Rain is probably the theme...
Rain is probably the theme of our first half of the AMSOIL Great American CT Tour this year. It rained up until 1 p.m. on race day at Lernerville, but stopped in enough time to allow the track to dry and the racing to begin. The track officials hung in there and never thought once about canceling the program.
This dirt track, located in Sarver, Pennsylvania, was opened in 1967, somewhat earlier than planned, due to an ordinance change that was scheduled to begin in 1968 that would have prevented the construction of the track. Don Martin joined three other investors to build this track and would eventually become sole owner for many years. In 2005, the track was sold to World Racing Group (owners of the World of Outlaws and DirtCar sanctions).
The size of the track has changed over the years from the initial ¼-mile, to 3⁄8-, and now to nearly a full half-mile. Other parts of the facility have undergone growth changes as well and the seating is now nearly 12,000, quite large for a short track.
Rain was a factor throughout the first half of our 2011 Tour and this track got a soaking in the days leading up to the race. I visited the front office upon arrival to witness one of the office ladies answering every call that came in to assure the callers there would be a race this night.
The reason that is significant is because I have seen tracks where when you call, you always get a recorded message and never talk to anyone. It’s very impersonal and if I were trying to decide whether to risk the trip to the track to gamble on if it was really going to run, I’d probably decide to stay home.
When the racers and fans get to speak with a person, they most always come. If the entry fee were $15, every call answered is like taking in that amount of money. The lady insisted that every call be answered. That is good business.
Good for World Racing Group,...
Good for World Racing Group, the owners of this track—“No One Under Age 16 Permitted to Drive.” This would exclude several current Dirt Late Model youngsters. I understand the ban on firearms and “alchohol” [sic], but what’s wrong with pets? And I wonder what was banned and now left off the sign? There is a blank spot there that begs the question.
The track is a larger 3⁄8-mile in appearance and has no outer wall or guard rails. The only wall is along the front stretch, and over the course of the evening’s racing, many cars were saved from destruction by this design.
This is exactly what I suggested for West Virginia Motor Speedway in its redesign. It’s not only cheaper to construct, but very helpful for the racers. There is a runoff area past the top of the banking where a car can drive back onto the track to continue racing. This reduces the number of cautions and saves lots of equipment allowing the teams to exist in a tough economy.
This weekend the MidWest All Star Series (43 cars) was sanctioning the races and the feature was a $5,000-to-win event. Also running were the DIRTcar Pro Late Models (26 cars) and the UMP Modifieds (13 cars). And they were to compete on a very wet track that eventually dried enough to race on, only to see it rut up with very large holes making it hard on the suspensions.
The later races were more of an endurance test as the track became rougher. Modifieds were launching off the holes with all four tires showing daylight under them at times. The smart drivers memorized the locations of the holes and avoided them at all cost. The others either fell behind or broke and went to the pits.
Dirt racing is just this, adapting to the conditions and making the best of it. The drivers who can are the ones we see in Victory Lane. Acute observers of dirt racing know this and it becomes part of the attraction we have for this type of competition. After all, anyone can run on a smooth, flat racing surface.
If our visit to these tracks tells us anything, it’s that a clean, well run facility attracts both fans and racers. And, if you enforce no-contact rules, there will be little or no contact. That, in and of itself, breeds respect among the racers.
I want to congratulate these tracks for their efforts at paying attention to the needs of the fans and racers so that there will be a good chance for success for the owners and a continuation of racing.
It’s our hope that promoters and track owners read our comments, take them to heart, and apply the methods used by other successful tracks into their programs. Together we can improve the numbers of short track racers and help our racetracks survive.
Upon arrival we were met with...
Upon arrival we were met with very muddy conditions. A lot of packing went into getting the track ready. The scoreboard sign was very nice and appreciated. I saw one track on this tour that didn’t even have a scoring sign. That is very rare and a shame.
The Modifieds put on a great...
The Modifieds put on a great show. They had a rough time with the track conditions, but as stated before, if you learn the clean line around the track, you’ll end up with all of your parts at the end of the night plus some added hardware, like maybe a trophy.