Posted on 09 December 2010.
By Dale Calnan /OntarioOval.com – Well I am finally catching my breath after our first season of OntarioOval.com. Keeping a log of all our trips certainly has resulted in some interesting bits of information. I usually find stats and numbers used in pro sports on the tube to be, well at times annoying. However when you start tracking some of your own stuff… wow, now it’s important. Haha
In 2010, I was able to plan a total of 41 races. The weatherman was actually quite friendly this year and we were only rained out 5 times. This allowed me to see 36 of those planned events. The only race I attended outside of Ontario was at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania as my wife Betty and I traveled to Myrtle Beach for our 35th anniversary.
My regular “home track” – at which I was able to see 10 events – is Ohsweken Speedway. The only trouble being this facility is over 350kms from my front door. So a round trip is 700kms.
Three of the tracks we attended in 2010 – Peterborough, Sunset and Barrie – were my first ever visits, and none were disappointing either. All three tracks put on great shows. I had plans to go to both Capital City and Flamboro, but weather kept me home. A big thanks to the Ottawa venue for phoning early to say there was a 90% chance of rain and that I should postpone the trip.
The longest trip of the year took me from one end of the province to the other. In late July it was a regular Friday night trip to Ohsweken, however it was cancelled so it was a quick change of plans and a drive up the highway to Delaware Speedway for a regular show. After a short nights sleep it was back on the road for a pair of Ontario Dirt Late Model shows at Brockville and Cornwall. By the time I landed back home in Picton on Monday afternoon the odometer had piled up 1620kms more.
Next year the plan is to make another attempt to get to Flamboro and Capital City if the weather will cooperate. Another pair of tracks on my 2011 wish list are Sauble and Varney, both I have heard great things about. I tried to get to both this past year, but just could not find a spot in the schedule. I also plan to take in a Can Am Midgets and Canadian Vintage Modifieds as they were a couple of the touring series I didn’t get to see in action. The folks up in Emo have crossed my mind as well. If I drove up through Michigan and Minnesota the trip would only take around 18 hours one way, so who knows.
Something I learned is that there is an awful lot of great racing throughout the province. Whether you are traveling, on vacation or just want to see something different you can see great racing almost anywhere in the province. The opportunity is there to see new and different tracks. The people that I met across the province whether it be in the pits, in the stands or working as officials are so similar it is amazing. They all love racing whether it is spectating, working on or driving a race car or being a track worker putting on the show.
One of the most common things I hear is “oh, it is paved”, or “oh it’s dirt”. Well, I saw excellent racing on all types of surfaces. There are dirt tracks that are as smooth as asphalt and then sometimes they rut up or are dusty from the weather of that particular week. Some paved tracks are so smooth and on some the asphalt looks like a cheese grater. Some are perfectly level, while others have what looks like an uphill section or a hump. That’s what makes them unique though, they all have their own character. The key is to go with a good attitude, because I think racing in this province is one of the best buys for your entertainment dollar anywhere.
To help document my travels you can find over 9,500 pictures from 2010 on the ImageFactor.ca Photography website. As I looked back at some of the pictures I realized that some of them had a bit more of a story to them. So, over the next few weeks we will revisit some of them and fill in some blanks. Hope you enjoy the trip back! Oh yes, and before I forget… in helping cover and promote the great racing we have here in Ontario and to do the best to get exposure for OntarioOval.com, the total mileage for 2010 added up to a conservative total of 13,634kms. This is more than travelling from Halifax to Vancouver and back!
Now for our first Behind the Lens picture. How did this little tangle on the backstretch at the Autumn Colours race at Peterborough end up being the longest wreck of the 2010?
Well, driver Rob Warnes got collected on the backstretch and mounted the wall entering turn three. His car made some awful grinding and scraping sounds until it finally came back down off the wall as it started to do the transition from turn three to turn four.
[VIEW GALLERY TO SEE THE CRASH FRAME BY FRAME]
Visit us again soon for our next instalment , showing a driver who appeared to be camera shy! But…
Footnote: I talk in the singular throughout this article, but I rarely travelled alone. My wife of 35 years Betty came with me to Brockville and Cornwall on mid-July. She ended getting pictures from places I wasn’t allowed access. Imagine that. haha And the other 95% of the trips were with my son Greg, who owns and operates OntarioOval.com. Many laps were seen, but the majority for me were through a small camera viewfinder.
Finally, two trips come to mind. First was coming home from our ODLM weekend at Brockville and Cornwall. I drove and Greg typed on his laptop, not a word was said for over 3 hours. The other was coming home in a rainstorm from the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race in Barrie. We were tired! Amazingly, no one wanted to come with me for the January ice races at Brighton. That’s my next event!