On Saturday, for the second time in its 64 year history, N.Y.’s Five Mile Point Speedway held a free admission night at the races. The first one done 24 years ago drew nearly 5,000 people to the races that evening for a midweek show with plenty of pre-race advertising taking place.
This time around the free admission promotion was announced just last Monday. But with advance promotion through advertising in Area Auto Racing News; and using the internet for what it is supposed to be used for and that is promoting racing, another huge crowd attended.
It was not a “watered down” show either as eight divisions were on the card with the Modified (20 cars), Sportsman (26), Four-Cylinder Expert (19) 600cc Modified (16), IMCA Modifieds (13), Street Stock (12), Factory Stock (seven) and Four-Cylinder Novice (four) divisions in the pit area to race. There was also some excellent, fun activities for fans.
What was an enjoyable night of racing was going along really well until the start of the 600cc Modified feature. That is when a spectator who may have been under the influence (although adult beverages are not sold at the track) decided to do something really stupid. This individual decided to vandalize the track’s generator, which in turn shut down all the lights at the facility. Many people pointed out the person who did this and he was arrested and removed from the property and was facing multiple counts.
The race track did restart the generator and got the lights back up and running and were ready to start the races until the lights went out again. This time because of what happened previously an air bubble found its way into the fuel supply for the generator and it shut down because of the lack of fuel. Because of this condition the generator was deemed out of order until it could be properly repaired this upcoming week.
The power was switched over to the local power company with a hope of completing the races. However some other electrical gremlins popped up which prevented all of the track lights from coming back on to full power and the remainder of the racing program had to be postponed.
It was a very sad way to end a very positive evening of racing entertainment all because of one individual who couldn’t handle themselves properly in public. What makes matters worse is what money was made by the race track will be spent in repairing the generator and replacing any blown out track lights along with paying the local electric company for switching over to their power source.
The postponed 600cc Modified feature will be run on August 16 (double features), the postponed Street Stock feature will be run on August 23 (double features) and the Modified main (feature only) will also be run August 23.
I will say that during the power outage the spectators remained calm and they were kept up to date on what was taking place. From the comments I heard many of these spectators who were disappointed that the races could not run plan on returning at least once more during the year. I believe it’s because they enjoyed themselves and saw just how inexpensive a night at the races really is compared to other forms of entertainment that is offered locally.
I don’t have the official crowd count from Saturday at Five Mile Point, but the crowd, in my opinion, was bigger than the last two Short Track Super Nationals races that were held at the track. Every seat was filled and every inch of grass in front of the bleachers was too. Matter of fact many people went into the old turn four pit area and watched the races from that vantage point.
As noted, there were some nice fan oriented activities during the evening. Rising asphalt Modified racer Bryan Sherwood had his car on display which drew plenty of attention. During intermission, many Tshirts were shot into the stands; and before the $1,000-to- win Sportsman 20-lapper a “meet and greet” was held. And, everyone who entered received coupons for discounted admission to upcoming races at Five Mile Point and for this week’s RoC asphalt Modified race at Chemung (N.Y.) on Saturday night.
FIVE MILE NOTES:A surprise entrant in the Modified field on Saturday at the Point was Daniel Johnson. Yes, the Doctor’s son was in the house as he took his first ever laps around the quarter-mile where his famous racing father has many feature wins through the years.
RoC asphalt Modified racer Daren Scherer, who is into the remote control racing business, brought out a new toy on Saturday. Daren was flying a remote control drone over the race track all evening long and that video will be on the Five Mile Point website this week.