Dirt track racing in the spotlight

This is the last chance I have to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope that Santa brings all the new race parts and souvenirs on your list. Please take time to read Luke Chapter 2 from the Bible and remember the greatest gift to all mankind, Jesus Christ, was born that night in Bethlehem! Try your best to share God’s love for us in the coming year.

Once again the racing world is saddened by the loss of a true champion. Bob Glidden, multiple times NHRA Pro-Stock drag racing champ, died after a brief illness. He was 73 years old.

Bob, his wife Etta and their two sons won 85 national series wins against better-funded teams. His familiar red and white Motorcraft-sponsored Fords were unbeatable in the ’80s. In one season he literally won every National Pro-Stock event!

Bob was truly a working man’s champion. He was still active in professional drag racing as a consultant. He will be missed in the pit areas across the nation.

I mentioned love was in the air as couples were announcing babies to be born and marriage plans for others. This week it was announced that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick are no longer a couple. After five years they are splitting up. The rumor mill started after the awards banquet and they weren’t seen together and it was confirmed by Patrick’s PR department Monday. I’m sure they won’t have any issues finding new partners. Both are very successful in their own careers and it seems it was just time to make a change. I wish them both well.

Dirt track racing invaded the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, for the VP Race Fuels Gateway Nationals this past weekend. Super Late Models and Open Wheeled Dirt Modified cars did battle over three days on the half-mile dirt oval that was constructed inside the dome. There were 72 Late Models and 95 Modifieds on hand for 22 starting spots in the final night’s racing. The format of the races saw four cars transfer by qualifications. Then six Last Chance Qualifying race were held with three from each race transferring. There were also a possibility of two promoter’s options and last year’s winners were guaranteed a starting spot in the feature if they attempted to make the race.

The final night’s LCQ races in the Super Lates would have been great features anywhere in the country. The first one was won by Brandon Sheppard in the Rocket Racecars House Car. Parkersburg’s Freddie Carpenter just missed the feature, finishing fourth. Race number two saw Kent Robinson win.

In LCQ number three, Scott Bloomquist took the win. Number four was won by the “Real Deal” Don O’Neal.

Allen Weisser grabbed LCQ number five. In LCQ number six Darrell Lanigan barely edged out Charleston’s Tim Dohm.

Then it was Feature Time and 22 of the top SLM cars in the country set sail around this tight bullring of a racetrack. Bobby Pierce was the class of the field and finally pulled away to the win. Parkersburg’s Tyler Carpenter finished a very strong second, driving his father’s chassis company’s house car. Darrell Lanigan was third. Jason Welshan finished fourth and Scott Bloomquist rounded out the top five.

Tim Dohm finished 10th after being involved in one of several incidents on track. This is tight fender rubbin’ racing and feelings get hurt and sheet metal gets bent but it is becoming one of the best shows of the season. It looks like I may have to get a bigger bucket for my bucket list! This event is a must-see for dirt racing fans.

The Open Wheeled Modifieds were up next and 95 of these short track race stars filled the pits. They faced the same format as the Supers. In the first LCQ race Trent Young won and Ohio’s K.C. Burdette transferred in, finishing third.

Late Model winner Bobby Pierce won the second LCQ. The third LCQ had literally two of the best of the best in it and NC’s Nick Hoffman edged out Kyle Strickler for the win.

Chad Sellers won LCQ four. Kyle Stephens took LCQ number five. The final LCQ saw Tyler Nicely win.

Then it was feature time. Twenty-three cars took the green flag and the battle was on. Midwest drivers dominated the show. Ray Bollinger won over Brent Mullins in second. Mike Harrison finished third. Tanner Mullins finished fourth and SML ace Bobby Pierce finished fifth. Former NASCAR star Kenny Wallace finished 14th and Nick Hoffman was involved in one of the many altercations and finished 18th.

Wow, what an event! This just goes to show you don’t have to go 100 mph to put on a great show. All you need is a well-prepared dirt oval and the best teams to see a great race. I’ll keep you posted on all the up and coming events and news and remember, at the end of the straightaway there’s always another left turn.