Spartan Speedway - Newsletter April 2009

Spartan Speedway sandy at
Mon Apr 20 21:13:01 EDT 2009

Good April Race Fans!


At this writing, we are starting to see some warmer weather.  As is the case in Michigan, though, we could always have snow tomorrow.  Regardless, race season is upon us.and "the" Spartan Speedway race season is just a couple of weeks away.


I would like to introduce myself to all of "the" Spartan Speedway drivers, friends, family and fans.  My name is Don Garchow and I have been blessed with a pretty incredible career in advertising at Fox 47 Television.  As many of you know, Fox 47 is home to NASCAR each year for the first half of the season.  And, "the" Spartan Speedway is home to the Fox 47 race team as well.


Fox 47 created its original race team in the winter of 2000-2001 to help promote NASCAR racing on broadcast television.  It was a form of grass roots marketing to reach out to race fans and become partners with our viewers.  


I truly believe Fox does a very good job in covering not only the races, but the back stories during a race as well.  If you are not a fan you can easily follow a race and when completed have learned a little too.  One of my favorite parts is seeing the Fox "cutouts" where Jeff Hammond actually explains the intricate parts of anything from the breaking systems, to engine oil caps to the Hans Device.


These segments during a NASCAR race give both a fan and an occasional fan an in-depth explanation to everything that truly goes into a single NASCAR race.  Its "more" than driving.


So what goes into short track racing at "the" Spartan Speedway?  A ton of time, energy and passion from many a driver and his network of family, friends and sponsors.


Why does 'racing' have such an impact with me?  Because it all comes back to the roots.  I grew up going to the races at "the" Spartan Speedway.  And, when you think of it, pretty much every driver in NASCAR has some sort of short track racing in their background.  Many a driver has cut their teeth on the short track (like "the" Spartan Speedway)..and many, more so than ever,.when they were very young.


"The" Spartan Speedway takes enormous strides to make racing "available" for people of all ages.  The Pony stock program was introduced as a way to inexpensively get involved in the sport.  Their have been drivers as young as 8 and as old as 80 driving in this class. 


And, as I mentioned racing is a sport filled with "passion".  The minor leagues of NASCAR are the short tracks that dot the landscape across America.   For me, the quarter mile banked asphalt at "the" Spartan Speedway made an impact in my life as a child.  Many a Friday Night you could find me sitting with my parents hoping for some "action".  As a kid Crashes = Action.  The short track of "the" Spartan Speedway meant a long list of drivers of all talent levels competing.  This short track also meant there would be some "rubbin'" going on.  And that, combined with the natural adrenaline rush of "speed", competition and close calls lends itself to some "action".  And, many a time, "crashes".  Crashes into the water barrels of turn 1, into the wall of turn 2, into the turn 4 wall.  An occasional car flipping on the back stretch.  I even remember crashes off the back straight away before the current wall was built.  And, do any of you remember the crashes into the wall/planter at the start/finish line years ago? WOW! There have been some doozies.and I'm not even talking about the kamikaze Figure 8 drivers.


While a non-race fan may think of Stock Car racing as boring (how many times have I heard someone say, "Gosh, how fun can it be to see cars go round and round on a track?"), it really comes down to the action (Crashes).


And, of course, in any race community, these crashes cost money (repairs don't fix themselves).  However, these "battles" on the short tracks actually enable the longevity of the sport.  No rubbin' means no crashes means no action to a newcomer checking out the sport.  While I never want to see someone get hurt.I became a fan of "the" Spartan Speedway as a kid due to the "crashes".  I remained a fan throughout my teen years and because of this "action" I have introduced the sport to my kids (all girls) as an entertainment option.  Hopefully, it has become enough a part of their lives that they in turn will introduce their kids to racing one day. (far, far in the future, I hope, since they are now only 16, 15 and 8).


Now don't get me wrong, NASCAR on TV is good...but the "super speedways of NASCAR" do not do short track racing justice.  Yes, there is a lot of speed in NASCAR..but with tens-of-thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of dollars tied up in the engineering and talent that make up each race car and team, crashes just do not happen as often in that level of the sport.  And, you are tied to a team..or a driver (whether it is because of their driving talents, physical appearance, sponsors or heritage) a potential race fan may see the sport of racing on television as "just cars going round-and-round".  Even at a short track like Bristol Speedway, the Car of Tomorrow (now of "Today") has lessened the cautions and made the "action" far less likely.


For pure entertainment, "the" Spartan Speedway provides a better value (action = crashes) for your dollar than any other minor league sport.  And, "the" Spartan Speedway is like the Class A affiliate of a baseball team.  Without the drivers of "the" Spartan Speedway and other short tracks like it, we may not have NASCAR racing as a professional entertainment option.


So, as a Race fan, I applaud "the" Spartan Speedway - the track the stars call home!  I also encourage you to invite not just your family and friends, but maybe also an acquaintance to a Friday Night at "the" Spartan Speedway.  You will see "action" at every level.Pony Stocks to Super Late Models.  All levels of driver talent get their adrenaline rush from speed and competition and this is good for "everyone" in the form of "action/crashes".


There is no better entertainment value for your dollar.  I know from my experience of 40+ years of sitting in the stands - 12 rows up just left of the press box - "the" Spartan Speedway IS "action"!
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