Gary Rowe - CPA
Dougs dirt diary
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Webmaster's Note
We are discontinuing operations soon. Please listen to the audio from December 26th for more information. Thank you all for your support over the years.
Friday, July 6th 2012
   New on the Audio Page for today from Fulton, Rolling Wheels and last week’s archives:
 
Matt Fink talks about his first year in a Modified and how he had to earn respect from drivers. 
Chris Hile explained how he earned respect early on and what he did on the track to get it. 
Chuck Bower ran down his tough night at Brewerton on Friday and the new clay at Fulton. 
Tim Sears Jr. updated me on his rookie season so far and his 22nd place Friday night at Brewerton. 
Tommy Juhl came into the night in second place and talked about the new clay on the track. 
Andrew Ferguson got ready for hot laps Saturday and told me how he lost the lead the week before. 
Justin Crisafulli told me why he moved to a Novice Sportsman and how much he likes the car. 
Tim McCreadie remembered his early days in Modified racing and some lessons he learned. 
 
From Jeremiah Fish at Rolling Wheels on Tuesday:
 
John Veach talks to Jeremiah Fish about the Casey’s TQ Midget series and the drivers in it.
Lance Yonge remembers his Fonda win, his good run at Utica Rome as he spoke with J Fish. 
Glenn Forward made a rare Rolling Wheels appearance and told Jeremiah Fish why he was there. 
Bret Belden had his Pro Stock at Rolling Wheels and talked with Jeremiah Fish about Tom Ames. 
Eli Gilbert spoke with J Fish about his Pro Stock heat race and the adjustments they needed. 
Dave Rogers went over his heat race with J Fish and talked about how he has done recently. 
Shawn Kirby was at the Tom Ames Dedication to Motorsports race and talked with J Fish
Tommy Paige talked with Jeremiah Fish about his very unique Street Stock for this special race. 
Rocky Warner usually runs Sportsman but talked with J Fish about his Pro Stock heat win. 
Luke Horning made some last minute changes before the feature and talked about his racecar. 
Chip Smith got ready for the race in the memory of Tom Ames and told J Fish about his heat race. 
Jeff Van Dusen explained why we have not seen him much lately and why he came back to Sprints. 
Pete Stefanski was the big winner at the end of the night and told J Fish about winning this race. 
 
While our future is still in doubt, we fell the need to press on this weekend and will be doing two shows. One tonight at Mohawk International Raceway and then Sunday at Utica Rome Speedway. Of course the main goal for tonight is the Go Nuclear Late Model TV show and when I can, I will get a few interviews for the site as well.
 
We still need your support this weekend and need it badly. We are on life support right now as things are tough out there for small businesses. We are suggesting a $20 donation per person and team but we certainly understand if that is not something you can do right now. It’s kind of like when you see “suggested donation” at a museum. They do not want to turn you away and neither do we. So if you can, please help with any amount because if enough of you do, we’ll be fine. 
 
I hope you enjoy what we have today and a big thanks goes out to Jeremiah Fish as he covered the Rolling Wheels show on Tuesday for us. It will be tough to see all of you now that I am fully exposed, but it is something that has to happen. I’m hoping for some big support or I will be forced to scale the site back and get a part time job. I would hate to do this as I love what I do so much but can longer afford to do it for the money I am making. 
 
Hope to see you this weekend and I hope we all have a great weekend. I’m sure a lot of teams out there need it, so best of luck to you. 
 
 
 
 
 
Matt Fink talks about his first year in a Modified and how he had to earn respect from drivers. This is a chat I did for my column on racing etiquette for today’s Syracuse Post Standard. 
 
Chris Hile explained how he earned respect early on and what he did on the track to get it. This was also recorded with my column on racing etiquette in mind. 
 
Chuck Bower ran down his tough night at Brewerton on Friday and the new clay at Fulton. It is always tough to put clay down at mid season and things will get better. 
 
Tim Sears Jr. updated me on his rookie season so far and his 22nd place Friday night at Brewerton. Nice honest chat with a talented young driver who is still learning. 
 
Tommy Juhl came into the night in second place and talked about the new clay on the track and what he would expect to see over the next few weeks. 
 
Andrew Ferguson got ready for hot laps Saturday and told me how he lost the lead the week before. He also told me what he did to make sure that does not happen again. 
 
Justin Crisafulli told me why he moved to a Novice Sportsman and how much he likes the car. Yes, even though his prior ride was called a Mod Lite, the bigger cars drive much differently. 
 
Tim McCreadie remembered his early days in Modified racing and some lessons he learned after he talked about his Late Model. Some of you newer racers out there really need to listen to this part in the second half of this one.  I re-ran this one as I know a lot of you missed it last week. 
 
John Veach talks to Jeremiah Fish about the Casey’s TQ Midget series and the drivers in it as they check out the ESS show at Rolling Wheels on Tuesday. 
 
Lance Yonge remembers his Fonda win, his good run at Utica Rome as he spoke with J Fish while getting ready for the ESS show at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.   
 
Glenn Forward made a rare Rolling Wheels appearance and told Jeremiah Fish why he was there for this very special Pro Stock/Street Stock challenge. 
 
Bret Belden had his Pro Stock at Rolling Wheels and talked with Jeremiah Fish about Tom Ames as well as the camaraderie that exists in the division. 
 
Eli Gilbert spoke with J Fish about his Pro Stock heat race and the adjustments they needed to make for a different surface than he usually sees up north. 
 
Dave Rogers went over his heat race with J Fish and talked about how he has done recently as well as what they were going to do to tighten the car up. 
 
Shawn Kirby was at the Tom Ames Dedication to Motorsports race and talked with J Fish about coming to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park for the first time. 1:57   RW Shawn Kirby ProSt pre race with J Fish Jul 3.MP3
 
Tommy Paige talked with Jeremiah Fish about his very unique Street Stock for this special race and why he was so happy to be at Rolling Wheels. 
 
Rocky Warner usually runs Sportsman but talked with J Fish about his Pro Stock heat win at Rolling Wheels in a still unfamiliar racecar. 
 
Luke Horning made some last minute changes before the feature and talked with J Fish about the racecar he had with him after crashing his primary car at Fonda.   
 
Chip Smith got ready for the Pro Stock race at Rolling Wheels in the memory of Tom Ames and told J Fish about the tight car he had his heat race. 
 
Jeff Van Dusen explained to Jeremiah Fish why we have not seen him behind the wheel much lately and why he came back to Sprints. 
 
Pete Stefanski was the big winner at the end of the night and told J Fish about winning this race and how happy he was with the nice car count at the Tom Ames Dedication to Motorsports event at Rolling Wheels. 
 

 
Thursday, July 5th 2012
   Still here working on the plans for the future and making calls like crazy. Of course it was a holiday on Wednesday but didn’t really feel like it for me as I need to get going. We are going to put up some new audio tomorrow as I have some things from Fulton Speedway on Saturday and may have some stuff from Jeremiah Fish’s trip to Rolling Wheels.
 
I am also planning on going to Mohawk International Raceway on Friday to do some TV with Rich Vleck for the Go Nuclear Late Model Series. I'll be bringing along the recorder too.  Plus I'll be at Utica Rome on Sunday. 

 
Wednesday, July 4th 2012
   I’m feeling a little better about things and we have received some wonderful suggestions from you guys in email form and on the phone. Thanks so much. The response was real big on Tuesday and I thank you for that.
 
The issue and reason for our hiatus for retooling is not the site at all. We still do over 50,000 page loads a day and that number is still on the rise, even on Monday & Tuesday. But how can we get back to what we made before and eventually make more off of it and keep me doing this full time as I have since this started back in 2006.
 
The immediate thing we can do is get support from you guys. Even as little as $20 per person or team could help a lot and add up fast, although if you can do more, it would be great. We are working on some marketing ideas to give the sponsors we do have more bang for their buck but we really need the support of teams, fans and the racetracks themselves right now! And we have some people looking at our proposals now so we will tweak those as they feel we need to. I never took marketing in college and wish I had that to do over! 
 
I may go to a pair of shows this weekend although my level of involvement will not be what it has been. We are doing a TV show at Mohawk International Raceway on Friday and I may swing to a track Saturday or Sunday to see how much support we do have. If you can help, please do so as the numbers could add up pretty quickly. I’ll keep you posted, but if we do get enough support immediately to get us through the end of the season, we’ll keep it going at full speed. I have a number I wrote down to get our head above water again and if we can get to that, we’ll shelve the hiatus immediately. But otherwise my focus needs to be on building the business before it is too late. 
 
Please keep the emails coming to doug@dougsdirtdiary.com and we’ll figure this out together. I was close to despondent on Sunday but am feeling more optimistic now. There was no way I would have let anyone see me like that although there are a few promoters out there that I did reach out to in that state of mind and they were very understanding. You don’t know how much some of those emails have touched me so please keep sending me your thoughts.
 
Wish me well as my stomach is still in knots and I am feeling so bad for having to do this. But we are at critical mass right now! 

 
Tuesday, July 3rd 2012
   I spent the day on Monday putting together three plans for the future as our hiatus continues. Although we are still putting up new photos as that is not time consuming and gives you guys new stuff to look at. One plan of course keeps everything going the way it has been and I have a financial number that I need to get to sponsorship wise to keep me there.
 
The second plan scales the site back. We’ll still go to races but only one every week or two at best to keep costs down. This second plan also has me working somewhere else so that will cut down the studio time to just two nights a week. And yes, I am updating my resume as the responses I got in email form were not nearly as numerous as I had hoped they would be.
 
And of course there is plan three which I hope will never be implemented. We will honor our commitments and continue to write for the Syracuse Post Standard as that is money we are eating and paying bills with. 
 
The best thing I can come up with in these tough times was something suggested by Michael who sent me an encouraging email. Maybe those of you who can help can do so in small amounts. When I worked for WCNY, we did membership drives and we were truly supported by those who used the service.
 
Maybe that is the way I should go here as what I am doing now is not working. Since my wife lost her $50,000 a year teaching job, things have been extremely tight. And with her unemployment scheduled to take a hit here soon, things will certainly be getting worse, not better. And since she is in education, the chances of her landing another job here is almost non-existent. 
 
I don’t know how long this hiatus will last but until I can get some funding here to continue, put food on the table and gas in the car, it will stay this way. So the next move is up to all of you. I know it is tough, but even if every team we chat with or fan who listens could throw us even $20, it would add up pretty quickly. 100 cars in the pit area would equal $2,000. I have a figure in mind for this week and may even go to a race this weekend to put this in place. So if you can…help us continue. 
 
And if this does not work, I will be out of options. So truly the future of this website is in your hands. Do you want it to continue? God I hope so. But with the tepid response I have gotten so far in emails to doug@dougsdirtdiary.com, I can tell which way I am leaning and it is looking like plan 2, not plan 1 as of now. 
 
Thanks for all your help throughout the years and thanks to all the people who have supported me. I truly love this sport but will not get further into debt and take food out of my kid’s mouth to continue covering it as I do now. I am as sad as sad can be right now and do not like the way that I am feeling. 

 
Monday, July 2nd 2012
   I am standing at the crossroads right now. With the way the last little bit has been going I am re-evaluating everything including the role this website plays in my life and the lives of the people who come here.
 
I am asking for feedback both positive and negative as I need to figure out how much impact we are having. As much as our hit count continues to rise, our income has dropped significantly so I must ask myself if covering racing on a full time basis is worth it or not.
 
I am appealing to the people close to me to get in touch with me to help me make this decision as I re-evaluate the level of my role in the sport of racing. I’ll keep you guys posted and I will keep putting up pictures and some audio from the weekend once I get my hands wrapped around this thing.
 
Thanks so much for all of the people who believed in me and sponsor me in this effort. And thanks to the drivers and racetracks who trusted me enough to let me do my own unique take on the sport. One way or another I’ll still be around as I love it so much, but how much and at what level is what I need to figure out.

There is nobody else doing what I do so there is nobody to talk to about how to make it work better than it is now.  That's part of the problem.  But what happens over the next few days will determine the future so let me know what you think.  Those of you who are close to me, please call or message me as I value your opinion and do not want to make a rash decision.
 
Thanks for understanding and I hope to hear from you all soon.  doug@dougsdirtdiary.com is how you can reach me. 

 
Sunday, July 1st 2012
    New on the Audio Page from the Fulton Speedway:
 
Dan Vauter talked about winning his first ever Modified feature at the Brewerton Speedway. 
Mike Bowman remembered his Friday night and told me how he led the first half of the race. 
Mike Mahaney told me how he got passed for the lead late and what he did to try to keep pace.
Ben Wheeler thought back on his recent Fulton win and described how tough it is to get to the front. 
Shane Donath reacted to his brother’s story on their first race car and talked the one he has now.
Tommy Sears spoke about his season so far at Fulton and ran down his late season race plans. 
 
After the heat races:
 
Gregg Kimball told me how good his car was as he went from 4th to 1st on the very first lap. 
Rocco Leone won his first ever Sportsman heat at Fulton and told me how he almost lost it. 
Greg Myrywka talked about winning his heat race and the big flip he had a few weeks back. 
Shane Donath spoke about his Modified heat win and why his car likes to hike the left front tire. 
Mike Bowman led every lap on his way to a heat win and told me about the track he was on. 
Jim Witko held off some red cars in his heat win and talked about having his motor back in the car. 
 
After the feature races:
 
Greg Mrzywka led every lap to win the Sportsman feature and talked about it with Bill Foley
Billy Decker got the lead on a restart with two to go and told Adam Buchanan about his win. 
Pat Ward finished in fifth and talked about the work he will do to get ready for today in Vernon. 
Mike Mahaney explained how he almost flipped in the feature and his hopes for today’s race. 
 
Well last night was a tough one. The new clay at Fulton Speedway did not turn out as well as they had hoped and it was tough sledding out there. Matt Fink led the Modified feature after passing the man pitted next to him, Mike Bowman, and looked to be on his way to a win.
 
But Billy Decker was a man on a mission and was able to get by when Fink hooked a rut on the top side of the track on a restart with two to go. Billy talks about it with Adam Buchanan in victory lane and explained how it happened pretty well I thought. 100% perfect read by Billy here. Give it a listen on the Audio Page.
 
I did not do a lot of post race interviews as emotions were high in the pit area afterwards for several reasons, one of which was the track. But as I have said before, nobody puts out a rough track on purpose and when you add clay at mid season, you often get nights like this. Rarely does it go smoothly (literally) but you know they’ll be working on it hard this week and it will get better.
 
I did get a bunch of pre race chats and spoke to the heat winners in the Modified and Sportsman division. Plus I took a lot of photos in the pit area and began to research my next column which will be based on my Tim McCreadie chat from last week where we talked about earning respect in a new division. Matt Fink and Chris Hile will also be contributing to this as we spoke last night. Look for their chats to go up later this week on the same day that article shows up in the Syracuse Post Standard.
 
Although most will remember the track itself last night, I got to see some of the work they are doing to improve the facility. Of course everyone loves the new digital scale in the infield. Not only does the inspector get to see the weight but the whole crowd does too. I love that! And no, I never had to worry about being light myself last year.
 
Plus they had new signage in the infield and have plans in place for a victory lane area. They put fencing on the back of the grandstand past the finish line to keep noise from traveling as far and as loud. Plus all the VIP suites are sold out. And once the new clay gets sorted out, things will be humming along.
 
So even though it might not have been a night you would want to put in a time capsule to open again later, there are good things happening and the future looks bright. 
 
I will be at Utica Rome today as the Empire Super Sprints join the show although something came up and I will only be able to do either Monday at Five Mile Point or Tuesday at Rolling Wheels. I have a poll going on facebook and will total those numbers up with email requests. So send your vote to doug@dougsdirtdiary.com and I’ll go where you tell me to. Vote now! And see you later today at Utica Rome for some Sprint Car fun. 

 
Saturday, June 30th 2012
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Justin Haers walked me through his season so far at Canandaigua and his goals for Tuesday. 
Shawn Donath gets ready for Rolling Wheels next week and explains how that track is different. 
Derrick Podsiadlo described how badly he has done lately and how good his Modified feels. 
Jeff Leslie just hot lappedhis Sportsman at Utica Rome and told me about his 4th at I-88 Speedway.
Todd Henderson told me how close he came to winning it the last Sportsman race at Canandaigua. 
A.J. Filbeck has a pair of wins under his belt so far and talked about ROC Sportsman shows. 
A.J. Lloyd won his first career Sportsman feature last week at Canandaigua and told me about it.
Greg Cool has had a lot of second place finishes and told me how close he is to getting the win. 
Dwight Johnson talked about his return to Pro Stock racing and remembered his first week back. 
Scott Smith had his Street Stock at Skyline last week and talked about inconsistent handling. 
 
It was another hot one on Friday and I spent a good portion of the day at my folks house swimming. My oldest now can go in the deed end and she is getting better every day. Wow, what an improvement and I am happy I was there to see it.
 
After that we went to a ball game in Auburn to see the place where I was announcing back when I first started in racing in 1990. If you have not been to Falcon Park, it is a wonderful place and short season single-A baseball is great. 
 
Today I will heading to Fulton, tomorrow Utica Rome, Tuesday Rolling Wheels and I may even throw in Monday at Five Mile Point. It is a busy time of year and I am doing my best to pace myself and not do too much too soon. And of course we don’t have a lot of funds to travel all that much so we will do so when we can.
 
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a driver who was going to try to learn a few things this past Tuesday. Justin Haers walked me through his season so far at Canandaigua and his goals for Tuesday night’s twin twelves. He talked about how racy the slick surface has been, why it does not matter where you start if your car is good and compared it to some others out there. 
 
Shawn Donath gets ready for Rolling Wheels next week and explains how that track is different. He described how the air moves the car around on the 5/8 mile, why he likes the atmosphere associated with Sprint Car racing and why his first car was pink…it’s not what you think here! 
 
Derrick Podsiadlo described how badly he has done lately and how good his Modified feels. He was wondering if his car was just too comfortable, which way he would go with the set up and if he might have to manhandle the car to get it faster. 
 
Jeff Leslie just hot lappedhis Sportsman at Utica Rome and told me about his 4th at I-88 Speedway. He explained why he was sent to the back, why he was not overly upset about it and described the line he used to get back into the top five. 
 
Todd Henderson told me how close he came to winning it the last Saturday night Sportsman race at Canandaigua. He talked about how much he enjoyed seeing a new winner, what it is like to try to run somebody down and how tough it is to come from behind with the competition level he sees weekly. 
 
A.J. Filbeck has a pair of wins under his belt so far and talked about ROC Sportsman shows. He talked about what he saw concerning the racetrack at Utica Rome last week, how good his car has been and described some new things they are trying out. 
 
A.J. Lloyd won his first career Sportsman feature last week at Canandaigua and told me about it. He talked about some work they did to his new car the night before, why they felt they needed to make some changes and described a problem he had in the closing laps. Whew!  
 
Greg Cool has had a lot of second place finishes and told me how close he is to getting the win. He reacted to some chatter from a fellow racer in the next pit stall, explained why he has been struggling a bit of late and his hopes to figure out how to get his car tighter. 
 
Dwight Johnson talked about his return to Pro Stock racing and remembered his first week back. He spoke about an issue he had with tires the first night out, explained why it was an error on his part and thought back to a bad crash he had in the 1990’s at Utica Rome Speedway. 
 
Scott Smith had his Street Stock at Skyline last week and talked about inconsistent handling. He told me about some big changes he made to the suspension, why the racing season can be tiring at times and described the surfaces he has been racing on. 

 
     
 
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