Brandon Setser earned rookie of the year honors this season in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division. At right is IMCA President Brett Root. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)DAVENPORT, Iowa – Minutes after learning how to drive, Brandon Setser went out and won his first heat race.He hasn’t slowed down since.Setser earned national Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod rookie of the year honors, along with the track championship at his hometown Davenport Speedway.“We had set out to chase IMCA points. The rookie of the year and track championship were goals for the year,” said Setser, who turned 22 the week after the IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing point season ended. “We started the season at LaSalle Speedway (the March 30-31 Thaw Brawl) and right away I knew this was the division for me. It’s the most competitive class I’ve ever been in.”He’d started racing at the age of 14 in the 4-cylinder class at Davenport, getting that first heat win after a quick lesson from his uncle Gage on driving stick.Setser ran in that class for four years before a single season with more success in an outlaw street stock class. Forty-nine feature wins and 166 heat victories preceded his move to the Northern SportMods.“I achieved everything I wanted to this year. The next step would be to race for the national championship,” Setser said. “This division is right for me cost-wise but the car requires more maintenance than any division I’ve been in. Sometimes that feels like a second full-time job.”His 44 starts this season came at eight different tracks. While consistency netted Setser the championship at Davenport, his two feature wins came on June 10 and July 1 at Quad City Speedway, where he ended third in points.“There is no feeling like getting your first feature win,” he said. “It was breathtaking, actually.”Wins-2 Top Five Finishes-23 Starts-44HIS CREW: Father Ricky and mother Regan, fiancé Chyna Cole, Michael Ross, Randy Carmichael, Ethan Berry, Dan Hahn, Ken Terri, and Keith Haislip.HIS SPONSORS: Kamp and Cones and Excel Shocks Transmissions, both of Davenport; Stratic Graphics of Independence; and 613 Motorsports of Hooppole, Ill.
In this, the Warriors Era, brief as it has been at four seasons and counting, they have been everything the NBA could hope for in a marquee team.They’ve been entertaining, changing the game with their up-tempo style and 3-point shooting firepower.They’ve been lovable, led by Steph Curry, the first NBA superstar you could describe as “cuddly.”They’ve been great, posting win totals of 67-73-67 en route to three consecutive NBA Finals, of which they won two … and they would have won all of them if they hadn’t blown a 3-1 lead in 2016 after Draymond Green got himself suspended for Game 5. Unhappily, the matchup being in the conference finals leaves the real Finals looking like an anti-climax, raising the question of whether the league shouldn’t finally seed the playoffs regardless of conference.Departure from tradition that it would be, it would solve the age-old problem of anti-climactic East-West imbalance … which once tilted Eastward but not lately … while ensuring that any team deserving of a Finals berth has the chance to prove it.The over/under for this year’s Finals looks like five games, even if they’re weeks away and we won’t know which of the remaining four teams will be there. Whether it’s the young Celtics without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward or the Cavaliers with little more than LeBron, winning more than one game against the Warriors or Rockets looks like an upset.If the trick for the Warriors is reaching the Finals, not winning them, it comes after a long season with Kerr braced for trouble after three long postseasons.After beating second-place San Antonio by margins of 11-6-6 in the West, the Warriors saw Houston blow past them – and pulled up in the stretch, going 44-14 before the All-Star break, 14-10 after it. Kerr had to use 27 starting lineups, compared to 24 combined the previous three seasons, even with personnel changes like KD’s 2016 arrival. Curry left with a knee injury in early March and wasn’t back until the second round of the playoffs.Even with Kerr intent on biding his time, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick cites a dispirited one-sided loss to Indiana in April when the boyish coach bristled at their “pathetic” performance, noting it’s hard to win “if you don’t put forth any effort at all.”And now, the Rockets.The Warriors won Game 1 in Houston as Durant scored 37 points and the press ganged up on the Rockets for playing so much isolation.The Rockets won Game 2 by 22 as the press ganged up on Curry, who suddenly wasn’t getting good looks, going 2 for 13 from 3-point range in the first two games.Kerr, asked what percentage of Steph’s problem is his knee, joked, “13.7 percent” – perhaps just to show that things weren’t so dire he’d lost his sense of humor.Unfortunately for the Warriors, their wondrous pre-KD ball movement, which saw Draymond average 9.5 assists during the 2015-16 season, has devolved to throwing Durant the ball and making the occasional cut.Durant isn’t really a 7-footer as Houston Coach Mike D’Antoni keeps calling him. He was 6-9 in stocking feet at the 2007 pre-draft camp but with his length, high release and huge advantage over P.J. Tucker or whoever from D’Antoni’s small-ball lineup is assigned to defend him, KD looks like a 3-point shooting Wilt Chamberlain.It remains to be seen if the Warriors are as great with KD as they were before him. On one hand, he’s a No. 1 option who can always get a shot and get to the line in the clutch. On the other, their ball movement, which surpassed that of the Spurs as the best the game has ever seen, isn’t the same.For better or worse, they’re now dependent on KD. Green all but made it official, trademarking a new name for their starters – “the Hampton 5” – who met on Long Island recruiting Durant in 2016 (Curry, Green, KD, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson).That’s not quite the Basketball of Tomorrow the Warriors have been emblematic of … as proclaimed by Lacob in a 2016 New York Times profile (“We’re light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things”) … after six seasons as owner.Typically, Lacob again soared, metaphorically, ahead of his team this season, allowing himself to look past their fortunate present with KD, Steph, et al., to an uncertain future.“We’ll build around the core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t,” Lacob told Bay Area New Group’s Mark Medina, “but right now it feels pretty good.”Full-of-themselves Chicago officials talked that way in the Bulls’ 1990s heyday, signaling their players were replaceable – hastening the departure of key pieces like Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and perhaps even Michael Jordan. Never underestimate the tendency of people hearing their futures discussed over their heads to take it poorly.Great as both West finalists are, only one can sit atop the pyramid. If it’s not the Warriors, the press will really start in on them. Then we’ll see who Lacob is ahead of and by how many light-years. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThey’ve been big box office with the three highest Finals TV ratings in the last 13 years for an Oakland-Cleveland ugly-duckling matchup against LeBron James and his supporting cast.The Warriors are building San Francisco glamor into their future with their self-funded $1 billion arena in the city, which will open in 2019.They made themselves financial giants with Forbes valuing the franchise at $3.1 billion, just behind the Lakers’ $3.3 billion, and ticket prices in the new arena set to jump 33 percent – along with a $35,000 “membership fee” for the honor of paying for the premium seats, which is refundable and serves as a mammoth interest-free loan.They’ve also been insufferable despite the presence of all-world good guys Curry, Kevin Durant and Coach Steve Kerr with owner Joe Lacob periodically trumpeting their greatness – or, actually, his greatness – as if reminding everyone who’s Numero Uno.Happily for the NBA, the Warriors now have a real test of their greatness, tied 1-1 with Houston going into Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday, after having finished seven games behind the Rockets during the regular season.
Related posts:Puerto Viejo to host third annual chocolate festival ‘Stop eating Nutella’ urges French environment minister 4 convicted, 3 acquitted in Jairo Mora murder trial PHOTOS: Happy Earth Day, Costa Rica Fifty years ago, cacao plantations dominated the Costa Rican lowlands. By 1984, chocolate trees still grew on more than 19,000 hectares of Costa Rican land, but around that same time the deadly monilia fungus arrived, killing off 80 percent of the country’s cacao plants. Most of the trees were uprooted and replaced with more profitable pineapple and palm oil farms. However, Costa Rican cacao production is on the rise again, and this weekend San José chocolate fans will get the chance to celebrate.On Saturday and Sunday, the Antigua Aduana in San José will host its first Feria de Chocolate. The event will feature talks from chocolate makers, cacao farmers and government agencies, as well as opportunities for tasting and purchasing chocolate. Publicity company PubliCatch is hosting the event, which will feature between 65 and 70 chocolate makers. The majority of the participants use Costa Rican cacao, although some, like the National Chocolate Company, buy foreign crops.While Puerto Viejo hosts an annual chocolate festival, this will be the first national chocolate fair held in the capital.“When we started [our company] eight years ago this was a new trend,” said George Soriano of Sibú Chocolate, one of the event’s sponsors. “Sometimes trends fizzle out, but in this case it continues to grow and it is part of a larger craft food movement in Costa Rica.” (Disclosure: Soriano is a former Tico Times staffer.)From craft beer to coffee and even special Costa Rican snow cones, artisanal foods are having a moment in Costa Rica. Chocolate is no exception, with specialty chocolate makers cropping up across the country. According to Soriano, chocolate-making equipment is more accessible now, as is high-quality Costa Rican cacao.“[Cacao] is more profitable than before,” said Oscar Brenes, the manager of the National Cacao Program within the Agriculture Ministry (MAG). “It would be difficult to return to the levels we had before, but there is definitely more interest in cacao than there has been.”For an in-depth look at Costa Rica’s burgeoning chocolate industry see: Costa Rica’s chocolate comebackAccording to Brenes, the sudden cacao boom can be attributed to a growing global market as well as better crop genetics. Following the monilia plague, Costa Rica’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) began developing disease-resistant strains of cacao. After 26 years of development, CATIE was able to develop six strains of cacao capable of warding off monilia. CATIE makes these clones available to small farms for free. Each of CATIE’s clones yields the type of high-quality cacao sought after by fine chocolate makers, a growing market both locally and globally.Aside from its growing profitability, cacao is also significantly gentler on the environment than other crops that thrive in the same conditions. Unlike pineapple, bananas or palms, cacao is generally grown on agroforestry farms, which maintain forest cover. Cacao farms also tend to use fewer agro-chemicals, though most Costa Rican production is not completely organic.Due to both the economic and environmental advantages of cacao, as well as its traditional importance in Costa Rica, MAG is making a push to expand national production. Last year, an executive decree declared cacao production as a matter of national interest, and July 4 will be the country’s first National Cacao Day. Next month, Brenes said MAG will also launch the Sectorial Cacao Promotion Program, which will work to create more cacao farms and improve the national crop’s quality.“If all of us as an industry show that we are dedicated, we will all help put Costa Rica on the chocolate map,” Soriano said.Going there: Tickets for the Feria de Chocolate can be purchased for ₡2,000 (about $4) at the Antigua Aduana on the days of the event or in advance from Britt stores, Sibú Chocolate, Chocolarte, Chocolate Nahua or Chocolates Theo. Facebook Comments