Makin’ Tracks – Day One at World Finals – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

Who’s going to race at Charlotte?

That is the question everyone asks as the annual season ending spectacular approaches.

So after standing in line for nearly a half hour it was off to see who was going to be racing.

For nearly two days big-block Modifieds, World of OUtlaw Sprint and World of Outlaw Late Model haulers rolled into The Dirt Track at Charlotte pit area.

Traditionally, the Sprints are high above turns one and two with the overflow sitting a little further back. Meanwhile, the Late Models and big-blocks are parked off the backstretch, across an asphalt road, down a hill in the lower pit area.

The best of the best in all three classes are here and fans know it.

Upon arrival the numbers were pretty darn good.

For Modified fans 42 cars rolled in while 52 Sprints and 76 Late Models packed the pits.

Modified drivers in attendance included Billy Decker, Erick Rudolph, Demetrios Drellos, Matt Sheppard, Mike Mahaney, Tim Fuller, Keith Flach, Tim McCreadie, Brett Hearn, Justin Wright, Justin Haers, Chad Jeseo, Danny Johnson, Peter Brittain, Marcus Dinkins, Chris Hile, Tim Kerr, Steve Feder, Gary Lindberg, Carey Terrence, Jimmy Phelps, Adam Roberts, Austin Langenstein, Louie Jackson Jr., Gary Edwards, Ed Kitchell and Jeremiah Shingledecker.

Also pit-side are Mat Williamson, Jack Lehner, Tyler Siri, Dave Rauscher, Rick Regalski, Rich Scagliotta, Steve Bernard, Max McLaughlin, Pat Ward, Scott Hitchen, Mike Maresca, Yan Bussier, Josh Hohenforst and Ralph McBride.

The Mod field is a little off a 200 winner Larry Wight is out hunting in the Midwest and the Eastern end of Pennsylvania, along with New Jersey and Delaware cars are nowhere to be found. No doubt a bit of a disappointment while former Charlotte winner Stewart Friesen is competing with the truck series.

In the Sprint Car pits everyone is here and for old timers its fun to walk around and see legends like Bobby Allen, Joe Gaerte, Danny Lasoski and Sammy Swindell still extremely active with race teams. (I’m sure more were there,but they were the ones I saw).

This is, and for the past several years, has been one of the top quality fields in this part of the country. All of the WoO regulars are on hand and toss in just about every top member of the All Stars and even Kasey Kahne is running with his team.

There were some surprises as Parker Price-Miller in one of the Indy Parts cars was fast time in both of his flights while Paige Polyak has her first fast time ever (flight) and David Gravel, in his final weekend before heading to the Jason Johnson team,was also a fast timer. Overall, some unexpected developments there.

Late Models are simply overwhelming and with 76.  It’s simply amazing as every top name in the nation is here. Sadly, for me, I am usually out on assignment for DTD when they are on the track.

Pit Notes

Erick Rudolph had motor problems in the second round of heats and will be in the last chance race on Saturday. The chances of him catching Matt Sheppard were thin to begin with so it appears the 9S is a virtual lock for the crown…

Demetrious Drellos was slowed early on and team replaced the fuel pump…

Tyler Siri was towed off at one point with a broken left rear hub…

Mike Maresca had trouble early and the team changed the MSD box and coil. It paid off in the second round of heats…

Pat Ward said the track was so fast, “That I never lifted all the way around.”…

Chris Hile got in to the Friday night show, but blew up big time in the second round of qualifying. They have another motor, but were unsure what they were going to do…

Josh Hohenforst got collected with another car and hit the wall dropping him out of action on the first lap of his heat…

It was fun watching Dave Rauscher drive his way into Saturday night main-event. Last year he came down with a new motor, but the liquid gelled up and he didn’t get in…

Billy Decker and Brett Hearn along with Mike Mahaney unloaded and were ready for bear…

Tim Kerr brought out a caution for a spin in his first heat…

Keith Flach put on one hell of a run.He lost a motor, thereby losing the pole, went to 11th on the start and within two laps was fifth and in a qualifying position. He’s pretty darn fast and could be interesting to watch. He’s coming off a second and fourth last year…

Friday night two last chance races for Mods, six LM and five WoO heats. It should be fun…

You wonder what some of the Sprint guys feel as some top names are running for their teams for the last time and they’re running against the teams where they are going.

Shane Stewart is headed for the No. 5 where Gravel,who is headed for Jason Johnson’s ride and Carson Macedo, who is replacing Stewart is his teammate this weekend…

Gravel and teammate Kerry Madsen were one-two in their flight…

Bobby Allen put a team on the road six years ago and few thought it could survive, but no only have they survived they are now prospering with Drydene sponsorship being expanded…

Ten-time champion Donny Schatz qualified fourth and 10th in his flights…

Spencer Bayston, in Kevin Swindell’s car, was fast throughout most of his Friday night flight, but Parker Price-Miller got him very, very late…

Sprint time trials were interesting PPM, Bayston, Tim Shaffer, Kerry Madsen and Carson Macedo were among the top three in Friday flights and only regular Outlaw was Ian Madsen. For Saturday two of the six were Outlaws with Gravel and Madsen while the other four were PPM, Bayston, along with Paul McMahan and Paige Polyak. Interesting…

Shane Clanton and Dale McDowell led their LM flights…

Great job by World Racing Group…started hour earlier and got about 95% of the show in. Last flight of LM will be run early Saturday night. They almost beat the rain…

Before closing up thanks to Chris Hile for supplying me with a clipboard. I left home with all the technology I needed, but left a notepad on my dining room table. Taking notes is what I do as I am old school. Chris bailed me out and many thanks to Drydene for a few extra pens. Tough getting old…

Notes, news and comments as always to foley395@hotmail.com