Monday, May 10


If you build it, they will come       Send a link to a friend

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 draw.

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.

[LDN staff]

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