Aug. 11, Linden, IN: No Knoxville Nationals this year for SC Motorsports. As much as I would like to put something together, we just don't have the resources to go to the nationals and be competitive this year. We could have thrown something together just to say we were part of the 50th annual Nationals, but I really don't want to return to sprint car racing that way. We've been real busy here at the shop and things are going much better financially, but even when the kart shop is running at 100%, it's not enough profit to run a WoO sprint car team out of. It still takes sponsor dollars to match our personal investment to make things happen. There are still deals in the works, and we haven't sold off any equipment, so we're ready to roll if an when we've got a perfect match of team and sponsor. Realistically, I'd like to shore up our personal finances a bit better as the business gets healthier, then look at doing selected events next season - possibly 20-35 shows on a schedule that will allow us to really do promotion for our sponsors. When you spend so much time racing coast to coast across the country 70 or 80 races a year, throw in some travel time and some build time, and there's not much left to help out a sponsor with personal appearances, show cars, etc. I think we can be more effective promoting and marketing our sponsors products by meeting THEIR schedule of trade shows, open houses, grand openings, etc rather than trying to squeeze them into an already overbooked schedule. Don't get me wrong, I would just as soon race 100 times per year, but these sponsors have got to get their money's worth and we've got to consider what their specific needs are, not our own selfish needs. I would still be interested in combining teams with another travelling team, but it just has to be the right "fit." As of now, we haven't found that perfect combination. There's still hope, and I'm not even counting out dusting the car off by year's end. Things just have to fall in place before we make any move. It won't be without a lot of thought and prayer before we make any decision.
June 1, Linden, IN: Well, in the last update (a couple months ago - I know), I hinted that the shop might actually slow down a bit -- Wow, I must have been disillusioned. We've been bombarded with work. As long as you have bills, an abundance of work is a good thing. God definitely supplies abundantly! Unfortunately, that means we haven't spent much time thinking about the race team, but rather we've been out to several kart tracks already this spring assisting our customers with the new Vector AO3 chassis. Our new chassis is a big hit (and fast too). But it has certainly taken up a lot of our time as well. I was out in Brookings, SD for a kart race while there was a sprint show right up the road at Jackson, MN. My loyalty has to be to the shop first as we've got customers to take care of. We are so backlogged in work at the shop that I haven't been updating (or uploading updates) like I used to when we were racing full-time. That's odd because we're at the shop and near the computer every day, but I don't even have time to check sprint car message boards and the such anymore. I know there are a lot of fans out there that still are hoping we can come to a track near them soon -- please be patient -- we are trying our best. With the economy the way it has been for the past couple years, we're very thankful that we still have all of our racing equipment and it's sitting here in the drive just waiting to go back out on the road. All it takes is money, right? Keep the faith...something will come about. Thanks for all the emails and well wishes that we've gotten over the last year or more. It's sure nice to know that we've got not only loyal fans, but some of the best friends in the racing community. If it were not for our racing coast to coast, we would have never had the opportunity to meet so many fine people. Thank you! AJ may get some seat time this year in a kart -- we're still looking for sponsorship for him as well...but ole dad isn't looking to hang up the helmet anytime soon. At some point I'll be willing to pass the torch, so to speak, but I have just as much ambition to strap into a racecar today as I did many years ago. Retirement has never been an option. :)
Apr 15: Linden, IN: Happy birthday Dad! (and happy tax day to the rest of the country) :( Still nothing new on the horizon as far as getting the sprinter out and racing. We've honestly been so busy around the kart shop here that we haven't really had time to look for sponsorship. Once things settle out a bit here and all of our customers are up and running, we'll get a bit of a breather and be able to put a bit more effort into finding and securing sponsors for the remainder of the season.
Jan 7, 2010: A new era unfolds...Welcome to the year 2010! With less than a month to go until the Florida Speedweeks opener, we're for sure not going to be heading south. With little committment from sponsors and little promise of new sponsorship, we're sititing the Florida trip out with our cards held close to our chest. With Florida out, running for points with the WoO this year is out as well, so the trip west aftrewards to Cali, etc will likely be nixed. It's not a decision we took lightly, or even want to make, but feel it is necessary. As much as we love racing, we have to take care of business first and things are looking up already this year. After the past two years or so of a beating our industry took, (specifically the karting business), we're pretty thankful to still be in business. After 21 years of being in the karting business full time, we are one of only a handful of successful businesses to still be standing after all these years. Hopefully business will not only squeak by as it has the past couple of years, but thrive again as it did several years ago and that will enable us to go out and play with the big car once in a while. We're still just considering a partial schedule with the WoO, but that's where we'd prefer to be if we can put something together. Keep praying and keep knocking on doors....Someone out there believes in us and wants to see us back on the road again soon.
Dec 24, Linden, IN: Merry Christmas too all of our fans, friends, and family! May God bless you richly throughout this special time of the year. While most of us will spend the holiday season visiting with family, keep in mind the reason you get a week off of work this time of the year. Remember that God so loved you and I, that he sent his one and only son to this earth, not to create a warm fuzzy Christmas baby in a manger story, but to fulfill His promise to us that we can know the Father through the Son. That by His stripes, we are healed. It's through Christ's death and resurrection that we have faith to face each day; and that each new day brings a fresh outpouring of God's richest love and grace over us if we just ask Him. If you don't know Jesus personally and have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We'd be glad to talk with you concerning your eternal salvation.
Dec 15, Orlando, FL: Well, the PRI show has come and gone and I've got mixed feelings about the addition of a second motorsports trade show in Indianapolis just a week before the annual PRI show. If you remember, PRI had moved to Orlando FROM Indy when the show outgrew the convention center there. Now, another group has revived the Indy location and placed the show just a week before the PRI show. Now, this might seem like a good thing on the surface because the midwest is certainly more of a hotbed for racers than central Florida. However, from what I have seen, the Indy show catered more to racers than dealers and businesses, and while many atendees chose one show over the other, many exhibitors were now forced to "test the waters" at the new Indy show and in turn have to attend two seperate shows. I'm certainly partial to having the show in Indy, but December in Indianapolis isn't always conducive to travel weather (either by plane or highways.) I honestly hope that both shows succeed and I do wish them well, but this seems ghostly remeniscient of the split in sprint car racing just a few years back, and honestly, I don't think those wounds will heal any time soon.We had a good show in Orlando, and I look forward to returning again next winter.We met with several suppliers and past sponsors and rekindled some past business relationships that will hopefully position our team to put together something to race even a limited schedule this year.
Nov 20th, Linden, IN: Happy early turkey day everyone. If there was ever a time to be thankful, today is the day. No matter what life, or today's economy, throws at you, be thankful that the good Lord continues to provide for all our needs. It may not be the way we "plan" it, or even in the same time frame, but He never forsakes you and knows all our needs. Case in point: Prayers answered- We've got our plane tickets and reservations for the annual PRI show in Florida coming up in just a few short weeks. Dec 9-11. Thanks to my inlaws for an early Christmas present to pay for the trip, otherwise, we were not planning on going this year. Hopefully during this trip and meeting with suppliers, we'll get some better clairty on just where we need to be racing for 2010. Some good news on the local front is that we have unveiled our new kart chassis - our first new model in nearly 5 years. After much development, we are very confident that the new chassis will be a springboard to kick off the 2010 kart racing season and our 21st year in the karting business full time. AJ is getting geared up to run some this year as well, and honestly, he's having much better luck attracting sponsors than old Dad. Must be his youth and good looks, right? I'll start working on the boys' "2-Bros Racing" website as we get a bit closer to their racing debut. Seth has his eyes on a kart as well, but will most likely serve as crewmember on big brother's kart for the majority of this season. The big car isn't permanently parked though. We are still actively seeking sponsors and funding to return to racing full time in 2010. There's just a lot of irons in the fire right now, and it'll be interesting to see just what is in store for us right around the corner. We're always open to listen to offers.
Oct 30th, Linden, IN: No World Finals. I kid you not, we had last minute thoughts right up to the time we would have to pull out of here. With all the skuttlebutt going around with a possible new Hoosier/Stewart sprint series, we felt like dejavu all over again! The last thing our sport needs right now is another split. If Tony honestly wants to do this though, don't doubt for a minute that it wouldn't be embraced and be successful. Consider taking his two team cars away from theWoO, and from rumors going about, Steve and some others; this would be a heavy blow to the WoO in the period of 3 short years. Don't get me wrong, the split in '06 was a God-send for our team and made it profitable for probably the only time ever to run the series full time on a shoestring budget, but for the sake of the sport, this is not what is needed now. I DO have to say I like the concept of racing mainly in the midwest and only on weekends though. Being a blue-collar team, it is real appealing to be able to get back to work every week and run hard all weekend long. I've always thought that the IRA schedule would be the best route for a working man. Logistically, having a team and job in the state of Indiana all but makes it unfeasible to run in Wisconsin and Minnesota every weekend. For not a whole lot further tow, I could look at running central PA-- it just doesn't make good economic sense to travel either direction for us right now. I guess my last update didn't upload...not that I had much of anything to update about, but I am sorry for the long delay in posting. We're trying to stay busy and just scraping by financially like most of the rest of you right now, so the race car has been on the back burner for a while.
Aug 13: Linden, IN: Well, Knoxville is a no-go (again.) We just can't seem to put the right package together right now. Lots of sponsor "interest" and even some interest by some car owners, but all seem to want the driver to bring money to the equation. Funny thing is, that's the whole reason we're parked now anyway! If we had the money to do this all on our own, we wouldn't be looking to combine teams or drive for someone else. We'll continue to shore up our own stuff and keep the doors open to our shop, but even the kart business is slow now. This economy has everyone shy to spend money. I can't blame them. Most folks don't know how stable their job is, the last thing they need to be worrying about is spending money on racing. House payments, car payments, putting food on the table -- all much higher priorities (even for a racer). Keep the faith - we'll be back - it'll just have to be under the right circumstances. We haven't sold any of our equipment. It's all sitting here in the driveway. I have to believe that we're called to be out on the road in some way or another.
July 20,: Linden, IN: Ther's still nothing new to report as far as our race team goes. We are still actively seking sponsors and/or looking to combine with another established team or even a newly formed team with appropriate funding to go racing. We are currently working on a deal to run the Nationals at Knoxvile, IA in August, but that's pretty bleak even at this point of the season. I AM AVAILABLE! We want to race more than anything, but short of selling our home or business to fund the effort, it just isn't going to happen. In the current economy, a lot of racers are feeling the pinch and lack of sponsorship. We're certainly not alone, but it doesn't soften the pain any that we're still sitting at home working each week instead of travelling across the country to race each weekend. I would be tickled to put together a competitive local ride with someone if that opportunity arose, it just hasn't. We've got lots of "feelers" out there, just nothing happening on a positive note as of yet. Stay tuned, in the crazy world of racing, most anything can happen at a moments notice, and we'd be willing to pull up our tent stakes on a whisper and a prayer. :)
Feb 9th, Linden, IN: Same old same old going on here. We just got back from a karting trade show in Ohio. While I would have much rather been in Florida racing this past weekend; when faced with a decision between turning a slight profit at a show with our business, versus spending several thousand dollars to go to Florida to race a couple nights, it didn't take long to figure out what we had to do. The kart show was good. Not spectacular, but good. While last year's sales totals from this same show were significantly better, there were likely the same number of attendees. They just seemed to be more cautious with their billfolds at this year's show. I think that stands to reason. Considering that participation numbers have remained steady, I can forsee at least the kart racing market coming back some this year. With what I've seen from the Florida results, car counts haven't become an issue in sprint racing either. I think the number of full time travellers will undoubtedly be down, but local track support should still be pretty solid.Racers are pretty resilient even in tough economies. I know many racers, myself included, that would skip a mealor two if it meant another part for the race car. We're not able to put any money into savings right now, but we are keeping ahead of the bills. That's something to be thankful of right now. There's about 1 in 10 out of work right now acros the country, and I bet they wish they were in our shoes. So, no boo-hooing from me.We'll just keep working hard and trying to drum up some support to go back out on the road. When that happens, you'll hear about it here first.
Jan 23rd, Linden, IN: I know this page hasn't been updated in some time. It seems that I've been making changes at my computer, but uploads haven't been going to the server correctly (possibly as far back as October!) Again, my apologies. I'm working on the problem and hope to get that handled soon. Thanks for your patience.
Jan.19th, Linden, IN: Well, not much "new" news here once again, unfortunately. It's a new year, but we're faced with many of the same sturggles as we have seen over the course of last year. We have some small but committed sponsors who are willing to back us for a full assault on the WoO trail, but there's just not enough money in the proverbial coffers to make it all year long. At this point I picture this imaginary thermometer that is filled about 1/3 of the way up with the goal being 100%. You know the type....Schools, churches, and charities use them all the time. I'd say we're at about 25% of our goal right now, but we're running out of time and in a big way. Racing commences in Florida in just a few weeks, and we are still well short of the dollar amount that it takes to run the entire season successfully. Although we could possibly limp along for the first part of the season with a 30% budget, without a tv package to offer potential sponsors, it becomes increasingly more difficult to sign a sponsor as the season progresses, regardless of whether or not we are currently racing. As of right now, we are at the very least, a minimum of $300 per night short of making ends meet on the road. That's making as many concessions and short-cuts as we can possibly afford in our budget (used tires, no motel expenses, adding in 100% of the car winnings and tow monies, etc). We are likely a minimum of $60,000 short of being able to commit to even a low budget effort at this point. Keep in mind that $300 per night sounds do-able, until you extrapolate that out over 100 nights on the schedule. That's given we'd be eligible for tow monies as well. Given that they wouldn't kick in until after the first 5 races have been completed, that makes it pretty tough on any new team to go out on the road with the Outlaws on what is likely the most expensive part of the schedule due to travel and limited track time. I haven't given much thought to alternatives at this point as I am still hopeful that something or someone will come through in the knick of time to head south for the Volusia dates. If it doesn't happen, I'll be ok with that. It's not what we want, but I can accept what we are dealt. We'll start looking at some alternatives more seriously if we do indeed miss the WoO opener. After all the failed promises and proposed schedules that we went through last year, I don't want to get our hopes up too soon. There's still plenty of opportunities to do plenty of racing. Even a 360 engine is not completely out of the question at this point. Although I would prefer to stick with the 410 stuff that we currently have, if the right opportunity, owner, etc, made itself available, we'd have to seriously consider anything on the table. Keep us in your prayers, and if you know of ANY company, or individual that may be able to help us out with the much needed funding that it takes to travel with a professional race series, please send them our way, or drop us a note in confidence. We'd love to hear from someone. It's never too late, and any amount of support is appreciated. We wholeheartedly believe in what we are doing and think we have a lot to offer our sponsors.
Dec. 31st: First off, I apologize for not updating this before Christmas and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Let me suffice to say that we've been VERY busy around here. I had an engine that needed to be shipped to a customer on Christmas eve, so as soon as I finished dynoing that engine and getting it shipped around 2pm, I started my Christmas shopping...LOL...I haven't done Christmas eve shopping since I was a bachelor I think. Well, being busy is a good thing as far as business goes so we are very thankful. The day after Christmas I had a customer pick up an engine to race indoors, so we didn't get back to Pennsylvania to visit friends and family as early as we had originally planned. We did make the trip though and made it back safely. So, for now anyway, we are back home for a bit at least. Christmas is celebrated across the globe as a time when families come together. It's the biggest sales period of the retail sector and much, if not all, of our world's economy depends on this date. But keep in mind the reason for the season. A baby was born in a manger. Not merely a child, but a Saviour for all mankind, was given no room in the Inn. We've all travelled late at night and pulled into the motel at 2 AM only to be told by the desk clerk that there are no rooms available. You know the feeling. There was no room for Him. Think about that for a moment...To those inn keepers of the day, the significance of the date wasn't understood. There was no world economy as we know it today. There was no understanding of the "reason" for celebration, even though prophets foretold of this event for years in advance. Three wise men knew what was gong on though and beckoned the call. Let us be "wise" and not forget to make room for "Him" around this time of the year when Christ's birth is historically celebrated. And to all our fans, friends, and family...thanks for all your support and have a very Happy New Year.
Dec. 9th, Orlando, FL: That's right...check that....Orlando, NOT frozen Linden. We're attending the annual PRI show to work a couple of angles for some new possibilities for our team and how we can better be of service to our industry and to Sarah's new position at Rising Star Education. For about a month now, Sarah has been working on procuring sponsorship for an exciting new character development series for school children. The folks that brought the Auto-B-Good character building cartoon series have a school curriculum that is simply amazing. Not often does a sponsorship of a race team resolve or evolve to the team going to work for the company, but we believe in their products and and their transcendent cause so much that we felt convicted to work with them directly in getting their programs in public schools across the country. Much of Sarah's time here at the show has been devoted to this new project. So far, the reception has been great among many of the companies she has met with. Of course, we keep hearing about the economy, but I am convinced that the racing community is the most resolute you can find. I've certainly found that to be true in our business. Racers are content to do without a movie or a meal out, but they won't go without their racing habit. I've seen folks go without eating to afford a part for their race car. For racer's, this doesn't seem so far fetched, but to folks in the "real world", it's a totally new idea that us dumb racers would go without creature comforts AND normal staples simply to further feed our race teams. It's not surprising to me at all that the people most receptive to giving, in times when our national economy is in deep despair, to kids in need for projects such as this are actually all around us. So for Sarah, the show has been an early success. I'm sure there will be some pretty cool developments come from her efforts here. We were also fortunate to have Carl fly down here on a last minute notice to take in the show as well. I'm sure we opened his eyes to just how big our industry has become, and likewise, he opened our eyes to some new angles to attack the diversity and driver development front as well. The weather has been great, as the boys and myself have been getting to as many mini golf courses as you can physically play in the time we've been here. On a side note, we got to watch the space shuttle land piggyback aboard a 747 earlier in the week. Awesome is about all that can be said. Not too many first graders can say they've seen that in person.
Nov. 25, Linden, IN: Here's hoping everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day! Remember to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with, not what we lack. That's tough advice to follow when we've missed an entire year of racing with the World of Outlaws, but we have been blessed in so many other ways throughout this season. I've had the opportunity to help out some other teams, turn some wrenches, provide advice and consultation work to teams, and really knuckle down on our kart shop business. We even got out to a couple kart races this year. Even though AJ still has yet to turn his first competitive laps in a kart, he sure appreciates going to the track and learning more and providing support to our customers. That's an important lesson for any age. People in the racing industry keep asking us how things are going financially. Well, I can't say that we're getting ahead or putting anything back for retirement, but we're not struggling too badly compared to much of the rest of the country. In fact, racers have continued to support our business despite the current economic downturn in this country with gas being close to $5 for much of the summer. My typical answer to our financial status is that "we're treading water". We're not gaining or losing ground. Bills aren't piling up, but they're not disappearing either. Much like many of you are experiencing. Perservere. Things will turn around. Keep focused on the task at hand and keep your priorities in place. Indeed, there's much to be thankful for.
Nov. 8th, Linden, IN: OK, as much as I hate to admit it, or dislike the outcome, Mr. Barak H. Obama will be our next president. My gut feeling was that of getting sucker punched by some goon from the backstreets of Chicago, (possibly some political thug). In retrospect, it may hurt much more down the road, but for now, we need to support the man who this country has elected. Our prayers go up for President-elect Obama and his family, as a lot of very critical decisions hang in the balance over the course of the next few years while he is in office. He has a monumental task to face from day one of entering the oval office. Let's pray that he surrounds himself with knowledgeable people who stand for ethics and morals that will encourage and stand fast in our country. He deserves that much from us as upstanding United States citizens.
November 7th, Linden, IN: Get out and vote! I did. Don't ever think that your vote doesn't count. You owe it to yourself and your country to make your vote heard. Your alternative is to let Acorn use your vote for you (or against you.)
Oct. 29, Linden, IN: Well, we will not be heading out for Charlotte tonight. Money didn't come through the way we had wanted for the World Finals this weekend. Instead, we'll likely be sitting at home watching it with the rest of you. It's not what we want to do, but under the current economic situation our country is in, and more specifically, our team, it's a necessary evil. We had hoped to get out and race a bit this year, even a limited schedule, but instead we've been simply showing the race car for some sponsors at select eevents, schools and the such. It's all good. We're still looking at putting something more concrete together for next season. There's some definite possibilities with Carl. He's been working diligently on our behalf to find the neccessary sponsors to do this deal right or at the very least, not entirely out of our own pockets. We've had some very loyal sponsors over the years, and this year was no different. I'd like to publicly thank each and every one of them and ask that you please consider their businesses the next time you are in need. Without sponsors, and lots of them, our wheels stop turning and the racing world simply stands still. Thanks to all our loyal fans who have called or emailed us with their good cheer and kind words. This year has been frustrating for us for sure, but we're hoping that we will be provided for next season to really come out strong.
Oct. 1, Linden, IN: Still sitting at home. It looks like we didn't miss much at Eldora or Williams Grove over the weekend. The Grove rained out three nights in a row for the live tv show. I was actually looking forward to blowing the dust off the car for a weekend or two before the season ends, but in the end, rain gets the last laugh. We'll look at doing the Charlotte November race now. Nothing in between makes sense on the schedule, travel or financially, for us. We're still in negotiations with a couple of other car owners about some possibilities for next season, but more and more, with the economy and the big crash on Wall Street that we saw this week, car owners are getting cold feet on spending any money on next season. The economy will resume, and racing will go on. I honestly think this is a bump in the road. I've seen a bit of a drop in our business in racing sales, but all in all, the market is still very strong, and folks will continue to race and spend money as before, maybe just a little more cautiously is all. Carl called with some good news this week. It looks like we may be able to put something together sponsor-wise soon. Not sure yet if things will come together in time for the Charlotte, but that is the current plan as I know it. If the sponsor deal comes through, it will certainly include a big press release at or shortly after the Charlotte race concerning next season for the SC Motorsprots team. We're thinking that things may come together about the same time as the final race at Homestead for the Nascar guys, and that would be an opportune time to make a big announcement. Shortly after, we'll be able to do something with the PRI show in Orlando. Just lots of stuff moved from the back burner to the front if, (and that's IF,) this all works out. Never count your chickens... but then again, you have to be optimistic and set goals. This is a big project that Carl has been working hard on all year for us, and if it comes to fruition, it could mean some serious help for our team and all our efforts in promotion.Again, you'll hear about ithere first. Thanks again for everyone's encouraging words and support. It's nice to have a "family" of fans and friends who continue to share encouragement.
Sep. 1, Linden, IN: Still no news from our small town here in the Hoosier state. AJ has started back to school and is doing very well. He recently completed reading his entire Bible. Pretty awesome for a 6 year old I'd say. The race season is winding down. We're considering running a few of the WoO shows once they get back in the midwest. again, this is all contingent on some money coming through from sponsors. We sure do appreciate the sponsor help we've had over the last year. Many have continued to offer financial support despite the car sitting in the trailer most of the summer. We have done a few car show and sponsor related events that have gotten some exposure, so that's been good, but it's certainly not like racing. We're certainly itching to get going, but everything has to be in place financially before we can get serious about going back out on tour full time. There's still plenty of things in the works, you just never know. Stay tuned.
Aug, 5, Linden, IN: Well, we've made a decision, we're not headed to K'ville for the Nationals this year. This will be the first time in several years that we have decided not to go, but it just wasn't to be, I guess. We've been working very hard here at the shop to try to put a deal together and it just didn't come to fruition in time to make things "right" for the Nationals. We'll continue to pursue other options. One that looked fairly promising was to combine teams with another that is somewhat in the same boat as ourselves, and put together a decent foundation for next season, just hitting a few races left for this year. That didn't happen either. We're still looking at things like this though. Nothing is impossible.
July 14, Linden, IN: Well, our absense from the Kings Royal over the past weekend was something we had wanted to avoid, but we're still not on our feet financially to be able to go back out on tour and be in contention to win. There are still things in the works, but honestly, the season is nearly half over now, and we just haven't been able to put anything concrete together yet. We're still hoping we can put somethng together in time for the Nationals, but realistically, we may just run a few local shows and experiment with a few things I've still be wanting to try with the car. Keep your ears and eyes tuned here; we'll be sure to let people know when and where they can expect to see us running again.
June 23, Linden, IN: We had a great weekend, showing the car for Greg and Carrie Ehresman at Triple XXX on the west side Saturday. The weather tried to dampen spirits when we first unloaded, but from then on, the sun shone brightly and there were lots of shining cars and faces all around. We don't often get to go to car shows or cruise ins, let alone, participate in one, so this was more of a treat for us than really a sponsor appearance. I signed a few autograph cards and t-shirts, but mostly just talked racing with other car enthusiasts. It doesn't matter if it's a Cobra, '57 Chevy, '69 Camaro, or a VW bug, these folks are car fanatics and they love to talk about horsepower and their cars. Most were immaculate! An unbelievable amount of time and preparation go into building and maintaining a show car. Much like a race car but with the emphasis on aesthetics. We don't concern ourselves too much with how pretty the car is, or detailing it at the car wash, we look more at functionality from a race to race basis. Each car reflects the individuals personality as well. These folks not only put their show quality cars on display, but also on the streets to cruise around town. Now that is cool. It was nice just to get the race rig out of the driveway again. Even if it wasn't to head to the track, at least we got to blow the dust out of the stacks and hit the road. Hot cars, hot burgers, and ice cold Triple XXX root beer, you just can't beat that. Thanks to Triple XXX for a most enjoyable day and the opportunity to become part of this great event.
June 18, Linden, IN: We will have the car on display this coming Saturday, June 21st at Triple XXX Family Restaurant located in West Lafayette, IN. Join the SC Motorsports team from 2-6pm for Triple XXX' annual cruise-in. I will be alongside our family owned, SC Motorsports sprint car signing autographs, handing out photos, and some goodies for the kids. There will be tons of show cars, collector cars, antiques, resto mods, you name it. And of course, that GREAT Triple XXX food! We're just bringing the racing flavor! If you're not at a race track or in church, you have no excuse but to be there!
June 15, Linden, IN: Well, after a couple of interesting offers to run someone else's stuff (race cars), or to to crew help, even to wrench on a couple top karting teamz, we're still sitting and waiting. I still have the need for speed, and from a driver's persepective. I don't want to just go wrench turn for someone else right now in my career. I've seen for other guys', that is simply the first step to retirement and all but a public announcement that they don't want to be behind the wheel anymore. I'm just not at that point in my life. I still have the fire and desire to drive, and as long as I have that, I'll be behind the wheel of something. Now don't get me wrong, the right opporunity just hasn't presented itself yet. I can see myself down the road turning wrenches or managing a team, or in whatever capacity outside of the driving duties, but right now I am focused on getting appropriate monies / sponsorship to go back out and race hard, myself! We could go back out on the road right now and limp along like we did at the end of last year. Honestly, I don't think I have anything to prove in that respect. We, decidedly, were the most underfunded team on the tour the past two years, and were still able to run the entire schedule in '06. So, perserverence and survival are not questionable in our faith. The ability to present a winning car EVERY night has to be considered. Looking back over all the years we've raced a sprint car, or karts for that matter,...there's not been a single year where we haven't won a race. Beit a heat race or B-main or whatever, we've been there done that. I think everyone at our level has a desire to win a World of Outlaws A-main. Although very few have done that with the World of Outlaws, that is everyone's goal for sure.
Until then, we're working. Working here in the kart shop, building engines, setting up chassis, mounting tires, all the normal day to day stuff that pays the bills. We're still reeling from the injuries I got from last year and the lack of good insurance. That's a whole other story that I won't get into. Honestly, another car owner and my self discussed one night after my crash, that we would all be better off to sign a waiver when we pull into the track and admit that we have NO insurance coverage by the track or the Outlaws. What coverage is there is a complete joke. I say take our pit pass money each night and purchase some "REAL" insurance (if there even is such a thing. Keep in mind my injuries were not all that bad. Had I gone through some major surgeries or trauma, imagine what the bills would be now?! So we're paying down some medical bills while we're here at the shop, which is only right. But that doesn't mean that we are not still promoting and getting our name out there. We're all the time, behind the scenes, and through interviews, etc, working on deals for the future, and expressing our gratitude towards our current sponsors who have remained steadfast with us, even though our wheels aren't literrally turning.
May 13, Linden, IN: Still no news to report from here. I've been spending my time working with some local racers and really pushing the engine business hard over the last couple months. Our customers are racing and winning, which is more than I can say for our own raceteam. We are planning on showing the car for some local sponsors and doing a few special events with the car and will likely run a limited schedule this season once the weather gets straightened out. We considered running Pevely and Eldora, but in all honesty, knowing that the weekend would consist of only one night of racing, and no tow money, making the show would barely pay for the fuel in the rig to get us there and back. It's sad that while fuel has gone up $1 a gallon from this time last year, the tow money offered has dropped off considerably, even for those running full time. I just honestly don't understand how some guys can make it much longer. There's only a few wealthy car owners who are looking for a huge tax write off, while the others need to break even with their team over the year. With the rising cost of fuel, and all the rain this spring, it is surely taking its toll on everyone. We're still sitting tight until the right opportunity comes along. There's always things in the works, we just have to be patient and wait for His timing, not ours.
AJ graduates from Kindergarten next week....that's a big deal nowadays. Funny, I don't remember it being anything special as a "youngin". He's done great during his first year at school, and it's been a blessing to be home so much for him just for this reason. We ALL miss racing though. Linden was shaken with a minor earthquake a few weeks ago early in the morning. AJ sleeps in the top bunk and half asleep, he mumbled something to the effect of "Are we at the track and is Dad racing right now?" I guess he thought the rumbling was from the sprinter at the track and he figured he must be asleep in the rig. What a cutie. Yea, we all miss racing. We'll be back out there soon. I'm sorry I can't commmit to a schedule yet or even how soon we'll return, but as soon as something comes through, I'll let you know here first.
While I'm at it....let me dispel a few rumors that have been going around. NO, Tyler Walker isn't going to drive our car, hasn't been, and won't be anytime in the future. I found that extremely amusing considering our different personalities and beliefs. It seems Tyler drove a car in California for a team called "SC Motorsports". No connection to us for certain. The short guy, aka Danny Lasoski, will not be joining forces with our team, not even with a bunch of money coming with him. I found this one amusing too, since if a guy can come with a "bunch of money", why wouldn't he simply fund his own team? I honestly have no idea how rumors like this get started, but a little common sense dispels such unlikely scenarios. No, I don't have anyone else lined up to drive the car. Unless I have enough money to field a second car, we're really not looking for any other drivers at the moment. :)
I don't know what to think of this "economic stimulus check" idea. First, I wonder if I will even get one, and if so, will it be a check, or a bill? I am so used to paying every year, owning our own business, that I am doubtful that we'll see any money from this wonderful little handout program. From what I've seen, the folks that are getting checks in the mail, are using them to pay off credit cards and outstanding debt, not purchasing new items to stimulate the American economy, as was the intent. I've yet to see an American made flatscreen tv as of yet....although, according to the news, that's the #1 item on people's wish list for their big check. I wonder how many will use them to purchase racing equipment? Just a thought. :)
Apr 1, Linden, IN: Well, I was going to update with some funny "April Fool's" prank about how we secured the much needed funding to go racing, but honestly, my heart just isn't in it. So, no, there's no news yet. I wish I could say differently, but there's just nothing to report. We will not be in Pevely for this weekend's WoO race, although I have run well there in the past, and really wish we could be there racing, it's just not going to happen. Carl is still working hard on some plans for us, but we just have to be a little more patient and hope for the best. In the meantime, we are keeping busy here at ye old Linden shop, keeping all of our karting customers up to speed and working on a few other little projects around the shop. I want to take just a moment to thank all of our fans for their interest in our racing schedule this season. We've gotten quite a few emails and letters via snail mail, even a few phone calls asking about our plans for this season. I wish I could be more concrete and let everyone know what's the deal, but until there really is one, I just can't tell you any more than I know now. Thanks again and keep checking back to see if anything new develops. You'll read about it here first.
Mar 1, Linden, IN: Well, it's been a while since I posted on here, so I thought I should update everyone, even if there's really not much to update about. With the World of Outlaws not offering tow money to us this year, we were forced to sit out the Florida events and the subsequent travel west afterwards. As it turns out, we may have made a wise decision, as those teams travelling full time this season have suffered through numerous and quite costly rain-outs of events that saw them travel coast to coast and back again to race only one night in Manzanita. That may also attribute to the unusually low car count at Manzi, where, in the past couple years, there has been enough cars to constitute a healthy B and even C mains. Things are simply status quo here. We have neither signed a title sponsor, or have come even close to announcing one as of yet. That does not mean that we aren't trying. The Lord willing, we will be back on the tour full time as soon as it is financially feasible. Now, however, without the "winner's circle" fees, commonly referred to as "tow money", we will need even that much more money to go out and compete. Keep in mind that we will not get our usual free pit passes now either. That, alone, will cost our team plenty over the course of a night or a season. Honestly, right now, we are entertaining several potential schedules. One, obviously, wouild be to jump on the tour and follow the remainder of the schedule regardless of preferential treatment per sea. Of course, that would entail some serious financial backing, but would also allow us some freedom to pick and choose wisely the races we enter since we wouldn't be racing for points. Another possibility has been a limited schedule mostly in the midwest, with some bigger races highlighting our schedule, ie King's Royal, Knoxville Nationals, etc. We have also courted some sponsors about hitting a local track or two and campaigning there weekly or nearly every week in a market that would make sense for them. Among those up for consideration, but not limited to, has been Knoxville, IA and Western Pennsylvania. We have continued to talk to several up and coming minority drivers about potential partnering of teams as a way of starting a grass roots driver diversity program, a la Mike Woodring in years past.We may still be leaning in that direction in the future, but our immediate needs are to fund our own team and get back out there racing as soon as we can. Right now, it's just all up in the air. Patience has never been much of a virtue of mine, so I suppose that's my trial for the time being. Again, everything is sitting here in the driveway, just waiting for a call. I don't have a clue who that call might be from, but we're hopeful and prayerful that something will turn up soon.
Jan 23, Linden, IN: Well, it's bitter cold here in Indiana, and I don't see us headed south anytime soon. Florida is looking rather iffy for us at this time. The rig is sitting in the drive ready to go. All it needs is about $600 worth of fuel and the insurance premium paid up to date. Our cars from last season are loaded in the trailer and pretty much ready to race. We haven't scraped together enough money to freshen engines yet, so that worries me a bit. I'd rather not run our stuff in the condition that it is in, and it will take some dough to get things freshened up right. Only the top 20 in points from the previous season are being offered tow money for Florida. Although some select local teams will receive tow money (some even more than the regular WoO members), we, our team specifically, will not be offered tow money for Florida this year. With so many top teams there, it is unlikely that we'd leave Florida in the top 20 in points, so a trip to the west coast is cost prohibitive for us. I seriously doubt that we'll compete in any west coast events this year for that reason. Not my choice, but I have to run my race team as a business, (not a personal write off). I loved the scenery in CA and really enjoyed racing at Chico. Calistoga is as scenic as anyone could possibly dream of, even if the racing wasn't that great. I was really hoping to get to Hanford or Perris or some other tracks that I've never been to out there as well. If we have sponsors that would like to see us at certain events that require additional money, then we're glad to accommodate their desires, but as long as all of the money comes out of our own pockets, I can only afford what my family can afford. After all, we ARE the "Blue Collar" team. We've got jobs and bills to pay just like 99% of you. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of fans and similar car owners across this country that pull for us each year, and that is encouraging. I like to think we represent "the little guy" out there and we try to do the best we can with what we've got. Unfortunately, the current business environment is continuing to squeeze out the little teams. Competitive racing has always been about money and the haves vs the have nots. That has really not changed, but it is a bit discouraging to see how things have changed in the past year or so in racing's top touring series. I'm not disgruntled, rather, I am thankful for the blessings we've gotten. We had, and still have, a chance to go race with the best of the best. We keep our heads up and keep marching on. I wouldn't say that Florida is definitely out, because I never say never, but unless we get some real help, real soon, it just doesn't make sense for us. Carl and Sarah are still working hard on some sponsor projects and if something comes through quickly, we'll jump right out on the road with the WoO. Right now, we're also considering running some local events and filling in with some WoO or All Star events. We can likely afford to run some weekly shows, but the travel just wipes us out financially with the Outlaws. We're not alone in this problem.There are several temas that are in the same boat. Everyone is just trying to keep their heads above water, while a half dozen well funded teams will duke it out this year and enjoy all the spoils. In MIke Kerchner's words, "It is what it is."
Jan 7: Linden, IN: Happy "belated" New Years to everyone. I certainly hope Santa was as good to you and yours as he was here at our house. Keep in mind, that the big, old, bearded, fat, red suited guy, (no, I didn't dress up), isn't the reason we celebrate...there's much better reason to celebrate this time of year! Through all the adversity we experienced, not just in the '07 season, but throughout my career, I am constantly reminded of how blessed I have been to even have the opportunity to go to work every day in my own business, drive a WoO sprint car, and to live in a free country that allows us to worship a God that makes this all possible. The shop is getting busier, which is good. Money has been tight, as is usual this time of the year for everyone, I know. Our business is somewhat seasonal, so we try our best to budget for it, but nonetheless, it's nice to see some pick up in sales here recently. Hopefully we'll get caught up and be better situated for the World Of Outlaws opener in Florida just a few short weeks away. It seems like we just got back from there! We''ll likely start the year with our last years car and try to scrape together some sponsor bucks as we go. We do have a fellow working on some sponsor programs for us and some really cool ideas that might evolve if all goes well. Maybe nothing will result, but you don't know until you try,and if it's the Lord's will for us, something will happen. It would be nice for me to be able to come on here and announce a big sponsor deal, but in reality, there are many deals in the works all the time. Some come to fruition, some just whither away on the vine. None go without a concertive effort on our part to attract and keep sponsors from year to year. Little or big, all of our sponsors are dear to us. We truly are a "family" team and our sponsors are just one part of this family. Be sure to patronize our sponsors if you ever are in need of their products or services. If it weren't for their benevolent hearts, we wouldn't be able to continue to do what we are doing.
December 23, Linden, IN: Merry Christmas to all of our fans, friends, and sponsors. You are all considered family to us! Sorry it's been a while since this page updated, but honestly, there's not been much to report on. Seems we had a server error, or I didn't upload the pages correctly last time. Either way, hopefully you didn't miss my little blurb too much before the holidays. No late breaking news or anything, just lots of deals "in the works". We had a meeting recently with a "professional" money finder, ie marketing guru, who I honestly trust. We've been less than successful at getting the much needed cash support to operate a sprint car team at anything greater than the local level it seems, and now we find ourselves racing against Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne budgets on the Outlaw tour. It's only going to get tougher to be competitive. We've always had great support from our product suppliers but unfortunately, that doesn't put food on the table, or fuel in the rig. He's got some out of the box ideas for finding the necessary cash to do this deal right, and Sarah and I really like what he has to say anf offer right now. Right now, I've got some huge aspirations of campaigning our own team for a few more years, and then working with other drivers through our team as a driver development program of sorts. There's a LOT of very talented drivers who simply never get the chance to display their talents because of lack of funds or connections, or whatever. If we ever do get something rolling where we have some money to work with, we'll be certain to pass it on. It's been fun to watch some up and coming young talent in sprint cars through the years. Some make it to Cup level and all the accollades that come with it, while others just fade away into the blue collar world like most of us. It's frustrating to not be able to afford our own team let alone someone else who is deserving of a shot. It's sort of in my master plan to drive these things a few more years and then continue to be involved in the sport as a team owner, coach, and mentor to younger drivers coming up through the ranks. Like I said, it's just something we've been tossing around for a while now. If anything comes to fruition, you will hear about it here first! Things are busy, as can be expected this time of the year, here. Business has been slow, but steady. I may even get to start my shopping later tonight! LOL We'll be travelling back to Pennsylvania between Christmas and New Years to visit with all of our family there, so don't expect any updates until after the first of the year.
Dec 7,Orlando, FL: Well, we're down here at the annual PRI show in sunny Orlando.We started the morning off in Linden,Indiana with an inpromptu snowball fight at 4:30 in the morning thanks to a couple of inches of fresh wet snow and a wide awake 6 year old. When we landed at MCO, (Orlando airport), we got our typical tourist rental car and headed east to the beach just in time to dip our feet in the Atlantic. Imagine, just hours after being frozen and worried that the roads would become impassible to the airport, we would be splashing in the ocean! The show has become a necessary business expense, as well as a pleasureable vacation for our family over the last couple years. We enjoy seeing many familiar faces and some that we only get a chance to see once a year or so. We got a chance to chat with Bob Bennett and "Pops" Mickel while at the show. Bob got his first ever Williams Grove win early this year and that's a feat that few will ever match. Congrats, indeed! Bob & John were full time supporters of the Gumout Series a few years back with us and we still enjoy spending time with them when we get a chance. The PRI show has once again grown larger than ever. One thing I noticed though, was that with the new (better?) wider aisles, is that you can walk the show much faster than in years prior. Is this good for vendors? I usually make a quick walk through the entire show, taking a few notes as I walk, on booths that need more attention from my better half later in the weekend. I found myself walking so fast this year that if a booth had a drag car or something that didn't particularly fit the usual mold of a sprint car, that I rarely gave the vendor's booth a second glance of interest. When the show was in Indy, I was literally forced to stop and look at everyone's booth, whether I was interested in their product line or not. A lot of times it got me thinking of ways to cross use a product in our shop that I may have not thought of otherwise. The stagnation of foot traffic forced a captive audience for vendors that is now missing in Orlando. Oh, ok, I'm still crying about affording tickets to Orlando vs driving to Indy and sleeping in my own bed each night, but in reality, there's some merit to what I am pointing out too. I shared this thought with a couple of vendors at this years show, and was reminded that the show has really evolved into an "event" now, with races coinciding with the show, which quite honestly, detract from the show. Let's face it, if you are setting up there to sell your goods, it's a little disconcerning that your audience leaves early due to a scheduled race nearby. And while "Bud on the bus" seems like a shameless plug for the race across town, providing free rides and alcoholic beverages for show attendees seems to be counterproductive in my opinion. Keep in mind also, that many of the perspective buyers were kept busy (even days prior), at the race track preparing their machines instead of perusing the spacious isles of the trade show. One step outside the motel room told you that Orlando is THE place for a trade show of this magnitude, but I might remind you that inside the Orange County convention center, the weather is just the same as inside the Indy convention center. 72* and artificial lighting seem to be the norm once you are inside the building to conduct business. The warm outside temperatures only tempt you to spend more time AWAY from the show and at the many other attractions that Orlando has to offer. Oh yes, Orlando, the fun capital for families. How can a racer, or small businessman tell his wife and kids he's headed to Orlando in December for a "trade show" and NOT take the rest of the family with him? If he takes his family to the show, that just made the trip that much more expensive, additional flight tickets, motel room size, meals, additional days, etc etc etc. Oh, and don't even talk about attraction ticket prices...WHEW! The price of Disney for a day is about the same as the cost to do the entire trip alone for the week! Being the "frugal butt" that I am, we chose to spend a few dollars on miniature golf, and an evening at the Pirate Dinnner Adventure. If you enjoy mini golf at all, you HAVE to try one of the MANY courses around Orlando. Even if you hate golf, the grounds and all the unbelievable landscaping are worth the ticket prices.The show will continue in Orlandofor some time to come, in my opinion, and we'll just learn to deal with it.Iwas not entirelysurprised tosee the likes of GlennSander and Jack Elam not represented at the show this year. That's a first for aslong as I've been going to the show I think. Mnay other companieshave choesen to skip this show. The scheduling of the show, (close to Christmas), coupled with it's proximity to a virtually non-racing area of the country, make it less profitable to do business I'm sure than when in Indy. The Orange County convention center and the city seem to have jumped through hoops though to keep the show where it is. Right now, I doubt it is possible for Indy to get the show back without pulling a rabbit out of their hat. Remodelling the old convention center still will not suffice. We still have the old dome stadium to deal with, and while the football team will get their new stadium, it is doubtful that even with millions spent, that Indy will be able to handle a convention as large as PRI again in it's current location. PRI has now become the 45th largest trade show in the world....now that's incredible, considering all of the other "mainstream" industry that is out there.
Nov 14, Linden, IN: We enjoyed a great day at the Indiana Sports Chaplains Roundtable held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. Good friend, Pastor Dudley Balmer, invited us to attend the Chaplains conference and we really had an enjoyable time. The meeting was spearheaded by Bill Houston of Sports Spectrum radio and magazine and brought together a real cross-section of Chaplains from all sorts of professional and amateur sports. We certainly learned a lot more about the workings behind the scenes that our friends put into serving our industry as well as many other sports fields. The conference was held upstairs in the media room, overlooking the frontstretch and start / finish line of the IMS. There were Chaplains and Pastors from a variety of backgrounds, which really made it informative and interesting to hear the troubles and testimonies from many different viewpoints. Although many were from traditional stick and ball sports, ie football, basketball, etc, a lot of what these folks came to share were applicable to the motorsports venue as well. Motorsports Chaplains from the IMS, ORP, USAC, RFC, National Speedway Ministries, and George and Sherry Huff, along with Johnny Parsons, Jr, from American Racing Ministries, were represented, as well as Dale Hop, a professional motorcross rider from FCA, and ourselves. Charlie Swaney, from Tyndale House Publishers was on hand to give everyone in attendance a free copy of Colts' coach, Tony Dungy's, newest book. There was plenty of other free materials to help witness and build a Bible study or chapel service around as well. There were some great displays of reference materials and other useful items to draw from. Just tapping the minds of all the others that participated is worth attending this event alone. There were professional basketball and football players, including Carl Brazley of the NFL, coaches, chaplains from a variety of collegiate sports from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, and other organizations all represented. Each had their own interesting angle on the challenges of working within their respective disciplines. Before attending the event I had questioned just exactly why we were supposed to attend this meeting. We're certainly not ordained ministers or chaplains by trade. We're simply racers who live by our beliefs. God has a plan for all of us, and while we don't always understand what that is, I guarantee you, He has a plan. Does this mean that we'll lead Bible studies and prayers at World of Outlaws events next year? Seriously, I don't know. I really don't know what is in store for us. Right now, I don't know how we can afford to get to the very first event of next season, but I trust that He will provide for us if that's His will. Another thing that being a Christian racer has allowed me to learn is patience. Things don't always happen as quickly as I would care for them to. Everything seems to take longer than I am willing to admit. That's where patience and trust comes in. Consider my age and the kind of racing and schedule I am trying to do with my family. How can anyone even attempt to do this crazy schedule without having God in your corner? "With God all things are possible." We've been very blessed and fortunate to have met a lot of great folks along the way who have helped us out tremendously. I honestly think we just need to keep doing what we are doing by being a witness while we're out on the road, and if the opportunity presents itself to share our love for Christ with someone, then so be it. Will this lead to a fellowship meeting or Bible study somewhere down (and along) the road? I really don't know. I do know that we would welcome the opportunity to do something along these lines if it were made available to us. I think we've pretty much already been doing that in a small degree. We don't push our beliefs on anyone, but I think it's pretty evident that we are available and willing to share with anyone who asks. There are certainly much more qualified people than ourselves for a Bible study or daily prayers at the drivers' meetings. There are a few tracks, Knoxville, IA comes to mind, that already do a great job at ministering to the drivers and their families, but honestly, the series lacks someone full time to be there for all of us who have daily needs. Pastor Dudley and his wife Nancy, who head up the National Speedway Ministry, would do a great job in this capacity in my opinon. We have long expressed a need for childcare and a travelling chaplain with the series, and the Balmers would be a perfect fit for this. Unfortunately, like everything else on this earth, it takes money, and lots of it. Please continue to keep us and the Balmer family in your prayers.
Nov 3, Charlotte, NC: Final race event of the year! Our time trials from Thursday pre-determined where we'd start all night, 41st of 48, so knowing that it would be an uphill battle, we decided to buckle down and race hard, regardless of the outcome. We did manage to out-time some fantastic cars and were just a tick off of fellow J&D Engines driver, Danny Smith, (who we're excited for that will be racing full time with the World of Outlaws again in '08 for the first time in 20 years! Now that's some experience! Congrats to Danny for putting together a pretty neat deal.)
Nov 2, Charlotte: OK, I'll be politically incorrect and call it Charlotte, I'm allowed to. I've spent plenty of money at Lowe's on home repair and appliances and don't think I need to advertise addiotionally for them in my blog (which is worth how much again?) LOL Anyhow, The Brown & Miller, Staubli, Lincoln Welders, Friends of DirtVision.com, Triple XXX Family Restaurant, K&N, Hoo Ahhs, AutoBGood, (did I miss someone?), J&D Powered, Maxim was ready for action. We would get to hot lap on a greasy, slimey, (almost typical), Charlotte track and promptly get the car all slopped up with the native red clay. Thankfully, we brought along a "qualified" engineer to help scrape mud on this trip. Jeff Nelsen, a good friend of ours, and fellow racer from Rapid City, SD, made the trip down to Charlotte to spend some time cleaning up the mess we brought off the track. It was almost amusing how slippery the track was, as I joked that I let Kinser pass me in hot laps. I guess Steve was feeling "racey"...LOL The track would eventually tack up and get blazing fast again with a heavy choppy cushion with lots of sticky stuff up above it. Let's just say that it was sticky enough to turn over a late model or two during the night.
Nov. 1, The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC: Day one of the "World Finals." Today would be time trials for both upcoming nights and really determine the rest of our weekend. Knowing that we were going into the weekend with our oldest motor and oldest car, we weren't expecting much and on a MUCH better than usual Charlotte track surface, the times were really competitive on a wide open race track. A very fast track with all the best racers in the country there, wouldn't be the best scenario to use our oldest equipment, but again, we are not in a points race, and it was a "safe" use of our equipment at the end of the year. After losing our best engine at Knoxville, we really didn't want to lose our number two engine with as many races as were on it. Our old dash 12 motor has been as strong as a rock, and we knew we could count on it, even though it might be down a bit on power to the top dogs. Understandably, we didn't time real well, but in all honesty, we were only one second off of quick time. Considering that we are running a $15,000 motor and the guys that timed real well were all running latest greatest $45,000 and up motors, we really weren't all that disappointed. Of course, we ran used tires all weekend too, but that wouldn't really have any bearing on our times. We sure weren't spinning the tires, and were running wide open all the way around the track, so tire sharpness meant little in the overall picture. Would new tires have made us even a tenth of a second quicker, I really doubt it. We did manage to out-time some very well funded teams for Saturday night, and that was pretty cool. When a team has a million dollar budget and barely out-times us, or times slower than us with what we brought to the table, it just means that we were getting everything we had out of what we brought. That always brings a smile to my face. Of course it would be more fun to go out there with a really hard hitting motor, and new tires each time, but I can still manage a smile when we overachieve.
Nov 5, Linden, IN: Well, we're back home here at the shop in Linden and thankful for a safe and fun trip to the World Finals in Charlotte. Looking back, we really did have a good time. the weather was great and the racing was pretty decent. The tv show really didn't do us much justice, but then again, we weren't a front runner by any means either.
Oct 29, Linden, IN: Well, it's official, we're headed to Charlotte for one last Hoo Rah. You can check out the press release below for specifics and all the shmooz appeal, but the bottom line is that we are going to race with the WoO at Charlotte this coming weekend. Hey, it sure beats sitting at home and watching it on tv! We're taking our old car and our oldest -12 headed motor, so we don't expect to be a player in the race itself. We also know they won't show us any, if at all, but we figure we owe it to our sponsors and our loyal fans to head to this big show anyhow. It will honestly be a great show for the fans to see so many quality sprints and latemodels compete in the same nights of racing. The live TV is a bonus for the whole deal and you can't knock that it adds to the excitement just a little. I'm not sure how that will play out for track conditions or for our team specifically, but it will certainly be an enjoyable weekend of racing for the more well rounded fans of both sprints and stocks.
official press release: Oct. 29, Linden, IN: SC Motorsports headed to the World Finals
The SC Motorsports team will take to the track for one last event in this 2007 season. Dubbed "The World Finals", the weekend places the best of the best in the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars toe to toe with the best of the World of Outlaws Late Model series. In an event of many unprecedented firsts, the inaugural World Finals, taking place at the Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, will see three nights of competition on the 4/10 mile red clay surface. The World Finals will be punctuated this year by live television coverage for the first time ever for the late model series and feature the World of Outlaws sprints in their final points event of the season. Coverage can be seen live, November 3rd from 8-11 pm (est) on the Speed Channel. SC Motorsports driver, Brian Carlson, is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel for such a prestigious event. "We've had just a terrible year and are really eager to get back racing again." Carlson had struggled early on in the season travelling fulltime with the World of Outlaws sprint series for his second straight year. The 2007 SC Motorsports season was highlighted by a dash run at Dixie Speedway in Georgia before a leg injury suffered during a crash at the Lake Ozark Speedway ended Carlson's season early. Carlson came back to score a couple more dash starts with a 4th quick effort in time trials at Fargo, ND, and a surprising heat race victory at Sedalia, MO, putting an exclamation point on his season to that point. Carlson's season was just starting to turn around when a catastrophic engine failure at this year's Knoxville Nationals put the team even further behind. "We felt it was important to come back and run this last race of the year for our sponsors and all of our loyal fans. We want to show our support of the other drivers and owners who have made this season the most competitive season ever on the World of Outlaws trail." The SC Motorsports team's list of sponsors includes: LincolnWelders, Goodson Shop Supplies, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Staubli, and Friends of DirtVision.com. For more info on Brian Carlson and his SC Motorsports team, please visit them on the net at: www.CarlsonMotorsports.com.
Oct 5: Looks like we made the right decision on the Princeton Nationals as 60* weather and rain forced the cancellation of Friday night's WoO event. I feel for the teams that made the grueling haul out there to maybe get to run Saturday night. Now that everyone's in town, hopefully they get the second day of the show in.
Oct. 1, Linden, IN: Well, believe it or not, I am actually getting used to "domestic" living. Cutting the grass BEFORE it needs baled, taking AJ back and forth to school, and getting groceries at an actual grocery store versus a truck stop, convenience store, or Wal-Mart that has big rig parking. Then there's taking time to get my hair cut at an actual barber here in town, or how about shopping for home improvement items? Of course there's all the "honey do" projects that have been put off for, literally, years. Yea, you might think that I'm getting used to all this "normalcy." Fooled you. I have definitely NOT been missing all this. Oh sure, it's been an "interesting" change from our "what I call normal" lifestyle on the road all the time with the WoO series, but we really miss travelling and racing. As tempting as it seems to go back and hit a few more races before the year ends, it's just not financially feasible right now. Sure we could afford to go back out, but at what expense. I'm not looking for a tax write-off, or net loss right now. The schedule is really thin between weekend races, and hefty on miles to rack up. We had considered the Princeton, MN show, but with the possiblilty of foul weather this time of year in Minnesota, a long trip to run possibly one night would be unwise. Now we are planning on staying here at the shop and working on some other projects to better prepare for next season (which is only a few short months away.) The Charlotte race is still not out of the question entirely. There's still some logistical hurdles to clear, but that could be do-able. Some of the better funded teams have spent the last couple weeks here in Indiana doing some testing. That's something we want to do as well. Although a lot of this season we spent "testing" some ideas I had, at a points race is no place to be "experimenting" with things. We're still considering our engine builder options for next season as well, and that's not a change I really wanted or expected to make. We've been real happy with our relationship with J&D and I'd hate to part ways, but we'd be foolish not to at least explore our options and see what else is available to us at this point.We're still looking into possible partnerships for our team as well. With the cost of fielding a competitve WoO car at an all-time high, we need some help. Even the Nascar guys are teaming up and sharing resources. It only makes sound financial sense, and would be a move in the right direction for ourselves as well. If we can team up with an exisitng team, and or get someone else to become a business partner, it would sure help over the course of a season.
Sept 24, Linden, IN: Happy Birthday AJ! It's AJ's 6th (going on 16th) birthday. We're all doing well here; just trying to get things in better order to go back racing. I'm not sure, at this point, if we'll finish out the year with the WOO or maybe just try to head to Charlotte in November for the season finale. Without tow money, it's hard to justify the remaining schedule. Right now, there's not much point in our going, but if it interests our sponsors, then we'll be sure to go. Charlotte's not exactly my favorite place to race, and with it being the first live televised late model event as well, it will be a mess for sure. Picture 40 sprint cars and 140 late models all fighting for the hill to get up to the track...hmmm. The sprinters took up half of the pits when we were there with 30 some cars. I'm not really sure where that leaves all the others. If it rolls off smoothly, it should be a great show for the fans though. Let's hope that the live tv coverage doesn't detract from the experience of being there live for the 20,000 or so that will be on hand.
Sept 5, Linden, IN: For whatever reason, with some time off, away from travelling with the series, a number of fans and other car owners have been asking, emailing, calling, etc, to talk to me about rules changes and how they might affect sprint car racing over the next year or even ten years down the road. I, honestly feel a little out of the loop so to say, because we're not out there hearing all the latest gossip. Instead, it seems, we are on the receiving end of most of it, and people have been asking me my opinion of several "rumored" new rules. A new wing rule paper was handed out at Cottage Grove, Oregon to all the teams and caught many by surprise. Some are pretty upset, some are indifferent. Who knows, maybe even someone likes them, I couldn't tell you that. I can tell you that, unlike last year, when DIRT officials met with car owners and drivers both in group sessions and one on one, noone from the World of Outlaws has contacted us regarding rules changes or asked for any input this year. We found out second hand, then contacted the series for an explanation. I can say that we were emailed the new wing rules for the WoO sprint series for 2008, entitled, the "2008 FINAL TOP WING RULE". Now, to me, that implies it is not open to further discussion. In a conversation with one of the largest wing manufacturers, and most popular among the WoO regulars, I was offered some insight to the discussions that went on in a conference call between WRG officials and a few wing manufacturers. Let's just say that they are not all pleased with the direction either. The rule states that the wings will now be flat top and include a 3/4 inch wickerbill. The total depth of the center section will be limited to make it more like the narrow body mile wings from the late 80's and early 90's.The corners are to be at 90* angles, ie no more slanted, or parallelogram, wing sideboards. Flat top and wickerbill??? Williams Grove went to flat top with NO wickerbill a few years ago and had all sorts of problems....Knoxville just allowed wickerbills back on flat wings last year I think.....Why all the recent concern on belly depth?? Even the front wings will all be made illegal and obsolete, as the '08 template will not allow angled sideboards or current center dish location. From what I gather, the "final" wing rule for 2008 is under much scrutiny as I type this. Who knows for sure really what the rules will be, but it looks to me like Ben Geisler and the folks at World Racing Group have taken it apon themselves to implement a new wing rule that will make ALL of our current wings illegal and necessitate everyone, country-wide, to go out and purchase brand new wings. Next question, what do we do with our current wing inventory? It's a good thing the Chinese are willing to pay top dollar for our scrap aluminum. I can't wait to get $25 at the local salvage yard for our "dirty" aluminum top wings. It's considered "dirty" because it has paint, powder coating, vinyl graphics, and steel pop-rivets contaminating it. As a result, I recently saw a seller / dealer on ebay offering brand new wings for 1/2 of cost -- that's right, a brand new wing from a dealer for under $300! Too bad it's illegal now. I wonder where the buyer will use it? Obviously, I'm not in favor of this particular wing rule change. I just hate to throw away the three usable wings that I have here right now. One only has a couple nights on it. It would have been nice to have a market for them first! If they are going to make such drastic wing changes, why not just go to a 4X5 wing like we discussed last year, make the sideboards even side to side, ala 1980, or no wing at all and be done with it. I think they're just chasing ghosts. I guarantee you that there's not a competitive non-wing team out there that says they have too much horsepower or that build new motors to make less power just to hook them up. Even without the wing, the good guys are hooking up the best motors available. Don't think there isn't TC involved a little there too. OK, while any team capable of sustaining a year on tour with the WoO certainly can afford new sets of wings each year, how will this affect car counts at the local level? Will all of the local tracks mandate the WoO spec on their wings as well? What's wrong with this picture? Isn't that what DIRT/WRG has been touting all along, that they are trying to revive 410 sprint racing in the US, INCLUDING the local level? As I understand it, Ben wants to "unhook" the cars more than the current tire rule has accomplished. Let me add this, I also recently saw an ad for a fellow selling out a pavement sprint car with three engines, all of which are WoO caliber! IF it takes that much horsepower to be competitive in a non-wing pavement car, maybe the wing isn't really the problem? Then again, how can you possibly hook up a motor like that on ANY pavement car. Hmmm, makes you wonder. If they, Dirt Motorsports / World Racing Group, HONESTLY want to "unhook" the cars, they might look beyond the wings and into the traction control.....OOOPS, did I say that? Maybe it's because it would be difficult to find it, or that they don't want to step on anyone's toes. I can't honestly tell you why it is not addressed.
How about reducing wing angle? With tire pressures, bar rates, etc, that might be a subjective thing to tech post race, but it would certainly "unhook" the cars more than going to a completely new wing design. It looks to me like some guys are stalling their wings already by running them too steep...but hey, if you've got enough motor to pull that sail down the straights, it's still an advantage getting into the corners. Won't we now run our new '08 flat wings, with a lot of extra drag built into them, at an even steeper angle to create downforce to suck away horsepower and necessitate even more horsepower spending? Sure seems like this rule is aimed all the wrong direction. Am I missing something? The new wing rule goes into effect at the first race of 2008 on the fast, wide open, Volusia half mile. I wonder how steep wings can get before crankshafts start breaking?
Why do some guys have all kinds of adjusters and knobs in their cockpits? Well, that's a no-brainer....it's obvious there is an advantage, given your driver knows what to do with them. What about the $500+ adjustable shocks & adjustable torsion stops that continue to hook up cars more and more?? Now I'm seeing adjustable wing stands (height) and adjustable rear radius rod pick-ups all remotely controlled from inside the cockpit. Again, eliminating them doesn't cost the teams a penny to implement the rule change...Teams can still use up their adjustable shocks, just no "in cockpit" adjustments (ie cable). I plead for this rules change last year and it fell on deaf ears I guess. I have since bought a half dozen adjustable shocks to the tune of $3000 or so, and STILL would prefer a rule banning the cockpit adjusters!
Reducing the cubic inch ruleto 360? Nah, that won't work. Period, end of discussion. It costs nearly as much to build a competitive 360 as it does a 410 with the current weight rule. Take one look at a three to five year old 360 engine listed for sale, then look at a three to five year old 410 motor. The 410 is pennies on the dollar every time. 410 cylinder heads have evolved too much in recent years, that's the main reason that older 410's do not hold their value. The spec head, for all of its flaws, has kept the resale value of a competitive 360 motor in check. The valve train lasts much longer in the current 360 engine than in the current 410's. That's not a result of the cubic inches, but rather of the current 410 cylinder head evolution and design. A similar scenario could result from a spec 410 head (tried by Emmet years ago and failed miserably). IS it time to try it at a national level? We're replacing thousands of dollars in wings, shouldn't cylinder heads be looked at more seriously? I'm not saying I have the answers...far from it. But I think there needs to be a consortium of sorts that should include all of the car owners. We all recognize that aside from travel expenses, race engines are our number one expense each year. Tires are creeping up there as well, with thanks given to the new tire rule of '07. Purses haven't gone up in many years, and track promoters are troubled to cover the current bills of operating a track in the black. Although most track promoters will tell you that this year has been a banner year as far as ticket sales for WoO sprint shows, they'll also be quick to tell you how they lose money most every weekend on their local shows. There will always be rich car owners and drivers willing to spend their own money to run with the WoO series, but how many local car owners can afford to sustain the growing economic pains that are being placed apon them today? Only the future will tell. For me, I hope that any rules changes should be thought out thoroughly and brought about without haste. So far, nearly all of the recent rules changes have cost our team, and many others that I have spoken to, more money, not less. If it honestly makes the racing better, as claimed, then I have to support it for the fans' sake. After all, I want to see this sport grow too! :)
Aug 27, Linden, IN: Still working here at the shop. We sure miss seeing the west coast and our friends in Oregon, but we've really got to tighten the belt and suck this up for a while until the WoO returns to the plains states. We're tentatively looking at a return to the series at Spencer, IA, or possibly Topeka, KS. AJ is really enjoying school, so we may look closer at Topeka, as the Spencer race is on a Tuesday. We've contemplated running a few local shows, ie the Midwest AllStars show at Bloomington, IN, a place where I got rookie of the year WAY back in 1993. There's also the upcoming All Stars sanctioned Hoosier Fall Classic at Lawrenceburg, IN, or even a few local Ohio or PA shows just to stay sharp. In all honesty, we're enjoying spending some much needed home time with our family and spending more time with our church here at home. One thing that we all miss when we're on the road is that fellowship or "churching up" that we all need once in a while. Our sport has seen a recent rise in sponsorship from some "less than savory" companies. It's so tempting when money is dangled in front of car owners and drivers by these companies, that some are willing to compromise their beliefs or standards. This is one thing we have never done, nor will ever. We've been working very hard trying some different angles on sponsorship to try to get more Christian companies involved in a motorsports outreach, if you will, through our team, but it's been a tough sell so far. There' s LOTS of interest, but funds seem tight everywhere right now. Tying the two things our family loves the most together, seems like it's too good to be true. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't, we'll just have to wait and see what is in store for us. We've also been in contact with Pastor Dudley Balmer and his wife Nancy about going on the road full time with the series possibly next season. In addition to the usual pastoral duties, the pastor and his wife could likely provide much needed child care for the teams with small children travelling with them. Personally, I feel this is a much needed service that would help keep families closer together during the busy summer months whilst their dads are busy racing and trying to make a living on the road. It's another fantastic idea, but one that needs some serious sponsor backing before such an undertaking could occur. If you know of anyone who might be able to help with such a venture, you are welcome to contact Pastor Dudley directly through their website at National Speedway Ministries
Aug 13, Linden, IN: Rob Lee, editor from ThePaper24-7, our local Montgomery county newspaper had a nice article featuring our team in the most recent paper. You can read the entire article, found on the front page of the sports section, via the web at:
Aug. 9, Knoxville Nationals: We timed in just so so. Certainly better than we had the last couple years. We actually drew a good number for qualifying, which should have really helped us. The first two cars to take the track for time trials were first and second quick (Shaffer and Martin). So, reallistically we should have been in the top 15, right? :) The motor just didn't sound real sharp though. This was a fresh bullet from J&D that we just picked up before coming out here to Iowa, so I was pretty excited about our chances. In the heat race, we would start 4th with Lasoski on my back bumper. The first start was called back due to the "Dude". On the second start I got a good jump and hit the bottom of turn one wide open in third place, but slid up the racetrack a bit and wound up fifth or sixth coming off turn two. I went back to the top for the next few laps and was reeling in the R9 car of Winner. We were way faster through the corners than he was, so I was still pretty happy. Then the engine just let go on lap 6 as I entered turn three. Not a pretty sight. It gave me no warning, and we were really coming when it let go. Even if we would have ended up in the B-main for the night, I would have been in the middle of it, and have scored some decent points, likely to make the C or front of the D for Saturday night depending on how I would have run Saturday morning. It was all for naught though. About ten laps was all that motor was good for. The other two motors we had with us weren't fresh, so I really didn't want to take a chance at losing one of those as well on a non WoO points event and now so far behind in Nationals points. This fresh motor (now a complete loss), was to be our motor for the west coast trip as well. We scrounged up our last few dimes to get it freshened up. We were debating whether or not to head west with the WoO for this next trip even before this happened, and had tentatively decided to follow them west, despite the lack of tow money that is offered the top 20 in points. Coupled with Dirt's decision to not offer us anything to help on fuel expenses to go through Canada and over the Rockies, and that we just lost our best motor, we rethought our decision, and decided to head back to Linden. Phone calls to all but Carlton Riemers went unreturned this week. We were even told not to call the main office and some other personnel that we had dealt with personally in the past. Certainly not the open door policy that was so open last year. There are a couple of other teams that are on the fence as to continuing to follow the deal without compensation as well. It's a shame, but honestly, it's just too expensive to follow the deal without some incentive. We asked, and simply weren't offered any. Personally, I think it's a loss to the series and the fans when the lower tier teams like ourselves are forced to head home this late in the season. In the Ted (Johnson) era, they would have helped get as many teams to the left coast as possible, especially with fuel at $3.00+ / gallon. But that was then and this is now. It's a business and I understand their decisions "sometimes", but it seems like some of the budget cuts are aimed in the wrong direction if you ask me. I could suggest a few other places to cut some expenses, remember, I am an Industrial Engineer / aka "bean counter" from Purdue, but I doubt they would be listened to at this point. :) Now we are open to about anything. Our owners meeting at Knoxville was anything but enlightening as well. As disillusioned with upper management as we are right now, I would jump right back out on tour in a heartbeat and meet up with the WoO whenever and wherever, if we were offered the same tow monies and incentives as the top 20, or could find a sponsor to pay some of the tow expenses and pit passes.
Just how much does it cost to get back on the road for the west coast trip? We had to ask ourselves before we could ask sponsors and potential sponsors. Realistically, we'll need $30,000....that replaces the motor we lost at Nationals and a few bucks left over for diesel. Any sponsor ponying up that kind of "mula" would have the whole identity of the car as far as I'm concerned. Albeit, it will NOT be an alcohol, tobacco, or porn company, as is the current trend amongst some other teams currently on tour. At some point you've got to stand for something. I will NOT sell myselfor my family out and promote or represent a product which I do not believe in just for a quick buck.
Aug 8, Knoxville Nationals, Knoxville, IA: After working the last 48 hours or so straight on the car rebuilding it just for the nationals, we arrived at Knoxville only to find rain, rain, and more rain. While pitting and working out of our trailers seemed like a great relief for all of us, the rain just never let up and didn't stop until 3 1/2 inches of rain had fallen on the fairgrounds. Tonights qualifying program has been moved to Friday night, while Friday night's show will be run at noon on Saturday.
Press Release: Aug. 5, '07:Carlson Back on Track
Coming off of nearly a month away from the circuit, due to an injury sustained while racing with the World of Outlaws at Lake Ozark Speedway, Brian Carlson returned to the World of Outlaws in a big way. Carlson timed eleventh quick on the ultra-fast half mile State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, MO, then backed it up with an eye opening heat race victory over a star studded field, including, Danny Lasoski, Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana, and Jac Haudenschild. We had a great run right out of the box there. I just wish we were able to do that every night, the Linden, Indiana resident beamed. Carlson continued, Its just so tough out here right now that every night is like the Nationals except without the help of the deep inversion in your heat race. I really think that everyone has stepped it up a notch or two this year and you can see it on the racetrack. Car owners are spending more money, drivers are driving harder than ever, and crews are working even longer hours to make sure their car is the best prepared out there. That pretty much sums up racing: money, desire, and commitment. Two out of three just doesnt cut it at this level. Despite that strong run, Carlson has seen little success since his return to sprint car racings elite touring series, the World of Outlaws. A good showing at Fargo, North Dakota for a race televised on ESPN2, and another A-main start at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York state dotted a somewhat discouraging past few weeks on the road for Carlsons Blue Collar Team. Weve been trying some things with the chassis, and while you can learn something sometimes, it really can hurt your on track performance at times too. Youre not going to just try some new wild idea and expect it to work every time. If something new worked out here, everyone else would be doing it. With being gone for so long, (missing events while injured), that put us out of the points deal, so weve actually got the freedom to try some things and work on some stuff for next year or just plain race to have some fun without all the pressure of points or tow money to worry about. The World of Outlaws offers its top 20 in points appearance money, which helps in affording the long hauls these teams endure to get to the next venue. With our team, our car has to pay for itself from night to night. If were not in the show, were losing money as a team. With fuel for the rig costing $3.00 plus a gallon and the lack of tow money, its just not feasible to drive these rigs across country three times a year without some serious sponsor backing. The television package (ESPN2 and Speed), has got to be great for the fans that cant come to all of our races. I would think that its good for the series, as far as attracting new fans and potential sponsors, but Ive never looked at tv as the answer to all of our sports problems. Nascar has a stranglehold on the media and publics attention right now, and even if we shared a small portion of that spotlight, I dont see it ever coming to the point where all our series drivers are household names, a-la Nascar. It, (television), hasnt exactly brought the much needed sponsor dollars to the teams either. Thats unfortunate, because I think a lot of teams were kind of banking on that. You see some teams dropping off the tour now that are much better funded than our own. I think that maybe some of those teams, like the rest of us, were just hoping to attract some new money to their teams with sponsorship help from all the new television exposure. Honestly, I think itll probably take a couple more years before teams can really reap the benefits of the exposure we are getting today. The tv package we have is good, maybe the best weve ever had, but were just not popular around the water coolers on Monday morning yet. Until fans go to work and start talking about our races, the marketing people at major corporations wont know what we have to offer. Even then, its a tough sell to the wine and cheese crowd that typically dont attend grassroots type dirt track racing in America. In general, I think that our appeal may be more geared toward mom and pop businesses. Machine shops, car dealers, energy drinks, etc, that are looking for niche markets to develop their products and market them on a much smaller scale than at the Nascar level which has gotten so expensive just to get a sticker on a quarter panel these days. Weve all been working very hard at raising the professionalism of our sport to possibly catch the eye of the corporate big wigs, but its just not going to be an overnight success story. Despite not having the big dollar sponsor that some of his competitors have, Carlson and his Blue Collar Team will enter this weeks Knoxville Nationals, the Daytona 500, if you will, of sprint car racing. The small farming community of Knoxville, Iowa plays host each year to the biggest sprint car event on the calendar, and virtually every sprint team from across the country, and as far away as Australia come to compete in this four day event. Everyone brings out their best and newest stuff for this race. Weve got a new car back at the shop, but we just dont have the time to put it together right now. If it didnt still need painted and lettered, we could probably throw it together in a couple days, but it just takes so long to do the paintwork that is necessary before we even start to assemble it. Instead, Carlson will field the same car that hes been running much of the season already. Weve run Maxim chassis for quite a few years now and Im real happy with them. Were kind of struggling a little right now, but well get going again. This car is the same as our new one, so we should be ok. Well hang some new parts on this old car and make it work, weve got no choice, Carlson smiles. You can catch the Carlsons and the running of the 47th annual Knoxville Nationals live Saturday night at 9pm CDT on Speed Channel.
Triple XXX Root Beer & Family Restaurant, West Lafayette, IN:
Triple XXX Root Beer and Family Restaurant, a local tradition, has become a valued marketing partner with the SC Motorsports team for the 2007 World of Outlaws campaign. Greg and Carrie Ehresman, owners of Triple XXX Family Restaurant and Route 66 Diner came on board as a marketing partner late last season to help the SC Motorsports "family" team with driver, Brian Carlson, behind the wheel. Located on the edge of Purdue University's West Lafayette campus, Triple XXX, "on the hill but on the level," has long been a common eating and meeting place for students and locals alike. Recently, the Ehresmans opened a second location, called Route 66 Diner, with a distinctive and historic mother road theme. Both restaurants feature the same menu and serve up heaping helpings of all your favorite foods. Triple XXX will be featured on The Food Network in the coming weeks in a show called, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." The show will Air on Saturday, August 4, 2007 at 10:30 PM EST, Sunday, August 5, 2007 at 1:30 AM EST, Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 5:30 PM EST, and Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 6:30 PM EST. For more information on Triple XXX Root Beer & Family restaurant, please visit them on the web at: http://triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com/index.html
For more information on Brian Carlson and the SC Motorsports team, you can visit them on the web at: www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
Aug 4, Beaver Dam, WI: Rain, rain, and more rain. All day sprinkles, combined with an occasional light shower, put an end to the two day show at Charter Raceway. The show has been tentatively rescheduled for Sept 16th, (don't quote me on that).
Aug 3, Charter Raceway, Beaver Dam, WI: I've always liked Beaver Dam. We always seem to do well there. We held the track record there for a few minutes in '01, I think it was, and have had several good runs there in recent years. I guess tracks are like that, you like them if you have run good there. If you crash or tear up a bunch of stuff, then it's usually not your favorite place to go. Last year we timed really well (4th quick, I think), and led all but the last lap of the B-main, when Sammy Swindell passed me and we finished second. This year we would not be so lucky. We had trouble in hot laps with the car not picking up fuel, and again it reared its ugly head in time trials yielding a very poor qualifying effort. This fuel problem is something we've been chasing for a few weeks now, and thought we had changed everything. Now we were to the point of changing things a second time around. We decided to change the fuel cell in its entirety, and that seemed to help it a bunch in the heat race. The motor ran and didn't starve for fuel in the corners or at the end of the straightss. That was a relief, but starting at the back was not where we needed to be. For the B-main, we would further fine tune the fuel system to now take away some of the excess fuel that we had been giving the engine in trying to get it to run the past couple nights, and that made it better again, but still there was not much passing on an atypical Beaver Dam, sticky and rough, racing surface.We made a few more adjustments to make the engine and chassis a little better for the next day and had our hopes much higher, only to be dampened by daylong rain showers. We did get to spend some social time with longtime friends Cheesehead Ken and his daughter Taya. Both were a great help in the pits all night.We also got to visit with JJ, (of Dirtvision fame), and spent an hour or so sharing stories and laughs with a true fan of ours and of the sport. JJ has got a true sense of humor, even if she is only eleven. :) We got a surprise visit from Nick Grommes, a former karting champion and customer of ours for several years. Nick is currently wheeling a pavement midget to much success (4 feature wins in 5 starts, I believe he said), at Grundy Co. Speedway in Morris, IL.
July 28th, KC Raceway, Alma, OH: Some 8 hours drive later, and we're in southern Ohio racing for a tv race at KC. I would get a decent draw number and time what I thought was going to be about in the middle of the 49 car field. Instead, we were only 35th and that would result in us going straight to the C main for the evening. I tried some things in the heat race running the bottom a-la Kelly Kinser a few years back at KC, but the top was still much faster. In the C-main I would start third, and fall to fourth as Hannagan got a good start. I fooled around on the bottom and was actually pretty good, but couldn't make much headway with the car directly in front of me until I finally tried the top with a few laps to go. I was tons faster on top but couldn't clear the third place car each time I got a run on him. I would settle for fourth. Even though we were mired in the C main again, I still felt like we had made some progress on the car set-upand had the car pretty decent top or bottom, just way too slow in time trials that hurt us again.
July 27th, I-96, Lake Odessa, MI: It's been a while since we were at I-96, but we've had some success on the big old half mile, so I was sorta looking forward to coming back. The track hasn't changed a bit. While corn grows just off turns two and down the backstretch, nothing could be planted into the track surface. The place was rock hard down the straights as dust flew in time trials. Turns 1 and 2 would come apart a bit and stay crumbly through the night, but the front stretch was downright treacherously black slick. I would spin the tires badly both laps coming off turn 4 and time terribly. I almost transferred through my heat though, finishing 6th, just behind the last transfer spot, held by Greg Wilson. In the B, I would start 8th, and be racing for 4th at the flag stand when the engine just shut clear off entering turn one. The car plowed up the race track in turn one not under power and that was all she wrote. I pulled off a lap later as the engine would idle but not race. Another opportunity lost. It was going to be a tough B-main, but even still, we had as good of a shot as anyone.
July 26th, Flynt, MI Wal-Mart parking lot: We would do our routine maintenance on our race car and spend some family time while on our day off. AJ even got a new bicycle and enjoyed riding all around the back lot while we were there. Seth just ran along side him trying to keep up.
July 25th, Ohsweken, Ontario, CN: From all accounts, the promoter of Ohsweken has spent BIG dollars putting this facility on the schedule, and it shows. The overflowing crowd showed their appreciation as well. This track has got to be in the middle of nowhere like no other. I doubt that even D could find this place!(directions or not) Ohsweken Speedway is located on the Indian reservation and is about an hour and a half northwest from the falls. The track staff were honestly happy to see us make the trip and hopefully with the size of the crowd this night, promoter, Glen Styres, made some serious dough to help offset what he's been putting into the track. While we were all a bit hesitant about racing in another country, I think the border hassles were worth it. The track surface stayed nice all night. I would time just out of a guaranteed invert spot and ahead of some good, well-funded teams like McCarl, Martin, and others. .I wouldn't make it through our heat race as veteren Danny Smith raced past me on the start. Although I had a shot a time or two at making it, I just couldn't get going in the heat. I would start outside the front row of the B and pretty much had my mind made up we were making the show from the start. Unfortunately, I softened the car up a bit too much for the track and that cost me. I wheelied the front end on the drop of the green not once, but twice, before the flagstand, and that allowed several cars to zip right under me.By the time I had it gathered back up I was probably in eigth or ninth so. I would work my way back up to 6th at the endand was clearly faster than the two cars directly ahead of me, Breen, and Zemken, who got the last transfer spot.I was really disappointed, but at least we knew we were fast enough. If I would have just left the car alone, we would have made the show, but I really wanted to make the car better yet and it just didn't workout for the start.We would enjoy a hot sandwich at the track after the races were over, then much to our surprise, be rewarded with a gift certificate from the track and race suit manufacturer Awesome Racewear. Awesome Racewear is located in nearby London, Ontario, and were on hand to personally talk to us after the races and to present us with the certificate for a new suit. Those not familiar with Awesome's work need to look no further than the last two years' winners of the best appearing crew award from the Knoxville Nationals a la Chad Kemenah's crew last year, and Brooke Tatnell's crew the previous year. I'm really looking forward to getting a new suit, (it's much needed), and am really excited to be working with Awesome for our crew uniforms as well. Thanks so much to Awesome and the fine folks, Pelkie's and Styres', from Ohsweken Speedway to make this all possible. We would leave the track feeling pretty good even though we didn't make the A. We would pretty much caravan to the border crossing at Port Huron, where pretty much every team got grilled by the US customs officers and were pulled around back to get things sorted out. Seems we didn't have a form filled out which listed the country of origin of each part and tool we had with us while in Canada. While we all had detailed inventory lists, not many of us had this additional form showing the country of origin of each item. I'm really unsure why this is even asked for or what this information is used for. Furthermore, I have no idea where some of the parts are made. I know my Maxims come from the good ole USA, that's what's most important to me. As for some of my tools, I believe there are a few in the box that will say made in China on them regretfully. Other than the little glitches at the border coming back into the US, things went relatively smoothly and was a rewarding experience for both the teams and the fans in my opinion.
July 24th, Niagara Falls, CAN: We would get a day off to catch up on some car maintenance and even getto sleep in a nice hotel for a change. Thanks to Fred at the Cairn Croft Best Western on Lundy Lane for the friendly accommodations. Fred's a local racer who competes with the Southern Ontario Sprints and other events at Ohsweken Speedway. He helped a lot with getting fuel delivered on race morning as well. There's lot to see and do around Niagara besides the falls. We didn't have much time to spend after we got the race car back together, but we did get a chance to take the kids to see the falls and we all got soaked by the mist. Even with the shuttle bus from the hotel, we walked easily ten miles that day. The little guys walked most of it as well. We all but filled the digital camera with pictures from the evening. We capped the night off with a pizza party in our room.
July 22nd, Lebanon Valley, NY: Night number five in a row for the travelling stars of the WoO. I have always run good at the Valley and was expecting the same tonight. The track was probably the best I have ever seen with moisture and plenty of calcium to keep it there all night. Last year the place took rubber in time trials! While the track surface was indeed much faster and stickier, that just made our time trial efforts weaker. I would time 23rd of 31 cars on hand. I would race hard in our heat, and follow Chad Hillier every lap but just couldn't get around him to transfer through the heat in to the A. That would put us in the B main starting fourth. With Danny Smith and Jason Sides starting behind us, I was worried about missing yet another A-main start. On the start I would push Randy Hannagan past the flagstand and jump to the bottom to secure second going into turn one, getting around pole setter Tony Bruce, Jr. Hannagan was long gone as our motor picked up that ever too familiar stumble right in the center of the corner. With such long straight-aways at the Valley, it really didn't hurt us much as I held on to second at the end. Sides would be the WoO car to fail to transfer.For the feature, we would go back toour Goodyear set-up and that proved to be really strong on the abrasive track surface. We used the 95, 200 compound left rear GYand it was just right. I charged forward at the start of the race from a next to the back row starting spot to 16th when Dollansky and Haud got together, putting me 14th. I would race well until just a few laps shy of the end when the leaders caught me and I pulled in. It was only later that my car owner gave me heck about pulling in that I was still in a money spot on the track in 16th. I know I was faster than a few cars ahead of me, but I also didn't want to be in the way of the leaders as bad as the car was still stumbling in the ccenter of the corners. There were still three cars running behind me on the track, so that relegated my finish position to 20th. Looking back, I wish I would have stayed out, because I'm pretty sure I could have gotten by Martin, and maybe back past Dollansky, who struggled to go forward after his early race spin.It was still nice to make an A-main after so many nights of struggling. With so many good cars travelling this year, there is always going to be some good cars loading up early. For a change, we weren't included in that group. :)
July 21st, Williams Grove, PA: The beating would finally come to an end. Just like a bloodied prize fighter, we had taken our beating right to the end. While some teams would get really upset about non-performance at the Grove, all I can do is lift my head and say there will be another day, and there will. We didn't expect much, and it's times like this that I am happy just to be here. There are some great quality teams that struggle when they come to the Grove, so we're in very good company when we don't make the show. Congrats once again to Donny Schatz, and team for another gem in his already money-laden crown. This guy has won something like $100,000 in the last week. That's remarkable to say the least.
July 20, Williams Grove, PA: On night two, the track would go dead slow and slick for time trials. Once again, luck of the draw had us going out last of the night with 50 some cars on hand. I think we timed 52nd, just behind Kemenah, and just ahead of Paulus. That's just how bad and slow it was. I believe the track was 2 secoinds slower than night number one, if you can believe that. We just went into coast mode after that disappointment. I raced in the heat and C mains, still trying to evaluate what was going on with the motor stumble in the middle of the corners.By night's end, we would tear into thetank and bladder and still find nothing wrong.By this time, we had changed fuelpumps,mag boxes, coil wires,replaced a bnunch of wire termninal endsand connections, replaced the tach, the ignition switch, most of the fuel lines, etc etc and still hadn't hit on anything that made a difference. You talk about frustrating.
July 19, Williams Grove, PA: Now make no bones about it, I really don't like going to thte Grove. It's not the track or the people. The layout is unique, the straightaway speeds are awesome, and the people are rabid sprint car fans. It's more like going to the dentist. There's no place else that compares to the Grove as far as the track or the local competition. This year has got to be the toughest field of locals yet, in my opinion. So when the Outlaws come to town, you can be sure there will be plenty of guys loadingup on the trailer before the night is up. We've got a lot of fans here in PA, so we hate to disappoint, but we also know our chances of even making the A each night are slim to none. It's all about qualifying, and we simply don't have that down for the Grove. We timed not so bad,all things considered, and raced about the same all night, running the C-main. We decided to take a little different approach and work on some things that I've been wanting to try for a while, but were afraid to jeapordize our chances of starting the A. We figured if we're not going to make the show anyways, then why not try some stuff here? With budget cuts, etc, we've been shoestringing along on used tires, and picked up some Goodyears from Sonny Kratzer (Selma Shell 11H). Since Hoosier hasn't helped us out at all on our tire bills, we decided to give the GY's a try on a night that wouldn't count. The Goodyear fronts have always been good, and these were no exception. The left rears were my concern and I wanted to see if they were as good as or better than the Hoosiers. We ran the Goodyears on three corners for the next three nights and really felt good on them, considering the motor still wasn't hitting right. The thing would just shut off right in the middle of the corners. If it wouldn't shut clear off, it would stumble badly, and just like being out of the throttle, the car would get super tight right in the middle of the corner. That made any kind of tire evaluation or comparson pretty much useless.
July 18, Lernerville, PA: Attempt #2 was much more successful (at least from the track's and fans' persepective. We would not be so fortunate though, as we timed just horrendously. I don't even know why, really. We went out kind of late, but a few other cars like local hot shoe Ed Lynch, Jr, managed to time well going out late, so I guess we just missed the set-up. I would race real well in our heat race and work my way up from 9th to 6th, before the motor started cuttin gout like it was running out of fuel.I lost two spots the first time it happened, coming off turn four. With two to go in the heat, I pulled off. We would scratch from the pole of the C. It didn't make much sense to even try to run the C, when the best we could hope for was to transfer to the back of the B main. With the car not running right, and we still didn't have a clue what was wrong, we decided to load it up and head for our next night of racing in eastern PA.
July 17, Lernerville, PA: Every time we have a tv race at Lernerville, you can count on it raining. Tonight would be no exception. We woud get part way through time trials when the first rains hit. We would start all over with hotlaps and time trials again a few hours later and actually I timed really well (likely good enough to make the invert), when it started raining again. This washed the night out and rescheduled for tomorrow night. We did manage to spend some quality time with friends and relatives that came to watch us race. So the night was not a total wash. :)
July 14, King's Royal, Rossburg, OH: What a terrible night to have a late draw. With 51 cars on hand, we would be one of the last cars to take the track for time trials. The track was already used up from hotlaps, and continuing to get worse. When eventual winner, Donny Schatz, time trials in the middle to bottom of the track at Eldora, there's something screwed up with the place, (and he barely made the 30 car invert). Everyone else would try the cushion, or what was left of it in turn two, and without exception, everyone struggled to get off turn two without hitting the fence. We were no exception and subsequently timed very poorly. All in all, we timed respectively for when we went out on the track. Keep in mind, Paul May, Jason Martin, and Randy Hannagan all timed right ahead of us with similar times, but were all 2 SECONDS off quick time as the track just deteriorated all night. We would be in the 6th heat, and the track was so much slower by then, that Jeremy Campbell, the quickest car in our heat, would not have transferred through the first four heats based on his lap times alone. You could just see it all night, as the track got slower and slower. Now, this isn't so bad to race on a surface that's so slick. That simply neutralizes the field and makes it a more level playing field from the haves to the have nots. Afterall, it's the same for everyone at that point, right? Unfortunately, we don't have traction control either! Seriously, everyone has the same racetrack to race on, but for the track to slow down that much in qualifying is just horrid. It is what it is. We took our beating and drove some laps and passed a couple cars to get C-main money by the end of it all. Lots of dust to wade through to watch a pretty good feature minus Schatz covering the field. (He has a way of doing that the past couple years now). Congrats to Donny for getting that one last gem in his resume of race victories. Once we got home, we went and ate breakfast at Triple XXX and got in a quick 18 at the local Putt Putt. Then D and Cody each had to head home. We really appreciated all of Cody's help while with us the last few weeks. Likewise, D fed all of us over the weekend like no other team can imagine. The kids will miss them both for a while until we see them again.
July 13, Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH: The night before the King's Royal. We would time in pretty decent really, right in the middle of the field of 49 cars, and was actually sitting in a coveted invert spot before the last ten or so cars went out on the track. I didn't race particularly well, and didn't transfer from the heat. In the B, I thought we had a real shot at making it, I just got slid by too many cars early on in the race, and kept falling backwards on the racetrack. The car wasn't too bad, just a little tight on the cushion, I just chose the wrong line entering turn one on the start and went in off the cushion and let those guys drive right by me.Once we got sorted out, I think I was nearly as fast, just that I gave it to them on the start like that was frustrating to me as a driver.
July 12th: WoO Driver's Benevolence Fund Charity Golf Tournament, Englewood, OH: My hats off to Mandy Pitman and all the girls who put this deal together. This was a very organized affair and well attended by hundreds of people. I would get the pleasure of playing golf with friend and sponsor, Dwaine Desselle (friends of dirtvision.com), and WoO CFO, Brian Carter. The round didn't start out so well as I dumped D out of the golf cart on the very first hole making a u-turn on a hillside. He somersaulted like an olympic gymnast down the hill and onto the cart path where I narrowly avoided running him over with the cart. It all seemed pretty funny after we realized he wasn't hurt. Maybe having me drive the golf cart was a mistake. While I hadn't picked up a club in exactly 20 years to the day (I golfed the morning I got married), I don't think I did so bad....I topped the ball plenty on some drives, but for twenty year old clubs and a even more rust on my swing, I had a great time. Thank goodness we had Brian Carter on our team, as this guy can really pound a golf ball down the fairways. He easily outdistanced D and I by a full stroke off the t's. We all chipped in at times though and managed something like a 4 under for the day playing scramble golf (take the best shot and everyone plays from there).We all really had a nice relaxing day I think. Very little talk about racing and work related items, just a gorgeous day on the golf course. I almost miss golfing now. I think I'll stick to Putt-Putt though, with maybe a small par3 thrown in for a change once in a while, LOL.The event raised some much needed money for the benevolent fund, which benefits injured drivers.There were some interesting items up for auction as well, including a couple driver's uniforms. I left before the meal and auction because I needed to get back with Sarah, Cody, and the kids, who were busy working on the car in a parking lot in Wapakoneta. All in all it was a great day and for a great cause. Maybe next time we can have it at a miniature golf course and avoid all the lost balls and walking.:)
July 11th, Brad Doty Classic, Lima, OH: (Oh yea, and Sarah and my 20th wedding aniversary.) How she has put up with me for 20 years, I have no idea. We would qualify poorly with slick track conditions and a narrow cushion. We changed about everything on the rear of our car (rear-end, torque tube, ball and housing, etc, etc) trying to find a problem. The torque ball was free at least, so that's a positive. The car actually felt much better and there was more left in it, I simply didn't push the loud pedal enough in time trials. In the heat race (when it finally got started, we were actually pretty good. Through spins and restarts, I would come from fourth and was in third by turn one when I was on the receiving end of a veteran slide job that squeezed me between two cars. I lifted, and that was the race. If I would have just stayed in it, I think we would have transferred. The car wasn't bad at all. We would then be forced to the C-main, so we decided it best to scratch for the night and avoid any possible on track mishaps that would cost us before the big race weekend ahead of us.
July 8th, Pevely, MO: Again, a dry slick bullring that we've run good at in the past. And once again, we would struggle. It's starting to sound like a broken record, but we just can't figure out what this car's doing. The torque ball gets warm and simply seizes up and then the car is awful to drive. It seems good for a lap or two, then just stops working. We've resquared the car umteen times over the last couple weeks and can't seem to find a sweet spot for the torque tube. With a low car count and my experience, we should have been sitting pretty nice for Pevely, and instead, we would struggle in our heat, and then repeat in the B. I was actually pretty good in the B and thought we were better than Martin and another car ahead of him, but a mid-race red allowed the torque ball to seize up again, and the last few laps were just about hanging on.
July 3rd, Huset's Speedway, Brandon (Sioux Falls), SD: We've timed real well here in the past, (2nd quick here last summer), so we felt pretty good going into this night. I would time just so-so, , and race about the same. THe car has been just way too tight over the last couple weeks. We may have hit on something, but we're still searching for answers to the car handling better. Our motor obviously is running well by making the shows at both half miles recently, but my usual strong suit of slick 1/4 mile tracks has quickly gone away. We would race right where we started in our heat race as the track stayed unusualy sticky for Huset's. In the B, I just make more laps and never really get going forward. The car was in one piece, but we're capable of so much more. It's frustrating when you can't just put your finger on what the problem is and just fix it. I keep threatening to pull the old back-up car down from upstairs, but I'm also determined to make this new car work.
July 1st, Cedar Lake Speedway, Somerset, WI: We would stop by the Reed family, some old friends from New Richmond, WI, that we met through racing in the area, and pick up their oldest son, Derek, to take to the races with us. Derek was good help at the track and seemed to enjoy himself as he was beaming ear to ear each time his friends stopped by to chat throughout the evening. We ate good and avoided another night of truckstop food or fastfood, which is always good. Great sharing and family time was had for all. Thanks to the Reed family for putting up with us. AJ got to make his first couple pedals without training wheels on his bike while we were in town, which was pretty cool too. Now if we can get him to show that wreckless abandon he has when riding his motorized fourwheeler, on his new two wheel venture. I've run good in the past at Cedar Lake, but tonight wasn't going to be one of them. The track slicked off like normal for this place. I just messed up in time trials. Well, I wasn't using traction control either. :) I spun the tires hard both laps and just looked terrible. We would start the tail of the heat and stay there. In the B, I was just getting a run on Hindi for the final transfer spot when a yellow came out with two to go. I made a couple charges through the middle of the track, but I just couldn't pull off the pass between Hindi, on the bottom, and Martin, bouncing off the turn two wall. I made it close, but missed the show by one spot. I think we left some on the table, because I was getting faster, and we could have made shock or bar changes to be eeven better before the B.
June 30th, Red River Valley Speedway, Fargo, ND: Now, I've never been a big fan of RRVS, Fargo's fast 1/2 mile , but over the last couple visits, we have timed in pretty well here. Last season for a two night show, we timed in 2nd and 4th and made the show both nights. This year we would again time in 4th and shock a few more regulars on the tour this season. The car was stuck real well and I could pretty much drive anywhere early on. We went off the same notes as last year, and I transferred through our heat and made yet another WoO dash this season. It seems like it's feast or famine this year. Either we time well and make the dash, or we're complete junk. I would race ok in the heat, but the dash would see us start 9th and finish 9th. In the featrue, I would drop like a rock as the car picked up a wicked push at the end of the straightaways again. Before I stuffed the car in the fence, I pulled off and saved what car we had. Not the fninsh we were looking for on yet another ESPN2 show, but at least we got mentioned on air.
June 29th, River Cities Speedway, Grand Forks, ND: With a few races under our belt freom the Gumout days, I was feeling pretty confident going into the Forks race. Unfortunately, the car was extremely tight all night again and we timed horribly on a 1/4 mile track, usually my forte. We would run a few laps in the heat, then scratch from the pole of the C, as we were just really out to lunch. We spent some time resquaring the back end of the car the rest of that night to try to fix the car being bound up problem that we had been chasing for a few nights (since blasting through the cushion at Sedalia), so hopefully we would make it better.
June 27th, we would take a day off to travel to the next track and take in some local scenery. What trip through South Dakota would be fulfillled without making a stop at Wall Drug (a couple days earlier), and at the almost famous Corn Palace? We would finish out our trip to Fargo just in time to spend a little time and money at Schatz' Petro and the Space Alien Diner across the street a couple nights. The kids absolutely loved our time there. Oh yea, we also had a chance to prepare to race that weekend.
June 25th, Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD: A sort of homecoming for our new crew help, Cody, who got to see some friends and family while we were in town for a couple days. Cody's laps of experience at Black Hills Speedway would come in handy, unfortunately, the track really came apart after the WoO officials asked the promoter to cut it up after qualifying. The track did slick clear off during time trials, but it was real smooth. It surely would have taken rubber early in the night without doing some track work, so that was the reason for the call to cut it up. Unfortunately, the track was dug up and graded, which only caused the gazillion rocks under the surface to come to the top and cause all kinds of havoc, which nearly resulted in the race being boycotted by drivers. Supposedly, a fan was injured during the first heat race, and a couple drivers suffered injuries within the first two, when racing was halted. A lot of drivers lobbied to cancel the race altogether, and that was pretty much the decision until Dolansky and Pitman offered to go out and hotlap their cars to test the newly reworked track surface. Every driver and crew member, team owners, etc, were out walking the track picking stones as they reworked the track a second time. When we finally did resume racing, the track was really pretty decent. We wouldn't make it through the B, as just as I got comfortable with the car, strong winds played havoc with the wings going down each straight away. We loaded the car in one piece with minimal rock damage. What could have been a disaster for the WoO, the track, and certainly the fans, ended up being an "ok" night with "ok" racing. I seriously doubt that the WoO will return to Black Hills Speedway, and that's a shame if you ask me. There was a good crowd, and the track obviously could use the fans' support. Had the drivers and officials refused to run the remainder of the program, I fear what would have become of the night, and the future of the speedway. We got to stay at Cody's parents place, which was a great house out on the prairie -- my kind of living -- no neighbors within eyesight and you can do what you want when you want. Thanks so much to them for putting up with our travelling circus as we rolled through their town.
June 23, Dodge City, KS: Night two of the Showdown at Boothill, televised for ESPN2 as part of the WoO SUmmer of Money. We would time in poorly again. I was really hoping to parlay our success at Sedalia into a good showing at Dodge City on tv, but it simply never developed. We were "junk" all night and I really struggled with the car right through the B. We wcould have used a provisional, but, as a team, we decided to save it for another night that we couldmake better useof it.
June 22, Dodge City, KS: We decided to try a few new things on our car set-up as we had SD native, Cody Petersen, on the road with us for a while. Cody has worked with Doug Wolfgang, and several other teams in the past and brings some valuable experience and talent to our team. It's nice to have someone on the road with us that you can trust and has a working knowledge of sprint cars. We didn't time well at all and played follow the leader in the heat race. The car was fast as the cars right ahead of me, even faster than a few, but the track was so good, that there just wasn't any passing. We ran the B-main and pretty much duplicated our heat race effort by just making laps following the car in front of us.
June 20, State Fair Speedway, Sedalia, MO : In my first night back behind the wheel in about a month, I made quite an impression. We timed real well, 11th quick, then led every lap of our heat race and set fast time for the heat (see Mylaps results and times >>> here <<<, over Danny Lasoski, Stevie Smith, Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana, Brooke Tatnell, Jason Sides, Zach Chapell, Jac Haudenschild, and Dion Hindi. Nice line-up of cars there behind me. That felt real good, and we qualified for a dash, which is always good. AJ drew outside the front row for me for the dash, alongside Kinser, and I raced side by side with the King for the length of the front stretch at Sedalia before he slid me into the corner. A nasty slider from Lasoski was expected after soundly outperforming him in the heat race. I knew it was coming, but had to let him go. When he ran me up over the cushion with only a couple of laps, I lost another couple spots that I wouldn't have otherwise. I ended up 5th, but was still all smiles from the heat race performance and simply making the dash. In the feature I would simply make the car way too tight and we quickly dropped to the rear. I stayed out on track the whole race and that was a great work out for my leg.
June 15, Linden, IN: Press Release:
Carlson returns to WoO tour
After more than a month since he last raced with the World of Outlaws sprint series, Brian Carlson is ready to return to the frenzied summer schedule of sprint car racings premier series. Carlson suffered injuries to his left leg from a crash during qualifications at the Lake Ozark Speedway, in Lake Ozark, MO, May 12th. After a few nights stay in a local hospital in Missouri, Carlson returned to his Linden, IN home, where his wife, Sarah, and two children, AJ & Seth, anxiously awaited him. Brian was brought back to Indiana via friend and team sponsor, Dwaine Desselle, while the rest of his family were assisted by the Tony Bruce Racing team in driving the SC Motorsports hauler back to their Indiana race shop. Its been a long last few weeks, but Im anxious to get back out there, said Carlson. I really wanted to come back sooner, but Sarah kept me in check. Thats good, I guess, its important that this heals up right and I dont rush things too much. I hated to miss Kokomo, being practically in our backyard, and the Eagle Nationals was tough to miss as well. Carlson has a good history with the Eagle, NE facility, winning his heat race on Friday night, qualifying fifth quick on night two and earning a spot in the dash in last years Eagle Nationals. As much as I wanted to come back, the reality is, I just wasnt ready physically. Carlsons injuries were limited to muscle, ligament, and other soft tissue damage, but fortunately, no broken bones. Shortly after the crash, Paulie, (fellow competitor on the WoO series and driver of the Tony Stewart Motorsports #20, Paul McMahon,) stepped into the trailer and said it would have been better if it were broken. I bet I heard that from a dozen other people since then, including the doctors. Its amazing it wasnt broken as ugly as it looked. My ankle swelled out to about the size of my thigh and turned every color of the rainbow. The swelling is much better now and I can firmly put weight on it again. Carlson has been undergoing physical therapy to build strength back in his leg and get back on his feet, so to speak. Im still ahead of the doctors six to eight weeks recovery, so thats encouraging. Reflecting on how quickly Terry McCarl came back from a bone shattering injury last season, Carlson made comment on how determined athletes and racers can be at times like this. It amazes me how quickly your body can heal when you have a positive attitude and a goal. All I have wanted to work towards is getting back in the car as soon as possible, and thats no different with most any driver, Im sure. The doctors give you a time frame, and you instinctively cut that in half and expect to be ready to go, Carlson continued. Carlsons return is just in time to take advantage of all the excitement surrounding the current World of Outlaws television package, which includes the month of money, to be televised on ESPN2. Well miss the ESPN2 opener at Knoxville, (Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, IA), but well be at the next televised race at Dodge City and the remainder of the tv schedule. The exposure is a great boost to our sponsors and gives them their deserved recognition for supporting the many teams that follow the World of Outlaws. The SC Motorsports team hasnt been sitting idle while sidelined from the on track action. They recently announced several new associate sponsors, and have been building up cars and parts to come back more prepared than ever. Its been tough being here at the shop while everyone else is out there having all the fun. Its made even worse by the fact that much of this time I have been unable to help do much here around the shop. Its tough just carrying the mail, let alone painting and building new cars. Theres a lot more I wish I could have gotten done during my time away from the series, but my injuries really limited was I was able to do on my own. I tried to hitch a ride to the Kokomo show with some different friends, and couldnt even get that done, so Ive been basically keeping up with everything on the computer, (watching live web telecasts through DirtVision.com and via the official World of Outlaws website, www.worldofoutlaws.com.) DirtVision is really pretty cool technology. I dont have the latest-greatest computer, and Im not really adept at all the latest gadgets out there, but I certainly enjoyed seeing the races and hearing Johnnys, (WoO announcer), call of the racing action. Carlson is also quick to thank the fans who have supported him and contacted him during this recovery time. Yea, I have to thank all the fans. There are so many people to thank, I could go on and on, but the common thread among all these people are that they are fans and friends. You dont realize how many you have until something like this happens. Thanks for all your prayers, all the kind words, and encouragement. Its been kind of overwhelming, really. Carlson reported that he received over 200 emails and phone calls in the first two weeks since hes been home. A definite fan favorite, Brian Carlson and his blue collar team will return to racing with the World of Outlaws June 20th at the Missouri State Fairground in Sedalia, MO. For more information on Brian Carlson and SC Motorsports, please visit their website at: www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
June 14th: More disappointment. After working on the racecar much of the day yesterday, I was informed by my car owner / better half, that we would not be going to Granite City to race, or Knoxville on Saturday. IF I continue to build strength in my leg, then we will be at Sedalia. Trust me, this decision was met with MUCH debate, but if I want this thing to heal right, she's got a point. I just really got up and around this week, and I really don't need to be placing myself in a position to possibly hurt others if I can't safely stop the car. If we only had power brakes in sprint cars... Nah, that would rob horsepower and just make racing even that much more expensive! What, with traction control, then ABS! LOL My apologies to everyone for getting their hopes up about us returning this week. Believe me, there's NOTHING I would rather be doing.What a difference a hard day's work made in how I feel. Whew!
June 13th: We're still planning on going back racing at Granite City, IL this Thursday for the make-up rain dated show with the WoO. We will continue from there on out to Knoxville, IA for Saturday's race, then make a quick trip back home to tidy up a few things left unattended here around the shop. My leg is still in a lot of pain when I use it a lot. Therapy has a way of doing that I suppose. At least I'm not on crutches anymore, so that's good. We'll see how racey I feelonce I'm in the car, hopefully it's not a track that requires a lot of braking. I know Knoxville sure doesn't! :)
June 8th: Our open house meet and greet at Midwest Rentals went real smooth. The place was packed when we first showed up and people were real excited to talk with us. Dozens of kids got to sit in the car. There's nothing that irritates me like seeing a racecar on display with a banner or ribbon around it prohibiting kids from touching it or crawling in it. For crying out loud! It's a RACECAR! How's a kid going to hurt it?? If it's capable of goingon a racetrack, it should be plenty able to allow a little kid to touch it or sit in it! Remember, these are adoring new fans of our sport and we need to embrace their enthusiasm, not block them out. Anyhow, plenty of kids got to sit in MY racecar. :) WLFI TV 18, our local CBS affiliate was there as well to show the car during their 6 o'clock evening news as well. That's always nice to bring a little more attention to our sponsors. It's exciting to know that the local tv crew wants to show racing oriented things during their sports segment of their news telecast. Things slowed down later and we packed up and made the short trip back to Linden. Displaying the car was also a good test of my leg, as shifting the truck sure took its toll on me. I'm alright except for stoplights. I don't normally use the clutch when shifting, except for from a complete stop, so I think travelling the interstates will be a breeze. Pulling in and out of places and stopping and starting will be tough for a while I am thinking.
June 7th, Lafayette, IN: Midwest Rentals Open House. We will be at Midwest Rentals new location on the southside of Lafayette, IN (old Carter lumber building) from 4pm to 7pm with the race car on display and an autograph session. Hope to see everyone out there!
June 4th: Well, I had hoped to be able to go for Eldora, but that was out. Unfortunately, Kokomo is now out as well. All of the neurology reports came back just fine and I've been released by the neuroligists. That was a big step in the right direction. I'm making progress everyday, but I still can't put much weight on my left leg. I just started going without crutches for short periods of time, and that's a welcomed relief, but very painful and tiring. I don't think running Kokomo would do much to help the healing process. :) I'll probably go over with a friend just to watch, but I won't be driving. It will be nice to actually go to a race for a change, but still, I'd rather be racing. We're looking at "possibly" Granite City now for my return to the seat of the SC Motorsports #18. Stay tuned, and thanks again for everyone's support. It really means a lot!
. May 30: Still on the mend... Every day I am building more strength in my leg and ankle. I'm not as far along as I had hoped by now, but still way ahead of any doctor's schedule. I was scheduled to start physical therapy next week, but I am already getting around (at least a little) without crutches now. I figure as soon as I can walk, I can race. One more appointment with the neurologist doctors this Friday means I won't be able to return for Sharon though. Eldora, Saturday, is not completely out of the question yet. I know I won't have to use the brakes there, so there's a slight chance I can make my return to the WoO tour then. I would really like to get a race under my belt before the Kokomo, (closest sprint track to our home), show on Tuesday, which would really tax my left leg I am thinking. Another reminder, we will be showing our race car at Midwest Rentals Thursday, June 7th. This is between the Kokomo race, and our race two days later at Eagle, NE on Saturday. We hope to see all of our local fans out on the south side of Lafayette for a great time at Midwest Rentals open house, celebrating their new location.
May 29: Plea for your help, AND a great deal to boot! Well, I hate to ask for any help -ever- BUT, this is a way that you fans can really help out right now. Medical bills are really piling up, and while we are assured that the insurance company will "eventually" cover "most" of the hospital and doctor's bills, it is still going to cost us a ton of money from my injuries. The hospital bill from Missouri, alone, is well over $10,000! I could go on and on for hours about how the medical and insurance industries are a total scam in our country currently, but the bottom line is this... The doctors and nurses each did their job, and need paid in a timely manner. So....knowing that every little bit will help right now, we are offering our t-shirts, (most sizes available), at the great price of $15 each (add $3 shipping).
May 28: Hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Remember why we had the day off work. I challenge each of you reading this, to visit someone who has a loved one away in the armed forces currently. This is such a tough time for families of those serving our country. Seeing and hearing the stories of families who have lost their loved ones in battle brings tears to my eyes, but lets not overlook those who are still struggling with the absence of their husbands/wives, fathers/mothers. Pray that each returns home safely, and in the meantime, visit their families here at home and tell them how much you appreciate them.
May 21, Linden, IN: I'm doing better each day. Thanks for everyone's concern. I just need a little time to build some strength back in the muscles, ligaments, etc. that got whacked. Docs said 6-8 weeks, but more realistically, 2 would be nice, I am thinking. :)
May 16, Linden, IN: Well, I made it home. I have now seen our family doctor and a neurosurgeon, who conducted some pretty cool tests to make sure my brain is still functioning correctly -- I think they could have asked Sarah about that and saved us all a lot of time and money, but anyhow... I'm at home resting easily with the help of some rather cheap prescription drugs. It's not very easy though. I'll miss a few races at least. I really miss not being able to run Lernerville. That's about the next thing to a home track for us, as most of our friends and family are from around there.The track likely misses us too, as we probably put another $1000 in the stands and back gate when we race back there. I did manage to watch the show on DirtVision last night. The online webcast show must be pretty popular, because I kept getting buffering messages, even on our DSL line. We did manage to see the A main in its entirety though, after missing most of the prelim. races to a black screen. Now we just wait and see what the results of the numerous tests are from the doctors before I can do much of anything. The ankle/leg injury is the least of our concerns...that seems to be healing just fine. I've got some muscle and ligament damage, soft tissue damage and some big time bruising that makes it pretty painful to put weight on that side of me right now. I got a splint/pseudo cast on it, and can get around on crutches just fine. There was/is still a concern about any possible head injury though, so we're taking all the necessary precautions. I feel very certain that all the complications were simply a bad reaction to the morphine administered at the Missouri hospital ER. A heart rate at 30 or less would make anyone a little cautious, I am thinking. :) I don't think I'll be missed or even noticed at Williams Grove this weekend. Although, I'd rather be racing a B or c main at the Grove than sitting at home thinking about it. It's all in the doctor's hands right now, I guess. I could probably get in the car, but I'm not ready to race, that's for sure.We're not in this deal for the points, so we'll get me healed back up and hit the road as soon as I am ready. The toughest part will likely be pushing the clutch in the rig to get us to the track! Brakes on a race car are over-rated anyhow, right? We'll keep everyone up to date on what our status is and when we'll make our return to the WoO series. TonyVeneziano, PR director for the WoO Sprint Series, wrote a nice little summation article for the website and news media that can be read at: >>link here<< There is also a small bit in the DesMoines, IA paper and on our local Montgomery county 24/7 paper, that can be linked to >>here<<.Any press is good, right?
May 12, Eldon, MO: Lake Ozark Speedway. From the overhead picture on their website, this place really looks new and fresh. That might be a little deceiving, along with it's proximity to a neighboring nudie bar raised more than a few eyebrows. It looks like a great facility, it could just use some rain before raceday I am guessing. The track surface was hard slick in hot laps, but that generally works in our favor with our current -12 motor program. We would go out to time and get in a lap of 20th quick of the 30 cars on hand. Unfortunately, our night ended right then, as the left front radius rod broke and rolled the front end under as I entered turn one on the hammer of lap two in time trials. (Looking back, I wonder if we overlooked something broken from the crash the previous night from Hindi and Martin...There were certainly a lot of parts bouncing off the track surface -- Maybe I ran over something and broke the radius rod or heim then -- we'll never know now.) I think we could have picked up a tenth or even two, as I bobbled slightly over the cushion exiting turn four on lap one, but it was not to be. The car suffered heavy damage from the impact to the outside concrete wall. I was able to keep the car upright as it snapped around, but it managed to tear up a lot of parts. I banged my ankle off the torque tube in the crash, but hobbled around enough to help Sarah get the car ready for racing the rest of the night. I knew we had a good shot at making the show with so few cars on hand, even though they were all pretty good quality cars. We replaced a ton of parts and realized that we wouldn't make the heat, so we kept working, readying ourselves for the B. I would start 5th if I could make the call, and they were taking 6, so I liked my chances for sure. We were just finishing up with the car, when I noticed that my race suit had gotten extremely tight on my left calf and ankle. I sat down for a second, and realized something was wrong. My ankle had swollen out like a balloon, to the point that I had trouble getting my suit off while the emt's looked at me. I figured it's better to take it off then, than have them cut it off when we get to the ER. Once I got my suit off I couldn't even stand on my left leg, so instead of racing our way into the A, we raced to the hospital to get our expected fracture photo. After several hours in the emergency room, a couple shots of morphine, and the doctor's good word that nothing was broken, I was released...well, almost. When I got up to get my IV out, I collapsed, apparently from a reaction to the morphine, which hadn't really done anything for the pain anyways. This concerned the docs, so they held me overnight. The next morning I offered an encore performance to awaiting nurses, who for some reason, kept asking if I was married...LOL All the sudden, I got real popular in the hospital. They transferred me to their Step Down unit, a sort of watered down ICU I figure, where I got some REAL personal attention. All of which were cute, mind you. Then a barage of tests....I don't think I'm pregnant anyways...although I'm sure they checked me for that at one point or another. I got to make the eight hour trip back home late Monday night with the likelyhood of seeing several more doctors before giving me the "all-clear" to go back racing. A very special thanks to everyone who offered their assistance over the weekend. A Huge THANKS to the Tony Bruce team for getting Sarah and the boys in our tow rig home to Indiana for us, and to Big D (friends of Dirtvision), for getting me back home. Dwaine spent a ton of money with the extra days at Lake Osage, renting a goober van to roll my old bones home in, $3/gallon gas, dinners, paying for the meds at the pharmacy, clothes I needed to get out of the hospital, all to get me to Indiana (considered a pit-stop on his way to Louisiana from Missouri by the way. Alright, with Big D, that may actually be possible. :) Then to top it off, we made a quick stop at Triple XXX sponsor Greg Ehresman's second location, Route 66 Restaurant, for some much needed REAL FOOD breakfast after the few days of hospital (cardiac food?) Cardiac food to me, means biscuits and gravy, baby...not some dried baked porkchop with salt substitute...UGH! Thanks to Greg for a great meal to come home to. Big D stocked up on a years supply of that world famous Triple XXX Root Beer to go. Now that's sponsor support! Thanks to EVERYONE who got me home and for all the positive emails, phone calls, and prayers. Trust me, It ALL helps!
May 11, Cameron, MO: US 36 Speedway. We ran pretty good here last year, and was looking forward to another good run on the tacky bullring just north of Kansas City. We left the little motor in, and that maybe hurt us a bit, as we timed in towards the back. I would race behind Dollansky in the heat race, but never really challenge for a transfer spot. In the B, I passed a couple cars, then just as the red flag fell for a crashing Martin and Hindi right in front of me, the motor went sour on one cylinder. It turned out to be just a broken spark plug, but just as a precaution, I pulled off the track and gave up our last chance to transfer. Once again, Dwaine was grilling up the steaks in our pit, and everyone had a good time, just wish we could have made the show again here. I really like this joint. It's "up on the wheel" and very fast for a quarter mile, very much like Bloomington, IN but with wider sweeping corners. Like others, we didn't particularly like the hour or more wait to get out of the track at the end of the night though. Just maybe the traffic problems could be looked into a little better for next year's event. This is too good of a race track to be dropped from the schedule.
May 8: Linden, IN: We'll be headed to US36 Raceway for Friday night's WoO race. Last year we had a good run there, timing in well, and grabbing the last transfer spot in the B over local hot shoe, Brian Brown. In checking out their website at http://us36raceway.com, I was pleasantly surprised that they chose to use a photo of our car from last year's race there for their homepage. That is pretty cool, and a great action photo...You can check it out >> here. << I've also included it in our photos pages of our website.
May 7: I'm going to try to use the change detection link that I use on our main page of this website so that everyone can better monitor when this page has been updated. Simply enter your email address in the link above, (no information is shared, ie mailing lists, etc), and you will receive automatic email notifications each time this page has been updated. Now you will be able to stay on top of all the latest news from our team throughout the year. And for the diehards, you'll be able to keep up with our travels without checking here first thing Monday morning, only to find out we haven't gotten back in town yet. :)
May 5, West Memphis, AR: Riverside Speedway, a place the WoO hasn't been in some twenty years or more was our latest stop on the tour. After a rain-out at Granite City (now Pontoon Beach), we were anxious to get racing again. At first I didn't expect much from the Riverside Speedway. With all the rain in the area the last couple days, it's surprising that we even got the show in. There were water pumps running in the infield, dozers moving dirt and mud everywhere, and we had to pit in the spectator parking (a grass field across the street). My hat's off to the track and crew their for putting forth a monumental effort at getting this show in. The track would undoubtedly get rough, but the track crew really did a great job at limiting the track coming apart, that we all sort of expected. Dwaine, (one of our sponsors - "friends of dirtvision.com"), was there in our pit again. This time cooking up ribeyes for everyone - and I mean everyone! What a guy! He'll be back for next weekends races to finish where he left off, feeding all of the travelling teams this year. What an incredible untertaking! As if making pizzas at Paducah wasn't enough, now it's steaks for everyone. I think he cooked for 5 hours straight or so grilling steaks three at a time, prior to the drop of the green for hotlaps. He'd personally deliver them hot off the skillet to one team, then return to cook up some more for the next crew. I think all of the teams were very appreciative of all his efforts. I know we sure were! It sure was a nice change from the usual track dogs and road-kill truckstop burgers that most of us have built up a tolerance for.
Apr 28. Knoxville, IA: We considered skipping this one night trip, but when one of our young neighbor friends, (Big Aaron, we call him), said he'd like to go to the races with us sometime, it's hard to pass up the opportunity to introduce sprint car racing to someone who has never seen it live. What better place than at Knoxville? We still had the -12 head motor in the car, so even making the show would be a miracle. Instead,we focused on simply having fun and seeing just how far motors have come in the past few years. Surprisingly, our little motor wasn't all too far off the pace, and actually out-timed a few guys with certainly better, (more expensive), motor programs than ours. We're certainly getting the most out of what we've got. That's for sure. Thanks to Dave Conn of J&D Performance for giving us the most power available, especially considering the budget we let him spend. :) More importantly, is the reliablility of our engine program. It never ceases to amaze me though, how much motor a place like Knoxville can take, spec tire rule or not. Through the early part of the program, it was clear that the short line around the track was going to be faster,as exemplified by time trials. The track had one car width of stickiness right around the inside berm for time trials and through the heats. After that, the typical Knoxville cushion would develop and the black-slick in the middle became no-mans land. It made for exciting two groove racing for much of the mains for sure. We would time in 42nd of the 58 cars on hand. That kept us out of the last chance qualifier, (relief). We would be near the tail of the heat, so I raced a few laps then pulled in when I realized that we weren't going forward enough to transfer. We were able to race with some great cars, but none of us would make the A from that far back. The C-main would see many scratches and we raced in 5th and 6th place for a few laps before I pulled in again. It all pays the same, so from that point, we kept the car in one piece and will save our bullets for another night, when we hopefully will time better and have a realistic shot at making the show. Sarah is still working hard at trying to secure the much needed sponsorship to get our #1 motor back and get ourselves a little closer power-wise to our competitors. IF you're down 30 or 40 horsepower, you have the ability to get your elbows up, sit up a little taller in the seat, and race with the best of them. When you're 100+ HP down, time trails just kill all your chances of competing the rest of the night. It's all a matter of cubic dollars. Everything just takes so much money that it takes a lot of the fun out of racing with the WoO this year. Everyone has their stuff on kill right now, more than ever. This night might as well have been the Nationals, minus a couple PA and Cali guys that make the A, it was the best of the best. Unlike 2006, there are few smiles in the pit area, just a lot of game faces and a stern seriousness that usually isn't seen except for the few really big races of the year. Sure, there's the usual joking among crew members, but it is undoubtedly a different "feel" in the pit area this year, for "whatever" reason. Last season was a much needed break from the cut-throat competition from a racer and car owner's viewpoint. On the other hand, the fans and promoters have got to be loving the two combined series again. A sure draw of cars, fans, and relentless competition on and off the track are now the norm.
Apr 24, Knoxville, IA: Tony Veneziano, WoO Sprint series PR Director, wrote a nice article about us for the WoO website. You can access the entire article >>here<<.
Apr 21, Haubstadt, IN: After a LONG haul down to the extreme southern and western corner of Indiana, we unloaded to race at Tri-State Speedway. We were excited to be racing back in our home state, and after our success last year here, (timed 7th, ran second in our heat, 6th in the dash, and finished 14th in the A,) we felt we could compete tonight. We would time trial pretty decent, I thought, this time out-timing Solwold, Schaffer, and some other well funded teams, but still 26th of 33 cars. The track slicked off much more than the usual Tommy Helfrich prepared Haubstadt, and that kind of caught us off guard, as I missed the set-up a little in the heat. We tightened it up a bunch for the B, and the car was pretty good right around the bottom., Unfortuantely, as far back as we were starting, we just weren't passing anyone, as the two or three cars in front of me were playing huggy pole as well. All the while, the leaders were blasting around the cushion, just inches off the wall walking away from us. We would take our first provisional of the year, hoping that the track might further come to us running the bottom. During a short intermission, the track was re-cut up and watered and actually made real racey again for the first twenty laps or so of the 40 lap A main. Unfortunately, we were set-up for the last twenty laps of bottom feeding, so I just rolled the bottom and tried to stay out of everyone's way until the track started to slick off some again. This worked for a while, until someone, Kemenah, got into the back of me, and turned me around, collecting Shaffer as well. The sportsman that Chad is, he apologized later for the contact. Considering I was a lap down, that's earned even more respect from me for the multi-time All Stars champ. Chad is a true racer and gentleman; a real class act. Like us, if only he could get some much needed financial help to better compete at this level. We suffered some bent up wings, but that was the extent of it, and actually, the car was getting better and better through the last 20 laps. I just didn't have it free enough for the early running, and with 26 cars on a 1/4 mile track, you get lapped pretty quick. On a late race restart, I actually saw the green for the leaders as I was entering turn one...Talk about a disadvantage! Anyhow, we probably wasted a provisional by finishing a disappointing 23rd, but we felt like we had to try. The points are a moot subject at this time, we just wanted to race.
Apr 20, Attica, OH: It's been a long time since we've visited Attica Raceway Park. According to our sprint set-up notebook, it's been since 1999 for an All Star show. It didn't seem like quite that long though, as the place hasn't changed all that much. The track surface was the same old Attica. Dry slick in time trials with a slim cushion high at the top of the banking. It makes for a really racey track, but you have to have your car just right and you have to run the cushion well. (Especially with these new spec tires.) The days of a Kelly Kinser, or the like, running the bottom and squirting off the corners to sneak up on a guy that's been blasting around the top all night, are most likely gone now without electronics and the such. But the racing is still good, albeit with slidejobs rather than smooth throttle control now. I thought we timed in ok for as late in the qualifying order as we went out, (We out-timed fellow WoO regulars, Hanagan and Hafertepe, but unfortunately, that was not even good enough to keep us out of the non-qualifiers race. We would be scheduled to start outside the front row of the NQ race, and with the current format only allowing the top two cars to tag the tail of the C-main (not even participating in the heat races,) we felt it best to scratch for the night and save our equipment. That turned out to be a wise choice, as there were reds, crashes, etc. in the NQ, as guys were racing desperately just to start the tail of the C-main. It all pays the same, so I'm not sure of the thought process there, but I am sure we made a wise decision. Now if you got the chance to tag the tail of a heat race, then at least you have a chance, albeit slim, to make the A through the heat by passing a half dozen cars or so. It's just not going to happen where a guy comes from the tail of the C-main, to the tail of the B, passing some 20 cars or more to make the A. Those days are long gone. The track went away in time trials, but as eveidenced by Saldana's late qualifying attempt to time in 5th best, it just goes to show, that if your car is just right and you're confident your car will stick, you're going to be fast all night. Joey would eventually win the A as well.
Apr 13, Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH: I generally like going to Eldora. Several years ago, we'd run pretty good there, but as of late, it seems we have just been out-motored / out-dollared every time we go there. Eldora's a place where you have to be comfortable. After racing there some10+ years now, I think that's not a problem, but you also have to have a big hoss motor to time well. We've got "good" motors, but certainly not the best avaialble right now. We went to The Big E with our worst motor, really, a -12 head motor that is probably 10 years old technology wise. I kinda wanted to do this out of curiosity; to see just how "even" the new tire rule was going to be. Afterall, a big reason for implementing the tire rule was to even the playing field by unhooking the cars more, and putting the racing back into the driver's hands, instead of the engine builder's. That's the one place we really lack the most. Nothing against my engine builder. He does a GREAT job with the parts we give him...but there's no substitute for cubic dolalrs when it comes to engine building and racing a WoO sprint car. For Friday night's show, we would pull the last pill for time trials and be even further behind the eightball. We would time 33 of 41 cars on hand. Not exactly what we wanted. But not far from what we really expected. Now, consider, we were only two tenths off the invert time, and less than a half second off quick time. A pretty close and competitive field as always. In fact, we would time better than last weeks 4th place finisher, Martin, Tim Kaeding, now in the Tony Stewart "11k", and perennial quick timer, Hannagan. Considering the budgets of those teams compared to ours, that was a bit of a bright spot. This kept us out of the C-main and in the B, of which these guys had to try to transfer to. In the heat race, we would never be a factor and simply made laps. We were close to the fast folks ahead of us, but a long way from the front. We were lucky to avoid the C, as Martin and Hannagan started up front. Kaeding and Mosher in tow. Terry McCarl had problems during time trials and started on the tail.Not a good C-main to be in. Then consider that the track was just chewing up the new spec tires that teams kept throwing at it. Several teams used 6 rear tires during the event. Consider that as roughly $1000, and you can see that not too many teams made money. Again, I have to resound that I am certainly NOT in favor of a tire rule. Especially when you can't get decent used tires anymore. Those guys in the C, had to bolt on new rubber, then had to AGAIN for the B, just so they wouldn't blow out on Eldora's fast surface.We made a lap in the B and pulled off to save a little money on the tire issue and wear and tear on the motor. Others would race hard and get paid exactly the same money and points, so what was the point in it? Gosh, I love to race. As a driver, you never want to give up or throw in the towel, but as a business owner, you have to look at the dollars and "sense", as I call it. It made no sense to keep grinding off tires for no return on investment. Without having a good used tire to run, everyone just senselessly is spending more and more money.
More thoughts on tire rule: I still haven't figured out how this "helps the state of 410 racing." Consider, that while officials are now concerned with wings, many of the teams are busy in their trailers prepping the new spec tires. Prepping may consist of grinding, "doping" or adding chemicals to the surface or inside the tire itself, to simply pre-heating the tire, ie tire warmers just like Formula 1. Now, I've sold a few sets of kart tire warmers through the shop, so this really didn't come as a surprise to me, but at the cost of $450 to $700 per tire, (right rear is the only one I think is necessary right now), where does this insanity end? Will there come a point when teams will keep the tire warmers on their right rears until they are ready to push off? Kind of like we do with engine heaters and blankets now? Why not? It's an advantage, right? Did anyone notice some motors not sounding really "right" during time trails and racing? Do you really think that the crews simply got the gearing wrong, or missed the fuel curve? I can't accuse anyone of running traction control because I simply don't understand it well enough, but when the leading manufacturer of the stuff tells you that most guys have purchased it in the past, it makes you wonder. Did they simply throw those $8500 units away and ride the road to higher morality? Just take a look at the dirt late model scene and see where tire rules have gotten those guys. Traction control, tire grinding, chemical prepping, tire warmers, extra employees for working on tires, and a WHOLE trailer load full of tires mounted up is the norm...This saves us, how? Keep in mind also, that the new spec tire costs the same as the open comp. tires. The money is not going into the nightly purses, so it makes one wonder, where does this guaranteed money from the tire company go? From talking with IRA president, Steve Sinclair, it sounds like they've got the best approach to this new spec tire rule....give the money back to the racers that are purchasing the tires at the track in the form of a rebate. This "rebate" encourages racers to buy from the dealer that services their series. With a $50 rebate for each tire purchased, the tire is now roughly $135 ea. Now, that's a genuine approach at helping the teams with their expenses. Any claims that the guaranteed monies will go into the points fund is simply mirroring that the racers are funding their own points fund by purchasing the required tires at full price. What if a guy doesn't compete enough are even care to run for points? Now they are paying for the series points fund. It's all pretty frustrating. Bottom line is, that this tire rule, or any tire rule in my opinion, only hurts the lower budget and local teams even more than they were with the big bucks teams putting new open comp. tires on each time they hit the track. At least before, they could get really nice take-off from the better funded teams. Now, even that's gone. enough of my harping...It is what it is. Again, if it "betters" the sport we all love, then I hope it somehow becomes successful.
The track, itself: Much noise has been made about the changes to Eldora itself. The track surface at Eldora has changed dramatically. Don't let anyone tell you different. The banking is greatly reduced as it is now a linear banking instead of progressive (soup bowled). Larry and his crew did the best they could with a track that had not seen racing yet this spring, and with all the rough weather as of late, it was not surprising that the track wasnot the typical Eldora surface. Dust in hotlaps should have been a sign of how the night would transpire. No complaints with the track though, we know what the ground temperature has been like here in the midwest the past couple weeks. The racing was all right around the bottom. While the announcer and pr folks may make it sound exciting, there were no massive slide jobs for the lead.Instead, Meyers simply muscled his way under Haud for the lead going into turn one just a few feet from the inside concrete wall.Meyers had the fastest car, I don't think there was a doubt on that. Had the track had a top side that was raceable, things may have been different, more exciting, in my opinion. Hopefully when we go back, it will be considerably warmer, and the track crew will have a handle on the new dirt and banking to provide a better track for us. Only time will tell.
Apr 10, Linden, IN: The interview with Dave Seay of DirtNation went well last night and can be heard on www.DirtNation.net. It seemed like we talked mostly about sponsorship opportunities and the upcoming television coverage for the WoO series, and was hopefully entertaining to the listeners. All the previous interviews are also archived, so you can go back and listen to all your favorite drivers on air.
For more info on Triple XXX Family Restaurant and Root Beer, please visit their website at: http://www.triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com
Apr 6, Paducah, KY: In our first visit to Paducah, and the first night of the new National sprtnt tire rule, we would struggle to get a handle on things. The race track was hard and slick, and honestly, that should work to our benefit, but we just never really got going good.We would time real early, and I would follow Donnie Schatz' line around the middle and bottomof the slick track. Unfortunately, the track was quite a bit faster around the top, as several drivers out late proved. The heat race was uneventful, starting and finishing in the same position. In the B, I tried to move around on the track a little to find something, but we just weren't any better than on the bottom. I'm still not sold on the spec tire deal. If I saw some of the money savings that is being touted by instituting this new rule, maybe I could understand the motives. The tire costs the same as an open tire, and all the used ones I saw were siped and cut to shreds. The new tire sure seemed to equalize the field, as shown by Lasoski coming from deep in the field running flat on the bottom to win it, but I think that was primarily due to a sub-freezing track surface that went hard-slick all the way across in the hotlaps. If there were a cushion, I still think the spec tire will be far better against the cushion than anywhere else. That could make for single file racing. When the track is slow and slick all the way across though, it's going to be exciting racing.
Mar 31, Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA: Well, after searching through our "old" sprint car track note books, I found where we had last been at Dixie for an All Star show in 1996. By my notes, it looks like we were running a 1990 J&J on McCreary tires then, so there wasn't much to go off of. The place hasn't changed a bit though. I was pretty comfortable on the track and we actually qualified really well, considering we are running the "dash 12" motor for a while here until we gets some funds rounded up to put our good / better motors back in the car. The little old motor was just enough to time in an impressive 9th of the 33 cars on hand. Once again, out-timing some much better funded teams on the tour this year. Better yet, we backed up our qualifying run with a stellar heat race showing in which we ran second to Craig Dolansky, holding off Donnie Schatz for the last random dash start. Schatz, the returning champion of the series, was quick time and would start the dash behind us, where I would again hold him off and finish 8th. Steve Kinser would get by me in turn one of the the dash, and I turned back under him in turn two to out drag race him down the back stretch into turn three, where he promptly slammed the door on me. That's ok though, I was smiling for a whole straight away, and the fact that the King knew I was faster, even for just a straight, will put a smile on anyone's face. Our success wasn't unnoticed either. Several crew members were quick to congratulate or acknowledge our run thus far, and that will do wonders for your confidence level for sure. It's been a long time coming this season, but we finally earned a dash start and really held our own on the racetrack. In the A-main, we would start 8th, and drop back a few spots right at the start when I got shuffled/shoveled to the high side of turn 1. I would hold off Lasoski for several laps before he would run me a little deep into turn three and I would lose another spot to McMahon in the Tony Stewart entry. I would pressure McMahon and Danny Smith for the 12th position until just past the midway point when Hannagan drove into the back of me and turned us both around. It was just one of those racing deals. Had patience prevailed, we may have both gotten into the top ten, or at least settled for a decent finishing position. To the tail we both went, where the only car we were able to get around was Chad Hillier, to wind up 22nd of the 25 starters. All in all it was a good outing for our team. While the final rundown and results won't show it, we certainly had the attention of many industry insiders, DirtVision viewers, and trackside fans. It was great to make the show and earn some respect again. The accolades and respect from our peers is the most gratifying, because they truly understand the odds we are up against each night.
Mar. 29: You'll notice the banner ad above for the upcoming charity golf tournament. All beneifits will go towards theWorld of Outlaws Benevolent Fund, which offers disability payments for injured drivers that compete with the series. This is a great cause and we certainly encourage everyone who can, to please participate, or donate to the Benevolent Fund. It's all of our hopes that no driver will ever need to use money from this account, but it's comforting to know that such a fund exists for those times of special need. A BIG thanks to all the racers wives who coordinate this effort! This also gives the fans a chance to spend one on one time with their favorite WoO drivers AWAY from the hectic surroundings of a race track pit area. Personally, I haven't golfed in more than 20 years. Although I was pretty good while at Purdue, my now antique golf clubs couldn't even save me! LOL I don't know if we are going to be able to attend the event yet or not, but we are definitely going to do something to help out this cause. If you get a chance, check this event out. You don't even have to golf -- there will be plenty of things to do, including a charity auction.
Mar 26: WoO TV Schedule announced. We already knew the ESPN2 dates, but now we have gotten confirmation for the SPEED dates as well. This is a real nice broadcast schedule, and we really look forward to the much needed coverage all of our sponsors and fans have been wanting this year. Hopefully this will open some new doors as far as sponsorship goes, as well. This is a GREAT opportunity for some companies to get involved with our team, our series, and the sport in general. With the expense involved in becoming a Nascar sponsor, this opens the door for some smaller companies to get some great television exposure for literally pennies on the dollar in what truly is grass roots short track racing at its best. This will be a huge bonus to everyone involved, and will hopefully carry even more momentum as the season rolls along.
Television Broadcast Schedule:
ESPN2 Sundays at 12:30-1:30 ET
April 14 Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH May 13 2-3 pm
Mar 24, Volunteer Speedway, Bulls Gap, TN. Being one of only a handful of drivers to have ever made laps on Volunteer's high banks (36*), we were looking forward to our return to Bulls Gap. We had been here twice in the past, rained out once with the All Stars, and raced with the Gumout series here in 2000. It was nice to hear Johnny Gibson announce that we ran 12th that night...Tonight we would be happy just to make the show. We wouldn't time in so terribly, considering there was little racetrack left when we went out near the end of the qualifying order. I ran the top in turns one and two, and the bottom in three and four. Possibly if I had run the top at both ends, we may have been faster. Hindsight is, well, behind us now. We would time in 25th of 35 cars. Again, of the 35 cars entered, I dare say that 2 other teams are even on a similar budget to ours. This really is the best of the best, and we out-timed some fantastic teams. We would struggle all night though. Our heat race was very uneventful, with little to no passing by anyone. Our poor start relegated us to racing for 6-8 the whole time, and never really even having a shot at a transfer position. In the B, we went with old tires, and for the first couple laps, held on pretty well with the group. I had a nice race going with Brian Paulus for most of the B, but towards the end, our lap times fell off as the right rear simply gave up and we lost position after position on the race track. It's all about qualifying. Especially with this year's new format. Inverting only the top 16 qualifiers (4 per heat), makes it a very difficult task to drive by the fast timers each time you go on the racetrack. The track enjoyed a record crowd of over 8000 fans to witness a great show. Not that the racing was really any better than usual, just that these folks are typically exposed only to late models. To race in front of a crowd such as this is always a treat for the drivers and teams too.
Mar 17, Pike County Speedway, Magnolia, MS: At first, I thought, what the heck are we doing out here at a little track in the middle of nowhere. Then I realized the place was absolutely packed with fans. That's what WoO racing is all about. Grass roots racing at short tracks in real Americana. The track would go dry slisk right away, and we would have problems right away as well. The motor shut off in hot laps, so we went to work on it thinking maybe we missed something in the hasty engine change the night before. All looked well except some junk in the nozzles (from the motor sitting so long). We changed nozzles, and still the motor wouldn't fire. We would miss time trials altogether and that put us even further behind the proverbial eightball. I know that this engine won't time trial with the latest greatest technology available out there, but I sure do like how it races. Starting 6th in a heat vs 10th though, is quite another thing. We would put junk tires on and just struggle along through the night again. It's frustrating when you know you are as fast as the guys right in front of you, but simply can't qualify well enough to start ahead of them. I raced with Tony Bruce Jr. and James Moser for last in the B main, and that was the excitement for us for the night. Even though there were fewer cars than normal (basically no local cars suppported the show), you have to look at the quality of cars that still didn't make the A. Again 26 cars started the show with two provisionals filling the field. This is by far the very best of the best racing hard with each other every night, and it won't get any easier for most of us throughout the year. There are still several teams outside of the top 20 in points that are racing from night to night. A few will survive, and a few probably could care less about the tow monies, but for some of us, reality will hit hard real soon. We're still working hard on trying to secure proper sponsor funding to stay out on the road and keep racing with these guys, but we've seen little relief financially.We're commited to this series and putting forth our very best effort at obtaining sponsors, but the harsh reality is, that until the tv kicks in and people learn what WoO sprint cars are again, there's a steep learning curve to be taught to all these marketing people we talk to each day. Keep in mind, that while the series had great coverage on the Outdoor channel over the last three years, it wasn't exactly in the eye of mainstream America. Most marketing people are young, real young, like right out of college, and have had little time to learn about racing in general. Of course they are bombarded with Nascar all week long, but they have little knowledge of other types of racing, ie WoO. We find ourselves "educating" these marketing types more so than offering them our services. Instead of selling them our sponsor package and our team, we are more like the educators for the sport. We really need YOUR help! We are asking YOU, our fans, friends, and family to use all of the contacts you have to find someone, anyone, who might have the slightest incling of sponsoring a team such as ours. We really have a lot to offer and no amount will go overlooked. We could use all the help we can get right now. Give us a call here at the shop at (765)339-4407, or on our cell at (765)376-4327. Of course you can always email as well to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar 16, Houston/Baytown, TX: We were really looking forward to our return to Baytown, and timed in pretty decent, 22nd of 34 cars on hand. I would start 6th in the heat, instead of the pole per last year's format, (again). I would get a good jump on the start and bump wheels with Hindi down the front stretch knocking me back a couple spots entering turn one. I would race hard all race long with Billy Alley to just get back to 6th, but again fail to transfer out of a heat race. I noticed the oil pressure drop as I pulled off the track, and it never regained pressure with rpm, so I quickly shut it down and we went to work under the hood. We think we had a scavage section go bad in the pump, so we refilled the oil tank with oil, drained the pan, and made a couple laps in the B just to get our start money. It's unfortunate, because I think we had a decent shot at transferring throuh the B from our starting spot. Oh well, the A main doesn't pay enough to win to replace the engine if we had lost it, so we went to work in replacing it with our old reliable 12 head engine for the next night, some 300+ miles away in Mississippi.
Mar 4, We took a week and stayed out on the road to work on our stuff a little. Besides, we had great accommodations with our friends from Razor oil pumps in Phoenix, where it was 80+* and sunny every day, and it was 20* anmd miserable back home. Still we needed to get work done back at the shop, bnu I always seem to have time to work on everyone else's stuff and our own gets neglected. This was just the break we needed to concentrate on our own stuff. We completely rebuilt the back-up car, which is leftover from last year, and did a lot of little projects in the trailer and rig that had been needing attention for some time now. After a week and a half of working on the cars, we were ready to head out to the Johnson Space center in Houston. The kids had a "blast", but it certainly wasn't much of a break for old Mom and Dad. It's amazing how many parents just turn their kids loose at a place like this. I have never seen so many unsupervised kids in my life. Think Chuck E. Cheese's times, oh, say, 1000! Unbelievable. I know our kids can act up from time to time, but holy cow!
Mar 3, Manzanita, Phoenix, AZ: We would go three for three at Manzi, making the show all three times that we have been to this place. I can't say I particularly even like the track, but for whatever reason, we seem to time well and run well here. We would time in better than several of the top funded teams in 22nd. Keep in mind, that under last year's format, we would start on the front row of our heat. In the fall race I led all but the last lap only to end up second to McCarl.Tonight though, with the new and "improved" format, we would line up 6th, already out of a transfer spot and starting behind all the quicker cars. I raced hard in the heat, but failed to transfer. In the B-main, I would race my hardest and manage to eek out a 4th place finish to transfer to the A for our first time this seaon. I had an excellent race with Lindquist and simply drove in too deep on the restart with two to go. He would get by me, but I would keep everyone else at bay. In the A, we were fast through the corners, but lacked some straightaway speed. I would be running at the back within a couple laps, and decided it best to pull off when the engine ran warm. It was nice to make the A, but honestly, that's what we need to be doing every night. At this point last season, we were 5 for 7, winning heats and making dashes. This season, however, we can't seem to get things going. There was a very nice article written up by Dan Beaver onYahooSports. You can check it out link>>>HERE<<<link.
Mar 2, USA Raepark at Tuscon, AZ. We won our heat race here at Tucson in the spring of last season over the likes of Lasoski, McMahon, and others, but understandably, this year would be considerably tougher. We would time poorly on a track record pace. 32 cars broke the previous track record. What a tough way to start out the night. We would race well in our heat, buit not transfer. In the B-main, I would gain a couple spots, but still not be in the hunt. Like many previous nights (perhaps ALL), there were two provisionals added to the field to start 26 in the feature. While I really don't like the provisional rule, there are several teams that are clinging to the hope of staying in the top 20 in points to keep earning appearance money. Personally, I think you should have to earn your way in, or if they allow provisionals, to at least pay the start money. I would venture to say that outside of the top 10 in points, it really doesn't matter much if you are say 13th, or 18th in points, it's still not a top ten season. The points fund is all about the same from there back, , so where you finish in points really doesn't mean much back that far. I say, give the guy his start money so he can afford some new tires for the next night and try to be more competitive from night to night, rather than looking to the year end finish. Don't get me wrong, we'll end up taking our provisionals as well, eventually. When everyteam out here takes them throughout the year, it only hurts the guys that didn't have to take them, (which may be few, if any, by year's end.)
Feb 24, Thunderbowl Speedway at Tulare, CA: The track would do a 180 on us and kinda catch us off guard. Agian we would qualify badly -- well enough to avoid the C, but just barely. With little to no chance of transferring through either the heat or B, we put on our oldest tires and just made some laps. Tulare was a pretty neat facility, and obviously very fast when it had enough water poured into it. Hopefully we can take our notes from our first visit there to make the show when the series returns in October.
Feb 23, Thunderbowl Speedway at Tulare, CA: Another stellar field of cars on hand and we would time well enough to stay out of the C, but struggle in the B main. The track was super sticky and needed some big HP to keep up with the front runners. We would manage to time in better than Kinser, but that only left a good show for me to watch as he and Schatz battled just ahead of me in the B-main. Not much chance of transferring from the b with guys like that back around me. Oh for one tenth of their budget what we coud do. Anyhow...we kept the car in one piece and enjoyed the night of racing. Schatz took a provisional to start the A, and Steve K missed a WoO show -- when was the last time that happened? By the way, Tulare Thunderbowl is at a county fairgrounds and kids were allowed in the pit area. We were told by another Cali track that it was "state law" that kids were not permitted in the pit area....I wonder what gives there?
Feb 11th, VCS: The track would do another 180* on us and be an all motor track again. I ran for everything we had, and still came up way down in 40th of the 50 some cars on hand. Keep in mind that Forbrooks car and Lance Dewease would time just one and two spots better, and previous night highlighters Justin Henderson and Sam Hafertepe would start behind me in the C. I got the jump in the C and led a half lap before Forbrooks #5 drove around me and set sail. I would hang on to second for most of the race, but was honestly holding up Justin Henderson, and decided just to let him go. I would finish third, still running wide open on the cushion every lap. Not much fun from a driver's standpoint. Both Lindquist (Forbrooks new driver), and Henderson would scratch from the C. Likewise, we had no intention of going out on the track for a single file parade at wide open paces for no more pay. We took our hundred bucks like a kick in the pants figured it was time to load up and head home. We didn't waste our time with a provisional (also new for this year), because it pays no more -- just points. Now, several WoO members used provisionals over the weekend. I really don't like provisionals, but I guess we'll end up taking them at some point. With the tow money cut off at 20 cars, it's important that we stay up there, or at least within reach, as long as we can. We headed home, our tail slightly beneath our legs, as we started back to the frozen tundra known as Indiana. There's no shame in how we ran in Florida, we just really expected better from ourselves. I ran my best motor, and simply had nothing for them all week long. I have to believe that the Florida speedweeks show were the toughest field of cars we have ever faced. Including the Knoxville Nationals. Keep inmind that you don't have the advantage of a full field invert here in FLorida. The Posse, the Cali guys, and the usual cast of WoO characters all started pretty much heads up by time. That's a tough show for anyone to make! There were a TON of good cars in the B each night, and even in the C-mains. Simply brutal, and I expect it to be much the same all year long, really. It's just up to us to improve our program is all. We had to hustle home though, as a huge winter storm was closing in on the midwest. We would load quickly after the B main, and ski-daddle back home, just in time to see 16 inches of the white stuff bury everything in our little town of Linden. I've got some pictures of the rig covered in snow....actually there was around 4 feet of snow drifted on top of the roof of the rig that I had to shovel off. A few days later, we got some new tires on the rig, and then promptly got the rig stuck as another snowfall came, bringing maybe 3 or 4 inches more. We helped the town clear out the intersections just so I could get the rig out of the narrow city streets.What a mess.We would have loved to just head westafter the Florida races, but we really had a lot of work to do here a the shop, before we are out on the road for our first west coast trip. Needless to say, we didn't get much done around the shop except a bunch of shovelling and thawing frozen pipes under the house.
Feb 10th, VCS: The track would be unbelievable slow in time trials, and again we would pull a late number. That would be no excuse though, as there were guysthat would time right before us and figure it out, whether by use of the right foot or electronically, who knows. Again we would time to the C-main, 47th of 54, where we tried some stuff with the car and it just didn't respond to what I was wanting. At least we gained some knowledge in the notebook for what NOT to do in the future. :)
Feb 9, VCS, Daytona, FL: The first points night of the year. Several new "interesting " changes to the Outlaws format were unveiled a the owners meeting. One wrinkle was even change by time for the drivers' meeting just a few short hours later. I can't say I agree with all of the changes, but if it's what the fans and promoters (according to DIRT officials) indeed want, then I suppose we'll have to adapt. Inverting just 16 cars each night will likely take a lot of opportunities away from the likes of Anderson, Hindi, Rose, and ourselves. Without really studying up, I figure we each won 4 or 5 heat races last year -- that accounts to about one third of the heat race victories from last season. Each time was when we started on the front row. With the new format, only the top 16 fastest cars will get that chance, and making a dash is now determined by finishing 1st or 2nd in your heat. Starting the quick timers in a transfer spot already, will make it even more difficult to get to the front. I'm not sure whay this rule was brought in, but again, I sure hope it works out in the end. It would seem to me, that we're putting even more emphasis on qualifying well, instead of on the racing itself. Again, I hope I'm wrong and this will be an exciting new format to bring to the fans. We would time just "ok" at 39th of the 56 cars on hand. We timed in right behind Haud, Rahmer, and Hindi, but not where I thought we should be. But all in all, remember that this is a stellar field of the absolute best in the business. We would miss being in the non-qualifiers race, and go staraight to the C-main, where I would just run a clean line and stay out of trouble. A very uneventful evening as far as racing goes for us.
Feb 8, Volusia County Speedway, Daytona, FL: We decided to pack up everything a day early and head to Florida where it is WARM! 85* and sunny each day sure beats the -30* with windchill that we left at home in Indiana Monday night. We had no intentions of running the All Stars portion of Florida speedweeks, but rather, wanted to shake down the car and make sure we had all of our T's crossed, etc. We sure didn't want a repeat of last year, where for our first points race, we were unable to make a lap. Instead, the All Star show seemed like an appropriate way to warm things up. Iwouldn't take long torememberhow to wrestle thecar around.We went 5th quick in hot laps,but then the car wouldn't firefor time trials. We tried twice, butno luck. When we gotback in the pit, we noticed that the fuel pump had vibrated loose.Easyfix, but withouta time trial on the clock, we would start the tail of everything. I would run a few lapsat speed, then just pull into save stuff for ourpoints races. We accomplished what we came to do.
Jan 22, DuQuoin, IL: Over the weekend, I tried my hand at the indoor 1200 mini-sprint event at the State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, IL. First, I would like to thank Joe Zierolf for trusting me to drive his car. Considering that I have never driven a 1200 before, and have very little non-wing experience, that was a big step of trust for any car owner to take. The track itself was very nice. Albeit small, (indoors), the racing surface was smooth both days and was really wide and racey by feature time. My first laps in the car were less than spectacular as I was just trying to get comfortable with driving a 1200 for the first time. There was a nice field of 30 or so cars on hand for the 1200 class. At least twice as many for the 600 stock class. Our draw placed us on the tail of our heat, and although I tried and tried to make a second groove on the top come in by myself, I wasn't getting much help from the other racers, who were content to play follow the leader around the bottom. The heat races were all pretty much where you started, you finished, and so was the case for us. Not exactly what I was hoping for. So we started way back in the B-main, and I worked my way around the top, nice and smooth, to get a transfer spot into the A-main. We would start 21st in the A, and I would wind up 5th simply because I was running where the others weren't. Tons of crashes by guys playing buymper tag right around the bottom, and that was my clue to go back upstairs. I rolled the bottom for the mniddle part of the race, just holding my own in fifth. With two to go, I made a charge around the top of fellow sprint car driver Hud Horton, from Ohio, to try to pick up a few more spots right at the end, but it was too little too late. I should have tried the top a little earlier, and we would have had a real shot at winning the A, or surely a solid top three. The A was shortened to just 20 laps instead of the scheduled 25. With the extra 5 laps, I would like to think we would have made it very interesting to say the least.
Jan 15, '07: We are still busy preparing for our annual Florida trip and the opening of the 2007 World of Outlaws tour. We spent a day last week in Milford, IN getting a new hitch put on the truck, thanks to EZ-Ride and their Ruff-Neck hitch system. The new hitch is capable of toting 40,000 pounds! EZ-Ride provides custom hitches to many top manufactures in the rv and toterhome conversion industry, and was our first choice for safety and reliability. Even the Pennsylvania and New York roads won't break this one. (remember the incident last summer, breaking the hitch in two while going to Williams Grove, PA.) We were also able to pick up a few interior items, such as new curtains and some other much needed items for the rig while in Elkhart, the rv capital of the world.
Jan 8, '07: I'm getting ready to make my mini-sprint debut in Lousiana's, Joe Zierolf owned, 1200 mini-sprint at Duquoin, IL next weekend. This will mark the first time in a dozen years or so, that I've competed without a wing on anything bigger than a kart. Throw in the fact that I've never driven a 1200, and I'm sure it will be an exciting weekend. I'll be sure to let everyone know the results here.
Jan2, '07: Happy New Year to all of our fans, sponsors, and family! We hope you have all enjoyed a fantastic holiday season. We just returned from the Al Hamilton annual race team auction in Pennsylvania. We picked up a few bargains, and even a few things for our friends in Oregon, but were surprised at just how high some of the engines brought in prices. Who says that 410 racing is hurting? The place was packed with buyers. Most everything brought new or nearly new money, which seems crazy, especially in an auction atmosphere. Seems more than one person's got money to throw at a 410 sprint car! Last year, we were able to buy some fantastic race parts at pennies on the dollar at Al's sale. This year, we just watched with jaws dropped as things just kept getting bid up and up. The motors brought 25 - 30 G each, with the exception of one, which Bug Ott, himself, bid up to $71,000. Makes you wonder what he didn't want anyone to find out about. Also makes you realize that someone else in attendance wanted to know pretty badly. I doubt that Mr. Hamilton will be out of racing very long. It's just too hard to walk away from something that you love so much, and Al definitely loves his sprint cars.
Dec 23: Merry Christmas to everyone! Christmas is the perfect time to spend time with friends and family and we hope you all get to do just that this season. Just a short note that we are back from our trip to Orlando, FL. We spent the week enjoying the warm weather and meeting with tons of friends and companies via the annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show (aka PRI). We "think" we had a good show with several encouraging meetings with parts suppliers for the team. Several expressed promotional interest as well, and that's always good news. In years past, though, we've learned not to count our chickens before they hatch. When one company rep. says they will do this or that, the ensuing phone call or meeting with the company president or marketing manager may reveal a complete new angle. Such has been the case in the past, so we never hold our breaths on any deal we make at the show. Overall, I think it will be a positive trip. If nothing else, the kids got to enjoy one last burst of summer before coming home to the frozen tundra, known as Indiana. Actually, the winter has been extremely mild around the midwest this year, so we'll hope for the best. Of course, last winter was fairly mild, then we froze our butts off for the season opener in Volusia! Again, Merry Christmas to everyone, and remember the reason for celebrating Christmas, specifically.
Nov 17, Linden, IN: Press Release for Brian Carlson 2006 Season in Review
Carlson Season in Review
Brian Carlson has just accomplished something that very few in the world of sprint car racing have done. He has just completed a full season on the road, racing with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. As if that isn't a monumental enough task, he did this with his wife and family, (two sons), in tow. See, Brian Carlson doesn't have a full salary crew, or for that matter, ANY paid crew. Simply, a very dedicated family by his side every step / mile of the way. But that didn't stop the Linden, IN resident from fulfilling his lifelong dream of racing fulltime with some of the best in the industry. While Carlson does not have the deep pockets car owner or mega-buck sponsor, those shortfalls are made up by desire and determination. Carlson is understandably underfunded, compared to his ontrack competitors, but he makes no excuses for his performance this season.
Nov 15: Tony Veneziano wrote up a nice article recapping our season. It can be found currently on the front page of the WoO site, or here at: >>> Carlson Season Review <<< link here.
Oct 29th: WoO Banquet @ Bally's in Las Vegas, NV: A lot of racers would probably be disappointed with our season and finishing 15th in WoO points. Another bunch of them would give their left arm. I guess I am just happy to say that we ran the whole deal and finished out the year as planned. I knew we wouldn't set the world on fire or win A mains. That was never even a goal of our team's. We set out to run every race and be as competitive as we could with the budget we had. We accomplished that and so much more. The many friendships we made throughjout the year, all the sightseeing and family events we spent time doing, were all worth it and then some. The awards banquet was a very nice semi-formal affair held in a ballroom at Bally's on the strip. Sarah, the kids (AJ & Seth), and I , were joined by friends Bob Farwell and his friend Ray. We watched a pretty cool video presentation featuring the season in review and its drivers, then received the award for finishing fifteenth in points. In my speech, I thanked all of our sponsors, but most importantly, Sarah and the kids for sticking this out with me. Honestly, Sarah pushed me most nights to do better. I've always been pretty hard on myself, and tend to create my own pressure, but we knew how hard it would be to run the entire deal and what an honor it is just to say you've done it. There's only a handful of teams that have run every single WoO show, and you can now add our names to that list. Failure was never an option. Not for our team. There were many doubters, sure. Even some competitors who figured we'd go broke, or give up before the season ended, but that just wasn't going to happen. We've toured too much to know that quitting is the easy way out, and we don't do anything the easy way. :) So, "blue collar team", my hat's off to you. We also know we left a lot on the table, so to speak, this season. Dropping out of races while in transfer spots, missing the A-main by one spot on ten different occasions, a couple of mediocre runs that could have easily been top tens, and a few top tens that were erased as victims of other's crashes. The season could have been much better if it were written with a storybook ending. Instead, we'll grapple with reality, and realize that Donny Schatz simply had everyone covered this season. I don't care who ran the series for points, Donny was the man to beat this year. He proved it in unsanctioned races as well, and well earned his championship. Congrats Donnie, the Schatz family, and his entire crew (the Tiger team, as AJ calls them). They are obviously well deserving and the team to beat looking forward to next season. Next season: What exactly are our plans? Honestly, I want to come back out here and run even harder with these guys. We simply need some more coin to do it right. We're going to need an influx of cash from sponsors or partners to make this happen and do it right. We've done the deal, now we want to do it competitively night in and night out. That takes a boatload of money, so that is our aim over the winter months. Securing sponsorship and putting the pieces together to take this team to the next level. What if the NST folds and those guys come back? Good question. I have no idea what's going on with other teams, we're solely concentrated on our efforts right now, and we'll continue to do so. If the other guys come back to the WoO series, then they'll have to race their way around us. We're not going to lie down and move over for them. We'll just continue to do the very best we can do within our means. We are very proud to be a member of the WoO, enjoy our working relationship with the DIRT motorsports organization, and look forward to racing with them again in 2007.
Oct 28, Las Vegas, NV: The final event of the year for the WoO and our team. We worked most of the day preparing for the evenings event only to draw a terrible pill for qualifying again. We weren't last though, as a 49 would put us earlier in the final hot lap session for a change. I think it's been since Chico that we've been out of the final hot lap session! That's incredible! Even for our luck, that's unbelievable! Tonight, the track was a mess (greasy). I would go out and pack the track as much as anyone, and still the track was slimey from over watering. We would run two full hot lap sessions. The latter would be my demise. I was just able to run wide open around the half mile on the cushion as I made a mistake on the final lap of hotlaps. Several feet of slime and standing water seperated the fast groove from the wall, and I simply ran through the cushion exiting turn four. As soon as the right rear hit the water, I knew I was in for a nasty ride. The car slammed hard backwards into the concrete, then swapped ends twice as I tried to keep the car upright. The car suffered fairly minor damage, and would have easily been repairable with a little more time. Because of the promoter's desire to push the show along, we didn't get time to really fix the car right, and took one lap at the end of time trials, qualifying 31st. I would sit up in the seat and really run the car well in the heat race, but unfortuantely, we were forced to stay with our time trial tire (used from hotlaps), that had very little life left in it. I got up to fifth at one point, but let Berryhill get back around me as I tried the low line to gain a transfer spot from Crocket. I would finish 6th. In the B-main, we knew we would start near the tail, so we just left the same junk tire on to get through the night, but made some wholesale changes to the rest of the car to try to make something happen. I would get a terrible start and end up on or near the tail for the first half of the event. On a mid-race restart, I would get rolling good right around the top in 1 and 2, and good on the bottom in 3 and 4. I worked both ends of the tracks high and low trying to make up some ground, eventually deciding on the bottom all the way around.I made some big gains late in the race, surging from an 18th place starting position to a 9th place finishing position. Although we didn't make the show, at least we raced well and were moving forward. That pretty much epitomizes our year. Either we time well and race poor, or time poorly and race well. At least we were making progress throughout the season, and have something to look forward to and improving apon for next season.
Oct 27, LVMS, Las Veggas, NV: After spending nearly a week sightseeing Vegas and surrounding areas with the kids, we were finally ready to race. We woud be the last car to time trial and the track held up pretty decent. We would miss the invert though by just a bit, half a tenth of a second qualifying 28th of 45 cars. I had a problem as we took the green for the heat race, as the oil pressure gauge was pegged. I made a few laps and pulled into the infield, unsure of the problem, big or small. Sarah changed the gauge and we attempted to refire the car to see if that was the only problem, but ran out of time to make necessary changes to the car for the B-main. Luckily, the guage was the only problem, as the motor ran terrific in the B-main. I would struggle to finish tenth in the B with our heat race set-up still on the car. I think we could have made the show if we had a bit more time and made the appropriate changes for the diminishing track conditions.
Oct 21. Tuscon, AZ: We would be one of the last cars to time (again) and it would really hurt us tonight. 33rd of 55 cars on hand. The track slowed a solid second from the early cars out and we never had a shot. Honestly, I think we could have made the invert if I had went with new tires and hustled the cars a bit more on a track that was already chewing up rubber. I decided to go with a used tire to time on and it definitely cost us. I would race very well in the heat race, but come up short of transferring (again on used rubber). In the B, I would leave the same (now junk) tire on and simply make laps. We were good for a few laps, then the car just got to be a handful with the tire issue. We salvaged a terrible night and only made it seem not so terrible.
Oct 20, Manzanita Raceway, Phoenix, AZ: We would barely make the invert in time trials, but fortunately, that started us on the front row of our heat. That's always a good thing for our team. I managed to get a good start and lead most of the heat, making a slight error (hesitation) with a lapped car, allowing Terry McCarl to slip around me. I would finish a close second after a good race with Terry, and ahead of Travis Rilat, Jason Martin, Jason Sides, Jeremy Campbell, and Dion Hindi. I really ran well (as noted on the Mylaps scoring system linked >>> here <<<.) It's always nice to post the fastest lap of an event, but to do it so convincingly (half a second better and 2 mph better), and over such a stout field was pretty awesome. The feature saw a wild first turn crash that took out 7 cars. I got through unscathed,or at least I thought. I would run another 15 laps or so, then see an engine fire develop from a broken nozzle and pull in the infield in 17th. A disappointing way to end a chance to run in the top ten as only 13 cars would finish the event.
Oct 14, Wilmot, WI: No, we weren't practicing for the I500 sled race, although we did joke about using carbide in the tires for an unusually cold (not for cheesheads and Packer fans, mind you) World of Outlaws event at Wilmot Speedway. With a few previous visits to Wilmot via All Stars and Gumout sanctions, we were pretty excited to maybe even be considered as having an advantage over many teams who haven't been to Wilmot. The track is unique, even though it has changed somewhat from our last visit. The track now features slight banking, while our last visit saw the track with reverse camber in the corners (especially on the bottom where everyone ran). The track was actually in real nice shape for the WoO first visit to Wilmot. Hats off to the SLS crew for getting this show in the books and getting us all on the road early on a very cold October night. We would time in the last car on the race tack, which usually is a bad deal. Fortunately, I drove one good lap of the two I was given, and secured 13th fast of the 43 cars on hand. We would start 3rd in our heat, and I liked my chances. Unfortunately, I never really got a chance. On the start, the front row about stopped when they got into the box. Chad Blonde, starting right behind me, made a bid to get between myself and Jac Haudenschild on the start, and ended up getting into my right rear sending our car into a tumble. I would wind up in the catch fence along with Chad and another car who got caught up in the melee. It wasn't Chad's fault or anyone elses really. What they call a "racing deal," I guess. Really, I have never been too fond of this "box" starting nonsense, and here again, it cost us dearly. It really gets the front row side by side, but honestly, it gets the rest of the field all messed up. It used to be, that the guy on the pole dictated the starts. Now, a fixed line is used and everyone behind the leaders anticipates a smooth start by the front row. Unfortunately, that rarely happens now, as the front row knows what a simple brake check can cause behind them. I don't honestly know what the answer is, but I'd rather see the starts a little more strung out like they used to be, than everyone on top of each other when the green flag drops. Surely I'm not the only one who has experienced the bad luck with the new starting procedure. The damage was pretty rough, but we went to work on trying to patch everything up for the B. Cancelling of the C-main was great for the fans, and again, kudos to the SLS guys for pushing the show along, but we didn't get everything ready enough for the B. We would change wings, wheel, front end, and a handful of other parts, but in the end, not everything was gone over with a fine toothed comb like it should be on our racecar. I would take the green in the B, starting third, only to break the rearend on the drop of the flag. The ensuing thump to the bottom of the seat was only added insult to injury as my lower back has had enough "thumps" lately. Luckily, noone got into the back of me when the driveshaft threw up a shower of sparks. We simply overlooked the rear of the car after the crash. Something that we normally wouldn't do, but it happened. It cost us a rear end in the flurry, and if given another chance, we would have just scratched from the B. The torque tube was already broken and we should have caught that. Instead of what should have been a fun evening with making a little money to boot, we came home with a tore up race car and a stiff necked driver. That's racing I guess. We've got the parts here to fix the car right, and will take it along on our trip out west as a spare. It's 50* and raining here in Indiana today as I hear the pressure washer running. Sarah is cleaning up the mess from the weekend, then we'll put things together for our trip. Special thanks to all who helped rebuild the car in the pit area Saturday night. You know who you are. :) It was nice also to get a chance to meet with friends again. It'll be a long offseason of not seeing people who we've grown close to over the racing seasons.
Oct. 7, '06, Knoxville, IA: We had a little confidence going into Knoxville, knowing that we were fast enough to make the show in PA, just that everything seemed to be going against us (as luck goes.) Knoxville is certainly another motor track, so we were curious to find out just how up to par we were this late in the season. Unfortunately, we drew a very late number for qualifying, and that cost us a little as the track widened out, but really, the times didn't fall off all that much. We kept the car a little on the loose side and I just drove it as straight as I could around the cushion. Our time would put us in 25th, 1/100th off of making the inversion to start the pole of a heat race. Instead, we would start 7th. I would just hold my own in the heat and not make it. In the B-main, we had a couple scratches, so I put on a new pair of tires and it paid off for a change. The initial start was called back when the outside front row starter lead me into the box, then slowed as I stood on the gas from the pole. I guess I still don't get this "box" start idea. We're told at nearly every driver's meeting that the ple man sets the pace, and that you need to "roll" into the box together. Maybe I'm missing something. Oh well. My good buddy, Doug Clark, was quick to call that start back, and move me back a row. On the restart, I would drive by the same guy playing games on the first start by the time we got to the flagstand. I would follow Don Droud, Jr. for the first half of the B right around the top, before I saw the bottom coming in. On several restarts I would drive hard down into turn one on the bottom, only to come up beside Droud and really never get a chance to clear him to finish a slider. I was content to race side by side for a few laps with him as the bottom kept getting better. It's always nice being able to trust another racer running wheel to wheel with them at a high speed place like Knoxville. I suppose I could have forced the issue and won the B, but that doesn't pay very well, and is not my style. I was content to put on a show for the fans for a few brief laps. I would finish second in a pretty exciting race, as finally Ddround pulled to the bottom to block me on the last circuit. In the A, I would go to the cushion on the start, anticipating everyone else going to the bottom to fight for the rubber. Hindi got around me and I fell in behind him, but I just wasn't making any ground up high. I went back to the bottom and fell in line at the back of the pack. I had a chance to pass Haud, but by lap 10 or so, Dolansky , the leader, had caught me. I ran a few more laps, then pulled in. With the rubber down, it was pretty obvious that I wasn't going anywhere if I hadn't already done so. It was a pretty good night for us, none the less.
Oct 2nd: Linden, IN: Our 2006 T-shirt design is pictured >>HERE<<.
Well, it looks as though I have stirred up some people with my post here last week concerning rules changes. Funny, it didn't even get a "mention" when I first wrote it several weeks ago. LOL
Sept 31, '06, Strasburg, PA: We got to bring Grandpa Carlson along with us for our annual family train ride.This year we decided to visit the Strasburg Railroad in scenic Lancaster county. The steam train ride was enjoyable and the museum was unbelievable with railroading history to the Nth degree. We could easily have spent two days there. It was great for the boys to spend some time with Grandpa as well. When we got home this afternoon, we were shocked to hear that a man had killed several kids in an Amish school in Paradise, PA. This is the little town that our train stopped at. There were several Amish kids along the tracks waving to us during our trip on Sunday afternoon, and undoubtedly were some of those killed or wounded. Our hearts and prayers go out to each and every one of those families. When you hear of things like this, it just makes you sick and your heart drops. When it happens so close to you and your family, it flat scares you. It also reminds you to hug your kids and tell them how much you love them. There's no certainty of how long we'll be around to protect them so you need to let them know every day.
Sept 30, '06, Williams Grove National Open final night: Night two saw us time extremely well (by our own standards as well as others) again. We would time 23rd of 58, but due to the 16 car invert, have to start in the third row tthis night. I got a pretty good start, I thought, and went down into turn one with a transfer spot when the car simply didn't turn. I don't know if it was cars behind me taking the air off the wing or something wrong in our car, but it was certainly a handful. I dropped way back by turn two and the car wandered terribly down the back stretch so I pulled in the infield without completing a lap. Completely bewildered as to what was going on, we looked for a bad shock or bar or something in the right front that was out of the ordinary. We reblocked the front end and checked the shocks but found nothing. We actually still had a good shot through the B-main, but the car was simply rolling up on the right front something terrible and was very uncomfortable. I struggled with the car the entire race, eventually dropping to the tail to try to sort the thing out, but it was just a nightmare all night. We timed decent both nights here and then completely lost the handle on the chassis. That's just unbelievable. I STILL don't know what's wrong with the thing. It won't turn in the corners, and then wanders all over the place on the straights. I should have pulled off to keep from looking foolish, but it's one of those things where you want the car to repeat itself so you can try to decypher what is going wrong. We will change some bars and some other things just to try some stuff and then give the same car another go at Knoxville next weekend.
Sept 29, '06: Williams Grove, PA: We went into the Grove National Open with as much confidence as we ever have and early on it looked like it paid off. We timed 22nd of 63 cars on hand. A GREAT field of cars with quality top to bottom. I was pleasantly surprised and anxious to start on the front row of our heat race. Unfortunately, our right rear tire had a cut in the sidewall. Changing it meant going to the rear of the field, while starting on it took the risk of it going down. We chose to dismount the tire and try to repair it with a simple bicycle patch, silicone, and duct tape. I know, sounds pretty dumb, but we were desperate. I knew starting on the tail we had no chance whatsoever, while if the tire held air while at speed, maybe we had a shot. If the hole bad been in the tread, it would have been a candidate for a plug, but this was right on the sidewall. Of course our "patch" didn't work. At the green I followed Paulie (McMahon) down into turn one and the car already felt real tight. I ran a lap and was fighting the tire going down, so I had to pull off. It just wasn't worth crashing the car, or taking someone else out with me, trying to make the show on a low right rear tire. That's as dejected as I have felt in a long time. I know we had a fast car (as good as I have ever had at the Grove), and we would lose our best shot at making the show. We would wind starting up 8th in the B-main, behind some great cars and just ahead of several more. The track stayed real sticky and I simply tightened the car up way too much from my notes of the previous races we've been here. I tried to run low and shake the car loose, but we were terrible. By virtue of time, we raced against some top teams though, and that was encouraging going into night number two.
Sept 25th, '06: Linden, IN: I thought I'd move this UP since it seems to be an even hotter topic currently.
Rules changes on the horizon for WoO sprint series?
Recently I had the honor of sitting down with Ben Geisler and discussing potential rule changes and exchanging ideas for the future of our sport. Ben spent nearly an hour and a half in our rig while at Chico, CA for the WoO Gold Cup race. Many topics were discussed, such as tire rules, compounds, widths, wings, etc. Here's my take on the whole subject and then some. I thank Ben and EVERYONE at DIRT for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the subject, and respect the fact that rules are not being made without some intelligent input prior to their enforcement.
Anytime talk of rules changes comes about, it always seems to focus on wings. The problem's not with the wings....it's cylinder heads, and everyone involved with a car knows it. New heads come out every 6 weeks that outdate the previous ones. Emmett (Hahn) had a good idea 3 or 4 years ago with a 410 spec head, but after looking at what he did to the ASCS 360 guys, noone was willing to take him seriously then. Now, a competitive ASCS engine is $30+G's, and a used one brings more than an average 410 every day of the week. AND what are they running for??? $1200 to win? Makes a lot of sense huh?
How about restricting intake airflow to 2 5/8"? Restrictor stacks are inexpensive and don't antiquate everyone's "latest greatest" stuff. Last year a 3" max was touted, while noone was running a 3" injector, they were just being built. So now, everyone goes out and replaces their last year's size to 2.9". Less air = less HP. Easy to police, sure, but I suppose then someone will build up 17-1 motors that turn gazillion rpm -- oh, that's right, we already have that!
I also like the idea of impounding certain ignition parts (ie MSD boxes) for improper use such as traction control. We all kow it exists. How many guys use it? My guess is less than did a few years back...BUT, I don't think any official should take an "ostrich" approach and stick our collective heads in the sand and say that it cannot be detected.
Yet, the focus this year seems to be on wings and tires. Personally, I like the wing rule as it is. If they decide to go flat top, then keep the wickerbills off...let's not go backwards. Also, how will you tech a "flat" top wing after it's been run 20 nights? Do they warp? You betcha! Ask the PA guys about when they first were being checked for dish depth. Aluminum stretches a TON with the amount of downforce placed apon them. Now, you will have guy's bending the rules when they build wings to "allow" them to deflect a "certain" amount. And a big old rock dent in the top of a wing now makes it illegal?? Can we say disposable wings? I think they've messed with the wings enough already over the last 2-3 years. Leave 'em alone.
Then there's tires: I'm all for unhooking the cars. I'd love that. We've got "kids" out there with Daddy's money that are fast right out of the box because good equipment can be purchased from anywhere, and the cars are so locked down now. Goodyear and American Racer are essentially MIA at the national level, thanks to Hoosier for making a "better" tire. Unfortunately, it turned everything into dyno and wallet racing. Now you need more motor to pull the car because it rarely spins the tires. Maybe we should all tour the country from engine builder to engine builder and take turns on his dyno. The guy with the biggest numbers takes home the money. That's just about what we are doing now. As far as tires go, the problem is not the soft compounds. Knoxville went to a hard tire and their track record was still obliterated. New tires, even hard ones, still win races. Then there's the fear of chemicals being added to the tire to "enhance" it's performance, whether softening or juicing, etc..let's not go there....just ask the karting guys what it's done to their sport! High growth tires, floppy sidewall tires, cambered tread, you name it, it's all produced more track records, but is that what the fans come to see and hear? Honestly, I look up in the stands during time trials most nights and wonder where everyone is! The place is empty during qualifications! Can we go back to a stiff sidewall tire again like the Goodyear or Hoosier 4000 series? A spec tire such as that, as well as any other "major" change, (ie wing), would kill local car count support at touring series events. Why would a guy purchase a "Spec" tire that he'll use one night per year (say at Rapid City, SD) to run in a B-main and collect $100 at the end of the night? If there are 20 touring cars, that leaves only 4 spots for the locals to compete for. With most tracks, you can pretty easily point out the top four that iwll make the show, and which ones will be padding the back gate. Unless promoters and racers, nationwide, unilaterally support a spec tire, tires don't appear to be the answer either.
How about eliminating cockpit adjustable shocks and weight jacks? Let the car set-up to the guy in the pits BEFORE a 40 lap feature. Costs everyone nothing as we can all continue to use our $500 adjustable shocks, just can't crank on them from in the car. I can guarantee, that if they are not banned, our car WILL have cockpit adjustables on it come this winter. Eliminate them altogether. It costs nothing, and saves us all in the long run. I'm in favor of that one.
Here's another idea that costs NOTHING! I say invert more in the feature and see where the "little" guy stands. I like my chances starting on the front row of heats, I've proven that...give me a shot in a feature. Becca and Woodring have stepped up their motor program lately, and look what it's done for her. The rewards for fast time are already immense adding in that now you get more points for qualifying as well. The flip side, you'll say, is to look at central PA racing and their handicap lineup procedure, which puts the fast guys back a few rows which produces more different winners from the front row. On that, I have to agree. On a motor track, you'll have follow the leader racing when everyone's got about the same equipment for a short feature (25 laps). Knoxville heat races during the Nationals is a good example of the difficulty of passing slower cars on a "fast" one groove race track as apposed to a dry slick track where a guy can come from last to a transfer spot in a heat race. Is track preparation something we need to look at then, as well? On smaller tracks though, you'll always see the cream rise to the top in the feature. My own experience: We timed extremely well at Eagle (2nd quick), Pevely (5th quick), Huset's (2nd quick), Skagit (5th quick), Fargo (2nd & 4th quick), all on DRY SLICK tracks. Seems even with current wings, tires, AND the surplus horsepower some teams have, they still couldn't get it hooked up.
Right now, with the current format, it's all about time trials. Lessen the importance of time trials and I say we've all got a better chance. The best drivers and the best equipment will still rise to the top in a feature race of 30 or 40 laps.
Why not have a "summit" of crew chiefs and car owners and ask US how to reduce the cost of racing and in turn make it more competitive each year. DIRT is already taking a step in that direction by contacting each of their teams.
Sept 24th, '06: Kokomo, IN. Tony Veneziano, WoO Sprint series PR director, put out a great press release for the Kokomo show featuring me. >> LINK HERE << That was pretty cool. An excellent piece, thanks to Tony and Chris Dolack for all their efforts. Tony starts how I have "fond memories"....LOL well, maybe that's stretching a little out there. I do like smaller racetracks, for sure, but Kokomo has never really been a favorite. True, we've had some good runs there in the past, but we've always torn up more than we've brought home at the pay window. I can remember an All Star race where we ran real well, got paid like $1000, but realized that we tore up $2000 worth of parts on the car. I can say this, that was the OLD Kokomo. Man, can a place change! Kokomo was extremely well lit, real wide, and fast. Evidenced by a new track record being set. Our motor had problems in qualifying and simply shut off at high rpm. I still don't have a clue what is going on there. We were plagued by that all night. My hat's off though to our engine builder, Dave Conn, of J&D Performance, for the quick turnaround on our motor AGAIN. It also takes off MUCH better now. We would time in 32nd of 47 cars, but be surrounded with quality cars, so I didn't feel too bad. If the motor wouldn't have had that shutting off at high rpm, I think we would have been sitting just fine. We timed in 11.598, and NTR and quick time was 11.021. Inbert time was 11.422, it wouldn't have taken much to make the invert and start up front. Instead, we started eight. At the start we were in the hunt and moving forward. I would start outside Danny Smith, and get under him a couple times but never got close enough to make a pass. At one point I made it three wide on the bottom with Smith, and Jason Johnson, (subbing for Brooke Tatnell), when Jason turned over on the cushion. After the red, the restart saw Smith block me getting into one. I had already showed him the bottom and he knew I'd go there. Just a veteren move by one of the bets all time money racers there is. Danny knows how to get his car in the show, that's for sure. On the next lap I tried the same spot, as Danny moved Paul May up the race track. I thought I had enough to get by May, but we just weren't squirting off the corners well enough. I contemplated changing gears before the heat, but we decided to change a bar instead. The bar was a good decision, but we really could have used more gear to get up off the corners better, and I think we would have made the show through our heat. Instead, it would be a long haul from the back of the B. We put the junk hot lap tires back on and rolled around the bottom just keeping out of trouble. We started 12th, and finished 11th. We were just happy to roll the car in the trailer and save it for another night of racing. 5 WoO regulars didn't make the show, as I think 6 of the top 10 time trialers had to run the B. That makes a tough B any night.
Sept 23, 06: Wilmot, WI...We got to the track just in time to turn around and return home to Linden. Rain has beat the best in the business again. :) I would sure hate to be a promoter on days like these. We ran through 4 hours of steady rain on our way to the track, called several times, and sure enough, it wasn't too bad at the track, so we had to keep heading north. Of course we all knew what weather is heading towards the track, but a promoter can't call a race because it looks like it will rain. Oh well. On the trip home, we decided to go back through Chicago the same way we came...I94 right through the city. Northbound was smooth sailing. Southbound, however, was not quite so nice. We sat in traffic for over two hours, and didn't get home until midnight. At one point we considered just going to the next track, Kokomo, which is only an hour and a half from our shop. But it was nice to get back home and sleep in our own beds again. Rain date for the Wilmot show has been scheduled for Oct 14th. If inclement weather (ie snow) is forecast for that weekend, the promoters will do us all a favor and cancel the show early in the week. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and our winter coats ready. I wonder if studded tires are permitted in sprint car racing? I've got a friend in Canada that could probably hook me up with some carbide from his racing sleds. :)
Sept 18th, Linden, IN: OK, I've got everything updated on this page FINALLY. It would be nice if we could do all of our updates from on the road, but we just don't have the laptop capable of doing the website while on the road, or a connection. Maybe someone reading this page knows of a sponsor that could help us out in this regard. We really need a dependable laptop with unlimited wireless access to do this right. Just a thought. :)
There was a neat article in this month's Sprint Car and Midget magazine about our team written by Dave Argabright. I would like to personally thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with me at Eldora a few weeks back. Here's a guy that has his fingers on the pulse of sprint car racing and contributes with more than simply his pen.
Just a recap of the "other" (non racing related) things we did while on our west coast swing. AS many of you know, we travel with our kids 100% of the time. This is by CHOICE. If I had to choose between racing and my kids, that's a no brainer. I can appreciate how many of the other teams don't want "bothered" or find their spouses or kids a cumberance, but for me, this is the only way I want to travel. I want my wife and kids at every race with me. My family is very much my team, and my team is my family. I could not do it without their support, and would never try to do this without them along. With that in mind, we try to do some family oriented activities while were out on the road. For instance, we spent some time at Rapid City, SD visiting Mount Rushmore and learning more about our country's history. We took the scenic route from Minot, ND, to Spokane, WA via Rt 2. WHile many other teams stayed on the interstate system and rushed to get to the next track or motel, or whatever, we took our time and went through some of the most beautiful par tof our country that you could ever imagine. The northern Rockies are simply amazing. A little challenging with a big rig, but well worth every mile. We made a stop at Glacier National Forest. Saw some beautiful mountain passes and snow capped peaks. Beautiful waterfalls,cold mountain streams, and wildlife like no other place in our country. We stumbled into a railroad museum and engine refurb shop just in time to see an engine released onto the line a la fresh paint, etcetera. We ventured north of route 2 through more wheat fields than you could ever imagine to visit the Grand Coulee Dam. Again, a place where no trucks should be. :) Interestingly, the road overlooking the dam and visitor's center has a bout a 2 foot birm and no guardrail seperating the rig from a 2000 foot cliff. Now that's something you don't find around home. We continued on some back roads to the Chief Joseph dam and did some more "dam" sight seeing and educational things with the boys. From turbine explanation, to powering up the whole left coast, to the migration and life cycle of salmon. We all learned a lot. Our trip continued down along the river and through the entire apple valley of Washington. We learned that more potatoes come from Washington than from Idaho. We'll let AJ explain that to his teachers some day. :) The apples tasted mighty fine picked fresh from the tree while we were there. We passed through a beautiful alpine village called Leavenworth. I strongly suggest that as a vacation destination for any family visiting the state of Washington. Then there was a long mountain climb to atop a ski mountain (again with snow on top), then a steep desent. We kept track of the railroad that runs parallel to the highway for the longest time. For most of the mountain pass, it was covered by a wooden shed to shield the train from snow and rock slides I assume. A glimpse into the water below us and you could see salmon swimming up stream. It couldn't get any more picturesque. The pacific northwest is just beautiful. We spent some time with friends in Salem, Oregon and visited the AC Gilbert house, inventor of the Erector set, and one time owner of the American Flyer toy train company. There were tons of educational things for the kids to do and spend the day at.We spent some time driving through San Francisco although we never got to see the bay bridge through all the fog. We did, however, get to cross some rather large toll bridges and drive past San Quentin. We saw some beautiful grape vineyards and panoramic mountain backgrounds in the Napa valley. We then headed to Corning, CA, olive capitol of the US. We got some of the very best tasting olives you can ever imagine (of course AJ is a big olive fan, so that was a big hit). I preferred the jalepeno stuffed olives. We stopped at Bonneville to walk the salt flats. The salt is very tasty right off the ground if you ask me. AJ kept asking where the dirt was. "Where's the race track, there's no dirt." LOL We stopped at the Stuhr museum and 1890 railroad town in Grand Island, Nebraska. I guarantee you this is the neatest pioneer village attraction you could ever want to visit. The museum area or the antique tractor collection is second to none that I've ever seen. The collection of mammoth steam powered tractors was incredible and worth the price of admission alone (which wasn't but maybe $10 or so). There is more collectibles, antiques, and history to be found in this one place than any history teacher could ever begin to explain. Then there was Speedy Bill's unbelievable race car and toy collection located on the grounds of Speedway Motors Speed shop. There was 3 floors of more racing stuff than you could ever imagine. Another MUST SEE. That's about it for this trip I suppose. A great 5 weeks of traveling with the family, even if the racing didn't go so well. It was certainly an unforgettable experience.
Sept 16th, Jackson, MN: A big heavy half mile was NOT what we needed to get out of our slump. We would only manage to time in 29th of 31 cars. That pretty much set the tune for the rest of the night. The track was actually pretty nice as far as facilities go, (aside from lack of pit area). With all the recent rain, there were soft spots and holes in the track that were tough to avoid. Some guys were obviously better at it than others, and it showed. We would pass a couple cars in the B, but still finish 9th with them taking 6. As the track started chewing tires, it probably wasn't so bad moneywise that we didn't make the show. Congrats to Becca Anderson on a nice run. Ever since their motor program picked up, she's been really qualifying well and had the field in tow until they hit lapped traffic. That's what we need to work on most right now, our motor program for qualifying. It has been a long and frustrating west coast trip for us. We are sure glad to be heading home fort a week and to get in some much needed work here at the shop to catch up on work and customers stuff, and maybe even make some money. Our number one motor will get to Dave, (J&D Performance), this week to see what all we hurt in it. Hopefully it's just a head gasket that was causing the overheating and not something more serious. We'll just have to wait and see. For next weekend's races, we'll still have the -12 motor in, so hopefully we can rise to the occasion on the little bullrings of Wilmot an Kokomo.
Sept 15th, Eagle, NE: After a terriffic time at the Speedy Bill's museum located at the Speedway Motors complex in downtown Lincoln, we felt back home almost at Eagle. We knew the track would be more to our engine combination than the half miles, so we were anxious to see how we'd do. Remember, the last two nights we were here, we won a heat race, then were 5th quick on night two. Tonight though, we would only time in 31 of 38 cars. I pulled a tough heat and only made a couple of laps before I realized we weren't going anywhere and pulled off. In the B-main, we were much better, but again, started too far back due to qualifying so poorly. I would come up to eighth from the back row, but ran out of time to catch the leaders. We surely could have gotten another spot or two, but the top 4 pretty much checked out on the start. At least we raced hard and were moving forward.
Sept 9th, Chico, CA Gold Cup final night. Our races would be lined up by points, putting us way to the back of everything. I would start 5th in the F-main, and wind up finishing 3rd for the final transfer spot. I was plenty faster than the car who ran second, but ran out of tear offs while trying to get around lapped cars and just held on to the final spot. In the E main, I just made a lap and pulled off. I knew we were going to be pretty fast, but there were tooo many cars to get around and too many opportunities to tear stuff up (which we could not afford). Considering, I took home a whopping $60 for the previous night's work and would have to pass another 10 cars to get another $50. We ran through at least that much each night "wheel packing" in fuel and car wash tokens. The race track was actually pretty exciting, and the fans have a great vantage point looking right down on the edge of the front stretch, but again, no kids allowed in the pit area, even in the haulers. I think that's unfortunate in a day and time when racing has become so much more family oriented. Everyone with kids with them had to "sneak" them into the pits, and that's just not right. California has a real problem with illegal immigrants sneaking in already. Don't make us feel like we're doing something wrong! If it weren't for the great fans in the stands that paid to come see us all run, I would have just as soon packed up and bypass the whole state of California. Don't even get me started on all the unique DOT regulations and port of entry, etc. And the whole deal with special mufflers and measuring decibels to begin with. It IS racing, remember. In my opinion, California should just create their own country, they don't conform to the rest of the USA anyhow. Personally I could do without the whole state. Some good racers, some good fans, tracks, and racing, but some Gestapo attitudes that really leave a bad taste in your mouth about the whole west coast experience. Oregon and Washington sure weren't like that. Now I see why alot of the teams are in such a rush to get out of the state.
Sept 8th, Chico, CA Gold Cup: This is a really neat place, kinda like a cross between Lawrenceburg and Bloomington, IN. Nice fast 1/4 mile track with tight corners that really makes for some exciting / close racing. Thanks to the Padjens for their bringing us to the west coast for such a prestigious event and giving us a great race track all three nights. We would time in a super quick 13 of 65 cars on our qualifying night, only to have the officials tell us that our mufflers did not meet the decibel requirement. Actually Shane Carson explained the situation to us, so at least we got a better understanding. We were given one lap at the end of time trials which resulted in a 41st time instead, as the track slowed down a ton. It sure would have been nice if someone would have warned us about the mufflers or sound BEFORE time trials. On one of three sets of hotlaps we were on the track, there were only 5 other cars out there with me while we were on the throttle. Surely, the sound metering guy could have sensed a problem then?? Personally, I'm not used to running ANY mufflers most places we run, so they all sound quiet to me. I guess ours were 1 decibel too loud compared to other cars, and most were above the 95db rule, but they "let them slide." Cars at 98 or 99 were let go, while anyone over 100 were dq'd, according to Shane. So, we end up in a last chance race, where we basically were tons faster than the field, but just played cautious. I raced with a guy for the lead the entire race, and just tried to stay off of him in the corners, as everytime I got underneath him, his car would turn clear sideways to the racetrack. If I tried the top, then he would slide up. I figured we're better to run second and have fun playing with him, rather than taking us both out trying to win the thing. As if that wasn't already frustrating enough, now I would start the tail of the C with even more squirrels. We would work our way up to 5th by the end, but they only took 2. Not the way we exactly wanted our debut at the Gold Cup.
Sept 3, Calistoga, CA: We would pull down the spare car from upstairs, as it had our only spare engine already in it. This is a good car, and I really like this engine, although, we knew it wouldn't time real well on big half mile tracks. We actually timed a surprising 16th quick, and really should have made it through our heat race, but I made a mistake right on the start and let Andy Forsberg get by me. I never could get back around him after that even though we ran nearly identical lap times. In the B-main, we were pretty good, just really got taken to the cleaners on the start. We would start 4th, and they were taking 4 cars. The outside pole car simply didn't take off when they got to the line, and the officials let the start go anyways. The whole outside row dropped back badly on the start. I voiced my displeasure afterwards and was told that the offending car had trouble taking off all night. I guess I should have been watching that car earlier in the night?? Funny, I got sent back a row just a couple weks earlier for jumping the start past a similar stumbling car in front of me. I just don't know what to make of this new "box" starting procedure. It looks to me like it only benefits the front row and nobody can anticipate the green anymore, as everyone gets brake checked and stacked up right at the first line. I was upset for the race not being called back, but what do you do? Move on to the next race and hope for the best I suppose.
Sept 2 Calistoga, CA: Our first visit to Calistoga, and as much as I was impressed with the beauty of the Napa valley countryside, the facility and folks there were less than hospitable, I dare say. Maybe I am just put off by any race track that you have to get to a day early to get a good pit spot, or maybe it was the fact that you have to unload to the infield. No, it was mostly because they wouldn't let AJ & Seth in the pit area (kids not allowed). That had Sarah scrambling back and forth across the track to our rig to keep an eye on the boys. Then, the fact that the track took rubber after being a sloppy mess in hotlaps. I guess the Cali guys are used to this by now, but I'll take my good old midwest tracks any day over this place. We are just spoiled living here in the mild and sedate midwest. Anyhow, night number one, we would time in poorly on a dryslick track. I would run two laps in the heat race, and pull in with engine overheating problems again. Actually within a straightaway, the engine went from 150 to 200*, so I knew we had a problem that wasn't going away. In the B, I would race a few more laps, 4 total, but again pull off when the engine ran too hot. We were in 7th and one spot out of a transfer spot and the car was plenty fast. It just wasn't worth hurting the motor any worse to keep running to try to pass another car.
August 30, Medford, OR After spending some real enjoyable time with some friends in the Salem area, and even taking in an NST race at Cottage Grove, we were ready to get back to racing. A couple of notes first: A BIG thanks goes to Bob Farwell for hooking us up in Salem for the week. A HUGE thanks to Gary Davis for the SUPERB washing of our entire race team, truck, trailer, and race car. Verything sparkled when we rolled into Southern Oregon Speedway. We would time in 13th of 36 cars. I would race well in the heat, pushing Chad Kemenah for the lead, until I bicycled once, allowing Dollansky to get by me. A lap later, I pushed up in turn three and let Sides get around me.I dropped to fourth, but managed to keep Tatnell and Solwold behind me and transfer to the A. In the A-main, I was really feeling racey, and the track stayed unbelievably sticky. I was running 15th and 16th for the first half of the race, then the water temp got too high and I pulled off for a disappointing dnf and 23rd place finish. Again, thanks to Bob and Gary for the unbelievable hospitality for the time we were in the Salem area.
Aug 26th, Skagit, WA: We would time in a fantastic 5th tonight and were pretty pumped about how the car felt as well. In the heat race I would transfer straight to the A, which was a blessing for sure, as it also put us in the dash. In the dash, we wouldn't really be much of a factor, but it was a dash none the less. We would start tenth in the A, and be holding our own nicely until once again, the water temperature started rising. The track was unbelievably sticky and we were just too tight, but were hanging on until the water temp problem. We would wind up 16th in the final run down.
Aug 25th, Skagit, WA: Steve Beitler and crew made us feel right at home. We met some really nice folks out there, and probably sold more t-shirts in one weekend at Skagit, than I have anywhere else in my carrer. Pretty cool for being at the track for my first time ever. Who says the Outdoor Channel doesn't help promote the drivers? These people all knew who we were and were wanting to spend time with "the Blue Collar Team." I couldn't have been happier. I would time 11th of 41 cars on hand. I would strruggle in my hear race though as the track got slicker than I expected and I just couldn't hit the bottom consistently. In the B-main though, we were pretty good and race a solid thrid, challengin Jac Haudenschoild for 2nd throughout the race. For the A-main, we would be running a solid 13th or 14th for most of the event, but I noticed the water temperature climbing and started running conservatively on the bottom whilst watching my gauges. Hannagan used my back bumper to get around me, and I would wind up 20th at the end.
Aug 19th, Minot, ND: We would again time in pretty well, 10th of 30 cars. I would struggle with the engine not taking off in our heat though, and not make it through the heat race. I ran off the top of the track trrying to get around Becca Anderson for the final transfer spot but wasn't done yet. I would think quick and bring out the caution to give myself another chance, knowing that we were fast enough to get past her and another loacal car. When we went back green, I made another pass and was on her bumper at the finish, but ran out of laps. I think in another lap we would have made it, but who's to know. SO, on to the B-main, where we would start on the pole, get a good start and simply run away with the thing. You can see how dominating we were in teh B, by a quick look at the MyLaps.com site here >> MYLAPS <<. 1/2 second quicker per lap than the second place car of Mosier, and a full second quicker than the thrid place car. Unfortunately, I cut a left rear tire while leading. With just four laps to go, the officials waved me to the work area. I was content to stay out on the track with a left rear tire low (albeit maybe only a pound or two of air in it, it was a left rear), it would be all I needed to stave off the cars behind me for four laps. But no, the officials sent me to the work area, where we changed the cut tire and went back out on the tail. I struggled to get around some squirrels at the back for two laps, then set my sights on the transfer spot. Two cars in front of me were racing side by side maybe 50 mile per hour and I simply couldn't get around them. Completely frustrating. As the checkered fell, I diced between both of them going into one on the cool down lap (not knowing the race was even over yet). I'm sure in another lap I would have made it in the show, but instead we were on the outside looking in AGAIN. I don't question the official's call, it's just frustrating, that's all.
Aug 17, Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD: After spending some much needed time R&R with the kids and hiking all around Mt. Rushmore, we were back at the racetrack again. We met some new friends at the track who lent a hand throughout the evening. Special thanks to them for sure. We would time in pretty good, 15th of 37 cars. I would get a great start in our heat race and move from a third place starting spot to the lead entering turn one only to have the start called back. I was then moved back a row for a "jump"...funny I didn't see it that way. I would start 5th, then eventually pass the same car for the final transfer spot through our heat race. So I guess it all worked out in the end. In the feature, we were really tight and going backwards for the first ten laps or so. I just stayed on the bottom and out of the leders' way when they came by, then on a restart, the car simply wouldn't run. Seems that a bolt in the tie rod came out. Again, I was extremely lucky that this happened and I figured it out under caution. It could have been real bad if I was on the gas when it came apart. I went to the work area and Sarah got me back out, but it didn't even make a lap before it came out again. Not sure what happened there, but we were done for the night and finished 21st. That was frustrating, because the track was finally coming to our set-up when the problem occurred and I was trying to move back forward. We were maybe a 15 or 16th place car, but dug ourselves too big of a hole from the start.
Aug 12th, Knoxville, IA: The final night for the Nationals, and couldn't have ended any quicker. We would start the E-main, and never pass a car. The track was a mix of slimey and dry slick....but we knew that going into the night. The track crew does its best to keep the track nice for the television broadcast, which starts with the C-main. We just limped through to see another race track another day. After loading and unloading three days in a row just to see the miserable results we were getting, it was definitely time to head west.
Aug 11th, Knoxville, IA: On to Friday nights' program. We would line up our heats by points from the qualifying nights. That woud put us near the back. Before the green ever came out for our heat, the torque tube came loose (the nuts holding it stripped). I caught the problem before we ever made a green flag lap luckily, but again, was just how our Nationals was going this year. I made a few laps in the B, but again, we were a non-factor.
August 10th Knoxville, IA qualifying night: With Greg's help, we put a brand new car together the couple nights before the Nationals, and made our debut on the second night of qualifying at Knoxville. We also had the help of CHeesehead Ken and his daughter Tia for the weekend. Thanks so much to both of them, it's a pleasure to have friends along at the track, and especially at Knoxville where you load and unload into the infield each night. Night #2 had considerably more cars than did the first night, and unfortunately, we simply weren't very fast. We would time in 51st, and miss the invert. We would get a chance to run a non-qualifiers race though, which I won easily. I had hoped we would win something at Knoxville this year, maybe a C or D main, but this really wasn't an honor. So, we were the fastest of the slow cars. A win is a win, and we'll take it, but we should have been 2 one hundredths quicker in time trials, then we would have started on the pole of a heat race. What a difference that would have made! In the C-main, I just kinda held my own and didn't really get going like we should have.
August 4, KC, Chilicothe, OH: We would time in a miserable 29th of 43 cars.Considering when we went out, it was not so bad, but the track really seemed to slow up for some guys, and not for others.We just didn't anticipate it getting that dry slick that early I guess. I would race decent in the heat, but really never get a shot at a transfer, finishing 7th, behind Hannagan. In the B, I got a bad start, and got squeezed down into an infield tire early on and bent the front end and eventually spun the car. I would restart on the tail, and never be a factor. Another opportunity lost, and the end of a long and miserable weekend.We did pick up some much needed help, though on the crew in the form of Greg McCormick "Special Greg" as he is known in the pit area. :) Greg previously worked on the D1of Justin Henderson. Greg's been a friend all season and was just looking to do somehting different for a couple weeks, so we welcomed him aboard with open arms.
August 3, Eldora: We knew coming into this race, that this was going to be a "throw away". Even racing with your best motor at Eldora can be tough, but with a dash 12 headed motor, we knew we would be racing for show up points. We put used tires on and went into conserve mode. We were willing to sacrifice some points though, knowing that our good motor would be ready in time for Knoxville. We actually didn't time so bad...28th and with some good company. I would run 7th in the heat and 8th in the B and miss the show. Just about as we expected.
August 2, Butler, MI: It's been a LONG time sincewe were home to update this page, so let me catch everyone up on how we've been doing. We took our "better" motor to our engine builder after the Princeton races to get freshened for the Nationals (coming next week). That left us with our "little motor", which actually races really well, just doesn't time trial the best against the "latest and greatest" outlaw motors out there. Butler would be a case where we needed just a little more in qualifying. We would miss the invert by a couple spots, then race hard all night long. In the B, I moved up a couple spots, only to finish two spots out of a transfer.
July 31, Linden, IN: T-shirts are coming folks! Thanks for your patience... The artwork looks great and we hope to have them available at Knoxville for everyone. You can find the shirts at either our trailer before and after the races, or at the Lance Dewease t-shirt trailer, where Lance's mom has a vednding trailer set up outside the fairgrounds (across the street in the Hyvee parking lot, I believe.) Of course you can also order online, email us with your exact order and shipping and payment instructions. or simply call the shop (if we're in.) (765) 339-4407. We do accept credit cards if that helps anyone. Unfortunately, we don't get home much to answer our emails or ship shirts out, so try to get one at a track near you if at all possible. Besides, we like to meet all of our fans! :) I'll try to upload a scan or two on the website once we get them in.
July 30, Linden, IN: We're back at the shop. To recap our last two weeks on the road: We had our trailer impounded, the hitch broke on the truck and nearly left the trailer somewhere on the PA turnpike. We junked two fresh mags in two nights, had a great run in NY squelched by a crashing car. We drove straight through, 1200 miles, to Minnesota, only to have our portable DVD / CD / MP3 player (Christmas present for our family), stolen right out of our trailer while we were working on the car in the Super 8 parking lot. We killed another trailer tire on the trip home to Indiana.Now, we're busy pulling the motor out of the car to get it back to our engine builder so that we can have it ready for Knoxville. 'Til then, we'll be running the little -12 head motor that "thinks it can", and sometimes does! :)
July 29, Princeton, MN: Day two, and I was not liking my chances as much now with 4 cars already locked in, and a good field of quality cars on hand. This is, by far, the most competitive field that Princeton has seen since we started coming here. A car count in the 40's and we would time in 24th. I would start 6th in our heat, and following a lap one spin by Anderson, I would have a realistic shot at making the show through our heat. I would race real hard with Billy Rose, Jeremy Campbell, and Dion Hindi, but wound up on the outside loooking in, finishing 5th, just ahead of Dion. The B-main would have us starting 8th, so we went with the used tire thinking again and figured we didn't have much of a shot. Wrong...I would get a good start to get around Hepfner, then a lap later, pass Wasmund for 6th. Anderson again spun in front of us, so that put us in the catbird's seat,5th, behind Hannagan. I raced Randy hard and clean, but could never quite get passed him. I got beside him several times, but just didn't have enough to pull around him. I could have run him up the track the way he's done to us a few times this year, but that's just not my style. I like Randy, and respect him and his crew. 20 years ago, I might have driven a little differently. :) We knew we were fast though, so that felt good. Even if we didn't make the show, we raced well, beat some quality cars, and put the car in the trailer in one piece. We're still 13th in driver's points (ahead of Anderson, Martin, and Rose), but slipping further behind Hindi. Although the early season successes made us believe we could be a top ten team this season, I am just grateful to have the opportunity to run as well as we have and still be in the top 15 in points with the series. Hopefully, we can parlay a solid season this year into some sponsorship dollars for next season and be a contender.
July 29th, '06, Princeton, MN Snap-On pit crew challenge: We participated in a pit crew challenge sponsored by Snap-On. We knew we had no chance of winning a competition to see who could change a front end the quickest. Heck, there's salary paid crew guys on some of the teams we compete with. BUT, I did want to make it known that we won't back down from a challenge. Our "crew", consisting of AJ (our 4 year old), Sarah, and myself, were getting along rather quickly. It sure was nice to have our Staubli connectors in use on the brake lines. The Staubli connectors are a quick release, pressure connection that we use on our SC Motorsports team for quick changes such as this, without having to re-bleed the brake system. We actually had the front end out of our car before anyone else in our heat. Our problems arose when trying to get the spare front end back into the car. The left front shock got hung up on the torsion arm and wouldn't let the axle slip past it. Panic, instead of clear thinking, was the culprit more than anything. Once the axle was back in, I had a little trouble getting the Snap-On 1/2" impact to fit where the sway bar attatches, but we finished the front end change with no penalties and a time of 292.717 seconds (that's a little quicker than 5 minutes). I don't think that's so bad. The teams right ahead of us were only 1 minute faster. I'm very proud of my team and the fact that we did it as a "team" with AJ cheering us along while he held onto the left front tire. It should make for some good Outdoor Channel exposure as well, as AJ is the hit of every fan gathering, and this was no exception. Could we have made the change much quicker with some volunteer help from another crew? Sure, but that's not our style, and it's not our "team". We wanted to make it very clear, that this is the team we race with, this is the team we'd compete with. I think it all came out quite well. 5 teams chose not to compete, at least we beat them. Next up is a rear end change at Skagit, then a motor change at Vegas...I wonder if Workin' Woody counts as a crew member?? For those of you that don't know, Art Mallies (driver of Workin' Woody, official tow vehicle for the WoO), typically helps lift engines in and out of our car since our trailer is not equipped with a motor hoist (yet).We may or may not forego the next two competitions. I think we already proved our point. :)
July 28, Princeton, MN: I normally like little bullring tracks, but Princeton has a reputation the last few years for getting rough. Tonight wasn't much different than Lawrenceburg really. It was black slick on the straights, and rough and choppy in the corners with several "tiers" or ledges to catch you. We had the car WAY too tight all night long. I simply didn't wear big enough spurs in time trials, so it was my fault we didn't time better. We would get crashed in our heat when Dollansky spun in front of us. I tried to avoid hitting his car broadside, but the car behind me didn't see the crash, and kept gassing it, so I ended up tearing the front end up as this guy raced beside me. Sarah would get me fixed back up in the work area, and I would restart the tail. I would race hard, follwing Dollansky and Kim Mock, but not transfer. In the B-main, we softened the car up and tried to make it work on the bottom. We were still WAY too tight, but we raced real well, and found ourself in a position to make the show at the end through attrition and guys spinning, etc. I would finish 7th and was faster than the two in front of me. We just ran out of laps to clear them.I don't think we had anything for the top 4 though.
July 25th, Fulton, NY: My first ever visit to Fulton, and this looked to be a racey little slick track (much to my driving preference.) We would instantly have troubles though, breaking a rear end in hot laps. I wouldn't get it back together in time for time trials, even though I had the help of all the Kemenah team, which was much appreciated. We were set for the heat. I started on the tail, quickly got around a couple back markers, then set my sights on Danny Smith for the final transfer spot in the heat. I would race Danny hard, but never get close enough to him to even try to slide him or force my way around. The last two laps I tried the high side, but there was just nothing up there to get a hold of. I was much faster than Smith, but the track was such, that you just had to hold your line and not make any mistakes. A veteren like Danny, doen't make mistakes. :) In the B, I would again have to start on the tail. I would work my way through some 360 cars, get a transfer spot, then I just coasted so as to not tear the car up trying to race with guys that I'd have to pass again in the feature. And pass them, I did! We started the A in 24th, and instantly I was on a tear to get to the front. I was working real patient on the bottom of the glass slick track and moving my way right up through the field. I knew I had a good car under me. When I passed Campbell, I knew I was in good company now, and had a really good car. Anderson then spun, I would next pass Hannagan and Martin on the same lap, then passed Henderson. I was just getting to Hindi, when he caught an infield tire and broke his front end, sending him spinning to the inside of the track (right in my path). I tried to avoid contact, but hit him with the right rear as I was going past. That would end our night, as well as kill a bunch of race car parts on our car. We figured I was up to twelth when that happened at about the halfway point of the race, so no telling how far I was going to come up through there. The girl I passed at the beginning ended up 10th, and Hannagan wound up 4th! For sure we were a top ten car, and quite possibly a top 5 car...but we never got the chance to finish it out. What should have been our best ever WoO A-main finish, ended up a dismal dnf.
July 23, Lebanon Valley, NY. With central PA behind us, and a long night's tow to eastern New York state, we were set to do battle again. This time though, we would be on a track where I've enjoyed real good success in the past. I think this is where I got my first top ten with the WoO, (check me on that Duane), and was real fast here the last couple times we visited the "valley". I would time in 12th. Actually we were 5th until late in qualifying when the track got considerably faster. I still felt good though. We would transfer easily through our heat, then be running real well in 11th in the A, when I got shoveled up the race track by Hannagan. That allowed another 4 or 5 cars to get by me once I was out of the groove. I would race hard and get a few spots back towards the end to finish 16th. Still a much needed good finish compared to the previous two weeks!
July 22, Williams Grove, PA: With your starting order already determined by points the previous two nights, we were already up against the wall. I would start last in our heat, and race well, yet still finished last (behind Campbell). We were in the hunt though. In the B-main, I would pass a few cars, then just watch as everyone crashed each other out in front of me. I would eventually end up 7th, after starting 16th! The car was great, and the track slicked up to where we weren't at a disadvantage so much on the motor. I just stayed out of trouble, and with a few more laps, and a few more crashes, we might have made the show!
July 21, Williams Grove: With one night already wasted on a three day show, we tried what we could to make up for it on night two. We would again time in miserably (with our typical Carlson luck of the draw for when we go out). We would race decent in the heat right behind Donnie Kreitz and Dion Hindi, but were nowhere near transferring. In the C, I would pass 4 cars to finish 7th...still a far cry from where we were in the spring.
July 20, Williams Grove, PA: We know we are up against the best local racers in the country when we pull into the Grove. I don't normally set my sights too high when we come here for that reason. But since we managed to time trial well here in the spring, I thought just maybe we had an outside shot at making the show. That was quickly quashed when we broke yet another mag in time trials. We actually drew a good number for qualifying order, and couldn't make a lap on the clock. We have no idea what happened to this mag, but it never looked right under the timing light, (light bouncing all around). This was a good fresh mag too, so now we were really puzzled. We would take one lap at the end of qualifying and timed in a miserable 42nd! We didn't race all that bad, but didn't move up either (oh yea, one spot past the 36 car of Martin.) In the C, I would make one lap and pull off with no chance of transferring.
July 18, 06: Lernerville Speedway. This started out a three week road trip from Hades. First, we had trouble with our friendly Indiana DOT folks that put us two days behind, leaving Indiana at 9:00 am Tuesday morning (race day). We didn't get a chance to even look at the racecar until we pulled in the gate at Lernerville. After giving the car a quick sponge bath and routine maintenance, we prepared for what was going to be a short night. Again, we struggled in time trials with this motor. We raced well in the heat race to 7th, but when we pushed off for the B, the shaft in the mag broke. There's a new one on me. Something must have bound up internally and snapped the shaft in two. The bottom part of the distributor still turns, but the rotor wouldn't move. We never even got to see if we had anything for them in the B.
Tony Veneziano wrote up a nice article and press release on the team going into the race at Lernerville. You can see it here:
July 15, 06: King's Royal at Eldora Speedway. For the third straight night, we would pull a qualifying pill number in the 60's! This would again put us in the last hot lap session, and out very late to time trial. I would drive my butt off in time trials with a real soft suspension set up on the car that was probably too soft on the right rear, and it kept squaring up the front end up when the right rear bumped the cushion. It was still good enough for 43rd of the 57 cars on hand. Not good, by any means, but the car was going to be good for the heat races and beyond. In the heat, I got a good start and raced well. I traded spots with Tyler Walker, and had a nice battle with Chad Blonde, but wound up finishing 6th. In the B-main, I would race real well and pass several cars on the start. I lost the power steering on lap one and got soaked with power steering fluid. Fortunately for me, there was a red early on that allowed me to change some tear offs and try to dry my gloves. I would continue to run the bottom, and occasionally slide up across the track to pass a car or try to roll the top and gain some momentum. I would move up to 12th and had some fun sliding back and forth with C-main transfer Bill Rose. I never realized how much I depend on my Nields power steering. When it runs low, or out of fluid, it will quickly remind you to respect the guys that raced for years before us without power steering. :).
July 14, 06: Eldora Knight before the King's Royal: Again we would draw a very late pill for qualifying order. This is devastating at Eldora as the track slows off dramatically the las couple years there in qualifying. I would time in 32 of 52 cars on hand. It was a very respectable time for as late as we got on the track (only 3/10ths off quick time), and all the times were extremely close. One half second covered the top 40 cars in time trials! I would struggle in the heat race, then in the B-main, I would just put an old used tire on and hang on for a few laps before I pulled in.
July 13, 06: Lima, OH Brad Doty Classic: We would draw a terrible qualifying number for time trials with a ton of cars on hand. I drove the track the best I could, but only managed a 36th qualifying spot of 44 cars. I would run very close to transferring a couple times through the heat, but just never really get going well on the bottom of the race track, and finish 8th. In the C main, I led the first half of the race until a caution. Then shortly after the restart, I fell to second behind Todd Kane. I would remain in second the rest of the event. For the B, I would start on the tail and move up nicely, but not near well enough to make the top four final transfer positions, finishing 11th.
Press Release: 7-10-06:
July 8th, Pevely, MO. We've been running good at Pevely the last few times we've been there, so I was looking forward to this return. We would time in exceptionally well, 5th out of 39 cars on hand. The heat race proved to once again be my achilles heel though, as I simply missed the transfer spot 'cause I wasn't aggressive enough on the initial green. The track started taking rubber right around the top, and there just wasn't any passing going to happen, so I conserved my right rear tire by running the bottom and saved it for the B-main. I would start the B from the pole, and take the lead immediately. I placed the best lap speed during the race; see (MYLAPS link). I built up a straight away lead on Becca Anderson by lap 4, when her crash brought out the yellow. I would again lead on the restart for another 4 laps, before yielding to Justin Henderson for the final 4 rounds. I would finish a close second, working the bottom to perfection, as Justin searched for rubber right against the outside fence. The feature saw us start 11th and running rather well. At one point Terry McCarl and I were swapping spots at each end of the track, before he shut the door on me, and I dropped back a spot. I was running 13th when we had a caution, and a bleeder stuck, allowing the right rear tire to go flat while parading around under yellow. I would take the restart, then pull low on the front stretch to draw a yellow, and allow my crew to be ready for a needed tire change. Sarah would get the tire changed in time to resume at the back of the field, but by this time, the track was already rubber down, and it was a freight train, follow the leader, type race. I would wind up 19th, but we'll take it. We know we were fast, and considering we ran our 12 head motor again, it'll make me that much more confident once we get our new motor back in the car.
July 7, Lawrenceburg Speedway, Lawrenceburg, IN. A return to one of my hometracks I guess you could say. The facility has sure been dressed up over the last few years, but you sure can't say that the track surface itself has gotten any better. In fact, on this night, the track was extremel;y rough and choppy. I guess I didn't wear big enough spurs, because our time trial lap was well off the pace. Even with our 12 head motor, we shouldn't have been that bad. But when the car is in the air as much as on the dirt, it's hard to hook any power up! I really didn't even race well all night, In the heat race, we just stayed right where we started, and in the B-main, I passed a few cars, then got passed by a few. It was just a very disappointing night. I guess I don't mind cowboying up on a heavy race track, but with the kind of equipment available for a track facility such as "the Burg", there's no excuse for it to be so rough. When guys tear up shocks and suspension pieces simply due to the track surface, that's too rough. The fans (what few showed up), got their moneys worth though. The feature proved to be exciting, as you didn't know who was going to hit which rut/hole and upset their car so that someone else could take advantage. Lapped cars were an issue, and noone really had a good handle on their cars, you were just along for the ride. There were plenty of good race cars torn up this night. I suppose, thankfully, ours was not one of them.
July 3rd, Huset's Speedway, Brandon, SD: For those of you that follow us closely, you'll know that Huset's is not exactly my favorite place to race. Although recently we've been having good runs there, it always seems to end up with a tore up race car. The spring race resulted in a second fast qualifying effort, a dash start, and a chance at a top ten, before I got caught up in a crash that had been trying to happen the previous 3 or 4 laps. Tonight, we would time in the last car on the race track, and to my surprise, the track was still real heavy. We would time in a very respectable 7th quick of the 29 cars on hand, Just 2 hundredths off of quick time. At the start of the heat race, I got squeezed up the race track and jumped the cushion. Keep in mind, the cushion is usually right on the wall at Huset's and I grabbed a bunch of concrete with the right side of the car. I thought it was going to be a bad ending to the night, but the car came back down on all fours, and I rolled to a stop on the back stretch. I went to the work area to try to fix it, but we didn't have all the parts with us in the infield to get it done in the allotted 2 laps. We would get it fixed up for the B, and the car was really working the bottom of the race track nicely as I raced wheel to wheel with Paul McMahon in the Tony Stewart #20. Paulie would get the win, we would run second, and more importantly, start the A. I was racing real well in the A, when Becca Anderson slammed the door on me going into turn three. She just drove right across my front end. Of course I stood on the brakes to avoid crashing us both out, and that allowed several other cars to get by me. Soon after, I would go a lap down to the leaders, and then just try to stay out of their way again. It's a shame, cause we had a fast race car, it just wasn't going to do us much good when you're caught a lap down. I would end up finishing 19th. We definitely had a better car, and I was really looking forward to catching Becca back there at the end, but oh well, again, the car wasn't tore up too bad (especially for Huset's!)
July 1st, Dodge City, KS: When in Kansas, you eat WELL! I can't imagine spending much more time in the Wichita or DC area, we'd probably all gain another 30 or 40 pounds from eating the freshest and best steaks you can ever imagine. Oh yea, and the stuffed jalepeno and cheddar steakburgers are pretty awesome too! Check out a place called Town & Country in Wichita on west Kellogg -- it's well worth the visit. We also got a chance to see the new Disney/Pixar movie out now "Cars"....the kids just loved it, and it did have a racing theme, so old Dad liked it too. Oh yea, we did race too. With only 22 cars on hand for the DC race, we would sort of go into coast mode on tires, etc. I really wish we had put our older motor in for tonight, but we still don't have enough prepared to be making last minute engine swaps. I would time in terribly. Pretty miserable on our used tire standards. I simply missed the line on the track. The cars that timed later had a better idea where the marbles were on the track, instead, I went out early, and just cleared them off for guys going out later. :) I think we raced extremely well in our heat, although we didn't pass anyone, and finished last...it was an all Mean 15 heat, and I showed Brooke Tatnell a nose a few times. I just couldn't make enough of a run on him to make it stick. For the feature, we made some little changes, but still went with used tires, etc to save on the budget. We started 20th, and would end up 17th. Again, I just stayed out of the way of the leaders, and got in some good clean laps and saved the car for another night.
June 30, Wichita, KS: We made our first visit back to 81 Speedway in 7 or 8 years or so. We would time in well, (7th), but fell victim of a tough slide job put on by Randy Hanagan at the start of our heat race. That would have me check up to keep from running into the back of him, and basically put me at the tail. I made a few more laps, and pulled off knowing we weren't going to transfer through the heat any longer. In the B, we had the car pretty decent and I drove to a 3rd place finish after pole sitter Aaron Berryhill slid up the race track on the drop of the green (hopefully not on purpose). I would later have other run in's with Berryhill, as it seemed like our cars were magnets for each other. At the start of the A, Daryn Pittman set his car sideways in turns 1 & 2. Berryhill spun to a stop against Pittman, and then proceeded to roll backwards right into me as I was trying to avoid contact with the two. I banged the left rear and the wing sideboard up, went to the work area, had Sarah look it over, and continued at the rear of the field. When we went back to green, the car was good, but it was getting tougher and tougher to pass. Berryhill again spun trying to make a top groove work. Unfortunately, I tried the top the same corner, and had to make some evasive moves to miss him for yet the third time in one night. At least I kept going and rejoined the field in the running order. That was pretty much the race for us. I may have passed one car after that, but as soon as the rubber started down on the racing surface, it was all follow the leader and stay out of the lead car's way. I eventually reeled in Becca Anderson, who was busy racing with Steve King, and think we could have gotten by both of them as they battled, but we ran out of laps. We finished 19th. It really didn't matter anyways, it all paid the same, and the car rolled into the trailer in one piece,despite my continued efforts to tear it up. :)
Thanks again to our "anonymous" sponsor, Duane(sp), who I got the pleasure of spending some quality chat time with after the races. THANK YOU!
It was nice to get a chance to visit with Lyle Brown, a super great artist who specializes in race car drawings. Lyle's done a pencil drawing of our car in the past and it was a real pleasure to finally meet him in person. If you haven't heard of him, please take a moment to check out his website @: http://www.lyleart2000.com/
June 26th, Linden, IN -- We are back at the shop trying to catch up on some customer work. We were also able to sell our white trailer to a fellow from Connecticut, so it worked out in both of our busy schedules to get together this week and finalize that deal. We'll continue to work on customer stuff here as much as we need to, then try to get a little work done to our own race car. :) Our next race is in Wichita, KS, where we'll undoubtedly meet up with more good friends and eat some good steaks!
June 24th, Knoxville, IA. We had a pre-race pit party and autograph session which is always a neat deal for the drivers and fans. We managed to do all of our routine maintenance to the car, then the strong storms moved in, and we were washed out for the evening. We really wanted to race. After the previous night's disappointment, we were eager to see if the ignition change solved our problems with the engine. Now we won't get a chance to check things out until we get to Wichita next Friday.
June 23rd, Knoxville, IA. After a week of working on our trailer some to make things nicer for us while we're out on the road, and some much needed preventive maintenance on the race car, we were ready for a good qualifying run at Knoxville. This is kind of a warm up or test and tune for the Nationals because most all of the same guys are here for this event. The car was a rocket in hot laps as I had to back off in the corners to keep from running over a couple good running outlaw cars. Unfortunately something changed between hot laps and the time trials, as the car just didn't sound right in qualifying. We had changed the gear slightly, but it was still just ill sounding. We would time in a miserable 42nd of 46 cars. This was NOT typical of our performance this year, and certainly not of late. In the heat race, the car stumbled bad on take off, then ran rough the entire event, as I was only able to pass a couple cars. We would go staright to the C-main, where I would run right with everyone in fourth, but not able to advance. The motor still sounded ill, so I pulled in after a couple laps. We changed the ignition system and rechecked all of our fuel set-up, but still haven't hit on anything that stands out as a real problem.
June 23, '06 - Official Press Release:
Life in the fast Lane
For more information on Brian Carlson and his SC Motorsports #18, you can visit their website at www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
June 18th, HAPPY FATHER's DAY! Hope all you dad's had as special of a day as I did. I spent the whole day with my family and had fun with the boys while staying at the "Tiger Petro" (Schatz family truckstop.) AJ just loves the "Tiger" car (that's Donny's car with the big Tiger emblazoned on the top wing.) I had an absolutely huge steak at the Iron Skillet restaurant (which is quite good by the way).The Space Alien restaurant across the street was a special treat for the boys later that weekaswell.Bothplacesyou need to stop by when in Fargo. The Schatz's were kind enough to invite us to a team and family barbeque before the races at Fargo. Thanks to them for all the effort that went into planning that event. Good food and good friends are hard to beat.
June 17th, Fargo, ND. Day two of the WoO Duel in the Dakotas. We would AGAIN turn heads in time trials by timing in 2nd quick with the same used tire from the previous day's event. That would turn around to bite us though, as our heat race has to be run on the same tire, and the track started to take rubber already. I would again drop two spots right on the start, and then chase the last transfer spot for 8 laps failing to make the main and another dash opportunity. Instead, we would go to the B-main and make for a very expensive night on the tire bill. Fortunately, we had the forsight to pack some hard tires for this trip, knowing Fargo's surface usually did this, so we were somewhat prepared. It still made for an expensive night though. We would run a strong second behind Dion Hindi the entire distance of the B, and easily make the show. In the A, I ran the first couple laps real consistent and was just getting comfortable in the car and on the rubbered up race track when a lap three caution flew. It was then that I noticed the torque ball housing had come loose. All the bolts and washers were vibrating around on the floorpan, so it must have just happened under the yellow. I pulled into the work area, but Sarah was unable to get them back in in time to restart the race. Another disappointing finish with another DNF and a 23rd place finish. Those are never any fun, and really put a strain on your team's morale.We'll bounce back though, we always do.
June 16th, Red River Vally Speedway, Fargo, ND. We would again impress people with a stellar qualifying effort, this time qualifying 4th quick of 33 cars. Not too shabby on used tires. :) We would hold our own in the heat race, and move up the one necessary spot to make the A, by finishing 5th. This would also put us in yet another WoO dash. I would start third, but the motor simply didn't take off on the initial start, and I quickly faded to the back. The feature was pretty much a repeat. I would drop 4 or five spots right on the drop of the flag, then hold my own and run 14th the entire race. I know we had a top ten car if not even better tonight, we are just having problems with the motor taking off on restarts. We'll work on that. You can't give up spots on the starts like we've been doing lately. That's the most important part of the race anymore. Everyone's bunched up and that's the best time to grab a few spots, not give them away. It's much harder to get them back later in the race when everyone gets strung out.
June 14th, Beaver Dam, WI. Another track I always look forward to going back to is Pwercom Park (Beaver Dam). For whatever reason, I always seem to run well here. The track is a lot like Eagle, but with less banking. I would time extremely well and surprise a lot of peers on a dry slick surface. We timed 2nd quick. That surprised even me. You know when you've turned a decent lap, then you get the usual comments from other drivers and crew about being a "good lap" or whatever, but until you never really are sure until you see it posted in the media center or line-up area. It was nice to time well, but I made some changes to the car that were just awful for the heat race, I pushed straight through the cushion on the first lap and rode around the back of the heat race a total non-factor, which sent us straight to the B-main. The B would be a different story though. We changed the car back to the way we qualified with very minor changes, and the car was really fun to drive again. Still a little light on the front end on throttle at corner exit, but much more driveable than in the heat race. I would lead every lap but the final one, when Sammy Swindell's experience got the best of me. I knew he was back there and I just kept trying to drive my line. I just was too patent with the lapped cars. It doesn't pay to win a B main, so I guess it doesn't really matter in the end, but as a driver, you want to win every race you are in. We tightened the car back up to set up to run the bottom for the feature, but the bottom was just not the fast way around for the first half (20 laps) of the race. I got lapped about that point and was just hanging on to an ill handling race car and decided to pull off, finishing 19th, before I get caught up in a crash...with the leaders slicing and dicing around you, you don't want a car that is inconsistent under you. It just felt like I wasn't real sure what the car was going to do as I entered the corner. If we could have held on the rest of the way, we would have finished several spots better, as some other cars pulled off as well, but then again, we would certainly have crashed out instead. The following day, we discovered why. The steering arm had come loose on the right front, with only one bolt holding it on by a few threads. The toe had to be changing at least an inch and we were extremely lucky that it didn't come off as that would have certainly crashed us. So, we dodged a bullet, but at the same time, left a lot on the table points-wise as we could have made big strides with another good starting spot. Special thanks to Cheesehead Ken for all his help in the pit area. It's nice to have made such good friends over the years of travelling on the road. Kenny calls us most every week to check on how we're doing, and we look forward to having his help again when we go to the Knoxville Nationals.
June 10th, Eagle, NE. The second day of the two day Eagle Nationals were on hand, and I was just hoping to repeat our performance from the previous night. With nearby Knoxville Raceway being rained out, several top cars from there made the tow to Eagle to compete with the WoO. Coupling that with the fact that two day shows lock in the top four finishers from the previous night, and a much smaller invert in the heat races makes the qualifying that much tougher. We would step up to the plate in nice fashion, however, as I timed in 5th quick. I would start 4th in our heat, and outrace Randy Hannagan to the first corner and ride in third the entire distance of our heat race. I would qualify for yet another dash start and follow Randy around the back. The track would get tougher as the A-main rolled out. With the threat of weather moving in, there was no track prep done prior to the feature, and cars were rolled out onto what would end up a tire guessing game of a surface. We were actually pretty decent up until we got lapped maybe lap 25 or so of the 40 lap A-main. I was just kinda riding there in the middle of the field, then the track started taking rubber and we got really bad tight towards the end. I eventually fell back to 18th in the finishing order. Not what we were looking for after such a good starting spot, but we made the show and that is always good.
June 9th, Eagle, NE. I always like racing at Eagle. It's a "driver's track". By that, I mean, you sit up in the seat, get your elbows up and wrestle the race car around the track. Sure, horsepower is in the equation, it always is in qualifying, but a driver can make up a lot at a bullring track like Eagle. You can be down on horsepower and make up for it with treachery running against the fence, or patience by running around the bottom. We would time just "ok", 18th of 34 cars, on this night and get to start outside the front row of our heat. When the green flag dropped, I took off and led every lap over Donny Schatz, Brooke Tatnell, Billy Alley, Dion Hindi, and Gary Wright, to name a few, to get yet another WoO heat race victory. Donny may have been a little faster (mylaps.com), but we got a good start, and sometimes that's all you need. In the A-main, we moved forward just a couple spots to finish 16th. I think the car was better, but I just tried to stay out of the leader's way and run my own line on the bottom in the feature.
June 4th, Terre Haute, IN: We would have similar ignition problems in hot laps from the previous night, and never really made a lap. Fortunately, our engine guru, DaveConn, of J&D Performance, was on hand to help us change a mag, and get us back out to qualify. With no time on the track, I managed to reel off a 10th quick time, ahead of some real heavy hitters in a 37 car field. I would race withmy elbows up in my heat, finishing fourth, and get to start yet another WoO dash event! I would run 8th in the dash, but moreso, got to see the track one more time before the feature without having to go through the dreaded B-main. I lost several spots at the start of the A, then raced glued to the bottom of the track through the entirety of the event. I caught Paul May and Greg Wilson and got a few spots back late in the race, winding up 15th at the end. After missing so many shows by just one spot recently, we were just happy to make the show. Several others didn't fair so well, as Mean 15 racers Randy Hannagan, Justin Henderson, Dion Hindi, and Bill Rose failed to qualify for the A. We're currently sitting 14th in WoO drivers points and in a heated battle for 12th with Rose, Hindi, & Anderson.
June 3rd, Eldora, OH: Back to Eldora Speedway as we make our trip back through the midwest. The track slicked off quickly, but we actually timed nicely to make the invert. 19th of the 39 cars on hand. We even managed to out-time the King, Steve Kinser. He must have had an off night, right? In our heat race, the motor stumbled badly and I was forced to pull in. We thought we found a problem and fixed that, but in the B-main, the problem persisted where the car would simply shut off while going down the straight under throttle. I would run most of the B-main, challenging for 5th spot with Pitman before the motor completely shut off. There was a ten cent wire connector that was broken for the ground wire off the mag. Maybe next time I'll use a 20 cent part! UGH! We were really fast on the bottom too. The track really went slow and slick and we were undoubtedly the fastest car on the bottom. While the leaders took turns trying to knock the fence down around the top, I was just moving my way up through the field. As it turned out, Ed Lynch, Jr. was unable to start the A-main, which enabled Pitman to start as an alternate. There's the Carlson luck again...woulda shoulda coulda. :)
June 1st, Wayne County, OH....RAIN claimed yet another WoO victory.
May 31st, Lernerville, PA: Rain make-up race adds to an already long week, but we were ready for it. I wouldn't time in very well at all, and wound up 29th of 45 cars on hand. I would again race really well to make a serious challenge for a transfer spot in our heat but again fell one spot short. I could have forced the issue, but drove a smart and cautious race. In the B-main, I figured we had little to no chance, starting 9th in a field that had local hot shoe, Ed Lynch Jr, Lance Dewease, Brooke Tatnell, and Daryn Pitman starting up front. I put an absolute junk right rear on the car to try to conserve funds for another night, when, much to my surprise, I would make it all the way to fifth and maybe had something for them but just ran out of laps. The car was great, and I had my elbows up, but it just wasn't to be on this night...another night of missing the show by one spot.Not having a tire deal certainly is a disadvantage. If we were able to purchase tires at the same price as some of the bigger teams, we could have afforded a new tire for the race, and just maybe had gotten by Tatnell. We'll never know now.
May 30th, Rolling Wheels. Let me first say that I have no love lost for this big ole race track either. This is the track that I got hurt at two years ago, when we were travelling full time with the Outlaws. A seperated shoulder, broken car, and broken motor were the result that night, I was just hoping to get through this night without incident, and maybe another top 15 finish. We started off well, timing 22nd of 32, allowing us to start on the front row of our heat. I would start along side long time friend and true outlaw racer, Danny Smith. I tried to get the jump on Danny, but our car just spun the tires on the dust laden track, and I quickly faded to 6th...I would reel Danny back for the final transfer spot, but still could not get the car working coming off the corners and wound up finishing 6th. One spot out of a transfer position. In the B-main, I would have my work cut out, as I would start 4th, behind, Saldana, Keel, and Anderson. I got passed on the start by local racer Lance Yonge, and never could get back around him. Actually in the final two laps, we both should have gotten around Becca Anderson, as she was sliding backwards, but I just didn't get the job done. Another disappointing night of missing the show by one spot, (in the heat AND in the B.) What makes it worse, is that the rest of the Mean 15 made it, and that hurt us in points pretty badly as we dropped to 14th now.
May 29th, Orange County, NY. Orange County may be better known for choppers than good sprint car racing...and there's a reason for that. ;) The track was a wreck all night, starting with too much water being put on the track, which made it so greasy that even the modifeds and four wheel drive push trucks couldn't stay on the flat racing surface. Then two water trucks collided and ruptured a diesel tank in one. The spot on the track was dug up and filled in with some loose dry dirt...that spelled a problem right there...in fact it was right in the groove as you enter the first turn on a high speed 1/2 mile. Next, there was problems with the lights and generator, which further delayed the program. The fans got wrestless, so I was called apon to go throw out some free t-shirts to the crowd. That may have helped temporarily, but the crowd came to see racing. When we would finally get underway, it was 9:30, and races were rushed through to help accommodate a track curfew. We would take just one lap in time trials. I qualified14th of the 33 cars on hand. That was good enough, as I motored my way into the feature via the heat race, finishing fourth, ahead of Daryn Pitman, and Stevie Smith. We didn't have enough time to mount up the left rear I wanted for the feature, so I struggled with too much stagger, eventually ending up 15th. It was an ok run for us, considering we had problems all night. Just little gremlin things that irritate you, but we overcame it and came out unscathed another night.
May 27th, WIlliams Grove, PA: The track took a turn for the worse and slicked off real bad in time trials for night #2. We were actually pretty good for as late as we went out, but could only manage a 28th place time. I ran 7th in our heat, and would struggle in the B, finishing 15th.
May 26th, Williams Grove, PA: Everyone pretty much expects a good butt kicking when you roll into the Grove (especially for the first timers on the tour this season.) I almost feel bad for them. I think I have finally found a quick way around the race track, and it sure showed in time trials as we timed in a very impressive 13th quick out of 49 cars on hand. That's certainly as well as I have ever timed at the Grove. It certainly impressed some of our competitors and that's always cool. If they only knew how far ahead their motor programs are from ours. ;) We would race well in our heat, but get passed by Mark Richards in the Zemco car (whom we recently purchased a car from), to keep us from transferring directly to the feature. We did manage to hold off Chad Kemenah and Greg Hodnett however, and that's an accomplishment anytime. Instead, we were sort of "best in class" for the Mean 15 in the B, as I would run a strong 8th, besting Kemenah, Campbell, Henderson, and Anderso. Too bad they didn't award points for finishing position in the B and C mains...we would have picked up some valuable points on this night.
May 24th, Concord, NC: Already having plenty of laps around the red clay of Lowe's, I wasn't too upset about missing the practice session one day earlier. However, when informed that would be our ONLY practice session, and that our next laps on the track would be timed....I was NOT a happy camper. Again, too many chiefs, and not enough indians.....Why is it that a nine million dollar facility can be so messed up? To further aggravate me, we would be doing "group qualifying" a-la Formula 1. Yea, that worked out real well. In my session, I caught up to the car in front of me rather quickly, then he bicycled and flipped into the fence. Our oil tank leaked oil on the back straight when I shut the car down, so, they spent some more time putting speedy dry right in the groove. Some two hours later, and we would find ourselves missing the invert, (29th of a 51 car field), and behind the proverbial eight ball all night. I would drive a great heat race and really had a shot at getting the final transfer spot from quick timer, Justin Henderson, but fell one spot short. In the B-main, we would start deep in the field, and race our way up to 6th when the checkered fell. Another lap or two, and we would have made the show. Just typical of our luck lately. It seems we're racing super, just not qualifying where we should be. Then again, if we had our normal hot laps and qualifying procedure, I think we would have made the invert and likely made the show from our heat. Oh well, all in the name of entertainment, right? I sure hope the fans enjoyed the 2 plus hours of group qualifying. Too bad there ended up dust in the stands by heat race time there Humpy. I thought I'd never look forward to going to the Grove, but it will certainly be nice to get back to familiar grounds and a normal WoO racing program.
May 23rd, Charlotte, NC...We showed the car for race sponsor, Ekerd's at one of their locations on the south side of the city. It was great to meet a lot of fans, and by talking with several of the other guys who showed cars, we had one of the better crowd turn outs. I'm sure it was the location rather than the driver popularity. :) We would miss out on the "practice session" at the speedway, as we understood it to be optional...we would later find out, that was our one and only practice session (the day before the race!)
May 20, Sharon, PA: You have to commend the Blaney family and everyone involved in promoting the race at Sharon Speedway. What an effort these folks put in, despite the weather. A helicopter was even brought in to help dry the track. Although the surface was less than great, it did provide some good racing. I would qualify early, and drive right throught the ruts and holes, mashing the gas all the while. Unfortunately, later qualifiers realized, that you could drive around some of the holes entering turn one and really pick up some time. We would end up missing the invert by one car. I would race decently in the heat but fail to transfer, then race my butt off in the B-main on a used tire to get up to fifth with a caution with only a couple laps to go. I would get underneath the forth place runner on the ensuing restart, but instead of drifting up the race track and forcing the issue, I chose to hold my line tight on the bottom. That was pretty much my only chance to make the show, and I chose to save the car and not put the car in a bad position with a competitor. Looking back, maybe I should have leaned on him a little, I think pretty sure we would have made the show, but oh well, we didn't this night and the car is still in one piece.
May 19, Lernerville...MORE RAIN!
May 16, Grandview, PA. Although Grandview doesn't rank high on my list of favorite tracks, it would be considered a track that demands the driver sit up in the seat, and I generally like those kind of places. We would time fair, well enough to make the invert, then stomp them in our heat. Actually it was a pretty loaded heat race, featuring many members of the Mean 15, including; Donny Schatz, Jac Haudenschild, Justin Henderson, Jason Martin, Dion Hindi, and Bill Rose. It was nice to get yet another heat race win, especially against this caliber of cars. Unfortunately, we again struggled in the A-main, with a car that had something bound up in the rear. I pulled off and finished a disappointing 22nd.
May 12 & 13 RAIN RAIN RAIN....The sky waited to open up until after we fired the car up at least, so we DID hear the engine run after a week off. BUT, no racing going on ANYWHERE in the midwest this weekend due to the Noah-like weather we've been having this spring.
May 10, '06 - Official Press Release:
Carlson eyes busy schedule
May 8th, '06: Springfield, IL: We spent the evening at Maxim Chassis' shop in Springfield making the best of our bent up car. A BIG thanks to Maxim Mike for all his hard work and late night hours fixing our car. We still have a lot of work to do to get the car ready for next weekends' races, but we would have been scrambling to put together another car if it weren't for Mike's help. It sure is nice to be part of Team Maxim!
May 7th, Rain out make up race at Huset's Speedway, Sioux Falls / Brandon, SD. We would be fast all night and certainly a car to contend with. That's something that we've not really been over the past couple years. We were 1/100th off of quick time. We would finish qualifying an impressive 2nd quick. It would have been awesome to be quick time...but, it was still quite an accomplishment for our team. People are really starting to take notice of our team's performances (and especially how our qualifying has stepped up.) What can I say? Dave Conn, (J&D Performance Engines), is building reliable horsepower, and I am as hungry as ever in the car. We would have to start 6th in our heat, and the car was handling great as I quickly got around co-mean 15 racer, Becca Anderson, en-route to getting a transfer spot to the feature. We would also start another WoO dash tonight, finishing 5th. In the feature, we were really rolling good, holding onto 11th or 12th when Donny Schatz tried to get around me, and ended up spinning right in front of me. I just did clear him and hold my spot on the track. Some laps later and a couple red flags, including an open red which Sarah made a couple changes to the car, and we got the car working even better, as I started moving back to the front. That's when Schatz got crossed up with Jason Martin and Mark Dobmeier. I had them all cleared, when one of them came spinning across the track and just did catch my right rear as I went by. That sent our car flipping down the front stretch, making hard impact with the inside concrete wall. I was ok, but the car is junk...Well, we'll fix it somehow. It bent the top hoop of the roll cage right behind the rear halo, and bent the right front tube back. Broken ladder, radius rods, right rear arm, wings, and ego. Certainly not repairable to re-enter the race. I was really feeling confident before the crash, and knew we had a top ten car. It wasn't all bad. We left the track in better shape points-wise in 13 place.We solidified our position a little there, although we really should have gained much more than we did. We'll just have to keep running hard every night and let the points take care of themselves. We've certainly been outperforming several other teams much better funded than our own. That will bring a smile to our fans. :)
May 6. '06: Wichita, KS. RAIN (again). The race was called early enough that we headed up to S. Dakota and stopped by a Bass Pro Shop on the way to spend some quality time with the kids. Not that racing isn't quality, right? It was nice to take a break with them, but I think we all wished we had run Wichita instead.
May 5, '06: Osborn, MO. What a neat little facility! And PACKED with fans -- it doesn't get much better than that! A big 1/4 mile track with good banking and wide open racing. We would time in a surprising 10th quick on an ultra sticky and heavy race track. This would turn out the be a bad thing though as the track was difficult to pass on early in the night. We got a bad start to the heat race and didn't get the transfer (letting Donnie Schatz and Tyler Walker get around me.) I would start 4th in a loaded B-main that saw McCarl, Tatnell, myself, and Justin Henderson take the first four spots to transfer to the A. That left Brian Brown, and a host of other really strong cars to not make the show. We were pretty happy just to make the show at this point. We got a horendous start as the car biked up on the right rear hard on the cushion, and several cars got by me. We would race real well after that, and put on a great battle with Campbell and Hannagan, finishing 17th. I think we were faster than the two or three cars ahead of us, but the car was real tight on the cushion, and as heavy and rough as the track was, I didn't want to take any more chances trying to gain one or two more spots in the finishing order. It was a good night to put the car in the trailer in one piece (unlike so many others tonight.) We got an extra surprise at the end of the night when a benevolent fan rewarded us with a sizeable amount of cash. Wanting to remain anonymous, this fellow refused to let us put his name on the car. It's such an honor to know how much we are appreciated out on the road and at the race track. This gentleman's gesture is above and beyond what anyone would expect! THANK YOU very much Mr. Anonymous! We hope you enjoyed your evening as much as we did!
May 4, '06: We got our new trailer and we're pretty excited. We'll be able to take three cars on the road with us now, and that should relieve our driver just a bit. :) We've had the spares all along, just nowhere to take them along in the little trailer we had. Now, we find ourselves packing things in triplicate from what we are used to....It will take some time to get used to where everything is, and to get things sorted out to our liking, but it will certainly be worthwhile. The new red trailer certainly clashes with the rig, but the functionality is the important thing to remember. We're not falling in love with this trailer. It is not our dream trailer, but it WILL serve its purpose this season. It also gives us a chance to see how we would build a better trailer in the future and have everything just where we want it when we spend the money for our "dream" trailer. When we had a deal worked out with United Expressline Trailers Company for a trailer to start this season, we thought that would be the biggest sponsor we could support this season. Instead, they dropped the ball and couldn't deliver the trailer we had on order. Now we have a different make trailer. No, it's not a sponsorship, but then again, the United deal really wasn't either....just a factory discount. Instead, we took all the cash we had and bought this current trailer instead. United's loss for sure, because now they have lost a customer for life. We've owned 3 United trailers that were purchased new over the last 12 years of our racing sprint cars, and have turned uncounted karting customers to local United dealers for their trailer needs. Now, we'll concentrate on making a new relationship with a manufacturer that wants our business and loyalty and send our customers to them. We've already been in contact with a couple other manufacturers who were sincerely interested in helping our team for the 2006 season, but by the time the United deal fell apart, the build time for one of their trailers was going to be too late in the season. Now we can start looking at the 2007 season realistically. The trailer is part one of a two part hurdle we need to clear yet this season. The other part is a new hard hitting engine. Our engine program has been really strong for our budget. Hats off to Dave Conn at J&D Performance for building us RELIABLE horsepower. We still really need to piece together another good spare motor to keep in the trailer, and one really hard hitting motor for qualifying at bigger events. We're working hard on securing sponsor / investor dollars to accomplish that. One hurdle is cleared (trailer) and for that we are very thankful.
May 1. '06: Rain, rain, and more rain. I said after last weekends' rainout at Lawranceburg, that it wasn't so bad, cause it was only three hours from home...Well, this weekend, we rained out not only Knoxville, IA, but also Sioux Falls, SD. We sat the better part of the weekend in DesMoines, IA Flying J truckstop. Keeping two kids occupied in the rig on a rainy day was work enough. :) I'm sure that both tracks tried their very best to get the races in, but the travel costs just the same either way. One could look at the radar, (as we and everyone else did BEFORE we left home), and be convinced that the entire weekend was a washout....BUT, when you're racing for points, you have to load up and go anyhow, (justin case). It's easy to be critical of the tracks or the series at times like this, but you can never be certain about the weather. It could have cleared up long enough to get a show in, and if the promoter chose to pull the plug too soon, then he would be equally criticized by his local patrons who support him all year long. Definitely not an easy job being a promoter of such a high profile series as the WoO. Knoxville has postponed the race with a date yet unscheduled, and Sioux Falls has scheduled for a week from Sunday (the 7th), which will be their regular season opener. That should make the traveling teams, such as ourselves, a little road weary after racing in Wichita, KS the night before, some 8 hours south of Sioux Falls. All in a days work, right?
We're back a the shop this week trying to catch up on some customer work before we get crazy with the schedule in May. Aside from the marathon weekend next week, our next trip sees us through some 7 states and 13 race nights over three weeks time before we return home again.
Apr. 21, '06: Rain. We got to Lawrenceburg and into the pit area just in time to watch it dump on us. The race has been rescheduled for July 7th. Back home at the shop, we're busy doing all the "normal" homeowner things...mowing the grass, planting some flowers, and playing ball with the kids. This REALLY feels ODD! We considered running the All Stars show at Eldora, but decided to spend the off time we had this weekend with the kids. We found a trailer that may work for us for the rest of this year....it's hardly my dream trailer, but we can get two (rollers) cars in it, and that's a necessity on the Outlaw tour. I'm not sure if we can get everything worked out for it this week, but we're working on it. Hey, it's only money, right? Our little trailer is officially for sale now (hint hint -- if you know of ANYONE looking for a real nice 28' trailer). We still need to work with a trailer manufacturer in the future to get what we really want and need, but in the meantime, this new trailer may just fill the need.
Apr. 15, '06: Tri State Speedway, Haubstadt, IN. Well, it's nice to race in our home state for a change. Even if Haubstadt is about as far away as you can physically get from our house in the state. :) It's been probabably 9 or 10 years since I've been to Haubstadt, so I was really looking forward to our return. Everyone seems to think that little1/4 mile "bullrings"are "my kind" of track...Honestly I love most all tracks and I like to think that I adapt well to most of them. I will admit that our team is better suited for smaller tracks where horsepower is not the utmnost importance. Rather, having a decent car and a desire to get your elbows up and race hard will likely get you up front more times than not. While we lack the big horsepower needed for big tracks, I think my experience from karts, etc, and my smooth driving style may be better suited for big momentum type half miles. You just have to roll with what you are given each night. I like them all. Haubstadt is a very tight quarter mile paper clip track, and always has tons of bite. This is the reason most of the wheelie pictures you see throughout the year are taken here. With the addition of new clay to the surface, the track was fast right from the start. Being the first night the track was raced on, it was unsure how the new surface would hold up. It did peel up in some spots to make a rough cushion that was super sticky, but again, that only made it more fun for the fans to see guys gas it up and wheelie off the corners. I got a late draw for qualifying, and got to see Jac Haudenschild go quick time by running above the cushion. I gave it a shot on our first lap and it rolled around real nice. I moved back down to the cushion for the second lap and about launched the car off turn two. The result was a very good first lap, and a miserable second lap -- but qualified us into the 7th spot out of 30 cars on hand. We out-timed some really good cars, including the race winner, Craig Dollansky. In our heat, I started 4th and followed Kemenah around the outside of the pole sitter to move right into 2nd place coming off turn two of the initial lap. I would hold on to the second spot, flirting with the growing curb throughout the race. I would finish ahead of quick time, Haudenschild, Hannagan, McCarl, and Henderson. This qualified us for the dash, in which I would start on the outside of the front row. I got a great start and shot into the lead over Dollansky and led the first three quarters of a lap before the yellow was displayed for Joey Saldana, who got caught up and was crashed out of the dash. On the second start, Craig wouldn't let me get as good of a start, and he took off early. Brooke Tatnell slid me in turn two a lap later, and I would cruise home third, ahead of Campbell and Kemenah. Still a great way to run a dash with the World of Outlaws. I would tighten the car up a little for the feature, and not change too much (trying to keep the car good on both the top and bottom.) That was a mistake. Either I needed to free the car up to run the curb, or really tighten it up to stick on the bottom or middle of the track. Instead, the car was good only for a few laps, then got continually worse as the 40 lap main went along. I was WAY too tight when I went to the top and banged the cushion, and had absolutely no grip on the slick bottom. I simply hung on for 40 laps and fell back to 13th by the race's end. The throttle return spring must have fell off as well, as I had to keep lifting the pedal to get it whoa'd down in the corners. Not the direction we wanted to go, but honestly, still a good finish for us. After all, it is our best finish this year, so we'll take it. We're still 16th in points...We lost a couple of points over Becca Anderson, and Dion Hindi (both who had their best runs of the season and who still trail us by just a little).We gained a few points over fellow Indiana racer, Billy Rose.
The drivers went through the stands to collect over $4500 for driver/friend Danny Smith, who lost his wife in a battle to cancer. We've missed seeing Danny at the tracks this year, but not near as much as he must miss Jan now. Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny and his family now.
I drove the 3 1/2 hours or so straight home after running Haubstadt, got a few hours sleep, and made it to church for Easter service. We got to spend the day with our family watching AJ and Seth hunting for eggs (between rain showers). The drive was well worth it! Happy Easter to each of you and your families!
Apr. 8, '06: Eldora, night two....We would time in only slightly better (30th of 41), but still miss the invert with the top four cars already locked in from the previous night. From then on, we went into cruise mode and conserved our equipment. I still raced hard, but didn't do anything stupid, and we kept tire expenses to a minimum. I got going real well in the B and was one of only a couple guys that made some forward progress. I started 12th, while Rob Chaney started 10th...Rob made the final transfer spot...I only managed to move up a couple cars to finish 10th. I was way faster than the guy in front of me, just couldn't ever get enough momentum up to slide him, and what's the point, when you're racing for 10th in the B. ;) Kudos to the WoO and Eldora track officials...we were loaded and on the road by 9:30 pm...on a night with lows in the upper 20's! I think all the fans appreciated the quick moving show.
Apr. 7, '06: Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, OH. On a cold, miserable, rainy, and VERY windy night at Eldora, we qualified just fast enough to make the invert before the rains came and scratched everyone's qualifying times...(only two cars remained for time trieals.) When time trials resumed, they were 1 lap and the track was ultra fast and sticky. It would take all the horsepower you could put down, and then some. From being 24th of 45, we fell to 40th of 45. Pretty disheartening to say the least. That pretty much spelled out our night from that point on. We ran towward the back of our heat, and then again at the back of the B. The car was fast, but time trials mean everything at a WoO show.
Apr. 4, '06: On the heels of good news, yep, just as you would expect...here comes the bad news. Well, we've been waiting (semi-patiently) for our new trailer to be built by United Expressline, only to keep being told that the production date has been moved back. NOW, evidently, they have heard through the grapevine, that we have been inquiring with some other manufacturers as to how long it would take them to build a trailer like we need. We were just told today by United, that the whole deal is off, and we are back to square one on the whole trailer situation. This comes as a major blow to our team, as we were really looking forward to debuting our new trailer really soon. Now, we are left scrambling for another trailer manufacturer to work with us. I certainly hope that whatever manufacturer works with us on the new trailer, that they reap some huge benefits from dealing with us. Keep in mind, that through our kart shop, we refer several customers per year to local trailer dealerships (primarily United!), and were looking long term at being a dealer for whatever company is willing to work with us now on the sprint car deal. It looks like it's back to the drawing board, (again).
Apr. 3, '06: Latest Press Release:
Official Press Release:
Brian Carlson is off to a good season as a driver member of the Mean 15 with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. To some, a measure of success is simply found in finish results, but as Carlson notes, there are many intangibles that go along with that success. One of those that Carlson feels is significant to his team's early season success on the track, are the inclusion of several new sponsors on board . "Without all the support from our loyal sponsors, this wouldn't be possible. And the fans, We have to thank them first and foremost. They're the ones that support the sponsors and pay their hard earned money to come out to the track and watch us run," said Brian Carlson, driver of the SC Motorsports #18. "We've been very fortunate to have some long time sponsors stay on board, and with the addition of several new sponsors this season, it's just making this season that much more exciting for our fans," Carlson continued. Recently, the SC Motorsports team has announced new sponsorship from Pop's Products, Advance Auto Parts, and Mechanix Wear. "It's one of those intangible things that comes with running with the World of Outlaws as a contracted driver. We are getting some great tv exposure right now (via The Outdoor Channel), and the media is constantly talking about us. It's a very exciting time to be racing with the Outlaws. That helps a ton in securing much needed sponsorship," continued Carlson. Brian, and his SC Motorsports team have already have two preliminary heat race wins to their credit this season. For many teams that is quite an accomplishment for an entire career. Brian is quick to credit his early success to crew chief and team manager Sarah Carlson. Sarah, just also happens to be his wife. "Sarah has to do about everything on this team. Sure, it's a team effort, but she's the one out there getting new sponsors on board, and keeping all of our current sponsors updated. Thats's just one part of her job, she's also the one that orders the parts, pays the bills, maintains the car, and oh yea, she takes care of a 4 year old and a 1 year old while we're on the road," Brian Carlson laughs. Working Mom, she is, but Sarah also plays another important role to the team, Sarah is the only female crew chief on the tour. "Brian trusts me to do just about anything on the car. I do all the engine fueling and tuning. That allows Brian to concentrate on car set-ups and ever changing track conditions. I can change the bars and do pretty much all the maintenance on the car from night to night when needed. That's just all part of racing full time with the Outlaws," states Sarah Carlson. Currently Brian sits in the top 15 in points with the World of Outlaws series and is readying a return to Eldora Speedway, a track where Carlson has had success in the past in a race steeped in prestige and tradition. Brian comments, "Yea, it's been a few years, but we made the King's Royal by winning our heat race and finishing third in the dash that year. It's always nice to beat the very best in the business, but when there's a huge crowd of race fans, and a whole lot of money on the line, that makes it even that much better. Eldora's a place where you just have to be comfortable. It's kinda like William's Grove for the PA Posse guys. Once you get comfortable running that track, it's a lot easier to be fast. Until you are really comfortable with the track, you just aren't going to be fast there." Carlson has a lot of fans at the western Ohio speedplant as well and will honor them this weekend at a special Mean 15 autograph signing. "The fans at Eldora are some of the best there are. I guess I have always been somewhat of an underdog, and I can live with that. When we run up front and surprise some guys once in a while, that earns respect from our fans and the other drivers. I guess I've got a pretty good fan following at Eldora after all these years," Carlson smiles. The Carlsons look forward to returning to Eldora Speedway as they continue in their quest to compete the entire season with the World of Outlaws. For more information on Brian Carlson and the SC Motorsports #18 team, please visit them online at: www.CarlsonMotorsports.com .
Apr. 1, '06: Pevely, MO. Kenny Schrader's I-55 Raceway. I've always liked this track because it is "racey". You get up on the wheel, and the driver can really make the difference, not just what's under the hood. Unfortunately, the track really slicked off in time trials and we pulled a really late pill -- 44th car on the track out of an outstanding 55 cars on hand! The track was all used up when we went out to time, and showed by the lap times. We would start at the tail of the first heat, so I went to work on the chassis to try to make something happen. And happen it did! I raced past Travis Rilat and Larry Ball Jr on the start, and immediately went to work on a transfer spot. I had just passed Kevin Swindell and Chad Meyer, when Meyer hit the wall and brought out the red. On the restart I was right on K. Swindell's bumper in 6th, and figured I'd take him to school. I was WAY faster than him on the bottom, (confirmed by Mylaps) >>link here<< but had already showed him the bottom before the red. SO, Kevin did exactly what his Dad, I'm sure, has taught him...protect the line. I pressured him over and over the last couple laps, then finally made a run on the outside of him coming off of turn two and raced ahead of him down the backstretch when we banged wheels. We got the worse of the contact, suffering a smashed left rear wheel and a flattened tire. I would limp around to finish 6th. Honestly, the fact that we ruined a wheel and tire, meant little to me. I had confidence in the car and knew we were fast enough to make the show from starting anywhere. Unfortuantely for us, the track was reworked prior to the B-main, and was pretty fast all over, which made it difficult to pass. I moved up a couple spots, to finish 11th, right behind Lasoski, (who again, I was faster than!). It was still a fun night even though we missed the show for the first time in several weeks.We slipped a little in points to Sammy Swindell and Bill Rose, who made the show from the front row of his heat. It just goes to show just how important qualifying and the luck of the pill draw can be. As the saying goes, "I'd rather be lucky than good."
Mar. 31, '06: Batesville, AR...After a long trip to the track (seems like it took as long to go through the Arkansas hills as to get to the state!), we arrived to see 39 cars on hand. A GREAT car count compared to the last year's field of 25! We would time right about the middle of the field, and just fast enough to make the inversion. I would start on the front row with Greg Wilson outside, Haudenschild directly behind, Lasoski, McMahon, and Dollansky rounding out the top 6....definitely a stacked heat race! I got a good start and led going into turn 1, and ran the cushion hard until a lap 4 caution for a spinning Natalie Sather. I would play the restart perfectly and drive away at the end. Again, I posted the fastest lap of the event (lap six) as shown on Mylaps.com (click here) A convincing heat race win. I could get used to this. :) In the feature, I tightened the car up a little too much and just hung on for a 17th place finish, moving up only a few spots from where I started. I think I was faster than a couple guys that finished ahead of me, but got caught a lap down and showed the leaders some respect, rather than trying to race them a lap down. Later in the night, I had the fortunate experience of meeting a great (anonymous) race fan, who slipped a (Ben Franklin) in between our handshake. This fellow is a stat guru, and has been following our team and others for years. Said he appreciated our run tonight and thought he would like to show his appreciation. I couldn't thank him enough! If you're reading this, please look us up at a future race, I've got some t-shirts reserved for you as soon as I get some printed up. :) This thoughtfullness from a fan really means a lot to me. We stayed around 'til the last hauler was left at the track, just talking with fans and spending time with foks who spend their hard earned money to come watch us "play". I can't say thank you enough to all the fans who support the WOO and our team. This was the fifth WoO show in a row that we qualified for, and the car counts have been averaging 40 something! Cars that didn't make the show included Mean 15 members, Dion Hindi, Rob Chaney, and Becca Anderson. Things are really starting to click now.
Mar 28, '06: If you haven't already had a chance to check this out, please take a moment to visit the AMB website that provides the scoring for the World of Outlaws. For those of you familiar with AMB and "MyLaps" from the karting circles, this may be old hat...BUT, it's still pretty neat to see all the data collected from the onboard timing transponder. Here's a quick link to the site: WoO MYLAPS
Mar 16th, '06: Here's the latest press release on our team - I just thought I'd share it with you all on here. :)
Official Press Release:
With recent sponsor additions, Brad Penn Oil and Staubli, Brian Carlson has caught the eye of many World of Outlaws sprint car fans as of late. His performance on the track has been just as impressive. Carlson's first eye opener was in qualifying for a WoO dash event at the famed Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, AZ, a track which Carlson had never been to before that night. "I can remember watching the Outlaws from television shows there a long time ago and it was just a dream of mine to be racing with these guys some day. Now, here I am, out here trying to prove myself against the best in the business." The very next night at USA Race Park, in Tucson, AZ, Carlson won his heat race in convincing fashion over some big budget heavy hitters, Danny Lasoski, Paul McMahon, and 4 time All Star champion Chad Kemenah. Again on a track that Carlson had never seen, and while the action was being covered by the Outdoor Channel. "It's always fun to race with guys like the Dude and Paul. On that red during the last lap I was like, Oh man, I don't need this. One look at the scoreboard and I knew I had to work even harder for the win now, (with a two lap green - white - checkered finish). I was actually surprised I didn't see a nose there at the end. I saw Danny (Lasoski) there when I had trouble getting around a lapped car earlier in the race and I just knew I had to go then. I had it on the mat every lap but had some problems getting around some slower cars. You can't afford to hesitate when you're leading a race. These guys race you hard no matter if it's in the A, or just a heat race. It's always great to win one against these guys." Afterwards, Art Eckman and the Outdoor Channel crew caught up with Carlson in his pit area for a post race victory interview. Carlson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to race with the World of Outlaws and said the he was planning on taking full advantage of that opportunity. "This is great for our fans and our sponsors. I'd really like to make a habit of talking with Art after these races more often. I may not be the flamboyant driver type. I'm a family guy and more reserved, I guess. Some people call us underdogs or overachievers...I can live with that," smiled Carlson. The team's west coast trip didn't end there though, as Carlson qualified for both A-mains at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track a week later. "This has been a couple good weeks for us on the road. I wish our finishes would have reflected better how we are capable of running. We know we are down on horsepower quite a bit and that hurts you in qualifying. We've struggled with some dumb luck things on the car too, but I think we've worked through all the adversity quite well, and somehow managed to put the car in the show each night. Sarah (Carlson's crew chief and wife) never gives up. She just keeps working. She's probably the biggest reason for our success out here." Carlson currently sits 13th in the World of Outlaws point standings and is focused on the season ahead. "We just need to keep doing what we're doing. We can't look at the points already, we just have to race hard each night and the points will take care of themselves. Of course we'd like to finish in the top 10 in points, but our real goal is just to come out here and be competitive every night. We're working real hard on securing some additional sponsorship for the team right now while we have a bit of a break. Hopefully something will come of it, but either way, we're committed to the season with DIRT Motorsports and the World of Outlaws. This is where we need to be right now. The coverage on the Outdoor Channel, as well as highlights on other major networks and all the media hype around the Outlaws is very important to us. I can't say enough good things about the job that Chris Dolack (DIRT Motorsports PR Director) has done. That guy probably sleeps less than most of us teams out here on the road, and his efforts sure show. It's great to have an opportunity to share in the limelight that has been reserved for some of the more popular drivers in the past." While at Vegas, Carlson participated in a Mean 15 autograph session held at the paved 1.5 mile Nascar facility. "It was a great opportunity for the fans to meet the drivers, and for us to give back to the fans." That's something that has been missing for a while now. With our schedule, it's tough for a lot of teams to stick around late after the races to meet the fans. Of course, we all try our best, but to schedule some time with the fans before the races begin is going to be better for racers and fans alike. It's great to see so many kids at the tracks too. That's important to the future of our sport. I personally make sure to thank Moms & Dads for bringing their kids to the races. That's a big deal to me. We travel with our two boys to race tracks all across the country and get to spend a lot of quality family time with them that way."
For more info on the Carlsons and the SC Motorsports #18 team, please visit their website @: www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
Mar 14th, '06...Well, we FINALLY made it home. After the races ended at Vegas, we high tailed it out of there. With high winds and winter storm warnings at higher elevations, we wanted to get as far south as we could that night. We landed at Kingman, AZ and slept 'til probably 10 the next day. When we awoke, there was snow dripping off all the rigs around us. Interstate 40 east of us was closed. The highway patrol was suggesting that we stay put for another day and a half until they got the mountain passes cleared. That wasn't the answer I was looking for. We made it to route 93 south towards Phoenix, where we were forced off the interstate and decided to head south rather than back west to a truckstop. 93 was an exciting little mountani road, but not as bad as it looked on the map...just interesting how people drive when they get in to snow on the mountan tops. Those people wouldn't make it back here in the midwest very long. :) What was worse was the drivers in Phoenix, a city that has gone without rain for some 150 days straight...it was only raining there when cars and suv's were off the road! With I-17 closed to Flagstaff, we continued south toward old Maxico and spent the night in San Antonio, TX. We would wake up the next morning to steady 60 mph winds and dust storms that lasted until just west of Dallas. Missouri had tornadoes, and we fought strong and gusty winds the rest of the way home, but we finally got here. Man, it sure is nice to get back to the shop...where the message machine is full, and there's just so much work to do. :) We may even get the car out and wash it some night this week!
Mar 10, '06: Vegas, night dos. With our engine problem figured out, we went to work on getting the car much faster, and indeed we did. We would time well (17th of 34 cars) and earning the right to start on the front row of our heat. I didn't have the confidence of last week's front row starting position, but I figured we could make the show from there, and that's just what we did. After a couple of false starts, Bill Rose got a good jump on me on the start, and shot into turn one ahead of me. I got a good bite on the bottom going in and passed him back to take the lead off of turn two. The mead wouldn't last long though as we were not set up for as slick as the track had become in the middle. I would fade to 5th, but get that valuable last transfer spot ahead of Rose. Straight to the A....(4 A-mains in a row -- I could get used to this!) I got a good start, but then had a tough time the first few laps of the A and got shuffled back.When the leaders caught me to go a lap down, I was racing my way back through the cars that had just passed me, when the yellow flew.Of course...it's always when the leaders just get around me that the yellow comes out. Sammy was leading, with McCarl in tow. I made a deal with Terry to go high in one and two and let him by to race for the win. Sammy got a great start and I stayed right with him on an unusually early start that wasn't called back. I ran hard in to turn on in the middle of the race track and let the car drift up high off of two to let Terry and the other front running cars by. To my surprise, it took those guys another lap or two to get around me as my car was working pretty good now in the middle. Once the lead cars cleared me, I went back to racing hard again and ran solidly until the leaders came around to lap me for the second time late in the race. I pulled in to the infield completely out of tear-offs and out of everyone's way. We woudl finish 19th for the second straight nigt, but wind up our west coast tour very successful in my eyes. It's not often that you can make the show four nights in a row, including a dash start, a heat race win, and go through all the adversity we seemed to encounter along the way. We're now standing 14th in points..not too awful bad.
Mar. 9, '06: Viva Las Vegas. We took a couple days off to rest up before we went over the car with a tooth and comb to figure our engine problems from Tucson. We retorqued cylinder heads, did the usual valve maintenance, etc, and still never hit on anything obviously amiss. We even had time to get some rig work done, and run it through a truck wash to rinse off all the sand from last weeks races. A night or two on the strip with some of the best food you can imagine didn't hurt either. Can you say all you can eat Prime Rib on the buffet? :) When we rolled in to LVMS, we were prepared. 37 cars in the pit area. There was some terrible strong winds (50 mph gusts) affecting the cars, especially as you entered turn one. It would just slam the car down on the left rear all of the sudden. Going in to three, the wind actually carried you deeper into the corner and you really had to turn the car hard to get it to drive to the bottom and stay on the rubber throughout the night. If you let up at all, it just pushed straight to the fence. Not a comfortable feeling at any racetrack. In hotlaps the car felt pretty racey though and I felt good. In qualifying though, something was really wrong. The whole car vibrated and shook so violently that I couldn't even see through my helmet visor. I made a lap and a half not even at full throttle and shut it down. I stared at the oil pressure gauge the entire time and saw nothing out of the ordinary there. We both went to work under the hood, and even looked closely at the rear end, trying to find the source of the vibration. We really didn't find anything and started the heat race in 7th (just missing the invert miraculously enough!) Id didn't have much hope for the heat race, but after running a few laps with no problem, I foudn myself ina position to take a transfer spot, when of course the vibration came back. I tried to drive through it still staring at my gauges, but it shook so hard that the car came out of gear (even with the new style shifter on the car). The motor would idle fine, so I told the push truck driver to push me off again...when he did, the car was not running right at all, so I immediately pulled off and into the infield. A lap later the car I was racing with spun out on its own. I was really disappointed now because I knew we had a car that would have made the show if it would just run like it should. When I rolled back to the pit, I figured we were done..a motor change is not something we were ready to get in to. Instead Sarah went to work with her never give up attitude, and we went to work planning to change ignitions. Apon taking the rear two sets of stacks off the injection, she noticed a link on the injection and came loose after a head on an allen bolt had snapped clear off. Likely this happened last week and we just never saw it in our maintenance. I guess if t can happen, it'll happen to us this year. We replaced the bolt and I raced my way into the A-main through the B, starting in 9th and finishing 3rd. We had some help with some crashes that I narrowly missed, but we'll take it. In the A, I ran the entire race, watching my gauges closely and trying to stay out of the leader's way. While racing, I noticed that my belts came undone. I stopped on the front stretch and brought out the yellow.That was a break that Brooke Tatnell needed as well, as he cut a tire down on the same lap while running second. I went to the work area and got the belt problem fixed. We would finish 19th. Much better than I would have credited us for earlier in the night.
Mar 4, '06: USA Race Park, Tucson, AZ. Our second new racetrack visit in as many nights. We would time in decent again over a huge car count (47), and earn the right to start on the front row of the heat. Without even looking at who was in our heat, I told Sarah to have my hat ready for a post race interview...I just had a feeling that we would run good. The track was narrow and fast and you just had to keep the car freed up and ride the cushion. I took a commanding start at the drop of the green and held on to coming down for the checkers when the red flew for Pittman upside down in turn four. The lapped cars were a real problem as you came up on them so fast on such a fast little racetrack, you just weren't sure where they were going to go. It's not like when a guy is a little off the pace, and you have a lap or two to watch where they're running. It was more like I see a lapped car ahead of me in turn three as I am coming out of two....by the time I am in three, he's still in turn four. It made passing that much more difficult. With the red shown, that would leave a green white checker finish. One quick glance at the score board revealed that the two NST guys, Danny Lasoski and Paul McMahon, were right behind me.I got a grat restart and motored on to lead the final two laps to win the heat. My Goodson Shop Supplies (sponsor) hat was waiting for me at the traile, and Art and the Outdoor Channel crew did not dissappoint us....a nice heat race victory interview and we were set for the A-main. When I pushed off for the A, I noticed that the car was stumbling a little under throttle, and got worse as we ran. I ran maybe 5 laps and pulled off as it just kept getting worse. A bad way to finish the night, but better than hurting an engine. We would wind up 24th.
Mar 3, '06: Manzi....Manzanita Speedway. In our first visit to the half mile at Phoenix, we managed to time in real well (11th). Thanks to our help from our good friends and sponsor Razor Oil Pumps. Terry & Willy were there to help with all the loading and unloading of pitting in the infield. John was MIA but we got to see him a day later on our way back through. We raced ok in the heat race and made it into the feature, but more importantly that qualified us for a dash start...(our first of the year). Not that I expected to do much in a dash, but it was an honor just to make it with 43 cars in the pits. I raced solidly in the 11th spot until just 10 laps to go, (right behind Justin Henderson, and just ahead of Jeremy Campbell), until Dollansky got around both of us. I missed seeing the rubber start coming in turn one and managed to yield 6 spots in the last seven or eight laps or so which left us with a disappointing 17th place finish. None the less, it was a good way to start our west coast trip off. Made the dash, raced our way in through the heat, make the show, take the money, and on to the next race. :)
Feb 13, '06: Just got back from (not so sunny) FLA. Florida speedweeks were unusually cold -- bitter cold to be exact. Temperatures dipping into the 20's on Thursday night....Gheesh, I thought we left the midwest for something a little warmer at least. :) Our first WoO races are now behind us, and thank goodness. We were off to a miserable start, as we chased problems with the motor not running all opening night. In fact, we never made a lap on the track...After changing every imaginable part on the car and motor (of course), we traced the problem to a fuel bypass issue. Not the way we planned on starting the season at all. Night number two was only slightly better as the motor just seemed flat all night...I timed in pretty bad as I was still shakng the rust off. No problem holdin' her wide open on a very fast and sticky race track all night long. We just didn't have the motor hitting hard enough to come close to the invert. Actually, it was not all that bad....I timed 14.2 and a 13.89 made the invert and won his heat race...so we only missed it by a few spots. Keep in mind, everyone in Florida is a "big dawg" somewhere. Whether it's with the Outlaws, All Stars, PA Posse, or a local track winner; there's no "junk" in the pits at the big races. I ran "ok" in the heat race, but was never a factor to transferring. In the B, I raced well for a few laps, then pulled off when another car flipped. We just were not in the hunt, and another 10 or 100 laps wouldn't have made a difference this night. It wasn't all bad. Things are always rough at the beginning of the season....but I certainly never expected this sort of start.
Some good did come of the Florida WoO points openers though. Kudos to the entire DIRT organization! DIRT Motorsports has done a tremendous job at really promoting its drivers and series. There was more meda attention than I have ever seen at a sprint car race (aside from possibly the nationals). There was a celebrity go-kart race, which featured most of the Mean 15 drivers and was a real blast. Now, most of you that know me, would have thought that I would be considered somewhat of a ringer for a kart race (with all my karting background). Unfortunately, I sat in a different kart each time I went on the track....I was pretty happy to run third after starting 6th in the heat race to go straight to the A. Besides, it was the only A-main I made all weekend! For the feature, I was handed a rough kart to say the least...can we say "no brakes"? Then the seat came loose, and the left front spindle was broke. We all chuckled about it afterwards. What a blast though...my thanks go to all who were involved in the event, as it was a good time by ALL! Thanks especially to the karters from VKA that donated their time and karts for us to go out and hammer around in them. :) DIRT also debuted their cool new hi-tech media center trailer, of which Chris Dolack was beaming all wekend. Great job Chris and Brian Dunlap for something that will really increase awareness of our sport and timely reporting with the ever growing demands of the internet. There's some cool ideas out there for expanding the capability even more..ie, each of us having laptops in our trailers and haulers to access line-ups, times, and such as the night goes along. This would be great for updates as well, and even for updating our own websites. There was a media luncheon and a subsequent driver autograph session on Thursday right before the races. Saturday, The Outdoor Channel had reserved time for each of us to do some interviews, soundbites, and head shots, etc, that are all necessary to make up the shows on the network. Again, a super catered in feast was served up. If there's one thing that can be said about the folks at DIRT, they know how to feed us. :) By the way, our car scaled 1412# on the scales...so I have to get back on some sort of diet while we're on the road....truckstop food and stopping for Happy Meals isn't helping. :)
Feb 2, '06: Enough about the split already -- LET'S JUST RACE!
Jan 30, '06: Things are still progressing. We've been "practicing" staying up all night - trying to condition ourselves for being back on the road....Seriously, the work around here never ends. The kart shop is doing great, and we are getting the rest of our customers caught up and out the door, so we get our turn to go play. We're looking forward to Florida next week for sure. The WoO is doing a GREAT job at promoting the events and their drivers. One example is all the media attention that will be played out on Saturday around the introduction of the WoO all new travelling media center. Driver autograph sessions, a "go-kart" race?? and some other fun activities are scheduled so that the fans will get a better chance to interact with the drivers. Scheduling of media press conferences, photo shoots, and video segments to be aired on the Outdoor Channel are also part of the day's busy itinerary. All of this will help better promote the series and their drivers, and give the tracks and their promoters a better tools at doing their job of filling the stands for us. After all, it's in our best interest that the promoters are profitable as well. As I've said before, the first ten races will be tough on everyone. Especially the new teams. For us, specifically, Florida, and most likely, the west coast trip, will be hardest of all since there are few races, and we still haven't gotten our new trailer yet. The inability of carrying a second car with us on the road is a little scary to say the least. If we can just make it through these first ten events, I think some things will start to turn around. Hopefully by the time we get back to Indiana from the west coast, we will have a trailer sitting here waiting for us. I have absolutely NO expectations as far as performance goes, I am simply concerned about survival through these events. Once we have gotten the pieces in place to go race hard, we will do so. There are some things in the works, and some great sponsorship to be announced if everything works out over the next few weeks. It's just one of those things that you can't really rush. Like I said, there's several things on the horizon, and it could be an unbelievable year for us, or we could just be another team out on the road. Keep your fingers crossed and keep our team in your prayers...we need all the help we can get!
Jan 23, '06: Well, I hope you all got to catch the show on the Outdoor channel that featured our team last week. I got my first chance to see it this weekend, and am pretty happy with how it all turned out. Keep in mind, that George filmed something like 5 plus hours of footage while he was here at the shop, and it's hard to condense that much footage down to 15 minutes of tape or so. I think it was pretty remarkable that almost the whole first half of the show was dedicated to our team. Of course there's things that I wish could have been included...you can never be sure to get every sponsor mentioned without sounding like an advertisement, or a speed reading Nascar jockey. I wish we could have seen more of the kart shop, and let people into our lives on a more day to day basis that way, but that's cool. It showed some nice footage of the shop, while mixing in some of the car in action, and also some early history of our team. It's all good. I can say that the editing crew do a great job of making me sound much better speaker than I coud ever do in public. I'm usually a pretty reserved and calm and collected type individual...so rarely do I get too excited (especially during an interview.) Actually, I thought it came out really well and gave our fans a good "honest" look into who we are, and more specifically, who I am, as a racer. I look forward to spending plenty of time with our fans after the races each night - please be sure to stop by.
Jan 16, '06: Things are still going as scheduled...new cars are at the powder coaters as we speak and we plan on picking them up as soon as they are ready. We already have our primary car ready for Florida, so there's no rush on the others. The schedule works nicely in that we can get back here to our shop and finish building cars and readying engines before the west coast trip. The way I figure it, the first ten races will be a money losing proposition with the extent of travelling and limited number of race nights. It has always been that way in the past anyhow. Being home an extra week will only help us to be better prepared come June & July when the schedule starts to pick up momentum. Remember, we're in this for the long haul. I'm not putting much emphasis or expectation on our performance over these first ten nights...we want to make sure we are around come October. Kinda like the tortoise and the hare. As much as I would like to come out of the gate like a rabbit and run hard the first couple months, realistically, we have to manage our resources wisely to be there at the end. Sponsorship has been at the forefront of our priorities these past few weeks since the schedule has been released. We have recently resigned Goodson Shop Supplies to our team. Goodson has been a longtime supports of the SC Motorsports race team and their commitment to our team is much appreciated. Please take a moment to visit their website at: www.Goodson.com for all your shop supply needs. Several other sponsors are in negotiations with our team, and we hope to announce something real soon.
Jan 6, '06: The schedule is out...well, sorta... >>>Here's a link<<< There's a lot of "TBA" dates, and several spots open for additions, so I'm sure there will be changes as the next few weeks unfold. The dates that have been secured are listed and you can expect to see more familiar tracks added as the legal guys sort things out on contracts etc. (Just another reason a second series does not help our sport at this time.) I think you will see a nice mix of short tracks, and the usual big motor 1/2 milers that fans are accustomed to seeing the World of Outlaws flying around. It should provide plenty of travelling for even the most veteren teams, and a great chance for the young teams to prove themselves.
Jan 2, '06: Happy New Year to all of our fans, friends, family, and sponsors! We, here at SC Motorsports, wish everyone a safe and prosperous new year. Our Christmas break was a much welcomed one, but now we are ready to get back to work preparing for the '06 WoO season. Parts and pieces are trickling in, but we are busy none the less. We are still looking for sponsors. That's a necessary, and never ending, process. We are still in negotiations for a new trailer, but nothing can be confirmed yet. We are also still awaiting a schedule. That's been a real stumbling point with potential sponsors. It seems we spend most of our time trying to answer questions on the state of our sport (with the once NSL / now called NST, now started.) That's pretty frustrating to us, because we just want to go race. If some guys don't want to race with the WoO in '06, that's fine. It's just a shame that egos, pride, and greed seem more important to some people than the betterment of our sport. I just know we want to race and I can't wait to get running with the WoO this year. A schedule should be ready to release to the public by tomorrow afternoon, then the real work (late nights and all) can kick in. Our driver profile segment on the Outdoor Channel will air January 18th, Wednesday night prime time slot, and again later that week at 1AM Friday, and 1PM Saturday. Set your vcr's!
Watch your favorite Outlaws on The Outdoor Channel:
Wednesday, Jan. 4 Off-Season with the Outlaws Show #1 features Randy Hannagan, Daryn Pittman and Brooke Tatnell.
Wednesday, Jan. 11 Off-Season with the Outlaws Show #2 features Craig Dollansky, Jeremy Campbell and Donny Schatz.
Wednesday, Jan. 18 Off-Season with the Outlaws Show #3 features Brian Carlson, Dione Hinde, The Voice of the Outlaws John Gibson and Terry McCarl.
Wednesday, Jan. 25 Off-Season with the Outlaws Show #4 features Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Martin, Justin Henderson, DIRT VP Race Operations Shane Carson and DIRT Chairman and CEO Paul A. Kruger.
Each program will be rebroadcast twice on the following Friday at 1 a.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. each week. For more information visit www.dirtmotorsports.com or www.outdoorchannel.com.
Dec 12, '05: We just finished up shooting a segment for the Outdoor Channel. George Martin, Mike St. Amant and staff were very gracious to offer some quality television footage time here at our shop. The final product will be approximately 10 minutes of prime time air time during the Outdoor Channel's Weekly World of Outlaws television show featuring Driver In-depth profiles for the off season with Art Eckman. The taping process took the better part of the day, with several hours caught on tape. We even got to enjoy an early afternoon brunch at Ryan's (one of our sponsors here in Lafayette.) We dusted off a few trophies and old pictures, and let the cameras roll. Now, I'm not the best public speaker and all, but I think these guys will do a great job with what they've got to work with. Remember, this is the same production team that shot the Princeton, MN interview two years ago that came off so well. We still get comments about that. The interview will be aired as part of the Outdoor Channel's in depth driver profile segment shown during the off season. The purpose of these shows is two fold, as I see it. One, it gives a chance for the fans sitting at home to learn something about the drivers in the series, and two, it gives the drivers a chance to let people know who exactly they are. I think for me, this is the easy part, since I am the epitomy of the "blue-collar" racer. Most fans and other teams can easily relate to our situation, and I think we come off as a pretty fan friendly sort. :) Most folks realize that as drivers, we put our pants on one leg at a time too, but to some of the new fans and folks in the stands, drivers might seem unattainable. I think it's in everyone's best interest for the fans to relate to the drivers and create fan favorites. Whilst we may be the decided underdog of the series, we have a ton of fans who can relate to that and specifically cheer us on. That's very important to our team. To have the fans' support means the world. Without the fans, none of this would be possible. You can be sure to see our team around at the end of the night, no matter how we just ran. Just stop by our trailer and introduce yourself. Any fan of ours is worthy of a few minutes of our time. :)
Dec 9, '05: Well, PRI show has come and gone. Lots of news and excitement in the air. If you hadn't already known, the NSL has folded and is no longer competition to the WoO. Steve's car sat empty in a booth at the trade show, as it was announced Wednesday that the group will not proceed in trying to compete with the series that we are running with, the DIRT Motorsports World of Outlaws. NSL drivers that we talked to were unsure where that left them, but most likely those guys will all be back on the World of Outlaws tour again in 2006, although without the usual perks and benefits such as tow money. Before you go feeling bad for these guy, keep in mind, that each has received approximately $87,000 as a sign on bonus to join the NSL, and have cashed out that money already. That is MORE than the tow money could ever be with the World of Outlaws. So, in fact, these teams did really well for themselves. Sure, they may have egg on their faces for their decision to leave for greener grasses, but they were handsomely rewarded for it also. Several of those teams have never had a sponsor that large, and now they are essentially being paid up front their tow money for the entire year. A few teams have publicly stated that they will "pick and choose" the better money races....news release folks, those are all WoO shows anyhow. So I can't see most of these teams not just coming back. As it stands, there are seven teams that are wanting to return to the WoO, and the others only want to run a limited schedule. That should make for an interesting year. Never knowing for sure who will be coming to your hometown track. One thing for certain, you will see which drivers / teams prefer which tracks. One thing for certain, the fans will certainly get to see the very best of the best every night on a travelling basis. This news greets us with some lack of sensationalism that the media people seem to have. From our perspective, this will make it tougher for our team to compete on a nightly basis, and over the course of the entire year to be competing against 20+ top funded travelling teams and the best local cars. Our goal of being in the top ten in points at the end of the year is seeming tougher all the time. We will go on undaunted. This is still something that I have always wanted to do. Just to run the entire series. We've won plenty of heat races and B-mains with the Outlaws, just not an A-main, and that doesn't really bother me. Sure, I'm like any racer, who goes out there to win, but realistically, I have to keep my ego in check and work within my means. Some nights, just doibng your best, is the best you can do. I'm not concerned about winning an a-main, or top tens, or even the points too awful much, I just want to be out there full time. There were some great racers who have done this deal on similar budgets, etc. A few names that come to mind are Rick Ferkel, Bobby Allen, Greg Wooley, Steve Beitler, Craig Keel, and more. If I can just manage to stay out on the road for an entire year, that's an accomplishment that few racers can ever say they did. Realistically, the first 10 races look pretty bleak to a new team. The travel is grueling, (few races across a lot of miles), the tracks are unknown, and we'll see the best racers from coast to coast. We're just going to dig in for the long haul. I don't care if I have to run a 360 half the season, just so long as I can stay out on tour. This has got to be crushing news for local teams that look forward to racing with the WoO when they come to their home track. Now, instead of racing for one of 10 or 15 available spots in the A-Main, they will be looking at grabbing one of 4 or less. That's goibng to hurt car counts at some tracks for sure. There are some car owners who simply don't awant to take their car to a show knowing that realistically, they'll get B-main money at the end of the night. I can't blame them. I know of several drivers that will run a show against the Outlaws when they are in town knowng they have a better shot to win a $1000 to win race with a bunch of middle of the road local cars, than to maybe get the $800 to start money by making the show against such a tough travelling series and the best locals as well. A 20+ car travelling series is closer to the stand-alone series that the NSL was wanting, and not in the bes interest of local racers for sure.
Now, on the brighter side...we have gotten much closer on a trailer deal for next season. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I think we'll have something that will sure help out our team, and really showcase the manufacturer. Details as soon as something is definite. We were also able to sign a few new product deals at the PRI show, please check out our sponsor news page for the latest. Of new sponsors signees, we will now be representing Staubli, JE Pistons, Zanzi, and Mechanix Wear. Several other deals are in the process of finalization as the companies get back to their headquarters and sort through proposals, etc, from teams like ourselves. Of course all of our existing sponsors are back and many have increased their level of support and involvement with our team, including, K&N, Brown & Miller, Lincoln Welders, Williams Performance Products, Razor Performance, and Jaz Products. Please check out our entire sponsor list available at: SCsponsors.html. We are very fortunate, indeed, to have such loyal sponsors in a sport that can be very cut-throat when it comes to loyalties.
A few notes about PRI itself. For the first time in several years, the annual PRI show was moved to sunny Orlando, FL. On days when the temps back home in Indianapolis were only expected in the teens, it was a welcome relief from winter weather to be able to enjoy 70 and 80 degree weather in Orlando. There are a lot of benefits to the exhibitors and attendees of the show in Orlando. First, the trade show facility itself is tremendous. To be able to see a show all under one roof and in one open room is simply enourmous. No more searching for exhibitors in hallways, hdden conference rooms, or on loading docks. The loading and unloading for exhibitors seems much better organized with much more space to work in. Impound lots and such was so much better off for the exhibitors this year. The staff seemed friendlier, and the list goes on. Now also consider that hotels within walking distance were more affordable than in Indy, the obvious weather, plenty of restaurants on a designated bus route just north of the convention center, etc, etc, and it will be very difficult for Indy to gain this show back. If there is one shortcoming of the show in Orlando that could spell its demise, it could be attendee numbers. The show seemed quieter than ever. I don't have actual numbers to prove this, but the aisles were bare on Saturday, when traditionally the Indy show rocked. I guess what it all comes down to is that it doesn't matter how nice the facilities are, weather, etc, if you don't have any buyers, it doesn't make sense to set-up there to sell. The Orlando area simply is not a hotbed of racing, and although this is a trade-only event, many of these businesses sell direct to the short track racers. Smaller Mom & Pop speed shop business revolve around the racing community, and if there isn't one in Orlando, then now all of the attendees will have to fly in. Personally, we spent much money more to attend the show this year than in past years, simply due to travel expenses compared to Indy. More people and companies had to fly in to this show than in the more centally located Indianapolis venue. That may have hurt numbers as well. Another thing that seems reasonable is that most guys can't explain to their wife or boss that they "need" to go to Florida in December for a trade show without taking them along. Now a 3 day trip ends up 5 or 6 or more. For instance, we flew down on Wednesday morning, got a rental car, and motel for 6 nights. Since our kids came along, we couldn't not do the typical touristy House of Mouse visit. Actually, we treated it more as a treat for the kids for putting up with us going to the show three days straight and handing them over to daycare personnel. This is likely the last "break" we will get all season, so it wasn't too much to expect for them. But, it certainly does escalate the cost of attending the trade show. I'm sure many families were forced to look at it in this light. Certainly the city of Orlando benefits immensely from the show being located their for the next 4 years. I would seriously expect that Indianapolis won't even be ready for their new convention center for another 6 years. Thank God that the Colts are doing well this year, progress on their new stadium is staying on schedule. Remember, we can't build the new convention center until the existing football dome is torn down. Indianapolis is the biggest loser on the show moving to Florida. Local businesses downtown had record sales during the weekend PRI was in town, and now they have a bunch of crazy football fans running in the streets with faces painted, etc. Hopefully we'll get the show back eventually, but in all reality, it will be tough. Indy has got some major competition, if not on the football field, in the world of business and trade.
Keep in Nov 25th, '05: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We enjoyed a good meal and some much needed family time yesterday. We just returned from the Al Hamilton racing auction, where we picked up a few bits for the team. We were really hoping to get an engine to add to our repetoire, but it was just a little out of the budget still. Thanks to Al for all of his help, and to Timmy (their crew chief) and the guys at Zemco for the time we spent with them. There a bunch of great race teams in central PA. The fans there are certainly spoiled with the caliber of drivers and equipment to choose from on any given night. It's very chilly here in west central Indiana, but we're doing some things outside before it gets too awful cold out. We'll be flying to Orlando for the annual PRI show next week, and get some details on our schedule and the season that lies ahead of us. This is also a good chance for us to meet with our suppliers and folks that have supported us for so long in racing. This will be a nice break from the midwestern winter weather. While we're down there, we might as well let the kids enjoy some of the sites of the area, so we'll stay for a couple days after the show before we fly back. This might be the last time for the next 10 months or so that we can do something outside of racing. :) Then it's back to the grindstone here at the shop. The Outdoor channel is sending a film crew to do some 4 or 5 hours of coverage around the shop here as we're preparing for the busy 2006 WoO schedule. This will be condensened into a half hour show about our team. Pretty exciting stuff, indeed! We've never really gotten this much exposure for our team, so this is a great bonus for our current sponsors, and a great opportunity for any new sponsors coming on board. Hopefully we'll be able to announce something on the special (which should air on The Outdoor Channel sometime in January.) Of course, we are also busy working on deals with potential sponsors. Talks are going better than expected, but we're not able to confirm anything just yet. Rumors are floating around everywhere about the possible demise of the NSL. I don't even want to think about that right now. I am simply concentrating on getting our team where it needs to be and letting the chips fall where they may. Our intention is to run the entire WoO schedule for 2006, and that will not change. How we approach the season may change if the NSL folds up and those drivers return to the series, but for now, we are just concentrating on our own team, not what everyone else is doing. :) Next update, after the PRI show....Hopefully we'll have some big new on sponsors, new product deals, and a schedule to announce as well!
Nov 8, '05: Things are progressing well here. We're simply chasing our tails trying to get all our ducks in a row for next season. There's just never enough time in the day. Still nothing new for a trailer...we're really trying hard to sell our big maroon truck and trailer and actively pursuing trailer manufacturers to come up with a tag 32 or 34 foot stacker trailer. Hint-hint, if any of you have any connections with someone in the trailer industry, please help us get in touch with them. I think we have a lot to offer a trailer company through direct sales or sales via their dealer network. Over the last two years, we have forwarded more than 20 trailer sales to a local dealer through our kart shop alone. Some manufacturer is surely interested in this type of promotion. We'd even be happy with a tralier to borrow for the season if we cannot work a full sponsorship of one. We're open to just about anything at this point. A trailer will be our biggest hurdle because it takes so long to build one as well, so we have really been pushing in that direction. Also, we are looking to update our motor inventory with a real good qualifying motor or two. That, unfortuantely, is simply a matter of money. There are plenty of good deals on some real sweet motors out there right now. It just takes money, as they say. For cars, we are pretty much set now. We spent the day Saturday, at Maxim's open house in Springfield, ILlinois, and placed our order with them for cars for 2006. We may still be in the market for a nice used roller or some other Maxim kits just to have sitting here at the shop as spares for the season. You never know. ;)
Nov 4, '05: I just got off the phone with Chris Dolack, PR Director for the World of Outlaws. DIRT Motorsports is very lucky to have such a talented guy doing their PR work. We talked about several things that I'm sure he will include in the media kits and other PR materials distributed by the World of Outlaws. One of the things that I keep telling people is I think that we're sort of a representative out here on the Outlaw trail for all those local teams that are struggling to make ends meet. For every guy that runs his Friday or Saturday night track that may be long on talent, but short on funding, I think we show them that with hard work and desire, anything is possible. There are a lot of talented drivers that have other commitments, whether it's family, or work, etc, that just cannot justify sacrificing all that to go spend a year on the road. There are thousands apon thousands of fans that sit in those stands each night that just dream of what it would be like to drive a sprint car and travel the country. I think we are, in some way, living that dream for a lot of those folks. Ever since I can remember, this has always been my dream too. Now I'm able to make this dream happen and have my family there with me on the road to share the experience.
Oct 26, '05: Well, we just got back from Vegas, and sure had a great time. The '06 drivers and car owners meeting with the World of Outlaws at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay, was just as we expected and then some. Simply teriffic! There were lots of familiar faces in the room. That is always reassuring. Nice to see Earl and Berniece Baltes, as well as Craig Cormack in attendance, as well as several other track promoters and owners. We sat with other teams that will be members of the '06 Mean 15, and shared our insights with some of the core drivers that have elected to stay loyal to the series. All in all, I think it will be a great year for the World of Outlaws and we're really looking forward to the challenge of competing in our first full time shot with them.
Oct 23, '05: The following is our "official" press release stating our intent for the 2006 season.
SC Motorsports has signed on as part of the Mean 15 with the WoO Series!
SC Motorsports Schedule
SC Motorsports Sponsors
SC Motorsports Home
Carlson Motorsports Home