Camped in Syracuse
Welcome back, I know I took a week off from writing, I just didn't get motivated sitting in the rain at Williams Grove, and man did it ever rain. So, now I'm camped at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY, hang'n out with some pretty cool modified fans. Right now it is Wednesday Oct. 6th around 9:40pm and I'm watching Criminal Minds. I just watched the new Survivor and after last week when Coach Jimmy Johnson was voted off, I new the older tribe would be thrashed by the younger tribe, which they were. I really haven't figured out who my favorite player is yet, but it definitely isn't the "Getto Beeotch" on the youger tribe. Well, now that you know where I'm at, it is time to catch you up from what I've been up to since my last blog. I last left you when I was camped at Eldora.
Friday Sept. 24th, the heat from the previous day finally cooled down from the mid 90's to the low 80's, but it brought in the winds and man did they blow all day long. Eldora can be a miserable place when the winds are strong, the pit area has a bunch of loose dirt and it blows around making huge dust clouds, so when we are parking the haulers, the dust is just miserable. Today we had to park the WoO haulers and all the USAC haulers, since the Champ Cars & Midgets were qualifying with us tonight. I thought with the high winds, that the track would be dry & dusty, but Chad and Eldora track crew did a great job and the track was pretty smooth and not too bad on the dust either. The race started with Saldana & Swindell on the front row with Kinser & Meyers starting deeper in the field, so it looked like it could be a good night for Joey and take a good step towards the Championship. Well, that all ended in turn 3 on the first lap, the yellow came out when the leaders were on the back straight and when Sammy (leading) got out of the gas, Joey was just starting to set him up for a big slider and Joey ran all over Sammy and took a nasty ride. When I got to Joey, he was just waking up and when he looked at me his eyes where looking in different directions, so I knew he took a good hit. When the EMT's got there, Joey kept asking for his glasses, thats when I knew hit hit really damn hard, his helmet visor and eye glasses blew off. After they got Joey in the ambulance, one of the safety workers found his glasses in the cushion up next to the wall, and they weren't broken. Well, needless to say, that ended Joey's night and probably his Championship. The rest of the race went pretty good, Sammy built a comfortable lead and looked like he was just cruise'n. Jac started back around 10th and looked fast, he was making some crazy moves and moved into 2nd and started chasing Sammy, with about 8 laps to go, it didn't look like Jac would catch Sammy, but when Jac was lapping Dean Jacobs he didn't quite clear him and knocked Deans front end causing Dean to flip pretty hard in turn 4. During that red, Sammy's crew worked on the front wing, which didn't help, Jac passed Sammy two laps later on the high side of turn 4 and drove away for a very popular win. With Meyers finishing 13th and Kinser 6th, they both passed Joey in the points and after the race I found out that Joey was taken to the hospital, it looks like he will not make Lernerville for tomorrow nights race. This was our last race at Eldora for the season, I would just like to thank Larry Boos and his Eldora Speedway staff for 5 good races this year and I look forward to next years races.
Saturday morning after the race at Eldora, around 1am, I drove about 60 miles to Huber Heights, OH and spent the rest of the night at the WalMart. I don't normally drive at night, but I really didn't want to drive 320 miles to Lernerville in one shot, nor did I want to get up at 6am. I did wake up around 8am and was on the road by 9am. I took I-70 to Wheeling, WV to I-79 to Pittsburg, PA. Instead of going by downtown Pittsburg, I stayed on I-79 north towards Butler, PA to HWY 228 to Sarver, PA. Well, thats was a big mistake, with the construction north of the turnpike, I ended up in a traffic jam for almost a 45 min delay. I arrived at the track around 3pm and since I was late I missed helping in setting up the inflatables and the banners. After putting Eloy's scoreboard in the infield, I went back to my RV to relax and get my uniform on. The weather was beautiful, I have never been to Lernerville when it hasn't rained either the day before or the day of the race, it was nice not to wallow around in the mud all day. As for the race, Schatz was fast all night and I could tell from his heat race that he was clearly the fast car and he would win if nothing stupid happened to him. Well, he dominated the race and won by a big margin, McMahon ran 2nd and it looked like Donny wasn't going to gain much ground on Kinser who was running 4th when he spun in turn 4 and then again spinning to a stop on the back straight with about 8 laps to go. Schatz won and gained a bunch of points on Meyers and Kinser who both finished out of the top 5. With Joey not racing with a major concussion, his Championship took a huge hit, he is now 4th in points 85 behind Meyers, however Donny is now only 89 points behind and has momentum.
Sunday I just vegged in my RV camped at Lernerville and watched the NASCAR race and NFL Football all day long, I did finally wash Woody around 4:30pm before we all (Bill & Lynda, Eloy, and Jim & Luci) went out to dinner to celebrate Bill's 71st birthday. Happy Birthday Bill, I'm glad that you & Lynda are still out here working, I don't know what I'm going to do after the races when I can't come over to your motorhome for a cocktail or two.
Monday, it started raining just as I was loading Woody on his trailer, thankfully I didn't get to soaked and I got on the road around 10am. I drove up to Leeper, PA to Car-Mate Trailers for a meeting with Greg Snyder to see if they would want to build or repair the box on Woody's trailer. Leeper, PA is north of I-80, I took HWY 28 to HWY 66, HWY 66 is a hilly road, I don't think I ever got out of 4th gear except to downshift to 3rd. With the rain, I didn't get to see much scenery, but it was a nice drive. I got to Car-Mate Trailers around 1pm for my meeting, Greg had his team lookover the box on my trailer and as they worked up a cost sheet, Greg gave me the nickle tour of their facility. Car-Mate makes some really nice trailers that are all made with materials made in the USA, Greg is very proud of that fact, and he should be, with today's environment, buying cheaper materials from overseas would help their bottom line, but most of the overseas materials are not near the same quality. If I were in the market for a trailer, that would be a big reason for me to choose a Car-Mate, that and their quality of work is fantastic. I left Car-Mate around 5pm and drove to State College, PA and spent the night at the WalMart. Where it rained hard all night long.
Tuesday I had lunch with Karen & her friend Billy (Karen drives a pushtruck in the PA area and WoO races on the east coast), we had a great lunch and even better conversation at a nice Mexican place. Billy drives a 358 sprint car in PA and works with Karen in the State College area. After lunch I took HWY 322 to Harrisburg, PA to I-81 to Carlisle, PA. After stopping at the Flying J to top off my fuel tank and dump my tanks and fill up with fresh water, I was all set to head to Williams Grove for the rest of the week. After getting some groceries in Dillsburg, I headed over to the track and camped in the front parking lot for the night. I met up with Mike & Trina from Richmond, VA and walked over to TJ Rockwell's for dinner. After a delicious dinner, I walked back to my RV and settled in for the night.
Wednesday, I moved over to my normal camp sight near the pit gate entrance. I unloaded Woody and settled in for the rest of the weekend. I drove Woody to Dillsburg to fill him up with fuel and get a much needed haircut. I always get my hair cut at the Holiday Hair over by the Giant grocery store, Lisa the manager does a really good job fading my haircut the way I like it done. After I got back to my RV, I gathered up all my laundry and waited for my friend Dale to pick me up and take me back to his place for dinner and the use of their laundry machines. Dale's family is super nice, his wife Cathy and his kids Allie & Nathen are really cool, I was staioned with Dale in Guam in 1996. We had a good dinner and we told a few sea stories and I got some much needed clothes cleaned. Dale got me back to my RV around 9pm, where I hungout for the rest of the night after having a few beers with Mike & Trina. I guess I had a few too many beers and Trina said I told a few old Navy sea stories with some graphic discriptions. Those damn PI & Thailand liberty stories are true and they were fun. It started raining steadily around 11pm, and it never stopped all night.
Thursday I woke up to the sound of rain drops hitting my roof, I looked out my windows to see the ground fully saturated and a small river flowing down the roads in the camping area. When I got up and stepped outside, I noticed it rained harder than I thought, because the low lying area had formed a small lake. The rest of the day I just kinda hungout in my RV and when the rain would slow down, I would go out and watch everyone try to park their RV's in the mud. A local farmer brought his tractor over and was charging $50 to pull out anyone who got stuck, he was making a few easy bucks. The rain stopped for a few hours and the water receeded, so I walked over to Mike & Trina's to eat dinner and hang out. Well, I should have drove Woody, because it started to rain right when I got to their RV and rain it did. I hung out for a couple hours and in that time their campsight was flooded. Thankfully Mike has a golf cart and he gave me ride back to my RV. Where I hung out listening to it rain hard, with my Direct TV getting no signal, I listened to my SF Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks and the SD Padres lose to the Cubs, giving my Giants a 2 game lead with 3 games to play, the final 3 games would be played in SF against the Padres, we only need one win to close it out.
Friday, finally blue skies but colder weather, the rain stopped around midnight and the sun broke through around 10am, and the grounds started drying up pretty fast. Mike and I worked on Woody (the work i wanted to do on Thursday but couldn't with all the rain), I had to repair the air intake on the throttle body fuel injection. We had to tear it apart and replace the gaskets and re-seal it with silicone. We got it done around 2pm, then I moved Eloy's scoreboard into the infield pit area and placed Haud's t-shirt trailer with all the other trailers outside the back pit entrance. After that I helped Justin & Tony put up the banners on the front stretch pit fence, then I hungout in my RV and relaxed for a couple hours. Mike & Trina invited me over for dinner (Yummy chicken & potatoes, good stuff Trina), then I got ready to go to work. At Williams Grove, we always get a later start (which I like, I think 5pm drivers meetings are too early) the drivers meeting goes down at 6pm with heat in the motors at 6:45pm. 58 cars showed up to keep Bruce Ellis' POSSE streak alive (man I am tired of hearing him say "and the streak continues", the track was a little harder than I expected with all the rain, but Ray and his crew did a good job just making the track smooth all night long. Qualifying always takes a longtime, due to having split pits and the scales located in the back pit, we have to take breaks when they run out of push trucks. Thankfully we don't push the cars in the back pit for qualifying anymore, that was super dangerous, now all cars are pushed off from the same spot in turn 1. The track slowed down after the first 5 cars, so the later the pill draw, the worst your qualifying time, except for Meyers, when he went out no one was faster than 25th quick, then Jason qualifies 16th quick .5 tenths of a second quicker than any other car that went out after him, what a great lap and it set up his whole night making the inversion and starting on the front row of his heat. The heat races are typical 1/2 mile heat races, wherever you come out of turn 2 in, that is where you normally finish, well Kinser wished that was true for him, he was battling Kemenah for 1st in his heat when he spun to avoid hitting Chad entering turn 3 breaking his rear axle and then getting plowed into by Jac, killing Steve's car. With Steve going to backup car and having to use a provisional, thats going to hurt his points for the night. The A-main started with a big crash on the front straight, I didn't see anything, but I was told that Hodnett kinda cut infront of Donny hitting his front end causing Donny to crash with 5 other cars, luckily for Donny it took a while to clean up the accident scene and the tow truck did a good job a quickly getting him back to thew work area, Donny's crew got his car fixed and he was able to restart near the rear. The rest of the race went non-stop, Meyers finished 5th, Joey 7th, Steve made it up to about 13th, and Donny got to 11th, giving a bigger point lead to Meyers. Hodnett won the race, so I had to hear Bruce Ellis say "and the streak continues", god I hate hearing that. I figured Donny was going to make a big point move here, because he is always fast at Williams Grove, but his luck seems to be wearing out.
Saturday, again I woke up to nice weather, blue skies and cool temps, perfect weather. At 2pm we were able to move all the drivers T-Shirt trailers into the infield without tearing up the infield grass too bad, or getting any of the trucks stuck that tow the 5th wheel trailers. My friends that camp behind me invited me over for dinner, Jim's wife makes some killer soup, she made me a big bowl for dinner. Around 5pm I got ready to go to work, you could tell the crowd was going to be big, Friday nights crowd had to be close to 8,000 and tonights crowd was already bigger just by looking at the crowd standing in line to get in. You could feel the excitement in the air, all the POSSE crowd could talk about was which PA driver was going to keep the streak alive. Ray and his track prep crew did a great job of prepping the track and having it ready for a great night of racing. This years National Open was gonna be a good one, the track stayed good throughout qualifying, one of the 1st cars out was the fastest and the 2nd to last car out (1z Stevie Smith) was 4th quick, can't ask for a better track than that. Meyers was the only one of the top 4 in points to make the inversion and won his heat making the dash, Steve, Donny, and Joey transferred through their heats, but would be starting deep in the field. Meyers finished 2nd in the Dash putting him on the front row. The A-Main was 40 laps for $50,000, Meyers got a good start and led the first 26 laps before the first yellow flag, with it being 40 laps and a cool night, the decision was made by the officials to stop for a fuel red, on the ensuing restart, Alan Krimes flipped out of the track off of turn 4 taking down an old light pole. On the next restart (single file), Sammy started 2nd and just drove straight around Meyers right in the middle of turns 1 & 2 and never looked back for the win. I think Meyers kinda put it in (don't do anything stupid mode) after the red when I'm sure his crew told him that Steve had already crashed out of the race and Donny & Joey were still out of the top 10. Meyers ended up finishing 3rd with Dewease coming on strong in the last few laps, almost getting to Sammy off turn 4 on the last lap. Donny made it up to 11th and Joey finished 19th, so now Meyers has over a 100 point lead on the other 3, so unless something crazy happens to Jason at Rolling Wheels or Haubstadt, I would say he is line for his 1st championship. Finally I didn't have to hear Bruce Ellis say "and the streak continues", the streak finally was broken, Sammy might not be a platnimum WoO driver, but as he said in victory lane, "I'm not from around here, so I guess the streak is ended".
Sunday, was another day of just vegging out watching NASCAR, Ryder Cup, and NFL Football, the clouds rolled in late in the afternoon, but I didn't care, I didn't even wash Woody I was so tired. I did manage to get off my ass to walk over to TJ Rockwell's for dinner, that was my excercise for the day. The best thing that happened today was, my SF Giants finally beat the SD Padres on the last day of the regular season, winning the NL West Division and making the playoffs for the first time in 6 yrs in the "Post Bonds Era". Go Giants!!!!!!
Monday, again it started raining right before I was going to load Woody on his trailer, so i waited for the rain to slow down before I loaded him up. After waiting for about an hour, the rain finally let up and I loaded Woody up and left for Syracuse. I drove in the rain all the way to the New York/PA line, on I-81 around the I-80 interchange, a semi that was passing me decided he wanted over to my lane before he had completed the pass (kinda like Hodnett on Friday night) hitting my LH mirror with the backend of his trailer, I did manage to avoid any further contact, but my mirror couldn't say the same. I ended up driving to the next rest area (about 25 miles) without being able to move out of the RH lane, and of corse I had to follow a mini-van driving 50mph for the last 5 miles. I stopped to inspect the mirror and to re-adjust it, luckily the mirror wasn't damaged, but it did loosen up the bolts and after I adjusted it, I drove about 10 miles before the mirror moved on me again, I had to stop and tighten it down again. I finally made it to the NY State Fairgrounds in Syracuse around 4pm. I'm up here because on Friday, I'm going to participate in the WoO Sprint Car Exhibition on the Syracuse Mile Friday afternoon. I got settled in at my campsite and unloaded Woody off his trailer. The rain finally made it up here around midnight and continued throughout Tuesday night finally stopping sometime after midnight.
Today, the sun finally came out, with a bunch of clouds, but still no rain. I took advantage of the nice weather and washed the motorhome, trailer, and Woody, man did the motorhome & trailer need it, the last time I was able to wash them was in Chico after the Gold Cup. Well, thats about it, now your caught up with what I've been up to for past two weeks. If any of you are here or coming to the Super DIRT Week on Friday, make sure you come by and say "hi", I might need a friendly Sprint Car fan to come give me a hug after spending 3 days with all these modified fans. You know I'm just kidding, I have yet to meet any auto racing fan that isn't cool to hangout with, plus, these modified fans are all excited to see sprint cars back on the mile even if it is only for a bunch of meaningless laps, but it still should be fun to watch. These fans up here in NY are great and very friendly to have a few beers with.
Again, I want to thank all the fans for supporting me and Work 'N Woody and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. So, until my next blog, stay safe and keep all four wheels on the ground.
Work 'N Woody,
"Just Push'n Off"