Monday, August 13, 2007

Greetings From Indy

I'm here at Don's house and figured I'd post a quick mention that I have been to my first two races in almost four years. I guess it took me leaving California to finally get me out to a track. Actually, this is racing country. I'm impressed with the way people treat racing here. The big Indy newspaper here actually had results of several tracks from the weekend. Imagine that. There are several tracks within reasonable distance here too. The people here love racing. How much? The fans stayed to watch the races at Gas City and Kokomo after midnight. And, Kokomo was on Sunday.

Several California racers were here. Thomas Meseraul actually stopped by Don's shop and recognized me from when I was the publicity guy at Altamont. He was racing Midgets this week and looked good at Kokomo. Gas City wasn't as kind to him I'm afraid. A young man by the name of Brad Sweet was there. The kid narrowly missed victory at Gas City on Friday. Leading the 30 lapper for 29 1/2 laps. It was neat seeing this kid race here after I had announced some of his wins from Antioch in BCRA Midget Lites a few years back. I won't be surprised to see him go further in racing.

At Gas City I was in the pits, and at Kokomo I was in the stands. I have several pictures from the digital camera. I'm no Joe Martinez, but I did okay for a cheap $10 camera. When I get back home, I may post some and offer a few more details from the races. I took the bus tour of the big speedway in Indy, plus the museum, more pictures. It's been a blast.

Don and I have talked a lot about the old days, the good times and the bad. Remembering Jim Booth, Darryl Shirk, Mel Maupin, Pops Soares, Jackie and others. The beginning of the Spec Sprint division and the challenges we had. Racing and just life in general. It has been great seeing my best friend again. I'm not overstating the positive impact Don and Linda have had on my life. They have helped open doors for me that I never would have otherwise gotten through. What can you say about people like that? I'm a writer, but words escape me to describe the appreciation, gratitude and just the joy of having such a friend.

The last two years of DCRR

The Sweet 16 State Point Race
Getting Wingless Spec Sprints started
Going to the RPM Workshop twice (would have been three if I hadn't have been stubborn and burnt out at the time)

And so much more

When I have had times of indecision or self doubt, it's been Don more than anybody who has been there. Through good and bad. So yes, it's great to see him and be a guest in their home. It's been a time also to reflect on things and consider the future. I haven't changed my plans on the book. It's going to be a 2008 project, and I've gotten more ideas while discussing it with Don.

We also checked out some old videos of racing Don has. It was neat looking at some of the early WSS videos. I feel lucky and blessed to have been a part of that deal, which heads into season 10 next year. Don had another video that was neat to see. Len Mello, well the #4a car anyway as it might have been Buzz Enea driving, beat Scott Busby in a dash at Petaluma. Seeing Len win the championship that year had a profound effect on me.

As a fan, I tend to root for the underdog, and Len was definitely that. He was a B Mainer when I started attending the races back in the late 70's. I was laughed at for cheering for him, but I never gave up. I didn't hop on a more popular bandwagon. When '81 came along and he won it all, it hooked me on racing. I still remember being in the infield after the finale, talking with him for an hour or so. He was my hero. Not long after that, I started keeping score of races and then writing.

I've been lucky to have been involved with racing for over 25 years before retiring. I was burned out. There were a few things that finally pushed me to make that decision, but really, it had been brewing for a few years anyway. I needed to step away to deal with the emotion of it all and put it all into perspective. This is another thing that Don has helped me with.

I've been lucky to have been given the chance to do so much. I announced, handled track publicity, did a magazine, had a nice web site, met a lot of great people and made many friends, helped start a division that is still going strong in California and so many other things. Whatever I did, I tried to do with helping the sport in mind. I probably pissed a few people off. Heck, I know I did. It wasn't personal. I made my share of mistakes and I still do. Okay, it's starting to sound like a Sinatra song. Bottom line is I'm proud of my body of work and grateful I got the chance. Just some kid sitting in the stands who loved the sport.

So, where does that leave things now? Should I come back to racing? Where do I even go? Well, at this point there are no plans to come back. Should the right offer present itself, who knows? I have no plans and expect no offers. I'm okay with letting it stay where it is. But, there is the matter of the book, or books as it may be. I really don't know. But you see, there is still a problem. Tradition is getting buried at some tracks in California. It's gotta stop.

I don't own a track. I don't have the money to build a Hall Of Fame for Northern California racing. So, the next best thing I can do is begin to tell the story, or the stories that I know. The champions, the stars, the also rans, the tracks, the point battles, the pictures. They can do what they want now, but history is there. It's story needs to be told before it's all forgotten. Tom Motter did it with an excellent BCRA book, so why not another book for the tracks? Perhaps more than one. I'm a fan of carbureted Sprint Car racing, and there is a lot of ground that needs covering from these last 20 years.

I still have boxes of statistics, pictures, old programs, old DCRR's and other magazines. It's there to be used. At one time, I considered throwing it all away. If somebody had suggested that five or six years ago, I probably would have slapped them. A couple years ago, I thought about it, seriously too. Well, I think I'll keep it all, though I could really use the room.

I am working on another project that will require my time for the next several months. I could push it aside, but I really don't want to. I did that 20 years ago, but not this time. I have another book that I need to publish as well. This stuff will get done, and then I can get into the racing project. Honestly, I doubt the book will take long to put together once I get started. However, editing will be handled differently than it was with the magazine for obvious reasons. I want a clean and nice looking book that the racers can be proud of.

The process has already begun for this book, but it will only proceed at a pace that doesn't take away too much from the other project. This is one reason for this blog. I wanted to begin to talk a little bit about what I'm thinking about. You will continue to see ideas and old stories posted here as well as an occasional rant or two. I'll try to be nice though. That's one reason I want to stay away from certain current topics.

Anyway, I need to end this post here. Until next time...