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Archive for November, 2015

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Crystal Motor Speedway has a unique place in the history of Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP.  Crystal had already been in operation for 28 years when SOD was created and in its early days, well known sprint car legends like Rick Ferkel and Bobby Allen raced at Crystal.

Current owner/promoter Ron Flinn has continued the long-time partnership between Crystal and SOD, leasing the track in 1989, then purchasing it in 1990.  Ron stands tall among our partner promoters, both literally and figuratively.  Ron is 6’8” tall, or as he describes it, 5’ 20”, and is an outstanding basketball player even at 73 years old!  As a longtime, very successful promoter, Ron is recognized as a well-respected leader and innovator among his fellow promoters.

The Crystal/SOD tradition will continue in 2016 when the Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP will once again appear at Crystal Motor Speedway on three dates,  April 30th, July 16th, and September 3rd.  The July 16th race will be the annual Mike Olrich Memorial.  Mike was a SOD staff member and also served as series director at one time.  The family tradition continues as Mike’s daughter Taylor works with SOD now.

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 QUESTION #1 – What are the SOD spec tires for 2016?

 The SOD right rear is a Hoosier 100/13-15, medium compound.

  The SOD left rear is a Hoosier 92/12.5-15, D15 compound.

QUESTION #2 – Why have the tires changed?  

The primary reasons the tires were changed were to achieve a level of competition that will help the sport of sprint car racing not only survive, but thrive in the future and to control costs.  This will be accomplished through SOD’s immediate objectives: increasing car counts, decreasing competitor costs, bringing additional interest and sponsorship into the sport, and providing its promoter partners and race fans with affordable, exciting racing.

QUESTION #3 – Did SOD meet its objectives and how?

Yes.

First, SOD determined what requirements would be necessary to meet its objectives.  Hoosier Racing Tire then applied their expertise in racing tire design and development to produce tires that would meet SOD’s requirements.  Once prototype tires were manufactured, the tires were tested in strictly controlled 360 and 410 test sessions.  The results of testing were exactly as needed to meet SOD’s objectives.

QUESTION #4 – What is the SOD rule for wheels?

There isn’t one.

QUESTION #5 – I was told that the left rear tire is a late model tire?

No, that was a false rumor.  While the right rear is a sprint car tire that has been around a long time, the left rear is a new tire per SOD’s requirements, designed and built by Hoosier for winged sprint cars.  Although late models tires are required as spec tires by some sprint car sanction organizations,  that is not the case with SOD.

QUESTION #6 – I hear tire costs will skyrocket?

No, there will be no increase in price for tires bought from SOD in 2016.

QUESTION #7 – Do the tires have to be bought from SOD?

No, we suggest that you purchase the tires from your regular Hoosier Racing Tire supplier, but you can also buy them from SOD if you prefer.

Another rumor was that SOD would charge anything they wanted since the tires could only be bought from them.  In reality, Hoosier can and does sell these tires through anyone they want; SOD does not have exclusive rights to the tires.

 QUESTION #8 – Is it going to cost $400 just for the spec tires before the race even starts?

Yes, just like last season.  There will be no price increase in 2016.  In 2015 a SOD right rear tire price was $200 and a left rear was $220, totaling $420 per set.

Sprint car teams have changed tires to gain a competitive edge; better financed teams have used a minimum of three left rears per show.  That translates into at least $860 in tire costs for those who could afford it.  With a single left rear tire in 2016, it isn’t difficult to conclude that tire costs will decrease.

While no one used every available left rear tire, competitors had over 30 different left rear sprint car tire size/compound combinations available in 2015; 2016 competitors will have one.  Allowing just one left rear tire will help equalize competition.

QUESTION #9 – Will SOD be the only place these tires will be run?

No.

 QUESTION #10 – Will fans see those rear tires once and walk away and just laugh?

No.  Just like when the World of Outlaws went to a 2” narrower right rear tire a few years ago, no one has noticed the SOD spec tires when they have seen them on a track.  The tires maintain a true sprint car appearance in every way.

The SOD 2016 tires.

QUESTION #12 – Where can I see the spec tires?

The SOD spec tires will be on display in the Keizer Wheels booth (#2801) at the PRI (Performance Racing Industry) show in Indianapolis, December 10-12.
 

 QUESTION #13 – When can I buy the spec tires?

Hoosier Racing Tire will have the tires available after the first of the year.

 

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The 2015 Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP Awards Banquet was held at FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, Saturday night, November 7.  2015 SOD Champion Gregg Dalman was honored along with the other top 11 eleven drivers, special awards winners and SOD staff.


Dalman is now a two-time SOD champion, but this one was extra special as Gregg’s son, Keegan, received the award for Crew Chief of the Year making it a double championship for the Dalman family.

 

Emcee Wayne Bunn, announcer at Hartford Motor Speedway, directed the awards ceremony in front of a background presentation created and presented by Matt Miller.  Thank you to both Wayne and Matt for their professional touch.

Series Sponsors, whose support is truly appreciated, were recognized. Our sponsors this year included:

  • Engine Pro / Perfit Corporation of Grand Rapids, MI
  • ARP – Automotive Racing Products
  • Hoosier Racing Tire
  • Mahle/Clevite
  • Lane Automotive
  • Allstar Performance
  • Comp Cams
  • Engler Machine & Tool
  • Kistler Racing Products
  • Specialty Fuels and Logistics

Thank you to SOD trophy sponsors:

  • Fausey Farms
  • Merritt Speedway
  • Jimmie’s Towing
  • David M. Nichols Excavating
  • John & Kathie Naida
  • Pat & Roger Holzinger
  • Pell’s Tire Service
  • Flying Zero Racing

 

A big thank you to everyone that helped out with door prizes and product/contingency sponsorships for this year’s banquet including:

  • Engine Pro
  • Hoosier Racing Tire
  • Maxim Racing
  • Engler Machine & Tool
  • Lane Automotive
  • Allstar Performance
  • XYZ Machining
  • Ridenour Racing

Thank you to Awards Plus Laser Engraving for the great job they did on the trophies.

Thanks to all of the photographers who captured all the memories and allowed us to use their shots for our media releases.  A special thank you to TJ Buffenbarger for his support with our website, Facebook page, Twitter account and email system.

All of the SOD promoter partners were recognized.  Thank you for being so helpful and patient during our last minute staff transition at the beginning of the season.  Those in attendance were:

  • Ron Flinn and Trevor Hollis from Crystal Motor Speedway
  • Tim & Leah Dibble from Hartford Speedway

 

Looking back at the 2015 SOD season:

  • 24 races were scheduled, 22 were complete and there were 2 rain outs.
  • 91 different cars competed in SOD events in 2015
  • The average car count was 24 cars
  • In 22 races, 14 different drivers won SOD events

 

SOD 2015 winners were:

  • Ryan Ruhl – 6 wins
  • Dustin Daggett – 3 wins, including his 100th win with SOD
  • Jared Horstman – 2 wins
  • Gregg Dalman, Kyle Pitts, Max Stambaugh, Randy Hannagan, Caleb Griffith, James McFadden, Kevin Atkins, Mitch Brown, Phil Gressman, Dan McCarron, Kyle Sauder each picking up1 win

 

Special Awards Winners

2015 SOD Rookie of the Year: Jared Lamberson, trophy sponsor: Flying Zero Racing

  • 1st race in a sprint car was opening day at Crystal Motor Speedway
  • Showed tremendous improvement through the season
  • Two Top 10 finishes
  • From Parma, MI

2015 Sportsman of the Year: Mark Aldrich

  • Nice guy, does not complain
  • Gives the younger drivers someone to look up to
  • Great level of professionalism

2015 Most Improved Driver of the Year: Craig Karazim

  • With two top 5 finishes and six top ten finishes in2015
  • Earning his 1st top-10 point finish with SOD in 2015

2015 Crew Chief of the Year: Keegan Dalman

  • Young man; very mature
  • Juggles school, football and going to the races
  • Many times it is just him and his dad, he works very hard
  • It will be interesting to see how he develops as a crew chief in the future

2015 Driver of the Year: Kyle Pitts

  • 2014 Rookie of the Year
  • Struggled with motor issues, resulted in running spec motor a handful of shows
  • Running his spec motor at Hartford and finishing 9th
  • Earning his 1st feature win with SOD in 2015

 

2015 Top Eleven Points Finishers

2015 Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP Champion: Gregg Dalman

Trophy sponsor: Fausey Farms

  • 2012 SOD Champion
  • Ran full SOD schedule in 2015
  • One win in 2015
  • Eight Top 5 finishes
  • Four Top 10 finishes
  • From Bellevue, MI

2nd Place: Kyle Pitts

Trophy sponsor: Merritt Speedway

  • 2014 SOD Rookie of the Year
  • Ran full SOD schedule in 2015
  • Earned 1st feature win with SOD
  • Five Top 5 finishes
  • Five Top 10 finishes
  • From Mulberry, FL

3rd Place: Brad Lamberson

Trophy sponsor: Jimmie’s Towing

  • A contender for 2014 Rookie of the Year
  • 2013 Butler Speedway Champion
  • Ran full SOD schedule in 2015
  • Three Top 5 finishes
  • Five Top 10 finishes
  • From Parma, MI

4th Place: Dustin Daggett

Trophy sponsor: Flying Zero Racing

  • Five time SOD champion
  • Three wins in 2015
  • Ten Top 5 finishes
  • Two Top 10 finishes
  • From Portland, MI
  • Earned his 100th win with SOD

5th Place: Chase Ridenour

Trophy sponsor: David M. Nichols Excavating

  • A contender for 2014 Rookie of the Year
  • Six Top 5 finishes
  • 4 Top 10 finishes
  • From Perry, MI

6th Place: Mark Aldrich

Trophy sponsor: John & Kathie Naida

  • Two Top 5 finishes
  • Three Top 10 finishes
  • Veteran racer and former Butler Speedway Champion
  • From Addison, MI

7th Place: Brett Mann

Trophy sponsor: Merritt Speedway

  • Two time champion of the series
  • Two Top 5 finishes
  • Seven Top 10 finishes
  • From Goshen, IN

8th Place: Ryan Ruhl

Trophy sponsor: Pat & Roger Holzinger

  • Six wins in 2015
  • Four Top 5 finishes
  • One Top 10 finishes
  • From Coldwater, MI

9th Place: Andy Chehowski

Trophy sponsor Pell’s Tire Service

  • Continues to improve each season
  • Two top 5 finishes
  • Four top 10 finishes
  • From Coldwater, MI

10th Place: Craig Karazim

Trophy sponsor: Merritt Speedway

  • A contender for 2014 Rookie of the Year
  • Two top 5 finishes
  • Six top 10 finishes
  • From Eaton Rapids, MI

11th Place: Eric Smith

Trophy sponsor: Merritt Speedway

  • Eric participated in 16 events this year
  • Supported the group as often as he could
  • Most times coming to the track by himself without any crew
  • From Lakeview, Michigan

 

The 2015 Mahle/Clevite Short Track Challenge consisted of 5 races at 5 different tracks. The Top 10 finishers were:

  1. Kyle Pitts
  2. Gregg Dalman
  3. Craig Karazim
  4. Brad Lamberson
  5. Andy Chehowski
  6. Brett Mann
  7. Mark Aldrich
  8. Chase Ridenour
  9. Andy Tuenessen
  10. Ryan Ruhl

 

Special awards were given to:

  • Engine Pro – Special Recognition Award and thank you for your many years of support as SOD’s title sponsor and for continuing the Lucky Dog Award program into 2015.
  • SOD Staff: Pat & Roger Holzinger, Taylor Olrich and Rick & Debbie Irwin – Thank you for your hard work and dedication throughout the year.
  • Pat & Roger were awarded a plaque in recognition of their continued support throughout the years!
  • Andrianna and Steve Irwin were awarded a plaque in recognition of their tireless efforts in making the 2015 season the amazing success that it was. They took the reins of SOD just two weeks before the season began and providing the professional management that exceeded all expectations.

The 2015 Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP Awards Banquet brought the curtain down on a great 2015 season.  Thank you to everyone who made it a success and see you next year!

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