Unity in Blue. On Tuesday November 3, 2015 an estimated crowd of 800,000 converged in downtown Kansas City, Missouri to celebrate the World Series victory of our Kansas City Royals baseball team. Would you say the city and surrounding area was excited about the Royals? Would you say the team ignited our passion? Maybe you were one of the 800,000 in attendance. How did we get so united?
First it starts with the team and yes team is the most important word here. The team which made up the 2015 Kansas City Royals was supportive of each other and supportive of their fans! They worked together for the betterment of the team, not as individuals but as a team. They celebrated their wins with their fans – do you remember that Eric Hosmer paid a $17,000 bar tab after celebrating with fans in 2014. They were accessible. They supported each other. They captured our hearts and our passion. Facebook was exploding with comments, updates, and opinions from the racing community. Apparently it was not just the racing community that felt this passion but the entire city.
What if we could capture that same ability in racing? Unity would be such a great thing! Very much like Bill France did in 1947 when he announced there would be a series of meetings held at the Streamline Hotel in Florida, beginning on December 14, 1947. At 1:00 pm, France called the meeting to order. The meeting involved 35 men who represented various parts of the growing sport. The meeting was the first of four seminars in which France would outline his vision of an organized group of race car drivers. NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr., on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time. The points system was written on a bar room napkin. The original plans for NASCAR included three distinct divisions: Modified, Roadster, and Strictly Stock.
So let me ask, what worked in 1947, shouldn’t it work in 2016? The Royals proved what unity can accomplish. Can’t we do the same thing again? The interesting part is at the conclusion of the 2010 racing season something similar happened in North Kansas City, Missouri. A meeting was called of the top tech officials in the racing community, Carl Flower came representing Heartland Park, Bobby Lopez was representing Central Missouri Speedway and Lakeside Speedway, Sam Stoecklin was in attendance, Mike Johnson was also in attendance, and myself. What we started was trying to unify the Stock Car classes at the various tracks and what we walked away with was respect for each other but no unification. Instead the Border War was born. It is interesting though that Bobby, Carl, and myself are all working at the same track, I-35 Speedway, today.
But what racing needs is unification on the national level. Similar to what occurred in 1947 needs to occur in 2015/2016. There probably needs to be a meeting scheduled with the heads of all the different racing series and maybe there should be three different, maybe four different racing types but rules and points for each. Will it be easy, no, can it be done for the sport and the racers and the fans, yes, that I believe. The various racing series need a national championship and within the national championship a regional or series champion. We need to tie in television, because let’s face it they are a player too, but what is missing is the television that would display the talents of those on the local levels. In the 1990s we had ASA racing, now we have a hodge podge of various racing. Could this be done in today’s world?
It might be tougher but without putting too much on his shoulders I believe there is one man who could pull this all together, love him or hate him, Tony Stewart would be that person. His personality and his leadership could make this happen. He started his own NASCAR race team didn’t he? He would need assistance, after all Bill France did not do it all on his own, he had 35 helpers that day. But to bring our sport back together as one Tony Stewart has that ability.
So if the Royals can ignite a city, I believe Tony Stewart, as great a racer as he has been, could be the person to unite the sport!