Positivity - By Bobby Gerould
...Lonnie Wheatley reports that Sean McClelland broke into the ASCS Sooner Region victory lane for the first time by topping the series' season-opening 25-lap feature at Tulsa Speedway Saturday night. McClelland battled past Danny Jennings on the 23rd round for what appeared to be second place, but then was awarded the victory when apparent winner Kenneth Walker was disqualified for the illegal use of a wicker bill on his top wing. ...Tim Kaeding scored a third place run at the I-55 Speedway in Pevely, MO. Saturday night. Any World of Outlaws event on that tight quarter-mile is a good race. Following the event, Kaeding said, "It was a good old time! It was a lot better than the last couple of weeks. We actually finished decent and got a top five." He continued, "We run a lot of bull rings like this back home. It was more of my setup just because you can get up on the cushion. I'm not a good bottom runner, but somehow we got around on the bottom decent, too. Our biggest thing right now is getting laps in and finishing races." ...Justin Collett outran Fred Rahmer to score an upset victory in the 25-lap sprint car feature Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway. ...Some notes from my overflowing brain: ...Fred Rahmer had a career-high 34 wins last year in the Joe Harz Racing #88h J&J. So far in 2005 at Lincoln Speedway (PA.), he is three for three. ...Todd Shaffer captured a final lap sprint car feature win at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, March 26th. ...Andy Forsberg took his wing off for the Bandit sprint race at Hanford last Saturday. Andy won the main-event, with Peter Murphy running second. ...Jason Meyers used a week off from the WoO tour to win the Rebel Cup event at Hanford. Tommy Tarlton ran second, and Brent Kaeding was third. ... Gary Costa has an interrogation of Sean Becker. Becker is driving for Duke and Scott McMillen in 2005.
HammerDownUSA.com takes pride in being factual when it comes to racing news. Acting on information obtained from a trusted source, I recently erred in this column by stating that Altamont Raceway & Arena had broken off negotiations for a champ-car race in 2005. The fact is, it was the decision of USAC's Silver Crown series to not venture west on October 22nd which is the date Altamont wanted. HammerDownUSA.com regrets the error. Furthermore, I want to apologize to AR&A for the post (since removed). ...My lesson learned is to not write as a frustrated race fan. Worse yet, I based an opinion without having my facts straight. I should have done a better job for the readers of this column. ...News and notes that have crossed my messy March Madness desk. ...Kyle Hirst has a website to check out. The new track record holder at Chico is a shoe to be looked at closely in his sophomore season of running winged sprint cars. Rodney Tiner is preparing Kyle's #1K which guarantees that the car will be fast. ...Danny Ebberts deserves a nod for his early season speed and success. Ebberts ran third in the USAC/CRA event at Bakersfield Speedway last Saturday after running well at Phoenix in the Copper World. ...Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will make his first run at Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX. this weekend. The RRS points earning 'Winter Nationals' will give the largely unheralded racers from the South a chance to be exposed on this web space. The Devils Bowl event was placed on the RRS schedule mostly because of it's history, and the fact that between USAC and the World of Outlaws, and All-Stars combined, there aren't many major sprint car races in Texas. Obviously, the history and heritage of the sport has deep roots in Texas and we wanted to honor that tradition by giving points at the Devils Bowl Winter Nationals. ...The outlaws will be in Texas racing at Houston Raceway Park at the same time. It was eye opening to me to hear many drivers praise the HRP facility. I attended two nights of racing at the Baytown TX. track a few years back and I came away unimpressed. The track took rubber and the surrounding Baytown area was very depressed. ...Make sure and pick up the new Flat Out magazine with Bud Kaeding on the cover. Bud and Destiney Hays are profiled in the issue. ...Joey Saldana will have a Shaver motor under the hood at the WoO events this weekend. The Larry Woodward, Volcano Joe's, #2 team is switching to Shaver for a weekend to see if that can cure their woes in time trials. Joey has always been a strong qualifier and his early season results have been unlike what the 2002 Kings Royal winner is used to. ...Despite many rumors about a switch to dirt, the Turkey Night midget races will remain at Irwindale Speedway for 2005.
...We attended the Motor Sports Press Association "Green Flag Dinner" Wednesday night (March 2, 2005) at Francesco's Restaurant in Oakland, CA. ...I learned some cool stuff about Norm Rapp, who was inducted into the MSPA Hall of Fame. I simply did not now what a shoe Norm was. I believe I heard him introduced as a 40-time feature winner in the BCRA midget ranks. Also ushered into the Hall were Chuck Gurney, and Jack Fox. ...Jim Chini accepted the award for Fox. Chini, a national treasure, says we all should have a copy of Fox's books. If Chini says so, that's good enough for me. I am going to seek those out. ...Ken Clapp of Stockton 99 Speedway hyped the upcoming (April 9th) USAC Western States Midget show at his facility. The Fred Gerhardt Open-Wheel Classic will have 33 starters, lining up three-wide, and going 100 laps. The winner will earn $3,000!