Sunday, July 20 - It was the final night of our Southern vacation and after four hours at Road Atlanta in extreme heat and sunshine we set out for the final race of the nine race week. The O’Reilly Southern All Stars were running at Rome Speedway in Rome, Georgia. This is a track that only runs special shows around six times per year. We arrived at the track around 6:30 with the temperatures still in the 90’s but now the skies turned overcast and it looked like storms might be on the way. Bruce has a close friend, Charlie Sylvester, that lives in Buford, Georgia about 1 hour from the track and he was coming up with his girlfriend and I was hoping the threat of rain would not deter his visit, but around 7:00 Bruce’s cell phone rang and they were in the parking lot asking where we were sitting. Whenever you invite someone to a race that is not a regular attendee of racing you always hope for a good show and I have to tell you neither they nor us were disappointed in what we saw.
Of course it was the south so there were way too many divisions and time trials but then you have to expect this when south of the Mason Dixon Line. But aside from that we were all impressed. First the track surface was mighty fine red Georgia clay and it was smooth and tacky. The red clay does produce a dust while still allowing the track to remain tacky. Problem is this clay turns you and everything with you red. But as far as racing on it goes, it is perfect. They ran heats for the sportsman and limited late models then time trials for the 28 super late models on hand to compete in the 50 lap man event that was paying $5,000 to win. After time trals they went right into the feature events. It was a bomber feature then a super bomber feature followed by consolations for the super late models and then the pony feature and limited late model feature. Although the first event did not start until 8:05 they ran all of the above by 10:20. The competition was good in all the events with the limted late model win being decided on the final circuit. We all enjoyed the racing including Bruce’s friend ,Charlie and his girlfriend, Carol.
It wasn’t until the start of the 50 lap main event that the red dust started to fly. They ran off the 50 laps in 20 minutes with only 2 cautions. Travis Pennington picked up the $5,000 top prize money and it was only 10:50. Charlie enjoyed the show so much he just might decide to go back the next time they run. We all thought this facility was top notch and the way they ran the show was excellent. Because of the heat and high temperatures they announced all drinks, which in Georgia are always Coca-Cola products would only be $1.00. That was a 16 oz. bottle of Coke, Poweraide or water for just a dollar. Nice jesture on the part of the management. There was one more feature to run for the sportsman but we decided to start the hour plus drive back to Atlanta where Allan and Nancy Brown were dropping us off at the Westin Airport Hotel.
All in all the racing trip was a success. There was only one day when there was rain and we were not scheduled to see races on that particular day. Of the 9 days we were there there were only two when we did not see a race and we saw 9 races in total. Twice we went to a road course in the afternoon and then a track at night.
Monday we flew out of Atlanta at 11:00 and after a stop in Charlotte arrived home in the Lehigh Valley at 5:00. You know it is great to go away but even better to return home, but not to stay home for too long. Thursday night we will be heading down to Bridgeport Speedway after work to catch the big block modifieds.