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ChrisAkulis last won the day on January 4

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About ChrisAkulis

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  1. Afton is a Fairgrounds owned facility and their plans for spectators were squashed late last week.
  2. I'm going to guess Penn Can. Legend has it the grandstands were built on a pile of old junkyard cars to get the slope/elevation.
  3. When one man thinks he can give himself enough power to make any decision he wants, that negatively impacts the lives of so many, that's a HUGE fundamental flaw of governing. I can't even wrap my head around how this could possibly be even the slightest bit allowed in the Constitution.
  4. I don’t remember that incident (I was 6) but it does not surprise me. That’s the type of racer he was and type of man that he is. It also speaks to a couple other things... first, the type of man that Art Bonker was. Trying to make the best of a bad situation and come up with a fix that was not only fair to the racers, but also did not incite the fan base. At the time they were 3 very popular drivers and each had a decent following; and second, this was a time when money had not yet become the be all and end all of the racing game. Your envelope at the pay window was not the only thing that mattered. Today’s cars and expenses are so out of control that guys don’t dare give up one position voluntarily, much less a race victory. A simpler time highlighted by simpler men. That’s all I could say about this story..
  5. I'll be honest... racing is the furthest thing from my mind right now. If things get back to normal later this summer, I'll be looking forward to many trips to the track.
  6. May 2012....first Indianapolis 500 in person. Watching something this big on TV your whole life and then finally seeing it in person is something I'll always remember. People that know me know that I hate the heat, and it was mid 90's that day under a blazing sun. But we stuck it out and enjoyed every second of it. A last lap balls out go-for-it move by Takuma Sato came up just short and he wound up in the fence, giving Dario Franchitti the win. Never thought I would hear a crowd loud enough to drown out the sound of Indy cars at speed, but that last lap they did it....
  7. Long read, but you know how I am with words….. I was thinking about this quite a bit last night. I’m a bit of a history buff and I think the hypocrisy of NASCAR is astounding. The whole advent of restrictor plates came about after Bobby Allison’s crash into the catchfence in 1987 – 33 years ago! And in all that time the only solution to the problem of pack racing and massive wrecks at Daytona and Talladega has been to tweak the aerodynamic elements of the cars – a smaller/bigger spoiler, a roof flap, wickers, enclosed side windows, etc… all the while keeping the plates and ‘tapered spacers’ that force the cars to run essentially the same speed first to last. But NOTHING has been done to the root cause of the problem, which is the tracks themselves. The technology of the cars and the intelligence of the engineers has vastly outgrown the ability of the two tracks to host reasonably safe races. These cars simply can not run on tracks that large with that much banking, the same way that they could in 1979. The kicker here is that NASCAR owns both tracks – Daytona and Talladega. And to reconfigure them down to reasonable levels of banking, (which would eliminate the pack racing) would cost them MILLION$ of dollars, which they are unwilling to spend. Thirty three years of carnage, injury, and even death prove that point. Instead, they invent new rules for the cars and then mandate them onto the owners so that THEY are the ones who brunt the cost. However, this is where the hypocrisy starts. When Miami Homestead was built, it was a mini replica of Indianapolis, with 4 distinct corners connected by short straightaways. The track ran 2 seasons that way with a plethora of crashes, including a blunt angle impact crash that killed John Nemecheck. NASCAR’s solution was to threaten to take races away from Homestead unless they reconfigured the track, so in 1997 the ‘4 corner’ layout was ripped out and replaced with a traditional full radius, banked configuration. Cost the Miami owners millions, but they had to do it. And in 1997 Texas Motor Speedway opened to massive criticism from drivers and owners for its awkward transitions from straightaways to corner entry. The first race there was a crashfest. And shortly after, the architects were forced to rip out half the track and start over again with a configuration that mimicked Charlotte. Again, huge expense to the track owners but nothing to NASCAR. It’s time for NASCAR to put its money where its mouth is and spend their OWN money to fix the two most dangerous tracks on the circuit. Cut the banking down to 10 degrees and be done with it. Good handling cars and skilled drivers will separate themselves from the pack mentality...
  8. To those of us who knew Mike's battle, this is the inevitable day we knew would unfortunately come... I last saw Mike on November 22nd at my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. He was frail and weak but made it a point to get out of the house and spend time with my dad, whom he was best friends with in high school many moons ago. The table he sat at consisted of Mike, my uncle Chuck, my uncle Larry Groover (another former Modified standout), and their spouses. At first sight you would think there were some classic bench racing stories being spewed at that table, but far from it. The conversations I heard were more about their friendships, the passing of time, and the frailty of life. When Mike had left for the evening, Chuck commented to me that all the racing they did together back in the day didn't mean a damn thing at this point.... Anyone that knew Mike only from the grandstands knew he was one tough, aggressive, go-for-it racer. He got under the skin of most everyone at one point or another, lol.... but when you approached him after the race, you couldn't stay mad at him for more than a few seconds. Mike just had that way of brightening the moment even when you wanted to be mad. And he would be the first one to lend you a hand if you needed something in a pinch (although not many people ran Ford stuff so he was pretty safe in that regard, lol). Away from the track, Mike was maybe the nicest man I ever met. I heard countless stories from my dad about the hell they raised in high school, at cross country meets, and tearing up the back roads of Broome County as teenagers. In my early teens I actually raced Microds with Mike's sons Jerry and Mike Jr.... and in the summer when my dad traveled for work to the west coast, Mike would load three carts in the back of his white pickup and fly up Rte 81 so we could race on Wednesday nights at the old Cortland County Microd Club by the airport. We were all convinced that at some point, one of us was going to lose our cart on the highway when the bungee cords broke, but somehow Mike made it work, lol. He always had a way of getting the best from a situation... My sincere condolences to Lea, Jerry, Jenny, Joey, Mike Jr, Julie, and Jason for their loss. Also to the many who are children in-law, grandchildren, and racing family members like Tim Smith.... Mike was a great family man - God fearing, and willing to help anyone he crossed paths with. He will be sorely missed.... God Speed #51
  9. The 358 race at Syracuse may well have been the poorest paying race I've ever seen, for what it cost to run competitively there.
  10. "Give me racecar engines that cost $45,000 over ones that cost $5,000" said no car owner - ever. To put this in perspective, I worked on a car that ran a good portion of the SDS back about 25 years ago. Conversations I had with some people in the pit area at the time about how a top shelf Tony Feil engine was going for $22,000 - 24,000 and how people couldn't believe some teams were forking over the money for those. The standard SDS race purse paid $6,000 to win back then - SAME AS TODAY. Only now some teams are paying twice as much for engines as back then, not to mention twice what fuel used to cost and easily 50% more for tires. Where is the tipping point? Or are Modified owners just so ego driven that they will spend $100,000 for an engine to have bragging rights and a few nice shiny trophies for the shop wall? Needs to be a happy medium somewhere.
  11. Out by Rte 31 there is a single wooden building left standing that I believe is part of the historical society's preservation of the fairgrounds? I think that's all that is left of the place. It's right near the entrance to the mega-Lowe's that exists there now.
  12. After watching the video of the SDS race at Brewerton last Friday, I would bet that by the end of the 100 lap Big Block race, the car Matt Sheppard was driving was slower than the guys that were winning and running Top 5 in the Sportsman features. if not then there was no perceivable difference in speed. Do I think such a thing could ever happen at say, LV or OCFS? Not bloody likely. But I can see Weedsport, Oswego, Black Rock, Fulton, etc... maybe Canandaigua on a slick daytime race... I'm not proposing that everyone dump Modifieds. But it's a very telling sign that a guy can spend 10-20% of what a BB cost and go out and run the same speed in certain situations.
  13. I asked this question before.... If a headline crate Sportsman class at Canandaigua had Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker and Danny Johnson in it, would people come watch? Or would they be turned off because the cars go a half second slower than the expensive cars?
  14. Perrego has been on a tear all season it seems, either at OCFS, Accord, or on the road. Kind of made that look easy last night. Track was table top smooth and fast, albeit very dusty. Everyone knew that would be the case though with sun and 90 to start the night off... 32 cars was a great field; I think if Danny Johnson ran there weekly he would be very tough; two trips and two Top 5's. Big fields in the Sportsman and 600cc Mod classes also; Sprints were light on numbers (8?) but had an entertaining race.
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