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Semi-Monthly
Racing Commentary
with
LEW BOYD

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com



MOWA sprinters at 34 Raceway (Dennis Krieger Photo)

5/18/11

MAKIN' MOWA

It would be so easy to get gloomy about racing these days. Take this blasted recession that has everyone sweating about their jobs; add in the specter of $5 gasoline this summer; look on the tube at all those empty seats in superspeedway racing and consider the weak pit area and grandstands at many short tracks;
then soak the whole mess with the chilling rains of the worse spring in memory.
Woe are we.

But not quite so fast, mister. If any community is equipped to deal with adversity, it has to be American racers. There are some real entrepreneurs of there – and some glimmers of light.

All the 13th nonsense aside, take last Friday night. Way up in New Hampshire near Dartmouth College, a little dirt track, Canaan Dirt Speedway, was opening for the year. The featured division was Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE), a raggedly group of underfunded hobbyists who banded together a couple of seasons back. Something big happened this winter. A full field of shiny open wheelers – realistically one of the largest divisions currently in the Northeast – took the green in an explosive feature in front of an enthusiastic crowd. What a race!

Meanwhile, out at Jacksonville Speedway in Illinois, promoter Bobby Hawk was taking a gamble. He brought in a new 410 sprint car club, the Midwest Open Wheel Association, MOWA. Thirty-one teams and a sprawling mob of fans braved a horrid forecast only to lose the show in the end to the elements. A couple of weeks prior, though, 34 Raceway promoter Amy Laue made out big time with MOWA in their very first outing. Thirty-nine winged sprinters were there in West Burlington, Iowa, and 3,000 people endured four rain delays to see Danny Lasoski snatch a dramatic win from charging Kaley “Showtime” Gharst.
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Danny Lasoski at the MOMA opener with the Monster Energy girls.
(Tim’s Racing Photos)

It was as if MOWA, like SCoNE, had suddenly jumped fully formed into action. Needless to say, in neither case that was true.

The birth of MOWA came on a snowy evening last February when two well-networked Illinois sprint car racers, Joey Moughan and Jeremy Standridge, “were sittin’ around and got to talkin’.” They mourned the thought that Central Illinois, once such a hot bed of 410 racing and sending grads to Indy and Daytona alike, was down to just one weekly track. It had become simply too expensive for teams to go on the road, and recent club rules only seemed to lead to further fragmentation.

They decided to man up and form MOWA and to attempt the enormous task of reinvigorating the 410s – in their spare time. A sprint car racer’s spare time, that is. Jeremy’s situation is a case in point. The 31- year-old, who just completed college coursework on the side, is a full-time IT specialist handling auction companies in 40 states. After work, it’s right to the race garage each night until 11:00. Then it’s home to do MOWA series work.

Somehow they’ve got ’er done so far, assisted in a Herculean way by family members, volunteers, and marketer par excellence Kenny Dobson. Kenny’s been busy. He’s brought in Monster Energy as a marketing partner and he’s putting together a sprinter for Indy driver Donnie Beechler. Beechler is psyched big time. “This is sparking new energy in me. Local people can race again and local people can see it. I can’t wait to get back to where a steering wheel is used only for driving into the pits.”

MOWA is highly interactive, providing not only cars but pre-race publicity as well. The group is big on advance car shows, radio and TV appearances, and fan engagement. Joey and Jeremy, both of whom race the circuit, are blunt about their expectations: “If drivers just show up to race, that isn’t going to cut it. They must help bring in the fans.”


Jeremy practicing what he preaches. (Jeremy Standridge Collection)

Amy Laue is enthusiastic too. “I was shocked by the turnout at 34 Raceway. I’m having them back in September. We’ve had WoO, IRA, but nothing like this. I got 39 cars, but without some big sanctioning fee that would make me charge people $30 to get in. Jeremy and Joey seem to have the right personalities and credibility as racers. I think they can pull this off. You know, they even ask questions. Can you imagine something like that from a sanctioning body?!”

It sure will be interesting to watch how all this unfolds. It is definitely not an ego trip for Joey and Jeremy. Jeremy says, “We flipped a coin and I lost, so I became President. Joey is VP.” They are now cautiously looking around for long-term staff.

These guys are cool. So are the folks at SCoNE and all others around the country making a special effort to keep the green flags waving this year.

And wouldn’t it amount to one huge, well-deserved checkered if Jeremy and Joey could retire back to driving sprinters full time on a thriving MOWA schedule right there in America’s Heartland?
=

Vice President Joey on the hammer. (Tim’s Racing Photos)

© 2011 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

5/4/11 - The Running of the Racers

4/21/11 - Pruett's Perspective

4/4/11 - Winter of Discontent

3/23/11 - Thinking of Gene Bergin

3/8/11 - Sprint Car World Record?

2/21/11 - Dinner at Daytona

2/10/11 - The Call Him 1/4ley

1/28/11 - Doc's Beard

1/15/11 - Reconsidering Generalizations

12/31/10 - Powerful Passion

12/19/10 - Tearoff at Yuletide

12/6/10 - Indy in December

11/21/10 - Mutt and the Brutal Ballet

10/29/10 - The Johnny Bensons and Their Supers

10/13/10 - Anatomy of an Accident

9/28/10 - Maybe Marty

9/14/10 - Push Refresh for Speedway Illustrated

8/23/10 - An Ode to Senior Supers

8/6/10 - Adrian and the Deep Water

7/20/10 - Holdout in Yuppieville

7/7/10 - The Wins are Gustin

6/16/10 - Racin' Kid, Racin' Dad

5/28/10 - The Monk and Matty D.

5/15/10 - Bluebird

4/27/10 - Catching Up With Steve Arpin

4/11/10 - The Song of the Fifties

3/22/10 - Davey!

3/8/10 - Restart!

2/21/10 - Miracles of the Rock

2/8/10 - Roger The Remarkable

1/21/10 -  Shane's Sensational '78

12/28/09 - The Flying Finn and The All American Boy

12/12/09 - Hello Wall

11/29/09 - Once More for Ernie

11/15/09 - Ernie's Excellent Chase

11/1/09 - In The Zone

10/19/09 - Rough Week in the Midwest

10/1/09 - Common Starts, Uncommon Comebacks

9/4/09 - South Dakota Chris

8/15/09 - Facial Exposure

7/31/09 - Dying in the Pits

7/9/09 - Barn Rat's Last Race

6/18/09 - Catching Up With Brad Doty

5/20/09 - Big Boys in The Attic  - rare photos of legends

5/6/09 - Back Up In The Attic - more rare photos

4/22/09 - The Son of Hard Luck - accessible racing
experience for the handicapped

4/3/09 - Racin' In The Attic - Gordon Ross photo collection

3/18/09 - About That Mike Spaulding

3/3/09 - Dick Berggren's First Win - (you had to be there!)

2/11/09 - Peter at the Park - Peter Fiandaca at Riverside Park

1/30/09 - Steve - Steve Arpin

1/4/09 - Racer Speak -cool quotations

12/16/08 - Wimble Power, Will Power - Bill Wimble

11/24/08 - Remembering Chuck Amati - by Joyce Standridge

11/11/08 - That Rick Ferkel

10/24/08 - Beyond Bionic - Bentley Warren

10/6/08 - Fifty Second Classic - Skip and Lois Matczak

9/20/08 - Joey's Dad - Tom Logano

9/1/08 - One Night at The Park - the death of Les Ley

8/20/08 - Transitional Technology - early supermodifieds

8/6/08 - Wallace on Wednesdays - dirt trackin’ Kenny

7/19/08 - Star(ter) of the Show - importance of good flaggers

7/7/08 - McUnderdog - Eddie MacDonald

6/18/08 - The Night Buzz Was Worried - Buzz Rose

6/5/08 - John Richards - Boomer Role Model

5/20/08 - The Spirit of a Racer - the late Al Powell

5/1/08 - Bobby's Blues - Bobby Santos III

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey - Carl Edwards and Corey Dripps

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers - West Liberty, Iowa

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See - cockpit vision

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See - flagstand vision

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos - in-car camera midget win

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer

© 2007-11 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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