2013 TrackChaser Report #42--Rockfish MS Speedway, NC
After a very lucky Friday night where a deluge of rain fell just north and just south of the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, Saturday was a perfect weather day, sunny with highs in the mid 80's. Our plan was to head east for an afternoon race at the Rockfish Motorsport Speedway in Raeford, NC. Until a couple of months ago, I had not heard of the track. It was Indiana's Roger Ferrell who discovered it and alerted me to the track, so thanks to Roger for that tip. I called the track in the morning to make sure they didn't get flooded out, and they said the races were a go. We headed off to the track, stopping at one of our (and Andy Ritter's) old favorites, Sonny's Real Pit BBQ.
We arrived at the track and practice was already underway. The owners of the property have a lot of irons in the fire. Besides the race track, there is mini golf, speedway bingo on Friday and Sunday evenings, a flea market, u-haul rentals, and more. Admission was $10 which included pit access. The track is about a quarter or 1/5th of a mile, wide and dirt. It appeared there was a smaller track as well, but it was not in use. There were five small bleacher sections for fans. I was worried about how hot it was going to be sitting out in the sun during the afternoon, and was very happy to see that two of the bleacher sections had roofs over them offering much appreciated shade.
There are four classes that race at the track. Legend Cars, Micro Sprints, what they call Pro Karts, and what they call Mini Pro Karts. The first two classes need no explanation. The latter two are not karts at all. I would call them Buggies or Dune Buggies. They are full-size, and are fully suspended cars.
The Legends car count was good, at 12 including a couple of first time visitors. There were eight Micro Sprints, down a bit from the week before. The season point standings shows 15 having competed in the Micro Sprint class. And there were four each in the adult Buggy class (age 13 and up) and the kid Buggy (up to age 12). The total car count was thus 28 in four classes, an average of seven.
I went to the driver's meeting and when they were talking about the kid Buggies they said that they would be racing on the big track today because they could not get the small track ready due to all the rain and the infield being a bit flooded. They did not mention the adult Buggy class. After the driver's meeting I asked the owner if the adult Buggies race on the small track, and he said: "Yes, sometimes, as it's more fun for them on the smaller track". With a bit of luck I could have stumbled into a double at this facility, but I was more than pleased just knowing that there was a possibility of a second track here in the future. I'd be more than glad to make a return trip.
A fantastic feature of the track is the automatic watering system. They have it rigged so that all they have to do is turn a knob and water shoots into the air all around the entire track by the use of pipes and oscillating nozzles. It only take a couple of minutes and the entire track is watered completely and evenly.
The races got started about 20 minutes late. The format showed s single heat for each Buggy class, then two heats for each of the other classes. I can understand splitting the 12 Legends into two, six-car heats. But splitting the eight Micros, after one scratched leaving just seven, into two heats didn't seem like a good idea. And of course in the three-car Micro heat, one dropped out right at the beginning leaving just two. The Buggy heats were eight laps, the other two class heats were 15. The features ranged from 20-30 laps. Normally they run a dash for the Legends and Micros to set the top four starting spots, but they said because they had so many cars (?) they were not going to have the dashes on this day and would start the feature straight up from the heat race finishes.
The show then consisted of the six heats, a 15 minute break, and the four feature events. The biggest drawback in watching the races is the announcer/scorer/flagging tower is between the bleachers and the track, and it is a big structure that blocks the view of the track. At most tracks, only the flagger is between the stands and the track.
It was a nice enough little track and both Pam and I had a good time there. They race three weekends a month, then take the fourth weekend off. Last weekend they had their first night race at the track, and the owner told me it was a very big success except for it ran very late. I'll keep monitoring the track and my schedule for the year to see if there is a possibility to return to see the adult Buggy class race on the smaller track.
After leaving Rockfish, there was not enough time to travel far for an evening activity. We were only a few miles from Fayetteville, so we narrowed our choice between Fayetteville Speedway (where I had been but Pam had not), or Fayetteville Swampdogs baseball (not minor league but collegiate summer league). I saw the Carolina Clash Late Model Series was at Fayetteville Speedway, which seemed like a expensive, long night. So we opted for the $6 ballgame, hoping to eventually return to Fayetteville Speedway another time. I think we mde the right choice, as we had a wonderful evening at the ballpark, watching the Swampdogs defeat the Wilson Tobs.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 28 / Pam 16
2013 Events-- Guy 40 / Pam 19
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 41 / Pam 20
2013 Additional new Non TC Tracks--Guy 1 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,505 / Pam 853
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