Makin’ Tracks – SDW Day Two – The Mile and Party at ‘Port – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

Throughout the day cars just kept pouring in. Everywhere you looked there was a race car or hauler.

ATV’s and golf carts continue to play dodgeball with civilians as the pits are a bit on the chaotic side, but that really is no different from any other year.

At 3:07 Rich Laubach was officially the first big block on the track this week.

As the hot lapping session proceeded there were some surprises. At one point Jessey Mueller was the sixth quickest, but times then began to pick up. Jessey ended up in the top 20.

Don’t know what was the bigger news..Billy Decker being fast time or two drivers who are use to starting in a top six spot Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont never going out.

Billy Decker went on the track after more than 60 drivers had commenced practice was quick to start with and set the standard early on with a best time of 31.478.

Surprises are always the story when it is the driver against the clock and even though these were nothing more than practice laps for some the 31 second plus laps around the mile are a morale builder. One of those drivers had to be Tyler Dippel who was on the speed chart around fourth as practice wound down. He followed the likes of Decker, Larry Wight, and previous winners Billy Dunn and Stewart Friesen and Dave Blaney J.R. Heffner, Tim McCreadie, and Matt Sheppard.

Playing “Where’s Larry” during practice as it wasn’t until 4:40 p.m. or so when Larry Wight hit the track and moments later was second on the speed chart to Decker. Among the leaders Larry took the least amount of laps….just four.

Late in the session Dale Planck jumped up to sixth place in the standings. He is out of the ride today as Carey Terrance suspension is over officially. Dale is just one of those guys who deserves a good ride. He is a talent and should be out there.

When it was over Decker, Wight, Dunn, Friesen, Planck, Dippel, J.R. Heffner, Tim McCreadie and Matt Sheppard were the top ten.

As noted surprises are part of the practice session, but it is all for real on Thursday afternoon.

Mueller was 11th, Dave Blaney 12th, Eddie Marshall 13th, Tim Fuller 14th, Jimmy Phelps 15th, Duane Howard 17th, Rich Laubach 18th, RJ 22nd, Ryan Gowdown 24th, Alan Johnson 39th, Jeff Hoetzler 51st, The Doctor 53rd, Pat Ward 69th.

The big blocks get the most press at Syracuse, but annually the pro stock race is one of the most exciting of the weekend.l

Glenn Forward, track champ at Utica-Rome, was waiting for tech and talked about his aspirations for the weekend. Glenn said he was coming to win it.

He noted, “We brought the same body as last year and it is the same set up as we run at Utica-Rome. We were second last year, third the year before and won the futures race the year before.”

Looking ahead he said, “It is fast here and you really feel the speed. Turn three is the toughest as it sneaks up on you and the wall really comes up quick.”

Roy Bresnahan is your typical low buck guy who has gotten five years out of the small block in his 02, but Tom Myers from Avon gave him a call and Roy is in the blue 77 in the big block division. It is a 2014 Troyer and one of the newest cars he has ever driven. Felt the car has plenty of potential, but carburetor problems forced him to shorten practice.

Off to Weedsport

Long day became a bit longer when timing problems forced a lengthy delay at the kick off to SDS party and racing got going around 8:15 p.m., but the mods were done by 11:15 p.m. and I was told the sportsmen were finished at midnight.

Huge is the only word to describe the two class field and fans had to enjoy the near race long battle between The Doctor and the Corporate Jet. However, while those two were fighting up front there was plenty to watch behind.

Pat Ward and Billy Decker (yes, Billy Decker in a midweek show in a small block) were right together the last half of the race for third and fourth. Matt Sheppard and Erik Rudolph were doing the same thing for fifth and sixth with Larry Wight coming in late to join them.

Scary moment in the pits and I knew it was trouble when the safety truck left the infield full bore and raced to the pits. A fire in the cockpit of Matt Guerreri was knocked down quickly. Apparently he came to the pits after his prelim, rolled up to the hauler and a fire started. I was told initial assessments that a fuel line caused the problem. Matt was treated. Don’t know if he was transferred, but ambulance was at scene. Track promoter Jimmy Phelps was right at the scene working to make sure things were okay. It must be tough to drive and be the promoter. However, it did not appear Matt was seriously injured. I will check around the Fairgrounds today to see if I can get further information.

Solid show at Weedsport and a great kick off to SDS. (More ‘Port stuff in the Pit Stops below).

Pit Stops- Talked to Pat Ward and talked a bit about the Tuesday Utica-Rome show. He noted that he picked up quite a bit of clay in the right rear very early on and still finished in third. The car he had had been on the shelf since April and they took it down for the show…News around pits is that Mike Bowman’s 15 Bicknell was a write off after the UR crash……Mat Williamson was the first car through tech on Tuesday and the first car on the track at 3:07 p.m. on Day 2 was Rich Laubach …Tyler Dippel got on the mile every chance he had and turned in the most track time with 29 miles…At the end of the day there had been 78 different big blocks on the track for hot laps…Got to Weedsport just in time to see Vinnie Vitale hooked from the track and Larry Wight being pushed in. Vinnie had a shock dislodge while Larry addressed transmission problems…Vinnie had had nothing but bad luck at the ‘Port and even lost a race car in a crash there earlier this year…A bit surprised to see Billy Decker in Scott Kerwin’s small block…Solid out of state representation as Ryan Godown, Jeff Strunk, Neil Williams and others were on hand…Tonight’s Brewerton show is shaping up for another large field…Gary Lindberg runs Sportsman at Merritville on a regular basis and he not only showed up at Weedsport in a 358, but won his heat and drew the pole…Adam Hilton took a wild ride and flipped in turn one with his sportsman while Ryan Bartlett took a hard tail standing flip in the Modifieds…Was anyone surprised that Dave Marcuccilli won the Sportsman event? …Around 52 small blocks and 47 sportsmen in the pits…Good call by track officials to do away with the Sportsman time trial groups as the timing system wasn’t on line. Actually it provided with better racing as the luck of the draw determined where they started…Mike Taylor drove one of the best races I’ve seen him run in his heat and he even passed for the lead. Settled for third as Tony Finch II got him on the last turn…Interesting that Rocky Warner started at the tail end of his heat and the car in front of him was the West End car he had driven in years past…No surprise that the crowd was huge and the menu in The Pavilion is one of the most interesting in racing. Good food and the rest room facilities make you think you are in a casino or four star hotel and not a dirt race track…Once again one of the things I really like about Weedsport is the courtesy and smiles from all of the folks you come into contact with. Customer service is obviously a talking point when the staff gets together.

Any comments or information please send to foley395@hotmail.com.