Gary Rowe - CPA
Dougs dirt diary
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Gates-Cole Associates SUNY Canton Automotive Technology program
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tuesday, August 4th 2015
   New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Stewart Friesen talked about his Fonda Speedway win on Saturday and his big win on Wednesday.
Tommy Sears tells me about his Modified win at Fulton and how close the race was at the end.
Pete Taylor remembered an anxious moment from a few weeks back and talked about his season.
Claude Hutchings Jr. described how he was feeling two weeks after the worse crash of his career.
Earl Rudy explained why he was racing on Sunday and looked ahead to Thursday in Weedsport.
 
It was a nice day on Monday as the big storms they predicted did not materialize, at least not where we were. I did some work in the studio and did some writing for the Syracuse Post Standard. It was a good day and a fun one as well.
 
I’ll be back tomorrow with more from the studio and more from the road. Then on Wednesday I will be in Weedsport for the first of two days as the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts their class of 2015. And I have a close connection with two of the inductees so it will be a fun day for me as I watch some worthy people get honored by their peers.
 
Now let’s chat more about what we have for you on the Audio Page for today. Stewart Friesen talked about his Fonda Speedway win on Saturday, his big win on Wednesday at the Jack Johnson Tribute Race and looks ahead to a busy week with his Modified. 
 
Tommy Sears tells me about his Modified win at Fulton, how close the race was at the end and why he knew he could trust the man who was chasing him late. 
 
Pete Taylor remembered an anxious moment from a few weeks back and talked about his 2015 season at Utica Rome as well as why he got out for a few years. 
 
Claude Hutchings Jr. described how he was feeling two weeks after the worse crash of his career as well as the big block engine & new chassis back at his shop. 
 
Earl Rudy explained why he was racing on Sunday after a rainout on Friday and looked ahead to Thursday in Weedsport while reflecting on some of his past at the track. 

 
Monday, August 3rd 2015
   New on the Audio Page from the Utica Rome Speedway:
 
Pre race:
 
Tana Robinson previews the Alex Friesen Summer Nationals taking place Tuesday at Ransomville.
 
After the heat races:
 
Mike Mahaney tells me why his Modified caught on fire, how he is doing and how he stayed safe.
Chris Mackey talked about winning his Modified heat race and his concern for a fellow driver.
Larry Wight won convincingly in his heat race and spoke about looking around for some grip.
A.J. Filbeck ran down the leader to win his heat and told me how good it is to win like he did.
Rocky Warner described the move he made to get the lead and go on to win his qualifying heat.
Cody Clark spoke about his heat win and what they have found set up wise that seems to be working.
Jeremy Vunk gets interviewed by Heat Carney and tells him how his Sportsman was in his win.
Jack Miller explained how being patient helped him win his heat and what his rules are for racing.
 
After the feature races:
 
Eddie Ostrander got the win in the Pro/Street feature race and talked about it with Bill Foley.
Larry Wight won the Modified feature race going away and spoke about his victory with Bill Foley.
Rocky Warner pulled off an amazing move in turn four to get the lead and talked about his win.
Jeremy Vunk won in convincing fashion in the open Sportsman race and spoke with Camden Proud.
 
It was a fun night at the Utica Rome Speedway as I went and checked out the racing from the big half mile in Vernon. A nice field of races was on hand as the summer begins to wind down.
 
Scary moment in the heat race as Mike Mahaney’s Modified caught fire on the second lap of the event. He jumped out quickly but not before Matt Sheppard got caught up in the deal hitting Mahaney as he was slowing down. There was no place for Sheppard to go as Mahaney needed to get his car stopped as quickly as possible so he could get out.
 
Mahaney was alright although his race suit was singed badly. The car will need a lot of work as will Sheppards. Matt came back out to try to finish the race but had to switch to a back up car and start last in the feature race.
 
The Mods were all about Larry Wight as he dominated the race for a big win. Eddie Ostrander took the Mark Effner owned stock car to a win while Rocky Warner pulled off an amazing move to win the crate Sportsman race. Is there any question that this guy has the talent to run Modifieds? Not as far as I can tell and hopefully he will get the chance soon.
 
After a couple of rough weeks, Jeremy Vunk won the Open Sportsman race to finish out the night. It was a lot of fun and I will have more from the event up tomorrow and Wednesday. As for the rest of the week, I hope to hit the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday and the Super DIRTcar Series race on Thursday in Weedsport.
 
We’re still chugging away here as we get ready for move and we’ll be very busy this week. Wish us well as we are still a long ways off from being able to show our house.

 
Sunday, August 2nd 2015
   New on the Audio Page from my quick trip to Fulton Speedway:
 
Larry Wight spoke about some changes at Fulton, the big week ahead and Wednesday at Fonda.
Chris Hile told me about the new car he is working with and shares some memories from Weedsport.
Jim Spano remembered his start in racing in Weedsport and tells me why his car has green on it.
Chuck Bower talked about a new sponsor, Friday’s rain out and getting back to a favorite track.
 
I only had a small window to get things done on Saturday as was only able to get a few minutes in the pit area at Fulton Speedway. I did get four nice interviews done and I put all those up for today.
 
My wife had a high school reunion so I was home with the kids. Heck, babysitters are expensive so it was just not feasible to do anything. But today is all clear and I will be heading to Utica Rome for some Sunday fun.
 
Now let’s chat more about what I have for you on the Audio Page for you as we wind our weekend down. Larry Wight spoke about some changes at Fulton & Brewerton, the big week ahead with three Super DIRTcar Series races and Wednesday’s show at Fonda. 
 
Chris Hile told me about the new car he is working with, shares some memories from Weedsport as they get ready for Thursday’s big show and comments on how his wife’s car is coming along. 
 
Jim Spano remembered his start in racing in Weedsport, explained how he won a championship in his first year there and tells me why his car now has green on it. 
 
Chuck Bower talked about a new sponsor he just added to his Modified, Friday’s rain out at Brewerton and getting back to one of his favorite tracks later this coming week. 

 
Saturday, August 1st 2015
   New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Bobby Varin found a ride for the Jack Johnson race and recalled some classic battles they had.
Gary Tomkins remembered when he first met Jack Johnson at his first job after finishing college.
A.J. Romano showed off a very special look on his Modified and explained how he kept it a secret.
Jeff Trombley has been at Fonda for almost 30 years and talked about racing against Jack Johnson.
Jimmy Davis recalled racing against Jack Johnson and how the family welcomed him after a win.
Danny Varin explained how he is healing after an in car fire and who the coolest guy was.
Brian Ross talked about his career and how it was different than Jack Johnson’s career initially.
 
A big race day is upon us today and let’s hope Mother Nature is a fan. I’m not sure where I am going just yet but I should be at a show today unless the weather is iffy so we’ll see.
 
But I have a lot of great stuff for you today as we continue to share stories about Jack Johnson. Again, this show was so much fun and I just loved hearing all the stories about Jack and how much he influenced people he didn’t even race against.
 
So let’s find out more about what we have on the Audio Page for all you fans of the legendary orange 12a. Bobby Varin found a ride for the Jack Johnson race and recalled some classic battles they had as well as how much it meant to him to beat the best. 
 
Gary Tomkins remembered when he first met Jack Johnson at his first job after finishing college as well as some of his favorite memories of his before starting his own career. 
 
A.J. Romano showed off a very special look on his Modified and explained how he kept it a secret as well as when he started watching Jack Johnson while making him a hero in his mind. 
 
Jeff Trombley has been at Fonda for almost 30 years and talked about racing against Jack Johnson as well as how much they traveled and raced together. 
 
Jimmy Davis recalled racing against Jack Johnson and how the family welcomed him after a win as well as one race where he beat him after a clean race up front. 
 
Danny Varin explained how he is healing after an in car fire and who the coolest guy was in the pit area at Fonda and why he wanted to emulate Jack Johnson. 
 
Brian Ross talked about his career and how it was different than Jack Johnson’s career initially as well as how much respect he had for him. 

 
Friday, July 31st 2015
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Pat Ward spoke about returning to his former home and how honored he was to be racing.
Elmo Reckner talked about the car he brought to Fonda and shared stories about Jack Johnson.
Craig Hanson prepared to race at Fonda and told me what it was like to race against Jack Johnson.
Tyler Dippel told me about the freak accident he had and how he is healing since it happened.
Jeff Rockefeller explained how a meeting with Jack Johnson helped him early in his race career.
Shaun Pangman spoke about getting his first win and watching Jack Johnson race as a kid.
Ronnie Davis III won a race at Brewerton last week with a flat tire and explained how he did it.
Jim King got ready to announce at the Jack Johnson Tribute Race and shared a few stories.
 
We’re back with lots more from the Jack Johnson Tribute race and we have lots more stories from drivers as they recall their interactions with him both on and off the track. I had so much fun there that night and I know a lot of you did too. I was certainly a show to be remembered fondly. Yes, that was an intentional pun.
 
After a long day on Thursday I am off today to try to hit the golf course and hopefully hit them straight and the right distance. Lately we’re all over the place so we need to the range more and work on things a little more.
 
And be sure to come back tomorrow as we empty out the can with lots more from Fonda and more great stories. But before that, let’s chat more about what we have for you on the Audio Page for today. Pat Ward spoke about returning to his former weekly home and how honored he was to be racing at the Jack Johnson Tribute Race while recalling a few battles they had for championships. 
 
Elmo Reckner talked about the car he brought to Fonda, described what makes this car different and shared stories about Jack Johnson. 
 
Craig Hanson prepared to race at Fonda and told me what it was like to race against Jack Johnson as well as how free he was with advice for his fellow drivers. 
 
Tyler Dippel told me about the freak accident he had, how it happened and how he is healing since it happened months ago. Yeah, he was fortunate in the long run.  
 
Jeff Rockefeller explained how a meeting with Jack Johnson helped him early in his race career as well as why he was happy he brought his small block to the tribute race. 
 
Shaun Pangman spoke about getting his first win a few weeks ago and remembered watching Jack Johnson race as a kid against his favorite driver. 
 
Ronnie Davis III won the Sportsman race at Brewerton last week with a flat tire and explained how he did it as well as how close it got at the end. 
 
Jim King got ready to announce at Fonda Speedway’s Jack Johnson Tribute Race and shared a few stories as from his years with the legendary drivers. 

 
Thursday, July 30th 2015
    New on the Audio Page from the Fonda Speedway’s Jack Johnson Tribute race:
 
Pre race conversations:
 
Bob Vedder talked about getting started at the same time as Jack Johnson and his grade school days.
Jeremy Wilder told me about his win at Fonda last week and what he learned from Jack Johnson.
Alton Palmer shares some stories about Jack Johnson not just at the track but in public as well.
Stewart Friesen showed off a tribute car for Jack Johnson and talked about his WoO Sprint win.
Mark Kislowski explained what he liked about seeing Jack Johnson when he went to the pits.
Alan Johnson recalled his win at Black Rock on Friday and talked about racing against Jack Johnson.
 
After the heat races:
 
Gary Tomkins told me about his win, a break he got early and the advice he was seeking from locals.
Josh Hohenforst had his Modified leaned over hard in his heat win and explained why it was bad.
Danny Johnson won the 4th heat race and talked about his win and who he used to buy tires from.
Mark Kislowski got the win in the final heat race and explained how he knew he had company.
 
After the 50 lap Jack Johnson Tribute race:
 
Stewart Friesen won for the second night in a row and spoke with Jim King about the victory.
Danny Johnson led the first 17 laps before finishing 2nd and spoke about it with Toby LaGrange.
Billy Decker told Toby LaGrange about his 3rd place and what he learned that he’ll apply later.
John Lakata organized the race and told me how pleased he was with all the support he received.
 
It was a night to remember at Fonda Speedway as racers from all over the Northeast gathered to honor Jack Johnson with a race in his honor. There was a packed house on hand, a great field of Modifieds in the pit area and lots of stories flying around.
 
Allie and I had a great time as we met with drivers and heard their stories about interactions they had with Jack Johnson. I figured the usual veterans would have some great stories and of course they did. But what I didn’t expect was the stories from the younger guys, some of whom never raced against Jack, who told stories about how Jack helped them as well.
 
Jack himself even gave the call to fire up the engines and spoke briefly to the crowd over a cell phone. I was a nice surprise for all of us and one they kept quite until it happened. It was quite an emotional moment.
 
Stewart Friesen had his car done up like Jack’s 2008 Syracuse car and won the race with it. The trophy they had in victory lane had a great likeness of Jack on it right down to the toothpick that he usually had in between his teeth. It was a class deal top to bottom and I was so happy I was able to be there and show it to my daughter so she knows who Jack Johnson was on the racetrack too.
 
I hope he gets to listen to some of what we did for the race and each driver we spoke with had stories to tell and we’ll have two more days of those stories coming up with seven interviews per day. I also hope Jack hears how much he meant to his fellow racers and how much respect they have for him and what he taught them. You’re loved by a lot of people Jack and always will be. We miss seeing you and only wish there was something we could do to make things better.

 
Wednesday, July 29th 2015
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Larry Wight talked about doing double duty at Rolling Wheels and his hopes for today at Fonda.
Shawn Ward told me how he has been doing in Delmar and talked about Rolling Wheels.
Mike Button spoke about his two win season at Fulton, Rolling Wheels and noises in racecars.
Sean Beardsley described the two types of tires he has to choose from with the Rush Late Models.
Chris Fleming is a Late Model rookie and spoke about getting a win sooner than with his IMCA.
 
I had a nice day on Tuesday as I got my column written early so I can head out to Fonda today just after lunch time. It is going to be quite a show as legendary racer Jack Johnson is honored with a race in his name.
 
I’ll be there nice and early like I said and will chat with as many racers as I can while giving them the opportunity to share stories about Jack both on the track and off. I still remember the first time Jack called me by name and I was so excited. “He knows who I am.” I remember thinking at the time. It was a nice boost to my ego to say the least.
 
So be sure to check in tomorrow for some of my chats from Fonda and I will have more of them in the two days that follow as I won’t be back to a track until Saturday.
 
Also don’t forget Can Am has a big show tonight up in LaFargeville. The GRIT Sportsman series and more will take on the big half mile to be sure to get there and show your support for what is surely going to be a great show. 
 
Now let’s chat in more detail about what we have for you to listen to on the Audio Page today starting with a driver who has a Jack Johnson story to share. Larry Wight talked about doing double duty at Rolling Wheels, how close he came to flipping his Sprint Car in the A-Main and his hopes for today’s race honoring Jack Johnson at Fonda. 
 
Shawn Ward told me how he has been doing at Delaware International in the Modified division and offered his initial thoughts on Rolling Wheels this past Thursday. 
 
Mike Button spoke about his two win season at Fulton, how happy he was to see a big crowd at Rolling Wheels and the different kinds of noises you hear in racecars. Good one! 
 
Sean Beardsley described the two types of tires he has to choose from with the Rush Late Models as well as why he switched earlier that some of his competition. And yes, you can mix and match any way you like. 
 
Chris Fleming is a Late Model rookie and spoke about getting a win sooner than he did with his IMCA Modified as well as how happy he is to be leading the points at Fulton. 

 
     
 
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