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Searching the Internet and found a little blurb on Kyle from The Open Wheel Times by Kevin Eckert, Executive Editor.  Scroll down to the highlighted blue text.



          The Open Wheel Times

Kevin's Editorial                                   Indianapolis, IN   

One World
August 23, 2007 Speedway, Indiana: Canada is rising in sprint car power. Within the past month, the World of Outlaws played to packed houses in Alberta and Ontario.

Though the Southern Ontario Sprints have been recruiting more than a decade, Canada’s impact prior to 2000 was slight. British Columbia conducted a few races for Skagit regulars. Alberta fed a few cars to Montana, and Manitoba drivers dropped into the Dakotas a few times per season. Quebec was restricted to single weekends on the autodromes sanctioned by the United Racing Company or Empire Super Sprints. URC was always astounded by the adulation they felt from great Granby crowds. ESS kept Ontario happy at Merrittville, Cornwall and Brockville while venturing to Quebec arenas at Edelweiss and Rive de Sud. Within the past four years, ESS sanctioned its first races in SOS strongholds of Ohsweken and South Buxton.

Montreal modified drivers now purchase sprint cars with broken English. Last year, Alain Bergeron became the first Canadian champion in the 23-year history of ESS. He is now followed into ESS events by fellow Frenchmen such as Steve Poirier, Michael Parent, Daniel Lampron, Normand Beaudreault, Kayle Robidoux, David Herbert, Yan Bussiere and Lee Ladouceur, a rookie in one of four cars owned by Cornwall’s Brian McDonald.

Picton, Ontario’s Chris Jones, a 358 modified racer who purchased a sprint car from Poirier, finished fourth at Brighton in his first try. In his ESS debut, Jones finished fifth from row seven at Brockville followed by an eighth-place at Cornwall.

McDonald, New Hampshire’s Anthony Cain and Robidoux raced in front of one of Cornwall’s largest crowds in a Sunday race won by New York’s Jeff VanDusen.

Canastota, New York’s Tommy Wickham, the 21-year old nephew of former Port Royal regular Dave Wickham, recorded the first sprint win of his three-year career by parking his J&J in front of a capacity crowd at Brockville. Tom’s uncle Dave was seventh on the Springfield mile with the World of Outlaws in 1982 before winning at Selinsgrove and Cortland, Ohio.

New York’s first Dave McLeod Memorial will be at Genesee Speedway on Saturday, August 18. In cooperation with ESS, ASCS Patriots and Southern Ontario Sprints, the McLeod Memorial will mark the first ESS event in Batavia since 1991.

Lori Flath, daughter of seven-time ESS winner Adrian Flath and wife of six-time winner Jeff Cook, belted into her husband’s spare for Canadian coins at Brockville ($250), Cornwall ($300 twice), Edelweiss ($375), Granby and Drummond, each of which pay $450 to start an ESS A-main.

It warms my heart when Australians like Brooke Tatnell and Kerry Madsen get to thrill Canadian race fans by participating in an American series.

Western Australia’s Shane Finch basked in his first WoO win circle at Ohsweken with Jason Sides, and accepted an Australian Sprint Car Poll award for Shane Krikke at the Knoxville Nationals.

Indiana’s Steve Kinser owns more than 850 sprint car checkered flags from America, Australia and Juarez, Mexico but until Friday in Alberta, had never won in Canada. In 1981, Steve chased Winnipeg winner Sammy Swindell’s Nance 1n.

North Dakota’s Donny Schatz grows stronger every day. His dominance of the Knoxville Nationals put one in mind of the Kinser’s era. Every opponent was tied to the top except Schatz, who could maneuver wherever he wanted. Donny used the Front Row Challenge to test a JEI chassis in his first Oskaloosa appearance since a 2004 SCRA ride for Daryl Saucier. He now has Ricky Warner back and bigger bank from Tony Stewart. Those in his dust are not sleeping well.

Minnesota’s Craig Dollansky toasted fourth ($26,000) in the final party of the Knoxville Nationals until his children coaxed him to go to bed. Craig and crew chief Mike Woodring (selling Jeff Cook his first sprint car) took third in Edmonton, Alberta.

Daryn Pittman and Jason Meyers, eight WoO wins between them this season, were surprise spectators of the Knoxville Nationals final this year. The biggest surprise starters were Travis Cram and Dion Hindi.

Washington’s Jason Solwold made his third straight Knoxville Nationals final, and came from row nine to nail seventh Sunday at Edmonton, where won in 1998-2002.

South Dakota’s Justin Henderson, passing more cars at the Knoxville Nationals than anyone, earned eighth in Edmonton on Sunday in the Jolt Rocket.

Since it opened in 1991, Edmonton’s dirt track has sold naming rights to Labatts, Budweiser and currently, Castrol. Its first WoO dates were under SLS Promotion from Wisconsin, which worked hard to weather Saturday rain.

Langley, British Columbia’s Travis Rutz, St. Albert, Alberta’s Jeff Hodgson, and Edmonton’s Tim Gee got $700 WoO starting money. Sunday was the first WoO A-main for Tim the former series traveler since Haubstadt 1989.

I remember hitching a ride on Yukon Freight Lines with Tim and dad Gordy Gee in 1988. We returned from a Wilmot All Star race groggy from lack of sleep, yet Tim did not rest until he watched the Edmonton Oilers hockey replay.

Hodgson was a snowmobile hill climber (crazy canuck) before stumbling into sprint cars. He has learned much since the night when he told temporary crew chief Rob Hart that the only thing that he knew for certain about shock absorbers was that the little ones went on the front of the car.

LeDuc, Alberta’s Adams brothers, debuting at Skagit with NSCS last month, were slowest of 33 World of Outlaw qualifiers Sunday at Edmonton. Cody (24) and Casey (18) run Maxims for their father Bryan Adams. Cuts like a knife.

Washington’s Chad Hillier, fourth at Edmonton in 1998, debuted in Knoxville 360 Nationals and Knoxville Nationals last summer. Just before this year’s return, Hillier lost crew chief Tyler Swank to Terry McCarl.

Niagara Falls, Ontario’s Fred Cade, winning his first race at Ohsweken last year, made his first trip to the Knoxville 360 Nationals but departed for home after a prelim crash.

It was only a matter of time before the Knoxville 360 Nationals exceeded the Knoxville Nationals in car count. The former drew 112 drivers from 23 states and four countries, while the latter represented 105 drivers from 25 states and three countries.

There were 29 drivers who did both 360 and 410 Nationals (Jonathan Allard, Billy Alley, Eric Baldaccini, Brian Brown, Don Droud, Clint Garner, Kaley Gharst, Ben Gregg, Josh Higday, Jan Howard, Skip Jackson, Johnson (Jason, Wayne and J.D), Ray Allen Kulhanek, Garry Lee Maier, Tayler Malsam, Randy Martin, Jeff Mitrisin, Rager Phillips, Larry Pinegar, Jack Potter, Travis Rilat, Natalie Sather, Chris Schmelzle, Nick Smith, Shane Stewart, T.J Winegardner and Scott Winters) meaning that in a ten-day span, 188 different drivers rolled through the Marion County Fairgrounds.

From Allison to Zoutte, the other 159 were Anderson, Antill, Armfield, Bakker, Ballou, Barger, Bartz, Beaver, Becker, Bell, Bennett, Bergman, Blair, Blaney, Blonde, Brahmer, Bruce, Cade, Campbell, Carlson, Chadd, Chaney, Chapman, Corbin, Cornell, Crall, Cram, Danley, Deavers, Densley, Dewease, Dobesh, Dobmeier, Dollansky, Dover, Eyler, Farrell, Felmlee, Fisher, Giannetto, Glennon, Golik, Grosz, Hafertepe, Hagar, three Halls, Hannagan, Harms, Haudenschild, Hebing, Heimbaugh, Henderson, Heser, Heskin, Hillier, Hindi, Hockett, Hodnett, Horstman, two Housemans, Howland, Ideus, Ingalls, Ingle, Ishii, two Jacobs, Jennings, Kaeding, Kearney, Kemenah, King, Kinser, Lambertz, Landis, Landon, Lasoski, Linder, Logan, Long, Lutar, Lutz, Lynch, Madsen, Maeschen, Martens, two Martins, Mather, Mayes, McCarl, McMahan, Meyer, Meyers, Michael, Minter, Mock, Moore, Morgan, Moro, Mosher, Moyer, Mulheim, Neighbors, Norman, Paulus, Pittman, Rahmer, Roberts, Runge, St.Arnold, Saldana, Schatz, Selenke, Selvage, Shaffer, Shepard, Shepherd, Shilling, Sides, Sloan, four Smiths, Snyder, Solwold, Sowell, Stewart, Stutts, Sutherland, Swenson, Tatnell, Thompson, Van Haaften, Vaughn, Wasmund, Weuve, two Whites, Wilson, Wimmer, Wolfe, Wright, Yeager, Young and Zomer.

California’s Tyler Spath, part of the first wingless Bandit tour of 2005, stopped at a wingless 360 event at Eagle, Nebraska on the evening prior to the Tournament of Champions and Front Row Challenge.

Kasey Kahne adjusted his agenda on the fly. Initially, he was to race the Sage Fruit basket in the Front Row Challenge. Then it rained. The four Kahnes huddled and opted to leave. Pitted at the Dodge dealership in Knoxville, Kasey cleaned his T&E trailer and posed for the occasional picture. Jac Haudenschild was parked there too, and I joked to Kasey how Haud needed a ride for the Ultimate Challenge. They did go to Oskaloosa but only to see their Mopar boys Brady Bacon and Kevin Swindell. More rain. Now it was decided that Kasey should drive in the Nationals for the first time in four summers. Had he been able to qualify Wednesday at Knoxville and Friday at Watkins Glen, Saturday and Sunday races were feasible. Then it rained again. Kahne’s qualifying night now moved to Friday, rendering it no longer feasible. Kasey will race his sprint in his own fundraiser with Tony Stewart at Skagit on Wednesday, August 29, and may prep by flying from Bristol to Gray’s Harbor on August 26.

Ricky “I’m just a sign painter from Carlisle” Warner, winning seven of 32 for Kahne and Saldana between Knoxville National trophies with Schatz, reminded how these Nationals were the first in decades that British Columbia’s Frank Carr (Jimmy’s dad) was not present with a bowl of rum-soaked fruit. Rick blames Frank’s fruit for causing Smoke to soil himself on his way to winning Watkins Glen in 2005.

Hawaii’s Larry Woodward, once fielding an Ascot Park ride for Buster Venard, peeled the wings from Brooke Tatnell’s ride and flew Mike Spencer from Los Angeles to Des Moines for an Ultimate rainout between Spencer wins at Perris and Santa Maria.

Decatur, Illinois racer Kaley Gharst won his Knoxville 360 Nationals prelim, won the pre-Nationals 410 feature, and took the Tournament of Champions to give Gharst eleven wins and the Southern Iowa Speedweek point lead. Eighth at East Bay this winter in his first wingless adventure, Kaley was ready to go topless again. Then it rained. Kaley’s car owner Bruce Williams and crewman Scott Ritchart readied a second Maxim for Western Australia’s Ryan Farrell, fourth-place finisher at Oskaloosa. In 1984, Ritchart won at Knoxville for Gil Sonner and made his only Nationals final.

Rain made the Front Row Challenge a mud bog. Drunken barefoot girls swaying to sounds from the mobile Dingus kicked the week off right! It has become tradition for wingless stars to party through a winged race before their guaranteed $30,000 jackpot.

Brad Sweet, following Bud Kaeding into Adam Main’s car for 360 Nationals, hot lapped at Oskaloosa as teammate to Hunter Schuerenberg and Trucker’s 24-hour servicemen. Sweet found a spot in Keith Kunz midgets like those in which he led Gas City and his first Belleville Nationals.

Shane Cottle, dropping a $10,000 MSCS victory to Schuerenberg at Haubstadt, won at Kokomo, formed a Pace team with Dave Darland for Oskaloosa, and boarded a Beast fielded by Pace crew chief Daryl Saucier to win Gas City’s midget meet. This weekend, Cottle lassoed the Larry Cannon Memorial at Danville and finished fifth in the Tony Bettenhausen with the Larry Contos champ car.

Jon Stanbrough, parking Foxco 53 after it exploded in the lead for $10,000 at Haubstadt, was at Oskaloosa to pilot for Peterbilt of Northwest Ohio. During the Indiana Midget Week doubles, Jon jockeyed Bob Parker’s troublesome midget and the sprint of the Baldwin brothers, who also had a champ car for Stanbrough at Springfield. After winning for Baldwin at Kamp and Kokomo, Stanbrough raised his season total to 25, four more wins than second-best Rod George in western Pennsylvania.

Ultimate Challenge awaited an ultimate storm. Even as drivers were meeting, crews loaded cars and braced for the inevitable. When it refused to rain right away, hot laps came due. Monday mud had been pushed aside. A cursory spray from a balky water truck was too little too late. Dust reminded me of afternoon photos from the Iowa State Fair circa 1982. A second splash accomplished little. When rain arrived with vengeance, it proved a futile dance. For the first time in seven summers, Oskaloosa would host no wingless sprint race.

Remarkable that in Knoxville, where cell phones scarcely worked a few years ago, people now hold weather maps in their hand.

Wednesday was as hard as rain can fall. Two inches in twenty minutes was one report. Water was over the hiking boots that had given me grip amid Osky muck. Jason Sides offered a pair of flip flops, and went so far as to dry my boots in the sun, once that appeared. Such southern hospitality Judy Sides did instill.

Tim Kaeding was at Oskaloosa ready to fly a sprint car without wings for the second time. The first produced a Tulare red flag (2004) for Beef Packers. After taking the last transfer into the last race of the Nationals ($7000), topless Tim and the McMillens became more than an Osky tease by scoring second and third in all five Bandit races at Greenwood, South Coffeyville, Creek County and Kansas City.

Duke McMillen, winning 11 of 21 at Chico with Tim Kaeding in 2001, has a glorious wingless history with jockeys like Johnny Tiner, Jimmy Sills, Nick Rescino, Mike Wasina, Jan Opperman, Leroy VanConett and Johnny Anderson, who won a prelim to the 1979 Western World with Duke.

When he upset USAC at the Eldora opener, California’s Robert Ballou seemed in store for a stellar rookie campaign. Yet in his next 28 starts, Robert saw no more wins. Knoxville Nationals illustrated that wingless regulars like Robert, Jesse Hockett and Neil Shepherd twitch too much at the world’s biggest wing ding. Tour N’ Topless on the other hand, ended with Ballou bagging three wins in a row. Starting tenth in the first 410 feature ever at Creek County, he had the lead in five laps to win $4000. Robert then wrapped a sweep of Kansas City with a $10,000 win in a Don Ott Maxim. Another $2000 came for tying Tim Kaeding for best five-night run.

If there were an award for worst looking car at the Knoxville Nationals, the flat black tail with soapy white number “81” would have won in a walk. A year after lifting the Pace USAC team to ninth at Nationals, Nebraska’s Don Droud stuck Marty Johnson’s car in another final. Junior ran both sprint classes at Greenwood before finishing fifth at Kansas City for Jack Yeley, defending 10k winner with Brad Sweet.

Damion Gardner, attending Knoxville Nationals with his Pace makers Bob Curtis and Matt Hummel to help Shane Stewart, crashed in the TNT opener at Greenwood. Gardner flipped again at Creek, cut a left rear tire in second with four laps left at Lakeside, and salvaged tenth from the ninth row of the Ron Shuman Classic. Wishing to assimilate, he obtained a DRC but is such a stubborn Demon regarding set-up that his rookie USAC season has been a bust. Dennis Roth’s recent purge to JEI found Damion acquiring an ex-Lasoski Eagle that he has yet to race.

Jerry Coons, a Creek County racer with Berl Whittemore’s midget (1994) and Barry Grabel’s sprint car (ASCS Speedweek 1995), returned with a Richard Hoffman sprint car that was eliminated in a Boat accident. Bidding the Bandits farewell, Coons came 550 miles overnight to carry his USAC midget lead into Macon and wheel the Weirich champ car at Springfield.

Arizona’s R.J Johnson was rained out at Oskaloosa and opened with a sixth-place peak for the week at Greenwood. The big news out of Phoenix is that Johnson’s car owner Bob Martin has purchased Manzanita Speedway. Bob is a good guy and true race fan who wants the best for his beloved Manzy.

Norman, Oklahoma’s Danny Jennings tried his ninth Knoxville 360 Nationals but after falling seven spots short of his prelim final, bounced 550 miles home to his two Oklahoma City classes. Fourth in Creek County’s wingless ASCS activity in 2003, Danny became a Bandit for Ken Kantor, who had his XXX rated obscene by Brandon Wimmer during a Nationals B-main disaster. Matt Rossi ran over Kantor’s car at Creek. Next night at OKC, Jennings took third with two barrels and first against ASCS Sooners with an injected Wesmar.

Tulsa’s Cody Cordell, micro manager that won a wingless two-barrel sprint show at South Coffeyville three months ago, made its Bandit feature in the first 410 race ever at Mid-America Motor Speedway.

Gary Taylor, a Washington native who relocated to Colorado, took on Indiana Midget Week and Tour N’ Topless. After an SMRS midget win at Central Missouri Speedway, Taylor tackled USAC fourth at Kamp. Coffeyville accounted for Gary’s first wingless 410 start since SCRA ran Hollywood Hills in 2004. Ninth at Creek County, Taylor crashed Friday at Lakeside and raced Saturday in Cody Cordell’s car.

Ohio’s Ricky Williams, fifth at Lawrenceburg and eighth at Bloomington as a 2007 sprint rookie, made his Bandit debut by winning Friday’s B-main at Kansas City.

Dave Darland and Mat Neely departed Springfield too late to compete in Kansas City heat races. Instead, they tagged a qualifier (twin heats basically) and the B-main. Dave drove Trucker’s Ten from row eleven to seventh. Levi Jones was slated to drive Jeff Walker’s second car (Cowboy Clayton reclaimed his saddle) but given the late hour and sting of losing Springfield, Levi skipped the trip.

The third annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandit TNT Midwest Swing saw 20 of 68 drivers compete all five nights: Ballou, Chad Boat, Charles Davis, Droud, Tony Everhart, Gardner, Hockett, Johnson, Kaeding, Cory Kruseman, Mike Leslie, Jesse Mack, Bret Mellenberndt, Mat Neely, Schuerenberg, Shepherd, Brady Short, Casey Shuman, Michael Trimble and Cole Whitt.

Jesse Hockett, taking a 360 to Salem to save his 410 for Oskaloosa’s $30,000, grew better from fifth at Coffeyville to fourth at Creek and third in the Ron Shuman Classic that announced Jesse to America in 2003. Sunday at Sedalia, Hockett ran a WOW 360 in the 68th start of his sprint season.

Cory Kruseman, a Kentucky winner of a program that hospitalized Daron Clayton and Chad Boespflug, delivered three sprint cars to Oskaloosa (Trimble and Austin Mero were pupils) and acquired a “71” midget that was transported 300 miles down river to Belleville, Illinois. In the 153rd St. Clair Fair, Kruseman (Gary Scelzi 41) finished fourth in the Arnold Knepper Memorial.

Kevin Swindell, absent from Knoxville Nationals for the first time in three summers, had as good an Indiana Midget Week as his Indiana Sprintweek was bad. Second at Kamp and Kokomo, Kevin captured his first USAC win on dirt at Lawrenceburg. Mom and dad remained in Iowa where Sam helped Sam Hafertepe become rookie of the year. Amy revealed that Sammy declined Davey Ray’s offer of the Mecum midget for Sun Prairie.

There is probably some devout reason why no Swindell has ever raced at Angell Park.

My dedication to the Knoxville Nationals was never tested more than the Belle-Clair Fair followed by four nights of sprints and midgets on four Indiana bullrings. Then it rained enough in Iowa to float a cooler, followed by the weakest racing in recent memory.

Beyond the dwindling 410 fields, there is concern to update Nationals handicapping. The days of drivers getting from tenth to fourth in a ten-lap heat are all but extinct. Were ticket buyers happy to see Ben Gregg and Bob Weuve win heats? Perhaps by reducing wings to 16 feet, passing will increase and make the ten invert a moot point.

Change comes slow to the Knoxville Nationals. For the first 14 years, no one transferred from anything. In 1974, Larry Kirkpatrick and Doc Dawson became the first to progress from B-to-A. It took another 12 years for third and fourth-place to lift John Stevenson and Marlon Jones into an A. After 47 years, it is time to grant more than two transfers from the C. Kerry Madsen and Jason Meyers would have bettered the B-main.

Mississippi’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ascended from D (2004) to C (2005) to B (2006) during Knoxville Nationals while finishing fourth in its 360 Nationals of 2005. He followed an Indiana Midget Week win at Kokomo with his first winged race in five months. Reunited with the J&J in which he ravaged Ohio Speedweek 2006, Stenhouse led Sharon until the 50-lap distance proved too far. USAC boss Tony Stewart was on hand to race a modified. Saturday saw Stenhouse steer their Chevrolet Maxim champ car first under the checkered after 75 of 100 scheduled miles. At 19 years, 10 months and 16 days, Stenhouse became youngest to ever win a Tony Bettenhausen 100 that is 47 years old. Eleven grand was the event’s first five-figure check since Chuck Gurney and Junior Kurtz netted $13,600 in 1985. Mario Andretti and Andy Granatelli grossed $10,200 for their 1969 Bettenhausen 100 win.

Bettenhausen has been gone since 1961 Indianapolis 500 practice, but champ cars racing around the Illinois State Fairgrounds for 27 years before that tragedy. Billy Winn (1934), Rex Mays (’40), Ted Horn (’48), Johnnie Parsons (’49), Bill Schindler (’52) and Johnny Thomson (’58) were winners of what became the Bettenhausen 100.

Saturday’s Springfield qualifying was 16 cars old when rain arrived. After two and a half hours, an ARCA truck race began at 2:45pm. USAC used practice times to set the largest field of champ cars (39) ever on dirt. Wet weather at Orlando in 2000 accounted for a 43-car collection that remains the biggest in Silver Crown history.

Practice laps assembled the first all-Illinois front row in 73 years of Springfield champ cars. Levi Jones became the first Land of Lincoln racer to claim the Bettenhausen pole (118mph) since his crew chief Bubby Jones did it in 1978. Outside the Olney Outlaw was Saybrook’s Mitch Wissmiller, who won a heat the previous evening at Danville. Levi led 28 miles, then hounded Stenhouse so hard that his right rear tire shredded two laps from the prescribed checkered.

Springfield’s grandstand was to be vacated by 4:30 to prepare for Joe Walsh, author of albums like The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get; So What; You Bought It: You Name It; and Got Any Gum? Only at the Illinois State Fair could the same grandstand seat allow one to watch living legends like Roger Rager and Joe Walsh.

Johnny Parsons, posting seconds at Springfield for Tassi Vatis (’76) and Gene Nolen (’89), fourth for Bob Kammerer (’95) and sixth for Steve Chrisman (’94), also ran the Bettenhausen 100 for Carl Gehlhausen (’74), Ray Smith (’79) and Richard Snell in 1983. Sixth on Saturday when the 62-year old became leader in Springfield Silver Crown starts (25) was his best in nine Bettenhausens for Ricky Nix of Benton, Illinois.

Be it champ car, midget or sprint, Springfield's Donnie Beechler has always been amazing. In only his fifth race in three years, Donnie finished ninth on the mile Saturday.

Pennsylvania’s Ray Bull, fighting for six straight midget titles (2000-2005) against ARDC, debuted a Mega Motorsports champ car last summer at Springfield and DuQuoin. Starting it in Saturday’s 16th row, Ray ranked 13th after 75 miles.

A.J Fike raced USAC champ car and ARCA stock car in successive Springfield afternoons. Josh Wise turned some of ARCA’s fastest practice laps before crashing.

Jon Stanbrough flipped at Springfield and collected Chris Urish, Mike Hess and Dickie Gaines, who drove for hometown boy Scott Long. Hess had his fuel cell split and erupt in flames that severely burned Mike’s machine and the cars of Gaines and Urish. A few hours later, Long’s sprint car crossed second in at Mount Vernon driven by Alex Shanks.

Bob Galas, winning the Tony Bettenhausen 100 with Gary Bettenhausen in 1983, was forced to surrender USAC number “12” after 20 years. For the sake of Roger Penske’s development program, Billy Wease cannot look like Ryan Newman if he is handed number 112. Bob’s driver Saturday was Hud Cone, who hustled 150 miles to Mount Vernon only to get wrecked in the B.

Murphysboro, Illinois veteran Randy Bateman started the Bettenhausen 100 and made it to Mount Vernon in time to transfer from the second heat. When the former I-57 Raceway took rubber, Randy finished fourth in his finest run in ten years.

Mitchell, Indiana’s Kevin Briscoe, winning at least 125 times since 1988 at Haubstadt (46), Bloomington (32), Lawrenceburg (20), Paragon (9), North Vernon (6), Putnamville (3), Brownstown (3), Loogootee, Terre Haute and Kentucky tracks at Bardstown and McHenry, earned his first Illinois victory since 1996 on Red Hill. Saturday’s win at Jefferson County (K&L or I-57) was the first by the Briscoe Homes Foxco Stealth since last summer’s KISS card at Paragon.

Shane Stewart, an Oklahoma native now residing in Indianapolis, has 66 wins in a 15-year career that has touched 159 tracks in 33 of the United States, five Australian territories, New Zealand and one Canadian province from Washington at Grays Harbor and Skagit to Oregon at Lebanon, Cottage Grove and Medford; California at Chico, Calistoga, Tulare, Hanford, Bakersfield, Perris and Ventura; Las Vegas, Nevada; Arizona at Manzanita and Tucson; New Mexico at Las Cruces and Hollywood Hills; Denver, Colorado; Billings, Montana; Winnipeg, Manitoba; North Dakota at Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks; South Dakota at Huron, Winner, Sioux Falls and Jefferson; Nebraska at Greenwood, Eagle, Beatrice, Butler County and McCool Junction; Kansas at Belleville, Wichita, Topeka, Mayetta, Kansas City, Pleasanton, Salina, WaKeeney, Dodge City, Jetmore and two Hutchinson tracks; his own Sooner State at Muskogee, Pocola, Salina, Creek County, Oklahoma City, Lawton and two Tulsa tracks; Texas at Lubbock, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Devils Bowl, Kilgore and three Houston tracks; Louisiana at Union Hill and Champion Park; Arkansas at Texarkana, Little Rock, Yellville, Batesville and West Memphis; Mississippi at Tunica and Magnolia;Tennessee at two Memphis tracks, Bulls Gap and Bristol; Missouri at Benton, Farmington, Pevely, Lake Ozark, Sedalia, Cameron, Bolivar, West Plains and two Joplin tracks; Iowa at Davenport, Oskaloosa, Knoxville and Corning; Minnesota at Jackson, Arlington, Princeton and Redwood Falls; Wisconsin at Cedar Lake, Superior, Oshkosh, Plymouth, Beaver Dam and Wilmot; Illinois at Joliet, LaSalle, Farmer City, Jacksonville and Granite City; Kentucky at Calvert City and Florence; Indiana at Lawrenceburg, Bloomington, Haubstadt, Terre Haute, Putnamville and Kokomo; Michigan at Lake Odessa and Hartford; Ohio at Fremont, Attica, Lima, Eldora, Waynesfield, Chillicothe, Portsmouth, Hilltop Orrville and Sharon; Pennsylvania at Mercer, Franklin, Lernerville, Bedford, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Williams Grove, Susquehanna and Grandview; New York at Rolling Wheels, Fulton, Fonda and Lebanon Valley; Hagerstown, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Talladega, Alabama; Florida at Volusia County, Putnam County and East Bay; Western Australia at Perth and Bunbury; Queensland at Brisbane and Toowoomba; South Australia at Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and Adelaide; Victoria at Warrnambool, Avalon, Echuca and Mildura; New South Wales at Wagga Wagga and Parramatta City; and Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.

Winning twin $10,000 prizes with a Ron Shaver 360 at Skagit and Knoxville, Shane Stewart and crew chief Paul Silva sat fourth with four laps left in their 410 prelim when a Shaver 410 went up in smoke. Shane took the backdoor into his seventh straight final. Wednesday on the third Hartford track in Stewart’s experience, I-90 amounted to the sixth win in nine 360 starts for the Doyle Harley-Davidson riders. Victory photos are enhanced by Silva’s girl Lori Organ, daughter of the final winner in West Sacramento history in 1980.

Friday on the Jackson Speedway where he debuted with Terry Brown in 1996, Stewart touched wheels with second-place Scott Winters, spun 360 degrees and finished sixth, which became fifth pending the annual disqualification of Chuck Swenson. Last summer, Swenson was stripped of the Tournament of Champions. This year, it was the Jackson Nationals. “X” is too often Swenson’s score rather than car number. He should be inspected on arrival.

Minnesota’s Jackson Nationals has assumed many forms in 29 years. The first five were wingless 317 events. In 1983, it expanded to winged 430s like the Doug Howells four driven by Danny Smith to second behind Rocky Hodges (Sonner 47) in 1983 and Bobby Davis (Suiter 18) in 1984. The ‘89 Nationals split 410s and 360s into separate races and by 1990, it was solely a 360 show.

Gary DeWall (’91) won $2000, Lou Kennedy (’95) netted $3000 and Doug Wolfgang’s WISSOTA 360 took $4000 in 1996, which was $5000 less than he grossed with a Davey Brown 410 at the Jackson Nationals of 1985. Before rain arrived, the 2007 Jackson Nationals was to pay the same $5000 that Marv DeWall won in 1979.

My only Jackson Nationals was in 1988 with Rich Bubak, who fell three spots shy of the final in a Challenger owned by Dave Thorpe. Twenty years later, Thorpe helps Chad Boat and Bubak (observing the 2007 Knoxville Nationals) races any class Colorado National has to offer.

Sacramento’s Ken Woodruff, winning the ’84 Jackson Nationals with Bobby Davis and ’97 Knoxville Nationals with Dave Blaney, nudged Natalie Sather into the A-main of her Knoxville prelim. Nevertheless, he did not bring her back for the final. Natalie notched ninth in the Jackson Nationals.

Grain Valley, Missouri’s Brian Brown, opening the Knoxville 360 Nationals by flipping himself and Randy Martin, made his first 410 final at Nationals assisted by Australia’s Brendan Telfer, toolman to Max Dumesny. In the Johnson 27, Brown bagged fourth in the Jackson Nationals. Back on his Yeager’s Harley-Davidson 21, “Black Jack” was paid for winning the Missouri State Fair race for a third straight summer.

IMCA, NSCA, WoO, WOW, All Star and NCRA winners at the Missouri State Fair include Jud Larson (1956), Arizona’s Bob Cleberg (’59), California’s Porky Rachwitz (’60), Arnold Knepper (‘61), Bobby Unser (’62), Al Unser (’63), Greg Weld (’64), Jim Moughan (’66), Grady Wade (’68), Earl Wagner (’71), David James (’72), Jan Opperman (’75), Sonny Smyser (’77), Gene Gennetten (’78), Shane Carson (’78-79), Randy Smith (’79), Mike Brooks (’81), Tim Green (’81-82), Bobby Davis (’83), Rick Ungar (’84), Ron Shuman (’85), Sammy Swindell (’85), Mike Trent (’92), Danny Smith (’93), Danny Lasoski (’94), Rickey Hood (’94), Gary Wright (’96), Garry Lee Maier (’97), Danny Jennings (’98), Ricky Logan (’99) and Mike Goodman in 2000.

Danny Smith, running the Knoxville Nationals for 30th time in 31 years (he missed ’82 for a broken back), had a Nationals crew containing a writer from the Des Moines Register and an Aussie with blonde dreads. Fifth in Mayetta and Hays, Smith stopped in South Coffeyville for a non-wing fling on his way to West Memphis. Recalling a Riverside finale around 1981, Danny saw the wood pile shrink during the annual bonfire until someone took a chainsaw to the bleachers for more.

Indiana’s Danny Smith and Okahoma’s Danny Smith squared off at Coffeyville. If they were a little closer to Ohio, perhaps Daniel Smith could join them.

And the Tyler Thompson who accompanied All Stars to Kansas and Arkansas is from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Tyler Thompson of Des Moines is the son of Bob Thompson, car builder and sprint winner during the Missouri State Fair of 1990.

St. Joseph, Missouri’s Mallory Armfield did a Knoxville 360 Nationals prelim and Tournament of Champions before meeting All Stars on Thunderhill. Wingless for one Kansas City heat, Armfield was eighth as a Winged Outlaw Warrior at Lebanon in his best run in seven years. Sunday at Sedalia, Mallory got wet with WOW.

Liberal, Kansas traveler Jason Martin made the Knoxville Nationals A-main before surrendering the fight to remain on the road with the World of Outlaws, which now carry 20 drivers with perfect attendance. Martin managed third against All Stars at Hays.

Litchfield, Michigan’s Chad Blonde, winning in first looks at Hilltop, Benton and Farmington, was a 2007 Knoxville Nationals rookie who won his first start at West Memphis. Saturday’s conclusion saw Blonde blitz leader Jeff Swindell until climbing Chris Williams to rip Riverside’s fence for the second straight night.

Riverside resulted in Swindell’s first All Star win since 1985 when Jeff and Daryl Saucier pilfered Pittsburgh between WoO dates at Hagerstown and Selinsgrove. Swindell was also successful in the 1983 All Star finale at Eldora with the Nance 1n.

All Star hype preceding Riverside had a ring of familiarity until I realized that Swamp words were my own. Bryan “Swamp” Autello confessed to copying my Ditch description of three months ago, though without proper credit. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There is slight regret at not seeing my by-line attached to Guy’s web.

Gary Wright took a $5000 win out of Hays, Kansas and followed All Star into The Ditch despite a long aversion to the place. Back before he was bound to ASCS points, Wright would skip Riverside if it fell at the end of speedweek. The gumbo is so fast and so narrow that there is frequently contact such as Saturday when Gary and Brian Paulus tumbled down the frontstretch.

Lincoln, Illinois charger A.J Bruns, third and fourth this weekend in West Memphis, towed 400 miles overnight to Farmington from the first winged 410 feature in 16 years at Liberty, Indiana.

Missouri’s Jerrod Hull, third on the high banks of Montgomery County, landed Liberty where Frankie Kerr defeated Danny Smith (Fox 56) and Robbie Stanley (Hampshire 63) in 1991. Hull then made his first start in six years at Fremont (“The Track That Action Forgot”) according to Swamp. Fifth in his homestate at Malden with a USCS 360, Jerrod finished fifth again on the Clay Hill track formerly promoted by Larry Sides.

Clint Weiss (combat soldier stationed at Georgia’s Fort Benning) and Dewayne Prince ran as Riverside All Stars before joining USCS at Clay Hill where Weiss was eighth.

Springfield, Nebraska’s Jack Dover, plucking two Eagle wins last year, was a Knoxville 410 rookie who returned home with an Eckley 360 that grabbed Greenwood and his third win at Eagle in an Eagle.

Mark Dobmeier is tough. After bending steel while leading the Knoxville Nationals C-main, Dobmeier dragged his aching carcass to wins at Sioux Falls and Grand Forks to reach 16 wins on his stellar season.

Kevin Rudeen, a Knoxville Nationals car owner to Canada’s Jimmy Carter (1999-2000) and Shane Stewart (2005-2006), made a Nationals rookie of Tayler Malsam, seventh at Oskaloosa and Sioux Falls. Saturday at Skagit, Tayler’s third-place was his best of 2007.

Tacoma, Washington’s Evan Margeson marched to his seventh WMRA win in nine races Saturday at the Wenatchee Super Oval with a Beal Beast powered by an Ed Pink Ford. Harold Beal has a legacy of fast midgets with people like Pat Bliss, Rick Moss, Hank Butcher, Mike Gregg, Paul Durant and John Starks.

Washington Midget Racing Association hold a Flake and a Snake. Woodinville’s Skeeter Flake held a Nissan in front for two laps of Wenatchee, where Ethan “Snake” Livernash coiled third. Last month, Margeson and Spanaway Snake made an Ohio USAC trip to Toledo and Mansfield.

Clovis, California’s Brian Gard pulled the first Petaluma midget win since 2000 and Chuck Gurney Jr. Petaluma BCRA winners have been Rick Bussell (1982), Jimmy Sills, Floyd Alvis, Hank Butcher, Mike Appio, Terry Tarditi, Matt Alvis, Billy Boat, New Zealand racers Brett Horrobin (‘93) and Dean Alexander (’99), Australian guests Adam Clarke (’98) and Mike Figliomeni (’99), Wisconsin’s Greg Nelson, Matt Streeter, Scott Nail, John Sarale, Thomas Meseraull (’99), Scott Clark (2000) and USAC Ford Focus faces Bradley Galedrige (2004) and Alex Harris in 2005.

Chico’s Ryan Kaplan, a 2003 Petaluma winner with Ford Focus, took third with a winged 410 at Silver Dollar, fourth with BCRA at Placerville, and slipped an Eagle past Kody Swanson after 47 of 50 to win the western USAC 360 show at Altamont. Gimme shelter!

Kyle Miyata Larson, the Sacramento kid who changed California law that ran racers out of state, became a Civil War winner in ten tries. Saturday saw Larson emerge as Petaluma’s youngest victor at 15 years, 18 days and 89 pounds.

Visalia, California’s Greg Bragg, spending three Perris seasons with SCRA and CRA, beat a Bakersfield Focus group and went full midget racing with Bay Muffler in 2006, winning at Watsonville and again at Bakersfield. As replacement for “Kiwi” Alexander, Bragg achieved a Bandit sprint win Saturday at Santa Maria in his fifth try.

Visalia, California’s Jesse Mack raced nine nights in a ten-day stretch of Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas, returning home to still reign Bandit point leader (433 to 373) over Jimmy Thompson of Grover Beach.

Phoenix, Arizona’s Jeremy Sherman, hording 10 wins in 17 starts this season, sat idle since Fourth of July as Arizona ceased in desert heat. Sherman became so bored that he made his first Perris appearance in over a year to drive a Dwight Cheney car that coated him in hot oil and blistered Jeremy’s foot.

Keith Rauch, an Arizona racer who relocated to Colorado, won over POWRi midgets at McCool Junction, Nebraska and regional ASCS sprints at Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Derrik Ortega, a 16-year old fifth-place finisher Friday at Hayden, Colorado, chased Rauch for second Saturday at Sweetwater Speedway. Ortega had been third at Prescott with a wingless 360 and fourth at Tucson with a winged 410.

New Mexico’s Mike Archuleta, recording the 305 Renegade victory Saturday near his Las Cruces abode, was a regional ASCS winner in 1997 in Juarez, Mexico.

Travis Rilat, seventh in the Knoxville 360 Nationals and ninth in the Tournament of Champions, was a Nationals Non Qualifier who laid rubber Saturday afternoon for Saturday night’s D-main grid. Home to Houston, Rilat blew through the Gulf Coast from last to first in an F&J XXX. In 2003, Rilat won the first wingless 360 show at Creek County.

Brian Carter from Frisco, Texas finished fourth in a 305 sprint car Saturday at the Kennedale Speedway Park adjacent to Cowtown Speedway in southeast Fort Worth. During his day job with the World of Outlaws, Carter unveiled a 2008 calendar devoid of Ditch (keep it goin’ Guy) and Kokomo, bolstered by debuts in Virginia and Wheatland. WoO plans to end six and eight-year absences from Watsonville and Wyoming, expand Ohsweken and Bulls Gap into two-night stops, and cut Calistoga for first time in 20 Labor Days.

Bill Rose, a World of Outlaws rookie in 2006, coached his car into three straight A-mains as Bloomington/Putnamville/Kokomo tutor to Idaho’s Mike Murgoitio. Back behind the wheel, Bill took third at Lawrenceburg in his best wingless finish since a second for Billy Wilkerson at the 2005 Perris finale.

Fremont, California’s Shane Golobic, son of Baylands racer John Golobic, achieved victory at Lawrenceburg in his 15th start on Indiana dirt days after his 16th birthday.

New Zealand’s Michael Pickens, second at Wilmot and seventh at the Belleville Midget Nationals, finished fourth in a sprint car Friday at Bloomington, where he did three weeks for Bill Biddle in 2005.

Ohio’s Jonathan Kettlewell, second with WSoA 305 at Flint and second with HOSS 410 at Anderson, took tenth in his dirt debut Saturday at Waynesfield.

Ohio’s Todd Kane climbed in a Fisher Maxim owned by Glenn Gresham and in their third start together, topped Jim Nier and Dean Jacobs to win at Chillicothe. Dean’s sorry Nationals were soothed by $10,000 for winning the World Challenge.

Mark Keegan, taking 12 titles in 19 Attica Raceway Park campaigns, dedicated Saturday’s 55th win there to Eric Phillips, the track founder who died during the week. "This place was his dream,” Keegan commented.

Frank Benic, father of the car owner outside Saturday’s front row in Kansas City, continues to draw raves for his Mercer Raceway Park surface. His son Scott was especially sorry to see Brady Short changed at Oskaloosa, where Benic Maxims carted $60,000 for wins with Boston Reid (2003) and Levi Jones in 2005.

Five thousand dollars for Pat Cannon marked the largest 358 winners share since Billy Pauch borrowed P.J Chesson’s car to win $10,000 at Susquehanna to close 1997. Cannon defeated Dave Calaman, Joey Borich, Mike Walter and Sean Michael who, together with Sean’s car owner Jim Nace, represent more than 70 years of Selinsgrove savvy.

Blane Heimbach, hitting 21 wins in seven Selinsgrove seasons, could not contest $5000 because he broke his throttle leg Friday at Williams Grove.

When it rained on Nationals but had not yet postponed, Fred Rahmer restlessly watched others drink beer. When he hit the track, Rahmer hit the wall hard enough to end his 13th Nationals with a fractured tailbone. It reminded of Pauch breaking his arm while hot-lapping for the ’95 Nationals. Limping home, Fred gritted his teeth and won at Williams Grove and Lincoln.

Aaron Ott, a Trail-Way 358 winner and son of Rahmer’s engine builder Don Ott, led six laps of the 410 feature Saturday at Lincoln until contact with “The Edge” Brian Montieth took Ott around.

During the Knoxville Nationals, Lincoln waived points while Williams Grove did not. Jeff Shepard had been so consistent (Top Ten in 16 of 22) that he continued to lead the standings despite being in Iowa. Triple 20s at The Grove saw Shepard’s boss John Zemaitis provide a purple people eater for T.J Stutts just in case Jeff needed a spare. Al Hamilton and Steve Siegel helped Rahmer and Lance Dewease toward titles in this manner in 2001 and 2002.

Shepard locked into his eleventh straight Nationals final by winning on opening night beneath a Travis Branch helmet. Thursday was not Jeff’s first $12,000 victory at Knoxville however, having taken the 1200lb Nationals of 2002 for Denny Ashworth.

Third at Lincoln was the best 410 finish by Steve Buckwalter in 67 starts. An eleven-time winner in five ARDC seasons, Steve has been in a midget just three times since Chili Bowl.

Dave Ely, winning four of ten ARDC A-mains this season, made his Indiana debut in Jack Yeley’s midget at Kamp, Gas City and Lawrenceburg before returning to Gene Francowiak’s sprint car at Hagerstown.

For the first time in five years, Smokey Snellbaker ran a sprint race. It happened in a 358 at Lincoln, where Smoke beat Jan Opperman and Kenny Weld to win the opener of 1971.

Kramer Williamson, who ran a USAC champ car and URC sprint victory in successive Hagerstown weeks of 1986, won the Maryland URC return Saturday in a Pink Panther of his own Kramer Kraft construction.

Delaware’s Becca Anderson, ninth as a 2006 WoO rookie at Haubstadt and Kokomo, returned to URC to place Jimmy Martin’s machine third at Orange County, New York.

Rocky Mount, Virginia’s Don “Satch” Worley, last southerner to win a Martinsville modified race (1992) has run eight VSS 305 sprint races on five tracks for French Grimes. Satch is a cult hero who was ninth for Buddy Arrington in the 1974 Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville, put the Clarence Steak House Vega on the pole of the 1976 Spring Sizzler in Connecticut, earned eleventh for Jack Beebe at the 1978 Dover 500, and ran an Arrington Busch car at Daytona in 1983.

New Jersey modified star John Blewett III died happy. Lou Cicconi invited him to Mansfield for a supermodified debut. Seventh in the opener, John improved to fifth. “I had a really great time,” John said. “I don't race much without radios or mirrors. A lot of series could take a page from this series. These guys drive with a lot more respect than we have on say the Whelen Tour and even the weekly series. I see radio driving a lot.

“The closest thing to a super I've raced are the modifieds we ran at Flemington. We had a lot of horsepower there. I've never driven anything with a wing before. It's similar to the (three-quarter) midget I ran at Atlantic City for Lou but that (indoor) track is small and tight and you can't use the horsepower. This is definitely not like anything I've ever driven before.”

Five days later, Blewett was killed in a modified at Thompson, Connecticut. At least he enjoyed a good ISMA injection before he left.

On the night after John died, Mike Ordway Jr, tried extra hard in the Ollie Silva Classic at Lee, New Hampshire. “I wish we could have gotten the win for Johnny Blewett but I'll take a second to Perley. We'll keep John in our prayers.”

Chris Perley won the Silva Classic before becoming the biggest winner (45 in 13 seasons) in International Super Modified Association history at Oxford, Maine. Perley has picked off an amazing 22 of the last 34 ISMA A-mains.

Vic Miller, who owned the “sprint car on steroids” in which Ollie terrorized the 1970s, finished first with Perley and second with 66-year old Bentley Warren of Kennebunkport.

Strong, Maine’s Vern Romanoski led 14 laps in his homestate before surrendering to the Miller machines. After 72 of 75 laps, Ohio’s Larry Lehnert (towing 830 miles to Oxford) left the track. Under caution, Romanoski ran over Dave Sanborn’s exhaust collector, tearing an oil line and the best run of Vern’s life.

"It would have been nice to finish behind Perley and the legend Bentley,” Romanoski remarked. “I run one of Bentley's old numbers: the 5. It would have been a great finish for me in Maine in front of the people who support me and came out to see me tonight."

J. Scott Martel scored sixth at Oxford Plains for Bruce Budnick while summoning New Jersey’s Jon Gambuti to the Jim Martel machine. In his first super start in two years, Gambuti led Lee before being penalized to seventh for jumping a restart.

Joe Gosek, getting his first Oswego win by beating Bentley Warren (Bowley 5) in 1984, now has 37 wins in 23 Oswego Speedway seasons (fifth-best) after a Saturday sponsored by Burke’s Home Center, long a Gosek supporter. Jim Shampine (87), Bentley (66), Eddie Bellinger (51) and Nolan Swift (41) are the only Oswego winners with bigger numbers than “Double-O” Joe.

Ontario, New York’s Chuck Hebing, qualifying quickest in his first Knoxville 360 Nationals, scored two ASCS Patriot victories in 21 hours by following a late night at Penn Can with Canandaigua in his Cobra Trailers Maxim. "It's always nice to win in front of the hometown fans; the ones that saw me run the modified here for so many years,” Cobra commented.

Canandaigua’s half-mile trembled beneath the World of Outlaws for 13 straight seasons. In the last one in 1999, Stevie Smith defeated Donny Schatz and a field spiked by Pittman (Sonner 47), Tim Shaffer (Helm 11), Tatnell (Johnson 7k), Shepard (Zemaitis 1z), Dale Blaney (Hughes 94), Kevin Gobrecht (Dave Blaney 93), Johnny Herrera (Cormack 1bk), Joe Gaerte (Holbrook 8h), Travis Whitney, two Swindell and a pair of Kinsers. In 1997, Haudenschild (Elden 22) clocked Canandaigua’s record lap of 14.73.

Brad Noffsinger, fifth at the Jerry Weld Memorial (I-70) and eighth at the Jayhawk National (old Lakeside) during a 1982 Knoxville Nationals tour for Arizona’s Gil Suiter, finished fifth Saturday on the asphalt of Kenly, North Carolina.

Candia, New Hampshire brothers P.J and Jake Stergios finished fifth and tenth in Plymouth, Indiana before pulling their USAC Ford Focus midgets 600 miles to Chemung, New York. The brothers Stergios finished fourth and fifth Saturday at the former Wall Stadium where Blewetts learned to race.

Snail mail goes to 4979 West 13th Street, Speedway, IN 46224. Voice mail goes to (317) 607.7841 or e-mail Kevin@openwheeltimes.com.

Kevin Eckert
Executive Editor
The Open Wheel Times
www.openwheeltimes.com



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