Short Stories


All Thrill and No Fill
According to Steve Blakesley’s Excellent Sprint Car Power Poll
This Driver is Dominating the Western United States
You Can See Him at Ventura Raceway Saturday Night at The All Coast Challenge


Norm Bogan Gets the Story in Bakersfield


Kyle Smith Is On His Game In Ventura

Jurassic Raceway

Got dirt? We were looking for more clay to add to the Ventura Bullring. We were scoping out what is on the market and running down all the dirt. I have been collecting samples from different tracks (Perris, Santa Maria, Watsonville, Tulare, ect..) and storing it in the freezer at home (“honey, what the hell is all this mud in the freezer!?”). I’ve been talking to drivers, UCSB geology professors and track whisperers. I was deciphering a few haiku’s with Naylor one afternoon in his office when he pulled a ball of mud off the shelf and proudly explained that it came from the last night at Ascot. It was like a lightning bolt hit me and some mysto track was shaking under my feet. I sent it to my uncle who works at the Lawrence Livermore Lab and they extracted the DNA strand of what has to be the stickiest shit since Rupert Murdoch got hit with cell phone hacking. This is where it’s starts getting groovy. Working with S&S Paving in Calabasas we’ve been able to mix a perfect replica of that Gardena speed gravy. Preliminary secret tests at Victorville (thanks TR!) were off the cushion. Meanwhile, I did a home renovation for Roy Disney before he passed and through his business manager I have been hooked up with some of the pencil heads over at Disney’s Imagineering. They were in the middle of busting out Cars Land at California Adventure and that has turned out to be a big hit. They’re plugged into the whole Southern California history of aerospace and after work hot rods and they get it. When I mentioned the idea of recreating Ascot with authentic DNA matched mud they were interested. When they found out they can reproduce actual Ascot drivers such as Rip Williams, Cory Kruseman, Clark Templeman and Ron Shuman they went nuts. Alternate plans include holographic races performances in a "Soaring Over California" type ride! Right now it’s a whole legal cluster as Disney, the Agajanians, USAC and driver families try to sort out this dream pie and who gets what piece. Negotiations have been slowed by hardcore fan advocate “bentaxle” who is demanding that Ascot 3-D replicate mid-century ticket prices. That isn’t going over too well with the Disney lawyers! It’s all hush-hush but I’ll try to keep you updated on surfnsprint.com. Just go to the home page and click on the FOS icon.


Cory Kruseman is Driving the Legendary Mark Priestly #7


The Kruser Continues to Spread the Gospel With Brian Deegan at Perris


Surfnsprint with Mike and Danny Faria at the Chris and Brian Faria Memorial Race

The Bachelor

It was Tim Kennedy’s astute and informative pre Indy article that tipped me and my family off regarding this season’s ABC hit “The Bachelorette”. He noted that Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two time Indy winner Arie Luyendyk Sr., was going to compete for the heart of Emily, who lost fiancée Ricky Hendrick in the tragic Hendrick Motorsport plane crash. The chance that I would watch a show called “The Bachelorette” is itself unlikely; the fact that it has become our favorite family show is off the hook. Emily is a smashing southern peach, high maintenance probably in the same sense as a fine sports car. But what really caught our attention was the uber cool of a young and dashing Luyendyk competing against the ordinary likes of insurance salesmen and boring marketing professionals. Arie Luyendyk brought a certain cachet and high speed intensity to just about every freaking on screen moment. My young daughters were smitten to the core and have been rooting for him throughout the season. Although I attempt to maintain a slightly more distinguished and fatherly detachment to each episode, I definitely get where they’re coming from. I look back at a long history of fascination and charisma for people who go fast. James Dean in the Little Bastard. Danica Patrick on any track. Steve McQueen next to any motorcycle or car. Let’s face it, fast drivers rock. Emily has whittled her wishing bone down to two completely incompatible choices: a pretty safe boy named Jeff and a reckless speed tramp named Arie. It all goes down to the checkered flag this Sunday night on ABC.


James Dean and The Little Bastard


Matt Mitchell Gets After “Super Rickie” Gaunt at Perris


Drivers Contribute to the “Fan Friendly” Experience at Perris


The Bachelor is Airing Monthly on your Perris Speed Channel.

Houdini

The transformation can occur anywhere, but typically I’m on the road in some California mud town stepping into a sprint car weekend. It hit me hard in Bakersfield on my way to Tulare for the Chris and Brian Faria Memorial race this year. I was standing in front of Henley’s Camera on H Street but it may as well have been platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station on my way to Hogwarts. I abandoned the normal world of LA Carjack Your Soul and stepped into the Valley of the Gods. You can smell the dirt up here and breathe the sky. These people have their boots in the mud but their heads are in the heavens. They race different here; everything is noble and bigger than life. If that car takes out a fence, metal-smiths instantly appear, screw that plywood patching bullshit. This is the Kingdom of Kaeding, driven by an army of princes and thieves with royal names like VanderWeerd, Tarlton, Bernal and Abreu. But on this trip, they pulled a real wizard out of their hat, a diminutive and unassuming man/child who looked like he could barely survive shower water. He couldn’t have weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet. But he was superhuman in his strength and endurance and they called him Sir Kyle. God bless track promoter Don Sharp and the Faria family for the Faria Memorial. Honoring fallen brothers Brian and Chris, it’s hardcore, magical and heart warming every time I’ve gone. This year they ran two nights, both non-wing 360’s and winged 410’s each night. That kid came out Friday night and blew everybody out of the Thunderbowl both wing and non. He came back Saturday night, crashed his non-wing car in the heat and then worked through both the semi and came from the back in the main to win again. Now he turned his attention to the final winged event, with three of the four mains already notched on his belt and a jet stream of fallen demigods and mortals in his wake. Normally I keep detailed records of position, passes and characteristics of a main event. But this prince’s driving quickly reduced my notebook to a blathering list of adjectives and descriptions. Page after page of notes referred to: Malicious aggravated assault! Wizard! Punishing the track for fun! Free from physics! The other drivers have a better chance of getting hit by a meteorite than passing him! At least they can brag to their friends that they ran once with Larson! It’s Larson and then everybody else. Mind control over everyone and everything. You could almost see his delight at hitting some traffic and passing everyone! It’s getting close to midnight, the hottest chick in the world walks into the bar and everybody starts driving into walls! We get out of a yellow and now this speed gypsy really starts to pick everyone’s pocket. In back marker traffic almost instantly, he reminds me of a duckling splashing and playing in the water! And finally, hauling the email at supersonic speed, really pushing metal and mud beyond human and physical limits, coming to the end now, seemingly bored with just a mere two night sweep, his car engine explodes down the back in flames, smoke and rage. He crawls out and pounds the fire truck hood in frustration. I am stunned senseless by sensory overload. His bro Rico Abreu flashes by for the win and the crowd erupts in delirious appreciation. Gophers were partying underground because the relentless beating had finally stopped. We need a savvy promotion. There’s only one thing you can do with this kid. Suit him up, put him in his car, put the car in the hauler, close the doors, chain and padlock the whole mess. Then stand back and unleash the main event. Houdini.


“Houdini” Right After Blowing Up His Engine at Tulare


Markus Neimela Is At Home In the Valley of the Gods


Keith Ford Continues to Stuff the Greatest Drivers Into His Cars

The Real Cost of Racing

I’ve often said that if the race is good enough I’ll pay again on my way out. Perhaps it’s a flip comment but maybe revealing in a vague way. I should wander down into the pits after the race and hand that money to some hardscrabble driver, there’s a few around. Fuel, new right rear, replace two shocks and new tear offs. Wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t lost his pipefitting job two years ago. Gets by with handyman jobs here and there and that puts food on the table. It’s really his father-in-law that owns the car and pays the race bills. Pops used to race himself and recognizes maybe the one thing his son-in-law is good at. Gets the family together on a Saturday night once or twice a month. He doesn’t blame the kids for losing their house, anybody can see the banks took a shotgun to a couple dozen million people and basically cleaned out their bank accounts. Then when the money ran out they just pulled the trigger. I hope those bankers are sleeping well in hell. Sometimes it’s only the sound of a sprint car that can clear your mind. The traveling is tough and rare, an open wheel trailer and a scratchy neon motel. It’s just a two-night show on the Central Coast but it’s three hundred bucks to Pop for our room, gas and some Denny’s breakfast. Then you pull up to the pit window and it’s a fee for this and a rental for that. You pay for Jill but they give you jack. It’s cool, I beat that point’s leader last year in Bakersfield and I’m good to make that $1,000 win. Then I’m going to give all that money back to Pop and make things right. The big fan makes the trip too, he can afford the Holiday Inn Express because he’s got no racing bills, but that Friday night show made him leave work Friday morning and wasn’t that a funny face the boss gave me when I told him. Screw him, but maybe I’ll quit spending so much time checking race results when nobody’s looking. Ha! But for me, the biggest cost of racing is time away from family. With two young daughters, ten and fourteen years old, I’m starting to wonder what the hell happened? They’re standing in front of me grinning in those black shiny wetsuits before I give them a surf lesson. What happened to the two babies I would lift up over the waves as they shrieked in delight? I am in life changing race to catch their childhood and I am losing badly. I used to be fast but this track is starting to whip my ass. I’m buying life insurance but getting less life out of the deal. Them banks get you coming and going. I’ll see you at Ventura this weekend. You grab those barely used tires from behind the race shack. I’ll cook some food up and we’ll cash a few checks. But my girls will be at a water polo tournament in Riverside and if I seem a little distant or distracted...


Kelly and Mary Are Faster Than Dad


These Fans Kept Wanting To Touch Nic Faas After His Stunning 4th of July Near Win


JJ Ercse Gets Up To Speed at Perris


Calm Before the Storm in Joryville


Austin Williams Brings Home the Bacon for Jack in Santa Maria


The Fan Favorites Are Back


Self Portrait at Santa Maria June 16, 2012: That’s Me In the Center