By Bill Foland
Mountain View, CA. 02/02/03 ...Hi, I want to introduce myself again, my name is Bill Foland and most people know me as B.F. I just wanted to re-introduce myself because it has been so long since I have written a column; I thought it might be necessary. Now that is out of the way, let me tell you what I have been doing since I last wrote.
I went to Irwindale to race on Turkey night with plans to go to Las Vegas after that. After taking 5 practice sessions the night before Turkey Night everything seemed fine and I pushed out for the first set on Turkey Night. After 8-10 laps I pulled in and we had a problem with our motor and we were done for the rest of the night and Las Vegas too. Once again a disappointment on Turkey Night as I still have not completed a competitive lap on Thanksgiving. First I have to give a huge thanks to Johnny Key who took time out to drive with me and help me at Irwindale and for that I really appreciate it. After having the problems, I knew we were done so I just planned on going home, but low and behold a friend came to the rescue again as Kimberly Bladorn and her daughter Megan asked me to go to Universal Studios with them. After talking to Johnny we decided to go and I had a great time, even though it rained it was different to go somewhere that didn't have anything to do with racing. Thanks for a great day Kimberly and Megan.
With Christmas just around the corner and the weather getting worse and worse I had to make a decision on Christmas. Kimberly and Megan live in Chico, I live in Mtn. View (200 miles away) and my Grandmother lives in Fresno (150 miles away). I drove to Chico to spend Christmas Eve with Kimberly and Megan, then the following day Kimberly and I drove to Fresno for my family Christmas. The day after Christmas we drove back to Chico and tried to relax after all the traveling, mostly in the rain. Special thanks to Kimberly for taking the time to spend Christmas with my family and me and I will not forget the fun times that we had.
New Years went off without a hitch and I tried to plan a get together for my crew guys and we decided to go to Black Angus and celebrate. Dick and April Barshow, Johnny Key and his girlfriend and Darren Powers were all there and we had a great time. After spending the day in Santa Cruz with me, Kimberly came to enjoy the night before heading to the Raiders Championship game the following day (I am still jealous). My Mom Barbara had the task of being the one to host the party as my dad Burt had been sick and couldn't attend. It was a great time had by all. I have had my ups and downs since the last column but I will land on my feet and I am a lucky man to have so many people that care about me, you know who you are and I will see you all at the races very soon.
Now for my season in review and preview for the 2003 season….. I have a way to rank the drivers from year to year and it goes on a points system based on 5 points for a win, 4 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, 2 for 4th and 1 for a 5th place finish. These are based on World of Outlaw races, Pennsylvania 410 races, California 410 and 360 race, SCRA races, USAC including sprints, midget and Silver Crown, ASCS National and NCRA 410 Races. So if you don't see you favorite regional series driver from Knoxville, Husets, URC, USCS, NST and other series that is why.
This is the top 50 from 2002.
1. Steve Kinser 239, The King just keeps on going, he had one of the best years in quite a few. Look for him to be just as tough this year with the new 1375 lb. with driver weight rule.
2. Lance DeWease 216, this guy just keeps on racking up the wins and the top fives every year. This year he will be back in the Al Hamilton 77 looking for more wins to add to his career.
3. Danny Lasoski 212, Without being injured in a devastating crash at Williams Grove, The Dude might have won his 2nd straight WoO title. Look for more big wins this year with Mopar Power.
4. Fred Rahmer 178, Fast Freddie once again scored many wins in his new ride, the Joe Harz 88. Look for more of the same as this guy doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
5. J.J. Yeley 176, This guy has a huge year winning the Silver Crown title and coming home 2nd in the Midgets and Sprints. He will be a force again with Tony Stewart backing his Sprint Car effort.
6. Greg Hodnett 173, Greg had a breakout year on the tough Pennsylvania circuit as well as winning races with the World of Outlaws and All-Stars. With Lee Stauffer spinning the wrenches, this guy will be back stronger than ever.
7. Keith Kauffman 150, How many more years can this guy keep putting up numbers like this? He had his best year in nearly a decade and I can't see any retirement party in the future for this guy.
8. Mark Kinser 125, This was a very disappointing year for both Mark and Karl, so with Mopar gone and Karl tuning Chevy motors again it will be interesting to see how many races they can win in 2003.
9. Craig Dollansky 120, Talk about a quiet guy on the WoO, this guy is getting better and better and should be a contender for years to come on the WoO tour. Craig will be back with the Karavan-VMAC team shooting for the crown.
10. Tyler Walker 120, The last Champion of the now defunct Gumout Series, Tyler had a great year dominating the series. Look for Tyler to step up and steal some points away from the Big Dogs on the WoO Series.
11. Joey Saldana 113, Joey ran in the top 5 most of the year on the WoO and had some big wins. Joey could be the most affected by the new weight rule as he always had one of the lightest cars on tour.
12. Gary Wright 113, Every year this guy scores big number running the ASCS and NCRA tour. Even though he was dethroned from the NCRA Championship look for him to come back this year to reclaim his crown.
13. Tim Kaeding 113, Tim had a breakout year in California after winning the Golden State Championship by 2 points, he was the dominant driver for the last 2 months and almost stole the Gold Cup from Steve Kinser. Look for more of the same in 2003.
14. Tracy Hines 108, With success in the Midget, Sprints and Silver Crown, this guy can win in any car anywhere on dirt and pavement. He will most likely challenge for the crown in all 3 divisions again.
15. Tim Shaffer 105, Tim had a great year in the Beef Packers 83 with his best showing to date. They will hit and miss this year so look for Tim to break out his own car when he isn't in the 83.
16. Donny Schatz 93, Donny had an up and down year with some big wins and nearly taking the Knoxville Nationals, but broke up with Kenny Woodruff and is now looking to run some Silver Crown races along with the WoO.
17. Daryn Pittman 89, Daryn had a great year, especially after missing almost 2 months with an injury. He returns from Australia the first American to take home their World Series title. He should be very strong with Mopar power in the 21 car.
18. Cory Kruseman 89, After yet another successful year with Harlan Willis, winning races in SCRA, NWWC and the Indiana Speedweek. Look for Kruseman to be very tough on the USAC circuit in another Tony Stewart Car.
19. Tim Crawley 89, After another strong year on the ASCS circuit this year, Tim is looking for a ride on the tough circuit, I hope he can find something, this guy is too good to be on the sidelines.
20. Brent Kaeding 85, After some classic duels with his son Tim in California, Brent came up just 2 points short in his quest for another King Of California Title. But some big wins late in the year eased the sting a little.
21. Shane Stewart 85, Shane had a great year driving for Jr. Holbrook before leaving at the end of the year for the 4M car. Look for him to be strong with Rob and Kathy Hart turning the wrenches.
22. Michael Dupuy 85, This guy is just getting better every year, he had a quiet but successful season in the ASCS, if he can come up with a ride, could be a title contender again.
23. Todd Shaffer 83, Had a strong season going until another major injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Todd always seems to bounce back and this should be no exception.
24. Peter Murphy 82, After spending most of the year in the Morrie Williams 0, Peter left to go to the McMillen 10. His most successful season to date, may be better if he runs all the Chico Friday races as he did last year.
25. Jason Meyers 81, After spending the past couple of season on the road Jason stayed home for most of the year with some big wins in the family 14. Look for Jason to hook up with the Elite team this year and also run some Western States pavement races.
26. Dave Steele 81, Dave won the most prestigious Midget race in history as he took home $50,000 at IRP for starting scratch and winning both ends of a double header. Steele will be a force in the Dino Tomassi 29 once again.
27. Dave Darland 80, Dave won the USAC midget title again but will have a hard time repeating, as he will have to find a new pavement ride with Steve Lewis cutting back.
28. Art McCarthy 78, Who??? You must be saying, but this guy had a great year running only at Petaluma Speedway in California. The schedule this year probably won't allow him to repeat his dream season.
29. Jeff Shepard 77, After taking a year off from the Outlaws to run with the All-Stars in the Denny Ashworth 92, Jeff will be back on tour with the Dave Helm 11H. If they can get the Goodyear's to compete with the Hoosiers he could have a year to remember.
30. Sean Michael 76, For not racing a weekly schedule, this guy had a very good season. In the Zemco 1Z he will be tough to beat when they race.
31. Brad Furr 75, After spending the past few years on the road honing his skills, Brad had his best year to date but will most likely be running in California and then the big races later in the year back east.
32. Richard Griffin 74, This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but the team of Griffin, Bromme and Chaffin once again took home the SCRA and NWWC titles. No reason not to bet on him again with Kruseman running USAC.
33. Jason Johnson 74, For the past couple of years, Johnson has become one of the quietest young stars running in the Midwest. Look for some big success on the All-Star Circuit in the Harrsion 22.
34. Paul McMahan 69, After spending a few years in the U2 car with his share of success, Paul will move to the Miller 2 running where the money races take him.
35. Chad Kemenah 66, The 2002 All-Star Champion should have his hands full trying to repeat, but he is very consistent and should have a good shot at it once again.
36. Don Kreitz 63, Quite a few points for a guy that probably didn't run more than 50 races. He just seems to keep on going and running top 5's when he is at the races.
37. Stevie Smith 61, Had a very disappointing year in the Helm 11H and will return to the family 19 to run selected shows until a sponsorship offer comes around.
38. Travis Rilat 59, Had the best year of his career and showed his talents by taking home the Non-Wing Challenge in Oskaloosa from deep in the field. Look for him to keep getting better.
39. Kenny Jacobs 58, Kenny had an off year with the All-Stars but look for him to bounce back now that he is back in the Ashworth 92 and not worrying about the bills.
40. Steve Ostling 56, Had his best year so far and look for him to be even better this year on the tough SCRA tour.
41. Tony Jones 56, Will benefit from Kruseman's absence on the SCRA tour as he is a pleasure to watch at Perris with his awesome slides.
42. Garry Lee Maier 55, After returning to the ASCS tour full time, Maier had his best year in many and hopefully will be able to return to the tour in 2003.
43. Cris Eash 55, After running one night for most of the year, Eash started going both nights and turned it on at the end of the year. Depending on his schedule, he will be tough again.
44. Jac Haudenschild 53, Hooking up with Guy Forbrook again, Haud struggled early but got going later. Look for more of the same from Haud and Forbrook in 2003.
45. Tony Hunt 53, The Regional Series for Western States Sprint Car helped his point output along with some exciting runs in Bob Rosen's midget. Look for Hunt to do more of the same and attack the Silver Crown Pavement with Pierson/Nadeau.
46. Mike Henry 53, The Civil War champion had a great year with strong runs all over the North State. Had a couple of hard tumbles late in the season, but shouldn't hamper his 2003 effort.
47. Stephan Allard 53, Running mainly at Chico with some travels to Golden State race, Stephan had a great year to bounce back from a few years of struggles.
48. Greg Wilson 52, Some strong runs in All-Star competition highlighted his year as he ran some 360 shows and non-wing runs. Look for more of the same in 2003.
49. Mike Kirby 52, Had an up and down year after a hard crash at Las Vegas put him way behind. Kirby should be back with a vengeance in 2003.
50. Zach Chappell 52, Once again had a strong year on the ultra competitive ASCS tour. Look for more of the same after hooking up with the Pennington's for 2003.
That is all for the top 50 but here are some driver's to watch in the upcoming year. ...Dale Blaney will be back in the Andrews 72 to run more than he did in 2002…Sammy Swindell should be tough once again in the other Beef Packer car running selected shows…Dean Jacobs could snap out of his 2-3 year funk with a new car owner combination…Sport Allen should be the biggest surprise on the All-Star Circuit in the Guy Webb 51…Bud Kaeding will once again put his effort toward winning a USAC title after injuries sent him to the NWWC with great success in 2002…Jay Drake will be tough once again with Tony Stewart backing with Keith Kunz…Bobby East is getting better every year and should be even stronger in 2003…Damion Gardner will challenge for the SCRA and NWWC title in the Harlan Willis 45…Brook Tatnell wrestled the NCRA title from Gary Wright and should have another great season in the Grandstaff 66… Darren Stewart will be very tough on the ASCS tour in the Sparks 91…Todd Hestor will be back in the Middlesworth 7 in PA and could sneak up on a few people…Doug Esh will have to bounce back from an ATV accident but should be good to go once the season starts…Curt Michael will turn some heads in the Jenkins 55 depending on how many race they run…Greg DeCaires will be strong once again in the Kumar 1 running 360's and Chico Fridays…Andy Forsberg will split his time between the family 92 and the Family Auto 98x and should be very tough in 2003…Tommy Tarlton should bounce back from a disappointing year to run up front once again in 2003.
Well, that is all I have 2+ months of absence, as I should be able to write more often with the race season coming up very soon. Feel free to e-mail me with opinions, greetings or hate mail. See ya at the races in 2003. BF
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