Following my own advice, I hopped in the car and drove the PVR SnoPro races in Sauk Centre Minnesota last night. What a great facility this is for races. Just off the freeway, tons of parking, a gigantic pit area and best of all… lots and lots and lots of bleachers. Fans could sit high above the action, watch every inch of the track, and could take just a few steps into a nice heated food & beverage area that had close-circuit tv’s so you didn’t miss a single thing.
The races were fast, and run well by the group from SLEDS and the event sponsors. Jay Sperry on his Rupps had a good night, as did Kenny Kitzman on his Arctic 440X IFS sled, and Sean Johnson borrowed John Schumacher’s 75 Polaris PDC clone and was turning some of the fastest lap times all night. Kurt Krueger and Paul Socwell made a long trip from Wisconsin and had a good time.
In a real heartbreaker for Mike Maegher, he was leading, by long shot in the 250 liquid final. In the 4th turn, headed for the checkered, a bad needle and seat in one carb caused the motor to ‘burbble’ for just a second, and Sean Smith of Wasilla Alaska and Bill “Elvis” Stull squeaked by for 1st and 2nd. Sean has now won the 250 SnoPro class twice this year.
In the big 440 final, things got scary. Steve Smith from Wasilla Alaska got a little sideways, then took a little tap from a fellow racer. It caused steve to go too far sideways, and the sled threw him off like he was rag doll. The screaming Arctic Z came down on his back before bouncing away.
He did not immediately get up. The red flag was out in a second.
Jay Sperry was way out front on his super-fast 440 Rupp. “I saw the red flag, but I thought the problem was down low on the track. So I came into turn three hard, but I stayed high.” To Jay’s horror, Steve’s Smith’s body was in front of him and coming up fast.
Not a split second went by, and Jay made the decision – and turned the Rupp right at high speeds, throwing himself and the machine into the multiple levels of hay bails, going through both all the way to the tar track on the other side. Jay didn’t get up right away either.
Having heard what happened, Steve Smith pulled himself to his feat, and limped over to Jay. The ambulance crew was there in seconds. Jay stood up. Steve and his mangled Arctic Cat “Z” (affectionately known to the Smith family as “The Widow Maker”) were hauled off the track.
Jay Sperry got his sled back on the track. Bent, twisted and even with a new case of toe-out, Jay decided to keep racing. He raced away with a pretty easy first place finish. I talked to him later in his trailer – he had a cut nose and knee that felt awful (I suspect it feels much worse this morning) but was in great spirits.
Great racing – great event. My thanks to everyone that worked so hard to get this to happen. This could be one of the premier events in vintage racing over time. You can discuss last nights race here.
<SARCASM>According to one race promoter in Northern Wisconsin, I’m not to mention anything about any race without discussing it first with the promoter. I did not speak to a single person in charge last night, nor did I submit the above story for anyone’s approval, nor will I.</SARCASM>