(Bill W) April 26, 2019, Monroe, IA – I’ve promised myself to write more columns here on OpenWheel101.com this year. We’ll see how it goes! The winter went quickly at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, and the “Salute to Champion AJ Foyt” exhibit is set to launch next week. We’ll have six of AJ’s cars to start the exhibit, and by July, we will have nine! It is a mix of cars that has not been shown together anywhere before, so we are excited here at the Hall!
A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to attend a function for Hall of Fame journalist Dick Jordan at the IMS Museum in Indianapolis. Dick is one of the few non-drivers who is inducted both in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and the National Midget Racing Hall of Fame. His work at USAC for over fifty years is unparalleled.
Dick will have a road sign from the Indiana Racing Memorial Association in Speedway erected, and it was unveiled at the event. All six USAC Triple Crown winners were in attendance: Pancho Carter, Tony Stewart, Tracy Hines, JJ Yeley, Dave Darland and Jerry Coons Jr. It was great to catch up with everyone, including two of my favorite people, Steve and Rosemary Stapp!
Some of the others we enjoyed seeing were Tom Bigelow, Kevin Olson, Pat Sullivan, Dave Argabright, the crew from USAC old and new, Johnnie Parsons, Kody Swanson, Donald Davidson, Justin Grant, Critter Malone, Kenny Schrader, Gene Crucean, John Mahoney, Dave Rose, Bill Marvel and Rollie Helmling just to name a few.
Jan Opperman’s oldest daughter, Teacia Irwin, and her friend Mary Jo were visitors to the museum on April 12. Jan’s bible is a new edition to our Opperman display as part of our “Salute to Central PA.” It was fun to be a fly on the wall when Hall of Famer Kenny Jacobs came in and struck up a conversation with Teacia. Working at the museum has its cool benefits!
Keep an eye out for race reports coming up on the website, as well as results and highlight videos from the World of Outlaws, All Stars, USAC and ASCS. This is the second straight year we’ve included stories and results from ALL these sanctions, as well as highlight videos. Tom Myers is back with us with race reports from the Ohio area, and I plan on being at my usual 70-80 shows. This weekend, weather pending, I’ll hit the WoO at Lake Ozark Friday, Knoxville Saturday, and Jacksonville Sunday.
The Knoxville opener was a great one! With Knoxville being one of the few races not threatened by weather, a healthy count of both 410’s and 360’s was in the house! Incredibly, twenty of the twenty-four A main starters in the 410 feature on Saturday had been at least a one-time qualifier for the Knoxville Nationals A main. Brian Brown was victorious over the 33-car field. Ryan Grimes topped the 34-car 360 class, and Matt Stelzer triumphed in the newly named Pro Sprints presented by Pace Performance (previously the 305’s).
Tyler Groenendyk saw his first 410 action in Bruce Williams’ #7s. The car will also be piloted by Afton, Iowa’s Skylar Hunter this season. Skylar is a pilot in Tulsa…Aaron Reutzel made his shortest commute ever to Knoxville, as he moved a mile and a half north of town in the offseason…Justin Henderson was very impressive for the first night out in the Sandvig #7. He led the first half of the feature, before Brown got by…Christopher Bell was a surprise visitor in the Swindell SpeedLab #39, and finished tenth despite the lack of power steering…Californian Cory Eliason was the only driver to pull double-duty on Saturday. He was second quick in the 360, and finished fourth in the feature. He ran 14th with the 410’s…Brian Ridge who competed at Knoxville, and fielded cars in the past for John Kearney among others is back. Brian and his sons own the #83 of Lynton Jeffrey and the 360 of Rob Kubli…Sam Hafertepe Jr. is planning more 410 shows this season, and looked fast if not for a mag cap coming off…It’s also good to see Mark Dobmeier and Dave Lunstra reunited...It’s also good to see Craig Dollansky back, as well as Dustin Selvage, who is in an owner role for Craig…The influx of 360 rookies was led by Ryan Leavitt on Saturday. Kelby Watt’s contact with another car starting the feature definitely slowed him. Eric Bridger lost a motor in Friday’s practice, and was unable to be ready for Saturday. Jayce Jenkins took a wild ride in the B main, but walked away. Hopefully, we’ll see both those drivers back soon…Rookie Matt Johnson also flipped in the Pro Sprints, but is vowing to return. Devin Wignall was impressive on the dry-slick surface, finishing second to Stelzer in his first ever Knoxville start. Mike Johnston, another rookie, was quickest in Friday’s practice.
Paul Nienhiser and Parker Price-Miller lead the early Midwest Thunder Sprints presented by Open Wheel 101 Point Standings. Four total point eligible races go down this weekend. If you'd like to contribute and advertise on teh website, 100% will go towards our point fund! Just give me a shout...
Bill W Media