Our Tour is well under way and this week we will move through Illinois on our way to a long stay in Wisconsin. Along the way is Grundy County Speedway located in Morris, Illinois, and we picked a weekend that starts the local County Fair too. Many of our tracks around this region were constructed to be a part of the local county fairgrounds, but we didn’t think we’d see both in action on the same weekend.

As laid back as Grundy was, the Dells Raceway Park was moving forward in a big way. We learn a little something from most tracks, and we learn a lot from some tracks. The Dells falls in the latter category. To have a surprise like we got so early in this Tour was great, now, on to telling the stories.

Grundy County Speedway

Grundy is not unlike many tracks we have visited in both the Northeast and Midwest where the track is a part of the county fair complex. We usually see vacant pig barns, cattle and horse arenas and judging areas adjacent to the actual racetrack. At Attica Raceway Park, the racetrack sits inside a larger horse racing track and the grandstands are some distance from the action.

At Grundy, the two sit back to back, literally, and the races could be run without interfering with the activities related to the fair. I’m sure the sounds of the race cars attracted more than a few fair-goers to pay the extra fee and observe.

On this weekend, the rides had moved in, there was a big cat tiger display, hot dog and sausages and funnel cake concession stands, and all of the rest of what makes a fair a fair. And we had racing on the half-mile, paperclip-shaped track where the turns were just about as flat as the corn fields that surrounded the property. This is true country racing and we felt as close to Midwest racing as we could possibly get.

This is one tough racetrack to get a good lap in. If you can get through the turns well, you still need to get off the corners. The good cars seemed to rotate well and then shoot straight off the corners. I think a lot of work is going into rear steer both ways to make the cars work on this kind of track.

There is a trend where in the stock classes as well as the upper classes, the rear links are built to pull the right rear back on braking, then to a neutral position at mid-turn, then move forward on acceleration tightening the car off the flat corners. The amount of steer must be tuned, but once the right amount is found, it has a pronounced advantage at some tracks, as we have observed.

This track at Grundy has a very good and thorough tech crew that is not widely liked, and that says volumes about how good they really are. Tech officials are not supposed to be everyone’s best friend. When they are, they miss lots of cheating, or should I say, bending of the rules.

The track promoters had not responded to our correspondence about coming to the event, but once we rolled up in the big Tour bus, it was evident that we were not just another rag mag, rag tag media person wanting to get in free, not that those exist. We were there to conduct the business of the Tour.

This happens sometimes. A few of the tracks don’t really understand our mission and the largeness of the Tour, but once I have a chance to explain and they see the effort that has gone into this, they open up and treat us very well. We get the history of the tracks, what the plans for the future are and some commentary on the state of the sport from their perspective.