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The End Of More Than Just A Racing Season
 by Bob on Sunday, Jan 7th
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DFC Racing Now that the holidays are officially behind us, we normally take this time to look forward to the upcoming racing season. I always like to reflect back on last season too for many reasons. While looking back I often see some signs of what to expect the new season to bring. This time around those signs make me both nervous and optimistic. The good news is that throughout the 2017 season car counts and crowds remained strong at most tracks. The fields of cars also grew more competitive with the exception of Street Stocks at Hilltop. Even with that exception, the number of Street Stocks did start to climb back up from the dismal numbers we saw midseason. With some changes being made in that division for 2018, I hope to see this class return to a show worth staying late into the night to see. At Hilltop alone the Late Models have really stepped up the game. Sure Corey Conley still seems to stand out and run out front but lately he's had plenty of company up there. It's no longer a done deal when Corey starts up front. The return of George Lee in a borrowed ride was just one of the examples of threats to win on any given night. Other guys such as Hottinger, Misel, Wolford, and Hornikle are weekly regulars that have put on great shows fighting for a win. The Modifieds have remained very strong at Hilltop for years and 2017 showed some very promising signs also. This division is well known for 3 and even 4 wide battles for the lead and in 2017 even more drivers were capable of pulling off the win. It was great to see Wardell, Kline, Lee, and others fight their way to the top of the field. George Lee even brought home a hard fought championship in the Modified owned by Tom Conley. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

Towards the end of the season rumors always fly, and I'm very happy to see one of them actually come true this time. Buck Smitley is always looking for ways to improve the show for racers and fans at Hilltop. Hell, he's often looking for ways to support other tracks to improve shows for all involved. That's not nearly as common as it once was, and very refreshing to see. For 2018 Buck will make a huge leap in that direction by switching to Friday nights for weekly shows. This move should help give drivers and fans the opportunity to support more than just one track every weekend. The already strong fields of cars should only improve at Hilltop and elsewhere with this change. Bigger and better fields of cars at any track means more fans in the stands of course, but more importantly it improves the health of the sport overall.

The health and future of this sport is exactly what has honestly made me a bit nervous the past couple of seasons. There's more than a couple reasons for this. In recent years we've seen some very seasoned drivers, track owners, and even track staff walk away from the weekly racing scene. Having the chance to talk to many of these folks I've seen a pattern. Every one of them has said that racing isn't what it once was and that the fun for them is all but gone. Sure, the costs and other factors played a role in their decisions but that one thing really stood out to me. That's probably because I have also had those same thoughts the past couple of years and I was somewhat surprised that so many shared that opinion. So what the hell went wrong? For me, it started with the attitudes of so many of the younger generation which slowly spread to some of the older ones too. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of young drivers with talent and just plain love the opportunity to race. There are also plenty of younger fans that understand the rules and do their best to support racing in many ways. However, dealing with the ones that feel the world revolves around them and that they should be catered to no matter what really sucks to put it bluntly. From racers wanting to fight over any call, even the right call, to the keyboard cowboys that rush to social media to bitch and whine while sitting at the track, may of us older folks aren't exactly wild about the "new normal". It's not too late to clean things up but it's gonna take some work and the right people to do it. Track owners will need to do a better job of educating racers and fans about the rules and procedures a well as what will be accepted and not accepted. You can't stop all the ugliness and I get that, but allowing things to get out of hand in the pits. grandstands, and on the track will only fuel the fires. Quick and decisive action against those involved is the only way to stop it. I'm old enough to remember when racers showed up to battle each other on the track, not to do battle with track owners and officials. Fans came to see good rivalries, not fights and crybabies. I never heard the Wirt brothers, Jim Gentry or others of that generation crying about less than perfect track conditions. They knew they would all be racing on the same surface and that they were there to try to out drive each other. Drivers and fans would actually take their concerns/complaints to the track owners or staff so they could actually be addressed. I sure miss those days.

That brings me to the "end of an era" part of the story. With more and more of the older generation either walking away from racing or at least stepping back a bit from it, I feel that a bit of what made racing in this area so great is quickly slipping away. Those folks have been around long enough to see the good times as well as the ugly times and have the wisdom to avoid making mistakes of the past. With the loss of Jeff Norris in 2017 we lost one of the few guys out there willing to risk everything to bring a track back from the dead just for the love of the sport. Jeff was probably the best track owner I've ever worked with and a very good friend. More importantly, he wasn't looking for fame or fortune by bringing Hilltop back to life. He wanted to give the racers and fans a great place to enjoy racing even knowing the sacrifices he would face. I've seen plenty of folks that thought they had the best plans to run a track but lacked the backbone to follow through. Jeff sure as hell wasn't one of those guys. Speaking of great track owners, Paul Miller brought back Deerfield Raceway years ago and turned it into the most family friendly track I've ever visited. He worked tirelessly to put on a smooth fast paced show each week that included racers of all ages. By the end of the 2017 season Paul had also decided that he'd had all the fun he could handle and sold the track. Don Sharpless is the new owner and has big plans for the future of the track. Let's hope he can have the level of success that Paul and his family have had there.

An huge loss to the racing community at the end of the 2017 season was the retirement of Ed Fredrick. Ed has been working as a flagman and/or race director for over 40 years and has served each of the local tracks at one time or another. He's the man that drug my ass onto the flag stand for the first time and it was a true pleasure to work with him. One of the highlights of each season working with him was the opportunity to share the flag stand at least a couple times with his father, Earl. Earl stretched his career on the flag stand to over 60 years. Now that's a family that has dedicated more than most to the racing community folks! Filling those shoes will be nearly impossible. Ed tells me he's looking forward to getting to a few different tracks this year just to take in the show for once. Hopefully this will return the fun in racing for him. After all that he's given to racing over the years, he certainly deserves to enjoy himself. I'll sure miss being the first one to give him the finger each night, but he has earned this retirement. So Ed, go have your fun with the grandkids and such, but I still hope to see ya at some track this year Prick! ;-)

Weekend On The Hill Is Here!
 by Bob on Wednesday, Sep 13th
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DFC Racing

Here comes the big show we've all been waiting for at Hilltop Speedway. September 15th & 16th the folks at Hilltop will close out their racing season once again with the 9th annual "Weekend On The Hill" event. Mark your calendars and load up everybody you can find to take in this great season ender at the place best known for kick-ass door to door action. Both nights are sure to be action packed. Of course this weekend isn't only about the racing. These shows offer a great party type atmosphere now that the stress of the points season is all gone, and the focus is much more towards the fun side of racing. Racers and fans alike are able to get together each night for more than just a typical race night. You'll be kicking yourself in the ass all winter long if you miss this show folks!

The format for this year is different from previous years so here's the details. Friday night will be focused on the support classes, with 2 divisions of Mini Stocks, Mini Trucks, and Mini Wedges. There will be a Powder Puff Race and a Mechanics Race in the Mini Stocks for some extra excitement. There will also be a ceremony celebrating the top 5 in points in both the Mini Stock and the Truck divisions. No other classes will be in action on Friday night. Pits open at 5:30 on Friday night with Hot Laps at 6:30

Saturday night will be action packed with all divisions except Mini Wedges taking to the track and extra money up for grabs. The Late Models will be chasing $2000 to win and a $500 bonus for the fastest qualifier. The Modifieds will race for $1200 to win, and $150 just to make the feature event. Fastest qualifier in the Modifieds will snag an extra $200 bonus. Street Stocks will be racing for $700 to win, the Modlites will be racing for $1000 to win. Mini Stocks and Trucks will each be racing for $500 to win.

Pits open at 3pm on Saturday- $35
General Admission opens at 5pm- $15
Hot Laps at 5pm
Racing at 6:30

Jeff Norris, The Man, The Legend, The Crazy Bastard
 by Bob on Tuesday, Jul 18th
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DFC Racing

Jeff Norris will always be a HUGE part of any story that describes racing in this area. Without the man I've referred to as that "crazy bastard" since our first meeting, there would be no Hilltop Speedway in Millersburg, period. The place was closed and overgrown for more than 30 years before Jeff came along with a dream/crazy idea. Not one other person on earth wanted to take on the task of bringing this track back to action, and for good reason. Other area tracks that were already operating could have surely been purchased easier and without anywhere near the risk that Norris would take on with this dream of his. Anybody that took the time to get to know Jeff Norris quickly learned that he was a guy that didn't hesitate to act on his dreams, damn the risks. The first time I met him I obviously had to ask why the hell he would even think of taking on such a project just to own a race track. His reply will always stick with me. He simply said "Why not, nobody else was gonna do it and it's something I really want to do." Good enough for me, and I was more than eager to jump on the crazy train from that moment on. No matter what I may contribute to his efforts, it would be worth it, and pale in comparison to his own efforts and costs. Most people have absolutely no clue how much Jeff and his family sacrificed personally and financially to make his crazy dream come true in order to give racers and fans a great place to enjoy. He sure as hell wasn't in it for fame or glory. That really really really wasn't his style. He risk everything, and in the end lost everything, just for his love of the sport that we all love so much. He was a man with great passion for this sport, his family, and his dreams. A man that was "all in" on all of those things as his family and friends will always remember.

Jeff wasn't just a determined dreamer either. He was a great family man, musician (who knew?), and racer too. More importantly though, he was a great friend of mine even after leaving the ownership role at Hilltop. We got together at the track whenever we could and those times will always be fond memories. In recent years we even brewed up yet another crazy idea together that will sadly never be done now. His true friendship meant so much to me, but never more than the night of my Dads memorial service. We were just cleaning up after the service which was a Saturday night. Jeff called me from Hilltop and asked where the hell I was. When I explained the situation and he told me I needed to be at the track and he would save me a parking spot near the pit gate. I reminded him that I was an hour away and they should already be done qualifying by now. He told me that I knew damn well where my Dad would expect me to be and that he was "pretty sure they were running a bit behind tonight" with a smirk in his voice. That was all I needed to hear and pointed my Chrysler towards Millersburg at high speed. I may have straightened out parts of Rt.83 along the way ;-) I called him from Holmesville to let him know that I was close and he said I might just make it in time for the National Anthem and that he was standing in my parking spot. I of course thought that was a joke. My eyes got a bit misty as I pulled down into the parking lot to see him standing in the spot nearest the pit shack and I could hear the National Anthem coming from the track speakers. I honestly don't know what delayed the show that night, but in my mind that "crazy bastard" made my night absolutely perfect. That's just the kind of man that Jeff Norris was and will always be remembered as. When it comes to remembering Jeff, the most obvious way that I and many others think it should be done is an annual memorial race in his name at Hilltop Speedway. After all, there would be no Hilltop Speedway without Jeff Norris and his family. Let's make this happen folks!

Take a bow my friend, you've damn sure earned it!

From One Lane To 3 Wide In One Night
 by Bob on Tuesday, Jun 6th
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DFC Racing Hilltop is well known for 3 and 4 wide racing each week, and that's what brings the crowds to Millersburg all season. This week the track didn't allow for any of that early on with only minimal passing throughout most of the heat races and dash races. There was no way Buck would allow that situation the rest of the night and the crew made the very best of a rare intermission before the features would run. DAMN what a difference that made, and well worth every minute of down time. The feature races looked like what we're use to seeing on "The Hill" and hats off to those that made that happen.

Sprints returned to Hilltop for one of two scheduled events this year. I'm not much of a Sprint guy but it was awesome to see a senior citizen put on such a great show and picking up the feature win. Jeff Taylor may be over 65 but he wheeled that Sprint like a 16 year old kid. Take that you youngsters! ;-)

For the second week in a row the Street Stock feature was finally worth watching again. Gee,,,, I wonder what made the difference. Could it be that the lack of just one particular car makes for a better show? If it would remain that way the car count might just climb back to what it should be. John Wilson picked up a hard fought feature win last week and this week David Potts would hold off Wilson for another well earned win. I could get used to seeing this division putting on good shows once again. I reckon that will depend on how soon/often "Team Tantrum" returns.

The Modifieds have put on great shows the last couple of weeks also. Last week DJ Cline showcased his talents as one of the smoothest drivers I've ever seen on dirt. DJ has always turned smooth consistent laps but that doesn't always pay off in the stout field of wide open rim riders that show up weekly at Hilltop. This time he would calmly hold off all challengers even through several late restarts to pick up the feature win. That was just plain beautiful to watch. This week the dash race was won by none other than past track owner Jesse Wardell by putting a smooth show of his own. Must have been that DFC Racing carburetor huh? ;-) Wardell would line up beside Morehouse on the front row of the feature with all lanes open for business this time. This was the first night out for Morehouse and it was clear he was hungry for a win at the drop of the green. There were some good battles behind him but the "Logger" never looked back and picked up his first win of the season.

The Late Models might have had the best show of the night this week. Corey Conley set fast time but his night was ended with mechanical demons during the dash race. Wolford seemed like a likely candidate for the win early on but he was soon joined by hard charging Hottinger and others. Hottinger would briefly take the lead but the turn two guardrail would take away his momentum. While the battle raged up front George Lee was up on the wheel slicing his way forward from his 9th starting spot. Lee was back to his old ways of riding the highest of the high line to pick up spot after spot. Before long he could smell the front spot and it would have to be his. It would take a battle with Wolford to take the lead and it didn't end well for Wolford. Lee would only enjoy the lead a short time though as his tires seemed to have gone away during the caution and he ended up snagging the wall just enough to allow Jeromy Misel to sneak by. Misel has often been a threat to win lately and he wouldn't be denied this time. Hornikle would slip into second place before the checkers flew leaving Lee in third. What a wild race! Congrats to the entire Misel team on their first feature win at Hilltop!!

Where ACTION Is The Attraction!
 by Bob on Friday, Apr 28th
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DFC Racing

For any race teams out there looking for a place to pick up an easy win in any division, Hilltop is probably not your best bet. For race fans looking for strong fields of cars and plenty of 3 and even 4 wide racing action, you owe it to yourself to be at Hilltop every chance you get. The 2017 season is still very young but there's been no shortage of kickass racing in Millersburg. This place has always been known as the best place for side by side racing for good reason. Money won't get you to the front at this place, you will have to battle some of the very best on dirt just to see the front of the pack, especially in the Late Model division. This past week Hilltop hosted a qualifier race for the Jim Dunn Memorial event and that meant more money on the line along with even more talent taking to the track. The Late Model Dash was one of the best shows I've seen in many years with the pack running up to 4 wide the entire race. JR Gentry would continue his recent strong streak by picking up the Dash win over Markham, Conley, Kinkade, Drown, and Duncan. Gentry and Markham would battle early for the lead in the feature but Corey Conley once again had his Kryptonite ride dialed in and wasted no time running them down to take the lead away from Markham. Once Conley had the lead the battles were all behind him and they were plentiful throughout the field. Gentry, Markham, and Drown would all battle for position as that kid from West Virginia quietly worked his way into the mix. Tyler Carpenter may have brought his steel block car, but that wasn't gonna hold him back. Getting to Doug Drown and passing him would be two very different challenges for Carpenter. Tyler patiently worked the bottom for a few too many laps but with the white flag in site he decided to give the top groove a try. I'm sure Drown was as shocked as any of us were just how quick Carpenter went around him on the high side to finish 4th. Who knows where he would have finished had he jumped to the top earlier, but that's racin' as they say. Conley notched yet another win on "The Hill" and Gentry would have to settle for 3rd this week after picking up the hard fought win over Conley the week before.

The Modifieds put on one hell of a show of their own with plenty of door to door battle. They were running for extra cash and a quaranteed starting spot in the Jim Dunn show as well. They kicked off their 25 lap feature with a 3 wide battle for the lead between Jimmy Smith, John Sluka, and Nathan Loney. Loney would slip to 3rd before eventually spinning and going to the tail. That would leave Smith and Sluka to battle for the win and that's exactly what they did. They used every inch of the racing surface to fight it out every lap with Sluka working the bottom while Smith tried to wide the track around the top without climbing the wall. Smith would narrowly pick up the win when the checkers flew but it was probably one of his hardest earns win in his his career. DJ Cline, Chris Basich, and George Lee would all put on great battles behind the top two and finish in that order.

With a $200 bounty on Kyle Moore in the Street Stocks I honestly expected a stronger field to show up for the challenge, but no such luck. Bob Daugherty was busy picking up the win at Wayne County over Paul Holmes, and one of the newcomers had engine problems right off the trailer. This week will bring a new challenge for Moore as he has been offered a bonus if he starts on the tail and picks up the win. Unless the field grows from last week, this may not be much of a challenge but it should be fun to watch. I reckon this is what happens when one car dominates a division.

Hilltop Kicks Off 2017 Season
 by Bob on Monday, Mar 27th
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DFC Racing

Every season I wonder about the wisdom of starting the racing season in this area in the month of March, but sometimes Mother Nature seems to be just as eager as the rest of us to get back to racing. Sure, I once has snowballs thrown at me on the flagstand on opening night, but many opening nights have been just fine. This year Hilltop opened the season on a Friday night and with absolutely perfect weather. Car counts were a bit light as they usually are this time of the year, but the fans sure as hell showed up to get their first taste of door to door action on "The Hill". To be perfectly honest I was probably just happy to get my first taste of Hilltop food too. With only a couple slight delays the gang at Hilltop kept the show rolling straight through all divisions which made for a rare early ride home for me. Nice job folks!

Familiar faces would return to victory lane this week as Corey Conley would pick up yet another Late Model feature win and Jon Sluka would run away with his feature in the Modifieds. In each of these races there might not have been much of a battle for the win but there was plenty of action behind them. Gentry and Wolford would swap second place multiple times each lap for most of the race until Gentry ran out of race track and collected the wall coming out of turn four with just a handful laps left to go. It was a damn good battle up to that point though. The modifieds had plenty of action behind the leader too but probably the best fight for a win on this night was in the Mini Stocks. Jordan James would take the checkers but he had to work hard to earn it. Sadly, the action in the Money Stock,,,err umm I mean Street Stock division seems to have only gotten worse since last season. This class has been out of hand for so long there's no real fix for it anymore. Many good drivers have walked away from this class and racing entirely over the years because of what it has become and that's a damn shame. Not many can afford to build a Street Stock that turns Late Model lap times. Why the hell would anybody do it except to be the "big fish in the little pond"? Oh well, to each their own they say but I know the number of people that even care about watching this class has dwindled dramatically, and for good reason. That's just not good for the sport folks.

2017 Racing Season Is Nearly Here
 by Bob on Thursday, Mar 2nd
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DFC Racing Sure, it's been a pretty mild winter but it's still been way too long since we got to take in those racing fumes we all live for. Once the season kicks off it always seems that it was worth the wait though. This season will be even more exciting as our local tracks look to step up their programs even more to fill their pits and seats every weekend and at least one more track will be in the mix in 2017. Mansfield Motor Speedway set the racing world on fire back in January when it was announced that a new promoter would be taking over with the wild and crazy idea of ripping up all that pretty asphalt and installing a new clay surface. Well folks, the clay was already being hauled in by mid February and some major events have already been scheduled. Action begins on March 25th for the first night of their Triple Crown Spring Series. This awesome facility will showcase everything from Super Late Models, Sprints, Monster Trucks, and even Flat Track Bikes. Their website is still a bit short on details of some events but they're working quickly to get things in order. Be sure to check them out soon and take in a show to support this huge effort to return excitement to this historic track.

The only drawback to the news from Mansfield was that their first three shows ran up against the first three nights on the schedule at Hilltop Speedway. Buck made the simple decision to allow area racers and fans to support Mansfield on those nights by changing the Hilltop schedule from Saturday night to Friday night on those weeks. Now we can get a double dose of kickass racing action for the first few weeks of the season as long as Mother Nature cooperates. Some highlights of the 2017 Hilltop schedule include the return of Buckeye All Star Late Model Speed Week event, the first ever appearance of the Ohio Thunder Sprint Car Series, a qualifier event for the Jim Dunn Memorial show, Ohio Outlaw Motorsports Flat Track & Quads shows, and even some Blue Collar Series events. The gang at Hilltop are still working on other ideas for other special events this summer so stay tuned for further updates. For now the complete schedule as it stands is below. Be sure to get to "The Hill" often for the best side by side action on dirt!

Hilltop Speedway 2017 Schedule

March 18 Test & Tune 1:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
March 24 Opening Night Regular Racing Event Excluding First Choice Stump Grinding & Trees Mini Wedges
March 31 Blue Collar Mini Stock Qualifier $500 to win Plus Regular Racing Event Excluding First Choice Stump Grinding & Trees Mini Wedges
April 8 TBA
April 15 Blue Collar Street Stock Qualifier $1,000 to Win Plus Regular Racing Event
April 22 Jim Dunn Memorial Qualifier Holmes Tire Late Models $2,000 to Win Plus The Hangout in Danville Modifieds $1,000 to Win Other Divisions TBA
April 29 Short Track Fire & Rescue Mini Stocks $500 to Win Plus Mini Late Models Plus Regular Racing Event
May 6 Driver Autograph Night Plus Bugs R Gone Trucks $500 to Win Plus Regular Racing Event
May 13 Regular Racing Event
May 20 Not Running Enjoy Your Weekend
May 27 TBA
June 3 Regular Racing Event
June 10 Regular Racing Event Plus TBA
June 17 Regular Racing Event
June 24 Regular Racing Event
July 1 TBA
July 7 Ohio Outlaw Motorsports Flat Track Racing Bikes & Quads
July 8 Rigz Towing Modlites $500 to Win Plus Fan Appreciation Night Plus Regular Racing Event
July 15 Ohio Thunder Sprint Car Series Plus Regular Racing Event Excluding Short Track Fire & Rescue Mini Stocks
July 20 Buckeye All Star Speed Week Late Models $3,000 to Win Plus The Hangout in Danville Modifieds $1,000 to Win Plus More TBA July 22 Not Running Enjoy Your Weekend
July 29 Regular Racing Event Plus Mini Late Models Excluding TBA
August 4 Ohio Outlaw Motorsports Flat Track Racing Bikes & Quads
August 5 Regular Racing Event
August 12 Mini Late Models Plus Regular Racing Event Plus Kids Night
August 19 Season Championships
August 26 Ohio Outlaw Motor Sports Bikes & Quads 9th Annual Battle At The Hill
September 2& 9 TBA
September 15th and 16th 9th Annual Weekend on the Hill Holmes Tire Late Model Invitational, The Hangout in Danville Modifieds, Homes Pest Control Street Stocks, Bugs R Gone Trucks, Short Track Fire & Rescue Mini Stocks, Rigz Towing Modlites, First Choice Stump Grinding & Trees Mini Wedges. More details will follow.
September & October TBA

This is a tentative schedule. Dates may be changed or added. Watch website for up to date information about Hilltop Speedway at www.hilltopspeedway.org.

Regular Racing Event Includes: Late Models sponsored by Holmes Tire, Modifieds sponsored by The Hangout in Danville, Street Stocks sponsored by Holmes Pest Control, Mini Stocks sponsored by Short Track Fire & Rescue, Trucks sponsored by Bugs R Gone, Modlites sponsored by Rigz Towing, and Mini Wedges sponsored by First Choice Stump Grinding & Trees

A Look Back On The 2016 Season
 by Bob on Monday, Dec 5th
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DFC Racing The 2016 season started way back in March for some folks including those that filled the place at Hilltop Speedway for opening night. Hilltop would provide many memorable moments throughout the season as always. We saw Corey Conley become so dominate early on that a bounty was placed on him. The bounty would bring in plenty of heavy hitters but it was that young fella from West Virginia that came to town to pick up the bonus money. Tyler Carpenter didn't even have his own ride that night so he borrowed the Kryptonite of Mike Lonas for the tough task. Carpenter would go on to have an extraordinary season of his own including a wild and crazy Speed Week. Shucks he even got a purrrty lil' crown at the end of the season by winning the DTRN points championship for the second year in a row. That will look very nice beside all those shiny new trophies and giant checks he snagged this year. Kryptonite Race Cars doesn't need a salesman with this kid and his father strapping into them weekly. The smart competition including Corey Conley starting ordering their own this season. Carpenter wouldn't be the youngest star to show up at Hilltop this season though.

Harrison Hall turned 12 years old the weekend he brought his Modified and Super Late Model to Millersburg and take on a huge field of veteran drivers for the "Weekend On The Hill" event. Harrison has been racing and winning championships since the age of 5! Sure we've heard may stories about drivers getting started early and having success, but this kid is just plain impressive! He showed absolutely no signs of being intimidated by the strong field he was facing and demonstrated better car control in the pack than some drivers that have been racing for decades. He barely missed making the A-Main with the Late Model, but brought home a very strong 9th place finish with his Modified. The youngster doesn't seem satisfied with just playing in the dirt either as he's already been testing an asphalt Super Late Model in his spare time. Keep an eye on this young fella in the future for sure!

Speaking of asphalt, congrats go out to Cody Jaberg for picking up his very first feature win on June 18th. I'd like to credit that win to his DFC Racing carburetor but Cody has been a threat to win for some time now. Keep up the good work young man!

Another racer that's always a threat to win at any track is Bob Daugherty. Facing the domination of Lonas at Hilltop Bob often found himself running second, and that's just not good enough for this guy. He would travel to a few other tracks to get his mo-jo back and once again prove that he can win anywhere. His travels would take him to 9 different tracks in 3 states adding up to 37 races this season. His reward would be 11 feature wins and 26 top 5's for the year. He brought that mo-jo back to Hilltop to win the last show of the season as icing on the cake. Those kind of stats aren't easy to come by now that this division has gotten so far from what it was meant to be. Not too shabby for an old bottom feeder. ;-)

While the racing season brought us many great memories all summer long, there was plenty of sadness as the season came to a close. Not just because we'd have to survive another long winter before smelling those sweet fumes again either. First came the announcement from Rick Bond that he would be hanging up his helmet for good after the last race of 2016. For those that have watched Rick for decades, there's no doubt that guys like him are not common enough in the world of racing. Besides being a very strong competitor, Rick has always been one that I've used as an example of a real class act on and off the track. Soft spoken for sure, but fierce in battle behind the wheel on every lap he ever turned. He'd fight for every inch on the track and give the shirt off his back to help anybody anywhere. From watching him from the pits, to dealing with him as a track official, I've only seen him lose his cool once and it was well deserved. Rick has always been respectful to fellow racers, fans, and yes even track officials in all the years I've known him. That's what heroes are made of folks. It's always tough to see one of the great old timers step away from the cockpit but lucky for us we can usually still find them at the local tracks taking in the show. My advice is to take advantage of those opportunities and chat with them. You'll learn much more than setup tricks, trust me.

Sad news also came just as the season was ending when one of my childhood heroes and a great friend of my dad passed away. Carl Graber may not be a name many people remember in the racing world but they remember his work when you mention the old "Snoopy Car" that Pete Bonewit and Dean Alexander drove. Even more memorable were probably the beautiful Mustangs driven by Dean Alexander. Yep this old farmer and my old man were partners in those cars and built them the old fashioned way in a little 2 car garage. I still remember as a little kid watching them build a car trailer overnight in that garage with nothing more than a stick welder, chalk lines on the floor, and pure determination. After my dad passed away I spent some time with Carl and I'm damn glad I got that chance. We shared plenty of laughs and more racing stories than I ever expected the old fart to remember. I suppose Carl and Pop are up there building race cars again, and I'd bet they'll be building nothing but more of those damn Fords. I never could convert those old timers to Mopars as hard as I tried.

Even more sad news came when we lost one of the pillars of Hilltop Speedway after the season ended. Wanda Brinker was probably the strongest supporter of Hilltop since the days when Jeff Norris got the crazy idea to bring racing action back to what had become an overgrown junk yard. You could always find Wanda along with her daughter Carly spreading cheer through the pits in their golf cart. When it was time for the features I always try get up to the top of the stands with these two to enjoy the action. There will be quite an emptiness up there from now on for me and many others. The top of "The Hill" will certainly be different without Wanda, but she will never be forgotten.

2016 Points Season Wrapped Up At Hilltop....But There's More Action Left
 by Bob on Thursday, Aug 25th
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DFC Racing

Racers and fans alike couldn't have asked for a better track surface than Hilltop provided Saturday night for Season Championship night. It was smooth, dust free, and FAST! All divisions were in action and many were fighting for those final points for a shot at a championship or at least a better final position in the season points. For the second week in a row the Late Models put on a stellar show of their own the entire length of the the feature. Battles for the top spot were awesome but the entire field seemed to be racing for a million dollars both nights. This week we would see Corey Conley debut his new Kryptonite chassis and it was impressive right off the trailer. He set fast time of the night but his battle had just begun. The feature was stacked with plenty of tough competition and nobody was gonna let Conley steal an easy win. When the checkers flew it was Dave Hornikel out front and Shane McLoughlin in second. Corey would have to settle for a hard earned third place. Right behind him was Kyle Moore with pretty damn good run of his own. The Moore boys have had a pretty rough season this year with destroyed cars and blown engines, but maybe their luck is finally turning around. Let's hope so.

Hats off to the newly crowned 2016 points Champions at Hilltop Speedway

Late Model: Vic Hottinger
Modifieds: Robin Duston
Street Stocks: Mike Lonas
Modlites: Clint Snyder
Mini Stocks: Colton St. John
Mini Trucks: John Large
Mini Wedge 10+: Reece Bollinger
Mini Wedge 9 and under: Brooklyn Wilson

Now that the points season is out of the way, it's time for some real fun on The Hill. This weekend the Ohio Outlaw Motorsports group rolls into town to put on a different type of show. If you haven't taken in one of these Bike and Quad shows, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. It may be a little quieter than your weekly show at Hilltop, but the action is sure to please. Click on their logo below for more details on this event as well as future shows.

Real racers and fans know that the big event of the fall season is The Weekend On The Hill. Mark your calendars for September 16th & 17th so you don't miss the most fun on dirt this year. Mix plenty of great racing with a party atmosphere and ya just can't go wrong. You'll be kicking yourself in the ass all winter if you don't make the trip for this one! Details for the entire event will be released soon so stay tuned......

2016 Season Winding Down Quickly
 by Bob on Monday, Aug 8th
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DFC Racing It's hard to believe that the regular racing season is nearly over already. Season Championship night is just around the corner at all of our local tracks folks. Then we'll have a few big season ending events to look forward to before the gates are locked once again for a few months. I guess what I'm getting at is don't miss any remaining chances you may get to take in the great racing action this area has to offer, dirt or asphalt.

In recent weeks there's been plenty of great racing to take in at Hilltop as always. After that young fella from down south picked up the bounty on Corey Conley, it looked like Tyler Carpenter was on top of the world. The start of the STARS Buckeye Speedweek seemed to confirm that this rising star was more than capable of running with the best Late Model drivers to be found anywhere. Carpenter kicked off the week long series by winning the first show in fine fashion. Leading the points going into the Wednesday show at Atomic Speedway, it started to look like he'd be taking the title back home to West Virginia. However, things took a very ugly turn, or flip in this case early into the heat race. Tagging the outside wall sent the 28 machine into traffic and from there he looked allot like a pinball. Thankfully he walked away but the car was trashed. Removing it from the track might have been easier with a bucket and a broom.

This is where racers show their true character. The Carpenters are real racers, and nothing would keep him from the track. I heard some people say that since the Carpenters own Kryptonite Race Cars, they'd just roll out a shiny new ride for Tyler, but that's certainly not what happened. The crew worked overnight trying to rebuild that pile of parts in order to make the show on Thursday night at Hilltop. They didn't get it back together in time for Hilltop but he did manage to borrow a ride at the last minute and rolled through the gate as the Late Models were running hot laps. Piloting a car he'd never sat in before, and doing battle against the best to be found on dirt, it was pretty impressive to see him bring home a 6th place finish. Then it was time to rush back home to finish rebuilding his own car for the Friday night show. That show would get rained out but the rebuilt car and it's determined driver were more than ready to get back to the action on Saturday night at the very same track that started all of this mess in the first place. With the car "good but not 100%" he'd have to settle for 5th place. Not too damn shabby in the opinion of most, but not good enough for the Kryptonite crew. They'd continue to bust their asses on the car one more long night to be ready for the final event of Speedweek. This time all of their hard work would pay off as Tyler once again put an old fashioned ass whoopin' on the stout field, picking up a VERY well deserved feature win. It's not often you get such a great example of pure determination, hard work, love of the sport, and just plain raw freakin' talent. These are things that money will never be able to buy. It's in their blood and it was awesome to see it pay off in the end for such a great team. Hats off to the entire Carpenter team as well as Kryptonite Race Cars. Thank you for showing that such values are still to passed from generation to generation in this great sport!

Conley Knocked Off His Thrown As ''King Of The Hill''
 by Bob on Friday, Jul 15th
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DFC Racing

Markham, Duncan, Bond, Gentry and others have made the trip in recent weeks to end the winning streak of Corey Conley at Hilltop Speedway. They all failed. With a bounty out for anybody that could tackle the job, along with some other bonus money on the line, that youngster from West Virginia Tyler Carpenter decided to take his turn at it. Carpenter would be behind the wheel of the Kryptonite #5L normally piloted by Mike Lonas. The "kid" went right to work in the pits making changes to the car before ever strapping in. I reckon when your own family builds the chassis, ya just know what you'd like to see in a setup. The Dash race would show that he could run with Conley so the feature would surely be interesting. In the early laps of the feature Carpenter captured 2nd place but by then Conley was driving away. But not for long! Somebody will have to explain to me one day how Carpenter got the nickname Kamikaze Kid, because the little bastard is probably the smoothest, most disciplined young driver I've ever watched. Sure he can run wide open around a track with the best of them, but he can also do it 3 or 4 wide without ever making contact or getting out of shape. That's IMPRESSIVE! It was like watching a cat creep up on a mouse as Carpenter closed in on Conley and when he made his move for the lead the crowd went crazy. Through lapped traffic Conley put up a short battle but soon it was clear that his streak would be over. Only disaster or a caution would save his ass now. Then the yellow flag flew with one lap to go. Once again we'd see how smooth this kid can be. Protecting the bottom off turn 4 to take the green was his only defense but by the middle of 1 & 2 turns he had this one in the bag. Congrats young fella and thanks for one hell of a show! Note to Lonas: ya better get up on that wheel this Saturday night because we've just witnessed what that car is capable of. ;-)

Mark your calendars folks for THURSDAY July 28th. The STARS Late Model series will roll into Millersburg to battle the stout weekly competitors on "The Hill". Late Models will be chasing $3000 to win and $300 just to make the feature. Hilltop will be starting 24 cars in the Late Model feature for this show. Modifieds will be racing for $1300 to win. The Street Stocks will be chasing $1000 to win (THANKS to McKenzie Concrete) and Mini Stocks will be racing for $300 to win. This is one of those show that's sure to make long lasting memories for all race fans so BE THERE!!!!

Double Dose Of Deerfield For The Holiday Weekend
 by Bob on Monday, Jul 4th
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DFC Racing

Deerfield Raceway celebrated the July 4th weekend in fine style with 2 great nights of action. Saturday night was Mid-Season Championship night along with the Dave Walters Memorial race for the Modlites. The track was once again groomed to perfection for the full night of action in 9 divisions, as it always seems to be. I spent the first half of the night in the tower and I gotta tell you that the efficiency of the staff up there is pretty impressive. I've spent time in the towers at various tracks over the years, and to say it can usually be a little hectic is quite an understatement. This place is certainly different from those others. The laid back feeling was unlike anything I've experienced in any other tower. They even talked me into helping with the scoring for a while and that's a job I'd normally run from. It helped alot that caution flags aren't quite as common as I'm used to seeing. That fact alone is very impressive when you consider that there are fields of kids out there putting on a good bit of the show. All divisions raced clean and those having a problem were quick to get off the track if possible to avoid bringing out the unnecessary caution flag. You Deerfield officials are spoiled if ya ask me. ;-) From the AWESOME singing of the National Anthem, to the full field of Modlites climbing out of their cars on the front stretch after the feature race to join the presentation of the Dave Walters Memorial Race trophy, it was a great show of pure class that should make anybody return for more. So,,,, that's exactly what I did the very next night.

By now you all know that my favorite night at a race track is any night that I get to take my daughter and granddaughter with me. Angelena is a huge Bob Daugherty fan but she might enjoy the Night Of Destruction shows at Deerfield even more. These shows are probably the only time you'll find a nasty track surface at Deerfiled but that's the only way to run an Enduro race, race car bowling, and other assorted mud filled events. There will be two more of these shows this year and you owe it to yourself to see at least one of them. You'll get more than your share of mudslinging/fender bending action, and probably take a little track surface home with ya. We had a blast all night as always but I have to warn Paul that I'm pretty sure Angelena was sizing up that little tow truck. She's pretty sure she can reach the pedals in that one so ya might wanna hide the keys!

Finally Getting Back To Those Racing Fumes!
 by Bob on Monday, Jun 20th
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DFC Racing

Between all the rain-outs, family obligations, and a shredded tire on route 30, it was about a month and a half before I finally got back to a track for some racing action. Sure I got to visit a couple during the week for some testing and bullshit sessions, but I needed my favorite coney dogs and those kickass Hilltop Fries in a bad way. Last week there was nothing short of disaster that would keep me away. Blazing temps made for some dust and a slick track, but that wasn't gonna ruin my fun. The only thing that put a damper on the night was that crybaby BITCH that rushed straight to Facebook (while sitting in the friggin stands) to complain about the dust. I was there when Buck offered to refund her money along with admission price for her candy ass boyfriend, who also rushed to Facebook to cry like a BITCH while sitting in the stands. Why am I being so harsh on these two assholes? Well, she explained very clearly to Buck and I that the internet is where people voice their opinions. So, since I don't dabble in the evil that is Facebook, here's my opinion. First, if you go to a DIRT track on a 94 degree day, you should probably expect some dust, possibly plenty of it since water simply runs off once the track has hardened. If you find the outside real world not quite as pleasant as parking your ass behind a keyboard indoors, maybe you should take up an indoor sport or stick to playing those online games. Secondly, if you find yourself unhappy with those icky outdoor conditions and want to express your displeasure, grow a pair and talk to management in person like an adult. Any business in the world would be happy to discuss your issues in person rather than get bashed from a keyboard, and you won't find a more "eager to please" owner than Buck Smitley of Hilltop Speedway. I know it's tough for this damn Facebook generation to have an actual 2 sided conversation where you're accountable for your actions and "comments", but that's what it takes to actually accomplish things in the grownup world. Give it a try sometime if ya dare. ;-) Oh, and just in case you've convinced yourself that the dust problem was only at Hilltop, I can point out some videos from another local track on the same night that look at least as bad. Go figure.

Alright, now to the racing. Last week the slick track did indeed take away some of the 3 and 4 wide action that Hilltop is known for but there was plenty of passing going on and drivers used every inch of the racing surface. In the Street Stocks, the slicker surface actually leveled the playing field a bit. The big motor guys had their hands full all night and Bob Chilcote took home the $1000 feature win while Lonas peddled that big ass motor the best he could to pick up second with Daugherty on his tail.

This week the track was in great shape and even with the scorching temps the dust was under control. This brought back the awesome side by side racing we expect on "The Hill" for sure. Dashes and heat races gave us just a hint at the battles we'd see when the features lined up. Late Models, Modifieds, and Street Stocks gave us unreal battles for the lead and throughout the fields, along with door to door finishes at the checkers. The Late Model feature will be one to remember for anybody that witnessed it. JR Gentry jumped to an early lead and kept his foot through the radiator for almost the entire race, lifting only slightly to slice his way through lapped traffic. Meanwhile there was one hell of a battle behind him trying to decide who would try to take the lead away. Markham finally secured 2nd and went to work trying to reel Gentry in. By midway he closed in tight but didn't push his luck just yet. This ol' veteran hasn't won a gazillion features by taking chances early that he didn't have to. Lapped traffic would once again play a role coming for the white flag and Markham was ready to capitalize this time and stole the win from Gentry. Gentry said later that he may have been too conservative with the lapped traffic at the end but I honestly don't think he could have played it any harder without causing a huge mess of twisted metal. As hard as that loss had to be for Jr, he put on one of the best examples of class you could ask for after the race. He climbed from his car on the front stretch to shake the hand of the man that took his win away. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't always seen that attitude from Gentry, but this was sincere and it was truly a class act. Hats off to ya JR! You might just become the man your legendary father is someday. ;-)

Coming up this Saturday June 25th will be Mid-Season Championship Night at Hilltop Speedway. The 25th would also have been my Dads 84th birthday and I know exactly where he'd expect me to be. See ya at Hilltop folks!!!

2016 Season In Full Swing Now
 by Bob on Wednesday, Apr 27th
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DFC Racing Now that all of our local tracks have opened up the gates, there's plenty of action to be found for dirt and asphalt racers and fans. Barberton Speedway has kicked off their first full season with the new ownership and the place has been packed. They've spent plenty of money and hard work to spruce up the 1/4 mile bullring and the racers and fans have been rewarding them for their efforts. It's worth the trip even for you dirt fans to check this place out this season.

Deerfield Raceway started their seaon this past weekend with 99 cars in the pits. That says alot about the place with the weather being just a little less than optimal for racers and fans. The gang at Deerfield put on a great show each week and go out of their way to make every vistor feel like family. You can't find a more family oriented crowd in the stands at any other track I've ever visited. This is another 1/4 mile bullring, but this one is dirt of course. Be sure to make plans to take in a show here and I promise you'll want to return.

Hilltop has already had 3 shows so far and the action has been nothing short of awesome. On April 16th the stands were once again packed and the fans got one hell of a show. In the days of lighter car counts everywhere, it was great to see not one but three B-Main races in one night. The Late Model and Modified fields were filled with the very best competition to be found in the area. One Late Model team even made the trip from Canada! Last week we saw Corey Conley pick up his second win of the year from his 11th place starting spot to the surpise of many. So far it seems that Conley can't be beat when it comes to the Late Models, but this past weekend almost turned out differently. 2015 points champion, Kyle Moore, struggled with his new ride on the 16th but this week he had that Kryptonite dialed in. He jumped out to an early lead and started to drive away from the field briefly. It didn't take long for Conley to find his way to 2nd though and he began hounding Moore for the lead. There were some great battles behind them but these two drivers had a damn good clean battle for most of the feature with lapped traffic often playing a role. Coming to get the white flag that lapped traffic would help decide the outcome of this feature. Moore chose the risky move of trying a narrow line around lapped traffic getting into turn 3. It was a clean move and Moore kept from moving the slower traffic out of the way, but it would cost him the lead. Conley chose the safer route and stole the lead by turn 4. Ya can't say Moore didn't give it all he had to try to regain the lead but he just couldn't pull it off in one lap. The crowd sure as hell got a show though. You won't want to miss the action this week as I expect Moore and others will try to knock Conley off his throne. Keep an eye on that Moore fella. ;-)

Hilltop Sponsors Stepping Up For April 16th Show
 by Bob on Tuesday, Apr 12th
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DFC Racing

Mother Nature finally seems ready to allow Hilltop Speedway to get back to racing this weekend and you won't want to miss this one. Not only will all divisions be back in action this week, but some loyal sponsors have stepped up to make this even more interesting. The Modifieds will now be chasing $1200 to win, along with some extra cash thrown in for the top five spots. There will also be some bonus money offered up for the fastest qualifier, hard charger, and even the longest haul. Each of these racers will snag an extra $100 for their efforts. There's always a kickass field of Mods on hand at Hilltop and these offerings should bring in a few more hot shots this week. Those strong enough to make the field for the feature will at least pick up $150 start money. What a great way to salute the strong field of Modified teams that support Hilltop weekly!

The cash doesn't all go to just the Mods this week either. The Street Stocks will be chasing $700 to win and $100 just to start the feature. The Mini Stocks will be racing for an increased purse of $300 to win also. These divisions racing for extra money, along with the always stout fields of Late Models, and Modlites, will surely make for one hell of a show. You have no excuses this weekend for not getting to Hilltop for the best action on dirt. See ya there!



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