Sunday, June 25, 2000

AUTO RACING INSIDER


Annoyed fans give Carroll an earful

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        Jerry Carroll is in the phone book. Or at least he was, until last week.

        Several fans called Carroll at home to complain about last weekend's traffic and parking problems at new Kentucky Speedway.

        “You know me, I don't run from anything,” Carroll said. “But I had to change my phone number.”

        Many fans were turned away and others had their vehicles stuck in muddy parking lots June 17, when the speedway was soaked by rain before its grand-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck race.

        By the way, will someone clarify how much rain hit the speedway? First, we were told 21/2 inches. Then it became 3 inches. Then 4. Then Leon ard Nimoy and his old In Search Of crew discovered Noah's ark floating through Turn Two, knocking Darrell Waltrip out of another provisional spot.

        Carroll reminds us that, though some people were turned away, the attendance figure was 63,750. And, yes, refunds will be mailed to those with unused tickets.

        “I feel bad about the whole thing,” Carroll said. “But the people who got in said it was the greatest track they'd ever been to.”

        The speedway said it will add three emergency parking areas with gravel entrances.

        Up next: Indy Racing League testing and an ARCA race this weekend (July 1-2), plus a celebrity “Legends” race featuring NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Jeremy Mayfield, Steve Park, Michael Waltrip and Kenny Wallace. Carroll said he expects between 25,000 and 30,000 people Sunday.

        MORE HISTORY: There were several e-mails from people wishing to identify notable names in Greater Cincinnati racing history. We named several in a recent story and are trying to mention any notables we missed. Among them:

        Rodney Combs, who drove in the NASCAR Busch series for Richard Petty and also in 50-plus Winston Cup races. ... Gene Crittendon, who was killed in an accident in 1970 at Queen City Speedway, raced alongside Benny Parsons and A.J. Foyt on the ARCA circuit and was a top local driver for many years. ... Bill Green and Jay Wyatt (ARCA stars) ... Ross Smith and Dick Freeman (USAC stars) ... Floyd Gilbert (a World 100 winner who also ran at Daytona).

        Also: Billy Teegarden, Baldy McClaren and Stan Bowman (all well-known local drivers on dirt tracks) ... Nelson Stacy (won four NASCAR Grand National races, including the Southern 500 as a rookie) ... Dudley Stacy (USAC, ARCA driver) ... Kevin Blair (three-time champion at Queen City Speedway).

        We also want to mention more current “big names” who are standouts locally and nationally. E-mail us at the address below if you think someone deserves mention.

        NHRA UPDATE: The NHRA dragsters visited Kirkersville (near Columbus) last weekend for the Pontiac Excitement Na tionals. Tony Schumacher beat veteran Joe Amato for his second Top Fuel victory of the season.

        Also, Tony Pedregon (Funny Car) and Mark Pawuk (Pro Stock) both snapped long winless streaks. Angelle Seeling (Pro Stock Motorcycle) took her third victory of the year, and Randy Daniels (Pro Stock Truck) also won in the $1.9 million event.

        LOCAL NOTES: Motorcycle racing comes to Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway this Friday and Saturday, with the AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships. The event spends two days at Lawrenceburg and then moves to Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis) for its completion July 3-5.

        Tom Groeschen welcomes your e-mail at tgroeschen@enquirer.com.

       



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