Monday, March 18, 2013

Good things Happened At The Local Race Track - Where Was The Media Then?

I will not be referring to the local racing news we've seen recently on TV.  Chances are you've seen it anyway, and that's not really the point of this article.  Did you ever notice that the best way to get the TV Media to cover something at a local race track is when something terrible happens?  Then, they circle it like vultures.  I could go on about the media, but this isn't the place to do it.

If something goes wrong, they are there.  My problem is, where are they when things are going right?  Thousands of people on any given week here in California, I would venture to say it reaches into the millions on any given week in this country, attend an auto racing event.  Motorsports brings families and friends together, and it's not reported.

With so much going wrong in this country these days, it would be nice to see some of what's going right.  Now, with auto racing, I know there's only an hour of news time two or three times a day, so they don't always have the time.  Still, I think they can make the time now and then.  For instance, they can make a brief mention at the end of a sports cast about a nearby track's feature winners. 

Just as many people care about that as high school sports results.  No, I'm not knocking high school sports.  I'm just saying they can make time for local auto racing.  10, 20, 30 seconds and a few winners mentioned.  I have seen occasions where they do something, but it's rare.  In Petaluma, they used to get results mentioned on a local TV station and a mention of next week's race too.

Even if that is asking too much of their precious time, you can't tell me the local media can't come to the track once during the year to report on an event.  There are lots of angles they can play.  Women race at these tracks, and the media loves to play that up.  Somebody is racing for a cause they can report on.  A high school student, an old man whose been there forever.  The fact that a track has been a part of the community for decades.

So tell me, where was the TV Media when Bakersfield Speedway ran the Bud Nationals and had a huge field of cars?  Where was the media when one of the biggest California Stock Car Tours, the SRL, went to Stockton or Roseville or, most recently, Madera?  Where was the media when Marysville paid tribute to a great promoter, Mel Hall, or when they remembered a champion last year, Billy Knoop?

Where was the media when Petaluma and BCRA honored the legendary John Soares Sr. with a 101 lap race?  Where was the news media when John Soares Jr. brought WoO Sprint Cars to Antioch and Merced for the first time ever, when he paid $5,000 to win and had a huge Dirt Modified field at Antioch or when he got NASCAR names to run his Late Models shows?  Where were they when Watsonville ran the Johnny Key Classic?

Where are they when these tracks have big shows and pack the stands and people see great racing?  Are they so fixated on misery and negativity that they can't come out to cover something good and positive?  Auto racing has been around for over a century, and many people love it.  Sure, it's not perfect, but it teaches us many lessons.

We learn about dedication and hard work through racing.  You learn about how to build and maintain a car and fund it through sponsors.  You learn how to be a true sportsman and set an example for the children.  As a child, some of your first heroes are race car drivers.  Some kids grow up to become racers.  As a family, going to the race track to spectate or compete can be a bonding experience.  Friendships and memories made at these races last a lifetime.

I don't understand why it takes tragedy most of the time to get the big news coverage at the local race track.  It shouldn't be that way.  Our sport deserves more than that.  I don't know if this will ever change.  Probably not.  Still, I have to ask the question to the media.  Where were you guys during some of the biggest moments of the past several seasons?  Probably chasing an ambulance some place.  Unfortunately, pain and misery sells and gets the ratings.