I could have titled this article, “Save our Speedway”, but I absolutely hate the thought that our speedways need to be “Saved”.
"Are we willing to give up our sport? That is the real question to answer, because that is where we are headed. "
With that, it’s time to begin again.
Yes, this is what it takes to get Andy back out of hibernation. And, I’m off my meds, and way jacked up on Diet Coke as I write this. Prepare yourselves.
To be precise and to the point right out of the gate,
Orange Show Speedway will be Racing in 2011.
I am not laying down for anyone, it’s not going happen.
“WE” THE RACING FAMILY
I am going use the word “we” throughout this article, but when I say “we” I mean the entire Racing Community as a whole.
I remember so vividly that Saturday night I put on the orange crew shirt of our Sportsman team for the first time. It was that night I was christened into The Racing Family. I had made the transition from Fan to Racer. There was no ceremony, but oh the roar of the crowd, the bright lights as we rolled out onto the start finish line. That WAS the ceremony.
That night changed my life.
This article is going to be talking to you, all the members of our Racing Family.
On its behalf, I will be asking for your support of the National Orange Show Speedway. But it really is much larger than that. If “we” allow OSS to close, what’s next? Your track, that’s what. And if you think even a beautiful facility like Irwindale is completely safe, I wouldn’t count on that by any means. We gave up on Altamont, Saugus, El Cajon, Champion, (plug in your local racetrack that is now gone wherever you are reading this) etc. Yes, we gave up and allowed “them” to take it from us.
The larger and very real question then becomes: Are we willing to give up our sport? That is the real question to answer, because that is where we are headed. Little by little we’ve given up.
We’ve given up one Track here (“oh that won’t hurt much, that promoter sucked anyway, we’ll go to the next closest track”),
One Racer there (“he was a back marker and can’t drive”),
Add one Fan here (the one who followed that “back marker”) and another there, and this is the result. Just follow the little trends and what do you see? Are we willing to accept that?
Not me. Not now. Not ever.
THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS.
Ok, here we are on the eve of 2011, and things are well….different than when I last wrote you. Most of our tracks are struggling along somehow, someway. I honestly felt this would be a better time for them. During a bad economy (in the past) people stayed home and enjoyed local entertainment, like our tracks. It didn’t quite work out that way at all this time around. I was well…..wrong.
I’m going to be mostly writing about the immediate concern at OSS, but it really applies everywhere. If we allow Orange Show to fall, what’s next? How many tracks and racers will be lost until we don’t have a sport? It’s happening, ever so slowly, but it’s happening, just take a good look around.
THE NATIONAL ORANGE SHOW SPEEDWAY:
For 63 years the Racers of OSS have prepared their cars, and took to the ¼ mile. She had decades of great success with thousands in the stands every Saturday. I could write 50 pages on her history and name drivers from Parnelli Jones to Foyt, Ron Hornaday Sr. and Jr., to Jimmy Insolo and Jack McCoy, to Ivan Baldwin and Championship crew chief Gary Nelson. We brought her generations of racing glory through the past half century, and she was very good to us in return. Thousands of fans came to watch and enjoy with their families, keeping our sport healthy and growing in San Bernardino.
Frankly, last few years have not been kind at all to her, as those families have gone on to do other things.
As many of you know Mr. Rick McCray took over the reins of OSS two seasons ago. He did an outstanding job and made dozens of improvements. And, he did this all during the largest economic recession we will see in our lifetimes. But, for reasons that have been announced through press releases (the economy and sponsorships) or rumor mill (the Fair Board and City block success at every opportunity) the end result is the same. The McCray family is leaving and our 2011 season in serious danger.
On behalf of the entire Racing Family, a big Thank You to the McCrays for everything they did!
They are indeed going to be extremely difficult to replace. Many of you are “saying your good byes” and “it’s been so great” and, “we’ll miss you’s” as you give her up with no fight. It’s like a little puppy dog with a tail between its legs. Arrgh, pathetic, and this is precisely why I am here writing you.
WHO DO WE BLAME?
As is now standard for my Passive / Aggressive articles for those of you that actually enjoy my “writings”, let’s start with the aggressive part first.
Many like to place blame. After spending years now researching these issues, the picture has become crystal clear for me. I blame US. Yup, us. We were given a growing and financially healthy sport by all the amazing drivers, crews, and promoters we now look back so fondly on, and dropped the ball…
We let them down. Yes, make no mistake, WE failed all those great drivers each one of you name in admiration so often. But we never fail to find ways to place the blame. It’s the liberals, it’s the conservatives, it’s the regulations, it’s the lawyers, it’s the liability insurance companies, it’s the illegals, it’s the lazy welfare recipients in a welfare State, it’s the demographics, it’s the environmentalists, it’s the politicians, it’s this particular sanctioning body. On and on and on.
I respond to that…..blah, blah, freaking blah. I am just not interested in excuses, and at this point, neither is “she”.
“I can’t do it” has no place in racing.
Clearly, by the massive effort being displayed to save the Nashville Speedway, this is not limited to the West Coast. (so don’t try that one on me either)
Please lets just take responsibility for the State our Sport is in. Let me be the first to stand and admit, I could have done more. I could have called Mr. McCray to offer my assistance, I didn’t. No excuses here, I failed us.
In the bigger picture, We failed. We failed to pass on this amazing sport to our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids the way it was given to us. (the very complaints we make about the state of our government be it Republican or Democrat)
Yes, We failed the sport we love.
We were not only destined and obligated to pass it on, but pass it on better than we received it. That is what all those Racing Greats expected from us, and would have wanted us to do for them. Do you really think they would have accepted things the way they are today? Not a chance.
We let down Altamont. We let one attorney (of all freaking people) beat us to the line. We let one single person beat a Racing Community of thousands. Really? We actually allowed that to happen? We deserve exactly what we are getting and I am embarrassed for us, I really am.
At the end of the day there really is no one to blame but us.
(I am well aware there were other issues with Altamont than only the attorney, but the point doesn’t change, he won)
THE NEXT GENERATION
So now that kid in the grand stands (that now are rubble) that would have grown up to be the next West Coast racing hero be it Harvick, Hornaday, Busch (X2), Gilliland, Biffle, Gary Nelson, Danny Stockman, or Rick Carelli, simply won’t happen. We let them down too. That next Racing Family that would have gone on to do this for another three generations will never happen. It’s not only tragic, but is EXACTLY why we are in the shape we are in.
Or, that kid may have grown up to simply become a lifelong fan. This exactly why Andy and Drew (my son) are here today. Without my father taking me to Saugus Speedway as a kid, none of that happens. I would never have discovered this sport.
Multiply that by thousands of stories just like it, and then all the tracks that are no longer with us.
Is the picture clearer now?
TO THE LEADERS OF OUR SPORT
Every track counts, every racer counts, and every fan counts. From the giant 2 mile Cup tracks to the quarter mile unsanctioned dirt oval. All our tracks are all intertwined and related, NOT the competition. (Please read that statement again) Please look objectively and think about where we were, where we are now, and where we are headed.
Are we better “competing” against each other like we have been? (and don’t pretend like you don’t know what I referring to here guys be it un-common and proprietary rules, un-complementary schedules, stealing teams and even sponsors from the next closest track or race team, etc.) Don’t think this stuff doesn’t go un-noticed.
Has that worked in the least? You already know the answer.
Or, are we better working together making our sport strong? Are we better working together, from the top of our sport down, and keeping every possible member in our Family AND gaining new ones?
It’s really very simple, lose a track and thousands of members of our Family go with it……lost forever.
PASSING ON THE EXPERIENCE
If you can’t do this for our past by honoring all those great driver and teams, then please PLEASE do this for our future. If we choose to continue down this path, our sport will indeed not survive us. And even worse….
Ended because of us.
Ok, and now the Passive part.
It is not too late. I am asking you to Act in a massive way to stop this right here and right now. I do have work for you, but it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time. You spend hour and hours, (sometimes until the sun comes up) getting a tenth faster, right? You can spend a few minutes on this so you still have a place to show off that tenth.
We are again drawing a line in the sand right here at Orange Show Speedway. I made the same challenges to you with Madera, and action did happen. My personal hero, Mr. Kenny Shepherd, stepped up and took on a huge financial responsibility and personal time investment. It was something he didn’t have to, but felt he HAD to do. He took on a speedway that was quite literally dead and continues on in the fight. Kenny, I can never thank you enough.
And WE HAVE to do this too!
Are we going to pass on the experience that is Saturday Night racing to our kids, grand kids, and great grandkids, or are we going to lie down and give up? Are we going to make excuses and fail the past classic 63 years of drivers, teams, sponsors, and officials that created OSS all those years ago that made it successful…………..while we couldn’t?
Or, are we going to make them PROUD? The choice is yours. I’ve made mine, but I cannot do this alone. I need each and every one of you to help. “It Takes a Village” is so very true, and without it, our effort fails.
I am asking for your help like I never have before.
WHAT I AM ASKING?
So far it’s very simple, click on the online petition below and sign it. Please do this for us today and don’t put it off. I give you my personal guarantee that your contact information will remain confidential and only be used for our effort. Please forward this petition link to your Family and friends.
Secondarily and obviously if you are a Sponsor that can help bridge the gaps we are expecting, please, please contact me directly below and I will put you in touch with the right people. I will come on here and write many long articles praising your efforts along with pictures and “plugs” galore. (both there and every time I do Near Live). And most important, you will have the Racing Community’s undying admiration.
Please stand and join me. Now is the time.
We need you.
Third, if you are in position to become the Promoter and propose a plan to the National Orange Show Fairboard, I can certainly put you in touch with the right people to make that happen.
Here is my email for those that can and want to do more.
Andydadd (at) yahoo (dot) com
A CALL TO ACTION
We need the entire racing community to come together once again in a Call to Action. Every racer, every fan, every sponsor, every sanctioning body, and everyone reading this. With that power we will be calling upon every local, state, and national political representative until they are sick of hearing from us. We will reach out to every potential Sponsor and Promoter until we have won.
We can and WILL win this.
But make no mistake, we are now fighting for our Sport.
That is what I am asking for here, a fight. A fight all those drivers, teams, officials, sponsors and promoters that preceded us would be proud of. Honor them to look down upon us and smile, knowing they put us here to carry on their Saturday night racing traditions. Honor them in continuing the 63 year Orange Show Speedway legacy forward, so that the next generation may do the same.
Honor them with a fight to take back our Sport.
Take back our sport so that WE might look down upon the following generations and smile knowing we succeeded in keeping our traditions and lifestyle not only alive, but moved it forward.
And most important, WE taught them what it really means to be a member of Our Racing Family.
That is what it is going to take.
I ask you to join me.
I for one am not giving up on OSS, she didn’t give up on us.
Andydadd (at) yahoo (dot) com
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. WE THANK YOU!!!
My thanks to the Nashville Speedway effort for their assistance with the petition. www.savemyfairgrounds.com. Please sign their petition also.