KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


We hope you will join us here every Friday, where we will reveal our thoughts about the week’s events in motorsports while previewing the coming weekend’s major events.

For the purpose of this blog, our heat race will be 10 laps in length.

1. If the sanctioning body is confused, so is the rest of the world. A story on the USAC website this week hyped the inaugural National Drivers Championship, but continued to say Levi Jones holds a 91-point lead over Bryan Clauson entering the weekend’s Oval Nationals at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway. The fact of the matter is that Jones held a 91-point lead over Clauson in the USAC National Sprint Car Series standings. Clauson led the National Drivers Championship by 22 markers, with Jones second. Big difference.

However, that all changed Thursday night when Jones won the opener of the Oval Nationals and pulled to within in nine points in the NDC and extended his sprint-car point lead to 144.

2. The World Finals got off to a stellar start Thursday night with a large crowd and an abundance of race cars. Fifty-six sprint cars, 61 late models and 52 modifieds were on hand for qualifying on a damp chilly evening. Log on to for live updates Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 4 p.m.

3. Many-time Empire Super Sprints champion Mike Woodring, who retired to become a crew chief several years ago, seems to have a thing for female sprint-car drivers. Woodring was responsible for getting Erin Crocker’s career started, including chiefing her to her lone WoO victory. He later worked with Becca Anderson and is now working with New York ace Jessica Zemken.

4. Tim Shaffer will win at least one of the two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series features during the World Finals. The Knoxville Nationals champion qualified second for both night’s action.

5. We’re hearing a lot about the three-driver (Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick) race for the Chase that NASCAR is enjoying with three races remaining in the season, but what about Formula One? With no Chase format in place, the world’s most popular racing series has five (Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button) drivers in contention for the title with two races remaining entering Sunday’s Grand Prix of Brazil.

6. Judging by the video, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. was damn lucky on the final night of the Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark. Lucky he didn’t get punched by Greg Wilson and even luckier that Wilson didn’t turn into him and sending him flipping when Hafertepe made an aggressive late-race move for the lead that allowed Brad Sweet to pass both drivers and grab the victory.

7. Kyle Busch’s Truck will be sponsored in part by tonight at Texas Motor Speedway. Upon finding out exactly what is, we concluded the sponsor and Busch could not be more different. features video testimonies of hope, inspiration and transformation by individuals from all walks of life based on their personal faith journeys. is also championed by Interstate Batteries, Busch’s co-sponsor, chairman Norm Miller.

8. We say it every year, but it sure stinks having two great short track races — the World of Outlaws World Finals and the North-South Shootout — at tracks 12 miles apart on the same weekend.

9. One wonders with the death of Jim Hunter, how many folks working for NASCAR know which way the cars go.

10. Everyone in racing is happy with the progress made by Shane Hmiel in his recovery from injuries suffered in an Oct. 9 crash. Hmiel was scheduled to transfer to a Charlotte, N.C., rehabilitation center.

The views expressed by NSSN columnists and readers in the opinion or community sections of this website do not necessarily reflect those of the management and staff of National Speed Sport News, Kay Publishing or Media1934 LLC.