Baseball Has One Halfway Through Season… Why Can’t We?
1. JR Norris (NASCAR Southeast Series) – We wanted a lead-off man with some speed and we got it with up-and-coming racer JR Norris. This year, he is driving the potent Richie Wauters’ machine in NASCAR’s Southeast Series and that car is fast whenever it hits the track. JR has two poles and a victory already in his rookie season. He’s also qualified second three times and he sits second in series points while leading the rookie chase.
2. Andy Santerre (NASCAR Busch North Series) – Just in case the young kid who is leading off our line-up doesn’t get on base every time, you want a guy who is almost always guaranteed to score. Andy Santerre is that man.
THE STARTING LINE-UP
JR Norris stares down his copponents with speed.
4. Ryan Hemphill (ARCA) – A clean-up hitter has to have plenty of power and for the first-time in his young career, Ryan Hemphill is hitting for power. Hemphill has kicked ass when he’s competed in ARCA this year; four wins, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in nine starts. Clean-up hitters strike out occasionally and Hemphill did that earlier this year at Nashville (when he collided with a lapped car while leading) and Pocono (when he ran out of fuel at the end of the race while running second), but you’ll have that in this game.
5. Justin Diercks (NASCAR Midwest Series) – The number-five hitter has to make sure the clean-up hitter gets some good pitches to hit. To do that, you need the 5-slot to be filled with another guy with some power. Coming into the year, Diercks was a long-shot to be an all-star, but he has finally stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park. He’s leading the series in points, wins (three of five) and is tied with Steve Carlson with top-10s in every race (four of them are in the top-5). That’s all-star material.
Doesn't look like your typical clean-up hitter, does he?
6. Wayne Anderson (Super Late Models) – Here’s a guy you can count on to come out of the dugout during a bench-clearing brawl and take care of business. There may not be a tougher racer out there right now. This season Wayne is tearin’ up the Florida Super Late Model circuit. He has more than a dozen wins in various series and he’s won the last four Sunbelt Series races. He’s also finished top-ten and top-five in a few ARCA starts. Oh and let’s not forget he finished third in a borrowed car in his first appearance in the Southeast Series (July 9th) at Caraway Speedway.
7. Jeff Fultz (NASCAR Southeast Series) – Fultzy is a guy you can count on to get it done. He’s gonna hit you some dingers and most likely bring you to the big dance at the end of the year, if not the championship. He may not be a spring chicken anymore, but he’s still top dawg in the Southeast Series (until someone knocks him off his perch). He leads the SES in points and wins (three) halfway through the season.
He’s a two-time NASCAR Busch North Series champ and he already has four wins and seven top-10 finishes in seven races this year.
3. Gary St. Amant (Pro Cup Series) – Gary is also a contender for comeback player of the year. We want a guy who hits for average and can pop the ball out of the park on occasion and St. Amant has always been that guy. After a tough season in ASA last year, he has resurrected his career in ProCup and is second in points halfway through the year. Plus, good guys always get votes.
8. Wade Day (ASA) – We want to fill the bottom of the line-up with some players who have showed great potential early in the year. Now we just hope they don’t have a second-half slump. Wade Day is one of those guys. He’s hit for average this year in ASA (after all, he is the series point leader) and while he hasn’t put it out of the park yet, he does have the potential. And remember, he’s just a rookie.
Day's burnout at KY when he thought he had won.
9. Bobby Stremme (ASA Late Models) – The Giambi’s are probably the biggest brother tandem in the majors right now. In our realm, the Stremme’s are the tops. David is just a couple years removed from ASA Rookie of the Year and now little brother Bobby is knocking the cover off the ball in ASA’s brand new Late Model Series. He just put one out of the park (his first win) and he’s leading the series in average (with four top-5 finishes). He may be as good if not better than "big bro.”
Erik Darnell (NASCAR Southeast & Midwest Series) – The kid can do it all. That’s what you want in your top-pinch hitter. Erik has come into the game in NASCAR’s Midwest and Southeast Series’ this year and gotten on base in each and every race. He hit his first dinger recently (SES win at Caraway Speedway – July 9th) and he’s third in SES points. Even though he missed one game in the Midwest Series, he’s still 11th in the standings. Oh yes, he even won the season-opener for the Wisconsin Challenge Series this year. He should be in our everyday line-up. Once he gets a little more consistent power, he will be.
Ricky Turner(Southern All Stars) – Ricky Turner is the man with the most speed in the Southeast Super Late Model scene. That’s what you need in a pinch-runner. He’s won two of the three Southern All Star Series shows so far this year and remember, he won the Snowball Derby a year and a half ago. That still holds merit as well. He’s always fast and that’s why he’s an all-star.
THE PITCHING STAFF - Starting Rotation
Jason Hogan (NASCAR Southeast Series) – Young Jason Hogan is the ace of our staff this year. He’s gotten rocked a bit by opposing batters lately; he’s gone from leading the NASCAR Southeast Series to fourth in the last three races, but others have made errors for that to happen (broken part at Lanier Nat’l and a lapped car took him out of contention at Caraway). He started out the season on fire with two wins and if he can shake a couple of rocky starts recently, he’ll pick up some more wins before the season is over.
Frank Kimmel (ARCA) – He may not be our number-one starter, but he very well could be. Kimmel is our Phil Niekro (Hall of Fame baseball pitcher). He may not have the heat that some of the young kids do (such as Ryan Hemphill), but he consistently hits the strike zone. He has three victories already in ’04 and is once again leading the ARCA Series standings. He just has too much gray hair to be our number-one guy.
Jason Hogan will be making the big bucks in the big leagues sometime in the near future.
Clay Rogers (ProCup Series) – Clay Rogers is the third-man in our rotation. He has lots of potential, throws for speed and can pick up the wins. He’s got the fundamentals and he’s getting hot once again. In the Pro Cup Southern league, he has three wins and plenty of K’s this season. He would help any team reach the title game.
Kevin Cywinski (ASA) – Like Kimmel, he’s one nasty veteran pitcher. He has a smooth delivery, but he can still blow it by ya if you’re not paying close attention. He’s back up to second in ASA points after a bit of a rocky start and he’ll only get better as the season unwinds. With all the experience he has, Cywinski is the guy you want on the mound down the stretch.
Jamie Yelton (UARA) – Jamie comes from the untapped and undiscovered UARA league. The cars are Late Model stocks with a four-barrel carb. So you could say it’s like playing somewhere in between baseball and softball. But Jamie has pitched consistently with five top-five and six top-10 finishes in seven games. His worst placing is 14th and he does have two victories. Let’s not forget to mention he has pitched a perfect game this year as well, by winning the pole and leading the most laps en-route to a win at Lonesome Pine (VA). He’s the perfect guy to round out the rotation.
The Ace Middle Reliever
Johnny Clark (PASS) – You need a tough guy to get you from your starter to your closer and Johnny Clark is our man. He’s got the beard already, so he’s ready for the championship chase in October. As a middle-reliever he’s already picked up two victories and has two more second-place finishes to boot while leading the PASS (deep-northeast based Super Late Model series) points.
Scott Bloomquist (Dirt Late Models) – One of only two men to race dirt and make our roster (yeah, we know, we
C L A R K
can be a little prejudice to our asphalt boys here, but that’s because right now that’s our niche at 51). Bloomer is bad-to-the-bone intimidating and that’s what you need as a closer. He has eight saves (wins) already this year, including a $100,000 one at Eldora (OH) and is leading the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series.
RESERVES SQUAD – the Dirty Dozen
Ted Christopher (Everything in the Northeast) – He’s won in Featherlite Mods, weekly Mods and PASS competition this year. This is one guy who can jump in anything and be a top contender.
Johnny Rumley (ProCup Series) – Another comeback-player-of-the-year candidate. Leads the Pro Cup Northern League and has a victory in his pocket.
Bobby Gill (ProCup Series) – Second in the Pro Cup Southern Division points with a pair of victories.
Mike Garvey (ASA) – Can win at anytime and has already this year in ASA.
Steve Carlson (NASCAR Midwest Series) – He’s won a heap load of championships and is second in the points tally right now. He’ll be tough down the stretch.
The Bozell Family (Kalamazoo Speedway) – Together they are first, second and fourth in points (Andy, Jeff, and Phil) at the Michigan speed plant. Together they have won six of the nine races at Kalamazoo this year. Andy leads Heartland Region in the Dodge Weekly Racing campaign with four wins in nine tries.
Justin Diercks (#29) and Steve Carlson (#66) have been one-two in the Midwest Series in '04. (Benesh Photo)
Chuck Barnes Jr. (Sunoco Super Series) – Leading the Sunoco Super Series battle to the championship hallway through the season.
Tony Hirschman (Featherlite Modifieds) – Ageless vet who has the most wins on the Featherlite Modified Series this year.
Jeff Jefferson (NASCAR Northwest Series) – He and his bro, Jason, own most of the wins on the tough NASCAR Northwest Series Tour this year.
Steve Blackburn (NASCAR Weekly Racing) – You win 10 out of 11 races and you’ll be on the list as well. That’s what Steve has done at Lonesome Pine Speedway in VA.
Robbie Pyle (ASA) – First, second and third in the last three races. He’s making a push to be in the starting line-up at the end of the season.
Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws) – He’s the king, but he’s been the king for so long, we wanted to give someone else a chance.
A good pinch hitter can do it all... Darnell has proven that this year.