Friday, July 24 - No, we did not jet off to Australia to see racing. The Outback Track is located outback of the Susquehanna Speedway Park. It is on the other side of the backstretch pit area and is a 1/10 mile clay oval measured from the inside. From the outside it is measured as a 1/7 mile. We ate at Rock-It Pizza just up the road and had sandwiches that are so large (we orderd smalls) that they put all other sandwich shops to shame. From there we followed the detour signs to Susquehanna Speedway Park, drove through the homestretch pits and back around turns one and two. I spotted promoter, Todd Fisher, and asked him how many adult speedcars were in attendence tonight. He said one plus his dad’s car he would run if we needed two to count the track. Phone calls to Guy Smith, Gordy Killian and Allan Brown were next in order to confirm if two would be countable. Gordy thought the number was three (he was in South Dakota at the time) and then a call from Guy Smith said that two would count if that was all there was (he was in Massachusetts for a slingshot race with 3 cars in town at the time). So with that clarifaction in place we proceeded to the pit shack to pay our $8 to enter. The security guy joked that he thought maybe we were necking in the car but we informed him that after 24 years of marriage that home would be the better option for that!!
On tap tonight were eight divisions of racers, mostly flat karts, with only one being trackchaser countable, that being the adult speedcars. The adult speedcars are the former cars raced indoors at the S & S Speedway in the Poconos converted to dirt using dirt tires the size of the ones used on micro sprints. One guy informed me that if we wanted to buy one they had several left at the price of $1200, down from $1500. So if you want to get started racing cheap here is your opportunity. A shower had passed through earlier and the track was being groomed as we pulled in. Racing was scheduled to start at 7:30 and got underway at 8:10 with 8 lap heats for each of the divisions. The adult speedcars did not run a heat just warmups for the two cars in attendence. A third car arrived shortly thereafter with a fourth one on the grounds but it never moved from its pit location. The heats were enjoyable to watch especially watching the many youngsters in attendence roam around the bleacher area talking with their parents and other family and friends, getting instructions and advice. The little guy closest to me was Jake Frey who was making his driving debut. He finished third in his heat in a four kart field and though not as fast as the front two he was smooth and steady. I overheard his dad ask him later if he liked watching or driving better. With a big grin on his face he answered driving and thus another driving career has been launched!! While watching the heat racing my thoughts wandered about how many of these kids would one day be racing on the nearby 4/10 mile oval or somewhere else. This is the type of place these dreams are developed and I smiled as I realized how neat it was to be watching grass roots racing. Once in a while it is nice to step back and watch the kids race.
After all the 8 lap heat races the feature lineups were determined by a pill draw with five invert pills and three straight up pills. Six of the features ended up being inverted with the heat winners starting in the rear. This made for better racing even on this level as people have to pass someone to win a race. The seven divisions excluding the adult speedcars were completed by 10:20. The 3 car, two sprint and one modified type, adult speedcar feature was green flagged at 10:26 with flagger, Jim Salter, and promoter, Todd Fisher, in the field. Salter in a sprint and Fisher in the lone modified raced side by side for several laps banging into each other a few times. Fisher’s mount developed problems and he pulled off. At 10:31 Salter flashed under the checkered flag winning his second straight victory and track #606 was in the books. It was an enjoyable night of small car racing but we are ready for some full sized midgets tonight.
Stay tuned for our next blog where we will fill you in on our next stop on the 2009 Eckel tour to 600 (which we acheived on our trip to North Dakota but that won’t stop us from continuing to go to new tracks around the country as the beat goes on).