Spartan Speedway - Happy Holidays from Ed Inloes

Spartan Speedway sandy at
Mon Dec 29 13:58:52 EST 2008

Merry Christmas Spartan fans!!!

Tis the season for giving, and reflecting back on the time past, and remembering those who have been helpful to you, and thankful for all that they do. Our racing community is unique in the fact that we do take care of our own, and treat our competitors as most people do at Christmas time. Any given Friday night you will find someone performing an unselfish act, to help another. And to me, this resembles the magic of Christmas. Where you give back, and try and help those you love, and help those less fortunate. We are blessed to be involved in such a sport that in reality, treats every Friday night like it was Christmas time, well, almost, but you get what I mean.

We do reflect back on times past at this time of year, to remember all that we are thankful for, but we also look to the future, to see what it may have in store for us. Every off season in the local short track racing arena, tracks jockey to get their rules package out, and their schedules, try to line up the upcoming seasons sponsors, and special events. This is a huge undertaking by the Promoter, that often goes overlooked by the fans, and the drivers. All these decisions and moves made while the snow is falling, impact every area of what we will be enjoying, come this Summer. Every year the fans, and the drivers, hope to see some commonality among the tracks, and cooperation between them in the scheduling, so we can make choices as to where we may want to go, or race, without having to reinvent the wheel. This has not been the case for almost 50 years in the State of Michigan. Not to say that some have come close, because they have, but eventually, whatever compromise led to the closing of this gap, just reopened and pulled them farther apart. At this time last season, it got so bad, that one track located only 8 miles from another, switched it's night it ran to try and compete with this other track. These tracks have been in existence for over 50 years, and an attempt was made to try and run up against one another. How crazy is that??? I am speaking of Dixie, and Auto City Speedway. This did not work out so well for Dixie. They did switch back to Fridays just after the halfway mark of 2008, but this mistake left a lot of people with a bad taste in their mouth, from having to switch their own schedules to accommodate all the changes throughout the season. Not good at all for any fan of short track racing. 

But in just one year, my how things have changed!!!! Now Jim has touched on this subject in the previous newsletter, and I will go into a little more detail on it for you. First let's start out with our very own Spartan Speedway. The biggest thing for us was Jim's decision to go to the Hoosier tire, and break away from the American Racer tire that has been a mainstay at our track for many years. This was a very hard decision for Jim to make, in the sense that he is loyal to those that are loyal to him. Wayne Bishop and the gang have been a great help, and always there when needed. Their service has been top notch, and Jim was in a real conundrum here making this decision. But you see, Spartan was the ONLY track using these tires. Our drivers had to buy new tires if they choose to run elsewhere, and travelers from other tracks would have to buy our tires to run at Spartan. In todays economy, it's easy to see how this can effect car counts. Jim made the right choice, all be it a difficult one. But in 2009, I predict that the car counts will rise just from this decision alone.

Jim has always tried to reach out to other promoters from neighboring areas in an attempt to gain some similarities between the tracks for the fans, and drivers. This attempt hasn't been that successful in the past few years, but again, times they are a changin!! A gentleman named Jeff Parish, along with longtime announcer of Whittimore Speedway, Rick Miracle, took over the ownership of Owosso Speedway midway through the 2008 season. Before they took over, the facility was practically on life support. What they have accomplished there in such a short time is almost miraculous (pun intended). And when the time came to look toward the 2009 season, Jim's phone rang with Jeff on the other end, wanting to sit down and work together on some rules, and scheduling, to try and help each other out!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Promoters working together for the common good of our sport. And folks, it doesn't stop there. Jeff wasn't done putting down his footprint in the Michigan racing arena. Effective November 1st, Jeff has taken over the Dixie Motor Speedway also. Needless to say, his two tracks will pretty much mirror one another in the rules department, and will not conflict with one another, nor will they conflict with Spartan, or Auto City Speedway. We will have 4 tracks, all within a hour, to a hour and a half of each other, all working together, on the same tire, for the common good of our sport. I hope all of you reading this realize what an epic day this is in our sport. We have waited a lifetime to get a sniff of this, let alone as far as it has already gotten. My hats off and I stand up and applaud Jim Leasure, Jeff Parish, and Joe DeWitte. Thank you gentlemen!!! 

Other things are changing too in our sport. The voices you hear bringing you the action are also changing a little bit. But not at Spartan, I will still be behind the microphone at the track the stars call home. At this point, I do believe that Sean will still be with me as his career in the cruise lines has not yet left the port. But with the sale of Springport, that ends my 5 years reign there and will be moving over to Auto City Speedway to call the action there on Saturday nights with my very good friend, Larry Loynes. Joe DeWitte has always offered me an option to "come home" to Auto City, but understood my loyalty to Jim, and Springport. But once the sale was final, Joe immediately called me and asked me to join his tam. It is a honor to be able to go to Auto City, a track I grew up at, and to go work with an award winning announcer like Larry is a dream come true. I will deeply miss Springport, but am very happy to be going back to one of my home tracks. Also, one of my very best friend, Matt "Hollywood" Prieur has left the traveling life furnished by ASALM Series, and has also come back home. Just this week, Matt was announced as the voice of Dixie Motor Speedway, and the co-announcer at Owosso. Matt and I announced together 9 years ago at Owosso, which was my rookie season, and have always been best friends. And now, we're the voices of the 4 tracks we went to the most as children!!! Pretty darn cool for us!!! Neither of us ever dreamed something like this could ever happen. It only goes to show you, if you have a passion for something, never give up on it, and always follow your dreams.

One more thing I'd like to touch on before I close this Holiday edition, is the 5th Annual Michigan Short Track Racing Club's Bowling Tournament for charity. It will be held Valentine's afternoon, February 14th, at the Capitol Bowl in downtown Owosso. Sign in starts at Noon, and bowling right around 2PM. And this year, one of our very own will be one of the benefactors. Daniel "Doc" Dutton suffered a heart attack back in the Fall, and he has been named one of the benefactors for the charity tournament. The other benefactor is the Newman Family out of New Lothrop (Scooby Doo Racing #5). Ed Jr. was in a terrible car accident in September, and his Father, Ed Sr. just lost their home in an awful fire just this past weekend. All money raised will go to the 2 benefactors. We URGE you to join us on this day, or at least make a donation of money, or merchandise for our giveaways, to help raise money for these two needy families. This is what our sport is all about, and again, has in common with this time of the year. We try and take care of those we care about, and this is exactly what this tournament tries to do!!! You can reach me, or Jim Leasure, through our website to find out more information, or how you can become a part of this great event!!!

Merry Christmas everyone, I'll see y'all in April!!!!

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