Most of the heats and feature races would be a test of patience and opportunity. In the Mini-Stock race, 76-year-old Layne Shanholtz would show his fellow racers a thing or two about patience as he came from the back to finish Second in his heat and then go on to win the feature race putting him in the lead in the points.
Each of the winners drove a smooth and error-free race overcoming sometimes faster cars. And that should be a lesson to all dirt racers no matter where you race. Time after time, I have witnessed success due to patience and only driving the car as fast as the track will allow.
The two Modified classes put on quite a show too and all in all, our first dirt race of the Tour was a great success. Now on to our next stop in Salt Lake City and a lot of hot action.
Rocky Mountain Raceways
RMR is a facility that contains not only the oval track, officially known as America First Credit Union Super Oval, but also a dragstrip and moto-X track. It first opened in 1968 as the Bonneville Raceways and operated through the ’70s and ’80s as a dragstrip.
Then in 1995, the track was purchased by Spencer Young who owns the Young Automotive Group of car dealerships locally and transformed it into a state of the art facility with a new quarter-mile dragstrip, a 3/8-mile oval and then a motocross track that has been recently redesigned and remodeled.
We didn’t have far to go for our second race of the Tour. We were camping in our KOA near the heart of SLC and had only a 10-minute drive to this asphalt track situated near the Great Salt Lake. This show would be a bit short on teams, but to our amazement, the fans just kept coming.
The Midwest was going through a heat wave and the temps on this day would reach 104 with no clouds to shade us. I was thinking that the attendance would be low due to that heat, but I was wrong.
The track management put our bus right at the entrance to the grandstands and from this vantage point we could watch every fan walk by on the way to the seats. They came in early in droves and kept coming right up until the feature races began. I would say that the large stands were more than three-quarters full by the time the races began.
The show featured the Ford Focus Midgets, Modifieds, winged Sprint Cars, and double-deckers. The Sprint Cars are thrilling to watch with their high speeds on pavement, but the most exciting racing award went to those cars I had never seen or heard of before.
The karts run on a smaller track located inside the third mile big car track. These 500cc
There were two Modified classes, the Sport Mods and the IMCA modifieds. Both put on a grea
The double-deckers are two compact cars attached together and stacked on top of each other. There are two drivers. The one in the top car steers and the one in the bottom car operates the gas pedal and brakes. They run a different course configuration for every race and this one utilized half the track and half the figure eight course.
The lap started at the flag stand, ran counter-clockwise through turns one and two, then down into the infield along the “X” and then turned a sharp left past the flag stand again. As the race got going and it neared the end, the cars went into the last turn harder and harder and several times almost tipped over into the fence. It’s a strange thing to watch, but fun.
This track ran a very tight schedule and the racing was done by 9:30, the earliest I have ever seen a short track finish up. That was by design as the track manager, Mike Eames told me. This gives the families a chance to bring the kids and still get home at a decent hour to get them to bed.