Weekly Notebook presented by JRi Shocks
Notes: New driving style gives Oregon driver lift
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
After six Willamette Speedway championships and two DIRTcar Northwest regional titles in just over 10 years of Late Model racing, Trevor Glaser was confident he had established a pretty good driving style. But in a trip to Tucson (Ariz.) International Raceway in January, Glaser realized that his approach to driving might actually be holding him back.
“Tucson’s always kind of been my Achilles' heel,” said Glaser, the 34-year-old driver from Tangent, Ore. “We just never could quite get the handle on it. This year, we finally got close enough to kinda figure out what we were doing wrong, and I think most of it was me. I started driving a little different, and we were actually a lot better.”
Glaser’s driving style adjustments didn’t just improve his performance at Tucson’s annual January miniseries. While he’s long been one of the top competitors in the Northwest region, he’s been nearly unstoppable since kicking off the local racing season in April. He’s won 10 of 13 starts between Willamette in Lebanon, Ore., and Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway, including a pair of 100-lap victories in Cottage Grove’s Firecracker 100 on July 4 and a special event at Willamette on July 6.
“The change has translated to almost everywhere we go,” Glaser said. “I thought (Tucson) just didn’t fit my driving style. Now, I’m thinking my driving style may have been wrong. Our speed’s picked up everywhere, and I can’t really explain it other than the fact that I changed my driving style a little bit.”
Off to the best season start of his career, Glaser has already had two impressive streaks. He won five races in a row from May 11 through June 22, with four of those wins coming at Willamette.
The four straight victories at Willamette had Glaser eyeing the track’s record of seven consecutive Late Model victories. Glaser believes he could’ve broken the record if not for his decision to chase a $500 bonus that was offered if he could’ve won from the 20th starting spot on June 29. He almost did it, advancing all the way to fourth in the 50-lap race before his charge ran out of steam.
“I guess I got a little too big for my britches on that one,” Glaser said. “The week before we had to pit about 10 or so laps into a 40-lapper and came from the back to the front and won it. With an extra 10 laps, I figured I could make it happen, but the top groove gave up a little bit and we just didn’t have enough.”
Since the fourth-place finish on June 22 — his worst finish since returning from Arizona — Glaser has already built another streak of four straight overall. With three of those victories coming at Willamette, Glaser is already eyeing a run at the all-time record of seven in a row.
“We came back and we’ve won three in a row, so I think we would’ve had that record by now,” Glaser said. “But we’ve got a few races left, so maybe we’ll get back up there. That’d be a pretty cool record to have, so I think I would take a chance on another one of them bonuses.”
Whether he breaks the record or not, 2013 will likely go down as the best season of Glaser’s career so long as he keeps the momentum rolling, which is exactly what he hopes to do.
“It’s pretty cool,” Glaser said. “We’ve been fast and we’ve run races, but I’ve never really been in this position. I mean, everything is just clicking right now. I’ve thought I had fast cars before, but not like what we’ve got going on right now.
“We’ve never won quite like we’re winning right now. My best year up till now is 12, and we’re only two away from that. We’ve got a ways to go, so maybe we can keep winning and surpass that while everything’s going so well for us.”
• Rallying from ninth to first in just two laps, Todd Malmstrom of Silvis, Ill., notched his second straight victory July 21 at Quad City Speedway in East Moline, Ill.
• At Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway, Andy Obertello of Hollister, Calif., topped Tommy Malcolm for a July 20 feature victory.
• Rob Blair of Titusville, Pa., earned $3,000 for his July 21 victory at Eriez Speedway in Hammett, Pa.; he also won July 19 at Raceway 7 in Conneaut, Ohio.
• Leading the points in the quest for his 10th track title, Dick Barton of Ashville, N.Y., scored his 78th victory at Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y., on July 20 to move within one of Bobby Schnars on the track's all-time victories list.
• Winning his fourth feature in the track’s last five races, Skip O’Neal of Midlothian, Texas, triumphed July 20 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas.
• Rebounding from a last-lap loss a week earlier at another track, Michael Wright of Isom, Ky., scored a $2,500 Summer Sizzler victory July 20 at Lucky 7 Speedway in Colson, Ky.
• While trailing smoke signaled engine damage in the final laps, Donald Lingo Jr. of Millsboro, Del., held on for a July 20 victory at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar.
• Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., ended a 26-month drought at Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Md., with a $2,500 payoff in July 20’s Rumble on the River.
• Winning her first feature since 2007, Laura Lukon of Burgettstown, Pa., topped RUSH Crate Late Model division competitors July 20 at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial, Pa.
• Extending his IMCA points lead, Todd Cooney of Des Moines, Iowa, notched July 20-21 victories at Iowa’s Shelby County and Stuart Speedways.
• Brothers from Murphy, N.C., battled up front at Dixie Speedway on July 20 with Shawn Chastain topping Johnny Chastain in the Super Late Model feature at the Woodstock, Ga., oval.
First things first
First-time occurrences at the dirt track:
• Taking the lead on the 10th lap, Robby Bunkelman of Abbotsford, Wis., won July 20 at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., for his first career WISSOTA Late Model victory.
• Bob McMillen of St. Mary’s, Pa., won his first Late Model feature at America’s Motorsports Park in Clearfield, Pa., on July 20.
Weekly points chases
UMP DIRTcar (Super Late Models): Fresh off his $25,000 Summernationals championship Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., also commands the chase for UMP’s $20,000 national points title with 2,250 points through July 14. Shannon Babb (2,038) and Rusty Schlenk (1,851) are well behind.
UMP DIRTcar (Crate Late Models): Aaron Heck of Mount Vernon, Ill., leads a tight chase with 1,385 points through July 14. Nick Lyons of Centralia, Ill. (1,363) has jumped Jeff Walston (1,340) of Paducah, Ky., for second.
IMCA: Todd Cooney of Des Moines, Iowa, has 778 points, while Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, has closed the gap slightly at 769 points. Darrel DeFrance is third with 736 points.
WISSOTA: Second-year division driver Dustin Strand of Grand Forks, N.D., is on top through July 13 with 946 points. Chad Becker (900), Mike Balcaen (885) and Curt Gelling (864) are among drivers in pursuit.
WDLMA: Justin Hirt of Tigerton, Wis., is still on top with 262 points followed by Russ Scheffler (235) and Tim Buhler (219).
AMRA: Ronnie Mayle of Chesterhill, Ohio, has jumped to the lead of the standings with 1,085 points. He’s followed by Andy Bond (1,059) of Coolville, Ohio, and defending champion Chris Garnes (1,039) of Evans, W.Va.
ULMA: Jason Russell of Henley, Mo., leads the Missouri-based Limited Late Model organization with 1,638 points. He’s being chased by Chris Cox (1,499), his brother Justin Russell (1,453) and Vance Wilson (1,433).
NeSmith Chevrolet Series: Noah Daspit of Kiln, Miss., once again extended his lead in Old Man’s Garage Weekly points. With 687 points, he leads Sid Scarbrough (645) and Derrick Mackner (612).
RUSH: Mike Pegher Jr. of Wexford, Pa., continues to lead the first-year Crate Late Model organization’s weekly points chase with 1,625 points to Rick Singleton’s 1,584 and Joe Martin 1,572.
SECA: Trent Ivey of Union, S.C., leads with 465 points on the first-year Crate Late Model organization over Joey Phillips (414) and Nick Dietz (382).
Upcoming weekly specials
Among non-touring and independent special events at dirt tracks around the country for the upcoming weekend:
Jackson County Speedway, Maquoketa, Iowa (July 25): The Jackson County Fair Race includes a non-points event for IMCA Late Models.
Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway (July 25): The Thursday Night Thunder program at the Jackson County Fair includes a $1,025-to-win Crate Late Model feature along with modifieds, super stocks and mini sprints.
Skyline Speedway, Stewart, Ohio (July 26): The Jack Shutts Memorial pays $3,000-to-win for the track’s AMRA-sanctioned Late Models. Modifieds battling in the Greg Schilling Memorial with a $1,699 winner’s purse.
West Liberty (Iowa) Raceway (July 27): The IMCA-sanctioned Tri-Track Challenge pays $2,000-to-win for the Late Model division.
East Lincoln Speedway, Stanley, N.C. (July 27): The Ralph Nantz Memorial pays $2,000-to-win and $200-to-win for a 25-lap Late Model feature.
Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway (July 27): The Paul Crockett Memorial pays $2,500-to-win for Super Late Models in capping the Jackson County Fair; five other divisions are in action.