A Time to Reflect – DTD Exclusive

By DEAN REYNOLDS

In my years of writing I usually had a policy to keep the word I out of my offerings. Don’t really know why but I just did. This time, please excuse me and hope you will allow me to do a 180…

I have 36 consecutive years going to the New York State Fairgrounds and take in Super DIRT Week. That’s 36…Years.

I’ll never forget that day in 1979 when my dad said, “Let’s go to Syracuse.”

We all know that it came to a final end this past Sunday night…Stewart Friesen is the man fortunate enough to hold the last and final checkered flag.

For me, it was a mix of emotions, it is right now as I type this. One quote that I kept telling to myself was the one in The League of Their Own. You know the one, “There’s no crying in baseball”. Well, I shed a few tears and more than once. Part of me wondered why? After all this is just a race track right? And quite frankly not a very good one either.

But, it can simply be said that this is Syracuse. On Columbus weekend for over four decades we converged on that land that is located in the Town of Geddes. This place is our shrine, it’s our utopia, there are so many adjectives that I could use.

However, it has it’s dark side, people have died here, people have gone broke here, the frustration level can be unbearable, you name it, it can throw you the absolute worst.

That’s the mystique, the aura…even though the nickname is “the Moody Mile” and not for what you think but it’s the perfect title.

So let’s get to the 44th and final version, so aptly named the Finale at the Fairgrounds. In my mind it was a grand send off. Perfect? Nah…if it was perfect it wouldn’t be Syracuse.

The fans…oh, the fans. While it was a bit short of a grandstand sell out and I can tell you one thing, I don’t think there ever were more campers that there was this year.

The cars just seemed to look a little more perfect, the retro paint schemes had special meaning,

The Mile showcased an almost 28 second lap thanks to Larry Wight.

Oh, Mother Nature wasn’t going to let us forget those cold and wet DIRT Weeks of the past!

Saturday morning, many of us smiled and some of the long-time historians even teared up as the Silver Crown cars threw some dirt over the aged concrete wall. Was that ever so beautiful.

Sunday, and I’m not the most religious person in the world, but someone up above said let’s give these fans a perfect day, just this one time and they deserve it. Thank you, whoever you are.

Tears came down when Bob McCreadie was introduced, that big grandstand roared the loudest I heard in years. Not to mention seeing all the other greats get their just due.

You could tell it was a different atmosphere for the race. Some fans were geared up while some just really didn’t want to see this race start or for that matter end. It was an eeery feeling but I get it, it was for me too.

My Empire Super Sprint duties kept me from seeing the final checkered flag. I was bothered, but I was ok with it as well. I knew I was coming back to see the old girl off one last time.

I did, I texted good fried Mike Mallett and told him I was coming back. He texted back a very simple, “I’m walking the Mile.” Nothing more could be said.

My Sunday night was like my Saturday night, I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Don’t ask me why, I just couldn’t. I slept at the mile in the comfort of the ESS van both nights til the sun came up. In a weird way, when I saw the sun I thought it was good to then go.

I drove home Monday morning, in a daze, no music playing. Hell I even missed my exit. Again, that’s ok. I knew I would come back one last time.

Crappy reason but had to get the ESS trailer, just a pawn to get me to come back. On 4:52 PM on Monday afternoon, I took my one final lap of the Syracuse Mile. Tears again, again wondering why as this was just a race track. Nope sorry, it was our lives for five days each year, yup, it sure was.

We now go to 2016 and CNYRP. I have open eyes and ears and will be embracing it. I’m at peace that we have closed a very well written 44 year old book. Is it cause of politics? Who knows, I don’t know shit about that stuff anyways.

But, there is one thing that I know is that I have been in this game to know that you never doubt Glenn Donnelly. The ball is in his court now, but for some reason I think this new book will be pretty cool, I really do.

Ok, I done. Eyes are watery, nose is stuffy…call me a wuss. I just felt it was time to reflect and say thank you for the memories. And….thank you dad for that drive to upstate NY in 1979.