C's SCRA Report
05.12.01 - Perris Auto Speedway
Howdy all. Long time no write. I've sat down to write
several columns but never finished any of them. I've got quite a
collection of unfinished work so I'll just start from scratch.
Since it's been a while since I wrote, I'd like to welcome you to the
Cory Kruseman's "Baby needs New Shoes" tour. Cory has
won half the SCRA races to date. The Kruseman's are expecting
(well, one of them anyways) and at Cory's current pace, this child
will have a shoe collection that will make Imelda envious. For
crissakes Cory, the kid isn't even here yet. Cory now has a 150
point lead over Troy Rutherford in the driver's points. Behind
Cory, Rutherford, John Scott, Richard Griffin and Tony Jones fill out
the top 5 with only 20 points separating them. By the way, that
little tidbit of info comes via the SCRA webpage which still doesn't
work on Netscape 4.04.
I was helping Casey Shuman and Mike Hinrichsen last weekend. It
went pretty well. The track was rolled in pretty tight for
qualifying and both cars drew pills about in the middle of the
order. Times were pretty slow and conditions slick so we threw
the kitchen sink at the cars for qualifying. You kind of hate to
pull most of your tricks out of the hat so early in the night as you
want to leave something in reserve for later. It seemed to work
though as Casey qualified 3rd quick and Mike 7th quick.
The PAS crew went out and scratched the track for the D main bringing
the grip back. A rookie named Joe Winston was too tight going
into turn one and flipped his thingie off at the start of the C
main. He was okay after the little birdies quit circling his
Mike English, Tony Jones, Rip Williams and Rodney Argo won the
heats. The track seemed to be getting faster as the night went on and
we spent the night loosening up the cars after putting the screws to
them early. Casey and Mike were in the same heat but couldn't make
their way up to the front in time to transfer.
Casey started on the pole of the B and after losing the draft early
was right on Troy Rutherford's tail at the finish of the B. Mike
was 4th. I think the front guys finished pretty much where they
started. Cory won the dash which included a few people like Mike
Kirby, Steve Ostling (in the #29 Fischer car) and Alex Grigoreas who
haven't been there lately.
Casey's car was pretty good for the B main and the initial thought was
to leave it alone. But idle hands are the devils playground and
the horns came out. It really wasn't that bad though, we just
raised the car slightly with the thought it might help at the end of
the race. Probably should have left it alone but Casey was happy with
it. Mike's car was too loose and he struggled to keep the car
under him. Casey raced with the same group all throughout the
race. Danny Sheridan, Hank Winter, Rodney Argo, Rickie Gaunt and
Rip Williams were in that bunch. Casey passed Troy and Hank coming off
the 4th turn to grab 10th and Mike held on for 16th. Cory took
off at the start and ran away so we won't talk about him. No
real big moves forward into the top five as the track was fairly fast
and the same speed in both grooves.
Rip Williams has really been struggling the last few races. He
had spun out of the two races prior to this one. Rip came from
14th to finish 7th. Rip switched from a Stinger chassis to a
Gambler and it's taking him a little while to figure it out.
Granted the Stingers are basically 89 Gambler copies and Rip switched
to a 2001 89 Gambler and things should be basically the same but they
really aren't. Yeah, I know I'll hear from the Stinger fans
saying that the cars are not 89 Gambler copies but if it walks like a
duck and quacks like a duck, it ain't a bee. Since Rip provided
his 89 Gambler to Stinger and said "copy that", you would
imagine they're about the same. In any case, I have a feeling
that if you combine Rip's embarrassing finishes with his latest moving
forward finish we may see the beginning of Rip's "I'm pissed off
now and going to the front" tour. It will be interesting to
see if his tour gets on a collision course with Cory's tour.
Alex Grigoreas was having a good run when his steering failed.
The difference between this year and last for Alex seems to be that
he's driving the piss out of a new Gardner car instead of driving the
piss out of his old relic. The Gardner cars seem to reward
aggressive driving when the right rear is hooked up.
Rickie Gaunt is having a miserable year. Everything that went
right last year is going wrong this year. He's having a hard
time getting a handle on the car.
Switching to golf now, Danny Sheridan took a big divot with his turn
three qualifying swing and duffed his approach to the heats.
Danny made a beautiful recovery with huge drives in the C, his heat
and the main event. He finished 9th in the main after starting
And now we switch to the JJ Yeley news. He's had some good runs
with the dirt sprint car lately. He won at Attica and finished
2nd at Eldora and Haubstaudt. JJ has driven the Matzak #99
Silver Bullet car the last few races but I wouldn't be surprised to
see him in the #9 car sometime in the future. Since the #111 car
didn't have a sponsor JJ was worried that at some point it would be
parked and he didn't want to be left without a seat when the music
stopped. No, he hasn't gotten a ride for the 500 but he is
getting a lot of laps there. JJ's driving the 2-seater IRL car
where they give high speed rides to people around the speedway.
Sort of like a two seat sprint car ride that costs a ton more.
He's pretty happy with his dirt car right now and has been working on
the pavement car to get it consistent too. He'll be in one of
the #9 cars at the Night Before the 500 race at IRP.
I wanted to mention that Casey was using a new head restraint from
Simpson. It's something they developed for Jack Hewitt a few
years ago. Basically, it's a strap that connects to the
"A" behind the seat and runs tightly against the back
headrest. The strap runs through a loop attached to the helmet
and slows the head's forward movement but still allows side to side
movement. It has a rip cord that runs through the shoulder
straps in the uniform and you release it sort of like flushing one of
those old toilets with the tank up on the wall. I like it.
Our old friend and honorary Californian Rusty McClure could still use
your help. He has hospital bills of about $400k and still has
about another year of therapy before the doctors will release him for
work. I got an email from him a while back and while he didn't
mention anything about the money, he seemed in good spirits.
There seems to be so few really nice people around and Rusty is one of
them. I may sound like a broken record here but if you can help,
please do so. There are several sites that are supporting this
with one of them being www.sprintcars.com
In old news, here are some excerpts from my unfinished columns.
I went to the race at Irwindale to help JJ Yeley. JJ was running
as a teammate to Ed Carpenter for the Snider/Foyt team. JJ was
having a good run at Phoenix the week before when the front oil seal
failed. Actually, he had a pretty good run in the midget too. He
ran right on the leader's tail for most of the race until the car
started running out of fuel at the end. He lost another spot
just at the line when the motor shut off. He finished 5th and
then got bumped up a couple spots when his teammates were disqualified
for being underweight. Maybe he got lucky as they only weighed
the first three cars that finished. Then again, JJ's car was a
couple years old and I understand that the new cars are lighter.
We'll never know.
At Irwindale, JJ had a good practice. It was nice to have a
weekend without turmoil. He went out the first session then came
in for an air pressure adjustment. He went out the second time
then came in for a weight adjustment in the rear of the car.
After the third session, he came in and parked the car saying it was
good. JJ was 4th fast overall in practice. They had a bit
of a thrash on Ed's car to get it right. They changed all kinds of
stuff on that car. It was kind of a surreal experience.
You had people like Pancho Carter, Parnelli Jones and Tony George
hanging around the pit. Tony was under Ed's car helping change
gear and stuff. I know people are just people but you just don't
expect someone who owns the Indianapolis Speedway to be doing that
kind of stuff. Hell, he may mow his own lawn for all I know.
Anyway, we put new tires on JJ's car for qualifying. JJ
qualified 6th with Ed shooting up the time chart to 4th quick.
After JJ qualified, we found that the stagger had went from 4 ½"
to 6". On dirt, it wouldn't be that much of a big deal to
have the stagger change like that but on pavement it's a huge
difference. JJ picked his way forward during the race and was
2nd behind Aaron Fike at one point. Russ Gamester came from 20th
to pass both and win. John Heydenreich came from 10th to finish
3rd ahead of JJ. It seems to me that Gamester was 5th quick in
practice so he must have had something go wrong to qualify 20th.
Since my big complaint about pavement races is that they are often won
from the front row, it was nice to see someone come from that far back
to win. Tyler Walker had a good run forward too.
JJ used a motor from Chuck Snyder in the Silver Crown car at both
races. The thing hits hard. It makes as much or more
horsepower as most of the SCRA 410's. JJ also used one of
Chuck's motors when he set fast time at Eldora. JJ's motor
wasn't ready and it was a last minute deal to get something to put in
the car. The motor was one of Snyder's that he leases to people
so it wasn't one of his high dollar lightweight pieces. I could
say that it puts out the power too but you'd probably not believe
me. How about if I put it this way, Keith Kunz says that motors
win qualifying and drivers win races. JJ wanted to thank the
people at Snyder Engines for helping him out.
Well, it seems I rambled on for a while again. Just a lot of
pent up opinions that just busted out. Things have slowed down a
bit for me at work so hopefully I can get back on track with the
columns. This weekend the SCRA returns to Manzy and while I'm
not sure yet if I'll be there, I'll be there in spirit. I love
watching races at Manzy and
Ventura and it bums me out when I can't get there to see them.
But until then....
See ya at the races