Not long ago the Akron Beacon Journal did a great write up about Deefield Raceway and I've been hearing nothing but good things about the place for years. Since it's rare for me to get a Saturday night off during the racing season I've just never got to make the trip to Deefield to check it out until this week. All I can say is how the hell have I missed this hidden gem of dirt track racing all this time? It was truly a great experience and I WILL be back for sure. For the first time in years those thoughts of building another dirt car filled my head on the way home. That should tell you something about my first experience there! Alright, maybe that had something to do with the fact that I got to strap into the "house car" for the night but I'll get into that later. Either way, I feel that "itch" starting to haunt me again. ;-)
This place is a 1/4 mile bullring that keeps the focus on good clean family fun. They run mostly smaller cars that fit the place perfectly and really put on a great action packed show all night. Even the youngsters in the Mini Sprints could teach some veterans I know a thing or two about racing and sportsmanship. The entire facility is neat, clean, and VERY well kept. My first look from the gandstands side left me wondering if I was really at a dirt track. I'm sure there's some dust hiding there somewhere but there was NONE to be seen this week. I almost forgot that was even possible! I can tell you without a doubt I've NEVER raced on a smoother dirt track. Hell, I'ver never even seen a smoother surface on dirt in all my years. Again, I've only been there once so I'd have to think it just has to get a little rough certain nights, but with the clay and crew they have there I'd bet their "rough" nights would be considered pretty damn good at most other tracks. I kinda cringed when I saw the grader headed out at intermission because I just couldn't imagine improving on the track I was on for the heat race. I was thinking those folks must be spoiled or something. ;-)
One of the main reasons I've been wanting to make the trip to Deefiled is that just maybe I'd get to see Mike Miller strap into a dirt car for the first time since his brother owns the place and all. This season they started a true E-Mod class and they built a "house car" to help get more folks interested in the class. Surely his own brother could talk him into jumping into it for a night of real racing for a change. Well, after he learned that it wasn't exactly a rocket ship Miller decided to protect his reputation and talked me into the ride. Gee, that didn't take any arm twisting. At the point that I was offered the ride I was just inside the pit gates and had still not even seen the track, much less seen one of these E-Mods turn a lap. Ahhh hell, I like a good challenge I guess. ;-) Without any time for any helpful tips other than what gear to run and how to tilt the steering wheel, (yep, tilt wheel!) I barely had time to tighten the belts before hitting the track with the others for hot laps. I sure didn't get that "wide open spaces" feeling I get pulling onto Wayne County, but it was much more inviting than I would have ever imagined. There's plenty of race track for these full sized cars and you can use every inch of it. I know I sure used it all the first few laps trying to find a quick way around the place. There's also obviously plenty of room to pass because that #99 car had no trouble getting by me. ;-) It turns out that the rumors were true about this thing not being fast compared to the others out there. Hell, I thought it stalled the first time one of them got beside me. Being a borrowed ride and all, I probably held back a little more than I should have but I saw no reason to tear something up on my first night on the track, especially since this thing wasn't mine and I still hadn't even met the owner. By heat race time I felt just a little more comfortable with the car and worked it a little harder but I'm pretty sure I still left some more out there. I had no intentions of impressing anybody with this thing since it was clear that I wasn't a threat for the win, but I sure had a blast. I took a knife to a gun fight with this mild motored, automatic, tilt wheeled, Modified, but I was still having fun on a dirt track so I couldn't have asked for anything more. I can't thank Paul and Kay Miller enough for a GREAT night of racing, not to mention the use of their race car. This E-Mod class is something I'd certainly love to see grow there and at other tracks. They'd be much more affordable than the Pure Stocks and Modifieds found at other tracks and they still put on a great show. As far as the other divisions they have there, you just have to witness this show for yourself. I have to warn you parents though that your kids will probably be begging you for a Mini Sprint all the way home. If you've never made the trip to this track, you simply MUST give it a try. You will find a first class facility that puts on a smooth show that will entertain all ages, in a VERY refreshing atmosphere. I feel kinda silly for waiting this long to check the place out but I know I've found a new home for any Saturday nights I have free.