I haven’t been very good at reporting my trips to the races lately, so here is a quick recap of my season thus far. As a matter of fact, of nine nights at the races, I’ve only reported on one night – I didn’t even report on the final day at the Chili Bowl.
In January I went to the last two nights of the Chili Bowl by myself. As always, the Chili Bowl in was a great race and everyone who is a race fan needs to go.
The third race I went to was the season opener at Bridgeport on April 5. It also happened to be the first race of the new Bridgeport-New Egypt Speedway challenge. I would have liked to see a few more New Egypt cars on hand, but they did send seven or eight, which was nice. It is good to see the only two oval tracks left in the state cooperating like this, and the fans rewarded the Bridgeport Speedway management with a really nice crowd. I’ve never been a huge fan of Bridgeport because the track is so big and fast that the cars typically get strung out and the racing suffers. While this race was enjoyable, it wasn’t great. The most memorable thing was a really nasty crash in the Sportsman that saw a number of cars flipping and ending up on top of each other. While a lot of equipment was hurt, none of the drivers were, so that is a good thing.
The fourth race I saw was a regular show at Big Diamond Speedway (I believe it was April 18, but I’m not positive). This was the first time I was at Big Diamond since the new owners took over a few years ago, and they did a great job making the place look a lot nicer. They also did an excellent job running the show – the show was ran smoothly without any unnecessary days and we were out of there at a reasonable time which considering my almost three hour ride after the race, I really appreciated. It also looked like the fans appreciated it since there was a packed grandstand. Assuming the show is always ran like that, I recommend every short-tracker owner in the area either attend a race there or give them a call to see how they do it.
The fifth race was opening night at New Egypt Speedway. This was also part of the eight race new Bridgeport-New Egypt Speedway challenge. This race wasn’t run as well as Big Diamond, but the track did have a lot of fans in the stands. I assume that had a lot to do with two things: 1) Wall Stadium closing, and 2) The challenge series. The track wasn’t in the greatest shape, but these things happen. I won’t kill the track on the first day for not getting the finicky track just perfect, but they really should have ran the show better. They had a great chance to impress a lot of fans but missed the opportunity. I really hope the new owners in the second year figure it out. I know they are trying and they love racing, but so far they haven’t managed to impress me with either track preparation or how they run the show. That said, what they do a good job of is getting some top drivers like Billy Pauch to race at the track, so it is still worth attending once in a while. I haven’t been back this year yet, so I don’t know how the crowds have been for a regular show. I hope they are able to draw a good crowd weekly, but I think they need to re-evaluate how they run the show to do that. The shows are too long. Sure, the hard-core fan doesn’t mind, but the occasionally fan does and there are a lot more of them. Also, if they ran the show better, the racing would be done earlier and maybe the neighbors would have less to complain about.
I’ll report on my trip to North Carolina for the ARCA race and a regular show at Bowman-Gray soon. I also will have a report on this weekend’s races at Penn Can and Five Mile point as well. My yearly stats after New Egypt were:
Tracks: 4 (0 new)
States: 3 (0 new)