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Auto Racing: John Senerchia zeroing in on two titles

Smoke pours from John Senerchia's No. 43 during Saturday night's turbo stox feature IllianSpeedway. The problem was transmissileak.  |

Smoke pours from John Senerchia's No. 43 during Saturday night's turbo stox feature at Illiana Speedway. The problem was a transmission leak. | Photo courtesy of Goodaker Photography

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Updated: September 24, 2013 6:31AM



This, that and the other thing as we hit the final turns of the 2013 season …

Fire, of course, is the No. 1 thing a driver doesn’t want to see coming out of his car, but smoke has to rank up there pretty high.

One could only imagine at the time the thoughts going through John Senerchia’s mind when the Illiana Speedway turbo stox points leader realized smoke was billowing from the No. 43 during Saturday’s feature race.

A blown motor would have made things difficult for the 42-year-old multitime champion, who has Jacob McKown and Ryan Moore breathing down his neck with two points nights remaining.

As it turned out, the motor wasn’t blown. And Senerchia wasn’t worried.

“I knew it was something hitting the exhaust,” he said. “The motor was still running.”

It was transmission fluid from a severed line.

And so, the quest continues by Senerchia to win two titles in one season. He’s virtually locked up the street stock crown at Grundy County Speedway in his own car and is trying to double up in one of the Ligue team cars at Illiana, the other being piloted by Pat Ligue.

All this while he and his wife, Kari, are expecting their second child in early September.

“It’s pretty neat,” Senerchia said of his busy and successful racing season. “The car I run (at Illiana) I really don’t have to work on it. That makes it a lot easier with everything going on at home.

“On Friday, we got everything figured out that we had issues with the last couple of years. This year it’s been really good. We’re going out there and doing the best we can, and having fun at both. What really makes it fun is that my son (4-year-old Jacob) is liking it a lot more.”

Not sitting still

D.J. Weltmeyer announced this week that Friday night he’ll be making his debut at Kankakee Speedway in a dirt late-model.

The 20-year-old son of area racing legend Dave Weltmeyer won’t be at Illiana Speedway for Saturday’s twin 56-lap Elmer Musgrave Memorial as a result of a one-night suspension after apparently engaging in some roughhousing in Eddie Hoffman’s pit area last week. Hoffman, in a passing attempt during the feature race that night, had contact with Weltmeyer, with the latter going around.

It’s a doggone shame Weltmeyer, one of the area’s shining young talents who certainly would have been a Musgrave Memorial contender, can’t race. However, Illiana director of competition Tom White was emphatically clear in a pre-race meeting that because of several recent incidents, a driver going to another driver’s pit area after an incident without a track official present would not be tolerated.

Don’t try that again

A woman scorned might be furious, but a woman almost put into the wall isn’t to be messed with, either.

Grundy street stocker Cheryl Hryn definitely was less than happy when Ken Benson, sliding his No. 11 around like he was on a dirt track, made contact with her a couple of times and almost sent her flying in Turn 1.

After the race ended, Hryn followed Benson into the back straightaway and spun him around. She received a huge ovation from the crowd, but also a DQ from track officials.

Said Hryn: “He blasted me in the door, and if that wasn’t enough he did it again. So I got mad and after the race I got him back. Then one of his friends met me at the bottom of the ramp (exiting the track) and kicked my door.”

Benson, however, didn’t enter Hryn’s pit area. If he had?

“He’d have been in for a real treat,” Hryn said.



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