The fourth annual Dream Race Extreme has come and gone. Chad Layton's name has been added to the winners list.
Layton's win is impressive in the fact that it came with a tire that was going flat. Most regular race fans realize that Layton would have been forced to go to the rear had he changed the tire. His only chance to win the race was to finish on the tire he was running. Mechanic Moon Byers held his finger over the hole while the race was under red and plugged it using chewing gum and what ever else he could. Byers had his finger on that hole for about 45 minutes while track workers repaired a light failure in turns one and two.
It worked. Layton won and the rest is history. The $15,000 payday is the largest of Layton's career. Layton also beat the Outlaws earlier this season at Williams Grove and ranked his Dream race win with that.
Layton took undeserved heat for being the guy that replaced Keith Kauffman in the Middleswarth car. There are still a few cat calls against him but they are going away. Layton deserves that. It's time to put that issue to bed.
Speaking of Keith Kauffman, he is scheduled to be back at Port Royal for the rest of the season with the Trone race team, which finished 10th in the Dream. I look forward to Kauffman hitting the winner's circle soon. Kauffman is a busy guy right now with the racing and his full-time job.
Steve Buckwalter made it back from an ARDC midget race Friday night in North Carolina to race at Port Royal Saturday night. Buckwalter captured his eighth win of the season down south.
The Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals are this weekend. Action started Wednesday night at the Iowa oval. Greg Hodnett, Stevie Smith, Lance Dewease, Fred Rahmer, Tyler Walker, Justin Henderson and Daryn Pittman are all heading west. Lucas Wolfe is there with the Outlaws.
The Saturday night finale pays $150,000 to the winner and $9,500 to take the green flag. Smith was the highest finishing Pennsylvania regular last year, running third. One thing we won't be doing this year is watching the show live on Speed Channel - Knoxville management is concerned about the decline in attendance at the race and corporate sponsorship is down.
As a result, Knoxville is buying the TV time itself. The price tag reportedly was $350,000 to do a live broadcast. Knoxville opted for a taped presentation, which shaved $100,000 off the price tag. Attendance was down 4,000 fans last year in the grandstand, infield revenue down about $3,000 more and TV ratings declined as well, almost in half from 2006 until 2009.
That does not make me feel good about the state of sprint car racing. I love it but it's not the same sport I grew up watching as a kid or young adult. Things need shaken up because watching heat races where the front row normally wins the race isn't cutting it any more. And the luck of the draw can make or break you for any time trial event.
It was not as bad as it looked when Tim Wilson ventured off to Selinsgrove Speedway last Saturday ended up in a nine-car pile up. The wreck took place during the start of the late-model feature. Wilson barrel rolled and ended up on top of Jerry Bard's race car. It only took a couple hundred dollars worth of parts and some used sheet metal to fix up the damage. Wilson told me it could have been thousands of dollars but wasn't. Wilson is 45 points behind Scotty Haus in late model points at Port Royal. Dan Stone won Selinsgrove's late model feature.
What was Tony Stewart doing at Port Royal two weeks ago? Treat this as a rumor, but I'm told he was scouting for talent. Reportedly Steve Kinser is considering scaling back his racing some next season and Stewart may need a 410 driver to fill a seat in one of his sprint cars.
A few years ago, a lawsuit was filed over tires against Hoosier Tire Co. and the World Racing Group. Hoosier prevailed, or so it seemed - the suit has been reinstated in federal court. Race Tires America, which manufacturers American Racers, is making an antitrust claim. I'll bet Goodyear will get in this mess as well. Goodyear is now in control of the 410 sprint car market, like Hoosier was. Sad thing is, American Racers builds good tires.
Dave Ely's plight was chronicled in Area Auto Racing News this week. Ely was injured June 21 at Port Royal when his right rear tire exploded entering turn three and he hit the wall hard. Ely had what I would call a delayed concussion. It was the eighth of his racing career. Seven of them came driving 410 sprint cars.
Doctors suggested he find a new hobby.
Ely is out for the year and will run 360 cars next year. I hate to see him leave 410 racing, but I can understand where he's coming from. It took until the end of July for Ely's concussion symptoms to go away.
The Sprint Cup schedule is coming into focus for 2011. New Hampshire will hold onto its second race date for at least one more year. The race was gone but NASCAR and owner Bruton Smith could not agree on an acceptable date for the move which would have gone to Las Vegas. It will happen if a date can be worked out. Atlanta lost a date, which is going to Kentucky Speedway. Fontana, Calif., lost one race to Kansas Speedway. Make no mistake, there is no loyalty here. This is about money. Nashville could lose Nationwide races due to poor attendance also.
Elliott Sadler and A.J. Almendinger will stay with Richard Petty Motorsports next season. Kasey Kahne will drive for Red Bull next year before moving to Rick Hendrick's team in 2012. Mark Martin will stay put with Hendrick one more year, And Richard Childress Racing will not run Nationwide races next season, choosing instead the truck series with Austin and Ty Dillon, who happen to be Childress' grandsons. Childress will team up with Kevin Harvick Racing to supply engines for Nationwide cars. Harvick will take over ownership of Childress Nationwide cars, which will be driven by Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Harvick himself.
How do you make your pit stop faster? Re-machine the studs and lug nuts of your race car and alter the thread count so the wheels can be taken off quickly. NASCAR calls that illegal and confiscated lug nuts from Marcos Ambrose winning Nationwide car last week.
That is going to wrap it up for another week. Remember, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.