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This past Friday we took a night off from going to the races when we volunteered to help out with Angel Food Ministries at church. Saturday we were planning a trip to Maryland as the World of Outlaw Late Models were invading the big ½ mile at the Hagerstown Speedway. This promised to be a great show but Mother Nature had different thoughts. The forecast was for rain, heavy at times. It wasn’t long before the first storm hit and at 10:00 the rain was already coming down. Still we got ready to proceed to the track. My mother had a hip replacement last Wednesday and we were stopping to see her at the St Joseph’s Medical Center in Reading, PA before heading south. Unfortunately when Bruce checked the website around 12 noon Hagerstown had already canceled the show. The sun was shining and the sky blue but the storms were still in the forecast. We took into consideration the cost of gas, what our time was worth and the threat of rain and decided to forego Lincoln Speedway, one of our favorite sprint car tracks 2 and ½ hours away for Grandview Speedway a mere 45 minutes from home and less then 30 minutes from my mothers.
We pulled into Grandview Speedway at 7:05 for the 7:30 start. Tonight they added a division, the Tobias Speedsters. The Nextel Cup cars were down in Dover two hours away and Ray Everham and Erin Crocker were in the pits to run the Speedsters. There were 12 cars in the pits and they ran two heats. They took the green at 7:40 under almost cloudless skies but it wouldn’t be that way for long. As qualifying continued we saw a storm pass by off the backstretch with dark clouds and lightning. But the wind was blowing in our favor and I did not think we had anything to worry about. The three late model heats followed by four heats fro the small block modifieds. As one event is being run on the track the next is sitting in the infield waiting their turn. The actual pits are off turns one and two. They run off the qualifying like a fine tuned clock and tonight even the cars were helping out by not crashing as much as they sometimes do. Prior to the consolations the speedsters ran their 15 lap feature and modified ace Craig VonDohren won the event.
All was complete with only the modified and late model features remaining at 9:50 when management called for intermission. Problem was by now the wind shifted and once again there was lightning in the now dark skies. The decision was made to call out the modified feature and at 10:04 we were underway. If you have never been to a regular show at Grandview it can be quite physical, as the cars bang off each other in the turns. There are usually a lot of cautions but that was not the case tonight. As a matter of fact there was only a single car spin in turn three. Jason Hamilton had the race under control as the flagger extended his hand to show the 5 to go sign when all of a sudden the track went dark. All of the lights went out with the exception of a few in the center of the infield and the concessions behind the grandstands. Miraculously not a one car crashed on the track and they came to a halt quite quickly. They announced there were heavy storms that would be arriving momentarily and everyone at once tried to hurry for the gates. Of course when everyone tries to hurry at once no one gets there in a hurry. We almost made it. We were within 20 yards of the car when it was like someone turned on a water faucet. We were drenched down to the skin before jumping in the car. The race was called after 25 of the 30 laps with Jason Hamilton picking up his second win of the weekend. Hamilton was followed by Kerry Kratz and Jeff Strunk.
Turned out most of the tracks that attempted to run, got in most of the show with maybe the final features being rained out. Lincoln did sneak in their event but I must admit the 40 minute drive home was nice.
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