|Thursday, August 21st 2014
| New on the Audio Page from Utica-Rome Speedway before the rain fell:
Dan Harpell talks about preparing a track for a rainy night and updates me on Yates County.
Bobby Varin tells me how his two weekly tracks are going and his plans for October at Syracuse.
Mike Walton explains how he is coping after losing a friend and how unified the Sprint world is.
It was a busy day on Wednesday with lots of things to sort out during the day. Everything I needed to get done with one exception was taken care of but I was so late I was lucky to make it out the door on time after being gone for most of the day.
I traveled to Utica Rome hoping they might catch a break and beat Mother Nature but that didn’t happen. They held off a bit after the rain started but it rained hard and rivers of mud were flowing in the pit area. They had no choice. And today’s rain date was also cancelled so unfortunately this show is going away. Hey, maybe we’ll see it back for next year huh?
I did get a few done before heading for cover and all but one of those is up for today. I’ll be in the studio today hoping to get some work done and at a show on Friday for sure. I have other things going on the next two days after that but I’ll make sure you have lots of good stuff to listen to.
And don’t miss my latest column on why racers race at www.syracuse.com/motorsports. It’s up this morning.
Now let’s talk about the new stuff you can listen to on the Audio Page right now. Dan Harpell talks about preparing a track for a rainy night, explains how it is different from a normal race day and updates me on his progress at Yates County.
Bobby Varin tells me how his two weekly tracks are going, his hopes for a championship at Glen Ridge and his plans for October in Syracuse.
Mike Walton explains how he is coping after losing a friend, how unified the Sprint world is and how tough it was last Friday night at the Brewerton Speedway.
|Wednesday, August 20th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
In my latest Doug’s Thoughts I remember my start on the Outlaw Circuit and recent tragedies.
Chuck Bower recapped his recent races and talked about the conditions Friday at Brewerton.
Stewart Friesen spoke about the hot laps at Brewerton and how nice it has been to travel on Fridays.
Eric Kingsley remembered the Outlaw Circuit and explained what it was that made it so special.
It has been a tough week for a lot of us and for me too. I took my best friend to the emergency room late Monday. Luckily he is going to be alright. Plus a family member had a procedure done last week and we finally and fortunately found out that the word benign was the final outcome. Now throw everything else in the mix and you can see why I am not myself and may not be for a while.
I did a Doug’s Thoughts today to try to clear my head and get some perspective. I love all you guys but don’t know if everything I have done this past week and a half has been right or not. I always want to help the non-racing public understand who we are but they don’t want to understand. They only show up when things go wrong and then they as always look for the quote that will be sensational enough to keep people watching, listening or reading.
I am sick to death over this, can’t sleep and pray that nothing like this happens again. There are so many people who are hurting and need to heal, but pressure is coming at them from all angles. I just wish the media would move on to the next story and leave us alone.
Now let’s talk about the stuff I hope you will listen to today on the Audio Page as I pour my heart out in this first clip. In my latest Doug’s Thoughts I remember my start on the Outlaw Circuit and recent tragedies. I tell you what I learned the first few years, how my level of respect for racers continued to rise and lay it all on the line as to how I feel about the sport we all love!
Chuck Bower recapped his recent races and talked about the conditions Friday at Brewerton. He talked about some recent gains the team has made, how he lost some spots late in a race and comments on what happened in the Sprint Car race at Canandaigua.
Stewart Friesen spoke about the hot laps at Brewerton and how nice it has been to travel on Fridays. He talked about some of his travels on his off day, his past at the challenging Brewerton Speedway and remembers being a young fan on the Outlaw Circuit.
Eric Kingsley remembered the Outlaw Circuit and explained what it was that made it so special. He talked about what made it different that what else was out there, how much fun it was and what made the circuit work so well.
|Tuesday, August 19th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Mike Stelter remembered a recent conversation with Kevin Ward Jr. where they talked racecars.
Joe Trenca talked about the racetrack he would see on Friday and when he first met Kevin Ward Jr.
Danny Varin described the tacky surface he was on in practice and the big wheelie he did in turn 2.
Bobby Podolak thought back to the Outlaw Circuit which will be remembered Wednesday at U-R.
I did not get the front page entry up until early Tuesday morning as I had to take a friend to the emergency room. We left at 10:00 p.m. and just got back at about 6 this morning. So I am in need of serious sleep.
We have a lot of good stuff for you today including some talks with some folks from Friday night and a preview of what will happen Wednesday at Utica Rome. Sorry I did not get this up sooner, but we had to do what we had to do to help a friend.
Now let’s chat more about what we have today on the Audio Page for you to listen to. Mike Stelter remembered a recent conversation with Kevin Ward Jr. where they talked racecars. He told me how much knowledge this young man had, how impressed he was with Kevin’s ideas and what changes he was making to get ready for the heavy racetrack.
Joe Trenca talked about the racetrack he would see on Friday and when he first met Kevin Ward Jr. He told me about the conversations they had, how good Kevin was on the racetrack and how tough he was on the top of the racetrack.
Danny Varin described the tacky surface he was on in practice and the big wheelie he did in turn 2. He described what it felt like when the front end lifts up, how he got a 360 between the rails and how he & his Modified crew are doing as they learn Sprint Cars.
Bobby Podolak thought back to the Outlaw Circuit which will be remembered Wednesday at Utica-Rome. He talked about how much fun those days were, what made the cars fun to drive and remembered a few specific nights both bad and good.
|Monday, August 18th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Steve Poirier talked about the tough week he had and the discussions he had about racing.
Jeff Cook told me how things were going at Brewerton and described how Kevin Ward Jr. drove.
Darryl Ruggles had a 360 in his Sprint Car on Friday and spoke about the opportunity came about.
Tyler Siri got ready for his first start ever at Brewerton and explained why he was at the track.
We’ve got more good stuff for you to start the work week. I was off on Sunday as I continue to do hot and cold treatments on my strained hamstring which is doing a lot better today than it was after a long night on Friday.
I’m getting better and will be at Utica Rome on Wednesday to honor the Outlaw Circuit of which I am proud to have been a part of. The memories will be flowing on that night to say the least. Too bad Gigi’s wasn’t open out front as I know we would surely pack the place afterwards.
I’ll be writing today and I am not sure what I am going to do yet. We were sad to hear about the death at Wall Stadium and our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved there. That’s a tough one too and I only hope that the family gets to grieve without interruptions from the press.
Now let’s chat more about what we have to listen to today on the Audio Page. I start with a man who did a great job representing us to the media last week. Steve Poirier talked about the tough week he had and the discussions he had about racing. He told me about the mood he had coming to the track at Brewerton, remembered one specific race with Kevin Ward Jr. as well as the night before we lost him.
Jeff Cook told me how things were going at Brewerton and described how Kevin Ward Jr. drove. He talked about how quickly he picked up Sprint Cars, how close they became over the past few seasons and how much Kevin knew about working on racecars.
Darryl Ruggles had a 360 in his Sprint Car on Friday and spoke about the opportunity came about. He talked about a frame change they made during the week, how much work it took to get the car ready and what he was nervous about beforehand.
Tyler Siri got ready for his first start ever at Brewerton and explained why he was at the track. He told me what his big plans are for the big block, offered his initial take on the speedway and his hopes for a title at his Saturday home.
|Sunday, August 17th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Billy Decker talks about his Modified feature win at Brewerton and how he almost flipped.
Bryan Howland explained why the loss of Kevin Ward Jr. really hit home with him & his family.
Sam Reakes IV drew for his starting spot and told me what would happen if he ran Kevin’s line.
James Hanson just put heat in his engine and spoke about what a racer Kevin Ward Jr. was.
Marcia Wetmore gets ready for Utica-Rome’s Outlaw Circuit Reunion and shares some stories.
It was another cool and rainy day on Saturday and I spent most of with my left leg wrapped as my hamstring is a lot tighter after hoofing around the wet pit area on Friday. Remember I am on the 15 day DL unofficially but I knew I had to make it to that show. As to what I’ll do today…we’ll wait and see how I feel. But I may have to stay home to get better. Darn!
We’re back with more good stuff today including Billy Decker’s victory lane interview from Friday night at the Brewerton Speedway. I did not air it yesterday as at the time, Pat Ward was declared the winner. But on Saturday the track reinstated Billy’s win. And you can hear the confusion at the end of the clip.
Plus we have more about the life of Kevin Ward Jr. from some people who knew him. And even though Bryan Howland did not know Kevin well, his interview is one of the best we did on Friday and has some great advice for the family.
Thanks to all the drivers who trusted me on Friday. With the way a lot of them were treated by the media I would not have been surprised or hurt of none of them wanted to talk to anybody. So the fact that they talked to me and so candidly just makes me feel so good.
I hope you enjoy what we have today and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Kevin Sr., Pam and the entire family. I hope the next few days are as good as they can be and you allowed the privacy you need to heal.
Now let’s talk more about what we have for you on the Audio Page for today. I start with a change from Friday at Brewerton. Billy Decker talks with Bill Foley about his Modified feature win at Brewerton and how he almost flipped. Billy’s win was reinstated on Saturday after further review.
Bryan Howland explained why the loss of Kevin Ward Jr. really hit home with him & his family. He shared his family’s experience as he lost his brother at almost the same age, gives the Ward family some advice and how close the Sprint Car world is right now. Great chat here!!!
Sam Reakes IV drew for his starting spot and told me what would happen if he ran Kevin’s line. He talked about when he got to know Kevin Ward Jr., how helpful he was in Sam’s rookie season in a Sprint Car and why they got along right away.
James Hanson just put heat in his engine and spoke about what a racer Kevin Ward Jr. was. He talked about how aggressive he was, how good he was at working on the Sprint Car and his hopes for later in the night.
Marcia Wetmore gets ready for Utica-Rome’s Outlaw Circuit Reunion and shares some stories. She talked about how slow the Victoria 200 was to get going, how that race gave her a great opportunity to hit the road to promote it and what made the series different from what else was out there.
|Saturday, August 16th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the Brewerton Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Ron Mucci described how his week went as he got ready to put his grandson in a Sprint Car.
Jason Barney shared some stories about Kevin Ward Jr. as he worked on some shocks on the dyno.
Larry Wight warmed up his Sprint Car and remembered racing Kevin Ward Jr. in go carts at Can Am.
Matt Tanner told me how he met Kevin Ward Jr. and how they became friends this season.
Paul Kinney talked about all the orange at the track and how he took advice from Kevin Ward Jr.
Chris Hile remembered his win last week at Fulton and also talked about his run at Brewerton.
Tommy Sears won the last Modified race at Brewerton and told me how racing two nights helps.
After the heat races:
Vinnie Vitale won the first Modified heat race of the night and told me about going high in turn two.
Rob Bellinger pulled away to win the second heat and talked about running the track all alone.
Tim Sears Jr. talked about his win in the final heat and described what he has to do to the racecar.
Tommy Wickham described the big crash he saw in the first heat as he drove to the victory.
Stewart Friesen ran his Sprint Car hard in his heat win and spoke about the high line in turn 1.
Danny Varin got the win in the final ESS heat and told me about the need to be careful out there.
Jeff Cook was involved in a two car flip in his ESS heat and told me how he was feeling afterwards.
Tommy Wickham won the ESS Dash and talked with Adam Buchanan down in victory lane.
After the feature races and ESS A-Main:
Sterling Miller picked up his 1st win of 2014 with his Mod Lite and spoke with Adam Buchanan.
Larry Wight won his first ever Sprint Car A-main coming from 9th and talked with Mike Mallett.
Jason Barney came home in second place in the A-Main and explained why his finish didn’t matter.
Parker Evans enjoyed his best ever finish with the ESS and told Mike Mallett about his 3rd place.
Pat Ward was awarded the win in the Modified feature and talked about it with Bill Foley.
Ryan Bartlett crossed the line third, was awarded second and explained how an old set up worked.
It was a night we all needed on Friday as the Empire Super Sprints ran their first race since last week’s tragedy in Canandaigua. The place was decked out in orange and the mainstream media was out in full force.
Unfortunately a 3 p.m. rain shower left the track very wet. And don’t forget it rained a lot before that last blast so it left a bit of a mess. But with lots of people wanting to race and the desperate need to race on as a family, the track pressed on.
It was great to see everyone in the pit area and get to talk as a group about Kevin Ward Jr. A lot of drivers were kind enough to tell me their experiences with Kevin and I learned a lot about him as well as how much he touched everyone he met. I put up just a few of those today but will have many more on Sunday.
Things got off to a late start and the heavy track resulted in several red flags and over a half of dozen flips of various kinds. The first ESS heat saw a double flip in turn three before the first lap was even completed. That did make it a little tough as we were hoping to keep all the cars on the ground on this night.
Wheelies were common not just in hot laps but also in the heats and A-main. The track was so tacky that easily ten or more drivers got the front wheels off the ground, some for more time than others.
In the ESS A-Main, Parker Evans was the story early as he looked great in his first ever race at the Brewerton Speedway. Jason Barney was able to get by on an early restart but could not shake Larry Wight. Wight got the lead briefly on lap 6 but Barney was able to battle back until Wight caught him and passed him with 5 to go.
Wight held off Barney after a couple of red flag flips on lap 20 and 21. Joe Trenca and Bryan Howland went over the first time and Darryl Ruggles took maybe the wildest ride of the night and he went end over end at the end of the front stretch. Thank God (Literally) everyone who flipped was okay. And yes, the Mod Lites and Modifieds were not immune to that either.
Larry Wight was beaming after his first career Sprint Car win and has now won in Modifieds, Late Models and Sprints. We’ll see if he can add a 410 win to the group or maybe the better question is how long will it take? Only time will tell.
Kevin Ward Sr. and his wife Pam were on hand and enjoyed the racing from a suite upstairs. It was great to see them in victory lane and the top three drivers could not wait to hug them and share the moment.
We were so glad they came to the event and brought half of Port Leyden with them. Well, maybe not half but a lot of folks came down and it is reassuring to see their friends from back home are looking after them and keeping them busy. Let’s hope we see more of them and that they can heal after what happened.
Unfortunately for Larry his good fortune came to an end soon afterward as he flipped his Modified just 6 laps into the feature. He did drive away however, went to his pit and returned. But he got a flat with 15 to go and had to pit again. Pat Ward won the Mod race after Billy Decker appeared to come up light on the scales. Check the press release on this one but at the time they said weight was an issue.
Tomorrow I will be back with more from the Friday night as my hamstring needs a day to recover. It is still black and blue but much better as I have been working hard on getting it back up to speed thanks to a good friend I have in Chicago. Thanks Hulk. We’re getting better everyday thanks to you!
Have a great Saturday, race safe and be careful answering those phone calls from area codes you don’t know. Trust me!
|Friday, August 15th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Stewart Friesen talked about racing with Kevin Ward Jr. and his wins to start the weekend.
Dave Moyer explained how he got back on the track again and described an issue he was having.
Mike Stiles came into the night in 9th place in the standings and remembered a recent top ten.
Bret Belden was going for the lead in his heat and told me what happened that sent him up high.
Glenn Forward saw his winning streak come to an end and talked about his Sportsman race.
I hope you have your orange shirts ready for tonight as we will be doing an orange out at the Brewerton Speedway. And no matter where you, racetrack or not, why don’t we all wear orange today to show our support to the Ward family as they continue the grieving process.
I don’t know about you but a lot of us, myself included, will be on egg shells tonight as we hope for a safe show with all the cars keeping their wheels on the ground at all times. We don’t need any more excitement than a good side by side race will provide.
Yesterday I took my dad in for a procedure early and then headed up to the Ward house after making sure he was okay. It was great to see Kevin Sr. and I got to see some of his son’s awards and learn more about his life. It is beyond sad that he has left us so early but fortunately there are a lot of memories out there that he gave us in his 20 years on earth. Rest in peace Kevin.
Now let’s chat more about what we have on the Audio Page for today. Stewart Friesen talked about racing with Kevin Ward Jr. and his wins to start the weekend. He told me about the mood he felt in the pit area on Sunday, how aggressive a driver Kevin was and why he needed to press on and race!
Dave Moyer explained how he got back on the track again and described an issue he was having. He wondered how the fix the problem, gave me his opinion on how serious the issue was and how he had done in the past few weeks.
Mike Stiles came into the night in 9th place in the standings and remembered a recent top ten. He told me how good the car has been of late, described some wrecks he has been in and how he needs to get back to a baseline with his set up.
Bret Belden was going for the lead in his heat and told me what happened that sent him up high and off the track. He talked about how happy he was with the way it worked out, how easy the fix is and what he hopes would happen later. He won by the way!
Glenn Forward saw his winning streak come to an end and talked about his Sportsman race. He told me how happy he was to be best amongst the crate powered cars, how it helped him feel better about his decision to move up and how his Pro Stock has been doing.
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