John Dragonetti-- What started Looking into the future, off as a personal journey to there is room, and plans in Shortly, people began to learn the basics of graphic fact, for more expansion. ask if cars could be made for design in 2008, has turned into them. Those basic requests, Through collaboration between a now flourishing graphic Dragonetti, and while simple, began to design business; putting out at advance in terms of techniquesbusiness/design partner Wes least 3 different unique Hicks, the chances are great and processes used; one of products per day. Saying these techniques being the usethat the number of products graphic design is hard, is a available will be immensely of base scheme templates. massive understatement. Even expanded. the most experienced of designers have trouble time-toThis wouldn’t time with even the simplest of This only include the design projects. In the end though, we practice of cars, cards, all do it for fun. Throughout the gained signatures, etc., but entirety of this piece, we will much would now include web take you through the history of steam late into 2009 and early development. Though the SMRD, day-to-day operations 2012 when Dragonetti, the SMRD name has become of the business, as well as the lead designer, co-created a more noticeable than before, direction the business may be venture now known as headed toward in the future. OutlawGamerZ. Although the the time will change when this venture didn’t last long, it set becomes finalized. Through deliberation, the name will As stated before, John the pace for the current framework that SMRD is basedchange to Paper Born Ideas. Dragonetti started SmokeRacing Designs in mid upon now. It expanded the 2008 with the simple intentions number of requests being sent in, and challenged Dragonetti “We just want to have of making cars and other designs for personal use only. to search for others not only to fun with it. We will take In the beginning, the designs help fulfill the requests, but it seriously, yes, but we almost automate the process were rough, and honestly rather ugly. Yes, time was put by which products were being want to do this mainly to have fun.” in, but the knowledge and skill produced. wasn't yet developed. To skip the months of poor designing Through this process Why, you may ask? The and continuance of learning, now, along with the slightly answer is simple. All creations the larger amount of growth expanded staff, requests can begin on paper or in our case a began to occur in the first be taken and finished in a napkin, as some rough couple months of 2009. greatly shorter amount of time. drawing, and later develops In time the since, the business into the digital product we all has expanded to the point know. With the intentions of creating league cars for a now where even one request, no matter what it is, can normally faded league, the cars that In the end though, we be completed and distributed were driven were an early expect success, but we do this showcase for others as to what in an hour or less. for the simplicity of having fun. potential there was for others.
Dragonetti in an interview was but through years of fine quoted as saying, “We just tuning; the time it takes has want to have fun with it. We gone dramatically down. will take it seriously, yes, but we want to do this mainly to The future is bright for have fun.” SMRD, and things will only get This will not at better all alter the way things as time happen at SMRD. If moves anything, it will speed on. With up the process in Paper which requests are Born taken, created, and Ideas on completed. the horizon, A lot goes into creating everyone can look forward to having the level of products one of the many products become better than before, the SMRD has to offer. Though products are completed much time of completion of products quicker than ever before, the become even faster than it is demand has also increased. now, as well as the amount of Let’s take a brief look at what products that are available will expand. goes on behind the scenes. As said before, everything starts out as a drawing on a piece of paper. One recent example is a special scheme designed for Jeff Baki Jr. Seen above is the drawing that yielded the final product below. The time it takes to produce a product such as this depends on the level of customization the customer wants. In the case of this project, the time it took from conceptual drawing to final product was nearly two hours. Previously, it would’ve taken around five or so hours,
My Take – With Eric Micke
changing from a 43-1 points select races is probably a nonsystem to a 23-1 system with a story and a harmless move and if 30-car maximum field. This is a anything all team owners will Driver Restrictions step in the right direction because praise that decision rather than Driver restrictions are a now our points system is based on fight it because it opens up some options throughout the season for tricky thing because we are on the our unique situation and not stolen from another source and tryouts and developments of new razor’s edge of a NASCAR equipment and new drivers. The copycat and an original league. If just applied to ours. If we can we were fully committed to being manage a consistent field whether next issue is the limiting of the it’s 18, 20, 25, or 30 cars in each numbers teams can utilize. To be like NASCAR we wouldn’t be honest I’m not a fan of this move restricting anyone from running in race the system will work just fine, and hopefully that’s what we and I don’t think it’s necessary. I any series. However what we agree with the idea that once the must remember is that the OCRL can get. There are bound to be issues that arise but overall the season starts teams should not be has always been about the allowed to change their numbers community of team owners and change in points system, the bonus points, and the addition of for the entirety of the season, and drivers who want equality and each team in the off season has competition. The iRating limits on drop weeks should make for a each division is perfectly set in closer and more entertaining story first rights to the numbers used in my opinion. But the OCRL has in each division all season long. the previous season. As far as numbers changing from series to always tried to keep competition series and whether it’s confusing level and when a guy comes in Team Format or not, I don’t think it’s anything like Casey Malone did last season and blows the field away, OCRL In a recent edition of the that couldn’t be handled with a little more attention paid by administrators cannot ignore it. OCRL Race Report the guys The OCRL is not a Pro-caliber talked about the OCRL’s decision OCRL administrators and team owners alike. I say open up that league, and it is actually an to allow teams a 5th entry for Amateur league. What’s important select races and also limiting each rule and allow drivers and team the freedom to have different for the league, regardless of team to utilizing the same combinations of car numbers. iRating caps is that the OCRL numbers in every division as administration keeps a balanced opposed to teams/drivers being Sponsorships are indeed insane. It is absolutely absurd that any team level of competition throughout able to change from series to hog a ton of big name popular all of its divisions. So don’t be series. Sponsorships were also sponsors. When I first came into surprised if we have more issues discussed at great length about next season trying to keep how insane and out of hand the the OCRL you were limited to 2 competition balanced and situation has gotten. Lastly a hot or 3 sponsors per car maximum to showing the door to those who topic of late regarding team rules use as primary sponsors that could impact the league negatively. is the rule stating that a driver for not be used by any other driver or one team cannot own and operate team. Back then I think it worked a competing team. So let’s start fairly well and a return to some Points System sort of system like that could be from the top. The 5th entry for called for. I personally think Cup Next season the OCRL is
and Grand National teams should cluttered and intense mostly prep. I’m sure everything will be limited to 3 primary sponsors utilizing more than half the days work out just fine, but when the per car (only counting 4) which of the week for official events and league is relying on guys running no other team can use (unless then the rest for private team more than one series full time to otherwise agreed upon) and 2 practices and test sessions. About keep car counts up it’d be smart to associate sponsors per car that can mid-way through 2012b a make it less intense and more be used as special one race schedule was announced that saw doable. Probably the worst part of sponsors, or sponsors for the 5th a more lenient and relaxed version the scheduling changes is that entry which are also exclusive to of what we now know will happenwe’ve lost a road course race. The for 2013a. The first draft of the Truck series was set to head to that single team. Teams would schedule had the Grand National Lime Rock Park but due to the have to use discretion and Series and Truck Series changes the race was dropped. common sense to spread their sponsors across different cars and alternating on Thursdays (giving Road racing is an essential part of different series. There are surely each series plenty of off weeks for motorsports and a great enough companies out there that a exclusive teams/drivers to relax, interruption to the constant left turns on the ovals. Most of the system like this could work just as well as making it easier for teams/drivers to compete in all 3 races take place on similar 1.5 fine. As for the final issue of mile ovals, and we have gone up drivers owning competing teams, top divisions). Meanwhile on to now 4 plate races where the I think this is a terrible rule. The Tuesdays the Modifieds would driver doesn’t get to do anything way it’s been explained to me has race on select Tuesdays for himself. The decision to take made no sense for its existence. throughout the season but also have plenty of off weeks which the cup cars to Iowa was great but We should be a league of free enterprise and let drivers develop again gave a more relaxed week the originality needs to continue. By 2013b I think the Cup series their own teams when they branch to the teams and drivers who compete in the majority of events. should be racing on at least 4 road out while they still have a courses (The Glen, Sonoma, Road connection to a fully developed Then the OCRL admin panel made some changes which saw America and Montreal if team that can help them. I honestly hope this rule is thrown less off weeks between Modified released). The Nationwide cars however are probably the most out ASAP so people like myself races, more Truck races on and anyone else who has desires Tuesdays as opposed to just 2 or 3 fun and work the best of the stock to eventually branch out on their throughout a 6 month season, and cars on road courses. I would like again a heavier work load, but to see this series be a little more own can do so in a way that still less than the 2012b season. different than the Cup series and presents more options for Then as more and more people include races at Road Atlanta, improvement. saw the schedule and discussed it, Mid-Ohio and Mosport with races it was decided by the OCRL at Montreal, Road America and Scheduling admin panel to be “too confusing” the Glen. The Truck series needs and we are now back to the 4 to have 2 things happen. Thing 1, The last topic for “My Take” discussion is the OCRL’s official OCRL race days per week eventually include events at the Glen, Sonoma, Road America, schedule. It’s always been pretty with teams and drivers being forced to take the other 3 days to and Lime Rock, or at least 1 or 2
of them. Thing 2, focus on flat tracks and short tracks. Make it its own series and bring it back to its roots with more short tracks. Iâ€™m not calling for an abrupt overhaul in one off season, but this is certainly something that could be rolled out by adding races season after season.
Who Could be Next?
the win at the Coca-Cola 300 at season by winning the final 2 Charlotte Motor Speedway. He races and I don’t doubt for a led his team on a surge to minute that if he runs the full Eric Micke- Although Scott Ickes prominence in the OCRL and he season Rudy will be the next and King Crossover Motorsports is extremely capable of taking OCRL champion. nd could easily go out and win a 2 home the championship next consecutive championship, let’s season. assume a new driver will rise to Jeff Baki Jr finished 2nd to the occasion. As much as I believe Scott Ickes in the standings last as a driver for JRM I have a great season, and has never finished chance, as author I am going to nd take myself out of this discussion worse than 2 in the championship in his Sprint Cup to focus on the guys we really need to look out for. First up is the career. Baki is a 3 time champion, and while he felt like he struggled 2012b champion of the truck series now with his own name as for most of last season, he was able to make Ickes worry. There’s the title sponsor. no doubt when everything is on Chris Munger is a definite the line, Baki brings his game to a threat for the 2013a Sprint Cup first class level and if he can keep championship. He’s backed by his JRM team improving and on Thomas Morris and Pinnacle an even playing field with the Racing who came on extremely competition, he’ll likely be in strong from the middle of last contention when we get to season and all the way through to Homestead. the end. Munger who finished 4th Now that I’ve run through in the standings last season is easy the list there’s still one question to on his equipment and very be answered, who is going to be consistent and with a full season the 2013a OCRL Sprint Cup under his belt I think he knows champion? The answer, in my what he has to do in order to take opinion, comes from an unlikely his game to the next level. team but has proven he’s got the However to get to the Cup experience, speed and talent to get championship he’s going to have the job done. to go through his teammate and For O’Toole Motorsports, team owner Thomas Morris. Ryan Rudy will become the 2013a Morris finished 3rd in the OCRL Sprint Cup champion. standings and had a very Rudy came to the OCRL late last consistent season while proving season but right off the bat was a that when conditions are tough, factor for wins. He closed out the he’s even tougher when he took
New Rules Plague 2013, But for the Better? Jeff Baki Jr. -Many drivers can recall last season's opening races in Daytona when the lane change rule was born. A lot of guys were affected by it throughout the season, but we can all admit that it's a rule that the league truly needs in place. For 2013, the OCRL Officials brought in, essentially, an overhaul of what once was the OCRL Rulebook, bringing it to a whole new era.
something that could pay huge dividends when it's time to compete for the championship.
that's where the controversy starts. Is it right to remove a driver who consistently wins week in and Drop weeks are something week out? I guess if you're that that the OCRL has been hesitant driver it's unfair, but what about to bring in to the league, but they everyone else? Personally, it finally bit the bullet this season, would get boring showing up and racing for second every week, and allowing two drop races in the AMSOIL Xtreme Performance the admins won't appreciate it Series, and one race each in the much either if car counts begin to drop. CM Landscaping Truck Series
and the Paint Helper AllGoing into this new American Series. The debate season, the competition seems to could go two ways here: It's not be pretty stiff, with many new fair if the champion had fewer contenders being thrown into mix. starts that other people... but on New rules or not, this season the other hand, we're not required hopes to top last season, and if you ask me, that's going to be a Perhaps the biggest change to race, this isn't our job, and things outside of the racing league tall order in itself, but it's in the rulebook is the points can and will occur for everyone at definitely something that this structure. For several seasons league and its members are now, we've used the 43:1 ratio, some point. Drop weeks give drivers the opportunity to have a capable of doing. Good luck and in NASCAR, that works. everyone, and don't forget to read However, this isn't NASCAR, and mulligan or two, and maybe it will keep the championship battle the rulebook. we surely don't get 43 drivers. OCRL capped the fields at 30, and tight as well. allowed drivers to race in any Lastly, perhaps one of the series they wish for points, so most controversial rules the long as their iRating didn't not league has come by is iRating exceed the maximum. The current caps. For 2013, the OCRL took points structure, 23:1, gives off the minimums for each series, drivers who make every race the and have warned drivers that if opportunity to make the most of they prove they are unfit to driver their situation, and also hopes to a particular series, they will be provide for cleaner racing. removed from it. The caps have Drivers who finish outside of the fluctuated a little bit, but top 23 will be given just one alongside the caps is rule 2.1.1 point. A new feature in the points and 2.1.5. These two rules pretty structure is bonus points for the much state that if a driver is front row starts, as well as bonus stinking up the show, they can be points for keeping your car clean, removed from the series, and
sponsorship with Kellogg’s for the As the 2012B off season 44 and any other car that will be on board with me has the Brandon Wilkinson- As the 2012Bcomes to a close, still, a lot of availability of that sponsor. We off season comes to a close, there work is being made for teams as look forward to a great season have been many team managers, well. We met with teams such as with Kelloggs!” NSE racing, O’Toole Motorsports, and owners very busy this offAfter speaking with those season. That goes for the league Bombshell E3 Motorsports and Jr. two I found Brandon Wilkinson administrators as well. The league Motorsports to talk about their new sponsorships going into walking around the Bombshell E3 owners and admins have been 2013. haulers where there he was busy at work this off-season working on sponsorship going When talking to Robert currently taking tire pressures for the machine drove by Cody into 2013 as well as other teams Hill, we asked about their new McCorkle that evening. Wilkinson have. The owners and admins sponsors going into 2013A caught my eye and came over, have done a job well done this season. When asked what off-season by scoring sponsorship he is most fond and there was one question we all had sponsorships for 3 of our 4 excited to have on board he said; for him, and that was, “What’s divisions of racing here at the “For the 2013a Season we have going on here with Bombshell E3 Motorsports in 2013a?” OCRL. What was the “All renewed our sponsorship American Series” is now agreement with Thrustmaster, we When asked that, sponsored by ‘Paint Helper’ and worked with them last season in Wilkinson responded, “Well, you the series will now be known as the cup series and had them on see, Andrew and I are excited for the “Paint Helper All American board Mike Husby's #25 car in the this season for many reasons, we Series.” RMP Cup Series and this season have gotten a real sponsorship The truck season showed we will have them on all of our deal with Mr. Rooter to sponsor cars in all series in a bunch of MY modified, which will be the great racing last year and your 30, we also have many other champion Chris Munger will be races.” sponsors on board such as Miller involved with sponsoring The After the testing at OCRL Truck series in 2013. The Daytona which was held by Scott Lite for my truck, Cody has Speed truck series is now known as the Ickes we found Patrick O’Toole in Energy and Applebee’s on board “C.M. Landscaping Truck Series.”the garage area; when checking with him as well, we look forward Also, the nationwide series which out his cars, it was found that he to spending a good season and brought a great points battle in did not have his sponsors on the representing these companies out 2012B by Alex Boffoli and car, so I caught up and asked him on the track every single week on Patrick O’Toole for the second about his sponsor deals here in the the track.” Wilkinson obviously position, takes on new 2013a season, and he had to say excited to be back and racing in sponsorship as well. The that; “well, for the 2013a season, 2013a. Nationwide series in 2013 will we went to a paint shop a few There was one more man I now be known as the “AmsOil days ago and they got my car was on the search for, and that Extreme Performance Series” So painted red and yellow, which can was the big man. I went over to AmsOil on board for that series as only mean we have renewed our the Jr. Motorsports hauler, looking
for Jeff Baki Jr. I find Jake Finch walking around with his sprained This OCRL off season is ankle, out of action for this test, coming to an end but as you can then coming out of the changing see it is coming into 2013a in a room with water bottle in hand big way. Teams are ready, but on came Jeff Baki Jr. He was happy November 11th, will Daytona be about the results of his testing. As ready for the stars and cars of I came up to him, he smiled; he TheOCRL??? knew what was coming so I just asked, “What’s on board for Jr. Motorsports in 2013a sponsorship wise?” He replied; “For the Cup Series, I'm proud to say all four cars are fully funded. We have GoDaddy.com and DHL behind Eric Micke and his #5 team this season. For 2013, I'm back in my famous #88, which means Jake Finch returns back to his #8 car. His car is fully funded by Advocare, and has additional support from Pepsi Co. and CM Landscaping, which will appear on the car in five races this season. I'd like to welcome our new driver, Larry Scott Jr., to the team. He and Rheem have had a strong partnership as he's come up through the ranks, and they have backed his Sprint Cup Series efforts 100% this season. Our Nationwide Series isn't as solidified as we'd like it to be as we approach the season, but I can say that Pepsi Co. and my other Cup sponsors have stepped up and allowed me to defend the Nationwide Series Championship and run full-time.”
Debunking the Rumors Andrew and Brandon that it'd
my knowledge never went to any other BE3M personnel to find out what the situation was. Clearly any complaint or comment about the situation was ill-informed and quite unnecessary. That all being said, my commitments are with JRM and the #5 team and the goal is to bring home race wins and championships for that team. Anyone willing to question that is doing so on the basis of nothing."
have to wait until the season was over because I needed to focus on my efforts and duty at JRM. By --The OCRL reporters finally caught up with Eric Micke during the time the season was over, Patrick had pulled out of the what's supposed to be the off season to get the latest about the negotiations and the decision was made to make the deal with rumors linking him and Bombshell E3 Motorsports and Brandon and NextGen. Since that the merger talks that have gone time I have been distant from the specifics and only vaguely know on. for sure what is happening with "We ended the race at the team. But I have definitely This has been a busy off Homestead, and that ended our made it known to the guys season for Micke as he's season. The next day we stuck running the show that around and ran the CORT opener performance needs to be better, competed in the iRacing Petit Le with great success and then we cars need to be kept in one piece, Mans at Road Atlanta and also got to work on solidifying plans and they need to work together to competing in the CORT Trading for 2013a. The deal with BE3M is find something or someone who Paints Indycar Championship with 2 wins, a 2nd place and the that the team is made up of what can really impact the team in a points lead heading into the used to be my own team and what positive manner." Indianapolis 250, on 11/5/2012. used to be my brother Andrew's Micke was then asked own team. We merged a while about the recent controversy about back and the team is still functioning with mostly Andrew his involvement at all with BE3M at the helm. I wasn't happy with and how it is affected by the the choices that were made for the OCRL's rulebook. team throughout the season so I "The situation hasn't stepped into the offices and changed since the 2012a season, started trying to make things so I don't know what exactly the happen, because if my name is problem is. I understand we have going to be a part of something, it a rule in place prohibiting drivers damn sure better be something owning competing teams but my worth talking about. We spoke to situation has been made clear, and Brandon Wilkinson of NextGen it's a stupid rule if I do say so Motorsports about a merger to myself, and the reasons for it are improve and strengthen the team. pretty unnecessary as well. The Through those talks we found that fact is I was approached by Jeff Patrick O'Toole and O'Toole (Baki Jr, JRM team owner) and Motorsports were willing to almost given an ultimatum of negotiate a merger also. The plan dropping any involvement with was to bring these teams and the team and racing for him, or people together to create a solid having to leave JRM. This was all an competitive team for the 2013a because there were apparently season. A lot of these talks were some complaints from other happening in the last 3 weeks of owners or drivers out there. These the season and I ended up telling people never came to me, and to