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October 26, 2014

By Ken Wagner

The only Trophy Cup races of the 21 year run that I missed were when the Wagsdash shared the same night for a few years. Dave and I even switched dates, but we still butted heads. Other than that shirt period I love me some inverted racing and this year was no different as the 21st annual event geared up on Thursday night with 84 cars of the 102 that signed up actually turned a wheel. The 20th edition last year had Kyle Larson winning in a last corner pass for the win and I said then, you’ll never see another one like that, he is that amazing! Not to fear, there was plenty of excitement in the three days for everyone.

For my pics from the Trophy Cup Click here to view. For the Trophy Cup feeds Click here to view! For the Fomosa drags Click here to view! For Steve Lafond foto's pics Click here to view! For the Doug Allen Photos click here to view.

I drove up on Wednesday and shared dinner with Trophy Dave, his wife Muriel and her sister Marilyn at Cool Hand Luke, about the only steakhouse in the area that we all liked. Although my medium cooked "special" porterhouse turned out to look like shoe leather it was so overdone, I was enjoying the company so much I ignored it not being like my normal steak preference. This weekend would be the culmination of a lot of hard work for trophy Dave and his “Trophy Cup Crew” since last year’s event and they were ready to get it going. Most of his TC Crew has been with him from the start, so like my Wagtimers doing what they did for our 20 years of Wagsdash’s, Trophy Dave’s Crew was dialed in and the weekend went off just like always, they raised a lot of money for Make A Wish, had a great race and fed a lot of people in the three days.

Thursday the first race day started off for me at the pit gate at 10 AM with Trophy Dave and Muriel’s sister Marilyn greeting the drivers as they came in. The daring young men signed two Trophy Cup decorated front wings and a driver’s helmet that would be in the annual huge drawing that features many items from kitchen wares to racing stuff, all donated and all money going to the Make a Wish foundation like always. That grand total was destined to go over one million dollars before Saturday night was done. The many drawing items were showcased each day and fans could buy tickets and place them in the box in front of the item they wanted for the drawing later. I picked the pedal car to stuff with my tickets, but alas, my ticket wasn’t pulled! This is a simple and effective way to make money. It was changed to a drawing from a silent auction years ago when some vociferous silent auction bidders couldn’t respect the time ending and raised a stink over their running out of time to sign before the thing ended! Too much BS, thus the change. I had a similar problem with one of my silent auctions and nothing would do until I promised the red faced bidder and exact duplicate of what he missed out on because he wasn't quick enough to timely bid. Until the drivers meeting at 3:30, the booth did a big business on t-shirts and programs and getting the drivers all signed in.

Did I mention that ALL the money collected from the t-shirt sales, the many drawings, the auction on Saturday during the spaghetti feed, the live auction during intermission Saturday of the 5 drivers driving suits, the candy donations taken thru the grandstands on Saturday night, the 3 feed donations and any and all other monies collected, it all went into the Make a Wish check that was presented on Saturday night. The total was $126,000 at last count.

After closing the booth down, I headed over to the building where all three feeds were held. After Thursday night, the featured food was some huge chili dogs and bottled cokes. The tables were all set up to go for the first night and off I went to visit a little before the racing started. Then I took a spin in the pits and back inside the midway to visit with fans coming in to watch the first night of racing. I know a lot of them, so there was plenty of visiting going on and I was really comfortable sitting on my little 3 wheel electric ”bike” while many came by. Man I have missed my many race fans on this long year where I went to only 5 events and now a total of 7 race days with the Ovals left ahead. Normally I have probably averaged over 50 the last 10 years and there was a time when I was in the running for the most by any fan around the country, often over 100 races a year. Now down to 10, maybe the answer is to move to Ventura or Santa Maria where Saturday night racing happens. Here in Vegas, there was only one night of sprint car racing all year, and the WOO were on the card with 360 non wingers, so I passed.

I only took my camera into the grandstands only one night, so I took very few pics of the cars on the track. I would sort them out and post sometime in the week, but little I take from the top of the grandstands is worthy of publication. So you can see what the cars look like. I sat up with the Trophy Cup Crew and friends all 3 nights and enjoyed the fun from there.

On Friday the 84 cars were split in two groups with the A group led by Kyle Hirst and his 13.920 qualifying time. The B group had David Gravel lead them with a 14.208. Each group had 5 heats and when we started, the first three were so fast there was little passing. As the track came in it got better. It was racier with the B group and many of the fast guys didn’t make the main thru the heats and only the top two went directly there.

Kyle Hirst started the C main on the pole and won going away. imagine that. The 20 lap B main saw him start 7th and work his way into the lead and win again! Roger Crockett came from 16th to make the A main. In the A main, this time Hirst started 3rd and quickly dispatched Terry McCarl and went on to sweep the top three features. He was followed by Tim Kaeding, Terry McCarl, Rico Abreu and Mason Moore. I have to admit, there were a lot of cars that I was unfamiliar with, but some were very racy.

After the race there was a surge out of the grandstands heading down to the “feed Barn” as it was chili dogs for all. I zipped around on my 3 wheel electric scooter and took a lot of pics before getting my own dog. It was so late I didn’t eat all the chili because I know better, but it was a good dog. As the band played and the crowd slowed down, the cleanup began. When most of it was done, and a few hung to try to empty the beer keg, I took off for the motel and hit the sack by 2 am.

Friday AM dawned nice and sunny and after the motel breakfast, I headed back to the track jack. The Trophy Cup Crew were decorating for the Taco feed after the races that night and I helped a little and took some pics before it was done. I thought about going to Famosa for the reunion drags that were three days from Friday thru Sunday, but decided to save it for my trip home on Sunday as it was on the way. I spent the day riding around and visiting and hit the pits for some pics and visits. My buddy Jimbo, from my much remembered Kittle days of race traveling, was working on Biggie’s car with Randy Hanagan up, so it was fun listening to his first wing experience working on these types of race cars. He was having fun and noted that life in general was fun working on sprinters and his job. He bought a house in Ventura, so is settled into life there. The rest of the day flew by and I grabbed a Tri Tip sandwich and headed into the grandstands sans camera.

Only 80 of the original 84 returned Friday and the racing was on. This time the B group qualified first with David Gravel again getting fast time with 14.097 and the A group saw Justyn Cox do the deed with a 14.597. A total of 10 heats ran with the first two going to the main again, with the next two to the B and so on. Jeremy Chisum won the D main, Dominic Scelzi the C and Jason Statler the B before the A lined up with the top 12 inverted by points.

Colby Copeland was on the pole and won going away after being passed a time or two before it ended. Roger Crockett came from a ways back to challenge the winner, but fell a few feet short on the drag race from the last turn to the flag. On Saturday the top 48 in points would run 6 heats with the top 20 in points moving directly to the A main. The next 20 go to the B main and the rest will try to come thru the D and C mains to move up.

Ahhh, the taco feed was next as big burritos and great tacos were handed out to the long line of fans and racers who came to chow down and have a few beverages. More pics, a taco for me and then the cleanup started again. I got out of there about 2 AM this time and back to the motel where The Barber was my roommate for two nights and he was already asleep.

Up around 7 am, as The Barber was off walking, and I cleaned up and knocked the cobwebs from my brain. I had breakfast and headed to the track again for the final day. Ray Williams and Ernie Gomez were doing their thing getting the spaghetti sauce warming up while the rest of the Trophy Cup Crew was decorating the tables again. This time many pumpkins were involved and when they were done it was very decorative and festive for the afternoon spaghetti feed. Off I went to see a few people and check out the pit action before it was time to go eat.

People were coming in to the feed barn about noon and the spaghetti started coming out of the kitchen. Some very large sprint car renderings on canvas were part of the live silent auction along with an autographed helmet, a large bottle of wine etched with the 2014 Trophy Cup on it, and a few more items that were up for grabs. There was some interesting jostling for the last signing before Trophy Dave called it an end and about $6000 was added to the Make a Wish pot. Even after closing down the feed, there were more who came in and the final came when the band got to eat before the cleanup began in earnest.

The drivers could pick their best night of points earned, Thursday or Friday, and eliminate the worst, thus giving them two shots to get it right. After three D mains where the top 4 went to the C main, there were 6 heats next with the top 48 cars. I won’t give you a rundown on the race, check with Loud Pedal if you want to see, because it’s just too much to tell! Willie Croft won the race from the 3rd row and became the closest to the front winner ever when he was 7 points ahead of Mason Moore at the end. The $20,000 was his biggest payday ever!

All the hot dogs from the rear had their problems with my pick Roger Crockett coming the farthest from 21st up to 7th. Tim Kaeding was looking fast when he slammed the wall on a restart and slid across to collect Rico Abreu , taking them both out. Rico jumped out of his car quickly and rushed over to pull Tim out of his car in a dramatic flair in front of the crowd. Shane Golobic broke a rear-end, David Gravel and Kyle Hirst changed tires on a red flag and both went to the back. None of them had any luck in going to the front.

It was an interesting race with little of the drama from the year before, but still some good action from the back like normal. It was a little calm after Kyle Larson’s barnburner win over Brad Sweet at the end last year making it hard to compare, but inverted starts should be the way we race these days, the fans would love it.

Wow, another late night by the time I got my scooter loaded up and got back to the motel. Morning came early as I was in Famosa by 9 am tooling around looking at the hot rods and race cars until a little after noon. I think Sunday is a bad day to go to view the old cars as many had left and the walkway where the oldies were parked had no fuel cars firing up for the fans like normal, so it was a little slow. I still enjoyed it and had a few visits with familiar faces. I visited with Walt Stevens, a drag racing hall of famer and his High Speed Motorsports front motored top fueler bunch before they were off to run the 2nd round. They won and then I was gone as I headed home with more memories of the old front motor dragsters. Exhausted from the four days, but happy!

With the Oval Nationals coming up I will attend and help Steve Lafond in his quest to keep his Lafond Jar of change Hard Charger Award going for the 20th something year. I will bring my change counter "bucket" for those of you with change for it, but won’t set up a booth, do you’ll have to find me. I’ll put it in the basket on my scooter so you can drop money in if I’m not there, but just find me. Of course if you see Steve, give it to him! The money will go to the CRA hard charger of the night along with a special bottle of Crown Royal labeled especially for this race.

I am planning on going to the Arizona Hall of Fame night at the museum on the night before the year ending CRA race at Canyon, but probably not going to the race as I will be home on Friday. It has been a long year and congrats to Damion Gardner the two in a row champion of USAC/CRA and his Alexander Team. Nobody had a thing for them this season. I am planning on going to the NHRA drags on either Friday or Saturday this week here in Las Vegas, so maybe I’ll see a few of you there. One day is always enough and I hope the wind doesn’t blow. Last year I was going but the wind was so strong in the area it was hard to walk straight up, so I passed.

See ya on the road!

Saturday Night:

A main - Wlllie Croft, Greg DeCaires, Mitchell Faccinto, Mason Moore, Bud Kaeding, Carson Macedo, Roger Crockett, Terry McCarl, Steven Tiner, Kyle Hirst, Justyn Cox, Cory Eliason, Brent Kaeding, Henry Van Dam, Jonathan Allard, Colby Copeland, D. J. Netto, Tim Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Shane Golobic, Tim Kaeding, Rico Abreu, Dominic Scelzi, Scott Russell

B main - Allard, DeCaires, Faccinto, Scelzi, Mike Faria, Jason Meyers, Danny Faria Jr., Brad Furr, Randy Hannagan, Jason Solwold, Matt Peterson, Sean Becker, Kurt Nelson, Justin Sanders, Billy Butler, Travis Rilat, Jason Statler, Herman Klein, Shawn Wright, Jamie McFadden, John Carney II, Andy Forsberg, Seth Nunes

C main - Becker, Wright, Sanders, Rilat, Colton Heath, Heath Duinkerken, Reece Goetz, Trey Starks, Jayme Barnes, Scott Parker, Chase Johnson, Jeremy Chism, Jake Morgan, Koen Shaw, Colin Baker, Austin Wheatley, Landon Hurst, Bradley Terrell, Jonathan Cornell, Adam Walter

Top ten in final points - Willie Croft 426, Mason Moore 419, Roger Crockett 415, Carson Macedo 412, Bud Kaeding 410, Mitchell Faccinto 406, Kyle Hirst 404, Terry McCarl 401, Steven Tiner 397, Greg DeCaires 390

Friday Night:

A main 1 Colby Copeland 2 Roger Crockett 3 David Gravel 4 Kyle Hirst 5 Andy Gregg 6 Shane Golobic 7 Tim Kaeding 8 Brent Kaeding 9 Carson Macedeo 10 Justyn Cox 11 Henry Van Dam 12 Willie Croft 13 Mitchell Faccinto 14 Bud Kaeding 15 Jason Statler 16 Randy Hannagan 17 James McFadden 18 John Carney 19 D.J. Netto 20 Seth Nunes 21 Andy Forsberg 22 Mason Moore 23 Mike Faria 24 Steven Tiner (DNS)

B main 1 Jason Statler 2 Steven Tiner 3 Randy Hannagan 4 James McFadden 5 Craig Stidham 6 Jonathan Allard 7 Matt Peterson 8 Jason Meyers 9 Reece Goetz 10 Colton Heath 11 Justin Sanders 12 Shawn Wright 13 Dominic Scelzi 14 Brad Furr 15 Bradley Terrell 16 Austin Wheatley 17 Cory Eliason 18 Heath Duinkerken 19 Greg DeCaires 21 Chase Johnson 22 Travis Rilat 23 Jake Morgan 24 Trey Starks 20 Brock Lemley

C main 1 Dominic Scelzi 2 Greg DeCaires 3 Austin Wheatley 4 Cory Eliason 5 Jayme Barnes 6 Danny Faria Jr. 7 Sean Becker 8 Herman Klein 9 Steven Kent 10 Jonathan Cornell 11 Dustin Golobic 12 Adam Walters 13 Geoff Ensign 14 Jeremy Chisum 15 Robbie Price 16 Colin Baker 17 Kurt Nelson 18 Garen Linder

D main 1 Jeremy Chisum 2 Dustin Golobic 3 Geoff Ensign 4 Kurt Nelson 5 Koen Shaw 6 Roberto Kirby 7 Jace Vander Weerd 8 Collin Markle 9 Scott Parker 10 Rob Lindsey 11 Luke Didiuk 12 Dylan Black 13 Billy Butler 14 Anthony Simone 15 Mike Stallings 16 Tomas Bray Top 15 in points after the second night:

1. David Gravel 282 2. Roger Crockett 274 3. Colby Copeland 274 4. Tim Kaeding 273 5. Rico Abreu 272 6. Kyle Hirst 272 7. Andy Gregg 267 8. Mason Moore 266 9. Terry McCarl 265 10. Brent Kaeding 261 11. Shane Golobic 260 12. Steven Tiner 257 13. Henry Van Dam 257 14. Carson Macedo 257 15. Justyn Cox 256

Thursday night:

D Main 1 Seth Nunes 2 Kenny Allen 3 Colton Heath 4 Steven Kent 5 Reece Goetz 6 Landon Hurst 7 Dylan Black 8 Kyle Miller 9 Luca Romanzzi 10 Jeremy Chisum 11 Adam Walters 12 Nick McColloch 13 Mike Schott 14 Mike Stallings 15 Anthony Simone 16 Roberto Kirby 17 Geoff Ensign 18 Dustin Golobic 19 Jared Goerges 20 Jace Vander Weerd

C main 1 Kyle Hirst 2 Willie Croft 3 Bud Kaeding 4 Mike Faria 5 Randy Hannagan 6 Chase Johnson 7 Colin Baker 8 Jayme Barnes 9 Austin Wheatley 10 Steven Kent 11 Collin Markle 12 Heath Duinkerken 13 Garen Linder 14 Robbie Price 15 Jonathan Cornell 16 Colton Heath 17 Seth Nunes 18 Scott Parker 19 Kyler Shaw 20 Jake Morgan 21 Kenny Allen 22 Bradley Terrell 23 Andy Gregg

B main 1 Kyle Hirst 2 Steven Tiner 3 Mason Moore 4 Roger Crockett 5 Shane Golobic 6 Bud Kaeding 7 Andy Forsberg 8 Mitchell Faccinto 9 James McFadden 10 Greg DeCaires 11 Jason Statler 12 Jason Meyers 13 Sean Becker 14 Henry Van Dam 15 Mike Faria 16 Justin Sanders 17 Trey Starks 18 Shawn Wright 19 Colby Copeland 20 Travis Rilat 21 Koen Shaw 22 Willie Croft 23 John Carney 24 Jake Haulot

A main 1 Kyle Hirst 2 Tim Kaeding 3 Terry McCarl 4 Rico Abreu 5 Mason Moore 6 David Gravel 7 Roger Crockett 8 D.J. Netto 9 Herman Klein 10 Danny Faria Jr. 11 Steven Tiner 12 Justyn Cox 13 Cory Eliason 14 Jonathan Allard 15 Brock Lemley 16 Craig Stidham 17 Brad Furr 18 Kurt Nelson 19 Billy Butler 20 Brent Kaeding 21 Jason Solwold 22 Dominic Scelzi 23 Matt Peterson 24 Carson Macedeo

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