SPEEDFEST NOTES: FRIDAY & SATURDAY MORNING  by Matt Kentfield
Tires An Issue, A Few Drivers Missing, Some Interesting Stories
SPEEDFEST DRIVERS TICKED ABOUT TIRES

Nearly 60 Super Late Model drivers entered the infield for Speedfest anxious to start their seasons off with a good run in the warm Florida air.  It’s hard to say if anybody expected the frustrations most drivers felt after their first on-track session on Thursday and Friday.  The Goodyear tires that were supplied to teams for this year’s Speedfest weekend have created many headaches and complaints within the pit area.

On just the fourth lap, Mulkern made a move inside to overtake Cassill for the second position, but the two cars made contact.  Cassill’s car was sent spinning in turn two while Mulkern continued on unharmed.  Cassill stormed from his car and furiously walked down pit road before taking to the confines of his trailer to calm down.  He was anything but calm about the incident, however.

“We’re four laps into a 100-lap feature race and I pulled over to let him go,” said Cassill.  “I pulled over to let him go and he ran me over.  That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.  Hr’d a non-driver. He shouldn’t even be out on the race track.  He needs to go back to Canada or wherever he’s from.”

Mulkern admitted that he made contact, but the incident was unintentional.
Jacob Ryan (left) and his crew chief Dan Fredrickson (right) look over some tires.  (51 Photos)
“I just barely got under him and he was running way out.  I guess maybe I should’ve followed him a few more laps because when I got under him I thought somebody told him I was there.  He came down, we made contact, and I tried to give him the spot but when you’re hard on the brakes like that he just got sideways.  I kept harder and harder on the brakes trying to lift and that was making my front end push right up into him.”

Compounding Cassill’s frustrations after the Mulkern incident was the fact that his car stalled in the corner after the spin.  Louie Mechalides, another PASS driver, piled into the front end of Cassill’s machine while it was sitting idly in turn two forcing.  Mechalides was done for the weekend and Cassill will be forced to use a backup car on Saturday.

“It was like okay, whatever, we spun out and we’ll go to the back.  I don’t know about the guy that pulled out of line and hit me.  I know it wasn’t intentional but that was kind of weird too because everyone’s going by me and all the sudden this guy pulls out of line and runs right into me. 
Landon Cassill (#7) and Scott Mulkern (#84) got together in the North 100.
Speedfest promoters have been answering questions from drivers and crews all weekend long.  Tires that are difficult to match in size and do not hook up to the track have been the hot topic.  Many drivers have been pointing the finger at race promoters.  The CRA Super Series and FASCAR, Speedfest’s organizers, have the answers and they have delivered it to the competitors,  but racers still aren’t happy.  To hear both sides of the story, be sure to check back to Speed51.com later in the week.

YOUNGSTER CASSILL HOT AT MULKERN

Landon Cassill is one of the friendliest young up-and-coming racing drivers on the scene today, but after Friday’s night’s North 100 you would have never known it.  He was ticked off after a nudge from PASS driver Scott Mulkern. 
After the race Mulkern approached Cassill to apologize for the initial contact, but the measure did not make Cassill okay with what happened.

“I went down and talked to him,” said Mulkern.  “He’s got a lot to learn.  He’s a little kid, but he’s a great driver.  I tried to apologize somewhat, but he didn’t want to hear any of it.  He was jumping up and down wanting to get at me.  I just walked away.”

The normally collected Cassill was still mad even after Mulkern’s attempt to apologize.

“He comes over and apologizes to me like it’s going to fix my car.  I told that non-driving fool to go back to his freakin’ trailer and sit down because that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  He was like, ‘Oh I’m sorry,” but I didn’t care.  He said ‘No, no really I’m sorry.”  I just said, ‘You go back to your trailer right now.  I don’t even want to hear it.’  He came over like it was going to fix my racecar or something like that.”

EVEN THE WALL CAN’T SLOW DOWN BEN ROWE
“We were real good on Thursday, but we weren’t so good when we hit the wall.  The car was just going away and kept going away.  Then it got to the point where the only thing stopping it was the wall.  We tore up the front end pretty good but the guys worked all night fixing it and we’re back to being pretty good again today.”

As Speed51.com reported several weeks ago, Ben Rowe confirmed at Speedfest that he will be racing in eight ACT Late Model Tour events in the Northeast for car owner David Avery in addition to the full PASS schedule.  The 2005 PASS Champion’s ACT owner is also the owner of White Mountain Motorsport Park in New Hampshire. 
NEWLYWED ROGERS BACK BEHIND WHEEL

Clay Rogers has become one of the most successful young drivers in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series and one of the most promising talents in racing.  Now he’s going to be the same thing… only with a wedding ring on his finger.  The 25-year-old returned from his honeymoon in Jamaica just days before hitting the track for Speedfest this weekend.

“We went to Jamaica and stayed at a place called The Caves,” said Rogers.  “It’s on the cliff side of Jamaica overlooking the ocean and it was absolutely beautiful.  Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and the owner of the Seattle Seahawks had his 413-foot yacht docked out in front of it for us to drool over.  It was fun. 

“The coolest thing we did was just lay out in the sun at the resort and drink our share of margaritas.  You could jump off the cliffs, which was really cool.  I jumped off a cliff that was about 50-foot portion into the ocean, then you could swim into the cave.  It was so much fun.”

TRAVIS WILSON FOLLOWING OWN PATH TO STARDOM
In the 1980’s, Rick Wilson was one of the NASCAR Winston Cup drivers that was always fun to watch.  Now he’s passed the torch on to his son Travis who is embarking on his own racing career.  The younger Wilson is in Lakeland for just his third Super Late Model race and is excited about making a name for himself, even if his last name is already pretty well known in racing circles.

“It’s fun being able to learn from my dad,” said Travis.  “He was around racing for a long time, but now he’s been out of it for a while.  There are not too many people in the crowd that would even remember my dad being in Winston Cup anymore.  He’s a great guy to learn from and he helps me out a lot.  At the same time I’m trying to make a career for myself too.  My dad’s a name, but I’m not yet.”

RUMOR MILL CHURNING FOR CASSIUS

Cassius Clark has been one of the most rumored about drivers in New England this off-season.  Reports have had Clark pursuing NASCAR Busch East Series rides and more, but the Maine teen still has plans pretty far up in the air.
Travis Wilson
“We’re going to start the season in PASS, that’s about all that we know so far,” said Clark.  “We’ll see what happens.  From there who knows.  I’ve heard the rumors.  Of course I want to move up.  Everyone does.  But we’ve got nothing solid for this year other than our PASS plans.”

CONCORD’S CHANGE LEAVES QUERY HOMELESS
Ben Rowe
Freddie Query is the king of Concord Motorsport Park (NC).  He is the track’s all time winningest driver and is the favorite to win regardless of the competition.  The problem over the past two seasons at Concord, however, is that there hasn’t been much competition for him.  Car counts for the Super Late Model Big 10 Series at Concord have dwindled to the point to where less than a dozen cars showed up for the running of the series’ biggest event, the Asphalt World Championships. 

Now Concord Motorsport Park has done away with their Super Late Models in 2006.  This leaves Freddie Query searching for a place to race and he is not too happy about it.
“It leaves me high and dry,” said Query.  “I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Concord’s situation is just bad frustrating.  They started off this year by listening to some people and doing some things right.  Then they killed it.  They ran it straight into the ground.  It’s a shame because they had things going so well.  The year before last they had some 30 cars there for every race.  Last year they made us ran more laps for less money and it cost even more to get in.  The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is they just killed it.  I’m as frustrated with that as I’ve ever been.” 

BIGLEY LUCKY TO WALK AWAY
Freddie Query's #8
It was one of those wrecks where everyone holds their breath.

Billy Bigley was invovled in one of those wrecks last night, when he jumped the right front of Johnny Brazier's car haflway through the South 100 and launched into the outside wall.

"I guess the 71 just lost it, then he overcorrected it and came back up in front of me while I was already in the gas," said Bigley.  "I hit his right front tire and my car just took off in the air. 
"I think the guys out here in the second race learned a lot from watching the first on.  This is all just a problem of the tires though.  They put these cars on these tires and they have no forward bite. 

"We’ve got a wrecked racecar out of it.  It is a shame, but thankfully, I’m fine."



Billy Bigley's #28 was destroyed in this wreck during the South 100.
“It leaves me high and dry,” said Query.  “I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Concord’s situation is just bad frustrating.  They started off this year by listening to some people and doing some things right.  Then they killed it.  They ran it straight into the ground.  It’s a shame because they had things going so well.  The year before last they had some 30 cars there for every race.  Last year they made us ran more laps for less money and it cost even more to get in.  The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is they just killed it.  I’m as frustrated with that as I’ve ever been.” 

BIGLEY LUCKY TO WALK AWAY