By Bill Foland
07/07/02 ...Hello once again from sunny, warm and sometimes sticky Mtn. View California. As the 4th of July holiday weekend comes to a close, I will be writing about what has been going on for the past several weeks as I have not written in a while. First of all, my Beast pavement car is finally completed and I will be going to test within the week and race in the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to getting into this car and having some fun. Hopefully I will be able to get into Altamont and do some testing then on to Carson City and Stockton on consecutive weeks. I spent the past couple of weeks going to the Tulare Thunderbowl, first for a Golden State-Rebel Cup race, then a SCRA race on consecutive weekends.
Tulare is a neat place to watch a race, whether it is from the infield or the grandstands there is hardly a bad seat in the house. During the Golden State races, I only get to watch the A-Main as I am in the pits selling parts. The A-main for the GSRS was very good as Jason Meyers was on another planet and dominated the race after passing Brent Kaeding early in the race. Jason seemed to have everything under control but out of nowhere (13th starting) Eric Rossi came on strong at the end but came up just a few feet short in the rare 31 lap A-Main.
I said 31 laps because coming down for the white flag Brent Kaeding and Brian Coelho came together and sent Tim Kaeding flipping into the infield and out for the evening. This bounced Tim from the points lead as now Jason Meyers holds the lead over Tim and Brent. With only five races to go this should be very interesting over the next three weeks.
The following weekend it was back to Tulare for an SCRA race and it was good to see some old friends from the non-winged ranks. Got to talk to Bruce Bromme and Richard Griffin for a while, as they are both fine competitors and nice people to talk to. Talked to Bruce about the fine art of front clips. Richard was also very helpful in that capacity.
I hadn't seen Damion Gardner and his fun group of guys for a while and it was great to see them including Vinnie, Melissa, Brent and Kevin Urton. Also strolling through the pits I cam across Rickie Gaunt who is just as entertaining as ever. I haven't talked with him in a while and it was good to be able to chat with him until he was summoned to his car by the ageless Evelyn Pratt. ...Also good to see Cory Kruseman and talk to him for a minute, I didn't get to see Carrie Kruseman, but she was always nice to talk to in the past and hopefully next time I will get to see her. Jeff Shaver from Shaver Specialties is always good to see and have a joke or two with him. Now onto the races….
The races got off to a strange start as the old timers were at the track doing their exhibition. I am going to have to say that some of these guys are running faster than others and when that happens there is trouble and this was no exception. As a car was trying to exit the racetrack another car went to the outside and hoped his wheel and sent him into the crash wall full force sideways with the driver's head hitting the outside fencing. As this man slumped over the wheel, I feared the worst. Luckily for this man his head hit the plywood fencing and not the cement wall or the outcome would have been different. The man came to after a minute or two and they took him to the hospital and it sounded like he was going to be O.K.
I forgot how hard these non-wing guys push their cars into the corner and the Thunderbowl is a fast track and these guys were really pushing the cushion. Damion Gardner had a spectacular heat race as he came from 7th to take the win in rim riding fashion with an awesome 3rd to 1st run on a restart.
Mike Faria was very impressive in his first ever non-winged start as he timed in well then made transfer in his heat race before starting on the pole and leading the dash until the final corner when John Scott stole the race coming out of turn four.
At the start of the A-Main, Damion Gardner once again showed why he has become a crowd favorite in SCRA with a spectacular move going into turn one to go from 3rd to 1st in one corner. The action behind Gardner was fast and furious as three wide racing was common all over the finely prepared track. Gardner dominated the race with Kruseman in second until lap 27 when Gardner slipped high in turn four and contacted the wall and sent his car flipping wildly down the front straightaway end over end then backwards before landing cage down on the racing surface. Damion climbed out of his car O.K. but very upset over his change in fortune.
Cory Kruseman took over the top spot and held it until contact between himself and Tony Jones sent Cory upside down and collected 3rd running Rip Williams. With only a couple of laps to go Jones took off on the start only to have serious pressure from Richard Griffin who powered under Jones and went on to win over Jones, impressive Bobby Graham, Rickie Gaunt and Steve Ostling. Mike Faria ended up 7th and took home the bonus for highest finishing Golden State regular.
Brian Coelho and Peter Murphy also were on hand but Murphy had a night to forget and Coelho was impressive with an 8th fast time then ran the B-Main before finishing 12th in the A-Main.
B.F.'s notes...Greg Hodnett is arguably the hottest driver in the country right now and has won 7 races in the past few weeks…Steve Kinser is on a hot streak as of late also winning races in OK.City, Eagle and Huset's…Danny Lasoski has kept pace with the King with wins at Topeka, Sedalia and Knoxville …This 4th of July week was upset week as John Ivy took an All-Star win at Fremont, P.J. Chesson won a WoO race at Fargo, Brett Mann a PA Speedweek race at Susquhanna, Mike Hess taking home the Hut 100 win at Terre Haute and Sean Becker and Doug Lippincott winning their first races ever at Chico on consecutive weeks…Good to see Paul McMahan back in victory lane at the All-Star event at KC, good job Squirt!!!!…Billy Sellers returned to action at Placerville after nearly 2 months off for a concussion and won in his first race back…J.J. Yeley was dominant in the 4 Ohio double headers winning two midget and two sprint cars races…Kasey Kahne won his first ever Super Dirt Cup at Skagit a couple of weeks ago, congrats to Kasey, Willie and Killer…. That is all I have for this time, I hope to see you all at the races very soon. And thanks to the people that have written to me looking for my column and have mentioned it to me at the races, it means allot to me to know that there are people out there reading this…. BF
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