It was a long run from our last stop at Eldora to the big state of Texas so we took our time. Making stops in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Hot Springs, Arkansas, made the trip bearable. And we picked an RV park once we got there that was to be one of the most fun out of the entire Tour.
Lakeside RV Resort located on Lake Livingston near Onalaska, Texas, was a place we could rest ourselves. It was a bit out of the way due to the fact that we had to re-align our schedule when we discovered that one of the racetracks near Houston didn't have an event the weekend we needed it. So, we would be camped right on the lake for the next week and this rare time spent not traveling would be well used.
That was OK, because after we visited the U.S. National Dirt Track Championships, we were able to rest ourselves before moving on to the last stop in Mississippi. It had been a long trip spanning more than four months in two segments and covering some 12,000 miles total.
Texas Motor Speedway
The modern stands and dedicated...
The modern stands and dedicated sky boxes and press box loom in the background at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. It has been proven that a large facility like this one can put on a great show while attracting a good number of participants and spectators.
We really didn't know what to expect when we arrived at this relatively newly constructed dirt track outside one of the premiere NASCAR facilities in the country. Built similar to The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway, I knew it would be a well-built facility, but some aspects of it surprised me.
First off, and I will further explain the significance of this later on, there was no police security on duty at this event. Literally, every race I've been to had local police or sheriff's officers on site to make sure nothing gets out of hand in the stands or the pits.
I know when you go to a large track to watch a NASCAR race anywhere in the country, there are dozens, if not more, of officers on duty to watch over the sometimes-drunk crowd. It only makes sense. Not so here.
What was here in abundance was a huge number of Modified class cars representing two classes and a sprinkling of Late Models, 22 to be exact. The paved pits were full and more cars were parked in the grass pits adjacent.
The pits were full of more...
The pits were full of more than 100 Modifieds and four-wheelers. Some teams had, I counted, four four-wheelers in tow. Isn't it great that we are allowed to use these handy machines to get around in? Enjoy it dirt racers, most asphalt tracks don't allow them.
The three classes were the Limited Modifieds, Modifieds, and the O'Reilly Auto Parts SUPR Late Model Championship. All three main events would prove very competitive and exciting to watch. The Late Model series is mostly composed of teams out of Texas and Louisiana. And most of the Modified teams were Texas-based, although a few teams made the trip from Oklahoma and beyond.
We parked our Tour bus right outside of the asphalt pit gates and right at the entrance to the grass pits where a group parked nearby would bring new meaning to the term "grassroots." I would later on learn how much "fun" this group could generate.
The facility was run much like what you would expect from a primarily NASCAR track, but the attendees made it a dirt event separate and apart from the big
track overtone. A crowd of more than 8,000 watched as some of the best racing we've seen unfolded.
The track itself almost looks like it's oiled. The dark dirt, common to this region, is not necessarily clay in composition, but is heavy. Deep ruts developed in the second groove in Turns 1 and 2 and high in Turn 4.
For many of these racers,...
For many of these racers, it's the first time running a big track like this one. For the Modifieds, making gear changes involves changing out the whole rearend and scenes like this one were common throughout the pits.
You're never too young to...
You're never too young to learn the art of tire prep. This Limited Modified team member took care to dress up this stock tire before the action got under way. This class put on a great show with multiple lead changes through the heats as well as the main event.
Simple attention to details...
Simple attention to details like this fence within a fence, make tracks not only more comfortable for the observers, but safer too. The smaller spaced fencing catches the larger chunks that could, and would, tend to knock people out. A few of these dirt clods actually injured a few drivers at Lowe's Motor Speedway Dirt Track earlier this year.