*** Breaking News ***
01/01/04 Sorry I haven't been updating this site. I am going to keep it online, both as an archive of our racing career and as a forum to discuss current racing issues.
The biggest recent news for me is I've started up a personal blog (web log). All the cool kids are doing it, and I decided it might be fun to have a forum to express myself on issues of life in general. Thus far at least, I have been posting much more faithfully to it than I did with this racing site. Here's the URL in case you're curious: http://johnnylockheart.tripod.com/rar
The USAC Silver Crown race in Tulsa last fall was a huge success in the fact that it drew a huge, very enthusiastic crowd. However, heavy rains the day before washed out the midget race at Creek County Speedway and made for poor track conditions at the Fairgrounds. Despite a very loose surface with many large holes, the quality of the racing was very good. Unfortunately, USAC made an ill-advised decision to wave the checkered flag approximately 3/4 of the way through. Even though the track was bad, these are highly skilled drivers and it made no sense to call the race as it neared completion. Most of the drivers did not feel it was too dangerous to continue, and USAC showed lousy judgment in not giving the huge crowd the finish they deserved. There will be another Silver Crown race at Tulsa in 2004 though. Hopefully, the fans will come back and we'll have a great race all the way to the finish this time.
Despite the problems in Tulsa last year, I am very encouraged by the overall direction the new USAC leadership. One of the most encouraging news items in many years is that USAC intends to develop a new version of the Silver Crown cars that will be capable of racing safely on the largest superspeedways. The IRL has made no effort whatsoever to move away from their high-tech vacuum cleaner cars that require minimal driver skill. I think the general public is beginning to understand that there's a reason so many top NASCAR drivers are coming from USAC, having cut their teeth on non-wing open wheel racing. If USAC is successful with these new cars at other tracks, Tony George and the IRL might be forced to give up their techno-crap and go back to REAL racing.
Dad and I will be attending all four nights of the Chili Bowl (January 7 - 10) this year. Should be fun - see ya there!
06/23/03 Well, the updates obviously haven't been too frequent, as this is the first for 2003. I haven't given up on this site, though. In fact, I've been contemplating possible ways to reinvigorate it. I know I've said that before - we'll just have to see if the proof shows up in the pudding this time. ;-)
Nothing is happening with HM Racing - it's looking more and more like our competition days are probably behind us. I'm not going to rule anything out, though. We haven't sold our equipment - I probably will get around to selling some items, but I'll hang onto all the 100" frames and at least one complete car.
I'm happy to report that there will be a USAC Silver Crown race at the old Tulsa Fairgrounds track on September 14th. Even better, there will also be a national USAC Midget points race the night before - September 13 - at Creek County Speedway near Sapulpa. If you care about traditional non-wing open wheel racing, you MUST find a way to attend both of these events. On the national scene, winged racing is on a serious downhill slide. The time is right for non-wing racing sanctioning bodies to take up the slack and remind everyone how vastly superior their product really is.
I won't try to recap everything that's happened in the racing world since my last update, but I hope you had a chance to see the 2003 Chili Bowl. After 2002's epic battle between Kevin Doty and Tony Stewart I didn't think it was possible, but this year's race - capped by Dan Boorse's thrilling last turn of the last lap pass of Jay Drake to earn his second title - once again left me speechless. It's impossible for me to believe that anyone who has experienced the last two Chili Bowl's in person could doubt the immeasurable superiority of non-wing racing.
OK, that's all for tonight. I'll be back soon - promise.
12/02/02 Obviously it's been quite a while since my last update. At this point, we are out of racing altogether. It's still possible we could decide to start again, but it definitely won't happen in the 2003 season. At least, not unless a wealthy benefactor comes forward!
There is good news to report regarding non-wing open wheel racing in this part of the country. The NCRA has decided to hold some non-wing events under the rules of their 360 division in 2003. No word yet on tracks or dates, but the mere fact that anyone in power is even thinking about non-wing racing is a very good sign. I would love to participate in this class if I had the chance, but due to the content of their rules it would be far more expensive than the class we previously participated in, and not much of our existing equipment could be used. At this point in my life and my racing career, I'm not really interested in taking a non-competitive car to the track merely to be an also-ran. I'm also not willing to spend myself into a deep hole just in order to be halfway competitive. There is still a possibility we might get into an IMCA Modified class at some point in the future, but open wheel cars are my one true love. I'm just not sure I'm willing to make the requisite sacrifices in order to participate in a class that is not my first choice.
There's also been talk that Emmitt Hahn is attempting to bring a USAC Silver Crown race to Tulsa next year, at the old Fairgrounds track no less! I was never one of Emmitt's fans during his driving career, but as a promoter I have to say he's about the best there is. The man is almost single-handedly keeping non-wing racing alive in this state, and I'm very grateful we have him.
I am going to make an effort to start updating this site more regularly, so stay tuned...
02/19/02 Sorry it's been so long between updates. In case anyone was wondering, it's definite that we will not be fielding a race car for the 2002 season. If someone needs a driver for a non-wing open wheel car of any variety or and IMCA-type Modified for the coming season, please e-mail me.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend the 2002 Chili Bowl got treated to one of the best exhibitions of wheel-to-wheel racing I've ever witnessed. It was also the clearest possible explanation of why non-wing racing is so vastly superior to the winged variety. For a race to be meaningful, getting through the turns and passing aren't supposed to be easy. Finding every possible scrap of traction while you're running side-by-side, inches away from other cars, is SUPPOSED to be difficult. This year's Chili Bowl was a thing of beauty precisely because so much was required of the drivers, and because the drivers had such great skills ready to put on display.
Tony Stewart proved once again that he is America's pre-eminent race car driver. Jeff Gordon may win more NASCAR races, but he has chosen to avoid other forms of competition to protect himself for the NASCAR points chase. Tony was racing at the Chili Bowl purely for the love of the sport. I felt bad for Kevin Doty - he drove an incredible race, showing great heart and determination when he coolly came back to the lead after falling to third. Hopefully fate will shine on him one of these years. Cory Kruseman may have had the fastest car on the track, but falling behind at the start was too much for him to overcome. Critter Malone threatened to make it a four-way battle, but his setup was off just a hair. These four drivers went wheel-to-wheel for 50 laps in one of the biggest races of the year, and the racing was as clean as it was exciting. They gave us a wonderful gift - we owe them our deepest gratitude.
12/24/01 The final decision has been made, and the Modified Sprint class at State Fair Speedway will be running wings next season. That leaves us with no track in the State of Oklahoma running non-wing open wheel cars. As I've stated previously, I will not participate in any form of winged racing. Therefore, it looks like we won't be racing in 2002.
Our intention is now to pursue IMCA Modified-type racing, but it won't be financially possible for us to put a competitive car together this season. We will immediately begin accumulating parts and information with the intention of getting back on the race track in 2003.
If anyone reading this page has an IMCA/USA/NCRA Modified and is in need of a driver, please e-mail me. I'd love to get some experience in this type of car in the coming season. Because I've always driven my own cars up to this point, I am very attuned to taking good care of the equipment. And despite the obvious differences between IMCA Modifieds and true open wheel cars, IMCA type cars and the 2-barrel open wheel classes are actually fairly similar in terms of speed and horsepower.
Stay tuned for progress reports on our switch as well as general racing commentary. I do have several photos from the 2001 season and I'll be adding them to the website as soon as time allows.
12/04/01 Hold on folks, the fat lady has been warming up but she hasn't quite broken into song yet! We recently discovered that Lanny Edwards (new promoter for Fairgrounds Speedway) is still open to the possibility that the Modified Sprint class might remain non-wing. There will be a drivers' meeting next week - hopefully we'll have a definite answer not long after that. For the moment, I'm just happy we still have a chance. If anyone is interested in understanding why wings on race cars will lead to the fall of Western civilization (tongue only partially in cheek), check out the Racing Philosophy section of this website.
11/20/01 Well, it looks like a decision has been made. Lanny Edwards will be the new promoter for Fairgrounds Speedway, and the Modified Sprint class will be changing to a winged class for 2002. Lanny's apparent intention is to do away with the 1/4 mile track and build a new 3/8 track in its place. Proposed classes include winged Super Sprints, winged Two-Barrel Sprints, USA (IMCA-type) Modifieds and Factory Stocks. All weekly classes will run on the new track. The half-mile track will remain available for special events. A final decision has yet to be made about the classes and weekly format, but it's virtually certain there will be no non-wing open wheel class running at Fairgrounds Speedway in 2002.
As a result of that circumstance, at this point it seems unlikely that H&M Racing will be in active competition next season. There is still the slim possibility that another track might decide to host a non-wing sprint class, and the even slimmer possibility that the Fairgrounds might decide to keep the 2-barrel class non-wing. If neither of those eventualities occurs, we will proceed to explore the possibility of participating in another limited non-wing class (most likely IMCA-type Modifieds). Lack of funding will prevent us from fielding a car in another class for the coming season, but I'm not ready to call it a career just yet. I'm hopeful that we will be able to race in the future. Stay tuned for future updates...
11/10/01 Sorry it's been so long since my last update. We did race a few more times after the July 24 entry, but continued to have various mechanical problems and didn't have any appreciable success. At this point we still don't know what's going to happen at the Fairgrounds next season. The rumor is that there will probably be weekly racing, but no assurances have been given as yet. Even if racing does continue at the Fairgrounds, it seems almost certain that there will be a new promoter and therefore the possibility exists that the non-wing Modified Sprint class could be eliminated. The one thing I do know for certain is that H&M Racing will never participate in a winged class of any sort.
If the Modified Sprint class does continue, we do plan to field a sprinter. We may not have a car ready for the start of the season - my dad recently had knee surgery and will need to have the same operation on his other knee at some point, possibly as early as next month. If that happens, it will definitely slow our preparations. There's also a considerable amount of expensive equipment we'll have to acquire to get the sprint car race-ready, so financial considerations could slow us down as well. Fairgrounds management claims they're going to announce their plans for next year on Nov. 15, so hopefully we'll know more by this time next week. I'll try to keep a more regular schedule for updates to this site in the future, and I will publish whatever information we receive from the Fair Board next week.
07/24/01 After a detailed appraisal of the situation, we've decided it's just not feasible for us to get the sprint car ready to race this season. As of this moment, our plan is to concentrate on some much-needed non-racing work (home repairs/improvements) the next few weeks, then take the 100" car back out for the final couple of races at the Fairgrounds. This season obviously hasn't gone the way we would have hoped, but we've always known that we'd likely have to endure a difficult period whenever there are major rules changes, simply due to our limited finances. If circumstances allow (and if we even have a track to race at) we'll hopefully be back out with more competitive equipment next year. We may be a little bloodied, but we're still un-bowed...
07/16/01 We raced at the Fairgrounds Friday night, but unfortunately the results weren't too encouraging. We did manage to finish the A-Feature without breaking anything, which is always a welcome outcome. However, it just doesn't look like we can be competitive at the Fairgrounds with the equipment we have right now. After talking things over, dad and I decided to spend the next few weeks trying to get the sprint car ready, hopefully in time to run the last 2 - 3 races of the season at the Fairgrounds. We are running a little short of funds at the moment. Having had to buy a new 4-barrel carburetor for Lawton and then blowing up our good motor made things fairly tight. If we're not successful in getting the sprint car ready, though, we will probably still take the 100" car back out to the Fairgrounds before the end of the season.
07/09/01 Well, a variety of minor problems arose and although we tried very hard, we were unable to get the car ready to race this past Tuesday or Friday night. Everything seems to be OK now, so barring any further misfortunes we will take it out to the Fairgrounds this Friday. We've made some progress with the sprint car, but at this point I'm still not sure whether we can get it on the track by the end of the season - especially since the Fairgrounds is quitting early this year. We're still going to give it our best shot - check back here for updates.
07/02/01 We did race at Lawton Saturday night. We were leading the heat race after a couple of laps when a wire came loose from the distributor, bringing the car to a sudden stop. We got that taken care of and we actually managed to lead a couple of laps in the Feature, but the motor was missing a little bit and I also didn't get the setup quite tight enough. We ended up finishing fifth, I was grateful nothing broke.
The bad news is that Lawton has decided to cancel the Supermodified class due to the low car counts we've been having. I can't really fault Lanny Edwards (the promoter) - for whatever reason we just weren't able to get enough cars to show up on a weekly basis. I don't know what they intend to do as far as the point standings. They say they're going to run a limited number of shows with the winged 2-barrel sprinters - they may or may not give points for our class to them. As far as we're concerned, though, the Supermodified season at Lawton Speedway is over and Dutch ter Steege won the championship. Congratulations Dutch! We ended up in Ninth place, which wasn't too bad for only running about half the races. I'm not sorry we decided to run the 100" car at Lawton this year. I wish our results could have been a little better, but that's racing.
Now that Lawton is out of the picture, we may race the 100" car at the Fairgrounds initially, but our top priority will be to get the sprint car on the track before the end of the season. It'll take a lot of hard work to get it race-ready, but we're going to make our best effort. There's a chance we might run the 100" car at the special race at the Fairgrounds tomorrow night, if we can scrounge some parts and get it ready in time.
06/25/01 Well a couple of unforeseen problems did arise, and we were unable to race this past weekend. Nothing too serious, so barring any NEW unforeseen problems we should be racing this Saturday night in Lawton. We haven't had a chance to get any work done on the sprint car yet, but we are still hoping we can run it in OKC before the end of the season. Also, we'd like to mention that youngster Aaron Theriot will be helping us out in the pits as his schedule permits. Thanks Aaron!
06/19/01 Good news - we were able to get the spare engine installed in the race car and running over the weekend, so barring any unforeseen problems we'll be running at Lawton Speedway this Saturday night. Dad and I decided that it would be better to try to proceed with assembling our sprint car to run at SFS rather than to try to run the 100" car at both tracks. With only the two of us to do the work, it would difficult to run back-to-back nights with the same car. We do want to support SFS against the Fair Board's plans to tear it down, so we'll do our best to get the sprint car together before too many more weeks go by.
06/14/01 Well, a lot has happened since my last update. It seems that the State Fair Board and their hired management staff have decided that State Fair Speedway must be BULLDOZED and turned into a parking lot! Rumors to that effect have been swirling for some time now, but many (myself included) had a hard time taking them seriously at first. After attending a special Oklahoma Racing Association meeting last night, I no longer have any doubt that demolition of the Speedway is the Fair Board's intended goal. At this point, it looks like our best weapon is to bring their plans into the light of day by doing everything possible to publicize them. It may actually come to having to line up race cars outside the state capitol in order to focus media attention on this issue. Anyone who is a racer or a race fan in the OKC area should also attempt to contact their elected officials - from U.S. Senators and Representatives to Governor Keating, Mayor Humphreys and all City Council members to let them know that we care about our speedway, and that we VOTE.
As far as H&M Racing goes, we have finished re-assembling our spare engine but don't have it installed in the race car yet. If all goes smoothly, we may be able to race this Saturday night at Lawton. There's no way we could have it ready to run this Friday night at the Fairgrounds, but we may try to take it out to the Fairgrounds on June 22 to help support the Speedway against those in power who want to close it down. We're also going to make an effort to assemble our sprint car as soon as possible, to give us a chance to run more races at the Fairgrounds this year.
Dad and I went up to Wichita to see the SCRA non-wing sprints on Tuesday night. Ron Shuman (president of SCRA) is one of the few people in the top levels of non-wing open wheel racing who has a real vision for the future. It's amazing that they were able to put 28 cars in the pits in Wichita, KS with only ONE local car showing up. I know Shuman has been trying to get USAC drivers to participate in the Non-Wing World Championship deal he put together, but but based on the field Tuesday night he's not having much luck. If USAC were smart, they'd consider joining forces with SCRA rather than seeing them as a competitor. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen. The racing itself was great, with lots side-by-side action. Mike Kirby won the A-Feature over Richard Griffin, John Scott and Cory Kruseman.
05/31/01 Just found out that Lawton Speedway is going to allow the OKC Modified Sprints to run with the 100" Supermodifieds starting 6/9/01. They will be required to run the OKC 2-Barrel carburetor, while the 100" can continue running a 4-barrel, which should at least give the 100" cars a chance to be competitive. Our thinking at the moment is that we'll keep running our 100" car at Lawton for the immediate future. If it turns out we're not competitive against the sprint cars then we'll probably go ahead and assemble our sprinter. If we are competitive running the 100" car, we'll probably continue to use it all season. At this point in time we do intend to continue racing primarily at Lawton. Our immediate goal is to get our spare engine re-assembled and installed in the race car. Hopefully we'll get that task accomplished this coming weekend. Stay tuned for further details...
05/30/01 Sorry for the delayed update. In case anyone was wondering, the weekend of May 19th was a rainout for most area tracks, including Lawton, so we did not race. We did run at Lawton this past weekend, and the result was not what we'd hoped for.
Actually, the changes we made to the race car worked out very well. I knew the car felt really good in hot laps, and in our heat race I was able to take the lead at the green flag and had moved off to a sizeable advantage with a couple of laps to go when our engine decided to explode. That development was disappointing in several ways. Certainly it was a heavy blow competitively - we lost a near-certain heat race win plus the chance to run the trophy dash and A-Feature. And naturally, it hurts financially any time a bunch of expensive racing equipment gets instantly turned into junk. The thing the average fan might not fully understand, though, is how much more fun it is to drive a race car that's working well compared to one that's having problems. Saturday night was the first time this season that we had all the parts of the car working properly at the same time, and I was having a ball until the motor let go. That's racing, though. We do have a spare motor, so we will be able to keep competing, if we're allowed to.
That last comment was made because Lawton Speedway is still considering dropping the Supermodified class due to the low car-count (there were 11 cars in the pits Saturday night). We're supposed to hear a final decision this week. As I've stated in this forum before, my feeling is that Lawton will be fortunate to get 12 Modified Sprints to haul down weekly from OKC. It's possible that switching to sprints mid-season might get them a few more cars per week than they're getting now, but I don't think there will be the dramatic increase some people are expecting. I understand the promoter's feeling that he's in a difficult situation, but obviously I hope we can be allowed to finish out this final season for the 100" Supermodifieds.
As to what we will do if this change does take place, I'm not sure. We would probably go ahead and try to put our sprint car together, but I can't say at this point whether we'd run it at OKC or Lawton. One thing I do know for certain is that our 100" car would not be competitive at Lawton against the top OKC Modified Sprints. As soon as we know more about how this all shakes out, I'll let you know.
Another issue bubbling in the background is the Oklahoma State Fair Board's apparent desire to close State Fair Speedway. Despite my strong disagreement with some of the rules changes implemented at SFS this year, I think it would be a terrible tragedy if SFS were to be closed. My feeling is that some people in power are simply not racing fans, and that they feel this year's controversy over the rules changes has provided an opening to do away with the Speedway. SFS has an incredible tradition over the past 40+ years and it is physically still one of the premier dirt-track facilities in the country. My hope is that we can get a top-notch racing promoter and the track can be allowed flourish once again. Check back for the latest news - I'll post it as soon as I know something definite.
05/15/01 Last Saturday didn't go as well as we had hoped. Got a bad start in the heat race and then on the last lap a car got out of shape in front of me, I tapped him and it broke the steering arm on our car. We found a replacement for the steering arm and were doing fairly well on the bottom in the A-Feature until our brilliant driver made an unwise decision to move up and try the middle of the track. There wasn't any bite to be found up there and pretty much everyone got past me at that point. I then got up a little bit in the other turn and proceeded to spin out. After re-starting last, it finally dawned on me that the car wasn't any good except right on the bottom. I stayed there the rest of the race and was able to pass a couple of cars back, finishing 8th. Dad and I think that the apparent poor handling we've been experiencing the past few weeks may actually be due to a problem with the power steering, so we're going to make some changes there and hopefully come back strong next week.
05/08/01 We had another frustrating night at Lawton this past Saturday. Based on the weather forecasts it didn't look like we'd even get to race, but nary a drop of rain hit us all night. Because of the threatening weather (I hope), the track wasn't in very good shape. The bottom and middle became dry-slick very early on, but there was a fairly tacky, rutted cushion. Whatever setup combination might have worked best for these conditions, we didn't find it. We managed third in the heat race, but weren't much good at all in the Feature and finished near the back. The engine did run fairly well, so that was encouraging. We'll try to do better next week - we still need help with the pit work, so e-mail me if you're interested. That's all for now...
04/30/01 Saturday night in Lawton we started out OK - got another 2nd place finish in the heat race. Then things kinda went south on us. In the trophy dash we got tapped on the left front wheel. Not hard, but enough to make the car go down into the infield, and then the tire went flat before the race was over. We also had some engine and carburetor problems that absorbed all our time after the trophy dash up until the start of the Feature. We were able to get the car out for the Feature, but the setup wasn't particularly good and the carburetor was still acting up. We did manage to finish the Feature and ended up with 6th place. Hopefully we'll do better next week.
Our low car count is still a problem at Lawton. If you know of anyone who has a 100" car that's currently sitting in their garage, please let them know that this year at Lawton is almost certainly the last chance they'll ever have to run it in competition. If we can just get a few more cars in the pits, I think we can put on a really good show over the full season.
My dad's legs have been hurting him very badly of late, to the point that he really can't do any physical work in the pits. If you're interested in learning about open wheel cars and would like to help us out in the pits, please send me an e-mail.
04/24/01 We did run at Lawton Saturday night. We've made our decision - we are going to continue running primarily at Lawton this season. It just makes no sense for us to beat our head against the wall trying to run our 100" car against the sprinters at the Fairgrounds. There were 10 Supers in the pits at Lawton Saturday, so we still need to get a few more cars to make a really good race. Keep in mind, however, that there are only about 20 Modified Sprints showing up in OKC, and a few of those are actually 100" cars.
Saturday night we ran 2nd in our heat, 2nd in the trophy dash and got knocked out on the first lap of the Feature. No damage to the car, luckily. Even so, we have a ton of work to do to the car this week. Hopefully it'll all get sorted out and we'll make it back down to Lawton this Saturday night. Updated points standings for Lawton are now posted on the web - just follow this link: http://www.planetgraphix.com/taphoto/points.htm
04/16/01 We had a decent night Friday at the Fairgrounds - at least we didn't get any equipment torn up. Ran third in our heat, last in the trophy dash and 13th in the A-Feature. We should have done a little better in the A, but I miscalculated on the setup and the car was way too tight. With a tacky track, the power differential between us and the guys who have the resources to take advantage of the new engine rules was painfully obvious.
We went down and sat in the stands at Lawton Saturday night. They really need to get some more 100" cars down there. I really thought that more guys would be going to Lawton, considering the kind of money it now takes to be competitive in OKC. It is a lot more convenient for us to run at the Fairgrounds, but at this point in my career it's very discouraging to go out knowing I have virtually no chance to win. So, we put the 4-barrel intake on the car yesterday and our intention is to run at Lawton this week. We'll still be taking it one week at a time, but the bottom line is I think we can be competitive at Lawton and (with the 100" car) we're middle of the pack at best in OKC. Hopefully a few more cars will start showing up at Lawton. If you have a 100" car, or ever thought about getting one, think about the fact that this season will almost certainly be your last chance to race it in real competition.
04/13/01 I can't believe it's already Friday again! OK, let's see... in a nutshell, we got run over on the first lap of the heat race last week. Tore up a lot of bodywork, but luckily there wasn't any structural damage to speak of. We were able to pull off the torn up bodywork and go out to start the A-Feature, but the air cleaner was damaged in the wreck and there was an incredible amount of dust that night (primarily due to the 50 mph winds). I didn't want to run any more dust through the motor than I had to, so I pulled off after a couple of laps. Over the weekend we were able to get a new body fitted on the car, and we will be back out at the Fairgrounds tonight. Where we'll race for the rest of the season is still up in the air - we're just going to take it one week at a time. We did decide to go ahead and start working on the sprint car again, to keep our options open. I have to go help dad get the car loaded shortly - see you at the races...
04/06/01 We've decided to run OKC tonight. Still very unsure where we'll end up running over the whole season, but at least for tonight we'll be at the Fairgrounds so come see us if you get the chance.
04/04/01 We did end up taking the 100" car to Lawton on Sunday. We found and corrected a few minor problems and the motor ended up running fairly well - in all it was a pretty good day. We didn't encounter any overheating problems, which had been a concern. As of right now, we're still unsure if and where we will run this weekend. If we're able to borrow a 4V carburetor and can get it working in time (we'll have to change out the intake), I'm leaning toward going to Lawton. Stay tuned for further details...
03/28/01 Went and sat in the stands at the Fairgrounds Friday night. There was a limited field of Modified Sprints (two heats), as was to be expected for a new class. The thing that struck me the most is that the gap between the top and bottom has been widened considerably by the new engine rules. There were only four or five cars there which appeared to have the new, high-dollar engines. With so few owners apparently being able to afford to take full advantage of the new rules, it's hard to understand exactly how we ended up in this spot.
Based on how things looked Friday night, it does appear that we could be moderately competitive in OKC with our 100" car. We still haven't made a final decision as to exactly where and when we're going to run this season. We plan on taking the 100" car to Lawton for play day this Sunday - we'll wait until next week to decide where we'll run the weekend of April 6th. We haven't been working much on the sprint car lately, but if we do end up deciding to concentrate on OKC, then that effort will definitely shift back into high gear.
Just wanted to remind anyone reading this that we're still in dire need of sponsorship and pit help. If you think you might be interested in participating in either aspect, please send us an e-mail today.
03/13/01 While watching the NASCAR race on Sunday, it hit me that NASCAR's current lineup of drivers may be one of the best ever assembled in any racing class. I hate (not really!) to harp on this point, but the reason that virtually all of the country's best drivers now gravitate toward NASCAR is that it is the one and only top-level oval racing class where technology has been kept under control and driver skill still matters.
We still have a fair amount of work to do on the 100" car to get it race ready, but we did at least start it up and let it run for a while last weekend. The smell of methanol fumes can do wonders for morale...
03/08/01 In light of the minimal progress we've made on the sprint car thus far, as well as the large sum that will be required to purchase all the needed engine parts, I've decided that we are going to start off the season running our 100" car at Lawton. We will have to obtain a 4-barrel carburetor, but that's the only major expense we'll have to absorb. Depending on how things go at Lawton, it's possible we could end up running there all year. We will continue to work on the sprint car as time and finances allow. I'm still hopeful we can have it race-ready by mid-season.
Lawton's Play Day is set for April 1st, so we'll have some time to get the old car prepared. It's possible that we might take it out to the Fairgrounds for practice this Sunday just to shake out the cobwebs. I intended to get a few practice laps in a friend's sprint car at the Fairgrounds last Sunday, but he had a minor first-lap mishap which ended his (and our) day.
Added a few more west coast sites to the Racing Links page today.
02/28/01 Uploaded some minor changes to the homepage today. My intention is to continue working on the site as much as possible, with the goal of not allowing it to stagnate.
02/26/01 Dad and I were unable to work on the sprint car this past weekend - as a result we've fallen far behind schedule. It's starting to look questionable as to whether we will be able to get it ready for the start of the season. We've never really had either the finances or manpower to be able to run for points, so it won't be a disaster if we're a little late. Even so, I'm eager to see what the thing will do. Hopefully we'll be able to make major progress in the next three weeks, if not get it on the track.
In light of the ongoing media frenzy over safety equipment following Dale Earnhardt's death, it's all the more clear to me that for non-wing open wheel racing to become a major sport, the issues of speed and horsepower must be addressed. So long as non-wing cars are allowed to run the same 800+ horsepower engines as the winged sprinters, wing advocates will continue to have an honest claim to safer racing. If the non-wing sanctioning bodies could ever get together and agree on a unified set of rules - at a minimum reducing horsepower to the 600+ level, banning any and all remote or computer-controlled adjustment of suspension components during the race and setting a minimum weight rule, I believe progress toward supplanting the winged cars would increase at an exponential rate. Even now, a general consensus is growing within the racing community involving the twin realities of the vastly more exciting racing provided by non-wing cars, as well as the much higher costs involved with making a winged car's motor live. I really believe that if USAC and the SCRA could somehow overcome their differences to form a truly national organization, with a unified set of rules designed with the good of the sport in mind, non-wing open wheel racing could once again take center stage at the national level.
02/20/01 I was never really a fan of Dale Earnhardt. He was always far too willing to use unsportsmanlike tactics on the race track to gain my approval. It's also true, however, that he was a real racer who earned his success as a result of skill and hard work. Although I couldn't approve of the tactics he frequently employed, I did admire his talent, his dogged determination and most of all his passion for the sport. His passing was a very sad event for the entire racing community.
Circumstances prevented us from getting much work done on the new car this weekend. We did manage to make most of the necessary modifications to allow the use of a starter, but there is still a vast amount of work left to be done. Haven't decided yet whether we'll run our old 100" car at OKC if the sprinter isn't ready for the start of the season, but I'm leaning against it. There would be virtually no chance of our being competitive against the sprinters, especially with the new engine rules. There's a chance we might take the old car to Lawton once they start, but at this point I'm inclined toward focusing our energies on the sprint car until it's up and running.
02/12/01 Watched the NASCAR shootout race on television yesterday. It's a very sad commentary on the current state of open wheel racing that the two most talented drivers to emerge in the last decade - Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon - are forced to race stock cars because their skills are essentially irrelevant in the top open wheel divisions.
02/05/01 Last weekend dad and I made a very preliminary start toward putting the sprint car together. We cleaned the oil and grease off the frame and re-engineered a motor plate from one of our old 100" Nance cars to work with the sprinter. Next step is to get the frame sanded and painted.
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Last updated 06/23/03 by Michael Ramsey
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