2009 Dakar Rally to be held in South America

As rumored, the 2009 Dakar Rally will be going to South America. The event will take place in Argentina and Chile in January of 2009. I’m not sure it will be the same leaving the desserts of Africa, but from what I’m reading the terrain and racing parts should be great, and it should be safer as far as terrorism, which forced the cancellation of the 2008 edition, is concerned.

USAC Silver Crown going back to “traditional” pavement cars for 2008

I just read on the USAC Website that they are re-evaluting the next generation pavement Silver Crown car that they have raced the last three years. What that means for the long term, I don’t know. However, in the short term they are going back to the cars they ran 4 years ago. I’m sure almost all people that are fans of the Silver crown cars will be happy to see the real Silver Crown cars back on the track (I know I will be).

Dakar Rally to move to Chile?

After this years unfortunate cancellation of the Dakar Rally, the Chilean government is supporting an effort to move the rally from Africa to Chile. While the idea of the Dakar rally moving out of Africa is not something on the surface that makes sense, it might be necessary for the race to continue. According to the article, if the race moved to Chile, it may also go through parts of Brazil and Argentina. Apparently, Chile already hosts a successful local rally, the Patagonia Atacama, that appears to have the same types of vehicles as the Dakar rally.

Friday night at the Chili Bowl (12 Jan 2008)

Due to a family medical emergency involving a person close to the person I was supposed to travel to the Chili Bowl I almost canceled my trip to Tulsa for this year’s race. Actually, I did, but I then decided to see if I could find any last minute airfare packages at a reasonable rate to make it out to the last two nights. Once I did, I decided to go out for Friday and Saturday night on a solo Chili run. As always, the racing was great. However, on Friday the heats weren’t up to normal Chili Bowl standards, but the main event made up with that with Dave Darland coming from 14’th to 2nd. Damion Gardner took the final qualifying night. Third was Gardner’s car owner, Jason Leffler. Local (to NJ/PA) drivers didn’t have as much luck. Andy Martin was running good, but spun out. Same with Steve Bulkwalter who ended up doing the best of the back-east contingent coming home in 10th in the A-main on Friday night, earning himself a starting spot in one of Saturday’s B-mains.

2008 stats after Friday night at the Chili Bowl:

Races: 1
Tracks: 1
States: 1

Dakar cancelled

I read to day that the Dakar Rally was canceled due to threats of terror attacks. It really is a shame that this had to happen as I really look forward to seeing those huge tracks racing through the Sahara Desert and it really seems the local people enjoy watching them come through. Apparently, it is also provides a good economic boast for the people in the areas the rally goes through.

Turkey Derby, Wall Township Speedway

On Black Friday, I decided to go to Wall Township Speedway for the first day of the 34th annual Turkey Derby. I usually only go if the weather is real nice, and while it was Sunny, it was cold so I was iffy about going, but I figured if I bundled up I’d be OK. As it turns out, I found a spot out of the wind and in the sun, and until the sun went down it wasn’t so bad despite the about 40 degree weather. I decided on the Friday of Turkey Derby instead of Saturday because I wanted to watch the TQ midgets. They, as always but on a good show, as did the Legend cars. The other divisions where as exciting, but still fun to watch. It looked like Factory Stock victory was going to go to a driver from Buffalo NY, but with 4 laps left, cars he was coming up to lap were going three-wide and wrecked, and he couldn’t get by them. What a shame as it would have been great to see the out-of-towner get the win.

My 2007 stats after my Turkey derby Friday

Races: 27
Tracks: 18 (12 new) (162 lifetime)
States: 16 (8 new) (43 lifetime)

Rockingham Speedway

As the race fans that follow this blog have probably heard, Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina is re-opening next year under new track owner, “Indiana” Andy Hillenburg . Well, tickets just went on sale for the two scheduled events in 2008, and I managed to get a couple seats in the top row near pit exit. I’m really excited about the ARCA race in early May as Rockingham was a great track for stock car racing before it was shut down after the NASCARCup race in early 2004. Although I always liked Rockingham on TV, I never saw a race on the oval. I did see an SCCA regional event on the road course once. The other race next year is the season-ending Hooter’s Pro Cup event on November 1st. If the events prove successful, I expected to see a few more races in 2009. Maybe on the same weekends, or maybe Andy will add a third weekend. I’d really love to see a USAC Silver Crown race at the track, a NASCAR Truck series race, or maybe even the IRL race that was rumored over the summer (although I’m not holding my breath for the Truck or IRL race).

Penn Can Speedway, 16 September 2007

On Sunday, September 16, I ventured to Penn Can Speedway for the 100 lap, $5000 to win King of the Can dirt modified race. This was my third race ever at the track that is about 15 mile south of Binghamton, NY. The first two were quite good racing wise (and running the show-wise) so I was looking forward to what, amazingly, was my first race I attended in Pennsylvania this year. The 2007 version of the King of the Can race didn’t disappoint. A good field of over 50 modifieds showed up including such invaders as Pat Ward, Billy Decker, Danny Johnson, Alan Johnson, and Jeff Strunk. This combined with the quality group of drivers that normally run Penn Can lead to a good race. They only took 3 cars out of each of 6 heat races and some good drivers didn’t qualify through the heats and had to qualify through the consi. One of these was Billy Decker. Brain Weaver also had trouble qualifying and ended up taking a provisional and started in the rear of the field. Both Decker and Weaver were charging from the back when Decker come up on slower traffic in the middle of turns 3 and 4, and when trying to avoid the slower cars, he spun out taking a few other cars, including Weaver with him. This was a shame because I think either Weaver or Decker could have seriously challenged the race winner. As it was, up until about 10 laps to go, Jeff Rudalavage (who started on the pole) and Joey Grammes had a great battle for the lead. Jeff pulled ahead slightly over the last 10 laps and took a popular win. Grammes held on to second in front of Stewart Friesen, who finished third in the Grammes team’s back-up car. Overall a great race, maybe the best modified race I saw all year, even if the winner came from the pole. The only downside to Penn Can is that it is a little dusty, but with the racing they have, I won’t complain about a little dirt in my Hot Chocolate (it was pretty cold, after all, so I didn’t go for anything chilled to drink).

BTW: I seem to have missed a race in New Egypt that I went to in early August in my blog, but it wasn’t anything special and I don’t remember much that was all that interestign to report, so I won’t write a separate post and will just increase my count here by two races instead of one.

My 2007 stats after the King of the Can race:

Races: 26
Tracks: 18 (12 new) (162 lifetime)
States: 16 (8 new) (43 lifetime)

Beech Ridge Speedway, Maine, 29 July 2007

On Sunday afternoon, July 29, 2007, I went to Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine for NEMA winged midget race. Although I’d rather see a non-winged midget race on dirt, the NEMA midges put on a good show with their winged cars on the Beech Ridge pavement. The track was pretty much a circle as far as he groove went so the cars went awful fast around the track. The officials also did a great job starting on time and keeping the races going. Joey Payne put on a good show moving through the field but once he got to third he didn’t have anything for the two rookies in front of him. Jeremy Frankoski took the win, followed by Aaron Wall. Some of the top names in NEMA were no shows as many of their drivers also run supermodifieds with ISMA who had a big race out in Ohio. The NEMA race was part of what they called the four cylinder nationals that involved hobby stock type cars and 4 cyl. modifieds. I hope that Beech Ridge does this race again, but hopefully on an ISMA off weekend. Anyway, another state down! Maybe I will make my goal of seeing races in all 50 states before I’m 40 a year or two early!

2007 stats after my first race every in Maine:

Races: 24
Tracks: 17 (12 new) (162 lifetime)
States: 15 (8 new) (43 lifetime)

Richmond Int’l Raceway, 30 June 2007

On June 30, I attended a double admission, double header at Richmond International Raceway. It was supposed be this way, but rains came and canceled Friday evenings race ,so they opened up the track early on Saturday for the USAC Sprint car race, which was dominated by Bobby East. After that race, they cleared the track and I headed with my friend Walt to the BBQ. Once again, good food all things considered. After the BBQ, we went back in, with a separate ticket to see the USAC Silver Crown (won by Bryn Tyler) and IRL (won by Dario Franchitti) races . All-in all, another great weekend for a great price at Richmond. Due to the double admission and the fact the Sprints were supposed to run on Friday, I’m counting this as two races.

2007 totals after the Richmond weekend:

Races: 22 & 23
Tracks: 16 (11 new) (161 lifetime)
States: 14 (7 new) (42 lifetime)

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