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Delaware - Shadow's Rainout Report - May 1 / 2009


So, looks like we got some rain!

Pulled in early tonight, and as of 4:30 or so, it looked like we might get the races in. Nice long line of race car trailers waiting tho get into the pits, and there was definitely excitement in the air, but it was not to last, as the skies began to darken and the odd raindrop began to fall. Still smelled like fresh cut grass though.

I had the opportunity to drop by the office while the management was still there, and of course they were hip deep in preparations. I don't know if anyone outside the small circle of full time people there have any real idea just how much work goes into running this place. But everyone looked confident and everything seems to be on track.

I sopke to John Houghton briefly and he gave me the 50 cent tour of the improvements they've made to the place. One of these improvements is the VIP lounge, completely redecorated and looking good. He also pointed out a few of the fan-visible improvements...things that, while may not at first glance SEEM that impressive, will defininitely improve the quality of service. Firstly a few new concession parked down by turn 1 and one down toward turn 4. Both will serve burgers, dogs, pop...that kind of stuff. A new debit system will be in place shortly. In the weeks coming, you'll be able to use debit at the ticket windows and most of the concessions as well. According to John, "In a couple of weeks we're going to be, bar none, the most technologically up to date track in the country."

There are improvements being made to the sound system, as well as to the scoring system. Turn 3 and turn 4 down to the start finish line will be the first phase of the resurface, and the new pit road has already been completed.

Oh...and its possible that we may see an old style weekly race program for sale once again. (for those that don't know, Delaware hasn't done these since the 80s.) I thought that was pretty exciting. I miss those and I think they were a valued part of the experience back then. So that may be in the works too. (I didn't actually get a definite on that.)

After the tour I headed down trackside, and the pits were teeming with Late Models. See, at Delaware, they don't let the guys fire the loud cars until 6 for the most part. So right around 6 I'm wandering down the rows in the Late Model end of the pits, checking out the new guys, introducing myself to a couple that I've met here, including one of the new guys named Steven Matthews, who drives all the way down from New Liskeard and is planning to race here every week. For those who don't know, New Liskeard is a stone's throw from the North Pole. (To illustrate: if you're driving from London, and you hit Barrie, you're not even halfway there yet.)

So there I am standing in a pit full of shiny new Late Models, already grinning from ear to ear, and suddenly most of them fire up. Now I'm standing in the middle of a pit full of running Late Models...and the adrenaline starts to flow, and no one's even turned a lap yet. I look up and down and realize that tonights race, if it goes, is going to be one for the ages. All the usual big guns are here, as well as a boatload of new guys. (not rookies...just guys new to Delaware) I heard an estimate of 26 LMs in the pits, and the bulk of them were competitive ones. If all these guys show every week, we're going to have some amazing races.

In the Super Stock pit, its time to make some reaquaintances and check out the new hardware. Silverthorn Jr's back (9x?). We've got some new guys, like 48-Kelly McColl, 7-Jared Sheilds, 48-Steve "Pee Wee" Smith, and 60-Jake Ott in his lime green camaro. McColl can't seem to catch a break yet. He crashed on one of the practice days, then broke an axle and crashed again during happy hour tonight. Another addition to the field is the 67 Camaro of Raymond Yeo. (That's the blue one, number 55 that made a couple phantom practice runs last year.)

Then there's a raft of older cars with new paintjobs...each and every one looking sharp. Don't know whats up with the blue and yellow though, with both 11-Jason Lidster and 9-DJ Dejesus both sporting that color combo. Jeremiah Rabidau's sporting the same paint as last year, and with the Perkins car having been blue and yellow since the beginning, it adds up to an abundance of blue and yellow liveries. Dan Bugg also sports a new look, with his smart looking red and white number 71. (Dan, who kept giving us weather updates via blackberry, was dubbed "Doppler Dan" by one of the crowd milling around the SS pits.) And of course, the 28 car is back to being its familar red, white and blue.

Unfortunately, due to trying to help with mishap on the Perkins car, I never got around to checking out the Truck pits. All I can really say is that 56-Showler looked pretty good out there.

So everyone got a couple of laps in, but the rain just kept stopping/starting, just light enough to be a teaser. The optomists thought we might just get the races in yet, and the pessimists were already throwing their tires and tools in the trailer.

So then it was off to be a fly on the wall at the driver meeting. Everyone gave Arlen Scherba, Delaware's new sole owner a big hand. Mr Scherba is the guy who (as I understand it) bought out the other three guys, and gave the go ahead for all the things that need to get done around the speedway. He addressed everyone briefly and reminded everyone that racing is a give and take between the fans, the management and the drivers, and that each is a by-product of the other....everyone plays a part in the success of the speedway.

Then they intoduced the Jesses Journey people and did the 50-50 draw. The Jesse's Journey walk itself will happen next week, since A: it was raining and B: as of 7:30 there were about 30 people in the stands.

A brief talk on the use of transponders and radio frequencies ensued, and then the rain started in earnest. It was agreed that while we might still get the races in, it was probably unlikely.

One tidbit - looks like the JBM Auto Leasing 50 lappers are going to be a weird hybrid of a 50 lap race and a twin 25. At lap 25, there's a competition checker/caution, then the green flag again. Ostensibly, its so they can count it as 2 races for the sake of NASCAR points. I don't quite understand why they don't just make it twin 25s...but it should be interesting. Especailly that first 25 lap leg.

And that's the way it was left. At 8 they called it. The track was too wet and it was cold enough (and dropping fast) that it was going to take way too long to dry it. So that was it. We went home.� 

So, while we didn't get to the racing tonight, it was awesome to get out in the pits, shake some hands, and get reacquainted with lots of familiar faces.

It was good to be back.

See you next week.


   I was going to head out but the writing was already on the wall by 5 that the rain was settling in. Then I really got bummed when I figured out the Nationwide race wasn't on until 11:30  >:(
   New Liskard is an 8 hour drive from London, I do it once every spring. Can't imagine doing it every weekend. That guy has some dedication. I guess the only saving grace for him is that when everyone is going North he is going south and visa-versa.
   With all the improvments going on at the track, standing O by the way, did anybody mention if the track lighting was getting upgraded? I think if they did that one thing it would really improve the experience for both fans and drivers.


My brother works for McColl's so I went down to the track last night with him...It's pretty much the only Friday night off from Ohsweken I have all year so I'm disappointed they didn't race last night.

Sure is an awful lot of money tied up in some of those Late Models...yikes...On my list of cars in the pits last night, there are 23 of them.



--- Quote from: ernie on May 02, 2009, 07:19:08 AM ---   With all the improvments going on at the track, standing O by the way, did anybody mention if the track lighting was getting upgraded? I think if they did that one thing it would really improve the experience for both fans and drivers.

--- End quote ---

I'm pretty sure there were lighting upgrades on the list as well.

I also told Paul Houghton that this place has been crying out for years to have a dome over it. He said they'd get right on it. :P



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