|Thursday, August 14th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Pat Ward talks about his heat win on Sunday at Utica Rome as he signed autographs for fans.
Matt Janczuk went three wide in the middle in his heat win and what he felt as he drove the Modified.
Claude Hutchings Jr. made a low move to win his heat and talked about changes for later on.
Jeremy Vunk told me how good his Sportsman was as he worked the low line for a heat win.
Frank Hyatt won the most entertaining heat race of the night and explained why he was put back.
Jim Mahaney remembered racing on the Outlaw Circuit and looked ahead to the reunion.
It was a tough day on Wednesday as a lot of us went up to Boonville for the calling hours for Kevin Ward Jr. The family seems to be holding up okay and it was great to see them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family on what will be an even tougher day today with the funeral set for this morning.
I’ll be going up later in the day to offer my sympathies and to see how everyone is doing. And of course tomorrow night the Empire Super Sprints run their first show since the tragedy as they will be at the Brewerton Speedway. I’m hoping and praying that it will be good for everyone and I pray that the big time media outlets give is time to grieve and leave us alone!
I have more good stuff for you today from Utica Rome on Sunday and have some more stuff for you tomorrow. I have to take my dad in for a procedure this morning (he says don’t worry) and then I’ll head up north after making sure he is okay. Here’s to wishing there were two of me on Thursday.
Now let’s get our minds on some different stuff with what we have for you today on the Audio Page. I start with some interviews from the frontstretch. Pat Ward talks about his heat win on Sunday at Utica Rome as he signed autographs for fans. He told me how good his car was, how his weekend was going so far and how optimistic he was for later on.
Matt Janczuk went three wide in the middle in his heat win and what he felt as he drove the Modified. He told me why he was a little hesitant with the car, why he brought his back up car and his hopes that it was just a small piece of clay that caused his car to vibrate.
Claude Hutchings Jr. made a low move to win his heat and talked about changes for later on. He told me what he thought would happen to the racetrack after the Modified feature and described what he saw going on with the surface.
Jeremy Vunk told me how good his Sportsman was as he worked the low line for a heat win. He talked about the need to find out more about the racetrack and how he could learn from watching the Modified feature while still having time to make changes.
Frank Hyatt won the most entertaining heat race of the night and explained why he was put back. He explained why he moved up the track early in the race, which end he was better at and how much fun it was to run side by side.
Jim Mahaney remembered racing on the Outlaw Circuit and looked ahead to the reunion. He talked about the show on August 20th, described what it was that made that series so special and how much different it was than what else was out there.
|Wednesday, August 13th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Dean Reynolds talks about Kevin Ward Jr., Friday’s show at Brewerton and the need to race.
Ned Kinney describes the very special bond that is between a racing father and his racing son.
Mike Walton speaks about the Kevin Ward Jr. he knew as he tried to get ready to race on Sunday.
Today will be a tough day for a lot of folks including the family of racer Kevin Ward Jr. Having just been through a wake myself with my mom, I hope that the good feelings that came over me as friends and family came through the line will keep him going on this toughest of days.
I have three interviews pertaining to Kevin up today and a nice column in for Thursday talking about the special bond between a father and son who race. I hope all of this that I am doing is appropriate and helps us not only get through this but also helps others who are not as tight into racing as we are understand what it is that keeps us going especially at times when things go so wrong.
I will see some of you today at the wake and more of Friday at Brewerton. We are all tighter than ever and I just hope and pray that Friday night goes well and that everyone rolls their cars onto the trailers just like they took them off.
My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Ward family and everyone who has shed a tear over what happened.
Now let’s talk about what I have for you today on the Audio Page. I start with a preview of Friday night. Dean Reynolds talks about Kevin Ward Jr., Friday’s show at Brewerton and the need to race. He told me how is dealing with the loss of a friend, how close the racing family is right now and encourages fans to wear orange to the track this Friday.
Ned Kinney describes the very special bond that is between a racing father and his racing son. He told me how everyone is feeling after Saturday night, recalls a crash last year that sent his son to the hospital and explains why they will continue to race as a family. Real good one here!
Mike Walton speaks about the Kevin Ward Jr. he knew as he tried to get ready to race on Sunday. Yes, it was a tough day for a lot of us as we didn’t want to be there but we didn’t want to be home alone with our thoughts either.
|Tuesday, August 12th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Stewart Friesen dedicated his Modified win to Kevin Ward Jr. and talked about the fast racetrack.
Jeremy Vunk speaks to Shane Andrews after his Sportsman win and spoke about shop work.
Bret Belden made a late race move to win the Pro Stock race and told Shane how he survived.
Larry Wight won the second 20 lap feature and told Shane Andrews why he switched racecars.
Roger Phelps shares some memories from the Outlaw Circuit which will be honored later this month.
It was a tough day for a lot of folks on Monday as we still try to process what happened this past weekend. Already some rule changes were announced at the Fulton and Brewerton Speedways and the announcement goes as follows…
It is the goal of speedway management to maintain the safest possible racing conditions for all drivers. Only safety crews and wrecker crews are permitted on the track in the event of an accident. Pit crew members are not permitted on the track. Drivers are required to stay in their car in the event of an on-track incident. If a driver, for whatever reason, exits a car on the track during a caution period, the race will automatically be placed under a red flag and all cars will come to a complete stop. A driver may exit a car if requested by a safety crew member or if safety warrants in cases such as a fire. Drivers that exit a car without permission, for whatever reason, are subject to fine and/or suspension at the discretion of track management.
This is the first of what will no doubt be many rules that will look and sound a lot like this one. If you want to hear what I thought about things you can read my column at www.syracuse.com/motorsports.
I spoke with Kevin Ward Sr. on Monday and he asked for prayers for the family to help them through this tough time. Services for Kevin will be on Wednesday, August 13 from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. and again from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Trainor Funeral Home on 143 Schuyler Street in Boonville, NY. The funeral will be on Thursday, August 14 at 11:00 A.M. at the South Lewis Jr./Sr. High School.
Now let’s talk more about the new stuff we have from Utica-Rome Speedway that is on the Audio Page today. I start with some victory lane interviews and we’ll have more later in the week. Stewart Friesen dedicated his Modified win to Kevin Ward Jr. and talked about the fast racetrack. He talked with Shane Andrews about why Kevin would have loved that track and how he tried to drive it just like he would have.
Jeremy Vunk speaks to Shane Andrews after his Sportsman win and spoke about shop work. He talked about being ready to go when they come to the racetrack and where his racecar worked the best.
Bret Belden made a late race move to win the Pro Stock race and told Shane Andrews how he survived. He talked about how good it felt to get back to victory lane, what went wrong in the heat race and how good his racecar was on restarts.
Larry Wight won the second 20 lap feature and told Shane Andrews why he switched racecars after wining his heat race earlier. He talked about what went wrong earlier, what happened in turn one as he tried to get by a lapped car and how fortunate it was that it did not cost him a race win.
Roger Phelps shares some memories from the Outlaw Circuit which will be honored later this month. He talked about changing his plans to go to this show at Utica Rome next Wednesday, remembered going out afterwards with the guys and who was the main driving force behind the series success.
|Monday, August 11th 2014
| We are dark today here on Doug’s Dirt Diary out of respect for Kevin Ward Jr., his family, friends and fellow racers. Losing him Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park the way we did is a tragedy of epic proportions and one that is invoking a lot of emotions amongst hard core racers, non-racing people and everyone in between.
I knew Kevin very well and watched him get better and improve at Sprint Car racing. He and his dad were some of the best people in racing and his loss is more than tough for so many reasons. I remember hanging out with them at Syracuse as they prepared the surface for the Indoor Championship.
Even though Kevin was a well established Sprint Car driver, he liked getting back into the cart and renewing old friendships. He could drive anything as he did start as a young kid in his parent’s back yard racing carts on a make shift track.
As we were wandering around the Utica-Rome Speedway last night you could tell who Kevin had touched just by looking at their faces. Like I said last night on facebook, none of us really wanted to be there but we wanted to be with each other at the same time. To say it was tough would be an understatement.
I pray for Kevin’s family, his friends and all his fellow racers. This is not going to be easy as we deal with this tragedy. As his family plans arrangements, I hope they know that their extended racing family is here for them and available whenever needed.
I hope you take a moment today to think of Kevin especially if you did not know him. Know that life is fragile and can be taken away at any moment so live life to the fullest like Kevin did. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today and don’t ever give up on your dreams or ignore your true passions. Wondering what could have been is a terrible thing so turn that around and give life the best you can as well as all the people around you who you care for and in turn care for you. You get our of life what you put into it, so give it your all!
We’ll miss you terribly Kevin and may you rest in peace. I am so sorry…
|Sunday, August 10th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the DIRT Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony:
Lloyd Holt talked about his days coming to Central New York and his start in a Jalopy Class.
Mike Colsten remembered starting in a Late Model in 1969 and talked about being so honored.
Charlie Rudolph tells me about his days on dirt and asphalt as well as his Winston Cup starts.
Brett Hearn introduces his brother Bobby Hearn before his induction and each tell some stories.
Howard Commander speaks with Shane Andrews about his years as a successful racing promoter.
Erica Bicknell-Jones spoke about her early days as a General Manager at Merrittville Speedway.
We have some more great audio today as I take you back to Wednesday’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame. I always enjoy these events as I always learn something about our past and I learned a lot this time as well.
Of course Shane Andrews and Joe Marotta do a great job as emcees for this and each of them would know as they are both in already. What a great bunch that went in this season and I hope you enjoy hearing their stories as much as I did. So without a lot of other stuff, I’ll let them tell the stories.
So let’s read a little more about each clip we have for you today on the Audio Page. I start with a gentleman that had not been back to the US in quite some time. Lloyd Holt talked about his days coming to Central New York and his start in a Jalopy Class. He told me how much he enjoyed his weekends in the states, how much it meant to be the first champion at Rolling Wheels and how long it has been since he had been to Weedsport.
Mike Colsten remembered starting in a Late Model in 1969 and talked about being honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He tells me how much better he is doing physically at this time, thought back to his first race night and why he always runs Fords.
Charlie Rudolph tells me about his days on dirt and asphalt as well as his Winston Cup starts. He talked about working on racecars as a kid, how he first got behind the wheel at Lancaster and which season was the best of his career.
Brett Hearn introduces his brother Bobby Hearn before his induction and each tell some stories. They talk about Bobby’s suspension idea, how much it changed dirt Modified racing and how that same idea is still being used today. What a story!
Howard Commander speaks with Shane Andrews about his years as a successful racing promoter. He talked about what he feels is most important, who paid him a nice compliment last season and why he is still learning more every day.
Erica Bicknell-Jones spoke about her early days as a General Manager at Merrittville Speedway. She remembered her first job at the track in the concession area, reminded me of all the help she had as she moved to a new position and how honored she was to be the third member of her family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
|Saturday, August 9th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Vic Coffey talked about his recent Modified win and what his plans are for his son’s career.
Peter Britten recapped his Super DIRTcar Series races from Merrittville and Ransomville.
Kevin Bates remembered some of his Weedsport past and how much he likes wingless 600’s.
Steve Gray was pulling double duty on Thursday and told me how a Modified ride came about.
Back today with four real nice conversations from the Super DIRTcar Series race at Weedsport on Thursday. Then tomorrow I’ll be back with more from the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Wednesday. I have six real strong clips and I know you’ll like them.
Tomorrow the family will head out to Utica Rome for some fun on Autograph Night. Katie was ready for her first race last Sunday but Mother Nature was not and rained it out. They are doing twin 20’s so she’ll get to see an extra feature race.
Now let’s chat more about what we have for you on the Audio Page for today. I start with a nice chat with a driver who is having fun at the track while balancing family as well. Vic Coffey talked about his recent Modified win and what his plans are for his son’s career. He told me how nice it was to pick up his first Mod win in several years, shared some memories from Weedsport and the one time he won on TV.
Peter Britten recapped his Super DIRTcar Series races from Merrittville and Ransomville. He told me how cool it was to finally be on the track in Weedsport, how he liked being a track official in the opener and how his younger brother did in his first Sportsman race.
Kevin Bates remembered some of his Weedsport past and how much he likes wingless 600’s. He explained why he is traveling more this season, why he likes the tiny track in Weedsport and where he will race next.
Steve Gray was pulling double duty on Thursday and told me how a Modified ride came about. He told me when they first started talking about it, wonders if it might be for more than one race and why he was happy it was happening in Weedsport.
|Friday, August 8th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the Weedsport Speedway:
Brett Hearn talked about the breakthrough design of the first Teo Pro Cars and when he got one.
Ray Bliss Jr. remembers his TV win at Weedsport when the motor blew up on the final lap.
Alan Johnson thinks back to his first laps at Cayuga County when he went off the track in turn 1.
Lance Willix cut his teeth in the Sportsman class in Weedsport and talked moving to a Modified.
Willy Decker cut up a tire and thought back on his runs at the track in his early Sportsman days.
Mark Kislowski brought his Modified to the show and talked about racing the track in spec cars.
Justin Wright has both Modified and Sportsman laps at the track and talked about the old days.
Tim Currier explained why he was not missing this show and thought back on his first races.
I’ve got a lot of great audio from last night in Weedsport as I tried to hunt down drivers that I knew had a past at the track. I also talked about the Super DIRTcar Series races earlier in the week with some drivers too. I had a family obligation last night from 7-9 p.m. so I did had to leave but it was looking like a great show indeed.
I was able to save some extra audio which I will put up tomorrow along with some of what Steve Ovens did as well last weekend. I’ll be at Utica Rome next on Sunday for Autograph night as Katie was really excited to see the cars until it rained out last week. So yes, we have unfinished business there for sure!
Now let’s talk more about the really nice stuff you have to listen to today on the Audio Page. There are some great stories here so make sure to check them all out.
Brett Hearn talked about the breakthrough design of the first Teo Pro Cars and when he got one. He told me how optimistic his brother was about his new idea, when it became clear to him that the car was innovative and remembered some of his past in Weedsport.
Ray Bliss Jr. remembers his TV win at Weedsport when the motor blew up on the final lap. He told me when he knew the motor might have an issue, what happened in the final corner and how important that night was in his career.
Alan Johnson thinks back to his first laps at Cayuga County when he went off the track in turn 1. He told me how it felt to spin out in his second lap in a Modified, how he did the next week and when he got his first top five in Weedsport. Good one here!
Lance Willix cut his teeth in the Sportsman class in Weedsport and talked moving to a Modified. He told me his initial impressions of the renovation, why he is happy the racetrack didn’t change and how he has been doing running a 358 at Mohawk International.
Willy Decker cut up a tire and thought back on his runs at the track in his early Sportsman days. He remembered running well at the track, told me some of the guys he used to run against who are now also in Modified and when they made the decision to make it part of their day on Thursday.
Mark Kislowski brought his Modified to the show and talked about racing the track in spec cars. He told me how much he enjoyed his laps at the track, when he first started in racing and where we’ll see him race for the rest of the year.
Justin Wright has both Modified and Sportsman laps at the track and talked about the old days. He remembered his early struggles he had that first year, who showed him that slow is fast at the track and what the keys are to being fast at the always slick surface.
Tim Currier explained why he was not missing this show and thought back on his days in a Sportsman. He talked about running Weedsport weekly in 2006, how tough it was as he tried to run the outside and one bad wreck he had a few years later.
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