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Archive for December, 2004

Dixie Motor Speedway Honors Drivers and Sponsors

Friday, December 31st, 2004

The Frankenmuth veteran will see action behind the wheel of his Helm Electric/Zehnder Chevrolet Super Late Model next year and possibly in the Pro Late Models as well. Finishing the top 12 point getters were Ed Doutre, Tony Brabbs, Mark Klein, Chad Bennett, Norm Wilcox, Joe Prather, Lance Troyer, Darwin Reinert, John LaBelle, Steve Hilliker and Joe Johnson. Special Awards went to Bennett- Car and Crew, LaBelle- Most Improved, Wilcox- Sportsman of the Year, Prather- Rookie of the Year, Reinert- Hard luck Award and Helm Electric- Sponsor of the Year. The ARP template body went to Troyer while Reinbold received a $500 ARP certificate.

Bob Szecsodi’s quest for the championship also went down to championship night as the Mt. Morris Modified driver had to overcome what looked like an insurmountable deficit to regain the top point spot at night’s end. Jeff Reamer was just 11 points behind followed by rookie Don Matteson, Mark Besaw, Ed Doutre, Bill Luckhurst, Johnny Belott, Nick Clemens, Chuck Silva, Dick Maurer, Claude Plante and Michael Luckhurst. Special Awards went to Bill Luckhurst- Car & Crew, Szecsodi- Most Improved, Don Morse- Sportsman of the Year, Matteson- Rookie of the Year, Besaw- Hard Luck Award and Sponsor of the Year went to Top Notch Motorsports. The CC Motorsports Lefthander modified chassis went to Rich Eady.

Sean Fish narrowly beat out Montrose’s Frank Erlenbeck for his second Figure-8 championship in as many years. Jerry Atwell, Ray DerMiner, John Hitsman, Jim Gokee, Lonny Hill, Roger Jewel, Vic Hitsman, Jeff Cummings, Gerry Persails and Chris Wilson rounded out the top 12. Atwell took home Car & Crew, Jewel- Most Improved, Erlenbeck- Sportsman of the Year and Ray DerMiner claimed the Hard Luck Award.

Joe Hodgeson will go down in the record books as the last driver to win a Factory Stock Championship at Dixie. The Clio driver will be piloting a Modified for 2005 and should be a threat right out of the box. Ed Newman Sr., Jim Miller Jr., David Murday, Gerry Gifford, Russ Dice, Corey Hurley, Ed Newman Jr., Dale Malusi Brian Vandecar, Dan Engel and Adam Purdy were the top point earners. Larry Plamondon was handed Car & Crew, Malusi- Most Improved, Vandecar- Sportsman of the Year, Dice- Rookie of the Year, Murday- Hard Luck Award and Performance Auto of Flint was Sponsor of the Year.

Steve Morris barely edged veteran Kim Lake to claim top honors in the Factory-4 division. The Clio driver navigated his Phil’s transmission / Mt. Morris Auto Collision machine to a 6 point advantage for his first-ever championship. Kim Tabor, Clayton Clark, Aaron Spearling, Darren Bohn, Terry Albaugh, Gerry Persails, Lonny Anderson, Kevin Dobis, Dan Leeck and Derek Lacey completed the top 12. Morris was awarded Car & Crew, Tabor- Most Improved, Lake- Sportsman of the Year, Bohne- Rookie of the Year, Spearling- Hard Luck Award and Windpusher Racing of Mt. Morris was Sponsor of the Year.

Steve Sauve was crowned champion of the first-ever outlaw Super Late Model “Dixie Cup Series”. The Saginaw, MI hotshoe, in his Helm Electric/Jack’s Tree Service Chevrolet, outraced the best drivers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana enroute to the coveted title. Mt. Morris, MI Johnny Belott was 2nd followed by Angola, Indiana standout Scott Hantz and Flushing, MI ace John Doering. More exciting news about this series will be announced soon.

Fan Appreciation Awards went to long-time patrons Lynn Quackenbush and Donny Smith. The Dixie Sponsor of the Year went to Helm Electric of Frankenmuth.

Dixie would like to thank the staff, drivers, crews, sponsors and fans for support and patronage this past season. Our best wishes to you and your families in the coming year.

Susquehanna Speedway Park Announces 2005 Schedule

Friday, December 31st, 2004

The 2005 schedule also includes eight Sunday evening events featuring the Sportsman and Street Stocks from the Silver Springs Speedway. The Sportsman tour events will carry their own handicapping based on finished accumulated only at 2005 SSP events. The Late Models from Silver Springs will also visit SSP in 2005 as the headline division on July 21 and August 11 in “topless” events.

Another new division for SSP is the W.O.W. Stock Cars (Women on Wheels). The women will compete in the Xtreme Stock Cars on May 5, June 9, June 30 (PA Speedweeks), July 24, August 11 and August 25. The top three finishers will receive trophies in the 10 lap feature events. A points champion will be crowned after the six race series.

Returning traveling classes of racing from last season include the Central PA Legends Cars (8 appearances), Great American School Buses (7 appearances), Classic Cars (4 appearances), PA 4 Cylinders (3 appearances), Penn Mar Vintage Club Tour (3 appearances) and EMMR Vintage Cars (1 appearance). The 5th Annual York County Nationals will be on Thursday, September 1st.

Along with exciting wheel-to-wheel action, there will also be many novelty events that include a Sprint Car Wheelie Contest, One-on-One Street Car Drags, Demolition Derbies, Kid’s Box Car Racing, and three Camera and Autograph nights where fans can meet their favorite drivers “on the track.” Santa Claus will visit SSP again for “Christmas in July” on Sunday, July 24. More novelty events will be added throughout the season.

Rain dates for cancelled Thursday events early in the season will be the following Sunday nights. Check out the schedule for the exact raindates. Sportsman events cancelled will be moved to the following Sunday nights during the middle of the season.

Gates will open for both the pit area and grandstand gates at 5:00 p.m. in 2005. Warmups begin at 6:30 p.m. with racing action beginning at 7:30 p.m. Race fans can continue to expect a fast paced 2 ½ hour program each and every night. Grandstand ticket prices remain the same as 2004 at Adults (18 & older) $12.00; Teens (13-17) $8.00; Children (6-12) $4.00; and Children (5 & under) are free. Pit pass prices are $20.00 with a reduced price of $18.00 for all pit competitor license holders. Prices will be slightly higher for special events.

The Susquehanna Speedway Park is located off I-83 to exit 32, then 1.4 miles NW on SR382 to York Road, then 1.3 miles south. The speedway website is located at www.sspracing.net. For more information, contact the speedway offices at (717) 292-1696 or email toddafish@aol.com.

Veteran Driver Announces Plans for His 30th Racing Season

Friday, December 31st, 2004

Also in 2005 Barnett will run selected Lucas Oil NARA DirtCar Series events that do not conflict with the Battle of the Bluegrass schedule. “We’ve been talking for a couple of years of racing the BoB series and in 2005 we will run the full schedule,” said Barnett, who enters the 2005 season with 204 career feature wins. “We have a lot of family and friends in Kentucky that want to see us race and the BoB series is a well run organization with Spencer Wilson, James Essex and Allen Tilley they are one of the top regional series in our area right now,” Barnett added.

Barnett realizes the task of winning the 2005 BoB title will not be easy. “The BoB series probably has the best young talent in dirt track racing running with them, I’m talking about guys like Aaron Hatton, Tyrel Todd, Victor Lee, Brad Neat and Michael England just to name a few, it will be tough and you add in veterans like Timmy Yeager, Johnny Wheeler, Mike Jewell, John Gill, Dion Deason, Whitney McQueary and some other tough runners, you have quite a series there.” Even though in the first three years the BoB series has existed Barnett has yet to score a victory on the touring series he sees consistency as the key. “Look at Aaron Hatton, this past year he didn’t win a single BoB race, but he finished second six times, I have learned in the past series racing is all about being consistent and finishing races.”

Barnett comes to the BoB series in 2005 with a resume that is building towards Hall of Fame type statistics. As mentioned before he has 204 career feature wins, nine career track titles as race tracks such as Brownstown, Union Co. Lincoln Park and Scottsburg. Barnett is a five time Northern Allstar Champion, he was the 2002 UMP Hoosier Series Champion, the 1995 USAR Late Model Chamnpion and mix in various other titles including the 1995-96 UMP Indiana State Champion, 1991 UMP Mini-Series Champion and the 1989 UMP Race of Champions Series Championship. Don’t forget that Barnett was the 1993 STARS Series “Rookie of the Year” and in 1997 he finished second to Jimmy Mars in the $100,000 to win “Dream” at Eldora Speedway. Currently Barnett has 38 career feature wins at the Brownstown (IN) Speedway which ties him for fifth all time with Ira Bastin and Ray Godsey. Jim Curry is the all-time winningest driver at Brownstown followed by John Gill, Paul Crockett and Don O’Neal. One record Barnett shares with Curry at Brownstown is that both drivers have one at least one feature for a record 18 years the longest career streak ever at Brownstown.

While the 2005 season will mark his 30th year in competition for Barnett is has been pretty much all in a Late Model. During his career he has driven an open wheel modified two times and a USAC Silver Crown car three times for Gene Nolen. In fact Barnett raced to an 8th place in the 1994 USAC Four Crown Nationals at Eldora in the car. But other than that it has been dirt late model racing for Barnett and in a career that began at the Whitewater Valley Speedway (now Union County Speedway) in Liberty, Indiana in 1975 its been racing almost every weekend from late March to Mid October now entering three decades.

Barnett’s dad Jim owned a race car for driver Roger Absher, who hailed from the same hometown as the Barnetts. “Roger Absher, was one of the most underrated drivers to ever race at Brownstown,” said Steve. In fact Absher had seven career wins at Brownstown before retiring from racing and moving to Florida. But, Steve Barnett was hooked on racing when his dad owned Absher’s race car. “I sold a truck, trailer and car and went and bought a car that “Big” John Warner had driven, it was a number 57.” The 1969 Chevelle weighed in at an incredible 5400 pounds and in the days that weight rules were unheard of, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Before heading to Brownstown full time, Barnett raced at Whitewater Valley Speedway five or six times that first year. Once at Brownstown he became a fixture at the Southern Indiana track, venturing then on Sunday Nights to the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, IN. At Putnamville in 1980 is where Barnett won his first career feature. It took him until 1982 to finally win one at Brownstown. “What really helped me starting out, was my dad would set up the car and I had teammates like Roger Absher, Paul Crockett and Russ Petro help me out.” I learned so much from my dad and those guys, that was invaluable experience.”

Now making his name in Indiana, Barnett began to venture south of the Ohio river heading to track like Taylor County Speedway in Campbellsville, KY and the Barren County Speedway in Glasgow, KY. “I really liked those tracks,the people were real nice to us and several of us used to come down from Indiana and race with drivers like Fats Coffey, Butterball Wooldridge, Eddie Carrier, David Speer and so on, it was alot of fun.” While Barnett was making Saturday Nights is regular stop at Brownstown he became part of what many called the best Saturday Night racing in the nation. “I would say only like Florence, KY and Hagerstown, MD had an equal as far a regular Saturday Night competition like we had at Brownstown,” said Barnett. “We had guys like Jim Curry, Ira Bastin, Paul Crockett, Russ Petro, Denny Boknecht, Ray Godsey, Roger Absher, Kenny Simpson, Noel Witcher, Don Hobbs, it was awesome each week and nobody knew who was going to win.” Barnett started to branch out his racing with his stops in Indiana and Kentucky, he decided to really hit the road in 1993 running the full STARS series. “That was a lot of fun, what hurt us a little bit, is that most of the tracks we went to, we had never raced there before, so it put us behind the eight ball so to speak.” Barnett learned a lot and at the end of the season he was named the series’ “Rookie of the Year.” In 1998 when the newly formed Northern Allstars Series was started, he raced with the series at some events in 1998 and then began a streak of five consecutive series titles beginning in 1999. Along the way Barnett hooked up with 2002 NASCAR Champion, Tony Stewart. “I had talked to Tony a few times before he came on board with our late model program, we had a mutual friend in Glen Niebel and in fact C.J. Rayburn is the one who helped get us together.” Stewart drove to his first career Late Model win in one of Rayburn’s cars in 1998 capturing the Kenny Simpson Memorial at Brownstown. Stewart has been an intregal part of Barnett’s team the last five years. “Steve Barnett has never asked me for anything” Stewart said. “He has become a real good friend and we both share the same passion for racing and driving,” Stewart said about Barnett, who prepares Stewart’s dirt late model cars. “We have a bet at the beginning of each season to see who will win the most features, I think I have won that bet each year, he sures owes me a lot of steak dinners,” said Stewart jokingly. “One thing about dirt late models, is that I feel they are the most competitive form of racing anywhere, now days, ” said Stewart, who just recently completed the purchase of Eldora Speedway from Earl Baltes. “I hope to be able to race the late model a few times in 2005, with my Cup schedule and commitments and running the sprint car teams I have, there is just not enough time to race like I want to.” said the Columbus, INnative. “I just want to wish Steve the best on the BoB series in 2005 and we look forward to seeing him on some of the NARA on ESPN2 shows as well.”

Barnett in his career has made four World 100′s and two Dream races. When asked about the most memorable moments of the first 29 years of his career Barnett spoke right up. “Winning the Kentucky Klassic at Barren County in 1994 was big for me, also a UMP Summernationals race at Glasgow with me and Kevin Weaver running side by side for most of the race was also great. Barnett almost had another Glasgow “thriller” this past year in late September when he took the lead in the Battle of the Bluegrass race and looked to be a sure fire winner until Scott James passed him on the outside. “I thought I had that one, I believe there are pictures of that race where we were four wide for the lead.” Barnett and Tony Stewart also shared a racing moment on the race track when Barnett beat Stewart in a late model race at Terre Haute a few years ago. Terre Haute was also good to Barnett in 2001 as he clinched the Northern Allstars title on the final points night by narrowly edging out Doug McCammon in the race for the championship. One race that Barnett wants to win before he hangs up his helmet is the Jackson 100 at Brownstown. In the 25 year history that the race has been contested Barnett has made the field more times than any other driver, 22. But each time he has come up short, but in the last two Jackson’s Barnett has a second and third place finish. “Any driver that’s ever raced at Brownstown has wanted to win that race, I hope it happens for me, but if it doesn’t it won’t be for a lack of trying hard.”

As Barnett enters his 30th year of racing in 2005, he reflects on his career and his future. “As long as I am competitive and feel that I can still win races and run good then I will keep driving.” “I want to thank all of my family, friends and all of the great dirt track fans out there who come and watch usrace, without them we are nothing and I just want to recognize them.” Barnett’s crew remains in tact for 2005 with Brad Hale and Troy “Sumo” Tabata turning the wrenches. “Brad and Troy do a great job, it takes a tremendous amount of hard work to get things accomplished and I appreciate their efforts. Barnett’s sponsors for the2005 racing season will include J.D. Byrider, Tony Stewart Racing, GRT Race Cars, Cornett Racing Engines, Jeff Clements Racing Engines, Aero Quip, Weld Wheels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Advanced Racing Suspensions, Sunoco Fuels, Wilwood, Dyer’s Rods and R&B Construction. For the first time and in honor of his 30th season of racing will be debuting a new website after the first of the year. The website address will be announced when it goes on line after the first of the year.

DIRT Motorsport’s Cormack, Hearn & Wing Headline Dirt Nation

Friday, December 31st, 2004

DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net is hosted each week by the Rat Pack, featuring Dave Seay, Brian Tidball and Doc Lehman and airs every Monday evening from 8:00 – 10:00 PM EST and can be accessed over the internet at: http://www.racetalklive.com DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net is co-sponsored by Virginia Motor Speedway, Dirt America Online presented by GottaRace.com and Slavic Custom Shirts.

Craig Cormack, Director of Race Operations of DIRT Motorsports, Inc., will be on hand to discuss DIRT Motorsports, Inc.’s upcoming season. DIRT Motorsports, Inc., has recently purchased United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) and all of it’s properties including the former Xtreme Dirt Car Series, the Mid American Racing Series (MARS), Lernerville Speedway and other entities during the past year. Cormack will also be fielding questions from listeners.

Brett Hearn of Vernon, New Jersey will be a featured guest on DIRT NATION Monday night. Hearn, one of the superstars of DIRT Big Block Modified racing, will discuss his career and upcoming 2005 season.

Also appearing will be Rodney Wing of Meridian, MS. Wing, one of the south’s hottest and more popular dirt Late Model drivers, will talk about his 2004 season and his plans for the upcoming 2005 racing season.

DIRT NATION will be taking the show ‘on the road’ in mid January when two special two-hour broadcasts will be produced during the 20th Anniversary Motorsports 2005 auto racing extravaganza held annually at Fort Washington, PA near Philadelphia. DIRT NATION will broadcast for two hours each on Friday January 14 and Saturday January 15 live from Motorsports 2005 and sponsored by VP Racing Fuels and Virginia Motor Speedway. DIRT NATION is hosted by the ‘Rat Pack’ including Dave Seay, Brian Tidball and Doc Lehman.

The Motorsports 2005 show, which drew over 40,000 attendees last year, will be held January 14-16, 2005 at the Expo Center in Ft. Washington, PA. The DIRT NATION broadcast will originate from the Virginia Motor Speedway Booth #233 on Friday January 14 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM EST and then on Saturday afternoon January 15 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM EST. The show is available around the world via the internet at: www.racetalklive.com and WRLT 1490 The Outlaw based in Hampton, VA.

DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net, co-sponsored by Virginia Motor Speedway and Dirt America Online presented by GottaRace.com, is one of the fastest growing and most popular weekly racing radio programs broadcast over the world wide web. DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net is hosted each week by the Rat Pack, featuring Dave Seay, Brian Tidball and Doc Lehman and airs every Monday evening from 8:00 – 10:00 PM EST and can be accessed over the internet at: http://www.racetalklive.com

Listeners can participate by calling 877-899-7223 or by instant messenger at dirtnation2003 at any of the following instant messenger services online: AIM, MSN or yahoo. You can also e-mail Dirt Nation at dirtnation2003@yahoo.com and submit your tracks or tours results to racereporter@hotmail.com To listen to the program visit: www.racetalklive.com Dirt Nation can also be heard on its host radio station, “The Outlaw” 1490 AM.

DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net features in depth interviews with the show’s weekly guests (national and regional). Joining hosts Seay, Tidball and Lehman each week is Ron Fleenor, a close family friend and spokesperson for the Duayne Hommel family, who updates listeners on the continuing progress of Hommel who suffered severe head injuries following a traffic accident on September 23, 2003 near Newport, TN.

For additional information on DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net contact Dave Seay at: 804.758.1867 or via email at: dave@vamotorspeedway.com DIRT NATION presented by Switchme.net is co-sponsored by Virginia Motor Speedway, DirtAmericaOnline.com presented by GottaRace.com and Slavic Custom Shirts.

Dixie Motor Speedway Honors Drivers and Sponsors

Friday, December 31st, 2004

Pro Late Model driver Jay Reinbold, who came from 20th to 2nd in an awesome run on championship night, laid claim to his first championship on Dixie’s Highbanked oval.
The Frankenmuth veteran will see action behind the wheel of his Helm Electric/Zehnder Chevrolet Super Late Model next year and possibly in the Pro Late Models as well.

Finishing the top 12 point getters were Ed Doutre, Tony Brabbs, Mark Klein, Chad Bennett, Norm Wilcox, Joe Prather, Lance Troyer, Darwin Reinert, John LaBelle, Steve Hilliker and Joe Johnson. Special Awards went to Bennett- Car and Crew, LaBelle- Most Improved, Wilcox- Sportsman of the Year, Prather- Rookie of the Year, Reinert- Hard luck Award and Helm Electric- Sponsor of the Year. The ARP template body went to Troyer while Reinbold received a $500 ARP certificate.

Bob Szecsodi’s quest for the championship also went down to championship night as the Mt. Morris Modified driver had to overcome what looked like an insurmountable deficit to regain the top point spot at night’s end. Jeff Reamer was just 11 points behind followed by rookie Don Matteson, Mark Besaw, Ed Doutre, Bill Luckhurst, Johnny Belott, Nick Clemens, Chuck Silva, Dick Maurer, Claude Plante and Michael Luckhurst. Special Awards went to Bill Luckhurst- Car & Crew, Szecsodi- Most Improved, Don Morse- Sportsman of the Year, Matteson- Rookie of the Year, Besaw- Hard Luck Award and Sponsor of the Year went to Top Notch Motorsports. The CC Motorsports Lefthander modified chassis went to Rich Eady.

Sean Fish narrowly beat out Montrose’s Frank Erlenbeck for his second Figure-8 championship in as many years. Jerry Atwell, Ray DerMiner, John Hitsman, Jim Gokee, Lonny Hill, Roger Jewel, Vic Hitsman, Jeff Cummings, Gerry Persails and Chris Wilson rounded out the top 12. Atwell took home Car & Crew, Jewel- Most Improved, Erlenbeck- Sportsman of the Year and Ray DerMiner claimed the Hard Luck Award.

Joe Hodgeson will go down in the record books as the last driver to win a Factory Stock Championship at Dixie. The Clio driver will be piloting a Modified for 2005 and should be a threat right out of the box. Ed Newman Sr., Jim Miller Jr., David Murday, Gerry Gifford, Russ Dice, Corey Hurley, Ed Newman Jr., Dale Malusi Brian Vandecar, Dan Engel and Adam Purdy were the top point earners. Larry Plamondon was handed Car & Crew, Malusi- Most Improved, Vandecar- Sportsman of the Year, Dice- Rookie of the Year, Murday- Hard Luck Award and Performance Auto of Flint was Sponsor of the Year.

Steve Morris barely edged veteran Kim Lake to claim top honors in the Factory-4 division. The Clio driver navigated his Phil’s transmission / Mt. Morris Auto Collision machine to a 6 point advantage for his first-ever championship. Kim Tabor, Clayton Clark, Aaron Spearling, Darren Bohn, Terry Albaugh, Gerry Persails, Lonny Anderson, Kevin Dobis, Dan Leeck and Derek Lacey completed the top 12. Morris was awarded Car & Crew, Tabor- Most Improved, Lake- Sportsman of the Year, Bohne- Rookie of the Year, Spearling- Hard Luck Award and Windpusher Racing of Mt. Morris was Sponsor of the Year.

Steve Sauve was crowned champion of the first-ever outlaw Super Late Model “Dixie Cup Series”. The Saginaw, MI hotshoe, in his Helm Electric/Jack’s Tree Service Chevrolet, outraced the best drivers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana enroute to the coveted title. Mt. Morris, MI Johnny Belott was 2nd followed by Angola, Indiana standout Scott Hantz and Flushing, MI ace John Doering. More exciting news about this series will be announced soon.

Fan Appreciation Awards went to long-time patrons Lynn Quackenbush and Donny Smith. The Dixie Sponsor of the Year went to Helm Electric of Frankenmuth.

Dixie would like to thank the staff, drivers, crews, sponsors and fans for support and patronage this past season. Our best wishes to you and your families in the coming year.