Tribute to GP shots up 
After working my tail off for the past few days doing some long and odd hours, I've finally got my photos up from the 31st annual Tribute to Gary Patterson. I apologize on the sun glare on some pics. But, it's great to see a very healthy car count before my season comes to a close. See everybody in 2015!

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Time to Review: Tribute to Gary Patterson notes 
The 31st annual Tribute to Gary Patterson was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but it got pushed to Sunday due to inclement weather. Despite the schedule change, lot of cars and fans flocked to the Stockton Dirt Track at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds to catch a doubleheader of sorts. The Civil War Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster had its season finale, as well as the King of the West Sprint Car Series. That’s right...360 and 410 sprint cars in the same place.

“Mr. Excitement” Andy Forsberg and Rico Abreu started on the front row of the final Civil War 30-lapper, and Forsberg showed the way for the first two laps. A yellow flag came out on the third lap for a spinning Mike Faria on the backstretch, and Forsberg retired pitside. This handed the lead to Abreu. The green flag flew for the restart and the track remained quick after some maintenance, but very tricky. Matt Peterson lost fourth place when he bicycled in turns one and two, but kept going. D.J. Netto got up on two wheels on the same lap at the other end of the track, but he stayed dirty side down as well. Abreu never looked back and was very strong in lapped traffic, as he pulled away from Carson Macedo and points leader Shane Golobic. Shane’s night ended on lap ten, as he bicycled in turn four and turned over. He was okay and he still got the championship. Another red flag was required only two laps later, as Greg DeCaires flipped in turn three. Greg was fine, but he wasn’t too happy with Netto. The driver to look out for with only a third of the race in was Tim Kaeding, who was already in fifth after starting 20th. He passed Herman Klein and Willie Croft in one fell swoop on lap twelve on the backstretch to move up to third. Tim then went on to pass Macedo for the runner-up spot in turn three on lap 20. With only a few laps to go, Abreu got into some very rough stuff in turns three and four and TK really closed in. Rico wouldn’t be denied, as he became the first repeat winner for the Civil War this year and got a $2,000 payday. TK was second, followed by Macedo, Croft, and Dominic Scelzi.

The first try to start the King of the West A-Main was aborted, as Andy Gregg went for a nasty flip into turn one. Andy was all right. T. Kaeding jumped out to the early lead over Scott Parker and Netto. The yellow lights came on the speedway on the third lap, as points leader Kyle Hirst stopped in turn one. Hirst was done for the night, but he earned enough points to win the KWS title for the second straight year. The lights turned red on the next lap, as Parker took a tumble in turns three and four. Scott was also okay. Abreu got into the picture, as he passed Netto down low in turn two to grab second on lap six. The next yellow period was on the tenth lap for Mark Barroso, who stopped on the backstretch. Netto reclaimed second from Abreu as the 11th lap was completed, and that happened just before the fourth place car of Sean Becker hooked on a rut in turn two on the following lap and went flipping. “The Shark” was A-OK. Abreu suffered a flat right rear tire as the green flag dropped, and eventually came to a halt moments later. Third place now belonged to 14th-place starter Golobic, but he lost it to 16th-starting Jason Statler going into turn three on lap 12. Netto tried to take the lead from TK on the 18th circuit when they made contact in turns one and two. Tim spun and kept going, but was charged for causing the yellow flag and had to drop to the rear. After a red flag for a fuel stop, Netto was the new leader ahead of Statler. However, D.J. biked it in turn four and Jason went by for the lead on lap 20. With a new right rear tire, Abreu was blazing fast and was already up to fourth! On the 21st circuit, Rico used the inside groove to pass Golobic in turn one and Netto in turn three to climb to second. Golobic got back up to third, as he passed Netto down low in turn four on lap 22. Shane wanted second and he got it two laps later, as he slid in front of Rico coming out of turn two. Rico fell out of the race on the next lap, but the green lights stayed on. Just when Statler was on his way to the win, the yellow flag came out on the final lap when Bobby McMahan spun on the backstretch. Statler lost the top spot during the yellow period, as he ran out of fuel and stopped in turn one. It was a huge heartbreak for “The Big Guy”. Golobic led the field for the green-white-checkered restart (the race was now 31 laps) and didn’t give it up to collect $3,000 for his second career KWS win. Croft quietly drove from 17th to second, followed by 11th-starting Bud Kaeding, TK, and 15th-place starter Colby Copeland.

Despite starting a day late, fans were treated to some awesome cowboy up racing and two racing series ended their seasons in very exciting fashion. Here’s my final recap for 2014 before I catch up on some well-deserved rest...

Records Being Shattered: The track was really fast when time trials were completed and not one, but two new track records were set. Gregg’s lap of 13.473 seconds was a new 360 sprint record, beating the old time of 13.577 set by Bud Kaeding on March 21. Macedo had the old KWS record of 13.375 seconds on August 2, but he trampled that big time with a lap of 13.008. Carson and ten other drivers had times that were faster than the old mark.

Doing Double Duty, Part 2: Fans were expecting a good number of drivers to race in both the KWS and Civil War and eleven racers did the “double dip”. They were Hirst, TK, Abreu, Golobic, Croft, Forsberg, Macedo, Netto, Copeland, Scelzi, and Gregg.

A Cool Grand: Both racing sanctions held a Dash for Cash that had eight drivers go at it for six laps and the winner took home a nice $1,000. Forsberg held off Abreu to claim the Civil War dash, while Parker won the KWS dash in impressive style.

Rico Gets Number 24: 2014 has been a phenomenal year for Abreu regardless on what he's racing. His Civil War win is another addition to his win total, which is now at 24 to match his car number. This is very reminiscent of Kyle Larson’s 20+ win seasons in 2011 and 2012. Rico’s aggressive year isn’t done yet, as he gets ready for the Bad Boy Buggies World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in North Carolina which is going on as we speak. His season is scheduled to come to an end November 27 at Perris Auto Speedway for the 74th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix.

Getting His Wings: USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series regular Ryan Bernal runs without a wing, and the Civil War race was just his fourth career winged start. He was driving a car normally piloted by Dylan Black and ran as a teammate to Heath Duinkerken. Ryan qualified 11th in the 45-car field and won the third heat race, securing a spot in the Dash for Cash. He was running sixth on a lap nine restart, but drove to the infield before the green flag and that dropped him to 20th.

Not a Way to Go Out: Both Dash for Cash winners and both series champions had nights come to disheartening ends. Forsberg led the first two laps of the Civil War main event before drifting high in turn four and fell out with driveline problems. Parker’s hopes for a potential first KWS win were eliminated as he went for a flip in turn two on lap number four. Golobic was challenging Macedo for the second spot on the tenth lap in the Civil War A-Main when he hooked a rut in turn three and ended up on his side. Hirst had mechanical problems all day long and all he had to do to clinch the KWS championship was to take the green flag in the feature. He did that, but he stopped in turn one on the third lap with more mechanical issues.

They Came to Play: The pits were packed with cars and this year’s total attendance nearly duplicated the numbers of last year’s event. Last year saw 35 KWS cars and 39 360 competitors. Even though there were just 27 KWS drivers that were signed in Sunday, 45 drivers signed in for the Civil War. The Civil War format had four packed heat races, a Dash for Cash, and three main events.

Number for the Weekend: 2. The hard chargers for both races finished in second place, as TK and Croft came from very deep in the field to get there.

Consistency Award: TK and Croft (tie). Both guys had finishes of second and fourth. TK gallantly rebounded for a top five finish after spinning out of the lead on lap 18 in the KWS main event. He started 11th in the Civil War B-Main and finished in the sixth and final transfer spot, beating Justyn Cox in a photo finish. Croft was subbing for Jonathan Allard (who is getting ready to race in New Zealand) and he gave car owners Clyde and Marion Lamar two outstanding top fives.

Hard Luck Award: Dane Lorenc. The Patriot Sprint Tour rookie was surely the one who had the longest trip from Lancaster, New York. He made contact with Anthony Simone in turn four on a lap five restart in the third Civil War heat race, and both flipped end over end. Both drivers were okay, but Dane’s trip to California didn't have a happy ending. Cody Hodgson and Branden Mansfield had mechanical problems in warm-ups and didn't race for the remainder of the Civil War and KWS program, respectively.

Next race: Until next year!



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20k already? 
Well, that was fast! This blog is up to 20,000 plus visits. All I can say is thank you again and I'm floored on how many hits this page has had. I'm truly blessed.

The next goal is 25,000 by let's April before racing season starts? My recap for my trip to Stockton is almost done. I have to do some more typing and revisions, and I'll hopefully have it up tomorrow morning or early afternoon.

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Jumping the Start: 31st annual Tribute to Gary Patterson 
Schedule a huge sprint car race before the holidays? Yes. Get 410 and 360 sprint cars on the same bill? Sure. Set up dash races where bonus money is up for grabs? You got it. Have two different racing sanctions crown their champions on the same night? You betcha!

The 31st annual Tribute to Gary Patterson is coming up next Saturday night at the Stockton Dirt Track, where the King of the West Sprint Car Series and the Civil War Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster both have their season finales. Last year’s winners were Rico Abreu (KWS) and Tim Kaeding (companion 360 sprint car main event).

The KWS competed at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway on October 11 for the 29th annual Cotton Classic. Brisbane, Australia’s James McFadden was victorious in his first ever KWS start. It wasn’t easy, as he had mechanical problems in his heat race and had to come through the B-Main. Defending series champion Kyle Hirst is looking to win the championship for the second straight year, and he has a 101-point lead over Bud Kaeding. Brent Kaeding, Jonathan Allard, and Sean Becker are third through fifth.

The Civil War drivers have been out of action for over a month. Their last race was at Petaluma Speedway on September 20 and it was won by Colby Copeland. Shane Golobic already has a championship under his belt this season, as he secured the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo title. Shane leads the Civil War points by 94 markers over Becker. Justin Sanders, Andy Forsberg, and Matt Peterson round out the top five.

In other sprint car racing headlines in California, the 21st annual Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup was completed last weekend at the Thunderbowl. Willie Croft pocketed $20,000 by winning Saturday’s main event and the overall points title.

The KWS main event pays $3,000 to win, while the Civil War A-Main pays $2,000 to win. The KWS and the Civil War will split a total of $5,500 in the Dash for Cash, with the winners getting $1,000 in both classes.

Look for a handful of drivers to do double duty including Abreu, Tim and Bud Kaeding, Croft (filling in for Allard in Clyde and Marion Lamar’s #3C), Golobic, Becker, and Dominic Scelzi.

The weather starts to cool down in November, but the racing in the Tribute to GP looks to keep it hot with two championships being decided.

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Labor Day weekend pictures are up 
My pictures from Sunday and Monday are uploaded and ready to view!

For Sunday, go here: ... amp;page=1

For Monday, go here: ... amp;page=1

Again, my camera doesn't take very good pictures when the sun goes down. I didn't get any hot lap and heat race pictures of the street stocks and the modifieds.

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Time to Review: Outlaw Weekend ramblings 
I had to work last Friday and Saturday, so I had to miss the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars in action at Skagit Speedway. I worked the early shift Sunday and still made the Summer Thunder Sprint Series finale at Grays Harbor Raceway with plenty of time to spare and Monday was an off day. I thought I might as well make the best of the time that I've got, so I did it.

The sportsman sprint drivers had their first race at GHR since late May. Jared Peterson stole the top spot from James Bundy at the finish line on the third lap and checked out in the 25-lapper. The race was slowed down just once, as Cale Brooke spun in turn four with five laps to go. Allison Journey nosed ahead of Bundy for second at the stripe with only two laps left, but Peterson was all by his lonesome out front. Jared won over Journey, Bundy, Devin Barnes, and Michael Hodel.

Getting the early lead in the 25-lap A-Main for the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks was Eddie Blood. Fourth place starter Jack Parshall took the lead from Blood at the line on lap number five and held onto it at the end. This race took a while to complete, as it was yellow flag after yellow flag. Jason Tole inherited second from Blood on the backstretch on lap 18 and tried every trick in the book to pass Parshall, but had no luck. Parshall won for the seventh time this year. Tole crossed the stripe in second, but he blew his engine coming to the checkers. Blood was third, with Brenton Schnitzer and Tommy Hecker rounding out the top five.

The first try to start the Summer Thunder Sprint Series 30-lap main event got tossed out for a crash in turn four involving Peterson, Eric Fisher, and Michael Bollinger. Jared wound up on his side, but he was all right. Victoria, B.C.'s Chris Schmelzle took off with the lead, but went over the cushion in turn four while working through slower traffic. Colton Heath snuck by to take the lead on lap five. Roger Crockett took second from Schmelzle into turn one on the next lap, but the move didn’t count as Trey Starks stopped in turn four. Two more yellow flags were needed almost back-to-back, as the frontstrech cone got knocked down on the restart and Jason Reed spun between turns one and two one lap later. Henry Van Dam passed Crockett in turns one and two before Reed’s caution, and then had no problem taking second from Schmelzle two laps later at almost the same spot. HVD was on Heath’s tail tank, but clipped a marker tire in turns three and four on lap 19 and pulled into the infield. The last yellow caution period happened on the 21st lap, as Schmelzle came to a halt in turn three. Crockett was now in second after HVD’s exit and made the winning pass on Heath down the backstretch on lap number 23. Heath settled for second and was named the STSS champion. Reece Goetz, 15th-starting Jason Solwold, and Tayler Malsam were third through fifth.

Let’s go into Monday with the Shipwreck Beads modifieds A-Main. The good news was there were four different leaders in the first ten laps of the 25-lap race and there was a lot of two- and three-wide racing. Craig Moore led laps one and two before Kenny Miller took command at the line on lap three. Lawrence O’Connor was the next to lead, as he got it out of turn two on the fifth lap. Kenny took the lead again down the backstretch on lap seven, but Collen Winebarger made sure that Kenny’s time up front was short lived and forged ahead out of turn two with ten laps complete. Do you remember the good news? The bad news was like Sunday’s street stock main event, it was full of yellow flags. The ninth and final caution came out with two laps remaining when O’Connor stopped in turn two. Winebarger was the winner with 13th-starting Josh Muller in second and Chris Quinn in third. Scott Miller and K. Miller (no relation) recovered from being involved in a wreck just after halfway to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

Steve Kinser got the jump in front of Cody Darrah and points leader Donny Schatz for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars A-Main. The 30-lapper was going at a very fast pace early on, as Kinser was in the lapping process by lap six. Three laps later, Schatz took second from Darrah down the backchute. As Kinser and Schatz passed the slower car of Kevin Smith, Schatz cut down low in turn four to steal the lead away on lap ten. Darrah was in the thick of things again, as he passed Kinser for second on the 18th lap out of turn two. The only yellow flag waved with seven laps left, as Brad Sweet spun in turn two while running eighth. Kinser reclaimed second place on the restart from Darrah, as Cody dropped to fifth. Cody drove down low to pass Daryn Pittman and Shane Stewart in turns three and four to move back up to third to complete the 23rd tour. Cody made a slide job stick to get second again from "The King" out of turn four with two laps remaining, but ran out of time to catch Schatz. Donny was unstoppable, as his killer season continues and picked up his 20th win of 2014. Darrah snared second, followed by Kinser, Pittman, and Stewart.

My Labor Day weekend racing vacation got cut short, but I still made myself useful and saw a lot of familiar faces. Two races are better than none, right? My season isn’t over yet, as I have a pretty big announcement at the end. Now, it’s time to summarize everything...

Doing Double Duty: Peterson and Journey raced in both the Summer Thunder Sprint Series and in the sportsman sprint event on Sunday. Jared piloted two Doug Rutz-owned cars, the #8J and #8R, and Allison was driving her father Kevin’s #4J. Austin Kerrigan brought his hobby stock on Sunday and came back on Monday with his modified.

Farewell Tour: In what could very well be his final appearance at Grays Harbor Raceway, 20-time WoO champion Kinser gave the fans a whale of a show. He won the first heat and the dash very convincingly, and led the first nine laps of the main event before surrendering it to Tony Stewart Racing teammate Schatz. Steve ran in the top three throughout the feature and lost second place with two to go, as Darrah put a slider on him out of turn four. Third place isn’t quite a victory for "The King", but his showing was far from disappointing.

Shark Food: Kevin Gobrecht “Rookie of the Year” contenders and Shark Racing teammates Logan Schuchart and Jacob Allen have never raced in Washington before last weekend’s events at Skagit. Logan held his own in his first appearance at Grays Harbor Raceway by qualifying fifth and making the dash. With a sixth-place finish in the A, that gives Logan thirteen top ten finishes. Jacob led all twelve laps to win the B-Main, but fell out of the A with only a handful of laps to go.

Two Championships in One Year?: Heath won the Summer Thunder Sprint Series title, as former points leader Van Dam didn’t show up for Thursday’s race at Skagit. Despite being winless, Colton stayed consistent and finished in the top five four times. He’s the 360 points leader at Skagit over Justin Youngquist and Brock Lemley. The season championships are coming up quickly, as they take place next Saturday. C. Moore won last Friday’s modified race at Skagit, as he passed O’Connor at the stripe on the next-to-last lap and also won the track title for the second year in a row. Craig had the early lead in Monday’s A-Main before being involved in a turn two wreck on lap 14 with his son Kyler Moore, S. Miller, K. Miller, and Tom Sweatman. That eliminated both Moores and Sweatman. S. Miller recovered for fourth, while C. Moore was relegated to 20th. With just two races left for the modifieds, Craig’s lead over Scott is trimmed down to 30 points. The last time Craig won the track championship at GHR was back in 2001. Scott is a four-time champion ('00, '04, '05, and '07).

New Personal Best: The highest finisher in Monday’s WoO race that hailed from Washington was Enumclaw’s Van Dam, who came home eighth. His previous best finish was 13th at GHR on August 29, 2012. HVD qualified seventh in the 27-car field and made the heat race inversion. He started on the front row in the first heat with “The King”, with Kerry Madsen and fast qualifier Pittman in the second row. That’s really good company right there.

First Outlaw Starts: Goetz and Journey made Monday’s big show in their debuts with the Outlaws, as they were racing the smaller 360 engines. Both drivers switched from dish wings they normally run to flat wings to be Outlaw legal (thanks to Brian Thomas for the info). Goetz borrowed a wing from Bundy, while Journey got a wing from sportsman driver Brett McGhie. Reece finished 17th in the A-Main and Allison was 21st.

The Northbound Drive: There was a good group of modified drivers that came from Southwest Washington and Oregon to boost the car count to well over 20 for Monday‘s racing. Sunset Speedway Park regulars Quinn, K. Miller, and Danny Daniels rolled into the pits, as did Cottage Grove Speedway racer Bryan Gray. Winebarger usually competes at Willamette Speedway, where he races modifieds and late models. Collen is the modified points leader down there by just two points over Craig Cassell.

Number for the Weekend: 6. That’s how many consecutive races Schatz won after his victory at GHR. That streak ended on Tuesday at Willamette Speedway as Stewart won, with Schatz finishing third.

Hard Luck Award: Tyler Anderson. He spun and tagged the turn three wall during hot laps in Sunday’s Summer Thunder Sprint Series race. It didn’t look like heavy contact with the wall, but he left the track as the other drivers were getting ready for qualifying.

Best Appearing Car: Todd Hardesty. I love patriotic cars, and the #26T modified salutes the soldiers around the globe who are making the ultimate sacrifice.

Next race: I’m coming back to sunny California! It’s for the 31st annual Tribute to Gary Patterson at the Stockton Dirt Track on November 1. The King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series has its season finale, as well as the Civil War Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster. Rico Abreu won the King of the West portion in last year’s event, while the unsanctioned 360 race went to Tim Kaeding.



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Jumping the Start: Outlaw Weekend at Grays Harbor Raceway 
I’m not going to make it to Skagit Speedway for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars race for the Monster Meltdown Friday and Saturday due to my busy work schedule. However, my backup plan to go to Grays Harbor Raceway is still on and I’ll do my preview of what’s coming up over there. There’s a lot going on, so let’s get started.

Grays Harbor Raceway is going to have two full days of racing on Labor Day weekend. Outlaw Weekend kicks off on Sunday and moves on into Monday, which features the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars.

The Summer Thunder Sprint Series is going to have its last race of ‘14 on Sunday. Henry Van Dam continues to show the way for the STSS with two wins (both at GHR) and looks to seal the deal on the title. The STSS has a race on Thursday at Skagit Speedway before coming down to Elma.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks and the sportsman sprint cars are on Sunday‘s program as well. Jack Parshall is having his best season with the street stocks and has six victories so far. When Jack couldn’t race on August 9 because of his daughter‘s softball tournament, Wayne Lemmon filled in and drove the Budweiser #9 car to the win. Parshall holds a 78-point advantage over Austin Kerrigan. Eddie Blood (the winner of last Saturday‘s race at Skagit), Don Briggs, Jr., and Brenton Schnitzer round out the top five in points.

The sportsman sprint drivers are going to have a very busy Labor Day weekend with the third annual Sportsman Sprint Showdown Thursday and Saturday at Skagit. Otto Jorgenson won the sportsman main event at GHR back on May 31.

Monday has the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars and the Shipwreck Beads modifieds are on the agenda. The winner of last year’s WoO race is five-time series champion and current points leader Donny Schatz. He’s having another amazing year with 17 wins, and swept last weekend‘s Oil City Cup at Castrol Raceway near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Coming into Friday’s race at Skagit, Schatz is in front with 9,203 points. Reigning Outlaws champion Daryn Pittman is second at 9,026 points with Paul McMahan in third with 8,971. Joey Saldana is fourth at 8,797 points, just three tallies in front of Kerry Madsen.

One driver who won’t be in action is three-time WoO champion Sammy Swindell. He announced earlier today that he’ll be retiring from full-time racing. Slammin’ Sammy and the #1 car will be missed. I grew up watching him, Steve Kinser, Doug Wolfgang, and countless others on TV before seeing them at racetracks in Washington, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

The modified racers also have a demanding weekend, as they wrap up their season at Skagit on Friday and Saturday. Craig Moore leads the points at both Skagit and Grays Harbor. He has won two races at Skagit and three at GHR, including this past Saturday. Craig lost an engine in the first heat, then jumped into Melvin Decker’s car in the main event and won. Craig won the title at Skagit last year and looks to defend it, plus he’s aiming for his second championship at GHR.

Outlaw Weekend is a huge weekend for Grays Harbor Raceway. With five different divisions racing in only two days, how can you go wrong?

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Summer Nationals pictures now online 
Last weekend's stuff from Skagit has arrived. It'll only be a month until I come back up for the Outlaws. Until then, feast your eyes on these! ... amp;page=1

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