Tuesday, September 08, 2015

My Thoughts on a racing weekend gone by.....

Hello and welcome back to another edition of my ramblings called My Thoughts On A Racing Weekend Gone By and I could end this column right here by saying just two words.... "HOLY SH!T !!!!!!" but that wouldn't be any fun now would it?

Friday night, Williams Grove Speedway saw the Joey Chitwood Thrill Show as the main attraction....Wait a minute...what was that you just said? That wasn't a thrill show? You mean that wrecked filled demolition derby was actually the 410 feature? Oh snap my bad. Williams Grove Speedway held the 33rd annual Jack Gun Memorial for the 410 sprinters, and held it under Australian rules and I don't know about you but that sounds like a WWE match held at Wrestlemania, but I digress....

The wreck filled feature was lined up by, get this folks... Time Trials, two sets of heat races, a dash. Now, I don't know about some of you; but that sure sounds like a lot of laps to just to see who gets to start on the pole. Maybe it's just me but do we really need to watch all that to see a feature? What ever happened to K.I.S.S.? You know Keep It Simple Stupid? Why do we need to add more laps onto the drivers engines, keep people in the stands completely in the dark on who has qualified for a feature, or where anyone starts until the track announces it? Why some promoters continue to try and reinvent the wheel I will never know, but hey that's just me.

Aaron Ott would pick up his 3rd win of the season in a long wreck filled quagmire that had the fans in an uproar as well as being relieved to see the checkered flag wave. It's good to see Ott get another win as the 410 comeback driver of the year in 2015 showed everyone once again of the talent that he showed a few years ago when he was winning races in his familiar yellow 25. Couldn't happen to a better young man.

Nice to see Lance Dewease pick up another solid 2nd place finish and I wonder how many people have been watching that purple 14 car here of late, as Lance has been getting that Dietz 14 car dialed in at just the right time. The biggest month of money in Central PA is about to start next Saturday night at his home race track of Port Royal Speedway. I would not be surprised to see Lance back in Victory Lane before the end of the season.

Down at Trail Way Speedway the G.O.A.T. does what the G.O.A.T. does, he won another race. Brad McClelland picked up his 8th feature win of the season, and 48th career 358 feature win of his career after an hour and 40 minute rain delay. Brad would once again get the pole for the 25 lap feature and run away with another win. Major props to the owners of Trail Way Speedway for getting the show in Friday night. It rained hard as hell 10 minutes from the track here in Mcsherrystown, to the point where the streets where flooded, and yet never received a drop of rain until lap 13 of the feature event. With a season high 18 cars on hand, they could have called the race official when it was red flagged, but Trail Way stuck out the rain, and showed the race teams, and the race fans that they would do everything they can to get their shows in and not cancel at the first chance. That is a major turn around from a few years ago and Perry and Brad deserve a big pat on the back for doing that. They continue to do everything they can to attract race teams, and with their big Fall Championship race this coming Friday night paying $2,000 to win, I hope the race teams show some love back.

Saturday night was absolutely crazy....

At Lincoln Speedway, I saw the best 410 I have seen all season long with the top 4 under a blanket going into turn 1 on the last lap, and the one driver you thought didn't have a chance made the not only smart but just plain awesome move to come from 4th to 1st in one lap. Freddie Rahmer Jr. would pick up his 1st career 410 feature event just one week removed from his twin brother picking up his 1st career feature win. But it wasn't easy. Billy Dietrich would lead 24 laps of the 25 lap thriller as the racing behind him was some of the best racing I have seen at Lincoln Speedway this year. Freddie Rahmer would make his way through the field and challenge Bill only to have both of them caught by Mr. 5 time "The Edge" Brian Montieth and "The Whole Darn Show" Danny Dietrich with two laps to go. Going into turn 1 on the last lap, Dietrich and Montieth would both go high to get a run on the cushion, only to almost take each other out which then left the bottom open for Freddie who would get a great run off of turn 4 for the widely popular first victory.

The 358 feature saw 17 year old Matt Campbell pick up his 3rd feature win of 2015. Campbell would get the pole and lead all 20 laps in night two of the TW/Lincoln Speedway shootout. The big news coming out of Saturday nights 358 feature event was Doug Hammaker has a 5 point lead over Campbell going into the final point race of the season next Saturday night. This is surely going to be an epic battle between the two drivers and marking one of the closest points battles in the series at Lincoln.

At Port Royal Speedway, Dave Ely would start 3rd in the 25 lap feature which kicked off Fair week at "The Speed Palace" and grab his first win of the season over Ryan Taylor, who has had an up and down season, Greg Hodnett, Aaron Ott and Brent Marks. 

Sunday night saw everyone in Central PA back at Williams Grove Speedway for the Billy Kimmel Memorial honoring the late driver who lost his life at the track. And what a way to honor Billy then to have the car lettered up to look like his then to have it lead the first 22 laps of the feature. Rodney Westhafer would take off from the front row and looked to be in control of the 25 lap feature, but with a few laps to go you could hear the car didn't sound to good, and it allowed Cory Haas to finally find victory lane for the first time in 2015. Cory would take the lead and then cruise to the win over Lance Dewease (yes folks thats two 2nd place finishes at the Grove this week) Greg Hodnett, Brian Montieth, and a fading Westhafer.

The night was far from over folks.....

The 358 feature was the final race in the four race Nouse Signs and Graphics 358 Summer Series and what a finale it was folks. It would only take 8 laps for Kevin Nouse to take the lead from Matt Findley from his 10th starting spot in the 25 lap feature and looked to be on his way to his first 358 victory of the season when disaster struck in turns 1 and 2 on a lap 15 restart. Second place running and Saturday night winner, Matt Campbell attempted a slide job and did not come close to clearing Nouse, making contact with Nouse and sending the driver into a flip that saw him not only clear the turn two guardrail but also take out a billboard in the process. Nouse who was not happy about the contact would let the youngster know how he felt after climbing  out of his destroyed race car. The race would continue with Findley re-assuming the lead with 11th starting Chase Dietz right behind in 2nd place. Dietz would waste no time taking the lead and would go on to win his 3rd feature of the season at Williams Grove Speedway over Hammaker, Adrian Shaffer, Findley, and Eric Parker. Shout out to Eric Parker on a strong run on Sunday as it marked the first time he has brought his 358 to the Grove after finishing his season at Selinsgrove. 

I made a big deal a few weeks ago about Doug Hammaker's race to history by trying to be the first 358 driver to win four different championships in one season, well how bout this little tidbit folks, Doug has already clenched two different championships, one of which I didn't even think he would try and win. Not only did Doug win the four race Nouse Sign's and Graphics 358 Summer Series, he also won the Trail Way/ Lincoln 358 shootout this weekend. Now comes the hard part for the son of "The Godfather", Doug has a 5 point lead over Matt Campbell at Lincoln Speedway going into this coming weekends final point race for the division, but is a dog fight with Chase Dietz for the 358 championship at Williams Grove Speedway. Doug is now 20 points behind Chase in the fight for their first championship at the historic race track. The final points race will be on September 25th, so the next two weeks are going to be fun to see who is going to claim the track championships at both the tracks. Will it be Doug Hammaker who walks away with both track championships? Or will he split them with either Matt Campbell or Chase Dietz?

And BTW in case you aren't paying attention the oldest of the 3 drivers vying for the two track championships is only 25 years old, and two of them are still under the age of 20. Remember what I was saying the past two years about the future of our sport?

Sunday at Port Royal Speedway Brent Marks finally found victory lane for the first time in 2015. Who would have thought it would take to Labor Day weekend for Brent Marks and Cory Haas to visit victory lane? I would have bet money both of them would have multiple wins by now, especially Marks. But if history is any indicator Marks is just getting started. Watch for the 19m to go on a hot streak here at the end of the racing season.

What might be a case of to little to late Dylan Cisney   has beat the points leader at Port Royal Speedway Lucas Wolfe two weeks in a row to cut into his point lead. Can Cisney the hometown kid make up enough ground this weekend to steal away the championship? He is only 145 points back with so anything is possible if Cisney puts together a dream weekend.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about the lap 15 incident between Kevin Nouse and Matt Campbell that saw Campbell throw a slider on Kevin and not come close and ending with Nouse going for a ride through the turn 2 billboards. Now Kevin was upset and rightfully so, he was leading the feature and looked to be on his way to his first 358 victory of the season after an incredible 10 win season last year, but was taken out by a slider gone bad. After watching everything go down last night and thinking about it on the ride home I started to think about some of the other times I have seen this type of thing happen. This was not the first time these two drivers have had issues with each other in the past month. At Lincoln Speedway on night 3 of the Summer Series Campbel made contact with Nouse racing for the last transfer sport in their heat, and I can tell you Kevin was nun to pleased with it because after he tookthe checkers befre he even made it to the pits, he was already taking his belts off  but back to the slider on Sunday night, This was not the first time I have seen a slider go bad and end with a car ball parked on the outside of a corner at a race track. The first one that came to mind was Fall Fest back in 2007 I believe (hey I'm getting old folks). I was sitting in the grandstands with my entire family that night as Gerard McIntyre was running 2nd in the 20 lap 358 feature event when on lap 3 Cory Haas (yes the same Cory Haas that won the 410 feature Sunday night) tried a slider exiting turn 4 and didn't come close to clearing G Mac and punted him clear out of the track, where he ended up almost out to the trees. McIntyre was not happy with the incident and would exit the car and climb back onto the track faster then he exited it looking for Haas. Then I remembered the incident between Doug Esh and Adam Wilt; where Doug tried a slider in turns 3 & 4 and once again would not come close to clearing him and would ball park Wilt. I can still remember the crowd's reaction to Doug while he stood in victory lane and the boos and other choice words that were showering down on him. The other thing I remember was Doug's reaction to the fans and going full on heel when they where booing him, all but begging the fans to give him more. Then I remembered Fred Rahmer trying a slider in turn 1 on a restart of a Thursday night speed week show at Williams Grove. I forget who the other driver was but I do remember both cars going going tumbling over the turn 1 wall. Then a big one came to mind...Fall Fest at Williams Grove Speedway and a slider gone bad thrown by Kevin Nouse on Eric Tomecek who was driving the Westbrook 1w 358. Eric would be ball parked that night and Kevin would go on to win the race. I can still remember watching John ride his wheelchair out onto the front stretch to get himself a piece of Kevin after the wreck.

Now what do they all have in common other then slide jobs gone bad? It was a racing deal. Every damn single one of them. Now that's not to say any driver who is the recipient of said slider not having the right to be pissed off about being wrecked, but every driver knows if they are in the sport long enough, they will end up on both ends of the slide job gone bad. One time they will be the one doing the sliding, and the next they will be doing the JOB over the guard rail. It's going to happen, they all know it. It's part of the sport. But I guarantee you there is not one driver that has tried a slider with the intentions of taking the other guy out and wrecking him. I don't think Matt was trying to take Kevin out last night, anymore then I think Cory was trying to take out my little cousin that night in turn 4 at Williams Grove. It's an unintended consequence of racing in the 21st century. What bothers me more then anything, was I was on social media last night and saw a winning 358 driver blaming Campbell for intentionally causing the wreck and calling Matt a dangerous driver. Guess this driver is one lucky guy to have never been involved in something like this on either end of it. He of all people should know better but I guess even they are not immune to  racing fever. All I'm saying is remember folks, before you start screaming curse words at a driver next week for an incident on the track, that both drivers have probably been on both sides of the equation, and more then likely was just a racing incident.

Now next weekend is the start of Central Pa' month of money. Friday and Saturday night the 410's will be in action at Port Royal Speedway and the Tuscarora 50. $10,000 to win for the ASCoC sanctioned event. If you have never been to a race during fair week, take the best ride to a race track in the area, and take a extra big pair of pants, because the food up there is just.......UNBELIEVABLE

Friday night the 358 division will be at Trail Way Speedway for the final race of the 2015 racing season. The $2,000 to win Trone Outdoor 358 Championship will be on tap.

Saturday night the 358's make their way to Lincoln Speedway for the final points race for the division in 2015, while the 360's will be on tap at Selinsgrove Speedway for their final points race on 2015.

Well that's it for this week folks. Hope you all enjoyed the big 4 day race weekend. Congratulations once again to all the winners. Lets hope this week goes extra fast so we can all get back to the race track Friday night. As always I hope the weather stays nice and warm for you, while your beverage of choice stays ice cold, and your racing action no matter where you see a race stays red hot. See you all at the races in just 3 days.

©Bill McIntyre III and Central PA Racing Scene 2015

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