And so we begin our final year of the AMSOIL sponsored Tour of the United States. The last three years have taken us to three-quarters of the lower 48 states and we have logged more than 50,000 miles and lived full time for a full year on our Tour bus.
This run will be our longest in both distance and time. We began our journey on June 11 making the trip north from Daytona Beach to Nashville where we would get service on the bus and a new Tour wrap before continuing on ultimately to Utah. There we visit our first two racetracks away from home.
These are really not the first stops on this year’s Tour. Remember that we attended the Battle At The Beach in February at Daytona International Speedway. We had the Tour bus there for that historic event that was the first, and will probably be the last, of its kind. More on that later.
Once we had settled into our KOA in Salt Lake City, Utah, I researched our first two stops that would be reached from our base camp. First is Atomic Motor Raceway, a very remote dirt track, and the next week, Rocky Mountain Raceways oval track, a three-eighths–mile asphalt circle track and multiuse facility.
Our first dirt race was in the vicinity of an historic atomic research facility. The very
Atomic Motor Raceway
“Dust In The Wind” is a song by the 1970s group Kansas and that title best describes our visit to this track promoted excellently by Clem Metz. It lies a few hours north of SLC in a remote section of Idaho. As I researched the track and surrounding area, I realized that there was something very strange and unique about this track. Like no other we had seen before, this didn’t quite make sense.
Its location is on the edge of a very small town in the high plains desert. How small you ask? The population at last count was 29. So, the racers and spectators mostly come from far away to the races held here. The largest three cities are Idaho Falls, 45 miles away; Twin Falls, 120 miles; and Jackson, Wyoming, 145 miles, meaning that you’ve really got to want to come here.
Is this a future race car driver? I think so. This tyke is all dressed up in his driver’s
And they do. This was one of, if not the, most welcoming tracks I have ever been to. The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and although competitive, friendly. We were immediately greeted upon our arrival by a host of racers and the track crew.
The track lies just 5 miles away from one of the earliest and largest nuclear research facilities in the U.S. now called the Idaho National Laboratory. Here, years ago, the very first nuclear reactor was designed and built so that future powerplants and nuclear submarines could be powered by relatively “clean” means.
How clean was the process of development? This Super Fund site has undergone a restoration and cleanup costing more than a billion dollars. I couldn’t help but imagine how far that radiation had drifted over the years. Would our Tour bus now glow in the dark? I digress.
For our visit to AMR, the ASA Pro Trucks were running a race on the dirt for the very first time. For most of the drivers, this was their first time off asphalt and they all had a blast, excuse the pun. They were glowing with excitement. Hannah Newhouse, lying second in series points after this race remarked, “After the first practice back in the pits, I couldn’t get the smile off my face”.
The first 25 laps of a 40-lap race, was run smoothly and there were no cautions, somewhat of a surprise to me. Then the track dried a bit and as it got slicker, a few drivers forgot to slow down. On dirt, you can only go as fast as the track allows. That was something these drivers would need to learn. And they did.