Positivity - By Bobby Gerould

July 2005

...Congratulations are in order for Sean Becker! The Shark won the 2005 Golden State championship, and closed strong with a win and a second place run at Chico. Morrie Williams - who fielded rides for Dennis Moore Jr., and Jon Allard, won the car owner title. Morrie's dedication to sprint car racing is hard to rival in any corner of the world. ...NHRA ace Cruz Pedregon is now going to build a pavement midget for Damion Gardner to race. Expect DG to race at Turkey Night 2005 at Irwindale, if not sooner.

...Two drivers we will know well are among the 25 finalists for the Roush Racing "Gong Show". The winner of the driver search will land a ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Bud Kaeding, and Michael Lewis, both prior USAC Western Sprint Car champions, are in the elite group. Others you may know of include Christi Passmore, who is now driving in the ARCA series, and Sondi Eden, a USAC midget racer from Indiana who at 28 is the oldest of this year's candidates. Michael Pickett, 22, is from Auckland, New Zealand, where he has been driving midgets. Justin Allgaier from Illinois is just 19 years-old, and he too is in the mix.

...Impressive. That is the word that best describes the fantastic Rocky Mountain Raceways near Salt Lake City, Utah. We made our first visit to the track that has a nice, wide 3/8's mile paved oval, and also a drag strip. The pit area is spacious, and the media skybox should be a model for all short tracks. I realize that many of you who read HammerDownUSA.com are dirt track folk. That means the majority of you have not been to RMR. However, I will vouch that the RMR is place on the very short list of paved joints that deserves your patronage. The track is so fast that the cars are almost always sliding a bit. …The infield offers a digital readout tower/scoreboard, and the sound system is excellent. The stands include some theater seating, and a family section where no smoking or drinking of alcohol is permitted. But maybe the most impressive part of my visit to Rocky Mountain Raceways was the clear understanding that the promoters at the track really promote! A near capacity 4,500 spectators were on hand giving the event energy. The fans were not the loudest or most enthusiastic bunch we've seen but they may have been the best looking group of the year. The volume of advertisers on the back chute billboards makes it easy to see that RMR spends a great deal of time hustling sponsors. They do employ a PR/Marketing person which if you can afford to do it seems like the way to go. …I wish I could have a marketing person for this website. Please tell a friend about us. …Kody Swanson established quick-time in his first race ever at RMR. He left the track with the USAC Western Sprint Car points lead. …Defending champ Tony Hunt fought his race car all day at RMR. …Jimmy Wysong ran away and hid in the feature as he celebrated his 45th birthday. His exit speed from turn two and turn four is where he stomped 'em. We tried to encourage Wysong and owner Jeff Spiers to make the tow to Turkey Night. Their car is a showpiece. It is black with flames and it looks mean on the asphalt. Wysong's son Everett is a third generation racer just getting his feet wet in the sprint cars. Everett's grandpa, the late Whitey Wysong was a racer as well. …23 cars showed up for the USAC Western Sprint Car event. The teams were competing for over $20,000 in purse money. …We missed seeing Brad Bumgarner, and Tim Barber at RMR. Barber was racing the Ken Pierson Silver Crown car at the Milwaukee Mile, and Bumgarner stayed home. The word was that car owner Roy Bumgarner was under the weather. We hope to see the Bumgarner family at Stockton on August 27th. …Destiney Hays reports she has 'flown the coop'. The 22 year-old moved out of mom and dad's pad to a new place in the Oroville hills where she will live with her sister. …Mike Murgoitio has been especially impressive in his last two Western Sprint car outings. The 2004 series Rookie of the Year from Meridian Idaho is showing a knack for making decisive and aggressive moves that translate to better finishes. His dicing in traffic held back a charging Dave Fitzgerald Saturday night. …Rookie Chris Petersen is also looking sharper. The Portland, Oregon big man won his heat and finished in the top ten. ...Food and lodging for the weekend (July 22-24, 2005). …I took Delta Airlines to Salt Lake City, and rented the National Rental Car. My weekend wheels were affixed to a Chevrolet Impala. The boat cruiser took me to the Marriott Residence Inn near the airport. Everything is cheaper in Utah than it is in California. For $79 - my room was equipped with wireless internet, a refrigerator, microwave, couch, and all the other stuff one would expect. I rolled to Salt Lake Community College to catch a quick basketball game Friday evening. The NBA's Rocky Mountain Revue Summer League was wrapping up, and I saw the Jazz face the San Antonio Spurs for $8. …After a brief chance to relax, I hit downtown for dinner. Thoughts of grabbing a seat at the bar at P.F. Changs were quickly squashed when I arrived to find the restaurant without a bar. Oh yeah, this is Utah. The wait for a table for one was 20 minutes. I don't do waits if I don't have to. So off I went to Macaroni Grill. For whatever reason - my chicken scaloppini was not as good as others I've had at various Macaroni Grill's in the USA. …Saturday was race day. At the track I ordered the "Super Nachos". $5 brought a huge plate that I ate less than half of. It was good but not great. ...A new Gary Patterson website is up. Gary's son James Patterson is the webmaster. Check it out here.

...I've been thinkin'. Cory Kruseman and Keith Kunz form one tough combination. The team won their third feature in five nights of Indiana Sprint Week racing Wednesday night July 20, 2005 at Gas City. …Shame on ESPN. 50 States in 50 days on SportsCenter went to Iowa and did a long feature on the Field of Dreams baseball park without any mention of Knoxville Raceway. A fictional turned realistic baseball diamond located on a corn field in Dyersville gets more run than the host of the hardest auto race to win in the free world. To do anything other than brush over the Field of Dreams as a trivial - yet fun place to visit is shameful to the real sports fans of Iowa. Men have died at Knoxville Raceway. The Field of Dreams is a stage show where "ghost players" (actors) emerge from a corn field to the applause of mega-media brainwashed "fans". I'd bet a $1.50 that if you follow the money - the Field of Dreams movie - available on DVD - is a product of the parent company of ESPN. Just a guess. Meanwhile, because there is no television contract between ESPN and any form of sprint car racing, the Knoxville Nationals go unmentioned. This lazy media coverage happens every minute of every day - and you MUST be a critical viewer and listener of all media outlets. Try to understand who is delivering the message. I expected more from ESPN. Did they not call the editor of the largest sports newspaper in Iowa and ask him or her what sports were intertwined into the fabric of the people of the state? The guess here is they did not. I would think - the short list would be Iowa Hawkeye Football, and then sprint cars at Knoxville. ...Danny Faria Jr. put it all together to score a win at Kings Speedway last Friday in Golden State action. Ronnie Day was the Saturday night winner.

... Brad Sweet, the 19 year-old Northern Californian who is living in Indiana, broke the Kokomo Speedway track record recently. ...Bryan Clauson, who took a bad spill at Eldora in his first visit as a driver to the nasty 1/2-mile, rebounded with a recent feature win. The 16 year-old is said by many to be the truth. ...Stevie Smith winning the Brad Doty Classic is good for sprint car racing. Smith is a talent that our sport needs. I am always quick to testify to Stevie's skill as a driver. I've been lucky enough to see him win the Gold Cup, beat Steve Kinser at Pevely's I-55, set a track record at Williams Grove in the Weikert #29, and run without a wing at Eldora. In his first non-wing race - he was on the podium at the MOPAR Million. That being said, Stevie - my man, your 2005 car is maybe the least attractive sprinter in recent memory. : )))

The 2005 Stevie Smith RAACE #19. We love Stevie and the sponsor - but mustard wheels?

...Brooke Tatnell is proving just how good a racer he is. Peforming well on the big stage in the Rush Racing #8, Tatnell has climbed to fifth in the Racer's Racing Series points. ...Brent Kaeding won the opening two nights of NST Speedweek. Fred Brownfield's crew drew 59 cars to the Southern Oregon Speedway opener. The series is for winged 360 sprint cars. ...Bobby McMahan jumped into a spec sprint and won the feature with CSRA. ...Our boy "B.F.", Bill Foland will get the thrill of a lifetime when he drivers the Stuart Krum #S2 winged 410 sprint car at Chico on Friday night July 22nd. HammerDown! BF! ...Kim and I made a two hour and 45 minute (one-way) trip to Anderson CA. for the USAC Western Sprint Car event at Shasta Raceway Park. We were greeted by 13 sprint cars. A bummer to say the least. The 13 cars on hand put on as good a show as they could. They ran their 40-lap feature nonstop. I understand some of the reasons that teams are not racing the USAC Western Sprint Car series. The travel commitment is huge. Others want to maintain their rookie status with USAC - which by the way - is lost once you compete in your fourth USAC A-Main. It makes sense for a kid like Nick Green to preserve his rookie eligability. As such, he is going to run the two Stockton races, and Turkey Night in 2005. That way when he runs in 2006 with USAC - he will be seasoned but technically still a rookie. ...In my opinion - USAC Western racing offers the best chance for gaining the attention of a sponsor and gaining some notoriety. Ask Kody Swanson. The Fresno Bee recently profiled the 17-year old that HammerDown! has been hyping since Thanksgiving 2004. The USAC Western series champions Tony Hunt and Johnny Rodriguez (Midgets) have both been profiled by the Sacramento Bee recently. Hunt has parlayed his USAC success into a sub-career as a driver in national TV commercials. Rodriguez used his 2004 title to earn rides in cars he previously went overlooked for. Destiney Hays is driving a National tour midget for Bob East in 2005 after winning a sprint car feature in her rookie year in USAC Western Sprint Cars. ...USAC also runs longer races - which simulate what you find at the highest levels of racing in the USA. The one-way radio communication from officials - and spotters to drivers is also a form of training the drivers to deal with someone in their ear. The USAC contingency programs offer travel money - and bonuses for fast time, and hard-charger. The points fund is solid. ...deep breath. : ))) ...In the Ford Focus class - drivers on the Ron Sutton team are treated like mini-IRL stars. They have hospitality, and driver briefings, and dry erase chalk boards with schedules on them. The competition and the environment the developing drivers are placed into is as good a simulation of the race-day experience as we've seen at a grass roots level. ...Shasta Raceway Park was clean and they ran their divisions efficiently. We sampled the Shaved Ice (good), french fries (good), and Kim had a pretzel (just okay). ...Belated congrats to the Western Speed midget team for sweeping qualifying at Pikes Peak. ...We see you Travis Whitney. The man has qualified consistently with the fastest sprint car drivers in the country in recent World of Outlaws events.

...Robert Ballou of Rocklin, CA. became the youngest winner ever in Golden State Challenge racing. The 16 year-old won Saturday night's feature at Antioch Speedway. Ballou raced last year (perhaps saying he was a year older) at Kings Speedway in Hanford. The Rebel Cup for winged 360 sprint cars at Hanford is a great place to learn how to handle a dirt car at high speed. ...Ken Pierson entered Tim Barber in the USAC Silver Crown event at Pikes Peak this weekend. The San Francisco driver of Pierson's USAC Western Sprint Car did a great job by finishing ninth! ...My notebook is overflowing again. ...Tracy Hines set a new world record for Silver Crown car's qualifying speed on a one-mile oval Sunday July 3, 2005 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. His record time was 25.135 seconds at 143.277mph. ... Stevie Smith returned to Susquehana Speedway on Thursday and promptly won the PA. Speedweek feature event. It was his 32nd career win at the track. ...Kelly Kinser won the 2005 All-Star Ohio Sprint Speedweek. ...Shane Carson, race event promoter and sprint car driver with more than 27 years' industry experience, has been named VP Race Operations for DIRT Motorsports; the body behind the World of Outlaws. DIRT Chief Operating Officer Bobby Hartslief was "relieved of his duties".

...Jeremy Sherman, the talented sprint car driver from Phoenix is kicking butt in ASCA racing. Sherman has eight wins already this season driving for Fred Bryant. He won the Salute to Indy at Manzanita, and also his second straight Hank Arnold Memorial on the big 1/2 mile at Manzy.

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