This past weekend we were at Lima Land Motor Sports Park on Friday night for our make up feature from the rain out the week before plus our Firecracker Friday special. In the make up feature we started 8th, but the track turned really slick and we missed our setup so we finished 9th over all. In the second feature we were in the second heat and dominated it as we hit the set up perfectly and checked out. That got us qualified for the feature and put us starting in the 4th position, an excellent position for the big money on the line for Firecracker Friday. As the race started, we jumped right into the 4th position and started heading to the front only to have a part failure somewhere inside the steering box. We were credited for the 17th position. That was a big let down for us as fast as we were in our heat and in just the first couple of laps of the feature, but we won’t let that get us down. This Friday night we are off to our first visit at Moler Raceway Park and then on Saturday we are back to K-C Raceway again.
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach
Nationwide Series- Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola- Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Sprint Cup Series- Coke Zero 400- Kevin Harvick
At the SummitRacing.com Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, Jay Blake’s
Permatex/Follow A Dream team shot back into the top 10 in the national
standings with a second straight semifinal finish in national competition.
As in Englishtown two weeks earlier, driver Todd Veney qualified in the top
five and advanced to the semifinals, where he fell to 13-time Top Alcohol
Funny Car world champion Frank Manzo, who has yet to lose a round all year.
The car ran flawlessly, with times of 5.72, 5.67, and 5.70 in qualifying and
equally consistent runs of 5.70 and 5.72 in the first two rounds of
eliminations. The 5.70 took out Canadian veteran Larry Dobbs, who ran a
5.87, and the 5.72 was just enough for another close win over John Anderika,
the second-ranked driver in Division 1 last season, who hit a 5.74.
“Norwalk is kind of a home race for me because I grew up just an hour from
the track,” Todd said. “I really wanted to do well there, and we did. It’s
always great to be in the late rounds at a national event, but my wife was
there, my mom and dad were there, and a bunch of my friends from high school
and college were there, too, which made it that much more special for me.”
Just as in Gainesville, where the team also reached the final four, the
other semifinalists were Manzo; Steve Harker, who finished second in the
national standings last year; and Mickey Ferro, who appears headed for a
second-place finish this year, having reached the final round in each of his
nine starts this year.
A possible final-round showing for the Permatex/Follow A Dream team
dissolved in the semi’s when the engine inexplicably fell silent just as
Todd was preparing to stage against Manzo, handing Manzo a free pass into
“It’s disappointing to lose because of an electrical failure, but overall,
it was another good weekend,” Jay said. “We had some special guests at the
track, we got back in the semifinals, and we’re back in the top 10.”
The team’s next race is this week’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series meet at
Lebanon Valley Dragway in scenic upstate New York, just outside Albany.
Tuner Tom Howell has a history of success at the sometimes tricky track,
having guided the car to the number 1 qualifying spot there in 2006.
The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals sportsman finals will be
broadcast July 4, 2010 @ 12:00PM ET on ESPN2.
June 18, 2010-Watsonville, CA, ……..Cory Kruseman of Ventura, CA utilized a change of
scenery to change his luck by dominating Friday night’s USAC/CRA Sprint car feature at
Ocean Speedway for his first victory of the 2010 campaign. Kruseman started from the fifth
position and wasted little time taking the Lucas Oil/Agromin Mopar to the top of the track to
rocket around early leader Nick Faas on lap seven. Despite having multiple yellow flags
erase his substantial lead, Kruseman was unchallenged for the win. Overcome with emotion
in victory lane, Kruseman dedicated the race win to Thomas McCune, a long time friend and
crewman who passed away in May.
Nationwide- New England 200- Kyle Busch
Sprint Cup- Lenox Industrial Tools 301- Jimmie Johnson
Marstons Mills, MA-June 23, 2010- Hot off a semifinal finish at the SuperNationals June 11-13 in Englishtown, N.J., Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team heads to Norwalk, Ohio for the SummitRacing.com Nationals. It promises to be one of the toughest challenges of the season, with top-ranked cars from every corner of the country entered in the event.
“Norwalk is one of everybody’s favorite races every year, just because of the track itself,” Jay said. “The Bader family really knows how to run a racetrack. We’ve got some special things planned for the weekend, including a trip to the Permatex plant in Solon, Ohio, a pit visit by some of the folks from Travel Centers of America, a speech I’ll be giving at the Lion’s Club in Todd’s hometown, and a wedding reception Todd’s parents are throwing at their house Thursday night.”
Driver Todd Veney, who married Jacque Huntley two weeks earlier, on the Friday of the Englishtown race, grew up not far from Norwalk, in Wadsworth, Ohio. “It’s like another home race for me,” he said. “Everybody in the area is proud of the Norwalk track, and I’m really looking forward to hearing Jay speak for the first time ever when he gives his speech in Wadsworth. Plus, everybody on the team will be with us this weekend, just like they were when we got to the semi’s in Gainesville and Englishtown, so we’re looking to get back into the late rounds again at the very least.”
A giant crowd is expected at the northern Ohio facility, which drew a record 45,000 fans for the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional event there last month. Two qualifying sessions are scheduled for Friday, with a last-shot session Saturday morning and the first round of eliminations that afternoon. Final eliminations are on Sunday, and the event will be televised the following Sunday, July 4, from 11 a.m. to noon (Eastern time) on ESPN2.
Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) drivers Andrew Aquilante, from Chester Springs, Pa., and Bret Spaude, from Bushnell, Fl., finished 13th in Saturday’s 2.5-hour GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Held on the 2.258-mile, 15-turn circuit, and from a 15th place qualifying position, only 0..765 seconds off the pole, Spaude and Aquilante raced their 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI to as high as seventh place in the 29-car Grand Sport field.
The race was round seven of 10 in the season for the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, race-prepared and tuned by Phoenix Performance of Phoenixville, Pa.
The race’s progress in its first half was marred by incidents which five times in the first half of the race had the field under control of the safety car, and there were green flag segments as brief as of three and four laps.
“We were very pleased with the mechanical reliability that we have been getting from the STI, especially in the high temperatures, and continue to work on adding more power and speed” said Phoenix Performance owner Joe Aquilante.
The next GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series event on the calendar, another 2.5-hour race, is scheduled for July 17, at New Jersey Motorsports Park, near Millville, N.J.
The Mid-Ohio race will be televised on SPEED TV to air June 26 at 1pm ET.
Sponsors for SRRT include Subaru Of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Hawk Brakes, freeM of America, VAC Motorsports, Automotive Racing Products, Rockland Standard Gear, Quarter Master, Ecutek, Lista, Rotary Lifts, Cusco, Carbonetic, Hella, and Perrin.
As I’m sure everyone reading this bulletin will know, CPL Racing have lead the way in setting numerous European records in their Honda Civic Type R over the past six years, being the first Honda in Europe to smash the 12, 11, and 10 second barriers. And now we are delighted to announce that Guy Chamberlain, driving his turbocharged Civic, broke into the 9’s this weekend, running an amazing 9.91 second pass at 149 mph, later backing this up with a 9.93 second pass.
Breaking the 9 second barrier has required unrivalled determination as it needed design from scratch of a drag racing dog engagement gear kit, extensive chassis analysis and suspension setup and lots of sleepless nights finding and designing engine components which could handle the power that we needed in the car. Thanks to Elliot Dason-Barber of Virtual Racer for the extensive analysis work undertaken on the chassis, tyre wear and data-logs, the ARP head studs so kindly designed specifically for us, superior quality lines and fittings generously supplied by Earls Performance and high grade oil supplied by Millers Oils we were slowly chipping away at the times. This time last year we were, however, having problems with spark plugs giving up on us after only one ¼ mile run and NGK kindly stepped in to provide us with something more substantial so that we could at least get the plugs to last for a day’s racing until we could find a longer-term solution over the winter of the car consuming spark plugs quicker than five litres of race fuel!!!!
The 12 and 11 second barriers were reasonably comfortable to achieve given our growing knowledge at this time of the Honda engines and gearboxes. Helped by the winning Clutchmasters clutch and Quaife differential combination that we were the first to use in Europe. In addition the Hondata engine management gave us exactly the flexibility we needed with all the various N/A, supercharged, turbo and nitrous setups that we experimented with in this period, and Doug and Javier at Hondata kindly gave us extensive technical support to enable us to push the boundaries ever further with the car.
Getting into the 10s was much more challenging as we were starting to break numerous standard parts on the car such as gearboxes, driveshaft and engine mounts, but we achieved this exactly three years ago in June 2007, which meant we had to call on the services of Hauser Racing to provide us with a high specification roll cage to meet the strict safety standards of the MSA and Santa Pod officials.
Despite pushing the car to its limits this weekend it is still
very much intact and having hit 149 mph we are resigned to the fact that
having spend the past six years getting weight off the car, we will now
have to add a little to the back by fitting the parachute that Hauser
Racing have donated to us.
Hairston Motorsports & Racing Qualifies #1 In Las Vegas & Goes to The Finals
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (June 18-19, 2010) – The Hairston Motorsports & Racing team attended the Pacific Street Car Association (PSCA) California Nationals, in Las Vegas this past weekend. Clint “The Milkman” Hairston of Bakersfield qualified #1 with a 6.18 @ 238 mph, achieving both top speed and low E.T. of the day.
Clint and the Jerry Bickel built 2007 GTO made it to the final round on Saturday against Randy Walker’s 1974 Chevrolet El Camino, the reigning 2009 PSCA Pro Street Champion. The final race ended in controversy. During engine maintenance between rounds, the Walker team was unable to replace damaged oil rings on the driver’s side of the motor. In the staging lanes, Walker’s crew warned us that the engine would probably smoke until the nitrous system was activated but they didn’t think it would be problem. Unfortunately the engine smoke was much worse than expected and in HMR’s opinion may have affected the timing system allowing the Walker car to leave the starting line early without red lighting.
An official statement from the PSCA states “Representatives from Hairston Motorsports along with Track Manager Chris Blair, Nate Hirshi and PSCA President Mel Roth reviewed the LVMS video replays and could not find conclusive evidence that Walker’s car left the starting line before the tree went green.. There was questions raised that Walker left too early but the smoke prevented the red light to activate…” What was not mentioned is that because the smoke was so thick several of the camera views were obstructed. When asked about looking at any other video evidence, Chris Blair said that only official track video could be accepted.
Walker’s time slip numbers were not realistic showing a 5.886 ET, .468 60’, 2.301 330’ and 3.698 1/8 further indicating a timing system malfunction. Mel Roth, PSCA President and Race Director, also agreed the time slip was not valid and decided to disallow the numbers but awarded the win to Walker. Although we agree that the Race Director does have the final word when there is controversy, Mel’s decision is not consistent with the National Hot Rod Association’s race day competition guidelines. There is much precedent in this area both at NHRA National and Divisional events. Had this same situation occurred at an NHRA event the run would have been disallowed because of the invalid time slip. Further, if NHRA officials determined that the timing system failure was caused by one of the competitor’s cars, the offending competitor would have been disqualified regardless of the win light results. If no fault could be found with the car then a rerun would have been required.
HRM wants to make it clear that in know way do we feel that Walker Racing did anything wrong. Although their car was smoking badly literally obstructing our driver’s view of the track, the LVMS starter found no reason to shut their car off and motioned for both cars to stage. Again it is HRM’s opinion that the smoke created an unacceptable safety situation because of limited starting line visibility. Video of the run can be found on our website www.hairstonmotorsports.com showing visibility in our lane.
HRM thought it important to share our position on this incident with our sponsors, fans, interested racing media; LVMS track personnel and management and PSCA officials. We have the utmost respect for the LVMS race track officials and PSCA officials and although we disagreed with the outcome, our team will move on to the next race with no hard feelings only disappointment.
Hairston set the event low E.T and high MPH on Saturday, 6.12 @ 240 MPH, and still holds the Pacific Street Car Association Pro Street National E.T. and MPH record that was set at California Nationals, in Fontana on May 23, 2010. (6.084 @ 238.30 mph)
Hairston Motorsports & Racing would like to give special thanks to Lucas Oil for being our title sponsor this year and also thank our many other loyal sponsors; Pertronix, Duttweiler Performance, PrecisionTurbo, XS Power, Powermaster, Racepak, Hoosier Tire, K&N, Crower Clutches, Lenco, Comp Cams, Hogan Manifolds, Jesel, Strange, Motive Gear, SCE Gaskets, Starside Design, Specialty Fasteners, Russell, Brodix and ARP for their continuing support. Special thanks go out again to Doug Stewart, Bill Hickok and Tom Esbri for their amazing support for this team.
The Hairston team’s next event will take place at the Pacific Street Car Association California Nationals in Fontana, CA on September 10-12, 2010.
Hello and good day! This past weekend we were supposed to get 2 races in, and we almost did- but mother nature is not being nice to us this year. Friday night we were at Lima Land Motor Sports Park and we started off with a high number pill draw again and that put us starting in the 4th heat and the last row. We got going good and made it up to 2nd and that got us qualified for the feature and the inversion was an 8 so that put us starting in the 4th row outside. As the feature started, we jumped up to 4th on the first lap only to have mother nature win again on this night as the rains came and there will be a make-up feature in 2 weeks for this race,
Saturday night we went K-C Raceway for our first visit in about 5 yrs and we got a good draw and started 1st in the first heat and finished 2nd and that got us qualified for the feature and the inversion was a 6 and that got us starting 4th in the feature and the feature went non-stop with no passing as the track was super dry with hardly no passing from anyone, you either lost a spot or two or gained one or two, not a good racing surface at all. But we ended up finishing in the 5th position, another good run and another great night for gaining points and getting us very close to taking over the points lead, we are off this weekend with double features on July 2nd at Lima Land Motor Sports Park.
LIMA, Ohio – A last minute schedule addition, of the NHRA Thunder Valley
Nationals for Performance by Fisher Racing, would put team driver Kathy Fisher and
her Dragon Racing Fuels/K&N/Ohio Crankshaft/Amalie Oil Super Comp Dragster in
front of the cameras for “Inside Drag Racing”.
“The Bristol event was just something that came together very quickly for us,”
explained Kathy. “Since we have two team cars, my Super Comp and my husband
Kevin’s Top Dragster, we try to only go to events where we can compete with both.
Top Dragster wasn’t offered during that event, but it didn’t take much convincing to
get Kevin to go and just take my car.”
The trip to the famed Bristol Dragway, nestled between two mountains adjacent to Bristol Motor
Speedway, was a first for The Fisher’s.
“One of the reasons we went was just to see the track,” she continued. “Bristol has always been on
our list of places we must race and we were not disappointed in the least with the breathtaking
views and the outstanding facility.”
When Ted Jones, of Bristol, Tennessee based Masters Entertainment, became aware of Fisher’s
trip to the NHRA National event, he asked her to be a part of a special sportsman episode of
“Inside Drag Racing” which airs nationally on Fox Sports.
“Inside Drag Racing” is a highly successful drag racing TV magazine show currently in its 16th year. The
program has received multiple broadcasting awards and covers numerous drag racing events from various
sanctioning bodies all across the U.S. The series can be seen Sunday mornings at 11:30a and repeats Mondays
at 4:30p, in all time zones.
Fisher, a National and Divisional event winner in the 8.90 category, was joined by fellow sportsman
competitor Skip Walls and his Lokar Motorsports Super Comp car for the show’s taping during the
“Our Super Comp class is one of the very popular index classes contested by NHRA (National Hot
Rod Association) on both the National and Divisional level,” noted Fisher. “This class has an 8.90 second quarter mile index, which makes it a breakout class and one where most all of us are using throttle stops to slow the cars down time-wise, while still holding on to higher mile-per-hour, ranging from as low as 150’s to well into the 180’s. But we all must stay at or slower than the 8.90 index.”
“It can be quite complicated class to explain and I hope that what the viewers will witness during our show,
will help them better understand all that is involved with not only competing in these index classes, but also at
this level of our sport,” she added.
Fisher is no stranger to the camera and has hosted various shows on ESPN, Fox Sports and The Outdoor
Channel, but notes that being on the “other side” as she put it was quite different.
“Even though I do a little work in the television broadcast field, I thought it may be a little distracting
to have all the cameras on my car and around us during and after my runs,” she reflected. “But to be
honest, I didn’t notice them at all. It was an outstanding experience all the way around and we
look forward to seeing the show next month.”
The special episode of “Inside Drag Racing,” filmed with Fisher and her Dragon Racing Fuels/K&N/Ohio
Crankshaft/Amalie Oil Super Comp Dragster at Bristol Dragway during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, will
air on Fox Sports Sunday July 11th at 11:30a and repeat Monday July 12th at 4:30p.
Hello and good morning! This past weekend mother nature won again as the heavy rains came in late in the afternoon. It’s been a rainy year so far off. This weekend we will be at Limaland Motorsports Park on Friday night and on Saturday we will have our first visit to KC Raceway on Saturday night in about 5 yrs. Mother Nature is calling for a chance of rain again both nights; let’s hope she is wrong!
Subaru Road Racing Team Eager for Mid-Ohio Return
– Team has won twice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course –
Phoenixville, PA. – June 16, 2010
Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude are looking forward to an upswing in the team’s fortune as the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series races this Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, site of two of the team’s past wins (2007, 2008).
The 2 1/2-hour race on the 2.258-mile circuit near Lexington, Ohio, is round seven of 10 in the season, and will take the green flag at 1:15pm.
Driving a Grand Sports class 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI race-prepared and tuned by Phoenix Performance of Phoenixville, Pa., co-drivers Andrew Aquilante of Phoenixville, and Bret Spaude, of Bushnell, Fla., have logged a season’s best fifth place at Lime Rock, Conn. Both drivers are looking to capitalize on the continual car development that has been the focus of the team this year.
“I raced at Mid-Ohio a half dozen times in my karting career,” Spaude said. “I’ve done a lot of WKA Grand Nationals here and won three or four of them.” Spaude has also won an SCCA National Championship in a car built by Phoenix Performance.
“We know it’ll be a challenge on the front stretch and the back straight at Mid-Ohio,” said AJ Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa. “But I feel the ‘esses’ plus ‘Thunder Valley’ and all the way back to the starting line, we have the pace over anybody because of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.”
Aquilante added, “Our team’s 2007 and 2008 wins at Mid-Ohio with our third place in last year’s Street Tuner class race, show the Subaru Road Racing Team can win.”
The Subaru Road Racing Team’s two wins at Mid-Ohio were partially attributable to tactical pit stop timing along with rain showers at times during both races, proving a sizable advantage with the benefit of having the Subaru symmetrical AWD system.
“If there was a nice summer thunderstorm about halfway through the race Saturday, just enough to make the track wet but not bother the fans, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to us,” Andrew Aquilante said, in a playfully wicked tone of voice.
“Barring any mishaps, and on a track where we’re right at home, we can focus on refining our race strategy and leveraging our efforts in car development,” said Joe Aquilante.
Added James Han, motorsports marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc., “Mid-Ohio really rewards a well-balanced car and poses a challenging drive. That said, we have proven the team management is adept at timing strategic pit stops. Adding our core Subaru technologies, which include the Subaru symmetrical AWD system and boxer engine, we should be in good position come the end of the race.”
The race will be televised by SPEED TV to air June 26 at 1pm.
Sponsors for SRRT include Subaru Of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), Ron Davis Racing Radiators, Hawk Brakes, freeM of America, VAC Motorsports, Automotive Racing Products, Rockland Standard Gear, Quarter Master, Ecutek, Lista, Rotary Lifts, Cusco, Carbonetic, Hella, and Perrin.
About SRRT Phoenix LLC
SRRT Phoenix LLC represents Subaru of America Inc.’s road racing effort in the 10-round GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series and is owned and managed by Joe Aquilante of Phoenix Performance, LLC. The team’s 32,000 sq. ft. facility is in Phoenixville, Pa., 40 miles west of Philadelphia, PA. Team drivers Andrew Aquilante and Bret Spaude race a Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the Grand Sport class.
Thanks Martinez family for joining us at the Open House and bringing your Rover. Nice pictures!
At the recent ARP Open House, Ron Main presented a replica of the Hot Rod Trophy the Speed Demon team won at the most recent Bonneville Speed Weeks, to Mike Holzapfel, president of ARP. Speed Demon set a new record of over 435 MPH to become the world’s fastest piston engine vehicle. ARP has worked with the team for the past several years to provide all of the critical fasteners that hold the car together. The NMCA Edelbrock Muscle Car Nationals, the #1 all-domestic muscle car show in the U.S., rocked the Northeast last weekend and featured the 2nd Annual shopHEMI.com Late-Model HEMI Shootout, the largest gathering of modern HEMI muscle cars of the year. The 8th Annual Kooks Custom Headers NMCA Muscle Car Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, the weekend of June 4-6, 2010, saw strong fan attendance as well as very racer & show car participation considering the threat of rain & thunderstorms all weekend. Also featured at this event was a large manufacturers’ midway and Elaine Larsen in her Embry-Riddle jet dragster shooting for 300+ mph passes in the Keystone state. June 5, 2010, O’Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis IN, FASS Diesel Nationals Eulogy from Kevin Whitworth
Since Curt Haisley was busy with his wife having their baby, Van Haisley (his dad) took the truck and drove it to win the PRO-MOD Sled Pull Class!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kevin Whitworth. I’m honored that the Hockett family has given me the opportunity to speak to you about Jesse’s life. I’m humbled and amazed as I look out at all of you: family, in-laws, outlaws, and friends and I realize that, while we all knew Jesse in different roles, we were blessed to have known a truly extraordinary young husband, son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, friend, football player, and, yes, race car driver.
First, let me set a little background as to why they asked me. As Jack has said many times, the reason Jessie raced was all my fault. I’ve known Jesse since he was just a small boy. I didn’t spend a lot of time every day with him necessarily, like a schoolmate, but I did start working with his dad Jack roughly 27 years ago. At the time, I had just started racing Sprint cars and Jack, Connie, Jessie , Jack’s sister Kathy, “ the Rowden gang,” and Jack’s closest friend Grover Hall all started coming to watch the sprint cars in Sedalia and the other local tracks. For whatever reason, they took a liking to me, which has been a blessing for me ever since. The first benefit of having the Hocketts like you is they were great for t-shirt sales! (Have you looked at the size of this family in victory lane pictures?)
The second benefit for me personally was this family always made me feel like I was one of them. From Jack being like a big brother and Kathy being like a big sister, whom I’m sure would have fought anyone in the stands that was badmouthing me, to Jesse, who was like the little brother who looked up to me and wanted to be like me. For awhile, I didn’t really have a tow vehicle and Jack told Connie he needed a new pickup, but, honestly I think it was for me to use because I sometimes put more miles on it than they did? So when I talk about how Jesse was, I’m really showing you this reflection of all the people that loved him.
As time passed, Jesse’s love for the sport drove Jack and Grover to start building 4 cylinder winged sprint cars to race for themselves. To start out Grover, Jack, Robbie, Jesse, and Tim Rowden (Kathy’s husband) even built a sprint car in there somewhere that they all drove. So now Connie transitioned very quickly from spectator to watching the whole darn family going around in circles. I didn’t get to see them race much because I was always somewhere else racing myself, but I always got the weekly report from Jack on Monday morning at work as to how everyone had done ( Waterloo did pay us for just a little bench racing each week) and every week he would say, “I wish you can see Jesse race; he drives just like you”. I’ll come back to this a little later.
Jesse was proving to everyone around him that he WAS special and one by one the clan parked their cars and the energy started to focus on him. They all still came and watched races as much as they could.
All this “training” we’ll call it that this family put themselves through is why so many of you have come from so far away to honor Jesse. What I want you to know is that without any one member of his family, you may have not been able to enjoy that little boy, ornery grin of his because there was a little bit of all of them in Jesse.
Jesse was also very fortunate to have his cousin Daniel McMillian as his crew chief at the beginning of his career. Those two just knew what each other needed, mostly without words. I think people that didn’t know Jesse well wondered if, after losing Daniel ,he would be able to maintain the success they had achieved together. Don’t let what I’m about to say diminish in any way what Daniel contributed to Jesse, but I’m not sure it didn’t make him better. He could grab anyone, throw them in the truck with him, run of of fuel on the way to the track, leave the wing at home, and still figure out a way by the end of the night to stand in victory lane? After all that, he would take the time to greet every fan like he knew them forever, from a Dick Vermeil to a little boy or girl who just wanted to crawl around on his car, Jesse
loved people; you could see it in his eyes.
As everyone knows, it takes a lot of people working together to make anyone successful in the world of Sprint car racing, no matter how much talent a driver has. And before I name a few of those people please forgive me if I forget someone.
First, as I ended my career ,one of my two closest friends in the world and best helpers, Dave Korte, was left with nothing to do on Friday and Saturday nights and Jesse was fortunate to latch on to him. He has been through so much with Jesse and If you would like to hear some of the funniest stories about being on the road with the boys, I recommend you corner Dave sometime when you have an hour or so.
You will laugh till you cry.
There are people like Grover Hall ,Bob Douglas, Larry McCown, and Ernie Walker, who, like they did for me, would see a need that was keeping you from doing the important stuff on the racecar and, without saying a word, just show up with materials and devote their time to fix the problem, asking for nothing in return.
And also all the boys that have given up their lives at home to travel with Jesse at different times for little or no money just for the satisfaction of being a part of something special.
And last but not least the folks who Jesse had to meet :
Like every other talented driver at every other track, you need someone who has the money and who believes in you enough to spend it. For Jesse, this was lettering on the side of the car: VKCC.
Written by: Tyler Rowden
VKCC….who or what is that you ask? That was a common question Jesse would face when being interviewed. Most of us assumed that VKCC was an acronym for something….well, it’s not.
VKCC has multiple meanings. Most importantly, it means FAMILY….always there for you through thick and thin. It also means LOYALTY, TRUST, PASSION and LOVE….it means when you’re expected to do something, you go above and beyond those expectations. Think about that….exceeding expectations set upon you. Jesse Hockett couldn’t have done that any better, and VKCC certainly did as well. But VKCC does have a literal translation.
Tom and Asta VanKeirsbilck: VanKeirsbilck, there’s the V and your K. They own a Contracting Company, there’s the C and C. Add motorsports and that is VKCC Motorsports. But there wasn’t a VKCC Motorsports prior to “The Rocket.” And Tom and Asta never really had any idea of owning a racing team. Tom, however, did love his racing and being around the tracks with close friends and family.
In the summer of 1998, in Sedalia, MO, there were 2 classes of sprint cars: the fuel-injected 360’s and the 2-barrel 360’s. The fuel-injected class didn’t have enough cars to have a full field so they were asking the 2-barrel guys if they wanted to jump in to fill the field. The driver of the car that Tom was with that night had a few beers and wasn’t able to get in the car, so they were looking for a driver. Jack was asked if he would drive the car. Jack told him that they ought to put his son, 15-yrs old at the time, in the car. After Jack convinced them that Jesse could do it, the hunt was on for some gear…Jesse didn’t have any of his stuff at the track, as he was a spectator that night. They found some shoes, a little too big but that didn’t matter, a suit that was also a little big, a helmet, etc, and strapped him in.
Jesse got out there in hot laps in the 2-barrel car, against the fuel-injected 360’s, and was on the gas….going around some of the best 360 fuel-injected racers out there. Come feature time, Jesse was up for the battle, as he would be for any battle before or after that. At one point, Jesse was in the top 5, then slipped back a few positions but maintained a top 10 finish in a 2-barrel car, on a half mile track with the
After that, Tom said “Damn, that boy’s got some talent!”. Someone informed him that there were some financial problems with being able to run consistently. The following spring, Jack received a call from Tom asking to have Jesse run a car for him, and from there on it was like a match made in heaven and a
dream come true.
Both Jack and Jesse loved sprint car racing and, with the help of VKCC, Jesse’s dream became a reality . One thing that Jack heard over and over from fans was, “Man, Jesse sure is one lucky guy!” Jack would always say, and still does….”Luck is when Jesse met Stubb and Asta that summer evening in Sedalia, MO, after that….Jesse EARNED every bit of it.”
VKCC Motorsports helped make Jesse Hockett, and Jesse Hockett helped make VKCC Motorsports. We may never see another VKCC Motorsports car on the track again and we will miss that, but we will miss Jesse far more.
Every time I would see Jesse, he would still make me feel like I was the greatest sprint car driver ever. Finally, one night at Lucas Oil Speedway, I had to set him straight: he had passed my abilities with his God given talent long ago and the only reason he thought I was so good was because I got out of the sport before he had a chance to whip me like he has done so many other racers. So no, Jack, Jesse didn’t drive just like me, but I’m honored that I might have driven a little bit like him.
There is one more thing I would like to address before closing and because it is last has nothing to do with how important it was to Jesse; quite the opposite is true. Jesse had two women in his life that he loved with all his heart: his mom Connie and his wife Tina. When he was with either, you could see this light in his eyes that could only be compared to when he would climb out of that race car. I ask you to look at the photos and see what I’m talking about. I have had more than one talk with his mom Connie about how I could have lost my life in Sedalia years ago and even though the way we lost Jesse he was doing the thing he loved.
I need to close with this story: just yesterday, Dave Korte and I were sitting in our lawn chairs outside, watching the people file into the funeral home. Dave spotted this little boy, kind of stocky with sunglasses and flipflops on his feet ,scuffing them on the concrete. Dave said standing with his mom., “There is a little Jesse Hockett right there.” Dave said. We laughed for a moment and after five minutes or so, he moved away from his mother’s side and wandered over and positioned himself about 10 feet directly in front of us. He reached up and moved his sunglasses to the top of his head, stared us straight in the eyes, and said in a soft voice as though he wanted us to strain to really listen, “Jesse is in heaven.” Dave thought he knew what he said, but wasn’t sure so he asked the little boy what he had said. And the little boy replied “Jesse is in heaven” and I said “That is right; he is”. And he looked us straight in the eyes once again and said “You’re his teammates” and we said, “Why, yes we are.”
I believe God is a good God, and I believe the day will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as our savior. This day, standing here before you, it is hard to understand this plan because I don’t have His wisdom and all we can feel at this moment is our loss, but I do believe God loves Jesse Hockett even more than we do and the little boy he sent to deliver the message was right
“Jesse is in heaven today.”
At the recent ARP Open House, Ron Main presented a replica of the Hot Rod Trophy the Speed Demon team won at the most recent Bonneville Speed Weeks, to Mike Holzapfel, president of ARP. Speed Demon set a new record of over 435 MPH to become the world’s fastest piston engine vehicle. ARP has worked with the team for the past several years to provide all of the critical fasteners that hold the car together.
The NMCA Edelbrock Muscle Car Nationals, the #1 all-domestic muscle car show in the U.S., rocked the Northeast last weekend and featured the 2nd Annual shopHEMI.com Late-Model HEMI Shootout, the largest gathering of modern HEMI muscle cars of the year. The 8th Annual Kooks Custom Headers NMCA Muscle Car Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, the weekend of June 4-6, 2010, saw strong fan attendance as well as very racer & show car participation considering the threat of rain & thunderstorms all weekend. Also featured at this event was a large manufacturers’ midway and Elaine Larsen in her Embry-Riddle jet dragster shooting for 300+ mph passes in the Keystone state.
June 5, 2010, O’Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis IN, FASS Diesel Nationals
Eulogy from Kevin Whitworth