Here we go first Daytona report for 2018. We departed in 13-degree weather and arrived in Orlando to 82 degrees on Saturday. I know we looked funny walking through the airport wearing sweatshirts and carrying coats but hey we are from the north in case you can’t tell by our lack of a tan. By the way, smoothest landing in a long time, nice job Captain of Southwest 3018.
We did not go to the ARCA race we watched at our timeshare. Sunday, we went to the Speedway, parked in their new lot which just a few years ago was the lot for driver’s souvenir trailers and watched the last few cars qualify. The Clash is the race we came to see, qualifying is boring and has outgrown its time. My opinion was the race was disappointing and the crowd was even more disappointing. Only three of us in our 20 plus seat row. I think this race was better on Saturday night immediately after the ARCA race.
We spent the last two days at the Race Promoters Workshops. Diana and I have been fortunate to attend these for Marc Olson and now for Mike and Kyle Johnson. Some great information, great sharing, great cooperation, great time meeting people from our racing past, racing present, and racing future. We got to talk with Joe Kosiski and his daughter Lisa, Bill Martens from GM Performance, Kevin Nevalinen from NASCAR, Gregg McKarns who now runs a track in Wisconsin, Dan Robinson from Lucas Oil Speedway, Paul who will be in charge at Sweet Springs, and numerous vendors who will be introducing their latest technology into racetracks over the next few days, months, and years.
These events are simply building on what we have in common and believe me all tracks have very much in common. In fact, we met Brooke from Stateline Speedway in New York, or was it Pennsylvania, oh that’s right it is on the state line between the states. Brooke is 20 years old and in charge of Marketing, specifically Facebook marketing. She does Facebook Live like Nicole Noll does Facebook Live for I-35 Speedway. At one point listening to Brooke I thought I was listening to Nicole, same verbiage, same enthusiasm, same smile, same fun! Oh, and Brooke pulled me into a conversation on how to improve Speedscore making it more like the old Speednet program, (making drivers inactive each year) look for an update soon.
We had great discussions on court cases which may affect our sport, believe it or not sometimes what happens at church camps can affect racetracks. Thankfully, we have a group of attorneys watching and leading the way to protect our industry. We enjoyed open discussions on race programs from how we do lineups, to who uses double file restarts, who uses you stop on the track you go to the rear, to scoring, to tech, to corner workers, to flagmen, to what is discussed on the radio, to a steady theme from all these successful owners and promoters. The theme quite simply is you never quit learning and that is so true. Out of 77 tracks the question was asked how many do not use raceivers, not a single hand went up. Ten years ago, only one or two tracks would have raised their hands. There is always something to learn, our sport is evolving!
Congratulations to Promoter of the Year Steve Beitler. If that name sounds familiar he was a World of Outlaws Driver at Lakeside Speedway on April 3, 1992 and credited with pulling Doug Wolfgang out of his burning car. Beitler now promotes races at Skagit and Grays Harbor Speedways.
The meetings wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon and we were all looking forward to a night of racing at Volusia and drats, the weather intervened. All day long the weather was in the low 70s but fog hung in the area. On the bright side, the weather forecasters are saying beautiful weather through next Tuesday which means great weather for the upcoming races starting Thursday night at Daytona International Speedway.