Penton Raceway - Track #623 - Lafayette, Alabama
- Greetings from Lafayette, Alabama,
My new track achievements for 2003 have been slow to take off. My first wife, Carol, and I have been building a new house. Putting the final touches on it over the past few months has taken almost all of our time.
I decided it was time to get away for some new track racing. I have already seen races in Florida, New Mexico and Arizona this season but not at any new tracks. This weekend is centered in Alabama. This is the DEEP south. They have some very unusual people who attend the races here. As I�ve mentioned in the past my notes are for my trackchasing friends and my �non-racing� friends. It seems that I�m always defending racing and racing fans to my �non-racing� friends. My non-racing friends have a stereotypical person in mind when they think about racing. Someone once told me that stereotypes exist�.because they are true. Alabama short track racing has stereotypical race fans.
This race plan was simple. Fly into Atlanta, drive about 100 miles to Columbus, Georgia and watch the World of Outlaws race in Phenix City, Alabama on Friday night. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case, my plan did not work out. This time Mother Nature did not cooperate and the Phenix City show was rained out. Not to worry I simply made a u-turn after I saw World of Outlaws haulers leaving the area and made the 60 mile drive north to the Penton Raceway in Lafayette, Alabama. I�ll cover the racing news from Penton in the racing section later.
Several people ask me about the expense of trackchasing. In the people/travel news section of this report (and the remaining reports for the weekend), I�ll outline what it costs to go trackchasing. I track chase on a somewhat limited budget. To some it may seem extravagant and too others barebones. Here goes:
AIRFARE: Round-trip airfare was a reasonable $228. This trip on American Airlines will also earn me about 9,000 frequent flyer miles which is more than a third of the way toward a free ticket.
RENTAL CAR: $102.80 via www.hotwire.com with Hertz. Not a bad rate for three days of unlimited driving of somebody else�s new car.
Friday � Motel 6. $49.71. Kind of expensive for a Motel 6 in Columbus, Georgia. The good thing about Motel 6 is you can always get a hassle free internet connection.
Friday - Penton Raceway $10. It seems to me that $10 is a little pricey for a couple attending the races who may be lower wage earners.
Friday - McDonalds $5 (breakfast, I wouldn�t eat there at any other time)
TCBY $5 (captive in the St. Louis airport)
Steak n� Shake $5 (I�m a sucker for the Chili 3 ways)
Racetrack $5 (seems like everything�s $5, including these chicken fingers/drink)
That makes it $410.51 paid out and it�s only the first day!
I completed about 200 miles of driving on the first day of the trip. Why do people drive only 60 M.P.H. in the fast lane of the freeway when the prevailing traffic is driving 70? These folks then FINALLY pull over to the slow lane and then increase their speed from 60 to 75??
What�s up with these Alabamians driving pickup trucks with their huge dogs in the bed of the pickup and the dogs not tied down?? I saw two large dogs dead along side the road just feet apart during the trip. Did their driver hit a big bump in the road?
There are several advantages to being retired. One of them is not having to look over my shoulder on a Friday afternoon with the fear that I would have to explain what I�m doing in Atlanta, Georgia. Another is not having to schedule a zero dark 30 departure on Monday morning in order to get back to the office by mid-Monday.
BEST COUNTRY MUSIC LYRICS: If heaven ain�t a lot like Dixie, I don�t wanna go.
The Penton Raceway is a �-mile red clay track. It is my 623rd career track. It�s one of those tracks where you buy your ticket while seated in your car as you enter the grounds. The weather threatened but never rained. The track sold a program for 50 cents that identified six classes that raced. The program was simply eight pages of 8 1/2� by 11� white paper stapled together.
I did learn the six classes in action were the bandits, enduros, limited sportsmen, super streets, 4 cylinder stocks and modified minis. Each class had from 5-10 cars and each class ran one heat. After the heats were run it was time for the limited sportsman to run hot laps and THEN time trials. Since I had seen all of the cars run their heat races and knew the feature races would be the same cars running feature races but for a longer distance I judged that the entertainment value would be decreasing at an increasing rate and boogied. There were only about 100 fans in the stands on a cool and damp evening.
I understand that some of the top southern dirt late model groups race at Penton. I would suggest delaying your visit to this track until they provide a better class of cars. Penton Raceway was my eighth career Alabama track. Given the weather conditions I was lucky to get a new track in.
RENTAL CAR UPDATE: The Hertz racing Ford Taurus was only adequate. The radio reception was poor and I never did find the drink holder.
That�s all the news that�s fit to print from San Clemente where the women are strong, the men are good-looking and all of the children are above average.
New racetracks visited in 2003
623. Penton Raceway, Lafayette, Alabama, April 4
Planned new racetracks for 2003
Heart O Dixie Speedway
Heart O Dixie Speedway
Wake County Speedway
Virginia Intl Raceway
Bowman Gray Stadium
Ionia Raceway Park
Lake Odessa, MI
WISSOTA Late Model Special
Red Cedar Speedway
Fox Ridge Speedway
U.S. MODIFIED TOURING SERIES
Deer Creek Speedway
U.S. MODIFIED TOURING SERIES
Dodge County Speedway
Trollhaugen Ski Area
Somewhere near MNSPL
Path Valley Speedway
Spring Run, PA
Oak Hill, OH
Thursday Night Thunder
Beech Ridge Mtr Speedway
W. Scarborough, ME
Oval & Figure 8s
"R" rated racing
New Egypt Speedway
New Egypt, NJ
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