Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful, Not Complacent On Thanksgiving

First of all...

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

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

On Sale At Reduced Price

Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Go Fund Me 

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

DCRR Racing Media And PR Consulting  HERE

The Editor's Viewpoint For Thanksgiving Can Be Viewed HERE

Thankful, Not Complacent
By Don O'Keefe Jr.  --- Special To The DCRR Blog

As I sit here and write this on Thanksgiving I feel thankful, but I admit I am too complacent, too much of the time.
With so much daily hassle involved in our lives, it’s easy to lose track of how some of the simplest gestures can make a big difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s holding a door open for someone as you enter or leave a building, the simple gesture of saying “good morning” to someone at a business you frequent, a heartfelt “Thank you” to one’s effort, be it big or small. These all matter, especially to folks who may be struggling day-to-day or with a family crisis.
As this pertains to racing at our local short tracks, where can I start? Management, track personnel, competitors, all seem to be taking each other for granted and the results are clearly visible at many tracks.
Clearly one of my big gripes the last dozen or more years are tracks and groups not having their rules packages set at the end of the season for the next year. This is one of the biggest forms of “complacency” in short track racing.
In my opinion there are 3 reasons for this:
1. Laziness (just putting it off)
2. Waiting to see if any manufactures are willing to “pay a little extra” to have management mandate their particular product
3. My least popular is when management works hand-in-hand with certain competitors on end-of-year changes that ultimately favor those competitors and lead to lower car counts.
The fix for this really isn’t that hard in my opinion. Promoters - talk to the car owners; “the average car owner” not just the top 2 or 3. See what they like or dislike about the current rules package. Was the car count up or down during the year? If any major changes are planned, let owners know before the end of the current season… my god it isn’t rocket science.
Just because someone wants to put a few bucks in your pocket to mandate their product, will the owners support this? Or just park their car because they have to run something that “costs them more” – think about it. Most track owners want to cry “the bad economy” is why there’s less cars… could it be you changed one or more of your rules that now they need to decide if the extra $$$ go towards the race car or the home front? A lot of cars are just sitting because of this.
Track personnel… they can really make or break the atmosphere at any track. The good ones make even a bad track, or group, run like a well-oiled machine… the problem is they also seem to be the 1st ones the promoter kicks to the curb. They put their heart and soul into it, only to take the fall when one bad thing happens. Yes some “officials” are there just for the power trip and the extra $$$ in their pocket – too bad you put all this time, effort and $$$ into your car, you’re on my shit list this week. Maybe next time you, as an official, can cut a team a little slack – think about how they busted their ass at their job during the week, as well as on their car.
Competitors, owners, and teams… during the year have a tendency to bitch, moan, and complain, but when it comes down to it, they just crawl back into their trailers and out of site. Understand your division rules, make sure you understand your track’s or group’s tech procedures, and know the officials by name. This protects your investment (money & time) in the sport.
But also remember this, you are a customer as well as a competitor at the track. If you’re not happy with something, go through the proper channels to try to resolve things… bitching and fighting get you no-where. If you still don’t like what’s going down just load up and leave…period. No yelling, no fighting, just leave. You are a customer! Treat it like you’re at a restaurant and the service is bad, your food cold and there’s an overall “who cares” attitude, you won’t go back… if you feel that way at the track “DON’T GO BACK”.
Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful and believe me, I am, through all the good and bad. It’s a day to sit back enjoy and reflect with family and friends, especially about the past year’s events and give hope to the coming year.
In the racing world, our “Thanksgiving Days”, more or less, are the awards banquets. A time for all at the track to gather and celebrate the teams’ and track’s accomplishments. To have a good time, reflect, and ultimately start the momentum for next year’s season. It motivates us to achieve more next year than this one, as we watch the champions receive their awards.
Imagine if everyone got complacent on Thanksgiving and had no celebration? No meal, no family, no friends, no friendly chatter at the dinner table. It becomes another day… and the family feeling and camaraderie disappears.
A few tracks and groups have gotten “complacent” on their Awards Banquets, their Thanksgiving Day or night, which is the day of their race track family gathering and season reflection and celebration. It’s their day of saying “Thank You” and being “Thankful “to their racing members and family. It’s the celebration that starts the next year with hope.
Happy Holidays, DOK