RODDA: NorCal Notes

Ron Rodda.

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – Is it an odd numbered year problem?

In 2017, the Wild West Shootout lost the final two races at Arizona Speedway due to persistent rain. Saturday’s race was moved to Sunday for a two races in one day plan, but that did not work when more rain on Sunday nixed that idea.

Fast forward two years, and the 2019 edition of the popular event again had rain mess with the schedule. After Saturday’s successful opener of the six-race series, overnight rain made the facility unsuitable for any activity on Sunday.

Again, the fix will be a two races in one day plan, this year on Saturday with noon and 7 p.m. shows. Include Friday’s show and the Sunday finale, and it will be an intense weekend for all concerned. Four races in three days will leave little time for anything else but enjoying the action at Arizona Speedway.

Last Saturday’s initial show drew 126 late models, modifieds, and X mods in total, with each division having more than 40 cars.

Late models qualify in groups, run straight-up heats, move the top four to the main, and create a quartet of heat winners to redraw for the first two rows.

Modifieds and X mods have draw heats, with passing/finishing points selecting the top 16 to go directly to the main and B-main action filling the 24 car field. The first show on Saturday will stray from that plan by group qualifying both mod classes and putting everyone into one of a pair of mains for each class.

Opening night mains had Cole Searing winning from ninth in X mods and repeating his success on Wednesday night, starting fifth the second time. Modified racing saw Casey Arneson win off from the pole on Saturday, in what was a competitive main, while Ricky Thornton Jr. dominated the Wednesday version.

Thornton has now purchased a house in Adel, Iowa, and will be spending the majority of the year there. Thornton noted that the same house as the one he purchased was significantly higher priced 20 miles away, but closer to Des Moines. He is running his own IMCA car with modifications allowed by USRA rules.

Late model racing got off to a big start on Saturday when Bobby Pierce edged Scott Bloomquist by a couple feet to win the first $5,000 check.

He repeated on Wednesday with a win over Brandon Overton, after the second-place car had applied serious pressure. Winning one more of the remaining four races would put Pierce into the bonus money: $10,000 extra for one more win and growing from there.

This year’s Grand Marshall is Scott Bintz of Jamestown, N.D. According to his plan, Sunday’s Shootout finale will be his personal career-ending effort.

Bintz states he wanted to go out when on top of his game, and a 16-win season last year made it seem like a good time to do so.

Ending a driving career at the Wild West Shootout is partly due to being a two-time event champion in the X mod class. Winning four out of six mains when the series was in Tucson is just one of many accomplishments for the 47-year-old.

Bintz got into racing in a bit of an odd manner, when a person owed him some money and gave him a street stock for payment. His initial racing efforts in 2005 were less than spectacular, but the following year he had his first win.

By 2008 and with help from Dustin Strand, Scott was racing a Midwest mod and earned regional rookie of the year. He won the King of Dirt event as well as the B Mod Nationals while accumulating well over 50 wins.

Bintz stated when he reached 50 he stopped counting.

He sold his 2013 Millennium with which he had much success and learned to never sell a fast car. He got it back and still races that car, now with 220 nights of racing on it.  He plans on keeping the car upon retiring, saying it is worth more to him than it could be sold for, but has already sold his engines.

Bintz noted that if he wants to race it again, it will have to be as a pedal car.

Besides racing, Bintz has been a business success, after starting a truck parts online business in his basement. The creation grew to more than $100 million in sales which he sold it in 2015.

Far from sitting still, Bintz now has businesses in coffee, storage facilities, and race products. He wrote a book called Principles To Fortune about the growth and success of the truck part business.

Bintz summed up his views this way: “Racing has taught me that anything is possible if you have the right people around you to help. You can get amazing things done in a short amount of time.”

All this came from someone who grew up in a trailer park.