AS THE TIRE TURNS: TIRE SOAKING SAGA AT MONTGOMERY by Bob Dillner
Competitors Cry Foul – Say 5-car Need to be DQued after Qualifying
Allegations of tire-soaking and tire-swapping at Montgomery Motor Speedway ran rampant throughout the pit area shortly after qualifying. And all the fingers were pointing at the 5-team (the eventual winners) and its owner Richie Wauters.
“The guy from the 5-car said, ‘Yeah, we brought them from Wisconsin.’ Well, the rules say you cannot have brand new tires in your pit area. You have six tires and they have to come out of the impound area (at the track).
“I guess because the guy that owns this track has something to do with that car they said it was ok. They (track officials) said they carried the tires over here and broke them down and it didn’t appear to be that they was soaked. Well, they durometered them when it was 50-degrees out and they are not going to show anything because they are so cold.”
“They do have new soak that’s not detectable by smell and it does not change the durometer reading and they ain’t got nothing here to check it with,” said Reno’s friend Tommy McCoy.
That’s one side of the story, now the other side. Did the 5-team soak their tires?
Dennis Reno was not happy.
“No. Absolutely not,” said team owner Richie Wauters, whose driver JR Norris qualified sixth on the alleged soaked tires. “That’s just to f—k with everybody. You know me. We knew they were all watching so we brought them over the wall. We did that on purpose and then they all saw us bring them back. Some guy stood right next to them and said, ‘Way to f—k with ‘em.’ It don’t matter we are going to kick their ass either way.”
“If he was messin’ with us, he did a pretty good job of it, didn’t he?” Thos were the words of Tracy Goodson, car owner for Ronnie Sanders, who was parked right next to the 5-team. “I know they was playing with them, but I’m not the one that ran and told the officials,” continued Goodson. “There was about five team owners near the pit talking about it, but I don’t know if they were soaked or not.
“The can do what they want to do. I’m sure they ain’t the only
Wauters watches as tech official Glenn Frazier checks his tires. (51 Photos)
ones doing it. That’s their decision. Heck, I would try anything I could. Maybe that’s why we are not running that fast. But hey, if they did it they did it, if they didn’t they didn’t; I don’t know.”
“Talk’s cheap,” said Super Late Model driver Jason Hogan. “I don’t know if they soaked tires; you never can tell. But I know Richie and he has fast cars. You gotta watch out for them. If they did they did, if they didn’t they didn’t. It’s just part of the game.”
The game got several people ticked off and Wauters was forced to switch to four new tires, ones that came off his tire rack, before the start of the race.
“He (the track owner Bill Manfull) just does not know what he is messin’ with at Montgomery,” added McCoy. “This is the clan-nish town. He’s done a good job don’t get me wrong; everything looks nice, but his priority is in the wrong place. He better take care of the cars because there ain’t a lot of them around.
“If something isn’t done about the 5-car tonight, he is going find himself with a very small field of cars the next time he has a race here.”
That next race is April 9th. The verdict is still out on many matters. Will the cars show up? Speed51.com says yes because the track is paying a good purse. Were the tires soaked or was Wauters just playing with everybody? That is for you to decide.
The #5 on pitroad before qualifying. (51 Photos)
“My crew, Charlie Bradberry’s crew and Ronnie Sanders crew were watching the 5-crew because we knew they were going to change tires and they did. They brought them over the wall and put two back on the car,” said fellow Super Late Model competitor Dennis Reno. “We questioned the track owner. We know that J.R. works for the track owner or something he has to do with him the Carolinas. You can’t come down here and run against soaked tires. He should be disqualified and not allowed to run this race.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: J.R. Norris does not work for the owner of Montgomery Motor Speedway. The track is, however, a sponsor of the #15 Craftsman Truck Series team owned by Billy Ballew in which the 5-team’s owner, Richie Wauters, is crew chief for.)
We asked Reno if he was sure the team swapped tires and if the ones that were put on the car were soaks.
“Don’t mean I don’t have them (soaks) on now; they made me change my tires,” said Wauters with a laugh. “So the rhyme of the riddle is, do I have them or don’t I have them?”
“It is the competitors allegations that the ones that are on the car now are from the impound area,” concluded Montgomery Motor Speedway Tech official Glenn Frazier.
The problem with racing is that sometimes perception becomes reality and whether or not the 5-team was soaking tires is not the main concern for the track’s future.