Nebraska Kart Shoot-Out
Dec 29-31, 2016
Ok peeps, in the midst of carrying on with day to day business, I think I have finally recovered from the haul out to Lincoln NE last weekend, and I’ve taken a lil time to “collect” some thoughts, and reflect.
Most of you know that I’ve been diggin’ in the karting world for a couple of decades now, and I’ve been fortunate to have traveled literally from coast to coast, and border to border covering races. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and for sure, the ugly, lol. Our race coverage load was light in 2016, the lightest in perhaps 15 years. But one event that I looked forward to all year long was the Nebraska Kart Shoot-Out. The way the dates fell on the calendar, along with all of ya’ll, we began our year in Lincoln, and we ended it here.
I mention the good, bad, and ugly for a reason. This event has had its share of all of them, lol. This was the sixth annual, and the fourth that Pam and I have made. I’ve witness this event go through the motions on the way to becoming a premier event on the karting calendar. Butch Bade, Jody Krug, along with Ralph Woodard and Lee Miller at Uncle Franks, have pieced together one helluva program. Yep, there’s been plenty of “trial and error”, but like anything else, that’s how you do it, you live and learn. I think they’ve almost got this puzzle put together with a few changes made for this year’s event.
In just one year we’ve progressed from a flagman that dropped the green/white/checkers all at once!!! (ROFLMAO!) to having Jason Cooper on the stand, who is among the best flagmen I’ve ever met anywhere in the country, IMO. We also, thankfully, saw the return of the “Newton Boys”, Jeff Jones and Josh Peterson as the on-track race directors. Plus, on the mic, the man, the myth, the legend himself, Dean McMartin!! Then, the addition of some guy named Nick Dice with a title of Promotions/Event Coordinator, (I think he made that title up himself! Lol), proved to be a huge step in the right direction. As I posted on Facebook, Nick is an organizational freak of nature! His skill set will undoubtedly prove to be a huge positive for the event. Those are the “faces” of the event, but let’s not forget the “key players” on this NKS team. The key players include the families of Bade, Krug, and Woodard. From wives to offspring, everyone is involved in the success of this program. From registration to the grid and the infield, the families answer whatever call is made to get the job done. A couple of “outsiders” are thrown in as corner marshals. Oh, and the score team, OMG!!! These ladies do a helluva job! Hand scoring!! Yep, hand scoring!! IMO, this is the only “backwards” aspect to this show, but with this team of ladies, it works, and as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
With all the social media coverage, ya’ll already know how the action went, but I’m gonna use this time to simply dole out some “shout-outs” from the Shoot-Out!
How ’bout Fast Jack Anderson??!!! This young’un is the epitome of “a natural” on the track, but then again, he’s surrounded by some pretty good racing blood. Johnny Anderson has been known to have a good night or two behind the wheel of race cars, and then they’ve got some random dude hanging with them, Fast Eddie Brose, anybody know him? lol. So the lil guy def has some good influences when it comes to wheeling a fast machine. Fast Jack took a runner-up finish in Fridays Jr 1 Medium feature behind Tate Bieret, and a again in Heavy behind Caleb Woodard. Saturday brought another second place finish in Jr 1 Heavy behind Nathan Lynch, but he bagged the win in Medium over Bieret and Trey Utesch. Then, with the stage set, and the money on the line, the lil guy laid down the gauntlet in the Jr 1 Speed Dash taking the checkers ahead of Kadence Davenport, Woodard, and Bieret.
Sanborn MN’s Christopher Thram is another hot rod young’un that can flat get the job done. Thram kicked off his weekend with a win in J 2 Medium on Friday over Payton Stanley and Austen Hubbard. Stanley, aboard a P&P Speed Shop powered machine for the first time this weekend, returned the favor in the Heavy feature on Friday, taking the checkers ahead of Thram and Hubbard.
After having some issues and settling for a seventh place finish in Medium on Saturday, Thram scored a third place finish in Heavy. With Harrisburg SD’s Sam Gibson taking the win in both Medium and Heavy on Saturday, the Speed Dash stage was set to be a knockdown, drag out ordeal, and it didn’t disappoint. When the smoke cleared, it was Thram cashing in for the Speed Dash win over Oskaloosa IA’s Dylan VanWyk and Stanley. Landon Krohn and Aaron Waller capped the top five.
Some call him crazy, some call him other names, but nobody can deny, Des Moines IA’s Jason Ray is one of the most “entertaining” racers in the region, if not the country. There’s never a dull moment with Jason in the house, on or off the track, lol. Ray fought his way to a pair of second place finishes on
Friday. He chased New Richmond WI’s Jake Alton to the checkers in the Super Heavy main, and followed Pella IA’s Drew Janssen to the stripe in Heavy. Ray struggled a bit in Saturday’s Heavy feature, and forfeited the Super Heavy win on Saturday to Chad Zeigler after coming light at the scales. But, he found his mojo just when he needed it most, the Super Heavy Speed Dash, taking the win over Jake and Steve Alton, with Jon Grevengoed and Adam Johnson rounding out the top five.
Make no mistake about it, the Speed Dash races are what everyone is here for. That’s the ones paying the money. The biggest payday of the weekend was up for grabs in the Adult Heavy Speed Dash. To set the stage, Janssen won Heavy on Friday, and Bryan Nevins Jr won Medium. On Saturday, it was Fast Eddie Brose taking the Medium win and Tayber Haremza capturing the Heavy win. The 50 lap Dash will be a good one, no doubt.
Several racers are in the hunt including Janssen, Brose, and Haremza. But wait! The laps are winding down, and who’s that out front? That’s the #07 of Trackside Motorsports pilot Mike Halliburton! The Columbia MO wheelman appears to be on a rail and headed to a sure win. But here comes Haremza, visibly the fastest machine on the track! Cooper waves his hand at the leaders, signaling five to go, and Halliburton knows he’s got company. With two to go off of turn two, Halliburton twitches his head to the outside, as if there’s room out there. What’s he doing? Haremza inches closer. Off of turn four, heading to the white flag, Halliburton glances to his right again!!! Haremza closes the gap even more. Off of turn two for the last time, there’s the head twitch again, and there’s Haremza! Off of turn four the duo are side by side, drag racing to the checkers! It’s Haremza by an inch!!! What a run by the young man from Colby KS! Janssen comes home in third, while Adam Johnson and Brose cap the top five.
Now that there is how you put the finishing touches on a show!!! And that’s how it happened in Lincoln NE. Only 51 more weekends until we can do it again!!