By T.J. Buffenbarger
(June 4, 2022) — T.J.’s Takeaways from the 2022 Full Throttle Nationals
After two nights and six sprint car features during the Full Throttle Nationals at I-96 Speedway here are my takeaways.
• Nate Dussel is having a breakout season in 2022 on the road with the FAST on Dirt sprint car series and select 360 sprint car exploits., Dussel took to I-96 Speedway like a duck to water in route to winning two 360 sprint car features and one of the FAST 410 Sprint Car main events over the weekend with only one prior appearance at the track in a 3/8 mile configuration that was different than the one we see today. Dussel was one spot away from picking up fourth feature wins as he finished second to Danny Sams III during the FAST feature on Friday.
Dussel and his crew are locked in. Witnessing them working throughout the weekend you can visibly see everyone is on their game from the driver to the person scraping mud off the car. When fuel pickup problems presented themselves during the dash on Friday Dussel and the team worked quickly but calmly to diagnose and correct the issue. Having that kind of major issue can often derail a team from making proper setup changes with one, let along two entries. Dussel and his team overcame the mechanical issue along with staying on top of the racetrack.
Seeing Dussel after the second feature I don’t think he left anything on the table. Cramming his six foot two in frame into two cars for four sprint car races over two days started taking its toll in the final race. Dussel fought through cramps to hold off a charging Max Stambaugh at the end.
By seasons end I think Dussel has a chance to be one of the highlight stories of the 2022 season if they can keep up this momentum throughout the rest of the FAST season.
• If you haven’t been to a Great Lakes Super Sprints event this year it needs to be added to your list of shows to see in 2022. I’ve now been witness to four GLSS events during the 2022 season and everyone one of them has been highly entertaining.
The series has a great depth in talent and car quality that is the best since the inception of the division in the early 90’s in the state of Michigan. Every night there are 5-7 teams that seemingly could win the main event and could go as deep as 9-10 cars if you count drivers that could pull off realistic upsets.
Even the B-Mains this season have been highly entertaining. Instead splitting B-Mains GLSS has been rolling out 16 car B-Mains a handful of times this year, giving fans a mini feature of sorts and giving drivers in that B-Main better experience with a larger group of cars on track rather than running what is essentially another heat race.
• I am well known for being the first to acknowledge when a racetrack has a program that drags on a regular basis. The past year or so I-96 Speedway has been one of those tracks I’ve made mention noting when California tracks almost finish before them with the considerable time difference and joking about single day events that drag into being two day shows ending in the week hours of the morning.
I felt bad for I-96 and GLSS on Friday because the program ended after midnight again, but that ending time did not show the improved urgency to keep the program moving. Race teams and officials did a much better job of having cars ready to go to keep the races flowing. Everyone involved understood the challenge of running a three-division sprint car program and did great keeping the program moving.
Unfortunately starting the night with a big non-wing sprint car crash where a driver had to be transported and having a winged sprint car hung in the catch fence on the front stretch were factors out of anyone’s control that made the final checker flag past Midnight, but had those delays not took place it would have been much earlier.
Saturday the show moved along promptly as well without any of the unwanted delays. Teams were still getting cars lined up efficiently and officials were even tighter getting the fields lined up and ready to go, which at times has been an issue at GLSS events.
Hopefully that level of efficiency can continue throughout the season. With only single and two division sprint car programs let we should see some earlier nights in our future.