Broadslidin’ Blog: The Most Intriguing Stories Heading Into 2015 At ‘The Rock’

Steven Ovens Asphalt Modifieds, Dirt Modifieds, Dirt Track Racing, Featured, Northeast, Other Sprint Cars, Sprints & Midgets, Staff Columns, Steven Ovens Blog, Street Stocks 0 Comments

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Blog By Race Chaser Online New York Dirt Track Correspondent Steven Ovens — Curtis Berleue Photography photo —

Tuesday night on Turn 5 Live we recapped some of the most intriguing story lines heading into the 2015 season at the Black Rock Speedway.

After some pretty interesting discussion on the show, I’ve put a lot more thought into what I will personally be watching when 2015 kicks off Friday April 24th at the 4/10 mile in Dundee, New York.

Big Block/Small Block Modifieds

I really think the massive story line here is that this division has found its way back onto the full time schedule in 2015.  The fans in Dundee have long called for the return of the Modifieds and promoters Mike Jackson and Sue Foster have granted that exact wish.  I think one major story line there will be the fan response over time.  We know the racing is superb when the Mods run at Black Rock, but it will be important to bring fans back into the stands to see this great racing taking place each and every Friday night.

Drivers announcing plans just this week to run Black Rock Speedway in 2015 included Derrick Podsiadlo, Dylan Dewert, Tyler Siri and Gil Tegg Jr.  Tegg may not run each and every week but time will tell for the driver out of Rochester, New York.  We are actively working to interview the driver everyone has been waiting with baited breath to find out if he indeed will run the full 2015 schedule- stay tuned for more details on any tropical weather patterns that may roll through the gates at Dundee on Friday nights.

Engine package — which one will be the winning combo?  Tegg joined Turn 5 Live Tuesday night and said it is a big unknown as to what engine combination will reign supreme at Black Rock in the Modifieds.  The driver of the No. 22 Troyer plans to start with a Big Block but has a Small Block in the shop if they feel the Small Block is what is needed to win.

Crate Sportsman

With the Modifieds coming in for 2015, the Crate Sportsman may feel like they’ve had a little bit of their thunder stolen away as the headline division.  However the Crates will be racing for an increased purse in 2015 which is never anything to shake a stick at when it comes to dirt track racing.  Nobody is making money at this game but Black Rock Speedway Promoter Mike Jackson felt that an increase for the Crates was needed and deserved.

Casey Pavlick looked like a refreshed man at the 2014 banquet just a few weeks ago.  I’d say it was because maybe he is a newly married man, but then again that wouldn’t be racing related would it?  Now that Pavlick has a championship under his belt I think the opportunity for him to go out and string 5 wins in a season is absolutely there.  The one name I have my eye on right now is the driver of the 4 car — Josh Keesey.  We haven’t heard from Josh this offseason to know what their 2015 plans entail, but he is a guy who had moments of brilliance in Dundee in 2014.  When the 4 car was on it, nobody could touch the way that car rode the cushion through the corners.  If they run the full season, I think you have to put Keesey as an instant title contender.

M&M Auto Sales & Service IMCA Modifieds

This is an interesting division to think about when it comes to 2015.  Certainly we will see ‘Dick in the Dirt’ Rich Karlnoski come back to defend his title in 2015, but we have to think long and hard about who will contest for the title with Karlnoski.  The division loses Jared Spalding on a full time basis as he starts his education at UNOH and a position he earned on the UNOH dirt racing team (props to him, by the way!).  His 2014 chassis will now move over to his sister Nicole who showed great improvement all season long and will contend for a lot more Top 5’s and even a win in 2015.

It is a shame that we will lose the Spalding/Karlnoski rivalry in the class because let me tell you — that was a heated rivalry at several points during the 2014 season.  What intrigues me here is who will step up to compete with the ageless wonder Karlnoski this season?

Street Stocks

I probably could have written an entire blog about what will be intriguing about the street stock division this season.  The new rules are out allowing teams to upgrade to the Bert/Falcon transmission if they so wish, with the tradeoff being they need to add 200 pounds of weight to their car in order to run that transmission.

Who will run them?  Who will stick with what they have?  Will it even make a difference?  A transmission expert told us a few weeks ago that it won’t make a difference at all, but he will still have a hard time convincing Turn 5 Live co-host Clint Miller of that.

With Jeremy Potrzebowski announcing his plans to race at Woodhull full time in 2015, another story line in the street stocks is who will now elevate themselves to contend for the title?  The Chuck Winslow team consisting of himself and Gene Balmer are already reloading for the 2015 season and you have to enter them as a favorite going into the season.

However Winslow has always made it known he doesn’t worry about points and races when he wants to during the summer.  I have a feeling that the weekly schedule might deter Winslow’s chances for a title.  If I had a place on the lake, I’d certainly have to think twice about where I spent my weekends during the most beautiful time of the year here in the Finger Lakes.  These guys will be tough again and I don’t think five or six wins out of this stable is overselling their potential.

Some other considerations in the street stocks.  Nate Daggett is going to be tough to contend with as well.  The Dresden, New York driver didn’t have the finishes in 2014 to go along with how well they ran.  I believe Daggett is another guy who will be a title contender with two or three winner plaques hanging in Daggett’s Garage before season’s end.

Let’s also not forget about the Potter Chassis contingent coming back to Black Rock in 2015.  Dylan Cecce will be piloting the Potter Chassis house car and will be a threat to win every time they roll through the gate.  Earlier in the season they declared they were 95% sure they would be a full time Woodhull competitor but this also came before Black Rock announced they would continue to pay $500 to win and $50 to take the green flag weekly.

Other notable Potter Chassis cars that will see track time is that of Jared Hill and Kevin Parsons.  Hill will be piloting a brand new Potter in 2015 and I think this is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Captain of Creekside Racing.  Jared had several good runs end up in top-five finishes that I know he felt could have been victories.  I think a fresh chassis and a fresh start in 2015 will see him close the deal on more than one occasion.

Parsons returns to full time action in 2015 with his Potter that saw a very limited schedule in 2014 after the loss of Kevin’s father Steve.  There’s no doubt that Kevin will have a very special co-pilot riding with him all season long.  Parsons will be joined by former 4-Cylinder competitors LaVerne Knickerbocker and Ray Speicher as Street Stock competitors in 2015.  I personally raced with both of these guys and there is no doubt they have what it takes behind the wheel to take multiple features at Black Rock and Woodhull Raceway this season.

4-Cylinders

This is going to be a very fun division to watch in 2015 because of the diverse field we are set to debut on Opening Night at Black Rock on April 24th.  Scott Bradley is coming off his first track championship in what turned out to be a very competitive points race throughout the season.  Jayson Smart and Chad Ayers will be back to try and knock Bradley off the top rung of the ladder and Smart will be a guy to watch.  I think this season will be a great opportunity for the driver out of Penn Yan, New York to flex his muscle and prove that 2014 was no fluke season for the red No. 8.

Of course, you can’t rule out the Backyard Motorsports cars being led by Rich Sharpsteen and Jeremy Trank.  Sharpsteen is a former 4-Cylinder champion and Trank a former Front Wheel Drive champion at the speedway so they know what it takes to come out on top.  Even if they don’t secure the title, this team will win a lot of races.

During the 2014 banquet it wasn’t very clear as to how much we will see the Mashewske Motorsports #17M this coming season.  Several factors being involved including the father/son duo of Chris and Matt wanting to also enjoy time outside of racing.  I will say that if something changes between now and April 24 and Chris decided to give it a go — he will contend for the championship.  Had they not had to borrow a ride for a few races at the beginning of last year, it’s very likely we could be talking about Mashewske having locked down his first track championship.  But as they say — “That’s why they line up and race every week…”

Black Rock Bandits

The Allison Teed Bandit division — oh that’s not the name of the class?  Sure seemed appropriate after Teed made a clean sweep in 2014 by winning each and every Bandit feature on the schedule.  However ‘Allie Cat’ will move up to the Street Stocks in 2015 and Desi Force will move on to the adult 4-Cylinder division.  I believe that even Chris Davis is either at or near the age cutoff for the Bandit division in 2015 so it will be a very big transition year for the division.

The Kinners will be back along with Billy Bowers who showed great improvements over the course of last season.  Time will tell here and stay tuned for an audio/feature right here on Race Chaser Online with the past and present drivers of the division.  They will have another place to race in 2015 as the Woodhull Raceway announced they will resurrect their Woodhull Warrior/Bandit division.

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One thing is for sure heading into 2015- we will have plenty to talk about!  Each division has it’s own twists and kinks that make following these classes weekly fun to follow along with.  We will have full coverage that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet right here on RaceChaserOnline.com, Turn 5 Live on Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the Performance Motorsports Network and on our gamut of Social Media pages.

Until next time…stay on the gas and up on the cushion!

The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.

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