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Friday, July 27 - Today was the start of our vacation to Myrtle Beach and would originate from the Philadelphia International Airport. We were flying Southwest Airlines (our favorite for many reasons with the bags fly free one of the biggest) to Raleigh, North Carolina. We would be spending two days in North Carolina before venturing further south to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Things went smoothly on the flight and retrieving our luggage and securing the rental car and we were on our way to the Radisson Hotel in Research Triangle Park before 5. After checking in we spent some time at the hotel before pointing the Chevy Impala rental east on I-40. We pulled into the parking lot of the Wake County Speedway by 7 and promptly purchased our tickets and entered the grounds.
What we found was a 1/4 mile semi-banked asphalt oval with concrete walls on both the outside and inside areas. The pit area was in the infield plus also located outside of turns one and two. Two wooden grandstands were located on the homestretch with wide panels for your seating pleasure. One was a high rise located to the left of the flagger’s stand and the other was located to the right of the flagger’s stand. We choose the one to the right and going about five rows up could see the entire track from that vantage point. An additional wooden grandstand was located in turn four There was a nice scoreboard on the backstretch with a lap counter and top five position indicator. The track surface was starting to show its age being converted to asphalt in 1982. There were six divisions on hand all with low car counts. They were super late models (4), limited late models (8), legend cars (9), four cylinders (7), Southern Ground Pounders (6) and U cars (6). The Southern Ground Pounders were an assortment of vintage race cars, many of the late model variety, but the one which stood out was a classic modified coupe which was a beauty. Shortly after we arrived warmups began for each of the classes as the skies turned from partly cloudy to very cloudy with black clouds approaching. The warmups continued until 8 when the legends were called to the infield to line up and they began their time trials. It started to sprinkle and by the looks of the sky it was time to hightail it to the nearby car. It began to rain steadily and the lightning flashed and the remainder of the grandstands emptied quickly as it turned into a deluge. We waited out the heavier rain until it let up somewhat and I ventured back inside and up to the scoring booth. The promoter’s wife was symphatetic to a couple of travelers and gladly refunded our $20 for admission. I thanked her and promised her that we would return sometime in the future and God willing we will.
It is always a shame when you get rained out but it hurts even more when it is a new track you are visiting. It has been a rough season so far with 12 rainouts already suffered and the upcoming weather for the entire week has a chance of rain in it. We stopped on our way back to the hotel at a place where the food was good but it was too loud to have a conversation in. The rest of the evening consisted of 20/20 and the news before the lights went out for the evening. Let’s hope that tomorrow will bring brighter skies and no evening rain.
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