Besides one interruption from Mother Nature, the fun never stopped during the month of July. Upon my return home from Vegas, I packed my bags once again and headed a few hours north to a special Thursday night show at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in Tioga Center, New York. The evening went off without a hitch and the fans came out to form an impressive crowd to see the first appearance for the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series at track. These cars were bad fast on the concrete, defeating the prior track record by over three seconds. Although the field was smaller than average, they put on quite the show with open wheel veteran and occasional super late model racer Aaron Pierce taking the win. I wouldn't be surprised to see the series come back and, if on a weekend, see a larger field and at capacity crowd turn out.
The following weekend, I made my first appearance at the CNB Bank Raceway Park in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. This track has been reopened by the Bainey racing family in 2012, and the crowd came out in numbers for this event as well to see the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series drivers conquer the .625 mile. There was lots of side by side racing, but Brett Moffitt was able to hold off his competitors to lead the race flag to flag. His closest competitor, teammate Sergio Pena, had issues with the starter following the halfway break and point leader coming into the race Chase Elliott suffered two cut tires. I was impressed with the show, but I hope that next year they can at least get a support division or two on board. The three hour break in the afternoon between practice sessions and qualifying was probably a little bit too much. What made my evening was I had the chance to get a tour of the television production truck thanks to SPEED pit reporter Derek Pernesiglio. It was amazing to see how compact all of the equipment is, and how everything and everyone connects to put the entire show together.
The weekend after did not go anything close to according to planned. I decided to go down to Manassas, Virginia for the entire weekend this time around and explore the area, and maybe see some practice at the track. The weather had other ideas, as an ongoing annoying mist plagued the entire weekend. The third annual Youth For Tomorrow 150 at Old Dominion Speedway was postponed to the following Saturday. BK Racing drivers Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil as well as former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner still signed autographs for the fans that were in attendance.
It was a bit of an uneasy start to the next weekend with an ongoing threat of storms, but the evening went off as scheduled. The NASCAR drivers had commitments at Indianapolis and were not present, but a strong field of 26 late model stock cars as well as Legends cars, Bandoleros, UCARs and Virginia Sprint Series cars were all on hand to entertain the fans. Dustin Storm took the lead early in the 150 lap main event and never looked back. In the end the event was a success with proceeds and donations going to Youth For Tomorrow, in which the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner of first year team BK Racing, Ron Devine, is the chairman.
Coming up is NASCAR and ARCA's annual late summer stop at Pocono Raceway. After patiently waiting for nearly a year after last August's Saturday rainout, I'm ready to bring my raincheck and get out to the tricky triangle. Both the Truck Series and ARCA initial entry lists are a little concerning, since it appears that neither will have a full field. Despite Kyle Busch Motorsports having only one top five finish this season, my odds on favorite to win would have to be Denny Hamlin due to his experience and success at the track. Don't count out some of the ongoing favorites such as Matt Crafton, James Buescher, Ty Dillon, Johnny Sauter and current point leader Timothy Peters. My eye will be on a couple drivers from my home region that will be making their debuts. After setting fast time for the Daytona ARCA race, Sean Corr and his Empire Racing team have been working hard toward making their first foray into the Truck Series. I expect them to stay out of trouble and accomplish a lead lap finish. The other debut driver is from a little closer to my home. Lebanon, PA's Kyle Martel has made several starts in ARCA and will do double duty on Saturday running both 50 lappers. Martel and team will be supporting and have been raising money for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. For this good cause, I hope they can take home some solid finishes as well.
The ARCA Racing Series is in the midst of a close point battle, and has not seen a repeat winner at Pocono in the last 13 races held there. I wouldn't be surprised to see that streak continue with championship contenders Chris Buescher and Alex Bowman as well as frequent top five finishers Grant Enfinger, Chad Hackenbracht and Matt Lofton in the field; however, June winner Brennan Poole will be hard to beat and veteran Frank Kimmel rides the momentum into Long Pond from his win last time out at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.
Unfortunately due to some recent minor financial setbacks and time constraints, I have decided to only attend the Saturday portion of the weekend once again. As some form of compensation and to keep myself entertained, I plan on going to a few local shows throughout the month at places such as Mountain Speedway, Mahoning Valley Speedway and the New Reading Fairgrounds in order to save for some upcoming trips.
After the last post, I thought that I would be lacking for a while with the poker news. Luckily, I happened to split a tournament three ways a week ago and won a future buy-in into a $100 tournament that will most likely take place either at Delaware Park, somewhere in Atlantic City or Hollywood Casino in the PA Capital Area. I will be keeping everyone posted on when that takes place.
Meanwhile, you can check out my videos from Shangri-La II Motor Speedway and Old Dominion Speedway at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. Enjoy!