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A Night in Rescue One

By Jim Burton

Marketing Communications Director


Most nights they sit inside those distinctively decorated trucks, waiting and watching and ready to move at a moment’s notice. Some nights they’re needed in emergency situations, but most nights members of the Rocky Mountain Raceways safety team never do get to put their lifesaving training to use.

And that’s just fine with them.

IMG_2317Safety Director Tom Pyles is the first to admit that a slow night is often a good night. Whether the action is on the motocross course, the Young Kia Drag Strip or the American First Credit Union Super Oval – sometimes all three at the same time –RMR’s safety team is there to make sure all the proper precautions are taken. On busy nights they’re called upon to respond to crashes, assess injuries and make critical decisions as to what sort of care is needed. Because wrecked race cars, dragsters and dirt bikes sometimes leave debris and fluid in their wake, Tom and his team are responsible for a timely and thorough clean up so the racing can resume.

It’s easy to see how a quiet night for the safety crew adds up to a safe and relatively drama-free night for RMR’s racers and riders.

On Oct. 3, Tom invited me to ride along with the safety team during RMR’s final race of the season, the Utah State Oval Championships, an event that included 10 classes and 90 cars.

Given those numbers, I figured it might be one of those busy nights for the safety team. And even if that didn’t mean an emergency, I was sure there would be a number of wrecks and subsequent cleanups.

Turns out I was wrong.

Not only were there no emergencies (thankfully!), there were very few wrecks or even cleanup situations.

Although it was a rather uneventful night for the Tom and his people, I certainly did have a fun time riding along with them.

Shortly after the flag ceremony and the National Anthem, I hoped aboard the truck known as Rescue One. There I rode in the front with Tom and team member Julie Ford.

Other team members that night included Kristyne Showell, George Penny, TJ Johnson, Dana Jones, TJ Butcher, Curtis Sanchez and JT Thomas.

Just because it was a fairly slow night by most standards, doesn’t mean it was boring. First of all, we were sitting inside the oval, where we had a great view of all the racing action. There’s nothing boring about that. Secondly, even without the racing it was a hoot just hanging out with Tom’s team.

Yes, they’re well trained and well prepared to handle emergencies. But beyond that, they form a very tight, fun-loving group.

Long before my ride along I could see just how close they were. However, after riding aboard Rescue One, I gained an even better appreciation of how they’re really a family out there.

Just as it is with most families, there is a lot of kidding that goes on. Nobody is above getting teased in a good-natured way, which is exactly how it should be. On the other hand, there’s a fierce loyalty that exists with most family, and the safety team has that, too.IMG_2331

Plain and simple, they have each other’s backs. That’s a common theme among first responders of all kinds. The business of rescuing and protecting is indeed a serious undertaking. During down times there is playfulness and joking, but as I saw from my spot inside Rescue One, the mood can change in an instant when there’s work to be done.

It really is an amazing thing to see. One minute team members can be laughing about something someone said or did, but as soon as the radio crackles to life and there’s a call to respond, the laughter stops instantly. That’s when those distinctively designed trucks move forward and the crew springs into action, each member doing his or her job with seriousness and precision.

It’s definitely good to have people like that watching and waiting to help.

Ith Jr. wins again, earns second consecutive Maverik Modified title

 WEST VALLEY CITY – The “1280 The Zone” Pit Area at Rocky Mountain Raceways was packed tightly Saturday as 90 participants competed in 10 classes in RMR’s annual Utah State Oval Championship.

Even before the race, Mark Ith Jr. had his second consecutive Maverik Modified championship sewn up. Naturally, there were questions as to how hard he’d drive his No. 84 car in the feature event on the America First Credit Union Super Oval. Ith answered those questions when he immediately began working his way to the front of the pack.

Just two laps into the 50-lap race, Ith moved from his No. 8 starting position all the way to third. He eventually took the lead on lap No. 11 and never relinquished it. He hit a top speed of 84.948 miles per hour on lap 28, where he also turned in the race’s fastest lap at 15.892 seconds on the 3/8-mile oval.

Jimmy Waters finished second and Dan McCoy finished third while Lynn Hardy and Zachary Webster rounded out the top five.

Corey Walker won Saturday’s 30-lap Redbone Trucking Super Stocks race, edging out Tim Fahrner, who still managed to earn his second straight points title. Kevin Winders took third on Saturday and Al Jones completed the top five.

Kyle Bergener won Saturday’s 25-lap University Federal Credit Union Sprint Car race, hitting a top speed of 102.708 MPH. He topped second place finisher TJ Thorn by more than three seconds. Jimmy Waters took third, while Jason Aposhian and 2015 Crate Motor Sprint Class overall points champ Jaren Mott completed the top five.

In the 15-lap Sommers Auto Wrecking Hornets feature, Guy Urry took top honors. Preslie Thorne, Tyler Green, Jeramy White and Matt Johnson rounded out the top five. In the 15-lap Ford Focus Midget finale, Jimmy Waters took the checkered flag while Michael Daniels took second and Jeff Kelley finished in third place.

Anthony Quintana and Jeanille Waters-Romero completed the top five.

Ith Jr. captured Saturday’s U Burn ‘Em We Build ‘Em mini cup competition, sneaking past second-place finisher Kevin Neff by less than a second. Levi Rider, Skylar Sevey and Tracy Rider completed the top five.

The team All Powelled Up won the Double Decker race ahead of Green Lantern and Hot N Cold Waters, Cow Tipper and Hard Water rounded out the top five. In the Brandon Parks Roofing Trains race, the team Shake Rattle N Roll took top honors followed by Rest In Pieces, Kicking & Screaming, USA and Six Feet Under.

Nathan Westmoreland captured Saturday’s Jr. Stingers race, followed by Tyler Green, Levi Rider, Blaze Tucker and Blaine Roberts.

Finally, Matt Webster took first place in the Figure 8 race, topping second-place finisher Dave Fleishman and a contest that was shortened to eight laps.

Josh Herman – King of the Summer Send Off

Josh Herman – King of the Summer Send Off

By Jim Burton

Rocky Mountain Raceways2015-08-30 17.28.42

Josh Herman was prepared for a nice weekend at home in Pueblo. Colorado. Coming to Rocky Mountain Raceways for last month’s Summer Send Off wasn’t really a consideration.

And yet somehow the 27-year-old drag racer made it here and better still, he won here.

Racing in Super Pro, Herman cleaned up at the Summer Send Off. He picked up $2,500 for winning an Aug. 28 money bracket. He repeated the feat the next day and pocketed a cool $10,000.

He no-doubt went into the final day of competition feeling confident in himself, his car and his support team. But as is so often the case in racing, there’s a very thin line between perfection and dejection.  He won two rounds, but didn’t get any farther than that.

“I did a terrible job of driving (in the) third round,” he said. “But everything worked out.”

Yes it did.

Overall, Herman won 16 rounds during the three-day competition, which not only earned him $12,500, it also got him a royal title.

He was declared king … King of the Summer Send Off.

Along with the special title, King Josh also got a really nice price package that included, among other things, stuff from Hoosier Tires and Coca-Cola, plus a sweet watch from Rockwell.

2015-08-30 17.29.26 Oh and one other thing: Entry into the 2016 Las Vegas Spring Fling bracket races.

All in all, not a bad weekend for a guy who wasn’t even planning on making the trip until his friend Chris Whitfield talked him into it.

Yes, it’s true. If not for the intervention of a friend, Herman would have missed out on a lot of great things.

As it turns out, Herman’s girlfriend, Bri Bandimere, is also a racer. And although she did well at RMR’s 2014 Summer Send Off, this summer had not been quite so successful. Consequentially, Josh, being a good boyfriend, thought it might be better to simply stay home for the weekend.

“We were gonna stay home because she races too and she did really well here last year, but she’s really struggled this year,” Herman said in a matter-of-fact way. “I said, ‘you know what? I won’t come if you don’t want to come.’”

But Bri said she didn’t mind making the trip and when Whitfield then offered a friendly nudge, Herman basically had no choice but to start packing.

“My buddy talked me into it and, man, am I glad he did,” Herman said. “He made it happen for me.”

Herman said those words as late afternoon turned into evening on Sunday, Aug. 29. Suddenly, the starting line on the Young Kia Drag Strip was quiet and almost serene, a far cry from the raucous display of horsepower so often heard there.

Having just received a big trophy and a couple of even bigger checks, Herman offered a sigh of relief and a happy smile as he nodded over to his friends, who were waiting patiently.

That’s what good friends do. They wait when you need just a few more minutes; they encourage you to make the trip when they know that’s what you need and they always treat you like a king.