Andy Bozell “Settles” For Lapping The Field After Missing World Record By 0.155 Seconds at Kalamazoo’s “Call of the Wild”kalamazoo
By Matt Prieur, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @MattPrieur
The Call of the Wild Presented by Raceiver and Sweet Manufacturing was held at the fast 3/8-mile of Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 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 five years ago. This event features 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 event, the highlight of the night is actually not the racing itself, but the World Record Qualifying hour which allows the fastest eight drivers from practice automatically being locked in the 50-Lap “A” Feature and then going out in a no-holds-barred, flat-out attempt at the fastest one-lap time in an attempt to break a World Record.
So as the fastest drivers from practice from third through seventh rolled out to make their world record attempts, all focus was on World Record Holder, Andy Bozell’s pit area. Not only was the focus only on his wicked creation sporting the #70 for Car Owner, Harry Foote, Jr., Bozell’s teammate for the weekend, Greg Parr was parked next time him and was second quick in practice. Still, Parr was more than a second and a quarter slower than Bozell who went a 10.756 in practice trim. Parr could only muster up a 12.003.
“The car felt good in practice, we were just trying to get it dialed in before we started getting it closer to a World Record attempt,” the 27-Time Career Track Champion Bozell said after practice. “Everyone has put so much time and effort into this whole thing and I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of Harry Foote, Jr., for letting me wheel this car for him. Also to my entire crew, we’ll see what happens in qualifying, but I think we’re going to be pretty close to getting a nine (second lap).”
One season ago, Bozell set the mark with a blistering 10.020 which averages out to a mind boggling 134.730mph on a 3/8-mile oval. So when the “9-Second Challenge” was introduced for this year’s Call of the Wild, all eyes were on the Portage, Michigan veteran, a 12-Time Outlaw Super Late Models Track Champion at the Southwest Michigan speed plant.
By comparison, the fastest lap every recorded for a Winged Sprint Car at Kalamazoo Speedway, widely considered the fastest short track cars in the world, is a 10.270 set by Sprint Cars standout, Jason Blonde back on July 17th, 2010, or 0.268 seconds slower than Bozell’s World Record. In two appearances by the Winged Sprint Cars in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2012, Jason Cox was “only” able to time in at a 10.411, average speed of 129.671mph, but still 0.409 seconds slower than the World Record.
To further compare the wicked fast speeds of this event, the all-time Outlaw Super Late Models Track Record is an 11.908 set by now Two-Time Kalamazoo Klash Champion, Terry Senneker Jr., who ironically set the mark the very same night that Blonde turned his lap in a Sprint Car back on July 17th, 2010. So after Tom McGhee set the overall fast time of the drivers not in the top eight in Practice with a 12.872 and after the F and E Feature were ran, it was time for the World Record Qualifying Hour.
Parr rolled out first and immediately dipped into the 11-second bracket ending up with an 11.831, but not in the 10 second bracket. Bozell would roll out after Parr to a thundering applause from the near-capacity crowd on hand and right off the bat laid down a 10.982. He got his best time down to a 10.315 before pulling off for adjustments.
What is so unique about the format is that each of the eight competitors can go as many laps as they’d like and as many times as they want once all eight cars had qualified. 2011 Track Champion and Four-Crown Champion Phil Bozell, Andy’s son, climbed behind the wheel of Parr’s ride, but could only muster an 11.320. In the meantime, his father Andy came back out and set the fastest mark of the night with a 10.157, but that’s as fast as he could get. He still got a standing ovation for his efforts from the home track crowd.
“That’s why we do this, it’s for the fans. 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,” the 48-year-old driver, a Four-Time Kalamazoo Klash winner, continued. “It 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. We’ll be back to do this again next season.”
As for the Call of the Wild 50-Lap “A” Feature which closed out the night, Bozell took his frustrations out on the field after missing his World Record as he would start “shotgun,” 18th, on the grid and in just nine laps took the lead. By lap 27 had the entire field down a lap. By the end of the 50-Lap main, Bozell had lapped everyone up to third place at least twice and would steer his #70 Parr Trucking machine into victory lane, winning $1,500 in the process.
Chuck Greer in an Outlaw Super Late Model finished second ahead of two more Outlaw Supers; Tyler Hufford and Robby Henderson. Greg Parr in an almost identical set-up to Bozell’s, complete with the 10-foot sideboard on the driver’s side, overcame some issues during the race and managed a top-five finish. Jeff Bozell, Andy’s younger brother, finished sixth while Kelli Jo Hofacker, Todd Dougherty, Marc Casey, and Larry Hollenbeck would wrap up the final top 10.
“It was a fun race, the closure rate when going around other cars is incredible, so you have to be on your toes for sure,” Bozell, the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame member and recently-crowned 2012 Spartan Speedway Outlaw Super Late Models Track Champion added. “We’ll put this car away for a while and when next year’s Call of the Wild gets closer, we’ll pull it out and see if we can make it a little faster.”
In the prelude to the main feature of the night, the Call of the Wild 35-Lap “B” Feature featured the drivers and teams who just barely missed out on running the main “A” Feature. Kalamazoo Super Stocks regular, Chris Shannon picked up the Feature Win over Steven Dolphin who was in an open-wheeled Modified. Zach Henderson finished third as Rick McMullen, Matt Elsey, Tom Wright, Jim Sternaman, Justin Oberlin, Tim Rugg, and Zack Cook completed the top 10.
In the Call of the Wild C Feature, John Foote Jr., took the checkered flag in the 25-Lap main as he won over Jordan Hunderman, Ron Hughson, Jesse VanAvery, Rodney Smith, Dan Dykstra, Matt Bainbridge, Mickey Cornwell, Drew Ritter, and Dave Elliott rounded out the Top 10.
The Call of the Wild D feature was the first feature event for the V8’s as the 20-Lap Feature saw Kalamazoo Pro Stock regular Danny Oxford took the win over Terry Hard while Kenny Henderson, Scott Gary, Jr., and John Culp finished off the top five.
The Outlaw Mini Stocks (Call of the Wild “E” Feature) saw former Kalamazoo Klash Fast Qualifier Billy Shannon set fast time with a 14.074. The 20-Lap Feature saw a delay midway through as Billy Bussema blew a motor in turns three and four. After the delay, Shannon took command of the race picking up the win over Shane Clark, Frank Stager, George Watts, and Thomas Nimmo rounding out the top five.
The first Feature of the night would be for the Outlaw Front Wheel Drive Four-Cylinders (Call of the Wild “F” Feature) as 23 cars took the green flag with Todd Metz Jr., setting fast time with a lap of 15.045. The 20-Lap feature saw Metz Jr., take the checkered flag over his Father Todd Metz Sr., while Jason Devos, Kyle Brigance, and Doug Smith rounded out the top five.
Kalamazoo Speedway will be back in action on Friday-Sunday, September 28-30th for the 26th annual Super Shoe Nationals as over 300 cars featuring everything from an Outlaw Super Late Model to a Four-Cylinder will all race together and in addition, thousands of campers will invade and camp out for the entire weekend. For more information, please visit the Kalamazoo Speedway website located at: www.kalamazoospeedway.com