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Winnebago County Speedway, Pecatonica, Illinois - Track #505

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  • Randy Lewis
    Greetings from Pecatonica, Illinois, TRAVEL/PEOPLE NEWS The theme of this trip centers on Carol’s high school reunion. Since the purpose of this trip is to
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9 7:37 PM
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      Greetings from Pecatonica, Illinois,


      The theme of this trip centers on Carol�s high school
      reunion. Since the purpose of this trip is to see
      members of the Downers Grove North High School
      graduating class of 1967 I should be lucky to see ANY
      races whatsoever��at least that�s what she told me!

      After the 25-mile drive to the Orange County airport
      we jetted to the O�hare airport in Chicago. My Hertz
      rental car was secured through www.priceline.com. I
      have had much success with Priceline on rental cars
      but not much with the airline ticket portion of their

      The first stop was to visit our old house in
      Inverness, Illinois. This proved to be somewhat
      difficult since we moved from Inverness to California
      in 1983. We have actually moved a lot over my
      business career that started in Peoria, IL and
      continued to Cincinnati, OH, Phoenix, AZ, Mission
      Viejo, CA, Ridgefield, CT, Inverness, IL, Laguna
      Niguel, CA and not San Clemente, CA. It seemed like
      nothing looked familiar. The businesses we remembered
      had changed and it took us more than an hour to find
      our house in a town of less than 10,000 people.

      Next, we were off to Pecatonica, IL. That involved
      driving west on Interstate 90. This is a toll road.
      The toll roads in our area have electronic billing.
      You never need to slow down one bit. When you drive
      under a sensor your account is automatically billed
      and you are on your way. Not in Chicagoland! About
      every 4-5 miles you are stopping, along with a lot of
      other people, to pay 40 cents. It�s been like this
      for the last 30 years. It�s time they came up with a
      better system.

      We arrived into Pecatonica, a town of 1,800, just
      northwest of Rockford, Illinois. The weather is
      oppressively hot. As a matter of fact, today is the
      hottest day of the century according to a local radio
      station. Granted we�re just getting going on this
      century�.but still! It�s in the mid to high 90s with
      humidity�s to match. Very muggy. Growing up in
      Illinois we said this weather was �close�.

      When we arrived into the Winnebago County Fairgrounds
      we were scheduled to meet Stan Logan my college
      freshman dormitory mate and part-time senior roommate.
      Stan resides in Dixon, Illinois. Stan was there as
      planned and, since we had some time to kill, we headed
      off to downtown Pecatonica to have some supper�.that�s
      what they call it in the Midwest. For my Midwestern
      readers please understand I�m not making fun of the
      Midwest as I�m originally from Illinois. It�s just
      that they call it supper here rather than dinner as
      they do in the west.

      We ended up at Cimino�s Ristorante n� Pizzeria. Not
      that great. They have been in business 21 years and
      the manager said they were getting their first credit
      card machine next week. Food was only OK. The other
      recommendation we had was Bean�s Tavern. I�d
      recommend that place.


      Tonight�s racing action takes place at a fairgrounds
      racetrack. The Winnebago County Speedway is my 505th
      lifetime track. It is Carol�s 99th track. The racing
      surface is dirt and the track is a large � mile mainly
      flat track. The United Dirt Track Racing Association
      (UDTRA) late model group is featured. These are the
      fastest dirt late model stock cars in the world.

      General admission is a somewhat steep $25. The winner
      of the 50-lap feature will win $10,000. The announcer
      stated there were 41 late models on hand. They raced
      four heats, 2 consies and a 50-lap A main. The races
      were similar to the UDTRA events I saw in Georgia a
      couple of weeks ago. The fast time trial driver
      starts on the front row pole of the first heat, 2nd
      fast time trial driver on the pole of the second heat,
      etc. The winner of the first heat starts on the front
      row pole of the A main. Duh! Every heat and the A
      main were won from the front row. I�m not sure about
      the consies since only 5-6 cars started each of these
      and I took a walk while they were racing. They also
      had IMCA modifieds on the card with 16 of them showing
      up. The modifieds put on a very good show with lots
      of close racing and passing.

      I followed the World of Outlaws extensively in the
      early 80s when they were just getting started. At
      that time only a handful of WOO drivers were making
      every race. These few drivers (Kinser, Swindell,
      Wolfgang) had leverage over the promoters and sanction
      owner, Ted Johnson and put the heavy press on to make
      sure they started up front in the heats and features.
      I believe this is what must be happening with the
      UDTRA. If you have the fastest time trial you may not
      have to pass a car all night and you can still win the
      A main. The UDTRA cars are very fast but they just
      can�t pass. I�m going to avoid this sanctioning group
      everywhere I can except Eldora where they have some
      inversion of the start and good passing. Scott
      Bloomquist won the feature when fellow front row
      starter Rick Eckert broke while leading.

      The track was not dusty until the middle of the A main
      which was noteworthy considering the hot and muggy
      weather. There is a large grandstand with 25-30 rows.
      It was about 80% full. The PA system was not very
      clear. The UDTRA does bring their own announcer,
      flagman, etc. so the announcer knows the drivers and
      the program details. The lighting on the backstretch
      was not very good.

      Stan and I reminisced about past tracks and actions
      that we had seen in the past. We both agreed West
      Capital Raceway in West Sacramento was one of the best
      tracks we ever saw. We also remembered the night at
      Baylands when Shane Carson ran over a fan crossing the
      track during hot laps and killed him. Then there was
      the night at Freeport Raceway (IL) when the third and
      fourth turn lights went out and they lined up a series
      of 20-30 cars in the infield and pointed there
      headlights out onto the track so the races could

      Stan, Carol and I enjoyed seeing you again. Let�s not
      let too much time pass before we do it again.

      Restaurants of the day: Cimino�s

      Weather: Shorts and no t-shirt except my body style
      demands it. The hottest day of the century although
      not as bad as Quebec�s coldness this past February.

      Rental Car mileage: Our Mazda 626 had 186 miles on it
      back at the hotel in Elgin, Illinois.

      New racetracks visited in 2001
      467. Laughlin Event Center, Laughlin, NV (no web
      468. Loc Moran, Mont Carmel, Quebec
      469. Circuit Jacques Rainville, Vanier, Quebec (no
      web site)
      470. Pauline Davis Pavilion, Red Bluff, CA
      471. The Pavilion at the Fairgrounds, Chico, CA (no
      web site)
      472. Baton Rouge Raceway, Baker, LA
      473. Mississippi Motorsports Park, Long Beach, MS
      474. South Alabama Motor Speedway, Opp, AL
      475. Nashville Super Speedway, Smyrna, TN
      476. Beech Bend Raceway (oval track), Bowling Green,
      KY (http://www.beechbend.com)
      477. Beech Bend Raceway (figure 8 track), Bowling
      Green, KY (http://www.beechbend.com)
      478. Soggy Bottom Speedway, Morgantown, KY
      479. Buttonwillow Raceway Park, Buttonwillow, CA
      480. Speedway 90, Beaumont, TX
      481. 105 Speedway, Cleveland, TX
      482 Savannah Speedway, Savannah, MO (no web site)
      483. Winston Speedway, Winston, MO (no web site)
      484. Stuart Speedway, Stuart, IA
      485. Barberton Speedway, Barberton, OH
      486. Eriez Speedway, Erie, PA
      487. Anderson Dry Lake, Lucerne Valley, CA
      488. Perris Auto Speedway-(figure 8 track), Perris,
      489. Dixie Motor Speedway � (figure 8 track), Birch
      Run, MI (http://www.dixiemotorspeedway.com)
      490. Dixie Motor Speedway � (oval track), Birch Run,
      MI (http://www.dixiemotorspeedway.com)
      491. Grand Prix of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
      492 Painesville Speedway � (oval track),
      Painesville, OH (http://members.tripod.com/pspeedway/)
      493 Painesville Speedway � (figure 8 track),
      Painesville, OH (http://members.tripod.com/pspeedway/)
      494. Angola Motor Speedway, Angola, IN
      495. Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA
      496. Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA
      497. Rome Speedway, Rome, GA
      (http://www.dixiespeedway.com/) Rome uses the same
      web site as Dixie Speedway.
      498. Holland Speedway (oval), Holland, NY
      499. Holland Speedway (figure 8 trackl), Holland, NY
      500. Freedom Raceway, Delevan, NY
      501. Allegheny Mountain Raceway, La Mont, PA
      502. McKean County Raceway, East Smethport, PA
      503. Bradford Speedway, Bradford, PA
      504. Ventura Raceway, Ventura, CA
      505. Winnebago County Speedway, Pecatonica, IL (no
      web site)

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