by Rick Anges
Saturday the 18th something I and a few other people have worked very hard on will become a reality, practice and qualifying for the first ever Southeast Street Stock Nationals with the race on Sunday the 19th. When I started working with Jack here at KARNAC I had no idea how fast things would start happening for me. I started out just writing the weekly race report for Desoto Speedway. I got to do an article on the ASA opener that year and that was actually my first ever press pass. As almost everyone knows DeSoto closed down for quite awhile so I had to take my new found talent of writing to other race tracks around the state.
I went to Charlotte County, EastBay and eventually was invited to ride in the School Bus figure eights with Frank Hill at Sunshine, man was that a thrill!! From there I covered races from all parts of the state even doing an article from the Pepsi 400 in Daytona. Things were moving faster then I had ever imagined I went from playing on the computer and just being a race fan to actually becoming Editor of the fastest growing Internet race site in the state of Florida.
All of a sudden I realized I was part of something really big, I had always wanted to be more involved in racing then just being a fan, hell I drove demolition derbies so I could do just that. Then when this opportunity to write for KARNAC came along I jumped on it and it grew and grew. It's an awesome thing to walk up to a top name driver after he has just won a big race to do an interview, introduce myself and they say "hey I know you I have read your articles." Now I am the host of the KARNAC.com Real Racin Talk Radio show, something I never in my wildest dreams thought would happen.
But even more is what is going to happen this weekend, the Street Stock Nationals. I have always loved watching these guys run and wondered why no one had ever put together a big show for them. So one day back in May I put together a web site took a set of rules from Desoto and basically asked people for their opinions on what they would like to see different. Dave Waddell got ahold of me and volunteered to be my Tech man, he had to take a real job though and had to step down but not until he had helped me get most of the rules into a generic set so most people would not have to make major changes to their cars.
The rules were only the beginning, the next major step was finding the track to hold the race. I talked to several venues but had my hopes set on DeSoto Speedway not only because it is close to home but it has the best facilities and is centrally located. I proposed my race to then GM of DeSoto Earl Savage a long time racer himself and he thought that this race would be a great idea. We sat down and figured dates, times, purses and all the other things that go along with putting an event like this together. Rennie Wilbanks (former ASA crew chief for Mark Martin) agreed to come on board as my head tech man and we ironed out the rest of the rules. Cindy Dring of Custom Draperies in Bradenton also volunteered her time to help me find sponsors to help cover the purse and other expenses that come with this kind of thing.
It seemed we were on a roll people were calling us inquiring about being sponsors, drivers were getting ready to pre-enter it was now August and the race was set and ready to go, then it happened......the race track was sold and a new owner whom I had never met was coming in. All of sudden Earl was gone and all my plans were up in the air. It was to late to start talking to other tracks because schedules were already set. So I waited not knowing how to answer the questions that were being asked because like the people asking I was also waiting. John Sarpriconne took over as new owner and I scheduled a meeting with him hoping that he had been informed about the details of the race and everything was still on the way we had planned. Well it wasn't that way, John came in with only the knowing the race was scheduled but was not informed of "any" of the details so I was back to square one. After several meetings John and I got the race back on track and I want to thank him for everything as all of this was new to him and he could have told me that he didn't want to take this on.
Just when things were looking up again several of the big sponsors that Cindy had lined up backed out due mostly to the sale of the race track and them having no knowledge of the people taking over. Square one again, Valvoline quick change in Bradenton came on and helped us out as much as they could. Cindy and her partner George of Custom Draperies came up with the bulk of what was needed to cover the rest of the purse. My daytime boss Earl Thompson of Thompson Automotive kicked in and also helped on the contingency money. Jack Smith who gave me the web space to build the web site for this race gets the credit for staying on my butt just when I was ready to pack it all in and give up telling me "Rick you just have to go for it!"
This race has grown from a simple idea to a long journey for me, it's become my baby and I'm hoping that when it all comes together we will have something that we can make grow and the drivers who are the back bone of our sport, the Street Stocks will finally get the recognition they so justly deserve and we will be able to bring it back bigger and better next year.
To all the competitors who will be out on the track Saturday and Sunday I thank you, please be safe and have a good time. To all the fans out there who will come to watch I hope we put on a good show that you will remember. Most of all to all the people who have helped me build my dream, I can't thank you all enough. Well everyone the talking is over......"It's Time To Race"
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