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Monday, June 08, 2015

My thoughts on a racing weekend gone by .....6/7/15

Well folks another weekend of great racing action has passed us by. This week saw some strange, some awesome, and some down right great things in our area.

First things first I want to  say THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in Thursday night to catch my interview's with Bob Miller and 410 driver Tim Wagaman. Because of you we set a new record for the most listened to show of all time not only on Slingin Dirt but for all time on Blog Talk Radio. The people at Slicks and Sticks have some pretty cool things coming for all the fans, so keep an eye out for some major announcements coming in the very near future. 1 thing I can let you all in on is, Slicks and Sticks will be using Periscope to bring you even more racing action. I will be jumping on the app about 15 min or so after the checkered flag drops to give you a live update on how the nights racing action was from my perspective. I will be jumping on after the sprint features from Trail Way, Williams Grove, Lincoln or any other speedway I get to the rest of 2015 to engage with the fans and give them just a little bit more of my feelings and thoughts on the local racing action. We are going to try and work with race tracks in our area to bring you some behind the scenes action, and just maybe some live racing (for a lap or 2 only) and possibly  some victory lane celebrations from all the local race tracks. It will be just another way Slicks and Sticks along with Central PA Racing Scene will lead the charge in local racing coverage for you the fans here in Central PA.

The week started on Tuesday with a rain out at Grandview Speedway. Wednesday started out pretty strange as the USAC even scheduled for Lincoln Speedway was cancelled even though not a drop of rain was felt. Bob Miller the promoter has gone on record saying he made a mistake by cancelling the show, but just in case you missed it (and from the numbers not many of you have)  you can check out my interview I conducted with Mr. Miller on the Slicks and Sticks Slingin Dirt radio show from Thursday's Slingin Dirt at that link. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the interview.

My family as well as a lot of friends took the "Sun Out" and decided to take the 2 hr trip to Kutztown Pa and check out the Action Track USA, which host wingless SpeedSTR'S, wingless 600 Micro's and slingshots. The action was great on the small track. It was by far the smallest race track I have ever witnessed racing on. My wife who is probably the harshest person I know when it comes to going and seeing races she knows nothing about, had an absolute great time. The 600 micro's put on the best racing of the night, and I dare say should be the headliner at the track. While the SpeedSTR'S are the main focus at the track, the track might be just a tad to small for them to race on. A lot of cautions filled the 40 lap feature. My 8 year old son even made the comment that the only make it 1 lap before the yellow lights come back on. They definitely  like to beat and bang off of each other, while the 600's just pull slider after slider and gave the fans an awesome race to watch. 121 cars pit-side for the event was by far the most cars I have seen at a track so far in 2015. All in all it was a great night of racing, and if you have never been to the Action Track USA you need to make a visit. You can check out their web site Action Track USA and get directions to watch some of the best racing you will ever see.

Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway the 410's where accompanied by the United Racing Club for their first trip to the historic half mile in 2015. Was great to see Donnie Krietz Jr. make it to victory lane just 1 week after being inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Steve Buckwalter was definitely the show Friday night as he would lead the 410 feature only to loose the lead back to Krietz and end up 2nd.  Lucas Wolfe, Aaron Ott and Lance Dewease would round out the top 5.

In the URC feature Buckwalter would once again find the lead only to loose it with 2 laps to go to the eventual winner Curt Michael. Steve would fall to third in the final run down after being passed by Michael and Mark Smith in a daring 3 wide pass for the lead. Ott would end up with another 4th place finish while Larry Kelleher rounded out the top 5.

I don't know about anyone else but Aaron Ott has shown two broken necks has not slowed down the youngster. He is having a career year in his family owned yellow 25. After 2 years in the famous red Hamilton 77 which wielded a win at Lincoln Speedway, Ott has been mainly a great 360 driver winning 3 races last year in the 360 division. Ott is the front runner for Comback Driver of the year here in Central PA.

Down at Trail Way Speedway David Holbrook showed he might be a rookie in the 358 division but he knows his way around the bullring. After posting 2 top 5's and 5 top 10's to start the season, he made the most of Cody Fletchers mistake and won his first career 358 feature event. He won it by only holding of the most successful driver EVER at Trail Way Speedway Brad McClelland. Dwight Leppo, Isaac Sneeringer, and Seth Kearchner would round out the top 5.

Saturday night down at Lincoln Speedway the 410's would have their Dirt Classic Qualifier for the Kasey Kahne Classic scheduled for September. TT ruled the roost and no surprise here but Lucas Wolfe would set fast time, and even set a new track record in the process. He not only set a new record but beat the pre weight rule record. Now thats bad fast ladies and Gentleman. Lucas would come out 2nd for TT and nobody would get close to his speed as the track died off big time as the cars came out for their timed laps. That my fine folks is just one of the reasons I hate TT, but a good friend of mine and a race director himself passed along something that I'm going to share with you all in a bit. He might have found a way to get rid of those damn TT forever, and he makes a great case why. But more on that in a bit.

The 35 lap feature was set by passing point's (yeah I know can we try and cram 5 different formats into 1 damn show) which saw the fastest cars start last in their heat race. Guess what folks? It didn't matter. Not much passing happened in the heat races. The problem with passing points is nobody in the stands can understand them, or how they work, or who did what. You have to hope the guys in the tower get it right because nobody else has any idea who is what.

Danny Dietrich would pick up his 5th win of the season and punch his golden ticket to big $20,000 to win event later this season. Hard luck award of the night goes to Kyle Moody who looked great leading the first half of the race before doing a 360 in turn 4 after loosing the lead, and then getting caught up in a wreck with a spinning lapped car 1 corner later. Stevie Smith would follow closely behind Dietrich the last half of the race but he couldn't get close enough to mount any type of challenge to Dietrich. Aaron Ott would score his third top 5 of the weekend coming home in 3rd, Brian Montieth and Lucas Wolfe would round out the top 5.

The 358 feature looked to be snoozfest at the start of their 20 lap feature. Ryan Higgins would jump out to a big lead and hold it till turn 3 on the last corner when the Central PA 358 Point Series presented by Capitol Renegade point leader Doug Hammaker would storm into the lead with the winning pass. Hammaker, Kevin Nouse, Jeff Rohrbaugh, and Adrian Shaffer would be the show of the race, all coming from deep in the field, battling for position mid pack. Shaffer would do a 360 and keep going but he fell from 2nd to 6th in the final rundown. Kevin Nouse would end up third with Cody Fletcher coming home in 4th after flipping out of the lead Friday night. Tyler Esh would come home with a season best 5th place finish.

Now onto the debate about the TT format and what if anything needs to be changed. I received an email yesterday from the race director of the Sidewinder sprint cars, explaining why he thinks Time Trials need to go the way of the dinosaurs. Here is his reasoning for the change and how he thinks we should be running bigger sprint car shows in Central PA....

G’day Bill,


After watching racing for the last 30 years in two continents, and watching the changes in cars , fans and technology changing the paradigm of entertainment and how society is “over stimulated” with media that is changing their perception of entertainment it is becoming obvious that racing formats need to be updated to keep crowds entertained and thus coming back.

Thus I have spoken to many about formats, and how we can create something that will be fair for the race teams and entertaining for the fans.

For what it’s worth, I would like to submit this format for discussion!

Here is a brief overview for your dissection.


NO TIME TRAILS !

Pill draw lines up the heat races.

Cars get one heat broken into two segments of 7 laps each! (This can be modified based on size of track and for car count for each heat)

Heat race segments are only 7 laps. Cars stay on the track at the checkers  of the first  segment and line back up under caution inverted from the original segment line up for the 2nd segment. This is the key to making a successful transition from the status quo to something more entertaining for the fans. It also provides a natural double file restart at the start of the 2nd segment to help keep cars bunched up and racing/passing/entertaining fans. Finish positions points from the matrix count in both segments to give you a total qualifying points that determines feature lineups.

This way it’s not a big time waster and the gen “x” people are not bored as we limit downtime between heats / segments (cars remain in the track)

Obvious tactics come into play for the teams with car setup ( do you compromise for both segments or try to setup to get the most points with your furthest back start?)

14 laps on you engine for qualifications ( if this becomes a concern , cut it back to 6 lap heat segments and the 12 laps total will be the same as 2 laps TT and 10 lap heat)


Attached matrix points total in each heat race  segment  lines up the feature.

You will notice I set it up the same as our format (Sidewinders) with passes counting for more points than what you lose by being passed to reward those cars that pass cars (entertain the fans) more than those that block and try to save position) Passes at the front are worth more than passes at the rear. Being passed at the front loses more than passes at the rear.

In the event of drivers on the same points after the heat races, the original pill draw is the decider, with lowest pill providing the only “luck” in the entire event. ( and it should only be 1-2 positions as the variables in the matrix limit the amount of duplication)

For weekly handicap racing the feature could still be inverted based on weekly points / $$ earned for the top 12 A main qualifiers.

For special races, I would not invert anything. Having kids draw pills  or an invert lessens the value of a good heat race performance and makes the racing more of a novelty event where luck decides the outcome.


Easy, quick and fair for the teams!! Nonstop entertainment for the fans!!


Another by product , this also eliminates the “2nd round” of hot laps for the first group(s) of cars nonsense as seen on outlaw type formats that really burn out the track early in an attempt to provide them with a “closer” feel to what the TT track will be like.

Most importantly, it totally eliminates the track changing during TT that often provides the results for the entire night and the track prep will NOT have to based on trying to “equalize” the surface for time trials which leads to a burnt out track later in the night when its most important for the entertainment of the fans (A Main)


If you decide that this is something that you would like to discuss in further detail, please let me know.

Regards,
 
Rohan

So what do you all think? Do you all like the idea? Have any thoughts on what you think they should do if anything to change the format? Let me know what you think, you can tweet me @BillMcIntyreIII or even tweet Rohan and let us know how you feel. You can also let a comment in the comment section of this very article.

This coming weekend we have the UNOH All Stars invading the area for the second time this season. Friday night they are at Williams Grove Speedway along with the PASS 305 sprinters. Saturday night they make the trip to Lincoln Speedway along with the 358 sprinters. At Port Royal they will be having their Fan Appreciation night with a $10 General Admission to see the 410's along with the PASS 305'S and Late Models.

Sunday Susquehanna Speedway will host the 410's and 358 sprints in a great sprint car double header.

I will see everyone Friday night at Williams Grove and just maybe Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway.

Until then I hope your work week goes quick, your beer is ice cold (with a little dirt on top), and the racing action is red hot.
 

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