A TRAVELIN’ WE WILL GO AFTER THE SEASON ENDS, AND BOY DID WE!
2012 LOOKS GOOD FROM HERE AS CHANGE BACKS OFF AND PEOPLE HAVE HOPE FOR BETTER DAYS!!
December 12, 2011
By Ken Wagner
It was a long year and it was a short year, depending on your point of view. For some it drug on as expenses exploded budgets, while for others, it was same old same old getting ready for the next race. The majority of the racing world in So Cal had to endure the former while those at the top of the CRA standings enjoyed the later.
We now have a 4 time champion in Mike Spencer who enjoys the brilliance of Bruce Bromme Jr to keep him there. As usual Bruce and his band of merry men continue to continually put the best piece out there and the results speak for themselves. Bruce had the luck to be born to Marge and Bruce SR, who had his father Louis start this line back before USAC. Bruce Jr learned his skills in the family garage what he pulls the magic from today and his list of accomplishments are BIG.
There are no racing pics this time, so check out Doug Allens work which is here as usual click here to view.
It all started ffor Bruce Jr with his friend Dean Thompson who drove his home built “stroller” made by grandpa in Quarter Midget races as Bruce Jr quickly found out he loved working on cars more than driving. That progressed to the ho,e built Bromme Chassis that started Dean on his way to win over 100 races and 3 CRA championships. After a brief experience with Bullet Bob Walker and some wing experience, he got involved with Gene Manhire and eventually showed up at Manzy in 1994 with Lealand McSpadden in the seat of the now Ron Chafin owned, red # 50. Championship! I later coined the car "the little red sucker" from a comment made by Bruce SR back when Billy Boat drove for them.
Since his 1994 SCRA championship with the Tempe Tornado besting the competition, Bruce Jr has won 5 championships with Richard Griffin, 1 with Damion Gardner and now 4 with Mike Spencer. Let’s see now; that is 11 together with Chaffin and 3 with his dad for 14 championships and a lot of Mechanic of the year awards for his race car excellence. Bruce is always disappointed when he doesn’t win and confirms he doesn’t go racing to run second. You might call him the Mechanic of the last 2 decades, he has won so much!
Mike Spencer won 6 races this year on his way to his 4th Championship in a row. He had 5 fast times, was in the top five 15 of the 21 races and on the podium 10 times. That is consistency which speaks to the Bromme legend. They have to go into 2012 the favorite.
Nic Faas really came a long way in the Alexander’s Silver Bullet car # 4 this year. He had 3 big wins, one night of which he turned a “Dean Thompson” sweep on September 24 at Perris. That means he was fast time, won his heat and the main event, what aperformance. On the year he had 3 fast times, 8 podiums and 13 top five finishes. From the way he drove the second half of the year, he looks good to unseat the champion in 2012. He finished 2nd this year and was in the run for his first championship up until the last race.
Matt Mitchell had some up and downs this year as he was a force to the very end of the season where he slowed down his results the last few weeks. Maybe building a wing car took his concentration off, but he was not focused as much as earlier in the season. His 8 podiums were strong and his 2 wins put him third in the CRA points. Look for more out of him in 2012 if he runs the full CRA schedule.
It was another short year with the 21 races, but there was some good racing. We had 12 different winners this season and that is always good. Without a clear field of heroes like in the past, the races had a push pull effect as only Spencer was consistent while the rest had some streaks with some longer than others. Clearly Nic Faas was emerging as the new fastest gun in town type driver as he was really hot the last part of the year and that bodes well for our future. It has always been sad when one hero would retire, but new ones always came along. In our racing world most of the new young guns have left for Indiana with the hope to run several times a week instead of once or twice a month.
Of course, the economy has played a part in this CHANGE, as most of us know. I don’t have to tell you teams lost sponsors and jobs trying to keep up and many race cars were left in their garage more often than not. It’s hard to have competition when many of the good guys are broke and MIA. David Cardey, Ronnie Gardner and Greg Alexander are just three who have less than they need to move to the front as well as attend all the races. Add Danny Sheridan whose struggle with the Kittle Motorsports Team budget is not a new one and you see the point. Only Jack Jory’s trio of cars has q team with more than one car running. With the Kruseman experience staying home more often and the multiple Gardner teams of the past gone, we come up a little short with the 30 plus car average we maintained this year at Perris, with less on the road. I think 2012 might surprise some as I have a feeling it will be good!
At least one new car combo is coming for 2012. Larry Henry and Tony Jones are putting together a car for Jake Swanson to drive. Jake comes from over 10 years of open wheel racing starting in Quarter midgets and up thru Ford Focus to Western States Midgets last year where he ran in the top five in points. He is 18 years old and will run the rookie flag with CRA in 2012. Tony will be the crew chief and do a lot of the work on the car. Plans are to take it easy and bring Jake along and run as many races as the sponsorships they can acquire make it possible. Good luck to them. It’s good to see both Larry and Tony back in our racing world.
The Perris schedule this year is almost a mirror copy of last year with much the same weekends. Starting off with the Sokola Shootout opener on February 25th, followed by March 31, April 28, May 26 Labor day event, July 4th Firecracker 30, July 28 with the California Racers Hall of fame, August 18, September 15 Glenn Howard Classic, October 6th the Fair race, and the Oval Nationals November 1/3. All dates except the Fair date will have the Senior PAS sprints and the Lightning Sprints as companion features. This is ten racing weekends with 2 racing dates and is what constitutes our home track schedule. The rest of the CRA/USAC schedule should be out soon.
Well it has been a bit of a travelogue for me since the WAG$CA$H night in Hanford on November 2. As soon as I got home from that I started looking at my winter B Ball schedule. That started the week of Thanksgiving as I went to my first ever UNLV game with my grandson Christopher. I followed that up with the Turkey classic at the Orleans on Friday and Saturday where I saw UNLV upset number 1North Carolina to win that tourney, wow, 8 games and it ended with that one! Sunday at the Anaheim 76 tourney where ST Louis was a winner over Oklahoma. Monday and Tuesday was high school stuff before I went home to get ready to go see the light in San Jose.
Mrs Wags and I left on Friday from lost wages to head up to Minden, Nevada for a brief visit with Stubby and Darleen Dils in their home. Stubby has gone thru hell with his cancer stuff the last number of years and was declared free of the horrid stuff recently, so we wanted to go see him on our way to San Jose. A good visit with them overnight and then off to the pier in San Francisco for our next adventure on Saturday. You can see our Dils experience by Clicking here to view
We drove around the city that is a magnificent place to be and see, until we found the Q, a restaurant that was touted by Dinners and Dives by our friends from the Lafond world. Good food and we had more fun as we looky loo’s then headed south to San Jose. I have always lamented I never tried to live in a row house up there when I was younger. I lived across the bay in Orinda Village and worked downtown in my early 20’s, but never made that dream happen. Oh well, there is still time, right?
On Sunday we arrived at the home of Muriel and Dave Pusateri. Trophy Dave has made all of our Wags trophies over the 20 plus years of our race. Now it was time to check out the lights. We went early in the afternoon and sawt the 66,000 lights all over their large corner lot home. All the lights were hand tied and I was anxious to see the lighting moment! So was Dave as he as always inside pulling the breaker, but not this night as he got his first ever view of that magical moment. They were hosting a bunch of racing friends that included famous people from the area like Brent Kaeding and his dad Howard, and may more. It was fun rubbing shoulders with them, many of who I knew but don’t get to see much. When that lighting happened, I just was amazed, it was awesome. For over 18 years Trophy Dave has held the Trophy Cup event with totally inverted racing and paid Make A Wish over $ 770.000 in the process, while the racers have made out as well. The Make A Wish total in October this year was $50,000!! Their lighting display goes on every night from Thanksgiving until Xmas and last year nearly $10,000 was in the donation boxes. You too can make a donation to Make a wish by sending it to Trophy City, 273 Willow Street in San Jose, CA. 95110. Check out the lights as I saw them Click here to view. Trust me when I say it was worth the long trip to be there. We didn’t get to stay long as it was back home on this 1800 mile trip on Monday
A note here about the 2012 Trophy Cup. It will be expanded one night to make it a three day experience. And what is the reason? Trophy Dave announced that Thursday will be a non-wing 360 night with a $25,000 purse. He will be mailing out invites, so I hope our So Cal boys can get involved in the October event. I know I am planning on checking it out!
When we got home from our trip, Big Steve Kimmel was in town dropping off a load in nearby Henderson, so we picked him up and spent some time with him before he headed to LA with the rest of his load. He is the owner/operator of his rig now, but he still is a truck driver … no check that, he is a relocation expert. I have experienced seeing him over the years around the country at different tracks where I was watching racing when he would pull in and watch, then blast off to deliver something as quick as he came.
A few days off before time to head off to Phoenix for Joe Ellis 80th birthday party surprise. We have stayed at the Ellis Hacienda for many years on trips to go racing at Manzanita. Now that it is closed, we can still go to visit once in a while and hoping Canyon is a regular stop on the CRA schedule in the future. This party was at a local Mexican restaurant called Rosita’s and many of his friends who came to share the time were there to surprise him. It was fun visiting, eating and having a libation or two and then goodbye's. You can go there by clicking here it was fun.
When we left on Sunday morning, the end of the trip would signal that I had drifted over 3000 miles for fun and more in three weekends. Now I have to get serious about my winter plans and that includes the Chili Bowl and a lot of basketball before the February opener of the 2012 season. Let er’ rip!
NEWS FLASH!! The 2012 Wagsbash will be at our home here in Las Vegas on the weekend of February 11 and 12. Saturday will be held at the house with the usual Wagsbash things like the good old days in Mission Viejo before we moved. The Wagtimer's tell me the cheapest rooms are at The Orleans for about $50 a night. Sunday is under construction with maybe bowling, casinoing, cards or maybe a show. The LA crowd won't go home on Sunday night because of the traffic, sooooo bad!! Let me know if your coming and I'll update any news on that when it happens. If you have ever been invited, come on up! If not, talk to me as we hope to get some drivers to go along with the fans who make the trip.
Bob Olson has pewter sprint car key rings for $10 available now. He also can personalize pins and diecast cars for you. C U Racin' Sprint Stuff - Bob Olson, 336 Bartlett Ave, Hayward, Ca 94541. Call 510-415-1157 to order.
Let’s communicate this winter about whatever. I am on Facebook, text or call me at 949-981-5497, or e-mail at email@example.com. Let me know stuff I can pass on, or not. Give me ideas about the 2012 WAG$CA$H and more in our racing. I am looking forward to Xmas getting gone and the New Year getting started. Hope all your changes are good ones and you have a prosperous new year! Happy Holidays and I have more exciting news soon!
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