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185002014 TrackChaser Group Race Report #49--Legendary Hilltop, OH

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  • rtryfbar2
    Jul 22 1:16 PM

      On Thursday afternoon Pam and I left for Ohio where she would be a guest professor and teach a course on Traumatic Brain Injuries at Ohio University.  On the way we stopped in Niles to see the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (A-Indians) play.  What a great ballpark!

      On Friday after Pam finished her work at OU, we took a nice walk on the path along the Hocking River, then met her friend Brooke and her husband at Casa Nueva for dinner.  After learning that Southern Ohio Speedway had closed, but learning that Muskingum County Speedway was running along with Legendary Hilltop, I was debating between the latter two tracks for Friday evening.

      Dinner took longer than I had hoped, which pretty much steered me to the closer choice, which was Legendary Hilltop.  Both Muskingum and Hilltop looked like they had a good chance of getting rained on during the show, but Hilltop had the worse forecast of the two.  Still, it made sense to go there, because by the time we would get to Zanesville, it might already be raining.

      I had been to Hilltop once before, on Labor Day weekend of 1999, with Gordy.  Allen Brown joined us at the track that night.  I remember Allen and Gordy left to go have dinner at Captain D's, while I stayed at the track to take pictures.

      Pam, Roland, and I tried to go last year but we left after a couple of hours without seeing any racing due to a very long rain delay and out of respect for Pam having to teach her TBI class from 9:00 - 5:30 the next day.

      We arrived around 7:30 and for as overcast as it was, there was a decent turnout of fans.  Admission was $12.  The track has an inner oval but it is only used by the kids Mini Wedge class.  The Mini Wedge track was not watered at all, it appeared, and was extremely dusty.  They had two heats, then a break, and then the feature for the Mini Wedges.  Since the track was so dry, there was not much grip resulting in numerous spin outs.  They almost checkered the thing early due to the time limit.  After the race, they took even more time doing a group picture on the track.

      I had hoped that with the rain bearing down on us, real racing would be next.  It was not.  They had to time trial all the cars, not just in the top class but in every class.  They did group qualifying, but only with three or four cars at a time.  There were 12 AMRA Super Late Models, 14 AMRA Modifieds, 10 EDGE Hot Mods, and 8 FWD 4 Cylinders.  Those car counts are approximate.

      By the time they finished qualifying, it was raining.  It was also going on 9:00.  We had sat there for an hour and 15 minutes and still had not seen a race, on a night when they knew rain was bearing down on them.  Finally after about another ten minute break they brought out the first Late Model heat in the light rain.  Ronnie Mayle won that one.  The second Late Model heat was finished in a steadier rain, and Andy Bond took race number two.  From there, the rain picked up more and they eventually cancelled the rest of the program.

      I can't understand on a day like this when rain was inevitable, that they couldn't have run a feature only for the kids, moved their group picture back to the pits, scrapped the time trials and let everyone just draw for starting spots (
      They all make the feature anyway!), or tried several other time saving possibilities.  But they have no plan for speeding up the show in any way.  Thus, by 9:00 p.m. they had only managed to run two races out of what probably would be a 12-race card on the big track.

      I think they could have and should have done better.  But what do I know.  Speedy Bill Locke congratulated them on their FB page for a "Good Try!"

      Not much happened differently at Muskingum County either.  They got the heats in but the features were rained out.  If we would have gone to Zanesville, we would have probably missed the start and not seen much racing there either.

      Saturday after Pam's class we went to baseball instead of racing, and we did the same on Sunday afternoon on the way home (Akron Rubber Ducks (AA-Indians).  Pam had a dinner meeting meeting on Monday but I did yet another ballgame solo.  Pam's now up to 99 ballparks so she needs just one to get to 100 by the end of this season, which is what she wanted and I promised I would make happen for her. 

      No baseball this weekend though.  We are headed to Michigan for some fair racing.  Looking forward to it, as usual.

      2014 Guy & Pam Smith Summary

      2014 New Tracks--Guy 30 / Pam 21     (Goal 50)
      2014 Events--Guy 44 (2 tracks at Salem, 3 at Toledo, 2 at Skyline, 2 at ICAR) / Pam 30
      2014 Total Tracks--Guy 48 (2 shows at Sun Bank Arena) / Pam 33
      2014 New Rinks--Guy 7 / Pam 7     (Goal 7)
      2014 New Ballparks--Guy 13 / Pam 12    (Goal 13 for Pam)

      Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,568 / Pam 901