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There were well over 400 friends of Dean Thompson packed into the San Pedro Sheraton Grand Ballroom on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the memories of the popular driver who remains # 1 in the hearts of his fans. An unknown “host” made sure the food and drink were plentiful as some of racings greats paid homage to the man who still has the most non wing victories in CRA and SCRA history books.

A huge viewing screen featuring old Thompson tapes pieced together by Sandra Bartosh played on in the afternoon as Parnelli Jones, Louis Senter, Bob Hogle, Jay East, Rick Goudy, Ron Shaver, Jimmy Oskie, Rip Williams, Mike Spencer, Verne Sweeney, and dozens of other significant visitors gathered around to celebrate the memories of Deano. His old crew from the “little Red Sucker” attended including Bruce Bromme Jr, Eric Kaufman, Gary Tanaka and Mom Marge Bromme.

Dean’s sister Barbara got out of the hospital to tell a brilliant story of her brother and gave appreciations to many in the crowd by name for their support of his life and career. She gave new meaning to the life and times of Dean and said he made sure she knew he was number 1 always. The proud lady had the crowd roaring over the little things she shared with them.

Former Ascot announcer, and current Perris infield mike man, Chris Holt, then took the crowd through some of Deans many accomplishments including most lifetime victories, most lifetime fast times and most victories in a year. He is still on the top of the leader board in non-wing victories and the only one over 100. Chris was there through Dean’s storied career and was an emotional story teller as he entertained the attentive crowd with his own Deano stories. It was a fitting tribute to one of the finest drivers, and a hall of famer, from the Ascot era. Rest in peace Deano, you are Mr Ascot.

The Oval Nationals is a few days away and it will settle the NWWC picture with the top three point leaders currently USAC drivers. Thee is not much chance of any SCRA driver to sit on top when it’s over on Saturday. Remember last week I stated there wasn’t much chance for anyone by Cory Kruseman to catch J J either, so what do I know after he and Bud went ahead of him? I know that Cory Kruseman, Bud Kaeding and J J Yeley will have nothing on their mind but winning, not only the $30,000 winners check, but add the NWWC winners share, another tidy sum, and they will be very focused.

So the questions of the week include the following: Can Cory Krsueman overcome his record setting teammate, J J Yeley, and win the biggest race of his career? Will J J shake off last weeks Manzy DNF’s and win at the PAS again? Can Bud win without crew chief Davey Jones who moved on to a great deal with IRL? Will Tony Elliott ride his success last week to two in a row? Can the Cowboy dominate the PAS like he has from time to time? Will the Ripper put his “old” bones in the winner circle in yet another 50 lapper? Will the Demon come back to life and show why he was the most talked about driver in years? Can Rambo do what he did at Granite City and beat the USAC hot dogs at their own game? Is it time for the real Gasman to win the big one at Perris as he claims another championship? Will Kirbyman do what he did a few years ago and run away from the pack at the Oval? Will Super Rickie win another Oval or maybe even Rodney Argo? The scenarios are unlimited and now it’s time to put up or shut up.

Nobody can handicap these big races successfully, especially with all the heavy hitters coming to the PAS for the biggest event of the year, but I think it will be a surprise winner this year! Look for the SCRA’s finest, including the Cowboy, the Demon, the Gasman, the Ripper, Rambo, and the Kirbyman to pull a surprise on the heavy favorites. It would be just like Super Rickie Gaunt to grab the brass ring laughing, now wouldn’t it! With the cooler weather now, the track should hold up fine and the cushion will go to the top and the racings going to be wild. I can’t wait to get there.

On Thursday I will be riding with push truck driver Skip Creith all night so hope to have fun doing that. It will be the third time in my career as a sprint car fan that I get to do it. The first time was at Ascot in the last year, and it was a thrill. The next time was with Workin’ Woody at Eagle Speedway in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was first a mudbath, then a ball. Now Skip will be giving me the bird’s eye view at Perris, so waive at me as we go by! On Friday I will be checking out the bean bag deal and defending champion yzman in action. I wonder if the Sleeze has tried this form of entertainment?

A little more business here as there are still laps for sale for the Oval Nationals and you can still get on one, and in the drawing for the NASCAR hood. Get your Wagsdash t-shirt and your last chance to win the beautiful Mrs Wags T-shirt quilt will be Saturday night when Kim Donner will draw the lucky winner during intermission, and I hope it’s me. Naw, I can’t win and I can’t get Mrs Wags to make me one either. For those who haven’t got their Wagsdash payoff, I’ll have that with me as well, so look me up. It is winding down and I guess I am, too!

NWWC Points as of 11/02/03
1 Cory Kruseman 515, 2 Bud Kaeding 514, 3 J.J. Yeley 493, 4 Levi Jones 472, 5 Troy Rutherford 449, 6 Damion Gardner 437, 7 Richard Griffin 389, 8 Mike Spencer 285, 9 Rip Williams 272, 10 Josh Ford 240, 11 Mike English 230, 12 Boston Reid 211, 13 Alan Ballard 156, 14 Jimmy Crawford 150, 15 Charles Davis, Jr. 125, 16 Tony Jones 90, 17 Adam Mitchell 79, 18 Bob Ream, Jr. 69, 19 Rickie Gaunt 61, 20 Jac Haudenschild 58, 21 Seth Wilson 52, 22 Mel Murphy 35, 23 Ronnie Clark 29.

SCRA points as of 11/02/03
1. Richard Griffin 2083, 2. Troy Rutherford 1985, 3. Damion Gardner 1946, 4. Rip Williams 1708, 5. Steve Ostling 1283, 6. Mike Spencer 1263, 7. Tony Jones 1156, B. Rickie Gaunt 1101, 9. Josh Ford 1069, 10. Mike English 1004, 11. Cory Kruseman 967, 12. Levi Jones 946, 13. Adam Mitchell 888, 14. Alan Ballard 805, 15. Charles Davis, Jr 714, 16. Seth Wilson 628, 17. Verne Sweeney 601, 18. J.J. Yeley 592, 19. Brian Venard 588, 20. Mike Kirby 558.

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