Green Light On At the Salute to Indy

I remember standing in the pits with Matt Mitchell in Santa Maria June of last year and he was reflective and slightly freaked. He had been struggling all season and confided in me that he was concerned he might have a season where he was not going to win a race. That was slightly prescient as he then journeyed to Terre Haute for Indiana Speed Week and endured a violent crash that temporarily blinded him and stopped his racing. Although his retinas were not fully functioning, he never lost sight of his goal and impatiently sat out the rest of the year to let his body heal. He came by the track to watch a few races but it was a reserved and laid back presence. He jumped back into the 2013 racing season but right away flipped at Canyon Speedway on the second race of the season. Back to Perris for Race 3 and again flips in the feature after hitting a stopped car. That's where mortal men call it a day and crawl away. Mitchell kept clawing at it but had to endure a 16th place finish, then a 10th, then a 7th, and then another 11th. It finally turned around for him in May when Bobby Ferro put him in the #91 for a URA race at Victorville. It was a huge win for Matt and he followed it immediately with a fifth place showing with USAC/CRA at the Thunderbowl. He then came back to Perris for the Salute to Indy and held off a hyper active Damion Gardner for a smashing victory. I go to the races for inspiration and watching his ferocious laps of determination filled many with the same. John Jensen posted " I can not believe from watching you Saturday night,,,,that anything ever happened to you,,,,,you have come back so strong,,,,God Bless You Son!!!!" I asked Matt after the race how difficult it was to turn it around. He used the analogy of red light, green light racing. Before he went to Indiana, he was already in a bad mental place. The crash exacerbated that condition and although physically healed, he was still in a fragile state of mind for 2013. The tough start to the year kept his mind off the focus. But the win in Victorville and the better finish at Tulare brought on the green light. Coming into the Salute to Indy, he was finally feeling like his old self and when he took the pole position, he tells me it was green light mentally, he was finally ready to win. "You have to know you can win." he told me. "I finally had a green light in my head."

Ferocious Determination

Comeback Team

Is There Anything Not to Like About Ronnie Everhart?

Faria Preps in Santa Maria

They say there is first place and then everything else. But I've been seeing a number of races where the second place effort was worth the price of admission. Damion Gardner cleaned up the Central California swing with wins in both Watsonville and Santa Maria. I missed Bud Kaeding's epic effort in Watsonville where the Demon stole it away in the last lap. But I did watch it in Santa Maria where Damion had to run down Danny Faria Jr. who was running a 360 against the big blocks. Danny's hardcore charging out of the corners and down the straights was stunning. The Demon had to work for it but once he got out front on lap 16 he was gone. I could almost see Damion turning off the explosive and expressive right side of the brain and let the left side take over, analytical and precise laps as he started thinking about his to do list for the coming week. I mean this one was in the bag. Danny however, still had a race for second and looked like a squirrel with a pack of dusty coyotes (Richard VanderWeerd, Nic Faas and Matt Mitchell) chasing his ass. Danny's style is much like Damion in that they are going to win it or wear it. Danny has worn it many times at Santa Maria but I've also seen some of his greatest races here. Danny races like a mental patient with the brilliance of a heart surgeon. His crew chief Vinnie Lattner used to also coach Damion back in the days. Although Steve Alexander seems to be doing just fine with the tightly tuned Demon, I think Vinnie must have cracked a small smile that night seeing his boys finish first and second.

Faria Crew

Kruseman and Priestley Are Back


What The Hell?

I think even God finally decided Mike Spencer was too good and He needed to level the playing field. Not since the trials of Job have I seen one driver so tested. Mike Spencer is still fast, eight top five qualifying times out of eleven races. But his fast time at the second race of the season at Canyon only got him sucked into a mess, DNF and it's been almost all downhill since then. The gold standard for consistency has blown engines, picked up flats, been ticketed, collected, traded, shot and shuffled towards the back in a cosmic card game of misfortune. His one win this season was less than satisfying with Bernal losing his brakes in the last laps. But he's still one of the fastest drivers every night! At the Salute to Indy he was gathered up, sent to the back and still stormed to a sixth place finish on a speedy track. More crappy luck in Watsonville and compounded in Santa Maria. God is up there chuckling at his private little joke, but Spencer and those around him just stroke deeper. Common sense only has a few rules: don't smoke cigarettes; don't fight City Hall; carry spare sunglasses. And even if you're God, don't bet against Mike Spencer.

Victor Davis Enjoys the PAS

A.J. Bender Putting in His Laps

Building the Perfect Beast

The World's Fastest Sprint Car continues down its challenging path, the gritty and time consuming task of fabrication at hand. We really have to shout out thanks to Frankland Racing for an incredible custom and narrow rear end they supplied us with. We will be featuring their work in the upcoming video chapter and the final film. We skipped the first El Mirage in order to afford wind tunnel testing in San Diego. First test will be at El Mirage mid July followed by some wind tunnel work. Not sure how important that is, but the director likes the pretty lights and all the smoke streaming. In August, we'll leave from the USAC/CRA Santa Maria race, drive all night in the surfnstream and arrive in Utah sometime Sunday morning. Then we'll spend a few days and see just how fast we can go. I'm looking forward to seeing my buddy Mike Cook. Check out the updated website including a new teaser video dripping straight out of the eyeballs and brains of the Truex Twins.

Logan Williams Gets One with The Young Guns

Cody Swanson Tests the Water at Santa Maria

Damion Picks Up His Paycheck from Rueben Munoz

Damion is tearing up the West Coast, but the West Coast is on a tear itself. Between work, family and racing, who's got five minutes to spare? Tulare, Kings, Santa Maria, Ventura, Victorville, Perris, Orange….Woodhouse, Faria, Munoz, Naylor, Kazarian, Burns, is anyone making any money? Will the center hold? Is this the Golden Age of Sprint Cars or just the Visa Age? Most notable is Burn's excruciating effort not to step on anyone's schedule. That's not easy work. We're burning cash, crashing cars, laying down water and watching it evaporate. Endless months of prep followed by fleeting split second victories. Let's continue to come together for 2014. There isn't a big enough fan base to compete; we must coordinate. Hey, I'm just shooting from the hip and I write until dawn. What's it all about? When I see these promoters tear out their hearts and lay them down (still beating) on the track, I can't let it go unanswered.

Sweet Sweet Santa Maria