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The InSlide Line: Week 48

By Tyler Porter

Hello, and welcome to the InSlide Line Presented by Bell Helmets. First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! Thankfully my travel schedule is winding down a little bit and once again this column is coming to you from the sprawling subdivisions deep in the heart of West Kentucky. West...not East people, I don't live on Porter Ridge...Any way, this is a holiday filled with family, friends and food, so while you are recovering on your Friday, hopefully the column can soothe that regret you have from returning to the food for a 3rd fill up on your plate. Let's get to some racing business!

This weekend is the big Thanksgiving Classic inside the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin Illinois. The crew from Steve Nace Racing had a big turkey dinner for all of their workers and a few racers who made it in early last night and now with full stomachs and plenty of left overs, we are going racing! This weekend is a Saturday/Sunday two day event and it us usually just PACKED with entries. Some of the best racing action of the year goes down here and I'm hoping I finally get to see one of these Rob Pearson and JD Beach duels on the track live and in person. These two have really been battling hard this season. If you need any info on the race, just head on over to and check things out there. Hope to see you there!

DuQuoin Illinois isn't the only place to get some racing in! Check out the races from all across the country
DuQuoin, IL Short Track and TT (Two Day Race)
Caldwell, ID Short Track (Two Day Race)
Puyallup, WA Short Track
Salem, OR Short Track

Next Weekend we still have some racing to go around...and around...and around.
Caldwell, ID Short Track (Two Day Race)
Salem, OR Short Track
Ocala, FL Short Track

Looking a week ahead in the future, in Waterloo Iowa there will be a concrete coke syrup indoor inside the McElroy Auditorium at the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds on December 14th. Promoter Brandon Simon has taken the reigns of the event and is hoping to return it to some of its former glory over the next few events. Please get out there and support it. I mean, come on, what else is there to do in Iowa right now? If you need some more information check out

Alright, the last week of the No Shave November Nonsense. We will have a winner next week who will be taking home a Hat, Shirt and MudScraper (face scraper?) From Works Connection and a prize package from Silkolene Oil worth $110! Stay tuned next week to see who is going to take home the goodies.

Vet 30 Hero Ben Knight

Ace Photographer Brent Pierce

Pomona Half Mile Main Event Maker Andrew Butler

Mid America Speedway Heat Race Record Holder Barry Benkert

Referee Extraordinaire Levi Mayer

Hair Of The Year Award Winner Mikey Martin

AMA Pro Racing Flattrack Head Honcho Dan Johnsen

Did you notice how happy Dan looks there? That's the "no more restrictors" face.

Well this week we had some news break and I feel that it's positive for both riders. First was the worst kept secret of all time with Brad Baker signing with Factory Harley Davidson for 2014. Brad rode for them a season ago while Kenny Coolbeth was injured and hey, he's very young and your 2013 Grand National Champion. He is deserving of the ride for sure! The cool thing about Brad is that he will be Orange and Black all year long no matter the size of the track because he has signed with Fun Mart Cycle KTM for the singles side of things. Brad made his championship run on a shoe string budget and incredibly strong equipment provided by Tony Dodge and tuned by Dave Atherton. It will be interesting to see where he can take things now that he has the power of The MoCo behind him. I can also say know that new 750cc engine that I showed off a few weeks ago? I have talked to some people who swear to me that they have seen pictures of that motor in a dirt track chassis from the Factory Race Team. Of course, I didn't see the photos for myself, but I do know that last year Kenny did a lot of testing with something that he couldn't talk about. Seeing a new rider on a new machine could be pretty awesome, but at the same time, with all of the XR750 equipment that they have right now and with them getting to throw the restrictors in the garbage, maybe they use up their inventory of parts this season and test for next season? Hopefully they debut this thing at the Savannah half mile before bike week...Congratulations Brad!

The next deal that fell had to do with the former factory Harley Davidson rider, Kenny Coolbeth. I wondered a lot about where he was going and hoping like a kid on Christmas that he wouldn't hang it up for good. Well, I must have been well behaved this year because my wishes came true. Kenny will be teaming up with the powerful Zanotti Racing team. However, things don't end there. Zanotti will now have a two rider, and in some ways a two location team. At their Bay Area shop they will be taking care of and tuning for Stevie Bonsey. However, there has been a little shift in their racing program for 2014. Ted McDermitt is no longer with the team and Kenny's equipment will be tuned by Dave Atherton. Instead of going belly up and calling it quits after what can be best described as a tough racing season for them, Dave Zanotti didn't give up, no, he doubled down. Two riders, two separate programs, and oh yeah, they are still developing their Kawasaki that I would guess will make an appearance in Springfield...perhaps sooner. On Kenny's singles side of things, he will be trading in his Chaplin Kawasaki's for some Chaplin Honda's since the Zanotti team has historically had Honda singles equipment. While Kenny will be losing that factory salary and I'm sure a few travel perks that the ride came along with, he is aligning himself with one of the most powerful private teams in the sport. Don't forget that Zanotti won back to back titles with Jake Johnson. Also don't forget that Kenny has a few titles to his name too. Many say Kenny's time is over in our sport. Oh how soon they forget. I just need to direct them to some film from the 2012 Pomona half mile. You don't lose that kind of dominance in a season. Congratulations to Kenny, the entire Zanotti crew and Dave Atherton.

The thing about this news is where does this leave Bryan Smith and Henry Wiles? With Howerton Motorsports pulling out of dirt track racing all together and Henry having to put together his own deal for the end of the 2013 season, where could these championship capable riders find themselves for the upcoming season? I would say Bryan has a leg up in this "ride war" being that he has the better resume to turn in for the previous season. Bryan also has a not so secret weapon called Barry Smith. Barry is Bryan's father who can build championship winning twins whether they are Harley's or Kawasaki's and he may even have some in the back of the family garage. Could Bryan bring over his Crosley Radio sponsorship from the previous two seasons? Perhaps Muscle Milk also? If Barry doesn't have a fleet of race weapons ready to go, what about the Tony Dodge bikes? Without Brad Baker and Dave Atherton will his bikes go back into storage? I sure hope not!

Henry on the other hand is probably in a little bit of a tougher spot. Sure, he can win singles races and he has won twins races before but it always seems like he gets left out dancing when the music stops. The one thing Henry has in his corner besides his Peoria win streak is some FIERCELY loyal supporters. When Henry was dismissed from the Lloyd Brothers team this season, those supporters banded together, got bikes ready and because of that, Henry was able to finish the season, and finish the season very well. Remember, at one point, Henry had a VERY real shot at winning the title. I mean, come on, he was 4th in the series! This guy needs to be on some great equipment. Hopefully I can track down some information on both Bryan and Henry and give you some facts by the end of the year!

The other key players, I would say there won't be much shuffling, but hey, it's dirt track so you never know. I would guess that Brandon Robinson will be back with the Burnett Farms/USC Kawasaki/Hart Racing team, Jared Mees will probably be back with his Roger's Racing ride but perhaps with some Screaming Eagle help if what I am hearing is true about them bringing back that package for a few select racers. I think JD Beach will still be with the Burnett Farms/USC Kawasaki/Hart Racing team also, though his schedule will be limited after he secured a Factory Yamaha road racing ride for 2014. Maybe he'll get one of those sweet new Yamaha motors to use?? Jake Johnson I think will be back with the Lloyd Brothers Ducati and I look for them to really get that thing dialed in this year and it could be a force to be reckoned with. I mean, it was VERY close to being a winner this year after Jake climbed on board. Jeffrey Carver was the other rider in the top 10 that I believe will stay where he is. I hope to talk to Jeffrey this weekend to see if his plans have changed at all. It will be interesting to see what Rob Pearson does for 2014. The Racing Unlimited team joined forces with Weirbach Racing in 2013, but the Racing Unlimited Kawasaki didn't make its debut until Shayna Texter whipped the tails of every racer in Springfield. Rob rode it last weekend at a concrete indoor, so all signs are pointing to him staying with Racing Unlimited and Weirbach Racing for 2014. I think it's easy to say that Sammy Halbert will keep on racing for the Halbert Family Racing Team. Let's hope Sammy can stay healthy this year because he will be a championship contender.

I do know that George Mack of Mack Daddy Racing fame is building 2 twins bikes at the moment. One has a Kawasaki power plant and is a totally new bike, while the other is a Suzuki 1000 that has been on the track with various riders at the controls for a few years now. With George helping out Jeffrey Carver's effort last season, could this be his new Kawasaki ride? Will George just lease out the bikes on a per season or even per race basis, or is he just building stuff to stare at down in his man cave? Who knows with Geo, and at press time he was too full of home made apple pie to answer any questions. I'm just glad to see people like him not moving away from the sport but getting even more involved. Even a slow "wish I was" racer like myself has been helped out tremendously over the years by George, and I know he has helped countless others, most notably a kid named Henry Wiles. Wait, could this be Henry's ticket to a twin? We have a lot of rumors to sort out now!

I wasn't able to get the stuff finalized in time for this week's column with the holiday and all, but hopefully next week I will be debuting a program that our racers can use to put some dollars in their own pockets. This is a deal where they sell a product and get a portion of that sale back into their pockets, so it's something that they will have to work on to make their money, but the product is very cool, I will be using it in DuQuoin Illinois this weekend and the pay off is pretty substantial. I'll just say it's more profitable than selling t-shirts! Just keep that in mind and tune in next week for it.

If you get a chance, find a copy of Side Burn Magazine. This is a British magazine that not only lives flattrack in it's most basic form, but it also has a cool lifestyle vibe to it that I personally really really like. I just got the new issue and inside you will find a Nicky Hayden interview where he talks a little about dirt track as well as a huge piece written by Mike Stuhler about the Howerton Kawasaki and their explosion into our sport. Also, if that isn't enough there is a little article by a guy named Tyler Porter about the Kawasaki vs. Harley thing that you may want to read. At the very least the artwork on that page is awesome. Check it out.

That's all that I have for the week. Please try not to be an idiot that tramples somebody for $50 off of a TV today. Hopefully a lot of you are going racing this weekend any way! I mean, in all of my research, I have deemed December 20th-23rd the best shopping days of the year. In fact, those are typically the only days I shop. I hope you truly enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends and I am very thankful for all of your support over the years. There have been many times where I thought about throwing in the towel, but your support kept things moving along. Have a great weekend.

Best Of's

Best Harley: Shane Piercy

Best Blanket: Jake Johnson

Goon Of The Week: Ryan Wells (photo: Jim Wolf)