|The ROC Cabin Fever 60 at New Egypt Speedway|
Its been almost six months since we have hit the road to photograph a race.. When New Egypt Speedway published their schedule the ROC Modified and Sportsman tours were first up opening the season March 23rd.While dirt racing is not on my schedule too many times a year how can you pass up a 60 lap modified race about 2 hours from home with so many big names.
As you can expect the 3rd weekend in March the weather can be less than perfect but other than unusually cold temperatures and a 20 mile wind it was a pretty good day.
Modifieds and sportsmen were filling the pits from several states as the track personnel worked hard to prepare the track surface. It was good to see many of the big names pit side, Horton, Shepard, Johnson, Ward, Godown, Paunch, Friesen, Blewett and others.
Unfortunately the track surface would be the top story most of the day as huge ruts developed in many spots throughout the turns. The track surface was only applied a couple of weeks ago with unseasonably cold and wet weather it hindered the track preparation. I spoke to Fred who owns the track and he was upset with what the track became on Sat. and promised they will get it right.
Walking up the pit ramp to head to the infield I could notice changes to the track since the last time I was there last year. The biggest change was the large billboards that ring the track from turn 2 all the was down the backstretch.It gives a whole new feel to the track. One change that is not so noticeable is the irrigation system they are building so they will not have to water the track during race nights. Its a novel idea that should speed along races.
The qualifying races went pretty quickly with about 30 cars in each divisions turning their first laps of the season. After the heats they had a lengthy delay to work the track and try to eliminate the potholes. To the credit of the many drivers there was no public bitching about the conditions, a tribute to their professionalism. (Although with the amount of broken hubs, shocks and crushed body parts there had to be some private complaints)
Shooting races from the infield of a large track like New Egypt you spend most of your time focusing on what is right in front of you. Last night no matter where you looked there was plenty of action to shoot.. Standing on the backstretch they roared by, standing in turn 1 and 2 the Big Block modified cars bounced through the ruts while still on the gas. It was an amazing sight. Some of the cars were slowed down because they were literally plowing through the ruts bottoming out the cars. David Van Horn was a victim of one of the large ruts as he hit one wrong and rolled the car over, David was OK.
Jimmy Horton worked his way out front of the big block feature fairly early in the race and then picked his way through the pot holes to win the race with a $10,000 payday. Jimmy looked very happy in victory lane even after the pounding he must have taken all night. Jimmy Blewett saved his car all night and made a late move for second place. Ryan Godown was strong all night but a late trip to the pits cost him any shot at a win ending up 3rd.
Ken Hammond took the lead and the win late in the sportsman race over DJ Ruppert and Eddie White.
While the track was not good on Sat. the drivers put on a great show when the night could have been a disaster. With all the improvements already done and planned they should have the track surface problems solved for opening night. April 6th is the next show with 358 Modifides, Sportsman and Street Stocks.
Thank you to New Egypt Speedway for the hospitality they extended. It was our first time covering a race there and they made me feel as welcome as any track I have been to.
Next up for Myracenews will be the Ice Jam at Fonda on April 6th, Waterford on the 7th, Lebanon Valley on the 13th and Thompson on the 14th. Get to you favorite short track and see a race!