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Kings Speedway                             Hanford, CA                                     9-20-03


     The cancellation of the Supermodified show at the Madera Speedways’ Harvest Classic was a real shock to the racing community. Since the early 70’s, the Supers have been the main attraction for this premier fall race. The future of Supermodified racing may be at stake. Low car counts, smaller crowds, a bad economy and an inattentive organization have all been mentioned as the reason for its demise, but the dust has not yet settled on this debate.

     And speaking of dust, Troy went out and rounded up a ride in a wingless dirt sprinter for Kings Speedway’s race that night. Let’s have some fun, he said. What the heck if I haven’t driven one before... OK, we said, this should be interesting. We think something happened to him in Idaho when the #98 became the Baby Blue Dust Bunny.  He suddenly was back on his dirt track go-cart, in a cloud of dust, wondering how he left the track. But when the dust settled, he was in his super.

     He has longed for the dirt ever since Chaparral. And boy did he get it in Hanford. The 100 degree day was breathless. The residue soil hung in the air after every lap on the track. The pits had the ambiance of a feed lot at a dinner time stampede. The water truck was a rolling oasis, bringing five minutes of relief before the next cough or sneeze.

     Only one practice session is allowed at this track, so getting the right setup on the #28 was pretty tough. Troy, not being familiar with the car or track had trouble getting his rhythm. Throwing a super modified into a broad slide at the end of the straightaway is not recommended. In a dirt sprint car, it’s standard operating procedure!  It’s a completely opposite driving strategy.   He qualified at the bottom of the rung and started the heat race in the back. He stayed in the back, working on his technique.

     He started the main in 20th position (last) and managed to make it to 9th by the checked flag. Still last. Eleven cars had dropped out during the race. And he had something happen to him that he’s done to many others: He got lapped by the leaders!  Caulk this one up to experience.

     Troy’s young daughters came up to him after the race and told him they still loved him even if he was last. They have seen him win many times and were a bit taken aback that he didn’t win here. They had told their mom, at the end of the race, “Daddy is last, he’s sooo last!”

     The fun finally showed up at the post race gathering. These dirt boys really know how to rock! They welcomed us like long lost family. When the track lights went out and the gate was about to be locked, they moved the party to the lawn outside the track. Thank you guys, for the help, advice and hospitality.  And on to Lost Wages... (Las Vegas Bullring)  

What did I get myself into? Turning right to go left
Jim Birges on the "hook" Throwin' some dirt
Cleaning the car with a spatula Experience listening to advice
Troy and car owner Dave Knott

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