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NorCal Motown race report (finally!) - 6/24, Modesto, CA

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#1 JimF


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Posted 28 June 2018 - 04:43 PM

First, apologies to all for the lateness of this report. I had an unexpected development at work Monday that has tied me up for the last three days. It’s resolved for the moment so here I am.


Our race at Motown Raceway in Modesto fell on a sweltering Sunday June 24 with outside temps running 102 deg or more. Gene and Jennifer Braham keep the building comfortable though and so the inside temps never strayed above 78* all day. The result was a very comfortable day and consistent track conditions. We ran all races today with a center-six three minute heat format and everyone seemed to like the slightly shorter races.


A couple of usually dependable attendees missed the party due to family or other commitments but we still had solid enough turnouts for each class to have good racing. This month we had Randy Keil and Gary Brown from FTH, Dave Cummerow, Richard Freeman, Jerry Wilson and Gene Braham from Motown, and at large racers Herman James, John Wilbur, Mike Andrews, and Jim Fowler.


As an aside, Mill Conroy from Buena Park raceway in So Cal stopped by on Saturday the 23rd and during his visit, he demonstrated his new tire cleaning and prep products. Mill kindly left some samples of his cleaner which I handed out on Sunday and most everyone used it enthusiastically. This product and others will be available for purchase soon and I’m very sure that a lot of racers will anxiously await the release.


We started with F-1 on the Hillclimb and with the Mini Brute motors, these cars are very easy to drive resulting in exceptionally clean racing. I started my run with a 34 lap heat on green to set the early pace with about a ½ lap lead over Herman. In the second heat, we both ran 33’s but I managed to get one full lap ahead. Jerry Wilson and Richard Freemen were both running 32-33 lap heats in most cases. As the race went along, I continued with clean 33 lap heats but Herman matched me lap for lap so my one lap lead held up but I couldn’t grow it. Dave Cummerow was the class of the remaining group running mostly 31’s but Mike Andrews was showing his best speed so far in a retro race as he battled John Wilbur in mid-pack.


In the later stages, I managed one more 34 lap heat to edge past Herman for a two lap lead as I wrapped up my run with a 200 lap total. Herman had a shot as he came back for his last three heats but fell a bit short and ended with a 198 total. Jerry Wilson held down 3rd over Richard Freeman in 4th.


This race demonstrated that the Mini Brute that we love so much is maybe not the right choice for the F-1 cars on a speedway track. The disparity in speed is not important on our twisty flat tracks but on the speedway, it definitely affects the outcome. For our next “switchup” race, we will adopt the Retro Hawk class of motors on an experimental basis for F-1s when on a speedway track. I will post a separate announcement on this as well.




2nd: Herman James (Samson) 1st: Jim Fowler (Fowler) 3rd: Jerry Wilson (Fowler)






We switched to Can Ams on the Korkscrew flat track for our next race. This race showed sort of the opposite effect in motor choices from the F-1s. While the Mini Brute is maybe too slow on a speedway track in some cases, the Retro Hawk was sometimes almost too much motor for this little 90’ beast of a track. I started on white for a one and done and put down a cautious 37 lap total for my first heat. Herman was clearly faster than I was but he didn’t manage his speed that well at first and he ran a 36 gifting me with a one lap lead as I went to sitouts.


While sitting out, I got to watch the race develop as Herman settled into a series of 38 lap heats with some 39’s thrown in as well. Richard, Dave, and Randy all had similar speeds but Richard and Dave stayed on better than Randy so they held down the 3rd and 4th positions. In turn Randy was getting pressure from Mike who is showing steady improvement in his Retro game. Jerry Wilson was fast and would have been near the podium picture but for some mechanical issues.


I came back in for my last heats needing at least two 39s to tie Herman. I ran a couple of good heats but could only total 38 so I was short two laps. In my last heats, I pushed it too hard trying to make up two laps and instead, I dropped further back, eventually finishing 2nd at 224 to Herman’s 229. Richard hit the podium with 208 just ahead of Dave at 207 and Randy at 202.




Lost to top view to poor photography skills.


2nd Jim Fowler (Fowler) 1st Herman James (Hansen) 3rd: Richard Freeman (Fowler)




We stayed on the Korkscrew for our last race of the day which was for the Mini Brute powered 4-1/2” stock cars. It might seem that these big cars would be out of place on the Korkscrew with its 90’ lap distance and old school 4” lane spacing. In fact, this was our best and probably most fun race of this meet. There were several cars which could have won this race with Jim, Herman and Gene really close in speed with Jerry only a slight tic back and Dave in the mix as well.  Richard, Randy, Mike and John all showed very similar speeds in the mid-pack. I started my runs with a 34 and then went to sitouts while Herman was at 33 and Gene, Dave and Jerry all ran 32s in their early heats.


When I came back from my sitouts I ran a 33 to keep a good average going while the others seemed to alternate between 32-33 lap runs. In my third heat, I took a front end shot that split open my guide ending my race. Gene and Herman were racin’ and wreckin’ while Dave stayed cleaner than most. As the race ran down, Gene held out a track distance win over Dave with both at 195 and Herman just one back at 194 in 3rd. Jerry ran 4th with 190 over Richard with 188.




2nd: Dave Cummerow (Fowler) 1st: Gene Braham (Fowler) 3rd: Herman James (Samson)






Thanks go out to Gene and Jennifer Braham for hosting us, Kathy Wilbur (as always) for her patient race directing, Gary Brown for hanging out and helping to turn marshal after he was done racing, and to Mill Conroy for his donation of tire treatment to all the racers.


Our next race will be at Fast Track Hobbies in Rocklin on July15th. This will be another “switchup” race with F-1 on the Purple Angel and Can Am and Stock Cars on the Yellow Dragon flat track. We will experiment this time out with Retro Hawks in the F-1 cars. This will only be for this one race. The other classes will run as usual and clearance rules remain as standard for all three classes.

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Jim Fowler

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