“BEST of the BEST in the USA” tour – 2022
THE BEST of the BEST in the USA tour – 2022
BE ONE OF THE 30,000 FANS AT THE KINGS ROYAL
Up to 28 races in 32 days including a day and night in Niagara Falls
Or, extend a week and have 34 races in 39 days
Winged and non wing Sprintcars, Midgets, Late Models, Modifieds, Indycars, NASCARs, Xfinity, Camping World Trucks
Updated Wednesday November 24th 2021
2020 has finally morphed into 2022. Yep, the Coronavirus was the winner in 2020 and 2021. As things become gradually clearer about international travel from Australia, we are pumped to be able to release the 2022 “Best of the Best in the USA” tour itinerary. Here you can read all about the tour highlights in a day by day format, along with a summary of the fabulous things you’ll experience, the races you’ll be gobsmacked by and the pulsating places you’ll visit. Check this link as well for all the tour inclusions.
We were so excited to release the 2020 & 2021 tours, but disappointingly neither of them made it off the ground. We are now even more thrilled to release the 2022 version, scheduled to leave Australia on Thurs June 23rd and return home to Oz on Wed July 27th. (Or August 3rd, if you take the week long extension.) This tour does not include the Knoxville Nationals, scheduled for August 10th to the 13th. There is good reason for this, as explained below and in the printable tour itinerary “at a glance” table format.
In 2022 we are already committed to taking our second tour to the Chariots of Thunder in Darwin. It is due to start on August 12th. We need to factor in possible quarantine time for members of the USA tour, depending on where they live. As at the time of writing (October 2021) it is uncertain how some states will be treating returning travellers. (We note that NSW and Victoria have already declared there will be no quarantine for their returning residents.)
The length of quarantine time a returning traveller will have to do (and where) has understandably dictated our planning. For now therefore, this tour is designed around a 14-day quarantine period to allow for those who want to also leave for Darwin on August 12th.
If all state governments officially introduce the shorter quarantine period, then tour members could also consider the “Best of the Best USA” one week tour extension. If you can fit it in, you’ll find the suggested additional races at the foot of this document.
We'd like it if you took the time to read the whole 'day by day' tour description below, but if time is an issue and you need to read it later, or show it to a mate, then by using this link you can read and / or print off a full version of this itinerary but without the pictures and videos.
This whole itinerary is fluid. And no, we don’t mean our famous $1 esky. The schedule was originally written when only 5% of the 2022 race dates had been released. Hence it used historical data and educated opinions to formulate what you are about to read. In time, as more and more dates are progressively confirmed, you will see this itinerary become more vivid as we will highlight the day and date in green to signify it is confirmed. And there are some boom locked in additions in the Nov 4th update. As always, we reserve the right to amend any of this itinerary as actual race dates are progressively released which in turn may have an effect on others. Purely and simply to make it better for you.
If a particular day has been updated with info in any way, it will be highlighted in yellow that there has been a change and when.
Any text in orange is a hyperlink. Please tap or click on it to watch, or read more on that subject.
You’ll fly out to the United States of America today from, what we hope by then will once again be the ‘united states’ of Australia. Your international departure airport will be the closest one to your residential base. If possible, we’ll position you on flights with other tour members. A same day arrival into an American gateway airport will see you connecting with a domestic flight east to the Pennsylvanian capital of Harrisburg. Day 1 is always a long travel day in planes and airports, so it won’t be until around 9.00pm this evening that you will drag a weary body into bed in your first US hotel after 22 hours on the go.
You’re either going to awake around 3.00am, or want to sleep until Midday. If it’s not the first one, we’ll wake you up for the hotel breakfast and a mid-morning departure to an all-American favourite called Bass Pro. You’ll be flabbergasted at the effort put in to decorate what could otherwise be a simple outdoor sporting goods store!
Lunch will be at the outstanding Hibachi Chinese Buffet next door to Bass Pro, after which we head straight to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing. A better range of speedway memorabilia you won’t see on the eastern seaboard. Two hours or so will keep you well and truly occupied.
Our arrival time at each track throughout the tour varies upon the location and magnitude of the race night. Today at Williams Grove Speedway it’s a 4.30pm appearance in the parking lot to get our position and to meet as many tailgating US fans as possible. It’s a way of life for American sports fans and we have no doubt you will enjoy their instant friendship once they realise you are from Australia.
At all tracks we visit your ticket cost (and reserved seating if applicable) is included in your tour price. Should you want to upgrade your ticket to include a pit pass, then you are welcome to do so at your own cost. Or watch ’em go round from the infield.
Here’s Donny ……
The racing tonight is round 1 of Pennsylvania (PA) Sprintweek at the historical paper clip shaped half mile that is Williams Grove. Supported by the 358 sprintcars which are unique to Pennsylvania.
Sightseeing is an integral part of our Global Speedway Tours trips. In fact, we estimate that you are only at a racetrack for 10% of the total tour time. Today is one such example when we visit the historically important town of Gettysburg. It was of course the site of the bloodiest and most costly (in terms of human lives lost) battles of the entire Civil War in the 1860’s. It is recorded that 53,000 Americans were killed by other Americans in the three days of the Gettysburg carnage.
Without returning to the hotel, we head straight for Abbottstown, a mere “dot on the map” if it wasn’t for the excellent Lincoln Speedway being hidden away there. Round 2 goes down tonight.
An American institution that you will certainly grace the doors of on many occasions across this tour is Walmart. It just so happens that there is one a kilometre from the hotel. Not that we will make you walk, but you can if you like. If you want, the bus can ferry you to the Mechanicsburg Walmart Supercentre this morning for a visit.
Lunch should be taken while you are out and about this morning and a suggestion could be the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant just around the corner from Walmart. Red Robin have been the PA Speedweek major sponsor for several years now and hopefully will do so again in 2022. Aussies are good at supporting those who support our sport.
York, Pennsylvania is about 28 miles south of our hotel in Mechanicsburg. It’ll take around 35 minutes to drive to the Harley-Davidson Assembly plant for our afternoon factory tour. The accompanying website is a little sparse in its content at the moment given that the tours have been suspended since the start of the COVID pandemic. However, they should open up again in time for us to enjoy all-new experiences in 2022. The gift shop is very worthwhile visiting for super presents for those back home.
From the Harley factory it’s straight to BAPS Motor Speedway previously known as Susquehanna Speedway for Round 3.
Tonight, it’s back to Lincoln Speedway for R4 and their second shot at Speedweek. Sprintcar racing on a Monday night is not a common occurrence, but when you’re in the hotbed of racing that is Dutch Pennsylvania, racing on any night of the week attracts enormous crowds.
But before the track, it’s time to head over the picturesque Susquehanna River to Lancaster and progressively make our way into Intercourse with the Amish. Some of the covered bridges of Lancaster County are a must see and we’ll do our best to visit at least two of them today. We won’t spend long in Intercourse because it can be tiring, but we’ll be there long enough to sample everything it has to offer. 🤫
Abbottstown is an hour from Intercourse, so after a tasty late Amish lunch at Dienner’s Country Restaurant we’ll find ourselves going through the gates of Lincoln Speedway about 4.30pm.
We leave Mechanicsburg and the Holiday Inn this morning to drive 105 miles further east to Quakertown which is one of the closest townships to Grandview Speedway, our destination tonight for Round 5. We’ll be breaking the journey however with a stop at Hershey on the way through to visit Chocolate World and also to take a look at (from the outside), the magnificent Hershey Park which boasts no less than 13 of the biggest roller coasters you will see for a long time.
From Hershey we meander along Route 422 though Myerstown, the home of PA driver Brent Marks, before continuing to the very famous speedway town of Reading. It was here in this city where the local fairgrounds track produced some outstanding races. Local heroes and USAC champions regularly invaded Reading before it met its demise in 1979 with a shopping mall cementing itself right over the top of the fairgrounds. The irony is that in 2020 the Fairgrounds Square mall was itself partly demolished and the site is now pretty much shut down.
Do yourself a favour and watch this USAC national midget race from 1978. It was a direct telecast back then by NBC Sports, so the quality of the vision is excellent for its age and as good as the quality of the race. Even Australia gets mentioned and there is action aplenty from some enormous American names from the 1970’s.
After Reading we continue on through wooded countryside that in winter would be covered in snow with several ski resorts along the way. The Econo Lodge in Quakertown sits across the road from a Walmart, so if we’re early you can shop to your heart’s content. This arvo will be an early arrival at Grandview as the place gets packed out. Expect a huge field of big block modifieds as the support class.
Day 7 – Wednesday June 29th 2022
Burnham, PA / Quality Inn & Suites
Today should be our most picturesque of the tour so far. Certainly, the most innovative. After leaving Quakertown, we take I-476 onto I-78 before leaving the freeway system to tackle the country roads. One of which (209) will take us past Big Diamond Speedway, not to watch anything, but just to say we’ve been there!
Staying on 209 gets us to Millersburg which sits right on the mighty Susquehanna River, 464 miles long, one mile wide and claimed to be 300 million years old. Now guess what? There is no bridge over the Susky at Millersburg, but after having lunch with Max at his Grille & Sports Bar we’ll board the Millersburg Ferry which looks just about as ancient as the river itself. Except it was built in 1998! She’s a reliable old thing as you’ll see from the spectacular pictures on the website. And this video ….
On the other side we should have time to call into the “Winery at Hunters Valley” for a tasting before continuing on the 43 miles to our hotel in Burnham, where we’ll put our heads down for the night after returning from Round 6 at everybody’s new favourite track Port Royal Speedway. I’m sure you’ll be excited to see a race at Port Royal, but your tour host will be more so. He’s been there three times before but has been rained out every time!
Day 8 – Thursday, June 30th 2022
Hagerstown, MD / Sleep Inn & Suites
Our journey today takes us right through the Tuscarora State Forest, probably prettier in the middle of winter, but none-the-less there is still spectacular summer scenery to soak up. Hagerstown is only three hours away, so you could expect to be there for lunch. The adjacent Walmart and Premium Outlet stores will use up all the time you need while waiting to get access to your hotel room.
Tonight, it’s our final PA Speedweek race (#7) at the Hagerstown Speedway, a true half mile of red clay with straightaways over 300 metres long and 22 metres wide. You are guaranteed vortexes snaking off the wings down the front straight here.
I don’t normally do this, but two enormous crashes put Hagerstown Speedway on the map. The first in the Late Models and then USAC came to town.
Day 9 – Friday, July 1st 2022
Cloverdale, IN / Super 8
PA Speedweek is held over nine races, with tonight back at Williams Grove, topped off by Port Royal again on Saturday. However, given that we have already been to those two tracks, we have elected to forego these two races in favour of returning west into Indiana today and then up to “cheesehead” country in Wisconsin on the weekend.
Today will be the second longest drive of the tour at 565 miles (8 hours and 42 mins … if we didn’t stop). An early 7.00am start will see us begin on I-70, one of the most user-friendly Interstates in the country and one we’ll use a lot over the next 30 odd days. By the way, learning how and why the Interstates got their numbers makes for a worthwhile two minutes.
We travel through an extraordinary five states today commencing in Maryland, followed by Pennsylvania (for about 20 minutes), West Virginia on I-68, (a modern sweeping freeway through steep terrain for 112 miles), Ohio and finally Indiana. There is plenty to see as we traverse the magnificent US road system, including these gigantic wind turbine propellors.
One important chore for passengers I haven’t mentioned yet is that on the days when the itinerary hasn’t specified where we will have lunch, it is the responsibility of a nominated passenger to select what we will have for lunch. The driver will choose where to stop once we have located the selected style of food in a suitable town along the way. Today will be a “no knife and fork, eat on the run” lunch.
5.00pm should see us hit Cloverdale and after checking in at the hotel, we’ll make the very short seven mile drive to Lincoln Park Speedway, aka Putnamville Speedway. A prettier setting for a racetrack you may never find. Tonight, USAC and MCSC combine for a co sanctioned non wing 410 sprintcar spectacular.
Day 10 – Saturday July 2nd 2022
Sun Prairie, WI / Quality Inn & Suites
We don’t get to stay in Chicago on this trip (too many races to get to), but today we do drive straight through the Windy City to get into Wisconsin and Angell Park Speedway at Sun Prairie. You’ll get wonderful views of this fabulous city which sits on the magnificent Lake Michigan. As we go further north on our 346-mile drive today, we’ll hug the lake all the way until we hit Milwaukee. The truly superb Harley-Davidson Museum lives here, but whether we have time to visit depends on our progress negotiating the Chicago traffic.
Sun Prairie truly is a neat little town. Very tourist oriented, it looks to be the most unlikely place you’d ever find a speedway but there it is, nestled right off the main straight next to the fire station. It’s very worthwhile reading the history of Angell Park and you’ll then understand the reference to the firemen. More can be found here.
But that track is for tomorrow, because tonight we make a 30-mile drive north to Beaver Dam Raceway which unfortunately was the scene of Jason Johnson’s fatal accident in June 2018. Midgets, wingless sprintcars and Legend cars make up the program.
Day 11 – Sunday July 3rd 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Sun Prairie, WI / Quality Inn & Suites
60 minutes further north from Beaver Dam is Road America, 640 acres of parklike grounds where for the last three days the NASCARS have been practicing for today’s Kwik Trip 250, one of their seven road course races for the year. All of which means that today you have a choice of what to do.
If you are a NASCAR fan, (or even if you’re not), you might like to go with the group at 7.00am in the morning up to Plymouth to watch the NASCARs at Road America. We’ll do our best to get you there, but depending on the size of the group, it may be necessary for a rental car to be hired to make the drive. It will be an optional side trip, so all admission costs to the race and car rental costs (if any) will be personal. Whether you get back in time to also be at Angell Park will totally depend on traffic and race end time at Road America. It’s a 2.30pm local time start so you could be in luck.
Sun Prairie is essentially a suburb of Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. So the alternative plan for today is to take a drive into the city centre and wander about. With any luck there may be a food festival on in the city square housing the incredible State Capitol Building. If so, enjoy the fun walking and sampling food and a couple of beers. But most of all I strongly suggest you also take a tour of the Capitol to see just how beautifully the Americans preserve their history.
Meanwhile back at Angell Park those same midgets and sprintcars are assembling in the pits ready for tonight’s traditional Independence Day races. Before everything starts, suggest you make time to take a walk through the National Midget Hall of Fame and Museum that is at the track.
Day 12 – Monday July 4th 2022 – Independence Day
Fond du Lac, WI / Hampton Inn
It’s unlikely that we’ll get a race in tonight, but never mind because you’ll be looking for a break after 10 consecutive nights of racing. Besides you’ll appreciate a meal where you can use some cutlery! (But if there’s a race nearby, we’ll be there. Perhaps it will at Plymouth Speedway in the middle of the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds.) Before we get to enjoy that possible luxury with a knife and fork though, there are things to see and do. We depart Sun Prairie to keep going north, but not quite as far as Canada.
Our first stop will be at Elkhart Lake, a name you may be familiar with. To keep the auto racing connection going, it’s important to drop into Road America. Although some of the group were there yesterday, the rest should still get the chance to see the complex which will be in clean up mode. A perfect time to call in I’d imagine. Those who attended can tell the others what they missed.
From there we will keep pushing north for another 45 miles or so until we get to Green Bay. But stopping in at 141 Speedway in Maribel for a look at Toby Kruse’s little jewel in the crown. One thing you might like to do in Green Bay is to take a tour of Lambeau Field, the home of the incredibly famous Green Bay Packers. The merchandise shop is unreal …..
After Green Bay we make the 180° turn towards Lake Winnebago and tackle the western side of this 557 square kilometre freshwater lake. In winter they ice fish on it. We’d stop at the RV factory, but they’ve never made Winnebagos in Winnebago strangely enough. And then when we reach Oshkosh, we’d stop at the baby clothing factory, but that got moved to Bangladesh. So, we’ll just keep going to the Oshkosh B’Gosh superstore if anyone wants to buy grandkid stuff.
Eventually we’ll reach Fond du Lac where we’ll pull up stumps for the night before heading off to the Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar for dinner overlooking the lake. Or the races at the Plymouth Dirt Track if it’s on …..
Day 13 – Tuesday July 5th 2022
Peoria, IL / Comfort Suites
Given some of the distances we have travelled in the last week, today is relatively mild at 271 miles, or 4.5 hours. Plus lunch for someone to have a think about.
Hope you brought a Late Model t-shirt with you because you will need one over the next three nights. Right back down in them thar southern states (meant to be read with a drawl) they hold the Summer Nationals about this time each year.
When it first started there were 35 races in 38 days throughout Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Sanctioned by the World Racing Group (World of Outlaws) the series quickly became known as the Hell Tour, such is the toll on cars and teams. Over the next three nights we join these Outlaws on the road. Tonight at Knox County Fair Speedway it will be their 15th race.
Home for the next two days will be Peoria, a classic river town on the Illinois. The Spirit of Peoria makes its home here and you’ll often see it moored on the river awaiting her next customers.
We hit Knoxville tonight, but not Knoxville, Iowa the Sprintcar Capital of the World. This one in Illinois has no motels and a tiny population of 2,931 people, not all of whom will be race fans. But the farmers will come from miles around to watch the “stockcars” on the big half mile.
Day 14 – Wednesday July 6th 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Quad Cities, IA / Holiday Inn Rock Island
No rest day for us yet. We’re on the road again early, this time for a morning of nostalgia when we motor into Streator, Illinois around 11.00am. If that town name is not known to you, then you missed out on an era of midget / speedcar racing in Australia that will probably never be repeated. The incomparable Bob Tattersall made 12 consecutive trips to Australia winning “everything there was to win” and virtually becoming a national hero, such were the crowds that flocked to see him race at Adelaide’s Rowley Park, Claremont in Perth, Brisbane’s Exhibition Ground and most of all the Sydney Showground.
Bob died of cancer in 1971 leaving his remarkable wife Dee a widow for ever more. She did not marry again and still lives in the same house in Streator that she and Bob bought just before illness struck him down. Dee loves visitors to call in and we will again, to say hi and see the shrine of memories she has set up for her beloved Tat in the house.
Hopefully Dee will accept our luncheon invitation before we depart Streator after seeing the enormous mural of him on the east wall of the Homebaker Automotive building.
After lunch we continue up to Davenport in Iowa and our hotel just a block back from the Mighty Mississippi. The width of the river at the point where we will be staying is immense and a truly spectacular experience to stand beside it.
Equally spectacular will be the Lucas Oil Late Model tour when it hits the Davenport Speedway tonight. Not sure if they will be using the half, or the quarter mile track at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Whichever one it is won’t matter to us.
Day 15 – Thursday July 7th 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Spring Valley, MN / Americas Best Value Inn & Suites
For the first time ever on a Global Speedway Tours itinerary we push into Minnesota which is pretty much equal to Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania when it comes to popularity of the sport of speedway racing in the mid-west. The Lucas Oil Late Model Tour moves into the North Star state and in particular Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley. A town with one hotel and we’re in it, having booked straight after Lucas Oil released their schedule.
Tonight is the first of three nights racing culminating in a $50,000 to win main event on Saturday night, but we’ll be long gone having moved onto Sioux Falls tomorrow for three nights of USAC midgets and sprintcars.
Before we arrive in Spring Valley however we will call into Dyersville, Iowa which was once just a speck on the map until Universal Studios built a baseball diamond and a two story house in a cornfield. You don’t need to like baseball to watch the movie Field of Dreams. It’s simply a magic inspirational tale which shows that dreams can come true. We’ll pull up at the exact site where the movie was shot back in 1989. In 2019 the Major League Baseball authorities announced that they had leased a couple of cornfields adjacent to the “movie diamond” in order to build an 8,000 seat park so the Yankees could play the White Sox in a regular season game for points in 2020. COVID took care of that idea, but in 2021 they tried again and the match was a huge success.
Day 16 – Friday July 8th 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Sioux Falls, SD / SpringHill Suites by Marriott
When I mentioned we haven’t been to Minnesota before, I should also have added in South Dakota because the Mt Rushmore state has never appeared on a GST itinerary either. It’s a long way to go to see a race, but when you get the two flagship divisions of USAC for three nights in the USAC Nationals, “ya can’t say no”. Even if it is 878 miles and 15 hours back to Attica for Tuesday night’s Brad Doty Classic.
On the “short” three hour drive to Sioux Falls we pass straight through Jackson where the fabulous Jackson Motorplex is. It is owned by the same man who has put Huset’s Speedway back on the map. The Big Game Tree Hunter man, Tod Quiring purchased the track and has returned it to its former glory.
This evening is night 1 of the USAC Nationals with both the 410 non-wing USAC sprintcars in action supplemented by the midgets. Although nowadays the mighty midgets can be quite entitled to top billing at any race track they go to.
Can’t wait …… !
Day 17 – Saturday July 9th 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Sioux Falls, SD / SpringHill Suites by Marriott
The hotel is smack bang next to the largest shopping mall in South Dakota. I don’t think anyone will have any trouble in finding things to do during the daylight hours today and tomorrow.
At night however its back to Brandon and Huset’s for night 2 of the USAC Nationals.
Still can’t wait ……
Day 18 – Sunday July 10th 2022 Updated 04/11/21
Sioux Falls, SD / SpringHill Suites by Marriott
The hotel pool, the gym, the washing machine, or the TV to watch the NASCARS at Atlanta might occupy the day if the shops have been thoroughly canvassed yesterday.
Night 3 at Huset’s sees all the finals and $50,000 to the winners of each of the sprintcar and midget features. Great prizemoney for these guys, many of whom will be on “double duty” trying to win both.
Day 19 – Monday July 11th 2022 Updated 11/11/21
Joliet, IL / Hollywood Casino
One of the consequences of driving to South Dakota means that it makes for a long return trip to Ohio. The Brad Doty Classic is on at Attica tomorrow night and those 878 miles take us into a different time zone as well between Sioux Falls and Attica. The saving grace is that we have a Monday night up our sleeve where there is no racing anywhere along the way that we would want to attend.
It’ll be an early start around 7.00am when we head south down I-29 to I-80 and then stay on that until we hit Joliet. It’ll be about a four stop trip, one of which will be at the World’s Largest Truckstop for fuel and food before stopping again 25 miles further on at the home of the American Pickers in Le Claire on the Mississippi for a look around their shop. After which it’s full steam ahead on the final voyage of velocity to Joliet, 157 miles away.
Our only reason for stopping the night in Joliet is (apart from the driver will be buggared) is that it is possible to catch the Metro (train) into Chicago if anyone wants to look around the city.
Day 20 – Tuesday July 12th 2022
Lima, OH / Howard Johnson Hotel
It’s only 275 miles today to “Stubb City”, otherwise known as Findlay, Ohio where we pick him up from tonight ready for Attica. But first we call into Lima and check in to the fabulous Howard Johnson Hotel. I call it an “inside out hotel” as all the balconies face inwards overlooking the pool in the atrium inside the building. Remember we lose an hour today, so it will be an early start again.
A lot of our journey today will be along US30 which deservedly should be as famous as Route 66. It is one of the oldest highways in America and because it has a zero as the last digit in its highway number, you know that it spans the country from coast to coast. It’s not an interstate freeway, but once on it you would never realise that. In fact, much of the very historic Lincoln Highway is US30.
We should arrive in Lima around 2.00pm and if an early check in can be arranged it will allow us to take off again for Attica Raceway Park and turning up there around 4.00pm would be perfect. We will have reserved seating, but it will be a packed house and besides there will be plenty of Stubb’s friends you will need to meet and tailgate with like we did in 2019.
The World of Outlaws are in the house tonight along with all the guns from Ohio and Pennsylvania who pay homage to Brad Doty and his benefit race. It should be a ripper.
Day 21 – Wednesday July 13th 2022
Winchester, IN / Randolph Inn & Suites
He first surfaced in Australia in the late 1970’s when he toured with the four-man USA sedan teams which attracted magnet like crowds to all the big city tracks. One of those trips resulted in winning the legendary Marlboro Grand National at Liverpool Speedway in 1980. His first Aussie sprintcar steer appears to have been at Claremont for the Bob Trostle team on New Year’s Day in 1982, followed by the Melbourne Speedbowl and Drouin in Feb 82.
Fans at Sydney’s Parramatta City Raceway saw him in just one appearance in the 1982/83 season, but his next visit to Oz was not until the 1990/91 World Series Sprintcars. Second in points (to Max Dumesny) and five wins from 16 races. And he won the Grand Annual Classic at Warrnambool in January ‘91. He came back again for WSS in 91/92 to finish 3rd in points, with two wins. And that was it.
Who are we talking about and why didn’t he travel to Australia more often? Well, why not ask him yourself over lunch today in Troy, Ohio.
This will be quite an experience I’d say and one of the highlights of the tour. We need to check out of the Howard Johnson because tonight (after Eldora) we will be moving in to the Randolph Inn and remaining in Winchester for the next four nights. Our hotel is co-owned by Charlie Shaw, who also owns Winchester Speedway which will be our objective on Friday morning.
After lunching with Jack, we’ll head straight to Eldora Speedway with all your suitcases locked away in the bus. Here we’ll meet up with the little fella again at what we quaintly call “Stubb Central”. You’ll become very familiar with this patch of turf right behind turns 3 & 4 in the massive RV and campgrounds that surround Eldora. This afternoon and again on Thursday and Friday will be spent based here while you explore the complex that is Eldora Speedway.
Stubb and his mate Jeff parallel park their caravans across three spots leaving the big gap in the middle for drinkin’, meetin’ and throwin’ throughout the next four days. You’ll never know who just might drop in for a drink.
Saturday of the Kings Royal it’s all day here, meeting what appears to be every single person of the 30,000 strong crowd who stroll in to say hi to Stubb and Gail. The 94th annual Petey Memorial Cornhole championship will be contested on this day so make sure you know how it works so you can enter. To get an idea of life at Stubb Central, how well it is positioned and what cornhole is all about, check this out.
It’s easy to predict the winner of the Kings Royal. Just wait for the transporters to roll in and then take your pick. Here’s how Kevvie Arnold from Murray Bridge does it.
Tonight, the program is likely to be the World of Outlaws and USAC racing on the same night at the same track. Highly unusual, but a very worthwhile thing to see. Our seats will be on the front straight in the grandstand area.
Around midnight, or when Stubb allows us to leave, we’ll tackle the 30 miles to Winchester and check in at the Hotel for a well-deserved sleep.
Day 22 – Thursday July 14th 2022
Winchester, IN / Randolph Inn & Suites
No organised activity is planned for today, specifically to allow you to catch up on some long overdue sleep, the washing or maybe friends back home to tell them “how much you wish they were here.”
If you did miss breakfast and / or want lunch, then consider walking across the road to Wicks Pies – Bakery & Café. Be careful though. They aren’t meat pies, if you’re hanging out for one of them. Here’s the menu to help get your mouth watering.
At 3.00pm we’ll make our way back to Eldora ready for the Historical Big One paying $100k to win. The last time the HBO was run was back in 2003 when Daryn Pittman picked up the cash. The first winner was Jac Haudenschild in 1993 when $100,000 was a big deal. Still is of course, but winning that much 28 years ago was very big … and historical.
Tonight and tomorrow night we’ll be in the back row of the stands beneath the corporate boxes midway between turns 3 & 4. This is the view you’ll have.
Day 23 – Friday July 15th 2022
Winchester, IN / Randolph Inn & Suites
At 10.00am we’ll be at Winchester Speedway, the “World’s fastest paved half mile”. If it’s the same as the last 10 years, we’ll be met by Charlie Shaw the owner, along with Kirk Daugherty, Gary McFarlane and Bob Lemons, his able offsiders in running the track. Bob’s the historian and you’ll hear all about the illustrious history and why the banking is so steep.
With a bit of luck, Bob may have his Nissan there to take everyone for a couple of laps on the high banks.
This next video demonstrates that Bob’s a very good driver.
Lunch will be in Greenville at Kathy’s Restaurant, a beaut little family restaurant with home cooked meals like meatloaf with spaghetti & meatballs and stuff ….
Then it’s merchandise shopping over behind the front straight at Eldora, cornhole practice at “Stubb Central” and right arm strengthening exercises via corn boards and drinking. On track from 6.00pm is the quaintly named “Knight before the Kings Royal.”
Day 24 – Saturday July 16th 2022
Winchester, IN / Randolph Inn & Suites
Let’s assume we’ve had a favourable run with the rain staying away so far in the first 23 days. But be assured it does rain at Eldora as this video from 2015 proves.
But if it doesn’t, then just remember it can also get very dusty at Eldora, so be prepared.
But it won’t rain today and the weather will be fine from go to whoa. A midday arrival at “Stubb Central” and the first thing you will smell is the aroma of barbequed chicken with special herbs and spices from Walmart. Stubb is the cook and Gail prepares the rest for a lovely mid-afternoon lunch courtesy of Global Speedway Tours. Even the $1 esky today is a zero dollar esky.
While waiting for the 94th annual Petey Memorial to start, you might be able to go for a ride around the campground in this. Just make sure though you take a drink with you because you’ll be the odd one out if you don’t.
The “Petey Memorial” honours a young man who was one of the boys at Stubb Central every year until sadly he decided he was done with living any longer. The “Petey” commemorates a wonderful guy with a very traditional and intensely fought for Cornboard Challenge. The prize is two Global Speedway Tours’ shirts.
This four minute video shows the great fun that happens on Kings Royal Saturday.
Entry to inside the cauldron that is Eldora is anytime you like. It’s $175,000 to win the 39th Kings Royal tonight and this is the view you’ll get from our reserved seats high up on Turn 1.
We’ll be home sometime tomorrow morning. The drive out of Eldora tonight is phenomenal. The local Ohio constabulary have this remarkable ability to send you in totally the opposite direction to where you want to go.
Day 25 – Sunday July 17th 2022
Franklin, PA / Quality Inn & Conference Centre
Pennsylvania is a huge state so it’s not that surprising we venture back onto the rim of it again today. We’re on our way to Niagara Falls, but it just so happens that a sprintcar show is on at Tri-City Raceway Park in Franklin which is right in the way of getting up to where folks used to ride barrels over the edge into oblivion.
Between Winchester and Franklin lies the massive Industrial city of Pittsburgh. We could avoid it, but to do so would mean missing the wonderful sight of the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers merging to form the massive Ohio River. We’ll drive right over the top of it on classic American Iron bridges, two of a total of 446 in the city. It’s Sunday, so the traffic won’t be too bad …. much.
The speedway tonight has winged 410’s, pro stocks, mini stocks, rush sprints and junior sprints. Grass roots racing with tons of variety.
Day 26 – Monday July 18th 2022
Niagara Falls, NY / TBA
One of the more intriguing facts I came across during my research on Niagara Falls, is that 20% of the world’s fresh water supply lies in the American Great Lakes of Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie. 18,000 years ago, southern Ontario in Canada was completely covered by ice sheets, estimated at 2-3 kilometres thick. The last Ice Age.
As this ice melted, vast quantities of ‘meltwater’ was released into basins of land in the upper USA and southern Canada to form the Great Lakes that you will see in our travels throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. 99% of the water in these Great Lakes is called fossil water. ie. Left over from the melted ice sheets. The other 1% is renewable water from natural sources. Otherwise called, rain. Phenomenal.
The Niagara River which created the Niagara Falls came about because of the melt. The water had to go somewhere. It’s natural path between the Great Lakes means that Lake Erie eventually gets it all. Erie then has to send it further, so the 58 km long Niagara River was carved naturally to continue the flow to what is now known as Lake Ontario. The elevation difference between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is 99 metres (half of which is at the Falls themselves), so it wasn’t surprising that the water took this path.
So finally, you’re entitled to ask what happens to the water then? From Lake Ontario it has to find its way to the Atlantic Ocean, 1,197 kms away. By itself it created the St Lawrence River, but later on mankind helped by constructing the St Lawrence Seaway which now provides shipping access to Canada and the USA
And the last fact before we move on? If all the fresh water in the Great Lakes system was spread out across the USA, it would cover the entire country to a depth of one metre.
So, with that out of the way, we are only three hours from seeing 2.2 million litres of water flow over Horseshoe Falls every second. Our hotel will be on the Canadian side so we will need to have all our paperwork in the form of passport and vaccination proof to be able to enter Canada. Our plan is to first stop in Buffalo on the American side to ride the Maid of the Mist, (included in your tour price) then drive across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada.
This afternoon and tomorrow morning are allocated entirely to sightseeing Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. Those travelling on the Best of the Best tour are strongly encouraged to undertake your own research on what you want to see and do during this time. These two links will help.
Dinner tonight will be as a group at a venue to be advised. Our hotel hasn’t been decided yet either as it needs further research at this point. Unlike every other night on this tour for which hotels have already been booked and secured.
Day 27 – Tuesday July 19th 2022 Updated 22/11/21
Butler, PA / Comfort Inn & Suites
The release of the World of Outlaws 2022 schedule on November 1st, revealed that they will not be stopping at Lernerville in 2022 for a variety of reasons. However, we will leave the description of today in place until we work out what we will do tonight.
Midday will see us back on the road again, this time passing through a different border crossing to return to the US. Using toll roads will speed up the process significantly and if we get a good run through the authorities and traffic, around 4.00pm we’ll roll into Butler, the town that will forever be remembered as the place “where Trevor fell down the hill”. Our activities tonight remain as TBA until we can establish if there is a race in the area, or we just use Butler to pay homage to Trev. J
Day 28 – Wednesday July 20th 2022 Updated 02/11/21
Burnham, PA / Quality Inn
The Outlaws have given Port Royal Speedway an extra date in 2022, no doubt the one that belonged to Lernerville. So having found that out, we have booked the accommodation so we too can be back at Port Royal to watch the best of the best compete with the PA Posse at one of the USA’s finest facilities.
Butler to Port Royal is only a three hour drive so we’ll do it easy and maybe find some time, if people are keen, to re-visit the site of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Something the tour hasn’t done for a long time. The museum they have built there to commemorate the 911 atrocities is first class.
The little town of Port Royal will be buzzing tonight with what will probably be a sell out crowd. We’ll need to get there early!
Day 29 – Thursday July 21st 2022 Updated 22/11/21
Indianapolis, IN / Comfort Inn Indianapolis South
The last big drive of the tour is today as we turn back west again and make our way towards Indianapolis. I say towards because although we have hotel accommodation reserved in Indy for tonight, it’s entirely possible that a previously rained our race in any state along the 525 mile drive, just might be re-scheduled for tonight.
This happened last year when a USAC Silver Crown race popped up at Winchester Speedway. Who knows what will happen? There are dozens of tracks between Port Royal and Indianapolis that we will keep an eye on!
Day 30 – Friday July 22nd 2022
Gas City, IN / Best Western Plus
A road trip around Indianapolis is always a good thing. There are plenty of places to see and explore such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the VIP Track Tour (both of which are inclusions in your tour price). Plus, the old Gasoline Alley, Lucas Oil Raceway, the Indiana State Fairgrounds (the site of the Hoosier Hundred since 1953), the suburb of Brownsburg where many Indycar and Drag Racing teams have their race shops.
Certainly enough to fill in a morning and half an afternoon before heading off to Gas City Speedway.
Tonight marks the commencement of another long-held Indiana tradition. Especially if you love non wing 410 sprintcars. And you’ll love how Loudpedal Productions saw Indiana Sprintweek unfold in 2017. (Even our own Will Liston gets a mention in the credits!)
You too can be at all seven rounds by just sticking with Global Speedway Tours. Or, as you will see, Indy cars and NASCAR’s might entice you away from the last two rounds. Decision time is looming ….
Gas City is a gem and we’ll need to make sure we are there early for Russell to mark off our seating in the grandstand. The Best Western Plus Hotel is not a long way from the track. At most, it might take two minutes, but only if traffic is heavy!
We can’t walk because that would mean someone has to carry the esky.
Day 31 – Saturday July 23rd 2022
Gas City, IN / Best Western Plus
Two sleeps in this great hotel, so you can leave your gear in the room while we take off for some sightseeing. There’s not necessarily a lot of things to do during the day around these parts, but the James Dean Gallery in nearby Fairmount could occupy some of your time. The rest might be lunching in Payne’s British Restaurant, or the Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant, or Cracker Barrel (the chicken pot pie is superb), all of which are within walking distance of the hotel front door.
Thus, allowing us plenty of time to make the 30-minute drive to Kokomo Speedway to get prime position in the car park and in the grandstand. This joint will be packed to the rafters for round 2 of Sprintweek.
PS. Betcha whoever won last night, doesn‘t win tonight!
Day 32 – Sunday July 24th 2022
Lawrenceburg, IN / Quality Inn
The caravan that consists of race cars and their haulers along with race fans and their hangovers, all make the annual pilgrimage from Kokomo to Lawrenceburg Speedway for Round 3 at the same time. It’s usually a 2½ hour drive to a track that has the highest banking of any place where you’ll see racing on this tour. But for us today we’ll detour via Indianapolis again to pay a visit to a football stadium.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway might be the biggest sporting complex in the city, but it’s certainly not the most visible. That honour belongs to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts which can be seen by absolutely everybody driving through, or into the city on the vast number of freeways that criss cross the capital of Indiana. Today we’re going to get up close and personal with an 11.00am guided tour of this fantastic monolith. An added inclusion in your USA trip.
Following which which we’ll take lunch at Shapiro’s Delicatessen where the catch cry is “over 100 years of Jewish tradition”. Here’s the Menu – Homemade and Locally Sourced if you’re a little uncertain …..
We’ll aim to arrive in Lawrenceburg around 3.00pm so we can check-in to the hotel, rest up a bit and then make the five-minute drive to the Fairgrounds. Tailgating will definitely take place with dozens of friends made along the journey, all of whom also follow the Sprintweek trail.
If you’re feeling a touch tired at this point, you deserve to be. It’s race # 29 and were at day # 32. No other person outside your tour buddies can lay claim to those numbers.
Day 33 – Monday July 25th 2022
The time has come to return home to Australia for those who aren’t taking the one-week tour extension. Those who continue on will be able to complete Indiana Sprintweek. Or make the choice to forego the last two nights in favour of NASCAR Trucks at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday night and Indy cars and Xfinity Series on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.
If you are leaving today, we will get you to Indianapolis Airport (IND) from Lawrenceburg in plenty of time to catch your connecting flights to international gateway airports in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles or San Francisco. You’ll lose tomorrow completely and will be home in Australia very early on Wednesday morning.
If you are staying on, please keep reading.
Indianapolis, IN / Comfort Inn (Airport) Updated 24/11/21
To cater for those leaving today, the two hour drive up from Lawrenceburg to Indianapolis will be an early one to ensure we can have folks at the airport in time for their flights which will be some time after midday in all cases.
Those staying on can move into the Comfort Inn (Airport) in Plainfield. We will endeavour to arrange an early check-in for you. It will be a reasonably leisurely day while we get departing tour members on their way back to Australia.
The evening is a real bonus to those who stay for the extra week. USAC have announced that Indiana Sprintweek will increase to eight rounds in 2022 and tonight is the extra race at the brand new (12 month old) Indianapolis track called Circle City Raceway.
Round 4 will be on tonight and we’ll be there …..
Day 34 – Tuesday July 26th 2022
Indianapolis, IN / Comfort Inn (Airport)
I’m tipping that the four Ganassi Indycars will still be in the race shop today, even though Saturday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is closing in. We will be getting in touch with our contacts at Ganassi to request an appointment for a guided tour of the factory this morning. To be confirmed, but they have always been great to us in the past.
Note that the Ganassi NASCARS are not housed in Indianapolis, but in Concord, North Carolina. But not for too much longer because effective November 7th 2021 the business shuts down completely having sold all NASCAR assets to Justin Marks, former partner with Kyle Larson in their sprintcar team.
Following the Ganassi tour, we’ll head over to Main Street, Speedway (yes that the name of the suburb) for lunch at Charlie Browns Pancake & Steak House. You could find anyone who’s anyone in here. Check out their very old fashioned but up to date menu.
After lunch a wander across the road to the Speedway Indoor Karting complex would be in order.
Day 35 – Wednesday July 27th 2022
Terre Haute, IN / Hampton Inn
Time to hit the road and get back to racing after two nights off. I-70 is an interstate that we have travelled frequently in recent weeks, but not the section which leads to the Terre Haute Action Track. If it’s possible to find a dirt speedway that drips more history than this one, then I’m yet to see it. From the old-fashioned Wabash Valley Fairgrounds sign out the front, to the wooden grandstands that look capable of failing at any time, it demonstrates that auto racing has been around for a long, long time at this venue.
Indiana Sprintweek resumes with Round 4 on the half mile oval with spectators allowed to spend the whole night on the grassed infield if they want. Take your fold up chair and esky in with you. Otherwise take your chances in the grandstand. 🙄
Day 36 – Thursday July 28th 2022
Terre Haute, IN / Hampton Inn
Another day, another race. There’s not a lot we can do during the day, so it’s pretty much a catch-up morning and afternoon, although there is stuff around the hotel to walk to and explore. If by this stage of the tour, we haven’t eaten in an iHop yep, then there’s one just up the road past the Starbucks (Hi Terry). If you make it, then I suggest the Philly Cheesesteak.
In fact buy two and take the other one with you to Lincoln Park Speedway tonight for dinner at Round 5. Also known as Putnamville Speedway, it’s not my all time favourite, but it’s right up there. It is so picturesque with all the travelling RVs wedged very orderly into the grassed and heavily wooded campground.
The racetrack is a little ¼ miler which suits the non-winged cars down to the ground. Round 5. Every chance there has been five different winners so far. Assuming they haven’t been demolished by the Putnamville cushion.
Day 37 – Friday July 29th 2022
Day 38 – Saturday July 30th 2022
Edinburgh, IN / Comfort Inn
Decision time. Previously we had suggested that tonight and tomorrow night would be at Fairbury in Illinois for the Late Model Prairie Dirt Classic. We are prepared to reconsider our decision here if sufficient support is shown for doing so. I originally agonised over heading to Fairbury, instead of doing the final two nights of Sprintweek at Bloomington and Tri-State (Haubstadt). That was difficult enough.
Now it’s been made even harder by the NASCAR and Indycar organisations who have definitely confirmed the following races on these dates in 2022.
- Friday night – NASCAR Trucks at Lucas Oil Raceway
- Saturday (daytime) – Indycars and Xfinity Series cars in the doubleheader on the Indianapolis Speedway infield road course at 1.00pm and 4.00pm.
Going to the Trucks will mean missing Sprintweek Round 6 at Bloomington Speedway.
Going to the Indycars and Xfinity cars at Indy during the day means missing Round 7 at Tri-State Speedway because with a 4.00pm start at Indy for the Xfinity cars and 2½ hours to Haubstadt, you’ll never make it in time. Even though Haubstadt is an hour behind Indy. Maybe these guys can head for the Speedrome in Indianapolis later that night?
I already know there are some who want to go to the sprintcars and some who want to stay in Indianapolis. We can cater for both extremes at the same time by staying in Edinburgh at the Best Western and hiring a second vehicle for two days to handle each alternative.
However, if there are folks who want to do the “Best of the Best” tour and want to go to Fairbury Speedway for the Prairie Dirt Classic (the superb YouTube video below), then they should let Peter Physick know so we can attempt to cater for them as well.
We will adjust ticketing costs within the tour pricing once we have a clearer picture of who wants to go where.
Day 39 – Sunday July 31st 2022 Updated 22/11/21
Edinburgh, IN / Comfort Inn
We’ll all be back together again on Sunday, so we can go as a full group to Indianapolis Speedway to attend the Verizon 200 for NASCARS on the road course. Qualifying is at 9.05am and racing is from 1.00pm. We will make this an optional race on the itinerary. ie The ticket cost won’t be included in the tour price, but we will most definitely get you there and home again.
What won’t be optional is our final dirt track race at Paragon, Kokomo or Circle City.
Day 40 – Monday August 1st 2022
Tour vehicles will be returned to Budget at Indianapolis Airport as the group prepares to depart IND for western gateway cities and their trans Pacific flights home. These will be either Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Or some may choose to stay on for the Iron Man races in St Louis and the Knoxville Nationals. If so, Global Speedway Tours can sort all that ticketing out for you.
Tuesday August 2nd 2022
This day mysteriously disappears, never to be seen again. Hope it’s not your birthday!
Day 41 – Wednesday August 3rd 2022
An early morning arrival in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane will see you at the end of your fabulous 40-day tour of the USA. Depending on what state you live in, quarantine may or may not be required for you over the next 0-14 days.
Good luck and thanks so much for travelling with Global Speedway Tours.
To get in contact with us, the link is here or phone Pete Physick on 0419 264159.