2013 TrackChaser Report #1--Can Am Inner Oval, NY
I did not have a good start last year to the 2012 season, as far as seeing new tracks. Ice races in Montreal and Mayfield Lake were canceled. The two times we planned on going to Yamachiche they canceled, while the time we chose a different race trip location they raced. I skipped the Club Kilowatts ice race on the land at Borderline Speedway, hoping to double it up with something later, then the track owner had some of his personal property stolen during the race and said never again. Ed Esser went to and told us about an indoor Champ Kart show in Indiana, but before Mike and I could go to the track the Champs had a tire dispute and boycotted the rest of the series. We held off going to the land-based ice racing at Pointe du Lac until we could doulble it with Yamachiche, and by the time they pulled the plug on the final Yamachiche event on us, Pointe du Lac was down to a handful of cars in a mud pit, making the trip unattractive. And I could have easily gone to the Can-Am Speedway enduro, but who knew it would be run on a road course?
In the end, I only made it to three news tracks in the first two months of 2012. But it all worked out OK anyway, as I still made it to my hoped-for 50 new tracks last year. I had hopes of getting another cold weather crack at the tracks missed last winter. The first of those penciled in was the Can Am Speedway, NY road circuit enduro. After waiting 51 1/2 weeks, confirming that they would be racing again this year, and that they would again by using a road circuit; we got the word from Rick Young that they had switched the track configuration to an inner oval. No go for a new track for me, as Will and I saw Slingshots on a Can Am inner oval in the summer of 2001.
But I still wanted to get a January race in the books, so the planned trip to Can Am was on anyway. Plus, of course, I'm still a race fan. We could have easily gone to Mountain Speedway for their enduro on Saturday, but Pam and I had hockey plans in Williamsport. In my first 52 years and nine months, I had seen four different pro hockey teams play home games. After Saturday, when the Williamsport Outlaws defeated the Danbury Whalers, I doubled my hockey total in just 15 days.
Saturday evening, Mike Knappenberger showed up on our doorstep, and Sunday morning Mike, Pam, and I left before daylight for Can-Am, stopping for a hearty breakfast in Watertown.
We arrived at the track at noon for the 1:00 start. We had dry roads until Watertown rain, which turned to sleet as we headed farther north. By the time we got to Can Am, it was pretty much all snow, which was a good thing for racers and fans alike. Rick Young was already on site, and told us the races were on as scheduled as cars were already in the pits.
Admission for spectators was just $5 and one or two hundred people were in the stands. There were seven from our group on hand: Rick Young, Guy Smith, Pam Smith, Bing Metz, PJ Hollebrand, Mike Knappenberger, and Paul Weisel. Not a bad group showing on the first weekend of the year. Although I was the only one that did not get a new track that day, I did see a race for my 313th consecutive month, starting my 27th year. The month number, coincidentally, is the same number of months that I have been working full-time for my school district. Here's hoping the race month streak far outlasts the work month streak! The previous day, Bruce and Pat Eckel extended their own month streak at Mountain, and texted me a report from there.
The track announcer did talk about the plan to race on a road course, but said the amount of snow on the ground this year would have made turing on a road course very difficult, so they made the track as simple as possible for the drivers. This made sense to me, and I got the impression that the road circuit configuration is likely to return in the future, which of course would be good news for us.
We were all a little anxious to get on our way towards home, since it was snowing pretty steady. They started a bit late but not more than 30 minutes. With all the snow around, we really didn't get a chance to sit together or visit much. PJ and I climbed to the top row to watch, Rick Young was in the pits and taking pictures, Pam sat near the bottom of the stands, and Paul/Bing/Mike stood between the set of bleachers.
There were two races scheduled of 40 laps each. All cars raced in both races, or at least were eligible to. The track was probably about a 1/5th mile oval, and although the cars went slowly because of the snow, the 40 laps did not take that long. Eighteen cars started the first race, half the cars were out early, and in the last ten laps it settled down to five cars remaining. The racing was fun, and got even more "fun" when I lapped car spun out the leader on lap 37!
The press release said that the concession stand would be closed, but not only was there refreshments available, but in a very nice gesture the track offered free hot chocolate to all. All seven of the group members on hand left after the first enduro, as we didn't know how long it would be between races and the snow continued to fall. We were on our way home just slightly after 2:00.
Thus ended race one of the 2013 season for me. This coming weekend, Pam and I are planning to join several of our midwestern TrackChasing friends at the indoor Mini Sprint races in Michigan. I'm hoping to see more friends from the group in Battle Creek.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 0 / Pam 1
2013 Events-- Guy 1 / Pam 1
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 1 / Pam 1
2013 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 0 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,477 / Pam 838
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]