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Saturday, August 28 - It was a leisurely drive down from New Stanton, PA into the Mountaineer State of West Virginia. We stopped at two antique stores along the way and one of them contained quite a few treaures that we ended up loading into the car for the journey home on Sunday. We drove down I-79 toward our destination of Duck, West Virginia. When we took our exit to the track we turned right which we thought was south and followed the directions given in the National Speedway Directory. After we passed the mileage point where Rt. 4 was to be we realized that we must have turned the wrong direction. We spotted a young farmer bailing hay and stopped to ask him if indeed we were going in the wrong direction. He informed us we were so we turned around and headed the other way. Finally we righted ourselves and soon we came across Rt. 4 and knew we were on track now. The last 2 1/2 miles to the track was on a road barely wide enough for one car let alone two. At 6:15 we pulled into the rutted dirt road leading to the track and positioned our car in a good spot near one of the two dilapidated mobile homes located along the dirt road. We walked over to the picnic table where two ladies were selling admission tickets and paid the ten dollar admission price. Another rutted dirt road led us up the side of a hill where the seating area of the track was located. The 1/5 mile fairly high banked 1/5 mile dirt oval with an odd configuration where the homestretch ran downhill while the backstretch ran uphill was located in a hollow below. There were no grandstands but instead three tiers of dirt ledges where everyone placed their lawn chairs to watch the racing action. Many of the children were bare footed and climbed the six to seven foot ledges to reach the next level. There were three clusters of trees in front of the viewing area so the only unobtructed viewing was if you were up against the fencing at the edge of the banking leading to the track below. The announcer’s booth consisted of a picnic table with a sound system mounted on top with two speakers nailed to the trees. Yes, indeed we were deep in the wilds of West Virginia. There were family dogs wandering around the grounds and several more that were brought along on leashes.
Now onto the racing which consisted of seven divisions with the following car counts: four cylinders (9), mod lites (5), mini stocks (2), true streets (5), street stocks (7), super streets (4) and AMRA open wheel modifieds (7). Thirty nine cars in seven divisions!! The next time we think that some of the fields in the northeast are low we will think back to this night in West Virginia. To their credit they started on time at 7 but would you believe it they had time trials for every car in the pit area. Then they lined up the heats with the fast timers up front so passing was at a preminum. The time trials took an hour and the heat racing added another hour. At 9:10 it was intermission time and 20 minutes later it was feature time. After the sun dropped behind the mountain they watered the track one last time and for the rest of the time we were there it was dustless. The four cylinders were first up for their 10 lap main event and ran decent with David Boggs winning. The mod lites would go 20 laps for their main event with Matt Rowe prevailing after five cautions slowed this one with one car causing 4 out of the 5 slowdowns. The results were not on the track website when I sat down to write this story but I believe I have the names right. It was now 10:04 with five features still to run and we had been here three hours already. The entertainment value at this point was nill so the decision was made to pull out and begin the hour long back to the Wingate by Wyndam which we secured for $45 using Priceline. If you have never used Priceline you should as we secure very nice hotels for less than what you would usually pay for a Motel 6 or Super 8.
It was a new track for the both of us but we agreed that it would be one that we would never return to. The program would have been more entertaining if they had gone with either time trials and features or heats and features but not all three. The 200 or so fans in attendence seemed to be enjoying themselves so I guess that is all that counts. But if I had to attend O’Brion Oval Speedway as my racing entertainment I would instead take up bowling. The next day we traveled over to Cumberland, MD where we boarded the Western Maryland Railroad and took an 18 mile round trip journey on a steam powered locomotive. It was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon traveling the rails and checking out the countryside. At the stop in Frostburg a turntable was used to reverse the direction of the big steam engine for the return trip to Cumberland. Frostburg is the home to Frostburg State University and also next to their ballfield the man considered by many to be the best lefthander that ever pitched in the majors, Lefty Grove, is buried. From Cumberland it was east then north to home where we arrived just before 8 PM. It was just another “Typical Weekend".
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