TJ’s Notes and Quotes from Eldora

By T.J. Buffenbarger

Essexville, MI — (04/13/2010) —

• 36 Pennzoil World of Outlaws machines and 25 Ohio Lottery NRA 360 sprint car machines checked in for Friday night’s show.

• One of the first things noticed in the pits was Dale Blaney’s experimental car. The sprinter features a very unusual roll cage that comes up to an angle 2/3 of the way up the backside. Even thought the car features a safety cage, it does not have quite as much bodywork around the right side of the car. The front end of the car has bodywork similar to a modified type car, and has coil over suspension with single radius rods to locate the front end. The car even seems different in the way it reacts while going around the track.

• Rob Hart, crew chief for Danny Wood, seems rather pleased with their performance so far on the 2001 Pennzoil World of Outlaws trail, but is hoping to find more constancy during the rest of the season

“Right now we either run second or 20th. I think we will do better than that as the season progresses” said Hart while preparing Wood’s machine for action. After exchanging slide jobs during most of the early part of the feature event with Steve Kinser, Wood ended up with a 9th place finish.

• Two drivers have run all three 410 Sprint car events in 2001 at Eldora Speedway. Rob Chaney and Kasey Kahne so far have toured Eldora’s ½-mile in non-wing sprint cars, 1,200 lb All Star Circuit of Champions machines, and last night with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws.

Kahne so far in the past seven days has driven a Winged Sprint Car, Midget, Wingless sprint car on pavement, and a CART Champ Car at the Homestead. Kahne seemed to be pleased with his test at Homestead, and will be testing a Busch Grand National car soon for Ford Motor Company as well.

Chaney caught a bad break while leading the B-Main event when his engine expired.

• Kahne pulled in during his qualification effort Friday night because his belts came loose in the middle of the run. Kahne went back out and within a couple of cars of what he drew after he was strapped in and completed his run.

• Eldora has not been kind to Australian Brooke Tattnell the past couple of years, and Friday the 13th proved to be another nightmare at Earl’s high banks for him.. In hot laps Tattnell had his rear end break which caused the driveline to smack him in the right leg. Tattnell limped back to the pits, but quickly shook the pain off to help the team ready a backup car. Then during the feature event Tattnell hit the fence in turn one and flipped hard. Last season Tattnell suffered a vertebra fracture during the Night Before the Kings Royal.

• Butch Schroeder debuted for the Leeman/Huddle #60 team fielding both a 410 and 360 sprint car machine. Early on the night got off to a bad start with a miss in the engine of the 410 machine. Then in the B-Main event Schroeder tangled with another car and flipped over in turn two. Schroeder then started on the front row for the NRA 360 feature and led comfortably when the motor went up in a large cloud of smoke.

• Several racers not in action were checking out the Pennzoil World of Outlaws. Tony Stewart was seen around his team with driver Danny Lasoski. Brian Gerster was also seen in the pits checking out Kasey Kahne’s sprint car. Gerster was leading last weekend’s Worldcom USAC Midget Series feature at Anderson before his engine expired. 2000 Sprints on Dirt champion Aaron Call was out helping Andy James in the NRA 360’s.

• Phil Gressman set quick time Friday night at Eldora, and didn’t have to worry about how much the car weighed. Last week the team reports the car came 22 pounds light at the scales, which became misconstrued with a quote from Chad Kemenah stating that it didn’t matter even if the car was one pound light. Gressman and the Wise Motorsports team is still planning on going out on the 2001 Gumout Series trail.

• Terry Pletch was on hand with a brand new car and engine to prepare for some of the big winged 360 sprint car shows coming up. The car and engine is a product from Salina, Kansas, with the bodywork sporting a former Gary Wright look. Pletch is planning on taking the car to the Masters Classic, Terre Haute at the end of the season, and EasZ Bay Raceway in Novemeber. Pletch won the B-Main event, and was then collected in a big pileup during the start of the A-Main when fellow non-wing sprint car driver Mike Miller made heavy contact that turned Pletch upside-down.

• For those who did not stay for the NRA Ohio/Lottery 360 sprint car feature, you missed the best race of the night hands down. After a larger pileup at the start, the race featured a tremendous battle for the lead with Greg Wilson and Tom Rhoades, Jr. Wilson and Rhoades swapped the lead back in forth in each corner the last three laps until Rhoades spun out coming to the white flag in turn four.

This set up a battle with Wilson and Tim Allison, who charged from the tail and caught the leader to set up the green, white, checkered finish. Allison made his move right away, and actually appeared to have the lead until Wilson threw a HUGE slide job on Allison through turns three and four, racing side by side through the turns. Allison ran out of room, hit the fence hard down the front stretch, but managed to keep his car going and finished in the second position.

• It’s very cloudy and overcast here Saturday morning with rain popping up into the forcast. However, the radar is showing most of the nasty stuff moving North of Eldora, so hopefully we can get the show in tonight.