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August 22, 2010

By Ken Wagner

I’ve taken some fun racing trips over the years and my first venture to the ASCS Topless Tour was a mixture of rain and short car counts with racing that brings back memories of Midwest mother nature events of days gone by. The first two stops included 14 cars, then 21 at the next race, with plenty of 360’s interspaced, and the last eventat KC had 26 cars and a more normal race night. If you can call upper 90’s with killer humidity a normal night, but maybe in KC it is.

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I flew in to Kansas City a day early and missed my CRA race at Santa Maria. I hitched myself to Leroy Beddingfield and spent some time with him and his wife Alice when not racing. It was a calm vacationlike timewhen we weren’t off to the races. We enjoyed some good Kansas City Barbeque and the first race was in Rock Rapids, IA on Sunday.

Sunday morning was nice and sunny as we drove 6 hours or so to the area and rode to the track with Mike Clark and Jack Kraemer. Very friendly folks welcomed us but the grandstand was very different. It had a low cover and some unusually narrow isles to walk up. Two screens protected the fans and a number of posts made this one almost impossible to get any good shots of the action. With two heats and two qualifiers, plus a 30 lap feature, gave us a smattering of action from the top five cars. Darin Clayton was the hot shoe of the night as he ran away from everyone and swept the three events he ran in.

The trip to I-80 was interrupted by a visit to Drover restaurant in Omaha that was known to Mike. A whiskey New York steak was scrumptious. Then it was on to the motel and then the track. It looked a little cloudy, but the rain wasn’t due until later in the night. Still only 14 cars came to race, but plenty of modifieds and late models to pass the time. The first heat realized a hard crash by Jack Dover into the guard rail and his car got stuck in the fence as the cage rammed the k-rail hard. He actually climbed out, but soon was on his way to the hospital. Later we learned he was in intensive care with a concussion, broken ribs and collapsed lung. Not a good report, but he was improving as the days went on

The delay was too long, and the wait for the return of the ambulance was lengthy, and we could see the rain coming off to the left. They got the heats and qualifiers run, two each, and a zillion heats of the other two classes before firing up the sprinters for their main. As a young lady next to me showed me the storm cell on her phone, I just got up and went to the car. The rest of my group just hung in there as the rain came and the event was called. Back to the motel we went. The rainout finished the feature on Thursday night, but we didn’t leave KC to see the win by Casey Shuman as he led from start to finish. That sounds exciting.

We drove back to Leroy’s house on Tuesday to have lunch with Alice and await the weather report for the race at Sedalia. It was obvious it was going to be a little wet down there, so we stayed in town and went to dinner at the Red Lobster for some fish. The event did complete late in the night amongst plenty of rain showers with Brady Bacon winning.

We had a couple of days off so did some food and fun things. The most amazing museum I think I’ve been to in a long time turned out to be all about a steamboat named Arabia. The boat was built in 1853 and sunk in the Missouri River in 1856. It was loaded with 200 tons of new goods headed for 16 stops along the river, but it didn’t make one stop and all was sunk. An attempt in 1890 to recover 400 barrels of whiskey failed and the boat stayed there until 20 years ago. A group of people that included one of Leroy’s work buddies located the boat in a cornfield a half mile from the river where it was for over 100 years and began the dig.

Over the last 20 years everything you might have wanted to buy in the local trader store came up. From clothes to pots and pans, dishes, weapons, bottled fruit and other foods, and 3-1/2 million beads destined to be trading items with the Indians came out of the hole. It took 30 pumps 24 hours a day to get to it all and everything was flash froze until they could process to put in the museum Things like boots and even wood items could take 3 or 4 months to process. The museum had one paddlewheel mounted and spinning with much of the boat boilers and running gear mounted for viewing. When they finished recovering everything but the very bottom of the boat, they sealed it back up and corn is growing there today. They are still processing the recovered items, but they are looking to dig another one from a list of 10 they have on their goal board. A very interesting day in there was had by all who went to see that.

We ate more good barbeque at a Smoke Box place and then Thursday happened. Highlight of the day was a tenderloin at Christy’s and then a visit with a Corvette owner in Leroy’s neighborhood. Friday and the hopes of a good race came along. but mother nature dashed those hopes with a wild thunder and lightning storm that got everyone’s attention. Can you spell RAINOUT!

Time for a little downtown visiting and a lunch at a busy place called Grinders before hitting the track with blue skies and some white clouds. A packed house welcomed 26 cars with the hope of some great racing. It was pretty obvious when the track was ready before they packed it with 3 pickups, so it remained sealed during the storms and didn’t create a cushion during the night. It was racy, but not heavy at all.

Three heats and 3 qualifiers made for some better racing, but only 6 or so cars had a shot at the win. Dave Darland won his heat and his qualifier to start on the front row with Robert Ballou. After a crash filled first start, Double “D” took off and was never threatened for 30 laps with the red # 81 Ballou following in his wake. Bryan Clauson drove the Jesse Hockett # 75 to third from the middle of the pack for the hard charger award given in honor of Jesse Hockett. He was the show! Darland got the pedal car and $10,000 for a pretty good night. Robert Ballou won the tour title and some extra cash.

My overall impression of my first TNT tour was, as you can expect, not particularly entertained. Not enough cars, the point system puts the fastest in front and there was little racing for the money. When cars lap cars for most of the passing, that’s what you get, just going fast. Lakeside Speedway finale was the best of the tour with more cars and a smooth track. I didn't see the honored Ron $human so I must have missed him. I had a fun trip with more visiting than racing and we will see if they can do another tour next year.

Wagsdash 2010 is just around the corner and I need some help. Get involved with me as there are many ways to help the low buck racers race that they will benefit from. I gathered in a little money on the trip, but definitely need more. Remember the golf tourney that will be fun and raise good money for the race. We may have a casino night after the golf, if it can be worked out. Also a pitch and putt tourney is being created for those who don’t hit the long ball on the big course. It’s all good!

Lakeside 08/21/10 Feature (30 Laps): 1. 39-Dave Darland, 2. 81-Robert Ballou, 3. 75-Bryan Clauson, 4. 35-Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. 14-Coleman Gulick, 6. 4g-Casey Shuman, 7. 2-Gary Taylor, 8. 99-Brady Bacon, 9. 7c-Chris Morgan, 10. 19-Patrick Stasa, 11. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 12. 98-J.C. Bland, 13. 96-Cody Brewer, 14. 91-Jeff Stasa, 15. 51-Doug Martens, 16. 88-Chad Tye, 17. 90-Patrick Budde, 18. 12-Andy Helm, 19. 69-Mike Moore, 20. 23-Mitch Wissmiller, 21. 92-Daron Clayton, 22. 39g-Matt Goodnight, 23. 21x-Kyle Cummins, 24. 38-Logan Walker, 25. 7jr-J.D. Black. DNS: 76j-Paul Flynn.

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