Dayton Chatter
by: Jerry Wahl

Dayton, OH (May 27, 2015)

Dayton OH. (5/27) - What a weekend, three nights of dirt track racing at three different tracks in two states, couldn't be any better.
Friday night we started out with the season opener at Billy Daniels 3/8ths mile slightly banked oval which featured the TQ Midgets, modifieds, B mods, bombers, and hornets. Although the fields were on the short side, except for the visiting TQ Midgets that had 28, the mods had 15, sport mods 4, bombers 13, and hornets only had four overall the racing was pretty good considering the small car count. It is rather hard to hear the lineup when the cars are on the track and sorry to say I did not catch the winners names. Was told the bomber winner was just 14 years old and the mod winner scored his first feature win while his brother did likewise in the B mods which are basically sport mods at other tracks. Next vivit I will attempt to get a summary from the track.
Felt sorry for the TQ feature winner as he stopped on the frontstretch all smiles waiting for a trackside interview and photograph both of which never happened. Reportedly the wireless mic was not working and the track photographer was not at the track. Oddly there was a track photographer sitting in the stands which if I was the promoter I would have asked them to fill in. Drivers like and deserve to see photos of their accomplishments.
This Friday will be a repeat show minus the TQ midgets with racing at 8 pm.
In my quest to judge track popcorn I must say it was very good, fresh, crunchy, and lightly salted and want to say "thank you" to Melinda Murray for surprising me with a bag.
Good news is Rt. 44 in front of the track has been repaved and is wider and a smooth ride. Can't say that for the ride going up the hill to the track. Though it showed some resemblance of patching it still will rattle your teeth.
I always enjoy the ride down to Atomic Speedway south of Chillicothe as I approach the hills of southern Ohio, always beautiful. Saturday night was a bargain night for the fans as admission was just $10 to watch the 410 winged sprint cars, AMRA Late Models, AMRA Modifieds, and Sport Mods and the stands were pretty well packed,
It was also Hall of Fame induction night with the former long time (37 years) voice of Atomic Roy Salt, sprint champions Charlie Fisher and C.J. Holley along with late model/stock car drivers Jim Vulgamore, Skip Watterman, and Dick French inducted by current announcer Scott Wolfe. I had the privilege of sitting with Holley whom I had never met but certainly saw his name in print many times in the trade papers.
Jimmy Nier took a wild flip in hot laps after getting into the wall on turn four and later in racing sport-mod driver Jeff Gilliman took a wild ride with several barrel rolls. Fortunately neither driver was injured and Nier was in action the following night at Eldora Speedway.
A couple of sprint drivers from my neck of the woods, Ryan Myers and Jimmy Stinson. Meyers faired the best setting fast time, placing third in his heat after getting barely beat by Mark Imler and the finished a very respectful second in the feature. Stinson was second in his heat and had a good run going in the feature until he and Todd Kane made contact on the frontstretch sending Stinson spinning. Stinson's mount suffered damage and was taken away on the hook.
When the Conley clan of four shows up in the late model division you can almost rest assured one of them is going to wind up in victory lane in the feature. R.J set fast time, was second in his heat, and yep, claimed the feature. Veteran Delmas Conley doesn't appear to be slowing down at the ripe age of 73 as he can run right with and sometimes beat the younger drivers. He was third in his heat and fifth in the feature.
Duane Chamberlain who won the feature the night before at Moler Raceway Park hails not too far from us and is sponsored by the St. Henry Night Club near Eldora Speedway. "Insane" Duane as he is called won his heat and second in the feature after a battle with Jason Montgomery.One driver to keep an eye on is Avery Taylor who is not afraid to run with the veterans at the ripe age of 15. Was 7th in his heat and 13th in feature.
Montgomery was doing double duty running also in the mods where he was fast timer, won his heat, but had to settle for second behind Greggie Oliver. I might mention Oliver was also competing in the late models.
Sport mods seem to be gaining in popularity as the fields seem to be increasing at tracks. 13 of them were on hand and a name well known to Atomic fans, Bob Crace Jr., a many time track champ entered his name into the record books by setting a new track record of 18.373. He warmed up by taking second in his heat but really turned the heat up and won the feature, his second this season.
I want to compliment Scott Wolfe on the great job of announcing. I like an announcer that gives some background info on the drivers and doesn't just jabber about nothing important to the action in front of him.
Yes it is a long drive for us, 107 mile but the racing is well worth it. This Saturday they do it all over again plus it is kids night at the track with the Brushcreek Legend cars and Enduro, check them out for some good dirt track racing.
Sunday night found us at the legendary Eldora Speedway, the track Earl Baltes built and now is owned by NASCAR's Tony Stewart for the running of the Johnny Appleseed Sunoco American Late Model Series. Also on tap was the NRA Sprint Invaders, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, and Eldora Stock Cars.
It was a great night as the stands were packed and no wonder as admission was $15 ($10 DARF) to watch 129 cars in action. Late models had 35, NRA Sprint Invaders 31, Modifieds 36, and Stocks 27. Which made for 15 heats, 2 B-mains, and 4 features for an exciting night of racing.
Former sprint and modified driver Matt Westfall was the star of the late model show overall as he was fast timer, easily won his heat and then had to settle for second in the feature as Matt Miller had the field covered. A good showing for Matt in his first year of wheeling the Best Performance machine.
For Duane Chamberlain this was his third track of the weekend as I mentioned he won at Moler Friday and was second Saturday at Atomic. At Eldora he was fifth.
Randy Hannagan is usually pretty tough in the Sprint Invaders and sure made his presence know with second quick time, won his heat but couldn't catch feature winner Dustin Daggett as he was runner up. Daggett's car was like a rocket, lapping all but eight cars as he weaved through traffic.
When Devin Gilpin shows up with his modified the other drivers might as well figure on second as he is usually the driver and car to beat. Yep, he was there, won his heat and then ran away for the feature win. Jerry Bowersock is another tough one on the banks of Eldora, won his heat and then collected second place money behind Gilpin.
Our good friends Casey and Mike Barr just can't seem to get the bugs out of their unique '57 Chevy stock car. Driver Casey dropped out of his heat with mechanical woes and then the same in the feature.
Defending stock champ Barney Craig was wound up Sunday night claiming his heat and then put his #71 on the podium in the feature. Driver Wayne Williams from our town was 5th in his heat and then 11th in the feature.
Sure was great to hear former announcer Dustin Jarrett back on the mic, miss his voice when he is not there. Sure wish Larry Boos was doing the press releases and results which were always more detailed.
Eldora will be back in action June 4,5,6 for the Annual Late Model Dream paying $100,000 to the winner.
Sorry to hear the news that Skyline Speedway down near Stewart, Ohio will not be opening this year. Also Southern Ohio Speedway will not be running this week as they are restructuring and adjusting their pay-off in an effort to stay afloat and plan on being back in action June 5.
Sunday Millstream Speedway up at Findlay opens or reopens we should say. This time Lisa and Randy Hammer are at the controls and have really spruced up the place, Looks the best in years with new clay added to the track, inside and outside walls painted, and the buildings spruced up. All Star Sprints and 305 sprints usher in the opener. Gates open at 1 and hot laps at 6, admission $20 (seniors $15), 11-15 $10, 10 and under free.
Until next time, take a friend and support the short tracks. Comments welcome ya later.