Mobin Riller's Mid-Season Report Cards
We brought back the Mid-Season Report Cards last year during the holiday break and it was immensely popular with the fans, a little less so with the paddock, which means I must be doing something right. These grades are mine based on stats and the driver's history and my mood, so consider it grading on a curve...
Let's start with those drivers that have only made a single appearance so far this season, I won't give them a grade, we'll call it an Incomplete and hope we see more samples of their work in the second half...
Everet Kamikawa gets medical dispensation, making just two starts in the, but when he did show up, a solid second place at the Turkey Trot reminds us that he's always a threat, an excellent prognosis makes us think we will see more of the PenskeHO driver challenging for wins. We another Kamikawa make his debut this season, at the Lucky Bob's Challenge, Hiro Kamikawa became the 55th driver in IndySlotCar history, the third second generation driver threw a scare into Pete Dorn in their heat race.
It has been tough to get Bill to the track this season, but when he has been able to make an appearance he's had up and down results, a podium at the Turkey Trot has been the high point with a couple of other finishes down in the weeds. Hopefully, a more consistent schedule in the second half will lead to more consistent finishes. Mobbin Riller Grade: C-
A pair of pole positions in the first half have buoyed Dan Margetta's rather uninspired first half, those two poles did push him past Phil Cianciola to take the series' record for most poles with 49. Unfortunately, those two poles only led to one final, a second at the West Bend Grand Prix. Mobbin Riller Grade: C
Tom enjoys home cooking evidently, once again he started the season with success at the Mini Milwaukee Mile, running third to follow up his victory a year earlier, plus a final four at the Halloween Havoc and fifth at the Turkey Trot have been the bright spots, more appearances will help the rest of the way. Mobbin Riller Grade: B-
The odds that Mike Kristof would sustain the success of last year, those two wins in the first half, were slim to none, with slim leaving town. The Michael Shank-It Racing driver had his usual solid run at Quarry Heights Raceway, in fact, except for a certain hometown driver who has been a tear, Kristof might have repeated as the Halloween Havoc winner, Matt Hayek and Kristof had a terrific battle, with Kristof having to settle for second, also a final four at the Turkey Trot were the bright spots, but three DNFs and a pathetic last place at the Christmas Classic sent the hometown crowd for the exits. In seventh place, the last of the full time drivers. Mobbin Riller Grade: C-
The season began promisingly enough for Dean Strom with back-to-back final four appearances at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl and the West Bend Grand Prix, but then a bit of a lull before a blazing fast run at the Duane Sweeney Memorial to second place, had it not been for lengthy repairs after an early crash, there is no doubt the #30 Alter Ego Racing Dallara-Honda would have been in victory lane. To be fair, all the oxygen at Alter Ego Racing right now is being used up by Matt Hayek, it's a wonder the crew even notices there is a second car. Strom sits sixth, five points ahead of Kristof and four behind Pete Dorn. Mobbin Riller Grade: C
Rather quietly Pete Dorn has been working his way up the standings, while he has only had two appearances in the final four so far this season, he has also had a pair of fifth place finishes, which really maximize the points if you don't make the final. Those final fours included the Lucky Bob's Challenge and a solid third place at the Christmas Classic while closing in on John Wiedemann for second. At most races this season he's been the lone Black-Atom Racing representative, having to do all the testing and strategizing. Dorn is fifth in the standings, 13 points behind fourth place Joe Heitz. Mobbin Riller Grade: C+
With a pole position in his debut last season at the Christmas Classic and three more added before the season ended, there were high expectations for the 18-19 season Rookie of the Year. His move to Penske HO Racing and the #22 Menards car told you he would have all the resources necessary. RIght out of the box Heitz finished second at the Trokan Cup 500, a pole at the Lucky Bob's Challenge and a pair of fifth place finishes, but in addition to the fast qualifying is the carnage, three DNFs have cost him. Finally Heitz put it all together at the Christmas Classic qualifying on the front row and taking his heat and a going away victory to find himself in fourth place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship. Mobbin Riller Grade B+
John Wiedemann has been battling his Angry Squirrel Speedsport for second place in the standings throughout the first half, JW scored a win at the Lucky Bob's Challenge and been in five finals including second place finishes at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl and the Christmas Classic. The worst finishes, a pair of seventh places have kept him right in the thick of the points standings as ever, just four points behind Mike Lack in third. Mobbin Riller Grade: A
If it were any other season Mike Lack with two wins, two poles and six finals you might think he was leading or within a few points of the championship that he has won the past six straight seasons, but this season, with Matt Hayek's hot streak, he sits second, good, but 54 points behind, that's more than one whole race. With eight races left it will be fun to see if Lack or Wiedemann can chase him down. Mobbin Riller Grade: A
I am not sure if the fans and paddock of the IndySlotCar Series or Matt Hayek himself is more surprised by the start of the 2019-20 season. Last season an award had to be created to celebrate the mediocrity of the seven seventh places that the Alter Ego Racing driver collected, but this season, he opened the season with a win at the Mini Milwaukee Mile, a podium at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl, then went into the West Bend Grand Prix and took the trophy away from Angry Squirrel Speedsport which had won the the past seven seasons. After defending his home track with a win at the Halloween Havoc he backed it up with another win at the Turkey Trot, his first Butterball victory. By that point he had built up a 70+ championship lead, at the Duane Sweeney Memorial GP the #15 car missed its first final, but minimized the damage by finishing fifth and struggled at the Christmas Classic to sixth place. It has been one of the best starts to any season in IndySlotCar Series history. Mobbin Riller Grade: A+
Mobbin Riller's Season 27 Preview
(Wauwatosa, WI) -- The 2019-20 IndySlotCar Series season starts tonight and as with every new season there are questions. The biggest, after six straight championships can anyone take the Husarsbilt Cup away from Mike Lack? Who would do it? Can John Wiedemann, Lack's teammate, finally get off the lower steps of the championship podium and climb to the top? What will this season's reemergence of erstwhile Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate, Amy Butler, do to the champion and his usual closest competitor? Does the rising star, last season's rookie of the year, Joe Heitz take the speed he found so often in qualifying and get better car control to finish races and score some wins to challenge for the title? Heitz is rumored to be moving from his satellite A.S.S. Fuzzy's team to Penske-HO Racing into a possible #22 Menards car joining last season's runner-up for the Cup, Ev Kamikawa. However, although Kamikawa seemed resurgent in 18-19, the other rumor coming from the Penske-HO Racing camp is that the two-time champion is going to running a part-time program for his #12 Verizon Chevrolet.
Then there are other possible contenders, Pete Dorn did everything except win a race last season and finished a career high fourth in the standings with his first career pole and six heat wins leading to six finals including a second place. With a win or two and more of those consistent finals appearances and we could see a Pete-down on the championship. Although Mike Kristof scored a career high two wins last season and held on for fifth place in the standings, no one expects the Michael Shank-It Racing Honda driver to repeat those results and a corresponding fall back to reality for this season. However, Matt Hayek struggled mightily in 18-19 with the newly named Alter Ego Racing should see an uptick in results from the single pole position and two finals, Dean Strom out of the same shop had two victories and if the #64 Manitowoc driver runs a closer to full-time effort, the Canadian Strong Man would have something to say about the title.
A record streak ended in 2018-19, in fact a record that is longer than any other in all of open-wheel racing, Dan Margetta had won at least one race in 18 straight seasons. Scott Dixon has the next longest streak with 15. But Margetta could not extend the streak in the #13 Go Daddy car last season and that necessitated switch to a new car for this season, the longest serving veteran in IndySlotCar will represent the youngest driver in IndyCar, as he moves to the #88 Honda for 19-20. A more serious run at the championship is expected from the yet to me named team.
Spehert Autosport will again run the #27 NAPA and #28 DHL cars, with Tom in the 28 and Chris, the 27. Tom is coming off a season with a win, his first in ten years, it's hoped Chris can make more than a one or two race schedule in 19-20. Bill Black has made a lot of noise during the off-season that his Black-Atom Racing program is going to get a major upgrade and a switch from the red #6 Lucas Oil Honda to the green #77 MotoGator car, after making four finals in 17-18, Black didn't score a single one in 18-19. A part-time program limited Mike Fitzlaff in 18-19 but perhaps the new MisFitz Motorsports #10 Honda can be an improvement this season. It's hoped that Alex Hayek will make his usual part-time appearance along with some other cameos throughout the season.
All the questions above will be answered over the next 16 races and in April we will celebrate those who attained their goals and the others will scratch their heads and wonder what went wrong.
Mobbin Riller's Mid-Season Report Cards
In the early days of the IndySlotCar Series, then known as the PPPG Cup, it was a holiday tradition for each driver to be given a report card for their efforts through the first half of the season, the current schedule works perfectly to continue that practice, as the first eight of the the 16 race season are run in the 2018 calendar and the second half will kick off just after the turn of 2019. These grades are mine based on stats and the driver's history and my mood, so consider it grading on a curve.
We start with a couple of drivers we have yet to see this season...
I can only give these two an Incomplete, but we look forward to seeing them on track in the second half.
We've seen a healthy rookie class make appearances in the first half, including long time fan Danny Rodic getting a chance to move from spectator to participant. The Circleswitch guitar player made his debut behind the wheel at the always tough Turkey Trot, with it's "de-slot" rules, forcing drivers to focus on being precise is a difficult task for a first time driver and Rodic should be given credit for the attempt as well as not finishing last at the Infield Road Course at South Shore Superspeedway, completing 51 laps and ahead of veteran Mike Kristof on that night. Mobbin Riller Grade: C
Steve Rist has made a couple of starts in the first half and immediately made an impact, making his way to the final of the West Bend Grand Prix, a feat only equaled by one other driver in their debut event in IndySlotCar history, Dave Rosno back in 1994. Rist's fourth place at the WBGP and a more expected ninth place at the Bridgestone Halloween Havoc, currently has him atop the rookie class and a Mobbin Riller Grade: B+
Another rookie who shows serious promise from his first and only start so far, is Joe Heitz. His reputation from other series had tagged him with the nicknames Carnage and Danger, but his performance at the Shorewest Christmas Classic was anything but those things as he set a new bar for debut drives, scoring the Pole Position and setting a new track, single lap record at Bermuda Raceway. The first debut driver, besides the first-ever IndySlotCar race back in 1993 to score a pole. While the race was not the finish that his qualifying effort might have indicated, that sixth place is still enough for me to give him a Mobbin Riller Grade: A-
After winning the Rookie of the Year in 2017-18 Alex Hayek has been back for just one event so far in his sophomore season at the Bridgestone Halloween Havoc, with a good qualifying run to fourth and a solid sixth place ahead of his father Matt and just four laps out of fifth place. Mobbin Riller Grade: B-
Tom Spehert scored his first win in ten years to open the season at his home track, the Mini Milwaukee Mile at the Trokan Cup 500 and then backed that up with a podium finish at the Fall Brawl, the following race at the Road Course at Badger Raceway keeping the points lead for the two first rounds, however, a couple of last place finishes and missing couple races dropped him back, but the only Spehert Autosport driver to make a start this season bounced back at the Shorewest Christmas Classic with a final four. Mobbin Riller Grade: A-
The 2018-19 season opened with the hometown drivers taking the checkers, that included Dean Strom at the Road Course at Badger Raceway where he won the Choco Taco Fall Brawl easily. Strom's next two starts included a second and a third at the Turtle Grand Prix and the Bridgeston Halloween Havoc, where his Mute Monk and subsequent outburst during that race was one of the highlights of the IndySlotCar Channel broadcasts this season. However, his sporadic participation and a self imposed "time out" during his heat at the Shorewest Christmas Classic brought his grade down. Mobbin Riller Grade: B-
The trajectory of the career of the most experienced driver in IndySlotCar history seems to be a decline after challenging for a championship two years ago, last season, making a respectable showing with two wins and six finals, this season, through half the events, he has appeared in just five races and made just one final, at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl. His best contributions have been to the TV broadcasts and heckling Mike Lack. Mobbin Riller Grade: D
Mike Fitzlaff has struggled in qualifying, the Kuzin ITT Racing team has been near the back of the grid in all but one race, when he did land on pole position at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl, success was short-lived as he and Ev Kamikawa crashed out early. Fitz's best finishes have been a pair of fourth places at the Turtle Grand Prix and the Bridgestone Halloween Havoc. Mobbin Riller Grade: D+
Black-Atom Racing's Bill Black has struggled for success this first half of the season, with a potential upswing in the works after three sixth place finishes, Black battled Tom Spehert for a heat win at the Shorewest Christmas Classic taking fifth for the night, his best so far this season. Mobbin Riller Grade: C-
There's just one number that defines the first half of Matt Hayek's 2018-19 campaign: seven. The Alter Ego Racing driver placed his #15 United Rentals Dallara-Honda in seventh place four straight times to open the season [Editor's note: research shows this to be an unprecedented streak], a single final-four appearance at the Duane Sweeney Memorial GP ended in a DNF and then wrapped up the first half with another seventh place at the Shorewest Christmas Classic. Mobbin Riller Grade: D
Pete Dorn is one of just two drivers to make appearances in all eight events this season, his early success at the West Bend Grand Prix, a repeat of his first final from a season earlier and another final four at the Turkey Trot, where he was the only survivor of his heat race and held on for a third place finish, in between some rough events but good enough for fifth place in the Husarsbilt Cup championship. Pete-downs have, as always, been delivered with much entertaining value on the same target. Mobbin Riller Grade: C+
One of the most consistent drivers in the first half of 2018-19 is Ev Kamikawa, no other driver has won more heat races than the five, the #12 Verizon Team PenskeHO pilot has delivered. Kamikawa's win at the Turtle Grand Prix at Turtle Creek Park Raceway not only moved him into contention for the Husarsbilt Cup championship, but also into second on the all-time IndySlotCar wins list with 42. The single pole position didn't work out as hoped at the Mini Milwaukee Mile, where he established a new four-lap qualifying record but an early crash ended the night early, another crash involving Mike Fitzlaff at the Fall Brawl are the only two blemishes on record that includes a current streak of three straight runner-up finishes. Mobbin Riller Grade: A
The unlikeliness of Mike Kristof winning twice in one season is hard to overstate, in this, his 18th IndySlotCar season, the Michael Shank-It Racing driver had only collected three victories in 256 starts and all of them coming on ovals. The first of the pair coming at Quarry Heights Raceway's Bridgestone Halloween Havoc where the #60 SiriusXM car outdistanced Dean Strom and Mike Lack and then holding off Ev Kamikawa in the closing stages of the Shorewest Christmas Classic giving Kristof a sweep of the Wauwatosa races run so far and his first two road course wins. Those victories and a second at the opener have buoyed what has been a rather unimpressive season otherwise, with a pair of seventh, an eighth and a pair of ninth place finishes. Nonetheless, Kristof finds himself in highly unfamiliar territory at the midpoint of the championship, third, three points out of first. Mobbin Riller Grade: B
As strange as it is to see Mike Kristof third in the championship, nothing could be more familiar to IndySlotCar Series fans than seeing John Wiedemann second to his Angry Squirrel Speedsport teammate Mike Lack. The #17 USAF car has more appearances in finals than any other driver this season, with six out of his seven starts. A win at the West Bend Grand Prix and four other podiums along with being the only repeat pole winner and "JW" managed to minimize the damage when did miss a final, winding up a respectable fifth place at the Choco Taco Fall Brawl, all adds up to just a two point margin out of first at halfway as he fights for his first Husarsbilt Cup title. Mobbin Riller Grade: A+
The season opened with a string of different drivers that didn't include Mike Lack, in fact it took six races for the five-time Husarsbilt Cup defending champion to take home the Turkey for the second straight season at the Turkey Trot and then follow that up with a convincing win at the "open class" Duane Sweeney Memorial, becoming the first repeat winner of the season. Opening the season by making the final but uncharacteristically crashing out to fourth place at both the Mini Mile and the Fall Brawl and a missed final at his home Lack Track added to the questions. A podium and the wins righted the ship, but illness forced him to miss the Christmas Classic, leave things about as close to even at halfway for the championship as they can be. Mobbin Riller Grade: A-
Sergio Heading To Vegas!
[Editor's note] It has become something of a tradition for our IndySlotCar correspondent/celebrity/Latin to document his travels to Vegas and his time in Sin City, we're happy to share his journey with you, as the series gets ready for the Stardust 500 at Stardust Speedway Thursday in Vegas.
De Sergio call his boss at de New Brunswick Latin TV Morning Show and say, “Shove dis job and stick it!” What make de Sergio make such a call? Well…interesting ting happen to de Sergio on his journey to see da Kitty Kat Lady.
So da Sergio get left behind at da Cansas City stockyards after the girl truck driver dropped off da hogs for slaughter. And he know no what to do so he hitch hike cuz he have no money for train, plain or automobile.
He hitchhike on Route 66 and it no full of kicks like de song say. Da Sergio ride wit family in back of station wagon but looking backwards as dey drive forwards make de Sergio sick. So he check in at a small hotel dat look kinda open but no one at da front desk. De pool empty and da doors to da rooms open. No room service and da lights no work and no water run in da shower. But da bed is still der so he rest up.
Next day back to da road wit da tumb stuck out. It hot on da Route 66 and still no kicks. But der is man wit big cowboy hat who stop and pick de Sergio up. We drive and we chat and he say I look familiar. I say, “It must be my work for da New Brunswick Latin TV Show Mornings with De Sergio.” He say he no watch morning TV shows. He likes car racing. I say, “Well de Sergio dunn some work for de Indy Slut Car TV Network.” He slam on da brakes and yell, “You’re Sergio!” And he give me a big Texas size hug. Now it no as good a hug as from my Kitty Kat lady, but it nice to ride wit someone who appreciate de Sergio hard work and broad Casting talent.
Da man wit the large Cowboy hat who pick me up? Mister RJ Foyt himself in the flesh and blood. Turns out Mister RJ was in Texas to get a trunk full of Lone Star beer to take back to Las Vegas for a big race he hosting at his track. I say, “Dats where I am Going!”
Oh my gracious, we laugh and carry on like too long lost friends. We stop at every bar and go-go joint on da Route 66. You no the go-go places where da ladies have no clothes or dey start out wearing da clothes but den dey take dem off. Mister RJ and de Sergio have a grand time.
Somewhere between Winslow Arizona and Flagstaff he offer de Sergio a job wit de fancy title of Vice President/Director of Latin Outreach Relations for RJ Foyt, Incorporated. De Sergio will be in charge of Latin Outreach Relations for all of Mister RJ companies including his race track, da hotel and wedding chapel and his casino and his race team and all related businesses. My main job is to bring da Latin community into da businesses and dey only make up tree percentage of Mister RJ annual revenue on a per capita basis. I bet you didn’t no dat de Sergio had such a savy business mind.
Dis is de opportunity of a life time and one dat will surely be a success for de Sergio and impress de Kitty Kat lady cuz you know dat de Sergio luv da Kitty Kat lady and da Kitty Kat luv de Sergio.
Until de next time de Sergio have travels, so long and bye-bye.
So de Sergio journey continue as he need to get to Last Vegass to see his Kitty Kat lady. You know dat de Sergio luv da ladies and da ladies luv de Sergio but the Kitty Kat lady is so extra special to de Sergio. But he trapped in da Rocky Town grey Hound bus station cuz the man with da shells take all of his money. Dats when de Sergio luck turn good.
A man name Rico say, “Hey we can take the train.” But de Sergio have no money. He say, “We can get on the train without a ticket. Then the conductor will come through and take our ticket during the ride. And all we have to is tell him we lost them. They’ll let us ride the rails for free.”
Da Sergio say Brilliant!
We get on the train. We take our seats. Da train move. We are on our way. And I soon sea da road to my Kitty Kat lady is kleer. We ride and ride and ride den the conductor man cum through da car and ask for tickets and me and Rico play dumb which was hard for de Sergio. We say we lost our tickets. Da man wit da hat was not happy he must have had a bad day and den he kick us off da train! Out de door. While de train was moving! He say no ticket no ride. Dis not how my new friend Rico say it waz going to happen.
We land near Sandusky, Ohio and even de Sergio know he have big trouble. He land in some bushes and get all scratches and bruises and bumps and de Sergio want his Kitty Kat lady to make him feel better.
So da Sergio make his way down da road and he find a truck stop. Dats when his luck turn for the gooder. A lady talk to da Sergio and ask if he need a ride. She lovely lady and you know how da Sergio luv da Ladies. She say she driving to Kansas City where she taking a load of hogs. She beautiful and she drive da big rig and she going my way. How can dis get better?
We get to her truck and it no smell so good. But she so beautiful and she go my way Sergio can take da stink. We ride and we laugh and we talk and we sing along to her Melissa Ethridge tapes. Da Sergio feel really good about how dis going. So he decide he going to make his move he slide over da big rig and he just going to use da line dat never fails. When all of a suden another lady pop out from da sleeper rig. OMG! Too ladies! Cept da Lady in da sleep rig not so much into what da Sergio have to offer. Dey Lezbians! How can dis trip get worser for da Sergio?
I tell you. We get to da Cansas City and da stockyards and dey Smell! And dats where da ladies leave da Sergio. Now Where do I go and what do I do?
-- 2/27/16 --
New Brunswick, NJ -- De Sergio now live in New Brunswick, New Jersey as he try to rebirth his broad Casting career. He take a job wit de local Latin cable network in de attempt to start up again de career. It going super good as de Mornings Wit De Sergio show is de highest rated morning show of all da Latin morning shows in New Brunswick. It go much better den de other show dat de Sergio had before de Bedtime Wit De Sergio. It much like de morning show cept at night and da girls at night and dey have on fewer clothes and der is no bed which da TV station like but da Sergio no like as much. But de Sergo degress.
De boss man from da Indy Slut Car Series TV Network ask de Sergio to come to da next race and be on da Peep Show wit da Kitty Kat Lady and you know how de Sergio no can say no to da Kitty Kat Lady. She make de Sergio feel all haaa haaa inside and he no able to splain.
So de Sergio have to get to Las Vegas to see the Kitty Kat Lady but da local subway line only go to Somerville so he have to make alternate plans as Las Vegas long way away but da Kitty Kat Lady so worth it.
So here a blog post about de Sergio travels to da Last Vegas. Hope you enjoy as much reading as de Sergio writing.
Da first day de Sergio knead to take da Greyhound BUS to Philadelphia da home of his boxing favorite friend Rocky. Da trip only three hours and de Sergio tink that he look out da window turn on da Walkman and listen to his favorite Shakira songs and da time go by fast. Butt da large lady with screaming kid sit next to de Sergio and he make poop in his diaper and it no no smell good. Da large lady put knew diaper on the screaming kid and she ask de Sergio to hold da dirty smelly one. Da good ting is da kid no scream anymore instead now he run up and down da iles and den the large lady use dat excuse to take a nap. She lean over in her sleep and fall asleep on de Sergio and she no my type. The kid stop and call me daddy! De Sergio no his daddy and I prove it cuz da kid have no mustache. Da driver of da bus say uno more hour for da ride and de Sergio no know how much more he take as da large lady start to drool on de Sergio. Oh da tings he do to see da Kitty Kat Lady.
We finally get to da Rockytown and da lady wake up and she yell and hit de Sergio and say dat I inn appropriate touch her and take advantage of her. De Sergio run off da bus almost forget his bag and hide in de bus station as I wait for my next bus. When I hide a man around da corner say, Pssst, buddy. He offer me a chance to play a shell game all I have to do is guess under which shell the marble is and I win money. If I wrong I lose money. Dis is de Sergio lucky day afterall as how hard can dis be. I win money for the Kitty Kat Lady and our big night out. He win everytime. De Sergio wrong everytime. He take all de Sergio money and den da Police show up and he run away. What is de Sergio to do?
I splain myself to da ticket lady and she have no caring for de Sergio. How am I going to get to da Less Vegas and see my lady? More of da Blog to come.
From the Founder...
The sound of crickets in August brings back memories, H.O. IndyCar racing memories to be exact.
Every August, right around my birthday (the 26th if you’d like to send cards with lots of cash in them to me) I’d start to hear the crickets outside my back door, a sure sign that it was time to dust off “The Shrine” track in my basement and get ready for another racing season. Media night and testing would be just around the corner and I’d be giddy with anticipation at seeing the guys again.
What cars did they paint up?
What teams would be formed?
Who would be fast in testing?
It wouldn’t be me. I’d bring the track to life late in August with a quick cleaning, and then take a few laps with several cars just to see which one felt the best to me. Then I’d park that one, never showing all my cards at Media Night.
This annual ritual all sort of developed on its own after that very first race for what is now the Trokan Cup. That first race [editor's note: in 1993] was just a birthday party I threw for myself with some buddies who, like me, were into Indy cars. My late grandpa, Joe Trokan, was the one who helped me build the original board that the Shrine Track was built on. The desert version of the expanded Shrine didn’t come until later.
So here I was the other night hearing crickets and it immediately brought me back to the good old days of the gang. It warms my heart and kind of amazes me at the same time that all this still all goes on to this day. I’m proud that it does.
Have a great season of racing.
Phil Cianciola is the founder of the IndySlotCar Series, winner of five Husarsbilt Cup championships and host of The Philcast, weekday afternoons on-air and streaming at News/Talk 1150 WHBY.
Timing And Scoring...Who's Got A Pencil?
Uncle Bobby Unser, here. The slot car racin’ season is in full swing, but before I’m gonna talk about that, they asked me to say a few words about snowmobiling safety. If you like to go snowmobiling in winter like I do, you gotta make sure you wear a warm parka. If you don’t wear a warm parka you might freeze to death and then you would be dead.
They asked me to say a few words about timing and scoring. Now, I’m not too sure what that is, but when I watch one of their races I hear guys yelling things like “Red Lane” or “Orange Lane” or stuff I ain’t never even heard of. Back when I was racing, the lanes were one color: gray, because gray is the color of asphalt. Except sometimes if the track was made out of SEE-meant, well, it might be more of a light gray and if we were racing on the dirt then it would be a brown as a dog turd on a hot August day.
Those little cars go around so fast I can’t for the life of me FIG-urr out who is which way or what. That is why they have something called timing and scoring. I don’t know how that works.
Once in awhile, they having something called a “track call” and all them little cars stop. Back when I was racing, well, we had something called a yellow flag and all of the cars had to slow down unless you were in the pits and then you could go REAAAAALY quick and pass a whole bunch of cars.
In 1979, I passed Spike Gehlhausen 20 or 30 times that way.
They also have something called a “de-slot” and I don’t know about that. The car comes out of the slot and they put it back in. When I was racing, well, if you had a de-slot you probably was gonna crack your head, get impaled on a fence, or just get burned up. It was a lot more dangerous then. I once saw a fellow smash up his racer and when they got to the car he didn’t have a head. Well, you can imagine what they did. They covered it all up with a canvas tarp and we went right back to the racin’!
One of my favorite things about being at the race track was going to the concession stand. Sometimes I would have a Pepsi and sometimes I might have a Coke. I never would have a Sprite because I don’t like the flavor of lemon and lime together.
I would also have a hot dog with extra relish. For certain sure, I go to the concession stand these days and I can’t make heads or tails of what they’re trying to sell.
Now, I’d like to introduce a new segment called “Ask Uncle Bobby Unser” where fans can write in and ask me a question about racin’!
The first question comes from Mrs. Edith Frump from Tulsa. She writes, “Uncle Bobby, if you wasn’t ever a racin’ car driver, what would you have done instead?”
Well, I’ve always liked trains. I sure would have liked to have been an engineer or maybe the man who punched the tickets or I might have been a hobo.
Until next time, this is Uncle Bobby Unser telling you all to keep your wheels dry! Let’s go racin’!
What's With These Race Names?
This is Uncle Bobby Unser. Well, since they asked me to start covering these slot car races I thought I'd better take a look at the schedule. I don't know if I ever seen such a bunch of races with silly names. When I was a driver we had races like the Hoosier Hundred and the Indy-YUN-apolis 500 Hundred Mile Sweepstakes.
What the heck is a Nightmare Before Christmas? When I think of a nightmare before Christmas I think about gettin' lost on my snowmobile. If ya' get lost on your snowmobile make sure you don't snowmobile on Federal land because they'll put you in jail and jail is bad.
Then they have something called the Christmas Classic. What the heck is that? For certain sure, that sounds like a bowling tournament. I'm not too sure what bowling is, but if they had a holiday tournament, well, they'd probably call it the Christmas Classic.
I don't know anything about some race they call the Too Clean Laundry Grand Prix. Wait a danged second, what the heck is that? Someone told me that some people wash their clothing at a laundry-mat. I don't recollect that I've ever been in a laundry-mat and I'm not certain what a laundry-mat has to do with racin'?
Deckertring? I thought we were in the United States of America. I don't know too much about nothing, but I know that in America we call them racin' tracks. Your Uncle Bobby done a lot of racin' in his time and every time I did my racin' on a racin' track and you can look that up.
Back in my day, we didn't have deslot races, which is what they tell me the Quarryfest Deslotmania is. When you used to deslot in the old days you probably were killed or burned up. Remember, you can't see the flame of a meth-NAL fire, but you can see a flash of mag-KNEE-see-um.
The only race that makes any sense to me is the Stardust 500. All races should have a number after 'em because that tells you how many laps are in the race. How the heck am I to know how many laps is in the Nightmare Before Christmas? I used to run in a Stardust race back in the 1960s. Did I ever tell you about when I went under the fence at Phoenix and almost got myself killt? I also had a gosh darned good steak dinner at the Stardust. I washed it down with a root beer and boy, did it taste good.
Well, that's about all I have to say. Until next time, this is Uncle Bobby Unser saying "keep your wheels on the track and let's go racin'"!
Uncle Bobby Thoughts?
Uncle Bobby Unser here! Well, I had the pleasure of watchin’ my first slot car race the other day and for certain sure, whoa boy, it was a gosh darned good time. I still don’t know what makes them little cars go, but boy, they sure go fast. I wonder if maybe they had some magnesium they might go just a lettle-bit faster.
The Las Vegas race was won by some fellow named Matt Hayek. Now, I don’t know who this Matt Hayek is, but he seems like a gosh darned nice guy. He sure had a lot of speed on the straightaway and that’s because this year the Cheva-lay engine is just a leetle-bit faster than the Ford. I don’t know why that is, but it could have something to do with magnesium.
Driver Dean Strom had himself one heckuva wreck when he got up in the marbles and smacked the wall. For certain sure, he was danged lucky there wasn’t any fire because you can’t see the flame of a methanol fire. There was a lot of dee-bree on the track. Back in my day, they’d just come on out with some big old brooms and shovel the dee-bree under the fence. Heck, sometimes if a driver got himself killed they’d just throw a tarp over him and wait until the racin’ was over.
I wonder if the track was real schlip-erry because of all of the sand from the desert because Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert and in the desert you got a whole lot of sand. Las Vegas sure is a neat place.
Well, a little while later on, Dan Margetta also got up into the cee-ment wall and there was a flash of magnesium. Did I ever tell you about the time I went under the fence at Phoenix? We didn’t have magnesium back then but for certain sure I thought I was gonna be dead and there ain’t nothing neat about being dead.
I certainly enjoyed watching the racers fine-tune their cars for the final of the night. The racin’ surface sure looked schlip-erry on account of all of the danged sand because you have to remember, there is a lot of sand in Las Vegas.
I didn’t know who to cheer for, but boy, I like a good race and those boys put on a real nice show for all of the fans. Now, there was a little controversy when the checkered flag fell as they didn’t quite know who the winner was. That happened to me at the 1981 Indi-yun-apolis 500. Well, I had to go to court and do what Mr. Penske said and we ended up winning the race and if anyone says different, well, that’s a damned lie.
I hope they let me cover some more of these slot car races. I’m gonna find out what makes those little cars go so danged fast! Until next time, this is Uncle Bobby Unser sayin’ “go get ‘em”!
The Music Will Stop Soon...
by Mobin Riller
(8/12/14) -- When internet magnate John Wiedemann proposed a new team championship, the RacingNation.com Cup, a secondary award to the Husarsbilt Cup for the driver's championship, little could he and the IndySlotCar Series management have known how it would shake up the game of musical driver's seats that was so far just playing to a rather slow dirge, now, with IndySlotCar teams limited to just two drivers, the tune has been cranked up to late night dance club beats.
A few things we know for sure, as always Chris and Tom Spehert will drive for Spehert Autosport representing Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti; Ev Kamikawa and last year's rookie sensation Corey Galbraith will drive for Penske HO while last year's champion Mike Lack and runner-up John Wiedemann will team up again, but which IndyCar team they will drive for seems yet to be determined. The same seems to be true for Matt Hayek and Mike Kristof, who evidently with carry the D&D Racing team into this season, that is if Hayek doesn't toss Kristof aside for a more consistent teammate, perhaps Dean Strom?
However, Strom seems to be in the running for a team with Dan Margetta or Mike Fitzlaff or possibly Amy Butler. It could be that Margetta and Butler will continue the Amy Butler-Margetta Racing team that was founded last season and none of these dancers has chosen the IndyCar partner they will be doing the twist with. The music is about to stop...everyone grab a seat!
Sergio le Encanta las Damas
De Sergio so popular dat de Indy Slut Car el Presidente ask him to give precast view of de March Madness event dis Thursday. So here go. I know no who I favorite in Dayton vs. Stanford. You know what happen when you have a tree battle a flyer? No one win! And dey tell me dat de Stanford cheerleader are smart. Like science rocket smart. I luv de super smart ladies but dey no luv de Sergio. So I take de Dayton cheerleader. De Wisconsins vs de Baylors I know no who I like. I look good in de Badger cheerleader red I mean I no no try on de Badger cheerleader outfit after she fell to sleep as far as I tell every uno. And de Baylors have dat girl boom boom player who dunk de basket. She scare de Sergio. I favor Badger. You ask why de Sergio call it boom boom? Dat is what we call it where de Sergio come from. I tink they call it dat cuz the ball go boom boo on de floor. De Iowastate girls vs de Connetticutt girls I toss coin. Who besides de Sergio like corn cobs in all de right places? De Michigan girls have man cheerleaders and de Sergio know no like de mans cheerleader. Dat is wrong as de rain on Sunday as you say. De Sergio so say he favor Tennessee cheering. Den we come to de prime of time games. UCLA vs de Florida. De UCLA girls wear de little white sweater on top. Oh de Sergio luv da girl who wear de little white sweater. And the Florida cheerleaders all so tan. I take de Florida to be on top. Normally de Sergio luv to be top of the Florida cheerleaders but know no Thursday. U say you think dat Arizona cheerleaders would go all over San Diego Staters but so quick not. You remember dat the Arizona cheerleader not from Phoenix where you think dey from. Dey from Tuscon where dey farther south and it hotter and dey wear no so many clothes and dey stand in street wit white top and cool demselves off with garden hose. Wait. Arizona cheerleaders win. De blue grass field no comparison to de beauty of next match up. Louisville and Kentucky. You catch on to de reference de Sergio make to de game and he tie it up into de state? Dat is good good journalist. I say no how you go wrong wit Louisville cheerleader. Dey wear de Sergio favorite red. But all de Sergio eyes will be on Michigan State and Virginia cheerleaders. Why you ask de Sergio? Is it cuz de Michigan State cheerleaders are en fuego? No dey skanky hoes. Virginia is for de luvers and dat bring us to de Sergio cuz he luv de ladies and de ladies luv him and cuz Virginia is for de luvers den the Sergio favor de Virginia cheerleaders. And I here dat de Kitty Kat lady was once a Virginia cheerleader and we all know dat the Kitty Kat lady luv de Sergio. O.K. maybe de Kitty Kat lady know no luv de Sergio but she should. De Sergio give her everyting he have for de luv of de lady. Sergio have strange feeling now. He go home now.
Sergio le Encanta las Damas
Hola from de Sergio. Ben long time since you hear. De league el presidente ask de Sergio for a new column. I was at de last Indy Slut Car race. Dey have mucho drinks at de Shriners Cup race track. Dey have lots of funny looking mans wit little hats dat make de Sergio laugh funny. And de Sergio luv de mucho drinks almost as much as he luv de ladies. And of course de ladies always luv de Sergio more dan dey luv de mucho drinks. De Sergio see very disturbing view at de race winners circle. De little man wit de big mouth call dat big Chineze guy a bitch! And he want to shuv trophy up de big mans ass. I no no understand. Why de little man have so much angry at the Chineze man? Der is no room in dis racing for da bully. Why he bully da big man? Why the big man no crush the little man? Why dat little man think he so tough? He say dat the China man drove his little car off de track. To dis de Sergio say you should be faster. And dey keep giving the China man trophy. Dey give him little gold trophy and dey give him big glass trophy. Dey give dem to de Sergio and he go right down two de Pawn stars. You want trophy? No race little toy cars in basement, go too Pawn stars. Every Body say how zoom zoom fast de new guy Cary were. I no no like him. He too have angry. He no no look fast to de Sergio he look white and grey. How you look fast when you white and gray? I also no no understand why de kitty Kat lady not der. Der wuz booze all sorts. De Sergio crush hard on de Kitty Kat lady. Der de Sergio say it! He crush hard on de Kitty kat lady. She so luv him I know butt she play getting hard. Why she do dat to de Sergio. I know understand why de Sergio not luved by every of dos slut car guyz. Dey jealuz of de Sergio. He good looking and de ladies luv him and he hit hard journalist. He like Dan Rather den Walter of de Slut Car Series news. If you want more of de Sergio news, and who duznt want more of de Sergio you tell el Prezidente of de slut car League and he give de Sergio some more booze and he right some more of his view. Sergio go home now!
More Protests Filed Against Stardust Speedway and One Ray Harroun
I was reading my daily gazette over a hot glass of java, which I had recently procured during my steamship voyage to Hispaniola, when I gazed upon an advertisement for a motor racing event to be held at your murderous racing ground in the distant city of Las Vegas! Why, the sheer stupefaction was enough to cause me to spew my hot mélange out of my mouth and soil my new macadam suit! It will take me a good twenty-cent piece to have the local cleaning merchant hot press and remove the soiling.
I must pronounce again, good sirs that this motoring monomania will not last! It is a passing fancy taken up by women and men of weakened moral standing! I am so certain of this truth, sir, which I have set aside my meat rendering plant and tied up all of my holdings in the development of horse-drawn carriages! Yes, I have sold my meat plant to my friend, Emmett Toolman, for a song because I am certain to rights that I will make up my investment in my new enterprise. I have every cent I own put into this business for I know that once all judicious men come to their senses, they will set aside their steering tillers and once again pick up the reins! A fool, you say! You, good sirs, will be shown to be the charlatans in this scenario!
Esther, my wife, was fevered with the motor speeding and became the lover of one Raymondus A. Harroun; a man I hear who has the Devil in his blood, and also a speeding motor demon! He awakened in her a delight for the pleasures of Sodom. Why, I will not have that filth in my house! Zounds! It is a malediction upon my house, pray I tell you! She returned to my home, having contracted a disease of sexual perversion, but I sent her to the local home for the infirm where they consented to perform a brain surgery that was not successful. With my options exhausted, I cast her onto the street where she became a street walker. I have recently been informed by the local constabulary that her rotted corpse was discovered in a barrel behind the local three-penny nickel arcade! A lamp black has been taken into custody, but it is not of my concern, good sirs! Let her body be thrown into the field of stone and forgotten!
In regards to Mr. Harroun, I have issued a warrant for his immediate shooting based upon the bestowment upon my person by the governor as a deputy in the state militia. I have decreed that Mr. Harroun is to be shot on sight, lest he be allowed to spread his Devil-minded speed buffoonery upon anymore good, Christian women! You may see me wearing a woolen McIntosh upon the street after the end of the day, a pistol at my side! I have been visiting the local bawdy houses in pursuit of Mr. Harroun, but I must report that as of yet, he has beaten me! Alas, I was able to shoot several young men of foreign extraction with my pistol and I have thrown their bodies into the river to save trouble on the local police force.
Let me tell you, good sirs, that I have spent many an evening in houses of ill repute in my vain pursuit of the Speed Devil Harroun! I have heard his name whispered while I received Earthly pleasures I cannot describe. I have seen the hint of a recollection in the eyes of a young, nubile woman as she performed her art upon my person. I have been given into confidences, secrets most chilling, I tell you, while engaged with young men at the local Turkish bath! However, for all of my detective work I seem to have gained nothing more than an inflamed boil, which, they say, will most likely soon spread to my brain and render me as senseless as a fence post and or a mule. Rubbish, I say! If I wish to speak to the King of England I will do so, good sirs, and I will do so on a high-wheeled bicycle if that is the mode in which I choose! Let there be no more said about it!
I have written to you on my fine, cream letterhead which I received as a gift from the Emperor of Siam. Let it not be said that I am a man of my word! I want nothing more than a pickled eye. The best pickled eyes come from the disembodied heads of railroad workers. Why, I have it on good account that an honest man can earn as much as fifty cents for the body of every drunkard he is able to kill out in the Western Coast. This is America, good sirs, the land of opportunity and there is no room for the Orange Menace or the Purple Menace! There will be no menace on my watch, good sirs; I am handy with my pistol-loon!
Let me tell you, sirs, of what happened to the young man who attempted to open a “horseless” carriage shoppe in my town! I protested daily, sirs, often while wearing a placard extolling the virtues of a good asbestos tonic and warning of the dangers of self-pleasure and the operation of an autocycle. Well, this young jack-in-the-hand attempted to have the sheriff run me off. I stood my ground, sir, just as I did at the Battle of Urine Creek during the War of the Southern Rebellion! You might have heard of my duty, sirs? I said to the sheriff, “Good sir, will you kindly stand aside and let me speak my peace as an American and a Free and Accepted Mason?” I said to him, “Good sir, kindly stand aside or I will cut you with my sword!” Well, I must tell you he did not take kindly to my protestation and I was shackled and thrown into a foul-smelling prison cell!
I will be contacting my solicitor-in-chief, sirs, to file a formal grievance against your speeding death factory! You can expect to have the papers served this morrow past. You will cease and desist at once! I am prepared to shoot anyone who dares enter your speeding motordrome! Yes, I will shoot those stone dead with both barrels of my elephant gun! Let me tell you of my trip to the Dark Continent! Why, I and some of the other fellows shot natives from our dining car as our locomotive steamed from Port Typhus to Choleraville! It was great sport until one of my associates, Elmer T. Oleo, fell from the train and was decapitated on the train tracks! We attempted to bring his corpse back to his hometown, but it soon became putrefied and we were forced to throw his body into the neighboring water supply.
Well, good sirs, there you have it! I have made myself as clear as a phonographic record! I will state my case in front of President Cleveland if that is what I must do! I will be staying in Suite 211 at the Lemont Arms Hotel in downtown. Please call on me and share a drink of turpentine spirits while we discuss what must be done! You will find that I am a most reasonable man and that I have in my mind the best interest of all those involved. Good day to you, sirs!
Yours in good health,
Ransom T. E. McGregor, esq.
Guest Columnist Steve "The Wrench" Ratchett on The Sweeneygate
The who have a song that says "won't get fooled again."
Indyslotcar driver Ev Kamikawa has a parody of the song he sings that says "won't get screwed again."
Problem is he still keeps getting screwed more often than any other driver in league history.
The latest screw job took place at Badger Raceway for the 2013 Duane Sweeny Memorial race.
Early in the second heat race Ev was down several laps to leader Dean Strom.
Storming back into contention Ev took the lead with three minutes to go.
Track officials announced Ev had a one lap lead on Dean with two minutes to go.
At the one minute mark track officials announced Dean was on the lead lap, although he hadn't passed Ev on the track.
Both drivers battled side by side for many laps.
Ev beats dean at finish line on final completed lap, but time has not run out so drivers continue for the remaining few seconds as they are tied in lap totals. At some point in time, not made clear in the video replays shown at the track, track officials announce time has expired. In the frame shown on replay Dean is indeed ahead by half of a car length when Commissioner Mike claims he called for the cars to stop. As the cars pass out of camera shot Ev is even and passing Dean again. Dean crashes into the wall at the end of the back straight. Ev continues onward for two more track sections before he too crashes.
The lap counter shows Ev ahead at the line and finishing the race in less time than Dean. Ev is ahead of Dean on the track and the corner marshal in the area says Ev has won.
Commissioner Mike claims time was called as Dean was ahead of Ev by one car length on the back straight and declares Dean the winner, even though where and when time exactly expired and was announced with the cars on track isn't clear, Dean crashed into final turn after Ev passed him and the computer says Ev was the winner.
Victory awarded to Dean and he goes on to win the event.
"You usually race back to the line in any racing event," Kamikawa explained. "I was ahead at the line and ahead on the track. Since both of us couldn't make it all the way around you go back to the previous lap and or use where the cars come to rest. Where someone says 'stop' isn't helpful because do you immediately stop when they start saying the word and you hear the 'ssss' sound or do you stop when you get to the 'p' sound? If you go by the S then Dean wins. If you go by the P then I win."
Dean was declared the winner but should he have been? My investigation into league history might prove otherwise.
So far there are at least two cases which prove my point.
By coincidence both precedents involve Ev.
Example number one:
1997 Ford Fall 500 at the Mini Milwaukee Mile.
Pole sitter Ev feel back several laps int he first half to John Baas, teammate with Commissioner Phil.
Ev takes the lead with a few laps to go. Ev is leading the white flag lap but no one is looking at finish line or lap counter. Ev crosses the finish line three car lengths over John. Ev celebrates victory, however the video cameraman, the marshalls, and commissioner were distracted by other events on the track. No one else saw the finish, or at least claims they did. Since no one but the drivers saw the finish, Commissioner Phil declares it a tie. There are no rules in the IndyslotCART rule book to address this situation.
Ev's car is literally torn apart and handed back to him in a plastic bag. Commissioner Phil declares John the winner because according to the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) rule book, in the event of a photo finish the driver that came from further back in qualifying gets the win.
If that precedent was followed in the 2013 Duane Sweeny Memorial then Ev should have been declared the winner as he qualified lower than Dean.
Example number two:
Turkey Trot 2012 at Southshore Speedway. Dan Margetta and Ev are tied on laps with a few seconds to go in a limited de-slot race. Ev has one less de-slot than Dan meaning if he goes off the track once he is done. Dan spins in the hairpin turn and as time runs out and Ev is even with his car while passing him. Effectively the cars are tied in laps and in track position. Ev's car is still under power and Ev de-slots while Dan stays in the slot because car has no power. While no one disputes Ev passed Dan when time ran out and was ahead, the victory is given to Dan because he remained on the track after time had expired and what happened after time was called counts. Even though Ev's last de-slot happened after time expires, officials claimed Dan still won because his car was still on the track.
If this precedent was followed then Ev should have been declared the winner in the 2013 Duane Sweeny Memorial because in addition to being shown ahead on the lap scoring system, Ev was ahead on the track even after time expired.
What should be done to correct this gregarious racing injustice?
The race is in the books.
No changes will be made, however this race will remain one of the biggest debating points in league history.
Maybe the league statisticians should add three victories onto the career totals for Ev.
No explanation. No changing box scores from the past. Just add them in.
One change in the all time stats column. They do it in baseball all the time as hitters get close to milestones, and they even go to the trouble of correcting box scores!
No one checks racing stats as closely as baseball stats.
Did Ev get screwed again?
"Yes!" exclaims Ev.
In my opinion...You bet he did...again!
Until next time...It's not bad being in the pits!
Steve "The Wrench" Ratchett
Controversy Over Auto Racing Safety, Follow-up below and more, letter #3
Dear Mr. Kristof:
I have just read an account of the tragic accident that occurred at your Speeding Murder Factory this Thursday past! Why, it was a fright to gaze upon it! To think, a young man’s life snatched away from him by wicked death all for the sake of Motor Speeding! Why, to lay down the fork and knife at such a young age is a tragedy! I heard this young rascal was thrown against a fencepost, his head torn asunder from his thorax, blood streaming! His skull ruptured on the macadam! I’ve been told his brain matter was splattered like a fine, summer custard and that his colon was damaged in a most indecent manor. Let me tell you, good sirs, that it is of my professional opinion that the injury to the colon was the mortal blow!
Let me tell you, good sir, that I am known as an expert into the field of colon science! Have you not heard of my series of wax cylinder recordings that were just released by the Edison Phonograph Company? If not, let me tell you, sirs, that it is my belief that every good Christian man needs to hear my exercise program designed to exercise the colon! I have spent decades researching the science behind a relaxed anus, an anus that allows the user to defecate freely. It is of my opinion that feces must not be allowed to stagnate in the colon lest they cause disease like Collier’s Lung and General Feebleness! I take a good stretching of my anus every fortnight and have been regular since a dog’s age! If you would care for a complimentary copy of my recordings, please contact my solicitor and one will be dispatched to your place of business at no expense, good sir!
It also suits me to tell you, good sirs, that I have summoned the master at arms to take into custody one Raymond Harroun, who is, I have been told, a rowdy gad-a-bout Speed Devil! You may recall that my dear wife Edith, a good Christian woman, was led by the Great Beast into the lair of that bastard Harroun! She was forced to perform lurid acts of debauched madness on his person until she was cast back into the street! She returned home to me a fortnight past, but since she had been made unclean I have had her sent to the County Infirmary. It is my intention that she is to receive an experimental lobotomy surgery on her brain. As for me, good sir, I have already found female companionship in the form of my former business partner’s daughter, who I have been made guardian of. It does a man quite good in the soul to take pleasure from the nubile body of a teen-aged vixen! I must also declare that if a gentleman has a desire to ride a high-wheeled bicycle then let him do it and protest no more!
As you have, no doubt, failed to heed my caution and are to continue to stage daring feats of Motor Speeding and daredevil death, I am forced to file a formal protest! You should know, good sirs, that I am president of the local Chapter of Odd-Fellows! We will be marching upon your Blood Spattered Racing Death Park on the evening past tomorrow night. You can be sure that our efforts will be peaceful, as we do not believe in the Devil’s drink, but let me tell you, good sir, we will not be pursued to disperse on promises of half-priced lemonades or nickel frankfurters! It is of my opinion, dear sir, that a man who imbibes lemonade is a man who will soon be in the bawdy house cavorting with French women and performing insensible acts of sexual deviancy.
Let me tell you of my son Judah, a strapping young man of 24! He was a proper student at the Vomitus Institute when he was led astray by vice! Vice most deadly, I pray you! He began to frequent gambling halls and other dens of sin! He developed a carbuncle on his member, which became afflicted with the Misery of Priapis! His member became inflamed and hence a surgery was performed to cut it off! I disowned him as I will not stand for such lewdness! The last I heard he had been taken in by a circus where he spent his days performing menial tasks befitting of man of decayed intellect until his death from a blow to the head. I tell you, good sir, I would not even accept his dead corpse. I told them to throw his remains into the Potter’s Field! This is what comes from sexual vice and lust and an unclean rectum! It is a direct road to Satan and the grave!
I tell you, sirs, that this deviled automobile lunacy will not last! Why, man will come to his senses after he has seen enough slaughter and motorized death! I shall tell you about my neighbor, Bunsen T. Benjamin. I have known Mister Benjamin since my service in the Great War of the Rebellion, some forty years past. Let me tell you, sirs, that a man does not know another man until he has spent many days together in the intimacy of a canvassed tent! My dear friend, Mister Benjamin, was presented with a new Essex 72-Cylinder Run-A-Bout on account of his good deeds and service to the children and baby animals. He had just rumbled out of town when his motorized carriage left the road and clambered into a ditch. The heavy machine crushed Mister Benjamin. His spleen was removed in situ! His pancreas ruptured! He was rushed to the infirmary on the back of a wagon but upon arrival he was pronounced deceased on account of the fact that he had no head. I pray all gentlemen of decent means will heed my warning!
I must entreaty you, good sirs, to consider selling your Blood Racing Speed Death Track to my trusted friend, Gomez T. Cleveland. Mr. Cleveland is looking for a facility for his Patented Corpse Glue Factory. Mr. Cleveland has devised an ingenious chemical formula to transform the unwanted corpses of transients, hobos, immigrants & the mentally infirm into a wondrous glue-like substance that can be used for postage stamps, plastic shirt collars and children’s toys. To think, no longer will corpses simply be thrown into any nearby body of water, but instead transformed into something useful. This is the miracle of science that man hath wrought upon the world! Please contact me post haste if you would like to consider this generous offer.
A Warning to Autocyclists! by Mister Juglum T. Anus, esq
I am writing today to protest the murderous display of speed that I witnessed at the Quarry Heights Speedrome this Thursday past. It is complete bunkum to believe that a man is able to travel at such speeds reaching 40 of God’s’ miles-per-hour in an autocycle! The wind will be torn from his lungs and he will lose control of his hurtling motor contraption and then crash causing much bodily harm to himself and his riding mechanician. Why, the very speed demons traveling at full chisel that I witnessed were enough to make me sick to see any more daring feats of motor speeding. It made me as mad as a March hare! I simply do not care beans for this motoring! If these daredevils wish to continue their vain pursuit of autocycle death, let them do so in a private setting away from the infirm eyes of women and children!
It is also my belief that the motoring spectacle witnessed by my person yesterday is nothing more than hugger-mugger promotion of the motoring life and a glorification of the speed driver. Let me tell you, good sirs, of my neighbor Mr. Choad E. Fillmore of Pine Knob, Wisconsin. Mr. Fillmore was a fine, upstanding member of our community. I am proud to say that I have been a close male acquaintance of Mr. Fillmore since we fought in the Great War of the States. We have spent many an afternoon engaging in nude bathing at the local Turkish bath! Well, Mr. Fillmore was taken with the motoring fever and purchased an Essex Octopod 64 Runabout from a dealer in Milwaukee. He motored back to our small town and offered rides to several of the town’s important men. Well, when it became my turn, I told him in no uncertain terms that I would not risk my life behind the wheel of that devil’s machine! Mr. Fillmore proceeded to take his rumbling “motor” out onto the main road through town with his wife Esther sitting astride the steering tiller. Well, upon a run-in with a frightened horse, Mr. Fillmore was thrown from his mount where he soon struck all to pieces a wooden fence post out near the Bunghole Farm. His head was split cleanly open like an October melon! Why, he was as cold dead as a wagon tire! His wife Esther was incinerated when the monstrous automobile came to an exploding end in a ditch. This is what becomes those who are taken with the auto fever! Beware!
Let me make it clear that if a man decides to enter into a life of auto car motoring, rye whiskey and loose women then he is on the path to the local crematorium! I am proud to say that I am a member of the Wisconsin League of Christian Temperance! My cousin, Herbert G. Rutherford, developed a fondness for the devil’s drink! He had been a gentleman farmer, but the drink led him straight to the rum hole and then straight into a bone box! Why, he would bring a load of corn to market, and then get corned on the strength of it! In the end, he was as poor as Job’s turkey! We found his body in the outhouse! He had been dead for a fortnight and the rats had already begun to devour his wretched corpse!
Let me tell you what befell my dear wife Edith who was accosted by a randy mechanician near the men’s lavatorium! She had left my side but for a few moments to purchase a nickel lemonade when she was led astray by this speed-minded devil. I discovered her in the lavatorium with her bloomers down to her knees! I cried, “Zounds! You rascal, kindly remove your dog’s rig from my wife’s Windward Passage!” Now, I have on occasion enjoyed the pleasures of a three-penny upright, but my wife is a good, proper woman of Christian means and I know she would not engage in such privations if she had not been rendered asunder by this sneaky speed-insane Jack-In-the-Hand!
The very atmosphere created by the motoring crowd breeds feebleness of the mind! My nephew, Abner Butts, a strapping young lad of 22, took a keen interest in motoring and motor speeding! He began hanging about the local motordrome and soon he became entangled in an affair with a young woman of indifferent means! Young Abner soon developed a blistering carbuncle on his member and not even a good soaking in the salts of turpentine would cure it! We finally had him committed to the local lunatic asylum. Once inside, he was treated with an emergency testicleotomy but it was not enough to save him. He later choked to death on his own feces and this all came about because of his interest in racing danger!
It is the duty of all good, Christian men to make a stand against the horrible motor autocycle, just as I took a stand this prior year to the penny Nickelodeon at the local drugstore which allowed a man a viewing of a buxom young lass wearing only her knickers! Why, just imagine a good, clean minded young man who might come down to the apothecary for a bottle of Dr. Brown’s Patented Radium Potency Restoring Elixir or a mentholated phosphate! He may easily be led astray by a viewing of the Nickelodeon machine! After spending many, many hours of research by viewing the Nickelodeon, I decided that it must be removed at once for it helped the spread of the French pox! I told them, "For land’s sake! Kindly remove this wretched machine!”
In closing, my good sirs, I ask that you cease and desist any further demonstrations of motoring at your Speedrome. It is up to you, good sirs, to acknowledge the corn of your errors! Where have you been all your born days, not to know the better of it? I stand before it, just as I did the “hot air balloonery” craze of 1892 and the high-wheel bicycling smash of 1903!
I would also like to add that due to the high speeds obtained at the racing “Speedrome” that my new Knickerbocker was soiled with TarAid! It required a good scrubbing with mineral spirits to come clean!
May I suggest that you consider selling your property to my acquaintance, Mr. August T. Toolman, a good Christian man of Dog Bone, Wisconsin. Mr. Toolman owns a large animal parts rendering plant and is looking for a location for a new sandwich luncheon meat factory for the production of his new Toolman’s Asbestos Luncheon Meat Bread Sandwich Loaf. I feel that your property would be an excellent fit for Mr. Toolman’s needs. Please contact his solicitor, Mr. Hobner R. Diarrhea if you are interested.
Mister Juglum T. Anus, esq.
An offer was proffered to Mister Juglum T. Anus, esq. from the IndySlotCar Series allowing him to shop the IndySlotCar merchandise tent at the next event.
Dear Mr. Kristof
This letter is in response to the reply I received this Sunday past. No, I will not accept a coupon for the haberdashery! My rubbers were tarnished with lemonade and hot frankfurter mustard sauce when I visited your murderous speeding motor raceway!
I must once again insist for you to take to good reason! I must consider you to be of one’s chump to continue this exposition of speeding death! Motor speeding must be stopped! The body of man is simply not designed to undertake the rigors of motor speeding! The sheer force will rupture his brain! He will lose control of the steering tiller and crash asunder into pieces. His arms will be wrenched from his body. His eyes will be ripped from his head! His wretched corpse will be incinerated by the burning of the Petrol-Latum used to power the steel beast! Zounds! Gadzooks! Let me tell you, good sirs, I have seen a man’s head clean ripped off during my service in the Great War of the United States. My dear fellow, Rutherford G. Cleveland, fell at the Battle of Corn Pone Heights in 1863! He had just returned to the service following a cure for a disease of his male organ when he was shot cold dead as a stone!
As mentioned in my previous letter, my dear wife Edith, a good Christian woman, was led into the den of sin by a lecherous speed-addled mechanician while pursuing nickel lemonade refreshment. Well, let me tell you, good sirs, when I found her in the men’s lavatorium, she was engaged in gross indecency with that devil! I gasped at the site and chased that rascal off, but Edith has been struck by the autocycle racing fever of the brain! She has recently taken up with a local speed driver named Raymond Harroun. I have not seen her since a fortnight, but I have it on good account that she has been taken on by that devil Harroun as his concubine! To think, my dear Edith, a slave to the perverted desires of that speed-minded hound! Sodomy!
Let it be known that I will not stand for sexual perversion! I will not stand for the desecration of a dead corpse for the sake of sexual fulfillment! Let me tell you one more thing, sir, that a man has the right to visit the bawdy house on occasion! Why, if I am to put in a hard week, well, let me just say that I’m due a nickel reach-around at the local house of ill repute! I had an intrigue with a beautiful immigrant woman for many, many years until she became with child and I had her sent away to the asylum. My dear wife, Edith, was none the wiser. Why, it gave me more vigor than a swallow of Dr. Sheen’s Invigorating Tonic of Uranium Laxative Phosphate or a swig of Patented “Liquid Sunshine” Radium Embalming Fluid! I will tell you one more thing, good sir, and that is that a gentleman should be able to saw his timber on occasion and not have to be bothered with thoughts of mentholated phosphates and the price of a good, pickled eye!
The promotion of auto racing death is the corruption of our youth! Why, it is a stain against the morals of the great nation! I will not stand for it, good sirs! May I remind you, sir, that I was the one who stood for keeping the hobos out of our town! Let me also remind you that I was the one who stood for an end to unfair horseplay and monkey business! I am a man of good, Christian morals. Let it be known that only one-hundred and three souls were lost at my meat packing plant last year after I implemented rigorous safety improvements! Let me tell you about one of my employees, Sven Lutefisk, an immigrant from the Dark Continent! Why, he came to me without a penny. I put him to work on the disembowelment line and by the passing of one year he was earning as much as ten cents per week for disemboweling horse carcasses for the making of “Anus’ Delicious Picnic Lunch Loaf”! Of course, he later fell into a machine and was ground to death in the gears, but I want the record to show that I paid his widow a payment of fifty gold sovereigns for the burial of his dismembered corpse and for the care of the eighteen children he left behind! That is the price of success! Let me tell you, sirs, that the gears go round, as they must, and sometimes they catch a necktie or shoelace. So be it! Some men are rich and some are lubrication!
May I suggest, dear sir, that you convert your Auto Speed Racing Death Speedrome into a more practical use that might lift up the good citizens? My associate, Elmer T. Hayes, is looking for a suitable location to build his home for syphilitic young men. This is a cause dear to my heart, good sir, as my own son, Wilmer, has contracted the dread disease! He was a strapping young man of 23 when he was led astray by Satan and took a “Turkish bath” with another young man. Well, it was soon after when we learned that he had contracted the French Pox and the disease has since spread to his brain. He has since received a brain surgery at the local home for the insane and they tell me he might soon be moved “out of the cage”. While we are cheered at his progress, I feel that a room in Mister Hayes’ proposed home would be just the ticket to a speedy recovery. Why, he could go from eating his own feces to being able to hold a spoon while he eats his gruel.
Please respond in the affirmative, my good sirs, to this most humble request from a man who can get things done! I need not remind you of my friendship with Governor Horatio J. Gonorrhea. The honorable Governor Gonorrhea and I go back years to our days at Limpdick College. We were bedmates in the dormitorium, good sirs! In those days, a man was expected to also share the lavatorium with another man as a good tincture of Vaseline cost an honest man’s weekly wage! If I need to bring up this matter with the honorable Governor Gonorrhea, I must do as the Good Book has foretold me to do! Do not fail to heed my judgment! Let me remind you that I am of the Free and Accepted Masons! Cease and desist your spectacle of motor speeding and autocycle death!
Juglum T. Anus, esq.
George Lucas to Buy Indyslotcar
George Lucas sold his Star Wars franchise and said he was moving into retirement to make hobby movies.
“I’m moving away from the company, I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies. I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.”
Now we know what "hobby movies" he plans to create. This reporter has it on good authority that Lucas has struck a deal with MIKE TV to acquire the rights to the Indyslotcar Racing League and all previous media from the history of the league. Lucas, who sold Star Wars for $4.05 billion, is reportedly to pay $40.05 dollars for the league and all the previous broadcasts of Indyslotcar, HO Champ Car, PPPG, and all other monikers of the league over the last 20 years. When asked why such a high price for the league, my source told me that "the league played hardball pointing out the cost of buying all the video tapes and discs over the years. Lucas offered $40 but the league stuck to its guns about the extra 5 cents."
MIKE TV is the leading producer of slotcar videos and it comes as no surprise that Lucas would be interested in using his touch for special effects to make the broadcasts even more spectacular than they are. "If Lucus has indeed bought our videos that is an exciting thing," commented long time driver Everet Kamikawa. "He made Greedo shoot first in the second version of Star Wars. I'll be lobbying him to make me finish first in all the races I didn't win!"
Current Indyslotcar Commissioner Mike Kristof, former commissioner Phil Cianciola, and Lucas had no comment on the matter when we didn't try to reach them, however other characters associated with the league and broadcasts were happy to comment on the proposed takeover:
"Happy was I. Thought never work with Lucas again did I," said frequent race commentator Yoda.
"As a professor of science...who ha...I'm always interested in seeing how he makes the cars go into hyperspace. None of the tracks have long enough straight aways to do that," stated broadcasttechnical analyst Professor Rex Karz. "Who needs wheel guards when we will have deflector shields to prevent cars from crashing into each other and to things. Cars can go into walls...yes...and not be hurt!"
"I don't appear on the broadcast much anymore," said former broadcaster Everet Bell. "But I'd be interested if he overdubs my parts with James Earl Jones."
"He'll be able to digitize my can of Bud into any beer or drink on future broadcasts," said Harry Carey, a newcomer to the race broadcasts.
"I wonder if all of us on the podium will appear in the broadcasts with a blueish green glow around us," mused Kamikawa. "Instead of sponsors we'll all have Red Squadron logos on our helmets. Just as long as he doesn't make all the bad guys in the history of the league turn out to be good guys like he did with Vader. I mean, why kill the goose that laid the golden egg?"
My source confirmed that Lucas does not have plans to make prequels to the league races that began in 1993.
"What would he do? Make movies about Everet playing with Hot Wheels in his sandbox? Lucas isn't interested in making movies about things existing before 1993 Shrine Cup."
"Maybe in the new digital versions Lucas can color our hair back to more youthful shades and trim some pounds off of us," Kamikawa quipped.
One fan I talked to, Mike Faruta, summed up his hopes when he said:
"Maybe Kitty Bo Peep and Amy will get a bunch of hot sisters added to the broadcasts as racers. Maybe a few shower scenes of them?"
If Lucas can create Jar Jar Binks, why not make Mike's comment turn true. IT would cause Lucas less controversy than Jar Jar Binks, unless the newly created girls talk like Jar Jar.
Until Next Time...
It's not bad being In The Pits
Steve "the wrench" Ratchett
The View From The Fans by Gene Paskewicz
Well, okay. I finally got the chance to watch this Troken Cup race that these clowns had on the other night. I didn’t think too much on it, well, they had some delays for the track repairs and me and da’ guys put away a lot of da’ Strohs. By the time they got the race goin’ on I was half in da’ bag and by the time it was over I was passed out on da’ davenport in Gary’s trailer. Boy, oh boy was I in da’ misery da’ next morning. I spent most of my day in da’ crapper until I overflowed da’ holding tank, but that is another story.
Anywho, as this race wasn’t too far from da’ ole’ Frog Hollow Trailer Court up here in Chilton, well, some of da’ guys went on down there and watched da’ race. Heck, I heard a couple of dem fools got themselves killed down there while they was attempting to erect a big Dale Senior flag before da’ race. Yup, a couple guys I knew, Randy Gump and Raymond Shart. Me and Randy been real close since they sent his dad up da’ river on them porno charges.
I hear they was setting up da’ flag during the day before da’ race. They’d gone down there in Raymond’s Imperial and was camping out in da’ field near da’ track. I’m thinkin’ he must of bought that flag out by da’ Kwik Trip, you know, because I seen them on sale da’ week before. I was gonna get one, but I was short on funds due to my problems with the title loan place.
I talked to my buddy Gary Ray Spleen, who was down there with them guys. He told me he done said to them: "I done told them two, don't, don't set up your flag near them wires. I was excited to see, uh, to see such a nice looking Dale Senior flag being put up, but that don't mean it's no good idea to be near them wires. I said, uh, lets sit down and drink some Strohs. I said, let’s worry about that danged flag after we’d drunk some cold ones, you know. Let’s, uh, let’s just sit down. They, uh, them boys they didn’t want none of my advice, uh, even though I have experience with wires. I, uh, I done tried to steal the copper wire from the transformer near my mobile home, and, uh, I done got the shocks. Well, I pooped in my pants and come to think of it, uh, I’ve been pooping in my pants ever since.”
Randy done called me from da’ payphone out near da’ track the morning before he got himself fried. He said he was havin’ a good time. They was drinking some cold brews and listening to some Foghat. He, uh, he told me that he had relations with a lady in an REO Speedwagon tank-top in one of the Port-O-Lets. Randy always had a way with da’ ladies, except for his wife Margelina. She left him for that Navajo fellow and da’ last I heard she was hooking down at a truckstop outside of Tulsa.
I tell you, Ray was a big NASCAR fan. The only thing he loved more than NASCAR was Dale Senior and a cold can of malt liquor. I know he's up with the Lord and Dale Senior right now. He just ain’t been right in the head since he and Margelina done hit the skids, but that don’t give her no right to run off. He done had his heart broken so many times, uh, like when he done was in love with that Indian girl from the reservation. I just thank Jesus that he, uh, that he found his salvation in the NASCAR racing. I know, uh, I know it done helped him make it through the hard times.
Raymond had himself a job cleaning showers at the local truck stop, but, uh, he quit in order to attend da’ race. I knowed Raymond ain’t been the best person. He been in trouble with the drugs, and the drinking, and the transgender prostitution. He lost his big rig to the tax collector and then he started to drink again. He done drank a lot of the blended whiskey and, uh, when he couldn’t afford the liquor he done drank antifreeze. You know, uh, a man will do most anything when he’s got the thirst. I think he had turned a corner when he got out of the county lock up this last time. I really sad that he did not get a chance to make his life right with Jesus and his wife Missy. He done loved her so much.
I think I’m gonna see about that job cleaning da’ shower stalls up at da truckstop. I need a job because I owe all that child support and I done owed that money after they judged against me when I killed that kid while I was all loaded up. I’m going to get that settlement after I caught the syphilis from the gas station bathroom, but, uh, I was going to put in a hot tub in front of my trailer home. I done deserve that hot tub, uh, because I done deserve some goodness in his life. I know I done wrong many, many times. I know I done touched them kids in the Biblical sense, but uh, we all have to cross a path, uh, I mean we all take the fork in the road, uh, and that is reward. Yup.
I heard they was trying to raise some funds for Randy’s burial at da’ corner tap, but, uh, as of yesterday they only had on about $12.45 so they probably gonna plunk him down at the County Grounds. We, uh, well, we’ll probably have a tribute to them guys down at Jimmy’s Dragger Inn. My buddy Gary Lee, who was with him when he passed, well, he told me that just before they done took Randy into the emergency, he look at him and said: “Gary Lee, if I don't make it, let them bury me in my Sterling Marlin jacket” so we owe that to him to make his final wish come true.
Anywho, what was it again I was supposed to be a rapping about? Oh hey, yeah, that race. Well, as I mentioned before, I didn’t catch too much of it on account of all of da’ beers I consumed. I have them blackouts now and then. I guess them swells is gonna have another race somewhere down da’ bend. I’ll try and catch dat one to give you readers a good account of da’ action on da’ track. So, until next time, this is Gene saying, “keep on truckin’”!
Because I Said So by Mobin Riller
Here we are. September 2012 and another season of the Indy Slot Car Series kicks off. Can you believe these guys are still going at it? I thought they’d long have moved out of the basement and grown up. I guess I was wrong, but oh well…at least they’ll “entertain” us for one more year. I’ll be following the series with a critical eye. You’ll get no butt kissing here. I’m going to call it like I see it and I’m going to start with Mark Walczak. Is anybody else tired of him winning all of the time? I get it, he’s good…but that doesn’t mean the fans want to see him win race after race. I know I don’t. I think it would do him a little good to maybe fall on his face this season and learn a little humility. Then what’s up with his teammate Dean Strom? I’ve never come across a driver who talks so much smack, yet delivers so little on the track. This guy is smoke and mirrors. He’s one a couple of races, but so what? He needs to keep quiet and come back when he’s a consistent winner. Okay, next target are the three KV drivers. There is a lot of skill on this team, but come on, they’re all too nice to be champions. You have to be cut throat. You have to be willing to put your competitors in wall…and give them the good ole’ “chrome horn” once in awhile. Then what’s up with Larry Rotter? The guy retires…then he comes back. Let’s start calling him Brett…or maybe Larry “Lorenzo” Rotter in honor of a certain pro-football quarterback who also couldn’t decided whether he was in…or out. Who else am I forgetting? There’s Spehert Autosport…but they’re solid mid-pack runners and nothing more. By this point in their careers, both Tom and Chris appear to be coasting rather than racing. I think they show up for the food and the booze and that’s it. The real train wreck this season is going to be the new R.J. Foyt team. Yes, they apparently let him back into the series with drivers Mike Kristof and Matt Hayek. Both drivers have shown flashes of brilliance…but no consistency. We’re talking fighting for a win one week and then struggling to avoid being last the next week. You mix those iffy results with the volatility of Mr. Foyt and I wouldn’t be surprised if either of the two drivers actually finished the season with the team. Dan Margetta…always the bridesmaid…but never the bride. Dan…you’re not going to be the bride this year, either. Someone has to be the hard luck driver and that person is you. Amy Butler, once the darling of the series, appears to no longer lack the commitment to run up front. Finally, let’s talk about Ev Kamikawa. You want my pick for the guy who can knock Mark Walczak off of the top of the mountain? It’s this guy. He finished last season on a high note with his “HO Indy 500” victory and he’s got the experience and aggressive driving style to once again become champion. Time will tell…so let’s get going!
The View From The Fans by Gene Paskewicz
Let me just tell youse all how tickled pink I am to be able to write a column for the Indy Slot Cart Series website. I been a real big fan of the slot cart racing for a couple of years, now, you know? All of us up at da Frog Hollow Trailer Court in Chilton are big fans of da Indy Slot Cart. We get together to watch all da races and I feel like I got a real good feelin’ for da perspective of da average fan and that is why they asked me to write this column. I also got a lot of free time since they fired me from my job at the Burger King out on Highway 12 on account of my third failed drug test. As they say in that baseball game, “three strikes are you is out”!
The first race is gonna be that outdoor one out in some place called Greendale. I think it’s down there by Milwaukee, you know, where da swanky people live and da beer flows like wine. We don’t like when them Milwaukee people come up here with their fancy cars and their Miller High Life. What’s wrong with a good can of Stroh’s, city boy? Anywho, let me get back to the topic I been asked to right about. This first race is on that little oval track and we always get a thrill from this race. Man, them cars go so fast and there is lots of wrecks.
Well, I got to talk about some of them drivers. I, uh, don’t remember too many of their names right now because on account of the problem I have with the gin. They was gonna send me a list of information, but I guess it didn’t get to my forwarding address. I was living in the state prison until two years ago, but all I’m gonna say about that is that I done paid my debt to society and don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.
Anywho, I don’t recall who won this race last year. To be fair, they all kind of look da same to me, you know. They look like a bunch of High Life drinking swells. They ain’t no heroes of the people like that Dale Earnhardt or that A.J. Foyt. We got us a memorial to Dale Senior up at the local tavern, Jimmy’s Dragger Inn over by da highway. If you’re ever round Chilton, you know, stop on in and ask for Gene. I’m usually playing the penny video slots and if I’m slumped over just give me a shake because I probably based out from too many cans of Hamm’s.
Well, I guess I ain’t got much to say until after I see this first race and then I can have some comments like they asked me to write about. Let me close this column by telling you how we watch the Indy Slot Cart races at the Frog Hallow Trailer Community. Heck, those of us who ain’t high on the crystal meth are high on the slot cart racing…and some of us is high on both! We watch the races over at the trailer of Jerry Bung because he got da working television. I had one, but I sold it on account of needing money for the teenaged hookers over on the reservation. We all chip in to load up on cold brews and corn chips from the Pamida Store. When the racing is over we all have a good laugh and then put on some good tunes, like the Bachman-Turner Overdrive Band and drink until we pass out.
Well, that is all I got to say at the moment. I’ll be checking in after this first race and then I’ll have some more to say about them Premium Beer Drinking crybabies, you can be sure about that, once. Anywho, me and my buddy Gary are headed up to that big old truck stop out by the highway. They got an all-you-can-eat deal on them breaded steak fingers and then we’re gonna check out the “lot lizard” action out by da big rigs. So, until next time, this is Gene saying, “keep on truckin’”!
IN THE PITS: The Silly Season
Steve “The Wrench” Ratchett
It has been a little while since I had to write one of these dog and pony columns about the silly season as I've been in Europe covering the HO Bundesliga in Germany for the last few seasons.
The 19th season of the IndySlotCar Series is in the books. 16 races. 14 different tracks. A four time defending champion and a four time Indy 500 winner. So where will the drivers that made up the season of competition and controversy be in season 20?
Here are my thoughts based on my own observations and the quotes of one driver who talked on the record.
Lets start with the four time champ Mark Walczak. There is a rumor he will retire or be severely penalized for next year. I say neither will happen because Mark wants six championships and the all time lead for wins to knock Phil Cianciola from the top of the record books. Target likes the idea. Mark and Target did find a solid partner in Dean Strom who will carry some of his water and not be too serious of a title challenger. Mark stays at Target with Dean for at least one more season. Don't expect this pairing to stay together for long though. Dean's improvement will make him more of a threat at any race and pretty soon he will get tired of the being the #2 at Target and want to go where he will get more respect, maybe Lotus.
Speaking of Lotus, John Wiedemann, Mike Lack, and Mike Fitzlaff are the Penske team of 1994. Three stars. Three title contenders. Three drivers that seem to get along and work together well. Three drivers ticked they didn't do better in 2011-12. John wants to win after a winless season. Mike Lack really wants to take a title. He will be a new father next season so his participation might be limited, however "The Machine" will always be a threat. Mike Fitzlaff is always one of the fastest but has some bad luck. The speed will still be there next season and I've played enough craps to know that eventually the dice will hit the point or come up 7-11 on the come out roll. HIs luck will change too.
"Did I hear someone mention craps?"
Yes, Everet Kamikawa. I did. When you roll the dice where will you land for season 20?
"This season didn't have the sponsorship to race a full season for a team so I had to scramble for rides like so many other drivers. I raced for Ferrari, three races for Penske, five for Spehert Autosport, one for Target, and six for Super Kamikawa Racing sponsored by Too Clean Laundry. I still had a pretty good season with three wins. I've gotten one offer from Spehert Autosport and I've heard that there was maybe one other team that might be interested in maybe starting a rumor that they might be interested in me. I won't make any decision until later this summer. I'll be somewhere."
That brings us to Spehert Autosport. It was a frustrating season for the team with brothers Tom and Andy and son/nephew Chris missing several races. No one has heard from Andy in several races so there is the possibility that he may have called it quits, hence the interest in Kamikawa. For this coming season Chris and Tom will stay together. Since blood is thicker than sponsorship contracts they will maybe be joined by Andy for some races and possibly Kamikawa in case that doesn't happen. Chris has said that he is also entertaining other drivers in addition to Kamikawa for the opening. Is it a bluff to get Kamikawa signed or is it a hotter seat than most believe?
[Editor's Note: Andy Spehert's contract has been allowed to expire by Spehert Autosport and will not race in 2012-13]
John Shea retired to race stock cars in the south. I can’t see him making any other starts on the series. Amy Butler is another racer who looks to be winding down her career. A welcome presence on the track, she had a couple of decent runs to top 10's, but nothing close to her wins from a few years ago. Team management sold the testing track so that definitely hurts her preparation for the coming season. Is IndySlotCar losing their version of Danica? Lets hope not. If she does hang it up, maybe a career in broadcasting is in order as she does look a lot like Kitty BoPeep. Our over under on races she will run is six. It would be fun if she teamed back up with Larry Rotter!
Larry Rotter ran a few races. The three time champion's over under appearances in the next season is four. He retired at the end of season 18. He even cut back on ISF competition. Now that he has mostly been away for a season will the siren song of racing lure him back? Not yet I think.
Mike Kristoff’s 11th season seems to be the same as the previous 10…nothing spectacular. Having said that he is partnered probably again with Matt Hayek. Matt took two Indy 500 wins in a row but this year only had a couple of final four appearances. That didn’t sit well with him and I think his drive to get more finals and wins will pull Kristof up as well. Kristof is good for at least one final a year. His commissioner duties keep him from fully concentrating on his driving, however I’m going to go on a limb and say both he and Hayek have a win in the upcoming season.
Dan Margetta is the other wild card in the off season. Bounced from or quit from the Butler, Margetta, Walczak team a couple of years ago, then dumped by Wiedemann and Lack the day before the season started he had been teamed back up with Butler for this year in a loose partnership. Was it a strong pairing? No. He took one win to keep his streak intact of wins but still no championships in 19 seasons. Will he be champion in season 20? I doubt it.
So the 20th Indyslotcar season will have surprises and more than four winners, but in terms of drivers changing teams, I doubt there will be much movement. Here is some ideas that are interesting talk for the off season:
1. What if Margetta and Kamikawa teamed up? They were briefly teammates (for one race) in 1998 and again for a few races in 2002 when Kamikawa famously gave up the Indy 500 pole to get Margetta closer to Rotter in the championship fight which Margetta ultimately lost by one point. If either of these two drivers had a top notch teammate that would be a force Walczak would have to reckon with.
2. Even though they are rivals, a Margetta-Strom pairing would also be entertaining.
3. They teamed up for one race in season 19, but Walczak-Kamikawa would be another Senna-Prost as the two don’t have respect on the track for each other judging from comments made in the paddock and press. This pairing would help Walczak as Kamikawa’s mouth would deflect some of the attention that is solely having to be dealt with by Walczak. That being said I doubt it will happen until after Walczak breaks Cianciola’s records.
4. Hayek-Strom-Kristof would be a good solid mid-pack team.
5. Hayek-Kristof-Margetta is a good bet or even Kamikawa in some capacity would add instant credibility and an additional threat to this team.
There is a long way to go this off season. Anything can happen. In terms of an interesting silly season…lets hope it does!
Until next time…It’s not bad being in the pits!
Steve “The Wrench” Ratchett