By Bill W
April 12, 2011 – 72, 71, 70. Three races and those are the three numbers that Billy Alley has drawn in order for his heat starting spots. If form holds, he will be in the hunt around August for a good number! All kidding aside, the Lincoln, Nebraska sprinter had a solid weekend with a fast racecar if you take away a mechanical breakdown on Friday night at the I-80 Speedway near Greenwood, Nebraska. A two-night show at Eagle Raceway awaits and the Billy Alley Enterprises #22 team will be race ready this Friday and Saturday!
The event last weekend at I-80 drew a solid group of 45 cars. “After Wichita, it was nice to race close to home,” says Billy. “We were excited. I was able to get a really good start in the heat, and we were in position to get a redraw spot in the feature. That was key the way the track was on Friday.”
Despite drawing the final starting spot in the last heat, Billy quickly advanced from ninth to fifth and was looking for another two spots when disaster struck. “I believe the tires we hit in Wichita came back to get us there,” he says. “The bearings were used up on the left front wheel, and it came off. It’s probably something we should have caught, but we didn’t. We just missed it. The average fan at I-80 probably things we have a hard time keeping the tires on the car!”
Billy is referring to the opener in 2010 when his right front hub broke while leading. As with that time, he was fortunate to keep the car right side up, and repairs were made for a deep start in the B. He would come up two spots short. “I stayed positive with the hand we were dealt,” he admits. “I had a decent car and got by a few guys, but the way the track was (heavy), made it hard. It’s tough to run a big track like that in dirty air sometimes. It was a shame, because we had a car fast enough to finish up front in the feature.”
As with the show before, he improved his draw one spot to 70 for the finale. He would start ninth in the final heat of the night. The heat would boast four of the eight cars in the feature redraw. After driving up to fourth, Billy was one of them. “Our draw situation is pretty funny really,” he says. “We’ve started dead last in the last heat in every race. Our car was good in the heat. I was probably more frustrated in myself after that heat than any time over the weekend. I really should have finished up another spot or two. I didn’t think fourth would get us the redraw.”
The redraw saw him start third, and he ran fourth in much of the early going. “When we went green, you could tell the guys around me were on top of their game,” says Billy. “They all have more laps than me right now, but that is changing by the race.”
Billy put used tires on the #22, thinking the track may show more rubber. “I thought the track would get more abrasive than it did and rubber up,” he says. “I had a tire on…I don’t really know how old it is. I didn’t think it would matter. The right rear…I probably should have put a new one on, but I didn’t really want to burn new rubber.”
Billy gained momentum and passed Don Droud Jr. for second with seven laps to go. Then the cautions came, and the car setup changed with it. “I was able to hang in there for a while, and when the tires came in, I was really fast,” he says. “The car was awesome. I fell into a rhythm, and we were able to get by Droud there for second on lap 18, but it was called back for a caution.”
That’s when he began to slide back a bit. “The car was like it was on ice when we went back green,” says Billy. “It was disappointing. I think we still had a third or fourth place racecar if I would have calmed down a little. I was getting frustrated and driving crazy.”
The frustration of getting passed is something a competitor has a hard time getting used to, but Billy is taking some positives out of his eighth place finish. “We will take the fact that we were running with the leaders, and build on it,” he says. “The guys we were running with can win anywhere in the country. We’ll go into Eagle knowing we are right there with them. We have the pieces and we’ll keep putting the puzzle together.”
Billy is ready for Eagle Raceway…the track he grew up at, and the place he started his career at. He has a solid group of people in his corner. “Bob ‘Buns’ Richardson and Joel Hatcher…they do a lot for me and it wouldn’t be possible without them,” he says. “They put in a lot of hours. We have a renewed commitment to be up front every night, and we are determined to do it.”
On the Web
To learn more about Billy Alley, including updated results and photos, visit www.BillyAlley.com!
Billy Alley Gear!
For t-shirts and other apparel, visit www.BillyAlley.com!
Billy’s Clip of the Week!
By popular demand, Ric Flair returns with his, well…flair! Wooooooooooo!
Down the Alley
Shawn Rinehart of Omaha, NE asks: How much do you talk to other drivers about the track, the setup, etc. during a race night?
Billy answers: I try not to talk to them at all about it, because most are full of $*%&! The best of those is Brian Brown. I stay away from him if I can. As a racer, I think you need to have confidence, and going around asking questions all the time says you don’t have the answers. Once you get into your routine, there aren’t many questions. It is cool to try to help the younger guys, but sometimes your good advice is bad for them.
Got a question for Billy? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may answer it in this section! Put “? for Billy” in your subject line.
Billy won his first career race at Eagle Raceway on September 1, 2001. Dennis Parker was second, ahead of Regan Kitchen, Mark Finnell and Terry Holliman. He won the Eagle Raceway championship the following year along with track and national Rookie of the Year honors.
“Tornado Alley” is an up close look at the past, present and future of 2006 Knoxville Raceway track champion, Billy Alley. To receive “Tornado Alley”, send an e-mail to email@example.com with “Alley” in the subject line.
Billy would like to thank Bolz Farms, Schmit Automotive, Manion Framers for Life, Aeroquip Performance Products, K&N Engineering, Stepping Stone Genetics, Ironwood Builders, KDM, Buss Excavating, Harris Decals, Hoosier Tires and Stewart Alley Concrete.
You can see Billy smiling entering turn three at I-80 (Brandon Anderson Photography)