NORTH-SOUTH SHOOTOUT LEFTOVERS - PART 2 by Matthew Dillner & J Kaplan
South Spanked, Rev Pat, Burt Myers, Dogleg No More? and more
Why? Why for the second straight year has the south been beat up so bad? Many southerners were saying it's a money factor.
“Everyone knows it no secret how the money situation is,” says southern hot shoe Burt Myers. “What the Northern guys spent this weekend we don’t spend in one year”.
“The only thing the northern guys spend more money on is the tires,” said southern mod vet Jay Hedgecock. “Down here we are acostumed to races where you have to conserve tires. They use up more tires and stop more than us. So in practice they want to practice on new tires.
"They spend more on tires but motor wise I think we have just as much power as them. I know we've had to spend quite a bit of money just for this show.”
“We bought three sets of tires this year to try and catch up to these guys,” says John Smith, a southern driver who failed to make the Shootout. “Heck, last year we only had qualifying tires and we practiced on tires we had already driven 200 laps on. We stepped up our program. But then again I've seen some of the northern teams using about 5 or 6 sets of tires just in one day. We can't afford to do that. They are putting on a good show here but they want to sell tires also. So we just have to accept it and do the best we can with what we've got. "
JET IMPRESSED WITH LIA
While some drivers were busy claiming Donny Lia's #18 had traction control, a claim Lia animately denies, 12th-place finisher Jamie Tomaino praised the winner and his team for their effort.
Jay Hedgecock looks over his damaged racer after the "Big One" (51Photo)
THE SOUTH GETS SPANKED...AGAIN
The South did not fair to well in the Shootout, that is no secret. Only one southern driver in the top-10. Only three in the top-15.
“I was not surprised to see Donny win tonight, said the former Featherlite Mod champ. “When he first started racing with us he struggled a little bit. His second year he caught right on.
"The best thing I like about the guy he's a regular Joe. Everyone says he is this 'millionaire kid'. He sure doesn’t fit that millionaire stage, he fits in on our stage. He races everyone clean. Donny and his guys work real hard and he is the type of person that if I need something or anyone else needs something, he is always willing to help. What else can you say. He is just a super a guy and a class act. I am happy for him and his guys and I wish him all the best.”
“I don’t know what caused it,' said Myers, who finished 21st. “All I know it is really frustrating when there is a wreck and nobody slows down. Instead of checking up, they're looking for a hole. I know what they said started it but we won’t even go there. Cars just started wrecking and I was stopped my tire was resting against the five car. The next thing I know I was like a pinball. Then I looked over my shoulder and I saw Jason coming down from mid-air and landing. I hated it for him to. I mean God oh mighty, it is just a shame. It’s a shame that people don’t respect other peoples equipment as well as their own and they damn sure don’t respect anyone elses.
“We are going to walk out of here with our heads up. I am
BURT IS NOT A HAPPY CAMPER
Burt Myers failed to make the Shootout last year. This year his Shootout was riddled with mechanical woes and then he was one of many southern contingent taken out in the big lap-two wreck.
Tomaino and his crew work on the 99. (51 Photo)
proud of what we were able to do this weekend over coming a bad rear end and an engine blowing up we just would not give up. I think we had a hell of race car just circumstances kept us out of it.
"I told my guys when we brought the car behind the wall we are fixing this car because I am not sitting out watching this race two years in a row."
BEERS' RUNNER-UP IS A BIG DEAL
For RoC Mod regular and part-time Tour competitor Eric Beers, a second-place run is just what the doctor ordered. Beers led some laps and looked strong all weekend long. Beers turned a lot of heads in the Modifed world with his performance.
"The run was so good that it prompted an awkward but humorous response when asked if he and the team would be running the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend. He and the car-owner both had an opposite response. Then they laughed and just said 'We'll see you there.'”
REV. PAT BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER
What a thrill it was to see Rev. Pat Evans of Racing With Jesus Ministries back at the track. Pat has been battling cancer during this racing season. But at Concord, he was walking around, healty, in his usual vibrant purple suit, spreading his faith and support to everyone in the pit area.
51 talks with Rev. Pat at Concord. (51 Photo)
Track regular, and all-time win leader Freddie Query likes the dogleg but says it may be time for it to go.
"I've got two drastically opposing opinions. For my sake, I like the dogleg. I like the thrill that it gives me everytime I go through it.
"But for racing and bringing in cars from out of town, very few people like it. I'm talking good drivers have come in over the years and tried to adjust to it and some have. But for the future of Concord Motorsport Park, the car counts and to attract new people in to be competitive, probably for the betterment of the sport they need to do away with it. "
16-year old Johnny Sutton leads veteran Frank Fleming out of the superfast dogleg at Concord Motorsport Park. (51 Photo)
“It's big. You come to a place like this and see how many cars are signed it and how many people and you are just hoping you can make the race. Then to come and be fast and run second is awesome. We led a few laps. The group of cars that are assembled are a great brand of racers.
"It was awesome. Unloading it off the trailer after wrecking the car at Thompson and running great right out of the box was aweseome. To time trial good and run so well and start up front and race some good people.
“We had so many cards. We filled up the doors and the walls. Over a thousand cards filled the room. All summer long the Modified Series and the Busch North Series had a candy drive. They presented the ministry with a check to help offset the medical expenses. I was floored.
"The support has been tremendous. God's people are good people.”
CONCORD DOGLEG A THING OF THE PAST?
Rumor has it that the dogleg at Concord Motorsport Park may be a thing of the past. The talk around the pit area was mixed about wether losing Concord's most unique feature would be better for the racing at the ½-mile oval.
The Myers brothers Burt (left) and Jason (right) survey the damage. (51 Photo)
Beers' Blue #19 was fast all weekend. (51 Photo)
“Its a real blessing to be here, said Rev. Pat. “God's doing a miracle in my life and it lets me get back to where I want to be.”
“They gave me six months to live in April and God's turned the tables on them. We are getting healthier, stronger and the weitght is back up. All the indicators are good and the tumors have shrunk. Jesus died on the cross for healing just like he did for salvation.”
Rev. Pat is always there at the track whenever anyone is in need. And in his time of need the racing community was there for him.
Several Tour drivers said that they didn't like the dogleg, but agreed that it is what makes the speedway so special.
“This place, they are talking about straightening the backstretch out. I sure hope they don't. I hate it. It's scary to run it, but it is the equalizer. The place is a driver's race track and it is because of that dogleg.”
Even 16-year old Johnny Sutton, a many-time quarter midget champ who was making his first attempt to race a Mod at Concord, thought the dogleg should stay.
"I think they should keep it," says Sutton, who plans on running a full-time SMART rookie effort in 2005. "I liked it. It was definitely a challenge. It's not just a regular oval. You really have to trya and learn the line. Once I got the hang of it I liked it a lot. It definitely adds to it."
EIGHTH PLACE SMOOTH AS SILK
This year young New England racer Ronnie Silk came into the Shootout a sophmore of this race. Last years shootout wasn't the most successful weekend for Silk. This year, he won his heat race and finished a quiet but impressive eight in the main event.
“We probably finished a little better than what we should have,” said a modest Silk of his run. “We were still running at the end and that is what counts. On long runs we just got looser and looser. The guys worked hard and they tightened up the car for me on the pit stop. With the way the car was, I am real happy with eighth place.”