Monday, May 26, 2003

A night at the dirt track, part II

Since there were about six series that ran on Saturday night I won't go into a lot of detail about them all. I'll just tell you about the featured series of the night which is called superstock.

The superstock series was the division that looked, drove and souned most like the stock cars you see racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup series. It also seemed to consist of the drivers that the fans in attendance were the most familiar and enthusiastic about. The final feature race had a purse of $2,000 that would be awarded to the winner. My informant next to me told me that the usual purse for the superstock in $700 and that may explain the chaos of the final race.

Before the finals of each series they had to qualify by driving in "heats." Depending on the size of the field they would hold two heats for each series and take the top drivers from each heat and put them in the finals.

The final race of the superstock event consisted of 16 drivers. Before the 30 lap event was over there were about seven cars. The attrition rate was very high. There was a lot of slamming and banging and crashing which raised the crowd into fever pitch. I have to give these drivers a lot of credit they were fearless. They would drive their cars hard into each corner and execute these amazing slides through the turns. The noses of the cars would be pointed toward the inside wall and they would be gassing the cars all the way through while leaning on the car next to them. I think there were more wrecks because the large purse was causing drivers to hang it out a bit more than usual. Maybe not, I'll let you know if they always drive with such abandon the next time I go.

As the race progressed it came down to two cars. One driver had the faster car but the driver on his ass seeemed to be a better driver. He had a daring pass with two laps to go and took the lead. He had the race one but lost control for a second coming out of turn 4 on the white flag lap and lost the lead on the final lap. For the last few laps the crowd screamed, howled and jumped around like it was the last lap at the Daytona 500. It was intoxicating and their enthusiasm was picked up and echoed by Chris and me.

I have to say that this experience reminded me a lot of the trip Chris, Wendell and I took to a juke joint in Mississippi back in 1997. Like the juke joint it was rural, local, friendly, loud with a lot of energy and booze. I encourage anyone who reads this to contact me and come along the next time we go. You will have fun.

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