Our annual speed events were held Saturday July 20th at Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run this year since we were unable to secure the use of any kind of parking lot.
Things got off to a rough start that morning. I should have known since Dixie had to close the grandstands and cancel their racing program for several weeks due to a structure failure during one of their Friday night events resulting in a minor injury to a spectator. Even though I had confirmed with the track owner shortly after that happened that this would not affect our use of the track I didn’t anticipate several small problems that popped up that morning.
First was lack of bodies. I had secured the track use from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM with registration to begin at 8:15 AM. I arrived at 7:00 AM to have the gates open for any early entrant arrival and to I unloaded my car and check it. At 7:50 I was the only person there. That’s when I started to panic. Even called Jim Harris to confirm it was July 20th. Shortly after that Dave Fulks called to ask where I was since he and another six or seven people were waiting outside the wall not knowing the far gate was open. That made me feel better and later entrants started trickling.
Second was the issue with timing. It was almost 8:30 and still no sign of Dwight and his crew. Knowing how reliable Dwight was I knew something unforeseen must have happened. When they final arrived I found they had left Kalamazoo early that morning and on the way had a flat tire in one of their two vehicles (neither of which was the timing van normally used) which put them way behind schedule. At least they were there.
Third was the timing location. Normally they set up and use the track tower however, when the owner said we couldn’t use the grandstands I didn’t realize he also meant the tower was off limits. Since Dwight didn’t bring this van, he also had no generator. We needed a new location and a source of power. Luckily we were able to run a line from the rear garage (several hundred feet) to the small grandstands on the east side of the track where they managed to set up. Once the club canopy was erected for cover they were up and running. Thank goodness.
Fourth was the lunch. The Hall family had donated everything needed for the lunch except the sub sandwiches. I had previously stopped at Subway, which is only a mile or so from the track, to review with the manager what I intended to do Saturday morning. I explained I would not know a head count until registration was closed and at that time I would call in the order for the appropriate amount of party subs. He stated that would be no problem since we would have adequate staff on hand that morning. When Bill Dahlquist called to place the order that morning they were informed party subs needed a twenty four advance notice. Damn. Thankfully Bill was were able to arrange party trays to cover the lunch, but the quantity was more than we needed which pushed the cost up more than I anticipated. All the left overs were taken to the corn roast.
Lastly was the event length. My intention was to use all of the Dixie track, figure eight, then the small oval, and then the large oval. I realized, depending on the final amount of competitors, we may not be able to do this for all seven events but I had hoped to complete three to four events before having to shorten up the course. Well at one thirty when we broke for lunch we only had two events completed and a six o’clock dead line. During lunch I stated we need to shorten the course and everyone understood. I was thanked by the out of region competitors from Indiana, Tennessee, and Iowa for the opportunity to use the whole track as it was a blast. At that time I was also ask if we could run the remaining five events different. I had been running one event at a time and there was a majority of entrants wanting to run only the first run of the remaining five events so they could leave early. After the timing crew said it was no problem, we ran the first run of the five and those who chose to run the second run of five could do so. We lost so many entrants we were done before five o’clock.
Overall it was successful day however, financially it was disappointing since we only made about seventy dollars profit. One factor was the death of Jackie Leone, a member of the Shiawassee Corvette Club, and her Saturday funeral kept several of the regular competitors from attending.
Last but, certainly not least, I want to thank all the members who donated their time to help make the event successful and take a load of my shoulders. In no particular order, Jim Harris, Dave and Pat Fulks, Donna Janos, Anne Snyder, Elaine Moore, Bill and Wendy Dahlquist, Kirsten Hawes, and Jim Jones.