1) CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
In order to have a successful race, there are only a few things that are needed. Drivers, cars, a track and officials to oversee all of the above are about all it takes to put on a race. Also, in order to have a successful race, all those parties involved have to work together. That’s why there’s no need for fingers to be pointed when there’s a disagreement on the track. As always, cooler heads will prevail. A communication mishap led to PASS South Officials telling Jeff Choquette’s team to load up and go home after qualifying at Caraway. Neither side is guilty. Neither side is innocent. But, all sides have to cooperate and keep a level head if this Super Late Model racing is going to survive, no matter the driver, track or series.
2) EMOTIONAL OSWEGO
A truly tear-jerking moment came at the famed Oswego Classic Supermodified event at Oswego Speedway (NY) over the weekend. Stanley “Skip” Matczak, one of open-wheel racing’s most successful team owners and a highly recognizable figure in the Northeast and beyond, recently lost his wife Lois. No one was more supportive of Skip’s racing efforts than Lois. Matczak had a pendant shaped like a Supermodified that his wife wore to the track, with a new diamond going into the pendant after every win. When Matczak’s longtime friend and former driver Doug Didero won the Oswego Classic on Saturday, Matczak gave Didero’s wife the pendant. An emotional scene for many different reasons.
3) PRESSLEY PERSEVERES
The Bobby Isaac Memorial Late Model Stock Car event at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) is one of the most prestigious late-season LMSC events in the Southeast. Fittingly, a second-generation whose last name is steeped in short track racing throughout the South came home in victory lane. Coleman Pressley, son of former Busch Series veteran Robert and grandson of short track legend Bob, took this year’s Bobby Isaac Memorial crown.
4) SEVEN YEARS FOR GALANTE
Back in 2006, Modified racing great Ted Christopher found himself out of a ride when his then-team owner, James Galante, was indicted on charges of a price-fixing conspiracy that authorities say was supported by mob muscle, violence and extortion with his trash hauling businesses in Connecticut. At the time, Christopher called it a “kick in the balls.” Since then, TC teamed up with Ed Whelan’s #36 team and has himself in a battle for his first WMT title. If he does win the title, his former car owner Galante will not be able to make it to the celebration. Earlier this week, Galante was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
5) PAUCH UPDATE
Back a couple weeks ago, “The Big 10” brought to light New Egypt Speedway‘s (NJ) not announcing a penalty to Modified driver Billy Pauch, Jr. at the track, instead just posting it on the track’s website. Pauch finished second, went to his trailer after the race, but when officials ordered him to tech in a certain timeframe, Pauch was a little late, but passed tech with flying colors. The track took all points away on Monday instead of at the track. According to Area Auto Racing News, New Egypt management has now met the Pauch camp halfway, essentially. Because they improperly handled the penalty procedure, the track only subtracted half the points that he received that night, instead of the full point total as originally penalized. The point change keeps Pauch close to Keith Hoffman instead of way behind down the stretch of the schedule.
6) NOT A BAD COUPLE WEEKS
George Brunnhoelzl II has had a pretty impressive string of weeks. First, vacation to the Carribbean turns into a wedding proposal to his longtime girlfriend Heather. Just a couple weeks after the proposal, Georgie goes on to win his first-ever NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race, earning the “Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week” Award here on Speed51.com. Not a bad stretch for GBIII.
7) A CINCH FOR FINCHUM
A lot of attention has been paid to NASCAR star Kyle Busch’s unbelievable season in the top three national series, as well as his several victories on the short tracks of America. While those accolades are deserved, one driver has been having an even more dominant season than Busch, just on a smaller scale. Thirteen-year-old Chad Finchum has been all the rage in the INEX Bandolero and Legends Car ranks this season, culminating in a win in the Bando Nationals in Indy last weekend. Finchum has 35 wins overall between Bandos and Legends and it’s mathematically impossible for any driver to catch him in the National Points, making him all but declared the Bandolero Young Gun National Champion.
8) WAKEFIELD OF DREAMS
With the experience and the longstanding relationship between driver and team, it would be hard to consider Justin Wakefield and his Carswell Motorsports team an underdog in the tough PASS South tour. But, in these days of Super Late Model racing, a veteran driver in a mom-and-pop ride can go under the radar a bit. That’s what makes Justin Wakefield’s two PASS South wins even more impressive this season.
9) MCCALL IS BACK
As another update, we mentioned in the very first “Big 10” here on Speed51.com, that there were far more contestants in the televised Roush Racing “Gong Show” that haven’t been heard of since the show than there were still around in racing circles. One driver’s doing his best to make sure he’s not forgotten about like some others on that show these days. Matt McCall, after a brief stint as a Robert Yates Racing development driver, has returned to his Late Model Stock Car roots and has been kicking some butt lately. He won the UARA race at Tri-County over the weekend and swept the Tri-County Triple Crown events in addition to wins at tracks throughout the Carolinas.
10) GOBBLE IT UP AT WTS
Wall Township Speedway’s closing earlier this season left a void for many New Jersey fans and racers. Many Modified racing purists who grew up watching the legends of the track took the news hard – there would be no more racing on the Jersey Shore. Then, this week, WTS's General Partners made a agreement with its Operations Manager, Jim Morton, to reopen the 57-year-old banked paved one-third-mile oval for as many as six dates in November, culminating with the track’s historic Modified event, the 35th Turkey Derby, November 28th and 29th.