(originally published May 2013)
When I walked into Madison International Speedway this past Sunday afternoon I felt like I was “home”. If you are a racer you know that the sights, sounds, and yes, even smells that racing brings creates such an adrenaline rush that it becomes addicting.
However it was not only the sensory responses that made me feel at home. When I lived in Madison my dad and I would meet at the pit gate every Friday night to watch the races together. As Friday approached all I could think about was seeing my dad standing there waiting for me when I arrived. I hated it when it rained out.
We would sit in the stands and pick who we thought was going to win and take victory in ourselves, rubbing it in when our driver was victorious. He loved to watch great racing. So I have no doubt in my mind that Sunday’s race would have been “Joe Shear approved”.
I can say with complete honesty that I do not have any favorites when it comes to the ARCA Midwest Tour. So to pick who I thought was going to win would have been impossible. But being the Joe Shear Classic I couldn’t help but have some preconceived thoughts and visions of what victory lane could possibly look like. Did I want to see a #36 in victory lane? Did I want Johnny Sauter, whom my brother, Joe Jr. was formerly the crew chief for in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series bring it home? Did I want a driver looking for his first win to take home the trophy? Have the first duplicate winner in five years? I just couldn’t decide.
But wow, all that mattered when all was said and done was…that was THE most amazing race that the Joe Shear Classic could have ever asked for! You could not have scripted a better race than what took place on Sunday afternoon. Whether you want to label it aggressive driving or good hard racing is up to you. Either way, the fans were on their feet and cheering with all they had in them just like I remember doing when my dad was out there. I cannot even begin to express the amount of energy that filled the air.
One of the things I will remember most is standing there as third place, Dan Fredrickson and second place, Jacob Goede got out of their cars. Even though neither was in victory lane, both had huge smiles on their faces. They looked at me and said, “man, that had to be fun to watch cause it was so fun to race!” I cannot think of a better representation of what the Joe Shear Classic is all about than that moment right there.
As you may remember, I was originally going to write this series to highlight some of my dad’s most amazing races. Well, I think that story just wrote itself.
The entire atmosphere of the day was absolutely perfect. Much of my family was able to be there and participate in the event. My kids gave the command. My nephew waved the green flag and he is STILL talking about the rush it gave him and how amazing the entire day was. I have received countless messages about it being one of, if not THE best race some have seen in their lifetime.
As a born and raised racer I have to add, don’t wait until next year to get your racing fix. Please get out there and support your local track and series. You never know when that next “best race of a lifetime” might be.