It was about 11:30 last night when I finally looked at the clock and realized that neither Pete nor I had stopped to eat dinner...hmmm, that explains those hunger pangs. Here we were thrashing on the “race” truck he talked about last month in his column. We have a hard deadline on this thing and since much of it is outside the scope of our daily business of the magazine we opt to work on it at night. And we have been pulling some pretty late ones with even more to come.
Somewhere in between cutting the crossmember off and digging a piece of metal out of my finger, my mind wandered off and I began to think of how many times each week our scenario played out in shops all across America. The answer is easy and obvious—a lot. Many, if not most of the readers of this magazine, are no different than us. We all have to work for a living to support not only our racing addiction but pay a mortgage, car payment, and, oh yeah, put food on the table for our families. Forty hours at the job, sixty hours in the shop…sound familiar?
So why exactly do we do it? Why subject ourselves to the extreme demands on time, stress on getting the car ready, and I won’t even mention the amount of money we spend doing this. What really does make a racer tick? While the answer to that question may be different for each one of us, there is a common theme. Somewhere in our individual pasts there was a moment when we got hooked on racing. Most often it’s a family member who is responsible for getting the addiction started. For me it was my father, but for Dad it was his grandmother (shown in the early 60’s picture below).
My father grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, which is just across the river from lower Manhattan. He lived in a small apartment with his parents and paternal grandmother. Every Saturday night his parents (Peg and Bob) would go out dancing, to dinner with friends, or somewhere else. You see, Saturday was their night. That left Grandma to watch over little Charles. Well, Grandma’s idea of a good time was to take the bus to Roosevelt Stadium for some jalopy racing. It was the early ’50s and no rules (or few rules) run-what-ya-brung was the norm. Those Saturday nights got racing into my dad’s blood and, of course, he passed it on to me. Not surprisingly, generation No. 3 of the Fisher boys has already been bitten by the racing bug.
I called racing an addiction in this column and I meant it in a good way. Racing has brought our family closer together and kept us very tight. It’s a passion of ours, born from working long nights in the shop. There is really no place we’d rather be than at a racetrack or in the shop. It’s who we are and that is why we do what we do, and I’m pretty sure that’s not all that different from all of you.
By the way, Roosevelt Stadium was not just a 1/4-mile shale oval racetrack, it was also the baseball stadium that hosted the major league debut of Jackie Robinson on April 18, 1946.
Until next month go fast and turn left.
P.S. The first person who can correctly email me the year, make, and model of the car she is standing next to will get a Circle Track hat! Send to email@example.com