Torque Tube’s intrepid Speedway Reporter Dan Zimmermann joins us this week for a look at what happened last weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) at Indianapolis and Knoxville Raceway.
All photos by Seve (Scott Sevenbergen)
This weekend in the U.S. was our Memorial Weekend where we remember the individuals who have served our country in the armed forces, fire and rescue, and law enforcement. My hat is off to those brave individuals who have served and are still serving. It is also our biggest racing weekend of the year encompassing all forms of motorsports. Our group had split up to take in winged and wingless sprint car racing and the events at the Indianapolis motor speedway while the rest of us headed to Knoxville for our weekly race meeting. The weather was extremely hot for this time of the year but all races went off without a hitch. The weekend started on Thursday, May 24 with USAC sprint cars at the famous Terre Haute Action Track. This track in western Indiana has hosted many historical races over the years and the wingless sprinters are breathless to watch as they rocket down the straights and pick the left front tires (and sometimes both front tires) high in the air. Terre Haute requires the highest level of bravery as the speeds are massive and some of the worst wrecks in wingless racing have occurred at Terre Haute. Bud Kaeding was victorious and he celebrated with some of the best donuts in all of racing. I have linked a video to the nights racing below courtesy of the USAC racing website. Jon Stanbrough led the first 22 laps of the A main but lost the lead to a Darren Hagen slide job in the Hoffman racing 69. Darren held the lead until contact with Thomas Messeraull took him out of the potential race win. Jon Stanbrough resumed the lead but Bud Kaeding drove past him and held on to the checkers. Our friend Scott Sevenbergen took the pictures that are below of the wingless cars at Terre Haute. Thanks to Scott for letting me use these pictures in the article. Click this link for the nights racing:
After Terre Haute, Seve’s group went on to Indianapolis where they watched the Carb Day practice and the Freedom 100. I received the following informative text message/report from Seve during the practice session.
After the races, we spent some time in the pits talking to friends before returning to the campground. The Indy 500 awaited for us the next day and we were all extremely anxious to see what would happen. The Indy 500 of 2012 will be remembered as one of the best ever. Dario Franchitti held of a bonsai move from Takuma Sato on the last lap to seal the victory. It was not a cakewalk for Franchitti as he had to battle from the back of the field after a pit road incident on lap 14 which spun his car sideways and required a front wing change. A record number of lead changes occurred in the race which featured new cars and engines that performed beautifully at the Brickyard.
Here are some photos from Seve of the Indianapolis shindig – Thanks again Seve !
Of course, I was jealous and wished I could have been there with Seve and that group. The rest of us traveled to Knoxville for a weekend of camping and the weekly race meeting. The weather in Iowa was more like the hot August weather that usually accompanies the Nationals.
Our field of cars was a bit smaller than normal which usually happens during this weekend since there are many tracks running races. 23 410’s were on hand along with 20 360’s and 17 305’s. The track stayed in excellent shape despite the heat and wind. The track crew in Knoxville has done a great job preparing the surface each week. The Aussies racing in the 410 class were Lynton Jeffrey who timed 14th, Glen Saville (18th) and Ian Madsen (19th). Ian had a bit of a rough night with his qualifying time and a 7th place finish in his heat race. He was scored as 18th in the A main after contact with Lynton Jeffrey on the backstretch bent his right front rim and flattened the tire. Lynton was able to continue after the contact and finished in the 11th position. Lynton’s heat race was an exciting one as he exchanged positions and slide jobs with Tasker Phillips. Eventually Phillips would seize control of the top spot and a late Brian Brown pass relegated Lynton to 3rd. Glen Saville who is a rookie this season had a respectable run in the A main of 17th. He is getting a little smoother each week as he gains more experience.
The A Main’s for the 410’s have been great races all season. This Saturday’s was more of the same. Bronson Maechen took off in the lead from his outside pole position. Jeffrey and Madsen made contact which brought the yellow flag out. On the subsequent restart, Davey Heskin (running in 4th place) hit the restart cone and took it clear to turn two. An atv had to be ushered out to retrieve the cone and the restart order saw Heskin penalized two positions back to 6th. Dusty Zomer and Danny Lasoski had a good battle going for second when Lasoski totally cut off Zomer coming down the front stretch into 1. This caused Zomer to lose a great deal of momentum and he lost the 3rd spot to a fast running Dustin Selvage. Maechen was able to stretch his lead out during this green flag period until Travis Whitney lost power and appeared to blow an engine causing another yellow flag which bunched up the field. When the green flag came out, Lasoski took advantage of the restart and blew around Maechen on the high side to eventually ride to the win which was his 97th in Knoxville. Maechen held on for 2nd with Zomer completing the podium. Mark Dobmeier and Davey Heskin rounded out the top 5. The 360 and 305 classes were won by cousins. Mike (305’s) and Nate Van Haaften (360’s) took the checkers in each of these A features. It was a special night for the Van Haaftens, not just because of the race wins but Mike is a US Armed Services veteran who has served overseas in the Persian Gulf conflict. Winning a race at Knoxville is very special but for a veteran winning on Memorial Weekend had to be a night that Mike won’t ever forget.
The race weekend was capped off with us watching some of the Coke 600 from Charlotte on TV – we had a big campfire that lasted well into the evening. I’ll be in Knoxville this weekend with the whole group and we will have a report next weekend. Also, my friend Eric Arnold has a blog he updates a couple times a month on racing in and around Iowa, mostly concentrated on Knoxville Sprint Car racing. You can read his articles here – http://hawkeyeovals.blogspot.com/
For now, Cheers Mates until next week!
(Dan Zimmermann is a motoring observer/commentator and freelance journalist. He ventures all over The States to satisfy his love of watching motorsport. His close mate Seve are members of the BHG (Bus House Gang) and that “Brown Bus” that rests in an RV Park at Knoxville is legendary and the subject of a future post in its own right. We look forward to the next travelling installment !)
PS: Thanks Seve for the ripper photos !!!!!!!!!!