Rock Rapids, IA
A week shy of its season opener, Rapid Speedway announced there would be no races this year. Today, the 2014 season is back on track, but weeks of uncertainty made for one wild ride.
"Work all winter long. Try to get everything right. Get excited, and then nowhere to go (laugh)," driver Kevin Joachim said.
It's easy to laugh now, but the threat of closing Rapid Speedway for an entire season had drivers scrambling for somewhere to race.
"I was kind of bummed. We put a lot of money into the off-season to be able to go back out there and race competitively again. It was kind of a bummer. We had a backup plan, to go to other tracks, but the home environment that Rapid Speedway provides you just can't beat that around here," driver Nick Brady said.
"We have places to go race, but there's guys in other classes that have nowhere to go race unless they want to drive three hours to go do it," Joachim said.
I-90 Speedway extended an invitation to the drivers, opening its classes to a variety of cars.
"He's a racing guy. He knows people want to be able to turn laps and he found a way for them to be able to come out, like with the Stock Cars running with the Street Stocks. It's a great place. Just turning laps is what it's all about," Brady said.
Ultimately, the season wasn't lost. Rapid Speedway, under the control of the Lyon County Fair Board, will open in early June.
"I was pretty excited that they're going to open, and then to hear that they're going to open with the big USMTS show. I think it's going to be a lot of fun that opening night. I hope a lot of people will come out and support the track so we can keep the local track going," driver Travis Vanden Top said.
The promise of a season doesn't smooth things over with the track's former promoters.
"They could have done this is December or January, when somebody else had the time to get it going and do it right. Not, just quick, hurry up, throw it together, but they waited until the last minute to make up their mind, or whatever they were doing. So, I was pretty upset with that part of it," Joachim said.
Freeing up a few Friday night's hasn't been all bad...
"So far, I've been going to my kid's track meets. So, there's a little bit of racing going on (laugh)," Joachim said.
The season opener is scheduled for Friday, June 6th, and will feature the USMTS and Iron Man Series, along with Rapid Speedway's regular classes.