"STEVEO" ON TOP OFF THE HEAP AFTER CORY AND COWBOY CRASH!!
You never know what's going to happen in SCRA racing, and this week's Memorial Day "Salute to Indy" 50 lapper in perfect weather was no exception. When the smoke had cleared, Mike Kirby won his 38th lifetime SCRA race and Steve Ostling became the new SCRA point leader. There was plenty of other good stuff on the track as the season approaches summer time.
Mrs Wags is done. Check here.
Kirby qualified 8th, was 2nd in his heat, won the JE Pistons Passing Masters Dash and then led every lap of the big main event. He had Rip Williams all over him most of the race, but stayed low the last part of the event, per crew chief Brett Roa's instructions, to block Rip and Steve Ostling. Both of them made serious attempts at the lead over the course of the main, but came up just short of getting by the man. Driving the Statewide Towing, Geurin's Mobile Home Service, Western Steam Systems, Stinger chassis, # 5, Mike was dominant at times pulling away on restarts, but had his hands full and came home with the big bucks in the end. He calls himself a weekend racer having fun, but when he gets serious like at this race, he's double hard to beat.
Rip Williams has put together three good races in a row where he could have won each time, but didn't receive the right breaks to get the pass to the top rung of the podium. He took many shots at Mike, and then he had to battle Steve Ostling for 2nd after "SteveO" came to the front to challenge them both. Rip, driving the Vista Paint, John Jory Corp, Crittendon Racing, Gambler, # 3, was very aggressive as he put the pressure on the eventual winner. When Ostling went under him to take over 2nd, Rip just reactivated his high-flying act and dueled him thru the lap cars until he regained the spot. Look out for Rip, as he seems to be on a roll and ready to grab the brass ring very soon.
"SteveO" Ostling has been on a tear at The PAS recently. He had two runner-ups, plus this weeks very close third in his last three trips. He continues to put the Watt Enterprises, Pacific Coast Sportswear, Stress Relief Engineering, Drake, # 29 near the front. In fact, his consistency has put him in the point lead for the first time in his career. He is so close to breaking thru for his 6th SCRA win, it is hard not to predict it is coming very soon as well. He had a great look at the lead as he chased Mike very hard, but couldn't get the needed traction to go up and around the low running leader, even though he gave it several tries. He got out of rhythm late in the race and gave up 2nd to Rip. Steve has really settled into the Fischer Motorsports entry this season, and now one wonders if the new point leaders will try to change their mind on the tour trip they already announced they couldn't afford to go on. Maybe a little money shopping will change their minds. Steve and the crew are all smiles as it is a new feeling for both being the point leader, something that has never happened to them.
The hard charger of the week, with his continued commitment to going forward, is that little demon, Damion Gardner. He ran from 10th to 4th to grab the $100 bill, and got the position from a fast Charles Davis jr in the end. He has put so much excitement into the already hot SCRA events, it's hard to rate his weekly "wild on" Damion moves. No matter where he is on the track, nor in what position, he has gotten the attention of the hot dogs of SCRA with his new fast reaction moves that mystify fans and the other drivers. His limited non-wing experience before this season doesn't begin to describe what he can do on the track. He is always trying to pass the guy in front of him, and often it is a far more experienced veteran. They know he is here, but time will tell if he causes others to step up to thwart him or he will continue to go forward and win a race or more.
Three out state drivers had pretty good results this week with Charles Davis Jr, Richard Griffin and Jeremy Sherman driving hard. Charles set fast time, ran 2nd in the semi, then made a stout run at the podium before being aced out of 4th at the flag. Charles finished this week, and that is great news for the team who has struggled to complete races recently with the SCRA. Richard, the Gasman, Griffin is still looking like a winner, but not able to close the deal in his red # 50 racer. The car is fast, but still seems to buck on him at critical times, yet they seem to be getting closer to their first elusive win this season. He jumped into second in points with his 6th place finish, which shows his consistency even though no wins have blessed the team yet this season. It will as they struggle to get the "little red sucker" back in the winner's circle. Jeremy still hasn't got the handle on this place, but grabbed 7th this week as he fought tooth and nail with the big boys of Perris again without quite roaring forward like he can. He was 3rd in his heat and the dash before dropping back to 7th on the night in the main event. It just goes to show you, the boys of SCRA are tough, and each week's winner has bragging rights for only that race.
There were other good jobs on the night as the track was racy and allowed plenty of movement from the back for some. Gary W Howard switched from the normal white Jim Ruth Stinger car that has been so fast, to the new red TCR with the same motor moved into it. Last week they broke there rear-end and dropped out of the main while Gary was running very well. This # 25 has a very pretty red paint job, and the new car put Gary 7th quick, 3rd in his heat, 4th in the dash before he ran up front the first half of the event and only faded to 8th near the end. Great job by Gabby as he is running closer to the front than he has in a long time. He and the Ruth crew are very pleased.
Point leader, Cory Kruseman, had no luck this night. He has been back east running since last Sunday and unfortunately flipped in both opportunities when he raced at Haubstadt and then in a USAC Silver Crown race. After qualifying 10th tonight, he was 2nd in his heat, and 8th in the dash, before running 5th in the main playing catch-up. He and a lap car got together at that point and he went on his head. When they banged wheels, he went into a violent quick ending flip that knocked him cold. Because of the concussion he might have received, he cancelled plans to go back to Indiana for another guest appearance in a sprint car there. His point lead disappeared and now he is 3rd in points, 20 behind Ostling. Cory has been running more than ever this season and had plans to actually run a wing car twice this coming week, but now that is on hold. His sprint car school and working on a 2nd consecutive championship in SRA might be priority, but he still is trying to improve his lot and do other stuff that could possibly put him in the big show in the future.
Tony Jones had a no-show main event weekend that put him back to 4th in points. He was 4th quick early in the night, but hit a slowing car in his heat and then backed into the wall the wall sending him to the pits for repair. He returned in the semi to encounter more trouble and was finally wreckered out of there, missing the feature and valuable points to one of his ultimate goals. The Cowboy was trying to go to the front and will be back next time in an attempt to wear the top podium spot. He wants to win every race, like most drivers, and had done a good job of taking some of the biggest paying SCRA races in the last two years.
Shiny Tires this week were interesting as some teams who have done so well in the past didn't and one who never does, did. Generally on these 50 lappers, teams spend more time going over mechanical stuff, and not playing with the baby oil as much. Some of the normal cars glistened, like Mike English, Steve Ostling, Charles Davis Jr, Rickie Gaunt, Rodney Argo, Adam Mitchell and Bobby Graham, but when the # 50 car pulled out with their tires greased for only the second time in memory, the last time was a Mike English led Bakersfield event many years ago, the award pickers, Krista Bandy and Malory Gardner, couldn't resist giving them one of the weekly awards. The big one went to consistent John Scott's team, but the Bromme/Chaffin entry was wild!
Charlie Ekiss had bad luck in the main this race as he is running fast in his # 78 car every week. He and Kruseman crashed together in the main putting them both out, and it was hard to tell what really happened from the grandstand, but the rookie always gets the nod for blame. Charlie got the Wagsbucks of a whooping $90 this week as a result of Wagtimers nearby who saw the action that I missed during the semi and dash and agreed he was a good choice. Dan Hillberg crashed his # 82 hard this week, and I later learned he not only had a bulging eye from the crash, but the car will need a front clip, so he could use some help as well. These low buck guys are struggling to get the cash needed when these incidents happen, and fans could be very helpful to them. That is really what the Wagsbucks is all about, giving help to the low buck guys, but generally only one gets it weekly and its never enough to fix the crashed car. If you want to help one of these racers, go right u to them in the pits and hand over a few bucks, it all helps!
Greg DeCaries showed up this week in Ben Lancaster's # 14. It looks like Bobby Graham has moved on to Glenn Crossno's # 38 and the northern California runner jumped in this week. Don't know what Ben's plans are for the future, except he has a new car on order, but I know Greg is happy to be back south running non-wing. Greg has won a few wing races up there this year, but has openly said he likes running with us. Greg drove for Mike Hasebe in his Hanford Radiator # 17 last year, but Mike has retired, sold his shop and turned over the racecar to his sons. They are running close to home, in wing country, and haven't ventured south yet. Greg was 17th on the night coming up from the last starting spot getting used to the car.
Bobby Cody sometimes looks like a veteran, he is running so fast. But like all rookies, some of the lessons learned are quick and to the point. If you didn't know better, he looks like he has more experience than he does, because he has jumped in so fast and really is doing very well. He ran 3rd in his heat to make the main and start in the last row. Late in the race, he tangled with another car and that sealed his 18th place finish.
If you are traveling this summer, or just looking for a complete list of racetracks around the country, Allen Brown has just the thing for you. His latest updated version of the National Speedway Directory is available now. It includes almost 1500 auto racing facilities, including 1093 oval tracks, plus drag strips and road courses. You get it all in this bible with phone numbers, exact directions to get there, what class is racing and when. It's only $12, or $21 for two, postage included, and you can get one for a friend! Send check or money order to National Speedway Directory, P.O. Box 448, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0448 for yours today. I have mine and I don't leave home without it!
Adam Mitchell warned everybody he would have a special paint job in commemoration of the Memorial Day celebrations. The paint theme was pure Army, with the green "camouflage" colors very significant and boss. Adam is always up to something as he continues to search for that move to the front. The car will be back to their normal white next race, so it was only temporary.
David Sinsley, rookie driver in the SCRA has stepped up to help his fellow racers of SCRA. He has donated not one, but two beautiful Snap-on toolboxes to Wagtimes to raise money for the SCRA racers. Both have an awesome eagle rendering on the front and are just what any body that has tools wants. The boxes are 24 x 18 x 18, so they are huge and a perfect fit for every mechanic, or in my case, someone who has tools for others to use and needs a place to hide them. One will be raffled off in the pits only, and the other out front in the grandstands for the next few months. The money earned from the raffle of these two toolboxes will go first into the upcoming August SCRA Tour, then into the Wagsdash, October 26th. You have to see them, and you will want to get your tickets and support the SCRA racers. They are $3 each or two bargain deals of 2 for $5 and 5 for $10. I will have tickets wherever I go this summer until we draw for them in October. Also get the RC car tickets at the same time. Thanks David, the only thing I need is a big truck to haul them around in.
Sorry I was so late on this week's story, but the celebration of my 60th birthday WEEK has been amazing. Let me share a little with you, as it was fun. It all started at work on Thursday when I had lunch with work friends and a surprise desert appeared with song after the meal. Then a surprise cake celebration during the afternoon break happened with more song, and I use that term loosely. I have had over 25 birthdays at Kawasaki and their sing has not improved! Then, Terry took me to the Chart House for a nice seaside view dinner that was delicious, but no song. My birthday continued on Saturday at the races when Terri Bliss and Julie Shiosaki had to plot to get the next surprise off right. Cake with the racing crews in the pits at 4 o'clock was a surprise. They had to shuffle me around to get everything situated so I would be surprised. The little autographed stuffed weenie dog was cool and the well wishes from my racing family very revered. Then cupcakes and more song in the grandstands later celebrating Sonia Bandy's birthday, and I thought I was done bulking up on cake. Imagine my surprise, when we spent the night in the motor home after the race, at Terry's insistence, and drove home early on Sunday morning. When we arrived, three of our 5 kids, and the resulting 9 grandkids, were all hidden in the house, SURPRISE, and it was the best one, ever! I guess turning 60 has its benefits, but Salmon and steak for dinner was great. Taking the four grandsons to the Angel game on Sunday was also a pleasure, as those young baseball players were enthralled with the short trip from the house. Thanks to all.
If you have been trying to get on the SCRA web page recently, the IP they were using went belly up on them. That means when they try to move the page, they can't until they get permission from the now defunct company. No body answers the phone anymore, so who knows when the legal stuff will allow it. Until that time, you can access the SCRA page at scra.nstemp.com. Everything is there and you will know when they switch again.
With a week off, who knows where I will be on Saturday night, but for sure, it has to be a fun time. June 8th we will be back at Perris and then our first trip to Santa Maria will give us a chance to check out that fun track. See you there! PS, I always update this story the next day, forgetful things usually, but corrections too, so check back!
SCRA points as of 5/26/02: 1. Steve Ostling 701, 2. Richard Griffin 690, 3. Cory Kruseman 681, 4. Tony Jones 664, 5. Jeremy Sherman 638, 6. Rip Williams 627, 7. John Scott 594, 8. Mike Kirby 581, 9. Troy Rutherford 523, 10. Damion Gardner 496, 11. Charles Davis, Jr, 12. Rickie Gaunt 462 13. Mike English 422, 14. Gary W. Howard 340, 15. Bobby Graham 314, 16. Rodney Argo 234, 17. Danny Sheridan 213, 18. Levi Jones 213, 19. Adam Mitchell 211, 20. Tony Elliott 198.