2013 TrackChaser Report #98--Path Valley, PA
It was a good weekend on both the gridiron and the racetrack for Pam & Guy. On Friday we headed to the Catty High football game as they knocked out the two-time defending district champ Pen Argyl Green Knights, the team that upset them in the district final last year. They return to the district final this coming week against the Palisades Pirates, a team they beat earlier in the year.
On Saturday we were in West Chester for the Bloomsburg Uninversity game, which although it was the last regular season game of the year, turned into a de facto PSAC Eastern Division championship game as the winner would advance to the state title game. Both nationally ranked in D2, Bloom beat the higher ranked (#8) and undefeated Golden Rams to advance to the state championship against Slippery Rock. In the game, Bloom back Frank Quiteh topped 7,000 yards rushing and is now the second leading NCAA rusher all-time in D1 & D2. The state title game returns to Bloomsburg for the first time since I was a student there in 1985 and living with two of the players.
Too busy to think about it, but wanting to get a race in on Sunday, we decided to head to Path Valley for the SpeedSTR's, 600cc Micro Sprints, and Slingshots. I had been to Path Valley many times, including the first race on Labor Day weekend of 1987, and for the CRA Sprint Cars. Pam had been there just once, in October of 1991.
It was cold and the high wind made it seem colder, so we planned to arrive close to starting time. The time schedule and race order published in advance, but had contradictory information depending on the source. I read a message board post on Sunday morning that the Saturday show would have been good if they hadn't started late, and almost decided not to go at all because of the nonsense. But instead, Pam and I made a pact that we would give them four hours (1:00-5:00) to get the two main classes in the books and if they couldn't do it, we would leave at that time no matter what.
The event was the 3rd Annual Fall Jamboree National Finals Weekend. The event was run by Speedway Entertainment, the group that produces the SpeedSTR's and the Slingshots. Admission was just $11, the same as they charge at their weekly summertime events at Kutztown.
There were no other TrackChasers there, but we did talk to Gordy Killian's next door neighbor who was a first-time Path visitor, and we sat with WoO announcer Johnny Gibson's dad for the SpeedSTR feature.
I have always thought Path to be a great little speedway, and the SpeedSTR's to provide good, close racing. Plus, there was not much racing going on in the northeast on Sunday. I was shocked to see almost nobody in the stands. I think when the racing started, there were about a dozen people in the main grandstand. Of course there were some others standing at the top and still more watching from their cars, but to call the crowd sparse is being overly generous. I was really looking forward to what is likely my last dirt track race of the season, and was expecting good racing in the SpeedSTR's and the Micros.
I was not so sure of my expectations for how the show would be run. I was told the Saturday show was supposed to start at noon and lasted until 5:00. No reason for a five hour show with four classes, only one having more than a full field. Sunday was much, much better. They started racing about 15 minutes after 1:00, and ran off the heats for all four classes in an hour. The SpeedSTR's needed a B-Main (it had 13 cars with only three to qualify) and all qualifying races were in the books quickly.
At this point I was worried about two things. One: The time schedule had the features beginning at 3:30. Would they really be insane enough to take an hour and 15-minute break on a very cold Sunday afternoon, just because their published schedule said they wouldn't start until 3:30? Also, the published schedule showed the two races I wanted to see, the SpeedSTR and the 600 Micro features to be the final two races. This contradicted the way the show was run all day: SpeedSTR's, Slingshots, Micros, Junior Slingshots.
Luckily, the show continued on its brisk pace. The SpeedSTR feature ran first for 35 laps. It was a great battle between Billy Pauch Jr. and Kenny Brightbill, who had finished one/two on Saturday. In the second half of the race, Freddy Rahmer, Jr. got by Brightbill for second, with Craig Von Dohren finishing fourth. As far as I'm concerned, it was a good race.
As it was only 3:15 and the main feature was in the books, I'll call this a very well-run two and a quarter hour show. As it was our last dirt race of the year, we decided to stay for two more races before heading out. After the Slingshot race, the 17 600cc Micros lined up for their feature. It was a real good battle between Pauch, Jr. and Frank Cozze, with Pauch coming out on top.
Pauch, who won a 305 Super Sprint car feature at Five Mile Point the weekend before, swept both days in both classes at Path Valley. Along the way, he won $1000 for the SpeedSTR win Saturday, $500 for the Micro Sprint win Saturday, $3,000 for the SpeedSTR win Sunday, and another $500 for the Micro win Sunday. That's five grand in one weekend from little Path Valley. That could be the largest weekend winnings in the track history.
We watched 13 of the 14 races and were still out at 4:15. Assuming it was our last dirt race of the season, it was a good one. I don't know why so many people consider the SpeedSTR's unworthy of watching, but those that stayed home Sunday missed a good one.
No racing this coming weekend. Pam's heading to Chicago Wednesday to present at a conference, and won't be back until late Saturday night. I was going to go to Bridgeport, but with Catty in the district final and Bloomsburg in the state final, it's going to be an all football weekend. I have a real good feeling about Catty, but 12th ranked Bloomsburg, against #18 Slippery Rock, not so much.
My next planned race is one or two days at Wall Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend.
2013 Guy & Pam Smith Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 61 / Pam 43
2013 Events-- Guy 90 / Pam 54
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 94 / Pam 58
2013 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 6 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,538 / Pam 880Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) is a road circuit designed by famed Formula One architects, Hermann Tilke. AMP is a 2-mile road coircuit with elevation changes, technical circuit layout, high speed straights and two ‘signature’ corners designed to pay homage to famed European race circuits; Belgium’s Spa-Francochamps and the iconic ‘Carousel’ from Germany’s Nurburgring. Incorporating these most famous and exciting of all of motorsports only hints at the lengths. - See more at: http://www.atlantamotorsportspark.com/the-circuits/the-road-circuit/#sthash.U2zdbBTc.dpuf