Friday, January 16, 2015
2015 New Season, New Hopes
Well, the new year and new racing season is here and it feels like we haven't quite got over the old season yet. It was just yesterday it feels like. The whole two days it seems, that I had in the off season gave me time to catch my breath for once and reflect on the past year and think about the next year. So many people I see are anxiously awaiting the new season and are having serious withdrawals from racing and my question for them would be, "What are you hoping for in the 2015 racing season?". Besides the addictiveness that is racing, most people want to see something happen in racing with each new year. Do you want to see your favorite driver win a points championship? Do you want to see a special race this season? Do you want to just meet new and interesting people at the track? What do you hope to see this year?
Speaking for myself, I have tons of things I look forward to this year and hope for this season. After looking back on last season I believe there is very little that I would change because for the most part, the 2014 season went pretty good and despite some instances, I had a great time and kept my cool in all situations which was surprising to people who know me and even to myself. I tend to not hold back with my nature, but have learned sometimes every situation doesn't need a reaction. People will bring themselves down and make themselves look foolish and need no help from me to do it. I hope to bring that into 2015 with me. Actually, I wish to bring everything I learned last season into this season. I have such high hopes for this year. So many things I would love to see in racing this year and talking with others, they basically want to see the same things I do.
Talking with a driver, I got into a discussion with him as to what we both would like to see for the new season. Just good old race talk. The main thing we agreed on and the top on both our lists was that we would like to see the costs of racing come down. My only hypothesis for why the cost of racing has gotten so out of hand is because the parts for these cars to be competitive and to win are getting higher and higher. My thinking is this, say Driver A has something new on his car, whatever part that may be, and he starts blistering the field at every race he attends, well Driver B over here may want something bigger and better because he's tired of getting outran and so and so company sees this but to make such a part it will require more money on their behalf to make it, thus driving the cost for this new part up. Then, when Driver A starts getting outran by Driver B, he or she in turn wants something even better and so the cycle keeps going and with each better and bigger product that comes out, the cost keeps going up because of the cost to make each product better than the last. So you end up spending an outrageous amount of money just to compete with the other guys and it becomes hard to race to even cover the costs of your race car which is why I say you better love this sport and be in it for something other than money because you'll be sadly disappointed if you are.
It's a competitive sport, more competitive than any other in my book, but that needing to compete with money is what I see is driving the cost of racing up and creating problems for drivers and race track owners alike. Drivers need to make enough to cover the basics of their racing and tracks need to make enough to give the drivers a place to race and fans a place to go. I don't want to stop that competition, it's my favorite part, I just want the competition to stop coming down to a dollar and cents game and unfortunately I don't see it happening, but I can hold out hope for this season that it could. Someone dear to me always tells me to hope for good things and I do because I love to be positive in thought instead of negative. I could say no, it'll never happen but I really hope it can.
The next thing on the list that the driver brought up, and one I've heard from just about every other driver out there is a better payback. My question to this driver was, if you can say better payback you have to give me a solution to how it will be feasible for the tracks because it will have to work for them to be able to do it. The solution was this, lower the amount paid out for the winner because only one person will be collecting that anyways and spread it back into the field so more than one driver can get a good payout. Go from a $10,000 to win and $300 to start race to a $6000 to win and $700 to start type deal. I asked if it would be worth it for the drivers, would it cover the costs they have? The answer is yes. It would bring more drivers because they all have better odds of a better payback. It makes it worthwhile. Now if tracks see it as a solution is up to them, this was only the opinion of the drivers. Only one side of the story.
One thing I would love to see this year is tracks running the same rules in order for drivers to have to change less on their cars and give them more opportunities to race at different tracks. Everyone runs their track differently as is their right to, I just want to see more drivers be able to travel and get out there to see what they can do at a different place under different track conditions. Test their skills. Most tracks around here have started coming together to run nearly the same rules as each other so as to allow the drivers to travel but this something I would like to see on a much bigger scale. Who knows, if they start running uniform rules it could take out the money aspect of most of it and therefor eliminating the first of my problems in this article. It's up to the tracks to decide what is best for their track and their rules for their drivers, I just would like to see more coming together in a national sense between dirt tracks. Maybe I should ask for a unicorn while I'm at it. (Insert laughter here).
While I'm asking for that unicorn I should say I so hope to see less arguing between drivers about who's doing this to their car and who's doing that. If a driver thinks another is cheating bring it to the attention of the sanctioning body or track and let them deal with it and go out and handle your business. Don't harp on things. You show up to race and I want to see you race, so go do it, stay in your own business and not everyone else's. Worry about your car and not the guy next to you. Do work. I love to see a driver show up to a track, get to work, and go out on the track and show he means business instead of talking about it. He has no time for idle gossip, speculation of other drivers, or bashing someone else. He's there to work because he takes this seriously and is not concerned with anything else besides his car, his team, and his performance on the track. This is what I hope to see in the year and also people giving the tracks less of a hard time. They do the best the can, I've seen firsthand how hard it is running a track and some of the time they only get complaining and griping. These people are sinking their money into the sport they love and they all know they will never be millionaires at it but keep going because keeping the sport alive means more to them than most of their own pocketbooks. Not all are perfect but just give them some slack knowing they are all trying their best.
I hope to see more stands full this season also. More fans flocking to the tracks than any other season in the history of racing. Let's get the word out about racing. Let's bring our drivers onto the radio shows before the races and let them pump it up for us. Let's flood Facebook with our sport and our races to get people interested in coming. Let's share Deep Dixie videos (see what I did there?) to let people see how exciting racing is. Let's all get those races out there on people's calendars so they know what's going on and where to go. I want to go to a regular Saturday night show and see the stands still packed as they would be for a special show. Let them know how fun it is to be around the people of racing. How it's a community unlike any other. How it feels like nothing but family. We all go and watch something that gets our blood pumping and do it with the best fans on the Earth. Let others see this and know this. Speak positively on the sport, tracks, and drivers and not negatively. Let people see that positive side so that they will be inclined to come join us. Don't let them see us talk negatively about racing or it could drive them away and make them feel it's not worth it. Let's raise our sport to the next level.
I know I have high hopes for the new season but I always say "go big or go home". Hopefulness is my nature and why I can get disappointed so easily but I don't stop and won't quit. I want to see all my friends at tracks all over the south this season and new drivers at new tracks. It's going to be a great season no matter what or at least I hope it will. 2015 will be the year for racing. I am going to will the universe into thinking that. I will do my part in making videos, taking pictures, interviews, promoting races, and generally doing my part. I'll be at every race I'm able to attend and loving every second of it. Just to put it out there, Speedweeks are almost upon us so get ready, and the first race for the All Star Stock Car Series at North Florida Speedway on January 31st is coming up and has so many people planning to attend I'm overwhelmed by the support, and another I can hardly wait for, The Bama Bash at East Alabama Motor Speedway on February 26-28th which holds a special place in my heart, but then again I've never shied away from my love for this track. Ya'll start getting the word out for these races and all the others coming up and let's all work to make this 2015 season the one we all will never forget!