April 28, 2013

Benton County Speedway

Photos Courtesy of Kyle Ealy
Brandon Banks - IMCA Modified
Jarrod Weepie - IMCA Stock Car
Troy Cordes - IMCA Modified
Brian Happel won a thrilling IMCA Hobby Stock feature
Scottie Pippert - IMCA Stock Car
Curt Hilmer - IMCA SportMod
Mike Burbridge was the IMCA modified main event winner
Scott Hogan - IMCA Modified
Dakoda Sellers - IMCA SportMod
Sam Wieben - IMCA SportMod
Danny Dvorak - IMCA SportMod
"Stormin" Norman Chesmore earned an hard-fought IMCA Stock Car victory

In a IMCA hobby stock feature...
almost too close to call...
Brian Happel nips Garrett Eiander in a photo finish.
Nick Roberts Jr. is interviewed by announcer Ryan Clark after winning the caution-marred IMCA SportMod feature
Vern Jackson (64) goes low and Jerry Luloff (18) goes high in IMCA modified action
Nathan Chandler is interviewed by Ryan Clark after winning the IMCA Sport Compact feature on the last lap
Joe Docekal (12D) battles Jim Buhlman (00) in IMCA SportMod action
Nick Roberts Jr - IMCA SportMod
Norman Chesmore (15) slips past Jarrod Weepie (3) enroute to winning the IMCA stock car feature
Mike McDonald - IMCA SportMod
Mike Burbridge - IMCA Modified
Justin Stander - IMCA Hobby Stock
Kyle Olson - IMCA SportMod
Joel Rust - IMCA SportMod

Rockford Speedway

Photos Courtesy of Jim Ambruoso
Racing memorabilia can be view from years past within Rockford Speedway's souvenir stand.
His voice can be heard as you arrive at the famed Rockford Speedway, shouting out "PROGRAM....GET YOUR LUCKY NUMBERED PROGRAM......PROGRAM HERE."
 Picking up a Trophy Dash win is Steve Rubeck, #20 Monroe Center, Illinois.
 Racing action in the RockStar RoadRunner 20-lap feature saw two by two and three wide racing throughout the event.
 Dennis Smith Jr #08 South Beloit, Illinois, raced his way into victory lane in the RockStar 20-lap RoadRunner feature.

Nick Cina Jr #10 Belvidere, Illinois showed dominance over the field of Miller Lite American Short Trackers to claim the 25-lap feature.
Track Champion 2012, Jerry Gille once again found his way to victory circle as he posted a strong win in the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models. Pictured with Gille is tracker starter Jeff Stringer.
The 'wild and crazy' Figure 8 Spectacular, provided close calls and wild racing. In the end, Adam Cartwright #42 Belividere, Illinois posted the first feature win in the division for 2013.

April 27, 2013


I’m Tired of Tires

by Mike Ruefer
Davenport, Iowa - I work during the week and on the weekend I go racing. Does this sound familiar? Sure it does. If you’re reading this; that’s what you do. Racing is an addictive sport and the passion for speed fuels the soul of all who call it their sport. Everyone has a story on what got them hooked on their drug of choice. Mine was over 40 years ago and during all these years I love the chase of the next race.

As I get older knowing that my best years of chasing are behind me, I tend to think about the future of Dirt Late Model racing and the drivers, cars, race tracks and events that shape the history of the sport. It’s important to me to think that all that mattered in the past which shaped the sport stays in place to give reference to the future. All things change with time, technology and knowledge but have we gone just a little too far with tires.

What I mean with this has to do with all the recent disqualifications that have happened after early 2013 marque events concerning chemically altered tires. It’s nothing new and it’s been taking place for a long time. Soaking tires in fuel oil, rubbing them with solvents has been taking place long before today. Bending rules and being creative to get a competitive edge has been part of racing since the Romans raced Chariots in the Coliseum.

The importance of tires in all forms of motorsports is paramount. Every form of racing outside of dirt racing police tires like a Brinks truck. Why? Because they are that important! In racing it’s all about getting the horsepower and torque turned into traction.

Where does that happen? With the tires!

Go to any Dirt Late Model super show and watch how much everyone looks at everyone’s tires. No one wants to be out guessed with tire selection when multiple tire compounds are available. Starting up front, having the right tires might just be your ticket to victory.

Tires of all kinds are modern chemical marvels that transform raw rubber into something that we can drive on. The tread gets the most attention because that’s the point where the rubber meets the road. With different chemical additives the tread can be made harder or softer or somewhere in between. Just like with the Three Bears and their porridge, Goldilocks will find the one she likes the best.

Harder and softer with tires equals a compound that has a durometer rating. That’s easy so if a tire is stamped at a number then it durometers at certain number. A problem with tires, because they are made out of rubber (natural and synthetic) degrade over time. The chemicals vent or off gas in storage thus changing the chemistry of the compound. So the tires you bought last year are chemically different and become harder. Not by much but still not as fresh as a new tire.

Let’s think about heat. Tires need to get heat into and out of the tread layer to work as designed. On dirt the groove and sipe cuts make this happen and the remaining tread pattern creates the contact patch to gain traction. A big problem with heat is that it also changes the compound and makes the tread harder after a cooling cycle. Sometimes this happens during the race and the outer layer of tread glazes or seals over during a caution and thus less traction. The temptation to alter the tire to give you better performance so the tire handles all these situations is real. Overall a lot time, money, sweat and worry go into tires. Success or failure each and every race can tetter on tires.

So why in the world would anyone want to mess with their tires and try to gain an advantage? Because so much is riding on them if you get my drift! Like I mentioned before, racers seek an advantage even if ever so slight. In today’s age of “buy it off the speed shelf world and you go fast,” race cars have become so equal. Drivers make a difference, crew chief knowledge makes a difference, engines and shocks make a difference. The combination when all bolted onto the chassis of your choice all make a difference. In racing when everyone is good or great and can win on any given night, any advantage is looked at and thus we have this tire problem that starting to raise its ugly head.

I think the recent disqualifications are just the tip of the Iceberg. If only a few are caught altering their tires does this mean they are the only ones doing it? The answer has to be no. If no one else was doing it then why would they take the risk of getting caught? While I firmly believe that most racers don’t alter their tires, probably enough do that some will take the risk to stay even. I don’t condone anyone for messing with a tire and trying to change the chemical compound but it’s been going on for a long time and very little or anything been done to stop it. The problem I see is that it’s going to hurt the sport if it continues to escalate at the current rate.

Fans go to races to see a race, cheer for their favorite driver and cheer or boo for the winner. Great races and the victorious champion become part of history or at least that’s how it used to be. Today it’s different. We cheer the champion and two weeks later we learn they altered their tires and become disqualified changing the race we all witnessed before. This will ruin our sport and our legacy for the future.

With tires being so important to racing I firmly believe that it has to be controlled now before more damage is done. If nothing is going to be done then get rid of the tire rules all together. Fans expect to see a race and a winner, not to hear he has been disqualified in later weeks. For those of you who have the influence, authority and power to get this tire problem solved, the ball is in your court. Doing nothing and ignoring the situation will forever change the dirt late model landscape forever.

April 22, 2013

Quincy Raceway - CBC/ALMS/MARS Clash

Photos Courtesy of John Vass
Chad Simpson won the Clash for Cash feature at Quincy Raceway.
Brandon Shepard and Shannon Babb fight over second place at the Clash for Cash at Quincy Raceway.
Kevin Weaver holds the low line as he duals with Mark Burgtorf at Quincy Raceway.
Veteran St Louis area racer Ed Dixon blasts around Quincy Raceway during the tri-sanctioned Clash for Cash.
Brandon Shepard finished in the second spot at the Clash for Cash feature at Quincy Raceway.
Chad Simpson went 2 for 2 as he won the Clash for Cash tri-sanctioned feature at Quincy Raceway.

April 21, 2013

Rockford Speedway - 66th Season Opener

Photos Courtesy of Jim Ambruoso
Gene Marocco # 98 Rockford, Illinois celebrated his 73rd birthday by winning his Rockstar RoadRunner heat race. 
Miller Lite American Short Tracker 25-lap feature winner went to Kyle LaPier # 55 Belivdere, Illinois racced to the front of the field to claim his first feature of 2013.
Brett McCoy # 29 Belvidere, Illinois in victory lane for Bargain Hunters Sportsman 25-lap main event.
Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models about to take the green flag to start their first feature for the 2013 season.
Alex Papini # 39 Machesney Park, Illinois takes the first feature checker flag of 2013 weekly racing program at the Rockford Speedway.
Alex Papini # 39 Machesney Park, Illinois makes the statement as to say 'I am in it to win it for 2013' as he showed dominance in the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models 30-lap main event. This is his second feature win of 2013, his first coming from the Big 8 Series a during Rockford Speedway's Spring Classic.
Rockstar RoadRunners start each feature event by making a four-wide presentation to the race so to salute the race fans in attendance.
With a smile # 24 Arlyn Roush, Woodstock, Illinois wins the Rockstar RoadRunner 20-lap feature to close out a frigid night of racing at the Rockford Speedway.

CBC/ALMS/MARS Showdown - 34 Raceway

Photos Courtesy of Mike Ruefer
Chad Simpson won the 40-lap main late model event in Burlington on Saturday night.
Brian Shirley (3s) and Jesse Stovall (00)
Ryan Unzicker (24) and Tyler Reddick (11t)
Chad Simpson (25) and Mark Burgtorf (7)
Chris Simpson (32) and Terry Phillips (75)
Jesse Stovall (00) and Kevin Weaver (B12)
Chad Simpson in action
Rich Bell (21B) and Billy Drake (75)
Jesse Stovall (00) and Terry Phillips (75)