With temperatures not even reaching the 50 degree mark on April 21st one would think that the bleachers would be nearly empty at tracks like Crystal Motor Speedway, but CMS shivered through week two of their 2012 season with a full show featuring six divisions before a nearly packed set of grandstands. Before the first car even took to the speedway several brave fans in hooded sweatshirts sat in the stands ready for the awesome racing action that is always present at CMS.
With an opening night that had temps reaching nearly to the 70º mark, week two was definitely more indicative of April in Michigan, but for the fans in the stands like myself; the 40-degree temperatures were not a deterrent when it came to catching six divisions of Crystal racecars in action.
The chocolate wasn’t the only thing that was hot though, with a wet track and a full pit area the on track action was sizzling.
Although the Flinn Stocks were exciting in many ways and the IMCA Modifieds tough and tight, the best show of the night was undoubtedly the Pro-Stocks. For countless laps Jake Headley (no.25) and Chad Raby (no.94) ran side-by-side. Neither touching nor rubbing, but also never giving an inch. It was amazing to see the two of them battle it out, never knowing who was going to be counted in the lead. While the duo up front was putting on an amazing show, Chaney Newland was piloting his no.54 from his 12th place starting position to the front of the field. Newland began slicing and dicing with the leaders, but the three-peat CMS champion didn’t quite have enough for the power duo up front and at the line Headley was able to squeak by on the outside for the hard fought win in a race that alone was worth the price of admission.
Crystal’s racing format sets up for some wicked competition, the invert is 12-cars and based on current points, thus placing the top contenders in the middle of the field, making them work each and every week to get to the front and hold on to their points position. Although the Pro-Stock division set the bar high, the Late Model main was also filled with intense racing action as April 14th’s winner Scotty Baker (no.13) battled his way up from 12th to contend for the win. Through lapped traffic Baker stuck his car high and low on his pursuit to take the top spot, but just as he took the lead he was collected by a spinning lapped car.
Although he was able to continue from a 2nd place starting spot, Tom Dusen (no.10) proved why he is the king of the restart and was able to hold on for the win with Baker trailing.
In the IMCA Modified division A.J. Ward (no.20) proved he knew how to tackle the 3/8-mile dirt track as he put on a clinic for the remaining cars and walked away with the win.
Tom Wood showed the way in the Pro Truck division, the past champion worked his way up early to take the checkered in the A-Main.
The Street Stock A-Main was dominated by Kevin Rohn, while Shane Wiggins (no.21w) took the victory in a scary Flinn Stock feature. Thankfully young Raylyn Griffin was okay after her throttle stuck heading into turn four causing her to hit the water barrels and catapult over the turn 4 wall before coming to a halt nose-down. The CMS Safety Crew was to Griffin before the wheels had stopped rotating and found Raylyn to be shaken but uninjured, the same couldn’t be said for her no.14 or the catch fence.
Safety has always been a priority for Ron Flinn and the rest of the CMS crew, and it was incredibly evident on this evening. Quick repairs were made to the fence, the area cleared of any spectators and the show was back underway within 30-minutes with nothing more than some scratches and bruises on anyone involved.
My time at Crystal was undeniably fun. The racing at the track is always awesome, the people are simply incredible, and no matter whether you are a CMS regular or a first time fan there is this awesome sense of simply being home when you walk through the gates. The pride that is felt when the national anthem is played, the humor of seeing a very tall promoter in a top hat, and the funny camaraderie of announcers Roger Williams and Trevor Hollis make Crystal Motor Speedway a definite must on the racing calendar. This weekend the track with play host to the S.O.D. sprinters with Street Stocks getting the night off, and if you can’t make it this Saturday night then don’t fear as there are 22 more shows on the 2012 schedule. Check out the web to learn a little more about Crystal Motor Speedway.
I would like to extend a very big thank you to everyone at Crystal Motor Speedway for their hospitality, because of them I had a very fun spring Saturday night, and thanks to you for reading!