Auto Racing: Illiana clearing turbo stox/street stocks situation
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org June 19, 2014 9:22PM
Turbo stox go around the quarter-mile at Illiana Speedway. In 2015, they'll be moved to the half-mile. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2014 4:05PM
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Or at least a meeting of the minds.
The latter happened Saturday at Illiana Speedway, where several turbo stox/street stocks competitors answered an SOS from track owner Mike Mikuly regarding low car counts.
The week before there were just six turbos in the feature — this in a division that just three years ago averaged 18 to 20 cars.
The reasons for the dearth of cars is a combination of, I believe, the expense to build cars vs. payoff, rules not being the same between Illiana and Grundy County Speedway, drivers complaining that rules weren’t being enforced and in-fighting among competitors regarding dirty driving (and that it was being allowed).
Yeah, it’s quite a mess. Grundy isn’t doing all that hot, but at least is getting about 12 street stocks per night. Putting the fields from the two tracks together would be a great start toward a turnaround.
That’s what Saturday’s meeting basically was about. I wasn’t there, but from all corners it seems they were able to communicate on a respectable and optimistic level.
“I thought Mike was very fair and cooperative,” said Cheryl Hryn, who raced in the turbos at Illiana for several years before switching to the Grundy streets. “I do believe the division will turn around as long as everyone tries to be supportive.”
When the meeting ended, here’s what they came away with:
Grundy cars will be allowed to run at Illiana without any weight add-ons or penalties for the balance of the season.
Screw jacks will be allowed at Illiana after Sept. 7.
The turbo stox will be racing on the half-mile at Illiana on a full-time basis in 2015.
Mikuly is going to try to mirror the turbo rules at Illiana to the street stock rules at Grundy — something he apparently tried to do during the offseason a couple of years back before, unbeknownst to him, Grundy changed its own rules.
Hopefully, there won’t be any mixups in 2015.
“The changes Illiana made will bring us closer,” turbo competitor Jacob McKown said. “I think everything went good. Everyone had their own opinions and got along good.
“There are only so many cars in the area and this should help bring a couple (of them around more. And it might make it more appealing for people to move up (from the pure stocks).”
What was just as disturbing as the low car count was the lack of communication that had been going on. This situation should have been addressed at the end of last year. Enough red flags were out there.
Whatever. It’s being addressed now.
“I was just glad that people actually showed up and we made some ground for improvement,” turbo competitor Ryan Moore said. “The best thing is that we’re going to the half-mile. We have a lot of Grundy guys who said they won’t race the quarter-mile, so if we race the half we’re giving them what they want. I hope it will work out. Let’s have some fun with this division again.”
ARCA Midwest Tour at Grundy
If Friday’s Calypso Lemonade 100/Wayne Carter Classic at Grundy (note, it’s a 7 p.m. start) comes close to last year’s, when Jonathan Eilen came from 17th start spot to win, it’ll be a great show.
“The race is always tough and the locals make it very hard on the travelers, so we can’t wait to do it again,” ARCA regular and Wisconsin standout Nathan Haseleu said. “The history of that track and those walls give Grundy a tough image we love being a part of.”