Notebook: Bloomquist's symbol
DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: ...
DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor
Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: http://members.aol.com/dirtnews/digest =================================== CONTENTS: DirtNews Digest notebook (published May 19) BLOOMQUIST: Brings out yin-yang car at WVMS THUNDER RIDGE: Fans enjoy "extras" in Kentucky AROUND THE TRACK: Other odds and ends =================================== BLOOMQUIST GETS PLENTY OF ATTENTION IN RETURN
It's not often the 14th-place finisher in a race gets as much attention as Scott Bloomquist did over the weekend at West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells. Then again, it's not often that a driver displays a yin-yang symbol on his car instead of a traditional numeral.
All eyes were on the late-arriving Bloomquist Friday, and his car and trailer drew many onlookers throughout the weekend as the two-time Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series champion raced for the first time since splitting with car builder Barry Wright three weeks ago. Despite leaving the Barry Wright house car, Bloomquist drove a Barry Wright chassis in the King of the Mountain 100, although the car sported a new paint scheme and the circular Chinese symbol representing the dualistic balance of good (yang) and evil (yin).
With the switch to the symbol, one astute observer wondered if perhaps he'll now be known as The Driver Formerly Called Bloomquist.
Bloomquist's black-in-the-front and white-in-the-back car had a silver circle surrounding the yin-yang, which replaced his normal No. 18. His car was scored as No. 0. The car was trimmed in red with pairs of tiny No. 18 decals on either side of the yin-yang. Rather than his black hauler, he transported his car in a red, white and blue Delco Battery trailer he purchased.
"This is something we just threw together to come up here," said Bloomquist. "We weren't even going to run this weekend. C.J. (Rayburn) got a car built for us that we're going to run next weekend."
Bloomquist, who has exactly one race under his belt in a Rayburn-built machine, said he plans on driving the Rayburn at the Memorial Day weekend Show-Me 100 in West Plains, Mo., and at the $100,000-to-win Dream at Eldora Speedway on June 6-7, "then we're going to decide from there" on chassis plans for the rest of the year.
Bloomquist said adjusting to a different rear suspension will be the biggest challenge in driving the Rayburn. "We're going to be (at West Plains) for practice night so we can get our (stuff) together," he said.
The car's appearance wasn't Bloomquist's only change. His hair, normally long enough to cover his collar, was closely cropped in the back and over the ears, with it stylishly combed in front from the right to the left side of his head. Bloomquist still wore his wraparound sunglasses. ------------------------------------------------------------- THUNDER RIDGE FANS ENJOY NICE SURROUNDINGS
Be careful if you go to Thunder Ridge, where the STARS raced May 9. Dirt late model fans who normally visit humdrum dirt tracks could easily get spoiled. That's because the 4-year-old track in southeastern Kentucky is also a harness-racing track and simulcasting site, so auto racing fans enjoy many extras not available at most racetracks.
An overall feeling of cleanliness is noticeable throughout the Prestonsburg, Ky., facility, which features a covered grandstand, concrete walkways, a uniformed security force, spacious bathrooms and a variety of concessions. Many tracks serve beer, but other types of alcoholic beverages are available at Thunder Ridge. While the girders in the grandstand might impede the view of some, it's made up for by comfortable metal bleachers that produce a satisfying resonation when the late models are on the track so you can actually *feel* the roar of the engines.
If you want to take a break from the cars and play the ponies, fans can enter the clubhouse for $2 and wager on simulcasted races from horse tracks throughout the United States. While dirt cars roar around the 3/8-mile oval, many patrons in the glass-enclosed clubhouse were oblivious while placing bets and watching their picks on one of several simulcasting televisions.
Live harness meets are held in the summertime, and horses are stabled on the backstretch and behind Turn 3. But several visitors at Thunder Ridge remarked how the auto racing easily outdraws live harness racing, although a big simulcasting date -- such as the recent Kentucky Derby -- also packs the parking lot. ------------------------------------------------------------- AROUND THE TRACK ....
HEARD IT ON THE RADIO: Second-place finisher Jack Boggs was a bit frustrated at his inability to pass Steve Francis in the middle stages of Saturday's King of the Mountain 100 at West Virginia Motor Speedway, and he believed the two-way radio was a big reason Francis could block his every move. "Of course, they were on the radios, telling him what groove, where I was at .... that 15 car, it took me forever, because they got the radios going. I don't really like them, but that's the rule, you know?" Boggs said. "A few times, I went like I was going one way and went the other way coming into the corner, trying to trick the radio people."
MORAN, HARTMAN MAKE SPLIT DECISION: With a $10,000-to-win STARS event Saturday at Muskingum County Speedway, drivers Donnie Moran and Bart Hartman -- both of whom live near the Zanesville, Ohio, track -- are torn with decisions on where to race, because the $30,000-to-win Show-Me 100 in West Plains, Mo., is also a big draw. Moran, whose father promotes Muskingum County, has decided he'll try to keep his hot streak going and head to the prestigious Show-Me, where he finished seventh in 1994. Moran's wife, Brenda, was hoping her husband would stay home but Moran's crew was urging the Missouri trip, he said. Hartman, meanwhile, plans to stick at home for a race that honors former USAC champion Butch Hartman, Bart's late father. "We're going to run Muskingum for my Dad's memorial, and I think that'd be appropriate," he said. "I'd really like to win that race, I've never won it before .... it'd be a big deal to win Dad's race in my hometown, in front of the hometown crowd. We run pretty decent there, so maybe we'll have a good showing."
RECOVERING THORNSBERRY RETURNS: Shannon Thornsberry of Martin, Ky., was racing with the STARS at Thunder Ridge for his first race since severely injuring his right foot in a March 8 accident at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. Thornsberry still needs crutches to get around after surgery to put six pins and a plate permanently in his foot, which was in a cast until late April.
GEISLER GETS 200th CAREER VICTORY: Veteran driver Lynn Geisler of Cranberry Township, Pa., garnered his 200th career dirt late model feature victory Saturday night at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, beating B.A. Malcuit on the half-mile oval. Geisler is the winningest driver at Pittsburgh with 61 feature victories and he's the only driver to win at least one feature every year since the track opened in 1979.
SPEEDY DELIVERY: Because STARS headquarters are within about 15 minutes of Draime and Malcuit engines, drivers sometimes uses the series trailer as a delivery service to get powerplants freshened or repaired. Rick Aukland was using the convenient service last weekend at Thunder Ridge.
ROOKIE MAKES FIRST BIG RACE: Brandon Kinzer of Allen, Ky., in just his third late model event, transferred to the STARS feature race at Thunder Ridge with a nifty last-lap pass of Paul Davis. Kinzer, 19, moved up to late models from AMRA modifieds, where he finished second nationally in points in winning 16 races last year. Kinzer's Ford-powered MasterSbilt carries the sponsorship of Miller Bros., which also sponsored his modified. Kinzer started in the rear of the feature and ended up 17th.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS: Mike Benedum of Bristol, W.Va., is dominating the STARS rookie of the year competition, with Ryan Markham a distant second .... Rick Aukland was the most surprising no-show over the weekend in West Virginia .... drivers at the Rick's Late Model Series event in Milan, Tenn., Friday went through the grandstands collecting $550 for the fund established to help driver Terry English, who was seriously injured in an accident at Barren County Speedway in Glasgow, Ky. .... Friday's $3,000-to-win show at Crossville, Tenn., has been cancelled .... Willy Kraft of Lakefield, Minn., made the STARS Thunder Ridge trip in conjunction with a journey to the MasterSbilt chassis shop in Crothersville, Ind. .... along with typical "No coolers" signs entering Thunder Ridge, there were signs posted reading "No concealed weapons" .... Charlie Swartz was back in a Rayburn chassis at Thunder Ridge after driving a Rocket at Cherokee Speedway .... Florence Speedway has plans to improve lighting at the track .... STARS has added a $5,000-to-win May 26 race at K-C Raceway near Chillicothe, Ohio, capping a three-race Memorial Day weekend .... check out Larry Shaw Race Cars on the web at <www.larryshaw.com> .... and check out some pictures from Kentucky's Bluegrass Speedway at <www.geocities.com/motorcity/7753/index.html>. ------------------------------------------------------------- CREDITS: Todd Turner <DirtNews@aol.com> of DirtNews Digest, Tim Lee <email@example.com> of Behind the Wheel's Late Model America and Dow Carnahan of Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. -------------------------------------------------------------