Sunday, April 22, 2018

Babb Becomes First Time Winner of "Slocum 50"

West Burlington, IA (Saturday, April 21, 2018) - The Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway has the Nationals for both the Sprint Cars and Late Models, while the Boone (Iowa) Speedway has the IMCA Super Nationals that many racers and fans circle on their calendars to attend each year. Just like those tracks, 34 Raceway located in the small town of Middletown, Iowa, has the "Slocum 50" that everybody looks forward to.

On Saturday, April 21st 34 Raceway hosted the 10th Annual "Slocum 50", a race that honors the late Bent Slocum. The 2018 event would have a couple of first. The first being, that Brad Steven and Jessi Mynatt, who are the masterminds behind creating the Slocum Foundation and the "Slocum 50" race back in 2009, are now the new owners of 34 Raceway. The second being, that this event was sanctioned by the Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) for the first time in it's ten year history.

The huge crowd in attendance got to witness 37 Late Models, 19 IMCA Stock Cars, and 17 305 Sprint Cars that signed in to do battle in hopes of putting their name in the history books of winning during the "Slocum 50" race night. Since it's beginning there has only been one repeat winner in the Late Model feature, and that was Bobby Pierce in 2014 and 2016. 2018 continued that streak, as Shannon Babb put his name on the list of winner's of the "Slocum 50". And I do believe Brayden Gaylord and David Brandies also became first time winner's of feature events on "Slocum 50" night.


Chad Simpson got the night started by setting fast time in Group A Late Model qualifying and the overall fast timer, with a time of 15.715 seconds around the 3/8th mile oval. Group B qualifying went to Shannon Babb, who got around the track with a time of 15.722. This would set up the four heat races, in which the top 4 out of the each of them went straight to the feature event....Heat race one saw Chad Simpson use his pole starting spot to his advantage, by grabbing the lead on the drop of the green and then going on to pick up the win. Which also earned him the pole in the 50 lap feature, that paid $10,555 to the winner. Will Vaught started third and crossed the line in 2nd. Jesse Stovall, who started outside the front row, slid back to a 3rd place finish. While Mason Oberkramer took the last qualifying spot in 4th....Heat two pole starter Dave Eckrich grabbed the lead on the drop of the green and never looked back, as he took the checkered flag. Mitch McGrath, who started 3rd, would cross the finish line in 2nd. Payton Looney passed three cars from his sixth place starting spot to come home in 3rd. While Tad Pospisil took the last qualifying spot in 4th....Heat three saw pole starter Shannon Babb shoot out into the lead, and then led all 10 laps to pick up the win. It also earned Babb the outside of the front row for the 50 lap feature. Billy Drake finished 2nd. Jordan Yaggy was 3rd. With Tony Jackson Jr. claiming the 4th and final transfer spot....Heat four saw pole sitter Chris Simpson, who has won two MLRA races in a row and is the defending champion of the "Slocum 50" jump out into the lead and then go on to lead all 10 laps to claim the win. Ryan Unzicker, who won this event back in 2015, crossed the line in 2nd. Frank Heckenast Jr. finished 3rd. While Jason Feger grabbed the 4th and final transfer spot.

Two 12 lap B-Mains were used to determine who the final six, top 3 out of each B-Main, driver's would earn a guaranteed starting spot into the 50 lap "Slocum 50".  B-Main number 1 had Joe Godsey lead the field to green, but it was Brian Shirley from the outside of the front row who grabbed the lead on lap 1. Shirley would lead all 12 laps to claim the win. Godsey held on for 2nd, with Jake Neal getting by Raymond Merrill late in the race to earn the third and final transfer spot....B-Main number 2 pole sitter Spencer Diercks grabbed the lead on the drop of the green and never looked back, as he picked up the win. Rob Toland was 2nd. While Kolby Vandenbergh held off several challenges from Tyler Bruening  over the final laps to hold on for the third and final transfer spot....Add the two points provisionals, J.C. Wyman and Jeremy Grady, and the three emergency provisionals, Bruening, Jeff Roth and Cole Wells, and the 27 car field was set for the "Slocum 50'.

With all the qualifying events, which included 2 305 Sprint Cars heats and 3 IMCA Stock Car heats, complete it was time to go feature racing. The first to take to the track was the 20 lap 305 Sprint Cars, with Jarrod Schneiderman and Toby Gebhardt drawing the front row. But just as the green flag waved the caution light came on, as Ryan Jamison spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Harold Pohren got upside in turn 2 and collected Dave Getchell, who tipped on his side to bring out the red flag. At the same time Nick Guernsey slid into the wall off the exit of the track to avoid the wreck. Pohren would climb from his car okay, but done for the night. While Getchell and Guernsey went to the pits to make quick repairs and return to start at the back. The following restart saw Brayden Gaylord, who started 4th, use the top of the track to grab the lead on lap 1 over Schneiderman and Daniel Bergquist, who started 6th. Gaylord was setting such a fast pace out front that by lap 7 he got to the back of the field. which allowed Schneiderman to close to his back bumper. Coming off turn 4 to complete lap 8 Schneiderman looked under Gaylord for the lead, but Schneiderman felt something going wrong and pulled into the infield.

On lap 10, Nathan Murders spun in turn 4 to bring out the caution and slow Gaylord down. On the restart Gaylord jumped back out front, with Gebhardt and Ben Wagoner, who started 7th, now close behind. Once again Gaylord was setting such a fast pace out front, that on lap 17 he came up on the back of the field. This would allow Gebhardt to close in on his back bumper. Gebhardt would look under Gaylord coming off the corners over the final laps. But Gaylord was able to hold him off to claim the win and the $1,000 top prize to go with it. Gebhardt settled for 2nd, Wagoner was 3rd, Bergquist was 4th, with Guernsey recovering to come back up to take home a 5th place finish.
Brayden Gaylord of Wever, Iowa won the 305 Sprint Car feature on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa during the "Slocum 50"

The start of the 20 lap IMCA Stock Car feature was delayed by about 45 minutes, as they decided to do a little track work in the corners. Once the work was complete John Oliver Jr. and Kirk Kinsley led the field to green, with Kinsley grabbing the lead on lap 1 over David Brandies, who started 4th, and Oliver Jr. The lead for Kinsley last for one lap, as Brandies slipped past him on lap 2 to take over the top spot. Four laps later, lap 6, Ethan Allen spun in turn 4 to bring out the caution and slow the action. On the restart Brandies jumped back out front, with Oliver Jr. edging out Kinsley for the runner up spot. While Brandies paced the field out front, Oliver Jr. Kinsley and Abe Huls battled for the runner up spot. That was until lap 11, when Blaine Dopler got into the turn 3 wall hard and brought out the red. He would climb from his car okay.

On the restart Brandies once again grabbed the lead, as Oliver Jr., Huls and Kinsley continued their battle for second. The action up front was slowed for the third time of the race on lap 15, when Drake Fenton spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. Brandies jumped back out front on the restart, as Oliver Jr. edged Huls out at the line for second. Just as Brandies started to put some distance between himself and the battle for second going on behind him, another caution appeared to bring the field back to his back bumper. This time Chad Krogmeier and Jake Powers spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Jake Wenig went around in turn 4 to bring the yellow light back on. The following restart saw Brandies jumped back out front, with Huls finally clearing Oliver Jr. for the runner up spot. Coming off turn four to get the checkered flag, Huls would look under Brandies for the win. But Brandies was able to hold him off to claim the win and the $555 check to go with it. Huls settled for 2nd, Oliver Jr. was 3rd, Brandon Rothzen came from 19th to finish in 4th, with Kinsley holding on for 5th.
Wilton, Iowa's David Brandies scored the win in the IMCA Stock Car feature on Saturday, April 21, 2018 during the "Slocum 50" event at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa

The final event to take to the track was the 50 lap MLRA Late Model "Slocum 50", with Chad Simpson and Shannon Babb leading the field to the drop of the green flag. But it was fourth place starter Chris Simpson who went three wide to grab the lead on lap 1 over Babb and Chad Simpson. Just after lap 2 was scored complete the first of two cautions in the race appeared, as a tire was clipped onto the track in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Chris Simpson jumped back out front, with Babb and Chad Simpson close behind. While Chris Simpson worked the bottom to the middle of the track, Babb pounded the top side to put pressure on Chris for the lead. The work paid off for Babb, who used the momentum off the top of turn 4 to grab the top spot away from Chris Simpson on lap 5. Then four laps later, lap 9, the second and final caution of the race slowed the fast pace. This time Jordan Yaggy, Jason Feger, and Joe Godsey spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow.

Babb grabbed the lead on the restart, with Chris Simpson and Ryan Unzicker, who started 8th, over taking Chad Simpson for third. Early on it looked like Unzicker had something for Babb and Chris Simpson. But Chad Simpson would get back by Unzicker for third on lap 13. On lap 18 Babb came up on the back of the field, which helped Chris Simpson and Chad Simpson stay in his tires tracks. The lapped traffic would allow the lead trio to pull away from the rest of the field. By the midway part of the race Babb was able to put a couple of lapped cars between himself and the Simpson brothers, who were battling for the runner up spot. With about 5 laps to go Chris Simpson found his groove and would close in on Babb. But would run out of laps, as Babb went on to claim his first "Slocum 50". The win was also worth $10,555. Chris Simpson settled for 2nd, Chad Simpson was 3rd, Billy Drake was 4th, with Dave Eckrich rounding out the top 5.


Moweaqua, Illinois' Shannon Babb added his name to the list of winner's of the "Slocum 50" by claiming the checkered flag on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa 
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa finished 2nd in the "Slocum 50"

 Third in the "Slocum 50" went to Mount Vernon, Iowa's Chad Simpson
 Bloomington, Illinois' Billy Drake drove to a fourth place finish in the "Slocum 50"
Dave Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa crossed the finish line in 5th at the "Slocum 50"

Notes from 34: Raymond Merrill, Rich Bell, Jamie Wilson, Justin Zeitner, Reid Millard, Rickey Frankel, Austin Siebert, Jonathan Brauns, Mark Burgtorf, and Dave Wada were among the 10 driver's who didn't make the feature for the "Slocum 50"....Mason Oberkramer started 13th and finished 10th....Brian Shirley, who won the first B-Main, started 17th and finished 11th....Tyler Bruening took a provisional and started 25th. He would pass 13 cars to come home in 12th, to earn the hard charger of the race....Spencer Diercks finished 14th after starting in 18th....J.C. Wyman started 23rd after taking a provisional, and would come up to finish 17th....Cole Wells was another driver who too a provisional. He would start 27th and brought home a 21st place finish......Dan Keltner started the 305 Sprint feature in 16th. He would come home in 6th to earn the hard charger award....Wyatt Wilkerson finished 7th after starting in 14th....Dave Getchell who took a light roll onto his side before a lap was scored, came back up to finish 9th....Nathan Murders recovered from his spin on lap 10 to come back up to finish 10th....Joe Laue had troubles after his heat that forced him to scratch from the feature......Corey Strothman finished 6th in the Stock Car feature after starting in 12th....Cody Washburne passed 8 cars from his 16th place starting spot to come home in 8th....Wayne Landheer started 18th and finished 9th....Tom Bowling Jr., who was battling in the top 5, got a flat on the lap 18 restart. He would get it changed and came back out to come up to finish 10th....Ethan Allen, who started 15th, recovered from his spin on lap 6 to come back up to finish 11th....Jake Powers recovered from his spin on lap 18 to come back up to finish 12th....Scott Jordan was scheduled to start 7th in the feature, but troubles after his heat forced him to scratch from the feature.

I would like to say THANK YOU to Brad Stevens and Jessi Mynatt for allowing me to cover the racing action at 34 Raceway, and especially the "Slocum 50'. I look forward to a few more visits to the track as the season moves along.

One other thing, please think about hitting the post button before you go to post on social media. I know everybody has the freedom of speech. But think of this the next time you want to post something. How would you feel if your local track you race at or go to watch the races closes the gates because they are loosing money from many things, including negative posts. Would you be happy having to travels hundreds of miles or several hours to catch some racing action? My guess probably not. More than likely you would find something else to do with your time. So until next time, let's get out and support our local tracks in a positive manner!

Elston, Waterman, Murty, and Lennox Among Winners at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway

Donnellson, IA (Friday, April 20, 2018) - Finally mother nature provided the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa with some spring like weather to get their 2018 points season started. Armstrong Tractor was the sponsor for the night, that saw action in seven classes. At the end of the night Tommy Elston (Steffes Late Models), Jeff Waterman (Budweiser IMCA Modifieds), Damon Murty (Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Cars), Brandon Lennox (Discount Tire & Service IMCA SportMods), Baiden Heskett (Legend Cars); Nathan Ballard (Coors Light Hobby Stocks), and Josh Barnes (Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts) all ended up in victory lane.

The first feature to take to the track was the 30 lap Legend Cars, with Edward Farrington and Jason Utter drawing the front row. Utter used his front row start to grab the lead on lap 1 over Mike Mueller and Tim Brockhouse. Utter then held the top spot until lap 7, when Brockhouse slipped under him coming off turn 4 to take the lead. One lap later, lap 8, Farrington would spin in turn 1 to bring out the first yellow of the race. On the restart Brockhouse jumped back out front, with Utter and Mueller close behind. Brockhouse and Utter battled side-by-side for the top spot over the next 3 laps, when the second caution of the race slowed the battle on lap 12. Debris in turn 2 would cause the yellow. Brockhouse and Utter continued their battle for the lead on the restart, only to be slowed 4 laps later. Craig Peekenschneider spun in turn 1 on lap 17 to bring out the yellow. Utter would get under Brockhouse on the restart to grab the lead away. Only to be slowed 1 lap later, lap 19, for Peenkenschneider spinning in turn 4 to bring out another yellow. On the restart Brockhouse got into Utter in turn 1, which caused Utter to spin and bring the yellow light back on. Both driver's would be sent to the back, with Baiden Heskett, who started 7th, inheriting the lead for the restart. The action was slowed after the completion of lap 20, when Adam Meyer spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. Heskett moved back out front on the restart, with Mueller and Drew Papke, who started 12th, close behind. The final caution of the race appeared on lap 22, when Ryan Sullivan, who was running 4th, spun in turn 1 from contact from Brockhouse to bring out the yellow. On the restart Heskett grabbed the lead, with Papke over taking Mueller for the runner up spot. Papke, who was running the top of the track, would over take Heskett for the top spot on lap 28. But coming to the white flag Heskett was able to slip under Papke to edge him at the line for the lead. Heskett then held off Papke to claim the win. Papke was 2nd, Utter recovered from the spin on lap 19 to come back up to finish 3rd, Mueller was 4th, with Warren Ropp rounding out the top 5.

Up next was the 20 lap Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Car feature, with Damon Murty and Brandon Lambert, who moved up from the Sport Compact class, drew the front row. But it was fourth place starter Jason See who used the top of the track to lead lap 1 over Murty and Jeff Mueller, who started 5th. The lead for See lasted for 1 lap, as Murty was able to get by him to lead lap 2. Then disaster would strike See on lap 5 when he clipped a tire in turn 2 and rolled to bring out the red. He would climb from his car okay. On the restart Murty moved back out front, with Mueller and Abe Huls, who started 8th, close behind. The action up front was slowed on lap 9, when John Oliver Jr., who was running 4th, spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. Murty jumped back out front on the restart, with Huls over taking Mueller for the runner up spot. Two laps later, lap 12, Mitch Meyer spun in turn 2 to bring the yellow light on. Once again Murty grabbed the lead on the restart, with Huls and Mueller glued to his back bumper. Mueller's night would come to an end on lap 14 when his throttle stuck going into turn 3 causing him to go straight into the guardrail to bring out the yellow. On the restart Huls used the top of the track to take the lead away from Murty. But Murty would slid up in front of Huls coming off turn 4 to get the lead back on lap 16. Huls would continue to challenge Murty for the lead until lap 17, when his part of his dash flew up and blocked his vision. This would allow Murty to pull away for the win. Huls was able to hold on for 2nd, Beau Taylor came from 11th to finish in 3rd, Jason Cook started 10th and finished 4th, with Oliver Jr. recovering from his spin on lap 9 to come back up to finish 5th.

Jeff Waterman and Gatlin Leytham drew the front row for the 20 lap Budweiser IMCA Modified feature. Just as the green flag was waved the caution came out, as contact sent Mitch Boles spinning in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Waterman jumped out front, with Leytham and David Brown following. Brown would over take Leytham for the runner up spot on lap 6, and then tried keep pace with Waterman. But with out another caution to slow the action, Waterman would go on to pick up the win. David Brown was 2nd, Dennis LaVeine was 3rd, Kyle Brown nipped Bill Roberts Jr., who started 10th, at the line by inches to claim 4th, with Roberts Jr. in 5th.

The Discount Tire & Service IMCA SportMod feature was scheduled to go 20 laps. But with 5 cautions within the first 3 laps, the race was cut to 15 laps. Under green flag racing Ethan Braaksma, who started 9th, lead the field. Braaksma would hold the top spot until lap 7, when Brandon Lennox, who came from the rear after being involved in one of the early cautions, slipped under him for the lead. The only thing to slow Lennox down over the final laps was 3 more cautions. But on each restart Lennox grabbed the lead that he held until the checkered flag. Braaksma was 2nd, Tim Warner, who came down from Malone, Wisconsin, was 3rd, Ryan King was 4th, with Dakota Sapp coming home in 5th after starting in 16th.

Brandon Savage and Todd Frank drew the front row for the 20 lap Steffes Late Model feature, with Frank grabbing the lead on lap 1 over Savage and Sam Halstead. The action was slowed for only one time, as Savage tried to slid up in front of Frank in turn 4 on lap 2 and spun to avoid contact to bring out the yellow. On the restart Frank moved back out front, with Tommy Elston, who started 5th, over taking Halstead for 2nd. A couple of laps later Elston used the top of the track to grab the top spot away from Frank. While Elston set a fast pace out front, Ron Boyse, who started 7th, worked his way into second on lap 11. But without a caution Boyse ran out of time to chase down Elston, who went on to pick up the win. Boyse was 2nd, Jeff Guengerich was 3rd, Frank was 4th, with Halstead finishing 5th.

Up next was the 15 lap Coors Light Hobby Stock feature, with Gene Nicklas and Nathan Ballard drawing the front row for the event. Ballard took advantage of his draw to grab the lead on lap 1 over Nicklas and Aaron Martin. Martin's run up front came to an end on lap 3, as he spun in turn 1 with a left front flat to bring out the yellow. On the restart Ballard moved back out front, with Nicklas and Mike Kincaid, who started 8th, close behind. While Ballard paced the field out front, Eric Stanton used the bottom and top of the track to move into second on lap 13. Then coming to the white flag he was able to get up next to Ballard for the lead. But Ballard was able to hold him off on the final lap to claim the win. Stanton settled for 2nd, Nicklas was 3rd, Brok Hopwood was 4th, with Kincaid rounding out the top 5.

The final feature to take to the track was the 14 lap Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compacts, with Josh Barnes and Darin Weisinger Jr. drawing the front row. Barnes used his front row starting spot to jump out into the lead on lap 1 over Kimberly Abbott, who started 7th, and Chuck Fullenkamp, who started 5th. While Barnes paced the field out front, the action behind him was for second, third, fourth and fifth. With no caution to bunch the field up, Barnes went on to pick up the win. Abbott held on for 2nd, Brandon Reu was 3rd, Barry Taft came from 10th to finish 4th, with Fullenkamp coming home in 5th.

Notes from LCS: Dave Eberle started the Legends feature in 11th and finished 6th....Ryan Sullivan recovered from getting spun out on lap 22 to come back up to finish 7th....Carson Less passed 9 cars from his 18th place starting spot to come home in 9th....Jeremy Meyer finished 10th after starting in 17th....Adam Meyer started 19th and finished 12th....Brock Haines came out for the parade laps, but just before the feature went green he had mechanical troubles that forced him to pull into the infield......Ray Raker started the Stock Car feature in 9th and finished 6th....Steven Mast was scheduled to start 3rd, but instead elected to go to the tail on the start. He would come up to finish 7th....Mitch Meyer, who drove down from Chilton, Wisconsin to escape the snow on the ground, started 13th and finished 8th. Even after his spin on lap 12 that sent him to the rear of the field....Jeremy Pundt and Kevin Koontz both had troubles in their heat races that forced them to scratch from the feature......Dakota Simmons finished 7th in the Modified feature after starting in 11th....Mitch Boles recovered from being spun on the start to come back up to finish 8th....Blake Woodruff started 13th and finished 10th......Jared Miller, who started the SportMod feature in 6th and then recovered from his spin on lap 12, brought home a 6th place finish....Bob Cowman finished 7th after starting in 14th....Jami Ritter started 11th and finished 8th....Kyle Hamelton finished 9th after starting in 15th......David Prim started the Sport Compact feature in 12th and brought home an 8th place finish....Mike Hornung Jr. finished 9th after electing to go to the tail on the start of the feature.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Weekend Full of Racing?...Maybe So

Monmouth, IL (Thursday, April 19, 2018) - After a shaky start to the week, as far as the weather is concerned, it looks like we may finally get in a full weekend of racing. Much of northern Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin were blanketed with a fresh coating of snow on Tuesday into Wednesday, which has already forced some tracks to cancel for the weekend.

The cancellations started on Wednesday, April 18th, as the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa was scheduled to kick off their 2018 season. But wet grounds and cool temperatures forced them to cancel, with hopes of getting their season going next Wednesday, April 25th....Then on Thursday the Marshalltown Speedway in Marshalltown, Iowa had planned on a twin bill, since they have tried three times now to get their season going. But with the new snow not melting in time for them to get on the track to prep it, they were forced to cancel both Thursday and Friday nights action. They will try again next Thursday, April 26th and Friday, April 27th to get their season started....Another Friday night track that was set to kick off their season was the Farley Speedway in Farley, Iowa. But the snow earlier in the week forced them to pull the plug on Friday nights opener. They will try next Friday, April 27th to get things started.

This would leave very few chances to catch some racing action on Friday night in the state of Iowa. One of those being the beginning of track points at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa. All six weekly classes (Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Stock Cars, IMCA SportMods, Hobby Stocks, and IMCA Sport Compacts) will be in action, with the Legend Cars joining the card. With many tracks cancelling for Friday the Lee County Speedway is offering the IMCA Modifieds a chance to race for $600 to win, while the IMCA Stock Cars and IMCA SportMods will be going for $500 to win....If you are an open Late Model fan, then the Davenport Speedway in Davenport, Iowa is where you want to be. The traveling guys of the Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models will do battle with the areas best Late Models on the 1/2 mile for a chance to win $5,000. Also racing will be the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA SportMods and Street Stocks.

If you are in the state of Illinois and are looking for some places that are racing on Friday, here a few choices for you. The Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City, Illinois is opening their 2018 season, after two attempts to get in the "Illini 100" failed. Also opening their 2018 season is the Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. Unfavorable weather last Friday the 13th forced them to cancel their originally scheduled season opener. One other choice is the Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville, Illinois, as they host the season opener for the MOWA Sprint Cars. Heavy late afternoon showers forced officials to cancel last Fridays stop by the World of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars. So this week the MOWA Sprint Cars will highlight the action.

Just like the Knoxville Raceway has it's Knoxville Nationals for Sprint Cars and the Late Models, and the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio has it's many special events. One track located just outside the little town of Middletown, Iowa, 34 Raceway, has an event that many people circle on their calendars for the least 9 years. That being the "Slocum 50", which will be held for the 10th annual time this Saturday night. Brad Stevens and Jessi Mynatt started this event back in 2009 to honor the late Brent Slocum, who was a Late Model racer himself. But for the 2018 edition of the "Slocum 50" Brad and Jessi have taken on new roles, as Brad now owns the 3/8 mile track and has his long time supporter Jessi is helping him promote the track.

Also new this year for the "Slocum 50" is the sanctioning of the event with the Lucas OIL MLRA Late Models. Many driver's from around the area, along with some travelers, verge to the facility in hopes of taking home the $10,555 top prize. Some of the driver's who have this race on their schedule include: the Simpson brothers (Chad and Chris), Shannon Babb, Brian Shirley, Ryan Unzicker, Tony Jackson Jr., Raymond Merrill, Jason Feger, Jake Neal, Payton Looney, Cole Wells, Jeff Roth, Joe Godsey, Jonathan Brauns, Dave Eckrich, Jeremy Grady, Tyler Bruening. Billy Drake, Justin Zeitner, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tad Pospisil, Gordy Gundaker, Spencer Diercks, Jesse Stovall, and Randy Timms. Others expected to attend or have expressed some interest in coming include: Bob Gardner, Rusty Griffaw, Rickey Frankel, Jay Johnson, Mark Burgtorf, Denny Woodworth, Rob Toland, Scott Schmitt, and Kevin Weaver. Some driver's who are high up in the MLRA points that may attend include: current points leader Ricky Weiss, Will Vaught, Rich Bell and Mason Oberkramer.

As you can see the list of driver's is second to none for this areas Late Models, so I would encourage you to take in this event. Also racing is the 305 Sprints for $1,000 to win and the IMCA Stock Cars fro $555 to win. Arrive early, as this event always brings in a huge crowd.

A couple of other tracks racing on Saturday the 21st is the Cedar County Raceway in Tipton, Iowa. After the season opener for the Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models got rained out last Friday the 13th. This event will now be the opener for the series. Also racing is the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA SportMods, and Street Stocks....The Maquoketa Speedway in Maquoketa, Iowa will hold their season opener. After trying last Saturday only to get rained out, they will try again this week to get their season started....One track that is very rare to see cancel an event is the Boone Speedway in Boone, Iowa. But for 2018 they have been plagued with weather cancellations, three in a row to be exact. This Saturday they hope to change this, as they plan to open their season.

Your choice of Sunday night racing became one less, as the early week snow storm has forced officials to cancel the season opener at the Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway in Dubuque, Iowa. You can still take in action at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa. As well as the Quad City Speedway in East Moline, Illinois. With the Quincy Raceways in Quincy, Illinois being your other choice of Sunday night racing. As always I encourage you to check with all tracks before you head out to make sure they are still racing.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about what track promoters expenses to income may be. And the numbers it would take in the grandstands for them to break even on a night. Well maybe some people didn't read it or just don't understand, so I encourage you to take the time and go back and read it. Why, you may ask.

Well earlier this week the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa posted a brochure about this weeks races, which included the increased grandstand prices for 2018. Just like the reaction people had with the Beatrice Speedway in Beatrice, Nebraska had in raising there pit passes for 2018, there were some who reacted negatively towards the $2 dollar increase in the grandstands. The Lee County Speedway reacted by dropping the prices back down to the 2017 prices, with notice that for 2019 they will most likely go up.

What I don't understand is for those people who react the way they do, do they want to see tracks start closing there gates? Just like any business, if they continue to loose money night after night, year after year, they will have no choice but to close the gates. If you can't afford to pay your water bill, house payment, car payment, or any other bill do they let you keep those services. NO. Before long they get turned off or reposed. So again I say please get out and support these tracks, before it's to late!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Last Lap Passes Highlights the Action During the Frostbuster at the Benton County Speedway

Vinton, IA (Thursday, April 12, 2018) - With the bleak weather forecasted for this weekend, I decided to make the 2.5 hour drive northwest to the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa. I arrived just as hot laps were being completed to find the pit area jam packed with 128 cars in the five classes competing on night #2 of the Frostbuster's. Was it worth the drive? I would have to say definitely, as closes finishes in all five features made it pay off.

After 17 heat races and 5 B-Mains were ran to set the starting line-ups for the feature events, it was time to go feature racing. The first one to take to the track was the 12 lap Micro Mods, with Chad Dugan and Darrick Knutsen leading the field to green. Knutsen took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Dugan. The Micro Mods found the bottom groove to there liken, so Dugan chose to follow in Knutsen's tire tracks over the next 11 laps. Then coming off turn 2 on the final lap Dugan was able to slip under Knutsen to grab the top spot away and then held on to pick up the win. Dallon Murty, who started 7th, also made the last lap pass of Knutsen to finish in 2nd, which pushed Knutsen back to 3rd, Erick Knutsen started 8th and finished 4th.
Wauken, Iowa's Chad Dugan won the Micro Mod feature on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa

Up next was the 20 lap IMCA Stock Car feature, with Damon Murty and Steve Meyer drawing the front row. Murty used his front row draw to jump out into the lead on lap 1 over Kody Schlopp and Meyer. Schlopp was able to put some pressure on Murty for the lead over the next several laps, that was until he excited the speedway on lap 14 with mechanical troubles. It then looked like Murty would cruise to an easy when, until the caution came out on lap 15 for debris in turn 4. On the restart Murty jumped back out front, but now had Todd Reitzler, who started 10th, battling him for the top spot. Reitzler would look under Murty going into the corners, but Murty would use the momentum off the top of the track to keep the lead. Murty, who finished second to Reitzler the night before in Donnellson, Iowa, was able to hold off Reitzler to claim the win. Reitzler was 2nd. Brian Mahlstedt, who started 12th, crossed the line in 3rd, but was disqualified in tech with an illegal carburetor. This would move Meyer to 3rd, Jay Schmidt was moved up to 4th, with John Oliver Jr. being moved up to 5th.
Damon Murty of Chelsea, Iowa was the winner of the IMCA Stock Car feature at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa on Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ethan Braaksma and Arie Schouten led the field to the drop of the green flag in the 20 lap IMCA SportMod feature. But just as the green waved the caution light came on, as Justin Becker spun in turn 3 to bring out the yellow. On the original restart Schouten used the top of the track to edge Braaksma at the line to lead lap 1. Then just after the completion of lap 1 was scored, the second caution appeared. This time Thomas Egenberger went over the track in turn 3 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Daniel Fellows got turned sideways in turn 4, after several rows in front of him got on the gas and then slammed on the brakes, to bring the yellow light back on. The following restart saw Schouten move back out front, with Johnathon Logue and Joey Schaefer getting past Braaksma for second and third. Just after lap 2 was scored complete another caution came out, as Tony Olson slipped off the track in turn 3 to bring out the yellow. Debris in turn 2 on the restart brought the yellow light back on for the final time.

Once back to green the racing was exciting, as Logue slipped under Schouten on the restart to edge him out at the line for the lead. But Schouten, who was using the top of the track, came back to lead lap 4. Logue would slip back under Schouten to grab the top spot back on lap 5. Schouten wouldn't give up though, as he used the momentum off the top of turn 4 to grab the lead back on lap 7. Then going into turn 1 Schouten got to high and slid off the track in turn 2 to fall back to fifth. This handed the lead back over to Logue, who now had Schaefer glued to his back bumper. Schaefer would look under Logue over the final laps, with Logue holding him off each lap. That was until the final lap when Logue slowed off turn 2, which allowed Schaefer to go by for the win. Tyler Soppe finished 2nd after starting in 15th, Sam Wieben started 7th and finished 3rd, Joe Docekal came from 10th to finish in 4th, with Braaskma holding on for 5th.
Johnathon Logue (69JR) of Boone, Iow and Joey Schaefer (2) of Waterloo, Iowa battled late in the IMCA SportMod feature on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa. Broken steering on Logue's car allowed Schaefer to go onto to pick up the win.

Up next was the 15 lap IMCA Hobby Stock feature, with Seth Janssen and Bradly Graham making up the front row for the event. Graham used his draw to his advantage, as he grabbed the lead on lap 1 over Janssen and Bryce Sommerfeld. Then after lap 1 was scored complete the first caution came out, as David Simpson and Breyden Forbes spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Graham jumped back out front, but Sommerfeld slipped past Janssen for the runner up spot. The action was slowed for the second time, as Simpson spun in turn 4 on lap 6 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Eric Stanton, who started 11th, went three wide thru the middle to take over the top spot. Then just after that lap was scored complete, another caution came out. This time Rowan Mason, Janssen and Leah Wroten collided in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. Stanton jumped back out front on the restart, with Sommerfeld and David Rieks, who started 6th, glued to his back bumper. Disaster would strike Sommerfeld on lap 9, as he spun in turn 3 to bring out the final caution of the race. On the restart Rieks squeezed under Stanton to take the top spot away. Two laps later, lap 12, Stanton got under Reiks coming off turn 2 to get the lead back, as the two ran down the backstretch banging doors and sparks flying. Rieks tried to get back under Stanton over the final laps, but Stanton held on to claim the win. Rieks settled for 2nd, Justin Wacha finished 3rd after starting in 12th, Graham was 4th, with Matt Pohlman coming from 15th to finish in 5th.

The final feature to take to the track was the 25 lap IMCA Modifieds, with Cory Wray and Kyle Brown drawing the front row. But it looked like third place starter Tyler Droste would make the pass to lead lap 1, as he went low into turn 1 and slid up in front of Wray and Brown. But they would turn under him down the backstretch, with Wary coming around to lead 1 over Brown and Hunter Marriott. Droste's run up front came to an end on the completion of lap 1, as he slid off the track in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Marriott slid under Wray to grab the lead, with Brown also over taking Wray to stay second. Just as the front runners looked like they would be catching the back of the field, the second caution of the race appeared on lap 10 to slow the action. This time Dan Menk spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. The yellow light would come back on on the restart, as Droste dropped a drive shaft in turn 1 and came to a stop just of turn 2 to bring out the yellow. The following restart saw Marriott move back out front, with Brown and Cayden Carter, who started 5th, close behind. Just after the lap was scored complete the final caution of the race came out, as Nate Hughes spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow.

Marriott jumped back out front on the restart, with Brown and Carter following. While Marriott set the pace out front, Brown, who was running up top, and Carter, who was on the bottom, raced several laps side-by-side for second. This would allow Richie Gustin, who started 10th, to move into the battle, as Marriott started to pull away. Carter broke away from Brown and Gustin on lap 18, then went to work on cutting into Marriott's lead. After taking the white flag, Carter got under Marriott going into turn 1, as the two raced side-by-side thru turn 2. Carter found the grip on the bottom coming off turn 2 to take over the top spot and then held on for the win. Marriott settled for 2nd for the second night in a row, Gustin would cross the line in 3rd. But was disqualified in tech for an incorrect rev limiter setting. This would move Brown to 3rd, Joel Rust was moved to 4th after starting in 9th, with Ethan Dotson moved up to 5th.
Oskaloosa, Iowa's Cayden Carter made a last lap pass to claim the IMCA Modified feature at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa on Thursday, April 12, 2018

Notes from BCS: 40 SportMods, 32 Modifieds, 23 Hobby Stocks, 19 Stock Cars, and 14 Micro Mods made up the 128 cars signed in....Larry Karcz Jr. started the Stock Car feature in 9th and finished 6th....Kellie Schmitt passed 10 cars from the 11th place starting spot to finish in 7th....Jake Nelson also passed 10 cars from his 18th place starting spot to finish 8th....Scooter Dulin came from 14th to finish in 9th....Mitch Meier started 16th and finished 13th......Johnathon Logue who looked to be heading to the win in the SportMod feature, slowed on the final lap with something in the steering breaking. he was able to come across the line in 7th....Kyle Olson passed 11 cars from his 19th place starting spot to finish in 8th....Gage Neal charged passed 14 cars from his 24th place starting spot to come home in 10th....Tony Olson recovered from going over the track in turn 3 on lap 2 to come back up to finish 11th....Jerry Miles started 17th and finished 12th....Erik Laudenschlager finished 15th after starting in 22nd......Matt Olson started the Hobby Stock feature in 10th and finished 6th....Mike Kimm passed 10 cars from his 18th place starting spot to come home in 8th....Bryce Sommerfeld recovered from his spin on lap 9 to come back up to finish 10th....Rowan Mason recovered from his involvement in the lap 7 caution to come back up to finish 11th....Kenzie Ritter finished 13th after starting in 21st....Jamie Coady started 20th and finished 14th....Derrick Thran came from 23rd to finish in 15th....Breyden Forbes recovered from his spin on lap 1 to come back up to finish 16th......Todd Shute started the Modified feature in 11th and finished 6th....Jeff Aikey came from 14th to finish in 8th....Troy Cordes started 12th and finished 9th....Jacob Murray finished 10th after starting in 10th....Scott Hogan came from 16th to finish in 11th....Clay Money started 19th and finished 12th....Nate Hughes recovered from his spin on lap 11 to come back up to finish 13th....T.J. Smith came from 22nd to finish in 14th....Tony Hilgebberg finished 15th after starting in 23rd.

Mother nature rained out the following events scheduled for Friday night in the area:

Deery Brothers Summer Series opener at the Davenport Speedway in Davenport, Iowa
Frostbuster Night #3 at the Marshalltown Speedway in Marshalltown, Iowa
Season points opener for the Late Models at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa
World of Outlaw Sprints at Jacksonville, Illinois - This event was rescheduled for June 27th
World of Outlaw Late Models "Illini 100" for Friday and Saturday at the Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City, Illinois - This event will not be rescheduled
MLRA Late Models for Friday and Saturday at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri

There are a few shows still scheduled for Saturday night. But please check with the track you plan on attending before you leave home to make sure they are still racing.

Shryock, Reitzler, Howes, Anderson, and Taft Take Frostbuster Wins at the Lee County Speedway

Donnellson, IA (Thursday, April 11, 2018) - They say that third time is a charm, as this was the third attempt by the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa to get their 2018 season started. This was also the kick-off of the four day Frostbuster events, which was being presented by Sitler's LED Supplies out of Washington, Iowa.

With beautiful weather provided by mother nature, 124 cars jammed the pit area in hopes of ending in victory lane at the end of the nights competition. After 16 heat races and 3 B-Mains were completed to help determine the starting field for the features, it was time to go feature racing.

First up was the the 15 lap Coors Light IMCA Hobby Stocks, with Eric Knutson and Leah Wroten drawing the front row for the event. Knutson took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Wroten and Shannon Anderson, who started 6th. The lead for Knutson lasted until lap 3, when Anderson used the momentum off the top of the track coming off turn 4 to edge Knutson at the line for the top spot. Three laps later the first and only caution of the race appeared, as Nathan Ballard slowed to a stop in turn 4 with right front end troubles. On the restart Anderson moved back out front, with Wroten, Knutson, and Eric Stanton, who started 10th, battling for the runner up spot. While Wroten and Stanton battled side-by-side for the second spot, Anderson would pull away to pick up the win. Stanton won the battle for 2nd, Wroten was 3rd, Knutson was 4th, with David Rieks rounding out the top 5.
The IMCA Hobby Stock feature winner on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa was won by Des Moines, Iowa's Shannon Anderson

Up next was the 20 lap Discount Tire and Service IMCA SportMod feature, with Arie Schouten and Brandon Setser leading the field to the drop of the green flag. Schouten jumped out front to lead lap 1 over Daniel Fellows and Setser. Just as Fellows got up beside Schouten to challenge him for the lead, the caution would come out to slow the action. A tire was clipped in turn 2 and pushed out onto the racing surface to bring out the yellow. On the restart Matt Webb got sideways in turn 4 to bring the yellow light back on. The following restart saw Schouten move back out front, with Austin Howes over taking Fellows for the runner up spot. Howes, who was using the top of the track, edged out Schouten, who was on the bottom of the track, to lead lap 8. Schouten would come back under Howes to grab the top spot back on lap 10. Only to have Howes regain the lead back on lap 11. While Howes and Schouten battle for the top spot, Fellows, Austen Becerra, who started 12th, and Jake McBirnie, who started 10th, were racing two and three wide for the third spot. With 5 laps to go McBirnie was able to wrestle the runner up spot away from Schouten, and then went to work on Howes for the lead. McBirnie tried to slip under Howes coming off turn 4 on the final lap for the win, but Howes would hold him off to claim the win. McBirnie settled for 2nd, Becerra was 3rd, Tyler Soppe charged from his 14th place starting spot to come home in 4th, with Schouten holding on for 5th.
Austin Howes of Memphis, Missouri won the IMCA SportMod feature at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Jason See and Damon Murty drew the front row for the 20 lap Donnellson Tire and Service IMCA Stock Car feature, with Murty grabbing the lead on lap over J.J. Heinz and See. While Murty set a fast pace out front, all eyes were on Todd Reitzler. Reitzler, who started 9th, was working his way towards the front, and on lap 7 he would take over the runner up spot. Todd then went to work into cutting into Murty's lead. His efforts would be helped with a caution on lap 13. A tire was clipped and moved out onto the track to bring out the yellow. On the restart Reitzler used the bottom of the track to edge out Murty for the top spot. Murty would try the low line and the high line to get back by Reitzler over the final laps. But Reitzler was able to hold him off to pick up the win. Murty was 2nd, John Oliver Jr. was 3rd, Tom Bowling Jr. started 7th and finished 4th, with See rounding out the top 5.
Grinnell, Iowa's Todd Reitzler won the IMCA Stock Car feature on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa

Up next was the 14 lap Armstrong Tractor IMCA Sport Compact feature, with David Prim and Barry Taft leading the field to green. Taft used his front row starting spot to jump out into the lead on lap 1 over Josh Barnes, who started 6th, and Chuck Fullenkamp. The action was slowed for the first time on lap 3, when Jason Ash spun in turn 3 and Oliver Monson slowed to a stop in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Taft moved back out front, with Barnes and Brandon Reu, who started 10th, glued to his back bumper. Barnes would slip past Taft on lap 5 to take over the top spot, and then held the lead until lap 10. Disaster would strike Barnes, as he lost a right front tire in turn 4 to bring out the yellow and ending his night. Taft would inherit the lead back for the restart, with Ryan Havel, who started 14th, over taking Reu for the second spot. Havel would challenge Taft for the lead, until he slowed to a stop in turn 4 on lap 12 with troubles. On the restart Jake Benischek got under Taft to grab the top spot away. But Taft would slip under Benischek coming off turn 4 on the final lap to edge him out for the win. Benischek settled for 2nd, Darin Weisinger Jr. started 11th and finished 3rd, William Michel finished 4th after starting in 9th, with Reu coming home in 5th.
The IMCA Sport Compact feature winner on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa was won by Barry Taft of Argyle, Iowa

The final feature to take to the track on the night was the 25 lap Budweiser IMCA Modifieds, with Shawn Ritter and Chad Holladay drawing the front row. Ritter took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Holladay and Kelly Shryock. The lead for Ritter lasted until lap 5, when Shryock slipped under him to take over the top spot. Then just after the lap was scored complete the first caution of the race appeared. Joel Rust would spin in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Shryock jumped back out front, with Jeff Aikey, who started 6th, over taking Holladay for the runner up spot. The second and final caution of the race came out on the completion of lap 6, as debris in turn 2 brought out the yellow. Once again Shryock moved back out front on the restart, with Holladay and Hunter Marriott, who started 11th, both getting past Aikey. A couple of laps latter Marriott over took Holladay for second, and then went to work on catching Shryock for the lead. Even with some lapped traffic to slow Shryock down. Marriott wasn't able to take advantage of it, as Shryock held on for the win and the $1,000 top prize to go with it. Marriott settled for 2nd, Cayden Carter finished 3rd after starting in 7th, Aikey was 4th, with Holladay holding on for 5th.
Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Iowa won the IMCA Modified feature at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Notes from LCS: 31 Modifieds, 29 SportMods, 24 Stock Cars, 24 Sport Compacts, and 16 Hobby Stocks made up the 124 cars signed in for the nights competition....They included driver's from 10 states (Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Nebraska, California, Minnesota, and Kansas) plus Canada......Matt Olson out of Franklin, Minnesota started the Hobby Stock feature in 11th and passed 5 cars to come home in 6th....Seth Janssen started 12th and finished 9th....Brok Hopwood came from 14th to finish in 11th....David Simpson and Ricky Miller Jr. both had troubles in their heat races that forced them to scratch from the feature......Sam Wieben passed 12 cars from his 18th place starting spot in the SportMod feature to come home in 6th....Brandon Dale came from 13th to finish in 8th....Phillip Keller, who made the pull all the way from Sydney, Montana, started 19th and finished 13th....Also making the pull from Sydney, Montana was Kyle Keller. He started 21st and finished 14th....Michael Carter came from 22nd to finish 15th...Rick Barlow Jr. passed 7 cars from his 23rd place starting spot to come home in 16th....Jeff Frana had troubles after taking the last qualifying spot out of the B-Main that forced him to scratch from the feature......Dustin Griffiths charged past 14 cars from his 21st place starting spot in the Stock Car feature to bring home a 7th place finish....Brian Mahlstedt started 19th and passed 11 cars enroute to an 8th place finish....Abe Huls, who had to go pit side after the pile-up on the start, raced his way thru the field to come home in 9th....Jay Schmidt finished 10th after starting in 16th....Andrew Borchardt started 17th and finished 13th....Jake Nelson made the pull down from Williston, North Dakota and started 23rd in the feature. He would pass 9 cars to finish in 14th....Ray Raker finished 16th after starting in 20th......Luke Benischek finished 6th in the Sport Compact feature after starting in 12th....John Gill passed 13 cars from his 20th place starting spot to come home in 7th....Jason Ash, who started 24th, came from the rear twice after spinning on lap 3 to bring out the caution and having to go to the rear again. He then passed 16 cars enroute to an 8th place finish....Mike Hornung Jr. started 18th and passed 7 cars to finish in 11th....Robert Sturms came from 17th to finish in 12th....Matt Milligan finished 13th after starting in 19th....Rachel Kile had troubles in her heat race that forced her to scratch from the feature......Eric Barnes started 10th in the Modified feature and finished 7th....Ethan Dotson from Bakersfield, California passed 10 cars from his 19th place starting spot to come home in 9th....Penokee, Kansas' Clay Money came from 20th to finish in 10th....Jacob Murray passed 11 cars from his 22nd place starting spot enroute to an 11th place finish....Joel Rust recovered from his spin on lap 5 to come back up to finish 12th....Kevin Kile started 16th and finished 13th....Travis Perry from Williston, North Dakota finished 14th after starting in 18th....Franklin, Minnesota's Dan Menk came from 23rd to finish in 15th....T.J. Smith from Menasha, Wisconsin came from 21st to finish in 16th.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Cost of Racing....Making it Rich?

Monmouth, IL (Sunday, April 8,2018) - Mother nature has plagued the 2018 racing season here in the Midwest. As for me I have only been to 1 race out of the 11 that I have planned. So let's hope mother nature will get things straightened out real soon and we can go racing!

Speaking of racing, this week will be a very busy one (if you know who co-operates). The week will start off on Wednesday, April 11th at the Pepsi Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa, with the opening night of the Frostbuster's. Which also happens to be the season opener at these tracks. Next up for the Frostbuster's is a stop at the Benton County Speedway in Vinton, Iowa on Thursday, April 12th. Followed by a stop at the Marshalltown Speedway in Marshalltown, Iowa on Friday, April 13th. The Frostbuster's will come to a close on Saturday, April 14th, with a trip to the Boone Speedway in Boone, Iowa.

There is plenty of other racing events scheduled in the Midwest for this weekend. I have listed some of them below:

Friday, April 13th - Pepsi Lee County Speedway, Donnellson, Iowa - Late Model Points Opener
Friday, April 13th - Davenport Speedway, Davenport, Iowa - Deery Brothers Summer Series for IMCA Late Models
Friday, April 13th - Farmer City Raceway, Farmer City, Illinois - World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models "Illini 100" Night 1
Friday, April 13th - Jacksonville Speedway, Jacksonville, Illinois - World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars
Friday, April 13th - Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri - Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models
Saturday, April 14th - 34 Raceway, West Burlington, Iowa - Season Points Opener
Saturday, April 14th - Maquoketa Speedway, Maquoketa, Iowa - Season Opener
Saturday, April 14th - Farmer City Raceway, Farmer City, Illinois - World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Models "Illini 100" Night 2
Saturday, April 14th - Lucas Oil Speedway, Wheatland, Missouri - Lucas Oil MLRA Late Models
Saturday, April 14th - Peoria Speedway, Peoria, Illinois - Gary Cook Jr. Memorial
Saturday, April 14th - Randolph County Raceway, Moberly, Missouri - ASCS Warrior Sprint Cars
Sunday, April 15th - Quincy Raceways, Quincy, Illinois - Season Opener (2nd Attempt)
Sunday, April 15th - Quad City Speedway, East Moline, Illinois - Season Opener (2nd Attempt)

As you can see there is plenty of tracks and variety of events to attend. So I encourage you to take in as many as you can. But remember, before you head out to these tracks make sure you check with them to make sure they are still racing. You never know what mother nature has in store for the next 5 days.

Now to get down to the reason why I decided to write something today. Back on Thursday, April 5th the Beatrice Speedway in Beatrice, Nebraska posted the following on their Facebook page:

NEWS: Due to the increase in cost of equipment and insurance, and to keep operating weekly at our current purse, we have no choice but to increase the cost of pit passes to $30 starting May 4th. We appreciate your understanding and are looking forward to another great racing season at Beatrice Speedway.

As of this writing there has been 132 comments on this post. And as you can imagine most of them are negative comments. So I decided to put together some numbers to show somewhat of what it takes to put on a weekly show at a track. Just to point out these numbers could vary by track and by the week, and are just an estimate. So here goes:

EXPENSES:
$3,000 - Employee's Salary on a night (Some tracks could be higher or lower depending on the number of employee's)
$400 - Fire & Ambulance on a night (Once again this could be higher or lower depending on what the agreement between the parties is to cover an event at the track)
$750 - Insurance a night (This can be higher or lower. As I believe the more races you have the lower the premium is)
$350 - Advertising (If a track decides to advertise on the radio, TV or in a newspaper. And if they do, it depends on how much they want to spend on an event)
$140 - Fuel for tractors, grader, water truck to prep the track
$560 - Utilities (Lights, gas, electricity, phone, internet, etc...)
$500 - Miscellaneous
$2939.50 - Concession Expense (Cost of the food, drinks, condiments, packaging, etc...Again this can be higher or lower depending on amount ordered from week to week)
$7870 - Competitor Payout (This could be higher or lower depending on car counts)
               (The following breakdown was used from a track in my area that has a decent weekly payout. I then took there car counts each week and added them up. Then divided by the number of events they held to come up with the average car counts. Here is how the weekly payout breaks down based on this.)
               $2545 - Modifieds (Average - 13 cars)
               $2170 - Stock Cars (Average - 13 cars)
               $2305 - SportMods (Average -15 cars)
               $850 - Sport Compacts (Average - 15 cars)
$367.25 - Sanctioning fees (Based on what IMCA charges a track)
               $202.25 - Modifieds ($75 plus 5% of the total purse paid out that night in this class)
               $75 - Stock Cars
               $65 - SportMods
               $25 - Sport Compacts
$16,876.75 = TOTAL EXPENSES

INCOME:
$5,600 - Pit Passes (56 average car count x 4 per car (national average) = 224 in pits x $25 (Again this can be higher depending on car counts and how many people go into the pits)
$896 - Pit Concession Sales (I took 224 people in the pits and multiplied by $4 (average they might spend, as we know most take their own drinks and food in with them)
$1,000 - Sponsor
$7,496 = TOTAL INCOME

$16,876.75 (TOTAL EXPENSES) - $7,496 (TOTAL INCOME) = $9,380.75 short fall.

Which means if you take the $9,380.75 short fall, you will need 474.97 paid in the grandstands to just break even on the night. How did I come up with 474.97 paid in the grandstands? I took the $9,380.75 and divided it by $19.75 ($10 to get into the grandstands + the $9.75 average they will spend at the concession stand).

As I pointed out these numbers are not factual numbers. So some tracks could be higher or lower depending on several factors. I do believe some tracks have bad nights, and I believe they had good nights to hopefully average it out at the end of the season. I also don't believe these fairboards or promoters are raking in the money. They spend many hours a week out at the facilities to get it ready from week to week, which they don't collect a per hour wage for.

Is there a real winner in raising the pit passes or even the grandstand admission? NO, because if a driver and crew decides to travel to another track to race. They will more than likely take their fans with them. Which in return means less revenue for the track. Not many tracks can take loosing money week in and week out, let alone every season. So in the end you see tracks closing. That is why I think some tracks need to look at working together in order for this sport to survive.

But can we just put the blame on the tracks? I say NO. The cost to put together a race car every year keeps going up. Along with the cost to get it to and from the track, and the cost to make it go around the track. Is there a way to fix this problem? I believe the answer is NO. The days are gone when you can take a car that is several years old and run consistently up front, or even win a bunch of races. Today you either have to buy new every year, or take the old one to get updated every year. Plus you use to be able to go to your local parts store to buy the parts to bolt on to these cars. But not anymore, everything is fabricated. Which costs more money. As a result you see people getting out of this sport because of the cost, and no one is coming into the sport to make up the numbers of those leaving.

So I can't stress enough that we all need to do our part and get out and support your local track. Also we need to do everything possible to get the younger generation involved in this sport. Or unfortunately only the strong will survive. Hope to see you at the track real soon! Let's go RACING!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Die Hard" Might Best Describe Opening Night of 2018

West Burlington, IA (Saturday, March 31, 2018) - Some people might say we were stupid or even crazy, I would say for those who went out to 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa on Saturday night were die-hard's or even dedicated. As not only was it the season opener for new owner Brad Stevens, and his long time supporter Jessi Mynatt, it was the first race of the 2018 season for the Sprint Invaders.

With temps in the mid to upper 40's and wind chills in the mid to upper 30's, and forecasts calling for them to fall as the sun set. Many thought the obvious thing for Brad to do was to pull the plug on the event. But I believe that since this was the first night for the new owner, and with much of the crew new, he decided to go ahead with the race to help get some of the bugs worked out before the season gets into full swing.

The forecast would prompt Brad to move everything up an hour, in hopes of getting everyone back on the road home before it got to terribly cold outside. That move paid off, as the night started with racing at 6 PM and the final checkered flag flying just before 7:45 PM, which helped with only 2 classes on the card. Twenty-three Sprint Cars, down 10 from the 33 that were on hand for opening night in 2017, and 11 UMP Crate / IMCA Late Models, down 20 down from opening night last year (which was a Deery Brothers Summer Series race), signed in for the nights competition.

After 2 Late Model heat races and 3 Sprint heat races, there was a short break so that the passing points could be calculated for the Sprints to determine who would qualify for the Shake-Up Dash. Yes you read it correctly, for the first time in series history passing points will be used for the Sprint Invaders in 2018. Depending on the number of heat races ran on the night will determine the drivers who will qualify for the Shake-Up Dash. For example: If 2 heat races are ran then the 2 heat winners and the next 4 in overall passing points will run the dash...If 3 heats are ran then the 3 heat winners and the next 3 in overall passing points will run the dash...If 4 heats are ran then the 4 heat winners and the next 4 in overall passing points will run the dash...In all instances those who qualify for the dash will redraw for there starting spots in that dash. Then the winner of the dash will stop on the front stretch of the track to draw a number 1 - 6 to determine his starting spot in the feature event. If 8 cars run the dash the winner will still draw a number from 1 - 6, with the 7th and 8th place finishers in that dash making up the 4th row of the A-Feature. The remainder of the feature will be lined up by overall passing points, unless there is a B-Main ran. The B-Main will be lined straight up by overall passing points not qualifying for the A-Feature, with the top 4 finishers making into the A-Feature. Those 4 driver's will make up the ninth and tenth rows of the A-Feature.

The first feature to take to the track was the 20 lap UMP Crate / IMCA Late Models, with Chuck Hanna and Jay Johnson drawing the front row. Hanna would take advantage of his draw to jump out into the lead on the drop of the green flag, with Johnson and Tim Simpson following. The only thing to slow Hanna down on this night was the only caution of the race, which appeared on lap 2. Gunner Frank tried to exit into the infield on the backstretch on lap 2, which caused Chris Richards to spin to avoid making contact with him to bring out the caution. On the restart Hanna shot back out front, with Simpson over taking Johnson for the runner up spot. Without another caution there was no catching Hanna, as he cruised to an easy win. Simpson finished 2nd, Tommy Elston started 6th and finished 3rd, Denny Woodworth was 4th, with Vance Wilson coming home in 5th after starting in 8th.

Up next was the 25 lap Sprint Invaders feature, and with Jon Agan drawing a 3 after winning the dash, this would put Jake Blackhurst and Daniel Bergquist on the front row. Blackhurst used his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Agan and John Schulz. On lap 6 Blackhurst started to enter lapped traffic, which allowed Agan and Schulz to stay close to his back bumper. Two laps later, lap 8, the first caution of the race slowed down the pace. Sawyer Phillips, who was running 7th, spun off the exit of the track in turn 2 to bring out the yellow. On the restart Agan used the bottom of the track to edge the lead out over Blackhurst. But with only 5 cars being scored before the caution came out for a slowing Wayne Kniffen, this would hand the lead back over to Blackhurst for the restart. On the restart the yellow was thrown, as Agan got out of shape and went below the cone on the front stretch. Agan would be docked one spot for the following restart, which moved Schulz up to the runner up spot.

The next restart saw Blackhurst jump back out front, with Schulz and Agan following. By the midway point of the race Agan's machine started to show smoke, which allowed Cody Wehrle, who started 10th, to move in to challenge Agan for the third spot. The lead that Blackhurst had built was wiped away on lap 16, when Justin Buchholz, who was running 7th, stopped in turn 2 to bring out the caution. Blackhurst again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Schulz and Wehrle battling for the runner up spot. At the same time the smoke from Agan's machine got worse, with whatever it was causing the smoke finally forcing Agan to the infield on lap 18. One lap later, lap 19, John Greenwood spun in turn 3 to bring out the caution, and slow the pace down.  Once again Blackhurst jumped back out front, with Wehrle using the top of the track to over take Schulz for second. The final caution of the race appeared on lap 21, as Buchholz slowed down the front stretch to bring out the yellow and set up a four lap dash to the finish.

On the final restart Blackhurst moved back out front, with Wehrle and Schulz continuing their battle for second. While Blackhurst set the pace out front, all eyes were on Joe B. Miller, who was driving the #50 owned by Scott Bonar. Miller, who started 12th, had worked his way to 5th for the final restart. He was using the bottom of the track to grab the running up spot coming to the white flag. But he didn't have enough time to catch Blackhurst, who held on to claim his career first Sprint Invaders win. Miller settled for a strong 2nd, Schulz got back by Wehrle to finish 3rd, Wehrle was 4th, with Chris Martin rounding out the top 5.

Notes from 34: The 11 UMP Crate / IMCA Late Model field was made up of 7 crates and 4 spec motors with restrictors, with those being Chuck Hanna, Tim Simpson, Andy Nezworski, and Jay Johnson....Nezworski would pass the most cars in the feature, as he started 11th and finished 6th....Sam Halstead finished 8th after starting in 10th......In a way to speed up the nights program, Brad made the announcement in the driver's meeting to start all 23 Sprint Cars in the A-Feature....Brayden Gaylord started the Sprint feature in 16th and passed 9 cars to finish in 7th....Harold Pohren, who was driving his 305 Sprint while his 360 engine was being finished, started the feature in 21st and passed 13 cars to come home in 8th. He would also claim the hard charger of the race award....Dave Getchell passed 6 cars from his 18th place starting spot to come home in 12th....John Greenwood, who started 19th, recovered from his spin on lap 19 to come back to finish 15th....Ryan Leavitt started 20th and finished 16th....Colton Fisher suffered engine troubles in his 305 Sprint during heat race action that would force him to scratch from the A-Feature.

If mother nature will allow 34 Raceway will be back in action on Saturday, April 7th, as the MOWA 410 Sprint Cars and IRA Sprint battle it out. Also on the card will be the Mod Lites, Sport Compacts, and Mini Hauler Trucks. For me though I will be working next Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th at the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. In action both nights in Memphis will be the Modifieds, Stock Cars, SportMods, Hobby Stocks, and Sport Compacts. Let's hope mother nature will co-operate so we can go RACING!!!