Rule changes not liked

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I imagine all good race fans will be reading this during commercial breaks while watching the Daytona 500.

I'm beginning to wonder if my earlier prediction of a Sterling Marlin win hasn't been rendered inoperative by NASCAR's rule tweaking. I found it interesting that during the TNT broadcast

of the Twin 125 qualifying races on Thursday, it aired the results of a fan survey which said that 63 percent of those polled were not in favor of NASCAR changing the rules during Speedweeks. To which I say, "Amen."

The Twin 125 qualifiers were entertaining, even though there weren't that many lead changes. Defending Champion Michael Waltrip looks awfully strong again. It would be nice if he could score a win at Daytona that wasn't marred by tragedy. Little E, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and Jerry Nadeau all looked

tough as well in the Thursday races. Hmmm -- you think the fact that they all drive for the top 3 Chevy teams has anything to do with that? In any event, the extra quarter-inch reduction in spoiler height that NASCAR gave the Fords last week didn't seem to have all that much effect. So what did NASCAR do?

It shaved off another quarter-inch, and threw the Dodge teams a bone by giving them a quarter-inch reduction as well. (See poll results above).


While NASCAR is kicking off its season, a group of local racers has been at it since early December. I refer to the Outlaw Kart contingent, which grew to respectable numbers at Champion Speedway last season after being transported from Fuji Park. No, they haven't been racing at Champion this winter, but in

Red Bluff, Calif., a hotbed of Outlaw Kart racing with an indoor track.

Upwards of 200 karts converge on Red Bluff on Saturday nights during its winter series, which ended last evening. Most of the Carson area racers running the Red Bluff events are the younger kids from the Beginner Box Stock and Box Stock classes, and a number of them have experienced surprising success. Last weekend, 7-year-old Hunter Colodny, who finished third in

the 2001 Beginner Class at Champion, won the Red Bluff Beginner "B" Main, and finished third in the "A" Main, slipping from second on the last lap.

Typically, 30 or more Beginner karts show up at Red Bluff, and they run D, C, B, and A Mains. It was Colodny's first "A" Main appearance, although he has scored a couple of sixth place "B" Main finishes. Champion Speedway 2001 Beginner Champion Zachary Heinz has also experienced some good finishes, with

a couple of "D" Main wins, several good results in "C" and "B" Mains, and one "A" Main 10th place finish. Jennifer Purcell and Jay Primm have also posted "D" Main victories. Shelby Dargert has also been running at Red Bluff in the Beginner Class, and Colin Dargert and Mackena Bell have appeared in Box Stock

races, both notching top-10 "B" Main finishes. And Tommy Purcell has run his 125cc kart to good effect at Red Bluff as well. These kids will undoubtedly use the winter's experience to advance their budding racing careers at Champion this summer. And local businesses are stepping up to sponsor them:

Colodny has a new chassis that he will run in Box Stock this season with sponsorship from Bill Miller's BME Engineering and Ron Burdg's Sierra Racing Products.


Speaking of Champion Speedway, there is a meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening at the Plaza Hotel, 6:30 p.m. for all drivers who plan to run at the Speedway this season. I plan to be there, so I'll update you on Champion's upcoming season in next week's column.


Finally, Bill Simpson has filed suit against NASCAR for allegations made by the sanctioning body in the wake of Dale Earnhardt's fatal accident at last year's Daytona 500. The legal action was filed last Tuesday in an Indianapolis superior court, alleging defamation of character, defamation by implication, and reckless disregard for the truth. Simpson's former company, Simpson Performance Products, issued a statement saying that it is not a

party to any lawsuit against NASCAR, even though its market share in NASCAR has declined by two-thirds in the wake of the Earnhardt accident. I don't know about you, but I hate to see lawyers get involved in racing, except maybe as safety pylons.

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist.


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