Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last Night's Fun - Memorial Day Weekend of Racing

(Richmond, VA) Hi 89  Lo 69 -- We didn't get home till 1:30am this morning,  so I didn't take the time to tell about last night's entertainment.  Our friend Mike loves racing, especially dirt track racing.  Jim and I both are race fans, so we made plans to go to Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, VA, which is a little more than an hour east of our RV park.  There were a lot of afternoon thunderstorms around, so we watched the weather radar and checked the track's website in case the races were cancelled due to rain. We headed out at 4:30, and ran through a large thunderstorm on the way. Jim checked the radar on his Droid and saw that there was rain all around the track. When we got there around 6pm the sun was shining, but we still got about 20 minutes of moderately hard rain.

Rain and dirt tracks don't mix well. They do wet the track to keep the dust down, but it's a small controlled amount of water. The rain made the track real muddy and unsafe to race on, so we waited about three hours while all the race cars ran around the track slowly so the heat from their exhaust would dry and pack the dirt. They finally got it in good enough shape to race on, so they had a short period of "hot laps" (practice) and then qualifying laps for each of the four divisions. Qualifications would normally be time consuming as each car goes out alone for a couple of laps. But here they put 6-8 cars on the track at a time for about 5 laps and use electronic transponders to keep track of their lap times.  So that part didn't take long at all. They lined up for the first of four feature races at 10:15. The racing was very exciting, and the final checkered flag was waved around 12:30am.  It was one of those times when it would have been nice to boondock in the RV in the track parking lot. (There were two motorhomes parked there for the night.) We might do that sometime.

Here's a rainbow we saw when we got to the track.
There was another lighter one above it, but it's very faint in the picture.  (click to make larger).

For a small local track, it's a very nice facility.  The grandstands are the same type of aluminum stands you see at large NASCAR tracks, with seat backs and full flooring. The temperature was around 70, but very humid so it felt a lot cooler. I'm glad we had jackets with us, and Mike came to my rescue with a blanket from the car.  

What a great night! It would be fun to go to different race tracks as we travel around the country.

I didn't get up till 10:30 this morning.  Jim got up earlier and got started on his annual race watching marathon. First up was the Monaco Grand Prix early this morning, then the Indianapolis 500 this afternoon. When that was over he had a couple of hours until the NASCAR Charlotte 600. So he got ready for tomorrow's departure by dumping dumped the tanks, checking the tires, and taking his truck to fill up with diesel (which went down seven cents a gallon since the last fill up).  I went over to Terri and Mike's for awhile.  It's our last day with them and I wanted to just sit and talk with them awhile. 

So we're now watching the Charlotte 600 miler, and Terri and Mike are coming over this evening for a final goodbye chat. It's been a great two weeks with a great couple. We'll sure miss them, but we'll see them again down the road. It's time to move on tomorrow. Farther north, and closer to Canada! 


Kimberly and Jerry Peterson said...

Sounds pretty much like our day today since we too are race nuts. Forgot how much we miss Indy racing, will now have to put the Indianapolis 500 on our Life List.

Your night last night also sounds like a night we love to spend.

Safe travels...we get on the move again on Tuesday...been here for a few days and looking forward to getting on the road again.

Dave and Maxine- Wandering Wingers said...

Dirt track racing is one of my favorites. We need to go to more of them also. Visiting different tracks is a good idea.

We also watched the Indy and Nascar races. Both were pretty good. I was hoping Dale Jr. would have pulled it out though.

Safe travels as you head north.

Mike and Terri said...

We sure had a lot of fun with you two! Hopefully we can meet up later this summer out in the Midwest. Safe travels, and take care.