LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
I get a kick out of SARA cars being refered to as "late models." They are
not. A sportsman car may look like a like a late model and cost nearly as
much as a real late model, but once behing the wheel any driver who has
driven both certainly knows the difference. Maybe the fans don't care and it
is only a marketing ploy by a series organizer to refer to them as late
models, but they are not the same. Just ask Wayne Morris if he wouldn't love
to be running the Florida Pro Series in a real late model.
Your reporter Rick that did the story on East Bay and the street stock
race must have been at the beer window when the race was underway. To say
that the cars "did not stop for almost a full lap" was WRONG I missed the
crash in turn three and stopped at turn four and the front straight, not
near a full lap and i was black flagged. my car was stopped with my net down
before the ambulance started to move. To finish the race with seven cars was
not fair to the racers or the fans. The fan response then the drivers walked
on the racetrack should tell the East Bay owners and staff they made a
mistake. Although I know it's a mistake they will never admit.
As a racer of 15 years and i drive in that division , i dont think your
pictures in anyway showed malice as mostly all you could see are flames
, it was a big time wake up call for me as i have raced at lakeland, and
you just dont think about , not to sound disrespectful to Richie or his
family , but there is a danger in stock car racing always has been and
thats part of the deal you sign on for when you start its your life and
your chances , and it is your job as the driver to make sure you have
every opportunity to get the best safety equipment that money can buy ,
these cars are equipped the same as the big boys when it comes to fule
cells and other safty devices , fires do happen from time to time and
they are the worst thing ever for fans drivers or crews , you can
replace cars not people , best to take a long look at your car saturday
night and wonder if your racing a safe vehichle or a safety hazzard,
safety starts at the shop not the track !
I think the important thing is to find out what caused the fire and how to
prevent it from happening again. Was it a bladder or a can with a bladder in
it? How did the fuel get out of the cell?? was it punctured , cut, crushed??
I can understand a puncture from a bar or something going thru the cell, but
not cut or crush type damage. The facts of what type of cells and the cause
of the fuel loss are what needs to be addressed and then sent to EVERY race
track in the state, and hopefully into national publications like Stock Car
Racing magazine. I bet the cell manufacturer would be very interested in
knowing the facts so thay can recommend ways to prevent it from ever
happening again. As for the suit and helmet, every maunfacture recommends
fire protective underwear, gloves, socks, shoes, and the head sock under the
helmet. Every track I've been to requires at least a fire extinguisher, but
recommends an onboard fire system. The problem comes down to the track
safety requirements and the legal system. If a driver had every safety item
available and was injured, there are lawyers waiting to sue, sue, sue, no
matter how strict the safety regulations are.
Jane, I'm sure you have heard your share of comments on both sides of the "pictures" issue. I offer my support for Karnac.com for posting the pictures and for standing at the forefront of the fight for safety at the tracks and in the racecars. It takes courage to stand for what is right...and you have done so with conviction. Drivers must demand greater safety measures from their team owners and owners must demand the resources from their sponsors to ensure the drivers have the best margin of safety possible. I was saddened to hear that the injured driver did not opt for a full-face helmet, double lined suit, fire retardant undergarments, etc. I make no assumption as to whether this was a money-saving issue or not, but I do believe sanctioning bodies should step in and do the right thing...mandate the highest level of safety possible. I understand the cost of racing... but what price do you pay in the long run. I feel terrible for the family and I certainly sympathize with their pain and struggle. But, again, I commend you on your efforts to continue speaking out for the safety of drivers and crews. Keep up the good work.
August 15, 1999
The article about calls was one of the best I have read in a
while. Being an official for the last seven years you are right about
the fans. The only ones who know what happen in a wreck are the drives
involved and one of them will probably lie about it if not all of them.
If you ask a driver he say the other guy did it and viceversa. For an
official to make a split second decision that could cost a driver the
championship is a hard thing to do. But officials have to put their
differences aside and be objective in their calls and not worry about
what the fans or drivers think.
I think the way St. Augustine speedway does it is good. The officials
will meet with the drivers involved after the race and listen to the
drivers and also explain what the call was and why. Some nights it has
taken several hours to answers all the questions.
Keep up the good work.
August 12, 1999
I am a dedicated spectator of DeSoto Speedway. I must say that your Part 1 commentary on Desoto Speedway really moved me. I wish it were possible for all of the fans and racers alike who do not own computers to be able to see information and such as you wrote in this commentary. There are so many things that a lot of the people out there have no idea about. Again, I just wanted to thank you personally for the excellent commentary and for you and your staff's more than apparent caring and consideration of our local racetrack. Keep up the great work...
August 9, 1999
I enjoyed your article on what is going on there. We visited Desoto 6 years
ago and had a wonderful time. I was excited to go back. We race at Sunshine
so we never got the oppurtinity to do so until a month ago. We raced in there
50 lap open wheel modified race. I was shocked at how the track looked so
rundown. But I was also grateful to the people working there. We have never
been to a track and had such a nice welcome. The employees were extremely
helpful and courtious. We get flyers in the mail every time they have an open
wheel event. I hope someone buys it that does care. I think it could be a
wonderful place to race.
July 31, 1999
Jane Smith, I just wanted to let you know how George Hall III is doing.Last night George supprised everone.Driving one handed(the right has not returned yet) he took second in the heat race,placing him outside front row for the main.George got the jump on the start and lead for three laps before being pass he ran in third for most of the race before a car moved him out on the first turn.Once moved out three cars got under him,he finish in 8 place at Ocala Speedway.This was a great run for him and we all were very happy for him.I thought you would like to know after the storys you wrote on George after he had the stroke one year ago.
- George Hall Jr.
July 31, 1999
Hey Rick, My name is Steve Bridgmon, I am the host of Lets Talk Racing on
WBIO 94.7 fm in Owensboro, Ky. I am also the co- announcer at Kentucky Motor
Speedway. I had to be away the night you were here, but I really enjoyed your
article, about John and Marty. They are the real deal.
Sorry I missed you, the next time you are here, e-mail me you are coming and
we will get together. Oh, by the way, you are right about if it isn't fun
anymore, you need to take the kids and go to the movies. See you soon,
July 31, 1999
Just a quick note about John Porter's letter. We have sat around the
race shop and said those same things many times. He was right on,
although we run TQ Midgets and I would hate to lose the three shows we
have at CCS! If we had only 3 or 4 classes you'd still have the same
amount of racers. Only they may have to, god forbid, qualify in through
a heat race or a consi. And the best tracks I have ever been to even if
the racing wasn't great were the ones who had a front end loader with
forks to scoop up the wrecked cars, clean the track quickly and get back
to green. Oh well gotta go, see ya.
July 20, 1999
FOR THE FAN THAT LOVES THE DAYS OF OLD AT TRACKS LIKE PHILIPS FIELD AND GOLDEN GATE SPEEDWAY CHECK OUT DWARF CAR RACING. I DID AND IT WAS LIKE GOING BACK IN TIME WHEN RACING WAS THE THING TO DO WITH THE FAMILY ON FRI. & SAT. NIGHTS. AFTER 40 YEARS OF BEING A RACE FAN I BOUGHT ONE PAINTED IT AFTER MY CHILD HOOD IDLE OF THOSE DAYS AND AM HAVING A BALL. CHECK THEM OUT TAKE A TEST RIDE I BET YOU`LL BE DOING THE AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
-JOHN GODWIN # 22
July 19, 1999
“Still A Winner”
This is a good article, Jane. I would like to say a lot of drivers and
race fans who feel someone was "screwed" have not really read the rule
book. Having talked to many drivers and fans after races. When they
start talking about the rules I always ask "Did you read the rules?"
Most of the time they stutter and say well that's the way it use to be.
My answer is read the rules. As last weekend a owner complained about a
call when read the rule he backed down and agree with the officials.
July 15, 1999
In my view if you bring back the bounty on two or three time winners you
would draw cars and spectators!!! People don't like to see the same one win each week without a challenger. I have a Car in mini stock my boys are just learning but they are having fun this is all that counts to me.Even if they run last which has been the case they will get better as long as it is fun.
June 19, 1999
It seems that everyone has an opinion of who is responsible for track safety. I have been around racing for close to 40 years and things are no different now than they were back then. I have been on "both sides of the fence" as a car owner and also as track official. I believe "Yes, the track must provide safety equiptment and personel" but YOU as an owner and driver have the MOST RESPONSIBILITY for the safety of YOUR racecar. Take a little time and walk around, get under your car. Look for that questionable item and fix it. It just might save someone or or maybe YOU form getting hurt. A few years ago as the starter at a local speedway I saw something coming at me out of the corner of my eye and luckily my assistant also saw it and we both ducked and had no idea what it was. We kept checking the grandstands behind us to see if anyone had gotten hit. Thank God , no one had. We didn't know until later that it was a 5 foot piece of pipe bumper that came over our heads like a propeller. Who's fault was it that it came off? The safety inspectors? Yes, for not finding it, but he cannot possible check every thing on every car every night, right? So, it falls into the lap of the driver. He only has to worry about ONE car, HIS. He was the one who done a shoddy weld job. That pipe could have killed several people and I'm sure the driver would have been sorry but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. What I'm saying gentlemen is please check your racer and fix anything that looks questionable and cooperate with the inspectors and it can be a lot safer for all of us.