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Thursday, June 14 - After only 5 hours sleep each of the previous two nights, we had a long day ahead of us. We are in the process of purchasing a home in Indiana and had the house inspection scheduled for this morning at 9:00. This was a much longer process than anticipated and what we thought would take a couple of hours, took nearly 4 hours. The original plan was to return to the hotel and rest up but that was thrown out when we first finished lunch at close to 2:00. Since we were only 40 minutes away from our destination for the night we decided to check out the town we would call home in a few years and then head straight down Route 231 to Lincoln Park Speedway, one of our favorite tracks in Indiana.
We arrived on the grounds at 4:45 and secured what we thought was a good parking spot and excellent seats in the grandstand. Today was a hot one with the temperature climbing into the 90’s but the humidity was low so it was bearable. The track looked awesome as usual and we anticipated another great show. Last year this race was our race of the year and we were hoping for nothing less. Come to think of it I do not believe we ever saw a bad race here. The cushion here can sometimes build to almost a foot high. There is no running down the cushion like back home.
The USAC midgets started time trials at 6:53 and they were complete by 7:35. I was a bit concerned when the track was starting to take rubber this early in the evening. Bryan Clauson set fast time with a time of 12.961. As with all the shows the wingless sprints are also on the card and here at Lincoln Park the UMP Modifieds were also present. After the midget time trials there was a 25 minute break before the first midget heat took to the track. There were four heats for the 37 midgets and it was during these heats that we could see this was not going to be a typical Lincoln Park surface. It got blacker and blacker and dust started to billow. The 18 modifieds ran their two heats next followed by the water truck. This would be the first of many appearances by the infamous water truck.
There were 26 sprints and they also competed in three qualifying events. This was followed up with a midget B main for 21 cars qualifying only 4, a water truck event and the sprint consolation. The show was moving right along but the surface just got worse. Dave Ludwig, who was sitting with us and had never been to Lincoln Park before, looked at us in disbelief as he now will probably question everything he reads in the blog. He was excited to see this race after reading our blog telling how great this racing surface is. I would like to tell you they reworked the track and the surface we know to be Lincoln Park resurfaced but this did not happen.
At 10:30 the green dropped on the midget feature which turned out to be a huggy pole event. I never thought I would use that word to describe a race here. There was some passing but not the elbows up style more like the rout out of the groove style. The cautions were few with three. In the end it was Bryan Clauson standing in victory lane followed by Darren Hagen, Caleb Armstrong, Shane Cottle and Chris Windom. Nathan Smee from Australia was sixth. The ARDC boys did not do that well tonight with Buckwalter, Bright and Wean all finishing out of the top 10.
The modified feature followed with former sprint driver Brian Hayden picking up the win. By now it was almost 11:30 and I must confess I was starting to get tired. I had one chance left to be wowed and it was the 25 lap sprint feature.
I do not think I can use the word wowed, nor awesome, nor excited to describe the sprint feature. Maybe I should just say amazing. I once heard when you cannot find a good word to use to describe something you should say amazing. The green dropped at 11:30 on what was now a black, slick, dusty track. At one point I thought we were at the sprint car ice capades. However Bruce said it best when he said it was slide jobs gone wild. For 25 laps they slammed and banged each other. If you are a sprint fan you know when you see that slide job that you know just is not going to make it and contact is made. Well, this was happening in turns two and four on every lap multiple times. It was like they just threw it in the turn and hoped for the best. At one point the announcer said Thomas Meseraull just held his breath and threw it into the turn. This did result in one of the only two cautions during the race. When the dust settled, literally, Chad Boespflug (yes it is spelled correctly) was standing in victory lane followed by Casey Shuman, Jerry Coons Jr., Joe Liguori and Levi Jones.
It was 11:40 when all was complete and by the end it was very chilly. What we thought was a good parking spot turned out to be a 20 minute entrapment and all we wanted at this point was to make the 45 minute drive back to the hotel to go to sleep. If you are being kind the night of racing could be described in one word amazing. I must tell you that I hear a lot of unkind words describing the night from the fans. We were disappointed.
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