Notebook: USAC Western States Midgets and Sprints at Madera & Stockton.
Tony Hunt drove the Ken Piersen #14 to the feature win in sprint car action Saturday at Madera. USAC's Director of Communications, Dick Jordan calls Hunt - "the most overlooked sprint car driving talent in the country."
- Chico Silver Cup winner Tommy Tarlton took in the Stockton Show with his PMP Chassis buddy Stan Yockey. Flat Out Illustrated's Kevin Eckert represented Indiana with his Pacers cap in a rare pavement appearance.
- MVP Video man, Dean Mills is offering his SCRA year in review video tape. The crash footage on that baby is unbelievable! The non-winged dirt warriors of SCRA had some serious rides in 1999. Mills teases that he is working on his "All Time Bails" tape. We've seen his collection of crashes dating back to his days as the Placerville Speedway video man - so whenever that tape comes out, don't think - just buy!
Todd Ellison was the sprint car quick timer at Madera.
- Many in the pits this weekend were on hand to support Bill Foland. "BF" - who crews for and works with Brent Kaeding, was making his racing debut at age 32. Kaeding and fellow crewmember Chris "Cajun" Good were pitside as was Anthony Simone, Peter Murphy, and Petaluma masher Jaime Cavagnaro.
- BF qualified 11th out of 25 in his first race at Madera. He transferred through the "B" to the "A" but was caught in a early race tangle that bent his axel and knocked him out of the race. At Stockton, BF saw things turn ugly. On the opening lap of the USAC Western States A-main, as BF moved past the outside of Chuck Maddox in turns one and two, . Maddox's sprinter pushed up the track in turn two and his right front tire hit BF's left rear sending the #101 into the concrete retaining wall very hard. Click here for the full BF update,
- Andy Forsberg lived up to his promise of "racing all over the place" - as he showed up with his dirt sprintcar for two days of pavement racing action. However, Andy's dad, Richard quipped that it was the "old" crew that was doing all the work. Andy's "young" crew which was so highly touted in previous notebooks apparently didn't make the trip this weekend.
TREES! make a perfect backdrop for Kevin Urton. The former USAC Western States sprint car champ once crashed into the trees at Calistoga to earn the nickname "TK" for Trees! Kevin.
Jason McCord of Anderson, Indiana was aboard the Bumgarner #88 this weekend.
Top point man Kasey Kahne swept both midget features.
What a combo! The original Rim Rider, Chuck Gurney with his boy Chuck Gurney Jr. The teenager is currently looking for a ride after competing last year in the midgets. HammerDown! advises all car owners that "Little Rim" has won at every level of racing so far. He has way too much talent to not have a full time ride. Midgets, 360 sprints, whatever - we think he's a future star.
The familiar Tri-C paint scheme has returned to sprint car racing. Clyde Lamar's grandson, Burney Lamar made an impressive sprint car debut this weekend. Lamar finished fourth at Stockton Sunday, and led much of the Madera event before being sidelined with a mechanical DNF.
World of Outlaws Las Vegas Notes.
As compiled by HammerDown! Staff 03/03/00
- SLICING AND DICING Good racing was evident all weekend at Las Vegas with Steve Kinser and Jac Haudenschild providing many of the highlights. Kinser, drove around Stevie Smith in extra deep traffic Thursday night to win an exciting 30 lap prelim. The King closed on Smith late in the game when Smith encountered no less than five cars running together in a pack in traffic.
- HAUD STILL MASHES Haudenschild was spectacular Friday night, rim-riding his way through traffic from his 21st starting spot all the way up to sixth in a nonstop 30 lapper. He missed transferring in his heat race and had to run the B. With the new WoO format, all B transfers tag the tail of the feature.
- GOOD NEWS FOR DUDE Many forget that Danny Lasoski had successful cancer surgery in 1994. Now recovered, Danny, like all cancer patients is screened yearly to make sure there is no recurrence of disease. He quietly reported the good news that in the off-season, he was checked and his health is just fine.
- ELBOWS WERE UP Paul McMahan impressed again in the Johnson #U2. His fifth place ranking in the WoO standings after Las Vegas is a testament to hard work, and sacrifice. Despite suffering injuries in two separate wicked Eldora crashes, (most recently in June `99) McMahan has rebounded and regained his health and confidence. In the winter, he moved his family from his native California to Indiana all in the name of pursuing his racing dreams.
- DON'T DRINK THE WATER Stevie Smith and his wife Kendra advised HammerDown! against taking a cruise to Ensanada, Mexico. The couple vacationed on a Mexico cruise ship following the WoO banquet. Stevie said, "From now on it's Hawaii".
- BACHELOR NO MORE Smith reported that his right-hand man, crew member, Devin Deluzio was married in the off-season.
- VEGAS NIGHTLIFE HammerDown! insiders report that Lil Darlings "dance club" had 200 girls working on Thursday night. (same insiders said 98% were beautiful). Nice ratio. HD staffers give a nod to the Rum Jungle club at Mandalay Bay.
- JOEY FAST Joey Saldana continued his qualifying mastery with another quick time effort on Thursday night. Saldana backed that performance up with second quick on Friday. He was the pacesetter on both nights in the first weekend of WoO racing at Hanford & Perris. Joey is quick to give credit to his engine builder, Charlie Fisher.
- TUBES Sammy Swindell now drives a "downtube" Stealth of his own design.
- WILL TO WIN Never underestimate the will of Steve Kinser, who said after Stevie Smith passed him for the lead Friday night... "I made up my mind I was going to do everything I could to catch him in traffic" He did. The brave winning move came on lap 29 of 30.
- TONE LOC IN THE HOUSE Tony Stewart really is a fan of the WoO. He was in the turn two pit grandstand viewing the racing and eating the dirt with crew members and fans.
- HERRERA STYLES Thumbs up to the new look for Johnny Herrera & Craig Cormack's #20. The simple design looks fast on the track. Marketing question..., when Lasoski drives Stewart's #20 next year who will have to add a letter to the end of the number?
- GREEN IS GOOD We also dig Steve Kinser's green and white #11, which sports a paint scheme designed by Steve's wife, Dana.
- BEYOND HAIRY. FURRY. It was a tough weekend for Brad Furr. The California driver crashed hard in hot laps Friday. He had thoughts of returning later Friday but track physicians nixed that plan when they wouldn't clear him to drive. He also flipped Thursday night.
- COOL HATS Mark Kinser hooked up HammerDown! with a good-looking Durst Motorplex hat. Longtime sponsor, Phil Durst is back with the #5m for 2000.
- STILL HITCHED Brooke Tatnell and crew chief Troy Renfro remain together on the Lonnie Parsons #6. The two were teamed last year on the #7k.
- HART AND THE PRESIDENT Mechanic Rob Hart was working with Jimmy Carter at Vegas but said it was just a temporary deal. Hart says he is Texas bound without a wrench gig.
- PARKED? TW Racing's jack of all trades, and master of fun, J.D. Kramer informs that the #7tw does not have a driver lined up after Dennis Moore ends his short term contract. The car may be parked unless they secure a sponsor.
- PAULIS SPEEDY Brian Paulis showed qualifying speed both nights. He was 3rd fast and tenth fast respectively.
Tony Stewart & Jason Leffler Grab Copper Chee$e
(Avondale AZ. 2/06/00) HD Staff: Tony Stewart displayed his special driving gifts this weekend at the Copper World Classic in Phoenix Arizona. Stewart was scheduled to serve as the event's Grand Marshall - but "gave in to peer pressure" - as he put it, and promptly drove away with his third career Copper World Midget division win. Fellow Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR stablemate, Jason Leffler solidly handled the field in the USAC Silver Bullet 50 miler. A testament to the growth of the Silver Bullet Series, Leffler bounced out of the AZ with over $19,000. Other winners were Troy Regier in the SRL Supermodifieds Copper debut, and Rick Carelli won the Taxi race.
Notes from Phoenix... as compiled by the HD! Staff.
It was 75 degrees all-day every day. (Or at least it seemed that nice!)
Ryan Newman impressed the HammerDown! Staff with his businesslike approach to racing. He sat on the Midget pole. His Johnny Vance, Silver Bullet ride was painted retro style - harking back to the days of Johnny Parsons 1950 Indy win.
Kasey Kahne looked proud in his Steve Lewis Racing Beast uniform.
Tony Stewart looked like an icon in his Home Depot threads. The price of fame is certainly evident around Stewart. He couldn't walk two steps without someone asking for an autograph or just plain gawking. However, he did nothing to dispel his already legendary driving talents. Dude got in the Lewis chariot and mashed! In the always scary super modified race - he took on fresh tires with three laps to-go, meaning he had to go to the rear of the field. Yikers! Basically, here was NASCARS biggest future star, just for the love of racing, passing guys on the inside of the narrow Phoenix front chute!
Dave Darland ran at Manzy both nights.
Brad Noffsinger looked right at home in the Silver Bullet headliner. Smooth and fast all weekend, he ended up on the box with Leffler, & Tyler.
Leffler took in the Manzy action, as did National Speed News/Open Wheel/TNN/All-Around Media Man, Dave Argabright. Argabright was making his debut as color commentator for TNN's Race of the Week Copper coverage.
Tony Hunt was impressive in his Copper Silver Bullet debut. The former USAC Formula Russell hero, out-qualifyed some bigger names, and bigger budgets when he put his Bar-D #81 on the 12th on the grid. . In the feature, he kept his nose clean and ran 16th.
Propers to Tom's Bar-B-Q in Chandler.
Tipster, Paul Wilson pointed out Brian Tyler racing his Silver Crown car with a huge, 38" shock on the right rear. Tyler reported that the car felt more stable in the turns.
NARC racer, Tommy Tarlton was pitside at the Copper Classic. He reports that his dad, Tom is continuing to improve after surviving a freak accident in which a car ran through a window of a Coffee Shop where the elder Tarlton was dining.
Chuck Gurney Jr., was also taking in the Copper action. "Lil Rim", should be giving the veterans fits on the USAC Western States Midget Tour in 2000.
Too bad there's no mild sausages in the Manzy pits. Strictly HOT links.
Jimmy Sills described midget racing on the mile at PIR. "If you are comfortable in your midget - you aren't driving it hard enough"
TNN's Race of the Week coverage of the USAC portion of the Copper Classic will be aired Sunday, February 20th.
Prettiest car: Bobby McMahan's Silver Crown ride, designed by Brad Scadden.