2004 NBA Finals

 

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Please try again later. Those of us who love great piano performances haven't had too much Romantic American fare to choose from for quite a long time. Ruthanne Schempf has imparted a particular love and passion for this genre of music that could easily let it be reborn.

Here are my impressions. The Piano Sonata by Charles Griffes. Powerful romanticism here with wonderful melody in the first movement and a 'finale' to the second movement that will take your breath away with its requirement to display a fiery technique right to the end.

And the third movement is quite sensuous in the way Ruthanne lets it flow; very captivating. An underplayed work, for sure. The etudes by E. Nevin are what I would call special. Etudes are often beautifully written study pieces to develop the art and technique of those performing them. These are often beautiful works which are all too often enjoyed only by performers and teachers.

Including them on this CD was a wise decision. This is music that can pull you into the score and let you dream to it while the "Romance" develops and the "Scherzo" offers a whimsical but tasteful diversion. Chances are that you, as myself, have never heard the "Five Poems" by Arthur Foote. What a beautiful setting for these works. As a group, I would say they are phenomenal. They would be equally at home arranged for orchestra or wind ensemble.

But these are for solo piano and I hope you will enjoy them every bit as much as I did! They progress from ethereal "grazioso" , then to emotions running from one extreme to another in the "allegro deciso" , giving a nice contrast in themes.

The next "quasi marcia" opens your mind to a pastoral scene of your choosing and then seems to stretch your mind's eye to a distant horizon and then pulls you back. A personally engaging piece.

Musical poetry probably best describes the fourth section "comodo". The last section "mesto" really evokes what you expect to hear in romanitic classical music. Beautiful melody, shrouded in mist and a bit of mystery, but evoking beauty and treating us to music of a time now too often forgotten. A pity; it's so relaxing. Amy Beach wrote a number of interesting and technically sound works for piano. The two works featured here, demonstrating a Hermit Thrush in the evening and the next work describes its morning routine.

You get a feeling of loneliness in the "At Evening;" a sense of wistfulness. Very loose and flowing in content. Dropping off Danny and Speed Ball at the ticket booth, I lightly jogged to the back gate for my credential, meeting up in section I just as hot lap action roared to life.

Those oh-so-familiar Eldora acoustics of cubic inch small blocks operating at full song was music to my ears, instantly warming my soul on such a blustery fall afternoon. Operating one of three black and green Indy Race Parts machines for Bernie and Betsy Stuebgen, teenage sensation and recent Williams Grove National Open prelim winner Gio Scelzi wound up coming closest to the mark at Second place All Star points producer Carson Macedo was the best of the bunch in the second flight Trailing Macedo in that second session was Christopher Bell, who was moonlighting on an off-weekend from his higher profile stock car gig.

It came with no amount of surprise that Christopher would be in the mix on Sunday, always a threat at Eldora. Four heats, a C-main, trophy dash, B-main, and two modified heats were completed in an hour and 13 minutes. Price-Miller, Tim Shaffer, Macedo, and Bell boasted heat wins, all coming from the first or second row.

Shaffer hustled from the furthest position fourth , also taking top honors in the trophy dash after drawing the pole. Longtime wingless warriors Brady Bacon and Hunter Schuerenberg moved from C to B, the latter contest containing a dandy duel for the final feature ticket between Kemenah and Cory Eliason Roth Utilizing every ounce of his Eldora savvy, Chad held off the high-flying Cory. At the time of the famed four-wide salute 7: Despite being under the roof with a healthy turnout of hardcore fans, it felt much cooler as outside turn three flags were sharply pointing northeast.

Those brisk winds polished a smooth and slick surface from top to bottom. Sporting a much more substantial cushion in turns one and two, crumbles of clay were pushed all the way to the wall in three and four. When it came time to rumble, Shaffer moved from bottom to top through the first set of corners. Nearly making contact, the Kokomo kid led at the line.

Eighth-starting Donny Schatz finagled fifth from Saldana on the second circuit, with Joey slipping another position one lap later when fifth-starting Bell lofted a turn one bomb.

By the tenth tour, fourth-starting Macedo had snatched second from Shaffer and was making serious gains on the leader. Turning my attention to the white 14, the outstanding Okie was already up to third and preparing to pounce yet again.

By lap 13, Chris swiped second from Macedo after a smooth slide for life through one and two. Maintaining his massive momentum, one lap later Bell blew by PPM for the lead via a similar slider. Carson quickly recaptured runner-up rights as he tried to keep pace, but in just a handful of circuits Christopher had constructed a full straightaway advantage.

The lone caution came shortly thereafter when All Star champion Aaron Reutzel pounded the wall at the exit of turn two and came to a stop. Carson soon found himself in a three-car scrum for second, as Schatz and Price-Miller applied heavy heat. September winner Brent Marks marched from 12 th to 6 th while Saldana settled for 7 th. Sheldon Haudenschild elevated from 18 th to 8 th , Logan Schuchart nailed 9 th from 20 th , and Brock Zearfoss took 10 th.

After opening from the pole and leading briefly, Shaffer was a late-race DNF. Leaving more than enough time to take the long way home through Greenville, a Maid-Rite stop was of course mandatory. Scooping up a sack of the loose meat sandwiches and a chocolate malt, my nephew nearly did the same, albeit adding cheese to his order.

Devouring a majority just past the state line, this standard route across U. With the radio left off to allow my father some sleep, the silence was actually ok. Having traversed this same highway hundreds of times to and from Eldora and Winchester, I came to realize that the countless conversations shared with my father on those journeys were a big reason we were able to develop a bond, even with our 38 year age difference.

For that reason alone, nighttime drives on 36 will always be meaningful. A request for four hours of afternoon PTO on Friday October 19 th would surely allow enough time to reach my season-ending Kokomo Klash without stress or anxiety.

But, for the umpteenth time, congestion from U. Calling an audible and exiting on th street, I eliminated further frustration by employing State Road 19 instead. Prior to , this Tipton junction was also the site of a major rail yard, roundhouse, and division offices, all long gone by now.

Continuing north on 19 to State Road 26, I headed west until seeing the sign for the tiny town of Center. Deciding to do a little more exploring and hanging a right, as I later learned Center was originally named Tampico but had to change its name because there was another Tampico in Jackson County. Once intersected by the Cincinnati to Chicago mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad an old bridge over Kokomo Creek still exists , Center was also the home to the Evans Bottle Shop sprint car, piloted and maintained by three-time Kokomo Speedway champion Gary Fisher.

Eventually reaching Kokomo Speedway where a Paul Hazen tribute was taking place, 18 of his current and former chauffeurs gathered underneath the grandstand to mingle with fans. Speaking with Derek Davidson for the first time in a long while, the Bloomington Speedway champion is currently a crew chief at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, recently earning quite a bit of TV time after Takuma Sato claimed a big win for the squad in Portland.

When Derek is not traveling the circuit or putting in serious hours at the shop, he is directing the go-kart career of his daughter Ava. Rather than USAC, Hazen and Caldwell chose to run locally and with the World of Outlaws, as Mark commented that any team wishing to run races outside of USAC had to have their cars magnafluxed each time they wished to return to the fold. Now 74 years old and having raced as late as , Mark says he never really retired from competition. Similar to the July reunion but some 30 to 40 degrees cooler, Josh and Shannon Spencer organized the affair and awarded Hazen a plaque to pay respect to his outstanding achievements and longevity.

Midgets, micros, and thunder cars numbered 22, 29, and As always, timed hot laps lined up sprint car heat races, this time with no inversion. Defending Kokomo Klash midget maestro Shane Cottle was once again in the Bill Ecker 57 but again encountered issues early, missing his heat altogether. Spending many minutes admiring this beautiful ride, of course the gorgeous hand-painted lettering and gold leaf numerals caught my attention, but so did the bell crank actuated rear shock absorbers and that old school VW engine.

Using the remainder of practice sessions to thaw out in the Turn Five Pub, I was joined for heat races atop the main grandstand by Kiwi export Alan Rush and ex-Kroger marketing man Kevin Kotansky. Despite the fact I was wearing countless layers on my upper half, some unusually stout winds from the southwest made 50 degrees feel more like 30, chilling me to the bone.

From front to back, both sprints and midgets showed some humongous differentials in speed. Roaming the pits one final time prior to the sprint car B to get out of the wind and keep my joints lubricated, I briefly spoke to Russ Gamester about his recent acquisitions from the Don Smith auction: Similar to how heat races were aligned straight-up by qualifying time, the feature line ups were determined directly by heat race finish.

That meant Darland, Grant, and Windom would occupy the first three spots, with Andretti, Leary, and Boyles beginning from fourth, fifth and sixth. Words simply cannot do this lap finale justice, urging you to find the Speed Shift recap on the internet so that you can see for yourself.

Darland, Grant, Windom, and Leary put on a spectacular show, fanning three and sometimes four wide with all kinds of slicing and dicing. Chris, Justin, and Dave each held the lead on the opening lap, duplicating the feat on the second and third circuits as I counted nine swaps of the premier position!

Holy cow — are you kidding me? For a brief bit, Justin enjoyed a slight advantage while Dave and C. With the top-two operating in the attic on both ends, turns one and two required absolute precision as the cushion and wall were one in the same. JG continued to give chase and returned the favor four laps later in the same spot, only to be simultaneously crossed by his nemesis. But with just two laps left, Justin refused to relent as he heaved another bomb through one and two.

The pilot of the Topp number 4 led to turn three and accepted the white flag as the undisputed leader. Pulling away through the next four corners, Justin laid claim to his second consecutive Kokomo conquest. Dave had to settle for a hard-fought second while Leary, Windom, and ninth-starting Shane Cottle rounded out the top-five.

Midgets were up next for another lap finale, starting Cole Bodine and Zeb Wise from the front row. Recently celebrating his 20 th birthday, Bodine led the first lap around the bottom but promptly looped his machine as he entered the second corner on the second circuit. Nick Speidel also spun to a stop in a separate incident and retired to the infield.

That handed the lead to year-old Wise, one that he would never relinquish. Bodine would use the next 24 laps to carefully carve his way through the field, choosing middle and lower lanes to eventually claim second and solidify a Clauson-Marshall sweep. Despite the runaway win by Wise, close racing was contested for second, third and fourth between Dickerson, Gamester, and Shane Cottle, the latter having to come from dead last 20 th. Gamester and Alex Watson filled out the first five finishers.

Dominated by the brutal weather conditions only appropriate for the hardest of hardcore fans, this Kokomo Klash served as a reminder why most Indiana ovals close shop by the end of September. On the plus side, with its thrilling sprint car finale it was also a reminder of just how lucky we are to have the opportunity to observe such top-of-the-line talent and world-class action with such great frequency. Celebrating the end of its 14 th year of reconfiguration, Kokomo Speedway and its traditional sprint car competition continues to be the benchmark of all things awesome.

Sadly, after one final pit walk it was time to get in the truck, defrost my body, and make the relatively short minute jaunt to the north side of Indy. Without much time for reflection, as usual I searched my satellite radio dial for something soothing and calculated that the break between outdoor events would be five months.

Call me a simple man, but I know what keeps me happy. Picking up where I left off in my last installment, lately there has been an overall unwillingness on my part to accept the fact that this racing campaign is all but over. In my mental struggle to embrace another changing of season, I had to remind myself that there is no sense in worrying about something that is out of my control.

Thoroughly enjoying a second half of September consisting of significant United States Auto Club contests at Eldora, Kokomo, Gas City, and Lawrenceburg, I guess we might as well go out with a big bang in this fight to the finish. A trip to the Big E in this ninth month means only one thing in my world: As always, the champ dirt cars served as the fourth and final crown in a dizzying array of activity that also included practice, qualifying, heat races, semi-features, and features for USAC midgets, USAC sprint cars, and the All Star Circuit of Champions winged sprint cars.

The winged warriors even needed a pair of trophy dashes, with the number of Saturday racing contests totaling Some may disagree, but it is still my opinion that the current slate for Saturday is far too full, as a seven-plus hour show and Sunday morning finish has now become the norm. Unfortunately, the lateness of hour once again resulted in many heading for the exits rather prematurely. Sadly those people missed out on a Silver Crown finale that wound up being one of the best races in the history of the event.

A long-standing partnership that has survived since , the Four Crown reminds me of just how much better the action is on a half-mile when you eliminate aerodynamic aids from the equation. Still numb to the news, I have no idea how to process yet another high-profile tragedy, as there have been far too many these last few years.

Just eighth-best in his qualifying flight, Marks was the only one from the heat races to earn a dash starting spot who did not begin from the front row. Opening the feature from the inside of row two, he stayed true to his top shelf tactic and hung with heat winners Logan Schuchart and Kraig Kinser.

It was at this point when the bright blue Pete Grove 70 belonging to 13th-starting Dave Blaney began to make some serious noise. Struck with a surge of adrenaline as the WoO champ stole second from Schuchart, his third turn dive underneath Marks with three laps left briefly awarded him the premier position.

However, Brent once again defended his position by threading the needle between his nemesis and the fourth turn concrete, driving away to score a highly emotional victory over Schuchart and Greg Wilson. Starting all the way back in 23 rd , Wilson was once again a bottom-feeder, employing the same strategy as his WoO win during the Four Crown weekend.

Blaney backed up to fourth while outside front row starter David Gravel gathered fifth. Scoring sixth was Kraig Kinser, who claimed the first heat, started the feature from fifth, and operated as high as second in his DRC chassis.

Quickest qualifier overall from the second flight Sheldon Haudenschild, Rico Abreu from 21 st , and Jason Sides from 17 th earned eighth, ninth, and tenth. Perhaps the biggest Friday shocker was the lackluster performance of Kings Royal winner Donny Schatz. Timing tenth out of 20 cars from the second qualifying flight, Donny missed the cut by one spot in both heat four and the Last Chance Showdown, nearly collecting the turn one wall in that LCS. Relegated to cashing in a provisional pass, the Minot Missile could only collect 13 th at the end of Parker lost a left rear wheel while Gio was involved in the Pittman skirmish, suffering frame damage at the right rear fuel cell mount.

Just by signing in, fifth fastest qualifier Kody Swanson copped his record-setting fourth series championship, putting him in a league of his own as Jimmy Sills and Bud Kaeding each own three. Camping at the Club E remains one of the greatest of escapes I can ever envision. Friday was the last official day of the summer season and waking up to chilly Saturday morning temperatures, fall had definitely arrived in more ways than one.

Paragon king Josh Cunningham even made the journey, his first since the Mopar Million. Next door to Mahoney was car owner and metallurgist Jim Simon, who on October 30 th celebrates his 60 th year of employment at Collins Aerospace. Scotty Weir strapped into the 22s but missed the feature by one position. Four Crown history is flooded with heroic efforts from a laundry list of legendary names.

Although they were already winners in , Tyler Courtney and C. Leary cemented their status in the Four Crown fraternity with some extra special efforts. Overtaking teammate Justin Grant on a lap 10 midget restart to lead the rest of the distance, Tyler took advantage of a second lap sprint car restart to slide leader Robert Ballou, staying out front for the remainder of that affair as Clauson-Marshall Racing went two for two.

However, his concrete climbing between turns one and two and eventual upside-down excursion kept him from joining an even more exclusive league.

Leary, his early engagement with Courtney for the second spot in the sprint car feature resulted in backstretch concrete contact and a scary spin in front of the field. Coming out of it clean, that incident failed to rattle his chain, using the next 29 laps to march through the pack to score a scintillating runner-up finish. Already earning stud-status for such a stout performance, C.

The lead position officially exchanged hands eight times in 50 laps, but unofficially I have no clue as to just how many times Leary and Kevin Thomas, Jr. If my memory is correct, those final 20 tours were the most exciting that I have ever experienced in Silver Crown competition as the lead duo were unrelenting in their attack of one another. Eighth-starting Leary would inevitably bang the boards six times I counted and lose the lead to middle man Kevin Thomas, Jr. Fox 56 , but somehow he would find a way to dig even deeper to pass him back, wearing out the right rear bead lock and the Jacobs ladder as the miniscule cushion had been pushed all the way to the wall.

Equally enthralled was my grandstand neighbor Cale Seitz, a Celina, Ohio open wheel addict with whom I exchanged several high-fives afterwards. Countless Four Crowns share space in my memory bank for various reasons, but never do I remember more thrilling on-track action than this one. Aided by highly improved surface conditions over last year, the features were indeed fantastic. But early on, five of the seven USAC sprint and midget heats were won from sixth, with the other two taken from fifth and second.

Quick qualifier Justin Grant Leary needed far less laps, surging from sixth to first in the span of four corners. After Jason McDougal was overtaken for first in his heat, he pounded the first turn concrete but somehow survived to take third. The sprint car semi-feature was claimed from seventh by Dickie Gaines, who used a last turn, last lap lunge to squeeze past ninth-starting Shane Cottle for the win.

After clocking fifth fastest in qualifying, Jacob Wilson hung on for the final transfer. A special shout-out goes to the sprint car squads of Tyler Courtney and Brady Bacon, each of whom had to thrash to exchange engines before heats were held.

The Four Crown crunch for time resulted in midget qualifying being conducted during hot laps. Any potential for time savings went out the window when Chris Baue spun in the turn three groove and left Rico Abreu with no time to react.

Center punching Baue at full song, Abreu took an extremely hard shot and once extricated, had to be helped down the banking. For the second year in a row, Rico left the premises via ambulance but would return to watch the remainder of the event. It is not my place to preach, but perhaps the group qualifying process should be reconsidered, especially when novices and those with equipment inequities are attempting to make their debut at such a daunting venue as Eldora.

Speaking as a well-informed fan in the stands, single car qualifying is much more intriguing and dramatic but for those not so enthralled, it conveniently serves as a break to visit the concession stand or bathroom. Unfortunately, the Abreu accident served as an appetizer of Four Crown incidents. Tempting fate with similar contact two laps earlier, this time he was not so lucky.

Somehow, Spencer emerged from the wreckage relatively unscathed, taking a trip to a local hospital where he was later released.

Thankfully the USAC sprint car feature did not result in any inversions, but concrete contact was quite common. First up was Leary, miraculous that his second lap wall slap and resulting spin did not result in colossal calamity.

In the waning stages, Grant closed on leader Courtney by aggressively attacking turns one and two, smudging the letters from his right rear Hoosier. But, he too became victim to that turn two exit, spoiling an all-too-certain podium placement. Chase Stockon, Dave Darland from 14 th , Nick Bilbee from 19 th , Dickie Gaines from 16 th , and Brady Bacon after suffering a flat on lap 13 scored sixth through tenth. Travis Philo from 15 th and quick qualifier Cole Duncan The only one to compete in all four classes, Bacon earned top-ten finishes in each one.

Despite a highly memorable Four Crown Nationals, I still owned a melancholy mood upon my Sunday morning exit. Fall was permanently the air, easily able to count the remaining contests in this racing campaign.

Despite the numerous warnings Robert received from the sanctioning body regarding the tone and content of his social media rants and at-the-track interviews, he refused to back down. The bottom line is that USAC and the other parties involved did what they felt was necessary to get their point across. Ballou back where he belongs.

At the end of the day, the whole thing equates to even more negative energy that confirms my sour stance on the confluence of the racing world and social media. Can we just go back to the days when all venting was done face to face or through letters to the editor in National Speed Sport News? Kokomo kicked off a massive three-day slate of USAC sprint car racing in the Hoosier state, proving that the show can indeed go on without any one of us. Arriving to find grandstands that were much emptier than I would have expected for such a significant event, I had to ponder the impossibility of attendance for so many who had traveled from afar in late August.

Sprint car count was respectable for a Thursday night, especially the BOSS portion that attracted 31 machines. No semi-feature became necessary when Matt Westfall scratched after being stricken with food poisoning. But as is always the case with Kokomo Speedway contests, quality trumps quantity. An extremely competitive and gratifying contest, the first seven machines were tightly bunched for the entire grind, with a plethora of position swapping occurring throughout the field.

The two-time and defending BOSS champion, local boy Dustin Smith immediately moved from third to first but was quickly overhauled by Fischesser, eventually settling for the show position in his new DRC.

Tyler Gunn galloped from 12 th to gather 4 th while Paragon champ Jake Scott found fifth. Although the results did not show it, Travis Hery and J. Hughes had some great runs going before encountering issues. Hery was inside of the top-five when he spun on lap 15 while Hughes worked as high as third before slicing a right rear tire. Paul Dues feature and Luke Harbison hot laps accounted for the only two red flags of the evening.

Recently reinstated by World Racing Group after a failed substance abuse test from July, Justin Peck Burton 04 found the wall in his heat and ended his evening. The box score of the USAC finale appeared to be dominated by Justin Grant, who after emerging as the winner of the highly entertaining King of the Hill match races started from the front and stayed there for the duration. However, the box score failed to show that he had heavy pressure the whole way, first from outside front row starter Dave Darland and then fifth-starting and defending Smackdown winner Tyler Courtney.

Sunshine closely followed in second while C. Jason McDougal continued to impress with a finish of fourth while Brady Bacon settled for fifth.

After his flat tire, Windom rallied to score sixth while Dave Darland backed up to seventh, victim of a pinhole in his right rear tire. Chris Windom was still third, but a black cloud continued to rain on his parade as he was now 58 points in arrears. Having struggled in the sprint car ranks since the middle of last year and feeling rather low after a string of September engine failures, I felt great for Grant, who tallied his first-ever Kokomo USAC triumph and second sprint score of the year.

The season is far from over in K-town, as the Kokomo Klash comes on October 19 th. While readying for work on the Friday morning after Smackdown, I received a live video notification originating from Gas City I Speedway. Never have I been witness to such a promotion for a sprint car race, so excited to see the positive exposure given to this venue and the sport.

The Gas City grounds were buzzing with energy, such a shame that this was their last event of the season. But with an excellent surface, some extremely close competition, and a sprint car conclusion well before 10 PM, Gappens and Gas City mounted some serious momentum heading into Working only a half day allowed just enough time to make a first-time stop in Fairmount for the annual James Dean Festival.

Hoping to catch more than just a glimpse of some incredible automobiles, I managed to find a parking spot just south of the closed-off downtown streets, meandering my way through a show containing hundreds of incredibly cool classics and customs. With seating slightly cramped, I watched qualifying from outside of turn four with Merrillville Al Longiny. Searching for redemption with his recent run of rotten luck, Chris Windom wound up topping the charts with a Although his Smackdown showing was no doubt disappointing, Isaac Chapple rebounded with sixth-quick time, also impressing in his heat race win from fifth.

Justin Grant spoiled his fifth-quick qualifying time by failing to make it through his heat, but he rebounded with a semi-feature score. Garrett Abrams and Shane Cockrum were the first two to fail to make the feature cut, noteworthy that they were track champs at Lawrenceburg and Lincoln Park. Speaking beforehand with legendary car owner Paul Hazen, I congratulated him on his Gas City championship with newcomer Clinton Boyles.

Over the years, this I Speedway has been very kind to the Columbia City resident, taking the first two titles in and with Tony Elliott and annexing another with Thomas Meseraull in Feature wins are much more difficult to determine, as so many went undocumented. I have dates for triumphs, but between Jim Elliott and Louie Mann, Hazen believes there should be at least 70 more. However, as a hardcore sprint car colleague, I was quite satisfied to see the surface held up nicely for the 9: With Jason McDougal and Isaac Chapple holding front row seats, Chapple immediately turned to the bottom and found first place.

Interrupted by separate spins for Dallas Hewitt and Tony DiMattia, the final ten tours went uninterrupted as Thomas finally made his top shelf tactic work, inching ahead on the exit of turn two to lead the 26 th circuit.

Leary also made hay on the high side, immediately circling Windom and using the last two laps to power past McDougal and Chapple. On the final go-round, the latter two locked horns as they approached turn three. Yellow laundry was swapped for red when Dallas Hewitt dumped on the east end. Hot and cold in this fight to the finish, KTJ collected his sixth USAC sprint car victory of the season and snatched the point lead from Tyler Courtney, who had a definite off evening. Courtney qualified 17 th and won his heat race but had to begin the finale from 17 th.

After passing a bunch of cars early, an over the cushion expedition in turn three threw it all away. Winding up where he started in 17 th , Tyler now trailed KTJ by 37 points. With split-scoring reverting to the last scored lap for those not receiving the checkered flag and those not involved in last lap incidents , sixth through tenth place finishers included Dave Darland from 12 th , Kyle Cummins from 18 th , Grant, Tyler Thomas, and Clinton Boyles from 20 th.

I tried my best to make up for lost time and covered the miles plus one fuel stop in just 95 minutes, arriving as qualifications commenced. After hustling from the sign in shack to the turn two bleachers, I was able to observe C. All the usual suspects wound up in the top-six, which for the second night in a row consisted of Isaac Chapple.

Much like Windom, Brandon Spithaler Gagliardi 77 and Justin Peck bounced through turns three and four but did not invert. But, just like qualifications, they served up their own share of drama. Leary and third-quick qualifier Brady Bacon were bold in their surges from sixth, using high-side heroics in the latter stages.

Tyler Courtney suffered a flat left rear tire, spoiling a certain feature start near the front. On the final lap of that same heat, second-quick qualifier Kevin Thomas, Jr. Like Courtney, Chapple was unable to capitalize on a superb qualifying time, having to come through the car semi-feature.

Grant held his ground and came away with the lead as they exited the first two corners. Leary gained two positions on the first round but titled on two wheels at the start of the second. Flipping and landing on all fours, C. Restarting with just one lap in the books, fourth-starting Bacon now sat second and seized the day with a dynamic diamond of the first set of corners. Shot out of a cannon down the back chute, he was thus able to beat Grant to the opposite end. Justin immediately retaliated with a slider through one and two, but number 99 answered with a clean crossover.

The top two proceeded to put some distance between themselves and third place Darland, who at the one-third mark had to contend with a Tyler Courtney slide for life. Dave drove down the bank and was able to retain the spot, soon to be followed by the lone caution caused by Brandon Spithaler.

With the scoreboard indicating that 19 laps were left, Grant immediately showed his hand with a turn one overtaking. Meanwhile, Courtney had already corralled third as Darland drifted to sixth. Justin would extend his advantage as the war for second and third was waged between Bacon, Courtney, and starting Chris Windom.

Darland, Andretti, Stockon, Chapple, and Hodges represented the second half of the top-ten. Windom is still third, needing to make up 62 points. No longer feeling stress for what is out of my hands, I am thankful to have witnessed so many meaningful events in this month of September. Since joining the working world some 24 years ago, the flipping of my Paul Oxman Sprint Car Racing calendar to the month of September remains an all-too-alarming event.

Replacing the stress and dread of performing well in school with the fleeting feeling of freedom in this rapidly declining summer season, this sunset on yet another racing campaign offers zero time for reflection as this last full month is chock full of highly-anticipated annual events.

Basking in a blanket of warmth in this fight to the finish, most often the climate and conditions are favorable but as we have been so unapologetically reminded by the weather Gods, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Due to an increasingly hectic work schedule, exercise routine, mid-week events, weekends filled with travel, multiple birthday parties, and the overall desire to give my brain a break, I have clearly fallen behind on my September blogging. This aspect of the celebrated Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival came courtesy of my father-in-law, whose key connection came with primo passes and a golf cart. Eyeing some excellent equipment with much more realistic pricing than Barrett-Jackson and Mecum, I even observed former Dave Darland car owner and auctioneer Brent Earlywine handling the main microphone and doing this thing.

Giving the accompanying swap meet a look and deliberating over the purchase of several old signs, for once I was able to exercise some willpower over my issue with impulse buying. Riding four hours the next day to Du Quoin, Illinois for the traditional Ted Horn , with my nephew handling driving chores I was able to focus on finishing my most recent blog.

Leaving an hour earlier to allow time for a stop in downtown Du Quoin at St. Equally pleased that two-lap qualifications made its return to the program, two-time Little champion and noted asphalt expert Jacob Wilson surprisingly clocked the quickest lap at A fine field of 38 made the call, offering the first Du Quoin semi-feature in over a decade. This last chance affair served as a heartbreaker for Steve Buckwalter, whose long haul from the Keystone State was wasted with a DNF while operating in second.

With the feature event taking the green at 8: Coons gave way to fourth-starting Brady Bacon Klatt 6 , whose Beast-Ford combo rocketed past on the outside of turn two to lead the next 28 laps.

Leary also made some early noise after collecting second from Coons and breaking away with Bacon. A lap 16 turn three tumble for J. Bland snapping a rear axle saw Coons pit, with Jerry having to work extra hard in his eventual return to the top-ten. The second and final stoppage came on lap 35 when rookie Austin Mundie mauled the turn one concrete, flipping all the way to the inside guardrail where trigger-happy photographer Chris Pedersen refused to flinch.

Bacon was the best early on, but clutch problems prevented him from restarting after that Mundie miscue. Handing the lead to Leary, the Greenfield gasser and 11 th -starting Tyler Courtney set a blistering pace for the next fifty tours. Forgetting that Silver Crown affairs favor endurance, after a lap 86 slip in turn one Leary mysteriously slowed, later learning that he was running out of fuel.

Sunshine slipped into first with 13 to go, but his time up front was only good for seven circuits, as he too had issues with fuel consumption. Clearly, running the top-side of a one mile oval takes more than 75 gallons of fuel to make miles, made worse when there were no caution flag periods just two reds.

Firing from fifth, Kevin Thomas, Jr. As is the case with mile contests, heavy favorites fell to the wayside. After charging back through the field to obtain a certain top-ten, Jerry Coons, Jr. After starting 16 th and operating in the second half of the top-ten, winner Shane Cottle was also eliminated in the final ten tours. Traditional one-mile Silver Crown contests seem to be the best places to bump into long-time racing groupies. The Pioneers were the best team in the best conference in the NCHC and produced game unbeaten and game winning streaks this season.

Region host Providence will be just a few miles from its campus. Despite these location advantages, Western Michigan will leave Providence as region champs. To recap, my Frozen Four will feature No.

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