After last week’s extremely hot weather, I was curious as to what type of track conditions would greet the racers and fans at Shawano Speedway on Saturday night. I was pleasantly surprised that the track was smooth and was able to hold moisture for most of the night.
During the last two weeks of racing, the track prep crew has started misting the entire track between the heat races of each division of racing. Granted, this means more down time for the fans, but I think it has been helpful in keeping the features from becoming a one-lane, follow the leader type of races.
There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet about track prep, not just at Shawano Speedway, but also at other area dirt tracks. It’s a situation where a track will never make everybody happy. All it can do is what it feels is right for its track.
To give you an example of the difficulty the weather has made on the track prep crew, Shawano Speedway posted on its Facebook page that in the month of June, 268,083 gallons of water was used to water the track. That is in comparison to 80,000 gallons used last year in June.
With July getting off to a hotter start than June, July’s numbers could be worse.
As the temperatures increase, we are also coming to the part of the racing season in which the car counts usually drop a bit. This is usually due to the fact some drivers blow motors or their cars receive heavy damage in accidents and these drivers don’t have enough money to make the repairs. It’s a situation that happens every year. It’s just one of the downfalls of racing being such an expensive sport.
There were only 12 WISSOTA Late Models on hand, and only 11 raced in the feature because Dave Fieber dropped a valve in his motor during his heat race. He said he was taking his motor to the motor shop on Monday, so hopefully he will be back on the track soon.
Ron Berna made it to victory lane for the first time in 2012. Berna has had several strong runs this year, so it’s a little surprising that it took him until July to win his first feature. He earned the win, as he had to get by Todd Frank early in the race, and then hold off the challenges of Troy Springborn late in the race.
Berna’s brother, John, led all 20 laps of the IMCA Modified feature to earn his first victory of the year.
After enduring some horrible luck earlier in the year, Brandon Czarapata has been on a roll in the IMCA Stock Car division. He won his second feature of the year last week. Dan Michonski continued to be the class of the field, though. He had another top five finish and continues to lead the point standings.
A Bennett once again won the FASTRAK Late Model feature, but it wasn’t Joel Bennett. Instead, it was Joel’s brother, Aaron, who won the feature. Over the final laps of the feature, Joel tried several times to duck underneath Aaron for the lead but couldn’t make the pass. It was Aaron Bennett’s first-ever feature win at the Speedway.
Tracy Wassenberg switched to a Razor chassis this year, and he is reaping the benefits of that change. He won another feature last week in the IMCA Northern SportMod division. While all the drivers were running the low groove, Wassenberg was using the high groove and moved from out of the top five to the lead in less than four laps.
Joey Taycher was racing a borrowed car last week, as his car was still in the process of being repaired from a wreck the prior week. He borrowed the car from Nick Furman. Taycher wound up finishing in the top five in the feature.
Ready or not, we are only three weeks away from the World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series invading Shawano Speedway. Start making your plans.