Andrew Krause is the RacingAroundJersey.com
Driver of the Week
When you ask Andrew Krause how his car is prior to the night's action at Wall Stadium Speedway you will usually get the same response, "it's okay, we're working on it." You will get that response regarding whichever car he is standing next to at the time, his Wall Modified, his Sportsman, or even his Factory Stock, which he has competed in previously.
Ask that same question of his father Cliff, a former racer himself, and now the promoter of the Jersey Shore speedway with his wife Diane and daughter Emily, and you will usually get a roll of the eyes. That's because Cliff knows just how hard it is to have a good night on the tight, high-banked 1/3 mile oval in any division. More often than not he has seen one of his son's beautiful Supreme Manufacturing number 27 machines leave the speedway with at the very least some damage.
Throughout the countless Saturday nights filled with disappointment over not bringing home a win, Andrew always stays calm, and almost cautiously optimistic, knowing on any given Saturday the track that can be so frustrating can be so rewarding as well.
That positive attitude, and always working on it approach, finally paid off this past Saturday night at Wall on Snap-On Tools Night. With a make-up Triple Crown race, and a regularly scheduled feature for the Sportsman division, and a Triple Crown race for the Wall Mods , Andrew was facing there opportunities to win, or in his dad's fearful mind, three chances to become a victim of the action.
The night couldn't of started any better as Andrew took advantage of a second place starting spot in the make-up feature to battle pole sitter Rob Heer for the lead from the drop of the green flag. After numerous attempts to get by, Andrew finally had the lead by lap 10, and survived several restarts to pick up the win.
Next up was his second extra distance race of the night, the Triple Crown Mod 50 lapper. Steven Reed was simply dominant in this race, leading all 50-laps from his pole starting spot. Andrew battled his way to a solid eighth place finish.
Having already run 90 green flag laps on an extremely hot night, Andrew still had the night's regularly scheduled Sportsman feature to compete in. Starting mid-pack it wasn't long before Andrew found himself chasing down the leader Larry Thompson, who had taken control of the race from pole sitter Ricky Collins. However, he was no challenge for Thompson who wouldn't be denied oh his sponsor's (Snap-On) night, and he ended his night with a second place finish.
Anyone who has ever competed at Wall Stadium Speedway, especially in the open-wheel divisions, will tell you any time you can roll it back onto the trailer you have had a good night. When you put two cars in the trailer, and leave with a trophy, a second place finish, and an eighth, you are the RacingAroundJersey.com Driver of the Week.
Congrats Andrew Krause!
Who is That Guy with Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
Chances are if you are a New Jersey racing fan, and have a Facebook account, you have seen a picture of Gilbert Martino with NASCAR's most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, you have probably seen him with Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, and even Miss Sprint Cup.
But just who is Gilbert Martino, and how does he end up in all those photos, with so many well-known racing personalities?
It all started at Wall Stadium Speedway. The small, high-banked, paved oval, located near the Jersey Shore, that has produced such racing talent as the previous mentioned Ray Evernham, a Sprint Cup winning crew chief for Jeff Gordon, and Sprint Cup drivers Martin Truex Jr., and his younger brother Ryan, among others.
Gilbert has been a big part of Wall Stadium Speedway for as long as anyone can remember. He has always been, and continues to be, one of the first people looking to lend a hand anywhere he can. He has been a member of several racing teams over the years, most notably those of Vinny Green and Pete Brittain.
Shortly after Evernham, a Hazlet native, made a name for himself with Gordon in NASCAR, he took time to visit his home track. Gilbert of course was there, and struck up a conversation with the "Rainbow Warrior" crew chief. He told Evernham how much he really wanted to attend a Sprint Cup race.
Evernham gave Gilbert a contact person at Hendrick Motorsports, and it wasn't long before he found himself at a Sprint Cup race. Not as someone with a ticket to the race, but as a special guest of Hendrick Motorsports, even more precisely, of the number 24 team.
Gilbert brought that same "help any way he can" attitude to the number 24 team, and was invited to be a guest of theirs at Dover, Pocono, New Hampshire, and Watkins Glen, over the years. Even when Evernham left Hendricks to start his own team, Gilbert continued his relationship with the team.
So how did Gilbert end up being associated with Dale Earnhardt Jr.? That was all a matter of chance when the decision was made at Hendrick to switch the crews of the 24 and Earnhardt's 88. When Gordon's guys went over to Earnhardt so did Gilbert.
He also went to victory lane with Earnhardt, as he had with Gordon.
Gilbert continues to be a guest of Hendrick Motorsports for two NASCAR weekends a year, although he seems to attend a few more each year through a method he wasn't sharing with us. He is also still a regular at Wall Stadium Speedway, on most Saturday nights, doing what Gilbert does best, ready to lend a helping hand wherever needed.
Come to think of it, maybe that's how he gets into those other NASCAR weekends.