We are about to conclude our 2013 Tour with a visit to two Arizona racetracks. In between we'll be taking a short break and seeing the Grand Canyon in all of its glory. Not only is this the end of this year's Tour, this marks the end of our entire U.S. Tour. This western states run has been a very long one and to say we are a bit burned out would be an accurate diagnosis.
Our stay in Williams, Arizona, some 60 miles south of the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, was met with a white fluffy substance falling from the sky at midweek. Luckily, it all melted away before we made the trip north to see one of America's truly most spectacular sights and a monument to the force of nature.
The GC was closed during our visit. The sequester and resulting government shutdown in Washington had closed all of the national parks and we barely avoided that situation when we were at Yosemite. So, our plans to take a train from Williams to the rim and see it that way disappeared. There were two options, go west to the Hualapai Indian Reservation and walk the famous glass bottom skywalk, cantilevered over the canyon, and/or take a helicopter ride over the canyon. We did both.
This piece is not a travel guide necessarily, although we are traveling and we do guide you to various racetracks. But to deny that we saw much more would demean the adventure completely. I'm just saying here that if and when you do travel with your race cars to distant venues, do take time to see new sights and create new adventures beyond the racetrack. It'll add a whole new meaning to your life in racing.
So, while we are leaving California, we have made a slight change to our schedule. If you paid attention, the Auto Club Speedway in Irwindale, California, was on the schedule, but due to the management needing to avoid a conflict with its oil sponsor and asking me not to bring the AMSOIL Tour bus to the track (something no track in America had asked us not to do before), I decided to replace that show and move on to visit a very cool racetrack just over the border in Arizona. Here is my story.
Havasu 95 Speedway
This ASA–sanctioned track located 130 miles south of Las Vegas in mid-eastern Arizona is warm in the winter. That is why so many people move there or have winter homes they stay at rather than weather the snow storms in places like Montana for instance. The track runs a winter season and we were attending the first race of that season on October 5. The season runs through April 26, 2014. How cool.
Bill Rozhon is the promoter here and he is a promoter's promoter. Of all of the various persons who run the racetracks we have seen on this entire U.S. Tour, Bill is one of, if not the most, savvy of all of them, and we've seen some very good ones. And the task is not an easy one. One of the track sponsors is the popular company Lucas Oil. That didn't keep Bill from welcoming us to visit. He could see beyond the names and realize the value of having Circle Track include him in our schedule.
This track lies in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, with a population of just over 52,000 and there's not a big city anywhere around. In fact, you have to go more than 200 miles to get to Phoenix to the east, or north the two hours to Las Vegas. Finding enough race teams to make a show is difficult, but Bill has done just that.
The good thing is that Lake Havasu City is growing. This oasis in the desert town has added 10,000 people to its population since 2000 and it continues to grow. It's not because of the addition of the London Bridge, reconstructed and opened in Lake Havasu City in 1971, but because this is, like we said, warm in the winter and it is an aquatic playground with the 25-mile long, dam created, Lake Havasu running through it.
The track installed this concrete curb to curb the practice of running off the asphalt ont
Who says a short track team can’t attract a major sponsor. I like how the crew has on the
As is usually the case, we are camped right in the pit area at Havasu 95 where we have eas
The racetrack is very clean and Bill has special events here to go along with the racing show. On the night we were there, a bunch of hot rods and cool cars were on display. Both the kids and the adults loved that.
Everyone at Havasu 95 seemed to really like coming here to race. And they got along well. We talked to many of the participants and found a very friendly atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie.
Bill had recently installed a concrete curb around the turns that he had hoped would keep the cars from clipping the inside of the asphalt and kicking dirt up onto the track surface. It worked just like it was supposed to and the problem was solved.
The racing was competitive and the crowd was pleased to be here, I could tell. All night Bill worked hard to make sure the show went well and finished at a decent hour. That is something that we find important to families who bring the kids and who need to get home around 10 p.m.
The next morning we took a ride in Bill's coupe hot rod down to the race shop of Gene Price and met up with Greg Pursley, the 2011 champion of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The trip down south to his place was very interesting as we rode the highway alongside Lake Havasu. It told us all we needed to know about the areas growth potential. I think Havasu 95 Speedway will be just fine.