Heats for the 16 cars on hand went to Danny Beard and Mike Slaybaugh.
Opener notes- Brad Shank, a one-time winner in 2010, had a miserable afternoon. He crashed in hot-laps wounding his racer. He then fought engine problems in his heat race and then his feature luck would not get any better as he would not complete the distance, placing 12th in the final rundown….Fourteen of the sixteen cars on hand took the green flag for the feature as the machines of Jamie Zentmyer and Matt Conley did not survive the heats and did not start the feature…Roy Warehime was back with the thundercars after spending all of 2010 with the 358 late models. Oddly enough, 2010 Lincoln champion Gino Comi has the car Warehime drove with the 358’s last season and plans to race full-time with the division in 2011.…Bobby Beard, an 18-time Lincoln thundercar winner and three-time track champion, was slated to drive the Chuck Walls no.11 as part of the opening day festivities. However, the car did not make it to the track and Beard then became a spectator…Noticeably missing from the opener was Will and Brian Walls, both feature winners at Lincoln last season.
Thundercar feature 20-laps
1. Sam Gallagher 2. Duane Watson 3. Kyle Martin 4. Mike Slaybaugh 5. Danny Beard 6. Mikey Guise 7. Rick Weaver 8. Jimmy Combs 9. Roy Warehime 10. Bob Johnson 11. Larry Neiderer 12. Brad Shank 13. Allen Cullum 14. Nathan Emig 15. Jamie Zentmyer (DNS) 16. Matt Conley (DNS)
March 5, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Thunder in the Pigeon Hills”
Often referred to as Lincoln (PA) speedway’s “other division” the mighty thundercars have been a mainstay at the Pennsylvania oval since the class became a weekly fixture back in 1989. Nestled in the heart of 410 sprint car country, the thundercars have been noted for their trademark side by side racing and multiple class feature winners.
The 2000 season was as competitive as they came as fourteen different drivers won a feature in the 24 races held for the class that season. Some very familiar drivers once found a home with the Lincoln thundercars, and even though most have moved on to other forms of racing, the class is still as competitive today as it was back in 2000. Here’s a look at the thundercar feature winners from the 2000 season.
Neil Smith- (Hanover PA) Smith lead all drivers with six feature wins aboard his Doug Barnes Drywall no.1. Smith had become one of the more frequent thundercar winners during the decade, but would have to wait until 2006 before collecting his one and only thundercar title which came in 2006. Smith still holds second on the all-time Lincoln win chart with 42 career wins.
Bobby Beard- (Abbottstown PA) Beard was at the pinnacle of his thundercar career in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Beard collected three feature wins steering his Biglerville Tire no.5 and the track title in the process. Beard was track champion in 1999 and would score again in 2001, making him the only three-time consecutive thundercar champion at Lincoln. Beard’s 18 career Lincoln feature wins places him tenth on the all-time win list.
Nat Tuckey- (Biglerville PA) Tuckey was a two-time feature winner wheeling
his Champion Chevrolet no.22. Even though Tuckey was never a Lincoln track
champion he would amass 25 career thundercar feature wins during his tenure in
the class. Before the thundercars Tuckey was a winner in the four-cylinder stock
cars and after leaving the thundercar ranks Tuckey was also a winner in the 358
late model division. As the 2011 season approaches, Tuckey will pilot a super
sportsman owned by Jimmy Walker weekly at Williams Grove (PA) speedway.
Steve Clabaugh- (Bonneville PA) Clabaugh was another driver who got his diverse career started with the thundercars. Clabaugh powered his Staub Bros. Used Auto Parts no.10 to a pair of wins during the season. Clabaugh would go on to claim the 2003 track championship and 27 career Lincoln feature wins, before moving on to the 358 sprint cars where he would claim a track title at Trail-Way (PA) speedway. The 2011 season will see Clabaugh back behind the wheel, but in a 358 late model.
Mike Zeigler Sr.- (Stoverstown PA) The 1998 and 2004 class champion drove his
Countryside Auto Sales no.21A to two wins on the season, becoming the last
multiple winner of 2000. Zeigler ranks eleventh at Lincoln with 17 career
thundercar wins. Throughout his career Zeigler has won in thundercars, late
models and semi-lates at various PA bullrings.
Allen Haines- (New Oxford PA) Haines was one of the many single event winners during the season as he would collect one of his three career Lincoln feature wins in his Penn-Town Car Wash no.13.
Allen Cullum- (Hampstead MD) Cullum collected his second career, and only feature win this season, at the controls of hid Mo and Trish’s sponsored no.95. Cullum has since left the thundercars and competes with the classic car series.
Bobby Rudisill- (New Oxford PA) Rudisill was a one-time feature winner in
2000 with his CJ Miller Inc. no.3. Now retired from the sport, Rudisill scored
8-career Lincoln thundercar wins.
Sean Herrick- (Littlestown PA) Herrick was another driver flying the Countryside Auto banner to post a win at Lincoln as he and his stout no.25 was another one-time winner on the season. Herrick would later sell the car to Mike Walls, who would steer the car to several of his 21 career Lincoln thundercar wins.
Greg Feltch- (Hanover PA) Feltch always had immaculate equipment at his disposal, and would collect one win on the season with his Feltch’s Window tinting no.4.
Ken Berwager- (Hanover PA) After coming close on more than one occasion, Berwager finally found victory lane at Lincoln speedway in 2000 for his one and only class feature win aboard his Rosie’s Restaurant no.77. Berwager would later try his hand at 358 sprint car racing, earning a win at Trail-Way, before retiring from the sport as a driver.
Bryan Wagaman- (Hanover PA) Wagaman was mainly a part-time competitor over the years with his Wagaman Recycling no.30. Even with limited appearances he would win once in 2000, and seven-times in his Lincoln career. Bryan’s brother Craig, is fourth at Lincoln with 27 career thundercar feature wins.
Bernie Beard- (Thomasville PA) Without question the king of the Lincoln thundercar division. Even though Beard only scored one feature win in 2000, he’s the class record holder with 72 career feature triumphs. Also, he and his unmistakable “X” machines scored Lincoln track titles in 91’, 92’, 94’, 97’ and 2002. Beard has since moved on to the 358 late models where he’s scored wins at Trail-Way and Williams Grove, in a former Rick Eckert GRT chassis.
Mike Zeigler Jr.- (Stoverstown PA) Always known for his rim-riding style, Zeigler carried his Korner Tire and Auto no.100 to one Lincoln win this season. Even though he was never a Lincoln track champion he sits thirteenth on the all-time win chart with 14 career Lincoln feature wins.
Feb. 27, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
Bt Doug Watson
“Rick Eckert’s Incredible 1991 Bedford Speedway Season”
In the height of his local late model career, York Pa.’s Rick Eckert was the man to beat at the Bedford fairgrounds speedway in 1991. Twenty years later, Eckert is a top-runner with the World of Outlaw’s late model series, but tracks like Bedford speedway is where Eckert learned his trade, and learned it well.
Still operating to this day as a Friday night venue, Bedford speedway has been one of the top late model tracks in the region and continues the same tradition heading into 2011. Late models, semi-late models and pure stocks was the weekly three-division show in 91’and what a competitive season it was indeed. Seven different winners highlighted the late model’s, 14 in the semi-lates and 7 in the pure stock ranks with some quite familiar names spread out in all three classes, most of whom still race to this day. Here’s a look at the 1991 Bedford speedway feature winners.
Rick Eckert- (York PA) The 1989 and 1990 Bedford late model champion continued his winning ways this season as well. Eckert collected three wins in May ( 3, 10 and 31) before ripping off four-straight wins from June 14 to July 5. Steering his familiar Eckert Trucking no.0, Eckert would win once more on July 19, before he would win the final four races of the season from August 9 through September 15 giving him a total of 12 feature wins and his third-straight Bedford track championship. Eckert is currently fourth on the all-time Bedford win chart with 22 career late model feature wins.
Tom Clise- (Frostburg MD) Clise was the only other driver in the late model division besides Rick Eckert to win more than one feature. Clise scored his first on June 7, and would take his final on July 26, aboard his no.C1. Clise would have quite a career at Bedford as he would score 18 career LM wins at the track and the 1993 late model championship.
Carl Billet- (Carlisle PA) Billet, a top runner in area 358 late model action, collected his career first Bedford late model win on May 26, which was the Tri-State Challenge event and it would come over area legends Gary Stuhler and Lynn Geisler. At the controls of his Billet Chassis no.44, it would be his only Bedford feature win of the season.
Nathan Durboraw- (Hagerstown MD) Driving a car owned by Jim Daversa, Durboraw won the season opener on April 26. The win, for the 8-time Hagerstown speedway LM champion, would be his only Bedford win of the season.
Mike Hess- (New Cumberland PA) Hess was one of only a few to defeat Rick Eckert at Bedford in 1991. Hess drove his Trout’s Texaco no.39 to his one and only win of the season on May 17. Despite a season of miserable luck wrapped around his win, Hess would take sixth in the final point tally.
Robbie Garlock- (Three Springs PA) Garlock snapped Rick Eckert’s four-race win streak with his first-ever Bedford late model win on July 26. In his Garlocks Used Cars no.14, Garlock would go on to score three other top-five feature finishes in the 11 races he competed in during the season.
Roy Anderson- (Winchester VA) Anderson was another driver that was plagued all season with mechanical woes of some sort or another. However, on August 9, Anderson put all his bad luck behind him to score his lone feature win of the season piloting his Fultz racing no.300. The win, for the 1980 and 1984 Potomac speedway LM champion, came in the annual fair race which is one of the bigger events on the Bedford schedule.
Semi-Lates- Brian Musselman, without the aid of a feature win, would win the track title. JR Keifer, the current Bedford promoter and 1992 semi-late champion lead the division with five wins. Miles Chamberlain, Donnie Witt (89 champ), Bob Elbin (Car owner for 2010 LM champ Jeff Rine), Eric Zembower (97 champ), and Lance Clingerman all scored two victories on the season. Single event winners were, Brian Weyandt (90 and 94 champion), Dion LaSalle, Jim Deneen (87 and 88 champ), Chuck LaSalle, Jerry Robinson, Dan Lee, Dave Wilt (85 champion) and Mike Altobelli.
Pure Stocks- Barry Weyandt scored six feature wins and his second consecutive Bedford crown. Jack Pencil, (5 late model and 2 semi-late championships) was also a six-time winner on the season. Dave Hoover was a four-time winner while 92 and 93 class champion John Reyan scored three times. Jeff Henry was the last multiple winner with two, while Bill Reyan and Joel Vinglas each scored once.
Feb. 20, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Pete Cameron, One of Many Champions at the old Dorsey Speedway.”
The memories are still as fresh in my mind as the day they happened when my father first walked me through the gate at the ripe old age of three, back in 1972. For people like myself and others in the Baltimore metropolitan region, the now defunct Dorsey (MD) speedway was once a major player in the world of dirt late model racing.
The little quarter-mile bullring, and its distinct red-clay surface, was the Saturday night home for many of the top late model drivers in the region. Even though Dorsey was small in size, it took a special driver indeed to win there. The track hosted it’s first event in 1950 before the facility succumbed to development at the end of the 1985 season. 1984 was quite a competitive season. Late models. Limited late models, street stocks and figure 8’s were the weekly Saturday night attraction In all, seven different drivers won in the late models, and produced a first-time track champion.
Even though the track has been closed for over 25 years, the memories that Dorsey speedway created still are very clear to those who witnessed races there. Here’s a look at the 1984 Dorsey speedway season.
Jimmy Skinner- (Laurel MD) Skinner lead all drivers this season with eight trips to victory lane. Wheeling his C and S Construction no.45, Skinner was able to score back to back feature wins on two different occasions during the season, a feat no other driver was able to do that season. The 1982 and 1988 Potomac (MD) speedway late model champion was also victorious at the southern Maryland oval five-times 1n 84’ as well giving him a 13-win season overall. Even with the slew of wins, Skinner would finish second in the point standings.
Gary Stuhler- (Greencastle PA) Still driving late models to this day, Gary Stuhler was a three-time Dorsey speedway feature winner in 84’. Fresh off his first-ever late model win at Hagerstown in 1983, Stuhler was once again behind the wheel of Bobby Allen’s potent no.55. Stuhler won his first in July, and would return in September to win the NDRA qualifier and the “run-watcha-brung” event, taking home over $7000 in prize money for his victories.
Pete Cameron- (Mechanicsville MD) Cameron became the eighth different late model champion at Dorsey since the late models were added as a weekly attraction back in 1970. Steering his Cameron Construction, Cam-Per racing no.72, Cameron posted two feature wins and edged out Jimmy Skinner on the final point night to collect his first career late model championship. Cameron would eventually hang-up his helmet and become the promoter of the Potomac speedway from 1988 to 2002.
Ronnie McBee- (Harmans MD) In the height of his short 13-year late model career, that produced 187 career late model feature wins, McBee posted two feature wins in his Bobby Ballantine owned no.1MD. McBee scored his first win of the season in the third race of the year and would win again in late July for his second, and final, win of the season. 1985 would totally belong to McBee at Dorsey as he would go on to win 13 races. Even with McBee’s mastery of Dorsey, he was never a champion at the oval.
George Kopchak- (Laurel MD) Kopchak took the win in the season opener
steering his Woodward Machine no.42, for his first career late model feature
win. Proving the win was no fluke, he came back the following week to win again,
unfortunately, it would also be his last. These would be the only two late model
wins of the year, and of his career, for the eventual third place point man.
Jim McBee- (Ortanna PA) Back in the 80’s Jim McBee, who is the brother of Ronnie McBee, was a very infrequent competitor at Dorsey. However, when he was there he was fast and he did capture one feature win in 84’ piloting his very familiar black and yellow no.11. In between Dorsey visits, McBee was a top-runner at Potomac, Trail-Way (PA) and Lincoln (PA) speedway’s.
Ralph Ehlers- (Baltimore MD) The 1982 Dorsey late model champion powered his Arbutus Automotive no.21 to one feature win on the season. The Ehler’s name had been a fixture at Dorsey since day one as Ralph’s dad, Bruce, was one of the founding members of the speedway back in 1950. During his tenure Bruch Ehlers served as race director, flagman, announcer and car owner.
Limited late models- Jim Wilson scored six feature wins to claim his second-straight Dorsey title over fellow six-time winner Corky Nelson. Roy Deese Jr. and John Broussard were each one-time winners.
Street stocks- Doug Rader lead the division with seven feature wins. Tim Hopkins, the eventual track champion, scored twice and single event winners were, Tony Masiello, Ed Williams, and Ellis Fortner.
Figure 8’s- Willie Stafford scored nine feature wins and the track title, which was his sixth career at Dorsey. Bob Brown, Randy Holden and Joe Shoemaker were other winners during the season.
Maryland Clay Dirt
Feb. 13, 2011
By Doug Watson
Hagerstown Speedway 1983
Continuing with another the page from the past, we’ll take a look at the very competitive 1983 season at “The Capitol of Dirt Track Racing”. Hagerstown speedway was back then, and still is to this day, the epitome of dirt late model racing in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Sunday racing was the norm at Hagerstown back in 1983, with late models, limited late models and roadrunners as the weekly three-division attraction. Sprint cars and modifieds made appearances as well making Hagerstown one of the most well-rounded tracks in the area.
Always a very innovative promoter, Frank Plessinger broke ground this season as well with the first-ever $50,000-to-win event for the dirt late models. In all, eleven different drives won in the late models, eleven in the limited late models and five different drivers scored a win in the roadrunner division, making 1983 quite a competitive season indeed. Here’s a look at the 1983 late model feature winners.
Tom Peck- The 1980 Hagerstown LM champion lead the division with five feature wins. Wheeling his P&W Excavating no.40, Peck won the third race of the season on March 20, but would have to wait until July 10 before he would win again. Peck would then become the hottest driver at the end of the season as he would win three straight features from September 18 through October 2. His win on October 2 was a big one, the Hub-City 150. Peck would win the Hagerstown title again in 1986, and collect 43 career LM feature wins at the track.
Sam Nalley- The eventual fourth place point finisher scored four feature wins in his Ron “Speedy” Hayes no.44. Nalley captured his first win of the season on July 16, finished second a week later, and won the next two races on July 31 and August 12, which was the prestigious Stanley Schetrompf memorial. The 1970 and 1982 track champion took his final win of the season on September 11. Nalley owns 27 career LM feature wins at Hagerstown.
Denny Bonebrake- The eventual track champion snared four feature wins on the way to the title. Bonebrake, at the controls of his familiar Bonebrake alignment no.5, won back to back features on April 10 and 17, before collecting win number three on June 5. He would close out his season with his final win on September 4. Bonebrake captured track titles at Hagerstown in 1969, 1972, 1974, 1981, 1983 and 1984. Bonebrake’s 84 career Hagerstown LM wins places him third on the tracks all-time win chart.
Jeff Robinson- Colorfully referred to as the “shady grove slingshot”, Robinson was a three time winner on the season. Robinson won three consecutive races from June 19 to July third. Robinson steered his Fry’s Stables no.3 to the biggest win of his career as he took top honors in the Johnny Roberts memorial on July 3. During his Hagerstown career, Robinson amassed 38 career feature wins and track titles in 1985 and 1987.
Buddy Armel- Known as the “Legend”, Armel and his Farmers Paint Co. no.S3 scored two feature wins. His first came on May 1, but his best was yet to come. On July 24, Armel collected a $10,000 payday in the Conococcheague 100, his first-ever in this event. Armel scored his first Hagerstown title in 1971 and would then win three in a row from 1975, 76 and 77. Armel is fourth on the all-time win chart with 81 victories.
Jeff Purvis- In the midst of his stellar dirt late model career, Purvis made his first-ever Hagerstown start a good on as he won the Shorty Bowers/Bull Durham memorial on may 27. However, the win would not be his last. Piloting his Imperial Motors no.15 Purvis made history as he won the first-ever Free-State 100 and the $50,000 payday that went with it on June 11.
Lynn Geisler- The western Pa. standout was part of the Hagerstown action 12 times in 1983. Geisler won the opener on March 6 and would take his final win of the season on April third behind the wheel of his legendary Cochran no.1C. Geisler, the all-time LM win at the Lernerville (PA) speedway, was the last multiple feature winner of the season.
Gary Stuhler- September 4 would be a memorable night indeed as Gary Stuhler scored his first-ever Hagerstown LM feature win aboard Bobby Allen’s potent no.55. Even though it would be his only win of the season, The name Gary Stuhler and Hagerstown speedway would become synonymous as the soft spoken driver would go on to score 127 more wins at the track during his career. Stuhler is the current win leader at Hagerstown with 128 career LM feature wins and track titles in 1990 and 2003.
Rodney Franklin- Was another driver that truly left his mark on the Hagerstown speedway scene. 1983 was not very kind to Franklin, however he did score one feature win on the season coming in the second race of the season on March 13, steering the beautifully prepared Staub Brothers no.13. As the years progressed Franklin became nearly unbeatable at the track as he would score 114 career LM wins and back-to-back track championships in 1997 and 1998.
Kenny Brightbill- The 147-time modified winner at the old Reading (PA) Fairgrounds speedway was doing double duty in the late models and the modifieds during the decade. Brightbill would score his only Hagerstown win of the season on August 20 which was the NDRA sanctioned Malcuit National 100 and the $10,000 payday that went with it.
Russ Petro- Was the final winner of the 1983 season, in one of the most bizarre races of the season. The predecessor of today’s Octoberfest allowed the modifieds and the late models to race together in one 100-lap feature. Petro started on the pole, and would eventually lead the final 31-laps to score his one and only Hagerstown win to date, which paid a hefty $12,000 to the winner.
Limited late models- Dave Wilt scored nine feature wins enroute to his second career Hagerstown title. Les Hare, who would go on to claim the track title in 84’, was a four time winner. 1976 and 1977 champion Danny Sullivan was the last multiple winner of the season with two wins. Single event winners were, Bob Salathe, Ernie Davis, Danny Hager, Ben Milliken, Buddy Harbaugh, Roger Watkins, Denny Bonebrake and Jim Adams.
Roadrunners- Doug Burkholder left little doubt he was the man to beat as he scored 14 feature wins and the track title. Burkholder scored nine wins in a row from May 1 to July 17. 1982 champion Marvin Winters was a three time winner, like wise 81’ champion, Wayne Johnson who also won three. Mike Yeakle scored two victories and John Orndorff was the only single event winner of the season
Feb. 6, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
Trail-Way Speedway 1977
Highly regarded as one of the premiere 358 sprint car tracks in the mid-Atlantic region, Hanover Pa.’s Trail-Way speedway was once a hotbed of area late model racing as well.
Top drivers of the era, from Maryland to Pennsylvania, called the nifty one-third mile bullring home from the late seventies to the early eighties. Local superstars won at Trail-Way during it’s late model heyday and many drivers who still compete today were just cutting their teeth in the ever burgeoning world of dirt late model racing.
In 1977, five classes were offered at Trail-Way every Friday night. Late models, semi-late models, street stocks, figure 8’s and open-wheeled midgets competed in a season that started in March and closed in October. Ten different drivers won in the late models, eight in the semi-lates, three in the street stocks, eleven in the figure 8’s and three drivers were victorious in the midgets.
Even though the full-blown late models don’t compete at Trail-Way on a regular basis anymore, they were certainly a big part of the tracks history. Lets take a look back at the 1977 Trail-Way season.
Ed Canupp- (Pasadena, MD) Canupp was the leading late model winner of the season as he collected 8 feature wins aboard his familiar yellow no.06. His season was highlighted with three-straight wins from June 22 to July first. Even with the strong win total and an eventual second place point finish, these would be the only career feature wins for Canupp at Trail-Way.
Canupp collected 32 career LM feature wins during his career between Trail-Way, Potomac and Dorsey (MD) speedways.
Jessie Woolford- (Glen Burnie, MD) Without question the hottest driver at the end of the season. Woolford and his blue and white no.31, won seven of the final nine races of the season, including a twin-feature program on September second. By seasons end, Woolford would finish seventh in the final standings.
Little Hutch- (Baltimore, MD) Hutch was a three-time winner with his Nova no.00. He scored back-to-back wins on April 22 & 29, before scoring his final win of the season on July 15. Hutch was one of only three drivers to score consecutive feature wins in 77’.
Will Dilks- (Baltimore, MD) The eventual track champion was able to score two feature wins with his potent no.44. Dilks scored one win in May and one in June to capture his first career title at Trail-Way. Dilks would go on to win the Trail-Way late model title again in 1978 and 1980, racking up 12 career wins at the speedway. Dilks would eventually retire from the sport with 87 overall late model feature wins.
Bobby Goodling- (York, PA) Goodling was the last multiple feature winner of the season. He would win the opener on March 5 and score again on April 15, but would not return to victory lane. Goodling, a 124 time late model winner in his career, was at the controls of a very stout piece, the Klinedinst no.43A. Some three decades later, the Klinedinst cars are as competitive as ever, with York Haven Pa.’s Jason Covert behind the wheel.
Don Zechman- (Westminster, MD) The 1975 Trail-Way late model champion scored his one and only feature win of the season on May 6, steering his iconic blue no.2. Zechman, who still races today in his 70’s, collected 28 career wins in LM competition during his career.
Jack Chronister- (Hanover, PA) Chronister picked-up his first-ever Trail-Way LM feature win, in his Lawrence’s body shop no.19, on August 26. Even though Chronister only won one LM main, he was the overall winner of the Trail-Way season with 16 feature wins. Chronister won 8 semi-late features and the track title plus seven wins in the figure 8’s.
Jim McBee- (Ortanna, PA) McBee scored his lone feature win of the season on March first. However, as the years progressed, McBee would rack-up a total of 41 career LM wins at Trail-Way, the most of any driver at the track. McBee was one of the most formidable racers the region has ever produced, and his 165 career feature wins at 13 different speedways prove that fact.
Mike Woolford- (Reisterstown, MD) Woolford, piloting his W&W racing no.33, became the seventh different winner of the young season with his win on may 20. The win would be Woolford’s only late model feature win ever at Trail-Way for the eventual fifth place point finisher of the season.
Ronnie Miles- (Elkridge, MD) The 1975 and 1977 Potomac (MD) speedway LM track champion captured one of his three career Trail-Way feature wins on July 8, in his Miles Towing no.19. It would be his only Trail-Way win of the season, however, Miles would amass 46 career feature wins at five different speedways throughout his career.
Semi-Lates- Jack Chronister lead the way with 8 feature wins plus the track championship. Gary Stuhler, in the early stages of a career that’s produced nearly 350 late model feature wins, was a five time winner in 77’. Don Zechman and Sam Hartlaub, both former LM champions at the track, each picked-off a pair of semi-late wins. Kenny Parlett and Wayne Walls Jr. each drove to one victory apiece.
Street Stocks- The street stocks ran 12 times during 1977 with Perry Hostetter claiming nine wins and the track championship. Perry, and his brothers Barry and Brad, are the current promotional team at Trail-Way. Joe Reaver (2) and Carl Davis (1) were other winners.
Figure 8’s- Jack Chronister owned this division as well with seven trips to victory lane. Mearl Davis, the eventual tack champion, drove to five wins. Carl Davis added three figure 8 wins to his two street stock scores, likewise Joe Reaver became another multi-division winner with two wins as well. George Banks was the last multiple winner of the season with two wins, while single event wins went to Phil Davis, Bobby Beard, Kenny Glass, Bob Miller, Les Davis and Donald Frye.
Midgets- The midgets appeared seven time that season with George Ferguson scoring five feature wins. Johnny Heydenrich drove to one win and the track title, while Harry Benjamin captured one feature win as well.
Jan. 29, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Defending Potomac Champion Secures Ride For Up-Coming Season”
When the final checkered flag of the 2010 season waved at the Potomac (MD) speedway, Charlotte Hall Md.’s David Williams, was crowned the late model track champion for the third straight year. However, he knew he would be searching for a ride for the 2011 campaign.
The past two season’s found the all-time Potomac speedway feature winner at the controls of Waldorf Maryland car owner George Moreland and his potent Rocket chassis equipment. Despite the teams success that brought home two consecutive Potomac title’s, Moreland opted to focus on his son Kenny’s burgeoning career, (George’s son Kenny ran full-time in the LLM division at Potomac) and not field two cars for 2011. “Yeah we had a pretty good run together.” Williams stated. “George has some really good equipment, but these cars are so expensive these days it was almost impossible for George to maintain and finance two race cars. I’m fortunate to have been able to drive for him the past two years.”
Enter Chaptico Md.’s Pete Cameron. No stranger to Potomac speedway, Cameron served as track promoter from 1989 to 2002 and has since fielded cars for his son-in-law Roland Mann. The team has had their share of success together as Mann scored the 2005 limited late model track championship at Potomac and nine career wins in the division. Mann has since moved up to the late model division but the fourth place point man from last season is still in search of his elusive first career late model win at the track, coming close on more than one occasion. With two race cars in the Cameron stable, and noted chassis man Tommy Raley turning the wrenches, the decision was made to hire another driver to steer the second car. “We made the decision about three weeks ago.” Cameron said. “Roland wants this to be his last season as a driver so he can spend some more time with his family, We knew David was available so we asked him to drive the second car.” David Williams record at Potomac speaks for itself, 76 overall career feature wins ( 25 LM, 32 LLM, 19 SS), one street stock title (93) and three consecutive late model championships (08, 09, 10) makes him one of the most formidable racers Potomac has ever produced, making Cameron’s decision an easy one. “I’ve known, and raced against, David for a lot of years.” Cameron explained. “He’s real easy on equipment and just seems to have the knack to win races, especially here at Potomac.” Beside the god-given talent behind the wheel that Williams offers, Quality help with the cars was another selling point. “Ever since David has raced he’s had a lot of good guys help with his cars.” Said Cameron. “These late model cars are a lot of work and David’s guys all live close to my race shop, so that will help us maintain the cars the way they need to be maintained.”
Williams is very opportunistic about his new endeavor. “I think this is the spark that both Pete and I needed.” Williams stated. “I look forward to the opportunity to race with Roland (Mann) as a teammate and hopefully we can bounce some ideas off each other and become quite a formidable team together.”
Williams will wheel a 2006 Rocket with a Leggett Engine Research piece under the hood while Mann will be back in his trusty 2008 Rocket with Cornett Racing engines supplying the power. According to Williams both machines are more than capable of winning on any given night. “Pete has always had good stuff.” Williams bottom-lined. “I think between my guys and Tommy Raley working together to prepare the cars, we have a legitimate shot to win every time we hit the track.”
Even though Williams will pilot the second Cameron entry, His plans to run Sommey Lacey’s limited late model are still firm. “Yeah, we’re committed to running Sommey’s car every week between Potomac and VMS.” Williams stated. “Sommey has bought new shocks and a bunch of other things for the car and the plans are to race for the championship’s at both Potomac and VMS and to hit some “Steel Block Bandits events when our schedules allow.”
Ten late model events dot the Potomac schedule this season and Williams and his new team will be on hand for all those shows. “Well, are goals are pretty simple.” Said Williams. “We want to get a win for Roland before he hangs up his helmet, that is first and foremost, and I would like to get a fourth LM title at Potomac. It was a real accomplishment in my driving career to get three in a row last season, but to now have a chance at four in a row would be pretty cool.”
With all the pieces in place, look for Cameron racing and his two quality drivers, Roland Mann and David Williams to leave a lasting mark on the upcoming 2011 season at the Potomac speedway.
Maryland Clay Dirt
January 21, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Eleven Winners Highlight 2010 Steel Block Bandits Series”
Coming off a tremendous sophomore season with his traveling “Steel Block Bandits” series, Promoter Danny Wilson has proved the limited late model division is alive and well in the mid-Atlantic region.
Fifteen races were contested in 2010 at ten different venues ranging from Pennsylvania to North Carolina producing eleven different feature winners along the way. Within those fifteen shows the SBB series averaged 38 cars per event, with no less 200 different drivers competing with the series at some point in the season. The championship battle came down the final race of the season and produced its second different champion in the two-year history of the series, Forest Virginia’s, Walker Arthur. Showing the diversity of the SBB series, Drivers from four different states (MD., PA., WVA., and VA.), finished in the top-five in the point standings and won features on the tour as well. Also, the series produced seven different feature winners in the first seven races held in 2010.
With the 2010 season now in the record books, and the 2011 SBB series schedule posted, here’s a look back at the 2010 “Steel Block Bandits” feature winners.
Walker Arthur- (Forest Va.) The eventual series champion started his season out on a high note as he won the SBB season opener at the Alleghany County (MD) speedway on April 9 wheeling his familiar Cecil B. Arthur Trucking, Rocket no.87. Arthur’s next triumph would come later in the season as he scored his second series win at North Carolina’s County Line Speedway on June 26. Arthur would then close out the SBB season the way he opened it, with his third, and final, series win at the Roaring Knob (PA) speedway on October 23. The former Virginia Motor Speedway steel-block late model champion would be one of only three multiple series feature winners of the season.
Chris Carpenter- (Parkersburg West Va.) Carpenter scored his first win of the season as the series invaded the West Virginia Motor Speedway on May 29. Carpenter, aboard his Pro-Tech Auto Sales, Rocket no.18C, proved his mastery of the Mineral Wells West Va. Facility as he collected his second, and last, SBB win of the season as the series invaded the big half-mile again on September 4. The eventual 16th place point man’s win came over the largest SBB field of the season as 56 cars took part in qualifying.
Kyle Merkel- (Gilbertsville Pa.) The PA 358 modified transplant called the SBB series home in 2010, and did not disappoint. Merkel scored his first-ever SBB series feature at a track he’s quite familiar with, Bechtelsville Pa.’s Grandview speedway. Proving his first was no fluke, Merkel steered his Excel Customs, BRC Lazer no.117 to his second win of the season at Virginia’s Natural Bridge speedway on September 11. Merkel, who was the last multiple feature winner on the tour, capped off a brilliant freshman campaign with a fourth in the final point tally.
Greg Roberson (Waynesboro Va.) The eventual Eastside (VA) speedway late model champion drove to his one and only feature win of the season, which was the third stop on the tour, at the Natural Bridge speedway on June 5. Piloting his Buckshot Hill Farms, Rocket no.116, Roberson was not a series regular and would finish 25th in the final standings.
Rance Garlock- (Three Springs Pa.) Garlock made SBB history as the first
driver from Pennsylvania to win with the series as Garlock tallied his lone
series win at the Hesston (PA) on June 12. Garlock, a former Hesston speedway
LLM track champion, drove his Garlock’s Used Cars, Bullitt Chassis no.19 to his
first-ever SBB feature win, in the fourth event on the tour.
Kyle Lear- (Severna Park, Md.) The 2009 Hagerstown speedway late model sportsman track champion scored his one series win on October 17 at the Alleghany County speedway. Lear’s win was worth a cool $5000 payday and it was also his first ever win at the Rick Jones promoted facility. Racing his trusty Pro Fabrications MD1 race cars no.151, the win was Lear’s second career series win making him one of only three drivers to have won with the SBB in both season’s to date.
Doug Timmons- (Hagerstown Md.) Timmons became the fifth different winner in the five week old season as he scored his first-ever SBB feature win at the Alleghany County speedway on June 13. Even though it would be his only SBB win of the season, it would not be the last for his D&D Auto Recycling team.
Joe Leavell- (Waynesboro Va.) Again, the SBB win-streak would be extended to six events as Leavell found victory lane at the Beckley (West Va.) speedway on June 18. Chauffeuring his Martins Drywall, GRT chassis no.8L, Leavell would race well the entire season as was rewarded with a solid third place point effort.
Ricky Williams- (Beckley West Va.) Williams, the eventual Beckley speedway late model champion, showed his mastery of the West Va. Oval as he collected his first-ever series win on June 18 which was a twin-feature program. Piloting his Pro-Power Performance, Rocket no.12, Williams became the seventh different winner in seven weeks of SBB racing and the 12th different winner in the 13 races held since 2009.
JT Spence- (Winchester Va.) The 2007 Hagerstown speedway late model champion found victory lane at the Eastside (Va.) Speedway on September 12. The win would be the only series feature win of the season for Spence, but the second for he and his D&D Auto Recycling Rocket no.16, also colorfully referred to as the “one-six mafia.”
Matt Marshall- (Stuarts Draft Va.) Marshall joined the list of first-time SBB feature winners with his triumph at the Virginia Motor Speedway on July 17. The VMS regular steered his self-owned MasterSbilt no.26 to the win over the second highest car count of the season as 49 cars were on hand for the show. Marshall’s win made him the SBB series 14th different feature winner in the 21 races contested in the two-year history of the series.
Maryland Clay Dirt
January 16, 2011
By Doug Watson
“Veteran Bobby Weaver Prepares for 358 LM Effort in 2011”
The central Pa. 358 late model division, has without question, taken the region by storm over the past few season’s. A mix of seasoned veterans and youthful speed merchants have made the division quite a fan favorite at the venues they compete at.
When the first green flag of the new season is waved, another central Pa. mainstay will be at the controls of one of these potent machines, Hellam Pa.’s Bobby Weaver. Late in 2010 Weaver was offered a chance to strap into a 358 late model for long time area racer, and Dover Pa. resident, Sterling Kinard.
“ I asked Bobby if he would like to drive one of my cars late last season and in all, he drove it three times and loved it!!” Kinard explained. So plans were put into place for Weaver to race full-time with Kinard in 2011. “Well to tell you the truth, we’ve rejuvenated each other.” Kinard said. “We both needed something new and we’re both very excited about racing together this season.” Kinard and company are set for a full season with the 358’s, and have some pretty good equipment at their disposal. “I have a 2003 and a 2005 Magnum chassis ready to race and Bobby will handle preparing all the motors for the cars. Bobby is one of the best engine builders in the area so we’ll have plenty of reliable horsepower.”
So, with plans in place, what exactly brought the two together? “Bobby and I have been friends forever.” Said Kinard. “I used to help him back in the late seventies and early eighties when he drove the Gohn Jewelers 410 sprint car. We won the Lincoln (PA) speedway title in 1979 and we always seemed to work real well with each other.” Weaver has collected numerous 410 sprint car wins and wins in the super sportsman ranks, but never in the late models. “Yeah, that’s one of our goals this season.” Kinard stated. “Bobby has won in just about everything he’s raced but a late model, and it would be really something special if he could get a win in one of my cars.” When the new team hit’s the track they will have some great sponsorship backing their effort. Bachman’s New and Used Auto Parts, Accu-Force shock dynos, Marlowe’s Metal Fabrication and Advanced Cooling Technology will adorn the sheet metal of the teams race cars. “These are the people that allow us to race.” Kinard bottom-lined. “All of them are great people and we’re looking forward to getting them into victory lane next season.” As of right now Kinard and his new acquisition will race at Todd Fisher’s Susquehanna (PA) speedway park on Saturday nights with selected events at Lincoln and Trail-Way (PA) speedway’s.
358 late model news and notes-
Cashtown Pa.’s Ron Schultz, the 2005 Lincoln Speedway thundercar champion, will also be behind the wheel of a 358 late model in 2011. Schultz, who retired from active competition after his Lincoln title, is no stranger to victory lane at area bull rings. With a win total in excess of 80 between thundercars and street stocks, Schultz should be able to make the transition with ease, or at least I think so. “Well I don’t know about all that.” Schultz said. “I’m at a definite disadvantage with the racing tires. All the years we were in street stocks and thundercars we raced on street tires and only one time we did bolt on race tires it was for a race at Potomac (MD) speedway, and I really liked it.” One of Schultz’ former thundercar sponsors, Shawn Martin, of Martin Contracting, contacted Schultz during the off season with the opportunity to go 358 LM racing in 2011. “Yeah he gave me a call and told me what he wanted to do, so I said sure we’ll give it a try.” Schultz will have a 2007 MasterSbilt chassis with a Curt Hershey power plant under the hood at his disposal. “We looked at some cars around here, but didn’t really find anything we liked so we found this car out in Indiana and went out and got it. Hershey is going over the engine as we speak, so we’ll be ready come opening day.” Schultz is optimistic about his new endeavor. “ To tell you the truth, I’m more nervous than excited.” Schultz said with a laugh. “I’ve never driven one of these things before and I really don’t know what to expect.” Schultz will, however, have a good person in his corner to assist with the learning curve with the new race car, Hagerstown Md.’s Alan Sagi. “Alan has been around these cars for a long time and he said he would come help me when he can, he’s got a lot of experience with the late model cars and the tires, so I’m really glad he’ll be there to help me.” The new team has not chosen a track to compete at on a regular basis, but does have some interesting plans as the season progresses. “For most of 2011 we’ll focus on the 358 deal, but Shawn is planning on getting a big motor to do some late model racing at the end of the season. We’ll just see how things go.”
When the season opener at Maryland’s Potomac speedway takes the green flag on March 18, there will be a noticeable change in the limited late model ranks. Mechanicsville Md.’s Derrick Quade, the 2007 LLM champ at Potomac, has accepted the driving chores of the Joe Adams and Wayne Quade owned MasterSbilt “Team23” machine for weekly battles at the Southern Maryland bull ring. Quade had quite an up and down campaign last season. He was able to score one feature win with his self-owned MasterSbilt no.74 and a second in the season standings but unfortunately destroyed the car at the tracks Southern Maryland Nationals event in October. Clements Md.’s Sommey Lacey was the “Team 23” driver in 2010 and carried the car to three feature wins. However, he has been released from the ride and sources tell me will focus his efforts with his own Rocket chassied equipment with defending Potomac late model champion David Williams, of Charlotte Hall Md., at the controls. Plans are to race the car weekly at Potomac on Friday nights and Bill Sawyers Virginia Motor Speedway on Saturdays
January 2, 2011
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Looking Forward to the New Season”
With another hectic, but enjoyable, holiday season now in the books, car owners, drivers and fans alike are preparing for the upcoming 2011 season. Several area venues have already posted their schedules including Hagerstown, Lincoln, Potomac and Winchester speedways allowing fans and race teams ample time to plan their strategies as the new season quickly approaches. Here’s a look at what’s in store for 2011.
Lincoln (PA) speedway- Without question the area speedway with the most atmosphere will kick-off it’s season on February 26 with it’s first of 37-race dates featuring a stand-alone 410 sprint car program, the $3500-to-win “Icebreaker 30.” During the course of the season the 358-sprints and the thundercars will make up the normal three-division shows at the pigeon hills oval. Central Pa. legend cars, 358 late models, USAC sprints, super late models, 305 sprints, super sportsman, 600 cc micro sprints, EMMR vintage cars, ROC modifieds, All-Star sprints, 1000cc sidewinder sprints and 360 sprinters will all see time at Lincoln this season. The thundercars, without question my favorite racing division at Lincoln, will appear 19 times during the season with there first show of the season coming on March 5 with the annual $500-to-win “Spring Thaw 20”. As usual, Lincoln speedway has just about something for every racing enthusiast.
Hagerstown (MD) speedway- After being foiled by the weather gods for nearly the last ten season’s, Hagerstown speedway management has opted to skip their early season February Saturday afternoon shows and go with a March opener. The first event on their schedule will be a test and tune on March 19 with the season opener a week later, March 26 under the lights, with the first point race of the season featuring the late models, late model sportsman and the pure stocks. New for this season will be the addition of the hobby stock cruisers (The old enduro dash division) that will now be a points paying division occupying 10 race dates on the schedule. Along with the weekly three division shows EMMR vintage cars, Lucas Oils series late models, Steel-Block-Bandits late models, Three State Flyers Series late models, 410 sprint cars, big-block modifieds, four-cylinder stock cars and small block modifieds, monster trucks and AMA motorcycles will all see time at the “Capitol of Dirt Track Racing” throughout the 2011 season.
Winchester (VA) speedway- Under second-year speedway owner Greg Gunter, Winchester has established itself as one of the premiere “full-bodied” race venues in the Mid-Atlantic region. Rotating weekly classes consisting of late models, limited late models, pure stocks, four-cylinders and u-cars will be the returning weekly attraction at Winchester this season. Also seeing time at Winchester this season will be the EMMR vintage cars, cyclones, enduro cars and the ARDC midgets will make one stop in 2011. Highlighting the season will be the return of the Lucas Oil Late Model series on September 16 and the World of Outlaw Late Model Series which will be on hand May 14. Winchester is scheduled to open their season on Saturday March 26 featuring a 35-lap, $2000-to-win, late model event along with the limited late models, pure stocks, u-cars and the enduro cars.
Potomac (MD) speedway- Entering is 38th consecutive season of operation, Southern Maryland’s Potomac speedway is only one of two area tracks (Bedford Pa.) that host Friday night race programs. The late models will be on hand for 10 dates this season and will be anchored, on a rotating basis, by the limited late models, street stocks, hobby stocks, four-cylinders, IMCA style modifieds, strictly stocks and the u-cars. Potomac will open it’s season on Saturday March 12 with a test and tune for all classes with the scheduled lid lifter falling on Friday night March 18 featuring the limited late models, street stocks, hobby stocks, strictly stocks and the modifieds. The Three State Flyers series late models will be on hand for one event (July 23) and as an added attraction, the track will host a tractor pull on April 30 and the USLMRA (lawn mowers) will be on hand Friday and Saturday, April second and third. Friday night October 14 will be the final event on the schedule featuring a non-winners event for the eight divisions that see action at the oval in 2011.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Kyle Lear Preparing for Atlantic City Debut”
Severna Park Maryland’s Kyle Lear, a standout in area 358 late model racing, will kick-off his 2011 season in a totally new endeavor, Slingshot racing.
The upcoming Atlantic City (NJ) indoor racing event scheduled for January 27, 28 and 29 at the Boardwalk hall will be the first time the full-bodied ace will be behind the wheel of an open wheeled race car. “Yeah, my dad (Barry Sr.) has been in contact with Richie Tobias Jr. and Paul Lotier for the last few weeks and we’ll be in one of their house cars for that weekend.” Said Lear. Needless to say, Lear is beyond excited about his opportunity. “Well the way I look at it a race car is a race car.” Lear stated. “To run good in any type of car you first have to understand them but I don’t think it’s anything I cant get adjusted to.”
Slingshot race cars, even though small in scale, are full-blown race cars. Weighing in at roughly 515 lbs. with a 58 inch wheelbase, spec tires for dirt and asphalt and power coming from a 600 V-Twin power plant, these little demons have been taking the region by storm. “I’ve never seen these things race before, but I’ve heard they are a lot of fun to drive.”
Slingshot standouts Mario Page, Ricky Laubach and host of other talented racers will be on hand for the event. Even with the stiff competition Lear will face, he’s quite optimistic about his chances. “I think I have just a good a shot as anyone there.” Lear bottom-lined. “I’m sure all the racers that will be there that weekend have a ton more seat time than I do, so we will be there for practice on Thursday so I can get used to the car. I’m looking forward to the publicity that race gets and the opportunity to compete with some drivers I’ve never raced against. I think I just might me the first 358 late model driver to be in this event.”
Either way you look at it, it will certainly be a learning experience for Kyle Lear. “Everyone who knows me, knows I’ll drive just about anything, so I think it will be a good way to start the 2011 season.”
Speaking of 2011, Lear is already prepping his machinery for the upcoming campaign. “We have the car (An 08’ MD1 Chassis) on the jig and we found some things we want to change.“ Lear offered. “We’re pretty much going to do the same as last season.” Lear’s 2010 season saw him win 8 358 LM features at four different race tracks. “ last season we proved to ourselves and everyone else we can win just about anywhere we go. I’d like to do more with the “Steel-Block-Bandits” series next year and we do have a motor that we can put in the car to do some late model racing as well, but we’ll take a look at any opportunity that comes along.”
Silencing the rumors- Coming off a fifteen win season in the Pa. 358 late model ranks, Dover Pa.’s Gene Knaub will be back in 2011 with his Donnie Broderick owned Rocket no.1. There was a lot of talk during the off-season that Knaub and Broderick had parted ways and that Knaub would be behind the wheel of the Rocket no.87 that Duane Harbaugh piloted in 2010. “There’s no truth to that rumor at all.” Knaub stated. “I did drive the car once last season, but I will be back with Donnie next season.” Preparation has already begun for the upcoming campaign. “We got a used late model motor off Larry Baer and once its freshened, we plan to do a little late model racing with it. We still plan to focus on the 358 car, but have no intention at this time to race for points anywhere.” Knaub collected 358 LM track titles at Williams Grove, Lincoln and Trail-Way during his banner season.
Barrett’s bold move- When the first green flag of the 2011 season is waved, Shippensburg Pa.’s Ashley Barrett will be moving on from the 358 late models. “Yeah, we got a SB2 motor from John Chamberlain and plans are right now to race with the late models at Hagerstown.” The 11-time career Hagerstown late model sportsman racer is quietly excited about the move. “Well to tell you the truth, I think all the people on my crew are more excited than I am.” Barrett said with a laugh. “Even though we have a lot of experience at Hagerstown, it’s going to be a tough adjustment. We only have this one motor and we definitely need to update our shock program, but if we’re able to iron out those kinks, I think we could be pretty decent next season.”
The million-mile man- Seven-time Hagerstown speedway late model champion Roy Deese Jr. feels he’s ready for 2011. “We fought with our car (2009 Rocket) most of 09’ and then this season we had so many motor problems, it was ridiculous.” Enter A&C racing engines. “Allan Rogers of A&C started doing our motors toward the end of the season and what a difference he’s made. We welded some bars into the car so it finally drives like I like it, but with our new engine program, we should be a lot better than we were last season.” Deese collected one feature win and a third in points at Hagerstown this past season. When not racing dirt late models, Deese is a truck driver by trade. Deese is a contract dump truck driver and recently logged his millionth mile. “Well, we bought that truck in 1993 and just the other day in turned in it’s millionth mile.” Deese stated. “The odometer is back to zero and this is the first time in my life that I got a new truck and didn’t have to pay for it!! The other cool thing is that all of those million miles on that truck came without leaving the state of Maryland. I think that’s pretty neat!!”
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Wagner and Thompson Collect Third-Straight Potomac Crown”
Potomac Speedway’s limited late model division was on their schedule nineteen times during the course of the 2010 campaign, and what a competitive season it was indeed. The first eight races of the season produced eight different feature winners and when it was all said and done, a familiar face was crowned track champion for the third straight year.
Mechanicsville Md.’s Tommy Wagner Jr., for the third-straight season, was at the controls of his Scott and Patti Thompson owned Rocket no.4. During the course of the season Wagner collected 14 top-fives and 18 top-tens in the 19 shows spun-off this season and would save his best for last as he scored his third track title in a row, with a stirring performance in the point finale on September 10.
“Yeah, I think I even surprised myself.” Wagner commented on his championship season. “We won the title two years in a row and I knew coming into this season it would be even harder to win three straight, but this team never gave up and here we are again. Scott and Patti give us whatever we need to run up front and I’m glad we were able to get the championship for them.” Even with the championship in hand, Wagner and company have no solid plans for 2011. “Scott is looking at upgrading our engine program.” Said Wagner. “He’s mentioned running at Virginia Motor Speedway next season on Saturday nights and Potomac is still always my first option, but we’ll wait and see what happens over the winter.” Here’s a look mat the 2010 Potomac LLM feature winners-
David Williams- The eventual late model champion at the track lead the division with four feature wins. He scored three wins in Sommey and Ruth Ann Lacey’s Rocket no.45 and collected one win in a MasterSbilt owned by Joe Adams and Wayne Quade. The highlight of his season was his first-ever triumph in the Southern Maryland Nationals on October 2. Williams now owns 32 career feature wins in the division good enough for sixth on the all-time win chart. Williams plans to Drive Sommey Lacey’s equipment full time in 2011.
Kyle Lear- A five time winner from 09’scored three times this season. Lear, and his potent MD1 race cars no.151, won his first feature on June 4, and became the first to repeat with another win on June 25. Lear’s third and final feature win of the season came on July 9. Lear enters the 2011 season with 11 career Potomac LLM feature wins.
Tommy Wagner Jr.- The defending class champion finally posted his first win of the season on July 2. He would only wait two weeks to win again as he was victorious on July 30. Like I stated above Wagner saved his best for last. Entering the September 10 show, Wagner was second in points. At the conclusion of that event Wagner posted his third feature win of the season and his third straight track title in the process. Wagner is a seven-time career winner in the division.
Kenny Moreland- the 2010 rookie of the year shocked the Potomac faithful with his first-ever Potomac feature win on June 11. Wheeling a Rocket chassis owned by his father George, the second generation racer proved his first win was no fluke as he would take his second, and final, feature win of the season on July 16 and a third in the final point tally.
Sommey Lacey- Colorfully referred to as “Big Money”, Lacey was the full-time drive of the Adams/Quade MasterSbilt no.23. Lacey scored his first win on May 28 and would wait until August 27 to post his last win of the season. The 2001 division champion now owns 35 career LLM feature wins at the track.
Stevie Long- The last multiple feature winner of the season , took the win on opening day, March 19. Long would win again, but it would come much later in the season on August 20. Steering a Rocket chassis with Cornett power under the hood, Long was the man to beat at VMS where he was a five-time winner at the Virginia oval, Producing his most productive season ever.
Derrick Quade- Without question the hard-luck driver of the season. Quade, the 2007 class champion, started off quick as he won the feature on April 2. Unfortunately, it would also be his last. Even with the lack of wins Quade held the top-spot in the point standings until the September finale, where he lost the title to Tommy Wagner Jr. by just seven points. To make matters worse, Quade was swept up in a crash during the Southern Maryland Nationals in October, that destroyed his MasterSbilt no.74 after he flipped the mount several times off the fourth turn. Fortunately, Quade was not hurt in the mishap.
Ed Pope- It was never a matter of if, but when,
for the 2007 Potomac street stock champion. In his second full year with the
limited’s Pope broke through for his first-ever division win on May 14.
Chauffeuring his self-owned Rocket no.11, it would be his only feature win of
the season . At season’s end, Pope would place eighth in the point standings.
Glenn Elliott- In the midst of a career season, Elliott collected his first-ever Potomac feature win in a flag to flag romp on April 24. Even though it would be his only Potomac win of the season he would find victory lane twice at the Winchester (VA) speedway and once at Hagerstown with his self-owned MasterSbilt no.5.
This and That-
Former track champion Paul Cursey has decided to call Hagerstown home in 2011. After two dismal season’s at Potomac that saw the all-time LLM winner go winless for the past two campaigns, Cursey stated “I need to change my luck a bit.” So he and his Rocket no.37 will be a weekly fixture with the late model sportsman…PJ Hatcher will not return to the limited late model ranks in 2011 either. Hatcher stated rising costs of the cars and the lack of solid financial backing has forced him to sell all his equipment…Joe Adams and Wayne Quade plan to Have Sommey Lacey return to the controls of their MasterSbilt no.23 for the 2011 season… Paul Cursey (4th), PJ Hatcher (7th) and Dave Adams (10th) were the only drivers in the top ten in points that were not able to win a feature in the division this season.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“Highlighting the 2010 Season”
With the holiday season now upon us, It’s time to reflect on some highlights of a very competitive season in the Mid-Atlantic region. Some seasoned veterans came to life to win often, and a plethora of up and coming young racers left their mark as future weekly contenders in our sport. With the multitude of tracks in the area, It’s hard to pick the no.1 highlight of the season, so we’ll cover a few special moments that captured some headlines.
Darrah wins in debut- After being sidelined by a serious highway crash in Florida in February, Red Lion Pa.’s Cody Darrah made his 410 sprint car debut/return at the Octoberfest 350 at the Hagerstown (MD) speedway in October. Wheeling a car owned by NASCAR star Kasey Kahne, Darrah promptly put the car in victory lane at the conclusion of the 50-lap, $10,000 to win event, for his first-ever win at the Maryland half-mile, solidifying his return to open cockpit racing.
Look out, Lear’s on the way- In my opinion, Kyle Lear is one of the most promising late model drivers in the region. Coming off a nine win season in 2009 that included his first-ever late model win and the Hagerstown speedway late model sportsman title, Lear was primed for more and did not disappoint. The Severna Park, MD. driver wheeled his trusty MD1 race cars no.151 to eight 358 LM feature wins at four different tracks. Three wins apiece at both Hagerstown and Potomac (MD) plus his first-ever feature wins at Winchester (VA) and the Alleghany County (MD) speedway, proved Lear is for real. With some solid financial backing, Lear has the opportunity to become one of the top drivers in the region.
Stuhler returns to form- After going winless the entire 2009 season, Greencastle Pa.’s Gary Stuhler ended his slump in a big way. Steering a Rocket chassis for car owner Paul Crowl, Stuhler started his resurgence with a convincing win in the speed week event at the Williams Grove (PA) speedway. Stuhler would grab another Williams Grove win later in the season plus one at his old stomping grounds, Hagerstown speedway. The highlight of his season was his second Hagerstown win of the season and his career 128th, at the venerable Maryland oval with an 18th to first romp in the Octoberfest 350. Even with the success the team has shared up to this point, car owner Paul Crowl has decided to call it quits as an owner, leaving Stuhler looking for options for 2011.
Two decades in the making- In a career that’s spanned more than two decades, Big Cove Tannery Pa.’s Frankie Plessinger is finally the Hagerstown speedway LM track champion. Finishing in the runner-up slot in the standings in 2009 by one point to eventual champion Roy Deese Jr., Plessinger had one goal for this season, the Hagerstown LM championship. Plessinger drove his familiar Rocket no.9 to one feature win this season and would eventually take the title by 93-markers over Alan Sagi.
Two “three-peater’s” at Potomac- Drama was the name of the game this season at Potomac. Charlotte Hall Md.’s David Williams drove his George Moreland owned Rocket no.24 to his record setting third straight LM title at the southern Maryland bull ring by four points over runner-up Dale Hollidge. The limited late model title struggle was equally as dramatic. Mechanicsville Md.’s Tommy Wagner Jr., in a Rocket chassis owned by Scott and Patti Thompson, also laid claim to his third straight Potomac crown. Oddly enough, both drivers came into their respective point finale’s second in the standings, and both would leave track champions.
Certainly not second best- Even though Dover Pa.’s Gene Knaub got much of the attention in Central Pa. 358 late model racing this season with his impressive season, Abottstown Pa.’s Bobby Beard was equally impressive in his own right. Beard collected nine overall feature wins this season aboard his Joe and Renita Seymore owned Rocket no.81S. Beard scored 4 at Williams Grove, 2 at Hesston (PA), 2 at Trail-Way (PA) and 1 at Lincoln (PA) speedways, where he was also point runner-up at Trail-Way, Lincoln and Williams Grove.
Action Jackson on the move- The nearly three-hour tow to Markleysburg Pa.’s Roaring Knob speedway was all worthwhile to Odenton Md.’s Keith Jackson. Chauffeuring a Rocket chassis owned by track promoter Rick Jones, Jackson responded nicely with a five-feature win campaign at the Knob with the car. Even with his success at Roaring Knob, the highlight of the youthful speed merchants season would have to be his second place feature effort at Williams Grove speedway during the speed week event which came over a field of 50 late models.
Maryland Clay Dirt
By Doug Watson
“What Do Fans Really Want?”
As the 2010 racing season has finally come to a close, area tracks seemed to thrive despite the lagging economic conditions. The drier than usual summertime conditions kept the gates open at most facilities offering race teams and fans alike a plethora of decisions as to where to spend their hard earned dollars every weekend.
Not only have I been a race fan since my father first walked me through the gates at the now defunct Dorsey (MD) speedway at the ripe old age of three, I have been a racetrack official at several area venues, for the past 22 years. Now enjoying my 41st year on this planet, I’ve seen racetracks come and go and have been afforded the opportunity to see some unique things along the way. Many fans nowadays, have formed some sort of opinion on how weekly show should be run. I just felt the time was right to share some opinions on weekly programs and to find out what fans really want.
Getting underway as advertised- Whether it be a Friday, Saturday or Sunday show, start times are critical. Seems like a lot of fans, and racers, travel a long distance to enjoy race programs only to get started late and finish late. A well formatted show with limited breaks in the action and competent officials is the first step in a well run show. Nine times out of ten, a happy fan will return to a facility with a well run show, despite the distance to get there.
How many classes should make-up a weekly program?- Three classes on Friday night’s and no more than four for Saturday show’s. Seems like a lot of promoters offer way to many “watered-down” classes that often look very similar leaving the first-time visitor very confused. Late models/limited late models, big-block/358 modifieds, 410/358 sprints all look the same. I’ve often been in the grandstands and hear people say, “weren’t these cars just out on the racetrack? I cant tell them apart.” Of course the diehards know various racecar classes inside and out, but we have to remember the first-timer. Shows that offer racing in six or seven divisions is just way too much. The shows become dreadfully long and people can lose interest quickly when the class they came to see is the fifth feature to be run and it’s now 10:30 and they have an hour and a half trip back home.
Traveling series, are they necessary?- Yes and no. From what I’ve heard series like the WoO, Lucas Oil, etc…are very expensive for promoters to have at their tracks. It’s a real gamble to schedule a race of this magnitude in February and anticipate the race’s running in June, only to have rain in the forecast for the date scheduled keeping fans and cars away. Then there’s the fans. Like them or hate them, the traveling series’ are usually a lot of fun. New faces and a ton of atmosphere make these shows a hit. However I’ve heard people say “Track X needs to have a big race to get some people in here. that’s what this place needs.” Only to complain about the ticket price to get in. I really don’t think promoters jack up admission prices intentionally for these shows, but they seem necessary to help cover the cost of the show.
Keep the kids coming- Without question, kids are the future of this sport. Most tracks these days have some sort of gimmick during the year that center around the kids. School bus rides, race car rides, bike races etc… keep kids enthused. Chances are, a memory will be made for a kid that they’ll never forget, and that will make that kid want mom and dad to take them to the races all the time.
A friendly staff and clean facility will go a long way- No doubt about it. A quote I live by is “you never get a second chance at a first impression.” From the ticket sellers to the race officials, treating fans to a quality show is what it’s all about. We have to remember fans pay their way into the front gate each week. Taking time to answer questions or just directing people in the right direction, will go a long way. Fans are not a burden to our jobs, but the reason for it. As far as the grounds itself, quite important as well. Clean restrooms, efficient concessions and an overall friendly atmosphere can make just about everyone happy, even when things don’t go as planned on race night.
Don’t forget the fans- This goes out to the racers. I think a lot of times race car drivers forget they are there to put on a show for the fans. I know first hand that racing in general in a game of emotion. Some drivers have really good nights, some really bad, but that’s the way it goes. Keeping emotions in check is sometimes hard to do, but on the other hand, fans don’t pay good money to see on-track antics that aren’t necessary. Last but not least, ALWAYS thank the fans if you are fortunate enough to win a feature. I’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of different racers throughout my years and most of them forget to thank the fans. Once again, they are the reason that we’re able to race every weekend.
In Summary- We have to remember that no racetrack is perfect. Running a racetrack is just like running any other business, things will go right, and things will go wrong. Starting times will get pushed back due to equipment failure, or mother nature herself. Feature number three of the five-feature program took longer than expected, etc.. Not every fan will leave happy. Despite our best efforts to run the most efficient show we can, with parity in what’s on the card, someone will find something wrong and that’s the plain truth. Promoters have to do the best they can to provide the paying fan with the best bang for their buck. Overall I feel very fortunate to be able to have the tracks we do in our area. From late models and 410 sprint cars to micro sprints and thundercars, The northeast quadrant of the country, in my opinion, is blessed to have the tracks that we have to choose from on a weekly basis.
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