Michigan Short Track Racing Club: A Visit To Angola - Michigan Short Track Racing Club

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A Visit To Angola

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Posted 23 August 2015 - 12:05 AM

It has been five or six years since my wife and I have been to Angola, and we were favorably impressed at the time. Although it's one of the closest paved tracks to our home, we hadn't been there since, at least partly due to some of the troubles the track went through a few years ago, so I guess it just dropped off our radar. However, with the season drawing to a close, we felt like we ought to go somewhere different. A check of Angola's web site indicated that they would be having a potentially interesting show, with the normal weekly local races, along with three traveling series. That sounded like it would be worth the effort.

I had forgotten how much I was impressed by Angola. I'm going to come flat out and say it: if you leave out MIS -- and you pretty much have to since it's in a very different class -- Angola is the nicest all-round facility of any track in the region. Period. The grandstand and fan facilities are fairly new, clean, and well kept. Some, although not all, of the seats in the grandstands have permanent backs, which is just about unknown elsewhere. The grandstands face north, so sun in the eyes is not a problem. The grass was in good shape all around the place. There is a fine view of rolling Indiana countryside beyond the track. The track is more highly banked than most in this area and is wide enough that even mods and late models can get three wide in the corners and up to five wide or even more in classes with smaller cars -- so that makes for some exciting racing. The staff is courteous, helpful, clean and well dressed. The fans near us seemed knowledgeable and appreciative. Admission prices are a little on the high side, but not out of line. In terms of facilities and fan friendliness, Angola is an all-round easy winner. It is clear that there has been a real and ongoing effort to make a visit to Angola an enjoyable one for the fans.

Oh, I can find a few things to be a little snarky about, but they are really pretty minor. I found the quality of the concession food to be a little on the mediocre side, although certainly not bad -- but that is offset by the price, which is significantly lower than any other track I've been to in a while. Some of the concessions are on a self-serve basis, which helps move things along and keeps lines down. I felt the view of the front stretch from the grandstands was a little restricted although not objectionable, and there are several other tracks I could point out that are worse. They have a policy about taking coolers into the stands. You can take drinks, but not in a cooler. There are tracks that move the show along better than Angola, but there are worse ones, too.

Racing itself was pretty good. I'm not going to talk about the traveling shows, but the weekly regulars seemed pretty good. The FWD class, normally a favorite of mine, was weak although they managed an exciting finish. The best local race of the evening was the Mini-stocks, which also was about the largest. The modified event was disappointing; like most mod races I've seen recently, it was a loud parade punctuated with too many cautions. I'll bet the fifteen cars in the field went around the track sixty times to do a thirty-lap feature. After a rough start, the late models managed a good, close and exciting race. All in all, I would say that there was a slightly above average local car count compared to other tracks we've been to this year.

All in all, Angola is definitely worth a repeat visit. What's more, if you want to show a stranger what local short track racing is all about, Angola is the place you want to take them for a favorable first impression.

But what do I know? After all, I'm just a

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