2013 TrackChaser Report #56--Kutztown, PA
On Wednesday morning I woke up in Canada. By late afternoon I stopped at home to feed the Sara, Doyle, Cannon, Colleen, and Addie; a.k.a. "The Cats". I then headed to Allentown to pick up Aunt Gin, and we headed to Kutztown for the weekly Wednesday show. The track was coming off a two week break for the Folk Festival, and it was 600 cc Micro Sprint Speedweek.
I loved the 600cc Micro Sprint racing at Kutztown for the past few years. I planned to be a regular there once I retire. But over the winter changes were made to the track to accommodate the bigger SpeedSTR's. There are positive and negatives about the changes.
The track is a negative, in my opinion. They made it wider and banked for the SpeedSTR's, but the 600's were not nearly as good as the past couple of years. I hope I just caught it on an off night.
The addition of the SpeedSTR's is a neutral. They have some real big name drivers racing there which is great. I was excited as a kid the week before Christmas to see Kenny Brightbill and Billy Pauch. But the cars are little tanks. The key is to keep the momentum going in the turns, since they don't seem to have a lot of power to their weight. To pay them the $2000 to win each week, the admission cost went up to $11. I thought the crowd was real good, the best I've seen there in years. Mike, with perfect attendance this season, said it was the worst of the year so far.
Other changes were positive. The announcer was moved out of the way behind the stands, they added a nice picnic area in turn four, and the refreshment stand choices, which had previously already offered excellent food at good prices, now have an even better offering.
Since it was Speedweek for the 600's, they dropped the 270cc Micros and ran just the SpeedSTR's and Slingshots. No Junior Slingers, either. They started right on time at 6:30 but this was the case of stuffing 25 pounds of poop in a 20 pound bag. The fields of cars were great, with over 50 Micros, over 30 Slingshots, and over 20 of the SloMO's.
The Micros alone had to have two sets of five heats, a dash, a B-Main, and the A-Main. That's 13 races, just for that class. The MO's had three timed dashes, then they ran heats on top of that. I thought the timed dashes were to eliminate the heats? The Slings had the traditional and beloved three heats, consie and feature format.
The reason I went to Kutztown tonight was that Roland was making it new track #7 for his North American trip. I brought Virginia Schuler along to meet Roland for the first time. Group member Chris Tyrrel also came out to meet Roland. Unfortunately, Bruce and Pat Eckel didn't make it due to Pat getting home from work late (Bruce had met Roland before but not Pat), I didn't take Roland over to meet Dwight Bucks which was my error, and Dave Balloch never sought us out. No worries though, as Roland has already met Rick Young, Virginia Schuler, and Chris Tyrrel for the first time on this trip, and would meet Rick Schneider a couple of days later.
During one of the breaks, I sampled a crab cake, a barbeque, salt potatoes, and an italian ice. All were excellent, the crab cake and barbeque good value too, the salt potatoes and italian ice not as much.
The SpeedSTR's were the first feature. Many seem to like them for the chance to see drivers like Struck, Eckert, Montieth, Brightbill, Lotier, and Pauch race a the little track weekly. Others around me said many rude things about them. When the announcer said that one of the SpeedSTR drivers attempted a "slide job", it caused howls of laughter around me and someone shouted "Them Slugs Don't Slide!". I was very happy to see point leader Kenny Brightbill score his first ever feature at the track. Kenny got on the outside and kept the car rolling through the turns to win rather easily.
The second feature was for the 600cc Micros. The racing was not as good as I have seen in the last few years. There was no good outside groove, and there were way too many cautions. The race was OK, but I was disappointed because I had seen such outstanding racing in this division the past few times I had been there. Mike told me that the track was the worst, and the racing was the worst, that it's been all year. Again, the people around me were upset that all the restarts were not double file, as they seemed sure was the rule.
Overall, they had 24 events on the card. And they dropped a class! Way too many on a Wednesday. We left with one race to go, and it was almost 10:30. The track is in the town and there are many houses nearby. How foolish to give lip service to caring about the neighbors then run a show that goes into it's fifth hour and ends going on 11:00 on a Wednesday. I hope not, but I fear they are on their way to killing a good thing, no a great thing, at Kutztown by having too much racing on a week night. Of course when they do, it will all be the neighbor's faults.
I'm taking Mike at his word that this was not typical of the shows there this year and I hope to see another before the end of the season, hopefully later this month when Vince Sadowski makes a visit.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 36 / Pam 22
2013 Events-- Guy 54 / Pam 28
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 54 / Pam 28
2013 Additional new Non TC Tracks--Guy 4 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,513 / Pam 859
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