|Monday, September 5th 2011
| New on the Audio Page from the Utica Rome Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Willy Decker told me what went wrong with his car Friday that caused it to bounce and hop.
Casey Williams thought back on his Modified feature win and how he gave back right afterwards.
Matt Janczuk explained why he had two cars with him and reflected on his recent win streak.
Mitch Gibbs explained how he got a ride for Sunday and what his goals were for the evening.
Lance Yonge talked about his third place at Canandaigua and how late season racing can get wild.
Jason Barney won at a track that has become a favorite of his of late and told me how got up front.
After the heat races:
Jeff Leslie won the first Sportsman heat race of the night and talked about his rebuilt engine.
Joe Harrington got the win in his heat and told me about a big shock & weight change they made.
Bryan Howland talked about how much he had to shut his car down to stay low in his heat win.
Steve Poirier walked me through his pass for the win in his heat and how hard he drove it in.
Shawn Donath came from fourth to first in his win and told me about one particular pass.
After the features:
Matt Janczuk spoke with Mike Mallett about his Sportsman feature win and his championship.
Shawn Donath ran the extreme outside in his Sprint Car win and told Mike Mallet how he did it.
Steve Poirier finished in second place in the A-Main and explained why he kept his car low.
Chuck Hebing worked his way from last to first after an incident and talked about his fast racecar.
Willy Decker led all but one lap in the Modified feature and told Mike Mallet about his win.
Stewart Friesen told Mike Mallett how it felt to win his 2nd championship of the weekend.
Unlike last night when I thought a track to the west was going to rain out and it didn’t, this time I got it right as I chose correctly on where to go. On Saturday I thought rain was going to hit Canandaigua so I went to Fulton. Both raced with no weather issues. On Sunday I read the radar correctly and Weedsport rained out while Utica Rome somehow dodged everything and got an entire show in.
So I was 50% on my choices this Labor Day Weekend but right on when it came to yesterday. I studied the radar from noon till 3 PM and then decided to head east. I thought that Weedsport would get rain before the 7PM start time and I was right. But as we watched the radar in the tower on Sunday we could not believe how lucky we were to right between to big lines of weather.
There was a tornado to the east of us in Vernon and at several times you could see lightning behind turn one. And with the way things look as I type this up at 1AM, today it seems like a lot of folks who don’t need any more rain are getting some today whether they want it or not. My thoughts and prayers go out to you guys and I hope you all get through today ok.
As for the racing at Utica Rome, the Empire Super Sprints joined the show on Sunday they traditionally do on Labor Day Weekend. So the track was black and slick and as always the racing was still pretty good. Drivers were running extremely high as the night went on and several had a good look at the end of the wall coming out of turn four as they searched for brown clay to put their tires on.
Matt Janczuk won the Sportsman feature with a lap fourteen pass to increase his winning streak in the division to four. No drama this time unlike in the previous few weeks as he did not get into someone else’s jingle or have the crew to the shop for parts. It was just a solid win by a driver who has been about as dominant as any driver in any class at the track.
Too bad moving up to Modifieds is tougher than it has ever been financially as Matt is clearly ready from the driving end of things. But in an era where strong, winning motors start at $40,000 and the cost to run a season comes close to or beyond six figures, it is just not possible for some and a problem that I think could get worse in the next few years. More on my thoughts on that at the bottom of the page, so keep reading.
In the Sprint Car A-Main a driver who originally ran at the track in the 90’s in an alcohol burning Small Block Modified used some of that experience at the track to pick up the win. Shawn Donath has been nursing a bad wrist all season long but he was feeling no pain as he blasted the top for the big win.
His interview in victory lane as well as many others from Utica Rome are available right now on the Audio Page today plus lots of new photos from the pit area and beyond. Plus I was able to save nine pre race interviews to make our total from the weekend a whopping 27. So you’ll get seven a day minimum for the next four days as I will be in the studio this week as well. And you know you need to keep coming back later today too as we usually get new photos in on Monday.
In the Modified feature race Willy Decker made his way around Todd Burley on the second lap and never looked back going on to his second Utica Rome win of the season. He gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he drove across the line in what must have been a sweet victory for him. Listen to my pre race chat with him to hear about what happened to him on Friday at Brewerton. Never seen anything like that before and from what he said, he hadn’t either.
The Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks also put on great shows as they had double features at the track. A big kudos goes out to everyone involved in this one as there was a lot to do with seven big features and weather all around the track. But everyone stayed calm, did their jobs and the result was a real good show that unfortunately many missed. The radar and forecast kept a lot of folks away and those fans missed another good one with a lot of bang for the buck. Yeah, there were fireworks too.
And now more on my thoughts Matt Janczuk and others like him who would love nothing more than to move up, but just can’t.
Sure you can by an Modified engine for $15,000-20,000 and you might be able to get a win on a perfect night with a slick track, an up front starting spot and a couple of breaks along the way. But that heavy motor with a hundred less horsepower is not going to get you from the back to the front against a tough field or get you a win on a tacky track when money makes you go fast.
There are a lot of Matt Janczuk types out there with talent, desire and the racing resume that would suggest it is time for a move up. But as we see in the top levels of NASCAR, it is tough to be the new guy. Racing against the best in any form of racing takes a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of patience from the people who fund your ride. All rookies crash, drive over their heads getting into veterans and all will take their lumps. But take too many lumps and someone else will be in the car.
In local racing, if you take those expensive lumps you will be sidelined in no time and out of money. It happens every year. A driver puts everything he has into moving up to the premier division whatever it may be at his weekly track. The driver puts every cent they can into the car and in some cases may even get into hock doing it maxing out credit cards hoping to keep their head above water for a season and get the experience of a lifetime.
Now they bump it off the wall real hard damaging the suspension. Several thousand dollars later (and maybe into more hock) and he is back on the track. Now a motor light comes on or a bigger crash happens. Out of money and out of fresh parts, the car sits and is sold for pennies on the dollar in the fall.
The driver now takes a few years off to recover financially and eventually returns to the division they were originally in and competitive in as well, Now the driver is wiser from the experience never dreaming of moving up again. And in some cases, never even come back to racing although they may go occasionally to help a friend in the pits.
It’s an all too common story in every form of racing. Dirt, asphalt, road course and drag racing...you name it. It’s all the same and it is what at times can make this the cruelest sport in the world. So congrats to all of you who made it through to Labor Day Weekend and be proud of what you’ve accomplished no matter what the end result may be. You were out there and you did it. Congratulations on doing what most only dream of doing…getting behind the wheel and racing.
|Sunday, September 4th 2011
| New on the Audio Page from the Fulton Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Johnny Scarborough talked about selling his Sportsman stuff and the fun he is having at Fulton.
Bob Henry Jr. told me about the last lap move he made to get the Sportsman win last week.
Jeremy Pitcher reflected on his 2011 season and how nice it was not to have to run hard on this nite.
Roy Bresnahan remembered his Friday at Brewerton and wonders where he’ll run next weekend.
Shane Donath spoke about his recent Fulton runs and described how his car felt in hot laps.
After the heat races:
Dale Caswell won his heat and told me why he was changing his gears before the feature.
Bodie Bellinger talked about his pass for the lead that got his Late Model a victory in his heat.
Katelyn Kane told me how she won her Sportsman heat and how she held off a veteran driver.
Matt Fink led every lap to win his Modified heat and talked about how good his car was up high.
Shane Donath got the win in his heat race and told me how they went too far with their adjustment.
After the feature races:
Tim Sears Jr. spoke with Adam Buchanan after winning the Crate Late Model track championship.
Katelyn Kane talked about winning the Sportsman feature and the late yellow she had to endure.
Jeremy Pitcher made it official and talked with Bill Foley about winning the Sportsman title.
Tommy Sears took the lead late in the Mod feature and spoke about his win with Adam Buchanan.
Billy Decker won the championship with his 3rd place finish and told Adam Buchanan about it.
Jim Witko told me how good his second place car was and who helped him with some driving tips.
I had a fun night as I headed to the Fulton Speedway for their final points night. Originally I was going to head out to Canandaigua but when I saw a line of weather near Toronto, I changed my plans. That weather never did hit Canandaigua so I guess my amateur meteorologist degree won’t be coming in the mail anytime soon.
Although it was good that I did not go for out west as the audio recorder I brought with me had a major problem. So major in fact that I had to leave the pit area at Fulton, come home, grab my primary recorder and head back. I lost 45 minutes in the process and did not get back in the pit area until after 6PM. But I hustled like never before and got thirteen pre race interviews. Five of those are up today.
It was a great night at the high banked track as it was three grooves wide and smooth as a baby’s bottom. Jimmy Phelps had a tough break the Modified feature as he ended up in the wall on the backstretch and had to pit. He sat in the pits for sixteen laps while his crew fixed his front end and he came back out. But with no spots to be gained, he was in trouble and not in control of his destiny.
Billy Decker was however and came into the night twenty eight points behind Phelps. And if he got to fifth he would tie for the title. He got up to third and won the championship unofficially by three points. So for the second night in a row, the driver who came into the night as the Modified point leader did not win the championship. I did feel bad for Jimmy as he got some help in hitting the wall too. Darn it!
Not so much drama in the Sportsman as Jeremy Pitcher had his championship wrapped up weeks ago. But there was enough drama in the feature to make up for it. Katelyn Kane took the lead on lap seven and made it through two late yellows including one with a lap to go. She held off last week’s winner Bob Henry Jr. as he threw everything at her he could think of.
It was an emotional victory lane for Kane as her family and her Modified racing boyfriend greeted her when she got out of the car. It was the loudest cheers we heard all night long when this college student got out of her car with the checkered flag in hand. Congratulations to Katelyn on a job well done!
Dale Caswell won the Late Model feature although the speaker I usually record victory lanes from was down so I had to hustle into the tower to record them. So I missed Dale but did get there in time to record Tim Sears Jr. as he celebrated his track championship. No champagne for Timmer though as he is not old enough just yet.
There were also a great field of Mod Lites on hand for the Doug Cooper Memorial. Doug lost his life in a crash at the track several years ago and this is an emotional night for everyone who runs in this division. Doug Williams took the win in that 36 lapper.
All in all I had a great time and enjoyed chatting with my friends in the tower as the features took place. This high banked track continues to have some of the best racing anywhere and last night was a classic to say the least.
Today I am not sure what I am going to do as weather is moving in as the day goes on. I have Weedsport down in my planner after conversations with my editor at the Syracuse Post Standard. He’ll be at Oswego for the Classic finale while I hope to stay dry and see some racing on the clay. Utica Rome will be my back up plan if that rains out. And if all else fails, I will fire up the home studio.
One way or another, I have nineteen clips in the can so we will have lots to listen to this week. Come back tomorrow and keep checking as you never know when new photos will be added.
|Saturday, September 3rd 2011
| New on the Audio Page from the Brewerton Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Pat Ward looked ahead to the weekend and talked about where he could end up in the standings.
Alan Johnson told me about the 10j car, how it did last weekend and a little of it’s history.
Jimmy Phelps talked about his upcoming weekend, his hopes for a title and Thursday at The Valley.
Rich Scagliotta remembered his Canandaigua win and described the hurricane damage in New Jersey.
Stewart Friesen described a motor issue he had on Thursday and a car change for Brewerton.
Jim Money explained how he got back to the track after flames shot from his car last time out.
After the heat races:
Rich Scagliotta won the first Modified heat race and explained why a trail of oil followed him.
Chris Hile ran side by side in his heat and talked about the fun he had as he got the victory.
Keith Shay got the win in the first Four Cylinder heat and thanked the person who helped.
Jim Money took the victory in the second 4 cylinder heat and told me how he came from last.
After the feature races:
Kevan Cook talked with Adam Buchanan about win number ten and his IMCA championship.
Matt Sheppard went from 18th to 1st to win the Modified title and told Bill Foley how he did it.
Stephen Denton got the win and the championship in the Four Cylinders and told me about it.
Mike Mullen won his first Mod Lite race of the season and talked about it with Adam Buchanan.
Tim Devendorf earned the Mod Lite championship and thought back to one fateful week.
It was a quick night at the Brewerton Speedway as weather off to the west and over Lake Ontario kept things moving along. There was no Modified consi even though there were 26 cars in the pit area, no intermission and the result was a lightning quick four division show done in 1 one hour and 59 minutes. Yeah, I know…how about that huh?
In a strange twist, the winners of the first three races won the championships as well. Kevan Cook had his IMCA Modified title wrapped up weeks ago and all Stephen Denton needed to do was take the green and his Four Cylinder Super Stock title was in hand. But the Modifieds weren’t so cut and dried.
Stewart Friesen came into the night with a twelve point lead and if he finished fifth or better the championship was his. But he also hurt and engine the night before at Lebanon Valley and had to use his Utica Rome car and crew for this regular season finale.
At one point, he, Matt Sheppard and Jimmy Phelps were all right together just outside of the top ten. But while Sheppard and Phelps continued to pick up spots, Friesen stayed between eighth and eleventh place eventually coming home in the number eleven spot.
Sheppard got around early leader Roy Bresnahan with a low move coming out of turn four on lap twenty two and never looked back. Phelps would eventually make his way to second place and just like that Sheppard won the title, Phelps finished second and Friesen third. The race was only slowed three times for cautions.
And in the final race of the night, Mike Mullen would get the Mod Lite feature win while Tim Devendorf earned the championship with his third place finish. And don’t forget that Devendorf purchased a Super Modified just recently and will be on the asphalt next year from the sound of things.
I did get a lot of interviews but forgot to charge the battery in my camera so I was only able to take less than forty photos as the low battery light stayed on all night. Darn it! But I do have it on the charger now so I will be all set today. I can’t believe I did that. Sorry.
I was also able to save ten interviews from the night and those will be showing up soon as the next two days could be a little iffy. That sucks too as there are no dates available to run these point shows and have them count towards the regular season. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how things work out. So think dry thoughts today.
I am not sure where I am going the next few days as Mother Nature could end up making that decision for me. But if they are running, I will be there tonight and tomorrow as well. So be sure to come back for more.
|Friday, September 2nd 2011
| Friday, Sep 2 2011
New on the Audio Page for today:
Steve Poirier looks ahead to racing at Canandaigua this Saturday and remembers the last time out.
Ken Titus talked about his season in the Southern Tier and thought back to a recent ROC race.
Chris Piasecki explained why he missed some weeks on the track and described what went wrong.
Steve Abt is a rookie in the Super Modified division and told Joe Marotta about his season so far.
It was another nice day in Central New York on Thursday and as I write this up Lebanon Valley Speedway is in a rain delay. I spent the day doing busy work, recording an interview in the studio and then headed up to the Oswego Speedway for their Classic Cruise Night. And as I look back now at past midnight, I see JR Heffner won the big one at The Valley. Great to see they got it in with some wet weather involved not just last night but also with the hurricane and all too.
It was great to see Joe, Roy and all the great looking cars. Make sure to check out my photo bin from the event and especially check out the street legal Super Modified. I guess there is no excuse for being late to work in that ride huh?
Today I will be heading to the Brewerton Speedway as they will crown their champions tonight. Then tomorrow I will be at Canandaigua for their season finale and am still not 100% on Sunday as I have three choices that I can do. Oh, where to go, where to go? Send your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for either Cayuga County, Oswego or Utica Rome.
Now let’s chat more about what I have that is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a chat I recorded on Thursday. Steve Poirier looks ahead to racing at Canandaigua this Saturday and remembers the last time out to the Land of Legends. He told me why he will be starting in 15th place, described the work he still has to do to his Sprint Car to be ready to load up and the man who most will be looking to run down.
Ken Titus talked about his season in the Southern Tier and thought back to a recent ROC race. He described what happened when he recently sucked in an intake gasket, why he felt it was best to load it up rather than push it and why he was not the one who fixed it.
Chris Piasecki explained why he missed some weeks on the track and all the stuff that went wrong along the course of the summer. He talked about losing a half a track lead after coming back, explained why 250 is a tough number to see on the gauge and how if the white was waving it could have been different.
Steve Abt is a rookie in the Super Modified division and told Joe Marotta about his season so far at the Oswego Speedway. He talked about how horrible the year has been, explained what issues he was working on and how he almost got in big trouble the first night out.
|Thursday, September 1st 2011
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Rusty Smith spoke about his 2011 season and how he has been doing with his veteran teammate.
Joey Colsten talked about chasing his legendary dad in the points as Penn Can winds down.
Brian Sobus tells Joe Marotta why he took last weekend off and looks ahead to Classic Weekend.
Barry Kingsley thought back on his crash into the water barrels and described the damage.
A big weekend is almost upon us and there are things going on tonight as well. The Lebanon Valley Speedway hosts its rescheduled Mr. DIRT Track USA with $17,500 going to the winner. And the Thruway is back open heading east from Syracuse so there should be no traffic headaches for fans and teams going to this event. Whew!
Plus the Oswego Speedway hosts a car cruise as well as a big race at the Kartway out back. So bring your classic cars out and hang out with some race fans as they get ready for Classic Weekend at The Steel Palace.
And all our local tracks here in Central New York (and most everywhere) will be deciding their champions. There are some great battles out there and I talk about many of them in my latest column in the Syracuse Post Standard. Get yours today or read it on line at www.syracuse.com/motorsports.
I will be in the studio today so look for more tomorrow. We went to the State Fair yesterday for the final time and now we focus on racing for the next five days. Hope you all are doing well and I hope to see you back tomorrow.
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a conversation from my trip to Pennsylvania last Friday. Rusty Smith spoke about his 2011 season and how he has been doing with his veteran teammate. He also told me how close he came to getting a win earlier, why he feels his small block is perfect for the job at Penn Can and remembered how he got hooked up with Butch Tittle.
Joey Colsten talked about chasing his legendary dad in the points as Penn Can winds down its regular season. He told me how cool it is to be in the position he is in right now, why he is not focused on that and why he & dad try to be more of a team rather than an individual.
Brian Sobus tells Joe Marotta why he took last weekend off and looks ahead to the Classic. He talked about what could have happened if he did run, remembered how he did at The Classic last year and the work they did to get ready for the race.
Barry Kingsley thought back on his crash into the water barrels and described the damage it did to announcer Joe Marotta. He talked about how wet he got in the deal, wondered if it was all water and what he is hoping to sell his Small Block Super Modified for.
|Wednesday, August 31st 2011
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Michael Muldoon talked about some changes he made to his Super and how good it made it.
Brett Tonkin described what happens with the bottom of track at Penn Can and how to drive it.
Billy Thornton discussed his Modified season so far and how things have fallen off a little.
Kreig Heroth told Joe Marotta about his history in racing in both asphalt and on the clay as well.
I have been so busy with stuff this week away from racing I have not been able to do much else. Sorry about that! Of course we went to the fair on Monday with the kids and we will surely be back before the week ends. The teams are super busy now as well getting ready for the final point races this weekend too so it is a tough time to get things done in the studio as I just hate to interrupt them.
On the website today we have four chats from my weekend including another one that Joe Marotta did for me Saturday at the Oswego Speedway. I hope you all are making your plans to hit some tracks this weekend as the drama that will be happening in a few days will be intense.
And don’t forget that the Mr. Dirt Track USA show at Lebanon Valley is on as scheduled for Thursday according to their website. As of Tuesday, the New York State Thruway is still closed eastbound from Syracuse but keep your eyes and ears opened as hopefully that will change soon.
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a man who will be at Oswego Speedway’s Classic this weekend. Michael Muldoon talked about some changes he made to his Super Modified during the week and how good it made it. He told me how a wing adjustment made the car handle differently, explained why he was not that concerned about a tight condition and how that condition could help him later on as the car loosens up.
Brett Tonkin described what happens with the bottom of track at Penn Can and how to get around it. He also talked about some work he was doing in the pit area, how good the car felt in the hot laps and where he felt the fast groove would be in the heat races.
Billy Thornton discussed his Modified season so far and how things have fallen off a little. He talked about his struggles this year, how he would like to take better advantage of his starting spots and wonders about the engine he has under the hood. Later in the night, the motor did give up the ghost. Best of luck Billy.
Kreig Heroth told Joe Marotta about his history in racing on both asphalt and clay as well. He explained why he went the asphalt route of late, who he hung out with at a dirt track last Friday and how tough the competition is in the Small Block Super Modified division.
|Tuesday, August 30th 2011
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Bobby Bond spoke about his practice sessions at Oswego and his hopes for Classic Weekend.
Kevin Bates talked about his season at Penn Can and remembers his busy days on the road.
Bobby Trapper Sr. tells me about his Penn Can ride and how good it felt to get a feature win.
Bobby Gunther Walsh explained why he changes his number yearly and how he gets sponsors.
Jack Patrick tells Joe Marotta what makes his Small Block Super Modified a little different.
It was a fun day on Monday and as I write this up I am getting ready to head to the New York State Fair. My kids, my wife and I are going to spend the later part of the day at the fair, have dinner there and hit the midway at night which is always a beautiful sight.
On the website today are five more conversations that were recorded over last weekend. There are some real good ones here too as well as one from our good friend Joe Marotta. I also have a new article in today’s Syracuse Post Standard that wraps up the action from last weekend and looks ahead at what is to come.
Tomorrow I’ll be back with more and I will also make it out to the fair again either Tuesday or Wednesday as I could go everyday. Really! I am just a big kid when you get down to it and I know I am going to be having as much fun and maybe more than my kids will. So if you are out of town and coming up this weekend for some racing, be sure to include the State Fair in your plans.
Now let’s chat more about what is new on the site for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a man I remember from my early days at the Fulton Speedway. Bobby Bond spoke about his practice sessions at Oswego and his hopes for this weekend’s Classic. He told me what makes a set up right for the long distance race, how he was approaching the final point night and reacted to some fast laps on particular competitor was turning.
Kevin Bates talked about his season at Penn Can and remembers his busy days on the road racing almost daily. He told me how he fell back a little in the point standings, how he deals with a bad night on the track and shared some stories from his racing back in the day. Real good one here!
Bobby Trapper Sr. tells me about his Penn Can ride and how good it felt to get a feature win with it. He explained how he first got behind the wheel of the 30+, how it became a weekly deal and gives his take on why he does not work on the racecar much on race nights.
Bobby Gunther Walsh explained why he changes his number yearly and how he gets sponsors. He also gave some great advice to teams on how to approach potential backers, what to do for them once you get them and comments on his long career in radio. Not many can say they have been in one place as long as Bobby!
Jack Patrick tells Joe Marotta what makes his Small Block Super Modified a little different than the rest. He talked about why things have been going better this season, what he hoped would happen later on at Oswego and explained how he has changed his driving style this year.
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