Speed51.com's "The Big 10"
Our Take on the Week(s) That Was in Short Track Racing
by Speed51.com Staff
Brian Campell didn’t get the memo that the Rowdy Busch 125 at Berlin last week was supposed to be won by the dude whose name was on the race.  Kyle Busch was there.  He packed the grandstands and people even had little toy guitars ready for “Rowdy” to smash in victory lane.  Then, here comes little Brian Campbell to prove everyone that, even without the big name, there were some other damn good racers in that race too.

We’re still recovering form the caution-filled ASA Southeast race at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA) a few weeks back and yellow fever has afflicted many other series throughout the land.  It just seems that boys with expensive racecars just can’t behave, but the ones with cheaper racecars can.  Last week, the entry-level classes of Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) did something unthinkable during their Wednesday night Acceleration Series program - running all seven features (130 green-flag laps) without a single caution flag.

3)  R.I.P. PARDO
The NASCAR Mexico Series lost one of their brightest stars this past week.  Carlos Pardo, who won the 2004 series championship and over 13% of the series races that he ever entered, died after a late-race wreck.  Pardo went out like a true champion.  He was leading the race when it was cut short, so he was declared the winner posthumously.  While we’re sure that there will be plenty of debate about the barriers used at the track, this isn’t the place for it to take place now.  Instead, it is a place to remember and honor a fallen racer.

Some guys graduate from short track racing with plenty of victories and championships, while others have money (their own, their family’s or someone else’s) behind them instead.  In the recent NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville, former ASA Late Model Champion Stephen Leicht finished sixth – one spot ahead of Snowball Derby winner Steve Wallace and a few spots ahead of former NASCAR Elite Series race winner Erik Darnell.  Trevor Bayne, a Nationwide Newbie and former Camping World East race winner, qualified on the outside pole.  On the other hand, we also saw John Wes Townley wreck….again…and Marc Davis ball up a car on pit road.  Neither Townley or Davis built up a winning short track resume before moving up.  Do we see a pattern here?

ARCA RE/MAX Series officials wouldn’t let eventual race winner Joey Logano hit the track at Pocono Raceway recently before changing out of his “NASCAR” driver’s suit and into one with the proper ARCA patches sewn on it.  We understand the value of marketing, but aren’t firesuits primarily a safety item?  Considering that we’ve seen plenty of drivers in various touring series be allowed to hit the track with suits that are ripped, worn out or soaked with layers of oil and fluids, we’re just scratching our heads on this one.

We here at 51 often hear that we’re playing favorites when we do things like this, but the heck with those conspiracy theorists – you gotta be happy for the ASA Late Model gang for getting a stout field of 33 cars to the track formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana.  While some series are struggling to clear the teens when it comes to their car counts, kudos to the ASALM camp for their good showing at a big showcase place like ORP.

At the start of the season, it seemed like Parker Kligerman had the world by the stones.  He won a couple ARCA races with a Penske deal and was on the fast track to stardom.  Then, even that didn’t afford him the ability to race past the Michigan race.  Then, turns out the kid was doing so well that he had the point lead, so there’s no choice but keep going.  Even though there is some funding there, it’s still a pretty good feel-good story for Kligerman to be doing that well.

Johnny Clark lost a wheel and a shot at a good finish in the PASS North event last week at Speedway 600, but that bad news for him turned into great news for fans of the PASS North Super Late Model tour.  Entering the tour’s sixth race of the season, this weekend at Unity, there are just three points that separate the top three in the standings.  Currently, Ben Rowe leads Adam Bates by two points and Clark by three.  It’s still early, but this could turn into an epic points battle as the season trucks along.

The City of Mansfield, Ohio calls itself “The Heart of Ohio”, but as the state sees some big unemployment numbers during the current recession, the city has been hit hard.  A number of factories, mills and plants have all shuttered up and even a number of police officers have been laid off.  However, the local racetrack, Mansfield Motorsports Park, is trying to help.  The track has hired all of the laid off police officers to work at the track for this weekend’s ARCA event.  They hope to be able to do the same thing for future track events this year until those officers are hired back – proving that a racetrack can be a good neighbor after all.

One thing we’re sick of around here is series owners, track promoters, racers and fans of just about every series known to man being more concerned with what other series are doing – how many cars, what the crowd was like, how the tech deal is run, ect. – than what they’re doing with their own series.  Here’s a tip: if you stop worrying and questioning what other series are doing, you may have some extra time to figure out how to make your own better!