Glenn Howard Dream v5.0
The 3rd Annual Glenn Howard Memorial
Perris Auto Speedway
November 27th, 2010

All Thrill No Fill
Robert “Buzzard” Hargraves Captures Jace VanderWeerd in Middle of a Nightmare

Thunder in my veins, I scrape my way through the challenging year and shuffle through the loading gate. Down the muddy track onto an infield that has become as familiar as my living room, I don’t even know most of the people who have labored to make me comfortable here. The Glenn Howard Memorial has arrived perfectly on time and not a moment too late. His memory is crisp in the cold autumn air, reminding everyone what the stakes are and how to play the game. Sprint cars have seen dark days before. I watch Glenn Howard, broad shoulders turning this way and that, working his way through the pits and surveying the landscape. I don’t know Glenn but I feel he is not finding things turning out as he planned. He doesn’t seem upset, he’s not angry, but I sense sadness. I see him stop and talk to Rip for a long time. It looked like Glenn was asking a favor; Rip was nodding his head. Everyone seems so glad to see him; everybody wants to get close. He shakes Mike Spencer’s hand and is talking story with Ron and Bruce. They talk about three in a row, four out of five, a history as long as the Civil War, just as many stories of brave souls and more than a few shrewd bastards. Everything feels good and real and well worn. It’s time to race. We all turn to the track and face our fate.

Never Give Up

Track was hooked up and the racing was exciting, but I do have to comment on heat three. Ventura renegade Chris Wakim takes his 360, unrestricted and on a soft tire and terrorized that heat. That was fricken Tracy Hines behind him, scrambling to catch up as Chris skillfully raced through the corners. Hines finaly caught him after several laps but couldn’t pass on the single lane train. Chris jumped the curb in turn two and Hines finally got around him. But only Hines; Chris finished second ahead of a high-powered field including Kyle Larson, Mike Spencer and Gregg Bragg. I don’t want to talk about 360’s and 410’s, blah, blah, blah… but it was pretty amazing. Jim Cherry was in the stands and he had a bet with a hot-headed fan 10 bucks to a 100 that Chris was even in a 360. “No way” this guy was screaming! They were heading to the pits after the race when the rain got in the way. That fan would have seen a car that said all coast, carco and surfnsprint on the side. I see Danny Miller and he gives me a high five.

Renegade Chris Wakim

Rain was threatening and the whole rush to get in that last race was cool, great job by the PAS. They ran that Main like it was a bootleggers ball. Skipped the four wide and got right down to business. Cory Kruseman took that front row and never looked back. I used to wonder if Cory is on the down slope, but hasn’t Sammy single handedly redefined that whole age thing? Sitting by the flag stand, infield, watching him come hauling out of four, lifting, horrific speed, what can you say… Cory’s best years are in front of him. Tracy Hines has been hooked up all through the playoffs (midgets and sprints) and gave us all another awesome show here. Same for Bobby East, you can come see us anytime you want, Bobby! How about Matt Mitchell! I’m not waiting anymore for Matt Mitchell; he has already arrived. Incredible effort at the Oval Nationals, huge performance at Tulare and a compelling powerful display tonight. Dancing and slicing anyone who got in his way, his will (and skill) to win can no longer be denied. Will be a top threat in 2011. I want to shout out to Danny Sheridan, second place in points running on heart and living in a dream. Kittle Motorsports, Jory Corporation, Alexander Brothers and the rest of you all, we are not worthy.

Great Expectations

But for the postseason highlights, the credit really goes to Damion Gardner. Nobody was more dominating and on the move in the Ovals, Pac Nationals and Glenn Howard than the Demon. Like a paranoid panther, constantly in the hunt, he was tripped up each race by a rash of bad luck and fate. He had something for Windom, he was doomed stalking Clauson at Tulare and he was the only one who had something for Cory tonight. All of us Cory fans were dismayed to see him coming, but wasn’t this going to be a spectacular race at the end! An untimely flat killed the final hurrah and it was cool to see the Kruser stuff all that Steve Howard cash in his jeans. But know this; pound for pound Damion Gardner is the Stones, James Dean and Mohammad Ali all rolled into one sprint car whiskey speedball. You can pour me another drink.

Letting Go Of The Steely Determination

So it goes. A dog barks, the rain unleashes and man those haulers scattered like seagulls. The Chief Criminal and I set up lawn chairs in the back of the pickup and laughed as Super Dave skillfully pulled us down the slippery straightaway and out of our minds. The last thing I saw as I looked back was that red car 50 crew drinking and laughing in the mud and rain. The Riverboat Gambler was up in the tower thinking about Reno while Turn Four Rob and the last living fan is finding his way home in the dark. I catch one last glimpse of Glenn; he is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work. Perfect Perris, nestled in the hand of fate, perchance and evermore possibilities. We roll down the road and I slip back into my Glenn Howard dream v5.0.

Glenn Howard