Volume X, Issue 3, Page 58

Passion Beats a Questionable Economy

This is the greatest country in the world. Where else on earth could this happen? A racer asks for 5 gallons of 116-octane race fuel at his local track. The vendor says "Sorry, but it is $9.00 a gallon today." The racer just about jumps out of his shoes; he verbally slams the federal government and the regulations he feels led to this and those greedy oil companies, then says, "I'll take 5 gallons, my race car is thirsty."

Nowhere else do people have the freedom to do such crazy things. It's great!

I know this is a strange way to start out a column that usually looks for someone or something that needs some "attention" by an independent party (me). The more time I spend listening to the news or reading the newspaper the more depressed I get. I am sure I am not the only one. We hear about how bad the economy is going to get and how there is nothing we can do. That rubs against what I am seeing in the racing world, how about you?

Participation is as good as or better than last year at similar events. Racers are getting stronger and faster engines. Tow rigs are getting bigger and more cars are rolling out of trailers. Bad economy? Where? Not at the drag races. Parts are costing more, fuel costs more, and even the hot dogs for grilling are costing more. Drag racing is not being affected by the "media's recession" because it involves the magic element - PASSION!

Most racers love what they do. It isn't a hobby as much as it is a way of life when you are away from work. That is why drag racing involves families, camping, grilling out, helping fellow competitors when they have car problems, and even cheering for the guy that just beat you the round before. There just isn't a "recession" that can take that away.

Sure, it can cause us to skip a race or two, but the passion for it is still alive and well. Personally, I have done this for over 35 years and by some people's judgment, I probably could never afford to have such an expensive hobby. They are probably right but I don't care, I wouldn't change a thing (well, except for rolling in that .005 before a $10,000 final and losing the race by .003!) and I have had a great time.

If you are waiting for enough money to do something you love, what is "enough money”? I have never been able to answer that question or even cared to waste my time worrying about it. When I start collecting Social Security checks and am using a walker (quick, get me to the nearest casino when that happens!), I might have a different view. I'll deal with that when that day comes.

I have a birthday this month and the closer I get to the "Big 6-0" the more I think I should have a "final tour." Then I come to my senses and realize if I didn't race I would probably still go out to the track every week to see friends. If I did that and watched someone win S/Pro with a .050 reaction time and run .02 off, I would end up buying another car to see if I was still good enough to win.

I will give up racing and fun when it just isn't fun anymore. Right now, I am having a blast and I won't let $4.00 diesel or gas for the tow rig keep me from doing it. Heck, that's only 50 cents higher than last year -- I'll just have macaroni and cheese once a week to save a few bucks.

Don't let the media sweep you into their recession. People are working, we are making things, our kids are growing up in an amazing time. Things could probably be better, but they sure aren't bad right now.

Stay positive, enjoy the blessings you have been given and, in the words made famous by my all-time favorite race announcer, Darrell Waltrip, "Let's Go Racing, Boys!”  



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