Positivity - By Bobby Gerould
...Johnny Rodriguez started 19th and finished 12th in his non-wing sprint debut for Mark Priestley at Perris Saturday night (04/30/05). ...Whatever happed to Ted Montague III? I have the answer. A note from Steve Montague says that Ted is now retired and living with his wife Connie in Salida, CA. He just turned 56 on April 16th. Montague was a racer that I came to recognize after he moved from midgets to sprint cars. Always a gasser, Ted notched a third place finish one night in a sprint car feature at Calistoga. He also won a few BCRA midget features. I remember adults having a good time in their camp back in the old days at 'Stoga. The Montague name in racing lives on through Teddy IV who runs Grand American Modifieds at Stockton 99 Speedway (CA.) ...Steven Tiner is racing in the ASCS, driving Tim Crawley's #87JR. Tiner raced to a fifth place finish in last Friday's (April 22, 2005) preliminary feature in Memphis, TN. A blow up in hot laps on Saturday however put Tiner in the pits for the night. ...Troy Hennig notes that Grass Valley's Adam Main, Chico's Michael Tarter, Orland's Zack Mason and Anderson's Michael Hubert III have all shown potential in early sprint car action at Chico. All the drivers are grads of the outlaw karts. Last year, outlaw kart driver, Kyle Hirst won the Rookie of the Year at Silver Dollar Speedway while former outlaw kart driver John Gray won the driving championship. ...Ronnie Day is going to run the Elite Racing (west) Maxim at the Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway in Alger , WA . In the last IROC race at Texas Motor Speedway Danny Lasoski, who won the event at Texas in 2004, finished seventh and Steve Kinser finished eighth.
..."Saw the wheel, know the deal" - That's what we always say. Injuries happen. If you are a great driver, a bozo can still screw up in front of you. Fluky shit will happen too. It always does. Let's just have this reality check on April 24th, 2005. Respect your fellow racers even in heated temper situations, and remember the mantra of 'to finish first you must first finish'. We always are quick to highlight the brave drivers, and mashers - but truthfully we respect anyone who gets in the cockpit. We advise all to use every safety equipment piece you can reasonably use. ...A chunk of guardrail flew into racer Terry Ledger's cockpit at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway. After Gene Ackland jumped a wheel and flipped through the rail and into the infield. The debris caught Ledger. He escaped with facial injuries, which required some plastic surgery. Ledger is out of the hospital and recovering. Chris Dolack is doing a super job of public relations for the World of Outlaws - some pearls from this week's release: Terry McCarl's crew chief, Steve Fitzpatrick, is an Australia native and believes the grueling WoO schedule is a key reason for why the series is so revered. "It's a total different league," Fitzpatrick said. "Everything over there is kind of just one or two steps behind. Everything over here is the elite. If you want to work on racecars, this is really where you need to be. Over there you race probably 30 times a year. You can do that here in four or five weeks. It's what I always wanted to do so I did what I had to do to come over here, and here I am still."
...The latest entry from Gary Costa is an interview with Johnny Anderson. Please check it out. Johnny A., as most of you know, is a hero of mine. Even if he weren't my hero I would say he deserves to be in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. I had a problem formatting the pictures sent with the original text from Costa so I will be adding pieces through the night Sunday - as we update the site with the NBA Playoffs in the background. ...Gary Costa, ...Thank-you! Gary receives no payment for the magnificent articles he produces. His heart shines through in every interview. ...I wish we had more $ponsors at HammerDownUSA.com. ...Bloomington Speedway in Indiana recently held the "Elliottbrand Clash", a non-wing sprint car race that drew 45 cars. Driving his DRC chassis to the winners circle, was Dickie Gaines.
...Joe Ramaker, a 26 year old driver, racing a car out of Choteau, Montana, goes into his seventh year of running 360 sprint cars carrying a 20% win average over the length of his career. To say he is optimistic for 2005 may be the understatement of the year. "I'm really excited about this year. We've been working closely with Lee Nelson of Ostrich Engines to improve our program, and we already have the best chassis on the market with J&J. Add to that the fact that I am in the best physical shape of my life and I almost feel like we're cheating with all the advantages we have in our favor," claimed Ramaker when asked about his outlook on the upcoming year. This season looks to be the most ambitious schedule yet for Ramaker. He run his own #98 in the full Northern Sprint Tour, as well as fulfill a lifelong dream to race at Knoxville Raceway in the ASCS 360 Nationals and the Brodix Tournament of Champions. ...I see you Tony Bruce Jr. After 14 "tune-up" nights in Florida, the 20-year-old Liberal, KS, shoe has already made a half dozen ASCS starts in 2005 with three top-fives and five top-tens (his only finish outside the top ten was an eleventh place Sooner run at Cowtown). Thanks to Lonnie Wheatley for those stats. ...Rip Williams won his 100th career CRA race on April 16th, 2005 at perris.
....A journey down highway 99 (sucks) led us to Oildale via Fresno. The destination; Bakersfield Speedway for the USAC Western States Midgets and Ford Focus joints. On the real, the Ford Focus Midget feature was more entertaining than the Midget headliner. On the last lap, the Focuses? (Foci?), went dang near three wide in traffic for the lead. Bobby Michnowicz held off the challenge from Alex Harris, and Chase Barber. Good stuff! The midget feature was a spin fest on a hard track that ultimately took rubber. Robby Flock did a good job of pouncing when leader Jerome Rodela seemed to have to back off a bit due to a tight car and fading tires. …Steve Paden had quick time with a lap that was on the very edge of out of control but wasn't. He powered into turn three so hard he was pulling a wheelie into turn four! …The USAC Western Midgets series is tough right now! I love it. The only way to get better is to race the best and presently, I see at least 18 potential feature winners. Flock, Paden, and Rodela are proven winners. I think enough of rookie Bradley Galedridge to foresee him getting one or two or more somewhere. Johnny Rodriguez didn't win a feature last year but he won the championship and certainly has what it takes to be first to the checkered flag (at the Western events he chooses to race). I am high on Tyler Brown, Matt Mitchell, and Garrett Hansen as well. Veteran Rick Hendrix could be a winner, and Thomas Meseraull, when he shows up, surely can dice with anyone. USAC Rookie Greg Dennett shows promise, and sophomore Ryan Kaplan looked super strong at Bakersfield. 2004 Ford Focus South champ, Chris Rahe made the jump up to the full midgets. He should be strong. I could also see Josh Lakatos (up from Focus), Wally Pankratz, Dallen McKenney, or Shannon McQueen sneaking in a main event win. Plus, Damion Gardner will join the midgets at Ventura this Saturday driving for NHRA hero Cruz Pedregon! You know Damion can win. …Seemingly everybody changed to black cars. Rodriguez white to black. McQueen blue to black. Brown, white to black. Mitchell blue to black. Galedridge has a black car as well. Add all those new black cars to the already black midgets of Hendrix, Paden, Hansen, and Flock, and you have a scorer's nightmare. …The Pace Bros. Racing team looked strong in the pits with three pretty blue cars. Lakatos joined Eric and Ryan Pace as the pilots. …John Sarale's car stood out as a really nice piece. …Food and Lodging for the weekend: (April 15-17, 2005) ...We drove to Fresno Friday night and stayed at the Fresno Radisson. Our room was fine. We ate late Friday night at Burger King. (yuck) I tried the Tender Crisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch strictly because I like the TV commercial. The commercial is better than the chicken sandwich. …Saturday we rolled into Bakersfield for lunch and enjoyed Romano's Macaroni Grill. I always highly recommend this place. If you eat at Olive Garden and there is a Macaroni Grill to try - do yourself the favor and eat at Macaroni. The Chicken Scaloppini is superb. Kim usually gets the Penne Rustica which is also tasty. Their bread which comes standard with any meal is also very delicious. You dip it in Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and freshly cracked pepper. At the track we drank some Mountain Dew(s) and drove all the way home - arriving back in the Rock by 5:00 am. We made a stop for gasoline ($45 to fill the tank - it was $40 on the way)), and also hit In N Out Burger (wife's choice). She gets a burger with no meat? Grilled cheese, she calls it. I ate fries and a single cheeseburger. I have to admit that sucker was good. I already had three burgers in 2005. I better slow my roll. No more burgers until July. Anyone want to join me on that?
...Darrell Hanestad won the Placerville Speedway Spec Sprint feature Saturday night. Bob Newberry was second, followed by Tim Sherman, Rick Eversult, and Keith Shipherd. ...Wayne Johnson won the Spring Challenge at the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, IA. on Sat. night. ...Robby Flock says he is racing for the USAC Western States Midget championship in 2005. Mike Sala has purchased a pavement car and a new motor to go with the already strong dirt program he and Flock have. Flock says, "Mike has done everthing he needs to do to give us a championship team. We got together three years ago and we have seven wins together." Flock and Sala opened the dirt portion of the USAC Western slate with a big win at Oildale. ...Congrats to Lawrence Edlund on his big win at Antioch in Davey Key's #15K.
...Placerville Speedway publicist Bill Sullivan tips that Placerville's 40th anniversary season should be good to go this weekend. P-Ville was forced to cancel again Saturday as the natural spring returned and kept the track too wet. That prompted operator Alan Padjen to get aggressive. According to Sullivan, "They dug down about eight feet and found water just gushing down there from the springs....french drain was installed and all is well." Wingless spec sprints are on the card this Saturday. ...Looks like we are headed for Bakersfield Speedway for the USAC Western States Midgets and Ford Focus gang. A good show is always served up when the darty little cars hit the heavy Oildale speedplant. Robby Flock of Murrieta, CA. resumes his quest for his 50th career series feature win at the 1/3-mile dirt oval. Flock won one of the three USAC Midget features at Bakersfield last year. Steve Paden won two of last year's three Bakersfield Midget features. I look forward to seeing the HammerDown! styles of Tyler Brown, Matt Mitchell, and Jerome Rodela as well. ...In Ohio, Wayne County Speedway is gearing up for their opener. Of HammerDown! interest is the All-Stars Speedweek show scheduled for Monday June 27th. The race is the Pete Jacobs Memorial. ...Either Mother Nature or the government cats that control weather are trippin'. It's been raining like crazy in my neck of the woods. Northern California is so saturated we can virtually guarantee heavy dirt tracks through the month of May even if there were not another drop of moisture. ...I'm bored. ...Happy Birthday to Kasey Kahne, and Destiney Hays who celebrate on April 10th and 11th respectively. ...The bad weather denied Hays an opportunity to run for Chris Walker in one of his potent #10 midgets. She was going to test the car for the first time Friday at Stockton but the practice was washed out. Hopefully, Chris will give her another shot at it in the future. ...Johnny Rodriguez is going to get a big chance to shine when he runs for Mark Priestly at Perris April 30th in the USAC/CRA show. ...Sean Becker won the Golden State race at Petaluma Speedway last Saturday (April 2, 2005). "The Shark" performed in front of a huge crowd as the winged 410's returned to the sticky track after a few years absence. ...Marysville had 41 winged 360's on site for their regular weekly racing show on the same night. Their extra large car count was helped by a Placerville cancellation. P-Ville too has had their share of natural woes. A spring in turn one has kept Alan Padjen from even getting a blade on the track until this week. The water problem should subside with longer days and more sunshine. ...Blake Robertson will soon be wheeling the Beef Packers #83 JR. in California.
...Misha Geisert points out that Dave Steele will debut a brand new sprint car team this weekend at Anderson Speedway in Indiana, as the USAC National Sprint Car Series prepares for its first Midwestern event of the season. Steele will return to the series this season driving the No. 02 for Nicholas Motorsports, which also fields his USAC National Midget Car Series entries. "We plan to pick up right where we left off last season," Steele said. "Bruce (Nicholas) has set no limits as far as equipment. Anything I think we need to win, he has provided. I liked the challenge of building a new team from the ground up, and we have taken the steps to ensure that we'll be ready for this weekend." Steele will continue to utilize the Mopar powerplant, with veteran engine builder Gary Stanton preparing the motors. This will mark Steele's second season with Mopar in the USAC National Sprint Car Series. ...Terry McCarl, a six-time 410 sprint division champion at Knoxville Raceway who is running with the World of Outlaws in 2005, recently told Chris Dolack what he thinks of Eldora Speedway. "I haven't been to Eldora since 1997, but I really like it. I like banging the fence. If you don't like to run on the fence, running at Eldora won't be one of your favorite racetracks. I remember the very first time I went there I drove Junior Holbrook's car and in the feature I quit counting after 13 times I hit the fence coming off of Turn 2. It's just real high-banked and you're going really fast. You're actually going faster than you even know. That's what makes it difficult. With the wings on the car, when you're turning on that kind of banking it's hard to see in front of you very far so it's kind of scary and dangerous. You see a lot of guys get run into that normally wouldn't by good guys because you're going so fast you can get slowed down and you can't see ahead because of the banking. It's an intimidating track because it's kind of scary with the speeds. If you don't like to go fast, you don't like Eldora." ...Thanks to some folks in Santa Rosa we learned about some really old Calistoga Speedway facts. A scan of an old program revealed that the 1940 season opened on April 21st. The program states that inner rails marking the track were replaced with rubber tires and banking was added to the track. ...Gene Figone did not compete because he suffered a fractured skull in a motorcycle accident. ...Some of the drivers included Buck Bowers #19, and Johnny Soares #23. ...Jack Carmody was the announcer, and Henry DeCoursey was Chief Steward. ...DeCoursey wrote a brief welcome in the program that provided most of this information. ...The scorer was Les Driesbach, and Bert Trubody was the 'starter'. John Deauereaux was the timer. We also found out that Mauri King was the 1939 champion of the Bay Cities Roadster Racing Association. Gene Figone was runner-up.
...Kevin Swindell won the ASCS winged sprint asphalt race Saturday night at Concord MotorSports Park (NC). The 16 year-old also broke the track record in his first visit to the track. If weather allows, Kevin will run the Eldora WoO show this weekend; marking his first time at the Big E. ...When was the last time Eldora's season actually started on time? It seems Mother Nature is always illin' when USAC has their National sprint cars ready to run at the Ohio half-mile. ...Jeremy Sherman won his second ASCA feature at Manzanita Speedway Saturday night (April 2nd, 2005). Sherman chased down Bob Ream Jr. in traffic.