Jim Guthrie is the promoter and general manager here for our visit and he took an active role in all of what went on. In order for a large place like this to earn its keep, you have to be active, and we saw lots of activity.

When we arrived, the drifters were out on the NAPA track and had their way until around 3 in the afternoon. Then they had to vacate the pits and the stock car teams came rolling in. From there on it was a typical race night if you forget that the road course and moto-X were still operating.

The numbers were not huge for the stock car classes, but the modifieds did put on a great show. In the street stock class, there was a provision to add a passenger seat and a fake steering wheel to the cars. We saw a couple of cars fitted that way. If your friends ever wondered what it was like out there, now they can go along and see first hand.

One Modified driver/owner also had his wife and son racing together in the Bandoleros class. Charley Wilson, the dad, owns Circle Burner race cars and demonstrated why his cars were setup right by winning his race. Mom beat out CJ, her and Charley's son for that class win.

Earlier, CJ had come over to our bus that was parked inside the grandstand area and right next to the track and wanted to discuss sponsorship opportunities. I told him that we didn't really sponsor race cars as such. He came back several times until I caved and offered a $50, year long, sponsorship deal through a company I know of if he would run stickers on his and his mom's cars.

He went around the pits and showed the check and bragged to everyone and anyone who would listen. That kid's going far in racing. Getting sponsorship money is the hardest thing you'll do in racing.

The crowd was decent for the races and Albuquerque is a large city and should supply plenty of opportunity for drawing race fans. There were a lot of families in attendance both inside and outside the pits.

Maybe it is the small community attitude or the remoteness of the track, but something good was going on here and I could feel it ...

The track is under new management for 2013 and the whole facility is owned and overseen by a board. It used to be run by the board until it was decided that was a bad idea since everyone had a different idea of how to run the place. So, it was decided that one person would be designated to be manager and make the decisions. This year that peson is Charlie Fegan.

New Mexico was much more than we had expected. Since this is a Tour and encompasses more than just going to the races, I'll tell you a little about what we experienced. We initially stayed in Raton, New Mexico, just across the border from Colorado for a week or so.

From there we only had to travel a short distance east to view ancient volcanoes, one of which, the Capulin Volcano, you could drive around and up to, the crater. These things stick up across the vast flat territory of northeast New Mexico. The Folsom man was discovered nearby and he was then thought to be the oldest recorded human ever to live in North America, having lived from somewhere around 9,000 to 8,000 B.C.

To the west is the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. We traveled through Cimmaron and the canyon that is named for that town to a rocky four-wheel-only road leading up to the peak of Mount Wheeler, some 13,000 feet above sea level. There was a lot more to see including the wild life.

Out in the vast pastures you can easily see groups of pronghorn "antelope", although they are not really of that species. There are also prairie dog colonies scattered around Colorado and New Mexico. When passing through Cimmaron, we drove through "town," really just a few houses and a dirt street.

We rounded a corner and in front of a house inside a fenced yard that couldn't have been 20 feet deep was a full grown, antlered elk. It couldn't have been a pet, but there it was eating the grass and looking like it belonged there.

Right before the race date at NAPA, we camped at an RV park in Bernalillo, New Mexico, about 10 miles north of Albuquerque. Just north of us and within easy viewing were the Sandia Mountains and Sandia Peak that rises to 10,678 feet and has a ranger station and viewing area on top. It is very prominent and can be seen for many miles. Everything around this area is named Sandia something.

Having completed our most westerly event of our 2012 Tour, we now head northeast up through Kansas to a few dirt tracks before heading home. It's been a long trip and has provided a lot of information and experiences. But in just a few weeks we'll be back home in Florida sleeping in our own bed for a change.

SOURCE
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AMSOIL
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