Chicken Soup In The Coop
May 15th, 2010

Forget armies, I believe a common and everyday citizen will win the war on terror. Some dude who notices a car parked suspiciously, a package out of place, a misplaced and cryptic note. And in much the same way, in a much less dramatic fashion, I believe local dirt track racing is saved by the average Joe Blow. God bless the Haulers, the Dynasties, and the Empire Dealers. They bring the sizzle, the credentials and the car count. But itís the flannel shirt background characters that put oil in the sump and fuel in the combustion chambers. For years Iíve watched them shuffle into trailers and shove some cash into the startled driverís hands. ďTop off that tank on meĒ they mutter and wander on through the pits like a long ethereal lifeline. Tires get delivered and nobody knows anything. They donít have a favorite driver, they have friends who crash some nights and shine on others. They donít make monthly payments, they hand it out when they got it. I think about Jim Cherry and that Carpet Coop sticker Iíve seen for years on so many cars. It doesnít take much, a smile, a handshake, a hundred bucks. God knows, some nights itís chicken soup, some nights itís chicken$&!*Ö..

All Thrill, No Fill
Ronnie Case Smooth On The Backstretch

Richard Renkin Wants Drivers to Cool It

Go Karts are getting nasty. The dashing drivers are self-assured and righteous and they will do whatever it takes to win. But if youíre gonna drive over people and send them to hospital and make them miss work, remember at the end of the day, itís go-karts. Go Karts! Nothing wrong with that but check the NASCAR egos at the gate. Go Karts. Even the name is fun. Itís for kids and adults who are still kids at heart. If youíre not a kid at heart, youíre just an overgrown fathead stuffed into a weapon. Itís a small track and we are watching.

Jimmie May and Chris Gibb Finished First and Second

Cody Grieman

Cody Grieman stomps on the Sport Compact pedal and gets gone. I remember this kid just a few years ago feeling his way around the track. No hesitation tonight. He takes pole position and the perfectly groomed track and rides his pony. Brent Underwood is there but Cody is fast. Ryan Changus and Jess Carlucci want to race also. Like a comic book superhero the omnipresent Fitzgibbon shows the shark fin. Oh what a bloody battle. Michaela Stanton spins in three, yellow. They reel Cody in but he gets a good jump again. Underwood and Fitzgibbon chasing. It tightens up in the corners but itís Cody in control. He has his line and he is sticking to it perfectly, everyone else is nipping at his heels. Cody drifts slightly in turn four and everyone perks up. Underwood challenging through turns one and two, Cody reasserts his lead down the backstretch. But Fitz the Shark Man takes the hook, line and pole! He passes Underwood for second and starts lunging at Cody. Thrashing water in the corners as Cody swims frantically for the finish. Cody stays high, Fitzgibbon trying to pass on the bottom. White flag. Fitzgibbon is under him coming out of two and they are side by side down the back. They roll through the corners together but the Shark is ahead by a nose at the flag stand. VRA Sprint Car Champion Luis Espinoza turns to me and nods approvingly. ďMaybe the best Sport Compact race Iíve ever seenĒ he says. I would have to agree.

Joe Haresky and John Crow Tear It Up

Mods rocked the house as usual. Modified drivers Aaron Rodarte, Rob Green and Damon Redman dominated. John Crow, Joe Haresky and Randy Thornell were huge at the end. Jack Parker was in the hunt but broke down in the backstretch. But it was finally Larry Hood who power drifted into town and grabbed the win fair and square. Paul Vetter was in the house and called it loud and proud.

IMCA Official Paul Vetter On The Call

Bill VanPraag In Turn Two

Senior Dwarfs were good. With Angel Figueroa starting in the third row, I didnít think it was going to be much of a race. It seems weird the Pro points leader is racing the seniors, but lots of Proís canít pass the opportunity to race! Figueroa took over mid race and took it home. Rick Lapke was impressive in second, Lee Majors fast in third. Mike Neal was fourth and barnburner Kevin Alverson was top five. Alverson is building Naylorís new race barn while waiting for his sprint car ride to be refurbished. My kind of guy.

Kevin Alverson

Venegas, Butcher, Tramel and Camarillo Are Hammer Down

Another first class Sprint Car Main Event with Troy Rutherford breaking the seven-race streak of different winners. Iíd have to say he cruised to his second consecutive win. The real story is Brent Camarilloís exciting second place driving. Nobody has to wonder when Brent or Brian are going to arrive, they have paid their dues and either one can win on any given day. As a fan, I am flat out inspired every Saturday night by the fearless throttle down driving of Venturaís finest. Brent and Brian Camarillo, Guy Woodward, Ronnie Case, Greg Taylor, Kenny Perkins, Don Gansen: the list is as long as the roster. Add Hobie Conway to that list. Grueling barrel roll crash in heat four, she climbed out and sprinted across the infield to the pits. Climbed into her track official suit and ran safety crew the rest of the night. Is this racer badass? Send money. Rutherford first, Brent second, Steve Conrad third, Rick Hendrix fourth and Kevin Kierce top five.

Angel Figueroa, Sadowskis and Cherry

We all roll into the winnerís circle after the checkers. Frank helps me with my camera bag and Troyís daughter leaps up into his arms. Lotís of laughing and high fives. I see BC, Conrad, Swann and others soaking up the memories. All of the drivers drift by and shake Troyís hand. We line up the car, they gather the whole family and crew around and itís more pictures than a Hollywood red carpet. Jim Cherry is off quiet in the background; itís a damn shame his mother Honey passed the night before. Troy pulls him in front and center and everybody smiles for the picture. Angel grabs Jim for his picture and puts him right next to him. Troy and Angel remember, all the years Cherry has been there for drivers. Itís a shake and bake life, all the rough times are there too, but put in the shadows for the moment. Right now, weíre hanging. Tonight, Troy and Angel are serving chicken soup in the coop.

Troy Rutherford with Team, Family, and Friends

Just One More...

Hobie Conway
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