InSLIDE Line 43...Don't Let The Size Fool Ya!Oct 28, 2013
Hello, and welcome to the InSlide Line Presented by Bell Helmets. When I wrapped up last week's column I had a little concern about what I would write about this week. Dirt Track is a very interesting world. Just as soon as the new week formed, we had some big news hit us. It seems like this always happens. Just when I think we are out of news and I have nothing to keep you entertained, something comes up and we have new talking points. That alone points to a sport that is alive and healthy. No matter how much the negative nancies of the world tell us that the greatest spectacle on dirt is dead, we just keep on keeping on. With that being said, let's get to work.
A cold front has swept across much of the nation. This doesn't stop our racing, we just need to bundle up a little more when we go to work! Oh, and you lucky Californians, I'm sure you are complaining about your cool temps too. We don't want to hear it! Anyway, here is who is racing this week.
Mid America Speedway, Indianapolis, IN Short Track (RACE IN COSTUME!)
DuQuoin Illinois, Indoor Short Track (Halloween Party!)
Prarie City OHV, Sacramento, CA
Chowchilla, CA Short Track
Now it is time where the West Coast and South East tracks take over the outdoor schedule. There is one race that is listed on the Fight For Dirt Track Schedules page in Ventura California. If you are in that area, check it out!
Last weekend Jared Mees made quite a bit of money in California. You see, the typical big money race thatEddie Mulder puts on at Willow Springs Raceway took place and Jared took home the lion's share of the winnings. Though he had a rough season, suffering a broken arm that no doubt wrecked his chances at repeating a championship, Jared can head back to Michigan with a pocket full of cash and hey, nobody hates that! Jared won on the first day over Brad Baker and Briar Bauman and then on day two he and Sammy Halbert had an EPIC battle for the lead, swapping up nearly the entire race. Jared once again came away with the win, but it sure wasn't easy over Sammy Halbert. Briar Bauman was once again third. To top off the two Open Pro class wins, Jared also took home the Dash For Cash on Sunday, which I had heard was worth another $4,500! Maybe that will help the honeymoon fund?
The Midwest Indoor Series kicks off in DuQuoin Illinois this weekend! Don't forget to bring your Halloween costume to the track, because there will be a Halloween party after the open practice on Friday night! For more information, check out www.stevenaceracing.com This will also be the first chance to seeJD Beach on his new Yamaha 450. After years on Honda's, JD made the switch to a 2014 Yamaha YZ450 for the upcoming season and will be riding it for the first time during Open Practice on Friday night. It will be interesting to see how JD copes with the brand new bike, as it is radically different from other 450's. JD has been on Yamaha road racers for several years now, and I guess he's ready to stay organized and on the same color at all times! Is a Yamaha twin next? Here's a picture of his 450 getting ready for action in James Hart's shop!
From what I have heard about the 2014 Yamaha from people who have ridden them, everybody comments on how fast they are. Granted, the people I have talked to have all ridden them on motocross tracks and of course in motocross set up, but they also said the handling is much better than the previous generation frame. The 2014 model keeps the same "backwards" motor design as the 2010-2013 models, but the frame is all new. The crew at FMF said it was extremely difficult to make more power in just the exhaust alone, and they couldn't believe how much power it made bone stock. In a world full of copy cats in dirt track, it will be interesting to see how these Yamaha's do, and if people start playing follow the leader if they are proven to be a great motorcycle, which I think they will be. Nobody makes a bad bike any more!
Mid America Speedway is having their annual Halloween Race in Indianapolis Indiana this weekend. I think this is the 3rd or maybe 4th annual Halloween race and yes, we race in our costumes. At this event, I will be there judging costumes and since this is a FUN event, the better the costume, the better your gate pick. Oh yes, it's true. So dress it up and we'll have some fun! I know I have my costume all ready to go. I'm even bringing Steve Murray out of short track retirement. October 26th, either be in Indy or DuQuoin, no excuses!
The Halloween racing action also is going on at the Chowchilla California Fairgrounds on their 1/3 mile banked short track. This is the California Flat Track Association's last race of the year, so go out and enjoy it. They are also encouraging people to wear their costumes. Man, all kinds of fun races this weekend!
The most shocking news in the sport this week was the departure of Howerton Motorsports from AMA Pro Grand National Championship racing. Just capping off their second season with a Twin's series title and a close 2nd in the overall standings, they are calling it quits. They came, they saw, they conquered in my opinion. Here is the press release they put out: "Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports is making the announcement on their departure in the AMA Grand National Series. It is with great sadness we leave the series, but for personal reasons, it is the right decision. "With my two sons just beginning their adolescence years, I need to spend more time with them, as they won't be around forever." (Ricky Howerton) We would like to express our appreciation to everyone involved in the team: Our sponsors, spouses, and the sanctioning body. The success the team achieved in the 2012-2013 years was based on the massive efforts by Bo LeMastus, Ricky Howerton, Jeff Gordon, Ron Glidden and Bryan Smith. "The people involved in the team were the best guys anyone could have put together, regardless of budget. Everyone who worked on the team did it after their "day" job and for no monetary gains, as the passion drove the perfection of this team. Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win the Grand National Championship, and even though we came up short, we gave it our best shot. At the end of the day, that's all you can ask for." We with Bryan Smith all the best, as he was the perfect fit for this team. We enjoyed him personally and professionally, and the two years together will be greatly missed."
After they built a bike that was untouchable at times from absolute scratch and then they put one of the best milers that our sport has ever seen on top of it, the Howerton Motorsports name was learned very quickly in our sport. It sure is rough that we lost them, but like the press release said, family comes first. This leaves some interesting things up on the table for Bryan Smith though! There is an empty seat at Factory Harley, Bryan and his Dad can build some of the best bikes on the planet, and hey, we don't know if those bikes are staying with the Howerton's or not! With so many possibilities there, one can only hope that those awesome bikes stay with Bryan, Crosley Radio stays on board so that we have a cool company who is outside of our industry supporting our sport, and the only thing changed is a patch removed from Bryan's race gear. While it is a bummer that Howerton Motorsports pulled out of racing, you have to be grateful for what they came in and did in their very short time in the sport. Two years in the sport and two Twin's titles, that is nothing to look over at all! It was an awesome ride!
Last week we covered the Championship battles in our sport, so you are fully aware of who did what there. However, there were more season ending awards that were handed out after Pomona. For instance, Sunoco Fuel, who is the spec fuel of AMA Pro Racing kicked in $15,000 in year end bonuses. Ten grand of that went to the Experts, the rest to Pro Singles. They call it the "Going The Distance" Award, and it is all about who went the furthest on the race track during the entire season. In the Expert class it was Jeffery Carver who spent the most time burning Sunoco Supreme with 417.55 miles, earning himself a $4,000 bonus. Behind him was Kenny Coolbeth, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker. In Pro Singles action, nobody put more miles on their 450 than Dominic Colindres who racked up 229.45 miles on his equipment. That distance put $2,000 in his pocket. Rounding out the Pro Singles field was Ryan Wells, Wyatt Maguire andHunter Taylor. It's a pretty neat award and it's nice that the fuel that we are forced to run is doing a little something to give back. Doing the math on things, for the Expert Class, that would mean Jeffery Carverearned roughly $9.58 per mile this year by using Sunoco fuel while Dominic Colindres brought home $8.72 per mile for his efforts. The federal rate for mileage on your vehicle when you travel for work is 56.5 CENTS per mile, so I would say these guys did ok!
Performance apparel manufacturer Cortech also kicked in some money towards the Grand National Expert Championship and awarded $1,000 to Brad Baker for winning the "Performance Edge Award". This distinction went to the rider who posted the most "Fastest Lap Of The Race" during main events this season.
I know that many people were down about bonuses for our racers, but I think we are all familiar with that "economy" word and we all know where the "economy" is right now. This isn't the early 90's, we don't have Big Tobacco money propping us up. We haven't gotten the attention of the Energy Drink companies enough for them to pump money into our sport. In fact, I think we have talked about these facts in past columns enough that the face of Fight For Dirt Track could be a nasty shade of blue. When you put all of the numbers together though, from the Saddlemen Rookie Of The Year honors which went to Jake Shoemaker in Springfield when he clinched that, to the Sunoco "Going The Distance" award and theMotoBatt and Cortech awards in between, nearly $80,000 was given out in year end bonuses to our racers.Brad Baker alone pocketed $15,000 for winning the title. I know it isn't the $100,000 for the champion that we used to see, but we have a long way to go to get back to that kind of status and from where I am typing this column, $15,000 is a whole heck of a lot better than the whopping $0 that was offered as a bonus just a few years ago. We have to keep our collective heads up as fans of the sport, take and be grateful for what we are getting as racers while at the same time pushing forward. Hopefully next year we can bring in a title sponsor for our Expert series and bump that year end bonus figure to $50,000 for some of the hardest working people in motorsports!
A big get well soon goes out to Zanotti Racing's Stevie Bonsey as he recover's from getting a brand spanking new (err..possibly used?) ACL this week. According to his facebook post, everything went fine. I'm sure he'll be the guy running sprints around the Daytona Short Track in March. Check out this lovely knee!
AMA Pro Racing released some of their numbers for how much their social media presence has grown this year, and I have to say, I'm pretty proud of the progress that Dirt Track is showing in the social media genre. The AMA Pro Live coverage was used for both dirttrack and road racing this year, however, dirt track fans contributed to two thirds of the people watching. That's 66% of all of the viewers on AMA Pro Live were watching dirt track events! AMA Pro Live's online DVR program, where you can see flag to flag coverage from 2012 and 2013 events, brought in 100,000 unique visitors who were spending an average of over an hour on the site during each visit. AMA Pro Racing's YouTube channel has seen a 578% increase in views this year, which comes out to be nearly 5 MILLION minutes of video watched. Five million minutes, better known as 11 years. AMA Pro Flattrack has seen a 147% growth on facebook and a 55% growth on Twitter over the last year also. AMA Pro Racing put those numbers and a few others out to EVERY racer holding a AMA Pro Racing flattrack license, so not only are the numbers widely known, but racers should be using those numbers to attract sponsors to their program in this "sponsor season" time of the year. Those are all pretty encouraging numbers! Success in our sport isn't going to happen over night, but with AMA Pro Racing being pro-active in not only tracking these numbers, but also making them readily available, we all seem to be working in the same direction.
Well, that's all I have for the column this week. If you remember, last week's column came to you in Orlando Florida during the AIMExpo and I was pretty impressed by how things went down there. I really do believe that it has the possibility of turning into the next big trade show in this country, and it will be bigger than anything that you ever saw in Indianapolis. A few dirttrack related people were milling around the show already, and I met with a lot of people from various companies who are very interested in our sport whether or not they are currently supporting any racers.
The Quadski Caught My Eye At The AIMExpo...
I also saw AMA Pro Racing technical director Al Luddington talking at length with the Power Commander guys...but I'm sure it was just about which vendor had the best cup of coffee. Anyway, thank you for reading this week, get out and race or go watch a race if you can (take a blanket!) and have a great weekend!
Best For Sale Ad: George Mack
2nd Best Scrub Of The Week: Briar Bauman (Photo Tom Hnatiw)
Best Scrub Of The Week: Dominic Colindres (Photo Dave Hoenig)
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