LEMASTERS: Many Reasons To Be Thankful

Ron Lemasters Jr.

CONCORD, N.C. — Since this is the month we all give thanks, here are a few things I’m thankful for in the world of motorsports.

– First, I’m thankful there remains a solid core of racers out there who do what they do because they love it, because it makes sense and because they’ll go to whatever lengths they have to in order to win a race. That’s what it takes to keep a sport alive and kicking, and as long as we have the people who will do that on a weekly basis, we’re going to be just fine.

– I’m also thankful the “national anthem crisis” is reserved for the NFL and other sports. I strongly suspect that if such an act took place at a racing event, it would take place just once before order was restored. I’m reasonably certain a bare minimum of effort would have to be expended to ensure it was sorted out on the spot.

– One of the things I have always been thankful for is race fans. Without them, it would be impossible to have the vibrant and diverse palette of options when it comes to motorsports. The root word of fan is, after all, fanatic, and those fanatics talk with their wallets, scream their support over the roar of the engines and read SPEED SPORT to get the latest news on the sport they love.

– I’m thankful that after a hum-dinger of a 100th Indy 500, the 101st proved to be one of the greatest races I’ve ever seen … and I’ve seen a ton of them. My heart is and will always be somewhere around 16th and Georgetown, and the fact that we’ve seen two fantastic races in back-to-back years means The Greatest Spectacle in Racing is alive and kicking, thank you very much. Plus, kudos to IndyCar for getting the rules right and making it a dead-even show again.
– I am thankful someone new is running Formula One, and I can still drag my bones out of bed early on a Sunday morning and watch the races here in the U.S. One of the things about being a SPEED SPORT guy nearly all my life is the fact that it engendered a love and respect for all forms of motorsports. NASCAR fans sometimes make fun of F-1 and the reverse is abundantly true, but racing, good racing, is just that, and it doesn’t matter if it’s going on in Abu Dhabi or Atlanta, I’ll watch with interest.

– I am thankful Robert Yates was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for 2018, and saddened he did not live to be inducted. Godspeed, Mr. Yates.

– I am thankful for sprint cars on dirt … and on pavement for that matter. With a wing or without, it doesn’t matter. Sprint cars, midgets, champ cars and anything else that has open wheels and courageous men and women to hold down the loud pedal have their own places in the racing world. That world is loud, dusty and filled with speed and courage — thank God.

– I am thankful to live in a country that allows us to follow our dreams. Otherwise, there would be no A.J. Foyts, Richard Pettys, Roger Penskes or Rick Hendricks to root for — or against, if you prefer. There would be no way to spend Sunday afternoons — or Saturday nights or Friday nights — filled with the rumble and tumble of race cars.

– I am thankful for the ability, should I want to use it, to watch as many races as possible in a weekend, on TV or the internet, without having to do much of anything other than change the channel or click another icon.

– I’m also thankful for the opportunity to come into your mailbox every month and see if you like my take on a particular issue. Some of you do, some of you don’t; and that’s the way it should be. It’s a marketplace and market forces control it. Thanks for subscribing, thanks for reading and thanks for being fans.