Postby Gary » Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:07 am
It looks like this Saturday will bring the right kind of weather to complete Octoberfest and the 2011 race season. It will be a night to remember for me.
There are many friends, family and race fans who are glad I'm leaving Flamboro Speedway. It won't be an easy exit for me, though it's one that must take place. Over the past 40 years I've done everything I could to help promote the icon-facility of racing as the place to be, and bring ideas and sponsors to help mould the future. I was always a proud Flamboro racer.
I really never had any power to do anything at the track in terms of changes, other than suggestions, that mostly went by the way side. It was more efforts away from the track, behind the scenes, getting sponsors, offering support, fighting for the right thing to be done. Most of my efforts I feel were wasted, became conflicts instead of a breath of fresh air to the owners.
My first signs of giving up, or losing faith in the future of Flamboro wasn't last month, last year or even in the past five years, it was back in the late 80's that things started to unravel, yet I always had hope that it would turn around.
A disgruntled racer I'm not, a wounded warrior maybe, but it's even more than that, I can't stay at a place that I'm not having fun. It's not fair to my family, my crew, my sponsors or me. It's also not the place to promote or expose my sponsors, they deserve a better venue, where the owners are on top of every aspect of racing, the fans, drivers, sponsors, teching, promoting, caring and making their race facility a place to enjoy the great sport of stock car racing.
My leaving is a huge chapter in our racing career. Nonie and I have raced at FLamboro since 1972. David and Shirley were raised there. Every Saturday night they played with their friends in front of the grandstands while the Mom's watched the show. The kids stopped playing long enough to watch their Dad's race, then resumed playing with their friends the Shaws, Lyons, Farraways, Jorgenson's and other racing families. Later the kids would race, in many cases against the kids they grew up with at the track.
Flamboro use to be fun. When the grandstands were full, when kids could come out and get their pictures taken with their Dad's, when the winner of the race got to carry the checker flag around the track, when compassion was used to deal with situations. Those things are now gone. The checker flag is still carried but only from turn three to the front straight, barely a third of the track. I love it when the rebel driver takes the flag all the way around the track waving it with emotion, almost snapping the wooden shaft in half, I miss those things, I miss the fun it brought. Winning a race was important and fans lived the excitement with the winners. Those memories and moments were fun, but no more.
I finally talked David into returning to Flamboro. He refused to come back and stayed away for two years. What the track did to him in the middle of this season was inexcusable. It drove him away again, maybe to return for specials only, or maybe not at all. The fans loved David, he raced hard showing his Championship skills battling with the top runners, making every race he was in exciting. He led the points for most of the season, won the Grisdale Triple Crown, but the track felt it necessary to put him on probation for the remainder of the season over an incident that wasn't worthy of more than a verbal talking to, if that. Why would they do that? Why wouldn't they promote him and protect him? He lost the title, Jason Shaw deserved the Championship, but there was no way the track should have given David any warning letter, it was one of their biggest mistakes this year, one that hurt David, us as well. When I read the letter I could not believe it.
Those issues are only part of our decision for leaving. The track itself is too narrow. Cars run out of track and can't find a groove to pass. Any cars in the 16 to 17 second bracket are dooomed to follow the leader. The Late Models are hitting times in the low 15:0's and on the verge of 14's. It's also too dark, though I seen some rented lights for the two turns for the final race of the year, it's one of the darkest tracks we race on. The pits are far too dusty, and need to be paved or coated.
More than all of the things listed, racing at Flamboro is no longer fun for me, and it has to be fun for my family, crew, sponsors, friends and fans. I also come every week to race, and the track surface design, for the most part does not allow me to race. I can't pass unless I hit someone and that won't happen. The poor crowd turn outs are very discouraging, it's not a good place to promote my sponsors, although the announcer at Flamboro does a great job. The atomsophere needs to change, a carnival event it's not and it should be.
I have to add that I do care deeply for the owners. They're good people, I think the things they've done have been either by bad advice or not realizing the consequenses. I did the things I did for Flamboro because I loved the track, and repsected the owners, I still do.
Our race this weekend will be my last one at Flamboro in competition for the points title. In the future we will still visit the track but only for specials. Is it possible to come back? Maybe, if a new facility is built, something the fans and racers deserve. It could be a first class racing center.
Our hopes are to close the season out with a win. It won't be easy, but I wouldn't want it to be. I am looking forward to racing with the guys I've battled with the past seven years in the Late Model class.
This will be my final race with my son in 2011. I don't know when we'll race against each other because he is going away as well, but a differnt route than us. He will do well and sometime in 2012 we will race each other in a special, but in the meantime I look forward to making this final race with David a night to remember.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm
Postby 98nascartruck » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:11 pm
Gary, I know this will be tough day for you and since joining you 2 years ago I have notice that you haven't enjoyed racing at Flamboro and see why.
I use to come in the summer time and see my uncle,you, Shaw's,Ray Hughes and other racing in hobbies(CVM now) and seen the granstands pretty full or darn close of being full. Then seen it when I moved back here in 2003 and came back to the track and seen that the fans weren't there, but seen some great racing and wondered WHY this happened.
It didn't take long to find out why and pretty much you just said in your post above!!! It's been an honor being on your race team at Flamboro and before that, in David's team, and hope to be with one of you two next year.
Another thing your family has been great to me over the years and THANK YOU for that!!!!
SEE YOU AT THE TRACK
WOW...I didn't know I was going to say all that BUT when I started everything came out on what I wanted to say!!!
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