2014 TrackChaser Report #2--BMI Indoor Speedway, OH
Last weekend Pam and I headed to Ohio for the Ohio Indoor Karting Series event at the newly concrete BMI Indoor Speedway. Mike and I had previously been there together when the track was dirt.
This would only be the second race on the concrete. Roger Ferrell was at the first in November. The December race was canceled due to snow. There are still events scheduled for February and March for those that want to check it out.
We left home around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, after I got home from work, and drove to Akron. Pam is still enjoying her semester break. On Saturday morning we were back on the road at 6:30, arriving at BMI just before practice was to commence at 10:00. The show is split into two sessions, a morning and an afternoon. The morning session had practice scheduled for 10:00 with racing at 11:00, the afternoon practice was scheduled for 2:00 with racing at 2:30. The Senior Champs (Caged) were scheduled for first session.
Roger said there were 40-some total entries in November, so I was shocked when I entered and there were only 12 TOTAL entries. They were having the driver's meeting at the time. It was decided that there would be three classes: Flat kart, junior, and Champ. The breakdown was 6, 3, and 3. They would practice for an hour, then have four heats for each class, and a feature. The format was they would run a heat for a class, then invert the field and run a second heat right away. Then do it for the other two classes. After a short break, run a second set of two heats for each class. And after another break, the three features.
The track was set up really cool when it was dirt. The top of the track is equal to ground level, and the bottom of the track and infield is below ground level. The track was banked pretty good. That banking has been retained now that the track has been paved, and it is wicked fast. In November, the drivers had trouble keeping their necks up even after 15 laps, so they set the heats at seven laps and the features at 12 laps.
The facility is really nice. You enter through the restaurant. There is a counter and the main part of the restaurant. Behind that is table seating, a bar, a game room, and the restrooms. Behind that is the race track. Spectator admission was $5. They also use it for a lot of concerts.
There were six TrackChasers on hand for the racing. Dave Garrison came up from Kentucky. Mike Knappenberger from PA and Edward Corrado from New York came together. And of course Pam and I were together. I left a message for Norm Wagner of Ohio that we would be there, but he didn't call back so I wasn't sure if he was coming or not. The last time I talked to him he indicated he was coming in January. Eleanor Weidman had emailed for info, indicating that Paul was interested. Roger said Rick Schneider was not there in November, so I thought he might show up as well. The six of us had a nice time together waiting for the racing to begin.
The website said that the races were supposed to be at 11:00. At the driver's meeting they said 11:30. They announced to the crowd that racing was scheduled for 12:30 and that they would be starting early. The actual racing started around 11:45. Welcome to short track racing. There were a smattering of 50 or so people in the bleachers.
The speed turned on this high banked concrete oval is something to see. it's like the Nutley Velodrome for karts. The Champ Karts fly, turning laps of slightly under seven seconds. Since the heats were only seven laps, the non-stopped Champ Kart heats took about 48 seconds each!
During intermission, I headed into the restaurant and bought a pair of personal pizzas for Pam and I. They were excellent. By feature time, Pam and I were the only two from the group still there. Edward had to get back to pick up a job candidate at the airport, and Roger and Dave headed to Michigan for the indoor Mini Sprints in the evening. The 12 lap Champ Kart race was the last of the session. Once again going non stop, it lasted 1:22. Fastest full scheduled length feature ever? The race session ended about 1:15.
After the race, I was finishing up eating my pizza, and less then five minutes after the Champ Kart race was over in walked Norm Wagner. Norm is notorious for coming in at the last minute, or in the middle of a show. Sometimes that strategy comes back to bite you. Unfortunately, Norm got bit and drove four hours each way but missed the race.
We sat and talked to Norm for awhile, waiting to see what would happen in the second session and if perhaps the Champ Karts would race again. They were in the pits for awhile, but eventually they were wheeled out of the pits and outside the building.
Pam and I left at this time, and headed east. We stopped in Columbus at Tim Horton's, a Canadian oasis in the middle of Ohio, and then headed to Wheeling where we went to the Wheeling Nailers hockey game. On Sunday we drove home, arriving in mid afternoon.
This was my first new track of 2014, and first in over two months. It was very good to be back on the road again, but I have no more new tracks planned for January.
My individual TrackChasing goals for the year are 1) Try to get 50 new tracks again this year. Every year I say I know I can't keep doing it annually until I retire, but every year so far I have found a way. I think I can do it again for at least one more year because I still have a lot of Michigan fair tracks to visit. 2) See a race in a new country. We are working on a plan for it, but nothing specific so far. 3) Get to my 200th track in Canada. I'd like to do that because no one from the US has done 200 tracks in any foreign country, and only Roland has done it at all, in Netherlands I only need four tracks, so I think that is certainly something I can accomplish this year. 4) See a race in every month for the 28th straight year. 5) Pam and I to see a race together in a state where we have not yet done so. Iowa seems to be the most likely choice for 2014, which would be our 45th state together. 6) Pam and I to visit our 900th different track together, more than any other couple. No biggie if I don't get everything done. They are just personal goals for fun in the hobby.
No racing this coming week. It's our alt.sports.weekend with Pro Indoor Lacrosse on Saturday and Pro Indoor Soccer in the box courtesy of Mike on Sunday. Racing the following week at Atlantic City, Saturday only as one of my cousin's is getting married Friday night and we are headed there.
2014 Guy & Pam Smith Summary
2014 New Tracks--Guy 1 / Pam 1
2014 Events-- Guy 2 / Pam 2
2014 Total Tracks-- Guy 2 / Pam 2
2014 Additional Non TC Tracks--Guy 0 / Pam N/A
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,539 / Pam 881