Fan Notes from Waynesfield's Ohio Speedweek Stop

Sunday, June 24, 2018
Waynesfield Raceway ParkWaynesfield Raceway Park Waynesfield, Ohio-6/17/18 (Tom Myers) - I had never really taken a look at the map to see where Waynesfield was. I just assumed it was out past Lima and south somewhere, at least 3 -3 ½ hours away. Pops wanted to go to Eldora the night before but we couldn’t make it. So, Sunday came and I asked my wife to Google Waynesfield and her smart phone said it was a 2 ¼ hour drive. That didn’t seem too far. So I looked at the map again and called Dad and of course he wanted to go, so we headed towards Waynesfield Raceway Park to watch the All Stars on night three of their annual Speed Week.

We had never been to Waynesfield, but after watching many Youtube clips over the years I knew the place was racy and fast. It was a very hot, sunny day, 94 degrees, with a steady breeze. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to get there and the drive was not bad at all. We arrived at the track at 4:45 and were able to secure a good seat. The track is a 1/3 mile banked oval in the middle of a corn field. I am sure the field used to belong to a guy named Wayne. The dirt was darker than what I normally see in Ohio so that was neat. The main grandstands looked pretty old but there was also a newer section of stands about the same size as the old section. I tried to find out how long the track had been here but all I found was a statement on the Facebook page saying it opened in 2003. I liked that the pits and pit entrance were so close to the grandstands and main entrance.

49 All Star sprints were on hand. They also had the NRA 360 invader sprints in the pits. When hot laps started, they ran the NRA guys out there first. It immediately became apparent that the track was going to be dry. That was disappointing because with the banking here, a tacky track would make for high speeds and a lot of g-force on the drivers….like I see on the Youtube clips. Today, unfortunately, with the heat and breeze, it would be different. The track was so dry that by time trials, cars were just sliding up the turns because of a lack of grip. The drivers could not keep the cars on the track because of the slick conditions...the cars were just skating around. One good thing was the breeze… was blowing from the west to the east and kept any dust from coming back at the grandstands.
Ryan SmithRyan Smith Shawn Dancer timed in fastest followed by Spencer Bayston. They were the first two guys out to time and that made a difference as track conditions rapidly worsened. After time trials, the track was watered and run in again but it wasn’t near enough moisture. There were two water trucks. One truck showered waterfalls of water. Like a lot of water. They used this truck to water the pits and outside the track turns. The other water truck just misted water…that was the truck they used to water the track. Uggh! By the time the first NRA heat hit the track, the surface was getting dry again.

After the first NRA heat, they brought out the All Star heats. The top four would transfer to the A main. Chris Andrews won heat 1 followed by Aaron Ruetzel, Parker Price Miller and Bayston. In the 2nd heat, it was just ice skating around. Paul McMahon won heat 2 followed by Cole Duncan, Geo Scelzi and Dave Blaney. By the time the 3rd heat rolled around, guys were searching all over for traction. As a result of the dry track with no traction, the cars would slide up turn two.

Their momentum carried them over the turn….and they would slide over the banking and keep a foot in it. There was more traction on the backside of turn two, off the track, and this would launch guys down the back stretch! The heat 3 finish was Danny Dietreich, Kyle Larson, Ryan Smith and Rico Abreu. In heat 4, Macedo had a head of steam going into turn one down low and punted Josh Baughman in turn two of the first lap. Baughman was air born and landed with a damaged car. It was simply a racing deal….two cars trying to race to the same spot. Macedo had to start in the back. Bauman did not return but Macedo worked his way back to the 2nd spot at the finish! The finish was Chad Kemenah, Macedo, D.J. Foos and Mitch Harble. In heat 5, Tim Shaffer was patient and worked his way around Chase Baker for the win. Baker did a great driving job to secure 2nd and with it his first All Star dash. Third was Kasey Kahne followed by Tony Stewart. During the last heat, the track started taking rubber in turn two.
Aaron ReutzelAaron Reutzel In the B main, Caleb Helms pops a RR tire. I thought this would be a common theme for the evening but it didn’t turn out that way. No one burned a tire off so this must have been a freak thing. The B main finish was Byron Reed, Cap Henry, Shawn Dance and Cale Conley. It was getting dark and the track lights had come on but the turn one and two lights then went out during the race. Uh-oh! Luckily, they were able to get the lights back on before the feature.

Right before the feature was to start, the ambulance and paramedics had to attend to an injured spectator. Cars were already out on the track and awaiting a push off. We later learned that a small child had fallen through the grandstand and was injured. I also heard that a flagman was injured but I didn’t see anything and we were sitting close to the flag stand so I cannot confirm this. After a ½ hour or so wait, we were told that there would be an additional delay because the situation was not under control. Evidently, paramedics decided that a trip to the hospital via the ambulance would take too long and the injured child needed quicker transport. The ambulance left the track and parked down the road a small distance where they met up with a life flight helicopter. After about an hour or maybe more, the ambulance was back at the track and the helicopter was on the way to the hospital. The following day at Wayne County I was told that the child was going to be okay…evidently someone saw it on social media. That was good news.

When the feature started, front row starter Kyle Larson grabbed the lead. Is it me or does Larson draw a 1 or 2 in every dash draw he is in? He is always starting up front…at least it seems that way! The track was rapidly becoming a rubber down surface all the way around. On lap 5 or so, Kahne spins it bringing out a yellow. Reutzel stayed close to Larson on the restart and followed Kyle through the low, rubber down groove closely through traffic until about the half-way point. Reutzel then scooted around the outside of Larson in turn two and proceeded to run away for the win. Cole Duncan, Dave Blaney and Paul McMahon rounded out the top five.

Thank you Waynesfield Raceway Park and thank you All Stars. Now it’s onto Wayne County on Monday!