So far July has been jam packed with nice weather and side by side racing. Following the Independence Day weekend, I set out North to Tioga Center, New York where the half mile Shangri-La II Motor Speedway is located. The one word to describe this track is "unique." It is one of the few short tracks with a concrete surface, and one of the very few that I know of that has a drag strip connected to the facility. With the purchase of one admission ticket, fans can walk freely between the two tracks and check out two different forms of racing action. Although there was a lot of racing taking place, the show did seem to drag on. A fireworks display entertained the crowd; however, it occurred in between features and the fans had to wait before the track lights came back on for the next race to be ready to get going. Racing for the night did not conclude until well after midnight, but it was still worth the price of admission. The Race Of Champions Modified Tour put on a whale of a show with Matt Hirschman proving once again that he deserves a shot at the big leagues. Despite the small car counts in the local divisions, the racing was still competitive. For a fairly new track they are heading in the right direction, and being under the ASA banner will do nothing but help them even further. Photos for this event can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.572877287539.2072222.37801386&l=78e422ef6f&type=1.
The next weekend I drove South to Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia for the first time...and definitely not the last time. It was a very enjoyable experience with some exciting finishes to the end in the local division races as well as some thrilling battles for track positions in the twin 75 lap ISCARS features. The track surely knows how to attract the fans, as this particular evening was Scout Night in which boy and girl scouts wearing their uniforms were admitted free. I overheard several times of families that were there for the first time. The show kept moving smoothly and following the night's racing festivities the pits were opened up to fans of all ages to meet the drivers and get an up close look at some of the cars. It was neat getting a chance to say hi to the friendly ISCARS staff, crews and drivers once again as well as meet some drivers I hadn't heard of before in the local divisions. I even had the chance to sit in one of the Late Model Stock Cars! Photos for this event can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.573579575149.2072522.37801386&l=844bd6a954&type=1.
The morning after the racing action I drove up to Kutztown, Pennsylvania to play in a poker tournament. I arrived just in time, sat down and hit four of a kind and took a massive pot. Unfortunately, as the afternoon went on the deck went cold and I ultimately finished 12th. The top four finishers qualified for another tournament in Atlantic City.
There was no doubt that I was returning the following weekend for Old Dominion Speedway's big 150 lap Late Model Stock Car event benefiting Joe Gibbs' Youth For Tomorrow Foundation. Another event that was going on in the town of Manassas was their 150 year Civil War commemoration. I had the chance to check out the Manassas Museum, see a cannon fire and wander about the town during the late morning and early afternoon hours before heading to the race track. The triple-digit weather may have turned some away, but the afternoon activities at the track definitely did not disappoint. Freestyle Motocross demonstrations, monster trucks, karting, show car displays and live music were all quite entertaining, but the autograph sessions featuring local and NASCAR drivers as well as a few Washington Redskins players seemed to attract the biggest crowd. Andy Lally, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, Sterling Marlin, Johnny Benson, Max Papis and Curtis Markham were all on hand and competed in the late model race later in the evening. All of these drivers piloted cars prepared by other drivers in the region so it was neat to see them wheel cars they're not used to driving against the local drivers who compete at the track just about every weekend. The NASCAR stars did not fare too well in the feature and Mike Darne won his second straight Youth For Tomorrow 150, but some of them certainly gave back to the competitors in the form of bonuses for the 1st, 5th and 10th place finishers in some of the supporting features. Once again the pits were opened up to fans at the end of the evening and some of the NASCAR and local drivers stuck around to converse with the fans. Photos for this event can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.574040207039.2072705.37801386&l=a3fd89203e&type=1.
I can't wait to go back to Northern Virginia to see some more racing, but meanwhile I'll be staying fairly local and I'll have to enjoy my memories via video footage at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. This weekend I'll be making an annual stop to Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Newmanstown, PA to see some Micro Sprint racing. The following weekend will be my debut seeing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in action at Pocono along with the ARCA Series. A couple days after that the Reading Fair takes place in Berks County, PA and will feature some Slingshot and Kart racing. This will all lead up to a visit to Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, PA on my birthday later in August. The video footage will be taking a break, but keep posted for some more photos from all the excitement!
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