Two weeks in a row and I’m penning my thoughts on this past week in our sport. That must be some sort of record for me as we get so busy around here that I barely remember the object was to drain the swamp before the alligators arrive. Of course nowadays, the term “drain the swamp” is a metaphor used by politicians, only few seem to be actually “draining the swamp,” but that’s another story.
Speaking of draining the swamp though, this has surely been a wet year for our sport. There are lots of outdoor sports you can play in the rain, but drag racing isn’t one of them. And then once the rain stops and the sun comes out, we have this new phenomenon called “weepers,” where the sun bakes the pavement and the water starts weeping up through causing another stoppage of on-track action. Where ever did this “weeping” start? The only “weeping” we knew 20 or 30 years ago was the weeping you did when you pickled up the Lose ticket.
In any event, there was a lot of racing this past weekend. You had the Lights Out 9 event in South Georgia, Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events in Georgia and Kansas, the Pennsylvania Dutch Classic, the Jim Harrington Memorial Race in Maryland, along with a host of other events. But the one which stands out for me is Beaver Springs Dragway’s Jalopy Showdown.
Okay so, living only a quarter-mile away from the track might make be a little partial, but these guys are out there doing what they love to do, have fun. Winning for them is nice, but it’s all about the ride. There are no arguments; that guy’s cheating, he’s in the wrong class, etc. No. They’re just out there having a great time. Maybe we’re all missing something. Which brings me to having fun.
I think I’ve spoken about this before and obviously I travel to a lot of races throughout the year but there is one observation I’ve noticed. It seems like when you’re at a national of divisional NHRA race, you’ll often get a bunch of racers hanging out at night. Before too long, the conversation will get around to NHRA bashing. The track sucked, the pits sucked, parking, tech, what have you. Attend a big time bracket race and you’ll find the same number of racers hanging out and the only griping is “I ran out of beer.” “I ran out of ice.” “Ran out of propane for the grill.” Etc., etc. These guys are just having fun.
A number of years ago at a big bracket race, it rained and the track operator had a hard time drying the shutdown area. He eventually had to make the decision to shorten the event to eighth-mile. In speaking with him, he was concerned the racers would bitch. How many people really bitched? About zero. I think if he had said we could only race to 60’, you’d have had guys saying, “That’s fine, get out of my way ‘cause I want the right lane.” They all understood.
What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. Worthless time spent hacking away at a keyboard. But in reality, we need to get back to having fun. And if you’re not having fun at a certain event, DON’T GO BACK! And I don’t want to hear that it’s the only place to race. There are literally hundreds of events you can still enjoy the ride and have fun at the same time. Those are the events you need to frequent.