Monday, July 28, 2008

Press release from Danny Dietrich

I have been contacted by Danny Dietrich in regards to the situations that happened at Lincoln Speedway this past weekend. Here is what the driver of the Racer's Used Auto Parts 88 has to say on what happened this past weekend.

Lincoln Speedway issues of July 26, 2008

As far as I’m concerned Saturday night was totally officiated wrong. Now I know things aren’t always perfect nor can they be in the world of racing, but Saturday was out of hand. There were some calls that were horrible, not just mine but the one in 410 features that may have cost the leader of that race a win also.

Many of you may not have been there or remember but Mr. Kohler cost me a win back in my rookie year at Lincoln speedway in this same manner. He is trying to get the leader past the line to score the lap. Regardless of what the rules state, if the leader goes past the line he will count that lap. I was coming out of turn four and someone had spun in 2, he waited until I entered turn 2 to throw the caution. The same instance happened to the leader Saturday night in the 410’s.

When there is a person in the racing groove, off the pace and a possible hazard that caution needs to come out ASAP! There is no excuse for either of those cars to have been torn up! And it happens EVERY week. I was trying to help the car that was the leader of that race back in the pit area and even though it was the flagman’s fault they never gave him anytime to fix it (it was a matter of changing a few radius rods and a header.) This call by the officiating was down right WRONG. This is a safety issue and also the reason we have these radios is for safety(Mr. Kohler was the one who made us all spend the hundred dollars for them and pushed for us to have them.)... makes me wonder why we have them now….

As per my incident, there was no jump according to the rule that is discussed every year, at the opening day drivers meeting on the starts and restarts. A car must stay in line (nose to tail) until the leaders are given the green flag. It was questioned, when the front row is given the green it don’t matter if your in the 12th row going into turn three or 6th row in the middle of the turn, when the green is flown you are allowed to pass high or low, regardless of where you are on the track. When the green is displayed the race is on. In this case when the green flew I pulled out of line (never pulled beside until the chalk line), and passed until the end of the straight away. That is legal. When the lap 18 caution came out they came across the radio saying I was to be behind the 25, and then changed to be behind the 16, and was told I was penalized for passing a row. This is completely wrong! If it was anything it should have been that I was penalized 2 spots for being out of line. Not 4! End of discussion.

As for the ordeal on the front stretch, if I offended anyone for the actions or words used, I apologize. I also want to say congrats to Aaron on his win. He may not have been the fastest car but he did what he had to do on the restart, to win the race.
I hope this clears some things up, but Lincoln has had issues for years with incidents like these. Until Lincoln takes actions with the 2 head flagmen we will continue with these issues, as we have been for years.
I hope everyone was happy with the racing Saturday night. That’s all I can ask for, and I’ll see everyone this Saturday. If all goes well I will be signing autographs for kids.

Thank You!
Danny Dietrich

Monday, July 14, 2008

A fans perspective

This past weekend i went to the races and decide to seek out 5 random fans and ask them their opinions on the racing scene here in Central PA. They where very forthright with their answers as they pertained to their feelings on everything from the driver of the 1/2 year, to what they would change if they ran a local short track.

With the economy the way it is, should local race tracks shortening the the racing schedule to help the race teams save a little money to make sure that we have full fields at all local race tracks ?

CRAIG - I don't think shortening the entire season would be all that heplful. The thing that hurts is the Keystone Cup, and Speedweek within a month of each other. I think if they want to keep the Keystone Cup they should spread it out over the course of the season. I would say one Keystone Cup race a month. One month Williams Grove host a race the following Month Lincoln and so forth. It would be more fan and Race team friendly that way. It gives the teams that bent stuff up more time to recoupe their losses.

MIKE - No...They are not forced to show up in the first place...

Mark - Rather than attempt to sue the Arabs for not drilling enough oil, we need to address the lack of domestic drilling to take step one toward solving the supply issue with our own supply. When fuel prices stabilize the overall economy will improve. The national economy is growing, albeit it slowly (1% revised numbers for Q1 -08). the local economy still has low unemployment compared to other regions of the country.

Johnny - I think there are too many races. The season should not start until April 1st. It would be nice if the tracks would work together and spread the 410's around. It would mean that all 3 would have to sacrifice some races and to stop running head to head as much.

Dave - Yes, If things stay the way of rising costs outside of racing, id shorten the season, cut out some midweek shows.

This year we have seen quite a few young drivers stepping up their game and win races and lead the points. Who do you think is the next 410 or 358 driver to step up to that next level ?

CRAIG - That's a tough one to answer because there are quite a few Young Guys out there that have the potentail of becoming the next Fred, Lance, Donnie or Kauffman. Cody Darrah, Arron Ott, Pat Cannon, Alan Krimes,and Brian Leppo just to name a few.

MIKE - Pat Cannon...

Mark - Darrah and Cannon are the 2008 standouts thus far.

Johnny - I unfortunately don't follow the 358/305/sportsman scene very closely... years ago i could answer this better. Obviously Pat Cannon had caught every one's eye ... but he is running very good equipment at every race.

Dave - Pat Cannon I'm sure is a safe bet for the 410's, John Westbrook once he settles down could be a good one.

What are your thought's on the whole track photographer vs. press photographer mess that is happening right now in local racing ?

CRAIG -Don't have a thought on that seeing how it was all a Bunch of Hog Wash.

MIKE - I don't have enough information on the subject to formulate an opinion....Sorry...

Mark - Pissing around with who has the "exclusive" right to push a button on a digital capture device only shows how backward thinking the old guard is. If hobbyists have better equipment than the "pros" - how can they claim with a straight face that they are protecting their investment? I have a recording studio in my basement with thousands of $ in equipment - used for fun and recreation only and it makes me laugh when a guy with a G4, a disc of pirated software and a $200 microphone starts talking about charging $ for their services!
track management should focus on:
A- prepare a quality racing surface
B- keep the grounds and facilities clean and presentable
C- eliminate down time, start time / end time
D- promotion in the local press
E- remember that they can't afford to pay for cool photos all over the internet but others will put them there free of charge.

Johnny - I have no clue what is going on. I know many years ago that the "track guys" didn't like people snapping victory lane shots.

Dave - Any picture taken and posted on a board, could possibly attract new fans, which is A good thing.

Is the racing as bad at Williams Grove Speedway this year as it seems on paper, or are the lower budget teams getting that much better ?

CRAIG - The lower budget teams are getting faster. With the implemented tire rule and the handicapping the playing field is leveled.

MIKE - The racing has been less than stellar but, the atmosphere is second to none...

Mark - Not sure how it looks on paper ($?), but it sure is tough to get to the front from 12th these days.

Johnny - I think it is a combination of teams evening out and the tire deal.The track surface is lending to some front row winning results too. It is probably good for racing.... but it is bad if your favorite is victimized a lot.

Dave - NO, the racing is fine, too many people only look at the feature for good or bad racing. The heats last couple of weeks in both 358' & 410's have been pretty wild, lots of passing and wild slide jobs just to get handicapped. However the heavy hitters have to race hard only to consistently start 10th 11th etc, while some teams good or bad play the game well to get a good starting position and pretty much winning from the first 2 rows.

There is a rumbling in the pits again about some teams complaining about the handicapping system. Should the local tracks change the format to suite those teams, or should they keep it the way it is so that lower budget teams still have a shot at making some good money with a win ?

CRAIG - If is isn't broke don't fix it.

Unhook the tractors and keep the handicapping the way it is...

Mark - I would have no problem with an extra TT show once a month at the tracks, but the regular format does provide for some hard racing in the heats which would otherwise be boring for the fans.

Johnny - I agree with handicapping with regard to money won. Again, I think the tire rule inhibits the starters in the rear. Some of the heats are also loaded with good cars and some are cakewalks for the back starters.... it varies .

Dave - I think #5 was answered in question #4, but what do I know. When you look at the point standings, you always scream the #2 point man starts in front of the #5. Makes you crazy trying to figure it out certain evenings.

What rule change do you think needs to happen to keep the sport moving forward?

CRAIG - Keep the one tire rule, but teams should be able to run whatever tire manufacture they choose as long as they fit Size and compounds set fourth in the rules.

MIKE - Remove the wings...They don't run in the rain so why have a roof on the Tractors?...

Mark - Get rid of the unspoken rule that our local rules must line up with the failing traveling series just because they need to race here 6 nights a year. They need 410 tracks to race on and our 410 scene is in better shape than parts unknown. If the health of 410 racing is to be judged from the "top" down - we could expect the local tracks to spend themselves into penny stock status right along side these fools.

Johnny - Bring back the big blocks.

Dave - Engine rules to lower the cost. Base our rules for our drivers, not a series that runs only runs 2-3 times a year.

If you where a promoter what would you do to make the experience better for the family that works all week and still wants to come to the races every week ?

CRAIG - I would add some Fan appreciation nights. I would also not charge admission to anyone under 16.

MIKE - Children under 12 and Dogs of all ages would be FREE!...

Mark - This will not please some folks, but the screwing around / wrecking associated with support divisions is not good for the image of 410 racing when you bring new folks to the track. Rough riding is also a concern. When i was a kid, the black flag was used several times a month to remind drivers that the "sport" needs sportsmanship to keep it a cut above a high speed demo derby. Get out the black flag and use it when a car is taken out. This is not a court of law...other sport officials call fouls and penalties all the time.

Johnny - I still think they have to do something to lure the younger fans into the tracks... solution.... I don't know. It is the same story in many other things right now!

Dave - Think of some family discounts to attract more family's to the races. Don't drag out shows all evening. Easier said then done I know.

Do you think the promoters in this area should join the rest of the country and switch from 358's to running 360's ?

CRAIG - Hell NO.... Again if it isn't broke don't fix it. Here in Pa we have a Very strong field of 358's 30 to 40 cars in the pits at two different tracks on the same night. I've heard that it costs almost as much to run a 360 as it does to run a 410 power plant wise. So no keep the 358's.

MIKE - No...Beer, Friends and 360's doesn't sound right...Not at all...

Mark - As a fan, a limited engine is a limited engine - pick a number and it is still a limited engine. Please get rid of those idiotic offset wings. If the rule is a smaller wing than the 410, you can at least line up the Damn side panels.

Johnny - 358's are just fine it seems.... There are plenty to go around.

Dave - I think we are just fine with 358's, the cost to buy new equipment would drive some out of racing id imagine.

With many of the top drivers not getting any younger, how long do do you think guys like Fred,Kieth ,Donnie, or Todd can keep going and winning at this level?

CRAIG - For awhile yet. Look at Jim Kennedy and Smokey Snellbaker those guys are older than dirt, but can still win races. They will be winning race as long as Body, and mind stay sharp.

MIKE - For as long as the desire is there, they will continue to win...

Mark - We have a fine group of active veterans these days..I am glad they are still interested in racing. In 5 years we may be saying the same things about 4 other guys.

Johnny - This is a good question. When i was a kid.... a 40 year old was an ancient driver. I think Johnny Grum,Mitch Smith, and Ed Spencer broke this myth. Smokey hes definitely showed that old boys can still compete at some level. I think KK is about done. Rahmer isn't far behind. The other two should be OK for a few more years. It all depends upon their success.

Dave - Experience will keep those drivers winning. When we start seeing some younger drivers win from rows 5 & 6 on a weekly bases, then we will have a changing of the guard. It hasn't happened yet.

Please pick your driver of the 1/2 year and why did you pick him?

CRAIG - Fred Rahmer, and not because I am a Die- Hard Rahmer fan. What can you say he is on a roll. He has 11 wins on the season. He's time trialling better than he ever has, has a lot of determination to win, and seems to be the only guy who can win from somewhere other than the First 3 rows.

MIKE - Fred "Freakin" Rahmer...I picked Him because He's Fred "Freakin" Rahmer!... Nuff said!...

Mark - Cannon - Park the 358 and prepare for the future of 410 racing.

Johnny - I have to stay with my driver .... I think Mark Smith is still one of the best out there. He needs a deal where he can relax and drive ....Zemco wasn't it.

Dave - My 358 driver, real easy Pat Cannon. 410 driver gotta go with Brian Leppo, he seems to be getting more consistent on driving from the back to get to the front.... See number

I would like to say once again thank you to CRAIG, Mike,Mark,Johnny,and Dave for taking the time to speak with me this past week and sharing their thought's on the local racing scene.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Interview with Ron Aurand

Today Central PA Racing Scene has the privilege of interviewing 21 year old driver Ron Aurand. Ron drives in the 305 division here in Central PA. Ron is a full time collage student from Lewistown PA who drives a family owned sprint car for his girlfriend's father. As you will read in the interview, Ron and family are what racing is all about, having fun with the family when they are at the race track.

Central pa racing scene - How did you get your start in sprint car racing?

Ron Aurand - I have always been a huge sprint car fan. Actually my very first day out of the hospital, when i was born my dad had me at Williamsgrove Speedway. So its always been my passion my entire life to be around sprint car racing. My girlfriend became a huge sprint car fan when a few of my friends and I took her to a speedweek race. So she told her dad to come with us one night to Williamsgrove and he fell in love with it. Next thing i knew he bought a micro for me to race. After about a 1.5 years of micro racing we decided it was time to step up to a full size sprint car. We barely can afford to put fuel in the car every week, however we have made sure its a family team and strictly for fun. So we felt that a 305 would be best for us. Its a series for a working mans budget. So last season i ran 2 races in the 305's and this season that is all I am running. We are running a limited schedule due to our financial budget.

CPRS - So how did you do running micro sprints ?

Ron -
My first year was very frustrating because we were so new to micro's and had to idea what to really do when it came to jetting and gearing things. My second year we had a lot of fun running at clinton county with the Interstate Micro Sprints. We had to run a limited schedule however almost every race we ran was a top 5.

CPRS - Who all helped the most with the learning curve? Were the other drivers helpful when it came to a rookie in the pits?

Ron -I would have to say Nathan Gramley was a huge help since he has a racing past in micro's and is now running 305's. Ron Utt and David Utt also were there to help us as much as they could when it came to the micro. As far as being a rookie in the 305's...Nathan Gramley, Daryl Stimeling, Tim Kline,Kyle Pruitt, and Andy Haus are always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to help with set ups and other learning curves.

CPRS - So after a year and a half in micro's why the decision to move up to the 305's instead of getting more experience in the micro's ?

Ron - We felt that the micro was a good step in the door but the best way for me to gain experience was to be behind the wheel of a full size sprint car. A micro is a great learning experience however they dont handle like a full size sprint car and we felt the best way to learn was to just get in one and give it a try. Most race teams can get an entire season or more out of a 305 motor without really doing to much rebuilding. They also pay a lot more to take the green flag and we thought it would be more cost effective for us. It has always been a dream of mine to race a full size sprint and Rob Grassmyer (car owner/girlfriends dad) gave me that chance.

CPRS - So how much of a learning curve was there?

Ron - They are definitely different feelings and experiences. I love that i don't have to shift anymore lol that makes it really nice. In the micro i had to drive with one hand and shift with the other pretty much. In the sprint car i have both hands on the wheel at all times so its a lot easier to steer but the horsepower is totally different. Sprint cars flex and do so many different things that a micro doesn't.

CPRS - You said you run on a tight budget. How hard is it running a car on such a tight budget? With the economy the way it is, it can't be getting any easier to race?

Ron - Its extremely hard. Sometimes i get a little hesitant when it comes to making a risky pass on a car at first for fear of breaking something. We actually don't have any spares at all. Everything we own is on our car. It makes it really enjoyable and i get a huge sense of pride when it comes to riding in the truck hauling our open trailer to the races because everyone can see the car when we are hauling it. It also gives a little more exposure for the sponsors that we do have. With the rising costs of fuel right now and gas we are doing everything we can to scrape together enough money to just buy fuel.

This kinda makes me laugh but last Saturday we got enough money to buy our very first brand new tire and i was so excited that we had a new tire on our car that no one else ever used lol.

CPRS - You mentioned your sponsors. Who all helps sponsor the race team ?

Ron - My car owner Rob Grassmyer (Grassmyers Excavating), Scott Baylor (STB Performance), Jim Mack(a close friend of mine),
Andrew Simonetti (Close Friend, volunteers his time when he is not away for army training)
Health @ Hand and i take care of our website (Ron Aurand Web Design)

CPRS - Who all helps on the car?

Ron - My Dad "Duff" Aurand and Rob Grassmyer are the set up guys and my girlfriend Ashley takes care of scraping mud and anything anyone else needs. Her mom Pam helps with whatever Ashley needs help with. My friend Andrew "Simo" Simonetti helps me with weekly upkeep when he is not defending our country and my friend Sean Fluke helps with weekly upkeep when he is not working. Matt Carter helps out with anything needed when he is not working.

CPRS - What are your goals in the sport? Would you like to run a bigger schedule or maybe try your hand at 410 or 358 racing, or are you content to race 305's with your family?

Ron -I would love to run a 410 or 358. I would have to say tho my biggest goal is to run USAC but i would really like to have my family and everyone that has helped me with my racing career be part of it. As far as my goals right now in the 305, I would really like to be able to run more races to get more experience so i have a better chance to drive a 358 or 410.

CPRS- How can fans or potential sponsors contact you?

Ron -You can drop by my trailer at the races. I am always happy to talk racing with anyone. My cell number is 717-348-9202 and my email is You can also stay updated on our team at . I would also like to thank you Bill for giving me the opportunity to speak with you tonight. Make sure to stop by our trailer anytime you are at the races.

Good luck to Ron the rest of this racing season. Ron and his family are just what this sport is all about, and that is trying to live a dream by becoming a sprint car driver. With more family's like this in racing across the country not just in Central PA, the sport of short track racing is safe for future generations. photo courtesy of Gregg Obst.