All posts by JoshFlagner

Josh publishes More Than a Fan, produces and talks sports on the Team of Rivals & More Than a Fan Podcasts, is a general malcontent on twitter and keeps an eye on things at Stevand Racing. Being a Cleveland sports fan has toughened him up and helped him to become a productive adult. He hardly ever cries during games anymore.

A New Guy at the Summit Motorsports Park Awards Banquet

The 2012 racing season was the first year that I’ve had a chance to work with Stevand Racing. Before welcoming Stevand Racing to the More Than a Fan family, my motorsports experience was a show at the old Norwalk Raceway Park when I was still young enough to think I didn’t need earplugs and watching NASCAR on television. Since the beginning of last race season, I’ve learned a ton about bracket racing, been rained out at the track and met the great group of people that are associated with Stevand Racing. And Saturday, January 27th was the perfect cap to an eventful season.

Andy, Steve and Matt Obertanec invited me to join them at the 2012 Summit Motorsports Park Awards Banquet. I let a few guys from More Than a Fan know about the invite, and Damien Bowman decided that he wanted to meet the team and see what kind of show the Bader family can put on for their racers. (If there was going to be a Cliff’s Notes of this column, the answer to what kind of show I saw Saturday would simply be, “Holy Crap.” It actually wasn’t going to be crap, but this is a family show)

We arrived at Kalahari for the conference at a little before 1pm and were immediately whisked to the Bill Bader, Jr.’s State of Summit Motorsports Park talk. Not only did I learn a lot about what’s going on at the track in 2013, it was impossible not to notice the rapport that Bader, Jr. had with the room full of racers. No matter the class, the car, the win/loss record or the hometown, the man at the very top of one of the most impressive drag racing tracks in the country knows almost every one of the local points drag racers by name. There is a lot to be said about smooth marketing and promotion, but none of that matters without being genuine with your base. I’m still new to the scene, so I’m not going to run around saying that Bill Bader, Jr. is perfect, but I can vouch for my gut reaction from that first seminar and confidently say that he knows his base and that he works hard for them.

Directly after Bader, Jr.’s talk Drag Racer Bingo started up. At this point, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to play bingo, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting the people throwing hats and t-shirts into the crowd, or the excitement over some of the bingo prizes. I’m not sure what I would have done with a set of Mickey Thompson Tires racing slicks or a big package of prizes from Wiseco Performance Products, but once I got hit in the head with a t-shirt, I started to get pretty excited to win something.

Alas, winning wasn’t in the (bingo) cards for me Saturday, but watching the racers play the game and being in the middle of such a huge group of people that all seem to feel like family was pretty fantastic.

After some down time and boring business type talk with the Stevand Racing boys, it was time to put on the suits and head down to the ballroom for the Mr. Gasket Banquet of Champions, the 39th Annual Summit Motorsports Awards Ceremony.

Wow.

The Mr. Gasket Banquet of Champions was promotion and production at the highest level. At any given time, there were almost 600 people in the ballroom spread between the 68 guest tables and the Champions Tables that were actually on stage with the Bader family and the huge structure showcasing the night’s trophies and awards. The night was such an amazing showcase of the racers at Summit Motorsports Park that it was easy to get caught up in thinking that these guys were the same dragsters that we see on television every weekend.

IMG_20130126_130607From the junior racer awards to hearing the acceptance speeches of the Track Champions to the show choir and marching band to the banter between Bader, Jr. and his father Bill Bader, Sr., the whole banquet was filled with the kind of entertainment that one would expect from a national showcase. That all that class and entertainment was built on the foundation of drag racing in Norwalk, Ohio and the points classes at Summit Motorsports Park is truly amazing. (It was so awesome that I didn’t even mind the last name on my credential packet)

The Bader family did a fantastic job entertaining and showcasing their drag racing family Saturday, and I’m looking forward to spending some time at the track this summer with Stevand Racing and enjoying the show at Summit Motorsports Park. Keep an eye out for our event calendar and come visit us in the pits.

Stevand Racing Podcast with Steve Obertanec

This is the first ever all Stevand Racing podcast on the More Than a Fan Podcast Network.

I (Josh) recorded the  inaugural episode in the More Than a Fan Basement, but Steve makes his appearance via Skype, so he could be anywhere. He even told me he was naked. Luckily, we had the video turned off.

(I wasn’t wearing pants, either)

We talk about Steve’s time in Indy, Matt winning the Dragway 42 Championship, and the guys weekend at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.

Here you go, let us know what you think!

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Weekly Update July 13th-15th: Winning!

What a weekend for Stevand Racing!

As everyone knows Matt made the long trip down to Bristol, Tennessee for the World Footbrake Challenge. (And if you didn’t know, you should check out Stevand Racing’s webpage more often) Matt double-entered Friday for the day and increase his chances at the big $10,000 purse. He would also get more practice at an unfamilliar track. He took some lumps and lost in the 2nd round with both entries, but gained valuble data.

On Saturday Steve rejoined the racing community with a points race at Summit Motorsports Park and Matt bought in for his second chance at the $10,000. Matt did much better by losing the 4th round in a huge 430 car field with drivers from all over the country.

Steve struggled in time trials after adjusting adjusting the shocks on his AMC Gremlin yet again. (If it sounds like Steve is never done tuning, it’s because he isn’t) The Gremlin picked way up in reaction time. In fact, the reaction time improved so drastically that Steve ended up -.019 red on both time runs. (That means that he ran better than his predicted time, which in bracket racing is not cool.) After tire pressure and button adjustments Steve smashed a solid first round win.  

With tons of luck and the right spot in line, Steve worked his way into the Winner’s Circle to post his first points race win of the year! It was an 8 round race which more than doubled his points total for the year! Saturday’s win vaulted Steve from 36th in yearly points to knocking on the door of the top ten! Never give up!

Sunday was Matt’s last chance to leave his mark at Thunder Valley. Steve was at Dragway 42, but he was glued to the text updates coming over his phone. Matt won the first roung. Then Matt won the second round. Then Steve got the text from Stevand Racing Co-Owner (and brother) Andy who was watching Matt live online at  www.1320go.com. Matt is down to 18 cars!

Matt had his next opponent covered on the starting line but could not cover the dial-in when his car slowed at the finish. It was a great accomplishment to get that far in a 430 car field of the best of the best.

Steve tried his new set up at Dragway 42 on Sunday, but lost in the 3rd round when my car slowed like Matt’s did at Bristol. Every pass was perfect until that one and we think Steve has his finger on a winning setup for the rest of the season.

This week Stevand Racing gets some time away. They are on thier way to a family home in the Hamptons (Long Island) to meet up with the whole family. There will be fishing, beaches, and some vacationing drivers celebrating a great weekend!

 

 

Weekly Update June 22nd – 24th: Steve on the No Box Bonanza!

Remember a few weeks ago when I said, “Usually, Steve O sends me weekend details and I post a big old Weekly Update. The email I got about Memorial Day weekend was so good that it doesn’t need to be rewritten. So, this week’s update is brought to you by Steve O himself. Some day we can all say we knew him when he was grinding away on weeklies.” Just pretend that I said it again. You guys all like Steve and Matt better than me, anyway. 😉
This weekend was the first of the big money weekends for us. This race used to be contested in the fall but poor weather & an overwhelming response to a survey by the track pushed it to a better time of year for all. The weather although brutally hot was as good as it gets.

Three day races sometimes turn into 4 days if there is travel involved or in the case of SMP parking. Amanda & I drove the rigs up early Thursday morning just to get a good spot in a holding lot before being able to move in to the track on Friday. Matt drove in from out of town Thursday night & we were all off to the races Friday morning. This trip we brought out the 3rd car in the Stevand fleet. Due to us getting up there early we were all able to park together  which is sometimes more important than getting a good spot. We were set for the weekend. Continue reading Weekly Update June 22nd – 24th: Steve on the No Box Bonanza!

Stevand Racing on the More Than a Fan Podcast

You’re about to experience Stevand Racing’s first appearance on the More Than a Fan Podcast! Steve sat down with us in the second segment about the racing team and what it’s like to race AMCs out at Summit Motorsports Park and Dragway 42!

This is the intro from More Than a Fan, and all you have to do is hit play to hear the More Than a Fan Podcast.

Tonight is a special night on the More Than a Fan Podcast. I drop my first F-bomb on air. Hooray.

Luckily, I’m also the producer, so I turned my F-bomb into a weird cut off sound that we all laugh about. I also pretend like I’m not embarrassed.

Ryan and I talk about Chris Perez again. Because he shuts up about as often as we do.

I have to admit that Ryan was right about the NBA Finals, and had to listen to him swing from LeBron’s naughty bits for a few minutes again.

We start arguing about the Cavaliers NBA Draft when the F-bomb happens. It was during a Dan Gilbert discussion that ended a little prematurely.

After the break, Steve Obertanec from Stevand Racing stops by the More Than a Fan Basement to get our listeners a little taste of what they’re all about. They’re awesome, by the way, it’s worth a listen.

Raise your hand if you had money on the first F-bomb happening during an alcohol free podcast.

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You can also click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

Weekly Update June 16th: Adversity at Summit Motorsports Park

The first sentence of the weekly update email that Steve sent me this week was so good I had to use the quote.

Saturday looked like a beautiful day when it first started. Nice and cool, sun peaking past scattered clouds. A perfect morning to finish up my transmission and load the old Gremmie for some of what it was built for; Drag Racing!

Of course, Steve also points out that AMC didn’t build Gremlins for drag racing, but he built this one to haul ass, and that’s what he intended on doing. Continue reading Weekly Update June 16th: Adversity at Summit Motorsports Park

Weekly Update June 9th & 10th

Saturday 6/9

Since Summit Motorsports Park didn’t have a points event Saturday, the beginning of last weekend was slow for the Stevand boys.

Steve spent Friday night and Saturday morning out in Wooser, OH for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser and car show. Last weekend was the first ever Relay car show in Wooster, and it kicked off a new ACS program called Road to Recovery. Special thanks to Alyssa Ferguson, who co-chaired the event, and all the other volunteers and organizers for putting in so much effort and hard work. Whatever you do, always take some time to give back. We all applaud Steve for taking the time to show off his AMC Gremlin for a good cause.

While Steve was off galavanting around Wooster, Matt was putting the finishing touches on his cam bearing fix to get the oil pressure in his AMC Spirit back to normal. After a morning of hard work, Matt shot out to Mt. Vernon, Ohio to Pacemaker’s Dragway to get a few passes in during their E.T. points session. The car was back to normal, and Matt did a great job adapting to the weather. When the track is hot and getting sun-baked, it’s very hard to keep rubber on the track. When there’s no rubber on the track, it’s very hard to keep the tires from spinning at the start.  Continue reading Weekly Update June 9th & 10th

Weekly Update June 2nd and 3rd

Remember last week when I said this, “Usually, Steve O sends me weekend details and I post a big old Weekly Update. The email I got about Memorial Day weekend was so good that it doesn’t need to be rewritten. So, this week’s update is brought to you by Steve O himself. Some day we can all say we knew him when he was grinding away on weeklies.” Just pretend that I said it again.

Saturday 6/2 @ SummitMotorsportsPark

This weekend’s weather was looking a little bit sketchy, but we ended up with two perfect days for racing. On Saturday we had a stiff cross/tail wind but it was steady so it didn’t pose the same issues we ran into last week. Unfortunately, there were plenty of other issues for us to overcome that were more serious that a little wind.

AMX Dan replaced his starter during the week and all seemed well… until he got to the track. Boy did that new starter start making some awful noises. W tried our best, but we just couldn’t overcome that issue. Continue reading Weekly Update June 2nd and 3rd

Weekly Update May 25th-27th

Usually, Steve O sends me weekend details and I post a big old Weekly Update. The email I got about Memorial Day weekend was so good that it doesn’t need to be rewritten. So, this week’s update is brought to you by Steve O himself. Some day we can all say we knew him when he was grinding away on weeklies.

Talk about a long, HOT weekend!

Friday we made the trek down to National Trails Raceway in Columbus, Ohio for the 11th annual Great AMC Day (GAD). Matt went into the event with three consecutive class wins. There was a total of six racers from our clan that made the journey. It is a fun event mostly because its low pressure and it is way cool to race with a bunch of AMCs that we don’t often see. The track was in great shape for a club type event, so kudos to National Trails for providing a great track on such a hot day.

Our group did rather with Matt winning his 5th GAD race, Steve O with the Runner-up, and AMC Dan with a semi-final finish.

Saturday at Summit Motorsports Park was a hot one, too, but it was a little better than the day before in Columbus. A nice breeze kept the day bearable, but made racing interesting.

As I said in Big Money, Big Pressure, I had a big run-off before the main part of eliminations, then I got my first time run with everyone else. The car went 10.27 seconds with a great .007 seconds light. I thought I was set. The second time run I made was called specifically for the Super 64. This time I finished in 10.36 seconds. Something just wasn’t right.

My care has been very consistent this season, so that is a huge loss in esitmated time (E.T.). That loss in time can be attributed to that breeze that was making the day livable. That made for an interesting first round of the run-off. We were all second guessing our dial-ins for that 1st round. Continue reading Weekly Update May 25th-27th