A view from above… WithRaceVoice…July 30 2018

Having the RI Shriner’s in the house every year is always a treat. They are so much fun to be around, and they bring such awareness to the kids around the world. It was sad to hear Nozzle is moving at the end of the year to Florida, as I know he has poured his heart and soul into the speedway gatherings over the past 8 years. I sure hope one of his brothers will pick up the baton and run with it.

This Wednesday, August 1st, don’t forget to stop by Seekonk Grand Prix and compete with some of the drivers from our Fast Friday and NASCAR Whelen All American Series have some fun while raising money for a great cause.

From the press release on this event:

Challenge Seekonk Speedway NASCAR Drivers and Champions on the tracks of the Seekonk Grand Prix. Get to meet and get autographs as well as race against local legends from the Speedway like David Darling, Ryan Vanasse, Mike Brightman, Gerry DeGasparre, Jake Johnson and many more! Check out REAL NASCAR Race cars up close and get your picture taken.

Proceeds from the event will benefit research for the American Heart Association and Congenital Heart Defects.

And if I know Wayne Darling, he may have a surprise or two up his sleeve for this event. You never know.

Another week in the books, and I think I need to get onto my soapbox for a bit, so bear with me for this.

There was some good racing in all of the divisions both Friday and Saturday, so this is not a slight on that at all.

But What The ???? was going on out there with some of the drivers? I don’t know what goes through their minds sometimes. I know, everyone has an excuse on what happened. There are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle is the truth.

Yes, there has been a lack of outside passing, mostly in the Pro Stocks and Late Models. What is the reason for that? Well, there are several. Some of it is everyone is setting their cars up to run on the bottom groove. This is evident on many drivers actually using the berm to help their car get through the corners.

Over the past couple of weeks the track has been putting cones out on the track, forcing the competitors to run there in the final round of practice. Some of the drivers have complained about that, but have also complained about the lack of an outside groove. Should they use some type of syrup to make it stickier? NHMS did that for their cup weekend. I am not sure if it worked for them or not, as I did not watch the race. I know he tried it a couple of years ago and it seemed to work for a little bit. But the teams have to set their car to run up there.

It is also evident on how some drivers will beat the driver underneath them to get back down there. I saw that happen on many occasions Saturday, and even Friday. This was on the opening laps too. I don’t mean just trying to move down. I’m talking about taking a hard left hand turn down the straightway and grinding, pushing and trying to manhandle their way down.

This caused damage to not only the car they were hitting, but to their own car as well.

Then we have drivers spinning out other drivers in front of them. Again, there are two sides to that story, but it was in more than one division.

This isn’t Bowman Grey. I’ve been there. I wasn’t impressed. I know, my job is to call the action on the track, and with my partners Lou and Paul, I think we do a pretty good job of that. I am not calling out any particular driver, as I have seen the lack of respect seem to run rampant over the past several weeks.

Is it due to the fact that the teams have had weeks off? Are they just anxious to get out there and race? We have had, in the past, rough nights, due to rain outs and a week off. Is that the case? I know many teams have been lobbying for time off during the schedule, and the track has obliged. Too much maybe? I don’t have an answer on that, but the track is a business, and needs to make money, so we can race.

This isn’t just at the front of the field either. It is happening in the middle of the pack, and even at the back of the pack. I’ve seen drivers racing for LAST place beat each other up out there. Rookies and veterans have fallen into this mentality that because they think they spend more money than the next guy, have a prettier car, have more sponsors, put more time into their car, that they have been there longer so they deserve the respect of those that haven’t, those that are new trying to “Be the Man” and show that they belong, that they don’t deserve to be last, so I have to get buy the guy second to last, third to last, or whatever.

Trust me, I understand the time, the money, the passion, the drive to be the best, but there are only a handful that can be the best at any given time.

Sometimes, some patience, some strategy, and some luck, and you will get your chance to show that you’re the best.

I could tell you from both ends what they say will happen. None of that matters.

What the drivers forget, sometimes, is that this is entertainment for the fans. They enjoy seeing the close action that we have become so accustomed to over the years here at Seekonk over the past 73 seasons. Has it all been gold? Hell no. But more times than not, the fans are entertained and come back.

Is the fan base the same as it was 30 or even 20 years ago? Nope. That’s the same struggle every track, except for the aforementioned Bowman Gray, and a couple of others, have been hearing from all of us long time fans for years.

Why is that? Well, that’s a discussion for another time, but it is the sign of the times. But I will tell you this: Seekonk has been the benefit of rising attendance over the past several years. It may be small, but it is growth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not leaving the track blameless, but the bottom line is the drivers are the ones doing this to themselves. Not all of them, but some of them. And they seem to have no problem with what they are doing out there. It isn’t their fault, it’s always the other drivers fault.

When I started announcing 24 years ago, I had the privilege of working with The Voice of the Speedway, Wally Saleeba. He taught me to bring a recorder and record what I do throughout the night. I would like to think that that helped me become a better announcer. And just because I’ve been doing this for 24 years, and have worked with some of the best announcers in New England, in front of some great crowds and drivers, that doesn’t mean I can’t get better. I know I can. I was thinking that some of the drivers should do the same with video.

Watch what happens on the track. Have someone video them out there, and become a self critique, and see what they could do differently; better, worse, or more patiently. These are talented drivers that compete weekly. Some of the best for sure.

Is it positive reinforcement? I’ll be there to be their cheerleader. I have always believed that Seekonk does produce some of the best talent in New England. Look at our history, and look at our rosters. They are loaded with talent in all of our divisions. Second, third and even fourth generation drivers competing weekly.

Yes, we have a fourth generation racer competing. Evan Marchand is the son of Kyle Marchand and Stacey Holewiak. Both competed in the former Formula Four division. His grandfather Ed raced here for many years, including the Pro Stock. His great grandfather, I’m sorry, I don’t know his name, competed here in the 40’s and 50’s.

There are a dozen or so third generation racers, and many second generation competitors as well. It is great to watch them come up through the divisions and compete against some of the best competition.

This week, Fast Friday will be in action, but our NWAAS competitors will be vacationing again, as the mid summer thrill show will have the return of the Trailer Race. Be sure to get here early to get a seat. This will be a great show, and the early forecast is a favorable one.

Congratulations to Bob Tripp on becoming the first Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Champion of 2018. Bob needed some luck late in the race. It was a lot of fun to watch, and about the best race of the night.

We are in the second half of the season, let’s see that attendance continue to rise. Bring a friend with you. Tell everyone to come on down and enjoy a night of action at a great value.