From the Staging Lanes | July '08BY: ISAAC DEHAAN
What a great time to be a sand drag racer here in the Midwest. There are lots of events to attend, the weather has been excellent, and there is even a new race venue coming online this fall yet. After some somewhat stagnate summers of late, it appears that sand drag racing is gaining back the momentum it had about 5 years ago.
Last weekend marked the 3rd annual Pro Truck Nationals at West Michigan Sand Dragway with over 160 entries coming in. Racers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri came out this year; with spectators from as far away as West Virginia, Kentucky, and even Texas making the trip. This is always a popular race, with the U.S. Sand Nationals the very next weekend you can get 2 races over back to back weekends. Our family has even used this time as a family vacation time. The Pro Truck class featured a cool $1,000 to win, $500 for 2nd, and $250 each to the runners up. 25 Pro Trucks made the show Saturday and when the dust settled; Bobby Hugo from Ray Township MI walked away with the big check and trophy, with event sponsor Dave Kramer coming in second. “Fast Freddy” Hugo, Bobby’s brother, and Jim Brantley were the runners up. It just goes to show, you don’t need to race every weekend to have a chance at the big $$. The other featured class of the weekend was the 4X4 Shootout. This class also featured $1,000 to win, but from there it dropped off to $250 for 2nd place. Last year’s champ, Josh Stephens was unable to make the race, so the field was wide open. Five guys took their shot; Brian McWethy, last year’s 2nd place finisher Gary Vereeke, John Dreher, Daniel Wies and Dave Kramer. Brian had a first round bye as he was #1 qualifier @ 3.24, Dan Wies 3.51 beat John Dreher 3.52 and Gary Vereeke 3.42 beat Dave Kramer 3.74. Second round action saw Brian 3.27 beat Daniel 3.52 and Gary pick up a bye run into the final. In the final, Brian went 3.37 to beat Gary’s game but not enough 3.44 effort. It was great racing every round, and all the guys put on a great show for the fans. As a fan, I can only hope the fourth annual Pro Truck nationals are even bigger and better next year. I also want to make sure the sponsors from this years event get recognized one more time also; Richards Auto Parts, Bad Frog Beer, ND Collision, Monroe Shocks and Struts, Jensen Painting, Cascade 4WD, IOK 4 wheelers, John Deere, Michigan CAT, Sand Drag Central, Bad Azz Bike Seats, BAD Company, and J&P Starter and Alternator. I just hope I got everyone!
On the subject of a new racing venue, the Ionia Sand Drags track will hold its inaugural event the weekend of September 12th and 13th. Gregg Price and the crew have a very nice facility going, located right next to the I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, MI. This is located just south of the actual city of Ionia, just off I-96 between Grand Rapids and Lansing. I have been to the track a couple times now, and every time I go it seems better and better. Gregg is figuring between 2 and 4 races per summer, depending on how this fall’s event goes. You can learn more, see the classes and get entry forms at www.ioniasanddrags.com. Weather that time of September is usually pretty good, with the cooler nights good for making power and going fast!! NSDN will have full coverage of this event in the future.
Another reminder is that the U.S. Sand Nationals are this coming weekend at WMSD, which will be a 4 day event. 2 days of Test and Tune, with 1 session of qualifying Friday night, adult racing on Saturday, and the full Jr. program on Sunday. Call the track if you need more info, (231) 873-2778. This is usually the biggest race of the year on the WMSD calendar; you owe it to yourself to make it out.
That’s about it for now, I’ll be back with results from the US Sand Nationals as well as the WMSD ATV Bash and some other stuff, get your racing while its HOT folks. My wife reminded me today its only 5 weeks until school starts again. Make the most of your time and enjoy it. Until next time, I’ll see you in the staging lanes!!