Week 4 brought a few behind the scene changes at the tracks. My role at both tracks has expanded to include various operations throughout the night. Instead of being in the tower doing the race director portion of the job I may be found in the kitchen, in the tower, in the suites, in the pits, in Terrace, and oh yes, even in the restrooms supporting the overall operation of the facilities. Bobby Lopez, who did a great job the last six weeks of the 2013 season at I-35 Speedway as the Race Director assumes that same role at Lakeside Speedway, where he will do as great a job as he has in tech, and yes I was even in the tech area.
More about the behind the scenes work, if you were at Lakeside on Friday April 18 you witnessed a nasty crash by Darron Fuqua. Darron is one of the best gentlemen of the sport, just a few weeks ago making sure a tire and jack left behind in the hot lane were put up so the rightful owner could be found. Darron’s car literally took out a fence pole and some fencing on the front stretch. Owner Mike Johnson was headed down the hall way of the suite area about ten feet in front of me as we headed to the track. That is first for me having an owner heading to the track to check on the driver and then begin fence repair.
At Mike’s suggestion we had pace truck driver Dave Perkins meet us in turn 4 and take us to the scene. Once we were assured Darron was okay we began the fence repair. Dave took me to my truck so I could pick up a 12 foot section of fence and take it to the scene. Backstraight official Bob Ingham and Turn 2 official Mike Oskvig met me in turn 2 to load the fencing on my truck. Turn 3 official Chris Barnard climbed the ladder to tie in the top of the fencing. The firecrew was busy tying in the bottom of the fence. Turn one official Al Burke was cutting the wire and feeding it to whomever was ready for the next bit of wire. After a pull from the tow truck the fence was declared ready and racing resumed. At Lakeside we are fortunate to have such a great team dedicated to our sport.
I35 Speedway has their own wire story. Again a behind the scenes event. Kyle Johnson calls and asks for assistance in the concession area. The superb I35 Speedway popcorn is on hold, the popcorn kettle has a bolt which holds the kettle up during the popping process. We worked to get the bolt back in only to have it keep popping out and requiring us to hold the kettle up until the corn was popped. All this occurring as intermission is happening. We were able to fulfill all the orders for popcorn all while working on the machine. After five popcorn batches were popped with us holding the hot kettle, the McGyver thought came, remove the bolt and tie it up with a piece of wire. Sure enough the wire saved the popcorn for everyone. So you could say this was a wired weekend. Anyone in the wire business want to sponsor the tracks?
As for the racing on the track, as always it was superb at Lakeside, the Grand Nationals going green to checkered for the second week in a row. The car count continues to rise at I-35 Speedway where 70 cars checked in. This weekend April 25 is a regular weekly show at Lakeside while the USMTS Modifieds invade I35 Speedway along with the Ironman B Mods and Stock Cars.