Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nashville All American 400 Returns: A Statistical Analysis

Over the last decade the super late models have been a part of the All American 400 weekend at the historic Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee during the years the event was run, but this year will be the first time since 2000 that they go back to the originally intended distance. Thanks to the Pro All Stars Series, the race has returned to 400 laps and back to the crown jewel it once was, attracting drivers from all across the nation and Canada.

In its heyday during the 1980s the Southeast based All Pro Super Series, Midwest based American Speed Association and New England and Canada based American Canadian Tour coordinated and converged at the fast .596 mile banked track for an all-star caliber event each year. In 2012 the Pro All Stars Series will have representatives from throughout the Southeast and New England, and the series has also worked with series and other high profile events out west to attract drivers to the track for a $22,000 winner's purse with additional money up for grabs for leading laps. Some drivers that do not regularly compete with PASS are expected to invade as well. This could potentially be the most diverse All American 400 yet.

- From 1981-2000 over 275 drivers completed over 229,000 laps, in which 68 of them led at least one lap. There were 16 different pole winners and 13 different race winners.

- It is very likely that there will be a new winner in this year's race as only one former All American 400 champion is currently entered: Mike Garvey. In fact, Garvey was the last winner of the 400 lap event in 2000 and also won in 1993. He looks to become the only three time winner. Garvey also holds an ASA victory from 1998 and his car owner Tracy Goodson has competed at Nashville in the past both as a driver and an owner.

- It is also very likely that there will be some new faces for the fans to watch in this year's race. Only seven drivers with prior starts in the 400 lap version of the race that was run for twenty years are currently entered.

- Of those seven drivers, several years of experience have been accumulated. Most notably to the local fans will be Mark Day who has qualified for nine All American 400 races, a few NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series races, and five other All American weekend super late model starts since then, not to mention his numerous starts, wins and track championships in the track's local divisions. Despite this, Day has never finished in the top ten in an All American 400.

- Two-time Daytona 500 champion Sterling Marlin will be another local favorite. He is the only driver entered that started in the very first All American 400 in 1981. Marlin only has one previous PASS South start, a 43rd place finish after receiving a promoter's option provisional for The Race at North Wilkesboro in 2011. Nevertheless, veteran should be a contender at his home track.

- A couple veteran drivers with previous starts will be playing the role of dark horse in this year's field, provided that they qualify. Pensacola, Florida's Scott Carlson led several laps in 2000 and has since been a top contender with many top ten finishes. Randy Gentry from Easley, South Carolina has had some consistent finishes as well.

- Geographically, this year's running may not have as strong of a presence from the Midwest in the past due to the Oktoberfest event in LaCrosse, Wisconsin taking place during the same weekend. However, the representatives that will be competing from that region will certainly be a force to reckon with. Illinois driver Eddie Hoffman has two former AA400 starts and has four wins at the track since those starts. Michigan's John VanDoorn is currently the CRA Super Series point leader and is also a former winner at Nashville, taking home the pole award and victory in the 2007 running that had a 300 lap distance.

- The Northwest has two legendary drivers from that region making the long trip. Garrett Evans has done so three times before, finishing sixth in his last start in 1998. Gary Lewis has never been to Nashville, but is a proven winner wherever he travels. These two drivers combined for 80 wins and six championships in the former NASCAR Northwest Tour, and have continued their winning ways since the last season in 2006.

- Not many Pro All Stars Series regulars have much of a driving history at Nashville, but a few of there famous fathers do. South Series point leader Kyle Grissom has made a UARA series start at the track before, but it was his father Steve that competed in the 400 lap race before finishing ninth back in 1987. Ross Kenseth finished third in the 200 lap race in 2010, but his father and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt was the runner-up in the 1996 running. Multi-time PASS champion Ben Rowe's father Mike finished 11th in the 1987 edition.

- Other top drivers from PASS south with prior Nashville experience include Preston Peltier who has a few late model starts and Brandon Ward who finished third in a modified back in 2007.

- Drivers from the north have little to no experience at the track, but certainly have the know how to learn quickly. Notables traveling south include current PASS North point leader Cassius Clark, former champion Johnny Clark, second generation driver D.J. Shaw and the most recent PASS North winner Derek Ramstrom.

- Three drivers have won back-to-back All American 400's in the past. While none of them will be driving this year, two of them will be playing a major role. 1988 and 1989 winner Butch Miller will assist and crew chief for Ross Kenseth. 1997 and 1998 winner Freddie Query will coach Kyle Benjamin, who looks to become the youngest All American 400 winner of all time. Even former winning crew chief Alex Query will be turning the wrenches for teenager Spencer Davis.

- The latest three entrants for the race have composed quite the racing resume. Defending All American 400 weekend super late model winner T.J. Reaid from Acworth, Georgia is now officially entered. He won the 200 lapper in 2010 for Kyle Busch Motorsports. 2006 200 lap winner Boris Jurkovic from Manhattan, Illinois is back and has a 400 lap win last year at Winchester Speedway in Indiana. Boris also has some past relation to KBM, as he has purchased some of their equipment and drove for them in last year's Snowball Derby. Speaking of Kyle Busch, he is quite possibly the biggest surprise to enter this storied event. Kyle will make the trip over from Talladega throughout the weekend and compete for his first All American 400 victory, one of the few major late model events he has yet to win. Busch will have support from one of his NASCAR sponsors Dollar General for this race.

- Some other drivers to look out for with a vast amount of track experience and have won in a late model there include Willie Allen, Clay Alexander and Dillon Oliver. Don't be surprised to see some of these competitors pull double duty and contend for the win in the supporting 125 lap pro late model race the same day.

There are more than a few additional drivers worth mentioning, but to find out who they are and see them in action attendance at the 2012 All American 400 will be necessary. The racing kicks off on Thursday night with local divisions competing on the 1/4 mile track. AA400 qualifying and support divisions take place on Friday, and the AA400 last chance race, pro late model race featuring many local heroes and the 400 lap main event will finish things off on Saturday. Hopefully the track will be packed and without a doubt give the surrounding community a reason to preserve this legendary facility for years to come.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pocono Recap and Labor Day Weekend Preview

After a busy several weeks of summer travels, I took a couple off from the racing world. Now I will be gearing up for a couple more weeks on the road before waiting patiently for a couple major short track events to conclude the year.

The initial weekend of August meant an annual stop to Pocono Raceway for the Saturday portion of their race weekend, which included NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying and race and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race. As was the norm in this area weather was an uncertainty, but the ugly stuff held off just in time for the victory lane ceremonies for the ARCA race that concluded the afternoon. It was very enjoyable to see two first time winners, Joey Coulter and Chad Hackenbracht in the Truck Series and ARCA respectively. The quality of racing was as usually expected at the 2.5 mile tricky triangle, which resulted in some spread out single-file racing. However, the restarts were quite the show with a couple altercations in the Truck race and Coulter making quite the maneuver for the eventual win. The ARCA race was a little more exciting, also as expected despite there surprisingly being only one caution. It was neat to see the Hackenbracht crew roll the dice and steal away the win from June winner Brennan Poole and the experienced and always hard to beat Venturini Motorsports crew. I left the track feeling satisfied as the rain began to pour down.

Driving away from the storm, I made the decision to head an hour west to Mountain Speedway for an annual stop at the 1/3 mile track for some Saturday night racing. My first time attending a race at this track was in 2007, a late model race which had a turnout of 28 cars. Fast forward to 2012 and the same amount cars turned out across five divisions, including a "race" with one Bandolero. The main event for the night was a 75 lap, double points, $1,500 to win Sport Modified cone race which had a nine car field. Despite the low car counts, the racing was as good as it could probably be. The four car late model race was probably the most interesting of the night and the open-wheel TQ Midgets always put on a show. Unfortunately, it's kind of simple to tell why the competitors and the fans (there had to be less than 200 in the stands) have been slowly dropping off over the years. When arriving at the track nearly a half hour after gates were scheduled to open, there was a line because no one was available to work the ticket booth. Apparently there was an accident on the highway that caused a few of the workers to arrive late, but you would think there could have been some kind of backup plan. In addition, the food seemed a little excessively greasy and the spiders and their webs appeared to make a home for themselves in and around the restroom facilities. I don't like to talk negatively about tracks normally especially as long as they are still in operation and since I am aware that it takes a committed team of staff and mostly volunteers to keep a short track going from week to week, but it's sad to see such a promising place a few years ago in a slightly discouraging condition it is in today. If I don't hear of things improving, I probably will not return next year.

I am kind of glad I bypassed attending Pocono the day after, since the weather was very uncertain and the Cup race ended up being shortened. Seemed like a very dangerous situation that mother nature brought before everyone, and I was saddened to hear about the unfortunate events following the race. Still would have been neat to see the race to the rain and I would like to see Jeff Gordon win a race in person someday before his career is over.

The following weekend I made my first trip of the year to Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. I do not understand why it always seems to take me so far into the year before I head out there, because this is probably one of my favorite tracks. The 1/4 mile circular bullring produces sub-10 second laps for most of the modified field as well as ongoing side by side racing, which is better than Bowman Gray in North Carolina's quality of racing in my opinion. The triple 25 lap modified races produced three different winners, the supporting local divisions put on some great races and once the first feature started the show kept moving. First year track promoter Floyd Santee and the staff there have certainly done an exceptional job making this place enjoyable for the fans and competitors. I am definitely going to try my best to make it back up there at least once or twice more this year.

The last couple weekends I spent some time away from the track, but now it's time to get back at it again and the schedule I have planned surely will make up for it. My Labor Day weekend will consist of three races in four days (weather permitting), starting with a trip down to Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina for their Friday night ASA-sanctioned local divisions. Defending ASA Member Track and former NASCAR Winston Racing Series national champion Barry Beggarly will be among the competitors in the field for the twin 50 lap late model stock car features. On Saturday, I will make the short trip to one of my personal favorite tracks Orange County Speedway to see the CARS Pro Cup Series, the Allison Legacy Series and the Rolling Thunder Modifieds. All three series have somewhat struggled with car counts this season, but have produced some good racing and this weekend should be no different. Pro Cup has recently signed Rev-Oil as their series sponsor and looks toward a bright future with that announcement. After a short break on Sunday consisting of some other sightseeing, it will be back to Ace for their Labor Day event. The Madhouse divisions will be on hand including some of the top southern modified racers as well as the USAC Eastern Ignite Midgets.

The weekend after will be an event that I was not originally planning on attending, but from discussions in recent weeks I will finally be attending my first Piney Lasky Memorial race at Motordrome Speedway. I will have the chance of meeting and doing anything I can to assist the Super Cup Stock Car Series for their 50 lap season finale as a guest of Joe Schmaling and the supporters of the series. Four drivers have a shot at the title: currently winless Indiana veteran Jimmie Crabtree, June Motordrome winner Kevin Kromer, two-time defending champion Jody Harrison and his uncle Harvey Harrison. I'll also have the chance to witness the 100 lap TBRA Late Model Series race, which should feature over 30 cars including points leaders George Skora III and Matt Barndt, veteran area racer Glenn Gault Jr., defending Piney winner Jimmy Carter from Ohio, track points leader Neil Brown and North Carolina invader Colt James. I'm really looking forward to and thankful for this opportunity, and perhaps there is the potential for some more of the same in 2013!

Next month I will be putting together a post a little different than the usual. It will be a preview for the Pro All Stars Series All American 400 at the legendary Nashville Fairgrounds, but will be a summary of several statistics I am compiling regarding the teams that will be expected to be competing. I plan on being their the entire long weekend, and can't wait to cross this historic track off my bucket list.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Recap and Pocono Truck/ARCA Preview

Besides one interruption from Mother Nature, the fun never stopped during the month of July. Upon my return home from Vegas, I packed my bags once again and headed a few hours north to a special Thursday night show at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in Tioga Center, New York. The evening went off without a hitch and the fans came out to form an impressive crowd to see the first appearance for the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series at track. These cars were bad fast on the concrete, defeating the prior track record by over three seconds. Although the field was smaller than average, they put on quite the show with open wheel veteran and occasional super late model racer Aaron Pierce taking the win. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the series come back and, if on a weekend, see a larger field and at capacity crowd turn out.

The following weekend, I made my first appearance at the CNB Bank Raceway Park in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. This track has been reopened by the Bainey racing family in 2012, and the crowd came out in numbers for this event as well to see the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series drivers conquer the .625 mile. There was lots of side by side racing, but Brett Moffitt was able to hold off his competitors to lead the race flag to flag. His closest competitor, teammate Sergio Pena, had issues with the starter following the halfway break and point leader coming into the race Chase Elliott suffered two cut tires. I was impressed with the show, but I hope that next year they can at least get a support division or two on board. The three hour break in the afternoon between practice sessions and qualifying was probably a little bit too much. What made my evening was I had the chance to get a tour of the television production truck thanks to SPEED pit reporter Derek Pernesiglio. It was amazing to see how compact all of the equipment is, and how everything and everyone connects to put the entire show together.

The weekend after did not go anything close to according to planned. I decided to go down to Manassas, Virginia for the entire weekend this time around and explore the area, and maybe see some practice at the track. The weather had other ideas, as an ongoing annoying mist plagued the entire weekend. The third annual Youth For Tomorrow 150 at Old Dominion Speedway was postponed to the following Saturday. BK Racing drivers Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil as well as former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner still signed autographs for the fans that were in attendance.

It was a bit of an uneasy start to the next weekend with an ongoing threat of storms, but the evening went off as scheduled. The NASCAR drivers had commitments at Indianapolis and were not present, but a strong field of 26 late model stock cars as well as Legends cars, Bandoleros, UCARs and Virginia Sprint Series cars were all on hand to entertain the fans. Dustin Storm took the lead early in the 150 lap main event and never looked back. In the end the event was a success with proceeds and donations going to Youth For Tomorrow, in which the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner of first year team BK Racing, Ron Devine, is the chairman.

Coming up is NASCAR and ARCA’s annual late summer stop at Pocono Raceway. After patiently waiting for nearly a year after last August’s Saturday rainout, I’m ready to bring my raincheck and get out to the tricky triangle. Both the Truck Series and ARCA initial entry lists are a little concerning, since it appears that neither will have a full field. Despite Kyle Busch Motorsports having only one top five finish this season, my odds on favorite to win would have to be Denny Hamlin due to his experience and success at the track. Don’t count out some of the ongoing favorites such as Matt Crafton, James Buescher, Ty Dillon, Johnny Sauter and current point leader Timothy Peters. My eye will be on a couple drivers from my home region that will be making their debuts. After setting fast time for the Daytona ARCA race, Sean Corr and his Empire Racing team have been working hard toward making their first foray into the Truck Series. I expect them to stay out of trouble and accomplish a lead lap finish. The other debut driver is from a little closer to my home. Lebanon, PA’s Kyle Martel has made several starts in ARCA and will do double duty on Saturday running both 50 lappers. Martel and team will be supporting and have been raising money for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. For this good cause, I hope they can take home some solid finishes as well.

The ARCA Racing Series is in the midst of a close point battle, and has not seen a repeat winner at Pocono in the last 13 races held there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that streak continue with championship contenders Chris Buescher and Alex Bowman as well as frequent top five finishers Grant Enfinger, Chad Hackenbracht and Matt Lofton in the field; however, June winner Brennan Poole will be hard to beat and veteran Frank Kimmel rides the momentum into Long Pond from his win last time out at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.

Unfortunately due to some recent minor financial setbacks and time constraints, I have decided to only attend the Saturday portion of the weekend once again. As some form of compensation and to keep myself entertained, I plan on going to a few local shows throughout the month at places such as Mountain Speedway, Mahoning Valley Speedway and the New Reading Fairgrounds in order to save for some upcoming trips.

After the last post, I thought that I would be lacking for a while with the poker news. Luckily, I happened to split a tournament three ways a week ago and won a future buy-in into a $100 tournament that will most likely take place either at Delaware Park, somewhere in Atlantic City or Hollywood Casino in the PA Capital Area. I will be keeping everyone posted on when that takes place.

Meanwhile, you can check out my videos from Shangri-La II Motor Speedway and Old Dominion Speedway at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Viva Las Vegas and Other Destinations

As I type this, it is my last night in Las Vegas prior to an early flight home in the morning and I thought what could be a better time to wind down and share my experiences via this blog post. I will always be partial to traveling to the south, but there is nothing like Las Vegas. Initially it was quite the overwhelming feeling, but after a day or so the city starts to grow on you. The trip didn’t go entirely according to plan both financially and logistically, but I am already thinking about my possible return next year. I had the chance to do some things that I have been dreaming about for the last seven years, including playing in a tournament at the World Series Of Poker held at the Rio Casino and Hotel. It was only a daily deepstack tournament rather than a multi-day bracelet event, but I lasted until there were about 200 players remaining out of a 1,100+ starting field. I didn’t make any cash, but the experience was well worth it. For anyone that hasn’t been, there is so much more to see and do than gamble in Vegas. Even the flight was interesting; seeing parts of the country for the first time in the air. I would recommend traveling there to anyone in an instant.

In addition to my adventures in Las Vegas, I drove into California to see the SRL Southwest Tour at Madera Speedway. My initial reaction was disbelief that this track was still open. It is surrounded by shopping centers, but I suppose it stays in business because it is part of the Madera Fairgrounds. The local fields were small but competitive, and SRL had a great turnout with 26 Legends cars and 22 Super Late Models. The Southwest Tour race saw a last lap pass for the win when former two time NASCAR Southwest Tour champion Jim Pettit II worked his way past Derek Thorn, who set a new track record on the recently repaved surface, amidst lapped traffic. It definitely was an entertaining night, and it was nice seeing some regional racing in another part of the country.

Earlier in the month of June I made two other trips to some short tracks. The Pro All Stars Series race at South Boston Speedway was a little low on car count, but once again not low on competition. Saturday’s Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski won his first race as a super late model owner when Landon Cling held off a number of veteran drivers in the closing laps. The following weekend I made my way across my home state of Pennsylvania to Motordrome Speedway to see the Super Cup Stock Car Series and five local divisions. Kevin Kromer led the 50 lap Super Cup race flag to flag, but during much of the race you could throw a blanket over the top four cars. Kromer’s story was interesting as they blew a motor in the shop during the week leading up to the race and had to borrow one from Peck Motorsports, the team that got Todd Peck into victory lane at Motordrome the year before.

I did not go to any races the weekend after due to preparation for the Las Vegas trip; however, I did pay close attention to a doubleheader that took place for late models in Pennsylvania. The fairly new TBRA Late Model Series hosted 100 lap races Friday night at Motordrome and Saturday night at the reopened CNB Bank Raceway Park in Clearfield. Both races had an impressive turnout with over 20 late models. Colt James came up from North Carolina and won the Saturday night feature. I am hoping they do this again next year so I can check it out. Also, I am glad to see a positive outlook for late model racing in this portion of the country.

You would think after a busy month of June that I would be taking some time to settle down a little bit. That certainly will not be the case. While I do plan to spend July 4th at home, the day after will be spent traveling up to Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in Tioga Center, New York to see the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series. This will be an interesting show to see, which will be my first time witnessing these blistering fast open wheel sprint cars race on the concrete surface. The last time they competed on concrete, they set track records at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The following weekend I will be going to CNB Bank Raceway Park to see the NASCAR K&N East Series compete there for the first time since 1987. I have a feeling there might be a smaller field than some past races, but it will be interesting to see how the talented and possible future NASCAR stars react to a track where they do not have much or any experience at. It should also be a perfect track for these types of cars on the 5/8 mile oval.

The weekend after that will be a stop at the Old Dominion Speedway for the second year in a row to see the Youth For Tomorrow 150 benefitting the Joe Gibbs Youth Home in Bristow, Virginia. It doesn’t look like the show will be as big as the previous year, but NASCAR drivers who have been announced to compete in the show include Mike Skinner, Travis Kvapil, Landon Cassill and David Reutimann. The local late model drivers will be vying for the win against these guys for a $10,000 1st place prize. Capping off the month of July will possibly be an annual stop at the close to home Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway to see some Micro Sprint racing.

Photo galleries and videos will be forthcoming and can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/ajcrdstr24?sk=photos (if you have trouble viewing photos, I will gladly accept your Facebook friend request) and http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. Hope everyone has a happy and safe Independence Day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jam-Packed June

It has been nearly three months since I last posted, but it is great to be back! I needed to take a brief hiatus due to some moderate travel for work and to sort out some odds and ends at home, plus a couple blog ideas never really panned out.

With one third of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season complete, I would personally rate it as slightly above average overall. There have been some promising aspects about 2012, but at the same time some things have been a little discouraging. I think the decrease in number of cautions has benefited the sport despite the fields getting strung out a little more. That’s the way racing should be. Drivers and crews should have to work to get towards the front more often than being set up with late race cautions that bunch the field and change the strategy. At the same time, the statistics from this season seem to be showing a trend where the gap between the “powerhouse” teams and the teams trying to rise up in the series tends to be a growing a bit. Last year we saw five first time winners. This year those drivers have combined for zero top fives and seven top tens in the first twelve races. The most discouraging example has probably been Tommy Baldwin Racing. The year started off fairly smoothly for them, gathering sponsorship after some favorable finishes as well as their alignment with Stewart-Haas Racing in order for Danica Patrick to have a guaranteed spot in the races she competes in. In recent weeks though it seems like the team has been struggling to even finish a race, and leaves us wondering what is going on with this “collaborative partnership.” It has been a bit alarming to see the lack of driver/team progression for the most part so far this season.

On the other hand, arguably the most competitive and promising of the top NASCAR divisions has been the Camping World Truck Series. At a glance, the top five in the current standings looks like a collection of recent ARCA seasons. It has been great to see some new faces challenging for victories, while some of the veterans have been adjusting to new teams and equipment. What would be promising to see is that some of these top drivers get recognized and receive the proper funding to further their racing careers towards the top of the sport. We all know that the Dillon brothers are set with a positive future, but it would be nice to see names like Buescher, Kligerman, Lofton and Peters challenging in the near future for Sprint Cup rookie of the year as well. It would be a huge step up compared to the dismal contests for that award recently.

After that brief analysis, it is time to move on for the remainder of this post and look ahead to the month of June. This particular month is probably going to be my most ambitious travel schedule to date. The second weekend of the month I will be traveling down to Virginia to see the PASS South Super Late Model Series compete at South Boston Speedway. Some notable names have won in the series and currently lead the standings. Kyle Grissom won last time out at Concord for the second time in 2012 and him as well as Ross Kenseth will be tough to beat in the 150 green flag lap race. A host of other competitors should be there as well as the "Bad Boys with the Bad Fast Toys" invade the 4/10 mile oval. In addition, the Late Model Stock Cars will be on hand for twin races. Up and comers Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers and current track point leader Matthew Bowling should be among those on hand to race. The MAD modifieds will also be competing, which is a fairly new regional series racing in IMCA-style open wheel modifieds. While I am down for the weekend I plan on doing a little bit of sightseeing, perhaps at Occoneechee State Park and nearby lakeside town Clarksville, Virginia.

The following Friday, I will be taking the day off work to make the four hour drive west to Motordrome Speedway. The track plans to have their five division weekly program as well as the Super Cup Stock Car Series. When the stock car touring series visited there last year, Todd Peck's team and hauler did not arrive until the local features began for the evening. Luckily for him, qualifying was rained out due to a passing shower and lined up for the feature on the outside front row as the team suited up. Without a lap of practice, Peck won the race. If they return this year they will definitely be the car to beat, although it is not certain if they will be there to defend as they prepare for their first Truck Series start of the season at Iowa Speedway in July. Whether they show up or not there will be some other forces to reckon with, such as two-time defending series champion Jody Harrison and teammates JJ Pack and television personality Stephen Cox. The series has gained some steam recently with Cox's production company producing nationally televised broadcasts promoting its grassroots form of racing. I will be heading back Saturday and possibly even stopping off at Lincoln Speedway to see some dirt track sprint car racing on the way home.

The last week of the month will perhaps be my biggest trip so far, as I will be flying out to Las Vegas for the first time ever! I plan on using the first few days to play in a couple poker tournaments and most likely see a show one night. Then on the weekend, I will be detouring out to California (also a first) and seeing a SRL Southwest Tour Series race at Madera Speedway. These are super late models very similar to the PASS Series cars. I am very anxious to see the competitors in this series compete, many of which competed back in the NASCAR Southwest Tour days when those races were televised. When I head back to Nevada for a couple last days I also plan on doing some more sightseeing, which of course has to include the Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex. Should be extremely fun and I am really looking forward to it.

So that is the month of June in a nutshell. I'll be sharing photos and videos from much of the action throughout the month. Should be quite the experience. Hopefully the weather cooperates!