Sunday, March 31, 2013

Altamahaw USAC Eastern Ignite Midget Results



Nic Davis in Victory Lane.
Photo Courtesy of USAC Eastern Ignite Midget Series


USAC EASTERN IGNITE MIDGET RACE RESULTS: March 30, 2013 – Altamahaw, North Carolina – Ace Speedway

Qualifications: 1. Ryan Krachun, 29, Krachun-15.590; 2. Chris Lamb, 9, Lamb-15.639; 3. Matt Lundstrom, 5, Lundstrom-15.754; 4. Tyler Corriher, 12, Corriher-15.863; 5. Billy Gaule, 22, Gaule-15.883; 6. Wil Raber, 3, Hocevar-15.968; 7. Calvin Carroll, 24, Carroll-16.020; 8. Nic Davidson, 39, Radical-16.174; 9. Baline Leydig, 21, Leydig-16.353; 10. Nikki Carroll, 124, Carroll-16.501; 11. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-NT; 12. Mike Ward, 80, Ward-NT; 13. Jessica Bean, 9x, Bean-NT.

FEATURE #1: (25 Laps) 1. Chris Lamb, 2. Tyler Corriher, 3. Billy Gaule, 4. Ryan Krachun, 5. Mike Ward, 6. Wil Raber, 7. Blaine Leydig, 8. Calvin Carroll, 9. Matt Lundstrom, 10. Nikki Carroll, 11. Nic Davidson, 12. Jessica Bean. NT

FEATURE #2: (25 Laps) 1. Nic Davidson, 2. Matt Lundstrom, 3. Tyler Corriher, 4. Mike Ward, 5. Chris Lamb, 6. Ryan Krachun, 7. Wil Raber, 8. Nikki Carroll, 9. Calvin Carroll, 10. Blaine Leydig, 11. Jessica Bean. NT
 --------------------------------------------------

FIRST FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Corriher, Laps 11-25 Lamb.

SECOND FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Raber, Laps 4-23 Lamb, Laps 24-25 Davidson.

NEW EASTERN IGNITE (PAVEMENT) MIDGET POINTS: 1-Lamb-237, 2-Lundstrom-211, 3-Corriher-201, 4-Davidson-194, 5-Krachun-178, 6-Raber-170, 7-C.Carroll-159, 8-Gaule-149, 9-N.Carroll-144, 10-Bean-118.

NEXT EASTERN IGNITE MIDGET RACE: April 20 – Shenandoah (VA) Speedway

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sammy Swindell maintains his dominance at Merced Speedway


Photo courtesy of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars
Merced Speedway is the shortest track on the circuit but it is critically fast. There is such a thing as too fast of a track and also a thing as too short of a track. Last night Merced was both. 

Qualifying saw Joey Saldana break the track record with a lap of 10.823 seconds or 111.447 mph. On a long 1/3-mile track that is "hauling the mail" folks. Qualifying for the 31 cars registered was a quick and uneventful process with the slowest of the top 5 being Tim Kaeding with a lap of 11.051 seconds or 108 mph. 

The heat races showed the story of the night. It was deemed by officials that the track was simply too narrow to risk double file restarts so all restarts for the evening were single file. With minimal positions changing hands, basically where you started was where you finished. The pole sitter was the winner in every case. The heat race winners were Paul McMahan, Greg Wilson and Brian Brown.

The final heat would have the only caution flag when Steve Kinser and David Gravel got together while trying to avoid the spinning Shane Golobic. Both drivers were relegated to the back of the field and basically advanced very little from that point which put them both in the Last Chance Showdown. The second heat would see Donny Schatz get out of shape between Turns 3 and 4 but continue on; however, it cost him valuable track position and the final transfer position to the A Main.

The Dash inversion was a six (6) putting Kyle Larson and Sammy Swindell on front the row. That is how they finished and lined up for the A Main. Joey Saldana would do an engine change right before the dash. The only driver able to advance positions in the dash was Brian Brown who came from 10th to eighth, in the final finishing order.

The Last Chance Showdown had enough names in it to be an A Main - David Gravel, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Kraig Kinser, Kerry Madsen, Austen Wheatley and Rico Abreu were all relegated to the event due to their qualifying position. In the end, the following drivers would transfer to the A Main: David Gravel, Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz, Jonthan Allard, Matt Mitchell and Warren Johnson. Kerry Madsen declined a provisional and Kraig Kinser is out of provisionals until July. 

The A Main saw Kyle “Yung Money” Larson jump out to a commanding lead that he would hold until Lap 13 when he blew a right rear tire and handed the lead to Sammy Swindell. Swindell would manage the traffic brilliantly only allowing Daryn Pittman to close within six car lengths at any time. Pittman had company from Tim Kaeding who was all over the tail tank of the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 9 to the start finish line. But with the narrow track, “TK” could not make the pass. Swindell would take the checkers with Pittman coming home second and Kaeding coming home third. 

"I think our car was good there to run with Kyle maybe in the last half of the race," said Sammy Swindell. "His car was pretty good to start; mine was a bit tight, but the track was going to go away and the fuel was going to come out. I felt like we had something."

"Things went his (Sammy Swindell) way tonight," said Pittman. "Some nights things go your way and put you in the right position to win the race. He's awfully talented and when you give him a chance to win and put him on the front row, he's awfully hard to beat. Tonight track position was really important. I think Larson was going to be pretty hard to beat if he didn't have a flat." 

Tim Kaeding who collected his sixth top 5 in eight events seemed happy just to come out in one piece. "It's been an awesome year," said Kaeding. "Tonight really wasn't where we needed to be, but we put ourselves in contention for a top five."

The KSE Hard Charger of the race was Donny Schatz who started 16th and came up to ninth. The seven spot gain was good enough for the award but was not indicative of what we normally see from the hard charger of the race award. Normally, we see 12 to 14 positions gained but tonight seven spots was a heroic effort. 

Merced Speedway is historic and it has been around since 1942. It has played host to the NASCAR Grand National Racing and saw Herb Thomas take home the trophy. For the 900 horsepower Mighty Wings of the Outlaws, this is Sammy Swindell’s track. He has won all three times they have come here to race. Tonight even the master magicians of speed were not up to the task of the shortest track on the circuit. They didn’t quit. They didn’t back down. But the show was not what we expect to see from the Outlaws either. Perhaps there will be another revision to the track to widen it out and lengthen its turn radiuses. Perhaps they will just make it a tad bit longer. Maybe if Sammy Swindell has his way they will do nothing at all and he will maintain his dominance here. Only time will tell. 

Qualifying - 1. 71M-Joey Saldana, 10.823; 2. 63-Chad Kemenah, 10.888; 3. 6-David Gravel, 10.979; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman, 11.039; 5. 83-Tim Kaeding, 11.051; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell, 11.070; 7. 77-Jac Haudenschild, 11.154; 8. 57-Kyle Larson, 11.160; 9. 121-Shane Golobic, 11.167; 10. 51-Paul McMahan, 11.192; 11. W20-Greg Wilson, 11.199; 12. 21-Brian Brown, 11.204; 13. 7S-Jason Sides, 11.217; 14. 21M-Jason Meyers, 11.234; 15. 11-Steve Kinser, 11.247; 16. 15-Donny Schatz, 11.258; 17. O-Jonathan Allard, 11.263; 18. 4-Cody Darrah, 11.295; 19. 83JR-Kyle Hirst, 11.297; 20. 88-Terry McCarl, 11.316; 21. 7-Craig Dollansky, 11.365; 22. 37-Matt Mitchell, 11.397; 23. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 11.435; 24. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 11.462; 25. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 11.470; 26. 24A-Rico Abreu, 11.499; 27. OO-Jason Statler, 11.565; 28. OOX-Cory Eliason, 11.569; 29. 29-Kerry Madsen, 11.590; 30. 88N-D.J. Netto, 11.607; 31. 21X-Carson Macedo, 11.705. 

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 51-Paul McMahan [1]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [3]; 3. 77-Jac Haudenschild [2]; 4. 71M-Joey Saldana [4]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 6. 83JR-Kyle Hirst [7]; 7. 21X-Carson Macedo [11]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [6]; 9. OOX-Cory Eliason [10]; 10. 44W-Austen Wheatley [9]; 11. 37-Matt Mitchell [8]. 

Heat 2 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. W20-Greg Wilson [1]; 2. 57-Kyle Larson [2]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah [4]; 5. 21M-Jason Meyers [5]; 6. 88-Terry McCarl [7]; 7. O-Jonathan Allard [6]; 8. 24A-Rico Abreu [9]; 9. 29-Kerry Madsen [10]; 10. 77X-Wayne Johnson [8]. 

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 21-Brian Brown [1]; 2. 121-Shane Golobic [2]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell [3]; 4. 4-Cody Darrah [6]; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky [7]; 6. OO-Jason Statler [9]; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser [8]; 8. 11-Steve Kinser [5]; 9. 6-David Gravel [4]; 10. 88N-D.J. Netto [10]. 

Dash - (8 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) - 1. 57-Kyle Larson [1]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell [2]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [4]; 5. 63-Chad Kemenah [5]; 6. 71M-Joey Saldana [6]; 7. 121-Shane Golobic [7]; 8. 21-Brian Brown [10]; 9. 51-Paul McMahan [8]; 10. W20-Greg Wilson [9]. 

B-Main - (12 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 6-David Gravel [1] [-]; 2. 11-Steve Kinser [2] [-]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [3] [-]; 4. O-Jonathan Allard [4] [-]; 5. 37-Matt Mitchell [5] [-]; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson [6] [-]; 7. 24A-Rico Abreu [9] [$200]; 8. 11K-Kraig Kinser [7] [$180]; 9. 44W-Austen Wheatley [8] [$175]; 10. 21X-Carson Macedo [13] [$160]; 11. 29-Kerry Madsen [11] [$150]; 12. 88N-D.J. Netto [12] [$150]; 13. OOX-Cory Eliason [10] [$150]. 

A-Main - (40 Laps) - 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [2] [$10,000]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [4] [$5,500]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [3] [$3,200]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah [5] [$2,800]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [9] [$2,500]; 6. 121-Shane Golobic [7] [$2,300]; 7. 71M-Joey Saldana [6] [$2,200]; 8. 21-Brian Brown [8] [$2,100]; 9. 15-Donny Schatz [16] [$2,050]; 10. 7S-Jason Sides [13] [$2,000]; 11. 6-David Gravel [11] [$1,500]; 12. 4-Cody Darrah [18] [$1,200]; 13. 88-Terry McCarl [20] [$1,100]; 14. 57-Kyle Larson [1] [$1,050]; 15. 21M-Jason Meyers [14] [$1,000]; 16. 11-Steve Kinser [15] [$900]; 17. W20-Greg Wilson [10] [$800]; 18. 7-Craig Dollansky [21] [$800]; 19. 83JR-Kyle Hirst [19] [$800]; 20. 77-Jac Haudenschild [12] [$800]; 21. OO-Jason Statler [22] [$800]; 22. 37-Matt Mitchell [23] [$800]; 23. O-Jonathan Allard [17] [$800]; 24. 77X-Wayne Johnson [24] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson 1-13, Sammy Swindell 14-40. KSE Hard Charger Award: 15-Donny Schatz [+7].

Saldana Sets Track Record in Merced



MERCED, Calif.—More than 30 matadors came to hone their skills at the bullring located at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Only these were World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car drivers who have an addiction for winning. They were as adept at performing moves on four wheels as matadors are on two feet. 

Joey Saldana, driver of the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M, fresh off of three consecutive days of PitFit Training in Indianapolis, was physically and mentally ready to race.

Saldana and the 71M team were quickest in hot laps with a 10.886-second circuit around the semi-banked, third-mile Merced Speedway oval. Saldana’s time was just a tick off the track record of 10.878 seconds established by Kraig Kinser on March 30, 2012.

In qualifying, Saldana kicked it up a notch, living up to his ‘Brownsburg Bullet’ moniker,and broke the track record, lowering it to 10.823 seconds, notching the team’s first quick time of the young season.

In the first of three heat races Friday evening, the yellow 71M started fourth on the outside of the second row. Two yellows flew in the 10-lap heat. The first caution came out with one lap complete when Matt Mitchell spun collecting Austen Wheatley. The last yellow came out with three to go when the infield tire marker got knocked onto the racing surface. Saldana finished fourth and would have a starting position in the dash.

“This is the narrowest track we race on all season,” said Saldana, “and it makes passing very difficult.”

Prior to the dash the 71M team did a complete engine swap.  

“We experienced a top end engine problem during the heat race, and we didn’t want to risk anything in the dash and the feature, so we went ahead and replaced the engine,” said crew chief Davey Whitworth.

After the dash draw, Saldana was consigned to the No. 6 starting position. With throttles buried to the floor, ten drivers challenged to gain position mostly for naught. The top seven finished where they started, including Saldana who finished sixth and would therefore start sixth in the A-Main.

It took only three laps for the leaders to close in on the back of the field in the Feature. There was a brief caution with 31 of 40 laps to go when the infield tire marker got booted onto the Speedway. Saldana was seventh in the single file restart but quickly had his hands full driving three-wide, battling Paul McMahan and Shane Golobic.

Saldana was the only driver in the top 10 who was able to drive the high side and he made some crowd-pleasing moves throughout the feature gaining ground, slipping back, attacking, working the traffic, and ultimately finished seventh. 

“I was working the high side as hard as I could and I was gaining ground,” said Saldana. “I was battling for fourth position when I tangled a little with Tim Kaeding who got under me and forced me off the track just enough for the cars I just passed to get back around me again. This track is just too narrow to race side by side and makes passing the lead cars virtually impossible.”

Kyle Larson started on the pole and led the feature until 13 laps into the A-Main when he exploded a right rear tire in turn one and pulled into the work area, passing the lead off to Sammy Swindell who was able to hang on for the win, his third consecutive victory at Merced. Larson finished 14th.

The 71M team wishes all its supporters and followers a very happy Easter holiday.
 

Altamahaw USAC Eastern Ignite Midget Results

Photo courtesy of USAC Eastern Ignite Midgets Series


USAC EASTERN IGNITE MIDGET RACE RESULTS: March 29, 2013 – Altamahaw, North Carolina – Ace Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-15.549; 2. Scott Gordon, F16, Gordon-15.583; 3. Chris Lamb, 9, Lamb-15.647; 4. Matt Lundstrom, 5, Lundstrom-15.673; 5. Matt Supan, 51, Supan-15.689; 6. Nic Davidson, 39, Radical-15.731; 7. Billy Gaule, 22, Gaule-15.744; 8. Wil Raber, 3, Raber-15.891; 9. Ryan Krachun, 29, Krachun-15.896; 10. Tyler Corriher, 12, Corriher-16.024; 11. Calvin Carroll, 24, Carroll-16.072; 12. Justin Whittall, 67, Whittall-16.593; 13. Nikki Carroll, 124, Carroll-16.820; 14. Jessica Bean, 9x, Bean-17.634.

FEATURE #1: (25 Laps) 1. Chris Lamb, 2. Matt Lundstrom, 3. Tyler Corriher, 4. Wil Raber, 5. Billy Gaule, 6, Nic Davidson, 7. Calvin Carroll, 8. Justin Whittall, 9. Scott Gordon, 10. Nikki Carroll, 11. Jessica Bean, 12. Matt Supan, 13. Gage Walker, 14. Ryan Krachun. NT

FEATURE #2: (25 Laps) 1. Chris Lamb, 2. Nic Davidson, 3. Matt Lundstrom, 4. Ryan Krachun, 5. Matt Supan, 6. Billy Gaule, 7. Calvin Carroll, 8. Nikki Carroll, 9. Scott Gordon, 10. Tyler Corriher, 11. Wil Raber, 12. Justin Whittall, 13. Jessica Bean. NT

 --------------------------------------------------

FIRST FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Supan, Laps 9-25 Lamb.

SECOND FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Davidson, Laps 16-25 Lamb.

NEW EASTERN IGNITE (PAVEMENT) MIDGET POINTS: 1-Lamb-124, 2-Lundstrom-114, 3-Davidson-103, 4-Gaule-93, 5-Corriher-87, 6-C.Carroll-84, 7-Raber-82, 8-Supan-79, 9-Gordon-77, 10-Krachun-76.

NEXT EASTERN IGNITE MIDGET RACE: March 30 – Altamahaw, NC – Ace Speedway

UPDATE: Brian Vickers in No. 11 beginning at Texas

Brian Vickers at Charlotte, Oct. 2012
Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Joe Gibbs Racing revealed that Brian Vickers will step into the No. 11 FedEx Camry beginning at Texas Motor Speedway on April 14th. Previously JGR announced Mark Martin would fill in for the injured Denny Hamlin the entire time he will be sidelined. Instead, Martin substitutes for Hamlin only at Martinsville on April 7th.

Hamlin suffered a compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway March 24th, setting off widespread speculation as to who would fill in during Hamlin's projected six-week-long recuperation. Elliott Sadler's name came up in almost every conversation, as did Brian Vickers; the announcement of Martin was a bit of a surprise given his previous commitments with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Vickers and Martin share the No. 55 ride for MWR, while Vickers pilots the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for JGR in the Nationwide Series. Vickers will race MWR’s No. 55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry at Martinsville, leaving Martin free to drive the No. 11 that week, but apparently MWR sponsor Aaron's wanted Martin to remain in the No. 55 for the races to which he'd already committed, continuing April 13th at Texas Motor Speedway.

Founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip said, "Mark is a big part of our organization and is committed to our sponsors, especially Aaron's and Toyota. We have a lot of goals yet to reach this year and we are very focused on accomplishing them."

Mark Martin and the Great American Sweethearts at
Texas Motor Speedway. Credit: Debbit Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
JGR president J.D. Gibbs said, "Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer."

"We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville. We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial."



Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.

She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.

"Caption this" winner: Armando Toner

"Tony owes me a favor ... wait for it."

Congratulations to Armando Toner who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Coach Gibbs and Kyle Busch. Please send your full name and mailing address to bbreinke@skirtsandscuffs.com to receive your prize, a copy of the devotional book Race Fans' Devotions to Go.

Thanks to everyone who played "Caption this!" Check back next Tuesday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hines Signs With ThorSport for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway

                  


SANDUSKY, Ohio (March 29, 2013) - Two-time USAC open-wheel champion Tracy Hines will attempt to boost his victory total at one of his favorite race tracks this summer when he drives a Toyota Tundra in a reunion with ThorSport Racing at Eldora Speedway's inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dirt-track race. 

When NASCAR scheduled its first national series' dirt race since 1970, it anticipated an all-star cast of dirt-track specialists entering. Hines, 40, of New Castle, Ind., brings much more than a notable dirt pedigree to his ThorSport entry in the July 24 mid-week NCWTS round at the half-mile speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. 

"We're excited to have a driver with Tracy's ability in one of our trucks for a truly unique event that we feel will really highlight what he's done at that venue as well as what he can do in the series' first dirt race," ThorSport general manager David Pepper said. "We're looking at Tracy to be a positive influence on our entire organization through his experience as a top-level dirt car owner and driver, but especially through the insight he'll be able to offer his teammates."

Photo courtesy of Tracy Hines Racing

"The realization that a major NASCAR series is going back to dirt is super exciting," Hines said. "What is it going to be? I don't think anybody knows, until we run under that checkered flag, what we're actually going to see. So that's definitely huge."

Hines has 52 career Truck Series starts -- 48 of them for ThorSport in 2004-2005 -- but he's been an ace on dirt, where he's won 85 main events across USAC's three primary divisions, putting him fourth on USAC's all-time wins list. Those victories include Hines' 12th career Eldora win, in a USAC sprint car in September 2012. Hines' next Eldora start will come in a USAC sprint car on April 20 -- an event he won a year ago.

Hines won championships in USAC's two most high-powered series, the 2000 Silver Crown Series and two years later in the National Sprint Car Series. He started the 2013 season with two USAC National Sprint Car Series wins at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., in February.

Hines made his NASCAR debut in 2003, with four Truck Series starts for owner Jim Smith before he raced two seasons in trucks with ThorSport. Hines had a best start of fourth for Smith in 2003 at Texas and fifth for ThorSport in 2005 at Daytona and a best finish of fifth, at Mansfield, Ohio in 2004 and Richmond in 2005.

In all, Hines has 69 career starts between the Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he made 17 starts for four owners between 2004-2006, with a best finish of 13th at Bristol in 2006, for Armando Fitz.

"(The year's been) pretty good so far (and) we won both races at Eldora (in 2012) so who knows?" Hines said while taking a break from car preparation in his Indiana shop. "You know you're only as good as your last race, so we'll see."

Hines' next race of about 80 he'll race in USAC this season is a Sprint Car Series event at Lawrenceburg, Ind. -- ironically the same day the NASCAR Truck Series races at Martinsville. April 12-13 Hines races a USAC midget at Kokomo (Ind.) before he's back in a sprint car April 20 at Eldora.

"We've had a lot of success over the years at Eldora, in many different types of cars," said Hines, who has 12 career victories at the fast half-mile, putting him one win behind legend Jack Hewitt on Eldora's all-time wins list. "I've ran modifieds over there so I have some bigger car experience and I'm excited to see how my 52 Truck starts and my wins at Eldora can hopefully add up to success in the Truck Series."

ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:

ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured active NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. Thorsport, which has run full-season Truck Series schedules annually beginning in 1998, in 2013 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by Matt Crafton, the No, 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Toyota Tundra driven by Todd Bodine in the Truck Series and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry driven by Frank Kimmel in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

USAC To Sanction Traxxas 600 Sprints at Plymouth



Seventeen weekly events and a special “race4life” are on the calendar for the inaugural season of Traxxas USAC 600 Sprint racing in 2013 at the Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway.

One of the fastest growing motorsport disciplines in America will compete at the 3/8-mile and 1/5-mile dirt Plymouth ovals beginning April 13 and continuing through the August 24 Season Championships. The USAC 600 Sprints will only compete on the special built 1/5-mile clay oval.

The “Open” class will comprise both winged and non-winged events, while the “Restrictor” class will utilize the wings only. Criteria for inclusion in year-end point funds and prizes includes USAC membership and competition in at least 75% of the scheduled events. The top five in the year-end points will each receive a Traxxas remote-controlled truck as part of his championship package.

Champions of the 2013 Traxxas 600 Sprint Series, both Open and Restricted, will be honored at the USAC “Night of Champions” National Awards ceremony in December in Indianapolis, Ind.

The June 26-29 race4life “special event” will not offer championship points but will be open to all comers, regardless of membership and the expected turnout of more than 200 entries should mark this as a signature event on the calendar.

The 2013 Traxxas USAC 600 Sprint Series combines competitors from various areas in a collective effort to produce what promises to be a most entertaining series on one of America’s most exciting dirt short tracks.

“I’m really excited about the prospects for this series,” says track owner Ed Kennedy. “This series has the potential to be one of the best in America for emerging talent and I can’t wait for it to get started!”

The 17-race calendar of Saturday races follows its April 13 sendoff with events April 20 and 27, May 4, 18 and 25, June 1, 8 and 15, July 6, 13, 20 and 27 and August 3, 10, 17 and 24 in addition to the aforementioned June 26-29 “race4life” special event.

“It’s an exciting new avenue for aspiring drivers,” adds USAC President/CEO Kevin Miller, “and we are proud to showcase the Traxxas affiliation with these events. I look for this series to do nothing but mature and prosper in the years ahead.”

The cars competing in the 2013 Traxxas USAC 600 Sprint Series are open-wheel, open-cockpit machines utilizing 600cc motorcycle engines, Open class weighing a minimum of 750 pounds, with a maximum of 70-inches wheelbase and a minimum of 50 inches.

 For information regarding these new USAC series, including rules, please access www.plymouthspeedway.net.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

International Reel Wheel Film Festival Takes Place April 5-7 at National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville



KNOXVILLE, IOWA  - The “Sprint Car Capital of the World” comes to life on April 5-7 as the National Sprint Car Museum hosts the fifteenth annual International Reel Wheel Film Festival, which celebrates the automobile and motorsports in film. Amongst the documentaries being screened that weekend are Michael Hamm’s & Kerrie Long’s “The Greatest Auto Race on Earth.” Curt Wallin’s “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt,” Sean Buckley’s “Follow the Corn III: (Jesse) Hockett Memorial Weekend,” and Mike Thompson’s “Faded Thunder: The Clarence ‘Mutt’ Anderson Story” and “Faded Thunder: The Amazing Mr. (Jim) Welty.”  
According to museum curator Tom Schmeh, “We are truly excited to be screening five motorsports-related documentaries this year. Both ‘The Greatest Auto Race on Earth’ from 2008 and ‘Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt’ from 2011 have been screened at other indie film fests in the past, while ‘Follow the Corn III’ and the ‘Faded Thunder’ duo, were completed just last year and are basically new films on the circuit.”

 The fifteenth annual International Reel Wheel Film Festival (IRWFF) tentative event schedule is as follows:

Friday, April 5

5 p.m. - “Follow the Corn” documentary (2010) by Sean Buckley
- Inside the world of Indiana sprint car racing (66 minutes).

6:15 p.m. – “Follow the Corn 2: Next Level” documentary (2011) by Sean Buckley

  - Inside the world of sprint car and midget car racing with drivers such as Hunter Schuerenberg, Daron Clayton, Levi Jones, Bryan Clauson and Kyle Larson (117 minutes).

8:15 p.m. – “Follow the Corn 3: (Jesse) Hockett Memorial Weekend” documentary (2012) by Sean Buckley

  - A visit to the Hockett home in Warsaw, Missouri, spending the entire weekend with Jesse's father Jack and his two hired guns Casey Shuman and Brady Bacon (50 minutes).

Saturday, April 6

1 p.m. – “Faded Thunder: The Amazing (Jim) Welty” documentary (2012) by Mike Thompson

- Fairborn, Ohio’s Jim Welty spent almost thirty years as a high school science teacher, but still found time to pursue racing efforts in MARC, ARCA and USAC stok cars (60 minutes).

2 p.m. – “Faded Thunder: The Clarence ‘Mutt’ Anderson Story” documentary (2012) by Mike Thompson

- The story of the Xenia, Ohio, driver and United States Auto Club (USAC) owner/ mechanic who earned admittance into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (60 minutes).

3 p.m. – “The Greatest Auto Race on Earth” documentary (2008) by Michael Hamm & Kerrie Long

- The story of the brave men who participated in the famed 1908 New York to Paris automobile race (95 minutes).

4:45 p.m. - “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt” documentary (2011) by Curt Wallin
- This documentary offers a wealth of archival footage of David Abbott “Ab” Jenkins who set several land-speed records with vehicles he would personally tinker with and then drive over the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah (81 min.).

Sunday, April 7

12 Noon – “Follow the Corn 3: (Jesse) Hockett Memorial Weekend” documentary (2012) by Sean Buckley (encore presentation).

1:15 p.m. – “Faded Thunder: The Amazing (Jim) Welty” documentary (2012) by Mike Thompson (encore presentation).

2:15 p.m. – “Faded Thunder: The Clarence ‘Mutt’ Anderson Story” documentary (2012) by Mike Thompson (encore presentation).

3:15 p.m. – “The Greatest Auto Race on Earth” documentary (2008) by Michael Hamm & Kerrie Long (encore presentation).

5 p.m. - “Boys of Bonneville: Racing on a Ribbon of Salt” documentary (2011) by Curt Wallin (encore presentation).

The cost for each day of the International Reel Wheel Film Festival is just the price of a museum admission (i.e. – four dollars per adult). Those individuals interested in the fifteen annual International Reel Wheel Film Festival are encouraged to visit the museum’s web site at www.sprintcarhof.com.







Another New Track for David Gravel this Weekend at Merced



Watertown, Conn.— It’s another race weekend for David Gravel this week with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series and that mean he’ll be visiting yet another track for the first time. That’s become a common theme for the young driver this year, as in each of the last three weeks, he has raced at venues on the West Coast for the first time with the STP World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series as he continues to fill-in for the injured Bill Rose. This week he heads to Merced Speedway in California, which will mark the fourth track he has visited in the state of California in a three-week stretch.

Gravel will take to the third-mile Merced Speedway on Friday, March 29 aboard the Firetext Response Maxim for Rose’s Indiana-based team. The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series made their debut at Merced Speedway in 2011, which at the time was a quarter-mile. The surface was then reconfigured to a third-mile in time for the 2012 series event at the track.

“Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) is pretty small, so going from one small track to another little one should help,” Gravel said. “We’ve had a good baseline set-up the last few weeks, which gives us a good starting point at Merced and then we can work from there. Getting a few good, clean laps in hot laps will be important.”

The 20-year-old has made a pair of starts at a high-banked, third-mile in the state of California this season, with those coming at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, a couple of weeks ago. In that two-night event, Gravel finished fourth in the opener and was 16th in the finale after suffering a flat tire while running just outside of the top-10.

Last weekend at the quarter-mile Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Gravel finished sixth in the Mini Gold Cup. He was battling for second on the final lap with three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, when he spun, leaving the latter nowhere to go, which set off a chain reaction accident. The night before, Gravel finished 13th in his debut at the brand new Stockton 99 Dirt Track, which is a three-eighths-mile.

“Racing on all different kinds of tracks you really learn how to adapt,” noted the native of Watertown, Conn. “You try to treat them all the same, no matter what size they are and get around them as quick as you can. Having raced places like Waynesfield (Raceway Park in Ohio) and Haubstadt (Tri-State Speedway in Indiana) definitely has come in handy during the first few short track races in California.”

Gravel has competed in each of the first seven races of the 12-race West Coast swing for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series. He opened the season with the series in Florida at Volusia Speedway Park and thus has perfect attendance in the first 10 races of the 2013 campaign. Along with his fourth-place finish at Thunderbowl Raceway, Gravel also came home fourth in the finale of the two-night show in Las Vegas, which kicked off the West Coast swing earlier this month.

“You are going to have some off-nights here and there, that’s just part of the game out here, explained Gravel. “I feel pretty good in Bill’s car and we have been able to get to the front. Running well definitely has boosted my confidence when we go to a new track. Hopefully we can keep this up and continue to have a good season.”

Entering this weekend’s event, Gravel is seventh in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship standings, which is the second time this season he has been as high as seventh in points. He is just two markers out of the sixth position and 14 out of the top-five. In 10 starts in 2013 with the World of Outlaws, Gravel has five top-10 finishes, with two of those being top-five performances.

“Looking at the numbers, it’s been a pretty good season so far,” he shared. “There are a couple of races I wish we could have back, but you’re always going to have that. To be in the spot that we are right now against the level of competition we are facing night in and night is definitely a great accomplishment. I’m ready every day to get back to the track and climb in the car and that’s a great feeling to have.”

Tight Confines of Merced Speedway Next Up for Kraig Kinser on West Coast Swing



Bloomington, Ind.— As far as tracks go on the World of Outlaws STP Spring Car Series circuit, they don’t get much smaller than Merced Speedway in California. After the series made its debut at the track in 2011, which at the time was a quarter-mile, the series returned last year to a reconfigured third-mile, which still poses some very tight surroundings. Kraig Kinser has raced on and adapted to many small tracks over the years, especially when he was cutting his teeth early in his career in the Indiana/Ohio area, at venues that tend to lead drivers to really “sit up” in the seat.

Kinser will take to the track in the Casey’s General Store/Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event at Merced Speedway on Friday, March 29, with a full racing program on-tap, culminating with a 40-lap, $10,000 to-win feature.

“We had a pretty good run last year at Merced and hopefully can use some of what we learned at Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway) last weekend,” said Kinser. “Last year, they made Merced a little bigger than when we first visited there in 2011, but it’s still a pretty small track. You have to always be on your toes, because things happen in a hurry there.”

Kinser finished fourth at Merced Speedway last season in his second start at the track, and his first since it was reconfigured from a quarter-mile to a third-mile. The third-generation driver began the night by setting a new track record in time trials to best the 29 qualifiers, with a lap of 10.878-seconds. Kinser was the only driver in the 10-second bracket. He finished third in the first heat race to earn a spot in the dash, where he came home third, which put him on the inside of the second row for the 40-lap main event.

In the 40-lap A-Feature, Kinser ran third for most of the race, before slipping back to fourth on the 28th circuit. He would remain fourth for the remainder of the distance, which saw single file restarts used on each of the four cautions due to track conditions.

“Qualifying definitely sets the tone for your night and last year we set quick time at Merced,” he noted. “Track position has been pretty important at Merced in each of the two times we’ve been there, so getting into the dash and starting toward the front in the main event will be a key. We qualified pretty well at Chico last weekend, so hopefully we can carry that into Merced.”

Kinser has made four starts in California this year during the early season World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series West Coast swing. He finished ninth in the finale of the two-night event at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare on March 16 and came home eighth on March 23 in the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico.

The native of Bloomington, Ind., enters this weekend’s race ninth in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series standings on the strength of five top-10 finishes. He finished a season-best third on the second night of the season at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals.

“We’ve had three races on smaller tracks in California, so that’s helping us learn the tires on short tracks,” Kinser stated. “With just one race this week, you want to stay as focused as you can be during the week and try to roll off the truck close to where you need to be in hot laps. Merced is a quick little place and typically we seem to do pretty well at tracks like that.”



Kraig Kinser By the Numbers: Merced Speedway
0.33- Miles around Merced Speedway
2- Career starts at Merced Speedway
3- Tracks in California visited to-date in 2013
4- Starts in the state of California this season
5- Top-10 finishes in the first 10 races of the year
10- Starts in 2013 with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series
10.878- Track record established in time trials last season at the third-mile
11.5- Average finish in two career main event starts at Merced Speedway
82.736- Track record in miles per hour set last year in qualifying
206- Miles from Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., where the World of Outlaws competed on March 23 to Merced Speedway in Merced, Calif.
1248- Points earned through March 23
2011- Year of first start at Merced Speedway
14,875- Dollars earned through March 23

Saldana and 71M Team Prepare for Merced



MERCED, Calif. – Fans attending the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Series this year have gotten their money’s worth of full fields of hard-charging drivers pounding the gas, driving high and low, sliding, spinning and flipping. Fans attending the Friday, March 29 race at Merced Speedway will have prime-time seating in the high rise front stretch grandstands to catch all the action.

Driver Joey Saldana and the Motter Equipment Fatheadz Eyewear 71M team know that it is going to be important to start near the front of the field for this event as it is traditionally hard to pass on this third mile track. But a start in the front doesn’t give you ‘clean air’ for long because the leaders close on the back of the pack quickly.

“A lot of what happens at this track is really just the luck of the pill draw for qualifying position,” explained 71M team owner Dan Motter. “Joey drives as hard as anybody out there and he is also a smart driver who stays out of trouble. This track is a grueling test of standing on the throttle but trying to stay on all four wheels in the middle of a lot of traffic but there is an advantage to qualifying up front.”

Saldana did not have the luck of the draw in two previous events in Stockton and Chico.

He and crew chief Davey Whitworth are using that as a learning experience to prepare for the Merced track, which is similar. After the conclusion of the Chico event, the two spent a lot of time analyzing each change they made on the car and the result of the change. In talking through the cause and effect, they feel they have gained significant ground for Friday’s tune-up.

The Motter Motorsports team, newly formed this season, currently resides in third place in World of Outlaws point standings with 10 races in the record books. There are over 90 events this season. A lot of racing left before the champion is crowned.

Tony Stewart Racing Teams Ready for Bullring Battle



INDIANAPOLIS – There’s something to that old saying, “Being in the right place at the right time.”

Through the first 10 races of the 2013 World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series campaign, the right place to be when the A-Feature begins is within the first four starting positions. Eight of the 10 winners have started inside the first two rows and, when the traveling Winged Sprint car stars invade Merced (Calif.) Speedway for their fifth of nine stops this spring in the Golden State, being in the top four spots when engines fire for Friday’s 40-lap A-Feature would seem to be the right place to be at that particular time.

Tony Stewart Racing’s (TSR) championship duo of Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz will look to stop three-time WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion Sammy Swindell’s stranglehold at the 1/3-mile dirt oval. Swindell, who led 39 of 40 laps when the Outlaws made their debut at the track in April 2011 and led all 40 last season, remains the only WoO winner at the facility. He started fourth in 2011 and from the pole last season.

Schatz, who has lined up the TSR No. 15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J inside the top four to start three A-Features this season, will be looking to pick up his second victory of 2013 and the 126th of his career Friday. He earned his first triumph of the campaign after starting second at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 6. Bad luck struck the Fargo, N.D., racer on the other two occasions he started near the front this season. The night after winning at Las Vegas, he found himself running second early before pulling out to a commanding lead midway through the race. Unfortunately, his left-front tire was cut by debris on the track and he had to finish the race with a flat. One week later, he led the first 14 laps of the main event at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., before contact with a treacherous hole in the first turn ultimately resulted in a broken front axle. The five-time and reigning WoO STP Sprint Car Series champion finished fifth two years ago at Merced and came home 15th last spring.

Kinser heads to Merced in search of his first victory of the season behind the wheel of the TSR No. 11 Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim. The 20-time Outlaw champion had his best finish of 2013 last Friday at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Dirt Track, racing to an eighth-place finish in the 30-lap A-Feature after winning the second heat and earning a position in the six-lap dash. “The King of the Outlaws,” who will be looking to capture his 575th career A-Feature triumph, has posted two top-10s at Merced, finishing seventh in 2011 and 10th last season.

Last Friday, Schatz raced from 13th to third at Stockton, joining Kinser in the top-10. The TSR tandem each ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif. Kinser was one of the later cars to qualify on the rapidly slowing surface and timed in 29th out of 42 competitors. That placed the Bloomington, Ind., racer deep on the starting grid for both his heat race and the B-Main. Despite starting 23rd, he was able to climb to 13th in the A-Feature. Schatz was running seventh in the main event and was looking to make a pass for sixth when he encountered a much slower lapped car in the middle of turns three and four. The contact caused Schatz to go end-over-end and concluded his night with a 19th-place finish. 

Through 10 WoO STP Sprint Car Series events this season, Schatz has one victory, three top-fives and six top-10s and ranks fifth in the WoO championship standings. Schatz has accumulated 1,292 points and is currently 138 markers behind leader Daryn Pittman. Kinser has a pair of top-10 finishes and has racked up 1,186 points, which ranks him 12th.

For Friday’s event at Merced Speedway, the grandstands open at 1 p.m. PDT. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or call 877-395-8606.

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Fans can listen live as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO STP Sprint Car Series events on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network. Go to www.DIRTVision.com for more information on all the site features, including updated results from each night of racing, as well as a chat room to interact with other race fans.

Steve Kinser, Driver of the No. 11 TSR/Bad Boy Buggies/J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet Performance Maxim:

The competition within the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series is certainly fierce. Do some of these smaller tracks, like Merced, equalize the field?

“The small tracks that stay moist and fast don’t make it easy for guys to do a whole lot of passing. If the track slicks off a little bit, then it’s more of an equalizer. But, right now, I’d say there are so many cars so equal that you really have to start up front to have a decent chance at winning. We haven’t been able to put ourselves in that position, yet, but we’re getting closer.” 

This will be your third race at Merced. Will the experience you gained there the last two years help you Friday?  

“Hopefully the track hasn’t changed much since last year. I know the first year it was really narrow and they kind of made it a little wider last year. Dirt tracks are never quite the same from one night to the next but, like I said, we’re focused on trying to get our program to where we can be making the dash regularly and be starting a little closer to the front. Seeing what’s happened the last two years at Merced (the winner coming from the first two rows), I’d say starting up front would be a huge key if we are going to have the kind of night we’re hoping to have.”

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR/STP/Armor All/Chevrolet Performance J&J:

With 10 races in the books, do you feel like your STP team is headed in the right direction? 

“I’d say for the most part we have been pretty decent. We’re not happy about the (three) DNF’s or some of the luck we’ve had, but we know it’s a long season. If you are going to have to have problems, having them now is better than later in the year. The guys have worked hard and I’ve tried to do my best in the cockpit. Last weekend, we were able to come up through the field at Stockton (13th to third), but at Chico we had a lapped car going a lot slower than the leaders and that just ended badly for us. We know, as long as we keep working hard, the wins will come. That’s where our goals start. When the wins come, everything else seems to take care of itself.”

Friday’s race at Merced will be the fifth of nine in California this spring and the third time in the last three years you’ve been there. Can Friday be a turning point for this swing?

“We’re hoping it’s the start of a string of podium finishes. Some things happened both in Tulare and Chico that killed some of our mojo. That can all change pretty quickly. We had one of the better five-race stretches through California last fall with five top-four finishes. Two of those came at Antioch and Calistoga and that’s where we are going next weekend. It’d help us a bunch if we can land in the dash Friday and maybe get the right inversion pill. That seems to be part of it right now. Having luck go your way. I’m a believer in working hard and making your own luck, so we’ll see what happens. Merced has been a little tricky the first couple of times we’ve been there, but I know my guys (Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Jim Oare) will give me a car capable of going forward.”

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Pumped for Antioch



The first of two events at the 3/8-mile track is set for Friday, April 5

ANTIOCH, Calif. - March 27, 2013 - It was the pass of the season. 

Californian Tim Kaeding's slide job on World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Champion Donny Schatz in the last turn on the final lap lit up Antioch Speedway last September and is the talk heading into this season's spring event at the 3/8 mile on Friday, April 5.

"Obviously three guys going for the win there at the end was pretty neat for the fans," Joey Saldana said. "Hopefully we're involved in a chance to win that race and it can be as exciting as it was last year."

It's the first of two World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series races this season at the high-banked track. The other will be the final race of the season in California on Sunday, Sept. 8.

Steve Kinser also won a thriller in the inaugural event at Antioch Speedway in 2011. He passed Craig Dollansky in traffic with five laps remaining and held off NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson to claim the victory, which set the stage for exciting races at Antioch Speedway. 

"That's one of my favorite tracks on the West Coast," Cody Darrah said. "It really forces you to pass and be in close-quarters racing. I'm really looking forward to going there." 

Kaeding, Kinser, Californian Jonathan Allard - who led led the first 28 of 30 laps last season - and Kraig Kinser are the only drivers with top-10 finishes in both events. 

Tickets can be ordered online by clicking WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or by calling 877-395-8606.

Scenic Calistoga Improved for World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series



CALISTOGA, Calif. - March 26, 2013 - It's certainly one of the most scenic tracks in the country and with several improvements in recent months, Calistoga Speedway is set up to once again be a marquee track. 

After 75 years of operation, the racing surface as well as several facets of the facility were upgraded to improve the competition on the track and the enjoyment from the stands. The first opportunity for fans to enjoy the revamped half mile is on Saturday, April 6, when the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series makes its annual visit to the Napa County Fairgrounds. 

"Sprint car racing is a really country born form of racing and to go in that atmosphere, and to go through Calistoga and Napa Valley, to be able to race at such a nostalgic dirt track, is great," Cody Darrah said. "And it's a fast place. When you're driving there that's one of the fastest race tracks we go to all year. It puts on a pretty tremendous event." 

Donny Schatz claimed the feature victory last season en route to his fifth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship. He is now one of four drivers to win multiple events at Calistoga Speedway. Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski have each won a series-leading five times with Sammy Swindell earning three wins. 

Eleven other drivers picked up a single victory and a myriad of drivers are searching for their first on April 6. 

"The half miles are always fun," said Daryn Pittman, who won in 2002. "It's been awhile since I've been there. We won the Harvest Classic there several years back when it was $20,000 to win. I really enjoy it and looking forward to going back." 

Tickets can be ordered online by clicking WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or by calling 877-395-8606. Fans who purchase advanced reserved seating are eligible for a free fan pit pass as well.

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at a Glance



MERCED, Calif. - March 25, 2013 - Merced Speedway is coming at a good time for Sammy Swindell, who has claimed the only two World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series feature events at the third-mile oval. 

Swindell, who has only one top five in the first 10 races this season, and the premier sprint car series makes their third visit in as many seasons at Merced Speedway on Friday. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, California native and the most recent feature winner, Paul McMahan, will make his second appearance with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at the track. McMahan, who recently announced his full-time status as an Outlaw, is the only driver within 100 points of championship points leader Daryn Pittman. 

WHEN 

Friday, March 29, at Merced Speedway in Merced, Calif. The front gate is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. with qualifying at approximately 7 p.m. 

WHERE 

Merced Speedway is located at the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Way in Merced, Calif. Click on the link for a map ( http://g.co/maps/gsknw). 

TICKETS 

Tickets can be purchased by clicking WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or calling 877-395-8606. 

ABOUT THE TRACK

Merced Speedway is a semi-banked, third-mile oval. The track record of 10.878 seconds was established by Kraig Kinser on March 30, 2012. 

PREVIOUS WINNERS 

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series A-Feature Winners at Merced Speedway: 

2012 - Sammy Swindell on March 30 

2011 - Sammy Swindell on April 1 

THIRD-MILE WINNERS 

There have been two races on a third-mile oval this season. The winners are: Craig Dollansky - 1 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 16) and Tim Kaeding - 1 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 15).

Eastern Ignites Debut at Ace Speedway this Weekend.


The 2013 USAC Eastern Ignite Midget campaign kicks off its 19-race calendar this weekend with back-to-back races Friday and Saturday at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C.

The series travels to 10 different venues in five states and concludes with an October race also offering Midwestern Ignite points, the fourth of those races offering both points.

Last year’s Eastern Ignite champion Jared Irvan scored five wins in the seven Ace events. Nic Davidson and Chris Lamb were the others.

2013 USAC Western Ignite Pavement Standings: 1-Bryant Dawson-74, 2-Michael Fanelli-69, 3-Shawn Buckley-61, 4-Jarid Blondel-60, 5-Christine Breckenridge-52, 6-George Blacker-50, 7-Marina Turner-47.

Western Midgets at Bakersfield Saturday



The USAC Western Midgets invade Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway Saturday night and a new series point leader is nearly assured.

At present Bryan Clauson sits atop the standings, but Kody Swanson is just four points back and Rico Abreu is only 15 back entering the Bakersfield race.

Swanson, of Kingsburg, Calif., wheeled Bob Rosen’s Espresso Beast/Fontana to victory in Saturday night’s race at Madera (Calif.) Speedway. The race was co-sanctioned by BCRA. David Goodwill, who led the first seven laps before yielding to Swanson, finished second ahead of Darrin Snider, Frankie Guerrini and Kevin Morris.

Last year’s Bakersfield Midget races produced a couple of surprise winners, Troy Rutherford and female driver Michelle Decker!

2013 USAC WESTERN OVERALL MIDGET STANDINGS: 1-Bryan Clauson-143, 2-Kody Swanson-139, 3-Rico Abreu-128, 4-Christopher Bell-125, 5-Scott Pierovich-91, 6-Jake Swanson-86, 7-Ronnie Gardner-84, 8-Tanner Thorson-72, 9-Dillon Welch-71, 10-David Prickett-64.

2013 USAC WESTERN PAVEMENT MIDGET STANDINGS: 1-Kody Swanson-73, 2-Frankie Guerrini-59, 3-Dan Gundo-42, 4-J.R. Williams-36, 5-Chad Nichols-29, 6-Ken Nichols-27, 7-Nick Chivello-1.

2013 USAC WESTERN DIRT MIDGET STANDINGS: 1-Bryan Clauson-143, 2-Rico Abreu-128, 3-Christopher Bell-125, 4-Scott Pierovich-91, 5-Jake Swanson-86, 6-Ronnie Gardner-84, 7-Dillon Welch-71, 8-Kody Swanson-66, 9-David Prickett-64, 10-Riley Emmel-61.

Southwest Sprint's At Queen Creek



Charles Davis of Buckeye, Ariz. will take a 20-point lead over R.J. Johnson into the April 13 race at Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, Ariz. The race will be USAC’s first at the new 3/8-mile dirt oval.

Davis piloted Jim Massey’s car to victory in Saturday night’s 30-lap race at Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, Ariz. Davis passed Nick Aiuto on lap 23 and led the final eight laps for the win over Aiuto, Brian Hosford, Josh Pelkey and Bryan Swinehart. Hosford led the first 18 laps of the race. Johnson was seventh in Saturday’s race.

The win was Davis’ seventh in USAC competition in Arizona, second only to Dave Steele and A.J. Foyt, who have eight. Davis has a chance to tie for the all-time lead with a win at Queen Creek.

2013 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Standings: 1-Charles Davis Jr.-130, 2-R.J. Johnson-110; 3-Josh Pelkey-103, 4-Ronnie Clark-101, 5-Justin Quinn-96, 6-Brian Hosford-93, 7-Bryan Swinehart-92, 8-Tom Ogle-90, 9-Mike Bonneau-69, 10-Nick Aiuto-67.

West Coast Sprints Eye Thunder Bowl Opener



Ryan Bernal will lead the USAC West Coast Sprint Series to its next race April 13 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., holding a 13-point lead over Bud Kaeding in the new standings. Bernal finished second and Kaeding third in last Saturday night’s race at Bakersfield, Calif.

Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia, Calif. led all but one lap at Bakersfield Speedway in his Vander Weerd Construction/Battery Worx Maxim/Shark. Jace Vander Weerd and Rusty Carlile trailed the top trio, taking fourth and fifth respectively.

Danny Faria Jr. was seventh and led lap 4 of the feature. Markus Niemela was the fastest qualifier with a new track record. Faria and Niemela rank fourth and eighth in the new standings.

Bernal also has a pair of Tulare victories under his belt this season, winning back-to-back features March 15-16.

2013 USAC West Coast Sprint Car Standings: 1-Ryan Bernal-198, 2-Bud Kaeding-185, 3-Richard Vander Weerd-166, 4-Danny Faria Jr.-163, 5-Jace Vander Weerd-159, 6-Ricky Kirkbride-127, 7-Rusty Carlile-120, 8-Markus Niemela-117, 8-Austin Liggett-114, 10-Landon Hurst-113.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Through the Lens: A fan perspective of Auto Club Speedway

Skirts and Scuffs reader and NASCAR fan Brandy Valentine was in attendance for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana California. Brandy had her camera in hand and captured the following photos from her weekend at the track. We’d like to thank her for her generosity in sharing these shots and hope you enjoy getting inside the action. (click on the view slideshow link below each album to see all photos)



photos used with permission

Speak Your Mind: Should there have been penalties after Fontana?

Pieces fall off Joey Logano's No. 22 Ford at the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday.
Credit: Brandy Valentine
A last-lap wreck. A serious injury. A pit road scuffle.

NASCAR put speculation to rest Tuesday with the announcement that no penalties will be issued after the controversial events of Sunday's Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup race at Fontana, Calif.

Following their skirmish at Bristol, the last-lap wreck between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin upset many fans, especially with Hamlin suffering a broken vertebrae in his back that will take him out of his No. 11 Toyota for at least six weeks. Fans were also riled up when Tony Stewart threw punches at Logano on pit road because Logano blocked Stewart on the final restart. After the confrontation, Stewart gave an expletive-filled but accordingly bleeped TV interview.

Did NASCAR make the right call to forgo penalties? Our writers at Skirts and Scuffs sound off.

Carol D’Agostino: The action at the Auto Club 400 could be aptly described as the good, the bad, and the ugly, but was it penalty-worthy? I say no. Remarkably I am in agreement with NASCAR on this one. When I look at all the “ugly” incidents, most notably the one that sent Denny Hamlin into the wall, I did not see anything wrong with the racing strategy. I’m not sure whether the result would have been difficult if it had been two different drivers.

I also feel that the block that Joey Logano put on Tony Stewart was just that, a normal run of the mill block. What can be deemed offensive was Joey Logano’s post-race comments about Denny getting what he deserved.

Joey’s attitude comes down to integrity, and even NASCAR can’t legislate integrity or good sportsmanship. They can certainly make racing teams think twice about making illegal adjustments to the cars or other similar actions, but they can’t make someone be a better person. Only that person can make those changes.

Joey’s issue will be resolved in the garage and on the track the next time someone has to decide whether they can trust him as a drafting partner or in a normal give-and-take situation on the track.  Best of luck with mending fences with Tony Stewart, Joey, you’re going to need it!

Lacy Keyser: When it comes down to it, Sunday’s race is what everyone wants to see on the final lap: two drivers driving hard for the win. What we don’t want to see, however, is a driver laying on the ground clearly in pain.

Honestly, as long as the drivers are OK, that’s all I care about. I happen to like seeing them race hard for the win, and not just let someone drive on by with it. Tempers flare and for Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, their tempers had been flaring for a while now. But I don’t believe this was payback for Bristol.

As for Tony Stewart, that’s just another story waiting to be told. I am very anxious to see if something happens at Martinsville, or will Stewart make Logano sweat it out?

As for no fines - I agree, I feel like each driver reacted in the right, I don’t believe anyone was wrecked intentionally. Like I said earlier, it was just two drivers driving hard for the win. As for Stewart, he was just reacting after a long day’s race - nothing wrong in my eyes how he reacted. No one likes being blocked and from watching the replays, Logano almost did make Stewart wreck, so I could see why he was so upset.

But in the end, knowing Hamlin will be OK is all that matters. Sadly, yes, he’s out for six weeks, but in the end, as long as he recovers fully, that’s the most important thing.

Denny Hamlin walks through the garage before
Sunday's Auto Club 400. Credit: Brandy Valentine
Unique Hiram: In regards to what happened on the last lap of the Auto Club 400 race this past Sunday between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, I don’t agree with NASCAR’s stance to not issue any penalties or fines. At the least, I think that “Sliced Bread” should have received some type of probation or ordered to sit out for a race or two due to the extent of Hamlin’s injuries. Regardless of this driver’s previous back issues, that hit caused some major damage and could possibly take him out of competition for a little while. I will agree that both drivers were racing each other hard, but we also know that Logano had an ax to grind because of what happened in Bristol when he got spun out.

I can recall two separate incidents where some heavy hitters were penalized for their respective on-track retaliation: Carl Edwards had to serve a three-race probation when he flipped Brad Keselowski in Atlanta (2010) and Kyle Busch was parked for a Sprint Cup race in Texas when he wrecked Ron Hornaday in the Truck race (2011). No one was physically hurt in either of those incidents; however, there was some very extensive and expensive vehicle damage resulting in NASCAR dropping the hammer down on both of those drivers.

As far as the altercation on pit road between veteran driver Tony Stewart and Joey Logano, I fully support the decision of no penalties or fines because there is nothing wrong with a little hand to hand (excluding the water bottle) contact every once in a while. Having served in the military for 21 years, I feel that it is perfectly OK to participate in this type of physical activity from time to time. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little “old school” throw down. 

Ro Cowan: If you are going to say “Boys Have It,” then you have to step back unless it's obvious that someone is going to get hurt, involved or not involved. What I mean by that is in the case of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski; the actions of the Edwards could have very likely got someone badly hurt. Mr. God was kind to him in that no one was seriously hurt.

If they want to get into fistfights afterwards that is between them, and if it can't be contained, that is why they have law enforcement on the pit road. Very often the only effective measure to stopping a situation like this one is let it run its course and let the drivers hand out their own type of retribution. Believe me, every one of them knows how each other will drive on track. They know being out there behind the wheel if what happened was intentional or not, and they all heard by now what was said afterward. They also know by now that Joey Logano didn't call Denny Hamlin. They will deal with it within their circle of peers.

For NASCAR to hand out penalties and try to control something that they are obviously making money on is contrived and hypocritical. They have been under the gun for years over trying to intervene in situations that were best handled by those involved. You can hand out penalties or fines, but the bottom line is that until the drivers handle the situation and deal out their own "punishment" - if you will, it's not over. It just goes underground and pops up somewhere like Talladega, where more folks can be involved and injuries are even more likely.

I personally do not condone retaliation; however, there is in every professional group that code that you don't step on that line that says you don't go further than this. For the most part, it is well understood amongst the group and not publicly shared. It can usually be figured out by the response of others in the group. With that being said, look at the reaction of the group as a whole and you will be able to figure out that Logano stepped over the line. Roger Penske may defend him and Brad Keselowski may not speak against him, but that doesn't change the ultimate outcome in that they will police their own.

Rebecca Kivak: I actually agree with NASCAR's decision not to issue penalties after the incidents in Sunday's Auto Club 400.

Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were racing hard for the win when the last-lap crash ensued. Were they racing each other harder because of their issues at Bristol? Most certainly yes. Were they trying to take each other out? No, but that's what happened, the product of hard racing. Hamlin gave Logano room, and Logano moved up the track to battle Hamlin, but that's not punishable behavior - that's trying to win a race.

Logano's comments after the race - specifically, "He probably shouldn't have done what he did last week, so that's what he gets" - were in extremely poor taste, especially since he was unaware of Hamlin's condition after the wreck. From his comments, many inferred that Logano wrecked Hamlin on purpose, but I think that was Logano commenting on the wreck after the fact, not an admission of retaliation. This is different from the Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski incident at Atlanta in 2010, when Edwards admitted he went back out on the racetrack multiple laps down with the intention of wrecking Keselowski, whom he blamed for an early-race incident. Edwards was rightfully penalized after that race (not hard enough in my opinion), but I do not think the motive of retaliation was established for Logano to have been penalized after this race. Logano's post-race comments, however, as well as the fact he has yet to reach out to Hamlin after the wreck, don't do him any favors.

As for Tony Stewart, I can understand why he was upset at Logano - after all, that block caused Stewart to fall back 20 or so spots, ending his shot at a win. However, I think he overreacted by confronting Logano. Logano did what any driver would and should do to hold onto his position.

Stewart is known for his no-tolerance of blocking, but his reaction also came off as hypocritical, considering it was his block that caused a multi-car wreck last fall at Talladega.

Do I think he should be fined for going after Logano? No - I'd rather these guys settle things with their fists than by using their cars as weapons on the racetrack where others could get hurt. Considering the curse words in his interview were bleeped out, I see no reason to fine him for that either. Between Stewart throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth last year and now confronting Logano, Smoke's fire (or should I say ire?) has been stoked after initially toning down when he became a team owner.

Lisa Janine Cloud: NASCAR's version of a grand jury decided not to indict Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart for the events of 24 March 2013 at Auto Club Speedway Sunday. No penalties, no fines. None of them called or texted me to ask my opinion on the subject, but I'm going to express it anyway.

I completely agree with NASCAR's decision.

Nothing that happened on the track between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin rates so much as a slap on the wrist. Perhaps Logano made some unwise choices in focusing so completely on one former teammate that he lost any chance he might have had at keeping the other former teammate from winning the race, but he didn't intentionally wreck Hamlin. Hamlin may have bowed up to him a little, but is old enough and experienced enough to have been ready to give Logano a wide birth, but he didn't intentionally turn Logano into the wall. Had Hamlin climbed unharmed from his car, his fans might have been indignant, but I doubt anyone would have called for penalties.

As for Stewart - perhaps he's guilty of overreacting. Maybe he's guilty of going after Joey for something he's done before.

*Cough* Talladega *Cough*

But Stewart's nothing if not consistent when it comes to the subject of blocking. Just ask Brian Vickers. And at least Smoke chose to use his fists instead of the No. 14 Chevy. A number he chose because of his racing hero and mentor, AJ Foyt, who's been known to throw a few punches and use salty language.

It's not the first time a competitor has gone after another competitor with flailing fists. It won't be the last. Promoters use the footage of those episodes to sell tickets. Heck, Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway already has an ad with Stewart vs. Logano on it.

Plus, Stewart's earned the right to speak his mind. He's won enough races and enough championships that he can say things for which other drivers might be fined. The TV reporters who braved his wrath to ask the unavoidable questions chose not to do so on live TV because they've been around Smoke post-race before. They already KNEW the answers, and they knew he would not be thanking God and his sponsors in that moment. They KNEW he was going to use colorful language, yet they asked the questions anyway and didn't air the piece until they'd had time to edit and censor it.

Bottom line, the day Tony Stewart gets out of the car after a race like that and mealymouths his way through an interview is the day he needs to hang up his helmet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fast Facts: Alan Kulwicki

Credit: RacingOne/Getty Images
 The 1993 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season was one of the most tragic in series’ history, as it lost two of its rising stars, including its reigning champion, in separate aviation accidents just months apart. April 1, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of 1992 Cup Series champion Alan Kulwicki’s death – here are a few fast facts on the driver who did it his way.


  • Alan Dennis Kulwicki was born December 14, 1954 in Greenfield, Wisconsin. He began karting at age 13, then moved into stock cars on dirt ovals in Wisconsin, and later into late models. After graduating from the University Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 1977 with a mechanical engineering degree, Kulwicki began racing on asphalt tracks in the area and wrapped up track championships at Slinger Super Speedway (1977) and Wisconsin International Raceway (1979 and 1980); in 1979 and 1980, he also competed in regional and national events on the American Speed Association (ASA) circuit as well as in USAC Stock Cars through 1985.
  • In 1984, Kulwicki competed in his first NASCAR races in the Busch Grand National Series (now Nationwide Series); in 1985, he made his first Cup Series start. In 1986, he competed full-time in the Cup Series with support from team owner Bill Terry; after Terry pulled his support from the team mid-season, Kulwicki fielded his own team, often working as a one-man show as driver, owner, crew chief and mechanic. He had some trouble keeping help from race to race as he was known for being demanding (Ray Evernham only lasted six weeks with Kulwicki), but with just two full-time crew members, one car and two engines, Kulwicki was named 1986 Rookie of the Year, competing in 23 of the season’s 29 races and finishing 21st in points.
  • After finishing 15th in points in 1987 and winning three poles, Kulwicki won his first Cup Series race in 1988 in the second-to-last event of the season at Phoenix; instead of the conventional victory lap, Kulwicki turned his car around to honor the fans with a “Polish victory lap.” Kulwicki was approached by the legendary Junior Johnson to drive for his team in 1990 and again in 1991, but Kulwicki turned him down both times.
  • Kulwicki gained Hooter’s as a sponsor on his No. 7 Ford Thunderbird during the 1991 season, initially as a one-race deal after the driver they sponsored missed the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; after Kulwicki’s eighth-place finish in the race, the sponsorship became a long-term one. That deal continued into 1992, when Kulwicki and his “Underbird” weren’t even considered contenders for the championship. That season, Kulwicki took the championship by just 10 points over Bill Elliott, erasing a 278-point deficit with just six races remaining in the season; he was the last owner-driver to win the title until Tony Stewart won the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2011. Members of that championship-winning crew included crew chief Paul Andrews and future Cup Series crew chiefs Tony Gibson and Brian Whitesell.
  • On April 1, 1993, while returning to the Tennessee area for the weekend race at Bristol, a small plane carrying Kulwicki and three others went down before its final approach to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport near Blountville, killing all on board.
  • For more information on Kulwicki and his career, check out the book “Alan Kulwicki: NASCAR Champion Against All Odds” by Father Dale Grubba, a long-time friend of Kulwicki who also presided over his funeral – read more about it here. Also check out this page by Tom Roberts, who was Kulwicki’s public relations representative.

Caption this: Coach Gibbs and Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch managed a sweep at Auto Club
Speedway this weekend. Caption this!

Leave your caption in the comment section below. One entry per person and please leave your name or twitter handle. Anonymous posts will not be eligible to win.

We'll take captions until Thursday evening, then the Skirts and Scuffs staff will vote to choose a winner. Check back this weekend to read the winning caption.

And yes, there is a PRIZE! The "Caption this" winner will receive a copy of the book, Race Fans' Devotions to Go. The winner must follow instructions for sending us his or her contact info, as specified in the winning caption post.

Bring on your funnies. We look forward to reading them! :o)

Denny Hamlin diagnosed with fractured back, will seek treatment in Charlotte

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
Various sources reported Monday that Denny Hamlin sustained a compression fracture of the first lumbar vertebrae in the last-lap crash during Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in California. When crew chief Darian Grubb called to Hamlin on the team radio, Hamlin said "It's my back, it's my back, it's my back." 

Hamlin was released from a California hospital late Monday night. He'll return to Charlotte, where he'll be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, the same doctor who treated Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s concussion. Jeff Gluck of USA Today spoke with Hamlin's business manager Austin Peyton, but Peyton didn't know whether surgery would be necessary or if Hamlin would miss any races. 

Fans waited anxiously for word of Hamlin's condition after Hamlin was placed on a backboard for his trip to the infield care center, then airlifted to a local hospital after complaining of back pain. A terse statement from JGR on Sunday evening didn't give much more information. It wasn't until late Monday that Hamlin made his first tweets since before the race. The first simply said, "I just want to go home," and the second said, "All good" with a photo of him in the hospital. 

Gradually more news and communication has come from the Hamlin camp. While the denizens of NASCAR Nation are relieved to hear from the driver, they're also apprehensive about what the injury means for his health and for his season. 

"BodyParts3D, © The Database Center for Life Science
licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan."
When you hear that someone broke their back, or fractured a vertebrae, it sounds really scary. Suddenly the thoughts of "Will he miss a race?" turn to "When can he get back in the car?" and maybe even "Can he get back in the car?"

Until Dr. Petty thoroughly examines and evaluates Hamlin's condition, those questions will remain unanswered. The preliminary diagnosis means that when the car hit the wall, the impact compressed the lumbar vertebrae - the area in red in the diagram to the left - causing the bone to crack, in Hamlin's case the top one, L1. 

Symptoms can include pain, of course, but also numbness and tingling that radiate down the legs. Sometimes surgery is necessary but other times rest and rehabilitation are sufficient. 

According to ESPN's David Newton, the area of the wall where Hamlin hit had not had such an incident before and will be reviewed by NASCAR as to whether it will have a SAFER Barrier installed now. 

Fortunately, the other safety measures such as the HANS device and the car design prevented even more severe injuries. It's hard now to even conceive of a time when drivers didn't have the full-face helmet, HANS and protective seats. But as well as those measures worked, it's good to know that NASCAR will continue to evaluate and improve safety for the drivers. 

The Skirts and Scuffs team extends best wishes for Hamlin's speedy recovery.