TRACKSIDE TIDBITS

TRACKSIDE TIDBITS

   Cayden Lapcevich, Outlaw Late Model Glass City winner: “I’m kind of speechless right now. After the week that I had … the shambles we were in last night around 10:00 o'clock. I didn't even know if I was going to make a racetrack or not … but I'm glad I did. Bobby brings an awesome, awesome race car. That was the best race car I’ve ever driven.   I want to thank everyone who puts a hand on the car, Bobby, John who spotted for me … my mom and dad, it’s the first time they’ve seen me race in two years. My brother’s here, my girlfriend is with my sister, my buddy that stayed home to watch my dog. Everyone that’s involved. I’m so Blessed and thankful.”

   From his Facebook page: Two-time Glass City winner! In a situation where I wasn’t even sure if we were gonna make it to the racetrack, this couldn’t have turned out any better! From sleeping on the airport floor to victory lane. Super stoked to get the 16 back in victory lane and do it with my parents there, who haven’t seen me race in two years. Thank you to everyone who offered me help Friday night, and John Platt for making the trip with me and sticking it out all night when we both were ready to quit and head back home. Dennis Thibodeau built a really strong motor and man did it haul. Bobby Blount had the car almost perfect right off the trailer. Platt spotted a perfect race. Treyten Lapcevich changed more gears yesterday then he probably ever has, and my parents got to see me race again. Let’s go do it at Winchester in a couple weeks again. I want to thank my sponsors, Ace Services, Jr. Hanley Enterprises, AP Race Engines, RGC, and All-Star Performance,’ said the two-time winner.

   Harold Fair Jr, second place. “Oh, we had fun, you know. Is awesome for a little bit there. I just I picked up a miss in my motor about lap 10. What do you do? You know, the way this year is going, I’ll take a finish right now, it’s really great. I mean, the Royal Truck and Trailer. Chevrolet was pretty good through the corners, but I killed the tires because of the miss. I don't know what it is but we'll figure it out. I think thanks to all the fans for coming out, cheering for us, being here to support us … without you we couldn't do this.”

   Dennis Strickland finished third and did everyone notice he’s back behind his familiar #90 … but more on that later. “Yeah, I was hoping we were putting on a show. Did everyone like it? It was really fun racing and our car was really good. Gotta tell you, I was gonna talk to Pete (Bailey, car owner) about next year being my last year, Now after this, it’s hard to think about something like that, so we're going to sit back and look at everything. We have to work on the car all winter, so that’s good and we’ll be back next year.” Now on the number change. Since Dennis took over the 0 a few years back, he’s been 0. The new numbers came in and it was 90 instead of 0, so back to the familiar number he’s ran most of his career under.

   Mike Root, who won the only other OSLM race at Toledo in 2021, finished fourth. It was his career best Glass City finish. “Yeah, I mean the car was pretty bad in the middle of the race and I figured you know, trying to run anybody down. Then I would just kill the tires so I saved them and then he said like 15 to go. So, I tried to catch him, and I caught him, but that was it. Yeah, you know … not as happy as I could be, but it wasn't too bad, satisfied I guess, but not happy.

   Conner Zbozien was the unofficial Rookie of the Race, finishing 5th in his first try at Toledo, let alone the Glass City.  “It's kind of crazy to come here and spend the last week just trying to get the car ready just for this race.  Been wanting to come here for years and show up and understand that I have to learn the track super quick to be competitive and to make changes to get here. I gotta thank all my sponsors. Sommers Marine, Michigan Independent Door Company, BC Motorsports, Uptown Electric, Blue Water Industrial, Gil’s Northwood Collision, McQuade Heating and Cooling, PF&E, Arin Inc.”

   From Conner’s Facebook page: “My dad has been taking me to Toledo Speedway since I was about 3 years old. I can remember rolling down the hill as a kid behind the stands and the Michael Simko drop kick. Yesterday I had the opportunity to race in the Glass City 200. I went into the day with expectations of finishing the race and gaining track time. It took some laps but gained confidence, learned a lot and had a lot of fun finishing 5th in my debut Glass City 200! It was a great way to end our 2021 season. Thank you to my sponsors for their support. I know I say it every week but without all of you I wouldn’t be able to do what I love: Sommers Marine, Uptown Electric, Michigan Independent Door Company, Blue Water Industrial, BC Motorsports, McQuade Heating and Cooling, Gil’s Northwood Collision, Arin Incorporated, PF&E, Thank you to my crew for your time and dedication week in and week out! Thank you to Senneker Performance for their support and guidance this year!”

   Claude PlanteJr finished eighth a career best finish according to the finishes on 5thturn.com (and the ARCA Toledo website). “When the hood pins broke off and I lost the hood it really affected the handling of the car. It would not travel the same distance without the downforce on the nose. Had a bad vibration and it wouldn’t turn. I want to thank my sponsors DTS, Jacks Auto Purchasing, VanDoorn Racing, and Fair Racing Development.”

                                                                     Statistical Corner

  • Cayden Lapcevich is one of eight drivers with multiple Glass City wins. Bob Senneker and Steve Sauve have three each; JR Roahrig and his son Tyler both have two wins each and Joe Ruttman and Tim Felver also have two
  • Sauve and Felver won their races in consecutive years
  • The Roahrigs won the race in three consecutive years Tyler in 2016, JR 2017 and Tyler again in 2018
  • Career best finishes for Glass City 2021: Mike Root, fourth (previous best fifth); Scott Pemberton, seventh (prior best ninth); Claude Plante Jr, eighth (previous best ninth); Austin Thiel finished ninth in his two starts; Trever McCoy, 10th (prior best 18th), George Rangel, 12th (prior 23rd)
  • Three drivers made their debut starts: Conner Zbozien, Ray Clay, Todd Perkins
  • 2020 Glass City winner, Steve Needles had an oil line pop off, ending his race.
  • Most starts (since 1999): Dennis Strickland, 23; Harold Fair Jr, 19; Johnny Belott, 16; Brent Jack, Ron Allen, Scott Hantz, 15; Steve Sauve, 14; Joe Hawes, Paul Pelletier, 13; Dave Kuhlman, Jack Varney Jr, 12
  • Best average finish (since 1999, drivers with at least three starts): Cayden Lapcevich, 2.00; JR Roahrig, 5.89; John Doering Jr, 7.50; Tyler Roahrig, 8.00; Brian Bergakker, 8.67; Steve Sauve, 9.07; Scott Hantz, 9.53; Tim Ice, 9.67; Scott Baker, 10.17; Nick Bailey, 10.30
  • Most Top 5 finishes (since 1999): Dennis Strickland, JR Roahrig, Scott Hantz, Steve Sauve, 6; Harold Fair Jr, John Doering Jr, 5; Cayden Lapcevich, Dave Kuhlman, Johnny Belott, Mike Root, 4
  • Most Top 10 finishes (since 1999): Dennis Strickland, 12; Scott Hantz, 10; Steve Sauve, 9; Harold Fair Jr, 8; Brent Jack, 8; JR Roahrig, 7; Johnny Belott, 7; Dave Kuhlman, 6; Nick Bailey, 6; Ron Allen, 6
  • Since the Glass City was reinstated in 1999, 183 different drivers have competed.

 

August 21, Season Championship

   Season championship is always a special night with the crowning the champions. Tonight, may have been extra special as of the four features tonight, three of the winners were first time winners. My records go back to 2005, but other than a few nights with two first time winners, I can’t find one with three first time winners on one night (in the weekly divisions).

   Anyone that would like to send me something on how your season went, get your sponsors mentioned, thank your crew, send it to me and I’ll include in the article I’ll do after season championship for the Toledo divisions, the Late Model Sportsman and Factory Stocks. Thanks to all the drivers who sent me quotes all season or let me take them from your Facebook pages. I really appreciated it and hope the fans enjoyed reading it too. My email is: icechips@hotmail.com or my Facebook page is: facebook.com/icechips

   The Outlaw Super Late Models were the closest group coming into the night, with the small point spread between first and second. Coming into evening Eric Lee led Steve Cronenwett Jr by 45 points and Justin Schroeder by 65. Eric extended his lead to 55 over Steve and Justin remained 65 behind. With only 10 cars on hand, the most either of them could make up on Lee was 45 points, so he just had to take the green to win his fifth championship.

   *** Eric Lee 2021 OSLM champion ***

On track interview: “Tonight wasn't quite the plan, but it all worked out. We've been trying a bunch of new stuff, trying to find more speed and unfortunately didn't work tonight, but we had a good point lead and really all I had to do with a start the race and we had a locked it up (the championship) I don't know if we’ll be back next year or not. We kind of went into this year and weren't really planning on running for points and then things started off really good. We got a bunch top three finishes and kind of got a good point lead. Then we had a DNF, went down, and then we worked our way back up again to the lead and it all worked out. We got some work to do over the winter and will talk about it and see if we're gonna be back or not. This was a tough, tough championship event. There's so many *of us out here so close. You know Steve (Cronenwett), he's been really fast the last four or five weeks. He's definitely had an edge on all of us, but everyone else seems like, you know, you can flip a coin it's anybody's race out there. A lot of it's where you start and. just staying clean and staying out of trouble in 2021.”

   “Without racing at all last year, I really didn’t know what to expect and come out and win the championship is just awesome. The competition was tough all year, we are all so close in speed it makes for some great racing. I can’t thank my family, team and sponsors Lee Motorsports Inc., Action Drywall, Todd Rosebrugh Trucking, Lixey Storage enough. Without my Dad, Rob, Rick, Ron and Todd this would not be possible.”

   It was Eric Lee’s fifth OLSM championship, but his last division championship was 10 years ago (he didn’t compete in 2017 and 2018). His other championships were in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011. Going into tonight Eric was tied the all-time OSLM championship list for second with Rick Knowles, Dave Kulhman, Paul Pelletier. This championship gives him second by himself, behind Joy Fair’s 10 wins at Flat Rock. Lee also is the top driver in wins of active drivers.

   *** Conner Zbozien, first time OSLM feature winner ***

Now onto First Time Winner #1: Conner Zbozien who won the OSLM feature. Conner has been knocking on the door most of the season, nine Top 10s of 11 races, six Top 5s, and three podium finishes coming into tonight’s race. A strange little backstory. In 2019 Conner and Hayden Sprague tied for Rookie of the Year, first time that had happen in ages. Throughout their career at Flat Rock, they’ve seen tied together … you see one, the other was close behind. Well, Hayden won season championship night in 2019. So, the season championship night rolls in, Conner starts on the pole, and leads all 50 laps on the way to his first win. Just like his co-rookie did in 2019. If that’s not a strange story nothing is. And as near as I can figure he’s only the second driver under 20 to win in the last 10 years (Hayden was 16 when he won), but that’s one stat I don’t keep.

   From his Facebook page: ““Finally got one! And it feels great!  Car was junk in practice, lots of changes opened up to a fantastic run!!  So excited to end the Flat Rock Speedway Racing 2021 season with my first win! Was happy to have long time sponsors Cynthia Kempton and Bob Hofmann BC Motorsports with us tonight! We really have had an incredible year back racing!  We can’t thank our sponsors enough for all the support and help thru the years.  We really wouldn’t be here today without that support: Sommers Marine. Michigan Independent Door Company. BC Motorsports. Uptown Electric. Blue Water Industrial. Gil’s Northwood Collision. McQuade Heating and Cooling. PF&E. Arin Incorporated. We also need to thank Daryl Palm and Emily Danford for all their support week after week!  Thank you to Senneker Performance for a fast car and all the help this year!”

   And the On Track Interview: “People have been calling in every single weekend asking when I’d win. Feel like we get qualified good then have mild to bad handling issues in. It’s been a struggle get there with our starting spot, but this weekend it's just everything played out perfectly. (It's crazy ironic how what happened, in 2019 when your co-rookie with Hayden Sprague and he won on championship night. This) Yeah couple races ago. Debbie called it, saying hey on championship night, that's your night and it was.”

   *** Greg Studt, Street Stock A Division Champion ***

It is his third Street Stock title. Think it was one of the preseason practices, he wasn’t planning on running the whole season… but a win here, win there, and four months later, another championship. “That’s three Street Stock championships. I gotta thank my great sponsors, Apollo Broach Tool and Die from Westland. Carl’s Furniture they just moved to Wyandotte, Budget Tire, Wine Town Party Store from Southgate and Mark Sharrard. Without those people we couldn't get here every week. Without my dad Bob, I'm just a fan in the stands. It was tough winning features this year. We were fortunate with good starting spots and got a few breaks. You know, Jeff Metdepenningen ran second points, and he was faster than me most nights. But better be lucky than good some nights.”

   It's Greg third Street Stock A Division championship, his others being 2016 and 2019. He’s the only driver with championships in OSLMs (2005), Street Stocks and Figure 8s (2001, 2002) at Flat Rock and he also won championships at Toledo … Figure 8s (2001, 2004), he tied Dennis Strickland for the OSLM championship in 2005 and also won the X car championship in 2015.

   *** Lance Lipasek, first time Street Stock A Division feature winner ***

“There was no better way to cap off our #99 Mustang Flat Rock 2021 season than with a win, and we did just that! It was an exciting race, and we had some good battles with some of the best, and it put on a good short track race for the fans. We haven't been able to run many races this year...but in our 6 starts we have been getting the car better & better each race, and we were able to get it done today. The car was on rails, but it would not be without the people we've had supporting us. I'd like to thank my Mom, Dad, Brother, Grandpa and Grandma Lipasek, Eric, Kim, and Cody Britt, Scott Kotchi, Dick Myers & RAM Engineering Midwest, Scott Tienmann and Supercar Specialties, Jon Lund at APEX Competition Engines, Phil Massuch at Engine Machine Services, and Paul Pelletier for all of his help this year. It takes a team to do this sport at a high level and I feel I have one of the best. Also, congrats to the entire Connor Zbozien Racing team on their win tonight, we've had some hard battles over our quarter midget years and it's ironic that both of us got our first wins on the same night, they've been knocking on the door all year, so it was good to see them get a win.  A HUGE congrats to all the season champs this year! Keep up on our race team at Triple L Motorsports on Facebook and Lance Lipasek on Instagram. Thanks to all the fans for coming out this year, and hopefully you'll see more of us in 2022!!” Lance is the second rookie to win this season and third first time winner in the Street Stock A division this season

   *** Bobby Stewart, Street Stock B Division Champion ***

“I can't believe it (winning the championship). I just can't believe I got so many people thank. I want to thank the fans … you guys are great. The biggest highlight for me is when they come around and do the hand wave, I look forward to that. I have so many great people around me that I want to thank. is the hearing erase I got so many great people around me and I want to thank them all, my family, friends and everyone that helped put this together. My sponsors, Environmentals and BMV services. Motor City solutions. They work with me, let me take off work to come down here. I just can't believe it (first season I’m the champion). I'll tell you what else, the staff here at Flat Rock Speedway, you guys are the greatest. I'll tell you, I enjoyed coming down here. You guys always treated me great. I also want to thank Mike Miller, he raced me clean great competition. I had fun racing with him. I think he’ll win one of these too. Also want to thank my fellow racers, they gave me a lot of respect down here … I've got in their way and made a lot of rookie mistakes out here and they were patient with me.”

   It’s been 20 years since rookies finished first and second in points (Mike Miller was second). In 2001, Aram Zadigan beat Greg Stilwell Jr (sidebar here, Greg 10 points behind Ron Allen for the championship in the Sportsman division). For a rookie even to win the title, it’s been 12 years since Anthony Camilli did it in 2009.

   Rob Liedel, first time feature winner, Street Stock B Division ***

“Where to start.  Last Saturday night was a culmination of a lot of support and hard work. To be frank and honest, my day started by going out to a tree that we are planting in Alan's memory.  I told him I was going to go run one more time and asked to let me bring the car home the way I put it on the trailer, which is something I've done since the tree was planted. The car was decent in practice and qualifying, and I didn't get a real great read on the handling in the heat race, so I left it for the feature.  I knew starting third, I would have a good shot for a strong run.  I saw my opportunity and took advantage of it.  It took everything I had to hold back my emotions because I still had fifteen laps to run.  Coming through turn four on the last lap, I emotionally lost it.  After everything that our entire family and I have been through, to finally win a race for Alan in his car, it truly is unbelievable.  It was the one thing he wanted to do so badly and never was able to accomplish.  And as I said post-race Saturday night, this one is all for him.  The only things missing to make it a perfect night were my daughter Madysen and Alan of course. I have so many people to thank that I know I'm going to forget a few.  So here goes.  First and foremost, my wife Amy.  She is my rock and has stood behind me through all of this.  She told me after the race that before the sun set Saturday night, there was a cloud in the sky the was shaped like a backwards 'E' like the design on the side of the car.  My son Dylan, who has assumed the role of the Crew Chief and has learned so much this season working with myself and the Worley's.  Thank you to Mel, Susie, Kyle, Jessica, Eric, and Denny.  We have had an interesting season with them, and they have helped us get this car to what it is now.  My parent's Bob and Darlene, who have always been there to support us, and I can't thank them enough for that.  Dennis and Tina Strickland, thank you for taking a chance on someone who knew very little about race cars and teaching us everything we know and how to do it.  Ron Allen and Grant Hedges, thank you for all the words of encouragement throughout the season.  To Jason, Claudia, Cole, and Connor Shinn for being there and experiencing this night with us.  Chris and Ana for bringing my 90-year-old Aunt Joan to her first race to watch.  To every driver, crew member, and track personnel that congratulated me, thank you for your words over the past few days.  And lastly, my sponsors Churchill Transportation and Budget Tire for sticking with us even after Alan's passing. Bring on 2022!”

   *** Dennis Whisman Jr, Figure 8 champion ***

Sorry my recorder didn’t pickup most of his on-track interview, “It’s awesome racing with these guys … we had a blast … we had fun. I want to thank my family and sponsors/ Thanks to everyone that helped me. Had a great year … had a great time … congrats to Jeremy (Vanderhoof) on the win tonight.”

   Of all the division, the Figure 8 champions tend to have multiple championship. Over the last 50 years going into 2021, there were seven drivers with only one Flat Rock Figure 8 championship to their names. With Dennis Jr’s second championship, we’re left with: John Briggs (1978), Ben Benedict (1987), Dave Miller (1993), Ken Ahlgren (2000), Ricky Kargel (2003), and Jeremy Miller (2014) only having a single championship.

   *** Jeremy Vanderhoof, Figure 8 feature winner ***

“I love the sport. I want to thank my father-in-law, my wife, my kids. Winning is nice but tonight is really about that little man right there (Dennis Whisman Jr), he's come a long way in a fast time. He’s a really good driver and we’ve had a couple of great races this year together and hats off to him and the spotlight is on him tonight.

   The Enduro championship ended in a tie between Kyle Metdepenningen and Nathan Sprotberry. For both drivers it’s their first career championships. Their shared championship is the only the sixth time there’s been a tied for a championship since the track opened in 1953.

   Kyle Metdepenningen won his first ARCA championship: “What a season for the Metdepenningen family! Between the three of us, Jeff, Rayce, and Kyle, we have put together a pretty solid season with 4 wins, multiple runner ups and a championship, possibly 2! But the best part of the season is just being back at the track. After last season we learned just how much racing brings our family together. Between the long nights in the shop to the hot days at the track, we build memories that will last forever. We do have to thank some key people who have helped us out this year. All the Metdepenningen brothers have had a hand in helping at some point this season. Chris is the regular who is there day in and day out taking care of the details while Robin and Dennis made special trips from North Carolina and Traverse City to lend a helping hand for our biggest races. Thanks to our crew, Arnold, Jacob, Amanda, Keegan, Andrew, and all the helping hands we had along the way. We would like to thank a couple people who have supported us financially this year, Steve Kinsler from Kinsler Racing and Sean, Ashley, Amelia, Evelyn, and James for supporting us all year!  We have to thank our ladies for letting us spend every Saturday away, and spending lots of our money! We love them very much for it! This season was a blur, but we are happy with how we ran. Please go check out our YouTube channel, WOW Racing. We have been doing race coverage all season and it is a great way to see what it takes to go short track racing. Lastly, we want to give all the glory to our Lord and Savior for keeping us safe all season. Thank you all for the support this season and we hope to come back better next year.” Kyle’s finished second in points in 2018 and his dad Jeff won the Enduro championship in 2013.

   Sharing the championship with Kyle is Nathan Sprotberry, also winning his first championship. “Our team has been trying to win a championship since 2007, when the point system was put in place. My dad piloted our racecar to a second place points finish in 2007, and a third place in 2008 since then the best I've got was fifth till this year. I’ve been trying to win the championship since 2014 when I took over driving the car. This season started off with an oil filter full of metal before the first practice in April. A compression test found cylinder 6 very low. We decided to risk it and run the season on an obviously hurt motor and by the last race it was consuming over two quarts of oil in a race. With a total sum of 10,000 laps, this motor deserves to be retired. I couldn't do any of this if it wasn't for the support of my parents, my dad for doing the majority of the work on the racecar, my mom being my score keeper and my uncle Paul for helping in the pits. I'd like to thank my sponsors Marysville Goodyear for changing our tires and disposing of our take offs and Riverside Spline & Gear.

 

  

 

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