I'd like to start off this blog by saying I hope everybody enjoyed their Christmas Day celebrations. Hopefully the weather didn't affect your plans too much this Holiday season.
My 2009 race season was another wild and exciting season. I didn't think there was any way I could top the 2008 season I experienced, but I was wrong. Of course the first thing that happened to me in 2009 was receiving a phone call from Jeff Broeg, asking me if I wanted to be a part of the Positivelyracing.com "staff". I agreed after taking some time to think it over.
I kicked off the 2009 season much the same way I did in 2008, with visits to Abilene, Texas in February and then in McCool Junction, Nebraska the first weekend in March. Trips to Humboldt (Kansas), West Plains (Missouri), and Beatrice (Nebraska) finished up March.
The racing season in Iowa got kicked off in April with frostbusters at Marshalltown and Burlington the first weekend. I made my first ever visit to 24 Raceway in Moberly, Missouri during this month for a USMTS race while also visiting Adrian Speedway in Missouri for an MLRA late model show.
May saw first visits to the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland (Missouri), US 30 Speedway in Columbus (Nebraska), and Raceway Park in Jefferson (South Dakota).
June's highlights included a mini trip into South Dakota. I followed the USMTS series to Park Jefferson Speedway (Jefferson, SD), Casino Speedway (Watertown, SD), and Huset's Speedway (Brandon, SD). Casino and Huset's were first-time visits for me.
More first-time visits were made in July as I attended a weekly show at Dubuque and Corning. Later in the month I made an inaugural visit to the Elko (MN) Speedway. The asphalt track brought in truck loads of dirt for their "Dirt Nationals", an event that saw the USMTS series along with IRA Sprint Cars.
Highlights of August begin with my first-ever trip to Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin. I attended the final night of the USA Nationals late model event that saw home-state hero Jimmy Mars take the lead on lap 48 and take home the big money. August was also the month in which the USMTS Hunt For the Championship began in Missouri. I visited the Monett (MO) Speedway along with the Caney Valley Speedway (Caney, KS) within a few days on a six-day USMTS swing. I also ventured up to the newly re-designed Mississippi Thunder Speedway, formerly known as the Tri-Oval Speedway, in Fountain City, Wisconsin. The track used to be a tri-oval, but owner Bob Timm transformed it into a 3/8-mile oval.
September saw me attend every night of the IMCA Supernationals in Boone again this year. In the middle of the month I ventured north to the North Central Speedway in Brainerd for a couple of USMTS events before seeing them race again at the Fall Jamboree at the Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley, Minnesota. That event saw Jason Hughes nip Terry Phillips at the line on the final night, and also saw Kelly Shryock be crowned the national champion for the ninth time. September was memorable for me as I had traveled to all 18 of the USMTS Hunt races, something very few can probably say.
October was a difficult month weather-wise. Many of my plans got changed, so I was constantly looking for "backup plans". The Knoxville Late Model Nationals was reduced to a one-day show on a Sunday this year, which saw Scott Bloomquist win it for the second time. The second weekend of the month, the races in Oskaloosa got "SNOWED OUT", so I made the quick decision to go north and hit a race in Wisconsin. Go figure, right!?! October also saw long-distance, first-ever trips to Hays (Kansas) and Muskogee (Oklahoma).
November saw me visiting the Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri for the first time in a couple years. The weekend before Thanksgiving saw me travel south to Highlands, Texas for what was supposed to be a three-day USMTS show. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and only one show was able to be run. I checked out the internet to see if there were any other races I could hit on the way home. Sure enough there was. I headed out at 4am Saturday morning and made it to Cleveland, Tennessee to catch a Southern All-Stars late model race. On that trip I traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and a little bit of Georgia for the first time ever. Then on the way home from there I traveled through Kentucky for the first time. Definitely a memorable trip!!
December was supposed to cap off my season at the Houston Raceway Park with a three-day USMTS show. It would crown their Southern Series Hunt champion. Unfortunately that weekend saw the earliest SNOWFALL in the Houston area and only one race was run. That one event proved to be note-worthy though, as Jason Hughes took home the win and eclipsed Kelly Shryock's slim lead to win the championship. USMTS officials have rescheduled those two days for February, but will be part of the 2010 season.
I capped off my 2009 season at Kemper Arena the weekend before Christmas with the Bull Ring Midget Nationals. Those who know me know that I'm not a sprint car/midget fan by any stretch of the imagination. I was curious to see how the event was run and see what it was like. It was definitely unique!
Here are my 2009 stats:
62 different tracks
25 new tracks (I'd never been to before)
11 different states
43,194 miles traveled (almost 34,440 on my car)
For those interested in seeing EXACTLY where I ventured to this year, you can check out my personal website at http://tapfanstours.freehosting.net and click on the "Kevin's 2009 races" on the left-hand side. You can see a month-by-month breakdown or a composite listing, along with results from most events.
This will likely be the last blog entry for me in 2009. With that being said, I'd like to wish everybody a safe New Year's Eve celebration along with a Happy New Year!!
- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!