Gary Rowe - CPA
Dougs dirt diary
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Gates-Cole Associates SUNY Canton Automotive Technology program
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wednesday, May 2nd 2012
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Rick Wilson had a brake problem at his first race and told me how he almost hit the pace car. 
Jeff Cook brought a new car to Can Am and talked about his hopes to win at his home track. 
Willy Decker told me how hurt his chances on Sunday and why he had a tough day ahead of him.
Steve Hulsizer talked about the re-skinned car he had at Utica Rome and his hopes for later on.
Terry Knoblock was back in a big block on Saturday and ran down where he will race this season. 
Jim Rothwell described the car he had at Utica Rome as well as his race the night before at Skyline. 
Ryan Poole remembered what happened in his first race last year and talked about a new addition. 
 
I had a nice semi day off on Tuesday as I wrote up this page on Monday to get some extra time to myself. Of course having secret birthdays was easier before facebook but I guess getting another year older is always a good thing when you compare it to the alternative.
 
Today I will be back working and back writing again as I have a column due for tomorrow. This one will be primarily about the Oswego Speedway as they host their season opener this Saturday. They are coming off their best year in recent memory and look poised to do even better than that this year.
 
And yes, I know this is Doug’s DIRT Dairy but we do dabble on the asphalt every now and again. Two years ago we did a lot of asphalt shows with the TV show Trackwide Thunder and I really came to like it. So we’ll be there on Saturday although the rest of the weekend is wide open and I am undecided about Friday and Sunday as of now.  The weather may be the ultimate decider as I may have to go with closest available. 
 
Now let’s talk more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a man who was coming off a tough race as he got ready Saturday at Can Am. Rick Wilson had a brake problem at his first race and told me how he almost hit the pace car due to lack of brakes. He talked about the decent finish he salvaged at Fulton, the flip his son had in a practice a few weeks ago and how much work they had to do to get the car back together. 
 
Jeff Cook brought a new car to Can Am and talked about his hopes to win at his home track. He wondered how the new piece would run later on, explained why he did not race this car in the first show and thought back on a tough race at Fulton which resulted in a DNQ. 
 
Willy Decker told me how hurt his chances on Sunday and why he had a tough day ahead of him. He explained why he had someone else draw for him, how tough the field was at the Utica Rome opener and when they wrapped up the work they did for the first race in the 1x. 
 
Steve Hulsizer talked about the re-skinned car he had at Utica Rome and his hopes for later on. He told me about the new motor he had in the car, his plans for 2012 and looked forward to getting his oldest son on the track in a Novice Sportsman. 
 
Terry Knoblock was back in a big block on Saturday and ran down where he will race this season. He talked about his motivation to get back in the seat, how little time he has on the engine he had in the car and described some of the issues he had at the practice. 
 
Jim Rothwell described the car he had at Utica Rome as well as his race the night before at Skyline. He told how a bad gear choice hurt him in that feature, how busy he has been away from the track and the work he had to do to get the car ready for Sunday.  
 
Ryan Poole remembered what happened in his first race last year and talked about a new addition to their family. He told me about how little time he has on the new frame he had with him, the need for more speed at Can Am and described his goals for the night.
 
Tuesday, May 1st 2012
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Todd Burley talked about an issue he had at the Ransomville test & tune and his hopes for Sunday. 
Anthony Cain described some work he was doing to keep his Sprint Car engine warm at Can Am. 
Phil Burkhart explained why he changed chassis manufacturers and his Funny Car plans for 2012. 
Christine Martin remembered her first small block race and talked about her hopes for Saturday. 
Dana Aikins had a familiar car at Can Am and told me how that car knows its way around. 
Aaron Jacobs told me about running a crate against open motors and how the track was in hot laps. 
Pete Stefanski chatted about his race Saturday at Can Am and his plans to run weekly in Vernon. 
 
I had a nice day on Monday as I got some work done for the website and wrote up a new article for the Syracuse Post Standard. I will admit that I was a little sore after my first two race weekend of the year so we really need to get in better shape to do my job better.
 
Today I will do some work but will take most of the day off to handle a statistical accomplishment on my end but will probably work in an interview or two along the way. We do have a lot in the can this week and will have at least seven new chats a day up each day this week. 
 
I do also have a few photo bins left to put up and those will go up sometime this afternoon. And I will be back tomorrow with much more from my weekend with seven more chats showing up.
 
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a man who was getting ready for his second race of the year. Todd Burley talked about an issue he had at the Ransomville test & tune and his hopes for Sunday at Utica Rome. He also told me about his shake down run at Canandaigua three weeks ago, when he may go back and evaluated how his first race of the year went. 
 
Anthony Cain described some work he was doing to keep his Sprint Car engine warm at Can Am. He talked about the way you tune an engine on a frigid night, remembered some of his past at Can Am including an ambulance ride he took the last time he towed up north. 
 
Phil Burkhart explained why he changed chassis manufacturers and his Funny Car plans for 2012. He told how he did in his first race of the year at Fonda, how confident he was wit his current car and his hopes to work more with local dirt track racers. 
 
Christine Martin remembered her first small block race and talked about her hopes for Saturday at Can Am. She told me why they did not wash the “lucky clay” on the car, described how it felt to have a 358 under her right foot and wondered when she’ll tow down to Penn Can again. 
 
Dana Aikins had a familiar car at Can Am and talked about why that car knows its way around the track very well. He talked about his practice laps before Saturday, what was scaring him about the track and ran down his plans for the year that could change from the sound of it. 
 
Aaron Jacobs told me about running a crate against open motors and how the track was in hot laps. He talked about an open motor he has coming in a few weeks, thought back on some of his 2011 season including a top five finish to end the year. 
 
Pete Stefanski chatted about his race Saturday at Can Am and his plans to run weekly in Vernon. He talked about the contact he had with a fellow driver the night before, the need for more seat time and wonders about running a crate against the open motors at Utica Rome. 

 
Monday, April 30th 2012
    New on the Audio Page from Utica Rome Speedway:
 
Pre race conversations:
 
A.J. Romano talked about the new Troyer he had at the track and how it all came together. 
Mike Mahaney plans on being at Utica Rome weekly and told me about a problem they had.
Tom Denton has a specific goal this year and described the work they did to get his car better. 
Stewart Friesen told me about his win at I-88 Speedway and again Saturday night at Fonda. 
Ronnie Johnson described the finishes he had this weekend and talked the new car he had with him. 
Steve Paine remembered a tough night Saturday at Canandaigua and wondered about Utica Rome. 
 
After the heat races:
 
Alan Barker won the first Modified heat and talked about how nice it was to watch the consi. 
Rob Bellinger led every lap on his way to a heat win and described the lines he ran on the track. 
Mike Mahaney talked about his win in the third heat and the high groove he drove in turn two. 
Larry Wight got the win in the fourth heat and told me why he decided to go with a small block. 
Matt Janczuk told me about his win in the first Sportsman heat and a brake problem he had. 
Jeff Leslie walked me through the slide job he did to get the lead and the win in his heat race. 
Jeremy Vunk is back in a Sportsman for the 2012 season and talked about his win in the final heat. 
 
After the feature races:
 
Tom Denton shot through the middle to get the Pro Stock win and told Mike Mallett all about it. 
Rob Bellinger swapped slide jobs with the early leader on his way to a win and spoke to the crowd.  
Mike Mahaney finished in second after leading a lot of laps and talked about late race restarts. 
Billy Decker was part of a three car race for third and told Mike Mallett about his third place.
Jeff Leslie won the Sportsman feature race and described how his car got better and better. 
 
It was another cold day but a real good one as the Utica Rome Speedway kicked off their 2012 season. It was sunny & windy early on but actually did not get as cold as it was on Friday and Saturday… it was still winter jacket, three layers of clothing kind of cold but not nearly as bad. 
 
A big field of 36 Modifieds showed up and when you saw all the big haulers and big names in the pit area you had to pinch yourself and remember that it was not part of a series or a big money race, just a standard 30 lapper at what has become the only game in town on Sundays for Modified fans in the Central New York area.
 
Many wondered how well Utica Rome could do without a weekly Sunday competitor and we got a look at how that might go last night.  Sure, there are some dates when Rolling Wheels races but when they don’t, Vernon, New York is going to be a popular destination for the best teams around, the ones looking to improve and outsiders looking to make a name for themselves. 
 
It was a mix of teams from the eastern part of the state that call Albany Saratoga, Fonda, Glen Ridge and even Lebanon Valley their weekly homes. Now throw in the Brewerton, Fulton and Canandaigua cars and you see what I mean about the diversity of the field which may now be the best weekly one in the state. We’ll see how the next few weeks go before we award that title. 
 
The Modified race up front was between a pair of young guns as Rob Bellinger did back to back slide jobs in turn four to get past leader Mike Mahaney to pick up his second win of the year. (The first was in February in Florida) Mahaney had just survived a restart with five to go but when they went yellow again with three to go, things changed.
 
Bellinger was able to slide inside Mahaney as the parallel flags waved. Mahaney immediately charged back to the inside in turn two returning the favor and retaking the lead. But when they got back to turn four, Bellinger again slid to the inside, this time taking the lead for good. One more time they went in turn two side by side and there was contact this time with Bellinger coming out on top. 
 
Billy Decker was in a three car battle with Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen that was a lot of fun for the fans to watch if they chose not to watch the race for the lead. Twenty six cars took the green while four heats and two consolation races were needed to set the field. 
 
Jeff Leslie held off defending Sportsman champion Matt Janczuk on a late race restart to win both the feature and his heat race earlier. Tom Denton shot through the middle in a three wide deal out of turn two to win the Pro Stock feature while Ron Hawker beat close friend Ricky Breed in an awesome Pure Stock feature.
 
It was a fun night and in addition to the two dozen photos I took, I also recorded over 30 interviews. I was able to save 15 of those and now each day this week you will get a minimum of 7 new chats as we have 28 total to show up over a 4 span. Isn’t math a wonderful thing?
 
Also, I must tell you about a new sandwich I was able to test out thanks to owner Gene Cole. He took me into the concession area and showed me how they make the new Big Geno’ Pork Tenderloin. He got the idea from seeing a similar item at a racetrack down south this off season. I must tell you, this thing is huge and you need to get one! 
 
You know me…I love signature foods and think that every track should have something on their menu that is either different than the rest or special to the region. Dogs, burgers and fries get old by July! And Utica Rome has hit a homerun with this one. Tell them both Doug and Gene sent you and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 
 
Now it’s time for me to try to get some sleep and get my mind off racing. No, it is not easy! I’ll be back tomorrow with lots more audio and I have a bunch of photos to upload today so keep checking back as I’ll probably get to those sometime this afternoon. Have a great Monday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. 

 
Sunday, April 29th 2012
   New on the Audio Page from Can Am Motorsports Park:
 
Pre race conversations:
 
Justin Barger remembered his first race of the year as well as some of his past at Can Am. 
Kory Gurney showed off his new 360 Sprinter and explained why they decided to change. 
Sam Reakes IV got reflective on his 12th place finish at Fulton and how good it was overall. 
Lance Yonge had his new car at the track and thought back the days when his cars were always red. 
Joey Ladouceur got ready for his first race of the year and told me about a problem he had. 
Shawn Donath described how his Sprint Car felt in hot laps and how close he came to flipping.
 
After the ESS heat races:
 
Justin Barger told me about his win in the first heat and why he was not going to run in the dash.
Steve Poirier won the second heat and explained why he was not too comfortable in traffic. 
Sam Reakes IV took the win in the final ESS heat and reacted to how well his night was going. 
Chuck Hebing finished first in the Dash for Cash and spoke about trackside with Mike Mallett
 
After the features:
 
Joey Ladouceur talked about his win in the Pro Stock/Street Stock race as well as the last corner. 
Sam Reakes IV won the A-Main in just his fourth Sprint Car race and spoke with Mike Mallett
Chuck Hebing spoke with Mike Mallet in victory lane about his second place finish at Can Am. 
Shawn Donath came home in third place in the A-Main and told the crowd how good his car was.  
Steve Poirier talked about his 4th place finish and how thankful he was he re-thought some changes. 
Justin Barger told me when he saw the track lock down and how tough it was to make some moves. 
 
It was a cold night last night in Lafargeville as the Empire Super Sprints headlined the show at Can Am Motorsports Park. It started out as a pretty nice day but once that sun went down, it got downright frigid. So I must give credit where credit is due…those fans in the bleachers were some of the heartiest I’ve seen so far…nice!
 
A real good field of 35 Sprint Cars was on hand as well as Modifieds, Sportsman, Late Models and a Pro Stock/Street Stock challenge. I’m not sure of exactly how many teams were there but they were pitted into the parking lot as well as the go-cart track…And not just a few, probably closer to 15-20. Yep, it was one of those nights indeed.
 
In the end Sam Reakes IV ended up having the day of his life as he won his heat and the A-Main in just his fourth ever Sprint Car start. Check out the interviews I did with him on the Audio Page as we talked about his 12th place at Fulton and each of his accomplishments over the course of the night. What a story huh?
 
I also recorded 21 pre race chats and took a couple of dozen photos as braved the cold myself as I ran for trailer to trailer. Although I will say a few of these guys had their salamanders going and some (not most, but some) had their trailers toasty warm inside. So I have may have lingered a moment or two in those. 
 
As for the racing, it was pretty good although the track did take rubber during the ESS A-Main. The cars were ungodly fast and one or two may have run laps at the big half mile in under 18 seconds. Wow! That’s fast alright and I loved listening to those motors scream on the frontstrech. Yeah, it was fun.
 
I felt bad for second year Sprint Car driver Steve Collins. The doctor from the Southern Tier tipped his car over in hot laps when he slid into the berm at the top of the track trashing the wing. Then later in the A-main he was involved in a secondary crash when a car in front of him spun. It looked like he may have caught a tire and it sent him flipped nose to tail. Fortunately he was okay but the car was not. Best of luck this week Steve and we are so glad you’re alright…and so are your patients!
 
Canadian Joey Ladouceur won the battle of the Pro Stocks at the front of the field as he and Pete Stefanski put on a fun race for the crowd to watch. And when mixed with North Country Street Stocks it was a pretty big field. Nice job guys, way to show up in full force.
 
All in all it was a fun night for me as I always enjoy returning to the places that I worked at in the past. I announced at Can Am for three seasons and it was great to see some of the people I used to call my co-workers as well as some of the racers I used to see on a weekly basis. Thanks everyone, I had a great time.
 
Today I will be heading to Utica Rome Speedway for their opener and I spoke with Race Director John Tiff at Can Am last night and he told me they are a go for sure today. So be sure to pack the car with warm clothes (bring more layers than you think you’ll need) and I hope to see you there. 
 
And if I do as well interview wise today, you guys could be looking at a big week on the Audio Page as I already have 15 in the can while hoping to do at least that well today. So be sure to check in tomorrow and for more new stuff from one of New York State’s most popular tracks. Have a great Sunday and I’ll see you back on Monday. 

 
Saturday, April 28th 2012
   New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Brett Hearn talked about winning number 70 at Lebanon Valley and his plans for this Sunday. 
Chuck Hebing tells me about tonight’s ESS opener at Can Am and how Sprinters battle the cold. 
Chris Busta remembers a strong run at Albany Saratoga last week and talks about Sunday. 
Mike Cooper describes his first two races at Canandaigua and a spring change he is making. 
 
It was a cold and snowy day in Central New York and I know that some racetracks did get their shows in last night but the two options I had both cancelled on Thursday. If you did go to a show last night my hat is off to you as it was darned cold, darned cold. You all deserve bonus points!
 
Today I will be heading north to Can Am Motorsports Park for the Empire Super Sprints opener. This track has had some great finishes with this division in the past so look for today to be an awesome show at this smooth half mile.
 
On the site today we have four new interviews. Three were done in the studio on Friday while the Brett Hearn chat was recorded on Thursday on my day off. See, I can never take a full day off as I get bored very quickly and soon start to think about how I can get ahead for the next day. Yep, welcome to my world.
 
Now let’s chat more about those new clips on the Audio Page. I begin with a man who just won his 806th race last weekend. Brett Hearn talked about winning number 70 at Lebanon Valley one week ago and his plans for this Sunday. He told me how he came from outside the top ten twice to win at the big, fast half mile, how things have been going at Albany Saratoga and how much he will be running at Utica Rome. 
 
Chuck Hebing tells me about tonight’s ESS opener at Can Am and how Sprint Cars battle the cold. He talked about how important it is to make sure the engine does not run lean, why he likes Can Am so much and why he enjoys racing against the drivers that follow the series. 
 
Chris Busta remembers a strong run at Albany Saratoga last week and talks about Sunday’s opener at Utica Rome. He told me why his Friday home will be number one on his list this year, explains how the track is a little different than it was a few years ago and questions the accuracy of some of these towing/recovery reality shows on TV.  How come I knew that?    
 
Mike Cooper describes his first two races at Canandaigua and a spring change he is making. He gets specific on what the switch to heavier springs should do, how the Street Stock division is doing at the track and what he has to do to his son’s Micro Sprint to get it ready for next weekends Pizza Logs Tour opener at Paradise Speedway. 

 
Friday, April 27th 2012
    New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Dan Vauter explained how badly things have been going and his hopes to change it for the better. 
Tony Steiner tells me how his 2012 plans  and the hot lap sessions he got in before Friday.
Matt Hulsizer had his Mod at the Brewerton opener and talked about what he learned last year.
Neal Williams breaks down how last weekend’s racing went and what his team hopes to prove. 
Ray Richer talks about getting his season started this Saturday at Evans Mills with his truck. 
Tana Robinson runs down the awards on the line at tonight’s Test & Tune at Ransomville. 
 
I had a nice day off yesterday and now we will sit back and see what today brings us. Be sure to check our Track Links Page to see what is going on at your favorite track and see if they are racing or not. 
 
On the site are a few interviews from the Brewerton opener one week ago as well as a couple of in studio interviews from Wednesday. There is a lot of good stuff on there and we are so thankful that these drivers chose to be here to tell their stories.
 
I have Brewerton on my card for tonight, Can Am for tomorrow and Utica Rome for Sunday. I am hopeful for all three and will make the needed adjustments as we go along as the weather does whatever it is going to do. 
 
We wish all the racers, promoters and fans all the best this weekend. Dress warmly and bring lots of layers as I fear you are going to need them. But be sure to show your support as the racetracks could all use it.
 
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with one of my first interviews from the Brewerton opener as we stood in the sign up line. Dan Vauter explained how badly things have been going so far in 2012 and his hopes for a change at the Brewerton opener. He wondered if one person may be responsible for his bad luck (no), ran down the incidents he has been involved in so far and why he is always watching the gauges in the racecar. 
 
Tony Steiner tells me how his off season has been and the hot lap sessions he got in before Friday. He talked about the need for seat time, his plans to race twice weekly and get his asphalt car on the road for a four race touring series. 
 
Matt Hulsizer had his Modified at the Brewerton opener and talked about what he learned last year during his rookie season. He told me how his car felt in hot laps, explained what they did to make it better and why he is so happy with his smooth motor. 
 
Neal Williams breaks down how last weekend’s racing went and what his team hopes to prove. He told me how his car got better as the race went on at New Egypt, the tough luck he had at Big Diamond and reminded me how this opportunity came about. 
 
Ray Richer talks about getting his season started this Saturday at Evans Mills with his truck. He described what a Light Truck Stock 4 Cylinder entails, thinks back on how he did at the track last year and his years as a spotter at the old Adirondack Speedway. 
 
Tana Robinson runs down the awards on the line at tonight’s Test & Tune at Ransomville. She also told me how those times tonight will affect next week’s starting line up, how the Friendship Pass makes it easier for teams to travel to Canandaigua (and visa versa) and how easy it will be to use. Nice! 


 
Thursday, April 26th 2012
   New on the Audio Page for today:
 
Jarett Andretti talks about his upcoming test in a Super Modified at the Oswego Speedway. 
Steve Poirier gets ready for the ESS show at Can Am and thinks back to his win at Fulton. 
Dr. Steve Collins explains why he became a Sprint Car rookie at the ripe old age of 44 years old. 
Mike Bowman offered his thoughts on the Brewerton opener and his tough Canandaigua race. 
Matt Janczuk spoke about his hopes to defend his Sportsman championship at Utica Rome. 
 
I had another fun day on Wednesday as I got some work done in the studio and put up a lot of new photos. I am trying to stagger the photos a little and not release them all at one time. And we are so happy to get the contributions we get as these photographers are not paid to send them in and we never tell them what to do with their work, we’re just happy to have it. We are so fortunate they share their work with us to help promote the sport to the masses. And that is what WE are all about…promoting the sport. Not just a website.
 
As you can see we have a lot of folks on today who will be racing this weekend. Can Am and Utica Rome are set for their first race and we have stuff promoting their races on the site today. I know the weather seems horrible now, but the weekend looks better. Stay optimistic and support your local track whenever possible.
 
Congratulations to Heather Price as she correctly answered our question. She will get a free Doug’s Dirt Diary t-shirt sent to her house. And thanks for listening Heather!
 
Now let’s chat more about what is new for today on the Audio Page. I begin with a young man who from a famous racing family who will soon be racing in our neck of the woods. Jarett Andretti talks about his upcoming test in a Super Modified at the Oswego Speedway. He told me what appeals to him about this type of car, when he would race it and how that could help him get to his ultimate goal, the Indy 500!  
 
Steve Poirier gets ready for the ESS show at Can Am and thinks back to his win at Fulton. He told me how much better his left knee has been feeling since then, why he likes the fast half mile so much and why handling is so important at the track. 
 
Dr. Steve Collins explains why he became a Sprint Car rookie at the ripe old age of 44 as he prepares for the Patriot Sprint Tour show at Glen Ridge. He talked about his years as a crew chief for Tom Taber, how he did in his first few starts in 2011 and how close he came to trashing a new car at the Fulton Speedway opener. 
 
Mike Bowman offered his thoughts on the Brewerton opener and his tough race at Canandaigua. He talked about ripping a shock tower off of a brand new car, how good of a job his dad did fixing it and how good it felt to get the pre season jitters out. 
 
Matt Janczuk spoke about his hopes to defend his Sportsman championship at Utica Rome Speedway. He talked about the new shop that just went up, the new car they just picked up and wonders which car they will use in the opener this Sunday. 

 
     
 
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