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 Columns & Editorials

January 26, 2000

Looking to the 2000 Racing Season

Little by little, Florida's race tracks are re-opening for the 2000 season. Fans are dusting off their race hats and finding that soft cushion to sit on and getting ready to visit their favorite track. But, the question is, will
they see the same old, same old or a better, more competitive and fair racing season.

Yes, we have had our share of what some call "bad tracks". We still have unsafe tracks and owners who would not change if they won the lotto. But it is not the owners that get fans to come in to a track, it is the racers themselves. And racers will race no matter what conditions are and are not met at a track. It is in their blood and almost an
overpowering desire to handle the wheel of that racecar.

But there is something that all drivers and fans must realize and that is children also love racing and children do learn by what they see. When they see an out-of-control driver who throws his helmet and hits a fellow driver, that is NOT the message a child should get. Having a fit may make the driver feel better but it does not teach a child anything good. True, they are not your child, but remember, children have heros and alot of you are heros to young race fans. So if someone does something to you during
a race and your anger gets the worse of you, try not to teach the children that hitting or throwing is the right way to get your point across. Go to your
track officials, state your case, and teach these kids.

This year hopefully tracks will get a better control over the cars so there is not so much cheating and hard feelings. Yes, each car in every division should be equal, cheaters should be disciplined and racing should be fair. And sometimes homework is just done closer and better and that makes it look like a car is cheating. Sometimes it is not done on purpose but when it is, in the end, it is found out and cheaters never win where it counts.

If you are racing this year, no matter whether it is dirt or asphalt, please for your own sake, make sure your harness is in good condition. Wear the right firesuit for the division you are racing in, no cheating. Wear a good
helmet and gloves and fire shoes and make sure that your fire extinguisher in the car is full and working. You are important to your families and your fans, take care of yourselves. If you can't afford the right equipment, save
and get it but don't take a chance of getting hurt. Having all this may not save you but it surely could help you.

Tracks are made up of humans, just like you and me. If you love your track and it just does not seem to be doing as good as it should, offer your help to the owner and staff. Help keep the track clean and bring friends whenever
you can and get them interested in racing. Spending a night at the races definitely beats sitting on a bar stool at any bar. You meet good people, have a great time, and maybe even find something new that you might like to try.

This is a new year and a new beginning for all of us. Let's make this a great year, a safe year, and one that our children will remember fondly. AND SEE YA AT THE RACES.

-Jane Smith

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