This week I’m in Las Vegas for the K&N Spring Fling Million presented by Optima Batteries and I gotta tell you hate it. No, I don’t hate being here at the race, but allow me to explain.
I’ve been covering the Spring Fling brand of races for the past ten years since the very first one in Bristol. Although, it’ll be ten years when we get to Bristol in September for the Spring Fling 500K where one racer is going to walk away with a $500,000 check for one day of racing.
I’ve done this because I’m a bracket racer at heart and I don’t think that class of cars; sportsman racers included; get the exposure they deserve. These guys and gals are the true backbone of the sport. The ones who may work a full-time job, then spend countless hours in their garage only to drive all night to get to a race. Then have to race back home on Sunday nights so they can punch a time clock on Monday morning. They don’t necessarily do it for the money; although it helps; but they do it because they love the sport, a passion like no other.
Now, why do I hate it?
Because I’m on the wrong side of the guardwall. I’m jealous. I’m a racer. I want to hit the ‘Tree and drive the finish line. That euphoric feeling of acceleration and seeing the win light on in your lane is what got me hooked on the sport to begin with. But I also enjoy taking the photos and interviewing the winners because I know how they feel. I’ve felt that feeling so I know what’s going through their heads, but it’s enjoyable to hear how others react to the win. It’s that thrill of victory and sometimes even the agony of defeat which is so important in the lives we lead. Winning and losing is what life is all about.
I remember when one of my kids was young and they joined a sports team where they didn’t keep score because they didn’t want the kids to feel bad about losing. What? Losing is an important part of winning. It’s quite possible you can’t have one without the other. Understanding a loss is how you get better and eventually win.
While I attend a lot of NHRA national events, I don’t get the chance to race at them if my family, wife Dottie, son Franklin and daughter Christina, aren’t there to help out. I just get too busy doing my job as an editor, but as I said previously, I do miss getting behind the wheel.
What do we all say? Some day after I hit the Lottery. Although it’s getting tougher each year to win that if I don’t play it. Lucky for me, my wife is the lucky one in that regard, although it’s going to take a couple of more “zeros” on the end of her winnings to make a dent. Someday. Gotta keep believing. -John DiBartolomeo