What an opening night – wow – great track, great crowd, great staff, and great fans! This was by far one of the smoothest opening nights I have experienced in my 23 years of being an official after retiring from driving. The improvements made at I-35 Speedway this past winter assisted with a portion of the smoothness as the expanded pits and additional bleachers allowed room for everyone.
There was a new race management computer program in use, Speed Score One. The old Speednet program became cost prohibitive and is being phased out by the company now in charge of it. Almost all USRA sanctioned tracks are utilizing the Speed Score One software but this was its first true test in this area. The program worked great, between the scorers and myself who touched the program it was a learning curve, but hey, the lineups were completed per the passing point rules and posted before intermission even began, except for the last two classes of heat races to compete, the Stock Cars and A Modifieds. Look for us in the future to post line ups in electronic format either via the website or Facebook. We are working on this modification.
We were also blessed with Darlo and Laura Mulder in our presence. Darlo is the head tech official for USRA. This gave our guys and gals a great opportunity to know what to prepare for when the USRA Nationals are held in October. Additionally, as a side note, their son works for Stewart Haas Racing as the left front tire changer on Danica Patrick’s car in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
The staff did an amazing job on opening night! The races started at 7 P.M. and were complete at 10:30. My hats off to the concession staff, the official staff, the clean up staff, the support staff, the track prep staff, and the maintenance staff. Simply an outstanding job by all!!!!! Experience helps but we have a great mixture of young and experienced staff. At I-35 Speedway we always have fun!
Now let’s take a “behind the scenes” at look at what I did on opening night. My arrival time at the track 1:50 after Diana and I stopped to pick up the trophies. First we finished organizing the radios. Next worked as a pit crew man as the starter solenoid jumper wire had come apart during practice on Thursday for the #99 Modified. Got this repaired. Then got the computer set up for the pit gate girls so sign in could begin. Met with our Head Tech Official to plan the night, knowing the Mulders would be there. Turned on the fuel pumps for the gas man. Went through the pits checking safety equipment with our tech official. Back to the pit shack to work on lineups. Four drivers arrived after the pill draw had closed. Late drivers always create an issue as lineups are being posted. Stopped by the office on the way to the tower with the computer saw wonderful lines which were moving quite well, girls did not need help,, I offered. Track lights turned on. Went to the tower and set up computer and entered the four late drivers. Intermission came – first I needed to help the tower print the final A feature lineups, then made a trip to the suite to get supplies for the main concession. Helped open a third window at the main concession, first as the support person gettng the food, then because she had to go score, I became the “May I Help You Man”. Got the lines down to a couple of people, closed that window and walked into the office and helped sell tickets to some late arrivals for the feature races. After intermission headed to the tech area to check on it and helped the Tech Man on the Pure Stock cars. Left the tech area to make another run to the suite then stop at the tower to check on payout sheets for the classes which were completed. Races completed met with a couple of officials, assisted with some trash pick up, and ended the night plunging a toilet. Wait a minute were there races?
I heard there were some outstanding races! I did get to see most of the A Mod feature, as for the rest of the races, guess you could say I was behind the scenes. Anyone want to follow me all night?