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NickHolt posted a topic in Nick Holt's 1989 Motorsports columnsHere's a pic of the column for February 5, 1989. It's one of those that's just too hard to copy, paste crop, paste and crop again..etc, so I transcribed the whole article below. The headline reads: Controversy idling over open-wheel rules And the article reads: San Antonio International Speedway's new Open Wheel Super Modifieds class hasn't even hit the track yet, but already several of the area's better-known racers are building cars for the new division and the future looks bright in spite of a few faint clouds of controversy appearing on the horizon. Ricci Ware, Jr, for instance, recently sold his TIDA Pro Sedan Datsun 510 to James Baum and is having Gerald McCall's Blue Diamond Engineering, one of San Antonio's busier race car shops, build him one in time for the April 1 season opener. Ware, last year's TIDA Pro Sedan driving champion, has campaigned the open-wheel cars before, winning the open-wheel championship at Pan American Speedway in a Speedway Engineering tube-frame car that simply outclassed the competition. And Leroy Farmer, the colorful and always very quick TIDA Late Model driver, is working overtime along with his associate, Louis Upton, in their new Universal City race facility to put one together for the series. But Farmer says he's building his to make a point. "I got real upset when the new rules came out for the open-wheel class, " Farmer said. "In fact, Louis and I walked out of the rules meeting in protest." Farmer says he's upset because the SAIS track management, with guidance from former Pan American Speedway owner and promoter and current SAIS operations consultant, Ricci Ware Sr, re-wrote the existing Open Wheel Super Modified rules which already had been distributed as part of the 1989 SAIS rule book. Farmer correctly pointed out that the one promise repeatedly made by the new track management was that the rules, once published and distributed, would not change for at least a year, maybe two. But there were enough changes in the new rules to force anyone with a car already built, like former chief tech inspector Jim Phillips, or planned like Farmer - to make design or construction changes to comply with the rules or to be competitive. And, as if to add fuel to the fire, some old-timers say the new SAIS rules look an awful lot like the old open-wheel rules used at Pan American Speedway the year before Ware close the nifty high-banked quarter-mile in 1978 - the year that the junior Ware won the Pan American open-wheel championship. "I'm not saying that the rules were re-written for any one person's advantage, but now that they're out we plan on taking advantage of everything we can," Farmer said. "Ware thinks he's got the thing in the bag, but I think we'll be giving him all he wants." It should be interesting to see if a rivalry between Farmer and the younger Ware develops as the season progresses. Becky Benker, wife and partner of John Benker, will be driving one of the exciting open-wheel cars next season too. The Benkers, both of whom have seen some success in the Street Stock division at SAIS over the past few seasons, have decided to put Becky behind the wheel while John will upgrade his 1981 Malibu to compete in the Super Stock division. "We've got an old tube frame chassis that Harold Oatman built for John Rolland several years ago that will become the modified," John Benker said. "We'll have to take the tubular front snout off (because of the rules) and graft on a Camaro front frame and we'll put a Vega body on it." The Benkers didn't want their engine plans published, but look for a big surprise in Becky's engine compartment opening night. Audie Howell is another who plans to compete in the new division and he should do well. Howell' s Street Stock and Super Stock cars have always been able to get to the front in a hurry, and there's no reason why he shouldn't be successful in a Modified. But there is a little wave of controversy beginning to ripple around the Howell team. Howell Crane and Rigging, owned by Howell's father, Frank Howell, sponsors Howell's race cars. No problem, except that Bill Cravens, who recently purchased controlling interest in San Antonio International Speedway from Joe Horne, is a vice president at Howell Crane and Rigging and, therefore, potentially partial to the Howell name, according to some. Ray Becka, a threat to win no matter what he's driving, will be piloting the Harold Oatman-built Modified, but says he will hold onto his Super Stock Camaro for selected races "just in case" the class doesn't make it. The straightforward Becka is among those who are concerned about the fairness of rules enforcement next season because of the close associations he says that two of his rivals, Ware and Howell, have with the track management. "if you've ever had a friend racing and there's a wreck, it's always the other guy's fault," Becka said. "Can you imagine if it's your own son? I'm not going to be able to race close with either of them, because if something does happen, it'll always be my fault." In spite of everything, Cravens sees a big future with the Open Wheel Super Modifieds. "In addition to the six or seven being built locally, I'm aware of two Modifieds being built in Corpus Christi, two more in the Dallas area and a couple more that will be built in Midland if the class takes off as well as we hope," Cravens said. "If we have 10 or 12 cars in the show on opening I'll be really happy." NICK'S NOTEBOOK Those of you with cable will want to catch the finish of the 24 Hours of Daytona this afternoon at 2 p.m. on TBS. Odds are that one of the Nissan GTPs driven by Geoff Brabham, Chip Robinson, Arie Luyendyk and Michael Roe will end up in the winner's circle if they don't break. If they do, look for a porch 962 to fill your screen. Alabama International Motor Speedway has finally changed its name to Talladega Superspeedway, a move that had been in the works for several years.
NickHolt posted a topic in Nick Holt's 1987 & 1988 Motorsports columns