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Author Topic: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"  (Read 1975 times)

nord

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Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« on: January 26, 2019, 02:17:14 PM »
As perhaps many of you may be aware, Visionary Bowling closed their doors.
They are out of business.
No more Visionary balls!!!  :'(

Because of this loss to the bowling industry, I felt it was very important to contact Jason Wonders of Visionary bowling and try to get an interview with him.
Because of the unique design and capabilities of the Midnight Scorcher, for me it was vital to get a record of the design and intent that went into it.

Below is that interview.

Please enjoy this rare and informative look into one of the most iconic balls ever created, the "Midnight Scorcher."

Q: What year was the Scorcher first released?

A: April 1999

Q: How did the idea of creating a particle urethane ball come about, what was the design intent?

A: One of the main issues with tournament bowlers at the time, was heavy oil patterns at the beginning of the tournament.  Many bowlers would flop on their first two games simply because they were getting an erratic reaction, or not getting any reaction at all on the heavier oil patterns.  Our goal was to create a ball that would not only handle the heaviest of oil patterns but also give them control and enough drive to carry the corners.  So we took the power of the DC Core design, and combined it with the control of urethane and the traction of a particle ball.

Q: What type of urethane base formulation did you use in the creation of the Scorcher, it seems very hard, durable and strong?

A: It is definitely a very durable coverstock, but I would not say that it's hard.  The shore D hardness was in the typical range for a urethane bowling ball.  It is however, very impact and scratch resistant, and creates a decent size footprint on the lane.  This in turn helps create more traction. The base urethane material is simply a blend of the strongest urethane's that we used in the 80s and very early 90s.

Q: Can you tell me about the type of particles used in the Scorcher and how they work?

A: The particles are a soft polybutadiene material that flexes and creates a tread similar to that of a tire.  It works by allowing the particle to touch the lane surface instead of completely hydroplaning over the oil.

Q: What is the best way to maintain the coverstock of the Scorcher and when changing grits, what is the recommend way to do this to prevent damage to the particles?

A: The easiest way to maintain the cover is simply to use a 320 grit wet dry sandpaper, and wet sand it on a spinner.  The particles are evenly distributed throughout the entire cover, so as you sand it down, more particles break through to the surface.  Because the cover is so scratch resistant, you may need to start with a slightly lower grit sandpaper and work your way up to 320.  You do not have to worry about the particles being damaged on the scorcher, because they flex.  Eventually they will wear down slightly and you will need to resurface the ball, but you should have to do it less frequently than most particle balls.

You will need to clean the ball fairly often because this type of urethane will keep the oil at the surface of the ball instead of absorbing it like a reactive.  All you need to do is use any kind of ball cleaning product, or even a wet rag with dishwashing detergent.  Detergents are designed to break down oils, so if you simply lather the ball with a dishwashing detergent, and then rinse it off,  it should remove the majority of the oil from the surface of the ball.

Q: Am I correct in understanding that the original Stock Grit of the Scorcher was 320 wet sand? This seems pretty darn strong for a normal house shot. What types of oil patterns did you expect the Scorcher to be used on?

A: Yes, it came factory finished at 320 sand. As previously mentioned, the intent for this ball was simply to give bowlers an opportunity to score well in the first few games of a tournament, especially on heavy, long oil patterns. For many bowlers the first couple games of a block were the only thing keeping them from cashing consistently.  The difference between shooting 160 and 210 at the beginning of a tournament can be the difference between winning and not even cashing.

Q: If I understand correctly, the Scorcher has a weak asymmetric core that has a very, very high RG of 2.67 and a very, very high Diff of .069 with an intermediate Diff of .006. How was this core chosen for the Scorcher and why did this seem like the ideal core for this ball?

A: First I would say weak is a misused term at times.  I like to use the term mild asymmetric because the term weak implies that the core is not very strong which would be an incorrect statement. The reason for using a core with such a high RG is simply to allow the ball to get down the lane a little further.  With such a strong cover, an earlier rolling core would have made the ball start too soon on the lane and hit weak or not carry well. We tested a few different core designs, but the DC core gave us exactly what we were looking for.  A ball that handled the oil very well, gave us a nice controlled reaction, yet still hit hard enough to carry almost as well as a reactive.

Q: Is the Scorcher a two-piece ball or a three-piece?

A: In my opinion this is very outdated terminology.  A three-piece simply refers to a pancake weight block, while a two piece refers to any dynamic core.  This is because in the early stages of core development, most dynamic cores were simply one density.  So you had either a single density core and cover (2 pieces) or a pancake weight block that has two densities and a cover (3 piece). Most people would refer to the scorcher as a quad density core two piece bowling ball.  In reality it is a five piece ball because the core is four different density pieces.

Q: I see a very unique ball shape from the Scorcher compared to other urethane balls. The Scorcher seems to go very straight and starts hooking in the mid-lane and then transitions into a very heavy roll that arcs very moderately to the pins. But even though it doesn't look like the Scorcher has moved much, or covered many boards, when it hits the pins it's like an A-bomb went off! Even light hits are blasting the pins apart or shooting them all over the place. Even a low rev/low ball speed player like myself is seeing this effect. What do you attribute this heavy hitting power too?

A: This is a topic of debate for a lot of people as well.  The term hook varies depending upon who you talk to.  In my opinion the scorcher hooks a lot.  It may not appear to because it is not very angular, but the total deviation from its initial trajectory is significant.

If you are on a truly long, heavily oiled lane pattern, and you try to throw most reactives on the same line, you'll see that the scorcher "out hooks" most reactives.

The hitting power comes from a combination of both the core and the cover.  The core helps the ball get into a nice continuous roll while the thick cover helps create maximum impact with the pins.

Q: I also see another unique property of the Scorcher compared to other urethane balls, its seems immune to carry down. I can use the Scorcher on the same line for a long time and never see it quit in the back. People can be throwing plastic up the middle and urethane on the sides and still the Scorcher keeps hooking just like it did on the fresh. If anything, as the set goes on, I am forced left with the Scorcher, like you might see with a resin ball that eats the oil off the lane. How is the Scorcher able to do this?

A: The particles play an important role in making sure that the ball is not affected too much by carry down.  Again I will liken it back to the tread on the tire.  If a tire has good tread, it is not affected too much by oil or water.  However if you put racing slicks on in place of a tire with good tread, it will be great on dry pavement but as soon as it hits any oil or water it will just spin and lose traction.

Q: Where did you get the idea for the name of the ball and the Dragon logo?

A: At that time our company was basing our logos on medieval characters, and a dragon just seemed like a proper fit for a ball that would just chew through the oil.

Q: Can you remember any other cool facts about the Scorcher or any stories from people who have used it?

A: I have had countless people tell me their stories about how their Scorcher would hook when no other ball could. Many bowlers with average, to below average revs, won tournaments, or made the TV finals because they shot 220- 250 when everyone else was struggling to shoot 180 because there was too much oil on the lanes.

My favorite story came from a High-ranking amateur player, who shot 849 for his first three games of a tournament, and was 190 pins ahead of everybody else in the field.  He ended up being high qualifier for the stepladder finals by 65 pins.  The reason that his story will always stand out in my mind is not only because he bowled great, but because that is exactly what the ball was designed to do.  It gave him a tremendous advantage during the first few games of the tournament, when nobody else could get their ball to hook.  When you hear stories like that it validates all the hard work you put into designing and developing a ball.

 

bcw1969

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 05:30:35 PM »
Very Nice.. I absolutely love my 2 Midnight Scorchers. Wish I could find another new or single drilled 16 pounder.

Brad

BowlingForDonuts

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2019, 09:15:56 PM »
Yeah sucks they are gone just as I started getting into them.  Visionary did make some great reactive particle balls as well.  At least their stuff will be viable for many years to come as their balls last forever.
Less is more especially with forum posts.

JamminJD

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 09:48:35 PM »
Thanks for this info... Wonders are great people, I am still struggling with the fact that they are closed. Been hard to deal with. Jason was someone I could call and talk anything from world events to bowling. I really miss the fact the balls are gone but I really miss the fire is out for some really good people who happened to be bowlers who made great bowling balls..


Walking E

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 07:57:18 PM »
Thanks for posting this. Like Donuts above, I was a recent "convert" to Visionary equipment so it was sad to see them go away just as I was getting started with them. Postings like this and continued stories about the Wonders and the brand in general will keep the name alive for a long time.

scotts33

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2019, 07:03:33 AM »
Long time test staff member when they started the program.  I have had every VBP ball except for a few  Good information for those that don't know how to maintain a Midnight Scorcher.  I notice that of the members that have posted so far only JamminJD and myself are mid-rev players and up.  Low rev are probably going to like stronger VBP balls like the Midnight Scorcher.  I used my MS on flatter ABT lane conditions in Milwaukee for me it was a much better reaction and usage than a P.I.E. on medium-heavy volume.  MS also more usable than the AMB Centaur Particle or an Immortal Solid on that kind of lane condition.  I didn't use any of the higher volume VBP particle balls  on house shots but they weren't designed for that except for the very low rev player.  I did use the Ogre Particle on wet/dry house to blend out the dry.  Worked pretty good.

I always wish Jason and the Wonders family well.  Hope to see Uncle Rich (USBC HOF'er) at WI Sr. State in March. 
Scott

DP3

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2019, 10:11:30 AM »
What was up with the blue one that went dead straight? This was very good information. I had no idea what was in that ball, but I saw Michael Haugen playing the ditch with one wayyyyy back in the day when only he and Norm were out on the twig and killing it.

Good stuff.

BowlingForDonuts

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 10:33:55 AM »
What was up with the blue one that went dead straight? This was very good information. I had no idea what was in that ball, but I saw Michael Haugen playing the ditch with one wayyyyy back in the day when only he and Norm were out on the twig and killing it.

Good stuff.

Scorcher NPT assume.  Like an old Blue Hammer but a little longer with a bit more backend.  Or maybe a Slate Blue Gargoyle (hard pearl urethane).
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 10:35:33 AM by BowlingForDonuts »
Less is more especially with forum posts.

scotts33

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2019, 10:46:04 AM »
Quote
What was up with the blue one that went dead straight? This was very good information. I had no idea what was in that ball, but I saw Michael Haugen playing the ditch with one wayyyyy back in the day when only he and Norm were out on the twig and killing it.

Good stuff.

Had a 300 with this one on the fresh on a wet/dry house shot.  Beaucoup flare.



Scott

bcw1969

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 01:30:43 PM »
Part of a post I made over 10 years ago. Those were the good ol days when the shot at my home center allowed me to use my midnight scorcher.   

In Love with my Purple Ice Executioner

on: November 03, 2008

I have had my eye on this ball for a little while, and was finally able to find one NIB back in september. I wanted something that would allow me to play my typical down and in shot from the left side(I'm a lefty) when my home center puts out too much dry, and too far inside sometimes as far inside as the 9 or 10 board--something my center did alot during the summer season. Typically I start out the night with my midnight scorcher playing straight up the 10 board to see what the oil is like, but once I lose that shot I don't/can't move further inside, I don't generate enough natural recovery with my style(even with agressive equipment) to generate a strong reaction---lefty stroker, 14-16 mph max, so I move outside with less agressive stuff at that point.

 I wanted something that would allow me to play a line and shot I prefer without overreacting on the back end , something most everything else I have tried in this role ended up doing. I have ended up putting away the scorcher earlier and earlier these days just because I am getting such a great reaction, and thus higher scores with the purple ice. I find that with the purple ice I can follow the oil line after the scorcher is done, and if I don't like the reaction, then I can move out to the outside 4-5 boards and increase speed a bit and find hit and carry there if i cant do so on the oil line. This ball is very forgiving "for me" of my follow-through or release mistakes and holds the line very well and hits very hard. I couldn't be happier with it.

Brad

JamminJD

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2019, 08:26:53 AM »
Part of a post I made over 10 years ago. Those were the good ol days when the shot at my home center allowed me to use my midnight scorcher.   

In Love with my Purple Ice Executioner

on: November 03, 2008

I have had my eye on this ball for a little while, and was finally able to find one NIB back in september. I wanted something that would allow me to play my typical down and in shot from the left side(I'm a lefty) when my home center puts out too much dry, and too far inside sometimes as far inside as the 9 or 10 board--something my center did alot during the summer season. Typically I start out the night with my midnight scorcher playing straight up the 10 board to see what the oil is like, but once I lose that shot I don't/can't move further inside, I don't generate enough natural recovery with my style(even with agressive equipment) to generate a strong reaction---lefty stroker, 14-16 mph max, so I move outside with less agressive stuff at that point.

 I wanted something that would allow me to play a line and shot I prefer without overreacting on the back end , something most everything else I have tried in this role ended up doing. I have ended up putting away the scorcher earlier and earlier these days just because I am getting such a great reaction, and thus higher scores with the purple ice. I find that with the purple ice I can follow the oil line after the scorcher is done, and if I don't like the reaction, then I can move out to the outside 4-5 boards and increase speed a bit and find hit and carry there if i cant do so on the oil line. This ball is very forgiving "for me" of my follow-through or release mistakes and holds the line very well and hits very hard. I couldn't be happier with it.

Brad

Purple Ice great ball. Won a lot of money with VBP balls..

michael.willis9

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2019, 08:37:07 AM »
I remember having the visionary red sorcerer back in the day.  that was my urethane ball for heavy oil.  miss that thing

Bowlaholic

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2019, 03:07:28 PM »
Never owned a Visionary ball.  After reading these posts I'm having a wave of sadness for apparently missing a great experience in the game of bowling. Best of luck to the Wonder family as I am aware of their contributions to bowling.

bcw1969

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2019, 05:28:56 PM »
If you would like to try Visionary Bowling balls and can throw 16 pounds, www.bowlerscellar.com still has newer and some older visionary balls available(mostly 16's left though).

Brad

Bowlaholic

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Re: Interview With Jason Wonders on the "Midnight Scorcher"
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2019, 09:05:41 PM »
Brad, thanks for the info, but I cannot handle 16 lbs. in my golden years.