Last Sunday I was getting ready to head to Sundance Vacations Speedway in Drums, PA when I stopped to ask myself why I was going. I’ve been to Sundance Vacations Speedway many times and to tell you the truth, it’s not one of my favorite tracks. So, if it’s not one of my favorite tracks, again, why was I going? What I realized was that yes, I love the racing but what I really love is the time I get to spend with my friends. I’ve been going to the races for over 40 years and regularly for the past 25 or so. During that time I’ve made some great friends that I will cherish forever.
When I lived in Long Island (1986 – 1991) I used to go to Riverhead Raceway every Saturday night. There I met my friend Herb. Herb was in his eighties and had been a racing fan for 60 years. I used to love sitting at his kitchen table listening to his stories about the golden age of racing. I was lucky enough to take Herb on his last racing road trip to Flemington Speedway in 1991. I think about him all the time.
In 1987 I went to the Race of Champions at Pocono International Raceway in Pennsylvania. For those who don’t know, the Race of Champions is the biggest event in modified racing. I decided to save some money by camping at the track so I packed my camping gear and picnic accessories and headed to the track. When I got there I pitched my camping tent and built a fire. Within 10 minutes a man and his two sons came over to my fire to say hi. I found out that his name is David and that he’s from Maryland. We got to talking and became good friends. I still keep in touch with David today even though I don’t see him as often as I used to. You know what, I think I’ll call him tonight.
It turns out that David had a bunch of other racing friends and it didn’t take them long to make me a member of the gang. Today I see Ed, Jeff, Jim, Keith and many of the others at races all over the north east. Last year there was a modified race in North Carolina so I called Ed in Connecticut to see if he was going. Ed stopped and picked me up on his way and we went to the race in North Carolina together. The funny thing is that I’ve never seen David, Ed, Jeff, Jim, Keith or any of the others anywhere except at the races. Funny how friendship works.
This brings me back to why I went to Sundance Vacations Speedway last Sunday. Did I go for the racing? Maybe to a degree. The fact is that I went because my friends Joe and Mike were going to be there. Joe and Mike are father and son and I met them at a race in Oswego, NY in 2004. It turns out that we were all regulars at Mahoning Valley Speedway but we had never met. Since then we have gone racing together to many tracks in several states. Joe and Mike have become two of my best friends in the world and I went to Sundance Vacations Speedway that day to be with them.
I love racing because of the speed, the smells and the sounds. I realized today, though, that I love racing mostly because of the many friends I’ve made at the races and the lifelong memories that racing has given me.