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From bleachers to a Kirkey: You should try it.



My racing career started about twenty five..twenty seven.. ugh…..A long time ago, I suppose. I was always a car guy, even as a kid. And I always loved fast, loud things. I had gone to Albany Saratoga speedway a few times, as I grew up in Clifton Park. I also spent time going to the Valley to watch drag racing, and started working on a local car occasionally. To this day, the quiet solitude of the Sunday morning summer air being broken by a half dozen or so open header big blocks cranking over at around the same time as the clock ticked past the end of the no-open-header time is forever etched in my memory. Eventually I met a kid who’s Dad drove dirt track cars, and I started going to the track with him.

In short.. I bet my story matches many of the others who post here. I would not be surprised to find out that many of you have more of a background in racing than I do. And I wonder if many of you sit in the bleachers rather than in a racecar for the same reasons I did for so many years. I am going to write about those reasons for a bit, and see if anyone reads my meandering thoughts.

One of the reasons it took so long for me to get into a racecar is the simple fear that I would suck. I would suck so badly, people would point and laugh. Three years in, and I can assure you that being a terrible driver really isn’t all that bad. I am, after all, not a name you have heard. I have about five fans, and that is because two of them are my parents, one is my wife, and my Son probably counts as half a fan. That is not, IMHO, a bad thing. Not everyone can be C.D. Coville. Plus, over the years, I have found that winners get a lot of jeers and booing. I figure if everyone hates a winner, everyone must love me to death.

So not winning, or even loosing, is not a bad thing. I have discovered that once I accept the fact that no one wins every night, and very few finish in the top ten every night, I have come to enjoy racing. I have realized that I pay my $30 at the back gate.. and I have the best seat in the house. I can walk over and chat with RJ, I can stop in and say hello to Jeff Trombley. I can, and have, asked Bobby Varin to help me with a setup issue. It’s a different world than in the bleachers. I admit I sometimes miss parts of the races, but when that happens I am strapped into an honest to God racecar. And that feeling has completely overwhelmed the embarrassment I thought I would feel when I learned I am a less than stellar driver. Hell, I am well below average in the Rookie class. I am totally fine with that. So if fear of failure is keeping you in the bleachers, as it did with me… forget it. The best seat in the house is out there. Work for it, gain it, and learn. Some of the best in this game will gladly help you along. I can assure you that by about the second hot lap, you won’t even realize there is a crowd out there.

Next time I sit down, and with the Ridge opening in a week that may be a while, I will tackle expense. Between now and then.. consider this: Buying an older chassis and running a worn out crate means you probably won't be winning. But you will have an affordable seat to watch the race like you have never seen before. And I think you will be surprised at how quickly help arrives. As a teaser.. I do not own the trailer I carry the car on, nor the truck that pulls that trailer.

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