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Saturday, November 13 - Saturday dawned sunny and it turned out to be the perfect fall day with temperatures rising into the 60’s. We picked up Pat’s dad in Temple and headed west toward the Susquehanna Speedway Park. We arrived at 12:40 for the 2 PM start with the admission price $20 for adults and a discount of $5 for seniors. A nice crowd filling about 2/3rd’s of the wooden grandstand was a clear sign that the central Pennsylvania race fans enjoy seeing the 410 and 358 sprints run at the 4/10 mile clay oval. You cannot blame the late start on management but the 410 sprint primadonnas took their good old time responding to the call for warmups at 1:45. After 10 minutes just three were on the track. Once the 410’s and the 358’s ran their warmups it was time to start racing with the first 410 sprint heat hitting the track at 2:33. The car counts were not large at 23 for the 410’s and 20 for the 358’s but the majority of them were good ones. Heat racing was completed by 3:38 and no consies were needed today so the next racing would be feature racing. For a day time program the surface held up well and no dust was produced until the start of the 410 sprint car feature. This was a surprise especially since it was warm and sunny. Good prerace preperation is the key to a good, racy daytime dirt surface.
Even though Chad Layton started his brother’s #55L on the front row it was a good race especially when the leaders entered lap traffic. Daryn Pittman was closing in lap traffic until a late race move by some lap cars in turn two was the clincher for Layton. Don Kreitz Jr. claimed third with Greg Hodnett notching fourth and Fred Rahmer rounding out the top five as the checker flew at 4:28. Kudos go out to Bill Stine who crashed hard in warmups in turn three and repaired the car in time to catch the rear of the field where he advanced to 10th at the finish. It was also nice to see Joyceville, Ontario’s racing Wilsons, father Rick and daughter April, make the long tow down to race with Rick claiming 12th at the end. Now it was time for the 20 lap 358 feature and this one turned out to be the race of the day. Steve Buckwalter, making a rare 358 start, pounched off the front row into the lead and looked strong. Aaron Ott who started 7th in his sister’s 358 ride worked his way forward catching Buckwalter with five to go and passing him for the lead. Ott went on to victory over Buckwalter, 5th starting Chris Eash, Jay Galloway and Glenndon Forsythe completing the top five. All racing was in the books by 4:50 and did I mention that this one went non-stop.
This was a good way to end the Northeast sprint car season with a competitive, well run show.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the news in the current Area Auto Racing News about new clay being added to the surface at the Five Mile Point Speedway. One of the things I wrote about in my Five Mile Point Supernationals blog was that the surface needed new clay and recently Andrew Harpell and his track crew brought in over 70 loads of clay to work into the surface. This is a big move in the right direction and I hope that the clay bonds with what is there to produce a better racing surface so the fan will be able to enjoy the competitive racing held at the quarter mile bullring in the Southern Tier which will be starting their 61st year of racing in 2011.
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