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July 20, 2007

 

Cross looks for quality runs

By TOM VARTANIAN
Motorsports Writer

It isn’t always about quantity, but quality. That is the case for local driver Brent Cross. After running eight races last year in the NASCAR Busch East Series, the 46-year-old Cortland driver decided to head back to the ARCA/ReMax Series this season and may even be eyeing a bigger jump.
“I was looking at all the attention the Busch East Series was getting this winter,” said Cross. “There were a number of big names (NASCAR owners) bringing drivers into the series and that meant less qualifying spots for many of us lower budget teams. The cost of trying to go to those shows and not qualifying, plus the cost of all the NASCAR licenses needed for myself, the crew, spotters and scorers, it did not make sense. The series also switched from mostly Northeast to the entire East Coast, plus some races in the Midwest. The payout was just not there.”
“We were not running ARCA last year because we were in the process of updating the bodies of the cars,” said Cross. “We got that work done over the winter and we were encouraged by the test sessions we had at Daytona, so we decided to head back into the ARCA Series. We are not a big team, so we do try to race once a month.”
While the test session was good at Daytona, it was not quite where Team LaCross wanted to be to attempt to qualify for the February race, work continued on the superspeedway car with the hopes of taking that car to Talledega this October. Work also continued on their other ARCA car and that became the focus to have the car ready for the race at Pocono in June, thanks to a special man the team met while running in the Busch East Series in 2006.
“We accepted the challenge of our new honorary team member David Wimmer, who has been raising money for the Racing Against Cancer charity. David, a cancer survivor, has been doing such a good job in his neighborhood in New Mexico, that we thought that we should extend the drive into our neighborhood here in New York. So we came up with a raffle with the winner (and a friend) getting to spend a day in the pits with us as we competed in the ARCA 200 at Pocono,” Cross explained. “We sold tickets for the raffle with all the money going to Dave Wimmer’s collection for Racing Against Cancer.”
The raffle raised $530 for the Racing Against Cancer folks with Kimberlee Williams of Chittenango the winner of the Day in the Pits trip.
“It was the kind of promotion and activity that gave the crew something to hold their heads up high about,” said Cross. “We had a great time doing it and thank all those who supported the Racing Against Cancer promotion.”
At Pocono, Cross qualified the QuadraFlex/Odyssey Networks/Moore’s Tire Sales/Cummings Auto Machine/D.K. Graphics car in the 41st position after a lot of work. Race day went well and Cross finished 23rd.
“We really did struggle a lot in practice, but it was good that we made the show,” said Cross. “We knew we had the car right for the race. Through pit strategy, we actually were running in fifth place for a while. It was the first time we really got into the top ten. We did end on the tail end of the lead-lap cars later in the race, since we did not pit. We started behind the pace car and were the first car in line even though we were not leading the race. That was fun and it proved to be a good day overall.”
Team LaCross Motorsports will return to Pocono in August and possibly make a trip to St. Louis or Chicago in September before heading to Talledega. Of course, those plans may change for the better.
Cross has bought a 2006 Chevrolet NASCAR Craftsman Series truck and may actually be hitting the track with that soon.
“With the Craftsman Truck Series not getting full fields for many of the races, my thoughts turned to trying this series,” said Cross. “Financially, it would cost more, but  to get close to $10,000 just to take the green flag, the payout is better than running an ARCA race or Busch East Series race. I talked with Brett Bodine and NASCAR approved me, because of my past history, to run tracks under one-mile in length. Brett thought I could handle the one-mile tracks, but Craftsman Truck Series director Wayne Auton wanted to see me on a few smaller tracks first. In eight Busch East races last year, I made about $12,000, so the risk of moving to the Craftsman Truck Series would be worth it. I have talked to a few other potential sponsors from my contacts in the Busch East Series last year to help fund the switch. My current sponsors are excited about the idea as well.”
Looking at the races left on the schedule right now, Cross could compete at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis (July 27), Bristol (August 22) and Martinsville (October 20). Mansfield Motorsports Park in Ohio is also a track that Cross is certified to run on. Some good runs at a couple of these tracks would open the door to certification on one-mile tracks like Dover, Milwaukee and Phoenix. Cross said that he would like to take the truck to New Hampshire, even if he had to put another driver into it for that race.
Time-off is the biggest factor for a limited schedule because many of the crew members have regular jobs and being gone Wednesday through Friday is not always available, but that could even change with the money available running the Craftsman Truck Series. While some of the team members are family that still live in New Berlin, Cross has some loyal local guys as well. They include Chuck Miller (McGraw), Duane Canfield (Dryden), Steve Furlin (McGraw) and Todd Caufield (Cortland). The New Berlin connection includes John (father), Darlene (mother) and Aaron (brother) Cross, plus Ed And Shari Lawrence. The rest of the crew includes Grant Cross (Smyrna), Chris and Janis Blonda (Epping, N.H.) and the aforementioned Dave Wimmer (Alamogordo, N.M.).
“We really build most everything we use on the car right now,” said Cross. “These are some of the guys that spent many hours in the shop helping put the cars together and also crew the car at the track. Without their support, and the support of my family here and in my hometown, we would not be dreaming of the bigger picture. Our team goal is, and will always be, to race a t Daytona. We may be there with the ARCA car in 2008, but it might have to wait until 2009 with the truck.”
It is good  to see that the little man still has a place in the big-time ranks of NASCAR and ARCA.
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Racing action continues at Skyline Raceway (Blodgett Mills) this Saturday night with a big six-division racing card featuring the Sportsman Modifieds, IMCA Modifieds, Pure Stocks, Four-Cylinder Stocks, Junkyard Dogs, and Junkyard Pups. It will also be Christmas in July Night as Santa Claus will make his annual appearance at Skyline bearing gifts for all of the youngsters. Racing gets underway at 6:30 p.m. For the more information, call the track office at 607-657-8222, the speedway on race day at 607-849-6600 or log onto www.skylineracewayny.com, the speedway’s official Web site.
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Insinger Performance Inc. will sponsor the racing action at Thunder Mountain Speedway (Center Lisle) this Saturday night. On tap will be the Modifieds, Sportsman, 600cc Modifieds, Central New York Mini Sprints, Hurricane Street Stocks, Road Warriors and Road Bandits. Also on the card will be the ever popular Bag Race. This will be a chance for the fans to get involved in the racing action and make a name for themselves. Racing gets underway at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the speedway office at 607-849-7889 or checking out their Web site at www.thunderracetrack.com.
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The New York Modified Midgets will make their 2007 season Brewerton Speedway appearance tonight on Beck Equipment / Scouting Night. All Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts will be admitted free of charge with their full uniform on. Race action will headline DIRTcar Modifieds, IMCA Modifieds, ESDCA Mod Lites and 4-Cylinder Super Stocks. Race time at the Route 11 track is set for 7:30 p.m. For more information, please contact the track office at 315-668-6906, the race line at (315) 668-RACE or visit the track’s Web site at www.brewertonspeedway.com.
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Dunkin’ Donuts will present the highly popular Reduced General Admission Night this Saturday at Fulton Speedway. While America runs on Dunkin, Fulton Speedway will present a huge five-division show featuring a 40-lap, $650 to win special for the competitive DIRT Sportsman division. Also in race action will be the Gypsum Express Crate Sportsman, UMP Pro Stocks, IMCA Modifieds, and 4-Cylinder Enduros. Race time at the high banked track is set for 7 p.m.For more information, contact the track office at 315-593-6531, the race line at 315-668-RACE, or log on to the track’s Web site at www.fultonspeedway.com.
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The CRSA Sprints will join the action at Utica-Rome Speedway (Vernon) Sunday when Royce International Eyewear presents a regular show of 358-Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and IMCA Modifieds plus the holdover features for the Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks from July 8. Racing action begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call the track office at 315-725-5709, the Track Phone/Raceday Phone at 315-829-4557 or log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com, the official Web site.
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Cayuga County Fair Speedway (Weedsport) will be dark this Sunday as far as racing action, so the scene will shift to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park (Elbridge). The ‘Fast Track’ is ready to re-open Sunday as Budweiser presents a DIRTcar Racing tripleheader featuring the mighty Big-Block Modifieds, Sportsman Modifieds and UMP Street Stocks in a Caprara Bros. Outdoor Toy Store Mr. DIRTcar Super Series event.
The first qualifying heat goes to the starting line at 7 p.m. with pit gates opening at 4 o’clock and grandstand seating beginning at 5 p.m.
“A Five Star event was on our schedule until last week,” noted RWR General Manager Jack Deery in a recnt press release. “A recent rain-out in the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series required this coming Sunday as the make-up date for a traditional doubleheader in Canada. A number of teams were planning to run Rolling Wheels so we dropped that part of the show to give those drivers following the Five Star Series every opportunity to participate in all five events.”
A make-up date for the F.X. Caprara Car Companies-Dig Safely New York ‘Five-Star’ Series event at Rolling Wheels is being determined at this time and will be announced in the coming week. For more information, call the track office at 315-834-6606 or, on race day, call 315-689-7809, or log on to the track’s Web site at www.rollingwheelsraceway.com.
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Watkins Glen International will now gear up for the invasion of NASCAR. Centurion Boats announced they will sponsor the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Race at Watkins Glen International through 2009. The newly titled “Centurion Boats at The Glen” is scheduled to take the green flag at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 12. The NASCAR Busch Series is back for a third straight year to compete in the Zippo 200 on August 11 with the stars of the Rolex Sports Car Series take to the track on Friday night, August 10.
For more information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Web site at www.TheGlen.com.
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If you have any racing news to pass along, please contact me at the Cortland Standard Sports Department between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at 607-756-5665, ext. 25 or via e-mail at either sports@cortlandstandard.net or SportsReporter88@yahoo.com.

 

 

Playoffs rescheduled

Thursday’s wet weather forced the postponement of all playoff action in both divisions of the Cortland County Babe Ruth League.
In the Senior Division semifinals, Dryden TTC and Cortland Alliance Bank will now meet at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at Beaudry, where the winner will go against the regular-season champion Homer Yankees for the title at 8 p.m. If the Yankees, currently undefeated in the double-elimination event, lose that game, a second contest for the crown will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Beaudry.
In Saturday’s Junior Division quarterfinal contests, Dryden APM Testing visits Groton (at Ross Field) at 11 a.m., while Cortland Exchange and Cortland Eagles meet at Barry School’s Dave Guido Field at 5:45 p.m. The semifinals will take place at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, with the first-place Homer White Sox and second-place Homer Rangers hosting tonight’s winners, the match-ups based on seedings. The White Sox will play at Homer High School and the Rangers at Casey Fields.
The Junior Division championship game is now slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Beaudry.