Weekly Notebook presented by JRi Shocks
Notes: Pennsylvania driver eyes best season
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
For Grant Adams, Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., has been sort of a nemesis. In April 27’s event at the legendary half-mile oval, Adams got into the wall and banged up his Lazer Chassis.
“It has really, really long straightaways, and really, really tight turns, so it’s hard to get the car loose enough to get in (the corners), then tight enough to get off (the corners), because you carry so much speed into the turn,” said the 26-year-old Limited Late Model driver from Grantville, Pa. “I just never had any luck there. I never draw good pills. Nothing ever seems to work out there.” | Weekly results
But in part because of his uncle Glenn Adams, his co-car owner and one of his biggest supporters, Grant Adams continues to try to improve at Williams Grove.
“My uncle especially wants to do well there,” said Adams, adding he might’ve given up to race at Susquehanna Speedway Park if it had been up to him. “He always tries to keep my motivated to go there and conquer it.”
That’s exactly what Adams did May 4 in scoring a victory at Williams Grove, rebounding from his wreck the previous week. Along with a May 3 win at Trail-Way Speedway in Hanover, Pa., Adams pulled off a two-victory weekend, and with three victories so far in 2013, he’s already one victory shy of matching his career-high total of four wins set each of the last two seasons.
“We’ve had a pretty good year here,” said Adams, last season’s Precise Racing Products 358 Late Model champion between Trail-Way and Lincoln Speedways. “We’re leading the points again there, so we’re hoping to pick that up again and pick up a few more wins, hopefully.”
Grant has followed the tire tracks of his uncle Glenn, a former Late Model racer primarily at the now-closed Silver Springs Speedway in the 1980s and early ‘90s. When Grant decided to jump into the driver’s seat in a thunder car division 11 years ago, Glenn was there to help along with his older brother Sam, “and it just kind of took off from there.”
While his uncles tune on the powerplants, Grant focuses on the car’s handling along with crew member brothers Travis and Jason Ebersole, who drive 45 minutes one way each weeknight to work on the No. 64.
“Without the four of them, I wouldn’t be nearly where I’m at right now,” Adams said.
Adams also appreciated help from chassis builder Jim Bernheisel, whose shop is just a few miles away and helped make quick repairs on the car after the April 27 accident.
“I’ve known (Bernheisel) and talked to him my whole life, so if we need something, he’s always available for us,” Adams said. “It’s real nice having him that close.”
With such a good start in 2013, Adams threw out a few goals that might be nice to achieve in his sixth Late Model season.
“I’d obviously like to win a bunch of races. I’d love to have a season where we won 10 races,” Adams said, then added: “I’d like to do a lot better at Williams Grove than I have in the past.”
Adams has three victories at Williams Grove — one each in 2011, ’12 and now ’13 — but he knows that’s the place where drivers get noticed.
“It’s been around so long and people know Williams Grove, everybody around here,” he said. “It’s ‘Williams Grove,’ where with the other tracks, you kind of gotta explain a little bit more to get ‘em to recognize it.”
• At Delaware International Speedway on May 4, Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., swept the Twin 20s in the Super Late Model division, giving him three straight victories at the half-mile oval.
• Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., swept May 3-4 Late Model action at El Paso (Texas) Speedway Park and his hometown Southern New Mexico Speedway to extend a personal five-race win streak between Late Model and Super Truck divisions.
• Scoring a two-victory weekend, Dennis Lunger Jr. of Albion, Pa., captured May 3-4 Crate Late Model victories in Ohio at Raceway 7 in Conneaut and Sharon Speedway in Hartford.
• Three Billy Riels Racing drivers from Mississippi swept the top three spots in May 4 Crate Late Model at St. Tammany Raceway in Lacombe, La., with Noah Daspit of Kiln, Michael Arnold of Hattiesburg and Shannon Lee of Lumberton. Daspit drove a Trak-Star while Arnold and Lee pilot GRTs.
• Winning his third race in as many starts at Clary’s Speedway, Damon Kotke of Louisburg, N.C., won the second race of the Brinkleyville, N.C., oval’s Double Down weekend.
• On a night when 37 Crate Late Models crowded the pits, hometown driver Jim McDuffie of Meridian, Miss., won May 4’s NeSmith Chevrolet Old Man’s Garage Weekly Racing Series event at Whynot Motorsports Park.
First things first
First-time occurrences at the dirt track:
• Justin Kann of Hesston, Pa., won his first Super Late Model feature at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway, becoming the track’s 126th winner in the division.
• Crate Late Model champion Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., made a guest appearance in his father Rob’s Super Late Model to earn his first victory in the elite division May 4 at Marion Center (Pa.) Speedway.
• Another Crate racer breaking through for his first Super Late Model victory was Kyle Lukon of Burgettstown, Pa., who won May 4 at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial, Pa.
• Making just his fifth start in the sportsman division, Tyler Bare of Rockbridge Baths, Va., notched his first feature victory May 4 at Natural Bridge (Va.) Speedway. Bare, 18, is the first third-generation driver to win at the track. He’s son of long-time racer Booper Bare and grandson of former driver Tommy Bare.
• Brad Ritter of Whites Creek, Va., won May 3 at Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Md., for the first time, outdueling Jimmy Jesmer Jr.
• Jeff Curtain of Shawano, Wis., won his first feature at Seymour (Wis.) Speedway in May 5’s Fastrak-sanctioned Crate Late Model action.
• Part of a two-victory weekend, Zack Carley of Freedom, N.Y., won his first Crate Late Model feature May 4 at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y. He also won the following day at Humberstone (Ontario) Speedway.
Weekly points chases
UMP DIRTcar (Super Late Models): Through April events, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., is on top with 601 points over Mike Hammerle (553) of St. Charles, Mo., and Scott Schmitt (495) of Tonica, Ill.
UMP DIRTcar (Crate Late Models): Aaron Heck of Mount Vernon, Ill., is off to a hot start with 587 points to lead Nick Lyons (479) of Centralia, Ill., and Jeff Walson (413) of Paducah, Ky.
AMRA: Andy Bond of Coolville, Ohio, leads with 305 points over reigning champion Chris Garnes (301) of Evans, W.Va., and K.C. Burdette (282) of Parkersburg, W.Va.
ULMA: Jason Russell of Henley, Mo., is on top with the Missouri-based Lucas Cattle Co. United Late Model Association with 127 points to lead Joe Walkenhorst (125) and Larry Jones (123).
NeSmith Chevrolet Series: Michael Arnold of Hattiesburg, Miss., leads the Old Man’s Garage Weekly Racing Series for Crate Late Models with 293 points while Shannon Lee (283) of Lumberton, Miss., and Lucky Keeton (279) of Toomsuba, Miss., give chase.
SECA: With rain still hampering SECA events, Mac Owens of Woodruff, S.C., leads the first-year Southeastern Crate Association with 102 points over Joey Phillips (101) and Terry Bullard (100).
Upcoming weekly specials
Among non-touring and independent special events at dirt tracks around the country this weekend:
Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (May 10): The three-track Big 10 Series visits the quarter-mile oval.
Potomac Speedway, Budds Creek, Md. (May 10): The Summer Sizzler pays $2,000-to-win for a 35-lap Super Late Model event on ARCH Night.
Lake Cumberland Speedway, Burnside, Ky. (May 11): The Super Late Model feature pays $2,500-to-win on a night where all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
Clayhill Motorsports Park, Atwood, Tenn. (May 11): The third round of the King of the Clayhill is scheduled for the NeSmith Chevrolet-sanctioned Crate Late Model division.
Tennessee National Raceway, Hohenwald, Tenn. (May 11): The regular weekly program will be joined by Super Late Models battling for a $2,000-to-win, $300-to-start purse.
Macon (Ill.) Speedway (May 11): The Big 10 Late Model miniseries highlights Teacher’s Appreciation Night with all teachers receiving half-price admission with a school ID card.
201 Speedway, Sitka, Ky. (May 11): The Coal Field 50 pays $3,000-to-win for unsanctioned Super Late Models.
North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, Ga. (May 11): Limited Late Models run for a $2,000 winner’s purse while Crate Late Models run for $1,000-to-win.
St. Croix Valley Raceway, St. Croix Falls, Wis. (May 11): In a rare appearance, WISSOTA Late Models are part of the Bullring Blash card at the open-wheel stronghold.
Casino Speedway, Watertown, S.D. (May 12): The Marilyn Olson Memorial, a WISSOTA special honoring the late mother of No. 71 hometown Late Model driver Scott Olson, pays $1,571-to-win and $171-to-start in the track’s season opener.