I live in a state with one, that’s right, one weekly asphalt short track. Me, who lives and breathes racing to the inner core of my being, has only one weekly asphalt track to attend on a regular basis. Coming from southern Wisconsin, you can imagine what a foreign world this was to me when I moved here. Back home, on any given weekend, one of my biggest dilemmas was choosing which track or tracks to go to pretty much Friday through Sunday. Here it is simple, I have one option, one night of the week.
There are times that this bothers me. Okay, I can’t lie, it bothers me all the time. I see all the posts of my friends going here, there’s a special going on there, etc. It’s like watching all of my roots growing without me. Sometimes I do randomly show up, but I guess that’s what makes it fun. It actually aches knowing that I am not able to be there with the family I grew up with all of my life. I laugh because they say you can’t chose your family. Ironically, your racing family is the same way. We are all there, all the time, you better learn to embrace it.
The one thing that makes it easier is that I have the most amazing racing family I could have ever asked for in my life right here at home. The team that I have been honored enough to be a part of for so many years has become closer than just a “racing” family, so whenever I start to get down, I just think about that and all is well. But believe me, they know how much I miss my roots, too. 🙂
Back to having only one track…I’ve had to and still have to remind myself that it is what it is. I can either be upset that I only have one track to go to on a weekly basis, and get bored and complain, or I can embrace the fact that because there is only one track, I need to be there to support it. I’d be one sad panda if I didn’t have ANY track to go to!
However, the problem this generates is that asphalt racing isn’t all that popular nor understood like it is in say, Wisconsin or Illinois. So to get people to go to the track requires creative thinking. Of course in my mind, I’m thinking, “How can you NOT want to go watch racing on a Friday night!?” But not everyone thinks like us crazy racing types.
Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, IA made huge strides this year and slowly, but surely, the stands started to fill up a little more each week. I had the opportunity to help get the word out about what was going on each week via social media and email, and share a few of my thoughts.
As I sit and look back on the season I can see the gradual progression that took place. Let’s face it, every track is struggling on car counts right now. Clearly a lone asphalt track in the middle of a bunch of corn fields is no different. When people hear that the number of late models on a given night could be counted on less than two hands, they seem to automatically think, “ugh, that must be boring. Why would I want to go?” But here’s the deal, IT WASN’T!
The racing that those 8-10 cars put on week after week was nothing short of exciting! Why? Well in my opinion, because they were consistently there every week and worked to improve and learned how to race against each other. Who they could trust. How far they could push it against one another. Rivalries developed. Rookies became heroes. Were there a fair share of “run-away” races? Sure. But who says you only have to watch the leader?
Will higher car counts bring more fans? Will more fans bring higher car counts? Is it just an ebb and flow cycle that the sport is going through? Likely a little bit of all of the above. I know one thing, I’m not going to give up, even if I do only have one weekly asphalt track to chose from.
But remember, cars don’t just race on asphalt………………………..