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Racing Commentary

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com

Jason Meyers at River Cities Speedway. (Mike Orness Photo)



Have you noticed how breezy it’s getting out there? Some guys are going
REALLY fast.

Turns out that superhuman lap of 12.6 seconds on Volusia, Florida’s half-mile submitted by WoO driver Paul McMahan during Speedweeks this winter (see TEAROFF dated 3/08/11) was not completely random. How about the way Johnny Benson electrified the railbirds at Quebec’s Autodrome Chaudiere, turning the third-mile high-banked asphalt at 10.8 in a big block winged ISMA super?

Johnny Benson looking proud of a new record supermodified record in Canada.
(Jim Feeney Photo)

And on August 21, 2010, veteran Jeff Bloom sizzled Slinger Super Speedway’s quarter-mile pavement in Wisconsin aboard a 410 sprinter with a 9.908.

But it was that same August 21 night but in 2009, that may have been American short-track racing’s biggest-ever time-trial spectacular, whether or not it was so intended.

It was out in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at River Cities Speedway, at a WoO Sprint car show promoted by old-time racing names Don and Linus Mack, Wayne Anderson, and Darren Evavold. Since its opening in 1915, the storied fairgrounds oval was always considered racy. And in 2005, that reputation was really packed in with a deep, new, sticky surface of river-bottom clay.

Early on, no one thought there would even be races that evening. The ground was soaked and the air heavy with rain. But at about 5 p.m. there was a just a hint of brightening. Out came the grader, first to carve a road through the hopelessly flooded pit area to allow cars to even reach the track. Then hurried preparation of the weighty raceway.

When it came time for warm-ups, the world snapped to attention. Darren Evavold recalls that “the whole thing looked cartoonish, the cars were going so fast.” And when it came time for qualifying, the world was on the edge of its seat.

Evavold continues, “Erin Crocker was the first to go out and break the record. But then 17 others did the same thing. I’ve never seen fans go so crazy about time trials. It was amazing. Faster and faster. It looked like they could get down around 9 seconds. Everyone was chanting and cheering. Then Jason Meyers copped a 9.26, at 116.5 mph, an incredible feat. The drama was fantastic.”

There can be no doubt that the lap was one of the fastest in motorsports history. Jason Meyers sure remembers. “It was lightning quick. The air was perfect, the track, those banks. So fast it was dizzying. The car just never lost speed…. I remember looking up at that scoreboard at the 9.2. Wow. Believe me, I felt every inch of it.”

The question will be answered another day as to whether it is actually possible to race side by side at those speeds. Certainly there was concern even that night at River Cities. Evavold says, “We were very concerned about the potential for carnage. We talked with the drivers. We dropped the feature from 40 to 30 laps.”

Meyers admits he, like the others, was worried. “We all discussed it. The deal wasn’t really to try to race, just to survive out of trouble. If someone in front of you made a mistake, there would just be no time to react.”

Jason’s concern was well-founded. “I ended up flipping down the backstretch and destroying a car. It was really tough because I was in a points chase with Donnie Schatz. I ended up losing by 19 points. You can bet I will never forget that night.

“I know one thing for sure. It’s just not fun to run a track that totally fast.”

© 2011 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :

8/2/11 - Perrotte at Plattsburgh

7/14/11 - So Here's What Jack Says

6/30/11 - Quick to Quickest - Jim “Mr. Magoo” Maguire

6/16/11 - Climb to the Clouds

6/2/11 - Irv and the Hall of Fame

5/18/11 - Makin' MOWA

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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