|Sunday, August 17th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Billy Decker talks about his Modified feature win at Brewerton and how he almost flipped.
Bryan Howland explained why the loss of Kevin Ward Jr. really hit home with him & his family.
Sam Reakes IV drew for his starting spot and told me what would happen if he ran Kevin’s line.
James Hanson just put heat in his engine and spoke about what a racer Kevin Ward Jr. was.
Marcia Wetmore gets ready for Utica-Rome’s Outlaw Circuit Reunion and shares some stories.
It was another cool and rainy day on Saturday and I spent most of with my left leg wrapped as my hamstring is a lot tighter after hoofing around the wet pit area on Friday. Remember I am on the 15 day DL unofficially but I knew I had to make it to that show. As to what I’ll do today…we’ll wait and see how I feel. But I may have to stay home to get better. Darn!
We’re back with more good stuff today including Billy Decker’s victory lane interview from Friday night at the Brewerton Speedway. I did not air it yesterday as at the time, Pat Ward was declared the winner. But on Saturday the track reinstated Billy’s win. And you can hear the confusion at the end of the clip.
Plus we have more about the life of Kevin Ward Jr. from some people who knew him. And even though Bryan Howland did not know Kevin well, his interview is one of the best we did on Friday and has some great advice for the family.
Thanks to all the drivers who trusted me on Friday. With the way a lot of them were treated by the media I would not have been surprised or hurt of none of them wanted to talk to anybody. So the fact that they talked to me and so candidly just makes me feel so good.
I hope you enjoy what we have today and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Kevin Sr., Pam and the entire family. I hope the next few days are as good as they can be and you allowed the privacy you need to heal.
Now let’s talk more about what we have for you on the Audio Page for today. I start with a change from Friday at Brewerton. Billy Decker talks with Bill Foley about his Modified feature win at Brewerton and how he almost flipped. Billy’s win was reinstated on Saturday after further review.
Bryan Howland explained why the loss of Kevin Ward Jr. really hit home with him & his family. He shared his family’s experience as he lost his brother at almost the same age, gives the Ward family some advice and how close the Sprint Car world is right now. Great chat here!!!
Sam Reakes IV drew for his starting spot and told me what would happen if he ran Kevin’s line. He talked about when he got to know Kevin Ward Jr., how helpful he was in Sam’s rookie season in a Sprint Car and why they got along right away.
James Hanson just put heat in his engine and spoke about what a racer Kevin Ward Jr. was. He talked about how aggressive he was, how good he was at working on the Sprint Car and his hopes for later in the night.
Marcia Wetmore gets ready for Utica-Rome’s Outlaw Circuit Reunion and shares some stories. She talked about how slow the Victoria 200 was to get going, how that race gave her a great opportunity to hit the road to promote it and what made the series different from what else was out there.
|Saturday, August 16th 2014
| New on the Audio Page from the Brewerton Speedway:
Pre race conversations:
Ron Mucci described how his week went as he got ready to put his grandson in a Sprint Car.
Jason Barney shared some stories about Kevin Ward Jr. as he worked on some shocks on the dyno.
Larry Wight warmed up his Sprint Car and remembered racing Kevin Ward Jr. in go carts at Can Am.
Matt Tanner told me how he met Kevin Ward Jr. and how they became friends this season.
Paul Kinney talked about all the orange at the track and how he took advice from Kevin Ward Jr.
Chris Hile remembered his win last week at Fulton and also talked about his run at Brewerton.
Tommy Sears won the last Modified race at Brewerton and told me how racing two nights helps.
After the heat races:
Vinnie Vitale won the first Modified heat race of the night and told me about going high in turn two.
Rob Bellinger pulled away to win the second heat and talked about running the track all alone.
Tim Sears Jr. talked about his win in the final heat and described what he has to do to the racecar.
Tommy Wickham described the big crash he saw in the first heat as he drove to the victory.
Stewart Friesen ran his Sprint Car hard in his heat win and spoke about the high line in turn 1.
Danny Varin got the win in the final ESS heat and told me about the need to be careful out there.
Jeff Cook was involved in a two car flip in his ESS heat and told me how he was feeling afterwards.
Tommy Wickham won the ESS Dash and talked with Adam Buchanan down in victory lane.
After the feature races and ESS A-Main:
Sterling Miller picked up his 1st win of 2014 with his Mod Lite and spoke with Adam Buchanan.
Larry Wight won his first ever Sprint Car A-main coming from 9th and talked with Mike Mallett.
Jason Barney came home in second place in the A-Main and explained why his finish didn’t matter.
Parker Evans enjoyed his best ever finish with the ESS and told Mike Mallett about his 3rd place.
Pat Ward was awarded the win in the Modified feature and talked about it with Bill Foley.
Ryan Bartlett crossed the line third, was awarded second and explained how an old set up worked.
It was a night we all needed on Friday as the Empire Super Sprints ran their first race since last week’s tragedy in Canandaigua. The place was decked out in orange and the mainstream media was out in full force.
Unfortunately a 3 p.m. rain shower left the track very wet. And don’t forget it rained a lot before that last blast so it left a bit of a mess. But with lots of people wanting to race and the desperate need to race on as a family, the track pressed on.
It was great to see everyone in the pit area and get to talk as a group about Kevin Ward Jr. A lot of drivers were kind enough to tell me their experiences with Kevin and I learned a lot about him as well as how much he touched everyone he met. I put up just a few of those today but will have many more on Sunday.
Things got off to a late start and the heavy track resulted in several red flags and over a half of dozen flips of various kinds. The first ESS heat saw a double flip in turn three before the first lap was even completed. That did make it a little tough as we were hoping to keep all the cars on the ground on this night.
Wheelies were common not just in hot laps but also in the heats and A-main. The track was so tacky that easily ten or more drivers got the front wheels off the ground, some for more time than others.
In the ESS A-Main, Parker Evans was the story early as he looked great in his first ever race at the Brewerton Speedway. Jason Barney was able to get by on an early restart but could not shake Larry Wight. Wight got the lead briefly on lap 6 but Barney was able to battle back until Wight caught him and passed him with 5 to go.
Wight held off Barney after a couple of red flag flips on lap 20 and 21. Joe Trenca and Bryan Howland went over the first time and Darryl Ruggles took maybe the wildest ride of the night and he went end over end at the end of the front stretch. Thank God (Literally) everyone who flipped was okay. And yes, the Mod Lites and Modifieds were not immune to that either.
Larry Wight was beaming after his first career Sprint Car win and has now won in Modifieds, Late Models and Sprints. We’ll see if he can add a 410 win to the group or maybe the better question is how long will it take? Only time will tell.
Kevin Ward Sr. and his wife Pam were on hand and enjoyed the racing from a suite upstairs. It was great to see them in victory lane and the top three drivers could not wait to hug them and share the moment.
We were so glad they came to the event and brought half of Port Leyden with them. Well, maybe not half but a lot of folks came down and it is reassuring to see their friends from back home are looking after them and keeping them busy. Let’s hope we see more of them and that they can heal after what happened.
Unfortunately for Larry his good fortune came to an end soon afterward as he flipped his Modified just 6 laps into the feature. He did drive away however, went to his pit and returned. But he got a flat with 15 to go and had to pit again. Pat Ward won the Mod race after Billy Decker appeared to come up light on the scales. Check the press release on this one but at the time they said weight was an issue.
Tomorrow I will be back with more from the Friday night as my hamstring needs a day to recover. It is still black and blue but much better as I have been working hard on getting it back up to speed thanks to a good friend I have in Chicago. Thanks Hulk. We’re getting better everyday thanks to you!
Have a great Saturday, race safe and be careful answering those phone calls from area codes you don’t know. Trust me!
|Friday, August 15th 2014
| New on the Audio Page for today:
Stewart Friesen talked about racing with Kevin Ward Jr. and his wins to start the weekend.
Dave Moyer explained how he got back on the track again and described an issue he was having.
Mike Stiles came into the night in 9th place in the standings and remembered a recent top ten.
Bret Belden was going for the lead in his heat and told me what happened that sent him up high.
Glenn Forward saw his winning streak come to an end and talked about his Sportsman race.
I hope you have your orange shirts ready for tonight as we will be doing an orange out at the Brewerton Speedway. And no matter where you, racetrack or not, why don’t we all wear orange today to show our support to the Ward family as they continue the grieving process.
I don’t know about you but a lot of us, myself included, will be on egg shells tonight as we hope for a safe show with all the cars keeping their wheels on the ground at all times. We don’t need any more excitement than a good side by side race will provide.
Yesterday I took my dad in for a procedure early and then headed up to the Ward house after making sure he was okay. It was great to see Kevin Sr. and I got to see some of his son’s awards and learn more about his life. It is beyond sad that he has left us so early but fortunately there are a lot of memories out there that he gave us in his 20 years on earth. Rest in peace Kevin.
Now let’s chat more about what we have on the Audio Page for today. Stewart Friesen talked about racing with Kevin Ward Jr. and his wins to start the weekend. He told me about the mood he felt in the pit area on Sunday, how aggressive a driver Kevin was and why he needed to press on and race!
Dave Moyer explained how he got back on the track again and described an issue he was having. He wondered how the fix the problem, gave me his opinion on how serious the issue was and how he had done in the past few weeks.
Mike Stiles came into the night in 9th place in the standings and remembered a recent top ten. He told me how good the car has been of late, described some wrecks he has been in and how he needs to get back to a baseline with his set up.
Bret Belden was going for the lead in his heat and told me what happened that sent him up high and off the track. He talked about how happy he was with the way it worked out, how easy the fix is and what he hopes would happen later. He won by the way!
Glenn Forward saw his winning streak come to an end and talked about his Sportsman race. He told me how happy he was to be best amongst the crate powered cars, how it helped him feel better about his decision to move up and how his Pro Stock has been doing.
|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…
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