When the sun came up Sunday morning, most racers and fans thought there was no chance for a race at the Lucas Oil Speedway that night. With the remnants of Hurricane Ike dropping over 5 inches of rain early Sunday morning it didn't look good for the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.
"It's been a rough year for big events at the speedway," said Kevin Greven, Track General Manager. "For 2008 it seems if we wanted rain, all we had to do is schedule a National Event."
However, with the rain out of the way Sunday morning, some tough decisions had to be made. Can we get the track ready in time? How many fans will still make the trip? Would clear weather hold out through the evening? How many racers will we have?
The answer to the latter, in part came with an early morning call from officials of the World of Outlaws. All 17 racers that follow the series National Tour were sitting in rain drenched Heartland Park, waiting for our decision.
"I have a lot of respect for these guys," added Greven, "They were rained out Friday in Cameron, MO and then Saturday in Topeka, yet out of respect for the Lucas Oil Speedway they held tight even though it looked to be an impossible situation."
Forrest Lucas was mulling over all those earlier questions until he asked the last one. When he heard that those drivers were still ready to come if we said go, that was all he needed.
"That's why we built this place," he said. "To support dirt track racing at every level and if the top echelon is prepared to support us, tell them come on down, we are going racing!"
As for the rest of the questions, they all answered themselves. Our phenomenal track crew crafted an incredible racing surface by qualifying time. We set a track attendance record for a Sunday event. The weather stayed clear although a bit chili and the racers definitely came.
Nearly 30 Sprint cars and over 40 "A" Mods rolled through the back gate. As the checkered flag flew, Officials from the World of Outlaws said it was the best race this season. They could not remember the last time they had so many lead changes in a Feature Event.
As for the "A" Modifieds, last night's performance was just another in a long line of shows that continue to push industry insiders to say they are some of the best in the Nation.
However, when comes right down to it, what "we" say about the event really doesn't matter. It's all about the racers and the fans, they are why Forrest Lucas built the Track. As fans were filing out Sunday night one of them stopped Forrest and shook his hand, what he said sums up the night perfectly.
"I can't believe you guys got the race in. I have been waiting all season for it. It was absolutely awesome, thank you."