You know when you wake up in the morning and you think you know how the day is going to play out. When I am traveling most often I actually DO know how my day is going to turn out. I have an annoying habit of planning everything out to a T. I plan my days out because I love planning, schedules and my type A personality.
This day started out like it was suppose to and then suddenly things changed.
The change began while Boomer and I were driving to Whitefish from Kalispell. Being that it is a short drive, maybe 15 minutes, one would think plans should not change too much. But when you are me and you see cars pulling into the local race track your mind starts “recalculating” your plans as quickly as your GPS does when you miss your turn. Unless it is my GPS Samantha, she likes to take her time.
Although I was ecstatic about the race I felt a little obligated to finish my trip to Whitefish. If the race was meant to be, then it would work out. It was still early and I wanted to get up to the brewery in Whitefish to continue my Montana beer growler collection. As I approached Whitefish I noticed a white banner across the road. As I got closer I read the words a beer lover loves to read “brew fest”.
It was almost as though fate had sprinkled some fate dust (is that a thing?) on me and created what I would consider an amazing day. Who would turn down beer and auto racing?
So now I was on the hunt for the brew fest. Luckily Whitefish is a small town and I knew it would not be hard to find the brew fest. And when I say it would not be hard, it literally was not because it was across the street from the Great Northern Brewery, the brewery I had originally come to visit. The proximity of brew fest’s location was handy as I would easily be able to also visit the brewery! I parked my truck in front of the historic train station building and purchased a brew fest ticket. I was given a tasting glass and some tokens for beer tasting. If I could have high-fived myself without looking like a complete crazy person I would have done it.
As I glanced inside the beer fest I noticed that people had their dogs with them. I asked the man who had sold me my brew fest ticket if it was OK to bring my dog in to the park. His response “Only if he is a nice dog”. Clearly this guy needed to meet Boomer as he is the nicest dog this man would ever meet. I grabbed Boomer from the truck and brought him with me.
The brew fest consisted of only Montana breweries. There was nothing wrong with that of course as I had planned to drink my way across Montana (responsibly of course). I got my first beer from the Great Northern Brewery. As the brewery guy poured my beer he teased me about what beer my dog might like to try. Little did he know Boomer is quite the beer connoisseur. The beer I tasted was a tea infused beer. It was an interesting idea that I had never heard of, or had even thought of. I liked it so much that I went to the brewery later to get a growler of it.
Boomer and I found ourselves a shaded spot and sat down on the grass enjoying the good weather, beer and the company of each other. I suddenly remembered the car race and looked up the start time, which turned out to be starting in 1 hour. If I grabbed a quick dinner I could make the race, which is what I did.
I am an avid NASCAR fan so to see auto racing on a Saturday night, where people are just starting out, was great. Who knows I could have been watching the soon to be next star. Now if you go to one of these tracks please do not expect to see the slick, polished cars you see racing on Sunday. These cars may have dents along with some duct tape and spray paint holding them together. But the driver in that car is no less of a race driver then you will find on any Sunday afternoon.
While at the race I realized that a car race is the perfect single outing. You can not talk to anyone anyway due to the noise of the cars, so I did not miss out on not being able to talk to anyone. I was sitting with a few hundred other race car fans / “friends” while enjoying myself!
I will admit that I had a slight problem while watching the race. I could not really follow what was going on. Sure they were going around the track in circles, turning left like I expected. I understood that there were different classes of cars: Hornets, Bombers, Northwest Scaled Late Models and Super Stocks. Each class was racing the individuals in their same class. But my confusion surrounded the several mini races, most likely heat racing, I assumed. I did not know how many heats to expect nor did I know if I was watching a final or not. Regardless of the confusion it still was an enjoyable time. I also liked the fact that I did not have to fly to the southern part of the USA to watch some Saturday night racing under the lights.
The track is a 1/4 mile oval with 12 degree banked turns. In comparison to the smallest NASCAR track, their’s is a ½ mile at Bristol Tennessee or Martinsville Virginia. So a 1/4 mile is a pretty small track, which does not give the competitors much time to make their passes. Although there was still plenty of action!
If you would like to check out the Montana Raceway Park click the link for their race schedule. The racetrack is located north of Kalispell at 3790 Hwy 93 N. Ticket prices were around $20 USD in 2013. This is a great experience for the entire family but I would recommend bringing ear protection for everyone. It is not quite as loud as a NASCAR race, but worth grabbing some ear plugs to save your hearing.