Midwestern Scene | June '07

 BY: MIKE ELLINGTON

There are two words to describe the first month of racing here in the Ohio / Indiana area; hot and dry.  In past years it’s been very rare to get through the month of May without any races being rained out.  In fact, I typically don’t even get motivated to hit the track until Memorial Day weekend because of the rain-outs.  However, this year has been different.  It’s been great to get the track early but it’s also been tough on the promoters due to the overall dry condition of the track.  It’s nearly impossible to keep an adequate amount of water on the tracks and in the pits.  Making a consistent track is difficult at best.

It’s also pretty obvious that the ever increasing fuel prices are starting to take their toll on our hobby.  The attendance numbers seem to be down a little from the past few years.  It’s costing more just to get to the track than it is to race at the track.  Hopefully we can see some relief soon and start to pick the attendance numbers back up.  Thankfully for me diesel and methanol prices have remained fairly steady.

There have been 2 CIDRA races, an IOK race, and a Franklin County race thus far.  They’ve all averaged 60 – 70 competitors.  We’ve seen a few new faces and a couple new cars which is always a good thing.  There have been several racers off to a good start.  David, Gary, and Keith Mergenthal have continued their winning ways from previous years.  At least one of the family members has ended up with a podium finish at each race so far.  At the Franklin County event they finished 1st, 2nd, and semis with only two trucks.  That made for an interesting final round when the father, son team of Gary and Keith were actually double entered in the same Chevy truck.  Gary was allowed to borrow a fellow competitor’s vehicle to compete in the final round, but it was Keith taking the win.  They are definitely a family to watch out for at every event they attend.  Other notables include the Montgomery family with the “Red Baron” Jeep having a couple of top 4 finishes, Mike Ellington driving the “Politically Incorrect” Jeep with 2nd place finishes at IOK and Franklin County, Justin Dees and the “Iron Maiden” dragster with a couple top 4 finishes and David Marrow and his Chevy Luv, also with a couple top 4 finishes.

With the good also comes the bad.  My wife Kathy kicked off the first race of the season with an unfortunate meeting with the concrete retaining wall at the first CIDRA event.  In her 3rd round race with George Banks she got up on the wheelie bar hard enough to bend it at the 100’ mark.  The car went straight up and actually crossed the finish line on the rear wheels.  The car came down pretty hard and broke off the right front A-arms and she slid down the center wall for about 40’.  It was pretty scary for me to watch that happen to my wife.  I’m usually the one pulling the stupid stunts in the car.  I’m thankful she was not injured and the car should be repaired fairly quickly.  It’s nice to have a brother with a chassis shop.  At the last CIDRA event Mooch Bowers tried to duplicate the stunt in a similar altered owned by James Cutler and luckily ended up with only a bent and scraped wheel.  So far everybody has been uninjured in this season.

There are a couple off weeks in June but a couple notable events are coming up.  The Fireland’s Four Wheelers are kicking of the East Coast Region C heads-up season with a race on the 23rd and 24th followed by CIDRA’s $10,000 bracket race at the Union County Speedway the next weekend. 

Mike Ellington
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