Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Outstanding start! This is the “no excuses tour” for Junior. You can’t get a better ride than a Hendrick ride. I think 2008 is the year that Dale proves that DEI is a third tier team, and that DEI was holding him back, wasting his talents.
Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch - Did Tony punch Kurt in the eye during a discussion in the NASCAR trailer? I hope so. Yes, Tony got into him, which was a mistake. (He must have been distracted, thinking about his upcoming performance at the Grammys, where he was singing for the Foo Fighters). But Kurt deserves the red-ass - and maybe a kick to the Adam’s Apple - for his over the top retaliation. Still not a Kurt Busch fan here. But I LOVE the drama! Watch for punishments from NASCAR tomorrow. Maybe Tony’s punishment will be to cut - or wash - his hair.
Michael Waltrip - How cool is it that Michael Waltrip has secured a spot in the Daytona 500, on the front row, after last year’s disaster? His crew chief is my uncle, Paul Andrews. (Of course that’s a lie.) While I’m not convinced that Mikey has the savvy to create a top shelf team, I’m still rooting for him, hoping that he proves otherwise.
David Reutimann - Is Reutimann’s whole “Aw shucks” persona wearing thin with America? Or is that what got him the ride, and helps him keep it? Nothing against David, but how did a guy with his limited experience land such a high profile ride? Maybe I’m missing something. Has he ever done anything?
Boris Said - I really hate that because of the way qualifying is done, Boris doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of racing in the Daytona 500. And in the pre-qualifying interviews with Boris and crew chief Frankie Stoddard, it was obvious that he was beat before he started. Sure, he doesn’t possess any great NASCAR credentials, either, but he sure is a guy that everyone is rooting for. Including me. Maybe it’s because the name “Boris” reminds me of “Monster Movie Matinee” on Saturday mornings when I was a little tyke.
Jamie MacMurray - Great save when Gilligan turned him sideways in the dash. Think he had to change his underbritches after that?
Joe Nemechek - Great to see the underdog in the show. You never know what might happen if he’s still running well near the end.
Kenny Wallace - Would love to see him in the show, but unfortunately he’ll be watching with Boris.
Jimmie Johnson - Do Jimmie and crew chief Chad Knaus seem a little arrogant in interviews, or is that just my impression?
Toyota - I think the Toyotas pulled off quite a deal landing Gibbs to carry their flag. And Gibbs was smart to do it, considering they went from third on the Chevy totem pole (behind Hendrick and Childress), to the number one team for Toyota, surpassing the other Toyota backed teams to head to the front of the class. Three Toyotas in the top five after qualifying.
My fellow Gater News Blogmates - Am I the only one not in Florida for speedweeks? Rub it in, you guys. Rub it in….
ISMA Supers at Classic Weekend…
It can still happen, you know. There has been a lot of talk and debate about ISMA scheduling another race against the events of Classic Weekend, since they were not able to come to terms with Oswego Speedway management to continue their run during Classic Weekend.
A race at Kawartha Speedway was scheduled for Friday of that weekend, followed by a race at Cayuga Speedway on Sunday. The Kawartha race was wiped off of the sked soon after it was added. Same could happen to the Cayuga race. Nothing is cast in stone.
ISMA needs to be in Oswego for the biggest supermodified weekend of the year. MSA, and the wingless Oswego Supers are already there. All of the posturing will end, and personality conflicts should - and will - be put aside. Cooler heads will prevail. The ISMA Cayuga race will be scratched, in favor of Classic Weekend.
The supermodified community will be one big, happy family again this Labor Day Weekend. It should happen - it will happen.
So enough talk about supermodifieds and driver changes and new teams. Whassup with the small block supers? (Yes, that’s right - I spelled out small block supers. We’re not just “SBS”, as some would like us to be.) Here are a few teasers…
Last year’s Champion Russ Brown? History. Done with small blocks and Oswego Speedway. He’ll be driving a brand new SST modified, owned by Ray Hedger.
2nd and 3rd Mike Bond and Kevin Knopp - Both hoping to capitalize on Brown’s vacancy, coming back with last year’s equipment to snatch the gold.
At one point during the offseason 4th in points Josh LaRochelle had informed owner Eddie Horne and dad Tim that he wasn’t interested in driving a small block super in 2008. While they had hoped to convince him otherwise, Horne pursued the Double Deuce Racing supermodified ride for Josh, which eventually was landed by Bob Magner. Will he back in the #10 come opening day? Of course he will.
5th place Dave Gruel also missed out on the 22 Super ride, but I’m sure that Tom Aaserud and the Crow Motorsports team will be in peak condition this year.
6th - Brian Sobus says once again that he’s out. And I say once again that he’s back in.
7th - Larry Muroski has been fishing for compliments via the internet. He’ll have a fresh motor, and a great car. Will he be a “Champeen Contender?”
8th, and 9th place Tim Barbeau and Rob Pullen will be back solid with twin FFB cars.
10th - Jack Patrick will be back in action with his Chrysler powered Hedger Chassis.
Mark Regan - gone. Retired. Again.
Dave Cliff Jr. will NOT be racing SST mods, as was the plan last year. Brand new FFB.
Rick Zeigler - brand new Terry Solazzo owned FFB car. Do I sound like a broken record?
Ken Pierce has had his car completely updated for the new season, by Dan Dennie and the FFB gang.
Lou LeVea - PROMISES that he’s gone. That will change.
The Chris Lupa owned Kreig Heroth driven #46 will be ready to rock and roll for the full season. Watch for it at the racecar show.
Barry Kingsley has inherited a little influx of new crewmen for ‘08, and will be looking to make his mark in the “23Red” machine.
Dave Danzer’s proposed new Hawk Chassis small block super may be put on permanent backburner, in favor of several new - and expensive - Hawk Chassis supers that have been ordered.
And finally, I heard talk of a “Mystery Team” that is being proposed. A nameless team has put out feelers, looking to see who wants to drive, and what kind of sponsorship they would bring. No brand of car or engine, or knowledge of team resources has been disclosed. Very mysterious. And interesting. Feeling lucky?
And one more thing…
At 3:00 Saturday, January 26th at LaGraf’s Pub there will be a fundraiser to benefit the Eagles Fan Club at Oswego Speedway, and Luther and Friends’ “Make a Wish” charity event.
It’s a clambake / chicken / goodies / beer package, that costs $25, or $18 without beer. There will be race replays, door prizes, and plenty of race people to hang with. For more info, contact LaGraf’s Pub at 315-343-9704, or firstname.lastname@example.org. LaGraf’s is a huge supporter of local auto racing, and is located on East 10th St., just a half block south of Rt. 104 / Bridge St.
The much awaited decision of the #22 super at Oswego Speedway has finally been announced. ISMA racer Bobby Magner has been named as the next driver for the team, which will run all Oswego and MSA / winged series events in the new season. Magner had just returned from a trip to New Jersey, where he was picking up a new dirt sprint car that he was planning to campaign in 2008. I would assume that that car will be placed on the backburner, as the ride in the Double Deuce Racing #22 is quite a coveted position. Magner teams up with driver Pat Lavery, for a two car assault on the supermodified world, in cars owned by Double Deuce Racing.
Best of luck to Magner, Lavery, and the Double Deuce Racing team owned by Bob Hoefer and Bill Samuels for the 2008 racing season.
Source: Mike Bond, who was not chosen, who was notified by Hoefer this morning. Said that it was down to Magner, Bond, and another driver, but Magner got the nod.
The Oswego Speedway supermodified community is salivating to find out who will be the driver of the #22 Double Deuce Racing ride that Michael Barnes has exited. The Double Deuce website states that an announcement will be released on Monday, January 14th. Should I tell you?
Mike interviewed for the position on Friday. “We’ll see”, said Mike in his excitable manner, indicating that he either A. didn’t know, or B. wasn’t telling. (I’m leaning toward “A”, because Mike knows he could tell me and trust me not to spill it. We’ve been friends for like 100 years.) Mike has supermodified experience, winning the rookie of the year award several years back in Tim Proud’s car. Proud got out of the division not too long after, but I’m sure he enjoyed his association with one of Oswego’s finest drivers ever. Bond has since gone on to win several races, classics, and championships in the small block supermodified division, just waiting for his chance to prove himself again with the big boys. The best driver to ever sit behind the wheel of a small block super, soon to be the first small block driver inducted into the Hall of Fame, is hoping that he gets the call today. Mikey Bond would be a perfect fit for the 22, if team owners can get past his shy, quiet demeanor. He’ll drive the wheels off that car, and leave people to say, “Barnes who? Mike Bond would take the title as the new and improved “Mikey B”. (No, that’s not a slam against Michael Barnes - I’m still a big fan!)
Dave Gruel -
Dave interviewed for the “job” last Wednesday. “I think it went very well. I hope I got it”, Dave told me this morning. Gruel’s reputation as a very talented driver is complimented by his polished demeanor off the track. In the Tom Aaserud owned Crow Motorsports small block super, Gruel regularly contends for championships and wins features. He is one of the most professional interviews in the division, and would be a great candidate for the ride. He’ll bring a great support system, and always get the job done.
Josh LaRochelle -
Josh’s small block supermodified car owner Eddie Horne has had conversations, and has been working to land the ride for the 2008 season. Also respected as one of the more talented drivers in our division, Josh’s name has been mentioned for super rides in the past, and will bring some great support along with him. The gifted driver would surely bring his dad Tim LaRochelle, who is one of the best wrenches around. And Eddie Horne’s Outdoor Power stores would certainly be able to kick in some support. But the best I could get out of Eddie today was “maybe. But I’ll let you know if we get that call. I’ll have Josh call you personally.”
Randy Ritskes -
Randy’s name had been bounced around in the rumor mills as being in the running for the ride. As one of the most exciting stories of 2007 in the Craig Rayvals ride, Randy would be a driver who would absolutely bring some strength to the team. But Randy wasn’t approached about the ride. Although he spoke with Bob Hoefer last night, it was just a random visit, as the two happened to be in the same place at the same time, as Randy was bowling with the kids at Hoefer’s Lighthouse Lanes bowling alley. “Make sure you throw my name in the hat…” hinted Ritskes, after the two shared a holiday drink, was about the extent of the conversation on that subject. The team would be looking out the window if they didn’t at least consider Randy.
Brian Sobus -
Sobus is another driver who had been rumored to be in the running, but had not been approached. “It would be quite an opportunity, “ said Sobus this morning. But the skilled small block super wheelman did not appear to be in the running.
Joe Gosek -
Joe Gosek is one of the most famous Oswego Speedway drivers of all time. And since the Xtreme Chassis car that he drove last year for Al Archer, Rob Gunther, and Jeff Carson was outlawed after last year due to rules changes that eliminated the car’s independent front suspension, it would seem a perfect fit for Gosek to slide into the seat. But not so fast… it would seem that since the Xtreme car would still be legal for the six scheduled wing shows, that it would be tough for Gosek to switch back and forth from one team to the next. Plus, there’s still talk that some type of compromise could still be in the works to keep the Xtreme car in the mix for the regular Oswego races. The Double Deuce team will certainly not be willing to take a driver away from a current team, which would cost the division a car. I’d say that there’s a 50-50 chance that Gosek will be the new driver.
Mike Ordway Jr. - Word on the street is that the team still wanted to speak with Mike Ordway Jr. about the ride. I’m not sure though if the teenage Ordway, the now rideless 2nd place finisher on the ISMA series last year would want to commit to a weekly deal so far away from his New England home. Plus, it would seem that D-D would rather have someone who lives close enough to work on the car.
Bob Reis - I heard that Reis asked for a shot at the ride, and he would certainly have a lot of parts and experience to bring along with him. But I again think that he wouldn’t be the choice only because the team again wouldn’t want to take away a car from the division.
Bobby Magner - The ISMA supermodified driver was recently dropped from the Holbrook team, to make room for Russ Wood, for a full assault on the ISMA series. Magner has gained a reputation as a solid and dependable, yet winless, driver on the ISMA circuit. The local shoe would probably be a great fit, and currently does not have an ISMA deal going, as far as I know. But would he like to drive at Oswego, or would he rather hold out for an ISMA ride, so he can “show up” his old team?
Stay tuned! I’ll have the answer RIGHT HERE for you tomorrow, on Monday, January 14th.
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As a driver/owner in the Limited Supermodified division, JJ Andrews covers mostly Oswego Speedway events, from a driver's point of view.