Easter Road trip
- *RICK @ the RACES ( EASTER ROAD TRIP)*
*29 March Big Diamond Speedway , Minersville, PA*
*30 March Bridgeport Speedway, NJ*
*The Easter weekend has always been a time to go racing for me, and for
the past few years I've taken off on a road trip. This year was no
*Even though , I've traveled to many different tracks over the years, I
still have a 'bucket list' of places I want to visit. One place that had
been on my list for a very long time ( since the 1970's when I was living
in England) was the Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey. Up until this past
weekend I'd never managed to get there.*
*On Saturday 30 March an ROC Dirt Series, '60 over Special' was scheduled
in memory of the late Doug Hoffman, a Bridgeport local, who, during his
racing career, had been one of the top Dirt Modified drivers in the North
East. Logistics meant that I never saw Doug in action too often, but I do
remember him being a top notch racer. *
*This was my golden opportunity to visit the Bridgeport Speedway, and
fortunately for me, on Good Friday, the night before, and on my way there ,
the Big Diamond Speedway in Pennsylvania was running. The last time I
visited Big Diamond was back in 2003 for a SUPER DIRT SERIES race that was
won by Alan Johnson.*
*After work on Thursday (28 March) I set off early from my home in
Cornwall , Ontario , to avoid the long holiday delays at the USA border on
Good Friday. I reached the Maple View Truck & Auto Plaza at Mexico, New
York at around mid night where I parked the HHR . The back seats had been
folded down, and this was my 'motorhome' for the weekend. When I got back
on I 81 in the morning, the road was packed with Canadian 'license plates'
heading south, so I'm sure glad I left home early.*
*After a breakfast in the Cortland NY , Tim Hortons I traveled down into
Pennsylvania and up in to the mountains south of Scranton. The Big Diamond
Speedway is located close to the Highway 901 exit for Minersville.
*One of the first things you notice after exiting the Interstate is the 901
Pub with a Dirt Modified adorning the roof. After few miles down the road
and into the boonies, I arrived at the track.
*My memories from ten years ago were a bit sketchy, but I do remember how
primitive it was, with old semi trailers scattered around, and used in
place of buildings and washrooms. Things were a lot different now and it
was obvious that a lot of money had been spent, on rebuilding the
* It was early afternoon and a long time before start time, so I took off
to explore ! I went into nearby Pottsville and Minersville, where I came
across a beautiful old steam train ( check out the pics) .
*I then returned to the track at around 3-00pm , for a little nap, before
the races. I was too late in applying for media/photographer credentials,
so on this occasion, I was back to being a regular race fan. I spent my
night taking a few pit pictures and watching from the grandstands.
*Jeff Strunk driving the Vinnie Salerno # 4 car was the nights feature
*It had been quite chilly, so I was glad to get tucked up under the covers
in the back of the HHR.*
*I left Big Diamond at about 7-30 am on Saturday morning, and after a cup
of tea in the Minersville 'Dunkin Donuts' I was on my way to Bridgeport.
*Once on the PA Turnpike, my first port of call was the Allentown Service
area, for a wash and clean up. Just as I was leaving, I bumped into one of
the ROC Dirt officials, who was heading for the same place as me, so
luckily had someone to follow to the track.
*The Bridgeport Speedway is located a few miles south of Philadelphia
across the Commodore Barry Bridge which spans the Delaware River and
divides the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
*It's an impressive place and a very tidy facility. Mother Nature had been
kind to us, it was T shirt weather, so the early arrivals like myself were
able to relax and chat in the sunshine. A lot of my friends were there, and
it was great to 'catch up' after the long winter.
*Over 45 Modifieds were in attendance and most of the sports top names were
there. The big race of the night, was a dramatic affair, right up to the
final few yards of the last lap !
*Early leader was Rick Laubach who was eventually passed by Stewart Friesen
. Friesen stayed in command , but was challenged at various stages by Brett
Hearn, Danny Johnson and Ryan Godown. From lap fifty of the sixty lapper,
we had a deluge of cautions as the challengers fell by the wayside and had
*With a Green/ White/ Checkers situation, the race went into the final lap
with Friesen still at the front. As he came round the final turn his car
started to slow ( according to reports, he was out of gas) as he tried to
tease it for the last few yards. It wasn't going to happen, and Bobby Varin
who'd been on his tail, was able to take full advantage in the chaos that
occurred on the dusty race to the flag.
*The Victory Lane presentations were done before 11-00 pm and I was soon
out of the gate and heading for home.*
* After taking a wrong turn from the 476 in Philly, I eventually pulled
into the Flying J Truck Stop at Gibson PA at 3-00am in the morning. A few
hours were spent sleeping in the HHR before continuing up 1 81 into New
* Breakfast was had at the Maple View in Mexico, before making the final
run back to Canada. I was home in Cornwall , Ontario at 1-00 pm.
*The Bridgeport Speedway NJ became track # 210 of my TRACKCHASING TOTALS
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