There are three questions I always get asked about racing at Agassiz Speedway, queries that come from fans and curious would-be participants on a regular basis.
The most common is ‘Can I get a chance to watch the races from the pits?’
The simple answer is yes, but the best answer is ‘You really don’t want to.’
If you really want to be in the pits to watch the races, it is easy enough to ask any driver coming through the pit gate if you can be part of their team. It costs a few dollars more than the standard gate admission, but you are at ground zero, so to speak.
Be prepared that some drivers may not want to be responsible for you, but most are happy to sign you in. You must wear full shoes (no flip flops), long pants and a long sleeved shirt.
Now you can enjoy the closeness of watching cars be prepared and crews performing their magic to get to top spot.
Bring a folding chair to sit on.
But the reality is, there is a bit of a downside to watching from the pits:
– You are stuck there for the evening, generally with no early leaving.
– No family, just individuals.
– The food is OK down here, but not quite the same standard as up in the stands. (no onion rings either)
– The noise and fumes can become your enemy.
– Finally, watching the races while having to turn in circles all night is weird, dizzying, tiring and detrimental to your health.
But if you still choose to come in, visit me and say, ‘hi!’
The second question is, ‘How fast do you really go on a quarter mile track?’ Well, if everything is falling apart on the driver that night, and they forgot to top up the fuel, it works out to about two kilometres per hour.
However, if everything is tuned right and the driver is in top form, a midget car like Aaron Willison’s No. 41 can get around the track in just 13 seconds.
That makes for an average speed of 108 kph. Allowing for an 20 per cent slow down around the corners, and a 20 per cent add on for the short 200 yard straight section, it means he probably hits just over 130 kph when he’s just a foot off the wall.
Even the slowest class, the Hornets, will exceed posted freeway speeds (100 kph) as they start to enter the corners, which makes for real excitement if anything goes wrong.
And finally, the third most common question is, ‘What if you are out in the middle of the race and you have to go to the bathroom?’
Sometimes during a 50 lap race, or when there is an accident that has to be attended to, drivers have to stop under red and cannot leave their cars. Sitting waiting for the race restart after the driver has had three Red Bulls and four coffees can sometimes be uncomfortable.
Basically, we hold it.
I know of some racers who have complete bladder systems installed, or resort to finding the plastic bottle they wedged into the door frame. Undoing a one piece fire suit is a bit of a problem, never mind actually performing any exit ritual for your waste product. Finally, it should be known that diapers and/or ‘Depends’ have been known to be in a drivers’ bag.
Don’t think I know anyone willing to admit it though.
We race again at Agassiz Speedway this Saturday starting at 7 p.m..
Get info at agassizspeedway.com