To say my last several weeks have had their ups and downs is an understatement. Luckily, most things have ended on the upside...mainly on the racing and poker front.
The month of July finished off on a positive note with a beautiful night for some short track racing at the little 1/8 mile Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Newmanstown, Pennsylvania. The Micro Sprints put on a great show as usual, and I left the facility satisfied and looking forward to the next weekend's festivities.
What I should have known was that going to a race for a fifth weekend in a row and not having precipitation interfere was too good to be true. Heading to Pocono Raceway on the first Saturday of August for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA doubleheader, there was only a 30% chance of rain throughout the afternoon. During the first few laps of the Truck race following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, that changed to 100% fairly quickly. After a few hours standing under the bleachers, the racing was finally called and rescheduled for Sunday morning. We even tried to ride out less than an hour west to Mountain Speedway, but when the haulers are driving in the opposite direction as you it is never a good sign. On the way home we were trying to coordinate how to make it back to the track at such an early hour on Sunday, but as we found out via a visit to the Pocono web site it wouldn't occur at all. The track required fans to purchase tickets for the Cup race, which also had an iffy weather forecast, and a $25 credit would be rewarded if a Saturday ticket was purchased. I was not happy with the circumstances, but what can you do against mother nature and also the fact that fans like me that attend only on Saturday are in the minority. My Saturday ticket will be exchanged at no charge for one of the Saturday races at Pocono next year, but now that I know what the consolation plan is when the races get rained out I probably won't attend again after next year unless I can get some sort of deal for the entire weekend. Nevertheless, here are photos from some of the festivities leading up until the rain: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.575150821359.2073121.37801386&l=26602da775&type=1.
Not letting the weather get me down I made a trip to see more races just two days afterward, although the track was just a fraction of the size of Pocono. I went to the Reading Fairgrounds for Kart and Slingshot racing. While the $10 probably wouldn't have been worth the admission to the fair, in my opinion, the racing made it well worth it. It was great to see some grassroots racing once again with the drivers going for the checkered flag just as much as the NASCAR guys. For instance, one driver battling for the lead in the Slingshot consolation race lost control of his car, got his right side tires on the wall, kept going and still finished in the fourth and final transfer position to the feature without the aid of a caution. Photos from the entire evening can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.575409208549.2073238.37801386&l=3f9c60ad1a&type=1.
The following weekend was a break from the racing world and a trip back into the poker realm. Unfortunately, it would end in heartbreak and would continue a three month slump of failing to make any profit at the poker table.
The events during the next week would begin to improve. It would start with a second place finish in a small poker game and minimal, but reassuring money won during the middle of the week. As the weekend came around, the weather looked excellent for the Modifieds 100 lap appearance at Mahoning Valley Speedway as part of their Modified Poker Series. The last two races for this series ended in photo finishes. There would not be one this time around, but over 10 lead changes between the two leaders Earl Paules and Don Wagner wowed the fans, as well as the weekly local divisions which were all on hand this past Saturday evening. Videos can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24.
The day after was a rainy one, which meant it was a good afternoon to play some more poker. I drove to a tournament in which I qualified for where the top 10 finishers would win vacation prize packages. Some pigs must have been flying with that rain, because I dodged every bullet to make it to the finish. I was initially considering using the three day, two night package for a trip to Las Vegas next summer, but after thinking things through I'll probably want to go there on my own terms and for a longer period of time. I'm seriously considering choosing the trip to Biloxi, Mississippi later in the year and after my stay there driving nearly two hours east to Pensacola, Florida to take in the Snowball Derby festivities for the second year in a row. Overall, it was a great weekend...which happened to be my birthday weekend by the way!
Things are definitely looking up, although my car just broke down and I'm trying to figure out a way to get to Atlantic City this Sunday for a tournament that I also qualified for by finishing in the top 10 this past Sunday. We'll see what happens going forward, including potential trips to Big Diamond Raceway and Mountain Speedway during Labor Day weekend. Wish me luck!
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