DIRTRACKR Daily Podcast - Episode Transcript

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Christopher Bell ties Sammy Swindell for Chili Bowl prelim night wins, dirt racing weekend ahead | Daily 1-14-2022

Coming up we are talking Christopher Bell's record tying eighth prelim night win at the Chili Bowl, the Wild West Shootout weekend, plus news from Stewart Friesen and DIRTVision. Let's do this.

Today is Friday, January 14th, two thousand and twenty two. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.

It certainly wasn't easy, but Christopher Bell came through yet again on Thursday night at the Chili Bowl. He'd previously won six straight Thursday prelims, and seven of the last eight, and last night he extended the streak to seven straight and tied Sammy Swindell for the most ever Chili Bowl prelim night wins with eight. Things early in the night went just about as good as Bell and his KKM group could have hoped for, going 4th to the win in the heat, and sixth to second in the qualifier. That set Bell up for a fourth place start in the feature, behind Shane Golobic, Brent Crews, and Tanner Thorson. Bell didn't really get involved in the battle for the lead until late in the race though. At one point he was back to fifth. Golobic led the first four laps, and then it was all Thorson out front. As we approached ten laps to go, Bell starting working his way forward, and was second with 11 laps to go. Most of the front runners were stuck to the bottom, but Bell was able to make ground banging the cushion. After some late cautions, Bell pounced for the lead with four laps to go, moving by Thorson with a slider into turn one. The 19 of Thorson tried to battle back for a few laps, but Bell got away in the end and drove off to the victory. Thorson settled for second and that all important lock-in spot. CJ Leary was third, Tim Buckwalter had a hellacious 20th to fourth run, and Shane Golobic finished fifth. In victory lane, Bell got out of his car and went straight to Thorson to acknowledge their battle. Keith Kunz cars are now four-for-four on the week in prelim night wins. Brent Crews was impressive all night long in a Chad Boat entry, starting second and hanging tough all race long. But a late flat tire and damage took him out of contention and relegated him to a 20th place finish. It was a tough way to end what was a very strong night for the 13 year old.

The two other drivers people were talking about last night were Damion Gardner and Steve Buckwalter. Gardner had issues in his heat race and finished last. He then went 8th to second in the D, 12th to fourth in the C, and 16th to third in the B to make the full alphabet run on the night. Unfortunately though, he flipped late in the feature and finished 19th. And the kicker is, the car is too damaged for the team to continue on Saturday, so the Demon is done for the week. But it was a fun run while it lasted.

As for Steve Buckwalter, he went for a big ride in the fourth qualifier and heavily damaged the rear end of his 25B machine. It was a quick turnaround from the fourth qualifier to the first B-Main and it was a mad thrash in Buckwalter's pit to get the car repaired. Miraculously though, his crew got the car fixed and Buckwalter made the call, and even with an ill handling car, drove from seventh to fourth to make the feature transfer. He and Gardner were in the same B, so the crowd went wild when both raced their way in. Buckwalter later went 23rd to 13th in the feature to salvage the night.

Looking towards tonight, Justin Grant will try and stop the Keith Kunz streak and race his way into the Saturday feature. He's won the Friday prelim night four of the past five years. Joining him tonight on the card are guys like Daryn Pittman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Cummins, Ryan Bernal, Kasey Kahne, Bryant Wiedeman, Michael Faccinto and others. I think JG is definitely the pick tonight, especially with the way he looked on Monday night in the VIROC. Friday's schedule is the same as the preceding days, with the draw at 2 central, hot laps at 4, and heat races at 5. And then Saturday morning, we start the soup early with the building opening at 8AM. Hot laps for the early P and Q mains start at 9. It will then be hammer down all day to pare the field down from nearly 400 cars to just 24 for the feature. Don't forget, Saturday's Chili Bowl coverage on FloRacing starts with the Q-Mains and runs all the way through the Ds on Saturday evening. From there, the Cs, Bs, and feature will be shown exclusively on MAVTV. So you either need MAVTV on your TV provider, or you need a subscription to MAVTV Plus to watch. I know it sucks, but it remains the nature of the beast. I think we're in for a whale of a day on Saturday with so much talent in the building. Nobody has really dominated all week, and the competition feels as tight as maybe it's ever been. That should lead to plenty of fireworks. I like Kofoid and Bell on Saturday night.

Moving over to my Chili Bowl picks, we made a huge move after last night's racing. I went from 497th all the way to 148th. Christopher Bell winning and Tanner Thorson locking in were a big part of that, and I had six feature starters. I'm now only 53.5 points out of the money. Let's hope tonight we can continue that move forward. I've got Pittman in group one, Kahne in group two, Andrew Felker in group three, Ace McCarthy in group four, Chase McDermand in group five, Lane Goodman in group six, and Terry Nichols in group seven. Enjoy the Chili Bowl weekend!

After having Thursday off, the late model teams out at Vado Speedway Park will race three straight nights through the weekend to complete the Wild West Shootout. Through the first three nights, we've seen two Brandon Sheppard wins, some fireworks, and that crazy Garrett Alberson victory from Wednesday. I really hope there are a ton of people tuning in to the broadcast on Flo, because the track and the racing have been great, but the field and the crowds have been light. There are plenty of big names competing, between Sheppard and Erb, Marlar and Pierce, and others, but it's just not a big field of cars. And the worry for weeks leading into the event was that the crowds could be small and we've seen that play out. It's just a tough part of the country to try and draw fans from. Late model racing doesn't really exist in the southwest, and you're looking at probably something like 750k people between Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, which are both 20 or 30 miles from Vado. I just don't know how many of those folks are really interested in an event like this. It's a shame, because Vado is a great facility. As for the racing, I don't see any reason why we won't continue to see great shows over the next three nights. Everything we've seen so far has been really fun, and I think we should all keep an eye on Bobby Pierce and Mike Marlar. Both guys have been fast, and after the Wednesday dustup, neither seemed to be real apologetic to the other about what went down. I also think we could see a Tyler Erb win, maybe another Sheppard victory, and Earl Pearson Jr. has been lurking. The Friday and Saturday shows will again be $5000 to win, with Sunday paying $25,000 to the winner. There are also another couple thousand bucks available to whoever wins the weeklong points, with Sheppard out front right now. If you're nearby, head out to the track, if not, you can catch all the racing live on Flo.

Once the Wild West Shootout is complete on Sunday, the focus for late model fans will shift to Florida. We are one week away from the World of Outlaws Late Models starting their 2022 campaign at Volusia for the Sunshine Nationals. On top of the regular cast of characters, one driver we know that will be in attendance with the Outlaws is Stewart Friesen. A normal racer with the NASCAR Truck Series and in northeast modified competition, Friesen made a handful of super late model appearances in 2021. In four Lucas starts early in the year he had a best finish of 7th at Bubba Raceway Park, and he made two starts with the Outlaws, with a best finish of 4th at Orange County Fair Speedway in August. Along with the Outlaws, the Sunshine Nationals will feature 604 and 602 late models. We'll talk more about the Outlaw opener next week.

DIRTVision announced yesterday they have added Jackson Motorplex to their weekly streaming lineup of tracks for 2022. Fast Pass holders will get to see sprint cars, modifieds, sportmods, stock cars, hobby stocks, and sport compacts from the awesome facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Tod Quiring and his group have done such a nice job at places like Jackson and Huset's. Jackson joins Attica, Huset's, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Millbridge, Perth Motorplex, Volusia, and Williams Grove as weekly tracks being streamed on DIRTVision. All of that is in addition to the regular series racing from the Outlaws, Super DIRTcar Series, DIRTcar and more. It certainly makes that DIRTVision subscription just a little more valuable. The streaming situation continues to be a fun side story to watch in dirt racing, mostly between FloRacing and DIRTVision. They are by some measure competitors, because they are going for the same dollars from the viewers. Not everyone can afford to pay for both, so often times a choice has to be made. The breadth and depth of racing available through Flo is obviously more substantial than DIRTVision, but if you want some of the biggest events and series in the sport, DV is the place to be. And it's because of DV being owned by World Racing Group why on some level they aren't competitors. The WRG owned events and series aren't really out there for Flo to buy, so DV will always have that base of content. It's the extra stuff, like the weekly racing and events like the Knoxville Nationals where the competition will continue to exist. Having spent so much of my time at WRG working on DIRTVision, I'm super interested to see how this continues to play out, especially if you add in MAVTV Plus, and Speed Sport TV, and Racing America and XR. More racing than ever before is available to be viewed, and the competition will continue to make the services push for bigger and better, and that's nothing but good for the fans.

Speaking of the services...

There are four shows on today's streaming schedule with a few more to come over the weekend. That includes the Chili Bowl and Wild West Shootout on FloRacing. DIRTVision has sprint cars and late models from Perth Motorplex on Saturday, and Speed Sport TV has more nights of the IMCA Winter Nationals from Cocopah Speedway. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.

And with so much downtime in between races on Saturday night, I might go live on YouTube and we can chat for a bit about the Chili Bowl, who's in the feature, maybe take a peek at Vado and more. Let me know if that's something you might be interested in if you are around on Saturday night.

That's it for the show today, hope you have a good Friday and a good weekend. If you have thoughts about the topics on today's show, leave them in the comments below or tweet at me.

Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you tomorrow for more DIRTRACKR Daily!