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    2004 SEASON REVIEW Welcome to the 24th Annual RTR Season Review Column. During the 2004 season, RTR went to 84 events at 80 different tracks and 79 different
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2005
      2004 SEASON REVIEW

      Welcome to the 24th Annual RTR Season Review Column. During the 2004 season,
      RTR went to 84 events at 80 different tracks and 79 different shows. The
      four tracks visited twice were Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall; Silver Spring,
      rained out before the Super Sportsman feature the first week and I wanted to see my
      friend Scott Snyder race; Snydersville, where I visited a second time to
      ensure a November race on the month’s first weekend; and Nazareth, where I wanted
      to see all three USAC races that were run on two different days. I went to 56
      new tracks for a lifetime total of 942. The races were viewed in 14
      different US States and two Canadian Provinces. I visited no countries in 2004 other
      than the US and Canada. I did, however, blitz the Canadian Provinces of
      Ontario and Quebec for 21 new tracks during 11 visits. Of the 29 different regions
      on my hitlist, I have been to 710 tracks and still need 91, a success rate of
      88.6%. Those 29 regions cover 3,663,631 square miles. The new region being
      added to the hitlist for 2005 is Georgia (57,906 square miles), where I
      currently have been to 16 tracks and need 18. So I am starting 2005 with 109 tracks
      on the hitlist. For the 18th straight year, I managed to see a race in every
      month. Here is my season summary.

      JANUARY. The season started for Pam and I on January 2 at Swainsboro
      Speedway in Georgia. The track was nice but the show was poorly run. No need to run
      late into the night at an outdoor track in January, even if it is in the sou
      th. The trip was great though, and we enjoyed New Year’s Eve in Atlanta and
      some delicious southern barbecue near the track. Our next stop was in Atlantic
      City for the second edition of the TQ Midgets inside Boardwalk Hall. Much
      improved from year one. My only other January race was an FAQ Sports Car race on
      ice at the Shawinigan Sud Grand Prix in Quebec.

      FEBRUARY. February began with a trip with Will to Stadiaume St. Guillaume in
      Quebec for some oval track ice racing and undercooked hot dogs. The final
      visit for Quebec ice racing ended the month as RTR toughed it out on crutches as
      we traveled to Montreal for another FAQ Sports Car race on the Lachine Marina.

      MARCH. Local racing began and RTR spent two weekends at Silver Spring for
      the wonderful Super Sportsman races. Even got to enjoy a Smoky Snellbaker
      victory. The final weekend of March, Greg Hodnett made a liar out of me by coming
      from 18th to win on a chilled and dried daytime surface at Williams Grove.

      APRIL. Easter weekend and RTR romped solo in the south. On Good Friday it
      was the show that wouldn’t die at Modoc, SC. Saturday afternoon was a Champ
      Kart bonanza at Possum Kingdom in SC, then in the evening I slipped over into
      Georgia for a surprisingly entertaining show at the racy yet rundown Toccoa.
      The following week we closed on the new house in the Poconos, and Will White
      graciously helped move archives all morning and afternoon. In return, I treated
      him to ATQMRA TQ’s and too many stock car classes at Mahoning. The rest of
      the month was spent moving.

      MAY. Gordy and I headed to North Carolina and Caswell County. A nice little
      track but add hardly any cars to a poorly run show and it was no surprise
      that by the end of the year they had canceled their big race and the track was
      for sale. A “Banger-Like” show in Arcadia, MD was a good time and produced a
      packed house. Two classes is all that is needed to pack them in. The
      following Friday I took off to work on the house, then slipped over to Snydersville
      for an enjoyable evening of scale car racing. It was my first visit since the
      track opened ten years earlier. After Arcadia, we had headed to Lincoln only
      to buy a ticket and get rained out. To use the rain checks, we returned the
      following week and I saw the first third of the worst Super Sprint feature I
      have ever seen there, before walking out in disgust after the fourth red in ten
      laps. On Memorial Day weekend, Pam and I headed to Ontario and got stuck in a
      three hour wait crossing the border at Niagara Falls. We missed the start of
      the heats that evening at Flamboro. And we still were there too long. Lesson
      learned on that crossing.

      JUNE. June began with a bit of luck for RTR. I headed to NC for a WKA NC
      Divisional Dirt Series Champ Kart race at Riverside, because I knew they would
      have a good field of Champ Karts. After the afternoon feature, I headed up the
      road to Highway 120, where they sometimes do and sometimes don’t get Champ
      Karts. I lucked out and this week they did, although the track is too big for
      these and the flat karts. One week later it was back to Adirondack
      International, as they finally ran a race on their inner oval after four years. Nine
      years from the projected opening, they have had races on three different tracks
      but the two main ones are still to be built. I did manage to see the very
      first race on all three to date. We even stayed for the evening races on the
      outer oval. Off from school for the summer, I made my traditional solo journey
      weekend. After many years, I finally got to Gas City for the wingless Sprints,
      only to have the Sprint feature rain out. The following morning I got jerked
      around at Waynesfield, OH; and after they finally canceled without even trying
      to run in the track I headed back to Indiana and the Indianapolis Motor
      Speedway to see the new road course. After watching two lackluster races at the
      Speedway, I headed south to the aging Jeffersonville Sportsdrome, where two
      budget classes of oval track and Figure 8 racing once again drew a strong crowd.
      I could get an hour back if I headed west again, so I did and tried to make
      Thunder Valley, IN. I made it, but only managed to see one and a half support
      class races. Pam changed her mind at the last minute, and we turned a planned
      midweek show at Big Diamond into one at Port Royal. The fries are still
      great, the new seats fantastic, but a good track surface on a big track plus wings
      usually means little passing and that was the case tonight. Show well run,
      racing boring. I headed to Ontario and saw a dusty but good show of ESS Super
      Sprints and DIRT Sportsman at Ohsweken, then returned the next day to see the
      Micro Sprints race on the practice track in the pits. On the way home I
      stopped to see Stockers race on the off-road course at Freedom, NY. For my final
      June race I headed up to Quebec to finally see a race at Edelweiss and see all
      of the DIRT sanctioned tracks. Edelweiss is one of their best.

      JULY. Pam and I returned to Canada for the fourth of July weekend. We
      started off the weekend with a Friday night show at Delaware Speedway, one of the
      better paved tracks in Ontario. Saturday afternoon we sat around in the heat
      watching stupid CASCAR time trials at aging Cayuga, then hung around to see the
      support divisions race. RTR was happy to finally get a chance to visit this
      famous Canadian Speedway. Heading up to Sauble Beach for the rest of the
      weekend, we stopped at Varney and caught all the features on the nifty paved
      quarter mile. On Sunday we went to Sauble Beach and waded in Lake Huron, then
      dodged raindrops to see some of the area waterfalls before heading to Sauble
      Speedway for the Can Am TQ’s. Incredibly shortsighted planning found the TQ
      feature getting rained out in the middle of it. while numerous local support classes
      completed their mains. Three days later I would hop a ride with Gordy
      Killian for my fourth trip to Canada in three weeks. We stopped to see the
      Cleveland Indians play on Wednesday, before driving to the Michigan U.P. Thursday on
      the way to Laird, Ontario. Finding the race was rained out, we turned around
      and went back down to Tri City, MI where we saw small fields in all divisions
      take to two paved tracks. The outer track was quite entertaining even with the
      small car count, but the place is being converted to dirt for 2005. The
      following day we finally made it into Canada, and saw a great Micro Sprint show at
      Wonderland. This is what short track racing should be like. The following
      day it was the a trip to the Uber-Suck, the Toronto Indy at the CNE. We could
      barely see the lousy 11 car Trans Am field drive around the lousy single
      grooved temporary street course. Did I mention it was lousy? That night we went
      to Sunset, which was not lousy, then caught the main class feature at Barrie,
      which was better. Needing a week of rest at home, Pam and I went to the
      Lycoming County Fair but couldn’t resist the Figure 8 races (well, Pam probably
      could have), where over 90 cars competed before a packed house. Another trip to
      Ontario, first to the beautiful if not exciting Kawartha Speedway, then to the
      too-big and aging Mosport oval. I decided to head to the Orange County Fair
      for the World of Outlaw Super Sprints and DIRT Small Blocks. The Sprints raced
      cleanly but did not pass, the sleds passed but slammed the crap out of each
      other. It’s fair Figure 8 time, and we ended the month at the fair in Bangor,

      AUGUST. August was my busiest month, with 18 races. Started off with Figure
      8’s at the Northeast Fair in PA, where I saw my first $10 lemonade. Next up
      was Late Models at the new Rocky Top, OH track. A nice track but the fan
      seating is lacking and the track was not well run. We missed the Figure 8’s the
      past two years at the Cattaraugus County Fair in NY, but we didn’t miss the
      inner oval short track racing this year. The Hamilton County Fair near
      Cincinnati had Figure 8’s and so did the Chenango County Fair on our wedding
      anniversary. The following day the Clinton County Fair had Micros, then the Reading
      Fair had Figure 8’s. I was rained out at Susquehanna, then made a trip on the
      Sunday rain date to see Kenny Adams in the 358 Super Sprint special event.
      Great job by Todd Fisher at Susky, but the surface needs some work. Three more
      fair Figure 8’s followed: at Dayton, PA; Holmes County, OH; and Orleans
      County,VT. We returned to Oxford Plains for the first time in 14 years to see Champ
      Karts on the backstretch inner oval. The last race before returning to school
      was another fair Figure 8, this time at the Caledonia County Fair in VT. It
      was my 12th different fair race in a month. On the day we closed on the sale
      of our old house, I took Pam to Red Lobster to celebrate, then sent her on her
      way before heading to the ARDC Midget show at Lindas. Running wingless, this
      was one of the best shows I saw all year. That weekend was spent at Nazareth,
      where USAC and the IRL closed the book on the track abandoned by ISC. In
      between the two Nazareth shows, Pam and I had a nice time with a few billion bugs
      at Hamlin. The last show of August was a Super Sprint and Modified Thunder
      on the Hill at Grandview, where someone forgot to tell the racers and not all
      that many showed up to race. The four abreast parade lap was wider than it was

      SEPTEMBER. Labor Day weekend and Pam and I headed back to Canada for the
      third straight holiday weekend. I made my third visit of the year to Ohsweken
      for Micro Sprint racing on the inner oval, and Pam and I were two of only five
      fans on hand. There was no announcer, so when the flagman rolled up the flags
      and drove away we correctly surmised the races were over. The next day we
      went to Figure 8 races at the Kinmount Fair and met TrackChaser Roland “The
      Belgian Waffler” Vanden Eynde from Vilvoorde. I couldn’t resist one last Canada
      trip for 2004, my 11th of the year. Once again it was for Figure 8’s, first at
      the London Western Fair and then at the Owen Sound Fall Fair. Pam and I
      checked out the excellent new Thunder Mountain, PA track, then enjoyed Borger’s
      drive in parking as we listened to Penn State lose while munching Borger Burgers
      and watching the Micro Sprints to end the month.

      OCTOBER. I took the whole family to the outstanding Bloomsburg Fair for the
      Figure 8 races, where we had a TrackChaser section with at least eight of the
      world top 40 on hand. I got all excited to see a Modified 100 lapper at
      Mountain, but the racing was so bad it ranked as my least favorite show of the
      year, save the Uber Suck. Two Enduro only tracks followed. First at the Border
      Riders Club in Denniston, ME; then at the Potosky Motor Sports Speedway in
      Western, PA, where amazingly, all the food was free. A last minute decision and I
      headed to Five Mile Point for a Modified 100 lapper, and it was nice to see
      that Andy Harpell has turned the track in the right direction. Still a ways to
      go to get there, though.

      NOVEMBER. Only three races in November. I returned to Snydersville on the
      first day of the month to assure a November race, and saw another decent show
      there. Wall Township on Easter Weekend found another track headed in the right
      direction. They still need to have it knocked in their heads that people
      don’t want to sit for five or six hours and see huge time gaps with no racing.
      The TQ’s turnout was a disappointment. Finally, the month ended with the
      Bridgeport debacle. It was great to see the many improvements made to the
      facility, but this new management needs to get a clue how to manage a show, and they
      need to do it mondo pronto.

      DECEMBER. Not a bad December with three shows and five tracks. The Mini Cup
      cars ran at the Hampton Coliseum in VA and it was a good show on a high
      banked metal track. The Champ Karts in the O’Neil Building were not as
      entertaining at a not so nice facility, but at least the show was well run. Finally, my
      first December 31 race was at Desoto Speedway in Florida, where they ran on
      the outer oval, Figure 8, and a makeshift road course.

      Fifty-Eight tracks needed in 2005 to reach 1000. Will I go for it, or stick
      to my plan and get it in 2006? Stay tuned.
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