The 19th Annual Pepsi Nationals at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO. Saturday September 15, 2001. 

After the tribute and the money that was raised at I-55 the only way to start this report is by saying “I am extremely proud to be a dirt track race fan in the USA”!! The tribute to the lost Americans this past week began with drivers and crews assembling around the track with candles while Lee Greenwood’s “God bless the USA” was being played. Then came a young man who played the National Anthem on his trumpet while a United States Army Lt. paraded around the track in a Humvee carrying the American flag. There were very few dry eyes in the stands!! During intermission they had raffles and a lot of the drivers walking through the stands with their helmets collecting money for the Disaster Relief Fund. The drivers, crews sponsors and fans collected over $6000 at I-55. Dirt trackers are unbelievable!! We can unite and stand together through anything and we proved it at the Pepsi Nationals!! 

The stands were packed! The race fans were not let down, this proved to be one hell of a night of racing. Ed Dixon started the night out as Fast Qualifier followed by Shannon Babb and Jeff Leka. These guys were on a mission, no race was a sure thing. Battling every lap for a good starting spot in the 40 lap feature. The track was in excellent condition, smooth, fast and 3-grooved made for a fantastic night. 

The feature began also with a tribute. The drivers came out all carrying American Flags while saluting the country and their fans with a 4-wide parade lap. When the green drops Kevin Weaver #B12 and Ed Dixon #50 were the early battlers for the $10,000. But don’t forget there were a lot of heavy hitter behind them that wanted this win! Along came Bob Pierce #32 on the bottom and he took the lead, seemingly running away from the field. 2nd place, at this point, a straight away behind Pierce is Billy Moyer #21 running the high groove. Pierce seems to be working the lapped traffic in traditional Pierce fashion when on laps 35 and 36 Moyer closes in and on lap 37 Moyer gets the lead from Pierce. At the stripe it was Moyer followed by Pierce, Weaver, Babb and O’Neal. An awesome race!!! 

The modified winner was the #4J Scott “Rocket Man” Weber who finished 2nd in his eat although he broke the left front tie rod on lap 2! 

This is one of the best tracks we’ve visited all year. From my perspective in the stands I’ve seen a lot of fans and a lot of tracks! I’ve found that some of the tracks we’ve been to do not have the “dirt track” emotion that I’ve always felt as a race fan. Also I’ve noticed that a lot of tracks no longer have the winners carrying the checkered flag at the end of a race. I-55 Raceway has it all! 100% fan emotion and involvement along with the victory lap where we get to show our support for our drivers! Way to go, one hell of a class act!!

 

 

Saturday September 8, 2001 

Took us to Red Hill Raceway in Sumner,IL. It was my first visit to this speedway. Running bombers, street stocks and a $3000 to win modified feature. The track itself was definitely in need of work. Extremely rough in all 4 turns leading to the hard wear and tear on several race cars. A lot of cars not finishing the night because of broken shocks, springs and flat tires. 

The racing action though, was great! Those who could get a handle on the track and were able to drive through the ruts were haulin’ ass! There were several big name UMP modified drivers battling for this $3000 including #21s Denny Schwartz, 1999 UMP modified national champion #3L Jeff Leka, #37 Everett Bradham, #11z Brian Collinz, current UMP modified points leader Chad Kinder #22 and lots of others. 

The bombers and street stocks were impressive on this track. Running 3 and sometimes 4 wide, they were competitive and clean all night! 

The modifieds put on one hell of a show! Jeff Leka #3L from Buffalo, IL swept Red Hill winning his heat, dash and the 30 lap feature. The feature was not a run away by any means. Jeff had to work for that $3000 every lap. Denny Schwartz was on his bumper from about lap 15 until the checkered was thrown. I was so impressed by this race simply because of the opportunity that the top 5 had to take each other out. These guys raced clean and this race was finished with awesome driving ability by everyone in the race.  

The track definitely needed some work, but this race track is a high banked, wide fast race track. A must see place for those who enjoy 3 wide, good clean racing!!!

 

The Tall Cool One, Bob Pierce of Oakwood, Illinois continued his "hot-streak" of the past few months and at the same time continued his winning tradition at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway.

Pierce who had won the previous 2 runnings of the PDC continued his streak and scored a Prairie Dirt Classic HAT TRICK in winning tonights event.

It was not an easy task however, as Pierce who did not make the cut in his heat race, had to earn a starting spot in the main event by virtue of the semi-feature, and then rode his Murphy Trucking, DA-BAR, Hoosier Tire, B&D Repair, Pro Powered, #32 Rayburn from the 18th starting position to earn the $10,000 paycheck and the victory spoils.

Jeff Martin began the evening with the fastest qualifying lap of 13.01 seconds.

The heat races saw The Decatur Invader Shannon Babb lay claim to the first heat over The Real Deal Don O'Neal who was fresh off of a $15,000 win the previous night at Kankakee, and The Flatland Flash Kevin Weaver.

The second heat was topped by Brian Birkhofer over Robert Pohlman and Junior Schickel.

The third heat was The Batesville Bullet Billy Moyer over Mike Mullvain and Gentleman Jim Curry.

The fourth heat honors went to local favorite Jeff Ribblett over Dennis Erb and Shane Cottle.

The fifth and final heat was Billy Drake catching the checkered ahead of Gary May and Matt Taylor.

The dash made up of the heat winners which would determine the top 5 starting positions was claimed by Moyer over Drake, Birkhofer, Ribblett and Babb.

The consis were claimed by Richie Hedrick ahead of Pierce and Steve Lance, Jr. and Corey Turner over Joe Harlan and Bobby Foster.

The field was set for this years rendition of the LYNN Chevrolet Prairie Dirt Cl;assic as follows:

Moyer Drake 

Birkhofer Ribblett 

Babb O'Neal 

Pohlman Mullvain 

Erb May 

Weaver Schickel 

Curry Cottle 

Taylor Hedrick 

Turner Pierce 

Foster Lance 

Harlan

At the drop of the green it was Moyer who jumped to the lead from the hub with Drake, Birkhoffer, Babb and O"neal in tow. Moyer would continue to lead with Babb opulling to second on lap 7.

On lap 15 Moyer would begin to lap traffic putting Lance 1 down to the leaders. Lap 16 would see Birky move to second with Moyer putting Foster minus 1. Lap 17 Moyer would put Harlan 1 in arrears and Jeff Ribblett spun on the front stretch to bring out the caution. The restart would find Pierce in the 11th position. On lap 29 Pierce broke into the top 5 as Hedrick stalled in turns 3 and 4 to again bring out the caution. The restart found Moyer being trailed by Babb, Birkhofer, Drake, Pohlman, and Pierce.

The running order would remain the same with Pierce passing Birky for the fourth spot on lap 36. On lap 38 Billy Drake made contact with Babb as he tried to pass Babb on the hub and Drake spun in 1 and 2 to again bring a halt to the race action.

Lap 40 found Pierce passing Babb for the runner up position leaving Babb in third with Birkhofer, Erb, Pohlman, Weaver and O'Neal following.

 

Babb and Pierce would trade the runner up spot back and forth several times over the next 10 laps.

Lap 54 saw Pierce work past Moyer to overtake the lead and Pierce was never to be headed again, leading the final laps and taking the win, adding another PDC to his resume.

Pierce was followed at the stripe by Moyer, Babb,Pohlman, Weaver, Birkhofer, Erb, O'Neal, Mullvain, Drake, Schickel, Curry and Turner.

The GOODYS Headache Award for the race goes to Dennis Erb who on lap 41 while running in the top 5 did a 360 on the frontstrecth after contact to his rear from Birkhofer. Erb managed to do a complete 360 and kept going with no caution being displayed. By the end of the race Erb had managed to work back up to 7th.

All in all a great night of racing, from here its off to the Northern All Stars in Haubstadt, IN. tomorrow night and trying to keep the record intact there!!

See ya in Victory Lane!

 

Friday August 17, 2001 LUVRACIN.COM visited Clay County Speedway in Flora, IL. The track and facilities were very nice. They were featuring a $1000 to win modified feature, which brought 29 modifieds to the 1/3 mile speedway.  

Flora Speedway runs modifieds, street stocks and bombers every Friday night. Clay County Speedway is the home track of the current UMP modified points leader Chad Kinder #22 from Newton, IL. 

The track was a 3 groove track during all the heat races. These guys know how to run this track. They took advantage of every groove in their heats. Smooth, clean and fast competitive racing!!  

The street stock and bomber features went green to checkered with only one caution each. The bomber feature winner was Tim Rinehart, 2 in a row for Tim!! Randy McNeely took his 8th feature this season in the street stock division. 

The modifieds on the other hand couldn’t figure out how to start the race. After at least 6 cautions and restarts they finally did a single file restart for the modifieds and we got to see some racing. The high side was the place to be for the leaders. Everett Bradham #37 of Olney, IL was using the cushion and leaving the field before his engine let go. That left the lead to #22 Chad Kinder who went on to take the $1000 feature. 

The grandstands were full, the food was good and reasonably priced. The track was in excellent condition, it made for a good night of racing! When it comes to winning a UMP national championship the “racing gods” look at the driver, the team and especially the fans! Besides that, that big sponsor that every driver is looking for could be setting next to your biggest fan, that just cheered the guy that slammed the wall and could be hurt. Just a tip for all drivers, we’ve been to a lot of tracks and seen a ton of racing, be warned that your fans in the stand have a huge impact on how other fans, drivers and sponsors look at you and your race team!


Friday August 3, 2001

 LUVRACIN.COM revisited the Farmer City Raceway to get a start on our Series pages with the Northern All Stars Late Model Series. Combining a track like Farmer City and a series like the NALMS it was bound to be one hell of a night of racing! 

The drivers didn’t let us down. Bob Pierce #32 started out the night as Fast Qualifier and continued his streak by winning the first heat. The second heat was one people will be talking about for a long time. Justin Allgaier #1A the 15 year old from Riverton, IL held off some of the biggest names in dirt late model racing, #89 Steve Barnett, #45 Gary May and the #Z Joe Harlan to win the second heat. Look out guys this kid is making his mark in this sport!! Doug McCammon #92 from Palastine, IL held off the field in heat 3 to take the checkered flag. Mike Glasscock #30 from Leroy, IL picked up an impressive heat 4 win. 

The NALMS feature was all Pierce!! He led every lap from green to checker, holding a straight away lead from the field. The race for positions was from 2nd on back. These guys were fighting for position every lap and putting on a hell of a show! Several drivers started making their moves on the high side, but after 7 laps and a caution the high side started to go away. There was still a low groove and room to pass in the middle. The current points leader, Steve Hillard #47 from Sadorus, IL was on the move, starting 14th and crossing the finish line in 4th. The NALMS feature finished like this: #32 Pierce, #92 McCammon, #36 Long, #47 Hillard, #30 Glasscock, #25 Ross Jr., #71 O’Neal, #S10 Shickel, #53 Clendenan, #3C Cottle. 

I am personally a huge fan of the NALMS. They will never let you down in the action department! The drivers in this series are some of the best in the business. Always willing to talk to a fan, but when they put on that helmet “its show time”, and they do know how to put on a show! No crybaby racers allowed here. You either got it or you don’t! Anytime you have the chance check the Northern All Stars Late Model Series you better do it! If you are a dirt track race fan, these guys will show you why you love this sport! Bob Pierce increased his series leading win total to 9 for the year. Steve Hillard increased his lead over Steve Barnett. Good luck to everyone at Fairbury on Saturday!

Thursday August 2, 2001 

The LUVRACIN.COM staff visited the Bond County Speedway in Greenville, IL. It was the fair week so this night was a special fair race. They had a record setting car count of over 100. 

The evening was shortened by rain before they completed all of the heats. The racing action before the rain fell was competitive and action packed. The one heat race that was memorable was a race to the finish between father and son. Modified drivers John Seets #360 and his son #9S Tom Seets put on one hell of a show! Battling it out until the checkered dropped. Neither one giving anything up to the other and in the end, “the kid” beat out the “the old man”! 

The race track was in good condition. The grandstands were fairly full and the pits were packed. The rain date is Wednesday August 8,2001.

 

July 27, 2001

The LUVRACIN.COM crew visited The Kankakee Motor Speedway, Friday July 28, 2001. The one phrase that came to mind while we were watching the races was “HIGH FLYING, BALLS TO THE WALL, TOTALLY JACKED RACIN’!” 

The track at Kankakee was unbelievable! If you’ve never been there or if it’s been awhile, this is definitely a MUST SEE track! High banked corners is an understatement! This track is so awesome, the qualifying alone was worth the price of admission! 

I’ve been to a lot of tracks and I’ve seen a lot of racin’, but this was 3 and 4 wide all the time, and left rears jacked in the corners on every lap! This is the kind of track that gives racing addicts like us “goosebumps”. 

In the late model division, Joe Harlan #Z was fast qualifier. Dennis Erb Jr. #28 was the powerful force of the feature. He led every lap and took the checkered flag for the win. The rest of the field was anything but boring, non-stop action! Dave Porth in his Bob Pierce race car took his #25 modified to the front and kept it there to lead every lap and win the modified feature. This was the second feature win in a row for the Porth #25 team. Dave said he owed this feature win to his engine builder, who found a problem that had been there all year and it’s finally right! 

The Kankakee Motor Speedway is a track that we will definitely visit again! For those of us who love dirt track racin’ this is one of those tracks in which every car is “BAD FAST”! If you want to see a 4-bar car get “TOTALLY JACKED”, Kankakee Motor Speedway is the place to be! One hell of a show!

 

July 21.2001 Mt. Vernon Raceway. 

We visited the Mt. Vernon Raceway Saturday night July 21, 2001 in Mt. Vernon, Il. The facility itself is very fan friendly. They have an on site go-kart track. The Mt. Vernon Raceway track employees are extremely friendly and working the whole evening to have a great night of racing for all the fans. 

Mt. Vernon has 2 different late model divisions. The UMP late models and then the steel block late models. The only real difference being the aluminum block vs. the steel block. On this particular night they combined the 2 late model divisions. The track was in great condition, smooth and ready to go. The stands were fairly full for a great night of racing action. 

In the late model division Don Tudor #14T was the fast qualifier and winner of the quick 6 heat. Heat #2 won by #83 Joe Morris. Heat #3 won by Steve Lampley #33. The feature was definitely dusty but made for a good track for the late model drivers to put on a good show. #14T Tudor led until lap #20 when #83 Morris who had been working the bottom underneath Tudor finally got him. Joe Morris #83 from Galatia, Il took his first win of the 2001 season at Mt. Vernon winning the feature.  

 

After the checkered flag waved there was an accident on the back stretch involving #13 Brent Kreke and #71JR Louie Baker Jr. The medical and paramedic crew at Mt. Vernon proved that they put driver safety first, and they really care about the well being of the drivers. After peeling the top off of the #71JR, Louie Baker Jr. was strapped to a back board and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. They did tell us that he was awake, alert and talking to paramedics. The staff of LUVRACIN.COM wishes him well and hopes he is OK. The other driver involved #13 Brent Kreke walked away from the accident. I was very impressed by the level of compassion shown by the other drivers. Several drivers stopped on the track and were to the accident before the paramedics. That’s why we love racing, competition at it’s best but also caring and compassion for one another by all involved. 

The UMP modified division quick 6 heat was won by #22 Matt Mevert. Heat #2 #T11 John Terry was the winner. Heat #3 winner was #360 John Seats. The feature was full of action and comebacks. On lap 2 of the feature there was a wreck in turns 1 & 2 taking the top 6 drivers to the rear of the field for the restart. The most impressive run after that was #22 Matt Mevert who restarted in the 15th position and finished 4th. The feature winner was #18 Brad Loddeke from Breese, IL taking his first win of the 2001 racing season at Mt. Vernon Raceway. Second place was #360 John Seats from Brighton, IL. 

The street stock division feature was won by #11 Ralph Isom from Anna, IL. Ralph also won his heat and is on a 11 in a row feature streak at Paducah. The bomber feature was won by Jeremy Wilkins #78. The street stocks and the bombers both put on a good show, clean driving and in it to win it! 

Overall, Mt. Vernon Raceway is a top of the line race facility. Excellent officials, great fans, great racing and all the extras that makes a race track one you will want to visit again.

 

Friday night July 20, 2001

      The LUVRACIN.COM staff invaded Farmer City. I, personally am always impressed by the way the program runs at Farmer City. There was lots of action to talk about including a car count of 122. 

This was the last night to qualify for the Wynn’s Sportsman Nationals at the Springfield before the last chance race, so the sportsman drivers who were not qualified were on a mission. The heats alone were frantic and full of action. The feature, which was led most of the way by Dennis Vandermeersch and being challenged by a pack of 6-8 cars the whole way finally being taken by #25 Jason Feger from Bloomington. This win qualified Jason for the Nationals in August. The other qualifiers from last night are #87 Wes O’Dell from Springfield, #7 Brian Roland, and #19 Gary Fox from Springfield. Congratulations and good luck to all the drivers who will be at Springfield mile. 

The late model feature was fantastic! Especially since I am a huge Joe Ross Jr. fan. Joe led from start to finish, but not without a fair share of challenges from #S10 Jr. Shickle and #36 Roger Long who definitely wanted that feature win. There was a very impressive run made by #1A Justin Allgaier who started mid-pack and just kept reeling ‘em in. He showed great patience and a tremendous ability to maneuver in traffic. I have to tell you that I see a huge amount of potential and great racing career ahead for Justin.  

In the modified division #4 Marty Hiser had his own show going on the front. He led every lap to win the feature. We had a first time winner last night also. Danny Smith #D98 won the Modified semi, making that his first win in a modified. Congratulations Danny! 

In the street stock division I have to mention the semi-feature where #1 Dave Crawley started in the last row of an 18 car line-up and was up to 2nd before running into a car stopped on the track and getting a flat. The feature in the street stock was not a run away it was back and forth action between #C15 of Kevin Crowder, #19J Rick Alwood and the feature winner #43 Richard Petticort. 

Farmer City is always action packed without all the nonsense of some tracks. Bobby Sergeant knows how to run a show and still get you home before the crack of dawn. Great fans, great drivers, and a great track, what more could you ask for!

 

 Saturday Night July 14,2001 

Took us to the Wayne Webb Memorial at Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. Winged sprint cars were the feature for the night. Now I'm not a big open wheel fan, but they do put on a good show, except for when they can't listen to the flag man for their line up on a restart....... It was definitely an interesting evening. The fan count wasn't much different than usual. There were no sportsman or mini sprints but the stands looked like they do on any regular night at Macon. Terry Babb from Decatur, Il was definitely "in it to win it"! He was flying on the high side all night to bring home a feature win. The late model division was exciting as always. Steve Sheppard Jr. #5S started at the back and finished as a front runner-man can he drive! The feature was won by Joe Ross Jr. #25 of Springfield but it wasn't a run away. Justin Allgaier #1A of Riverton had the lead for about half the race and was going strong when Ross Jr. took the lead. Justin held second up until with about 3 laps to go he had a flat and had to call it a night. Matt Taylor #117 was a contender for the win in the beginning before dropping out with car problems. Always high flying action and great racing by the UMP late models. In the Street Stock division Mike Durbin came home with a feature win and with the way they were banging into each other he should be proud of that win! An impressive win by Kyle Logue #21 holding off long time driver and champion Jim Leka #H2O in the modified division. As always great food, great fans, and drivers who love to sign autographs! Next week a normal night with latemodels, modifieds, sportsman, street stocks and minisprints. See ya in the winners circle!!

Hi race fans, we've started our trips to tracks all
over. Our weekend started on Friday night in
Belleville, IL at the BelleClaire Speedway. I must
tell you that I was impressed. The drivers put on one
hell of a show!! The track itself was a little on the
rough side and with a concrete wall on the inside as
well as the outside they definitely have to be heads
up drivers. All of the drivers we talked to were very
willing to help promote their track and themselves.
The fans were great! I love a track where you can tell
who a fan is cheering for and at BelleClaire they are
not afraid to get out there and let you know who they
are there to see! I had the pleasure of meeting
"Dandy" Don Klein, 63 years of age driving a late
model with 17 track championships under his belt and
as a race fan for over 20 years that was a real honor!
I also met a 16 year old sportsman driver who is
driving a car built by himself and his father.
BelleClaire Speedway definetely covers the spectrum of
racing, from the "Big Money" guys to the hometown guys
who just wanna have fun. Great night of racing action,
good race track food, very approachable drivers, and
"in the action" race fans, BelleClaire Speedway is a
great Friday night dirt track to see!  

 

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