July Racing Article

Rain and Heat make for some tough racing this season…

I know we need the rain for all of the crops in South Central, Pennsylvania…and of course, our lawns too…but does it have to rain virtually every weekend! This is putting a strain on the local tracks, like the new Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way that took over for South Mountain…they lost every race opportunity in May! Other tracks are also feeling the pinch with events being canceled, and loads of rain checks being offered, but it is also hard on the fans and teams. Fans try to plan events for the weekend, bringing back the picnic atmosphere of years gone bye, only to have Mother Nature foil their plans. The teams work feverishly to get their cars to the track, sometimes thrashing late into the evening the night before, only to have the race canceled…sometimes after arriving at the track, and wasting money on tires and fuel only to have the Heavens open and bringing the night to a close. Features are made up, but again it’s tough on the teams as they have to almost double their costs for the evening, and then let’s talk about this year’s humidity…MAN! … it’s eating up the carburetors, air flow and ultimately motors to boot! Hopefully July will be a fairer month for us all.
Fred Rahmer made the most of the beginning of July, with his 11th Sprint Week Championship for the 410 sprints. Folks ask me who to watch for these challenges, and it seems like every year, no matter who he’s driving for, I have to say Fast Freddy. Sure Mark Smith Jeff Shepherd and the like are competitive, but the consistency has to go with Rahmer. Kudos Big Daddy….
Someone who is not acting his consist self is Indiana’s Tony Stewart for 2008. He is still winless this season, is is now looking for other options in 2009. Gibbs racing has finally given him his release from the team, so he is “listening” to all offers. I predict he will be buying his own team(s), as he is looking at the big picture so that he has a long shelf life in the NASCAR ranks. The Haas-CNC teams are really struggling this year, Haas is in jail, and Tony has the backing and the dollars to take over and make things happen. Keep an eye on his buddy Ryan Newman to join him wherever he goes, but I think that Home Depot will stay loyal to the Coach…especially after they have seen what he can do with new drivers to his team a.k.a. Kyle Bush….man that boy can drive, and he’s not getting rattled when something happens during the race that puts him back in the pack. I’m not sure where Greg Zippadelli, Tony’s crew chief, will go…but his is a true buddy to Tony…hmmm…and Chevrolet would love to have them both back.
A quick note…the Dirt Trackin’ Show  scheduled for January 23-25, 2009 is already getting started. The PWE wrestlers will be back, as will Pepka the Magician. The Route 61 band has been scheduled for Friday night’s activities, and the Baptones will be a part of the Sunday morning worship service. Reservations are being accepted for the show vendors and display spaces…that will definitely sell out again this year. Applications are available at www.dirttrackinshow.com. The Cruise scheduled for March 7-14 in the Eastern Caribbean is booking now as well, contact cruisegallouise2@aol.com or call 717-432-5136  for more information on this very, very affordable get-away cruise.

Kirk M. Wise – Racin’ with the Wise Guy
Questions or information …
contact me at email: wisemotors@aol.com or phone: 717-979-0341

June Racing Article

The Fan Favorite Does Well….
     The All Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had the field set with past champions, top performers, and two drivers filling the field by racing into the event the old fashioned way…by winning qualifying races. However, there was one spot left to be determined, and NASCAR came up with the idea of letting the fans vote for their favorite driver that did not qualify. This was not the first year for this voting process, Kenny Wallace was voted in one year, but the big difference in this year’s selection was that he started in the rear, with a Budweiser team that had been struggling…and went on to win the event! The young, light eyed favorite of mostly the woman in the stands, was estatic in victory lane after taking the checkered flag for the fans by winning the fourth segment of the event. Story over? No….the Coca-Cola 600 was to be held the next weekend during the Memorial Day festivities at the same track. If you were writing a racing movie script…what would happen to make this the perfect storybook type movie. Right you are…K.K. held on to win the longest event of the year for the Cup drivers, and just like the way he got into the All Star Event, with a little luck…a flat tire on the race leader Tony Stewart with only a few laps to go was all he needed to take the turn once again into victory lane. Congratulations go to the members of Evernham Racing and all the Kasey Kahne fans for a job well done. Just one more note on this youngster…he is also a favorite with the dirt track fans, as he still participates in as many clay oval races as he can. Earlier in the season, he was visiting a track with other drivers, and did not qualify through the traditional process for the feature event. The track management told him he could still race…as a provisional driver, but he opted out of the event. He said he didn’t qualify…and did not deserve to take a starting spot. Cute and with class…and still not married!
     Another “attractive” driver is the IRL driver Danica Patrick. I have had dozens of people ask me about what happened at the Indy 500 to her in the pits. First off, it was great to see the place packed with fans again, now that the Indy Racing League and Cart are back together again. Danica, in her Go Daddy” Andretti Green Racing car qualified in the second row in the 5th position for the start of the race. She was in the top ten all day long and pitted with only a handful of laps left to go under a yellow flag. In most professional tracks there are actually 3 lanes in the pit area. The pit “boxes” make up the one lane where the tires are changed, cars fueled and minor adjustments are made by the crew. The next, usually unmarked, lane is where you turn onto to exit after the pit stop has been completed, and then begin to accelerate so that you can blend into the outside lane to process through the pits. Then the driver will exit onto the track with some speed already built up. Unfortunately for Danica, she had completed her pit stop, and was as far off to the right as possible when Ryan Briscoe flew out of his pit box nailing her in the rear of her car, spinning her around, and doing enough damage to put her out of the race. It was truly a rotten way to be knocked out of the biggest race of the year for the IRL racers, and the young spit fire was not going to be pushed around…she stomped down the pit lane toward the Team Penske driver with rage in her eyes, but was luckily turned away by cooler headed track officials. I did like her post race comment when she was asked if she was going to seek Briscoe out…she replied that she would give him a chance to find her first (and apologize)…class again, but she was unfortunately credited with only a 22nd place finish.
     Closer to home the Sprinters and other divisions are going at it in our local facilities with the likes of Rahmer, Hodnett, Smith, Shaffer and Leppo having great seasons. Keep an eye on the young gun Cody Darrah…he’s a special kind kid..with a lot of potential and ability. And for the record, the Saturday Night program at the Grove will continue throughout the 2008 season…no doubt.
     Finally, with the fuel prices soaring to unimaginable prices…keep in mind the cost of racing fuel and transportation for the rigs and crew members to every one of these events. If you are a sponsor…maybe kick in a little more this year…or if you are a fan of a certain team or division…just walk up to a team member or driver and give him a few extra dollars…to help support the sport we love.
Submitted by Kirk M. Wise – Racing with the Wise Guy
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It’s definitely safer to run the car of “Now”

 Talledega Super Speedway is one of those tracks that just oozes speed. In the old days, before restristor plate racing had evolved, the sky was the limit for speed. Awesome Bill Elliott went well over the 200 mile per hour range, but now it’s back down to the 195 to 200 mph…down huh? How would you like to be driving with a pack of 20 plus drivers, side by side going into a turn at those speeds! Some say they’d love to, but let me tell you, after riding with one of the Newman racing pros at Pocono at about the same speed only a few inches from the wall…it’s a thrill alright…but make sure you drain your bladder before you jump in the seat. As much as I still dislike restrictor plate racing due to it’s lack of break-away action, I am thoroughly impressed with the handling of the Car of the Future…which is now the Car of Today. When the ultimate winner of last week’s race, Kyle Busch, got tapped and went sideways, in the turn going about 195 and held on, straightened it up and went on to take the checkered flag…I was impressed. The down force on these cars, as well as the rigid chasis and front air dam requirements kept that car from flying through the air. The roof flaps, another great idea, opened as well, but the main reason for the better handling is the new car in the NASCAR Sprint series. Now of course, I still have a little problem with the organization being called the National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing…stock car?..I don’t think so. I remember when the fenders and quarters came from the manufacturers, and when a Ford would win on Sunday…you’d sell more cars on Monday. Yes, the cars were also 2 doors, so that they would have an entry for the racing circuit, instead of taking the four door sedan model and calling it a race car.

 Saturday night racing has been taking a hit due to the rain in our area, but the Friday shows have turned in tons of excitement as usual. Names like Calaman, Rahmer, Hodnett and Cannon are getting their wins already in this young season. Some surprise victories have come in the larger arena of racing, including Ashley Force defeating multiple time NHRA champion John Force in Georgia….oh yea, that means she beat dear ol’ Dad, and knowing John Force, you know he didn’t just give it to her. Also, the young, light weight model named Danika Patrick, who is a real racer, took the win in Montegi Japan for her first win in the Indy Car Series. Congratulations to both of these tenacious competitors, who stuck to their guns with their driving ability despite their good looks, to prove the skeptics wrong…including me. I thought Ashley may have a chance as there have been other females like Muldowney, Angelle Sampey, and Troxell who have won major events and titles…but I just didn’t think Danika had it in her. She was recently chastised for her weight being under that of her other competitors, but where muscle was not as evident…her quickness and ability to concentrate was…my hat is off to her. Speaking of straight ahead racing…it looks like the Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way is ready to open in Boiling Springs…so now we have Sunday afternoon racing to go to …yea boy!
Next time I see you ..I hope it’s at the track…
Racing with the Wise Guy – Kirk M. Wise
e-mail wisemotors@aol.com for comments, news, or questions.
Check out this year’s racing photos, audio daily reports, and information about the Wise Motorsport Marketing 2009 Dirt Trackin’ Show and Cruise by going to www.wisemotorsportmarketing.com

April Racing Article

Racing is still Great Family Entertainment…
     I often hear from folks, young and old, how much they used to enjoy going to the races with their family. Names like Mitch Smith, Jimmy Nace, Keith Kauffman, Steve Smith and the like always come up. Kids love to go to the races because they can “run around” at the facility. The tracks are usually small enough on the front or back stretch, that kids can frolic with each other while their parents and older siblings watch the racing action. “It’s fun to play in the dirt” one child told me after the races, he loved grabbing the clumps of clay and molding them…or chucking them. The food seems to be unique to each track. It’s inexpensive, and full of action. Where else can the kids get in for free, the youth pay only a few dollars, and the parents get in for maybe $20 for a 6 hour or more show? I like the movies (where even a soda is $3), bowling (like smoke?), arcades (take plenty of dough for the games) and other family related venues, but none comes close to the value of racing. We are privileged to have to minor league baseball teams in our area in York and Harrisburg, but even there the prices for the seats and food combined add to an expensive night…and don’t even bring up Hershey Park. Sure I have plenty of great memories on the rides, at the ball park, and at the bowling alley…but as a parent who has bills coming out my ears like everyone else, racing is still the best value.The other things I appreciate aret that the drivers are available before and after the events to meet the kids, and don’t ask for money for autographs. They generally always sing the national anthem and pray before each night’s activities, and the NASCAR Cup series even takes off the entire day for Easter and Mother’s Day…now there’s family values. The local tracks honor the mothers with reduced or free tickets, flowers and the like. Some tracks, like Susquehanna, have kid’s events during the intermission before the feature events. So even if you don’t know anything about racing…take the family to the track, have a seat, and the other fans will let you know what’s going on…just make sure you don’t sit in anyone else’s’ seat…they’ll let ya know about that too..it’s just like church…everyone sits in the same spot week after week.
     Now for the updates…how ’bout Pat Cannon and the Highlands team! Not only are they winning again in the 358 sprint ranks to defend their 2007 track championship at the Grove, but have a win in the 410’s as well. Pat now has wins in Sportsman, 358 and 410 divisions…and is still the same quiet, humble guy he has always been. His school teacher mother, and past track champion in Jersey Dad are to be credited with raising some pretty nice boys, including younger brother Steve who also competes in the Sportsman division. Family values…yup! It also helps having the Highlands dollars and know-how behind the team. Zane, Matt, and the dearly deceased Bob of Newville are a really tough dynasty to beat. Looks like Todd Shaffer is back with the Beam family of Patti and Gary….and winning already again in the young 2008 season. Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way in Boiling Springs is still working on opening day sometime in late April. And finally, watch out for Toyota in the NASCAR ranks…the teams and technology are starting to catch up with the other manufacturers, and will be a force to be reckoned with…I understand Toyota, or one of the other Asian auto companies may be buying the name Oldsmobile…hmmm…could we see an 883 back on the track in the future? Who knows…but if you’re not at the track…you won’t see it for yourself.
submitted by:
Kirk M. Wise – Racing with the Wise Guy
Daily radio features can be heard throughout Central PA on a variety of stations…
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Racing Is A Team Affair…March Racing Article

     We have often heard the phrase “There is no I in team”. That resolve has never been more evident than in this past Super Bowl, when the underdog Giants beat the next to perfect Patriots. They didn’t have as many big names, but they had heart and the strength of their team to draw upon. The same goes in racing, as the weakest link, or lug nut, can take a team from victory lane to the garage in an instant. The Rocket Man, Ryan Newman, has always been good a qualifying, but has struggled in the late stages of the actual race when it came to his finishing position. Daytona had alluded Penske Racing for thirty years, until teammate Kurt Busch put the nose of his #2 Miller car on the back bumper of the #12 Alltel and pushed it past the rest of the pack to victory in the biggest win of Newman’s career during the Sprint Cup season opening Daytona 500. That’s teamwork! Sure, the men in the pits, the spotters, engine builders, fabricators, and the rest of the huge team also had to do their jobs, but it was the extra effort of another team’s driver that made the difference. Solid teams will produce solid finishes in every sport, that is why many are picking the Johnson and Gordon teams under the tutelage of Rick Hendricks to repeat their championship ways already. The season has just begun, but if it comes to a solid, well established, veteran team to win…they have it in Aces.
     Speaking of aces, South Mountain Dragway is no more, in name only, as Stanley Dye of Carlisle is taking it back to the original name of Quarter Aces Drag-o-way. He is spending a lot of time and money to bring this track into the 21st century. There will probably not be a lot of changes in personnel, or divisions, but the facility itself will be really nice…I can’t wait to do a little straight ahead racing in Mt. Holly this year. 
     The local tracks will most likely still be trying to get their season openers in when this article hits, so now is the time for me to get on my annual soap box regarding starting the season in the freezing, wet winter months when fans, engines, new clay and teams alike suffer…why not race into the fall months. Look, I don’t know of a single racer that plays football, so drop the excuse that too many fans would go to the high school football games instead of going to the tracks. Teams don’t even have time for local football, as their summer practices would conflict with our actual racing season. O.K. ..let Williams Grove end their season, but Lincoln, Susquehanna and Hagerstown could run easily into November on Saturday nights if they wanted…end of speech. None the less, after the show dust has now settled…it’s time to go racing!!!
     Quick note…I had the opportunity to spend an evening talking about the old days with a few members of the York County Racing Club, including president Paul Miller. He took me back to the days when racing was a hobby, and more fun, not just driven by the almighty dollar. He reminisced about when he used to be in victory lane and be presented with his winnings for the evening, including chickens, pizza, gift certificates for dinners, and even pears. He jumped in a rig one day and went the whole way from his home in York to Daytona to get his season winnings for running in the Sunshine State…the total amount…$58..my how things have changed, not that they are not warranted, but pears?
     By the way…my son and I are unfortunately Raiders fans…but God love the New York Giants!
Next time I see you, I hope it’s at the track…
Kirk M. Wise…Racing with the Wise Guy
Now heard daily on over a dozen radio stations, including new affilliate WQLV 98.9 FM. Go to the web site at www.wisemm.com for a complete list of stations and times. Questions, comments or news…contact me at wisemotors@aol.com or at my new day job at Nordstrom Select Auto in Mechanicsburg.