PHOTO: Veteran racer Bobby Glass ended his 50-plus year career in style by catching his race car on fire during his burnout salute. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM Photo)

— by T.J. Ingerson
VMM Editor

Well, it’s been a week since the reigns were handed over and the place is still standing, so I must not be doing too badly of a job. But in all seriousness, thank you to everyone who has offered their congrats and their support going forward.

And without further ado, I introduce the newest piece of Vermont Motorsports Magazine: Jackstands. Jackstands will be my place to offer my thoughts on what is happening around the racing world. It will be my soap box, similar to the Juice.

And the name comes from something most racers really like to do: put the race car up on jackstands and do what we call “bench race.” And I’m going do to just that, with my thoughts from this past weekend’s Oktoberfest at Lee.

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Race officials have a nifty little tool that they can use at their disposal to help a race that is going badly. It is known as a consultation flag, better known as a black flag. Using it allows officials to remove cars from the track that are causing a problem, whether it be a mechanical issue, leaking a fluid, or just driving foolishly.

The lack of a black flag in the 100 lap Pro Stock race has bothered me.

Yes, it’s racing and there will be caution flags. But 18 caution flags is a bit excessive, considering the same four or five cars were the ones involved in about half of them. And what those cars were doing had a major effect on the lead cars, who had very little to do with the grand amount of cautions.

After the 11th caution flag was displayed on lap 30, officials forced all cars to restart single file. And that wreck had nothing to do with the leaders.

A black flag can be used on an excessively slow car that won’t keep his car on the bottom when being lapped. And that’s what happened when it took out two contenders, Mike Rowe and Gary Smith. But the same lap car continued to be able to race, and continued to race the same way. And not one single rolled black flag or warning was given.

The decision to start 34 cars was questionable. We all know not every driver has the same talent level, and there are some that are over their heads. I think a race featuring 26 cars would have been much better, and every fan would have left there happy. The fans were robbed of the battle that was setting up between eventual winner Wayne Helliwell and Monadnock veteran Barry Gray. And let me tell you, it was setting up to be one heck of a battle.

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Is there anything better than watching a driver ending his 50-year racing career to be able to go out on his own terms, performing a great smoke show to all those in attendance?

It may be a bit ironic that the ex-fireman Bobby Glass, who ended his 50-year career at Lee on Sunday, caught his race car on fire at the end.

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Honey Badger. I googled it. Now what?

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In a normal year, Wayne Helliwell, Lonnie Sommerville, and Les Hinckley would be champion of their respected series. But, 2011 wasn’t a normal year for northeast touring series.

The statistics put up by Brian Hoar, Johnny Clark, and Chris Pasteryak is certainly impressive. Between those three champions combined, they competed in 41 races, recorded 40 top-ten finshes, along with 31 top five-finishes. They won a combined 15 times, nearly 37 percent. The lone top ten blemish belongs to Hoar, who fought to a 16th place finish in the Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road.

Johnny Clark’s season is further impressive, if you know he only finished out of the top five once, coming in the second race of the season at Star Speedway. Clark recorded seven wins on the season, in his 14 series starts.

I would say those second place finishers shouldn’t feel too badly about their seasons.

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VMM will be at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway meeting and we suggest every racer should to. What’s the hurt in listening to what they have to say?

The way Mike Bruno has looked for input about the speedway is promising, to say the least. He wants it to be a place where racers want to race and fans want to come.

I know if I had a race car that could fit under their rules package, I’d be there.

VMM will have twitter updates (@VMMUpdates) as the meeting progresses, as well as here.