By T.J. Buffenbarger
Walking down the steps tower at Crystal Motor Speedway I viewed something that made me very happy
Seeing 10:45 p.m. on my watch.
On my way to get my post-race interviews I saw fathers and sons walking out talking about the feature instead of kids being carried out a sleep with no recollection of the main event. This is something I could not have even fathomed 10 years ago.
Crystal Motor Speedway is a motorsports machine that regularly cranks out six division programs in front of large crowds. Those of you that follow my writings on here on any kind of regular basis know of my distain for long programs with multiple divisions of cars that drag on until the next day. I am not so short sided though to realize that some like this sort of racing program and Crystal draws extraordinarily well at the front and back gate. I am more draw to programs with three preferably, occasionally four divisions of cars that are regularly done around 10:30.
The past two seasons though my tune has changed as Ron Flinn and his crew at Crystal have made huge strides since he took over the race track to speed along the program, especially in the past 2-3 seasons. The past two seasons have been much more enjoyable experiences for the sprint car fan with SOD/NRA co-sanctioned races in July and running the sprint car feature before fireworks and second on the program, producing a pre-11:00 completion of the sprint car feature on Saturday. The race track held up very well and had two grooves of racing the entire night. Both of my visits to Crystal in the spring and late summer featured well run programs, good finishing times, and the track surface during my two visits this season was in good condition.
The trip to see SOD at Crystal was traditionally viewed upon as a necessity over the years. Normally I go out of my way avoid programs with an abundance of classes, but when going over the metrics our readers want us to go to a handful of places like Crystal. The trips through Montcalm County into Crystal, Michigan the past two seasons have evolved into something I look forward to in the spring and late summer every year.
Do I still prefer a three division program? Absolutely! I do feel though that Crystal has struck a happy medium though over the past year and hope to see it continue into 2014.