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TJ’s Eldora Notes

By TJ Buffenbarger

  • Saturday night’s feature between Brian Tyler and Derek Davidson will be remembered for years to come at the Eldora Speedway. The duo put on a rim riding game of chicken to see who could take their car in deeper into the turn. While Tyler looked as if he was gliding around the turns, Davidson would back his car in harder each lap. Davidson eventually got around Tyler with a perfectly executed slide job in turn one. Tyler stayed within a couple of car lengths of the new leader, and had a chance to pass when Kent Christian held up Davidson. The pair were side by side through turns three and four, with Davidson just nosing out 1997-98 USAC Sprint Car Champion Tyler.
  • Jac Haudenschild made his return to wingless sprint car racing Saturday at Eldora. Haud was all smiles before the races as many of the USAC drivers and crews came by to say hi to the former Pennzoil World of Outlaws regular. Jac had a rather close call in hot laps almost bumping wheels with another driver going into turn one. After Haud came in the pits after that warmup session his eyes were about twice their normal size, and a little bit later a smile was very evident on the Ohio legend’s face. During the feature Haudenschild had another close call when he got a little sideways in between turns three and four and almost spun in front of the field. Jac gathered the car up and raced back up to for a ninth place finish.
  • Many different methods of keeping heat in the engines were used at Eldora Saturday. Everything from torpedo heaters to old family blankets were used to keep the powerplants warm. Denny Ashworth’s team with driver Danny Smith was even seen cutting out cardboard to put in front of the radiator to block out the cold air.
  • Tonka Toys, a division of Hasbro entertainment, has come on board with driver Scott Hull’s beautiful yellow and black #5T sprint car. The team will race in all the high profile television races this season, and they plan on racing the full Pennzoil World of Outlaws circuit during the 1999 season. The team had several guests from Hasbro and associate sponsor 3M on hand to watch the car run. Hull ended up having mechanical problems in the B-Main and missed the feature event.
  • 55 cars showed up to take time trials at Eldora, which always means with USAC a Non-Qualfiers race is run to narrow the field down to 36 cars. Saturday night’s non-qualifiers race was stocked with some of the best drivers in the Midwest. Brian Hayden, Kevin Doty, Jimmy Stinson, Justin Marvel, and Terry Pletch were just a few of the drivers that made up the field.
  • Kevin Doty was behind the eight ball most of the night with the Christman team. Doty drew a late qualifying number and ended up timing in 37th. After finishing third in the non-qualifiers race, Doty raced up to a transfer position in his heat race until he was passed by Dave Darland for the transfer spot. Because of his qualifying time, this put Doty in the back of the B-Main where he worked his way up to 15th and missed the feature event.
  • Many onlookers had Tracy Hines penciled in as the winner early in the evening. Tracy was wheeling the Willoughby sprint car in it’s first outing. Hines ended up setting fast time and was moving up in the feature when he made contact with Byron Reed in turn four and destroyed the new Stealth Chassis. Hines walked away from the nasty end over end tumble.
  • Probably the most heartbreaking development Saturday night was after the red flag for Tracy Hines’ crash in turn four. Danny Smith’s car appeared to be smoking after the restart, and was given the consultation flag to see what was causing the problem. The team had forgotten to put the fuel cap back on the car before it was pushed off. Smith was sent to the tail of the field, and was able to work his way back up to seventh place in Denny Ashworth’s Schnee chassis.
  • Roger Chaudon is back racing after taking last season off. Chaudon returns at 1998 USAC Sprint Car Champion Tony Elliott’s teammate in a blue 15c for Jeff Walker Motorsports. Chaudon had a rough welcome back after making contact with the turn two wall and flipping hard. Chaudon was uninjured.
  • When many of the teams were asked if the McCreary/Non-Wing Series tire war would effect their decision to race at any of the events, the popular response was “no comment”.