Monday, August 1, 2016

The Left Coast Race Scene

By Dave Grayson


In the July 31st edition of LCRS I reported that driver Chris Cook was injured in a crash during a Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series event held at the Utah based Rocky Mountain Speedway. It turned out that the injured driver was, in fact, William Camara driver of the #57 modified for Garcia racing. Here's what happened :

When I learned of the crash and the injuries, that included a level 3, severe, concussion I began the process of searching for details. I found a photo of the crash, taken by racing photographer Howard Twadell, featuring the cars driven and Cook and Camara. By the way Howard, great job on the photo. I next looked up Cook's "Facebook" page and began reading about the extent of the injuries. What I failed to notice was the fact that Cook was sharing a "Facebook" post originally written and posted by Camara.

To Chris Cook, his family, friends and fans I apologize for any concern the error may have caused.

I'm now asking my fellow racing fans to join me in re-directing those good thoughts and prayers to William Camara. We wish him a speedy recovery and good luck with his upcoming August 9th surgical procedure.


The NASCAR Xfinity Series spent last Saturday night running a stand alone event at the Iowa Speedway where rookie phenom Erik Jones scored his third win of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing. Because of the fact that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was racing on the other side of the country, in Pocono, Pennsylvania, it was assumed that for once the Xfinity teams would be allowed to compete without the presence of Cup drivers and their high dollar rides. It was a situation that many heralded as being about time.

However, we soon learned of Brad Keselowski's plans to run the race at Iowa despite a very stringent Pocono schedule. Keselowski began last Saturday driving his Roger Penske owned Ford in the Cup series' final practice at Pocono. Next it was off to a nearby airport where he boarded a Penske owned plane that transported him 900 miles to Newton, Iowa. Keselowski finished 8th in his Discount Tire Ford. After the race he flew back to Pocono and made to the comfort of his home away from home personal RV a little past 2am eastern time. As it turned out, rain moved the Cup race from Sunday to Monday giving the driver plenty of time to rest and relax.

The question remains: was the round trip airplane ride really worth it? The cost of aviation fuel alone says probably not. So, why do it especially when Penske Racing had NASCAR Next driver Austin Theirault at Iowa to drive the car during practice and qualifying session while Keselowski was at Pocono.

When it comes to participating in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Penske brings his A plus game by placing his Cup drivers, Keselowski and Joey Logano, behind the wheel. Penske Racing won the Xfinity Series' Owners Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2015. However, the domination of the series by Kyle Busch, Erik Jones and Joe Gibbs Racing has left Penske in fifth place in the current owners points standings 94 points behind leader J D Gibbs. With no other Cup drivers in the Iowa race it's likely Penske thought this race might be an opportunity to cut into the Gibbs lead. It's also likely that Discount Tire, a long time Penske sponsor since 2007, was only too happy to support flying Keselowki to Iowa last weekend.

Was it worth all that effort? Only Roger Penske can answer that question but it sure was interesting.


Last weekend the community of Lovelock, Nevada held their annual Frontier Days. It was a three day community celebration that included two nights of racing at the Lovelock Speedway. Meanwhile in the community of Fernley, Nevada, the Fernley 95A Speedway was set to present their normal Saturday night program. However, when the Fernley track management heard about Frontier Days they opted to cancel their show.

In a prepared statement they said "due to Lovelock Speedway running Frontier Days that weekend, we here at Fernley 95A Speedway felt it would be appropriate to not run a program during their biggest race of the year. We feel all tracks benefit when they work together to support the racing community."

A tip of the racing hat goes to the Fernley 95A Speedway management. It was a very classy thing to do.