By Bill Foland
Mountain View, CA. 06/02/03
Hello once again from a very hot and dry Mtn. View, California. Before I get started on my adventures from the past few weeks, I am going to send my condolences to the family of John Brown on his recent passing. John was a great man, a gentle man, a funny man and a wonderful person to be around. Being a former roommate of mine, I came to know him very well and he was truly a great family man with a VERY big heart. John was traveling to a family reunion when he was struck by either a heart attack or seizure that sent his car through a guardrail outside Elko, Nevada. My most sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Ronna, Dana, Diane and Steve in your most difficult of times. John was truly loved by so very many people. You will be missed deeply Luke man….R.I.P.
I was able to have the opportunity to get in a full sized midget for the first time in my short racing career and what a great time I had. Cliff and Jackie Blackwell were kind enough to take a chance on me and ask me to drive their Stealth/Ponitac at the BCRA show in Fernley, Nevada. After getting the car prepped with Rob Russell we loaded the Blackwell machine and Jack Walker's Stealth entry that Rob was driving in the Blackwell Motorsports hauler and we were off to Nevada. To say that it was a difficult transition from pavement to dirt (this was my first time ever on dirt) was an understatement. I was driving it too much like my sprint car and those midgets really need to be hauled into the corner and tossed "Ascot" style into the turns. Once I was able to figure that out, I did OK. I timed in the middle of the pack after I made numerous mistakes on both laps.
In the heat I was lucky enough to get behind the legendary Floyd Alvis as I learned more in 8 laps than I would have all night by following the cagey veteran's every move and finishing 4th in the heat. As the Main event started I really screwed up on the original start and slid over the banking in turn one only to have yellow flag save me and put me back to my original starting spot. The next start went much better as I nestled into 3rd behind Alvis and another veteran Cameron Beard. I was having the time of my life until a couple of contacts sent me into the wall and eventually would break my rear axle ending my night while running 3rd. The differences between dirt and pavement are pretty evident but it really came down to much of the same as throttle and break control was huge in these fast reacting machines. I hope to be able to get back out there again sometime and try it again.
While traveling around the past few weeks with the Golden State Series, one thing has become a constant….Tire wear!!! The tracks have been slick with some even taking rubber and abusing tires all night long has been a regular occurrence. After Tulare a few weeks ago when the track actually took rubber and guys were scrambling for harder left and right rear tires, it has become evident that you just never know until you get to the track as the days on tacky tracks seem to be a thing of the past. With Calistoga a notorious tire eater the track was watered excessively meaning a lengthy delay in the Memorial Weekend opener only to be compound by faulty safety light in the corners, hot laps was not pushed off until after 10:00 p.m. With the 11:00 p.m. curfew being waved the night went on with regular qualifying, heats, B-Main and A-Main. The track almost produced a track record for Golden State, as Toni Lutar was just a tick off of Randy Hannagan's GSRS record. The heats went off without a hitch, as there were a few 360's in attendance getting ready for the June Civil War race. As the new day came and went the main was pushed off after 12:30 a.m. with Dennis Moore Jr. looking to have the dominant car until he spun to a stop on lap 6 and went to the tail. Kevin Pylant took over and looked to be on his way to a feature win when a hard charging Tim Kaeding came up and was able to sneak by "Pyle" and storm off to his first ever win at the famed ½ mile. Pylant ended up a strong 2nd, followed by Steve Kent, Brent Kaeding and Brad Furr. To say Tim was happy would be an understatement as he celebrated heartily at the start finish line.
The following night turned into one of the strangest nights so far this year as the rubber was being ground off tires in the first hot lap session. Hard tires were at a premium but all the teams were able to make it through the night. The question was raised as to if the tires would make it the scheduled 25 lap distance. With a "vote" being taken the race was cut to 20 laps and some teams were very upset. Brad Furr's team ended up going home after a not so friendly exchange between the Furr team and Jake Flohr. I hope this is settled soon as we definitely need Brad Furr and his team on the Golden State Series tour, they are great racers and a great team that was sorely missed this past weekend. After more discussion the race was put back to 25 laps and the race was flagged off very early with John Gray leading the first 17 laps with the track taking rubber on the low groove all the way around the speedway. Dennis Moore Jr. hounded Gray for the entire distance until slipping by and setting sail once in the lead. This time he was not to be denied as he ran away for the remaining distance to win over Blake Robertson, Brent Kaeding, Kevin Pylant and repeat fast timer Toni Lutar. John Gray faded to 6th but must be commended on his drive after only appearing at Calistoga for the 3rd time.
This past weekend was once again a night of ups and downs with 24 410's and 19 360's on hand at the Tulare Thunderbowl. Dennis Moore Jr. scared the crowd with a grinding crash in qualifying after the rear axle broke sending him skyward between turns one and two and almost leap frogged over the high fencing. Dennis emerged OK after his first time was 2nd fastest of the night. Morrie Williams crew and a host of others pitched in to get Moore back out for the heat race only to have another incident send the Iowa driver upside down again and a ticket to the B-Main. Once again the crew was put to the test as they answered the call and got him out for the B-Main, then the A-Main before finally finishing in 8th. A great job by Ashley and the rest of the team at Williams Motorsports. The main event turned into a follow the leader, slicked off, one lane track as Jonathan Allard made a great move to get into the lead at the start and stayed there the entire distance to take home his 2nd GSRS race of the year. Tommy Tarlton held 2nd until the final corner when he stalled coming out of four and having Blake Robertson go past, but Tarlton was lucky enough to be contacted from behind and re-fired his machine to finish in 3rd, followed by a very strong Andy Forsberg in the Fillipich 98x and Ricci Faria. Next week we will be back at the very exciting, tight ¼ mile bullring in Placerville for the 2nd and final appearance of the year.
BF's Notes…Davey Key pulled off the upset of the year by taking the Civil War race at Chico, beating the toughest 360's driver's in California, congrats to Davey and his proud father David…Dean Jacobs has been very fast of late, picking off 3 wins in 2 weeks…Can you believe that Fred Rahmer has yet to taste victory lane this year???I would be looking out for a huge hot streak very soon…Greg Hodnett has begun to get going winning a couple of high dollar races at Selinsgrove and Lincoln…Steve Kinser has been red hot on the very shaky World Of Outlaws tour…Jason Meyers has taken over for an injured Craig Dollansky and has answered the call with a couple of top 5's….Look for Sean Becker to win some races very soon here in California…Damion Gardner has been so hot in SCRA, I bet he wished they raced every night…J.J. Yeley is the hottest driver in the country, winning in Sprints, Midgets and Silver Crown cars, including a sweep at I.R.P. and the Indy Fairgrounds for a $50,000 bonus… Eric Gordon has turned the Little 500 into his own personal cash cow winning the prestigious race again with Californian Tony Hunt 2nd.That is all I have for this time, I hope to see you all out at the races very soon…. BF
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