2018 Month of Money Tour – Itinerary
Well we’re now home from a fabulous 2017 MoM tour and everyone is settling back into work or life’s leisure routines.
The 2018 Month of Money tour will proceed again, provided we have sufficient numbers commit to the tour. Based on enquiries to date we are quite certain that it will.
Already we know there will be some changes to the itinerary in 2018. USAC have already announced that they have scheduled Indiana Sprintweek for later in July. In fact the dates will be as follows:
July 20th Gas City
July 21st Kokomo
July 22nd Lawrenceburg
July 25th Terre Haute
July 26th Putnamville
July 27th Bloomington
July 28th Haubstadt
We also know that the three nights of the Kings Royal at Eldora will be the 12th, 13th and 14th July and the NASCAR Trucks are on the 18th. The Ironman at Pevely is being run on the 3rd and 4th of August (the rained out 2017 version will be the Friday night) and the Knoxville Nationals and all associated racing in Iowa will be from August 5th to the 11th in 2018.
The Brickyard 400 will not be on the 2018 itinerary as the date for this NASCAR race has already been changed to September 9th.
Therefore much of the itinerary is already taking shape, but there are still many race dates to be confirmed which probably won’t happen until around December this year.
So start thinking about whether you’d like to be part of the GST gang in the USA in 2018 on the Month of Money. If you do, then drop us a note here. Or ring Peter Physick on +61 (0)419 264159.
In the meantime we’ll leave the 2017 itinerary in place below until we can add some more meaningful information to it.
An incredible 32 races in 39 nights on the Full Tour. With a breathtaking 16 races in 18 days to close off the tour at the end!
Given that some potential tour members may not have the time available for the full tour of 39 nights, we are offering four different alternatives for travelling with us.
1. Full tour as described. Day 1 to day 40. (Acceptances for the Full Tour will always be given priority.) A$14,495
2. The “Argabright” short tour”. From day 1 to day 19. (Depart Indianapolis on July 24th). A$9,495
3. The “Kruse” short tour”. From day 16 to the end of the tour. (Arrive Indianapolis July 21st / Depart Des Moines August 14th). A$11,295
4. JUST RELEASED
“The Iron Man and Knoxville only tour”.
Meet us in St Louis on Day 29, August 3rd to the end of the tour. The Iron Man races at I-55 plus everything during the Knoxville Nationals week. A$4,995 plus your airfares. Everything else is included like twin share accommodation in magnificent Pella, nine race tickets and ground transport. You can’t get closer accommodation to Knoxville at the Nationals.
The Full tour itinerary illustrated below is for our 2017 tour which has been significantly reconfigured compared to previous Month of Money tours.
When designing speedway tours of the USA our exact final itinerary is always dependent upon promoters and sanctioning bodies deciding dates for those races we want to be at.
Our flagship Month of Money tour is now 100% set for 2017. The Knoxville Nationals will be raced from August 9th to 12th. The Brickyard 400 for NASCARS at Indianapolis Speedway is July 23rd. The NASCAR trucks on dirt are at Eldora Speedway July 19th. The three nights of the Kings Royal at Eldora are July 13th, 14th and 15th, the Silver Cup at Lernerville is July 18th and the Iron Man 55 at Pevely is Aug 4th & 5th. And the list continues …..
The tour has been extended to 39 nights and we have included an additional 11 nights of racing in 2017 compared to previous MoM tours. This now includes the first three nights of Indiana Sprintweek for the USAC non-winged sprintcars. We have been able to do this by reluctantly eliminating New York City from the itinerary, but the benefit is the extra racing. You will see the World of Outlaws sprintcars on 12 occasions and the WoO Late Models in a two night $30,000 to win show in Fairbury, Illinois! Plus a newly added race at Mansfield Motor Speedway in Ohio which is running Round 2 of their Triple Crown. $5,000 to win for non wing 410’s, winged 410’s and Late Models all on the one night.
32 races in 39 days is fantastic. 32 confirmed and locked in.
Although we have taken the MoM tour to New York City on the past four occasions, we have reluctantly dropped the Big Apple off the tree this year. However we still have plenty of big city livin’ with eight nights in Indianapolis, two nights in sensational Chicago and three nights in St Louis for you to experience the big cities. The balance of the time is spent in the beautifully rural mid west chasin’ racin’.
The full tour leaves Australia on Thursday July 6th and returns to our shores on Wednesday August 16th. We are also offering three shorter tours as described above. The availability of these short tours will be governed by the number of confirmed starters we have for the full tour. But please contact us either way to let us know of your plans.
Remember that the 2017 itinerary in the table which follows is just a guide to what you can expect on our Flagship Month of Money tour. To give you further insight into the whole tour, please take the time to read the very comprehensive day by day version of the MoM itinerary which starts below the table because there just maybe something on that itinerary which is also on your bucket list.
Click on this Pricing link for the 2017 tours.
Inclusions within the tour are also available for you to review.
You can get a further feel for what lies ahead of you on tour by grabbing a coffee and reading the 2016 Month of Money tour Blog.
Thank you for thinking about travelling with Global Speedway Tours and if you would like to put your name down as interested in touring with us in 2017, 2018 or 2019, you can do so here.
Brand new for the website is a feature that allows you to watch all 25 chapters of the 2012 Month of Money tour movie. Choose your preferred chapter below or settle in and watch them all. If you can’t see the revolving pictures of the movie chapters, you must be using a device without Flash enabled. If that’s the case, then click here.
MONTH of MONEY 2017
Green means race dates locked in
Orange means a hyperlink. Click on it and it goes to the appropriate website
32 races already locked in on track schedules.
Costs of 31 race admission tickets, Indy Speedway Museum & Track tour, Stubb’s Eldora party, Dayton Air Force Museum, Winchester Speedway tour, Ganassi tour, Chicagoland Speedway tour, Speedy Bill Smith’s museum and the Dave Argabright luncheon are all included in the tour cost. Plus all accommodation (twin share), breakfast (except Chicago)an , ground transport, and an airfare credit of $2,000.
Optional costs in 2017 will be Cedar Point Amusement Park or Ferry to Lake Erie Islands (day 7), the Xfinity race at Indianapolis Speedway (Day 17) and sightseeing in Chicago and St Louis.
|City / Town||Overnight Hotel||Notes|
|Indianapolis, IN||Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol||Depart Sydney and arrive Indianapolis, via LAX|
|Indianapolis, IN||Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol||Explore downtown Indy|
USAC Indiana Sprintweek
|Indianapolis, IN|| |
|Indianapolis Speedway |
Track tour and Museum
USAC Indiana Sprintweek
|Lawrenceburg, IN||Hollywood Casino and Hotel||Indianapolis to Lawrenceburg|
USAC Indiana Sprintweek
|Dayton, OH||Best Western Plus||Lawrenceburg to Dayton|
Dayton Air Force Museum
|Tiffin, OH||Hampton Inn Tiffin||Dayton to Tiffin|
Brad Doty Classic / WoOAttica Raceway Park
|7||Wednesday July 12th||Port Clinton, OH||The Island Hotel||Tiffin to Port Clinton, OH|
Choice of Cedar Point or
the ferry to Lake Erie Islands
|Greenville, OH||Greenville Inn||Port Clinton to Greenville|
Kings Royal Night 1 / WoO
|Greenville, OH||Greenville Inn||Winchester Speedway visit|
Kings Royal Night 2 / WoO
|Greenville, OH||Greenville Inn||Kings Royal Night 3 / WoO|
|Mansfield, OH||Hampton Inn||Mansfield Motor Speedway|
|Butler, PA||Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites||Mansfield to Butler|
|Butler, PA||Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites||Lernerville Speedway|
Don Martin Silver Cup / WoO
|14||Wednesday July 19th||Indianapolis, IN|| |
|Butler to Eldora|
Eldora to Indianapolis
|Indianapolis, IN||Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol|
Visit Target Ganassi
Lucas Oil Raceway
USAC Silver Crown cars
|Indianapolis, IN||Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol|
Shady Hill Speedway
ASCS National tour
|Indianapolis, IN|| |
NASCAR Xfinity (day) Optional
Lincoln Park Speedway
|Indianapolis, IN||Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol|
Brickyard 400 (day)
Kokomo Speedway (night)
|Chicago, IL||The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago||Indianapolis to Chicago |
|Chicago, IL||The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago||Sightseeing|
|21||Wednesday July 26th||Peoria, IL||Courtyard Marriott|
Chicago to Peoria, IL
Route 66 Raceway & Chicagoland Speedway
Illinois Sprint week
|Pontoon Beach, IL||Best Western Plus Hotel|
Maxim Chassis Co tour
Illinois Sprint week
|Pontiac, IL||Quality Inn|
Pontoon Beach to Pontiac
Prairie Dirt Classic- Night 1
WoO Late Models
Prairie Dirt Classic- Night 2
WoO Late Models
$30,000 to win
|Moberly, MO||Comfort Inn|
Pontiac to Moberly, MO
USAC non wing Sprints
Randolph County Raceway
|Lincoln, NE||Hyatt Place Lincoln Downtown||Moberly to Lincoln, NE|
Speedy Bill Smith’s
Museum of American Speed
|Fairbury, NE||Cobblestone Hotel & Suites||Lincoln to Fairbury, NE|
Jefferson County Speedway
USAC National midgets
|28||Wednesday August 2nd|
(Track is in Beloit)
|Holiday Inn – Concordia KS||Fairbury to Concordia, KS|
Visit Belleville Nationals track
Solomon Valley Raceway
USAC National midgets
|29||Thursday August 3rd||St Louis, MO||Hampton Inn St Louis – At the Gateway||Concordia to St Louis|
|St Louis, MO||Hampton Inn St Louis – At the Gateway||Iron Man at I-55 Night 1|
WoO + POWRi midgets
|31||Saturday August 5th||St Louis, MO||Hampton Inn St Louis – At the Gateway||Iron Man at I-55 Night 2 |
WoO + POWRi midgets
|Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||St Louis to Pella, IA|
|Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Oskaloosa Speedway / 410’s|
|Pella, IA|| |
|Outlet shopping / Williamsburg|
Late Models at West Liberty Raceway
$10,000 to win
|35||Wednesday August 9th||Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Knoxville Nationals Night 1|
|36||Thursday August 10th||Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Knoxville Nationals Night 2|
Dave Argabright luncheon
|Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Knoxville Nationals Night 3|
|38||Saturday August 12th||Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Knoxville Nationals Night 4|
|Pella, IA||Royal Amsterdam Hotel||Rest day or Iowa State Fair|
|Tour departs for Australia|
from Des Moines
|Day lost in travel|
|41||Wednesday August 16th||Sydney||Arrive Sydney 6.15am|
Here’s the Full Itinerary in words.
Remember that every word or sentence in orange is a link you can click on for further information.
Day 1 Thursday July 6th 2017
Our Delta Airlines Boeing 777 jet will whisk us away from Sydney at 10.00 am this morning to commence the best speedway holiday of all time. Enjoy a few drinks on board during the flight with your fellow tour members who will have come from all over Australia to help you create some wonderful memories.
A 6.45am same day arrival in Los Angeles sees a short stopover at LAX before continuing on to Indianapolis. Indy will welcome us late in the afternoon and our time in an aeroplane is now finished until August 14th!! After 19 hours flying you will no doubt be looking forward to your fabulous room at the Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol. It’s our favourite “home away from home” when in the USA as it is so well located to everything Indianapolis has to offer. Although it is only for three nights, we will be back here again later in the tour.
Time to grab some sleep, or maybe sample your first American ale with dinner at the Bourbon Street Distillery, (our second home) right across the street. If it re-opens before we get to Indy!
Day 2 Friday July 7th
This morning and early afternoon allows you to explore downtown Indianapolis at your leisure, or just catch up on some sleep lost in flight.
But it is sprintcar racing that you have travelled all this way for and tonight we get right into it. It will be your first opportunity to see the incredible USAC non winged 410 sprintcars run Indiana Sprintweek. Check out this highlights video from Loudpedal. In the afternoon we’ll drive 60 miles northeast to Gas City Speedway for Night 1. It’s not unreasonable to assume that whoever wins tonight may not win another one, such is the competitiveness of these guys.
Day 3 Saturday July 8th
This morning we’ll head out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to give you an opportunity to experience the Hall of Fame Museum and take the Grounds Tour in the special buses provided. The cost is included in your tour price. This amazing complex holds 440,000 spectators on race day and although we won’t see any racing today, there will be plenty to experience.
Tonight we’ll be back with Indiana Sprintweek, but this time it’s at one of our all time favourite tracks here at Global Speedway Tours. Kokomo Speedway is about an hour’s drive north and it is most certainly worth it. You could just fall in love with this track.
Day 4 Sunday July 9th
Time to leave Indianapolis for a while and get on the highways of America. This morning we’ll make the 92 mile drive to Lawrenceburg which sits on the expansive Ohio River. In past years we have made the return journey to Indianapolis after racing has finished but tonight we’re going to stay here. In the Hollywood Casino and Hotel as a matter of fact.
It’s within walking distance of the unbelievably high banked 3/8th mile Lawrenceburg Speedway where night 3 of Indiana Sprintweek unwinds tonight.
Day 5 Monday July 10th
It’s only 69 miles from Lawrenceburg to Dayton. Ohio will be the second of 10 different states you will visit on this tour. Dayton is home to the truly astonishing National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. And it has free entry!!
Normally this side trip is an optional extra for our tour groups, but this time it’s an inclusion within the whole deal because we’ll be right there. Check out the Exhibits section of the above link to read about the extraordinary level of displays. More than 350 original aircraft from the first years of flight through to the space age are on display. The WW2 era is easily our favourite here at Global Speedway Tours.
Tonight you’ll be putting your head down at the Best Western Plus in Dayton North. With a night off from racing tonight, you’ll have plenty of choices for dinner within walking distance.
Day 6 Tuesday July 11th
The wings are back tonight when the World of Outlaws invade Attica Raceway Park in northern Ohio for the time honoured Brad Doty Classic. Along with a bunch of Ohio and Pennsylvania drivers, there should be up to 50 cars in the pits.
It will be a leisurely two and a bit hours of driving from Dayton to Tiffin where we will be staying tonight in the Hampton Inn.
Day 7 Wednesday July 12
Today will be a real interesting one for you. The destinations are a first for Global Speedway Tours as we go further north up to Lake Erie for a little R&R with our good friend “Stubb” aka Scott Phillips. Depending on your preferences you have a choice of two today. Both are optional and a personal expense.
If you’re adventurous and young at heart we’ll drop you off (and pick you up of course) outside the gates of Cedar Point – The Roller Coaster capital of the world.
Or you can more leisurely explore the islands and bars of Lake Erie by ferry. There is no racing tonight so the time is all yours. However we will be enjoying a cookout under the stars at Stubb’s lake cottage along with no doubt, a few quiet drinks.
Tonight we stay locally at The Island Hotel in Port Clinton.
Day 8 Thursday July 13th
Perhaps the three nights of the tour, which will assault your senses the most, start this evening. Eldora Speedway will blow you away with its size, speed and atmosphere.
163 miles south of Port Clinton lies the sleepy town of Greenville, Ohio our home for the next three nights while we’re at Eldora for the Kings Royal.
In 2014 our own Kerry Madsen won the Kings Royal when he put on a clinic in the 40 lap final on the Saturday night. The Yanks went wild when he won as he is a real favourite of the locals. Of course our Global Speedway Tours group went a little ballistic as well, given that Kerry is a good friend to our tour company.
Eldora is acknowledged as a must visit race track for every Aussie fanatic, no matter what is racing while you’re there. On this occasion however, you are blessed with wall to wall winged sprintcars for three consecutive nights. This evening is night 1 of the Kings Royal, now known as the “Jokers Wild” night. And like every nominated dirt track race on our itinerary, your ticket is already paid for.
We’ll check in at the Greenville Inn before heading the 12 miles up the road to Eldora.
Day 9 Friday July 14th
The second night of the Kings Royal is certainly a good news story for today, but another one is that just 21 miles from Greenville is Winchester, the home of a paved speedway that will amaze you. We will mosey over to the “World’s Fastest Half-mile”, which is how the iconic Winchester Speedway describes itself. We won’t see any racing here today but we will get a guided tour of the complex including our exclusive track rides around the steeply banked pavement oval in the Manager’s silver Nissan 370Z. Banked at 38 degrees in the turns and a half mile in circumference, winged sprintcars go around here in 12.6 seconds. Watch that record lap from the driver’s perspective.
After the thrill of Winchester we’ll head back to Greenville where you may choose to take a walk through Annie Oakley’s hometown and enjoy a township just like you see in the movies!!
Mid afternoon we’ll return to Eldora for what is now known as the “Knight before the Kings Royal”. All the cars will be back to put on another show like you’ve never seen before. 160 mph average speeds are the norm around Eldora Speedway.
Day 10 Saturday July 15th
One of the truly memorable things to do at US speedways is to “tail-gate” with the local fans. You’ve already met one such local Ohioan up at his holiday cottage.
Stubb and his wife Gail are good friends of Global Speedway Tours and this afternoon we’ll arrive around 1.00pm at the track and enjoy their mercurial hosting ability. The Palace (otherwise known as Stubb’s caravan) becomes the central place to enjoy life at the Kings Royal in the massive RV village which exists within Eldora. “Stubb’s party” is the place to enjoy a range of your favourite beverages supplied by Global Speedway Tours whilst you experience your first introduction to the corn boards.
Throwing bean bags could become one of your very preferred pastimes over the next 30 days or so. Stubb runs the annual Corey “Petey” Martin Memorial Cornboard Challenge this afternoon and we’ll join in with the Yanks for a great afternoon. It is quite a spectacle to throw the bags whilst at the same time watching the incoming transporters cruise slowly past our site within two metres of where you’ll be. Or, if you want to wander the pits, you are welcome to do so.
When you hear the 410 engines roar into life it’s the signal to return to the cauldron that is Eldora Speedway, plus you’ll have plenty of time to check out the enormous range of merchandise behind the main straight grandstands.
Top row reserved seating between turns 3 & 4 is where you’ll be for tonight and last night. On Thursday our seats are on the main straight.
Overnight we’re back at the Greenville Inn.
Day 11 Sunday July 16th (Updated April 20th)
This afternoon is the rain date for the Kings Royal and hopefully it won’t be needed. Because tonight we head for the total refurbished Mansfield Motor Speedway in Ohio for Round 2 of the Triple Crown which pays $5,000 to win for non wing 410’s, winged 410’s and Late Models all on the one night! This race has been re-scheduled from earlier in April after a rain out which is great news for us!
Your bed for the night if you need it will be at the Hampton Inn Mansfield South.
Day 12 Monday July 17th
Today is our first long drive when we take to the magnificent US freeway system. But all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery while GST takes care of all the driving and the fuel. The $1 beers go down pretty well too while travelling.
It’s 192 miles from Mansfield to Butler in Pennsylvania, but on the interstates it will only take four hours or so. You, like so many others, will become an expert on the trucks which endlessly ply the freeways delivering goods across America.
Butler has been chosen as our base for the next two nights because of its proximity to Lernerville Speedway which is our destination tomorrow night. Dinner tonight will be at the wonderful Rachel’s Roadhouse where the hospitality will blow you away.
Overnight is at the superb Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Day 13 Tuesday July 18th
You can keep your training regime in check here too at the Fairfield Inn. After you’ve tried the famous Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich, it’s off to the pool and the gym. Spend a leisurely morning to recover from whatever you did last night, take a walk down the hill into downtown Butler or use the free Internet to keep up to date with the footy results in Australia.
Lunch will be at the infamous Chop Shop in Main Street. The restaurant is inside an old smash repair business which in days of old was the principal re-birthing place of thousands of stolen Pennsylvania motor cars.
Tonight we’re at Lernerville Speedway just 14 miles down Freeport Road for the annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup, perhaps the sprintcar biggest race on the Lernerville calendar. An officially sanctioned World of Outlaws race meeting, all the good guys will be there along with the best from Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Overnight we’re back in Butler at the Fairfield Inn.
Day 14 Wednesday July 19th
Butler is the furthest east we go on this tour because today we turn around and head back towards the Midwest. 319 miles and we’ll be back at Eldora Speedway for another night of racing. Except tonight will be something completely different as you will witness Tony Stewart host the NASCAR Camping World Trucks on the dirt of his beloved Eldora in a race that is televised live across the world.
Supporting the Trucks will be the Big Block Dirt Modifieds. Click on the link to watch their 2016 feature race.
After the races tonight we’ll be driving back to Indianapolis and the Courtyard Marriott at the Capitol. Our home for the next five nights.
Day 15 Thursday July 20th
It will have been a very late arrival back at the Hotel last night so nothing is scheduled for this morning to allow a long overdue sleep in.
In the afternoon we’ll be heading for the Target Ganassi Indy car race shop where we will receive our own private and personal tour. A drive in and around the race shops of Brownsburg is planned for this afternoon before an early dinner at an historic race pub or diner after cruising up and down the celebrated Gasoline Alley. Then it’s off to Lucas Oil Raceway for the Silver Crown cars from USAC on the half mile paved oval competing for the Rich Vogler Classic trophy.
Day 16 Friday July 21st
Tonight’s racing is at Shady Hill Speedway in Medaryville, Indiana. The track is two hours north of Indianapolis and the featured attraction tonight is the touring national ASCS 360 sprintcars in the 27th of 52 races on their 2017 schedule.
Our “Kruse” tour guests arrive into Indianapolis late this afternoon and this race is not part of their tour.
Day 17 Saturday July 22nd
Big day if we can manage it today. The NASCAR Xfinity series cars are running at Indianapolis Speedway this afternoon at 3.30pm. This race is the only one not included in your tour price so it remains optional as to whether you attend. We will get you there if you want to go. General Admission will be US$20.00 with Reserved seating starting at US$41.00.
In the evening we’re off to Lincoln Park Speedway aka Putnamville Speedway.
Day 18 Sunday July 23rd
NASCAR Sprint Cup comes to Indianapolis Speedway today with the Brickyard 400 at 3.00pm for 160 laps around the iconic 2.5 mile oval. We’ll have close up parking, reserved seats and plenty of fun as the door bangers fight with each other for bragging rights about winning at Indy.
In the evening we head north for 50 miles to everybody’s favourite track – Kokomo Speedway. The Kokomo Klassic for the 410 non winged sprintcars will headline tonight’s racing with midgets as the support.
Day 19 Monday July 24th
Our “Argabright” tour members depart Indianapolis today.
Today we take a short break from racing and head up to Illinois for two days R&R. Because let’s face it you do have 15 races coming up in 18 days!!
We’ll leave Indiana for the final time and drive north to Chicago and stop over in the windy city for a couple of nights. There is so much to see and do here in a city that drips history from the Untouchables and Al Capone. We believe that The Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company is your best bet to see everything this famous town has to offer. Sightseeing here in Chicago is an optional cost. After you purchase your ticket, it will be good for both days.
The second tallest building in the United States is in Chicago. Test your courage by stepping out onto the Ledge, a glass floor 1,153 feet (108 stories) above ground on the Skydeck in the Willis Tower, still fondly referred to as the Sears Tower.
Unfortunately prices of tickets to the baseball tonight at Wrigley Field, the home of the World Series Champions the Chicago Cubs, are way out of our league and hence this “to be confirmed” action for tonight has regretfully been deleted from the itinerary. So Global Speedway Tours will shout dinner tonight in compensation at Harry Caray’s 7th Innings Stretch restaurant and sports bar.
As always we’ll cover the two night’s accommodation at the outstanding Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel on the famed Magnificent Mile of Chicago, but your personal choices for sightseeing and meals whilst here in the “windy city” will be your own expense.
Day 20 Tuesday July 25th
More of what you didn’t do yesterday is on the agenda for today…..
Past tour members have rated Chicago as way above their expectations. Everyone has a ball in this city.
This evening we could all meet at Dick’s Last Resort for a hoot of a night where the waiters try to be as rude as they can be to you, maybe followed by a couple of nightcaps at the legendary House of Blues for a rip roaring night of music and dining.
Day 21 Wednesday July 26th
Despite what may have been a big night last night, we’ll be aiming for a reasonably early start this morning because for most of today we will explore part of historical Route 66 as it winds its way down through Illinois from Chicago to St Louis. It continues on for another 2,100 miles to California of course, but we won’t be going that far!
We’ll also receive a special guided tour of Route 66 Raceway with special emphasis on the drag strip and the NASCAR track. What a facility this is to see close up and personal……
Some of the original Route 66 has now disappeared into oblivion with the introduction of the major Interstate freeways through the USA, however many parts of it still remain in its original untouched form and others have been reconstructed with the help of the National Historic Route 66 Federation.
The many small towns along the Illinois section of Route 66 contain little pockets of delightful “Mother Road” nostalgia. Restored gas stations, motor courts (motels) and famous cafes await the intrepid road explorer around the next bend. We’ll aim to find as many of these as possible in the time allowed today before we need to be in Peoria for tonight’s round 1 of MOWA’s Illinois Sprint week racing at Peoria Speedway.
Accommodation for this evening is at the Courtyard Marriott Peoria.
Day 22 Thursday July 27th
Why not spend a couple of hours this morning exploring Peoria and the Illinois River which runs through it before we leave the town to make the one hour drive down to Springfield to visit the Maxim Chassis Company. Then take a quick look at the famous Springfield Mile track in the Fairgrounds before heading to Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach and Round 2 of Illinois Sprint week.
You’ll put your head down at the Best Western Plus in Pontoon Beach tonight.
Day 23 Friday July 28th
All racing categories in speedway are great. However we have been concentrating on the sprintcars of late, so we probably need a break from open wheel cars. And that comes tonight at Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Illinois when we watch the World of Outlaws Late Models do battle for US$30,000 to win over the next two nights.
Tonight and tomorrow night we’ll be at the Quality Inn in Pontiac.
Day 24 Saturday July 29th
A leisurely day in Pontiac where you might decide the Hotel pool is the best place to be. Or the laundry doing some washing!
Tonight however we are back to Fairbury to see which Late Model driver gets their name on the US$30,000 cheque.
Day 25 Sunday July 30th
We cross the Mississippi today whilst heading west into Missouri for 299 miles until we reach Moberly where the USAC non wing 410 sprintcars are in town tonight at the Randolph County Raceway. I always reckon that going racing on a Sunday night is a great idea, especially if you don’t have to work on Monday morning. And we don’t!!
Sunday night’s accom is the Comfort Inn in Moberly.
Day 26 Monday July 31st
Today we drive the 294 miles north west to Lincoln, Nebraska. A night off from racing allows us to begin preparing for the next 11 nights, 10 of which will be at a race track.
Overnight at the superb Hyatt Pace Lincoln Downtown Hotel.
Day 27 Tuesday August 1st
This morning we’ll stop in at Speedy Bill Smith’s Museum of American Speed in Lincoln. A better speedway museum you may never see.
Tonight we’ll be in Fairbury, Nebraska for the USAC Midgets at the Jefferson County Speedway. The USAC teams are on their way through to Belleville, Kansas for the Nationals this weekend.
We sleep locally tonight at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.
Day 28 Wednesday August 2nd
It’s only 95 miles to Beloit in Kansas as we chase the USAC midget teams through the cornhusker belt, enroute to Belleville. We’ll stop in at Belleville to see this fearsome track which will be hosting the Midget Nationals on the weekend.
But tonight they are racing at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit.
Overnight we’re staying at the Holiday Inn at Concordia Kansas.
Day 29 Thursday August 3rd
A few more miles will spin beneath the wheels today as we drive from Beloit to St Louis in Missouri. 462 in fact. But with stops along the way we’ll arrive into St Louis and the mighty Mississippi River around 4.00pm.
It’ll be thirsty work and the bar at the Hampton Inn St Louis / at the Gateway will be working overtime to quench our parched throats. We have three nights here at the Hampton right in the very heart of downtown St Louis.
Day 30 Friday August 4th
There are plenty of things to do and see in St Louis and today and tomorrow are set aside to get them done. Tomorrow’s wrap lists what you might like to see and do. Today however we might take the short drive to Staunton to see hundreds of American Classic Cars on display.
The Outlaws hit town tonight and they like us will be at the incredibly high banked Federated Auto Parts Raceway, otherwise known as I-55 Speedway for Night 1 of the renowned Ironman 55 in Pevely. Situated just 29 miles from St Louis, it is an easy drive there and back to experience what is easily the raciest track on the long WoO schedule. A bonus is that the POWRi midgets will be on hand both nights to entertain you. In 2015 the Friday night midget feature was easily the best this writer has ever seen.
Tonight is the first of the last nine successive nights of racing action.
Day 31 Saturday August 5th
The sightseeing options here are many. The huge Anheuser-Busch organisation has its roots deep in this city and one of the “must do” things for an Aussie is the Budweiser Brewery Tour. Another option is to visit the enormous Gateway Arch which presides over the waterfront like half of a giant McDonalds’ logo. But it is hollow, thus allowing visitors to travel up by a diagonal lift system to experience the view from 630 feet above the riverbed. And being so close to the Mississippi surely means you couldn’t let the chance go by of cruising on an authentic Mississippi Riverboat for an hour or two. We offer the Arch and the Cruise as optional extras, but it’s worth it.
During the day there are a variety of different things to see and do in St Louis. Our downtown Hotel is ideally situated for you to take in as many of the famous city sights as you want, or are able to do. Here’s just a selection.
Tonight however it’s back to I-55 in Pevely to take in Night 2 of the Ironman 55. In 2015 Shane Stewart repeated his Kings Royal victory earlier in our tour to take the win. After 55 laps he emerged from his car as weary as one could be after experiencing the G forces this track applies to anyone with enough courage to race on it.
Day 32 Sunday August 6th
Today we are off to Knoxville, Iowa and the perhaps the most thrilling racing and partying you will experience on the whole tour.
We’ll leave St Louis very early this morning to tackle the 306 miles to the beautiful Dutch village of Pella. Following the Mississippi north, we will travel through rural Missouri until we reach Iowa.
And then all of a sudden we have arrived in Pella amidst the rolling cornfields of Iowa which will be our home for the next eight nights. Pella has plenty of things going for it, but the best is that it is a mere 14 miles from Knoxville. When it’s sprintcar Nationals time, accommodation is extremely difficult to secure anywhere remotely near Knoxville, with some fans having to make up to a 200 mile round trip each day just to be part of the daily atmosphere of the Nationals.
The commute to and from Knoxville each day will be super easy and where possible we can make multiple trips to suit the late stayers at the Dingus Lounge, or those who want an early night back in Pella.
We would love to be able to stop and enjoy a welcoming drink this afternoon with mine host Richard and his wife Kelly who run Monarch’s Restaurant and Bar at the Hotel, but we need to get back on the road and into Knoxville to ensure you get the pick of the crop from all the vendors within the hallowed grounds of Knoxville Raceway. All will have their new 2017 stock for sale and as the real crowds haven’t arrived yet, you will have first choice of everything.
Across the course of the ensuing days you will have ample time to explore Knoxville and all it offers, so you may like to start the process today with a visit to the National Sprintcar Hall of Fame. A refreshing drink or two in the Dingus lounge before racing starts could top off the day for you.
Just because it’s Sunday doesn’t mean there isn’t any racing. In a recent innovation, the Knoxville promotion removed the 410’s from Saturday night’s 360 Nationals card and gave them their own show on Sunday night (tonight).
The Outlaws have been racing at the Ironman 55 on the Friday and Saturday night, so to give these guys and dozens of other visitors the chance to get a race in before the Nationals commence on Wednesday, they will occupy the entire program tonight. Expect up to 80 cars to be in attendance!! It is called the Capitani Classic, or the “Prelude to the Nationals.”
Day 33 Monday August 7th
If you need a sleep in, then this morning is the time to get it because one of the biggest nights on the tour is coming up.
Many years ago when Terry McCarl realised that Knoxville Raceway was dark on Monday and Tuesday nights in Nationals’ week, he hired the ½ mile of dirt known as the Southern Iowa Speedway in the Oskaloosa Fairgrounds.
He figured he would run a couple of events and see what happened. The result was more than he could have imagined as fans now flock to the Fairgrounds for what has become known as “Come to our party and watch a Race break out”.
Oskaloosa is the same distance from Pella as Knoxville is … just in a different direction. After lunch in Pella we’ll set off around 3.00pm to gather at the track to join with the locals to enjoy the festivities before the fans enter the infield to watch from in there.
Accumulating beads is always a popular pastime for the local girls at Oskaloosa ….
Oh and by the way, the 410’s are back as part of the new National Sprint League (NSL) which is sanctioning the night. Although it is still to be known as the Front Row Challenge the option for high point scorer to go to the rear has been withdrawn, but the winning purse has been doubled to $20,000. Expect a large number of entries.
Our seats tonight will be in the grandstand on the main straight.
Day 34 Tuesday August 8th
Recovery time again this morning, punctuated with gallons of coffee and Dutch pastries watching the world go by from the sidewalk in Pella.
Later this morning we will make the 45 minute drive to Iowa City and the Tanger Outlet Stores on I-80. Outlet Stores are like no others when it comes to buying what you need in clothing and gifts for loved ones back home. Or even yourself!! All merchandise is from brand name manufacturers and is all brand new at enormously reduced prices. No seconds here like you can encounter elsewhere.
After a few hours shopping you need a taste of racing again no doubt. So tonight we’ll continue further east after shopping to West Liberty Speedway for a Lucas Oil open Late Model race. This track is unique to the extent that it has three very large trees growing on the infield between turns 1 & 2, making it very quaint indeed for a Fairgrounds track.
We’ll have an early dinner at JB’s Grub & Pub where in 2014 and 2016 we had a tremendous time when the locals piled in to meet the folk from Downunder.
West Liberty is about two and a half hours from Pella, so it’ll be a long ride home.
Day 35 Wednesday August 9th
Well today brings forth what every Aussie sprintcar fan wants to see at least once. Just for a moment, you will forget about Gas City, Kokomo, Lawrenceburg, Attica, Eldora, Millstream, Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis Speedway, Bloomington, Putnamville, Peoria, Spoon River, Randolph County, Jefferson County, Solomon Valley, I-55, Oskaloosa and West Liberty.
Because the Knoxville Nationals starts tonight! The town will have swelled from its usual 8,000 population to 30,000, nearly all of whom want a ticket to the skids. Race car haulers are everywhere, only outnumbered by the RV’s and caravans. From far and wide there are people from all walks of life, but all of whom have one common interest.
And you will be one of them, soaking up every available story, taking every possible photo whether you are in the Dingus Lounge, the National Sprintcar Hall of Fame, the NSCHoF&M Golf Classic at the Pella Golf and Country Club, watching karts at Slideways Karting Centre, the English Creek Dirt Kart racetrack or just shooting the breeze with all your new found friends.
We will dine with Dave Argabright in the Boardroom of the Royal Amsterdam Hotel in Pella. Dave is easily America’s foremost speedway journalist / commentator and we reckon he can talk even better than he writes. You’ll be enthralled with his tales of Knoxville and its golden past. Global Speedway Tours will shout the lunch.
But this evening is Night 1 of the Nationals and around 55 cars will start their journey in an attempt to qualify into Saturday night’s A Main.
Day 36 Thursday August 10th
Meanwhile back at the track it’s Night 2 and another 55 different drivers will take to the ½ mile Marion County dirt road in an attempt to qualify for the biggest race of the year in our sport.
The intensity is immense, the on track action seems even faster than the night before and the fans in the stand will entertain you all night!!
Day 37 Friday August 11th
Pella is a beautiful town with significant Dutch heritage. Why not start this morning by taking a brisk walk around the town before it gets too hot. Check out the morning street traders and the bakeries with their fresh morning treats. Jaarsma Bakery is but one which will satisfy your cravings.
Around 10.00am we’ll make the drive up to Granger where Ian Madsen houses the KCP Racing Team sprinter. Ian’s achievements since 2014 have been staggering including winning the Knoxville Raceway 2014 points championship. And backed it up again in 2015 with the NSL. The tour of Ian’s race shop is well worth it.
Lunch will be in Boone, Iowa at Toby K’s Hideaway. Toby Kruse is the former promoter at Knoxville Raceway, but now promotes at Marshalltown Speedway and is another good friend to Global Speedway Tours.
At night we are back at Knoxville watching those drivers who haven’t made it through to the top 16 in points from Wednesday and Thursday. They all get another chance to qualify and lock themselves in for Saturday night. There will be about 80 or so who haven’t, either through misadventure or just simply weren’t fast enough, but they get another chance tonight to improve their positions.
You will see 1 lap qualifying, followed by seven (7) heat races, two (2) B Mains and an A Main. The top 4 from this A will take positions, 17, 18, 19 & 20 in Saturday night’s big one. The rest get yet another chance to qualify on Saturday night via the E, D, C and B Mains.
Friday night also sees the traditional World Challenge raced for by those teams who have qualified to compete via racing in NZ, Canada or the Classic at Warrnambool. Win this race and you get automatic entry into Saturday night’s 50 lap A Main, if you haven’t already qualified.
Day 38 Saturday August 12th
If golf is your thing, it shouldn’t be too hard to arrange for nine holes early this morning at the exclusive Pella Golf and Country Club hosted by Richard Phillips from Monarch’s Restaurant & Bar at the Royal Amsterdam.
The Knoxville Nationals Parade around the town square is well worth seeing. The locals really do enjoy showcasing their town and their rural regional area. It’s on at 11.00am and then even before you realise it, the big day has crept up on you.
After 37 days and seeing more US race tracks than most Americans can only dream about, you are now at the biggest dance of them all. Hang on to your partner because all hell breaks loose inside the Knoxville Raceway tonight. The E, D, C & B Mains provide more excitement and thrills than any feature you have ever seen before, as last minute spots are up for grabs in the A.
It pays $10,000 just to start and $150,000 to win. But the prestige overshadows the money and to have your name on the massive trophy far outweighs anything a driver’s Bank Manager can tell him.
At around 11.00pm it will all be over and you will have been there to see what others describe as the “best four days of your life”.
If there’s room in Dingus and everyone is in agreement, I’m sure we’ll sneak in for a couple of final Buds before heading back to Pella.
Day 39 Sunday August 13th
Maybe it’s not over just yet….
If rain has interfered with the Nationals, the Fair Board may need Sunday to complete proceedings. If they do, we will be there as it’s important that a true speedway fan keeps the rain date available. (Just look at what happened to us with the Daytona 500 in February 2012.)
If Sunday isn’t needed, you might want to spend the day at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. If you have ever wanted to see a large traditional American State Fair, then Iowa is the place to see it. Much the same as an Australian Royal show, except bigger as you might imagine. There might even be sprintcar racing scheduled you never know.
This evening we’ll be back at the Royal Amsterdam in Pella for a farewell dinner of a surprise cuisine.
Day 40 Monday August 14th
Sadly, it’s now time to head for home.
Or you may want to take up any one of numerous options to continue your stay in the USA. Las Vegas is always popular, or Disneyland in Los Angeles, or perhaps a stop in New York City. Whatever it may be we can help you with the decision and the arrangements.
All of our members will depart for home (or other destinations) directly from Des Moines. A huge bonus, because no one has to undertake the long trek back to Indianapolis.
We will get you to the airport which is only 40 miles away and head for Los Angeles (via Minneapolis / St Paul) where you’ll board the Delta 777 for the flight home. A short stroll in LA across the terminal for the Sydney flight and you will take off for Australia at 10.50pm, arriving Sydney at 6.15am on Wednesday August 16th. Hope it’s not your birthday on August 15th, because you’ll miss it!!
Sydneysiders will be met by loved ones and interstaters will transfer to the domestic terminal to catch their flights home across Australia.
A wealth of memories and a bunch of great new friends have now been created over the last 40 days.