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Sunday, July 3 - One thing we learned over the years is that late model fans arrive early and tailgate prior to the start of the event. Because of this we knew in order to have a parking space in the main lot and secure a good seat we knew we had to arrive early because the Lucas Oil Late Models were in town. Therefore we arrived at Muskingum County Speedway at 3:30 in the afternoon for the 7:00 start. The track is a 3/8 mile semi banked clay oval approximately 10 miles north of Zanesville, Ohio. There is a large grandstand the full length of the homestretch and it was very nice. The one thing that I thought was strange was the fact there were no permanent restrooms, once again only Job Johnny’s. This place was not primitive in any other respect. It was hot and humid and once we secured seats high up in the stands we opened up the folding chairs and tried reading through our eye lids. In other words we napped.
There certainly was a full pit area because not only were the Lucas Oil Late Models here but all of their regular divisions were also. In total there were 141 cars in the pits. Car counts were 10 mini wedges (yes, mini wedges again), 20 pure stocks, 37 modifieds, 23 four cylinders and 51 late models. The mini wedge heat was run at the completion of the late model time trials. The two pure stocks were up next followed by 4 qualifying events for the late models. They were pretty competitive considering the fast cars start up front and it is hard to make any real big moves forward. The track got pretty dusty and a breeze blowing in our face peppered us with dust. The qualifying events went to Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Jared Landers and Scott Bloomquist. The modifieds ran 4 heats and then the 4 cylinders ran the final two heats of the night. Now it was consolation time. There were two late model consolations consisting of 17 and 16 cars, each qualifying 3 and two consolations for the modifieds. The next race prior to intermission was the mini wedge 6 lap event. Now it was 10:40 and the schedule called for an intermission followed by the fireworks. All prior to the 50 lap late model main event. But thank goodness for mother nature. For some reason they thought rain was on the way and we all know how quickly a show can be run when the threat of rain is in the area. I checked the radar on my phone and said to Bruce there is no green on the radar. It is not going to rain. They decided to run the Lucas Oil race prior to the intermission and fireworks and within 20 minutes the green dropped on the event.
There was a quick caution on lap one and on lap 20 a car stopped in turn three but aside from that it was clean (well actually it was very dusty) and green. Scott Bloomquist, who started in 4th, dominated the event and since he is not one of my favorite drivers I was glad when it was over with. The top four finishers started in the top five positions. Bloomquist won followed by Jimmy Owens, Earl Parson Jr. and Mike Marlar. The only real move was Steve Shaver finishing fifth after starting in 16th. At 11:25 we were heading for the gate to make a quick escape from the parking lot. At 11:30 there was still intermission, fireworks and three features to run with no rain in sight.
This was a nice facility (minus the lack of restrooms)and it was packed. They announced it was the largest crowd to ever see a race at the track in its history. All in all we enjoyed our visit and our entire Ohio weekend. Tomorrow there is no racing just a 7 hour ride back home.
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