The local short-track racer should not be afraid of making sacrifices to keep his car runn
A few months back I wrote about how the local short track had everything to gain this year because of the current economic crisis. But what about the local short-track racer? What is he or she supposed to do during these times to make ends meet? I've said it more than once that racers will find a way to race, but sometimes, is showing up at the racetrack the best decision for your race team?
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Larry McReynolds and Dennis Huth at the legendary South Boston Speedway last fall where Larry had introduced Dennis and me to his son, Brandon. The talk came around to the state of the economy and the local short tracks. This is where Larry made a statement that will always stick with me as long as I live. He said, "I won't rob food off of my dinner table just so my son can go racing." He wasn't saying that he wouldn't make sacrifices; he was saying he understood that he had an obligation to provide for his family and if that meant that his son sat out a couple of races then so be it.
Everyone who races understands the sacrifices that have to be made to compete. It takes time, money, a lot of help, and sometimes a little luck to run up front. But ultimately the first two-time and money-are what keep people from running up front on a consistent basis. During the off-season we showed how to start early on your car and how to get it ready for the first race of the year. It's that time of year when you should be able to spend time working on your car and saving money for the grueling season ahead.
This economy has all of us pinching every penny even tighter; but strong, early season car counts at many tracks are showing that racers are still racing. However, that may not be the case everywhere. If you're barely scraping by financially. and it's affecting your ability to compete at the track to your satisfaction, you need to pick and choose your battles. Trust me, our team that competes in the USARacing Pro Cup Series is in that very same boat. It seems like it's always extremely close, money-wise, when it comes to whether or not we can make it to each race. We understand that we have to pick our battles so that we can compete each week. For instance, right now we're preparing for our second race of the year at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Most teams we compete against will buy a set of tires for practice and then two sets for the race. However, we have a set of tires left over from last week's Concord race that has close to 50 laps on them. Well, in order to save money, we're going to practice on our set of 50-lap old tires instead of purchasing a new set. Our name may not be as high up on the practice sheets but we'll have saved $800 by doing so.
Even with money saving approaches, like the one I just described, it's a distinct possibility that we might have to miss a race this year. If we do, it'll be because it's the best thing for our team. And you can bet that we'll choose based on the least impact to the points while maximizing the amount of money saved
So pick and choose your battles and remember nothing else matters at the racetrack except how you finish the race. If you have to show up in a smaller trailer and an older tow vehicle, and have only two or three people helping you so that you can get to get to the track, just bear in mind that it won't matter much when you're pushing your car back after tech with the winner's trophy in the driver seat. You might just come away looking like the wisest racer there that night!