Spartan Speedway - Newsletter January 2009

Spartan Speedway sandy at
Thu Jan 29 13:30:01 EST 2009

Jim asked me help out with this months newsletter, to share a little about my family's involvement in racing and some perspective about changes over the years and how much time it takes in the shop to be competitive, so here goes, even though it is late.

First of all for those who don't really know me I come from a family that has been involved in racing for years. 21 years in a Mod for me. My father Johnny Logan started racing jalopies back in the late 40's and raced all his life up until he was 74 years old. The one thing most may not know about him was that he really never owned his own race car until he bought one for me to drive in 1969. He was a hired gun per say and drove Super Modified and Sprint cars for 40-50% of that nights winnings. Still then he never drove the car he bought for me to drive, but finally bought a Mod of his own in the early 90's. He raced it at Spartan, Owosso, Galesburg and a few times on the dirt, up until the day he retired.

At the time he bought his Mod my brother and I were both racing them and we competed against each other as hard or harder than anyone else. He was Spartan's Rookie of the Year one of those first years and was appalled at the banquet when they announced him as the Rookie of the Year. He stated he was no damn rookie and to give the trophy to someone who was a real rookie. Dad had a lot pride, as those who met him would know, just ask Bill Lackey.

One thing dad told me early on was to prep the car in the shop and try to never take off the hood. Yup! there were a few times over the years when we had to break that advice.

Over the years things have changed as much or more from a driver's perspective as the fan's. One thing that has really changed the last 10 years in all classes is the fact that everyone has gotten faster and you can buy any part you need to go faster. In my early days we had to build what we thought was the new widget that would get us to victory circle. What with CNC machine programs and the less expensive engine parts that come from outside the US, (note I said less expensive not better) more HP can be made now for a lot less money, with cyl heads being the largest factor.

Years ago the engine claim was in place for $325 and I feel it worked fine for awhile, until the claims got to be grudge claims, rather than buying someone because their engine was beating you. Most of the time it was setup, not more HP that was beating you.

Fans still come to the races for the entertainment value they feel they can get. Today the fan has so many choices of entertainment, be it the movie theater that has 6-8 movies to choose from. The internet, for learning, blogging, google searching, you tube, online poker, you name it. 

We as a group of drivers and promoters HAVE to give the fan what they perceive as a good value or they will not come back. We all need to encourage friends and family to bring new people who may have never been to the race track a taste of what it is like. Offer to bring your new neighbor, let your kids bring a friend, who may ask mom or dad to go again and watch little Johnny's dad, mom or brother race.

I have never been one for what some call the circus acts, but the fans like the excitement. For anyone who has been to the school bus races you know what I'm talking about. So we the die hard racers need to support the race tracks decision to bring in and try new things. I would think these trailer or chain races would help to bring new spectators and help turn them into fans. The tracks need to put butts in the seats to help with profits or we may some day not have a place to play out the passion we have for short track racing.

I have been guilty of this myself in the past, but have become a little wiser as I get older, but we need to respect the track officials. These folks get paid very little for the abuse we some times inflict on them. Think about your work place and how long you might last if you acted at work as you may have on a Friday night at the race track.

For some it takes more prep time than others, but for us, we try to have one or two work nights a week to prep the car. There are times if you had a bad weekend that it might take each and every night. If we race on Friday, then it might take 2-3 hrs in the shop Saturday morning to make changes and the regular maintenance needed, providing that Friday was a good night.

I know we are facing some very tough economic times, but we all need to do our little part to support the race tracks or we may not have them around in the future. 

One other thing to remember, in most cases we rely on family to help us get to the track, so make sure you give them the thanks that they deserve or you may not get the help when you need it the most.

I know Jim is working on some creative ways to help get people to the races that would be affordable. ( RIGHT JIM! )

Dan, (The Governor) Loughan
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