The teams were already starting to load up when I came back across the track. The next evening they would be racing in Paducah, Kentucky. Just the night before, the teams unloaded at Sedalia. Then they traveled 60 miles to the Lake Ozark Speedway. The next event at Paducah would be 330 miles away. After the race at Paducah they would have to travel to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, to race on Friday night. Paducah to Lawrenceburg is another 320 miles. At that point there would still be two events to go in the week. Saturday's race at Clarksville, Tennessee, would be 280 miles from Lawrenceburg. The week would finish on Sunday in Lincoln, Illinois, yet another 360 miles from Clarksville. If we add up the mileage up, that's 1,350 miles in one week. The teams would have Monday off to start all over again the next day. Now you can start to see why it is called The Hell Tour.

The attraction to this madness is the large purses. Each race pays a minimum $6,000 to win, with the bigger shows on Friday and Saturday paying $10,000 to win. But just imagine trying to find time to work on your car with all of this travel. There are stories of teams working on the cars inside of their haulers while driving 70 mph down the highway. Of course no one wants to admit that they have done this.

Halfway through the tour 11 drivers had made every race. Some teams are forced to miss a race because of an accident or a blown engine. By midseason the series had drawn 148 drivers who had competed in at least one Summer National event. Through 13 events the tour had only one repeat winner, Dennis Miller of Illinois.

The Hell Tour allows the track owners to have a supporting event with the Late Models. For example, at Lake Ozark Speedway, Modifieds and Street Stocks also competed. Both classes had so many cars that a B-Main was needed for each. This provides the local drivers the opportunity to race in front of a big crowd (over 1,000 spectators mid-week at Lake Ozark) and for a big purse. The Modified race paid $1,000 to win, and the Street Stocks and Modifieds put on just as good a race as the Late Models.

If you live around the Midwest and have not ventured out to see The Hell Tour in action, you are missing out on some of the best racing in the country. There is not a whole lot better in life than sitting in the stands at your local dirt track on a summer evening and seeing some great racing.