Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20 - They Don't Call it the Action Track for Nothing

Booper Bare won the Paul Johnson Memorial last night, but nobody's going to remember that a couple of years from now. That most definitely was not the biggest thing that happened last night. For those of us who were at Winchester for the Paul Johnson last night we saw a good race track that was very passable, and a great race to match. That was until J.T. Spence could not control his emotions and caused a huge uproar on the race track. First, let's start with the race. I would like to thank the Winchester Speedway crew for giving us a good race track last night. The track stayed racey all night long, and the feature was a good one for the fans. Definitely on of the best race I have seen at Winchester this season, and the best I have seen there in quite some time with the notable exception of last year's Winchester 200 won by Steve Casebolt. Now, let's start with the first incident before getting to the Armel-Spence situation. After battling side by side with J.T. Spence for the lead for about 10-15 laps, Tommy Armel fell back to a second place battle with Gary Stuhler who came out of the B-Main to work his way up to the front and contend for the win. Armel and Stuhler got together at about the exact same spot that Armel and Spence would get into it a few laps later. A lot of fans on the VA Dirt Lovers message board that were not in a good place to see the incidents would say that Armel caused everything, but he didn't. I was sitting in the pit grandstands coming off of turn two giving me a good vantage point to see both incidents. For those who do not know, Stuhler broke a rear end coming into turn one. That is why the car was sideways in the middle of the corner. It's not like Stuhler forgot how to drive all of a sudden. At the same time, Armel got a good run on the high side. Stuhler's car shot up the track after be broke a rear end, and while going down the backstrech, Stuhler's car pinched Armel into the fence and Stuhler came to a stop in turn three. Now, I repeat, Gary Stuhler's car broke a rear end BEFORE him and Armel got together. Stuhler didn't cause a scene on the race track because he knew what happened and he knew that Tommy has nowhere to go. Easy enough, problem solved. Now, onto the real issue. When the green flag came back out Spence and Armel began to race for the lead. I'll give J.T. credit. He was running a line through the middle of the track and was sliding up the track to block Armel and was holding the lead because of that. A couple of laps later though it would all fall apart. Going into turn one Tommy got another good run on the high side that would propel him BESIDE of Spence. When they came off of turn two Armel was clearly all the way outside of Spence. Anyone who did not see it the same thing was obviously not paying attention to the battle for the lead. When they came off of turn two, Spence ran Armel into the fence. Once again, that was not Armel's fault. He was completely to the outside of Spence racing for the lead and SPENCE ran ARMEL into the fence, not the other way around. From there, Armel crossed over across the track a little bit of contact was definitely made when Armel got underneath Spence in turn three. Armel took the lead at that point. Then a caution came out. On the restart Spence plowed Armel going into turn one taking him out of the race. Obviously, J.T. was going to be disqualified for these actions. Now, I am not saying that Tommy Armel is not a rough driver, because he is, but that doesn't mean that he caused any of the accidents last night. Stuhler broke a rear end and that's why contact was made between him and Armel so people need to get over that. Spence ran Armel into the wall going down the backstretch the same way Josh Richards ran Gerald Davis into the wall at the Shootout race a couple of weeks back. The only different is that Spence did not complete the job and Armel took the lead in turn three after some contact was made between the two. I thought both of the incidents coming off of turn two and going into turn three could be classified as hard racing. Spence running Armel into the wall was definitely more of a dirty move than Armel rubbing J.T. a little bit in three to take the lead. People can argue with me on that, but that's my opinion. Now, what J.T. did was wrong, and he should be suspended for it. If I were in Calvin Davis and Danny Wilson's shoes I would bar Spence from Winchester for the rest of the season. What he did was dangerous, and he had the intent of taking Armel out of the race. There's no question about it. Does Tommy Armel drive rough? Yes he does, but he did not deserve what happened to him last night. Taking rumors for what they are worth I was told that Jimmy Spence said that he was going to park J.T.'s car for a while after what happened last night. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that J.T. is in the wrong here. Who's to say he wouldn't have actually passed Armel back and won the race anyway. Armel was going to run up high leaving the bottom open for J.T. to pass him back and win the Paul Johnson Memorial, but J.T. screwed that all up by not being able to control his emotions. Anyone who may think what J.T. did was right is most definitely wrong in thinking that. Oh, and by the way, congratulations to Booper Bare on actually winning the race last night. He did pass a lot of cars.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blow by blow account of what happened at the Paul Johnson Memorial, however you definitely blinked or maybe you just need glasses, JT's car was clearly lifted from the REAREND on the back stretch and he was very fortunate not to hit the wall, some could say that was skill or maybe dumb luck. There is a video of the entire incident and I wish JT would download it for all to see and it was filmed from the pit grand stands.I wish JT would have kept his cool however after watching Tommy race for years we all know when JT passed him AGAIN there would have been 2 totaled race cars, because Tommy had already made the decision to take out whoever he had to in order to win. Starting with Gary Stuhler who incidentally did not lose his rear end until after Tommy hit him. Those are the facts so check them out before you write your blog. Also did I mention that weekly Winchester drivers were standing in line to shake JT's hand for doing something about what Winchester Speedway management has chosen to ignore, including Gerald and Ralph Davis, now isn't that ironic? When you talk to drivers at Winchester they all talk about what an idiot Armel is on the speedway, but I am sure they are afraid to stand up to him. So now they can rest assured that the big bad Armel's are not so big and bad or he would have waited until JT was out of the car and could have defended himself. As far as I am concerned Armel is a 40 year old man who jumped up and down like a 2 year old in front of a lot of people, threw punches at a defenseless driver, and just confirmed why he will never be a GOOD DRIVER. He will continue to get what he gives out.

Anonymous said...

It's so funny how you can say those things on your blog! Were you out there, did you talk to Stuhler??? Cause i did, no rear end broke, Tommy stuffed him as he usually does to whomever is in front of him. So sad to read your account and think you actually believe it. And maybe you should have talked to JT and Gary and any other racers that have driven with Tommy. HE IS DANGEROUS!! Yes, JT lifted his rear end, but Tommy nailed the gas causing him to spin into the wall. People in the grandstands even heard the engine! I just can't get over how people see what they want to see. Sorry for the late entry.