Saturday, January 31, 2009

2008 Review

2008 turned out to be the most unique race season I've ever experienced. It was a year of traveling to both new tracks and new states. One could say it was "a year of firsts" for me.

My race season started off with two new experiences. I was asked if I wanted to ride with some friends down to the Ice Breaker in Abilene, Texas in February. I'd never been to Texas before, and I'd never seen a dirt track race in the month of February. Needless to say it was a fun and exciting experience, especially sharing it with the people with whom I went.

As the months went by, I was fortunate enough to go to 142 races, visiting 49 different tracks in 8 different states. Of those 49 tracks, 20 of them were first-timers! Many of those were very nice facilities in which I would love to attend again. One of those facilities is converting their track back to an asphalt track (I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Missouri). I witnessed a USMTS race there back in late March. The track was prepared perfectly for the horsepower of the cars and the racing was top notch. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of asphalt racing, so I likely won't return there this year.

Other facilities I thought highly of were Eagle Raceway in Eagle (NEB), Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer (IA), I-80 Speedway in Greenwood (NEB), I-55 Raceway in Pevely (MO), and Houston Raceway Park in Baytown (TEX). One thing all of these tracks had in common was an abundance of seating capacity. Pevely is unique in that spectators can sit anywhere from the front stretch, into turns 3 & 4, and also on the backstretch. I didn't venture to the backstretch, so maybe that was just for crew members.

I capped off the 2008 season with my 3rd trip to Texas by visiting Houston Raceway Park in Baytown for the USMTS Southern Series finale. A great field of cars (including several from the upper midwest) were on hand and put on great shows all 3 nights. It was disappointing to see the lack of attendance by fans on Thursday and Friday. I realize the temperatures were a bit cold and the huge grandstands can make it hard to judge the number of people, but hopefully that event will grow into a great event annually.

Shifting gears to 2009... Toby Kruse ventured into a new experience on January 10th when he promoted the "Battle at the Barn" at Vet's Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. Simply put, it was a mixture of go karts, 3-wheelers, and motorcyles racing on coke syrup. It was a huge success as there were people from several different states. While emotions did run a little high at times, the event had a good crowd and should be considered a success. Plans are already in the making for next year, assuming Vet's doesn't get "overhauled".

As February arrives, I can honestly say I don't know what my plans are for races this season. I do know I have plans to attend the Ice Breaker in Abilene, Texas once again in the next couple of weeks. I can say with some certainty that I will likely watch races on Sunday nights at I-35 Speedway in Mason City, Iowa. It was fun traveling across the midwest in 2008. While I don't plan to do as much long-distance traveling, I would like to make it to a few more new facilities.

As I conclude my first blog, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jeff Broeg for calling me up and asking if I wanted to be a part of this website. I was honored that he thought of me. Although maybe he just wanted a "reporter from the northern part of the state". haha. In any case, I'm happy to be a part of

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!

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