|Tuesday, May 27th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the Victoria 200 at Utica Rome Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Bobby Varin thought back on his past successes in long distance races and recapped his Sunday.
Brett Hearn told me about his feature win at Albany Saratoga and his hopes for Brockville.
Rocky Warner has a past at Utica Rome with crates and talked about his win at Glen Ridge.
David Marcuccilli described his side by side battle at Canandaigua and how tight his car got.
Tim McCreadie spoke about his win at Ransomville, his 5th with a Late Model and Utica Rome.
After the qualifying heats:
Rocky Warner won the first Sportsman qualifying heat and talked about losing the lead briefly.
David Marcuccilli had a good battle up front on his way to a win and told me about the track.
Rocco Leone led every lap as he pulled away for a win and talked about the need to tighten more.
Vic Coffey switched cars after Sunday and talked about his win in the first Modified heat race.
Tim McCreadie got the win in his qualifier and spoke about his plan coming from thirteenth.
Stewart Friesen ran his race winning streak to six after his heat win and talked about his Sunday.
Matt Sheppard and Rick Laubach talked about their one-two finish in heat number four.
Tyler Dippel told me about his win in the final Mod heat and his Late Model plans for this weekend.
After the feature races:
Rocky Warner spoke with Shane Andrews after his win in the 30 lap GRIT Sportsman feature.
Nick Guererri ran down the leader to finish second and talked about how a late race caution hurt.
Stewart Friesen took home a cool $10,000 for his victory and told Mike Mallett all about it.
Matt Sheppard came home in second place for the third day in a row and spoke with Mike Mallett.
Danny Johnson raced hard for his third place finish and told Mike Mallett about his nice run.
It was a beautiful day on Memorial Day as I headed to the Utica Rome Speedway for the Victoria 200 which was joined by the GRIT Series for Sportsman. There were 40 Modifieds and 39 Sportsman on what was a black, slick racetrack for all.
It was challenging as this race always is and a good crowd was on hand to watch Stewart Friesen take his winning streak at the track to 7 as he won his qualifier and the 100 lap feature which was worth $10,000. And just like the night before, Matt Sheppard led early and finished in second place although Monday did pay considerably more.
Sheppard led the first 25 laps before Friesen got by and then extended his lead as he got into lapped traffic. In the end only 9 cars were on the lead lap as a 57 lap green flag run saw a lot of folks go down a lap to the leader. Danny Johnson and Dale Planck raced for what seemed like darned near every lap with Johnson taking third place. Planck was fourth and Tim McCreadie fifth.
In the GRIT Sportsman feature Rocky Warner was out front and cruising until Nick Guererri started to reel him in. Warner had a full straightaway lead until Guererri started to close the gap with 8 to go. On the final lap it looked like Guererri had the lead but the yellow flag waved for a caution that coincidentally involved his brother.
Warner survived the last lap and went on to the win. It was an awesome race and I can only imagine what it felt like for Nick when that 79 car started to get bigger. You know what they say right? The race isn’t over till the…oh no, wait. That’s Joe Marotta’s phrase.
I have a lot saved in the can and lots of audio for you this week as we’ll get a minimum of 8 per day so be sure to come back for more. Have a great Tuesday and remember it is a short week. Next weekend will be here before you know it.
|Monday, May 26th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the Utica Rome Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Cory Sparks talked about his eighth place finish on Friday night as the ESS visited Albany Saratoga.
Michael Parent prepared for his first race night since his crash and told me how he was feeling.
Ronnie Johnson told me about the new Modified he was shaking down for today’s Victoria 200.
Shawn Donath finished his night with a crash on Friday and told me the things that went wrong.
Mike Mahaney won Saturday night at Thunder Mountain and talked about how he got out front.
After the heats, dash and b-main:
Stewart Friesen told me about his win in the ESS heat, his Modified heat and the ESS dash.
Chuck Hebing talked about his ESS heat win and the line he used to keep the momentum up.
Michael Parent spoke about taking his first checkered flag of 2014 winning the ESS b-main.
Kyle Kiehn won the first Sportsman heat with his crate engine and told me about confidence.
Mike Walton got the win in his Sportsman heat and described a nagging handling issue he fixed.
Steve Way grooved up some tires and told me about his win in the final Sportsman heat race.
Billy Decker described how his car was in his heat and how close he thought it was to being ready.
After the A-Main and features:
Tommy Denton won another Pro Stock feature and told Shane Andrews about his latest victory.
Stewart Friesen told Mike Mallett how he took the lead with 5 to go to win the ESS A-Main.
Chuck Hebing spoke with Mike and talked about finishing in second place in the ESS A-Main.
Jeff Cook led some laps before finishing in third and talked about his all top five weekend.
Mike Walton won his career first Sportsman race and told Mike Mallett about recent struggles.
Stewart Friesen made a late race pass of Matt Sheppard and talked about his five win night.
Russ Marsden won his second Pure Stock feature race in a row and teased a track employee.
We had a fun night at the Utica Rome Speedway in what Allie said was her, “best weekend ever.” It was quite a night as Stewart Friesen must have made history somehow as he won every race he was in. He won both the Sprint and Mod heat, the Sprint Dash and both the A-Main and the feature. Yep, it was that kind of night.
No it was not easy. He took the lead with just five to go in the Empire Super Sprints A-Main right as leader Paul Kinney headed to the infield tapping one of the signs before coming to a stop. Then in the Modified feature he got by matt Sheppard with five to go as well to win that race. Wow!
Nice night also for Mike Walton as he won his first feature at the track and he also won his heat race earlier. Turns out he has been working on a tight condition on corner entry for quite some time and it looks like he may have solved that problem. He held off multi-time winner and current point leader Jeremy Vunk lap after lap and even survived a yellow with two to go. Nice job Mike!
Congrats also go out to Tom Denton and Russ Marsden for their stock cars wins. It was a nice night with a huge crowd on hand for what is always one of the most popular dates on the Utica Rome schedule.
Now today we’ll be back there again for the Victoria 200. I have some work to do as I need to write up my column before I leave so I may get there not quite as early as I usually do but I’ll try my best to get there as early as I can.
Need sleep to be ready so I will call it a night. Have a great Memorial Day and be sure to pause to think of the brave men and women have gave their lives in sacrifice for this great country of ours. This is not a day for fun, it is a day of remembrance so be sure to pause at some time today and give thanks to the people who made this country what it is today.
|Sunday, May 25th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from Canandaigua Motorsports Park:
Pre race conversations:
Gary Tomkins tells me about his season so far, recalls Tuesday night and looks ahead to Brockville.
Chad Homan described some motor issues he has had and tells me about getting good at swaps.
Pete Stefanski talked about his winning streak in the stock car division and his hopes to travel.
Matt Billings remembered his Modified win last week at Canandaigua and his good run at Brewerton.
Alan Johnson had some fun before the race and talked about how he got a ride in the #9s car.
After the heat races:
Lance Dusett talked about his 305 Sprint Car heat win and how he got back into racing this year.
Tyler Meeks walked me through his pass for the lead on lap 5 that got him the win in heat number 1.
Paul Guererri won the second Sportsman heat race and told me about his low move for the win.
Chad Homan got the win in the first Modified heat and explained why he was tight once in three.
Steve Paine recalled his last corner pass for a heat win and what it is that he enjoys most today.
Vinnie Vitale survived a late yellow to win his heat and wondered why his car faded afterwards.
After the features:
Darryl Ruggles earned his first Canandaigua 305 win of the season and talked about his season.
Tim Baker made it two in a row in the Legends Sportsman division and spoke with Shane Andrews.
Billy Dunn won a great side by side battle up front and talked about one particular move in four.
Vinnie Vitale talked about his third place finish and how tight his racecar got in the final laps.
Peter Britten ran as high as second before fading to fifth and talked about the need to move around.
Steve Gray enjoyed an excellent battle up front and talked about upgrading to win two in a row.
Allie and I had a great time last night as we headed west to Canandaigua Motorsports Park. I knew Allie was in the mood for a race and with the demo derby on the card she made the choice for us based on that and off we went.
It was fun to introduce her around to people I have known in some cases for twenty years. I started going to Canandaigua in 1994 when I was a DIRT announcer wanna be with my DIRT employee card from Brewerton that allowed me into the pits for free. Yay! Brewerton had just switched to DIRT and I wanted in.
My plan was simple. Camille and I went every week in 1994 and sat right in front of the tower. I figured if I was there every week, (I waved to my friends in the tower so they knew I was there every time.) was very visibly not doing anything, then maybe something would happen and they would find something for me to do. The next year they needed an announcer and in I went. Wow! I still can’t believe that worked. Can you?
So Canandaigua is special to me and always will be. After watching my first season in 1994 and seeing that this was a premier track with a great layout that made for exceptional side by side racing, I was hooked. So to able to share this with Allie is so much fun and keeps me focused and on point as I explain things to her that maybe a lot of casual fans don’t know. It reminds me to share them with you at the same time. Yay again!
But enough about that, the Modified, Sportsman and Street Stock races were great side by side affairs. In the Modified division, Billy Dunn made a great move early to go from 7th to 4th as he swept the outside of 3 cars. Later he and early leader Vinnie Vitale put on a great show for the fans as they swapped the lead 3 times before Dunn pulled ahead for good.
Steve Gray beat David Marcuccilli in another classic in the Sportsman and Pete Stefanski held off a late charge from Mike Welch as Welch ran Stefanski down from half a straightaway behind. It was one of those where with 6 to go you said, “Maybe he can catch him.” And he darned near beat him.
The demo derby was fun and Allie and I moved as close we could to it as that is where she wanted to be. She had seen one once before and loved every minute of it. She asked me beforehand if I would ever do one of those myself and I said, “no”. About halfway through it she said, “I don’t want you doing this daddy.” When I was young and healed quickly, maybe…but now? No way.
I got a lot of interviews and did the best I could in the big pit area. I saved 9 interviews, many of which are for Wednesday to preview the first Super DIRTcar Series race of the year at Brockville Ontario Speedway later that night, and will be back on the road today as Allie and I will see some Sprint Cars and fireworks at Utica Rome. (She’s been to this show before and requested it when she heard about it.) Then on Monday I’ll be on my own for the Victoria 200.
Gotta get some sleep now as we all have a lot do in the next 48 hours so I’ll let you guys go to do the same. Best of luck today and I will see you tomorrow with lots of stuff from the ESS at Utica Rome and then again on Tuesday with audio from the Victoria 200. Plus we’ll have a lot daily next week if everything keeps going like it is and I continue to be able to save clips for the can.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and remember the brave men and women who served this great country of ours. Thanks goes out to all of them.
|Saturday, May 24th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Donnie Elliott made a rare trip to New York and told me how his three races have gone at Accord.
Danny Varin spoke about his recent finishes at Utica Rome and how tough the competition is.
C.G. Morey has been running weekly at the Fonda Speedway and talked about his recent top ten.
Craig Hanson spoke about his recent win at Glen Ridge as he got ready for Thunder Mountain.
JaMike Sowle spoke with Jimmy King about his nice draw and his thoughts on Thunder Mountain.
Josh Lloyd raced on the asphalt for 21 years and talked about trying a Sportsman at Utica Rome.
A.J. Filbeck came into Sunday tied for the Sportsman point lead and talked about his two finishes.
Mike Stiles explained how his Sportsman has been doing and how some bad luck has hurt.
Joel Hargrave finished hot laps at Fulton and told me about his move from Mod Lite to Sportsman.
Jim King told me how nice it has been for him to back announcing at three different dirt tracks.
We’re back today with lots of great audio from out travels. I took yesterday off as my knee has been a little sore and I hope to be back on my feet hoofing around tracks this weekend.
There is so much going on so make sure to get out and support the local racetracks. You can record Monaco, Charlotte and Indy so watch them during the week and get out to your favorite track.
Not much else to say after a day off so let’s get right into the new stuff we have on the Audio Page for today. And boy do we have a lot for you. Donnie Elliott made a rare trip to New York and told me how his three races have gone at Accord. He talked about getting better every week, how challenging the competition is and why a win is a win no matter where you start.
Danny Varin spoke about his recent finishes at Utica Rome and how tough the competition is. He talked about learning the tricky race surface, how much he enjoys learning and where we will see him racing a Sprint Car this weekend.
Craig Hanson spoke about his recent Modified feature win as he got ready for Thunder Mountain. He talked about getting a win early in the season, how he lost the lead briefly and how his car went away on him as the laps clicked off.
JaMike Sowle spoke with Jimmy King about his nice draw and his thoughts on Thunder Mountain. He talked about the track he saw and the fun he hopes he would have later on.
C.G. Morey has been running weekly at the Fonda Speedway and talked about his recent top ten. He talked about the nice job the promoter has done so far, how optimistic he is about the future and how easy things seem for the fans.
Josh Lloyd raced on the asphalt for 21 years and talked about trying a Sportsman at Utica Rome. He told me how the opportunity came about to drive the car, how he did in the only other time he drove one and what the big differences are.
A.J. Filbeck came into Sunday tied for the Sportsman point lead and talked about his two finishes. He told me about his runner up finish in week two, how exciting it is to be racing for a championship and how happy he is with the way the early season has gone.
Mike Stiles explained how his Sportsman has been doing and how some bad luck has hurt. He told me how he came from the back after spinning for a 12th place, how happy he is with the way his newer car handles and how much power his engine has so far.
Joel Hargrave just finished hot laps at Fulton and told me about his move from Mod Lite to Sportsman. He explained how his first laps felt in the car, compared his regular home to Fulton and how ready he is to get some laps under his belt as Mohawk International Raceway has had some tough luck weather wise.
Jim King told me how nice it has been for him to back announcing at three different dirt tracks. He talked about how few people he knew at his first Fonda show, how he is still shaking off some of the rust and how he keeps tracks of everybody.
|Friday, May 23rd 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Dale Planck saw a friend of his win last weekend and talked about the development of Matt Billings.
Matt Jester summed up how his season has been going and why he is traveling more in 2014.
Danny Creeden recently ran at Thunder Mountain and told me how he did last time at the track.
Elmo Recker had a pair of top fives last weekend and who he raced with all night at Fonda.
Billy VanInwegen told me who gave him some advice on Thunder Mountain and what it was.
Darwin R. Greene described his slow start at I-88 Speedway and his starts at Fonda Speedway.
Anthony Perrego was my first interview at Thunder Mountain and talked about last weekend.
Hear some of the Modifieds as they sat in the staging area on Tuesday night at Thunder Mountain.
The big Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and we have four big days of racing to look forward to. Everybody has something special on the card for this weekend so be sure to support your local track on the first big race weekend of the year.
I’ll be at Canandaigua tomorrow as Allie loves demo derbies and then I’ll be at Utica Rome for the ESS show on Sunday and back again on Monday for the Victoria 200. It will be a lot of fun and I am sleeping late today to get ready for it.
They have been working on insulating our house and should wrap it up today. Plus the kids are off from school so we are going to do something fun as a family before I head off for three days of racing.
I have lots of stuff for tomorrow as well as we’ll be back with 10 clips for you to listen to.
But before then, let’s talk about all the great clips we have for you to listen to today on the Audio Page. All of these are from Tuesday’s Lightning on the Mountain show. Dale Planck saw a friend of his win last weekend and talked about the development of Matt Billings. He also remembered the last time he towed to Thunder Mountain, how he decided on a set up for the night and thinks back on his days racing weekly in Canada.
Matt Jester summed up how his season has been going and why he is traveling more in 2014. He talked about seeing some new racetracks, why he decided to come to New York on Tuesday and his hopes for that first win of the season.
Elmo Recker had a pair of top fives last weekend and who he raced with all night at Fonda. He talked about the surfaces he saw, how good the track has been at Glen Ridge on Sundays and wonders what to expect at a new track on Tuesday.
Danny Creeden recently ran at Thunder Mountain and told me how he did last time at the track. He explained how he fell from 3rd to 6th, how much he loved the racetrack and why he likes short tracks so much in general.
Billy VanInwegen told me who gave him some advice on Thunder Mountain and what it was. He talked about his lack of seat time at short tracks, how he does with sail panels on the car and where the car tends to be pushy.
Darwin R. Greene described his slow start at I-88 Speedway and his starts at Fonda Speedway. He told me about learning a new chassis, how it got better after he wrecked it and how much he loves Thunder Mountain.
Anthony Perrego was my first interview at Thunder Mountain and talked about last weekend. He spoke about the big field of cars, the nuances of passing points and wonders what to do to the right front of his racecar.
Hear some of the Modifieds as they sat in the staging area on Tuesday night at Thunder Mountain in our Motor Sounds clip. Hope this gets you pumped up for the big Memorial Day Weekend. I for one love listening to these.
|Thursday, May 22nd 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Brett Hearn summed up how his four win season has been so far and how consistent he has been.
Mitch Gibbs shared memories with Jimmy King and talked about returning to Thunder Mountain.
Doug Manmiller had his Friday night car at Thunder Mountain and offered his initial take.
Brian Malcolm has run his Mod weekly at Thunder Mountain and told me how things are going.
Katelyn Kane described the track she saw in hot laps at Fulton and some changes they made.
Tom Collins Jr. made a rare Modified start on Tuesday and talked about moving up in class.
Daryl Barrett was ready for his second race of the season and told me how his firs night went.
Andrew Ferguson celebrated his birthday at Utica Rome and talked about his past on birthdays.
I was tired on Wednesday but I still got my work done. After a late night on Tuesday I did some website work and wrote up a new column for the Syracuse Post Standard and www.syracuse.com/motorsports.
I put up eight of my interviews from the weekend and Tuesday at Thunder Mountain so you have lots to listen to today. I hope to get in the studio a little today but they are working on our house today so we’ll have to see how that goes.
I still have a lot in the can as we get ready for the big Memorial Day Weekend as everyone has something special going on. You can see a weekend preview for Central New York on the Syracuse.com site too so look for that and make your plans.
Now let’s chat more about what we have for you on the Audio Page. I start with some from Tuesday’s big Modified show. Brett Hearn summed up how his four win season has been so far and how consistent he has been. He told me how fortunate they have been to get in all but one Friday show, why he will miss this Saturday at Lebanon Valley and remembered the last time he came to Thunder Mountain.
Mitch Gibbs shared some memories with Jimmy King and talked about returning to Thunder Mountain. He told me him about his past at the track, why he races in Afton and wonders how many specials he will be at this season.
Doug Manmiller had his Friday night car at Thunder Mountain and offered his initial take on the track. He told me how close he came to winning on Saturday at Grandview and how you have to roll with it when bad luck happens.
Brian Malcolm has run his Mod weekly at Thunder Mountain and told me how things are going. He told me about last weekend, which car he runs at each of his weekly homes and how much he will race this season. It’s a lot.
Katelyn Kane described the track she saw in hot laps at Fulton and some changes they made. She told me how happy she was with the track, what was wrong with the brakes and how it felt as she was dealing with the issue.
Tom Collins Jr. made a rare Modified start on Tuesday and talked about moving up in class. He told me how he got a bigger engine for the season, how it has gone when he has tried it in the past and what his big goal was for the Lightning on the Mountain show.
Daryl Barrett was ready for his second race of the season and told me how his firs night went. He talked about running a crate against the open motors at Utica Rome, how good he can do with the configuration and what he learned working at a racetrack the past two seasons.
Andrew Ferguson celebrated his birthday at Utica Rome and talked about his past on birthdays. He told me about the holidays he does run well on, how he lost a championship in the past and how happy he was with his Saturday night at Skyline.
|Wednesday, May 21st 2014
| New on the Audio Page from Thunder Mountain Speedway:
After the heat races:
Vic Coffey described how his car handled as he easily won the second heat race of the night.
Brian Weaver watched the crew clean up a crash and talked about his win in heat race number 3.
Alex Stanton did not look like a rookie in his heat win and told me how his season has gone.
Jeff Hoetzler won heat five and talked about how he had to compensate for a handling issue.
Elmo Reckner talked about winning his heat race and how he could tell it was raining a little.
Stewart Friesen explained how he worked the inside on lap 3 to take the lead and win his heat.
Bob Hamm Jr. won the eighth Modified heat race and told me about his last lap pass for the win.
After the 50 lap Lightning on the Mountain Modified feature:
Matt Sheppard led every lap to pick up his fourth win on the season and talked with Jeff Ahlum.
Chad Cook chased the leader for many laps before finishing 2nd and told Jeff Ahlum all about it.
Vic Coffey started third, finished third and told Jeff Ahlum how he was compared to the winner.
Stewart Friesen picked up two spot to finish fourth and told me how fast the race leader was.
Danny Johnson talked about his fifth place at Thunder Mountain and his win at Merrittville.
Jeff Hoetzler came home in sixth place picking up four spots and talked about his solid finish.
Duane Howard told me about his seventh place finish and how he has been doing at other shows.
I had heard from some people I know that this Lightning on the Mountain show was going to be big. But I don’t think anyone knew how big it would get. 73 Modified teams showed up as well as many top Sportsman teams. There was a standing room only crowd with fans standing four rows deep at the top of the grandstand. Yeah, it was big alright.
I got there nice and early and it is good I did as I heard folks were parked all the way up and down the hill that leads to the track. Yes, we did get a little rain but it never really got going and was mostly just spitting. It did that in the third heat and continued through the end of qualifying. It left all of us sitting in the pit grandstand thinking about a long, hot shower when we get home and as soon as I finish typing this up, that is exactly what I am doing.
They needed eight heat races and four consolation races to set the field. I got almost all the heat winners and went back to seventh place in my post race interviews. Plus I saved an additional 19 clips that will show up over the next two or maybe three days depending on how the weather looks.
Matt Sheppard led all 50 laps to take home the $5,100 first place prize and was challenged several times by second place Chad Cook who had a lot of fans in the grandstand rooting him on. He looked low for three laps just before halfway and then had a shot at a high side move with four to go in traffic but could not find a way by.
Ten cautions slowed the pace of the race and six of those happened in the first thirteen laps. The track was smooth but dusty…very dusty. Although the drivers I spoke with off the mic said vision was not an issue except in that brief time when it was sprinkling. So yeah, we got pretty dirty in the grandstand but it was great to see this star studded field assembled in one place.
I hope you enjoy all the audio we did and look for lots more in the coming days. If Friday looks iffy (and it is looking better I think) I may divide what I did there, Fulton and Utica Rome by three. Otherwise I’ll put it all up over two days. I have 26 clips in the preverbal can right now so one way or another you’re going to get a lot from us.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all are working on your plans for this special Memorial Day Weekend.
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