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Thursday, August 7 - We had two choices today for a race in Indiana. USAC was running the midgets at Union County Speedway in Liberty, a place we had been before and were not impressed by, or New Paris Speedway in the town of the same name which we had never been to before and they were running a late model special paying $20,000 to win on an asphalt oval. Guess where we went?? If you chose New Paris give yourself a pat on the back. New Paris is located in northern Indiana which is also home to a large group of Mennonites and Amish which Pat is currently reading about in a series of books she has been engrossed in over the past month. It was an opportunity for her to see these two groups up close and personal and still go to a new race track in the evening. A good combination for her. We had lunch at the Blue Gate Restaurant which served a family style menu with three meats (chicken, ham and meat loaf), mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, green beans, bread and fresh peach pie to top it all off!!! We walked or should I say waddled out of there quite full and pleased about our meal. We then visited Menno-Hof, a heritige museum explaining all about the Mennonites and the Amish. It was quite interesting and comsumed the better part of the afternoon. From there we drove south to Goshen where we checked into our hotel for the evening, the Super 8, which we had stayed at for three straight nights with this one by far being the nicest yet. The other two could best be described as dumps!!
We left the hotel at 6:30 and made our way south a few miles to the small town of Benton where we took CR 46 over to the speedway. We had a slight problem finding the race track but arrived slightly after 7 for the scheduled 7:30 start and found a good sized crowd on hand. I was worried that we would not get a good seat but my worries were calmed when we walked over toward the track and saw bleachers stretching from turn four all the way over into turn two. Not to worry as we found a good spot about four rows from the top of one of the stands just to the left of the starter. As we settled in for the evening the time trials for the late models, the only division racing tonight, were just wrapping up. John Delarye in his nice looking #D1 set fast time of the good 41 car field on hand. Next up was the B main or it would be better described as the non-qualifiers race as 19 cars raced 50 laps with no one advancing to the 100 lap main event. The top 22 timers were locked into the big race and these guys were racing for some extra bucks. Curtis Holt drove a good race and won the 50 lapper in 21 minutes ending at 8:10 as the scheduled starting time of 7:30 was missed and instead the first racing green waved at 7:49. All that was left to run was the 7th annual Summer Sizzler paying $20,000 to win for 100 laps around the 1/4 mile asphalt oval which looks weather beaten. Passing looks to be at a premium as the track is a little narrow. The main event took the green at 9:05 and was not an artistic wonder. Ten cautions slowed things but it was interesting as every restart was double file. When it was finally all said and done at 10:20, Michigan’s Jeff Ganus, had come out of the 5th hole to take the win over Ohio’s Jack Landis and fast qualifier, John Delarye. Delarye really earned that third place finish as he had problems twice during the race and stopped on the track. Both times he was able to return and grinded out a good third place for his efforts. Brian Ross and Donny Klotz rounded out the top five as we made a quick escape before the large crowd had time to get to most of their cars and cause a massive traffic jam as there was only one way in or out.
Well, maybe Union County might have been better, we will have to talk with Keith Barto tomorrow at Bloomington but we did get to another new track to add to our career totals. Until tomorrow when Pat blogs the report on our travels to Bloomington for more midget action get out there and enjoy some good short track racing of your own!!!
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