Whatever good things we build, end up building us.Jim Rohn
We looked forward to this past Saturday, June fourth, for many reasons. But first and foremost, we looked forward to coming home. Everyone knows how much we love all the great tracks in our region. But there is always something special about coming home to your base. And this week, it was the second consecutive Fan Appreciation Night, the perfect time to return, as the fans are what it’s all about. Tri-County had put up a great card for the night, including an exciting new series in the Grand National Super Series. Yes, the series is new, but it consists of cars and drivers that many fans from my generation had seen many times before, but the new generation of race fan had not. And so, as we were reminded about how cool this era of competition was, at the same time, the younger fans are being introduced to a brand of racing that was part of what made the previous era as great as it was.
The timing couldn’t be any better, as the short track world as well as the top 3 NASCAR Series are experiencing regrowth, even in this trying economy. And the Grand National Super Series will be a great part of that regrowth. You see, even in it’s early stages, the series has everything you could ask for to make for great racing. Through the vision of Bob Schacht, the Series brings back a type of racecar that we knew brought great racing, and a group of experienced drivers that can guarantee that type of great racing. The cars? Well they consist of former Hooters Pro Cup machines, and similar style cars of the older ARCA Series fame. And the drivers? Well the names include some of the best to ever race these machines in the previous era such as Frank Kimmel and Clay Rogers among others. And while the series is in it’s infant stages and waits for a number of cars and drivers to join the fold, many still rolling out the machines for testing and rebirth, the tour has decided to go ahead and start competing with what they have as more come into the fold as they progress. And the Series is starting from the ground up, but with the skill and knowledge that was born at the highest levels. Bob Schacht knows a thing about great racing, and the champions and winners behind him that already make up the Series also have them a step ahead.
And so the Series comes to a reborn track that is also building from the ground up, knowing that building a foundation takes patience and fortitude. Both things they are proving with, among other things, the track’s new Outlaw division. And so it’s no wonder that we, just achieving our first full year of short track racing coverage have chosen this time to return to Tri-County Speedway. We know the virtue of starting from scratch and building on the principals you know will bring success, and the determination to see it through. John Rohn said that whatever good thing you build will end up building you, and that should be an indication of why you do what it takes to build up what you love. And we love short track racing, so without further delay, let’s get down to the track and tonight’s great exciting racing action. The invocation has been meaningly spoken, and the National Anthem beautifully sung. The growing crowd that’s taken advantage of the $5 admission price is ready for action and so are we. The cars are lined up and warming, so, Let’s Go Racin’!
Starting on pole will be the # 80 of Greg Porter with a fast qualifying time of 16.672 seconds. Starting alongside will be the # 95 of Tim Gilbert, with # 39 Eddie Gilbert starting third, # 41 Steve Howard starting fourth, and the # 72 of Don Fenn starting fifth. The flagman looks over the beautiful field, likes the formation, and we’re green at Tri-County! Right at the start, Tim Gilbert powers to the lead, but Porter won’t have any of it as gets dives back under and takes the top spot. Behind them, the # 72 of Don Fenn gets around the Howard machine for fourth as the # 12 of Randy Stone follows him through for fifth. As Porter tries to gap the field, Fenn is on a mission as he now powers underneath the Eddie Gilbert hot rod. But Gilbert’s machine is great on the outside. What happens next is a high speed chess match as Fenn keeps looking inside, but Gilbert hangs like a kidney stone. After the fans are on their feet for multiple laps straight, Gilbert finally secures the spot for good. Stone takes advantage of Fenn’s lost momentum and gets by the # 72 car for fourth. But up front, it’s all Porter as he takes the victory ahead of Tim Gilbert in second, Eddie Gilbert in third, Stone in fourth, and Fenn in fifth.
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE FEATURE
The # 27 of defending champion James Powell takes the pole with a fast time of 19.133 seconds. But due to having four wins in a row, Powell will have to start in the rear. That gives the # 4 of Brian Dodd the top spot followed by the # 102 of Rayna Holland in second, # 81 Dewayne Smith in third, and the # 10 of Donny Holland in fourth. The flagman looks over the field, likes what he sees, and we’re green! Dodd doesn’t get the best of starts as he gets sideways, which allows Smith to come from third to take the lead. The field scrambles as Dodd continues to fall like a rock through the field, which eventually brings out a caution as Dodd is stopped on the backstretch. After the mad scramble, it’ll be Smith in front, followed by Powell who’s made his way up the field with ease, followed the # 0 of Jacob Hayes and the # 102 of Rayna Holland. The green drops and now Powell has a problem! He stacks up the field, but gets it corrected quickly as the caution is back out once again for Dodd, now stopped on the frontstretch. The lineup will be the same for the restart as they try to shake off this case of yellow fever.
Powell gets a much better restart this time around and is able to get by Smith for the lead. Smith dives back underneath for the crossover, but can’t make it happen. Now Hayes is all over Smith for second and eventually takes it as Powell starts to walk away. Behind Hayes, the Hollands switch spots as Donny will get by Rayna for fourth. As the white flag waves, Hayes has a problem and has fallen off the pace. As that transpires, Smith in the # 81 spins in turn four. But none of the chaos matters to James Powell as he takes his fifth Front Wheel Drive win in a row. Donny Holland comes home in second, and Rayna Holland comes home in third.
The # 25 of Skylar Hudson starts up front for this one with the # 18 of Rodney Elkins starting second, # 16 Steve Smart starting third, and the # 9 of Klint Townsend starting fourth. The flagman looks the field over, likes the view, and we’re green for the Renegades! Elkins immediately slips in front of Hudson as the field spreads out like a race at Talladega. Out of the chaos, Townsend is up to the front and gets by Elkins for the top spot. Elkins and Hudson are now side by side for second as Smart and # 28 Gary Ledbetter Jr are side by side for fourth. Elkins gets very sideways and falls all the way back to fifth as Townsend tries to run away from the craziness that is the Tri-County Renegade division. And right as I say that, the caution comes out as Smart and Hudson get together in turn one. Hudson isn’t happy and shows Smart his displeasure under caution. Lining up for the restart after the choose cone will be Townsend in first, Smart in second, Ledbetter Jr third, and Elkins fourth. The flagman looks them over, likes the view, and we’re green once again.
Townsend clears quickly as Ledbetter Jr and Elkins power by a slipping Smart. But Elkins has a problem and drops all the way back to sixth as his machine slows. He eventually is able to limp to the pits as now Ledbetter Jr is all over the Townsend machine for the lead. Ledbetter Jr muscles his way by, but he’s got a problem! Townsend retakes the lead as Ledbetter Jr now slows! Behind them, Hudson spins in between three and four and gets nailed by the # 69 of Jeff Campbell, sending one of Hudson’s wheels flying from the force. The fans go wild as the race ultimately has to be called due to the amount of attrition, giving the victory to Townsend. Smart rallies all the way back to a second place finish, Ledbetter Jr finishes third, and Campbell secures fourth.
STREET STOCK FEATURE
2021 Renegade division champion # 73 Kyle Boice starts on pole for the Street Stock feature with the # 03 of Kevin Eby starting second, # 22 Jeff Allen third, # 12H Mike Hatton fourth, and the # 07 of defending champion Davey Smart rounds out the top five. The Tri-County flagman looks them over, likes the view, and we’re green in the Street Stocks! Eby gets to the gas quicker than Boice and clears early for the lead. Behind him, both Smart and the # 12D of Cody DeMarmels are moving their way through the field quickly. The field just can’t seem to get into an early rhythm as they jockey for position throughout the pack. Once the dust settles, Eby still leads while Smart has moved into second, Allen stays in third, DeMarmels moves into fourth, and Boice falls to fifth. DeMarmels is all over the Allen machine and gets that spot with ease as Smart moves under Eby for the lead and gets it without a fight. Now DeMarmels is there with Eby and takes the second spot away as the # 82 of Gene Griffey spins in between three and four, bringing out the caution. Lining up for the restart, it’ll be Smart, DeMarmels, Eby, Allen, and Boice. The flagman looks them over and we’re back green. Smart gets a fantastic jump as Boice is able to gain the fourth spot by passing Allen. But Allen gets into Boice and spins him around! He collects the # 4 of James Dolan and the # 55 of Johnny Reynolds. After the cleanup, it’ll once again be Smart up front, followed by DeMarmels, Eby, Griffey who’s moved up after the big wreck, along with # 3 Kayla Eby in fifth. The flagman looks over the field, likes the view, and we’re back green.
Smart gets another phenomenal start as Allen is able to reenter the top five, getting by Kayla Eby. But behind them is more trouble as Boice gets into the Hatton machine in turn two, sending Hatton around. We’re back ready to go in no time though as Smart lines up first, DeMarmels second, Eby third, Griffey fourth, and Kayla Eby taking advantage of the choose cone in fifth. The field goes green but is immediately slowed as the field stacks up with Allen getting the worst damage in the # 22 machine, laying fluid all over the racetrack. After the lengthy cleanup, it’ll be the same lineup with the exception of Hatton lining up in fifth. The start is called off however as Smart gets a little too pedal happy in front of DeMarmels. The second go round is good however as Boice moves his way up through the field and by Hatton for fifth. But in the end, it’s all Davey Smart as gets the checkered flag first followed by DeMarmels, Eby, Griffey, and Boice.
LIMITED LATE MODEL FEATURE
The # 97 of Jacob York starts up front for the Limited Late Model feature with the # 59 of Austin Harris starting second, # 83 Chris Honeycutt starting third, # 14 Don Carlton starting fourth, and the # 70 of Marion Thomas starting fifth. The flagman looks over the field, likes what he sees, and we’re green for the always entertaining Limited Late Models! Harris is immediately able to get by York for the lead as Honeycutt is able to follow through for second. Harris puts together some great laps, but Honeycutt is on a roll and gets by Harris for the lead early. Harris can’t get the car back underneath him as York follows Honeycutt through, taking the second position. Behind them, Thomas is able to get by Carlton for fourth. But not for long as Carlton makes contact with Marion in turn two, sending Thomas into the inside wall. Thomas’ car is destroyed as the field lines back up for the restart. It’ll be Honeycutt, York, Harris, Carlton, and the # 15 of William Aldred making his first top 5 appearance of the night after changing engines just hours beforehand. The flagman likes the view and we’re back green. Honeycutt clears for the lead as the pack goes wild behind. Carlton gets by Harris for third and the # 92 of Taylor Nesbitt gets by Aldred for fifth. But in front of the fracas is Honeycutt, who cruises to the victory. But in post-race technical inspection, Honeycutt is found to be illegal, giving Jacob York his first career Tri-County Limited Late Model victory. Behind him will be Carlton finishing second, Harris finishing third, Nesbitt finishing fourth, and Aldred making a phenomenal effort in fifth.
Starting on pole will be the # 15 of Sheflon Clay with a blistering time of 15.426 seconds with the # 65 of Josh Goble starting second, the # 59 of Rock Harris starting third, and the # 92 of defending winner Martin Nesbitt in fourth. The flagman looks over the field of Outlaws, loves the view, and we’re green! Clay gets a great jump, but Goble is right there with him as they’re dead even for the lead. This continues for a handful of laps as the fans are on their feet as it’s anyone’s game. Goble finally clears Clay on the outside as Clay slots second in line. But now Clay has to deal with track veteran Rock Harris, who is all over the back bumper of Clay’s new Outlaw. Clay is able to retain the position for the majority of the race, but Harris gets impatient and starts laying the wood on Clay. After a few more bumps, Harris gets underneath Sheflon and slides sideways, nearly spinning out. This brings Nesbitt into the mix as it’s a three car battle for second. After a lengthy battle, Harris finally gets the silver spot with Nesbitt able to follow through in third. Behind them, Clay has a problem and has to unfortunately park the # 15 for the night. But up front, it’s Tri-County favorite Josh Goble, grabbing his first career win in an Outlaw ahead of veteran Rock Harris and defending winner Martin Nesbitt.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER SERIES FEATURE ONE
Starting on the pole for the inaugural Grand National Super Series race at Tri-County will be the # 54 of Kevin Kromer with the # 3S of Jason Shue starting second, # 1 Marc Jones starting third, ARCA legend # 75 Frank Kimmel starting fourth, and Pro Cup legend # 51 Clay Rogers rounding out the top five. The flagman looks over the field of beasts, likes what he sees, and we’re green! Both Kromer and Jones stack up the field at the start, allowing Kimmel to take the lead early. The field continues to shuffle as Shue is now slow. This allows the # 57 of A.J. Henriksen to get all the way up to second. As the field finally settles down, the caution flies as the # 55 of Eric Barber slows on the backstretch. For the restart, it’ll be Kimmel in first, Henriksen second, Rogers third, the # 6 of Larry Wilcox taking advantage of the cone in fourth, and Kromer fifth. The flagman looks the field over, likes what he sees, and we’re green. Kimmel clears with ease as Rogers looks underneath Henriksen for second. Rogers is close, but Henriksen has good drive on the outside and keeps the spot, relegating Rogers to third. Behind them, Kromer powers by Wilcox for fourth, bringing Jones along for fifth. Back up front, Kimmel is putting down some fantastic laps. Henriksen seems to be reeling him in, but Kimmel turns up the wick and ultimately takes the checkered first with Henriksen coming home in second, Rogers third, Kromer fourth, and Jones fifth.
GRAND NATIONAL SUPER SERIES FEATURE TWO
Feature two sees a complete invert, but # 55 Eric Barber and # 6 Larry Wilcox decide to start in the rear, putting the # 3S of Jason Shue on the pole with the # 1 of Marc Jones second, # 54 Kevin Kromer third, # 51 Clay Rogers fourth, and # 57 A.J. Henriksen fifth. The flagman looks over the field, likes what he sees, and we’re green! Shue clears Jones for the time being as the field is two by two throughout with Henriksen now making his presence known by taking the lead away from Shue. Rogers follows through, but is passed by Frank Kimmel who moves to second with Rogers third. Henriksen seems to be a bit faster this time around, but Kimmel is just that good and takes the lead away from Henriksen with Rogers now following through. Kimmel and Rogers now start to get into a rhythm, both putting down qualifying laps while the rest of the field is all over the place. In the winding portions of the race, Kimmel and Rogers encounter lap traffic, causing several close calls for both of the leaders. Kimmel gets through the traffic unscathed, but loses significant time to Rogers who is catching Kimmel fast. But Kimmel, being the veteran that he is, turns up the wick one final time and walks away from Rogers, sweeping the night with Rogers finishing second, Henriksen finishing third, Shue finishing fourth, and Kromer finishing fifth. What an awesome sight seeing these cars back on track!
What an amazing night of racing! Great crowd, great food, and amazing racing action. We got to see one of the heroes of racing in Frank Kimmel sweep his twin features, with Clay Rogers close behind. AND, we got to get a close up look at the new Outlaws. We purposely haven’t commented on these cars since we announced their coming last year so that we could wait until we got a good look at them in person, and more importantly, get a look at them in action. And we have to say, these cars are even more amazing than we imagined they would be. We have heard comments from those who doubted what the Speedway was going to put on the track, doubts about the rules package, etc., but, what we saw was a future headlining class. In an age where people call for change but rarely support it, we saw everyone in the garage, and most important those in the stands, take huge notice of their presence. You couldn’t help to. The cars were running 15 second laps at this Speedway, and we haven’t seen many divisions faster. And talking to the drivers, they say the experience of wielding one of these monsters around the track was and is an amazing experience. And to note, nothing compares to the look of these machines. Great looking and great performing, we have to say that we give the cars a huge thumbs up.
We probably shouldn’t go much further however without addressing the controversy in the Limited Late Model division. As once again the Tri-County Speedway tech shed proves it is one of the toughest in the business. This track as everyone is coming to know follows it’s rulebook to a T. So, note to visiting competitors – KNOW THE RULEBOOK BEFORE YOU SHOW UP AT A TRACK YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH! We can’t stress it enough. Now, in this case, the # 83 team competed in a couple of Late Model Stock features just a week before, and this week decided to bring their 2022 Late Model Stock back to the track to compete in the Limited Late Model feature and well, it didn’t work out as they’d hoped. They crossed the line first, but didn’t make it out of the tech shed unscathed. Then the team went to bashing the track online calling people their hillbillies out to protect their regulars. In other words, they said they were thrown out because they didn’t run there regularly. But, we have seen numerous drivers come here to get wins and achieve it. It’s a hard task as these guys know their turf, but we know it can be done. And to note, we have seen the track be as aggressive in teching the regulars as any visitor. And final line on this is, what the team said they were thrown out for we found out was the tip of the iceberg. Bottom line on it really is again, you gotta know the rulebook. But that doesn’t just go for Tri-County, but any number of tracks in the region. So, not criticizing the team for their great effort, but if you bring a brand new Late Model Stock to a Limited Late Model race, be sure it’s 100% right before you hammer the track that disqualifies you.
And finally, our Blue Collar Racer Of The Week goes to the hardest working team from Saturday night. William Aldred and his team didn’t get the finish they came for, but have to leave more than satisfied with their performance. You see, Aldred blew a motor before the race in the Limited Late Models. But instead of letting it totally ruin their night, they got right to work, changing the engine in the # 15 machine, starting in the rear with no real practice, and came home in the top 10, finishing fifth. Now that’s a performance worth noting, and one that earns William and his team our Blue Collar Racer Of The Week nod this week. Congratulations to those guys on a job more than well done. Our hat’s off to you.
And finally, a big thank you to the fans on Fan Appreciation Night. What a great crowd there Saturday. And to the awesome track that gave the fans a more than great night of racing at an amazing price in these days of challenging economic times. And watching what the Speedway is doing, and knowing their end goals, we have to say that this track is in the process of greatness. We don’t say it lightly. And in this era, we know it to be a labor of love because despite what many may think, the profit margin for any track in the region is not what most would think. You have to love what you do to advance in these times, and Tri-County Speedway has a vision built on the love of the sport. At the same time, we have to give a big shout out to the Grand National Super Series. Also an entity building from the ground up out of a love for the sport, the series will soon have a great number of cars, and already a star lineup of drivers. if you get a chance to see these guys at any track in the region, we highly recommend you take up ion that chance. To hear those cars screaming down the straights was a sight to behold. And this is going to be one of the greatest Series in the region. That’s a guarantee from us. You won’t want to miss them we promise. And so that wraps it up for this week. Always a great time at Tri-County Speedway. And from us, until next time, as always, See You At The Track!