From the Staging Lanes | August '07BY: ISAAC DEHAAN
It’s hard to believe that we are closing in on the final months of the sand drag season in Michigan, with school starting and the days starting to get shorter the end can’t be far away. There has been some great racing over the summer and it should continue into the fall.
July was the “big” month, as far as racing goes, at WMSD. With the Chassis Shop Shootout, the Bad Frog Beer/Richard’s Auto Parts Pro Truck Shootout, and the Appletree Automotive US Sand Nationals all taking place in July, it can make or break your season really quickly. The Pro Truck Shootout also featured the Ultimate 4WD Shootout sponsored by Cascade 4WD and Proformance Prototypes. I had a personal hand in that, and we brought in the 3 fastest blown alcohol 4WD cars in the country. It turned out to be a great race with 23 Pro trucks racing for big $$, too. The Sand Nationals was a great weekend also, with lots of cars and spectators alike flocking in from all over the country. Dylan took a 2nd place in his class which moved him up to 6th in points in the Mighty Midget class, not bad for skipping 2 races earlier on in the summer.
As the mid season point came and went, I thought I would make a small list, a wish list of sorts based on things I have seen and heard over the course of the race season around here. Here are a few in no particular order.
1. Can’t we all just get along??
It seems this summer more than most, I have seen courtesy and common sense go out the window for the most part. While I have seen some great acts of sportsmanship over the summer (Mike Bolyard at the Chassis Shop Shootout, for example), I have also seem some ugly stuff too. Non-courtesy staging seems to be high on the list, and I know some people don’t care but it’s a small thing and makes the staging lanes a more positive place to be when everybody is getting along. You don’t need to like everybody you race with, but you can at least be cordial when you are at the race track.
2. The rule is the rule….Period.
I am the kind of racer that if the rule is the rule, like it or not, that’s the way it is. I am totally not in favor of mid-season rule changes unless there is a major problem that needs to be dealt with prior to the end of the season. On that note, if the rule is there, it’s the same for everybody no matter what class they run and it gets enforced the same week to week. I realize that it’s possible that enforcing the rules might not make you popular and there might actually be some people that don’t come back to race, but enforcing the rules is a lot like being a parent; sometimes your kids need discipline and while they don’t like it, it is for their own good. Racers are the same way, as a racer you need to accept that not every rule is going to benefit you, but as long as its in the best overall interest of the track you just have to deal with it and roll with the punches so to speak.
3. Hometown Favorite
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have people you root for and that you enjoy seeing do well, but when you openly root against someone when you occupy a track management position, it is just not a good idea. It gives the look of favoritism and all any racer wants is an equal chance on race day. I admit that I enjoy seeing guys that don’t go rounds week in and week out get on a hot streak and do well, but that doesn’t mean I root against guys that do well at most races. As a side bar on this subject, can well all agree on what it takes to set a record. 2% backup, 1% backup, no backup required, different strokes for different folks I guess, but it would be nice to see some unified classes and some conformity in what it takes to set and hold a record in out sport. This is something that should not take a national sanctioning body to bring together as I see it, it’s for the greater good of the sport.
4. Keep the main thing the main thing, FUN!
As racers, promoters, track officials, whatever, it is easy sometimes to lose focus on what’s really important at the race track for racers and fans alike, that’s keeping it FUN! I have always said, when I quit having fun at the race track and it starts being like work, I might as well find something else to do. I think we all agree, we did not get into the sport for the $$, and if that is really true than its something else that drives us. If you are not having a good time at the track, maybe you need to look at why that is. I mean, really, at the end of the day, most of us don’t have sponsors that are going to drop us if we don’t do well or corporate people expecting a level of performance from us, it’s only us that we are accountable to. That being said, if you aren’t having a good time, maybe it’s just you!! It takes more energy to frown than it does smile folks, and in my book any day above ground and breathing is way better than the alternative.