Wow, where have I been, the Cup guys have run six races already. The playoffs start in a mere 20 races. I was on vacation the past two weeks and was busy during the races so I’ve only seen the highlights.
First off, get off Dave Reutimann’s back, he’s a racer who doesn’t make the rules. If you missed the end of the Martinsville’s race, he stopped on the track with three laps to go, which brought out the caution. A few drivers and a bunch of fans wanted to hang the guy.
I did turn on the TV in time to hear his interview. He was crushed thinking he screwed up the race. You could hear it in his voice, he was devastated. He didn’t want to be the guy who decided the outcome of the event.
Four days after the race, he talked to Marty Smith. He said, “I have a question for you: What the hell’s the point of doing it? I’ve heard every conspiracy theory from, ‘You did it for Stewart-Haas because you’re teammates, too.’ I’m not teammates with them. I’m teammates with Dave Blaney.
“Those yahoos bad-mouthing me – I hope they’re never in my situation, but if they were they’d do the same thing for the same reasons. If they tell you different, they’re not telling you the truth. Looking back, would I do it different and avoid this storm of crap? Absolutely.
“I needed to run two more laps to stay in the top 35 – for me. For me! Not for Danica Patrick. She’s not the reason I did this. The reason it happened is we’re a small team, an underfunded team and we’re fighting our [butts] off to stay in the top 35.”
Reutimann will tell you the timing belt in his engine broke, locking up the motor.
He continued, “When you’re in that situation, you go as long as you can, never expecting the freaking motor to shut off. I knew the tie rod was an issue … But I figured I could make it another lap or two and that would have kept us in top 35 (in points). People are making it complicated, but it’s really that simple.”
The 48 Penalty
It’s been a few weeks, but I’ve been asked my thoughts on the 48 cars being “illegal” at Daytona and the appeal process. First off, save the whining about the infraction being caught before the car hit the track, once the transporter drives into the garage area the cars should be able to be checked by NASCAR. They weren’t going run a few practice laps and then grind the C-posts off and change them.
Were they legal? Did that car pass inspection four times the season before? Who knows for sure? We fans will never know the whole story.
I understand the appeal process, but what I don’t understand is why the team wasn’t let off Scott-free. Either the car was legal or it wasn’t. Uphold all the penalties or drop them all. I don’t understand how it can’t be one or the other.
And did I read somewhere, after the ruling was read, that Mike Helton said something like he was OK with the penalties being reduced but if a car shows up with C-posts like that of the 48 they’d be penalized. I’m sure I read that somewhere but I can’t locate the quote now. Did anyone else read that or am I out to lunch? If I did read that correctly does that make sense?
ACT Late Model Tour
A press release out of the Waterbury office says there’ll be no less than 13 former champion drivers entered in the 2012 ACT opener at Lee (NH) April 15 (gates will open at 10 a.m.).
Between them they have accumulated 48 track and/or touring series championships. The annual opening, New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150, at Lee USA Speedway is expected to field the best opening day group of racers in its 22-event history.
Heading the list of former champions is Brian Hoar. He’s an eight-time ACT Champion and a Thunder Road and Airborne track champion. He won this race last season. Jean-Paul Cyr is a seven-time ACT Champion and also the 2010 Thunder Road track Champion.
Jeff Taylor, a part-timer on the Tour and a noted car builder, has nine Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway Pro Stock titles. Ricky Rolfe is a two-time Oxford champ, one-time Pro Stock Champion and one LMS title there is looking to start the 2012 campaign off on the right foot.
Wayne Helliwell Jr., a home track favorite from New Hampshire will try and bring the Governor’s Cup back home to the Granite State. He has six championships, he’s a two-time Ford Blue Oval Champion and a four-time Lee USA Track Champion, but has never won a Tour event. Another favorite looking for his first ACT win is Quinny Welch. He has three titles at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Randy Potter is a former Riverside Speedway Champion and veteran ACT challenger looking for his second Tour win.
Three-time Airborne Champion Brent Dragon and another Airborne Late Model Track Champion Mark Lamberton have entered. Thunder Road former Track Champions Jamie Fisher and Nick Sweet are both capable of contending for the NH Governor’s Cup.
Two surprise entries for the opening event have been received from ACT Castrol Series champions Donald Theetge and Karl Allard.
Tom Curley, president of the American Canadian Tour, said, “This has to be one of the strongest opening day fields of cars we have ever enjoyed. With all the championship talent mentioned, we can’t forget about guys like Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Eddie MacDonald and new young star Austin Theriault. I am sure there will be other surprises. With over 40 teams expected to be at the Governor’s Cup 150, a lot of unexpected things can happen. Fans are in for a real treat to get the season started.”
• This opening event will be the first event to qualify the winner for the Bond Auto ACT Invitational to be held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend, September 22-23.
• Since Lee was added to the Late Model Tour schedule in 2003, the track has seen nine different winners in its nine events to date. They are: Brian Hoar (2011), Miles Chipman (2010), Brad Leighton (2009), Joey Polewarczyk Jr. (2008), Ben Rowe (2006), Jean-Paul Cyr (2005), Cris Michaud (2005), D.J. Kennington (2004), and Patrick Laperle (2003).
VP Fuels the “Official Fuel” of ACT
VP’s C9, an unleaded racing fuel with no ethanol components, has become an option for the ACT Castrol Series as well as for the ACT Late Models and for all weekly divisions at Thunder Road.
Tom Curley said, “The timing of establishing this relationship with VP is just about perfect. The cost of fuel for everyone, not just racers, is continuing to escalate. VP has helped to design a program for our racers by introducing this spec fuel. We believe this will help address the costs to racers, and at the same time help us become more environmentally friendly. It follows closely our philosophy about cost concerns, just like 12 years ago when we introduced the crate motor.”
Testing of the fuel was conducted at the headquarters of the ACT crate motors, Butler & MacMaster in Hallowell, ME. “We were impressed with the comparative results. Our data showed that C9 ran very clean, and actually created a couple pounds of additional torque and horsepower from what we have been used to seeing with these motors,” said Dave MacMaster, the innovative veteran motor builder of both the GM and Ford crate motors for ACT since their beginning.
The VP Hard Charger program will issue free fuel certificates for five gallons of fuel at every ACT Late Model Tour and Castrol Series event. The team that improves their position the most in feature events, and has not won an ACT or Castrol event in 2012, will be eligible. The same VP Hard Charger program will be introduced to the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsman division at Thunder Road in 2012.
For the first time in the 48-year history of Riverside, the car show will be held in downtown Groveton (NH). The format will be announced in a couple of weeks.
It was recently announced by New England Racing Fuel, which supplies the Sunoco Racing fuel to the Speedway, that all Street Stock drivers with perfect attendance (including the Triple Crown Series) will receive jackets at banquet. Licenses, slab rental applications and other forms are available at www.riversidespeedway.org/2012/FORMS.htm. The Speedway office is now open. The phone number 603-636-2005.
Until Next Week
Get out and support a short track. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”