March Racing Article

WHERE WILL WE GO THIS YEAR?

As a new racing season begins, many of the teams and fans have to decide which track will be their home for the year. Although many enthusiasts follow tours throughout the area as well as the country, most frequent their one “home” track each and every week. The NASCAR fans actually have reserved seats that they must renew, or giveaway each year, and some of our tracks also have season seats that many have held for decades. The big dilemma this year will be between all the tracks running on Saturday night. Silver Spring had the most loyal fan, and team base that I know of, but that is gone…no I still have not set foot, in or near any of the stores that took it’s place…nor will I in the future. Saturday night for the Sportsman, Late Model, and Street Stocks that graced the Carlisle Pike for so many years will be split between both Williams Grove and Susquehanna Speedway Park this year. Of course, there is the added “competition” of the Sprint tracks like Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, and Trailway for the shrinking numbers of racing fans in South Central Pennsylvania. Why are the numbers shrinking for attendance? Several ideas come to mind including the vast array of other activities that families participate in virtually every night of the week, the diminishing slush fund that folks use to pay for their seats and pit passes, and finally…the NASCAR races that have switched also to Saturday nights! Even though you can tape the event to watch later, and believe me …it is much more enjoyable when you can take out the many hours of commercials and worthless commentary contained in each event, it’s just not the same. And God forbid if you go to church the next day, as you know someone will spill the beans as to who went to victory lane.
     It’s tough out there for the racing facilities. They have internal costs sky rocketing, repairs, employees, taxes, and more and more competition…where will it end. I hate to tell you…the Springs won’t be the last to go..but the strong will survive. It’s still the least expensive night out for the family, when you figure that you can hang out for over 6 hours, and that the kids get in at a discount, or for free. Long live the local dirt track!
     O.K. soap box over…how about Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick! Had it not been for a flat tire on the restart in California, he probably would have made it two for two this year. Don’t forget how well he was running at the end of last year, finishing in the top of the points in Cup competition, as well as winning the Busch title for 2006. He and his team will be the team to be reckoned with this year. Johnson will be consistent, as will Martin, Gordon, Stewart and Kenseth…but I think “Hap” will be the man this year. Too soon to speculate on this kind of thing…possibly…but that’s why I’m called the Wise Guy!
Next time I see you, I hope it’s at the track,
Kirk Wise
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