Pennies, Balls and Digital Soul

When things are good, there is nothing better than a sprint car race. When things are bad, sometimes a sprint car race is the only thing that can save your sanity. I like racing and when Iím down, I need racing. This rotten economy is messing with my head, my friends and my fun. Itís so bad I donít know how these car owners are getting to the track let alone around it. Halfway through the year, the strain is everywhere. Layoffs, pay cuts, gifted drivers sitting on their butts, frustrated fans twisting in the wind. Iíve only seen Peter Murphy once this year and thatís just wrong. Why doesnít Brandon Thomson have a ride? It all sucks! But strangely, some of the best racing Iíve ever seen is going down. Itís funny how hardship can bring out the best in people. David Cardey lost his ride at the beginning of the year. He and his Dad jumped back in the family car, attracted some smart sponsors and run a tight and limited schedule. He is tearing up Perris and on the verge of winning four USAC|/CRA in a row, not done since Tony Jones in 2008. His dynamite style and ability to mash on the throttle is scorching fan interest level. This is the kind of thrilling driver people will actually get in a car and drive to see. Nobodyís picking up the bill, you wonít see him at Tulare and there wonít be a championship trophy at the end of the road. But what an insane party this guy is throwing. Victorville, July 10th and USCA/CRA Perris July 31st.

All Thrill No Fill
Cardey On How To Survive a Recession

Another hardworking family busting the recession is the VanderWeerd brothers racing with the West Coast Sprinters. Dad is a contractor in the Central Valley and leads the pit crew. Brothers Richard and Jace are improving with exponential speed. Jace took the win on June 26th in Santa Maria with Richard in second. It was Jaceís 1st USAC West Coast Sprinter vicory. Gotta shout out to these boys because itís been great watching them grow. They haul to Perris also as much as the budget allows, but really shine in the West Coast Sprinter class. Check him out July 17th @ Kings Speedway in Hanford.

Jace VanderWeerd At Home In Tulare

I was encouraged by Dean Millís impassioned defense of Ronnie Case this week. What a freaking Greek tragedy. On that early rap, sources tell me the DA was begging him to plea bargain at the end, ten days and done if he would just cough up. He told them ďNever, Iím innocentĒ and finally walked out a free man. Now this whole new mess and I donít want to pretend that I know anything about it. But I do know Ronnie and my heart goes out to a gentle guy whose life is pieces. Ronnie (I believe with Kellyís help) got sober and smart over the years I have known him. Heís always treated me with respect and decency. I know his mother and she has been a blessing in my life. I have taken inspiration and great joy watching Ronnie run the top over the years. Iíd like to give back but it seems there is precious little I can do. A lot of people care about you, hang onto that if you can. Tough times donít last, tough people do.

Ronnie Case In Perris

Classic tributes to Jesse Hockett in Sprint Car and Midget Magazine this month. Iím a Ďlook at the picturesí kind of guy, but there are some extremely touching stories in there about the Rocket. Steve Watt Enterprises ran a heartfelt ad in Jesseís memory and thatís just Biggie. Iíve said it before and Iíll say it now, Biggie brought Jesse to Ventura twice and thanks to him we all got to see the Legend. In regards to Biggie himself, between the Christian Stover tribute car, his associations with Matt Mitchell, the Camarilloís, Kershawís, Kruseman, Denome and Bruce Douglas, his career is an incredible story itself unfolding. Every week he has two or three cars upfront racing against himself. If there is anyone making more noise on the West Coast right now than Biggie, I donít know what. Maybe David Cardey. Also in the same issue, a very entertaining portrayal of Rickie Gaunt by Arizona speed king Charles Davis Jr. These guys were teammates and on fire just a few years ago. I remember Davis blowing minds at both Perris and Ventura, balls out. Now heís still rocking Arizona. Everybody loves Rickie.

Rickie Gaunt and the Boys
Photographed in Ventura in September 2009

Sometimes you canít get to the track. Iíve been going to the same Fourth of July BBQ for over thirty years. Havenít missed one. So it was tough to skip Ventura on July 3rd. Thank God for digital Internet broadcasting. Iím sitting in Templeton, California watching Troy Rutherford and Greg Taylor slide each other with digital soul. They finished first and second. Iím texting back and forth with Sean Buckley in Indianapolis and Tom Hendricks in LA! Brad Pitzele and Mike Truex are doing the good work in Ventura but Iíve got a few suggestions when I see you next. Now Iím going to take the family to Yosemite where Iíll be in my tent under Bridalveil Fall watching my broís kick it. You donít need no stinking lodge, get me a Macbook Pro, an Internet card and Iím lost in the spray. This is the new racing frontier and it is anywhere and everywhere. Indiana Speed Week? has got your back.

Matt Mitchell in Steve Wattís Christian Stover 81 Special

What a S&@storm. My accountant says I have to preserve capital if weíre going make it through, no more spending money on racing. Screw that, I went to the track and gave gas money to Luis Espinoza. He will fly the Memorabilia Store flag for me on the side of his car. Luis is one of the first guys I hooked up with in Ventura and a VRA Champion. He is a passionate sprint car owner and a tireless driver. Iím also hooking up Greg Taylor with gas money to display the logo. Greg is the reincarnation of all Chumash warriors and he just smokes Ventura. I clearly remember the first time I saw him race and thinking ďThis guy doesnít like second place!Ē Itís Greg, along with Wakim, that got me hooked. It ainít much, pennies really, but they swear it helps. What a lame world we sometimes have to deal with. But we are a free and proud race. What a noble sport, eh Costa? We are going to make it. Weíre going to make it on pennies, balls and digital soul.