If you build it, they will come
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Lincoln Speedway off and running
By LDN staff
[MAY 10, 2004]
People who knew racing said
that if you build a track, there are enough race fans to make the
endeavor worthwhile. It appears as if they were right. We're not the
best judges of crowd counts, but one said over 1,500. We'd say
probably between 2,000 and 3,000 if you count all the people in the
grandstands and all the people standing inside and outside the
fairgrounds. Whatever the count, the principal characters had to be
happy with the turnout on opening night.
For people like us who are totally
unfamiliar with racing, it looks like a lot of cars and a lot of
left turns. If we heard the announcer correctly, there were 140
cars, and we heard terms like Modifieds, Street Stock, Mini-Winged
Sprints and Wild Things (wasn't he in the movie "Major League"?).
Other terms thrown around on the track were dashes, heats, features
and a host of other lingo words that many of the race fans were as
familiar with as we are with the sacrifice bunt and the hit and run.
In just our section of the bleachers
alone there were people from Springfield, Decatur and Bloomington.
We don't know if you can get a total of last night's gas, shopping,
hotel and food totals and compare them to a normal weekend; but it
appears that an event like this can boost the local economy. We
don't know who won all the races, but we do know that there were
some local drivers among the competitors.
The sights, the sounds and the
surroundings all looked to us as if this was a first-class offering.
For future reference we think you can
get in sometime around 3 p.m., with hot laps (practice laps, for us
novices) starting at 4:30 and heat races scheduled to begin at 5:30.
A $10 fee covers your adult admission, parking and a seat in the
bleachers if you want it (and those bleacher seats were more
comfortable than they looked), and kids 11 and under watch the
racing action for free! There is a fully stocked concession stand,
and we don't know if you can bring your own food in or not.
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Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis even got into
the act as she showed some guts getting in one of the cars and
driving a lap to break the tape to commemorate opening night. The
rest of the drivers didn't get the mayor's preferential treatment;
when they toed the line, their positions were picked by a blind
Some of the races changed complexion
after wrecks caused some of them to go to the yellow caution status.
The orders remained the same as before the accident, but the drivers
in second and third were able to make up the distances they were
trailing. In at least two of the races we were focused on, someone
other than the full-race leader was able to sneak out a win on a
two- or three-lap restart to the finish. To those who know this
sport, they probably just accept it; but to those of us who don't,
it made for some wild, fantastic finishes.
We're sure that there were some
complaints last night and that there will be plenty more today and
this week. However, from what we could tell, there were a lot people
there having a good time here in Lincoln, Ill. … and we haven't even
talked about the drivers yet!
At any rate,
the LDN wants to salute this new endeavor and wishes the promoters
and all the drivers the best of luck during the 2004 racing season.
Next week promises to be exciting as Lincoln is to host the
Non-Winged sprint cars.