Johnson's Penalty Seemed Justified to Me - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : features : strap in November 24, 2015

6/6/2013 10:04:00 PM
Johnson's Penalty Seemed Justified to Me
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Brian Hoar (37VT) beats Jimmy Hebert (58VT) to the line in the ACT 100 at Airborne (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) Speedway, May 18, by .028 seconds. Two weeks ago at Devil’s Bowl Hoar finished second by .027 seconds.

Biggy can be reached at
R. Bigelow, 294 Hillside Dr., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819


If I understand the rule correctly, there is no grey area. In case you missed it, late in the race at Dover last Sunday, Jimmie Johnson was second and Juan Montoya was the leader, the field was under yellow.

The rule says the leader sets the pace, can go anytime he’s within the restart line painted on the wall. I’m not sure how long the line is, but the leader decides when he’s going to go. The rule clearly says the leader has to get to the start/finish line first. If he doesn’t, the other guy has to back off and allow the leader to retake the lead. Johnson pretty much went early, beat Montoya to the line and didn’t allow Montoya to get back in front of him. That calls for a black flag telling Johnson he had to do a pass-through down pit road.

Johnson was upset, saying Montoya didn’t go and when he realized he beat him to the line he slowed down, but Montoya never caught up to him.

If I get a vote, NASCAR got this one right.

Keselowski Too Low

Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford failed tech for the second time in seven races. After the race at Dover last Sunday, the car failed to meet the minimum front car height. Crew chief Paul Wolfe has been fined $25,000 and will remain on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Keselowski was docked six driver points and car owner Roger Penske lost six owner points.

Interestingly enough, Wolfe was back on the pit box after serving his time for failing tech at Texas on April 13. At Texas, NASCAR took some parts from the rear-end housing that they said were not approved. After appealing the original fines and suspensions, Wolfe was fined $100,000 and kicked out of the garage area for two point-counting events and the All-Star race and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Not sure why they put someone on probation because Wolfe was on probation until Dec. 31 already.

Cup Quickies

Tony Stewart is the only guy between 11th and 20th in points with a win. Next in line is David Ragan who’s 27th. The two wildcards go to the guys with the most wins who are 11th to 20th in points.

•After three more engines blew up (two from TRD) last week at Dover, Toyota Racing Development will have “upgraded engine parts” and make adjustments in power for Pocono this weekend.

Engine related did-not-finishes (DNFs), in the season’s first 13 events show Toyota with 17 (six from TRD) while Ford has had four and Chevy only two. Four of the TRD failures, including both the 11 and 56, were a problem in the valve train.

TRD only supplies engines to Joe Gibbs Racing (11, 18 and 20) and Michael Waltrip Racing (15, 55 and 56). Of the 17 Toyota engine failures, eight were built by Triad Racing Technologies, two by Racing Engines Plus and one by Pro Engineering. TRD Senior Vice President David Wilson said TRD does supply unfinished engine blocks and heads to those builders but that’s as far as the relationship goes.

Wilson noted last season TRD had 10 failures in races and practice while Hendrick Motorsports had 13, Earnhardt Childress Engines 10, and Roush Yates Engines lost 11. But what that stat doesn’t tell you is in last weekend’s race there were only six TRD engines, while Roush/Yates had 14, Hendrick 10 and Earnhardt Childress seven.

Nationwide Series

With one-third (11 of 33) of the Nationwide (formerly the Busch Series) season in the books, and the Cup guys winning nine of those 11 events, the same old question is being asked – is it time to stop the Cup guys from racing in the Nationwide and Truck series?

Kyle Busch has six wins in 10 starts, Brad Keselowski has a win in seven starts, Joey Logano has a win in four starts and Tony Stewart has a win in his only start.

The Busch Series started in 1982 and from day one Cup drivers were in the field. Fact is, Dale Earnhardt won the first race.

Back in the early days, the Cup guys were in cars owned by Busch Series owners so no one seemed to care. Of course, most of the races were won by Busch regulars. I’m not sure who was the first Busch team to use a Cup pit crew, but I know the combination of Jack Roush and Mark Martin in the No. 60 were the first ones to really stink up the Saturday shows.

It seems the sponsors would rather be on cars driven by Cup guys and the track owners will tell you Cup guys sell Saturday tickets. I’d think the sponsors would stay in the series if fans were in the seats and watching at home. With that said, there are not a lot of fans watching the Nationwide stuff now. It may take a year or two, but I’d think fans would find drivers to cheer for other than some Cup star. I’m thinking more fans may go or watch on TV. I know I watched a lot fewer Busch races when Martin started to win what seems like about every other race.

I don’t think they have to toss out all the Cup guys. I’m thinking you’re OK to drive in a lower class until you win your fifth Cup race. Maybe three, maybe seven, I don’t know the number, but I’m OK with a compromise.

I know the gang I used to attend some of the Busch Series races with in the early to mid-80s had no trouble picking winners for the dollar pool.

Sadly I don’t see it ever changing, but I for one would love to see a whole lot less Cup drivers running Nationwide or the Trucks.

Random Thoughts

I’m here to tell ya I’ve had my fill of watching meaningless heat races with five and six cars in them. If a division has 16, 17 or 18 cars in it, instead of running three six-car heats, split them in half and run two eight- or nine-car heats.

There’s nothing more boring than watching five or six cars running around single file. Of course, having eight or nine cars in a heat doesn’t guarantee passing. So you may have to have a rule if they go five consecutive laps without a pass the yellow comes out and double them up. Racing needs to hold the fans interest and single file parades aren’t doing it.

Another thing I suggest is every night (if there isn’t any rain in the area) have out-of-car introductions. And to really add to this, have a crew member drive the cars out onto the track and have the drivers walk out together. Invite the fans down to the fence to talk to the drivers and crew for about 10 minutes. The crews enjoy a little of the spotlight and the fans love chatting with the drivers.

I know when I was racing, I loved the chance to talk with my sons and other family and friends before the feature. And it gives a chance for the fans to see just who is driving the No. X.

Sadly the days of hundreds of fans going into the pits after the races are all but over so many of today’s fans don’t know the drivers. Now a lot of the drivers are long gone before the pits are opened up to the fans. That’s another problem with five and six divisions running. The guys from features one, two, three and four are gone before the last main event of the night has run.

I don’t recall when five, six or seven divisions started. When my brother was racing a Tiger in the ’80s at Thunder Road, the Flying Tigers were the only class in the pits unless the NASCAR North Tour was in town. The Street Stocks (then 8-cylinder cars) didn’t start until 1987.

Yup, you read that correctly, one class, around 40 cars every week. We ran 11 events a night. Four heats, two semis, two quarter-finals, a consi, a B-feature and the main event. Everyone ran at least three events, you didn’t qualify for the feature in your heat. If you finished in the top 5 in your heat you went to a semi. Finish in the top 5 there and you were in the main event.

You could (depending on your finishes) run a heat, a quarter, a semi, the consi, the B and the main event. The B-feature transferred the winner or the second place driver if the winner chose the cash and not the transfer. There were no provisionals.

If I remember correctly, in five years Bob never missed a main event. I believe he ran only two Bs. One he won and the other one he finished second and the winner took the money so he transferred.

When I ran Riverside in 1986 and ’87 there were only two divisions, the Super Stocks and Late Models.

ACT Postpones at Riverside

The American Canadian Tour 150 at Groveton, N.H.’s Riverside Speedway, June 2 was postponed after 29 laps were run. The race has been rescheduled for June 23 with a post time of 1:30 p.m. A 100-lap Street Stock special that will be split up into twin 50-lap segments will also be on the card.

This will be after a race the night before at White Mountain Motorsports Park, making the Late Model Tour running their first double-header since Oct. 8-9, 2011 when they ran Saturday night at Airborne and then Thunder Road the next day.

• With this rain-out, the Tour will now run three races in nine days.

• Rowland Robinson Jr. was leading the 29-car field when the rain came. Twenty-nine cars showed up and everyone started.

• The running order when the race was red flagged: 1. Rowland Robinson Jr., 2. Jimmy Hebert, 3. Randy Potter, 4. Wayne Helliwell Jr., 5. Chip Grenier, 6. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 7. Brent Dragon, 8. Nick Sweet, 9. Ray Parent, 10. Ben Rowe, 11. Ben Lynch, 12. Derrick O’Donnell, 13. Luke Hinkley, 14. Travis Stearns, 15. Mike Kenison, 16. Todd Davis, 17. Bryan Mason, 18. Quinny Welch, 19. Joey M. Laquerre, 20. Bobby Therrien, 21. Luke Shannon, 22. David Michaud, 23. Corey Mason, 24. Paul Schartner Jr., 25. Brandon Lambert, 26. Mike Bailey, 27. Shawn Knight, 28. Jimmy Linardy, 29. Jeff White.

• After an off weekend, the Late Model Tour heads to Canaan (N.H.) Fair Speedway, June 15.

Bear Ridge

RESULTS: June 1 – Sportsman Modifieds: 1. Tim Hodge, 2. Adam Pierson, 3. Evan Kingsbury, 4. Mike Dunn, 5. Bob Shepard, 6. Jason Gray, 7. Mike Gendron, 8. Kevin Chaffee, 9. Danny Eastman, 10. Justin Comes, 11. Chris Donnelly, 12. Josh Sunn, 13. Ed Patterson, 14. Jack Cook, 15. Josh Currier, 16. Travis Barker, 17. Robert Tucker, 18. Tim Tucker, 19. Gary Seimons, 20. Jordan Fornwalt, 21. Derek Barker, 22. Troy Comeau, 23. Adam Gage 24. Billy Lussier, 25. Bryan King.

Midgets: 1. Josh Sunn, 2. Adam Pierson, 3. Scott Viets, 4. Kevin Chaffee, 6. John Heydenreich, 7. Joe Krawiec, 8. Adam Whitney, 9. Dylan Duhaime, 10. Ray Miller, 11. Dean Christiansen, 12. Tim Gallant, 13. Mike Chaffee, 14. Jamie Spaulding, 15. Jim Mossman, 16. Denny Zimmerman.

Sportsman Coupes: 1. Josh Harrington, 2. Tom Placey, 3. Josh Constantine, 4. Jesse Smith, 5. Kane Pike, 6. Jason Colbeth, 7. Melvin Pierson, 8. Louie Cadwell, 9. Teddy Salomaa, 10. Jeremy Beckley, 11. Billy Simmons, 12. Jason Horniak, 13. Buster Kathan, 14. Rick Fletcher, 15. Jerry Catterall, 16. Jeffery Robbins, 17. Terry Williams, 18. Martin Mastic, 19. Danny Doyle.

Limited Late Models: 1. Jason Giguere, 2. Brian Chaffee, 3. James Fadden, 4. Eric Lang, 5. Tina Catterall, 6. Brandon Gray, 7. Matt Ellsworth, 8. Travis King.

Fast Fours: 1. Tim Martin, 2. Kevin Harran, 3. Steve Bell, 4. Don Reynolds, 5. Tyler Morse, 6. Tyler Searles.

Hornets: 1. Eric Post, 2. Brad Martin, 3. Stan Otterman, 4. Michael Phelps, 5. Charlie Lakin, 6. Bobby Bell, 7. Joe Kemp, 8. Brent Warren, 9. Traci Nelson, 10. Jacob Blake, 11. Mike Lique, 12. Cary Moulton, 13. Chris LaForest, 14. No. 99, 15. No. 9, 16. Ethan Bryd, 17. No. 77.

June 8 – Dads 4 By Tool and Supply sponsors Speedway Remembrance of lost friends “Tuck Memorial 111.” A 61-lap main event for the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds and a 50-lap run for the Sportsman Coupes, plus all other weekly divisions and Kids Racecar Rides. Racing begins at 6 p.m.

White Mountain Motorsports Park

RESULTS: June 1 – Late Models: 1. Quinten Welch, 2. Travis Fadden, 3. Stacy Cahoon, 4. Jim Morris, 5. Jeremy Harclerode, 6. Tyler Cahoon, 7. Tim Churchill, 8. Mike Jurkowski, 9. Bernie Langtagne, 10. Russ Clark, 11. Oren Remick, 12. Joe Amour, 13. Todd Aldrich, 14. Will Avery, 15. Ryan Olson, 16. Katrina Canney, 17. Dan Curren, 18. Dave Labrecque, 19. Sean Akers.

Tiger Sportsman: 1. George May, 2. Scott Coburn, 3. Richie LaFond, 4. Jason Fallman, 5. Stephen Hodgdon, 6. David Baron Sr.

Strictly Stocks: 1. Tom Keith, 2. Elwin Sidney, 3. Bobby Taylor, 4. Shane Sicard, 5. Cody LeBlanc, 6. Jody Sicard, 7. Chandler Potter, 8. Logan Oliver, 9. Amanda Wheeler, 10. Lucas Wheeler, 11. Brandon Bourne, 12. Gordon Day, 13. Keith Lord, 14. Michael Lloyd, 15. Jon Baker.

Strictly Minis: 1. Brett Rowell, 2. Shaun Sinclair, 3. Michael Smith, 4. Ben Belanger, 5. Desirae Sicard, 6. Michael Richards Jr., 7. Scott Corey, 8. Jeremy Wyman, 9. Dave Driscoll, 10. Colby Bourgeois, 11. Cody Smith, 12. Ray Eames, 13. Jesse Switser.

Kids Trucks: 1. Michael Dennis, 2. Wyatt Hayward, 3. Kaleb Rodgers, 4. Evan Amour, 5. Anthony Tompkins, 6. Taylor Coburn.

Dwarf Cars: 1. Jason Wyman, 2. Eric Boucher, 3. Tim Anderson, 4. Jeff Ainsworth, 5. Bobby Brown, 6. Dave Gyger, 7. Paul Marsan, 8. Jeremy Labrecque, 9. Aric Cole, 10. Toby Merchant, 11. Dennis O’Brien, 12. Kevin Scott Hockman, 13. Tyler Jones, 14. Thomas Harmon, 15. Adam Giacomozzi, 16. James Wentworth, 17. Myles Dewit, 18. Andy Hill, 19. Mark Wigget.

June 8 – NEAR will be at the park for their annual visit. Also on the card will be the Late Models, Tigers, Strictly Stocks, Strictly Minis, and Kids Trucks. Post time is 5 p.m.

Riverside Speedway

RESULTS: June 3 – Daredevils: 1. Matt Kopp, 2. Zachary Savage, 3. Dylan Laleme, 4. Anthony Benoit.

Angels: 1. Jenna Randall, 2. Vanessa Brown, 3. Allison Barney, 4. Tina Leveille, 5. Nicole Ouellette, 6. Jaime Carbone.

Pure Stocks: 1. Bill Grover, 2. James Record, 3. Richie Veilleux.

Combined Angel/Street Feature: 1. Nick Gilcris, 2. William Hennequin, 3. Keith Normand, 4. Jamon Perry, 5. Dana Graham, 6. Josh Barney, 7. Jared Plumley, 8. Jamie Heath, 9. Will Good, 10. Tina Leveille, 11. Jaden Perry, 12. Michael Shaw, 13. Anthony LaCoss, 14. Jaime Carbone, 15. Cole Kilby, 16. Aaron Poulin, 17. Alex Kopp, 18. Vanessa Brown, 19. Jenna Randall, 20. Sierra Moulton, 21. Nicole Ouellette, 22. John Harden.

Limited Late Models: 1. Jourdan Davis, 2. Jerrad Ledger, 3. Doug Laleme, 4. Chandler Davis, 5. Aaron Smith, 6. Mike Paquette, 7. Chris Ouellette, 8. Matt Remick, 9. Billy Stebbins, 10. Alex Rooney.

June 8 – All divisions will be in action along with the Tom Doyon Pit Crew Competition. Post time 6 p.m.

Devil’s Bowl

June 7 – Round two of the four-race Vermont State Late Model Championship Series is the People’s United Bank 100. The Modifieds, Renegades, and Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stocks are on the card, along with Spectator Races. Post time 7 p.m.

Thunder Road

June 9 – The Road runs it’s first of two Sunday afternoons the WLVB Radio Twilight event featuring a visit from the New England Antique Racers, as well as Thunder Road’s Late Models, Tiger Sportsmen, and Street Stocks. Post time is 4 p.m.

Pro All Star Series

Had last weekend off. June 8 they head north to Speedway 660 in Fredericton, NB.

Until Next Week

Get out and enjoy some short-track racing this weekend. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”


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