Joe Speakman Excited For Must See Racing's Ohio Invasion
NEW PHILIDELPHIA, Ohio – When the 2017 Must See Racing Sprint Car Series schedule was first announced during the offseason, among those most excited about the tour's inaugural trip to Midvale Speedway was Richwood, Ohio veteran Joe Speakman.
After all, as his son and crew chief Braden put it, "It's less than four hours from our house!"
Joe Speakman will race in front of his home state fans this weekend at Ohio's Midvale Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
With a smaller-budget, family-run race team, the Speakman family savors any chance they have to be able to race a little bit closer to home.
Not only will they get to accomplish that on Saturday during the inaugural Buckeye State Shootout, they'll be able to fly the state flag as one of several Ohio representatives running full-time in the series this season.
Alongside two-time defending champion Jimmy McCune and his nephew Anthony, along with fellow veteran Jerry Caryer, Speakman makes up part of a strong and committed Buckeye State contingent for the Midvale event, admitting that it is a little bit extra-sweet to be able to race in front of a home crowd.
"It's not just important because of the race being in Ohio, but it's important because we want to keep improving every race," said Speakman.
Driving a 1980s Shores Chassis that he modified years ago, Speakman has spent the early season fine-tuning the car, following a rebuild from a vicious crash at Shady Bowl Speedway last May.
Now, he feels like he and the team have found something going into their home race on Saturday.
"We're making a pretty big change to the top wing," Speakman explained. "The way it was, when I would slide it back it would get really steep. The new mounting brackets should make it more consistent as the wing slider moves it."
"I really feel like our Wasserbeck engine is right up there on power. I know we've got the right tools, so now it's just about getting better and meeting our goals."
Speakman enters the weekend tied for sixth in points with Caryer, with a best finish this season of seventh, scored last time out at Owosso Speedway on July 1.
His hope is to improve that mark by a handful of positions by the end of race day.
"Man, my goal this year has been to break into the top five," Speakman explained. "We got closer at Owosso, but we weren't quite there yet. The way I see it, there's no better place to check off that goal than in my home state."
Speakman adds that while it may not be obvious to outsiders, he and his car have made many strides compared to where they were last season.
"We have definitely been running faster lap times this year ... and doing so with two-race old tires," Speakman said. "Also, our finishes have improved. Part of that is just my getting used to running the 410, plus working with my setup. Thanks to Braden for his help. I love doing this but if he ever decided to quit, I would probably have to call it quits also. Racing is a family sport and I couldn't do this without him."
"I would also like to thank Jeff and Linda Bloom for making me feel comfortable to come and talk to Jeff for advice, or just to hang out and chat. Also a big thank you to Jim and Jimmy McCune for their help at the track, borrowing stuff from them and the helpful advice they give; it's all been a benefit to me this year."
Jimmy McCune enters the Midvale event, which is the only series stop in the state of Ohio this season, with a 55-point lead over National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bloom in the championship standings.
McCune's nephew Anthony sits a career-high third in points through four events, three back of Bloom.
Gates at Midvale Speedway open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with hot laps kicking off at that time. Qualifying will roll off at 5 p.m., as the Must See Racing sprint cars take aim at the all-time Midvale track record, followed by racing action at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Must See Racing, including driver and team news, points standings, results, schedule updates and more, visit www.mustseeracing.com.
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