By TJ Buffenbarger
Charlotte, MI — (03/30/2001) — The 2002 season kicked off with a rather auspicious start with openers at Attica Raceway Park and Eldora Speedway getting cancelled due to inclement weather earlier in the week. Both Janet Holbrook and Earl Baltes did a great job forgetting the word out early about the cancellation.
One bright spot in the rainy weekend was getting to listen to “Thunder at the Grove” live from the Williams Grove Speedway Early Bird Championship. Announcers Wayne Harper and Bill Meyer do a fabulous job announcing the on track action. Even though Friday’s race this was not a handicap show, the race sounded very exciting. Winner Greg Hodnett, who is one the most well spoken drivers in our sport, was quick to compliment the stellar field saying it was Outlaw caliber or better.
Travels for the week of 04/01/2002:
Hopefully I can do more traveling than from my apartment to Meijer’s and back as I did this past weekend. In an attempt to make up for one weekend of racing lost, Mudclodbob and myself will be hitting the highway to see a wide variety of racing over the weekend. (Weather permitting)
Friday night in a mad dash after work the Slideways Crew will pull into Limaland Motorsports Park for the NRA Ohio Lottery Sprint Invaders show. If you have never been to or seen Limaland, imagine Eldora Speedway as a sweater. Take that sweater, throw it in the dryer on high, and shrink it down to half the size. That is the best way to describe it. Jeff Jarvis and his staff from Northwestern College that own the Speedway has always makes us feel very welcome, and cranks up the faucet on the racetrack it seems when we attend. Of course Mother Nature has laid down plenty of water, which should make for some awesome racing.
In what might have been the best sprint car feature I saw anywhere last season Greg Wilson made a last turn last lap pass to win the last NRA/BOSS Showdown. Limaland’s high banked ¼-mile mixed with winged 360 sprint cars using a format without time trials is sure to make for a wonderful night of racing.
Saturday night we move to the other extreme with the All Star Circuit of Champions moving on to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio on the high banked ½-mile. The Eldora opener should feature a strong field of cars for the All Stars first Midwest appearance for the season.
It will be interesting to see some of the new faces with the All Stars along with some of the veterans of the tour. The All Stars seem to also put on great racing just about anywhere they go, and Eldora is no exception. Last season’s season closer saw Greg Wilson make another great comeback charge, similar to his Limaland drive, only slightly earlier in the feature to win the feature event. Wilson will be tough again, but with names such as Kenny Jacobs, Dean Jacobs, Chad Kemenah, Butch Schreoder, Phil Gressman, Danny Smith, and many more the All Stars can continue to boast “you never know who will win at an All Star Show”.
After getting a few hours shuteye after Eldora’s feature it will be time to head to Anderson for USAC National Sprint Cars and Midgets on the high-banked paved ¼ mile racetrack. The big question going into Anderson is can anyone stop David Steele? Steele demolished the field at the Copper World Classic winning both the Midget and Silver Crown features. Anderson though lends itself well to some of the dirt specialist due to the slick nature and close quarters racing at Anderson. Look for big fields in both of these divisions as well, especially in the midgets where it does not take one of the new high dollar/high horsepower motors to run well at Anderson.
I was able to get a sneak peak at Boston Reid’s new USAC Sprint Car ride. The car is very sharp and will be run as #2b.
Weather permitting; look for Terry McCarl to be among the outside invaders to race at Attica and Eldora this weekend. McCarl was going to race at Attica’s opener next week to help tune his machine for the Attica Ambush on Labor Day Weekend.
Marc Jessup and Bobby East will be testing sprint cars at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the next couple of days. Marc told us his test went well at Anderson and is ready to make his pavement debut on Sunday. Both Marc and Bobby are on Spring Break from High School and instead of taking in sunny Florida like many of their classmates they will be logging laps around IRP.
That’s all for this week. Make sure to say hi if you are at any of the three tracks we are attending this week. We will also have a limited quantity of the new TJ Slideways.com hats available thanks to CSI Racewear, the official outfitter of TJ Slideways.com. We’ll see you down the road this weekend!