Hello folks and welcome to 2016. The new year is upon us and before we know it the 2016 racing season will be kicking off at Lincoln Speedway in a few short weeks. Before we get started on the 2016 racing season I wanted to drop a line to everyone and let them know about the cool changes I am making for this year. Last season I kept track of the 410 and 358 racing divisions here in Central PA. Well I'm going to try and up my game this season, I am going to post all the stats for not only the 410's and 358's but also the 360's, Super Sportsman and to add to my misery the World of Outlaws and the All Star Circuit of Champions. I will be keeping track of the feature winners, Heat winners, and the top 5's and top 10's for all 6 of these “Divisions” and series. I hope depending on my work schedule to have everything updated the morning after the races are completed as well as have the press releases posted in the morning as well. Just bare with me race fans, I do work for a living.
I also plan on starting a Facebook page for the website to help those who are not followers of me on twitter, and you should be BTW :-). On the page I will be posting all the pictures I take every weekend at our local racetracks to make it easier for everyone to find and see. Look for that in the coming weeks , and when it is created I will post the link on the top of the website for everyone to find easily.
Now as the 2016 racing season gets started I wanted to ask you all a question.
WHAT IS A REAL RACE FAN?
Now I'm not really sure how to answer that and maybe you aren't either. But hey it's my site so I'm going to try. The reason I ask this is back in October during Natty Open weekend at Williams Grove Speedway I skipped the Sunday night running of the feature because I chose to stay home and get some sleep for the impending work night. Sounds like the grown up thing to do, but I had a friend of mine who skipped sleep to go see the race tell me I'm not a real race fan because I stayed home instead of going to see the Natty Open. When I told her I have not seen a Natty Open in 4 years, she lost her head. She couldn't believe a race fan would stay home from the biggest paying race in Central PA. I kind of agree with her on that and made me re think if I am a real race fan or not. Am I?
Now before I can answer that I think we need to try and figure out what a real race fan is. Is a real race fan a fan who can name every sponsor of every driver and tell you what kind of chassis each driver runs? Is it the BeerHill Gang? Is it the fan who goes to 140 races a year at 60 different race tracks in 20 different states? Or is it the guy who works all week to take his family to 1 race on the weekend at his favorite race track ? Is it the photographer who spends his money to get into the race track and shoots 1,000s of pictures, and then spend all of the next day getting them ready to be put on the internet for everyone to look at, and in some cases steal and print out for their man cave?
I tend to think it's all the above if I'm going to be honest. No fan is better then the next just because they choose to stay home from a nights race because they think it's to cold, or if they have something else to do. Now yes I know I'm just as guilty as anyone of saying this to people, and even on this very website. I called out fans for pulling into the parking lot at Lincoln Speedway and when they found out the 358's where headlining that night instead of the 410's, they got back in their car and pulled away. I've also called out race fans for sitting at home on a Friday night after 1 race track cancels even though 30 minutes down the road another race track was still running with the sun shining. I've made the comment on twitter for years that a real race fan will go to a 358 race if nothing else is racing. While my heart was in the right place, it was stupid on my part.
Others should look at it and think the same thing, and here is why. Local short track racing is a very small niche sport. Regardless of how long we spend in the proverbial racing bubble, or how big we think the sport is, it really isn't. I have been going to Lincoln Speedway and Trail Way Speedway since I was 5 years old. I thought everybody from my area knew about the race track and sprint car racing. Guess what folks? I was way wrong. I can't tell you how many people have no clue what a sprint car is, or that we have one of the best local race tracks in the country 10 minutes from their house. That came as a huge shock to me. How the hell have you never been to Lincoln Speedway when you grew up in Hanover your whole life? WTF have you been doing for the past 35 years on a Saturday night?
I'm sure we all know people just like that. We need to stop making the race fans feel inferior just to make ourselves look better. We need to stop telling people on social media and messages boards that if they don't like it then don't come next week. Guess what folks, people have stopped coming. Just look in the stands on Friday night's. They are not as packed as they were 10 years ago.
One last thing, I tweeted an article the other day from tjslidways.com about people sharing negative thoughts on social media and how race tracks are blaming them for decreased attendance at their race tracks. Guess what race tracks, its not social media that is hurting your race tracks, it's the dire hard race fans, and you yourselves that are hurting attendance. Is everything people complain about valid? Absolutely not, but if you shift through the bullshit, you will find things that every race track could do to make it more enjoyable for people who do want to attend a race at your race track. With that said it does no good for anyone, myself included, to sit on the computer and piss and moan about every little thing a race track does wrong. I did it one night at Williams Grove when I watched a very boring 410 feature. I tweeted something about it and ended up in a pissing match with a member of BeerHill over which race track had the better action on Friday night's. Guess what? It was pointless and did no good to either race tracks in the long run. All it did was make us both look like idiots, and turn off someone who might have been thinking about going to either one of those tracks in the near feature. Remember what our grandparents used to say? If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say it. Well sometimes we all need to remember that before getting on social media and bitching about something. I know I have tried to reign in my complaining in the past year or so since reading a sprint car driver and friend making the comment one time that all Bill McIntyre does is bitch and complain about everything. Was he right? Yeah he was to a point. Still think the article I wrote was spot on and needed to be written, but a few other things I said in the past didn't and shouldn't.
So in closing, think about how lucky we all are to be able to go to 2 different race tracks within 30 minutes of each other on Friday nights, and now 4 different race tracks within 90 min or so from each other on Saturday nights. We truly are lucky to have what we have, lets do more to preserve that instead of tearing 1 track down to make another track look good.
With all of that, thanks again for taking the time to check out the site and this article. If your new to the site, hope you all stick around and come back throughout the racing season. You will be able to catch up on all the results from all the racing action here the morning after a race, along with regular My Thoughts on a racing weekend gone by articles. If you have been a regular to the site, THANK YOU for sticking around and coming back again and again. I truly do all of this for each and every one of you. This is and always will be a labor of love. So thanks for sharing it with me.
Until the next time, have a safe winter, and see everyone soon at a car show or race track near you.
©Bill McIntyre & Central PA Racing Scene 2016