Photo by Lonnie Wheatley
HARWOOD, N.D. (April 4, 2018) – The 2018 season is underway for Lee Grosz and the family-owned No. 4J 360 Sprint Car team. While this season’s schedule will look similar to those of the past couple seasons, the team’s goal will be much different. Grosz is planning on competing at all Midwest Sprint Touring Series (MSTS) events in 2018 and going for the series championship. It’s been a number of years since Grosz has followed a series and raced for points, but he is up to the challenge.
“I’ve always liked running with the [MSTS] series. This year we looked at their schedule and there are only two weekday shows and the rest are either on Friday or Saturday,” said Grosz. “That makes it a little easier for us to make all of the shows. After seeing the point payout at the banquet last year and seeing how much they are adding to the points fund this year, both my dad and I agreed we should run for points. I’ve always felt the MSTS has been one of the better ran series in the Midwest for 360s.”
Initially, Grosz was scheduled to race this coming weekend at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., but cool, rainy conditions have postponed that event. Grosz’s next weekend of racing is slated for Friday, April 13th at I-80 Speedway with the Nebraska 360 Sprints and Saturday, April 14th at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D. with both the Neb. 360s and MSTS 360s.
Grosz had two appearances at I-80 Speedway in 2017, with a best finish of 5th against the stout Neb. 360 competition. The driver of the HI-10 Sports/Fischer Auto Body machine competed at Park Jefferson Speedway on three occasions last season, picking up top 10s in each race, including two third place efforts.
With Saturday serving as the MSTS season opener, Grosz will be looking to get the season started off on the right foot. “We’ll approach it like it’s any other night,” he said. “Even though we are going to start off the season chasing MSTS points, you can’t worry about them this early in the season. You’ve got to go out there and win races. As soon as you start racing for points, you’re going to be more conservative and I feel like that will cost you some wins in the long run.”
Last weekend, Grosz kicked off the 2018 season with the NCRA 360 Sprints at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan. A loaded field of 49 Sprints were checked in for the $13,000-to-win event. Windy conditions, combined with a brand new racing surface led to extremely dry and, at times, rubbered up track conditions throughout the weekend.
On Friday night, Grosz made the cutoff for the top 22 in heat race passing points to earn a spot in the night’s main event. With passing at a premium, Grosz salvaged a 19th place finish from the 20th starting position. On Saturday, a potential issue with the motor arose during heat race action, which forced Grosz pitside. Being that he had a brand new power plant under the hood, the team elected to not run the B-Main to avoid risking any damage to the motor.
“Overall, the weekend was good and bad all together,” said Grosz. “Next to the 360 Knoxville Nationals, this was probably the toughest field of 360 cars you’ll see all year. All in all, it was an okay weekend. We learned some things so we’ll go from there.”
TOP FIVES: 0
TOP TENS: 0
HEAT WINS: 0