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Archive for April, 2007

Balcaen, Geringer, Strand and Kennedy take River Cities Speedway Opener

Monday, April 30th, 2007

With saddened hearts and thoughts, there was one face that was a staple Friday nights at River Cities Speedway. That being the multi-champion, John Seitz.

But things carried on just as John would have wanted them to and just as if
he was there. In some sort of way he was. The scoreboard that carried the
numbers 92 many times was illuminated with his car number throughout the
hotlap sessions and during a short remembrance prior to the national anthems
by Pat Mooney. Drivers lined the top of the backstretch facing the crowd
while Mooney spoke of John and some great memories. All to honor a great
racer and man that circled our track.

As the speedway’s race program carried out, the first set of Unicel street
stock heat races rolled up on the track as the crowd was ready to see the
first race of 2007 season. Jim Geringer took the checkered flag by a
straightaway over Sheldon Peterson. The second heat race was won by Aaron
Olson with Dan Arends finishing second after leading much of the race. Joe
Potter showed how strong he was by capturing the win over Tyson Anderson.

New to the speedway this year are the Midwest Modifieds. The Super Stock
class was replaced by this up and coming class, in which the numbers seem to
keep growing. The first Dempsey Truck Service heat race was won by Dustin
Strand over Bryan Dyrdahl. A mid-race caution took out Bryan LePier and
Patrick Sobolik. Heat race two was won by Bobby Eckerdt who started in the
back of the heat race and took the lead with four laps to go. Bret Schmidt
was runner up with David Hultstrand third after leading much of the race.

The first of three DTRA Late Model races was won by a fast Cody Skytland
with Joey Pederson right behind him in a caution free race. The second Atek
Auto Parts heat race was won by Troy Schill after he had passed Tom Corcoran
for the lead late in the race. Mike Balcaen won the third heat race from the
fourth starting spot with Brad Seng second after passing Tom Balcaen.

The two NOSA Sprint Car heat races were action packed with the first heat
race being won by Austin Monson with Wade Nygaard chasing him all race. Bad
luck hit the 2006 track champion as he slowed on the front stretch and was
pushed pitside. Lou Kennedy Jr led every lap with Bob Martin chasing him all
race. Martin slipped up a little which allowed Casey Mack and Dave Sobczak a
chance to get past and finished respectively second and third.

After a brief intermission, the Unicel Street Stock feature race started
with Arends and Potter on the front row. This year, the Street Stocks will
be ran on Goodyear tires and co-sanctioned with the newly formed driver
association, MDRA and DTRA. Potter grabbed the lead and led all but the last
lap with Geringer hot on his bumper. A lap car slowed up potter which
allowed Geringer to grab the lead and the first win of 2007 at River Cities
Speedway. Tyson Anderson also slipped past Potter for the second spot after
starting sixth.

David Hultstrand and Rod Peterson led the field around to take the checkered
flag for the first ever Dempsey Truck Service Midwest Modified feature race.
Before any laps were complete, there were two cautions in which the field
had to reset and given the green flag again. Dustin Strand looked to be the
one to beat as he used the high groove of the speedway to his advantage and
take over the lead with 10 laps to go. As he stretched out his lead, Eckerdt
and Schmidt battled for the second spot lap after lap, but it was Eckerdt
that was able to take the second spot and give Strand a run for his money
late in the race. Eckerdt tried both lines, hi and low, but was unable to
overtake Strand as he cruised to the checkered flag. Halvorson and Nelson
also put on a great show for the fourth spot with Nelson capitalizing on the
spot at the line.

The Atek Auto Parts feature race for the DTRA Late Models started all
twenty-one cars with Corcoran and Schill on the front row. There were a
couple of cautions before the whole field was able to complete a lap.
Corcoran and Schill battled for the lead, but it was Pederson who slipped
around them for the lead and continued to lead through the next five
cautions for various cars. With twelve laps to go, Mike Balcaen appeared
from the eighth starting spot to challenge Pederson for the lead. With two
more laps complete, Balcaen made his move around Pederson in turn three for
the lead. From there on, Balcaen was smooth in the corners and was able to
continue on through the checkered flag with Pederson in his mirror while
Corcoran and Schill scrapped for the third spot. Schill was able to secure
the third spot with Corcoran accepting fourth. During the interview with
Balcaen in victory lane, he dedicated the win to Johnny.

The last feature race of the evening was ready and all Sprint Cars were
pushed off. Jeff Vonasek had some issues and couldn’t keep the engine fired
so he was pushed to the infield while Bob Martin and Scott McDonald led the
field around for the green flag. With the leaders crossing the line for the
first lap, McDonald and Burke made contact with McDonald getting the worse
of it and turned his sprinter over and was unable to continue. Jade
Fredrickson was also caught up in the melee, and rolled many times near the
front wall. Linnell’s front end was damaged too much and was pulled to the
infield. Chris Shirek’s top wing was damaged but made repairs and tagged the
field. After the field was refired, Burke used his front row spot to take
the lead and with authority was pulling away from Bob Martin while Sobczak
and Kennedy battled for the third spot. With Burke coming up on lap traffic,
Kennedy was able to find his way to the second spot and pressure Burke.
Nygaard was also making his way to the front and found himself racing Martin
for the third spot. Lap cars were what held up Burke and enabled Kennedy to
complete the pass for the lead. By this time Dobmeier had went to the back
and raced his way back up to about eighth. After a few more cautions,
Kennedy found Nygaard trying to pass him for the lead in the closing laps.
Kennedy seemed to change his line at each end of the track to close the door
on Nygaard. Kennedy held on for the win with Nygaard and Martin second and
third. Burke finished with a strong run in fourth and Dobmeier rounded out
the top five spots.

Mike Marlar Masters O’Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Spring Sizzler at Bluegrass

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Mike Marlar and Cody Mahoney brought the field down to the green with Marlar
immediately jumping ahead of the pack. Before a complete lap was in the books, a caution would wave when defending Series Champion Mike Jewell got up on the backstretch wall. On the restart, Marlar again shot out front with Aaron Hatton, Michael Chilton, Victor Lee, and Mahoney in tow. Lee got by Chilton on lap 5 as 8th-starting Dustin Neat wasted no time cracking the top five as he worked past Mahoney. Lee continued his assault passing Hatton just a few circuits later and setting his sights on race leader Mike Marlar.

A caution for Jordan Bland’s flat right rear tire brought out the caution on lap 10 and kept the field tight with Marlar leading Lee, Hatton, Chilton, and Neat. When racing resumed, Neat bolted past both Chilton and Hatton as the front three cars separated themselves from the rest of the field. Behind the lead trio, a highly entertaining battle for sixth found Jason Keltner, David Webb, and Jerry Rice racing three-wide for that position. A lap 15 caution spoiled that battle when Bryan Barber rode the wall in turn two.

On the restart, Dustin Neat used the Delaware double-file restart to his advantage, powering ahead of Lee to take 2nd and challenge Marlar for the top spot. Meanwhile, 16th-starting Tyrel Todd was quietly picking his way through the field on the bottom of the race track. Todd grabbed 6th on lap 17 as Doug Smith slowed on the track one lap later to bring out the final caution of the race.

When racing resumed, Victor Lee would benefit from the Delaware double-file restart, charging back by Neat to reclaim the bridesmaid position. Seemingly out of nowhere, Jerry Rice suddenly looked like he was shot from a cannon. Rice, utilizing the very top side of the speedway, went from 8th to 6th on lap 19 and cracked the top 5 just one lap later. Rice wasn’t finished as he grabbed 4th on lap 22 and looked to chase down the lead trio of Marlar, Lee, and Neat.

As time was running out for Rice, Lee found his groove and made the final five laps worth the price of admission. Lee got a phenomenal run on Marlar going into the corners to close the gap between himself and the race-long leader. With just 3 laps to go, Lee looked under Marlar in a bid for the lead, but Marlar powered ahead of the Stanford, KY native off the corners. Over the final three circuits, Lee continued to challenge Marlar for the lead, but simply could not muster up enough momentum off the corners to take sole possession of the top spot. And, when the checkered flag waved, Mike Marlar became the fifth different winner in five races in 2007 for the O’Reilly NARA
Battle of the Bluegrass Series. After the win, Marlar took the checkered flag around the Bluegrass Speedway for a victory lap in remembrance of his late car owner Owen “Junior” Stephens.

“This was a win for Owen and Mary Lu and the entire Stephens Motorsports Team,” Marlar said in victory lane. “Mario and all the guys gave me a great car all night tonight and I couldn’t have done it without their help.”

Winfield, TN’s Mike Marlar drives an Estes powered Rayburn GTO owned by Mary Lu and the late Owen “Junior” Stephens which carries sponsorship from the S&B Cattle Company, Stephens Trucking, Fleming Auto Parts, Crumps Lawn & Garden, Dyer’s Top Rods, Doyle Fertilizer, Advance Racing Suspensions, and Wayne Bowen Racing Supply.

Second place went to Victor Lee of Stanford, KY in the Ado’s Auto Parts/Budda
sponsored, Jay Dickens powered, Rayburn Grand Prix. Dunnville, KY’s Dustin Neat grabbed third in his Neat’s Service Center/NWN Distributing/Estes/Rayburn Monte Carlo. Fourth spot went to Verona, KY’s Jerry Rice in the Perry’s Auto Sales/Valvoline sponsored Jay Dickens/Rocket GTO. Rounding out the top five was 16th-starting Tyrel Todd of Eubank, KY driving a Bullock powered MasterSbilt Monte Carlo sponsored by Todd Truss and Pulaski Steel & Supply.

Mike Marlar set fast time during Racing Optics Time Trials with a quick lap of 16.459. Marlar, Mike Jewell, Aaron Hatton, and Cody Mahoney won the Mason Racin’/Arizona Sport Shirts Heats while Chris Combs won the Design 500 B-Main.

The O’Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series will take a weekend off before
traveling to the bad-fast Tazewell Speedway in Tazewell, TN for a $4000 to win race on Saturday, May 12th.

The O’Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series presented by Arizona Sport Shirts sanctions regional dirt track Late Model racing in and around the state of Kentucky. For more information on the nation’s most competitive regional racing series, please visit our website at www.battleofthebluegrass.com or call our office at (859) 433-5707.

Aaron Hatton Holds the Aces in 4th Annual Spring 40 at Ponderosa Speedway

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Hatton would dispose of Neat for second on lap 2 and immediately set his sights on England. Lap 3 would see the lead duo of England and Neat go door to door for the top spot, while David Webb would slip past Combs for fifth. Hatton would drive by England off of turn two on lap 4 to take the lead, with Neat, Marlar, and Webb in pursuit. The caution flag waved on lap 5 when Doug Smith and Tommy Carlton would tangle in turn four, with both entries able to continue.

The Delaware double-file restart would see Hatton hold the point, while Webb would go to second, Neat third, Victor Lee would scoot into fourth, with England now fifth. Disaster would strike for Tim Tungate on lap 6 as he would make heavy contact with the outside retaining wall in turn one, with Johnny Wheeler, Bobby Wolter, Jr., and Buzz Williams all spinning in turn one as well, drawing the red flag, with Tungate uninjured, but sporting a badly torn up race car, while Wheeler and Williams would also pull pitside with damage. Back under green, Hatton continued to show the way, with Lee passing neat for third on lap 7, while Michael Chilton and Justin Rattliff would drive their way into the top five in fourth and fifth on lap 8.

While Hatton was setting sail up front, Webb and Lee would duel several laps for the runner-up slot, while Chilton and Rattliff got in on for the number four spot. Caution waved again on lap 15 when Wolter, Jr. and Smith spun in turn two, with Wolter, Jr. doing a full 360 degree spin and not stopping on the track. The caution would wave again one circuit later when Tommy Carlton slowed his mount in turn four with a flat left-rear tire. The restart would see Lee go second, bring Rattliff and Chilton to third and fourth as well. Jerry Rice would make his way into the top five on lap 17, only to lose the position on lap 18 to Marlar.

The halfway signal would see Hatton continue his torrid pace at the point, followed by Lee, Rattliff, Marlar, and Rice. Lap 22 would see Rice work back around Marlar, only this time it would be for the fourth position. As race leader Hatton began working slower traffic on lap 29, Marlar would start to charge as he would retake fourth from Rice on lap 30 and grab third from Rattliff one trip later.

With Hatton driving off into the moonlight, Lee and Marlar would settle into a duel for second that would have the pair of second-generation drivers battling side by side. Hatton would take the checkered flag first in the Russell Hatton owned Checkered Flag Auto Sales/Russell Hatton Mobile Home Rentals/ Jerry Hatton Used Cars/Skillsaw Designs/American Race Tires sponsored #33 C.J. Rayburn Race Cars, Bullock Race Engines powered entry.

Marlar would slide past Lee on the final lap for second, with 11th starting Rattliff taking fourth, and 13th starting Rice claiming fifth. The remainder of the top ten was Webb, Chris Combs, 17th starting Mike Jewell, Dustin Neat, and Michael Chilton.

Thirty-two entries saw Hatton be the Racing Optics top qualifier at 13.629 second. Michael England and Brad won the Mason Racin’ heats, with Chris Combs and Mike Marlar scoring the Arizona Sport Shirt heat. The Design 500 B-mains were captured by Mike Jewell and Buzz Williams. Series provisional starting positions went to Greg Johnson and Doug Smith, while track provisional starts went to Tommy Carlton and Bobby Carrier, Jr.

The O’Reilly NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Series presented by Arizona Sport Shirts sanctions regional dirt track Late Model racing in and around the state of Kentucky. For more information on the nation’s most competitive regional racing series, please visit our website at www.battleofthebluegrass.com or call our office at (859) 433-5707.

Greco wins wrestling match at MVS

Monday, April 30th, 2007

The race started out pretty enough, but soon turned ugly as the action on the field of 16 cars went wild.

Steve Fisher took the lead from Sam Harris Jr., on lap 15 of the 50-lap main event but at lap-25 he found himself having to battle with cousin Bobby Latham III. The pair traveled side-by-side for several laps as they held on for a white-knuckle ride around the track fighting for the lead. Proving racing is thicker than blood however, the two tangled in the front stretch and the drivers of the No. 29 and No. 9 cars were sent to the back of the field for the restart. Meanwhile, Greco had patiently waited for the cousins to settle things in front of him and took over the race. Greco maintained the lead and went on to make the trip to victory lane.

“The one I felt I was going to have to battle with tonight was Bobby (Latham) -
because he had four new tires,” Greco said. “But then he and Fisher were having a run at each other. As soon as they started sliding around I just backed off and I thought ‘you know what, they’re going to make their own bed.’”

Steve Jones, who was going for the three-peat Saturday night, had worked his way up to third at lap-45, but with five laps to go he and Rob Vest tangled in turn two, effectively wiping out any chance he had for his third win in a row.

TJ Woodhall, who came into the night second in the point standings had too close of an encounter with Rick Fowble on the white-flag lap and finished twelfth, two spots behind Jones.

Greco’s race car had sustained major damage after the end of the 2006 racing season when a guest driver pounded the car into the wall.

“I think maybe it was a blessing it got wrecked,” he said. We had to start over from scratch and we weren’t sure what it was going to do when we brought it out this year, but the first week out it was just awesome.”

The hard-fought battles on the track last Saturday night shook up the point
standings and Greco, former Pony Stock champion who has previously struggled in the Premier Series, currently has his name on top of the leader board.

Josh Pitz was the big survivor of a caution-filled NAPA Pony Stocks main event,
winning his first race of the season. Pitz took the lead from Randy Grubbs on lap 21 of the 30-lap race, but soon had 2006 champion and opening night race winner Jason Whited closing up behind him. Whited had been able to avoid late-race incident and with less than10-laps to go tried to reel in Pitz, but ran out of laps.

Billi Miles, who began the night in second in the point standings behind Whited, had mechanical problems throughout the day and did not finish the main event race. Pitz has now taken over her spot in the point standings with Shawn Nice and Randy Grubbs tied for third.

For the winner of the Budweiser Grand Nationals race Kenny Hatke, the former Hornet driver describes his feelings on his return to racing after a two year absence as “magnificent.”

The 21-year-old led the main event from start to finish in the 20-lap race even
though Louis Lopez – who won opening night – tried everything he could to get by the young driver. The two raced car door-to-truck door for several laps, but in the end Lopez just didn’t have quite enough to make it happen and Hatke held on for the win.

“The truck had been loose the whole time and we didn’t know if we could get it back to where it would be stiff up enough to keep up with everybody else – but somehow we just did it,” Hatke said.

Although Hatke has a win and a second in the two Grand Nationals races held so far this year driving a race truck, he says it won’t be long until he has a car ready to go.

“We’re in the process of building it,” Hatke said. “But it’s still a long way from where it should be.”

The debut of the Manker’s Nursery Teens Bees brought out four young drivers who put on a great show racing on the one-fifth mile track. Lane Buddenhagen, son of feature division driver Mike Buddenhagen, proved all those years of watching dad race would pay off someday as he goes in the books as the winner of the inaugural event.

Buddenhagen came form third starting position to take the checkered flag in the
10-lap race, with Anthony Avalos, stepson of feature division driver Steve Jones, placing second.

Pat Quinn of Meridian won the main event race for the Super Sixes – to the surprise of no one. The 2006 Idaho Six Cylinder Racing League champion has dominated at MVS in recent years, and Saturday night he came from mid-pack to win the 30-lap race. Randy Sellars finished a close second, with Tony Ackerland placing third.

SKAGGS BAGS GATOR GLORY

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Skaggs, who won an O’Reilly USMTS National Event on March 25 at Thunderhill
Speedway in Mayetta, Kan., picked up his first USMTS Southern Series victory
Saturday by dominating the Holley “A” Main at the Gator Motorplex in Willis,
Texas. The Bixby, Okla., veteran was nearly flawless as he garnered the most
Home Pride Passing Points among the 52 entries during heat race action before leading start to finish from the pole position in the 40-lap nightcap.

The win helped Skaggs close the gap on Shryock in the Rinehart Trucking Texas Shootout standings, which combines points earned from Saturday night, plus Friday’s event at Motorama Speedway in Beaumont, Texas, and Sunday’s finale at 105 Speedway in Cleveland, Texas. Shryock holds a slim advantage (205 to 202) over Skaggs, with John Whittington close behind with 188 points. Fourth is Zack VanderBeek (177), followed by Steve Holzkamper (177), Randy Timms (167), Tommy Weder Jr. (152), Paul White (150), Jamie Burford (148), Bobby Malchus (139). the top-3

Shryock won Friday’s event, then raced from ninth on the starting grid to
finish second to Skaggs in Saturday’s main event. With six USMTS Southern
Series events in the books, Shryock has pocketed more than $12,000 while
garnering four wins and two runner-up finishes to take a solid advantage in
the USMTS Southern Series title quest with 634 points. Trailing the
eight-time defending O’Reilly USMTS National Champion are Timms (479),
Holzkamper (478), Skaggs and VanderBeek (472 each), Weder (436), Rodney
Sanders (413) and Jason Hughes (403), with David Mitchell and Scott Green
tied for ninth with 380 markers.

Burford of Keatchie, La., scored his best finish of the young USMTS Southern
Series on Saturday, finishing third after starting eighth on the grid.
Holzkamper grabbed fourth while Michael Robertson was fifth. Paul White,
Timms, Whittington, Malchus and VanderBeek rounded out the top-10 finishers
in the 24-car field. Malchus, who snared the $1,000-to-win Limited Modified
feature earlier in the evening, earned the Olympic Fire Protection Hard
Charger honors by racing from 21st to ninth in the main event.

The Rinehart Trucking Texas Shootout continues on Saturday at the Gator
Motorplex in Willis, then winds up the tripleheader weekend at the 105
Speedway in Cleveland this Sunday, April 29. The rugged USMTS Southern
Series road warriors will once again be racing for another $2,000 to win and
minimum $200 to start. Also on the card will be Limited Modifieds ($1,000 to
win) and Hobby Stocks. Gates open at 3 p.m. with hot laps at 5 and racing at
6. Adult general admission is $15, kids ages 6-12 are $5 and children under
6 get in for FREE. Pit passes are $25. The 105 Speedway is a 3/8-mile
semi-banked clay oval located 6.0 miles west of US 59 on SR 105, then 0.3
mile north on Fostoria Rd. For raceday information call (281) 592-4371 or
visit www.105speedway.net online.

To learn more about the USMTS Southern Series, call the headquarters office
at (515) 832-7944 or visit www.usmts.com online.