Being intentional about my Jefferson Speedway experience this past weekend was interesting to say the least. There has never been a time that I didn’t want to go to a race track. It has always provided me with excitement, joy, happiness, you name it. But you know that old saying, “you get out of it what you put into it?” Yeah, that’s so totally true.
Jefferson Speedway was exactly as I didn’t remember it to be. Haha. Actually, the longer I was there, the more familiar it became. By the time I left it was familiar territory once again and memories from the past became more clear, so that was pretty cool.
I knew that if I wanted to fulfill my experience to start digging deeper into what more there is to short track racing, I had to be intentional about it. This past weekend wasn’t about the people, okay, it’s always about the people, but I had another mission. I was going to understand the track, every inch of the track.
The only way to do that was to get out of my comfort zone and watch the action from every angle I could possibly have access to. Not only did this allow me to have different views of the track, but it gave me a different view of the drivers, both literally and figuratively. I was able to understand, and believe, or not believe, each driver’s story and interpretation of events a little better.
Sitting in turns one and two, I saw fists and other hand gestures expressing drivers’ deepest thoughts and feelings of each other. I saw the epitome of the bump and run, or sometimes just the bump. The backstretch provided the excitement of speed and a bunch of dirt and dust in my eyes.
As the cars came into turns three and four it was evident holding a line was critical and, for many, quite a challenge. I could see how hard the right rear tire was working to get off of four as they were heading towards the start-finish line.
Sitting on the front stretch was what I would consider a “fan” experience. As the drivers hit the gas coming out of four, I could feel the vibration as the cars went by in a blur. I truly understood why fans get so intense. It was definitely what I would consider a “thrill,” when it comes to racing.
I grew up understanding the map of all the tracks I went to, yes by watching, but also listening to what changes were needed to get off of such and such a corner better, etc. I pretty much sat in the same spot every time I went and learned the attitude of the cars and how different drivers drove the respective tracks, but only from that angle. So when I would hear some stories about how so and so did this and that, I would just shake my head (internally) thinking they were crazy, and let’s be honest, some of them just flat were…and still are. 🙂
However, after this weekend I can understand a little better the variances in stories from crew to crew. Watching turns one and two from turns three and four is waaaaay different than watching turns one and two from turns one and two (got all that?)
I sometimes laugh, not in a haha way, but in a love for the sport way, at how intense crews and fans can get during a race because of their perspective, or literal point-of-view. It is especially entertaining when a driver gets out of the car and tells the crew the opposite of what they think happened. “I just got really loose and he got under me a little bit before I could get it straightened out.” But the crew that was watching turns one and two from three and four were yelling, “That (insert personal description here) just drove right into him!” Haha…passion and perspective, gotta love it.
But hey, if we all saw everything from the same perspective, what fun would that be? Short track racing is all about passion and perspective and I for one hope that never changes. 🙂 While I continue to search for something deeper in my short track experiences, I will never let go of that passion and I’ll always have my own personal perspectives, but don’t be surprised if you see me watching from different angles.
In closing, I have to throw one more thing out there. I know that the only way someone can change their perspective and view things from a different angle is by being there, at the track, in the seats…so get to your local short track and make an intentional experience out of it!! I don’t care if it’s asphalt, dirt, or a track made of manure…#GetYourFix!
These are five different tracks that I just happen to know have something going on this weekend, and I know there are many more, so take your pick…
Elko Speedway-Elko, MN: ARCA Midwest Tour 6th Annual Thunderstruck 93
Chilton Speedway-Chilton, WI (dirt): 2014 Chilton Fall Invitational
Dells Raceway Park-Wisconsin Dells, WI: 3rd Annual September Showdown
Blizzard Series: Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL
Next weekend is National Short Track Championships Weekend at Rockford Speedway-Sept 26th-28th
October 2nd-5th…it’s Oktoberfest week/end at La Crosse Speedway in West Salem, WI. The biggest asphalt event of the season! #FestIsBest