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What makes racing cool


RodneyRodriguez

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last weekend at THR after I ran my heat race and headed back to grab the mic, I remembered why racing caught my attention years ago and keeps me coming back for more year after year.

This young guy came up to be as we were introing the next race, told me he really liked the 7 car, he had told his buddies the 7 would win (which; cool part is it didn't come close in that heat).

Then as he kept talikng to me he reaches in his pocket and hands me a dollar bill, I asked if he wanted me to sign it, he said, no, I want you to have it because you race good and I like your car.

I sure do like seeing the younger generations at the track having a good time, enjoying the action, that too helps keep our ilittle sport alive, we keep groomin the next generation. So guys and gals when these kids want to talk to you, make the time for them,,, it's really cool! :rolleyes:

 

ps- no smarties.... I DID NOT take his money!

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That is cool! While we were wainting in line for our feature last Sat, Charlie got on the radio and asked if I would mind talking to someone. I said sure and immediately this little voice says hi. Turns out this little boy was just fascinated with the whole headset thing and couldn't keep his eyes off of it! I bet the kid will never forget getting to talk on the radio to a race car driver.....Like Rodney says, Make time for the kids, for they are our future!

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I myself, had been thinking about finding something else to do for most of the 2007/2008 seasons. The primary car I worked on at the time had been parked, and I was thinking I was just really tired of the whole racing scene.

Well, in 2008, I only went to ten total races, and outside of Pensacola, the farthest I went was Edna. But I took my grandson Michael Burris to about half, and he really liked it.

 

So, here I am, in my 38th season of active participation, and we are heading to Houston in the morning. Michael goes with me, and he spins lugnuts, he can pop rivets, help clean and keep them shiny, push them aross the scales, and so on. Not bad for 7 years old.

And I never found anything else that sparked my interest, so I am getting Michael involved, and he is the fifth generation of my family to participate in auto racing, dating back the the 40's.

 

A key note I want to emphasize is the way my fellow racers from teams all over the pits go out of their way to make Michael feel welcome. He really likes hanging out there, and as stated, he and others like him are our future. I especially want to thank Arthur Alexander and his family, Big John and the entire Alexander Racing team, as well as the Krauss and Spreen families, for letting us play along with them.

 

Below is a pretty neat picture taken by Jeff Garvin at Kyle couple weeks ago. Here is Michael with Dillon Spreen in Victory Lane after Dillon's first win in that series.

A 7 year old crew guy with a 15 year old driver.

Take a good look, folks, these two great young guys, and others like them, represent the future of racing.

 

post-21-1249057446.jpg

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What I do is after the races are over I sit by my car with a bucket of candy and a folder full of pictures that I sign and hand out along with the candy.I dont know if the kids like the pictures or the candy the most but every nite I get lots of young visitors.I have not yet found any of my pictures on the ground.

 

The pictures are easy and cheap.All you do is get a regular size sheet of checkerboard paper and put your favorite photo of your car,yourself and any other item you want to add,make the master,then run it in a copy machine.You can make 50 in a few minutes for the cost of copy paper.Sometimes there are more grown ups in line.Nothing makes a person more happy than a sweet thought.At CC Speedway once upon a time almost every team was giving away something at their pit after the races were over.It got to be a competetion to see who had the best goody bag.Key chains,balloons,little toys or anything else a kid would like.Sometimes I would go to another cars aera to get their goody bag.This really works if your pit is lit well.Its what the kids remember.

 

They also love Thumper,the character I gave my race car because all kids know Thumper,Bambis buddy.They dont know me from Adam.The way that the monster trucks protray their racers really works.Gravediger is probably the most famous racer in America.Who drives it anyway?

 

So name your car,make up goody bags to give away and most importantly,be at your car after the races to meet your fans and you will build a great fan base that will remember you when they grow up.Kids are easy to please,just dont ignore them.

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I agree - some great stories!

 

What amazes me, thumper, is how few of the drivers have hero cards or pictures. At THR (and TSRS), we've made announcements several times, sent out e-mails, etc., on an offer for a hell of deal on hero cards. Jeff (Garvin) donates his pictures, I donate my time for the artwork and our printer (Insty-Prints) discounts the printing costs. They can order 50 full-color hero cards on card stock for only $17.50. They can add information on the back in black-and-white at a minimal additional cost.

 

We've make it really easy for them to order the cards and can usually have them ready in just a few days. Over the past year, I've only received requests from about 20 drivers. It all starts with the drivers considering themselves as heroes and taking just a little bit of time to initiate the process!

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I agree - some great stories!

 

What amazes me, thumper, is how few of the drivers have hero cards or pictures. At THR (and TSRS), we've announced several times, sent out e-mails, etc., an offer for a hell of deal on hero cards. Jeff (Garvin) donates his pictures, I donate my time for the artwork and our printer (Insty-Prints) discounts the printing costs. They can order 50 full-color hero cards on card stock for only $17.50. They can add information on the back in black-and-white at a minimal additional cost.

 

We make it really easy for them to order the cards and can usually have them ready in just a few days. Over the past year, I've only received requests from about 20 drivers. It all starts with the drivers considering themselves as heroes!

 

When we hand out hero cards at a show, the kids usually ask for extras for their parents, brothers, sisters etc. They have our sponsors info on the back. Better than a business card that would get thrown away!

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For two years now the line to sign Jeremy's car/truck were almost as long as the Grave Digger line at the monster truck show. Kids love it when they can be a part of it. I heard one kid put a "bounty" on Charlie for smashing where he had signed his name...(j/k)

 

Kids are our furture....

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My daughters and I were going through our old pictures the other day, and we came across a hero card for George Hagy. He raced at SAS many years ago, and they immediately remembered him . . . lasting impressions.

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For two years now the line to sign Jeremy's car/truck were almost as long as the Grave Digger line at the monster truck show. Kids love it when they can be a part of it. I heard one kid put a "bounty" on Charlie for smashing where he had signed his name...(j/k)

 

Kids are our furture....

 

At the Monster Jam this year, the Crew Chief for "The Monster Mutts" came over to see what the commotion was. The line at our race truck was longer than any monster truck save Grave Digger. He ended up getting hero cards and autographs too! We signed close to 1000 autographs during the Monster Jam!

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In our day to day lives we don't think of our selves as big stars, but on a saturday night we are big stars to them, looking back at sas i would always let kids sit in my car after the races, and took time to talk with them and signs autoghraphs, i have recieved many cards letters and gifts from children, and thought that was cool. Still makes me feel good when i run into a kid and he tells me" hey your that race car driver that let me sit in your car, and they go on about how they will never forget that day. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUR MAKING A MEMORY.

 

 

 

 

 

and david you should have seen that kids eyes light up when i put that head set on, don't know who was more excited? him talking or me whatching him

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My daughters and I were going through our old pictures the other day, and we came across a hero card for George Hagy. He raced at SAS many years ago, and they immediately remembered him . . . lasting impressions.

 

Debbie he was my favorite driver when i started going to the track as a kid, i still have a shirt with a pic of his car on it.

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In our day to day lives we don't think of our selves as big stars, but on a saturday night we are big stars to them, looking back at sas i would always let kids sit in my car after the races, and took time to talk with them and signs autoghraphs, i have recieved many cards letters and gifts from children, and thought that was cool. Still makes me feel good when i run into a kid and he tells me" hey your that race car driver that let me sit in your car, and they go on about how they will never forget that day. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUR MAKING A MEMORY.

 

 

 

 

 

and david you should have seen that kids eyes light up when i put that head set on, don't know who was more excited? him talking or me whatching him

 

It only takes a second to make a memory that lasts a lifetime.

 

Mary Ann, maybe THR should have an pre race autograph session like HMP with everyone lined lined up with their cars on the front straight. The feedback from the fans is incredible.

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I like the idea of an autograph session also, but our schedule is already so tight. We'll be setting up autograph tables and getting the drivers to head over to the grandstands whenever possible to see if that will help. But again, they (the drivers) need to bring hero cards or pictures.

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I remember when I was 3 years old standing at the top of the stands cheering for my dad at sas, and I remember how it made me feel when the other racers would shake my hand and let me sit in there race car! I really enjoy it when the little children would come up to me wanting a autogragh or to sit in my race car! It makes the thousands of dollars I spend worth it, and I hope it never stops!

 

matthew hodge

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Excellent topic. It seems to me somewhere along the way drivers at the local tracks lost sight of the fact that they are indeed in the entertainment business and that indeed they ARE entertainers. Track operaters need to understand this too. There is just so much untapped potential here it seems to me. A racers fans ARE paying customers on a Saturday night. The greater a driver's fan base becomes the more paying customers there are. Kids out there need to be warting their parents all week to make sure dad is going to take them to the races on Saturday night. Think about it!

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i love seeing those shineing eyes when you sit little ones in your car ... i had a young one come to me at the tps race at cc ..he asked me for my autograph.....i told him i wasnt the driver but i would give him one anywayif he wanted .. .. he told me you use to drive .my dad said you did ... so i smiled and gave him one .his dad showed up .come to find out he use to watch me race back then as a young boy .... he would get candy at our cars ..... i guess he never forgot ..

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i love seeing those shineing eyes when you sit little ones in your car ... i had a young one come to me at the tps race at cc ..he asked me for my autograph.....i told him i wasnt the driver but i would give him one anywayif he wanted .. .. he told me you use to drive .my dad said you did ... so i smiled and gave him one .his dad showed up .come to find out he use to watch me race back then as a young boy .... he would get candy at our cars ..... i guess he never forgot ..

 

Now THAT'S a great story.......

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i guess about 10 years ago there was a kid that didn't like me because i raced against his dad. me and his dad were good friends, but we would race each other pretty hard on the track.

every saturday i could exspect to get 50 over the shoulder go to hell looks from this kid , in one day/night. a couple of times i figured he was gonna one day hit me with a rock or smack my knees with a jack handle. he would tell me "lay off my dad".......i would say "yes sir" to this pint size pit bull.......his dad is jim teague. mason is now 18 and leading in thunder stock points,,,,and i love just hanging out and b.s'n with him. i watched him evolve into the racer he is.

i watched the future, through alot of young people over the years take shape. from my little brother, j.c. and michael umshied, even mark chrudimsky(sp).......clint lafont.

it's been a cool thing to witness.

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i guess about 10 years ago there was a kid that didn't like me because i raced against his dad. me and his dad were good friends, but we would race each other pretty hard on the track.

every saturday i could exspect to get 50 over the shoulder go to hell looks from this kid , in one day/night. a couple of times i figured he was gonna one day hit me with a rock or smack my knees with a jack handle. he would tell me "lay off my dad".......i would say "yes sir" to this pint size pit bull.......his dad is jim teague. mason is now 18 and leading in thunder stock points,,,,and i love just hanging out and b.s'n with him. i watched him evolve into the racer he is.

i watched the future, through alot of young people over the years take shape. from my little brother, j.c. and michael umshied, even mark chrudimsky(sp).......clint lafont.

it's been a cool thing to witness.

KINDA MAKES YOU FEEL OLD ...HECK I SEE A YOUNG ONE RACEN AT CC NOW .HE WASNT EVEN BORN WHEN MOST OF MY DRIVEING WAS GOING ON ..I REMEMBER HIS MOM BOTTLE FEEDING HIM ........ MAN HOW TIME FLIES .

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txtom- I remember the last couple races that any Alexander car has won, you always hear Allen asking where his Good Luck Charm is and here comes this little boy with a HUGE grin!

 

 

yeah, he missed the last win, as I had a prior obligation, but Allen's first two wins this season, as well as Dillon's win, were neat times for Michael. I have purchased copies of Jeff Garvin's victory lane photos with Michael and Allen and Dillon, and I'm in the process of framing them for display.

Hopefully, you will get to see him there in Victory Lane a few more times this season!

 

Here are a couple more pics I happen to like:

 

Michael with Allen's first win this season and getting to pose with our Favorite trophy Queen.

post-21-1249096179.jpg

 

 

Aaron Brungot took this pic of Michael a couple years ago with my old friend Bobby Joe New after a TSRS win.

post-21-1249096198.jpg

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