Rain, Rain, Go Away!
When it came to poor weather, this past weekend was an especially tough one for race promoters, teams and fans. Events from Maine to North Carolina were rained out on Saturday night and the ARCA event at Pocono Raceway was shortened by fog. There were a number of Sunday rainouts in New England has well. This continues a difficult year when it comes to rainouts - take for example Mahoning Valley Speedway in Pennsylvania. That track has seen four rainouts already in the young season. We're hoping that as the calendar turns to summer, Mother Nature decides to take in a few short track events.
Hugs, Not Headlocks
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Richard Childress has spent the past week meeting with NASCAR, counting his pennies in order to pay a $150,000 fine and dealing with media questions after he allegedly punched and then headlocked Kyle Busch after a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event last weekend. On Saturday though, he got to put that all behind him by watching Richard Childress Racing development driver Tim George, Jr. score his first ARCA Racing Series victory at Pocono Raceway. Childress has long been used to winning at the highest levels of the sport and over the past few seasons, he has enjoyed some victory lane time in ARCA, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Legends cars and even Dirt track racing thanks to the efforts of George and his grandsons - Austin and Ty Dillon.
660 = #54 in Victory Lane
New Brunswick is in a different country than where Johnny Clark is from, but there is nothing foreign about the Canadian province's Speedway 660 to him. Clark scored another dominating victory at the track this past weekend in the PASS North Super Late Model race there. He also won that race in 2010 and took down the victory in the track's big money Auto Value 250 open show last Labor Day weekend. Fans at the track are getting very used to seeing Clark's #54 roll into town and then out in front of the pack everytime it races at Speedway 660.
Not Very Neighborly
A lot of times you will see tracks work together to promote short track racing. Some times…well…not so much. Radio personality Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem took over the former Ocala Speedway in Florida this year, renaming it as “Bubba Raceway Park”. When he announced the deal, he referred to fellow track operators as “scumbags” in a press release. Then he moved racing from Fridays to Saturday nights to go head-to-head with nearby East Bay Raceway Park. This week, we couldn't help but notice that Bubba hit “reply all” to the e-mail sent out from East Bay announcing Saturday night winners to invite East Bay competitors to his own track, promising that “nobody treats you or pays you better”.
We mentioned what a rainy weekend it was up above. This past weekend was also an off-weekend for the ACT Late Models. But despite those factors, teenager Austin Theirault was determined to race. He planned to compete in the Late Model feature at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) on Saturday night, but that got washed out. So he headed up the road to Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine instead - taking down a top five finish in his first trip to the track - even though it was an unplanned one.
The past few weeks haven't been good ones for Ryan Preece. He lost his ride on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for financial reasons and then got disqualified from a podium finish in the SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) for frame height reasons. Preece put that all aside on Friday night though as he went out and won the longest SK race of the year at Stafford - the SK 100 - against a field that included guys like Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat.
Not Ready to Retire Yet
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series standout Don Thomson, Jr. thought about hanging up his helmet this past winter when he got a call from Ed Hakonson Racing asking if he'd like to drive their car for the 2011 season. Thomson agreed and in just their third race together, he won last weekend at Delaware Speedway (Ont.). The victory wasn't a fluke either - Thomson has not finished outside of the top five in a Canadian Tire Series race since last August. That comes out to eight straight top five finishes - and counting as the tour heads next to Mosport on June 26th.
Touring for Tornado Relief
Parts of Western Massachusetts got slammed by a massive tornado a few weeks ago. Pro Four Modified driver Stan Mertz was only two blocks away at work when Springfield's downtown area got hit hard. He witnessed the destruction and wanted to do something about it. So Mertz added Red Cross decals to the side of his #16 Modified, donated his winnings from a top five finish at Seekonk Speedway (MA) to Tornado relief efforts and offered $1 for each new “like” that his team's Facebook account got after the storm. It's nice to see racers helping out like that.
Speed51.com has stepped up their Twitter presence, so be sure to check out the “Hedman Husler Short Track Tweets” section on the front page of our website and follow Speed51dotcom on Twitter. If you are a racer, we'd also like to follow along with your Tweets as well.
A Prince Unseats a King?
There is no denying the fact that Steve Carlson has been the king of the ASA Midwest Tour In recent seasons - winning the last two championships. After three events in 2011 though, it looks like a prince is ready to steal away Carlson's crown. Young Ross Kenseth has won two of the first three events, placing second in the Dixieland 100 at the race he “lost”, while Carlson currently sits outside of the top 10 in the standings.