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    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    Central Alberta Raceway!!!

    Stardate 4330.0

    Saturday marked the grand opening of Rimbey Alberta's Central Alberta Raceway. It is a 3/8 mile clay track and was just finished beign constructed moments before race time. It was a little slick at first, but once the sun got on the track, it began to harden up a little.

    Finishing touches on the grading.

    In the distance you can see the pit area where all of the cars are being set up. Before the races started, there was a great excitement in the air. Always seems to feel like that at events like these. They had some nice bleacher stands set up and everyone had a great view of the track. Before any of the main event was ready, they had the little mini Sprint Cars racing around on the inside of the track. They really get going, and most of the time, they are up on two wheels, whining their way around the little track.

    Classic Old Harley

    This bike was parked outside the food concession area. I don't know what year or model it is, but it was certainly worth a stop and see. Bradley seemed pretty thrilled to pose next to it anyways. Definately a classic bike, in tip top shape as well.

    The Main Event

    All of the cars racing are late-model Stock Cars, and the fastest in Alberta. On the straight-aways (not very long), they get up to 110 mph and basically slide around the corners. They began with 6 heat races to decide on position for the main event. The cars were super loud, and you could smell the burnt gas in the air. Every time they came around the corner to the straight, they would hammer the throttle and accelerate very quickly. These were pretty exciting, and had 6 cars in each. They went pretty quick, and lasted for 10 laps each heat. Once the heats were decided, they had a break while the drivers set up the cars for the arduous 25 lap Main Event, where ALL of the cars race at once.

    For fun, they raced the fastest heat car against a full blown Sprint car, and I gotta say, the Sprint kicked his butt hands down. We thought the Stock cars were fast, but the Sprint Car would take the corners faster, and pull away on the straights with ease.

    Once they were ready, all 17 Stock cars lined up and they announced the drivers and their sponsors. Then it was "Gentlemen, start your engines..."

    Getting a Tow...

    Of course an oval race on a 3/8 mile track with 17 Stock Cars will have incidents... It took 3 restarts of the race before they finally completed the first lap, as there were incidents each time. There were a few good bang ups later on as well, but this guy (getting the tow) was probably the best. He ended up half over the berm and into the wet stuff. He was done for the day for sure. The guy passing him in the picture was my favorite racer. Much more aggressive than the other drivers for sure. He started in last place in the Main Event because he blew his transmission in the first Heat race. He didn't race in the second heat but had the rear end and tranny rebuilt for the final race. There was also a girl racing a nice pink and white car who was only 16. She tried pretty hard but lost every race she was in.

    The entire evening's events cost us $10 a head to get in. I think it is excellent entertainment value, and being only a 45 minute drive away (in Rimbey Alberta), we could likely go a few more times this summer! Just watch the website for schedules!

    I have some short (about 10 to 15 second long) avi video clips of various parts of the events, and some crashes too. They have been filmed only with my digital camera so they are not the best quality but they capture some of the excitement, sounds and spills of the racing.

    Need it? Get it :)

    The 16 year-old girl started her heat in the lead, but sadly lacks the experience I think to win. She finished last in all the races, but hats off for trying! Watch out for her in the future!

    In one of the heat races, a few cars lost it on the corners. It seemed like this corner was particularly nasty, and I would say that all of the crashes and spin outs happened here.

    These were the mini Sprint cars. They sounded like lawn mowers almost when wound out, but got up to speeds nearing 60 mph. They put on a few little races and were great fun to watch. They have different sized tires because of the oval track. It allows them to turn on a dime (literally) as well.

    This was the challenge between the fastest heat Stock car and the Sprint car. The difference was amazing. They are hoping to get anywhere from a dozen to 20 of these Sprint cars racing at this track and it would be an awesome event for sure! They are damned fast!

    This is the main event. 17 Late Model Stock Cars screaming around the 3/8 mile clay track. It was loud, smelly, dusty and great fun! At first, there were a lot of incidents, and after a few laps there were maybe two or three cars out of the race.

    This was likely the biggest crash up. The one car ended up high centered on the berm, and there was general chaos for a few minutes. My favorite car had to drive the track the wrong way around until he could turn around again.

    Man did this guy really hit the tulips hard. Water sprayed everywhere and he was good and stuck. They came and towed him right off the track.

    The battle for the lead. The blue "69" car was my favorite. He was the guy who blew his tranny and had it fixed in time for the Main Event. He started last in the race and ended up finishing second place. He almost got a perfect pass on the one corner, but just didn't have the top end speed to catch the race winner. He MADE the day for sure :D

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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