Thursday, February 28, 2008

The fire keeps burning and the beat goes on

LAS VEGAS - Every once in a while you see something that puts things in a new perspective.

I was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Wednesday morning doing the Sirius NASCAR Radio morning show - very early Wednesday morning since Las Vegas is on Pacific time and the show airs in Eastern time. As I was leaving, I noticed a couple of brightly colored cars sitting in the garage area.

They were the No. 34 Chevrolets that are here for John Andretti to drive in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 500 at Las Vegas. Instead of hauling those cars all the way back across the country and then back out here to race again, the team just stopped off here and went to work.

It is amazing how many miles the major teams' haulers are driving back and forth to get the right cars to races at California and Las Vegas and to a test scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Phoenix. Throw in the rain delay at California and it has been a major undertaking for those teams to swap their cars back and forth.

But when you see guys at 8 a.m. who're already elbows deep in race cars sitting out in the open on a chilly morning, you understand that no matter how much money a team might have - or doesn't have, for that matter - this racing business is really about commitment.

The fact that people willingly travel as much as they have to, work the hours that have to do and work the magic they sometimes have to work reminds you just how much people care about this sport.

And it's not just at this level.

As the weather warms up in the next few weeks, hundreds of short tracks around the country will be roaring to life for their seasons. That means that all over the country there are people spending hours and hours getting their cars ready to go racing.

The passion to race runs a lot deeper than NASCAR's top three series. From kids racing quarter-midgets to guys in their 50s and 60s still knocking around on a dirt track, they're all out there because they've got as much fire burning in their souls as they do in the engines that will power them around the track.

Sometimes it's good to just take a step back and remember that.


Anonymous said...

I wish more people could realize what you just observed at the track and put into words. People that don't have a fire burning don't understand what this racing thing is all about. For years, my son raced go karts and people thought I was crazy for spending time and money for something so "stupid". Not only is it a fire, it is a tie that binds. I would not trade all the money for the time I spent with my son while he was young.

Anonymous said...

I just arrived home from working on my own car and a car for my 16 year old nephew. I got out for 10 years but it never left me. now i hope I never leave it

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