I have spoken before about the older cars, but seeing them race takes us back to the roots of stock car racing when many tracks were dirt. I did a research project on the history of circle track racing once and the early tracks were, in fact, mostly wood. That didn't last long since that medium is so hard to maintain for any length of time.

Located just to the south side of Topeka, Heartland Park draws from not only this large city but from the metropolis of Kansas City, only an hour away. And we saw a good number of spectators who enjoyed plenty of racing action.

One rare thing about this dirt track was that it had paved pits. There was no dust flying around the cars and it just seemed pleasantly strange. The only other dirt track I remember seeing with paved pits was at the Texas Motor Speedway dirt track.

We were able to see some incredible racing action and a good many races due to the many classes running. The track is wide and offers several grooves and that makes the racing more competitive and offers more opportunities for passing and racing side by side.

Salina Speedway

Our last weekend race of the 2012 Tour was a fantastic one at this rejuvenated dirt track. The Fall Fling brought a huge number of racers, estimated at upwards of 150 cars.

Tommy Hendrickson took over as promoter of this once closed facility two years ago as an act of passion. He just liked the racing here and was determined to make it work. He did a great job and took time to tell me all about it.

There was a lot of work to do. I had heard similar stories before about trees growing in the track infield and pit areas that had to be cleared away, a lot of painting and rebuilding, maintenance of the grandstands, replacement of the fencing, infrastructure repairs, and more. It's a serious undertaking and a promoter needs to be dedicated and in it for the long haul. I think that best describes Tommy, he's definitely in it looking for a long relationship.

The speedway lies just outside Salina, Kansas (imagine that), and draws from the many farm communities surrounding that area. Tommy has made many structural improvements to the track including rebuilding the food stands, installing new fencing, and modern lighting including the caution lights that look just like those we see at NASCAR's big-time tracks. And he has just the right heavy equipment for preparing the track itself.

The show went along right on schedule with each heat followed closely behind by the next one. One thing we noticed that is important with racetracks is that the program needs to move along and end at a reasonable time. This helps the families where there are kids who grow tired and want to go home.

If the show ends at around 10 p.m., then everyone will get a chance to see all of the races and the kids can get to bed at a decent hour. Then there are issues with curfews and noise statutes where tracks must be finished by 11 p.m. If the races were over an hour earlier, the neighbors would be happier and the communities would better support the racetracks. As we headed out toward St. Louis on our long ride home, we looked back on the many friends we have made this year, the incredible racetracks we have visited, and the great amount and quality of information we have accumulated. As I write this story, it is only a month till we are on the road again for year four of the AMSOIL Great American CT Tour that will take in the western portion of the U.S.

I have my schedule completed, all of my KOA campground reservations made and we are looking forward to meeting new friends and seeing how things are done toward the left coast. We'll take in Utah, Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona on this final year. Stay tuned, there's a lot more to come.

As we headed out toward St. Louis on our long ride home, we looked back on the many friends we have made this year, the incredible racetracks we have visited, and the great amount and quality of information we have accumulated. As I write this story, it is only a month till we are on the road again for year four of the AMSOIL Great American CT Tour that will take in the western portion of the U.S.

I have my schedule completed, all of my KOA campground reservations made and we are looking forward to meeting new friends and seeing how things are done toward the left coast. We'll take in Utah, Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona on this final year. Stay tuned, there's a lot more to come.

SOURCE
Crane Cams
1830 Holsonback Drive
Daytona Beach
FL  32117
866-388-5120
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G-Force Racing Gear
770-998-8855
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AMSOIL
925 Tower Ave.
Superior
WI  54880
800-777-8491
http://www.amsoil.com
International Motorsports Industry Show
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E3 Spark Plugs
Ponte Vedra
FL
http://www.e3sparkplugs.com
NecksGen
855-632-5743
http://www.necksgen.com
Holley Performance Products
1801 Russellville Rd.
Bowling Green
KY  42101
270-782-2900
http://www.holley.com