Racin' & Different Stuff:

                                      By Tom Avenengo

                                         Volume # 130






I’d have to say that this news, which came out just after my column went in last week, is somewhat shocking, since I, and I imagine most of you were not aware of what was going on at Dirt Track Digest, behind closed doors:

“An agreement was reached this week to start a new chapter in the history of popular racing website Dirt Track Digest. George and GT Smith along with Mike Mallett purchased controlling interest from Adam Ross and Clinton Geoffrey.  Ross and Geoffrey will maintain a minority stake in the site as the new team assumes daily operation and planning.”






I would imagine that my columns will remain the same, but don’t be surprised that they have a major change in the not to distant future.  I’m not happy at all as to how they come out on DTD, in the format I have now.





It was said that this was the race of races – the Formula Libra race that was held on the mile and a half road course at Lime Rock, CT – back in 1959.  I was there that day.  The very first time I saw a midget come down the hill, onto the main straight, I thought for sure he was going to wreck.  Actually, Lime Rock was a fairly nice track for midgets.  Heck, they even ran midget races there on days that the sports cars raced.

Here are a couple of different write-ups on that race in Lime Rock:

Formula Libra at Lime Rock



Note:  Photo of Ward in the # 1 Midget – that’s not the car he ran at Lime Rock.  The last photo with him behind the two sports cars was taken at Lime Rock.  Also, to the best of my knowledge, the midget he ran at Lime Rock was not built in 1946 (of course I could be in error here), but was first run by the late Johnny Ritter in September of 1947, at the Danbury, Ct track – a race he won.







NASCAR overpolicing in case of Denny Hamlin?


By JENNA FRYER (AP Auto Racing Writer) The Associated Press


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- What a great NASCAR race that was at Las Vegas! The new Gen-6 car sure put on an amazing show, one for the ages, for sure.

That's the kind of effusive praise we should expect to hear from drivers the rest of the year, right?

Anything short of that could lead to another shut-up-and-drive fine like the one levied last week against Denny Hamlin, who was popped for $25,000 for having the audacity to give an honest answer when asked to assess NASCAR's new car after its second race.

Hamlin is digging in his heels for this fight, though, saying he'll be suspended before he'll pay the fine. In reality, he'll first go through an appeals process, and if NASCAR is smart, it will quietly make this whole mess go away.

NASCAR claims Hamlin committed one of those heinous ''actions detrimental to stock car racing'' when he politely summed up the afternoon at Phoenix with this scathing assessment: ''I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning.''

Many fans remember what the generation five - known as the ''Car of Tomorrow'' - was at the beginning because Kyle Busch notoriously trashed it in Victory Lane after winning its debut race. Not wanting this new car to gain the same reputation, NASCAR apparently took a strong stand against Hamlin because it will not permit its drivers to ''denigrate the racing product.''

Only Hamlin wasn't trashing the racing, or the new car. He was asked for his opinion about the performance of the car after two races - and he told the truth.

Now he's been punished by a hypersensitive NASCAR that likely did more harm than good with the fine.

Why? Because in overpolicing the brand, NASCAR offended its fan base. People who never rooted for Hamlin before now firmly back the driver and his right to speak his mind. Hamlin was, after all, only saying what they were all thinking.

Everyone can understand that NASCAR is trying to avoid a repeat of the disastrous CoT. It never had a chance after Busch's tongue-lashing, and NASCAR spent all of last season developing the Gen-6 car to put the CoT out to pasture once and for all.

Only Busch didn't ruin the CoT for fans. They didn't need a driver to tell them the car was ugly or drove like a milk truck. They had eyes. They could see for themselves they hated everything about the car, including the on-track racing.

Now there's a new car this season, with a finely tuned marketing strategy and a serious messaging plan.

Straying from the script, as Hamlin learned, won't be tolerated by NASCAR.

Nor will taking the fans for idiots.

The backlash against NASCAR over Hamlin's fine included signs of ''Free Denny'' at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the hashtag (hash)StandWithDenny formed on Twitter as a riff on the (hash)StandWithRand from Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster a day earlier.

This is because fans watched the same two races Hamlin did to start the season. They saw the Daytona 500 was mostly a single-file parade until the late push to the checkered flag, and the race at Phoenix a week later had 445 fewer green-flag passes than last November's race there with the old car.

And the fans remembered that NASCAR chairman Brian France was asked in January how success will be measured with the Gen-6 car.

''I think we'll measure it by lead changes, we'll measure it by how it races, we'll measure it by how the drivers feel about it,'' France said.

We know how Hamlin felt about it, and he got his hand slapped. So how in the world will anyone believe anything the drivers say going forward? Why would they dare say anything even borderline critical?

Hamlin's comment was fairly mild. All he said was the car in its present form needs more work, that after two races it's not as good as where the old car was after six years.

Well, no kidding. The Gen-6 has been overhyped from the beginning, and NASCAR has backed itself into a corner by essentially guaranteeing the racing will be better this year. Eventually, it might. But to believe anyone at NASCAR was going to snap their fingers and roll out a magical new car capable of producing the most exciting races ever seen is ludicrous.

It's all a work in progress and it should be noted that the third race for the new car was better than the first two. According to NASCAR statistics that began in 2005, Sunday's race at Las Vegas had a record 31 green flag passes for the lead, and the 2,342 passes on the track under green was more than 1,000 over last year's race.

Maybe that makes for a better race, maybe not. That's for the fans to decide, based on what they see on the track and what they hear from the drivers. They don't need the drivers to tell them things are great if they aren't, and, as NASCAR learned, they'll quickly resent being force-fed anything but the cold, hard truth.


Follow Jenna Fryer at https://twitter.com/JennaFryer and http://racing.ap.org






At OCFS, in 2013, the Big-Block Modified drivers who also compete in the Small-Block Modified division will be eligible for track points and the season-long Small-Block Modified track point championship.






Hate to say this and to keep harping on it, but the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fames website still is not back and running.





For the first time in many years, the Vintage Racing Car meet at Loudon will not be held in May, but at the end of July and into the beginning of August.







‘First and only African-American female licensed by NASCAR’ has been overstating claims







Allmendinger chasing patience in IndyCar move








Checking out the forecast for Selinsgrove, PA and I see that on Saturday night, temps will get down to around 33, with some possible showers during the day.   Son, Eric, and I were having thoughts of going, but dunno about that 33 degrees forecast, along with possible showers now, on Sat.






Going back in history – how did the Soothsayer know that he should warn Julius Caesar about the “Ides of March” – March 15th, the day of Caesars death?






Apparently, Jeremy Clements has been re-instated by NASCAR to race again, since I’ve seen it mentioned on the Internet (No, not on Jayski’s) and he’s listed as an entrant in this Saturday’s Nationwide race - http://www.jayski.com/news/nationwide/2013/story/_/page/NNS-04-Bristol-Entry-List  in car # 51.


And, it kinda looks like what really got him in trouble was him saying how a certain car was “fixed” in order to get back onto the track – from the Internet:  To clear up a litte confusion over what Jeremy said, he did not call anybody the "N" word. He was refering to a damged car as being "N" rigged to get it back into competition. Probably the wrong phrase to use, but definitely different than using the word at a person.”


Heck, I (we) used to use that expression on numerous occasions.  Today, I guess that being “Politically Correct”, one would say “Afro engineered”?






Hinchliffe Stadium Named a National Landmark




The part that concerns Hinchliffe Stadium:


Joe Malinconico

Monday, March 11, 2013 • 12:46pm


PATERSON, NJ - The nation’s list of historic landmarks includes such prominent locations as Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, Paul Revere’s House in Massachusetts and Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

Now Paterson’s Hinchliffe Stadium stands along them.

Federal officials on Monday announced that Hinchliffe was among 13 sites added to the national’s inventory of landmark, a prestigious designation only surpassed by national monuments.

“I’m ecstatic,’’ said Kenneth Simpson, vice chairman of Paterson’s Historic Preservation Commission. “It puts Paterson in a positive light and we need positive news right now. It speaks volumes about the history of our city.’’

But Mayor Jeffrey Jones said he had concerns about the designation because federal officials never contacted city government about the decision. Jones sees the renovation of Hinchliffe as crucial to his plans for making Paterson into a tourist destination. But he said the federal government has not made it clear to him whether the landmark status is in Paterson’s best interests.

“This is something that they decided without the city being consulted and engaged in that decision,’’ said Jones. “That worries me.’’

Hinchliffe, which is one of three stadiums used during the segregation-era Negro baseball leagues that still exist, is owned by Paterson Public Schools. It was built in the 1930s and was used to host Paterson’s high school football games for generations. But it fell into such severe disrepair in the latter part of the 20th century that officials shut it down more than 15 years ago. The city recently approved a $1.1 million to stabilize the stadium to try to prevent it from falling apart.

Although Hinchliffe has been received national and state historic designations, it has not been added to the city’s list of landmarks. That’s because Board of Education members have opposed the designation, saying they feared historic status would drive up the costs and complicate efforts to renovate the stadium so it can be used for local recreation again.

In fact, the school board and city historic commission are holding a joint meeting about the issue on Mon., March 11 at 6:30 pm at the Hamilton Club on Church Street.

There also have been some discussions about adding Hinchliffe to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, a move that would require approval by Congress.

[Editor's note: The following input from local offcials has been added to this story after the original version was posted.]

City Council President Anthony Davis, who played football for Kennedy High School at Hinchliffe, called the national landmark designation "a great thing.''

"I'm in favor of anything that's going to help promote it,'' Davis said. "We have to start thinking out of the box for ways that we can get revenue for this."

Paterson Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Martin Feitlowitz said the designation may help local officials find benefactors willing to cover the costs of repairing the stadium. "It's great to be able to say you're seeking funds for a national historic landmark that you want to restore and put back into use.''

Feitlowitz said the landmark status added prestige to Hinchliffe's credentials. "It's not something that gets given lightly,'' he said. "It's not something that gets rubber stamped.''

The press release issued by United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “Hinchliffe Stadium is an exceptional example of a Negro league baseball stadium in 20th-century segregated America.  The stadium served as home field for teams such as the New York Black Yankees and the New York Cubans during a period when the institutionalized practice of “separate but equal” facilities was the accepted norm.  Eleven current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame played at Hinchliffe Stadium.”

 “These national historic landmark designations span more than two centuries of our country’s history, from 17th century architecture to a Civil War battlefield to a 19thcentury-Kentucky whiskey distillery that continued to operate through the Prohibition era,” Secretary Salazar said. “Today’s designations include significant sites that help tell the story of America and the contributions that all people from all walks of life have made as we strive for a more perfect union.”

“From the Civil War to civil rights, to the struggles and accomplishments of women, African Americans and Latinos, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” said Jarvis. “We are proud to administer the National Historic Landmarks Program to educate and inspire Americans through their country’s rich and complex history.” 

At present, there are more than 2,500 national landmarks, including 57 in New Jersey. The other three in Passaic County are the Botto House in Haledon, Ringwood Manor and the Great Falls/ Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers building in Paterson.” 





Racing on TV:







Hamlin fined $25k by NASCAR for criticizing car



Note:  I’m wondering if there just might be a reduction in this fine, or if NASCAR will drop the whole thing.  Race fans as well as many members of the media are on the side of Denny on this one.  What with NASCAR now letting Jeremy Clements race this weekend (a pretty well kept secret, I should ad), maybe something might happen with the Hamlin deal?






For the first time in history, we have a Pope from the America’s.  Hard to believe, huh?







Broncos, Welker agree to 2-year deal








Someone 'close' to Tom Brady 'enraged' at Patriots for losing Wes Welker









Sources: Buccaneers management on board with potential trade for Jets CB Darrelle Revis









Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tops List Of Nascar's Highest-Paid Drivers









Found on Jayski’s website:



Hamlin fined for Phoenix post-race comments UPDATES - will appeal: 


NASCAR has fined driver #11-Denny Hamlin $25,000 for comments he made following the March 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR determined that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR issued the following statement regarding the penalty: "Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."(NASCAR)
Comments: NASCAR did not announce the specific comment that got Hamlin fined, but the following appears to be his primary complaint against the car after the race (per Toyota PR):
Q: How much did you learn about the new race car today?
Hamlin: "We learned a lot. I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there -- I wouldn't have moved up. It's just one of those things where track position is everything."(3-7-2013)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin said on Thursday that he refuses to pay the fine that NASCAR assessed him after comments he made regarding the new Generation 6 car last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car debuted in the Sprint Cup Series this season. "Ultimately, I'm not OK with it," Hamlin said of the penalty. "This is the most upset and angry I've been about anything in a really, really long time  anything that relates to NASCAR ... the truth is what the truth is and I don't believe in this, I'm never going to believe in it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don't care at this point."(Fox Sports)(3-7-2013)


NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed the fine Thursday afternoon:
Q. Denny Hamlin was saying he's not planned to pay the fine that he was given for his comments. What would be the procedure and how long does he have to pay?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He also has the ability to appeal. The fines are supposed to be paid as soon as possible, but we're not in any of those windows yet where it seems to be a problem.
Q. Where is the limitation for what drivers can say without facing a fine if they have concerns about the car, whatever?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: We give them quite a bit of latitude, but you can't slam your racing, you can't slam your product. That's where it crosses a line.
Q. If Denny wants to appeal the fine, what would that process entail?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He has to let us know. He has to write a letter.
Q. He can continue to compete?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yes. It's like every other appeal. Over the course of time, you remember mechanics and crew chiefs, whatever, if they appeal, then they can continue to carry on business as usual until the appeal has been heard and ruled on.
Q. Just to clarify on that. When he does appeal, does it also go to the National Stockcar Racing Commission and then to the chief appellate officer?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: This isn't any different than an illegal part or piece.(NASCAR)(3-7-2013)


Denny Hamlin issued the following statement Thursday night: "The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND nascars best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010 I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give a assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win."(3-7-2013)



Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: "We have spoken with NASCAR and will continue to keep an open dialogue with them on this matter, but we will keep those discussions between the parties involved. We will fully support Denny in his appeal process."



Gibbs still supportive of Hamlin's appeal: 


Joe Gibbs is standing by #11-Denny Hamlin in the driver's appeal of his $25,000 NASCAR fine. But the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing doesn't have much more to say about the dispute over Hamlin's penalty for criticizing the Gen-6 race car. After watching fellow JGR driver Kyle Busch finish second in Saturday's Nationwide Series race, Gibbs said he has talked to Hamlin about the brouhaha. "We've been talking all along," Gibbs told reporters. "We're keeping our communication open with NASCAR, too. We'll just go through a process here and work our way through it." Gibbs clammed up after that, referring everybody to his organization's statement that it would support Hamlin. Hamlin is allowed to drive while appealing the fine, which he says he won't pay. NASCAR could take the fine out of his winnings.(Associated Press),see more information about Hamlin's fine below, or on the #11 team news page.(3-10-2012)




Here’s what Jack Arute has to say:







Two more Daytona fans get lawyer: 


Two more fans injured in the Feb. 23 Nationwide Series crash at Daytona have retained an Orlando, Fla.-based attorney to seek personal injury claims. Attorney Matt Morgan now represents six of the people who were injured when Kyle Larson's car went airborne into the catch fence, sending debris flying into the front-stretch stands on the last lap of the race. At least 28 fans were injured in the wreck. NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation have retained a Miami-based law firm to handle the claims. Morgan said he is working "diligently'' with NASCAR and ISC legal representation -- Cole, Scott & Kissane, Pa. -- to settle the issue without going to trial. Meanwhile, one of the two who had remained at Daytona Beach's Halifax Health in stable condition has been released. According to a hospital spokesman and Twitter, the 14-year-old brother of Becket McGinn was released and had headed home.(ESPN)(3-9-2013)




Sunday's flyover could be the last for a while: 


Sunday's military flyover before the Kobalt Tools 400 might have been the last flyover at a NASCAR race. With $85 billion in federal budget cuts possibly going into effect soon, flyovers would be grounded by the government's sequestration process, which includes about 30 percent in military budget cuts. "The Thunderbirds are expected to stand down effective April 1. (Las Vegas) is pretty much going to be, I think, the last flyover you'll see for a while from us," Wendy Varhegyi, chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, told USA Today Sports. Varhegyi said the cutbacks would last at least through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30). "And then at that point, we'll reevaluate. & Sequestration is a 10-year problem, so we just don't know." The Air Force conducts about 1,000 flyover per year, Varhegyi said.(Sporting News)(3-11-2013)




NASCAR has no plans for own TV network: 


With Speed going away on Aug. 17, leaving race fans with no motorsports-focused network, this might seem like the perfect opportunity for NASCAR to begin its own cable property. But no plans are in the works. "We still discuss it from time to time about having our own network  we still think about it and throw it around a little bit every once in a while," NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting Steve Herbst said in a phone interview. "But I think what we'll find on FS1 is a consistent, strong, and maybe even an increased level of NASCAR programming as compared to Speed today. Without a 'NASCAR channel,' we'll still have a very healthy and robust amount of NASCAR programming on there that will satisfy our motorsports fans and reach a broader audience." Herbst said having Cup races, practices and qualifying on Fox Sports 1 could attract general sports fans that wouldn't necessarily tune into a motorsports channel. Still, there must be a balance between network and cable telecasts. NASCAR Chairman Brian France said last month that he hopes there are more network races in 2015  indicating that either ABC will add races or, more likely, NBC will get some races as part of the new television rights deal that goes into effect in 2015. Though Fox has re-signed, NASCAR has not yet completed its next TV deal. Herbst said that all Camping World Truck Series races will be on Fox Sports 1 and that they cannot be moved to other Fox channels, such as Fuel, which also could become a secondary sports channel. NASCAR has contracts with Fox Sports to televise several regional series and road-racing events. Those are one-year deals that expire after this season and could move to other networks.(Sporting News)(3-8-2013)



Almendinger to drive for Penske in IndyCar:

Team Penske announced that AJ Allmendinger will join its IZOD IndyCar Series program in 2013. Allmendinger, who rose up through the ranks of open-wheel racing before transitioning to NASCAR, will compete in at least two IndyCar events for Team Penske this season, including the Indianapolis 500. Allmendinger will drive the #2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet at this year's Indianapolis 500, scheduled for May 26 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 31-year-old Allmendinger will also compete in the April 7 IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Ala., in the IZOD machine for Team Penske. Today's announcement represents a homecoming for Allmendinger on a couple of different fronts. He will return to his roots as the Los Gatos, Calif., native raced in the Champ Car World Series from 2004-2006 when he earned five wins, two poles and 14 podium finishes over a three-year period. It also means a return to Penske Racing. Allmendinger drove for the organization's Sprint Cup Series team for the first 17 races of the 2012 season before he was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. After successfully completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery program, Allmendinger returned to compete in four Cup Series events for another team at the end of the 2012 season. Allmendinger will next drive the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car at the IZOD IndyCar Series spring training test sessions, March 12-13 at Barber Motorsports Park.(Team Penske)(3-8-2012)



Allmendinger returns to the #51: 

After a successful outing with the #51 team at Phoenix International Raceway, A.J. Allmendinger will pair with Phoenix Racing again this week at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. Allmendinger will pilot the Guy Roofing Chevrolet in his second Sprint Cup Series event of 2013. Allmendinger and Phoenix Racing raced to an 11th-place finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 two weeks ago. Allmendinger's first-ever Cup Series start came at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2007. Phoenix Racing scored its best Cup Series finish at Bristol last season.(Phoenix Racing)(3-13-2013)



Patrick generated massive social media impact at Daytona: 

During a Speedweeks in which she twice made NASCAR history, #10-Danica Patrick's performance triggered some unprecedented reverberations in social media, too. Repucom, a global company with an office in Charlotte, found that Patrick had 971 million impressions on Twitter in the eight days spanning when she became the first woman to capture a Sprint Cup pole position to the first to lead the Daytona 500. By comparison, the 2012 Daytona 500 pole winner, Carl Edwards, had 15 million impressions during the same timeframe last year, and Patrick had 19 million in the two months entering her Daytona 500 debut last season. With an advanced algorithm that has a 3% margin of error, impressions are calculated through tweets, retweets and replies about a topic and the number of followers associated with the accounts. "It's staggering," Repucom vice president Peter Laatz told USA TODAY Sports. "That's a really good thing for the sport, and it's great for her and great for her sponsors. We thought last year was a big deal until we looked at the numbers from this year." Repucom, which measures the impact and valuation of sponsorships across several sports and tracks close to 1,700 NASCAR brands, also estimated that primary sponsor Go Daddy received 1,203 seconds of on-screen branding during the Daytona 500 that was equivalent to $2.9 million in media value. During Patrick's last full season in the Izod IndyCar Series in 2011, Go Daddy had 5,637 seconds of screen time but nearly half the media value ($1.5 million) because NASCAR's ratings and reach dwarf rival racing series.(USA Today)(3-12-2013)





News from the AARN:



Note:  Don’t forget – if you’re a subscriber to the AARN, you can have the free digital version.  That is available on Tuesday mornings.


From their March 12th edition – picked up from the Digital Service:



The AARN’s usual annual season preview issue will be on Tuesday, April 2nd.



Brett Deyo:


In a small article, he makes not that the Utica-Rome Speedway has not been sold, although it’s still on the market.


In his regular column, Brett makes note of some of the changes at the I-88 (Formerly the Afton Speedway) – things like getting an extension on the lease through 2016, an increase in the purse for the modifieds, and possibly for the sportsman if their car count goes up, as expected.  Transponder scoring has been added, and for the mods and sportsman they will need transponders when the season starts.  An additional 500 seats added via more bleacher seating with hopes of them being ready for some of the summer special events.  The ESS will be there on August 27th (How I wish they’d get a date at OCFS!)




Lenny Sammons:


Tells us that Vinnie Vitale will be in a 360 Sprint Car, at times in 2013.

Also, look for Dale Plank to be in action in a SpeedSTR on Wednesday nights at Kutztown.


Less racing over the course of the season at the Black Rock Speedway.


A meeting of DIRTcar promoters was cancelled.  Reportedly, the response for attendance by track promoters was not what was expected.



Ernie Saxton:


I have to agree with Ernie when he says that auto racing will be the loser when SPEED changes its programming.  One “victim” already is Wind Tunnel on Sunday nights being cut from an hour to a half hour show.  Word/rumors are that once SPEED changes, Wind Tunnel could be history.



John and Jo Ann Davies had a write up in their column about the Albany/Saratoga banquet, along with other news, while Steve Barrick had a write up on the OCFS Banquet, with a little news on OC – like the new pit area not being ready until later in the racing season, and the modified feature winner getting $3,000.00 on opening night.  I see they now say the “small” track is 1/8 mile now.  Neither the Davies nor Barrick banquet notes made any mention of the amount of monies won.



Gary London:


Gary does quite a job on NASCAR in his column this week.  He hits on the new Gen-6 car, the Denny Hamlin issues and the start and parkers.  Quite interesting reading, and I have to go along with most everything he says.



Some fairly good news for New York Midget racing fans – well in the Capital District, anyway.  Albany/Saratoga Speedway will host the Bear Ridge USAC Dirt Midget Association Midgets (BRS USAC DMA) on May 24th and August 23rd.   Other than those two races, the only other Midget racing in New York could very well be the NEMA show at Oswego, with the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lights. 



Some of the subjects covered in this weeks issue:


410 Sprint Preview:  
Can Anyone Join 
The Big Three Winners In 2013?

Higbie Crowned Champion 
At Orange County Banquet

Hodnett Avoids Leader's Crash 
To Win $4,000 At Selinsgrove

Brent Hits His Marks In Lincoln 410s

Milestone 125th WoO Sprint WIn 
For Donny Schatz In Vegas

Denny Hamlin's Gen-6 Critique 
Earns Him A Fine From NASCAR

Motorsports Expo Show 
In Syracuse A Big Hit 
In Good Weather

Vinny Vitale Is Latest Mod Man 
To Give Sprints A Try
He hits on the




Press Releases:



Orange County Fair Speedway                                                                                                                                                                                            

239 Wisner Avenue                                                                                                     Middletown, NY10940    



Mike Gurda









Middletown Track Begins Its 64th Consecutive Year of Weekly Racing


MIDDLETOWN, NY (March 10)……..Orange County Fair Speedway will begin its 64th consecutive year of weekly stock car racing Saturday night, April 13, with the first green flag at 6:30 P.M. The historic Middletown, New York five-eights-mile “Hard Clay” surfaced speedway opener will showcase four divisions of DIRTcar-sanctioned race cars---Modifieds, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman, and Street Stocks ---in qualifying races and main events with the evening’s program sponsored by Nissan of Middletown. The headline Modified feature race will pay the winner $3,000.


“We’re not standing still; we’re moving forward,” said Orange County track promoter Mike Gurda. ”We’ve brought back the Small-Block Modifieds for ten race nights. The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars are returning on Sunday night, May 19. We’ve made some key personnel changes. And I’m proud to announce that last year’s Eastern States Weekend attendance, despite some weather problems, was the best in ten years. So we’re encouraged that 2013 is going to be an even greater year at Orange County .”


Also new this year will be the track’s sharp-looking pace car provided by Nissan of Middletown.


From the competition side, 2012 Modified champion Jerry Higbie will be out to defend his crown, while Street Stock titlist Charles Donald wants to become the first three-time champion in his division. With Sportsman champion Gary Edwards Jr. moving into the reestablished Small-Block Modified ranks, the Sportsman division point race will be wide open. Modified drivers will be permitted to also race in the Small-Block Modified division, and they will be eligible for track points.


Note:  They, the modifieds, might be handicapped to at least the middle of starting fields.  Originally the PR said they would not be eligible to run for the Small Block points and would be handicapped to at least the middle of the starting fields, then a correction was sent out.


To kick things off, on Saturday, April 6, from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm, the track will host an Open Practice, giving competitors the opportunity to shake down their race cars in preparation for the seven-month-long season of weekly and special event auto racing competition. The entire season schedule is available at www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.


The 2013 season wraps up with the 52nd Annual Eastern States Weekend, Friday through Sunday, October 25-27. The Eastern States 200 is the oldest consecutively-run dirt track Modified championship race in the country. The weekend includes time trials, heat races and consolation races, all leading to the classic 200-lap feature on Sunday afternoon. Joining the “earth shaker” big block Modifieds in their own championship races are the Small-Block Modifieds, Sportsman, and Street Stock divisions.     


“It’s a full schedule with something for every race fan,” said Gurda. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the track.”


Advance ticket sales and track information, including rules for all divisions, can be found on the Orange County Fair Speedway website, www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net, or from at the Track Office. Call 845-342-2573 during business hours.      






SYRACUSE, NY…The highly successful American Racer Cup for northeast Modifieds will expand for 2013 to cover a number of facilities that host Sportsman events as well.  The Sportsman teams will compete in an identical point distribution model as the Modified teams currently do with $30,000 in cash and product up for grabs in the program.

Lias Tire, American Racer and the Race of Champions groups have once again teamed up to bring this program to life.  Fred Woodward from Lias Tire commented on the addition of the Sportsman teams to the program, “We wanted to show our commitment to the Sportsman teams that are also a big part of our northeast program.”  Race of Champions owner Andrew Harpell remarked, “We are excited to be part of the existing program and to include the Sportsman teams is simply outstanding.”  “Many of these Sportsman teams will be the future of the Modified division and someday competing for that overall American Racer Cup Title as well.”

The American Racer Cup for Sportsman will model itself after the current program for the Modifieds Teams will be ranked at their home weekly track against other northeast drivers running at their weekly venue.  A driver’s top 12 best finishes will count toward the overall title and the overall rankings will also be based on a track’s average weekly starting field.  This will help to help determine who is the best northeast Sportsman driver for 2013.

Each participating speedway will hold 15 random drawings among their participating drivers throughout the season.  Each name drawn will earn an American Racer product certificate worth $85 toward the purchase of a tire at their weekly speedway.  In addition the overall Sportsman American Racer Cup Champion will earn a $1,000 for the title.   Should that driver also win the Race of Champions Dirt Sportsman Tour Championship they will earn a $1,000 bonus.  The top five in the overall American Racer Cup Championship will all earn cash awards as follows:  $1,000 for first, $500 for second, $400 for third, $300 for fourth and $250 for fifth.  Teams are simply required to purchase a $30 membership to be eligible for the program and only need to compete at their weekly track to be ranked.  The commitment of $30,000 by Lias Tire and American Racer is up for grabs for teams without ever having to leave their weekly track.  So for the teams, their only expense is a one-time membership.

For more information please log on to www.dirtmodcup.com or phone the Race of Champions (program managing partner) at 607-775-5555. You may also reach Lias Tire directly at 800-638-7028. 



On the heels of the successful American Racer East Coast Modified Cup over the past three seasons, Lias Tire, American Racer and the Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour are pleased to announce the expansion of the American Racer Cup into the Modified Sportsman tracks using American Racer tires for 2013!  We look forward to providing a program for the Sportsman teams at your track that will rank them against other Modified Sportsman teams throughout the Northeast, and just like the American Racer Modified Cup, teams will benefit from the program simply by registering for the program and doing what they do every weekend during the summer, race at their local track!



At this point, we are putting together a minimum of $30,000 in cash and product awards up for grabs by American Racer, Lias Tire and the RoC for the 2013 American Racer Sportsman Cup.  We are currently in talks with additional marketing partners, and we anticipate additional partners for the upcoming season.  Any announcements of additional partners will be announced on the Cup’s website and facebook pages as they happen. 


Thus far, the following minimum point fund has been established:



Each participating team will be eligible for American Racer Tire rewards given away on a weekly basis from Memorial Day through Labor Day at each track!  Each week following the Sportsman feature, the winning driver will draw a name from the American Racer Cup in victory lane.  The winner of the drawing will be awarded a certificate good for $85 towards the regular price of an American Racer Modified tire, redeemable only through your home track tire dealer.  Only registered members of the American Racer Sportsman Cup will be eligible for the random tire giveaways.  There will be a total of 15 giveaways held at EACH TRACK!!!


The American Racer Sportsman Cup champion at each track will receive 4 American Racers!



As stated above, we are working to sign on additional partners to supply additional monies and product sponsorship toward the overall point fund.  As of now, the plan is to pay cash to the Top Five Overall Finishers this season as follows:

1st - $1,000          2nd - $500          3rd - $400           4th - $300         5th - $250




Like the American Racer ECM Cup, there will also be a Race of Champions Sportsman Champions Bonus if one driver manages to win both the RoC Sportsman and the Overall American Racer Sportsman Cup championships this season!  If a driver is able to accomplish this feat, their team will be rewarded with an additional $1,000 The American Racer Sportsman Cup Overall champion will be chosen from all of the registered teams at the participating tracks at the conclusion of the American Racer Cup season on Labor Day weekend.




The American Racer Sportsman Modified Cup will rank drivers throughout the northeast, on paper, which runs at tracks where the American Racer Tire is the exclusive tire for the Sportsman or Crate Sportsman divisions.  This program is based upon Home Track Points that will be earned using the system below from Mid-April through Labor Day weekend.  Of the finishes in that time period a driver will be ranked based upon his/her twelve (12) best finishes.  In order to qualify for the American Racer Sportsman Cup a team simply needs to register at their local track or through the website at www.dirtmodcup.com. There is a downloadable form available there that can be printed and sent via mail.  The registration deadline for the American Racer Cup is May 13, 2013 All forms must be turned into your dealer or postmarked by that date. No entries will be accepted after the enrollment period. 


The American Racer Sportsman Cup Season will run from April 12 through September 2, 2013.  No finishes in races that occur outside this time period are eligible to be counted toward a teams Racer Cup points.


American Racer Sportsman Cup Weekly Points

Points for the American Racer Sportsman Cup are distributed this way, based upon your weekly feature finish at your registered American Racer Sportsman Cup Track(s)


1st – 60 points             15th – 26

2nd – 55                      16th – 24

3rd – 50                       17th – 23

4th – 48                       18th – 22

5th – 46                       19th – 21

6th – 44                       20th – 20

7th – 42                       21st – 18

8th – 40                       22nd – 16

9th – 38                       23rd – 14

10th – 36                     24th – 12

11th – 34                     25th – 11

12th – 32                     26th and back – 10 points

13th – 30

14th – 28



In addition to earning points weekly at your home track, at the conclusion of the American Racer Cup season, each registered team will receive a one-time point bonus, based upon the track’s average starting field for the season.  The bonus point breakdown is as follows:



26+ cars – 100 points

24-25 cars – 90

22-23 cars – 80

20-21 cars – 70

15-19 cars – 60

Less than 15 – 40



Non-weekly Shows That Qualify for Points


Beyond your regular weekly scheduled shows, there are two additional ways to earn points towards the American Racer Cup: Mid-week Shows & Twin Features.


Mid-Week Shows

In addition to your regular weekly shows from April 12th through Labor Day, your track may also count up to two (2) mid-week shows during the season to count towards the points.  These shows will be decided upon before the start of the American Racer Cup season.


Twin Features

Many American Racer Cup tracks run “Twin 20s” or some form of double features on some nights throughout their racing seasons.  Of these shows, like the Mid-Week Shows, a track may use a maximum of two of these events towards the American Racer Cup Points.


Registering at Multiple Tracks

When you register at a given track for the American Racer Cup, you are registering only at that track.  You are permitted to register at multiple tracks, however, each entry is completely separate from one another, and points cannot be combined from multiple tracks.  In order to be eligible for awards at multiple tracks, you must be registered at each one of the tracks where you are competing.








            Selinsgrove, Pa.  Ten additional sponsors have signed up to sponsor the 6th Annual Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships Race of Champions Modified Tour Icebreaker VI at the Selinsgrove Speedway on Friday March 15th and Saturday March 16th with a rain date of Sunday March 17th

            On Friday, the Race of Champions Small Block Modified event will pay a minimum of $2,500 to win.  Should any one of the top three finishers from Friday night go on to win the Saturday RoC Modified Tour event they would earn a $1,000 bonus.  The Saturday event will pay a minimum of $5,000 to the race winner.

            For the second year in a row each feature winner will receive a Custom Embroidered Drivers Bag worth $200 courtesy of Reid’s Tannery and their representative Debbie Rahmer.

            On Saturday this year all Non – Qualified Modified drivers will be eligible to run the Middleswarth Potato Chips B Main.

            The feature winner’s trophy each evening will be sponsored by Gary Wagner of the Middleburg IGA.

            Dave Reedy of Penske Racing Shocks is on board for the sixth consecutive year for both nights. The top three cars utilizing Penske Racing Shocks will be eligible for the Penske Shocks Appreciation Award where they buy three shocks and receive the fourth shock free. This free shock is valued at approx. $750.

            The third place finisher each night will receive an extra $150 courtesy of Lenny Krautheim Auto Sales of Penn’s Creek, Pa.

            BFP Specialties who is the official American Racer tire supplier on the weekend will be giving away each night $500 off an entire body kit. Race officials will determine the award winner each night.

            Long time Pennsylvania small block Modified mechanic Jack Bagley will be remembered on Friday night as one driver will receive the Jack Bagley Memorial Contribution to Auto Racing Award. This award worth $100 will be sponsored by event promoter JGK Motorsports.

            Three local eateries have come on board once again to give discounts to race fans on the weekend.

            The Selinsgrove Hotel at 225 N. Market St. is the official party headquarters on the weekend. By showing a pit wrist band or ticket stub from either night of racing will enable the holder to special prices on selected beverages.

            Applebee’s’ located in front of the Susquehanna Valley Mall in Selinsgrove will present a dinner for two to each feature winner. Also anyone showing a pit wrist band will receive a 10% discount off their food bill on either night.




Slinger Warehouse Update


Slinger Warehouse will once again be serving as an official slingshot parts supplier at Shellhammers Speedway, Linda's Speedway, Kutztown Speedway and many National & Regional Tour Races for the 2013 racing season. If anyone has any questions about any of the following racetracks, setups, parts, schedules, etc. Please contact Paul Lotier at Slinger Warehouse (717) 821-6830.


Parts Update


Anyone needing aluminum flywheels, they are now in stock! We offer to install the flywheels as well. Slinger Warehouse also offers the same monthly specials that Speedway Entertainment does each month:

*Buy 3 coil springs, get 4th for $10.00 

*Buy a complete exhaust, get a free aluminum wheel. 


We also offer:  - complete car rebuilds

                       - complete scaling and setups

                       - slingshot inspections


Call or email today to set up your appointment! 


Paul Lotier 






In order to clarify a previous e-mail with regards to Slingshot parts suppliers at Kutztown Speedway: 

In addition to Slinger Warehouse having parts, set-up help, and services available to its customers at Action Track USA, S& S Speedways will be an official parts supplier at Action Track USA. We look forward to seeing you on opening day. If you would like to schedule a set up day prior to opening day, please give us a call.
Paul Lotier

Friday Night Lights Returns for NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLII

Action-Packed Night of Racing Back at Fairgrounds for Third Year


SYRACUSE, N. Y. - The popular "Friday Night Lights" program during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week adds Sportsman Modifieds to the schedule for what is sure to be an action-packed night of qualifying events Friday, Oct. 11, at the New York State Fairgrounds.

The popular Friday Night Lights event, featuring the only nighttime racing at the fairgrounds during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLII, typically twin 20-lap qualifying events for the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series and the triple 20-lap qualifers for the Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series. This year, the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series will join the card with the three 10-lap qualifying races, the triple 10's.

Again this year, with help from Musco Lighting the "Moody Mile" will come to life at night so fans can enjoy qualifying races for the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, DIRTcar 358-Modified Series and Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series.

For more information about the biggest week in DIRTcar Racing, NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, please visit www.superdirtweekonline.com. Tickets can be purchased online at www.dirtcar.com/tickets or by calling the event hotline at 1 (877) 395-8606.

The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, Gander Mountain, NAPA Auto Parts, Nationwide Insurance, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow, Vicci Racing Apparel, and Wrisco Industries.



Testing Report: Barber Open Test

LEEDS, Ala. March 13, 2013—Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team ended on a high note at the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park today.

Sato laid down his quickest lap of 122.208mph--the fifth quickest of the afternoon—in his final outing in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda; in fact, it was his final lap before the checkered flag ended the session for the 25 cars on track.

“I think we made good progress and it was a productive day, however there is a lot to be done,” said Sato. “At one stage we tried many things which didn’t give us the results we were expecting so we honestly struggled a little bit. But we collected very valuable data and put it all together and improved the performance so that was good. We’ll go back to the shop, analyze all the data and hopefully find more speed.  Overall, it was a good test and the whole team did a good job.”

Will Power posted the quickest lap of 123.33mph in his Chevrolet-powered car. He was followed by James Hinchcliffe’s Chevrolet (122.878mph), and the Hondas of Justin Wilson (122.667mph) and Scott Dixon (122.327mph).

“It was great to get a good lap time and be towards the top of the chart, but it’s obvious the series is as competitive as ever,” said Team Director Larry Foyt. “Takuma did a great job so we gained a lot of data which will help us prepare for St. Pete. We’re excited to get this season started.”

In the combined results over the two-day test session, Sato ended up seventh overall as drivers Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay posted quicker laps in their Chevrolets in the morning session today.

The IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks off with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 24. It will be televised live on NBC Sports Network starting at 12pm ET.






I get e-mails:


I was about to delete this section until I got an email from Ron Lauer about the Offenhauser engine, at around 11:30 PM on Wednesday.  There was talk amongst a group (Yahoo! Race History Group, maybe?) about a six cylinder “Offy” engine and it’s possible use in a Briggs Cunningham LeMans car.  There is a photo of that engine in this article.


Offenhauser. The Greatest Racing Engine Ever Built?







Found on Facebook:


Federal judge: Arizona can ban classes promoting ‘racial resentment against ‘whites’






Found on the Internet:


I still believe Nascar was much more upset about #2 and I also believe #2 was a bigger reason for his indefinite suspension. At the very least Nascar is playing a double standard when you look at past incidents such as Kurt Busch. There's no way someone can seriously say that it did not factor into Nascar's discipline. With the stuff Nascar fines drivers for saying nowadays, you cant say something like that and not have the hammer drop on you. But also, Nascar has shown in the past, if you arent a big name you'll get severely punished and an example will be made out of you, if you are a big name its a slap on the wrist most of the time. Its who you are, not necessarily what you did or said.


Tony Stewart in his Gibbs days had accused nascar of tampering with their events on multiple times and they had a private sit down with him and he retracted his comments after that and ever since then he hasnt been as outspoken towards nascar. Hes much more politically correct nowadays than he used to be.


Nascar is a billion dollar machine, the people that run it are not fools, they have a strong influence when it comes to media. They can very quickly eliminate something they dont want out there. Depending on who you work for & where, they've had writers fired in the past for saying stuff like this. I have friends that work in racing who have known journalists who covered Nascar that were affraid to write anything too negative fearing they would lose their credentials or worse their job. Nascar is very political and powerful, I dont think many fully understand that.


Note:  I kinda agree with the above.


Some non-racing stuff:



Giants give WR Victor Cruz 1st-round tender





NYS DRIVE Act Would Ban Ferraris and Other "Assault Vehicles




In part:


Provisions in the DRIVE Act would ban multiple makers of vehicles including Lamborghini, Porsche, and Ferrari, as well as many more common models such as the Chevy Corvette and Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Charger.

"Classic" versions of these cars (those over 20 years old) would have to be reregistered with the state and have their ignition system removed. Cuomo remarked on the proposal, "these are the vehicles the police use. Citizens don't need these vehicles. These vehicles serve no purpose for defensive driving."




Solved: 10 Social Security Mysteries





Brennan takes oath on draft Constitution – without Bill of Rights





Reporters call out White House for badgering, name-calling





How you are paying for "too-big-to-jail"

In part:

Attorney General Eric Holder came right out this week and told the Senate Judiciary Committee what many observers have long suspected - that his department has refrained from more aggressive criminal prosecutions of the so-called too-big-to-fail banks, exactly because of their special status.:





Recent heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years





Bill Clinton says anti-gay marriage law he signed should be overturned




Like Bacon, Sausage and Hot Dogs? Then Beware: They May Raise Your Risk of Death, New Study Finds.



Delayed GI Bill funds leave students scrambling



Lets not forget Mrs. Obama:



Note:  You ain’t gonna believe this sh*t, folks!






Hypocrite: Gabby Giffords Husband Snuck Out to Buy an AR-15, While His Wife Works To Ban Your Guns






AP Exclusive: Applying for Obama plan not easy




Refusal to Expand Medicaid May Cost Employers $1 Billion







President Obama: There Is No Debt Crisis





What to expect from an erratic North Korea





Senate Democrats unveil government funding bill





Paul Ryan's new Medicare plan could be tip of the iceberg





What's missing from Paul Ryan's new budget plan?




Fla. politician resigns, 57 charged in scandal







Video time:


I was not going to put the link to the Jeff Gordon video, but maybe there’s just one person out there that has yet to see it, so for that person:








Note:  The photos are not available on Dirt Track Digest, only on New England Tractor - http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/

A photo from “Back in the Day”, photo taken by Walt Imlay which shows the late Jud Larson, at work in the John Pfrommer Sprint Car.  Back then, we fans could actually see the drivers at work.  Not so today!  Notice the “uniform”!   I consider myself quite lucky to have been a race fan “Back in those days”!




Closing with these:

Continued from last week:












































Until next week, folks!


As usual, you can reach me at:  ygordad@yahoo.com