Weather is the word for this past weekend of racing. Lakeside Speedway was scheduled for an ASCS Sprint Car Race on May 8, 2014. The local weather forecasters were predicting between 70 percent to 100 percent chance of rain for Thursday May 8, 2014. The forecasting began on Sunday and continued through Thursday morning. TBJ Promotions and Racinboys were the promoters for the race and with a unfavorable forecast they decided to cancel on Wednesday afternoon. Of course as Midwest weather would have it, just a small amount of rain occurred around the area.
From a promoters point of view weather can affect a crowd. Who wants to go to the races and get rained out? With the current economy most race fans are waiting until the day of the event to grab their seat. Almost everyone has a smart phone and can pull up the weather radar. This does nothing for the racetrack owner, who prepares for what is expected to be a big race by ordering extra food for the concession, extra supplies for trash pickup, and does extra work to make the track a showcase facility.
Speaking of the extra work, did you visit the pits and observe the work Mike Johnson and crew did this past week? The former tree line along the creek bed has been removed, weeds cut, and the back part of the pits is the cleanest it has been since this track opened. You can stand in the pits and look toward the river with an unobstructed view. Johnson’s work is leading to a larger pit area in preparation for the season ending USRA Nationals. As someone who has raced this track since it opened in 1989 at this location, the facility has never looked better!
Let’s get back to the weather. I-35 Speedway on Saturday experienced a myriad of weather events. Storms developed near the track but moved north missing the track, then another storm developed southwest of the track moving northeast, but it turned and went east. The track was sitting there ready for racecars. The phone was ringing crazily as racefans were checking to ensure we were still racing. As mentioned earlier numerous cell phones display the weather radar. Decisions to be made by the track owner, cancel without any rain but rain around will hurt the crowd or continue on to race as if normal. The sky cleared and races took to the track.
The owners kept an eye on the weather radar and a storm had developed southwest of Kansas City but is was on the move. It appeared we had a 2 to 3 hour window, which should be plenty of time to get the races completed. Unfortunately the storm picked up steam and the B Mod B feature took the track we received word a severe Thunderstorm with severe lightning was headed our way. Everyone could see the storm approaching. We made the decision of safety first, which includes the grandstands. At the completion of the B Mod B Feature the announcement was made that the races were complete. Feature events for this rain event will be made up in the future. Yes, being a racetrack owner creates a ton of decisions on a race night, weather creates more headaches, oops decisions.
At both tracks we look for sportsmanship, an event by a racer helping another racer. We announce these events in the driver’s meeting. This past week Hank Thompson was recognized for backing off the gas to keep from running into the leader during a heat race. Also Justin Siefert wanted to recognize Chad Clancy for loaning his team a starter so they could race at I35 Speedway the previous weekend. Great sportsmanship begats good sportsmanship, if you see any that needs recognized please let us know.
As for the racing, can it get any better than having a pass for the win coming out of turn 4 to the checkered flag? Darron Fuqua beat Nick Bidinger with specifically this move. Congrats to Chad Clancey, Gary Donaldson, Justin Siefert, for joining Darron in Victory Lane.