WALTZ: True Racers Still Exist In The United States

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HARRISBURG, N.C. — Each time we begin to think auto racing has been completely overrun by lawyers, corporate executives and integrated-marketing-communications specialists, we come across someone who is a true racer.

In fact, it happened twice during recent weeks while working on feature stories for these pages.

Kenny Brown was the first to remind us of the passion that so many have for this sport. Brown is a co-owner of the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series we profiled in the Feb. 23 issue.

The second was Randy Queensland, the RPM Promoter of the Year. We’ll share the story of Queensland and his family in next week’s issue.

Both of these men are making their mark on the dirt-track side of the sport, but racing is not their primary occupations. Just like thousands of racers, Brown and Queensland fit the definition of a weekend warrior as they spend virtually every minute of their spare time on the sport. They do it because they love it.

We live in an area where racing has become an industry instead of a sport, and there is an ever-growing number of people who work in racing not because they love it, but for a paycheck.

Most of those people have never been to a dirt track or driven all night to get to the next race. They think the NASCAR season has always started at Daytona and they’ve never seen Brett Hearn drive a modified.

The people who make a living in racing but think of it only as a business often frustrate those of us who got into the sport for a totally different reason. But then all it takes is one conversation with a true racer to be reminded of the unique passion that so many of us share.

– Certainly looks like the installation of a dynamometer at Steve Kinser Racing is paying dividends.

With all of today’s sprint-car chassis being basically the same, under the hood is the best place to find an advantage. And it appears as if Scott Gerkin and Randy Kinser have done just that as Steve has won three of the first five World of Outlaws races.

– Of the first six races in NASCAR’s three major series, only one was won by a driver actually competing for points in that series. So someone please explain to us exactly how this new point system is easier for casual fans to understand.

– Davey Allison would have celebrated his 50th birthday Feb. 25. Wonder how many Cup races and championships he would have won by now had his helicopter not crashed in the Talladega (Ala.) infield.

– 1993 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Steve Grissom now owns and operates Celebrity Hot Dogs in Concord, N.C. The restaurant has quickly become a popular stop among those in the racing industry and several drivers have autographed one of the walls.

– In a classic case of the rich getting richer, oil is now flowing from the Hulman family’s horse farm near Terre Haute, Ind. The lone well is reportedly producing just 400 barrels of crude a day, but scientists believe the reserve is rather large and additional wells are planned.

– Carquest Auto Parts’ sponsorship of the May NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway has ended after 14 years. A new sponsor has signed to support the May 28 event and a track official says an announcement is expected in the near future.

– We were amazed by the number of “journalists,” both print and electronic, who reported Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in a “practice crash” at Daytona. Rest assured, no driver ever practices crashing, but they do occasionally crash during practice.

– While ticket sales for the track’s NASCAR races aren’t what they once were, the folks at Charlotte Motor Speedway continue to find alternative revenue streams. Totem, the latest offering from Cirque du Soleil, is now being presented under a giant blue-and-yellow tent in one of the track’s parking lots. The show runs through March 27.

– Reach us at [email protected]

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