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By Bob Gangwer

Was it just us or did this winter seem excruciatingly long?  Is it possible, that even as seasoned veterans of the ever changing Indiana weather, that we somehow have let the Hoosier State’s relentless hold on winter doldrums affect us to the point of not writing a column since last September?

Nah, we just got lazy and didn’t have much to say.  Plus it seems to us that the winter off season was a bit quiet.  Not a lot going on really.

The SRL has put two shows in the books so far with a relative amount of success. The first one at Tucson was a bit lacking in the amount of supers sitting in the pits as opposed to the sitting at home department, but was a good show nonetheless.  Bob Bigioni was the surprise, but very deserving winner of that race.  Bob has been trying for a few years to put that notch on his victory circle belt and now he has it.  The thing that became very clear to several of us who watched from afar is that even though the SRL didn’t have many cars at Tucson, there seemed to be more parity afoot within the ranks.  With Troy Regier now out of the picture and Lonnie Adamson as well as Jim Birges having problems at Tucson, the field seems a bit more evenly matched.  Most of the SRL insiders had hoped to pull in many of the Colorado and Idaho cars as this track was more centrally located amongst the last standouts of supermods in the west, that being central California and the aforementioned states. Of course we won’t count out the Englewood Racing Association way up north in Washington either. But Cali is still where the bulk of the SRL cars come from.

When the SRL invaded Madera for the First Annual Fred Gerhardt Open Wheel Classic, everyone felt that the field would be larger and it was.  Several of the old CAM360 cars even came out to run with their carbureted small blocks.  Interesting isn’t it how progressive the SRL is in their way of allowing nearly all forms of engine to compete within the rank and file.  Oh wait this is supermodified racing, the most unique racing in the country.  We better stop before we upset some of our better known friends in the Eastern part of the country, but you get our point.

Anyway back to the show at Madera.  The highlight for many of the fans was the appearance of Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a supermodified.  Old news to us, (most of you remember the Cayuga story, and if you don’t, call me for all the gory details because that adventure alone would take up more space than Dick will allow a part time writer!), but it made for a good marketing ploy. 

Tony was driving one of the “Orange Cars”.  Just think Trigueiro and you’ll remember.  These cars are now under the “Western Speed Racing Team” and Larry T. is the man with the wrenches but also has some money invested in the team with Rick Gerhardt and Tony Stewart.  The new team plans to field racecars in several series including the Supermodified Racing League, USAC Western States and National Sprint Car Series, and USAC National and Western States Midget Series.  Stewart, Davey Hamilton, Jason Leffler, and P.J. Jones have been tagged as the hot shoes of choice. 

Stewart was a good pick because he came home the winner at Madera.  But he didn’t have an easy go. He had to battle with Jim Birges who probably would have pulled off the win had it not been for some Ferrari like team work by fellow Western Speed Racing driver, Lonnie Adamson on the last lap.  Adamson ended up crossing the line in his badly misfiring car in second followed by Darren Rusconi, Bobby Dalton, and Birges who after ending up in the wall ended up in fifth.

Davey was supposed to run the entire SRL season but to date has yet to be behind the wheel competitively although he is the man with the chauffeur’s hat when it’s time to roll out the SRL two-seat super aptly named “The Limo”.  It’s kinda like the Jack Hewitt two seat sprint car, except in our minds, way better.  The SRL is using it to give the media rides in order that they may better understand what a super is all about.  Hmm…wait a minute…this just may constitute a trip to California on fact finding mission for this paper…yeah we are going to have to let Davey take us around the track at 140mph so we can better understand what it feels like to say “HOLEY S*^T”  when strapped into pavement racing’s version of “Shock and Awe.”  Of course most anyone can take a ride if they wanna cough up the cash.  We can’t remember the exact prices, but 5 or 10 laps in a super with Davey Hamilton driving?  Can you really put a price tag on that?

We now move past our incredible fantasies of being in a super with Davey Hamilton back to the news at hand.  With 22 cars in the pits and the cool Lake Erie chilling the fans in the stands, the MSA pulled off a very successful opener at Lorain County Speedway on the 26th.

Former ISMA Champion Brad Lichty brought his 2001 “Driver of the Year” Dave McKnight, Jr. south of the border to go head to head with the MSA regulars.  Actually it was more of an effort to give his son Mike some seat time behind the wheel of a super in a competitive environment.  Brad has stated that he wants to make a car available to Mike from time to time to nurture his racing career and felt that this race at The County would be a good start.  Also coming down from Canada was good guy Mark Sammut, who has struggled with bad luck the last couple of years on the ISMA circuit.  Ralph Wissing’s Buffalo, NY car also was found in the Lorain pits with driver Dan Dussel suited up and ready to roll.

Leading up to the race itself the internet message boards were wild with fervent banter of the likeliness of McKnight picking up a win and taking the MSA cash back across the border for a hellah exchange rate.  The sides were split evenly between the “pro-ISMA” and “pro-MSA” camps.  We tend to get a bit peeved with the attitudes of some of these people when it comes to picking sides in the “this sanctioning body is better than that one” argument.  It’s like the Oswego vs. ISMA deal.  Get a grip guys, this is supermodified racing not the WWE.  There are no villains.  There are no cage matches.  We are all supposed to be one big happy family.  The teams of the MSA put forth just as much effort as the guys at ISMA, Oswego, SRL, and ERA.  Just because the geographic anomalies of the supers breed different styles of cars or fewer races on the schedules, don’t think for a minute that each and every heart and wallet isn’t as involved as the next.  There will always be the idea of invasion whenever ISMA rolls into town.  Yes it really is the premier super sanctioning body.  The purses are higher, the car counts are larger, and generally there is a bit more experience amongst the drivers as an average than any other group.  Maybe the David and Goliath complex isn’t all bad from a marketing standpoint.  Kinda like grudge matches so to speak.  You could bill it as them vs. us and fill the stands.  We think it’d be better just to get everyone together in a central location and let the flag fall where it may. 

Anyway, many people thought that because Dave had never driven at the County and Brad hadn’t been there in ages, that there was no way they would top Timmy J. or Pat Shullick.  We sat back and waited full well knowing that it was a total toss up as to who would pull off the win because you now have some very good rookies in the mix too.  Former ARCA midget stand out, A.J. Davis, (YES AN INDIANA SUPER DRIVER!!), is now Pat Shullick’s stable mate in the Steve Stout barn, and the hot shot stand out teen driver from the 305 Sprinter ranks, Lee Boss is now in the second Jaycox car teamed with veteran Denny Fisher.  We knew that Randy Burch, who was last year’s “Rookie of the Year” with the MSA, would be tough too, plus Jon Henes, Charlie Shultz, Mo Lilje, and on and on.  There is a lot of depth to the field in the MSA also.

Because of work we couldn’t make the show, but a friend in need is a friend indeed, and our fellow Pinner’s BnG member Rollo set us up with live updates all night long.  We know what it’s like to sit dejectedly at home while your buddies are being bedazzled with the sensory overload that is supermodified racing.  So with each call from Rollo we translated the message to binary form with the posting of all that info on “Wailing With Wing Side Up” which is the message board for the internet version of this column.  Of course we would have been remiss had we not shared that info with the rest of the BnG so we posted on Pinner’s site too, as well as Super Dave’s and Curt Kern’s West Coast Board.

What a blast it was. Not really the same as being there, but still fun.  When Rollo called to say that heat race one went to Sean Sauer, we were glad to hear the #2 car was back in action. We weren’t surprised when he told us Timmy Jedrzejek took the second heat.  We loved hearing Rollo say that all 22 cars started the feature.  We were sad to hear that Mike Lichty got into the fence on lap 6 while trying to avoid a spinning Lee Boss.  Minutes later they were up to lap 11 when Rollo called to say that Denny Fisher had spun but everyone cleared him ok.  Then suddenly it was all over.  Sounding blissfully out of breath and in a satiated state of exhaustion, Rollo gave us the news that Dave McKnight had raced his way through the field from 20th starting spot to take the lead away from Timmy J. on lap 25 and go on for the win.  Jedrzejek held on for second over an ever improving Randy Burch.  Many were surprised by the run of Don Johnson in a former Gibson car which he took to a fourth place finish followed by Sean Sauer in fifth.

The ERA opened up their season on the 26th also and while it was a new season a familiar face to super fans sat in the Dodge City Raceway victory lane.  Veteran speedster Ricky Otts of Texas took home top honors followed by Rich Castor, H.J. Evans, 2002 ERA Champ-Johnny Pickard, Harry Stone, Bill Castor, Joe Priselac, Scott Decenik, and Jason Richards.  At this point that’s all we know.

ISMA opens their season this weekend at Star and Seekonk and we will have reviews of those shows next week as well as what happened at the Open Practice Session on May 3rd at Oswego.  The Sandusky MSA show has been moved from May 3rd to the 17th to allow the supers to race on the new pavement that Don Arnold is lying down within the next week.

We’ve got some tidbits here and there but we’ve run long so we’re gonna cut it short.  You can stay up to date with most of what’s happening in the super world by typing http://wingsideup.tripod.com into your browser or by sending an email to wingsideup@earthlink.net. Of course you can always call us at 574-534-0520 or write to us at 2 Winchester Trails, Goshen, IN 46526.

We unfortunately can’t make the ISMA openers because, again, work is interfering with our racing schedule.  So we won’t be there to harass “The Jersey Jerk” when he goes hammer down behind the wheel of Bruce Budnick’s #88.  Nor will we be able to hand Jimmy his helmet as he straps into Steve and Sharon Miller’s “Sweet 16”. And we will miss talking ISMA politics with J. Scott, and laughing at “The Rowley Rocket” and his craziness.  But we will be satisfied with knowing that these and many others within ISMA as well as the MSA, SRL, Oswego, and even the ERA, are our heroes, friends, and family.  While we can’t be there to tell them good luck we can always let them know we hope they “Keep It Wing Side Up and Wheels to the Ground.”     

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Chris Perley Takes ISMA Victory with Last Lap Pass at Lancaster

By Dave Sully (for ISMA)

Lancaster, NY-8/2...  Chris Perley from Rowley, Massachusetts executed a perfect pick on a lapped car on the final lap to get by leader Greg Furlong from Hannibal, New York, and capture the 50 lap International Super Modified Association Feature at Lancaster Motorsports Park.

Perley, described by Furlong as the best super modified driver there is right now, worked his way to the front from his twelfth place starting position to challenge for the lead on a lap 35 restart and then dogged Furlong who had taken over the lead one lap earlier.  The two put on a great battle before the decisive pass at the end gave Perley, who is currently second in points, his second win of the  season.

It's great to race beside somebody who is going to stay there and respect you. Greg is a great guy and I have a really great time racing against him," said Perley. The crew did an awesome job. We came with the same setup as last year. I'd like to thank owner Vic Miller and crew chief Scotty LeClair and all the guys and me. I did everything tonight. Really, I'd like to thank Ed
Shea, Perley's Marina, R&R Motors, New England Motor Racing, Barrett Transportation,
Hardy Transportation and Jack Cook Enterprises."

Ken Bell from Pennellville, NY, jumped into the early lead from the outside pole in the Soule Racing No. 32 with Mark Sammut from London, Ontario, claiming second from his third place starting spot in the self owned No. 78. An early caution slowed proceedings as the No. 97 of Jamie Timmons spun on the backstretch and collected the No. 88 of Johnny Payne.  On the restart Randy Ritskes, a former winner of this event, began hounding Bell for the lead, but another caution on lap 7 when Timmons spun again put the charge on hold.

When the race restarted Ritskes again pressured Bell as other cars were on the move.  Pat Abold in the Paul Dunigan No. 26 moved into third while Furlong claimed fourth and Perley fifth a lap later. Ritskes continued his relentless pursuit of Bell until lap 11 when he slipped into the lead at the line, with Abold, Furlong, and Perley continuing to move up.  Those four cars broke
away from the field and were battling for position when the red flag flew on lap 20 for a hard crash into the backstretch wall by the No. 28 of Eric Lewis from
Solvay, NY, after contact with the No. 10 of Rick Wentworth of Haverhill,
Massachusetts.  Lewis was unhurt, but not so the No. 28, which had to be
cradled off the racing surface.

When the race resumed. Ritskes led Furlong who had claimed second from Abold on lap 18.  Furlong immediately applied intense pressure on Ritskes while Abold got by Perley for third on lap 23.  Furlong chased Ritskes through lapped traffic as Ritskes desperately tried to keep the No. 72 of Furlong behind him.  A caution on lap 31, for a spin in turn four by the No. 8 of Justin Belfiore, gave Ritskes a chance to relax, but not for long.  Furlong jumped on him again when the race resumed while Perley reclaimed third from Abold and immediately joined the race for the lead.

Furlong finally grabbed the top spot at the line on lap 34 with Perley taking second one lap later to set up the final epic battle.  Perley closed in on Furlong trying to set him up for an outside move on lap 40 but Furlong held on.  Then the two entered lapped traffic and things got really tense as they threaded their way through.  Once they cleared the first group of lapped cars Furlong would move out to a two to three car advantage, but Perley who was stronger in the corners would close right in again, making for a great crowd pleasing battle.

Finally, as the white flag flew, the two came upon a lap car once again in turn two, and Perley was able to get outside Furlong, pin him behind the slower machine, and sweep by on the outside to claim the lead and the win. Furlong finished second, while point leader and four time winner this season, Russ Wood, from Pelham, New Hampshire finished third. Abold and Dave McKnight from Brampton, Ontario, rounded out the top five.

Perley explained the fateful pass, "I didn't know if we'd have enough at the end.  That lap car came up.  We were a little better on the outside.  It's one of those deals where you've got to pick a lane and one of them is going to get it.  We were the lucky one out this time."  Perley, the defending champion of this race, continued, "The crew did an awesome job.  We came here last
year and won.  I didn't know if we really had the car tonight, but it came on at the end.  We hung in there.  It's great."  Of the time earlier in the race when he lost third to Abold, he added, "Sometimes you have to pass people more than once. I didn't want to see it two or three times because Pat Abold's a real good racer and it's harder and harder to get by him as the day goes on. What happened was Ritskes was trying to get by a lapped car and he had touched the wall and made Furlong check up just a little bit.  I checked up too hard, got sideways.  I thought I was in the fence, but luckily we saved it, and we were able to come home with it."

Furlong described what happened to him, saying, "We had a great car.  I think I could have held Perley off if not for the lapped traffic.  He pinned me behind him, and Perley ran a better race.  He had a good car.  If we had a clean track we would have beaten him. (With lapped traffic) you win some and you lose some.  I've won them that way, and I've lost them that way.  I'll take it." 

Point leader Wood, who started eleventh, picked his way forward all night and was there to watch the battle for the lead ahead of him.  He noted, "There was a lot of action up ahead.  My car was a little tighter than we wanted it.  It was coming around at the end, but we had nothing for them.  Those guys were flying.  They had a good race.  There was a lot of action in front of me for the last twenty laps.  I could see it all.  I was waiting for the big wreck, but it never came.  It's not bad.  I'll take the third."

NOTES:  There were twenty-two cars on hand for the event before a nice crowd on a night when bad weather was all over the Northeast, but spared Lancaster.

The first one out of the race was Brad Lichty whose car expired on lap six, leaving him to watch his son Mike, drive the No. 74 car in his first ever ISMA start to a respectable 13th place finish.

By virtue of his win, Perley will make up a few points on Wood, who finished a quiet third.

About the D-shaped Lancaster race track, Perley noted,  "It's a tough place to get around. It is
a lot of fun. It's a fast place.  At least there are two grooves out there.  You just got to find them.  Tonight we did." 

Next up for the ISMA Lucas Oil Super Series is Lee USA (NH) Speedway Aug 15th and Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway Aug 16th.

Summary ISMA Lucas Oil Super Series Event #8
Heat 1: Ken Bell, Randy Ritskes, Greg Furlong, Eric Lewis, Jen Chesbro, Brad Lichty, Tate Gerken
Heat 2: Rick Wentworth, Chris Perley, Jim Shirey, Pat Abold, Joe Petro, Justin Belfiore, Mike Lichty, Jamie Letcher (dns)
Heat 3: Mark Sammut, Russ Wood, Jamie Timmons, Dave McKnight, Johnny Payne, Dan Dadswell, Sean Sauer

ISMA finish: (50 laps) 1. Chris Perley (11), 2. Greg Furlong (72), 3. Russ Wood (29), 4. Pat Abold (26), 5. Dave McKnight (94), 6. Randy Ritskes (9),
7. Johnny Payne (88), 8. Mark Sammut (78), 9. Jim Shirey (16), 10. Rick Wentworth (10), 11. Joe Petro (99), 12. Justin Belfiore (8), 13. Mike Lichty (74), 14. Jennifer Chesbro (33), 15. Dan Dadswell (4), 16. Jamie Letcher (58), 17.Jamie Timmons (97), 18. Ken Bell (32), 19. Eric Lewis (28), 20. Tate Gerken (30), 21. Sean Sauer (12), 22. Brad Lichty (84).


Oswego, NY - A heavy thunderstorm threatened to end the Advance Auto
Parts-sponsored racing at Oswego Speedway Saturday night, but a Herculean clean-up
effort allowed the racing to go on after all. Finishing early Sunday morning
after a four-hour rain delay, all races were completed with Joe Gosek taking his
third supermodified win of the rain-soaked season in the Muldoon 50 and thus
strengthening his lead in the championship points with only 4 features left on
the docket. Second year limited super driver Kevin Knopp took home a
career-first in that division. While Jeff Hamman claimed but lost victory in the super
stocks to a dq. Bruce Stanton was declared the winner of that 20-lap event.
Pete Brittain of Oakhurst, NJ repeated his 2002 modified victory by winning his
second RoC qualifier in as many years at Oswego.
Joe Gosek took over the lead on a lap 46 restart from a strong-running Brian
Sweeney who had led from lap 2. Sweeney, running out of fuel, bogged coming
out of turn two as the white waved and he indicated his predicament to those
drivers behind. Gosek slipped by Sweeney as did Jeff Holbrook as the number 3
fell rapidly backwards. Gosek, who earned double points for the win, was greeted
with some boos in victory lane. Said Joe, "It's too bad. I don't think I
really could have passed Brian. He was too loose. He had a good race. It was
unfortunate. Then I caught him on the restarts and thought what do I do - pass him
or follow him? You're kind of handcuffed. Evidentially, I did the right thing.
He had a good car. He didn't point to the tank until coming down for the white
flag of that last restart. I said to myself, 'Oh boy, he's running out of
fuel'. Then he choked up up here and I knew he was in trouble. That's too bad. It
was Brian's race. He was good on restarts and able to get away. It just
didn't work out for him. My guys work really hard on this car. We keep finishing
and that's the key going toward this point's race. And, thanks to all the
sponsors - Burke's Home Center, Ricelli's, Ed Izyk, Century 21, Laqua's, all the
people that help. We appreciate it. If Brian gave us a win tonight, we had to
take it. What are you going to do?"
Jeff Holbrook, was tailing Gosek at race end, also saw Sweeney pointing at
the tank and was able to get by cleanly. Holbrook, with two other cars he owns
in the top six, was ecstatic with the results. "Ah, all three cars up front,"
said Jeff. "That's what I like to see. It was a good, clean race and I'm
happy. Russ Wood (who will drive one of the machines at Classic) will have to wait
a couple more weeks to practice."
Bobby Bond was right behind Holbrook at the finish and he was happy just to
be there. Said the Mexico, NY driver, "This was a tough one. A lot of cars
dropped out. My car was pretty good, but not good enough. We still have some work
to do. But, we're happy with third. So many cars dropped out there, I wasn't
sure where I was. I'd like to really thank the crew and all my sponsors.
They've all been great this year."
Brian Sweeney, after a strong heat run, took his 3 out front after passing
Doug Kells for the lead just one circuit into the 50 lap supermodified main.
Sweeney was able to survive onslaught after onslaught on restarts, pulling away
with a vengeance as he looked for that elusive career-first.
The race had numerous stops, mainly for minor incidents, the first of which
came on lap 12 when Howard Page spun. Sweeney was able to power away on this
restart as Holbrook, Doug Kells, Tim Gareau and Keith Gilliam were early top
five runners.
Yellow two came on lap 18 with the 99 of Pat Lavery and 22 of Joey Hawksby
involved. Hawksby got the hook as Lavery continued.
Moving into second on lap 25 was a fast moving Tim Gareau who came by
Holbrook for second. Chasing closely were Joe Gosek and Tim Snyder as Kells and
Sitterly battled behind.
Sweeney maintained his strong run and again fended off advances when Craig
Rayvals spun in turn two on lap 31. Gareau and Gosek applied intense pressure to
Sweeney but the Oswego man was bound and determined to get the one that got
away earlier this season.
Lap traffic began to play a role by lap 38 as Gareau, Gosek and Snyder tried
to pinch Sweeney off to no avail until lap 39 when yet another yellow flew for
a spinning Jerry Curran.
Tim Gareau was trying valiantly to get Sweeney, but Brian did not give up.
The drama began to play out on the next yellow on lap 43. Gareau's car suddenly
died with a broken torque arm on the backstraight to bring out the yellow.
Almost simultaneously, Otto Sitterly, who is chasing Gosek for points, puffed
some smoke from his 79 and pulled in. Otto said later that a chunk of rubber
broke his fuel line. The third car to exit here was the fourth place runner,
Snyder who also broke a fuel line. Three cars fell out of the top five in one
instant. Snyder was able to come back out, but when the 94 brought out the yellow
on this restart, Tim pitted again.
Throughout all this, Sweeney was in command and with 5 laps facing him, he
looked to be able to pull away from Gosek now with ease. Joe indicated later
that the car took 4-5 laps to get going and that's all Sweeney needed to pull off
his first win.
But, on lap 46, the last yellow flew for Howie Page and Keith Gilliam and
this is where the heartbreak came. Sweeney, as aforementioned, bobbled off turn
two, his 3 starving for fuel. While others went by, Sweeney could only watch
and drive into the pits, just a handful of laps shy of a victory. Gosek,
Holbrook, Bobby Bond, Dave Trytek and Doug Kells fell in behind Gosek for the
remainder of the race as Team Holbrook's third car, the 40 of Bob Magner, ran sixth.
And, that's the way they crossed under the checkered, just past midnight.
Dave Trytek commented later, a little confused as to what had happened in
front of him, "Did we get fourth? I don't even know. The car wasn't that good.
It was pretty loose off - pushing in - loose off - loose in - pushing off. I
don't know if I was driving bad tonight or what. I think a lot of people wrecked
in front of me and I got fourth. I think someone in front of me may have been
leaking something because a few times it was pretty slick."
The happiest man in the top five was Kells, who entered that realm for the
first time Saturday night. "I love this. It's beautiful. It was unexpected. The
guys did something and whatever it was, the car ran freakin' great all night
long. I just kept her going straight and tried to stay out of trouble. This is
perfect. I couldn't be happier. I am totally excited."
FINAL RACE RESULTS 8/2/03 Updated 1:34 am
CAR COUNT: Supermodifieds (27) / Limiteds (35) / Super Stocks (15) /
Modifieds (42)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #1:1. Joe Gosek (50) 2. Tim Snyder (0) 3. Keith Gilliam
(87) 4. Jeff Holbrook (35) 5. Pat Lavery (99) 6. Shannon Groves (07) 7. Bill
Sharkey (52) 8. Joe Hawksby Jr (22) 9. Tim Devendorf (28)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #2: 1. Doug Kells (39) 2. Bob Magner (40) 3. Todd Stowell
(89) 4. Tim Gareau Jr (5) 5. Otto Sitterly (79) 6. Craig Rayvals (94) 7. Bill
Peri (14) 8. Joe Chillemi (41) 9. Bobby Smith (20)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #3: 1. Brian Sweeney (3) 2. Jerry Curran (24) 3. Bob Bond
(25) 4. Howard Page (18) 5. Dave Trytek (70) 6. Hal LaTulip (56) 7. Dan
Connors (96) 8. Dave Halstead Jr (34) 9. Bob Goutermout (77)
SUPERMODIFIED CONSI: 1. Bill Peri (14) 2. Joe Hawksby Jr (22) 3. Bill Sharkey
(52) 4. Dave Halstead Jr (34) 5. Dan Connors (96) 6. Bobby Smith (20) 7. Tim
Devendorf (28) 8. Joe Chillemi (41) 9. Bob Goutermout (77) DNS
SUPERMODIFIED FEATURE (50): 1. Joe Gosek (50) 2. Jeff Holbrook (35) 3. Bob
Bond (25) 4. Dave Trytek (70) 5. Doug Kells (39) 6. Bob Magner (40) 7. Pat
Lavery (99) 8. Jerry Curran (24) 9. Craig Rayvals (94) 10. Brian Sweeney (3) 11.
Shannon Groves (07) 12. Bill Peri (14) 13. Dan Connors (96) 14. Howard Page (18)
15. Keith Gilliam (87) 16. Hal LaTulip (56) 17. Tim Gareau Jr (5) 18. Otto
Sitterly (79) 19. Tim Snyder (0) 20. Todd Stowell (89) 21. Joe Hawksby Jr (22)
22. Bill Sharkey (52) 23. Dave Halstead Jr (34) 24. Bobby Smith (20)
Kevin Knopp, whose crew nicknamed him Mr. Consi earlier in the season, lost
his moniker quickly Saturday night as he won a limited super heat and went on
to victory in the 25-lap main. The second year Oswego driver, who started the
division with no previous racing experience, exuded veteran qualify after
taking the lead on lap 4 from rookie Tim Barbeau. Knopp was chased most of the way
by 2002 track champ Mark Regan, but he never faltered. Only a couple cautions
dotted the way for Knopp, but Regan was never more than a car length away.
Yellow flew once on lap 13 for Guard Nearbin and Chip Wood with Wood getting
Knopp felt intense pressure from Regan, Mike Barnes, Steve Austin up front
while J.J. Andrews, Mike Bond, Gregg Davis, Chris Proud and Tony White diced
It was clean green racing to the finish now as Regan did all he could to put
Knopp in second. Barnes and Austin were right there looking for a slip up that
never came. In a most enthusiastic victory lane, Knopp smiled widely and
said, "I'm not the consi king anymore! I finally graduated. The car was running
good all night. I don't know how close Mark (Regan) was there but he raced me
clean and I thank him for that. I'd like to thank my crew and all the sponsors.
I hope we can repeat this now!"
Regan, Barnes, Austin and Gregg Davis rounded out the top five with Andrews,
Proud, Bond, White and Kris Meyn completing the top ten.
LIMITED HEAT #1: 1. Kevin Knopp (94) 2. Michael Barnes (43) 3. Dan
Kapuscinski (00) 4. Mark Regan (69) 5. Gregg Davis (89) 6. Chris Proud (3) 7. Mike
Bozzuto (8) 8. Rob Pullen (2) 9. Stanley Gates (12) 10. Jason Cliff (60) 11. Tim
Burdick (0) 12. Star Matteson (82)
LIMITED HEAT #2: 1. Tim Barbeau (50) 2. Bob Bogwicz (99) 3. Kris Meyn (86) 4.
JJ Andrews (93) 5. Bill Moore (7) 6. Doug Cliff (61) 7. Lou LeVea (96) 8.
Andy Noto (19) 9. Chip Wood (5) 10. Bob Kingsley (52) 11. Jack Patrick (9) 12.
Steve Abt (85)
LIMITED HEAT #3: 1. Shawn Walker (68) 2. Dave Cliff (06) 3. Mike Bond (90) 4.
Steve Austin (66) 5. Tony White (4) 6. Dave Gruel (18) 7. Kevin Battelle (29)
8. Guard Nearbin (78) 9. Doug Reaume (95) 10. Pat Mullen (32) 11. Jim Guyle
(20) DNS
LIMITED CONSI: 1. Andy Noto (19) 2. Rob Pullen (2) 3. Guard Nearbin (78) 4.
Chip Wood (5) 5. Doug Reaume (95) 6. Bob Kingsley (52) 7. Jason Cliff (60) 8.
Steve Abt (85) 9. Tim Burdick (0) 10. Jack Patrick (9) 11. Pat Mullen (32) 12.
Stanley Gates (12) 13. Star Matteson (82) DNS 14. Jim Guyle (20) DNS
LIMITED FEATURE (25): 1. Kevin Knopp (94) 2. Mark Regan (69) 3. Michael
Barnes (43) 4. Steve Austin (66) 5. Gregg Davis (89) 6. JJ Andrews (93) 7. Chris
Proud (3) 8. Mike Bond (90) 9. Tony White (4) 10. Kris Meyn (86) 11. Dave Cliff
(06) 12. Tim Barbeau (50) 13. Dan Kapuscinski (00) 14. Shawn Walker (68) 15.
Lou LeVea (96) 16. Mike Bozzuto (8) 17. Doug Cliff (61) 18. Rob Pullen (2) 19.
Doug Reaume (95) 20. Bob Bogwicz (99) 21. Guard Nearbin (78) 22. Dave Gruel
(18) 23. Bill Moore (7) 24. Andy Noto (19) 25. Kevin Battelle (29) 26. Chip Wood
The super stocks took to the race track at approximately 1:10 after waiting
patiently for their turn to shine. The 34 of Jason Spaulding took up the lead
from the pole but a lap 2 yellow flew to slow things for the 38 of George
Spaulding had Bruce Stanton, Jeff Hamman and Doug Reaume bearing down on him
on the restart and he wasn't able to hold off Stanton long. Coming on strong
was Spencer Speedway regular, Jeff Hamman, who was second ahead of three-time
feature winner to date, Doug Reaume.
A massive foam cruncher came on lap 12 when the 85 of Dave Bock was forced to
the outside with Bock doing a number on his front end and the foam blocks.
Chris Lupa also received the hook here.
On the restart, Hamman was by Stanton, leaving Reaume to challenge in third.
Dwayne LeMay moved up to fourth as Bobby Newman charged into the top five as
the race neared conclusion.
Hamman pulled away from the pack in the remaining flagless five and came into
victory lane amid some confusion in regard to his tires. He had indicated
that he had checked a website which said they were runable, but unfortunately for
Jeff, he had not been in the Oswego rules. He later was dq'd giving the win
to rookie Stanton, which was his first ever. Reaume, LeMay, Newman and
Skilinski were moved into the top five as Hamman was credited with last instead of
SUPER STOCKS: SUPER STOCK HEAT #1: 1. Bruce Stanton (93) 2. Jeff Hamman (91)
3. Jason Spaulding (34) 4. George Knight (38) 5. Dwayne LeMay (12) 6. Joe
Miller (9) 7. Bobby Newman (77) 8. Fred Siebert (65)
SUPER STOCK HEAT #2: 1. Doug Reaume (99) 2. Don Pringle (96) 3. David Bock
(85) 4. JJ Courcy (20) 5. Joe Skilinski (4) 6. Chris Lupa (46) 7. RJ Wyman (08)
SUPER STOCK FEATURE (20): 1. Bruce Stanton (93) 2. Doug Reaume (99) 3. Dwayne
LeMay (12) 4. Bobby Newman (77) 5. Joe Skilinski (4) 6. Jason Spaulding (34)
7. Fred Siebert (65) 8. David Bock (85) 9. Joe Miller (9) 10. Chris Lupa (46)
11. JJ Courcy (20) 12. George Knight (38) 13. Don Pringle (96) 14. RJ Wyman
(08) 15. Jeff Hamman (91)
"I just like this place" said an elated Pete Brittain in victory lane after
winning his second straight RoC qualifier at Oswego Speedway. He managed to
hold off one of the winningest modified drivers in history, George Kent and
another driver who knew the way to victory lane at the fast 5/8'ths, Jan Leaty. It
was Brittain's first win on the RoC trail this season. Starting outside pole,
Brittain took up the front spot from the get go and never gave it up, except
momentarily, for the entire 50 laps. Four early yellows did not deter Brittain
who would find Leaty and Kent knocking on the door hard from lap 15 on for
Leaty and from lap 32 on for Kent.
Said Brittain in victory lane after receiving his RoC qualifier plaque, "It
was a good hard race. George (Kent) and I had some good hard racing there at
the end too. With about four to go I don't know if I hit something or what, the
car just wiped out on me and George got underneath a little bit and we
touched. I think that was the only time in the whole race that the car acted up a
little bit. I knew George would have to go to the outside near the end there
because he wasn't getting underneath me. Tonight there just wasn't much of an
outside. So, I felt that he'd have to go around. I learned that in the heat race
tonight and actually in last year's race. For some reason in this August race
it's tough to pass on the outside. It seems like the track is better when we
come here in September for whatever reason. I'd like to thank this crew. They
maintain this car in Elmira, NY and I tell you it's top notch. T.J. and his
crew and my crew who travel with me. They all do a great job!"
Brittain drag-raced Rusty Smith down to the line for the lead on the green
with Rusty falling into second. A quick yellow fell on lap 5 bunching the field,
but Brittain easily pulled away on the restart.
Smith was Brittain's main challenger as his team car driven by T.J.
Potrzebowski held up third. Soon a pair of sixes - Leaty and Ken Troyer, moved in to
make it five. Coming up through the pack was perennial Oswego winner George Kent.
Yellow flew again twice on lap 18. One time it was for two or three cars
which were all able to restart. It fell the second time for Josh Gregg's 18 which
exited on the hook. Lee Sherwood also pitted here.
Brittain took off, but had Leaty tacked to his bumper lap after lap as Rusty
Smith, Potrzebowski and Troyer held off Kent, but not for long. George moved
up to third by midway and off the trio went into battle.
On lap 27, Leaty came alongside of Brittain, pushed hard by Kent. Jan
actually nosed out front for a brief time, but Brittain held his ground racing
door-to-door around the track. T.J. held up fourth as a distance away, Smith battled
Jan's son, Mike Leaty.
With ten to go, Kent was a tappin' and a tappin' on Brittain's back end, but
this New Jersey driver knew how to hold on. For the remainder of the race, it
was anybody's ballgame, but it was Brittain's race to lose and he wasn't about
to. One bobble came on lap 46 when the 99 slowed ever so slightly and Kent
checked a bit not to hit him. Leaty did likewise. A brief brush, as Brittain
alluded to, was all that occurred. He recovered rapidly and headed to the finish
line with Kent, Potrzebowski and Leaty trailing. Smith finished up the top
five. T.J's car and crew pulled into victory lane to congratulate their team
Kenny Troyer, Tony Hanbury, Mike Leaty, Tony Seseley, and Matt Hirschman,
rounded out the top ten.
Mod notes... Modified heats went to Jim Willis, Jan Leaty, T.J. Potrzebowski
and Ryan Holland. The Holland heat saw a wild ride by Todd Smith who climbed
the catch fence on the front straight before landing in the foam blocks in turn
one. Smith was okay. His number 52 modified was not....Rain threatened as the
two modified consis were complete and won by Rick Kluth and J.R. Kent. Rain
began pelting the speedway just after Kent's win and the long wait and mop up
followed until cars reached the track again at 9:35.
RoC Mod Qualifier finish Event #8: 1. Pete Brittain (99), 2. George Kent
(26), 3. T.J. Potrzebowski (72), 4. Jan Leaty (6), 5. Rusty Smith (34), 6. Ken
Troyer (6x), 7. Tony Hanbury (45), 8. Mike Leaty (25), 9. Anthony Seseley (16),
10. Matt Hirschman (52), 11. Rick Kluth (44), 12. Kirk Rutherford (04), 13.
Josh Gregg (78), 14. Kim Jennejohn (29), 15. Ryan Holland (82), 16. Jim Willis
(11), 17. Larry Jackson (84), 18. Zane Zeiner (76), 19. Terry Cheetham (41), 20.
Lee Sherwood (95), 21. Donnie Staubitz (89), 22. Jeff Ulrich (75), 23. Brett
Scherer (18), 24. Billy Putney (88), 25. Rick Zacharias (71), 26. J.R. Kent

(30), 27. Bobby Osgood (09).

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Newlywed Adamson Ends Honeymoon With a Win

By Gerald Laurie

8/2/03...Lonnie Adamson returned from his Florida Honeymoon to garner his third Supermodified Racing League win of the 2003 season at Champion Motor Speedway. The Supermodified Racing League invaded the Carson City, Nevada oval on August second with 17 Supermodifieds ready to tackle the banks in the Nevada State Capitol. Adamson (14) topped all qualifiers with a time of 11.49 seconds. Bob Bigiogni (96) was second fast at 11.50. Dale Lamborn (48) at 11.61, Troy Regier (98) at 11.61 and Mike Ford at 11.69 rounded out the top five.

The first eight lap heat race lined up the Jeff Russell (85) and A.J. Russell (7) on the front row. They were followed by Troy Regier (98), Lonnie Adamson (14), Bobby Dalton (36), and Rob Carlotto (41). The first lap ended as it started, but Regier got around A.J. on lap two. Adamson managed to take third on lap six. Heat one finish showed Jeff Russell winning over Regier, Adamson, A.J. Russell, Bobby Dalton and Carlotto.

The second heat line up consisted of Jim Birges (32), Jim Tartaglia (83), Bob Bigiogni (96), Mike Ford (56), Rick Cameron (24), and Willie Northammer (29). Tartaglia led the first lap as all hell broke loose in the back of the pack. Cameron and Northammer tangled coming off turn four and Cameron vaulted over Northammer’s tire to barrel roll along the top of the front straight wall. Although uninjured in the melee, both were eliminated from the heat and Cameron was done for the night. After the clean up, Tartaglia again led over Birges, Ford and Bigiogni. The order remained static until lap seven when Bigiogni moved up to third. On the last lap Birges pulled off a low pass as Tartaglia slowed with a mechanical problem and Bigiogni moved around on the high side. Heat two winners were Jim Birges followed by Bigiogni, Tartaglia, and Ford.

Jerry Allec, Jr. (72) led the third heat to the green followed by Amy Barnes (12), Darrin Rusconi (66), Ken Hamilton (1), and Dale Lamborn (48). Barnes led lap one followed by Rusconi, Allec, Hamilton, and Lamborn. Hamilton displaced Allec on lap two and Lamborn did likewise on lap three. Rusconi snagged the lead on lap four. Hamilton took second on lap seven and Lamborn grabbed third after the white flag. Finish order was Rusconi over Hamilton, Lamborn, Barnes, and Allec.

The forty lap feature event lined up with the top six qualifiers inverted at the front. This put Ken Hamilton (1) on the pole followed by Mike Ford (56), Troy Regier (98), Dale Lamborn (48), Bob Bigiogni (96), and Lonnie Adamson (14). Behind the inverted starters were Jeff Russell (85), Jim Birges (32), Darrin Rusconi (66), A.J. Russell (7), and Jim Tartaglia (83). The remainder of the field consisted of Amy Barnes (36), Bobby Dalton (36), Jerry Allec, Jr. (72), Rob Carlotto(41) and Willie Northammer(29).

Hamilton led the first lap over Ford, Adamson, Regier, and Birges. Lap two saw Regier pass Adamson and Bigiogni pass Birges. On lap three, Regier tagged Ford in turn two with the 56 spinning out and the yellow flying. On the restart, Regier was relegated to the back with Ford for causing the incident. Restart order was Hamilton, Adamson, Bigiogni, Birges, Jeff Russell and Rusconi. The 12, 72, and 29 cars all headed to the pits during the yellow with Allec being the only one to return to competition. Ford and Regier were relegated to the back. The order at the front remained static, but both Ford and Regier were working their ways back toward the front.

On lap sixteen, Adamson grabbed the lead from his teammate with a daring outside pass. Two laps later, the yellow was displayed for a spin by Jeff Russell. The resulting restart showed Regier moving into the top five behind Adamson, Hamilton, Bigiogni, and Birges. On lap 21, Mike Ford spun and Jim Tartaglia was unable to avoid him and had a major collision with the stalled car of Ford. Both were eliminated with collision damage. At halfway, Adamson led over Hamilton, Bigiogni, Birges, Regier, Rusconi, A.J. Russell, Jeff Russell, and Bobby Dalton. After restarting, Regier was able to pass Birges for position on lap 22. Birges’s handling got worse as his right rear tire separated. There was very little passing for the remainder of the race although Hamilton, Bigiogni, and Regier were having a battle royal for second through fourth. Dalton went a lap down on the leader’s lap 32 and Jeff Russell lost a lap on the thirty-seventh. Finishing order was Adamson over Hamilton, Bigiogni, Regier, Birges, and A.J. Russell, all on the lead lap. Jeff Russell and Bobby Dalton finished one lap in arrears. More than one lap down were Ford, Tartaglia, Carlotto, Allec, Barnes, Northammer, and Lamborn.

All in all, it was a pretty good show in front of a great crowd. In spite of the threatening weather all day long, the locals turned out in droves to see the SRL sidewinders. Although the 83, 56, 24, and 29 cars received collision damage, all appear repairable and should be at the next event in two weeks. Dalton and Tartaglia were still running their 360 engines as they toil to repair their recently injured 410’s. Both hope to have their big guns ready for Madera. Meanwhile, back in the Great Central Valley, I am the Racing Widow’s Husband.

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Oswego Speedway Offers "Super" Deal For Fan Appreciation Night

Oswego, NY . . . When Oswego Speedway celebrates its 53rd Anniversary on Saturday, August 9th, the fans will get a real bargain. Race sponsors Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes and Labatt Beer have just announced that there will be a special "carload admission price" of just $20.00 for this triple header event featuring the supermodifieds, limited supers and super stocks.

Coupons for the special carload pricing will be available at participating Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes throughout Central and Northern New York. Just redeem the coupon along with $20.00 at the City Line Road entrance to the back grandstand and everyone in the vehicle will receive a gate pass for admission into the Speedway. Both grandstands will be open that night so if you want to sit in the front after purchasing your tickets, just follow the dirt/stone road to the East Albany Street exit and park in the front lot. Those wishing to stay in the back can park across from the main entrance to the back grandstand.

All carload tickets must be purchased from the temporary ticket booth that will be set up just inside the City Line Road gate, which is the campground entrance for Classic Weekend. Any type of vehicle will qualify with the exception of buses, motor homes, RV's and camping trailers. The normal ticket windows will also be open in the front and back for single purchases at a reduced price of $5.00 for adults and $.25 for kids.

The anniversary weekend kicks off on Friday night, August 8th at 6 pm with the WSEN Super Cruise. There will be over 300 hundred classic cars, custom rods, muscle cars, antiques and motorcycles on display along with live entertainment from 7 to 10 pm provided by Smokin'. The Oswego Speedway concession stands will be open throughout the night and WSEN will be spinning its prize wheel for those in attendance. Admission is FREE.

Then, the gates swing open on Saturday, August 9th at 11 am for the WSCP Country Fest featuring platinum-selling singing sensation Patty Loveless. Popular artist Penny Jo Pullus from Austin, Texas will take to the stage at 12 noon followed by local favorites Frank and Julie Crawford at 1 pm. Headliner Patty Loveless is scheduled to perform all of her favorites from 2:30 pm to 4 pm. The $15.00 price allows concert goers admission into the Speedway that night at no extra charge. There are a limited number of $10.00 tickets still available for the WSCP Country Fest at the Oswego Speedway Box Office, Ticketmaster Outlets and at the Landmark Theatre Box Office.

At 4 pm, concert goers will exit the infield through the main pit gate and as soon as the infield is secured, the race car haulers will be brought in from the 3rd turn pit gate to reduce the amount of traffic on East Albany Street. Anyone with a concert ticket will be able to re-enter the Speedway immediately at the front or back grandstand admission gate.

Competitors will be able to purchase pit passes at the Box Office from 12 noon on, but all haulers must go to the 3rd turn pit gate for entry into the Speedway. Haulers will be allowed through the City Line Road gate beginning at 3:30 pm, but no haulers will enter the pits until after the concert is over. An abbreviated warmup session will begin just as soon as the crews can unload the cars and the first heat should get underway between 6:30 pm and 6:45 pm.

There's something for everyone when Oswego Speedway celebrates its 53rd Anniversary. For more information contact the Speedway Box Office at 315-342-0646 or log onto the Internet at www.oswegospeedway.com.

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Burch Gets First Career Super Win

By Lee A. Booze

Midvale, OH 7/19 - "Awesome Baby!" were the first words out of Middleburg Height’s Ohio’s Randy Burch’s mouth after climbing from his roadster in Midvale Speedway’s victory lane Saturday night. The sophomore driver and former rookie of the year survived a late race caution and a spirited run by Sandusky, Ohio’s Jack Smith to notch his first ever Midwest Supermodified Association A main. Burch, driving the Merck’s Ticket Agency, Thunder Alley Graphix, Racethreads machine pocketed $1500 for the win.

The thirty-lap feature event on Lincoln Welder night capped off a beautiful night for racing at Midvale Speedway nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The tight 3/10-mile oval proved tricky for the big block monsters with the start of the race for the third year running was marred with an accident. As the field checked up in turn one A.J. Davis climbed a wheel and spun across the track collecting Tim Jedrzejek, Dave Mumaw and Gary Cambrare. With the track blocked, the red flag was thrown to clear the melee. All four drivers continued.

On the second effort, pole sitter Rich Reid of New London, Ohio out dueled Don Johnson for the point. The second chance proved better as the field settled into a rhythm on the tiny oval. By lap two the faster drivers were already on the move from the twelve car inversion with Pat Shullick making a run from fifth to second. Right on his heels was Burch up from seventh.

After a caution for a harmless spin Larry Lehnert Jr., Burch went to work on the high side. On lap four he nabbed a spot from Shullick, but not before the two knocked wheels on the front chute with Burch bouncing off the concrete wall. With the momentum flowing, Burch ran down leader Reid and put his Tim Strah owned machine out front on lap six.

With Burch running off with a straightaway lead, all eyes turned toward the movers in the pack, Jack Smith, Charlie Schultz, Jedrzejek and Davis. Smith worked his way through the field from eleventh in an effort to run down the long-gone leader. As the laps ticked away, Smith closed to the rear bumper of Burch in traffic only to be thwarted by a spin by Jon Henes on lap 22. On the restart Burch held his line giving little room for Smith to maneuver. "I knew somebody was back there," noted the winner, "but I never saw him, so I wasn’t too nervous." Smith had one more shot after Don Johnson’s loop in turn one on lap 27, but Burch proved to be too much on the restart stretching his lead in the final three go-around. Smith held on for second followed by Shullick, Schultz (subbing for injured Denny Fisher) and Jedrzejek.

"This is what teamwork is all about. We faltered a little bit the last few races but stuck with it," said the smiling Burch in victory lane. "I was wondering if we were ever going to win after the past couple of weeks. We’re still a young team and we’re still learning. We’re going through our growing phase right now. Everything is starting to come together," Burch added.

The Midwest Supermodified Association returns to action August 9 and 10 with races at Lorain County Speedway and Toledo Speedway.

MSA Race #5

Midvale Speedway

Heat 1: Charlie Schultz, Pat Shullick, Randy Burch, Jack Smith, Rich Reid, Larry Lehnert Jr., Dave Mumaw

Heat 2: Don Johnson, Tim Jedrzejek, AJ Davis, Moe Lilje, Jon Henes, Lee Boss, Gary Cambrare

A Main (30 laps): Burch, Smith, Shullick, Schultz, Jedrzejek, Davis, Lilje, Reid, Boss, Henes, Lehnert, Johnson, Cambrare, Mumaw

Lap Leaders: Reid 1-5, Burch 6-30

Points (Top Ten)


1. 7 Tim Jedrzejek 114

2. 19 AJ Davis 97

3. 52 Randy Burch 95

4. 81 Denny Fisher/Charlie Schultz 90

49 Pat Shullick 90

6. 91 Lee Boss 89

7. 79 Moe Lilje 85

8. 09 Jack Smith 81

9. 36 Jon Henes 76

10. 24 Don Johnson 61

00 Rich Reid 61

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Oswego, NY 7/4...Oswego Speedway does not have a permit from the Oswego County Health Department to operate a campgrounds. Therefore, any camping for an extended period of time on Speedway grounds is prohibited.

Beginning July 1, 2003, this will be strictly enforced. Any campers on the Speedway grounds during the work week (Monday thru Friday) will be asked by the Oswego City Police Department to leave the premises or be cited for trespassing.

The Speedway has always been allowed to offer free overnight parking on race weekends, and this policy will continue. This means that people with motor homes, campers, trailers, etc. can pull in on race day, watch the races and leave the following day.

For Classic week, Oswego Speedway has filed special paper work with the Oswego County Health Department which designates two areas on the Speedway premises as temporary campgrounds. In order to obtain this permit, certain requirements for restrooms, wash basins, potable water, dumping station, rubbish containment and security have to be addressed.

Obviously, this would be cost prohibitive on a weekly basis as the demand is negligible in comparison to Classic week.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on this matter.

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Davey Hamilton's feet were mangled so badly after his Indy car wreck two years ago that doctors initially thought amputation would be the best option.

Both legs and feet were broken in a crash he didn't cause and couldn't avoid during an Indy Racing League race at Texas on June 9, 2001. His car slammed into the wall, shredding all four tires, after Jeret Schroder's car blew an engine and spun into Hamilton in the second turn.

``I remember the entire accident. I went through all of that misery and pain,'' Hamilton said. ``The choice was to just cut them off and get it over with.''

He was taken by helicopter to a Dallas hospital, where trauma surgeons were ready to amputate. The ankle joint from his left foot was missing, as were bones and muscle tissue from the right one.

Dr. Kevin Scheid, an orthopedist who works with the IRL and was on the scene that night, instead had Hamilton transferred to Indianapolis to try to save the driver's feet.

Since then, Hamilton has been through 21 operations and an intense rehabilitation program to learn how to walk on his reconstructed feet. He wasn't able to stand up for nearly five months after the accident, and was in a wheelchair for most of a year.

``My goal was first to be able to walk, then my goal was to be able to do stuff with my two kids and be involved with my family. Those are the most important,'' Hamilton said. ``Now my goal is to do what I love, and that's get back to work, get back in the race car.''

And not just drive a car, which he has already done in testing sessions. He wants to compete in the IRL again.

When he was injured, Hamilton was the only driver who had started all 48 races in the emerging IRL. He twice was the open-wheel series' season runner-up despite never winning a race.

Hamilton returned to Texas Motor Speedway last week for the first time since his accident. He drove the IRL's two-seater, providing 180 mph rides around the track for media and special guests, and then was an analyst for the radio broadcast of the Bombardier 500.

Being back on the 1 1/2-mile track didn't cause him any haunting memories.

``It was a situation where I know what happened. It's not a mystery,'' Hamilton said. ``There was nothing I could do. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm not bothered by it, it's behind me know.''

Hamilton would like to race again this year, maybe even make his comeback at the IRL season finale Oct. 12 in Texas.

A.J. Foyt provided Hamilton his first chance to get back into an Indy car during testing at Phoenix last fall. Hamilton drove 13 races for Foyt in 1996-97 when the IRL first started.

``Normally, I wouldn't have done something like that, but Davey and I have been friends for many years,'' Foyt said. ``I knew he wanted to get back in an Indy car. He was pretty happy afterward.''

Even though he was limping and still in significant pain, Hamilton wasn't going miss the chance. After a few laps, he was comfortable again in the cockpit.

``Once I got in the car, it was different for sure because it had been so long,'' he said. ``I got everything back. I missed that adrenaline rush, I missed the speed, I missed the challenge of making the car fast and communicating with the team. Right at that second, I was home.''

Hamilton has done some other testing for Foyt and been offered seat time by other teams.

``I guarantee you that when I get in a car, I can go fast, I could qualify well and I could race well,'' Hamilton said. ``I just don't know how long I could race.''

Hamilton is still trying to rebuild his endurance to drive in a 2 1/2-hour race. He also still has some problems with his right foot, sometimes losing sensation after extended periods of activity.

Scheid, who acknowledges that Hamilton's recovery so far is amazing, said the problem with the foot is improving gradually.

Foyt overcame his broken leg in an Indy car race in 1990, and is impressed with what Hamilton is accomplishing.

``It takes a lot of hard work to come back. I know the work it takes and Davey's injuries were even worse than mine,'' Foyt said.

Six months after his accident at Elkhart Lake, Wis., Foyt qualified second for the Indianapolis 500. It was the 34th of his record 35 consecutive starts at the Brickyard.

``People told Davey it wouldn't be long, but I told him he was just getting started and there would be a lot of pain,'' Foyt said. ``The fact is, he will live with pain for the rest of his life just like I do.''

Hamilton, regardless of the pain, simply wants to race again - just like Foyt.

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Last revised: August 04, 2003.