So we're approaching the halfway mark of the great southern tour. In the Late Model world, both tours have started their regular seasons in Lucas Oil tour and WoO action. There's been a little testing and shaking down going on, and we haven't even got to the start of the World of Outlaw sprint season yet, but the results have set enough of a pattern to comment on. One thing is for sure, you can't win a points championship in February, but you sure can lose it with a few dnf's or bad finishes. Here's what we've noticed thus far...
|Nat'l Speed Sport News|
Kerry Madsen Anointed Mayor of Bubba Raceway Park:
King Kerry might get a statue in front of Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL after this weekend's performance. Around 21 sprints took part in the first three nights of action, but at the front were some big names. Blaney, Kinser, Kenemah, Danny Smith, and Reutzel.
And in front of them all for three straight night's was one Kerry Madsen. The Australian scored the hat trick this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, winning all three features to kick off the UNOH All Star Sprint season. Though they were non points affairs, every driver wants to get a win and some confidence early on. Madsen kept the competition at bay though and took $15,000 with him
EPJ Makes Early Season Statement:
It's been a while since Earl Pearson Jr had been a major player on the Lucas Oil Series podium at the end of the year. But with his start to the season at both Golden Isles Speedway and East Bay Raceway Park, he just may have put himself in a position to battle all season long.
Pearson has put the first four points feature finishes in the top 10, including a win, and two second place finishes. The current Lucas LM points leader could come out of Florida with a real chance to make a run in 2015, and to be honest about it, that would be a refreshing thing!
A Case for Casebolt:
We're not sure if the funding would be present to carry Steve Casebolt on the full WoO Late Model tour. But if it is, he'd make a great addition to the tour!
His performance in the tour opener at Screven confirmed what many already knew. That given the right set of circumstances, good equipment, and a little luck, he could flourish going up against the best of the best. Casebolt notched an opening night win and a second place on night two at Screven, and currently leads the point standings. It's a small sample size, but nobody that's been paying attention to him would tell you that he could't do very well for himself should he find a way to stick around. His current schedule lists his itinerary, and it doesn't seem to include Volusia as of yet. We'd love to see him there in a few days! Either way, it was a memorable weekend for the undermentioned Indiana driver!
On Richards and Roberts:
Some will say Richards was over anxious to get a victory under his belt. Some say he drove Georgia driver Casey Roberts the wrong way. Some will call it a racing deal, and some will say thanks for bringing some excitement to the season an putting a few more butts in the stands!
Either way, when Josh Richards made contact with Casey Roberts in a $5,000 UMP Late Model feature at Screven last Thursday, he set in motion a battle that people were talking about all weekend, and will be looking to continue at Bubba RP and Volusia this weekend and next. The contact took Roberts out of the lead on Thursday night and was repaid when Roberts spun Richards while he was running sixth on Saturday night in a WoO points race. Was it the end of it? Are they square? Time will tell. But to be honest about it, we're kind of hoping it's over with, done, and they're both ready to race a little cleaner the rest of the way. Stay tuned...
Hodnett- Best at Volusia Early On:
We give him the name "Good Hod" or exclaim "Hoddamnit" when he wins. Firstly, because he's damn good, and secondly, because it's a great exclamation. Central PA's Greg Hodnett was the fastest car at Volusia Tuesday at practice, and he took home the checkered flag on Wednesday night in the first sprint feature of the DIRTCar Nationals.
Here at TDN we bask in all that is the rivalry between the PA Posse and their fans and the WoO regulars. Not that we take sides, but rather we observe and laugh at both sides equally! His presence and fast start has been a breath of fresh air, and odds are we can see a little more of him in victory lane later on this weekend! BTW, did anybody notice that Paul McMahan had to make a quick getaway to the port a john on opening night at Volusia before the feature? Cranberry juice Paul.......lots of it!
|Has Anybody Seen This Man?|
Missing Persons Alert: (Owens and Lanigan)
We'd be neglectful of our duties to not point out missing persons in the East Bay/Golden Isles/Screven Area during speed weeks! If anyone has seen Jimmy Owens or Darrell Lanigan near the top 10 any time recently, please let us know and we'll pass it along!
To be fair, even the best have bad starts sometimes, but tread water just long enough to not get too far behind. Donny Schatz doesn't always set Volusia on fire, nor even come out of California with a points lead, but he's always there in July. Odds are, these guys will be too! However, their early season struggle has been interesting. Lanigan's thumb could still be an issue, Owens.......we got nothing!!
Big Blocks On the way!
Attention those of you travelling I-95 South anytime in the next day or two. Be on the lookout for some license plates from Quebec, Ontario, New York, New Jersey and PA! This coming Sunday, the big block modifieds join the party, making their debut at Golden Isles on Sunday, then making their way over to Volusia later next week. They travel from far and wide, taking time off work to partake in the action.
It is one of the astonishing acts of racing passion that amazes us to this day. To see all that diesel burn, a 21 hour driver for some, just to race a handful of features, sometimes only for $2,000 to win. They'll be about 30 or so. Soon, the likes of Hearn, Sheppard, Friesen, Danny Johnson and others will be gracing the clay, and we can't wait! Look for a surprise winner perhaps as young Anthony Perrego looks to etch his name onto a gator trophy next week. Or perhaps Peter Britten will snag his first elusive SDS win!
Be sure to follow along with our Speed Weeks Schedule and Results Page HERE!