Monday, January 31, 2011

The Green Flag

A lot of people have been after me for years to write a book about racing at the Fairgrounds. The more people I meet and the more stories I hear, I don't think I'm qualified. Frankly, I don't think anyone is qualified.

I could do ok on the first 40 years. I started going to the track in 1963. Thankfully, I got to see the Modified Specials (or "the coupes" to the guys who were there) race for one year. I've seen a lot of racing at the Fairgrounds, but not near as much as some others. And because of work, I haven't seen many races in the last 15 years. I keep up with it and have the stats, but I've missed a lot of laps in the last 15 years.

The Facebook page dedicated to the track is cool, and people have been posting some great photos that I've never seen. But if you're not registered on Facebook (and as of this writing I'm not), you can't contribute or comment. I'd like for this to be an open forum of communication. If someone wants to see photos of a certain race or a particular driver, I'd like for the request to be made and I'll certainly try and jump in, but I'd like for anyone to be able to add to the discussion.

As I said, the more I learn about the place, the more I realize I don't know! I think it's human nature you hang out with a group of people, and a lot of times groups don't overlap. I only met Tony Formosa a couple of years ago. Obviously I knew of him and his family - they go back almost to the first days of weekly racing. We had just never met. And it was amazing to share stories of the same race from two different perspectives.

What I think will really make this work is the participation of the media guys who have been there, done that. At the risk of leaving people out, Joe Williams, Terrell Davis, Joe Shivak, Glen Harness, Dave Kohler, Malcolm West, Larry Weakly, Rob Spires, Donnie Redd - I hope all those guys jump in and add to the tales from their unique perspectives. How cool would it be if we get into stories from the early '80s to have Tom Roberts or Eddie Gossage to chime in? I'd even take a tale from Woodrow, if he promises not to mention that Cup racing is not coming back to the Fairgrounds.

And obviously I hope other photographers will post links to, or allow me to use photos. I've got a collection that will be a good start, but it gets better if Tommy Marchman, Ron Fox, and others who have spent countless hours recording the history share it. And I realize those guys did it to help make a living. I'm not asking them to post their entire collection, but if a story comes up about the 1974 Cup race, I hope Tommy would post a photo or two of Bobby and Cale "debating" who actually won.

This is my first attempt at "blogging". The comments section is right there for anyone to add, argue, or correct mistakes. We'll see how it goes. It might fizzle out quick. I have no idea. But if we're all talking about the Fairgrounds, how bad can it be? (Yeah, that statement might just come back to haunt me!)