So I saw Joey Saldana in the 12N Nemesis car, the same car he drove at the Nationals this year. The 1G car was here but Cale Thomas was driving it, not Tim Shaffer. Around the corner was the Seeling 97 car Max Stambaugh is driving and Rick Ferkel is still helping wrench on that car. A few more cars down the line from Stambaugh, was Aaron Reutzel, who was sporting his Knoxville Nationals paint scheme. Aaron just needed to sign in to be this year’s All Star Champion. Reutzel has had a great year this year, is always bad fast and would have won a bunch more races if not for some untimely mechanical woes. I wonder which group he will race with next season? Further down the line was Gio Scelzi in the gray and green colored 71 numbered Indy Race Parts car. James McFadden was here driving Kasey Kahne’s 9 car. Dave Blaney was in attendance with his white 98 car. Dave had his top and front wings tilted so the right side of each wing was lower. Imagine cutting about 6 to 12 inches of length off your wing mounts…but just on the right side of the car…..that’s what it looked like. That’s the best way I can think of to describe it. Walking further down the line of cars, I came to a red #2 car driven by Wayne Johnson. I then saw Billy Boat signing autographs. He signed one and then someone else came up to him asking for an autograph and Billy, with a smile on his face, signed for that fellow as well. I really enjoyed the early days of the IRL. It was a thrill to see Jack Hewitt and Steve Kinser race in the 500, as well as Tony Stewart and Billy Boat. Ok, so walking further I saw Mason Daniel and the “Dude” and parked next to them was Dominic Scelzi. Buddy Kofoid was driving the black Keith Kunz 67 winged sprinter this evening and Rico Abreu had his blue 24 sprinter parked close by…..6 Toyota sponsored Kunz midgets were parked between Buddy’s 67 car and Rico’s 24 car. Moving along, I thought it was cool to see Chad Kemenah racing a Silver Crown car….numbered 15h…with a blue tail tank. Kory Crabtree was driving the Gulf Oil paint schemed 60 non-wing car.
As I continued my walk, I saw Duane Hancock over by the All Star trailer. As you may or may not know, Duane headed up the new AFCS this year. The AFCS stands for the Attica-Fremont Championship Series that took the place of the old FAST series for the 410 winged sprint cars. As I greeted Duane, I revealed to him that I knew the real secret behind the supposed lowering of the banking here at Eldora. There are so many conspiracy theories and grumblings and this and that and just being here in the pits, and being around the cars and taking in the atmosphere today, I figured it all out. I then explained that quite simply, the banking was lowered so the tow rigs, ever increasing in length, could more easily navigate the entry and exit of the track! Bingo, case closed! Duane laughed and then we both discussed how the current racing at Eldora always is really good.
I have to say, USAC has some awesome drivers. The way these guys throw these sprints, midgets and Silver Crown cars up against the wall around here is amazing. “Sunshine” Tyler Courtney is a beast. Kevin Thomas Jr., C.J. Leary, Chase Stockon, Brady “the Macho- man” Bacon, Chris Windom, Logan Seavey, Dave Darland…..and the list goes on. It’s a real treat to be able to watch these guys race. And they put on a whale of a show!
I walked over to the turn 3 area to watch the All Star hot laps. I stood right in front of some track equipment and looked out at the track where the fence opening was right in turn 3. As the winged sprints screamed by at an insane speed, and not being used to standing that close to the cars at speed, I understood how someone could stain their britches. After taking a few pictures there, I started walking toward the tunnel to get back to the stands for time trials and I saw my new friend Jack Schilb standing there. I met Jack during Ohio Speedweek this year and we have been running into each other at the races ever since. Jack reads my stories and knowing he was an English major in college, his positive feedback really encourages me, I must say. Thank you Jack!