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with Dina Leach
04/11/04

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Jovial:
Happy, full of mirth

 

Well, I am sure that some of my more personal friends out there are laughing at the word of the week. "Sure, she made that the word of the week because she is a die-hard Bon Jovi fan!". J Not so. Jovial is the word of the week, because that is about the biggest emotion that I saw this past week in racing. A close second to Jovial was Sportsmanship, and I will explain that as the column goes on. It’s been along week for me. I’ve been working a lot up here in Trenton and am slowly learning that working and taking care of BILLS is what life is all about. So much for that vacation to Maui this year! Or to New Hampshire for the race for that matter! Don’t you wish that you could just shred all your bills and they would all go away? I have a HUGE shredder in my office if anyone wants to try it. It’s been weighing (!!) me down lately, yet I still hold on to my fun times through the weekends and all the great people that still want to hang with me even if I haven’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of!! JJ

 

I was So glad that East Windsor Speedway got their show in this past week. Albeit that I thought ‘continuing’ a show was a little cheesy, it still gave way to some good racing on the track. I know that I got TWO Sportsman features out of the deal! It was nice to see one of my boys, Dom Buffalino take that make up feature. Where did this kid come from? HE is definitely making his own branch on the Buffalino Family Racing Tree. If you’ve ever met Dom, ya gotta agree that he’s kinda quiet, a little reserved, but he lets it all go when he is inside of his 2B Sportsman. I think that he is surely going to be a standout in years to come as he is already tallying up wins and gaining the respect from his peers on the racetrack. I remember watching Dom in the rookie division at NES and thinking that he had a huge set of shoes to fill. (I remember very well the fights my brother and I had about Jess Buffalino and who was going cheer for him that week. When you are young, you can’t cheer for the same driver…or so we thought!) When my Dad and I watched Dom for the first time, his drive and ability to become a success in this sport equally impressed us. I think this young man is on his way to becoming more of a success than he ever thought possible.

 

Say what you want, but, it is always nice to see Al Cheney and the team take a win. They are always so appreciative of the challenges that are brought their way and definitely have a soft spot in their hearts for the fans, especially the littlest ones!! Speaking of super stocks, Mario and Richie Page were in the audience on Friday night as well as their father and Uncle and the most adorable Eddie!! I LOVE the fact that drivers from other tracks come and watch to take in the competition and to celebrate the camaraderie of the fans and drivers. If they were stopped once, Ma and Rich were stopped 100 times by fans and friends that were in the grandstands at EWS. Some of the regular EWS fans do not get to get to NES, so this was a nice change for them to see some of their favorite Super stock guys out of uniform, enjoying the races. All in all, there were an awful lot of cautions in that street stock feature. Some could have been avoided, I think, but, who am I?? (Wayne, grab the duct tape!)

 

I haven’t much to say concerning the modified feature that night except that it was actually DIFFERENT to see Billy Pauch take a win! Bill has been having some problems lately, however, you can NEVER count out the driving abilities of this man. My Mom has often said "Give Billy a wheel barrow! He’ll win in that!" And, I am inclined to believe that is true. Sure, I razz the HELL out of Billy when he’s on the track and a few of his fans and I (JUNIOR) really get them all going, but it is all in fun. I have nothing but respect for Billy and his program. He has given so much to this sport that there is not one person that could deny his involvement. I hear that his son is up and coming. That is going to be a great spectacle to see. How could young Bill go wrong?? JJ Also, I would like to offer all of my thoughts and prayers to Artie Taylor. Hope all is as well as it can be. Those flips scare the hell out of me. I hate them.

 

Well, the second Sportsman feature that night is where I would like to talk about Sportsmanship. I can mention several names of guys that did a superlative job during that feature; Pratt, Lyons, etc, etc, but there is one driver that I have to say gave the best performance out of them all: Rob Schuster. Rob is known as a good guy that loves his racin’ but when he found out that the Cheese Man, John Romano, was lookin’ for a ride, he took all situations into consideration. John is third in points; Rob has missed a few shows. So, I know that it KILLED Rob to ‘pass the helmet’ shall we say and show the sincerest form of sportsmanship: he gave the ride to Romano. Now, get this. This is where it gets funnie!!! I didn’t know that it was John in the car! I am screaming at the top of my lungs for ROB and it was JOHN in the car the whole time! Hello!!?? Could we have made a phone call, Mr. Balaam and told someone!! Anne Marie and I kept looking but could not figure out who it was. I couldn’t even read the helmet!! But, however, all in all, Romano gave the BR Fabrication 20 a great run!! It was a lot of fun to watch the car up front. <sigh> Just shy of breathtaking….

 

My favorite part of EWS besides the racing is hangin’ out in the pits after the show is over. I am usually tucked away somewhere in the 22 K&L Racing pit with Larry and Kris Reed. We always get a minute to hang with Stan and Kim J. (I CAN’T SPELL IT!!) and Big Al always stops in on his way out. We are constantly yelling at Phil to stop playing with his necklace!! We are usually one of the last ones to leave. It’s just a lot of fun to get to meet people that you may not have met if you didn’t hang out. I got the chance to meet Rob Goldmeyer (Sorry, Rob. I really cannot spell!!) this past week as he came over to listen to half the gossip that flags down EWS. You wanna talk about a quiet guy!! WOW!! The driver of the 307 Sportsman is very quiet, seems to keep to himself and jumps in when he’s got something to say. He’s a very cool guy, tho. His crew is just as nice as he is. It will be nice to see them take a win this year.

 

Well, Have I gotten over Saturday night at New Egypt Speedway yet? I don’t think that I have!! What can you say about the winners there? First, I would like to congratulate John Hewitt on his Super stock win. It was SOOOO cool to see him take the checkered as he was robbed a few times in previous weeks! I know that I was screaming for him to win. Al, you know that I love you, but I really wanted John to win this time!! I think that way down deep in everyone’s hearts, they were pullin’ for John to win. How about that Page kid? Richie is certainly coming around and getting his 28 up front! I won’t lie and say that I didn’t miss Mario that night, but it is always great to see the pages finish and finish well. I got a soft spot in my heart for that family. They took care of me while I was in New York and I can never repay them for that.

 

Let’s hear it for HOOTIE!!! No, no, not my cat!! For Ryan Godown!! I just don’t know if it can get any sweeter for that guy. Last week, Ry was in a tizzy ‘cause the motor blew. No sooner did the races end, did Ryan make his way up to Mr. Morrison to fix the problem. Well, again, sportsmanship as Steve Moss jumped in and allowed Ryan to use the Fiel motor. WOW!! What a great run! Albeit that the track was slick and sure, there was not much passing, but, Roger Laureno was coming on fast!! I saw that some of the guys were making that top groove work, but I think that the bottom was probably the safest out there. I don’t know what it is like to drive on a slick track, however, I remember Jack Swain tellin’ me that it is almost like a sheet of ice. You wanna know what is funnie? I was in the office, doing some work when Ryan took the lead. I didn’t even see it!! I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my seat that Ry was leading the race. All I know is that I am glad that the race was 25 laps instead of 30. As previously stated, The IceMan was coming on fast and who knows what those final five laps would have held. I was ecstatic. I did get the chance to go down (haha) to victory lane with Ry and the crew. I am so glad that they consider me part of the ‘family’ so to speak. Just don’t go around a pool when Ryan and Cheryl are around, that is all that I am saying!!!! Totally a JOVIAL event…

 

Time to make the doughnuts!! Not doughnuts!! MUNCHKINS!!! Jeff Geiges has proven that he is a contender for wins and great finishes at NES! Wayne and I held on to each other so close in those last five laps. I remember when Jeff made the mistake and lost it coming out of the corner. Man, we were all in tears. You don’t wanna know what my Dad screamed!! But, luck was on Jeff’s side as they went back to the previous lap and allowed him to regain his lead. That is when we all went nuts and kept tellin’ his little ass to stay on the bottom!! I have been a faithful follower of the 77J for almost a year now and can say one thing: These guys and gals bust their asses with what little money they have to produce this car. This is definitely what I call low buck racing. The look on Jeff’s face was enough for me as he flew off the roof of the car in complete happiness and utter shock! I mean, EVERYONE was crying for this kid!! I was, Dave, Kimi, Rae, Dani, AB, Charlie, my Mom and Dad, EVERYONE! I kept telling Jeff that he has the heart to win and he will!! He proved it Saturday night!! Jeff, I am so glad that this win came for you sooner than you ever thought possible. How happy were you? I hope that this is just one in a million for you. See all, Jeff is like my stupid little brother that I always wanted. There is something about this kid that makes you want to laugh and smile whenever he is around. The kids love him. (Well, he IS their size! J) I know a few kids that have pictures of their favorite drivers and it’s like Dale Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jeff Geiges. It’s a cool thing to see. Fly high, mayor!! Munchkin City has found it’s way over the rainbow!

 

They announced the sign ups for Ms New Egypt Speedway. I was asked if I was going to do it again. I don’t know. I still don’t have the body, however, at least I know what a yellow flag means AND I know where the fourth turn is. Think I should? Let me in on it.

 

I would like to thank Jimmy Brown for delivering the goods to me on Saturday as I have proof that I drove a racecar!! Jim and I both being former members of the chub club have new outlooks on life lately. Have you seen him?? I barely recognize him anymore. It’s fun, ain’t it Jim? Special thanks to Uncle Nick and nan for STILL believing in me when all the world seems to have shut it’s doors on me. Anne Marie - you have become a great friend. Thank you. Kimi - Thanks for the shirt!! Andy and Barb - Did he get lucky again?? Hey Gene - Let’s go to the videotape!! I didn’t think that you did it. Big Bad Dave - SIMMER DOWN, NOW!!

 

Dawn and mike - thank you for a friendship that I thought that I lost. It’s great to know that you are still a phone call away. Rae - I continue to offer my olive branch. Toddie - Having fun with that Harley? Be good and easy on that thing. You wait until I get my beetle. I will kick your Harley ass!! Thanks to Rich Mc Tighe for taking his time and e-mailing the Follies for me. You rock, Backstreet!!!

 

Well, love and luck to all this weekend especially to the Godown (BRIAN, CONGRATS ON THE WIN A FEW WEEKS AGO!!), Page, Papiez, Fleming, and Geiges gangs. To all my guys (and you know who you are) be strong, be safe, and do not let anyone take your place. To the LRA 99 Leach/Horton Team: I still believe that car is one bad ass … well, you know. Keep the faith. It pays off in the end. J Until then, do not walk by the flagger’s stand without saying hello!! Don’t walk through life without stepping into your own victory lane!! Love to all!! Hope to see you at the tracks!!

 

Oops, and to my Wayne…a friendship that lasts a lifetime makes way for a love that lasts for an eternity. I am still here. And, whether in friendship or kindred spirit, I always will be.

DINA = SAP


Impossible: Incapable of existing or taking place

Well, here we are again; set and ready for another edition of this hallowed column. There is much to discuss and there are some things that are better left unsaid. I am certain that I should start out with a reason for picking the word of the week. Well, look at all that has happened in racing in the past two weeks! What can you say about the home state boy winning the World of Outlaws?? What can you say about Bucky Kell winning the modified feature at NES when he was told that he never would be able to drive a race car again?

It’s been a heck of a few days in the racing community. It’s been full of surprises and of course, the downfalls. Personally, I think that the surprises are the best part of racing. It makes it for a fun night. You know, speaking of that, I was invited to go with Al Cheney and Uncle Nick to the Allentown Library to talk to some of the young kids about safety and racing. I was amazed at the children’s concentration as they listened to Al and Uncle Nick talk about the safety issues of racing. Some of the kids thought that it was impossible that the racecars could meet the speeds that were discussed. Uncle Nick even when on to say that there are some cars that go even faster than Al’s!! Al, Uncle Nick, Aunt Nancy, Rosie and I a great time shared it. I was glad to be a part of that.

Well, I guess that I will be the bad guy and mention the weather that has been petruding our race days. Ok, yes, there was a week where EWS could have ran, but what are you going to do about that? There is not much that you can do and you accomplish nothing by complaining about it. As race fans, we find trying to find something else to do on a race night virtually impossible, but we always seem to manage. Some do movies, then, some of the crazier sectors of the racing community think we are on American Idol and go to the local karaoke bar. When we get there, all we talk about is racing. We can’t get away from it. It’s everywhere!! (Like the blob.)

Onward….let’s talk about Outlaw night!! Ok, how hot was it?? I couldn’t even breathe!! I thought that I was going to melt like an ice cube on a hot stove! I was hoping that Mr. Grosso would set up closed circuit TV in an air-conditioned room!! That would sell some seats!! For sprint cars, I thought that some of the times were slow, didn’t you? Or, am I just uneducated about sprints? Contrary to popular belief, I don’t know everything!!! JJ I thought that they went faster last year, but that could be me. Perhaps I was delirious from the heat. When my ex, Wayne got there, him and I had to move. There were too many people in one spot. Plus, there was some older gentleman blasting Wayne for the big wreck Rusty Wallace caused at Pocono!! But, I was glad for PJ Chesson as he ran a flawless race. I got the chance to talk to him afterwards. Man, what a gentleman!! I thought that it was going to be impossible to get to him, but, after the initial crowd left, there was plenty of room and time to go up and talk to this young kid. He was so appreciative of everyone and took the time to listen to your every word. I told him that the doughnut that he did was one of the best ones that I had seen in a long time. I never thought that he was gonna REALLY climb the fence!!! I hope that there are pictures of that floating around. That was absolutely spectacular. (It was hysterical when Uncle Nick did it this past week at NES!! Good job, Nickie!)

Ok, I know that you are all waiting, so I will start the conversation. No, I do not know what happened to Mr. Godown during the invitational Sportsman race. I was at his house the night before and it seemed as though they were ready and looking for a good finish. I think it was all the time that Ryan, Cheryl, Ryan, Jr., Mike, Dawn and Ashley spent in the pool!! Could have been the corn, though. (For my money, the best corn on the cob comes from RINGOES!!) Nah, the guys really worked their asses off, but it wasn’t Ryan’s night. It was Jack Swain’s night.

I was ecstatic for Jack and his crew. Funny thing happened on the way to the forum!! Jack was late to the track, he couldn’t find his wallet, and the Outlaws were already on the track for their heat races!! Yet, I think that it was an omen because, like PJ, Jack led a flawless race and came out on top. It was great to be in Victory Lane with the J&C Racing team. I am glad that I could be a part of the celebration. Thanks, Jack!

Those Sportsman guys certainly put a show on that night. I was equally proud of The Flyin’ Munchkin, Jeff Geiges as he qualified the 77J for the Invitational. I thought that GR Smith looked great coming through the pack and Dom Buffalino started jumping up to the man’s lane later on in the race as the track slicked up even more than it already was. It was not a track that most of these guys are used too, however, they made the impossible, possible as they ran a great race. Hats off to my friend, Matt Papiez. Great job, boys. <Sigh> I love the Sportsman Division.

How about EWS this past weekend? OK, I GOT RAINED ON!!! Larry Reed told me that he knew it was gonna rain. But, again, the fearless race fan goes to where the race is!! I can’t say too much about the racing that night, as it was merely heat races, and the guys didn’t even get their cars dialed in for the features. I thought that Rob Schuster did great in his heat as he went from front, to back, to qualifying. (Oh, let the rumors fly, Robbie!!) Oh, and what was up with someone sitting in my seat??? JJJJJ Notice how no one sits around me?? I guess I’m too opinionated. NOT ME!!!!

Well, impossible really comes into play this past weekend at NES. First, the temperature skyrocketed again!!! I didn’t think that I could sweat that much!! Well, I would first like to start talking about impossibilities with the Powder Puffs that transpired at NES on Saturday. How many of us actually thought that we were ever going to get into one of those machines let alone drive it!! I know for me, it was a dream come true. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to take just ONE lap around a track inside of a racecar. I didn’t have to be at full speed, nor did I have to win. I just wanted to go out and see what my Uncle John saw. What a friggin’ view!!! If you were to ask me a year ago about driving in a Sportsman, I would have said no. Well, this year, when the ride was offered to me, I jumped at it. Wanna know why? ‘Cause I knew that I could fit in one this year. Last year, impossible. This year, the dream was a reality. I was especially impressed with Sandra Kell, Amy Lynne Tanner, Denise Page and Robin McTighe. Also, I have to say that my Aunt Nancy gave it her best shot, as did my friend Rae Rae Jones. It’s a lot of fun and excitement that you could only experience if you got in to one of those cars.

I want to take this forum to express my deepest thank you to Mike Fatorri for allowing me the tools to realize my dream. I felt like a million bucks when Ace Lane, Jimmy Brown and Video Jim were taking my picture and making me feel like I was Jeff Gordon or Billy Pauch for that matter. You know, Mike was the first NES driver to call me after I got home from my surgery last year and I never will forget that. When he said that I could drive his car for the Powder Puff, it meant more to me than words could express. I promised him that I would do my best and keep it in one piece. We accomplished that! Also, I have to thank George Gareis for his help getting me in and out (!!) and for the use of most of his gear and knowledge. And also, to John Bangs. John turned the wrenches on the 5F and I was always taught that your pit guys are what make it happen. So, thanks to you all. You made a life, long, impossible dream become a reality that I will always treasure in my heart. The tears just streamed down my face as I took the green. My whole family even came to see me!! WHAT A RUSH!! (Special thanks to Matt Papiez for the suit and to the A-Team, Gene and Mike, for their support and for "almost" borrowing what I needed. Oh, and Schuster! Didn’t need the ride after all, but thanks!)

Impossibilities are sometimes hammered into our brain that we sometimes feel that is how we are supposed to be. Well, I am glad that Bucky Kell would not allow himself to have those ideologies running through his mind! We were all cheering for Bucky since he came to NES and some of us even lost our voices as the laps clicked away during the modified feature on August 3, 2002. The most fun for me was watching his niece, Paige lap after lap as the tears welled up in her eyes when her uncle took the two to go sign. See, this man did not allow a supposed educated person tell him that he could not drive his racecar again. He didn’t let others tell him that he couldn’t win or that he couldn’t be a part of something so tremendous as Victory Lane at NES. Let me say this: I am floored that this guy got a win at NES. I know some of you have your opinions about the Kell’s and the Smith’s, yet, I have grown to become such a fan of their racing program. I believe that GR is going to be something very special in the coming years (as long as he doesn’t give it up for hockey!!) and that Bucky is just beginning to get back on track. Their sister, Sandra, has become a very good friend to me and I can’t thank her enough for some of the long chats that we have had via Instant Message. Also, I thought it was quite appropriate that Tori was there, being as her name means "victory". Good job by all at Statewide Racing.

Well, I think that I have banged everyone’s ear long enough concerning racing for this week. I am glad to be doing the Follies again and hope to be back on the Internet really soon. I just want to take this time to that the Roscoe clan for the picnic on Outlaw night and to my Dad for knowing that being in the AC for three hours is better than melting for six. !!! I hope that we can all learn from the impossibilities that were crushed this week and know that ANYTHING is possible as long as we have the love, honesty and support of those we love.

Well, love and luck to all this weekend, especially to the Godown, Papiez, Page, Fleming, and Geiges gangs. Be strong, be safe, and don’t let anyone take your place. To all my guys, the list is so long; I can’t type you all in here. One day, I will, tho. I hope that you can all hear me, because I am out there, cheering for you!! And, I get others involved!!!

Until then, Don’t walk by the flagger’s stand without saying hello. Don’t walk through life without stepping into your own victory lane. Love yas!!!

You can call me at anytime if you wanna gossip or just talk about the happenings at the tracks!


RUMOR:
Unsubstantiated information of uncertain origin

Well, well, well…. It’s nice to be back!! I appreciate everyone’s interest in the thoughts and antics of the crazy person. I am still ‘Internet deprived’ but that is my fault and I will get it back soon enough. Until then, I will be typing the Follies from the confinements of the New Jersey Department of Corrections on my lunch hour!! Special thanks to Hot Toddie for still believing that I could write…even if I didn’t have AOL!!

 

OK, brief synopsis of what went on with me on the off season. I tried to keep racing as close to my heart as I could during those cold winter months. I think that the only month that I did have to come up with some creative ways to occupy myself was December. Even then, we had the SJDR X-mas party at my favorite spot on Route 539! I can’t say enough about all of you that continue to give me all of your support and encouragement when it comes to my personal battle and my lifetime commitment to wellness. As previously noted on the board, I have lost 218 pounds and continue to strive to may goal number. I won’t let any of you in on what that number is, however, the doc says that the number should be coming around the bend around the beginning of 2003. At that point, I can begin to consult with cosmetic surgeons to get the extra skin taken care of and all that jazz. At this time, I am planning to donate the extra skin to The Burn Foundation. I don’t know the specifics of that yet, so, if any of you know what that would entail, I am very visible at the tracks, so please come and see me.

 

I got to know some great people over the winter. I spent a lot of time up in Hillsborough, NJ having a great time with the 77J gang and the DelNero Gang. (Hey Dave, I am not going to NYC again! Jeff has NO IDEA where the theatre is!!) Spent sometime with some of the Papiez Gang and of course, Ryan and his family. Got to know Weldon Collier and his band of banshees. Knowing all of these great folks made the wait a hell of a lot harder, ‘cause I was so ready to get back into the swing of the season. I had a great time at the NES Banquet, even though I was sicker than a four-year-old in the middle of winter. And, the Nick and Pete party was a great deal of fun and excitement. I can’t say enough about the FNL Motorsports party and George Idell…we need to get ya a better weather man! (Thank you Dana, Bonnie and Rae for helping me with that red dress and letting me believe that red was my color!)

 

Anyhow…this boring synopsis leads to me THIS season which is full of fun and excitement. I would like to start out at East Windsor and say that I am growing more attached to that track then I ever thought possible. I don’t know what it is. I just think that I am taking more time to get to know the drivers and the people around me. (People actually sit around me??) I am thinking that I am getting more like my father and ‘watching’ the race instead of only one person. I think that EWS is the track to do that. The surface is unsurpassed by none, according to drivers that I’ve talked to. Some of the best racing is found in the deeper parts of the track then just up front.

I am pretty excited about the season thus far at EWS. I cannot get over the competition in the modified ranks. Of course, you’ve got the four storm troopers, Horton, Hoffman, Brightbill and Pauch. However, I think that some of these other guys are figuring out what it takes to run with these guys. I mean, think about it. You cannot count out Hendrickson and under no circumstances should Kerr, McCaughey and Radd be considered on of the little guys. When these few guys figure out the track and conditions are right, it’s anyone’s ball game. You know, depending on if the feature is 25 laps or 27.you know…J No, seriously, I believe that this year is gonna be a great year for EWS as RUMORS are brewing that this might be the last year of this facility. Well, let me say this: I don’t know if all that is true. All I know is that I have been there since I was a kid and that it would not behoove the racing community if this track were to close.

 

I see a lot of improvement in the Sportsman Division at EWS and I can gladly say that I am still probably one of the few fans that looks forward to the Sportsman feature. You have guys like GR, Brian Godown, CheeseMan, Stinson, Pratt, Lyons and a whole gang of others that make this division fun to watch. Sure, some of them want to win this on the first lap and there are some that will give you a shove and put you in the infield while you are leading, but HEY!! It’s still the best spot to see the stars of tomorrow. There are two Sportsman guys that I have really gotten a chance to get to know these past few months and I am the better for it. I met Rob Schuster not long ago at NES. He was very nice and took the time to listen to what a ‘know it all’ like me had to say. From that point, each time that I saw Rob, he would ask what I thought and he would let me in on what he and Mr. Balaam (HI BOB!!) would be doing to fix the problem. I like Rob. He takes his licks and knows that he still has a lot to learn with making more laps and getting as much seat time as possible. He’s a got good people around him and I think that once He and Bob get it all together, that 20 car will be a consistent runner.

 

I have to also go on and say that I have been impressed with the changes and improvements of Larry Reed and the K&L Racing Team. For those of you that do not know, Larry comes from an asphalt background, so he knows what it takes to win and run up front. Larry has one thing that sets him apart from some of the drivers that he competes with each week: heart. Now, I am not saying that none of the Sportsman guys do not have heart, because I know that you all do. However, Larry loves this sport and is just as happy to win a heat, take home 11th place money and know that his 22 is on the trailer in one piece. For Larry and his wife Kris, there is always next week. Larry has been getting some valuable help from some of the veterans of the modified ranks and I think that he is well on his way to getting his machine fine tuned and running up front without worrying about loose/tight. Take heed, folks…I think that Reed may take one once the 22 Team figures it out. (Don’t let Wayne in on it, Larry!) ILUBUS

 

RUMOR has it that IF, now IF the track does go one more year, that these street stocks may turn into full blown late models. Now, I don’t know if all that is true, I mean, it’s just rumor and all that means is that people are flappin’ off at the gums and have NO IDEA what they are talking about. Yet, still I think that a lot of those street stock drivers will be up for that challenge. You have people like Cheney who is tearing up EWS with wins, Whitehouse, Marra, and a slew full of other guys that are making this a pretty good division to see some good competition. I think that if I were gonna go street stock, I would try EWS. It is still considered a ‘low buck’ division, but don’t tell that to the guy that just bought a Bernheisel and a $10000 motor to put in it. It is getting so competitive that some of the real low buck guys are getting squashed by money. I am not suggesting that guys that run these cars have no driving talent, ‘cause nothing beats Cheney when he’s on, however, the horsepower helps and you need money to get it. I still think that this is a great division and I hope that it continues to lend excitement to our Friday nights at EWS.

 

Well, as I run my mouth off about RUMORS and all that jazz. It sorta reminds me of silly season in NASCAR. (Hot rumor on the circuit is that Jeff Gordon …) KIDDING!!! Nah, I think that sometimes when someone does something that is a little out of the ordinary for their "personality", others take it a little far and start whispering and jumpin’ at the jaw. All I know is this: if you know what you are doing and no one is getting hurt, what you do on your time is your business. As long as you can sleep at night and not worry about what or whom is talking about you and you can hold your head up high….SCREW ‘EM! Let them talk. This holds true for everything: personal relationships, friendships, and even sometimes, the racing community. I mean, if I have to hear that a certain driver is cheating one more time I am going to scream!! The rumor mill has been grinding on overtime lately and I think that it overshadows what we are all here for: the love and respect for this sport that we call dirt racing. But, I ain’t one to gossip, so you didn’t hear it from me….

 

Well, I am having a great time down at NES this year. So much STILL has to be said regarding the fans, the drivers and the employees of that track. I can’t express how great it is to walk into that place and know almost everyone I run into. Or, walk as the case may be. J Competition is heating over in Plumstead Township, too. Personally, as like at EWS, I think that a lot of our Modified guys are figuring out what they need to do in order to beat the best. Again, no one can be counted out of the race. Look at Ryan Godown! The man won and ALL of the big guns were still running at that point. The look of emotion on that young man’s face was enough for me. I was crying too. I mean, look at Roger Laureno! He took the checkered not long ago. It was done on pure blood, sweat and tears. A lot of guys are truly coming around at that track, however, I have been most impressed (other than with you know who) with Tim Tanner, Jr.

 

I have gotten to know the Tanner family in the past few years and their racing program has come around to Timmy’s style of driving. Each week, he is fast, consistent and smart when it comes to getting through the pack. I understand that some of you may not agree with some of Tim’s tactics, but, like another modified star, he gets the job done. Timmy is a thrill to watch when he’s teaching the cushion clinic. I couldn’t be happier for the family as I can see that the dream victory for this young man is going to be made reality. He’s figured it out. He’s working his way through the ‘crap’, as we like to say.

 

How about those Triple 20’s last week?? I thought they were a lot of fun! It would have been really cool if one of the guys could have gotten the ‘tri-fecta’. However, I do believe that Mr. Hoffman did with the overall finish. It was great fun to see the drivers out there, giving everything that they had for triple points. When I talked to Ryan afterwards, he was tired, yet, I think that he could have gone another fifty laps!!! As fans, we love the Twin Twenties and all that. I think that sometimes we forget that this sport is SO physical and these guys and gals can get pretty wore out. (I miss Brian Weaver. Just thought that I would put that in.)

 

Speaking of gals, it was thrilling to see Carol Whitehouse back in Victory Lane at NES! I do have to admit, though, I was pulling for Bill Miscoski, but, Carol did what she needed to do to win that race. It’s always a fun time to watch the street stocks, OOPS, SUPER stocks in action. My friends and I always take our picks and nine times out of ten, one of us is coming up front. My Dad always yells that he is taking Mario Page and Al Cheney every week, so, those two guys always have a fan in the grandstands! We have a great time watching the super stocks and I am glad that they are first on the card each week.

 

Well, I know that a lot of you are wondering what I am doing since Ryan stepped up to Modifieds. Well, I am still a lover of the Sportsman division!! I honestly believe that is where we are going to see all the stars of tomorrow!! Nothing beats when Matt Papiez is on and it can’t get much more exciting when The Scag Man is battling it out with Jack Swain for the lead! I was especially glad that Jack won this past week. He needed it. He’s been going through some rough times with racing; he didn’t qualify one week and used up his point provisional. But, he is back on top and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. If you have yet to meet Jack, do yourself a favor and make it over to the 42 pit after the races. Jack, his wife Carol, Dale, his father, all of the guys…are willing to talk and hang out with the kids and all that good stuff. I am glad to consider myself a fan of Jack Swain and also a friend. Surround yourself with good people and good things happen.

 

I gotta thank Gene Stravinsky, Advantage Financial and of course, the A-Team for Christmas in July and I was glad that I could be there and present the National Anthem for the fans that day. You know, the Anthem means so much more to me now then it ever did. I know I go off key sometimes, but I hope that I do it justice. Everytime I see a firefighter, or a police person, or an EMT, or anyone in our Armed Forces; I thank the Lord above that I have this day. Sometimes, I think that we as people forget that fact it is because of these people that we have the freedoms that we have in this country. I am proud to be an American for I have opportunities here that I know I could not have in another part of the world. JJJJJ Brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue. Hey, what is with Peter Jennings tellin’ Toby Keith that he couldn’t sing that song at a 4th of July celebration?? The nerve. Jennings isn’t even American. Whatever.

 

Well, I am at the conclusion of the Follies for this week. I am so glad that a lot of you were still so interested on my view of what has been going on in the racing community. I hope to do this every week now as I have a spot to type and a place to e-mail, thanks to my friends and family. Speaking of family, I think that it is amazing how when things are being said about you, certain members of your family come to you before they even think of believing it. I am so glad that I have members of my family that trust each other enough to see what the truth is. I guess that is what I wanted to say. Don’t believe the hype. It makes people crazy and gives others bad names. Whether it’s true or not is no one’s business. And that, is true respect.

 

Ok, well…I am heading out for the week. If any of you need to get a hold of me, my cell phone number is out there and you can always see me at the tracks. I am the nutty person that sits behind the flag stand with a bright orange chair with a big 26 on it. Thanks to the Roscoe clan for making the time in the grandstands a trip!! Donna, come to NES!! Come to NES!!! Todd, thanks again for allowing me this forum. Love and luck to all this weekend, especially to the Godown, Fleming, Papiez, Geiges and the Page Gangs. My list has grown pretty long, but, I still have my boys that I am always there for. WHERE’S RON JOHN???? Anyone know?? Anyhow, you all know who you are. Be strong. Be safe. And to the LRA 99/Horton Team: You don’t know what it means for me to have my #1 Favorite driver in that car. Consistency is the name of the game. Wins will come.

 

Lastly, I want to congratulate one of my best friends Danalyn and her hubby, the Flyin’ Fireman, Tim on the impending birth of their baby daughter. Dana and Tim are two of the most wonderful people that you could ever meet and they genuinely are "tickled pink" about their girl. If she’s anything like her parents, she’ll be OK. The strength and wisdom that comes from the two of these people is god-sent. I love you both. And, to the love that brought color into my life…Do whatever it is you need to do. Just please, all I ask is that I am not far from your memories of a time when you were happy and in the midst of a change. I am just sorry that I couldn’t be that change for you like we had thought. Don’t buy that race car!!! Well, at least don’t number it a 2!!! Down with Rusty Wallace!!! Also, love to Brad Weaver. Brad, you are a great kid. We are praying for you and your family.

Until then….don’t walk by the flagger’s stand without saying hello. Don’t walk through life without stepping into your own victory lane. See yas!!!!


Thanksgiving:   showing complete gratitude

Well, I know that it has been sometime since we last had a session of the Front Stretch Follies. Since we last discussed racing and those that reek the havoc it bestows, a lot has happened in my young life. I think the last time we spoke was in July. I was afraid to put any opinions on paper, so to speak, because I was afraid of what people said about me. Well, that ain’t it…and now that I know why some said what they said on here about this column, I have one thing to say: THIS IS MY COLUMN! I WRITE ABOUT WHO AND WHAT I LIKE. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ IT!!! Ok, terrific….With that said…

 

This edition of the Follies is probably going to be more about the personal growth that has happened to me because of the racing community. I mean sure, what a battle the championships were at our tracks and who could forget when Rich Page came out of turn four to win the Street Stock feature during Legends of the Fall. And what about that Godown boy wheeling to victory up at Syracuse? And how did that go when Doug Hoffman rolled across the finish line as the 2001 Modified Champ at EWS? The excitement this year has been astounding. It literally has been the BEST year of racing for me. I have been racing since I was two weeks old and this, by far, has been my favorite year. OK, Uncle John winning the Championship at the Port runs a close second, but nothing beats the friends I made, the respect I’ve gained and the imagery of the "drama" of the races. A lot has happened. And I have to turn this into a shout out page, ‘cause, this is what racing is all about: Friends, family, love, friendship and competition.

 

It took me awhile to realize that fact. It took me a long time to understand where all the emotion comes into play at the races we attend. I think that some of you may believe that there are times when there is too much emotion that spills on to the track. Not so. I think that sometimes there is not enough emotion. Sure, you can’t throw yer helmet at the guy who took ya out. (Although, it has been done!) I think that there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes, even I cross the line when the 26 decides not to work or when the 99 gets into a pickle coming out of one and two, but that is the emotion of it all. And, on a Friday and Saturday night, they run pretty high.

 

Well, since we are talking about the 99, I do have to say that this was an incredible year for us. When Uncle John first decided to put Doug Hoffman in the car, I knew that we were going to win some races and have a definite stab at a championship. I didn’t know that it was going to come this fast. I thought that in a few years we could call ourselves track champions. I think that our team grew and learned that working together and listening to each other was key. (Are you listening, Jeff and Dave?) No, the car didn’t always work, and I am sure there were times when Uncle John and Doug and most of the crew, were ready to load the beast up and take it to a scrap metal yard, but, they didn’t. And, I think that the fans are better for it. Nothing beats when Doug, Billy and Kenny are battling for position. It makes it for interesting racing. Luck has worked for all three of those guys where EWS is concerned and I hope that we can continue this battle next year. I don’t know the status of EWS or what they are planning, but, I sincerely hope that it works in our favor. You can’t come close to the track surface at EWS. As a fan, I don’t know what I would do if EWS decided they couldn’t do it anymore. I’d be devastated, I know that much. I have a lot of great memories at that track and want to create more. I have to thank Jack Simmons and Donna Jones for all their hospitality this year and for allowing me to step out and sing for them. Here’s to another year.

 

Speaking of championships and having emotions flare up and hangin’ ‘round with good people, I gotta talk about BIG Al Cheney! What a season for this man! I mean, the Street Stocks were so competitive at both EWS and NES but Al and the crew took the bull by the horns: they had fun and worked their asses off to get the dual track championship. I have gotten to know Al, Rosie and his parents this year and you couldn’t ask for a better guy to cheer for. They are so appreciative of the fans that come up and see Al after the show and are not above offering you a soda or a bite to eat of whatever they have at the trailer. It’s a fun time at the 73 pit. Hey, did that ERBE kid wake up after that Saturday night in Delaware? He was moving pretty slow the last time I saw him. JJ Thanks to Al for a great show at both tracks and to Rosie for being my inspiration.

 

Amazingly enough, I had the chance to make it up to Syracuse this past October. Ok, that is a WHOLE different atmosphere up there!! I was so cold (Thanks, George!) and I thought that I was literally going to turn into a popsicle that Saturday night over at the Ghetto. The racing was all right. I just felt that there was not enough passing. I guess that I enjoy a little more of the rubbin’ and bangin’ of a short track. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to be there. The ride up was a trip. I went with Dana and Rae and what did I do the whole time? I slept. That was the joke all weekend. And, if I had to hear that damn Tim McGraw and Faith Hill song one more time, I was gonna scream!! Best part about Syracuse was the friendships that grew and were created. It was actually my first time hangin’ out with Anthony Bozowski aka Biff Bizkit other than the Post After Party and he certainly is a riot in his own right. He makes a pretty good scrambled egg, too. The Buff is a trip ‘cause he can take a joke and run with it. It was all innocent and nobody got hurt. Except for Dave, who decided that he was gonna run around the track and "qualify" with Buff and Biff and got a little out of breath. Hey Dave, what about the monsoon? Smirnoff’s anyone?? Oops, gotta thank MIKE JANES for being my agent that weekend. Don’t worry, Mike, someone will get that Troyer.

 

Well, if I am talking about Syracuse, I have to talk about the one person that made it the best time ever: Mario Page. It was actually Mario who basically told the three of us chicks that we were going. I learned a lot about Mario that weekend and can honestly say that his heart is just as beautiful as the rest of him! JJ Forreal, tho. If it looked like we weren’t having a good time, there was Mario, making sure that the three of us gals (Dana, Rae and ME!) had a smile on our face. I think that the ‘Cuse weekend could have been the beginning of the No Issues Tour 2002. That was one thing that I learned that weekend: don’t let stupid stuff bother you. Everyone has issues and you aren’t special if you have them. You have to work through them and get on with it. Mario has become like a brother to me now and he gives me great wisdom like that all the time. So, to everyone we hung out with at Syracuse: Mario, Richie, Kellie, Mike, Rich, Sr, Dana, Rae, Biff, Dave, Gary, John, Gene, the whole A-Team, Godown, Brian, Papiez peeps: what a blast!! I hope that we all can do it again next year. All we were missin’ was the Flyin’ Munchkin!! He got called at least three times a day. He felt like he was there.!!

 

Well, I know that you are all waiting for it, so I shall discuss him now. Ry, I couldn’t be more proud of you than I am right now. You don’t know how many times I was ready to pack it in ‘cause of the slack I took being the number one fan of the "dirtiest" driver in the Sportsman ranks. I couldn’t do it. I know that you put your heart and soul into everything that is on and in those cars and you deserve every bit of success that you’ve achieved this year. Honestly, I thought that the Sportsman Championship was going to go to the guy that parks next to you, and in all fairness, that would have been ok by this fan. However, you were patient and you allowed things to work for you. When you crossed the line at Syracuse, I cried like a whimpering Labrador. Then, I cried again when you came to see me afterwards. It’s pretty hard knowing that we, meaning the family, won’t get to see our "adoptive" family member every week, but we look forward to next year knowing that you’ll still be one of the rising stars of our beloved sport. Our friendship is an important part of my life and my recovery. Thank you and Butchie for letting me be a part of ALL of the craziness that surrounded that 26 car. I’ll see you in Atlantic City.

 

Ok, now that my homage to Ryan Godown is over and you are all puking by now, let us move on, shall we???

 

I know that some of you have asked about the recovery I spoke of and what is going on with me medically. I am doing great. I have lost a whole person so far (138lbs) and I am continuing to lose. It was a hard decision to make and an even harder one to maintain. With the help of my closest friends and my family, I am learning that being healthy makes your MIND healthy, also. See, at 138 pounds heavier, I was a maniac. Sure, I still am in some parts, but, I have a clearer view on what being a decent person really means. Yes, I do get treated differently by complete strangers and I think that I’ve seen someone of the opposite sex give me a second look, but, that is not what the bottom line is. The bottom line is that I feel so much better about me. I feel that I can make a difference in my life and help someone else along the way. You race fans have given me something that I never thought that I would earn: that is the feeling of being important and the feeling of being wanted. When you grow up being different than the other kids, you don’t get this. You fans have taken me under your wing and have made me believe in myself and have allowed me to grow and become the "super fan". Uncle Nick, you created the phenomenon. You have taken a shy kid and made her into a strong woman. I could never re-pay you and Nancy for what you have done. I often talked about having someone in my life that I could turn to when times get tough and when I feel like I can’t breathe. I’ve found that person. That is my Uncle Nick. He’s not afraid to tell me like it is and neither is my Aunt Nancy. He may have a big mouth, but his heart is even bigger. I love you both….

 

Well, this leads me into what the future holds for this race fan. Contrary to popular belief, I will NOT be running for Ms. NES again. (Thanks to Amy Lynn, Mandee, Bonnie and Lynda for being so great!) I did that to prove that being a race fan is not all about the size of your boobs or how you look in a bikini. I thank all the fans and the drivers that supported me through that endeavor. I won’t forget that part of my life. It was a learning experience. Winning wasn’t why I did it. Although, at the end, I think that I wanted to win. Tanya Tighlman and I entered that together and we went through it together. Her friendship has been a beautiful surprise and I am glad that we conquered our fears together.

 

The future for me is kinda lookin’ pretty interesting. I was asked by a very new and up coming team to be a part of their No Issues Tour 2002. Me?? NO ISSUES??? LMAO!!! No, Dave and Jeff Geiges have become a staple in my life these past few weeks. I never thought in a million years that I would become friends with the "Geiges Boys" not to mention being a part of the team. Rae and I have been having the time of our lives with these two. They are funny and have the fire inside that is a MUST in the world of dirt track racing. I am hoping that the experience that I have attained through almost 30 years of watching and living this sport can help catapult this team to betterment. Interestingly enough, Dave and Jeff actually listen to what I have to say and are eager to do what they have to do where the race car is concerned. I think that we have learned a lot from each other these past few weeks. I only met them, what, about two and a half months ago? That’s how likable and friendly these guys are. You want to be around them. You want to help them get their ducks in a row so the good finishes are closer together and not few and far between. The Geiges Boys are making a lot of changes for next year and I hope that makes for them to be in contention for good racin’ and finishes. Jeff may go with a TIGGER CHASSIS. (Mike, you rock!!!) Contrary to popular belief, Rae and I are not BAD influences on them!! (Damn message board!) The four of us get along like we’ve known each other all of our lives. Through them, we have gotten to know Dawn, Mike and countless others and couldn’t be happier about it. This is what it’s about, folks! I like the way you look….DIRTBAG!!

 

So, does that mean I’ll be in the pits? Could be. Depends on where I am at that point in my life. I’ve already inquired about the HILL at NES. Although by then, I should hopefully be good to go….and be able to make the hill…hmmm…we’ll see…

 

Racing has been a blast all season and I can’t help but think that I am so fortunate. I finally got to meet a lot of people that I have admired for a long time and those that I have started to admire. HEY DAWN!!! Dude, it’s TIM McCreadie!!!!! I got the chance to meet Tim in Delaware and he is a regular guy. I got pictures!! WOO HOO!! It’s been fun to party with the likes of Ryan and Brian Godown, Matt and Joey Papiez, Richie and Mario Page..( Do I have a thing for brothers???) I never thought in a trillion years that I would be an interesting part of the racing community.

 

I have to thank all of my friends for being there for me. Rae, I don’t know what I would have done is you weren’t as honest with me as you are. I think that is what is great in our friendship. We don’t like the same drivers, but, I hope that we are adult enough to give each other the room it takes to be a great fan of whoever you want to be a fan of. Roll up the windows!! You’re pissin’ me off!!! Thank you for our talks and for making me believe that there is something out there other than pain and misery. Oh, and I have to hold the clipboard and look important. How old are you? 17?? Put your chances in to be a champion. Just watch out for the outside retaining wall….right, Jeff?

 

Dana, you’ve become the big sister I always wanted. You taught me that I am beautiful in all aspects of my life. Can I borrow that when I can fit into it? No more Tim and Faith, please!!! Syracuse was the best. And, you introduced me to THE POST. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE CREATED!! I am down for a ride to New Egypt anyday, sister. You just let me know.

 

Well, like I said earlier, this article was going to turn into one about my personal growth and the friendship I have made. My friends and my family mean the world to me. You can’t ask for better friends than I have. Rae, Dana, Bonnie, Rich, Mario, Jeff, Dave, Kellie, Mike, Dawn, Mike, Danielle, (It’s about time!!), Biffliscious, Pam, Marge, Lena, the Roscoe clan, Jenn, Chris, Kelly, the Haines Gang, Kimi, Kass, Kourt, Margaret and Charlie (my fellow Godown fans), Donna, Mom and Cindy, all the drivers that have been so wonderful to me and their crews…I can’t thank all of you enough for what you have done for me. Todd, the webmaster, you have given me a forum to express myself and my opinions without even knowing who or what I was about. You have been a great friend and confident and I will always remember the flamingo pink from Delaware. Dude, stay away from Doritos!! I even got to know Re-Rob and some of the Port gang. They are all wonderful and Rob, you will always be on the list. Sandra, I am so glad that I took the time to meet you and get to know the woman you are. Thank you for our chats…and let’s get together soon…leave GR’s steering wheel at home.. JJJJJJ

 

I don’r know what else I could say about this season that has not already been expressed through this forum or on the board. I know this article was a tad bit sappy, but it came form the heart. I will miss our Friday and Saturdays. I will thank the Grosso Family tremendously for giving us a great Saturday night stop. What a place!!! I will congratulate my first "guy" Ron John Koczon on his marriage to Diane and wish them all the love and luck that a lifetime will allow…I cross my heart….I will go on to say that if bad luck has a name, it’s Larry Archer. Larry, I know that it’s gonna come around ten fold for you. Never doubt your talent, your fans, or your drive to succeed. You have it all. I will continue to say that Jack Swain is a great friend and knows how to get the job done on the track. Jack has helped me a lot since my surgery and he and Carol have been a great source of information and support. I mean, I have a list a mile long of favorite drivers….McTighe, it’s coming…just be patient…Kenny, get that 17 out there and make a go of it…The kids miss Custom Kenny….Let’s Talk Racing has been a blast to be a part of. Being on the radio..who would have thought…????

 

Thank you EVERYONE. I know that I can be a PITA and hopefully I will be able to be a part of this next year. I am glad of the friends I’ve made, the relationships I’ve created and the ones that are being created as we speak. I won’t be at the Flagger’s stand until April and I continue to walk into victory lane each morning when I wake up. The events of September 11, 2001 are still fresh in my mind. I will never forsake the love and friendship that is in my life. Although you can’t rush things, you cannot wait until the last minute. That person could be gone in a flash. Take life, live it, be it and love it. It’s not promised to anyone. It is not guaranteed to be there when you get home. My brother Bill, was in NYC that day. And I will NEVER forget the horror I felt when I called his cell phone…and he didn’t answer. He called us back about three hours later and said he was OK. But, he will never be OK. He saw it all. I have a better relationship with Bill now then I ever did before. He is a part of our racing community, he was on two championship teams this year and he is a fire fighter. I commend him for being the man that he is and the man that he will become.

 

Until next time, this is the last Follies for the year. I have been promising it for a while, but I never knew what to say or how to say it. There have been a lot of FOLLIES this year and I am glad that a lot of you have had the experience of meeting and greeting with each other and have sat down and had a beer and talked with each other. I hope that I can still be the super fan next year and be a part of the up and coming Geiges Team. That should all be a lot of fun. Here it is NOVEMBER and we are already talking about next year! Should be fun…

 

 

To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.

(Benjamin Franklin)

 

Love to all and THANK YOU for allowing the chubby kid her moment in the sun….Means more than you will ever know…


….HEARTBROKEN: OVERWHELMED BY GRIEF OR EMOTION
__________________________

What a word of the week, no? Strangely enough, I thought that it was very appropriate for the racing this weekend. First off, I celebrated my birthday this past week. It is my last year of being called a twenty-something. I turned 29 and was so miserable on my birthday that I could have made Oscar the Grouch look like Mary Poppins. Seriously, ask Kenny, Rae-Rae or Richard..they were with me and I was a beast. I just HAD to go to Applebee’s knowing that I can’t eat anything on their menu and moaned and whined until I got my birthday balloon that I only let go in the parking lot of Custom Creations anyhow. What was I thinking? I must have taken the nasty pill instead of my Flintstone Chewable. It was a bad day.

But, Friday came and it was off to the East Windsor Speedway. I was kinda going in with a bug up my butt ‘cause I knew that Ryan was not gonna be sportin’ his regular colors or his car for that matter. As previously announced in a prior edition of the Folllies, Ry sold his car to George Idell. Heck, I didn’t even know if he was gonna race or not! I just can’t get over the length of time it takes for the Sportsman guys to run. Anywhere that you go, they always seem to have a problem. Too many yellows, not enough time to change a tire, too many guys wanting to win on the first lap, you know, that sort of crap. I couldn’t imagine a Sportsman race without controversy. But, anyhoo, Ryan did a great job putting an unfamiliar car into victory lane on Friday. (Thanks for letting me come down and be in the photo!) I was equally impressed by the Cheese Head, John Romano on his top five finish. That is two in a row, Cheese! Keep up the great work. I know that it isn’t easy. Good run by George Idell. Qualifiying your first time out!! You go, George! What was up with those numbers! Tell your lettering guy that the purple looks so much better than the stuff he had on! A little duct tape works every time. And thanks to Uncle Nick for calling my favorite division!

You know who I have been enjoying each and every week at EWS in the Sportsman ranks: Richie Pratt, Jr. I remember being very young and hearing his father’s name each and every week. His father and my family were all pretty good friends back in the Glory Days of racing. (You know, when it was fun and not another full time job!! J) I wish I could remember some of those Glory Days, but just hearing the name at Windsor brings back some good memories. I haven’t met Richie face to face, however, his racing speaks for itself. He drives from the heart; ‘cause that’s where it all comes from. He’s a tough competitor, always runs well and is in definite contention for some wins and perhaps a championship. I hear that he does just as well at the Bridgeport Speedway. Pratt is a lot of fun to watch and I hope that someday soon, I get the chance to meet this guy.

Well, how about "Big" Al Cheney! The man is on a rampage. He did a great job coming through the pack on Friday night taking the win. Anyone ever meet this guy! Wow…He is so cool and his crew is just as awesome. It was certainly nice to see Paul Marra, Jr. get a top five finish. Paul used to run with the guys down at the Bridgeport Speedway. He often claims that turns one and two suck him in and there is no way he can turn the car!! If you ever met Junior, as we call him, you’ll know that he is actually very quiet and doesn’t say too much unless he thinks it’s important. I foresee him taking a win this year and hopefully figuring out turns one and two! It can be tough, but, I am sure that he will learn and be in contention for a win or two.

The modifieds? There were a few heartbreakers there! Wow, Kenny B’s spin out was enough to stop you mid breath! I thought that he was strong enuff to catch up to Mr. Pauch, too! And another heartbreaker was Jimmy Horton! Man, he had one of the faster cars that night and definitely could have given Billy a run for the win. Of course, the LRA 99 finished second with a great run. I’m hoping for one of those twin twenties this week, fellas!! I think they should run twin 15’s for Sportsman…hmmm… Who in the world is this Ryan Watt guy? He has been giving some of the big guys a tough time with that 14. I mean that in a good way. He seems to run strong and consistent each week. Where did this kid come from? I haven’t heard the name until this year!! J Well, needless to say, I am sure that it will not be too long before we are seeing him take his first modified win this year. And if I have to answer one more time…"Did Craig VonDohren change his number?" I am gonna scream….JJ

Hey, where the hell did that rain come from at the New Egypt Speedway? Was it supposed to rain? Or, was someone just trying to make me have a conniption. THAT, my dear friends, would have been a definite heartbreaker. I wait all week for two nights of racing and I was not, I repeat, was NOT allowing a little rain to spoil my Christmas in July. I also hate it when you are there earlier than the dirt and someone takes your seat. I know, I know, I don’t own it, but, I am used to seeing the race a certain way. I don’t know what I am gonna do during the Outlaw Show. Ryan and my boys are gonna have to stretch their necks to see me. I have the wonderful pleasure of sitting by our wonderful video man, Jim Murdoch. Jim, just keep your hands to yourself, OK? I know that I am irresistible to you.

Well, what can I say? Gene Stravinsky and Advantage Financial certainly pulled off a wonderful fun filled evening. I didn’t know that my Uncle Nick knew all that Christmas music. (Although, I didn’t get to hear my ELVIS!) I think that the music made a lot of people nicer to each other, too. There was certainly the Spirit of Christmas in the air. All I wanted was a DVD player…LOL JJ But, the racing on the track was the best gift of all.

Since we are talking about heartbreakers, I do have to say that I must have been the only one that was quite upset when the Hoopdee Express blew a tire with four to go and leading the damn race! I was even more angry at those who cheered when it happened. I am assuming that he is not a fan favorite, huh? J I guess I can get a little out of hand when it comes to my guys. It’s a passion, as I have said many times over. Everyone that is considered one of "my guys" is also a friend off of the track: Ron John, Larry, Jack, Ryan, Kenny and Richard…we are all friends that care about what happens to each other. It sucks when it doesn’t come together for them. I dislike that tremendously. BUT, on the same token, what a race for that lead before the flat happened! Man, I didn’t know who or what was leading there for awhile. I thought that Scags looked a little better than Ryan coming out of the turns, but Ryan seemed to have gotten him on the straights. And, what the heck did Mattie Papiez step in? That man is on a roll! ( I think that it is all Brian.) It’s been really cool getting to know that motley crew. Did any of you know that Matt sings?? Ask a few of those at the "After Party"… Congrats to Rich Scagliotta on the win. The Sportsman Division is getting tougher and tougher. And, getting harder and harder to line up…four laps, guys? Don’t we have radios for that?

When my Uncle Nick says the Hitman, all I can see is Keith Hoffman dressed in a London Fog trench coat. The man was flying during the modified feature. It was wonderful to see the Hoffman Brothers take a win on Saturday. The heartbreaker here was the Dream getting taken out way to early. Brian Weaver was fast in warm ups and in his heat race. I thought that we were gonna see the dream re-lived that night. I like Weaver. He’s very appreciative of the craziest of fans. We even have an inside joke between the two of us…Ask him about the twenty dollars…He should know what your talking about..LOL One Friday night when our regular stop rains out, my friends and I are gonna take the hike up to Penn-Can to see the Weav. Wouldn’t he be freaked out? Anyhow, Brightbill is still making that TEO work. Is it my imagination, or do those TEO Pro’s have a hard time turning in the corners? Are they set up that way or is it track conditions? I don’t know enough about it to specifically say, but I look and I see that is a constant in most of them.

The Page Boys do it again! This time it was "Super" Mario! What a very nice young man! Now, I don’t know whether he and Rich are brothers, but they are certainly tearing up the track with those nice lookin’ 28 cars. They have a terrific fan base and I am glad that I have become one of them. I think I still owe Mario a Coors Light…Anyhoo, I thought that the Boat Ride was going to be a contender for that same win. Cheney looked great coming thru the pack, and then I didn’t see him anymore. I spoke with him later and he broke the rear or something to that effect. Again, I am not to good with technicalities. I just know the rules, not the mechanics. Oh, and while we are on the subject of Al Cheney, I just wanted to say a BIG thanks to Rosie for being there for me. Your knowledge and concern has been a blessing.

New Egypt is always fun. I try to put an emphasis on that because it is such a family atmosphere. Well, not near me, but, everywhere else is! LOL Notice that there is no one that sits around my friends and I? That is because we are loud and proud! We don’t mind screaming for our favorites and yelling at the officials when we think that they are wrong. It’s all in fun and sometimes can get pretty comical. I remember one night I yelled at Frank Resta and he yelled right back at me. We both had to laugh. Just remember, everyone does the best they can and it is not always going to go your way. Someday, it just might.

Let’s Talk Racing, shall we?? That was the experience of a life time! Uncle Nick took me down to Millville, New Jersey where I got to sit in on his weekly radio show. I got the chance to meet Steve Lindale, Sportsman driver at the Bridgeport Speedway. He’s a very cool guy with a great crew to boot. Currently, he’s second in points there and looks like he may take a win soon. Also, Rob Pierce was there manning all of your IM’s and in the chat room. Rob also drives at the Port. I wish him lots of luck as he tries to put it in the feature each week. I had the chance to speak to some drivers including Mark Bitner, Al Cheney and Len Riley. Len, it is certainly great to hear that you are doing so well! I have always wanted to be on the radio. I got the chance to do that. Again, thank you Uncle Nick for making a little girl’s dream come true. And, BIG SHOUT OUTS to BILLY BLAZE for making the night go as smooth as possible. Hope I can make it down again sometime. Can I, Uncle Nick? Pretty please?!?!?!?!?!

Well, our After Party as always was very fun and full of emotion. Finally, the damn DJ got my song on! LOL Well, while I am on this PUBLIC forum, I must apologize to a very special person in my life. He knows who he is. I was wrong, silly and selfish. I don’t know what was going through my head. Contrary to popular belief, I am very happy for you. I was slightly off my rocker and could have handled things in a much more adult fashion. Again, I am sorry and hope that we can get back to where we were before this whole escapade. You were and are STILL my best friend. That doesn’t change. It breaks my heart that I was an idiot. I don’t want to be angry or sad anymore. I just want my best friend back.

"Everywhere I am … there you’ll be"

Ok, moving on…

After Party…whew, got goin’ on something else! Well, I missed Dave Seip there! Where was the Tidalwave at? And, like I said, Matt and Mike, our DJ’s, finally got my song on! Dizzy Dez was in the house along with Michael getting caught in the window at Gibby’s. Hey, it’s time for the Percolator!! How the hell do you three freaks do that! Gotta shout to Tony Bozowski for doing "Paradise" with me week in and week out…And, he even danced with me to my favorite song in the whole wide world. I learned the two step with George Gareis and learned that Moulin Rouge can actually be sung by five white girls! (Barb, Brenda, Robin, Rae and ME) This is what it is all about: Having a great time with all our racing friends and learning that it doesn’t take much to dance on the floor with a couple of crazy’s. Unless, you are doing the Electric Slide, Part 2! Right, Lena???

Well, love and luck to all this weekend including the Fleming’s and the Papiez Gang. To my boys: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny (even tho you yell at me) and Richard…You drive just as much with your heart as you do anything else. It is that same heart that gives reason to why I believe in each of you…To the Leach/Hoffman LRA99 Team: Pride does not even come close to what I feel each and every Friday night. The wins are going to keep coming…I feel it in my heart.

Remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not measured by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.

 

Front Stretch Follies Song of the Week:
HeartBreaker by Pat Benatar

Until next week,

Don’t walk by the flagger’s stand without saying hello. Don’t walk through life without stepping into your own victory lane.

QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, PSYCHOANALYSIS CAN BE FORWARD TO GoRacing26@AOL.COM


MYSTERY: anything beyond human comprehension, a secret

I am assuming that some of you may be asking why the word for this week is mystery. Well, personally, I think that racing is full of mysteries, don’t you agree? Like, how another person hooks up the car, why are the fans so outta control and why oh why did they throw the yellow for no apparent reason? I truly believe that mysteries are seen each and every weekend at our tracks and can only be summed up in one phrase "WHO KNOWS?"

Mysteries unfold everyday in our lives. One of my own mysteries is how in the hell am I getting to all of these races just coming out of major surgery? I guess that the will to heal and become normal again are driving me. I just want to, again, thank EVERYONE for all for their continued support and well wishes. It’s been a very difficult time, both physically and mentally, and sometimes you tend to think that there is not a soul out there that really gives a damn. However, just as you feel that, someone calls or you get a pretty cool get well card in the mail. Things are going even better than expected with my entry into the "new life". My doctors have told me that my incision looks better than any he’s seen in a long time and I am thirty-six pounds lighter. That is all in two weeks. A mystery to me….

Well, there is a lot to discuss, being as I haven’t been around in about two or three weeks. My first week back I was kinda lucky that I even made it, let alone pay much attention to what was going on. I didn’t loose my feistiness, though! Ask those around me. There were some times that guys were not lining up right or some that were jumping the start and I felt that I was the only one seeing them. Sometimes, does it all seem like everyone is watching a different race? I am NOT saying that I see the correct race all the time, but, c’mon! Are we gonna count that lap, or should we just go back to the original lap and not give anyone their spots back?

Well, let us start off with the fine happenings at EWS this weekend. I was greeted by none other than Donna Jones. I found her quite friendly and was amazed at the fact that she actually wanted to meet me, of all people. She made my night though when she asked me to sing the National Anthem on Big Wheel Night. Do you think anyone would get mad if I brought my pick up truck and let one of the kids drive it? I could win! I really could!

I gotta say that it was pretty weird to see Ryan Godown sporting his NES car at the Hightstown Half-Mile. Rumor has it, (J) that he sold the EWS car. Well, I know the guy that he "sold" it to. That guy is none other than George Idell and I am sure that he will make a pretty good showing once they get it all together. George is coming up from the MICRO-Sprint class and he has the definite desire to want to race with the best of them. I know that his Mom and his wife, Kelly are probably scared to death, but don’t worry! I’ve seen it all and I think the George can handle it. Lotsa luck, George…We’ll be there for ya…

I don’t have too much to say regarding that Sportsman event, but I just wish that if someone decides to take a spot on the re-start, that he should be put back. Sure, guys get away with it all of the time, but, it was blatantly obvious. It was a mystery to me why they let it go…Perhaps, the officials knew something that the fans did not. Anyhoo, Congrats to Mike Lyons and all at A-Team Motorsports for the win. What’s this about a HOT TUB?? Is the TIDALWAVE in on this?

What can I say about the modified feature at EWS? Actually, I thought that Mr. Pauch ran a smooth race. Everyone always has something to say, and I am no different, but, you gotta give it to him and all involved with TEAM 1. I couldn’t be more proud of the Leach/Hoffman Team. Each time that car has finished; it has been in the top five. WAIT, my bad..Only ONCE it did not finish in the top five…We finished eighth. I was kinda outta sorts when I didn’t see the familiar 18 of Timmy Tanner…nor did I see the familiar 15 of Mr. Twister, Mark Bitner. I got a chance to see Mark later on in the pits and he said that he was working on something else during the week. I know that Timmy is probably in the market for a new car after that flip a few weeks back. Was that scary, or what?? Mystery proves again…HOW THE HELL DID THEY ALL WALK AWAY FROM THAT?? As always, good Modified racing…

Grand Slam night at NES was a lot of fun. I always have a great time at that track. I will always remember that night ‘cause it was the first time that I actually got to wear another racing teams t-shirt! That was a big deal for me. Leave it up to "Big" Al Cheney to allow that to happen for me. Man, speaking of Al, what a SS feature! Honestly, I thought that Kory Fleming was gonna be the man that night, but lapped traffic played a part in this event. All I could think about was Kory’s Mom and sister flippin’ out as he led all of those laps. I know that his niece, Kourtney, was runnin’ back and forth. That poor girl just gets SOOO excited when her Uncles run up front. (Reminds me of someone that I know! J) But, nonetheless, we were all pretty excited about the finish of the feature. I am good friends with both teams, the Cheney’s and Fleming’s, and would have been happy either which way. Also, wanna give a shout to Carol Whitehouse on her third place finish. She is one of the boys, guys…

How about Brightbill?? That TEO Pro car looks spectacular! Is always nice to see Kenny B in victory lane. He is always gracious of the fans. I was definitely ecstatic to see Larry Archer hangin’ in their with all of those guys. Larry did a fantastic driving job this past weekend at NES. There is a lot of new blood running up front. How about Koczon? He is running in the top ten on most occasions. I thought that Gary Butler ran a tremendous race also. I am starting to enjoy the modifieds a little more each week. I lost some interest in them when we were seeing the same winners all the time. It’s getting fun again. I just can’t wait until the Dream makes his way back to victory lane….

That Sportsman feature was awesome! First off, I gotta give a huge high five to KR, Mr. Custom Creations himself for putting on a great show during his heat. That heat was all you, hun. I don’t know what happened on that re-start, but I thought that you did fantastic. I was VERY upset that Brian Godown didn’t make the feature. I know that a few of his brother’s pit guys were down there trying to help him out and I guess that luck was just not on his side. He is one of "our" guys that we cheer for and I hope that they got it all back together for this week. The man is a great competitor. And I love it when the brothers mix it up!!

How about Mike Toth?? What a great win for him. He crossed the finish line and it was all I could do not to cry. That familiar 89 was a sight to see in victory lane. I know a certain someone had to be smiling down on Mike Saturday night. It’s always nice to see different winners in all divisions. I know that I am like a lot of you, I want my guys to win each week, but sometimes they can’t And, that is something that we all have to accept. Sometimes, the cards are not dealt the way we want them I was once told that you don’t get another hand. Deal with the cards that you are dealt. And, I suppose that holds true in racing. Along with the mystery of you knowing that you had the best car, and couldn’t crack the top five or wondering why you can’t make it stick on the bottom and it goes way too tight on the top. And why, oh why does Ryan have to fight it out with Matt every week?? (Good show, guys!)

Well, considering that I just walked out of the hospital only about two weeks ago, I couldn’t be having any more fun with racing then I am right now. It truly is a hoot to get to know more and more people each week and learn about their racing stories. I have a friend that may even be getting a car for next year. Yes, I’ll be cheering for you! I love going into the pits each night and razzing all of you drivers and picking on your pit crews. All in fun, fellas!!! I’ve since met a lot of fans that are quite interested in what I went thru when I was in the hospital. Again, I would be more than happy to talk to you, but I don’t want to put all the gory details on this article! JJ Also, I want to express the appreciation of ALL the race fans, my family, my friends, and my Uncle Nick and Aunt Nancy for all of their support and guidance thru the whole decision making process and the actual surgery. I don’t know where I would be if it were not for all of you. It means a lot that you all care as much as you do. I especially wanna say thanks to Dana&Tim and the gang, Bonnie and the Koczon Gang, Jenn&Larry, the Flemings, Rae, Lena, Chrissy&Joe, Marge, Dawn, Barb&George, and Richard for all of your thoughts while I was in the "joint". You’ll never know what it all meant…Through all of this, I learned that I have some of the greatest friends in the world. Who would take me all the way to Moc A Tek Speedway and vow to take care of me like my own mother and father? A coupla good friends..(you all know who you are. Hey Pat, that was a lot for two bites of an omelet!) And Rosie, I am gonna keep asking questions…if it’s OK.

I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it weren’t for my family and my friends. Some think that they are expendable. They are not. Love them today…

Well, until next week, I leave you with this:

The most beautiful experience that we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion, which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.

(Albert Einstein)

I guess, in essence what I am trying to say is that life is full of mysteries. We know not what is coming around the bend, nor do we understand it once it gets here. Kinda like, love, I would assume. You know, I was granted with a mysterious kind of thing recently. An adoring friendship. I don’t know where this person came from but their friendship is truly a mystery to me. It seems to have come at the right time, too. You know, you make a decision to move your life forward, and great things begin to happen. We all deserve that. "Everywhere I am..there you’ll be…."

Ok, love and luck to all this weekend especially to the Papiez Gang and the Flemings. To my boys: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack (waited for the homerun) Kenny and … to Richard (No, we are not dating!! To answer all of your questions!) Let’s make the magic happen this week. Be strong. Be safe. Don’t let anyone take your place. To the LRA 99 Team: The wins are coming…I see them!! Be good…

 

Happy Birthday, Donna!! Love you!!


Until next time:

 

Don’t walk by the Flagger’s stand without saying hello. Don’t walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

 

Comments and suggestions can reach me at GoRacin26@aol.com


LOVE: devoted attachment to another person or thing, the object of affection

I have always thought that love was a hard word to define. I knew that it was hard to find, but to put it in ten words or less was simply ludicrous. As crazy as it may seem, I saw and felt "much love" this weekend at my racing gigs this past weekend.

I think the first thing that I have to discuss is the fact that the weather really held out for us all. The days were beautiful as the sun shined all the way until at least eight o’clock at night. Did anyone else get sunburn like me? I guess the fact that I do not sit in the sun as much as some do; I tend to get a little crispy. It can almost get to the point of my skin looking like it belongs on a lobster.

I had been looking forward to going to EWS all week because I knew that it was going to be a great night. I was going to see the 99 in action again and I was definitely looking forward to seeing all f the EWS friends. Hell, I even got to sing the National Anthem! Yet, above all, I was looking forward to being a part of "Going Fast for Gary" Night.

You know, it completely amazes me how the race fans come together to take care of one of their own. It was a whole different vibe when I went to EWS this past weekend. I don’t know how many of you know this family, but the Bozowski’s are truly one of racing’s greatest. I really got to know Gary and Patty at Atlantic City in February. I couldn’t get over the positiveness and the outpouring of love for the generosity of the race fans. There is not a weekend that goes by that Patty does not have a hug or a kind word. Gary is just a breath of fresh air with his humor. Their son, Anthony and I have become quick friends and actually have a lot in common. Do you believe that? As strange as I am?!?! So, knowing and caring about this family as I do, makes nights like this past one at EWS worthwhile. I have yet to meet Little Gary, but I know that he is probably just as amazing and lovable as the rest of the gang. It was an outpouring of concern and love this past Friday night. Anthony said to me that we fans are amazing. Well, my friend, you and your family amaze us. And, know this, it’s not over…we are still going to beat it.

Well, I don’t know if I like the run what ya brung shows or not. It seems a little weird to me. I mean, when I was a kid, I didn’t get it. But now, know a little more about the sport, I don’t know if it’s any more exciting. I thought that some of the cars were way out of hand. Can’t we all just run sail panels? JJ Congratulations goes out to Jimmy Horton for his win. Was it only eight that finished? I was just glad that the LRA 99 came across the finish line. We weren’t the greatest that night, but we finished. I do get pretty fish-faced when my faves don’t run up front or do that well. The Sportsman feature had nothing but bad vibes for me. The Cheese Man kinda got loose and took Hoopdee out of the hunt. It happens. I told Ryan to pack it up and bring it back next week. I know that John would never do something like that intentionally. Congrats to the Cheney Crew for their win on Friday. They are also another racing family to get to know. And, big shout outs to my Uncle Nick for making Friday night just a little more fun than usual. It was great to hear a familiar voice calling the action of my favorite division. Oh, and Pistol Pete: Great cameo!

I had nothing but fun over at the New Egypt Speedway. In case any of you didn’t know, I love disco music and was in my realm! I can’t dance a lick, but I love it anyway. Take it form a girl who thinks that the Bee Gees are one of pop’s greatest bands!

Well, I have to congratulate Al Cheney and his crew for their weekend sweep. I had my broom out! It was nice for that team to get those wins back to back. I just wanna say a special thanks to Rosie for all of her help and concern. It’s not an easy process, as you know, and I need everything that I can get. Thanks so much. Also, I must say that Richie Page’s car was so cool. I got a hawk at it from the grandstands and was floored. First, the car is beautiful as is, but, with the likeness of Little Gary on there, man..That is very cool and very honorable. Nice touch, Rich…

I gotta shout one out to the "other" Godown boy, Brian. Great race there. Say what you all want about the brothers getting into it..(There was a slick spot on the backstretch, according to sources) He ran a great race and deserved the win. All of the top three were some favorite drivers: Brian, Papiez and Swain!!! Yes, we were the ones screaming during the victory lane ceremony! A special good job to Jeff Geiges..He ran a hell of a feature…HOWEVER..don’t ya’ll be counting out my 26!!! He had a horrible weekend….at both tracks…Hopefully, his birthday this week will bring him some luck…JJ

How about Darren McCaughey??? He ran a solid race. He was very consistent each lap. I must say that he literally opened the can up! I was especially proud of Ron John…You ran right up here, Ron! It had nothing to do with luck! Oh, and what I told you during the after party…BIG SECRET!!!

The mod feature was kinda quirky, no? I mean, where were all of the big guns? Was there something wrong with the track? Is everyone else figuring out what they need to do? Anyhow, I hope that whatever it is, everyone gets it and we can have some really competitive racing. Also, I don’t know if I like the BERMS or not…I know someone who got into them to hard…and spun out….

I do have to re-interate that, as racers, we are family. One of my family, so to speak, was struck hard this week. Fleming’s: I remember meeting Richie and Jeremy at your party. I can’t imagine that at a young age they got called to be a part of something better than what we have. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the time to know them both better, but remember this: Be comforted in knowing that your racing family is thinking of you. And..I always will remember my "cowboy".

Let’s move on….

OK…Can I yell here?? Is that allowed?? Well, what the hell??? Can I not cheer for my drivers?? I mean, honestly! We got chewed out for making vulgar comments and what have you. I apologized for that, but, what about the other guys? The vulgarity was coming from the other side..not me….I said me….Again, I promise to tone down the fighting between the rival gangs….Sometimes, it’s a driver’s fans that make him look bad…and…I sometimes agree with that…

I love this sport…I truly do…It’s an amazing adrenaline rush…And, I love the people involved in it. I’ve made a lot of friends. And, it is those friends that have lent their support to me in the past few weeks. Amazingly enough, when the days seem long, I think about Friday and Saturday and know that its all gonna be good at the end of the week…unless it rains…Anyone else get that vibe?

Well, love and luck to all this weekend…including the Fleming’s and the Papiez gang…(Matt, I was told that I cannot go near you…!) Richard, you are absolutely one of the greatest things that has happened to me in the past year. I am very proud of you. It will come. You’re doing great! To my boyz: Ron John, Larry, Ryan, Jack, Kenny (WELCOME BACK!) and Richard…You guys have shown me that love does come when you least expect it…(Larry, I still have no voice!!) Luck to the LRA 99 Team…It’s not too far, guys…

Until next time, I leave you with this:

No one ever asks for love. They wait for it. When you are born, love immediately comes to you. It is when the years start passing you by that you realize love is not a given. It takes work and time. Love is not based on a pretty face, a beautiful body or money, but on trust, spirit and understanding. There are different kinds of love and there are some that are so similar that you can be deceived. However, there is one love that you must know first: the love of yourself. Once that is accomplished, you can begin to love everything and everyone. Because you love you.

Until then, Don’t walk by the Flagger’s stand without saying HELLO. Don’t walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

COMMENTS CAN BE FORWARDED TO GORACIN26@AOL.COM


Inspiration: a person or idea that fosters enthusiasm for a specific purpose

Well, I am still not quite sure what happened to last week’s edition of the "Front Stretch Follies". I was sick for part of the week and then I began working these weird overtime hours. What are they? J Well, like someone told me on the message board, stop whining. And, if you are going to do it; then do it. Well, here I am. I am doing it. I apologize.

There are a two weeks that I need to catch up on. First, I too wanna thank the Grosso Family for letting the race in last week when no other track even dared to think about it. It amazes me how much I look forward to going to the races each week. Would you believe that we count the days down at my office?? My colleagues are like "Yo, Dee, you have three days, two days..Hey ain’t it a race day?" It is so funnie. These are people that never knew what a dirt race was until I moved into the jail.

Needless to say, I was so sick after the fight with the rain two weeks ago. I was supposed to go to the parade with a few friends, but that idea ended after Mr. Flu Bug and his family entered into my system. Musta been when I was screaming in the Modified feature. I thought that it was a great showing of talent and skill by these drivers. I, again, had the chance to speak to some of the Modified drivers and they were pretty content with the conditions of the track…except for coming out of one and two. I have an educated guess, though. I think that Brain Weaver is gonna rid himself of that push sometime soon. It’s lookin’ like the guy can’t even turn the car. However, it comes off like a rocket! I have one thing to say: As soon as that gets ironed out, the Dream may become recurring and unstoppable. I really enjoy watching him. And, he is a nice guy to boot!

I was very happy with the outcome of the Sportsman Feature, as I am sure that you all know. Ryan pulled double duty and did well in both the Modified and Sportsman race. That was his fourth time in the big block and he proved that he could run with some of the big boys. I thought he and Mr. Horton put on a great show. How hard was that for me! I have been a Horton fan since I was, like, what. eight?? And then, to see him race against one of my favorites and closest friends? That was hard. Ryan, I will come down to victor lane before the season is out!

Being as the word of the week is inspiration, I gotta tell you what that night at NES meant to me. I mean, think about it. It as dark and dreary, however, someone saw a light and kept the excitement going. Now, isn’t that not like life in a way? I mean, you get dark days and you feel like you can’t move, even if there is a lot of breathing room. Ok, it feels horrible, but if you work at it and believe in what is around you, you can make it happen. And, the rewards come back in multitudes. I was very inspired by that night. It made me feel that even though it may be dark and rainy, there is still a light over at the Frankenstein Place. Someone or something was looking down on us that night.

I speak a lot about friends and the relationships that I have found at the tracks. Well, I know everyone has their opinion, but I do have to say that I am so glad that I am good friends with both Bonnie Koczon and Lynda Morgan. I’ll never forget that day that I met Bonnie. I was, and still am, a die-hard Ron John fan and I made him a banner one year that well, wasn’t cheap to make. I’ll never forget her face when she saw it. Her and I have become very good friends and she even listens to me when I gripe about you gentleman breaking my heart! She is as first class as they come. I am so glad that she took the time to see me from the inside out. Her and her family are part of the reason I am as friendly as I am.

Lynda Morgan is more like my little sister than she is my friend. We hang out at the races and after the races. Her family has known the Leach’s for several years. I believe that some of my family remembers her when she was a baby. I met Lynda through my good friend; Lena (the other loud one) and I immediately took to her. We must call each other five times a week and hang out all weekend. She is a good kid. She knows that I don’t agree with all that she has done or does, but, she knows that our friendship will remain a constant, no matter where she goes. Choosing a Miss MES was tough for me and I am glad that both of them are doing it together. Love yas both. And, yes, I will hold that bag for you!

Well, this past weekend was pretty much a wash out for us local fans. I was slated to sing the National Anthem at EWS this past week and I was really looking forward to it. I was looking forward to that whole night, really. It was "Run what ya Bring" and Going Fast for Gary Night. I was doing my sun dances but they didn’t help. I was kinda saddened by that, but, they are gonna try and Get it in this week..Seems as if Mother Nature may cooperate. Hey, Jack…Do I still get to sing the Anthem? JJ

I thought for sure that we were gonna get NES in though. I can’t say anything bad about it. They did try, but if the equipment cannot get on the track, how can you manicure the thing? I was ready and all. So, guess what I did. WENT TO BRIDGEPORT!!!

I saw a lot of familiar faces there…in the grandstands. Jack Swain, Jim Murdoch (taping, of course), the Webmaster himself, Rich McTighe and Terry the Chocolate Lady. Later on, I found out that half of the NES employees were on pit side. What a motley crue that musta been!!

Well, I only got there for features. I was really only into the modifieds. It was so good to see Doug Hoffman again, even if it wasn’t in the LRA 99. I thought he looked great n his familiar 60 over. You wanna know what runs? That RIO car!! Wade looked great, although he finished third. I had forgotten how fast they get around that HUGE track. Being from NES, I am not used to the LONG LAPS. But, it was fun…and I congratulate Jamie Mills on a great run. Donna and Mom….so nice to be together again.

Well, I guess that I am gonna close ‘cause the rain really washed us all out this week.. I gotta shout out to Larry Archer for debuting in the Modified ranks those two weeks ago. I did try, Larry..That is probably where I go the laryngitis. Imagine me..not being able to talk….HAHAHAHAHAHA

Wanna say hi to Racer Boy, John Romano..it’s on, John…Now, do they have to sit on my lap..or does touching count?? To my girl Dana, I am glad that we are becoming great friends. I promise to stay away from your man. Speaking of men, my dear MICHAEL!!! You are going to get me in trouble…Age is only what you make it…Lots of fun with a lot of folks during the after party. Michael…you make it extra special…just don’t be stingy with yer funnel cake and don’t get stuck in the window at GIBBY’S, And I gotta thank Brian from the Papiez gang for the shot…what was that anyhow?? Hey, Tony…I promise not to stand near the friggin’ speaker! J …..Uncle Nick…always a pleasure…remember, you made me this way…You are my inspiration.

Love and luck to all this weekend…to my boys Ron john, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny and Rich…I hope you know that you have all inspired me to be a better person and fan. I hope that you know that. Be safe. Be strong. Don’t let anyone take your place. Much luck to the Flemings and the Papiez gang….. How many is Godown behind, Matt??

Well, until next time..I leave you with this::

To inspire someone to become the best person they can be, is a gift in itself. Words and actions are the foundation of inspiration and are carried out by acts of nature friendship and love. Remember, that it only takes ONE word or ONE action to inspire a person for a lifetime. I lived that this past week. Seek relationships and morals that are based on truth and inspiration. That just may be the secret to compete contentment.

Until then, Don’t walk by the Flagger’s stand without saying HELLO! Don’t walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

GRIPES, COMMENTS, YADA YADA YADA, CAN BE FORWARD TO ME AT GORACIN26@AOL.COM


LUCK: accidental fortune, good or bad; fate

I suppose that many of you may be wondering why I chose luck as our word and not something different. Well, racing has a lot to do with luck, does it not? I mean, how may times have we said. "He’s havin’ some bad luck." Or, "That was just dumb luck." Luck plays a part in the weekly scope of racing. Of course, I know some drivers who claim that is it weren’t for bad luck; they’d have no luck at all. J

On a personal note about "luck", as some of you may know, I have been preparing for over eighteen months to go into the hospital and give myself the greatest gift I could imagine: life. What the hell is she talkin’ ‘bout? I can hear some of you now. Well, through countless hours of telephone conversations, doctor’s visits, and friendly "disagreements" with friends and family, I have decided to go through and have gastric bypass surgery. It’s a major surgery with hospital stay and all that crap. Briefly, it’s a surgery that is going to allow me the health and well being that I never had. I am content within my heart and mind enough to take this leap and allow others to see the beauty inside of this soul, and not give them a second to even think that it is just a "role" that is played. I go in on June 21st. That is a THURSDAY.I will definitely not be out in time for the racing weekend…So, I hope my girls will kick a rain dance for me! I just wanted to let you all know because I know that a lot of you care about what happens to my family and me. I appreciate that….

Anyhow, how many of us sat on our rear ends on Friday? I know I did. I was a little bitter about the whole "no racing" Friday thing. It didn’t rain here in Burlington, however that means nothing where weather is concerned. So, what did all of you EWS fans do on Friday night? I baked cookies and crumbled brownies for the crew of the 26 and watched the Daytime Emmy awards. Yippee. Way deep down inside of myself, I was waiting for Jimmy Horton or one of them guys to come on the television and present the award for best Daytime Drama. It’s funny. In the off-season, it doesn’t matter to us much about Friday and Saturday nights being rainy; we just keep going. During the season, we bitch and moan and carry on because we KNOW where we are supposed to be. Anyhow, I bitched through the night and waited out the weather report of the next day.

Needless to say, the show went on at NES without a hitch. I tell you what…the weather was a little different than Friday. It was hot! I was over in the fourth turn with Kimi, Kourt, Kass, Mom Fleming, Margaret and Charlie..and the sun was beating down on us pretty good! I got sunburn on the back of my neck and my face. What is all that about? I mean, is it JULY?? We were all ready to pass out. We just weren’t prepared for anything like that! Some of us even had on long sleeves….I am about ready to make a call into John Bolaris…

Anyhow, I do have to talk about those PRO-STOCK guys. I thought their feature went pretty good. Not too many yellows and definitely nice to see a new face on the podium. What about that Fleming kid!! He did an awesome job this past weekend! He was quite excited, and, as he said, it was a real confidence booster for him. Not only for him, but all of those associated with Sleepy Hollow Racing. He had gotten a good luck charm from a fan earlier in the day. I guess it worked Kory!! Remember to wave at your Mom and the rest of the clan! Good job, kid. And…and congrats to Mr. Bauma for taking the win. I am beginning to like this class more and more each week…..

My modifieds were on fire! I am so glad that Kenny B finally got it all together and put one in the win column. That last lap was one to remember, huh? I don’t know if luck played a part, but I know that the skill and determination of Mr. Brightbill had a hand in this win. And, the Dream is still making his way through the nightmare and getting on the podium. The fans love the show, Brian. It amazes me how these drivers just cut through the muck and get it done. Billy is a master at it. I could never imagine myself behind the wheel of one of those things. It’s gotta take everything you have just to climb in one, let alone have the sanity to drive it through traffic like that. We get that show each week at NES. It’s been good, thus far. Oh, and Ron John…I missed ya. And, the big shout out to the Velenger gang! Glad to see yas all back!

Well, good friends and new ones made the Rookie Graduation Night a success. Hey, Jim Potts, I want that BEETLE!! My Dad told me that I couldn’t have one. I got to give the credit where it is due: Dave Seip and the whole gang at A-Team Motorsports did a fine job these past eight weeks. I t was a pleasure to get to talk to Dave each week and see some of his view on racing. I knew he was going to do the Polish Victory Lap! He told me, in cofidence at the "After Show Party". He’s very gracious and allowed some "crazy" person be a fan. A lot of those guys were on fire the past coupla weeks. I am especially proud of my friend, Rich McTighe. Richard and I have had many talks concerning racing and I know that he has the determination…needs a little luck. Don’t be taken too far aback by Rich. He’s a good kid and has racing in his blood. I am very proud of you, Richard. You can pay me my cut when I see you at Ken’s.

How about one of my boys taking the Sportsman feature?? Although, I did miss Larry and the Hoopdee started smokin’ way before I lit up, but Jack Swain was the man! Jack is one of the greatest people I have ever met around the racing community. He’s gracious and takes the time to stop by and see the fans whenever he can. Ever since I have known him, he’s been a hard charger with a big heart. I like that in a driver. All I know is that Saturday is an especially long day for most of us. It’s nice to see that your favorites finish up front, or at the very least bring the damn thing home in one piece.

Well, I probably shouldn’t do it, but I am going to clear my name, so to speak. Whatever some of you thought I did, I didn’t do. I don’t have the balls to do something like that. What you saw was nothing more than what you see Lynda and Bonnie do on a Saturday night, OKOKOK, they may look better at it than I. To those of you who completely bashed me, I hope that you would e-mail me first and I would have told you that it was a joke between me and a few friends that I was sitting with. Nothing was revealed. (I wouldn’t want that!) I do apologize to the kids who may have thought that I was going way over the edge. I’m not saying it was right, but it wasn’t completely wrong, either. My apologies to anyone who was offended by the "gesture".

Off the soapbox…so, where am I? Well, after the show was a blast. If any of you want something to do, join us! Hey Terry..BOWWOW…Are you taking my date?? Bonnie …didn’t know that you were a dancer!!! You go girl!! Dana, Tim let me down…what’s up with that?? Sorry for screwing up the dance…Tony…when I hear Crocodile Rock (like I did today)…it’s all you, babe…and I can sing it better than you! Although, I doubt if I could fix up broken race care drivers better than you...hmm…. LYN…you missed it all, sister…

Hey, I got to meet Mike Frattori…speaking of rookies. He came up and introduced himself. Thanks for your kind words, Mike. That’s what I like about this column. I would hope that people would introduce themselves and take a minute to chat so I can get to know more of the racing family. Hmm..Perhaps, people just think I am nuts…

Ok, well, love and luck to all this weekend. Webmaster!! I miss you…come up and see me sometime…and bring that Donna girl! Luck to the Flemings and the Papiez gang…… To my boyz: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny (COME HOME, BOY!!) and Richard. Insanity has a name and it is called "Dina’s Boyz". Be strong. Be safe. Don’t let anyone take your place. I love yas all…. Much luck to the LRA99 race team and their driver, Mr. Hoffman. It’s coming again, guys.

Until next time…

Know that people cast lots on luck and drive it as far as they can until the luck runs out. Luck isn’t really a coincidence. Luck is really divine intervention at its best. Some say, make your own luck…other’s wait for luck to come. Luck ain’t even luck, you gotta make your own breaks. Then, the intervention happens. J

 

All this talk…I wanna go back to Atlantic City…JJ

Until next week…..Don’t walk by the Flagger’s stand without saying hello. Don’t walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

Comments, bashes, etc…can be forward to me at GoRacin26@aol.com  


PRIDE: the state or quality of being proud

Well, here I am. I know a lot of you have been waiting for another edition of the "Follies" but, when your hard drive goes down on yer PC, it can tend to be quite difficult to even see an image..let alone type. :)

It has been alomost three weeks since we last spoke and alot of things have been going on around the racing community. Different drivers, different fans, crazy fights, and some good racing. As most of you know, I run around with a tape recorder now, so watch yerself!! You may be listed in an up coming edition of the "Follies".

I guess that you are wondering why the word of the week is pride. There are a few reasons why that is. First of all, as you all know, I am very proud to be a part of this racing industry and couldn't be happier with the posistion I am in right now. Secondly, I am proud of my family and my friends who have accomplished some great things these past few weeks and what about you all?? Proud when your drivers win? Proud when your kid sits and watches at least one race? :):) Pride is a great word that is felt everyday. By everyone, at some point.

Well, I gotta talk about East Windsor and how, for me, it gets more exciting each week I go. Now, we understand that the car count may not be what we are used to, but where else can you see Hoffman, Brightbill, Horton, Hendrickson and Pauch all on the same bill all at the same time? I know my girls and I sit on pine needles everytime the modified heats start. It's like, "OK, Billy's in this one and, oh man, Horton is starting there and Doug may take this one." We bitch and we argue about winners and have a great time "conversing" with fans of the other drivers. It's all in fun and we leave it at the grandstands, Nothing ever follows us to the pits.

Last week, I was quite content with the outcome of the feature, considering the LRA 99 did have a broken front end and Doug had to claw his way back to the front. You know, I have been a Jimmy Horton fan since I was about five. Remember when he drove the Statewide 3? I still have the jacket from when I was about nine or ten. I remember being young and getting heckeled because I liked Jimmy. Now, I'm respected for Jimmy and heckeled for another driver...well...a few of my drivers. That is why I enjoy EWS so much. I can see everyone and not have to pick and choose where I wanna be on a Friday night.

It was especially cool this past week because my Uncle Nick lended a hand at the announcer's booth. Basically, he wanted to let the fans know about the "Going Fast for Gary" campaign, however, he got to commentate my favorite division: Sportsman, He and I share a great love for the sport and it's always nice to hear his voice creating the soundtrack to the division.

The New Egypt Speedway has been creating a monster. No, not the drivers! ME! I mean, at no other track could I get away with wearing polka dots, asking Ryan if he wanted to play TWISTER and walking around with a SOMBRERO on my head. Cinco de Mayo was fantastic! I am loving the Latin music right now and was no more than happy to listen it it all night there. What else? The racing gets better and better every week.

I am sincere when I say that it is a joy to see so many DIFFERENT winners this season, in all divisions. Yes, I know there are a few repeats, but nothing beats the Papiez/Ploski showdown this past week in the Sportsman Feature. I didn't know if Matt had anything for him, but, there again, I don't know a damn thing about how to make those cars work. I was very proud for Matt and his crew for that win. He deserved it. Heck, my girls and I even went down to the the fence and screamed for him. If you haven't taken the time to know these guys and girls, they are a lot of fun, yet serious when they need to be. Good job, Mattie. I see more in your future. And, I hope that BRIAN, yes BRIAN Godown can get everything together this week and get back out on the track. He is just as fun to watch as that other Godown boy.

Always a bridesmaid never a bride? Well, I think Frank Cozze set that record straight this past weekend. He had the crowd wrapped around his finger. They were all waiting for him to win at NES. It was just a matter of time before he found his way to victory lane. The man has been a force to be reckoned with since I was young and I knew that he wouldn't sit around and let the "homeboys" take it all. I see that a lot of guys are starting to figure the track out and getting themselves to the front and staying up there. That't the key...Getting there...and staying there...hmm

I think Rich Page may be looking for a hat trick, no? And, why are we calling them pro-stocks?? When Uncle Nick called them that, I was looking for Warren Johnson and Richie Stevens to pull out on the raceway. You all know who they are, right? Ok, so I like SOME drag racing.....I guess, due in part to the body styles and all that there jazz, they thought of a more universal name for the class. Whatever. It's still a lot of fun to watch and alot of fun to pick your winners. Hey, I picked Page to win! I was very happy for him. I saw him later on that night and he was very gracious and very friendly. Congrats, Rich.

Not one for Sprints, but, when the 99 took the lead on the last lap...man, that was great. Sean Michael was awesome in the car Saturday night. You wanna talk about pride? You should have seen the pride in his daughter's eyes as she raced to the fence to see her dad. I remember that look when I used to race to see my Uncle John in victory lane. I was also very astonished when I saw that Danny Massey made it out and qualified for the feature. That kid took a major flip coming into one and two, Hey, Jimbo? You got footage on that?

I guess that I could have picked fear for the word of the week. Being in racing and having the family and friends that I do, you meet characters along the way and they become aquaintences that you generally care about. I was standing down in turn four watching the rookie race with some of the Papiez gang, (Jackie, I'll buy you a pack of smokes for the next one!) and all I saw was a black car coming off the backstretch. Genuinly excited for Dave Seip for winning and content with the finishes for the other guys I knew, I went to see Kimi and her girls in the fourth turn stands. That's when I realized that black car on the backstretch was a rookie guy that I have come to know. I didn't know what happened to the car, but all I saw was Pat McBride jumping out of the thing and falling on the groud. Now, whether you like someone or not, you NEVER hope for them to be hurt. I've hung out with Pat a few times and I know he's got a "no fear" attitude, however, that is something that no one likes to see. I still don't have the whole story, but I hope that Pat is doing ok and that all is well with the 11.

Within the past few weeks, it's been a pleasure to get to re-know or meet alot of folks in our racing community. I gotta thank Dana&Tim and Larry&Jenn for inviting me out after the big show and letting me see a part of me that I knew was buried. My friends and I love coming out after the races now and really enjoy the craziness and fun that is involved. Tim, I still haven't taken the picture. We'll have to try that again. Oh, and we are celebrating my birthday sooner than we expected.!! Dana, I know he's a dirty driver, but he has a good heart and he "seems" to be a nice guy!! Jenn, I am calling Tony Soprano to get rid of the monkey...He's starting to piss me off....Larry..I always got my disco stuff on!! Oh, and I have another glass for you.

What's good about everyone hanging out is that my brother has been a parf of this also. I have enjoyed getting to know him again. I know it sounds like rhetoric, but, I have to shout out to Ryan Godown and his brother, Butchie for allowing my brother to be a part of all that Godown maddness. He feeds off of it just like you guys and he is very proud to be a part of another winning team. And, I personally could not be happier for getting to see this other side of him. Maybe we can get along after all.

That's part of the fun of racing for me. Getting to know drivers, cheering for them, hanging out and allowing them to become a part of the family, so to speak. I don't think that ALL of the racing takes place on the track, but it takes place in the eyes, the heart, the spirit and the pride of it's fans. I know that I can be CRAZY and really not understand another's point of view when they are downing my drivers, however, that is part of my passion. I am not going to apologize for that and I would not expect any of you to either. Like I've said: Love the sport, love EVERYTHING about it. And I do love everything about it....especially the fans.

Well, I think that is the witching hour. Oh, Tony Bozowski, I know your reading this. Thanks for my dance. I know I made ya stay longer than you wanted, but, wasn't it worth it?? Nothing but love....

Good luck to all this weekend. Be strong, be safe. Don't let anyone take your place. To my boyz: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny(wherever you may roam), Rich and even you, Dale...you are the wind beneath my.....wings?? No, perhaps my craziness!! I love yas...Much luck and love to the LRA 99 team and their driver, Mr. Hoffman. It's all you, boys.

Nick, thanks for the memories of Nan...She's still here as long as she's in our heart and chasing us with wooden spoons....

Until then remember that pride begins with the love you have inside of your heart for you. When you share that love; pride, inner beauty and strength beome a part of the daily function that we call life.

Until next time (yes, there will be a next time!) DON'T WALK BY THE FLAGGER'S STAND WITHOUT SAYING HELLO. DON'T WALK THRU LIFE WITHOUT STEPPING INTO YOUR OWN VICTORY LANE. 

Comments, suggestions, yada, yada, yada, can reach me at GORACIN26@aol.com


PRAYER: A COMMUNION WITH A HIGHER POWER, AN EARNEST REQUEST

Well, I don't know about ya'll, but alot of my prayers were answered this weekend. Well, some out ward ones anyway, but answered none the less. I had a tough week, worrying about work, worrying about up coming things in my life, but I knew that Friday was going to bring me back to the thing I loved the most: Dirt Track Racing. Then, I saw the weather reports. So, I screamed at the top of my lungs, ran to my room and didn't come out for a few minutes. Man, I hate relying on something that we have no control over. Then, that's when it dawned on me...I don't have any control over the weather. It is what it is. So, I made alternative plans....Just in case....and I prayed..."Please don't rain!"

Well, Friday arrived and the sun was out, at least in Trenton anyway. So, I figured..Hey, Jones may get this race in after all! Thank God! Well, it immediately turned cloudy and so did my mood. I was distraught. I couldn't concentrate on the AM because it was so nice and now my mind went haywire because the weather started to SUCK! Well, it wasn't raining...So, off to East Windsor Speedway I went.

Other motorists musta thought I had a screw loose. (All of you already know that I do!) I kept turning on the windsheild wipers to see if those little spots on the windsheild of my Ford Ranger Pace Truck were rain. Most times, they were not. But, a few times they were. I started praying again..."Please, don't rain!" And, I turned up the music really loud....

When I got there, it was just like i recalled. Dusty, rocky, not a lot of people and certainly not alot of rain. I was ecstatic! There were alot of clouds, but no rain! Prayers were answered! I quickly changed into my Doug Hoffman T-shirt and made my way to my seat. I was flabbergasted. They had new wood...done a few strokes with the paint brush...although, I don't wanna start a war, but there National Anthem left something to be desired. How about a new recording???

There weren't many cars...approximatly sixty. And, unfortunately, I don't think that the crowd of about five hundred people were anywhere near as enthusiastic about is as I was. There were a few screams here and there,,,but...nothing like I am used to. What happened to the Glory Days of East Windsor?? I remember being younger and loving it there. I still love it, but, not to the magnitude I did those few years ago.

Well, enough of memory lane..Let's talk about the race. What can I say?? Well, the Leach Racing Associates 99 chauffered by Doug Hoffman was on fire! It was an excellent night for the team. Not bad for a washed up driver, huh? I know that Doug silenced all the crtics with his win at Bridgeport and his landslide victory at EWS. I know many of you may say, "well, Billy wasn't in the feature and Kenny broke and he started on the pole." Ok, I will agree that I would have loved to have seen the battle between Doug, Billy and Kenny, however, that's not the way it was. Those two guys got in touch with a little bad luck. It happens. They are the best at what they do. And as far as starting on the pole? Well, as a FAN and OBSERVER, I think that Doug was on time Friday and he could have started 100th, and made his way to the front. Everything just clicked for the team that night. I am very proud to be a part of it. Good job, Doug...and Congrats to the whole LRA99 Team.

How about BIG Al Cheny taking the SS win! We picked him to do so. And, as far as the Sportsman feature goes? Well, let me see..Who made the call for FIVE to go when it was TEN?? That is just complete lack of communication. I wonder how the drivers felt?? I thought that the Flagger's were ALSO supposed to keep count of the laps as they were happenening. I didn't see a the last eight laps anyhow. Ryan's motor shut off....and I went to my truck. Congrats to the Liedel2 Team for the win. Good run by Racer Boy Romano. And a special thanks to Pork Chop for making it all a little more interesting Friday night..And to the EWS staff and the Jones Family for not calling it when we had a few rain drops. Another answered prayer....

Well, needless to say, I went through the same rigamaroe on Saturday..praying for the rains not to come. It was POURING in Delran in the AM! I went back to sleep..."Perhaps, I could dream it away!" I thought. Well, it worked for awhile. The sun began to come out and it seemed as if it was gonna be a wonderful day. It it was....for the most part.

The drive over to NES was cloudy and it looked pretty grim. So, again, I made alternative plans in my mind for when they sent us home in a terrencial down pour. I got to New Egypt kinda early..I don't know why. The stands were VERY empty and the wind was starting to kick up. "Well at least I got to see it," I thought. I kept looking at the sky and praying...very hard. I wanted to see two Sportsman Features!!!

Well, I did see one of them anyhow. One of my boys, Ryan Godown pretty much had his way for the first of the two Sportsman Features. Never mind his bad haircut; he looked very smooth and consistent each lap. If you've never met this guy, do yourself a good deed by walking over to his trailer after the races. He is definetly a decent guy with an intelligent view of racing and all of its aspects. Yes, I will silence everyone by saying: HE IS AN AGGRESSIVE DRIVER...and I know that some may not agree with what he does on the track. However, he's very grateful for even racing on a weekly basis at both tracks. Ryan and his brother, Butch work as hard as they possibly can to accomplish what they have so far. So, the guy is a little agressive.....I'll take that. He's a good racer with a good heart. Kinda reminds me of another fellow I know from years ago.....:) Ry, you're family now...Sorry 'bout yer luck....:):)

Rookie feature was exciting as The Tidal Wave took another victory. I was psyched for Joe Papiez, as I was hoping for that team to get it's first win. I was very proud of Rich and all those associated with McTighe Racing. Now, you know, Rich!!! Prayer came into view on that feature as I saw the Cowboy, Pat McBride being taken out by ambuilance. As fans, we sometimes forget that this sport is one of the MOST dangerous hobbies that we can get ourselves into. And me, being your average Josephine, didn't quite understand what went on with Pat, but, I spoke to some of his representatives and he was OK. We can fix the cars, we can't fix the drivers....

Rain...Rain...Rain...started coming down in the middle of the Sportsman heats. I was actually ready for the Grosso's to call it. But then, I was quickly reminded by a few of the loyal, that NES will do whatever it takes to get the show along. KUDOS to Donnie Kline as he won his heat....IN THE RAIN!! Luckily, the skies dried up and we went back to racing. For awhile.....

I gotta hand it to Billy Bauer for being as psyched as the fans for getting the Modified Feature in. He cut his own victory lane interview so te Mods could get on the track and get their show moving along. Class act that was. Hey...Speaking of Mods...I got the pleasure of "hanging around" with the Dream Weaver. (Well, I was kinda lingering and he just happened to be there signing autographs.) Again, he's a pretty confident driver. He was very grateful of all of the fans that came down to see and talk to him. I felt that he was just as competitive this past weekend as he was when he took the victory last weekend. I don't believe that the "Dream" is over....I believe that it has only begun.

We musta stopped five times for weather during that modified feature. I really respect and admire the NES family for doing what they can for racing. Some of the fans were ready to go...we were wet, cold...and tired of playing games with mother nature. But, you wanna know what the highlight of the whole night was? When My Uncle, Nick Leach, was standing in the infield...He looked up and said "OK! This is enough! Could you give us a break already!!" Lo and behold, IT STOPPED RAINING!! I don't know what he did, but his prayer was answered immediately! I think that prooved one thing: when you want something in life, you gotta SCREAM for it. Don't whisper around in dark corners and hope that someone hears you. Shout as loudly as you can. And....when that rain stopped....we had one hell of a feature....

The Kid took the win, although he was working for it. Lapped traffic was again a factor this week in the feature. I don't know if Weaver could have held Billy off, or vice versa, but still, it was a great race! How about Bob Drayton? The 09 was very strong in the feature. Hey, personally, if we had the full thirty laps.....five more?? Perhaps, it could have been Drayton's night....

It was a great night, even though the amount of rain delays had us curfew the Sportsman guys one more time. I was very glad that we could get in most of the show even if my Sportsman guys didn't have their feature. I just want to thank Jack Swain for explaining to the crowd why it was taking as long as it did to get the guys going after those few breif showers. I didn't understand it..I'm sure others didn't either.

Well, Kimi and Lousie, great talking to you before the races started....What's with Kory and The Dale, Jr. hairstyle??? If some of you don't know the Fleming's...again, it would behoove you to get to know this racing family...Gary Butler..are you going to waste away to nothing?? Oh, yeah, I forgot...you are trying to get into that "club"...Aunt Jeanie and Charlie..so, he's a cupcake, huh?? Wonder what he would done of I did what I was plannin on doin'?? Hopefully, the "CUPCAKE" can get it all to work at the same time...It's been tough riding out the STORM...He'll be fine... Hmm...Tony Bozowski called me a trouble maker. Is that true?? Do I start trouble?? Well, intentionally?? Well, I mean...I don't hurt anyone....

Until next time..I leave you with this:

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
(Carnegie)

I guess, in essence, this quote shows how some of us can tend to feel sometimes. We always are looking for something, or someone, better, more intelligent, more beautiful or more intriguing. Sometimes, we look so far out into the distance, that we don't see the beauty and the intrigue that is standing right in front of us. Love what you have been given and learn that the minute that happiness surrounds you, you will know that what is standing in front of you, is what you were searching for all along.

Good Luck to everyone this coming race weekend. Be strong. Be safe. Don't let anyone take your place. To my boys: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny, Rich .... and Dale....you guys are the reason I go to the extremes I do. To Doug, Uncle John, and all of the LRA99 Team....I wish you luck...and know that the hard work will pay off again....

Front Stretch Follies song of the week: LIVIN' ON A PRAYER.....That's what we were doing.....

Until next week:

Don't walk passed the Flagger's stand without saying Hello. Don;t walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

GRIPES, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS, YADA, YADA, YADA, CAN BE FORWARDED TO: GORACIN26@AOL.COM.


DREAM: train of sights, sounds and thoughts during sleep, to think idly

There were alot of dreams come true this past weekend. First of all, we had beautiful weather that allowed us to wear comfortable clothing and not look like Nanook from the North Pole. I thought that an Alaskan Husky was missing this time around. Don't get me wrong, I still had to huddle with my friends later on in the night, but it was nothing like last weekend.

 

I did something a little different his past weekend. I shut my mouth, no, kidding. I went down to Little Bridgeport to see the MICRO Sprints in action. I was invited by George idell and I knew that, with EWS opeing next week, this would have been my only time getting there. Might I say that it is quite different than anything that I have ever seen. They sound like a heard of bumble bees going off! I met up with Donna and her Mom and they explained that no one really gets down and cheers for there guy or gal. That was the first thing that I thought was different. They have no walls. Different. And..how do them guys fit into those little things? Do they shrink?? Well, none the less, I gotta say that a dream came true for Eric Ludwig. (I hope I spelled that right!) It was his birthday on Friday and he scored a win in the 125's. He was very excited and happy and he even walked away from the interview 'cause he was so thirlled! That's what it's about, guys. Learning how to be happy with what you've accomplished that night. It's quite easy when you win. It's more challenging when you do not. Your fans love you anyway. Thanks, George for inviting Rae and I out. We had a blast.

 

What can I say about the racing at New Egypt?? Well, we started the warm up a little late, to the dismay of many of the fans. Street Stocks actually GOT their heats! I was amazed, Usually, they run a feature only when the Winged Wonders come to town. I agree with that , though. They support the track every week. I don't think they should be pushed into a corner. They work just as hard as the next guy. I know, some of their heats took a little longer than expected. What happened to the time limit anyhow? I do have to say, I missed my favorite Street Stock guy last night. Although, I did see Mr. Haines later on in the evening. He looked like he fell in a pile of grease, or something. But, he was having a good HAIR DAY! Dale, I missed ya. Tell Donnie I said to put a move on getting that car together. Crew cheifs....oy vey! (Love yas!) Congrats to Pat "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" Freiberger for the win. Good job going ten laps with no yellows. And the Kim Cooke 13? JD III Graphics doing a fine job. Jay, don't forget my catalog this week.

 

Where do I begin with ROOKIES? Well, I know that the Pat McBride crew and all involved were totally thrilled. I got the chance to get to know and hang out with Pat, George Gareis and a few of their guys a coupla times. They are a riot! Nobody can tell a story like Pat! I was very glad for him. Some of them rookies are getting around! They are a lot of fun to watch. I certainly hope that one rookie can make more than one lap next week. He's got the dream...I think he needs a little luck....Make your own luck, Rich....:) Thanks for them cookies, Barbie!!!

 

Modifieds were on fire at NES!!! Lightning fast! Who could ever have thought that the feature could have turned out the way it did! The Dream Weaver rode one hell of a feature. He made Billy work for everything that he had. It was awesome! We have ourselves a race this year, folks! It was cool to see Cozze make his way to our track. I hope that Ron John was happy with his first time out in a modified. I was happy for him. I guess the best part of the night was the last three laps of the feautre!!! The whole crowd was on their feet! Can you imagine almost three thousand people all screaming at once?? Brian Weaver was a happy guy! It was nice to see a differnet winner. He even said that his three hour trip was worth it! He drove a good hard race and he deserved the win. Although, HIS work will be cut out for him next week. Do NOT expect The Kid to take this lying down. The Kid is the reigning King and may not take to kindly to an outsider moving in on the kingdom. Glad to see Kenny B feeling better and back in the 19. Congrats to all the drivers for making that one of the best modifed features to date.

 

Sprint cars picked up where they left off! They certainly were flying through the turns at NES! Coverdale was definetly the man to beat. The thing I hate about them is the fact they have to be pushed off. I know, I know..it all has to do with some rigamaroe in the engine...er something. It was cool to see Don Krietz at the track. I actually picked him to take it all, however, Coverdale had a different idea in mind. It is always good to see the URC Sprinters make a good run. Unfortunatly, the good run wasn't enough. My class got "curfewed" until next week. That classifies to BAD DREAM.

 

SPORTSMAN GUYS!! I was just as angry as you were. I know that some of you had it all set up for the track conditions that night. Now, it's possible that it is going to be in a slop full of mud and not dry. I feel kinda bad, though that if you break in the "do over" feature, you can't run the rest of the night. Sure, we can argue about starting on time and all that, but....what does it prove? I know that I am getting two Sportsman Feautres next week! I will be there! You know that!

 

Well, I hope that none of you fans out there blame the visable people for what transpired at NES this past weekend. It's not their fault. They try to do their best for you and I sincerely think that the Powers that Be truly thought they could get every bit of the races in last weekend. As far as the Anthem goes, I am as proud to sing it before the features as I am before the heats...whatever. I would prefer it before heats, but that is not up to me. I kinda felt a little disconcerning about the engines running while I was trying to sing, however, they drowned out my mistakes. :)

 

Well, I gotta give a belated shout out to The Maverick, Steve Moss for putting on an excellent sponsor show opening day at NES. He's a pretty likable guy and has been showing some strength in the Modifed Division. The money in the plants: Very Cool idea. :)

 

Well, I am pretty toasted from this weekend. I got sunburnt on Saturday and I m paying for it now. I hope that everyone had a terrific holiday..And Mom Fleming: I am not wasting away to nothing! My heart will always be as big as the rainbows. Thanks to you and your family for your kindness. RAWHIDE!!!!! Nice to see Jim Brown. And, I was graced by the presence of the WEBMASTA for some of the night. If any of you have yet to meet Todd, you are missing out on a great guy with a hell of a sense of humor. Oh, and he DOES drink when he's not around me....Or, do I have that effect on people?? Pat Dugan...what about the shuttle??

 

Good Luck to all this week. Be safe. Be strong. Be loyal. Stand your ground. Don't let anyone take your place. To my boys: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny, Rich and ...Dale...Make it stick, guys. I am with you one hundred percent.

 

Lastly, I leave you with this:

 

I am a dreamer. I am, indeed, a practical dreamer. My dreams are not airy nothings. I want to convert my dreams into realities, as far as possible. (Mahatma Ghandi)

 

 

Life is not a dream but the manifestation of one. Look inside, see where your dreams lie. It all comes true in the end. (I thought that up!!!)

 

 

Until next time, don't walk by the Flagger's stand without saying hello. Don't walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

 

Gripes and comments can be forward to GoRacin26@aol.com


TRIBUTE: an honor bestowed on a person or individual cause

Well, there was alot of that going on at New Egypt Speedway this past Saturday night. Through many prayers and sundances, we did get opening night in and I coudn't have been happier. Well, I could have if say, Ricky Martin was sitting next to me, BUT nonetheless...happy, happy, joy, joy!!

Yet beyond all the happiness and anticipation of being at opening night, I was reminded that things do not always go according to plan. I forgot a heavy coat, forgot my gloves and forgot the fact that I had just been diagnosed with diabetes and was running for hot chocolate. But, above all that, I was reminded that life is precious and you have to live it when you can live it.

Uncle Nick did a superb job with the helping hand of Rev. Dan. I didn't know how I was gonna feel when I first heard that Nick had been planning on something like this for awhile. When he said the names, Wismer, Zangli, Earnhardt, Haugland..it was as if a drum was beating into my head at his every syllable. It was difficult to hear that these guys would never physically a race again. It was more devestating to know that they were not even that old.

I found it very appropriate and inspiring. The song of choice could not have said the words any clearer. While standing there, I couldn't help but notice the guys standing in victory lane. I don't know who they all were, I recognized some faces, however, it made me feel as if they were standing there representing each man and woman that has ever been taken way too soon. It was as if they had known that these four men, who we all have come to honor as our own, had completed the final lap and were embraced with everlasting victory. I don't know if the officials or the Haines' Boys realized that, but....I did...And cried as I remembered.... Uncle Nick, a fantastic job and straight from the heart. One more day....One more time....

I don't know about you all, but I was definetly ready to get some racin' in after that. We were fighting the elments: cold, cold, and did I mention the cold? And, to say the least...VIDEO JIM had me as worried as a mother on the first day of school. Jim, I love ya..and take care of yourself!

 

We started with street stocks....Billy Bauer lookin' excellent as well as Al Cheney. Al is definetly a fan favorite. The kids flip when he walks over from the pits. Those guys were getting around pretty good on the new configuration. I really thought that the father/son team, the Page's, had some great looking cars...It was hard to tell one from the other. Plus, they had a fantastic finish in the feature. Speaking of street stocks, I was greeted at my seat by none other than Ken Guyer. He's a good guy that gave me some good advice on Saturday. I plan on taking it. Congrats to Billy Bauer for taking the first win of the season....Repeat??

Could the modifed feature gotten any more exciting?? I tell you..What a treat it was to see Timmy Tanner back at NES! I think he and perhaps Billy Pauch were the culprits of the dustbowl I sat in. How about Pauch?? Picked right up where he left off...Guess he had the right tires this time...and...I was quite impressed by the Dream Weaver...He could cause a major coo of the reigning generals at New Egypt. Keep an eye on the Hitman, Keith Hoffman and also, on that Tanner kid if he stays with us. I hope he does. And, I must give a shout out and get well fast to Kenny B...You all know what went down with him Saturday and I hope and pray that he is doing well and can get back to us for some more slicin' and dicin'. Congrats to Mr. Pauch for taking the win...What was the margin?? Missed ya, Ronnie....I know you were more pissed than I was...

Sportsman guys finally got a lap in. What's with that? Non conformists?? Well, what am I talking about..most of my guys are Sportsman. I know that as the year moves on, it will only get better. I am very proud of my best good friend, Kenny Roth for taking his heat win as well as the run by Jack Swain. I think Ryan could be mad at me...I think he told me I was number one after I had told him to stay on the bottom...a million times! Well, don't let that fluster you, my dear...you have a whole year ahead of you....Don't count that 26 out....Hey, Larry....He needs a swift kick in the..well..you know...Paybacks...Very glad to see the Scag Man take the win. He was on his way to Charlotte and called to see if we were racin'!!! He turned around....

Which leads me to say this: what a tribute that is to the Grosso family and their employees. What an honor it is to be a part of one of the premier tracks on the East Coast. As fans, we may not always agree with the official word, but we can agree that there is no other place we would rather be on a Saturday Night..Except for maybe Hawaii...

Oh, guys, I need your help. Got an e-mail from someone that disrespected this column because they said that I am not an expert and I shouldn't be writing about somethng I don't know about. Well, as I pointed out to this person, I told them our column was about a fan to fan conversation..and it had nothing to do with stats and facts. Am I wrong? Am I an idiot? Whaddya think?

Well, I am gonna steal from Tony Bizowski and give my own few little shout outs here...Weigh station on the infield..EXCELLENT! Just wish the the readout was easier to see. I guess I am gonna have to invest in a pair of binoculars to see. Now, being as I don't know the mechanics of our sport, which I have already stated, what are the appropriate weights for the cars? Just so I know...well..so I can act like I know.

Cars comin out on the front strech...COOL!!! That means that none of my friends can steal my drivers when they come out. I know them all by the hood of their cars...Call me a dork....

Great racing this week...Thanks to the Grosso's and everyone that allowed us to enjoy our Saturdays again. Good luck to all this week, especially my boys: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Kenny, Rich...and Dale.(Speaking of hurricanes, there sounds like one is whippin' up right now here in Delran, NJ. YIKES!) Rich, one day they will let off the throttle when they get a push....Thanks for keeping that wind off me...well..as much as you could for being a stick...:):)

Until then I leave you with this:

People are like stained glass windows. They shimmer and shine when the sun is out, yet, when night falls, their true beauty is only revealed if there is a light from within. (Ross)

How often events, by chance, unexpectedly come to pass, which you had not dared even to hope for. (Terence)

Take a chance on inner beauty and inner strength.

Until next week, don't pass by the Flagger's stand without saying hello. Don't walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

Comments, and all that garbily gook can be forward to me at GoRacin26@aol.com.   (I must really like that Godown kid....)


weather: combination of all atmospheric phenomena existing at one time in any particular place.

 Ok, so what is that? I say that weather is Mother Nature's way of torturing the race fan. Jeez... Can we say...BORED OUT OF OUR MINDS?? My short trip to Wal-Mart with Racheal and Scattegories with Jay (of JD III Graphics) and Mike until 11:00pm doesn't fill the void. We had fun, but you all know where I wanted to be. I guess we really don't think too much about it over the winter, however, when we know that we are supposed to be racin'...It pisses us off...

Haven't really been doing too much, being as I am trying to hold all outbursts until opening day. However, I have had the chance to see some of the cars being lettered and beauitified. It's quite an interesting process: from the driver, to the artist, to the computer, to the cutter (or brush) and to the car. I was told by a friend of mine that race cars aren't pretty. I am sure that a few letterers and painters out there would beg to differ. I am always impressed by colors, graphics, and my ability to see everything on the car without having to squint. These guys and gals are truly gifted. Not just anyone can do it, even though I told Ken that I could. Lots of good work out there on those cars. Makes ya not wanna drive them, huh?? TEAH, RIGHT!!!

Well, my corn chips are stale and, well..I'm sorry that there isn't that much more to talk about. I shant be making the trip to Charlotte; I am gonna wait and see what happens for this weekend. I am hoping that I will not be disappointed again. I know it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature, however, it's not nice to fool with race fans either. :)

OH...shout one out to RYAN GODOWN for his finish at Bridgeport in the Modifed class. Sorry I wasn't there to complete the three, crazy, broke ...you know the rest. Ya know, why wasn't I at Bridgeport??

OK..well..Good Luck to everyone this weekend...especially my boyz: Ron John, Ryan, Larry, Jack, Ken, Rich, and...Dale. BE SAFE!! Let me not forget the FLEMING BOYZ!!! The Milford Missle??? What is that?? :) Hey Mom Fleming....Do you make brownies just as good as those chocolate chip cookies we took to Hagerstown? :)

Until then, I leave you with this:

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. Friends are like the family that we didn't know exsisted. Friendships are very special and and can make a person choose between living or giving up. Try not to take for granted that what you say and do does not matter. To your friends, it does. And, they are better for it. I am thankful for all the wonderful friends I've made within the past year of my life.

Off the soap box....

Until next time......Don't walk by the Flagger's stand without saying 'HELLO!'. Don't walh thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

Questions, comments, gripes, yada, yada, yada can be forwarded to me at GoRacin26@aol.com.


FANATIC: a person inspired by excessive and bigoted enthusiasm

Ok, I'll take full blame and call myself a fanatic. Truth be known, I was always a fanatic about something: Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks...now..it is RACING.

Well, come to find out, I enjoyed writing the first episode of Front Stretch Follies. A lot of you 'fanatics' out there e-mailed me and called me with your thoughts and comments. I must thank you all for being so kind. It's nice to know that the BA in English is starting to pay off. Todd, how much am I getting paid? Kudos to my 'friend', Video Jim Murdoch for being a great sport. Still waiting on that karaoke, Jim.

Anyhow, well, there is lots to discuss. Since we last talked, I've taken a few trips west and only a short one to the shore. My first trip landed me at Williams Grove Speedway. Do I need to say how cold it was? I think I had icicles hanging from my forehead!! The racin' was good, though. Well, as good as could be expected on a slick track. OK, OK...so there wasn't THAT much passing and you probably could have watched NASCAR in your warm home, but c'mon!! The smell of the dirt on the first lap of a Modified feature far out weighs the smell of the nachos brewing on lap 133 while DW talks yer ear off!! I must admit, I got chills when I saw them in warm ups.

Some familiar names and faces were seen as well as some old names that I thought I forgot a long time ago. Brightbill, Pauch as well as Hoffman...and I slightly remember a guy by the name of DeSantis. I recall being young and ALWAYS being 'fanatical' about the Temple Tornado. It was nice to hear that name again. Now, I am sure that all of you want me to say something about 'Kid Lightning', but I shall refrain. All I will say is this: the 117 was beautiful, one of the best lookin' ones out there, and the kid does have some talent. I just hope that he learns patience is half the battle.

If you want SPRINTS, the Grove is the place to get them. Watching them come out of the turns is awesome. OK, I didn't see the flip with Rahmer and Krietz (I was half asleep in the car and then went for coffee) but I heard that it was spectacular from the pit grandstands in turn four. It's amazing the speeds these guys get on the straightaways. My favorite? Had to be the beautiful car that Sean Michael was driving. The colors were pheonomonal (I know a nice lettering guy!) and he finished a good top ten. A big SHOUT OUT to Uncle Nick for making the radio show a laugh riot. It oughta be pretty interesting for next year! Let's just get the correct Cracker Barrel next time...and whatever we do....Don't let the driver take the car out in the rain. I got my coat dirty from drying it off....:):)

So, with everything I had, I went to the New Egypt Speedway practice session on Sat..March 24. Let's see, what did I like? Um...the new configuration?? Yeah, I did and I am into the 'short chute' they have goin' on! I kinda agreed with Mr. Brightbill, wishing they could have moved some of those tractor tires and let everyone come in and out of three and four like they wanted. I thought that Kenny B looked fantastic as well as Gary Butler in the modifieds. I'm sorry that Billy Pauch didn't have the right tires 'cause I would have enjoyed seeing him get around on the 'new' track. The man could drive through a corn field and win a race. I still have the pen, the PEN, Billy signed an autograph with about twenty years ago. How wild is that?

I was hoping to see Ron John, however that didn't pan out. I also thought that Mark Bitner, alias MR. TWISTER looked excellent. His car is gorgeous!!! I've come to know Mark in the past few years and think he's a pretty good guy. Who else did I think was good? Well, it was kinda hard. Most guys were out there just to shake the cars down and not really run them wide open. Although, I know one that did. (KR) See, for me, it's hard to say who's good and who ain't. 'Cause, this soul sister ain't gonna lie: I don't know that much about the mechanics of the sport to know any better. Kenneth, get rid of the push!

Speaking of Kenny, how about some of those new paint schemes going on? My fave?? The Reid Sod Farm Team cars: Eddie Bohn and Scott Reid. They were BEAUTIFUL!!! A definite change from last year. Of course, I liked the Custom Creations Sportsman, the Flemings, and I was liking the stripe jobs on ALOT of cars. I loved Billy Bauer's Street stock...and..I guess I gotta say it....Mr. Haines' car is also one of the best looking SS's I've seen in a long time. Who else? There were alot of guys that had some good paint (or vinyl as the case may be). I liked VanGorder's car and also liked Stravinsky's. I saw Gene's car as it was being done! And who is the 14 Rookie guy?? Beautiful.... McTighe: Get those panels over to the fine lettering guy!

There was one thing that made me quite a happy camper at practice day: Larry Archer driving the 747. If any of you were at Nick's party, you knew that Larry was contemplating seeking other pastures. Well, it looks like he may be runnin' with us after all. That was something I remained positive about. Larry and his wife, Jenn, are two great people who I could not imagine my Saturday nights without. The man's drive and determination for racing is one that should be admired and emulated. Thanks for comin' back, Larry. Oh..and where is the HUGE goblet from the party?

Well, I froze at NES.......I'd better go down...GODOWN???? hehe...go down and get me some blankets. It's gonna be a long, cold few weeks...

Hagerstown was just as cold...and there wasn't much passing there either. Right, TODD? I had the pleasure of hangin' out with our Webmaster for Hagerstown. What was that on the dance floor at the Barracuda Club?? NASTY! Even DENNY TERRIO!!! And must BOBBY keep touching me?? :)

Hagerstown was cool for me. It was my first time there. I was scared to walk over to the pits because they just watered the darn thing! Doug Hoffman laughed at me!! What is that? So, I sat in the grandstands with a whole SLEW of Von Dohren fans! He was fast..and so was the 112. Hearn tried..but..I am assuming he couldn't make it stick. He was trying, tho. We finished 7th after we busted the mag...in warm ups and started 22nd. Not bad....Scotty V got in the feature as did Rich Scagliotta. Good wood on the track...However, there couldn't have been that much people in the grandstands. It was brutally cold.

One thing that impressed me about Hagerstown? LATE MODELS!! They ain't your mama's street stock!! I have never seen them before in my life! They are fast and they lend for good racing most of the time. Impressive. Hey, Donna...don't worry. Thanks for my halftime chat.

Well, I am assuming that it is time for me to sign off. I will be at NES each Saturday and EWS each Friday..Cheering for my boyz...and to answer your questions...Front Stretch Follies should be out once per week. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts. and..for being as 'fanatic' as I am.

I leave you with this.....

Don't go for looks; they can deceive.

Don't go for wealth; even that fades away.

Go for someone who makes you smile because it

takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Until next time, don't walk pass the Flagger's stand without saying hello. Don't walk through life without stepping into your own victory lane.

All questions, comments, gripes, yada yada yada, can be forwarded to me at GoRacin26@aol.com


It amazes me that Todd would even take this leap of faith and consider asking me to write a column for our beloved web site. I told him to batten down the hatches and strap on his seat belts. It could be a bumpy ride.

Well, the off season has had it's ups and downs, no? I lost my aunt, which made me realize that life is way too short and that you gotta tell people that you love them the moment you think about it. She was only in her early forties which seems so hard to believe. However, I can turn around and see that life has sprung upon my Aunt Shirl. I am a firm believer in the fact that she is a breathing miracle. Positive energy works.

I don't wanna bum us out, however, I do gotta talk about Kenny Wismer III. I remember being at work and my good friend, Betty Lou, told me that Ken was gone. All I remember doing at that point was dropping about ten Department of Corrections records and crying. No, I hadn't known Kenny personally, however, it was like losing a member of our family. Later on, I met his mother and father. The respect, beauty and appreciation that flowed from these two people was enough to make me feel that I did truly loose a member of my family. I am grateful and honored to know the Wismers and pray that peace and serenity will meet them again.

The Mac Daddy. Those of you who know us Leach's know what I mean when I say Mac Daddy. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. What more can I say? Sure, I heckeled him and wished that Jeffrey (24) could win them all, but the respect I had for that man will always be unsurpassed. I found out about Dale's death right here on South Jersey Dirt. Uncle Nick and I read it together. We thought we had jumped into a dream, however, Scotty V sent us the link and it was true. Nick and I cried together and alerted family members about "that guy" who invaded our homes every Sunday. My Dad said I lied. I don't believe for a minute that Dale had any regrets. My only regret about Dale is my Dad never met him and never will. That's all I have to say about that........

But, there was LOTS of fun stuff over the break if you got off yer duff and participated. We ran Delaware.Don't get me started on that. After, I found myself at the Fort Washington Expo Center, hob-nobbin' with some of racing's elite. Yeah, I met Dave Blaney and even thought for a second he could spell my name without me saying it over and over. (D-I-N-A....) Was it true that McTighe really had on orange pants? Did Racheal really sleep under the Custom Creations table out of boredom? Yo, shout outs to my best guy friend, Kenny Roth for having the BEST APPEARING stock car at MotorSports!!! Wait, what did Godown say? "He better had won. He does it for a living!" Oh, man..What a hoot that Ryan Godown is! He got me half lit at MotorSports off BEER. I don't drink beer, ususlly. But, truly, I tell you. Those who know me, know that I was in my GLORY when I was hangin' out with the man who roughrides, I mean, drives the 26!! I got over my fear of him and now, we are like oil and water. No, he's a great guy and I am truly blessed with an awesome friendship that I never thought would happen. He shoots a great game of pool, too. Even beat my Mom, who is a pool champion!!! I also had the chance to get to know Jay D and all those associated with JD III Graphics. Man, what a time we had at the after party!! I think Papiez still owes me a drink...and VIDEO JIM..dissed me...as usual...Although the $$$$ in the cleavage....He may like women after all....

That leads me to Atlantic City. First of all, I got to drive down with our beloved announcer, my Uncle Nick, so I knew that I was in for a great time. The second we got there, after stopping at the Silver Coin for lunch, Mom started messin' with the one armed bandit while Nick and I promptly strolled over to the bar. Well, of course, I was waiting for Hoopdee to get there and Nick was waiting to see who came in and what trouble he could cause for them. We saw lots of beer, I mean people. Later, we had dinner with Mr. Gary Bozowski himself and his lovely wife. (Good food...bad service) Nickel slots, quarter slots, dollar slots..I couldn't keep up. I went back to the bar, with Nick and found Mr. Godown and his band of miserable gypsies. Earlier, Kenny Roth was buying drinks, but Ry got to be called 'honey' once he started flashing one hundred dollar bills. With a few more beers and shots in us, we called it a night...Of course, someone just had to put a chip on my shoulder....

The banquet for New Egypt was absolutely beautiful. Not only did Mrs. Swanson and the NES Girls make the ballroom attractive, but everyone, including me, was all decked out in their Sunday best. Drivers had on ties rather than firesuits and us girls actually put on dresses!! Well, I just gotta say that the drivers at my track treat me very well. I, too, was awarded with a special award from 'my Rear Bumper boys'. I can't explain the feeling that I felt when Nick told me that they've been wanting to do something like this for sometime. It proved alot to me. Yes, all, I remember every bit of the banquet..Even though I fell. Hey, was that Kevin Gatsby who picked me up off the dance floor? I did sing with the band. That was a highlight. The best part of it all was hangin' out after with none other then: The Hurricane, The Kid, Mr Twister, Mighty Matt and his boys, Billy Bauer and his entourage, John Mc. and even Stan J. Of course, being many flags down, we still enjoyed our late night suare at the bar. Oh, and no matter what anyone tells you, the cartoons in AC are the bomb!! I weathered the storm and was up till six o'clock in the morning watching 'em! The one thing I learned in AC?? I learned that things happen for a reason, you can't plan them; and that true beauty is only measured by what is inside your heart...or something like that. George Gareis told me that... I lived it in Atlantic City.

There were great parties to be attended in the off season. First, we took a drive out to Kelly's in Wrightstown to hang out with none other than George Idell. It was his annual party and Nick and I had a blast. The food was pretty good, and I even had the chance to sing with George myself. And, we had Backstreet McFly!! I did win the karaoke contest and promply gave my size LARGE t-shirt to Ryan. I sweat that man so much. His wife is a lucky woman. Thanks, Idell...It was a blast...And, that is where I met WEBMASTER TODD..Hot sex, anyone?....

Well, then there was the FLEMING party! What a great family that is! And that Chopper guy!! Well, what about that JEREMY guy?? Anyhow, hung out with Gary Butler and told him that the night he won at NES was one of the greatest races I had seen in a long time. (Me chasing Video Jim does not count!!) Oh, and ask Uncle Nick about those officers in Frenchtown....Hey, that was my first time meeting the Fleming boys..and might I say..the Chuck Wagon has it goin' on!! Don't mess with that boy. He's liable to lay the smackdown on ya...Thanks to KIMI and LOUISE for making me feel like family..

What about Nick's jamboree?? It was a chance for me to re-live the excitement of AC, but in a less formal setting. I was waiting to be confronted by an angry mom, but that ended up being a misinterpreted forecast. (Love ya!) Man, I danced all night and still had energy to muff up George Gareis. I met even more people (Anthony B.) and was accosted by a lot of men. They musta been drinkin'. What the hell was my Mom serving? Not enuff Hot Sex for Todd...Nick and Pete did a fine job conducting interviews. It just needed to be louder. Custom Ken said he couldn't hear in the back. Great to see the Tanner family. And, it's nice to know that, even when you are three sheets to the wind, people still love you...Even if they make no effort to call ya or hang out!!! I guess that's what it's all about. Hey..anyone got an extra mug?? I guess I didn't survive the Nick and Pete Season Preview...And I didn't survive the diner afterward..Hey Todd, did you ever play sink the...never mind.!?!?!

Which leads me to where I am now..Sitting in front of my computer, waiting for the season to start. Leach Racing Associates is beginning their season at Williams Grove. That is going to be a chilly blast. I met Kevin Hirthler there last year....He was pretty cool. We did pretty good and hopefully we can have breakfast with all the church people again. It plans on being one cold adventure. Lotsa luck to my Uncle John and his driver, Mr. Doug Hoffman.

Well, I sit, and I wait. Only a few days until practice then opening dayz begin. You know, I am so proud and thankful for being a part of our racing family. I truly believe that we are an intricate part in each other's lives. I've learned so much about life this past off season. The most important thing I learned was this: Make every second count. Know that people are people and no matter what they look like, or what downfalls they may have, they are still one hundred percent loveable and have the ability to reach out and love. If you love someone, tell them. Don't wait until they aren't able to hear and feel anymore. Love the sport, love everything about it, not just the praise and the glory. Be confident, be loyal and above all; be as strong as you possibly can. Don't let anyone take your place.

I am gonna get off the soap box now and sign off. Just wanna thank a special person who taught me alot this past off season. He knows who he is. And, I'll never forget the magic that happened right before my weeping eyes. Uncle Nick, you've been terrific to me and I can't thank you and Nancy enuff. Thanks to my girls for puttin' up with my shananigans and for not hitting me when I pulled their hair. And to my Dad..my racin' buddy. Thanks for the rules of the game. Love and luck to my boyz: Ronnie, Ryan, Jack, Larry, Kenny and Dale. You'll be good. I promise.

Lastly, I give my heart and my prayers to the family of Jim Zangli. May you be comforted by the racing family and the knowledge that we all offer our greatest sympathies and respect.

Until then, don't pass by the flagger's stand without saying hello. Don't walk thru life without stepping into your own victory lane.

Any questions, comments, suggestions or gripes can be forwarded to me at GoRacin26@aol.com.


Copyright 1998-2001 by South Jersey Dirt Racing/ToddJ All Rights Reserved.  Born on date April 21, 1998