Racing’s biggest threat: The very people who love it the most

Grader, water truck and tower at Mudlick Valley Raceway (Wade Logan Photo)

The million dollar question, “What’s wrong with racing today?”. Cost is an obvious issue, and an even easier answer. Some think greedy promoters, and overpowering series are a problem. They may be, they may not be. The truth is, we are the problem.

The kind of people that love racing so passionately we would give anything to be at the track instead of being elsewhere. We spend our last dime to see a big race, have hundreds of dollars in apparel of drivers and events, and fight with others about weekend plans because we are definitely going to be at the races regardless of what they say.

Why? The age of communication, and the lack of will power to bite our tongues instead of putting a racetrack or a racer on blast for the world to see because of our great passion. I’m 100% guilty of this myself over previous years, but I came to the conclusion that my internet tirades were pointless. I was going back the next week, so all I was doing was hurting the sport and the track that I love so dearly. Two weeks ago I was at a local track, not my home track, and not a track I frequent very often. They did the most bizarre, and disrespectful thing to the driver I was there supporting. It was awful, and extremely un-professional. I would have loved nothing more than to come home, get on Facebook and tell everybody that could see just how terrible it was. What would it have done for me? I wasn’t going back, I knew the driver probably wasn’t going back. What would I have to gain by trying to make them suffer?

We are the problem. If we could all collectively settle ourselves just long enough to take a breath and think, “Is this really the right thing to do? Is it going to do me any good at all?”, racing wouldn’t be suffering quite as bad as it is. Are we 100 percent of the problem, lord no. But as we all watch the sport we love, that we’ve spent our lives following dwindle off to nothing, all we can do is hurt it with harsh and quick reactions. Fans, Drivers, Pit Crew Members, and even track staff are included. Every little nook and cranny of rules, procedures, or policies that tracks have to end up giving somebody the wrong end of the stick, eventually.

The absolute second it does, we blow up the internet like the world is going to end. And then we turn around, drive right back down that same road to the same racetrack we swore was the worst place in the country. And even go as far as to say “Well I’m going but I hope they don’t have anybody there”. How backwards is that? You want to go and pay your hard earned money to watch nobody race, have none of your friends there from over the years to socialize with? Sounds insane doesn’t it? But it’s truthfully a weekly occurrence all over the country.

The worst part? 90 percent of it isn’t of anything that’s relatively important. We take a rainout policy that we didn’t like and we act like a driver just got flipped over on purpose, and the promoter just looked on and started laughing at the guy as he was crawling from his destroyed car. It’s madness. A rule that’s been in place all season long, that everybody’s been going by all year long bites the wrong guy, and the driver and all of the drivers fans just brutalize the track publicly. Whatever happened to just going elsewhere? Taking your business elsewhere is point enough without blowing up the internet with your negative thoughts.

“What’s wrong with racing?” I AM. But I won’t be anymore, will you?

-Caring and loving fan of dirt racing.

This article was sent to us by an anonymous race fan who asked to have their identity concealed. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The DRC. 

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About The Author

thedrc The DRC provides premiere coverage of auto racing throughout the midwest and beyond. We strive to not only showcase, but to socially promote racing through high definition videos, on the spot interviews, and through the lenses of talented photographers.

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Comment (4)

  1. to close a speedway because of some bad comments on social media is like a fat person blaming an oreo cookie for their obesity

  2. I gotta disagree tracks close there selfs. Sure my rant about a track might seem harmless at first but, But when every week the same comments come from me it’s going to start to make people think. The officials at these tracks get there favorite and there hated picks. When the officials look at everything so one sided it becomes BS. Officials watch drivers use others as a bump stop to destroy other drivers cars and turn a blind eye. I was one told by a head official hay it’s a small track you gotta hit to pass. NO not an answer the race director wanted to hear but yet the same POS sits in his seat on top of the tower not allowing other officials to make calls on dirty drivers. I took it soon myself to ask some spectators the one week what they thought about the track and I was told they hate all the cautions. Can you honestly tell me that’s the drivers fault ? It’s accepted from a few drivers to do it every week and most of the time it’s from a driver that doesn’t own the car so they can smash up the owners car weekly and not give a care in the world. If tracks would stop the favoritism and call the crap as it comes there wouldn’t be as much bitching and more people would fill the empty stands car count would go up.

  3. I WISH there were Promoter-Driver battles extant, THAT would make short-track racing a helluva lot more interesting. Back in the 1970’s here in SoCal, there was one name that would put fear into the hearts of other drivers and would also fill the grandstands at the original Irwindale and Orange Show: Ivan ‘The Terrible’ Baldwin. He was Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., long before anybody had hear of either. The controversy he brought, running a driver into the wall and THEN fighting him in the pits afterwards, did nothing but sell tickets for the next week’s races. Coming to the present: the problem is the type of cars that are on the track. Who actually drives a Dodge Charger or Ford Fusion or Chevy Impala? People over 40 for the most part, some WAY over 40. The kids call those “grandma cars”, while they ply the streets in their “TUNER CARS”. The late-model class should consist today of Subarus, Audis, Hondas, Nissan Z’s., etc. And, yes, you CAN get 700HP out of those engines ,too. V-8’s will eventually go away, but the racing community is doing NOTHING to prepare for the future. Then again, there’s too much down-time in a typical Sat. night show: warm-up laps, extended caution flag segments, and the hoary issue of CAR COUNT, CAR COUNT, CAR COUNT. (think super-modifieds and dirt late-models here in my state). So, I disagree with the premise of this article: behind-the-scenes squabbles are NOT what’s killing racing: the racing establishment itself is killing racing. Remember what the dinosaurs taught us: learn to adapt to change…or prepare to go extinct!


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