As I child I did have the horror of seeing race tracks close. You might ask what is horrible about that? Nothing! But for some it is a way for them to take over. It might be a parking lot or a high-rise apartment and that sits fine with them. These bitter acolytes and self-proclaimed do-gooders are a bunch of mean-spirited old hags and crotchety old men.
In their wake of bitter self-interest they lay waste to good clean fun. And while there might be that occasional row between drivers and fans it is wholesome. And most of the local drivers are not rich. So naturally they may be inclined to watch ‘Duck Dynasty’ or have NASCAR stickers prominently displayed on their trucks, cars and race car haulers. Many like country and some like rock but most don’t fancy ‘snooty music’. They might just use Moonshine instead of pricey wines and beers from Germany and France.
Now this track I am going to mention was closed quite a few years ago. And racing had been there from around 1938 to 1988. Fifty years of legends, urban legends and a culture of competition that includes families who race and people who actually know the drivers. The older drivers will pine about the day they drove at a track like Lakeside. Some will have pictures lovingly maintained reminiscing about a past that lives on with the people of that day and the offspring who were told about the ‘good old days’.
By and by most signs of the track disappear little by little when they are abandoned or redeveloped. One of the most saddening sights is the race surfaces with blades of grass piercing the track. A challenge to the track by nature, perhaps a loss of interest from owners and investors. Or maybe even the ravages of a cruel winter and the unrelenting rains of springtime. And yes, springtime, would invariably carry the bright hope of watching racing once again and you do NOT have to pay for an autograph. The drivers actually appreciate the fans and by race day the excitement builds.
The racing family usually has to put up with a dad (for the most part) who is seemingly always working on this car and the idea of gracing the winner’s circle. One time at East Bay in Florida, the family of one of the drivers (who was usually in the back) would stand up and cheer each time he went by. It was kind of odd yet kind of quaint. Here you will find some people who may be marginalized for being different. One may call it ‘hillbilly, redneck or low brow” , but seriously who asked them?
It is more than likely that they would embrace that term. They really do not care where you are from except if you are from far away and you think that your opinion matters over theirs. Once the drivers escape the cozy confines of their home-tracks families that can will follow along. And sponsors are the reason they get to dream bigger. When you into the more expensive divisions, the owners and sponsors could buy the hoity-toity type many times over. It is a passion as a large as a father and son fishing. Just like with fishing it is not the fish but the time spent together. Like the tracks, we come and go. Yet the history of a community is deeply entrenched in the souls of racing fans.
The song has that same kind of sad ending when a driver or a track goes belly up. For the new tenants they may never know or ever care. They will be too busy being city-like while forgetting that most rural folks hate cities. Less smog and less smug the race fans trundle up to the track and take their positions almost like assigned seats. Cat calls can heard especially as the protagonists earn their reputations by spinning out another driver or what the fans perceive to be some injustice. But this is some of what happens, there is also the drivers who went on to bigger and better things or drivers who die doing what they like.
And on that opening day, that race car freshly painted or adorned with wraps, speed by as expectant fans cheer for their guy and the nicer looking the car the better chance that drivers get sponsors and fans. A lot happens here and the people are the nicest anywhere. They support us military veterans like Kings and Queens and will most always pay respects to the flag and our country.