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   The Chrome Horn - News



by Walter Stubbs

For all of you who thought I moved, got put in jail, or as Lenny Sammons commented on Saturday, “ I was ready to ask Earl for your date of birth to look for your obituary,” I will only say that I’m back. After taking a year off due to too many things to recall in this space, this past weekend gave me an opportunity to watch a race live for the first time in over a year. What better place to re acquaint yourself than to go back to the place where it all started for me over 40 years ago when my folks dragged me to the stands between the fourth turn and the flag stand while I watched the Hoffman’s, Hearne’s, Kremer’s, and Siscone’s do battle every Saturday Night.

Some added incentive was the fact that the track had once again closed in early September under the leadership of Jim Morton. With uncertainty of what would happen to the track, two families got together one day and decided to lease the track to continue the tradition of the year ending Turkey Derby, a race started in 1974 by the original owners of the track, the Nicols. The two families weren’t your typical families mind you. Both had been around in one way or another for the past 36 Turkey Derby’s. So when the Blewetts and Lings got together in the early fall and decided to take a crack at promoting the race, it was all systems go. In order to make something this big work in such a short period of time, took a lot of resources, manpower, and devotion. Having both families involved took care of all that. Many who were working at the track this past weekend, from Jessie (O’Rourke) Blewett at the track sign in, to Donny Ling working security, were there to not only lend a hand, but to make the weekend a success.

Of course, promoting a race and getting a full house to the track is only part of what can make a successful weekend. Having good racing is the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, Saturday’s main events, the Wall Modified 100 lapper and the open competition Modified 150 lapper did not give us the icing for the cake. Matt Hirschman dominated the Wall Modified event, leading from start to finish. His dominance, however, wasn’t the problem. The cautions were. It was worse in the main 150 lapper. They say cautions breed cautions. After running a relatively smooth first 30 laps, the remaining 120 laps took as long, or felt as long as it would have taken me to drive from New Jersey to New Hampshire. The brisk temperatures and wind didn’t help either. Going into the race, I had two concerns. The first had to do with the race format for both the 100 and 150 lap features. Much like last year, it was decided to count only green flag laps. While this concept sounds all well and good, it just doesn’t work at Wall. It never has and never will. Wall is too small of a track with too many race cars. Giving drivers opportunities to take chances that they otherwise might not take for fear of having to pit and lose a lap all goes out the window. Instead, you have drivers spinning out, crashing, pitting and coming back out without losing a lap. To me, there should be a penalty for this versus none at all. Starting at the back of the back just doesn’t cut it as it gives another opportunity. Possibly losing a lap while you attempt to pit would seem to be the way to go. It also set up many delays during the caution period, as officials had to stop the field on more than one occasion to get the right line up on the track. While these delays might help the coffee and hot chocolate sales, it doesn’t leave a good taste in the fans mouths, no matter how good the coffee or hot chocolate is. The other concern had to do with people’s perception of Jimmy Blewett and if he would get any favoritism over other drivers based on his family ties to one of the families and driving for the other promoter. To Blewett’s credit, he did not drive the Ling Racing entry in the Wall Modifieds. (Pete Brittain took over the reins) However, Blewett was in the Blewett Racing #76 for the 150 lap feature, a feature he wound up winning but not without controversy. Matt Hirschman was looking for a clean sweep of the weekend. Both were battling towards the end of the race, with Blewett coming out the winner. A few in the pits and grandstands thought that Blewett should have been penalized for some of his actions on the track, much like what happened to Keith Rocco in the Wall feature. However, the victory stood and Blewett was not going to apologize. Nor should he. That is up to the officials and if the fans should boo anybody, it should be them if they felt an injustice. It’s unfortunate, however, that many felt leaving the track that Blewett got some favoritism. Sometimes perception is not reality and sometimes perception is reality. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

TURKEY LEFTOVERS: Is it me, or was the Dirt/Asphalt Series so 1990’s? Well, it was back this weekend with the Dirt modifieds putting arguably one of the better shows of the weekend on the high banks. I have to admit, they looked kind of cool sliding around the track three wide. Management definitely hit a home run with the running of the event. If you weren’t at the track by 11:00 you were bused over from the airport as parking was completely full at the track. It was good seeing a lot of familiar faces, including the Lenny and Donna Boyd, the Ferrante’s, Eyres, and all of the rest. Usually, I will take in the action either from the pit area or the tower. This year I decided to take in the action from turn four with all the spotters, along with my usual designated driver Scooter Flores and the entertaining Richie Evans Jr. Needless to say, it was an interesting perspective. As for the future of Wall, it appears there a few interested parties in taking over the lease for next year. It will definitely make for an interesting winter. One note on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. As most of your know, the Tour released its schedule for 2011 and the tour will be making its first trip to Canada. While the idea sounds great, I’m kind of thinking many teams and fans will be caught up for a while in dealing with customs crossing over the border on Labor Day Weekend, don’t you? And finally, This Week’s Quote of The Week comes from AARN editor Lenny Sammons on seeing me in the pits, “I was going to have Earl write your obituary.” All comments and views can reach me at 2 Constitution Court Unit 501 Hoboken, N.J. 07030.

Source: Walter Stubbs
Posted: November 27, 2010

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