DIRTRACKR Daily Podcast - Episode Transcript

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Chris Madden approaching half a million in winnings, Tanner Thorson departs Reinbold/Underwood | Daily 5-16-2022

On this Monday we talk Outlaws at Williams Grove and a points shakeup, late models in Illinois and Charlotte, news from XR, plus more from the All Stars, USAC and others. Let's go!

Today is Monday, May 16th, two thousand and twenty two. Welcome into DIRTRACKR Daily. I'm Justin Fiedler.

This is a heavy show today, with a lot to get into from the weekend. I'm going to start with the World of Outlaws at Williams Grove because there are some interesting things to talk about, even though the Friday show was lost to weather and we only got one race complete. The Saturday night program was delayed because of rain, and when things finally got going, the teams had a bit of a narrow and heavy Grove track to deal with. Jacob Allen continued his transformation into a nightly competitor, and he nearly swept the night. He went quick time in his group, won heat number one, grabbed the dash pole and won it, then sat on the pole of the main event. Once green, the 1A was basically untouchable out front, but late in the going fourth starting Brent Marks was able to close down on him a bit. There were a few cautions through the 30 lapper, but a key one for Matt Campbell slowing changed everything. Allen was coming to get the white flag when Campbell slowed in turn one, so the race reverted to two to go on the restart. Once green again, Allen was in trouble as his fuel tank started running dry. He made it back to the white flag, but Marks had already taken the lead, and Allen did the right thing by pulling into the infield. Absolute heart break for Jacob, and it would have been an insane week to sweep both Lincoln and the Grove for the Pennsylvania born driver. Afterwards, he said he knew he was in trouble with the caution flying, and he wasn't even convinced he would make it even if Campbell didn't slow. The issues for Allen handed the lead and the Morgan Cup win to Marks who had just enough fuel to make it to the end. At the line, Carson Macedo was second, Sheldon Haudenschild third, Rico Abreu fourth, and Donny Schatz fifth. But the drama wasn't done yet. At the scales afterwards, Macedo was light, so he got booted to last in the feature, which promoted Sheldon and Rico up the podium. Macedo's penalty had big points implications, because if he ends up second, with championship leader Brad Sweet down in eighth, Macedo would have taken the top spot. But instead, Macedo is 26th, Sweet 7th, and Macedo is 42 points back, falling to third, with David Gravel back to second 24 points behind leaving Pennsylvania. That's a big swing, and could have a big impact on the champoinship hunt if Macedo isn't able to climb back up. As for Allen and Shark Racing, Jacob said afterwards they will come back with a better strategy in the future, but I wonder if inexperience in big moments right there just bit him a bit. Marks said afterwards he knew they would be in trouble with fuel, so he was trying to save wherever he could, and I wonder if Jacob maybe wasn't doing that. Either way though, as much as it sucks to lose like that, what a season so far for that 1A team. The Outlaw teams got Sunday and today off, but they are right back to racing tomorrow night at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in New Jersey.

The four night Illinois Speedweek closed out over the weekend with MARS sanctioned stops at Farmer City and Fairbury. Friday night at Farmer City we got a great show out front with Hudson O'Neal and Ricky Thornton Jr. showing the way early. Those two battling also brought Dennis Erb Jr. into the mix. At various points, you could have thrown a blanket over the top three or four cars. With 14 laps to go, we got a caution for Garrett Alberson, and that also brought Tyler Erb into the mix. Late in the going the feature turned into scrap between RTJ and Erb, with the Best Performance 1 car just trying to find a way by the 20RT. Erb briefly took the lead with a slider, but Thornton was able to drive back by. On the white flag lap, RTJ blocked the slider line in three, so Erb went to the high side. Thornton's block move though killed his momentum up off, and Erb was able to drive by the 20RT right at the line to nip him for the victory. It was definitely a nice payoff to a very good race. Thornton had to settle for second, with O'Neal third, Bobby Pierce fourth, and Brandon Sheppard fifth. It was Erb's fourth late model win of the season. The four race stretch closed out Saturday night at Fairbury with $30,000 going to the winner, and it was Bobby Pierce who took home the big check. He led all 60 laps, held off a late charge from Brandon Sheppard to take the win. Sheppard used lap traffic to run down the Smooth Operator, but couldn't make a move for the lead. So BShepp second, O'Neal third, Marlar fourth, and Dennis Erb Jr. was fifth. I thought it was a really good four nights of racing. We had four different winners, and the Illinois bullrings were definitely on display. The Flo series is back Wednesday at Marshalltown, while the MARS season continues May 20th at Kankakee.

With the XR Super Series, the Friday night show at Charlotte was lost to rain. I said on Friday that there were chances all day, but I thought it would just get delayed. They had a few pretty good downpours though, and the show was eventually cancelled. On Saturday night, Jonathan Davenport led most of the way in the $50,000 finale, but I feel like we need to start calling Chris Madden Mr. XR. He used the lap car of Brett Hamm to trap JD on the bottom, and drove by on the outside to take the lead with five laps to go. He then rolled to his second win of the event, and fourth overall this season in XR competition. JD, Chris Ferguson, Brandon Overton, and Max Blair completed the top five. Madden's big money wins this year have him atop the cash list for all of super late model racing, as he approaches $400k in earnings, and it's only May. It's turning into a career season for Smoky. The XR series goes quiet now until June 13th at Belleville, Kansas.

XR also had a couple of news items from the weekend. After working with teams involved in their loyalty program, they are changing up their purse structure a bit to make payouts a little more even down through the field. The changes came after a vote from teams at Charlotte. The total purse amounts aren't changing, just how they break down through the field. Also, they have moved the Texas Dirt Nationals to Monday and Tuesday, September 19th and 20th, with the two nights paying $20,000 and $40,000 to win. The move was made to avoid a conflict with the Jackson 100 weekend at Brownstown for Lucas. So this means there are no conflicts on the schedule between XR and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series now. XR still bumps up against several Outlaw nights, as it already has. And there are also conflicts with the Flo series. With so many races on the schedule, it's impossible really for there to be no conflicts at all, but it's clear that allowing those full time guys with Lucas the ability to also run with XR has become a priority. You can see the releases for these news items at racexr.com.

The All Star Circuit of Champions had three races over the weekend with stops at I-96, Wayne County and Waynesfield. Friday night at I-96, Justin Peck slipped past Scotty Thiel before half way and drove on to his first win of the season. It was the first All Star victory for the Buch 13 since Lincoln in September of 2021. Thiel was fast and deserved a better night, but things went sideways past half way when he tangled with the slowing lap car of Chris Windom, and the contact broke something in his rear suspension. He ended up 22nd. Behind Peck, points leader Tyler Courtney finished second, Hunter Schuerenberg was third, Zeb Wise fourth, and Parker Price Miller kept rolling with another top five. I picked Peck to win at I-96, and it was my 14th correct pick of the season. Unfortunately it was my last right choice of the weekend. I whiffed on all three Saturday shows and the Sunday race. On Saturday at Wayne County, it was all Hunter Schuerenberg in the Tony Vermeer owned 55. He started second and led all 30 laps to earn his third career series win, second of the season, and second in four races. Justin Peck stayed hot with a second place run, Wise was fourth, PPM fifth, and Sunshine hard charged from 16th to a top five. To close out the weekend on Sunday, the All Stars went to Waynesfield and it was a day that Skylar Gee will want to forget quickly. He got over the top of the track in his heat race, and went for a big ride after hitting a tractor tire. He was okay, but damn it was a hard hit. Glad he walked away. In the feature, Scott Bogucki led the field to green from the pole, and he's been fast early in this rookie campaign with Clayton Snow, but they just haven't been able to finish out these races, and Sunday was the same. Lots of speed, no luck. Inside ten to go, Peck got by him in lap traffic, but then just a lap later while battling for second, Kyle Reinhardt tagged the seven in turns three and four and they both spun out, leading to finishes of 12th and 13th. Brutal way for Bogucki's day to go south. At the end, it seemed like we couldn't get the race to actually finish, with what we thought were checkered flags twice, but both finishes didn't happen because of cautions. One for Bill Balog, and another for Cap Henry and Zeb Wise tangling. At the end though, nobody could stop Peck, and he drove away to his second win of the weekend and third top two finish. Cole Duncan hard charged from 18th to finish second, Sunshine was third, Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth, and Hunter Schuerenberg was fifth. PPM started second and was good early on, but he ended up slipping over the top of the track and going for a big ride. He finished 19th, which ended his 11 race top ten streak. That 11 team is still very fast though. Also three weekend top tens for Cory Eliason, but he's still mired down in eighth in the standings. So following the weekend, Sunshine actually extended his points lead to 56 with three straight top fives. He now leads Justin Peck, who jumped to second from fourth and is 16 points closer to the 7BC team. PPM is down to third, Schuerenberg fourth, and Henry fifth. The series has three more races this coming weekend all in Wisconsin.

Before we move on to other weekend stuff, I did want to mention the Tanner Thorson news. He tweeted late last night that he is parting ways with Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports to pursue more winged racing opportunities. Thorson had been a force in the Reinbold Underwood midget and non-wing car over the past year or so, including USAC national wins and the Chili Bowl victory. The pairing was supposed to run a sizeable winged schedule this season, including something like 50 Outlaw shows, but things have apparently gone sideways. They had made ten Outlaw appearances this year, with a best finish of 9th at Haubstadt on April 23rd. It was their only top 10 result. They also had three All Star top tens in three appearances, including most recently on Friday night at I-96. There are a lot of rumors about Thorson's next stop, with some thinking he could be in the Sides Motorsports 7S for the remainder of the season following tomorrow night's Outlaw show at Bridgeport. There is no confirmation on that, or any other rumors, so we'll have to wait and see. But Thorson appears to be hell bent on making the full time transition to winged racing, following guys like Tyler Courtney, Kevin Thomas Jr., and Chris Windom down that path.

Back to the racing...

We talked on Friday about the Friday USAC sprint car show at US 36 being lost to rain, but the non-wing competitors did get to race on Saturday night at I-70. Mario Clouser led the first lap from the pole, but from there it was all Robert Ballou out front, expect a brief interlude on lap 21 when Brady Bacon was scored as the lap leader. The Mad Man led 28 laps and picked up his first national win in nearly a year. The last time he was victorious was back on June 16th of 2021 at Bridgeport. He's been fast lately though, with two second place finishes the previous two races. Behind him, Bacon, Justin Grant, CJ Leary, and Emerson Axsom completed the top five. The two nights of racing between I-70 and Lakeside really helped close up the points, with the top five now only separated by 56. Axsom leads JG by 21, with Bacon, Chase Stockon, and Ballou in hot pursuit. Axsom has six straight top tens, and five top fives in those six races, including two wins. Not bad for the rookie driver. The series is back this weekend for two shows at the new look Terre haute Action Track.

Out in California for the Peter Murphy Classic it was another banner weekend for Dominic Scelzi. He battled on Friday night with Shane Golobic in both the 410 and 360 features, coming out on top in the NARC 410 show, and finishing second to Golobic in the Sprint Car Challenge Tour main event. He grabbed another top five on Saturday night in the 360, and was the beneficiary of an incident involving leaders Corey Day and Justin Sanders in the big NARC show at Hanford. Sanders and Day collided out of turn four battling for the lead, taking both of them out, and Scelzi was running third. He drove on to the win and $11,000. With four races complete, Scelzi leads Mitchell Faccinto and Golobic in the NARC standings. Elsewhere this weekend, Brian Brown picked up a wild win at Knoxville after contact multiple times with Aaron Reutzel. Danny Varin won twice withe Empire Super Sprints at Utica-Rome and Fonda. Hayden Reinbold was a winged 410 winner at Jacksonville, Sye Lynch won at Lernerville and at West Virginia, Cole Duncan won at Atomic on Saturday, Cole Macedo was an AFCS winner at Fremont, Riley Kreisel won the WAR show at Lucas Oil, AJ Hopkins was a non-wing winner at Circle City, and Lynton Jeffrey won the Sunday show at Huset's.

In other weekend late model action, Gregg Satterlee won the ULMS show at Lernerville, Henry Carter won $10k in a crate car at Needmore, Eli Beets was an Iron Man winner at Lake Cumberland, Devin Gilpin on the weekly show at Brownstown, and Logan Roberson was a RUSH winner at Eriez.

And with the USMTS modifieds, it was an Oklahoma sweep for Jake O'Neil who won both Friday night at Red Dirt and Saturday night at Tri-State.

The only thing on today's streaming schedule is FloRacing 24/7. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.

That's it for the show today, have a good Monday. 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!