Dirt late model racing is a good life
As the summer drags on sometimes we have to reflect on why exactly we put ourselves through the long hours, frustration, and aggravation that sometimes is involved with the sport of dirt late model racing. To help keep our focus while on the brink of burn out, we need to remind ourselves why exactly we love doing what we do. So here is my list; my reminder; my pillar to keep me doing what I do day in and day out; this is what helps keep me focused.
First and most important on my list is the friendships I have forged through the years with other racers. ‘Racers’ is a term I use loosely all the time to regard anyone with the same addiction I have, racing. You don’t necessarily have to be a driver. Crew people, promoters, track personnel, or even fans who have taken that blood oath to the sport they love so much, can all share the title of ’Racer’. The friendships I have forged with other racers are absolutely priceless. I have never been in the military, but I have heard it being explained the same way. After spending together so much time, good, bad and other wise, a bond grows because you have all been through it together. There are no better friends than racers.
The second and probably the most obvious is the side by side racing. I enjoy the pure beauty of good driving. Whether it is the ultra smooth consistency that usually wins most races, or the wild seat of your pants, one heartbeat from destroying everything they own type of driver, I enjoy them all. If everyone drove the same, I would lose interest real fast. Watching a good driver display his art, fluid in motion is like listening to fine music, head phones on, a slight breeze whispering on your face. Ah….Nothing better. The thrilling lap after lap, corner after corner slide jobs; cushion pounding, smooth consistent mechanical like execution, wheel rubbing, or slicing and dicing through lapped traffic; I love it all.
Racing smells and sounds
The smells and sounds, that’s what it’s all about,. A sweet smell of racing gas, like grape bubble gum in the air, or the rhythmic thump of eight hundred plus horse power, please no mufflers; what a way to spend a summer night. Believe it or not; popcorn, the fragrance of heaven; a slight dusting from the track, it doesn’t matter; butter and salt, definitely a must. Dirt late model racing and, I guess, racing in general is an incredible assault on the senses. After surviving long winter there is nothing better than the first firing of that motor in the spring. It would be hard to explain the feel, to any non race fan, what it is exactly like to hear and feel that engine roar in the spring. The first quick snap of the throttle will send chills down your spine. I’ve seen many hardened mechanics go weak in the knees when the first firing of the year takes place.
In a strange bizarre way, I miss the food after a long winter away. I know your thinking ‘You are one sick person!’, but hear me out. The flat cardboard like representation of a hamburger, slathered with ketchup, mustard, onions, and relish, will melt in your mouth like a fine steak. A smooth syrupy soda with ice, again dust is optional, will quench even the heartiest of thirst. Although, I must admit, the comforting effects of track food only hypnotize me for a short time into the season. It does work its magic early in the year.
My list is probably different than yours; we all need our list as things get tough later into the year. I’ve been going to dirt track races for thirty plus years and probably won’t stop anytime soon. I feel as if I’m part of a fraternal order, where dues are paid in sweat, blood, and a commitment to be there every Saturday night. I love dirt late model racing; hope to see you there.