Positivity - By Bobby Gerould
We received Holiday news from the Statlers. "MERRY CHRISTMAS! Hello to everyone from Australia! Today, Sunday, December 26th is the first of many races here at the Parramatta City Raceway just West of Sydney. I have posted a complete schedule for you on www.statlerracing.com I will also be updating the Results page for your convienience through out our stay.(4 weeks) The plan is to include some fun pictures as Jason and other American racers take on the Auzzies. So please stay tuned, tell your friends and emails us...we would love to hear from you. Hope your Christmas has been a great one, until the next email, Stephanie Statler -- Statler Racing 00 Sprint Car"
...Okay so we listed ten drivers for NASCAR and the IRL to mull over. Here comes some more that will/should/could demand more attention; Shane Stewart - 28 year old driver from Oklahoma is mature and talented. He won the tough Sprint Bandits title this season. ...Damion Gardner - Damion succeeds at everything he drives. Ron Albright first hipped me to DG when Gardner was spanking foes at Petaluma in a dwarf car. Ron was right on. Gardner is exceptionally skilled and always entertaining. He races with flair, and thus has a legion of fans at his home away from home in Perris, CA. · ...Jeff Shepard - All this guy does is win races. ...· Blake Robertson, Andy Forsberg and Ricci Faria are three drivers that we feel could go further in racing if they had the time to. These drivers have business commitments that keep them from traveling more. Forsberg can carry a car, he can speak well, and he too would be a PR person's dream. The race I wished I would have seen in 2004 was Andy's win from the back at Hanford. ...Chuck Gurney Jr - The 21 year old just needs more exposure and a few opportunites to prove himself nationally. ...Levi Jones - 22 year old from Illinois looks to us like the next USAC National Sprint Car Champion. ...Roger Crockett - He's 23 and he already owns four NST championships. Crockett could rewrite the Northwest sprint car record book. ...Destiney Hays - We've said it before and we'll say it again, Hays is the most marketable driver out there in any form of racing. She won a USAC Western States Sprint Car race this year at Las Vegas. At age 21, Destiney is seeking a ride for 2005. ...Kevin Swindell. I don't normally certify a kid that is 16 years old but in the case of Kevin I just don't have any doubt about his future success. He's gonna win some races. ...Steven Paden: The 2003 USAC Western Midget Champion is the kind of kid that just needs an opportunity to show the world how good he is. ...Jesse Hockett: He has the desire to be great and he already owns two big wins vs. more experienced drivers in the $10,000 to-win SCRA events at Lakeside Speedway. A strong showing at the Knoxville Nationals in 2004 really opened our eyes to Hockett. ...Davey Ray - He wins big time in Midgets. ...Johnny Rodriguez: J-Rod is 29 and he won his first midget Championship this season in USAC Western States. He previously won the track title at Chico in a winged sprinter. ...David Robinson Jr. - I would love to see the Civil War winged 360 sprint car star run at Eldora. ...Loren Langerud: A gasser from the upper Midwest that gets around the huge Fargo oval in a way that suggests he will be factor on a National scale very soon. ...Sean Becker - Becker always impresses us. ...Danny Sheridan - "Showtime" could be a big-time non-wing hero. He just needs a good opportunity. ...Josh Ford - Super impressive runs late in the sprint season lead us to belive Ford is primed for big things. ...Jerome Rodela - A midget masher that is not intimidated at all. … More youth: There are many good young drivers in the world. All the kids we will list show early promise as racers to keep an eye on. …Bradley Galedridge, Lucas Wolfe, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cameron Dodson, Brad Sweet, Brandon Wimmer, Johnny Gray, Tim Barber, Cody Geldart, Robert Ballou, Billy Alley, Brad Bumgarner, Greg Anderson, Mike Murgoitio, Mike Spencer, Nick Rescino Jr., Garrett Hansen, Tyler Brown, and Michael Trimble. ...Redemption: How about some guys over the age of 33 that HammerDown! knows could get it done if they had a better deal (or any deal). …Stevie Smith. The best racer we know of that we wish had a chance to race more. I'd be all over Smith if I owned a sprint car, midget or even Silver Crown Car. …Bobby McMahan - It's been a minute since he raced. He's been helping his kids race and that has kept him away from driving competition. This guy is skilled, and would fill a seat very nicely.
It's more than just racing at the highest levels of motorsports. It's about the combination of on-track performance and the self discipline to toe the line. If you are a driver, you don't have to kiss behinds but you do have to have serious self disclipline to succeed in the Big Leagues. That NASCAR spotlight is a really bright one. If that is your goal, you better be cleaned up and ready to work. …I can't see everybody race. So please spare me the stories about your nephew that is a nine year old masher. Likewise, in 2004, I went to four nights of racing East of the Rockies. So for the purpose of what you are about to read, please keep that in mind. My background does include doses of visits to Eastern tracks but I get most of my Eastern insight by reading. There is a serious West Coast bias in this column (because that is where I live.) The beauty of the internet(s) (for you Bush fans) is that you can read Rick Rarer for Western PA news, Doc Lehman for Ohio stuff, and Kevin Eckert for everything. Hosehead's is a must. …I just really want no one to be offended if they were not highlighted by HammerDown! or this column. You can help yourself gain exposure by running the races we recommend in our National HammerDown! Racer's Racing Series (2005 schedule out soon). Challenge yourself, and don't hide. Eldora and Calistoga are intimidating places but I think Daytona, and Talladega are too. There is no shame in being realistic either. Not every driver is out to set the world on fire. I respect every driver. I'm just saying that for those of you who want to walk like a hero, and receive the spoils, you better be winning some serious races vs. National compeititon. Bobby East won the Belleville Midget nationals, and Crocker won a World of Outlaws preliminary feature. Since sprint car drivers are all the rage in NASCAR, we offer a public service. If the NASCAR and IRL heads are still looking, We'll give them ten more names (unsigned) that come HammerDown! certified: Kraig Kinser - 20 year old son of Steve is the truth and he's a humble kid. He, like Crocker, won a World of Outlaws feature this year. Kraig won an A-Main. He will drive USAC Silver Crown races for Kasey Kahne in 2005. Because of the tendency for major corporations to sign really young drivers we think there is no better combo of youth, experience, and talent than Kraig. ...Jason Meyers - 25 year-old is the ultimate competitor, and as clean cut a guy as you can find. He was track champion at Calistoga and has a feature win under his belt at Eldora. (Roger Penske, do you read this?) : )))) ... Michael Lewis - 25 year old has a knack for starting quickly and winning races. At 25, he already is number two all-time on the USAC Western Sprint Car win-list. He also has a Turkey Night win. ...Paul McMahan - 34. Pauly just needs a shot. He is a good family man that breathes racing and holds the pedal down. He actually likes and knows NASCAR. That is a bonus. Quick-time at the Knoxville Nationals in 2004 was proof of Paul's skill and focus. Plus, McMahan looks like he's 24. ... Joey Saldana - 32 year old would be a natural in the IRL. He's an Indiana boy whose father raced at the brickyard. He's smart, smooth and fast. ... Bud Kaeding - 24 year old is the guy that thinks the game better than any young driver we know of. He knows every angle and how to play it. A public relations dream come true is Bud. Bud won the 2004 Western World at Manzanita Speedway. ...Tim Kaeding - 26 year-old Tim is the most naturally talented dirt racer I've seen in many years. His potential to carry a car is scary. He actually lapped Steve Kinser in a Gold Cup prelim feature win in 2004. 2005 will be his first full year on the World of Outlaws tour. ... Donny Schatz - I don't know if Donny has any desire to move out of sprint cars. With wins in the Historical Big One, The Williams Grove National Open, Australia's Grand Annual Classic, and now the Gold Cup before he turns 28, Schatz is doing just fine where he is. ...Tony Hunt - Usually, I would require fast laps at Eldora and Calistoga before I sign off on a guy but in the case of Hunt, I make an exception. NASCAR doesn't run their big-time races on dirt. Hunt, a 31 year old, could step into any pavement situation and, ala Mike Bliss, be fast. He won the Earl's fast qualifier title, and the USAC Western Sprint Car Championship in 2004. He had quick time at Turkey Night in the midgets. What pushes him over the line is his combination of professionalism, experience, and speed. From the way he eats to the PR he does for a team, Hunt is all good business. ... Daryn Pittman: He is well traveled, and very skilled. Pittman's strong faith and driving skill as a combination would make him very popular in the NASCAR ranks. He didn't have a great 2004 but he's proven himself too many times in his 26 years to make us think any less of his ability.
...Kyle Hirst earned 2004 Silver Dollar Speedway Rookie of the year honors. Kyle is set for 2005 with a Eagle chassis, and power from Don Ott and Bailey Brothers. ...Dave Darland will run the beautiful Jeff Walker sprinter in 2005. The car was driven to a non-wing Knoxville win by Sammy Swindell in August. ...Randy Hannagan has a new sponsor. Retriever will back 'the Hurricane' on the World of Outlaws tour. ...Zach Chappell will be making his debut in the ARCA series in 2005. ...The BCRA membership voted to go with the American Racer Tire for 2005. That prompted the resignation of President George Chandler. BCRA, it appears, may not be able to run at tracks that have deals with Hoosier Tires. The decision to run American Racer tires or Firestones, or Yokohama's doesn't make a difference to me but the deal may also take the longtime midget club out of USAC Western States CO-sanctioned events. Selfishly, that means that as I watch midget races in 2005, there will often be direct conflict between the two sanctioning bodies. Lower car counts on both parts will result. HammerDown! has a deal with USAC and we will be covering their events. ...Brooke Tatnell, the determined Aussie, will steer for Rush Racing (#8) on the 2005 World of Outlaws schedule. Look for Tatnell to surprise some folks in the USA. He is one of the best short track dirt racers in the world. Billy Alley will run the Grandstaff #66 in 2005. ... Jeff Shepard will replace Greg Hodnett in the Apple #12 sprint on the rugged Central Pennsylvania circuit in 2005. Greg will drive the Al Hamilton #77 in Central PA. ...Jason Johnson is also on the Central PA. card for '05 in the Jim and Sandy Kline #22. Pete Postupack's #25 Maxim will house Lance Dewease. ...Geroge Graham, the NorthWest masher has plans to race the full NST schedule as well as other selected events in a new Bailey powered Eagle. ...Reno: The RPM Promoters Workshop was a first for me this 2004. The annual Reno conference for racing industry folks was a blur of meetings and eatings at the El Dorado Hotel and Casino. We were assisting Tommy Hunt as he prepared for the 140 races he will oversee as the main man with USAC's Western office. ...Larry Trigueiro is a vital piece to the USAC Western States success. Larry loves racing and his hustle on behalf of racers everywhere is universally respected. …The shiny and fast USAC Western Sprint Cars will face a schedule in 2005 that is similar to 2004 but there will be some changes. A switch of promoters at Madera Raceway may alter the number of times USAC races at the Central California speed plant. The new Madera group has indicated that four USAC Western States Sprint car events are not likely. …The Boise, Idaho trip for the USAC Western Sprint gang will change to a two-day deal on April 15-16. …Rocky Mountain Raceways will host USAC WS Sprints on Labor Day Monday 2005. …Hopefully, new ownership at Altamont Raceway Park will give the nod to a plan for the USAC Western Sprints at the legendary half-mile. If all goes as outlined, the future of that track looks very promising indeed! …The good of midget racing for fans will continue forward if BCRA and USAC can co-sanction several races in 2005. Tentatively scheduled are three trips to Santa Maria, and possible runs at Shasta Raceway Park (Anderson, CA.), and Madera. Whenever the two series' race together big car counts and good racing seem to occur. The BCRA however is looking at a possible deal that would make their tire rule different than USAC's. If BCRA goes with a different tire-maker than USAC, the two sanctioning bodies may be incompatible, and the great racing that is promised could be on hold. …Three drivers headed for more USAC Western Midget racing in 2004 are Brian Gard, Eric Mostin, and Bradley Galedridge. ...Johnny Rodriguez, the 2004 USAC Western Midget champion is said to have a couple irons in the stock car world of fire. …We saw Ted Johnson and Carlton Reimers from the original World of Outlaws in Reno. The two are making some real estate deals in North Dallas, and were visiting Reno just to say hi to friends. …The USAC Southwest Regional sprint cars (360 non-wings on dirt) will run four races in California. One race each at Hanford, Bakersfield, Santa Maria, and Ventura should attract monster car-counts. …Food and lodging (Reno, NV. 12/02 - 12/04, 2004) I drove up late Thursday night, and ate at the Tivoli Garden café at the Hotel. I was staying at the El Dorado with a special rate for the workshop of $49 per night. The café served as a meeting place and by the end of the 48 hours I had three meals there. Joe's Special is an egg, beef, spinach, mushroom, and onion mixture that was pretty good at 2 am. I ordered Beef Chow Fun from the Asian menu for Friday lunch. Chow Fun is a rice noodle, covered with meat and sauce. It was good. Finally, I had a Belgian Waffle for Breakfast on Saturday. Friday night for dinner we ate the Silver Legacy coffee shop. They called my sandwich the King of Clubs. It was served with fries and was in the top 10% of all club sandwiches I consume. ...Check out an article about Maxim Chassis at ILLINOIS SCENE.com.