by Gary "Hammerdown" Costa

 Bad Call In Chowchilla – 10/22/05

 …Got on highway 99 and headed for the long 50 minute ride to Chowchilla for the Open Wheel Roundup. When I arrived the pits were packed with an assortment of different classes. I took in most of the night with legendary San Jose Speedway announcer and super fan Kenny Takiuchi. We talked old school, and I picked his brain. Man the stories that he has. The names of Brazil, Sargent(s), Pombo(s), Earl Kelly, Tommy Astone, Vuky..well, were flowing up into the heavens from our little circle. I'm so very honored that we spent the evening together. It was also great to see Mike Damron roaming the pits. You race fans will remember Mike from the San Jose days.  

The controversial Sprint Car main was won by Sam Fries. My hats off to him as he drove a great race. I have an issue with what occurred on lap 27. Let me start off by saying, I'm not trying to slam anyone. That goes for Tom and Cindy Sagmiller as well. I just may have saw what happened a little differently is all. Masher Steven Williams was coming like a bat out of hell, and ran down veteran David Goodwill . Steven went to the inside and they made contact going into 3. David spun left side sideways up the track. I thought he was going to turn over, but thankfully he didn't. After much of the crowd roared to their feet with approval. I had a feeling they were going to send Steven to the back of the pack. After Goodwill was fired was back up, they did what I thought, sent Steven to the back, and preceded to give Goodwill his spot in the lead back.

I was in bewilderment at this point. I see a sea of red shirts (Williams' pit crew) and other crews going to where the official was. This poor guy was perched about 30 feet in the air on what looks like an old flagstand. I thought they were going to yank this guy down like what the college kids do to the goal posts in football! The fans, to say the least were hot. At this time I reflected on an incident that happened at Dixon years back when McSpadden and Gary Patterson got into it and the crowd REALLY got into it!

After somewhat cooler heads prevailed, Steven pulled off the track. Now I want to make it VERY clear, I love David Goodwill. The guy in my opinion is flat good, and gets after it. I have absolutely no beef with him. I do feel Steven Williams was given a bad call. And I don't think David should have gotten his spot back for a racing deal.   

My biggest concern is this. How are these going to get the elbows up, and worry if contact is made, that they have a chance of getting thrown to the back? This is Sprint Car Racing. I don't mind sliders, chopping, blocking, moving someone up or down on the race track. Just when those wheels come your way, don't bitch. (Not saying David did) 

In conclusion I certainly hope this isn't a thing of the future. Let these guys race! I have no problems with an official sitting a guy down because he purposely drove into someone.

But this is Sprint Car Racing, shit happens.