Are You Crazy? Andy Bozell To Try For Nine-Second Barrier In The Call Of The Wild
The 7th annual Call of the Wild Presented by Raceiver and Sweet Manufacturing will be held at Kalamazoo Speedway this Saturday. This event has become a staple of the track schedule since it was introduced to challenge Randy Sweet’s all time track and world record lap in 2007, which was, at the time, a 10.746-second lap set back in 1982.
This event features Outlaw Super Late Models with sprint car wings, sideboards and whatever creations the drivers can come up with to satisfy their need for speed. As has been the case throughout the history of the event, the highlight of the night is actually not the racing itself, but the World Record Qualifying hour. The qualifying round allows the fastest eight drivers from practice automatically getting locked into the 50-lap “A” Feature, then going out in a no-holds-barred attempt at the fastest lap an attempt to break a World Record. This year, a World Record run means a $2,000 bonus.
The first year of the event in 2007 saw dirt track veteran Terry Sroufe get to a 10.800-second lap, which did not break Sweet’s record. In 2008 though, another dirt racing veteran, Curt Spalding, did finally break Sweet’s 26-year-old record with a 10.715. A year later, Spalding shattered his own mark by nearly a half a second by turning a 10.217. The 2010 version of the event saw Andy Bozell lower the record even more to a 10.038.
In 2011, the 12-Time Kalamazoo Speedway Outlaw Super Late Model Track Champion Bozell, a member of the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame, do it again. Bozell lowered the World Record to a staggering 10.020-seconds, which averages out to 134.730mph. The 2012 version of the race would be only the second time in the events history that the World Record did not fall as Bozell could only post a 10.157 in his wicked creation sporting the #70 for car owner Harry Foote, Jr.
Getting into an Outlaw Super Late Model in the first place takes some guts. To do it in a souped-up version of an already-fast racecar and not even lift off the gas pedal around a 3/8-mile track like Kalamazoo takes even more than that, according to Bozell.
“It takes a special kind of preparation to go out and go absolutely as fast as you can with the very best of everything you’ve got.” Bozell explained. “You have to mentally prepare yourself more so than anything else. All of your normal marks in a regular Late Model don’t exist. Plus you can’t take your foot off the gas at all, which goes against everything you normally do in a race car on a short track. The whole thing is a special deal all its own. I’m happy we only do it once or twice a year.”
While strapping in for a World Record qualifying attempt is intense for the drivers, the Call of the Wild event allows fans a unique opportunity to witness fearless history.
“That’s why we do this, it’s for the fans,” added Bozell. “There’s no pressure at all as far as fighting for points or battling with another driver, it’s simply about going as fast as we possibly can. But man, I really wanted to get into that nine-second bracket (last year). It actually felt like the motor laid down a little, but man we tried. We put the big tires on it, took about 400 pounds of weight out of the car and went for it. That’s all we can do, but we’ll be back to do it again. I can’t wait for this weekend.”
To compare Bozell’s World Record run in 2011 to another blazing-fast form of racing, the fastest lap ever recorded for a Winged Sprint Car at Kalamazoo was a 10.270-second lap. That lap, which was more than two-tenths of a second slower than Bozell’s record, was set by Jason Blonde in 2010. In one appearance by Winged Sprint Cars at Kalamazoo this season, Jojo Helberg was able to run a 10.305-seconnd lap.
To further compare the wicked fast speeds of this event, the all-time Outlaw Super Late Models track record, running cars per the rulebook, is an 11.826, set just over a month ago during Kalamazoo Klash XXI by Ross Meeuwsen.
After the World Record Qualifying round, there’s still a race to be held. Last year, the headlining Call of the Wild 50-lap “A” Feature would see Bozell take his frustrations for not breaking the record again out on the entire field. He started last, 18th, on the grid and was in the lead by lap nine. By lap 27 had the entire field down a lap. By the end of the race, Bozell had lapped everyone up to third place at least twice. He parked his #70 Parr Trucking machine into victory lane, winning $1,500 in the process.
“It was a fun race,” recalled Bozell. “The closure rate when going around other cars is incredible, so you have to be on your toes for sure. We have had that car put away for a while and only recently got it back out to shake it down. We went to Galesburg (Speedway in near-by Galesburg, Michigan) for a ‘run what you brung show’ (September 1st) and it was really good there. So we’re ready to go and see if we can get into the nine-second bracket this time.”
The Pit Gates open at 2:00pm ET Saturday. Fans often camp out at the track early to see all of the creations roll into the track. Practice starts at 3:00pm., and as has been the case for this event, the top eight overall in Practice are locked into “Raceceiver Qualifying Hour. ” There, the eight fastest teams will have one hour to attempt to break the world record. Everyone else will qualify as normal, starting at 5:15pm. Racing begins at 7:00pm., with the Front Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive Four-Cylinder portions of the Call of the Wild before the event’s Qualifying Hour starts at approximately 8:00pm.
The fastest qualifier for the event will receive $1,000 cash plus a $500 Sweet Manufacturing certificate. If the fastest qualifier also sets a new world record they will receive an additional $2,000 bonus as well. In addition to the excitement of the world record attempts, the night will feature a 50-Lap, $1,500 to win feature for the Outlaw V-8 machines. In total, a potential payday of $4,000 is available to one driver if they can reset the World Record and then go on to Win the 50-Lap main.
Speed51.com will be on hand with Live Trackside Now Coverage starting at 2:30pm.
By Matt Prieur, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @MattPrieur