The day after Christmas Diana and I began cleaning our basement. Several of you observed items we found as I posted pictures on Facebook. One item was a picture of Clyde Ellis and I made the statement “Oh how I miss that man”. I believe we all miss Clyde!
Clyde gave and gave to our sport, not only money, but time and most of all honesty. He was the quiet leader of the gang of twenty six which moved Lakeside Speedway to its current location when the Woodlands replaced the 92nd and Leavenworth Road track after the 1988 racing season. The tall back straight wall which the scoreboard is anchored on was built with Clyde Ellis money. Clyde and his group brought the World of Outlaw Sprint car series to the asphalt of Lakeside. We know ultimately it did not turn out well for him and his group because of the Doug Wolfgang, ignore the checkered flag wreck. But as I mentioned last week Clyde was what we would call a Giver, a person who did everything to benefit our sport regardless of the consequences.
A few years back I wrote a blog called “Me, Me, Me” to which this day I am still reminded how much this still applies. However it did not apply to Clyde Ellis. Generally, “me, me, me” comes from people who have to have a title, president, vice president, owner, racecar driver, crew chief, people who need their ego stroked. Clyde was not one of these people, in fact, he shunned the titles, he preferred people who led by their actions, who put the sport before themselves, who were servants to each other instead of “me, me, me” people.
Recently I was in conversation about a rumor floating through the racing community. Clyde’s name came up and what would Clyde have done in this situation, then the statement came across from the other person, Clyde would do what is best for the sport. Chills traveled down my spine that is exactly what Clyde would have done. Clyde worked with many people over the years which were “me, me, me” people, but he would ignore their ego and continue down the path of what is right for the sport.
Today we face the same issues in racing which Clyde did in his days. It was brought up a couple of times about naming an award after Clyde in C.A.R.B. Technically since 2008 there has been an award agreed upon and to be given when someone nominates for the Joan and Clyde Ellis Award. At Clyde’s request it was not to be issued until after he passed. Again this man did not have an ego, remembering someone after their gone, was not his cup of tea. He questioned us on remembering Virginia Nelson, Linda Loos, and J.O. “Pop” Hartman. He obviously did not believe in putting his name on the side of building.
Clyde was about supporting the sport, promoting the sport, and checking the ego, wish we could all be like him. So since this is a new year, let’s make a resolution to be like Clyde, check the ego, and everyone work towards making our sport the great sport it is. Maybe we could all introduce a new slogan, “Be Like Clyde” when we observe someone stroking their own ego.