2014 TrackChaser Report #1--Mountain Speedway, PA
Over a month since my last race and over two months since my last new track, it was time to go racing. But it was not that easy.
Usually during what I call the winter season I try to go to ten new tracks between ice races, indoor races, and warm weather locations, all while working full-time. I consider the winter season the time between Thanksgiving and Easter. This year, I went a different route and made my winter sporting goal more diverse, hoping for five new tracks, five new pro hockey teams, one new college football bowl game, and first-ever visits to indoor pro soccer and indoor pro lacrosse. Although I don't have any new tracks yet, Pam and I have been busy with three new hockey teams (SWB Penguins, Philly Flyers, and Erie Otters), as well as the Military Bowl (at a new location of the Navy stadium instead of RK where we had seen it played before).
My original hope for the day was if the Can-Am Speedway enduro would return to a road circuit this year, instead of last year's oval configuration. The event was postponed, which made the track type issue moot for now. Thus my attention turned to a much closer enduro at the Mountain Speedway, only about 35 minutes from home. Always good to have a backup plan.
A second problem was the weather, which dumped about six inches of snow on the area Friday, while temperatures plunged overnight into Saturday. Pam and I have a saying: "Never too hot, never too cold, sometimes too wet". I always say that I'll know when I'm old because I'll say it's too hot or cold to do something. Hasn't happened yet.
My biggest problem was that I had knee surgery on Thursday. I couldn't drive or bend my knee, and could barely walk. But my good wife, once proclaimed "Best Wife in the World" by Will White, offered to drive she and I to and from with the race if I really wanted to go. Do ya think?
It would have been really hard for me to go all the way to Can-Am and back with the knee, but Mountain seemed doable. When we got up on Saturday morning it was -4 degrees. But it was only -3 at the track.
We timed it perfectly to arrive right at the scheduled noon starting time. They did a great job plowing the access road, and a portion of the parking lot. Admission was $7. There were about 60 people in the stands, which they also cleaned off nicely. In other words, not much different from some of their summer crowds.
This was the final race for the family that promoted the track for the past 14 years. And in 14 years, they still have not learned how to start on time. This was particularly annoying since it was only 19 degrees, and we had spent too much time at football and hockey games that always start at the advertised hour. I wonder if the pre-race checklist includes "apologize for the delay and offer a lame excuse"? They ended up a hair over a half hour late.
There were two hundred lap enduros, one for Four Cylinder cars and one for Six/Eight Cylinder cars. First up was the small car race. A good field of 25 cars took the green in that one. At the start of the race, the track was completely snow covered. To see what the track looked like, you can check out three of Pam's pictures that Mike put in an image folder on Yahoo Groups. The 100-lapper had only two red flags, which was good. However, the orange cones they put out to separate the inside of the track from the infield got pulverized and the second half of the race was spent racing on the snow in the dirt infield in the turns. I'd guess the track became about three times wider because the officials did nothing to stop the ridiculous shortcutting.
The $1000 win went to big and small block modified driver Danny Creden.
There were no other TrackChasers in the stands. I thought Tweetie would be there for sure, and perhaps the Eckels. I was also hoping to see Marshall to invite him to join the group. However, there was one TrackChaser out on the track. New group member Phil Levering, whose track list will be added to my website soon, finished seventh on the pavement after claiming the Outlaw Enduro championship this year at Grandview.
I limped over to the refreshment stand and found all the condiments frozen. The vinegar for the fries was solid as a rock. I had a pair of excellent dogs, while Pam had fries and a dog. One of the workers told us the napkins were frozen in the dispenser.
They put some much bigger blocks at the edge of the infield to discourage cutting through the grass, and then it was time for the big car enduro. A smaller field of 17 cars took the green in that one, including a couple four cylinders that paid another entry fee to race again. I was a little leery about letting four cylinder cars race in an event that was clearly intended for six and eight bangers, but money's money I guess. I wonder if there would have been a stink if Creden won another grand?
We lasted past the first red flag, but not all the way to the end of the second 100 lapper. By then my knee was fatigued, and trying to hobble on snow and favor that leg had me pretty fagged. We went to Wendy's for Frosties, then home to watch the Eagles lose. It was good to get a race in the books for the first time in over a month, and the first of 2014. The January race kept my month streak in tact as it begins year number 28.
If the knee cooperates and I get the stitches out Thursday, we might try a weekend trip for a new track at the BMI indoor track, now concrete, in Ohio; and our first pro hockey game in West Virginia. It's also the end of the first semester at school, so there will be a lot to do to catch up from the missed days due to the surgery. I think Roger is coming to BMI, and maybe Norm. Mike was also trying to put together a trip to the event. Let the season commence!
2013 Guy & Pam Smith Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 0 / Pam 0
2013 Events-- Guy 1 / Pam 1
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 1 / Pam 1
2013 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 0 / Pam N/A
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,538 / Pam 880