Member #019 - Bill Brown
Bill Brown has been a 'URFWI' member since 2015.
You work at the beer stand Friday nights at Madison International Speedway and are helping a team in the pits on Saturdays at Beaver Dam Raceway, what keeps you going back each season?
I have been working at Madison for close to 13 years since my brother in law Dave Grueneberg ran it. Love the fans, have developed friendships with many of them. Also get to watch racing when it is slow. At Beaver Dam my son in law Mike Winters races and love being in the pits helping out.
Speaking of Mike Winters, you guys went from asphalt to dirt in 2016, how did that go?
At first my reaction was what??? We went to Darlington for a practice with Chico and Brandon Riedner and they said he would be fine. Mike ended up winning the track championship with one feature win, 5 top fives, and 11 top tens, very consistent year in a highly competitive class. 12 races 12 different winners.
Sounds like a great start, plans for next season?
Bought the car from Kyle Riedner plan on running again at Beaver Dam might also travel a little bit to race in the new Cowbell street stock tour.
Street stock tour? What is that about?
Similar to the Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) but for street stocks.
Mainly going to be in the Fox Valley, but tomahawk is included. Not all dates announced.
Why go to Madison on Fridays or Beaver Dam on Saturdays?
Best of both worlds. Great asphalt racing on the half mile. And crazy action on dirt with 5 classes from A- mods to legends. Still learning about the dirt scene grew up as an asphalt guy.
I also heard the beer from the tower beer stand at Madison is the best in the state.
My wife Brenda keeps everyone in check at the beer stand under the tower.
What are you doing to keep yourself busy during STOD (Short track off-season disorder)?
We have the car all together already just need decals and numbers. Watching a lot of college basketball and pro football.
Speaking of decals, you need a couple 'URFWI' yet too...
We do need to brand the car again, new paint scheme this year
Nice, as long as you don't go black, I think they had a meeting and decided all cars must be black, I miss the red, yellow, and blue cars, you guys always had a sharp color scheme
We do have black on it but also Mike's Robin egg blue.
How did you learn about United Race Fans of Wisconsin and what caused you to join?
Talked to you at MIS early on during the Joe Shear classic and liked the idea of a fan club to promote short track racing.
How long should the ideal program run? Some places can do it in 3 hours or less, some it seems over 5. I like to compare it to a football game. Any longer and you will lose the fan, any less and you feel like you didn't get your monies worth.
That's a tough question. On a weekly show I would say about a 3 hour show would be ideal.
And on specials just accept it could take all night? I admit I still struggle there. Mississippi Thunder ran a special that finished at 5 in the morning, a happy medium I suppose?
Some of the specials last year ran way too long. I hope they learn to start earlier when the car counts are that high.
Finally, #080 Tom Heacox wanted to know: What is the one thing that Wisconsin short tracks are doing right and should absolutely not change?
I think they should continue to promote the entry classes at the weekly shows so you develop the drivers for the other classes.
Members and Friends,
It is with great excitement that I ask you to join me in welcoming Drew Kreibich as member #100 and Lee Howard as member #101! Drew has attended every track in the state of Wisconsin, we won't ask you for verification ;), and Lee attended Tomah Sparta Raceway and Dells Raceway Park.
I never thought when I went live with this idea in the summer of 2014 that I would see the day of 100 members. Deep down I was hoping it could happen, the leading 0 in our first 99 member numbers paints a clear picture. To hit that number in under 3 years is a proud moment for me. I love short track racing. For me, everything about it is exciting, positive, and America at its best. I am appreciative of the fact that many of you agree, not only with how great it is to be a short track racing fan, but also with United Race Fans of Wisconsin and its mission, and me.
Thank you all and once again:
For the few of you who have discovered this fun little club, your participation, views to the website, every like, share, re-tweet, and favorite have validated every second I put into this "idea". I can not thank you enough.
If you would like to read about where it all started you can check out my first ever blog here.
Member #080 - Tom Heacox
Tom Heacox has been a 'URFWI' member since 2016.
First question since we are both watching the KDDP banquet as we type, who is the next Ty Majeski or Alex Prunty to participate and hopefully win the KDDP Cup? Casey Johnson, Steve Apel, Reagan May, Natalie Decker, among others have participated or been finalists, Derek Kraus has a deal with Ganassi, many other top drivers are past that time where it would make sense.
Well, you're coming out swinging with that one.
That's what I do best.
Casey, Steve, Derek, you're taking all my answers! I don't know a lot of the details with the programs he's been involved with the last couple season, but I'm going to go with Austin Nason. He's got the team and the talent. I think he needs to show that he an take the next step in 2017.
I have another one is that ok?
Mike Held's middle finger will definitely disagree with this (that's another story). Jordan DeVoy. I think it was at Jefferson (pretty sure, TUNDRA?) really late in the season, he converted to run SLM and he got ran into and I think DNF, but holy crap he showed he belonged. I tweeted him after that to tell him I was super impressed, and he told me he didn't have the money to run like that full time.
I recall a similar race with him at the Dells Shootout in September only with a better ending, spun out got sent to the rear, brought it home 4th. He also had, I want to say 22 fast times out of a possible 15 at Slinger this past season. Nice Pick.
Given the right situation, he can do something for sure.
I've noticed you seem to be a lot like me, an asphalt guy, why is asphalt racing so exciting to watch for you versus dirt or other types of racing?
You really didn't think you were getting the same questions did you?
I'm glad you didn't just give me the cookie cutter questions. Really making me think about this. I was introduced to racing at Lake Geneva Raceway. It never really occurred to me how popular dirt racing was. I can appreciate it, but it's not totally my thing. I love how close the racing is, and how one tiny bobble can be the difference between a good finish & the wall. I love how "in control" asphalt racing is. In my head, dirt racing is fun, but it looks so out of control that i can't totally get into it. Plus, getting hit with a small chunk of rubber is better than the concussion from a hunk of clay.
I would agree that how you are being introduced to racing can play a huge part in how you grow with it.
How you grow with it is a very good way to put it.
How about a stock question, What are you doing to keep yourself busy during STOD (Short track off-season disorder)?
I didn't watch a lot of the first half of the NASCAR season or the ARCA season. I'm going back and watching them now when I have the time. Also, anything old that Dan Margetta is posting on youtube, I'm all over it. I missed about a decade of local short track racing (it was me, not you, short trackers), so I'm trying to catch up where I can.
So you are a full-blown short track racing degenerateWell I'm not gambling on them, soo....not quite full blown?
How did you learn about United Race Fans of Wisconsin and what caused you to join?
I recently restarted my short track attendance, and was looking for like-minded people that shared my appreciation for the sport. When I saw there was an active social media presence, along with new members signing up, I decided to give it a shot. It's free to sign up, so what did I have to lose? I'm openly looking for local short track fans who want to talk about it and share their experiences, and I love that so many tracks are actively trying to get kids involved. I think there is a great opportunity here.
Which track is getting it right and what is the most common thing you see at the tracks you attend that turns fans off from coming back?
Yikes, that's gonna take some thought.
I recall someone saying: "I'm glad you didn't just give me the cookie cutter questions. Really making me think about this."
Immediate things that come to mind: Places/events that are getting it right: Slamfest at Slinger, WoO at Rockford, (I wasn't there but) WoO at Angell Park are all things that got really good buzz in 2016. Would these have great attendance if they were put on once a month? Maybe yes. maybe no. They work REALLY well as standalone events and I give the promoters credit for making them happen. As for turnoffs...
So in general, the big events upped their game this past year.
Yeah, the big events went overboard, and the others that I would have showed up for anyway, sometimes turned into a real grind.
So many times, if I could put a dome over a track, it would make the experience so much better. Not just rain, but even the threat of rain. I know it not realistic.
...and a bit of running around the question, but I'm not a big fan of complaining about how things are done at certain tracks either, social media is a blessing and a curse when it comes to that.
Yes. I don't think any track I was at in 2016 in doing anything to make me not come back.
I had another question planned, but I just read that Dalton Zehr is planning to run the entire ARCA Midwest Tour schedule. ARCAMT will never get to the heights of ARTGO Gregg McKarns (member #053) may have a different opinion on that, but I feel that with Ty Majeski out of the picture championship wise you will see more cars and more top tier talent running in the series in the years to come. What place does ARCAMT and other series like T.U.N.D.R.A. play in the overall scheme of asphalt short track racing moving forward? Does it take away from struggling weekly programs or legitimize them? Or does it have no effect at all?
In my opinion, the ARCA Midwest Tour is THE showcase for Upper Midwest asphalt racing right now. There is no question. Ty & Toby have dominated lately, but there are bigger things for them to achieve. There are a TON of cars right on their tails that make that series awesome to watch. It's the ARTGO of our time. We don't necessarily have all the Shears and Trickles and Sauters (OK some of them), but that era will never be replicated. Honestly, the competition in ARCA Midwest is way ahead of the ARCA competition right now. If you put those same drivers in the ARCA cars with the same money, some really unexpected stars would shine.
Some of those ARCA races were bad. Old cars and maybe 3 or 4 cars that were competitive.
I think I even saw duct tape numbers on one car.
Even now, watch ARCA Wayne Peterson cars out there running 40+ MPH under the leaders. It's crazy dangerous. Can't believe no one has died lately.
Our last question comes from member #004, he wanted to know , Do you want to be a race car driver?
***Editors note, at this time there was some delay so I asked the last question before I got an answer to the previous one, and he missed answering it.
not a driver?
Oh man I was going total nerd about ARCA MT. Gimme a sec.
lol, as a fellow nerd, its understandableWould I drive? Absolutely! If I could do it all over again, I would be a driver like Alex Prunty, Jordan DeVoy, or Michael Bilderback. When I was their age, I was such an unfocused meathead, lacking direction, that I didn't know which side was up. Sure, I could do it now, but I would be starting from scratch. I might be better off at Veloce Indoor Speedway or Sugar River Raceway. Hmmm, now you have me thinking...
Our next member to have their night disrupted by me is Bill Brown #019, did you want to ask him a question?
What is the one thing that WI short tracks are doing right and should absolutely not change? In other words, why do you keep coming back?
Rich Zimpel has been attending local race tracks for the past 30 years.