Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pinkham to Bateman: "Put the racing back in the racing"

OXFORD, Me. -- David Pinkham had a great start to the 2008 season. He won at Waterford Speedbowl and his home track, Oxford Plains Speedway, and was a contender for the True Value Modified Racing Series championship. But a disagreement over a rules controversy left Pinkham and his Tom Greeley-owned team frustrated; they sat out the final two races of the year, slumping to a fifth place points finish.

This year, the team has made just two starts, coming in the two most recent TVMRS events at Lee USA Speedway and Oxford Plains. But time has done little to fix the hard feelings Pinkham has for the rulebook put together by series founder, president, and full-time competitor Jack Bateman.

Pinkham made his season debut at Lee two weeks ago, finishing seventh. At Oxford on Saturday night, he grunted out an entertaining drive from the final row of the 22-car starting grid to finish third in the Maine-ly Action Sports 100.

"That's we're supposed to do on this tour," he said, "we're supposed to be entertaining. I think that's something Jack Bateman really needs to think about if he really wants us to bring people onto this tour and put some fans in the grandstands. He's got to take some of these rules he's got and throw them away. Especially this 'A-B' rule."

The 'A-B' rule Pinkham refers to, according to the TVMRS rulebook, dictates that "if car A spins car B, car A will be put to the rear of the field and car B will be put in front of car A at the rear of the field."

"Even," Pinkham adds, "if somebody chops you and hits you and you spin them and it's not your fault. I just think it's not a good rule."

Pinkham drove without incident at Oxford on Saturday night, but was affected by the rule on multiple occasions in 2008. He thinks the deletion of the 'A-B' rule -- and others concerning competition -- would go a long way toward improving competition and bring more fans and teams to the True Value series.

"Let us race again, because that's what these fans want to see, just like they saw tonight," Pinkham said. "There's a good bunch of guys on this tour, and they've got to remember why we're here. We're here to entertain and put on a show for the fans. That's how we're going to get them back in the grandstands, and I think we've got to start thinking that way again."

Pinkham, of Buxton, Me., said he enjoyed his race at Oxford on Saturday on front of his hometown crowd, but hopes that Bateman might re-evaluate some of his procedures. "It means a lot [to run well with the True Value series], you know, we work very hard and we've got a great bunch of guys. Warren Johnson prepares an awesome car, Tom Greeley gives us what we need to run well, we're just a bunch of regular normal guys that like to race once in a while.

"But we like to race. And I think it's time we put the racing back in the racing."

(PHOTO: David Pinkham of Buxton, Me. is no fan of some of the True Value Modified Racing Series' competition procedural rules. Photo by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

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