As of this writing, in about three weeks we will embark on the second phase of our four-year-long U.S. tour of racetracks. This year we’ll be visiting a number of venues in the Northeastern United States and, because of the distribution of states involved in our four-year plan, we’ll be including Ohio which is, in reality, a Midwest state.

Where To?
As was the plan last year, we will divide the 2011 Tour into two parts, the first covering tracks in Maryland, Ohio, and all of Pennsylvania and a race in New Jersey. In the second half we’ll be moving up the East Coast through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and into Maine.

We’ll be hauling a lighter load this year as we’ll leave the 28-foot trailer behind. In going over last year’s travels, it seems that the one thorn in our sides, continually, was that trailer. It carried our Jeep Wrangler and some promotional material. This year, the Jeep will be towed behind the motor home and we’ll store the material under the bus.

As far as our plan of attack and what we will be focusing on this year, it’ll be basically the same as last year, just new turf. It’s a fact that regions of racing have their own special trends and ways of doing things. It’s our intent to monitor, record, observe, analyze, and report on the class structures, how the promoters promote, car counts, and generally test the health of oval track racing in the Northeast region.

Unexpected Results
We never knew when we planned out our four-year tour of the country what we could, or should, accomplish. One of the surprises that came after our last installment was an email and call from the promoters of West Virginia Motor Speedway.

It seems they read my input on racetrack design and how some tracks were too fast and long and the racing ended up single file with no possibility for passing. I spoke with Lynn Chapman who helps manage WVMS and he told me they were planning on redesigning their track for much the same reasons.

He wanted my input on the new design and because of the importance of that input, I decided to consult with several others in the sport who were experienced enough to have good ideas. I ended up talking first with Earl Pearson Jr., a multi-time national Dirt Late Model champion, then Scott Bloomquist—no intro required—at the PRI show, and also my friend Dewayne Ragland who is a field rep for Allstar Performance and someone who is right on top of everything happening in dirt track technology.

All three of these experts agreed on most of the items needed for a competitive track design. Scott spent a lot of time with me drawing out on my Day Timer page what he thought would be essential elements of the perfect dirt track. I took those comments along with the others and developed a sketch to present to Lynn.

So, the former 1/2-mile-plus length track is now going to be close to a 3⁄8-mile track with a special design for the shape of the inside of the track that should allow better passing both going into the turns and coming off the turns. It also will sport two different track banking angles, not too high, and no outer walls except along the grandstands.

The design of racetracks is just one of the issues we get into with this Tour. If we can observe and analyze various aspects related to good competition, and influence the sport in a positive way, then this whole U.S. Tour thing will have been a huge success. And that’s why we’re doing this and what we’re hoping for. Only time will tell.

Where We’ll Stay
In between weekends, we are staying at various RV parks in Ohio, Pennsylvania (east and west), New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. We experienced a few very nice parks on our 2010 Tour and that gave us some idea of what to look for this year.

We like wooded parks. We stayed in a small park in what was actually the middle of Edinburg, Virginia, but secluded and next to a nice flowing stream. It was a little tight getting in and out of, but well worth it. And we had easy access to most of the Shenandoah Valley and all of the forest surrounding it.

Because we “work” on Fridays and Saturdays at the tracks and spend most of Sunday moving back to our RV park, we obviously don’t have the time off like regular folks do. So we take some time during the week to explore. The advantage of that is you miss the weekend crowds in state parks and national forests. Hiking is nicer when you aren’t running into people every few minutes.

We’ve also become Full Timers in RV’ers lingo. That means you spend all of your time, for longer periods of time, in your RV. This is different than doing weekend or week-long trips. The RV becomes your home and all of your personal possessions are along for the ride. At the end, no matter how well it went and how many wonderful people you meet, it’s always good to get home. But until then, we’re ready to hit the road.

Conclusion
At any rate, we’re getting excited about our road trip now that it’s close; and if you’re racing at any of the tracks we’ll be visiting, come by the bus or look us up and say hi. If you want to discuss any topic concerning racing, RV’ing, or things to do in your area, we’re all ears. We look forward to meeting you.

3/25Potomac Speedway, Mechanicsville, MD
3/26Hagerstown Speedway, Hagerstown, MD
4/1Attica Raceway Park, Attica, OH
4/8Kil-Kare Speedway, Xenia, OH
4/9Columbus Speedway, Columbus, OH
4/15Motordrome Speedway, Smithton, PA
4/16Sharon Speedway, Burgill, OH
4/23Off Weekend – No Races
4/29Lernerville Speedway, Sarver, PA
4/30Mahoning Speedway, Lehighton, PA
5/7New Egypt Speedway, New Egypt, NJ
5/11West Virginia Motor Speedway Media Day, Mineral Wells, WV
5/13Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA
5/14Susquehanna Speedway Park, York Haven, PA
8/5Chemung Speedrome, Chemung, NY
8/6Shangri-La Motor Speedway, Tioga Center, NY
8/13Canadaigua Speedway, Canadaigua, NY
8/20Oswego Speedway, Oswego, NY
8/27Fonda Speedway, Schenectady, NY
9/2Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, VT
9/3Mohawk Int. Raceway, Hogansburg, NY
9/4Devils Bowl Speedway, Fair Haven, VT
9/10Riverside Speedway, Groveton, NH
9/16Unity Raceway, Unity, ME
9/17Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, ME
9/22Thompson, Thompson, CT
9/23Stafford Speedway, Stafford Springs, CT
9/24Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, MA
10/1Waterford Speedway, Waterford, CT
10/5-9New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY
Schedule Subject to Change

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