The familiar sounds of summer in the Valley returned last weekend as Valley Speedway hosted the annual Mid-State Open Wheel Nationals presented by POWRi. #4a Justin Grant claimed the win, with Thomas Meseraull placing a close second.
Valley Speedway owner Dennis Shrout was thrilled to see the return of racing and pleased with the cooperation of those in attendance.
“We cancelled our first 8 events to help with the spread of the virus. This has led to no racing income which makes it tough for any small business. Racing is a seasonal sport and we have already lost 30% of our scheduled races,” Shrout said.
“It was nice to see the race fans and race teams be able to get out and enjoy a nice weekend outdoors. The fans and teams did a great job of respecting one another and doing a good job of keeping distant as much as possible.”
POWRi Lucas Oil National and West Midget League Results:
1. 4A-Justin Grant; 2. 7X-Thomas Meseraull; 3. 35-Tanner Carrick; 4. 19AZ-Logan Seavey; 5. 5-Kevin Thomas Jr; 6. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 7. 44S-Andrew Felker; 8. 32-Trey Marcham; 9. 3N-Jake Neuman; 10. 15-Emerson Axsom; 11. 98-Clinton Boyles; 12. 28-Ace McCarthy; 13. 55K-Karter Sarff; 14. 4-Robert Dalby; 15. 44X-Wesley Smith; 16. 5D-Zach Daum; 17. 42-Hank Davis; 18. 00-Trey Gropp; 19. 19P-Don Droud Jr; 20. 91-Andy Bishop; 21. 21K-Emilio Hoover; 22. 7M-Chance Morton; 23. 19M-Ethan Mitchell
Auto Meter Heat Race 1: Thomas Meseraull #7x
KSE Racing Products Heat 2: Andrew Felker #44s
Advanced Racing Suspensions Heat 3: Jake Neuman #3n
Schoenfeld Headers Heat 4: Tanner Carrick #35
Hoosier Racing Tire B-Feature: Emerson Axsom #15
Super Clean Hard Charger: Emerson Axsom #15 (+7)
B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 15-Emerson Axsom; 2. 7M-Chance Morton; 3. 28-Ace McCarthy; 4. 4-Robert Dalby; 5. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 6. 00-Trey Gropp; 7. 71-Zac Taylor; 8. 4F-Chad Frewaldt; 9. 26-Tristin Thomas; 10. 8M-Kade Morton; 11. 21K-Emilio Hoover; 12. 19A-Hayden Reinbold; 13. 22-Tanner Allen; 14. 321-Chad Winfrey; 15. 2H-Luke Howard; 16. 5H-Casey Hicks; 17. 11-Shawn Mahaffey; 18. 72-Sam Johnson
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 7X-Thomas Meseraull; 2. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 3. 19AZ-Logan Seavey; 4. 15-Emerson Axsom; 5. 44X-Wesley Smith; 6. 4F-Chad Frewaldt; 7. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 8. 4-Robert Dalby; 9. 21K-Emilio Hoover
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 44S-Andrew Felker; 2. 5D-Zach Daum; 3. 5-Kevin Thomas Jr; 4. 98-Clinton Boyles; 5. 00-Trey Gropp; 6. 71-Zac Taylor; 7. 7M-Chance Morton; 8. 2H-Luke Howard; 9. 8M-Kade Morton
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 3N-Jake Neuman; 2. 42-Hank Davis; 3. 55K-Karter Sarff; 4. 91-Andy Bishop; 5. 19A-Hayden Reinbold; 6. 5H-Casey Hicks; 7. 26-Tristin Thomas; 8. 11-Shawn Mahaffey
Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 35-Tanner Carrick; 2. 4A-Justin Grant; 3. 19P-Don Droud Jr; 4. 32-Trey Marcham; 5. 28-Ace McCarthy; 6. 321-Chad Winfrey; 7. 22-Tanner Allen; 8. 72-Sam Johnson
For further information, visit http://www.powri.com, “Like” POWRi on Facebook, and follow @POWRi_Racing on Twitter. Catch each night’s LIVE action via pay-per-view broadcast from POWRi.TV at http://www.powri.tv.
#4a Justin Grant emerged as the winner of the Mid-State Open Wheel Nationals presented by POWRi.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ryan Black of DTO Photography
by John Unrein
The Rooney Rule in the National Football League was established in 2003. Its namesake comes from former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. The intent of the rule was to ensure that minority candidates would be considered for head coaching and senior football operation jobs through requiring interviews of minority candidates when those positions became available.
The 2002 firings of head coaches Dennis Green of the Minnesota Vikings and Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drew the ire of United States civil rights activists and attorneys. Green had posted his first losing record in ten seasons. Dungy was fired despite a winning record during his final season with the Buccaneers.
Much debate has occurred since the Rooney Rule was established in 2002. Fourteen non-white head coaches were hired under the first 12 seasons of the Rooney Rule in the league. Many lost their jobs after just a few seasons at the helm though. Only one of eight 2019 NFL head coaching vacancies were filled with a minority coach.
Opposition to the rule has argued that every head coach knows they are being hired to eventually be fired by the franchise that employs them. That the NFL is a volatile working environment were a short losing stretch during a season or the perceived undesirable atmosphere of the team can lead to a head coach’s removal. Negative opinions of affirmative action that is a push of the Rooney Rule has not set well with those who resist its principles.
Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, Ron Rivera of the Washington Redskins, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins are the only four minority head coaches currently in the NFL. This is in a league with the makeup of its players dominated by minorities. According to a 2017 TIDES NFL report, approximately 70 percent of the players in the league were African-Americans. Starkly opposite of that were the 100 percent of CEO/Presidents that were white.
All of this has led to the Rooney Rule getting a makeover for the 2020 season. NFL owners agreed on May 19th that they will expand requirements for teams to interview minority and female candidates for on-field and off-field positions, including coordinator, head coach, general manager, and other front office positions.
The NFL has announced amendments to the Rooney Rule policy that came out of the meeting the owners held virtually. One minority candidate must now be interviewed for offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinator positions. One minority candidate must also be interviewed for general manager and senior operations positions. Furthermore, now at least two external minority candidates (instead of one previously) must now be interviewed for head coach openings.
Owners also agreed that the amendments should include this rule now being applied to league office openings in New York as well.
The inaugural inclusion of the rule applying to females will also happen in 2020. Women must be considered for positions from club president, through franchise executive roles in human resources, sales, security, football operations, marketing, finance, and communications.
Art Rooney II, the son of the late Art Rooney issued a statement about his thoughts on changes to the Rooney rule.
“These policies show a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the NFL,” Rooney said.
“The development of young coaches and executives is a key to our future. These steps will assure coaching and football personnel are afforded a fair and equitable opportunity to advance throughout our football operations.”
“We also have taken important steps to ensure that our front offices, which represent our clubs in so many ways, come to reflect the true diversity of our fans and our country.”
Plans after high school: I am taking prerequisites for the Police Academy at Metropolitan Community Colleges.
Highlights of your career as a student athlete: My favorite highlight is summer conditioning. Coming from a Class 5 school (William Chrisman) to a Class 4 school, you’ll tend to snoot your nose at the school that you’re currently going to be attending because of how small it looks. When I stepped into Grain Valley’s locker room for the first time and started meeting the coaching staff, all I felt was energy in the locker room. It gave me the chills, and I then knew what Grain Valley football was all about. Grain Valley football works very hard during the summer. It’s extreme conditioning. I would say that if you put Grain Valley against any class 5 or higher class school, we will outwork them during summer conditioning. Sweat & tiredness to Grain Valley is like fresh blood to a shark. Grain Valley football enjoys sweating in the summer; it’s like a water park.
What was the biggest lesson you learned as a student athlete?
Some of the biggest lessons as a student athlete was “making my bed”, meaning do the little things so that you could be successful because the little things do count in the long run.
I would like to say thank you to the entire coaching staff for such a welcoming environment, but I wanted to give a special thank you to Coach Carpino. I’m pretty sure he’s been called lots of names due to the fact that he doesn’t let you quit, and he doesn’t let you make excuses. Many people don’t see that, although it should enlighten some people. Coach Carpino pays attention to everything, and he will call you out if you’re not doing something right. I just wanted to thank him because he taught me many life skills, such as not making excuses for your 50% effort. This isn’t just for sports, it’s a lifestyle.
Sport(s): Football and Track
Plans after high school: Planning to attend community college for sports medicine.
Highlights of your career as a student athlete: When we beat Harrisonville for the district championship as seniors. It was amazing because we lost to them my freshman year and that hurt.
What was the biggest lesson you learned as a student athlete?
Accountability, responsibility, and public speaking when I prayed before every team meal.
I want to thank all my coaches for making me into the person I am, but especially Coach Stone. He helped me in the post season when I went to combines, and I would not have been there competing without his help.
by John Unrein
Major League Baseball is working on an abbreviated 2020 season. Team owners have approved a plan that they sent to players on May 12th. Spring training would start in mid-June and last for approximately three weeks in team’s home ballparks prior to the beginning of the season around the first of July. The plan also consists of an 82 game schedule with divisions being realigned based on the location of teams being clustered closest together to ease travel.
The players association will have to weigh health concerns against financial losses that will occur from the forfeiture of a season should professional baseball not continue in 2020. No doubt questions will also arise during discussions about the permanent damage coronavirus can cause to lungs, a possible second wave of the disease hitting the nation, and what testing for COVID-19 will look like at that time. Not a fun situation for someone in any profession to weigh.
These types of thoughts turn my attention to fond memories of time spent in the past at Kauffman Stadium. It’s truly one of the best venues in all of baseball to watch a game. Perhaps it is human nature to ease stress about our current reality by letting our minds wander to a positive place. Here are my fondest memories of Royals baseball at Kauffman Stadium in no particular order.
1. Prior to the new Crown Vision scoreboard being installed in center field at Kauffman Stadium that coincided with onslaught of the digital era, the old scoreboard had individual lights that created animated graphics in celebration of positive things done by the team. My two favorites are classics that accompanied cheering fans. First, was a baseball being hit off a bat and screaming as it ascended with great speed marking a home run by the Royals. Occasionally, you would be lucky enough to see it twice in a row depending on the speed of the home run trot by the batter. Next, was the lady and man sitting next to each other in stadium seats dressed in dapper clothes. She would turn and envelop him with an embrace as all of him disappeared except for his face and bulging eyes. Stars would appear in the background as well, celebrating the great play made by the Royals.
2. The fountain display at Kauffman Stadium has only one section that extends into left field, while an entire row spanning to the bullpen exists in right field. The fountains were more prevalent prior to the outfield amenities that were added when stadium renovations were unveiled on opening day of the 2009 season. The purpose of the of disproportional fountains was the plan of former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman. The reasoning was that from an aerial view the fountains displayed the number one (this can be seen if you look at older picture of Kauffman stadium and think about what the fountain structure would look like from above). Kauffman seemed to have a plan for almost everything he did. It was not until a guided tour of the stadium that this was revealed to me.
3. Outfield general admission by the bullpens use to cost $1. Enough said.
4. I was too young to partake, but Yago Red Sangria use to be sold at Kauffman Stadium and consumed in plentiful quantities. This fact was driven home walking out to your car after a Royals win. A familiar chant was to tie the name of most valuable player from that game to the consumption of Yago. For example, “We love Frank White, we drank too much Yago,” was a common way to enjoy the walk to your car upon exiting the turnstile.
5. Bret Saberhagen’s no hitter at Kauffman Stadium on August 26th, 1991 was surreal to watch. His last pitch of the game is still a vivid memory. Catcher Mike Macfarlane put down the sign for an elevated fastball and Saberhagen delivered, striking out the final batter of the game. Equally as impressive was Kevin Seitzer’s 6 for 6 day at the plate on August 2nd, 1987 during his rookie year. His last hit was nearly a home run that ricocheted off the top of the left field wall after being scorched by Seitzer. My brother still has the scorecard from that day that he proudly displays in his Minnesota home.
6. September 27th, 2019 witnessed a fond farewell from Ned Yost as he addressed the remaining fans at Kauffman Stadium. Yost imparted his will on the teams he coached. He gave the Royals a competitive identity as he was the skipper who led the Royals to their second World Series title in 2015.
Happy retirement Ned Yost. Ed Zurga/Getty Images (photo courtesy of MLB).