Don's California Racing Recollections: Best Of The Blog And Beyond
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback
Just A Kid From The Grandstands: My Time In Auto Racing
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover
Also, what could be a series of informative books...
Short Track History Project at Gofundme
Additional info on the Short Track History Project HERE
The State Of The DCRR Address Audio
The State Of The DCRR And My Involvement In Racing
I don't always like to share certain things out here on the internet, and this is one of those times I am reluctant to open up. However, I feel like I owe you some explanations about what is happening to me. No hints, just the reality. I'm doing it via The DCRR Blog. When everything goes down that is about to happen to me, this blog and the two books will remain. I'm not sure about the other web activities. Some things may go down.
You see, I am in debt at the moment and about ready to lose my home. My internet is about ready to be turned off. Once all of that happens, I am done with the current racing situation. I have to walk away. I will have other things that I will need to worry about, and it's doubtful I will have time for this anymore. I may be homeless.
To be clear, I take responsibility for it. I made the decision long ago to throw everything I am into racing. It was my life. It didn't pay, but I was in a situation, thanks to my dad, that enabled me to do this racing thing every day. To be as good as I feel I was, it required full time attention. This was how I kept on top of things. I didn't do it occasionally, I did it all the time.
I outline a lot of things in my book Just A Kid From The Grandstands, so I will spare you all of that. I feel like I did good work and achieved the heights I had hoped to achieve. It only lasted briefly, and then it was a struggle for a few years to stay involved somehow. Then, I walked away a little broken hearted and filled with regrets.
To be clear, those were not regrets about knowing everybody in the sport or my overall efforts. They were regrets that I spent my life at this, sacrificed personal life, no relationships, I have no resume to speak of, no social group that I hung out with. Nothing. It all went into racing. When it all ended, I didn't know what to do next, and I should have figured that out. Big mistake, but I had my dad and my sister.
When my sister died, it was my wake up call for me to get in better shape and lose some weight, or I may not be there for my dad. I couldn't bear the thought of him being alone or ending up in a rest home. I started this blog in 2007 as a way to recall the old days, talk about current things from time to time and start planning books. Hence the name in the URL, DCRRBook.
In my state of mind and still holding on to feelings about what led to my sister's decisions that hastened her passing, I declined the offer to come back to Antioch Speedway in 2010. Jim Robbins tried to get me to come back. John Soares even called me. I regret the decision to not come back for a couple of reasons.
First of all, what else was I gonna do? I know I'm not the same person I once was. I've changed in some respects, but I still love this sport and the people involved. Hence my decision to ghost write the entire 2010 season on this blog with race reviews, columns and audio shows, which I removed to save hosting space. It was a lot of work every week, and I walked away at the end of the season.
The second reason for the hindsight (I hate hindsight so much. It's my enemy), is because I look at what was happening then and feel that had I gotten involved then, I could have made a difference. I still believe in John and Donna Soares and will always be a supporter of the Soares family and what they have meant to auto racing. John cares a great deal about this sport. People tend to see only the negative, but he's done a lot of good.
Had I come on board in 2010, I feel I could have made a difference. We would have gotten Racing Wheels Magazine back in some form. I would have been announcing at probably two tracks that year, and I could have helped with the ideas I had to generate more interest. I could have made sure ALL of the drivers were recognized in my articles for what they had done. But, I declined John's offer.
Fast forward to the passing of my father on Christmas Eve 2012. I find no reason to celebrate that holiday anymore. It has new meaning to me. Just as the "famous" date 12/21/2012. They said that was to be the big day of change or destruction in the world, depending on who you listened to. It was the day I had my last interaction with my father. I found out when I got home that they had given up on the chance that he would get better. So, in a way, the Mayans were right in regards to that date and what it meant to my world.
I had two years to try and situate something in my life, but no resume or anything. No piece of paper to say how smart I am. Not qualified for anything. I've been a writer my whole life, but I didn't go to school for that. And, the previous few years were spent taking care of my dad. When he died. I lost direction. I went into full conservation mode from then on. I learned my thriftiness from him. Don't get what you don't need.
So, I made things last as long as I could. No nights out, no special treats for myself, just pay the bills and stay home and write. One ill advised trip I made to Southern California ended in disappointment and loss of some of my funds. I tried to help somebody and it ended in disappointment. I was in no position to do that, but I thought I had a good friend. I was wrong. Hindsight hits me like it always does.
The irony of it all was that I had been contacted by another promoter to consult with me, and I was intrigued by that. I happen to respect him a lot and what he's done for the sport. We had a good interaction, but unfortunately, we never talked after that. I went into heavy research mode for the book and wrote the bulk of my racing auto biography after we talked. Then, something changed and I followed my heart to Southern California and made that mistake.
I had been struggling with writing and blogging with varying degrees of success, and it was looking bad in late 2014 when I saw what was happening in the racing world. There were changes at Merced. John added Chowchilla to make it three tracks under his Oval Motorsports promotion, he had a big race coming up and I was alarmed at how little buzz was being generated with articles and social media.
As I worked on the two books, I decided that maybe I could help John and his efforts. He needs people in there that give a damn about him and his race tracks, and I know that I do. I always have. So, I focused only on racing after the January releases of my books and have tried to do anything I could as an unofficial source of information and positivity.
The problem is, as the season kicked off in March, my funds had dried up and the debt began. I owe money to keep the home dad and I have lived in for the last 30 years. I owe money to keep my internet. I barely have enough money to go grocery shopping one more time, and then it gets real bad. I'm done at that point. My ideas were probably wishful thinking.
What I had hoped was I could help these tracks and help what John is doing grow and thrive, and in return get the help I needed. This has been a full time effort for me, and I've only done a fraction of what I could do. I have no money or resources to do any more. It's all been done from home on computer, and I'm about to lose all of it. When that happens, I will close this chapter of my life. What's on the next page, I do not know.
The DCRR Blog will remain, because I have a lot of posts that have not been shared yet. I can still tell a few old stories from the past. I may not have any of my old records by then other than what I have on disc, but it's something. The complete history will fade away into obscurity, but maybe that's what was meant to be. I cared a great deal about all of that and even have ideas on how to honor all of that now. Alas, I'm in no position to do anything.
So, The DCRR Blog will remain as a part of my overall writing, but the current situation will not be my concern unless I'm moved to comment on things now and then. That also depends on whether I will be able to do anything with it. I may not be able to do a thing.
I accept blame for it. I've not been in a good place for a long time, and being out at the track has meant a lot to me. I've felt the love thrown my way, and I love you all too. I wish you all the best. I thank the people who have went beyond to keep me going these last few months. My dear friend Joe Martinez for the conversations and advice, Ron Brown for the camera and kind words, Dana Craig, J.D. Willis for the conversation and food that day, Jason Willis and Jim Thompson for the tickets to get into the stands and all those who have had kind words to say to me.
Don & Linda O'Keefe for sponsoring me yet again. They kept my internet going a little while longer, and I'm proud to call Don my best friend. By the way, he cares for Antioch Speedway, despite what people may say, and he considers that track his home track even though he's not in California anymore.
Jim Robbins has always been there at low points in my life, trying to lift me up. I never realized what a dear friend he was until he started coming by and taking me to the track. He came by to see me when my dad passed away, he tried to get me back to the track in 2010, and on and on. I'm proud and lucky to know him and call him a dear friend of mine. I'm glad he's out there working for John because he cares about what happens there.
John and Donna Soares. I will continue to pray for you both, and I keep Donna in my thoughts and prayers now more than ever. I love you both for giving me a chance in the first place. I know I've infuriated you at times, but I've always meant well. I always wanted to help. I wish you both the best.
Racing is not in a strong state right now, and our tracks are struggling. However, John and Donna and the team they've assembled keep those gates opening every week. As long as they do, there's a chance it can get better. I'd love to be part of the team, but I guess that's not to be. So, I have to walk away yet again. This time I don't want to, but I can't afford to continue in my current state. I also don't see me coming back again. It's nothing personal. Let the record show that I cared and I always gave it my very best when I was involved
If you want to help support me in my time of need, about the best way to do that is through my California Short Track History Preservation Project on gofundme.com.
That is entirely up to you, and given the economy we have now, I have no expectations. The love and kind words you have given me these past few months has meant a lot.
Thank you for reading, and I wish you and your families nothing but the best.