2012 TrackChaser Report #90--Tulsa Expo Center, OK
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On Sunday Pam and I returned to the Tulsa Expo Center for the final day of racing, and our final races of 2012. We had planned to meet up at the track with Der Kommissar Emeritus Will White and his girlfriend Michelle. Unfortunately, Michelle took ill and Will was flying solo.
Admission to the third and final day of racing was $20. The final races of the weekend, the Last Chance Features, as well as the eight A-Mains, were supposed to begin at 6:00. The alphabet mains had continued that morning and afternoon. Unfortunately, they were behind schedule and were still running B-Mains when we arrived. After those events finally concluded, they dug up and reworked the entire track. While this was good for the racing, it was bad for the timing. When they were finally ready to restart the races, it was 7:45 and they were an hour and a three quarters behind schedule for the Sunday evening portion of the show.
Five of the eight classes had last chance features, and when they were concluded the A-Main lineups were set. The total amount of qualifying races run was a staggering 233.
Because they were so late, they dispensed with some of the pomp and got down to feature racing. The first and third features were for wingless Micro Sprints, with the second being for the wingless 1200cc Mini Sprints. In that race was PA driver Mike Dicely. His next door neighbor is a good friend of Pam's, so that is the race she was most looking forward to. And all worked out as we had hoped, with Dicely taking the win and his first-ever "Golden Driller" trophy after starting fifth.
Sadly, with the late start and the slow progression of the main events, it was 10:00 p.m. and they only had three features in the books. I was looking forward to the ACSC Midget feature, but we had an early flight home on Monday and decided to leave after the third race. Will, having left Michelle in the hotel room and having a drive back to Texas the next day, joined us in heading to the exit.
The final tally for the event showed 990 entrents in 8 classes and a total of 241 races. They have already announced that for next year they will practice Thursday so they can start racing on Friday morning instead of Friday evening. Other than the lateness on Sunday, I really enjoyed everything about the event and highly recommend it to anyone. As it was the only track I went to more than once in 2012, the Tulsa Expo Center could be called my "home track" for the year. It was without question the best indoor racing I've ever seen.
Thus ends my 2012 racing season. I managed to once again reach my goal of 50 new tracks, a new country, and a new state for Pam. I have known for years that there is no way I will be able to continue to work full time and go to 50 new tracks a year until my anticipated retirement in 2020. But every year I somehow figure out a way to do it one more time, and get one year closer.
When my school was closed for a week due to Sandy, I finally added Indiana and Michigan tracks to my HitList. I was hoping to find 50 active tracks in Indiana that I have not been to, and 100 in Michigan. Both finds were easily attainable. This summer, Norm Wagner told me he was going to try to get to 100 tracks in Indiana so that he would have 100 tracks in five states. That sounded like a fun goal. With the number of tracks running in Indiana and Michigan, it would be possible for me to join him, so that's something I'm planning on working on for the next few years.
With my HitList showing at least 14 tracks in both Tennessee and Kentucky, over 50 in Indiana, and over 100 in Michigan, it looks like I have a path to 50 new tracks not only for this year, but next year as well. Mike tells me if I stick with him, we can do all the tracks in all four states, then start on Illinois. While I know that is not possible because some are midweek fairs in late summer and fall, I think we can put a good dent in the HitList in those states. Right now I just have to keep trying to talk Mike out of a weekend driving trip for ice racing in Wisconcin, just to prove we can do it. :) Seriously, I'm grateful for friends like Mike.
I am also hoping to see racing in at least one new country this year. Roland seems eager to host Pam and I once again for a week in Europe, and is already pouring over obscure schedules to put together an interesting program that will combine racing and touring in at least one new country. I'm grateful for friends like Roland.
Anther goal for the year is to once again take Pam to see racing in one of the seven states where we have not been together. We have already identified a plan for that one, the USAC Silver Crown race at Pikes Peak, Colorado at the end of June.
Because of Pam's love for baseball and hockey, I want to diversify our sporting visits a bit more this year and besides 50 new race tracks, have set a goal of 5 new professional baseball teams, 5 hockey teams, 1 football team, and 1 basketball team. I believe the realistic number of races and new tracks, as well as the diversity of other activities (the above mentioned and others), keeps me from burning out on this hobby or even worse, having it become a chore that I approach with dread or perpetual anger or hate.
Pam's short term professional goal is to be promoted to full professor. As that takes a lot of work and could take some time, she is scaling back her TrackChasing plan for this year and is shooting for 32 new tracks, plus the new state and new country.
We are also planning another summer vacation to Pensacola Beach. Since I've been to the majority of the tracks in all of the southeastern coastal states, I want to start seeing more of the tracks in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Lousisiana. Pam says as long as we can vacation at the beach, she will be happy to go to any of the tracks in those states. I'm grateful to have a wife like Pam.
And of course I'll continue to keep and update track lists for everyone that voluntarily chooses to be a part of the group, and to add new features to the website for everyone to enjoy when practical. Time, not imagination or ideas, is all that prevents much more in that area. I thank Will for the advice and assistance he continues to provide in that area. I'm grateful for friends like Will, for Tim Frost and his desire to be associated with and to sponsor our group, and for everyone that shares information with me and the other members of the group so that we all have the chance to enjoy the hobby to the maximum that we individually choose.
I love the racing, I love the travel, I love the vacations, I love the research, I love the friendships and working on everyones track lists just as much now as I have for the past 30+ years of participating in this niche hobby of the greater sport of auto racing. The new season starts in less than a week. Can't wait! Bring it, 2013!
Guy & Pam Smith 2012 Final Summary
2012 New Tracks--Guy 59 / Pam 50
2012 Events-- Guy 86 / Pam 53
2012 Total Tracks-- Guy 89 / Pam 55
2012 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 6 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,477 / Pam 837
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