Wagtimes Newsletter text


September 4, 2005


The last few weeks have been staying around home and doing some honey doís, getting the motor home ready for sale, cleaning out some of the garage, polishing my Vette, and sort of looking for a job. In between I saw a few races.

Terry and I went to Santa Maria and the trip up in Toryís car was quiet and quick as she took a nap. We went directly to Jockoís and did not pass go, to meet with Mark & Bethany Thrasher and her beau Braden. I yakked with Ron Chaffin and Frankie in the bar before we settled into the hamburger Remember the Jocko burger is a double patty monster, so the regular one works just fine for most of us. This was the first time I remember no racers dining, but I guess times change and maybe the Texas Roadhouse in town is drawing them in now.

We went straight to the track and only a few haulers were lined up to get in the pits. I read a book for a while, although someone told me they heard me snoring (?), so I might have been dozing as I dropped my book once that I can remember. We signed in at the pit booth and started the walk into the pits. They have totally leveled the area now so it is not two levels and is much easier to get all the cars arranged.

I had a little info printing to do so snuck in the refreshment stand to plug in my printer and took care of that before wandering around a bit. We talked with many, but learned little on the way around and before long, it was time for me to head up to the press box.

This is one of the easier ones to get into as the night begins with me setting up my PC and printer and watching the track and crowd below. The evening was pretty racy with Damion again setting fast time for the 17th time. This Bad Boy is all smiles as he continues to punish the competition at every opportunity. He was the only car in the 13ís.

The heats were very interesting with Damionís charge in his heat form the back up to 2nd the highlight. Rodney Argo hit the semi hard and won that one. The main line-up looked like we might have a new winner with Mike Spencer and Danny Sheridan both up front with Kruseman and Gaunt depending how things went.

On the start Mike Spencer jumped into the lead and took off from Cory Kruseman. It wasnít long before the Kruser slowed and then stopped on the track. He restarted at the back as Spencer now had local favorite, Danny Sheridan on his tail. After the restart Kruseman followed Darren Simas to the infield and both were done for the night.

The next 16 or so laps were very fun to watch as Spencer had the lead and the line and Showtime was all over him. It looked like Danny was going to hound him until the end and make his move, but heatbreak for both came suddenly on lap 19. Alan Ballard lost a tire coming out of turn four and spun in front of the leaders. That was probably not too bad except instead of going up, he went down the track and right into the path of Spencer who rammed into him with Danny climbing up on his fuel cell with the gas still on as he tried to break free and continue on. No soap, as they stopped right there in front of the main grandstand and both their hopes dashed. It took Alan a little time to get freed from his mount, but all were OK.

Mike Kirby assumed the lead on the restart will 11 laps to go and guess who was on his tail now, yep, the Demon himself. Kirby is one smart racer and he knew the narrow track wouldnít allow any passing of him if he just ran his line, and he was right. Damion pressured him high and low, but there was just no place to ride around the leader and the Silver Bullet beat the little red sucker to the finish line at 30 laps.

It was Mikeís second win of the year and made the Alexanderís very happy. Now I had to finish up the stats to send off and for the local papers before I could climb down from what someone has now called it, my ivory tower, and join the people in the pits. The stands were empty and the pits doing likewise, but I had to say hi to a few before it was time to hit the road home. We didnít bring the boys this trip, knowing we were going back after the races, so it was time to go.

When I started Toryís car (you know the old 90 Honda now destined to be the grandson Toryís ride) it died. I tried it again, same result,, as it acted like it was out of gas. You know roar then die, roar then die. This went on for about 10 times or so and it caught! I didnít pause a second and lit out of the parking lot and headed for the 101 home keeping the pedal down hard. You might think that was the end of this story, but along the way as I was passing haulers and others on the road, I noticed the speedometer would fluctuate a little once in a while and it didnít make any sense to me, what with my major mechanical brain and all. When the speedo and the tach went to zero, and the motor was still running, I flinched, what the?

We still headed by Ventura fine with very few of the nervous twitches by the dash and when we got over the hill towards LAX, it started acting up again. It alternated between total shutoff and refire to keep going and the above mentioned shutdown of the gauges, plus the CHECK MOTOR LIGHT came on. What would you do, it was only 2 Am? Well I kept the pedal down and we actually made it home. Come morning I made Terry drive it to the shop for repair and I followed her in case anything happened. Anyway, it was an ignition switch that went bad that drove me nuts and the car is now checked out and ready for the grandson to get it out of my yard.

Perris 9/3/05


Once again Mrs Wags and I headed to the races without the boys. Once ther we grabbed the dirty mule and I wiped it down for use and went back to the car for the cooler and other stuff we needed. We went to the grandstands as terry put down the seat saver and I went up to the tower to get my PC set up. It sure is a lot easier when I do it ahead of time so when itís time to go to work, I am ready.

The day had some light breeze and the track looked a little dryer than usual for the planned extra laps, but I am not track prep guy. We gave Adam Mitchell a ride to his new ride, Linda Lancasterís # 14.I just kind of hung out chatting with a few as the afternoon was very nice, even though warm, until the drivers meeting when the first thing I noticed was Super Rickie with a piece of blue tape on his mouth. Hmmmm, I heard he had a run in with Evelyn Pratt and she fixed him. It didnít work long as he raised his hand and started in, again. He does add a little zest to the goings on.

I headed on over to the front as the cars were about to get on the track. I ran into Don Read, the former tech guy for SCRA, who is still a big fan and long time Wagtimes supporter. After that I went up and did my usual. For those who donít know what that is, here is a summary. I take the list of whoís here and create an attendance roster that includes driver name, car, owner, sponsors, chassis, motor and pertinent data, then print that for the announcer. It later goes to the home office in Indiana along with the results. Next I sort the drivers by qualifying order and enter into my spreadsheet for qualifying. When that starts I enter each time and the program sorts it in order for me. This gives the announcer a running reorder and the 32 car bump when appropriate. When I am done the heats are automatically ready and I only have to move the rookies to the back before I can give to the announcer, because they donít get their starting spot. As the night goes on I put all the results on one sheet for Indiana and copy to my web page where I do live updates at each race. It is the only time I use the air card to get to the website, and I might consider not doing updates in the future if I get to go back to my grandstand seat. When the night is done all the stats are finalized and e-mailed back to Indiana and I print out a few copies of the results and I am ready to pack up and head to the pits. SO from the time the cars hit the track until the winner is parked on the front stretch, I am busy.

This week I made a near fatal error during qualifying that destroyed my spreadsheet and I had to pull up another one, transfer the qualifying times and catch up to where I was, killing the bad one. It was a keystroke that I hadnít tried and when I updated the qualifying order with the bad move, I eliminated the top qualifier and scrambled the results on the spreadsheet. It was scary for a moment, but I got it resolved and wonít do that again. It caused Scott to not announce Charles Davis Jr as the fast timer and he resolved that quickly when I caught up.

The Consi started off with a bang when Eric Severson crashed hard after a yellow flag came out. I am sure the car is badly tweaked, and the low buck team will be out for a while as they gather money to fix the car. The first four finishers of the 8 lap 9 car race will go to the back, one each, of the heats. That put the winner, Nadine Keller, in the first heat, Josh Williams the 2nd, Mark Heidenreich the 3rd and Matt Stewart the fourth one.

Rip Williams won the first heat that was very racy as David Cardey took the original lead and held him off until the very end when Rip got by. The end was very appropriate for David as the motor was not able to continue and the car was scratched for the night. Jordan Hermansader and Charlie Davis followed them to the main, well three of them did.

It looked like Rickei Gaunt would grab the next heat until his drive shaft and torque tube fell out on the track and we went yellow. When we returned the battle for the lead was won by Davey Pombo ahead of SteveO in the Shoemaker car. Kruseman flew thru the third heat to battle a few laps with Mike Kirby before taking the win. When Damion Gardner won the last heat he was still ten points behind the Ripper in the championship race. It would take the feature to decide who would leave with the lead this week.

The Semi would take 7 to the main after Cardeyís loss. Super Rickie won this one with Keith Williamson getting the last spot. Earlier in the day when I visited with him and his brother Gary, they had high hopes to make the main and earn a few bucks to take home to Arizona with them. Keith moved form Pomona to Glendale, AZ last year for many reasons and one was to make racing fun and easy for both of them. He said making the main makes the trip worth it as they were only out for the third time this season.

The main event started with a bang as going into turn one the Ripper took the lead and Tony Jones got spun around to a stop. The restart was better for Josh Ford as he took the lead with Jones on the tail. Immediately Cory Kruseman jumped from 7th to 2nd and set out after the early leader as the troops were mixing it up behind them. Josh ran a strong line, but the Kruser threw a slider on him for the lead on lap 8 and quickly began pulling away. Meanwhile Damion Gardner was going past the Ripper and Kirby as all of them went to the top except for a few like Kirby who tried the extreme low slot, but most went backward down there.

So the train was up top and moving well as Damion creeped up on the leader. The track was black slick from the cushion on down and the boys stayed high until Damion made his move. It didnít look like much at first as he came around turn four, cocked it a little left and smoothly pulled alongside and passed the leader coming under the starters booth. I donít know how he did it, but nobody else could make it work. From here the Demon was faster than anyone and he stretched his lead way out.

Steve Ostling was driving for the Shoemakerís in the orange 0 car and he almost came to a stop on lap 27, but when the flagman threw the yellow, he kept it moving and it didnít get called for him. On the restart Damion led the Ripper with Ford, Kruseman, Davis and Kirby following behind.

As the race moved past lap 30 Damion had checked out and we had been watching Danny Sheridanís progress coming from 20th starting spot. On lap 33 he was up to about 8th when he put a slide job on one car, getting by him, and then bumped into Rick Becker sending him into the wall and up and over crashing to a stop on the track in turn one blocking the path of about five others who piled up next to him. Ostling, Hermansader, Stansberry, Mitchell, and Rodreguez were next seen working on their cars. Mitchell and Stansberry were out but Ostling was able to get his car back on the track as the field went to restart.

Tire wear was an issue for some now, but not the leader as the Ripper, Ford, Kruseman, Davis, Kirby were following on the restart and Damion pulled away again. During the last laps the Kruser went to 2nd and rip to 7th causing the points leader change that resulted. They finished with no more problems and the Demon got his 11th. Danny got hard charger with Ostling passing only two less and finishing just behind Danny in 6th.

It was late when I got to the pits and I only had time for a few visits, but looking at Ripís tires, I donít know how he finished. Damionís crew were happy and Bruce Bromme Jr reminded me why he does this, to win, but also said he was happy with great effort sometimes when they didnít win. It must be great to get to do something you love and be good at it!

It was late when we wheeled out of there thinking about Ventura next. So maybe Iíll share more of this Wagtimes world again, who knows.

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