once again from Mtn. View, California where it has been cold and raining
as of late. We don't get much rain here, but when it does rain, it comes
down fast and furious. With racing season getting underway here pretty soon,
I will be doing something different. I am going to rank the open wheel driver's
from 1 to 50 from last year's racing pool that I am associated with. Now
keep in mind that this is based on top 5's with 5 points for 1st, 4 for
2nd, 3 for 3rd, 2 for 4th and 1 for a 5th place finish. Also this only includes
the sanctioning bodies as follows: World Of Outlaws, Gumout Series, All-Stars,
PA Posse (Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal and Selinsgrove),USAC (National
and Western States Midgets, National and Western States Sprint Cars, Silver
Bullets and BCRA),California 360's and 410's, ASCS, NCRA and SCRA. So if
you don't see you favorite driver and wonder why he is not on here, remember
that the points were earned in those respective divisions.
goes.... #1 (77) Fred Rahmer: 28 wins, 7-2nd's, 12-3rd's, 7-4th's
and 3-5th's for a total of 221 points. Fred had another stellar year winning
races in PA, The Gumout Series, The All-Star Circuit Of Champions and The
Pennzoil World Of Outlaws. Don't look for Fred to slow down any time soon,
he seems to be getting better every year.
(11) Steve Kinser: 16 wins, 21-2nd's, 10-3rd's, 9-4th's and 4-5th's
for a total of 216 points. He narrowly missed the top spot but had his best
year in the past 3 winning yet another WoO title. His switch to Hoosier
tires paid dividends for him and Scott Gerkin was chosen as the mechanic
of the year for good reason. Look for the King to be stout again as he goes
for another crown.
Danny Lasoski: 21 wins, 9-2nd's, 10-3rd's. 12-4th's and 7-5th's for
a total of 202 points. Dude started off strong with a dominating swing through
Florida in the new "heavy" car and parlayed that success through most of
the year also running on Hoosier tires. Look for the Dude to be very strong
in the Tony Stewart car this coming year on the WoO circuit.
Sammy Swindell: 21 wins, 8-2nd's, 9-3rd's, 10-4th's and 9-5th's for
a total of 193 points. Sammy had one of his better years as far as wins
go but when he didn't win he was either running up front or was watching
the main event from the infield. Look for Sammy to pick and choose the big
money races as he will be in Florida for the East Bay Nationals.
Mark Kinser: 14 wins, 15-2nd's, 13-3rd's, 7-4th's and 3-5th's for a
total of 186 points. It was an up and down year for Mark as he won another
Knoxville Nationals but struggled with mechanical woes and had many more
DNF's than either he or Karl would have liked. Look for Mark to bounce back
with another stellar year like a couple of years ago.
Gary Wright: 20 wins, 9-2nd's, 3-3rd's, 5-4th's and no 5th's for a total
of 155 points. "The Dreamweaver" had another sensational year traveling
the plains picking up wins all over the midwest in NCRA and ASCS competition.
Look for Wright to have a strong season as he picks and chooses his races
with great success.
Kasey Kahne: 12 wins, 8- -2nd's, 9-3rd's, 8-4th's and 3-5th's for a
total of 138 points. This kid was simply amazing scoring points in Steve
Lewis' midget, The Zarounian Silver Bullet Car and also won a race in his
dad's winged Sprint Car at Williams Grove, PA. He won the Belleville Nationals
in his first start. Look for this guy to get even better if that is possible
as he will drive those same cars as well as the Hoffman 69 on selected pavement
Craig Dollansky: 11 wins, 12-2nd's, 4-3rd's, 8-4th's and 6-5th's for
a total of 137 points. "The Crowdpleaser" had a breakout year on the Gumout
Series winning the inaugural title and ran up front on numerous occasions
on the WoO circuit. Look for this guy to step up and run the WoO this year
and wins some races.
Jay Drake: 20 wins, 1-2nd, 5-3rd's, 6-4th's, and 2-5th's for a total
of 133 points. What can you say about this guy except simply amazing. He
was dominating on the dirt in USAC winning in the Midget, Sprint and Silver
Bullet Series as he also won on the Non-Wing World Championship Series.
Look for Jay to be even better this year as he already has two wins at Chili
Bowl including the finale under his belt so far.
(88H) Lance DeWease: 13 wins, 13-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 8-4th's and 7-5th's
for a total of 130 points. After leaving the famed "Brickmobile" Lance had
a very good year on the rugged PA Circuit as he won more than his share
of races. Look for Lance to come back with another strong effort as they
might give Rahmer some fits at Lincoln.
(50) Richard Griffin: 9 wins, 7-2nd's, 11-3rd's, 3-4th's and 6-5th's
for a total of 118 points. "The Gasman" had his best year to date winning
the SCRA and the Non-Winged World Championship to go with his highest win
output in recent memory. Look for more of the same as this might spell trouble
for the non-winged guys down south.
(7) Keith Kauffman: 7 wins, 10-2nd's, 7-3rd's, 8-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 115 points. The oldest driver in the top 50 didn't show his age
as he won races at Lincoln, Williams Grove, Port Royal and Selinsgrove in
one year as he was one of only a couple to turn the trick and show his versatility.
I don't think this guy is ready to slow down for the young guys yet, he
is still hungry and hard to beat on any surface.
(88) Todd Shaffer: 6 wins, 8-2nd's, 10-3rd's, 7-4th's and 4-5th's for
a total of 110 points. "Mr. Excitement had a very good year but was a little
off from his past few years but he still picked up a championship at Selinsgrove
to prove he can still put the methanol down. Look for Todd to return to
his former self and win more than 10 races this year.
(19) Stevie Smith: 6 wins, 8-2nd's, 10-3rd's, 5-4th's and 8-5th's for
a total of 110 points. Stevie had another solid year in his own coil car
with his dad helping him Stevie was able to show he can still run up front
with the WoO. Look for Stevie to be strong again and challenge for a top
5 finish in points.
(77) Wayne Johnson: 8 wins, 8-2nd's, 9-3rd's, 3-4th's and 2-5th's for
a total of 107 points. This guy blasted back on the ASCS National scene
to run up front all the time and picked off not only the ASCS National title
but also won the Knoxville 360 Nationals. Look for more of the same this
year as Johnson goes for the ASCS crown once again.
(4J) Jeff Shepard: 9 wins, 7-2nd's, 6-3rd's, 7-4th and 1-5th for a total
of 106 points. "The Jet" started the season on the WoO series going for
the Rookie Of The Year title but peeled off to the Gumout Series when it
started and prospered to run 3rd in the final rundown. Look for Jeff to
be in the Forbrook 5 car this year and start with the WoO before going for
the Gumout Series title come April.
(37-2-19) Tracy Hines: 9 wins, 5-2nd's, 8-3rd's, 5-4th's and 5-5th's
for a total of 104 points. Hines had a very good year running in all the
major USAC divisions and he scored big in all of them. Look for him to be
a front runner in every division once again this year.
(2M) Brent Kaeding: 11 wins, 3-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 4-4th's and 6-5th's for
a total of 96 points. This was probably BK's lowest point output in the
past 5 years but he still won 5 out of 6 races at Chowchilla and won another
NARC title (his 13th). Even though he lost the "King Of California" title
to Ronnie Day, look for Brent to be back as strong as ever this year of
the NARC-Golden State Tour.
(U2) Paul McMahan: 5 wins, 4-2nd's, 10-3rd's, 9-4th's, and 3-5th's for
a total of 92 points. "Squirt" had a tremendous year running with the Gumout
Series as he garnered a 2nd place in the final point total and earned himself
a spot on the WoO Tour for this year driving for Warren Johnson. Look for
Paul to open some eyes in the big show.
(6) Kenny Jacobs: 8 wins, 5-2nd's, 6-3rd's, 4-4th's and 4-5th's for
a total of 90 points. "Mouse" had another great year winning his 3rd consecutive
All-Star title in his own car. Look for Kenny to continue his winning ways
this year as he brings his son Lee along to join the battle in the All-Star
(92) Andy Forsberg: 7 wins, 3-2nd's, 8-3rd's, 7-4th's and 5-5th's for
a total of 90 points. This guy had a breakout year running mostly 360 shows
but also ran the weekly 410 Friday night shows at Chico. Andy won the Placerville
and the Civil War title in a dream season that also included 2 races on
the pavement at Madera and Stockton. Look for Andy to be stronger this year
and running as much as possible in both 410's and 360's.
(17) Joey Saldana: 3 wins, 5-2nd's, 8-3rd's, 13-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 88 points. Might be the most underrated driver in the country
as he has become much more than a qualifier as he showed in his strong swing
through the west last Fall. Look for Joey to win at least 5-10 WoO race
this year and break into the top 5 in points.
(11) Roger Crockett: 7 wins, 11-2nd's, 1-3rd, 1-4th and 1-5th for a
total of 85 points. "The Rocket" ran up front most of the year at the Civil
War and Placerville races but a bad crash at P-Ville set him back. Look
for Roger to score even more this year with his dad once again turning the
(45-3-47) Cory Kruseman: 9 wins, 4-2nd's, 6-3rd's, 2-4th's and 2-5th's
for a total of 85 points. "The Kruiser" won the Chili Bowl to open the season
then had some miserable luck at the beginning of the year in the sprint
car before finishing strong. Look for Cory to run SCRA, USAC and the Non-Winged
World Championship races this season as he will once again be a factor in
any race he is in.
(69K) Don Kreitz Jr.: 6 wins, 6-2nd's, 4-3rd's, 5-4th's and 7-5th's
for a total of 83 points. The was one of Kreitz's better year as of late
but a controversial win at Williams Grove in a big money race marred what
could be considered his best in years. Look for Kreitz to shine when the
track slicks off once again as the bottom groove comes in for him.
(22) Jac Haudenschild: 5 wins, 5-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 3-4th's and 7-5th's
for a total of 73 points. Haud started the year off with a big win at Las
Vegas and showed flashes of brilliance throughout the year including winning
2 out of 3 night at Calistoga. Look for Haud to break out his year and have
his best ever as he starts his first year in the Beef Packer 83.
(21) Tommy Tarlton: 8 wins, 5-2nd's, 1-3rd, 2-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 70 points. This was Tommy's best year in the 410 division as
he won race in the Golden State Series, NARC and Rebel Cup. Tommy is in
Australia right now honing his skills and should be raring to go come February.
(91) Tim Crawley: 6 wins, 5-5th's, 2-3rd's, 5-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 69 points. Crawley didn't run all the National ASCS races but
still managed to have a pretty good year. Look for Crawley to go all out
to try to get the crown back that he lost to Wayne Johnson last year.
(3) Rip Williams: 4 wins, 6-2nd's, 3-3rd's, 6-4th's and 4-5th's for
a total of 69 points. "The Ripper" didn't win a race for the first half
of the year but came back in the 2nd half and won 4. Look for Williams to
be strong at Perris once again and challenge for the SCRA title.
(56-69-9) Dave Darland: 6 wins, 5-2nd's, 3-3rd's, 3-4th's and 3-5th's
for a total of 68 points. Darland scored in Midgets, Sprints and Silver
Bullets last year but had his share of misfortune. Look for Darland to be
stronger this year running in the Arctic Cat car on pavement and dirt.
(7N) Steve Kent: 6 wins, 6-2nd's, 1-3rd,
5-4th's and 0-5th's for a total of 67 points. This was Kent' best year
since the Selma Shell car as he also won 3 races up north at the Northern
Sprint Tour and claimed the Speedweek title. Look for Kent to be back running
410 and 360 races up and down California.
(10) Terry Gray: 2 wins, 6-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 4-4th's and 7-5th's for a
total of 64 points. This was an off year for his standards as he wasn't
able to make all the National Series races but still got respectable numbers.
Look for Terry to bounce back with a big year this year in ASCS.
(41) Jason Johnson: 3 wins, 5-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 3-4th's and 8-5th's for
a total of 64 points. "the racin cajun" opened up quite a few eyes last
year on the ASCS National Circuit as he broke out with some top performances
throughout the year. Look for Jason to run with ASCS and NCRA this year.
(1) Tony Elliott: 4 wins, 5-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 3-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 64 points. Elliott won another National USAC Sprint Car title
with some great performances on dirt and some good runs on pavement. Look
for more of the same and maybe a venture into the WoO for a few shows this
(5) Mike Kirby: 6 wins, 6-2nd's, 0-3rd's, 5-4th's and 0-5th's for a
total of 64 points. Kirby started the year out slow but came on strong throughout
the middle and end of the year to score some big wins in SCRA. Look for
more of the same with Kirby running up front week in and week out in SCRA.
(10) Tim Kaeding: 4 wins, 3-2nd's, 5-3rd's, 4-4th's and 8-5th's for
a total of 63 points. Tim had an up and down year winning some stirring
races from deep in the pack at Chico and a great dual with his dad Brent
at Chowchilla. Look for Tim to venture out a bit and run some TV's shows
and Gumout races from time to time.
(17E) Cris Eash: 3 wins, 5-2nd's, 6-3rd's, 3-4th's and 4-5th's for a
total of 63 points. After a devastating crash at Lincoln early in the season
that broke his knees, Cris made a great recovery to come back strong and
run up front with the PA boys and ran 2nd at the National Open behind Donny
Schatz. Look for Cris to be back to 100% and run up front all year in PA.
(2-39) Ryan Newman: 2 wins, 11-2nd's, 2-3rd's, 0-4th's and 1 5th for
a total of 61 points. Newman had another strong year in the Midgets, Sprints
and Silver Bullets running up front at most every pavement show that he
entered. He also won an ARCA race at Pocono and secured a ride with Roger
Penske for the years to come.
(15) Donny Schatz: 2 wins, 8-2nd's, 3-3rd's, 3-4th's and 3-5th's for
a total of 60 points. Donny had a very disappointing year until he pulled
led Knoxville for 23 laps and pulled off the upset at the Williams Grove
National Open. Look for Donny to establish himself as a front runner once
again with the WoO.
(2) Andy Hillenburg: 3 wins, 1-2nd, 6-3rd's, 6-4th's and 10-5ths for
a total of 59 points. Oklahoma Andy had his regular consistent year as he
too switched to Hoosier tires and made big strides after the change. Look
for Andy to run with the WoO and pick off between 5-8 wins this year.
(7J) Monte Faccinto: 4 wins, 7-2nd's, 1-3rd, 3-4th's and 1-5th for a
total of 58 points. Faccinto won the Rebel Cup title as he has curtailed
his racing as of late to concentrate on his children's racing endeavors.
Look for Monte to be up front once again when the Rebel Cup season starts
(77-29) Dave Ely: 4-wins, 5-2nd's, 2-3rd's, 2-4th's and 7-5th's for
a total of 57 points. Ely started off strong with wins at Lincoln and Williams
Grove but ran into trouble during the middle of the year a dissolved his
race team. look for Ely to team up with Bob Weikert to try to bring back
some glory to the Weikert stable.
(52) Dave Lindt: 4-wins, 4-2nd's, 4-3rd's, 3-4th's and 2-5th's for a
total of 56 points. Running mainly at Petaluma Lindt won another championship
there and also ran some Civil War shows with limited success. look for Lindt
to run both 360 and 410 shows this year.
(65) Johnny Mackison Jr.: 1 win, 3-2nd's, 7-3rd's, 5-4th's and 6-5th's
for a total of 54 points. Mackison had his best year since returning to
sprint car racing and picked off a memorable win after a battle with Fred
Rahmer at Lincoln. Look for Mackison to improve on his season this year.
(4K) Kelly Kinser: 2 wins, 5-2nd's, 3-3rd's, 6-4th's and 2-5th's for
a total of 53 points. Kelly started the year off strong with some strong
runs in Florida. After a mediocre middle part of the year he picked it up
and made the A-Main at the Knoxville Nationals.
#46 (3R) Johnny Rodriguez:
3 wins, 6-2nd's, 2-3rd's, 0-4th's
and 3-5th's for a total of 52 points. "Johnny Rocket" had his best year
to date winning in both 360 and 410 divisions. Look for Johnny to do more
of the same this year.
#47 (59) Steve Siegel: 0 wins,
4-2nd's, 6-3rd's, 8-4th's and 2-5th's for a total of 52 points. Siegel just
kept on going as he didn't win a race but ran up front running mainly at
Lincoln. Look for Siegel to be even stronger this year with maybe some appearances
at WilliamS Grove.
#48 (48) Tony Jones: 4 wins,
3-2nd's, 1-3rd, 7-4th's and 3-5th's for a total of 52 points. Jones won
some big races last year capping his best year ever with a win at the Perris
Oval Nationals. Look for Jones to get even better this year and have a breakout
season as he could win between 5-10 races.
#49 (76) J.J. Yeley: 1 win,
6-2nd's, 4-3rd's, 4-4th's and 2-5th's for a total of 51 points. Yeley had
a miserable year for his standards as he only won one race all year and
crashed hard out of the park and into the junkyard at Manzanita late in
the year. Look for J.J. to bounce back this year and come back strong.
#50 (96) Rickie Gaunt: 5-wins,
4-2nd's, 1-3rd, 3-4th's and 0-5th's for a total of 50 points. Rickie had
a breakout year winning more race last year than he ahd won in his whole
career before that. Look for Rickie to improve even more and take a shot
at the SCRA crown this year.
Well that is it for the top 50 in
points but I will have to give an honorable mention to some guys that weren't
in the top 50..... Rodney Duncan was runner up in the All-Stars and
garnered 49 points...Jason Meyers went out on the road and won 2
races on the Gumout tour and scored 49 p oints...Ronnie Day concentrated
on the "King Of California" title and won it as he scored 47 points...Brad
Furr also set out on the road once again and scored 46 point with the
Gumout Series...Blake Robertson was the King of Tulare as he was
fast every time NARC ran there and scored45 points on the year... Jonathan
Allard had his best year to date with 44 points...Jason York
also had his best year and won the Chico Championship with 41 points...Danny
Smith was impressive scoring in USAC and All-Stars with 41 points...Peter
Murphy had his best year in California with 40 points and won a few
races at Chico...Troy Cline split his time between SCRA, USAC Western
States Sprints and Winston West but still scored 38 points...Bud Kaeding
moved to the midwest to run with USAC and did very well winning 2 races
and scoring 34 points...Daryn Pittman did the most with the least
last year on the WoO as he scored 27 points on the ultra competitive circuit.
Well that is it, if you don't see you favorite driver you can e-mail me
and I can tell you where he ended up in the big picture. I hope you enjoyed
my look at the top 50 and beyong in open wheel racing.
Condolences go out to the family of Vergil Owen as he passed away
a couple of weeks ago. He was a great man who owned sprint car for many
seasons and had such driver's as Chuck Gurney, Jimmy Sills and Tim Green.
he also built a very well respected business called All-Weld. He will be
sorely missed in the racing fraternity...Also my condolences go out to
Darren Powers as his longtime girlfriend Teri Snider passed away
after a long batlle with Cancer, she will be in my thoughts and prayers...
Jay Drake picked off his first ever
Chili Bowl win in the Keith Kunz Stealth, followed by a last turn, last
lap pass for 2nd by Danny Lasoski over Sammy Swindell... A
very impressive Aaron Fike picked up 4th after leading for over half
the race... Keith Rauch picked up a very strong 5th...Bud Kaeding
debuted a new Mopar midget motor built by Gary Stanton and was leading
his heat race until an ignition problem sidelined him and ruined his weekend...Congratulations
also go out to Matt and Amy Britt on their marriage last weekend
in Hanford, it was quite a party...Dean Jacobs is the new driver
of the Elden 22 and they will run the All-Star Circuit, not Phil Gressman
as had been reported before, he will team with Marshall Campbell
to run all over...Randy Hannagan has hired former Donny Schatz
crew chief Dave Yingst to run his operation full time on the
WoO Circuit...Tony Hunt will be running for Jerry Nadeau on
the Silver Bullet Series and Tony is having a benefit for charity at a go-cart
track in Stockton on Wednesday Jan.31st starting at 6:00, allot of your
favorite California drivers are expected to make an appearance, hope to
see you there...See ya next time....BF
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