The cars at Grundy were well...
The cars at Grundy were well prepared and looked great. In the stock classes, it is easy to let the looks get disturbed by bent sheetmetal and rubbing, but here, maybe because the racing is so clean, the cars looked like they were just built last week.
And Circle Track is a very popular magazine with the teams here at Grundy. I had many racers come up to me to discuss past articles, ask setup questions or just chat about our Tour and what we thought about their track.
There was a large contingent of Late Model cars at Grundy and this night featured two 25-lap races for that class. The finishes in the two races would be averaged to determine the overall winner of the Firecracker 50 (as I write this, July 4th is just around the corner). Other classes included the Mid American Sportsman, Street Stock, and Pure Stock.
The outer walls of the turns at Grundy were steel plates with wood posts backing them up. In qualifying, one of the cars entered Turn 1 way too fast, pushed up the track and hit the wall hard just in front of me and went airborne.
At Grundy and at most tracks we visited, AMSOIL was a big part of the team’s sponsorship and lubrication. I spoke with many teams who told me how well they ran using the products. And we got to visit the plant where the products were produced. I’ll tell you all about that later. We even have a video coming to our website where you too can tour the huge facility.
Of course, I moved away not knowing if the wall would do its job, but it barely moved. The driver was OK, despite not wearing a head-and-neck restraining device. This is a testament to both the strength of the wall and the fact that it gave way somewhat to reduce the g-forces on impact.
The county fair probably helped attendance this night, so we really didn’t get a feel for how it was doing in attracting fans on a regular race night, but the pits were busy and it looked like overall this track was doing alright. It’s located in a more rural area and that limits the ability to attract large numbers, and so it relies on the back gate to survive.
The plus is that the racing was very good, there were few cautions and the racers respected one another. The technical difficulty presented by having long straights and tight and flat turns is challenging to the teams and is a draw rather than a deterrent. It is what keeps the teams coming back, to do what racers do, dig and claw their way to success. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
Dells Raceway Park was a gem...
Dells Raceway Park was a gem of a racetrack. Not only was the signage well done and attractive, but the entire facility shined. It was done in a log cabin design that was appropriate for the area. Many Wisconsin families flock to the Dells to vacation in the summer months.
The Dells is an area of central Wisconsin where families from all around the state go to camp and have fun in the summer. Because the winters are so long and cold, people get out a lot in the summer and we noticed several areas where the vacation destinations are concentrated.
The Dells RP is unique in several ways. One, it has a new owner this year. Taken from imminent foreclosure, Wayne Lensing, long time owner of Lefthander Race Cars, bought this track from the bank and quickly moved into ownership like he had wanted to do this for a long time. His passion for track ownership and this track showed through as he walked me around and even offered the use of his personal golf cart.
I find it interesting when someone who has not been a track promoter, and actually sat on the opposite side of the fence literally, goes about organizing and running the track like he used to imagine it should be run all along. And that is what Wayne has done here.
One feature of the Dells was its very attractive Victory Lane area that was located outside the track, next to, and accessible from the grandstands. This provided a way for the fans to meet the winning teams, and it helped move the program along more quickly. The victory lane at Daytona doesn’t look any better than this.
He has that opportunity now and he is taking full advantage. First off, as we neared the track, we noticed the signage that directed fans and racers was very artfully done. At the track, that theme continued and the place was immaculate. The Dells wasn’t exactly run down by any means when it was taken over, but Wayne has made some improvements in the hospitality areas. There is an inside gift shop that is air conditioned and several well placed food concessions and beer counters.
One very unique feature that I had seen a few times before, but never done this well, was the Victory Lane area being located outside the track and just behind the bleachers. This way, when a driver wins a race, he does his/her victory lap, then drives out of the track and into the Victory Lane where the fans can be up close and take their own photos, even with the driver.