Sunday, May 03, 2015

Thoughts on a racing weekend gone by 5/3/15

Well here we are again folks another racing weekend almost over, and what a beautiful weekend it was. Mother nature decided to allow us to thaw out after last weekends freezing temperatures and gave a us warm sunny skies. The fans in Central PA where treated to some great racing action at all of our are speedways, and 1 driver just plain put his stamp on who he thinks is the best driver in the area, even if his car owner thinks some of it is boring.

First things first I wanna say thanks to everyone who checked out the site this week. Posted a few new things I have been working on and the response was good all the way around. The power rankings drew up conversation (which is what it's supposed to do) and the Weekend Warriors point standings where received  very well by race fans. Just to make a few quick points on both subjects, the power rankings are all stat driven. Had a few people that where not happy with my pick for the top 358 driver last week. I received the same old "It's not fair to everyone else that they only have 10 cars every week, so of course he is going to continue to get top 10's". Guess what folks....I'm not going to penalize the drivers who DO choose to race at Trail Way Speedway just because other 358 teams choose NOT to. That's doing the exact opposite of what you are all claiming I am doing. It's not really fair to screw guys like Isaac Sneeringer because he chooses to race there. I have been saying it for years, if it's so easy to win there, why don't more teams go and try? Now the Weekend Warriors points are not a new anything, it is a way for me to show everyone how good a or bad all our local drivers are doing. If you watch and keep track of them, you will be able to see which drivers, so of whom get absolutely no mention in the racing media, are doing well at whatever race track they choose to race at, or what division they choose to run.

Now on to this weeks racing action.....

Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway hosted the 410's and 358 sprint cars. Once again it looked like they where going to have a small crowed, but after a little bit the fans showed up and it looked like a normal Friday night for the track. You have to wonder though why the attendance is down from where it used to be just a few years ago. The person who does their twitter can't be helping things with some of the stuff he tweets. At Lincoln last night I lost count of how many people asked my why he tweets some of the things he does. I really have no clue but my opinion is someone who represents the track on social media should NOT in any way be arguing with fans about anything.

Heat races where pretty much boring, but the features showed the fans who came, racing action that went from ok in the 410 feature, to downright awesome in the 358 feature. Car counts where once again a surprise as the 410's once again did not get a full 24 car field, and the division some left for dead hosted 27 pitside. That is one of the highest car counts for the 358 division in the past 3 years or so. I know I for one am happy to see it. Brian Montieth would walk away with his first feature win of the season from his 4th starting position. Nothing news worthy about that. If Brian starts that far up front he should win, and he was sitting 10th in points (which if you checked the site on Thursday you would have seen the standings) so handicapping played right into the 21 teams hands this week. The track I though was good, but you didnt see a lot of passing back through the field. Alan Krimes and Greg Hodnett did most of the passing and helped give the fans a show while Montieth just checked out.

The big news was Jerry Perrish the car owner of the winning car of Brian Montieth was asked by Bruce Ellis in VL how he felt about the win, and Jerry dropped the bomb on ol Bruce and all the fans in the stands. He said in his opinion the racing at Williams Grove Speedway is BORING, and he wishes they would go back to Good Year tires which in his opinion made for better racing. Now the funny part was social media jumped all over the boring part, but totally missed why he thought it was boring. I tend to agree with him on the reason, but more on that in a little bit.......

The 358 feature saw all the top 358 teams starting in the front 3 rows and they treated the fans to one hell of an exciting feature. Adrian Shaffer started on the pole and looked to have the 20 lap feature well in hand when coming out of turn 2 he encountered two lapped cars who got together and looked to be wrecking each other. Shaffer tried to miss both cars, but ended up spinning himself out and hitting the inside guardrail, not only costing him the victory, but ending his night in the process. If he only knew it was how his whole weekend was going to go.....

Behind him Kevin Nouse, Matthew Campbell, Chandler Leiby, Brad McClelland, and Doug Hammaker where treating the fans to some awesome racing. Nouse would inherit the lead after Shaffers misfortune, and I don't think there was 1 fan in the stands who didn't think the win was his for the taking. Well Doug Hammaker had something to say about that. With 7 laps to go, Hammaker would pass McClelland,Leiby,Campbell and track down the leader who had built a comfortable lead, and with 2 laps to go made the winning pass on Kevin, and did the unthinkable....He walked away from Nouse to take his 2nd career feature win at Williams Grove. I don't know about the fans who left right after the "Boring" 410 feature but I'm almost certain all the fans in attendance left the Grove saying damn those 358's killed it again tonight.

Saturday night brought us a boat load of racing. At Port Royal Speedway fan favorite Steve Buckwalter won his 2nd career feature in what was described as a great race over Lucas Wolf. Sounds like the fans up north are getting to see some awesome racing up at "The Speed Palace" every week. Was good to see former track champion Blane Heimbach get on the right track after a slow start to the season with a strong 3rd place finish, and defending champion Rick Lafferty would score a top 5 as well.

At Selinsgrove 30+ 360's packed the pits for the Jack Gunn Memorial. The new king of Selinsgrove Speedway Mark Smith would pick up the win which was co-sanctioned by the United Racing Club. Really happy to see strong car counts continue, and hope they stay strong even on the weeks URC or the ESS is not in town.

Down at Lincoln Speedway TT where the order of the day for the Weldon Sterner Memorial. The track was not the greatest you would see as all the heats consisted of catfish racing, but after Fred layed some water down on the top side did business pick up. Brian Montieth would start 7th and worked his way through the field passing  last weeks winner JJ Grasso, Scott Fisher, Robbi Kendell, Niki Young, and Danny Dietrich in 14 laps and then spent the rest of the race in heavy lapped traffic racing hard with Dietrich. It looked like Dietrich might have a shot for the win on a few occasions, but Brian would show why they call him "The Edge" as he would rim ride to his 47th career feature win, making it two for two on the weekend. The total winnings for the 21 team is an astounding $10,660. Congrats to everyone one the team for an outstanding weekend.

The 358 feature looked to be a snoozer as Cody Lehman started on the pole, and after fending off Ryan Wilson for the 1st few laps looked to be checking out on the field. After a few cautions and 1 red flag which helped Jeff Rohrbaugh and Friday nights winner Doug Hammaker make their way through the field, the stage was set for a wild finish, which saw the veteran teach the youngster a new lesson I dont think he will ever forget. Heading into turn 1 with 3 laps to go Lehamn would let just enough room for Jeff to squeeze the nose of his 45 sprint car between Lehman and the guardrail, and after a lot of contact which saw the leader spin and take out a few of the cars running in the top 10 including Cody Fletcher and Adrian Shaffer (remember Friday night?) Rohrbaugh would assume the lead and go on to pick up hist 12 career feature win at Lincoln Speedway. The crowed was not real happy about the contact, and I even tweeted that Cody got@&$# in the deal, but after thinking about it after I got home, It's not something I have not seen others do before. Everyone who has followed Jeff in the 358 division knows Jeff is an aggressive driver and is not afraid to "move" someone to win. But hey its sprint car racing folks and that might be worth $3,000 at the end of the season. Hammaker would try one last shot at the winner but would settle for 2nd over Matt Campbell who would score his 2nd 3rd place finish of the weekend.

Now lets talk about the big news coming out of victory lane Friday night. As I wrote about earlier Jerry Perrish the car owner of the 21 stood in victory lane and said he thinks the racing is boring at Williams Grove in 2015. He also said he thinks the reason for this is the Hoosier tires. Jerry wishes they would go back to the much maligned Good Year tires. You remember those don't you? The tires most drivers and fans thought where the biggest POS tires ever run on a sprint car. The tires that cost Sammy Swindell the win at Knoxville, and cost about 10 different drivers a win at Grandview speedway during speedweek. Well to many fans surprise (not mine BTW) Jerry thinks they where a better RACING tire then they have now. And guess what? HE IS 100% CORRECT!!!! I said it from the get go, when the race tracks went back to the Hoosier tires last year, the racing was going to go to shit real quick. Guess what happened?  The racing went to shit real quick. Some fans and racing media love to claim that the rules are to blame for little to no passing that we see, as well as blaming the IROC state of sprint car racing, where everybody has the exact same thing because everyone who can afford it can buy exactly the same car, parts, wings as the next guy. Well guess what folks? Jerry Perrish said that is BS. It is not the rules, and its not the fact everyone runs the same stuff, ITS BECAUSE OF THE TIRES. And he believes he knows a little bit of which he speaks, because he has been doing this for a while now. People can think what ever they want about the Good Year tires, but the racing was better on them, and we saw actual racing and OMG can you believe this.....PASSING. Something we didn't see on the old Hoosiers and now the new Hoosiers. And just ask Brad Doty why he thinks tracks are starting to take more rubber then they did 3 or 4 years ago. Might just have something to do with the SOFTER Easier to drive HOOSIER TIRES. I just hope someone who cares and can change things takes a hard look at this and can figure something out before the racing gets worse.

Ok thats all for this week folks. Hope you all had as much fun as I did this weekend at the race track. We still have a special Sunday show at Susquehanna Speedway later tonight, along with the URC 360 sprint cars. Next week the tracks are back in action on Friday night at Williams Grove with their first Outlaw Tuneup show of the season along with the 358 sprints. Trail Way Speedway is back in action this week with the 358's as well. Saturday night Port Royal is back in action with camera and autograph night. Selinsgrove Speedway has their Pack the track night where admission is just $5. Lincoln Speedway will host another 410/358 double header program.

I'll see everyone back at Williams Grove Friday night, and possibly Selinsgrove Speedway on Saturday night depending on how my week goes. Until then hope the weather stays warm, your beer is ice cold, and the racing is red hot.

©Bill McIntyre & Central PA Racing Scene 2015

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