I'm going on a little trip to Indy next month to visit an old friend and see the sights. I should tell you I'm a little bit nervous about the whole airplane thing, but I'm going. The fact is I've needed to get out that way for a while, and things have lined up nicely. I'm getting to live out a childhood "geek" dream of going to Gencon, the largest Role Playing Game convention in the country, and I'm going to see one of the best friends I've ever had, Don O'Keefe Jr.
I don't even know where to start. Don is a friend who has been there for me when things have been bad and when they've gotten good. When things did start falling apart, Don never once said to hell with this guy, I've got better places to be. He was one of the few who said how can I help make it better. DCRR the last two seasons it ran, the Sweet 16 State point race and other stuff would not have been possible without the support of Don & Linda. That simple.
This is why I was so excited when I heard that Don got out there and raced a couple weeks ago. He deserved it. He deserved to have that moment of satisfaction. He's certainly helped me and so many other people have better situations, whether they be a magazine, a new division to race or a better running race car. I really can't say enough. I can't wait to get back there and tell old racing war stories. I'm starting to make early plans on the first racing book that I will start writing, and Don has always has great insight into what works.
Being able to put the Spec Sprint division together with Don is in my top three of proudest achievements I've had in the sport of racing. We're coming up on the 9th year anniversary of us sitting at a pizza parlor near where I live and writing out the rules and making a plan to make it all happen. The stories I can tell you, and probably will at some point. We intended to have 12 cars opening day that next year, and we did. Limited Late Models, Dirt Modifieds and Pure Stocks each only had four cars when they debuted at Antioch. Still very proud of that 12 car count too.
I'd like to think Don and I had something to do with the success. We had to handle a lot more than some may realize. If I had it to do all over again, I would. Even knowing how things ended for me. I was asked by a lady who has done great things in spreading the Spec Sprint word, Debbie Shipherd, what I thought of the Spec Sprints now? Well, I wanted to think about it for a bit, but I didn't need to.
The fact is, I'm proud of this class. I think things could have been handled better by certain promoters, but overall, I love the choices the drivers have. They don't have to go to the same track and put of with the same b.s. if that track, or group, can't their act together. They have choices. Some of these places are doing well with the class. Some will get better if they hang in there. Glad to see Tom Sagmiller at Chowchilla is doing his own class. If he hangs in there, it will get better.
Tom is the man who booked the fist big Spec Sprint bash, the Open Wheel Roundup. Still can't believe I got a Stock Car guy to give this one a chance, but we pulled in 32 Spec Sprints and over 130 open wheel cars for that event. This is another thing I'm proud of being a part of. Glad that Tom is still holding this show every season too.
Overall, I still love this class. Things could be a little bit better if certain leaders would try a little harder. I still think there should be a Civil War type series. The NCMA did okay with the Select Series, but it didn't quite hit the mark. But overall, I still like what I'm seeing. I still like it when I see the class referred to as Spec Sprints, because there is a reason they were called that. That's for another post.
When I get to Indy, it's gonna be great to see Don again. It will be like old times again. I've missed having my old friend around here.