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racers bid farewell to southern new mexico speedway @nmmotorsportsreport

fall 2018

Vol #3 issue #7

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g n i c a R a cost

2011

The Weekend That Changed

Ross Chastain’s Career

2018

Ranking America’s

10 greatest races the comeback kid josh jackson


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Motor Sports Photojournalist, scottwelchphoto.com Spencer Hill V8’s for Vocations FB page Unser Racing Museum

fall 2018 volume 3 issue 07 Publisher RaDine William Media

the costa family supports racing- in a big way

Editor David Swope Brooklyn Green

Story by: Lyle Greenberg Photos provided by: Costa Brothers

Design & Layout David Lansa DL Graphic Design,LLC @DLGraphicDesigns

the comeback kid

Photographers Adam Mollenkopf w/ Dirt Racing Syndicate & Melons Photography Bill Robertson WJR Photography Daniel “Matt” Courson David Swope Dominic Aragon Drew Garcia john Lamparski Getty Images Luis Zaragoza Lyle Greenberg NMIADA Simon Cudby Scott Welch,

Story by Brooklyn Green

Plus! Ross Chastain

Silent Assassin Doug Vancil

Joe Gibbs Racers Bid Farewell to SWMS

By David Swope

Editorial Contributors Brooklyn Green Daniel “Matt” Courson Caleb Luce David Swope David Werth Dominic Aragon Geoff Bodine Jim Costa Jim Cowling John Haverlin Lyle Greenberg RJ Lees Scott Welch, Motor Sports Photojournalist, scottwelchphoto.com Spencer Hill

Publication Sponsors 4 Rivers Equipment ABQ Dragway Bobby J’s Yamaha NAPA Auto Parts NMIADA Unser Racing Museum Yearwood Performance Amsoil, Seductions Maverick Auto & Fabrication Cover Photo Photo by Courtesy of Costa Brothers

NM MotorSports Report copyright 2018®. All contents of this magazine are copyrighted by NM Motorsports Report, alls rights reserved. Reproduction of any articles, advertisement or material from this issue is forbidden without permission of the publisher. Publisher assumes no responsibility and is not to be held liable for errors beyond the cost of the space occupied by advertisers.

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The Costa Family Supports Racing

in a Big Way! By Lyle Greenberg

One of the things that you often see in racing is family participation. Over and over, you see multi-generations and siblings racing in all forms of motorsport. In Albuquerque, one of the most prominent racing families is the Costa family. Older brother Jim is a former Pro Modified racer and owns Yearwood Performance, Albuquerque’s premiere speed shop, and younger brother Robert owns Albuquerque Dragway and races a nitrous oxide powered Pro Modified. Between the two of them, you are likely to see at least one of them at almost any big motorsports event in the Duke City. Like so many others, their interest in racing was passed on to them by their father Jim Costa, Sr. As he grew up in Clovis, NM, Jim Sr. was always into cars, both on the street and on the track. He often raced his Ford Galaxie 500 at Amarillo Dragway. Later, when Jim Sr. had moved to Albuquerque, he raced at the Duke City Raceway dirt oval. As young children, both Jim and Robert got the car “bug”. Very early in life they were able to identify all sorts of cars by make and model and started on their “wish lists” for later in life. As the eldest sibling, Jim was the first to get his driver’s license and he often raced his first car, a 1979 Pontiac

Trans Am. From there, he built a Datsun 240Z. Although it started out relatively stock, it soon had a small-block Chevy that ultimately had a nitrous oxide system. Robert had a 1988 Camaro in high school that he recalls ran 17.80. After Jim moved on to another car, the Chevy 240Z was passed down to Robert as his first “real” race car. In the years since then, both Jim and Robert have each had quite a few race cars. They have both run dragsters and later gravitated to fast door cars with each running legitimate Pro Modified cars. A rough count indicates that Jim has had 10 cars that ranged from the previously mentioned 240Z to a Super Comp dragster to a screw supercharged, blown alcohol 1957 Chevy Pro Mod. Robert’s car count is right around seven race cars, including the 240Z that both brothers started with. Other cars ranged from a Super Comp dragster to a series of big cubic inch nitrous cars. Robert’s current car is a 959 cubic inch, Pat Musi built, multistage nitrous system Duster that has been deep into the 3 second zone in the 1/8 mile at around 200 mph. The family racing legacy also reached into the next generation, as Jim’s daughter Megan has been in the seat of


a fast rear engine dragster. Her husband Kelsey Roybal is heavily involved in diesel truck competition. Beyond the actual racing that the family has done, arguably their greatest contributions to racing in Albuquerque have been their support of the local drag strip and sponsorship of other forms of racing. Even going back to the 1980’s when Bob Labbate owned Albuquerque Dragway, the Costa family provided track sponsorship and contributed greatly to track improvements for 20+ years. Their behind-thescenes support was extremely important to the track, especially through the years when the track was under constant threat of closure by the state. In 2008, Robert was one of the 4 main principals that took over the lease on the track when Bob Labbate became ill. By 2010, Robert became the sole owner of the lease and has owned the track ever since. Jim took a different approach to his total immersion in the local car scene, as he purchased Yearwood performance in 2007. Yearwood had originally opened in Albuquerque in the mid-1970’s, when El Paso entrepreneur C.W. Yearwood wanted to expand his business footprint. The Albuquerque store quickly became a fixture in the Albuquerque car culture. But the addition of Jim’s knowledge, enthusiasm and business savvy have taken the business to new heights and made Yearwood the “go-to” place for speed and performance equipment. Jim says he has the greatest job in the world as he is truly a “professional bench racer”! On the track, both Jim and Robert have had quite a bit of success. They have both won events with the Real Outlaw Doorslammers group, as well as bracket races over the years. Robert currently holds the 1/8 mile record at Albuquerque Dragway at a 4.24. Robert’s fondest racing memory is winning Top Sportsman at the NHRA Divisional in Denver in 2007 when he had his 1955 Chevy bodied nitrous car. Jim’s best memory was taking runner-up at the 2012 Super Chevy race in Denver with his black 1957 Chevy, running a best of 6.22 at 232 mph. They both mentioned a great memory from 2009 where they doubled up at a RODS event with Jim winning the “Fast” class and Robert winning the “Gambler’s” class. When asked if they have raced each other, they agreed that they have had several head-to-head matchups and have split the wins pretty evenly. They both have had some close calls along the way with some minor crashes. Jim did have a very scary crash in 2017 at Albuquerque Dragway when his nitrous Corvette had a huge fire. Jim suffered minor burns that healed up nicely. Robert has other interests as he plays competitive ice hockey. Although that would seem fraught with danger,

he says he hasn’t been hurt doing that. Jim says that he has no hobbies and that his life is cars, cars and more cars! Neither brother shows any sign of slowing down. Robert has made a huge commitment to racing with the Mid-West Pro Mod Series in 2018 that has had him traveling extensively in the mid-western U.S. The Mid-West Pro Mod Series is one of the toughest in the country, and his participation there is making his program better and better. Jim has taken some time off racing since his 2017 crash but has added to his collection of hot rods. Recently he made a deal to purchase the S-10 truck that Mike Labbate drove to last year’s RODS championship, so it seems likely we will see him back on the track soon. The next time you see either Robert or Jim, let them know you appreciate their contributions to motorsports in Albuquerque!

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From

Watermelons to Winning The Weekend That

Changed Ross Chastainos Career By Spencer Hill

Las Vegas Motor Speedway will forever hold a special place in Ross Chastain’s heart. The eighth-generation watermelon farmer from Alva, Florida has always aspired of making it all the way to the top tier of NASCAR, but nobody would expect the path that he has taken to get there. After a short-lived start behind the wheel of the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2013, Chastain had to make the difficult decision to accept unproven rides early in his career with teams that often-faced situations that caused them to ‘start and park’ races. This is a situation where the race team takes the green flag in an event, but only completes a handful of laps to save money on tires, fuel, and over-the-wall crew members. Chastain’s struggle would see some light, however, in the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series season when he would link up with well-known car owner Johnny Davis and JD Motorsports to drive the No. 4 Flex Seal car. Since that first season in 2015, Chastain has proven week after week that he is capable of taking an average car and turning it into an extraordinary finish. Fast forward to 2018 and you will find that teams have finally realized the small-town watermelon farmers’ talents. This year, he has gotten the opportunity to continue his role with JD Motorsports as well as step into the seat of the Premium Motorsports truck and cup car. If that wasn’t enough to boost his already growing career, he has recently caught the eye of Chip Ganassi, legendary car owner in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. After a promising debut with Chip Ganassi Racing at Darlington Raceway, Chastain would get the opportunity of a lifetime with the ability to pull triple-duty at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The first race of the weekend was the truck race on Friday night where he would earn his team their career-best finish. “Jay Robinson gave us all of the pieces we needed,” said Chastain after a strong seventh place finish. “Laps are laps, and the biggest reason I wanted to do this was to get laps on Thursday and get ready for today to be in the Xfinity car, so I at least had some laps around the race track. To come out of here with a seventh (place finish) that’s really cool.” Next on Saturday was Chastain’s biggest opportunity of the weekend, his second of three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts with power-house team, Chip Ganassi Racing. Chastain would lead a career-best 180 laps, in route to his first career NASCAR victory. “Even when I would get beat on restarts, I could go right back by the guys after a couple of laps because the car was that good,” said Chastain in the media center. “Even when I didn’t do my job, I could roll the top in (turns) one and two and get a big run (on the other drivers).” Finally, the weekend would wrap up with a 20th place run in the South Point 400 with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driving again for Jay Robinson and Premium Motorsports. With a career-best weekend for Chastain across all three premier NASCAR series, what was his most valuable lesson learned? “Don’t let somebody by at the end of a stage,” joked Chastain who was ridiculed for allowing Ryan Preece to gain one of his laps back in Saturday’s DC Solar 300. “It just backs up to when you walk in to Chip Ganassi Racing and you see in infrastructure that they have and you see the shop and over 200 employees and they’re all doing their job and they’re all a part of the puzzle that it takes for that car to go that fast.” After gambling on his future in Las Vegas, Ross Chastain has set a new tone in NASCAR that drivers with true talent still roam the garages. While Chastain is likely to have more opportunities with key teams such as Chip Ganassi Racing in the future, he has also set an example for other underfunded drivers such as Ryan Sieg, Jeremy Clements, Jesse Little and many others who would likely make the most out of a similar opportunity. Chastain has a lot to think about over the off season, but he is okay with whatever comes his way. “If I go back to the farm tomorrow to grow watermelons, I will have no regrets.”

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Coaching Greatness By David Swope

I

Joe Gibbs

n 1981, Joe Gibbs started his Head Coaching career with the Washington Redskins. Gibbs led Washington to their only three Super Bowl Championships in franchise history. Gibbs shocked the football world when he retired after 12 successful seasons because he wanted to spend more time with his family. In 1991, Gibbs would embark on a career in NASCAR as a team owner. It didn’t take Gibbs long to have similar success in NASCAR like in the NFL as his first full-time driver in Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 in 1993. By 2000, Joe Gibbs Racing was no fluke as he won his first Winston Cup Title with driver Bobby Labonte. Overall Gibbs has won six Winston/Sprint Cup Championships. “I was so worried about moving from football in 1991 to racing because I had not experienced anything but football. Think about football, what did I do? I stood on the sidelines and went HIT Em’, KILL Em’ and they pay you for that. Then I moved over to racing and this is what I found, both these sports are exactly the same. Now my role is different. In football, I was a technical person, I designed plays, called plays. I came to racing, I am not the technical guy. I can’t set a car up but it’s picking the people. And what I found in both sports is that if you pick the right people, put them together at the right time and get out of their way, people make the difference in Pro Sports. You pick the right people and they will make you look good,” explained Gibbs on the NM Motor Sports Report, August 4, 2018. Gibbs continued, “In Pro Sports, its fast, always evolving. Football is constantly changing. You go from hard caps to drafts. Certainly, over here we got segment racing and play-offs now, Pro Sports changes all the time. It keeps you on your toes. So, to be successful, you got to be thinking out into the future.” From 1981-1992, Gibbs only had one season with more loses than victories but won three Super Bowl Titles during that span with three different starting quarterbacks. Gibbs returned to Washington in 2004 and led them to a pair of postseason berths in four years but eventually returned to NASACR. “When I was 16, I moved to Southern California. And in those days, in the 50’s and 60’s, what was big was hot rods and drag racing. I fell in love with cars. I was playing football but loved cars. I laugh, I tell everyone now my wife of 52 years, we were high school sweethearts and got towed out of every drive-in because when I got through working on the cars, none of them ran,” luckily for Gibbs, he has the best mechanics.

“When I was 16, I moved to Southern California. And in those days, in the 50’s and 60’s, what was big was hot rods and drag racing.

“Just like in football, you got to have a great quarterback if you want to go anywhere, and in racing you have to have a great driver,” Gibbs speaking about speaking about Kyle Busch. “Racing and football is about the player.”

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THE START OF A NEW ERA

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During the offseason, FE will ditch its current car and introduce the latest generation of vehicles, which have a battery that can last the entire length of a race. In other words, there won’t be any more pit stops. The final round of stops to ever transpire in FE occurred in ePrix No. 2 as drivers hopped out of one car and into another at the midway point. Of all the top professional racing series in the world, there isn’t one that doesn’t necessitate some form of refueling or tire changing. It’s unprecedented, st 2nd . nw but that’s why FE is doing it. The series prides itself on evading the norms of traditional motorsport. 6400 The ePrixs will also be about 45 minutes long next year. Short, right? Yes, but it could work in the series’ favor since FE isn’t designed to attract the typical F1 or NASCAR fan. It’s mainly a platform for electric cars to be recognized and accepted as the future of the automotive industry. Enel, a Rome-based sustainability company, is the manufacturer that provides the power for FE cars and its goal is General to make eco-friendly energy usage the new standard Fabrication• Repair & for street cars. They want the average person who’s driving on the freeway to stop and refuel with electricity instead of gas. Parts & Service With FE,Service•Trailer it’s all about one word: efficiency.

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The race was scheduled for its debut in 2013, but plans for it fell through after a contractual dispute with New Jersey’s Grand Prix organizers. A 2012 Jersey Journal story said that F1 promoters failed to get the necessary permits to host the event. Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said it would be pushed back to 2014. Then he said it would be forced to 2015. Then it never happened.

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It’s because of the energy-efficient philosophy it carries. Anything that’s emissions-free is irresistibly attractive to major cities. That’s why FE has raced in places such as Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, and Berlin, to name a few. F1 is set to run a Grand Prix in Miami next year, but the deal didn’t come together quickly as city residents protested it because of the noise pollution, road I L Dstress T Oit will Wput I LonD IN C.COM blockages, M and overall local areas. FE cars are screeching sound the tires can be heard when the cars make a sharp turn. In NASCAR, you can’t sit in the grandstands for Mso I Lquiet D T Othat W the ILD INC@G M Afrom IL.C OM more than 15 or 20 minutes without thinking your eardrums will explode from the immense volume of the engines. The series will return to New York again next year. Along with it will come a new generation of race cars, more manufacturers, and perhaps a more significant intrigue from racing fans.

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IF YOU ARE INTO IT, WE ARE INTO IT!

Whether it has 2 Wheels or 4, asphalt or Dirt track racing, off-roaD or park anD shine. If your Into It, we are Into It.

every saturDay 8am-9am exclusively on 101.7 fm WWW.1017theteam.com

The New Mexico Motor Sports Report (NMMSR) on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM, is hosted by David Swope every Saturday morning from 8am to 9am. The NMMSR focuses on motorsports and related automobile activities around the state and on the national scene each and every week. The NMMSR is also on YouTube via the Proview Network (check your local listings for broadcast times). The NMMSR is on Twitter @NMMReport and you can like us on Facebook. Join in the fun with your comments on the topics and questions. This is New Mexico’s only show devoted to motorsport related activities. Check out our website at NMMotorsportsreport.com.


The Comeback Kid By Brooklyn Green

August 8, 2015 was a day of many things.

It was the day a dream was taken away. It was a day many tears were shed and multiple hearts were shattered. It was the day the racing community was changed forever. “INEX Racer Josh Jackson Seriously Injured at So. NM Speedway in 360 Non-Wing Sprint Car” - Legends Nation “Young race car driver is now in a race for his life” - Albuquerque Journal “17 Year Old Suffers Serious Accident at Las Cruces Speedway” - KFOX These headlines filled local and national media outlets all over the United States. Joshua Jackson, a driver from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was involved in one of the worst accidents the state has ever seen. I hear about motorsports accidents all the time. It is a part of the lifestyle. With racing, comes wrecks, it’s unavoidable. When a driver puts on their helmet, straps into their belts and starts their engine, they are putting their life on the line. However, deep down, a driver never thinks their life will be taken or altered by the one true thing they love. To them, the reward is worth the risk. During a 360 Non-Wing main event, at Southern New Mexico Speedway, Jackson was making his way through the pack. Halfway through the race, a car spun in front of Jackson leaving him no choice but to make contact. The impact sent him into the air. When he landed, he was slammed by a third

car. Jackson was airlifted to University Medical Center in El Paso. Jackson suffered multiple life-threatening injuries, including damage to the left side of his brain. He spent several weeks in a coma, but after a handful of surgeries and procedures, Jackson was ready to begin rehabilitation.

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Jackson attended rehab at Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado. He spent months re-learning basic things -- things we all take for granted, walking and talking. After Denver, Jackson went to a rehabilitation center in Omaha, Nebraska, named QLI. There, he learned everyday life necessities such as cooking, laundry and how to live on his own. Jackson’s rehab journey was a long one. A little over eight months from the date of his accident, he returned home to Albuquerque, alongside his mother, Ginger Jackson. “Joshua Jackson is #37 Strong” - KRQE.com “Teen Race Car Driver Makes Miracle Recovery” - Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center “Joshua Jackson Continues Incredible Recovery from Near Death Crash” Legends Nation Everyone has heard Joshua Jackson’s story, but how many people know the


“Teen Race Car Driver Makes Miracle Recovery” real Joshua? Well, I am here to tell everyone just how truly amazing this comeback kid is. I met Joshua when I was 6 years old. We raced Quarter Midgets together and although we fought like brother and sister, we shared our love and passion for the sport of racing. I think that is why we became best friends. Racing was what brought us together and it is what has kept us together. Joshua was a hyper one to say the least. He was constantly full of energy, keeping his mom, papa and nana on their toes. He was always running around the racetrack stirring up trouble. There was never a dull moment with him around. Growing up, Joshua did more than just race, he was an athlete. He played football, basketball, and ran track. He also played the Trumpet. He excelled at academics, especially in math and science. However, his one true love was always racing. Being behind the wheel was something Joshua had a natural talent for. He dominated the race track, winning hundreds of races all over the United States. There was nothing Joshua wanted more than to make it to the sports elite level, NASCAR. Although Joshua’s racing path was disrupted, there is nothing he cannot do when he sets his mind to it. After his accident, Joshua returned back to high school, completed his Senior year and received his High School Diploma. A semester later, Joshua enrolled at Central New Mexico Community College. He has been working towards his degree ever since. In addition to school, Joshua is working for both of the family companies, WAC Upfitters and Accessories Unlimited. Joshua has also returned to racing. In fact, he has returned to winning! Since the accident, he has won main events in both a Modified and a Legend. He received his most recent win at Southern New Mexico Speedway, just a little over the three-year anniversary of his accident. Although Joshua is still trying to figure out his future plans, he strives every day to better himself and the people around him. Through it all, Joshua has never lost his sparkle. He has never let his accident define who he is. He has faith that what happened to him, happened for a reason and God has a plan for his life. Watching Joshua fight the odds and come out victorious has been an absolute blessing. He has taught me that life is precious and at no time should it be taken for granted. He has reminded me to never forget to tell my family and friends I love them, and he has inspired me to do what I love and to never have regrets. Yes, Joshua Jackson is a racecar driver, and a damn good one at that, but that is not all he is. Joshua Jackson is a survivor. He is a fighter, he is an inspiration and he is my best friend. Joshua, you are #37Strong.

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by David Swope

Announcement January 17, 2018

Vance & Hines is proud to announce a return to Top Fuel racing with rider Doug Vancil and tuner Mike Romine to compete in the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley category of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The championship will expand to 10 events for the 2018 season with the nitroburning Harleys kicking-off the season at the Winternationals in Pomona, February 8-11. The new championship class will also mean that the Top Fuel Harleys will run alongside the Pro Stock Bike category at both the Gatornationals and the Harley’s season finale at the US Nationals on Labor Day weekend. The 2018 team will see Vance & Hines reunite with longtime rider Doug Vancil, with whom the team amassed a dominating six Top Fuel Harley championships. “I can’t wait until we start running! We have a fast bike and with Mike Romine tuning, I think we are really going to be a top runner in the class,” stated Doug on the announcement of the team. Mike Romine brings four decades of experience building, racing and winning on nitro Harleys. “I’m very excited to see the Vance & Hines name on the bike,” remarked Mike, “and really looking forward to working with Terry Vance and Doug in the upcoming season.” “The NHRA has done a great job of developing the Harley class to create a new twowheeled championship category in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” said Vance & Hines founder, Terry Vance. “And bringing together two of the biggest names in Top Fuel in Doug and Mike, I couldn’t be more enthused about getting the season started.” Keep up with the latest throughout the season @vanceandhines on Instagram and Facebook as well as vanceandhines.com. Interview from August 11, 2018 on the NM Motor Sports Report with David Swope & Doug Vancil. How is your season going? “We have 4 victories in 2018 heading into the US Nationals in Indianapolis which will be the final race for this season. We have been running good with some tough competition and have an 18-point lead,” Vancil responded by phone from Sturgis, Michigan where he was building a new bike for the 2019 season, “testing will be in about a week and a half, so we are looking forward to see what it can do.” How did you get started? “My dad has always had motorcycles. I have been riding mini bikes since I was 5. I just grew up doing it. I was born in Arizona but been in Albuquerque since I was 10. And now I live in Cedar Crest,” explained Vancil. What was the hardest part of breaking into Top Fuel Motorcycle? “I started on a gas bike and a buddy of mine in 1990 built a fuel bike. I helped him build it and he crashed it. I rebuilt it and started riding it. The hardest part was getting used to everything being much bigger. They are big bikes. Me on this bike, after a pass, weighs 1,020. That’s pounds not kilos,” Vancil chuckled. Have you ever had any accidents? “I have actually been pretty safe, you know, it’s a controlled environment. Your dressed with good helmets, leathers so if it did happen, you would probably, well, chances are good you’d be okay. There always is that risk factor.” Top Fuel Motor Cycles v Pro Stock Motor Cycles? “Top Fuel is a little scarier than Pro Stock. I don’t think Top Fuel is a stepping stone to Pro Stock that but maybe vice versa. 10 -12 years ago the class was really big. In Vegas we would have 32 bikes trying to qualify but NHRA didn’t have a class it was HDRA back then. They would qualify 16 but since the resection, it has slowed down. In 2018, they only qualify 8 bikes. It only pays 8 spots. At some venues we have had as many as 20-21 bikes,” Vancil clarified as I mistakenly assumed Pro Stock was the top tier since it is televised as a part of the NHRA broadcast. What do you do for fun or to relax? “I like fishing, boating and to mess with hot rods. I also build engines and motorcycles for other people in my shop at home. I spend a lot of time on the road. I used to drive the transporter but now I just fly in, so I do have a little more time now.” What is your favorite motorcycle of all time? “I like old Harley Knuckleheads. They are just cool, they were ahead of their time,” said Vancil. Vancil completed the season in dramatic fashion coming down to a final round duel with Tii Tharpe with Tharpe edging him out for the Championship by just 7 points. Good luck int 2019 Doug!

Follow Doug Vancil at VanceandHines.com & NHRA.com 14 NMMotorSportsReport.com

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Racers Bid

Farewell to By Spencer Hill

At the end of the 2018 race season, New Mexican’s will say goodbye to the historic Southern New Mexico Speedway, located just west of Las Cruces, NM as it will be demolished at seasons end. Since 1967 the track ‘built by racers for racers’ has been able to produce amazing shows with notable national and regional series coming through the Mesilla Valley every year. Much of the tracks success has been accredited to co-owners of Mesilla Valley Transportation, Royal Jones and Jimmy Ray, after their takeover of the speedway in 1993. Together, they brought race fans a new tower, grandstands, souvenir stands, and have continued to make it one of the best facilities in the southwest. Better yet, the two continue to compete at the speedway to this day. One of the series that has always had an impact at the speedway since its start is the New Mexico Motor Racing Association, the premier non-wing sprint car series of New Mexico. Many powerful sprint car personalities such as Brady Bacon, Kevin Thomas Jr, and the late Bryan Clauson have raced with the NMMRA at Southern New Mexico with a plethora of memorable races for fans and drivers alike to recollect. On September 1st and 2nd, it was finally time for NMMRA to give fans once last memory in Las Cruces. As one of the most favored tracks on the circuit, crews are always excited to get back ‘down south’ and interact with the fans in Las Cruces. This time, however, the mood in the pit area was more somber. Everyone understood the magnitude of being a part of the last non-wing sprint car race in Las Cruces and many teams took their time to pay their respects to the track that had given so many teams fun stories to tell. The first night went well, excluding a couple of incidents that would see Colt Treharn and CJ Hulsey take tumbles and tear up two fast race cars. It was a good battle up front though and Arizona ace Shon Deskins would pick up the victory over Don Grable, Casey Shuman, Michael Fanelli, and Caleb Saiz. Perhaps the coolest feature of the second night, the final night ever for NMMRA at Southern New Mexico Speedway, was the announcement of legendary car owner Truman West as grand marshal of the event. He would wave the green flag for the final time for 23 of the quickest non-wing sprint cars in the southwest and business immediately picked up for the lead. At the end of the 30-lap feature it would be Albuquerque’s Caleb Saiz picking up the victory from the seventh starting position for his NAPA Filters No. 42 team. As if the final win at the Southern New Mexico Speedway wasn’t enough for the young driver, it also allowed him to lock up the 2018 NMMRA Championship, the first of his career. So what’s next for motorsports in southern New Mexico? When one door closes, another opens – or a racetrack in this case. Just in time for the next racing season, Vado, NM

16 NMMotorSportsReport.com


will welcome the first new racing facility to open since the addition of Sandia Speedway’s dirt track in 2012. With the help of Jones, Ray, and current promoter Rue Stone, Vado Speedway Park will be one of the nicest facilities for dirt track racing in the United States. The new 3/8th mile clay oval will offer a wide racing surface, beautiful grandstand seating, a new scoring tower, and grass surrounding the speedway. As much as it hurts to lose a historic track in New Mexico, everyone is excited to see what kind of history that is about to be made at Vado Speedway Park. For more information regarding Vado Speedway Park, check out their Facebook

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BBQ at 4 Rivers Equipment

Comm unity

by David Swope

4

Rivers Equipment was the creation of the combination of Colorado Equipment, Colorado Machinery and Wyoming Equipment with the acquisition of Tom Growney Equipment in Albuquerque in 2013. The whole company got a face lift at that time with 14 John Deere Ag and Construction stores with the same great employees, same great values and the same Colorado ownership. 4 Rivers Equipment lives by the motto, “we are your working partner.” They are dedicated to serving the needs of their customers by providing them the best value in products and service. By forging long term relationships with farmers, construction and forestry professionals, homeowners and others for nearly a century, 4 Rivers Equipment has demonstrated their commitment. 4 Rivers Equipment are certified John Deere dealers and offer many other fine product lines; providing you with the best value available. Backing it up with outstanding service and highest quality heavy equipment and machinery. 4 Rivers Equipment prides itself on empowering their employees to find the best solution possible for their customers. Decision makers are on-site at each location, there’s no running a question up the ladder. They listen, anticipate, and ensure our customers are well-taken care of.

4 Rivers Equipment has been exceeding the needs of customers through world-class parts, service and sales in Colorado, New Mexico, West Texas and Wyoming ready to supply and service your Agricultural and Construction needs. They are your source for all things in Agricultural and Construction equipment. They proudly offer the John Deere construction, John Deere Commercial Worksite Products, and Agricultural lines. Celebrate the Re-Grand Opening of the Albuquerque store with a Community BBQ on Friday November 2, 2018 from 10:30am – 4pm. There will be a ribbon-cutting, prizes and drone demos. You will be able to view the new facility upgrades and celebrate with them. As always, you will be able to see some of the finest equipment in the industry. 4RiversEquipment.com

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November 2, 2018 10:30am – 4pm 18 NMMotorSportsReport.com


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Ranking America’s

By John Haverlin

US Grand Prix

greatest races

Indy 500

Daytona 500

The Glen 10: Six Hours of Watkins Glen Quite a few racing series compete at this New York road course. But winning the six-hour sports car race is probably the hardest. It runs in July, making it one of the hottest dates on the IMSA calendar. But the history and beauty of the Glen make winning a must. If you visit, think about the great variety of drivers to come through it over the years.

9: Southern 500 Often dubbed “The Lady in Black,” Darlington Raceway is one of NASCAR’s trickiest circuits. The egg-shaped oval is known for its narrow racing groove and tight Turn 4, which has seen thousands of encounters between car and wall. The race is held on Labor Day weekend and in recent years, “throwback” schemes are used to pay homage to NASCAR’s roots. It’s one of the sport’s oldest venues, making it the perfect place to celebrate the past.

8: Grand Prix of Long Beach The GP of Long Beach is the oldest street race in North America. It’s essentially America’s version of Monaco, as the track runs along the Los Angeles River with a yacht port in sight. This event has hosted various open-wheel competitions, including F1, Formula 5000, and IndyCar. Al Unser Jr. won the race six times as an Indy car driver.

7: Brickyard 400 Although Indianapolis Motor Speedway is better known for open-wheel racing, NASCAR has made an annual visit since 1994. Winners of the 400-miler gets to kiss the bricks, which run adjacent to the finish line. This tradition was started by Dale Jarrett when he won in 1996. Since then, Indy 500 champions have adopted the practice as well.

6: Coca-Cola 600 Stock car racing’s longest event is famous for its endurance-like competition and being the final leg of “The Greatest Day in Motorsports.” After watching the Monaco GP and the Indianapolis 500, we enjoy 40 stock cars racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This event is known for its production of first-time winners, including Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, and Austin Dillon.

the IMSA calendar. Danish driver Tom Kristensen was an overall winner six times here. Its Central Florida location often makes for a hot and humid day at the track. It’s a true test of man and machine.

4: U.S. Grand Prix Although this isn’t sanctioned by an American series or even held at the same venue for more than a few years at a time, it’s only fair to show some love for the world’s racing pinnacle. F1 is predominantly European and competes at places such as Spa, Monza, and Silverstone, but the USGP is what keeps American race fans interested. Since 2012, the Circuit of the Americas has hosted the USGP. Lewis Hamilton has won five of the six races at COTA.

3: 24 Hours of Daytona America’s version of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off the start of a new racing season. Many IndyCar and NASCAR drivers compete in this event, which runs in January. More than 50 cars race on the Daytona International Speedway roval. Scott Pruett and Hurley Haywood have both been victorious five times, which is the record for the most overall wins in one career.

2: Daytona 500 The Daytona 500 is the pinnacle of stock car racing. If the Indy 500, Monaco, and 24 Hours of Le Mans are the top-three races in the world, I put this at No. 4. The Daytona 500 is often dubbed ‘NASCAR’s Super Bowl.’ Aside from the Cup championship, this is the greatest thing a stock car driver could win.

1: Indianapolis 500 Not only is this the biggest race in America, but it’s also the greatest on Earth. Drivers from around the globe dream of winning this event because of its rich history, tremendous audience and prosperous payout. A.J Foyt, Rick Mears, and Al Unser Sr. have won it four times. Other notable multiple-time champions include Johnny Rutherford, Hélio Castroneves, and Dan Wheldon.

5: 12 Hours of Sebring This sports car race has been in existence since 1950. It’s been a part of the FIA WEC and the American Le Mans Series. Today, it’s race No. 2 on NMMotorSportsReport.com 21


Balloon MuseuM

Pod Racing by Ronald Lees Jr

Whether it has two wheels or four, asphalt or dirt track racing, off-road or park and shine. If you are into it, we are into it. This is the New Mexico Motor Sports Report’s mantra, but we are revving it up for this article and looking up to the skies for this exciting form of racing that is relatively new to New Mexico. We are talking about the only FPV (first person view) Drone Racing series held at Albuquerque’s own historic Balloon Museum as part of its mission to infuse innovative forms of flight to the community. Becoming an official part of the Drone Racing League that has been around for four years now. Not only is there exhilarating racing going on in the Balloon Museum Park’s 8 acres of land, but also these events have live video feeds, hands-on simulators, educational demonstrations, and entry to the museum’s exhibitions which are separated into four different sectors of the park. This includes plenty of opportunities to get up close to all the action and interact with the participating pilots. With amazing indoor and outdoor facilities, the Balloon Museum Pod Racing series is truly expanding and getting nationwide respect with racers from all over the United States coming to compete for the chance to emerge victorious here in Albuquerque. We were first introduced to this worldwide air sport by the manager 22 NMMotorSportsReport.com

of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, Paul Garver, who our host David Swope had the pleasure of interviewing on the New Mexico Motor Sports Report (NMMSR) on ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team. Paul Garver is the man in charge when it comes to putting these tremendous events together at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. In our interview, Paul stated, “we will create pathways for students and others… to come into this sport”. Doing this by adding a recreational class section to their events for the novice up and coming drone racers to test their skills with the help of their professional pilots to encourage the new comers to an exciting adventures Drone Racing has to offer. With new “Rise and Try” events pooping up on their schedule, all are welcome to try this spectacular new way of racing that the NMMSR will keep in its sights. We are going to keep an eye on the BMPR events and see if we can add the small propellers and engines to our coverage or all things racing. For more information contact Paul Garver

(768-6030 or pgarver@cabq.gov) or on Facebook (Balloon Museum Pod Racing)


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NM Motorsports Report Magazine  

New Mexico Motorsports report magazine. IF YOU ARE INTO IT, WE ARE INTO IT! Whether it has 2 Wheels or 4, asphalt or Dirt track racing, off-...

NM Motorsports Report Magazine  

New Mexico Motorsports report magazine. IF YOU ARE INTO IT, WE ARE INTO IT! Whether it has 2 Wheels or 4, asphalt or Dirt track racing, off-...

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