I was having the time of my life in 2009 writing weekly feature articles about Toledo & Flat Rock Speedway, while finally having access to Victory Lane festivities, and getting to know some of the drivers, crew, and officials. I had been going to the Toledo big shows for many years, but now was also enjoying the Sportsman, Factory Stock and 4 cylinder racers for the first time. Really liked getting to know guys like Jim Froling, Ron Allen, Landon Schuster and Brad Turner among others.
As far as Flat Rock goes, Lori & I had attended pretty frequently to watch when local hero Joy Fair was racing, but after he retired in 1999, the place just didn’t seem the same and I went infrequently. I had always been a Late Model fan because of Joy, but was now finding out how much I loved the Street Stock division, and how great the racing truly was. The nice thing about doing what I was doing, is that everyone likes to see their name in the paper, so the racers (at least the ones I knew) were always nice to me and the officials also treated me well. The Moore family in particular went out of their way to make me feel like I belonged. Seeing my articles and pictures show up in the paper every week always made me feel good.
Once the MARC Times ceased publication, I was very disappointed, to say the least, as it appeared that all the fun was over. Joy sure knew how to make me laugh, as he would introduce me to people that stopped by when I was visiting him at work. “Hey, do you know Rand? He was a writer for a racing paper, but he was so bad, it went out of business! “ and then give me that classic gotcha look of his. While I was still attending the races at both tracks, I was convinced that any week, I would show up at the pit gate and be told I was cut off; as in no paper, no free entry. For reasons that I honestly never understood, that never happened, and I was still welcomed every week when I signed in. Perhaps my statement earlier in the year to Scott played a role, or maybe they just liked me, I don’t know, but I was very grateful to say the least.
I found I really enjoyed doing media stuff and tried to find another outlet in 2010 to keep it going. Found a website called Midwest Racing News that accepted my volunteer proposal to be a feature columnist. The website primarily covered N. Indiana racing, and while I submitted material regularly, it didn’t seem like anyone I knew ever read it. The big personal development was that I finally found a new job as a Quality Engineer at a manufacturer in Holt near Lansing that made parts for hip and knee replacement joints. This made it way more challenging to make it down to Toledo on Friday nights, so most of the season was spent at Flat Rock.
One other big development in 2010. I had spent the previous nine years as a volunteer at MIS giving pre race Pit Road tours for the guests of suite holders and other hospitality areas. Really loved taking people down on pit road as it was a lot of fun to share in their excitement. I am very passionate about MIS and the area (I live just 5 miles from the track) and was both surprised & thrilled to be asked by the track to take over the management of the Pit Tour program. (I will talk more about my job at MIS in a future blog)
So, at least for a couple years, things were actually looking pretty good and my role in racing was becoming a bit more solidified in 2010 & 2011.
(to be continued)