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By pure coincidence, as I keep telling my wife, our visit to Disney World coincided with their Speed Week. Our last weekend there was the first round of the Craftsman Truck series and a round of the USAC Silver Crown championship.
Disney World have their own Speedway, itís a 1-mile tri-oval track. And by the drivers account a difficult track, as each corner is different. I could only go on the Saturday, which was single truck qualifying, a 25-lap qualifying race for the trucks and a 50-lap race for the USAC Silver Crown cars. Entry for the Saturday was $15 and $29 or $34 on the Sunday depending where you wanted to sit.
I had not seen or heard of any of these classes, so it was a great day. The big three are represented in the Craftsman series, Chevy, Ford and Dodge. With the Chevy's seeming to have the edge, with last years champion driving a Chev. These trucks are set up just like a full on NASCAR, the only difference being the run a "stock" 350 cu. in. motor. Lap times were about 27 - 28 seconds at between 123 - 126 mph. They sure looked a handful with most of them coming out of turn three sideways. The USAC cars are just like Sprinters without the wings, and looked and sounded great on the track.
Also part of Disney World Speed Week was a series of collectable car auctions by Kruse International, along with a Memorabilia Show, which I had the chance to see. These were held at the new Wide World of Sports complex, which like everything else was huge, a included a baseball stadium, a basketball stadium, tennis courts, football and soccer grounds and a brand new All Star Cafe. It was interesting to note that prices at the Memorabilia Show were comparable to what we see in Australia, unfortunately I haven't got any photos, only video.
Here's one of the Craftsman Trucks on display at the Chevrolet Accessories stand.
As you can see from this interior shot, it's all business.
During the day all Craftsman drivers were available to sign autographs for the fans. This gave a great opportunity to meet and talk to your favorite driver. The only other way was to be in the pits, a pit pass was $30.
The "Richard Petty Driving Experience". "Ride along" at for 3 laps at 145 mph for $90. "Rookie experience", you drive 8 laps at 125 mph for $330. Or the "Experience of a Lifetime", 3 x 10 lap sessions working on speed and line, just $1100.
All the trucks lined up in the pit lane for qualifying with the pace truck just about to go out. There was something like 60 trucks and only 35 places come race day.
First lap of the USAC race. They looked like race cars from the 30's and 40's. Even though this was hard top, they still had big and littles on the back.
- Copyright © Greg Wapling