I’ve been going to local dirt tracks since I’ve been in diapers. I used to shadow my father’s footsteps every weekend as we’d parade through the pits to gather new information for the night’s race. I would lug around an elaborate case of handmade Rolodex with information on every driver. It had everything from their place of residence to their endless (nonexistent) lists of sponsors. Whenever a new car would come to the track, it was an addition to that Rolodex that added weight for my puny arms to carry around the pits.
My father was the track announcer for many race tracks throughout the great state of Texas, and I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along. I was able to be around the racers, the community, and passionate fans. I got to see the hard work, sweat, and tears these drivers put into their cars for just 20 glorious laps around a 1/4 mile track.
My dad was able to create memories with me that we both will cherish forever. Memories that I will hopefully recreate with my son one day.
Racing at times isn’t about the victories, track championships, or the amount of purse money on the line. It’s about the fathers lifting their sons upon their shoulders for a better view. It’s about the daughter meeting her favorite driver and aspiring to beat the boys. It’s about the drivers gathering around a cooler full of beers and swapping stories early into the morning. It is about the autograph collection of local heroes — the smiles on the faces of grown men, and the sense of camaraderie despite their driver preference.
Often, the importance of grassroots racing isn’t about the racing on the track at all.