‘Track rescue’ and ‘bar rescue’… similar? I think so!
Next up, I went to the track to see if there was anything I could do to help prepare the facility for what I felt was going to be the biggest turnout of the year. I grabbed the garden hose and brushes and cleaned the restrooms top to bottom (now there is an experience every racer should probably do sometime. It shows you that some people just don't care how they leave things!) Barb and I have probably done that chore 500 times when we owned the racetracks we have and it never really gets better, by the way. That job done I wanted to see if I could fix a pothole that was developing on one of the corners on the pit road. I dug out the loose chunks and went to the local lumber yard and purchased 11 bags of Asphalt Patch and fixed it. So far I had only put in about 5 hours and I was happy with the results.
I talked with Justin, the track manager, about the importance of having a good track announcer and how they can control the tempo of a race. Guess what? He did not have an announcer and I volunteered to announce -- it's been about 17 years since I did that! I was sure I could help speed up the show and get procedures smoothed out. Thanks to a solid effort by the track crew adjusting to a faster pace and the racers really jumping on board to support the faster format, we got the race done in a respectable amount of time and before the really cold evening arrived.
If you watch “Bar Rescue" you know they have the "stress test" before the big opening. The CFMP stress test was Saturday with 200+ cars on the property, 150 of them in line for the $2,000 warm-up race leading up to the $5,000-to-win race on Sunday. The stress test had its bumps and bruises, but once we gave up trying to pair the cars at the rear of staging it got much better. As I said, the racers (customers) did a great job adapting to the different surroundings and procedures of having 150 cars headed into eliminations.
I had a great time announcing some of the best bracket racing I have ever witnessed. The weather was cold, about 50 degrees, and the track was cold. A few cars struggled but we also had 17 cars run Dead-On with a zero Saturday. Sunday got even colder and no sunshine but the competition was smoking hot! I think the track as a whole (meaning management and employees) learned a lot and I hope that will carry into 2016 and beyond.
Did my little attempt at a "Track Rescue" work or help? I think it did. Maybe you can do the same at your track. Let's stop complaining, get out there and make it better. Drag racing pretty much started and thrived when volunteer car clubs made drag racing something very American and fun. I feel confident with the young guys I see running turbo cars, fast street machines and some nasty fast motorcycles that there is a bright future for local drag racing, not only in Iowa, but across the country if we all do a small "Track Rescue"!
P.S. Announcing all those tight packages and keeping up with the races for about 16 hours over the two days about wore me out, but I wouldn't trade the experience I had to announce at the Terry Stumpf Memorial Race for anything I could think of. God bless Terry and the racers and crews that made the 2015 event a race to remember for this old track promoter. Thank you all!