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TrackChasing with the "Man of Steel" - part 2

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  • Vanden Eynde Roland
    Hello colleagues, Here s part 2 of the adventures of the Man of Steel and a Mad Belgian. DAY 3: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 The day started badly for me. When I wanted
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2012
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      Hello colleagues,

      Here's part 2 of the adventures of the Man of Steel and a Mad Belgian.


      The day started badly for me. When I wanted to call Aline on my I Phone,
      I had no service. Thus I put the phone in my pocket and accompanied Mike
      to the lobby for a very basic continental breakfast (due to my diet
      there was hardly anything I could eat). When after breakfast I consulted
      my I Phone, it had developed a mind of its own. It had changed the
      characters of my screen to the largest format possible and it prevented
      me from scrolling to the settings to get them in order again. Moreover,
      after trying to get the tactile part reworking again, it blocked my SIM.
      Mike tried to help in any possible way, for which I have to thank him,
      but experience has learned me only my provider (a Belgian firm part of
      the Orange group) can unblock my phone. But nevertheless we stopped in
      Salina, KS, to enquire if the local Verizon shop could help. They
      couldn't, but I used the opportunity to buy three pair of shoes and a
      baseball bat (as requested by Aline) in the local Wal-Mart and a some
      expensive earrings for my loved one in a nice family owned jewellery
      shop. After all, I could go upmarket and reinvest all the money Mike
      saved me on hire cars and motels.

      After our stop we drove further until it was time to lunch. This time
      Mike pulled off his master stroke. He stopped to consult and app and
      found us an excellent Italian restaurant in downtown Wichita. Being an
      Italy addict, I have to say it felt like I was transferred to my
      spiritual home country for an hour. Food and wine were beyond the
      slightest reproach and it cost less than what I pay for similar food
      when lunching in Brussels.

      Suitably watered and fed, Mike drove us to our targeted track for the
      evening, the Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, KS. However, when we
      arrived there we found just one trailer in a very soggy paddock. Mike
      went to enquire and came back with the expected news the races where
      postponed to the Saturday and Sunday. "Competitive" Mike muttered
      something about cancelling too soon, because when we arrived at the
      track the sun shone, but seeing him tiptoeing through the paddock, I can
      only say that I fully understand that they cancelled. We decided to
      continue into nearby Oklahoma, but as a few miles down the road Mike
      went for a pee in a local Mickey Dee, I proposed to take over the
      driving. Mike agreed and soon he learned that if you give me the
      steering wheel of a car, you'll almost never get it back.

      As soon as I drove off, it was obvious that this was the combination in
      which our team could produce the best results. It was my first ever
      drive guided by a GPS and, although I was sceptical at first, it soon
      convinced me. Mike, on the other hand, could now devote all his time and
      energy to look up the websites of every track en route to see if they
      were racing. At first, all tracks he phoned had already cancelled. Not a
      surprise as we ran into intermittent showers all along the route. Just
      before entering the Tulsa area (a running theme in our travels), Mike
      contacted Lawton Speedway and they were racing. A quick reprogramming of
      Mike's GPS learned us we would arrive around 9.00 p.m. Mike rechecked
      twice and the news continued to be good. Before getting off the
      motorway, Mike arranged for a motel reservation. We did arrive bang on
      time at Lawton Speedway for the start of the first feature. We really
      drew the first price in the trackchasing lottery, for this was an
      astonishingly great meeting. The weather was nice and warm, the
      organisation impeccable, the races very good to excellent and above all,
      there was no dust at all. Moreover, they had sprintcars (although
      winged) on the programme. We did have to drive a bit for it, but we were
      rewarded with a great track and a great meeting.

      Less rewarding was our hotel. It was only repurchased by Days Inn a week
      before and it had started life as an America's Best Value Inn. The room
      looked like we stepped back into the fifties. Mike and I had a different
      opinion on a late evening snack. We hadn't eaten since 1.00 p.m. and
      Mike felt a bit peckish. I know that if I eat late in the evening, my
      stomach gets upset, so I stayed in the motel, while Mike went for a bit
      of food. He was too late for the two Subways he found and had to revert
      to MacDonald's. Poor Mike, he deserved better.


      As we didn't have a long drive to our targeted track, we could sleep
      till 8.30 a.m. After the skinny continental breakfast of the previous
      day, I convinced Mike we needed a proper one this time. So we skipped
      what Days Inn had to offer and ate at a nearby Cracker Barrel. Soon we
      were in the road to the Dallas area, where we would meet Will and his
      girlfriend at the Eagles Canyon Raceway road course near Decatur, TX.
      Even with Mike's GPS, we had some trouble finding the track and when we
      arrived there were but a few cars in the paddock and one on the track.
      When drawing up our programme, I had considered most tracks as being
      liable to cancel, but that the SCCA races at this track were the safest
      bet to get another Texas track on my list. However, a nice road racing
      loving gentleman told us the SCCA cancelled at very short notice and the
      track management had decided that the cars that had been in the paddock
      prior to this cancellation could use the track for free. There were as
      many as three cars on the track together at one time, but unfortunately,
      they did not race. Will and his girlfriend did arrive and so our trip to
      this track was at least rewarded by seeing Will again and meeting his
      girlfriend. Moreover, they had a present for me: a bottle of locally
      produced berry and grape wine. I want to thank them both. The bottle
      survived the transatlantic transfer well. I'm going to let it rest for a
      few days before sampling it and I'll keep you posted on my tasting
      experience. Will informed us the weather forecast for the greater Dallas
      area was very bad and that Boyd Speedway, one of our targets for the
      evening, had already cancelled.

      It was time to go our separate ways. Will and his girlfriend headed for
      a casino in Oklahoma and Mike and I went in search of a bite to eat and
      a place to device an alternative plan. On my list were possible tracks
      in Oklahoma and the I30 Speedway in Little Rock, AR. Oklahoma's weather
      was very iffy, but the forecast for Arkansas was excellent. I looked at
      the map and saw Little Rock was not too much out of line for our Sunday
      targets, so Mike plugged in the data in his GPS. Off we went for a 5
      hour drive, which would get us to Little Rock at about 9.00 p.m., about
      90 minutes after the meeting's start.

      There were several road works in the Dallas area and I have to say that
      I very much appreciated how well Mike's GPS got us on the right road
      again when we hit a very badly signposted detour. When we had crossed
      into AR, Mike saw a track near the motorway and convinced me to take a
      look. When we turned onto the dusty parking lot of this track at 6.43
      p.m., Mike asked a spectator when they were going to start. He said they
      would start at 7.00 p.m. with hot laps and 7.30 p.m. with heats. On that
      account Mike and I had a different opinion. He wanted to stay at this
      track, watch a few heats and dash off to Little Rock (where we had
      already reserved a non cancellable hotel). Mike's an optimist and he
      estimated they would keep to their time table and I30 Speedway would run
      late so whe could get a double track evening. I was not as optimistic as
      Mike. If this track ran late and we dashed off after only a few minutes
      of countable racing and we would be too late for the I30 programme, we
      would still be with one track and 5 minutes of lousy racing for the day.
      In the end, Mike reluctantly gave in.

      We'll never know if it would have worked out fine, but my decision to
      concentrate on the I30 Speedway wasn't so bad after all. I put my first
      ever foot on Arkansas soil in the I30 parking lot and moments later we
      were sitting in packed grandstands for the last few heat races. We had a
      very nice and very flowing meeting with 4 B-mains and 4 features of
      which the Mod-Lights can qualify for race of the year. For the entire
      race the top two cars drove side by side and so did most of the other
      cars. The track was in mint condition and Mike will agree that seeing
      the lovely cowgirl waltzing by a few times was ample compensation for a
      potentially lost track. For the second night in a row our alternative
      track turned out to be a very nice dust free one with excellent racing.

      Unlike the evening before there was no setback after the races. Because
      of my I phone troubles, I wanted a hotel in which I could phone Aline
      and Mike found us a splendid Wyndham Hotel for a price one couldn't get
      a room in a rundown hotel for in my home country.


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