By Danny Burton
Danny Burton’s Hoosier Race Report appears courtesy of OpenWheelRacers.com
Not always is our hard work rewarded at least not when we’d like it to be. But like many cliches, the one about good things coming to those who wait (and work) is often true. And this past weekend the efforts of Brady Short, Tony Beaber, and their respective teams, paid off. Both won hard fought features at Bloomington and Lawrenceburg. Both earned their wins. So what if only one is a Hoosier. For my money, Tony Beaber is an honorary Hoosier, seeing that he’s a regular the da ‘burg and is one of the newest members of the Hoosier Auto Race Fans club.
For the weekend, the weather could not have been better. Heading west to Bloomington on Friday afternoon I searched the sky in vain—for clouds. There were none that I could see; all I could see was the hills of southern Indiana, nothing but a sea of green trees and blue sky.
33 sprint cars were signed in for the night’s racing at Bloomington, one that honored the South Central Building and Construction Trade Council labor unions. Brady Short got things underway with a win in his heat, the first of four. Dickie Gaines was second. These two would hook up again later, but that story will wait a bit. Kenny Carmichael Jr. was third with Derek Scheffel, in a car normally driven by Matt Laffoon, fourth. Kent Christian won the second heat over Josh Cunningham, Arin McIntosh, and Brett Burdette. Ty Deckard came back from a spin to just miss a transfer spot. Chris Windom took heat number three with Brent Beauchamp, John Memmer, and Mitch Cunningham trailing. Steve Rone had fourth locked up when he lost it coming around for the checkered, smacked the front stretch wall, and was done for the night. Casey Shuman won the fourth heat with Jared Fox second. Jon Sciscoe was third and Kevin Briscoe, the birthday boy, was fourth.
Bobby Stines took the last chance race with Ty Deckard, Kenny Carmichael Sr., and Jimmy Light also making the most of their last chance. Light, still learning more about this sprint car game and learning well, came from 12th to take the last spot. Dakoka Armstrong and Lawrenceburg winner Tim Spindler, among others, were loading up early.
Short (also a birthday boy) and Cunningham drew the front two positions for the feature with Gaines, Sciscoe, Christian, Fox, Beauchamp, Windom, Carmichael Jr., and McIntosh behind. The guys and I figured that we’d enjoy watching people like Briscoe and Stines work their way to the front. Right off the bat Short and Gaines commenced a 25 lap battle for the lead, interrupted by one yellow flag. I gave up counting lead changes, including passes that occurred in the course of one lap. Dickie did lead lap 24, but Brady made the pass with inches to spare at the checkered flag. I did spend a bit of time watching Briscoe, who started 16th, hustle through the field. I had him 12th at lap three, seventh at lap nine, and eventually Kevin made his way to the top five, coming home third behind Chris Windom. Kent Christian was edged for the fourth spot by Briscoe at the end. The second five was Casey Shuman, Josh Cunningham, Ty Deckard (from 18th), Jon Sciscoe, and K. Carmichael Jr.
New daddy Chris DeWeese and Jon DeMoss also won features on Friday night. And more of the same is scheduled for this coming Friday at Bloomington. Be there….if you can be.
The past several years, we’ve made the trip to the mountains of North Carolina, at one point crossing the eastern Continental Divide. So the other day it occurred to me that Indiana Sprint Week serves as a sort of Continental Divide for open wheel fans here. It’s August now and we’re on the downhill slide. But let’s not be fooled; there is still plenty of great racing left. And with that in mind, off to Lawrenceburg I went.
Had it not been a HARF (and DARF-Dayton Auto Race Fans), I’d have headed northwest to Paragon, but HARF obligations sent me east, almost to the banks of the Ohio River.
Rodney Stone ran off with the first heat over Jamie Williams, Jason Knoke, and Mark Hall. Brandon Petty hustled his way to win in the second heat with Tony Beaber second. The ageless Troy Link was third with Matt Westfall fourth. Last week’s winner Derek Franks made the statement that he’d be ready to take his second sprint feature with a win in the third heat. A.J. Anderson was second with Brett Burdette and Dakoda Armstrong trailing.
This was another beautiful Indiana night. The sun disappeared over the hills to the west of the track as I sneaked a quick snack in my opulent surroundings on the tail gate of the old truck (152,000 miles and counting). As we get older we really need to remember to take our medications with us. Naturally I’d forgotten mine, but the lovely lady in the turn four concession stand stepped up and offered a worthy substitute, two capsules for back pain. Problem solved and racing to be enjoyed, along with the great company; I finished up and hurried (well, walked a bit quicker) back.
I’d better mention that one of my favorite authors, Dave Argabright, was on hand tonight, signing and selling his latest book, the long awaited and much acclaimed “Let ‘Em All Go.” Promoter Tom Wieck filled in for regular announcer Kimb Stewart as she was at O’Reilly’s Raceway Park. Tom did a fine job when he wasn’t being pestered by a certain HARF officer, namely me.
The draw for the feature saw Stone and Franks in the front row, with Beaber, Anderson, Williams, Petty, Knoke, and Link ready to pounce. Right away Franks and Petty began a battle much like the one I’d witnessed the night before, with Franks using the low line and Petty riding the rim. Beaber dropped to as low as fifth as he fought with Knoke and Anderson, who has excelled at Gas City this year. Franks would slowly fade as Beaber began to pick up some steam. The Buckeye racer would take Franks’ place as Petty’s nemesis. And on the last turn of the last lap, he did it, passing the 2005 Lawrenceburg track champ to take his second win of the 2006 season. Anderson would finish third, followed by Knoke and Westfall. Franks ended up sixth, trailed by Link, Armstrong, Kyle Robbins, and Jamie Williams.
My good buddy Tom Jennings of DARF and I headed to the start/finish line to test Dr. G’s camera skills. We found us one happy winner. We stayed in the infield to watch Roger Williams win the modified A Main, Jerry Back the Super Stock feature (his eighth of the year), and Herb Asbury win the Pure Stock finale. D.G. Goodman’s camera stood the repeated tests that Tom and I gave it.
More of the same at the ‘burg this coming Saturday, August 12.
Elsewhere around the state, Rich and the guys did it again, winning in IMOD action up at Shadyhill. Bub Patrick and Lenny Brinkley also won up north. A.J. Anderson won at Gas City on Friday night. Gregg Cory, Josh Cunningham, and Scott Thomas all won features at Paragon on Saturday night. John Gill did it yet again at Brownstown, winning the dirt late model feature. Steve Minich Jr. was the IMOD winner way up at Angola. Jon Sciscoe was the winner at Lincoln Park. Bud Kaeding was the winner of the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute in USAC/Silver Crown action. Just south of the border, Daron Clayton won in an MSCS show at Nebo, Kentucky. Richie Hedrick and Dan Hamstra were the winners at Kamp’s Speedway. Jon Stanbrough won at Kokomo tonight (Sunday). Matt Arrington was the mini-sprint winner at Twin Cities. Jensen Button won maybe the best race on TV in a country that many people think of when they want to eat. Oh, and Jimmy Johnson won some race up at some track just north of here. (wink)
Friday afternoon, for whatever reason, probably work related, I felt out of sorts. Funny thing though, because by late Saturday night, heading home after two nights of racing, Hoosier style, I felt much better. The moon shone benevolently over the hills by the river. In this part of America one can still see the stars at night. The traffic was almost non-existent. It was just the blues playing on the Cincinnati public radio station, the towering corn fields, and me. Life was good, though the usual Sunday soreness gives one pause. But that is only for a minute. God willing, another race weekend will be here soon. And maybe even better, I’ll be able to take the little gentleman who always is asking his grand-pop if he can go to the races and sit in the sprint car.
Borrowing on my home equity loan to get gas so I can go to races, I’m…
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