The Chrome Horn News


Err, make that a DUSTY 8 Minutes

    Every year when the Racing Schedules come out, I always look for some good “weekend trips” It isn’t easy being a Race Fan, living on Long Island, where Riverhead is the only game in town, and the next nearest track is over 100 miles away. My buddies Chris, George, and I like to schedule 1 or 2 weekends a year of Good Ole “Down in the Dirt” Sprint Car Racing. Our 1st Scheduled trip this year in was squished out by the weather. Our 2nd was this past weekend, with a double dip of World of Outlaw Style Sprints.
    Watching the Weather this week was frustrating to say the least. Would we be going 0 for 2 in 2007? Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown NY was the Saturday Venue, but the Weather was just so you knew that one was more than likely not going to be run, so late in the week, we chopped of the Saturday Portion, and hoped for the Sunday Weather to be good enough to take a 1 day shot. Saturday afternoon, it called for a 30% chance of rain for parts of the evening, but looked like a worthwhile effort. Our weekend trip turned into a 1 day affair. Chris and I were a go, but “Uncle George”, everybody on the Bus calls him “Uncle George” had to take this one off. I planned on meeting Chris at 12:30 in Nassau County, and of course was about 30 minutes later than I had planned.
    Chris used to have a BIG OLE SUBURBAN which we used frequently for these road trips. It was great for road trips, but got about 3 gallons to the mile. He recently bought a new Chevy Trail Blazer. Jennifer and I looked at these when she was looking into a new car. It ended up being a little too big for her, but I really loved driving it. I couldn’t wait to drive Chris’ SUV. Chris works for the highway department, and had to be at work Monday at 7am, so we decided since this was a fairly short trip, he’d drive to New Egypt, and I’d drive home, so he could get some sleep in case we got a rain delay. Which worked out rather well, since we did.
    In transit, I called Fran and Howie, whom I knew were going to be there. The Gates opened at 3pm with the Drivers meeting scheduled for 5pm. When we were on the Goethals Bridge, They were already about 20 minutes from the track. We finally got there about 4:30 after a pit stop at McDonalds, and a little NJT traffic. Spoke with Howie and Fran at the main gate for about 20 minutes. Fran had never seen the Outlaws before, so he was pretty pumped. The Photogs went off to the Drivers meeting, and Chris and I went and grabbed some prime seats and the turn 1 side of the front stretch.
    I sent Fran an IM during the Drivers meeting telling him to ask them what those big things on top of the roll cage were for, but I don’t think he asked them. 6 pm, and its time for Hot Laps. If you have never been to a dirt race, hot laps are completely different than practice that the WMT gets. Each driver gets about 6 laps. That’s it. They had 32 Sprint cars tonight, so they sent them out 10 or 11 at a time meaning they’d have 3 hot lap sessions. Howie and Fran are snapping pics in turn 4, right up next to the fence. After hot laps, Fran sends me an IM stating “WT@, This is INSANE!!” I tell him this is nothing yet.
    Time Trials start very close to the 7pm scheduled time, and we have only about 4 or 5 cars left when it starts to RAIN. Ugh!. Rain delay. It rained hard enough to wet the track, but never really hard enough for us to get soaked. Chris and I wandered through the Outlaw Trailers. A few drivers were there signing their Hero cards including Donny Schatz, Danny The Dude Lasoski, and Joey Saldana. After about an hour, the rain slowed down, and the Street Stocks and Tow Trucks had gotten the track close to ready, when it started raining again, very lightly. Chris and I ventured over to our dinner stop, the London Broil Truck. Chris had the London Broil Sandwich with Onions, I chose the Boneless Rib sandwich. We were both Very Happy with our choices. The Photogs had left the serenity of Fran’s Truck and met us to chat the world of Modified during this extended delay. Actually Fran chatted with us, while Howie walked around speaking to every person at the track, since he knows everybody. Fran told us how sick it was standing 2 feet from cars doing 120+ MPH. He was really enjoying himself.
    At About 9:30, they had the track ready to restart the days racing. Since they hadn’t finished Time Trials, they had to start all over since the last cars to go out would have gotten a MAJOR advantage since the track was no about 1.5 seconds faster with the new moisture in the track. So out with the Hot laps again, and then each driver got 1 Lap of time trial. Which was a good move as it cut about 8 minutes of out the procedure, and at this late hour (10:42 pm when TT finished) 8 minutes is 8 minutes.
    Jeremy Campbell set fast time with a 14.242. Billy Pauch who had fast time in the earlier TT’s ended up 6th this time. The Time Trials are used to line up the heats. They ran 4 heats with 8 cars in each. They invert the top 4 times in each heat, so the 13th-16th fastest Time Trails start on the Pole. 9th-12th Outside Pole, etc. 17th-32nd start Straight up on time in position 5th -8th in each heat. The Top 2 in each heat move on to the 10 Car “Dash” (That’s Dash, Not Flash) The other 2 cars in the dash come from the Quickest Times of the cars who finish 3rd through 5th in the Heats. They then Draw for the Starting Positions in the dash. The King of the Outlaws, 20 Time Champion Steve Kinser Drew the Pole, and won the short dash race. How they finish the dash, is how they start the feature. So Kinser would start on the Pole, with Jason Sides starting outside pole.
    The Feature race began around 12:30am. The first 2 starts ended up under the caution, calling for a restart. The 3rd start was the charm, and the race went non stop from there. Chris and I had moved to turn 1, so we could get the jump walking back to his SUV, and beat the traffic out of the Parking Lot, and be on our way home. By the 3rd lap, we couldn’t see a thing. I always forget my dirt goggles, and usually end up purchasing more at the track, but there was NO DUST at all in the heats and B Main. That all changed in a HURRY. 30 laps at New Egypt takes about 8 minutes. For 8 minutes I tried holding my hands over my eyes, looking through my hands as if they were Binoculars, anything and everything, but it was just brutal. The racing was unbelievable. You look at the results, and you realize that not much passing actually goes on in a 30 laps race, but you do get a ton of side by side racing. Cars Low, cars High, cars in the Middle. It was 8 minutes of Mayhem!!!!
    Jason Sides had gotten the jump on Kinser at the Start, and at times had a 2 second lead. When Sides hit traffic, the King pounced, and took the lead with a low move in turn 2 on lap 19. The last 10 laps were amazing as Kinser was great on the bottom and Sides was fast on top. Lap after lap, Sides looked like he was set to retake the lead, and lap after lap, Kinser fought him off. The white flag flew. A lapped car was in the low lane. Kinser was stuck behind him, not wanting to chance it by going around on the outside. Coming off of turn 4, Sides got side by side Kinser, and at the line, I had no idea who won. Walking to the parking lot we had heard it was Kinser by .028 seconds. Tim Kaeding, who started 5th , finished 3rd, and was really closing at the end. 2 or 3 more laps, and he’d have probably won it. The “Wild Child” Jac Haudenschild passed the most cars, moving from 19th to 8th in the 8 minute feature. Local Favorite Billy Pauch finished 10th after starting 13th. Defending Champion, and 2 time winner at NES, Donny Schatz finished where he started in 15th place.
    The racing you get in 30 laps from the Outlaws is just amazing, and well worth the almost 3 hour trip. We beat the traffic from the parking lot, and Chris was sawing logs within 5 minutes. Luckily he has XM in his car, so I got to listen to the Comedy Channels on the way home. I also had fun finding all the clay caked up on my body. The eyes, the ears, the nose. I could have made a Flower Pot. I figured if I got tired on the way home, I’d pull over and take a 10 minute nap, and that would be more than enough to get me home. The Trouble with that last night is, I didn’t really get eye tired until I got on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. There really isn’t a good Rest Area in Brooklyn, especially at 2 am in the morning. Wow, my eyes were sore. Between the MAJOR dust of the feature, and the lateness of hour, I think I started seeing things. Look, that's Jackie Gleason Hitchhiking with Duke Snyder. Oh Boy. Luckily for me, Chris likes in Western Nassau, and we got to his house at around 2:30 am. The time unpacking from his car, and packing up mine, refreshed me enough to get to Dunkin Donuts for a good cup of coffee. The ride home from there was a piece of cake, and I walked in the door at 3:15 am. Ah, Sleep. The pause that REFRESHES!!!! I’m all ready for the next one.

[Howie Gallery]
[Fran Gallery]


Source: Ted Baxter/Independent Thoughts
Posted:  May 10, 2007

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