A few weeks ago, I was at Tri-State Speedway for the Haubstadt Hustler 50. During the track prep break immediately following the heat races, everybody was standing and talking, as is the custom there. A friend of mine, Frank Daigh (dirtnonwingfan here on IOW), who always sits in the row directly behind us, asked me a very good question. I’ll paraphrase here, but it was something to the effect of “Jerry, the end of the season is near. What do you think that the people of Indiana Open Wheel could do or could start doing to help make the sport of sprint and midget racing better? “ Now, at the time I was asked that question, I had just finished watching probably the best set of heats I had seen, all year. My head was still spinning and my mind was mush. So, the best answer I could have given right then and there would have been something down the lines of “Uhhhh. Duhh.” So, I deferred and said “Good question. I’ll have to think about that one.”
One thing to consider is that there are almost 4000 registered members on IOW. In my travels out there, I talk to a lot of people. And I mean a lot. I would say that for every registered member I meet, I also meet two that aren’t registered, but follow IOW faithfully. Quite a few could rattle off a list of their favorite (and not so favorite ) posters. So, multiplying that out and using the law of averages, it would be a conservative estimate, IMO, to say that 10,000 people are effected by Bill Gardner’s creation. So, what you type here, a lot of people see. A lot of people, from many different walks of life and from all parts of the racing equation.
My answer to Frank’s question, now that I’ve had time to think about it and now that I’m in a proper frame of mind to work my way through the cobwebs and find an answer, would be:
-I’m going to do my best to go to as many races as I can. And when I do, I’m going do my best to share my experiences. Recently, I’ve actually had several people tell me they read a race report here on IOW, from somewhere I’d been, had never been there before and were going to make it a point to go check it out, this year or next.
-I’m going to focus on the positive things that I see in racing. They far outweigh the negative things, although sometimes you wouldn’t know that by what you hear from some people. When I see something that is a real issue, something that could really be improved upon, I’ll bring it up. But, I’ll do so in a constructive manner. Saturday at Eldora I met OpenwheelKT. Somebody I’d wanted to meet for years. One of the first points he made was “This is such a niche sport. Why are people arguing all the time. We should be helping each other.” Tell me the sport wouldn’t be better if everybody thought like that.
-I’m going to take as many people as I can, to the track. And also talk to as many people as I can about racing, when I’m not at the track. You wear racing shirts enough places and eventually somebody will ask you a question.
-I’m going to make a better effort to be a good neighbor at the track. There are a lot of people at many of the races, that don’t know what’s going on, like someone that frequents IOW does. If somebody looks like they’re confused or looks like they have a question about something, I’ll try to help them out. Do a little “pay it back” for all that I’ve learned from people like Marv, Danny , Tim, Dave F, Jack, Mike, Bert, John, Frank, Lauren, D.O., Keith, Shortbus, Gregg, Ed etc., etc., etc. Because of the best networking site in open wheel racing, IOW, this list could go on for pages.
Those are just a few things that I’m going to try to get better at. But, that’s just me. How about you? We all have one thing in common. All of us love this sport and want to see what’s best for it.
Thanks, Frank for asking a very good question. One that really made me think.
"Each of us is a mixture of some good and some not so good qualities. In considering one's fellow man it's important to remember the good things ... We should refrain from making judgments just because a fella happens to be a dirty, rotten SOB."