We love passionate race fans, but there is such a thing as being too passionate. Cheering is fine, booing is okay too…sometimes we can even excuse a discrete finger gesture - but beating up a driver who gets into “your” driver is going too far. ACT officials announced in a press release this week that they investigated an incident where an “angry mob” of Patrick Laperle fans attacked Jonathan Urlin after the ACT Castrol Edge Series season finale at Ste-Estache. Urlin and Laperle tangled coming to the white flag in that race. Let's leave the mob mentality at home boys and girls!
It Doesn't Get Much Closer
After seeing watching Johnny Clark and Ryan Truex score blow-out victories in championship battles over the past few weeks, we are excited to see a pair of short track title fights going right down to the wire. On the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, James Civali heads into the season finale leading Andy Seuss by three points. In PASS South, Ryan Blaney leads Preston Peltier by four points. Not only will these battles go down to the last race, they could even come down to the final lap as just a position or two on the racetrack will decide who the 2010 champions are.
Given the current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, it would take 50 years of running every event to get to 500 starts. Even if someone ran both the full PASS North and PASS South Super Late Model slates, it would take nearly 20 years to reach the 500 mark. Dirt Late Models race a little more often though and Scott Bloomquist has hit 500 before he has turned old and gray. 500 races? Nope. He passed that mark some time ago. We're talking about 500 career victories. Boomquist scored that historic victory in this past weekend's Jackson 100 at Brownstown Speedway (IN). Color us impressed.
This year's Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) track champion Nick Sweet is going to have to sit out for the biggest race of the year at the track - Sunday's Milk Bowl - due to a badly damaged racecar after a wreck in the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sweet was offered other rides for the race, but he turned them down. “I feel bad enough about wrecking my own race car, I can't imagine driving anyone else's,” said Sweet. In an age where most young drivers seem to have no respect for wrecking equipment - whether it belongs to them or not, we find Sweet's attitude very refreshing.
It wasn't too long ago when most Super Late Model shows in Central Florida seemed to feature single-digit car counts. But we're glad to report that things are looking up this year. The FAST series has had good numbers in its first year and there were 19 cars on hand Saturday night for the Brighthouse Challenge race at New Smyrna Speedway. While that isn't exactly an Oxford 250 or Boone Nationals entry list, it is much healthier than in the past. So even if the economy is still in the tank, things are looking a bit brighter in the Sunshine State.
Starting, Parking and Stealing Dreams
Shame on Jeff Green and Dennis Setzer. While a pair of short trackers in Stephen McCurley and Alan Tardiff were trying to realize their dreams by making their NASCAR Nationwide Series debuts at Dover in underfunded rides, Green and Setzer were also on the entry list. McCurley and Tardiff didn't produce the speed needed to make the show, while Green and Setzer make the show did with their more experienced teams. Survival of the fittest right? Not exactly. While the two young guns were there to run a full race, the two veterans were content to start and park. Green lasted one lap until reporting “brake problems” while Setzer made two laps before dropping out with “handling” issues. We respect what Green and Sezter for what they've done in their storied careers, but now it's time to do the right thing and let some of the youngsters have a chance at running some laps guys.
Star Speedway Rises Again
Star Speedway (NH) has been closed this season due to issues between the town and a former promoter, but now the track has gone back under the control of the Webber family. Once that news came out, a group of dedicated fans and racers got together to start to get the track in race-ready condition again. Since the former tenant even when so far as to take the doors of the tech shed with him, this was a long task. But not only do we expect to see the track back in operation next year, we think there could be a race event or two before the end of this season. See what hard work and a little heart can do?
Remembering Sport Mercer
Albert James “Sport” Mercer passed away earlier this month at the age of 80. Mercer served as the track electrician at Five Flags Speedway for nearly three decades and raised a Snowball Derby winner in son Eddie. So when it came time to remember Mr. Mercer, Eddie did it in style. Mercer's photo along with “Sport Mercer, 1929-2010” graced the entire hood of Eddie's #72 Super Late Model in last week's Blizzard Series season finale.
Bubba Pollard, Chase Elliott and Augie Grill have become the new big three of the Deep South Late Model world. After Grill, Pollard and Johanna Long combined for 22 Late Model wins in 2009 and five championships we thought we had seen a case of total dominance. We were wrong because this trio has blown away that 2009 record. This year, the new threesome already have 24 victories and four championships between them - with more races to go!
What Exactly Is a Good Performance?
We tend to stay out of NASCAR's “Big Three” Series, but when NASCAR East Champion Ryan Truex was moved up to replace former short tracker Trevor Bayne in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Michael Waltrip Racing it made us scratch our heads. What you have to do to keep your ride these days? Bayne got the boot after winning three poles, logging five top five finishes and ten top tens in a Cup dominated series. He was also seventh in points at the time of his departure. Not good enough, sorry Bayne, pack your bags! Most of us already knew that Truex would be moved up, but on paper is it a good move? We think not. Start him as a rookie in 2011 instead!