Friday, January 19, 2018

Is our Sport Dying – Part V “Think Positive Be Positive”

Is our Sport Dying – Recovery Begins Within Part 2

In the last part we ended with “Think Positive, Be Positive”. Let’s work on building relationships, let’s work on having fun. Get to know your fellow competitor, get to know everyone’s pit crew, let’s have driver, pit crew, and official autograph sessions, a time for fans to get to know those active in the sport. We can recover our sport, we can keep it from dying!

This is going to be a stretch for some people believe it or not. There are people within our racing community that will have trouble changing. We need to get on board or this sport will die, it doesn’t have to, but we have to challenge each other to stay positive, present positive, talk well about each other, talk well about our sport, and most of it all realize it is up to US!

Yes we have to work as a team to save our sport. It truly begins within. We need to eliminate the words my, mine, and I and talk about we, ours, and us. When you win a race, realize it is just not about you. Instead get out of your car and thank the fans, your sponsors, your pit crew, your track owner, and your competitors. Without any of those, we are not a sport.

Congratulate each other for wins, for finishing races, for loaning parts, whatever it is make sure it gets mentioned. On a personal note, when I first became a Competition Director I made it a point to visit and congratulate each of the winners that night. Over the last few years visiting the pits after the races became a place to avoid because of the unhappy folks. There is no need to be unhappy instead we need to be thankful. Thankful we have each other, thankful we have a place to race, thankful we have fans, thankful we have young people, thankful we have rookies, thankful we are a part of the greatest sport!

It is time to realize we are blessed to participate in this sport, whatever our position. We are tied together because of our love and passion. We have to develop relationships. Look at the class you race in, most of the same competitors return every year. Because we compete with each other we have a relationship with each other, make it positive, get to know each other, share a meal, a drink, a pie, a part, something, anything that would be positive.

As mentioned previously, we all make mistakes, drivers misjudge a turn and get into someone else, we misjudge a turn and get into someone, it happens to all of us and we have options, get angry and get even or talk to the person calmly and see if we can help them with their racing program. Again if we talk calmly we are working on a relationship. Scary isn’t it that we might have to help someone else, but it makes us feel good when we can race them and know they are improving and working not to get into us again.

This sport is not dead, we may be leaning that way but we can change it. Five tracks which were closed have recently reopened in California. Some of those tracks are working together to allow different cars to race together. We have to quit protecting turf and accept ingenuity.

Someone wants to do something different, brings it to the owners/officials, is willing to be open about the change, and is willing to make changes as needed to ensure a fair and competitive field then we need to be open to his/her ingenuity. Research and Development are normally reserved for larger sanctioning bodies. If local tracks can work with individuals we can bring ingenuity back and we can have local research and development. Ingenuity can not be hidden it must be above board and open. We live in a society where information is readily available. Again it starts with relationships, honesty, and the willingness to change.

Which leads to something our sport has accepted and in this day and age we need to eliminate – deliberate cheating. Penalties need to be harsh, tracks need to ban together over deliberate cheating. What would be considered deliberate cheating, a carburetor that does not pass gauges, a motor cubic inch over the limit, heads which exceed the allowed cc’s, excessive rough driving. Let’s clean it up.

We need to get back to our youth. Accept the items they have grown up with such as computers. Racers over 40 need to become mentors to these kids. We need to start a program for these kids, get them in racing, and graduate them from go carts, to a class sponsored by the mentoring group. One such program is the Young Guns Program of Lonesome Pine Speedway. Their program is, “It will be American made 4 cylinder front or rear wheel drive cars or trucks. They must be strictly stock. Only modifications will be roll cage and seat and fuel cell if needed. They must be painted like a Nationwide , Sprint Cup or Camping World Truck Series car or truck. The age for these drivers (Male and Female) will be 14-17 years old. It will be 15 laps and top 3 will be awarded trophies. If a driver wins 5 races they must move up to the pure 4 division!

So to sum up this section of “Is Our Sport Dying”, let’s work on being positive. Let’s work on accepting ingenuity. Let’s work on honesty. Let’s be kind and generous to everyone we meet, educate tomorrow, children are one third of population but one hundred per cent of our future! Let’s learn to inspire others to our sport, because if we inspire we are leading from the front, if we motivate we are pushing from the back.

We can recover our sport, it is not dead, it has plenty of growth remaining, but how we get there may be as simple as returning to our past. It starts with our attitude becoming a positive inspiring attitude. Let’s work on it.

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