Last weeks blog, came to an end on Wednesday the 1st of November.
After attending the Short Track World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte the previous weekend , I’d been spending some quality family time at my daughter, Carla’s place in Willow Springs , North Carolina.
Thursday morning (2nd Nov) , I was on the road again heading back to Charlotte.
It was the World of Outlaws, World Finals, for Sprint Cars, Late Models, and my main interest, the Super DirtCar Series for big block modifieds.
It’s a two and a half hour drive from Carla’s , and I was checking into the Media ‘sign-in’ before mid day.
I’d been happy with the Rodeway Inn at Kannapolis, the previous week, so I’d booked it again.
My room was available before 2-00 pm , so was able to dump off my stuff before the races began.
Access permits, for non race team vehicles were not unavailable this time but instead I was issued with a Media Parking permit .
By the time I got back to the track from the hotel, it was getting close to start time, so I opted to go straight on to the middle.
The first heat races were for the WoO Sprint cars, and , boy , oh boy , it got off to a bad start.
On the first lap Zeb Wise and Ryan Roberts came together right in front of me and it resulted in a bad wreck.
It looked nasty as the safety crews had to cut Zeb from the mangled car. After being checked out by the medics , it was a relief to hear he was OK.
The racing then resumed.
My main interest , as always are the Big Block Modifieds, and there were nine who traveled down from Canada.
Mat Williamson , Jessica Power and Corbin Millar from Ontario.
From Quebec there was. Mario Clair, David Hebert, Dexter and Wallace Stacey, Felix Roy and Steve Bernard.
The first of the features was for the Sprint Cars.
This was won by David Gravel.
Next up was the Late Model Feature.
This was won by Mike Marlar.
The Super DirtCar Series for Big Block Modifieds , ended the evening.
Matt Sheppard took the checkers in this one.
So, that was the first night in the books, and I was soon heading back to my room.
I returned to the track early the next day and dumped off my camera equipment in the Media Tent before heading to explore the pits.
It was at this point , I had a couple of Face Book private messages.
One was from a dutch friend , Bert Aerdts , asking if I’d seen Wout Hoffmans a BriSCA F2 driver from the Netherlands who was out in a Sprint Car.
I hadn’t noticed , so went looking for him .
It just so happened his parking spot was quite near to the media tent.
Once I’d tracked him down we had a good chat.
He is from Boxmeer, a small town close to the now defunct Baarlo Auto Speedway where I spent so many great times in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Once the racing got under way, I made a point of getting a few pics of him.
I returned to the same spot , I’d been at before, on turn three and four.
The first of the features for this, the second night , was the Super DirtCar Series Big Blocks.
It was Tim Fuller, one of my local guys, from Edwards NY, who took the checkers in this one.
Once the Victory Lane pictures were done, I moved away from my shooting spot on the middle.
The other Face Book message I got, earlier in the day was, from one of my British friends who’d flown over specially for the races .
It was BriSCA F1 driver Mick Sworder. who, I’ve known his family for many years.
Bare with me , while I digress for a bit, and explain our history.
Back in the 1970’s , I raced a BriSCA F1 stock car at the same time as Mick’s father Dick Sworder # 150.
Actually , my very first race was at the Snetterton Circuit in 1974, and Dick just happened to be in the same race.
Click the above link . There is a quick glimpse of me # 67 and Dick # 150 . He is driving the red roof car that pushes Frankie Wainman # 212 into a roll over.
In later years , I watched as his son Mick moved up through Mini Stocks , F2 and F1’s .
When Carla , was a young kid , one of her race day friends was Zoe Graham , who ended up marrying Mick.
Zoe’s father, the late Dave Graham was a long time friend of mine, and became one of Mick’s pit crew.
Back in 2015 , when I was at the Brafield Stadium during a trip to the UK , I was asked to present Mick with his race winners trophy ,
Last year (2022) , when I visited the UK for the BriSCA F1 World Final at Ipswich, Mick’s young son Charlie # 5 , won the big race.
Now back to the present
If they were at the races in Charlotte we had to arrange a meet up .
Once I’d finished taking the Victory Lane pics of Tim Fuller, I went up and sat with Mick and Charlie in the grandstands.
I watched Brett Marks win the Sprint Car Feature from there, before heading back to get the Victory pics .
I chose to miss the last feature of the night (the Late Models) and head back to the hotel.
I had plans for an early start on Saturday morning.
Grandson, Benji was playing in a Lacrosse tournament at nearby Moresville that particular weekend , and his first game of the day was scheduled to start at 8-00 am.
I was able to watch his game before heading back to the races.
It had been bitterly cold earlier in the day watching the game, but by the time I got to the track it was T Shirt weather.
This was the final day of the World Finals Weekend
While wandering the pits I came across one of my local friends , Stephane Lafrance from St Albert , Ontario .
He was there helping out his buddy Ryan Godown.
Once again I took up my usual position on turn three and four.
The first portion of the day was taken up with a bunch of ‘Last Chance’ Qualifiers (Consis) for all three features that would conclude this years show.
The Sprint Car main event then followed .
Brad Sweet was the winner of this one. Rico Abreu was second and Logan Schuchart third
I’d purposely watched this race from the grandstand , near to the start finish line .
Like the previous night, I was going to miss the Late Model feature and make a quick get away.
I had another early start planned in the morning for the long drive back to Canada..
I left the Rodeway Inn at Kannapolis at 5-15 am and by 7-00 pm Sunday night , I was rolling into Cornwall, Ontario.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I had appointments at the local Hospital for my monthly IVIG infusions, and the rest of the week was spent getting ready for my next little adventure.
More about that later
R.I.P Dennis Back
I found out via social media, from his close friend Paul Stemmler the sad news that one of my long time local race fans Dennis Back had passed away. I’d know him for many years, and often chatted with him at the races. My thoughts and sympathies to his family and friends