The Ghosting Sky
October 15th, 2011
Ventura Raceway

Marcus Niemela Is Embraced By Long Time Sponsor Polly Gallimore

Heartfelt, hard earned and ecstatic win by journeyman VRA Sprint Car driver Marcus Niemele Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. The talented road racer from Finland has labored for two years at Seaside Park weaving the intricacies and skill required for winning at this difficult and classic West Coast bullring. The exhilaration this international racer demonstrated in the winnerís circle spoke volumes to the pride of winning at Ventura. He was hoarse at the trackside winnerís circle, reportedly after screaming in his helmet for two full parade laps prior to pulling in. Hey Hunter, we missed you!

Why Do We Race? You Can Ask Blake Hendricks!

An outstanding Senior Sprint race also produced another enthusiastic winner in Russell Deblauw. This was his second VRA Senior Sprint win and it came after leading all twenty laps despite a constant threat from most improved driver Cliff Warren. Russell DeBlauw was joined in the winnerís circle by son Austin; who had his highest career finish that night (2nd) in the VRA Sprints. Sorry to see Gary Howard get his tire clipped in the main event, but his dominating heat race and sporadic appearances always suggest to me a normal guy who climbs into a sprint car and suddenly possesses superhuman powers. Is this low key and soft spoken guy the most gifted sprint car driver walking the pits?

Savant Racer Gary Howard

Even more excitement and smiles for Champion driver Ray Estrada in the VRA Pro Dwarf smack down. Hardcore Mike Lewis came back from a nasty heat race crash and brought it to race leader Ray Estrada for a sterling effort that just fell short. Power performer Estrada is an extension of that whole crazy cool Saxton scene and he was sure to thank them in his post race comments. Would be nice to see Brian out here again.

Estrada Posse

Other knuckleheads that beat everybody included red hot George Calvo in the Senior Pro Dwarf. Bobby Michnowicz took his sonís seat in the California Lightning Sprints and spanked everybody, although Jarrett Kramer gave him hell. Michnowicz, in some ways like Howard, is just one those breathing natural talents marching to his own drummer. Nine huge Mod Lites with Arizona driver Andy Eatwell dining on the competition. Some good shots in here, boys! Copy and paste all free from God bless the kids, JD Brown in fine form winning his sixth straight Piston victory. Nick Velasquez, supported by his super family, took the Superchargers checkered flag. Lastly, Brennan Rogers took the win and maintains his point lead over talented Devin McCree in the exciting Junior Midget class.

Kyle Smith

The weather is changing and the Fall classics are starting to push off. Tulare has the Trophy Cup this weekend and jdfast says itís off the hook. Although it may not be a classic yet, the scrappy All Coast Challenge fires off next weekend. I spoke to Big Mike over at All Coast and heís proud that despite the recession, they will be paying 5K to the first person that grabs the checkered flag. They will also pay 5K to the ACC pointís winner; Greg Taylor and Steve Conrad are leading contenders for that cash. It will be $200 to start. Mike especially wanted to thank Jim Naylor and his fine staff at Ventura Raceway for providing the opportunity and venue to get the cash to these outstanding racers. Should be a good time. Following that will be the Oval Nationals and that is shaping up to be a burning barn! Every year the Thursday and Friday night shows are outstanding. They will celebrate the Legends of Ascot Friday night with major cash in fascinating trophy dash.

Greg Taylor At Ease

Lastly; congratulations to Greg Taylor, Bernie Hammer and Clark Engineering for clinching the VRA Sprint Car Championship this weekend. I dig Gregís quiet personal style and incredible racing expertise. Greg and I were talking recently and I was struck by his deep affection and appreciation for everything we have at Ventura. Itís been a tough year for everybody, itís nice to see a Champion roll out on his home track and cruise under the ghosting sky.

Pit Pass