Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Few Chili Bowl Photos

The Tulsa World newspaper actually gave this race some good coverage, and you can still find it at their web page of you hurry. I grabbed a couple photos to share with you.

NASCAR star Kasey Kahne powers into the first turn during his heat race on Friday night in the 22nd annual Dodge Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at the QuikTrip Center at Expo Square. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World
Jason Holt of Brownsburg, Ind., sits upside down in his car following a crash during a heat race on Friday night. STEPHEN HOLMAN / Tulsa World

This is from before Jason Holt drove the #8j car on Friday.

Jason Holt and Don O'Keefe Jr. had quite an adventure. Don actually started off running stronger than it would appear in the stats on opening day, but an incident with another racer, who was maybe a little too aggressive, ended what could have been a good effort. Instead of transferring to a better main that night, Don ran the C Main and was done early with mechanical problems in that race.

On Friday, the crew must have thought they were in for more bad stuff. Jason was running strong in his heat, but a tangle with another driver left Jason on his lid in a roll over. Damage wasn't as bad as it could have been, but the crew had to scramble to get it together for one of the Last Chance races. The effort paid off as Jason won his race. Former Antioch Wingless Spec Sprint champion Travis Berryhill was fifth in that race.

Jason managed a ninth place finish in his B Main later that night, which set him up for the front row start he had for Saturday's E Main. As you saw from my previous post, he finished third in that race and sixth in the D Main, missing the C Main and a chance to be on the Pay Per View by a just a few inches. All in all, though, the team had a good showing and can be proud of their efforts.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chili Bowl Update-Jason Holt

Jason Holt prepares his car in the O'Keefe shop for the next Gas City race.
On Saturday, the LOK Enterprises cars both had Main Events to run. Don, who ran a heat and main on opening day, was in the K Main. Meanwhile, Jason Holt had qualified for the pole of the E Main in the second LOK Enterprises Midget.
During the season, Don has worked with Jason on car setup for Jason's Wingless Sprinter at Gas City Speedway. Jason enjoyed his best career season with 9 top ten finishes in 13 starts and a third place point effort. Quite a season for Jason. From my visit last year, I could see that he is quite a racer with a bright future ahead of him. Look for him to grab a victory this season.
I'm sure Don will post on his web page what went down. I'm guessing he scratched from the K Main to focus on Jason's E Main run. A front row spot meant Jason could transfer up at least one race, and he would do just that with a third place finish. From there, Jason came from the last row to sixth in the D Main, missing a transfer by just one spot. Still, he was in the first half of a field of over 200 cars. All in all, not a bad job by Jason and the whole crew.
But it gets more interesting. This all star field saw previous winner Tony Stewart winning a B Main to get into the show, but the win went to none other than Damion Gardner ahead of Dave Darland, Shane Cottle, Bryan Clauson and Jon Stanbrough. All five hail from the state of Indiana, and Gardner has actually relocated to Don's hometown of Pittsboro.
I recall meeting Damion and his father back in the mid 90's at Antioch. He was racing a Nor Cal Dwarf Car back win Nor Cal and Pacific Coast were having some classic battles at Antioch Speedway. He was a star in the making and won the NCDCA Dwarf Car championship a couple years later. He became one of the stars of SCRA (Top 5 ranked) and went on to win a CRA Sprint Car championship. He is rapidly climbing the ladder to an eventual NASCAR or IRL ride, and this could be the biggest win of his career.
Congratulations Damion.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Few Quick Notes

I believe people in Merced will be seeing schedules soon, if not already. I looked at the Merced Speedway page a few days ago, and Chowchilla dates are listed there as well. A few notes:

1-IMCA sanctioning for Mods at both tracks. Could be a boost for car count, but as I said before, it may be a little late in the game for this. Let the car count speak for itself.

2-Pretty much what I expected, a Merced schedule at both tracks, and likely CCMR rules as well. How this might effect Street Stock or Pure Stock car count remains to be seen. What sort of allowances will be made for Chowchilla regulars that may need to change according to the rule changes remains to be seen. I would anticipate a grace period, but we'll let track management make the announcements.

3-It looks like NCMA has booked dates at one or both tracks. Congrats. to NCMA. These guys always seem to be able to get race dates just when you think there may be trouble. I say the more carbureted Sprint divisions in California, the better.

4-I hope a certain purple #20 car will be allowed to compete at Chowchilla if the driver so chooses. Knowing the situation, I doubt it, but I hope I'm wrong. Tom Sagmiller will always be a part of Chowchilla Speedway, no matter what.

That being said, I wish both tracks luck, and I wish the best for all of the racers. Had things turned out differently, I would gladly have stayed and worked at BOTH tracks in 2003. I wash my hands of the whole grudge business. I have my opinion and always will, but who cares? I know I tried to help make a difference. It wouldn't surprise me if we haven't heard the last of things on this matter, and I say, so be it. I guess it just has to be what it has to be.

Let the racing begin

I didn't count the dates listed on the Petaluma Speedway page, but Jim Soares has booked Spec Sprints. Looks like they have a point race of their own there. Way to go Jim, and keep up the good work. You've done awesome there. Ten years since Don O'Keefe Jr. and I put this deal together for the first Spec Sprint season at Antioch, and look at this class go!!!

Ocean (Watsonville) Speedway has added Wingless Spec Sprints to their schedule as well. Lots of options for the drivers to choose where to race. You gotta love it. I wish Watsonville luck.

The Turner's have turned Orland Raceway back over to the fairgrounds. I'm sorry to see them go as they did a great job with that little track and had some good shows over the years. It's not the best place to run a racetrack, in the shadow of Chico, but they guided the track through one of it's most successful periods. Plus, they had Spec Sprints there as well. Thank you Paul & Carol and good luck in whatever you do next.

Also, it looks like Bob & Nadine Strauss have stepped down as promoters of Lakeport. I gotta tell you that Nadine is one of the best promoters in California and was so rewarded by RPM for her outstanding efforts. I'm sad to see them leave at a time when we need good promoters here in the state, but they have earned the break. Thank you Nadine and good luck in whatever you do next.

O'Keefe Races At Chili Bowl

Don O'Keefe Jr. raced on the first day. He ran his heat and his main. I'm glad to see he got to drive his race car. I know it's been a while for him. Haven't heard how thecar ran, but hopefully he had some fun. Tonight, Jason Holt gets to run with the big boys in Don & Linda's second car. Hopefully he'll have a good run and keep it in one piece. Jason did a great job of making the top five in points at Gas City this season in his Sprint Car.