Time to Say Goodbye One More Time
When all is said and done, nine straight nights of racing does take a toll on the body. Four hours or less of sleep a night, long, long days but in the end, it is all worth it. Old friends return, new friends are made. Sad and happy when it ends. Finally your own bed, a hot bath, more than four hours of sleep and many, many memories that last until the next World Series.
This year at New Smyrna, there were old friends and new friends. Even a surprise or two. Seeing Wayne Anderson on his roof on fire was one of the surprises. Seldom do we ever see Wayne upside down but we did. But we also saw the Wayne Anderson who does not let that bother him or stop him because he was right back into a racecar none the less.
In 2005, we saw Ryan Mathews do a "flying" car and almost take out the flagstand but this year it seemed calmer. Although some cars had to leave early with severe damage,. only one driver suffered a broken bone and it just happened to be the worst broken bone since it was his foot and you can't drive with a cast on your foot. But even the drivers who had to leave early were happy with their new experience at the half-mile New Smyrna.
Two Memorial races were run with drivers in each of those two divisions determined to take home that honor. Richie Evans and Pete Orr were well respected, loved by all that they came into contact with. Some drivers came only for the honor and hopeful glory of winning those races. How wonderful it is that we see such reverence for a driver by his peers and fellow racers. The footprints of those drivers are embedded in many and to touch so many lives, well, you know your life was meaningful.
For Travis Kittleson, winning the World Series Super Late Model crown was great but winning the Pete Orr Memorial was his dream. Travis worked with Pete and Pete was the one who got Travis on the road to ASA. Each year he has come to try and win that race but it has not been his time. His time was February 18th and that one win meant more to him than any other win in his career. That means something, that says something.
Whether dirt is your thing or asphalt, there is plenty of racing action for the short track fan in February. They come from all over the country and Canada for just one thing, plenty of racing. They save all year long for those nine nights because where else can you race against racers from every end of the country. They may not always like each other but they definitely have one thing they share, the joy of racing with the "best of the best".
So to all the racers and crews from East Bay, Voluisa Speedway Park and New Smyrna Speedway, we salute you for giving your time, your pocketbook, and sharing your joy of racing with us. Your joy showed and you made us joyful and that is why we are family whether it be dirt or asphalt, it is all racing.
To the Champions of all the races, congratulations. To old friends, we hope to see you next year and to new friends it was great meeting you and hopefully you will come back.
When we look back each year at the memories of those nine nights, we look back with happiness. And we look forward to the next year, eager to see who returns and what new faces it brings. So goodbye 2006, hello 2007.
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