The Midwest Racing Connection With Charlie Spry

June 20, 2013

The past couple of weeks has brought out several new
drivers to the Columbus 151 Speedway, some are veterans
coming out for the first time, while others have seen very
limited, or in some cases, no track time ever here.
Past two-time street stock champion Phil Denikas has made
a return, immediately running strong in his first feature of
the year, placing second to Scott Lawver. Phil will only get
faster, as he usually can get his car hooked up in the tricky
outside groove here, and I’d expect no less this year out of
him. It’s good to see him back out after a miserable and
trouble-plagued year last year.
Rockford Roadrunner division racer Ryan Ostenson
recently made the trip up to race, stating, “I’ve never run
here before, but it’s always fun to try new things and new
tracks, and I just want to do what I can and stay out of
trouble.” He did just that, as attrition took a toll on several,
with Ryan taking home a third place feature finish. The
Roadrunner class cars are not allowed nearly the
modifications that the Columbus/Jefferson hobby stocks
are, so it was quite an accomplishment. The Roadrunner
rules are meant to limit the sum of money one can throw
into a car, and that is a good thing.
Jefferson hobby stock racer Peter Shelley also was out
recently, his first time racing in this division here. He won
his heat race, before transmission troubles took him out of
the feature while running up front. Russ Tetzlaff also raced
Justin Kumbier’s car the last time out.
In the street stock division, Alex Lee made his first
appearance of the year as well, while Jeffrey Lefave Jr. also
brought out his hobby stock. Veterans Andy Wendt and
Russ Grossen also made appearances in the late model
division. In the Bandit division, Art Blakely, Brian Beale
and Bobby Ollerman made appearances. Beale won the
feature right out of the box on his first night out. Chris
Matz has also made a couple of appearances with his sharp
looking Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare racer.
Mike Taylor also made his first showing here of the year,
saying, “This is actually my first time racing at all this year,
I’ve turned the car over to these other guys this year to
race, so I guess I am a car owner now, I get all the work and
none of the fun,” He laughed. Mike was racing his street
stock car piloted by his Brother Jim at Jefferson, while his
son, Kyle, is racing the family late model. Mike has turned a
lot of laps here in past years.We actually have a fourth
generation driver running here, as Tory Adams’ Daughter,
Mckayla, has started racing here in the Bandit division,
learning the ropes and doing a fine job. One of the most
impressive showings this year has been from late model
rookie John Beale. Moving up directly from the Bandit
division to late model, John won the feature recently on
only his third night out in the new class. I know that he did
some extensive practicing before the season started, which
obviously helped, but it is an incredible thing to
accomplish. He has been very impressive this year. On the
night he won his feature, he first won his heat race to gain
his first ever victory in a late model, with which he was
obviously quite pleased, but then to top the night off with
a feature win, well, that is a little icing on the cake! “Was it
a win where I came from the back of the pack and passed
everyone?” stated Beale, “No. Was it a feature win? Yes.
I’ll take it. My radio wasn’t working well, so that didn’t
help, and I kind of wished I didn’t have a mirror in the car,
because I kept looking in it to see where everyone was, but
it turned out okay.” He backed the win up with a strong
finish the following week, where he DID have to come from
the back of the pack.
Just last Friday, it was great fun to watch Brady Liddle and
Tory Adams swapping the lead with each other in the late
model feature. Adams had engine troubles and spun, and
sometimes it seems he can’t catch a break. “Every time we
get in a position to win one, something seems to happen,”
Said the crew afterwards. The pair had a great race going
on, and the Adams crew complimented Brady on running
them clean.
Had a “tour” of a backup car, courtesy of Andy Ward. For
those not in the know, this is a very unique division, that
simply said, races in reverse. It is not known for sure, but
this may be the only division of its kind in the country that
races strictly in reverse gear. “We average 60 m.p.h. while
racing,” Said Ward. “We get some people who say that it is
no big deal, but I tell you what, they should try racing in
reverse that fast. And we race each other, not try to wreck.”
Andy has a very comfy seat out of a Lincoln in his car,
turned at an extreme angle, in order to allow for ease of
looking behind out the rear window, as well as a grab bar
welded onto the roll cage to hold onto, while steering with
one hand. The shifter is also relocated next to the driver’s
door. Very unique and exciting division to watch race.
The four cylinder Bandit division has provided some
absolutely fantastic racing this season, as recently twentyone
cars started an eighteen lap feature, which means the
fastest cars have little time if they are going to try to get to
the front. The whole group did this without a single
caution. Fifteen of the twenty-one cars used black as their
primary color, so I’d guess these drivers are expecting
some tire marks on their cars? Or black paint is cheaper.

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