So, to start off, I need to say that my intention with the following article is for no one in particular and it is only an opinion of mine and not those of the other two members of Deep Dixie Racing, Leo Johnson and Dale Hall. Everyone on this Earth is entitled to his or her own opinion and I can only speak for mine. With this being said, let me explain to you a BIG problem I have in racing right now. Social Media. It can be a tool for good or bad, it all depends on how you choose to use it. As a person on the media side of racing I use it to promote and as a fan of racing I use it to let everyone know about my passion. I never try to bash or criticize what I love. I do have my opinions about a certain NASCAR driver I'm not fond of on the track but in all honesty he's a nice guy off the track. I'm also not a huge NASCAR fan but it's just that I like dirt track racing and it's just a personal preference. I love to see fans pack the stands at one of their races because it just means racing, what I love, is continuing on.
Now, in the multimillion dollar world of NASCAR the opinion of social media won't make a huge dent in anything for them because of the national reach they have but what I'm more concerned with is on the smaller scale of short track racing. There are so many short tracks across America that run each and every weekend and whether or not they have a successful night they will get opinions on their races through social media websites. Some will be good and some bad. The good will describe the night to friends telling them how great the race was, what a good time they had, how the track was well prepared for the night. The bad will tell a different story with how bad the track management was, the race took too long, or their hotdog was too cold. Now, my guess as to which way you'll lean to in your opinion of the night is to whether you are generally an optimistic, happy person or an unhappy negative person. I lean toward the first because that's the type of person I am and really don't understand the second type.
Imagine that the person spreading positivity has around 400 friends on social media but then the person spreading negativity had around 1000. The negativity is reaching a larger group and influencing more people's opinions. It's my hopes though that people don't believe everything they read and form their own opinions about the subject and usually when people do see that person complains all the time anyways, they pay them no attention. So it really can backfire on them. When negativity is spread it becomes like a virus. From one person to another. I don't know why some people would rather tear down instead of build up but I think it's just unhappiness in their own lives or just the old saying "misery loves company". When you talk ill of racing in any form or fashion you may in turn create a bad impression for someone who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in some way but could have had racing change their life for the better in some way. Why would you take that away from them?
There is nothing wrong with giving your opinion if you did have a bad night at the races. Just give it in an educated, respectful way. You can let people know you don't agree with something in a way without personally bashing anyone, its called being an adult and for heaven's sake say what you need to and don't keep harping on it. It's annoying and makes you look like a whiner. I can give my opinion on hundreds of subjects without once hurting anyone's feelings or making someone look bad. To talk negatively about a track, promoter, or series just brings the whole of racing down. When you make someone not go to a track because of your negativity you can make them lose attendance, lose sponsors, lose fans. That could be your intention but what about if you didn't make it about yourself? What if you thought about the other drivers who may only be able to go to this track or race in this series because they can't afford to go anywhere else? You have just robbed someone of something they love because you weren't happy. It's selfishness.
I tend to be a little overprotective of racing but that's because as I've said before, it's given me so much. I understand not everything will be great every week with a race or a track but I tip my hat to those who can deal with that bad experience and handle it like a grown up. Most of the people speaking ill don't know what it takes behind the scenes to run a track or a series or what is done behind closed doors to try to make things go smoothly and unless you've been there you really have no idea. I recently read an article about Baer Field Speedway closing because the promoter was tired of the negativity on social media and couldn't deal with it anymore or the threats. Now there are racers out of a place to race and fans out of their favorite track all because people couldn't state their opinions respectfully and move on. That's the key. Speak your mind but for the rest of us, move on with your life. No one wants to keep feeding into your negativity and drama.
Upon turning on the internet today I saw that a local series owner and promoter is getting out of his series. All because people have went to social media and spread the virus as I like to say. There were some of the best races I've seen with his series and some of the best drivers around running for him. Now what about those guys? What about that promoter? He loved what he did but there's no point in him being unhappy in his own life because of other people. Speaking as a part series owner myself, I know what this man is going through. It's a tough job and for now I've decided to ignore the criticism depending on who it's coming from. Some people you should take seriously and others you know they only feed off you buying into their negativity. It's a hard job and takes a lot out of you to keep going. Being threatened by others who wish to harm you or dealing with another person calling to yell at you can really beat you down and make you want to quit but you still keep going because you genuinely like the guys who run for you or run at your track and you just love racing period.
Recently, at a series race I attended I got to see behind the scenes when a driver had a particular problem with the series owner about the scales. There was nothing that could be done about what happened after it had happened and the driver and series owner had a discussion like adults and even though the driver was unhappy they shook hands and he was thanked for coming. Nothing was written on social media by the driver about the series or the owner. He may have had a bad experience but didn't need to get on the internet to tell everyone. He may still be mad but the man is an adult and he will always be one of my favorite drivers and has my utmost respect forever and the series owner's respect too. I know not every night will be perfect but that's what some people don't understand. It will NOT be perfect every time. Don't hold a track or series to perfect standards if you yourself are not perfect. We are all human and we all do things wrong and no one should think otherwise. When you spread the virus you are killing racing. Just like the speedway and the series I have mentioned it kills racing.
Like I've said before, I am overprotective of racing. It means everything to me. It isn't just something I do, it's my life. If you mess with my life you tend to bring out the warrior in me. Racing gave me so many people in my life, so many great experiences I cherish and always will. So many things that I can't be thankful enough for and I know if it's given me so much so far, there can only be better things ahead and to think it can be ruined by negativity makes me deeply sad. It's heartbreaking to know some people try to ruin things that can be so beautiful for someone. Don't call yourself a fan of racing if all you're going to do is run it down, and by that I mean those who constantly stay on the internet bashing racing in every way they can all the time with nothing good ever to say. You are always entitled to your opinion but don't dig yourself a hole and live there. No one will be there to pull you out if you do. Eventually you'll dig yourself a hole so deep no one will have a rope long enough to pull you out and if you're ruining racing for everyone else no one will want to help you.
My opinion, and it means little to nothing, is to stop with the social media bashing and instead of trying to tear something down try to build it up. Appreciate racing for what it is and how flawed it can be and how great it can be at the same time. This article may make some unhappy or mad but I've been threatened before and had people upset with me so I know it comes with the territory but I know there are people who know what I'm talking about and all my racing friends in different states who stand behind me whether they agree with everything I say or not. They will still be there in the end. Just another thing racing has given me. They respect my opinion just like I respect theirs whether I like it or not. The one thing we can all agree on is our love for racing and believe me, we don't want anyone to mess with what we love. So, to those who like to spread the virus I say this, please be respectful in your opinions and speak as an adult. Don't ruin it for everyone else and remember this isn't just a hobby for some of us, it's our life. Uplift instead of tear down and be happy that racing is here to give you something to complain about. You are always welcome to your opinion but everyone else has one too. Don't use social media for every thing you find wrong and most of all remember that we are all in this life together and nothing will be perfect and no one will be either. Racing, it's the one thing we can all agree on and what glues this community together. Don't use social media to ruin that. Be a part of the solution, don't be a part of the problem.