Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jim Soares, An Update And An Auto Biography

For some reason that has me somewhat surprised, the viewership of this blog has been high.  I don't know what has caused it since I have been focusing my writing efforts in other areas over the past year or so, but it seems to indicate that I need to write more here and post some of the things I have already written.

I realize I have lots of things to write.  Not all of them fit into this page, which is why I write elsewhere.  However, I do have things to post here.  I have written some racing posts this year, though they were posted elsewhere.  Which reminds me...

Jim Soares

I want to offer my condolences to Jim Soares' family on his passing.  I can't say I was buddies with Jim.  I wasn't.  He was brutally honest and at times his humor wasn't really what I wanted to hear.  But, I respect him for what he brought to racing as a promoter, track prep man and a championship winning driver.  This is how I choose to remember him.  The sport of auto racing was better for his involvement.

Mike McCann And Orland Raceway

I was also disappointed to hear how Mike McCann had to step away from Orland Raceway.  He made it work for a year and a half, but his budget ran out.  At that point, he had to walk away.  I spoke with him back in July of last year.  He had an uphill battle, and I learned of some of the things he was struggling with.  He was getting grief from people he shouldn't have.  I offered my opinions and was looking forward to doing what I could to help.

A few years ago, I ghost wrote a whole season for Orland Raceway on this blog as a way to help the track.  I even created a point series since they had no points.  I've always had a soft spot in my heart for that little track.  They gave the NCMA some races once upon a time and jumped on board as the second track to run Wingless Spec Sprints in 2001.  I'm not sure what I could have done (if anything) to help Mike, but I was ready to try.

I Could Write A Book

This happened at a time when I was writing and researching for book material and post material.  I even wrote a post that will go up soon.  It inspired the absolute flood of words that led to a few days of non stop writing.  There are almost 60,000 words that are the auto biography of my involvement in auto racing.  Why I did it, what I tried to do, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I am critical of people in this honest book, including myself.  I certainly screwed up enough along the way.

The book needs some editing and proof reading.  I wrote it and moved on from it.  I think I did it more for the therapy, and it felt good.  I don't know if anybody really cares at this point.  I'm sure people will disagree with things I wrote in it, but it's my honest opinion.  So, it's there if I want to do anything with it.  It would be ready for print sooner than the history book.  I did work on that as well, but the writing is done on the auto bio.

Here is a look at the chapter titles and a brief description of what they are about:

Working Title:

Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing

Dedications:  Family and friends who made it all possible for me.

How I Got Hooked On Racing - Some of the first garages I got to visit, meeting Len Mello

My Time With The Nordstrom Family - I learned a lot from them

My First Big Opportunity - BCRA offered me a score keeping gig that I declined, Bert Moreland let me in the pits for cleaning mud off the fence every week, but this is about Brynda's husband George Stiles hiring me

The Column That Launched And Doomed Me - The Editor's Viewpoint

Meeting Mike Johnson And Joining The NCMA - The year the NCMA was founded, I was a Dirt  Mod supporter, but Mike won me over

The Magazine And Opportunities Blown And Never Given - Kind of about Brynda Bockover not giving me a real chance, but I didn't blame her

Meeting Mike Conley - The instigator of the Figure 8 controversies, but he was also a cool guy

Random Thoughts - Thoughts on Mel Maupin and others

Meeting Dennis Furia - Furia was a villain in Sportsman racing that I wasn't a fan of as a kid, but coming back to Dirt Mods was a new deal.  I was in awe of him.

Of Soft Drinks And Free Magazine Promotion - People who gave me sodas in the pits on hot days, advertised DCRR on their race cars for free

Car Builders And Parts Dealers - Some thoughts on Curl Racing, Cline Racing and others

Can I Get A Ride? - The people who drove me to the races

Can I Quote You? - How I went about quoting people

Lonnie Fish And Not So United Drivers - In some ways the beginning of the end for NASCAR at Antioch

Backing John Soares Jr. - The risk I took for John, the final NASCAR banquet at Antioch and going into that hostile environment for John

The Beginning Of The Soares Jr. Era at Antioch - The excitement of the beginning of it all.  1998 was magical

When Sweet Turns Sour - Then came 1999

Working With Don O'Keefe Jr. On Spec Sprints - The one good thing from 1999.
An Ill Fated Night In 1999 That Changed It All For Me.  The point controversy and what really happened.

Trying To Smile As Things Get Worse - Things keep getting bad at Antioch and my sister gets caught in the middle

Chowchilla Speedway And Tom Sagmiller - 2000's breath of fresh air

Wanting To Walk Away From Antioch Speedway - It was hard to keep going to Antioch

Goodbye Dear Friends - Some people I cared about passed away

The Sportsman Division Returns to Merced - Playing a part in getting them at Antioch for a race, my thoughts on them trying to be a club

The End For Me At Antioch Speedway - Deciding I wasn't coming back as announcer because of the attitude it got after all I did there

Working With Joe Martinez And Starting CRO - What we did

Going To One Banquet And Avoiding The Other - Going to Chow, but skipping Antioch in 2000

Getting Banned From Antioch Speedway - The Viewpoint column and deciding I wouldn't fight it

Why Announce At Merced Speedway? - My love for that track and its history

Tom Sagmiller Said What? - Who needs the IMCA?

Of Hobby Stocks At Chowchilla - The car counts, the Hobby $500

Walking The Fence In An Ugly Feud - Not picking sides in the war

Sagmiller's Risk Was Spec Sprint's Reward - The Open Wheel Round Up changed the landscape for Spec Sprints, and Tom gave me credit

Sweet Turns Sour Again - My issues with Tom

In Reno For A Reconciliation That Never Happened - Almost paying Tom's fine for him.  Buddy's comment

Does It Mater Who Won The Feud? - After both Tom and Chuck were gone

Picking Up The Pieces For A Final Push - Going back to Antioch and trying to build the Sweet 16 point race

On The Road With My Friend Chris - Chris and me on the road to the tracks

The DCRR State Point Race - How it had so much potential

Good Bye Del Quinn And NCMA Frustrations - I was in Hanford when he died, the NCMA's lack of support at big shows

Burning Out Fast - How I was on edge and taking crap from people and getting tired of it

The Last Straw - No ride to Merced banquet

Looking From Afar - My observations on the state of things now

Chuck Taylor & The Figure 8's Demise - A look at the way the Figure 8 ended at Antioch and
Taylor being caught in the middle though he never ran that race

Barkhimer, Clapp, Farren and Bockover And The End Of "The Barky Legacy" - Honest opinions here.  I take myself to task too when it comes to Brynda.

The Interviews & Conversations - Some anecdotes on moments I found interesting

Mike Johnson And The CMA - Getting Mike Johnson back into Modifieds again and how this benefited the NCMA in its mid 90's renaissance

My Family's Support - How much they meant to me

The Art Of The Magazine - How The DCRR evolved through the years

There are a few blog posts I would consider for the book too, but this is it.  An honest look back from my perspective.