"Something to Talk
'Are You Going to the Races Tonight?"
April 4, 2007
If Flemington or East Windsor were running this Saturday Night... with today's cars and driver's... would you find a way to get there? Would it be too cold for you to go? Would the high gas prices keep you away? I know a lot of the diehards have moved away from the NJ area, and I also know that this time of year often doesn't present the most comfortable of nights to be at your local track, but I really hope that all of us who can make it to their home speedway regardless of where that may be, will be there.
At the risk of losing a few fans of The Vault and maybe even a few friends, let me just add the following... Save the excuses of how you were gonna go, but you got busy at work... or how you were 'gonna go, but you had to be at your nieces 10 year old birthday party... You know what, a lot of us have all that kind of stuff on our plates too, and again, at the risk of really upsetting some of you out there... we still find a way to get to the track. Maybe we're a little late on some nights, maybe we can't stay through the entire night... but some of us put a high enough priority on getting to the races that we still manage to find a way to get there.
If for health reasons, or if you truly can't afford it, I not only understand your situation but would like to make a genuine request that you email me here at the Vault and I promise to see if we can find a way to get you guys out to the races somehow this year. If it's a matter of health that you're not able to drive or get to a seat, I'll bet we could help each other out by car pooling, and making arrangements for you in advance at the track. If it's a matter of not being able to afford the admission, I know with the many, many kind hearts of the visitors of our site, that we could pay for admission for those who truly can't afford it. I'd be happy to give it a try if you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
It may sound like I'm lecturing, but really I'm just trying to make all of us do a gut check and realize that we really need to be grateful for what we still have. I know nothing will ever replace that particular era that was most special to us, and it shouldn't be expected to. Think about it...there's a lot of things our there today that we don't like as much as things from the past... (Music was better when we were younger... passenger cars actually had names instead of just letters or numbers... Hell, even toilets used to flush better, but that doesn't stop us from taking a seat now does it?) ...sorry about that last example, but you guys get the point!
There is new excitement to witness, and new memories to be made, and even "new" old stories to be told at your local short track. Our local short tracks should still be our meeting place. We need to support what we have.
Many may not see it this way, but when the short tracks in your area are all gone, so goes the history of our sport. Eventually, no one will care. No one will understand... There will be no place for vintage cars to run... Reunion events will be held at a mall somewhere amongst store owners and shoppers who just don't get it... Eventually, they won't have a place for us either.
Its the nights when the weather is threatening or a cold, or windy where the tracks could really use the extra effort from the diehards out there as you know the fair weather crowd will be sitting these types of nights out. So whether it's New Egypt, Bridgeport, or a track in your home state, pick one... pack a few extra blankets... bring the hats, gloves and be happy that we've got short tracks that are willing to run even when its less than ideal conditions.
If you're like me and have been known to complain in the past when a promoter had
cancelled early because of questionable weather, grab a couple of extra blankets and head
out to your favorite local speedway on Saturday!
Visitor's Comments To add your comments about THIS
Date: Visitor's Name:
04/09/07 Kevin Mc Yup woulda gone if they were still open. But Flemington is gone, Windsor is gone and Im gone too. I recall those early April shows and believe Id still attend.
Just so you know, I went to the races at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA last week. Opening night. Its not my usual Saturday night joint but its racing and my home track doesnt open for another week. Early April in Western Washington is no picnic. I planned ahead and put on my long-johns before I left. Also dug out my heavy Winter coat and leather gloves. Glad I brought everything as it was COLD!!! It was spitting rain where I live when I left but luckily the skies were blue whenI hit Monroe. Did I mention that its about 75 miles one way and gas is back over $3 a gallon out here? Easily could have rained out but I went anyhow.
There's race fans and then there's broken glass race fans. A race fan will go to the races if its not too far or too cold or too dusty. A broken glass race fan will crawl over broken glass to get to the races.
I consider myself a broken glass race fan. More's the pity that theres not as many of us as there used to be
04/10/07 Mark L. Krammes I dont care how cold it could be, I would be at Flemington EVERY week. Dirt or paved, it was still the best track in the U.S.A.! (Dirt was better)! I still supported the track until the day it closed, and that was from the year 1978 up until the final weekend. My first trip to Flemington was in 1978, when I was on Smokey Warrens pit crew, and we always came for the 200 lappers at the end of the season. I also remember sitting in the grandstands when it was asphalt one night watching late models, leaves, and snow flurries flying!!!!! 04/11/07 Mike Monnat If you're a true race fan, you'll go. If the track's isn't afraid on a cold night to open it's gates, then you as a fan should make an effort to be there. I really don't think it matter where the track is.
Opening the doors on an iffy night is a crap shoot for any track operator, especially in this day of more cost intense racing. So give them the benefit of the doubt. Get your warmest clothes on, make a thermos of warm stuff and head on out. You just might see a great show.
I remember ten years ago this weekend pondering the same question about one of our local tracks when I checked the weather channel and found out it was hovering around thirty-seven degrees at 4:00pm. The track stuck it out and about five hundred or so brave souls had a snuggle fest in the vast expanse of the grandstands and witnessed one of the better shows of the year. The just as easily could have stayed home and watched something good on the tube where it was warm, but they didn't and were treated to a great program.
If you have doubts about going to a race on a bad night, don't. The people who run the track deserve your support. They sacrificed something for you, should return that to them. Enjoy.
04/12/07 Lenny Swider I'm trying to do some soul searching and wondering why I don't hop in my truck and hit the road to south Jersey or Pennsy to catch a race. My wife is not a race fan and I would never force it on her. Although she did go to a World of Outlaws show at the square back in the late 80's or early 90's.
They scared the hell out of her and she said they were so fast that she couldn't read the number on the cars (all the stuff that you look forward to in a good race) and that was the end of her race fan career.
I think a lot of the lure for me was the fans that sat around me every week. They became your family, and when one of them didn't show up one weekend, you were concerned about them. We had a weekly pool before each feature. It was a blind pool in which you pulled a driver out of a hat. So you had to root for your favorite driver and the one you pulled out of the hat. I started to see a change during the late 80's when the fan base started to drop. I wish I could put a finger on it.
Was it the dust? I swear the secret of the dust control went to grave with Track manager ( John Scheier ) after he died from an unfortunate accident at the track. That track was perfect every week. It definitely wasn't the competition. It was second to none and then throw in the special shows, where could you get 5-6 hours of entertainment for $10 bucks each. NO WHERE!
I have a feeling that when all the drivers from my generation started to retire that maybe they took a part of me with them until there was nothing left. When I go to Grandview to watch the Thunder on the hill show I'm entertained but not like Flemington entertained you. That' s not to belittle Grandview because I like the track. I guess that's why I root for Billy Pauch, Jimmy Horton and Frank Cozze because they're my last connection to Flemington.
I'll try catch a few races this year but it won't be a weekly thing. Life has changed since the days of Flemington.
04/12/07 Mike Shaub Reading, Nazareth, Flemington, Harmony, East Windsor all memories now.
Back when they were running, Reading and Nazareth opened in early March, I'd dress for the cold and brought along a blanket when I sat in the stands. When I was able to go into the pits, I'd still dress warmly and would gather around the cars when they came in to soak up the heat from the exhaust pipes. It was "NEVER TO COLD" to go to the races because you were a "TRUE RACE FAN".
Now the pansy a..es must have shorts weather or they won't go. I've been to Reading when they plowed snow from the track just to race. A "REAL RACE FAN" will go to the races no matter what the weather is!! But that was back when and this is today, a whole new breed of race fan!!
04/15/07 Vernon Mclaughlin III Man Flemington was the best !!!!!!
I started going there in 1978 with my father, Grand-father, and Grand-Mother. I was 5 years old. My Family has history at Flemington, not only being fans in the stands, but also drivers. Every single Saturday Night was a trip to Flemington Speedway for over 20 years for me. I had, and still do have an addiction to stock car racing.
I could not wait until the day I strapped myself into a race car and competed at Flemington Speedway. I dreamed of it for so many years, and it finally came true back in 1991 when I ran my first enduro race. From there I competed in the enduro's and the street stocks up until the closure. It was extremely sad. I only had the chance to run the street stock for a limited time over the last two years of racing there.
During the last Flemington Fair when they had races going on I, along with a few others collected over 3000 signatures on a petition to keep Flemington Speedway open. When I handed it to R. Kuhl, he commented in an interview with the media that is was nice of us to take the time to get over 3000 signatures, but it would have been better if we had gotten all those that signed to purchase season tickets. So in other words the petition did not mean squat. His mind was made up. We were not the only ones who had made up petitions and tried to do what they could to save the speedway. I still have the newspaper clipping.
My favorite drivers and things about Flemington Speedway -
Billy " The Kid" Pauch
Stan "The Man" Poloski
Ken Brenn Jr.
Phil / Clyde Cox
"Popcorn - Peanuts - Ice Cream"
Little plastic coupe body stock cars sold at the souvenir stand
The chicken was THE BEST
Tailgating and barbecuing
The smells and the sounds
The starting horn, and Bill Singer yelling as the modifieds were "comin around the corner, comin around the corner, GREEN IS OUT"
Man when I just typed that my heart started pounding a little because I could still hear and feel those big block modifieds comin around that fourth turn for the drop of the green flag.
I now compete in the Factory Stock and Street Stock division at my new home track - Wall Twsp. Speedway But, if Flemington was still open I know exactly where I would be.
The story written above about the history, present and future of local short track racing should give us all something to think about. Please help support what tracks are left by getting together with your family and friends and heading down to Wall Twsp. Speedway on Saturday nights to feel the thunder of the NASCAR Modifieds, and you could see me race the Street Stocks and Factory stocks as well.
SEE YOU AT THE RACES !!!
For more info about Vernon Mclaughlin III and his Mclaughlin Motorsports Team log onto www.mclaughlinmotorsports.com .
07.18.12 Jack Burroughs
I've been attending and participating since 1946, been so cold I thought my feet were icecycles, gotten wet , dirty, bleeding in the pits, you name it, and at 73 I'm still going, even in the excessive heat in the southern summers, I've got a sickness that my kids will never have, thank goodness there are still some of us left.
All Previous Editions of: "Something to Think About..."
"Putting Competition Back into Qualifying - The "Top Half Advance" Qualifying Method"
"This Time, It's an Inside Job"
"Is The Problem Really Under the Hood?"
"The Best View..."
"Local Boys Have at It?"
'Are You Going to the Races Tonight?"
"The Bigger The Bodies, The Smaller The Attendance?"
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