Originally I was asked to write a racing recap, but starting this week, just going to retitled what I have been writing to Behind the Scenes. Most of what is written in this column is things most race fans might not know or have observed. Announcer Rick Staley does a great job of recapturing the previous night’s racing in his articles.
This week is all about the words, “Thank You”. We begin with Mother Nature, thank you. Last week she took the opportunity to present moisture on most of the region, almost daily, but she spared I-35 Speedway most of the week. On Wednesday the track was worked by track owner Mike Johnson. South, West, and North of the track the radar indicated moisture and lots of it. We get to the track, on Wednesday, and it was dry, bone dry. On Thursday, we returned to mow and the storms appeared to be following us. Thinking we only had about an hour to mow, it normally takes 4 hours and two mowers to complete all the areas around the track, we instantly jumped on the mowers and completed all the mowing. Mother Nature saw fit to keep the storms west of us until we were done. Thank you Mother Nature!
The next Thank You is to Rick Staley. I hope this does not give him a big head but what a great job he does every week! The Memorial Day opening events were simply outstanding. At I-35 Speedway we always want to take the time to remember those who gave it all for us so we enjoy the freedoms we do. We always want to remember our racing family and Rick leads us in those moments. Not only that but when intermission comes it is Rick time. This week I was impressed at how the children lined up to dance and the camera phones of the parents were recording. At a lot of tracks intermission is down time, but not with Rick leading the way, it is a time for another activity and getting the crowd and children involved making this a truly family event and I-35 Speedway the place to be on Saturday night! Thank you Rick Staley!
Thank you I-35 Speedway officials. There is not a staff of officials around who work harder! The officials, some of the first to arrive and the last to leave, are non stop workers, Mary, Linda, and Beth staff the back gate, Bob, Mickey, and Fred meet the crews as they enter the pits and assist with parking the tow rigs, Mike, Charles, Carl, and Bobby work with the race teams and on finishing track prep. Throughout the night their roles are constantly changing, from pre-race to race (lineup, scoring, race calls, to tech), to assisting with clean up at the end of the night (last to leave). Thank you officials!
Thank you to the I-35 Speedway staff. Race fans are met at the ticket window by Diana, Nan or Cheryl, three of the most experienced, most fun loving, happy people race fans can meet. They love to sell you a ticket and welcome you with a smile. Tammy does a great job of working the Drink Shack, Heather will gladly sell you a program or 50/50 ticket, Cheryl, Bridgette, Marty, LaRae, Jamie, Randy, Chandler, Kayce, Sharon, Julie, Mikaela, Jackie, and Leon, you will meet in your travels around the track, to/from the pits, at the concession stand, the funnel cake shop, or the Trackside Bar and Grill. They enjoy helping you our customer. Of course we are happy to hear back from our race fans, this week from Michelle Hylton Guilkey to I-35 Speedway facebook, “Awesome night of racing. This was our 1st night at your track. I am very happy with how nice EVERYONE was, so nice, the announcer made the night fun and that you involve the kids. Definitely will be coming to you track more”. Thank you Staff!
Thank you Safety Staff! Dan, Lonnie, Dave, Sherry, Ron, and Bear. From tow truck service, to fire crew service, to ambulance service, at I-35 Speedway we have some of the best. These crews work with our officials and drivers to ensure we have a great night. Without them we could not be racing. There is not a better way to say thank you than to receive this message from driver Chet Yates, “Would like to thank the safety crew at I-35. I think they were there before the car came to a rest. Thanks for getting window net down and pulling steering wheel off and helping me get out. The 99c will be back soon!! Once again thanks!!
Thank you, racers! As for the racing this past week – Wow, Superb, Outstanding, all the descriptions I heard from numerous race fans and participants! The E-Mods, Lightning Sprints, B-Mods, Stock Car, and A- Mod features – wow, awesome driving, awesome racing! Two features involved a last lap, last turn pass for the win, three features had groups of three and four exchanging the lead. Breathtaking who is going to win racing, and you know the racers are enjoying it when second place comes around to congratulate first place.
We all need to thank the owners, Mike and Kyle Johnson for giving us all the opportunity to enjoy this great facility and awesome sport. It was best said by Stock Driver Jason Estes to Mike after the races, “There is no quit in you, we think we are not going to race and we get one of the best tracks ever”. Again, we turn to the message received from Chet Yates, “Also thank Mike and Kyle Johnson for being right there when I got out of ambulance to see if I was ok”!
Mike and Kyle pride themselves in their racetrack, the atmosphere, the improvements, and the appearance. They spend Sundays cleaning up after all our fun, let’s help them out by throwing our trash in the provided barrels. Thank you Mike and Kyle.
Thank you sponsors, this past week was Ferrellgas Night at the Races, this next week is Seeburg Muffler Night at the Races. Remember we are continuing our fun this week with Hawaiian Shirt Night and we will be blessed with the presence of our United Auto Workers. See you at I-35 Speedway the track where we are always having fun!