The racing world was surely wondering how the new ownership at Hilltop would handle a 2 day show for their first ever events. Even I had several concerns but Tyler, Beth, and the entire staff stepped up to put those concerns to rest. Did everything go perfectly? Of course not, and that's never happened at any track anywhere. It did go better than many shows I've been to that were put on by veteran track owners.
I'm not a Sprint car guy but I made the trip Friday night to take in the show and partially to see how things went. I can describe the track conditions on Friday night in just 2 words. Fuggin WOW! Ok, I coulda probably got it down to 1 word but that wouldn't be fair. Apparently when you actually put moisture INTO the track, instead of on top of it, it makes for great multi-groove racing without the dust, even with Sprint cars punishing it all night. Many of us already knew that, and remember days gone by when all tracks did this, including Hilltop. Doing this isn't always easy and it's pretty hard to get perfect but they pulled it off Friday night for sure. Every driver I talked to was very impressed and thankful for the effort put into it. The surface may not have been perfect on Saturday night but it was pretty damn close. 26 Late Models, 30 Modifieds, and the rest of the strong fields would work it hard all night resulting in still almost no dust and just a couple dry spots at the end of the long night. It's been a very long time since I've witnessed an entire 40 lap Late Model show where you could see the action without a dust storm. The Sprints went 30 laps (26 straight green flag laps) without a dust cloud to be found. Both nights allowed the 3 (and more) wide battles this place has been known for in the past. Hats off to everybody that helped to make this possible!!
One of the new changes for this weekend was double file restarts in Late Models and Modifieds. I gotta tell you the racer in me doesn't always like the idea, but maybe if the leader was given lane choice it would win me over. The fans sure seemed to love it and were treated to some awesome action because of this new idea. I reckon that putting on a more entertaining show for the fans is the whole idea after all, and it sure as hell did that. The Late Model Feature showcased this very well. While Conley, Markham, Carpenter, and Drown put on one hell of a show fighting for the lead, there was no way to pick a winner until the final couple of laps. They used the entire surface to trade slide jobs the entire race, including Drown wheeling his ride from the tail to finish second. In the final laps Freddie Carpenter turned up the wick a bit and finally secured the lead in his new Kryptonite Vision chassis. Yes, a budget chassis running Sport Mod springs and shocks took home the $5000! It was even more impressive to me since we had a chat right before he strapped in for the Feature. He told me that they got the car mostly straightened out after some ugliness at Eldora but it still should have a new front clip to make it right. Well, it was "right enough" on Saturday night. CONGRATS to ya Freddie and thanks to the rest of the drivers that put on such a thrilling show, with the exception of Corey "The Crying Ace" Conley. We've seen this guy whine and bitch about any track surface that allows for real racing action, even if he wins, so it was no surprise to see him show his lack of class after losing. What a dickhead! In case Corey couldn't hear the crowd, his bullshit isn't welcome at Hilltop. My tip for him would be to try to find another track that will pay him to show up and bash that place. Just in case he does return, I'll keep a box of tissues in my car for his next hissy fit. ;-)
CONGRATS to Cody Scott for picking up DFC Racing Carburetors fast qualifier bonus. He was gonna be my pick for the feature win but mechanical demons ruined that dammit.
Photo Credit To Eric Nickelson/Nickelson Race Photos